jacksonian: (brooding)

[personal profile] jacksonian 2017-07-17 11:26 pm (UTC)(link)
Something unreadable - almost unpleasant - comes into his expression at that. There's a weird little twist of...what? Jealousy? Hostility? Towards whom - Miles, who's so special that he has dozens of enemies? Or towards those enemies, who would dare to have designs on this man who's his? It's a strange, unsettling thought, vaguely nauseating, for reasons he can't fully comprehend. He stomps it down with all the force it'd take to pack down grave-dirt.

He fiddles a moment with his own fork - and then reaches out, snapping at Miles' half finished tray with the speed of a viper, dragging it towards him and shoveling it into his face before Miles can stop him. He inhales almost half of it before he pauses to speak.

"Well, I'm not going to." There's food in his mouth when he speaks; mortifyingly, a fleck of spacer-ration mashed potato flies from his mouth to land on Miles' uniform sleeve. He hopes Miles doesn't notice, but - of course he will. Oh, well. "Fade away. So your fantastical enemies can get fucked, because I'm first in line, because no matter what other people think - " Another swallow. "I'm good as you are." It tastes like a lie in his mouth, so he fills his mouth with more food to drown it out.

Chew, swallow. After a pause, he asks, warily, "Do you really think killing ruins you?"
forwardmomentum: (you think this is about drugs)

[personal profile] forwardmomentum 2017-07-18 01:06 am (UTC)(link)
Miles blinks a little when his clone snatches the plate away from him. Well, curiosity confirmed. That little fleck of food doesn't escape his notice, no, but he very deliberately does not react, despite the kneejerk itch to brush it away. This conversation has been -- still is -- a very long, thoroughly exhausting exercise in non-reaction, which is not one of Miles's specialties. But all he does is blink, quite mildly, one eyebrow slightly raised.

"I didn't know you still thought of yourself as my enemy," he says, equally mildly, and he just as carefully does not comment on that I'm as good as you are. A challenge or rebuttal would be an abysmally poor move, and his clone might take any encouragement as patronizing, which would be equally devastating -- more, maybe. God, he's not awake enough for this. He considers comming that lieutenant to bring more coffee, but he's afraid of disrupting the very delicate flow of this conversation. It's actually going somewhere. He hopes, anyway.

Miles considers that question. A good one, and it's a sign that his clone is starting to question Galen's propaganda more and more, that he's starting to challenge his own preconceived notions.

"It changes you," he finally says, a little slowly, tilting his head to the side slightly. "For the worse, I think, but I suppose there are some that might disagree. But it definitely changes you, irrevocably and completely. You cannot, as they say, unring that bell. Or unfire that nerve disruptor."
jacksonian: (stressed the fuck out)

[personal profile] jacksonian 2017-07-18 01:21 am (UTC)(link)
Do I - No, he doesn't think of himself as an enemy. Right? Or does he? Not a kill-Miles enemy, because Galen's plans are worthless and they'd tear him to pieces and he isn't dying for someone else's revenge; no question of that. But what about rivals? No. Yes? Maybe - Is that giving too much credit to Miles? Does he want to disentangle himself completely? Flee to the other side of the nexus? How could he? He realizes with a little wrench that Miles is the only person he's ever had a real conversation with, at least since leaving the creche. The only non-clone in all the world who's answered him with anything other than propaganda. Maybe. What's the difference between propaganda and truth? I wish I knew.

"So who were you?" He's almost at the end of the food; he picks at the last of it, trying to stretch out the pleasure of eating it. "Before."
forwardmomentum: (yes i'll be just fine)

[personal profile] forwardmomentum 2017-07-18 02:21 am (UTC)(link)
Miles watches his clone, trying not to focus too obviously on the way he's eating, but God, his behavior speaks volumes about what Galen must have done to the kid. Far, far more than his clone is inclined to tell Miles himself, Miles is sure. Should he offer more food? Will the clone take that as a slight or some unpleasant editorial? God, this is frustrating. How the hell do I help you, kid?

