By Nyohah

Replaced. Such a bitter word.

Such a bitter little room, the sickening smell of my own wounds devouring the equally sickening antiseptic smell of the equipment. I get to lie here and rot in the sterile atmosphere, staring at the white ceiling and the pretty colors that appear when I try to move, while some rookie does my job.

I don't even rate a television. I can't even flick on the propaganda machine and try to second-guess the lies to discern the truth. It's a hobby I enjoyed before I worked for ShinRa and gained a more amusing pastime: creating the propaganda.

Funny how no one realizes what influence the Turks have on their daily 'truths.' To them we're torturers, murderers, the president's private guns . . . brainless killers. 'Oh, no, they could never mold our minds into their personal masterpieces.'

Tseng parades an unofficial title of Propaganda Department, and still they never noticed.


Soft pink lips formed a sly grin before him, reacting to the words meant for her.


Well, of course, you knew. You were never stupid.

I must say, far more sad are those who truly believe we only scout out SOLDIER candidates. Or those who don't have the cynicism to see past our official title: the ShinRa Manufacturing Department in Administrative Research.

Research, recruiting. Yeah, that's why I regularly pack seven weapons.

No, you were never that naïve. Over-trusting, but not naïve.

And what is this? I can't even watch cartoons? I don't even get to watch them cute-ify man-eating monsters? If one of these days, some kid gets eviscerated by a Zemzelette when he tries to hug it I won't be surprised.

I do not sound like an over-protective mother! Lying in this bed is frying my brain, that's all. Wipe that silly grin off your face.

You'd think a high-ranking ShinRa employee would at least get a TV.

* * * * *

She smiled, soft pink lips spreading at my arrival.

* * * * *

They came to visit me yesterday, you know, Rude and Tseng dragging in the rookie. The bloody rookie.

Yes, I did have to approve her, but I can't believe I did. Probably doped up on morphine at the time or something.

She walked in, outfitted in a crease-less blue suit that was tailored to hug her figure and accentuating her lack of torso length, her sunglasses tucked in her pocket in exactly the same manner as Tseng's, and holding a can of soda with a straw in the opening. Diet. Caffeine free.

What a freak.

And looking perfect in her spotless Turk uniform, like something sent to be everything I'm not and take my place forever.

I haven't tucked in my shirt in for years, let alone worn a tie. I think if I dressed up, no one would recognize me.

Of course, you're the exact opposite. You wouldn't recognize my current slovenly way. And you wouldn't recognize the twin scars that grace my cheekbones.

Maybe next time they'll bring a TV.

* * * * *

I did not smile back. Hers faltered.

* * * * *

Stop frowning at me like that. I was just following orders.

No, it had to be me. I'm the Demolitions Department. I think blowing up the pillar to drop the plate qualified as demolitions work.

Maybe it was overkill just to get a few terrorists. Not my call.


The lips began to tremble, the precursor of tears for the lost.


No, don't do that. You know I can't stand that. And, no, I don't feel sorry for the people in the slums.

Don't look so outraged. I don't take responsibility for other people's stupidity. I certainly don't pity it.

'They're going to blow up the pillar! Oh, horror, horror, let's stand at its base and watch and then expect the world to pity us when we get crushed.'

They had plenty of time to get out, trust me. Do you even want to know how many stupid mistakes I made and had to correct before I accidentally blew myself up instead of the pillar? It took far too long to set up that bomb; they had plenty of time to get out.

Maybe if it hadn't taken so long and you hadn't caused me to have to double-check the code with Tseng—I didn't appreciate the look that got me—and AVALANCHE hadn't shown up and I wasn't lying in this stupid bed you could get me to feel responsible for them.

If you hadn't been distracting me with your stupid frowns, reminding me of the impending destruction and crushing of those above who never bothered to care about what it was like below . . . I don't feel sorry for them either.

* * * * *

Then the lips began to quaver in fear, as I snapped open the switchblade.

* * * * *

If you would stop bothering me all the time, I wouldn't be here.

No! Don't leave. I didn't mean it.

It's just that I can't stand lying here as that rookie does my job and gets my money.

Nice that our normally exorbitant salaries don't offer sick pay, isn't it? An incapacitated Turk is, after all, a worthless Turk.

Yeah, we're paid pretty outrageously, but I'm not complaining. It's a high-risk job.

