Stairway to Heaven

By Malice Shaw

There's a Lady who's sure
All that glitters is gold
And she's buying a stairway to Heaven

No one knew this side to him. No one ever would either. In the dark is how they always had themselves, constantly in the dark. Always the optimistic male, the smart guy, the one who can see the higher side of every low bit. Look past the long hair, the cowboy hat, the constant long sleeves, and you just might be a bit surprised. Dirty little secrets and past deeds are always the most painful part of being who he was. And he was Irvine Kinneas, the sharpshooter, the player; the Hyne of all there was to know about women. He never missed on any shot, and this was one shot he took special pains not to miss.

She had found out, purely by accident. Having a key to his room, she walked in on him doing the dirty deed all alone, with his jacket thrown aside and his shirtsleeve rolled up. It was right before a mission, he needed it.

He needed to know he could do it, and this was the only sure-fire way. Her gasps and angry sounds deterred him, but for just a mere wrinkle in time, for the next ripple that came, she was soon riding the waves of fire in the veins by his side. He needed this. Yet she did not.

Still, though, she joined him...

And soon, everything was gold... Her face, her body, her eyes; all of it… glittered.

When she gets there she knows
If the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for

The one night when there wasn't enough for the both of them, no more gold. No more of the feeling of being secured in all that beautiful gold. So they tried. They tore the room up, sleeve by sleeve from corner to corner until they found that there was just barely enough for the both of them. In silence, with a room torn up due to their searching, she saw him for what he really was. A lone cowboy; a desolate figure of deceit. She was the same though. Both ripped through with track marks along their arms that bled their souls through the holes the needle pricks created.

Yet when she voiced this to him, he hit her. Then he kissed her, and she responded.

It was the best sex in her life.

Even if it wasn't with the man she loved.

There's a sign on the wall
But she wants to be sure
Cos you know sometimes words have two meanings

Finally, they got some of the gold their bloodlines cried out for. Not the same glitter, but something much more, he promised. The tickle of the needle as the tiny point entering her pale skin sent a cool stream of what could only be described as love through her tortured veins. Eyeing the syringe as the plunger was pulled back, drawing blood into its case and then pushing it hard and fast back into her skin, she screamed out loud, and tried to pull her arm back away from it. The gold soon tarnished right before her eyes as ice burned her veins harshly, not the warm, sweet taste of the flame. Irvine still held onto her wrist tightly, growing angry at her for trying to waste the sweet nectar of their revival.

Yet when the cloudy haze of lust and pleasure faded, he was the only one standing

She was tinted blue.

In a tree by the brook
There's a songbird who sings
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven

Try as he might, she wouldn't awaken. Her eyes were glassy, and her skin cold to the touch. Clammy hands, dried sweat plastering her hair to her head, while her tongue rolled back into her throat, cutting off the faint air supply she used to live. She looked so beautiful when she slept, even when she was still forever, her face like this, her eyes gleaming. Drool edged from the sides of her lips, falling down in a frothy foam. Even so close to the darkness of death, even in this horrible position, she was still high.

Scrambling to his feet, Irvine pulled his sleeves down and searched his room for something, anything… water, ice, to wake her up. Finally, seeing his surroundings void of any such object, he opted to crawl on his knees towards her and slap her face, watching the pale skin grow red with his palm print. This had happened before to her, once before. All he had to do was slap her a few times, and she would arise and blink, batting her eyelashes and reaching for the syringe. Hyne, she wasn't waking up now, and her breathing was growing too shallow for anyone to hear at all.

This wasn't a good sign.

Not at all.

There's a feeling I get
When I look to the west
And my spirit is crying for leaving

Paranoia set in. Fear kicked in. Eyes roaming around as the cloud beneath him dissipated into soggy dust and finally into air. Pulling himself to his knees, Irvine crawled towards the door and touched it gently, as if mesmerizing the swirls in the paint. They seemed to jump at him, as a tiny drop of wetness circulated his scalp and fell upon his palm, the splashing in his ears completely deafening. Gazing to his right, he saw her again, one last moan escaping her cyan tinted lips before she went completely blank. Her chest stopped heaving, almost unnoticeably to the naked eye, but he saw.

Crawling back towards her, he hissed as his palm slid across the carpet and hit a sharp object, imbedding into his skin and stinging his vein. Lifiting his hand away from the floor, his blurry vision whispered to him.

Her syringe.

