N had his days, as did everyone. He had his good days. He had his bad days. He had days when he was just filled to the brim with anger and hatred and lashed out at everyone who came near. He had days where he was the sweet little boy with a pure and innocent heart, only wanting to be with pokemon and the very few humans he loved.

Concordia pulled back and narrowly avoided getting a dart thrown right at her forehead as she walked in. It was so close that she could feel the steely air and heard the frightening "swish" as it barely grazed over her hair and stuck directly into the wall. She looked back; N wasn't even using a dart board! "My lord?" she asked nervously, hesitant to approach him. "Are you alright?"

"Leave me!" was the growling response. He threw another dart; this one took a huge chunk from the wall, the pretty blue wallpaper fluttering down to the ground.

Concordia stepped behind him, taking a seat on the young king's favorite skateboard. She looked back and saw that even N's faithful Zoroark seemed a bit nervous of how his best friend was acting. He was laying down by N's train tracks, while the other pokemon were busily playing with some sort of trinket in the room, staying out of N's way at the moment. Concordia could see a glimpse of something shiny by N's dartboard. She reached out and picked it up, despite her lord's protests. "My Lord.." Her voice filled with fear. "What is this?" It was a simple picture book, filled with colorful drawings of a little boy and his pokemon, few words on the page. The drawings looked like they were made by a child.

N barely glanced over. "It's a book," he said dully. "I bought it this morning."

"You weren't given permission to leave this morning!" Concordia cried, her worst fears confirmed.

"..."

"You left the castle to get this!" Her fists clenched angrily as he pretty much blatantly ignored her and went back to viciously attacking the walls with the darts. Her brows furrowed in frustration. He didn't understand the seriousness of this! Or did he, and just not care? "My Lord, you know you aren't to leave the castle without Lord Ghetsis's consent!"

"To hell with Ghetsis," N muttered, and he watched his caretaker step back in shock. That was very new vocabulary for him, and not something Concordia heard often from his gentle mouth.

"What?" Her eyes were wide. "Where did you learn that?"

N finally put the darts down, sitting on his skateboard with a bitter look on his face. "I heard it on one of my outings since I was allowed to finally start leaving this hell hole!" It seemed like all typical teens, he had learned to and enjoyed abusing crude language. "It fit the moment, and it fits him."

Concordia was about to respond, but a smirking voice at the door beat her to it. The voice – as always – sent a chill like no other coursing down her spine.

"Does it now?" Ghetsis leaned up against the doorway, smiling in an eerie and chilling way. An insincere way, that was certain. "I do prefer Ghetsis, if you don't mind," he snarled, the fake smile replaced with a glare as dark as night. "Come with me, boy." He heard his son begin to fall into step behind him, and tucked his sleeves behind his back in a masterly way, walking down the hall. There was no sound of N's repentant frightened little footsteps behind him. He turned back to the room, where he saw Condordia with a hand on N's arm. "Let. Go. Of. Him!" the sage spat angrily. When she seemed hesitant to do as he bid, Ghetsis angrily stormed back and tore N from her grasp.

N hissed as he stumbled against his father's chest, the burning to his recent lash wounds reignited as both his shirt and Ghetsis's rough robes rubbed against them. He yanked out of his father's grasp and obediently walked behind him as they strode down the halls. On most days, the child would be pitifully weeping; dreading the impending stinging burn from The Triad's whip, or bracing his frail body for one of Ghetsis's punishments. Today, he didn't care.

Ghetsis threw open the door to his study and walked in. He turned back to N, studying his reaction – which was usually quite amusing. The tea green eyes that reflected his own burned like a raging furnace, sending off waves of bitter heat to all that went near him. "So, The Shadow Triad has informed me you were out of your room again today," he began, getting right to the point.

"And what if I was?" N challenged, in a tone that stun and worried the Triad, who had followed both their lords in. "So what if I left?" His eyes said it all: what are you going to do about it? He was digging his own grave. With words and a tone that would usually send a teenager straight to their room with no electronic or social privileges, these results were about to be much more catastrophic.

Ghetsis smirked, surprised at the gal his son had today. He turned to his faithful servants. "Leave us."

The Shadow Triad all exchanged glances and looked to N, who regarded them with a look that could kill.

"Don't look so guilty!" the boy spat hatefully. "You are all the ones that brought me to him in the first place." He didn't feel an ounce of fear when they left. Though, it wasn't like he really felt secure when they were there. The Shadow Triad obeyed him, but their main lord Ghetsis came first. They never tried to help him when he was punished by his father, but N still felt a tad better when he wasn't alone with him.

Ghetsis sat there in his chair. He noticed N refused to look at him. "I think you need a bit of a lesson on respect, boy." He stood up from his chair and started walking down to his son. N finally turned sharply to him and Ghetsis smirked. He could practically feel the hatred burning off his son; it filled his shady twisted heart with happiness. All was going according to plan - N had grown up according to plan. As a father, he couldn't ask for more. When he was a few steps away from the boy, N let out a very low and threatening growl, sounding like the Zoroark he had grown up with.

"You're not a pokemon, N," Ghetsis reminded him with a sneer.

"I'd rather be a pokemon than a human like you!" Instantly, N was thrown back, a burning sting erupting over his pale cheeks. Tears prickled his eyes, but he refused to give Ghetsis the satisfaction of seeing him cry. Blinking rapidly against the pain and fluid now threatening to come, he summoned a hateful glare to his father.

Ghetsis just smirked when he saw the hint of tears, it only further satisfied him and fueled him to continue. He landed another stinging blow, this one striking N just in his left eye, before booting him in the stomach.

His breath left him with a compressed "whoosh" as the barbs of pain sliced into his stomach. He inhaled sharply and only further gasped, inwardly wailing from the bone breaking agony invading his stomach. Finally, he crumbled, sinking to the floor and curling into the tiles. His mind screamed at him to retaliate, but the childish fear he had for his father was much stronger. He only laid there, withstanding painful blow after blow, praying to Arceus it would be over soon...

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At last with what seemed like forever, the tall porcelain doors containing his father's study opened, trembling fingers barely gripping onto the edge of the frame and door for support. His body screamed in response to the brutal beating. It was more than less used to the searing and bleeding pain of a lashing, which usually only affected his back and bottom. N's eyes were usually spared of pain since Ghetsis mostly slapped him and sometimes kicked him down. Today, they were swollen and turning a spectrum of colors.

He emerged from the castle, further hatred was simply flooding through his soul. He hated Ghetsis. He hated the castle. He hated the Triad. More than anything, he hated himself. He despised himself for being such a pansy and letting himself put up with the abuse.

Well, remember something: Ghetsis is awful, but he only wants to help liberate pokemon. N constantly had to remind himself that after one of his father's beatings. It never seemed true to him: a man like that couldn't possibly care for pokemon, much less for freeing them. I'm supposed to be a king, N thought. So why couldn't he leave? The kings he read about in the few books he had smuggled were nothing like him; they had freedom. They had the ability to come and go as they please. They weren't confined to one room; they weren't beaten around like a rag doll. Even a rag doll would be treated better than me, N thought bitterly. He straightened a bit, leaning forward through the trees when he saw a few shadows, and could hear the very musical familiar voice calling orders to her pokemon. White... He envied her – he wanted to be her. Freedom.. To be with pokemon as she pleased, go where she pleased. And to probably be loved... he thought with a sting in his heart. She was the dawn in the darkest of his nights. He envied her and on some level almost hated her because of how great his desire to be her was. However... he couldn't hate her. No one could hate White. No one. And in fact, it was the complete opposite of hate. Emotions were so complicated.

"N!" he heard her excited shout.

Oh no, she had spotted him! Fear clutched at him, a dim panicky feeling set in. No! She couldn't see him like this! Not in such fragility! He was running before he knew it, ignoring her confused shouts for him to come back; ignoring the agony that teared deeper into him with every step. The black night was getting darker, his head foggy. Before he knew it, he had slammed into something strong and sturdy and he was on his back. He didn't get up. Pain jarred his body as he attempted to move. He twisted and whimpered and finally started to softly cry as the muddy water entered his lash wounds and fresh cuts.

"N!" White cried frantically. She had watched with horror as the distraught young king slammed hard into a tree, and had seen him fallen with a thick splash into the mud puddle. Trying to find her own way through the dark forest, she approached the mud puddle, careful not to step on him. "N, get up!" He didn't respond, but she could see him shaking. As she got closer, she could make out sharp ragged breaths as he shook, obviously sobbing. "D-did you hit yourself that hard?"

