Phase V: Escape From Here
Okay, Dollet is falling apart, people are dying, and I need to do something! I can't just stand here and let this happen! I have to he- That's when someone grabbed onto Selphie's arm dragging her behind a parked car. "H-hey!" she protested, almost tripping over her own feet.
She looked up seeing Stacy next to her, both of them embraced by Zell's strong arms. Bullets flew and ricocheted off the car's body chipping off paint. An explosion of glass showered onto them from a bullet hitting the window just above their heads.
"What the fuck?!" Zell quickly peered through the open space that used to be the window. He could see Squall deeply engaged in battle with some black clad soldiers. He looked to be holding up well.
The black haired guy they had met in the building was fighting along side him, killing one soldier and then assaulting another. Civilians were getting shot at or killed by the relentless wave of gunfire- even some of the medics were getting hit.
Stacy couldn't breathe, her heart pounded, and her body ached. She clawed at Zell's sweater, feeling her eyes burn with tears from overwhelming emotions. "Make this stop!" she pleaded hysterically. She hated this. She was never a fighter. Not even in Trabia. She had outright refused to go with Selphie to become a SeeD. She hated war. Stacy couldn't take much more of this.
"It's gonna be alright…" Zell assured the redhead, pulling her closer to him. Zell, who was usually all for a good fight, felt totally defenseless against this enemy. If he went out there he would be just as good as anyone else lying on the ground that'd been shot. He was in the same position as the civilians here.
What are we going to do? Selphie thought, …I hope Squall is okay. Her eyes suddenly shot over to her right to the sound of a man screaming bloody murder from a gunshot wound to the leg. Overwhelming anger overcame her, and she couldn't sit here anymore. She needed to do something now! Selphie squirmed out of Zell's grasp, and to this he reacted by locking his limb tightly around her to prevent her from leaving. That's when her teeth sunk into his forearm making him swear loudly and release her.
"Oh my Hyne!" Stacy cried out, tightening her grip on Zell's sweater. They watched the small brunette abandon them dashing off with her Nunchaku in hand. "Selphie, no!"
I can't take it anymore! I don't care if I'm as useless as Zell in this battle. I have to fight! I can't just run away! She sprinted towards the battle and disappearing into the madness. Zell gulped fearing that Selphie was going to be killed.
Bullets flew at her, yet she dodged them with ease as if they were just mere rocks that someone was throwing at her. That's when a man came running into her, causing her to stumble and collapse to the cement. She fell on her arms, scraping the skin on her elbows. People were running past her, falling around her, tripping over her. She scampering to her feet, but a woman came at her pushing her down again.
Stray bullets were fired into the dirt near Selphie's face. Green eyes slowly peeled open to the sound of boots stomping right beside her.
To her surprise, a young girl around her age stood proactively in front of her with a heavy machine gun. Her black hair was tired back into a ponytail and layered bangs crowded her face. Her eyes were an odd violet, and her nose had a small silver loop in it. Her cropped camouflage pants had many pockets possibly used to store additional ammunition. She wore heavy Doc Martin combat boots that matched the color of her black tank top. Her frame was fairly petite standing at 5'2 just like Selphie.
Her bullets drove onto the bodies of her enemies who had fallen to the ground in agony or lifeless. Blood spattered all over the place in a miniature massacre with the bodies of men lying around them. Everything went quiet for a moment, and the girl pouted trying to listen for any sounds of life. After a few moments, the stampede of feet hitting pavement had faded indicating that the civilians caught in the crossfire that survived had made it to safety. This left Selphie, Stacy, Zell and this mystery girl alone in the street.
The humor and triumph in her expression oddly contrasted with their current surroundings, and the girl just smirked at the sight. "Take that, bitches!"
"Th-thanks," Selphie spoke, getting to her feet while dusting dirt from her clothing and skin.
"No prob. You okay?" Selphie noted the accent in her voice recognizing the unmistakable galbadian drawl. She sounded similar to the man who was fighting along side Squall right now.
Selphie nodded. "You don't mind if I ask who you are, do you?"
She offered her hand just then, "The name's Riki Callahan."
"Selphie Tilmitt." Selphie grinned, shaking it.
"Selphie, are you okay?" Zell shouted hotly. She twisted around, providing him with a very sheepish grin.
"Selphie, do not ever do that again! You almost gave me a heart attack!" Stacy freaked out.
"Uh…who are you?" Zell asked hesitantly, referring to Riki.
"No time for that, Blondie!" Riki answered abruptly, turning towards the battle that Angelus was having. She sighed at his predictability. That battle was unnecessary in the grand scheme of this mission, and he knew time was running out to meet with Selene.
Angelus blocked three more attacks that the soldier slashed his way catching sight of Riki in his peripheral vision.
Squall and Angelus found themselves practically back to back panting lightly from the fight. Angelus turned his head slightly to Squall, "We need to finish this up quick. Have any ideas?"
"In fact…" Squall said, "I do."
Squall embraced the power building inside of him that made his heart beat rapidly, pumping blood harder into his veins. He took in a deep breath trying to gain control of this adrenaline rush. He needed his whole body for this next attack. When he let out an exhale, his strikes spend up at such a rapid rate that it felt like haste was cast on him ten times over.
Squall almost flew into his enemy knocking the weapon from his hands, and it skidded away on the ground far from his grasp. The enemy was stiff for about a second before Squall had ducked, tripped him, and spun his body around as the blue blade collided into the man's shoulder and tore him apart. Blood sprayed from his body leaving the solider to grow limp and fall to the ground at Squall's feet.
The soldier Angelus was fighting backed up in fear and shuddered in horror witnessing his comrade's shambled body. His feet shuffled away from him until he lost his balance and fell on his ass. Angelus crept up to him, and the man's world went dark with only the sound of metal cutting air inviting him into death.
Squall straightened up and examined the body of the man before him. He let out a steady breath and suddenly remembered the SeeD exam in this very city. It still felt foreign to him from the two years of inactivity on the battlefield, but something told him that these attacks were just a smaller picture to a whole different one; a significantly larger one. He needed to fight to survive, and he had a feeling that this was going to be routine from now on.
"How could you?" Stacy stormed towards him. Nonchalantly, Squall turned to see the Selphie's friend stomp her way over to him until she was up in his face. Her fist lifted, and she pounded it against his chest repeatedly. All he could do was scowl at her.
She looked up at him, black mascara smudged around her eyes from crying, "How could you show no remorse for someone you just killed? You act as if it were no big deal! What the fuck is wrong with you!?"
"He was the enemy. He killed a lot people and was a dangerous threat to us all." Squall explained with not a hint of emotion in his voice.
"Still! What you did was wrong!" She sobbed and buried her face into her hands.
"Stacy…" Selphie called her, standing nearby.
It was them or me. This is a battlefield. You can't think of remorse when he's got a blade in his hand ready to attack. You have to act, and then pretend it doesn't bother you. Eventually you get desensitized by the fighting. It becomes a way of life. If you let the world see your emotions, you become weak. I'm not weak. Squall defended himself, but didn't dignify Stacy's words with a reply vocally. His blue eyes just stared at the hysterical girl like she was some kind of anomaly.
"How could…you? How…" she continued, but felt a gloved hand touch her shoulder. The girl turned to see not Squall standing behind her, but the black haired man smirking and offering her his sympathy.
"He probably does care," Angelus' multicolored eyes met Squall's blue ones, "but he must be a soldier of some kind, so he can't show how he really feels about the situation."
"Am I correct…?" Angelus asked Squall, who didn't show any interest in this conversation.
"Whatever." Squall let out, moving away from the sobbing girl and walked right past him.
"What's his deal?" Angelus asked Zell.
Zell shrugged, "Don't mind him, he's always like that."
"Sur-" Angelus was suddenly cut off to the sound of a gigantic blast that blew out of the entrance of a nearby bank.
Piercing screams broke out into the streets again as civilians rushed out of the building. A stampede of civilians came darting towards them in such chaos that the group split up leaving Selphie and Stacy in the crowd.
Selphie was too short and couldn't see above most people's heads, and they kept pushing her around. She found trouble keeping her balance.
"Where all going to die!" a man panicked sprinting between Selphie and Stacy running off into some unknown direction. She wasn't sure where these people all came from exactly. It was like a tidal wave had hit them, and they were being washed away with the tide.
Selphie located her friend and reached for Stacy's hand forcing her body forward. "Stacy, hold on! I'll get you!"
"Selphie!" The look of horror never left Stacy's face. A larger man pushed past her, and when he had disappeared, so did Stacy. Selphie's heart pounded against her chest, and suddenly she felt like she couldn't even breathe. Panic rose into her throat, and it felt like someone was squeezing her neck constricting her airflow.
"Stacy? STACY!" Selphie finally screamed out, but her outburst was drowned out by the distress and the screams of others.
Squall turned around stopping in place for a moment. He searched around, knowing that he heard someone call out Stacy's name. The high pitch shriek immediately put a name to the voice. Selphie. She needed help, and he wasn't going to let her die here.
"Squall, where are you goin'!?" Zell shouted after him, but got no response in return. He only watched his friend disappear into the crowd to find Selphie.
She struggled against the bodies, but couldn't find her friend. Selphie tried calling out again, but there was no reply. Fed up, she pushed people back and was promptly knocked to the ground hard. She was small and tired, and her body couldn't take much more of this abuse. The soles of shoes and boots stomped down on her limbs making her cry out. She instinctively covered her head to prevent a serious injury, but her arms were being bruised and cut up. Nobody could hear or see her now.
She was just about to lose hope when a gloved hand latched onto her arm and forced her upwards. Selphie's green eyes snapped open and let the person take her away. They were practically dragging her to safety. When she looked up she could see brown hair, a black vest, and toned muscular arms. Squall…?
"You okay?" He asked her when they got out of the fuss, into a clear area away from the crowd, and off to the side of the street. "Where's Stacy?"
"She…she disappeared! She got lost in the crowd! I don't- I don't know where she went!" The girl began to panic.
"Calm down!" He snapped, "We're going to find her! But we need to get to the others first!" His hand found hers arm again, and he began to make his away down a different street.
Selphie protested by yanking at her arm that made Squall stop, "But Squall!"
"Shut up! I sure as hell don't wanna die here because of you!" He barked back and continued to move.
"Fuck! Someone must've set off a grenade in the bank!" Riki cursed, "Who in their right fuckin' mind would do that?"
Smoke and dust lingered in the air. The beams and brick of the building began to come apart and crumble.
"It's going to collapse! Run!" Angelus warned both Zell and Riki. He feared the wellbeing of the other three who were still somewhere in that crowd.
"Shit!" Squall shouted at the sight of the bank and stopped again. There was too much chaos, and he needed to change his objective right now. But he knew Selphie wasn't going to like it. Fuck it- like he cared what she thought right now anyway.
"Squall?" Selphie said looking up at him expectantly.
"Forget it! Let's go!" he shouted at her.
The girl's eyes widened, "What? How about Zell?"
Squall argued, "We can find him after! If we stay, we'll just die here!"
"No! We can't leave our friends behind!" she retorted.
Angelus took out his phone and dialed a number quickly, "Selene, we need to get out of here. Pick us up at the corner of Casburn and Letto Avenues!"
"Roger that, boss!" She replied and hung up right away.
"What!? We can't leave without the others!" Zell exclaimed.
Angelus snapped back, "Do you like the idea of your body being under the rubble of this city? Would you want this to be your graveyard?"
The blonde gulped down hard, and his eyes widened at Angelus' request.
"Our escape vehicle should be here soon…" Angelus assured him, but his eyes caught something in the distance- something coming towards them. He realized who it was, relieved to see that the small brown haired chick made it out okay.
"Squall!" Zell greeted, relieved that his friends were fine. Squall weaved his way through the dispersing crowd holding onto Selphie's arm tightly. But to Zell, something wasn't right. Stacy wasn't with them.
