Oh, he knew that look.

He didn't think it would be so pronounced on a doll like her, seeing as how she was programmed just like the rest of them, only with less detail. At least D's had some kind of personality, she was like an exaggerated cartoon of womanhood; all cleavage and possessiveness.

Maybe just enough brain to calculate what he could do for her. She was just the way in to get a reaction, anything that wasn't just that same cold indifference. Sayoko was a foolish enough creature that he'd have a way to take any sort of distraction.

Of course, Quon was freaky enough to know everything, it seemed.

"He has forgotten how to sing, so there is no more harmony."

Her dutiful nursemaid wouldn't hide under that cool nature once he had the right data. It wouldn't take like something sticky, the doll couldn't stop glancing in his direction and attempting to not glance in Quon's.

"I'll be out of here soon enough, Miss Kisaragi."

He couldn't help the but smirk at the look in Itsuki's face when he came into the lab. Oh no. He wasn't going to steal her that way.


"What are you reading this time?"

He jumped. Itsuki always jumped. But then, that was the point, sneaking up like he did. Whatever he was thinking was always right there on his face--some people would call him a wuss, but that's not what it was, at all. Isshiki hadn't been that way for a while, and maybe it was because he missed it, that honesty that Itsuki could show without a second thought.

"You've got to quit doing that! Sneaking up like a cat or something."

Isshiki chuckled and leaned over him, hovering a bit like a vulture on a branch, his forearms resting on Itsuki's shoulders. He squinted at the text.

"...Really, what is that gibberish?"

"It's... genetics. Like... plants?"

"Sounds interesting."


He rested his chin on Itsuki's head. "Maybe you could explain it sometime."


He let him know how things were supposed to go by paying attention to the doll. Helena knew, because Helena was one of them. They hated each other because what they felt most human around had abandoned them for programming. For a silly girl that didn't understand how she ruined everything.

Dissonant chords always were taken out of compositions, if not used for punctuation.

So why was it that the B, the failed brother garnered so much attention? Why were they stuck to him?

He wanted to ask Quon, but he was afraid of the answer.


"Do you find me captivating?"


He had that at least. He had that at most. Isshiki hunted women, because it was their nature to be hunted. Deer eyes and prey fears. He wanted to be a hunter because it was proactive, because in some reality he was meant to be the hero, instead of the fool. Helena was at least smart--the doll fell into his web far too easily.

But she wasn't real anyway. If he had a heart still, maybe he would realize how wrong it was, instead of fingering the strap of her black dress and imagining an ideal childhood that he never had. Of scandals and friends that should have stayed, but had left instead.

He hoped that he wouldn't be reborn. Because he was going to burn no matter what.


It was at the end, when some other puppet shot him, that he realized that Itsuki still cared whether he lived or died. It made it enough, even if half of him hoped the doll would stab him and let them all be dead and happier that way.