"Miles Naismith Vorkosigan." A half-shrug. Miles's expression doesn't change. "But a different Miles Naismith Vorkosigan. They say that when you pull the trigger you kill two men, but it isn't as simple as all that. The old you doesn't die so some new thing can spring up in its place. But it changes you. It...takes something away from you." Miles offers his clone a gray smile. "You want freedom? Take my advice -- don't ever get anybody killed."
jacksonian: (incredulous)

[personal profile] jacksonian 2017-07-18 02:32 am (UTC)(link)
That gets Miles an unimpressed scoff. It sounded nice, sure, really wise and clever, but - "That's crap." He glowers over at his progenitor, but it's an expression that's edging more towards scornful than sullen. A more open and honest sort of disapproval, instead of the fearful resentment he'd had before. Thanks, naturally, to the way that Miles has fed him - fed him twice over. Once with the ration-packs, and once with honesty. Because it's the latter he's starved for, far more than he is for a meal.

"There's a hell of a lot more to freedom than that. There are plenty of people who haven't ever hurt anyone and who are kept in cages." Like me. Or maybe not like him. It feels, sometimes, like his hands are gory, bloody as anyone's... "And I don't think that the average Baron back on the Whole is sitting around crying over how he's trapped by his guilt."
Edited 2017-07-18 02:38 (UTC)
forwardmomentum: (on the back of a natural disaster)

[personal profile] forwardmomentum 2017-08-14 02:27 am (UTC)(link)
Miles doesn't expect Mark to buy into everything he says -- hell, he doesn't expect Mark to buy into anything he says, no matter how badly Miles might want him to. Any nod of acceptance is a breathless surprise, all the more so because it feels like they just keep getting closer. When Mark dismisses that notion, Miles's mouth only twitches slightly. At least Mark is still talking, still asking questions, still searching for the truth, an answer, whatever it is he craves.

"Different kind of cage." Miles wonders blearily if the conversation has stabilized enough that calling for more coffee wouldn't disrupt it, but then, as well as things are going -- relatively speaking -- he's still not sure he wants to risk it. This is a real conversation, and Miles is just as hungry for it.

"You're not wrong. They're trapped by other things. Greed, mostly. Only they don't see it as a trap, which is what keeps them snared." His forehead wrinkles slightly as he raises an eyebrow, leaning forward to brace his elbows on the table where his plate had been. "Are you thinking of aspiring to a Jacksonian barony? Because that's not a great way to avoid killing people, either."
jacksonian: (brooding)

[personal profile] jacksonian 2017-08-14 02:40 am (UTC)(link)
The clone hesitates only a moment before saying something openly honest. No matter how he resists, Miles' little affirmations, his ratifications of what he's saying - they draw him out. He can't help but be satisfied by them. No, be honest - he drinks them down, parched for any sort of approval. Even from Miles. Especially from Miles.

"No." And there's a frankness in that. He may not know what he does want, but he has a decent idea what he doesn't. "They make their money crushing people who can't defend themselves. I won't hurt people who can't defend themselves." A moment as he hears himself and realizes how sentimental he sounded; he finishes up with a tougher-sounding, "Who could get satisfaction out of that?"

And then, "And don't act like you're not trapped, too."
forwardmomentum: (but i declined)

[personal profile] forwardmomentum 2017-08-15 05:05 pm (UTC)(link)
Miles lets out a thin little breath he hadn't realized he was holding. It's a relief to hear in concrete terms that his clone's desire for revenge isn't so blinding as to view innocent lives as unavoidable or even acceptable collateral.

"No man who wishes to protect others from harm," he agrees in a carefully mild tone of voice, not wanting to upset the fragile balance of this conversation. He wonders just how long it'll take for the clone to start to feel comfortable enough around Miles not to constantly jump to his own defense unprovoked. What the hell did Galen do to this kid?

He has a few uncomfortable inklings.

Miles smiles slightly, gingerly rubbing a bruise on his cheek. "I wouldn't dare pretend otherwise. Blood on the hands, remember?" He wiggles his slightly shaky hands at the clone as if in demonstration. "I was seventeen when a life was first actively taken in my name -- under my command. But you don't need to fall into that trap. You don't need to take the same path I did."

That's what the clone wants, isn't it? To be different from Miles -- as much as possible? Good, Miles thinks fervently. Take any other path. Any path you like -- just not this one.
jacksonian: (uncertain)

[personal profile] jacksonian 2017-08-15 05:30 pm (UTC)(link)
"I'm not talking about being trapped because of bloodshed or any of that crap." He still doesn't think Miles has the right of it. Most Barrayarans wouldn't care about killing someone...at least, he thinks not. He's not exactly ready to argue the topic of what Barrayarans are like with Miles. Not because he thinks Miles is clear-eyed and well-informed, but just because he knows he's been fed a lot of horseshit over his life. But Jacksonians? Even grubbers will kill without feeling remorse. Bharaputra's goons were fucking casual and relaxed around the children they were about to drag to the fucking operating room. And the Komarrans, Galen and the others, they were tied up in their hatred before they ever took a life.

And what about you? Is he trapped, too? Wrapped up in Miles? Tied to him? Your conjoined twin, sharing a heart and a brain - the doctors need to decide where to cut, which one gets the vital organs, which one gets to live. And I know which one they pick... He hunches his shoulders, rubs at his knees, but successfully shoves down his wave of panicky hatred.

"You're trapped by your Barrayaran programming. And your issues with the Butcher. Your need to be as famous as he is."
forwardmomentum: ((three!))

[personal profile] forwardmomentum 2017-09-14 10:51 pm (UTC)(link)
Miles, tired and twitchy as he is, flinches at that despite himself. That strikes a bit more of a nerve than he was really prepared for. He turns the gesture into a jerky rub of his hand over the back of his neck.

"It's...not about fame." Barrayaran programming. The implication invokes a kneejerk indignation, but Miles bites the inside of his cheek. "It's not quite that simple. It's about..." He tries to pick the right word, can't seem to settle on just one. "Recognition, maybe. But not fame. For all that my father is, indeed, a political-military monolith -- " For all that I want to escape that shadow. " -- It's about service, too. It's about proving that I can serve Barrayar just as well as anyone else can."

That feels painfully honest, and it is, and Miles is fully expecting this confession to be met with further scorn and skepticism. But if he was anything less than honest -- that'd only blow up in his face too. The trust is what's important here.
jacksonian: (incredulous)

[personal profile] jacksonian 2017-09-15 02:19 am (UTC)(link)
It at least doesn't get laughter, or a scoff, or anything particularly aggressive. That sight of Miles' visible flinch calmed something in him just a little bit. So a little bit less scorn this time around. But skepticism - yes. Absolutely skepticism. The clone lifts his eyebrows at his progenitor, and raises his hand to gesture around them.

"Sure. And all of this - Admiral Naismith - is proving what? To whom?" He drops his hand. "How many Barrayarans even know this fleet exists?"
forwardmomentum: (so put on every winter coat)

[personal profile] forwardmomentum 2017-09-18 02:02 am (UTC)(link)
He's worn a little too thin right now. Too little sleep and too many blows to the head during his confinement, or else he might've been able to control the reaction Mark gets out of him. Not quite a flinch, or a wince -- but a kind of retreat, a brief show of weakness. How many indeed.

"It's a covert operation," Miles says -- not really an answer, he knows, and he shifts in his seat. Mark's questions are getting difficult to answer. Shouldn't he be ready for this? He rubs one eye gingerly, avoiding a contusion on his cheek. "And it's -- not about immediate payoff. I'm playing the long game here." He tries to inject a little levity into his tone, play it off.