A.N. Originally written for the pokeprompts Live Journal community, for the prompt "[no] regrets."
The streets of Castelia City were ominously dark and empty. At an intersection stood an Unovan Guard in her white uniform, cradling her gun in one arm as she smoked a cigarette. She scanned the street regularly for civilians, but no one had appeared for hours. A few blocks away stood the building that had been the Castelia City Gym. A banner hung on the front, renaming it Castelia Regional Enforcement. In a back room a man with long green hair sat at a large wooden desk, looking over the contents of a thick folder.
A large, dark-haired man entered the room. He wore a crisp white dress uniform with gold braiding on the shoulders. N Harmonia nodded at him.
"In my opinion, we've seen the end of the rioting," the Guard Captain told N. "The curfew will be extended for at least another two weeks, but there hasn't been any violence for three nights now. And with Burgh in Johto and Rick and Louis in prison, the local leadership has been effectively silenced."
"And have all the Pokemon from the city been released into the wild?" asked N.
Captain Arlen sighed. "As far as we know, of course they have. But that will be an ongoing battle. We're just hoping we can go home soon and leave it up to local law enforcement."
"I understand," N replied. "It hurts me, of course, to think of even one Pokemon being forced to live in a human city. But perhaps there really is only so much we can do, at least immediately."
"Look on the bright side, Commissioner. Castelia City was the last flashpoint of the resistance. Essentially, we've won as of now."
N wondered to himself if Captain Arlen even supported the goal of Pokemon liberation himself. But if he didn't he certainly pretended well, and in any case he and most of the Unovan Guard had followed the government's orders since the passage of the Pokemon Act. The Commissioner stared at Captain Arlen silently until finally the man murmured something about getting some sleep and left the room.
Of course N wasn't really his superior officer. But as Commissioner of Pokemon Affairs he oversaw the Guard and everyone else in the enforcement of the Act. This vastly exceeded N's comfort level. He had never known how to deal with people and had never really wanted to learn. But for the sake of Pokemon he had no choice. He knew that he could truly trust no human besides himself.
After Captain Arlen left, N went back to reading the report on his desk. Seven hundred unused Poke Balls, illegal since the passage of the Act, had been confiscated and destroyed in Driftveil City. A Pokemon breeding ring had been broken up in the hills near Icirrus, and all those responsible had been jailed. A Pokemon poacher had apprehended in Nimbasa. Twenty Darumaka found in a back room had been set free in the desert.
When N had first realized that Ghetsis and Team Plasma were all a lie, and that their purpose was to take power rather than to truly change the world, his faith had been shaken. But the abused Pokemon he had met in his childhood were real, and so was the widespread mistreatment of Pokemon. There was no room for compromise - Pokemon must be freed from their human captors and allowed to live in the wild. Human dwelling places could never be allowed to contain Pokemon at all, or the whole horrible systems of ownership and battling would only begin again.
In the end he had not even needed Team Plasma. N Harmonia had turned to the people himself, and they had responded. So many people knew of at least someone who had battled a Pokemon into exhaustion and illness, or denied one food, or kept it locked up. And who could really say what a Pokemon liked or wanted? It had been surprisingly easy to get enough popular and legislative support for the passage of the Pokemon act, and N had reluctantly allowed himself to be appointed Commissioner. Only he could make certain that there would be no compromises.
The resistance had been strong at first, of course. Pokemon trainers had swarmed government buildings in peaceful and less-peaceful demonstrations. Soon the riots had begun in nearly every city in Unova, and for the first weeks N had worried that the Unovan Guard would not be enough to control them.
As for the media, they had sensationalized the issue from both sides. A photograph of an emaciated Blitzle tied up in its owner's tiny backyard had been a key image used in N's campaign for the act. But later, a video where Unovan Guards took a Minccino from the arms of an elderly woman had gone viral on the internet, lending huge support to the resistance.
But it was all ending now - the rioting, the resistance, and the whole idea of the ownership and training of Pokemon in Unova. Some trainers who could afford to had moved to other regions, where the idea of Pokemon liberation was still in its beginning stages. Certainly N wanted to save those Pokemon too, but for now he had enough responsibilities here in Unova.
There were still too many stories of trainers and others hiding Pokemon from the authorities. And stories of Pokemon, too, who tried to travel back to towns and cities looking for the humans who had raised them and been kind to them. N didn't blame them for that. For too long, some Pokemon hadn't known better than to think they needed humans.
As commissioner, his duties had been those of a leader behind the scenes, overseeing the programs that relocated Pokemon and punished offenders. To the extent he could, he stayed out of the public eye. Be he had reluctantly participated in the televised ceremony where Elite Four and Champion Hilda had surrendered their Pokemon. He would always remember the broken look on Hilda's face as her Samurott had reluctantly left her side to return to the sea forever.
As he grew exhausted and the letters on the page began to blur before his eyes, N remembered the Audino he had known as a young child. She had come to him with her fur matted and her eyes dull from human mistreatment. And he had helped her, cured her, and made her happy again. He could remember the way she had curled against him for warmth, and the times he had cried into her fur. N had loved that Audino, and couldn't he say that she had honestly cared for him, too? But he had released her long ago, and now it was time to forget.