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Quotes / The Atoner

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    Anime and Manga 

What I did is beyond forgiveness. I don't need anyone to tell me that. No matter what I do, I can't change the past. But what I can do is save Jeri! And lemme tell ya, no talkin' eyeball's gonna stop me! CORONA DESTROYER!!
Beelzemon, Digimon Tamers

Regret is the domain of those who have earned the right to look back on the past. All I have is shame.
Kurama, Elfen Lied

I have no intention of asking for forgiveness after all that's happened. It may well be too late, but... all I can do is atone. That is the only path forward.
Todoroki Enji, My Hero Academia

Gine: Bardock... why are you going through so much trouble? It's not like a Saiyan man to worry about his children, so what's gotten into you?
Bardock: I don't know. Maybe it's because I'm constantly fighting. Destroying. And I'd actually like to save something for once, especially someone who is judged to be a lower class warrior, like my Kakarot.

    Comic Books 

Bizarrogirl: Does self-punishment end, Supergirl?
Supergirl: It might never end, Bizarrogirl. We can be sorry for what we've done, be sorry for hurting others, but it's what we do afterwards that really matters.

Yes! Thank you! I've worked so hard, thrown everything away, committed terrible crimes... Take me away! I'll gladly accept my punishment knowing Luthor's true nature has been exposed.

You're alive. And as long as you're alive, you can try to set things right. And I'm very, *very* glad you're alive. (Paige leaves, Mary starts crying.)
Paige Posa/Photo-Girl, Henchgirl

It's irrelevant now. I don't have any responsibility for you. I don't need to warn you where your need for forgiveness will take you.
(Flings Karl into a brick wall)
Atonement is at best a journey of uncertain length and destination. But so is Revenge, of course. We both embrace our own destruction.
Goodbye, Karl.
Meleos, Lucifer

At that instant the scales fell from my eyes, and I joined the service of the same God whose name I once cursed.
The Phantom Stranger, from one of his four Multiple Choice Pasts in Secret Origins

Let's just say I had an epiphany. I watched too many people make choices and realized I had one of my own to make.

Sate Pestage: Only a fool thinks he can escape his past.
Soontir Fel: I agree, so I atone for mine.
X-Wing Rogue Squadron, Mandatory Retirement


    Fan Works 

Cait Sith: I wanted to work for Shinra... because I wanted to help people. I guess I was naive in thinking that a faceless corporation could think of its people before its paycheck. If anything, I feel like I made peoples' lives worse. That's why I have to do this. No... I need to do this.
Mog: This won't repent for our sins.
Cait Sith: I know. But if this'll help save the world... It'll be one hell of a start.

Misato: It might surprise you to learn I agree with you. Everything you said is true. I did a terrible job with the both of you, and there's no excuse for it. Nothing about the circumstances changes what happened to you. It was criminal, and it was wrong, and I'll regret it until the day I die. But even so, you have to think about your situation here: you aren't equipped to live on your own, and neither is Shinji. You both need a lot of help and support, and there aren't exactly a lot of candidates banging on the door for the job. For better or worse I'm the closest thing to family either of you has.
Asuka: (shaking her head) ...
Misato: And I do care about you. I can't undo any of the things that have happened to you, but I can do my best to look out for you in the future. And I want to do that.
Asuka: No you don't. The only reason you're bothering at all is because of him.
Misato: That isn't true. But even if it was, does it really matter? Either way —
Asuka: Of course it matters!
Misato: I see. I've really misjudged you, haven't I? All this time, I thought your only interest was in survival. Shinji, me, even Kaji were just means to that end. But it wasn't like that at all, was it? No, of course not. It's so obvious, given what happened with your mom. I guess I never really made the connection because of everything else that was going on.
Asuka: ...
Misato: Alright then. I think I can understand your feelings now. And I can't really blame you; I'd be pretty skeptical myself if I was in your position. So that means I'll just have to prove it, right? But you'll have to give me the chance to do that, Asuka. I can't force you to accept me. All I can do is do my best to earn you trust. And that starts right now.

"I’m sorry, Jeyne" (Theon) whispered, wiping away the tears that still seeped through with his thumb. "I’m sorry. You needed me and I wasn’t there for you, even after I promised."
"You didn’t have to be there," Jeyne said, weakly. "You have more important things to worry about than me."
"Jeyne." Theon gripped her shoulders, not painfully but firmly, and turned her to face him. "Jeyne, you are the only good thing I ever did. Looking after you is the most important thing to me right now."

    Film - Live-Action 
Tony Stark: I never got to say goodbye to my father. There's questions I would've asked him. I would've asked him how he felt about what his company did, if he was conflicted, if he ever had doubts. Or maybe he was every inch of man we remember from the newsreels. I saw young Americans killed by the very weapons I created to defend them and protect them. And I saw that I had become part of a system that is comfortable with zero accountability.
Reporter: Mr. Stark! What happened over there?
Tony: I had my eyes opened. I came to realize that I had more to offer this world than just making things that blow up. And that is why, effective immediately, I am shutting down the weapons manufacturing division of Stark Industries.

"I've got red on my ledger. I'd like to wipe it out."

"22 years have passed. I waited, but the police and the media failed to find me. No one understood what was behind the murders. So I have to reveal it myself. I can't be tried. My chance at legal redemption has passed. Telling the truth is my last duty."
Masato Sonezaki, Memoirs of a Murderer

"Never sat well with ol' Bootstrap, what we did to Sparrow and all. That's why he sent a piece of the treasure off to you, as it were. He said that we deserved to be cursed... and remain cursed."

Teal'c: One day others may try to convince you they have forgiven you. That is more about them than you. For them, imparting forgiveness is a blessing.
Tomin: How do you go on?
Teal'c: It is simple. You will never forgive yourself. Accept it. You hurt others - many others. That cannot be undone. You will never find personal retribution. But your life does not have to end. That which is right, just, and true can still prevail. If you do not fight for what you believe in, all may be lost for everyone else. But do not fight for yourself. Fight for others, others that may be saved through your effort. That is the least you can do.

Lamont: Do you have any idea what it's like to have done things you can never forgive yourself for?
Margo: Lamont... Whoever you were, whatever you did, it’s in the past.
Lamont: Not for me, Margo. Never for me.

"There's not a day goes by I don't feel regret. Not because I'm in here, because you think I should. I look back on the way I was then: a young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime. I want to talk to him. I want to try to talk some sense to him, tell him the way things are. But I can't. That kid's long gone, and this old man is all that's left. I got to live with that. Rehabilitated? It's just a bullshit word. So you go on and stamp your form, sonny, and stop wasting my time. Because to tell you the truth, I don't give a shit."

"You saw it. God, You saw it. The death of an innocent child, and my vengeance. You allowed it to happen. I don't understand You. I don't understand You. Yet, I still ask your forgiveness. I know no other way to make peace with myself than with my own hands. I don't know any other way to live. I promise You, God, here, by the dead body of my only child, I promise that as penance for my sin, I shall build You a church. On this spot I shall build it. Of mortar and stone - and with these very hands."


Harry Dresden: Look at him, Michael. He isn't a victim. He's a freaking collaborator. That poor bastard Rasmussen might have been dragooned into working with the Denarians, but Cassius does it because he wants to do it.
Sanya: There's no way for you to be sure of that, Harry.
Harry Dresden: Why are you giving him a fair chance? Which of them has ever turned away from their coins?
Sanya: I did.

