Redemption Chapter 6

By Janet Monstwillo

Patrick cocked his head in thought. (Sounds like there are voices downstairs...) He listened carefully. (Mother and someone I don't know...they sound angry. I better check it out.) He slipped his T-shirt back on and grabbed his weapon of choice, a huge sword. Heading towards the door, he paused for a second to glance at Azura. (For her sake, I hope nothing bad is happening down there.)

He had ears like a bat, that missed nothing, and eyes that saw too clearly what happened in the depths of the night. He silently crept down the hallway and to the stairs, not even letting a floorboard creak underneath him. Peering into the shadows, he saw what he had come looking for.

(That man has Mother by the shoulders and he's shaking her!) Readying his sword, he prepared to walk into the living room and ask if everything was all right. Suddenly he noticed a metallic gleam in the air near Raieyana's throat and he heard a few whispered words very distinctly: "...I should just leave him the message...written in your precious blood."

It seemed like Patrick's blood curdled, boiled over, then froze in his veins. The rage within him started a slow glow, but like the embers of a dying fire, soon flew into flames as his own thoughts provoked him more. He remembered the scene from his dream. (I'll burn in hell before I'll let anyone touch my mother in a hurtful way again. If I have to tear that man's arms off, I will do it!)

Anger dulls the senses in ways that a drug cannot. Patrick soon became seemingly deaf and dumb as his fury overtook all rationality. He always said later that the very last thing he remembered about the events that took place that night...was the look on the man's face as he pounced his attack.

Patrick's memory blackout ended several minutes later. Ryald's head was rolling on the floor, and Patrick was covered in blood.

* * * * * * * * * * *

The sound that Azura awoke to, just before the break of dawn, was of a single scream of complete horror.

"He's dead! He's dead!"

She turned over to see if Patrick had heard the cries. Suddenly, she became very scared. Patrick wasn't there.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Reeve was a heavy sleeper. Luckily, he was in mid-roll-over when he heard screaming come to his ears. (That's Raieyana!)

He jumped up as fast as he could, grabbing both a first-aid kit and a weapon on his way towards her. (Gotta be prepared for anything.)

* * * * * * * * * * *

Yuffie and Vincent were at the top of the stairs when they saw Reeve approach, followed by Kati, Sean, and Ishmael.

Vincent saw the first aid kit and said quietly, "I doubt that will help in this case." Seeing Reeve's weapon, he added, "I'm pretty sure the time of danger has passed too."

Reeve slowly walked down to where Raieyana was kneeling.

She was rocking back and forth, her arms wrapped carefully around herself. Sometimes laughing, sometimes crying, the only time she paused was to wipe tears from her face.


She looked at him with empty eyes. "Patrick killed Reno."

Reeve fought the urge to be sick as he saw the head sitting in front of her, when the body was five feet away.

"I followed his eyes here. To see if the light in them went out."

He spoke gently. "Raieyana, Reno has been dead for a long time."

She looked at him as if he had revealed some terrible, startling truth to her. "No!" she moaned, and began to sob uncontrollably.

Cradling in her arms like a child, Reeve looked to the body and saw Patrick standing before it, bloody sword in hand. "What happened?" he asked, trying to give his stepson the benefit of the doubt.

"He touched her."

Noticing the look on Patrick's face, he wondered if he was in danger for holding his wife. "Touched her?"

"Like...the blond man."

Reeve's startled eyes met Vincent's. (Is it possible...that he could know?)

Suddenly, a teary Azura burst between her parents and ran down the stairs. "Where's Pat? Is he okay?" Then she saw.

"Zuri. Go back to bed. Now," ordered Yuffie.

She could not move; she couldn't even let her eyes stray from the bloody sword. "How?" she whispered. Then she raised her voice angrily. "Why did you do this?"

Patrick snapped out of his disorientation. "Zuri?" He suddenly noticed his bloody sword. He dropped it, and the clang echoed loudly throughout the house. "Where's Mother?"

"With me." Reeve's eyes narrowed. (This was all just an act. Pretending to lose control just like Strife.)

"Mother?" Seeing her condition, he stepped towards her.

"Haven't you done enough to her?!"

"I was protecting her."

Looking for understanding, he met contempt. "You did that so very well, too. Can't you do anything but destruction, Patrick? If this is what you call protection, you'd be better off anywhere but here in this house."

"You're telling your own son to leave?"

Reeve could only remain silent.

Patrick looked all around him and found nothing but unsympathetic eyes. Words echoed inside his head.

("He's violent..." said Lia. "I love you and your family, but I can't risk having him in my home."

"You can't see the Valentines because you won't stop killing things..." Reeve shook his head. "Wutaian wildlife is very delicate, if you chop up things and ruin them, they'd never forgive you."

"Honey, can't you just try to control yourself? For my sake?" A tear rolled down Raieyana's cheek. "Those chocobos didn't do a thing to you."

Azura was puzzled. "My parents wouldn't let me train here. And they told me to stay right on the porch..."

On the porch...

So we can watch him...)

"I think you wanted me out of your life even before I was in it," said Patrick to Reeve. "From this day forth, you are no longer my father. Since you never seemed to be quite sympathetic enough to be one to me, anyway."

"Patrick..." he said slowly.

"No! I asked for you to believe me, but I can see in your eyes you blame me. So I'll go get my things, and you won't see me again. Give my love to Mother. She's the only one in this family who bothered to return it."

Everyone's eyes were on Patrick as he hurried up the steps to his bedroom. Once inside, he started trembling. (My talk was big, but I'm still just a scared little boy.) This bothered him enough to return his strength to packing. He added orbs of materia and a few spare items and weapons to his sack, along with all the gil he had picked up monster hunting. (Good thing daddy didn't know about my little after-school job.) He shook the gil-pouch. (Full to the brim.)

* * * * * * * * * * *

Azura was at a loss at what to do. Reeve was silent, holding Raieyana as she cried and babbled. Her parents and siblings were visibly embarrassed to be viewing the family conflict that erupted from the grotesque scene in front of them. Ishmael looked as if his pain was about to cause him to pass out.

In the middle of all this, Azura started walking towards the door.

"Where are you going?" demanded Vincent.

"I--I wanna sit on the swing." She ran outside, sobbing.

Vincent started to go after her, but Yuffie held him back. "She wants to be alone, and she's very upset. We need to be careful of her feelings."

"I want her in my sight until he is gone."

"You think he'll leave? He's so young, and I'm sure he must have had some reason to have..."

"Yuffie." His voice was sharp. "I know you're a mother, and your mothering instinct tells you to be careful with Patrick, as he's a child. But we both know he had violent tendencies, and now it's been proven. Our main concern is to help Raieyana and she'd be better off if he went and dropped off the face of the Planet."

"How could you say that?"

"We know how he came to be here. Perhaps Raieyana loving him so much only delayed the inevitable. He was born to do this."

"You had pity on Sephiroth because of Hojo's treatments. You said he could have been normal if he had the chance."

"What I've seen tonight has made me think I was probably quite wrong. Anything with the mark of Hojo on it is tainted. Patrick was tainted many times over."

Patrick came down the stairs with his pack in hand. At the doorway, he turned and addressed everyone in the room. "You probably all think that this is good riddance," he said, "but you will never know how close you came to losing Mother. No one cares about that more than I. Yet I am blamed for this. If it's because I can't change who I am, I can't be sorry. I was born a certain way, but I have also become what you made of me."

He walked out the door just as the sun rose. Beams of light from the east radiated around his figure as he left them behind with their expectations.


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