Stairway to heaven

A/N: This fic will be very dark, and unorthodox, and more from just a storytelling perspective than a third person POV. This is easily the biggest and most difficult one-shot project I've ever undertaken, partly from the fact that it's away from my usual style of writing, and the fact that Led Zeppelin's stairway to heaven is so ridiculously long. I even looked up song interpretations to get each scene done perfectly. I highly suggest you listen to the song while reading this, as it adds greatly to the mood.

When Squall died, Rinoa wasn't sure what to do. Quistis couldn't help her, and Selphie only made it worse. As the months passed, and the shadow of depression consumed her life, the only way out was heroine. Or so she thought…

There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold
and she's buying a stairway to heaven

Surprisingly, without too much effort she was able to find a dealer. Or more of a missionary, one should say. The man's name was Zang. Zang quietly led her through the creeping danger of the Esthar underworld, a place she could never have pictured herself in. For God's sake, she was buying heroine. She dismissed her doubts, telling herself that it was the only way to be happy.

And when she gets there she knows if the stores are closed
with a word she can get what she came for

Woe oh oh oh oh oh
and she's buying a stairway to heaven

Zang taught her all the different slang's used for heroine as they continued to make their way through the shady underworld of the lower-class district of Galbadia.

There's a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure
'cause you know sometimes words have two meanings

She had her heroine, and she returned to her dark apartment. When she injected it, and the effects set in, it was as if the entire world melted around her. She saw colors she didn't know existed, and she felt like she was floating. The walls closed in around her, then stretched out into infinity. She could almost see the air.

The woke up the next morning face down on the floor, a short trail of dried blood coming from her nose. The needle was still stuck in her arm, and a gigantic bruise surrounded it. She told herself that she would never use heroine again, but her craving for the world she experienced while under it's influence led her back to Zang, who only reinforced that heroine would help her. Still, she tried with everything she had to stay away from it. As the weeks passed, her life became a swirling torrent of pain and misery. She had truly messed up this time, and now Squall wasn't here to save her.

In the tree by the brook there's a songbird who sings
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven

Woe oh oh oh oh oh
and she's buying a stairway to heaven

She was desperate for a fix. She had to have it, one way or another. Hesitantly picking up the phone, she dialed Zang's number. His devious raspy voice answered, as the conversation to decide her future began. She had no money to buy the heroine. She begged Zang to give her an advance, and said that she would pay him when she could. Always the sly devil, Zang agreed, seeing something to potentially be gained other than money…

There's a feeling I get when I look to the west
And my spirit is crying for leaving
In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees
And the voices of those who stand looking

Woe oh oh oh oh oh
and she's buying a stairway to heaven

After her second fix, Rinoa became even more dependant, and had soon used up the entire small supply Zang had advanced her on. Drugs were leading her off of a cliff, and she knew it, but she didn't care anymore.

And it's whispered that soon, if we all call the tune
then the piper will lead us to reason
and a new day will dawn for those who stand long
and the forest will echo with laughter

How had she fallen for such a lie? A question that can never be answered, as the ones who have gone over the edge are the only ones who know, but then again they aren't around to tell the tale.

And it makes me wonder

Months passed, and she had asked for one advance after another, all of which Zang gave to her. She didn't realize she was digging herself deeper into the hole, which she had fallen in. She came home one night, to find her apartment empty. She couldn't pay the dealers in time, and so they took all of her belongings. Collapsing onto the middle of the living room floor, she couldn't hold back the tears any longer.

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow
don't be alarmed now
It's just a spring clean for the May Queen

She resorted to doing anything she could to get her hands on the money required to get more heroine. Now that there was nothing to be had, Zang refused to give her any more advances… She ended up killing a man on the street, just to get what little money he had. She knew she had to get clean, but then again, it's never too late, right?

Yes there are two paths you can go by
but in the long run
there's still time to change the road you're on

She became more and more dependant, as the heroine became the absolute center of her life. She couldn't go more than six hours without a fix. Death was calling to her…

Your head is humming and it won't go, in case you don't know
the piper's calling you to join him

The heroine began to take an immeasurable toll on her body.The winds of death blew just outside her door. She began to realize that now, there was no way out. Her number was up, and she knew it, lying alone in her bed, dwelling on how much differently she could have done the things that would eventually end her life.

Dear lady can't you hear the wind blow and did you know
your stairway lies on the whispering wind

It was like a funeral precession. With the voices of those she had cut off from her life still echoing in her mind, he eyes slowly began to close. She never thought she would go like this.

And as we wind on down the road
Our shadows taller than our souls

And even now, she was desperate for a fix. Yes, temptation was something she knew well. The way it bent the truth into something desirable. Temptation can turn even something horrible into gold, if that's what the person wants to see.

There walks a lady we all know
Who shines white light and wants to show
How everything still turns to gold

We all wonder what could we do? What could we have done? As we sit and worry, and grief over those we think are already dead, we fail to realize that we could have helped. We could have made a difference. Too many cases are exactly like the one told here today.

And if you listen very hard
The tune will come to you at last

Death is known as the great unifier, the equalizer. The reliever… The destroyer.

When all are one and one is all
To be a rock and not to roll
Woe oh oh oh oh oh

But it was too late for anything else, the only thing left for Rinoa was death. The silent relief, of death.

And she's buying a stairway to heaven