AN: Celebratory story after I've finally awakened my Ranger into a Desperado. It wasn't easy and I swore I would have given up if my Machinist friend hadn't agreed to help me with King's Relic (worst dungeon EVER). On a side note, I'm not the only person who's written DFO stories for the site. There are other people who wrote stuff, I'm so happy! (sobs)

I'm not sure if I should put these warnings up, but I might as well.

Warnings: violence, gore (?), some coarse language and drug usage (wow, these warnings sound like something you'd put in a Health video)


Morning—

The bar was one of the nicer ones in the area, not too bullet-ridden and still stocked with enough alcohol to last a week.

"Up we go."

The tall, lithe man who said these words directed them to no one, or perhaps it was meant for the corpse he was now carrying out the doors of the bar. The corpse made a muffled 'thump', like a pillow being hit against a bed mattress when it landed on top of the pile of bodies—other companions that died under the judgment of the gun.

He lit up a cigarette, inhaled and exhaled once, then dropped the stick onto the pile.

"May you rest in peace," were his last words to the bodies, wondering if something like peace was even possible here. Perhaps in death it was different but he wouldn't know; all he knew was how to live.

The Desperado, beneath the brim of his hat, glanced up at the rising sun. It was hidden behind the brown haze of dust that rose from the dry, parched lands that had only ever drunk blood. It was like a sheltered child shying away from the impurities of the world. He smiled at that image, not even being able to remember a time in his life when he had ever been sheltered.

"Maybe I'll be luckier in my next life," he said to the sun, to the parched land and to the solemn group of men that were filled with too many holes to reply.

Noon—

The sirens in the Kartel hideout were screaming. The group on guard duty in the security room would have turned them off by now except their bodies weren't so intact anymore and their brains lay as mashed pieces of gray flesh on the ground.

Walking past them, without a care in the world, the Desperado began whistling.

The door was flung open and half a dozen gun barrels suddenly faced the Desperado. The men holding the guns were armed to the teeth and probably as trigger-happy as their dead companions.

"Don't move you bastard, or we'll shoot you dead!"

'Not today.' And instead of cowering in the face of death, the Desperado smirked and drew his own guns.

His revolvers, like deadly, gleaming silver birds in his hands, flew without wings in the air that became filled with smoke, lead and blood.

Night—

A group of mercenaries had raided the bar while he had been gone. It irked the Desperado, not because the people had just come in without even wondering why there was such a big pile of bodies just outside the entrance (they were there for a reason), but because they drank up all the booze before he even got to taste it. Honestly, he wouldn't have mind sharing the drinks but they could have at least asked before taking the tequila.

He tried talking to the men, but they were too rowdy and belligerent from the alcohol and unable to see sense anymore. Combine that with the guns they had, it was enough to cause an all out brawl. The Desperado, never one to back down from a challenge, took them head on.

Hours later, when all the windows had been smashed, only one light still remained intact on the ceiling and the tables had been maimed too much to even be of use anymore, the Desperado sighed. He collapsed into the sturdiest looking chair he could find and lit up a cigarette, this time taking a long, deep drag before exhaling out all the smoke.

The smoke was a thick white cloud before him, thick enough that he could not see anything behind it and for that moment the Desperado could almost imagine the smoke as alive. Then it began to thin and dissipate, unveiling the image of the mercenary group's leader heaving for breath as blood filled his lungs.

The leader laughed, because he had stopped fearing death a long time ago and only saw the stupidity in his death. Killed in a bar fight after losing to a single gunner, how very weak that made him. He asked the gunner, just before his lungs could fully collapse on him, what the difference was between them?

The Desperado only smiled, his cigarette dangling between his pointer and index finger. "There's only one difference," he told the leader as he saw the other man's eyes begin to dim and his frantic, huffing breaths stopped.

He took another long drag and exhaled, letting out as much smoke as he could so he could see the thick, living white cloud again. It was there, fleetingly, before disappearing again and the Desperado wondered if there was some way he could trap a cloud into a jar.

"I'm alive," he said to the dead leader, to the silent audience that lay sprawled all throughout the room. Then, the last light bulb flickered and went off, allowing the darkness to swallow everything but the single, red spark of his cigarette.


AN: It didn't turn out the way it wanted to, but I'm quite fond of the last line. But the symbolism in here still fails. ORZ