Title: Return to Innocence

Author: Rhelle

Genre: Introspective/Angst

Rating: PG

Summary: [Seto introspective from Mokuba's POV] Because sometimes appearances aren't what they seem. Sometimes what we call darkness is only veiled truth.

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Return to Innocence

You hear them, my brother, I know you do. You hear what they say about you; it is impossible not to.

"You've been around machines so long, you've forgotten what it feels like to have a heart!"

"Kaiba should spend more time in reality!"

"Does he even care about anyone but himself?"

Alabaster angel with a heart of ice. Royal dragon, caught in cold and darkness. Kaiba, they call you, which was never your name, but the name of a man you hated and who tried to enslave you.

They say too that I see only the good in you, that I am blind to your coldness, your callousness your cruelty.

No. It's that I can see the reason for these things, that I can see the light from the darkness in you.

I can see you as you truly are.

You are not ice, not cold and unfeeling like they say. Your tragedy is that you do feel, my brother, and that you feel too deeply.

And it was that same ardent sensitivity that the world used against you, distorted and cast back like shards of a broken mirror.

Would our parents' death have shattered your world so, had you not loved them? Would the cruelty of the children at the orphanage have hurt and enraged you so, had it not been directed towards me? Would Gozaburo's cruelty have scarred your soul so deeply, had you not hoped and prayed in your heart of hearts that somehow he would be the father you had lost?

You were born with a tender heart, but a fierce soul. A soul that is a fire too bright for a mortal frame. Cruelties, horrors that might have snuffed out the souls of lesser men only fed that flame, made fierce the soul in your eyes.

Yes, truly, you are fire. Without fear and without forgiveness, shedding light and heat, ever consuming itself and all it touches. Fire.

The darkness haunts you, yes, as it haunts us all. But you will never give into it. You will never let it win. You will survive, you will triumph, for in your soul you know how to do nothing else.

You do what you must to survive, and to protect me. And nothing else matters.

And so you learned in time to meet the cruelty of the world with cruelty of your own. You learned to find strength in your suffering, anger in your agony; you learned to ignore emotions, because you'd die if you didn't.

You learned to play to win, because your life had become a game, and a game of power your life. You learned to conquer, as if through the defeat of others you could somehow defeat the darkness of your own past.

Where you loved, you learned to hate, because, as you yourself told me once when I asked, "Nothing affects us as deeply as love and hate. And of the two, nothing can so transcend the soul as love can…and nothing can so shatter it forever.

"So perhaps I rage, yes, perhaps I hate. For hatred, at least, cannot ever be betrayed."

Yes…because too many times have you loved, and too many times have you been betrayed. You have lived with that too long to ever live with anything else.

You push away all those who threaten love, you make of friends enemies, and yet your only real enemy is…yourself.

Niisama…there is love where there is nothing else.

I look away from my thoughts, at the building that rises up into the night above me, windows glinting like empty eyes in the reflected darkness of the world. A single one is lit still.

Seto, working late again.

The chains squeal in their hinges as I swing, up, down, and up again, scuffing the dirt with my shoes. Through the deepening darkness, I can still make out the dim form of the swingset above me.

You made it for me long ago, remember, Seto? It was built to your design, a gift to me after Gozaburo died. You said that life had opened itself to us again, and the world lay before us in all its beauty and terror.

That was a long time ago now, long triumphs and tribulations past. But I still come here, sometimes, when all the world lies in darkness, and I feel my heart as empty as our house without you.

And so I sit here, I wait here for you, thinking things that you will never know.

You say that love is a frail, fading thing, fragile as the hold of a flower in the earth in early spring, dying as readily as it lives. And so you take comfort in undying things, material things, that cannot ever betray you or pass away: your company, your computers, your game of cards.

But I know this much: when we both are gone, and all the technology you spent your life on is nothing but dust on the wind, still will the flowers rise up and unfurl their banners to the sun, same as they have done for ages past and will for ages yet to come.

You were born with a fierce heart but a tender soul. And so there is hope in me still that it might flower in you again. That like the little green and growing things crushed beneath the foot of humanity, you might flourish and open to the light of the sun once more.

Love - Devotion
Feeling - Emotion

Don't be afraid to be weak
Don't be too proud to be strong
Just look into your heart my friend
That will be the return to yourself
The return to innocence.

If you want, then start to laugh
If you must, then start to cry
Be yourself don't hide
Just believe in destiny.

Don't care what people say
Just follow your own way
Don't give up and use the chance
To return to innocence.

That's not the beginning of the end
That's the return to yourself
The return to innocence.

~*FINIS*~