tallulahgs: Disturbed Raito (Disturbed Raito)
[personal profile] tallulahgs
two changed directions

(I... kind of realise both of these are about the characters not having changed direction, but... um... PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN)

[Title] Why Have You Forsaken
[Fandom] Death Note
[Rating] G
[Notes/Summary] Post-canon. Raito meets a familiar face and tries to justify his actions.

Raito is standing in the middle of a desert and he is not. (Because he knows what happened, back in the warehouse, he screamed and screamed and tried to outrun it and it swept over him and, and) and he doesn’t hurt any more. The air and the sky are strange pale lilac, dawn-colour, like a dream.

Some traditions say after you die you must walk through a desert until you repent of all your sins. He finds himself smiling and the smile hurts, like he’s forcing it. Do they really think that will work? Leave him here until he regrets being Kira simply because he’s lonely? What makes them think he needs anyone that much?

Besides, two things suggest this isn't that kind of purgatory. There’s a figure on the horizon, and he recognises the desert. It’s somewhere in California. Nearby is a hidden trapdoor and a secret base and the beginning of the end. His sister screaming underground and his father walking away –

His father is about six feet away. The sand stings his eyes.

They stand and face each other and Raito doesn’t know what face to wear. He’s not interested in recrimination. The face he wants to wear is Kira’s. But when it’s your father, you find yourself a child again. Your disinterest becomes sulkiness, or defensiveness. Even if you didn’t do anything wrong.

“Is it really you?” he says, because a child would wait to be accused. “Or is this going to be a parade of ghosts?”

Dad is staring at him as if he doesn’t know who he is. Just like Matsuda and the rest of the task force. For goodness sake, are they really going to replay the entire scene again? Well, at least this time there’s nothing to lose. At least this time they can have a sensible conversation. Dad's still greying, still too thin. Perhaps only because Raito remembers him that way.

“I’m not going to just stand here,” he says. “If you’ve got something to say…” No. That’s admitting that he did something wrong. He’s not going to be a child. He’s his father’s son but he’s his own man. “I'm assuming that you know what's happened since you... I'm assuming that's why you're looking at me like that.”

His father looks at him unsurprised, which Raito takes to mean that he does know at least the gist of the truth. A child has the creeping horror that everything has been found out. Raito is not a child. He’s not interested in other people’s inability to understand his actions.

“You can think what you want,” he says. “You know that Kira has basically eliminated crime and war. I have literally brought about world peace. You can argue about my methods all you like but you can't deny the results.”

He's watching Dad and he's waiting for the slump of the shoulders. The wistfulness creeping over his face. I did this for you, he wants to say. I made it for you. But nothing. Just that cold stare. “You wanted the new world as much as I did. You devoted your life to stopping criminals, and I do the same thing and somehow that's not good enough?”

Dad waits for him to run out of words – or maybe Raito just gets bored of repeating the argument – and then he opens his mouth and he says:

“I never wanted a world run by a murdering dictator.”

His voice is louder than it should have been. Like thunder, it echoes off the cliffs in the distance. Sand skitters.

He continues, “Prove to me that's not what you were.”

“It's... it's not murder if they deserve it.” Is that true? He can't remember if it's true. His voice sounds high and furious. “And... and besides, it's also not murder if it's to protect others. I killed people who would only have hurt the rest of us. There wasn't any other way. You'd been trying for years and there wasn't any other way.”

Dad actually looks pitying for a moment.

“That isn't how it works,” he says. He seems taller. Raito finds himself shivering. The wind is picking up and there's sand under his teeth. “That isn't how it works. You work hard and you do your best and if everyone does that, then perhaps things change. Little by little. Perhaps a difference is made. Perhaps just one grain of sand. You wanted to fix everything immediately. That isn't how it works.”

How dare he? How dare he talk as if he lived his life in moderation? As if he knew when to quit? As if he told Raito that it was all right not to bother? Raito isn't going to ask that. It's pointless and stupid. But he does say, “Are you accusing me of wanting a shortcut? Do you know how much I risked? Do you know how much I sacrificed?”

Dad says, voice cold again, “You never sacrificed anything that you weren't willing to lose.”

A crash of thunder, right above them. Raito finds himself sitting on the ground, as if he's small enough now that the noise knocked him over. His knees are skinned. Someone is crying. A child. Dad is standing over him, blotting out the light, and says, “You made a mistake. Back then. When you found the notebook. And you couldn't bear to admit that was what you'd done. You had to change the world instead.”

It's not true and it's not fair and yet why is it that when your parents tell you something you always believe it? There was no mistake. There was no mistake. That is part of growing up, as well. You stop adopting your parents' morality and you develop your own. The child is still crying. His father is staring at him as if he's waiting for a response. Raito opens his mouth, tastes the smell of lightning. “No. That's what you did. You couldn't bear to admit that you'd been wrong. And instead of changing direction and accepting what Kira was achieving, you devoted your life to tearing him down.”

His father looks down at him and Raito waits for the guilt in his face. But it doesn't come. Just the stare, the ever-present confidence that he's right, the unwillingness even to consider another's point of view. Typical. Parents can't ever admit to their children that they were wrong, because they've spent the child's entire life painting themselves as infallible. “Fine. I have nothing else to say to you.” The child is crying harder. The child is screaming, Come back. Please, come back. Raito is almost certain that nothing is going to come back, not now. One more flash of lightning. Before everything whites out, he thinks that for a moment he sees his own face looking back at him.

[Title] Identifying the Critical Value
[Fandom] Blake's 7 / Battle Royale
[Rating] PG
[Notes/Summary] Avon does not class Mimura as a friend. But they have various things in common.

Avon would never have classed Mimura as a friend. Not that he classes many people as friends. Friend implies that you can spend more than half an hour in their company without letting the irritation creep into your voice. He can barely spend a minute with Mimura before the irritation is visible.

No, they're not friends. Probably they are associates. They are both young and bored and have settled on technological crime as the latest avenue for distraction. Avon suspects that for Mimura it is nothing more than a distraction, another game to win, another thing at which to excel (like the sports team and the casual dating and the wide circle of legitimate friends). For he himself it is... it is more than that, it is sometimes the only thing which feels right, where he feels that he is in the right place, doing the right thing. Which is ridiculous, because it is typically very much the wrong thing, from skimming off the top of an unsecured account to manipulating records to make your life a little easier.

Well. Perhaps he is underestimating Mimura. A little. If it is nothing more than a distraction, it's one that has persisted for a long time now, and it's hardly one that Mimura can brag about to most of his social circle. Mimura could be a rising star. He is clever – Avon will reluctantly admit – and he is personable and charming and he certainly doesn't want to spend his life at the bottom of the hierarchy. He could be one of the Federation's young hopefuls, elites-in-training, and yet...

Hey, I toe the line, don't I? he said once when Avon voiced some of this while they waited for a botched-together collection of code to work its way through the system.

Don't be stupid. You know what I mean. You could play that game, if you wanted. You give the impression of being shallow and unreliable but we both know you could focus if you tried. Why don't you? Are you frightened you might actually fail?

That was a plausible hypothesis – Avon would relish the chance to see Mimura confronted with his own failure simply for the novelty value – but, as usual, Mimura shrugged it off, grinned: Not all games are created equal. If it's boring, I'm not gonna play.

Really? And what makes it boring exactly?

A nerve was struck, even if most people wouldn't have noticed, because Mimura deflected the question: You don't need to ask. 'Cause I notice you're not out there making connections and climbing the greasy pole, either.

Avon didn't dignify that with a response – they both knew perfectly well that he was never cut out even to play that kind of game, let alone win it. Later, when their latest project has come to fruition and they've got a direct line into the municipal staff communication system – the content is dull but the potential is not inconsiderable – and they're celebrating with a drink in one of the bars the Federation likes to pretend doesn't exist, it comes to Avon in a blink, and he says, You hate it.

What, this green stuff? I don't know, it's not so bad –

Don't be stupid. You cherish revolutionary ideals. You dream of a day when the galaxy will be free of the Federation's grip. Well, I never. I can't believe it, but you actually have a conscience.

Mimura doesn't admit it, but he doesn't deny it, either. Just says, Yeah? Do you? And Avon says, and at this point he genuinely believes it, I said, don't be stupid. You already know the answer to that.

My uncle says you only know what your values really are when sticking to them is going to turn out badly for you. Don't think it's come down to that for me, not yet. Glancing at Avon, then away. And you'd probably refuse to stick to them just to prove a point.

It's much, much later – after Anna, after The London, after Blake – that Avon learns, in passing, that Mimura was killed in an uprising resulting from the attempted cleansing of one of the domes. That's the only information. It's frustrating. Avon would like to know the details: was the fool caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, or did he think his invulnerability was permanent, or did he treat the situation as a game right up until he found out that Federation troops do not play by rules? Or did he find something, some value that was willing to stick by? No, that's stupid. It's far more likely that he finally made a mistake. Perhaps that's just easiest to empathise with. Mimura thought that he couldn't make mistakes, and Avon believed that if he stayed out of certain scenarios, certain arenas, he could avoid critical errors; it would make sense that they have both been proven wrong.

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