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April 7, 2012
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(Contains: violence/gore and ideologically sensitive material)


Chapter 20

Touko was laying on her stomach as a result from being knocked off her feet because of Reshiram and Zekrom's combined attacks exploding a few moments ago. Slowly, her ears ringing and stars in her eyes, the brunette got to her hands and knees and raised her aching head. A fog of smoke, more of the explosion's aftermath, obscured the three masses before her. After the cloud dissipated, Touko was able to fully see which of the legendary Pokémon didn't endure the destructive attack.

"No," Blue eyes widened as the brunette shakily got back to her feet. "Reshiram, no!"

The Vast White Pokémon was lying on the ground directly in front of the gaping hole in the tower's north wall, unmoving and moaning in defeat. Her head shaking side to side, Touko clumsily dashed past N (who looked to be in a stupor) and Zekrom (who let out a roar of victory before taking to the skies through the demolished ceiling above), only stopping when she was beside her injured dragon. The gravity of her defeat weighing her down, she dropped to her knees and hugged the dragon's head. "Oh, Reshiram..."

'I failed you, Touko,' Reshiram weakly cried, closing his eyes and settling into her hug. 'Forgive me.'

The paired stayed that way for a while before the hero of truth cautiously thought, You're not really...?

No. I am not. He softly answered as if their telepathic conversation might be overheard. Now Ghetsis has no justified reason to bring harm to your loved ones.

Touko's long, brown hair flapped freely in the chilly breeze gusting in from the north, hiding all but Reshiram from the frown she wore as she pulled the Master Ball Alder had given her out of her pocket. "Rest now." She whispered as she pressed the ball to his body and he willingly entered the capsule. "You've done well."

"Release him."

Touko didn't need to look to know who the owner of this commanding voice was. "Reshiram's hurt," The brunette calmly said as she got back to her feet, still avoiding eye contact. "And it's easier for him this way to get him to he-LP!"

Her voice had risen an octave or two with the yelp of pain that came from N grabbing her injured arm, harshly tugging it to turn her around and forcefully look him in the eye. "You may be his hero," N growled, his cold eyes filled with power and dominance. "But I won the battle, not you. You are no longer in any position of authority to defy me. As the victor and as the King of Unova, I order you: Let Reshiram go."

Touko flinched as N's grip around her wrist tightened in attempt to make her release her grip on Reshiram's ball. In rebellion, she tried to pull her arm away, but he proved to be much stronger than her and she couldn't break free. For a good while, the pair of heroes stayed that way, each glaring at each other and waiting to see who would be the first to give in.

Eventually, it was Touko to stop trying to pull away. "Alright!" She shouted. "Alright, I'll do it."

Huffing, N unclenched his hand and waited for the girl to obey his command. Touko took a few backward steps, rubbing her broken arm before holding the Master Ball in both hands, thoughtfully staring at it for a minute. Soon enough, she dropped her arms to her sides and bowed her head. "You want me to let Reshiram go, right?" She blatantly asked, bringing the hand that held the ball to her chest. "As you wish, Your Highness."

With the straightening of her arm and the flick of her wrist, Touko White threw the Master Ball off the tower, Reshiram still inside it.

A small gasp leaving him, N rushed to the edge of the tower, silently watching and hoping that the dragon of truth would burst out of the small capsule soon. Much to his dismay, no such thing happened as the purple PokéBall plummeted through the air and disappeared beneath a thick bog of fog clinging to the tower's outer walls.

"You...heartless...human!!"

SMACK!

N's chest heaved with every slow, deep breath he took, his still raised hand tingling from striking her cheek, shocked at himself for what he had done. He kept his wide, blank eyes on the girl that fell face down on the floor in front of him, on the one foggy blue eye visible through the long, tangled brown hair that had covered the rest of her face. Suddenly, all at once, she took a sharp inhale of breath and her mouth pulled into a pained grimace, her body curling up on its side as she took in more pained gasps. Startled by these sudden movements, N involuntarily prepared for another strike.

"Stay your hand, N." The young man jumped a little, startled from hearing Ghetsis's voice very close by. "She will receive her punishment soon enough."

Still breathing heavily, N brought his hand to his face, staring at it as if it were alive. He stared at it for a good while before dropping it to his side and turning his head to look back over the tower's edge. "Very well," He muttered almost inaudibly, tightly shutting his eyes. "Proceed."

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

The visions of 'how things could have been' came so quickly Touko didn't see them coming at all. Forcing herself to fight back into reality, she found herself on the floor, the static-like wail faintly howling in her ears, her head hurting like it usually would, and the right cheek slightly swollen and throbbing. After she realized N had hit her, Touko slowly got to her knees, one hand covering half of her face while the other helped support her weight. Still fighting the visions, she faintly heard a familiar voice. Pulling back the hair off her face, she turned her head up to glare at the voice's owner. Her head only lifted a couple of inches, though, and her gaze rested on the hem of the man's cloak.

Particularly on the dried red fluid staining the fabric.

"Y-you didn't..." She hoarsely whispered, her eyes growing wider. "W-we had a deal..."

"So we did." Ghetsis agreed, taking a step forward and hooking a finger under Touko's chin, gently (much to her displeasure) turning her head up to meet his blood-red gaze. "Our deal, if I recall, was that if you valued their safety, you would lose this battle."

"I-I did what you wanted," She stammered, wary of his tone of voice as she continued her struggle. "I lost."

"What you did was put on an amazing charade to fool N into believing you were fighting to win." In the corner of Ghetsis's eye, N flinched at the statement. "However, I quickly saw through the lie because I knew you would do anything to protect those you love most, my dear."

Hearing the man call her that made Touko's stomach churn in disgust. Had fighting the visions of 'how things could have been' not sapped her of her strength, she would have gladly introduced Ghetsis's face to her fist.

"I knew the truth...Or so I thought."

Touko became even more suspicious. "W-what do you mean?"

"Do not think your battle wasn't being observed. From the moment you entered this room, or as you put it, 'went past the point of no return', I have been watching you very, very carefully. And I must admit, your little performance really had me going for a while!" He chuckled as if laughing at a personal joke. "However, at the point where you had me in full belief of the charade, that's when I saw it."

Before she could even ask what 'it' was, he continued. "The moment was brief, mind you, and maybe you didn't even realize it. But I saw it, nonetheless. I saw the look in your eyes. The look of strength and determination. The look of one who was never going to give up. The look of one determined to win at any cost. And at that moment, I realized the decision you made.

"You decided the world was more important that they were."

Her eyes became bigger than plates. "No..."

"You didn't care for their safety anymore." Ghetsis continued, releasing her chin and taking a few steps back as he rose to full height. "You no longer cared for what fate would befall them by keeping your winning streak. You abandoned them and only thought of yourself. And the moment you did," His mouth curved into a cold smirk. "Well, I have no need for pawns that have outlived their usefulness."

Her head turned back to the floor and she clamped a hand over her mouth. "No." She slowly shook her head, her body beginning to tremble. "You're lying. You're lying!"

Ghetsis's beastly laugh filled her eardrums. "In denial, are we? If you won't take my word for it, then maybe you'll believe..." He snapped his fingers. "Him."

Whoosh. Thud. "Oof!"

These three sounds - one of the Shadow Triad appearing, something heavy falling to the floor, someone saying 'Oof!' as if they just fell to the floor - froze her shakes. In complete, full-blown denial of everything Ghetsis was insinuating and still trying to break out of the visions, Touko cautiously looked up.

The young boy, just barely ten years old, was lying on his side just two feet in front of her. He wore red sneakers, long black pants and a blue jacket. The red and black cap he would usually wear was missing from atop his head. His short brown hair was matted with sweat and dirt and hung low over his face. One of his eyes peaked through the matted mess; one chocolate brown eye stared straight at Touko as the boy finally spoke.

"S...Sis?"

The sound of his voice fully snapped her back into reality. "Oh, Touya!"

Touko wasted no time in rushing to the boy's side, one arm wrapping around his back and the fingers of her other hand entwining themselves in his hair. "You're safe," She mouthed, feeling tears spring into her eyes and a slight smile coming to her face. "Oh, thank Arceus you're safe." She leaned her face into his hair and hugged him close to her body, fully intent on never letting him go. Just for that moment in time, nothing else in the world mattered to Touko more than the fact that her brother was still alive.

That moment came to a screeching halt when Touko realized there was rope binding Touya's wrists together behind his back.

"I-I tried, Sis," Touya softly whimpered, small trembles rocking his body. "I t-tried to be brave. But I-I-"

Touko knew her brother well. And she knew from the way he was acting - from how he sounded apologetic and from the tears she felt staining her shirt - that he was scared. Very, very scared.

"T-Touya." Putting on a brave face and keeping her voice as firm and level as she could, she placed her hands on his shoulders and gently pulled him away. "Touya, baby, look at me. Look at me!" She moved one hand to his head, gently turning it up. "What happened? I need you to tell me what happened."

"W-we were gonna surprise you," Touya shakily started to explain, unable to make eye contact with Touko and just kept his eyes down. "Me, Mom, Dad, even Cheren and Bianca; All of us. W-we just wanted to cheer you on, that's all!" His voice cracking on the last word, he bit down on his lower lip and sniffled excessively.

"Shh, shh," She softly shushed the boy, stroking his hair and placing a light kiss on his forehead to calm him. "That's okay. That was perfectly alright for you to do that for me." His soft sobs soon subsided, and Touko rested her forehead on his. "Then what? What happened next?"

"A-after we all met up, th-that's when three white-haired ninjas appeared and we fell asleep. W-we all woke up in a big, cold, dark room, chained to the walls by our hands and feet. I-I tried to get free, we all did, but the chains were too strong. We waited in there for hours before, b-before..."

Touko cautiously pulled her head back to get a better look at his face. "Before what?"

"B-before he showed up." Touya muttered very quietly. "The red-eyed man."

If Touko wasn't already on her knees, she definitely would've fallen to them right now.

"H-he told us that we were brought here b-because you defied Team Plasma, a-and that you had to lose the battle you were having with their king i-if you wanted us to live. B-but, then he said that-that," Suddenly, Touya turned his head up. "He said that you didn't care about us anymore!"

Touko's eyes widened when she looked into her brother's eyes. Sure, they had the same milk chocolate color, but they had changed. They had become dark, filled with tears, and above all, broken. One stare into his brown orbs and Touko knew what he had seen.

These were eyes that had seen death.

"He hurt them," His voice rose little by little with each word he said. "I-I saw him hurt all of them. Your f-friends, those P-Pokémon inside the balls he destroyed, Mom and Dad...Everyone got hurt, a-and even though I called out to them when he stopped, th-they wouldn't wake up!"

Touko felt her throat close up, making breathing close to impossible.

"I-I think he hurt Mom the most," His voice reverted back to a broken whisper. "A-after he stopped hurting Dad, he went to Mom and whispered something to her. S-she told me to close my eyes, s-so I did. I-I don't know what he did, b-but Mom wouldn't stop crying and screaming and begging him to stop, b-but he never did! I-I only opened my eyes when Mom stopped screaming. S-she wasn't moving, and her entire front was drenched in that red stuff from her neck, j-just like everyone else!"

Every muscle in Touko's body froze in place, turning her into a statue.

"A-and when the red-eyed man came towards me, h-he told me I had a choice. H-he said I could either hurt like everyone else, or, or..." Touya gulped before revealing the second choice. "Or join him as a member of Team Plasma."

Touko's heart stopped beating for a full two seconds.

Tears rolling down his cheeks, Touya closed his eyes and hid his face in her neck. "But I don't wanna join his team!" He wailed, snuggling his body closer to hers. "I wanna go home!"

Slowly, her muscles relaxed and her throat opened up. Appalled, disgusted, and completely horrified by what her brother had described, she wrapped her arms back around him. "It's gonna be alright." She whispered in his ear, squeezing him one last time before moving her hands. "I'm gonna get you out of here. I promise."

She was able to undo one of the knots in the rope around his wrists before a strong hand yanked her by the roots of her hair atop her head, flinging her to the ground as another hand simultaneously stole her brother out from her arms.

"No no no no no!" Touya screamed and kicked and flailed, all in attempt to get away from the man that had grabbed him by the hood of his jacket and dragged him away from his sister. "Let me go! I'll never join Team Plasma! Never never never!!"

"Silence, boy." Ghetsis commanded as he forced Touya to his feet and held a long, sharp dagger to his throat. "You are testing my patience."

Instantly recognizing the weapon, Touya stopped moving. "H-help me..."

"Get away from him." Carefully yet quickly, Touko got back to her feet, her hair hanging over parts of her face as she gave Ghetsis the deadliest glare she'd ever given anyone. It seemed impossible before now, but after hearing what he had done to her loved ones from Touya, Touko found herself hating Ghetsis more now than ever before. She took a step forward, absolutely blind with fury. "Get away from my brother, you son of a bi-!"

The word caught in her throat when a hand grabbed her right one. It wasn't just any hand, though. It was one of the two hands that belonged to the only human being in existence that, with just one touch, would make her freeze in her tracks and fill her mind with the visions of 'how things could have been'.

A smirk appeared on Ghetsis's face. Finally. Now, show me that which I've been dying to see with my own eyes. Show me your agony!

With N's hand still holding onto hers, Touko had instantly began fighting the visions, which resulted in her face warping into a grimace of pain and her body shaking like a leaf. Unable to move with the dagger at his throat, Touya's eyes widened at Touko's transformation. "S-Sis...? A-are you okay...?"

"L-let. H-him. G-go." She whimpered, a short, strained pause coming after every word. "I-I'm. The one. Y-you want. Let him go!"

"'Let him go,' you say?" Ghetsis repeated, his grin becoming bigger. "If that's what you want, then maybe I should 'let him go' the way you let Reshiram go."

The howling, static-like screech fluctuating in intensity in her ears nearly deafened her to all other sounds in the room. The visions flashing before her eyes almost blinded her to everything else as well. However, she was able to see the knife in Ghetsis's hand drag an inch across Touya's neck, drawing a few drops of blood from beneath his skin. It was hearing his cry of pain, however, that strengthened her will to fight.

"NO!" The brunette was able to cry out as she broke her hand away from N's. Her body and mind were wracked in pain. The static persisted, but had significantly dampened. She felt something warm and wet begin to flow from her nose. Even so, she took a step forward. "Ta ke me in st ead," She begged, her voice a broken croak as she reached her arm out. "Please-!"

Her desperate advance was halted when a pair of arms wrapped around her shoulders, the hands tightly gripping her bare arms as the man these hands belonged to pulled his body up to hers.

Acid replaced her blood, making every internal organ and muscle in her body burn with each galloping heartbeat. Sharp, needle thin claws raked across every inch of skin. Blood seeped out of both nostrils. Her eyelids opened as wide as humanly possible. Her whole body jerked, twitched, and shook as if having a seizure. Blood-shot eyes crossed, giving her double vision of 'how things could have been' mixed with the events happening then and now right in front of her. A hollow wail emitted from the back of her throat and out her open mouth, barely audible because it sounded far away.

And still, through all the torment, Touko wouldn't stop trying to reach her brother.

Her mind became a war zone filled with voices and static all meshing together to create one, single deafening wail of torment. N, why are you -It's not supposed- doing this to me? -to be this- SKRREEE -way.- Please st-It shouldn't be-op! He's done noEEEAAAAAthing wrong! I have to proAAAAAtect him! He's -this way!- just a boy! Why can't AAAAAAAA you understandhowmuchheAAAAAAAAAAAAmeanstome? PlAAAAAeaseSTOOOAAAAAAOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!

As the brunette's seemingly never-ending war raged on inside her, the instigator of her agony was fighting his own internal battle.

N knew that it may have come to the point where his assistance would be needed to 'restrain' the girl as Ghetsis delivered her punishment, and had waited for that moment with his eyes closed and not listening to every spoken word he heard from the time Ghetsis began talking to Touko all the way up til now. Even now - as he held the trembling girl so close to his body the only thing between them were the clothes they wore - he kept his eyes closed and his mind closed off to the world around him. However he soon found that keeping to his thoughts that entire time proved to be hazardous, because the small tree of doubt in his heart had matured and grown even more trees that spread like wildfire and made him question himself even more.

What came over me earlier that made me...hit her? Was it my contained anger and frustration with her that was suddenly released? I though one is supposed to feel better after letting negative feelings out, so why do I not feel any kind of relief? She is a human, she hurt that Musharna, she even threw Reshiram away; so why do I feel so horrible for striking her? And the visions she claims to have...why do they always occur after I touch her skin? Why do they bring her suffering? Is she lying about that too? But, how does one fake coughing up blood like that? I should not be concerned about a human, so why does my heart hurt to see her suffering because of me? And why...why do I hate that I cannot touch her without inflicting pain upon her? Why?

"S-stop hurting my sister, you monster!"

N's eyelids snapped open. He turned his head slightly and stared at the young boy who just called him a monster. The boy's wide brown eyes were filled with terror, sorrow, fear, and heartbreak as he stared straight into N's green ones. It didn't take long before N's eyes widened in fear and shock.

When he looked into this boy's eyes, he saw himself staring back at him.

N quickly looked away and closed his eyes shut, memories of when he was a child flooding his mind. He remembered every Pokémon brought to him in his youth, how they described to him the cruelty of humans, and how truly heartbroken he felt with every story they had to tell. It was because of their influence that he saw every human outside Team Plasma as a cruel, terrible monster that did nothing but hurt his friends that meant the world to him. And now, seeing the same kind of heartbreak in the boy's eyes...

H-have I...become the same monster my friends told me about? A human that does nothing...except hurt others? B-but, but surely this must be different! She is a human, not a Pokémon! And G-Ghetsis told me that this is justice for what she did to Musharna! But, but she said it was an accident she had no knowledge of! How can I be absolutely sure who was telling the truth?!

In his arms, the girl's trembles became more violent and her hollow scream continued with each passing moment. N clenched his jaw and squeezed his eyes tighter, hatred for causing this to happen to her and doubt filled his heart, the trees sprouting like weeds and making him question himself even further. Why am I doing this to her? Am I even fighting to save the Pokémon anymore, or just fighting so I can bring her pain? Is it really right to have her suffer this way? Is it best...to just let her go? His head pounded and ached; the fight inside reaching the point where he had to make a choice: Keep holding her, or letting her go? W-what should I do...?

As he struggled to make a decision, N's grip around Touko's arms unwarily loosened slightly. Her shakes became less violent and the scream stopped as well. Tears welled up and spilled from her darkened eyes as her head and extended arm lowered slightly. Gurgled gasps came from her before a large volume of dark red blood rocketed out of her mouth and splattered all over the floor.

Touya absolutely hated the red liquid that had spilled from his parents' throats before, but in seeing his sister practically vomiting the stuff, he couldn't take it anymore. "Alright! I'll do it!" He yelled, quieting his sobs as much as he could. "I'll do it. I'll join Team Plasma. Stop hurting her, and I'll do whatever you say. Just, please don't take Sis away from me too!"

Ghetsis kept a straight face as Touya begged, his eyes staying on Touko. After some time passed, he finally answered his pleads. "Sorry, boy. I have no need for pawns that have outlived their usefullness."

"N-no..." Hearing what he said and seeing him grip the hair atop Touya's head alerted Touko to what he was about to do. "N-No...!" Her shakes re-started - far more violent than ever before - as blood joined the tears in her eyes and her arm desperately reached out. "NOOOOOO-ooo-OOOO-ooo-OOOOOOOOOOOOO-!"

All at once, it stopped. Each sound. Each shake. Each thought. Each heart. Everything stopped as if frozen in time. An eerie silence befell the room as one thought came to N's mind. I was too late.

It's already over now.


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

"Just as I thought," Ghetsis said, dropping his hand which held the now blood-stained dagger to his side. "You know how to talk your way out of a situation. But, when it comes to taking action, you're just a helpless girl who's gotten way in over her head and can't protect anyone!"

No answer came from the brunette, who appeared as if she turned to stone. However, this was not so because the moment N removed his arms from around her, she silently fell to the floor, landing in shards of glass and a puddle of her own blood.

A cold 'whoosh' of air beside him. "Put it with the others." Ghetsis ordered the Triad member as he gave him the limp body he held by the roots of its hair.

"Yes...Lord Ghetsis." Whoosh.

Ghetsis had kept his gaze on the girl as he cleaned the blade on his robe, disappointed that she didn't last for very long. After stowing the dagger, his eyes lifted away from the girl and the Sage noticed that his son had taken a few steps away from her and had turned his head away. "It is finished, N." He assured him, confidence and victory in his voice. "She will not be a threat to anyone ever again."

Unseen and unknown by anyone other than himself, a single tear ran down N's cheek.

Suddenly, the sound of something moving made Ghetsis look down, and he saw in slight disbelief that the girl had made the sound. Very slowly, small trembles rocking through her body, Touko rose to her hands and knees. She paused to cough and spit more blood out of her mouth before trying to get on her feet. However, she must have been very weak because she fell down onto one knee, her limp arms at her sides and her long hair hanging low over her bowed head, and just stayed that way.

"So, you still have some life left in you." Ghetsis mused, but then smirked. Looks like I will get to spend some 'quality' time with you all to myself after all! But, for now... He snapped his fingers, summoning the other two members of the Shadow Triad to his side. "Take her away."

"...Yes, Lord Ghetsis." The two answered before silently moving toward the girl.

"Come, my son." The Sage turned on his heel and began walking towards the room's exit. "The time has come for your reign over all Unova to beg-"

"Gah!" "Augh!"

He stopped when he heard these two yelps, slightly irritated as he turned back around. "What is it now?" He almost said, but froze at the scene in front of him. One of the Triad held his slightly bloodied forehead in both hands while the other had a shard of glass jutting out of his left eye, both staggering backwards from the girl who appeared not to have moved at all. But had apparently attacked and disoriented the two Triad members.

"S-Stop her!"

The third member, and leader, immediately reappeared and reached out to the girl. Swifter than a lightning strike, her left hand shot out and grabbed his arm, her fingernails digging into his skin enough to draw blood as her right hand plunged a long, sharp glass shard deeply into his left shoulder. Before he could even let out a yelp of pain, her leg did a low sweep and knocked the Triad member off his feet. As he was momentarily suspended in mid-air, both her hands grabbed onto his left arm, she stood up and threw the man into a boulder. A loud 'CRACK' was heard before he slid down to the floor, completely motionless.

Able to see what she had done to his brother with only one functioning eye, it was the second oldest member's turn to try to restrain the oddly-behaving girl. He was barely a foot from her when her hand shot out again, grabbing the free end of the shard and yanking it out of the eyeball and dropping it to the floor. This member was able to let out a cry of pain before the heel of her boot collided with the left side of his head, harshly kicking him to the floor. Blood and a clear, jelly-like substance spurting out of his damaged eye, this member ceased to move as well.

Still seeing stars from the rock she had thrown at his forehead, the third and youngest member threw a punch at the girl. The punch was avoided, however, when she arched her torso. She bent backwards in a manner highly unnatural and close to impossible for a human to accomplish, her head nearly grazing the floor but still remaining on her feet. Her left hand shot out again, this time catching the man's outstretched arm in her clawed grip to use as a support as she swiveled her body back in an upright position before driving another sharp, deadly shard of glass into his stomach. A small gasp escaped his mouth, his eyes showing expression for the first time in a very long time: Pain. The two stayed that way a second longer before she twisted her wrist as she removed the glass from him and simultaneously bashed her forehead into his. Blood seeping from his stab wound, the last member of the Shadow Triad fell to the floor, motionless.

As Touko took out each of the Triad one by one, N's jaw hung slightly agape and his eyes were bigger than saucers, fearful and slightly awestruck from what he was witnessing her do. Taking a big gulp of air, he started approaching her after the second one fell.

N, what are you doing?! Zekrom's voice in his head demanded. She is dangerous! Stay where you are and I will return as fast as I can!

B-but I am the only one that can stop her!
The young man argued, his hand reaching out to her as she finished with the last member. Just one touch, and she will be paralyzed! And besides, she gave her word that she would never harm me! I have to believe that if I am to stop her. I can do this, I know I can! Just one touch...

N! Stay away from her!
The dragon's warning came too late. With his outstretched fingers only an inch away from her shoulder, her arm swung backwards. In a blinding blur, something sharp and ragged tore a deep line from his right cheek, up the bridge of his nose, and all the way to his forehead. Both hero and dragon screaming in pain, N's hands shot up to his face, feeling his blood on palms as he staggered backwards and away from her. Disoriented, he collapsed against the wall just beside the hole in the tower before passing out.

Ghetsis's face had warped into one of shock and disbelief. The impossible had just occurred. In less than a minute, one teenage girl had single-handedly taken out Team Plasma's most elite guard. Now, the girl had become silent as the grave. She didn't move, didn't speak, didn't even seem to breath as blood dripped from her hands and chin to the floor below. Plop. Plop. Plop. Unwarily, Ghetsis took a tiny step backwards.

Crack. He stopped moving and remained perfectly still when the soft crunch of glass breaking beneath his foot made the hero of truth flinch. Slowly, her body twitching, she began to turn her head up, the sickly sound of the joints in her neck and back popping and grinding together audible in the deadly silent room. Soon, her head turned up enough to completely face what was in front of her.

Two lines of red trailed from the corners of her slightly agape mouth. Two paler red lines streaked down her cheeks. A pair of eyes peaked out from behind the brown wall of hair veiling her face. These eyes had lost their color; the black of her pupils had completely consumed the color in her irises. There was nothing in this hollow, abyssal gaze that unwaveringly stared straight in front of her.

When they encountered a pair of blood-red eyes directly in front of her, she stopped moving, just a tiny spark of recognition briefly lighting up her empty eyes. "...you..."

The changes started slowly, but progressed in speed as time moved on. The muscles in her arms became rigid and her hands became claw-like. Her body leaned forward in a crouch. Her lips pulled back in a teeth-bearing grimace. Her pupils shrunk to pinpoint dots on a backdrop of blue, zeroing in and locking onto his red irises. A low, inhuman, feral growl reverberated in her throat. "...yoooOOOOOOOUuuuuu..."

I was wrong. Ghetsis thought, feeling fear for the first time in his life. Exploiting her weakness did not reveal her for the human she is...but awakened the savage beast within.

The bloodied glass shard in her fist, the beast wearing the skin of Touko White lunged forward. "YoooOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUURWAAAAaaaAAAAAaaaAAAAAAAA!!!"

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

Nothing. That was how to describe it. Nothing to see. Nothing to hear. Nothing to touch. Nothing to feel. Nothing to think. Nothing to breathe. Nothing all around. Nothing inside. Nothing left to live for.

At the critical point of climax, something changed. Something broke. Something shattered. Something stopped. Something lost all hope. Something left. Something died.

Something - Someone - foreign yet familiar took over.

What is this? The new consciousness posed the simple question to the nothingness. Which way is up? Down? Left? Right? Forward? Backward? Why is it so dark?

A thud. The darkness briefly pulsed into various shades and sizes of gray blobby objects before returning to pitch black. I feel...pain. I can feel my fingers. My toes. My hands. My feet. My arms. My legs. My head. My body. I am lying down on my stomach. I need to get up. Come on, body, time to get up.

