Fanfiction is drama. This is not only proven in real life now, but in fanfiction itself.
Working on old requests now, basically all the things I told people I would only get started on once the games were released in English. Another one from Takamiya... Where... exactly did my lovely anons go anyway?
A chorus of excited squeals exploded from a group of girls to Hugh's left – not pleasant to the ear, but surprisingly not the worst thing Hugh had ever been forced to listen to walking down the streets of Castelia City either.
As much as Hugh hated the smog and the closeness and the busy people and the rude people and definitely the noise of Castelia City, there was always something that brought him back. He just had to admit, there were certain things – stores and resources and the like – that just couldn't be found elsewhere.
Plus the Castelia Cones on Tuesdays.
And groups of girls with no sense of humiliation screeching at their laptops.
Unfortunately, the sidewalks in Castelia were narrow because the streets were all wide to make room for the heavy amount of traffic, and it wasn't like Hugh could avoid listening in on part of their conversation as he walked by the bench they occupied. Even if he tried not paying attention to them, they were being so loud that it was nearly impossible. Even as Hugh struggled to refocus his thoughts on deciding the best new lineup for his team during triple battles, the "nearly" impossible soon became "completely", as even he couldn't ignore the sound of his own name, or Nate's.
The girls were so engrossed in whatever they were doing on that computer that they failed to notice one of the Unovan champions they were discussing walk right past them.
"Wait, wait!" Girl one shouted. "That's not even the best part, wait until you see this-"
"And then he... Oh, Arceus, he actually did that!?"
"Did what? Hugh did what with Nate!?"
"I did what with Nate?" Hugh found himself repeating inside his head, coming to an abrupt halt.
There were a lot of things that he did with Nate. They were dating, but it wasn't something anyone else was supposed to know about. Their relationship was kept a secret, because Hugh had insisted on it. He didn't like the idea of other people prying into his personal life.
Yet the paranoia was always there, the dark feeling in the back of his mind like it was somehow obvious to everyone around them. It was this feeling that caused the shiver running down Hugh's spine, that lead him to forgetting about the shopping he needed to get done at the department store and his need for ice cream and listen in more closely.
"Read it out loud! I can't see from back here!" the same girl pleaded. She was the shortest of the group, but also the one who had to go without a seat on the bench. She stood behind the other three, occasionally losing sight of the computer screen thanks to her taller companion's heads.
"Oh, um... okay."
Hugh quickly picked up on the nervous shuffling as the girl with the laptop adjusted her seating on the bench, and the awkward waver in the her voice as she turned bright, tomato red. Hugh was beginning to feel concerned. He slowly began to join them, in their red-faced group.
"He, um... I-It says, 'Nate brushed his hand against the side of Hugh's face. The world seemed to slow down around them as he stared into those eyes, the darkly colored eyes of his rival and long time friend. And the boy he loved.'"
Also immensely embarrassing.
While the reading girl gradually became more relaxed as she went along, Hugh only felt humiliated. Out of all of them, his face was now the deepest shade of red. He struggled to turn around and walk back to the bench, to take those first few footsteps in that direction and ask just what the hell was going on. His legs felt stiff and heavy while moving, anxiety building up in his stomache and making him question himself whether he really wanted to know.
He could just go back home and pretend this never happened, Hugh told him himself. But if there was some kind of rumor going around...
"Go on!" the girl in back urged breathlessly. Her mouth was wide open in awe. Somehow, Hugh doubted the blush on her face was a product of embarrassment.
"Okay." Now that the first girl had picked up her confidence, she no longer stuttered or struggled to speak. "'They remained like that for a long moment, under the starry Unova night sky. The moment was finally here, the moment Nate was allowed to confess all his pent up feelings of the past several years, and he was certain Hugh felt the same way. So he didn't have a problem with leaning in, slower and slower, until their lips touched ever so gently and-'"
Something in the back of Hugh's mind recalled that Nate had confessed to him in the middle of a night, during a sleepless camping trip where they were worn out from training, but also too exhilerated by the idea of finally taking down Team Plasma to rest. Hugh pushed the thought aside, as merely coincidence. He didn't need any more embarrassment. Speaking up was proving difficult enough already.
"Um, e-excuse me!" Hugh cut in, failing to sound even half as forceful as he was trying to. For a moment, his only response from the girls was a unified response of blank stares and disbelieving looks, and using that to boost his courage he somehow managed to sputter out, "Would you possibly mind not reading that aloud in public?!"
High levels of emotion did weird things to his voice; first embarrassment reduced it to a too-timid squeak, then he sounded too angry. He really hadn't meant to yell at them, but at least he had their attention now.
The girls took it surprisingly well, appearing to be nothing more than a little stunned and a little ashamed that they had been caught by one of the main subjects in their "stories". The fact that Hugh was still redder than all of them combined probably helped calm them down, he thought dryly, but there was still a span of silence before one of the girls, the tallest one that had been reading from the laptop, worked up the courage to speak to him.
"A-are you really Hugh? Like, really Hugh?" she cried out in disbelief, and slammed her laptop shut. The hard glare probably confirmed it for her, though she seemed more astonished that she was meeting Hugh in real life than she was confused over his identity. "We're really, really sorry about that, Hugh!"
And she sounded genuinely sorry too.
Now that one of them, probably their leader, had apologized, the others were quick to pour out their, "I'm sorries!" too.
"We really didn't mean anything by it!"
"I-It's not like anyone actually believes this stuff..." another one added. "Um, don't worry about it, we totally don't think you're really gay with Nate or anything like that, if it makes you feel better. It's totally just fiction, some people just make this crap up because they're bored! W-we only read it because we think it's kind of interesting, not for any real reason."
Hugh sighed, practicing the breathing techniques Nate's mother had recently assigned to him for the sake of "controlling his temper" better. It was a miracle that he'd somehow managed to remember them at such a time, but to his relief breathing did seem to help. The heat in his face was slowly dissipating. He couldn't stay mad at these girls if they were reading just stories.
"You're sure it's not, I don't know, a rumor on the internet or something instead?" he asked, just to make sure.
"Of course not! There's an actual site for it and everything, and even a disclaimer that everything has to be completely fictional! It's called-"
"Don't care," Hugh interrupted. "Just... I-it's okay if you read this stuff, since I can't really stop you anyway, just... keep it to yourselves, all right!? It's weird. Don't read aloud where people might hear you anymore, got it?"
One by one, the girls meekly agreed to his proposal, but he was hardly more than two steps on his way before he heard their chatter picking back up again.
"I wonder who writes these?"
"I wish I could write like they do... I'm not as creative as that though."
"Um, wasn't his username the 'Riolu Kid' or something like that? And it's plastered all over his profile too. Geez, this guy must really like the Riolu Kid."
"Wait, he? I thought it was a girl!"
"Nope, totally checked on his profile earlier. Says the author is a boy."
"I think he's a fan of Brycen Man in general though..."
That sounded... too much like someone Hugh knew to be comfortable. But no, there was no way it could be the person he was thinking of.
Nate would never do such a thing to him.
He made a mental note of the username to check it out when he got home, just in case.
Two and a half hours later, Hugh was in his room and calling Nate's X-Transceiver in a fit of anger. Or perhaps just more embarrassment, which he thought he had suffered more than his fair share of already today. The time spent while the X-Transceiver was ringing was deciding whether he wanted to abruptly cancel the call, ignore Nate when he tried calling back, and crawl under the sheets of his bed and sulk, or cuss Nate out the instant he picked up instead.
Nate answered before he could finish deciding, which ultimately made the decision for him. But less severe than it had been when he had been imagining the situation inside his head.
"What the hell do you think you're doing!?"
There was no doubt about it. This 'Riolu Kid' the girls in Castelia had mentioned could be no one other than Nate.
Hugh had ended up wishing he had taken the name of the site the girls got their story from, because searching for just "Riolu Kid" had gotten him nowhere until he'd tried modifying his searches a bit. The discovery of "fanfiction" and that there were certain sites specifically dedicated to writing "fanfiction" had certainly helped. Once he'd gotten on one of those, it was only a matter of looking up every user who had "Riolu Kid" in their name and reading through their profiles. There was already six variations of that name, even though "Brycen-Man VS. the Riolu Kid" had been released to public audiences not so long ago that it was still considered new.