I'm not one to despise people for their sins. I haven't found one yet, that I didn't say inside myself, "I've done worse than this."
Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, Speaker for the Dead

Punishment is not the answer. Punishment is easy. It's lazy. Redemption is hard. Redemption makes you work.
Skulduggery Pleasant, The Dying of the Light

"The most important words a man can say are 'I will do better.'"
Dalinar Kholin, Oathbringer (third book of The Stormlight Archive)

I have done terrible things, things which I can never undo. I've walked a very dark path. All I can do is to fight to stop the evil ideas for which I once fought. If I can do that, then I can earn redemption in my own heart.
Nicci, Confessor

Unverziehen was an enigma to most people; the insanely potent warper had been a member of the combat arm of the German SS, and had not been privy to the war crimes of Auschwitz, Dachau, Sobibor and other places. The man and Caitlin shared something similar: guilt. He felt responsible for what his country did during the war, and though her crimes paled in comparison to what the Nazis had done during that war, the A-List hero, who still could not forgive himself, hadn’t physically committed any of the crimes he bore the shame of.
— Character description for The Unforgiven, in "The Book of Darwin, Part 3". Whateley Universe

I'm sorry. I won't say I'll make amends, because there's no way I can even come close. I don't know what to say, except that I'm sorry. No excuses. But I'm going to do what I can to make things better, and maybe I get a hundredth of the way, in the end.
Bonesaw, Worm

    Live-Action TV 

Faith: I did my time.
Angel: Our time is never up. We pay for everything.
Angel, "Orpheus"

Kahler-Jex: Do you think I am unaffected by what I did? That I don't hear them screaming every time I close my eyes? It would be so much simpler if I was just one thing, wouldn't it? The mad scientist who made that killing machine or the physician who dedicated his life serving this town. The fact that I am both bewilders you.
The Doctor: Oh I know exactly what you are. And I see this reformation for what it truly is. You committed an atrocity and chose this as your punishment. Don't get me wrong, good choice — Civilized hours, lots of adulation, nice weather but, but justice doesn't work like that! You don't get to decide when and how your debt is paid! Note... 

Bonnie: You don't understand. You will never understand.
The Doctor: I don't understand? Are you kidding? Me? Of course I understand. I mean, do you call this a war, this funny little thing? This is not a war! I fought in a bigger war than you will ever know! I did worse things than you could ever imagine! And when I close my eyes...! (turns around, visibly collects himself) I hear more screams than anyone could ever be able to count! And do you know what you do with all that pain? Shall I tell you where you put it? You hold it tight, till it burns your hand! And you say this: No one else will ever have to live like this. No one else will have to feel this pain. Not on my watch!

Bekhesh: A lifetime of killing and extortion takes its toll.
Crichton: Yeah, especially on those you kill and extort.
Bekhesh: Yes... but also on myself. During a hostage raid we captured a priest; a disciple of the Writ of Taru. He refused to eat or sleep: all he would do, day and night, was preach, whether anyone was listening or not. I executed him... but I kept his writ. I don't know why. One day I started reading; they were words of peace, but they made me feel... better. Then one day I took off my gauntlet and I threw it away.

I've got a long road to travel before I can be someone I can be proud of. And despite the forgiveness of others, I have to forgive myself first and I'm not there yet.
Kilian Jones/Captain Hook, Once Upon a Time

"My services in particular come with a very high price, but you see, I've already paid it."
Robert McCall, The Equalizer, "The Line"


Jet: You are correct. We will never be forgiven. But that is not a reason to die, not when other good can still be done. The past is dead behind us. The future is potential.
M'tendere: My battery...
Jet: You will build another. Or teach someone else to, or do something else that is good. It will not be better than the suffering we've caused. But it will be good, and that must be enough. It is all we have.
The Penumbra Podcast, "Juno Steel and the Tools of Rust"



i am only just sixteen
and i have made a mistake
so big
that i will never make one again

Long is the way, and hard, that out of Hell leads up to Light.

    Tabletop Games 

Falling from heaven is not as painful as surviving the impact.

    Video Games 

Titus sought out Immortality only because he knew that's how long it would take to erase the red from his ledger.