A test of extremities. They still work. Knees and hands in full support of the rest of the body. A feeling of rush within the stomach's pit. Lurching. Something warm and wet leaving the mouth. A pulse of gray that remained. I feel pain again. My mouth tastes like iron. It is difficult to breathe. I need to stand. One foot planted on the ground. An attempt to rise up that immediately failed. Some definition came to the shapes. I feel more pain. Everything hurts. Why does everything hurt so much?

Vibrations on the ground. Someone or something was approaching. Two objects - one thin and smooth, the other bulky and rough - held in each hand. Do not touch me. Arms flexed. Grips released. Objects launched. Ears registering two faint, muffled, far away sounds.

Vibrations. One hand grabbing hold of another's flesh while the other took hold of another smooth, thin object that soon entered something soft and squishy. Leg pivoting and colliding into something that instantly toppled over. Second hand grabbing flesh. Elevation to feet. A great weight lifted and quickly thrown away. Pain. Gray started to become black and white. Stay away from me...human.

More vibrations. Hand grabs something thin and smooth stuck inside another object before freeing then dropping it. Ears hearing another somewhat less faint, muffled, far away sound. Foot lifted. Heel smashing into something hard. More pain. Outlines become defined. Must not let humans touch me.

Even more vibrations, both in the ground and in the air. Torso arched backwards. Slight vertigo. Hand grabs another's flesh for support. Body turned. Free hand grabs a long, thin, smooth object that soon enters something soft and squishy. Forehead bashes something hard. Even more pain. Gray completely separated. Humans are toxic. Their skin is paralytic. It makes me hurt.

Vibrations - footsteps - coming from behind. I must not allow another human to touch me... Arm swings backwards, shard of glass catching and dragging across flesh. A sound - a faint scream of pain - heard. Retreating footsteps. Ever again.

Crack.


A new sound - the sound of breaking glass - from the front. Curiosity. Head slowly lifted for eyes to take in everything around. The floor. The walls. The pillars. The humanoid figure. The entire room was a shade of either black or white, and so was everything insi-

No. Not everything. Two circles defied the monochromatic scheme the rest of the world was set in. These colored orbs - a pair of eyes belonging to the humanoid figure ahead - were anomalies in the black and white world. The color these eyes were was...was...

...you... The moment she recognized the color, something clicked. Something opened. Something filled up the nothingness within. Something lost control.

Something - someone - snapped.

The red eyes acted like kerosine; fueling the fire of rage scorching throughout her that reanimated and gave energy to her. It's you...! She felt her body being warped by her anger, unable to take her sights off the crimson circles. The fire within reaching a fever pitch, her feet rocketed her forward. You ruined everything!

Her right arm that held the glass shard took wild swings at the red eyed man, who unfortunately was able to just barely dodge every swipe. You created Team Plasma! You threatened all of Unova! You hurt countless of Pokémon and still claim to be helping them!

Her right foot twisted the wrong way. In the moment of defenselessness, his hand grabbed her right wrist, stopping her attacks. At the same time, he pulled a long, sharp, glinting dagger from behind him and took his own swipe at her. Her left hand caught hold of his wrist just before the dagger's tip came within an inch of her throat. Locked in this deadly standoff, her rage flared even more over the fact that the red-eyed man was touching her. Stop touching me!!

She thrashed and struggled, but he proved to be much stronger than her and began forcing her to go backwards. As more and more of his face became defined, particularly the sinister grin he wore, so did the raging fire inside. You manipulated him and turned him against me. You stole from me. You bribed me. You forced me to make an impossible decision. You made me choose between two things far too important to lose. You hurt them. My friends. My Pokémon. My parents. My brother... My innocent...precious...blameless...baby brother...!

Her anger boiling to its peak, giving her a colossal boost of energy and strength, she stopped allowing herself to be manipulated by the scarlet-eyed monster before her. THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THE LIFE WHERE NO ONE DIED! YOU! RUINED! EVERYTHIIIIIIIING!!!

A massive tremor shocked through the room. An opportunity was taken. A hand turning another and plunging a sharp weapon into a chest. Another opportunity taken. Another sharp weapon cutting a horizontal line in and along a throat.

Another life claimed.

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

The glass shard instantly shattered in her hand after she turned his own weapon against him, stabbed him, and slitted his throat. Blood sprayed out of the neck wound and onto her face also instantly after the cut was made. Still blinded by her anger and now the abominable liquid crimson, she staggered backwards and her feet slipped. She fell for only a second before her left hand caught onto something, an action that caused more pain to shock through her system.

My arm...is broken. How...did it break? Think back...remember how I broke it? I was..in a cave. What happened in the cave? There was...a cave-in. Why was I near a cave-in in the first place? Because I...I...

