Step 12: Memories
Step 12: Memories
Even if it's a simple game of volleyball, it feels productive; the required fast movements combined with the increased gravity, will no doubt have a beneficial effect. I'm actually having fun with this training.
After the game, it was time for some serious training, as Tseng informed. "The president wants to know if you have maintained your previous Soldier level, so if you're feeling ready, all of us will fight you at once. If you want to stop, just say so."
"Alright..." Is Tseng trying to tell me, 'stop before you kill us'? It's not like me, but I'm worried and nervous. Then again, I suppose I do have my reasons to worry, though there will be no weapons involved in this combat exercise.
We all take battle stances and the Turks suddenly go on the attack, wasting no time. Reno runs towards me as if to punch me, but he misses terribly and my eyes automatically follow his false attack, only to turn around too late to avoid Tseng and Rude's dual kicks. I step back, Elena trips me as I do, and I fall flat on my back. This was all part of their plan and each of them played their part. Good team work, trustworthy comrades... I feel odd.
All four Turks continue on the attack, beating me like a punching bag, it's annoying. I push them away as I feel the anger rising. They get up and run towards me again. I see fire that isn't truly there, it's burning all around me, I see Nibelheim reduced to ashes and I freeze up.
I feel pain, I don't know if it's physical or not. I hear voices, false voices of terrors of the past and real voices of the Turks, but I can't tell them apart. Suddenly my vision blurs and I no longer see the fire, just darkness and cold silence.
"Stop it!" A voice rings out crystal clear and I open my eyes. A blur pushes the other four blurs away. "You call this training? The poor guy probably can't even stand up in this gravity. Just because he looks like Sephiroth doesn't mean he's as strong as Sephiroth!"
"Why are you here?" Tseng's voice remains collected.
"To deliver this disk, it's a report from the WRO. I heard something and was curious; it's a good thing I came," is that Strife?
"Reeve could just email this stuff; he just wants to give you work." No one confirms nor denies Reno's comment.
"We may regret granting you access to this floor, though our training sessions have been mutually beneficial in the past; you are not to interrupt Turk business."
"Don't give me that, Tseng," I think that is Strife, it sounds like him. "I never thought you would allow everyone to pick on the new guy at Shinra and especially not participate yourself. If you're planning to train this guy to be a Turk, you have to keep him alive and in one peace."
Just as everything comes into focus, Cloud pulls me to my feet, throwing my arm over his shoulder as one would help a person who cannot walk on their own, and gets me out of the training chamber. I'm so shocked I remain limp. That idiot, if I were a normal man, he could have just about killed my spine. Even I know not to move a person who has been supposedly injured.
"Are you okay? C'mon say something!"
I've been placed on a chair outside the training chamber, my numbness fades away and I clench my fists and glare at Cloud, fighting a losing inner battle against the need to kill them.
Tseng quickly jumps into action. "Elena, take care of Cloud, Rude, we'll handle him," by him I take it Tseng means me. "Reno, just stay out of the way."
"Wha... hey!" Reno's complaint is ignored as Tseng and Rude drag me away. Reno follows against Tseng's wise order.
"We're taking him to the infirmary," Tseng lies.
"I'm going too," Cloud is feeling suicidal.
"Wait, you can't!" Elena frets, unsure of what to do.
"I'm going!" Cloud steps around her.
"No!" Elena rushes in front of Cloud and the last thing I see, she's launching a surprise attack with her ice materia at the unsuspecting Cloud. The Turks probably all had their materia just in case. Of course they wouldn't take the risk of being completely unarmed with me around.
xoxox xox xoxox
"Kill Strife..." I break free from Tseng and Rude's hold and punch a wall, leaving a hole in it.
"Kill! Kill! Kill!" I can't control my words or my actions. Why am I even trying so hard? It's not like I can clear my name anyway, this is all useless.
"Seph, calm down! You don't have to throw such a tantrum!" Reno interferes. I grip his forearm, as if to lift him and throw him, but then I stop when someone else arrives in the hall where we stand.
"Sephiroth!" A loud scolding voice, there stands the president, no doubt lured over by the commotion I'm making. "Stop that, this is no way to deal with your frustrations!"
There he is, Rufus Shinra, but he looks like someone else. Those words trigger something in my memory. I wasn't destroying walls back then, but Director Lazard scolded me in the same way. Genesis was ill and I didn't understand what was happening, I didn't know why I couldn't help him. Even before the incident in Nibelheim, I questioned my existence.
The happenings at the Nibelheim reactor alone couldn't have pushed me over the edge. I suspected I was different; I was just waiting for the confirmation. I was waiting for the proof that would make it impossible for my denial to continue.
Back then, Lazard told me that blaming myself wouldn't do any good. I couldn't take it anymore and told him how frustrated I was that I couldn't help Genesis, that I was treated differently, that I didn't fully understand what I was. But he told me to stop it, because blaming myself wasn't going to help me deal with life's trials.
Then his voice softened, he said I should see him as a friend too and that it was alright to speak of what I thought and felt; that I shouldn't keep it bottled up. I suspected that Lazard had his own set of problems, questions and mysteries, I should have asked, but I was too absorbed in my own thoughts. In the end I couldn't help him either.
Even with his own burden to bear, Lazard smiled reassuringly and said, "it'll be alright."
"Lazard?" I woke up from my daze and realized that this was not Lazard standing in front of me. It was Rufus echoing his words. I shook my head. Lazard is dead, just like Genesis and Angeal. "Rufus Shinra," I had to say the name to convince myself of his identity. "I..." my head hurts, "I'm sorry about this."
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Final Fantasy VII.