There was just a little bit more left…

The temptation was unstoppable. No matter how hard his soul cried and shed tears into his heart, he couldn't help it.

The plunger went down. She'll be alright...

In my thoughts I have seen rings
Of smoke through the trees
And the voices of those who stand looking

She wasn't alright. She was dead.

And he was the one who pulled the trigger, or pushed the plunger. Either way, he was the one who killed her.

When her portion of the nectar wore off, she was long gone, beyond any chance of salvation. She had already grown rigid with nature, her body stiff and hard when at one time it was pliant and supple. As the hours rolled on, and the hallucinations began to disappear, Irvine leaned his weary body away from her still form, gazing out and away from the constant reminder of exactly how filthy he was. Corpses do that you know.

The dead speak to you from beyond. They blow smoke in your face and stand you in front of a mirror and ask you to see yourself for whom you truly are. Of course it's all in your head, but who's to argue with the dead?

Casting a long gaze at her, he noticed something he hadn't realized before. She had died with her eyes open, still glazed over in a perpetual high.

Stand up, girl. Stand up. Stop looking at me.

And it's whispered that soon
If we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason

Is this the price? The price to pay for pleasure? Fire in your veins to make you sweat, ice to cool you off. Stop looking at me, girl, it's not my fault.

You walked in on me and wanted a hit. Not my fault. His back was still against the doorway. The rigidness of her body had softened by now, so it had to be a long, long time since she's paid the ultimate price. He wanted to see her passed out in her usual glory, a slight smile upon her lips as the flow of fire entered her brain. Or was it ice this time? Don't know. Doesn't matter. She won't be breathing for a long time.

It's over now, finally reality is setting in. Another torn glance at her still form and he knew that reality was an ugly, harsh place full of bribes and distant prices that constantly accelerated with each passing moment. Every second, Irvine looked over his shoulder at an unheard noise, just waiting for someone, anyone, to tap his shoulder and hold out a hand for payment. It was an expensive habit, this thing was. The price he paid was far, far too much for one man's worth.

A worried knock at the door and voices calling. Reality tapping for him

A slight sting and an unfelt tear hastened his senses back. It was still inside.

More tearing as it ripped free and clean of his flesh, descending into the faint, light oblivion where he sent it. Weary feet and legs pulled him upwards, as weak hands graced the doorknob. Pulling harshly, the door flung open to reveal friends and an enemy outside the frame.

The time to pay the piper had arrived.

So expensive…

And a new day will dawn
For those who stand long
The forests will echo with laughter

So this is how it all ends? Standing at a grave stone where one of his best friends, since the day he was abandoned by his parents, lied? The day dawned brightly; the skies cheerful and beautiful, defying the logical explanation of the mood set in by the faculty of SeeD. At one time these people were his friends, his family, yet now all he could feel were their eyes on him. Their blame. Their laughter at him for being so weak. He was a small tree amongst the forests, a bush in the whole Garden. Tiny and so unnoticed that their laughter on him was the only attention he dared to seek. No one bothered to lift the leaves of his branch and talk to him about the needle prick marks on his arms. Hell, they never bothered to ask why she always wore sleeves either.

Hot summer days in a jacket... and sleeves.

Sleeves, the only thing covering up the signs…

Not to mention the weight loss… So much lost…

it makes me wonder...

Did they ever really care...?

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow
Don't be alarmed now
It's just a spring clean for the May Queen

The inscription did nothing for her name. Squall could only gaze upon him with pity, while Selphie stared away. They had made him tell them the full story, how it began, what he had done, the works. Each moment relived through the simple words, and the shrill cry from Selphie when he whispered of the night of their fornication. The drugs induced it; Selphie should have known that. She should forgive him, it wasn't his fault. It calmed his nerves, like someone who smoked would pull in a drag just for starters, and cool off until the flaming tip hit the filter.

But this wasn't smoking. This was drugs.

And death.

And loss.

Irvine pulled his hat down over his face and stared into the hole in the ground, watching as the casket was lowered steadily into the deep, dark earth. So, this was reality?

No wonder he hated it so much...

Yes, there are two paths you can go by
But in the long run,
There's still time to change the road you're on

Footsteps behind him, long after everyone had left and he had remained. Too heavy to be Squall's, and too light to be Zell's, too brooding to be a woman's, and too angry to be Selphie's. Gazing ahead, Irvine scoped out the area of the cemetery and sought out a path to choose. To run, or stay? Either way he would be hunted down forever. Get it over with now, he growled to himself. Not like you've got much to live for.

