Warnings: Boys who like other boys. Extended canon deviation. Non-explicit sexual situations. The works.
Summary: Just because I'm gone doesn't mean I'm just going to let go. I won't. Not when they still need me. Not ever.
Disclaimers: I had a dream where I had these three boys with me. It was a grand and glorious dream. It was also ten years too late to claim rights over them. You know the feeling.
Notes: I haven't played Crisis Core. This was originally written in November of last year for Nanowrimo when the release of which was a distant whisper of a possibility (...or it could have been more than that. Frankly, memory doesn't stretch much further than "PANICPANICTYPETYPETYPE") and since then trailers have popped up everywhere depicting the first meetings of all the characters which are different from in this fic. Since they play rather integral part in story, we'll say it is canon-deviating and leave it at that. The most I might take out of CC is Zack's last name, and even that I might not even have to use. :)
Always kinda knew it wouldn’t last.
Most things don’t, y’know? I knew it then just about as well as any other man. Been around the block a couple of times—don’t got a lot of block where I come from after all, it’s a pretty small town, Gongaga—and done some things I’m not proud of… gotten beaten over the head with a quarterstaff for most of ‘em too.
Yeah, I know how stuff like that works. Or, like in our case, doesn’t.
Thing was, I didn’t want it to. End, I mean. And I tried so hard to believe—tried to make them all believe—that it could work, that it could last forever, and that I would always be there for him.
You know. That they’d always be there for me.
Yeah. They. There was more than just two of us. Or even three of us. Having four of us kinda evened it out a little in numbers, but we stopped counting early on in the game and focused on caring. It was more than a relationship, you know? It was like a family, the kind Aeris and I have always kind of wanted—you know, the hokey kind with lots of laughing and tripping over each other’s feet, and lots and lots of naughty touches in cramped spaces—and what I think the others have always kind of needed.
We worked together—we fit—like some great, fucked up jigsaw puzzle jammed together to make something great, some awesome whole that everyone else could see but ourselves, who only really saw the greatness of each other.
Well, we were a weird bunch from the beginning—three Shinra goons and a flower girl the Turks were so desperate to reclaim? No one would’ve staked their bets on us getting old and retiring together, I’m sure. Certainly not on us four shacking up in some nice old house on the outskirts of Gongaga, as far the hell away from Midgar as we can get without setting up camp inside the Northern Crater, with a white picket fence and a flock of baby chocobo chicks flocking around at our feet. Heh, Spike would’ve loved them, and there would be Aeris with her cake, and maybe Seph would even learn to relax out on the front porch, crack a smile once in a while if we were really lucky…
Yeah, it was a nice dream at a time where it didn’t seem like a bad thing to want things, you know? That it wasn’t a crime to be happy.
SOLDIERs don’t retire, not really. I just figured that… well, with an ambitious little leech like Shinra slopping its mako-sucking tentacles over every continent it came to, there had to come a time when it’d conquered everything, right? When everyone everywhere was under President Shinra’s fat, piggish little thumb and all nicely written out in lists of assets and wealth and the concessions that every other country in the world was handing over to the great power conglomerate. It was a grim vision of the future, but then all that shit getting to it would have been over.
Still… I guess even if it had turned out like that… if Shinra had been the one to take over the world, and sucked out the Lifestream until the whole Planet fused into one gigantic ball of glass, he would’ve needed his precious little SOLDIER toys to keep the peace.
No rest for the weary, I guess. There’re always gonna to be soldiers. And there’s no soldier alive that’ll ever match Seph, so I guess retirement’s never been an option for him.
Or at least… I used to think retirement’s never been an option for him. The alternative…
Well. Finding out otherwise… finding out what happens… how the whole world goes to hell, and how stuff’s happened that can never be fixed…
Hits you hard, I’m telling you. Makes you think I could’ve fixed this.
But I think what comes after is worse. Knowing you couldn’t, knowing you can’t do more. It hurt enough to fail Seph once. It hurts more to know I failed them all in the end.
So I’m not going to let that happen again.
Finally posted! Near a year in the writing, passed around more than the common cold because of my terrible need to have it thoroughly canon-, character-, and otherwise-beta'd. Since it was originally a Nanofic, that means it was a terrible mass of hastily-constructed flimsy plot. It's taken this long to rip it apart and put it back together. We'll see how it goes! ^_^
Continue on to next chapter here.