But there was definitely no doubting it. Every story posted was about them in some way.
Putting aside the fact that he'd had no idea Nate could write – and actually write fairly well, at that – it was obvious where he'd gotten his inspiration from.
Nate was only halfway through the first syllable of "hello" when Hugh had cut him off, and afterward there was an awkward gap of silence in which Hugh started taking deep breaths again and Nate tried to recover from his stun.
The underlying quiver in Hugh's breath was impossible not to hear though, even to his own ears. Just as Nate was obviously posting stories about them on the internet as "fanfiction", Hugh was obviously nervous and stressed out.
By the time Nate spoke, Hugh was almost ready to start breathing normally again.
"Hugh, uh... Well, first of all, I guess my mom will be happy to hear those breathing exercises are apparently working for you, but... I'm sorry, but... what did I do, exactly?"
Nate sounded incredibly confused. And for good reason, Hugh reminded himself. He couldn't possibly know that Hugh had found him out.
He was about to though.
"Our gay love is all over the internet for starters," Hugh replied. He tried to sound angry, but the tremble in his voice only became more noticeable the harder he tried. Hugh hated that; he always had.
His eyes scanned the words still left on his computer screen as he spoke. Nobody else knew about that ticklish spot just below his ribcage. From another story, he remembered the detail in which their first date at the Nimbasa sports stadium had been described. Nate had spiced it up a little bit with the imaginings of his own mind to make it sound a little more romantic, when in reality they'd spent more time watching the ongoing soccer game than they had doing what Hugh always imagined were normal couple things. There had been a little handholding and it ended with a brief, barely-there kiss, and that was what mattered.
Quite frankly, the way Nate wrote about things in general made them seem a lot more romantic than they had been in real life. Reading about their relationship from Nate's perspective, it might have been flattering to see how highly he thought of Hugh if it hadn't felt even more like a betrayal of trust.
"You said you wouldn't tell anybody!"
There was a moment of silence as Nate paused, staring blank-faced at the screen of his X-Tranceiver trying to think of something to say. It wasn't every day Hugh gave him a phone call, first to yell at him, then sounding like a Lillipup that had just been kicked instead. It was unusual enough that Hugh was calling him on the X-Transceiver now that they were both back in town instead of just coming over to his house to talk, but now Nate thought he knew why.
Nate decided that he had better come up with an explanation, fast.
"Um, okay! First things first, I didn't mean anything bad by it!" Nate started, his voice rising in pitch frantically. "I-I just wanted a way to remember all this stuff we did at first, but then I found out about this site, and... I would have just made more stuff up, except I'm not really creative with this sort of thing! I wouldn't know romantic if it hit me in the face, except for all the things we've already done together!"
He was starting to feel like joining the website at all had been a mistake. If he had known that this would happen and that Hugh would take it so badly, Nate might have put more thought into it before clicking that "Sign Up" button at the top of the screen. Now, he just felt guilty, and he had nothing but excuses to try and satisfy the both of them.
"Clearly, I shouldn't have done this without your permission. I'm sorry." The reason he hadn't asked was because he had known Hugh wouldn't agree. This was something else he could only feel bad about now that Hugh actually knew. It might have been easier for him if Nate had brought it up first after all. "I'm so, so sorry. And you're probably thinking that this doesn't justify it in the least, but... Dude, have you looked at the reviews? People are in love with this stuff!"
At least he could help alleviate the mood. He also knew that Hugh couldn't stay mad at him for long, not when he was attempting to apologize so profusely. It didn't automatically fix things, but it did soften the look on Hugh's face, just a little bit.
"What? With that username, no one will ever guess it was me."
"Nate, your username is named after a movie that you starred in! Your name appeared in the credits!"
"Yes, and that's why it's so ingenius."
Hugh groaned. With that smirk on his face, Nate seemed awfully convinced of himself.
"It's ingenius that..." curious from Nate's earlier comment, Hugh scrolled back to the top of the page to click the "reviews" button. The reviews left behind didn't leave him with much confidence. "No, Nate. This isn't going to work."
"They all think my characterization is spot on!" Nate piped up cheerfully. "And that this is exactly how we would act, if we were a couple in real life!"
Looking at the reviews, Hugh tried to guess which ones might have come from the group of girls in Castelia City. For all their excitement over Nate's writing, it seemed like something they would do.
Nate continued on, even while Hugh was trying hard not to react. He could usually guess at the things that needed to be said in order to change that, and once again Nate turned out to be right. "Oh, they also think that you're-"
"Stop! I absolutely do not want to hear about anything that has my name attached to it!"
"-Absolutely adorable," Nate finished. He listened to instructions about as well as he always did. "More specifically, they think we're adorable. They just don't expect it as much from you. How can you not see the good in this?"
"Nate, how many times do I have to tell you? I want my private business-"
"I know, I know! And it still is! Nobody has to know this is real. Nobody besides us knows that it is real. I just wanted to see what would happen in case... Well, if they did know. Sort of. It's not exactly all of Unova, but people seem to approve of it on here."
Unlike Hugh, Nate hated keeping secrets. He wasn't the terrible liar Hugh was, but he hated lying enough that he didn't do it anyway. The fact that he couldn't tell anyone probably felt like lying to him...
Hugh sighed. "Next time, could you at least try making me a little more 'out of character'? This is embarrassing to read."
"Um... Sure, definitely. How about 'Hugh, champion of justice, protester of global warming, hero of all heroes-'"
Nate was cut off by a glare.
"Okay, so maybe not. I did mention that I was terrible at making stuff up on my own, didn't I? Seriously, it's like you don't like the idea of wearing spandex or something."
"Of course not!" Hugh retorted. "And I certainly don't like the idea of people imagining what I'd look like in spandex either!"
"...Ouch. Super effective."
It didn't surprise Hugh in the least if Nate actually spent his time thinking about stuff like that.
"...If there are stories about me and you on the internet, does that mean there are stories about us with other people too?" Hugh asked. He was sure he knew the answer already, but he was equally uncertain about whether he really wanted to hear it confirmed.
"Obviously," Nate replied. "It's a bit weird, but it's like, people should be allowed to write what they want, you know? I'm not going to say anything against them. Also, that's a really good way to start a ship war. Ship wars are bad."
Whatever that was, Nate only laughed at him. "It's fanfiction lingo, dude."
"Thanks for that abundantly clear explanation, Captain Nate," Hugh replied sarcastically. "So, uh, about what you said earlier... Get back to writing, Nate."
If he couldn't stop people from writing about them, then he'd at least prefer to be written with Nate. With anyone else, it was just awkward... More awkward, anyway, since at least with Nate they were actually dating.
Upon hearing that, Nate began to look eager. "Then my next story shall be... about the shy and romantically deficient boyfriend who discovers there is fanfiction being written about him posted all over the internet!"
"Don't you dare!" Hugh snapped back.
It was just like Nate to wait until he calmed down, then immediately start working to get him flustered once more. He knew this for sure by the way Nate was laughing.
But at least he also knew that Nate wasn't seriously going to do it...
NOTE: The end of this fiction was not attempting to tell people that any shipping involving Nate or Hugh other than GreySkyShipping is wrong. That particular idea is limited to this story's universe, where Nate/Hugh is already an established pairing (or rather, they're already an established couple). All of you, as real life people, are obliged to ship whatever the hell you want and neither myself nor any other person has the right to tell you otherwise.
The request this time was basically: Nate discovers the wonder of fanfiction, starts to write a few of his own, and is then discovered by his boyfriend (Hugh). Preference that Hugh finds out accidentally by hearing a girl reading fanfiction aloud from her laptop, bonus points if Nate insists that noone will figure them out because he created "x" log in and it was his master plan to see how people would react to their relationship.
...To be fair, you can't really blame Hugh for not liking the idea at first.