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You hate kings and you think kings are really stupid. They are petty, bossy tyrants and are really full of themselves and are basically awful in every way.
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So you see the girl with the ribbons in her hair and the tears in her eyes and she's snarling, raging, breaking down, falling, scrambling away, and she's not well, not well at all, so you ask yourself, if you've even got a shred of human decency, you ask yourself who did that to her?

Because lord knows she wasn't always like this. Lord knows she was doing a whole lot better before- before what? Before the island before something before someone? And you look at yourself and you look at Raidon and you maybe shuffle around a little and point a finger this way, that way, cause nobody really likes taking the blame, but no bones about it you did that to her.

You did that to her.

And you want to make her better. You want to renounce everything about your killing and your mission and yourself and you want to look her in the eye and say I am new, I am new, I am someone else now and I am someone better. You want to throw down your sword and disassemble your gun and you want to fall to your knees and say you're sorry till you're someone else you're someone better.

And you want to look up, look over, maybe wipe your eyes off because something or other was in them, and you want to see Raidon doing the same as you. And you want for her to smile, you want for her to feel happy- or at least you want her to feel something else. Anything else. There's a whole goddamn range of emotions in this big beautiful world of ours, pick one, pick one, any one at all, and put it on so Julian can be glad.

It won't happen, no no, of course it won't happen because it'd take some sort of miracle- but just in case, please, in case anyone with a miracle up their sleeve is listening, if you could use it right here and make this fine, make everyone well, Julian would appreciate it. Anybody out there with a... with a miracle waiting to... waiting... no, not really, huh. Okay. Okay. That's fine, Julian can deal. That's okay.

What's the next best thing?

“Mizore, I...” The words fail, the man with all the words and all the charm and all the wit is standing here and choking on his thoughts and all that comes out is, “shit.”

No, don't give up that easy.

“Mizore. Can I get a word in private, real quick? Please?”

She nodded. No words for him, which was right and proper. And Raidon didn't seem to object to the idea, so... good.

“Hey, look, you're... you're right. You're completely right about everything. About everything.” Aww. You say that like you actually believe it. “I don't want to do this anymore, and I'd just walk away here, but...”

“Look, odds that we actually find Max are really, really low. Most likely, we just gonna be keeping Raidon outta trouble, which... it's good. I can get behind that.” Oh, you sly dog.

“And hey, maybe it'll end up that... he ain't done any more killing for a few days, and all of a sudden he realizes he ain't any more dead than when he was on his spree.”

“I... I know this is bullshit, this whole pretense, but it's the best I can do. And I wanna make it right. I wanna... make it right.”

And you look sad now, you look frightened, you look like someone else entirely, maybe. Like you actually believe any of it, maybe.

Wait, wait, wait. You do believe it.

Oh, then that's different.
Jeremy Franco is alive. You can write a better ending, goddammit.

Charlie DuClare is dead. And nothing was easy anymore except to smile.
Julian Avery is dead. Courage was the man with a gun in his hand.
JJ Sturn is dead. Fuck it, all good things gotta come to an end.
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Broken Like the Sun · The Felled Forest: North