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Oktoberfest 09: "Punishment" is What Revenge Calls Itself by Alleria
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miltia wrote in damned_lounge
Title: "Punishment" is What Revenge Calls Itself
Author: miltia
Beta: psyches
Word Count: 2,134
Rating: R for gratuitous violence
Character(s): Junior/Rubedo, Albedo, a Kirschwasser, and mentions of some others.
Pairing(s): None
Summary: There is no salvation for him who thus suffers from himself, unless it is speedy death.
Notes: Inspired heavily by Umineko no Naku Koro Ni, with some lines taken directly from Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Because I'm obsessive.

Since his brothers' arrival, Junior had been boxed into pretending to be someone that he no longer was. He'd never intended to purposefully hide things, but he hadn't wanted to destroy that last real link to his brothers. Despite the experience of the last fifteen years, despite how much acting like nothing was different did change things. He didn't know how to deal with it, had never really figured it out, so the redhead dealt with it as he always had, even after Nigredo's...disappearance. That much, he could apparently still do as 'Rubedo'.

That day had seemed so normal, before Albedo had appeared and demanded answers that his twin wasn't willing to give. It was in their best interests, it was because he didn't want to think about it. It was selfish. It didn't matter what the reason was, the answer was the same. His anger had exploded (yet again) and though he'd only heard white noise at his own words, Junior had clearly seen his twin's expression. Albedo's mind had completely shattered, leaving his twin almost like a porcelain doll, or perhaps it was more like watching a sand tower crumbling, leaving nothing that could simply be pieced back together.

Again, an apology did little to help. The twins had never quite seen eye to eye, and Junior couldn't figure out what was going through Albedo's mind when he'd tried to patch things. Fights had happened so often here that it began to leave a bitter taste in his mouth, this one in particular.

He didn't remember falling asleep between dinner and when the doors unlocked, but when Junior woke the lights were already off and Kaworu was gone. This wouldn't have been too abnormal if not for the girl with long silver hair and Sakura's face that had parked herself on the opposite end of his bed, legs pulled up in front of her with an arm wrapped around them. Despite all the other unpleasant surprises, he hadn't seen anyone like her around since he'd arrived. So where had she come from?

The Kirschwasser said nothing, simply looked at him with sad eyes, not at all what he was used to seeing come from eyes so similar to Sakura and MOMO's. Even the mass-produced 100-series had a sense of life about them, but this Kirschwasser was different.

"Uh...hi?" he ventured, giving his most disarming smile. "What are you doing?" But she still said nothing, and Junior got the uneasy feeling that he wasn't supposed to be here. He got out of bed and continued to keep an eye on her as he inched toward the door. As he neared it, she finally spoke, saying only one phrase:

"He's coming for you."

Questions weren't necessary, yet they rose to his lips anyway. Before he could ask any of them, he heard a sickening 'crack', and the Kirschwasser's head lolled backwards. Just like one that he'd seen before, back home.

Junior ran, not caring to stick around and see if 'he' would show up, only wanting to get away from that sight. Whether it was because of the reminder of Sakura or who else the Kirschwasser's presence and death represented for him, he didn't know. He ran down the hall and almost out of the block before finally slowing, before he realized that he hadn't run into a single other soul since he'd left his room. He must have made it this far just by memory. It was pitch black in the halls, an all-encompassing darkness that was abnormal even for the nightshift. A far more important discovery was that despite the darkness, he had absolutely no trouble seeing his hands in front of his face, almost like his own body was illuminated; there was no red glow, like he would have expected to find, but it still seemed to act like a beacon that would let anyone know where he was.

"There you are, Rubedo," came his twin's voice from seemingly nowhere as if on cue, the lilting tone far too familiar for his liking.

"Where are--!" he started, though Albedo chose that moment to materialize in front of him, body just as illuminated as his own. There was just one major difference: Albedo's body had a dangerously purple aura about him. Again. "You," the redhead finished lamely, taking several steps backwards until his hand found the doorknob for the block. He had to move, had to get out. There was no way he could fight anything like that now! He didn't have the Dragon or his weapons, just his will. Even that was screaming at him to run.

"Playing hide and seek? Sounds like fun, dear heart. I found the angel already. Does that makes you the seeker, now that I've found you? I don't think I want to give that up just yet. That role doesn't suit you." A grin split his twin's face, and Albedo brought a finger up to his mouth thoughtfully. "I know. I'll give you until the count of ten."

Junior turned the knob, flinging the door open behind him and turning to run through it. He wasn't going to stick around for the count, wanted to at least get out of the block before facing his brother and U-DO.

Which meant he shouldn't have ended up in the Sun Room, circumstance suddenly seeming uncomfortably similar to what had happened over a week ago.

And Albedo continued to stand there, now at the center of the room. That grin became feral, the predator wanting to toy with its prey before devouring it. "One. Two." With every number Albedo counted out, the aura grew with a pulsating rhythm, but Junior had determined not to run anymore. He couldn't avoid this forever, and like last time, there was an option to fight. Hopefully it wouldn't turn out the same way. The redhead launched forward, hand curled tightly into a fist, poised to strike. He only sailed harmlessly through his twin and hit the opposite wall, felt the bones in his hand and wrist completely shatter and his hand went unnaturally limp.