Did I ever show you the scar from when a bullet obliterated my spleen? Lucky it was just my spleen.

No, they've never paid us by the hour. And they never will, especially after Palmer's little experience.

I think he deserved it. Disgusting man. Desperate for the lard he had to have in his coffee. Offered me a hundred gil an hour for however long it took me to run to the nearest store and grab some, expecting to pay a fraction of the offer, not a multiple.

Hint: never tell me, 'I don't care what or how long it takes.'

It just so happened to take me three days and a detour through Costa Del Sol and Wutai.

Served him right, that's what I say.

* * * * *

Her blood looped on the wall as it pumped from her severed jugular.

* * * * *

No, I don't hate the rookie.

She's cute enough. A little too close to the ditzy side for my tastes, but she'll do her job.

That's always been our main rule. I can get plastered the second I'm let off duty, and it's my business as long as I do my job.

And I don't just do my job. I excel at my job.

Don't give me that look. You know it's true.

But she was one of them, you know? Dressed in her designer jeans and brand-name sandals. Living in a two-story apartment her daddy bought her. Traded her red convertible for our black.

But she's smart, and no stranger to a gun: our new Sniper Department. Probably learned to aim in an archery class at her private school . . .

But she was in SOLDIER. That counts for something. Not much, but something.

No, I'm not being unfair. I don't hate her; I already told you that.

I just hate that she's out there, doing my job.

And so young. Naïve even.

I wasn't talking about me and I don't care how much younger than her I was when I started. I was not naïve. I was never naïve.

Oh, I was jaded long before I became a Turk.

What's this Elena going to do the first time she's ordered to kill?

Thank you for the news flash. I know SOLDIERs kill.

You see, SOLDIERs kill on the battlefield. Turks just kill.

* * * * *

I caught her as she fell, dropping to the ground myself.

* * * * *

It's times like these that really make me want a cigarette. I suppose that even if I managed to scrounge one off a visitor, the nurses would have a fit.

Just because officially I quit doesn't mean I don't have one on occasion. It's just that lung cancer is such a boring way to die.

Did I mention cirrhosis of the liver?

I can be a hypocrite if I want. It's not like you care.

No, you don't care. You never cared. Nobody ever cares.

You think I don't know I'm everyone's private joke? You think I don't know they love to hate me? To ridicule me? That they say, 'I could be worse; I could be him' as a way to justify their pathetic lives?

You think I care?

I like to be underestimated.

They think I'm lazy; they don't realize what effort I put into my work.

They think I'm a slob; they don't realize how precise I am when killing.

They think I'm impatient; they don't realize how methodical I can be.

Appearances are deceiving. I use mine to every advantage.

Maybe I'm not respected, but I never have been. I don't miss its absence.

But, oh, I'm feared. Because their hearts realize what their minds won't let them.

I'm the best at what I do.

* * * * *

The blood soaked through my pristine blue suit, through the neatly tucked shirt, through the black tie, smearing hotly on my skin underneath.

* * * * *

You think I'm on an ego trip? Oh, I know what I am.

I know my loyalty is bought with the flick of coin. I know I'm the pawn of a corrupt organization. I know I have but the illusion of control, susceptible to the order of any of my superiors.

But you know what? It doesn't matter.

It doesn't matter to the people of Midgar and it doesn't matter to SOLDIER and it doesn't matter to most ShinRa employees and it doesn't matter to you.

Even the illusion of control is fortunes more than what they have. People move when I walk by and if I give an order they obey, no matter how much they scowl.

Oh, I know what I am.

* * * * *

The soft pink lips, marred with a tendril of crimson, opened in a final silent word.

* * * * *

What do you mean I'm frightening you?

I hunt the scum of Midgar.


The lips opened in accusation.



I am not the scum of Midgar!

I'm not heartless!

I'm not inhuman!


* * * * *


* * * * *

The patient's bellow was heard through the hall, and all the nurses stopped.

One checked her watch, then knocked lightly on the door of the room from which the sound had originated. "I'm sorry," she said, opening the door, "but visiting hours have been over for a while and it's clear you're . . . upsetting the . . ." Her voice trailed off and she blinked rapidly.

"Never mind," she said softly, closing the door.

The patient didn't notice her intrusion.

"I'm sorry," Reno whispered into the vacancy of the room. "Please don't leave."

* * * * *




Nyohah's Fanfiction