pospreterito: young man in black with a red tie against a red wall ({personal} ..ph swag)
[ pos.pɾe'te.ɾi.to ] ([personal profile] pospreterito) wrote in [community profile] copreterito2012-01-06 12:38 pm

{bracketverse, 31_days} no 'i don't know', no 'maybe so'

Title: no 'i don't know', no 'maybe so'
Rating: PG
Wordcount: 770
Story / World: bracketverse
Challenge: [livejournal.com profile] 31_days: January 03 2012, I've got the world in my headlights
Other: After and consistent with Plenipotentiary.
Characters: Ciel Noline with a Cosma cameo
Notes: Ciel Noline: little_details on legs.

so i’ve become the middleman, the grey areas are fine
the ‘i don’t know’, the ‘maybe so’, is the only real, is the only true, is the only real reply

He forgets, sometimes, and it takes him by surprise. It’s the only way he can get to sleep, lately, knock all knowledge out of his head by brute force or chemical cajoling or pure distraction. Or a wall. Running head-first into walls is the least functional of all solutions, though, and it just looks very silly.

It’s still a fact that if he’s curious he can hear every footstep for three miles around without really trying, and Cosma’s taken him to her school on false pretences so that he can tell her without a shred of doubt who’s been stealing her good markers. It’s not like his testimony would even be admissible in court – it’s one of the rules here, the people who are always right are never allowed to state it – he’s still never wrong, though.

And it hurts, sometimes, in the back of his head, with a steady beat and a dull glow in colours that aren’t his, aren’t his at all. He wonders if the light spills out of his eyes at all, shoots through the optic nerve at a photon’s breakneck pace and –

Magic doesn’t work like that, though. He knows.

Despite everything he looks things up or has Cosma do it when they get into an argument, what year the Berlin Wall fell and something about revolvers he’s in retrospect not sure why she wanted to know at all. It’s been a year and she knows, she knows by his post and all meaning to anything he’s got to be right, but Ciel thinks he’s beginning to understand why he’d never be allowed to testify. Any witness always has to have room for doubt, room to be human and fallible and wrong, or it’s not fair to anyone.

He wonders what other people think he can do. He came in untrained and without knowing anything, and Ciel very, very purposefully hasn’t thought back to his predecessor to see how she did things.

Knowing things is easy. Closing himself off from knowledge that is right there, building up a slate wall for constant ignorance, goes against everything he believes in and, coincidentally, everything, period, order building out in concentric arcs from him.

—But he only knows things at will, and so it takes him by surprise when Cosma grabs him by the collar of his coat and declares that she knows, she knows, she knows, okay, and when he asks why she just grins.

I know why you, she says, and he blinks. What?

I know why you, Cosma repeats, despite the sentence making no sense, and then, enthalpy, look it up, and then she’s gone and he’s left blinking more.

In less than a second he knows the definition, or rather he knows what’s written in a dictionary on the subject (the dictionary is on the third shelf from the bottom, two books from the right, of one of the many bookcases his sister’s been hoarding, and it was printed twenty years ago and has been used as a bludgeon five times and okay he doesn’t want to know thanks). Actual, factual knowledge is one thing, but according to Cosma he still splices his commas and he. Doesn’t know what that is, actually.

As a concept it sounds pretty, he thinks, and about right. He’d ask some of his fellows about the subject but he already knows he’d get blank, blinking stares; people seem to believe in all or nothing, here, that if you’re Side you should give up all else.

That’s a stupid idea, in his opinion.

(And that’s the other thing: the Aleph knows anything, but only at will; the Aleph can do anything, but only if they’re actually trying; the Aleph is perfectly capable of disregarding facts and logic and having stupid childish opinions because it’s not like being burned into the source code of the universe leached the humanity out of him with the colour.)

More for him, he supposes, and – his mind flutters like a sparrow, or rather not quite like a sparrow but if he figures out what bird has the precise wing pattern he was thinking of he’ll be on that train of thought for an hour, and he finds to his surprise that Cosma’s asleep – it’s just as well, honestly. Other people can pick and choose their universes if they want, that’s fine, that’s their right, he shouldn’t lord it over them.

But he’s Ciel Noline, he’s the Aleph, he’s going to be the Aleph forever, if the world’s his he’s certainly not going to let half of it go like that.

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