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Mizore was thinking about oceans, the sound of the sea in her ears. She'd seen the ocean with her family, when she was small, a vacation, tense and lonely when the first of her brothers was born. She had walked out into the dawn beaches in the mornings, in the calm, tasted the air, blue-grey and salty sweet.

Since then, she had been able to hear the ocean, in conch shells, cups and glasses, soda cans. Anything hollow, anything unsure.

And she could hear the ocean now, Raidon holding her. Why am I so calm? Mute judgement in her eyes. Killer. But hard to hate. Should I hate you? But his arms were behind her, bringing her up the stairs. Back to the tan-and-gold guest room, in the warm yellow light.

His words, he could think about his words, his words that had wrapped around her like symbols and chains. "You may not like it," he had said, "but if someone comes after us, you don't get to die. You can do that by yourself."

She wanted to kiss him again, perhaps. Gently.

She didn't have to judge right now. I'm hurt, she cried, looking for excuses. I don't need to judge, I don't need to condemn him.

Not yet. Not yet.

He put her down, back to the headboard. I'm being carried. He pulled the pillow that would have been behind her above her knee.

He looked tired. "H-hold on," he said, stuttered, slurred, so tired. "I'll…I'll be back."

And he left.

She wanted to wash out her mouth. Something cold. Without him was easier. Less conflict. Simple life, simple death. She painted, and she died. Nothing complicated occurred. None of these questions about who she was, or if falling in love with him made everything she stood for moot. None of this killing. You won't have to see it, but it'll still be there. But she wouldn't have to condemn it. Fight him. Make him give up his hope for life, because of her selfish self-identity.

He's better than that.

But what right do you have to judge him when you let every other killer on the island escape your scathing judgement scot-free?

But he's better than that.

What right do you have to tell him to give up hope?

Once upon a time, she had always been right. Now, she wasn't so sure.

She could hear Raidon puttering downstairs. The scrape of bags against wood. Looting the corpses. The thought came with all the requisite disgust.

But the disgust didn't last nearly long enough.

No. No. She wanted to hold him.

Head against the headboard. Knee propped on the bed. Help me. But there was no one to tell her what was wrong and right and I wouldn't believe them anyway.

No one to tell her. I want to touch him again. Just one more time. She had to leave, she knew she had to leave I can't be this, an accessory to murder but he was monstrous in her thoughts always there, why are you always here?

She could meditate, but he wouldn't blow away.

Creaking on the stairs now. He was coming up. She closed her eyes, pushed angst away, and felt, not emptiness, but just a desire to speak to him, hold him. You are my equal.

Words thumping in her head.

Load up your guns, bring your friends, it's time to lose, and to pretend-

He was in the doorway. "Hey."

The light curled around him. "Hey," she said, kind of lamely.

"Are you--I just wanted to check if you were okay."

Now I am. "I'm fine."

He was stumbling on his feet. So tired, too tired. I just want you to know who I am.

"I guess--I guess I'll--" He was not looking at her, but his eyes burned.

Sometimes the moments that should be so crucial, so important, are an impulse instead. "Raidon?" She said.

"Yeah?"

"I want you to kiss me."

Because you want it. I know you want it. I pulled away last time. And here I am, sitting on this bed like a Queen, and I will say what I please.

He didn't smile, but his eyes lifted. He came over to the bed, like slow night on the windowsills, leaned an arm against the headboard, and put his mouth to hers.

And she kissed him. And he kissed her. And it was the most comfortable thing in the world.

She didn't break away first, this time. It was he who broke away, his arm giving away on the headboard, and he toppled onto her lap, eyes fluttering, bruised. "Tired," he said apologetically, but he made no move to leave.

She pulled him up onto the bed. No undressing him, no sex, just letting him half-climb half-fall beside her. "Hush." She said. "Come to sleep."

Her smile was a little amused. He smiled softly back up at her.

Light off. Tucking his knees into the covers. All things she could do without her knee.

The clock ticked softly from the next room.

Right now, there was no conflict at all.
--------


Alice Boucher was a liar.
Liz Polanski played with fire.

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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