This One-Shot is actually a follow up to my equally as depressing fic titled "Unrequited, but Not Forgotten." I suggest that if you have not read that story yet, you should go read it now so you aren't confused by some of the backstory.
Anyhow, this fic touches upon a character who was only briefly mentioned in the first as having vanished completely before the events of that story. Needless to say what happened to that character isn't very pretty.
Anyhow, I hope you enjoy this.
Pouring rain. The city was dead silent sans the sound of the pouring rain. But in reality, the city was not truly dead silent- there was one sound. The sound of a heart wrenching cry- the sound of murder.
The woman, now on her knees begged for her life. But with an attacker such as this one, those cries for mercy would never amount to anything. There would be no hesitation. There would be no prolonging this woman's death. It would simply be swift and painful- the worst kind of pain imaginable.
She cried as her attacker drew closer.
What's wrong, Lloyd? Is something the matter, Lloyd? If you need anything, I'll be around, Lloyd. Just say the word and I'll be there, Lloyd. Sure, I'll do that, Lloyd. I'll do it, but just for you, Lloyd. I'll be there as soon as I can, Lloyd. I'm sure it'll be okay, Lloyd. Don't worry, Lloyd. There's nothing wrong, don't worry about me, Lloyd.
She brought the large knife down upon her victim. The screams shorted out instantaneously as the woman's life was suddenly and swiftly cut short.
But it wasn't enough. Not for this killer. She kept stabbing and stabbing.
It's red- so red. That's your favorite color, isn't it, Lloyd?
Again and again, she continued to leave marks all along the broken corpse.
Are you sure you're okay, Lloyd? Don't worry; I'll always be on your side, Lloyd. I'll be waiting for you, Lloyd. I'll wait as long as you want me to, Lloyd. I'm always right here, Lloyd. I'm always waiting for you, Lloyd. You can count on me, Lloyd. I love you, Lloyd.
The corspe was now a mere husk, covered in the blood oozing from the many stab wounds.
Lloyd, are you feeling okay? What's that, Lloyd? Why aren't you saying anything, Lloyd? Did someone try to hurt you, Lloyd?
But that still wasn't enough. She needed more. And more- enough to satiate her own agony. An agony far worse than that woman had been put through.
Lloyd? Are you and Presea really getting married?
What's that? You're in love with Collette, Lloyd?
Did you forget about me Lloyd?
Are you still alive, Lloyd?
Can you still hear me, Lloyd?
That's okay, Lloyd.
Because I'll always be waiting until you can hear me again, Lloyd.
It wasn't long afterward that she found herself staring upon a battlefield- a place perfect for a person like her.
It was war- total and unconditional war. It was an unending conflict that had gone on for months- possibly even an entire year at this point- with absolutely no break to the carnage. It was the sort of war that resulted in nothing but loses on all sides and death to countless of innocent lives in the process. It was a war- all started over the death of a single man, and the lengths a gifted young woman would go to in order to extract revenge.
Upon the death of Lloyd Irving, the only significant influence the Sylverant population had within the church of Tethe'alla faded rather quickly. In the end the presiding ruler of the church-whose identity is truly insignificant- determined that they should have control of Tethe'allan city political affairs. The political nature of the world was altered, with a series of political leaders from Sylverant spawning in order to maintain a similar sort of power amongst the Sylverant cities. After a period of time, the majority of the Sylverant political leaders and the Tethe'allan Church ended up conflicting on several issues that all ended in Tethe'alla's favor. Eventually it came to the point where the outraged citizens of the Sylverant cities broke off from the Tethe'allan Church entirely, establishing the Church of Sylverant with the Last Chosen, Colette Brunnel, as it's leader.
Colette was a just ruler, with her good nature becoming a prevalent aspect of the Church of Sylverant. But in the end even she succumbed to the ever dangerous allure of power. All it took was her hatred towards the scientists from Meltokio, who had not only done terrible things to innocent people in the past but also had allowed Lloyd's brutal murder to go on without restraint, to seize control of her actions.
"In the name of Irving, Castagnier, and Combatir," she invaded Meltokio, leading an army of Sylverant soldiers into the city to wage a single bloody battle that cost Tethe'alla about as many brilliant minds as there were stars in the sky. The scientists were all brutally murdered, as well as the Mizuho shinobi who tried to help them escape. There were virtually no survivors and what little there was left of Meltokio was burnt to ashes when Colette set fire to the already smoldering remains of the city.
