Vermil awoke in a familiar place - a black void with only two residents, Saffy and her faceless clone, Origin.
He sighed a little.
"Hello Vermil. I thought we should have a little chat."
"I really don't have time for this."
"I think you have yet to realise that this is happening out of time. Well, almost. You'll be here for little more than a few minutes, all up. Like a latecomer to your own party."
"Great. Something for me to fret about."
"You fret about not being missed?"
"That's putting a particularly fine point on it, I suppose. Yes. I worry that I will not be missed."
"Hm. Yet, you're part of something dangerous. That's not the best way to make sure you stay around."
"I don't have a choice in that."
"You do, you know. You started all of this."
"What do you mean? It was that Mewtwo thing that made me release you."
"Well, aren't you cryptic... You know, Origin, I've been thinking. I know that you're projecting Saffy's image here. I've known for a while that if she were really alive, she'd be kicking and screaming at you. Fair enough. But what I don't understand is 'Why'. Why possess her? Why do all this? What do you have to gain?"
"I gain everything that is lost."
"Why do you get anything from all of this? Why do you care about humanity? You were a ghost or something before. If the world goes to heck, you've proven you can survive it."
"You share some particular qualities with me. It would be a shame to see them destroyed."
"Yeah. I share qualities with a lot of people. I don't really care about them, though."
"Interesting. You lack compassion for your fellow man?"
"What? No. That's not what I said. I said that just being similar to someone doesn't automatically qualify them as something I should start a weird, kidnappy relationship with. I just don't have the drive to do it."
"You have no drive to act?"
"Only when there's no reason."
"Is a reason not something constructed? Do you not have to engage with these things in order to generate that reason?"
"You're somewhat reluctant to talk, aren't you? I propose a deal, Vermil. One question each. Then we go from there."
"One question each?"
"Can you change form?"
"Your form. This isn't normal space, right? So the rules musn't apply. My question is, are you able to change form in this place?"
"Why would you want me to?"
"Because you're insulting her by looking like that."
"Is this better, V? Satisfied for once?"
"I guess that's a yes. Still, you've not quite got Cinnabar down. You're getting his image from my thoughts, right?"
"I answered your question."
"Right. Of course. Fire away."
"What drives you, mister Vermil? What makes you keep on moving when there's really no reason?"
"No, I don't mean the crummy PG-13, after school special reason. I mean the honest one. Why keep going all this way? Why not just go home? Live your life? Let Rocket forget about you?"
"I want to get Saffy back from you."
"You've known her for about three weeks all up. I would find a better explanation if I were you. Because I've seen you. You're like a novel, you are. Always drama. Even before all this. There was a reason why you were reluctant to let Cinnabar travel with you, and I know it. You've known all along about his lies. Frankly, I'm disappointed."
"Because you're not better than that. You could be, I suppose. But you're living up to your expectations fully, and that's not a very good thing, now is it?"
"You don't know me."
"I do. You were right, by the way. I'm skimming your thoughts. It's pretty easy. It's that special bond we have."
"Then why bother asking me questions? If you already know how things are going to go?"
"Why shouldn't I?"
"... Do you know what's going to happen. I mean, really know?"
"… Vermil, I'm sorry."
"I understand what our last meeting must have been like."
"You said I would die."
"Yes. The future is always the least appropriate thing for any occasion."
"You know, I used to think this was a place I could be happy. This was a world we could all get by in. I think somewhere along the way I realised that it really doesn't matter whose world it is."
"You aren't happy?"
"I'm living life on the lam, man. It's not exactly the high-life."
"And again, choices were made."
"Sometimes you gotta do the right thing."
"Even when there's no reason?"
"Didn't say there was never a reason."
"Another form, huh? Isn't that Willow, Saffy's sister? You're all kinds of twisted, aren't you?"
"Would you give your life for a stranger?"
"I dunno why I'd have to."
"It depends. I mean, sure. If I like someone. If there's blood..."
"Something I saw on TV once. Some character used 'blood' as a bad metaphor for feelings. Emotion. Passion."
"Would you say 'blood' is common with you?"
"We've all got blood... I think we spill too much though."
"Something of a mixed metaphor, isn't it?"
"I dunno, mister deity sir, you tell me."
"What's the point of it all, Vermil?"
"I can't understand why the future is so important."
"You can't understand life?"
"I do not understand your grip on it."
"I do not understand your ambivalence to it."
"Is it really? Is it interesting? Or is it just some sort of game to you? I mean, that's the vibe I'm getting. You get vibes, don't you? The concept, not the thing. It's when you just get that... impression, you know? The one that tells you everything you need to know. But you ignore it most of the time. Because it's wrong. Sometimes, the things you know ain't what they should be."
"I'm sorry for this Vermil. I know you're just an innocent bystander."
"You have a funny way of recognising that."
"Trust me. I'm working on something that will make all the difference. I may not understand this world, but I do understand that it must continue."
"Why should I trust you?"
"Because you really do have no alternative."
"You have a plan?"
"Yes, but I'm afraid it requires you to make a sacrifice."
"The future requires that the one known as 'Kiss' gains the infinite power of Richtog Vale's Conduit, Pallet, by using your friend Hari as a connection. This will draw the meteor to her, ultimately causing her to be at the center of the impact and causing far greater devastation than it should. If you can stop this, then the true enemy will be revealed, and I can set my plan in motion."
"And I have to die?"
"I can see no other way."
"And Saffy won't have died in vain?"
"If you do this, Vermillion, you will make Saffron more important than you can ever imagine."
"... So, what do I have to do?"
"Like I said, Kiss is going to establish a psychic link. It'll probably be physical. If this is the case, you need to do whatever you can to sever that link."
"And this is going to kill me, huh?"
"Now, there's no good spoiling the ending."
"Huh. You're pretty big with the glib, aren't you?"
"I've been working on it."
"What about all the stuff I don't know?"
"That'll come in time."
"When I'm dead, you mean."
"Dead men tell no tales."
"I'm not really sure how to take that."
"It's time for you to return now."
"Yeah, figured as much. What do I have to do?"
"Just brace yourself, it'll be a bumpy ride."
"You're telling me."
"See you 'round, kid."
"Yeah, let's try to not stay in touch."
He breathed in deeply as he faded to white.