othersdie: truly, I have wept too much (Lost)
Justin Pendleton ([personal profile] othersdie) wrote in [community profile] poly_chromatic2014-02-25 12:48 pm


If the apocalyptic weather conditions, rampaging animals, and earthquakes haven't convinced you to stay at home, do yourself a favor and get inside. The fight between the Anonymous Movement and the Deities isn't ours.

Things like this--things that feel like the promise of significant change--have happened before. The clock has behaved erratically before, and we've been offered freedom before. It's always the same: There's a build-up, a day or two of chaos, and then we're back to whatever curses the City has scheduled for us. Ultimately, nothing changes. It doesn't matter who controls the City or what promises they make. The Deities and the Anonymous Movement are puppets, bureaucrats--administrators who lack the power to alter the City in a meaningful way.

Don't fight for them. Fight for yourself or your friends or your convictions if you have to, but not for them.

[Private // Unlocked to Neil and Todd]

I don't know if I believe myself. Nothing has felt the same since the Anonymous Movement began working on the Door and, while we have weathered conditions like this in the past, something's different this time.

I've been thinking about the City and the past and the future. I first arrived here in 2008--six years ago. That Justin doesn't exist anymore. The philosopher-murderer who had no real philosophy of his own died somewhere. He was replaced by someone who had nothing to motivate him but guilt and the hope that, somehow, doing the right thing in the City would result in absolution. That person is gone, too.

Who am I now?

I haven't forgotten Olivia Lake, but I don't feel as guilty for her death. I am still guilty--nothing will change that, since it's a fact rather than a feeling--but I've paid for what I did. I've died four times. I've been tortured, physically and mentally. I've been trapped in nightmares and haunted by Richard and Cassie for years.

I've fallen in love with someone who isn't here. That's a little like dying.

I don't think about them that often anymore--Richard and Cassie. They belong to another life. They belong to the Justin who came here in 2008. I've looked at old entries and I'm ashamed of how arrogant I was. Arrogant and self-centered. There was nothing special about Richard and I; we were just stupid, bored kids who wanted to be noticed. Remembered for something. Everyone wants that, but most people aren't heartless enough to try to gain immortality by killing.

And I was desperate for affection. I couldn't admit it to myself until now, but I was. What Richard said--I think I'm the only person who sees how incredible you really are--that was all it took for me to give up my reservations. I didn't kill Olivia because Richard was a master of manipulation; I killed her because I wanted to be as incredible as he thought I was, and as incredible as I wanted to be. The Übermensch. Nietzsche's superhuman. (Now I can see that it wasn't even his idea of a superhuman. It was Zarathustra's vision for humanity, and Nietzsche didn't agree with everything his character put forth.) I can't blame Richard for my weakness or stupidity.

I've resented Cassie for years. Before she knew that I was the murderer (she never understood that Richard and I were equally guilty), she promised to help me. I saved her life, I had her promise; I thought I was safe. I felt guilty even then, but saving Cassie had been, in my mind, my redemption. When she turned on me, I hated her. What she said--I still remember it word for word.

You get one life, and whatever you do with it, whatever's done to you... you've got to face that. There are no second chances.

One redemptive act doesn't make up for murder. I understand that. When I killed Olivia Lake, my life was done until I came to the City. Cassie, I assume, didn't factor in the existence of other universes where murderers do get second chances.

I didn't believe it was a second chance. Once Cassie said that to me, I repeated it to myself like a mantra. I died believing it, and it has taken years in and out of the City for me to realize that she was wrong. I've done good things here--nothing remarkable or heroic, but enough to say that I've used this second chance well enough. I could have lived more. I could have tried to be happier, or less guilty, but that's not who I am. That's not who I ever was.

While some live, others die. I believed in the suicide pact. I would have gone through with it. Call it Thanatos, call it the death instinct, call it what you will. I don't know if I believe in fate, but I do believe that my life has always been entangled with death. A will to power? I don't remember having a will to live. Maybe it was all inevitable. Maybe I would have died young without Richard's help. I'm the kind of person who dies--not literally, not always, but I spent my life dying in smaller ways. I've continued dying in the City.

Now? Now it doesn't matter what happens. I'm dead and I'll continue to die regardless of what happens. The City could continue or the City could end and it wouldn't effect me. I've made peace with what I've done, I've forgiven everyone--including myself--and I've accepted that death is my calling.

Who am I now? Nothing. I'm nothing to worry about because I've never been good at living. I'm worried about other people. Neil and Todd, specifically. (Are you reading this? I should tell you everything in person, but I'm better at writing than talking.) I've never had friends, not like them. They've accepted me when I've been convinced that I didn't deserve acceptance; they've shown me what being alive is like. Whatever happens, I want them to be alive and together. The City could collapse into nothing and I'd be happy if I knew that, somewhere, they were alive.

Some live. Others die.

I worry about Euphie. I loved Shilo, too, but that was an uncertain, childish love. Euphie--that's the kind of love that poets write about. I can't understand how the universe can destroy someone so kind, and I wonder where she is now that she's not in the City. When I was gone, I was alone--vaguely aware of the passage of time, but alone with nothing but my mind to keep me company. I hope that she's in a better place than that. Heaven, maybe, even if I'm not convinced that such a place exists. If it exists for anyone, it would exist for her.

I would accept oblivion. It might sound terrible, but I'd take it over being trapped with my mind for the rest of eternity, taking breaks only to visit friends, knowing that there's nothing to go back to but my thoughts. Not that my mind is an unpleasant place to be. I'm better. I'm better now than I've ever been, but that's only because there's nothing to me anymore.

I don't mind it. Whether or not the end comes now or a hundred years later, I hope that Neil and Todd will live, Euphie will be content, and I'll be allowed to be nothing.

And from that time on I bathed in the Poem
Of the Sea, star-infused and churned into milk,
Devouring the green azures; where, entranced in pallid flotsam,
A dreaming drowned man sometimes goes down...
notscrapmetal: (grit and grime)

[personal profile] notscrapmetal 2014-02-25 07:21 pm (UTC)(link)
Buddy, if you don't fight for nothing expect to fail. If anything defend yourself. We're doing the best damn can.

They weren't this strong before.
notscrapmetal: (intellectual warfare)

[personal profile] notscrapmetal 2014-02-25 10:10 pm (UTC)(link)
If it's all gonna end and you're okay by doing what's right on your side.... that's what counts.

At this point pal, whatever side you want is yours. Just. Twelve Hells, man. If you gotta be somewhere. Be somewhere.

I'd be a liar if I said I didn't want help right now.
notscrapmetal: (in the dark of night)

[personal profile] notscrapmetal 2014-02-26 03:51 am (UTC)(link)
Anything's better than nothing. Cherry bombs, firecrackers, silly string... leave the heavy duty lifting to us. If you got something, anything we could use it.
mumbled_truth: (pic#2068650)


[personal profile] mumbled_truth 2014-02-26 02:27 pm (UTC)(link)
[ A private response would have been one way to handle this, but why use the network when he can just find Justin in the apartment? It's certainly, to Todd, still the more natural approach.

So he seeks him out tentatively, trying not to just barge in and intrude. ]

Hey... Justin?
mumbled_truth: (pic#2068661)


[personal profile] mumbled_truth 2014-03-10 04:27 pm (UTC)(link)
[ He manages a smile - a small one, gentle, not joyous but sincere. ]

I wanted to tell you, I'm... I'm happy that I got the chance to be your friend.

[ This is hard, but somehow that makes it all the more important he says it aloud. ]
had_not_lived: (☞ O what shall I hang)


[personal profile] had_not_lived 2014-02-27 01:11 am (UTC)(link)
[Because sometimes you can't wait to find your roommate and tacklehug them, okay?]

Second chances aren't about deserving them. It took me a long time to accept that, but it's true.
had_not_lived: (☞ An actor too; perhaps; if I see cause)


[personal profile] had_not_lived 2014-02-27 01:41 am (UTC)(link)
I don't think I have any regrets. I don't want to go, but I'm not sorry about the time I've spent here. Or the people I've known.
had_not_lived: (☞ I mourned; and yet shall mourn again)


[personal profile] had_not_lived 2014-02-27 03:29 am (UTC)(link)
I wish I could take you with us. I wish I even knew for sure whether there's anywhere to go, whether Todd and I will--

[that catches in his throat like a steel hook, and there's a long pause as he fights to quell the rush of panic.]

The truth is I don't know what's going to happen. But I guess we never do.
had_not_lived: (☞ I will drink life to the lees)


[personal profile] had_not_lived 2014-02-27 03:50 am (UTC)(link)
I hope so.

[And he's trying not to doubt it, there's nothing to be gained by that. Neil is determined to keep believing.]

I asked someone... To look out for everyone, for all of us that have nowhere to go.

[And he was mainly thinking of Justin when he did. Maybe that goes without saying.]
had_not_lived: (☞ Made weak by time and fate)


[personal profile] had_not_lived 2014-02-27 03:54 am (UTC)(link)
Mmhmm. He came by, with the rest of the Visitors.
had_not_lived: (☞ O powerful western fallen star)


[personal profile] had_not_lived 2014-02-27 04:04 am (UTC)(link)
He wasn't too specific. I don't think he could be-- I'm not sure he knows yet, not for sure, not any more than we do. But...

[He takes a breath, and it comes out with a ragged shudder, a half-sigh he's been trying to swallow down.]

That everyone will be taken care of. That's what matters.
Edited (Iconsssss) 2014-02-27 04:04 (UTC)
had_not_lived: (☞ Did he smile; his work to see)


[personal profile] had_not_lived 2014-02-27 12:17 pm (UTC)(link)
It means there's somewhere for all of us, even if we don't know where yet.

[And no one will be alone. Not alone doesn't mean together, though. It's a comfort, at least to Neil, though not quite enough to keep the fretting entirely at bay.

Neil trusts Death implicitly, ironic as that is. Trusts him with his life. Which means he has to trust him with this, too.]
had_not_lived: (☞ And when they turned their heads)


[personal profile] had_not_lived 2014-03-01 12:56 pm (UTC)(link)
I can't, either, but I believe it.

[He laughs a little, though it's not without an edge of pain.]

Love transcending death is the easy part, we didn't fall in love until I already was. I'm just-- well. I'm trying not to worry about it. Even if the worst happened I know I'd see him, somewhere, someday.