x. will to power
We are lost, you and I.
Daisuke is immune to the simplest philosophy, but not therefore proof against Truth. And a biting, careless truth seeks him as he falls into loneliness: he is sick. He is wrong.
He is despair personified.
Around, beneath, below, behind; all is nothingness and grey. Daisuke stands in a dull field with no features to mark his arrival, and he looks around only to find ways in which his eyes might be betrayed. Parting his lips stagnantly, he tries to suck in a pocket of lukewarm air, but nothing seems to move and he is not refreshed.
It is another in-between place. Daisuke sits down, and wonders if he should pretend to care.
Is it all the same? A flash: Daisuke buckles with unexpectedly fierce longing for those moments of distraction which had been granted to him by the beautiful Prince. But he shakes his head: no, every moment of happiness he might earn from now until his death can be nothing more than an illusion. Only his sad memories carry substance: Daisuke is dead to everything else.
Daisuke closes his eyes. What is there to see?
What is there to want?
"Let's run away."
Over in the corner Miyako watches Daisuke with concern tempered with frustrated contempt, and he knows that she is eavesdropping on his conversation with Hikari. Not surprising. It is late in the winter, and everyone is a little stir crazy because of the enforced togetherness and lack of green things to eat. There is no privacy in September.
"Sure thing, Daiky," Hikari replies with a grin.
"I mean it!" Daisuke pouts winningly. "Let's go to Ecuador!"
Hikari rolls her eyes, and waves over Miyako, who gladly drops her nasty quilt work for the chance to needle Daisuke instead. Sitting down next to Hikari, Miyako launches right into an all-too-familiar tirade.
"Daisuke! You are sooo impractical." Hikari motions for Miyako to turn away from her, so that she can brush the taller girl's lavender hair. "Forget about your dreams and spend more time worrying about your responsibilities. Don't think that this village is going to clothe and feed itself. We need you."
"What harm does it do, just to talk? Tell me that." Daisuke leans back on his stool.
"What harm? Incalculable harm! Who knows what crazy notions you'll start having. Hikari doesn't want to leave and you know that. Maybe one day you WILL leave. Whether with or without her, you will break her heart… and I will never forgive you." Miyako purses her lips thinly, and with her hair pulled back and her eyes cold, it is not hard to see why she is thought of as intimidating despite her celebrated beauty.
"I trust Daisuke," Hikari says quietly, and there is a lull in the conversation while she divides Miyako's hair into several locks, preparing the kind of intricate braid that only boredom can create. "He won't leave me."
The cabin is fortified with a cheery fire and the sounds of Handel off a somewhat scratched record; this is the Motomiya family home and yet it is overrun with visitors, because Daisuke's parents are prosperous and their children are charming. Daisuke watches Hikari's fussing with fondness, and smiles at her trust. It makes him feel good. "I won't go anywhere without Hikari."
"Restless." Miyako asserts finally. "That's what dreams will make you."
"People die when they don't dream, Miyako."
"But they die with dreams too, sometimes. Big dreams. Impossible dreams. Want too much, strive too hard… and the gods will punish you. It's always the way."
"Don't you have dreams?"
"I want to be married," Miyako answers, a bit defiantly. "That's all I need to be happy."
Daisuke sits up, interested. "Takeru?" He laughs. "That's not a dream, that's foresight. Tell me something you are not guaranteed to get."
"There's nothing else I need."
Hikari invests in one of her rare frowns. "Miya…" she rebukes. "That's not what he's asking. And you know it."
Miyako pauses before answering, waiting for Hikari to tap her shoulder and recall her to the conversation. "I want to," she says at last, "I want to have more friends. Lots of friends. A posse." She blushes. "No offense."
"None taken. What else?" Daisuke presses.
"I want… things. Like a computer. Like a stereo; no, a stereo system. I want more books, and not just the secondhand paperbacks that circulate around the island like the measles. And…I want pretty clothes. I want… bah!"
"You tricked me!"
Daisuke lifts a curious eyebrow, but he cannot hide his grin.
"I can tell what you are going to say. 'Sounds harmless to me!' But that's not the point. One, I don't obsess about the things I can't have, like you do. Two, I don't try to drag other people down into my fantasies with me. And three… you always shoot for what is most impossible! Can't you be realistic at all?"
"Wishing for the impossible makes the possible worth having," Hikari says carefully. "God, Miyako. You should know that. There's nothing wrong with Daisuke's dreams. In fact…" Hikari ceases her braiding to lean back, gently stroking Daisuke's hand. "I like him all the better FOR them."
Miyako sighs. "You two are something else."
Daisuke, in triumph, attempts to be gracious. "You can run away with us if you want. No more Takeru, but is that really such a loss?"
"Oooh! Just keep up the crazy talk Motomiya. I'll send you to Ecuador-- in pieces!"
Hikari begins to laugh. It is a sound that perfectly defines delight. Daisuke looks at her curiously; Miyako turns around.
"My dream…" she happily. "My dream is that we can always be together, just like this. Takeru too." She tucks back her own hair, tied in pink ribbons. The light from the dancing fire makes her skin shine like gold. "Just like this."
Miyako smiles. "I can get behind that dream."
Daisuke winks. "Me too."
Daisuke shrinks from the intrusive memory, practically raped by a fresh sense of guilt and shame. Missing his friends… missing Hikari… is something that he believes is no longer anything that he has a right to feel.
And yet it is there.
Daisuke feels mocked, bitter, toneless and without worth. These sensations settle on him like a fog. They come with an almost external sense of judgment-- like something is watching him, something cold and foreign. Unlike Hikari.
Exposed in his despair, Daisuke covers his face with his hands, creating a vacuum to breathe.
I am dead.
I am dead.
I am DEAD.
…so why do I still dream?
"Why…?" Daisuke whispers, desperately curious and painfully empty.
"Why is a question which finds no answer here."
Daisuke looks up, his cheeks dry and his eyes black. He looks pinched and strained, scoured from within, and yet a spark of something unreadable flashes in his face as he scans the empty place for the source of that voice. He knows that voice.
"What is this place?" His own voice is clear, and rings like a bell. So hollow.
"A gate-- of sorts."
"Where are you?"
"Mmm." The answer is communicated after a pause. "You can think of me as beyond the gate."
Daisuke cannot sense a ceiling, or walls, or even (nauseatingly) a floor. He does not feel as if he is falling. The place feels endless and blank and promises a sort of torment more difficult then pain. In the face of this the Prince's answer seems troublingly vague. "What happened?" he asks. Talking makes the memories retreat a little, but Hikari is still crouching in the corners of his mind, remnants of a reproachful memory, his broken dreams. And that cold presence is also there, measuring him. Judging him.
"I stepped through."
"But I… didn't?"
"To come to my palace, you need to step through my will." The explanation is clinical, guarded. It almost sounds as if the Prince is holding back in some kind of fear.. but wouldn't that be terribly unlike him? "It is by this means that I bar the unwary, because only the invited may pass."
"But something went wrong, didn't it?" Daisuke stands up, trying to triangulate the Prince's location. "Am I trapped?"
Daisuke's question echoes in a formless, orphaned way.
There is no escaping the Prince's hesitation this time. Miles of isolation draw up around Daisuke, enveloping him with alien sensations and purposes which he cannot begin to understand.
The answer comes from everywhere and nowhere-- at once.
"In my mind."
And really, is there any good reply to that?