Private Finished For goodness sakes, Where is my self control?

ReD

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A flint knife.

Lochlann ran through what he knew about flint. it could be used to start fire, he thought, and he was pretty sure flint was something he was able to touch. It was flaky, wasn't it?

That had to hurt like a bitch.

"Well fuck man," Lochlann said.

He lit his fourth cigarette. At this rate, after getting a drink and taking a shower, he was going to have to go out for another pack. A flint knife to the heart.

He realized there was one other question he had for Charlie. Lochlann's parents were old, but he didn't know how old. His ancestors a few lines back might have had some claim to fame, but as far as notoriety went, they were pretty scarce. Rumors were few, though his mother had a bit of a reputation from what Lochlann could glean from the herd when they were traveling over the Atlantic.

But there was a difference between being born immortal and driving a flint knife through the heart and Lochlann wanted to know.

"Was it worth it?" he asked. He glanced at the lich from the corner of his eyes and returned back to the ocean. Lochlann's near two decades seemed long. HE couldn't imagine an eternity.

It didn't stop him from making a face when he realized what the professor thought he was implying.

"You know how many people think that about me?" Lochlann said. He tossed his hair back from his face and then admitted, "I think it might be the bangs. But I like living. A lot. Everything I do is to stay alive. I just never expected to get this far. It's just that.."

That he was well acquainted with the idea of death but had no idea what it felt like.

Which made Lochlann recall another thing, so he asked, as blunt as ever, "You know there's a rumor floating around the school that you tried to kill a shit ton of people. And also that you know how to play the saxophone."

He made up the last part on the off chance it might deflect attention away from any one particular person who might be spreading the rumor. Lochlann just heard it through the grapevine.
 

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"Yes" said Charlie "yes it was worth it. Being a lich has given me the one thing I always wanted, time. Time to do whatever I wanted, to see the world, to learn. When you have all the time in the world, you can slow down and smell the roses, enjoy the little things. Sure, it has it's problems, but, in hindsight, I would do it all over again"

What Charlie didn't tell Lochlann was the... other part of becoming a lich. In addition to a ritual, stabbing onesself through the heart, you also had to kill a large number of people, and use their souls to power your own. Becoming a lich was one of the most evil acts in existance.

"Well, yes, i do play a mean saxophone." Said Charlie, initially in an atempt to deflect attention away from the other half of thay question. It was a question that cropped up quite often from various people. After an admission to Angelo, somebody must have heard, so the rumour was going around. He really disliked questions about it.

Charlie sighed.

"Well, if you would like the version that hasn't been sullied by the rumour mill, here goes. I haven't always been the nice friendly teacher. Before here, i was, well... Evil. The incident you are talking about was a previous plan I had, and came close to executing, to end all intelligent life on earth. The purpouse was to bring everyone back as undead. I theorised thay without death, there would be no war, no crime. But that would lead to stagnation. It was a stupid plan. My past is not a clean place. I have killed... an awful lot of people. But this island is my chance to change, to improve things."

Charlie really disliked talking about this sort of thing. He had stared to long into the abyss, and the abyss had consumed him, and talking about it was looking into that abyss again. This island was his second chance, his attempt at redemption.

"I hope you don't think any less of me because of this."

@ReD
 

ReD

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Lochlann mulled this all over.

The professor spoke so matter-of-fact about the whole scenario that, for a moment, it sounded more like he'd crashed someone's brand new car instead of...

committing mas genocide, Lochlann supposed. It was hard for him to imagine death on that scale. Lochlann was never very good with numbers to begin with and trying to picture something that big was a feat that stretched all of his abilities. He chewed on the inside of his cheek. He considered it.

Then, he laughed.

It was the same, short, dry laugh that was almost like a cough.

"I guess, in comparison," Lochlann said. "I really shouldn't complain too much about my body count."

It was the first time he'd ever mentioned this part of his own life so casually. His own monsterness.

