A/N: In a bit of a dark mood today. I have to write something dark to match my mood. Don't worry, it's not long.

l-l-l-l

ONLY MERCURY

I flexed my neck. It had grown stiff from hours of sitting and speaking with this tedious woman, this psychoanalyst. I tugged idly at the cuffs around my wrists, wanting to shatter the chain and leave this most tedious woman behind.

"Ami." She began again, growing impatient with my silence, "Who is Mercury?"

"Why do you bother with me? Why spend all of this time trying to peel back the layers?" I quietly asked.

"You're behavior is very extreme." She explained.

"There are men in this prison with behavior more extreme than mine, Doctor." I retorted. My voice never rose above a monotone whisper, "Still, they're not as famous as me, are they?"

"Let's go to the time when you decided to become Mercury-" The Doctor began.

"Don't be stupid." I interrupted, "I wasn't Mercury then. I was just Ami. Ami pretending to be Mercury. Being Mercury takes a certain kind of insight. Back then, just thought I was Mercury. Very young. Very naïve. Very soft."

"Soft? How do you mean?"

"Soft on scum. To young to know any better. Babied them. Let them live."

"As opposed to the other murders you've been charged with? Looking at your file, there's no record of serious violence against criminals before 2000..."

"Like I said. Soft. Hadn't realized the stakes we were playing for back then. All of us...Me and my friends. All soft."

"You have friends?"

"Ami had friends. Other girls in costume. That's all Ami was. A girl in a costume. Not Mercury. Not Mercury at all. In 1995, worked with Sailor Moon bringing demons under control. Tackled Beryl. Brought down Galaxia. Good team.

"But she was always soft. She didn't want to do what needed to be done."

"What needed to be done?" The Doctor prompted.

"No staying power. None of them. Except Uranus. Forceful personality. Didn't care if people liked her. Uncompromising. I admired that. Of all of us, she understood most about the world, about people, about society and what's happening to it.

"Things everyone knows in their gut. Things everyone is too scared to face, too polite to talk about. She understood.

"She understood mans capacity for horrors and never quit. Saw the world's black underbelly and never surrendered. Once one has seen, you can never turn your back on it, never pretend it doesn't exist.. No matter who orders you to look the other way. We don't do this because it is permitted, we do it because we have to. Because we are compelled."

The doctor breathed deeply, visibly calming herself, "Let's try some more ink blot tests. How about taking a look at this one for me?"

I glared at it and saw, "Dog." I replied, "Dog with head split in half."

"I...I see. And, uh, what do you think split the, uh, split the dog's head. In half."

"I did. Nineteen-ninety-five. Kidnap case, perhaps you remember?" Blaire Roche, six years old. Kidnappers believed she was connected to Roche chemical fortune. Stupid mistake. Father was a taxi driver. No money at all.

"Days dragged on. No word from kidnappers. Thought of little girl, abused, frightened, didn't like it. Personal reasons. Decided to intervene. Promised parents I'd return her unharmed.

"Visited seedy bars and began hurting people. Put fourteen people in hospital. Fifteenth gave me an address. Abandoned row house in Kyoto. Bad neighborhood. Smelled of damp plaster and soiled mattresses.

"Arrived there at dusk. No lights on in building. Something was making a noise in the wasteland out back. Dogs, two Pit Bulls, fighting over a knob of bone. Didn't seem interested in me. Decided not to use back entrance anyway.

"Went in through the front like a respectable visitor.

"I knew the girl was there. But when I searched the place I found nothing. I saw a piece of cloth trapped in the door of an old stove. I opened the stove and found the rest of the cloth. A pair of little girl's underwear.

"I looked all around the kitchen. I saw a cutting board, marred with use. There was blood on it, fairly fresh but tacky. Next to the board, was a massive meat cleaver with more blood on it.

"The dogs were being noisy again, still fighting over the same bone. This time, through the window, I got a better look at the bone. And the sock fitted on one end of it. I took the meat cleaver with me as I went outside, calling the animals to me.

"The shock of the impact ran along my arm, warm blood splattered on my face. It was Ami who said 'Mother'. It was Ami who closed her eyes to the violence.

"It was Mercury who opened them again.

"According to my informant, man living on premises named Grice. He was out drinking when I called. Returned at Ten Forty-five. Dark by then. Dark as it gets. I could hear him calling for the dogs as he entered the house. I gave him what he wanted and threw the first animal at him.

"I'm still enchanted by the fear in his voice as he tried to find me, calling for me to identify myself. I sent the other animal his way.

"He wept and cried. I'm certain this is the same as the little girl. I picked him up from the floor. The entire time, he proclaimed his innocence. He continued to proclaim as I shacked him to the stove. He challenged me to prove that he had killed the girl.

"I dropped a saw at his feet, so that he could cut away the chain. Then, I began to pour kerosene on the floor. He asked if I was 'crazy'.

"'Yes,' I told him 'I shouldn't try to saw through the handcuffs. You'll never make it in time.' I lit a match and dropped it to the floor and left. His screams followed me out.

"I stood in the street and watched the house burn. I imagined l could see him bubbling and burning in the flames. I stood in the firelight, sweltering bloodstain on my face like a map of violent new continent. I felt cleansed as the dark planet turned under my feet and knew what cats know that makes them scream like babies in the night.

"We are alone. We live our lives, lacking anything better to do, devise reason later. We are born from oblivion, bear children as hell-bound as ourselves and go into oblivion. There is nothing else. Existence is random, has no pattern save what w e imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose.

"Whatever was left of Ami Mizuno died that night with that little girl. From then on, there was only Mercury. You see, Doctor. God didn't kill that little girl, Fate didn't butcher her, Destiny didn't feed her to those dogs. If God saw what any of us did that night, he didn't seem to mind. From then on, I knew. God doesn't make the world this way. We do.

"Does that answer your question," I asked as the guards came to take me away again, "Mother?"