The 3v1l Past
by Eli Young (Elyscape)

Kimiko no longer ran away when she saw me. She referred to me as "Gabe", or some similar Japanese equivalent. She accepted that I was not the "Piro" she once knew.
But it was tearing her up inside. Even I could see that.
But there was nothing I could do anymore.

---------

What bothered me was the other girl.
Miho Tohya.
Every day she came by to pick up Ping, who would force me out of the room in order to change. This would inevitably leave me standing outside with the Tohya girl.
And every day went pretty much the same way.

---------

<Ohayo, Geibu-san,> Miho said as I opened the door. Routine.

<Ohayo, Miho-san,> I replied. Routine.

<Ohayo, Miho-chan!> Ping said, appearing behind me. <Geibu-san...> Routine.

<Yeah, yeah,> I said as I walked outside. Nothing different yet.

The goth girl next to me said nothing for several moments. Once again, routine.

<Piro, I... I'm sorry,> she said after a bit. Routine, even though she knew my name.

Then, the break.

<Why are you sorry?> I asked.

She looked startled. I had never asked that before, save the day I met her.

<I... You...> she stumbled. <You don't remember?>

<No. I don't remember anything before the day I woke up in the hospital,> I informed her. <Are you sorry for something you did before?>

<Well... I...> she stalled.

<I mean, I don't remember it,> I said. <And if I don't remember it, and I haven't encountered its effects, it shouldn't matter, right? Any why did you call me Piro?>

She blinked.
Once again, Ping came to her rescue.

<Ready to go, Miho-chan?> she asked.

<Of course, Ping-chan,> the goth replied.

---------

That day, while waiting at the register for someone to buy something, I got to wondering. What was it that the girl was always apologizing for? Why did she call me Piro? Was she like Kimiko, thinking that I might be able to play Piro for her? Did she do something to Piro, something that she wants to atone for? Maybe she believes that she can be forgiven through me?
I wasn't Piro. He was dead. Kimiko told me that.
But then, why did so many people believe that I was Piro? Why did they come to me to solve their problems?
Who was Piro? Who was I?

---------

Miho brought back the android during the afternoon.

<Hello, Geibu-san,> she said.

<Hello, Miho-san,> I replied. <Hello, Ping-san.>

The robot smiled at me and went upstairs.

<Right, well... I'll see you tommorow,> Tohya said.

She left the store. I thought for a minute before following her out.

<Oi!> I called.

She turned, saw me, and stiffened.

<Yes?> she asked.

<Do you...> I hesitated. <What exactly is it you keep apologizing for?>

She stared for a second. She seemed to be trying to figure out how to say something.

<Well, for starters,> she began. <You need to know that you are Piro. Once were, anyway.>

---------

Gabe got out of his girlfriend's car and walked up unto his front yard. It had been a nice night. He walked up to his door, pulled it open...
BLAM!
He staggered back, a spot of blood spreading across his shirt.
BLAM!
Another spot of blood appeared.
BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!
Three more bullets entered his chest. He dropped to the ground, his head connecting with the ground with a sickening crack. His head rolled, and as he turned upwards he saw...


---------

<What do you mean, I'm Piro?> I asked.

<I mean,> she said. <That you are Piro. Someting happened to him and he... became you.>

<What happened?>

<Well...> she began.

---------

Miho walked up to me.

<You know, Piro, you knew me even before Endgames...> she said.

<I what?> I asked.

<Don't you remember?> the girl asked.

I didn't quite know what to make of this.

"Don't you remember me?" said Tohya, switching to a slightly whiny English voice. "Uncle Piro?"

"No..."

"I can't believe you don't remember," the goth told me. "You had an older brother, don't you remember?"

"Gabe..." I whispered, then suddenly became somewhat angry. "Bastard got himself killed by a whore when I was 10."

"Hey, watch what you're saying about my mother," she replied. "And, anyway, she wasn't a whore. She was just one of his many girlfriends. Got herself killed by his last girlfriend, she did."

It couldn't be. It just wasn't possible.
She... she couldn't be the daughter of my brother's killer.
This girl couldn't be my niece.

I backed away from her, then turned around and started walking away. Then I looked back again and broke into a flat out run.
And got hit by a car.


---------

I, Gabe, was the father of this girl.
She was my daughter.

<I keep apologizing because I... I...> she stammered. <I'm sorry. For hurting Piro. And I'm sorry for getting Gabe killed.>

<How did you do that?>

<I was born. When I was born, he left my mother. She killed him because he left her all alone. Then she was killed because she killed him...>

She started sobbing.
I pulled her close in a tight hug.

<You didn't kill me,> I said. <I did. I left your mother, not you. It wasn't your fault. I suppose I sort of pushed her to killing me, by getting a new girlfriend while I was still in contact with her. Of course, that was a couple of years afterwards your birth, long enough that I knew you...>

She looked at me.

<Fa... father?>

"It's all right, Mimi," I said, still holding her. "Papa Gabe is here. You'll be fine."

<I... I'm sorry for hurting you... and hurting Piro...> she said. <I... didn't want to hurt anyone... Please forgive me...>

<It wasn't your fault. None of it was. You don't need to be forgiven by me or Piro. Just forgive yourself,> I said.

<Really?> she sniffed. <You forgive me?>

<Yeah. Piro would to, I assure you.>

<Thank you...> she said.

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