Too Much of Heaven
Somehow, the star in the crown of Shinra's corrupt reign, always drew him back. Even
now, when he lingered on the edge of oblivion and the great beyond, it's pillars and glass
walls called him. Even now, when there was nothing left but ruins and broken, melted, scrap,
tainted with the remnants of the fiery mako that had raged uncontrolled and unchecked across
the waste of metal and stone. Even now ... it was beautiful. Even if only he could see that
The silence was complete. Nothing lived here now, nothing ventured within the unseen
wall that marked this place as forbidden. It was strangely pleasant to him, who had lived his
entire life at the beck and call of things that cried and beeped. Strangely sweet ...
A leap and he was perched on a tilting pillar, studded with bits of broken metal and
melted rock. His wings rustled, rubbing against one another in sickening symphony. He
shuddered and drew his mind away from the sound, reaching up to brush his strawberry blond
bangs from his face.
He shouldn't be here. He should be gone now, into the last great end, the eternal
darkness that yawned open before him and called his name with the voice of the decaying and
dead. And shortly, he would walk away, spread his wings and vanish forever. But not just
A flicker drew his eyes to the side. Metal gleamed in the fading sun, catching his
reflection and throwing it back to him in a twisted parody of mirrored perfection. In the
flash, he saw himself. The bright blue of his eyes, the gleaming red-tinted gold of his hair,
the brilliant white of his clothes ... the horror that were his wings. He jerked his gaze
Weren't the wings of the hellspawn supposed to like a bat's? Black and webbed and
curving? That he could have handled ... but this? This?
This was inky darkness, like rotting shadows that had been ripped and torn from their
holdings and then thrown over decaying, rotting bones. Bones that rattled and scraped across
each other, flaking and tearing and crumbling in clumps and pieces, falling to scorch the
earth. And through it all, it oozed. Filth and evil, inky, drippings, noxious and foul as it
splattered across anything and everything, eating like acid.
The wings were the thing that marked him, like a brand they screamed what he truly was
and always had been. Rotting on the inside, corrupt, cold, hateful, worthless, unclean. In
his mind's eye he could see the screaming, his own screams ... and then the ones of those he
had the power over, his own laughter as he'd destroyed their lives. The pleasure in making
them hurt as he had hurt. You liked it. a mocking voice whispered
deep inside his mind. It never mattered who did the hurting or who was hurt, it was all
the same to you.
Again, he shuddered, feeling the walls he held so tightly around himself crack. Not that
there was anything left to help prop them up except the fading remnants of his will. Nothing
to force him to hide or put up a pretty face ... nothing save his own corrupted reflection ...
which was really no help at all.
Slowly, quietly, he dropped his head into his hands, feeling the hot rush of tears over
the fine-boned fingers he had long ago stained so permanently with blood ... and for the first
time in a long time, Rufus Shinra cried.
His head jerked up as he quickly wiped his eyes, reflex demanding that he be dignified
and untouchable even though no mortal could see him. A rock bounced into his field of vision,
skittering and rolling into a pillar. Surely no one was here, not here in the contaminated
ruin that was Midgar.
Just as he was about to dismiss the stone as nothing more than a accident of the wind, a
figure strolled after it, hunched slightly against the cool air. Rufus felt his breath catch
in his throat.
The figure tilted it's head back, piercing turquoise eyes sweeping across the horizon and
then across the ruins in paranoid habit, dark glasses flashing in the evening light.
Brilliant red hair fluttered sluggishly in the breeze as the figure hunched into it's rumpled,
navy suit again, shivering slightly against the cold.
"Reno ... "
The Turk, as anything living, didn't hear his whisper of recognition. Not that he would
have anyway, attention focused blindly on some point within the rubble, face blank of anything
that normally characterized the sharp features.
He should have known Midgar would call him back. Like a cesspool, it sucked
back everything that ever got too close to the darkness, and Reno had always been in the
darkness. Even now, in all it's radiated, ruined glory, it must be calling to him. Rufus
could sympathize. It had drawn him from the grave, hadn't it?
There was silence save for the rasping of his wings.
Almost as suddenly as the rock had come tumbling into his view, Reno drew something out
of his jacket. For a moment, Rufus was sure it was a gun ... until the light bounced off red
and green, outlining soft, lush petals that erupted from twining thorns. The turquoise eyes
refracted the softness for a moment, endlessly deep and eternally sad, till they closed
tightly against the upwelling of liquid emotion and Reno bent to set the roses lightly on the
ground. Pale fingers pressed to reddened lips in silent kiss, before brushing lightly and
shakily across a stone pillar in sad farewell.
"Goodbye, Rufus ... " He felt his heart stop.
.... and he stared. That was all he could do as time seemed to freeze in place with his
Reno looked up, eyes fixing him into place. For a moment, Rufus was sure Reno could
see him ... and then he was more then sure as the air sparkled, a showering of
feathery sparks that sent the view to dancing as if in a heat wave. The Turk smiled, sparks
exploding in eclipsing brilliance as shining feathers ripped through his back and spread in a
lattice-work of white. His conscience was clean.
Silence except for the crunching of his own wings and the tinkling, chime-sweet sound of
bells and light.
He never knew if Reno stepped close or if he jumped, only that he was there, offering
sparkling, fluffy radiance in a single kiss, a single clasp of hands ... and he felt the
rotting darkness fall away as if it never was, replaced by exploding light.
"Rufe, wake up, man, yer scarin' me!" Something was shaking him. Gently, but
insistent. Not that he cared, he was not letting go for anything. "Rufus!!!"
His eyes snapped open. Light hit his eyes and he shut them again, pressing his face into
smooth, pale skin. Slowly, like the hazy fragments of a dream, feelings drifted to him. The
familiar ache in his lower back from an exhausting, pleasurable night, the rustling of silken
sheets instead of morbid wings, the familiar, calming scent of spice and gun-smoke as Reno
held him, fingers caressing his hair and gliding across his shoulders as he whispered soothing
nothings in his ear.
Still drifting, he realized he wasn't dead, and nothing
prepared him for both the relief and the regret that stabbed through his heart. Relief for
living and regret for losing ...
An undefined moment later, he managed to master the cool, business-like manner that was
so much a part of him and spoke, "What time is it?"
"Geez ... about five."
Such a careless answer. He didn't pull away. Not yet ... not just yet ...
"Wake me up at six."
A soft, pleased 'mmn' was his only answer as Rufus drifted back to the place where dreams
and reality met.
Do you want to see the future?
Do you want to see your pain?
Will you want to see the
It's a dream ...
It's a gift ...
It's a little bit of
A little taste of heaven ...
And a little taste of hell ...
Final Fantasy VII