You tasted blood when you were nine years old.
by dilly r
You tasted blood when you were nine years old. You remember how old you were, because it was at dusk after your birthday party. You'd spent the whole day on a brand new swing-set -- better than any of the other kids had -- and when your mother called you inside, you raced across the yard and up the steps. But you missed a step, and you fell and bit your tongue.
Next thing you remember, your mother is sobbing and screaming at your father to get the doctor, because your tongue is half off. You want to talk, but you can't move your mouth without this incredible pain. You are deathly afraid that somehow, your mother will decide that this happened because of the swing-set, and you will lose the only thing you've ever had that made you special. They think you are crying because your tongue hurts, but you are imagining the swing-set coming down, piece by piece, as the kids who'd worshiped you for that one birthday party... as those same kids laughed at you again.
You are thinking about that when you shoot Vincent Valentine.
You're not sure why. It's some irrelevant thing that popped into your mind and made you want that Turk bastard dead. That Turk bastard who was, before you shot him, screaming at you about how things went wrong. As if you don't know. As if that's his wife dead and not yours.
As if he's not just some guy who fucked her while she was under a lot of stress. As if he was ever more than the guy who she cheated with. As if she didn't regret knowing him for the rest of her life.
But you're not thinking about that when you pull the trigger. This isn't a revenge thing. This is symbolic. A voice is whispering in your ear: "Remember the way your tongue bled. How it tasted like copper. How you almost lost everything that mattered to you because you'd made one mistake. How you cried, and no one understood it. But someone understands now, Hojo. Shoot him."
So, you did. It is simple like that.
You look down at him now, face down, tasting his own blood like you did then.
"If they take it away from you," she says, "then you will rebuild it."
You put your hands under Vincent's arms, and you drag him to the exam table.
You understand what the voice means. He will be your symbol. Your regret. Your redemption. Your feelings will be so strong in him that he will think they are his own. And you, free of those things, will continue while he remains dead, but walking.