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“Why I steal?” Parroted the bandit, who’s face looked quite like he had never even considered the question before. “Well...how to put this most simply...I was born worthless. Doesn't it seem like the obvious fate for me? A pathetic man from the beginning to the end, or something like that.”

 

“Well...I suppose the reason would be quite similar to yours?” Gentaro offers, in way of buying himself time to think of an answer. Unlinke Gentaro himself, he’s always sought to bring his stories from very real, very honest places. A few pretty lies to embellish, but, really, who had ever heard of a good story that was totally fake?

 

“Um, I don’t think it is, though.” Ramuda tilted his head quickly, in a birdlike motion.

 

“Oh? Then, why do you create your fashions?”

 

“Hmm…” Ramuda taps his chin, as if he’s doing more than just pretending to think about it. “Well...it’s no fun to give you all the answers, but if I don’t tell you anything you won’t figure anything out, so...just an itty bitty secret, one time only! Ramuda will tell you why he makes his pretty clothes!”

 

“Look around you,” The scientist- in a rare display of gesture- waved towards one of the large windows adorning his laboratory’s wall. “Not that I care about aesthetics, not normally, but isn’t it so ugly? All dead. Decayed- I had the pleasure of watching it all wither, long ago.”

 

“You speak as if you had no hand in this,” The king speaks up.

 

“Ah, you’ve caught me,” The scientist cracks a wry smile- another rare occurrence. “I’m quite the hypocrite, aren’t I? But, so are you...and so are you, Mister Thief.”

 

Ramuda made Gentaro so dizzy, sometimes. But that’s why Dice was so nice.

 

Ramuda spun Gentaro as if Gentaro was the bobbin in his sewing machine with his games, but Dice’s predictability led him to be the pillar of support Gentaro held on too when the world spun too quickly. 

 

“Perhaps we’ll die like this,” The bandit joked humorlessly, as red sirens blared all around them, and the cargo of the ship they had become stowaways in flew around their heads.

 

“Don’t even pretend that’s funny,” The fallen king spat, “You know it’ll take more than a measly crash landing to kill us.”

 

“Don’t look at me like you don’t trust me, Gen.”

 

Gentaro eyed the needle and string in Dice’s hands. “I don’t. Has that needle even been sterilized?”

 

“I--” Dice bites his tongue. “It has been. You’re the one that doesn't wanna go to the doctor even though we got our asses royally kicked by those wolf assholes-- you don’t get to whine. You’ll live, I’ve done this like a hundred times.”

 

Gentaro grips the seat of his chair and lets Dice take his leg in hand. 

 

“Don’t act like I didn’t watch you take some painkillers earlier, you big baby.”

 

“Do it before I bleed out,” Gentaro hisses. 

 

Slowly, methodically, Dice weaves the needle and string in and out of Gentaro’s wound, sealing it shut. 

 

It hurts less than Gentaro had anticipated.