"So, he made it out alive." Angelus smirked.
"Hey, where's Stacy!?" Zell shouted.
"We lost her." Squall answered instead of the small brunette.
"What!?" His outburst was something Squall didn't want to deal with right now. "What happened!?"
"We got separated, and she disappeared. I…I don't know where she went…We have to find her!" Selphie was hysterical now.
"Selphie…we can't." Squall growled, aggravated.
"What? But you sai-"
"The odds are slim in finding her and surviving!" Squall shouted in frustration.
Zell could have sworn he could see tears rimming Selphie's eyes, but not a single tear fell. He could see the wheels turning in her head as her big green eyes went wide at Squall's outburst. Squall on the other hand looked almost flustered, but still maintained a stern tone with her. That was it then; they had to leave Stacy behind.
Stacy... Selphie thought and felt guilt swallow her whole. She felt her eyes burning, but couldn't give Squall the satisfaction of making her cry. Squall wouldn't have cared regardless. He was never good with emotions, especially from others.
"Don't worry. We'll come back for her as soon as possible. All we need to do is remain calm." Angelus spoke up, and he walked over to her feeling sympathetic for her loss.
"No!" She burst out in a heap of anger, "I'm not leaving my friend behind! I almost lost her once, and I won't make that same mistake again!"
"Selphie!" Squall growled under his breath. His eyes casting a threatening glare her way.
"She's probably okay. I think she's strong enough to take care of herself, right? Who else would have the balls to tell Squall off to his face?" Zell half joked, trying to lighten the tense mood.
"Don't you understand?" Selphie snapped glaring into Angelus' eyes disregarding his attempt to make her feel better. "I can't just leave someone I care about behind! How could I ever forgive myself? I'd rather die than lose my best friend!" She exclaimed. Squall groaned.
"I guess there's only one way of doing this then…" Angelus sighed. He touched her shoulder and whispered a spell under his breath. The spell made her eyes grow heavy and her body limp within seconds. The ex-SeeDs recognized it as a sleep spell. As her body began to crumble from lack of support, Angelus caught her just before she hit the ground and picked her up.
"Hey!" Zell snapped, "What do ya think your doin'?"
"If I didn't put her to sleep, she would have run off to find her friend. That's the last thing we need right now."
"It's for the best, Zell," Squall agreed. Even if Angelus was right, he still didn't like him.
A black pick up truck pulled up not too far away with a blonde woman in the driver's seat. Riki smirked and jerked her thump gesturing towards it. "Our ticket outta here has just arrived." She said in a singsong voice that was way out of context for this situation. The girl didn't even acknowledge the bewildered looks on Squall and Zell's faces when she turned around and made for the truck.
"Finally," muttered Angelus who began to follow still holding Selphie in his arms.
"Hey!" Zell called.
"Where do you think your going with Selphie?" Squall shouted after him. Lionheart shimmered a threatening blue when Squall pointed it right at him ready for a fight.
Angelus wasn't the least bit threatened by this and had no intention to fight. He also looked slightly confused though. "Uhhh…aren't you coming?
The two looked questioningly at each other. Was he inviting them along?
Angelus sighed. He honestly didn't care if the two of them came with them, but he might as well of asked out of courtesy. "Listen, if you guys have a plan of your own in getting out of here, that's great and all…I'll just give back the chick, and we'll be on our marry way."
"N-no!" Zell objected abruptly, "H-hang on! We're comin', too!"
"What?" Squall jerked his head to the side at this remark. He didn't appreciate the fact that he didn't have a say in this. But then again this was Zell after all.
Zell smiled sheepishly in response to the lion's glare, "Yeah, we're comin' with you guys. It's the only choice we have in gettin' outta here, right?."
Zell laughed nervously walking right past him to follow Angelus who getting into the back of the truck. Squall scowled and followed him as well, but not without shoving the blonde buffoon hard in the back.
I don't need this Angelus' guys help. I can handle this on my own. First chance I get, I'm taking off.