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Truth (Oneshot)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Umbramatic, May 17, 2015.

  1. Umbramatic

    Umbramatic The Ghost Lord

    Hello! If you've seen any of my stuff on FFnet you might remember a silly old thing called Green and White I wrote back in 2012.

    Well heads up because this fic you see before you is a sequel.

    Why? Well, I wanted to revisit the characters and see how they and my writing skills have evolved since then. The original isn't required reading (unless you like N angsting in weird and awkwardly worded ways) but it might be useful to see where, if anywhere, I've improved. Note a lot of it requires knowledge of Black 2/White 2 to fully understand things.

    Also, two headcanony things relevant to this story: This assumes the player acquiring Reshiram in White 2 is non-canon, and this uses the whole "more godlike legendaries can take whatever form they please" idea central to Caging Destruction.

    Finally, thanks to Tangent 128, Corvus Atrox, Spiteful Murkrow, Solovino, and Pink Celebi for beta reading.

    Now that that's out of the way I give you...

    Truth

    Two figures sat hunched around a campfire, its light casting dappled shadows on them and the surrounding trees. One, a green-haired young man in black and white clothes, was busy scribbling mathematical equations into the dirt. The other, a large, white-feathered dragon, stoked the flames with fiery breath at intervals.

    Eventually the dragon stopped stoking the flames and sighed.

    <N? I'm bored.>

    The young man looked up at her and frowned.

    "Why, Reshiram? It's wonderful out here. All these wild Pokemon living in sync with their surroundings..."

    Reshiram looked around sheepishly.

    <They aren't much for conversation, though. Too busy trying to survive. I'd rather socialize with trained mons... Or humans. And... It's probably better for us if we aren't all alone.>

    N sighed himself and looked out into the distance.

    "There's a town nearby... But... Wouldn't they recognise me?"

    <We're fairly far from Unova. Surely word about you hasn't spread that far.>

    "Yes, but what about you?"

    <I can do that whole 'be a human' trick.>

    N crossed his arms and put a hand to his chin, thinking.

    "I'm still not sure..."

    Reshiram reached over and gave him a pat with a wing.

    <Don't worry. If anything happens I've got your back.>

    N looked over at her, then back into the distance.

    "...All right. We'll go in the morning."

    ----

    It was a busy morning in the small town Reshiram and N had chosen to visit. People and Pokemon were moving rapidly between different shops and cafes, as well as taking leisurely strolls to enjoy the scenery.

    In the midst of it all N and a white-haired, white-clothed human Reshiram attempted to navigate their unfamiliar surroundings. N had switched his normal clothing for a simple grey hoodie, having pulled the hood over his head so only a tuft of green hair was sticking out. He looked around nervously.

    "There's certainly more people than I expected..." he whispered.

    "Let's find a quieter spot, then..." Reshiram whispered back.

    After some deliberation, they entered a cafe with relatively few people and sat down at a table.


    "This place looks like it serves food..." said Reshiram. "You want anything to eat?"

    "Do we have any money?"

    Reshiram felt in her pockets.

    "I have a bit... Hold on, I'll get something."

    Reshiram got up and headed to the counter. As she did, however, she overheard two men talking at a nearby table.

    "Say, you hear the rumors that N nutjob showed up again over in Unova?"

    "How could I not? It's all over the internet!"

    "Ahem."

    The two men turned to see Reshiram standing over them.

    "Can you two kindly tell me what this Internet is so I can burn it?"

    One of the men scoffed. "What rock have you been living under?"

    "A very nice one, thank you," said Reshiram. "But seriously, tell me."

    "Look, lady," said the other man. "If you're really that ignorant you can-"

    At this point the conversation had caught N's attention and he approached the table.

    "Hey! You can't talk to her like that!"

    "Oh, so hoodie boy's standing up for his lady. Cute. Do you want to fight me or something?"

    N clenched his fists. Meanwhile the temperature around Reshiram increased by several degrees.

    "Listen, if you touch a hair on his head I'll-"

    "Ahem."

    Everyone turned to see an irate manager leering at them. N and Reshiram quickly noticed the rest of the cafe staring at them as well.

    "You four. Get out."

    Everyone quickly obliged. Once outside, the two men turned to exchange choice words with N and Reshiram, but they were already gone.

    -----------

    <OK, that did not work out well. At all.>

    The two had returned to the forest clearing. N, previously in the process of pacing back and forth, turned to Reshiram.

    "You shouldn't have confronted those men..."

    Reshiram scoffed and puffed out a gout of flame in annoyance.

    <They called you a nutjob! And apparently they got rumors through that internet thing so I had to find out what it was!>

    "What's more concerning is they've heard rumors about me at all. People are more likely to know who I am, and that'll cause problems for the both of us."

    <Well if we get in another fight we can probably take 'em.>

    N gave her an unamused look, then gestured to Reshiram and himself.

    "You could. I'm not so sure about me."

    <Well, you could->

    Reshiram briefly thought to herself, then shook her head.

    <Look, I was probably wrong. We're probably better off by ourselves...>

    N thought to himself for a bit.

    "...No. You were right."

    <...I was?>

    N looked down and brushed the ground with his foot.

    "Remember what I told that girl? The girl I almost gave you to?"

    Reshiram thought for a moment.

    <That you wanted to be the bridge between humans and Pokemon?>

    "Yes. I still have that goal... And I- we can't achieve it if we're all by ourselves. That's not a formula for changing the world, not in the slightest."

    He looked out into the distance again.

    "And... It gives us a better chance of finding him. The Trainer whose ideals helped us find the real truth."

    Reshiram smiled.

    <That's the N I know. We'll try again tomorrow.>

    ------------

    The next day, N and a human Reshiram were walking the streets of the town again. The two had just talked to some passerby, the conversation having gone smoother than last time.

    As they walked away, N whispered to Reshiram.

    "You said your name was Rachel Burnington?"

    "Quiet, Natural Harmonia Gropius."

    N cringed and hastily diverted his gaze. It was then he noticed a bedraggled
    Swinub hiding behind a lamppost.

    N slowly approached the Swinub, noticing it was a distinctive green color instead of the usual brown.

    "Hey little guy!" he said. "What are you doing behind there?"

    <D-Don't let him get me!> the Swinub replied.

    "Who?"

    N then noticed a slim, well-dressed man approaching him and the Swinub.

    "Oh, thank you, sir! You found my prized Shiny Swinub!"

    N glared at the man with a fiery intensity.

    "This Swinub was afraid of you. That tells me something is very wrong."

    "What are you talking about? I've treated this Swinub perfectly well!"

    "It's told me otherwise."

    "...Look, sir, I'm just going to take my Swinub and-" the man started to say, reaching for the cowering Pokemon.

    Without thinking, N panicked and delivered a powerful punch to the man's jaw. It sent the man sprawling and groaning on the ground and elicited stares and murmurs from passerby.

    "What kind of jerk is that guy?"

    "Someone call the police!"

    N nervously turned to the Swinub.

    <Thanks mister!> the Swinub said. <Now I don't have to take a bath!>

    N paled, then quickly bolted. He ran to where Reshiram was, grabbed her hand, and kept running.

    "N? What's going on?"

    "No time to explain we gotta get outta here!"

    They ran past the town borders and didn't look back.

    ----------

    <How could you do that?!>

    The two were once again in the forest clearing.

    "That Swinub sounded so scared... I genuinely thought it was in trouble..."

    Reshiram sighed and placed a wing-claw to her forehead.

    <Look, last time I messed up, this time you did... Next time we both work together to succeed, OK?>

    N was silent, not looking at Reshiram.

    <What's wrong?>

    "...I don't want you to get hurt."

    <N, I'll be fine. I'm a Legendary.>

    "...That's what you said about Kyurem."

    At N's words Reshiram's mind flashed back to an incident not too long ago.

    ------

    Cold. Cold that suppressed her heat, yet embraced it in its icy grip.

    Together, they felt more whole than they had in millennia. They were one step closer to being what they once were.

    And yet... The pain... The bitter, unforgiving cold... The panicked, strange mind that was now one with hers...

    She tried to scream, but it came out as an anguished, feral roar. Fire and ice spun around her in twin maelstroms.

    And all the while her mind - their mind - begged in agony for it all to stop.

    ---------

    <I... I... L-Look, that was different. What we're doing now is something we can handle.>

    N sighed, shaking his head.

    "I failed you then. That's why I almost gave you to the girl that saved you. So I wouldn't fail you again."

    Reshiram was silent for a while.

    <...I still believe in you. I still think we can do this.>

    "...If you believe in me more than I do... Then we'll try."

    <We can lead normal lives. Third time's the charm, right?>

    --------

    A few days later, N and Reshiram were in another part of the same town, hoping to avoid attention from those that witnessed their earlier escapades. They had entered a restaurant and were waiting on someone to serve them.

    "So..." said N, "We just tell them what food we want, right?"

    "I think so," Reshiram replied.

    She frowned.

    "Problem is no one's served us yet."

    N looked around.

    "...Are people supposed to be giving us funny looks?"

    "...No."

    "Maybe we should lea-"

    It was then they noticed a female police officer had entered the restaurant and was approaching their table.

    "Excuse me, you two?"

    "Er, yes?" said Reshiram.

    "I believe you two are the ones who've been causing trouble around town recently?"

    N sighed.

    "Look, that was us. But those were misunderstandings, so if you just give us a cha-"

    "I've heard enough. You two are coming with me."

    "Well," said Reshiram. "You can't do that if your pants are on fire."

    "Wait, wha-"

    The officer looked down to see her pants were indeed on fire.

    As she panicked and tried to beat the flames out Reshiram grabbed N and ran until they were well out of sight.

    ----------

    "Why did you do that?!" said N, back at the clearing.

    <We needed a diversion to escape! It was completely necessary!> Reshiram replied.

    "I could have reasoned with her!"

    <Well your 'reasoning' wasn't working!>

    "Well what else was I supposed to do? Punch her in the face like I did that man?"

    <You could have tried anything but half-hearted diplomacy with someone out to get us!>

    "Well you could try something other than force or fire! That's all you ever want to do!"

    <Face it, N, my force and fire is what gets things done with the two of us! You never do anything significant without me!>

    At this N truly began to seethe.

    "Shut your mouth! Shut up shut up shut up!"

    The two stared at each other in shocked silence.

    "...Reshiram, I-"

    <No. I'm going.>

    She flapped her wings and flew up, then off into the sky.

    "Fine!" yelled N after her. "I don't need you! I never needed you!"

    He stormed off into the forest, not looking back.

    ------

    A human Reshiram was wandering a different town far from the last one. She encountered two women and struck up a conversation, which lasted a good while.

    "Say," said one woman. "Did you come here with anyone?"

    "Er, no," said Reshiram. "I was traveling with someone but... "


    "But what?"

    "We got into a fight."

    "What about?" said the other woman. "If you don't mind me asking."

    "He and I had some trouble trying to get to know other people. We had a nasty argument and kinda split up."

    "Oh, I know how that feels. Kristen here and I get into fights all the time but we always make it up."

    "...Wait, you do?"

    "Yeah!" said Kristen. "We get into fights all the time and we're still friends!"

    "I... See..." said Reshiram.

    "Well, we've got to go. See you!"

    They left, leaving Reshiram lost in thought.

    ----

    N was at the edge of a forest, looking out at another town.

    There's a place I could go... Where I could start bridging the gap between humans and Pokemon...

    He stepped forward, then stopped.

    But I have no Pokemon of my own anymore... And... I'm not sure how to deal with so many people on my own anymore... I certainly can't go about it the way I did while with Team Plasma...

    He sighed.

    Reshiram would know how to handle this...

    He stared at.the town a while longer before heading back into the forest.

    -----------

    N was at the forest clearing again when Reshiram flew in.

    "Hey."

    <Hey...>

    "...I'd like to apologize for-"

    <No, I'm the one who should be apologizing. I provoked you. It was my fault.>

    The two were silent for a moment.


    "...Why did you join me?" said N.

    <...What?>

    "When I was part of Team Plasma. I was crazy, stupid, naive. Why did you ever side with me?"

    Reshiram smiled.

    <I'm the great dragon of truth. I could tell there there was more to you than that. And besides, guess who else was crazy, stupid, and naive back then? And still kinda is?>

    At this N smiled slightly back.

    <That's why I stuck with you even when you offered to let that girl take care of me. We're both messed up. That's why we need each other.>

    N looked off into the distance.

    "We still need to find that boy, right?"

    <And get readjusted to society.>

    "It's going to be a long road... But we'll do it together."

    Reshiram let N climb on to her back.

    <That's a truth if I ever heard one.>

    She flapped her wings and the two flew off into the sky.

    ***
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2015
  2. Dragonfree

    Dragonfree Just me

    I really quite enjoyed this. N and Reshiram's friendship and their concern for each other is sweet and real, and I think the dialogue and humour worked out pretty well overall - I was particularly amused by their jabs at each other's names.

    Also, I really like the short flashback to when Reshiram had merged with Kyurem. It's a little awkwardly set up - I think it might work better as the opening scene of the fic or otherwise placed between scenes, rather than being thrown into the middle of a conversation like that - but the flashback itself is both interesting and quite well executed, I think. It quite viscerally conveys how horrific the fusion is, and I like how this is making them whole again but after all this time apart the ice is painful and suffocating to her and Kyurem's mind is strange and alien. Kyurem being panicked, and her feeling it, is a nice detail, too. All in all, I think you did a great job on that scene.

    I do have a few critiques, though. First, there are quite a few simple proofreading errors here - random double paragraph breaks, in one spot a random line break in the middle of a paragraph, at another point a period instead of a space. I recall this being an issue in your previous stories as well, which suggests you're not reading over your work carefully enough before posting. Watch out for that; errors like that can take a reader out of the story and they're easy to fix.

    You're also often missing some commas; you want commas before and after direct addresses (e.g. "Thanks, mister!"), for instance. Might be a good idea to brush up on comma rules. But that's just a grammatical nitpick.

    Overall, your prose is quite sparse, and while that's better than writing tedious paragraphs of meaningless description, I do often feel like you're in a bit too much of a hurry to get to the next chunk of dialogue and that it can make things feel rather abrupt. You might want to try working on attempting to flesh out your writing with more detail on things happening, which you currently tend to summarize in a fairly dry way.

    Perhaps the main issue I wanted to bring up is sort of related to that. Overall, I think the weakest scenes in this story are the one at the restaurant the first time they go to town and the one where Reshiram meets the women near the end, because ultimately they involve coincidences that feel rather constructed. Reshiram stands up from their table and some guys just happen to be discussing N as she passes by - it seems contrived and just all in all feels distinctly like an author decided to place those guys there having that exact conversation at just the right moment. In the other scene, literally two lines after having an argument with N, she's talking to some women who just happen to ask her if she came there with anyone. I think largely the reason these scenes actually stick out as contrived is that you're in such a hurry to have the relevant dialogue happen that you don't take the time to really set them up - you just dive almost straight into the coincidental element without easing the reader into accepting why it's happening.

    For example, if you're going to have people be discussing N in a restaurant, you might want to set it up by establishing that N has been in the news very recently, and perhaps that Reshiram is actively trying to listen for whether anyone is talking about N, rather than the people at a table she's passing by just happening to be talking about it at the exact single moment she'd have happened to hear them. Prepare us for the idea that maybe somebody will be talking about N, rather than just suddenly having it happen at the most convenient time for the plot. Meanwhile, instead of just hastily telling us Reshiram struck up a conversation with some women and bringing us into it just when they lead into the topic of N, show us who these women are and why Reshiram struck up a conversation and what led up to this - that way, you've already made us accept that this conversation is happening and we can see how it naturally moves onto that subject, making it more believable than jumping straight into it as you're doing now. All in all, although being eager to show relevant parts of the story rather than padding it out is a good thing, sometimes setup is very important to making a scene work out for the reader and making the story flow smoothly from scene to scene.

    Finally, I would have liked N and Reshiram's respective issues to be more prominently present throughout the story. In their argument near the end, it becomes clear that the suggestion N couldn't achieve anything without Reshiram is a very sore spot for him, and I think that's really interesting, but I would have liked to see it explored better. After N leaves her, he seemingly almost immediately decides he can't actually do anything without her after all. It would've been fun, I think, to see him actually go out there, determined to prove that he doesn't need a legendary to change the world, and then to see him grapple with his insecurity and one way or another realize maybe he does need Reshiram (or just wants to do this with Reshiram even if he could do it on his own) and that's okay. And it also would've been fun if we'd really gotten the sense previously in the story that he feels insecure about needing her help, so that wouldn't just come as a surprise all of a sudden when that makes him snap during their argument.

    Reshiram's issues are rather more vague; we can see that she tends to jump straight to violence and feels that that's the only way to get things done and N's methods are too weak, but we don't have much of an idea why. This, too, would be very fun to explore in a more clear and substantial way, especially after their argument - is there anything that makes her realize maybe talking and diplomacy can get things done sometimes? Or, perhaps, simply that if he does need her to get things done, she's going to be there for him? Right now they just sort of storm off and then almost immediately apologize once they've calmed down, without a very tangible sense that something has changed about their mindset, and this makes it a bit less satisfying than it could be when they make up.

    But overall, like I said, this was an enjoyable story and I'd love to read more about your interpretations of N and Reshiram - as you can see, you got me interested in their issues and their relationship. Yet again, I think this is your strongest story I've read so far - there was no major way this fell apart, in my opinion, even if some of the execution could have been better.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2015
  3. DeliriousAbsol

    DeliriousAbsol Call me Del

    I'm not the best at giving reviews, but I'm going to give it a go here.

    I really enjoyed reading this little story. It was well paced and the dialogue was engaging and entertaining. I loved the back and forth banter between the two and how they both struggled to be around other people - N being a bit of an outcast and Reshiram not being human therefore not understanding human interactions. Her way of dealing with confrontation amused me!
    I also like the way you portrayed their friendship. It's really sweet.

    The bit about her fusion with Kyurem was brilliant. I think it was well written and you managed to make it sound like an unpleasant situation.

    I look forward to reading more of your stories :D
     

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