After the brutal and completely one sided conflict, Tethe'alla suffered tremendous losses in all areas, economic and otherwise. In the end, there was little to no surprise when Tethe'alla went to war with Sylverant. The Holy Feral War began- a conflict that has yet to see conclusion.
In the end, it was only a matter of time before things became even more dire than they already were- especially when a neutral party decided to take action- a neutral party consisting of some of the most brutal killers in the world.
Mizuho entered the war roughly around the same time it started. While maintaining a neutral pact with both the Sylverant Church and the Tethe'alla Church, fought for the complete and total destruction of the Sylverant regime. With each conflict, there would be virtually no evidence of Mizuho's involvement- no corpses, no shinobi weapons, no corpses with stab wounds from shinobi weapons- It was an order of total secrecy.
The order was governed by nothing but a set of laws. The laws of the elite Mizuho regime- the regime that fought both on the front lines and behind enemy lines in complete secrecy to bring an end to the military conflict. The Mizuho army of secretive soldiers fought to silently and swiftly break down the strongest of the Sylverant cities in the efforts to restore control to the people of Tethe'alla. The soldiers had no ranks. They only had numerical titles and even discarded their names when it came to the secrecy of their conflict.
But these were not the rules that she followed.
The shoreline of Palmacosta was alive with the flames of warfare. War and conflict inevitably returned to the barely reconstructed city and in the end the damage would be just as fatal as before. The battlefield was enshrouded by the darkness of the night, with the only source of light being the large scale fires that were scattered about.
The strongest of the Mizuho summoners, Sheena Fujibayashi, now a far cry from the person she once was, swiftly crossed the strife ridden battlefield as the Holy Church of Tethe'alla and its crusaders crossed swords with the Sylverant regime. The sounds of battle filled the air. The screams of dying soldiers, the sound of metal clashing with metal, the sound of incantations being hurled across the battlefield- it was all there. It was all so close that the chances of survival were extremely slime even if one was to cease existing altogether- the basis of the Mizuho regime's combat style.
Sheena's job was simple, yet near impossible for any mere foot soldier to ever pull off. She was ordered to sneak along the frontlines and into the lines of the Sylverant soldiers and, effectively, push through enemy lines and successfully assassinate the commanding officer, which would therefore cause the Sylverant soldiers to retreat out of Palmacosta, leaving it wide open for the crusaders to reclaim. This task was given to Sheena as well as a select number of shinobi from Mizuho who worked independently of her. She'd been hired by her former home village to carry out the task.
The practicality of this mission was extremely low- there was such a small chance that such an outrageous plan would ever successfully be executed, but it didn't stop Sheena.
Nothing could stop her. Not after what she went through.
In the years after Lloyd had been married to Presea, Sheena's life became progressively more and more desperate and dire. She was abandoned, left alone by both the people of her village and her pack of friends who had gone on to live their lives. The fact that Corrine was no longer there for her made her situation all the more damaging.
It took her the longest time for her to accept that she was simply alone, but around the point of time when she did she ended up working as a private assassin, a type of job where solitude was more accepted. She ended up killing those who were plotting against the Church of Tethe'alla, and by proxy ended up protecting Lloyd from the shadows. For this purpose, she became friendly with death, having perfected several hundred different ways to kill another person. The killing served as her saving grace. She could protect herself from her memories and protect Lloyd at the same time- something that she wouldn't give up for anything else, even if she could go back to the way she was. She ended up slaughtering some of the most powerful political leaders in Sylverant. But eventually, as the years went on, the concept of mental relief through murder could no longer contain the massive imbalance in Sheena's heart. Her feelings for Lloyd were far too strong.
After all, she put her life on the line for him constantly and consistently. But he was married to Presea.
It wasn't fair. She thought. He was mine. I should've been the one.
Of course, when Presea had been hospitalized, Sheena saw her opportunity. But of course she was bested yet again, this time by Colette. But the fact of the matter was that perhaps Sheena could have continued living the way she had if it were left at that, but the final nail in Sheena's proverbial coffin were Lloyd's parting words to her.
