Chapter 4: Fate
Ginny ran toward the door, desperate to stop him as Caitlin held her back with all her strength.
"Ginny, you can't go out there!" Caitlin exclaimed.
"But Vic's gonna die! He's already hurt, he can't stand a chance against them!" Ginny cried, tears streaming down her face.
"Have faith in him, he's not as weak as you think! Besides, there's nothing we can do, we'd just be getting in the way."
"What's going on?! Why does Vic's arm look like that? And who's on the roof?!" Drew asked insistently, standing in front of his sister and looking up demandingly.
"Go hide in the toy room, Drew, it's safer in there!" Ginny commanded him, not really believing her own words but hoping he would listen to her for once.
"Both of you need to hide in there, come ON!" Caitlin got more serious, dislodging Ginny from her lock on the door and pulling her toward the hall. Just as they began their squabble, a chunk of the roof came flying off and landed in the street. With a scream, they all ran for the toy room, slamming the door shut and huddling among the plushies.
"What was that?!" Drew exclaimed, tears in his eyes as he clung to his sister in fear.
"I don't know…" Ginny sunk down onto the bed, her knees weak with fear. Suddenly, she stared up at Caitlin and said, "How are we going to be safe in here? That thing out there just ripped off the roof!"
"Why do you think there are so many posters on the wall?" Caitlin asked, lifting a wall scroll to reveal a detailed chalk marking on the wall underneath.
"It's an array!" Ginny gasped in awe.
"They're all over this room, protecting every inch of it from being destroyed."
"He knew…he knew it was going to come to this…but why would he bring us here? Why not make us stay away?"
"He didn't want to risk us being captured, he'd rather know where we are than worry if we're okay or not. We can't defend ourselves like he can." Caitlin sat down next to Ginny, a look of sympathy on her face.
"But…he can't do this alone…he's one man and he's not as young as he used to be, whatever's out there has him overpowered. We have to do something…I have to do something!" Ginny suddenly leapt off the bed and ripped the door open, slamming it shut behind her as she ran through the debris that was Vic's house. She spotted a gun case by his office and broke into it, pulling out a rifle locked inside. Quickly loading it and pocketing a couple rounds, she ran toward the door but just before she could open it, Vic came crashing through the ceiling, landing behind her in a pile of shingles.
"Vic!" Ginny hurried to him, kneeling next to his bruised and bleeding body to help him up.
"Ginny, get into…the room…" Vic gasped, weakly trying to stand but collapsing in her arms.
"No, you need help! I'm not going to leave you to die like this!" Ginny said, glancing around for signs of the enemy. Vic tried to protest and ended up in a coughing fit, moaning in pain with a grimace. Holding the rifle firmly in her hands, she crouched ready to defend Vic with her life. It was quiet for a moment, the sound of her pounding heart overwhelming her hearing as she listened hard for any signs of movement outside.
"Ginny…" Vic wheezed, reaching a shaky hand to her arm with wavering eyes staring intently at her.
"Stay still." She whispered. Unexpectedly, there was a crash overhead and shingles began to rain down on them as Ginny tried to aim at the sky.
"Edward, where'd you go? Come out and die like a man!" A booming voice rattled the walls, filling the air with hatred of a billion lost souls.
"Wh-who is that?" Ginny whispered, her hands beginning to shiver unsteadily.
"Dogma…" Vic said, staring up through the hole, still grimacing but not only because of his wounds. A blur passed overhead and Ginny let off a couple shots in its direction before falling over from the kick. Laughter echoed like a train speeding by as the monster seemed to fly around the house.
"Well, you sure showed me my place, I fear for my life! Hopefully your wits are sharper than your aim, woman!"
"Shut up!" Ginny screamed out, becoming quite cross with the homunculus.
"Don't listen to him, he's trying to make you mad." Vic said, sitting up a bit.
"Well it's working!" Ginny said angrily.
"Listen to me!" Vic shouted, grabbing her arm, "Do you remember when Ed and Roy fought in the anime?"
"No, I never saw it; I don't think this is the time to be reminiscing, Vic!" Ginny glanced at him in confusion as Dogma cackled outside.
"Ed lost the battle…I lost, because I let Roy's taunting get to me. You have to focus, don't let him break your focus for one second or…"
"Brave words for a coward!" Dogma mused outside in a smoothly evil voice.
I told you to shut up!" Ginny growled.
"Ginny, please!" Vic groaned, shivering with the agonizing pain coursing through his side.
"Vic, don't move, you'll bleed to death!"
"Forget about me, save yourself and the others…before…"
"No, I won't leave you!" Ginny exclaimed, wrapping her arms around him tightly.
"How touching! If you two get any sappier, I'm going to need a barf bag! You humans never cease to amuse me with your sentiment; always holding onto hope for the sake of having something positive to think about…thinking it'll change the fact that it'll never work out. Reminds me of one rainy day in Germany 60 years ago…you remember that day, don't you, Edward?" Vic didn't respond, his grip on Ginny's arm tightening as he fought to ignore his words. The voice outside sounded somewhat familiar to her but she didn't recognize it until he spoke again.
"Come now, how could you forget? 'Go, brother, take the stone and run, I'll cover you!' He never stood a chance…" Dogma quoted in Al's sweet voice before slipping back into his slimy, obnoxious tone.
"He…he knew what he was doing…" Vic muttered, his shivering intensifying.
"But did you? No…you waited an hour outside the compound for him to return. It wasn't until you heard the shots and screams that you realized you'd never see your brother again. Not a single worthless soul survived, all because Alphonse wouldn't surrender. Such a shame…those poor Germans…"
"Germans…?" Ginny muttered before realizing what he was talking about.
"Oh yes, those noble men fighting to rid the world of all the impurities and perfect the race of superhuman beings! Too bad their leader was a weak half-breed who rejected even his own heritage and tried to pretend like it wasn't true, couldn't handle all the pressure and lost the war. I've seen better leaders in modern society, that Castro is a fairly respectable tyrant…I might go say hi when I'm done here."
"I won't…listen…to you…" Vic growled through his teeth, determined not to give in to the anger and resentment building inside him.
"Funny, you've always been that way, Edward, no matter how many people died. The gypsy woman told you not to infiltrate the Nazi ranks but you did anyway, leading to her capture and eventual death because you couldn't blow your precious cover. Then your brother told you that it was too dangerous to keep the stone around, but you insisted that it would be safer to steal it and run. Such a disaster that the guards caught on to your little plan and Alphonse had to sacrifice himself for you. What's a few more loves after the thousands slaughtered for that stone, all those people and you couldn't save a single one…"
"It's…not my fault…" Vic muttered, his will to fight the torment slowly breaking.
"You and Alphonse were their only hope and you threw it all away just to fulfill your own selfish desire to have the stone…"
"No, that's not true!"
"You could have stopped them, saved the mongrels from their demises, prevented the stone from being made…but you didn't. Why, Edward?"
"I…" Vic stared blankly at the floor in empty shock, "I don't know…"
"It's because you wanted it, you wanted the power of the stone to get back to Shamballa so you could live in a world that you knew, your own world. You did want to go home, didn't you?"
"Yes…but…I…" Vic whispered.
"You could have gone home but you felt bad about causing so much death, how could you go back and tell everyone that you let your brother die so you could come back? No, you stayed here to rot away your years in solitude, looking for ways to make up for what you did. You know nothing will make up for it, even now you've put more lives in danger because you just won't give up the stone. When will you stop and think about what you're doing? You do love these people, don't you?"
"Yes…" Vic's grip on Ginny's arm began to loosen.
"As long as you're alive and you have that stone, no one will be safe. How many more must suffer before you come to your senses? You are the reason we are here, it's all…your…fault."
