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FIC: Zebraflesh

Title: Zebraflesh
Fandom: Final Fantasy 7
Characters/Pairings: Reno
Date Written: 2001
Summary: Reno and his broken little mind after the plate drop.
Rating/Warnings: R, language.
Notes: An exercise in catharsis. Most of Reno's angst comes from his own head.

It all started with a rumble.

Not much, really; just a low roar on the edges of his perception, barely audible over the keening hum of the chopper blades beating through the air above. The part of his mind he'd allowed to consider it was expecting it to be a bit more dramatic: fire and brimstone and golden-red tendrils reaching out of the haze, spidering their way down the support pillar as if seeking ground.

The other part of him just... didn't want to know.

One hand rubs absently at the friction-burns on the other wrist, as if the relatively minor discomfort could distract him from both the building explosion and the razor-sharp agony lancing its way through his chest and, assumedly, into his lungs. Broken ribs, crushed inward from the impact of a fragile human form against the unforgiving steel of the helicopter platform. God, why'd he have to jump? Why's he have to be so fuckin' dramatic all the time? If Tseng hadn't been as fast as he'd been to catch hold of his wrists... that slip into eternity would have completed unhindered.

And why shouldn't it have? Takin' down an eighth of a city, Reno... maybe you shoulda gone with it.

No. Always better alive, always better alive. Right? The Cetra bitch sitting across from him in a state of near-catatonia isn't paying attention to anything save the view out the window. He finds himself irrationally infuriated at her, as if she were to blame for this, for all of this...

Riiiight. Blame her. She didn't push the button, did she? Brilliant, that... fuckin' deadly. So what's it matter when you cash in your ticket? Y'know the whole thing's going up in flames now, long term, short term, it's all completely fucked...

The helicopter gives a sudden lurch that even a seasoned pilot like Tseng can't prevent as the shockwave from the final explosion finally catches up with them, nipping at their heels as if to hurry them along... or drag them back. It's a flattening sort of pressure, and it's all Reno can do to stifle a cry as the wave slams into punctured lungs, all he can do to keep from staring at the blossoming cloud of fire eating up the support pillar.

Looks like he's getting his dramatic fireball after all.

Damn it all.


The hospital room isn't the worst he's ever been in... surprisingly well-appointed, due to his position. Private, roomy, a bit more color splashed around than the usual white-on-white-on-white.

He's always fuckin' hated white- and the others knew it. Be thankful for small favors, right?

And a balcony attached to the room's small window-door... a tiny balcony, to be sure, barely enough to fit two people, but still. It provides fresh air, seclusion from the machines beeping and whining in the room proper, and a spectacular view.

Of what used to be Sector Seven.

Coincidence. Or fate laughing it's goddamned head off.

And why shouldn't it be? S'the least you deserve, you fuckin' monster...

Is it?

Standing here like this, hands clenched white-knuckled around the narrow railing, leaning out over the city to the point of stitches and mending bones screaming their protest, Reno can't help but wonder...

...and lean a little further...

...and mouth words into the silence, into the darkness, into the gaping void that was once a vital part of the city.

Is that...?



No. No, no nofuckingway.

Can't be.

He can't be hearing this.

Can't be hearing those screams, echoing faintly up to him, a cacophony of terror weaving itself into a single wrenching cry. Can't be seeing the wreckage drenched in blood and flame, the rancid stench of burning flesh and hair and bone searing the back of his throat.

It's not possible. Not from this distance. Has to be his imagination.

Has to be.

Why's it matter anyway?


Because nothing. You did this. You killed all those people, those children and idiots and lunatics, those innocents.

Eyes narrow against the wind, fingers loosen in their grip on the railing. A bit further.

They would have killed me, if they had the chance. Would've knifed me in the side on one drunken night too many, would've ambushed me for the money they figure the suit means I'm carrying. Would've thrown a huge party, too. Danced on my grave. Even the chickenshit patsies, in their dreams, they wanted me gone. Wanted the Turks gone. Wished only the worst on me and my own. So let it fuckin' burn.

Let it all burn.

A deep breath. Yes. Cement that thought into place, before it flies away on wings borne of uncertainty. That's a good thought, it'll protect him, it'll make this scarred city easier to look at, it'll...

Oops. There it goes. Gone.

And in the blank, empty seconds following, Reno very nearly does lean too far, fingers loosening dangerously around the railing, enjoying the pain blossoming through his chest as the still-healing injury is stressed too far, deserving it.

I deserve every scream. God help me, I deserve it all.

He'd been there when the pillar blew, been there when thousands of lives blinked out, been in the midst of their cries and very nearly joined them. That last flash of their lives, that burst of outrage at the moment of death, he'd been there.

"Oblivion's too good, isn't it?"

He deserved... to remember all of them.

Fuck that. I didn't know 'em, they're nothing to me.


Remember what?

Remember how they sounded. As they cried. As they died.


"...this isn't me..."

Yes. It is. It's you, and you're a monster.



They were all going to die someday anyway.

Feeble attempt, really.

The city scarred me. So I scarred the city back. Eye for...


...an eye, tooth...

Try again.

...for a tooth.

And still the city glitters in defiance, a thousand fireflies stretching to the horizon. Look at this life. Look at this energy. Look at this gaping black hole in the midst of it all, and face it: after ten years on the job, after a decade of walking the fine line between being a cold bastard and a complete and total monster, you've finally toppled off to the side.

Finally become a monster. Don't want to believe that, do you? You little shit, you didn't see yourself crossing the line, did you? Didn't even see it drawn there in the dust.

"...what do I even say to that?"

You don't say anythin-

"I'll tell you what I say. FUCK you, Midgar."

"...fuck you. Fuck you for making me care."

A second.

A minute.

An hour?

"...god... damn it."




( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 19th, 2009 11:42 am (UTC)
OOOOOOH I feel like a kid who's just stumbled across a grotto of ... angsty Turk fanfiction! I think my first fanfiction was to do with the Turks actually! And ... back in 2001 too! Definitely around then.

2001, wow.

I had such a sick force inside me the whole time he was against that railing, and normally I like to encourage the humanity in people but for Reno ... I was virtually leaning forward with him, just thinking "Let go man, let go". It would be so much easier if he just kept those darker thoughts cemented in ... but then he'd be considerably less interesting too, right?

(I'm sorry, I know it's odd commenting on writing so old, but! I'm going to return to this Turk-fiction tonight I think ^-^ Sorry for becoming somewhat of a stalker!)
Jul. 19th, 2009 04:49 pm (UTC)
Reno was always my special boy - RPed him for *years* - and also my catharsis sink during a *really* rough time. He rode in my head the same way Ror and Dan do now, telling me in no uncertain terms exactly what the hell he'd say or do in any given scenario and I BETTER NOT TRY TO CHANGE THAT, OR ELSE. He's still honestly up there; 'Splinter Inside Me' is a very recent fic and his voice is as strong as it ever was.

That said, boy was I a slipshod, melodramatic writer back at this point. I have no problem at all with you poking through them/commenting on old stuff - I posted them here, they're public - just be aware that I hadn't really found my voice at this point as a writer and also that most of my angst over a very rough patch was being vented through some of those stories(particularly 'never fades to grey', ugh)

But yeah - RPing a character for four years tends to make you humanize them quite a bit, especially once you start filling in the absent backstory. I will admit despite that that I do remember, writing this, a moment where I was tempted to make him let go.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )