With time I regained myself. Time that was spent contemplating things in such an order that I could go from one topic to something completely unrelated, a useful tactic taught specifically to keep us sane. How else would someone remain unfazed in a job that requires us to kill all sorts of people, young and old, strong and weak, inspirational and insignificant?
Why was I assigned this boy? Surely someone else could have been given the chance. Didn't they consider my emotions when assigning these? Perhaps they previously assigned them, before the accident. Or maybe it was to test how well I could be unbiased, and able to close off my emotions. Perhaps I should assess this situation more thoroughly. I decided my tactic. Throughout the remaining time allotted, I would watch Damon closely, possibly even talk to him, and determine his value that way. After all, a violin prodigy won't necessarily change the world.
I checked my watch which I had timed to stop in 13 days, thirteen hours and twenty-two minutes. It would continue the countdown unless I commanded it to do otherwise. I read the inscription that I had asked to be carved into its body, there only for me to read if I need calming, or if I screwed up in every manner possible, or both.
"Let your power shine, Make the clock reverse, Return to what once was, Forward to what may be."
The only ability of my pocket-watch I had never tested, that I had been specifically instructed to never use unless it was an absolute emergency and I was going to basically end all life on earth, or something really close. It would also mean total hell for me if I did use it, because it rewinds time, and the only people aware of the event would be shinigami, because we exist outside of time, sort of, and rewinding time is a tricky thing, especially when only one person controls that power. Even rewinding by a few minutes could be disastrous, because every shinigami would have to be aware of it before it happened, so they could be sure to choreograph those minutes exactly the same way as they previously had.
No, I told myself. It would not come to that. I wouldn't need to use such drastic measures. Not I, the top of my class. Although I used to be second best. Phillip was first.
"NO!" I told myself. "I can't let the past distract my work anymore. There's a job that needs to be done, and I've got to do it." That's right. I had work that still needed to be done. That was one of the things that kept me at the top for so long, and was one of the biggest differences between me and Phillip. When there was a job that needed doing, I wouldn't stop until it was done.
I had to face it. He was gone. I would never see those golden locks again. I would never hear him give me another confidence boost. Never hear him tell me my oddly-patterned hair was not a defect, but a gift. I had to tell myself that now, because he wouldn't be there forever.
Never hear his masterful hands and fingers play the violin ever again, no more magical music rising up like waves to touch the shore, then recede and leave a sense of wanting. I could never replicate that, even though he taught me how to play. It was something only he could do.
Why did it have to be him, the best in class? Why couldn't it be me? I wanted to stay his rival, maybe even surpass him eventually, but not this way. I wanted to partner with him for this mission. We had even signed up together for that reason, and I wouldn't dare work with anyone other than him. Nobody else understood me like he did.
Why, why, why can't the memory ever leave my head? Why can't I put the past behind me? Why won't the nightmares go away? I see the flames every night, and I wake up crying, constantly, until I'm so tired that I fall back asleep, and repeat the process over again. If he were still here, he'd know just what to say. He could make those nightmares go away, but he's gone. Why did it have to be him?
"Stop dwelling on things of the past!" I had to get all that out of my head. I didn't want to go insane like so many great shinigami had. "I can't change anything!" Couldn't, or wouldn't? Perhaps it was both. "I need to focus. I have a task that's been entrusted to me alone. I need to complete it." And complete it I would, even if it killed me.