Turning around, he was greeted with the tip of a blade at his throat, cutting lightly enough to draw only the tiniest amount of blood which quickly dried upon his throat. The crimson stain chipped slightly, falling into his collar and rubbing against his nipple, making it itch. No time to scratch at it now, as he gazed into anger and hate filled, emerald eyes, which clashed in the sunlight and burnt into his own.

Swallow your pride, breath in the tide, and just drown. It's all over now.

Your head is humming and it won't go
In case you don't know
The piper's calling you to join him

"Seifer.." Irvine breathed. "You're still here."

He pulled the blade away and looked beyond Irvine's rigid form into the hole. Shaking his head slowly, the scowl upon his chiseled face grew deep, and deeper still until it was contorted with a rage only a man who has lost everything, could achieve. His return was sacred, and yet she, his Instructor was the only one who actually came to completely accept it, and finally take him back under her wing. He loved her, the way that would have grown deeper as time passed by and she held his hand gently in her own and walked him through the steps to recovery. In her last days he should have sought out why she had become distant, always retreating to Irvine's room late at night. He had constituted it to being them together, but the nagging feeling just wasn't right.

Always, the sleeves. Even when the weather permitted him to stand alone in boxers and a tank top, trying in some way to extend their relationship a bit more and finally succeeding one night in making love, her beautiful cries of ecstasy brought on by the silent supernova he felt, the sleeves. In the dark is where he could see her, which she would only allow him to, the sleeves now a black veil covering her from head to toe. It all made sense now, at her fear and her love and her shame. Shame of her body? No.

The shame this… this… person, Seifer hissed to himself, caused her to feel.

"You.." He growled, sheathing his blade. "You did it..."

It was then that reality hit hard and fast, driving the nail home. A mental stabbing in his heart and Irvine went down, shedding his tears as the wind whispered her name to him, to remind him, that the Piper was in the form of a scorned Knight.

Dear lady can you hear the wind blow
And did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind.

Seifer could hear her, crying out to him to stop. She wouldn't want this, would she? Vengeance over a choice she fully made by herself, no matter how much this being had pressured her into taking the first drop into her bloodline and causing her pain. A slight twitch of his left eye caused the scorned anger in his heart to deepen, worsen, until finally his own dam broke. Wiping away the rare tears that formed in his eyes, Seifer unsheathed Hyperion once more and pointed towards Irvine's shaking back as the younger man cried.

"You did it!" he shouted, waving his blade around, cutting the air. "You killed her! Why? Why!?"

Irvine howled louder, his voice echoing in the shadows of the dusking day. He gazed up at Seifer, taking note the dark lines that deepened each second as the sun set. "I-I was weak, Seifer! I couldn't! You don't under stand what it's like t'be me!"

"What... What it's like to be... Damn you, Irvine, you fucking killed her!" The Hyperion was swung hard, so hard it flew over Irvine's lowered body and hit the headstone, causing some of the cement particles to chip away. Another scream from the pained younger man brought a look of disgust from Seifer's features. "Don't. Don't fucking come to me for sympathy. You took her away from everyone. Everyone, Irvine, EVERYONE. We all lost someone we love, because why? WHY?!"

And as we wind on down the road

Irvine's cries stopped slowly, ebbing into infinity as he began pulling himself to a seated position and cradle his knees to his chest. "I… I don't know..." He murmured slowly, shaking his head. "Its... it's..." He gasped before continuing. "I..."

Our shadows taller than our souls

"Always about you, Kinneas." Seifer growled, stepping behind him to retrieve his thrown gunblade. "Always about you. That's all I've heard from you ever since that fucking... night." He grunted a bit, his voice becoming high and shrill. "I don't know what I did. I didn't force her; I don't know what to do! Selphie should forgive me! Why the fuck should she?! You cheated on her, and took advantage of Quistis after you got her drugged up on Hyne knows what!"

There walks a lady we all know

Irvine's shrill cry, signaling another anguished release, sounded in an echo. Disgusted, Seifer reached down and gripped him by the chin, scowling into his face. "Don't you dare fucking cry! You killed her! Instead of fucking coming and getting help for her when she needed it, you decided hell, it can't go to waste and used it yourself!" With the strength of a man who had lost the world, Seifer thrust Irvine to the freshly laid ground, dirt seeping into the cowboy's nostrils. "Smell the death, you son of a bitch. You reek of stupidity. You disgust me… Nothing even I could have done could ever match this..."

