Title: Unattainable Happiness
It's been years, N thinks dryly as he looks up towards the Ferris wheel that sits off in the distance; there are other rides, but the Ferris wheel is the only one that brings back a sickening sense of nostalgia. He remembers the day he spent here vividly: just how the cold breeze sent a chill down his spine as he sat across from him. There was something about the way that the breeze ruffled his companion's hair which in turn had him scrunching up his nose as he hurried to rearrange it back to how it was before the rogue wind mussed it. N remembers how Hilbert chuckled nervously afterwards, a flush crawling up his neck. It might've been the spring air; spring was the new beginning: where winter ended life, spring began it. This season was N's favorite because everything appeared to be so alive; he could feel the pulse of energy from the Pokémon and the people.
Today is a fall day, he wishes he could feel the pulse of energy from that boy, but all he can feel is the almost-wintry breeze that causes him to tighten his coat around him. "You should've worn your scarf," the familiar voice says to him; he is behind him and approaching on his right. N's breathing goes shallow and slow as his eyes slip shut; he lets himself absorb the moment while listening to the crunch of dead leaves that Hilbert steps on.
"Hilda got it for me," N replies softly with his eyes still shut. In his voice there is a slight disdain that Hilbert picks up on fast; the green-haired boy continues with his quiet thoughts. Both muse how fast they are growing up: to think that they had once just been ten years old and starting a journey.
Hilbert snorts, but his eyes grow soft. "She's your wife; it'd probably be appreciated if you treated her like it sometimes and wear the stuff she buys for you." They've had conversations like this before: messy conversations that could end badly, but Hilbert always pushes.
N doesn't budge though. "I can't love her like I love you," his voice is just a whisper. Somewhere far off he concentrates on the sound of the wind through the trees - the deadening leaves rustling and blowing away with the breeze. He isn't sure if he is actually hearing the wind, but it sets his mind at ease if he pretends as though he does.
Another snort, but a reassuring hand is placed on N's shoulder, "It wasn't smart to just run off like that with her. She's headstrong and wild: a dreamer." N wasn't like that; he had dreams, but he wasn't a dreamer. There wasn't a moment in his life when he wanted to run off with someone for the sake of love; he didn't even understand love.
If he had to describe it though, he would have to say that it would be the way that Hilbert could stand strong through all of this confusion. N's emotions were no longer childlike, but when he had made the rash decision to marry Hilda, they had been. All the blame fell upon his father, but N wouldn't allow it; instead he pretended as though he had never been away from human contact, but even as Hilbert placed his hand on N's back, he saw him flinch. "I want her to be happy," N finally says, opening his eyes slowly. Something about the disquietly serene moment and N's tone has Hilbert's hand sliding down the back of his arm until his hand is resting inside N’s hand.
“You should want yourself to be happy too.” Hilbert says softly, his thumb running over the back of N’s hand. “You know she would definitely appreciate if you told her how you really feel about this whole situation; I doubt she would hold it against because she…”
N sighs, “Because she loves me, Hilbert, yes. That is what makes things so hard because it is either going to hurt her or me or you and I don’t want either of you hurt.” Silence passes between them instead of words for a while and they watch as it turns dusk; the lights on the Ferris wheel flash on, then off, and then back on again while they stand there. Hilbert’s hand tightens on N’s and he laughs quietly; it sounds humorless to N.
“So, you are willing to hurt yourself then?” The question is rhetorical, but he sees N open his mouth to respond, so he continues talking, “Because that isn’t right, N. You deserve happiness just as much, even more, than her or I do.” There is a heat rushing to his cheeks that is coupled with the anger he is biting back; he doesn’t want to snap at N. “Is this why you called me here?”
N shakes his head, but he doesn’t speak; words seem to escape him as he watches the Ferris wheel. Nimbasa always felt so full of warmth and life, but on this day there is a cold bite to the atmosphere. He spends his time tossing words around in his head, trying to make sense of them and form them into sentences. “I want to be happy too,” he says poorly. That doesn’t convey anything that he wants to share with Hilbert; it doesn’t even explain well enough why Hilbert’s been called to Nimbasa City. “Hilbert, I thought about running away today.”
This gives Hilbert a shock because it is something so odd to hear. “You aren’t going to… are you?”
“No, but I thought about it.” N tells him again, more plainly this time. “How unhappy do you have to be to think about running away?”
Hilbert shrugs, letting go on N’s hand and leaning into him instead. The warmth he offers is accepted greedily by Hilbert as N wraps a reassuring arm around him. “I don’t know. I wish you weren’t.” His voice drops to a whisper as he looks up towards N. “I love you.”
A small smile appears on N’s face and he stoops down to press a kiss into Hilbert’s messy brown hair. “That’s enough to keep me happy enough.”