It's funny, I never really think too deeply about things like this. But something about today is different.
It's my birthday. It's also the fifth anniversary of when I became a Rocket.
Things like that don't usually get to me. But now they are. Go figure.
Yeah, I'm 16 now. Happy birthday to me.
You're probably wondering how I got to be a Rocket at eleven, right? Make elite in less than two years...That's because it's what I was born to do. No, I'm not being existential or anything, I literally was. See, my parents were Rocket Elites themselves, so the boss--the old one, the current Boss' mother--she told them that they could retire early and make a shitload of money if they raised their kid to be an Elite.
Except then, there was no kid. They had me just so I could be a Rocket.
I'm not actually bitter, but I know that's how it sounds.
So yeah, that's how I came to be. How I got in the Rockets is a little more complicated than that. See, when Giovanni came to power, he changed the contract a little bit. He'd pay out an even million if they teach me some 'additional skills'.
Yeah, now you know what sort of guy he is.
Oh, I'm loyal to the team, no question about that. Just sometimes I don't like the Boss himself.
Like yesterday. He thinks he can just expect me to put out for him any time he wants, even when it's the last thing I want. Yesterday I was all beat up from the mission, but he didn't care. So yeah, I had to bend over his desk for what seemed like the millionth time--one for each buck he paid for me.
Maybe I'm just a really expensive whore or something. I'm supposed to be an assassin, but all I do lately is fuck the Boss, it seems.
I'm worried about him, though, I really am. He's coming undone, and it seems like it's up to me to keep him sane. I mean, I'll gladly do what he wants if it keeps him good to go. But without him, the team would fall apart. And without the team, that would mean all those agents would be out there on the streets...so without the team, Kanto would fall. Then probably Indigo, then Johto...hell, most of the world would fall if the Rockets did.
So really, I'm protecting that. Least that's what I keep telling myself. Gotta do it for the greater good. No use ruling a world that's already been destroyed.
'Sashie wouldn't mind, though. He's weird like that.
That's another funny thing, when I do the Boss, that's more like business, but when I do 'Sashie, it's more...I suppose the closest term would be 'recreational', but that don't sound right. He's not really who I want--haven't met *him* yet--but he's what I'm willing to settle for. I know he's a complete maniac, but hell, if it keeps him from going off on the grunts...
...there we go again, back to the protector role. What's my problem, anyway?
He really thinks they're useless, but without the grunts, nothing would get done. Sure they're beneath us Elites, but they're quite important.
And they all worship me. You think I'm exaggerating again, don't you?
Whenever I talk to them, they're all "Miss Domino" this, and "Miss Domino" that. A few of them have even called me "Lady Domino", like I'm nobility or something. Maybe I am, if you consider the Rocket heirarchy. The Boss is the Emperor, or King, or whatever; Natalie would be the Crown Princess, 'Sashie would be the crazy prince they keep locked up in the tower...and I'd be the head of the guard. I keep the others in line, and am somehow in succession, but I really don't want to rule. Look, I know I'd suck as a leader, I don't kid myself about it. Sure, I've imagined it, but in order to take command, that would mean the Boss would be out, and I just can't have that.
...if the Boss was out, Bishasu would make a bid for the throne. And knowing him, I'd probably have to kill him.
That's one of the things that scares me the most. Because I think I'm in love with him.
And I'm not sure which one I meant by that.
I get the same feeling around both of them, this heady rush, my heart starts beating faster, I get butterflies in my stomach...it's like I'm sick, but I like it.
So I think I'm in love. Possibly with both of them. Fucked up, right? I'm an assassin, I'm not supposed to be able to love. Especially not the Boss. Especially not a masked lunatic.
I get scared like this sometimes, when I start thinking like a human rather than a Rocket. And fear just makes me more human.
Sometimes I want to go back home. But then I remember that this is my home now. Besides, I don't have anyone to go back to. My parents died about two months after selling me here. Yeah, you're thinking foul play, right? That's what I thought, but I've been investigating it ever since it happened, and I can't find any indicator that it was anything but a normal car crash.
Either that, or the assassin was very, very good. Around my level.
