Black and White Chapter 2
Wait and Bleed
Why was it so cold? He couldn't stand it anymore, he had already gone numb and he imagined his skin had lost all color. Were his eyes even open? It was too dark around him to tell. Was he still bleeding? Probably, but of course there was no way for him to know for sure. He couldn't feel a thing anymore, except for that diabolical chill surging through his veins.
He made a conscious effort to stop asking questions that he couldn't answer. Experience had taught him that it would only drive him mad. Needless to say, he had become VERY familiar with isolation in the past years, and he had danced along the edges of sanity many times before. Losing all hope was not something new to him.
He had never asked God for help before. Frankly, he never really wanted it. He had always done everything on his own, and that was the way he liked it. All that he had he had earned, and all the problems that had come his way he had solved on his own. He had never wished for charity, and more often then not, he didn't get any.
An anemic white light shone in the hollow blackness, and the deep cold inside him began to melt away. He saw his angel, the only thing he had ever thanked God for. She looked as she always had: enchanting. He could only stare as she stepped closer. He felt his heart skip a beat at the thought of once more feeling her gentle touch once again caressing his cheek.
She was still so undeniably beautiful... the way her hair spilt down her face and past her shoulders... the way her emerald eyes looked straight into his soul...the way her body curved... the way she walked... the way she talked... the way she smiled... He could go on forever if he wanted to, constantly finding something new that he adored about her. She was just too magnificent to describe.
A second silhouette arrived, repressing the light with an unholy sort of redness. A moment passed, and he could see his devil. What was this demon doing here with his angel? He was a monster hiding behind an artificial mask of innocence. Why wasn't his angel doing anything about it? Why was he here? Why wasn't she making him leave?
He wanted to scream a million curses at the beast, but it would never hear him. He had not the strength to fight, so instead, he was left only to watch as the angel and the devil stood side by side, gawking at each other. Why wasn't she doing anything? Wasn't it obvious that the golden haired abomination was an envious murderer? Why was it that none could see past the disguise? Shouldn't she hate him?
His body shook with the ferocity of his own vehemence for the monster. Why was she looking at him with those eyes? He had thought those had been reserved for him. Why had she just kissed the demon? Why was she touching him like that? How was it that this devil was being given all that was not his? He did not deserve the tenderness being extended to him. Why was she offering divinity to someone who had earned nothing other than an eternity in hell?
It wasn't fair... why was this happening? It was he who deserved this affection, not the monster. Couldn't she see that her love was sitting right here, waiting for her? Didn't she understand all that he had gone through just to see her? Why didn't she care about he who had worked so hard for her? Why would she choose the cowardly demon instead of the valiant knight?
He yearned so badly to tear the pretty face from off that monster, exposing its evils to all the world. But he couldn't. He wasn't strong enough. Not today. But by all means, he would be soon enough, and when that day came, then the beast would pay for its deeds with its own head. He looked forward very much to the moment when his vengeance had been served and his angel, cured of her blindness, was back in his arms. Until then, he would just have to wait, and allow the promise of his wonderful future to keep him going. His hope would maintain what was left of his sanity.
"Oh my god..." Aeris gasped in slight terror, her voice but a hush as she stared with wide eyes and a dropped jaw at the trembling mutilated man that sat in front of her. "...Bill...what happened to him?"
"I found him in the streets..." Bill told her, wearily dragging a hand through his hair as he went over the story for what felt like the thousandth time in his head. "I can only guess how long he was out there. He was bleeding like crazy and he couldn't even stand up. It's amazing he wasn't dead..."
"But..." Aeris sputtered worriedly, frightened by the thought of such a vicious attempt at murder in her town. "This sort of thing doesn't happen out here...this is Wall Market sort of stuff, and even then, they usually take their business to the outskirts..." She quivered just a little. "How could this have happened?"
"I don't know..." Bill only shrugged, bowing his head and stealing a glance at the blonde that stood behind her.
"When did you find him?" Cloud shimmed in for the first time, leaning backwards against the rickety frame of the modest home with a bored sort of look on his face.
"A couple days ago." Bill said with an interrogating sort of look in his eye. "Why?"
"The wounds are at least a couple weeks old." He stated as though it were an obvious fact, pushing himself off the wall and pacing the room for a moment or so. "He must of wandered in from out of town."
"But why would he come here?" Aeris asked, leaning over to look closer at the victim. The first thing she noticed was his black-as-night hair. Drenched with blood, it stuck matted to his head, the occasional strand of stained red hair poking out to make for an over-all eerie sort of style. His skin was pale (probably from the blood loss) and his figure was lean and perfectly sculpted, but unfortunately blemished by the many wounds and scars he carried. If not for them, he would have seemed quite handsome. His face was too beaten and bruised to be recognizable, but his lips and forehead showed hints of what had once been beauty. The most striking thing about him were probably his eyes, though. They seemed to radiate this strange sort of golden presence that was straightaway charming. An unusual yellow as the base of the color, they seemed melancholy; to be yearning for something thought to be unattainable. She felt as though she knew this man, and she craved very much to look deeper into his eyes, but something inside her beckoned her to get away, to leave this man alone with his pain and to forget he existed.
