There are times when I honestly forget why I'm doing this. Why I'm here. I mean, we just established that it's completely voluntary and always has been. It's just... argh. Fuckin' complicated bullshit, driving me and everyone else crazy. Especially Michelle, as I found out when she finally cornered me the other day.
Many important things were said. Things which, like Michelle said, should have been said a long time ago.
That story I told you all the other day? About the first time I saw Him, the first time people died because I was too preoccupied with saving my own skin to even notice anyone else... I told it to Nightscream too. And s/he knew instantly what was so unbelievably fucked up about the situation, and about my entire life since. Those kids depended on me, trusted me, and I was unbelievably selfish. I pretended to be their friend, and then abandoned them when they needed me most.
I did the exact thing that I hate most in the world. I thought maybe I could make up for it, but I can't. Nothing will change that moment. Nothing will bring them back.
And now, years later, I still haven't learned. I've been using Michelle that way too. She needs me for maintenance of her own sanity, and I've been exploiting that need in order to gain physical protection for myself. It's not right and I kind of hate myself for it. Only without the kind of.
Manipulating someone doesn't always have to be to a bad end. We all use our parents just the same - for shelter, for affection, for money - but that doesn't make us love them any less. And it doesn't lessen their love for us either, because they don't mind. The use of others is implicitly acknowledged and understood by all parties, and everyone is okay with it.
And Michelle's okay with me too. Because she's doing the exact same thing, and has been since the beginning.
I use Michelle for protection. She uses me to keep to keep her proxy nature in check and keep her instincts pointed in the right direction. I... god, it sounds so animalistic like that, but these really were her words, not mine.
And in that sense, she's using me even further - using my sense of culpability to keep me alive, so that I can continue to be her anchor, her reminder, and... yes, Nightscream... her handler.
Mutual give and take, I guess. Even though neither of us realized it was mutual for the longest time because, surprise surprise, we both tend to keep things to ourselves. And when you're traveling together under unfriendly circumstances, keeping secrets is something you absolutely cannot do. So... yeah. No more of that.
And in light of this "no more secrets" policy, I feel obligated to tell you all that this revelation doesn't actually change anything. There's still only one way to pay for what I did to those three children, and the rest of the kids as well, and the teachers, and Bashawn, and everyone who's ever come off the worse for having known me. I'm not panicked about it anymore, but... it'll still happen eventually.
This is not, in fact, all that different from how many others in this community live. It's not even that different from how many people in the world live.
So yeah, Gargoyle, I guess you could say our dear Jester did have some idea of... at least my personality, if not my true intentions. But nothing was ever a lie, if you think about it. Yeah, I forget why I'm here sometimes. Sometimes I get selfish again, start thinking that maybe I've held on long enough. But I will not abandon the people who count on me, if anyone still thinks I'm worth counting on. I won't make the same mistake twice.
Dying by itself solves nothing. You all know that. I know that. That was never the point.
The point... was to make my death mean something.
So don't misunderstand me. It'll still end at some point. I'll still make it end at some point if I have to. But if, in the process, I can do something right for a change...
That's all I ever wanted.
And if you really want to know, that's the real reason I accepted. Sages die eventually. All of them. But they always die doing what's right. Helping people. Maybe saving some lives if they're lucky.
So... if that's really what you think... if that's really what you need of me... then I'll give this Sage business one last shot.