He tried to lift his head, tried to speak, but he couldn't. He only sobbed more. It barely registered in his mind how childish he was being. Growing up in isolation of one room, he didn't know the "age appropriate" reactions to certain things and some things just pushed him over the edge. One of his greatest fears was showing weakness. Even when he was younger, after a beating, Concordia constantly had to pull him out from behind his toy box or pull his hands away from his face that he hid in shame of the damage there.

"Oh, N," White pleaded. "Please at least lift your head." That was one request he refused to obey, still trying to hide the bruises and blood. Gently, White helped him sit up. His hands remained glued to his face, body shaking. "N, pull your hands away," she whispered. He shook his head, tears trickling out from the crack of his fingers. "N." She made her voice sterner, and the shaking intensified. My goodness, it's like I'm talking to a five year old. Gently, carefully, she touched his hands. He flinched so fiercely, she nearly tripped on top of him when her hand lost its support. Surprisingly, it was effortless to pry away his fingers; he seemed to have given up.

His eyes stayed closed and he tried not to further cry as he heard her gasp as his condition. He hated this. He hated how weak he was and felt in front of her. "D-d-don't look't me," he whimpered pathetically. He jerked sharply and tensed as if a needle had stabbed him when he felt her wrap her arms around him. The feeling was so new, so frightening. He had been hugged, but never by a human. Even Concordia, his gentle caretaker was forbidden to hug him. He shook; it was so new, so wonderful. Above all, it was terrifying.

White didn't let go, even though she could sense his discomfort. Tears rolled down her own cheeks as she clutched at him. The smell of blood assaulted her nose, but she barely cared. This...poor boy.. the last time she saw him in Castelia City, he had been covered with bloody stripes: lash wounds. He had told her to leave immediately before Ghetsis found her. White had feared the worst about Ghetsis. These fears were only becoming more confirmed every time she saw the boy with new wounds and bruises. "Oh, N...oh.." She choked on a sob. She had to hold it back for his sake. "N..I'm...I don't.." She had no idea what to say.

He rested his cheek on her shoulder, whimpers beginning to quiet to nothing. Blood stained White's shirt, but she didn't seem to care. He wanted to put his arms around her, but he was too frightened to. More, he didn't know how to. He was just thankful for once a human's touch didn't result in agony. "Th-thank you," he shivered out. "You're freezing," he heard her whisper and he sunk. Was that the only reason she hugged him?

As if she could read his thoughts: "it was something you needed.." Gently, pulling back, White took a hold of his arms. "We at least need to get you out of this puddle and into the light. I need to see the full extent of those wounds." His eyes widened with horror, but the absence of moonlight made it impossible to see. "Fuu!"

A large Samurott appeared from behind the trees, its horn glinting in the moonlight. No one even needed to tell Fuu what to do as he waded into the muddy water. Instantly, N reached a trembling hand up and grasped the Samurott's back. Gently, Fuu nudged him up, stepping out as N absolutely clung to him. He reached his head back and gently nuzzled the shaking boy.

"Thank you, Fuu.." White whispered. "Let's get him into the moonlight." She pointed towards a clearing in the forest and on some grassy plains. "Lie down, sweetie."

Disoriented, N lowered himself to the cool grass; the dew felt good in the wounds. He clenched his shaking fists around a handful of grass, suppressing a soft wail of pain as he felt White apply medicine to the stinging wounds. Oh, it hurt! It hurt so bad! Don't cry, you big baby... His breath hitched in his throat when he felt White tenderly stroke through his hair, smoothing its silkiness.

His hair was so soft, so warm; it was a like a freshly washed blanket that had been left on a line to dry. It had a sweet scent and simply touching it was so comforting. Eventually, he made soft sounds of contentment from the gentle head rub. White flushed a little as the nearly uncontrollable urge to kiss him set in. No, she couldn't take advantage of him like that. N had the innocence and intelligence of a child. To him, she was just a friend trying to comfort him. Human touches alone seemed to frighten him and she didn't want to worsen it. "Phan-Phan, watch where you lick him," White told her Emolga, grateful that the electric squirrel interrupted her train of thought. "He's very hurt."

