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Dissidia: Second String, Round 6

Title: Dissidia: Second String

Rating: PG, mostly for violence.

Summary: What if the heroes of Dissidia and Duodecim were replaced with their supporting cast instead?

Author’s Note:  Second last round.  Well, maybe third if I do a bonus round.  Posting a little early since I expect there won't be a chance tomorrow.

Previous Round



7

 

 

Aeris was not suited for high-level combat.

 

She was skilful with her staff, of course, and a good whack with it would leave almost anyone with a concussion and some nasty bruises.  It couldn’t do much against armour, though.  It barely even stood up to the raging tentacles that served as Jenova’s limbs.

 

She hopped just out of range, batting one poisonous appendage away before it could slash at her ankles.  “Here we go.”  With a gesture, she let loose a volley of fire balls – nothing like the magic young Arc or the enigmatic Black Mage or feisty Rinoa could unleash, nor as impressive as Dagger’s or Rydia’s summons. 

 

She was, however, tireless.  She could use magic to replenish her energy and soothe all but the most grievous of her wounds, even in the midst of combat.  And while her fire or lightning or ice was not on the same destructive level as some of her comrades, she could cast swiftly and accurately, for hours if necessary.

 

In this way, she wore Jenova down, just as she had worn down countless manikins before her.

 

Jenova didn’t react in any meaningful way – her cat-like eyes tracking her every movement, her single wing beating the air as they manoeuvred through the swirling green of the gateway, but those thin, pale lips never parted a single sound.

 

“I feel sorry for you,” Aeris said.  “You don’t have a place anymore.  I don’t think you even know why it is you fight.”

 

Fire rained upon her in kind.  With a gentle gesture, Aeris raised a barrier, and sent it hurling back towards its caster.  Jenova writhed.

 

Her opponent was little more than a highly intelligent animal, driven by instincts instead of conscious processes.  How she interacted with the other agents of Chaos, or even Chaos himself, Aeris did not know. 

 

All she knew was that she needed to be prepared to fight, if they were to ever bring an end to the conflict.

 



 

 



2

 

 

Maria found herself separated from her comrades – Aeris gone, and Locke desperately chasing after her.  She’d had no choice but to continue the search for her crystal alone.

 

And now she stood atop a flying fortress of steel, with cyclonic winds  whirling around the edges.  In the centre, though, the air was eerily calm, like the eye of a storm.

 

She wasn’t alone.  The dark knight stood before her.  The confrontation she’d been dreading, but always suspected to be inevitable.

 

“Why, Leon?” she beseeched.

 

The soldier’s gaze barely flickered.  He simply raised his sword, and said, “I will destroy all those who stand in my way.”

 

Such coldness from her brother struck like a physical blow.  He was closed off to her.  Her pleas would never reach his ears.

 

They were enemies.

 

“You don’t remember,” she whispered, and took a deep breath to steady her nerves.

 

She drew the string of her bow, and forced her fingers not to tremble.

 

If he remembered, Leon wouldn’t want to do this.  She felt sure of that.  Her brother did not harbour such dark ambitions in his heart, truly. 

 

So Maria, who hated war, would fight with all her heart.  That was her resolve.

 



 



4, 13

 

 

Snow didn’t have any choice in the end.  It was either fight the kid, or get fried.  Snow could take a lot of damage, but that sort of magic would have eventually cooked even him

 

His fist slammed into the kid’s stomach, and he winced at the gasp it tore from the boy’s lips. His opponent flew back from the force of the blow, crashed into the wall, and slid to ground in a boneless heap.

 

Snow cracked his knuckles, and reminded himself that they were enemies

 

When the kid didn’t move, though, he started to step forward.  “Hey, are you-”

 

At that moment, a new figure dropped into the scene with a clatter of metal, landing neatly between them.  It was a knight, clad entirely in midnight-black armour and carrying a lance of the same colour.  Snow shifted into a defensive stance, and racked his memory.  Auron had mentioned this one, he was sure.  “Leon?” he guessed.  No, that wasn’t it.  “Cecil,” he decided. 

 

The dark knight nodded briefly, but it looked like he was in luck.  Instead of attacking, he simply picked up the unconscious kid and slung him over his shoulder, with a gentleness Snow never expected from Chaos’s forces.

 

“Not gonna fight?” he guessed.

 

“There’s little point,” came the reply from deep within the armour – the voice sounded younger and higher than he expected, though the echo lent it a weird resonance.  “This cycle is already lost.  There’s nothing you can do to fight that fate.”

 

“Hey!” Snow challenged, affronted, but let the matter drop with a shrug.  He’d won, he guessed, though it was hard to feel any good about it.  Chaos’s goons were a moody bunch anyhow – no sense listening to any of their talk.  “Ah, whatever.  Get out of here before I pound some sense into you!”

 

The dark knight made a sound of disbelieving amusement, but retreated with his charge.   

 

Snow watched them go out of the corner of his eyes.  It made him feel a little better, really, to know that even some of Chaos’s warriors looked out for each other.

 

As soon as they were gone, there was the glint of light and grew to a glow that filled the clearing.  Surprised, Snow blinked.  It was a crystal, though at first glance it looked like a sculpture of ice.

 

“My crystal?” he asked, surprised.  Then grinned.  “Score!”

 



 

 



2, 6, 7

 

 

“Aeris!!!  Aeris!”

 

Locke skidded to a stop in front of her.  She felt bad, seeing how worried he looked.  All she could do was greet him with a smile.  “Locke.”

 

His shoulders slumped.  “I was so worried!  I’m glad you’re okay!  What happened?!  Why did you leave us like that?”

 

“I’m sorry,” she said, but the only explanation she offered was to hold up her crystal.

 

Immediately, all was forgiven.  “You found your crystal?!  That’s great!  I did too!”  He showed off a clear emerald-shaped crystal, burning with a magical fire in the centre. 

 

“I knew you would,” she congratulated him.

 

“Heeeeey!”  A distant voice called out to them.  Aeris brightened when she recognised it – Locke on the other hand cringed, as though suddenly remembering something.

 

“Maria!”  She waved as the purple-haired archer came running towards them.

 

“Aeris!  And Locke!”  Her grin lasted until she reached them, at which point she stomped on Locke’s foot and glared at Aeris.  “What is the big idea, both of you?!  Running off and leaving me behind like that!”

 

“Ow, owww!  I’m sorry!  I didn’t mean to!” Locke protested, hopping up and down on one foot.  “I thought you were right behind me, honest!”

 

Maria huffed.  “Just as well for you that I found my crystal in the meantime.”

 

“That’s wonderful!” Aeris beamed at her.

 

Maria shuffled in place awkwardly at the praise.  She looked sad for a moment, but there was a new strength to her, a sureness and sense of determination to her posture that had been lacking before.  “It’s nothing special.  I see you both have yours, too.  I guess this means we can finally head back to Sanctuary.”

 

“Yeah!  Let’s go!  Maybe we can be first back!” Locke enthused.

 

They started heading back, Maria still muttering at Locke for abandoning her to fight manikins on her own, and Locke protesting his innocence.  It was as though all that stress and worry had never happened.

 

Aeris stayed back for a moment, and clutched the smooth, marble-shaped crystal to her chest.  It felt warm, and comforting.  “Thank you,” she whispered.  “We won’t let it go to waste.”

 



 

 



12

 

 

“I’ve been putting this off,” Balthier admitted candidly.  “The leading man always goes last, after all.”

 

Cidolfus stood across from him, the shadow of an occuria looming behind him.  His arm was laden with complex machinery and his eyes were sunken, mist-borne madness lurking in their depths.

 

“You’ve become something quite disgusting,” Balthier remarked, loading his gun nonchalantly.  A spear might have been the better choice, or a sword, but faced with the grey-faced, nethicite-ravaged form of his father, he sought the comfort of his most familiar weapon.

 

They stood on the roof of Draklor Laboratories.  The memory of it eluded him yet, but Balthier recognised the building and the architecture as Archadian, and felt sure it was a place he’d been before.  Pieces of their world, dragged into this place with them, ghostly fragments of their dimension.

 

“You were always a disappointment, Ffamran,” Cidolfus rasped.

 

“I’m afraid I don’t answer to that name.  The good princess is the only one around here deserving of two.”  He flicked off the safety, and adjusted the cuffs of his sleeves.  It wouldn’t do to have the fabric catch in the gun’s mechanisms.

 

Cidolfus shook his head.  “It pains me to inform you that your time here had come to an end, my son.” With a dramatic flourish, he raised his weapon, and the cutting winds began to rise.  “The curtain falls!” 

 

So it truly did come to this.  Balthier had known, but there had been a small part of him that hoped…

 

No matter. 

 

His rifle was likely not the best choice to go up against his father’s cyclotrone or gatling guns, but Balthier felt sure that the wild attacks of a mist-ravaged madman could be avoided.  His father’s defences were strong, too, but the Occuria’s powers in this world were far from absolute.  In other words, his defences were strong, but they were not perfect.

 

“A leading man needs only one bullet,” he remarked, and raised his rifle.





Next Round

 

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
ratzels
Apr. 30th, 2012 02:22 am (UTC)
So lovely. Balthier and his dad just kind of break my heart a little, no matter the context.
sinnatious
Apr. 30th, 2012 11:35 am (UTC)
<3 I'm kind of the same. I wanted to write more of them, really, but it seemed more poignant with less.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )