It's so frustrating; I haven't had the chance to speak to Arios for days. I have so many questions I'm sure he could answer. But we just never seem to find ourselves alone together. Not that's I’m not comforted simply knowing he's near. To know that even here I have a friend. I remember how vague my memories of him were, it's a miracle I found him again. But even though I couldn't remember him properly, I knew he was what I needed. My life partner. I believe I would have always felt something lacking if I had to live without him. He's part of who I am, he is necessary to keep me balanced.
But it's not just my particular feelings for him making me so desperate to have the time together to discuss things. He's smart and he knows how things work here better than me. Also people trust him; they think he is on the same side, that he is one of them. He has a respectable position as chief researcher and could use his influence to help me. He must have pretty good methods to be able to remain here and keep his identity so well concealed. I can't be sure, but the way my association with him affected the leaders of restoration, I would say he is important to them. A leader or a hero. And I also think he is here on some sort of special assignment, he seems to have some secrets and I've heard his assistant say he's mysterious even to them.
But really the best person to tell me what Arios is doing here is Arios himself. I want his explanation, I want his help. Whatever he's up to, he seems to be doing a far better job of it than I did. I acted rashly and look where my scheme left me. He has his freedom, they don't even suspect him. Rather than being a useless prisoner like me, he is in an ideal position to act.
There is still, I admit, the possibility that I am assuming all the things I only hope to be true. That I am not thinking clearly. People do, after all, often believe what they want to believe rather than what is true. Maybe the response I got joining RESTORATION was merely fear. When we got those few minutes alone we didn't do much talking, for all I know he might be a dedicated supporter of Binnin. I know I wouldn't have ever fallen for a man who could be unmoved by such cruelty, but people change. Something could have happened to him, might have desensitized him. I have heard of people letting anger make them harsh and uncaring. However sensible these ideas, however logical and rational my reasoning may sound, I can't believe it. I have a feeling, a strong, unbending feeling that Arios is the same man I fell in love with. Somehow I just know he's on my side.
Although these past few days have afforded me no opportunity to speak with Arios, I have had a few opportunities to speak to discern how the people around me really feel about the government they serve. I think my idea has some potential. I think many people only go along with Binnin out of fear. If I could somehow unite people, show them that they all feel the same, I might have a chance. As a group, the good people, those who will not stand for this injustice, will be more than even our powerful government can resist. What threat really is a handful of crazed men when set against a people seeking a new life?
I can hear someone opening the door. Please be him.
It's not him. It's a soldier I think, although the boy who stands before me is far younger than any of the other soldiers I've seen. He looks scared and alone. That's not how a soldier should look. Unlike the guards that usually check on me, his movements are gentle, he is not trying to intimidate me. He does not seem to need to make me feel small. That is strength and it is one rarely found in the soldiers here. It is stupid, I should observe him first, but I can't help myself. No, as always I open my mouth, not really sure exactly what I'm planning to say.
"You seem so different to the others." I exclaimed. Not the best conversation starter I've ever come out with. Just hope it works all the same.
"How so, I may be younger but it doesn't mean I can't do my job as well as they can. I wouldn't get on the wrong side of me; I may not look as strong but my bites worse than my bark. I know how to hurt you, and don't think that because you’re a pretty little girl I will let you get away with any cheek.” Success. At least I got a reaction, at least he's opened up a conversation, now I need to get my moves right. This is not the time for any more mistakes. Despite his tough talk, he could not hide his insecurities. He feels young; he knows he doesn't seem too formidable.
"Listen, I know I seem pathetic, but that means I know what it's like not to be taken seriously. Can you imagine anyone being intimidated by me?" He looked blank. Seems my methods weren't working, which is a shame because the more subtle I am the safer I am. I was deliberately trying to be vague. When he realizes where this is going he will not be pleased. Though now I have started I have to finish.
“What I'm trying to say, is that although for now we are expected to be enemies, even though you must hate me, it needn't be that way forever. You seemed alone and I thought that maybe you were having a hard time fitting into this system too. Obviously you’re doing a better job than me but it still must be hard. It's a brutal world out there, and an even harder life in here. Do you think it will always be like this? I don't see how this government can remain in place when so many of their own people are angry. Their support seems weak, motivated by fear rather than any true appreciation for the system."
"You speak treason." Well considering why I'm here in the first place that's hardly surprising. By now I've pretty much got over any concerns I may have had on committing treason. My speech was hardly subtle, was it? Maybe I'm crazy. I really hope so because being crazy takes the fear out of life. It makes things simple: you have the freedom to go ahead and do whatever you want, no regrets, no holding back. I believe you must be truly mad to do anything at all remarkable.
"You’re reckless, you know that. You just storm ahead and do whatever it is you want. That's why you're here. You had something you wanted to say and you went ahead and said it. I bet you didn't even think what might happen to you." That's not fair- I was ready to die. Indeed, I was well aware I would be shown no mercy. After all I was trying to humiliate the government; I hardly expected them to let it go lightly. He carries on, ignoring the look on my face.
"Being fearless is one thing. Being stupid is another. You for one are stupid. So, so stupid. You think you’re a hero, you’re an idiot. Don't think you’re the only one opposing the government. You’re not. It's just that while the sane, normal people are trying to work behind the scenes, you are making an utter fool of yourself making public scenes and only angering the government. If anything you have made matters worse by reminding them they need to be cruel to keep people’s fear. You’re not a hero, and you owe your life to the silent heroes working thanklessly in the background." Insulting, but I can't complain, he told me exactly what I wanted.
"And you know something else," he adds, "you’re only still alive because a stranger saved you. Apparently, your execution was all set until someone with a bit of power decided you'd make an interesting study. Rumor is, whoever saved you was a protest leader working in disguise. Obviously nobody knows who exactly who this is because unlike you some people put safety and sanity above praise and glory."
That is not why I made my stand. I was not really after praise and glory. Then again, why did I act so publicly? I could have waited for a better opportunity, why did I stand alone? Had I stayed with my friends, my colleagues, I could have been part of something big. I could have worked alongside those I had grown so fond of. Instead I stood out all alone. Maybe I really did want all the glory for myself. Sometimes I wonder how I can know myself so little. There are things I can't understand about myself, so many feelings I cannot explain. When my motives are questioned, I struggle to recall why I made my decisions. In hindsight I see myself a fool. I simply cannot understand my actions. My emotions, my ideas vary so much so often. What I am passionate about one day is mundane the next. What I need is someone who can look at me and read me. I want someone who can listen to me when I try to describe my thoughts, feelings and desires but be able to understand. I need Arios. When he looks into my eyes I can see his understanding.
The soldier, clearly exasperated with me, leaves me in my cell. He may have said more but I was lost in thought.