Categories > Games > Final Fantasy 8 > Misfire


by Larathia 0 reviews

Keeping tabs on a triumphal arch.

Category: Final Fantasy 8 - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama - Characters: Irvine,Rinoa - Warnings: [!] - Published: 2012-04-24 - Updated: 2012-04-25 - 1128 words

The beginnings of a real plan helped hugely. Direction helped hugely.

It was, being fair, the only thing that seemed to be going right at all. The news of the outside world just seemed to be getting worse.

There was a place set aside now, on the triumphal arch that had been the site of the failed assassination mission. Bas reliefs had been removed, leaving smooth stone, and as the months passed Rinoa and Irvine found out why.

The first face on the new blank stone was a quite accurate bas-relief of General Caraway. And under the bas-relief of his face, Edea had put his body (now quite decayed) in a cage, to hang and swing and feed the birds. Some people stared at it, as the breezes under the arch pushed the narrow cage – meant to keep rotting limbs from landing on people only – to and fro. Others hurried past, pretending it wasn't there.

Irvine had vaguely expected Rinoa to cry, when he'd seen it. Or at least, expected that she had cried. He rather suspected it had first gone up while he was still in the hospital, but he'd rather avoided the park until he was well enough to run if necessary. The bones were nearly bare in the swinging cage by the time he'd realized what it was.

And what it wasn't.“They don't know who he was,” Rinoa said one night, while he was on watch duty over their base-of-the-week. “Or who I am. She promised when she put him up there that all our friends would be next to him. There's a space left for you, and for me.” Her tone was soft and low, so as not to carry at all, and she'd taken to wearing cloth over her face to keep lip-readers at bay. “She knew how many he'd hired from his bank accounts. She wants me because...I'm me, really. But she hasn't caught any of us yet. I don't know about you but I call that a good sign.”

Hopefully. It was a big world.

The Plan, as it were, was simple. Get people into the Identification offices, where the official IDCs were made. Get people into every stage of the ID-making process, so that the resistance could create new identities for itself as needed. Give those who couldn't fight, and couldn't help outside the city, jobs where they could listen. Jobs where they could bring news. Bring names.

Irvine would remove the names that wouldn't deal. Deling had always been corrupt – farther back than living memory, the city had had corruption and crime at every level. Edea ruling the place had, perhaps not surprisingly, cut /down/on corruption purely because defying her was such a personally terrifying prospect. But even Edea couldn't be everywhere at once, and the more she clamped down on her city, the more willing people became to take a few risks in the name of having a good supper when she wasn't around.

Not surprisingly, the bulk of this Plan required Rinoa, and her skill at convincing people to listen to her. It required time, to get the new ID cards and get people properly settled in new identities. And it required training, so that they could get jobs in the right places.

Irvine watched, for the most part. Backed her – sometimes literally, with height and guns – and talked it over with her when others slept. He wasn't leader material; he'd known that for a long time. Snipers generally weren't in any case, but he had the training. He gave that to Rinoa, and watched her be sweet and understanding and persuasive, and was deeply relieved he didn't have to lead. Didn't have to be the heart of a resistance cell. Because he understood what Rinoa refused to accept; the whole thing was pushing water uphill with a cheesecloth, and if the rest of their team didn't someday come to rescue them (ideally with an army) they were, sooner or later, all going to get caught in Edea's traps.

While she trained their would-be fellow rebels, he practiced changing identities and started really learning Deling City. When the time came that Rinoa had her network in place, he'd probably have to be able to get away with shooting people all over the city. Edea's white-and-gold honor guard wouldn't like that, and they were given any junctions that Edea recovered from the Gardens. They'd be fast, strong, and armed with magic as well as guns. He needed to know his escape routes, and his vantage points.

It was while on this daily errand that he saw her.

Most of her, anyway. What was left of her.

Selphie's body, in a new cage, swaying in the breezes through the triumphal arch.

There was a crowd dispersing as he approached; people watching the new bas-relief being set in place of Selphie's face, and the cage with her body in it being hung on a hook below it. Barely recognizable, even for him; it looked like she'd been caught in a blast, and her handlers hadn't exactly been careful with her corpse.

Irvine found a bench to sit on so his height wouldn't draw any attention. His hair was short, frazzled and white today, touches of makeup to make him look older, though watching the cage swing he didn't really feel he needed it. Aw, baby...what happened to you? The news might take days before the spin doctors had it sorted to Edea's satisfaction. One less candle out there in the world.

He couldn't stay. The honor guard would be watching for anyone who reacted too personally to the body swinging in the breezes. She wouldn't want that. He leaned forward, over his knees – his back didn't bend anymore, so the gesture was sharp, but it still gave the impression of stretching, of catching breath. Damn. Damn, damn, damn. He'd have to tell Rinoa.

Getting to his feet, the crowd murmured speculations of a celebratory parade in honor of the 'traitor's death. Irvine realized he was getting used to not showing what he felt as he listened, walking slowly through the streets. She'd probably like that, honestly. Nothing seemed to make her happier than a load of fireworks. He turned the fading memories over in his mind, Selphie as a little child at Matron's house, fireworks on the beach. As he rounded acorner into an alleyway, heading for a manhole cover that would take him into the sewers, he mentally offered the memories up to Ifrit.

I don't think I'll be needing these anymore.

He'd give Rinoa the news in private, in case she needed to cry. He'd finish his scouting after sundown. He needed to work on fitting in with the evening party crowd at need.
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