Pairings: N/Touya, dark.

Warnings: Brainwashing, the-bad-guys-win. AU.

Disclaimer: I don't own Pokémon or its characters.

I hope you enjoy.


separation

Sometimes Black loses memories.

Most times, he's hardly aware of it until someone reminds him—they're small, inconsequential things, like when he wore the exact same robes that he had the day before, or when he'd sent two servants to fetch him the same thing.

He would be concerned about this, but those he confides in about it soothe his fears and reassure him that everything is completely alright, so he tries not to worry about it.

But the big things that he forgets are the ones that really scare him.

Sometimes he wakes up and doesn't recognize his own chambers, insisting that he is a pokémon trainer, of all things, and that Team Plasma is his enemy. He's angry and hostile, on days like those. Once, he's told, he grew particularly violent and almost killed Sage Gorm by pushing him down a staircase in a delusional escape attempt. He had to be restrained to his room for days until he had calmed down, Black recalls, though the specifics of his supposed escape attempt elude him.

In times like those, the servants usually panic at his insistence on repeating a subject deemed anathema, and remembering his tendency to violence, call for Lady Anthea and Lady Concordia, who hold him and whisper soothing lullabies to him until he falls asleep.

When he wakes up, he never remembers why he had been so upset in the first place.

–...–

Black's dreams usually take the form of dreadful nightmares and flashes of a past he cannot remember.

He dreams of a woman who holds him comfortingly and sings to him, whose hair isn't Anthea's shade of pink or Concordia's shade of gold, but a rich brown, just like his. He dreams of a boy and girl who play and compete with him in flashes of light and exhilaration. He dreams of holding a peculiar ball in his hand that releases a green serpent that fights for him, with him, against hooded figures, a blue crest of arms emblazoned on their chests.

But most of all, he dreams of a dragon of limitless white and sky blue eyes and flames that do not burn him. In the dreams, the dragon battles another of endless darkness and blue lightning, and the white dragon always loses and Black falls, falls, falls…

–...–

Sometimes Black gets the feeling that "Black" isn't his name at all.

When his dreams grow particularly vivid, he remembers the boy and girl and the brown-haired woman call him Touya, and he becomes confused.

Once, when he was in one of his rages and had managed to escape the guards for a few moments, he had realized that the rooms he was hiding in were His Majesty's chambers. Unable to contain his curiosity, Black (Touya?) had looked through His drawers, rifling through their contents until he came upon something strange.

It was a small, laminated card with the name Touya on it. But what was most curious about it was that a boy who looked alarmingly like Black had his smiling face printed on it. When he heard the guards coming, Black had stuffed the card deep into his pocket where the guards wouldn't find it.

He kept it under his bed. When he was awakened by his nightmares in the middle of the night and his brain itched with half-remembered suspicions, he would pull the card (a trainer card, it was supposed to be called) out from its hiding place and read the name to himself over and over again, almost as if it would reveal whatever it was that he was missing.

Touya, Touya, Touya, Touya…

–...–

He walks down the splendid halls of the castle, flanked by Anthea and Concordia. Today is a very special day, they tell him. Today is the day that His Majesty returns from the Crusades, and He has requested to see him. Black likes His Majesty; He is always kind to him and lets him play with the pokémon that walk at His side.

The hooded Team Plasma members that they pass by bow their heads deferentially with murmurs of "hero". Black doesn't understand why they call him a hero; he is hardly deserving of the title.

When they reach His Majesty's throne room, Anthea knocks demurely and Black watches as the massive doors open. Inside, His Majesty sits on His throne while the Sages bow before Him and discuss the progress of the Crusades. Black is not allowed to hear when they speak of the Crusades, so he is surprised when Anthea and Concordia do not immediately lead him away.

"There are still pockets of resistance, especially from the Kanto and Johto regions, Your Majesty," Sage Ryoku says, "but Your Majesty's glorious victory over the champion of the Hoenn region has weakened the rebel cause significantly."

"Soon Team Plasma will stand victorious over those who subjugate pokémon," Sage Broonius adds.

"Indeed," Sage Ghetsis says from where he stands behind His Majesty's throne, "You are truly worthy of the title of 'hero,' sire…" his voice is gloating, and Black furrows his brow is dislike, not really knowing why…

Then, they are finally noticed, and Sage Ghetsis' voice becomes irate. "I thought I said that we were not to be disturbed under any circumstances!"

But then His Majesty's eyes notice him and He stands, running towards them. "My beautiful one," His Majesty says. Anthea and Concordia bow to him, but Black does not. His Majesty smiles at this and takes him in His arms, twirling him around joyously. "What a joy it is to see you, Black!" His Majesty exclaims as He sets Black down, and the Sages splutter at their king's flippant display of affection toward him. Black fidgets a bit, unsure of what to do.

"Your Majesty," Sage Ghetsis' annoyed voice interrupts, "The meeting –,"

"Can wait," His Majesty says, "We will finish this later."

Then His Majesty takes Black's hand in His own and pulls him out of the room excitedly. Black registers Ghetsis' hateful glare through the crack in the door, but his mind is taken off such matters as they run down the hall together, His Majesty giggling giddily all the way.

–...–

They are in His Majesty's playroom, and Black watches uncomfortably as the king plays with His train set, laughing as a child would.

"Tell me, Black," His Majesty says, turning His attention on him with a fond smile, "How have you been while I was away?"

Black's bare hands (they feel naked, for some reason…) twist in his lap anxiously. "F-fine, Your Majesty…"

"I told you before, Black," His Majesty chides softly, "Call me N."

Black flushes red, embarrassed by His Majesty's—N's—disregard for protocol. "Y-yes… Your—N…"

N smiles at Black's obedience and returns His attention to the train set, mimicking the noises of a steam engine. "N…" Black says, a question on the forefront of his mind before he can really process it, "Why do they all call me a hero…?"

"Because you are, Black," N replies simply, cryptically, "Don't you remember?"

Black wonders, fleetingly, if this is all he has ever known. He can't remember anything else but the (false) memories the dreams give him flashes of, and suddenly he is overcome by an emotion he cannot articulate (or comprehend) and begins to cry.

N notices and rushes to him, holding him close. "My poor little hero," N coos, stroking his hair and directing his head to the crook of His neck with a cool hand. Black's nose, buried among N's viridian-green hair, smells the familiar scent of burned electricity and is reminded of the falling, falling, falling of his dreams. He tenses, but N does not notice. "Everything is alright," N reassures him.

Black shakes his head, wincing when His hand becomes tangled in his hair with the motion. "No, it's not alright," he chokes out, "It isn't, but I don't know why it isn't…"

"I do," N reassures him, "You pain yourself over the plights of all the pokémon that remain under the rule of callous people, those pokémon that have not yet been liberated by Team Plasma. Don't worry, Black… I will help them all. You know that it is my mission to free them all, don't you? I won't fail, I promise you. The world will soon be Black and White, like we've envisioned."

But that isn't what Black is worried about at all… it feels wrong. It all feels wrong. He continues to cry, his breath hitching and transforming into ugly sobs as he grieves for companions and loved ones that he cannot remember ever knowing. N just holds him close, repeating that He will save them all.

For some reason, Black feels as if He has done the exact opposite.


A/N: I had originally intended to add a lot more (the first draft was about 2000 words long, and it was incomplete) about just how Touya's memories are erased and modified and his unwilling role in a rather sinister plot, but I thought it best to leave it like this.

I hope you enjoyed it.