He doesn’t even freak out anymore like he used to. Look how accustomed he is to that. Incredible.
”I was going to ask if you’d pay for the door, but….I remembered you’re broke as fuck.” And he’s just going to step a little closer and lightly pat the other’s head. “There, there…do you need like…ice cream? A punch in the face? I can help with both—”
“Neither— you blighted plebeian. As if you can mark my face with those baby fists of yours anyway. Tch—” and the rest of his heinous script is muffled against the comfort of leather; his thoughts falling into some shrinking sense of recess, the depths of which are harbouring the most domestic of his worries. Aye— he is troubled by things that sinners should care less of. Troubled by things that normal folk would oft lament— and he were always far from normal.
It is unusual. Superlative. A city that is beautiful.
He does not remember the last time he was here. Gazing upward upon citadels glowing goldenrod, their neighbours embellished by streamers of eggshell blue, their windows exaggerated by frames of opal that diffract every beam of light wheedling through beguiling channels of new-iron and polished glass. They stood here like Gods; these builds. The antique coppers and moon-touched mountings of their features like grandiloquent sets of militant mails, their piety magnified by the hordes of men that tittered and tarried about their virtuous ankles like swarms of lovestruck worshippers. And he was one such vagrant. His chin high, gawking and gaze bright with poetic fancy, the tall-talking heights of pallid stone extending so high that he believes them to be ladders to the columnar base of heaven itself.
It is within his admiration that he has lost his purpose. Hidden from the eyes of those who may mistake him as some shabby intruder of pretentious asperity, allowing him the free-will to wander and intellectually prod the chambers of a regal friend, until the prince’s schedule wasn’t so crammed to grant him attention.
And thus he waits. Waits with posture strong and a parcel lodged ‘neath his arm.
♚ - “Well I don’t where you come from...” She began as grabbed a glass and a bottle of Bacardi, ”but this is the slums hun. All everyone here wants to do is getting ranging drunk so they can forget about the shitty life they have outside of this bar. So when it starts raining gumdrops and lollipops outside then I might consider adding cider to the menu." Finishing the drink with a slice of lime, she slid it over to him. "Enjoy.”
“— Oh?” Oh, he is hurt, but barely. The pangs of empathy that he garners in the wake of cider’s discharge from the sprituous armada of booze one that develops itself as some uncanny, skewed smile of intellectual purpose. "— I never knew that alcoholic beverages were sold based on how they fit in with the current global mood. If that’s the case, then I really wonder why you are selling wine.” He snorts, an index surging up to poke the crescent of lime that was far too ornate for the likes of Edge. "Scrumpy, a cider, can leave someone paralytic after a few sips.”
It was hard to get used to. It was hard to face the rubble that had been abandoned, to look on at the small city springing up along the edges (how aptly named it was) with the knowledge that he had led to its destruction. To know that a moment of weakness had cost him sanity and the one place he could have ever called a home. A man who had failed at becoming a SOLDIER had beaten the sense back into him, rather literally, and now the Lifestream had spat him out. Perhaps he was even too corrupt for Death.
He had learned the hard way that simply showing his face was enough to get an army mobilized. His previous fame had now made him infamous, in some sick twist that fate had found amusing. He was an outcast from society, from the world, and yet…
And yet he was walking into the small settlement of Edge in the middle of the night, merely to sate his curiosity. He simply wanted to view the construction efforts, curious if he might find a place he might be able to stay, or if they were only building a second Midgar in the shadow of the original’s skeleton. But was Shinra in charge of this too? Was it simply going to be a repeat of the nightmares that had passed? He intended to find out. Ah, but curiosity killed the cat, didn’t it? But satisfaction would bring it back.
The odd labyrinth of the city revealed that it was built in a hurry, as if some of the dilapidated houses weren’t enough proof. Visually, it didn’t look much better than the rubble just down the street. And to think that he had done this— To think that he had leveled an entire city, almost the entire world. And still, people were carrying on and fighting. How quaint.
Society is a mental concept; there are only individuals.
Edge was, perhaps, a prime example. The social rings of life crudely portrayed as if to fool the wild ones afar; the seeds of its own festering darkness still swelling and growing as mankind crudely rebuilt its dreadful need for a hierarchy. Aye— it was reproduced, no matter how often the authorities would spew of equality from behind the mahogany of their desks; pushing pens and pittances to squander what little was left. The world was still tinctured grey, a paler ash than the sodden moors of a miry mount, the late sun-beams of a leaden vault sizzling atop the decorative attitudes of buildings that faded into thick sectors of foul smog. They are thin slices of a broken society. The buildings put together with scraps, inter-weaving with each other like a living arabesque, and home to those whose faces were muddy with despair, filled with an intense fear of apprehension, clambering silently back into their shacksas if to turn away from the world that still abhorred them.
Midgar still lingered beyond the haze; The Grand Duchess, her spires lamenting the losses— leaping to foregone heavens in a burst.
That haze (a smattering of lilac and grey, a slight infusion of a quaking hope and infrequent laughter), whereon he would emerge in a round of worn scarlet, his shield-arm inflicted with curtailed springs of leather, are where memories are to thrive. He is weary when he comes, avoiding the vagrants and the deniers of the darkest high-roads, his course fixed upon the routes that would lead him towards graveyards of rolling stock as he presses on with a might in his frame that has never once diminished in his life. He barely glows in this environment. His fire dull, his features morphed under diminutive blades of shadow as he passes through canopied lanes of tribulation and wretchedness, until something has heels sunken and still amongst puddles of rot that whelled up from filthy chasms below.
No, this could only ever be a mirage. A spectre that leapt for knowledge and power, and nothing more. Right—?
Starlight.Waves of it. Bright enough to shatter the hackneyed images of grey’s regret; their thinner, cylindrical ends dissipating against the wind-wandering, weed-winding crux of the city’s breath. He thought he had tucked this all away as some lasting memory. The bloody sweetness of a warrior’s scent, the chime of ring-mail and battle-girdings each time he walked; all surging forth from the tatters of structured systems and bludgeoning him a horror that had originally faded away through inaction and disuse.
No— this could not be real. Sephiroth had died. He knew the tales.
"Who are you?" It cannot be you. It is the only sound that breaks the night.
"I’m a monster, a fiend, there’s no sin I haven’t committed and I’m ready to do it all again. Your blows are in vain, for I’ll never mend my ways, there is too much ecstasy in crime. The only way to stop my joy is to kill me; crime is my life, the very air that I breathe. I’ve lived by crime, and shall die by it"
- Monsieur de Grancourt 120 Days of Sodom (via ablackwing)
"Each time he took a walk, he felt as though he were leaving himself behind, and by giving himself up to the movement of the streets, by reducing himself to a seeing eye, he was able to escape the obligation to think, and this, more than anything else, brought him a measure of peace, a salutary emptiness within. By wandering aimlessly, all places became equal and it no longer mattered where he was. On his best walks he was able to feel that he was nowhere. And this, finally was all he ever asked of things: to be nowhere."