Categories > Games > Final Fantasy 7 > Voices


by Ardwynna 0 reviews


Category: Final Fantasy 7 - Rating: R - Genres: Angst, Drama - Characters: Vincent Valentine - Warnings: [?] [R] - Published: 2005-12-11 - Updated: 2005-12-11 - 1500 words

Disclaimer: Final Fantasy VII is the property of Square-Enix. No profit is sought from this work.



I have seen this all before.

A woman hurt, her life in tatters.

I stood by before. I let it happen. I reasoned that is was her own decision. By the time I saw what harm was being done, it was too late.

All those years in the dark it haunted me that I left a beautiful, fragile woman in the hands of a madman. That I let him use her and abuse her. That her pain continued long after he was done with her. I saw it over and over in dreams that left me clawing at the silk lining of my prison.

I saw again the moments of my failure, when I let her go for the sake of her own misguided happiness instead of fighting for my own, when I watched her walk the path of her destruction and said not a word. I watched again and again and pined for the chance to change things. I writhed and shrieked and screamed inside that dark pine box till nothing was left of me but a silent husk of the man I once was. It is a particular torment, to watch, always watch and never act when you knew you could. Death would be a kinder path and I would have chosen it if the choice had been mine to make.

Many times I swore as I lay in the darkness that I would never stand by and let such a thing happen again. That I would stop things as soon as I could, that I would keep her from hurting herself. That if circumstances ever conspired to pull a bright spirit beneath dark waters again, I would reach in and pull her out. Empty promises, while one lies in a casket far beneath the reach of daylight.

When Cloud stepped onto the deck of the airship with his battered burden, I moved without thinking. There was no need for thought. The lost hope of what I wish I had done before is burned deep into my soul.

I moved before the others could breathe and have kept moving since. Someone had to and no one else could right then. It is not that I am cold. It is not that I do not care. True, I had seen pain like that before, the aching, bleeding, dying outcome of a woman badly misused, but familiarity does nothing to lessen the ache. I simply knew what needed to be done. How many years had I lain in the darkness, knowing what I should have done, could have done before?

I did not wish to have cause to act where before I had stood still. There can be no redemption for me if it comes at such cost to another. She is hurt. She hurts still and my older sin is magnified. My inaction haunts me, moreso now. It was my earlier complacence that allowed an abomination to be brought into this world, an abomination that visited a nightmare upon a helpless girl. Had I acted then, earlier, the gentle girl I came to know would not be in such a condition now.

I visited often and still do. I spoke to her constantly in the hopes of drawing her out. She had retreated far inside herself, to some safe, dark place that had since become her prison. I know well how a small prison can almost become a home. It protects you, cradles you even as it confines you and smothers you. I know the fear of facing the world outside, where even the weak light of a grey dawn can magnify all the ugliness of reality. But I came out and she had to as well, or so I thought. I spoke to let her know that it was safe outside now, that she did not have to hide.

One day, some brief weeks after her rescue, I saw lucidity slip over the horizon of her broken gaze. Her mother was hovering near the door when it happened. I did not turn, but I knew then that the woman had known and kept it hidden. What her reason was I will not presume to know. There was great pain in this for her too. Pain upon pain upon pain, for all of them, because once, long ago, I did nothing. One such as I has no right to judge.

So the wounded one can speak again, but she does it softly, slowly. She does most things this way now. We had thought it simply the result of her injuries. She was so badly hurt. There was no doubt that the wounds went deep, deeper even than could be seen with the eye. But she lived and because she did, I had hope that she would heal.

It seems I held onto that hope long after the rest let go of it. I refused to believe that she would be always mute and docile. Her bruises faded to leave her skin pale cream again. Her bones knitted and her limbs were straight and whole. Her scars faded to the faintest tracing of fine lines, visible only to those who knew how to look. What reason had I to believe that the rest of her would not heal as well? She lived when my own love had not. I knew she would heal. She had to. I had hoped that this time my actions would be enough.

Too little, too late, in the end. Or perhaps too much.

The girl is strong. I knew this. She returned to herself quite quickly once the first signs had begun. Mere days after the first time that she actually recognized me, she was fully lucid and disturbingly accepting of what had been done to her, knowing more about it than any of us. She brought herself back to this world when all the doctors and treatment could not. She returned knowing full well that the body she inhabits was broken and pieced together, that this life holds little but pain for her yet.

I saw then how mistaken I had been. Nothing changes. I am as wrong now as I ever was. Always, always, I am wrong. My life is a curse on all who know me. Everything I touch turns to ash.

Many times I've found myself staring at my hands. At the heavy metal claw that drew a red cloak over a bleeding girl. At the pale human hand that signed the register at the hospital. I acted then, because I knew the consequences of inaction. My hands moved almost without conscious direction. Now, when I look at them and think of it, their only move is to tremble slightly. We are frozen, my body and I. Inaction was deadly. Action was worse.

Death would be a blessing for her. Perhaps it was a blessing to my love, only I was too foolish to know it then. The flowergirl is too strong, too stubborn for her own good. She insists on continuing this way.

I tried at first to discourage her, but she would only take my human hand in both of hers and say she had her reasons. Now she bears my presence with a gentle smile. I saw a smile like that before. She is calm, even placid. She moves with a familiar, weighty grace that sends a chill right through me. It is her decision to live like this, to continue a life which allows her dead tormentor to hurt her still. I wish it were not so, for her sake, for mine, for the sake of all the world.

But it is her decision and though I loathe it, I must respect it. Much as I wish it were otherwise for her sake, I can control no life but my own. Perhaps if we had realized sooner how deep the damage went, we could have acted while her welfare was strictly up to us. It is not so now. She is herself again, or as like herself as she can ever be. She is a grown woman, as she has gently reminded me more than once with a tightness in her voice and a certain haunted look in her eyes. In this way, she reclaims herself. If this is what she needs, then so be it. I would be a greater monster if I tried to tear these shreds of autonomy from her.

So I must return to my penance.

I watch.

I wait.

I thought I knew hell while I lay in my casket. That was nothing compared to this. There, I knew what I would do if the opportunity arose. Now, I am frozen. There is a threat of darkness still in what she has chosen.

This, then, is hell. Knowing now the cost of both action and acceptance, should darkness come again, what will I do?

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