Who shines white light and wants to show

There Irvine lay, his face to the ground, wetting it with his tears, his only words repeated in an apology that fell on deaf ears.

"I'm sorry... I'm so fucking sorry..." "Sorry is right," Seifer scoffed, turning away so Irvine couldn't see the cracks in his stone visage. "Pathetic, Kinneas. I don't care why you did it. I don't give a shit. The only thing I care about is that you took her down with you."

"I said I'm sorry!" Irvine screamed, his voice choked with unshed sobs that threatened to burst his throat. "I can't bring her back!"

"That's the problem! You can't bring her back! You stole her away from all of us, and now, now you actually have the fucking balls to sit there at her grave and cry for her loss?" His chiseled features, seemingly made of stone worsened with each word he spoke. "What about our loss? We all lost a friend, while you lost a fucking junkie buddy."

Irvine sniffled, drawing the mucus from his nostrils back into his throat. "I-I lost a f-friend too, Seifer… Don't you dare say I didn't! I loved Quisty. She was like m'sister. I lost her, too, Seifer. Don't you ever say I didn't 'cause I did!" Irvine pulled himself to his feet, yet his legs begged him not to. Once again he fell to his knees and stared at the ground. "I'm so sorry... I'm so fucking sorry…"

"Don't tell me that..." Seifer growled, and pointed to the chipped headstone that served as her final resting place. "Tell that to her."

How everything still turns to gold


"Tell that to HER. You don't get it, do you? You fucked up enough to know exactly what I mean." Stepping past Irvine, Seifer kneeled down beside the headstone and traced the name with a gloved fingertip. "We know you're sorry. Sorry as fucking hell. But she's the one you killed, man." He shook his head slowly, tracing the 'Q' over and over again before bringing his angry gaze back to the shriveled man behind him "I can't forgive you, Kinneas. I can't. Maybe not ever. But she..." He placed a strong palm on the stone. "She just might."

Not fully understanding, Irvine kneeled down next to Seifer and gazed along the carved name. Beside him, Seifer let out a disgusted snort, possibly for being so close to him, and moved away, sitting back on his haunches and awaiting Irvine's confession. A slight smile sat on his lips, enjoying the pain the younger man was going through.

It may be cruel. But it is also cruel to cut down a fern before it has lived its whole life, just to see if a tree would make a sound after hitting the cold earth.

And if you listen very hard
The tune will come to you at last

"Quisty?" Seifer scowled at the sound of her nickname on Irvine's lips. Only her true friends ever called her that. "I-I'm real sorry... gal. F'r ever'thin'..." A choked up sob escaped his throat, and he leaned forward to grip the headstone strongly in his hand. "I... I didn't mean to leave ya like that... I was stupid... I fucked up big time..." He leaned against the headstone, his chest to her name. "I shoulda gone out an' gotten help! Never shoulda left y'behind..." He growled deep in his throat. "I shoulda helped you! Not take the last of it! Never! I can't! I... I can't s-stop!"

Seifer frowned slightly, raising a damp eyebrow. This was going fairly well.

"I loved you, like my own sister... an' I killed you. I shoulda stopped you... I shoulda locked my door..."

When all is one and one is all

"...I shoulda... helped... I'm sorry... Hyne..." "Stop it." Seifer growled. His own throat was tightening up again, as if a coil had its grips wrapped tightly around his neck. "Just stop it..."

"...I-I... Can't..."

His teeth drew blood on his lip, staining the stone crimson. A harsh, howling cry and a pounding of fists caused the younger man to burn out of control, beating upon the stone marker until his knuckled were bruised and bloody, begging for relief.

To be a rock and not to roll...

"She's gone an' it's all my fault!" Irvine blubbered into the headstone, wrapping his bloody hands around the marker. His cries for forgiveness went unheard through the dusky evening, and behind him stood a man who had lost what little was left of his life.

And she's buying a stairway to Heaven...


A body is empty without a soul, as the last marker of time falls. Droplets etched from the sky, washing away the blood off your hands in a forgiving nature, a beautiful cleansing of the mind and body throughout the soul. Forgiven, called the diamonds from the Lord's eyes, as they washed away your sins and clothed you in their warm wetness of love.

Yet, what is a soul with out a body?

Lost, upon its stair way to the Heavens above, forever to wander the lands like the wraith it was meant to be.

...I'm not an addict... It's cool... I feel... alive...

Malice Shaw's Fanfiction