I used to think I could save the world. Now look at it.
Adam Jensen, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Thank you for my life. I'll try not to make such a mess of it this time.
Anders, Dragon Age II

I have overcome my nature only through meditation and long study of the Way of the Voice. No day goes by where I am not tempted to return to my inborn nature. Zin krif horvut, se suleyk.Translation  What is better? To be born good, or to overcome your evil nature through great effort?

I want to take from them what they took from me, from my family. In this life. I want them to suffer. I want all of them to die in fear and pain... I want to have my revenge. Against him. Against Caesar. I want to call it my own, to make my anger God's anger. To justify the things I've done. Sometimes I tell myself that these wild fires never stop burning. But I'm the one who starts them. Not God. Not them. I can always see it in my mind. The warmth and the heat. It will always be a part of me... But not today.
Joshua Graham, Fallout: New Vegas

"... I have my own reasons to reverse the destruction wrought by the Empire. While it's true that I eventually defected, I played no small part in the development of magitek now used by their military. <sigh> Sometimes it's the threads you can't see that have the strongest ties. Would that I could cut them."
Cid Garlond, Final Fantasy XIV

My children... listen to me. I have lived regretting the past. And I have faced those regrets. If only I could do things over again...
King Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

Mordin Solus, Mass Effect 3

The Good Incarnation: If you spoke to these others that were here, know that a fraction of the evil of their lives is but a drop of water compared to the evil of mine. That life, that one life, even without the thousands of others, has given us a seat in the Lower Planes for eternity.
The Nameless One: But you seem so much... calmer. More well-intentioned.
The Good Incarnation: I became that way, yes. Because for me... It is regret that may change the nature of a man. But it was too late. I was already damned.

What makes something like me? I look at genes all day long, and never do I see the blueprint of sin. I could blame the Germans, but in truth, I did not find tormentors in the Prison Camp, but kindred spirits. These children I brutalized have awoken something inside that for most is beautiful and natural, but in me, is an abomination… my maternal instinct.
Brigid Tenenbaum, BioShock

A true scholar finds clues to the future in the mistakes of his past.
#testpost #exorganization #zexionVI #radiantgarden #crackingthecode

Arthur Morgan: Here, take this. I don't need it no more.
Edith Downes: I don't want your money.
Arthur: Yeah, I know you don't want it, you sure as shit need it. Take it.
Edith: No!
Arthur: I ain't looking for forgiveness, it ain't about that! Don't forgive me! Just take the money and get out of here, please! I know I ruined your life, I suffer for it every day, but don't let yourself get killed for...for pride! I seen it kill too many folk!

    Web Animation 

Epsilon, what you and I were involved with... the things we helped do... I'll be honest - I don't know if we can ever get all the way back to good. But, I think that we have a chance to do better. And if we wake up every day and try to make things better, eventually, we might find that better is good enough.
Carolina, Red vs. Blue


You know you screwed up, and you want to make it right. I've been told that trying counts for a lot. You may never balance the scales. You may never make it up to the one who dies on your watch. But giving up on fixing it is like killing them all over again.


    Western Animation 

I know I've made some bad choices, but today I'm gonna set things right.

Destiny has one great test in store for us all. Has mine already come, and have I failed it? A deed, once done, cannot be undone... But perhaps it may yet be mitigated.
Dinobot, Beast Wars

DON'T ARGUE WITH ME! You're always trying to help me! You brought me back to life! Just... Let me be someone who deserved it."
Lars to Steven, Steven Universe

Japan, 1867.. the Tokugawa dynasty stands upon failing legs... an invincible samurai, Kenshin Himura walks the path of death and destruction, ushering in a new regime. Hated and feared by many, he is known as Hitokiri Battousai, the Manslayer. In retribution for his deeds he has taken an oath to protect the innocent, and never kill again.
Toonami Promo for Rurouni Kenshin

Willow, you were never too weak to be my friend. I was too weak to be yours. I can't take back what I've done, but I can promise you this: I won't let Boscha and her gang pick on you ever again.
Amity, The Owl House


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