Libra is another fanfiction that is sadly not completed, but thankfully not abandoned. The fic follows Reno, Tifa, and Marlene from Final Fantasy VII on their journey after AVALANCHE fails to stop Sephiroth.
As the last of the world’s order crumbled away beneath a black wing that promised to extinguish all light, a judged Reno still dared to hope. And as broken and unbalanced as he was, he would fight to see the sun again.
Once again, this fic deals with a lot of heavy subject matter, like PTSD and insanity.
The fic begins with Reno living on the streets, since Shinra has been taken over and the world is now ruled by Sephiroth. All of Reno’s fellow Turks are dead, and President Shinra probably as well. As Reno wanders around the ruins of Midgard, he comes across AVALANCHE member Tifa, who has been keeping her head down and raising Marlene, since Marlene’s father was killed. Unfortunately for Tifa, Sephiroth discovers her, and her bar is attacked. Reno, who was in the area, saves Marlene’s life by taking her someplace safe—Aerith’s church. Tifa later catches up to them there.
At this point, all that remains of the original AVALANCHE members are Tifa, Cid, and Yuffie. They are hesitant to accept Reno into their ranks, since they have a history of being enemies, and also because Reno is a murderer himself, but eventually, they take him with them, since Reno’s skills as an assassin can prove useful. Additionally, Sephiroth needs Reno alive for at-this-point-in-the-fic undisclosed reasons.
The reason this fic sticks out to me is Reno’s personality. A lot of authors follow along with the Advent Children version of Reno and make him a happy-go-lucky kind of guy. Razor Athane makes Reno completely insane and delves a lot into his guilt and remorse over murdering people and coming to terms with his former Turk members being killed. And even coming to terms with beginning to care for the remaining AVALANCHE members, namely Tifa and Marlene.
This fic walks a very thin line, and it does it well. Reno is not a good person. He’s terrible. He does terrible things—we see him murder, we see him have a breakdown and beat up Marlene—yet at the same time, he is still sympathetic, since we are with him as he tries to deal with his insanity. But what I also really like is that, while making him sympathetic, the fic doesn’t excuse his past actions. The other characters don’t think that it’s excusable for him to attack Marlene just because he’s insane. Rather, they say that he hit a six-year-old girl and he needs to make amends for that. They hate him and distrust him.
One of the following chapters is dedicated entirely to Reno’s apology to Marlene. She does forgive him for what happened, but the incident is not written off at all. The author was very careful not to justify his actions, nor to seem as if Marlene has Stockholm syndrome when she forgives him.
Because Reno is completely insane—he hears random sounds, is prone to violence, and doesn’t have a good outlet for his guilt—the fic can sometimes be rightly uncomfortable, but it is still a really good read. Check it out here.