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


by DevilishKurumi 0 reviews

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. [Character Death, Mutilati...

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: 2006-12-07 - Updated: 2006-12-08 - 2618 words

Mikoto wanders the village and wonders if, maybe, there is something wrong with her.
She just doesn't find the current situation as threatening as the others do. She, unlike the other Genomes, isn't picking up the fear emanating from the dwarves or her brother's comrades.
While they're all afraid, she is simply waiting for things to return to normal, as they are sure to do eventually.
She takes her normal walk, partly out of habit and partly to stay away from the others, so as not to ostracize herself. No one is at the graveyard, for the first time in a long while, but she feels slightly apprehensive at being there - as if someone is there and is watching her, waiting in the shadows. So she turns and takes the path through the village again, this time following the outer rim. She can hear the others talking of the future, in tones that prove their unawareness at what the future really /is/.
Mikoto crosses the bridge to the mill and finds a bustle of activity there - dwarves are marching about, cutting down nearby trees and carrying the lumber away down the slope. She almost wants to know what they're doing.
"I hope you don't mind," a soft voice raises from behind her, "But we need the lumber..."
She turns to see the rat-man who is traveling with her brother's friends. He looks sick and weak and sweaty, and her mind recalls his name as Eumol.
"It is alright, I suppose," she responds dully. "I do not think I have any say in the matter, either way."
"You're... Mikoto, right?" he asks, cocking his head to the side.
She nods, too easily distracted by the building going on around her. "What is going on?"
"We're building a ship. Hopefully... Hopefully we'll have it done in time..."
Mikoto remembers the last rat-person she had met, and doesn't see her at all in this boy. She looks up at the sky, more visible now that trees are out of the way.
"Will you be leaving soon?"
"The ship will take a while... but we need to keep going. One way or another, we have to keep moving."
She nods again and looks to him, raising an eyebrow. "You look sick."
Eumol laughs in embarrassment, and says, "Burmecians aren't very good in heat, I guess... I'm not used to it yet, is all."
"I doubt you ever get used to it," she mumbles, wrapping her tail around her waist. "Pitsel will be back soon."
He scratches the back of his head and nods. "Probably. I just hope they get back before things fall apart here..."
Mikoto almost asks what he means... but then she thinks and realizes she knows exactly what he's talking about.
Amarant puts a palm to his forehead and takes his own temperature.
He feels lightheaded and dizzy, as if he's had too much to drink, without the nausea that generally follows. He can hear the dwarves working on the other side of the village, and he covers his face with his hands, thumb checking his pulse against his neck and finding it erratic.
He can almost tell that he's about to have another one, but he doesn't know how heavy it will be, who it will take with him...
He hears footsteps and looks through the shadows to see Zidane's Sister standing in the graveyard, looking over the headstones with that goddamned blank expression she's always had.
When she turns and leaves, gravity weighs in its opinion and he breathes in, waiting for his stomach to sink.
Lani watches the afternoon sky with something almost close to apprehension.
Since her declaration last night that her hallucination had been just that, she's had a slimy, almost foul feeling on her skin. A bath in the stream didn't help - if anything, it made her feel dirtier.
She hates imagining dead bodies floating in the water.
She keeps seeing the black something in the corner of her eyes - as if it's lurking just outside her line of sight, watching her and waiting for something. She doesn't think the "something" will be very good, whatever it is.
She's out of galenas and Mikoto's nowhere in sight, so she suffers in sobriety until the next opportunity presents itself. She's not sure when it will be, but she's okay with that, for now.
They've been here for a few days now, and it annoys her. She doesn't want to be here; she wants to be /home/... Even though there's no home now.
She's sure the bounties are all out and about... easy pickings.
Even though there isn't anyone to take them in to.
It weighs heavily on her heart and she sits on the grass near the treeline, looking at the treetops and wondering at how old these trees must be. They've probably seen this kind of shit before... and they'll probably see it again.
Meanwhile, they're running around like damned cockroaches.
She hates bugs.
There are heavy footsteps and she looks up to see Steiner standing some few feet away, looking at the sky and not really paying her much attention. He's lost in thought and she wonders if she should leave him in his own mind, or bring him into hers. She's not sure which one's more frightening.
"What is it that draws you to the trees?" he asks suddenly, eyes dropping to her face.
She can't stand it and looks away. "I don't know. They're nice, I guess. Older, or something."
Dirt crunches and she looks up to see Steiner almost casually leaning against one of the trees, fixing her still with that damned stare of his.
"Is there something you want, sir knight?"
He rolls his shoulder and says, "Forgive me if I am interrupting you. I was only wondering..."
"Wondering what, exactly?" she asks, frowning. She doesn't think it's a good idea to wonder about anything nowadays. It's just trouble.
"...What will happen, once her majesty returns?" he asks, looking up to the branches above, "What will happen when she realizes..."
He doesn't continue, so she does it for him.
"When she realizes we're all going to die anyways?"
He jerks, looks at her with wide eyes, and she realizes that he never imagined the thought would be voiced any time soon.
She sighs and says, "We're going to do whatever she says, aren't we? So quit worrying. Whatever happens, happens."
"Is that bounty hunter rhetoric?" he asks, meaning no harm.
"It's just the way life is, sir knight. Is constant worrying a knight's trait?"
He looks away and smirks, a little - kind of like a smile but too sad to be one. "It is a coward's," he says quietly, and then he walks away, arms behind his back and looking like a man heading for the gallows.
She watches him go and wonders where this is leading her.
He wishes Lani were here.
Desperately wishes.
With gasping breath he raises himself out of his own little hole and tries to make it onto his legs, even though it's impossible. His head is throbbing and he can feel every bone in his body, as though they were made of rubber and impossible to keep straight.
He crawls to the third grave of the sixth row before he collapses, eyes rolling and throat half clogged with blood. This is as good a spot as any, his mind giggles, sleeping on a grave is a new low after all, how much lower can you get when you use bone for pillow?
He agrees internally but externally he's still trying to move.
/If I had done anything differently/, he thinks blindly, trying to get his arms to stand straight, /I would have stayed in my hole like a lizard should/.
He wishes Lani were here.
Angel come forth, he sighs mentally, Cut me loose from my wicked deeds.
Something moves at the corner of his eyes and he tries to focus, but it's too damned hard.
"You have done many things wrong," the Old Man says from a distance, "And it will be the death of you."
He tries to say something in response, but his mind giggles instead and so he almost laughs himself.
"I asked you to go to my master in order to help her, and as of yet you have not done a single thing to prove your worth. Tell me, lizard..."
Gold light, and the Old Man is in his reddened vision.
"...Should I save you now, or allow your foolish magic to destroy you?"
Amarant gags on blood that disappears in a white hot burst - his head feels like fire and he grabs for it, bones stiffening to steel before returning to their normal state.
"You have had all the luck in the world," Old Man Lightning says, "And so I will grant you this one reprieve. Do this for me, lizard..."
His vision clears and he pushes himself onto hands and knees as the Eidolon says, "Stand by their side until the End. You may yet serve a purpose."
"Fuck you," he growls as the Eidolon dissipates.
The night is alive with noise. The dwarves don't sleep, and so they continue building the ship that will hopefully get them through their journey.
Lani had fallen asleep to them and had paid no attention to Amarant's brief knock.
Hours later, she wakes up on a hunch.
The slimyskin feeling increases as she sits up in the dark hut, eyes wandering over the empty shadows and seeing shapes staring back. It's her feet that lead her tonight, and she lets them take her out of bed and into the late night-early morning darkness. The dwarves are still working - she can hear them from a distance - and she wonders if, maybe, they will get the ship done in time.
She wanders the village for a while, letting her feet guide her. And guide her they do - they take her to the lonely graveyard and around the ruined treeline until she approaches a lone hut on the outskirts of the village.
The slimy feeling flees and the hut is suddenly in flames. She shouts and runs forward, drawing back from the heat and staring as two giant black wings fan out behind the building. They blot out the sky and smother the fire, smother the stars, smother her breathing.
"It's not a hallucination," she rasps weakly, defeated, "I'm not hallucinating."
