Categories > Games > Final Fantasy 7

I'll Follow You Into the Dark

by Badger 2 reviews

For Rude, it was never a question of if.

Category: Final Fantasy 7 - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst, Drama, Romance - Characters: Reno, Rude - Warnings: [!] - Published: 2007-05-31 - Updated: 2007-05-31 - 1836 words - Complete

Rude opened his eyes to total blackness.

For a long minute he simply lay there, trying to orient himself, to get some sort of a feel for where he was. Whatever he was lying on was solid, but stretching his arms out to his side and above his head, he encountered nothing. And no matter how hard he squinted, he couldn't discern anything remotely approaching a speck of light.

Sighing, he closed his eyes and thought back. He and Reno had been sent out by Tseng this morning. They were supposed to go...where?. Someone had been caught selling Shinra secrets, and he and Reno were going to stop them.

The fact that he couldn't remember where they'd been going or who they'd been after bothered him more than his current situation. Unless he'd taken a hit to the head, it wasn't like him to forget orders. Reno always joked he had a special part of his brain where he kept Tseng's orders filed, probably in alphabetical order.

Reno. Thinking of his partner made him open his eyes again. And maybe they'd finally adjusted (or maybe something had changed while they were closed), because it was lighter now. A diffused, hazy light that illuminated absolutely nothing.

It took him a few tries to sit up, all the while checking himself for possible injuries. No broken bones, no blood, no gunshot or knife wounds. No lumps to indicate he might've taken a blow to the head. He was still wearing his suit, which looked as pristine as it had when he'd walked into work this morning.

"Good. You're awake."

His head snapped up. The voice was soft and seemed to issue from thin air. Carefully, he removed his shades and slid them into his pocket. "Who's there?"

"I could ask you the same, given that I live here." Someone was coming towards him, though he heard no footsteps. "Well, live isn't exactly the right phrase, but it will have to do for the moment."

Rude fought down the urge to draw his gun. "Who are you and where am I?"

The voice sighed. "Always so many questions. Still, I suppose it's only natural. It's not like you set out for here. You could hardly be expected to know."

The haze thinned, and a figure stopped a few feet away from him. Small and on the plump side, it was a, he amended the though, a young girl, maybe 13 or 14. Her skin was slightly darker than his, her hair a mass of copper-colored curls that spilled halfway down her back. She was dressed simply, in a blue skirt and matching T-shirt, her feet bare. And damned if he didn't get the feeling that he knew her from somewhere.

She smiled. "Hello, Rudy."

"How do you know who I am?"

"You mean, how do I know you're Rudy? That's simple enough. I'm your sister."

Rude could feel his mouth twitching. "Honey, I don't have any sisters."

"Of course you do. You have four. It's true none of us lived long enough to become adults, but that doesn't mean we didn't exist."

For a long moment he stared at her, mouth open. "Elise?" He finally whispered.

"So you do know me!" She clapped her hands like a child. "I wasn't sure you would, given that you were only five when I died."

More confused by the second, Rude pulled himself up to his knees. "You look just like Momma." Somewhere inside of him, the calm and rational Ruderick Johansen the Turk was screaming that this wasn't happening; that he wasn't talking to the second of his four sisters. Elise had died at age three of Chocobo Pox.

Elise was dead.

"Am I dead?"

Elise cocked her head to one side. "Well, that's sort of up to you to decide."

"Say what?"

She came over and knelt down in front of him. "You and your partner were ambushed. The whole thing was a set-up."

He grabbed her arm. "Reno? Is Reno dead?"

For a moment she looked down, unable to meet his eye, and Rude felt as if his insides were cracking into a thousand pieces. "He took a shot directly to the chest, Rudy. But he didn't suffer at all. He was gone before he hit the floor."

"Where is he?" Rude forced her to look at him. "Is he here?"

She nodded.

"Then I'm dead to."

"Not exactly."

"Dammit, Lisi, this is no time to be playing games!"

"You're still alive. Just barely. You've been very badly injured, but there's a possibility you might live, assuming Mr. Tseng and the ambulance arrives soon enough." She took her hands in hers. "Most people never get this sort've chance, you know. Usually, it's left up to fate as to who lives and who dies. But in your case, a couple of the Gods have been pulling strings." She laughed at the look on his face. "They feel that given the choice, you'd sooner follow Reno than stay behind. I'm here to let you know you have that choice."

The impact of what she was saying slowly sank in. "I get to choose whether I live or die?"

"Yes. But you need to be sure, Rudy. Because once you decide, you can't change your mind."

"As if I'd want to?" He stared down at their intertwined hands. "Reno and I have been together for 16 years, Lisi. That's as long as Momma and Daddy were married before they died. In the beginning, we were just partners. Never was sure why Tseng put us together; something about Reno needing someone solid to keep him from getting himself killed before he turned 18. But we made a good team. Best damn team he'd ever had, Tseng told me once."

"Somewhere along the line, though, it turned into something neither of us expected. Reno didn't believe in love, or at least that's what he always said. Love was for suckers and fools. Better to keep things easy and open and no commitments, you know?"

"All I knew was that I loved him, and I wanted to be with him however long Ifrit willed. Did you know most Turks die in their mid-30s? The way I saw it, why should we pass up a chance for happiness when we could get it?"

"Took me a while to convince him, though. Reno had to be wooed; just like Daddy had to woo Momma. Had to make him believe that I was in this for the long run; that what I felt for him wasn't just an itch I wanted to scratch."

"Took me a long time to get up the nerve to tell him the truth. That I'd never loved anyone as much as I loved him. That I wanted him to be mine till the day we died. And when we died, we'd do it together. He wouldn't have to go into the dark alone, because I'd follow him. Know why?" Elise shook her head. "Because without him, my life wouldn't be worth living. It'd be like trying to live without my arms and legs. I suppose I'd get used to it eventually, but it wouldn't be like really being alive. It'd be existing. And I don't want to just exist, Lisi. Not if I've got any say so in the matter."

"So you want to stay?"


"And you're absolutely sure about it?"

"As sure as I am that I love Reno."

She smiled. "Then I guess there's no sense in delaying things any longer." She reached into the air beside them and, before Rude realized it, snapped a gossamer strand, no thicker than a spider's web, he hadn't even noticed was there. "You know you're friends are going to miss you?"

"Yeah. But they'll help each other through it. That's how Turks survive."

"Now I suppose you want to see Reno?"

"I might be a bit upset if I don't get to, yeah."

She stood up, dusting off her skirt. "Fair enough. Just don't forget, Rudy; there are other people here who'd like to see you too. Some of your Turk friends. There's a Mr. Veld who's been asking about you. And Momma and Daddy are going to be really upset if you don't drop by eventually."

"Only if I'm allowed to bring Reno with me."

Elise laughed. "Oh I'm sure they'll be delighted to see him again."

Rude stood up, dusting off his knees. "Again? What the hell does that mean?" He looked up, only to find she was gone. "Elise? Elise, how the hell am I supposed to find Reno?"

The question was answered by a blue-suited blur with bright-red hair tackling him. Between the accusations of "You bastard, I thought you'd left me alone here, dammit!" and the sobs of 'Knew you'd never leave me, Rude!' it took him a few minutes to get them untangled.

For a long time they just stood there, holding each other.


"Yeah, Ren?"

Reno stepped back and looked at him. "I just met your entire family."

"Elise suggested as much."

"S'weird, Rude. Your dad kept callin' me 'Son'."

Rude smiled. "Sounds like daddy."

"Your twin brother doesn't look anything like you. He's got hair, man! And I know they all died pretty young, but why are they still teenagers?"

"I'm guessing you probably don't age at a normal rate here. If you age at all."

"Really?" Reno"s face lit up. "Cool! I get to be 29 forever?"

Rude wasn't really surprised to discover that the haze was clearing. They were currently standing in the middle of a dusty road, but he noticed a cluster of houses not far off. "So. What say we go find my parents and I introduce you properly?"

"Sounds good." Reno took hold of his hand. "Did your dad call you 'son' when you were a kid?"


"Better'n what my old man called me." The walked in silence a moment. "You think my folks are somewhere round here?"

"Don't know. Cross that bridge when we come to it. huh?" Rude looked around him. "I mean, this is nothing like what they told us the afterlife was like in church when I was a kid."

"Never did believe all that crap." Reno shook his head. "Knew you wouldn't leave me, though."

"Told you I wouldn't."

"Yeah. But it's not like you've got any choice in the matter, is it?"

Rude just looked at him and smiled. "Where you're concerned, Ren, it was never anything but my choice."

Love of mine some day you will die
But I'll be close behind
I'll follow you into the dark

No blinding light or tunnels to gates of white
Just our hands clasped so tight
Waiting for the hint of a spark
If heaven and hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the no's on their vacancy signs

If there's no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark
Then I'll follow you into the dark
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