Ever Over [Digital Devil Saga, Roland->Greg, PG] Title: Ever Over Author:harukami Rating: PG Warnings: None. Word count: 993 Summary: There are things he has to leave out when he talks about the past. A/N: For the prompt Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga, Greg/Roland: Pre-canon - "They met at university. You know, when that still existed". Crossposted to LJ.
"You see," Roland says, "We met in my Politics of Ecology class. Honestly, I'd never have noticed him if the class wasn't so small. Four people -- the minimum the university demanded to keep the class at all -- and one of them bothered to show up maybe a third of the time. The professor hated that. Not that I paid much attention to it myself, even though I went -- I just needed a social science class for my professional writing degree, and all the others were too early in the morning or sounded even more boring. Or harder. For this one, I figured it'd be relatively easy to study for tests and essays -- how much writing on both ecology AND politics could be out there? It wasn't like some classes, where you missed one small but influential theory, and were fucked."
He took a look at their faces.
"Sorry, that's pretty boring. Still, Greg took it all seriously, and that's why I'd never have noticed him; he wasn't the type I hung out with. He was popular enough, yeah, had a small group of people who he'd meet up with after class and go off to the pub to have these... long talks with. Of course, it turned out they were actually an eco-terrorist group... Some of them are still with us, they're what became the Lokapala."
"But what actually happened?" Gale asks.
There's so much Roland could say, but it all relies on experiences they don't have, that'd make no sense. He can't explain dorm room life, or why he first chose to go down to the pub with them because Greg offered to pay for the meal and it had to be better than cafeteria food.
He can't explain the rest of it, either: slowly getting caught up in Greg's impassioned words, not knowing whether he was right or not, but wanting to believe; yeah, yeah, the world is dying, everything we rely on now is going to vanish. We, the young college-educated, we're the only ones who see how it's going -- well, Roland hadn't, but sure, yeah, Greg seemed to know.
And then there was his feelings, that slow want. Greg had so much fire, so much life, he can't explain this to them: getting drunk and hitting on Greg, inviting him back, hearing Roland, I -- I'm flattered, but I'm married, you know. I have a child. That's why I try to head back early. God, he'd been so damned ashamed, he hadn't even come to class for a few days until Greg came to his dorm room and told him not to sulk; he pretended to be okay long enough to actually start feeling better.
But these things aren't something they can understand. Their path has always been set before them, and it's never been things like that. He shakes his head, and says, "It was... a pretty normal college experience, I think," he said. "But, you know, Cuvier syndrome was getting worse and studies into it were still being done. Jenna Angel had just released the findings on God... this was before the incident of five years ago, about three years before that. Fred was just an infant then. Greg was really impassioned about it. Eventually he started up the Lokapala, and we would do ...raids on the Society because he was sure they were hiding information. What little had leaked was already so completely revolutionary. He said that couldn't be all of it, because they'd be hiding the worst -- to avoid utter panic among the people."
"Makes sense!" Cielo says.
Roland nods. "Well, one of the raids was on a Cuvier Syndrome quarantine ward where research was being done on the patients... it went bad, some of the Lokapala at the time were extremely paranoid about whether it was contageous, brought equipment that hadn't checked out with Greg, explosives... the Society sent their guards in and the whole place ended up going up. I can't say it wasn't probably a better end for the victims than a slow death, but I can't say it was, either... Lots of the Lokapala died. Greg died too. I --" his lips twist in a bitter smile. "--lived."
He knows his own guilt speaks volumes. He doesn't say anything about Adil, his passionate terrifying guilt after the fact either; that side of thing is Adil's story, not for outsiders.
Gale rises abruptly and Roland blinks in surprise at the sight. "Gale?"
His face is tense and unhappy; he looks shocked, pole-axed, like he's just come to some kind of realization. Roland's stomach does a flip-flop. He's got a sudden terror that Gale's going to point at him, blame him for Greg -- Lupa's -- death, but he doesn't. "I'm going out," Gale says, and does, heads out into the city.
"Weird," Cielo says. "I'm gonna go wit him, see if he's okay, ja?"
"You do that," Roland says, managing to keep his tone light. Serph too rises, gives him a nod, and follows him out; good, good, they're all good people for Gale.
Argilla stays behind, though. "Roland," she says, slowly. "I... you felt very strongly for him, didn't you?"
"Did you love him?"
Roland smiles ruefully. "Well," he says. "That's hard to answer. Mostly, I think, I just wanted to be him. He was... always so passionate. He cared about everything. Even after the colleges closed before we could graduate, he simply put his focus into the other things in his life. He balanced his family and loved them more completely than I could ever manage, and led his people with a strong confidence I can only..." He shakes his head. "I don't know."
She nods. "Just ... I feel like you're leaving something out."
"I am," Roland admits, and takes his glasses off, rubs the heel of his hand against his forehead. She's waiting expectantly, but he can't do it, can't say anything. It's too large inside him.
Instead, he says, "I'll tell you someday. I promise."