ShinRa changes people. Directly and indirectly, it makes people turn into cracked reflections of what they'd wanted to be. When you have the world at your feet, you can't stay yourself. When you have the world at your feet, you can't expect to remain unchanging.
Zack Fair was the only one who wasn't changed by ShinRa, as you'd probably noticed. That might be why, all this time, you were fascinated with him. When did you fall in love? It doesn't matter, because, however much you would deny it, you loved him until the end. Which was alright. Everybody loved him. For his bright and cheerful personality, for the optimistic nature and his slightly naive dream. To become a hero.
Isn't that the core of the problem? Once, there was a boy that wanted to become a hero, like his rival. And his lover. This boy wallowed in self-pity every time he was defeated by his beloved in a fight, in training, whatever. Until, one day, the boy learned the frightening truth: he was not human. He was a monster. It broke him. It broke him enough to make him want to break everybody else.
Genesis was changed by ShinRa, directly, because it was ShinRa's doings that made him into what he was. Genesis' actions changed those close to him, and those close to those he'd changed.
So, Angeal Hewley had to die, because he couldn't live in the world ShinRa created for him. Sephiroth went crazy, betrayed by his beloved Genesis, left alone with the knowledge that he, too, was a monster. A perfect monster.
Zack Fair refused to change until the end, and his end was caused by the people he'd called heroes... once. Genesis Rhapsodos, Angeal Hewley and Sephiroth. Don't you remember? He'd talked about them with such fire in his eyes, when we'd first seen him. You said he was like me, but it's not true. ...I don't believe in heroism.
Or I didn't.
He became a hero, after all. Dying to save that blonde cadet, Cloud Strife or whatever his name was. For some, he became a hero. That day was when I believed in heroism, but I never met anyone that could be called that again.
And I don't call death heroic, no way. I could die any day, I'm a Turk and there's nothing glorious in receiving the fatal bullet wound in the gut. Dying for someone... is cowardice, anyway. Death is the easier way out, that's what this slums-raised ShinRa dog tells you. Easier, faster, happier. I mean... if there was hell... how to say it? When a person dies for their friend, their beloved, their whatever, they condemn the saved one to a whole lifetime of pain, regret and loss. That Cloud Strife, will he be able to handle it?... This hell of knowing that Zack Fair could have lived, hadn't he been in the way?... Isn't that what all those left behind think?...
But, returning to the subject... I don't call Zack Fair a hero because he died to save his friend. I call him a hero, because he fought for his freedom until the very end, and he never stopped believing in his ideals.
I can never be like that. As a ShinRa dog, I have no freedom to fight for.
I never had one, anyway.
When Zack died, I think, the final changes occurred, didn't they? The change in you. The change in me. The change in Cissnei that eventually led to her death... Yes, I'm still mourning. Believe it or not, she was like a sister to me. Kind of.
The change in ShinRa itself, for some reason. Or was it that... we just looked at the Company in a different light? A completely new light that cast long, deep shadows on everything we'd thought we knew. I, for one, didn't care. Because you stayed here.
Even changed, you were the only thing I wanted to stay loyal to. Do you know why? Because you took me out of that hell of a life and offered me something. Maybe being a Turk isn't the best option. But to somebody raised in a brothel by whores, and then living alone in the streets, trying to survive another day? It was a change that made it worth staying around. Plus, you fed me. I'm like a dog, really – you gave me food and I loved you instantly. Forever, like a loyal mutt.
Your love for Zack Fair... I remember one situation that I saw, and at the time I didn't even realise what it meant: you laughed softly at something he said. I didn't catch his words, but one look at you was enough to understand. You laughed because he said it, not because that, itself, was funny. That's what he did to you: he changed you into a human being like nobody else could. He and that Ancient. They both made you laugh, smile – and cry. Did you know that every time you were human like that, I was there to see it, to witness it, to keep the memory hidden deep within my rotten little heart... just to dream at night that you were like that with me?
It didn't bother you that Zack and that Ancient girl were together and in love. You were selfless, in fact you still are when it comes to her, even if you pretend otherwise. You wanted them to be happy and if that meant their being a couple, you were ready to help them. Just like that. Just for their smiles in return for yours.
For a while, you were human. And then, the chain of events that started with Doctor Hollader creating monsters for ShinRa, broke you, leaving only me as a remainder that once, you were different. Me, the things you did for me, and my memories of you.
The eighty eight letters for Zack Fair, the ones you wanted to deliver, you ever wondered what happened to them after he died?... Or maybe you knew from the moment you found them missing, I took them. I read every one of them, crying tears I knew you wouldn't cry. Then I burned them, and threw the ash in the air in vain hope that somehow, it would reach him wherever he went.
You changed. You never smile anymore. I try hard and do it for you, even though I'm far from happy. Like you, like Aerith, like Cloud Strife, I'd been left behind. I've changed, too, even if it's less noticeable than your change. Before, I used to be loyal to the Company. I used to think that my life was better because of it. Now, I only see you. You are my only Master and if one day, you choose to defy the President and do something suicidal – I'm going with you. And if not – I'm staying with you. Whatever, you have no say in that, because I belong to you.
ShinRa changes people... directly, it changed Genesis Rhapsodos and it couldn't had been helped. He would have known something was wrong because of the deterioration that consumed his body. But that could have been handled otherwise... Nobody had to die and nobody had to be left behind. ShinRa is the real monster that doesn't care for human lives. It's not going to change.
Indirectly, ShinRa changed you, ShinRa changed me. It changed us. And if there was ever a chance... a tiny flicker of hope, maybe, that one day, you would see me and smile – it's long since been buried under the ashes of the letters you kept for so long, inside the grave that Zack Fair never had.
A/N: That's what listening to CC soundtrack does to me. Angst, in a way, again. I'm sorry. And it keeps getting off subject, but maybe that's not that bad? hopeful
This story is written for Moiranne Rose, who's an amazing writer, no matter what she herself says about this. In opposition to you, MR, I think that age matters when you're a writer. I'm much older, I've been writing for years and I can never reach your level, no matter how hard I try. But you keep inspiring me, you keep making me want to write more and get better at this. Thank you. You know I hardly ever review stories, not because I don't like them, but because I'm such a lazy bum. Please remember that I love your writing, even if I don't tell you this all the time. I should.
Thank you. And next time, I'll do better.