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hello my name is regret

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Stories are weaved from dreams.

Fiction was a gleaming, beautiful lie, crafted by artists who tinkered with the flesh of the mind, prodding in with their silver tools to build characters who were wild and extravagant and out of this world and more than their hosts could ever be, was all their hosts ever wanted be, the empty shells who gave themselves up because they didn’t believe themselves worth it in the first place, anyway.

And so they (you) sign off their (your) own lives to be taken— but at least it would be magnificent and terrific and displayed on television as someone special and talented and unique and important, and everyone would cry, big ugly tears, all for you you you because you’re finally something and you’re finally someone and not your pathetic no one.

Because you would rather die a beautiful lie than live through an ugly and boring truth.

Your name is Saihara Shuuichi, and you are tired of yourself.

And so you sign yourself up for death. A beautiful, wonderful, amazing death, a death that would be a spectacle to thousands and thousands and thousands of people, all of who will have their eyes glued to the screen, glued to you, as you are torn apart by the grandest execution the world will ever see.

Your name is Saihara Shuuichi, and you want to die a glorious death, because that would be better than choking through a lifeless existence.

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Your name is Saihara Shuuichi, and you are weak.

You are a detective only by title, a disgrace to it in everything else. Because— who’s ever heard of a detective, terrified of the truth? Who’s ever heard of a detective, who’d rather be swaddled in the false, silky cadences of comforting silence, just edging on the deception of lies themselves— of anything but the truth?

Because the truth hurts, more than anything, and it hurts like the look in the eyes of a man tormented by the murder of his entire family, a man who’d been driven to do the very same thing in return as retaliation, only to be caught by a naïve little boy who knew too little and made too many mistakes, who found everything by chance and should’ve said nothing, should’ve done nothing, should’ve locked it away and bound himself further and deeper with a lie

because even that wouldn’t have hurt the way the absolute and utter hatred in the man’s eyes did, they way it thrust despair and regret and guilt deep down your throat until you couldn’t breath, until you desperately gasped for air as you choked in the bitter, ugly taste of all the mistakes you’ve ever made.

(And you wonder—

am I one of them, too?)

And so when you stumble out of that locker into a hell of a game you never could’ve imagined and met the blazing, pink eyes of a girl much too kind for her own good, with a resolve and a strength you’ve always wished you had, with a strength that beams so fiercely from her being until you think some of it is starting to bleed into you, too—

you tell yourself, suddenly, that you’ll no longer be weak.

No more mistakes.

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You keep making mistakes.

They tumble into the world, one after the other, slipping from your tongue and from your hands like poison. You watch as they tear down the girl you think you’ve just started to fall in love with, drive her to splatter another’s blood onto her two very hands, blind your glossy eyes as she plans and executes a murder right under your very nose .

(How incredible, you want to laugh— you’re so incompetent as a detective, you didn’t even notice a teenager committing murder just before your very eyes! )

You can’t stop making mistakes, and you watch as they hurt everyone around you.

And you watch as they send Akamatsu Kaede to her death.

“It’s not your fault, Saihara-kun.”

It’s not your fault, they all say. It’s not your fault, that you made such an outlandish and ridiculous theory of something so silly like a ringleader in your numbers and drove Akamatsu’s thoughts to murder. It’s not your fault, that you couldn’t see the clues dangling just before your nose and waving violently before your face as you witnessed a murder being orchestrated. It’s not your fault, that you had all the power in you to save the lives of two people and yet was still too oblivious to even notice before it was too late.

And now an innocent boy who was never any kind of ringleader lay dead in a pool of his own blood, and a girl who wanted nothing but the best for the people she loved was about to be sent to her death, and it’s all because of you.

Two people are dead, and it’s all because of your mistakes.

It’s not your fault, they say.

It’s not your fault, she says, tears staining her gentle smile.

But you know it’s just a lie.

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What is a lie?

You’re competent (just enough), to keep everyone from dying; drag behind the rest of them and strain towards the finish line as they bicker and fight and argue amongst themselves and never stop, and you heave up all of their weights just enough for you all to get just enough air before you’re hauled back down again in the torrents of their animosity and the world of your killing game. And again.

(You try to ignore the way your numbers dwindle, the way more and more blood stains the floor and the walls and people’s hands a bright, sickening red.)

You’re swarmed with evidence and testimonies and trials and truths and lies, and detectives shouldn’t tell lies, the way you have, wielding them with just as much ease and comfort as you can with the truth; but then again, you’ve never felt that you were a real detective in the first place, anyway, so why should it even matter?

But that makes you like— him, the boy bound in white clothes with a checkerboard of a scarf and a Cheshire Cat grin, who muddles the whites of truths and the blacks of lies ( or— is it the blacks of truths and whites of lies? you don’t know, you’re almost sure he’d make a joke about that ) into a grubby muddy mess of dull grays, though you suppose he’d argue that isn’t isn’t all that dull.

(And the worst thing is, you find some small part of yourself nearly agreeing.)

But— is it, really? Because you can’t help but comply, nearly, or at least find the evidence saying just so; all of this is fishy, you all know, there’s something up with all of this and you’re twitching to find out what. Find out why. Because there must be more , to this cage, to this game, to these rules that damn bear insists on keeping for god knows what or why.

But you’re too caught up with— deaths and investigations and screaming people to bother, and so the little boy just smiles again at you with checkerboard teeth and dangles— something before your bleary, tired, exhausted eyes. He knows something — he is something— and…

You’re curious. About what he knows— about him.

You reach out.

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He doesn’t reach back.

You reach out, but he doesn’t reach back, with all the damn dangling and teasing he does, and, now, four trials in, you don’t know what he really wants, anymore, and it’s almost just like he’s simply mocking you— and not only that.

And not only that: you’ve always known he’s got a manipulative streak, a tendency to tease his fingers into something twisted and darker if only to bring what’s necessary to light— you know that about him. But now he tears it apart, drowns himself in the pool, twists his face and smile and his actions and kills two people and gets off absolutely scot free.

When he screams at everyone to hate him, there is no remorse in his eyes. Only hatred.

( for what? for whom? is it for everyone else? is it for himself? you don’t know, you don’t know )

And so you comply.

You tell him that you hate him. He’s been lying, throwing nothing at everyone but lies , so while you gave Gonta a gentle truth as his parting gift, now you present Ouma Kokichi with a blaring, glaring, biting sharp truth.

“You’re alone. You have no one.”

And he looks at you, and his expression is utterly unreadable.

( and so is the— guilt? disappointment? sadness? — in you )

“... I’m bored,” he finally says, face utterly and completely blank, and leaves the trial with six more bodies in his wake. Everyone’s too busy fussing over Momota to even care, anymore— because why would anyone, after what he’s done, after what he’s said? — but you find yourself looking back, anyway, still, and you feel there are still more lies lingering dead like flies in the air.

( and you lie to yourself, and you tell yourself that, no, you don’t care. )

You turn away.