DISCLAIMER: Saya and Blood: The Last Vampire are the intellectual property of Production I.G. No copyright infringement intended. Not profiting from this fic.

Pretentious

Chapter 4

Always mind your contingencies. That's what my dad used to tell me. Plan for the future, and try to prepare for any possibility. Save your money, take insurance, and always make sure your taxes are paid on time.

Little good that did him, in the end. My father was killed because his daughter got mixed up with demons and monsters and secret societies. Try planning for that.

But it's sensible advice, I guess. So, Alice: what exactly is your plan if Saya dumps you?

Let's say she gets bored of you. It could happen. You don't exactly have much to offer her in a relationship, do you?

Saya speaks eight different languages. You're so dumb that you only speak English. That doesn't stop you from making stupid, obnoxious jokes about her pronunciation, of course.

Saya watched the people that she loved die in a war that stretched on for centuries, and at the end of it all murdered her own mother. When you lost your father, instead of having the courage to deal with it, you just ran away to Canada like a coward.

Saya is an expert markswoman, and knows dozens of different martial arts. When you're threatened, all you can do is ball up and cry like the little kid that you are.

Saya survived by herself for hundreds of years. When you ran away from home you didn't even know how to cook a meal. Saya had to teach you. That was weird.

Saya has lived in all these different countries and cultures, and has the experience and knowledge gathered over centuries of travel. What knowledge do you have? Fashion? Pop music?

Saya is four hundred years old. You're just a child.

You don't connect with her on an intellectual level. You can't make her laugh; every time you try to say something funny it ends up splatting against the language barrier. But even if she understood you perfectly, no one would laugh at your stupid, smug, annoying jokes anyway.

You couldn't say something profound if your life depended on it. And it's not that she doesn't understand what you're going on about; it's just that she knows you have nothing meaningful to say. Saya has been wandering the world for hundreds of years, and she can recognize liars and frauds when she sees them. Try to say something clever; she'll see through you. You're just a pretentious little girl. She sees you for the poseur that you are.

You don't connect with her on an emotional level. You know that you're just making a fool of yourself every time you spill your guts to her, right? You can babble on about your feelings all you like. Reveal your soul to her, share your innermost thoughts in the selfish belief that you're actually showing her something important. You're just a child; none of your feelings mean a thing. Tell her you love her until it makes you sick. You don't even know what love is.

She'll never open herself up to you. She doesn't think you're mature; she doesn't see you as an equal. Why would she ever confide in you? You're just a baby. Even if she let you closer you wouldn't understand what was going on inside of her.

She'll get tired of being your teddy bear. She'll get tired of living with an airhead. Anyone would get bored with an immature teenager if all the teenager has to offer is sex and whining.

Okay, so Saya gets fed up of you, and dumps you. What then?

Do you have a place to stay? Nope. Saya pays all the rent on the apartment; you're just privileged to be her guest. If she does kick you out onto the street, where will you go? A hotel? A hostel? An alleyway? Under a bridge?

Do you have any money? You've been working Sundays at the mall, but have you actually saved any of your earnings? Of course not, you spend it on clothes and records and candy. No need to worry about food or board, your girlfriend will take care of all that for you! You fucking idiot.

You're totally irresponsible. You never think of the future. Saya must think you're a complete moron, spending all your cash on worthless crap. Every week, when payday comes around, you come home with a shopping bag and this stupid, cheerful grin on your face. And Saya always has this blank expression, but you know what she's thinking: You foolish child.

Okay, so you wind up homeless and penniless. What then? You could try going back to your uncle. But if you do that, you're going to have to explain where you've been for the last four months. If you tell them the truth, you'll get locked up in the loony bin. You'll have to give them a more believable story. Like how you went to live with this forty-year-old divorcee who wanted to relive his youth.

But first you'll have to get to your uncle's house. How far away is Washington, again? Six hundred miles? Do you have the money for a bus ticket? Better start saving, then, girl. Otherwise, you're going to be hitchhiking.

And then when the guy that picks you up drives you to a secluded backroad, Saya won't be around to save you.

-

There's a knock at the door.

I sit there, for a moment, my stomach clenching. "Come in," I say.

The light from the hallway outside pours into the room. Saya stands for a moment in the doorway, looking at me, and then around the bedroom. "You're sitting in the dark?"

I shrug. "I've been thinking."

She closes the door, and makes her way over to me. I gawk at her like a frightened sheep as she sits down on the bed next to me.

"I'm sorry I was angry at you."

"No, I'm sorry, Saya," I say, and inwardly curse myself as my voice shakes. Don't you dare start crying. "I was just being selfish. I didn't mean to hurt you." You didn't hurt her, you just embarrassed yourself. "I thought I was helping. I won't say anything about it again, I swear."

"Alice, you have to understand. My children were better off without me."

A storm of protests builds up in my head. I get ready to tell Saya that no, you're a wonderful woman, you bring light to every person you meet, and you would have been a fantastic mother.

Then I remember that it was my own awful attempt at pep talk that had Saya yelling at me in the first place.

"Why were they better off without you?"

"Onigen would have found them. She would have use them against me. I could not have any weaknesses until I kill her. I had no choice but to leave them. It would not have been fair to them."

"But Onigen is dead."

"They never knew their mother. Even if they're alive today, they're a hundred years old. They have lived for a long time without me. They don't need me."

"I just…I just thought that…"

You thought that a silly little teenager could convince a mother to go out and seek the children that she had to give up a century ago. You thought that you were somehow helping her to become more human by encouraging her to search for a family that had been torn from her by war. You had the audacity to think that, despite all the pain that Saya had been through, all the anguish she had endured by being forced to abandon her own blood, a ditzy teenager could waltz in and make it all better.

When you suggested to Saya that she might track down her children, did you somehow imagine that you were the first to think of the idea? Did it not occur to you that Saya thought about them all the time? Did it not occur to you that the memory of them would have plagued her for years? Did you think that you were doing her a favour, exhuming these demons?

Stop trying to help her. Stop trying to change her, or heal her, because you can't. Another person might be able to help her, someone with more wisdom and insight and depth, someone who can understand her, but this person isn't you.

"What did you think?" says Saya.

"I…I dunno…"

"Did you think I was heartless?"

"What? No!"

She tilts her head, a curious look on her face. "You worried that because I leave my children, I have no emotion and that maybe I would leave you?"

"No!"

"Onigen is dead. I don't have to fight anymore. I…I can live without hurting others, now."

"Good! I'm glad you see that, Saya."

Her eyes fall to the floor. "I can't help the past. But the past is gone. I want to put it behind me. I want to move on."

"You know that I'll always support you," I say. She defeated a demon queen, all on her own. If she can't find the strength to live within herself, then an unexceptional girl like you won't make any difference.

She looks at me. "Do you forgive me?"

My face scrunches up. I throw my arms around her neck and pull her close.

Hold her tight.

Cherish her.

While you can.

Relationships should ideally be equal, but that ain't always the case, and, when you think about it, the Alice/Saya pairing is frighteningly lopsided.

Thanks to those who left comments.