The Fallen Chapter 7
Gabriels eyes fluttered open slowly, trying to adjust to the horrible lighting, and the first thing he realized was that his left arm was hanging painfully by his side, bent at an angle he never even knew was possible. He cautiously attempted to lift and was rewarded only with a blast of mind altering pain. Broken. Great. The last time hed woken up in bad lighting with a broken arm hed been surrounded by at least three dead prostitutes...
The second thing he realized was that his good arm was bound to a stone wall by a length of chain that was obviously meant to be there, as it disappeared seamlessly into the wall, and he sighed heavily. This had long day written all over it, and hed only been awake for a little over ten seconds.
He could barely see Rory who was only a few feet to his left, so dense was the darkness, but he could tell that she was beginning to wake up. This was getting reminiscent of their first meeting in the alley, except this time, thankfully, they were both fully clothed. Gabriel had no idea *why* that was so, remembering the words of the gang leader from earlier, but he was sure as hell glad of the fact. On the down side, they were still chained up pretty securely in what looked like some freaks pleasure dungeon, decorated with the less then tasteful decor of branding irons and a strap down table. In a normal situation, Griffon muttered mentally, hed have been able to snap the aged and rusted chains, but hed have needed full use of both of his arms to do so.
He did have one option left open to him, but he decided to wait and watch to see how things panned out before exercising it. The same as he did every other time he was faced with this particular option. Which made it less of an option, really, and more of a back up, a last resort, an ever present and truly unappealing Plan B.
Rory mumbled incoherently as she returned fully to consciousness, but she went deadly silent for a moment as she took in their surroundings, and Gabriel could tell by the ever increasing speed of her breath that the decorative apparel didnt appeal to her either. "Gabriel..." she asked, and he could hear a kind of controlled fear in her voice, "where the hell are we?"
After another futile look around and a search through his memories, a trip that was side tracked only by the dull recognition that shed asked for him upon waking up and not her older brother- at least she didnt have some weird obsession with the guy- Gabriel could only shrug. "Im not sure," he tried to say, but it came out as a dry croak, and he wondered how long hed been laid out down there," fucked up dungeons of the world werent really a course in my training. How to build them, sure, but how to recognize them..."
Rory was about to ask exactly what kind of training he was talking about when footsteps rang out from high on the stone stairway that lay across the room from them, a stairway they could only guess at the dimensions of due to the darkness. The leader of the gang, the one who had the materia earlier, strutted down the steps and made his way and over to them with a twisted leer plastered on his face, and the two could only look away in disgust as his eyes roamed over every inch of them both. Finally, he turned to Rory, and with a look of definite decision on his face he crooned, "Come on girly. Get on your feet."
Her only response was a piercing glare that reminded Gabriel heavily of ice shards, and if anything she lowered herself down closer to the floor. Annoyance instantly filled their captors face and he seized her by the shoulders, yanking her off her feet and into the air so far her chains stretched taut and slammed her hard back against the stone wall. She lashed out against him with a flurry of weakened punches and kicks but the man easily caught both of her wrists in one hand and undid her shackles with a key he held in the other, before slinging her writhing form over his shoulder like a sack of grain.
Before leaving, the man turned to look at Gabriel, preparing a lewd remark that would keep him scared and nervous until his turn came up. He was met with a kick to the face so hard it damn near knocked him out, and for a second Rory fell from his grip. He grabbed at her again, once again fighting off her spurt of offense, as Gabriel climbed to his feet, having hurled himself against the chains to deliver the kick and paid with two shoulder joints screaming in pain, one from being broken and the other from being hyper extended. Too bad he hadnt had enough room to follow through with the rest of the move, it had this neat little tail end that actually involved striking a part of the body with the base of your palm that most people forgot they had.
