Black and White Chapter 5
A Killer's Instinct
"Aww, man you should have seen the look on the guy's face!" An excited, red mo-hawked young man bounced up and down, his hands clenched proudly. "He was all like 'Please don't kill me man' and shit and I was just like 'courtesy of Evan' and stuff and I blew his fucking brains out! It was wicked!"
"Take it easy, junior. He's not lying, is he?" A man with probably close to a couple dozen piercings on his face asked off to the side.
The overzealous boy's stoic companion simply nodded his head in conformation.
"Well I guess that's that." The indifferent black haired man shrugged. "You've passed initiation. Welcome to 'Bloody Dagger', Don Corneo's infamous gang. Enjoy the benefits." The man waved around him at the spacious, gold painted mansion of sinful pleasures that surrounded him.
A distant ring of a bell cut the pair's celebration down to a brief cheer. "Would you get that?" The senior official asked his two latest inductees. "We do have work to do here, after all."
Broad smiles on their faces, the two latest members of 'Bloody Dagger' walked to the only customer services desk offered by the 'legitimate business', which all knew was nothing more than a high-class whore-house. At the opposite end, they found a man dressed for the most part in black, with a brown cloak pulled over his shoulders. He was looking off in the opposite direction, hands resting disapprovingly on his hips, an air of disinterest for the fleshy fun the mansion offered.
"What'll it be?" The more vocal of the two asked gleefully.
The long, black-haired man turned to face them, hood pulled over his head and casting shadows on his face. "You wouldn't happen to know a guy by the name of Bill, would you?" He asked, golden eyes clearly gleaming, despite the negation of any light daring to shine on them.
He wandered the hazardous slums of Sector Seven all on his own, bored out of his mind as he searched desperately for an adequate distraction from his exhausting personal life. SOLDIER encouraged an active life-style outside of the program in an attempt to maintain their public image as functional members of society. Basically, this meant they were forced to attend ritzy soirés and snobbish cocktail parties. He had just snuck out not more than half an hour ago from a sleep educing play by the name of 'Loveless'. Sarcastically, he cursed the farm boy in his blood.
He stopped in the middle of the street, and sighed heavily with his shoulders. Sick of his idleness, he momentarily considered stirring up some trouble, but alas he knew all too well that it was against regulations. The last thing he wanted was that damn Commander Taggart breathing down his neck. The guy was an utter jackass that was seemingly bred to humiliate new recruits with his harsh cruelty and bountiful smugness. Unfortunately, the man known not-so-affectionately as 'The Innovator of Violence' had demonstrated time and time again that it was for good reason that his pride remained unscathed.
He absently let himself lean back against an anonymous object, begging for some action to whatever other-worldly being was listening. He turned his head to get a look at his resting spot, finding a freakish slide, sculpted in the image of a white-furred bear known as the moogle, a popular children's t.v. character. This particular slide seemed to be modeled after an oafish, prehistoric saber-toothed cave variation. Little Kids had the strangest ideas of what was cute...
He heard a woman's scream echo from an alley. He looked up at the mechanical imitation of sky above, surprised with the hastiness of the answer to his prayers. With an acceptant shrug, he kicked himself off the beastly piece of children's play equipment, and dashed in almost giddily to make the save. He smiled to himself. Spontaneity was always so much fun.
He made his way to an opening within the endless piles of scrap metal this particular sector happened to have. Gazing in at the scuffle from where he could not be seen, he observed two middle-aged men accosting a girl who was probably only sixteen years old.
She was the picture-perfect victim. Her eyes were green, much like the leaves of a well nourished tree. If her eyes were the leaves, her hair would have been the trunk, chestnut coloured and wound into a tight braid. Definitely a pretty girl, she was rather thin with a somewhat pale complexion, which was probably thanks to the lack of sunlight in the slums. Dressed in pink and red from head to toe, she looked close to a girl concocted in some sort of children's story. He grinned mischievously. He had no objection to being the valiant knight.
"Now that's just not polite, is it?" His mocking voice was more than enough to grab anyone's attention. As the two men turned to face him, he stepped out of his hiding place, a sly sort of cockiness in every move he made, for he absolutely reveled in the way he toyed with them. "Bullying a poor girl like this. That's simply not very nice." He paused for a moment, a fake remorse weighing down his face as he tilted backwards on his heels, withdrawing his hands from his pockets. "It appears as though I'm going to have to kick your asses. Sorry guys." He gave them each a comforting pat on the shoulder.
