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07 September 2005 @ 08:05 am
Best opening line ever - now complete with fic!  
Best. First line. Ever.

came to me last night while thinking about a fic challenge in anichallenge.

And now it has a fic attached to it. It is a Sailor Moon fic, of course.
The challenge was to write a fic involving the seven deadly sins and/or seven holy virtues. So here we are.

In the Courtroom

It is widely known that God is the ultimate judge. Less well known--though hardly surprising--is that Satan is the ultimate lawyer.

You see, for every soul that he desires, he must argue his case before God and prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the soul is tainted with a deadly, unpardonable sin. Were he not so persuasive, surely mankind would not be gripped by fear of him. But the Judge can overrule the lawyer's assertion with proof that the soul is also possessed of a holy, redeeming virtue. And were God not so fair and charitable, surely mankind would already be doomed.

Once, the judge and the lawyer surveyed a host of seven young souls: a family of three, a priestess, a genius, a celebrity, and a fighter. This is the record of their exchange.

"Look, your Honor, at the fighter. At how she pines after every young man who comes near her. To her, they are all reflections of her 'senpai,' the man she lost. She does not see them for who they are, but longs for something lost and would use them to satisfy her own needs. Is this one not guilty of the sin of Lust?"

"Counsel is mistaken," the judge replied. "Time after time she has gotten close to these men and has chosen to withdraw for their own safety. In the end, she puts her responsibility to help others over her own desires. In fact, I would consider her the very soul of Temperance."

"Then let us look at the celebrity," the lawyer said. "Surely you cannot find a soul more tainted by Pride. Her years as Sailor V have made her conceited, boastful, arrogant. Having lost the spotlight, she desires it again and constantly seeks it out, to the point that she becomes an obsessive fan of other celebrities. How can you deny that pride blackens the soul of one who calls herself the Goddess of Love?"

"She acts prideful, certainly," the judge mused. "But I daresay she acts it because she cannot manage to be it. There is not a single choice this one has made where she chose herself over her friends-- even her rivals. She has given up the chance for fame again and again in order to fulfill her mission and take care of her friends. I see this as a selfless act of Charity."

"How about the priestess, then, your Honor?" Two souls denied, the lawyer was beginning to feel as though the court was not balanced in his favor. "Even setting aside the fact that she worships false gods-- while that is not a deadly sin, it certainly cannot endear her to you. Am I wrong?"

"Only partly," the Judge replied, amused. "After all, she does attend a Catholic school."

"In any case! Look how she treats the one she purports to be friends with! Why, when they first met, some misguided instinct from her false gods caused her to attack the girl. And I wish I could say their relationship has improved since then, but every innocent action the girl makes sends this mad priestess into a fit of Wrath!"

"Once more, Counsel has only superficially studied the matter. Who among this band of friends has more Faith in her friends than this priestess? We hold those we believe in to higher standards. Is it any wonder that she is disappointed when her friend lets her down? But still she believes, because she knows that when it counts, her Faith will win out and her friend will be there for her."

"Foolishness!" The lawyer spat the word angrily. "You think I look only on the surface? What of the genius? On the surface there is barely anything to criticize. Intelligent, diligent... yet in her heart she is consumed by Envy of everything her friends have that she doesn't. She does not appreciate her gifts, but would trade them in a heartbeat for the popularity and sociability that the others have. To wish to give away what she has been so blessed with!"

The Judge laughed. "Yes, Counsel, you have indeed looked beyond the surface. But there is more that must be considered. Dark things lurk in the hearts of every human being, and every gift can seem like a curse at times. But does she hesitate to use those gifts? Why, no. In fact, she has put herself at risk to do so. Others can act quickly or forcefully, but she takes the time to calculate the best strategy, because she knows she is the only one with that capacity. This is balance, Counsel-- this is Prudence."

The lawyer seethed. "Very well, then. Defend the friends as you might, but this family is rife with dysfunction and sin the likes of which even you cannot defend. Even the child is sinful to the point of being evil. Everything her mother has, she wants. Friends, possessions, even the love of her father-- a perverse desire, that! A daughter who has held her mother at gunpoint!"

"If a popgun counts," chuckled the Judge.

"It's Greed, your Honor! Pure, unadulterated Greed!"

"You go too far. What is greed in loving the same things? In the end, did she steal anything she did not return? Remember, she shares not only the things her mother enjoys but the challenges she faces. The two generations fight together, the younger no less fiercely than the older, despite her small size. Less power, but more determination. It seems to me to be a perfect display of Fortitude in the face of inequality."

"The father, then! The father! You discuss the mother and daughter fighting together. Where is he? Waiting until the last minute to show up and save them, when he could be there by their side from the beginning! That's just laziness. Just Sloth!"

"Is it really, now? Does he have a destiny to fulfill, as they do? Or is he relegated to giving the support he can while staying by the sidelines and watching over her? He does what is necessary to protect her. No more, no less. This is Justice, my old rival. Justice."

"That's it."

"Counsel is ready to make his closing argument, then?"

"Stop playing with me! You can't deny me this one. This girl..."

"The mother."

"If you can call her that, with the way she treats her own daughter! Look at them, fighting over the last cupcake like they were a pair of rabid dogs. I could pin any sin I wanted on her and make it stick, and you know it!"

"But you'll choose one."

"Isn't it obvious? Now, I myself don't mind the occasional devil's food cake, but this girl's sweet tooth goes beyond the pale. She's never met a dessert she didn't like, even if it's her brother's. And not just food, mind you! Her Gluttony extends to everything. She must have every new bauble that becomes fashionable. She must try out every new thing. She must be at the lead of any pack. She must be friends with everyone she meets."

"Yes, even her enemies."


But at that, the lawyer's voice sputtered and died. He knew what he'd done.

"You know what that is, don't you, Counsel?"


"It's a belief in redemption. It's a belief that anyone can find enough virtue in their heart to overcome even the deadliest of sins. In a word, Counsel..."

"Don't say it, your Honor!"

The Judge would not be moved. "In a word, Counsel, it's Hope."

The lawyer recoiled as though stung. "Yes, your Honor," he sighed, "I thought you'd say that."

"And I have." Somewhere in heaven, a gavel boomed. "Case dismissed."
The Soul is:: pleasedpleased
Jigglius Caesarjiggliusceasar on September 7th, 2005 12:49 pm (UTC)
I want to read it now!
Nänlchenpoinsley on September 7th, 2005 07:24 pm (UTC)
That's a really cool opening line. :)
shelbyyclarke on June 22nd, 2007 03:28 pm (UTC)
Hmm...That was really good!