Title: Puppets on the Strings of Fate

Disclaimer: As any savvy reader will have guessed, I don't actually own Steins;Gate. If you do, good on you. Keep up the good work.

Summary: This is, and always has been, the choice of Steins;Gate.

So what was 'Reading Steiner'?

Our memories, however real they might be to us, are simply patterns coded into the physiology of our brains. The electronic shadows of our past. What, then, are we to make of a man who remembers events that never happened, that were never transcribed into that delicate lacework of neuron and synapse?

A book never written. A child of no parentage.


And yet...

Are we to believe in the soul, now? Some strange element outside of time, that filled his head with dreams of futures that never came? No, if that is true then Okabe Rintarou would be the only true being in the world, casting all others as pale imitations. A ridiculous hypothesis, even though it contains a kernel of the truth.

Reading Steiner does exist outside of time, or else it exists in every time. No other possibility exists that explains how it obtains the knowledge that it passes on. It sees everything, knows everything, and it's toying with us. Ruka and Feris remembered what was necessary to reverse their D-mails while all Mayuri and Kurisu retain are faint dreams of the never-were. Coincidence? There are no coincidences.

Yet coincidence has dogged our steps, driving us ever onwards. John Titor called it world-line convergence—the facile notion that an effect can create its own cause—but in reality Amane Suzuha understands the workings of time little better than the rest of us. What is known is this: Mayuri died no matter what we did to save her. If she could have been kept perfectly safe then that healthy girl would have expired of a natural heart attack on the dot of 7:35. By coincidence. Fate has no place in a rational universe; something is pulling our strings.

Future Gadget #6, the 'Cylaume Sabre', is shaking in my hands. With it, I could have faked the death of Makise Kurisu. With it, I could have changed the very world and finally attained that distant, promised utopia. Curse this dried-up paint! But blood is blood, no matter the source, and I find I have six quarts of the ultimate substitute.

Dying by your own hand is not an easy thing to contemplate. For all his good intentions, it's not something Okabe Rintarou could ever do. But Hououin Kyouma is tired of seeing the people he loves suffer.

Truly, this has always been the choice of Steins;Gate.

I only wonder at the end ... why did it choose me?

A/N: Trying to get into Okabe's head in preparation for a longer fic I want to do (the glimpses we get of SERN's future are too tantalising to ignore). Constructive criticism is always appreciated.