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Sometimes reality mirrors fiction

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Scylla loved to read. Books were one of the few things she could easily pack as they traveled a lot. Being a dodger meant ending up in many different places, which means she's able to find and read books from all over.

One of the things Scylla never understood with the books that were said to be written for her age group, was how the lead character would become fascinated with the character who seems to have a death wish. In fact these protagonists become so infatuated to the point of believing that they actually love these self-destructive, yet undeniably charming characters.

Scylla had no idea as to why people were drawn to this trope. The protagonist never ends up with their fascination. The protagonist spends so much time and energy trying to grasp this elusive figure only to end up alone. It irritated Scylla because one would think the protagonist would be smart enough to stay away or at least find a way to remain distant despite the infatuation, but then they never do. Scylla didn't understand. Not until she, herself, was placed in the position of the protagonist.

Raelle Collar was exactly the self-destructive, charming fascination that every protagonist fell for. Raelle was beautiful and mysterious, with an endearing southern drawl accompanying her suave chivalry. But Raelle also had a death wish. To not get into War College. To be sent out to the frontlines as war meat as soon as she can.

Scylla had no idea why the Spree wanted Raelle. Why even her boss was interested in a cliche. Scylla had no idea until she they kissed for the first time, specifically when Raelle kissed her back.

When Raelle kissed her she had felt so much and not enough in one kiss. She had felt Raelle's power behind the kiss, but also an underlying desperation. As if she needed Scylla as an outlet for all the pain she was carrying but didn't want to burden her. Scylla started to understand that even if Raelle wanted death, she had so much youth and beauty and fury. It was so easy to be swept up in it.

It became more evident to Scylla as weeks passed by and Raelle became a constant. She would tell herself that she was interested in Raelle simply because she was her mission. But Raelle was beautiful and charismatic and caring and it was difficult to not be infatuated by everything the younger cadet did. It was sooner rather than later that Scylla realized that that infatuation had become love.

Scylla had become the very protagonist she was frustrated with. But Scylla was not the protagonist. No, she was the villain. The villain who had rebelled against the military, failed the Spree and betrayed the one she loves. Even if she was the protagonist she still would not get the girl.

Yet here she was on a new mission, searching for any sign that Raelle is still alive. Becoming the desperate, hopeful character needing to find her elusive love. Because even if Scylla was bound to end up alone, Raelle needed to be alive. Because Raelle is young and beautiful and filled with fury. Raelle is meant to live.