Angeal… the man who had been his friend…
"You're a little more important than my sword… but just a little."
"Embrace your dreams."
"If you want to be a hero… you need to have dreams. And honour."
And his only father figure…
"No story is not worth hearing… hahaha."
Cloud, the young recruit who had admired him…
"Ya know Zack… I've never seen you use that."
The one who had trusted in him…
And had once saved his life…
And Aerith, oh Aerith! What he wouldn't give to see her smiling face again…
To hear her laughter or even just to listen to her say his name just one last time.
The flashbacks grew faint as the pain began to take over his body. He fell to his knees, clutching his chest with his left hand. But he wasn't going to give up yet. Not that easily.
He tensed up, gulping in a deep breath. His head was spinning and he was having a little trouble keeping his eyes open, but he could just make out the three distant silhouettes of the last of the ShinRa army. They raised their arms.
Why? Why now? Why so close… He could see Midgar Edge for Gaia's sake!
There were three loud metal clicks.
Soon he'd finally be able to hold her in his arms and tell her.
The air shook with the deafening crack of the sharp pellets that were exploding from the ends of the guns of the three infantrymen.
Tell her what?
The rain began to fall.
He endured the bullets pounding through his chest; he could feel his hot, sticky blood flowing down his back and stomach in streams. He heard himself cry out in pain. He fell to the ground, gasping loudly. He made faint noises to remind himself that he was still there.
The red lights of the ShinRa trooper's helmet suddenly shone in front of his sapphire eyes. He choked on the blood in his throat as the gunner raised his weapon for the final time.
He moaned loudly. There was one last blinding flash of light. One last deafening bang. One last bullet pierced his head. He groaned softly, and drew a shattered breath.
And the rain fell, silently, somehow calming him.
Zack stared up at the blackening clouds. Every now and then there was a whimper or a moan as the hundreds of bodies that were littered around him begged for the life stream to take them back, to take them away, to pull them out of this living nightmare. He feared that his time for that was close.
What was that?
That helpless struggling moan that he knew only too well, over the past month it was sometimes the only noise he'd known. Cloud crawled over to the dying warrior and peered down at him.
"Zack…" The young blonde whispered in dismay. Zack tried to turn his head but winced as a burning white flash of pain shot through the back of his head. Instead, Cloud bent over his shoulder to look him in the eye. Zack slowly drew a deep breath and began. "For the..." His voice was weak and husky. "Both of us." He tried again, but his mind became fuzzy and he lost track of what he was saying. Cloud reminded his friend that he hadn't finished. "Both of us?"
"That's right," Zack continued, his voice barely a whisper. "You're gunna…" He flinched as another unbearable blast of pain flared through his brain. Cloud nodded slowly for him to continue. "You're gunna?" Zack battled the pain and lifted his arm, with intense effort, and placed it on the back of his young friend's neck. He gently pulled Clouds head down so that it rested on his chest. "Live," He the blue eyed fugitive breathed, slowly letting his hand fall to his side once more.
The blonde drew his head from they dying warriors torso, Zack Fair's crimson blood staining his bangs and trickling down his cheek.
Zack clenched his hand around the hilt of The Buster Sword. He gingerly lifted it. "My honour… My dreams…" He let out a small shattered breath and determinedly told the cerulean eyed fighter in front of him: "They're yours now." He pushed the sword into Cloud's hands. He stared at Zack's torn gloved hand touching his own for reassurance that he had a secure grip on it before gently laying it back on the blood and rain sodden ground. His chest heaved up once more. "You'll be," Zack breathed slowly "my living legacy." He mumbled softly.
His sky blue eyes looked up at Cloud, who slowly nodded and promised his best friend "I'm your living legacy." He swore. A small smile graced Zack's chapped lips as he closed his eyes. Finally at peace.
The storm grew heavier and wilder, the rain now pounding down harder than ever onto the blood soaked battlefield. Onto every corpse that had been slain at Zack's hand.
It washed the cold sweat, the warm, sticky blood, and the mud from his face, soothing his burning sores.
That was her rain. Aerith's rain.