She'd tried to talk to him about it, but Lloyd more or less ignored her entirely. He was entirely focused on pleasing Colette and making it known that the two of them were together. Of course Sheena didn't know that the two of them already had a child before Lloyd became annoyed with her and essentially chewed her out, confirming her darkest fears with each hate filled word. He more or less told her to stay away from him. Clearly he was a different Lloyd- a Lloyd who cared about nothing but himself.
He abandoned Presea for Colette, and more or less made the poor woman's life a living hell. Sheena never made any attempt to visit her, however. She assumed that the Sage boy would have already been doing that. But even though she knew about his situation she still did nothing about it. After all, her feelings for Lloyd came before anything. Even herself. That was the basis of how she had lived her life for the last several years.
Afterward her number of jobs increased. But the heavier workload did about as much good as her previous workload. Eventually, as time passed even further, her hate for Colette and damaged image of Lloyd started to take its toll on her lifestyle. She stopped eating for days at a time. She stopped taking care of herself more or less altogether. She spent more time killing than she did eating or sleeping. This continued for several years- until everything came to its climax.
Eventually it was announced that the two would be married.
That evening was the first night she broke into someone's home and slew innocent civilians. She ended up setting the building on fire, killing the woman and her boyfriend. It was as gruesome a murder as someone could come up with. She ended up killing the officer who had nearly retraced clumsily left behind evidence to her along with his wife and his seventeen year old daughter.
Every crime she committed was essentially the same thing. It was repetition, repetition that she desperately needed much like a drug to survive.
Eventually it came to the point where she couldn't control it no matter how many people she brutally murdered. She'd even been hired to assassinate Colette several times but had failed miserably. Eventually every single time she received a job she would fail. Every time her burning anger would simmer into sadness. Every time her hatred towards Lloyd would turn into depression- depression over the dull certainty that she never had a chance to be with him and that her strong feelings for him would never come to fruition. It meant nothing more, but nothing less.
She'd killed men countless times over her sadness. She'd killed husbands in front of wives, children in front of mothers, among a series of other brutal and unrelenting acts of hatred. Her murderous rage was the only way she could survive- the only thing keeping her going. She had nothing, and desired that others experience the exact same thing. She'd never kill an entire family –she'd always leave a single survivor to suffer as she had. Her sadness was easily more deadly than her rage, but her sadness was uncontrollable. When her sadness overcame her, she could kill anything and anyone without fail- who she killed, on the other hand was far less certain.
But of course, given her good nature, she desperately wanted to put an end to it all. She desperately wanted someone to kill her. But she couldn't stop herself. Her sadness and hate were far too strong.
In the end, with death being such a natural part of her existence, it was only a matter of time before she determined that murder would be the only way she could set herself free from the shadow of death that plagued her for so long- the shadow of Lloyd Irving and his corrupted existence. Lloyd had almost willingly turned her into a mass murderer with no hope for a future filled with anything but chaotic madness, a madness that would ultimately consume everything and everyone around the broken shinobi.
And at her madness's height, the eve of Lloyd's assassination, she realized that she would be lost in her sadness forever.
It matters not if he is dead. Her contracted Summon Spirit Shadow would whisper to her. The pain and sadness you feel still remain. There is still a way to relieve it- murder. Do what you do best. Do what makes your mind at ease. Do it to heal your misery, even if just for a moment. Kill everyone, everything. Everything must die so you may live. That is how you can still survive. Do it for his memory. Do it for who you believed he once was. Kill anyone who would ever think otherwise. Kill them all.
And so she did it, and all for Lloyd. For the love of Lloyd, for the life of Lloyd. Lloyd, all for Lloyd. For the Lloyd she remembered, for the Lloyd she loved, not for the Lloyd the people claimed him to be. Lloyd. Sheena's Lloyd.
That's right, Lloyd. All for you, Lloyd. Lloyd, Lloyd, Lloyd Lloyd Lloyd Lloyd Lloyd Lloyd Lloyd Lloyd LloydLloydLloydLloyd-
And so she continued her path to ruin, continuing to paint her bloody path. She nimbly crossed the bloody battlefield, slaying all in her way. The death of countless soldiers did little to simmer her prevalent anger. This was a battlefield, and on a battlefield, where death was commonplace, she could truly live. She ran nimbly along the path towards Palmacosta, coating the shoreline in Sylverant blood. She'd slashed along the throats of the frontline men, while not even sparing the injured who begged for their life. She maimed a nurse and her patients without a second thought, proceeding to slaughter an entire medic troupe and their escorts. With a mixture of firebombs and exploding tags, she set fire to a large number of bunkers and tents, most of which were filled with citizens that had been caught in the crossfire. The Tethe'allan Crusaders managed to gain a substantial amount of ground from her efforts and thought nothing of it. But that didn't stop Sheena from killing a few out of impulse.
But eventually someone arrived who could challenge and easily overcome Sheena's warped emotions- Colette's strongest general, the powerful knight Angelo. Angelo had single handedly taken down an army of roughly one thousand crusaders and could easily mop the floor with this unit. Angelo's front line began to press onward from the entrance of the city, quickly flanking a sizable chunk of the crusaders and continuing to press forward through the lines. The numbers began to overwhelm Sheena, and eventually it came to the point where she knew she had no chance to win.
But she felt such great sorrow, after all. She needed to kill, or else Lloyd's ever prevalent shadow would overtake her.
But as she continued to press onward, her flawless performance suddenly took a turn for the worst. In the end she managed to slip on a crag, ruining her murderous streak. A soldiers' blade missed her head by a few centimeters and she was forced into a position where fighting back wouldn't be all that possible. A few more soldiers came her way, taking note of her vulnerable position. She used the body of one of the crusaders as a shield, taking his sword and running through the soldiers. She turned to her side to address an area she had been blinded to by the corpse, only to find a single Wind Blade hurtling towards her. She was forced to hide behind a rock for protection, with the blade being too close to simply avoid given how more would likely follow it, given how she'd been seen.
She had to kill. She so desperately had to kill, or else she'd go insane. Lloyd's death had this meaning for her- his death meant that she hadn't killed enough. She hadn't killed enough people in Lloyd's name to make the masses fear her, to fear the shadow that had silently protected Lloyd no matter what he had done.
But Lloyd was dead. He died, and never recognized her for what she had done. He likely didn't even know, even though she had told him. He didn't care. He never cared. And since she had run out of tears to shed she was forced to shed blood. The blood of virtually anything and anyone. And so, like she had done so many times, she went insane with her sadness. She needed to kill. Something needed to shed blood.
She stabbed a soldier that ran past her hiding spot between the eyes, ripped the kunai out of his skull, and then quickly dove behind another rock as one of the opposing mages had seen her and sent a raging fireball flying towards her. She more or less fell in the crag this time, losing her footing altogether. The moment she saw the soldier stalking towards her form the edge of her vision she knew she'd likely be killed. She almost hoped that the soldier would pass her over, but in the end she determined that perhaps dying would be best for her at this point.
After all, if she survived past this point, she'd just continue her cycle of hatred and sadness, slaughtering many more, innocent or otherwise. Perhaps if she died she could finally stop herself from progressing further along her path of destruction. Perhaps her death would provide solace for those around her, that they would never be faced with the fear of such a brutal death. Her death would ensure that all sides saw victory.
But in the end, she greatly feared her own death. She feared the fate she brought upon so many others. Her sadness would go unrequited, and so she would die as miserably as she had lived. That sort of an end would be nothing short of meaningless. But in the end, since nothing but hell awaited her no matter if she were alive or dead, she decided that she could accept her death, if only for a moment.
But of course in the moment she believed that it was all over, she found that no matter how much her death was necessary, that fate would have it that the grim reaper would wait until the most opportune moment, for the moment.
A large, rumbling fireball passed overhead in the direction of the Sylverant forces. She could only see the brilliant orange glow from the impact, and in a matter of seconds, she could tell that her assailant had been killed.
From the edge of her vision from within the crag, she saw him as he stalked onward. All she needed to know was announced to the masses by a crusader who had spotted the man first.
Who could have been so powerful that the crusader had known who he was?
Ah, that's right. A shadow that shrouded her own with its deep darkness. A shadow that was not as feral, but just as deadly.
"I-It's him! It's the Black Mage!"
After his presence was announced, the opposition apparently managed to recognize the man's presence and almost retreated. With a snap of his fingers the man enveloped a sizable chunk of the opposing frontline with a thick sheet of ice. One of the enemy mages attempted to catch him off guard, successfully hitting him with a well placed Wind Blade. However, the attack more or less equated to a light tap on the shoulder when used on the younger Sage. Another snap of his fingers gave way to a torrent of rolling fire, melting most of the ice and the frozen soldiers within the sheet. It was so surreal that Sheena wasn't even sure if she could believe her own eyes. That was the effect of Genis' magic. The crusaders cheered and proceeded onward, now having a wide opening to break through Angelo's main line.
