Broken

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Here's my first, and probably last, attempt at a Final Fantasy VII Fan-Fic. Written on a whim, I figured I'd post it here and see if anyone cared for it. It's set just after the destruction of Corel - Barret's home town. Hope ya'll like it. :)

* * *

The broken man walks – stumbles – through his own memories. As with any person visiting their home town after a long absence, he recognises landmarks through the images they hold for him. There, to the right, where he lost two teeth fighting with his best-friend. And over there, behind the Parson's house, where he received his first kiss.

His mind has been shattered far more completely than any bone in his body, the broken man can not even remember how long he has been gone. Days? Months? Years? He had been going somewhere, somewhere important, but now he only feels the urge to trudge forwards along the ruined path of memory lane.

The home that surrounds him, glowing with the memories of his past life, is different now but even as he moves further and further inside the village he finds it hard to place. The smell of cooking in the air? The smoke clouding in the sky above? The sound of children-

He reels to one side, his good foot sinking deep in the charred remains of what had once been a living, breathing, laughing life, and spits. The phlegm and blood colour the blackened remains. The broken man shakes off the ash that clings to his boots, his gaze passing over the corpse as if not wishing to even lie there for a second. In fact his gaze flits everywhere. As though some part of his being appreciates the suffering he has undergone and cries out 'No more, let it be enough!'

For his home, the tiny mining village which used to glow with it's own kind of energy, <I>had</I> changed while he had been gone. The smoke didn't just gather in the air, it swamped it and cut out all true sunlight. The sound of children was only illusion, his own mind struggling to deny what is true. And the smell of cooking in the air.. meat does scent the air but it is that of the corpses lying fresh on the flame.

This is the truth the broken man, who once answered to the name Dyne, seeks to hide from. This is the truth he refuses to run from. This is the truth he trudges towards.

His home has been destroyed.

* * *

<I>Eleanor.. I'm coming..</I>

Dyne looked up at Barret looking back at him, his oldest friend outlined by a halo of gunfire. Shinra had come back, they had come back to take revenge for something they had no control over. He had never trusted them, walking in with their easy answers and quick solutions. Everyone else had fallen down before them, so willing to give up the very thing that had kept them going for centuries, but Dyne had stood as proxy for the generations of Corel men and women who could not speak. Their ancestors who had made their will quite clear in one flash of machine gun fire.

As blood spurted outwards, the rapid fire turning both their hands to pulp and then to mush, Dyne tried to grip onto Barret with his very soul. Dyne looked up at Barret looking back at him and remembered the words he had spoken. How he had argued about changing times.

<I>You brought this, my oldest friend..</I>

And then he was falling, rock blurring past his eyes, rock scraping at his skin and, finally, rock rushing up to meet him.

* * *

<I>Eleanor..</I>

Dyne stumbles again, crying out as he puts pressure on his broken leg and sends pain writhing like a thousand needles from his toes to his groin. He falls, unbalanced, against a charcoal black hut and puts his left hand out to stabilise himself.. only to have white hot agony run along his arm as well. He has no left hand, no matter what his senses tell him. There is bone and muscle leering out from the stump, nothing more.

He takes a firmer step, his mind swirling closer and closer to reality as his battered psyche attempts to adjust to what his world has become. The next time he passes an open flame, Dyne thrust his left arm deep into it's centre and his eyes barely twitch as his flesh cooks and, eventually, blackens.

<I>Where are you Eleanor?</I>

The ground he trudges across is coloured dark brown, small toys and bits of clothing showing the taint to be what it truly is; blood red. And yet he could see few bodies, only the worst of the worst. What his fractured mind had hoped was the sound of children laughing now echoes with the gruff, weary voices of men. Men on the job.

In the end he turns a corner and leans against the last house before the square, chest heaving from the effort it has taken to drag his body all the way here. Before him, completely oblivious, two Shinra grunts move along a pile of bodies. Each carry a cannister from which kerosene runs freely, splashing across the frozen smiles of men, women and children alike.

Who lies with her head turned directly towards him? Whose chest rises and falls so lightly that she barely seems alive at all? Whose face is marred by burns and splattered with blood yet still glows with that inner beauty he loves more than anything?

<I>Eleanor..</I>

She tries to call out but, leaning against the hut, Dyne feels himself numbing from the inside out. Reality can not return with such emotions plaguing his mind, to come back from the brink means shutting it all off. Even shutting Eleanor off. So he makes no move, merely gazes back at her impassively.

“Hey!” one of the soldiers makes his pass beside Dyne's wife and bends down, listening to her faint breath, “Got a live one here!”

“****ing hell,” the other comes around and groans, “Look at 'er, will ya? She coulda burned with the rest of 'em.” With that he stands up, brings out his pistol and fires a single shot through the side of sweet Eleanor's head. She looks on for a moment, beseeching him with her one remaining eye, then slumps forwards.. just another body.

All gone. Nothing of the world he loves remains. His wife is dead. His daughter is dead.

He is dead. Yes.

Everyone is dead. Yes!

Everything is dead. Yes!

“Everything is despair and emptiness.” His voice is a croak, he feels like he hasn't spoken for years. Before him one of the Shinra soldiers perks up and begins to turn, pistol swinging in it's holster. He does not realise that anyone else is alive. But of course Dyne isn't alive, he is dead. And the dead have no need for morals.

He runs as silent as a spectre, the broken, scarred ground blurring between his feet. There is pain, pain so great it threatens to plunge him into unconsciousness, but the dead give no heed to physical anguish. The soldier is nothing more than a rookie, his eye glimmer with fear and his mouth hangs open as uselessly as the pistol by his hand.

<I>Not so eager when the dead fight back?</I>

The other – the one who actually took Eleanor from him – is quicker, levelling the instrument of her own death and barking orders even as he pulls the trigger one single time. The bullet punches right through his left arm but by that point Dyne has already pushed past the boy and is upon the other.

Driving through the agony, Dyne brings his left arm around and knocks the pistol out of the soldiers hands. His one remaining hand seizes his opponent by the neck, ancient instincts guiding his thumb to the man's windpipe and squeezing down hard.

<I>Everything is despair..</I>

Just as the man drifts towards unconsciousness, Dyne adjusts his grip and cracks his head against the older man's nose. The soldier stumbles backwards, blood gushing down his face, then collapses as just one more corpse on the pile. Without even blinking, Dyne bends down and closes his fingers on the handle of the pistol.

BANG!

The skull of a small child lying near his foot disintegrates even as the rookie screams; all fear.

“Don't move!”

Dyne straightens up, pistol gripped tightly in his hand. He has never handled a gun in life but.. how right it feels. How natural.

BANG!

The air beside his ear buzzed.

“I said don't ****ing move!”

Dyne turned, his face showing no emotion at all. Slowly, as though caught in a dream, he raises the pistol until it is aimed directly at the rigid soldiers forehead. Then Dyne smiles, a detached, otherworldly curve of the lips.

“All is emptiness..”

BANG!

Another bullet, this one scores a line across his cheek but still he refuses to react.

“I'll kill you!”

Dyne laughs.

“How can you kill what is already dead?”

BANG!

The rookie stares for a moment, eyes wider than the circular hole Dyne had gouged in his forehead, then he too keels forwards onto the pile. The stink of kerosene is almost unbearable now but Dyne makes no move to step away, instead he brings his pistol up to his head and begins to squeeze the trigger.

“Eleanor?”

Silence envelopes him.

“Is it really you?”

His eyes remain closed but tears score marks down his ash stained face.

“Please, Eleanor. I want to be with you. Let me come to you.”

The gun trembles in his hands, the trigger moves another hair.

“But why?”

The buzz of flies answers him as they move on what prey isn't doused with noxious fumes.

“Yes, your right. Everything is sad and empty here.. I understand.”

The broken man's eyes open, the gun falls from his hand and, sliding around the neck of the woman he once loved, he takes in it her pendant. A memento.

And in the voice of the man who once answered to the name Dyne, he speaks one last time:

“It must all be destroyed.”
 

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