Tseng had not been an executioner in a long time. And rarely was it under these circumstances.
Warnings: Spoilers, character death, violence
Timeline: End of Advent Children
Summary: Tseng had not been an executioner in a long time. And rarely was it under these circumstances.
Rufus had collapsed into Reno’s arms and Tseng had taken that as his dismissal to oversee the clean-up. Whatever had happened to Strife, Tseng needed to witness the aftermath and see if there was any liability to them. Rufus was healing. Rufus would live…but for now he was going back to rest in privacy. This nightmare was over and they might have a bit of daylight before the next began.
Tseng had expected to find more bodies than he did. There were a few civilian casualties but precious few. He heard the rumblings…of Sephiroth’s return from the youngest clone and of Kadaj’s demise. There was no corpse to examine there as apparently Aeris had called him to her as she sent the healing rain. He had no doubt it was her, for however distant he was from the woman even when she’d been alive.
Strife was going to have to wait. His friends didn’t seem overly willing to cooperate with an inquest from Shin-Ra. Tseng simply wanted an overview, anyway. Then he could report back to Rufus and they could send out the appropriate agents.
Tseng had known there would be carnage and rubble. He’d found less of the former and more of the latter. In fact, he barely even saw the silver-haired head until it moved.
Gun drawn, he approached cautiously. For one irrational moment he almost thought Sephiroth was lying in wait in the rubble but he very quickly realized it was one of the remnants. The middle brother with the long hair, Yazoo, was pinned beneath a chunk of rock. The blood around him gave very little doubt to the extent of his injuries and Tseng also was certain he would find a corpse.
He was proven wrong, however, when the silver-haired male drew in a shuddering breath. It was weak and wet and brought forth a spurt of blood to otherwise colorless lips; Tseng could diagnose the punctured lung from ten feet away.
The Wutainian man paused to consider. He was the clean up crew. Rufus trusted him to see that this was ended. As long as any of Sephiroth’s genetics survived, it wouldn’t be over.
He aimed his weapon, deciding it was best if Yazoo never regained consciousness. Better he make sure the other was dead instead of letting nature take its course.
“Going to kill me?” The voice was weak now, but it still sent stabs of fear through Tseng. This was the clone who had partially skinned his back and part of one leg. He’d spoken the entire time…about this and that and the weather and supplies…as though he hadn’t been covered in blood and sawing at another human with a very dull knife.
But Yazoo was not a human, and Tseng knew it firsthand. “Yes,” He replied very simply.
Yazoo opened his eyes and even the fierce green of them seemed faded. He coughed but it only managed to bring more blood into his mouth so he was left spitting, a trail of pink-tinged saliva staining his cheek. His head twitched in what might have been a nod. “Then do it.”
They were children. Tseng had seen how Kadaj behaved. He was mad, of course, but he was still young. The other two couldn’t be much older and they still behaved…like they did not truly know what they were doing. As they’d beaten Elena and shot him and tortured him both they hadn’t seemed entirely aware of what they were doing. There was no hatred, no regret, no anger…no anything. All three of the males had seemed entirely cold; they hadn’t enjoyed torturing anyone, it was simply the means to an end.
Yazoo was beautiful, Tseng realized with a start. Long hair and a face that was almost feminine. He’d seen him smile once, for Loz, and it had almost transformed him from the man who had stood on Elena’s chest until her rib broke.
And now, Yazoo wanted to be killed. Tseng wondered if it was because he had lost. “Where are the others?” Tseng asked instead, not anxious to sort through the rubble until he found them.
Yazoo seemed to hesitate but then looked chagrinned. “Kadaj…Kadaj is with Mother. He’s gone.” His tone was dreamy, almost wistful. “Loz…” and Tseng saw his gaze shift to another pile of stone and metal.
Taking a few steps, gun never leaving Yazoo, Tseng glanced over. Only half Loz’s body was visible but it was enough. His leg was snapped at an awkward angle, a piece of loose metal stabbed completely through his side. Appearances could be deceiving, however.
“He stopped breathing an hour ago,” Yazoo informed him. “He was dead when we hit the ground.”
Tseng knew why Yazoo had no objections to being killed. Kadaj was dead, Loz as well. They had failed in what had probably been the goal of their lives.
“I knew you wouldn’t die,” Yazoo mused. He seemed to be attempting to shift but the rubble kept him firmly pinned. “If you’d wanted to make it easier on yourself you would have died when we had you.” The look that once might have been a smirk now resembled a wince. “But you didn’t betray him…”
It didn’t sound quite like admiration. Understanding, perhaps…just what was the clone playing at? “I didn’t,” He confirmed.
Yazoo’s eyes fluttered closed for an instant. “I didn’t betray my brothers, either.”
Turks did not feel emotion. They didn’t hesitate in their kills and they worked for their own greater good. Sephiroth’s remnants were their enemies…and yet in this solitary remaining creature he could not see something vicious. Misled and dangerous, yes. Dangerous enough for termination but he doubted Yazoo was malicious.
“You didn’t betray them.” It was the only comfort he could offer, the only aid that he was capable of any more.
He took a step forward to get a better angle, foot contacting with something and sending it skidding across the ground. A glance down and Tseng recognized Yazoo’s weapon…what was it called?
“Velvet Nightmare,” Yazoo answered for him. The fingers of his hand flexed as though he could reach it.
Tseng had not been an executioner in a long time. And it had rarely been under these circumstances. He stared hard at the weapon and then at Yazoo.
“If I give you your…Velvet Nightmare…” Tseng began.
“I could do it,” Yazoo replied quickly with such force that he started to cough. It was nearly a full minute before he was under control again, wheezing and pale with lack of oxygen. “I would do it.”
It was a very risky move, Tseng knew. The clone just as easily could turn the gun and shoot him. But for whatever reason…he didn’t think Yazoo would.
It was easy to kneel and collect the weapon. Harder to close Yazoo’s hand around the handle since it meant touching the remnant. His skin was cold. There was probably a break somewhere in his arm.
Tseng kept his hand clasped over Yazoo’s and their eyes connected for a split moment before Yazoo smiled and pulled the trigger.
The gun had apparently been damaged in the fall because the bullet went through the clone’s cheek rather than his temple. It still killed him, however, and Tseng set the clone’s hand, still clutching his gun, over his chest.
He put a bullet through what he could see of Loz’s head, just to make sure, and did a quick search for anything he may have missed. By the time he returned, Loz’s body was completely gone and Yazoo’s was slowly fading away, seeming almost like a shadow chased away by the sun.
Tseng didn’t think he’d include that in his report. He thought his report would say that Yazoo had killed his brother and then himself.