Title: You (Not Yours)
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis
Prompt: 111) Speak. Shatter the silence. Question everything. Redefine. Reimagine patriotism. Reimagine hatred and take back the language. - Terry Tempest Williams (born September 8, 1955), American author, teacher, naturalist and environmental activist.
Summary: After Zirconiade's defeat, one Turk stands up again.
Author Notes:Second-person POV. AUish. (Goes with the Turks dying at the end of BC rather than surviving.) Done for femgenficathon on LJ. Prompt used. I don't own anything FFVII related. Thanks to the amazing rushin_doll for the beta!
The air smells like burning metal, fire, and dirt. A cacophony of destruction to greet you as dust and soot and worse speckle the air as you open eyes for what feels like the first time. You mull over that, blinking cautiously, and wonder how you wound up in this body that is, can't be, your body. Each breath is another battle fought with heavy lungs and the shooting, spiky pressure that makes you think that things, important things, are broken.
If this was your body, you think, you'd have taken better care of it. Thus, it cannot be your body. Not when everything from the hair on this head to the soles of these feet aches viciously.
The hands you're attached to move upon your command. You lift them to look at them through eyes not your own. They're attached to the body with slim wrists and the hands have long fingers and neat, clean nails. You can approve of that.
Slowly you trace those hands down the sleeves of what seems like a suit and muse over the utter strangeness of this. Whose body is this?
What happened to yours?
Sitting up is another war in and of itself and after you've done it, you think perhaps you shouldn't have. You've just managed to hurt the body you're borrowing worse if the pain is any indication, but it is too late now to worry about that.
More troubling is the broken ground around you, like an earthquake rent its fury or a bomb was dropped. That's nonsense, you know. If a bomb had fallen, you wouldn't be alive. This body wouldn't be alive.
And you're pretty sure you're alive.
Still, something happened here and it was big and destructive and there's bodies littered around the one you're borrowing.
Vision wavers alarmingly and you clutch those long, unfamiliar fingers to the head you inhabit as the body attempts to curl in on itself. The tangled hair, soft under the grime and blood, disgusts you-the body you're in responds forcing you to cough up bile and blood.
You force the mouth to swallow once the body is done and ignore the tears the body leaks on your behalf. You don't see why a stranger's body would grieve for you.
But then, you don't know why you're here.
You fumble in the pockets of the suit and come out with a PHS. For a moment you're breathless (not just because of the lack of air the body is getting) because you know what it's called and that's a bright spark in the middle of knowing nothing.
You study it for long moments that are maybe a second and maybe an hour (time has no meaning to you or to this body) before it rings.
It falls from startled fingers and you stare at it, letting it ring, before picking it up and answering it. You can't find words to say, you're not sure if this body would let you say them anyway, so you just stay silent.
There's breathing first, harsh and furious and you envy the person their lungs. Your borrowed body cannot do that.
"Oh thank fuck," a guy says. Not to you but to someone with him. "Rookie?"
That's to you.
The head hurts again, the pain sharp behind the temples, making you feel dizzy even though it's not your body. Which, really, isn't fair.
He keeps talking, telling you (more likely, you think, telling the body you've stolen) that they're coming, okay, so just hang on and don't hang up and answer me, Rookie.
His voice makes the pain worse so you set the phone down as far away from the body as you can reach without hurting things more. There, you think. You haven't hung up, so he can keep talking, but now you don't have to listen. You are sorry you can't answer him but he doesn't want your answer anyway.
How could he? He doesn't know about you. He's concerned about the body and there's no answer for that.
All around you are the dead.
It's a strange and peculiar thing, to look down at a splash of red hair here, over that way blond and black, and the spill and stains of scarlet blood and worse and realize, somehow, that these people meant something to-well, not to you, but to the body you're in.
You're sad for some reason. But you don't know them so it has to be a reaction from the body you're in. That's the only thing that makes sense. They all wear the same outfit. The once crisp lines shattered and shredded and that bothers you (the body) almost as much as their deaths.
It might be your decision, it might be the body's, but you force those legs under you despite the agony in the chest and the way the head spins as the mouth hisses. It must be the body's choice; you would have stopped before doing all this.
You stagger on unfamiliar legs over to the closest corpse- a girl, with her eyes closed. She looks almost peaceful, only it's the final peace because she's not breathing. And the peace is a lie when below her shoulders there's a gaping hole in her body, her right arm, delicate looking as a doll's, hands by a thread of flesh and fabric from a suit that doesn't appear to know when to quit.
