I’m not ignorant; I know what you think of me. I also know just who you are, even if you think I’m too stuck in the clouds to notice your plummeted flight.
No doubt, in years to come, you’ll pretend I never understood.
For every one of my mistakes, you’ll think they’re all I am.
If given the chance, you’d rewrite it all to make me look worse than I am. If you had absolute control of our shared history, I would be the monster you run to and from, always. You’d erase the nuance.
You can’t help it. I have to be horrible for you to move on, and…I don’t blame you for it. I do not blame you, Alexei.
I’m not avoiding you because I blame you, or because I don’t care.
I’m avoiding you because you have to make me evil to survive.
I thought I knew the terms of our arrangement. That it was, above all things, an arrangement.
That’s my mistake. You said as much for thousands of minutes, but you’re often prone to saying one thing and doing another. I guess for you and me, it mattered. It mattered enough to stick.
Yet, you know this: you are serrated on both edges, and surely don’t make it easy. I do not know how to hold onto you.
I don’t think anyone can truly do that, because you need gentle. And who have you ever fallen in love with that was gentle?
I walk towards our café. It’s our spot. I want nothing from you, but to see that you’re safe. That you haven’t self-destructed, like you’re also prone to do — a livewire in a swimming pool of your own making.
You’re talking to the short pink haired woman you almost always hide from me, protective. Out of all your friends, this one is the most protected.
Maybe you see yourself in her; an actual wounded child beneath the years of age that have done nothing to make you wiser, only more tired.
Maybe you see a chance to hold onto moments of joy you never had before.
She’s drawing something, I can’t make it out. You’re feral, but you’re trying to smile for her. You look at me through the window.
I can’t be here.
I stalk up the street. I don’t wait for the lights; I pass, and smoke, and think, and wonder just how we got to this place. You have escalated everything you’ve ever been given. Because you haven’t been given much.
I’ve pieced together some things about you. I didn’t know you were born into that particular job. It makes sense; it’s your weapon of choice, after all, manipulating through the shell of an ear in a long-line down a jaw.
I couldn’t see it then.
I couldn’t see what you gave me. I thought you gave yourself to everyone, and anything, especially monsters. Now I know, I was expected to be different.
Do you think I proved you right?
You haven’t been given much. I haven’t either.
While you worked in the way you do, I had to make smart moves. Strategic plays, moving pieces back and forth, careful deaths, ever moving upwards.
I used you in this.
But you used me to get seedier elements out of the way as well.
We used each other. I think you thought it was a partnership; two beasts, moving into power. I liked to think so, too. An arrangement.
Then I wounded you, I thought, trivially. Trivial; we’re the same. Trivial; ‘we’ are temporary. Trivial; because you’d been hurt like this plenty of times.
I understand you now.
I walk to Boris’ old bar. It’s Moira’s now. You single-handedly gave that to her.
How you don’t see yourself fully is beyond me. You manipulate everyone around you. You lie, always.
I understand you now.
You don’t lie in power. You don’t manipulate in malice. You deceive in survival. It’s survivalism. You are constantly in survival mode.
I’m…this is the wrong line of thinking.
Neither of us are villains here, little bird.
I’m going to make it right. I’m going to get you out. Just you wait and see. I will prove to you I’m not the monster you think I am.
And maybe someday, you won’t write me off as just another villain. I’ll get you all out of this place, make sure you’re safe, and take all repercussions.
I promise you that.