The Fallen Chapter 2

By Tiger

The slums of Midgar hadn’t changed much, really. The destruction of the twisted city hadn’t cleansed the place, hadn’t washed out all the evil and corruption that ran like a set of veins through the buildings and the ground and the officials, hasn’t filled the gaps with righteousness as some of the scarce survivors had predicted following the near holocaust that had befallen them, or as the raving lunatic priests has shouted in the back alleys all along. Until they had gotten mugged, raped, or killed anyway. The back alleys aren’t a wise place to scream things.

If anything, Midgar was a darker, colder, wetter place, with people even poorer thanks to the annihilation of the few possessions they’d had. Now people lived in twisted wreckage and debris instead of abandoned stores. The wetness has never been a problem before, with a massive looming plate up above to act as a shield, but now they’d been under assailant from a near omnipresent drizzle for the last two weeks. A dirty, grimy rain that nourished nothing and left filthy grease streaks all over and drenched those poor people who’s current residents were the stone cold streets.

There were two such people lying unconscious in one of those ill fated back alley ways. Neither could have been a month older than 18, and both of them were beginning to stir in the ceaseless downpour, the acidic rain slowly stinging them awake. One of the two was tall, leanly built, but covered in thick, ropy muscles that were pulled tight around his frame. His hair was a blonde so bright it could only be natural with the help of mako, and his eyes only mirrored this with their neon greenish yellow sheen and eerie radiance. His look was topped off with a set of black tattooed stripes that ran up and down his arms, marked in an odd ink that seemed to glow against the glare of the sun. The other was a girl, short, and shockingly thin... years of undernourishment would leave her in that state for the rest of her life. Her hair was a red so dark it was nearly the shade of blood, and it fell around her shoulders as she struggled to sit up.

The boy beat her to it but kept his eyes closed tight, groaning and rubbing his head despite the fact that this was one of the first times in his life he’d woken up without a raging head ache pounding away inside his skull. He wearily lifted his eyelids up a slit, glancing slowly around the alley. "Sweet Jesus..." he breathed, "how blazed did I get last night?"

He peered over his shoulder as he struggled to gain his footing, and registered the young girl he could only assume was spooning him moments before. "Oh shit. Shit. Shit," he repeated, eyes widening, "that is rarely a good sign." Who the hell was this? Did he owe her money? Did he have any with him? Did she owe him money?

He rolled the rest of the way to his feet and backed hastily away as her eyes began to flicker and flutter open. The fact that both of them were totally, utterly naked, with no clothing anywhere in sight, did very little to soothe his charred nerves, but certainly woke up other parts of his teenage body.

She lifted herself with a delicate hand, blinking into the sun light as she came out of her past sleep daze. She stared for a moment as the tall figure stared down at her, waiting for her vision to clear up. "Reno?" she asked.

Even before he had a chance to answer, her vision blurred into focus, and she saw that not only was he not Reno- or anyone she’d ever seen before in her life for that matter- but was completely nude. And, after looking down, she found herself in the exact same situation. She would have turned scarlet if she was the blushing type, but she squeaked again- for she was the squeaking type- and sprinted behind a large green dumpster that was pressed against the wall for protection against the roaming eyes and probably hands of the pervert she was currently sharing an alley with. The boy blinked, surprised, and then tried to glance around the dumpster to see where the hell she’d gotten to. "Uh," he asked, "who’s Reno?"

A pair of glaring eyes peered at him from out of the darkness and over the top of the dumpster, before disappearing in a flash. He wasn’t sure if she’d blinked or ducked. "No one, never mind." came her reply from her hiding spot. "Go away."

He paused for a moment, stunned. Go away? Was this her alley? And who the hell was Reno? Maybe that’s what he’d ended up calling himself last night, he had bad memories of waking up after some 1 am bar hopping with a name tag that read ‘Jackie’ from earlier that year. But hey, the girl seemed embarrassed, so the scales were tipping towards the no sex factor. Unless she couldn’t remember either. Then they had a problem. He lifted himself up on his tiptoes and called over the dumpster in the general direction she’d disappeared. "Uh... what’s your name, kid?"

There was no response. Worried that she may have passed out again- or gotten grabbed, this was a Midgar alley- he began circling around her hiding spot. "Hello?" he called out.

She emerged from the massive trash can, popping out of the shadows somewhere to his left fitted loosely in a dirty mini-skirt and an oversized black leather jacket. He raised a single eyebrow, wondering if he’d missed a check or a balance somewhere. "So..." he began, "where’d you get the clothes, kid?"

She jerked her thumb over her shoulder, looking him up and down with an appraising eye, seemingly over her embarrassment now that she had some clothes on. "Behind there. There’s a set that will probably fit you too unless your taller then you look. What the hell is this anyway, some kind of a hazing joke? You have some really sick friends. Oh, and my brother’s going to kill them. Probably you too."

Friends? He didn’t have any. There was always Vincent, his teacher, but he would never- probably could never think of anything remotely like this. He had no sense of humor, and if he did have one, it’d be more of the electrocute a Jewish person with Christmas lights kind. There was the other trainees, but mainly, with the competition being so high for when spots opened in the Turks, the only usual interaction between them was the casual murder attempt. "I doubt that. I doubt all of that. Guess again."

She sighed. She did not want to get into some kind of macho comparison between this guy and her brother. She was above that. And she’d win it, obviously. "Would you mind putting on some clothes, or at least some pants if we’re going to talk."

He let out a short laugh, his voice with a few hints of being high pitched. "Sorry if I’m distracting," he grinned, "I guess its kind of like a lava lamp, huh?" He strutted back behind the dumpster, leaving the girl to roll her eyes even as she swiveled them to bemusedly follow his progress.

"Well I don’t know," she thought out loud, "maybe it wasn’t some of your friends. Maybe someone drugged us. I had some weird dream about being in a hospital... and that’s it! Damnit, those idiot Vipers did this. Haha, real funny."

There was a pause as the boy wished she’d shut up and let him dress in the clothes he’d found, even as he wondered who the hell the Vipers were. He called back to her as he stepped into a pair of boxers and pulled them up. "Maybe. And as I asked earlier, a dozen or so times, what’s your name, kid?"

He was answered only with a swift kick to the side of the dumpster and Rory was rewarded with the sound of his jumping and slamming his head on the bottom rung of an overhanging ladder, followed by a blue streak of cursing. "Quit calling me kid, asshole." She said in a conversational tone, "My name is Aurora. Who the hell are you?"

He kicked the dumpster back, twice as hard as she had, but did so wearing a smile. "Call me Gabriel. And never do that again, I could have been zipping up for the love of the Planet, and then there would be hell to pay. Hey," he called, "what kind of name is Aurora? Do you go by anything else?"

Aurora glared a twin pair of lazer beams straight through the dark green metal of the dumpster and into the back of his head. "No," she interrupted simply, "my name is Aurora."

Gabriel knelt down to lace up the boots he’d found- an odd combination with the shorts they’d been on top of- and laughed. Sounded like the little lady had something against nick names. Good. Then she wouldn’t call him Gabe. "All right then. Who’s this Reno guy? Your boyfriend?"

It was then Rory suddenly realized either one or both of them was very, very far from where they were supposed to be. Everyone who’d ever lived or even visited within a ten block radius of the shop she’d called home knew her brother’s whole story. Everyone besides the blind, deaf, and dumb for an additional 10 blocks around that. "No," she said with a worried frown on her face, hoping Gabriel would suddenly remember Reno, "he’s my brother. He’s probably freaking out, so I need to find him. He’s high strung enough as it is."

Gabriel emerged from behind the dumpster, pulling a dark blue tanktop over his head where it clashed horribly with his hair for a moment, then popped his arms through the sides. "Do you want some help finding him?" he asked, "I’ve got no where to be."

Aurora raised an apprehensive eyebrow and gave him a look full of suspicion, folding her arms and basically pulling her entire body into a turtle like defense mode. She was young, but even her short time living on the streets of Midgar had left her far from stupid. "And what," she asked, "oh generous one, would you want in return?"

In an instinctive force of habit that was a borderline between professional scooping and raving pervert, he scanned her up and down with his cool chartreuse eyes, then dealt himself a hefty mental bitch smack. It’s called a moral code, he growled to himself, find one ya dick. "How about you let me call you... hm... Rory, huh?" He shot her a grin that had got him his first drink from a bar at the age of 11, got him a women from the same bar three years later.

Rory couldn’t help it. She knew this was probably bullshit, but her private little shield cracked down a bit, and she returned his smile. "You are nuts. I really don’t know if I like you or not."

He smirked, for if he had a dollar for every time he’d heard that exact remark, he wouldn’t have to kill people for a living. "All right then," he said, "lead the way then. Rory."

