Playing Gray
By
Hibiki

"Battles are only fun if you don't get hurt. Even in small battles I always seem to get hurt."

Even then I knew it was coming. The pain, the one thing I couldn't stay back and hide from. Two foreigners had come to Tokyo, my home, two that I knew all too well. I played them, like any other person at that time like nothing more than a game of chess, in which they were nothing more than pawns. I wanted to stay aloof.

"That's why it's more fun to watch other people play."

But now that I look back at it, I too was, and still am playing that very same game as them. Even as I moved them about, loving the feel that I was making them do that, I was making myself move as well. I was nothing more than a pawn.

My fingers play a beat against quietness of the room. The game flashes before my eyes, a light flash from my window, thunder rattles the pane of glass in its track. A storm is coming, but I do not care.

In the years since Piro had shown up, standing before me at that little arcade, I knew my life would be different. That something of the old had come back. In a way I was right, but looking back, how was I going to know how it would end up as it did.

Before I met him, I lived a life both as normal and as abnormal as those around had thought. Weird they always called me, and I knew in my heart I would never fit in. I became the person who sought acceptance if not with love, then through hate.
With this notion, many people have hated me, none so more, than a man I had fallen for, for a time. His name was Largo. Since meeting Largo and Piro I have loved many people, none so strongly as those two.

The sound of rain, the rain begins to fall outside against my window, but here in my room, I hear nothing but the sounds of my fingers. The game I play continues, but I'm not thinking about that.

Largo was an open book. Passionate, strong willed, and unstoppable. Well, I chuckle. Almost unstoppable. The Idol reached something I only saw a glimmer of. The man beneath the mask, much like mine I wear to this day.
And Piro, the enigma, the one who made me fall in love with 'her', and then once again, with 'him'. Quiet, bending like the willow and hesitant in everything he did. Yet I bent to his will, I helped him more than once. Sometimes with nothing more than a 'thank you' for reward. But I didn't care.

The game is deeply set in my mind; I play it like a lover, forgetting where I am. Who I amů

For the years they stayed nearby, so close I could touch them, after everyone around me were so empty. They were the only ones to truly understand me other than Ping, and yet so unreachable. I could never really talk to them, Largo would grow so hostile, Piro, guarded. Ping was my only true friend then, and to this day, wherever she is, still is.

And then Piro and Largo left, gone as if they never were here in Japan. But in their wake, peoples lives changed more than I ever thought possible. Over the years I took in a sick pleasure, twisting words and controlling people, sometimes for no other reason than to see the reaction.

Or is it the game that is playing me, I have forgotten. Just how long have I been here?

A heartless bitch, the weird girl, a monster, and of course, t3h 3vil, some of the many names I had been called for my manipulations, but I watched as the city known as Tokyo turned on its head for two men from America. Their names people didn't even know.

All the people knew was an ex idol turning her back against her fans, tired of their interference. A young woman fresh in the industry making the saddest yet most emotional performance in a game I have ever played.

And the time I cried. The only time I cried. Not when my parents died, not when everyone turned away, not even when Ping disappeared. But when they left, no word, nothing, I cried, because I knew, they didn't even care enough to say.

"Goodbye."

And now I sit here, playing my game like I always have, while my mind remembers them, in its own way. The foolhardy gamer who became once again the warrior of chaos who protected his loved ones. And the quiet fan boy, who I knew once as the sorceress of fire with the demeanor of ice, held off against the man known as Dom, unblinking, not afraid. It has been twenty years, and they have moved on, while I have remained virtually unchanged. The ribbons are gone, the girl I one was is dead, and I have grown weary of remembering the pain.

"It is my destiny to play alone."

Hiding in the dark, looking out onto the bright and happy world I wonder how it could have been different, how I could have changed itů In the end, I don't think I will ever know.

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