Lochlann coughed and then brought the cigarette up to his lips again. A chance to improve. Could someone walk back from that? It seemed likely, given what the professor was telling him, about what he was doing. He was....teaching, which Lochlann always thought was kind of sacrificing in his own way. But as far as Lochlann knew, the professor didn't have any weird self-punishment things. He'd never seen him like...Lochlann wasn't sure.

What did people do when they wanted to punish themselves for feeling bad about what they'd done?

His fingers trembled and he put them in his pocket, wishing again his flask would fill itself.

"You think it exists then," Lochlann said. "Evil, I mean? Or is it just the choices?"
 

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"Yeah" said Charlie, in response to Lochlann's mention of his own body count, a confirmation of that which was meerly a suspicion in Charlie's mind, but Charlie would do nothing. If things were to improve, dredging up the past was not the way to do it. "So take it from someone who knows. There is no place you can be, no pit too deep, that you cannot escape from."

Charlie thought about it for a moment. He had never really classed what he did as evil before he came to the island. They were just the the things he did. He needed something, and people refused, so those people had to be dealt with. It was a purely logical action. There were no long monologues in Charlie's history, standing over the fallen hero. It was efficient, and brutal. There had been moments of passion, yes, revenge, but they were swamped by the other events.

"Evil... is a complex thing. No, i don't believe it exists. There are choices, and how people view them. But almost nobody would view what I did as a positive thing, so it is easier to slap the label evil on it and be done with it. The decision to make a positive change for the future, now that is real. That is what i'm trying to do, here on this island. Maybe together we can try that, make a positive change."

This was Charlie's attempt to get Lochlann on side. His goal was to try and improve Lochlann after all. If he was a friend to the kid, then that was all the better.

@ReD
 

ReD

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Could Lochlann escape from this?


For a moment, he almost believed it. He glanced at Charlie, glanced at the ocean, and then back down to the cigarette held in his shaking hands. He finished it, then crushed the butt under his feet and put the remains in his jacket pocket to discard away from the ocean.

Almost.

It was tempting to believe that, if Charlie could get redemption, so could he. Arguably, on paper, Charlie's crimes seemed worse. The professor was right in that his actions could hardly be viewed positively, but....they were actions born from thought and magic.

"I wish I could believe that," Lochlann said.

Lochlann had no excuse.

He had no reason to justify himself out his messes. What was his excuse? His family coped just fine. They didn't lose it and drag someone they cared about beneath the river, lake, ocean, over and over again like he did.

Lochlann swallowed. His throat was dry.

He looked over the edge of the railing a bit too suddenly, his dark hair caught in the sea breeze and splaying behind him. His shoulders tensed, his fingers clenched the rail. His back leg lifted just a little, as though he was about to kick or jump

just jump his brain told him. The waves will feel so, so good.

Lochlann groaned and rested his head on the railing instead, his lifted foot coming down hard like a stamp. His palms were damp. His skin was fever hot and the cool railing of the ship felt good, so good.

the waves would feel better, something deep inside of himself reminded him.

"Did i answer enough questions to look at the file now?" Lochlann asked. His voice was barely audible.
 

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Charlie placed a hand on Lochlann's shoulder, before passing him the files. Charlie's hand was cold, and beneath the glamour, it was still bone. Charlie exuded no heat, no warmth, but the hand was surposed to both comfort Lochlann, and be able to pull him back if he tried to jump. Charlie hoped it was comforting. Some people found the feel of Charlie's bones beneath his glamour, the surprise as their fingers went a little further than they indented through his illusonary skin, mildly creepy. Charlie hoped it was comforting.

"If you jumped in, you would wreck the files, the things you've worked so hard to get. Even if you can't pull yourself back from that place, there are people who will help pull you back, like me."

Charlie was here to support Lochlann, wether Lochlann liked it or not. Lochlann certainly was the most lively of the students he was mentoring, but ensuring his improvement was important. Charlie might even be able to get him to an addict support meeting, even if he had to bar the doors and windows.