As if she's spoken magic words, the flames disappear and the wings pull back, dissolving and leaving the hut alone and ramshackle.
It hits her suddenly, with a brute force that knocks her around mentally.
The wings mean death.
She runs to the hut and slips through the door.
Steiner is tangled up in his sheets, fighting in his sleep for freedom. She comes up through the dark and puts a hand on his shoulder, partially stilling the knight.
"Steiner," she whispers, "Steiner."
It takes a few gentle shakes before he jerks upright, sweat glowing in the dim moonlight. She's never seen him like this - she doubts anyone has.
He has crisscross scars across his shoulders and chest - some old and faded, others still red and fresh.
He looks at her blankly for a moment and then asks, "What are you doing here?"
"The wings mean death," she whispers, unable to force her voice louder, "And I saw them over here." I was worried is the unspoken thought underneath the otherwise bland statements.
The knight stares for a while and then looks at his hand, now in his lap. "I imagine you've decided they're not illusions after all?"
"I can't pretend they are." She doesn't tell him about the slimyskin feeling or the dark shadows that had danced outside her vision before her revelation, but she thinks he might understand.
She still has a hand on his shoulder, so she asks, "Nightmares?"
He chuckles humorlessly and doesn't respond.
"Sorry," she says quietly, removing her hand and standing at full height.
"It's strange," he mutters suddenly, "For someone such as yourself to have a motherly streak as you do."
"I can't help it," she snaps, feeling suddenly very self-conscious - something she hasn't felt since she was a /kid/. It irritates her.
"Forgive me," he hastily amends, turning to look at her fully, "I didn't mean it as an insult." He tries a smile - a small, apologetic one - and it fits him completely. "It helps."
She's not sure why but that smile entices her to stay. So she asks with a hint of awkwardness, "Where does a knight get so many scars?"
His smile widens for a split-second, and he responds, "You often acquire scars when you travel the world unaware of the dangers it holds."
It's a bit more cryptic than she had expected from him, but it still tells her just what she wanted to know. She examines the scars with her eyes, partly because she wants to know what kinds of weapons made them, and partly because she wants to see if he has more than Amarant does.
It surprises her when he says in a weak voice, "You are the only person to ask such a question of me."
She debates asking about his wife's opinion on them, but when she looks up from his chest and at his face, she /can't/. It's as if the thought flies out of her head and into the dark, lurking in the corners but leaving them alone.
Her chest constricts in a funny little way, something she hasn't felt since she was really young.
"It means something," he mumbles haphazardly, face getting a little red, "It just means something."
Something cracks - something needs to, really; they've come so far that the usual can't hold anymore. Too many bland conversations, too many doubts in their heads - it's just like every single day has been building up to this one moment, where she has to put a hand on the skin between shoulder and neck, where the have no say in what happens anymore.
She's only marginally surprised when he does all the leaning in, but she goes with it anyways and meets him three-fourths the way in. It's not quite clear how she's suddenly straddling him on top of sheets or how his hand got to pulling her down further, but she's really not complaining, after all; he needs her and she needs /this/. His hand's in her hair and she shifts her own hands down, forcing the sheets between them over his knees, hands moving back to his shoulders and only stopping long enough to undo cloth knots around her waist. He groans when she pulls her mouth away, just for a moment, but he doesn't say anything (thankfully; she doesn't know if either of them could continue if one of them spoke), so she breathes in and out and then leans back down, shifting her weight just so and -
He breathes out through his nose, hard, and she bites is lip to keep from biting her own. He can't quite give her proper stability but that's okay, she shifts again and presses down on him, lying chest to chest and letting go of his mouth to give him air. His hand pushes against the small of her back, monitoring the rhythm -
She bites against his collarbone. His hand moves along her back and around to her shoulder, to her cheek and he's just so goddamned nice about it all, brushing hair back from sweaty skin before moving back to her back, like that's his /place/.
She gasps, rolls her shoulders, holds her breath and closes her eyes tight...
The sun rises in a red-pink-orange sky, a sunset in reverse.

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