Kingdom Hearts II

Strings Attached

By LuckyLadybug

Notes: The characters are not mine, and this ficlit is! It was directly inspired by the prompt Puppet at the new KH is Love community on Livejournal. And so it had to be written. It's one of the few things I've done that takes place at some point during or even before the actual games, and in the same vein as Always You That I Despised, it's a short monologue of Sephiroth's.

You are a puppet, Cloud.

The words echo silently in my mind as I lean back in the chair, observing your tortured slumber. They're in your mind as well, of course. Such a statement will remain with you for hours, as usual. You know that I am right, and that's what hurts so much. Yet you will not do anything about it.

I replay the rest of my earlier monologue from our conversation.

But what's more, the one controlling the strings is you yourself. You are the one who has allowed yourself to be twisted and manipulated by the darkness. Part of you fights it, disgusted and repulsed that it is part of you. The other part, however, embraces it every whit, because it's so much easier to just give in rather than to face the present. And since to you I represent your darkness, you believe that it is actually I dancing you across the stage as my marionette.

"Shut up!" you mumble into your pillow. "It's not true! I'm fighting you. I'll kill you someday, and then the darkness will be gone."

I smirk grimly in the heavy shadows of this room. Ah, Cloud. Your inner darkness must be conquered from within. Do you honestly believe that by eliminating me, it will all vanish, as if by magic?

Sometimes I wonder. Is there some part of you that realizes I am only a representation, and not truly the darkness that lives in your heart? Somewhere in that angry and hurting mind, do you understand that I am a separate person? I eat, I sleep, I breathe, my heart beats, the same as yours. I am not a mysterious phantom in the night, who escaped from your soul and must be returned to it. But it's so much easier for you to think of it that way, isn't it? That I am responsible for what you yourself do and hate yourself for doing. As long as you can blame me, then you don't have to accept the reality of your own guilt.

And what actually am I, you would then ask. I am bound from telling you the full truth. I am only allowed to give the cryptic hints that enrage you so much.

I am the ghost, the remnant, of a great warrior, one who fought for his people and wanted them to be free. But I allowed my hatred over the opposing armies to consume me. Yes, they deserved death for the cruelties they heaped upon my people! Yet I . . . I became as cruel as they. And it destroyed my life in the end.

I was killed, Cloud. I was killed because of my own inner darkness, that I could not and would not get under control. I pushed away my only friend, one whom you have been pushing away yourself. Can't you see, Cloud? Can't you see that you are treading the very same path as I?

Zack is worried about you. Every day he worries, watching you from afar and inquiring of me how you are doing. What can I tell him? That you are still drowning? That you are falling further each day, refusing the lifelines that are being thrown to you? But he knows. He always knows, and I do not have to say a word. He can see it in my eyes.

And it pains him far worse because this is not the first time he has seen it happen. He witnessed the darkness take hold within my soul, helpless as he watched it twist me beyond belief. Will you do the same thing to him? Will you shred his heart even as he pleads with you to come back to yourself?

You will not listen, not to him, or me, or anyone. You are blind and deaf! And it will kill you. But will you be resurrected then, as I have been? Will you be told that you must watch over someone who is struggling with his darkness, someone who will remind you endlessly of yourself? Someone whom you will wish you could simply seize and shake until he understands the magnitude of what is happening?

You see, Cloud, I know that you are a puppet . . . because I was one as well. And at times I wonder if my strings have ever fully been severed. As long as I am bound to you, I am still paying for my sins.