Author: Xx Ryo xX PM
1 revolver; 6 bullet chambers; 1 bullet. The delusion that some damaging fortuitous events in correlation to ones self can be "a game" is not something Tintin wishes to witness. And yet, he's sitting in this game of literal life, death, & chance. The bullet will be passed to him, as it has been to everyone else. What places Tintin above them is his mind. But is it enough this time?Rated: Fiction T - English - Suspense/Crime - Tintin - Words: 3,144 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 3 - Published: 08-03-12 - id: 8389331
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Disclaimer: Tintin and all characters, settings, and ideas referenced to from the comics © Hergé.
A/N: It's a tad dark. I just wanted to write something to do with Russian Roulette. I was bored.
Warnings: Gunplay ("Russian Roulette", it's in the title, what were you expecting?), slight violence, insanity.
It's a stroke of genius.
'He has to admit it, just sitting there looking wide eyed, afraid, and just a little bit fascinated. I'm brilliant.'
The man thinks, turning the single bullet in his hand in his pocket with precision, the cold metal slowly warming up. It might not need the heat of his hand for much longer, however, as it may soon take residence in one of these five people instead.
5 times. He's played the game 5 times and lived. He's lived to tell people that it's chance? Luck?
No, fate. This has to be it. 'I am the only one who fate will work for.'
Out of the five unwilling players, only one looks intrigued. He's frightened, anyone could see this, but he holds himself far too calmly to be entirely terrified and just coerced into sitting still. No, he's seen this before.
Wait, that's impossible, no one shares his ideas or his ingenuity.
No, this one's simply been in a similar situation with the same chance of instant death, or life.
Some flinch, some have a quick intake of breath and lean away from the weapon, and the only one who turns to watch with narrowing eyes is him.
This is his game, the Madman's game. It's been weeks since he's had an opportunity like this, he remembers.
This is what he does, when he's so incredibly bored; painfully bored. The world is so dull and wearing and not worth his time, but these people are.
He'll search the streets carefully, picking people out from beside the crowed buildings who are worthy of this game, who are worth the time he spends finding them alone, and picks them out of their lives for a brief moment to come where he wants them to; the ones who can both blend in and stand out from the rest of the mindless society who are full of the latest screens and bright plastic, superficial covers.
He'll take those other ones for himself; they will be his for a day or two so he can make them play this with him.
They'll sit, locked in a room until all the guests arrive.
Once he has completed his set of people, usually 5 excluding himself, he joins them and let's them in on his admirable cleverness.
"Do you know what we shall be playing?" he'll ask first, without revealing any hints except the revolver.
He asks this again to his new set of people, that same question like always, for this new round.
It could mean anything, but The Intelligent One knows immediately.
It's not a question, but the waver in his voice betrays the hope for something else.
He is the youngest of the lot, and there is a frown on his face as he looks at the small gun and for the bullet hidden in the Madman's hand.
"That's what this is, isn't it?"
The guns holder flashes a great smile. Finally, some mentality!
"Russian Roulette!" he repeats, sounding sarcastically earnest, holding the temporarily empty revolver up to the ceiling and pulling the trigger once, twice, five times, six. Empty, he must show them it is empty, otherwise it wouldn't be fair, would it?
They wouldn't know it is fair.
"I don't want to play," the intelligent one, Tintin, says testily.
But they all say that, albeit not as perfectly composed as him. The madman raises an eyebrow, appreciating this statement nevertheless.
"Let us go!" one of the other players speak up, with an expression of panic; quite undignified and the polar opposite of how his current favourite guest is looking. He blatantly ignores the second request and simply answers the first.
"Don't want to play? Well, why wouldn't you?" he jeers, stepping lightly across in front of them and waving a hand. "But you don't have a choice! Did you think I'd bring you here and then immediately let you go?" he stops momentarily to skip around and go the other way. "You will be free, just give me this half hour!"
"What if we refuse to play?" Tintin asks, waiting heavily on the answer.
"Then I will easily and happily take the liberty of taking the gun from you," he pauses to hold the empty revolver up to his own head as a demonstration. "And pull the trigger myself, on your behalf!" He pulls the trigger with the expected no effect. "Isn't it neat?" he asks, lowering it and then putting his hand in his pocket. He lifts out a single bullet between his thumb and middle finger, making sure everyone in the room can see the small object held up against the light.
Tintin has an idea, but he hopes he can be in time for it.
"The rules?" he says, decidedly going along with what the Madman is saying. The success of his idea depends on where in the 6 players he is put. He can't express a wish to be first because that would be suspicious. The man is indeed insane, he must be, but he isn't stupid by any means. Can luck be on his side more than his captors and everyone else's?
