I'm the smug bastard that just doesn't have the good grace to die. I'm the oppressor, the villain, the young cynic who's already made too many mistakes – or calculated missteps – to be forgiven. I'm manipulative. Talk to me too long and you'll lose pieces of yourself in the way I twist words together. Spend too much time with me and soon, you won't even be acting like you anymore. I'm vain. I'm heartless. Power-hungry and insatiable. I believe that life is a series of transactions and what I want out of life is to profit. Profit in wars and friendships and business, and some day, I want to profit by my death. I consider things mine. People. Cities. The world. I care for what's mine, but I also expect it to serve me. I'm addicted to achievement. I'm hopelessly fascinated by fear. I'm two-faced. I'm obsessive and rash and quick to anger, always quick to confront. I'm strong, so brave, and viciously tenacious. I will never look for a reason to run, or a reason not to fight. But I'll never fight for anything just or noble. I'll never fight on another's behalf. I don't believe in things like that.
I set down my pen and immediately doubted myself, but slid the paper across the table anyway. I almost expected him not to read it. Maybe, I thought, he'd smile dryly and thank me for my time, leave me wondering if I'd gotten him all wrong just for sport. He didn't, though. He picked it up, skimmed over it, and arched an eyebrow.
“Is that what you think? Come on. The only thing you really know about me is my name,” he said.