"So what do the files say? What have they revealed? I thought they were to do with the nefarious Miss Haze, not a ' Dani Californication'."

@ReD
 

ReD

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Maybe it was the fact that the professor's fingers did feel like bone and not regular fingers that let it comfort Lochlann a little bit. Maybe because he was so starved for touch, for contact, that he'd take even this. Maybe, just maybe, it was because Lochlann suspected Charlie might understand.

He didn't jump but he picked his head up from the railing. It'd left an indent on his forehead and his black hair was sticking up away from his face in odd directions.

He took the file from Charlie.

He held it for a moment, between his two fingers just like the cigarettes he'd finished.

"Dani was my girlfriend," Lochlann said. "She died in my apartment."

He opened it and said, automatic, his voice flat, "It wasn't me."

But there she was. Danielle California, a banshee, another person that Lochlann had loved. Her file was thinner than this, most of the details behavioral concerns and Lochlann skimmed through this.

"Guinevere Haze doesn't have a file," he said. "She's a straight A student and doesn't get into trouble. Guinvere Haze is going places. It would be wise to be more like Guinevere Haze."

He said this like he was repeating something that had been told to him by someone else. He was. Lochlann pulled the photo of Guin from his wallet and held it between his teeth while he flipped to the last several pages of Dani's file.

There was a police report and the death certificate.

Cause of death: internal trauma from gunshot wounds. Happened too quickly to revive her. Damage was too severe for emergency magical procedures and, besides, she was fae, a death fae, and those kinds of magic were always picky with her kind. With fae. Who even knew if they had souls?

He was listed as a suspect, which didn't surprise him, especially since he'd been called in for questioning. Lochlann looked at the file. He pulled the photo from his teeth.

He looked at it again. He flipped a page. His eyes darted back and forth. His dark brows furrowed.

For a long while, Lochlann didn't understand, and when he did, the realization hit him like a stone skipping in a pond: sudden and jumping and echoing through his abdomen.

"Oh," Lochlann said.

He took a few steps back. He sat down, tilted his head back. He took a deep breath. Then a short breath. He wasn't sure if he was going to laugh or if he was going to scream. He wanted to throw himself over the edge and he wanted to drown and scream and breath water until his lungs burned.

His entire life was a lie and it was the truth and it was complicated.

The photo in his hand, the one that he'd held for the last year, the one that he was certain implicated Guinevere in Dani's death.

The one that showed Guinevere standing outside of his apartment on the night Dani was murdered

the night Guinevere shot sings rounds into Dani's chest
that sometimes still echoed in his dreams

was
never of Guin at all.

It was Dani. Dani standing outside of his apartment, because there was another photo of her running down the street, giving the timeline of her arrival. There was a photo of Lochlann returning to his apartment a few hours before hand, flowers in hand, and Lochlann didn't leave that apartment until he left with the coroner and the police for questioning hours later.

There was no photo of Guinevere. Not a single fucking photo.

Which meant it was never about Guinevere at all.

Which meant it had been all about Guinevere this entire time.

How had Lochlann never noticed just how much Dani looked like her?

He mused that, maybe, it was because Dani and Guin were so very different. Dani was all soft sways of her hips, the gentle caress of her fingers on his aching head, and Guin was hard lines and a knife leaving scars over his throat, his hand, his heart.

He'd spent years on this, trying to keep her safe, trying to figure it out. And maybe, now, if he was admitting it to himself, it had less to do with Dani, it had less to do with his need to keep himself free of Dani's death, and it had every fucking thing to do with Guinevere Haze.

Lochlann was good at pretending to be human.

He was the best at holding his glamour of his entire family. He could stay submerged in the shower for as long as he wanted now. Every year he got better and better at it.

But now, sitting on the floor, the file on his lap.

This was the most human Lochlann had ever been.
 

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