Pure White

Empathy

"What do you usually dream of?"

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Empathy

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Pale eyelids rises languidly to the sound of the question; it is soft - almost inaudible - as if being spoken from a faraway place.

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"Why do you ask?" He inquired, turning his head to the man who had first raised the question. "Do you want to test a new theory?"

The Korean hacker paused - fingers hovering just above his laptop's keyboard - as he shifted his gaze back to the younger man lying on the nearby sofa. "Did I wake you, Makishima-san?" He didn't expect to get a reaction. He thought Makishima was sleeping and the question was just a careless thing he happened to have wondered aloud.

"No. I didn't intend to fall asleep." The younger man replied, sitting up. "But your question is interesting."

"Interesting?" The older man repeated with raised eyebrows. "There you go again. Speaking of something only you can understand. I will need an explanation." Because you wouldn't normally find that question interesting. What you usually dreamt of, perhaps. But not the question.

Artificial eyes fixed on the other man, noting how his hair at the back spiked up more than usual from earlier sleep and he willed himself to refrain from reaching over to smooth it. The man seemed to have that effect on people. Anyone getting in touch with him would easily become attached whereas the man himself remained like air - bounding himself to nothing, promising himself to no one, staying never in one place.

Truly, Makishima Shogo was an enigma. Pure white psycho-pass. Snow-white hair. Unique personality. An entirely different identity with fascinating charisma. He had never seen anyone else like him.

"Only me. Perhaps." The younger male admitted. And Choe Gu Sung didn't let amiss the slight lowering of those pale lids over cat-like golden eyes, how those long dark lashes casting shadow over alabaster skin. "Because of that, the topic is controversial."

"Controversial?"

"Choe Gu Sung," Those luminous eyes gaze back at him as the white-haired man leaned back against the sofa cushions, "What qualities and traits make one human?"

Now that was a complicated question.

"Do you mean a normal human or the 'perfect' one described by the Sibyl system?"

The white-haired man smiled at his implication. He then, however, brushed that topic aside. "A novel I've recently read suggests one quality that is human's ability to empathize. But even that suggestion is a blurry line to draw in the story itself. The main character even wondered if androids dream."

"Empathy, huh? That is as valid as saying all criminally asymptomatic people are good citizens." It was foolish to use empathy as the only criterion to distinguish a human, for in front of him was a man much more human than those they called Sibyl's livestock and yet so apathetic to life as much as he was obsessed with its meaning.

This man saw life as a game.

"…May I ask again what you usually dream of, Makishima-san?" Because it was even more foolish to ask whether Makishima Shogo possessed a sense of empathy.

Makishima's smile widened.

"Why don't you tell me what you usually dream of, Choe Gu Sung?"

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It seems he fell asleep. It is rare he falls asleep while reading. He must have been really tired.

Slowly, he sits up, running a hand through his hair. A paper copy of Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? lies not so far away from his reach. Together with it rests a mobile phone - its white case chipped and stained forever brownish red with dry blood.

"An android doesn't care what happens to another android. That's one of the indications we look for," said Rick Deckard as he interrogated Luba Luft to determine if she was an android. And yet when he wondered whether those androids dream, the android Roy Batty had just many dreams as Deckard himself.

"…May I ask again what you usually dream of, Makishima-san?"

The white-haired man picks up the blood-stained phone as he replays again the last clip with a humorless smile. It is unfortunate that Choe Gu Sung never gets to know what he usually dreams of.

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A/N: In Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Rick Deckard staked empathy as the quality only humans had and disregarded the importance of artificial lives. However, the validity of that test was questionable because some androids had proven to be able to feel empathy while some humans seem to lack it.

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