"He's completely traumatized." Cloud explained calmly, as though he were speaking to a group of children. "He probably doesn't understand what's going on. There must be something in this town that he genuinely wants, or else there's no way he could have made it here in his condition."
"How do you know all this?" Bill wondered aloud, raising an inquiring eyebrow at the stranger. Cloud only tapped the small buckle on his belt that the showed the mark of a 1st class SOLDIER, as if to say 'Duh'.
"Well what about..." Aeris began but was immediately cut off by the sound of her own screaming as she felt something wrap around her ankle. The three of them turned to find that the dark haired man had fallen to the floor, and was desperately clenching her leg in his hand, a pleading and admonishing look on his face. With one swift movement, Cloud extracted the massive blade that hung over his shoulder and hit the man harshly with the blunt-side, effectively knocking him out.
"What was that?!" She yelped as she backed away into Cloud's arms, shaking with fear and barely able to support her own weight.
"I don't know!" Bill rebutted with nearly as much shock as Aeris in his voice, trying to lift the man back onto his feet with little success.
"There's nothing we can do here." Cloud's nonchalant demeanor pierced the mayhem, instantly easing everyone's nerves just a bit. "Aeris, we need to get going."
She inhaled a few deep breaths, never removing her gaze from the black haired man as Bill put him back atop his bed. Finally, she nodded her head in agreement and the two abruptly made their exit. But as they left, Bill couldn't help but notice how intently the dark man watched them. There was more to this than it seemed...
Bill trotted briskly through the streets of Sector 7, three brown bags in his arms, a heavy grey trench-coat over his shoulders and a hood pulled over his head. Down in the slums, the weak were forced to learn to be inconspicuous. The last thing one wanted to do was stand out in the eyes of thieves.
He let a frustrated sigh escape him as he forced his keys into the small lock of his front door. Realistically, such security was pretty much useless. He had nothing worth stealing, and everybody knew it. Even if someone wanted to break-in for whatever reason, the door would be easy enough to knock down. The precaution was more of a force of habit than anything else.
His mind wandered back to the previous night, when Aeris and her new squeeze had visited him. He had to admit, he was somewhat jealous of the mundane/stoic Cloud. He had always had a bit of an innocent crush on the young and charming Aeris, along with a couple fantasies about her he had never had the guts to fulfill. How the blonde had managed to get a girl like her at his side was beyond Bill. She must of had a thing for a man in uniform...
As a matter of fact, he had a vague memory of her first boyfriend, one who she had truly seemed fond of. If he recalled correctly, the guy had been a 1st class SOLDIER, much like this Cloud character. Strong, kind, handsome, but above all charismatic, he had really been the total package, almost to a fault. What had been his name... Zeek, no...Jack maybe? Anyway, Aeris had been head over heels in love with this guy, and it was believed that he returned the sentiment. Imagine everyone's surprise when he left town, never to be seen again.
Aeris had been wrecked, and rightfully so. He had told her that he'd be gone on a mission for a couple weeks and never came back. Most gossiped that he had run away with some hussy, a typical assumption considering the fact that he was man. No one had even regarded what should have been the more probable presumption, that of course being that the man had been killed during his mission. After all, who or what in this world could kill a 1st class SOLDIER? Those kinds of things were few and far between.
Aeris had balled her eyes out when she had finally accepted 'the truth'. She and everybody else promptly despised the guy. But it wasn't entirely fair to denounce this guy without any kind of facts or trial, was it? Bill supposed it was just a lot easier to hate someone than to mourn for them...
Unjustly or not, the guy had come out of the whole ordeal looking like a sleazy jerk. Close to five years latter, and he had yet to show his face. Probably for the better. If he were to come back here, odds are the town wouldn't be too hospitable. No one would really stand in his way, though. He was a 1st class SOLDIER, for God's sake! The residents were angry, not stupid.
"Is your name Bill?" A voice asked form the darkness of an alley.
He gestured yes without giving it much thought, and took a step towards the mysterious specter, only to feel something hard and heavy hit him on the back of the head, sending him sprawling to the ground. Through the disoriented haze that was now his vision, he looked up at his attackers, and was slightly confused to find himself staring down the long metallic barrel of a gun.
"Courtesy of Evan..." The voice muttered plainly before pulling the trigger.
The sound of gunfire and the heavy thump of a dead body falling to the ground echoed throughout the entire town. A thick puddle of blood pooled itself upon the pavement from the large cavity that now occupied most of the space on Bill's face. The town went on as usual...
Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic