Addler sat alone near the roaring fireplace, the blaze granting him a small and indistinct perimeter of vision which proved to be his salvation of comfort in the otherwise dark and suffocating room. The smooth wooden floor, the walls of various shades of gray stone, the finely crafted tables and comfy wooden chairs, the various decorations which adorned the room for the soul purpose of turning a fortress compound into a homely residence, they were all shrouded in the veil of dark fog that was the night. He sat upon a fancy carpet which Yumina had sewn some time ago, it being the only accommodation he had unless he cared to sacrifice his lazy, nearly-dead state for a spot in a chair, an idea which was immediately rejected when the thought of being unable to lay down was realized.

The darkness melted away all the surroundings into oblivion; the fire preserved all but a tiny space of floor and carpet and kept it safe from the darkness' invasive conquest. He stared at the burning wood, paying attention to the tiny pieces of wood which were easy pray for the blaze. He always had a fascination with watching things succumb to the heat and flames of a fire. For some time he had occupied his boredom by playing with the poking stick. He allowed it to burn and then retracted it from the inferno to watch it smoke like a magic wand and then simmer. Some juvenile fancies had never left him. But he soon became bored with that as well, his face burning with the stinging hit that one feels when being accustomed with a blaze for a long period of time, his clothes heated to the point that they cause discomfort when pressed against the skin.

He reached behind him, half expecting to see some malevolent entity hiding in the black shroud of the evening, to run his hands along the surface of the table which sat behind him. This continued for a few seconds until his hands ran across a circular metallic object which fled from his hand. He grabbed it from above and pulled it towards him. It shined at is reflected the light of fireside. It told the time to be barely three in the morning. He had at least three hours to go.

He held the watch to his ear, the chain allowing it to swing freely as it settled into a motionless state. He settled his back onto the floor, his feet a hare's hair away from entering the inferno in front of him. The watch was placed next to his left ear to where it pressed gently against it, hooking the chain on his right breast button so that it was able to suspend itself on its own accord. He closed his eyes as the well-paced, autonomic ticking filled his mind. His eyes burned with a certain yearning to find rest, however even they grew restless and hyper with the knowledge that their desires would not be met. His heart raced with abnormality, he felt lighter than air and yet as dense as iron. He felt a jolting sense of excitement and energy, an energy which caused him great restlessness and discomfort when it came to finding a preferable position to rest in. He was always like this when he didn't get his sleep.

Addler was an insomniac. For most of his life he had been treated daily with a combination of herbs which would put him to sleep so long as he was content with laying still until he drifted off to into semi-consciousness; the wait usually took an hour or so. Yumina had continued this practice, and although the formula was not the same as he was used to, it still served its purpose. That all changed when he was in Semaine, as it seemed everything of ordinary life was cast asunder in an overly-protective regime which was run, by Addler's exaggerations, by an overly-protective mother. For over a month he had hardly any sleep, it being a miracle when he was able to sleep four or five hours.

Ever since he had returned to Seize, his sleep pattern had been abnormal. He often slept from early morning into the late afternoon, being awake from the afternoon until the next day's morning. Now, he was intent on fixing himself straight by staying up until that evening. He knew that it would take several days in the least for his brain to fully adjust to the drastic change in sleep cycle, a realization which brought him much frustration.

He had by this point set the watch back on the table, letting it dissipate into nothingness as it was consumed once more by the darkness. He had turned to the confines of the room, grabbing a candle and lighting it with the blaze of the fire, shuffling curiously and carefully within the space of what served as a parlor. Although he had been in this room many times before, it seemed almost alien to him in the darkness of the night. The small and alienating illumination that the sole candle provided and the queer shadows that danced in the face of such illumination made it even more strange and otherworldly. His search was powered with one motivation: entertainment. Perhaps he would find a mere pen and paper to write or doodle on? He was at this point terribly oppressed by the boredom and restlessness which consumed him more with every passing minute.

