Before you begin. I want to welcome you. This is the rather dramatic and disturbing start to a series of stories I've had in mind for a long time. They fall into two categories. Some are those stories that were meant to be scenes in one of my other fics but for one reason or the other just didn't fit. Others are completely original ideas that I liked as a one shot, mostly things that amused or intrigued me. Little plot bunnies escaping from questions I had about game events or just the random misfiring of my mind. The following ficlets or drabbles will run the gamut. From comedy to tradegy and back again. I start out with this one, because...well, if you're gonna start. Do it with a bang! I'm not gonna limit myself to one game either. You'll get a mixed bag of FF7, 8 and 10 fics. Mostly, I see these as a way to exercise my mind when taking a break from my longer works. So enjoy! On with the show!! But before that! THE WARNINGS!
WARNING! This chapter is rated for violence and language. It deals with the topic of child abuse. Being such a touchy subject, if you are at all sensitive to violence or a former victim of child abuse yourself. Please, go read something else. Or wait for the next chapter. I also use the derogatory word for a homosexual in this fic. It is not meant to offend, nor do I use it in my own life. However, it was used as an illustration of a particular mindset for a character. Once again, if the use of that word offends. Please, PLEASE refrain from reading this fic.
The Cycle of Abuse
Final Fantasy VII
A strange, sickly green smile came over his face as his fist connected with the boy's head. How strange and hollow it sounded, like there was nothing inside it at all. Surprisingly, it actually had hurt to hit him. The sensation in his knuckles was painful though he guessed it had hurt the one he'd hit more. His hand still burned painfully but it had been worth it for the oddly satisfying cracked cocoanut sound when his fist had slammed openly against the child's head.
The man paused to regard his work, looming over the frail figure of the child. The boy was curled into a tiny, pale ball on the floor, shaking and crying as he held his head with his chubby little hands. Underneath one trembling hand a large red welt appeared, it would disappear just as suddenly. But the evidence was there all the same. The man who stood over him gazed down dispassionately, as if he'd witnessed such a scene a hundred times before in some other vicious lifetime. Pain. It had been several months since he'd felt anything. In the blur of experimentation, in the rush to improve himself and the boy, he almost forgot that he was still human. The boy whimpered and he ignored it...for now. Instead, he was drawn to his hand, fascinated by the speed of its healing. He watched with silent awe as his bloodied knuckles healed almost before his eyes. The blessings of Jenova were many, and this was only one of her miracles. Soon to be beheld by the entire world.
The same, terrifying smile twisted across his haggard face, his eyes shifting to the crumpled heap that was the boy. Moments ago, he was covered in bruises; his nose and lip bleeding like a stuck pig. Now the flesh was as pristine as polished alabaster, the only thing that hinted at his injury were the bloodstains on his ragged hand-me-down clothes. Given to him by sympathetic nurses. How easily the child could sway humans to emotions just by the fact of his youth. Were they too blind and stupid to know that this was no child? They had to be. His tears were nothing more than pretense or at least they should have been. He'd healed over, damn it all. What did he have to cry about? It angered him, the strangled little sobs and whimpers he made, like a whipped dog. Why was he so weak? They'd contaminated him...tainted his perfect creation. Worthless...The man's eyes darkened and he lazily raised his leg and watched detachedly as he kicked the child solidly in the stomach. The boy sucked in air, immediately ceasing his incessant puling. He gritted his teeth, delicate features contorted in pain and though he made no sound, his tears still trailed down his face.
"Why are you crying, boy?" the man asked, his voice full of contempt, taking his time pronouncing that last word with sharp, rounded loathing.
The boy didn't answer, looking up at him through his long silver bangs--just trying to keep the hate and despair from his face. His entire body shook with it. Large jade eyes glowed brightly in the dark, still wet with tears. For only five years old, this child had been witness to such unrelenting cruelty. Cruelty that would have broken most grown men, yet, unbelievably, he persevered. Somehow holding onto a dwindling sliver of hope that the man who'd been in charge of him a year before would come back.