"NO, don't listen to him, Vic! You know it's not your fault, you couldn't have stopped all those people by yourself! Vic! ED!" Ginny screamed, shaking him out of his stupor. She took his face in her hands and stared deep into his hazel eyes, saying passionately through a choked throat, "You couldn't have done anything to stop the events of the past, you're just one person against a whole host of evil plaguing this world. No one made you our savior, no one said you had to do it alone and no one's blaming you for anything that happened! You had to take the stone, Ed, those people died because of it, the least you can do is us it to take revenge on their murderers, on HIM!" She pointed to the roof where random taunting and laughter could be heard, "Don't just destroy it, don't let them have died in vain! You have to fight, for Al…for Vic…for me."
"For…you?" Vic blinked, his eyes begging her to give him the courage he lost.
"Yes, for me and the others who are backing you up a hundred percent on this. We don't want to see you suffer anymore because of things you couldn't control, please…don't give up yet. Let us help you if you can't do it alone, you don't have to fight alone…not anymore…"
"Ginny…I…I don't want to lose you…" Vic whispered, his heart torn between giving up and persevering.
"Then you know what you have to do." She said, gently helping him to his unsteady feet.
"Yes…I have to fight back. They died so that I could destroy Dogma and the evil he brought to this world with his bigotry and hatred, I can't let them down." Vic seemed to be gathering his strength back, his will to have his revenge strong enough to overpower his brainwashing.
"Don't be a fool, Edward, remember what happened to Vic when he tried to fight back…" Dogma hissed, lurking over the roof in anticipation of an attack.
"He knew what he had to do and chose his path, just like the others before him. Now I'm going to end this, once and for all." Vic replied, walking shakily over to a desk and opening one of the drawers, pulling out a blood red stone on a chain and hanging it around his neck. Turning to Ginny, they exchanged looks of understanding and she said, "I'll cover you."
"Thanks…now let's see if this'll work." Vic clapped his hands and touched one of the replica lightsabers sitting on a display nearby. With a flash of light, his alchemy consumed it and to their surprise, it came to life in his hands.
"Woah…" Ginny muttered in awe as Vic walked up to her.
"Yeah, Vic would have liked this…maybe I'll leave it for him when this is all over. Be careful and stay inside, only shoot if he tries to cone in…and don't shoot me." Vic said, listening to Dogma's movements to figure out where he was.
"I'll do my best…are you gonna be okay?" Ginny looked at his wounds warily, his clothes soaked in his blood.
"No." He gave her a gentle smile, "But thanks for your concern, sweetie." Quietly, he ducked into the kitchen to sneak out the back door and surprise Dogma from the rear. With one final look of longing to follow Vic, Ginny went to the front door and opened it, luring Dogma to leap forward and attack. Quickly bracing herself in a crouch against the wall, she aimed at the hole in the ceiling as Dogma flew over it. Letting off a couple more shots, she caught him in the leg just barely, just enough to make him angry. He proceeded to rip off another section of the roof in an attempt to uncover her and attack but she hid in the hallway before he could spot her.
"Looking for me, ugly??" Vic shouted as he leapt off the roof and took a swing at Dogma with the lightsaber, hacking off part of his wing that fell into the house with a sickening thud. Ginny stared up through the open ceiling just in time to see Dogma and Vic grappling in the sky. She'd never seen such a creature in her life, like a human with finger-like wings of flesh, swatting at Vic as he attacked viciously. Long rusted blonde hair whipped around in the air on Dogma's head, masking his face from view as Ginny watched the battle ensue. Finally, she realized why he had such a power over Vic's feelings: he looked just like his brother Alphonse.
"Oh Ed…how can you fight your own brother?" Ginny whispered, feeling sorry for what he must be going through. But then she thought about it and realized that it wasn't really him, Vic most likely reminding himself of that every second the battle raged on. Suddenly, Dogma caught Vic by the foot with his wing and flung him into the front yard where he tumbled limping through the grass. Gasping, Ginny leapt to her feet but stopped short of opening the door, remembering what he had told her.
"Face it, Edward, you don't stand a chance! You barely have the strength to breathe, let alone fight me, why not just give in now and save us both the trouble?" Dogma shouted arrogantly, the sound of a malevolent smile in his voice.