The little squirrel had tears in his eyes. He loved N. Though, what pokemon didn't? Every time he saw the young man, he always greeted him with opening an arm, letting him scurry up to his shoulder and nuzzle him, stroking his fur. White never objected and she was usually protective of her pokemon, but she trusted N. Gently, the pokemon lowered his face to N's, licking away the tears; the only thing he knew wouldn't hurt him, but make him feel a tad better. He squeaked worriedly, nuzzling his face against N's forehead, pushing his hat off. When he pulled back, his little electric cheeks were stained with a bit of blood.

"My god, you poor thing.." White murmured, softly smoothing his hair; the only place she could touch without injuring him. "Did he do this, N? Did he do this?" She watched him tense into the grass.

"...H-he'll come a-after me...if I tell," N whimpered, as if he feared Ghetsis was behind him and could hear. He flinched as he felt White gently cup her hands around his head.

"No...I'll protect you.." she whispered. "As long as I'm here, he won't hurt you." A menacing tone took her voice. "I won't let him." Yet she knew this promise was in vain. There wasn't anything she could do to protect him and when it came down to it, nothing she could do to really help him at all. It wasn't like they saw each other everyday either, just coincidentally met up at least once in each city. When it came down to it, there was truly nothing she could do, and that made her feel more helpless than she ever had before.

"You can't save me.." At this point, N was starting to finally gain some composure. "You know you can't." He whimpered as he sat up, pulling his shirt down over the wounds, trying to keep it from rubbing them raw. "No one can..."

"But I don't understand it!" White gripped his hands in hers. "He wants to liberate pokemon, right? So, why is he so horrible? Why does he keep hurting you?"

"That's a question I've wanted to know for years.." As much as it pained him to do so, N pulled out of the security of her grip and stood, also placing Phan-Phan back in her arms. "I...I have to go, White," he whispered, fighting back another undesired flow of tears.

"No, N!" White cried, standing as well. "You can't! If-if you go back.." Her voice trembled. "He'll hurt you.."

The king swallowed hard, grimacing as it hurt his bruised Adams apple. "The beating will be much worse if I don't go home now.." He wouldn't let her take his hands again. If he she did, he'd never want to leave her. "I have to go...th-thank you for everything, White. I-I'm so sorry for everything tonight.."

"N!" She gripped onto him, just about throwing her arms around his frail body in desperation, tears soaking his jacket. "Please – you can't go back! I don't-I don't want him to hurt you again!"

N firmly shook his head. He attempted to speak, but the pain and misery held his voice hostage. Nothing else he could really do, he pried White's arms off him. He couldn't stay with her any longer; it was too painful. Opening his mouth to speak, he shook his head as more tears came. He pushed her arms back and ran as fast as his injured body would allow him to, disappearing swiftly behind the trees.

White just stood there, her hands falling helplessly to her lap as she sat down. She wanted so badly to go after him and knew she should. She needed to see what happened – what went on in his life. Perhaps it would clue her in as to why the boy wanted so badly for pokemon to be separated from people. Perhaps I can give that beast father of his a much deserved punch in the face. She glanced down as something illuminated by the moonlight caught her eye. She picked it up: it was a small and slightly torn drawing of a boy - N - and his pokemon. It was the kind of picture from a book you'd find in a toddler's playroom, torn and dirty, but you could still see the images. Drawn in crayon, he and his pokemon sitting at a picnic. The sweetness in his eyes, the innocence she could almost see through his paper heart... By his side was...Ghetsis? Was it? The picture was so scribbled. When was this drawn? How long had this been in his jacket? Why was Ghetsis there? He looked...happy.

Phan-Phan climbed over her shoulder to get a look at the picture, and Fuu leaned in over her head.

"I guess he drew this when he was a little boy," she murmured, tenderly touching the edges of the slightly frayed paper. This must have been what he wanted all his life: freedom with his pokemon, and a father that loved him. She went to tuck the small drawing into her bag, but she had to do a double take, bringing the drawing closer to her face.

Confused, Phan-Phan and Fuu leaned in a bit, their eyes widening as well.

She was in there.

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Well...it obviously wasn't drawn when he was a kid.

So, this was supposed to be a lot darker and angstier, but by the time I was halfway done it, I wasn't as depressed and dark and bitter and rather..hateful. But that's a good thing.

Enjoy. I rather like how it came out