Junior screamed in pain, in shock, and in outrage, not knowing which among these was the greatest. All while Albedo simply smiled. "Ten. Ready or not, here I come," he purred. "I don't think you need that to hide, do you? You're always using your fists to make people do what you want, but not anymore."

"Shut up!"

"Am I making you angry? Or are you trying to face your fears?"

"Just die!" he spat back, surprising even himself with it. "Oh sorry, you can't! Have you even listened to yourself lately?" Ever? "I've tried to make peace with you, I've tried to be a good brother! I've done my best! But you, you're the one who keeps hurting me! You'll always get in my way, prevent me from being happy! Just disappear already! I hate you!"

They were words that mirrored what he'd said earlier, and somehow Junior knew that even without recognizing Albedo's expression, the same from earlier. In his mind, he'd never before said that he outright hated Albedo; sure, he'd gotten furious enough to act as though he did, but he always felt guilty for it later, for the temper that he couldn't help. Family alone wasn't enough to deter the words now, and his twin reacted accordingly with a scream of rage, of loss. "You are not great enough not to know hatred and envy! Then be great enough to not be ashamed of them!"

Junior could feel invisible, opposing forces pulling at his limbs, crushing the bones in his arms and legs, pulling at the skin until it began to tear, and finally splattered the walls with blood and organs and shards of bone marrow. The redhead's consciousness was dark for several seconds before pain and stars exploded in his head and his entire body, now restored, felt as though it had just been ripped in half. No, it had been, and restored just as if he possessed Albedo's regenerative abilities.

"H-how...?" he asked, words intermixed with his own blood.

"I see now, so that's what it means. Consciousness can transcend even the laws of this universe," came the response, and Albedo spread his arms wide, positively giggling now. "Yes, something invulnerable, unburiable is within me, something that rends rocks: it is called my will. It goes silently and unchanged through the years. With a strong enough will, you gain omnipotence! You're in my world now, Rubedo! Here, I can even fix something broken and break it all over again, just as you did to me."

"You brought it on yourself!" came the redhead's response, though a choking cough and vomited blood prevented him from saying any more.

Albedo's voiced hardened then, and his eyes grew cold. "Au contraire, my other half. You must be made to remember your own deep sins! How many lives have you taken? Hundreds? Thousands? One life isn't penance enough to make up for them! When I'm done, you'll be begging for me to absolve you."

There was a sensation of something stabbing into his right chest, where he had once been able to feel Albedo's heartbeat. Faster than Junior had been able to see, his twin had gotten so close, stabbed, and was proceeding to cut and tear with knife and fingernail, removing muscle and nerve clusters and tossing them haphazardly to the side. A thick black substance pouring out of the redhead's body this time, instead of blood, burning into the floor like a slow, painful acid. Albedo gave a long, high-pitched laugh. "Look at that, Rubedo. Monsters bleed, after all!" Hands stained black with the tar-like liquid -- unaffected, perhaps, because of his powers -- Albedo drew the knife back and plunged it into his twin's skull.

Again he was revived, and the pattern was repeated. Limbs were torn off at the joints and tossed to the side, leaving a spray of blood behind. Eyeballs were pulled from their sockets and dashed against the wall. Each time, Junior thought he could see some hesitation on his twin's end, as though he may have considered relenting, but each time the aura intensified and he came back with more ferocity than before.

"I trusted you, Rubedo," Albedo snarled. "Again and again you've broken that. What is all murder of men compared with what you have done to me! You did a worse thing to me than any murder; you took from me the irretrievable!" Then his expression became gentler, though there was still murder in it. "But not to worry, my brother in war. I love you thoroughly, I am and I was of your kind. And I am also your best enemy."

It was sickening to listen to. It was hilarious. If Junior had had the voice, he would have laughed, but the ability to speak had been sapped after the third or fourth death. The brain could only handle so much loss of consciousness in such a short amount of time; though that didn't prevent Albedo from continuing his little 'game'.

"Isn't this fun!? We're finally playing together again, like we used to!" Albedo crowed, lost in his warped euphoria, more frighteningly correct than he knew. Red had long since become the single color to show up against the darkness, a macabre paint that only became more vibrant as it went on, overtaking the previously overwhelming purple.

*****


"Good morning, everyone!" came the cheery voice of the Head Doctor that morning, its dissonance only adding to the redhead's disorientation. He had died last night, he could have sworn it. Died dozens of times and been revived. He clearly remembered very few of them: the sensation of being ripped in half, the sensation of being beaten into nothing more than a faceless, formless piece of meat. The rest had blurred together in a muddled mix, reality becoming too difficult to distinguish among so many violent deaths, especially since it was already so tough to tell what was real here.

Occasionally, his hand would ache or his skull would feel as though someone were trying to split it in two, and a chilling feeling would creep down his spine, but all in all, pushing those memories (those dreams) down was easy with the distraction of people and conversation. Try as he may, though, Junior was unable to avoid catching Albedo glaring at him all morning, as if imagining far worse happening to his twin. As if that would continue to rip him apart as it had the night before. He would have all but ignored it if not for something his twin said in passing between shifts.

"I hope you remember your sins, Rubedo. I hear they have a way of coming back to haunt you."

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