That man had shown him that life wasn't always pain. He knew that it wasn't supposed to be this way. That the beatings he now got almost daily were wrong. The injustice of it, the damned plain unfairness of it, festered inside him. Gast had never treated him like this. He was a kind, gentle man. A genius. Whenever he'd perform a procedure on him, Gast would tell him exactly what he was doing and if it'd hurt. He'd give him pain relievers; hold his hand when it hurt the most. Gast taught him things, read him stories, and played with him. He gave him candy and toys and books--things that had been stolen away from him now. Gast had allowed him to play with other children. Even going so far as to arrange special outings, where he'd go to Gast's house and visit with his wife and baby daughter. He liked those times best of all. He had treated him like any normal person. But Gast had left and with him went any sense of normalcy. The comfortable routines of the last five years had been replaced by relentless agony. The days were long and torturous, constantly reminded that he was far from normal. He'd always known he was different. Now it was just so much clearer than it had been before. Gast and his other caretakers had tried to be careful to hide that fact from him, but he'd known from all the time he'd spent with other children.
Normal children didn't live in a tiny cell in the Research and Development department of Shinra Inc.'s laboratories. Normal children didn't have gray hair. Normal children had parents. He'd learned all of this from his once daily visits to Shinra's daycare center. Gast had let him go there because he wanted the boy to be socialized. He felt the boy needed experience with children his own age, not just the scientists, doctors and research assistants he was familiar with. Even though he was the company's greatest experiment, he was still a child, after all.
The man who stood over him had disagreed. He hated that man. That man said he was better than everyone else but he was a liar. Because in the same sentence were words that made him feel less than human, like nothing more than a number--a thing to be used--a tool--a weapon. Made him feel like one of the numbered dogs or chimpanzees they'd experiment on. He had once felt special, loved and cared for. That had evaporated, and what was left was a lingering hatred for himself, this man and all those who allowed this to happen. Who stood by and made him wonder if it was somehow his fault.
Gast had left and gone away and left this man in charge. This man he hated and feared more than anything. The boy rarely said his name but when he did, it was with venomous loathing. Why did he leave? Was it my fault? Did I make him go away because I'm not...he let the thought hang as more tears escaped his eyes.
The man smirked, amused by the traitorous emotions that flickered across the child's face. "What are you thinking about, boy?"
"Where did Gast go?" The boy asked him quietly, looking up at him--eyes steely with determination.
"Always that question. You hope he'll come back for you?"
The boy said nothing but if looks could kill, than surely the man that stood before him would have been eviscerated.
"And what do I get if I answer you? Hmmmm?" the man queried, expectant.
"Where did Gast go?" The boy said again, his voice strangely commanding. Still sounding young and untested but with a demand in it that was not meant to be disobeyed.
The man scoffed, noticing the tension in the child's shoulders but he knew better than to push him too far. He was still young but incredibly strong for his age. The gift and miracle that was Jenova coursed through his veins as well. The man tired of seeing hope in the boy's eyes. Tired of seeing his love for that fool Gast and wished to stop his endless questioning. He had hoped to use it as a trump card further down the road, but he supposed now was as good a time any to rid the boy of his human attachments.
"He's dead." The man replied, his eyes deadening, voice callously cold.
The man smiled quietly, not looking at the boy, "...Wish in one hand, boy. Crap in the other.... and see which one piles up first. Gast is dead and in the ground. He never cared for you. He left you here to rot.... why would he come for you? You're not his family. You might as well accept the fact that humans, at heart, are selfish creatures. You are above them...Why you insist on holding on to the memory of such a weak, fool like Gast, I'll never kn--"
"SHUT UP!" The boy cried, "You're a liar and a monster. Gast isn't like that. You're wrong...."
"Am I?" the man said, voice deathly cold, "You hate me, don't you?"
The boy refrained from answering again, but his eyes glittered with it. He still held up that hope that Gast was alive. Sooner or later he'd break him, but that time was a long way off. So determined...the man thought dully and momentarily he saw another face superimposed over the child's. In the boy's face he saw the Turk that was his father. The Turk that fucked his whoring wife. The Turk that was ever defiant, right up until the end. The boy had the same defiant streak in him and more than likely would fight just as hard as his father had. To fight for her. Lucrecia. He loved her, he really did, even though that love had twisted underneath his collapsing sanity...he had always loved her. Had done what he had to because he loved her. Now she was gone. Another regret in an endless string of regrets, the list was so long now, he felt it could wrap around the world twice over. The boy was on that list...He could see her in him too. His large jade eyes were almost the exact shape and color of his late wife's. Just as lovely, as pale and delicate. Just as haunted as hers...filled with tremors of emotion. So human.
He hated the boy, for everything he was and everything he wasn't. But mostly, he hated him because he wasn't his. Biologically and scientifically. Neither the genes nor the research were his, and everyday the resentment squirmed inside him...begged for an outlet. This child became his de facto punching bag. He was a symbol for all of his personal and professional failures. A bloody great neon sign that pointed to all his inadequacies, highlighting the fact that he was nothing but a waste of carbon and water. A pile of human tripe, he was nothing more than a useless mixture of all the wrong parts of humanity. All his life he'd been running, searching, trying to be a great man. To live down his own tortured childhood, to prove his bastard father wrong. To live up to some insanely inhuman standard of perfection, near god status. Looking for that definable triumph that he could hold over all who doubted him, and say--You were wrong about Yasuo Hojo. You were so very, very wrong. But all he ever got was that he wasn't good enough. A substandard scientist, a substandard human being. He even went so far as to change who and what he was. To alter himself, make himself better. Before this boy, he had channeled Jenova. Now she'd chosen this boy to be her vessel. Carving out bits of his mind, making herself a nice little home to wait for the day when she'd wake. Even as an avatar for her, he was inadequate. This bastard child. He seethed. Torn between wanting the boy dead, and the knowledge that he was needed alive if the project were to succeed. The child was better than human, better than him. Better than the Turk or even Gast, who the boy loved like a father.
Is this why he'd suffered? This vapid, human child--a worthless, gibbering human child. Jenova would make him a god and he cried because he missed Gast. What did he have to cry about? Ungrateful brat. His father had visited more horrifying vengeance on him for lesser crimes than crying. And his mind pitched itself away into those dark memories. Visions of his father assaulted him as he berated him for his love of reading and the sciences. "What's wrong wit you, boy? Why cain't you play ball like a normal kid? What the fuck did I do to deserve a little fruit like you?" That damned rasping echo of his father's voice haunted him, followed him wherever he went. No matter how far he fled, it was always right behind him. He looked down at the boy and for a moment he saw himself as a child. Cowering in a corner as his father brutalized him. That same look on his face. Fear and loathing. The hopeless trails of tears that dried on his cheeks, leaving a path that the gods could tread if they had dared to. But the gods don't care about one lonely little boy, not enough to swoop down and stop the horrors visited upon innocence. No matter how hard he prayed for them to.
And for a moment the alien presence that gripped his mind and bent him to her purpose, smothering his emotions, receded. It was she who had drove him, that had dredged up those memories and he'd heeded her call to numb himself to those memories. In the absence on non-feeling, pity well up within him. Silver hair melded and turned inky black, dark brown replaced cool jade and for a moment he had to rub his eyes. Because he actually saw himself on the floor, the boy was him. And he was...he let the thought peter out because to admit the horrifying truth was too much for what was left of a once promising mind. This child was like what he'd been before...pathetic....weak...emotional. Human. The boy had suffered to become more and he'd added to it. And inside, the human he once was wept because he'd become what he'd hated. Father...came the whisper. This boy, his life would be as ruinous and painful as his own. And instead of shielding him, as Gast had, he'd viciously beaten reality into him. What kind of man would this child become now?
His hair was a stark gray, almost white. When he was born it had been as midnight black as the Turk's had been. Hojo remembered how Lucrecia had smiled when the doctor had held him up. Such dark hair, she'd whispered. He shut his eyes against the painful memory, the sheer agony of it nearly reducing him to tears. In the child's short life, his hair had gone almost completely white from the stresses continually put on his body. Both he and Gast had hoped it was a temporary side effect of the mako treatments. That sooner or later his hair color would return to normal but it didn't. If anything, it got paler each day. Very little black remained. It was odd to see a child of five with definite salt and pepper hair. Even odder were his luminous eyes, bright with more than just the obscene amounts of mako that had been injected into him. He was intelligent beyond his years, frighteningly so. Hojo knew that the boy was smarter than he let on. The child played the part of innocence so well...but he was better than that.
What was the point in coddling him, really? Why let the boy think he was normal? He wasn't a child. He wasn't even human. He was better. He is a puppet.... he has no emotion and cannot feel.... The sibilant whisper of the alien curled around his mind like a foul wind and the shred of humanity that was left in him shuffled back into its corner. Not human. Better.
But the tears in the boy's eyes betrayed that thought. The way his small body shook. The boy, no matter how altered, was still human. Human? Human. It was confirmed. Something had to be done. All the effort they'd put into him. The time. The sacrifices. I loved her and she betrayed me...I had to... you didn't have to...I love...I love. He'd killed his wife for this child...this pathetic excuse for a god. This wretch. Damned, feeble useless human...someone, help me. He was better! He should be better! His treatments had worked; he'd seen the results and no amount of Gast's superior disapproving could change that. This child was better! He'd be faster and stronger and smarter than any man alive and damn it all, why didn't he act like it?! He should be an implacable rock! A fucking paragon! Not subject to stupid human weakness. Like you are...like she was.... And again the boy's face fell away and his face appeared before him like some kind of absurd ghost and how he hated himself. How he hated the boy he was and the man he'd become. Why wasn't he good enough? What was wrong with him? And in this furious storm of emotions, Hojo snapped.
All his childhood beatings washed over him as he lashed out at the boy. Slapping his face until his hand numbed. And with every real slap came the remembrance of his own tortured childhood. The blows he'd taken in the past filtered through him and were released to infect a new victim. For violence is as vicious and unrelenting as any virus. All of it poured out of him and yet the release he sought never came, there was no satisfaction to be had. Not matter how hard he beat the boy, it never relieved his own pain despite his hope that it might. Right behind his eyes lurked those memories, ready to reach out and grab. The times he'd have to watch mutely as his father groped and molested his sisters. He'd stare ahead and pretend not to see because if he saw, then his father would turn on him. There was many a guilty time that he'd thanked the gods that he wasn't a girl and that his father didn't have a predilection for boys. How dirty he felt for being glad he was only ever beaten and the stupid helplessness that came behind it, because there was nothing he could do to help. "Yeah, you like to watch. Don't you, you little faggot..." Shutting his eyes against his father's voice, tears peaked out from his eyes. His mother was screaming--her terrified sobs pierced his heart so much, that he'd try to blot out with his pillow. Stuffing it in his ears as his father beat her when she dared to object. When she stood up for them. The broken arms. The swollen eyes. Get me my belt, boy. You're gonna get a whuppin...Are you crying? I'll give you...
"....Something to cry about!" he spat the words of his father out, his fury tapering off by the steady numbing from that voice in the back of his head.
The boy huddled before him whimpered, his tiny chest hitching as he sobbed softly. Still somewhat entrapped in memory, Hojo didn't stop beating him until his arm was too tired and sore to move. Until the boy stopped crying all together, going limp and passive. In the silence, Hojo stared down at the boy. Stared down at a wraith that was and was not his own reflection and when he looked in the mirror on the boy's door, he saw his father's face and not his own. And deep inside, the good man that he tried and failed to be wept. The only evidence of his sorrow was a solitary tear. It traveled down his cheek, dripping soundlessly to the floor. Having traveled a path less traveled. A path that had once been worn with emotion and was now devoid. A path that the boy he'd just broke would soon walk. The cycle of abuse turned and another life was ruined. And when it turned again, the whole world would weep.
THIS DEVICE WAS STOLEN FROM ARDWYNNA!
Approx. Long Hand Writing time: 30 minutes
Typing time: 2hrs. 30 minutes
Music: In Your Eyes--Peter Gabriel
Dedication: Lucrecia LeVrai
Experiment: FAILED! (I love you Excel Saga!)