I was saving his life.


The memory returning and the blinding rage slowly subsiding, she turned her head up and saw someone with long hair sitting on the floor. Recognizing another color, her head tilted to the side and she, her voice barely even a whisper, asked one simple question. "Do I...know you?"

Anguish. Chagrin. Fury. Resentment. Malice. Grief. Pain. Woe. Suffering. Animosity. Contempt. Coldness. Sorrow. Anger. Hatred. All these emotions were portrayed in the tear-stained eyes belonging to the young man who turned his head and glared down at her. However, it was just the one other emotion in his emerald-green eyes that shattered her heart.

Betrayal.

The part of the tower she held onto crumbled in her grip. An invisible hand grabbed hold of her. Her breath leaving her, Touko kept her eyes glued onto N's as gravity pulled her down to her certain death.

What have I done...?
*I did NOT draw this pic. I found it here: [link] All credits for this pic go to the artist!

I...kinda hate myself for this one. Chapter 20. :icondepressionplz:

Basically jammed to this song: [link] while writing this one. If this series was an anime, this song would be the perfect one to use for this chapter, in my opinion, anyway~

BAH! Lengthy chapter is lengthy. Recap!

1) Touko lost, but was it her intention to lose? Hmmm.... :iconsuspiciousplz:

2) She throws Reshiram's ball off the tower. :iconwtwplz:

3) N's pent up anger against her finally becomes too much and he slaps her. :iconwhywouldyoudothatplz:

4) Ghetsis comes in with blood on his cloak... :iconoo-plz:

5) TOUYA BABY IS ALIVE! :iconkermityayplz:

6) Based on what Touya tells Touko, everything you even remotely think Ghetsis did, it's probably true. :iconimdisgustedplz:

7)GAYCHEESE! GET YOUR HANDS OF TOUYA BABY! :iconraegplz:

8) N! YOU FREAKING MORON! WHY WOULD YOU ALLOW GAYCHEESE TO DO THAT AND, IN FACT, HOLDING HER BACK?!? :iconstewiewtfplz:

9) Fighting against the visions = not a good idea... :iconsaywhaplz:

10) N is FINALLY beginning to question if what he's doing to Touko really is justified or not! :iconfinallyplz:

11)....oh no..... :iconcryforeverplz: :iconsobcryplz: :icondepressedplz: :iconsobplz: :iconwhyyyyyplz: :iconrussiacryingplz: :iconsadspartaplz: :iconsadnappa: :iconemoenglandplz:

12) If Ghetsis is thinking what you think he's thinking, then he really is one SICK, PERVERTED, PEDOPHILE SON OF A-

13) ...oh boy. Touko snapped. Snapped completely and has gone murder mode. :iconmurdermodeplz: :iconimhorrifiedplz: :iconcreepyamericaplz: :iconhigurashiplz: :iconmellofaceplz:

Aaaaaaand now she's falling off the tower to certain doom. :meow:

...Please don't hate me too much for the way this chapter went...

Pokemon and all its characters belong to Nintendo.
Story is mine.
Have a wonderful day/afternoon/night/whatever.~ :heart:

*EDIT P.S. you can now read Chapter 21 here: [link]
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:iconmetalshadowinsanity:
metalshadowinsanity Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2013
I found a song for this chappy. "nightmare" by avenged sevenfold.
Here's a link to a video with lyrics: [link]
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:iconfallenfrominsanity:
FallenFromInsanity Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Oooohh yes. Very appropriate for this chapter. :3
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:iconmetalshadowinsanity:
metalshadowinsanity Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2013
Indeed. Its theme of damnation fits the Living hell that Touko is in during the chapter. I found a theme for Ghetsis, too. "Endless Dispair Vocal Cover" from BlazBlue.
Here's a link: [link]
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:iconfallenfrominsanity:
FallenFromInsanity Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Another appropriate song! Thanks for sharing!
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:iconkitsune-chan93:
Kitsune-chan93 Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2013
oh god...the horror....
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:iconfallenfrominsanity:
FallenFromInsanity Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I know...
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:iconmetalshadowinsanity:
metalshadowinsanity Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2013
I summon Kyurem to obliterate Gaycheese while i :iconhigurashiplz: and endless despair plays in the background.
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:iconiamacutie:
IamaCutie Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
OK, so now whenever I read the part where Touko throws Reshiram's ball off the tower, I literally imagine N making this face. :iconwtwplz:
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:iconfallenfrominsanity:
FallenFromInsanity Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Exactly what I was thinking N's face to look like, too. :3
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:iconiamacutie:
IamaCutie Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh yeah. Before I fan art, I have a question.How did you make your Please Don't Go and Hands of Fate fanfics so popular?
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