For Whom the Bell Tolls
Song Lyrics by Metallica

o/ Make his fight on the hill in the early day
Constant chill deep inside o/

After several years, I don't even try to deny it. Some of the newer men bitch and whine about how they were pressed into service, how they were "convinced" to become soldiers, or other garbage like that. But the policy's been the same from the start. You joined the Imperial army because you wanted to.

o/ Shouting gun, on they run through the endless grey
On they fight, for they are right, yes, but who's to say? o/

Sure, all the rest of the jobs available probably paid a lot worse. Emperor Gestahl's idea of a budget had a way of favoring anything connected to the military, which didn't leave many scraps for everyone else to fight over. But you would probably live longer in those other jobs. Not as rich, but definitely longer. So if you wanted to play roulette with the years you had on this earth, you spun the wheel by yourself. And sent most of your paycheck home to someone who could use it after you finally lost.

o/ For a hill men would kill, why? They do not know
Suffered wounds test their pride o/

Maybe you didn't always feel like going where you were told. Maybe you didn't always like killing who they told you to kill. Maybe you didn't think that the ends justified the means. But they dealt with _that_ in boot camp. After stabbing a few enemies in the back, you understood the way everything worked much better. If you wanted a good paycheck, you did what your boss told you to do. And you made sure to throw away all your petty little moral qualms in advance.

o/ Men of five, still alive through the raging glow
Gone insane from the pain that they surely know o/

Because that's how Gestahl's war worked. He felt like ruling the earth, and you were going to deal with anybody who saw things differently. It didn't make the job easier, and it never seemed to be much comfort to any of the dead people on the field. But when you had a weapon in your hand, you kissed the hand that paid you. The man who said that money couldn't buy loyalty was never in a war.

o/ For whom the bell tolls
Time marches on
For whom the bell tolls o/

The generals in charge are the people you look up to. Whether it's with fear, respect, or indifference depends on which general you're under. But no matter who it is, no matter what neurosis' they bring with them, they still mean the world to you. They're who you are; Who you rally behind; Who you become an extension of in the heat of battle. Some you like, some you don't; some you love, some you hate. It's not always easy to tell which. But the only shame you could ever feel is the thought that you might not be worthy of dying under their command.

o/ Take a look to the sky just before you die
It is the last time he will o/

How are you going to die? At some point, it's what all soldiers brainstorm about when they're too drunk or bored to do anything else. But it's a sure bet that the other side doesn't think about their own general burning them to death. That possibility is reserved exclusively for those under the command of General Kefka. Some say if you die with him in your sight, you'll see the same face down under for eternity. If you believe in that kind of stuff. It doesn't help that he seems the happiest in the middle of a slaughter. But for all the men's whispered complaints and worried mutters, the battlefield lays bare their loyalty for all to see.

o/ Blackened roar massive roar fills the crumbling sky
Shattered goal fills his soul with a ruthless cry o/

Terra? Who can say what gazing upon the Queen of Ice and Ashes will mean in the afterlife? Maybe purgatory. If you believe in that kind of stuff. I don't like to. I'd probably be looking at a long stay if I was. Maybe a return to nothingness. She's so cut in stone in a battle that she could be an idol for either. I wonder if she's got a mind of her own the way she does what Kefka tells her to. It doesn't take long before a soldier learns to stay clear of her when the clown's giving her orders. That kind of power doesn't seem natural, even where magic is concerned. As though the woman's a portal to Hell's fires itself.

o/ Stranger now, are his eyes, to this mystery
He hears the silence so loud o/

General Celes? Some men swear she smiles when a man falls. But they don't know why. Maybe she's happy you're dead... or maybe she's happy you'll never have to fight again. If she dies someday with a smile on her face, we'll know it was the second. Until then... you get the sense she likes her job as much as we do. Maybe less. But she's even better than us at setting it all aside. A bigger paycheck, but you know she's not sending any of it home. Thousands of men in the army, and no one's ever heard of another soul with her last name. That's worth an ungodly amount of speculation on its own. I'd rather try and believe that she's an angel come down from above to lead our side. If you believe in that kind of stuff. If I died with her in my vision, I don't think I'd feel forsaken. Not completely.

o/ Crack of dawn, all is gone except the will to be
Now they see what will be, blinded eyes to see o/

The luckiest ones see Leo, they say. He's probably close by, in the thick of the fighting himself. No MagiTek nonsense from him. He's what a man might be if he trained long enough and hard enough, without getting himself killed. Leo gets hurt sometimes, and he bleeds like any other man does, but somehow he never falls. And he does his best to make sure you don't either. But if even Leo isn't able to protect you... knowing that you were fighting for the same thing as a man like him...

o/ For whom the bell tolls
Time marches on
For whom the bell tolls... o/'s a good way for a soldier to die.

Author's Postlogue: Eh, nothing special here. This kind of thing's been done plenty of times, really. Been done much better, I might add. The main reason I put it together was actually after reading another fic called "Bells for Her". It had been too long since I'd listened to Tori Amos, and I'd been listening to Metallica for the past umpteen hours. So I kept trying to put Metallica's "For Whom The Bell Tolls" to the fic, without much success. As I've so often felt compelled to demonstrate, the human brain can decide some pretty interesting things at four in the morning. After I found out why I wasn't having any success, I decided that I might as well make my own fic to the song.