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Splintered Reflections

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You are alone. You always have been, no matter how many crowds surrounded you, no matter how many scraped themselves raw and bloody reaching through the sharp and merciless walls you built and twisted around yourself in well-intentioned attempts to support you.

You wrenched their hands from the ladder as you climbed, kicked, and clawed your way towards the light, and you did your best to never look back at the twisted wreckage left behind you.

Wreckage that has now risen like the tide to choke you and crush you in the walls you crafted.

It had to be you, you convinced yourself. This name, this title, all the glory that comes with it, they were yours by birth. Never mind the distant memories of a poor child torn from his mother’s arms, never mind the sensation of wrongness you felt grip your heart every time someone spoke your name. The louder you shouted your name the more paralyzing the doubt became, but to face that was to face oblivion, so you simply continued to fight.

One day you reached the top of that ladder, but at the top there was no light, comfort, or glory; only blood and only you, completely alone. The woman you never knew you loved lies broken in your arms. Every life you destroyed seems to soak the ground beneath you in gore. Even the only man who remained faithfully, steadily by your side has lost his life in the periphery of your disaster.

Only you on this hollow throne; not Ryuusei. That name is not yours, not anymore; it was stolen, but not by the man lying before you, whose wide, honest eyes seem steady and full of fire even in the glassiness of death. He is Ryuusei, and you are nothing and no one; simply a cracked and distorted reflection of what his story could have been. You aren’t even the poor, nameless child left alone by conflict he could never understand. Your past is buried beyond recall, and any path to redemption is choked with the bodies you’ve left in your wake. Everything you clung to has slipped away in an instant.

In the end you kiss her (more softly than you ever did in life) and let the waves of immeasurable, irreconcilable regret numb you as you ascend to the throne you lost everything to gain.