Black and White Chapter 6
Adam walked without thinking, a blank expression of disbelief seemingly chizzled onto his colourless face as he tried to comprehend the blatant truth. His mouth hung open and his bottom lip trembled with every breath he took. His eyes were horribly bleak, red and blurry with tears. In this distorted reality called life, he was absent, somewhere far off where no offers of joy or pity could possibly reach him. He had not long ago abandoned such lies.
In his arms, he carried his angel. The skin on her limp body was a chalk white, pale and soft. Her emerald green eyes were open wide, empty as they stared out in horror at nothing in particular. Her fine brown hair was damp and matted to her head, unattended to for what looked like days. She was cold to the touch and her lip was a bit blue. She would have looked to be more colourless than even Adam, if not for the dark red blemishes on her face and a tattered gown that had once been so pretty.
He stood alone in a crowd, simply watching her regretfully, like a child who had foolishly broken his favourite toy. He held her debris selfishly, praying to anyone listening for her to be fixed. She couldn't be gone. She couldn't be beyond repair. They owed him this much. He had given them all that he could, they couldn't steal from him like this.
"Please help her." He begged of the first man to pass him, who only gazed at him impatiently, and walked away muttering under his breath.
"Please help her." He repeated to the next bystander, who imitated the first.
The circle continued for hours, and with each indignation Adam's frustration grew. Why did they ignore him? Couldn't they see his angel needed to be fixed? Didn't they appreciate everything he had done? Weren't they indebted to him? With all he had done, he didn't deserve it. She didn't deserve it. She was innocent, never harmed a soul, and she was gone. Never to laugh, never to feel, never to touch, never to see the colours of life ever again. Only to stare with those defunct eyes at the world that destroyed her.
He fell to his knees, and watched her for hours, not the smallest movement between the two of them. The fire inside her that had lit her up and made her smile had been extinguished. Hard to believe back then that anything could have taken her beauty away from her, but here he stood corrected. She was dead now. Someone up there must have been very happy to see him look so stupid as to think she'd be perfect forever.
He swallowed his tears with a new sensation. It surged through his veins, tingled in his every pore, and put a redness back into his cheeks. It made him stand to his feet, it made him clench his fists, it made his heart pump and it made him strong. It exceeded rage, hate, spite and agony. He let out a furious scream as the nameless emotion clouded his brain, engulfing his once blue eyes in bright yellow fire.
A wrong had been done, and no one was willing to right it. He gave himself the title of judge and envisioned the only true justice. He wouldn't discriminate, he would be fair in distributing the punishment, and there would be no room for wrongs to be made in the future. The world would simply have to bleed.
"Hey Spike, wake up!" He banged his fist loudly on the door. "Come on, I know you're in there." Zack frowned as he waited impatiently for an answer. "Fine." He threw his hands up in the air, exasperated. "Be a hermit. I don't know why I even bother with you, kid. Goodbye."
He was beginning to make his way back down the brightly lit white halls of the Shin-Ra barracks when his comrade opened the door. "What do you want?" He asked unabashedly, tossing back his disobedient blonde hair, annoyed with the friendly man.
"Reno and I were wondering if you'd like to come along on a mission of ours." Zack told him, a proud smile on his face, looking as though he had just offered Cloud a wonderful gift. "It's a pretty easy one: just have to hunt down this escaped specimen and bring it back to the lab. Reno would take care of the tracking, I would chase it down, and you would sit and watch. I admit it'd be pretty boring for your part, but it might do you some good to have your name on a 1st class mission report. What do you say, little buddy?"
An abrupt "No thanks." was the only answer Zack got before having a door closed in his face. He sighed for a moment, shaking his head, and then once more knocked on the door.
"Hello?" Cloud opened the door rather quickly, disappointed when he saw Zack still standing in front of it.
"Why won't you take my help?" Zack asked, his arms folded. He looked very much prepared to wait quite a while.
"I don't need it." Cloud spat, and went to close his door when he found Zack's much more powerful arm preventing it.
"Yes you do." Zack told him honestly. "Face it Cloud, you're not good enough do this on your own. If you don't accept the occasional helping hand, you're going to get eaten alive, and you won't make even the slightest progress. I know you want to be a self-made hero like 'The Great Sephiroth', but you're too weak" The last two words had a sharp taste of venom, and Cloud was forced to turn away from as he looked up at the sincerity of his colleague. "As harsh as that sounds," He looked him straight in the eye for a second "it's true."