Their kidnappers eyes blazed with unconcealed rage as he clutched the side of his face and growled an unintelligible threat, then charged up and kicked Gabriel in the ribs twice as hard as hed been kicked himself, bouncing the boy against the stone wall with each kick. The youth went down hard, and made the mistake of putting out his hands to stop the fall, only to feel two sides of his broken bone scrape against each other. The agony was so intense that Gabriel could only gasp as his vision dimmed and he almost blacked out, and then he collapsed to the cement floor below and wrapped the majority of the rest of his body around his damaged limb the best he could. His assailant laughed in a sickened glee as he watched the results of his blows, turned, and then casually walked back up the stone stairs, a struggling Rory in tow.
Once the pain had faded enough for Gabriel to roll over on his back and wipe his eyes, he raised a hateful glare to the spot the two had disappeared from. It seemed as if his mind had been made up for him, and hed have to go through with his ever present plan B. That decision did little to relieve his apprehension or his pain, but it was his to make and hed made it.
Any random onlooker who might have been hidden back in the depths of the room- not entirely a rare occurrence in a place such as this- would have seen nothing for a moment as the young man simply lay on the ground clutching his wounded limb, breathing heavily. After that moment, however, he would see something very specific-
-and then he would begin to run.
The lowering helicopter swarmed up the dust below, kicking and blowing it all over the small cottage it was settling down next to. The silent figure awaiting out side should have been enveloped in flying debris as well, but mysteriously evaded the swirling wall of dirt and rocks. Reno kicked open the door to the helicopter even while the craft was still in the air, and leapt from the new opening to land heavily beside Aeris. He hit the ground too hard and his knees buckled, causing his legs to kick out and send him momentarily reeling, but he instantly stumbled to his feet again. The look in his eyes amazed Aeris.... it was like everything they had been a year ago- cold, sharp, intense- had simply faded away over the past twelve months, and were just now struggling to return.
The Ancient began to answer him but then stopped suddenly, closing her mouth and fixing Reno with a studying gaze. He seemed, besides his eyes, to not have changed at all over the past 12 months, he was still just a figure chiseled out of bitter and hating marble. It startled her how Tsengs return hadnt seemed to soften the inner anger inside him at all, no matter what his outward facade might say.
He cocked an eyebrow at her, but seemed to be in no hurry to speak as he simply stood for a bit, looking around, proving to her that his logic defying leap from the helicopter had simply been for show. So typical, she thought, and its that kind of thing that will kill him some day, if the cigarettes dont first. "Well?" he yelled, after a time, screaming only to keep his voice above the level of the helicopters rotary blades. "You have something to tell me that cant be done over the phone?"
Aeris looked over at the chopper, which had once been covered in Shin Ra logos, and was now devoid of any decal at all unless you looked at it from above, where three of the blades had been spray painted red to form a giant T on the top, impossible to see in mid air as the speed make it look like a poorly made circle. Aeris approved, it did everything a logo should in spirit, while avoiding all the practical problems that traveling with a brand name caused.
"Dont you want to hear it with everyone else?" Aeris asked, her gaze for the first time falling upon the face of Yuffie Kisargi, who was looking rather nauseous as she stared out of the helicopter window. That was one of the many weird things about dealing with the Planet, when Aeris had first heard that the Wutain ninja would be coming with the Turks she was shocked- but now, when she actually saw it, nothing. Life had become a lot less exciting since shed died, honestly.
Reno looked back at the helicopter, which was first settling in the dust, his mind playing back the carefully restrained tone Aeris had used on the phone. He turned back with a determined look set into his face. "No," he insisted, awaiting to hear what she had to say.
"Its about your sister, Reno..." Aeris began, and then instantly realized shed made a very large mistake.
Every joint, muscle, feature and angle in Reno suddenly contracted, and for a split second he seemed to be sucking into his own body inside his blue suit like some sort of a turtle. Instead, after he went rigid the effect was very much like the effect you have on anything when you make it smaller without actually taking away from it- very concentrated, more Reno per inch Turk. "What about her?" he asked, his voice icy.