Genis only then bothered to recognize her presence. His empty gaze focused itself on her. His eyes still lacked emotion, but it would seem that his long period of solitude had come to an end. The Black Mage that both halves of this conflict had once condemned never would become involved in a conflict such as this. More importantly, he never would have chosen a side.
"You'd best be more careful." That was all he said before he stretched out his hand to help her rise.
Genis Sage- someone else who had been left in the dark as she had. Perhaps that should have drawn her to him, but she was far too obsessed with Lloyd's shadow to ever have focused on something else.
Genis shook his head. He likely found her current state rather pathetic. Her eyes were alive with the darkness that consumed her, and she was likely covered from head to toe in blood.
"I'm almost pained to see you like this."
"…" Sheena could not bring herself to speak to him- simply because she could not. Injuries she sustained in a previous battle had essentially severed her vocal chords. But someone who did nothing but kill, all in the name of Lloyd, wouldn't have to do much speaking, would they?
"I see you're in no condition to talk. Very well then- We'll take care of this elsewhere." Without warning, Genis lifted Sheena and threw her over his shoulder. He would never have even been able to do something like this in the past. But why her of all people? As he walked off, something had stood out to him that he couldn't help but be curious about.
"Tell me something. How long did you expect to fight with that dagger stuck in your back?"
Ah, that's right. She'd been stabbed at some point. She hadn't even noticed, but it wasn't like it was the first time that she'd been badly injured. But now, in a situation where her fatigue overcame her from having nearly been killed, she found herself slipping into slumber as Genis walked off with her.
By the time she became conscious of where she was, the first thing she noticed was the pure white ceiling and walls. They were virtually spotless, with not sort of decoration adorning the walls. The room itself was relatively small, but enough to fit the bed she was currently resting on. The second thing she noticed was her physical condition- the blade was rather obviously no longer stuck in her back as she was sleeping on it, while after squirming a bit she realized she'd been bandaged up rather nicely.
The next thing she noticed was the short girl with light brown hair standing at the side of the bed. She could swear she was near identical to Presea, but that wasn't exactly possible. The girl seemed to be afraid of her, with her eyes as wide and as round as could be. Sheena didn't blame her. Whatever she looked like, she likely wasn't the healthiest looking person in the room and was likely still stained with blood. Probably even grown men would cower at her sight. Eventually, the girl gained the sense to move and exited the room.
A few moments later, a much older woman entered the room with her, while the girl seemed to motion for someone else to enter as well. Sheena couldn't hear a word of what she was saying, but she could tell that she'd been calling for someone from outside the room. Eventually Sheena managed to recognize the older person as a woman she knew- Marta, if she remembered her name correctly. Marta ushered the small girl out of the room as her eyes met Sheena's. Eventually her ears started to function properly again as yet another entered the room. It was Genis, still dressed in the same dirtied cloak from the battlefield.
"Good. You're awake now. For future reference, you've been out cold for five days."
"You really did a number on yourself, Sheena." Marta chimed in. She sounded a bit disappointed.
"You should be able to speak now. The damage done to your vocal chords didn't pose that much of a problem to some magic. But magic wasn't quite enough to fix the rest of you, though."
"How long were you like that? Not being able to speak- what were you thinking?"
"…" Sheena had no response for Marta's outburst.
"Calm down a bit, will you?" Genis was apparently trying to defend her a bit. "If anything, there's a very good reason as for why she turned out this way."
Marta didn't really reply after that.
"…I'm sorry you had to see me like this, Marta." Sheena didn't have much of a reaction aside from that.
"You really think an apology can fix all of this, don't you? Do you have even the smallest idea as to how close you were to dying? You have no idea how lucky you are that Genis is the best mage in the world, or you'd probably be dead by now." Marta was visibly distressed by the whole situation.
"I'm not one for tooting my own horn, but she's right, Sheena. On top of that, I had to replace your whole left arm. That had about a ten percent chance of success. I'm no good with alchemy so I had to rely on all of your equipment. Not that you're going back to the battlefield any time soon."
Sheena's eyes widened. She couldn't fight effectively anymore? But she had to kill- she needed to kill.
"But I…But I need to kill, I need to kill to-" Sheena sat up almost instantly- only to find Genis pressing down on her with his bare hand.
"Calm down. You're not going anywhere or killing anything. You've got some explaining to do, although I'm sure I've got this all figured out at this point."
Marta glanced towards him. Apparently this was the first she'd heard of Genis' supposed understanding of what had happened to Sheena.
"But I have to- if I don't I'll-" The fact she was being restrained didn't stop her from thrashing about, and in the process reaching for something that shouldn't have been there, but was. She never would have done this- not to Lloyd's best friend. But she wasn't exactly herself anymore.
Genis' eyes went wide. "Shit! I forgot about the-"
Sheena slammed her fist down on the summoning tag. In a puff of black smoke, the dark void that was Shadow appeared in the center of the white room.
"Genis, this is-"
"Find Nae and put her to bed. I'll deal with this." He said calmly.
Marta hesitated for a moment, but quickly nodded her head and ran out of the room. The young girl who was apparently named Nae had seen the entire exchange, and Marta quickly picked up the child and disappeared from view.
Shadow roared as he spread his darkness across the room. Genis wasn't expecting such an attack at such a close range when he'd entered the room and almost took the full frontal force of the attack. Sheena forced herself to sit up and decided that the best move was to make an escape. She scrambled to her feet, but in the time she did Genis had already staged his counterattack.
"Making me do this in my goddamn living room…Ah hell, at least I moved out all the furniture before. It won't do anything I can't fix." Genis shut the door behind him, snapped his fingers and muttered a single incantation all in one fluid motion. "Tidal Wave."
The room filled with a gigantic torrent of rushing water. Shadow was swept up within it almost instantly and Sheena lost her footing completely. When the torrent subsided Shadow was nowhere to be seen and Sheena was still trying to struggle to her feet.
Genis more or less kicked her to the floor this time. That didn't stop her from trying to rise up again.
"Goddammit..!" Genis collapsed on top of her to keep her from moving. "What the hell do I have to do to get you to stay still?"
Sheena wouldn't allow this- she couldn't submit to him.
After all, he was the one who killed Lloyd. He was the one who freed her from the burden that Lloyd comprised but left her with the man's eternal shadow. He was the one- he was the only one who could bring her to face a reality that she tried her hardest to convince herself was nothing but falsehood.
What's that, Lloyd? You love me after all, Lloyd?
I thought so, Lloyd.
I knew we'd be together forever, Lloyd.
What's that, Lloyd?
Are you really leaving me, Lloyd?
Are you really going to walk away from me, Lloyd?
Are you going to ignore the years of hell I put myself through to love you, Lloyd?
Are you really going to leave, Lloyd?
Please, don't leave me, Lloyd.
Don't leave me, Lloyd.
I beg you, please stay with me, Lloyd.
Don't go, Lloyd.
Because I wouldn't be able to stand it if you did please Lloyd Lloyd don't go Lloyd don't leave me here like this Lloyd Lloyd don't do this to me Lloyd why Lloyd I loved you Lloyd why is this happening to me Lloyd-
Sheena continued to trash about, her heightened state of panic and distress causing her abundant sadness to overtake her. But after a few more moments passed her fatigued body finally caught up with her. Genis managed to land a solid blow to her skull, knocking her out cold.
What's that, Lloyd?
Do you hate me, Lloyd?
Do you not love me after all, Lloyd?
Well that's just fine, Lloyd.
Because I'll never stop loving you, Lloyd.
I'll love you to death, Lloyd.
To death, Lloyd.
When she eventually came to, she was once again treated to a different sight. She was now trapped in some sort of an ice casing in a room of pure black, opposite that of the room she had previously been in. She could make out the form of Genis somewhere in the distance, but the figure closer to her was easier to make out.
Her skin was blue, as was her hair and the clothing she was wearing. Without a doubt, Sheena could verify that this was a certain summon spirit, one that she was very familiar with.
The spirit's eyes met her own for a split second before she directed them elsewhere. Her eyes refocused on the figure of Genis behind her who slightly nodded. She backed away from Sheena before disappearing from her view entirely.
"But…Who is the summoner?" Those were the first words that left her mouth.
"…Remind me never to knock you out like that again." Genis' words were not an answer to her question. "Not as long as you have that thing bound to you."
"Bound to…me…What?" Her gaze finally was able to make out the figure of Genis. She gasped at the sight of him.
Genis seemed to be completely unscratched from the previous scuffle- sans the large, gaping hole in his chest that literally pierced through him entirely so that she could see behind him.
"Ah, so you've finally come to your senses, have you?" He cleared his throat before proceeding. "That summon spirit- Shadow, I think- he's bound to you. I knocked you out cold and he took control of your body. Needless to say I was caught off guard." Genis pointed to the hole in his chest. "It's a good thing that this kind of injury doesn't do all that much to me. It'll close up in about five minutes, so its not that much trouble."
"But you're…Why aren't you-"
"Why aren't I dead?" Genis actually smiled, but rather wryly. Genis took a step forward.
"I don't understand…Why are you still alive?"
Genis sighed and shrugged his shoulders. "Well, since you've seen me like this I suppose I can tell you. But if any word of this reaches Marta or Nae, I'll burn Mizuho to the ground. Since I suppose threatening your life won't do me any good." He re-adjusted his gaze before continuing. "I figured out something rather peculiar. I simply can't die. There isn't any blood in my bloodstream and I haven't been able to detect a heartbeat in about seven years."
"Immortality?" Not being able to end one's own life, no matter how dire or terrifying it is- how could he have gone through that? Sheena herself would have never been able to do so and keep her sanity- she'd been there and done that already, but she always had the option to end things on her own but had always been too afraid to end things herself. Genis couldn't escape it, however- no matter how hard he may have tried.
"Not quite the text book definition of immortality but close enough to it. Let's just say that I won't die if you kill me. That seems to be the best explanation for something like this."
"So you're not truly living?"
Genis grinned. "Are you any different?"
Before Sheena could produce a response Genis suddenly grabbed at her throat, which was only slightly obscured by the sheet of ice.
"Now, talk. Tell me everything. Explain why you were at Palmacosta. Explain why you have that spirit bound to you. Tell me every single detail about your half of this story and I'll decide whether or not I should let you indulge in your fucked up harvest."
Sheena didn't have much choice in the matter. After all, she needed to kill. She nodded slightly and he released his grip on her.
From that point, Sheena began to tell her story- or at least what she could remember of it. It had all happened over such a long period of time she wasn't sure if the details were completely accurate. But the bottom line was that Lloyd had driven her off the deep end. And it was because of Lloyd that she continued onward, along this path of ruin she so religiously followed.
Her words simply flowed out. She didn't even know why she so readily let them flow- perhaps it was a sort of connection she had to Genis on a level she didn't even understand? Perhaps she thought that the boy would somehow be able to understand this sort of pain?
She didn't realize that she was bound to Shadow. But perhaps that was how her spirit could whisper to her. Perhaps that was how and why she was able to so effortlessly throw her life away. In the end she did not really care- she didn't see the distinctiveness of her life any longer, nor would she ever bring herself to ever again. All she cared to know was that she was a walking shadow that lived in Lloyd's place. Being bound to a being of darkness was only fitting.
But the more time that passed, the stranger the man before her became. By the end of her speech, Genis' threatening aura had vanished entirely. Upon his face was a strange look, a look she was not familiar with. It was a certain kind of look- a look of understanding.
Understanding- and something else- excitement? A sign of opportunity? What could have been opportune about something like this?
"In Lloyd's death a great burden was lifted from many people- but I suppose the opposite is just as possible." Genis sighed. "There's a reason I wanted that man dead. But I suppose your reason to keep him alive was just as strong. I won't apologize, especially since you let yourself go long before his death. But I'll accept your story as fact."
"…So can we finish this?"
"Finish what?" Genis asked that question although he clearly already knew the answer to it.
"…" Sheena did not reply at first.
Don't say a word, you foolish girl. Your work isn't finished yet. The voice of Shadow echoed in her mind. You must kill to survive- as long as you kill you can live on- work your way out of this situation and back to the battlefield. You can kill all you want and all you need to.
She shook her head. Perhaps now was the time.
The time that she came to terms with herself.
"Aren't you going to kill me? Now that you know about me, and now that I know your secret, shouldn't you kill me?"
For the first time- Sheena found herself begging for her own death.
Genis' reply was short and simple.
Her eyes went wide. "But why? Clearly if I go anywhere I'll just keep on killing! I'll do more damage than ever before- I'll even kill Marta and that little girl, I'll kill them all! I need to be put down-!"
