betas: punchdrunkard and kurokurorin

Prompt: Kyouya Iida and insight into his character

For Sensui Shinomi, blindness gave him back his sanity.

For Kyouya Iida, it was the world's way of telling him to take a fucking vacation already. Barely past 35 and he'd already used himself up.

So, blind and jobless, he idles away in a luxurious basement as a kept man and listens to music out of a one hundred thousand yen sound system. Drinks expensive imported beers. Buys clothing in styles he can't see. He's certain none of his shirts are black anymore - Aya's doing. Not that it matters, as out of comfort and his own bachelor's habits, he still wanders around shirtless. Out of respect for the female owner of the house, he keeps his pants on. Though, this is more for his own benefit than hers.

She had been precocious as a child murderess and now that she's an adult, she's even worse. She's still manipulative, even if she denies it. She is still looking for Thrill. Kyouya is still Real-kun to her. That little girl, who played bloody games and didn't want to grow up, lives on inside of her. As a child, she'd chosen and clung to him. Now, as an adult, she'd chosen him again for reasons she won't reveal.

"I bet she has cameras in the bathroom," Kyouya says one day, only half joking.

The doctor mutters as he presses fingers under Kyouya's eyes and does something or other, a penlight clicking repeatedly in his doctor's visits are random; Kyouya assumes they come at Aya's direction. He's rarely sick and discounting the Keratoconus, the smoker's lungs and low appetite, he is perfectly healthy. There are no cases, therefore, those phantom stomach pains no longer plague him.

The doctor has never told him his name, and Kyouya doesn't recognize his voice. Underground man, obviously. He wonders if he knew him from before, perhaps indirectly. His breath smells of kimchi and barbecued meat. "Are you hallucinating?"

No he's not hallucinating. He's done it enough to know reality from unreality from reality's reflections. He asks this every time and is probably working off of Aya's information. Kyouya vaguely recalls a single childhood therapist and a couple concerned school teachers. Then there were those mandatory police psychiatrist visits that generally resulted in irritation for both parties. He can only guess what they wrote and what Aya knows.

Kyouya isn't feeling playful, so he says simply, "No."

The doctor sighs, finishing his checkup and leaves him alone after that. Then the door closes with a gentle click. The basement is silent again. Kyouya can't hear the doctor's footsteps going up the stairs through the door. The place was so well insulated, it may as well be a vault.

With blindness, he can no longer see shadows or their colors, men's faces or the faces of their sanity cracking. He can't see those last wishes of the deceased, or the vibrating mania of people driven far past misery.

None of Yamaki's faith or Eriko's disappointment. Or the Old Man's disapproval.

He's free of his ghosts. Those ghosts at least. He cannot revenge his father's suicide. He cannot, in turn, commit suicide for his mother. But the others - for Yamaki, Eriko's husband, and Narita - he ended those cases the best way he knew how. He has no regrets, no guilt.

It's funny how things are different now that he's finally found closure. Funny how losing everything, including his sight, would embe/em that closure. Blindness lost him his job, his physical freedom, even his desire to be part of society. Now, his name only lives on as an urban legend on some internet fan site, webmastered by the very girl helping him remain entombed beneath the ground. It's a fitting end to that chapter of his life.

He does miss one thing, though.

Driving. Yamaki had been horrified when he'd first bought the car - a flashy import with its gloss and speed and, more importantly, the steering wheel on the wrong side.

"You're not a teenager! These fads are too dangerous for a police officer!" Hachimaki had said, aghast.

Kyouya hadn't given a fuck and just gunned it down the highway. As much as his partner had whined, Kyouya noticed his requests for rides home suddenly became a regular occurrence.

Eriko drove her own car.

That was wise of her. Kyouya sometimes flirted with the notion that, out of everyone in his life, that small amount of distance had been the only thing that saved her from death.

"You'll probably finally die," he'd said, amused, when Aya first approached him, offering a place to stay and the occasional bit of consulting work for her business.

The Keratoconus had advanced enough that he hadn't been able to see much of her face, just the shrug and the girlish head tilt. She giggled, sounding very young. "That's thrilling." He'd actually laughed a little. Their own morbid, private little joke.

He found her childish innocence amusing; it was the selfish sort that was low on empathy and high in misbehavior. Kyouya had no lack of empathy but unlike Aya, who stopped her actions once she realized there were real repercussions for herself and others, once he chose a course of action, he did not stop. He'd once felt guilt, but time and death had eroded so much of himself that all he had left was that thrill. The chase, the violence, the killing - all packaged snugly in Justice - was what he pursued regardless of the effect on himself or others. It wasn't, isn't healthy, but Kyouya doesn't care.

The other day, he asked for cigarettes, the brand he'd quit once he left the force. He'd felt the questions Aya wanted to ask, but the words never passed her lips and later that afternoon, a carton of Hope sat on his coffee table. He does take that offered work sometimes, when he can summon the interest. Aya would come down with her laptop and she'd ask questions about how this or that person connects to another. What does he think? What do his instincts say? Like he's a dog with a homing signal to the darkest parts of humanity, and he can instantly point to it with just a whiff of stench. He can, actually.

It's not enough.

He pulls a cigarette out and lights up. His lungs fill with a familiar poison.

Ever sensitive, he can feel things changing. Aya hasn't come down in some time now. The humidity is rising outside and summer will soon be arriving. That thrill seeking part of him, now unfettered by exhaustion and guilt, is awakening to a growing sense of anticipation.

His vacation will be ending soon.

He can feel it.

He looks forward to it.