I guess, technically, this whole chapter is a giant spoiler. But, honestly, who doesn't know how Crisis Core ended? Okay, so this was just an idea I had recently while watching the video. I don't think I got the emotion down right, which really bugs me, so if anyone has suggestions, I'd really love to hear them. So apart from that, read and enjoy, please.
Disclaimer: Please, as if I own Final Fantasy.
It was tough, crawling across the ground like that. I wasn't wounded – no, he had hidden me well enough at the beginning – but it was still difficult, the way my muscles and brain didn't want to cooperate with my intentions. It didn't help that everything was tinged in green: the sky, the rocks, and the rain- and blood-soaked ground. His body. But I knew I could make it; that I had to make it. I paused for a fraction of a second as I reached level with his feet and he still wasn't reacting. The blood was worst around him, pools of it beneath him and beneath the sword that was thrown out beside him. And all of it resisted the wash of the pouring rain around us. A thrill of fear thrummed through me for a second at the possibility that I was too late, that he had died. But, no, his breathing caught slightly when I finally pulled myself next to him. Blood soaked the side of his face and tattered pieces of his shirt fluttered in the wind, gaping up from the bullets that had torn through his body. His odd blue eyes stared up at the sky, slightly unfocused as I stared hopelessly down at him.
"Z…Zack…" I was too scared to raise my voice above a low murmur as I searched for a reaction. His answer was a gasp of pain accompanied by a wince, and then his eyes drifted down to my face. An overwhelming sense of helplessness washed over me as I realized there was absolutely nothing I could do to help him. He gave me a ghost of his old smile as he gasped out, "For the…both of us…"
"Both…of us?" My mako-loaded brain refused to process the words to make any sort of sense as the rain quietly hushed around us.
"That's right…you're gonna…"
He didn't seem able to go on and I prompted gently, "You're gonna…?"
Zack's hand reached slowly up and grabbed the back of my head, pulling my face down to his torn chest with surprising strength. I didn't pull away – I wasn't sure I had the strength to had I wanted to – and his answer rumbled through his chest as well.
Rain continued, the only sound as I absorbed his words and tried to focus, to understand. Finally, he spoke again. "You'll be…my living legacy." The hug seemed to sap his strength and, as he finished speaking, his hand slid from the back of my head, releasing me to straighten back up. I did so slowly, feeling the blood that now soaked the side of my face and my hair; blood from his chest. He waited until I met his eyes and then smiled slightly, turning his head to look at the sword in his hand. The blade growled slightly against the stones as he lifted it and I was stunned again by his strength. "My honor…my dreams…" He held the hilt up for me to take, "they're yours now."
I reached slowly for the hilt, grasping it in both my hands awkwardly, unsure. He waited until I had a grip, and then put a hand over one of mine, pushing his weapon toward me with the last of his strength. I stared at him for a second, feeling the weight of his sword in my hands. "I'm…your living…legacy?" He didn't answer, only smiled at me as his eyes drifted shut. The color drained from his face and his chest stopped moving beneath his tattered shirt. A soft gasp broke through the sound of the rain and I waited for Zack to open his eyes, to laugh at me for being so gullible. Nothing happened for several minutes and I sobbed slightly, another ragged gasp. My heart collapsed in my chest, as though someone had stepped on it and crushed it, the pain nearly knocking me down. Another sob broke a second later and I watched the rain begin to clean the blood from Zack's still, peaceful face. I threw my head back, an anguished scream tearing free, echoing over the empty expanse around us.
Zack, my commanding officer, my mentor…my best friend. The one person who really seemed to believe I could make it to SOLDIER and had supported me. The guy who always had a piece of advice and a cocky smile ready for any situation. The guy who had been hell-bent on getting me away from Shin-Ra with him, never mind the increased risk. The one who, without a thought, had decided he and I were going to open a mercenary shop.
It seemed a long time before I moved again. At least, the rain had stopped by then and the clouds were even breaking apart to let down small rays of light. I dropped my eyes back down to the face of my friend and it was like he was talking to me again, "Embrace your dreams. If you want to be a hero, you need to have dreams."
He was right, I had to have dreams…and now I had his dreams. I would live for the both of us, as his living legacy, just as he'd asked. "Thank you." It was the least I could do when he deserved so much more. "I won't forget." I stood finally, my muscles complaining from being still so long. I stood staring down at his body, searching through the clinging Mako fog for the right words to say. "Good bye" wasn't enough, it was too final. Zack wasn't the kind of person you just left and never heard from again. That was too tame, too normal for Zack. "Good night. Zack."
His sword was still too heavy for me to lift and I had no way of carrying it anyway, so I dragged it. The point of his sword made a long, narrow trail behind me as I walked and the more steps I took, the longer it seemed I had carried my huge weapon. Far in the distance – and yet we had nearly made it – was Midgar's impressive Plate, the gates to the crowded Slums already seeming an almost welcoming target.
So...what did you think? I'm going to write another chapter, about how he met Tifa at the train station, so I hope you read that one too.