The Loyal Dog [Digital Devil Saga, Bat/Roland, PG-13] Title: The Loyal Dog Author:harukami Rating: PG-13 Warnings: None Word count: 725 Summary:Honor -- what a joke. A/N: For the prompt, Digital Devil Saga: Bat/Junkyard!Roland; knife play, "I'd go to hell before I betrayed my Leader.". Crossposted to LiveJournal.
He's heard of the guy -- Bat, Camazotz -- who betrayed the Maribel leader to the Solids and to her death, then turned on the Solids as well. Lupa doesn't have a high opinion of the guy, obviously; when scouts came back with the reports that Bat had joined the Brutes, Lupa had spat on the ground.
"Victory through dishonor," he had said, "is the worst sort of success."
It's the type of thing you hear and don't expect to see come up again -- a tragedy, to be sure, and one that ended up (through no planning of Bat's, he'd guess) to give far too much power to the Embryon tribe, but beyond the imbalance in the war, he hadn't expected it to affect his life somehow.
But Vishudha is being overrun by the Brutes and all around him people are dying. Truthfully, he is terrified; somewhere along the way when the burning of Vishudha began, when tanks crashed into the main gates, his calm indifference seemed to shatter and he hasn't managed to get that feeling back again. Instead, his heart is racing, his palms sweating on the gun in his hands, his eyes too-wide and, embarrassingly, stinging with tears as he runs past the corpses of his fallen comrades.
He's not sure exactly where he should be going -- to Lupa's side is the obvious option, to follow and protect Lupa -- but where Lupa can be in all this he can't know. The air is heavy with screams and the scent of blood. Inside him the demon twists.
He almost stumbles with the speed he turns at, catches sight of the lanky young man in Maribel colors. For a moment, his mind stalls, can't place the incongruity, and then he's raising the gun in a hurry; this is him, this is that guy Lupa spat on the ground for, the one who has engineered the downfall of two of the leaders, here in Vishudha.
A moment later he's lost his grip on it to the sound of metal on metal as a knife hits it, tears it from his grasp. He scrambles for the gun and, realizing he can't make it, catches up the knife instead from where it fell.
"Oh?" Bat asks, lightly. "You think you can take me on in a knife fight? You little bastard!"
He's shaking, covers the hand holding the hilt with the other to try to keep it steady. "You're the bastard here."
Vishudha is overrun; everywhere is the sound of gunfire and missiles. They cannot hold out like this. Even just a look around shows who the winner is.
"I'd go to hell before I betrayed my leader!" Roland bursts out. He charges Bat, tears in his eyes; he wants to run away, he wants to run away so badly.
"Is that so," Bat drawls, a wide, edged grin splitting his face; there's a moment of pain, and Roland looks down at the knife in his stomach. "Because I think," Bat adds, dragging him close and pressing his lips to Roland's ear, "that you want to, don't you? The path he's leading you down, won't it get you all killed? 'Honor' -- what a joke."
Roland shutters. Pain wracks him in waves from the injury and as Bat drops him, he falls to his knees. The wound isn't necessarily fatal. Certainly isn't fast. He's seen people live weeks slowly dying with stomach wounds. "Kill me," he says.
"No," Bat says, puts a foot on his shoulder, and shoves. Roland crumples to his side. "Crawl for safety, bitch. Drag yourself out of this. Leave it all behind. It's what I'd do." He smirks.
"Bat, you lousy bastard--" it's the sound of Varin Omega's voice and Roland cringes, cringes more when he realizes that he'd been thinking, if he finds me, I'm done for.
Bat laughs. "My master whistles," he says, and sketches a mock bow. "Escape if you can. Leave it all behind. And won't Lupa be proud of you then, hm?"
And then he is gone.
Roland lies there a few long moments, shuddering, in pain. Then, slowly, he picks himself up as much as he can and begins to drag himself away.
He's found a hidden alley to stuff himself into, safe, when he hears the cry go up that Vishudha has been taken completely; victory to the Brutes. Lupa must be dead, he thinks, and sobs.