taken down a peg, i help out the squatters in the subway @tyelperin

Being alive is about as liberating as anyone would expect it to be. That’s what Billie told him, at least. She sat with him in a dimly lit room inside an abandoned building and talked to him and the rats scurrying about the place, not as if he were a child but as if he were a being at odds with mundane existence itself. Billie grimaced at him and asked about his feelings and he shrugged, mumbled something about liberation and being alive, and that’s what she answered. Being alive is about as liberating as anyone would expect it to be.

Who that hypothetical someone was supposed to be, he had no clue. Knowing Billie, and taking her tone into consideration, what she meant is that being alive is as liberating as fuck-all. What she doesn’t know, can’t know to be fair, is that he hasn’t felt freedom for millennia and as such it’s a welcomed novelty and a terrifying possibility. He says that he has choices now, decisions to make, staring at her in wonder and she scoffs but smiles. Ruefully. Despite herself. Smiles all the same.

As it turns out, the decisions he ends up making are what some would consider stupid enough to get him killed. He laughs until his lungs burn when a guard, running behind him, yells "Outsider's balls". He runs between alleyways, a spring to his step, pockets full of stolen coin. He sits with others like him and Billie, who can't know if they'll eat the next day, and shares what he steals as they speak. He stares at the Abbey's buldings and at the occasional shrine in wonder, holds both bonecharms and destroyed musicboxes in his hands and feels shock most of all at finding them innocous. He tries to get used to life only for Billie to inform him that what they do, hiding in abandoned buildings around Dunwall, is barely living.

Yet he doesn't complain, nor does he yearn for luxury. In a way, luxury is the farthest from his goals. He finds that with having had the darkest and filthiest depths of humankind in full display in front of him for longer than anyone would be comfortable with comes a certain level of cynicism. As an emotion, it’s rather useless in and of itself but he can invest it either in hating everything and everyone around him or maintaining what he deems a healthy level of defiance. Billie thinks he’s unexpectedly dumb for a former god, but leaves him to his own devices. Let him try to change things if he’s so keen on it, he wouldn’t be the first and certainly not the last.

There is where she finds solace, he supposes. He himself prefers working alone. Four millennia of abject and unwanted adoration do that to a man’s willingness to accept leadership roles. It works for him, he’s happy doing whatever he wants to whenever he wants to. For months it’s as if the novelty is never going to fade, and so far it hasn’t. He takes risks, makes choices, and sometimes he fucks up. And it’s his responsibility. And it’s what he has wanted all along.

“Don’t they recognize you?” Billie asks, over a can of beans as they sit around the fire, and he hums and shrugs.

“I didn’t show myself in front of many,” she blinks at him in silence, shoves a spoonful of beans into her mouth, chews thoughtfully. “You know what’s weird? Feeling like I know everyone around me but not knowing anyone at all.”

She swallows expression neutral. “Aren’t you starting to forget things?”

“Sure. I’ve still known virtually everything for a really long time.”

“Did you know I intended to kill you?”

“It was a possibility, yes.”

Billie frowns slightly, a worried tilt to her lips. “Did you want me to?”

He knew that this conversation was bound to happen sooner or later. Not like he knew back then, he isn’t even capable of approaching that level of cognition in his current state. His human perception can foresee things that are natural and human nonetheless. The knowledge that he's limited in such a way brings him comfort.

“I’m happy you didn’t,” is what he decides to answer, eventually, and Billie is smarter than any fool gives her credit for and she answers with a faint smile and a nod. “My beans are expired.”

title from the world/inferno friendship society 's song of exactly the same title, summary from the same band's song dolce far niente. HI WELCOME TO CHILIS guess who played all dishonored games, from 1 to doto, and found himself writing a short and sweet outsider character study that is basically the most blatant fuck you in history to show dont tell
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