Title: Pain

Author: Risa

Pairing: N/Hilda

Rated: T

Disclaimer: Pokemon is not mine.

Word Count: ~750

Summary: He was only ever allowed to express pain for pokemon, never for himself. That was how he was raised, and what he honestly deemed acceptable.

A/N: I guess I'm attempting to get good at writing angst. idek. ducks and hides

N was alive in the most literal sense. He blinked, he breathed, he functioned, all the while stumbling through a world so gray he could no longer find logic in any of it.

He thought he understood the world. It seemed so simple. Those pokemon, they were in pain. Their emotions were in shreds. Their trust nonexistent. Efforts to bond with them were life-threatening at points. His back and torso were a canvas of scars. White patches from darumaka burns, patrat bites, a white gash from a wound he had inflicted upon himself when poisoned by a trubbish. He had to bleed the poison out to live, though just as easily he could have gotten an antidote from within the castle. In order to gain their trust, though, he was willing to bear their pain. It wasn't enough to know their stories. He would carry those stories on his shoulders as though they were his own.

Pain was all he knew. Physical, emotional, the two were practically interchangeable. The elimination of pain was a basic survival instinct. He thought severing the ties between humans and pokemon would make the pain stop. He would come to learn, though, that everything he fought for backfired. Team Plasma caused more pain than it had sought to eliminate, all in his name.

He now wandered the world numb, his pain having reached a point where it hurt too much to feel anymore. He was robbed of his purpose in life. His friends didn't need him. The world didn't need him. That was how he felt on his aimless travels, until she found him.

It was an evening at Village Bridge, one of the few places in Unova untouched by Team Plasma, thus the perfect refuge. The music in the air also helped ease his torrent of tortured thoughts.

Then Hilda found him, rushed toward him, and slapped him unexpectedly. He could feel the pain coming back. It burned and ravaged him from within, though on the outside he remained rigid. He was only ever allowed to express pain for pokemon, never for himself. That was how he was raised, and what he honestly deemed acceptable.

"Stop running away!" said Hilda, and the next thing he knew she pinned him to the base of the bridge and kissed him hard. Yes. This hurt, too. The muscles of her mouth were trying to rip him apart. It was exhilarating to feel, though all the same he just couldn't move. He couldn't find the words to say.

"If you keep running," she said, nipping at his neck and ears, trying to get him to react in any way she could. "The pain won't stop."

But it did stop. It was cold and hard and gloriously numb, like being hit between the eyes by a beautiful ice beam of his vanilluxe. He lived according to what he knew, which was bearing pain. He deigned to lock it far away where it wouldn't have to be anyone's problem but his own.

Hilda was forcing it all to the surface. She rattled him. She bit his neck. She made his lips throb. She made his pants tight. He burned for her. No, he boiled for her. Yet he stood pinned to the stone of the bridge like a corpse, unable to so much as blink.

"There's no point," she said, pulling him down. He sat, she straddled his hips, and she removed her vest and shirt. "There's no point of holding it in."

His breath hitched. Her fingers were beneath the rim of his shirt. She attempted to lift it, but he shoved his arms down and shook his head violently.

He was beginning to crack. Years of sorrow building beneath a fake smile and hazy gray eyes. There was no telling what would happen once he finally gave himself permission to feel all of that. She kissed him once more, this time gently. It packed more of a punch than the others, because the moment N felt it he was given all of the permission that he needed.

When she backed off he removed his own shirt, the moon giving each of his scars a haunting sort of glow. She kissed each of his scars, and for each kiss he cried. It burned, it ached, it throbbed, it pounded, it seared. And when it was over, it faded. His head hurt. Every inch of him was sore. Otherwise, he was empty, and he had every intention of filling that void with love for Hilda, when he could find the way to return her fervor in kisses.