A.N.: Call it a reflection, a what-if, a hopelessing teasing drabble series...it did make sense to me, I swear. -:(

Disclamer: PSoH and characters property of Akino Matsuri.

Mysterium Tremendum


Forgive and forget can be meaningless advice. So long as you have to remind yourself of it, you haven't forgotten, in which case you just might as well not forgive.

In any case, forgive and forget isn't an option, because it is precisely what they've been taught not to do.

Leon Orcot is a detective and – despite the temper tantrums and the language and the nonsensical T-shirts – he does find himself forced, quite often, to think about how neat concepts like right and wrong could apply to anything.

Once, not long ago, D had tried to quote some Chinese proverb at him. Use a plate of bronze as a mirror, and one shall know his appearance. Use the immutability of history as a mirror, and one shall know prosperity and decline –

– and that was as far as he got, before he'd been told exactly where he could stow his proverbs. His efforts weren't entirely wasted, though, because Leon has learned something.

He's learned, more or less, that he'll only ever be outspoken and temperamental and all-American, and that he doesn't need some dead Chinese guy to tell him about right and wrong. He's gotten by so far on his own, and, personally, he's not had that much to be guilty about.

He'll never be much for philosophy, but – unlike some people, he thinks – he does have a heart.

Count D has a simpler ultimatum. It is this: he is right, the rest of mankind is wrong.

At least, that was what he'd been taught. Taught so many times that he'd long grown tired of hearing it; so tired that'd he'd been tempted to feel his ears for calluses, every time he heard some variation of it emerging from his grandfather's mouth..

(So tired, in fact, that he'd taken up believing it wholeheartedly.)

It was an unjustifiable piece of logic, however. If you believed it, you did, and that was that. Otherwise, it'd made even less sense than forgive and forget.

Once, too long ago, he'd tried to tell a proverb to a most disagreeable American. The last half of it ran use another person as a mirror, and one shall know his own faults.

Count D tries not to use people as his mirrors. First, he didn't think the rule applied to him. Second, he knows he wouldn't like what he saw.

--but it's odd, in the end, that he saw the same things so very easily in certain other people.

It is the windy top floor of a hotel complex, and against a blood-splattered control panel that he watches one of those people try to hide – for the last time – behind a smile.

(…and wasn't that smile, said a small part of his mind, identical to his own?)

Blood enveloped by flame, he whispers, and downstairs Leon Orcot lowers his gun, forgets for a moment that he's still bleeding to death, and realizes that even follow your heart could sometimes be wrong.

Later, on the shipdeck and staring down into a sea of cloud, Count D still doesn't understand how everything – anything – had begun to go wrong. What he does know, however, is that most advice can sound like utter rubbish when flung haphazardly in your face. Espeically if it happens to be your own.

Were moths drawn to flame, he wondered, because somewhere, in a candle's searing depths, they could see reflected the most despicable parts of themselves?

Later, much later, Leon insists that he wasn't wrong.

The others stand, hesitant, as he paces in the empty shop in Chinatown, insisting all the while that the broom cupboard in back had once held something more. That something, he knows, had saved him from too many things to count, from boredom to moral dilemmas to the garden floor of a burning hotel.

He knows better, now, than to deny that the last had been real.

Since then, he's made a point to have been everywhere. More third world countries than he thought was possible; places where he didn't need to speak the language to tell he wasn't welcome. And if, perchance, he should need a change of scenery, he'd be wandering overcrowded cities, shouting at photographers in Berlin and Royal Heirs in Tokyo, wondering why they all seemed so determined to cross his path.

None of it daunted him, very much. Leon Orcot is still, first and foremost, a detective.

What kept normal people away from dark alleys at dusk no longer meant anything to him – he's long since seen enough ghosts and monsters and violent crime to last them several lifetimes. He has, after all, fallen from a shipdeck from above the clouds, and lived.

( --and he refuses to say lived to tell the tale, because the thought of a tale without an ending will frighten him still.)

--and Count D is still, first and foremost, a caretaker of the lost. But, sometimes, after latching the shop door against encroaching dusk, he wonders whether certain humans ought be counted among their number.

Bronze will be the only kind of mirror he cares for, for a long time to come.

Leon closes his eyes, and it's barely seconds before the mattress beneath him melts into the same, soothing nothingness that has swallowed the rest of the world.

He blinks.

He's running down a dingy city sidewalk, exactly like the one he'd wandered for most of that day, except that he sees shimmers, glimpses of things not supposed to be there - but eventually would be there - reflected on the side of buildings, sidewalks, the air itself –

But air doesn't reflect anything, he thinks. And besides, eventually?

(Never? Forever?)

He blinks.

He's be standing in front of an ornate and fragile-looking screen door. Before he could decide whether to kick it down, or run, someone shuffles on the other side, and raises the latch.

And his body acts of its own volition, before he even registers as much as the sleeve pattern of the ridiculous nightshirt.

He's waving the suitcase like a maniac and shouting something, he doesn't know what. And the other person stares for a moment (stunned? confused? angry?), and sighs, and makes him go inside and leaves to get tea.

It was the only way they know to act, after all.

He blinks.

A pair of calm, pensive eyes, are hovering directly in front of him. If he looked hard enough, he can see the blurry outlines of his own disheveled face, mirrored faintly in their mismatched irises.

Forgiven? he asks.

Forgiven? they ask, in return.

Not quite.

Forgive and forget, they know, and it might as well never have happened at all.


A/N: Different? Vague? Completely nonsensical? Take a few seconds and tell me!