dreaming of the sky.
YOUR NAME IS ZACK FAIR, AND YOU REMEMBER A DISTINCT PAIN IN YOUR CHEST AT LEAVING THOSE YOU CARE FOR BEHIND.
It all seemed to happen so long ago. You'd run away at such a young age, determined to become a SOLDIER 1st Class, dreaming of becoming a hero, like the ones you saw in all of the propaganda. It seemed crazy, really, but you wanted it. And you'd chase after it with everything that you were. Leaving behind your family without a second thought, an impulse decision that you regret later when coming to visit - there's apologies that are made, but excitement when you tell that them those years later that you've made second class. There's a look of surprise, and one of pride. Your glad that, despite your rash decisions to leave so randomly and so young, your family supports you.
The goodbye is tearful and hard, but you manage to keep it together.
SOLDIER 2nd Class is different than you'd thought it'd be. After all, who was this guy? Angeal Hewley. You remember his name, commit it to the far reaches of that brain of yours despite how airheaded you could be. He called you a puppy, and you guessed it didn't help that you pouted like one when you didn't get your way. You admired his courage, his determination, and the way he so effortlessly followed his own code of honor. You wanted to be like that. You wanted to live up to that. You wanted to know him. You wanted to be him. Angeal Hewley was more than a man in your eyes - he was the one that kept you grounded, kept your head out of your ass, and your feet on the ground. There's an endearing look in Angeal's eye as he looks at you now, and his teasing is all in good fun. You take it in stride.
Lazard was a weird one, you remember. The first time you'd met him was when Genesis had deserted. Gone missing on a mission to Wutai. And while you remember the twist of your gut, you also remember the look on Angeal's face. It made you mad that someone would dare hurt your friend that way. It was something that made your blood boil, but for once, you held your tongue, told Lazard that you knew nothing of why Genesis had disappeared. The words he'd spoken, that the mission was stuck in limbo, hadn't struck you as surprising, and your brain wanders briefly before you hear the words Angeal speaks, striking you with elated glee. He'd reccomended you for first? No way! You remember Lazard's snickering as you told Angeal you love him, that he was the best, all the while he tried to shoo you off.
Angeal's story about the dumbapples - how Banora white apples only grew randomly, and how Genesis' family grew the best ones - strikes a chord with you. It made you angry - if they were such good friends, why did Genesis leave? It only seems to serve as fuel to your irritation with Genesis. But you remember his laughter as he walked away from you, and you internally snort as you follow him, thanking him for a story that seemed dumb at the time.
The next thing that you remember was the crash - the large, booming sound of the creature coming upon you. It's too strong for you - you're hurt and breathing heavily against a pillar, body aching from the pain of being tossed about, but you hold your sword steady. Before the beast can attack again - there he is, armed with that Buster Sword that he never uses. He berates you for losing focus, and you snark at him, use brings about wear, tear, and rust.
He tells you that you were a little more important than his sword.
He's gone then, and as your running, trying to find him again, a summon appears. Ifrit is far tougher than you'd been prepared for, but you weren't the one to deal the final blow. Sephiroth was. When the battle is through, you could barely believe your eyes. The 1st Class SOLDIER Sephiroth had just totally saved your arse. You blink at him, unable to speak until he moves the masks off the soldiers. Genesis, you remember him saying. They were copies of Genesis.
It had to be the hardest thing you'd heard of. The hardest thing you'd ever thought you'd hear. Angeal? Betray SOLDIER? Desert them like Genesis supposedly had? There was a piece of him that was relentlessly angry - and one that was horribly hurt. This was the man that he'd followed into war. He had followed that man into war. Surely this was a joke, right? There was no way Angeal would desert... Not after his talks of honor, of dreams, of protecting those few simple philosophies. He remembers the words in his head.
You're sent to Genesis' hometown. Lazard tells you that Sephiroth was originally assigned to the matter, and the fact hat he isn't going strikes you as odd. You tell Lazard he's spoiled. Lazard says to tell it to his face. You don't - you do value your life after all.
The Turk they send you with is weird - he talks weird, like a know it all, but you do listen. He knows what he's talking about, even if there's a monotone to him. When you arrive at Genesis' home, you listen as the Turk talks of Angeal and Genesis. He says that Sephiroth believes that Angeal left because Genesis and he were best friends. Then, he tells you to go find Angeal's home.
Angeal's mother is not what you expected - she seems kind and sweet, and you tilt your head as she refers to you as Zack the Puppy. You grumble at that, but your attention is diverted as she begins to speak of Genesis and Angeal. She asks what her son's been up to - you're sad to have no answer. She says Angeal was here - but that he left his sword, and went off elsewhere.
That same Turk from earlier - Tseng, you remember his name now - says that Genesis and Angeal were Sephiroth's only friends. You're convinced you can bring back Angeal - that if you talk to him, you can bring some sense into him. You know you can.
Infinite in mystery is the gift of the goddess / We seek it thus, and take to the sky / Ripples form on the waters surface / The wanderingsoul knows no rest.
Loveless. It's that dumb play that Genesis recites - you remember Angeal grumbling about it at some point. You remember the way he spoke about it - how he was annoyed but it also seemed endearing. Genesis reciting it - hearing it in person was different than hearing about it. And the way he says it just seems so condescending. Maybe that was just his voice. But as he stands, speaking of betrayal, ready to attack you, Angeal appears. He carries you sword in his hand, leveling it at Genesis and you blink. Angeal had made up his mind? And what did Genesis mean by 'living on this side'? Before you can get a word in edgewise - Angeal pushes you away, leaving you dazed and confused before you follow him.
His mother. His own mother.
"What the hell did you do, Angeal?" You screamed it, slamming him into the wall, going so far as to knock him in the jaw with a fist. You shove him out the door, "Is that your idea of honor?"
His words still haunt you - that the mother cannot live, and neither can the son. You watched him walk away, laying on the floor as Genesis' words fly through your ears.
"My friend, do you fly away now? To a world that abhors you and I? / All that awaits you, is a somber morrow, / no matter where the winds may blow.
You hate that stupid play.
And you hate that stupid man.
WE ARE MONSTERS. he had said, and you watched as a single, black wing comes from his shoulder, and he leaves you with a shuddering realization. They are not monsters.
SOLDIER doesn't mean MONSTER.
You ride off in the Turks' helicopter - watching as Banora burns.
You were haunted by Angeal's memory. Where did he go? Where did they go? The war is over now. And everyone was happy it seemed. Save you. You're distracted by a phone call from Sephiroth. He tells you to see Lazard - and you're promoted. You are a SOLDIER 1st Class. But you're not ecstatic, not elated, not as happy as you thought you'd be.
You stare at the body of Genesis - knowing he's not actually dead, and you say the same words that he does. Those were the wings of a monster - but Cissnei.. She says that they symbolize something else. That she'd always wanted wings. Like an angel.
There it isn't much time to continue. You're called by Sephiroth, telling you to get the Mako Reactor 5. You're going to try - and fail - to eliminate your comrades. Everything seems to blur then, and you remember Sephiroth's story, about him, Genesis, Angeal, and how they were so close. It hurts you to see him so spaced and tired. You swear there's a hint of betrayal in those green eyes. And you ache - because you feel it too.
What do angels dream of?
It was a wake up call for you. Angeal was here - he had those wings. They were angel's wings. You had to convince him, what was this guy talking about? World domination? Revenge? That had to be crap. It had to be.
They dream of being human.
It's a wake up call for you...
Both literally and figuratively. The last thing you remember, is Angeal, fighting him but... Not really. You refused to fight him. Instead, he slams his fist into the ground, rattling the gates beneath your feet and you plunge. As you wake up, there's a sweet voice there. You call her mother, but then it breaks into another voice - just as sweet and kind, and you're greeted by glowing green eyes and a smile as you wake up. You call this heaven - she says not quite, and tells you you're in the slums. You call her an angel, and she says she's Aerith.
You end up sepnding the day with Aerith. She's cute. and she takes your flirting with stride and even retorts back once in a while. You buy her a bow - despite her protesting that the ' one date' you'd have was your repayment for her waking you. You like the bow on her. Pink is her color. When you get a call from Sephiroth, saying he needs you at the ShinRa building, you feel bad, until she asks if she can see you again. You jump at the chance.
The mission feels like a rushed cluster of whatever the hell, running into Angeal, who asks for your help, and then, having to run off to Hojo to make sure Genesis didn't kill him. The drivel he spits - about the degradation, about how Hollander can't actually cure it, goes a bit over your head, too busy keeping most of your focus on Genesis in fear he may take advantage of the scientist's ramblings. You only jump forward to pull your sword and point it at him, and there's more of Loveless that Genesis speaks, but at this point, you're tired of hearing this shitty play over and over. But Hojo starts talking about it - says that the last act has yet to be discovered, and then Genesis blows up the tank in the lab, and flies off. You go after him, Angeal grabbing at you to bring you into the sky.
Genesis is summoning again, and Angeal takes off after him. You're exasperated - he was leaving, again and you feel the need to punch at the air, before having to deal with the giant dragon that Genesis has left you.
When all's said and done, there's no sign of either of them.
You go to see Aerith again, only to get stopped by Tseng. He says he needs you in Modeoheim, and you groan, briefly arguing over Aerith before stepping into the copter.
The copter, though, falls, and you huff as you end up having to hoof it. You make up the front - along with one of the footsoldiers. You joke with him, glad that someone's able to keep up and give a soft laugh. He jokes back, saying that he's also a country boy - two backwater experts on the same mission. You holler to Tseng, and when the boy takes his helmet off and gives you his name, you smile.
You'd remember him for sure, becoming fast friends on your way to Modeoheim.
You are unsurprised when you find Genesis there, but you are surprised to see him pointing his sword at Hollander. You aren't sure what's happening, really, and stare blankly as you do, before drawing your own sword and running into battle. The battle with Genesis feels like it's dragging - but soon, he falls. He's spitting more of Loveless at you, befoe he falls off the edge of the platform, and you swear he's dead.
You're almost sick of seeing Angeal's face - almost. You still miss him, deep down, but you're also angry. He keeps leaving you, keeps leaving ShinRa behind, and you almost growl at him, before he speaks. it should've been me - I should've been the one to deal with Genesis.
And before you can blink, he has his sword turned on you. You ask him if he's lost it, completely insane, but he continues, and you clash swords. Your heart aches - you can't believe this, your own mentor, you're fighting him. And this isn't your friendly sparring either - this is what feels like to the death. Before Hollander appears. And he says Angeal needs to avenge their family's suffering. He speaks of Jenova, of Project Gillian, of how Angeal is perfect - how he has recieved all of Jenova's gifts. You're confused, you're hurt, your body feels heavy, and you can tell Angeal continues to get angrier and angrier. And then... All of the creatures that hold Angeal's face become one with him, and you feel your heart break.
You know what you have to do.
You swear you've had your eyes closed this whole battle. You killed him. You killed him. He even thanked you for it, and then... And then he gave you the Buster Sword. You started crying then, and you're crying now, on the floor of the church where Aerith stays, as she speaks about the sunlight and flowers.
Embrace your dreams. If you want to be a hero, you need to have dreams... And honor.
You cry harder. Her arms wrap around you, and you feel safe again, but the pain doesn't stop, and you don't stop feeling sad. But she's there - Aerith is there and her warm body is against your back, her arms around your neck as she hugs you from behind. And she holds you till you stop. You realize then, that you love her.
Even a year later, the Buster Sword feels heavy. Your heart feels heavy. But you've changed - your hair is longer, and you're a bit taller. You look like a SOLDIER. You steel yourself, give the sword a twirl and latch it onto your back - you have troops to face. And you tell them, no matter what, to embrace their dreams, and that no matter what may happen, to protect their SOLDIER honor.
You apprehend Hollander, turn him over to the company, and are put on standby. But you grow restless. Vacations never did suit you. Your thoughts begin to plague you, and you ask yourself -what do you have to fight for anymore?
Cissnei tells you that Aerith is one of the Ancients, and that she's been watched by the Turks for ages. Aerith had never said anything about it - but then again, you guessed that wasn't something that really mattered to you. What did matter to you was the random onslaught of Genesis copies that you were now fighting with an... umbrella.
What do angels dream of?
There's a lot you don't remember - and then a lot that you do. You remember Cloud - sweet, blonde haired boy that didn't deserve any of this, and you watch as he falls limp in your arms again, weak from mako poisoning. You feel terrible - part of you feels like this is your fault. So, you help Cloud. You help him get out of the tank, out of this place, and into the desert. You had asked your dad - to give you a ride as far as he could go, and then kept going, until ShinRa caught up with you. You leave Cloud where he can't be seen, and then, head off to face this army one to a thousand.
You die there. You tell Cloud that he is your living legacy - that all the time you'd spent together, those days you'd try and teach him a thing or two - you didn't have to be SOLDIER to have honor. You give him the Buster Sword. And as he leaves, rain falls, and your heart aches for the ones that you leave behind. For Aerith, for Cloud, the way that his eyes change, from being emotionless and tired to hurt, and he cries for you. You wish that it didn't have to be this way.
hey... would you say that I was a hero?
You watch as Angeal's hand reaches for you, to bring you into the Lifestream - except when your eyes are open, you're not there.