Title: Wash Your Hands Of It
Summary: So you are having a beer with your friend, and you are washing your hands of this. Set shortly before the game.
Notes/Warnings: I apologize for the long author notes at the end of this piece. XD This oneshot follows Final Fantasy 7 canon. It's rated for mild coarse language and adult themes. Uh...and there's a definite Kleenex warning.
You stand over the leaky faucet and stare at your face in the mirror.
He stared up at you. Even struggling to breathe through the blood in his lungs, he looked right at you. The look in his eyes was terrifying – a mix of anger, fear, anguish, condemnation.
But what do you have to worry about? It was your job. It was a job well done.
There's a knock at your door and it opens a moment later. It's Fell, carrying on like usual.
"C'mon and have a drink with me!" He brandishes an empty beer bottle; it seems he's already hit at least one bar. "Where were you today, man? I heard you were on some crazy top-secret mission!"
You glance at the clock. It's only a quarter till ten. Might as well go out. "It wasn't 'top-secret'."
You leave the room with Fell, in a silent acceptance of his offer. Getting smashed might be nice. Might get the face out of your head.
"Was it really with the Turks?"
"Damn! The friggin Turks! You're practically 1st Class now!"
You give a derisive snort.
"Seriously, man, I'm seeing a 2nd Class promotion in your future. The test would probably be a cinch for you to pass now."
You shrug. "Who knows." But it's hard to hide your pride at the idea.
"Even if you make it to the top you'll still remember me and all the other little guys, wontcha?"
"Huh? Uh, sure, I guess." You don't really get what he's driving at.
Fell rubs the back of his neck and smiles awkwardly. "I'm no good at exams, so it's just... whatever..."
You smile. "You'll always be my main drinking buddy, no doubt."
He grins back and slings an arm around your shoulders. "Good! ...You remember when we met, though? We said we'd make it to the top together?"
"What are you getting at?"
"Maybe...that you'll do that, but I'll be stuck in 3rd forever? Hah, I dunno," he adds in a rush, as if he is embarrassed that he feels that way.
This is Fell? The same Fell that shouts "I laugh in the face of danger!"? What other insecurities does he have, you wonder vaguely? You've arrived at your favorite bar, though, so the subject is dropped. A good thing too, since the conversation was taking an awkward turn into territory that you guys have never talked about – the future.
After you've given the bartender your orders Fell speaks up again. "So what the hell was this mission, anyway? Or can't Mr. Bigshot Commander tell me?"
You shrug. "We were catching a pair of Shinra fugitives."
He whistles. "All that for a couple of fugitives?"
...Is that why it's been bothering you so much? Because it just doesn't add up? Is it just your analytical side taking over?
"Uh, is it something I said?"
"...Huh? No, it's just that you're right; I mean, it doesn't make sense for Shinra to put so many people – even the Turks, for crying out loud – on such a straightforward mission, you know?"
He doesn't say anything, just sips his beer once the bartender slides it over to him. So you continue.
"...And I mean, they were wearing 1st Class uniforms. Did two fugitives manage to beat up a couple of 1st Class SOLDIERs and steal their clothes? It just doesn't make sense."
"Maybe they were spies, and they got found out. I guess Shinra didn't tell you what they did?"
"Nah. I'm still just 3rd Class, aren't I?"
He nods. "So, tell me about the Turks." Ever since you guys joined SOLDIER, Fell's been fascinated with the Turks and their life of espionage and danger, or something like that.
You smile dryly. "They're not all like Tseng. But either way, you get the feeling that you don't wanna mess with them."
"Did they...I dunno, talk to you at all?"
"They just gave me orders, that was all. Oh, but I did see Tseng when we got back to headquarters."
"Yeah? Did he say anything, 'well done' or something?"
...Maybe in any other situation you have been indignant at being ignored like that, but that weird look on Tseng's face when you walked by him...if you didn't know any better, you'd say it was regret.
"...That was the other weird thing about the mission!"
Fell frowns, like he wishes you'd stop bringing that up. "Yeah?"
"Tseng was radioing in orders from the Shinra building, right? And it was almost like...they couldn't make up their mind about what we were supposed to do with these fugitive guys. At first we were just supposed to apprehend them; then we could use force if necessary, but not kill; then we were supposed to get them dead or alive; and finally it was just shoot to kill."
"So ya killed them?"
"...Yeah. The one guy...was insane with that sword. He got one of our guys before we got him."
"Yeah, well, he had a sword and you had a machine gun. No contest there." He mimes aiming a sniper rifle at some invisible target beyond the bar. "You mess with Shinra, that's what you get.
"So you killed some guys, huh?" Fell says. "That's...pretty intense. You're a bona fide SOLDIER now, man – drink to more hardcore missions?" He holds out his beer bottle, grinning.
A wave of nausea comes over you and you bolt for the bathroom, much to Fell's surprise.
The nausea dies down quickly and once again you're standing in a cramped bathroom, staring at your reflection in the mirror. 'A bona fide SOLDIER? Is that what I am?'
He was staring at you. He didn't want you to do it. 'But I had to, those were my orders, I had no choice-!'
That's why you shot him in the head, wasn't it? You blew out his brains because you couldn't stand looking at those accusing lavender eyes any more.
...No, no, don't think about it. You're right, after all – you didn't have a choice. So you are having a beer with your friend, and you are washing your hands of this.
All Fell's talk of a job well done is ironic, because technically you did not finish the job. ...But it doesn't matter; the blond was as good as dead anyway, right?
[A/N: Yay, I got this up before the CC scenes start to really hit youtube. XD
So, Fell was named Fell because it means "of the mountain" which is the same as the meaning of the name Orestes, who is Electra's little brother in the play 'Electra', which we were discussing in English class when I got the idea for this piece. I guess my brain just took the dark themes of 'Electra' – murder, revenge, and repentance – and went "DEADZACK"
Fell was named only because I thought it would be too confusing if the "buddy" character didn't have a name either. The main character is nameless because really, what does his name matter? He is going to keep telling himself that he's washed his hands of this, and he didn't have a choice, he was working under orders, etc, and pretty soon he'll start believing that and after a while he's not even gonna care anymore.
I mean, as far as he knows, he just killed a fugitive. It's not like he knows how much Zack meant to Cloud/Aerith, and it's not like he knows Cloud's going to end up saving the planet. And he didn't stop to consider anything like that, because it's not "what can I/they do for the Planet", it's "what can the Planet do for me".
Gaia's problem is everybody is so darn greedy and selfish. It started with Shinra – then their greed and selfishness lead to anger and unhappiness, which led to hate, which led to sadness, which led to more greed and selfishness; and really the cycle they're in is every bit as strong as the Lifestream's cycle of life and death.
I mean, really – Zack wakes up five years later, he might as well be on a different planet. A guy like him almost doesn't belong on a planet like theirs. It's almost no wonder he died. ..
I have no idea where that all came from, by the way. I think I'm growing an existentialist!Sephiroth muse...Oh man, I wanna write so much stuff about him once CC is out-!