"Because…I have a job to do." Vic spate at him, blood dribbling down his chin as he crouched on the ground. With a clap of his hands, he touched the ground and seconds later, the grass flew from the ground like a wall of needles, slicing into and through Dogma's body. With a howl, he tried to retreat but Ginny was ready. With all her strength, Ginny let off a volley of bullets into the sky and right through Dogma's frail wings, bringing him crashing down into the living room. Mercilessly, Ginny stood over his quivering body and took aim, saying coldly, "This is for Vic." With no hesitation, she shot him in the head, ending his life and the torturous reign he held in the world. Seconds later, his body disappeared into the floor, leaving no sign of his evil self as Ginny dropped the gun and panted heavily. Coughing rung out from the yard and she suddenly remembered Vic, hurrying out to kneel by his side.
"Vic, it's over, he's dead!" Ginny said happily, laughing with tears in her eyes. She held him in her arms and he smiled, whispering, "That's great…you did well, Ginny. I'm…I'm glad I got to know you."
"Don't talk like that, Vic. I'm gonna get an ambulance and they'll come and take care of you, just hang on a little longer." Ginny said, choking up inside.
"I've lived a good life, Ginny, I'm not afraid of dying…again. Who knows, maybe this time I'll go home for sure and be with all my friends…and Al…" Vic coughed weakly.
"No, I don't want you to die, not yet! I…I need you, Vic! Please don't go…" She sobbed, her heart pounding as she began to panic, "CAITLIN!! HELP!!"
"Ginny…you've been a good friend to me, can you do one…last thing for me?" He looked up at her with his eyes sparkling with tears and hope.
"Anything, Vic…" Ginny sniffed.
"Help me into the backyard…please." He struggled to support himself on her shoulder as she helped him to his feet. Caitlin came running out just then and hurried to help support Vic's weight, saying, "Oh no, Vic…"
"Just…get me to the backyard…" Vic muttered, struggling to walk with them but dragging his feet and slipping in the blood that dripped on the ground. They hurried as fast as they could through the house to the backyard where they laid him in the center of the grass. They helped him to sit up and he said weakly, "Caitlin, can you tell everyone…tell them I said goodbye?"
"Sure thing." Caitlin said, knowing better than to argue with him at this point.
"Ginny…I want you to know that…I will always be watching over you. You've had a hard life but don't be like me, don't give up. Never stop being the sweet girl that you are…" Vic said softly, touching her face briefly and leaving a streak of blood behind.
"Vic…" Ginny gasped, too overwhelmed to respond. He fumbled with the stone in an attempt to pull it off and Caitlin did it for him, placing it in his hands.
"I…I want to give you something before I go, something I think you need more than me. Please…get into the house and don't come back out until it's over." Vic said, sitting up and holding himself limply upright.
"But…" Ginny tried to protest but Caitlin pulled her to her feet, leading her toward the house. They stood in the doorway and held onto each other tightly, watching as Vic weakly clapped his hands together and slowly touched them to the ground. A bright ring of light burned up through the grass, steadily growing brighter until they could no longer watch him. Seconds later, the light faded and when they looked back, Vic was laying in the yard completely healed and naked. Cautiously, Ginny stepped out into the yard and walked over to him, kneeling at his side and touching his shoulder.
"V-Vic?" She whispered. With a moan, he raised his head and looked up at her, blinking vacantly and saying, "What…what happened?" Just then, Caitlin came running out with a blanket and threw it over him as he sat up. He stared at her in surprise as he looked around, saying, "Caitlin, what am I doing in my backyard? And…why am I naked?"
"Don't you remember?" Ginny asked, "You fought Dogma and then came out here and…"
"Dogma?" Vic asked in confusion. It was then that Ginny realized what Ed had done. With a gasp, she covered her mouth, tears streaming down her face.
"You…you're Vic…" Ginny whispered. He stared at her curiously before saying, "Yes, I am. Do…I know you?"
"Yes…and no…I think we have a lot to tell you." Ginny said, glancing at Caitlin as she cried too.
"I suppose so, I'm really confused." Vic said as he got up, holding the sheet around himself as they walked back to the house, "First of all…what happened to my house?" Caitlin and Ginny exchanged looks before Ginny said, "The fate of all humanity, that's what."