Categories > Games > Final Fantasy 8 > Misfire


by Larathia 0 reviews

Rebellion has a lot of risks, and one of them is dying.

Category: Final Fantasy 8 - Rating: R - Genres: Action/Adventure - Characters: Irvine, Rinoa - Warnings: [!] [?] - Published: 2005-05-22 - Updated: 2005-05-22 - 1513 words

If there was one thing that could be said of Rinoa, Irvine realized quickly, it was that she didn't know the meaning of "hopeless". It was only one of a great number of words she evidently didn't know the meaning of; he'd debated with himself the wisdom of buying her a dictionary.

If only so people would stop dying.

"Look," he hissed at her one night, after the ragtag remains of their group had staggered off to bed - those that could still move under their own power. "They like you, and they follow you. You've got to stop this! Just because they offer to die for you doesn't mean they /should/!"

Rinoa, just as tired as he was after the long run and the fight before, still had energy enough for temper. "Who else is there?" she demanded. "Tell me that! The Gardens are gone, what's left of SeeD is being slaughtered, and this isn't Timber. There's only us. We've got to do what we can!"

Irvine closed his eyes and leaned against the wall. You couldn't hit people well with your eyes closed. "Well," he growled, "We're right good at dropping like flies. Majesty, we have got to stop dying/. This frontal assault shit has /got to go."

Names, the habit of names. He at least had one; Sergius Green, as Rinoa had named him, though he'd picked up a variety of nicknames - mostly, of course, having to do with his height or his guns. Though he still hadn't gotten his full coordination back and needed the cane when exhausted, Rinoa's ragtag bunch of refugees had stopped complaining about his presence in the group the first time his gunfire had covered their escape. Sharpshot seemed to be the nickname of choice this week. Affably, Irvine was getting into the habit of answering to any nickname that might broadly be aimed at him.

Rinoa was the Queen of Rags. Irvine vaguely recalled Squall once having told him that the group in Timber had called her 'Princess'; Rinoa drew such names to her in the same way gun-related names stuck to him. She was, in many ways, very like the good princess, or good queen, in children's stories. Imperious and not always even remotely connected to the real world, but caring. Even valiant, in her way. But the name was a painful one. They'd lost twelve in the past week alone - all the survivors had seen Rinoa take strips of cloth from the shirts of the dead and tie them to her own clothes. It was starting to become how the group reported the dead - dropping strips of rags in front of Rinoa with blank, accusing gazes.

The price of not being who they once had been was being who they'd been forced to become. Irvine was a sniper, not a sharpshooter, but with the incentive of learning fast or dying he was living up to his nickname in more than a relative way. And Rinoa...

Rinoa was crying. Not huge, loud, dramatic sobs, not a temper tantrum, but tired, quiet tears of pain and loss. "We have to get a way out of this city," she whispered. She didn't want - couldn't afford - for anyone to hear her cry. If the Queen had no hope...

Irvine, leaning heavily on his cane, hobbled over to her and put an arm around her, letting her cry into his shirt while he thought. She had a point. People came to them - good people, in some cases brilliant people - by accident, having nowhere else to go. But few of them had any skill at uncivil disobedience or rebellion - most, actually, were political refugees, people who could do them some good if they were just not /there/, not in Deling, but somewhere else. Like Dollet, or Timber - somewhere they could get news or goods.

Failing any of that, somewhere that, if they were caught, wouldn't lead Edea's soldiers straight to the rest of them. Rinoa turned none away, and he agreed with her reasoning at least in part, but if they could get the more useless ones motivated and on their way it'd make keeping the rest of them alive much easier. "We're not gonna be able to fight our way to the gates," he said slowly. "We just haven't got the weapons, haven't got the training. And if we did have it, and used it that way, She'd just send a platoon or two and wipe us out."

From around his chest, muffled by his shirt, Rinoa answered, "You're not being very reassuring."

He patted her hair. "Wasn't intending to be," he said lightly. "Can't do it head on. But we can be sneaky?"

That got her attention. "Tell me what you're thinking," she demanded.

"I'm thinking we've got a lot of work to do, but we can do this." Carefully, he levered himself down onto a crate, and tried not to think of how dog tired he was. "You and me both...lot of work."

Rinoa cocked her head at him, and then sat down next to him, hugging her knees to her chest and watching him over them. She looked very much the little girl, curled like that, and he found it unnerving. "What do I need to do?"

When did I become the leader? was Irvine's first thought. But - if it meant not dying.... "We've got some government workers, don't we?" he asked. "You need to start asking them about what they know. Find out who took their jobs, what their jobs /were/. If we can keep the government here unstable, it'll be easier to bribe our way out or make a way some other how. We need to know what She's doing. And where. We can get away with shit as long as She doesn't come back here Herself, see?"

"I see," she said slowly. "We're not going to liberate Deling, are we?"

Irvine shook his head. "This is Her capital and we don't have anything here that has a chance in hell of killing Her. Or even giving Her a headache. We'll have to leave that to Squall, if he's still out there, or whoever takes up the gun for it because we just can't/, it's that simple. But - if we make it so we can get people who could help out of the city, out to where they can hook up with people who could take Her on..." He shrugged. "It's not big, but it's what we can do. Maybe they can get their hands on something big enough so they can come back and save /us later on."

Rinoa rocked back and forth, thinking this over. "What do you need to do?" she asked at last.

"Guns," he said. "These sparkly things shoot shit, Majesty. Sad but true - really sad. I need real guns, proper guns. And a good sniper rifle. When you've got your contacts and know who needs to die, I'll take care of it for you. None of this frontal assault shit that gets us killed. Just me and a good rifle and a little time."

They were in a guarded cellar connected to the upper sewers. It was as safe a place as could be found, and Irvine knew it. When Rinoa didn't answer, he found himself dozing. He'd had to cover their escape, emptying round after round at soldiers and guards, trying to hit at least one of them while they ran and ducked into sewers and ran some more. He was starting to feel snarly over the number of bullets wasted; his belief in economy of ammunition was approaching the fanatical as it became harder for any but Edea's own enforcers to acquire. But he lacked the tools to refine the guns Rinoa had given him, and lacked the coordination to get away with looting guns from their enemies. In the absence of quality, quantity had to suffice.

"This isn't going to be over soon," said Rinoa to herself, thoughtfully. "Sergius."

It took a few seconds for the name to filter through rising exhaustion as being meant for him. "Mmmm?"

Rinoa reached over and ran her fingers over his, over the bare tips his gloves didn't cover. It snapped him awake, and she smiled at him. "Go work in the junk shop," she said. "You know more about weapons than anyone else we have. If you work there, you'll get the parts and tools you need to make things work the way they should."

"R-" he caught himself. "Majesty - you sure you'll be okay?"

This time the smile was more rueful. "Yes," she said. "I survived six months without you, after all, waiting for you to heal. I'll be fine."

"Tomorrow, then," he said, and pulled off his jacket. It would serve as a short blanket. The crate would serve as a bed. He'd learned, in the weeks since leaving the hospital, to make himself at home and comfortable anywhere.

Rinoa saw him settled, took a deep breath, wiped away her tears and put on a bright smile. It was time to talk to people.
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