Thoughts about the word "innocence" prompted the writing of this and another drabble.

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"How innocent," they sigh, and wistfully long for the bliss of innocence; for those who are innocent know nothing. And these are the adults, the ones who have seen too much and wish to forget.

And yet they are not all fully grown – some are children who have had their innocence ripped from them, and only their eyes are too old for their bodies. There are – very rarely – ancients among the innocent; the ones who have seen nothing but life and happiness in their lives. Most of those do not have complete use of their minds.

But those who are naturally innocent – the children, the little boys and girls – cannot wait to grow, to make a name for themselves, to rise above, to exceed. They will replace the ones they outshine (how can darkness shine?) as the longing for innocence grows into a disease and their elders die.

They will not be innocent for long. Not when the children are raised to think of strategies for dealing out death, and they play with weapons, tools of killing. Not when the one who can kill the most efficiently is praised as being the "best" shinobi. Not when each dreams of being the greatest killer.

(Because shinobi are merely hired killers – murderers – no matter how they sugar-coat that bitter pill.)

Perhaps innocence is not knowing anything but what has been taught in this sheltered home, and perhaps it can also be called naïveté. And since the opposite of knowing nothing is knowing too much, perhaps evil is merely too much knowledge.

(Curiosity killed the cat because the cat wanted to know too much, and those on the side of innocence – the ones who call themselves good – had to kill it to keep it from the side of evil. It is morbid, but it is the truth. It is knowledge, and that in itself is evil.)

Good is ready to sacrifice quite a bit to ensure that evil does not triumph. To be one of those who are on the side of innocence but not quite innocent themselves is simply a matter of knowing just enough – not too much, but not too little.

(But if one knows this, one knows too much already.)

Why does innocence come before knowledge? they wonder. It would be paradise to know nothing after knowing so much.

(Perhaps they do not deserve to go to heaven, but they can wish.)

If only they could take the children's innocence for themselves, for as they learn (and kill and maim and orphan and widow) they will gain knowledge (hopefully not too much) and they will cast their innocence away.

("Give me my innocence, my bliss, my ignorance. Let me be free of the burden of knowledge…")

Someday the children too will want their innocence back, but until then they will learn and leave their innocence behind as they move forward.

(And some will learn too much, but that is inevitable, and innocence lasts for but a brief time.)