"Then do it yourself. Or can't you?"
"…!" Sheena grunted.
"You're simply a coward, not that far from myself. Simply put, your death won't solve anything and you understand that to some degree, even if it's that spirit that is keeping you from dying. Even if you alone cease to exist the cycle of death won't stop. Besides that, you might just be worth saving."
Genis re-adjusted her face so she was staring directly into his eyes.
"After all- you did summon Celsius to stop yourself. And simply because of that, even with that demon, you might just be worth the trouble I'm going to go through to make this all work out."
Sheena didn't quite understand what he meant.
"If you truly wish to come to terms with yourself, then you'll accept what I'm going to offer you- if not, then I'll simply let you go and you can keep on killing. I'll let you know that trying to go after Marta or Nae is just as futile as trying to kill me- I don't care about anyone else you decide to kill, so consider that."
Sheena would have nodded if his grip would have allowed her to.
"As I murdered Lloyd, I plan to claim Collette's life, as well as the life of her head general Angelo. You will help me achieve this… And if you succeed, I will overcome the influence of Shadow and I will kill you."
Her eyes went wide.
"Does that sound fair enough to you?"
To come to terms with herself- to perhaps free herself from her bonds that she had lived off of for years- she was still Lloyd's shadow, correct? She was still the person who could do nothing on her own, correct?
But then again- that wasn't all that true in the end, was it? She had summoned Celsius to stop herself from killing Genis. She'd subconsciously done something that the old Sheena would have done- the Sheena who was a proud yet clumsy shinobi who took pride in her friends and in herself. A Sheena that was so different from this hollow remnant of a woman that they might as well have been two different people.
But she still existed. The Sheena that did not fall as low as she could fall.
But then there was the matter of this Sheena- the Sheena who had taken root in
The fact that she lived as Lloyd's shadow- the fact that he had driven her to become this-
And the fact that Genis was now offering a way out, a way for her to become free once again-
Freedom through the death that she so desperately coveted-
"Do you accept, Sheena Fujibayashi?" His stare was more of a glare at this point.
Sheena was now finally free to nod as he released his grip on her chin. And so she did.
Genis grinned. "Then we have formed our contract. But we must seal it somehow."
Genis pondered for a moment before his eyes danced with a certain emotion that Sheena could not grasp the identity of.
"Ah, that shall do."
It was prompt and hadn't been telegraphed in any way, and it was impacting enough that she certainly wouldn't be able to forget it or deny that it ever existed. Sheena was not too sure what exactly the kiss she received represented. All that she knew was that it was incredibly cold- cold and empty, much like herself.
What better a sign to seal a contract?
But beyond that, it was an emptiness she understood all too well- an emptiness that was near identical to her own- an emptiness that had accompanied years of suffering-
An emptiness that could warp and twist the owner to the point where they would never be the same-
The emptiness that had conquered Genis-
The emptiness that had conquered her-
And, ultimately, the emptiness that would bind her to him.
For whatever reason, even though it wasn't part of the binding, despite the fact that it was completely wrong of her, Sheena found herself kissing him back.
Did you hear that, Lloyd?
I love Genis now, Lloyd-
Even if he's with another woman, Lloyd.
Just like you were, Lloyd.
I'm going to keep on killing, Lloyd.
But not for you Lloyd.
Never again for you, Lloyd.
I'll kill for Genis, Lloyd.
I'll kill for the emptiness we share, Lloyd.
I'll kill for the life he wants to lead, Lloyd.
I'll kill for the life I want to finish, Lloyd.
So I'll kill your precious whore, Lloyd.
I'll kill her and everyone around her, Lloyd.
I'll kill her, your child, and everyone who still loves you, Lloyd.
But don't worry, Lloyd.
I promised I'd love you to death, Lloyd.
But once I'm dead, Lloyd-
I'll never love you again, Lloyd.
And that's the end of that. A bit twisted, I know, but it works out in the end. Honestly, this fic might actually border along the M Rating. But I've decided to classify it as T since it doesn't go too far over the edge.
Anyway, based on how well this one is recieved, I might do one of two things with the third and final:
1. Just make it another One-Shot starring Collette
2. Multichapter Epic. Like 100,000 word length. Although that would be put off until well into 2012.
So yeah, please review. I'd appreciate any feedback you could give me. Thanks in advance.