Categories > Games > Final Fantasy 9 > The End of Times

We All Fall Down

by DevilishKurumi 0 reviews

It's the end of the world as we know it... [Character Death, Character Mutilation, Character Bad-Stuff-Happens-To. See inside for full warnings.]

Category: Final Fantasy 9 - Rating: R - Genres: Drama, Horror - Characters: Adelbert Steiner, Amarant Coral, Beatrix, Blank, Eiko Carol, Freya Crescent, Garnet Til Alexandros, Marcus, Other - Warnings: [!!] [V] - Published: 2006-04-22 - Updated: 2006-04-22 - 3710 words

The Only Author's Note: This will most likely be the only author's note I put in this fic, unless I really feel that a chapter needs explaining. Which it shouldn't. This story is a byproduct of... I don't know. I honestly, honestly don't know what compelled me to write this story.
The Warnings: There is Character Death. There is Graphic Violence. There is Squick. There is Character Mutilation (not OOC, but actual, physical mutilation). There is irreparable damage to more than one character, mentally and physically. Your favorite character may not be alive during this fic, and if they are, they might not live forever. There will be stuff that might upset someone. Do not read this fic if you can't handle those. I might be over-exaggerating the amount of horrible stuff this fic has, but hey, better safe than sorry.
Disclaimer(s): Squaresoft owns Final Fantasy IX and all related trademarks, characters, etc. Despite what you might read in this fic (and for that matter, any fic I write), I love every single character in Final Fantasy IX. I don't think there's a character I don't like. Don't think that this fic is a character-bashing one - it simply is what it is. There are no ulterior motives.

//"And I am not frightened of dying, any time will do, I
don't mind. Why should I be frightened of dying?
There's no reason for it, you've gotta go sometime."
"If you can hear this whispering you are dying."
"I never said I was frightened of dying."\\
-Pink Floyd, "The Great Gig In The Sky"

Somehow, they survive. He figures they're just like cockroaches, in a blind moment of pure pain ignored by steady thoughts.
No one had expected the blasts. Hell, how could they? No one had thought that, after all that had happened four years ago, anything on that level could be repeated. The three mighty kingdoms of the Mist Continent stayed very closely in touch and no one was planning any ill towards anyone else. And even if they had been - they would need another Kuja to create the kind of chaos, destruction, and violence that had transpired.
It's hard to breathe, but he knows the feeling of smoke in his lungs and he knows how to breathe in all sorts of conditions because that's what cockroaches do. He can't feel his legs but that's okay, they're there, he's sure of it. His head is a jumbled mess of pain and he feels something dripping on his hand, but it's not hot like blood and he doesn't know what in the hell it could possibly be -
He's been able to climb out of ruins for ages. That's what salamanders do, you know, they hide in the sand and they hide in the skinniest, tiniest spaces -
Everything, in the midst of smoke flame and blood, starts to fade around the edges and he forces himself into consciousness, dives headfirst because even if he can't hardly think with the pain or breathe with the smoke, he's got no right to curl up and die.
The blast had thrown them from the bar, which disintegrated before them in seconds, and he wonders why this is happening now.
There's screaming all around him, above him, and muffled below him, but he pushes on and grabs at boards over his head and pulls, searching half-blind for light and finally, finally he climbs out of the hole and allows himself to lay facedown on the busted up porch of what was once the Treno inn but is now just a hole in the ground with screams protruding from it like jagged spikes.
His head aches so he puts a hand to it and it comes away bloody, and another feel yields a clump of red hair - oh/ god/, his hair is falling out.
No, it's just one dreadlock, there's no need to get panicky.
Dry heaving and gasping, she grasps at him and tries to roll him over, telling him not to be dead, please, because that would just be stupid. He tries to say that he's fine, well and alive and in severe pain, but all that comes out is a hacking, hoarse, throaty cough. She exclaims in relief you're alive, and manages to get him on his side, only to draw back in absolute repulsion.
He asks what, and she replies your eye, your eye Red.
He tries not to fall into unconsciousness as he realizes what he has all over his hands is his
One of the first things he realizes after the momentary lapse of unconsciousness is that he can't feel his arm. He can't move, and there's shouting around him - a scream, a thud, and silence - and the crackling of flames echoes in his ears. He can't breathe, but he can't die yet, not until he finds her -
But he /can't move/. He realizes quickly that he is trapped, but how does one get out from under the heavy bookcase that his wife had insisted they needed in their private quarters? The marble floor beneath him cracks and he sees now that if he doesn't move, he will fall through the ground.
There had been no time to react at first. There had been no Alexander to save them, this time; there was only a blast, unconsciousness, then pain and numbness all wrapped into one.
She shouts for him so he responds and doesn't recognize his voice, dry and thick and too deep from the smoke. She comes to him, parts fire with her sword - how she does it is her business alone - and kneels by him, tells him not to move too much, and that it's okay, there's still plenty he can do, as long as they can live through this.
He tells her to stop talking in circles and to help him up, and tries to give her a hand to grab when he realizes she's not talking in circles, she's just avoiding one word, the one word that will tell him why he can't feel his arm.
She pulls him to his feet and pain lances through his back, but he doesn't tell her, because she's staring at him with her hair all burnt and torn off, and he tells her it's a good look for her. She asks him when he started hanging around the king and then hears the cracking marble beneath their feet, so she moves him off the thin ice and onto stable ground.
The walls had been broken from the outside, and he can see out into the town but there's not really a town left, just debris. They look up together as one and see the King of Dragons above them, mouth full of yellow red orange fire and wings outstretched just like that night -
There's a strangled scream and the King of Dragons turns away, flies towards the south as the castle begins to crash down around them. He shouts and tells her they must find the queen, and she says they must find the queen, but they must also be careful for themselves, and here. She takes off her robe and tears off the arms, pulls them around his elbow and ties them tight, staunching blood and keeping him from growing too pale. Don't exert yourself, she tells him.
He promises her he won't and they go looking.
They find her in a cubbyhole created by two stone walls and she cries out, I can't see him where is he, but he finds the King of Thieves laying face down and doesn't need to look long to see that he's not there. He doesn't tell the queen and simply reaches in and feels along wall for her hand, and she takes it and says please don't let this be happening, but what can he do to change it?
She stands shakily in a torn up dress that's indecently short and stares straight ahead, over his shoulder and past the King of Thieves and she says I'm blind, I'm blind.
The force of the water hadn't killed her.
She knows not to breathe and kicks her legs as hard as she can but it's so hard to get up to the top, it's so hard because unlike everyone else she isn't just floating on top of the water now, she's alive. Books float around her with ink falling away from the pages, and bodies float upside-down and sideways from her, trapped under heavy furniture, caught on wall hangings, and she forces her eyes upwards; this is no time to mourn, no time at all!
She pushes up through the market and her claws dig into wooden carts - she pulls herself up and pierces the water, floundering and grabbing at barrels, hoisting herself up and sitting on top of it, panting for breath and straddling the barrel carefully.
Wet fur is everywhere. Cold and slick and just utterly gross looking, even by her own standards... She takes stock of her own injuries and ignores the body of one of the maids of the king's house.
Her tail is bruised, and her legs are burning, but other than that and a few cuts, she's relatively physically fine.
She closes her eyes and ignores the wet fur and tries to think where he is, because as long as he's alright... Her eyes open skyward and she sees a fresh wave coming towards her. She stares because how in the hell can waves reach over the mountains, but there it is - a flash of blue and the serpentine figure of
Water rushes down upon her like rain and she wonders if heaven is wet.
Treno is in horrible condition.
There's only a few people who seem to have survived and he wonders, vaguely, if he's one of them. She stands before him and kind of kneels and doesn't tell him what she's doing - he trusts her, completely and utterly - and she calls out, "Is there a healer around here, my friend needs help," and people hoarsely call back that they all need help, wait your goddamned turn. She looks at him and he doesn't shake his head even though he wants to.
"Do it yourself," he says because feeling's coming back into his face and he knows it's going to /hurt/.
"I can't - the wound needs to be cleaned, I can't just-"
A woman drags herself over to them with one leg broken in the wrong direction, and reaches out a hand, saying pull it out, I can heal it shut.
He looks at the woman with his one eye and then looks back and says, "Do it," so she reaches and pulls gently, and now all sorts of grainy black falls from his face and he screams hoarsely even as the woman casts a cure and the wound instantly stops hurting, starts healing, as if all sorts of years have passes, and the two women look at the empty socket, empty completely and utterly, and the healer says, "I can't do any more" before falling over and not getting up.
He looks to her and asks why someone would do that for him, but she doesn't answer, looking up at the sky and pointing, eyes wide and voice hoarse as she says, "We're in Lindblum it's just like Lindblum."
There's a huge hole in the sky, rimmed with sharp teeth, and a sudden blast from behind them knocks them into the sky, towards the hole -
He knows he can handle impacts well so he grabs her and holds her close, ignoring her frantic shouting and they land on the ground with a heavy, cracking thud. He gasps for air and she screams, pulling away and holding her nose with a hand, mumbling out that he should be more careful, he broke her nose -
Another blast close by knocks them around and he sees the King of Dragons above them, and realizes it's targeting them
She goes limp and he picks her up, struggles to his feet and manages to make it out the gates into the night before the King of Dragons breathes fire onto the whole of Treno. He makes it to the forest unseen and puts her down on the ground, looking around for something to hide them under or in, but there's nothing.
A burst of light, warm and nonthreatening, echoes through the forest and an old man, tall and stern, stands before him in a robe the color of lightning. He falls back into a fighting position but the old man simple nods to him, so he relaxes. He asks, why are you doing this?
"I am doing nothing."
Why are they doing this?
"That is not for you to know."
Who... who's dead?
Here, the old man doesn't respond, but looks to the woman and shakes his head. "She will not be able to hear anything when she wakes up."
He falls back into his previous stance and growls that the old geezer better make her able to hear.
The old man laughs, terribly, and says that he hasn't the ability, but it's only temporary, don't worry, she's not alone.
"That is why I am here. My master needs assistance that, as it is now, cannot be given by those closest to her."
How come you can't just do it yourself, old man?
"Because they will not trust me. It will not take long to get there."
The Gargan Roo is destroyed, they can't make it to Alexandria fast enough - and the old man tells them he will take them there but only if he agrees.
"Not without her agreement," he says, so the old man simply stands and says that he can wait, she will be awake soon.
"Why is this happening?" he asks, "I have a right to know."
The old man laughs again, violently, and says, "You are young and not used to true injury. Your state is not a medal to show, or a pass to knowledge. Only one person may know from my lips and you are being stubborn as to seeing her."
She groans softly and sits up, running her hands over her head in an idle attempt to make sure it's still there, and then asks, "What happened?" before frowning and looking at the old man in confusion - which turns into dawning realization and then something alien: fear.
"Do not worry," the old man tells her, "Everything will be fine for you."
You said she would be deaf, he growls, and the old man agrees that he did. He, however, has a voice that transcends such obstacles, and he looks at the woman at his feet and tells her what is happening.
She looks between the two and then nods in agreement, says quietly I want to get out of here, and so he agrees as well.
There are very few people still alive in Alexandria.
He and his wife help the queen from the wreckage of their once grand castle, all the time trying to keep her from losing balance, from falling down and sobbing, and all she says is why is this happening, why is this happening.
He can't carry her because one needs two arms to do such a thing, but he tells her to lean most of her weight on him, and saves his wife the trouble. She whispers hoarsely and asks for the King of Thieves, and the two with sight exchange looks over the one without.
He cannot come with us, he says, and she breaks out into new sobs, and they find a place that looks relatively stable - a home that has been only partially burnt down, due to being built with bricks (someone had been smart, after the first attacks). They put her down and his wife looks to him for a moment before saying, "Your Majesty, this is a hard time, but we must act quickly. Do you have any strength in you? We must heal his arm, before..."
What's wrong with his arm she asks.
I need to know what's wrong with it, she says dully, I can do nothing without knowledge.
"It is gone, your Majesty," he tells the queen.
She makes a strangled noise and reaches to him, so he holds out his hand and she takes it, says no, no, I'm so sorry.
It isn't her fault, he says, and so she reaches out both hands now and closes her blank eyes and his arm stops hurting so much, now it's just a dull throb, and the bleeding stops.
"Thank you, your Majesty," he whispers because he can't find the strength to speak properly.
Bahamut, she sobs quietly, why would he why would he-
"Shh," his wife says now, quiet and soft, and she pulls the young queen into her arms, telling her not to worry. They will find out what is going on, they will deal with who is responsible, they will not let this stop them forever.
He can't help but think they have already allowed it to do so.
Heavy footsteps come from the opening of the house and through the smoke from houses around them a large shape appears, seeming to materialize out of thin air and the two bounty hunters - one he knows and one he met once - come into view. She is leaning against him and they are supporting each other, the way his wife and his queen are now.
Where have you come from, he asks.
Treno, the bounty hunter says, holding the huntress carefully, looking around with one eye closed. It's just as bad as here. It's worse there. He then asks, where is Zidane?
The queen breaks out into fresh cries and tilts her head in against his wife's neck, and the hunter's eyes widen - allowing a brief flash of empty socket - before he regains his stoic demeanor.
We need to rest, they decide, and the hunter and huntress carefully sit across the hall from the royal guard.
The two men look at each other and silently share grief and regret, each looking to the other's wounds, and then the hunter pulls the huntress close and he himself puts his arm over his queen and tells her all will be fine.
It's about midnight when Amarant realizes he's awake again.
Lani is sleeping against him and he doesn't feel like waking her up and returning her to this shithole they're currently occupying, so he instead turns his attention to the royal guards across the hallway.
The General has her arms around Garnet - even after all these years he still wants to call her Dagger for some stupid reason - and the Knight has his arm over their shoulders, looking a lot different than he's used to seeing the other - he's wearing cotton sleepwear, just like the General and the queen. His head is slumped against his chest and his breathing is shallow, like a man who is trying to fall asleep but is kept up by nightmares.
"You awake?" Amarant rasps quietly, earning a small nod from the knight, who tilts his head back up against the wall and looks at the hunter dully.
"What happened in Treno?" Steiner asks, and Amarant looks to the sky above, visible through the collapsed roof.
"...I don't know. We were drinking - thought for a second maybe I had just passed out - but then there were explosions, and..." He lifts his free hand and waves it over his empty eye socket, "This."
Steiner looks to Lani, and asks, "And her?"
"...Her nose is broken," he mumbles, "...And she's deaf. For now - it's only temporary."
"I do not wish to... undermine morale, but..."
Amarant cuts the knight off with a quiet, "I'm not hoping, I /know/," and then asks, "What about you?"
Amarant nods because he has seen the damage the King of Dragons can do, and asks, "What about Zidane?" in a hoarse voice.
"...When we found him," Steiner mutters, "He was already..." He waves a hand, not wanting to finalize the statement, so Amarant does it for him.
The knight winces slightly because for all their bickering, he didn't actually mind Zidane so much, later on in their journey. He wasn't so bad. Hadn't been.
Past tense hurts him.
"What about her?" the hunter asks, nodding to Garnet.
"...She...She was - was blinded from one of the blasts."
Amarant goes very quiet - not even breathing heavily enough to make noise - and watches the queen for a long time. Her head is on Beatrix's shoulder and her arms are curled between her and the General, and Steiner looks at them too.
"Blow to the head," Amarant says suddenly, quietly. "She got hit on the head by something heavy. It might just be temporary."
"How do you know?"
"She's got a lump on the back of her head, you fool."
Steiner goes quiet now, himself, and looks at his wife in remorse.
"...When they wake up," Amarant says dully, ignoring most of the feeling that's coming back to him, "We should leave. It's not safe in a town."
"But we must help the survivors!"
"...What survivors?"
The knight looks at the sky and says, "We will let her Majesty decide."
The hunter, surprisingly, doesn't fight this decision but nods, looking at Lani.
"...Why is this happening?" Amarant asks quietly, reaching his hand around Lani to push away thick locks of hair that have fallen in her face. "Did we do something to upset the Eidolons?"
"We don't know," Steiner responds, "And we will not know until the queen can think."
The huntress shifts and her eyes open slightly; she looks to the hunter and asks in a muffled, weak voice, "What's going on?"
He waves a hand and shakes his head, mouthing that it's nothing. She nods and puts her head down against her chest, eyes closing and breathing steadying.
"I didn't think that you were involved with her," Steiner mumbles, closing his eyes and deciding to get some sleep.
"I'm not," Amarant responds, suddenly feeling very tired. "But that's how things go."
"We will figure out what to do once the Queen wakes."
And even though Amarant agrees, Steiner can't help but think that the other male knows the decision already.
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