"It is simple, really, the rules. I would have told you all anyway, but now you've broken my show's order."
He tuts, and returns to his pacing.
"I… apologize," Tintin replies carefully and slowly, with a subtle frown. He is still watching warily.
"No matter! Don't fret. You're welcome! I'll tell you!" The man stops walking to carefully slide the bullet into one of the chambers in the gun, preparing to load it.
"It's the same for all the games. There will be one bullet, fairly, and you'll all be given a turn to spin," he points to the cylinder with exaggerated movements. "Then fire when I say the time is right!" The sheer delight in his voice is frightening enough without the vision of an equally insane man bearing a firearm along with it.
"What about you?" Now one of the other people starts asking questions. This can't go on for long. "Aren't you going to play?"
"Of course I'm going to play." There is an abrupt drop from the childishly jubilant tone to a deadly serious one. A hurt, insulted expression appears on the Madman's face as he considers this question. "There are 6 chambers, and 6 players, including myself. Of course I will be playing; it wouldn't be fair if I didn't. I am very fair. I'm not unfair!" He ends up shouting violently. His sharp voice is confined within the walls of the small room but the sound still echoes.
"You'll risk your life to play this game with a bunch of strangers?" Tintin can't resist asking, partly hoping that this will help settle him down. He's a reporter, asking questions are his speciality, and so is bantering to keep a conversation going smoothly. He is biding for time.
"I am bored. We're all bored, you're all boring. This is a relief, a chance to... escape it all." he breathes, emphasising the particular word 'escape'.
"And who choses to go when?" Tintin inquires lightly, his heart beating faster.
"When will you go?"
"I will go 3rd."
Now Tintin is lost, he can't keep up, and he is finally confused. This isn't right; the chances of dying are usually higher as the game continues. Why would he offer to go third, in the middle?
"I've lived 5 times!" the Madman declares, almost proudly.
"So, you- you've done this," he nods towards the other people locked in this room with him. "… before?"
"Many times. 12 times, in fact."
"But how- oh." Tintin trails off, suddenly understanding why the numbers don't coincide.
They are speaking in two different definitions of what 'to play' means.
To Tintin, it means the very act of participating in the game to begin with.
To the Madman, it means to have your turn of holding the gun and pulling the trigger.
Seven of those other times, it hadn't even gotten to him.
And what were the chances of that happening? Perhaps it was rigged? No, why would that matter to someone who plays with lives but insists the rules are fair?
"Enough chatter, my people!"
Tintin's breathing quietens. Surely this idea will work. But what if it doesn't? What if he's already prepared? Surely his other prisoners have thought of this before. He can't be the only one to think of this. But is it worth the risk? It must be. They won't get out, otherwise.
The man holding the gun lets his gaze sweep over the 5 people, calculating. It stops briefly on the man sitting next to Tintin and then he points playfully at each of them randomly while counting their allocated numbers. "One, two, four, five, six!" Tintin is allocated number is four.
"Let's start!" The madman says joyously before dancing up to the first person who is the man sitting next to Tintin.
He hands the gun over, smiling dangerously and indicating that he should take it and start the game.
With a shaking hand, the first man clutches the small device and looks up at the giver and then down at his hand. Tintin looks directly at the floor but he can hear the spinning of the centre piece, the cylinder, and the rustle of fabric and the man is presumably lifting it slowly to his head. He shuts his eyes tightly.
"Splendid! You pass!"
Tintin is feeling the weight of the situation pressing down on him now and looks over to place a hand on the mans shoulder in a reassuring manner, watching him blink rapidly and drop the gun back into the Madman's outstretched fingers. The gun is then passed onto the man sitting on the end.
Again, Tintin looks away and this time stares at the wall opposite him, clenching his teeth and hoping for the best. This one takes more time, the seconds between spinning the cylinder and the trigger being pulled much more than the first. Finally, he can tell from the impatient "Now!" that it can't be too much longer.
More silence, then, "Well, we have another winner!"
It doesn't feel or look like a win, or something of triumph, Tintin thinks, glancing over to see the second man shove the gun back at their host and cover his own face with his hands. It's the third turn, and the Madman prepares the next shot with far too much ease and excitement for someone with a sound mind.
'What is life to this person?' Tintin wonders, disconcerted. This time, he watches. Everything depends on this next outcome. He's been lucky so far with a lack of instant death.
But can he be lucky again?
This next round takes no longer than a few seconds.
The spinning is over quickly, the gun is raised, and the trigger is pulled; all within 7 seconds.
Tintin's heart is hammering as he looks at the Madman's face, his smile freezing before slowly slipping off into a look of horrible satisfaction. 3rd time lucky, it seems.
He looks oddly smug when he hands the gun over to Tintin, as though showing him an award he's just received and is now flaunting it to his friends. Tintin takes the revolver without hesitation, focusing his mind and handling it with care. He prepares it slowly, taking his time. When he goes to spin the cylinder, he takes note of its weight, size, and the ease at which it spins. He looks the kidnapper in the eye very deliberately, with a neutral expression as though to ask 'What are you waiting for?' to his baleful stare.
He lifts it up to his temple where he can feel the muzzle against his head.
Should he actually…?
Then, in a split second, in a movement so exact that not even the man in front of him could predict it, Tintin turns the gun forward to face the person in front of him and pulls the trigger forcefully.
Without even flinching.
The eyes of the target widen in surprise, such a logical and normally expected reaction catching him off guard as he feels a ripping jolt in his shoulder that pushes him back, followed by a very sharp, prominent, burning pain.
'That fourth time would have been the end of the game if it had all gone to plan,' the Madman thinks wistfully, falling backwards by the shot and having the corner of the chair to half break his fall before he hits the floor. 'But that's the brilliance of this game.'
Now he is feeling bitter, but also strangely pleased by this change in the usual way of things. Because while this game is to kill boredom, both literally and figuratively, it is also a way to find the people like him so he knows that he's not so alone in this terribly tedious, small world. 'Because out of the 12 previous times this game has been done, not one person had been willing to kill anyone but themselves.'
But he doesn't know how wrong he is when it comes to Tintin.
No one had pointed the gun at him in the last games; no one considered it because they didn't know what they were doing, no one wanted to commit murder, even in self defence. The idea of attacking him through other means wasn't a possibility either; they couldn't find a way to attack someone so mentally unhinged. His reactions would be so mercurial, and no one could figure a way around this and also guarantee the undamaged state of their lives.
But Tintin knew what he was doing.
Tintin, despite being so young, does have quite a lot of experience in handling a gun, and that experience is not limited to the one singular, empty revolver he has just thrown aside. He's accustomed to most firearms, and he knows he has a fairly good aim. The number of times he's used a firearm is uncountable. It's because he is accustom to firearms that he knew how to fire one, and it's because he has fairly good aim that he was able to disable his target in such a way that the gunshot wound somehow wouldn't actually be as fatal as it could have been - depending on how quickly the medical attention arrives that is, which will be soon.
And it's because he can't recall how many times he's used a gun that he is able to run to the man lying on the floor and take the keys to the locked room, the spare backup handgun, and find the packet of spare bullets in case of another attempted gunshot.
He knows what he is doing, and the fear of taking somebody's life is small because he knows how to control such a device that threatens one, albeit to an extent. The bleeding man won't die; he knows this for a fact as he quickly looks up for a phone to call both the police and a medical service. Tintin crouches down to the man on the floor. He tries to ignore the fact that the Madman is an unconscious serial killer and that he is trying to help him live regardless. He stems the bleeding as well as he can with what he can find, and then waits around for the police and ambulance to arrive.
It doesn't take long.
The Madman hadn't openly threatened them with a second gun because he had been so confident in his own manipulation and their assumption that he would, undoubtedly, have a backup. The fact he didn't tell them or make it obvious was part of the game, the uncertainty, it added to the array of hidden threats. No one wanted to ask because they honestly didn't want to know, because in a very small way, their ignorance gave them a little peace of mind which they desperately didn't want to lose. Tintin had guessed this the moment he understood the game.
This boredom that some people have, Tintin can never understand it. Not even now as he watches the medical professionals pick the man up, and put him into the ambulance. It doesn't come to him when he explains in a lengthy, detailed recount what exactly happened, and who else was there, and what the man had been like.
Everything holds something new, something surprising for him to explore, and how a man of such… terrible creativity could be driven to such a method of entertainment isn't something he is going to figure out any time soon, or even wants to.
'But it's over now. So perhaps it doesn't matter,' he supposes. 'And thank goodness for that.'
A/N: In all the Tintin comics that I've read, Tintin doesn't really have any qualms with just randomly shooting at people who suddenly pop up out of nowhere who just happen to oppose him. I only recently realized how many times he actually shoots at people, but he doesn't seem like a killer even though he is kind of careless about it. So I decided to write about it being because he doesn't shoot to kill, regardless of who the opponent is.
Funtime fic notes:
1. The viewpoint to the story jumps around a bit, but it's eventually third person omniscient, I think? Confusing, yes, maybe. Go with it.
2. This wasn't written to be a serious hardcore character development piece, I just wanted a way to explain (more to myself than anyone else, really) why Tintin always shoots.
3. I tried to do some research into the type of gun that was being used, but I didn't want to get into specifics so it is a little vague.
4. I was bored.
5. Not bored into being a psychopath though, so you're all safe. I promise.