You were not born innocent. Even in your mother's womb, you were touched by sin, even before she brought you into this world: you had done nothing but live, bear the soul of the first murderer, and for your existence you were judged, judged and found wanting and cursed.
(You nearly died before you were born, they were afraid that you would be a stillbirth, and when you breathed, a weak cry of protest, your mother wept and called it a miracle, that heaven was watching: it was the furthest thing from a miracle, though heaven did watch)
The first thing you remembered was your death. Not any fragments of childhood innocence, not life itself, but being removed from it, no peaceful end, torn from life a thousand different painful ways, memories jangling about in your head discordantly.
(Your parents never knew why you never woke from sleep without crying, without screaming: you never knew either, not until you were older, years older and years colder, old enough to know and understand just what you had been cursed with, old enough to resent and then hate)
Four when you first remembered, eight when your parents died. Bad luck always comes in fours, it seems, and you heard the neighbors talking in whispers when they thought you couldn't hear, in the corner reading books too old for your outward appearance, not old enough for your mind. Strange child, cold child, wouldn't even cry for his parents, was he even sad?
(It wasn't that you didn't mourn for your parents: even you were capable of love, but when you remembered thousands of years, lives laid out in patterns of tragedy, their deaths were only one more thread on that tapestry of pain, and only one more thing to hate heaven for)
Your aunt and uncle took you in: you had nowhere else to go, and they were kind to you, more then kind, really, you were as a son to them. They had a child already, your cousin: the first time you laid eyes on the baby, happy and completely innocent, a surge of jealousy, hot and deep and old, runs through you. It wasn't fair, that you never had the chance to be innocent but he did, through some capricious twist of fate, and more then that, something older, older then him, older then you, in the earliest memories inside your head, familiar, and you know him as more then simply your cousin.
(The first time they left you alone with him, you stood by the crib and stared down at him. Your head hurt, and that same flash of jealousy, the phantom feel of a rock in your hand, and blood, so much blood, and even though you love your cousin, you want to kill him, for just a moment, pick him up and shake him, you do pick him up for a moment before you regain your senses, realize what you're about to do, drop him back into the crib and stumble backwards a few steps, falling to the floor as he cries, and it's several months before you trust yourself to be alone with him again)
You are thirteen by the time you understand. Not completely-even as smart as you are, even with all the memories in your head to guide you, you still don't have all the pieces to put together, but you're working on it, quietly getting your hands on old, old texts, Latin and Greek and older still, and dipping your toes into the occult underground, in between school and cram school and whatever else, talking circles around whoever you can get to tell you things, especially important things -but you understand enough.
Enough to know that you are Cain, the first murderer, who in your very first lifetime murdered your brother and introduced the concept of murder into the world, enough to know that the cycle of reincarnation is not supposed to carry memory with it, that even several of the most notable murderers in history, who killed more then ever you (him?) did managed to reincarnate, again and again, and who not only did not remember their prior lives, but were not cursed to live lives of tragedy and pain over and over and over again.
Only you. Which points to a special curse, and there is only one being in all the worlds powerful enough, and spiteful enough, to do it. How ironic, that God is so spiteful, carrying such a grudge over the murder of one favored child, when He is written about in several major religions' holy books as being infinitely loving and merciful, just when this is not merciful or just.
(You close your eyes and remember a girl, thirteen: she was you, in another life, spindly and silver-haired and still growing into her limbs, like you are. Who remembered the same things you did, and couldn't bear it, until she killed herself to get away from it. That could have been you, broken instead, and you will not let yourself break, because that is what He wants, for you to break and shatter and crawl begging forgiveness and that is something you will never do)
You are fifteen when the first glimmerings of an idea begin to stir, fifteen and flat on your back in a completely darkened room with a headache that feels like it is splitting your head open. You have always been prone to awful, terrible migraines, nothing the doctors have tried seem to work, mostly because you suspect that the cause is the thousands of years' worth of memories all jumbled around in your head. You've learned to work through them as best as you can, but this one is worse then the usual ones, you can't do anything but lie there and wait for it to go away.
(You hate being so helpless, dependent on others: you hate being helpless period, but this is the worst)
The door opens a crack, letting light in, and you snarl something sarcastic, possibly about closing the door before the light kills you, you can't even tell what you're saying, and your little cousin, your brother, looks stricken as he shuts it behind himself.
He brought you a damp cloth and painkillers: how thoughtful of him, even though they won't help. Such a sweet child, so like he was in that first lifetime so very long ago, so willing to try to help you, and not inclined to ask questions, at least not the right ones, and it is that comparison that sets the wheels in your aching head turning.
You don't have much more then the barest scraps of an idea, not yet, though you have time, years. You can be patient, learn all you can, set events slowly into motion, gain the full trust of your cousin (your brother): even now he sleeps curled up against you, napping without a thought in the world, and it doesn't bother you at all that you can think of using that trust in you for your own ends.
(This is the only truth you have ever known, the rage of a petty God: you were not born innocent, will not cry forgiveness to heaven: heaven abandoned you and God cursed you, and you curse Him back, this is your only truth and there will never be another for you)