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Broken Like the Sun; this is private, scram
Topic Started: Feb 4 2011, 01:36 AM (2,886 Views)
Grim Wolf
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Mizore Soryu was skinny--skinnier, even, than Naoko Raidon, which was saying something. More wiry, certainly--far more of she was muscle than just lack of mass--but still, light as things went. Raidon could not help but be a little proud of himself on the way down the stairs and out the door. She didn't weight that much; he could do this.

Until his arms started to ache under the weight of their bags. Until his legs began to feel leaden with their joint weight.

Once they'd cleared the residential district--and the beeps had been getting frighteningly fast by then, so close together that Raidon swore he felt something stirring in the collar around his neck, twitching at his jugular, waiting to...

Well. Suffice to say he'd found it in him to put on an extra burst of speed.

Once they'd cleared the Residential District, they'd wandered farther north. At some point, she noticed him lagging and insisted he let her off. His protests were half-hearted; he simply wasn't strong enough to carry both her and the bags for long, and unlike the bags Mizore could, in a slow, hobbling sort of way, move.

She was lying when she said it didn't hurt, and the guilt and anxiety that thought brought with it stabbed into his lungs and nearly robbed him of his breath. It was his fault she had ended up hurt; his attack had startled her off the banister.

Victoria.

He winced.

Soryu sat without warning, by a pile of logs in the middle of a thick cluster of flowers and plants. He recognized none of them, but their scent was heady and relaxing; his worries and guilt drifted away of their own accord.

"You need to rest," she said.

"I need no such thing-" he started, bristling, but Soryu's implacable gaze and more-implacable words brooked no argument.

"And I need to eat," she added. "And I'm going to give you a backrub, because you saved my life, and I owe you that, at least."

He wanted to protest further, but he ached too much. It won't help at all if I wear myself out, he reminded himself. Rest is a part of travel. Otherwise I'll just get exhausted.

So he obediently sat, and buried his head in his hands as Soryu's nimble fingers worked out the kinks in his back. He would feel his aches (some, at least) ebbing away, driven out by steady outward pressure. He leaned back a little, into her hands--the last massage he'd received had been from a rather forward girl at a debate tournament, who had more or less forced him into the chair.

Soryu was not so forceful. Soryu was infinitely more seductive.

His mind went, after a little while, into the darkness his hands created. They smelled, on the surface, only of Soryu (paint and grime and sweat and of this odd, almost acrid smell he didn't quite understand but which he identified instinctively as her scent), but beneath that smell was something else--something horrible.

The smell of blood, and death. The smell of Victoria Logan and Jacob Charles.

I killed them.

Would that the deaths had been as frenzied as had their predecessors. The death of Scott McGregor had brought Raidon nothing but horror and guilt; he'd let his instincts overwhelm him. Alison, too, had suffered for his haste and stupidity. Jacob Charles and Maddie Stone had earned their deaths, but...

Alice had suffered for his stupidity. And, in the end, so had Victoria. They had been together for so long...

He could barely stand to let Soryu die, and he'd known her so briefly. He could understand now, finally, why Alice had refused to give up her gun, and why Victoria had fired without hesitation.

Soryu's hand moved away from his back. The second hand was not quite so hypnotic as the first, and he drifted out of his darkness and looked over. She was waving at someone; he frowned severely, hands trailing to his gun. They couldn't trust...couldn't she...

She trusts me. She can do what she wants.

He left the gun on the ground and got to his feet. Followed the direction of her wave. Saw the person walking towards them.

Shit.

He immediately fell to one knee, grabbed his gun from the top of his bag and brought it up. Julian Avery was about twenty feet away by this point--more than close enough to realize what Raidon was doing. By the time he'd aimed his gun, Julian had his own gun trained on him.

Raidon swallowed.

I don't want to aim this damn thing anymore.

But he'd heard Julian's name on the announcements. Julian had killed someone, and it had been someone armed--on their last encounter, Julian had sure as hell not had that gun.

Still. Neither of them had fired yet.

"I think the only way either of us walks away from this alive," Raidon said slowly, still on one knee as though he were about to propose with both hands around his gun. "Is if neither of us moves."
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"Try and kill you again?" Raidon repeated, face impassive. "I believe this is the first time I've ever trained a gun on you, Julian. Last time we saw each other, you ran like a scared rabbit at the first hint of violence."