"Excuse me?" One of the two men menacingly stepped within one inch of his face. The black haired joker hadn't realized how big these two thugs were until the tip of the man's long grey beard tickled his forehead. Not that size mattered. He had always considered skill the more important factor...in a fight.
"Well unless I've completely misread the scenario," He explained to his soon-to-be paperwork. "It looks like you two are assaulting this stunning young lady. I suppose there's the off chance that she instigated all this and that she's actually just kinky as hell," The girl raised an offended/confused eyebrow at her unorthodox savior. " but you two don't really seem like the role playing type. I, however, very much am." He looked from side to side, and waved them in closer as though he were going to tell them a secret. "You know what my favorite type of character is?"
He swiftly thrust his foot into the closer of the two's gut, and using the man's protruding belly as a lift, launched himself upwards and kicked the other across the head, only to adjust himself once more in mid-air to mercilessly crush a boot into the face of the earlier man, all before landing perfectly on his feet. He calmly dusted himself off as his opponents fell to the ground like two massive bags of bricks, unconscious. "I like being the hero." He said to his comatose clowns.
"Well that was a lot of fun." He chuckled casually, taking one big step over one of their fat bellies as he walked towards the pretty young lady which he imagined owed him much gratitude, a humourous smirk on his lips. "Any idea why these guys were bugging you, angel?" He asked politely <Other than the obvious...>he added to himself as he looked her up and down.
"They're always bugging me..." She told him, gathering a capsized basket of flowers at her feet into her arms.
<Flowers?!> He thought, suppressing a laugh. <You have got to be kidding me. How much cuter could she possibly get? Classic fairy tale princess...>
"I was just going to the wall market to get my mom some medicine, because she's been sick lately..." The girl continued, aggravated with the events that lead up until this moment.
<Okay, now this is getting ridiculous...>
"...and these jerks just started harassing me!"Anger filled her voice, and he assumed it was a good time to feign mutual horror. "I didn't even do anything! Can you believe it?!"
"Yes." He abruptly answered her rhetorical question, cutting her off. "I mean look at you." He smiled, and gave a complimenting gesture with his hands "The way you're dressed, you look pretty easy..."
He hadn't realized the misinterpretation of his words until he saw the outrage on her face and felt the sting of her hand slapping his cheek.
"That's not what I meant..." He apologized, relocating his jaw with one hand back to its original and natural position. "What I was trying to say is you look like an easy target. All that pink is a little much." He again waved at her figure, and she looked herself over, seeing nothing wrong. "Honestly, you look like you were scientifically engineered to be a damsel in distress."
Again, he saw the fury in her eyes, and again, she slapped him.
"Okay," he began anew, rubbing his now sore lip. "I'm obviously not very good at this, so I'm going to move away from this subject entirely. I'll leave it at you look pretty, alright?" Reluctantly, she nodded her head. "Let's just start over. My name's Zack, and if I say anything rude, give me a hint before you decide to slap the taste out of my mouth." He smiled genuinely and extended a hand to her. She looked at it for a second, but she didn't shake it. "Fine then." He retracted it and placed it into his pocket. "Can I ask your name without having to seek medical attention?"
She eyed him curiously for a moment, frowning just a little as she decided he meant well "I'm Aeris." She told him, wearily folding her arms.
"Well Aeris," He said as he took a step back. "A youthful maiden like yourself shouldn't wander the streets all by herself. I would offer to escort you to the Wall Market, but frankly, you scare me." He saw her finally crack a smile. Success!!! "I will help you, though, as long as you promise to stop hitting me."
"No thanks," she rejected him sweetly, and stepped up close to him. He noticed she smelt wonderful. Like some intoxicating rose. He would have blushed, had his cheek not already been red "I'm very much capable of making it there on my own. I appreciate the sentiment, but I don't think I'd be able to stop myself from beating you up some more."
Was she joking with him? Hooray for progress. "Well, then I won't bother you. Good night, and try to stay out of trouble. " Graciously, he bowed and moved aside. She smiled at him again, and went back along her way. His eyes followed her until she was gone, a good humored grin on his lips. After what seemed like an hour, frozen in place, he finally made his way home.
He sat atop an old milestone of his life, staring indifferently at the crushed sector where he had once lived. From the wreckage still rose fresh smoke, tainted with the fowl scent of rotting flesh. Trapped deep under the debris, he could sense the occasional glimmer of life. He knew that there must have been at least a dozen survivors, deeply entombed under hundreds of thousands of pounds of steel and iron, grasping desperately onto the vague hope that someone was coming to save them. But there was no one to answer their pleas. Only Zack, who simply inhaled and exhaled as he silently pitied those not lucky enough to simply have died quickly and painlessly.
"Good to know you haven't lost your killer's instinct." A familiar and appalling voice rang gently in his ear "I had gotten a bit worried there for a second."
"Go away." He warned his former comrade, burying his shameful head in his knees.
"They didn't even stand a chance." The man laughed light-heartedly, his hands in his pockets as he paced around his pet project. "You killed them like they were nothing but sheep. But I suppose revenge is a dish served best cold, isn't it?"
"It wasn't revenge." He told the incessantly probing voice, whose embodiment he refused to see. "I was only returning a favor; avenging a death."
"Revenge, avenge," The devilish man chuckled, perching himself right at Zack's ear. "It all stems from 'vengeance', does it not? One just sounds nobler than the other, is all." He finished the sentence in an accusing whisper.
"What is it you want from me?" He asked calmly from the safety of between his own thighs, rocking back and forth just a bit.
"Adam, Adam, Adam." He patiently grabbed Zack's chin, and made him to look into those perverted green eyes of his. "I want only to make you happy..."
"Bullshit." He sneered at the blatant lie, and nearly brought himself to spit in the man's face.
"I kid you not." The man hoped from his position back down the unfertile ground. "I'm sick of seeing you brood like this. Isn't it time you returned to your thrown?"
"I never had a thrown." He hissed, bitter venom in each word. "I had a life, but never a thrown..."
"Apparently," The man made a big exaggerated sigh "you've forgotten more than I imagined. Do you even remember who you are, Adam?"
"I remember that that's not my name..." He shuddered just a bit atop his seat, his voice timid but strong. "I'm Zack. Always have been, always will be."
"Well you're definitely not Zack anymore." He materialized in front of his friend's face, playfully tilting his head at him. "he's been dead since that morning he was left bleeding in the fields. Hell, look at yourself." He gestured at his shaky body. "Even you know that you're not who you used to be. Face it, child, you're Adam, as much as you may not want to be."
"That's not my name!!!" He forcefully grabbed the emerald eyed demon by the collar, and drove both his feet into the man's abdomen with all his strength, rocketing his target backwards onto the faraway soil. He immediately leapt from his pedestal, landing atop the monster, who was only laughing. "I'm Zack, dammit!" His rage filled eyes fiery, he once more grabbed the man's black leather collar and drove him back into the ground with intention to kill.
"You remember so little..." His ungodly laugh only grew louder and louder.
"Shut the fuck up!!!" Zack drew back his fist to destroy that horrible smile, but as it hurtled to the ground, all that he found was empty space.
"One day," A voice called tauntingly from behind him. He turned to find the entity of his hatred, standing atop a large, white moogle slide with his arms folded and his long silver hair dangling past his hips. "when you are smart enough to listen to me, you will see what you are. Until then," He was no longer smiling, but instead his face was etched in stony seriousness. "Make your way to Junon. You'll find everything you claim you're looking for there, except for answers."
"Aeris?" His voice trembled as he sat on his knees, yet to arise from his previous bloodlust.
"Yes, yes." He impatiently waved the notion of love away. "And the blonde one too. But be warned," The man raised a heading finger "In the life of a freak, you can never know what to expect."
Zack stood to his feet, a profanity on the tip of his lips when a flash of cold dark light erupted atop the slide, only leaving black feathers slowly descending towards the ground in the absence of the black and silver clad man.
He simply watched the bizarre shards of the beast for a moment, pondering the monster's riddle. Finally, he frowned to himself, and took one last look at the industrial side effect known as the slums of Sector Seven. They had been so kind to him once, but now the ocean of shrapnel and mangled, useless machinery struck him as uninviting. Wordlessly, he headed south, thankful yet apprehensive that he finally had a path to follow.
Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic