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Streets are filled with --
Picking up what people have left behind.
Final Fantasy VII: Crossed Out (Zack, Tseng, AU) 
8th-Jun-2008 08:12 am
HOUSE kills
Oh god I am never going to finish my challenges jfjla NOW FOR SPRINGKINK--

Title: Crossed Out
Characters: Zack, Tseng
Rating: PG13
Warnings: Hello, major spoilers and alternate ending AU! Written for no_true_pair over at IJ, prompt being: Zack/Tseng, captivity scenario (kidnapping, prison guard/inmate, etc). Sits sort-of-all-right in my strange Zack-and-Tseng series-like thing.
Summary: The Turks found Zack; perhaps it would've been better that the Army'd killed him where he'd stood.

1269 words of gen written in a crazed post-exam, post-jetlag haze! \o/

Zack's face snapped back so violently that his entire body rocked backwards; the chair he was sitting on skidded, for a moment, onto two legs. They gave him a second, time enough for him to regain his balance, but not time enough for him to regain his wits. Blood trickled down from a corner of his lips; it tasted like copper in his mouth, as though he'd bitten a rusty gil piece and broken a few teeth.

His train of thought wheeled, swerved, veered dangerously off track. Torture was expected; they taught you that when you got enlisted as a Second Class, they even gave you a briefing sheet and told you what to do, what to say, what not to say. They told them that people would want all sorts of Shinra's company secrets; anything from schedules to operational procedures to information about SOLDIER genetics. Don't tell them, the Director emphasised in his bulletins and such and such. Keep it within the Shinra household.

It was one hell of a household, considering that it was a Turk who had him in this piss-shit example of a room, tied to a chair and hit up with something from a syringe that seemed to suck the energy from his limbs. Zack tried hard not to look him in the face; betrayal tasted a lot worse than blood.

Tseng hit him again, the metal band he'd slipped over his knuckles cutting a gash across Zack's jaw that didn't quite burn. That changed when Tseng picked up a bucket of water and upended it over the SOLDIER's head; it was so cold that it burnt, and was probably mixed down with salt for all that it made his open wounds scream.

'What the hell do you want,' Zack hissed. He panted for breath, spitting clots and sweat onto the floor at Tseng's feet. His hair dripped, dripped, dripped the way it had under the rain; the way it had when the Army tried to close in on them. 'Where's Cl–'

Tseng kicked the chair over. Zack felt his head hit the floor with a crack; the world swam for a moment. He wanted to swear; couldn't find the words to do it. How stupid had he been? When he'd heard the sound of helicopter rotors and Cissnei's voice blaring out a warning, he'd thought he'd been saved. The Army stopped, after all. The Turks put him on a stretcher. Even helped do something about Cloud's radiation. Zack'd slept the entire way back to Midgar.

Midgar hadn't changed at all; he'd woken up to Tseng's face gone cold, the two? three? years of time that Hojo'd stolen from Zack apparently having made a Turk into a Turk. The Tseng Zack knew had something close to honour.

'Zack Fair,' Tseng said, the first words that Zack had heard him say since all of this began one, two, three hours ago. Splayed as he was on the ground with his legs bound to the overturned chair, Zack couldn't see the expression on Tseng's face, only the dirty, mildew-stained ceiling of wherever this place was.

He could hear, though. Leather shoe soles on dirty concrete. Step, step, stepping closer. 'Where's Cloud?' Zack groaned out with the last of his energy. 'What about Aerith? You promised me that –'

'SOLDIER, First Class,' Tseng continued. The Turk stopped before Zack, put a foot on Zack's chest, looked down at Zack, made Zack watch as he pulled off the metal knuckle and put on his gloves and only one thing was going to happen now.

Zack wanted to shake Tseng, or maybe even wanted to kill him. He wanted to be on his feet, to push Tseng's face against a wall and to rip him apart the way the fucked up strength in his body would let him; they'd taken Angeal, then they'd taken Lazard, then they'd taken Sephiroth and now they'd taken Tseng, didn't even need to kill him to take him either.

'You're a fucking traitor,' Zack said, chest hurting so hard he could barely breathe. If he'd died back at the outskirts, maybe it would've been worth something. He could've taken most of the Army's force down with him, bought Cloud enough time to get away. But Turks were Turks. They didn't leave these kind of stones unturned. Now dying would mean a pathetic snuffing out in some back alley; so much for heroes, dreams, honour.

Tseng's eyes were dark, and gave no answers.

'You gave your word,' Zack shouted, loud enough that his lungs went breathless. His words bounced off the walls, came back at him. His irises burned a Mako light. 'I thought you were the kind of guy to keep them. What are you doing this for?' Zack started laughing; nothing else to do. 'Money? Power? Is that it? Is that what Shinra's got you pared down to? So now what's right and what's wrong doesn't matter to you either? You've forgotten about Genesis,' Zack spat and spat, 'about Sephiroth, about Nibelheim and making monsters!'

'It doesn't matter what has happened,' Tseng cut in. The Turk slid his gun out of his holster, armed it, pointed it downwards. 'That can always be crossed out.'

He put a bullet in Zack's leg, and Zack screamed. Then Tseng aimed higher.

After the noise from the shot stopped ringing, somewhere in the room, a small light went out.

Footsteps. Metal and plastic. Something being ejected. Voices. 'Take the tape to the President. Forward another copy to Heidegger. Complaints come to me, directly, if there are any.'

Tseng, that was Tseng.

Someone hauled Zack's chair upwards. Zack opened his eyes, and the only thought he had was I'm not dead yet? Someone – Tseng, that was Tseng - was pulling the bullet out of his leg with a pair of tweezers; Zack heard the ping of it as it got dropped on the ground, then the strange sensation of curative magic sealing the wound.

'Turn on the lights,' the man said, and that was Tseng getting up and brushing dirt off his knees and putting the safety back on his gun and it was as real as honest as true as the look of mild disgust on the man's face.

The relief made Zack dizzy.

'What just happened?' Zack asked as Tseng untied his legs. 'What was that all about – the hitting, the, the -- What the hell is going on?'

'Dead men shouldn't ask questions,' Tseng said in that tight-assed way of his that Zack remembered, identified, recalled; Midgar hadn't changed, oh no, it hadn't changed, it hadn't changed one fucking bit, and maybe there was still hope for all that it was dirty, dark and miserable. 'Zack Fair died five minutes ago, a bullet having been put in his head by the Director of Administrative Research. Don't make a liar of me by turning up in Midgar twenty-four hours from now, please.'

'You did that?' Zack said, getting to his feet. 'You did that for me?'

'Not for you, entirely,' Tseng shrugged. He went to the back of the room and brought back a sealed box with eighty-eight letters. 'I made other promises to other people as well.' Tseng passed it to Zack. 'Very few people turn Turks into postmen. Aerith has something of a gift.'

Zack stared at them for a long, long while. Then he asked, 'Were you jealous?'

And Tseng laughed harder than he'd laughed for four years, then threw a bag of supplies into Zack's (ex-SOLDIER, First Class) face and told him to get out (and away).
8th-Jun-2008 12:55 am (UTC)
Of all the Zack!survived fics i've read, this has got to be the most realistic. I love it to bits.
8th-Jun-2008 12:57 am (UTC)
♥ I wish I had the brainspace to make it bigger, but I'm so harried just WRITING WRITING WRITING to get my challenges filled that poor Zack only gets tidbits. Maybe he and Tseng can have a teaparty in a few years. Or something. 8D
8th-Jun-2008 03:05 am (UTC)
Oh Tseng. ♥ You magnificent bastard. *glomps him. continues clinging during the various attempts to shake her off. does, however, let go in time to avoid being shot, because that's no fun*
8th-Jun-2008 03:22 am (UTC)
Oh, he wouldn't shoot you! 8D He's probably got all sorts of... alternatives. *beams*

8th-Jun-2008 08:20 pm (UTC)
Oh, just absolutely wonderful. :D
9th-Jun-2008 12:48 am (UTC)
:D :D Thank you!
10th-Jun-2008 10:48 am (UTC)
ooh, u keep chipping away at my resolve not to get a psp... :p
10th-Jun-2008 11:25 am (UTC)
*chants* Get a PSP... Get a PSP... Or loan one, or something!
28th-Jul-2009 04:15 am (UTC)
I, um. Came here from A July Day (Some People Know Too Much) which was all sorts of awesome, I totally loved the Turk!lines. Made my day!

...and THIS.

I've liked Tseng (he needs more love) for years, way before CC (which i only picked up recently) and - I'm so happy to have finally found wonderful, convincing Tseng fic. So thank you so much for them. As for this piece , it's tight, it's believable, and I especially adore the irony/ambiguity in the last few lines.

so am officially your fan, yes. 8D
29th-Jul-2009 01:41 pm (UTC)
♥ ♥ Eee, so happy to have you here! A lot of the time there are so few people who read Turk fic that I feel like I'm writing for no one!

I've loved Tseng for ages before CC myself, and even more after CC - oh lordy, he gets such good lines. *g* Hope you enjoy browsing through my disastrously random Tseng-fic archive! 8D
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