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Final Chapter, pt. I. Don't read if you don't want spoilers! I'm saving it here because I don't want to lose it if my hard drive dies again.


“And I load the gun
And I wax and wane
Subject all my pain
Onto you, baby”

‘Pretty Like Drugs’
Queen Adreena

“Stop it! Put that fucking gun down NOW!”
Vincent, despite his supernatural instincts and infallible reflexes, was temporarily stunned into silence. He hadn’t expected such an outburst.
Shinoda pushed roughly through the throng of people, his face contorted in a horrible grimace, the agony of watching his only daughter subjected to such punishment clearly visible in his haunted eyes. He set himself in front of Vincent, a single-man protest, calm despite his hurt, his towering profile still against the choppy Junon shoreline.
“I can’t stand here,” he said, gritting his teeth so hard it hurt “and watch you take my daughter to pieces. You’ve done enough.”
Vincent raised his gun level with his slim hips, the sleek grey metal pointing at Shinoda’s thigh. Though Vincent was tall, he wasn’t quite on Shinoda’s level.
Unfazed, he looked him in the eye. “We’ve done enough when it stops moving.”
Shinoda’s eyes grew wide and incredulous “How the hell can you say that? She’s not an it. She’s a girl. My girl.”
“She’s no more your girl than I am your mother” Vincent answered calmly, one eye trained on the staggering form of the beast which hadn’t quite recovered its balance yet. “She stopped being your girl when her form changed. Your girl is gone.”
This time, Shinoda said nothing. His face crumpled like a building falling down, the sharp lines and angles rendered soft and useless. His anger evaporated slowly, replaced by the cold, numbing sensation of pure grief. There was a moment of silence which, as the wind whistled across the battlefield and the Korei-thing uttered a small, unimportant cry of pain, seemed to go on far too long.
Then he spoke again.
“If that’s so,” he said, taking a deep breath, his gaze averted from Vincent’s own “Then I will have to…take my leave.”
Vincent stared a little while longer, at the great man’s weatherbeaten face and sad, hollow eyes, trying to fathom the kind of feeling which might render such a powerful, solid personality so empty and useless. He was unsurprised to discover that he didn’t understand at all.
“That’s fine,” he said, and he sidestepped with unearthly grace to face the Korei-thing. The sound of Shinoda’s boots against the gravel broke the silence as he raised his gun. His eyes focused on the end of the barrel, at the pulsing flesh of the creature’s scorched abdomen, then the space between the large, vacant eyes. It made no attempt to move as the gunslinger sought the perfect moment in which to end its life. It was as if death was welcome.
The gunshot was a disappointing hollow crack flanked by the flutter and screech of disturbed seabirds, and after a moment, the heavy thump of something solid and substantial as it hit the dusty ground.

Gray watched with mounting fury at Vincent dispatched her precious Goddess with little more than a pathetic bullet. A small chunk of lead was NOT a fitting end for the creature she had so lovingly nurtured and coerced into greatness.
She crawled forward, dragging herself along with her hands, drooling bloody saliva and grunting with the effort. The pain in her ribs was electric. Her filthy hands gripped at the flagstones, her lower half prone, a dead weight she could have done without.
“Bas…bashards” she spat, reaching out one shaking hand. It rested gently on the frazzled wing of the Goddess, the membrane paper-thin beneath her fingers. Sticky blood and mucous fluid stained the cobbles a dark, wine-red colour.
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