Fandom: Ghost in the Shell: Stand-Alone Complex.
Set: Gig two, vague spoilers for a few episodes through the middle of the season. Although this is definitely a stand-alone.
Notes: This is crack!fic. I commend anyone who actually gets what my brain was trying to say. Including me. Is also unbeta'd. Am cranky. Deal.
Acquittal by ALC Punk!
Five counts of murder.
"How do you plea?"
"Not guilty." Her voice is calm, as though she's talking about making tea and scones.
It's a lie.
The first time Togusa meets the Major, she's a sweet little girl who can't fold paper cranes. He mocks her for the inability and she punches him in the gut.
He never mocks her after that.
(this never happened)
"You have to admit, it's pretty damning evidence."
Togusa throws Batou a look, but the big guy seems intent on ignoring the conversation, head down, nose buried in the off-brand beer Aramachi bought them all. Aramachi himself is still at the bar, having a conversation in pretzels with the girl behind it.
It falls to him to interject some logic, "Yeah, but it has to be faked. We know her, she wouldn't--"
Some days, Togusa figures lazing around in bed is allowed. One arm draped over his wife, hand gently stroking her belly. She's got morning sickness (again), and it scares him to think of bringing a child into the world (another).
He drifts, lazily wondering if she'll have purple hair (like her mother).
The first victim has bullet-wounds to both kneecaps and a bullet through the back of her skull. She died on her knees. Second and third victims were systematically dismembered with nothing more than an assault rifle. The ME looks shaken on the stand.
Clear as a bell, Batou can smell violets. He knows without turning who it is. "You're late."
"I was bored."
"You're always bored."
Her hip settles against the bar as she looks out at the crowd.
"Does he know?"
Batou gives a shrug, takes a sip of his (stale, why is it always stale?) beer. "Probably."
The bar ripples, and she fades from existence.
(this did happen)
In the beginning, Togusa never thought he could lie to his wife about what he did. After all he's seen, he thinks it's a necessity.
She would never understand it. Never get why he dedicates himself to keeping his soul clean while trying to bleach those around him, to uphold them a little from the filth that they sift through.
He also knows they'd laugh themselves sick if they had any inkling.
The first time Aramachi met Togusa, he had little use for him. A jumped-up detective with no sense of tact or intelligence. But he wasn't a man to throw resources away, so he let the boy stay.
In time, he's revised the opinion. Togusa's intelligence is like that of a sharp dog, at best, but his instincts are better than anyone's when it comes to puzzles. They need him for that. And for something else. Every day, they're reminded of the common man, the little guy that they're trying to keep safe.
Sometimes, the streets make it hard to remember.
She dreams in memory.
A little girl with purple hair running in the sunshine, laughing as she turns to her father. Mother, brother and sister are watching, too.
It seems odd now that they were all blonde except the little girl.
The laughter is infectious, and she almost giggles when the father swings her into the air. Wind whistles through the trees, playing with wind-chimes that muffle the first gunshot.
Bright red blossoms, and blonde is now purple.
"They say for every truth she tells, she's concealing a lie."
"It's a very neat package, don't you think? Major Kusanagi's fingerprints on the weapon, and everyone knows she's a sharp-shooter." The man smiles unpleasantly at Aramachi. "And all because you've not kept your part of the bargain."
For an old man, Aramachi can be quite swift. In this instant, he is not. His head bows slightly. "As you wish."
"The trial's not going well." Togusa is frustrated. And, at any other time, he would find talking to a machine a moment of insanity. But he has no one else to discuss this with; the rest of Section Nine won't even consider that she might fail.
"Do trials ever go well?" Piped the tachikoma as it finished its task. "I've been reading the databases, and they never do when the witness is silent! The jury sees it as a sign of guilt!"
"Can you try not sounding so happy about that?"
The snappish tone makes the robotic tank droop slightly, then it bounces, "I know! We can prove the Major's innocence!"
"It's not our job." And there's the real reason he's frustrated.
(this never happened)
"--the fifth victim, your honor, was a five-year old girl. She was killed quickly, but she was killed last."
"You don't belong here."
The bar's a featureless room now. Empty of everything but two people.
His brown hair shifts to blond, then back, "I suppose I don't. But then, you're not innocent, either."
The double meaning makes her eyes widen, and the purple hair flares as she jerks her head. "This is my mind, my space."
"And mine," Togusa says, absently playing with the long-range rifle she can't ever forget, "Is my space."
"We the jury find the defendant not guilty."
(this did happen)
"Victim number four was an arms dealer."
He can't believe how emotionless she sounds until he notices the glassiness of her eyes and realizes the repressed memories are tearing her apart. "Why?"
"They paid well. A rival gang, and--" but she can't continue.
Batou bought this round of drinks.
Reality is brighter than cyberspace, or maybe it's just more real, with smells and tastes, and emotions you can't hide forever spilling everywhere and under everything. Togusa takes a sip and makes a face, "It's stale."
"It's always stale here."
They both watch her look into her beer, then Batou glances at him, "Now you know. There are things in everyone's past we don't like to remember."
"Did the trial really happen?"
"That was your mind trying to puzzle out the memories," she looks uncertain for a moment, then sticks a finger in her drink. "A defence mechanism for the intrusion I used with the ghost hack."
Stale beer slides over Togusa's tongue, and then he shrugs, "And what happens next time, genetic experimentation? Or maybe a little torture?"
Batou raises his mug, "Hear, hear."