Maybe it was me, and I just forgot. I tend to forget a lot of my hits. I mean, I don't enjoy them, not like...some people I could name...but I do them because the Boss tells me. I suppose that makes it just as bad, doesn't it? But this is what I do, this is how I live.
I've never known anything else. Maybe the rest of the world sucks just as bad. I wouldn't know.
I suppose this is as good a life as any. I guess. I don't know.
I'm not going to think much more about it. Yeah right, I always wind up doing it, every year. I hate to admit it, but yeah, I *am* scared. Scared of not making it to the next year, scared of making a mistake, scared of not being there when the Boss needs me the most, scared of getting caught, scared that any given assignment will be my last...
Scared of being a Rocket. There, I've said it.
I'd never abandon the Team, not in a million years (there's that number again). But I don't want to be afraid any more, either.
I'd do pretty much anything to not be afraid any more.
I have a gun in my hands. Maybe I'll finally do it. After all, when I'm dead, it's not going to matter to me if the Boss finally loses his mind, if Bishasu goes on that rampage he's always threatening, if the Team falls. I'll be free.
It's at my head now. That's the way to go, you know, to take charge of your own fate, not be a slave to whatever the rest of the world wants.
My finger's on the trigger.
Yeah. Fuck the Team.
...I always turn traitor in the end. Every time I picture it, the last thing in my mind is against the Team.
To be honest, I knew the gun wasn't loaded. But one of these days I'm really going to do it, I know that. I don't know what will lead up to it, I just know that's how it's going to end.
Either that, or 'Sashie or the Boss will kill me. Probably after killing the other.
That's how it's gonna go, isn't it? The Boss will call 'Sashie up there, and only one of them is gonna leave. That one will track me down and kill me for aligning myself with the other.
And that'll be it. But I won't care.
It's funny, I'm not afraid to die. I'm afraid of so much, but not that. Once it happens, I know, that's it. Even if there is an afterlife, it can't be worse than this one now.
Maybe I really am a traitor. I hate having to do this, day in and day out. I hate having to be the Boss' whore. I hate having to waste people. I hate having to live in fear all the time.
But someone who's really loyal would take it, wouldn't they? Maybe I only think I'm loyal, but really I'd turn in a second.
I hate this. All of this. It makes me sick just thinking about it, about the sort of things I do.
I try to think if I hate myself, but I'm really not sure.
I want out, more than anything else. And one of these days, the gun will be loaded. And there'll be no more Black Tulip.
It's funny, I'm not sure how I got to be the Black Tulip. At least 'Sashie's moniker makes sense, the Iron Mask Marauder. I think mine's because no one expects it or something. My parents trained me to use these; I think it's the element of surprise.
So yeah, I'm stuck with the element of surprise. What if I want people to fear me, like Bishasu has? No one's gonna fear a stupid tulip...
Maybe the tulip does mean something, though. Once I tried to look up what it meant, and I could only find that tulips represent aspects of a lover. Rather counterproductive for an assassin, isn't it? Although I notice they only trained me to use these after the Boss changed the contract.
I'd wager that a black tulip would mean a dangerous lover, someone to be wary of.
So I'm lover's poison, then; I'm a dagger to the heart.
I lay back on my bed just as a message slides under my door. I don't go for it immediately, just kinda stay back for a moment with my eyes closed. Despite the hell outside, in my quarters it's nice and quiet.
I stay like that for a few minutes, eyes shut, perfectly still. But yeah, then I think about the message. Could be important. Could be from the Boss or someone. So I have to get it.
Fucking figures. The envelope says "To Commemorate Five Years of Loyalty," and it's got the Boss' signet on it. I don't bother to open it. It's just going to be a stupid cloisonné. Risk your life and sacrifice your sanity for five years and all you get is a worthless pin.
It's reasons like that that make me hate so much.
This Team's like a black hole. Once you're in, you're trapped.
I hate it, I fucking hate it, but I can't get out unless I die. And despite what I just did, I'm really not ready for that.
I do a lot of things I don't mean. The Team makes you numb after a while.
And I'm stuck here; with a pin on my chest, a tulip in my hands, and venom in my veins.
Happy Birthday to Me. I should learn not to think.