You blink hard as vision wavers and then clears and you find that somehow the body has spun around without you realizing it. Now the girl with the red hair is behind you. There's the heavy, unwelcome feel of liquid bubbling in the lungs you've borrowed that sends a shiver of fear down someone else's spine.
Memory or madness whispers and you're almost certain there's something you could take, even now, that would save this body you're in, but you can't remember what it is or if this suit-uniform?-would have what you need. You could set unfamiliar hands questing for it, in hopes that a fluttering grasp of someone else's memory will spark, but what's the point?
The body coughs wetly and blood, tangy and sour, fills the mouth. It gets hacked out because it's either that or suffocate right there. After, when you're staring down at the splotch of red and worse, you wonder what drives this body to keep living. What's the point?
You're drowning anyway, trapped in this body.
Those hands fall limp and useless at the sides, for a second, before the body is hacking, coughing, struggling to get enough air to keep on surviving.
You don't understand why it keeps trying. Perhaps you would, if you were in your own body. Would that be a better reason to fight? Would you understand it then?
You don't know.
Nothing really seems to matter, in this borrowed body.
You stagger and stumble, tripping over the PHS (the voice is still talking) and landing painfully on a stranger's knees. Everything jolts unpleasantly and you think that, really, even though this body isn't yours: is it really fit for anyone now?
The thought makes you pause. What if the other isn't coming back? What if they've fled and left you with this broken shell and…
Well, you think, accompanied by the sound of breathing and a buzz in borrowed ears, you cannot exactly blame them.
If you could heal this body it might serve as yours. You consider this carefully, as rationally as you know how, and shake the borrowed head.
This isn't your body, isn't your home, isn't your circumstances. Everything hurts and you can't remember anything except this is wrong and that which you let fall is called a PHS.
How can that be an existence?
Is there any way for you to get out of it? Perhaps if you healed the body the owner would come back for it and shoo you back to yours.
It's all conjecture and, as another spasm sends the body leaning over, choking on its own fluids, you think that, really, there's no time for this. If you want to survive you have to make a decision.
All that awaits you is a somber morrow…
The words fit, though you have no idea where they're from. Is it another memory from the body? Is the body trying to tell you something?
The head hurts viciously, furiously, driving spikes of pain into your mind. You see flashes of what must be memories- a blonde girl with long hair and angry brown eyes yelling something, a red-headed man with a dismissive smirk waving something off, a stern dark-haired man giving orders, and more. The lingering glimpse of a small home with paint peeling in the corners and threadbare rugs and sign that says 'stay out or else' that the little blonde girl put up (you can't question how you know that, just that the body does) and a man who has a cutting gaze and cutting words and standards higher than anyone else's sits at the table like it's an island on an ocean and no one can reach him.
You want to try, you realize, for a horrible moment before figuring out that it's not you that wants to try, it's whoever this body belongs to.
And you feel for the body you're in. That little sister (has to be), that father (has to be), those coworkers (has to be), and what's the point?
There's no one but you left here. You and scattered memories and leftover bits of dreams of being good enough.
The person who once lived in this body hadn't been.
Not for the sister, not for the father, not for the coworkers that are dead on the ground (why is only this body the one that got up again?) and the coworkers who are still talking on the PHS about how they're coming.
Is there anything left for them to find?
Despair swamps you and you can no longer tell if it's yours or if it's another remnant of the person who used to inhabit this body. Would they have given into despair?
Haven't they, since they're no longer around?
Your hands-no, you remind yourself, not your hands, but borrowed ones move. You pay them little mind, too busy with the despair and coughing out blood and knowing that, maybe now, it might be too late even to take something to heal.
That you've wasted your time.
That's alright, you realize, as the hands lift and you see what they're holding with an unsteady grasp.
You realize your decision was already made. Perhaps the body made it.
Perhaps the body is right: it's time to go, and go with more dignity than coughing your (it's?) life away. You like that. Dignity is important.
The gun rises, shakily, painstakingly, until it's on level with the head that you know, now, is yours and know that this is fitting because you're just a broken doll who hadn't even known you were you…
I offer thee…
You, one last time, put to use your borrowed self, and pull the trigger-
-the body collapses on the ground.
…this silent sacrifice.