Cloud simply stared at him fuming for a moment, pondering whether or not he should punch this brute square across the jaw. "Goodnight, Zack." Cloud told him bitterly, and abruptly slammed the door shut.
Zack stood there for a minute or so, disappointed with the foolish trainee.
"No such luck, huh?" A voice asked him sympathetically.
"I don't know how to help this kid." Zack turned to face the man behind the voice, shaking his head. "He's too proud to realize he's not SOLDIER material."
"Say it straight, dude." Reno smirked, flicking a cigarette carelessly to the ground. "He's too egotistical to see how crappy he is, and everybody thinks he's a jerk because of it. You've gotta be a saint to think you can deal with that kid."
Zack chuckled at the absurd thought, and gave a pat to his good friend on the shoulder. Reno was about the same height as Zack, but not quite as built. He had blazing green eyes and fiery red hair spilling over his forehead and tied into a ponytail on the back. It was a frequent joke around the barracks that he would have made one hot chick. Complete with a cigarette hanging from the bottom lip of his permanently mischievous smile, there had never lived a more appropriate poster-boy for trouble.
"So what's on the agenda tonight?" Zack asked, considerably cheered up.
Reno extracted a small black book from his pocket, licked his index finger and flipped a few pages. "Well let's see here...Mission, Booze, Booze, and then, more Booze. And guess what? It's your turn to buy." Reno laughed rather cruelly as a sarcastic look of horror washed across Zack's face.
"I don't know if I have enough money left in my account for this..." Zack grinned in anticipation of the fun night. "...but that doesn't mean I'm not gonna drink you under the table."
Junon was the most self-contradicting town ever to successfully exist. Nowhere else than this small/big city could two worlds blend so meticulously. The first district was a homely little port, supported by a somewhat exhausted fishing industry. Bogged down in constant rain, it was almost depressing simply being there, but most were easily uplifted by the friendly down-to-earth nature of its people. The only thing even the slightest bit modern in the cozy district was a towering multi-story elevator, that carried its passengers many steps up the social ladder.
Zack stood directly in the middle of the mundane assortment of houses, staring up at the ever-present grey sky, wondering how long it would take a bolt of lightening to strike his sinful body dead to the earth. The heading boom of thunder answered him nearly on cue, and he decided it would be best to start moving.
He watched with mild interest as the villagers worked, oblivious to his presence. Like a ghost he wandered through the small gravel streets, passing unseen and unheard, despite the crunching under his feet. He didn't mind. These were small-town folk of good moral fiber. He preferred to avoid having to have a conversation with them. They would scrutinize him with an untrusting eye, and they would find something black that would stir something horribly unpleasant deep inside them. And for good cause.
Instead he simply stared out at the sea, contemplating his next move with the sharpness of a SOLDIER as he leaned over the edge of a rocky cliff, gripping a railing with both hands. If the silver-haired demon had indeed been telling the truth, his angel shouldn't be too far away. If she was only with Spike, then he could get to her fairly easily once he had tracked the two. Of course he would have to factor in an unforseen obstacle or two, as something was bound to go wrong. Spike may be traveling in a pack, wherever he was going, which would make it a bit harder to single him out for the kill. Also, met face to face, he might use 'Ris as a hostage, which could complicate things.
Then of course there was the x factor: himself. Any number of things could go awry given his present condition. He was cool and collected now, able to think things through, but he may not be psychologically stable when the time came. The voices...the nagging... he was certainly not reliable enough to follow a plan that needed such care. He didn't want to scare her away...
In the distance, he noticed a black speck in the water. Nothing more than a small dot, seemingly insignificant, but still it worried him for some reason. He squinted, looking closer, and slowly the dot became a minuscule shape. He looked closer still, and the shape became a person, or more specifically, a little girl, face-down in the water. A lump gathered in his throat as the realization of the situation promptly smashed into his brain like a brick.
Frantically yet readily, he tossed his legs over the railing, dropping a few dozen feet or so before landing on the distant sand with hardly a thud. He sprinted in for the save, not bothering to guess whether the girl was still alive or not. He dove head first into the water and swam with the speed of a possessed dolphin. After several mad strokes, he grabbed the girl, and immediately began to pull her back to shore, the water splashing into his subdued face. He was frightened for the girl, of course, but this wasn't exactly something he was inexperienced with.
He laid her on her back upon reaching safe ground, and took a quick glance at the child. She was very young and pretty, probably about five years old. Her dark brown hair rest matted upon her head, spilling past her tiny shoulders and about halfway down her back.. Her skin was a pale white and her body was small and a bit skinny. Her face was cute and round, with thin little lips, a slight shade of blue to them. She would have been beautiful when she grew up, but now...
He quickly checked for a pulse, which was absent. He tried futilely to revive her with a couple of well placed thrusts on her chest. Hope fading and reality settling in, he moved in for the girl's last chance: c.p.r. He shut her nostrils between his thumb and fore-finger, and breathed into her, still pushing against her chest with the other hand. Nothing. He tried once more. Still nothing. His pace grew quicker, trying his best to save the girl with hardly any luck.
On his fifth attempt, he felt a reaction. He would have declared the slight change a god-given success, but there was something a little off. It felt like she was sucking on his breath, taking it straight out of him. He felt a searing burning in his throat and a numbness overcoming his body, but the girl would not let him break free from her mouth. When he finally managed to escape, the burning and the numbness disappeared, replaced by a crippling cold.
He fell backwards, unable to stand as he trembled uncontrollably. The girl put her hands to her side and sat up, still pale, still wet, still blue. She opened her eyes, blinking curiously a couple of times at the new world around her. She turned her head, and noticed Zack, writhing painfully on the sand. She stood up to her feet, and walked over to him, looking down at him like he was something fascinating she had found in the forest. He stared up into her shiny innocent green eyes, and she smiled warmly at him.
"I missed you so much!" She yelped, throwing her arms around his hips and sobbing into his shoulder. He sat up, a little bit startled, carefully slipping away from the dangerous little girl. She simply stared at him, her eyes wet and hurt.
"Who are you?" Zack demanded gruffly, back against the stone cliff, unnerved.
She simply continued to stare at him, pity and sorrow too deep to be felt for such a small girl on her face. "We know how awful it must have been," the girl told him, a compassionate smile making its way to her lips. "We know how much it hurt when we had to leave, but it's not your fault."
Zack could only watch the little girl, her warm voice calming him slightly, and making him ache. He didn't recognize her, but it hurt deeply when she spoke to him.
"We want you to know that we love you, and we wish you didn't have to feel so sad." She had to do her best to keep from bursting into tears, as did Zack as he listened. She was such a strong little girl. "Mommy still cries for you every night, she's so sorry for all the terrible pain she's caused you, not being here beside you anymore..." She paused for a long second. "I know how hard you tried to forget, because it was just too unbearable being here without her." Her last words were forcefully choked out from her suppressed sobs. "We still need you, daddy. You don't understand this, but you've got to remember..." The girl stared at him for one last moment, before whispering shakily. "We're so sorry..."
Slowly, she began to fade into nothingness, that insufferable despondent look still on her face. Zack couldn't stand it any longer, he began to weep for the beautiful little girl. "No! Don't go!" He screamed despairingly, pushing himself off his rear and diving for the girl. He wrapped his arms around her tiny little body in a tight embrace, and she apologetically buried her head into his chest. "Please don't leave me again..." He pleaded, but still she turned to air. Finally, she was gone, and he collapsed to the ground, blubbering into his empty arms.
"Hey man, are you okay?" A voice called after him from above. "You kind of just freaked out the whole town, what's the matter?"
Zack forced himself to face the concerned elderly man, wiping at his eyes with the sleeve of his coat. "I'm fine." He told him abruptly, confused at what he had just felt.
The man sort of stared at him skeptically, frowned, shrugged in acceptance, and finally walked away.
Zack stood to his feet without another word, dusting himself off. He took one last longing glance at the spot on the sand where the girl stood, trying to understand what had made him snap, and once more went back on his way, digging through the recesses of his mind for how he knew the beautiful child, and a reason for why he felt so miserable now that she was gone...
Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic