A .hack/G.U. One-Shot by Digitaldreamer
You know, it's funny. I've had this one-shot in my head for ages, because I find Ovan to be a really interesting character. However, the problem with Ovan is he's a very difficult character to write. Most of the other G.U. cast I've found I can grasp fairly easily, but Ovan is different. He comes and goes through my mind as he pleases, and if I'm lucky I have access to a computer when the inspiration strikes. I'm not sure if it's just because Ovan's like that or if it has something to do with me. Regardless, this took me a good month after I beat Redemption to write.
This fic and I have a bit of a love-hate relationship... there are parts I don't like, but there are parts I like so much that I want to show them anyway. There are very few Ovan-centric fics out there, which is a shame since, as I said, I find him to be a vastly interesting character. He and Haseo's relationship is one of the core parts of G.U., and when I beat the game... the words just came to me. Here and there I had to bridge things myself, which is probably why some parts came out shaky. I don't really know if I got Ovan right, but I hope I did. This is basically just a sort of character study that goes over Ovan's role in he and Haseo's relationship and the game in general.
There are spoilers scattered throughout this, so I'd suggest completing all three games before reading this. On that note, I guess all I can say is I hope you enjoy this fic, and I hope I did Ovan justice. Please review and tell me if I did!
Some would call it selfish.
Some would call it selfish, and when Ovan felt that distinct twinge in his left arm every time he laid eyes on one of the Twilight Brigade, he'd have to agree. It was very selfish. He couldn't agree more. Then again, wishes by nature were selfish things, and when it came down to it, everyone was selfish at some point.
He supposed that excuse was not the greatest he could craft, not for this... but there was nothing more he could offer as he trudged on, knowing full well his guild was following. He could offer nothing more than vague, cryptic answers and empty words containing promises he could not guarantee would be kept, and yet they still followed, gazing up at him with nothing but trust and respect.
They believed he had answers. They believed he had answers, vast quantities of knowledge beyond a cryptic smile and enticing words like "The Key of Twilight" and "It exists because it must exist."
They believed, something that made him want to laugh and cry, because he had no answers to give them. He was just as lost as any of them, he didn't know much more than they did. He was a hacker who knew many secrets of this place, but when it came down to it that hardly mattered. In the end, they were all fools following an even greater fool, nothing more.
Some would call it manipulative.
Some would call it manipulative, and whenever he gives an order to Haseo, those crimson eyes gazing up at him with nothing but adoration in their depths, he has to agree. He never faces Shino when he gives her orders, they never speak face to face when they have one of their meetings, but Haseo... Haseo always cranes his neck, struggles to see past fiery frames into sapphire blue. His brow furrows as he hangs off every word Ovan says, fights to maintain his typical teenager scowl and fails every time.
Ovan knows he should feel guilty about it, but he doesn't. These things have to be done, sacrifices had to be made. It would all be right in the end.
It would all be right in the end.
That's what he tells himself, anyway. That's what he tells himself, and there are times when he believes it.
There are also times when he remembers Shino's expression change from joy to shock, recalls her gasp that contrasted Aina's horrible shriek so eerily well, and those insistences of justification and cries that he will one day make it alright do nothing against the pain.
He recalls this and he tries to keep it hidden in the back of his mind, beyond his reach, buried in dark corners where he would only brave in the wee hours of many sleepless nights.
Sacrifices had to be made.
Ovan could not afford to dig through these now. He tries to focus on the present. He tries to focus on the present as he realizes his foolish plan with the Brigade was just that, a foolish plan. Wishful thinking, nothing more. All he had left was the dark path that he had somehow always known would be the only one to take. All that was left was that dark, lonely path, something Ovan found fitting. He had no qualms about the dark.
However, to do what must be done... to lead Haseo down that dark path with him, that was another matter entirely. To lead him with empty words and promises of truth, to force that boy to keep going down a road paved with suffering was another matter. It was another matter entirely, but it had to be done.
It had to be done.
That's what Ovan tells himself as the wheels begin to turn. That's what he tells himself as he watches Haseo, watches people crowd around him, watches destiny drag him in. That's what he tells himself as he pulls strings and moves pawns, watches people the boy has unwillingly been made to care for suffer. That's what he tells himself as he watches lost one after lost one fall. He tells himself this as he watches Haseo grow. He watches Haseo change. He watches him push others away only to transform in spite of himself. He watches Haseo grow attached only so he can rip those things away, test Haseo again and again. He watches Haseo struggle, he watches him fight. He watches Haseo suffer, watches Haseo snarl with rage and sneer and scream in pain and cry. He watches him trip and fall, watches him get up and keep moving, only to trip again. He watches Haseo continue walking, never realizing the destination he has been seeking has been Ovan all along.
He watches Haseo as he realizes. Watches those crimson eyes widen as he finally sees, watches that mouth fall open in shock. He watched the boy gape in horror, watches him shake and scream and beg for answers, watches him struggle to hold back tears, fighting to be strong out of habit even as he realizes everything has been a lie.
He watches and it almost hurts to say those words, to reveal what must be revealed, to show what has been done and to reveal the dark path he has been leading the boy along, but it had to be done. It hurt, but it had to be done. He would take away Haseo's childhood, his trust, his innocence, everything... but it had to be done.
Sacrifices have to be made.
Sacrifices have to be made... Moon Tree, Sakaki, Atoli, Shino, the Epitaph Users... even Haseo's peace of mind.
It had to be done.
That's all he wants to say as Haseo gazes up at him, his expression a mixture of rage, sorrow, pain and confusion. Haseo had never really been that good at masking his emotions... Ovan almost wishes he was, but he supposes Haseo would not be Haseo if that were the case. The boy gazes up at him and he longs to tell him everything... but he cannot.
It had to be done... he could only hope that one day Haseo would hear him out. Would understand why Ovan had to become a monster, why he had to keep the shroud over Haseo's eyes so he could do what needed to be done. He hoped Haseo would understand that this beast he was slowly becoming wasn't what he had wanted, he hoped Haseo would understand that he had done it all out of a selfish wish to be saved. He hoped Haseo would understand, would even... no, he could not ask to be forgiven after everything that had been done. Nothing could truly fix what had happened at Ovan's hands... but if he could somehow make Haseo understand, tell him why, then maybe...
Wishful thinking had never done him any good, so he pushes it from his mind.
It wasn't going to be alright in the end, not after everything he had done. But sacrifices had to be made.
The game continues... the game continues, and Ovan watches as Haseo turns his back. He watches the boy grow, transform, fight... he faces things no one should have to face. He takes the very weight of the entire game on those lithe shoulders... he does this and no longer seems to mind. There are times when Haseo reacts in ways more mature than Ovan would have expected, and these surprises quickly grow more and more frequent.
When had Haseo begun to grow so quickly that Ovan was having difficulty keeping up?
And then quite suddenly the last piece has fallen into place and Ovan has reached the end of the path. He has nothing to do but sit and wait for Haseo to follow... to catch up with him one last time. He finds it ironic that even after all Haseo has done, he's still technically following Ovan... then again, it was to be expected.
They were connected, after all.
The battle is hard, a fact that doesn't surprise him. Haseo has grown strong, and his friends just as much. Ovan wanted this, yes... but it would not be fair to have not given his charge a proper fight, even if he could have fought against AIDA and simply submitted. But he doesn't need to worry about throwing the battle to finally end this... Haseo is more than capable on his own now. The attacks thrown at him are no longer thrown out of childish rage... Haseo is angry, yes, but there is so much more to it now, a quiet strength that wasn't there before.
Haseo is a child no longer.
Haseo is a child no longer, a fact that Ovan is proud of as the final blow is delivered. Haseo is standing there, exhausted, hurt, pleading for answers, for truth... and all Ovan can do is smile as he finally gives them. Listens to Haseo scream and yell, his voice cracking as again he struggles not to cry, a fact that makes Ovan smile. He smiles because he knows in spite of all of Haseo's growing, Haseo will always wear his heart on his sleeve, and Ovan can do little but admire his charge for not growing numb, something he had done long ago. He listens and smiles as he finally reveals it all, as The World shakes and crumbles around them, as his body crumbles. He tries to ignore Haseo's pleas, tries not to focus on the fact that Haseo's anger has already melted away and he'll be causing so much more pain with the final stage of his plan. He tries to ignore it and focus on her as white light envelops them.
He won't get to see his sister smile. He will never be able to properly thank Haseo for everything he has done. He will never be able to properly apologize, to explain why... but he supposes in the end it was what he expected. He had known what lay at the end of his dark path and he had still gone on... it had to be done. There had to be a price for becoming such a monster.
Sacrifices had to be made.
That is the last thought he has for awhile. For the longest time, all he knows is darkness. There are fragments of words and feelings, the occasional whisper... he hears his sister's anger over his disappearance, hears Haseo's pain. He hears and he longs to reach out, to apologize, to make the boy understand, but there is nothing he can do. He watches the boy surpass the system, struggle to fight and go on. He watches his charge struggle against something far greater than Ovan could have ever placed in his path... he watches Haseo struggle against his unforeseen consequences and he is proud. He watches The World come together, watches the final battle... and finally hears Haseo call for him.
He doesn't know why Haseo calls for him of all people... Haseo is strong enough on his own, Haseo is the Key of Twilight... he doesn't need a monster like him. He isn't needed. He isn't like Haseo... he isn't strong enough. He isn't needed... but even so, the call tugs at him, beckoning. Haseo calls for him... and in the end Ovan gives in.
One last time.
Just one last time he'll play the role Haseo wants him to play, just one last time. One last time, just enough to show the boy that he had the strength all along. One last time to finish it all, to save that place one last time... to finally put it an end to this great spiraling mess he's caused. One last time... he supposes he owes Haseo that.
And then it is over. It is over and they are face to face. Haseo's stands before him, shoulders squared, crimson eyes wide as they gaze up at fiery orange sunglasses... and in that moment Ovan realizes even if he were given all the time in The World, if they were given every moment and then some, he would never be able to properly explain. Words could not describe, words would never be enough to make up for all of the pain he's caused. Words cannot build him back up from the monster he was, words cannot return Haseo's innocence and erase all the pain and fix everything.
Words cannot change anything at this point... but Haseo has already forgiven him.
He listens as Haseo speaks, the words washing over him like so much white noise. He listens and smiles because even if Haseo has grown, he will never quite understand that sometimes words aren't needed. He smiles because Haseo doesn't need to speak, he has already done exactly what Ovan had asked and so much more, smiles because he is so proud of this boy... no, this man, because that is what Haseo has become. In spite of all of Ovan's tests, all of the trials, Haseo has grown and become a man, has become so much better than the shell of one that he's been following... it would be something Haseo would always deny, but Ovan knew better.
Haseo didn't need him anymore.
No... perhaps that wasn't quite right. Haseo didn't need him... but perhaps in the end it had always been Ovan who had needed Haseo. It had always been him making sure Haseo was following, placing the right words and the cryptic gestures, always making sure the boy's focus was on the darkening horizon... always making sure the boys eyes were on him. He had been pushing so hard for Haseo to grow... perhaps in the end, their roles had been switched.
But regardless of whom was in what role, it didn't change what Ovan knew... that it was time for Haseo to create his own path. The time for his careful plans and nudging were over, Haseo had grown up. It was time for him to leave the dark place Ovan had lead him to and into the sun where he belonged. And he wouldn't do that while Ovan was still leaving a shadow for him to chase.
And so Ovan leaves. He doesn't tune out Haseo's pleas, doesn't ignore the way he sobs, doesn't ignore any of it... but even so, he turns away. He doesn't belong there anymore. He had already done what needed to be done, had received far more than he ever could have asked for... The World wasn't his anymore. It belonged to someone better. Perhaps someday he would return... but for now, he didn't belong there.
He didn't belong there... and that was fine.
What was one last sacrifice, after all?
Please review and tell me what you thought!