"Shes in Midgar." Aeris said, realizing that since she had thrown subtlety out the window already, she might as well simply get it all over with and hope that Reno survived the shock.
"You think I dont know that?" Reno asked, his eyes blazing. He and the other Jackals had buried her themselves, his last interaction with any of them before he left, the final good bye Tseng had allowed him was putting his sisters body in the ground. Why should it come to any surprise to him now?
"Reno..." Aeris began slowly, beginning to suspect Reno was a lot less ignorant of her meaning than he let on.
"What??" he answered way too quickly and way too loudly, giving himself away immediately. He glanced back quickly at the chopper, which had landed, and the other Turks and the ninja brat were hastily leaping out of the side. "What the fuck about her??"
"Shes in Midgar *now*" Aeris said, hissing out the final word, at a loss of any other way to put it. The Planet hadnt actually told her a name for what it had done.
Reno opened his mouth, for some sort of angry retort, but nothing came out, and he was left staring piercingly at Aeris with his mouth hanging downwards. He looked her over- hed obviously heard of the Cetras death- and for the briefest moment he turned around and stared at Tseng, then looked back towards Aeris with blazing eyes. "...where?" he said, his voice belied by his demeanor, almost too quiet to hear.
Hesitantly, Aeris lifted her staff and pointed it down one of the many animal trails that lead away from the clearing. "Well," she muttered, biting her lip. "Shed in Midgar... well, Wall Market. Don Corneos mansion actually, but- she tried to rush out the last part to make sure Reno heard it, "theres no reason to rush over there, theres a young man with her who has it totally under con-" Her words were lost in the pounding of Renos shoes on the ground as he charged down the path shed singled out, obviously not giving a damn what the young man had totally under. Not caring about anything except finding his sister, and maybe learning a little more about what the fuck was going on.
Aeris sighed. This would complicate things a little more then she wished to imagine. Griffon and Aurora needed time to form a bond strong enough that theyd protect each other with their lives, and with bigger brother always running in to play the knight in shining armor, that kind of bond would be made very difficult, complicating the trek the two had ahead of them. Oh well... maybe hed get lost on the way. Maybe.
With a deep breath, Aeris straightened her dress and turned back to the others. Aeris could recognize Rude more by his darkly tanned skin rather then his face as his head was covered entirely by a dark visored pilots helmet. Typical even when he was flying he didnt let his eyes show. The flower girl tried to beckon them over to her side, only to watch as all of them except for Yuffie turned around and chased their red haired companion down the path, apparently uncaring of what or who had made him run, only dedicated to not letting him disappear in the woods.
Yuffie watched them go down the trail with a curious look, then bounded over to Aeris side with wide eyes, staring at her thought-to-be-deceased friend in amazement. The Midgar flower girl ignored the gawking of the young thief and stared after the fleeing Turks with a frown on her face. She let her staff droop a bit. "Why?" she asked no one in particular, "is everyone only in a hurry when I dont want them to be?"
Lyle Card, street name Shark, was sick and tired of having to wait his turn. Due to his decreased stature and less than perfect aim, hed basically dropped down to the level of the gangs lapdog. He always got the last and the worst of everything, especially when they managed to grab some cutie girl off the streets. Hed even drawn the others attention to this one, but hed been told in no uncertain terms to keep an eye on the boy until they were ready for him and to keep his hands to himself.
A loud snapping sound jolted Shark out of his slow sulk, and he instantly ripped his pistol out of its holster and cocked the hammer back as the noise was followed by a heavy metal thud. And then another. A third. Lyle would have sworn they were footsteps if theyd been softer, but he doubted even an elephant was heavy enough to make that kind of noise, and the metal ring to it just confused him further. He decided not to risk it as the noise approached the stairway, and in one not-so-fluid, not-so-graceful move he sidestepped into the opening at the top of the stairs and he leveled his weapon, shying back as he prepared to fire. And then he stopped, disbelief filling his face.
There was a suit of old antique armor propped up against the wall halfway up the stairs, topped with a horned helmet that was bowed down as if in reverence. Shark liked that, but even so... stunned, he glanced over his shoulder, trying to see why it was there- or who had put it there to begin with. He descended cautiously down the stairs, checking behind him every few steps as if the person responsible for the armor had somehow gotten behind him. He reached the armor itself a second later, and annoyed with his own ignorance of the situation, went to push it over. He was rewarded by seeing it tilt a bit, but otherwise it stayed still. Fully bewildered now, Lyle took another step down, coming up level with the armor just as the antique helmet tilted up to reveal a pair of luminescent red eyes.
The Shark opened his mouth to scream but was cut off the hard way as cold metal fingers reached forward and wrapped entirely around his throat, locking it in a vise grip and choking down the noise. The kidnapper rapist could feel his face turn instantly purple and weakly raised his gun to fire into the armor. His weapon was ripped easily from his fist in a flash of movement to quick to see, and was crushed to a cube in the fist of the armor.
The living suit lifted him off his feet with ease, so his feet were dangling at least two feet above the ground, and leaned in close to him. Shark attempted to peer into the helmet but his vision was blocked by the violent glare of its flickering red eyes. "Where..." a voice came from deep within the armor, deep and strained sounding, as if it had to fight against its own throat to be produced "is the girl?"
Lyle could have cried as he writhed in the death grip. This was about the redhead slut? If this... thing... found out what they were going to do with her itd rip his head off. Fuck it, he could have her. The man stopped trying to pry the metal fingers from around his throat and pointed to the left even as his vision started to go black around the edges. To his immense relief, that was specific enough for the armor, who dropped him to the stairs below, Lyle clutched his aching throat and sucked in one deep, painful breath.
A breath that was crushed from his body as a metal foot lashed out, hitting him square in the chest and not stopping until it felt stone against the sole of its boot. Dead instantly, the late Shark slid unceremoniously down the armored leg, soaking it in blood.
What appeared to be a suit of armor kicked its leg once, tossing the now limp body off of the appendage and sending it rolling down the stairs. The armor watched him fall for a moment, a sense of dull satisfaction in its aura, and then it turned and began up the stares.
Rory let loose with the most high pitched scream she could manage. Not because she was scared- she was, but shed paid enough attention on the Midgar streets to learn that screaming would do absolutely nothing for fear- and not because she thought it would bring help- the walls were incredibly thick and the only other people in the place were freaks like this guy- but because she knew that when a scream hit a certain octave it could give even a deaf man an instant head ache. Women have been proving countless times over the centuries that absolutely no one wants to have sex with a head ache.
Unfortunately her scream hadnt hit the right point, as Rorys burly attacker simply plowed forward and slammed into her, sending her crashing down hard onto her back to the stone floor. Rory pumped her legs, kicking up into a flip that would roll her to her feet, but the man (nick-named Ice by his crew for several obvious reasons) caught both of her ankles in his meaty fists and yanked her legs apart like a wishbone. She twisted around in his grip just enough to see him reach into his pocket and pull out a short, curved blade.
Ice pressed the blade lightly against her thigh and ripped it down, easily slicing a new slit into her skirt but leaving her skin -much to her amazed relief- virtually unharmed. Rory new that the man had her, completely, and that infuriated her more than anything else in the world could, so she added clawing and biting to her last resistance of screaming. A few dozen claw marks soon laced all over Ices arms, but he seemed entirely oblivious to the pain- one of the nice side effects of the drug thats name paralleled his own- and he was now within a few inches of cutting the waistband of her skirt. Rory could almost feel herself slipping into shock... this wasnt happening, this couldnt be happening, theres no way this was happening...
The room flickered with a shadow for a second, as the doorway was filled with the bulk of a towering figure, who raised his hand forward as if he was going to strike. Rory could dimly make out his outline, but Ice was too preoccupied to notice until the figure moved away again and light filled the room. Thinking it was another gang member, he turned and barked over his shoulder, "Wait your turn, damnit!"
He was facing a blank doorway. The figure had seen him, had seen Rory, but had more importantly had seen the man advancing in the shadows behind them. Hed seen what the man held. And the figure, mind working quickly, had realized his original intent was about to be performed by the crouching man who was slowly advancing through the darkness. So Ice turned back around, muttering in annoyance, ready to return to staring at those fearful green eyes.
Instead, he saw green eyes blazing with hatred, and the barrel of a Winchester Automatic Pistol. It would be the last thing he ever saw. A stream of bullet blew his teeth back through his brain, arcing a stream of pinkish god-knows-what out of the back of his skull and spraying it against the wall.
Reno squeezed the trigger of his weapon and held it for a greatly exaggerated amount of time, empty shells launching up from the chamber of his gun and bouncing off his face as an entire clip of ammo sliced through Ice, who had just a second ago been hovering over his sister. The gangster flew back into the stone wall behind him as he was ripped apart by the hail storm of flying lead. Broken stone chips of wall and a broken body hit the ground at the same time, settling down into a twisted pile of red liquid and white dust.
Rory screamed and went to back away, but she had no idea from what- the spreading pool of red that was draining from the man whod tried to rape her or the active threat, the wide eyes psycho with a blood lust and a machine gun. In a split second she decided that if the armed man wanted her dead he could shoot her no matter where in the room she went, and she back pedaled frantically away from the corpse and slammed into her saviors legs. She looked up at him in terror the exact second he looked down at her.
Two sets of bright emerald eyes widened in amazement.
"Reno!?" Rory nearly screamed, leaping up into her older brothers arms and clung there for a moment while he didnt respond, but then he wrapped her in a bone crushing hug. She ignored both the bruises on her ribs he was pressing against and the difference in his looks as she held him, never having been more glad in her life to see her older brother. So what if he seemed taller, or if his hair looked like it had some gray in it, that could be caused by shoes and bad lighting. Who cares if there were scars slashed across his cheeks right under his eyes, people got scars all the time in Midgar- especially her brother. She had plenty herself, and despite the small changes this was undeniably Reno.
Who was, meanwhile, staring down at her in awe. Hed never forgotten her voice- or anything else about her- but it still affected him to hear it in an unbelievable way. He wanted to say something, say anything, but all he could think of was how beautiful his little sister was, even her in a freezing room with ripped clothes and a still draining corpse lying across the floor in the corner. And then her still familiar voice rang out again, "Reno? Whats going on? How did you know I was here? Why do you look so, well..."
Reno decided to answer the easy questions first. "I, well," he stammered, finding for one of the few times in his life he didnt want to be talking, "I got a call from a... friend. And she knew you were here. And damn, Rory, I look different because seven years is a long time. None of that matters though! I mean, what you doing here? How are you... did you... how?"
Rory had never heard her brother stammer before and it threw her off a little, so she decided to just ignore the comment about seven years for now. "Well," she started, "I got grabbed by some big goons and they dragged me and- shit! Theres a guy chained up down stairs we need to go get loose!" She finished the last part over her shoulder as she made for the hall that led to the stairwell, but Reno managed to catch her arm and spun her around. Normally shed have snapped at him and smacked his hand away, but the look in his eyes was so intense it stopped her dead.
Reno was studying her face hard, almost as if he expected her to be someone else in disguise. "How did you come back!?" he asked with an edge of horror in his voice, but he was drawing only a blank stare from her little sister.
"Back?" she asked, trying to make an ounce of sense about what he was saying, "I didnt, you came to me. Back from where?"
He didnt really know how to answer that. Didnt she know? Didnt she remember? And what the hell was he supposed to say if she didnt? From the morgue? From the cheap over crowded graveyard we buried you in during the middle of the night, with Tseng waiting by the gate and with Caimans blood still streaked over my hands? "From the dead, damnit!"
For a moment Rory wasnt sure if she was supposed to laugh or not. Was he kidding? She sure as hell didnt think it was funny if he was. Or was it some kind of metaphor? Was he drunk? Or was she... oh god, was she actually dead? "Dead?" she practically squeaked, "Im dead?"
Her brother seemed even more confused than she was as he nodded his head slowly, then amended the action by shaking it from side to side. "Well..." he trailed off, "you were. You arent now, obviously. Dont you remember? Any of it? I mean, the hospital, Caiman, the Vipers?"
Rory nodded slowly in response, not sure if she should be feeling more upset then she was. Sure it was disturbing to have imagine having died, but it was one of those things that just felt distant, like it had happened to some else a long time ago. After all, she was right here, fine, talking and very much alive.
It didnt matter. She went to answer how the entire episode with the Vipers had seemed like a half forgotten dream when she was cut off by a sudden burst of gunfire. Reno grabbed her by the shoulders and dived to the ground, rolling as they landed and ripping out his nightstick in favor of his nearly empty machine gun. He ended up not having to use either one. A man slumped in the shadows, head twisted sideways, stomach blasted open. A pistol rested in his now limp fingers, a pistol that just a moment ago had been pointing at the back of Renos head.
Rude walked into the room calmly, a smoking revolver in his hand. Reno checked to see if his sister was ok- she was, just a little overwhelmed- and then walked over to the gunned down man and prodded him with his toe. The man didnt stir. "Rude?" Reno asked, peering closely at the mans gaping stomach wound, "how many times did you shoot him, six? Ive never seen you waste bullets..."
Behind his mirrored sun glasses, Rudes eyes flickered down the hall that lead from the room. "I didnt," he said slowly, raising his gun again and preparing to fire.
"Hey!" popped a terrified sounding voice from down the hall, "put that thing down! Im here as friend, damnit, Im just trying to make Rorys all right and then Ill go get out of your ha- uh, scalp, and find my way home, all right? Just lower the gun." Gabriel peered out from around the wall, watching Rude warily, quite visibly disarming the handgun he held in his fist, snatched up from the corpse of Ice. A wisp of smoke was trailing from the barrel.
Rude turned back to Reno. "See? I only fired one shot." The bald man titled his victims head back the other way, revealing a bullet hole in the side of his neck. "Right there."
Rory beckoned Gabriel forward and smiled at her brother, even though she was inwardly hoping he wouldnt take the boys head off. "Gabriels been helping me out," she said, "he tried to save me when these freaks chased me down."
The was an awkward pause as Reno studied Gabriel calmly, then slowly extended his hand. Gabriel took it, but instead of shaking, Rorys older brother pulled him within whisper distance. Here it comes, Rory groaned inwardly, either the inaudible death threat that would turn Gabriels blood cold or worse yet- a simple punch that would result in her friend waking up in a week or two. But Renos purpose, surprisingly, was much less violent. "She really lets you call her Rory?" he asked, a small grin tugging at the corners of his mouth.
Gabriel nodded, grinning back.
Tseng leaned back against the bullet ridden wall, watching Reno and his sisters conversation but not joining in himself. He was extremely unsettled, with his resurrection, Rorys, and the fact he could have sword to God hed heard the name Gabriel before but couldnt remember for the life of him from where. He did know it was from some time a ago, a time he didnt really want to visit again in his life.
Rude walked in from the top of the stairs, looking somewhat paler than usual- hed gone down to the dungeon to see if any of the other gang members were still around, they didnt need any surprises. The bald man went straight to Tseng, beckoning him closer and shooting Griffon a disturbed glance. "Well," he said, "the good news is theres only one guy down there, and hes dead."
Here it comes. A surprise. Great. "And the bad?" Tseng asked, not really wanting Rude to answer him.
Rude held up his hands to indicate a circle about the size of a basketball. "He had a hole in his chest this big."
The both of them turned again to look at Gabriel, who smiled and waved back at them, his smile suddenly faltering as he saw the skepticism in their faces.
"What?" he asked.
Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic