AN: Just a short thing for ShadowHaloedAngel, for putting up with me being so stressed.
Warnings: Mentions of domestic abuse and suicide


In the end, it all came down to this. The Wutaian youth, little more than a child, gazed at the blade in his hand, thinking how easy it would be to turn it on himself, fulfil his destiny and avenge his ancestors. He turned it in his hand, seeing his reflection in the shard of metal, remembering how he had got here.

He'd been snatched from Wutai a few years ago, to satisfy the demand for exotic Wutaian servants above the plate. His village had been raided, and many had been brought there. He'd tried to escape but hadn't quite managed, and had found himself in Midgar. He hated it there. He struggled to adapt, finding it hard to learn the language and adopt Midgarian habits. Every night he prayed for Leviathan to come and save him, but eventually he realised the old god had abandoned him. The only god that mattered now was the Midgarian god of money.

He was saved by a bearded man who had told him to kill the one he was working for. He obeyed, and he had been glad. He'd felt like a hero, killing a bad man. He'd thought the man who'd taught him to kill, who had addressed him in his own tongue and made him a murderer, would take him in and save him. Instead, he was bought by another, and a few months later, the bearded man came back. Another murder was asked for, and the process repeated.

The boy thought that this would be his life now, but it stopped. This time, the man had thanked him, and had offered him anything he wanted. He'd asked to go home, and the man had brought him back to Wutai.

He had expected to be welcomed back, by a loving family, but in the time he was gone it had all changed. His mother had killed herself, his sister had run away and his father hated him. His father struck him. He'd stood there, trying not to flinch as the blows fell and he was called names, Midgarian scum and worse. His father blamed him for his mother's death, told him he had brought shame on their family, that he shouldn't live any more. After that, his father's rage had calmed.

With icy coldness, the man had fetched him this blade, and locked his son in the house. The boy could use it, restore the honour of his family. Then it would be over and his shame, working for Midgar's monsters, would be forgotten. If he didn't take this opportunity, he would probably starve anyway. This was the easier choice. It was the right thing to do. He lifted the blade again.

He'd felt excited on the way back, in the strange device which had returned him to his homeland. The bearded man, who had called himself Veld, referred to the device as a "chopper", which the youth found strange, as the word seemed more suited to blades than gigantic flying machines. In the chopper, Veld had told the boy that he would have a job within Veld's company, that he could work in Midgar. He'd be an assassin, valuable. It would give him a reason to live, a sense of achievement. The boy had turned it down.

He regretted his refusal now. He'd refused when he had thought he could go home, when he hadn't been worried that he wasn't welcome in Wutai. He turned the knife a final time, staring at the reflection of his dark eyes within the shard. He pressed the tip against the front of his tunic top, feeling bile rise in his throat.

He jumped, hearing a strange, almost musical noise behind him. In his shock, the blade escaped his grip and clattered down to the ground. He turned back to the pile of clothing he had returned in, from which the noise seemed to be emanating. He searched through it until he found a black box with a glowing panel upon, playing the same sequence of notes over and over. He pushed one of the raised buttons.
"Hello?" The boy asked, wondering if Veld had accidentally forgotten it when he had left.

The voice, when it spoke, was calm, almost gentle, and surprisingly patient.
"Do you want me to come back?"
The boy nearly dropped the phone in surprise. "I...I do..." He whispered, realising that this, not the knife, was his chance. This was the choice he took. A shudder jolted through him when he realised that the phone had been left deliberately. He had another chance now, a life like the one Veld had told him of, playing the role of a key assassin.
"Alright. You won't come back here again though. You'll need a new name."
"Yes sir." The boy answered, already slipping into his new role.
"Tseng. I think I shall call you Tseng, if you do not object."
"No sir."
"Then I will be there soon." Veld reassured him. Tseng took a deep breath.
"Take me home."