The words came out of their own accord, quick and cutting. Raidon's voice was level, his mind racing; years of solitary debate against numerous opponents had taught him to use every fact at his dispoal, even before he had a clear picture of what was happening. It was unconscious and immediate; he was wired on adrenaline and guilt and clear, certain knowledge of his own lethality, and these things in combination allowed no room for hesitation.

What had Danya said? Something about Julian attempting to deliver justice?

"Nobody else needs to get shot," Julian said, voice crackling with energy. "You think you can make that happen?"

Raidon rose to his feet, gun still trained on Julian. "Did you grow a spine somewhere along the line?" he asked. "Pick up someone else's while you were running? More than a hundred dead at last count, so I guess there's no shortage." Justice, justice mean hero complex or did Omar kill someone important to Julian no fuck no don't worry about that now focus on what you know. "How did you kill Omar Burton, anyways?" he asked, remembering the note he'd made in his journal. "Did you trip over something?"

Why, why, why was he mocking this boy? Julian Avery had a gun, and there was nowhere for either of them to run or to take cover if they actually got violent. This wouldn't end in mutual survival; it would end in death, if only because they had nowhere to turn when their words failed them. The only thing he gained by talking to Julian like this was to piss him off and force him to act. Did Raidon want that? And if so, why?

Was it just because Julian was the last one who'd seen him before? Before Raidon had learned that he could pull the trigger, that someone could die not as a result of his self-preservation but instead of the permutations in his personality and his desperation? Was it because Julian had seen him kill a boy whose only crime had been to try and run when confronted with the fatal circumstances into which he had been plunged?

The bloodstained hat felt stiff on Raidon's head.

Shoot him now. Before he can do the same to you.

The little Type 77 in his hands wakened to lethal life, its icy touch numbing him with the death implicit in its weight, a cold breeze reminding Raidon of his own deadly potential.

Of course, Soryu had other plans.

"I don't care what danger you think you're in," she growled. "Or how right you think you are."

She wasn't in between the two of them. He still had a clear shot.

Take it.

Julian had killed before. Raidon had nothing left to lose, except...

Except if I kill him now, Soryu will never forgive me. And what happened last time I tried to bluff my way out of a stand-off?

Debate had been very useful to Raidon over the years, but it also came with its share of disadvantages. Every experienced debater knows that there are times when one's whole case falls to pieces based on a single thought or fact.

During his last stand-off he'd lost a finger and shot Alice Boucher, all without gaining the thing he'd been struggling for--that little addition of lethality. In so doing, he'd provoked such rage and fear in Victoria Logan that she'd been able to fire on him without hesitation--something Raidon had only managed so far in self-defense. She had sought him out and shot him without thought because Raidon had been unable to control his fear.

He could kill. He knew he could kill, and he knew he would kill again if he wasn't killed himself. He had nothing to prove here.

But Julian Avery had already made it clear he wasn't going to fight where Soryu could get shot. And Raidon knew from experience he'd put himself in danger rather than see Soryu killed.

"For the record, Soryu" he said, lowering his gun with his face still devoid of expression. "I sincerely doubt you could have limped in front of the bullets."
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Grim Wolf
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Raidon stood completely still, and kept his mouth shut, and listened. His body felt tight, tense, unstable--he imagined a volcano struggling towards eruption might feel the same way. Julian had killed, and as it turned out he did have a hero complex; he was standing there with a gun.

One move, that gun could be on Raidon. One move, and all the sins he'd committed would be null and void, because he wouldn't even keep his life as a result.

He relaxed as he listened to the two of them--as he listened to Julian's desperation to make the island an even slightly-more survivable place and Soryu's high-minded, unflappable and utterly certain rhetoric--and wondered idly whether other people on this island were having this conversation. How desperately they were struggling with their choices. It was precisely the abstract character of the argument that struck him--they'd encountered so few people, really. Those few they'd actually dealt with constituted the minority of the island's inhabitants.

But Soryu was right, wasn't she? Cycles of violence. Cycles of vengeance. He'd already engineered some himself.

His name came up. All the potential violence of the moment returned to him, and he went rigid.

"What is a saved life worth?" she asked.

