Redemption Chapter 24
By Janet Monstwillo
The dull glow of the monitor lit up the room in restrained flashes. "I told you we'd be ready for them, sir."
"Yes, beautiful." Dirk peered at the images transmitted by the Alcor security cameras.
"You were so smart, devising this takeover plan and convincing all those men to help us out."
"Child's play." Suddenly, he leaned forward. "Who the hell is that?!" he yelled, pointing towards the screen.
"Hold on." The man froze the image and zoomed in. "Does that help, sir?"
The color drained from Dirk's face. (Can that be... ...how did he get here?) "I must go up there, now!"
"The elevator will take hours to drain..."
"Well get me a sub, anything! I am the only one who knows how to quell the power of that young man!"
"I can arrange a team for you to give a directive to--"
"That will not work. I cannot say why, but it must be me." (I never expected the chance...for Pa'at Rich to be so close to me, not knowing his power, his identity, or the truths of the Planet itself...
I can make my foe a tool, a puppet. A weapon stronger than any forged--for it was one forged to defeat me.)
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Cloud glanced around the lobby, forcing his mind to make a valid assessment of the chaos. All in all, Reeve's group was doing badly, and he wasn't sure if making the number go up to ten versus about sixty would do much good.
Azura broke from Patrick's side, rushing to her sister's aid, even shoving Ishmael out of her way. "Go fight," she urged him, even as she charged power for a spell.
Regen fell over Kati's form in a green Mako rain, softly and carefully allowing the fracture to knit. Although it wasn't instant, it was the surest way for her ankle to heal.
"Does that help?"
Kati nodded, her eyes widening as she realized her healer was Azura. "How...?" she murmured.
"Zuri!" Patrick ran over to them. "I told you to stay with me."
She pointed to Kati and raised an eyebrow. "I'm here to help, not to hide. The others need your help fighting more than I do."
He touched her hand. "The second I step away, I want to concentrate on a Shell spell around you and Kati. Use this." He handed her a green Master Magic materia.
"You'll make better use of it than I." With one last caring gaze, Patrick turned and threw himself into the fray.
"I saw him look at his mother the same way, on the night she went crazy," said Kati.
"He viciously protects anything he loves." Azura steadily concentrated on the barrier, creating a domed force field around them.
Ishmael ran to attack a guard head on. Leaning back, he prepared to give his axe a strong swing. Suddenly, his opponent pitched forward, lacking a head. In his place stood a green-eyed blonde. "Rissy?"
"Duck!" she screamed, swiping the space his head had just occupied with her sabre.
After hearing another head thud to his right, Ishmael stood up. "You made it in time for the fun."
"Brought some help, too," she said softly.
Looking just beyond Aeris, he saw Azura steadily holding a shell around herself and a healing Kati. To his right, little brother Patrick was using his 4x cut materia to maul a group of the guards. To his left, a strange blond-haired man was rushing to the aid of his father.
(I suppose it was stupid to taunt a person whose friends outnumber you.) Reeve was pinned firmly to the floor, a dagger held to his neck.
"I promise you...this will definitely not be fast." The guard chuckled cruelly, slowly slicing into Reeve's left arm.
Then his head was gone.
"Today's death of choice: decapitation," joked Reeve. "Thank--" His voice died as he saw the man who had saved him.
"I owed you one," said Cloud. He suddenly pointed his sword behind him. The guard running in for the ambush ended up impaling himself before Reeve could give out a warning.
"Nice," he managed.
"I think we got most of them. Adding four more to the mix as you ran in probably turned the tide."
As if on cue, Cid, Barret, and Sean finished off the remaining forces, and the group gathered. The lobby seemed eerily quiet, but maybe that aspect of the atmosphere came from the bodies littering the floor.
"Oh God, how gross!" exclaimed Sean, after stepping in a pool of blood.
"Four extra people, Cloud? I count nine of us," Reeve said.
Cloud looked around. "Hmm..."
With Kati leaning on her shoulder, Azura walked up to them. "Where's Pat?" she asked.
Nine pairs of eyes peered around the room and its bodies. Whether living or dead, Patrick was gone.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"We're very close to the rear sub dock, Mr. Earlham," announced the captain.
"Good," said Dirk, "then I shall use the cargo elevator. I have an idea where dear Pat may be."
"Hush...hush..." (I can begin to speak to him now...this will be easier than I thought...)
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Patrick dashed through the corridors of one of the upper floors. He wished he had paid more attention to Reeve's descriptions of the Alcor building. (Where the hell are these cells? This was supposed to be quick...the others downstairs might be in trouble without me...
Oh, you know why you're here. You left the others because you don't belong with them.
Just great. Little psycho voice...not now.
I'm not just a voice. I'm someone very real, here to tell you the truth. What the others have grown afraid to admit to themselves, but know in their hearts...
Some would never lie to me. I have people who love me. Zuri...
Zuri is scared to death of you...even now...)
Patrick fell to his knees, consumed by a vision.
Azura was sitting in his living room, back in Undor-Hai, with her parents. "...Patrick would hurt me..."
Imagine what she would think...how quickly she would turn her back and run from you...if she knew the truth...)
Raieyana turning to Reeve, hand resting on her flat abdomen. "...that was the purpose of the rape..."
Raieyana sitting on a dirty cot next to a man with a striking resemblance to the night-time intruder. She was beginning to show... "I'm so scared, Reno. The baby's growing too fast...it's too strong..."
Inside a cave, a near term Raieyana, slowly writing words in a notebook. The lines and strokes blurred together, but two words were clearly visible.
"No..." Patrick moaned, shouting out loud. "It's all lies!"
He heard a reply. "No, it isn't."
Spinning around to face the source of the sound, he drew his sword. "You're going to die."
"Calm down," it continued pleasantly. Dirk Earlham stepped from the shadow of an open doorway. "I come to you, alone, and armed only with this." He held up a computer disk.
Patrick looked at it warily. "Wha--"
"Don't worry, it's not going to explode or anything. Let me take a few steps closer, so you can see the label. Whose writing could that be?"
Bewildered, he took a step back. "It...It's Mother's."
"Ah, yes. Raieyana...she's a clever one. On this disk, she figured out how and why you exist. She never wanted you to..."
"Give it to me."
"You can have it, but I ask you to discard your weapon, and come with me to embrace who you truly are. Afterwards, if you wish, you can go straight back home."
"Yeah right." Patrick prepared to attack.
"Wait. Move one more inch with that sharp thing, and I'll send enough men to make sure the pieces of your friends in the lobby are never found."
He dropped the sword and walked to Dirk. Patrick gazed into his eyes and felt the abyss of a black hole.
"It is good you still think yourself a man. My tactics would have failed otherwise."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
The others watched Azura in amazement, a yellow glow surrounding her. "I got him. He went up to rescue the prisoners...but he's in trouble!" She ran off towards the elevator.
No one else snapped out of the trance quite so easily. Cloud stood and slowly walked, followed by Reeve. Ishmael stood, but Azura stopped him. "You need to stay with them until they wake up."
The elevator doors closed, and the engine hummed as the three zoomed towards the 55th floor. "Patrick and some puny guy is what I saw...why do you say he's in trouble, Zuri?" asked Cloud.
"Because I could feel what he felt."
A chime sounded, and the doors popped open. They ran down the corridor.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
(Lean over and grab his arm...tightly.) Dirk did as he was told.
"Hey...what the--" All of a sudden, Patrick's mind exploded with visions. All ugly, all dark... (...all me.
That's because it is you.
You don't sound the same...
That's because I'm something different. I'm not someone to guide you.) Patrick put a hand to his head and groaned. (I am you.)
Suddenly, Cloud, Reeve, and Azura burst into the area. "Pat," said Azura cautiously.
Patrick's eyes looked cold; his voice was indifferent. "What are you banging around and looking so worried over?"
"I--I saw you. Pat?" She looked confused.
"This young man has made a very important decision today." Dirk smiled. "He's coming with me. In return, I'm letting you guys have a little more time to live before I have you killed."
"We'll see about that." Cloud pointed his Ultima Weapon at the man.
Patrick glared. "I'd think twice about that, if I were you. Daddy," he sneered.
"Pat, you don't need to do this!" Azura ran up to him, grabbing his hand.
He wrenched it away, slapping her so hard she fell to her knees. (Zuri...
...expected this from you, from me. Do what you were born to do.) Patrick turned away. "Don't tell me what I need to do if you can't trust me to handle myself. He nodded to Dirk.
Azura watched through her tears as Dirk cast a powerful Exit spell, encircling the two men with heavy mist. When the air cleared, the men were gone.
Patrick was gone.
Azura wept as Patrick's two fathers stood in shocked silence.
Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic