Title: Justification for a Lie
Author: Niamh
Genre: Vignette -- drama, I suppose
Rating: PG, to be safe, though I think it's closer to "G"
Pairings: None
Summary: One-shot. Shigure ruminates on honesty.

Kagura once told me that I didn't understand jealousy.

Well, she didn't say that in so many words; Kagura is occasionally given to overly sentimental language. It's her way -- anyone will attest to that. But, with the pretty wrapping pulled away, that is, in essence, what she meant. I suppose she was trying to tell me that I don't understand the heart's delicate nature, or something to that effect.

I'm not sure whether she said that because I'm a man or because she, like so many others, believes that she knows me. I do in fact have a very clear understanding of jealousy; envy is a sin, after all, and more than a few people share the opinion that I am well-versed in sin.

Okay, so perhaps that's not entirely inaccurate, but I do think suggesting that I'm "well-versed" in sin is a bit strong.

But I digress. Alas, it's a habit.

I'm sure it's no surprise to find that, yes, there are things that I covet. Perhaps nothing as mundane as a new car, or as banal as my neighbor's wife -- I would first need a proper neighbor for that. Generally speaking, I'm quite content with my life. Aside from the fact that I have been known to transform into a dog on occasion, I really couldn't ask for more.

I am not jealous of Hatori for his intellect -- or his empathy. I am not jealous of Ayame for his charisma or his appearance.

In fact, I think what makes my situation ridiculous is the fact that I am not jealous of a single person. For that matter, I'm not jealous of an actual person, either.

Pathetic, neh? I'm not even envious of flesh and blood.

I guess part of me always thought it was ironic -- a Juunishi making a living by writing tales of things he'd never experience. How is it I can describe these embraces so clearly? Slender, delicate frames, soft skin, hair laden with the scent of night-blooming jasmine -- how can I, of all people, describe this paradoxically casual and yet intimate contact between a man and a woman? How can my heroes enfold their heroines in their arms before baring their heart and soul without fear of rejection or reprisal?

The men I write all have one thing in common: they are what I can never be.

Some will say that it's been so long since I've been honest and straightforward that I've forgotten how to be those things. That's not true; you never forget how to be honest. But sometimes, when life hands you circumstances that you must learn to overcome, certain traits are pushed into the background. Honesty is not conducive to my lifestyle, such as it is.

I envy men who can be honest. I am jealous of my heroes and their fictional, uncomplicated lives. My characters do and say all that is forbidden to me. They love freely -- whomever they choose. I have no such choice; I never have.

I deceive because it is a means to an end, because it means achieving something else denied to me. It is that inexplicable thing for which I envy my characters -- the freedom to one day find someone and embrace her.

I lie so that one day I too may express myself honestly.