By Starzki


If people could look into Sousuke's head, they might remark that it looked almost exactly the same as a bank's safe deposit box vault. His entire mind resembled rows and rows of carefully labeled, but tightly locked boxes.

The boxes didn't even contain memories. Well, actually, they did in a way, but it was much more than that. Each memory could have up to a dozen boxes. One box would contain the images of what occurred. This box would stand out prominently where Sousuke could access it quite easily should he need the information for a similar situation or to relate it to someone else. This was the box he used to learn and adapt, to continue surviving.

But the other boxes that went along with that memory were further back so that Sousuke wouldn't be tempted to peek into them. These boxes were labeled with things like "Horror," "Fear," "Helplessness," and "Sorrow." He may remember when a fellow soldier stepped on a mine and was blown into a million bloody pieces, but the emotions that accompanied the loss of a comrade – his mind made those inaccessible to him.

The boxes that were always, or almost always open were "Survival," "AS Specs," and "Current Mission." Sousuke also accessed "Loyalty," "Obedience," and "Trust in the Chain of Command" in healthy doses. He also found that "Anger" and "Fear" were helpful if he was careful.

There were other boxes, though, that he avoided so much that he pretty much forgot that they were there. Whenever he learned the information or felt the feelings, he filed them away so quickly, it was almost as though they had never existed. These boxes included "Sex," "Attraction," "Lust," "Magnetism," and "Romance." He knew of them, but they had never been of any use to him. And Sousuke lived and breathed utility in all things. It was a major part of his "Survival" box.

But then he met Kaname. She was so unlike anyone he'd encountered before. She required things of him that he didn't understand. She wanted him to peek into boxes he'd so carefully stored away that he'd forgotten if a key for those boxes even existed.

Sousuke suspected that what fascinated him about her was the way she seemed to have access to all of those keys. She ripped through his mind like a whirlwind, opening boxes seemingly at random. "Attraction" mixed with "Fear" and "Frustration." "Loyalty" and "Friendship" and "Lust" combined in strange ways. It was both exhilarating and frightening for him to lose that control.

Yet every time she rifled through his vault, he became stronger.

Sousuke had a good system. It was a system he needed. But after Kaname infiltrated his system, Sousuke began to doubt if it would be something he would continue to need in the future. With her at his side, he could trust himself to open those boxes and fully explore his reality. Maybe he'd remember things he desperately wanted to know, like what his mother looked like.

With Kaname, almost anything felt possible.


Author's Note: This was written for the LuxKen27's Summer Mini Challenge prompt "doubt." I'd love to hear people's thoughts on it.