Nothing.

His violence died as swiftly as it had come, and it left no sense of danger behind it; the last shreds of his fear were dispelled when Julian turned to him and asked him, with a politeness that was in no way forced, "What made you decide to save her, Raidon?"

Decide?

Saved lives. Decisions. Foolishness, stupidity, pride, desperation, life. Without his anger, fear, and adrenaline, his words weren't flowing like he wanted them to. He wanted to flabberghast them both, he wanted to make them understand...!

Soryu was looking at him expectantly. Julian was watching him with interest.

We could die at any moment.

"She keeps insisting," Raidon said thoughtfully. "That there are no bad apples. That we are only turning to killing because of the fear of our circumstances. She keeps believing in other people, and she keeps understanding why they do the unforgivable things they do."

Keeps understanding why I do the unforgivable things I do.

A moment of silence. Julian looked taken aback; Soryu had the faintest smile on her face, and the sweetness of it was such that Raidon ached.

"She's wrong, though."

Find the words, make them flow. "Not that the people on this island don't deserve to live," he said quickly. "But about what kind of people they are." He was thinking back to his last encounter with a fellow killer--with Clio Gabriella.

"I ran into Charles Dawson twice," Raidon said. "Once in the Tunnels on the first day we were here, and once..." He trailed off. "When Clio killed him."

And now Clio Gabriella was dead herself. Odd, now that he stopped to think about it.

"He was with Maddy Stone, that time," he added. "Before she tried to kill me. Before I..."

Don't let the words be stopped my memories, by thoughts of the gruesome death he'd inflicted on her--a bullet to each limb, mocking the stigmata, Christ, what had he been-?

"She and Charles had hatched a plan," Raidon said quickly, struggling to force the images from his mind. "They wanted to stop everyone on the island from fighting for a whole day. They wanted us to commit collective suicide." His fists tensed at his sides. "That was what they came up with. That was..."

What was he trying to say? Did he even know? It was nebulous, a Gordian knot in his heart and mind and throat, and the only way to untangle it was to keep picking at it. He'd held his peace; now he had no choice but to speak if he wanted to say anything worth saying.

"People have died by my hand," Raidon said. "Some of them died because I was afraid; others died because they were just as twisted as me. And one...one died because I hurt someone she loved."

Stay honest. This isn't for them, it's for me.

"People are going to keep dying by my hand," Raidon said. "Hopefully not...not as many. Scott..." He forced himself to look into Julian's eyes, saw the other boy stiffen and then straighten out, something hard and dangerous in his gaze. "Scott didn't have to die." He reached for the bloodstained hat on his head, his fingers alighting on the brim, and then retreated back to safety by his waist. "Neither did Alison. And Victoria Logan..."

He trailed off. From the corner of his eye, he saw Soryu's gaze narrow a little--saw the hurt and the mute accusation. Neither of them had spoken yet, though.

"Victoria Logan came after me, and I killed her," he said simply. "But she had every reason to come after me. If there is such a thing as righteousness in a place like this, she had it."

He looked down at his missing finger.

"The things we've lost and cannot regain leave nothing but regret and rage," Raidon said. "And regret and rage are the cornerstones of righteousness."

He stared at his missing finger.

"Loss is inevitable," he said simply. "No matter if we find some way out of this place or not. If Liz Polanski busts us all out, we've still lost over a hundred people. We've consumed ourselves. We'll keep consuming ourselves until we're absolutely sure we don't have to anymore." He paused, then offered Soryu a weak smile. "You're right, in a way," he said. "We're not bad apples. Just desperate ones." He nodded at Julian, then at Soryu, then indicated himself. "Out here, though, there isn't a difference."

His fear had cost two people their lives; his anger had cost the life of a third; his certainty had cost the lives of another two. Innocence was long gone, and God was nothing but a remote asshole who'd built flawed, wretched children and left them to destroy themselves. He'd lost his morality, his God, his finger, and his friend. And in spite of the breadth of it, he had still more to lose.

On this island, where only one person would walk away, and there was no chance of them doing that intact. On this island, everything was loss.

I don't want to leave her.

I don't want her to hate me.

I don't want to be alone again.

I don't want-

I need to survive.


Right.

