May 11, 2021 10:03 AM
slayer karen confesses killing vampires to priest!macalaure
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She's not mine! Not like that. Like - like she's my adopted little sister.

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Well, then we really have to meet her.

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I bet you think you're really fucking clever. 

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If I thought that I wouldn't be so scared all the time.

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She's not as nervous about going to confession as she was the very first time. She is not seriously in danger of chickening out. She might break down in tears, but hey, sometimes people do that in confession, and most of them haven't even gotten ninety percent of their friends killed. And she might throw up, after, and she might feel like she's being really awful for even talking about any of this again, and maybe she should actually just go to a different priest, except that if she goes to a different priest they're going to be really really confused, and definitely think she's crazy, and definitely not tell her which of the things were actually sins, and also Father Michael might think that she's not actually sorry about anything, and that would be almost worse than shooting him in the first place, maybe.

She sighs heavily and goes in.

"Bless me, Father, for I have done some sins. It has been three objective weeks and three and a half subjective weeks since my last confession."

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"Welcome, child. - you know, I confess to Father Ramón and as a result he has more than a passing idea of what's going on out there. I'm not asking you to go, I like hearing from you, it is always good to see you and I do think I was called here for a reason. But if you were feeling like you didn't have a choice -"

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"I think - I'm sort of confused about whether a lot of the things were wrong, whether we had any better options. And I thought maybe since you were there for a lot of it, you would maybe have a better idea. You'd have context. And.... I don't want you to think that I wouldn't try to do better, if I had to do it again."

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"Okay. I'm glad I can do that for you."

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"OK. Um. I - I'm just gonna say all of the stuff, and you can help me figure out which parts of it were bad. I didn't warn my sister about the effects, and she wasn't able to protect herself, and - I think the effects are a separate thing, I should have told her where I was going and what was going on. I, um, repeatedly stopped focusing on the task that Alex was telling me to focus on, and if I hadn't done that I maybe could have stopped it a lot sooner. I killed a guy to get into the Mayor's office. I, uh, was arguably complicit in the murder of like a thousand high school students, I don't know how to count that one. I jumped into hell even though I knew it'd mess with fixing things, but, arguably extenuating circumstances, I was trying to save a bunch of babies from being eaten. Though, uh, had I died down there I think everyone else would totally actually be dead for real, so it was still sort of dumb. I - think I kind of maybe hated you guys, for a little bit, when Lurconis was talking, and saying how I was really stupid for trusting you and you didn't care at all. I stole your rock - although, in my defense, I didn't know it was your rock, and at that point I was laying fifty-fifty odds that you guys were going to try to use it to destroy the world, so, had I been right, that probably would have been the right call, I guess? Possibly I was negligent in the year leading up to all of this in that I, like, I should have known more things, and asked more questions about you guys, although I think I mostly didn't because I was trying to follow the superhero code. I placed one of my only remaining friends at that point in, like, mortal danger. I made you guys kill me.

"Um, I came back and I shot you in the back of the head, and then I shot your brother in the head, and I feel really bad about this but I also don't - Alex said some things when we talked about it that made it sound like he thought that killing you guys was the right decision, or justified, if there's a difference between those things, and I wanted to ask him about whether I should kill you again if anything else relevantly horrible ever happened again and you guys had to kill a ton of people, except then I thought maybe that would force you to update your information on me and shoot me first if anything like this ever happened again, and maybe that would make you sadder, so I didn't, but now also I'm really confused about what I should have done, and part of me feels like even if it did happen to be the right decision, it was still, like - I think I made it because I was scared? Not just of you guys but of - of being stupid, of making mistakes that would make no sense to anyone in hindsight. I was - more worried about who I was as a person - or, not even that, more worried about how I was perceived as a person, I think, in that moment, than about saving the world. And - that's not a good way to be. I want to be able to make choices because I think they're right, and not because I think that other people will hate me less if I make them. 

"And - I feel like - I feel like I have this weird - this really really strong desire for people to tell me that I was good, and I didn't disappoint them, and actually they're proud of me, even when they're dealing with heavier stuff than I am and it's really unfair to expect them to set that aside to focus on me, and also I - I shouldn't need that much reassurance in the first place, I think? And - I'm worried that my friends are - hurting, and I'm not doing anything about it because, I don't know, trying to make them feel better sounds hard, or like I might just make things worse because maybe I'm actually really incompetent, and - and while I'm thinking of it, I should have thanked Zeke on Tuesday, but I put it off because I didn't want to think about it, and he didn't deserve that, and he really, really came through, at least in terms of the scenario where you guys were evil and trying to destroy the world, and I should thank him for that.

"I think - I think those are the big things."

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"Okay. Hmmm.

The pattern of deciding things by what won't look stupid or make people hate you, instead of by what seems right, is that a pattern you notice under less extreme circumstances?"

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"Yeah. Yeah, I think so. Sometimes. Not always, but - yeah."

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"I think we don't outperform our normal selves by very much - usually not at all - when we're desperate and scared. So if you want to be making decisions for the right reasons when you're really scared, you've got to practice making decisions for the right reasons every time."

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"OK. That makes sense.

- it's - hard, though, like, because I don't understand a lot of things? And I guess I'm worried that if I just do whatever I think is right and ignore everyone else, then I'll get a lot of stuff wrong, probably even more things wrong than I do now?"

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"Sometimes the right thing to do is definitely to defer to authority or to use 'does this make me sound like a horrifying supervillain' as a sanity check. I think - I think there's an important difference between having those questions as resources you use to figure out what the right thing to do is, always asking yourself 'what's the right thing to do?' and letting those questions be the ones you're answering, directly. The difference between "everyone will think I'm an idiot if I don't do what they say" and "does everyone have information I don't? do they share my values? are they serving God?" You're always going to need to lean on the rest of the world. But if you take shortcuts in how you're leaning on those questions, then I think under pressure those shortcuts will be harder to avoid."

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She nods. "Yeah. That makes sense."

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"And I think - do you think God watched you this week and thought 'wow, what an idiot -'"

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"I guess not. Not more than anyone else, anyway. And not in those words."

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"Not in those words and not in that spirit. When you see someone cornered by a vampire and they go for a really clumsy kick, you want better for them because you want them to be safe. When they run for the wrong exit you want it to be unlocked anyway. I think it is better, if you're imagining the audience reactions in the back, to imagine the audience that died for you."

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"...yeah. Yeah, OK."

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"Why do you think you didn't tell your sister where you were, the evening you spent at my home?"

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"I dunno. I didn't totally forget, I just - I thought about calling and then it just didn't seem important enough to ask about it. Maybe I thought I was doing something more important, with the research, or maybe I thought that you were, or - maybe I just didn't want to explain everything, I don't know. It's all tangled up."

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"I think most of the time when we're doing something wrong we have lots of different half-reasons. It makes it easier to not do the math on whether they add up to a whole reason."

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"Yeah. Sounds right."

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"All right. I think you should talk with your sister about how often she'd like you to check in when you're out having adventures, and talk with Alex about securing your house a little better. I think you should think about what the demons said to you and why it was persuasive, and what kind of faith would let you ignore those demons more easily. I think you should go thank Zeke."

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"Yeah. I think so too."

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