The parlor was abnormally clean, being void of the usual clutter which adorned it. A frustrated sigh escaped him as he gave up the search, blowing the candle out and setting it back on one of the shelves of the fireplace. He took his seat on the floor once more, his mind going almost mad. Perhaps this is what sensory deprivation is like? There wasn't much to go on, for him. A fiery light, a shrouded veil of black, and all that was left in view from the combination of two -which was not much- were the only contestants when it came to stimuli.

Once more he stood up, the unsatisfied and restless toddler inside him growing ever more present. It was always such a cycle. He would spend about half the night doing whatever he could to keep himself occupied, often trying to go to sleep and giving up five minutes later once he couldn't stand to stay still with all the built up energy. It was usually half the night, for it usually took only until then for him to find some form of entertainment, but if he were to find himself the worst circumstances possible in terms of entertainment, he assumed the restlessness could go on for the entire night.

He took to the front door, opening the door with a gentle hand, taking consideration to not bother the others. The sound of rain greeted him immediately, flashes of sky indicating that a thunderstorm was somewhere about. The weather had been unbearably cold and frosty but a few days ago, now it seemed to be spring time with temperatures so high!

All was quiet, nature-wise, not that it wasn't to be expected at such an early hour. The familiar smell of rain and grass was about, a smell which he still despised even when he had been forced into a love/hate relationship with the outdoors as a soldier. The occasional flash of light brought about a quick glance at the surroundings, the steel bridge which ran to the town, the leaf-less trees.

Peaceful he thought

He took in the sights and sounds of the outdoors until he was exhausted of them as well. He retreated back indoors. As he was shutting the door another flash of lightning appeared, illuminating the entirety of the room. His eyes were drawn to one of the chairs. He believed he caught a glimpse of a newspaper sitting in it. He strolled over to confirm that he was correct. Although he rarely read the news, his boredom twisted this black-and-white collection of pages into some masterpiece of suspense and interest which any made of sanity would eagerly engage in. He picked it up and sat back down near the fire, tilting it in an extremely low angle so that the front would be exposed to the light of the fire. He skipped through the page for a few seconds before going over it again in more detail when he saw nothing of interest the first time around. His attention came to a small section of the front page, a mere footnote in the edition.

"Hopkins Guilty; Sentenced to Die"

Such stories always interested him, criminals being sentenced and what not; at this point they were especially better than anything. He pulled the paper closer to his face so that his eyes could distinguish the print in the dim, flickering light. He read with intrigue. There wasn't much to take in, such articles were as short as they were small. They were also, in most cases, very basic and unspecific, only giving the reader the essential pieces of information that was needed to make the simplest of articles and little of anything else. He set the paper aside, looking up to the ceiling as he reached the end of the article. Those memories and moods were making themselves present.

He could only infer, for it often played out that even he himself could seldom thoroughly comprehend his emotions, that, in the words of his own thoughts, such emotions were a result of a stimulus of guilt which was triggered into short term memory by the memory cue, which was in this case a newspaper. Such scientific background and fancy terminology hardly helped his confidence, for again, his anxiety and worries had a history of being quite irrational and the result of over-thinking every possible aspect of stress.

Should I not be put on trial myself ?

And in response to such a question, of course, came the institution of sanity, attempting to hush such voices and firmly suggest that he cease the entertainment of such fancies. But has it not a point? Does the voice of guilt not carry a point of validity? The institution failed to counteract, for it had itself reluctantly agreed that its adversary may have just arguments. That was all that was needed for his mood to turn into one of self hate and sadness. If he had not been yearning for any form of stimulation to cure his boredom, he might have possessed a modicum of resistance.

"Indeed, I deserve to die" he whispered, letting the silent air of the room hear his confidential inner thoughts.

Were you not under orders? came the institution once more.

"Am I not, was I not, under the orders of my own morality?" he fought back in the softest of voices.

You're a soldier; morals have no place in a soldier's mind. Hasn't every sensible individual spoken of such?

"Haven't I always agreed that I needn't be a mindless fool to serve my country?"

Soldiers kill, Addler. It's the hallmark of the trade

If only he could produce a decent comeback to such a point.

"There's a difference between killing and massacring!" he retorted in a silent scream, his eyes dark and his expression contorted in anger as if he were gazing at his own benevolent spirit of rationale. The spirit still contested its position.

So you're in a fit because-

"Because I killed unarmed boys like dogs"

Admittedly so, but are you not remorseful?

"Remorse does not excuse responsibility"

Responsibility of what? Following you own damn conscience whenever you want? There's no room for such a humane and caring, noble heart such as yours when under the orders of a harsh officer

He turned towards the darkness of the room as if to offer himself as a sacrifice to the black depths which consume all which light cannot save. What if the darkness were to consume him, he thought. Would he care?

Answer my question it chimed in once more.

He pouted in response, looking at a gaze into the dark depths of the room. He knew there was a point to such an argument. He still felt ultimately tied to his own morality, and he was always quite hard and upset over himself when he happened to break that morality. He had for sometime expected himself to be perfect, or at least more perfect than he was. He often sacrificed his ideal views of what he should be for convenience. Although such sacrifices had limits themselves, limits which prevented the harming of others and what not, sacrifices were enough for him to condemn himself as imperfect, morally flawed, and not a good person.

"I guess I was forced to forfeit my own moral opinion for that of my superior?

See, now you're getting it

He said nothing.

The institution of sanity sighed, for it knew its partial-owner's thoughts.

That's not enough of an excuse for you, isn't it?

"So I was forced? I still can't forgive myself for breaking my own morals..."

Any person would have done the same in such a position. Only the gods themselves would-

"True..."

Despite the fact that they had come to an agreement, the stress and general sense of bitterness did not leave him. It was just as prevalent as it had been. Though it grew mute, it still gave off the aurora of self-worthlessness, the feeling that he was not doing the right thing even though he was not doing the wrong thing either. It wasn't good enough for him.

So everybody is an ideal embodiment of their own perfect selves? Everyone except you is always at their kindest, at their bravest, at their most creative. They're all their ideal self?

"No, everyone does indeed have their bad days, everyone has bad months, everyone has periods where they're not at their best. I'm not always at my best either. I wasn't at my best

So what's left to grieve over?

"The remorse is proof that I have compassion and care, but the possession of such traits can neither lessen the impact of what happened nor excuse the guilt which I have."

At that moment a resolution had come; he could see a path to redemption and a brighter, guilt-free future. He questioned out of jest yet also sincere curiosity how such a resolution could be found amidst such hopeless attempts to lift himself up from the darkness of his conscience. He often acknowledged that he, or at least he thought himself to be, one who often engaged in irrational and over-dramatic talks with himself. He frowned up it not quite because he thought the concept of self talk was crazy, but more so because more often than not he found himself attempting to use logic and reasoning to calm and cheer up a worrying and foggy mind which, as of late, could easily get lost in the foggy mists of his own thoughts. Such thoughts usually concerned little more than self worth and the forceful entertainment of every other crazy notion that might somehow relate to self worth through the stretch of the imagination. Nevertheless, the bare essentials of a decision had been set forth!

He needed to confide in someone. He knew not how he would complete such a task, and he dreaded with a cringe at the notion of how he could possibly move into such a topic with the least amount of awkwardness, but he knew that if he valued his sanity and himself that he should do everything to set himself straight. Felicia was out of the question, for he knew he'd never hear the end of it and about how he should have stayed in the mad house. Kureha was nothing more than a quicker dismissal, for she had never appeared to be much of the emotional type. Noel was too reserved for such things. Kanata would be a likely candidate, but there was the one who knew what it was like to take the lives of others.

"Aisha, wirst du mich hassen, wann ich dir sage dass ich deine freunde getötet hatte?" he spoke aloud, not caring to lessen the volume with the belief that no one would hear or no one would understand.

Despite doubts, his mind was set, and with great appreciation from its owner due the knowledge that its over-exagerattive state was, for now at least, no more.

He did not know how he would do it, but he would talk to the person who could relate most and who had already been acquainted with the potential for such talks, as had been discussed when she used to visit him in Semaine. He would talk to her.

Tomorrow.