She rolled her eyes so hard they almost disappeared, wondering whether she’d ever actually agreed to let him call her that. She could always make him stop later, she thought, and started out of the alley, leaving the flickering shadows that had concealed so easily the white spider web of scars that laced up and down her body, and the fist sized seals of dead flesh that paralleled each other on Gabriel’s chest and back, surrounding his heart like a pair of prison guards.


A beam of light. Massive, miles long, glowing so bright any who dared to look directly at it were never able to look at anything directly ever again as their retinas were seared off and their pupils shrunk to a pinpoint before completely disappearing, no blind man needs pupils. The beam traveled so fast it sliced the air like a razor blade on skin, exceeding all natural laws known to the race of men simply in it’s existence. It was light, and it had the speed of light, and the screams of the unfortunate were heard moments after their bodies had been rendered entirely incapable of making any kind of noise.

An explosion, an entire building reduced to match sticks in a second, a million pieces of kindling whirling around in a fireball and dancing up into the mushroom cloud that loomed above, shadowing the ground even more then the behemoth creature who stood thousands of yards away on the shores of Junon.

The fire. A towering inferno that has appeared from no where, those who had blinked in disbelieve of the Weapon who’d fired upon them missed the single millisecond it had taken for a holocaustal blaze to raze itself and consume any and all in its path.

A man, in more pain then he would have thought possible in the physical world, a pain he’d believed only minutes before was only possible when a part of your heart had been ripped from you before your very eyes and discarded by the ripper as no more than a trifle, and when the ripper was the man who’d given you life and raised you. A pain he’d thought could only exist when your father calmly and carelessly gunned down the women you loved and kicked her body aside, then strictly ordered you to sit down and finish your supper, and don’t give him that kind of look. But even in the unbelievable extremity of the agony he was in, it was less than he deserved.

White fire, red fire, fire so hot it seemed to burn clear and sizzle away the very air so there was nothing but emptiness and heat and pain. Fire everywhere, around you, on you, under you, inside you, killing and cremating you in one simple wave of impossible boiling air hotter then magma and even more unavoidable. Boiling air that would reduce him to molecules and mix him with the atoms of all those who’d died around him and with the building that had been built only to honor him.

Rufus felt himself falling, spinning, collapsing and convulsing in mid air, in a downward spiral of darkness and a soulless, merciless pain, the floor beneath his feet swept away as a mere handful of white hot ash, his body was lit up with fire and agony as it was sizzled to nothing in the pure energy blast of the Diamond Weapon, a hell storm of pain as a crunch so loud it deafened him rang out, and Rufus would never know whether or not the sound was the building he was in or he himself... and then...

The newly appointed president of Shinra sat up in a start, a sheen of cold sweat glistening on his skin and matting his hair down hard against his forehead. The melancholy chorus of crickets rang out all around him, wet and dewy grass lie beneath, a dark canopy of dark green leaves crowning the sky above, and a chill that pierced him like an arrow. Rufus looked around frantically, with blurred and half misted eyes. He was in a shadowy forest, and it was a wet and freezing cold shadowy forest at that. There was no Weapon, Diamond or otherwise, no fire, no imminent and untimely death for Rufus. "Wha..." he blurted, trying to raise out of his stupor and out of the vice grip of his dreams, "Where the fuck am I? Who...?"

Rufus rose shakily to his feet, noticing what may have once been shoes hung in straps on his feet, and wincing at the sound of his joints cracking in strain. He was the sole owner of a multibillion gil company, he had the entire legion of Soldiers at his beck and call for Bahumat’s sake, there was no actual reason for him to ever do any physical moving at in his entire life. He should not have a skeleton that sounded like an antique toy chest.

The sound of whistling coming from behind him jolted his system suddenly, and he spun around, ripping his 12 gauge loose from its holster and raising it dead even with where an average sized man’s Adam’s apple would be bobbing. The blackened barrels of his gun came up level at pin point range... with the knot hole of a ficus tree. Rufus glanced around warily, breaking out a light sweat despite the icy temperatures of the room, and pulled his gun back to his side, wondering if he had simply misheard the wind flowing through the ultra thick, completely light-blocking forest roof. There was a moment of total calm- a rarity in the young president’s life- then a clamor of plants being savagely knocked aside and tramped down rang out, and he readjusted his aim for whatever wild animal would come charging out at him through the thicket with horns or tusks or what the hell ever lowered, wishing that Rude or Tseng or even Reno was here with one of those massive revolvers they always carried around on their hips. And in their boots. And inside their jackets.

Instead of a boar or a bear, or one of those mako mutated freak animals who ran around, however, he was met with a broad shouldered, darkly tanned, spiky haired individual walked casually into the clearing, a mammoth sword reflecting the sun off of the shoulder it was slung over, whistling some non-sensible tune to himself. The whistling dropped away into nothingness when he saw a fully alert Rufus train a fire arm between his eyes, but he managed to remain a calm demeanor as he raised a hand in greeting. "Hi, uh..." he said, "ya finally woke up, huh... uh, scientist dude?"

Rufus coughed to clear his voice, realized for the first time his tongue was dry as dust and he more thirsty then he ever was before in his life, and he coughed again, taking a few quick steps back to get fully out of range of the man’s 6 foot long sword, boring his eyes into Zack’s just waiting for him to make some kind of sudden move. "Where," he spoke slowly, as if talking to an idiot, "have you taken me?"

The smile that was plastered across the man’s face faltered a bit, but didn’t drop away completely, and his beetle black eyes didn’t dim down. "The name’s Zack. I didn’t take you anywhere, I woke up and saw you lying somewhere over there out cold. If ya want to know where we are, you’ll have to guess yourself, cause I don’t know, and you’re the scientist. Aren’t they supposed to be good at figurin’’ this stuff out?"

Rufus was in complete and total awe. All kinds of new things and interesting firsts were happening to him today, but the most surprising one so far was the way this farmer looking man spoke to him, as if he was some kind of equal. There was no way this... Zack, didn’t recognize him, he knew he wasn’t looking his prim and proper best, but even the poorest and most out of touch hermit in the furthest continent of the planet knew cell for cell the face of the boy President of Shinra. The teachings that had been driven and pounded into his maturing mind as he grew had told him to always look dignified and in control, no matter what was going on, but the stress of his situation formed his expression into something he was fairly certain looked less then respectable. "I’m not a scientist for Bahumats sake!" he snapped, voice just a decibel or two below a scream.

Zack’s smile disappeared from his face in a flash as if Rufus had struck him, and if he was currently trying to conceal his emotions to the slightest degree he was much worse at it than Rufus was, his eyes were narrowed into intense little slits, and his already deep breathing deepened, his breath switching to the sound of a bull’s as it pumped in and out from between his clenched set of teeth. Rufus took one more look at the large, white knuckled fist that hung on either side of the man and decided it was time to start being a little nicer and a lot more polite. Zack snorted, "I’ve told you my name. Tell me yours."

Rufus’ eyes nearly bugged out of his skull. That was no longer indifference, that was an order, to him! He’d only met one person before in his entire life who hadn’t known who he was, and she- well, that was years ago, before he’d taken over Shinra. That was tolerable then, but this was all out insolence! For some one to not know who he was now was... inconceivable, although it wasn’t near as confusing as it was angering. "I am the president of Shinra," he growled out, knowing it wasn’t a smart thing to do, "and you can’t tell me to do anything!" If any of you have younger brothers or sisters and your baby-sitting them, you’d know the exact tone Rufus was using, just deepen it with 10 years of age.

Zack jerked up his sword suddenly, readjusting his grip and bringing the sword back into the perfect position to lop Rufus’ presidential head clean off and spray his lifeblood onto the leaves that bedded the forest soil like a crude carpet. For a moment his muscles tensed like he was going to strike, but then he glanced around the forest as if he expected to see someone watching him, and barked out a strained, derisive laugh. "Yeah right. The president is some big fat guy in a red suit."

This time Rufus allowed himself a short laugh, glad to be in the company of someone talking down about the son of a bitch who used to be a father until Sephiroth used him as a pin cushion, but was still very pissed off about this man having no idea who he really was. "The president," he began, "was a big fat guy in a red suit. That president was killed over a month ago by some mental patient who carved him up like a holiday turkey; with a sword even bigger than yours, if you can believe that. I... am his son."

The Gongana Soldiers face rippled with a wave of a dozen different emotions, the biggest on of which was definitely shock. He mouthed wordlessly for a moment, working his jaw to no effect, before finally breathing out a legible sound. "R-Rufus?"

Two distinct thoughts rushed into Rufus’ mind in the following second of Zack uttering his name. The first one was a sense of relief that this man did indeed know who he was, an the other was that the one he’d been conversing with had definitely been a Soldier 1st Class at one point, because only one with that kind of skills could move at the speed that exceeded the blink of an eye and done it with such precision otherwise, excersising a move that ended with the massive silver sword Zack wielded pressed up against Rufus’ jugular, just a hair-breath from severing flesh and then artery and making certain the president bled dry over several long, painful hours in this very forest.

The expression Rufus had first seen on Zack’s face had undergone a total 180, gone was the placid welcoming and confident calmness, present was a jittery kind of hatred that reminded Rufus of Palmers anger and a curled upper lip, the Soldier’s already heaving breath deepened to the point of some kind of prehistoric beast and Rufus could feel it like a whirlwind against his face. Veins popped out of the formerly unwrinkled forehead so a degree it appeared as if someone had sketched a road map across it as Zack spoke, punctuating every word separately as if actually choking on his rage. "Give. me. one. reason. I. shouldn’t. kill. you. right now."

Rufus heard the words clearly, but suddenly he found himself having trouble concentrating, trouble focusing on what was going on around him. The image of Zack and the mammoth sword he held kept blinking in and out of focus before staying at some kind of dimmed blur. Blood rushed into Rufus’ head but only served to make him more dizzy, and he staggered, and only Zack quickly yanking the sword back saved Rufus from effectively slitting his own throat as he collapsed, landing in a heap on the ground with the sound of his heart beat raging in his ears, and was still.

The president lay there for a moment, teetering on the verge of consciousness, mind swimming and shaking around in his skull, unable to focus, to move, even to breathe. He didn’t have the strength or the will power to exhale, and he was going to die with his lungs full of air. And then, just as suddenly as it had struck him, the spell passed away. Rufus’ eyes fluttered warily open, staring blankly at the forest canopy, and then locked onto Zack, who still had the look of anger on his face but it was no longer laced with psychosis, and the Gonganan native extended a blue gloved hand to Rufus, who paused a moment before grasping it tightly. "Give me..." he panted, groaning, "one reason why you should."

Zack hauled him to his feet with one flex of his rippling biceps, but didn’t lower his weapon... not entirely anyway. The glittering point was still lined up with Rufus’ midsection in a close enough proximity to drive it all the way through in a second. His eyes were still narrowed but had far less confusion or hate in them, and Rufus could have sworn there was some actual concern behind there. "I was one of your damned guinea pigs," Zack growled, anger momentarily surging, "they found me cut up in one of your damned mako reactors and wired me up like a freaking lab rat."

Rufus blanched, thinking hard, but whenever he tried to call up a memory more then five minutes old all he saw was a blank screen raging with flames, flickering and raging in a vision so real he could almost feel his forehead break out in a sheen of sweat. Hojo and his scientist coterie could have been doing unauthorized work, which wouldn’t be altogether unheard of. Oh hell, it wouldn’t have even been uncommon. "How long ago did they let you out?" he asked, "I mean, I’ve only had control for a few weeks now, and my father already got what he had coming to him for anything that was done to you... the son of a bitch. Or did you-"

"-I escaped," Zack cut in. Rufus nodded, his eyes never straying from the Soldier’s sword and its razor sharp edge that only a minute ago had been ready to strike him down, and had to fight to keep the anger down, the rage at ever being seen so helpless, and was struggling even though his life depended on it.

"All right," the president prompted, "you escaped." He was just babbling, looking randomly for words to say now, and drawing a blank, studying the exact distance every word he got out caused the silver weapon to dip, to droop towards the grounds just a little, just an inch lower. "But when? I mean, what date??" His shaking hand stilled as it tightened around the handle of his gun.

Zack had to think a few moments before answering, thrown off by some weird daydream about getting shot off the back of a pick up truck... or was it after he got out of the truck? He remembered some blonde kid who’d always followed him around in Soldiers training, had even styled his hair the same way. They’d been friends, he thought... went on missions together? It was all fuzzy, and was mixed with the conflict of what he’d do with- or to- Rufus if he turned out to be the real president and just not some psycho impersonator. He didn’t want to kill him, not anymore, at least, but he felt that there was something wrong with just letting the man walk away skotch free after all they’d put him through in the lab. The lab... how had he escaped from the lab? It was feeding time when they’d done it, and the blonde kid had done some weird trick with a scalpel, Clim-something or other, split his holding tube, then split a scientist or two. Then what, he wondered. They’d high jacked a pick up truck... there was the truck again! Why was his dream tied in with what really happened? Wasn’t he... weren’t they...


