"What happened in there?"
Dorian's cornflower blues looked up into the eyes of the team member who had addressed him, and for a long time, the sapphire irises communicated nothing, traded no real implication of what exactly had occurred in the office. His mouth was dried and parched, like a piece of leather left out in the desert sun, like the throat of a corpse hours before its burial. Words didn't come easily for him; this, too, was a shock to the poetic butcher.
"He made me lieutenant," he finally whispered, the stale song of his usually-lilting voice echoing like the crack of a bullet through the dim basement air. Nobody else said a word; the members of Bad Company merely took to their own devices, some sleeping, some doodling, some playing games of cards. Dorian opted for sitting on his own well-worn leather sofa, sinking into its depths as he flipped open his new journal and going to the first available page.
The Encyclopedia Doriana: Volume Two.
Tearing out one of the pages, Dorian took out a vial from his first aid kit and poured the herbs within into the open page and rolled it into a small joint, able to fit in between the contours of his fingers and thrive there. Dorian lit a small match and held it to the edge of the copper roll; he held down on the small flame, quenching its short and unremarkable life in moments.
He had a habit of doing that.
He had done a lot more than just accept a lieutenant-ship and a slap on the wrist in that office: he had accepted a deal for his soul. Not in the physical sense; his life force was still nestled in the fiber of his being somewhere, intangible to all but itself. No, this was in the metaphorical sense. Before this moment, before that office had opened itself and swallowed Dorian whole, he had always had a small fragment of his subconscious - a splinter, like the one you get when you rub your hand across a banister while walking down a particularly long flight of stairs - had whispered to him of redemption, freedom, absolution of the souls that had been gnawing away at him. Maybe that was his problem: he didn't lack a soul at all. Perhaps the souls he had robbed from others had fled into him, seeking asylum from the cold depths of the afterlife that would inevitably consume them, and perhaps the souls were merely tearing away at his own in a cannibalistic attempt to make room for themselves. To create a niche.
That was Dorian's goal. A niche. And he had found it.
At what cost?
By now, he had smoked about half of the copper roll. He pushed himself from the leather sofa and walked into the bathroom, examining himself in the mirror. For the first time, he saw the demons in the blue depths of his optic nerves, laughing and dancing and reproducing inside of him, tearing away at the splinters of his broken mind. His face was no longer the perfect and immense portrait of beauty it had once been to him, the Impressionist masterpiece of a demigod who was on the cusp of ascension. Instead, for the first time, he truly understood the meaning of the term "ugly as sin."
He blinked, and the demons dissipated into smoke, invisible to all but himself, nothing but a reflection of the lesser evils he had committed in the name of the greatest evil of all: theft. He had robbed people of their lives, their money, their innocence, and still he stood here, a perfect and gorgeous picture of that age old mantra: crime pays.
The thing about crime is that no matter how much it can give you, it always takes away something greater.
Physical beauty was nothing to him now; he now realized how firmly he had been entrenched in the belief that his looks were everything that mattered to him, that they were inelastic in the face of the ultimate beauty of his psyche and soul. Before his eyes, two iron spikes rippled and tore themselves away from the mirror that held them down, tearing themselves away from every limit and law that made them what they were. Oh, how Dorian wished for that kind of freedom...
The spikes were now within an inch or two of his eyes, and Dorian came to his senses: he was now staring death in the face, suddenly aware of the fact that if he didn't control himself, he would gouge his own eyes out in grief. What good would that do? Destroy himself, the one tool he knew he could rely on, the one asset that would never dull or chip? No. Maybe the best way to fight evil was to take a taste of it. Maybe to redeem yourself, you have to know that you can't possibly get any lower. Maybe the best wake up call is the one that you get when you don't feel like waking up.
Before his eyes, the spikes crumbled to ash and floated away, dust in the wind. Dorian closed his eyes, breathing in and really tasting the fresh, sweet air around him, and when he opened them, he was back on the couch. The copper roll was in his hand: he had smoked the entire cig by now. Smirking softly to himself, the Toa dropped the burned paper on the floor and began to sketch out the casino layout.