Nando slowly awoke, finding himself chained to a toilet, stripped of everything but his grey boxers. He was trembling, scared of what was happening, cold from lack of clothes, bladder aching for relief, stomach empty since breakfast. He wanted to go home, return to his mom and dad, return to his bed, grab some food after relieving himself, and go to bed, eating to fill his crying belly.
He tried to remember what happened, what brought him to this situation. He was on his way to receive his first Pokémon, that's right. His tenth birthday just passed, only delayed cause his parents needed help and couldn't work together, so he was their errand boy, something he was fine with doing so long as it kept his mom and dad from fighting.
"Momma...Dad..." he whimpered, cringing when he tried to twist his ankles together. He could just go in the toilet; its seat was open, hell he was chained sitting on it. But he was in his underwear; he'd have to wear those all the way back home whether he found his jeans and sweater. He didn't want to feel so filthy, especially already knowing what his grandmother would say.
"Nando! You stupid child! Pissing yourself in public? No wonder your parents fight so much. If your mother and father weren't so against giving up a child to adoption or abortion, they wouldn't have to live with each other or be stuck with a stupid child as you. Playing with instruments like some fucking fag, wanting to be a trainer than go into a real job! Utter nonsense, Pokémon are nothing more than stupid animals that we're better off without!"
Nando hated his grandmother with all his heart. She always insulted him, tormented him about how he looks, dresses, calling him names, calling him a disgrace. She'd even tell him he was better off aborted or left abandoned to be run over like a wounded Meowth or Pachirisu. His father and mother loved him dearly, and his father would try to defend him, insult the woman right back. Yet, his mom, she was oblivious to her mother's cruelty and defended the woman, resulting in more arguing, leaving their son in the old lady's care where she'd insult him more, telling him it was all his fault.
That's why he wanted to be a trainer. He felt it was his fault. His parents were filing for divorce, but weren't sure who he'd go too as neither wanted to deal with having him switched back and forth. Not that they didn't love him, but they just didn't have the money to support him. His father's father was a gambler, got in a huge debt with Team Rocket and it not only cost him his life, but all his family's belongings, leaving his father with nothing but the clothes on his back. His mother, she was a successful business woman, things were going well when they met, fell in love, had him, everything was perfect. But...his mother's company went bankrupt and she lost her job, unable to find another due to her mother falling ill, so paying medical bills, electric bills, so many papers in colors of green and pink, sometimes yellow and white. They always made his parents sad.
If he left home, neither would have to worry about supporting, he'd be on his own. His parents could either get good luck and stay together and get good jobs to pay everything off. His grandmother could die, ceasing the medical bills on the old hag. He even vowed to come to her grave at night, so not to upset his mother, and dance on his grandmother's grave, throwing all insults at her, insults he wanted to say but couldn't due to his love for his mother.
Snapping his head up, ignoring the pressure in his lower abdomen, he saw a man in a mask, it was weird, it looked like a mask he saw once in a history book, looked disturbingly like a Yamask's mask.
"You should've gone when you had the chance brat. I don't need to do that experiment, already done it with another," the masked man spoke; voice muffled by what he wore, yet understandable enough.
"Why me? I didn't do anything wrong!" Nando cried, tears leaking from his eyes, long hair disheveled, bits hanging in front of his face, hiding his eyes from the man, while the other could still see clearly. He let out a gasp as the man pressed his hand against the large bulge on his lower belly, where his stretched bladder rested. He tried to fight the urge to give in, but the man seemed to have grown annoyed, delivering a punch right there, causing the child to lose control, sobbing heavily.
"Stop that fucking crying! It's just piss!"
"But why? Why did you make me wet myself? Please...I won't tell anyone what you did to me. Just let me go home, let me go. I just wanna go home," the boy sobbed, head hanging low as the urine dripped through his soaked boxers, filling the porcelain bowl, his body shivering more from the punch, relief, humiliation. It was too much; he started to cry again before being slapped hard across the face, enough where if he wasn't tied, he'd been sent flying.
"I've been picking up anyone with unique fears; I want to test to see how well they react when confronting them. Mostly, I study, test, experiment with people on their deepest, darkest fears from drowning to swallowing live insects, stingers and all."
Nando's eyes grew huge at what he heard. He heard of this man, he remembered. He remembered some people from his town had been kidnapped, most found dead, few who weren't are now in an asylum due to whatever happened snapping them, making them grow completely insane. Warnings were made for no one to go alone, not even in pairs or threes, large groups, preferably with trainers with strong Pokémon to keep themselves safe. If he had only listened and didn't leave in such a rush to get his Pokémon, to escape the fighting, to escape having to go through his parents' divorce, his grandmother's cruel words...
"If I recall, due to such a heavy love for music, how would you react if you went deaf?" the man questioned, pulling up a chair, a notepad, pencil, tapping it, ready to write down notes, studying the shivering child. "Answer truthfully or I could make you go through what I put my previous test subjects through to know what their fears were. I doubt you'd like to know what it feels being violated with a pipe, or having to swallow glass soaked in lemon and salt?"
"Yes...I'm afraid to go deaf. I wouldn't know what to do if I did...Please let me go! Just take my words for granted! There's no need to experiment on me like that! Please! I'm begging you!"
"That wouldn't be fair to my other subjects then. They had to face their fears, so must you."
"Oh Arceus, no...Please! I'm begging you! Don't take away my hearing! Please!" Nando shrieked, not caring how high or feminine his voice grew. He was scared, no terrified now of what might happen to him. Would he survive? Would he by some miracle still be able to hear after all this? How would he live if he did lose his hearing? How could he face his family after all this?
The masked man walked over to the sobbing boy, placing strange looking headphones, appearing like earmuffs or something pilots wear when flying. They were so tight on his head it caused it to spin. Everything was so quiet save for muffled noises as things were moved. The silence given, it made the boy feel ill, feeling bile start to rise in his throat, heart pounding in his small chest.
A tiny yelp escaped him as things were stuck to his skin, the man mumbling something before switching the headphones on, keeping it low.
"Can you hear me?"
"Y-yes…" the boy whimpered, tears coating his face, mixing with spit and mucus from his nonstop crying.
"What you were feeling now will detect your heart rate. It's quite high right now so I need you to calm down for my experiment now. If you don't, then I'll be forced to take drastic measures that could make you suffer more and ruin my research. Now I expect you to calm down within fifteen minutes or else."
"Calm down? Calm down! How can I calm down! My life is on the line, my eardrums are on the line! How can I calm down with all this going on?" the raven haired boy screamed within his thoughts as the headphones were left on. Possibly to keep the experiment he's forced in fresh, or hopes to be fresh if he fulfills his part. The taste of bile was at the back of his throat, managing to force it down, scared of what might happen if he puked all over this madman's equipment.
Despite how scared he was, he heard the monitor beeping frantically; annoying him, realizing it was his heartbeat. Ten minutes passed, looking like it wouldn't slow before the boy took a deep breath, shakily exhaling, thinking on positive things if he got out alive, got out with his hearing. The life, the freedom of being a trainer, the Pokémon he'd get to meet, battle, befriend, play music for as well as for humans. It'd be wonderful, peaceful, beautiful…
"Perfect," the man spoke softly, the boy in a slight daze of his dream world, almost forgetting the hell he was trapped in, his mind wanting, begging to just stay in the fake world, never return to reality. "Let's start the experiment. I'll be holding cards to explain what happens since I'll have to do this."
The boy snapped into reality when a click was heard and the sound of the man talking ceased along with all other noise save for those terrifying muffled noises of things moved. Looking around frantically, eyes wide and alert, a card was held up, writing on it.
You will now be experiencing different sound frequencies.
"What?" the boy gasped before letting out a cry when a high pitched wail rattled through his skull, increasing in volume, the noise growing higher with each passing second. He let out screams close to a rabid Pokémon suffering on its deathbed, begging the man to stop, tears coursing down his face. Why him? Why him of all people? A child no less? What purpose was this fucked up experiment? There's no way the Pokémon League would allow such horrors to occur. No university, no place that studies science would allow such horrors to be performed on innocent people, innocent children, not even Pokémon.
What felt like an eternity of it going on, it stopped, cutting off instantly that it hurt more, the boy gasping, not realizing he was holding his breath, tiny fists cutting into his palms from clenching so hard, trying to bear through the pain. In a moment he heard a muffled noise, tears of joy cascading down his face, realizing he could still hear. He hung his head before throwing it back, letting out a near insane laugh, it mixed with his sobs, breaking down completely.
"Stop it…don't make me go through it again…please…" he begged, not sure if he got his point across, though the posture of the man's body, it seemed as if he might have. He wrote something on another card, holding up for him to read.
Can't end it, we're at the final stage. You're doing well, now it's time to finish. Too bad there's no way around this final half of the experiment. Oh well. That's science for you, sacrifices have to be made.
Eyes growing wide, he realized the man wasn't going to let him leave with his hearing intact, he was planning on making him deaf; force him to actually live his fear. But for how long? How will he do it? Will he let him live afterwards?
Nando let out a scream when the man pulled out a gun, the monitor going off in high speed, hearing it slightly through the headphones. The man set the weapon down on the edge of the tub, installing a pair of headphones, putting them on, the beeping of the monitor ceasing suddenly. The boy's eyes grew wider, feeling the bile rise again, not even fighting to hold it back as it pushed its way out, leaving him to cover the front half of his body in what he ate earlier. Heavy sobs escaped him, begging him not to kill him.
He heard what sounded like laughter, looking, seeing the man appear to be laughing, at him! The man wrote something down once more before holding it up, causing the boy to feel empty, wishing the gun was used to kill him.
I'm not going to kill you. What point would my experiment be if I killed you before it's even completed?
He heard a click, realizing the headphones were on again, yet louder, he could hear dripping from his vomit clearly hitting the floor, tears dripping, shuffle of clothes. His eyes grew wide, letting out a scream when a single shot was fired next to one ear, the noise too much for the tiny drum to take, bursting into blood. The next shot fired into the wall as previous, only with the other ear, doing the same damage.
"Mommy! Daddy! Help! Mommy! Mommy!" he screamed, unable to hear his hoarse voice, the man enjoying his agony, taking down notes of the boy's reactions, seeing him go through his fear, forever trapped in it with no escape. The final piece of his research to complete it, make it his masterpiece.
Nando wasn't sure how long he screamed, or when he passed out from the pain, from the awful silence he's been forced into, he found himself waking up to a brightly lit room. Silence still swallowed him, causing him to wearily blink, throat so sore from screaming so much. His stomach was hurting so badly from so little to eat for breakfast then vomiting it up. Tears welled up in his eyes as everything came flooding back to him.
"Mommy..." he whimpered, realizing he couldn't hear his voice, causing him to go into another fit of screams, thrashing around, throwing if under normal circumstances, a tantrum as he threw pillows, vases, blankets everywhere in his madness. He continued to scream for his mother, the only word he could bring himself to say.
Doctors swarmed in, bringing more terror to him, believing one of them to be the madman who tortured him. How else could he have gotten here? How else could it be that he's still alive?
"Nando!" the boy's mother cried, seeing her child being wrestled to the bed, careful of the layers of bandages covering where his ears were, blood soaking through, managing to inject him with a sedative, letting him calm down and fall into a deep slumber.
When hearing her child never arrived to the lab to get his Pokémon, she feared the worst from all the news reports. She should've checked sooner, but thought her child arrived there, got his Pokémon and left without saying goodbye for who knows why. That was yesterday, a day she regrets ever letting slip by her, knowing her husband feels the same.
Immediately she went out looking for the boy, her husband behind her, both working together to hunt him down. Part of her was hoping he got lost, or distracted and lost track of time. At least if that were the case, she'd just give him a spanking after hugging and kissing him, knowing he was safe.
But what she saw, what her husband saw, heard when arriving at an abandoned house. They couldn't believe any human out there was willing to do this to an innocent child, their innocent child. Nando was still tied, abandoned at the same toilet, body covered in blood, vomit, urine, and who knows what else when seeing bullet holes near the boy's head, blood pouring out of his ears.
Sobs escaped him, even when they called, he didn't respond, just continued crying for them, begging for them to help him. He was in such a daze of what happened, his mind unfocused, they could barely get a reaction out of him, his eyes glazed over, mind shut down from reality.
Police were called, bolt cutters used, afraid the noise would scare him, but it didn't. One of the cops looked at the tortured child, discovering the source of the blood coming from deep in the ears. His mother felt sick when told this, someone, possibly the madman who was kidnapping people in their hometown, did something that made her baby lose his most precious thing, his hearing.
She snapped into reality when realizing she spaced out, finding her mother in the room, appearing disheartened by what happened to her grandson. It was only when she stepped closer, she realized how wrong she was, her husband appearing right behind her.
"You stupid child. Can't even hear me now. Serves you right for going off to be a trainer. No earnings to make, no way to make a life. Just a huge waste of time. Now you're mamma and father will have to pay medical bills. If you only died, then they wouldn't have to pay such bills for your stupidity…" the elder woman scolded, the child staring into space, mind a fog, trapped in a world of music, begging to stay there, not to forget lyrics to his favorite lullabies, favorite instruments, favorite sounds, voices of people dear to him.
"That's enough Mother! He's just a child! He's my baby! Your grandson! Don't you hold any love for him? Why say such hurtful words to a child who did no wrong?" the boy's mother sobbed, glaring at the old woman.
"You should've gotten rid of this stupid brat when you had the chance. Hell you still have the chance, just leave him here. Let him rot. Hell, if he was on life support, I'd gladly pull the plug to get this piece of useless shit out our lives. You don't need such a stupid, useless child who daydreams about music and Pokémon when he should think on business, money, a real life, real power."
"How could you say that? Is this why Nando is so depressed at home? Do you really say such things to him?"
"He needs to learn what's important, but seems too far to retarded to learn."
"Get out! Get out of here! Pack your things and leave our lives! I never want to see you again. I never want to see you near my family again. I never want to hear from anyone of you near my family, Nando especially."
"But dear, you know my health is poor. I barely have money to pay both my medication and doctor appointments."
"You should've thought of that before tormenting my son. If I had known sooner, I would've kicked you out long ago. Now go," the woman spoke, pointing towards the exit, the old lady stalking off, cane echoing down the hall as she walked off.
"You will regret having that child Nancy! He is far too much a handful! Daydreams instead of plans! Probably prefers men, disgusting child he is!"
"Fuck you!" the woman screamed just as the old lady walked into the elevator, the doors closing behind her. Instantly she fell to her knees, sobbing, her husband, who kept silent the whole time, not wanting to upset his wife more, though wishes he could've said something to assist her more. "Oh Arceus…Ronaldo, I'm so sorry for not believing you!"
"It's alright now. We need to focus on helping Nando. Forget about your mother. She…she has never been kind to Nando. I've tried to reason with her…"
"But because she's my mother, I thought you just didn't like her…Nando wasn't the reason we fought. He never was…my mother was. She tormented Nando and pitted us against each other…oh Arceus! How will Nando ever forgive me?"
"He still cried for you; even know before he was sedated. I think that's enough for you to know he still loves you, forgives you for not knowing."
"I want to hear it from him…but…I'm scared of how he'll deal with life now? He can't become a Pokémon trainer now due to this. He would have to go through years of rehab to just survive. What are we going to do? I don't want our baby to suffer!"
"Excuse me?" a soft, shy, timid voice even spoke, revealing a young girl with pink hair, ribbons in her hair, eyes a light green. "I-I couldn't help but overhear you…I know some doctors who have performed successful surgeries over the impossible."
"Miss, we don't want jokes…"
"I'm not joking! I was…I was born with no mouth, no arms or legs. I…I was set for death despite their struggles. It was only through these doctors they saved me and made me what I am now." The girl pulled up her nightgown with one arm, using the other to pull up the sleeve, revealing metallic like limbs. When the parents stared into the girl's face, they saw distinct signs of old scaring, meaning what she said was the truth. "I-I'm set to meet one of them tomorrow. I can tell them about your son…I know they can help…I just know it. I just hope…I just hope you can trust me."
True to the mysterious girl's word, the parents were introduced to her doctors, talking about what to do to repair Nando's eardrums. Years went by, least it felt like it to Nando, who by now was brought back into reality. Notecards, much to the boy's displeasure of reading, had everything explained to him. His attacker hadn't been caught, a chance he could have his hearing back, meeting the girl who gave such a chance. A girl whom he found out was terminally ill, dying shortly after due to a genetic disorder he doesn't' remember. Yet, Nando believed she knew she'd die despite people saying she wouldn't. He felt she knew, and wandered the hospital to find those like her, disabled in some way, wanting to help make them normal again, give them what she had briefly.
Nando stared into the sky, his hair cut short years ago, now grown back to a gorgeous length, a style he felt suited him when picking his outfits out. Bandages over his ears had been taken off, his hearing returned, though sensitive to certain loud noises, is forced to be more careful than the average trainer. He even was made to carry earplugs to wear during thunderstorms that are especially loud, or is near trains, airstrips, wherever there may be a noise that could reverse everything that was worked on. But his hearing was growing stronger, wearing them less when allowed too if in certain areas of the region.
He smiled happily, feeling almost like a giddy school girl when thinking about his parents. Though hates the man for making him deaf for that period of time, leaving him to be picked on, harassed, molested by perverts when caught off guard, lost, confused of his surroundings, most of those things he never told anyone out of fear and guilt for being so weak and worrying his parents.
Yet, he was somewhat glad for it all. Him getting hurt the way he did, it saved his parents' marriage. They found strength to continue being together, their love rekindled, their bond stronger than ever, Nando being their anchor to each other, even after recovering and leaving for his journey. They're still together, he'd get calls from them, packages of new clothes, mostly for weather changes depending on where he is. Sometimes even food, mostly baked goods for him and his Pokémon to share.
The forest around him, though he loved sounds, he grew to loving peaceful things, mainly it leading to surprising new sounds from new Pokémon to hearing voices of…
"Nando!" a voice called out, a voice he loved to hear. Hell, any voice he heard he was happy to hear, but it was more precious if it was a voice of someone who cared for him and he cared for as well.
"Ash, Dawn, Brock, what a pleasure it is to meet you," the young looking man spoke politely before the second youngest got bragging about his badges, the girl bragging about her ribbons. He couldn't help but smile brightly, harp held close to him, an instrument given to him by his parents before leaving on his journey. He watched the pair soon bicker, Brock attempting to break it up to no luck, leaving the tallest of the four to play his harp, singing a tune so wonderfully, it ceased all activity within hearing range. "I suggest we head in doors? I feel, almost hear a storm coming this way. I doubt any of us would like to get wet."
"Sure," Dawn chirped, letting the man lead the way to a nearby Pokémon Center.
Without anyone seeing, he tucked in new ear buds, invisible to the naked eye by their design, but blocked most noise off, mainly when storms come. Over the years, he has learned to tell when someone was talking to them by the tone of their voice, whether it was directed at him, or what the safest answer would be if asked. He even learned to read lips as a precaution, able to tell what one says if unable to hear them clearly, more so when the storm arrived, getting compliments about his prediction.
"Wow, you have amazing ears, Nando!" the bluenette squealed happily.
"That's awesome you were able to tell that," Ash commented, Brock throwing in his fair share along with Pikachu and Piplup.
Though hearing muffled slightly to avoid damaging them from the storm, Nando felt so alive with people talking to him, treating him as an equal. Not knowing how cruel the world is, he felt jealous, yet grateful they hadn't gone through what he went through. No one deserves to go through what he went through, no matter how evil they are.
Whatever miracle there was to not only get his hearing back, but turn to such a gentleman such as he is now. He's glad it came, blessed him the way it did and feels as if its continuing to do so, not just for him, but for those close to him. He stared into the sky once more, getting lost in his thoughts while the three chattered together, bringing him in the conversation occasionally, making him feel so at home, so complete, so perfect.