"She's closer to it than you are, though," he said, jerking his head towards Soryu. "Towards good or...or whatever it is you're looking for."

Julian spoke for the first time. "Good?" he repeated. "People are killing, stopping them is good."

"There isn't any evil in this game, Julian," Raidon said. "Just people trying to do what they think is right. I think she's doing the best job. She's the only one who hasn't betrayed everything she was." He paused, considered his words. "Everything she is."

Do what you think is right.

"Someone's going to get out of here alive," Raidon said. "I'd like very much for that to be me. I don't think I deserve it anymore than you or...or any of the people on this island. But I'm going to try it anyways." He grabbed his bag from where it was and tossed it over her shoulder.

"You mentioned a name," Raidon said. "Maxwell Lombardi."

The name that kept coming up on the Announcements. The name of the of the man who was quite possibly the most dangerous person on this island. The name of the man who had killed Simon Grey.

He slipped his gun into the waistline of his pants. "Much as I want to live," he said. "I have to go put an end to him."

He didn't look at Soryu. He didn't want to think about cycles of vengeance just then. He didn't want to think about the violence she so hated.

"You're not going to kill me now, Julian Avery," he said. "We're going to walk away without hurting each other. You're trying to be a good person and you have a gun and an idealistic idiot like her is going to die without someone like you to protect her, so you're going to take her with you."

He forced his features to remain neutral, as something cried out insdie him.

"Because neither of us is going to make it if we stay together."
Edited by Grim Wolf, Feb 18 2011, 08:33 PM.
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She falls, but she doesn't hit quite as hard as she would have.

She starts to fall, there's no way around that--Raidon's a weakling, he spent too much time on the computer or writing or working on different projects and scholarships. He never took the time to develop any of the athletic talent he may or may not have had. His hand-eye coordination is somewhat better than average, if the fighting on the island is any indication, but other than that he isn't fast and he isn't strong.

So she manages to take a step and starts to fall before he can close the gap between the two of them. And when he gets his arms around her, she's too heavy for him, and his legs are still sore from their earlier run from a danger zone; he falls with her.

Manages to get his body under her, though. Leaves him feeling winded and leaves his chest aching, but he manages that much.

Ow.

He just wished he felt more noble about it.

She scrambled away from him, as though his touch were diseased and repellent. He winced, feeling his self-hatred grow a little more--even she can't stand me anymore--and then straightened out, making his way to his feet.

He hadn't had time to respond to Julian yet. Soryu had reacted too quickly.

He looked between the two of them--the idealistic pacifist who was angry at him because the world did not conform to her expectations and the would-be vigilante who now wanted to accompany him on his quest for vengeance. Raidon was more under control now--barring any hostile encounters, he though they might be able to travel together safely. He could use the help, truth be told--based on the Announcements, taking Maxwell down was going to pose a serious challenge. He'd have to watch his bag constantly, of course--he was one of the villains Julian had sworn himself to fight.

And then there was Soryu.

"Did you ever take Mr. Crawford's American History?" he asked.

Soryu's anger, outrage, and revulsion was now tempered by confusion. Julian, too, looked puzzled.

"Crawford," he continued. "One fourth Ojibwe Indian. Always managed to insert the Native Americans into whatever god damn lecture he was giving."

He thought he saw a little more understanding in their gaze now. Alright.

"He told this story once about this Native American, Little Crow," Raidon continued. "He was a Santee Chief who led an Indian revolution against the American government because the Americans had effectively cut off the food supply of the Santee people. When the revolution failed, he fled to Canada, but he came back to deal with his people's plight."

Neither of them had been his class, Raidon knew that much. Had they heard this story? Did it matter?

"The U.S. government often offered a bounty for the scalps of rebellious Indian tribes opposing them," Raidon continued. The details were all there; he'd found the story fascinating, and read a few essays about the subject on his own time. "Trouble was, you can't really tell the difference between friendly Indian scalps and hostile Indian scalps, and some people couldn't even tell the difference between Indian scalps and Mexican scalps, and some people were more than willing to take advantage of that fact."

Oblique--always come at them from an angle they don't expect. People are smart, they'll have arguments prepared for everything unless it's something they don't expect.

"Well, Little Crow was hostile, they got that right," Raidon continued. "He was shot and killed, and his killers were paid a bounty for his scalp. And when they'd confirmed it was his, they put his skull and scalp on display in St. Paul."

Let that hang. Wait for a moment.

"People aren't evil because they're desperate," Raidon said. "People are evil because they were offered the opportunity to be so."

"I intend to get off this island," Raidon said to Julian. "If we manage to escape by some other means, fine, but if the only way out is by winning the game than I'll win the damn game." No dressing it up. "So I you feel you need to kill me after we take out Max, than I give you leave to try." He brushed himself off, feeling the ache in his back where it had collided with his bag. "If you draw on me, I'll do my best to kill you first, but you might succeed."

God, how miserable would that be? Gunned down by Julian Avery before...

"Max comes first though," he added immediately. "If we can agree to that, I suppose..."

This is a mistake, this is a mistake, you can't trust Julian and he's armed, you should just gun him down, but here's the thing; when Maxwell finally goes, you're going to be the most dangerous person on this island, and you know that for a fact. When that times comes, he'd much rather have Julian nearby, where they can settle it quickly, rather than have to hunt him down, worry about picking up someone else's weapon.

For now, Raidon was no longer a player. For now, Raidon was a hunter.

He turned to Soryu. "I'm not trying to turn over a new leaf, I'm not trying to be something new, something more heroic. I am not good and I never have been and I'm sorry-"

And god he was sory, the spear which thrust its way up through his abdomen and into his heart left no doubt of that, the nameless ache and the tidal fear which consumed him then at the fact that she might hate him, might leave him, and that he might never get the chance to kiss her all-too-sweet lips again nearly blinded him to all other possibilities-!

"-that I can't live up to your expectations."

He paused. "If I'm going to make it off this island, Lombardi has to die," he said simply. "And if I'm going to live with myself after this is all over, Lombardi has to die." He was armed, and he was unlikely (barring some sudden windfall) to be more ready than he was. He was strong, he was (comparatively) well-fed, he had an ally (albeit one on whom he could not entirely rely). "Vengeance, justice, something in me insists that I go after Maxwell Lombardi-"

Like his heartbeat, swift and steady, inevitable.(

He's got to die.

He's got to die.

He's got to die.
).

"-and that same something insists you come with me."

He didn't make a move towards her. "You can convince me I'm wrong if you like," Raidon said. "You can convince me that this will only fulfill some bullshit cycle, that I'm just playing Danya's game, that there's something better than survival. Or you can stay completely silent and try to kill me when I sleep, or you can run away at every opportunity. But until your leg heals you are going to come with me, if only because I will knock you out and force you to if you don't agree."

Keep this person he'd found to care about alive for as long as possible, in spite of the fact she hated everything he was. Go after the person who'd killed the last person he'd cared about in the company of a man whose code demanded Raidon die.

This isn't going to help you.

It isn't supposed to help me. It's supposed to keep me human.
Edited by Grim Wolf, Feb 21 2011, 01:16 AM.
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Private words.

Let them speak. Let them plan. Plan what? Who can say? What can the would-be vigilante convince the pacifist hippie of? What can they accomplish? And why don't they want Raidon to hear?

Larger questions, questions he should be ignoring, because Naoko Raidon is not trying to protect people and he is not trying to beat the game. Too many of the cards rest in the hands of the men working the system, and so Naoko Raidon is going to play by the system's rules so he can get the hell out of here, regardless of what these two have to say.

The witness to his first murder. The girl he'd killed to protect.

"Fine," he heard. "Let's go."

And she was limping off into the woods.

She limped off into the woods, and without so much as a glance at Julian Avery Raidon followed, because he was beginning to understand why, exactly, he'd allowed himself to talk, and why either he or Julian wasn't dead right now. It was related, in part, to Maxwell Lombardi and Simon Grey. It was related to trying to plan ahead--to understand that, after all was said and done, he would have to live with himself if he ever escaped this godawful island.

As long as she was injured, he couldn't let Soryu go.

"If it comes down to it," Raidon said, so only Julian could hear him. "You get her away from whatever we're fighting." He glanced down at his gun. "If it comes down to it."

(Naoko Raidon continued in -,-- -,-- --..)
Edited by Grim Wolf, Mar 12 2011, 10:14 AM.
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