It was roughly around 4:00 AM when Touya Black finally returned home to Nuvema Town, after spending three long years searching for N Harmonia.
He had been traveling throughout the Pokemon regions, searching far, wide, high and low for N and Zekrom, but no matter where he went, he didn't seem to be able to find him. It seemed N was just better at hiding than he thought.
Every now and then, Touya would worry. He would fear that maybe N had gotten himself hurt or killed on his own journey. Other times, he'd worry that N was actively trying to keep from being found. But whenever this happened, Reshiram would bring him back to Earth. She'd assure him that if anything happened to N, she'd sense it--her connection to Zekrom was strong enough that she'd be able to sense the inevitable emotional distress he would feel if something happened to N.
Contrary to popular belief, Touya hadn't completely cut himself off from his home region. He occasionally called home for the first year, and was aware of major events that occurred after he left, like his friend Cheren becoming a Gym Leader or his other friend Bianca getting closer to becoming a Professor. After a while, though, he got so wrapped up in his search that after a while, the only indication to his family and friends that he was even alive was that he would send his family messages for holidays and special occasions on autopilot. "Happy Mother's Day, Mom", "Happy Father's Day, Dad", "Happy birthday, Hilda", "Happy Anniversary, Bianca and Cheren", Merry Christmas, Juliet", etc.
He started to realize how selfish his journey started to feel. Pursuing someone he had known for only a short time, and developing a strange attachment to...feeling like he...like he was...
Of course, Touya had ultimately realized, with the help of Reshiram, Sir Hiss and a few of the trainers he met, that he had to come home.
"We'll start searching again someday," said Reshiram's voice in his head, "but we've been looking for three years, Touya...we need a rest."
Touya had to admit, she was right. He needed to go back to the comforts of home. He had been far away, moving from hotel to hotel for too long. It had been three years. He needed to see his family and friends again.
Reshiram landed in front of his house and he dismounted from her with a sigh. Her feathers were emanating a faint red glow in the night. She lowered her head and Touya pressed his forehead to hers. They both thought the same thing to each other.
"We'll find them. I know it."
Touya returned Reshiram to the Master Ball and heaved a heavy sigh, exhausted from his search. He turned to the door, which predictably, was locked. Pulling out his house key, he unlocked the door and stepped into the house.
As he entered and hanged up his coat, he turned to the living room.
He noticed that there were some bags he didn't recognize behind the couch and heard faint breathing in front.
Stepping to the front of the couch, he stared in shock at who he had found.
Lying there, sleeping soundly in a heap on the couch's pull-out bed...was N Harmonia and his Pokemon.
Touya stared at N for a moment, unable to comprehend what he was witnessing. N was there...there in his home...after he spent several years looking for him. Though his hair was much shorter, much to Touya's surprise, he still immediately recognized him. His flawless pale skin, his pale green hair, everything.
He wasn't sure if he should wake him up and ask him what he's doing in his house or wake him up and yell at him for making him search when he's been back home all along. After a while, Touya opted to head upstairs and talk to his parents instead. Heading to his parents' bedroom, he opened the door to see both of them asleep and they stirred as he creaked the door open.
"Mom? Dad? I'm...I'm back..."
His parents both woke up. His mother looked up and rubbed her eyes, a happy smile lighting up her sleepy face--Touya had to admit, that was nice to see. His father was a little slower to wake up, but he quickly picked up on things.
"Touya," said his mother softly, "welcome home honey!"
"Hey there kiddo," said his father with a yawn.
"Hello you guys," said Touya, "so...um...how long has N been here?"
His parents both looked a little nervous at this question.
"Oh dear..." said his mother.
Touya looked at them, feeling a little bit angry now.
"Well?" asked Touya.
"Well, you see, Touya," said his mother, "N had showed up at our door a few weeks ago and told us that he wanted to talk. So we talked, I made him dinner and he started coming back every day or so afterward."
"Why didn't you tell me?" he asked.
"We tried," said his father, "but you weren't answering."
Touya paused. He suddenly remembered that his XTransceiver was getting unusually active during the last stretch of his search...had he really been that obsessed with finding N? Sighing again, he asked another question.
"So...what did you talk about with him?"
"Well," said his mother, "N really liked talking about Pokemon, but he also liked talking about you. He...he really missed you."
Touya smiled a little at this. It seemed N missed him as much as he missed N.
"What did you tell him?"
"We told him about how good a trainer you are," said his father, "and how you want to be a Pokemon professor someday."
"I showed him some baby pictures!" said his mother.
Touya buried his now very red face in his hands.
"Oh...was I not supposed to do that?" asked his mother, noticing Touya's reaction.
"PLEASE tell me that Hilda wasn't around for any of this!" said Touya with a groan.
"She wasn't." said his dad.
"Touya," said his mother, apparently wanting to change the subject, "your room is still exactly as you left it. Maybe you should get some rest. You must be exhausted."
Touya looked at her, then at the door. Smiling, he said "Actually...I think I'll sleep on the couch with N. If that's alright with you guys."
"Of course, honey," said his mother, giving him a knowing smile, "goodnight!"
"Goodnight mom, dad."
Touya pulled off his shoes and slipped into the bed next to N. Predictably, this woke both N and some of his Pokemon up--specifically, his Zoroark, his Archeops and his Klinklang. The Archeops hissed angrily at Touya but the groggy N rubbed his eye and smiled as he looked at Touya.
"Touya?" he asked, smiling happily at Touya, "You're back?"
"Yes," said Touya nodding, as he rested his head on his pillow "I...I was here for a break but then I saw you in the couch bed."
"Oh," said N chuckling nervously, "I...I'm sorry. I heard that you were looking for me. I didn't know where you were."
"Did you bother looking for me?" asked Touya, feeling a tiny bit annoyed.
"Ah, it's not like that, Touya," said N, sounding saddened, "I...I still needed to find myself. I couldn't afford to be around you during that. There were too many complicated emotions that would come with that. I actually managed to succeed in finding myself and since I had predicted that eventually you'd come to me, I decided to stay in Unova for a while and wait for you to come to me, but then..."
"My father came back. And he brought Team Plasma back."
Touya looked alarmed.
"What!?" he said, "Why didn't I hear about this?"
"Were you watching the news?"
"...No. I wasn't watching a lot of TV at all, to be honest."
"Then that's probably why."
"Alright. You did beat him, right?"
"Yes, I'll tell you more about it tomorrow."
"Okay then. I...I kept trying to find you with Reshiram. She was trying to track you by sensing Zekrom. You guys were moving around a lot though."
"Yes. Again, I couldn't confront you again yet. Everytime Zekrom felt Reshiram's presence drawing near, we'd leave."
Touya shook his head. N looked at him sadly.
"Reshiram didn't sense Zekrom's presence when we came here," Touya added.
"Well, she wouldn't..." said N.
"...Because I released him."
"Because it didn't feel right to keep him in my captivity. He's the Dragon of Ideals and I'm the Hero of Ideals. Keeping him goes against those ideals, so I let him go after father was defeated."
"But what about your other Pokemon?"
"They can't be released. They've been hurt too badly. If I released them, they'd break. I'm all they have."
"And...was Zekrom happy when you released him?"
N paused as well. Then, he said, "...No. In fact, he told me that he wanted to be with me more than anything."
"You haven't changed at all, N...except your hair. You clearly cut your hair."
"Heh, yeah..." said N, running a hand through his hair before embracing Touya again.
The two lay there in silence for a while, before Touya spoke again.
"Well," said Touya, "we can talk about it more tomorrow. Just..."
"Hmm?" asked N.
"Just...promise you won't run off again, okay?" said Touya, snuggling into N's chest as he started to doze off.
N smiled and put his arms around Touya.
"I won't...I promise..."
The next day, Touya woke up alone on the couch. Turning to the clock, he saw it was 2:35 PM. He was briefly tempted to consider the whole occurrence last night a dream until he caught sight of N's Klinklang floating nearby.
"Good afternoon Touya."
Touya turned to see his mother, with a plate in her hands, with a bowl of cereal, a stack of pancakes with syrup on it and two fried Chansey eggs. Touya smiled as his mother placed the plate on the table and Touya headed over there to eat.
"Hey mom," said Touya as he started cutting one of his pancakes, "where's N?"
"He's outside, with some of his Pokemon. He said he wants to be in a more natural environment. He's also waiting for you to come out to see him."
Touya smiled and continued eating before preparing to head out.
Upon opening the front door, Touya was not expecting Bianca to leap in and hug him.
"TOUYA!" Bianca squealed happily, "It's been so long!"
"It's nice to see you too, Bianca!" said Touya, smiling, "Now please let go of me, I can't breathe..."
"Ah! Sorry!" said Bianca, standing up. Touya looked her up and down to see that she had looked different from the last time he met her.
She was wearing a white tee shirt and a black shirt underneath it. She had an orange jacket and green pants in place of the dress he remembered her wearing in the past. She had more practical looking orange shoes and her new hat had a little white bow on it.
The biggest change he could notice was the fact that she was wearing glasses...glasses that looked awfully familiar...
"N and I were just talking about Pokemon while waiting for you to wake up!"
"Is that so," said Touya, "I heard you started working towards a professorship, right?"
"Yes indeed!" said Bianca, proudly, "Professor Juniper has given me an official apprenticeship, and my studies are almost complete!"
"It's too bad I missed my chance," said Touya, remembering his own goal of becoming a professor, "but at least I managed to fill out my 'dex."
"Oh, Touya!" said Bianca, "You didn't miss your chance at all!"
"Professor Juniper put in a good word for you to several other professors! And a professor from Alola has said that he's interested in taking you in as an apprentice!"
"Really! And now that you're here, Professor Juniper has contacted him and wants him to head over here to check your credentials!"
"Well, that's pretty good, then."
"Good afternoon, Touya."
Touya turned around to see N smiling at him. Touya smiled back. N was standing there, with his and Touya's Pokemon standing around him. Touya saw N in full for the first time in a while. He was wearing a white long-sleeved shirt as always, but he didn't have the black turtleneck underneath like he used to, instead wearing a looser, black tee-shirt that was visible due to him wearing his shirt open. He was wearing pale brown pants, similar to his old ones. He wasn't wearing a hat, which made his new shortened hairstyle all the more obvious. Touya glanced down to notice that N was barefoot. Touya decided not to question this part.
"Hey N." said Touya.
"Would you like me to tell you what happened with Neo Team Plasma?"
"Oh, yes please!"
N filled Touya in on everything he had done in Unova after returning.
"And a few months later," N concluded, "I decided to release Zekrom. I've been staying here in Unova ever since, and a few weeks ago, started to visit your parents."
"Hmm," said Touya, "okay, but I think we should go get Zekrom back."
"I don't know about that..."
"Reshiram agrees, right, Reshiram?"
"YES." said Reshiram, emerging from the Master Ball.
"I agree with Touya!" said Bianca.
N sighed and gave a smile, "Looks like I'm outnumbered on this."
"Alright then," said Touya, "we'll be going to Dragonspiral Tower ASAP. But there's a stop we need to make first..."
"Where's that?" asked N.
"I think I know..." said Bianca, smiling knowingly.
"Maria, use Pin Missile!"
The girl's Maractus fired several spikes at Cheren's Lillipup, who leaped out of their way.
"Now, Scotty! Use Tackle!"
The Lillipup ran toward the Maractus and tackled her down. The girl growled and returned her Pokemon before switching out for a Galvantula.
"Vriska! Use Electroweb!"
The Galvantula fired some electrical webbing around the Lillipup, who let out a yelp as the electricity coursed through him.
"Now, use Bug Bite!"
The Galvantula promptly skittered over to the Lillipup and bit at it while grabbing the Oran berry the dog was holding. She consumed the berry immediately after before leaping back.
"Now Vriska, use Signal Beam!"
The Galvantula beamed some vibrant colors at her opponent. The little puppy clenched his eyes shut as the colors and lights began disorienting him, confusing him...Cheren quickly figured out that his last Pokemon was defeated and returned him to his Pokeball.
"Well now," said Cheren, smiling, "you won, kiddo!"
"Your strategizing skills were impressive. You're still a bit aggressive, so I'm gonna have to dock a few points, but you still get a passing grade on this one today."
Before she could say much more a voice called out above them.
"Hey there, Cheren!"
Cheren's eyes went wide when he heard that voice and he looked up to see an Unfezant flying overhead with none other than Touya H. Black riding on his back. Bianca was riding on the bird right behind Touya, smiling down at Cheren happily, and an Archeops was flying alongside them with a familiar green-haired man on its back.
"Touya!" said both Cheren and his student, as Touya leaped from the Unfezant's back while it landed. The girl ran to Touya and hugged him around the waist while Bianca headed over to Cheren and gave him a hug.
"Woah," said Touya, smiling at the little girl who had hugged him, "do I have a fan or something?"
"Don't tell me you've forgotten your old traveling buddy, Touya!"
Touya gave a double take.
"She wanted to learn how to get stronger soon after you left," said Cheren, one of his arms around Bianca's waist, "So I offered to teach her!"
"Well that's wonderful," said Touya, patting his friend's head.
N looked on, smiling a little, as Cinder rested his head on his trainer's shoulder. He couldn't help but feel a little lonely because of all this...Touya was reuniting with his traveling companion and Bianca and Cheren were lovers, or at least they appeared to be based on what N was seeing--Bianca leaning on Cheren's shoulder with a serene smile, while Cheren's arm was wrapped around her waist as he smiled back at her. By contrast, N didn't have anyone to reunite with, besides maybe Touya and perhaps Zekrom later.
But perhaps he should be happy that Touya was talking with his old friends. It was nice to see Touya so happy as he caught up with them.
A school bell rang and Cheren looked up and smiled.
"Hey, it's lunch time! We can catch up some more in the staff room."
The group reconnected a little as they ate in the cafeteria. Juliet had headed off to the student side of the lunchroom to talk to some of her friends at the school while Cheren led Touya, Bianca and N to the staff lunchroom.
"Um, hey N?" asked Touya.
"Yes Touya?" asked N.
"Could...could you leave me alone with Cheren and Bianca for a moment? I need to talk to them on my own for a bit."
"Of course, Touya," said N, smiling, "I'll be over here, talking to your Pokemon!"
N walked over to Cheren, Touya and Bianca's Pokemon. Touya smiled at him before turning to his two friends.
"It's been a while, Touya!" said Cheren, "Thank you so much for those texts on the day I became a Gym Leader."
"You're welcome, Cheren," said Touya, smiling, "so how is running a Gym?"
"It's...tougher than I would've expected...I can't use my usual team 'cause they give me an unfair advantage, and I have to get used to losing gracefully..."
"He does a good job, though!" said Bianca, smiling, "His first Gym fight was with Rosa and she was the first to win his badge!"
"Wasn't that originally Lenora's badge?"
"Watch it, Touya." said Cheren, smirking.
"So," added Touya, "I couldn't notice that your glasses are currently on Bianca's face instead of yours."
Bianca blushed and covered her face while Cheren chuckled shyly and tugged at his tie.
"C'mon, Touya," giggled Bianca, "cut it out!"
"Well I mean, I never needed those glasses anyway," said Cheren chuckling, "I only wore them 'cause I thought they made me look smart!"
Bianca gave him a light, playful punch to the arm in response, while Touya and Cheren both just laughed.
"Well, you're one to talk, Touya," said Bianca, "you and N seem to be getting close..."
It was Touya's turn to blush.
"I stand by what I said before you left," said Cheren, "you got weird taste."
"Maybe," said Touya, "but..."
He looked over at N, who was, apparently, having a conversation with the Pokemon, and smiled.
"Well...I think he and I might be pretty good friends."
"Sure...'friends'." said Cheren.
"Did you meet any interesting people during your travels, Touya?" asked Bianca, changing the subject, something Touya was grateful for.
"Yes, actually. I met many Champions and powerful trainers! I even met Red!"
"YOU DID NOT!" shouted Cheren, looking shocked.
"I did! Right up there on Mount Silver!"
"You're so lucky, Touya!" said Bianca happily.
"And he's not the only one I met!"
"Touya and his friends seem to be enjoying themselves," said N.
"Indeed they are," said Sir Hiss, "it'ssss kind of annoying."
"So, N," said Sea Monkey, looking up at N with a smile, "how are you liking Touya being back in Unova?"
"Well...I'm enjoying it so far. I missed him a lot. I've been wanting to tell him a lot of things lately..."
"Like what?" asked Ruff, glancing up.
N blushed at the realization of what he just said.
"Just...some stuff..." he said, "to be honest...I'm kind of scared that Touya won't agree."
"You don't need to worry about a thing, Mr. N!" said Prima, grinning proudly as she popped a berry into her mouth, "Touya just spent three years flyin' all over the world lookin' for ya!"
"Indeed he did," said Sir Hiss, lowering his head to N's lap, "he really misssssed you too."
"Did he talk about me?" asked N.
"All the time!" said Breezy, fanning out his wings and accidentally knocking Screech over in the process, "He would talk about how much he wanted you to come back to Unova! How much he missed you! How much he longed to tell you-OOF!"
Prima had nudged Breezy to keep him from saying anything more.
"Y-Yeah," said Screech, "Alpha Touya tells us that he wants to look for you no matter where you are. Unless you're dead, of course."
"Well then," he said, smiling, "I guess I should be glad for that. And I'm sure Reshiram will be glad to see Zekrom again..."
He looked out the window to see Reshiram, resting outside, looking up at the sky.
"We'll see you again soon, Cheren," said Touya as he and N were about to ride over to Dragonspiral Tower on Reshiram's back, "are you coming Bianca?"
"Nah, I think I'll stay here with Cheren! See you guys later!"
Touya and N nodded.
"Ready, N?" asked Touya.
"Let's go already!" bellowed Reshiram.
The two smiled as Reshiram spread out her long powerful wings and soared up into the sky, while Bianca, Cheren and Juliet waved them goodbye.
Reshiram flew off to the tower, looking around for signs of electrical activity or Zekrom's aura.
"Is he down there?"
"I think so...let's go!"
Reshiram landed at the tower at the uppermost floor of the tower.
To their surprise, Zekrom didn't seem to be in there...but a girl with long pigtails was, and she was holding an Ultra Ball.
"What the?" said Touya.
"She must've caught Zekrom!" said Reshiram, looking a little angry.
"Calm down, Reshiram!" said N, smiling, "I know who that is! Rosa?"
Rosa turned around and looked at them. She smiled happily.
"N!" she said, "I'm so glad you're here!"
She ran over to him.
"You caught Zekrom." said N, smiling.
"Yeah!" said Rosa.
"That's very nice," said N, with a sigh. "I'm sure he'll be happy with you."
"No no," said Rosa, shaking her head, "I caught him for you!"
"Yes! He's your partner, he's always been your partner! I think you should keep him! So here..."
She handed N the Ultra Ball. N smiled, looking like he might cry.
"Thank you, Rosa."
"Hello, Rosa," said Touya, smiling at the girl, "my name is Touya Black..."
"Ah," said Rosa, smiling back at him, "you're the Touya I've heard so much about! I heard about your saving the League on the news a few years ago. And also N constantly talking about you."
Touya blushed and N smiled.
"You wanna come back with us?" asked Touya.
"Nah, I have a green-haired cutie of my own to meet up with!" said Rosa, letting out a female Unfezant and getting onto her back, "I'll see you guys later! Fly, Opal!"
The Unfezant (apparently named Opal) spread out her wings and flew off with Rosa on her back.
N smiled as he let Zekrom back out. Zekrom stood over the two boys and Reshiram and smiled.
"N," he said.
"I missed you, Zekrom..." said N, "but I'm not the only one..."
Zekrom looked up to see Reshiram, smiling at him. Zekrom looked happier than N had ever seen him and immediately moved forward to embrace the other dragon.
"I've been waiting for so long, Reshiram..."
"I know...welcome home, Zekrom."
N and Touya looked on with proud smiles on their faces.
N and Touya proceeded back to Nuvema Town together, holding hands. Touya realized that he had to do it sooner or later and while he'd prefer it if it was sooner, he was still nervous.
The two were just about to enter the door when Touya grabbed N's hand.
"...I...I've been wanting to tell you this for a long time. And I think I should say it now..."
"Okay...what is it?"
Touya took a deep breath and thought, "I can do this..."
"N...um...I...I....well, you see, I kinda...I've been feeling...I..."
Before Touya could articulate his words, N simply smiled gently and did something Touya absolutely wasn't expecting--he leaned forward, gently tilted Touya's chin with his hand and softly kissed him on the lips, causing Touya's eyes to widen and his face to flush bright red. When N finally separated from him, he gave him that same gentle smile again and spoke.
"I love you too, Touya."
Touya stared for a moment and then smiled. The two proceeded to head inside, holding hands.
"Oh," said N, "I almost forgot, you never told me about your exploits when you were looking for me!"
"Oh yeah," he said, "well, I'll tell you tomorrow. It's kind of a long story..."
"Well I understand," said N, smiling.
Touya knew that nothing would ever be the same from here on out. But that was okay by him. After everything he had been through, he was glad to be back in Unova, to be reunited with N, Bianca, Cheren, Juliet and his parents.
At long last, he was home.