The Gonganan snapped out of his trance suddenly, blinking his piercing black eyes a half dozen times and looked around as if he’d forgotten where he was, too distracted to even notice Rufus’s gun now hung at his side instead of dangling behind his back. "What?" he asked, annoyed at being distracted from finding the answer her needed.

"What date?" Rufus repeated, looking Zack over, wondering if he’d just got hit with the kind of dizziness spell that had hit him, and concluded that if he had it had been a weaker version. No one would have been able to stand up to that, especially no farmer spawn handling it better then he had, Soldier or no, which Rufus was once again beginning to doubt.

"I don’t know, OK!" Zack snapped, mind still half trying to grasp the question he’d tried to answer moments ago, a question he’d somehow already forgotten. "Four, maybe five days ago."

Briiiiing! Panic! Panic! Emergency shut down system coming online, water secretion at 79%, adrenaline on overdrive!!! Rufus almost reeled at the force of the panic alarms going off in his head, and he momentarily shut his eyes, to both calm himself and try and think up something to stall his imminent end. He had to get Zack distracted before blowing him away, or they’d die together, one from a bullet and the other from a stab wound. 4 or 5 days wasn’t long enough ago, he’d been in charge for over a month, and had even told Zack that, hadn’t he? He stuttered, just looking for the chance to raise his two barrels and make the Gonganan a foot shorter. A foot and a half, really, if you counted the hair spike that jutted out like some kind of a compass needle. "But what date, man!?" he burst out, trying to keep his voice steady and unworried but failing miserably, knowing it didn’t matter due to the beads of sweat running down his pale complexion and gathering on his shirt collar.

"I-don’t-know," Zack replied, wondering if Rufus thought they’d given him a calendar inside his test tube or something. ‘Welcome to the Lab suite, with breakfast in tube, calendar in tube, and free cable in tube.’ "The 28th... uh... or the 29th? I really don’t know how long I was out before they found me."

Rufus fixed him with a blank stare, gawking for a moment. The 28th or the 29th? he thought, is this guy some kind of blank out from the Wutain war? One of those Soldiers who came back with dull eyes and hallucinations? It was only the 21st today, and Rufus doubted even in a lab you could mistake a week for nearly 30 days. Obviously this man was a lunatic, and an armed one at that. The young president silently cocked his gun and thumbed off the safety in what appeared to Zack as a simple shift of weight. The lessons his father had forced down his throat has turned out important after all, but he needed to keep talking to distract Zack from the motion of his finger wrapping around his gun’s trigger. "Really?", he asked, preparing to bring his weapon up right under Zack’s chin. "And what month was this?"

Zack gave him a look as if he was the lunatic. Inwardly, he thought, even a Shinra president could figure out the answer to that question. Last month... weren’t there supposed to be some of the most brilliant tutors on earth working for these people, or was it as Zack had first suspected, that this was just some raving lunatic with blonde hair and a white coat? The look the man was giving him was peculiar and Zack couldn’t quite read it. "July," he prompted Rufus, "1999... are you with me here?"

Rufus froze in mid sweep of his arm, stopping the tip of his gun level with Zack’s knee and choked on a laugh. "1999?" he smirked, laughing, "Heh heh heh... buddy, you’re a year off."

There was a moment of absolute silence following that simple statement, and Rufus would have sword that even the omnipresent chatter of the birds and the bugs and the little jungle animals that had been running around has finally ceased. The brief period silence was following, predictably, by even more silence, until Zack managed to come up with the most brilliant and unique thing a person can say into response to an accusation like that. "...what?"

The president smiled, coldly, disarming his gun as he did so. This man wasn’t dangerous, he thought, he was simply an idiot. But he was a fast, strong, good natured idiot, and that meant he could be easily bent to Rufus’ will and used to help him get the hell out of this forest. He forced his smirk into a pained grimace of warmth, then realized he looked kinder if he simply had a straight face on. "Nothing, nothing at all. What do you say we combine forces and get the hell out of here, its kind of hot."

Zack shot him a startled look, with a little suspicious underneath, but Rufus knew he was safe now. Enough talking had transpired for an emotional chord to start, one that wouldn’t allow Rufus’ jugular chord to be severed, at least not by this man. "Don’t worry," he said, "I was instated after you escaped, and all projects cruel like that have been swiftly discontinues." Then, without another word, the president swept his scorched coat as he turned, and tramping though a stretch of bushes, left the clearing. Zack stared after him for a minute, shaking his head, and then followed.

Disclaimer: The character Rory Tremaine is used with permission from her creator, Tini

Chapter 3

Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic