4:00 AM

A/N: This story takes place just prior to the events in Shadow Moses. Spoilers for most of the Metal Gear games. I wanted to portray the last moments of Kazuhira Miller before his death. The title draws inspiration from 4:00 AM by Taeko Ohnuki, appearing in her 1978 album, Mignonne. Ah, Youtube recommendations, I love you for it! The lyrics' translation and transliteration is the best I can come up with the sources on Google I can find. The title is more than just for its catchy beat as you'll read here. Spoilers for Metal Gear games.

Disclaimer: Metal Gear is owned by Konami but still belongs to Kojima in my mind. Everything else here belongs to their respective owners.

Miller was nestled in his cabin in the Alaskan wilderness, the long winters, with their midnight suns and polar suns, giving him one thing he craved for: solitude. He wanted that ever since he left FOXHOUND, ever since he turned his back on his life of war. His quest for revenge satisfied after the fall of Zanzibar Land in the former Soviet Union but his soul was left wounded, could be never be fully healed after what Cipher did to him - and did to them.

The victory he attained was not without loss. He had to sacrifice the Phantom, the one man who stood for everything he believed in, fated to die in Africa to fulfill his revenge. That was what needed, rest, or so he told himself, so he can find peace in some place where he'll never be a pawn. He hoped those with him had died in battle, earning their peace as well. With Big Boss dead, the real one, the monster who abandoned him, there was nothing left to do but lay his weary soul to rest in the wilds of the north.

Though he had a house somewhere in the town, the cabin was his hideaway from the larger world, a small corner where he can find comfort and solace, to nurse the wounds that won't heal, could never heal in time. In it was a combo den and kitchen, the bedroom upstairs overlooking it. The walls were decorated with pictures from his days in Militaires Sans Frontières, the ones they could save anyway, together with those from Diamond Dogs. Some of those photos were tucked away in a little corner, those were too strong for him, either eliciting strong sorrow or strong anger, or both. He choose not to see them. In the far wall was a book shelf with several books, a tape library and a cassette home entertainment system. As vice-commander of MSF and later Diamond Dogs, he got to listen to a lot of music brought over by its various members from around the world. He approved the set up of a radio station with the Seychelles government's permission, in imitation of Adrian Cronauer's services in the US Armed Forces Radio Services during the Vietnam War, Radio Mother Base. It's a special treat for everyone on it due to restrictions imposed by Seychelles regulations governing radio broadcasting making them schedule their musical programs accordingly.

He got listen to many hits from David Bowie, Beatles, and other major artists; he sometimes tapped his cane to Heino's cover of German folksongs and was taken a trance by Kraftwerk's repertoire; there were protest and folk musical hits popular during their resurgence in the 60s; some surprisingly good contemporary music from the Eastern Bloc, among of them from a Yugoslavian band named Laibach; and last but not the least, a lot of music brought over from compatriots he recruited out of Japan.

A lot of good music, something he took for granted ever since he left Japan. Among his favorites were Sai Yoshiko's Taiji no Yume, the entirety of self-taught jazz piano artist Ryu Fukui's first album, Scenery from 1976, Maria Takeuchi's Plastic Love, and Meiko Kaji's Shura no Hana - Flower of Carnage - from 1973. But his favorite was 4:00 AM by Taeko Ohnuki.

That song was something he picked up along the way in a brief sojourn in Japan in 1978, looking for people to join him in forming a small private security force. Picked it up at a shop for some music to pass idle moments. The song eventually became a part of him. In fact in Afghanistan, it was in his head when Venom came to rescue from that dark cell in Afghanistan.

At times like these 4:00 AM was the ending of binge of memories, both good and bad. It begins with New Order's Elegia, a song he found appropriate for mourning and contemplation, followed by Sing a Song by The Carpenters, remembering Strangelove's work, his own song, Koi No Yokushiryoku - Love Deterrence, which he made for Paz... He had made his own peace with her a long time ago, a triple agent, a pawn in Cipher's plans. He cannot hate the pitiful figure that Venom tried so hard to save anymore, took back, regretfully, his epithet of "bitch" posthumously. Different songs for different time but it always ends without exceptions at Ohnuki-san's masterpiece.

Here he sat in in front on a couch, his favorite Husky sleeping at his feet, the room lit with only the flames from the fireplace warming him, some good Scottish whiskey in hand for only that or from Ireland can calm his nerves tonight as the upbeat funk of 4:00 AM concluded his ritual. Only the clock on the far wall ticked and it was drowned away in the beat.

Mezameru to yoake mae
Yami wa iki o hisomete
Shizukesa ga oitsumeru
Kotoba ga mitsukaranai

(Lord give me one more chance)
Kore ga saigo kashira
(Lord give me one more chance)
Dōnika shitai no
Ima o ima o nigashitanara
Kono mama de
Mō deaenai [x2]

Koreijō otagaini
Gomakashi au no wa iya
Furikaeri omou tabi
Kotae ga mitsukaranai

(Lord give me one more chance)
Kore ga saigo kashira
(Lord give me one more chance)
Dōnika shitai no [x2]

The song translated to...

I open my eyes, before the break of dawn
The darkness steals my breath
The silence entraps me
I can't find the words to say

(Lord, give me one more chance)
This might be the end
(Lord, give me one more chance)
I'd do anything

Now, if we let the now get away,
We'll pass each other by,
and won't be able to meet like this again
(Lord, give me one more chance)
This might be the end
(Lord, give me one more chance)
I'd do anything

Now, if we let the now get away,
We'll pass each other by,
and won't be able to meet like this again

Let's not fool each other, more than we already are
Whenever I think back,
An answer can't be found.

(Lord, give me one more chance)
This might be the end
(Lord, give me one more chance)
I'd do anything

(Lord, give me one more chance)
This might be the end
(Lord, give me one more chance)
I'd do anything

He always thought of the lyrics and what do they mean. He found the lyrics were rather appropriate for his whole life up to this point. Waking up in the predawn darkness? It was many things to him, chief being the uncertainty that of his future as Mother Base sank beneath the Caribbean and with it his dream of the ground-breaking mercenary business. An all-encompassing silence that robbed him of his voice, his impotence at losing everything, at having them taken away from him, left to pick up the pieces. He never gave up, seeking another chance to rebuild, however far way as star it was. Then he came... the Phantom, the man who truly lived up to the legend of Big Boss, not the bastard who left him behind in the hospital to pursue his dream - their dream! - alone.

Even the song's title drawn him to it, he was sure of it. In Japan tetraphobia - fear of the number 4 - is rampant, similar to the Western superstition around the number 13. Four translated into Chinese and Japanese is eerily similar to the word "death" in their respective terms... shi. Death. So much death had happened to him, the comrades they lost on Mother Base, Chico, Strangelove, Paz... How many have died in his lifetime? How many good friends? The number was too great to count, each with a name and a life once lived. And the song itself seemed to describe a woman's one last chance of meeting her love in the predawn darkness, a love who continues to deny her feelings - and his. They have no answer why they do so - failing to convey their feelings and desires.

Had it come this? The rift that broke him and Big Boss? He lied to him about Paz and professor, so he can get their help in building MSF, a devil's deal to be sure, especially through Paz's affiliation with Cipher, who promised him - them - contracts, which would allow MSF to grow large in the emerging security business with them at the top, their dream come true! He wanted to it so badly for them, so that they won't have to be beg for work, shit work, from national government all around, fighting for meager pay dirt. If they're powerful enough as a company, a private, non-state entity, they can choose who they work for and what kind of contracts they can fulfill. As a Swiss member from the canton of Uri, who took the codename of Crossbow Bull, had said, powers will be beholden to MSF just as his people, the Swiss, made lords and kings in Europe vie for their legendary combat prowess, engaging in bidding wars just to have them or at least prevent the other fellow from using them against you, making the soldier for the first time in many years a player, not a pawn in somebody else's game.

That was what they wanted, right? No more living under the dirt waiting or seeking work, no more being hounded by authorities when the situation changes, no more worrying of empty pockets when everything's all said and done. Yet in his eagerness, he was shortsighted enough to not to see Zero did not take kindly to Big Boss's refusal to join, seeing a threat thus unleashing Skull Face on them, deciding them to wipe out a potential threat to his own quest of power. using the AIs based on Strangelove's work and a trio of clones, counterfeits to Snake in order to rule the world.

He felt his missing limbs again, the cold always did in spite of the warmth of the fire. He was left a cripple, a painful realization of his terrible error in dealing with Zero behind Big Boss's back. Oh how would give everything for another chance to make things right for him, to repay the damage he had caused in dealing with Zero, to repair their dream together and their brotherhood, wanting so much kneel and say he was sorry for what he did. And he thought he did back in Diamond Dogs, the Phantom he thought was him. The man he fought side-by-side to bring down Skull Face when it was clear he was off the reservation with his mad scheme with the parasites and Sahelanthropus, he thought it was the second chance until Ocelot broke the news of his second betrayal, the earth-shattering truth that Big Boss, Snake, was false! He was none other than the medic aboard Pequod when they tried to rescue Paz and Chico.

His mind raged, gripping the glass tumbler at how they used one his most loyal soldiers to be literal copycat. It was sickening! A man who was turned into a blank slate by a piece of shrapnel on his head, his "horn," destroying his identity, a man who would give his life a hundred times over for the legend, was reduced to a canvas of an ersatz copy, a body double acting as figurehead, bait, and important lieutenant to the legend in hiding, a legend who hid his tail between his legs! The worse part was that this man was more like Big Boss than the real one ever was! And the kicker was that he retained his loyalty, even when Kaz tried to break the truth, he refused to believe that he wasn't Big Boss, and had Miller expelled from Diamond Dogs, being made privy to a radio message between Venom and Big Boss, he stayed through to the latter as he lay dying and the whole thing falling apart around him, relieved and satisfied that he played his role to the fullest in spite of just having learned whole thing before Solid Snake came. The bastard used a decoy's, a good man's, undying loyalty to further his plans, his own vision of Outer Heaven.

He despondently put his hand on his face in shame. Had he sunk that low? Supporting Venom to the best in his ability to make Diamond Dogs strong enough to face him in the inevitable showdown. Using one of the "sons" as his tool for vengeance against Big Boss, had he become as monstrous as the monster in killing his best friend in Africa, wanting him to put a stop in supporting the monster's scheme. Now having faced and killed the real one in Zanzibarland, the former Soviet Union, had turned him into a wreck, was he any different now? Betrayal, obsession, and calculated callousness to their actions' consequences, that's the parity he had achieved with Big Boss.

"Dear Lord, forgive me..." he muttered under his breath. Solid Snake, was no longer a "son," he was more than that. He was a good man, like the medic had been. Oh how he was used him, trained him harder than any Green Beret seconded to FOXHOUND with exception of Gray Fox, back then being only avoiding Big Boss like plague except for the most perfunctory functions. He owed him a lot for killing the real Big Boss. Ever since then, having to proverbially kill him twice, Snake was slipping away, tearing himself apart. The one great positive thing being was rejecting the Silver Star for his role in taking down Big Boss, just as Solid Snake rejected the Congressional Medal of Honor, stating that they should not be rewarded for putting down a monster. No cheap medal can recompense the pain their ordeals had brought them. Honor... in a nation that revere the samurai ethos, there was no honor in what they've done. Just as it had when Snake killed his mentor in '64.

Especially Snake. Snake had broken down, disorderly conduct, insubordination, dereliction of duty, destruction of property of both military and civilian, conducting unbecoming, going AWOL, he would have ended up in Leavensworth if what wasn't for him and his citation in the destruction of Outer Heaven. He owe it to him to set the record straight. Last he heard Snake retired in Twin Lakes. He was raising Alaskan Huskies for some breeder and was talk of the Iditarod racing circuit. He should try meet him sometime, try to repair the damage he caused him. He also had to talk with his ex-wife Nadine and their daughter Catherine, he owe it to them for not being enough for them, having been wallowed up by the results of his revenge.

The music stopped. He stared at the crackling fire. Yes, he had a lot to pay for. He had done a great deal of grief to the whole world at large. His throbbing stumps can attest to that. "What a mess we made when it all comes down to it it..." The world was a now less safe, less equitable place. His dream was taking on frightening forms that would eventually consume the planet. The irony was that he did not get Cipher, whom they were initially after, having killed Big Boss, there was no one to oppose him from taking over the world with his secretive electronic reach. He looked at the glass, now empty. Better get another round, he thought.

The clock struck at 1:30 AM. Looking up he realized that if you add one and three in 13, you get four. A wry smile on his face. Couldn't been more fitting.

There was a knock on the door. The Husky perked up his ears and growled slowly, sitting up as it faced the door. He calmed him down and put down the glass. He gripped the Colt M1911 tucked in its holster beneath his jacket. Whoever was there, he's not about to make it easy. That horrible night in 1975 taught him that.

"Miller, are you there?" the voice outside called out. He got up on his came like a jackrabbit. Ocelot!? Here? There was no mistaking that voice of his. He shook his head. It was no surprise Ocelot had come here, to finish the job, for Big Boss. But coming here to knock the door and ask to be let in? That's not Ocelot's style, why the hell would he do that? Or was there something he wasn't seeing?

"Miller, I know you're in there," Ocelot continued. "I'm here to talk." The audacity, he thought. He put his sunglasses on.

"Yeah, I'm here," he called back. "Be there in a minute. It gotta get up." He groaned as he used his cane to pick himself up and hobbled towards the door. "If this was one of your tricks, Ocelot, you got a strange way of making an entry."

"Well, this isn't your usual social call, I take it," he agreed.

Miller made it to the door. "Stand back," he ordered. He heard the muffled sounds of boots and spurs outside the door. He agreed, how wonderful. Miller deftly unlocked the door and opened, only to see a face he thought was unlikely to see anytime soon, yet he expected him. That hateful face with its windblown hair, reminding him of Lee Van Cleef, Lee Marvin, and Christopher Lloyd, but without Doc Brown's warmth. The Russian cowboy, Revolver Ocelot, Shalashaska.

"Good morning, Miller," Ocelot greeted politely.

"What brings you here," he asked wearily, "besides trying to kill me."

"I just want a little chat with you," he answered. "Well, it's not actually little. We better take a seat."

Miller quickly balanced himself on his cane and quickly pulled out his Colt. "Take off your guns."

Ocelot did not flinch at the sight of his quick pulling of gun. He raised his hands slowly. "Of course. If you want me to check my guns, I'll need a place to put them over. And my coat too if you will."

Miller was not taken aback by this. He was more wary than ever. Ocelot seemed... compliant. But he knew he was a master spy, a class of his own. He got them the most intelligence back in Diamond Dogs while serving several masters. But he knew he only serve one. A dead one. If he wants to finish him off, why not now? His life wasn't exactly a secret. He made no attempts to hide anything from anyone.

"Well?" Ocelot asked, still standing like a guest waiting to enter at the master of the house's consent. That pleasant demeanor irritated Miller. He was sure he was trying to spring something on him.

"Put your coat and guns on the coat stand." It was what Miller finally said after several seconds. Ocelot was about to step in when Miller added, "No tricks."

"Alright." Ocelot stepped in, scraping the rug at the entrance to dry his boots. The Husky emerged from the darkness and growled threateningly at him

Before Miller can calm the beast, Ocelot made a few whistles and said, "Calm down, boy." They were enough to placate the Husky, which soon acted around like a puppy around him. Miller forgot that Ocelot knew his way around animals a bit.

"That's a good boy," the superspy said satisfied as he patted him and lick his hand in response. Miller turned away. He could remember D-Dog, Venom, and of course, Ocelot. The memories were too fresh, they scene before just too painful for him to look at. God, make it stop!

When he was finished petting the dog, Ocelot got up and turned to Miller. "So, what's his name?"

"Johnny," the former hellmaster replied. "I named him Johnny."

"Johnny," he repeated. "Good name."

"So what's all this talk all about?" Kaz asked skeptically, still not believing Ocelot was here to do just that.

"Well, Miller, for starters, FOXHOUND's here in Alaska, planning something big." This was enough for Miller to look at the cowboy in all seriousness.

A/N: This was originally a one-shot but I thought up enough material to make this a mini-series of its own. A lot of my knowledge comes from the Metal Gear wiki. A bit of trivia here, the avant-garde industrial music band, Laibach, had its beginnings in the former Yugoslavia during the early 80s. Swiss MSF member, Crossbow Bull is a reference to the Black Bull, the heraldry animal of the Canton of Uri, one of the three founding members of the Swiss Confederation, now modern-day Switzerland. The crossbow of his codename is a reference the legendary hero of Switzerland, William Tell (Wilhelm Tell), who hailed from Uri. Swizterland was certainly one of the closest things to a military nation that Big Boss envisioned (the other ones being Sparta or Prussia) where its main and most famous occupation between the 14th century and early 16th century was being one of its famous pikemen. The Swiss pikemen greatly refined the pike square that was gradually adopted throughout Europe during the 13th century, marking the transition from heavily-armored cavalry to infantry as the core of an army. It also meant a change in mindset from conscripted poorly-trained peasant levies to well-trained highly-motivated fighters who soldiering as a profession than obligation. The Swiss mercenary themselves had little respect for knightly trappings and etiquette in addition to giving no quarter.

People wondered how Miller had to wear glasses all the time, especially in Phantom Pain. Some assumed it was congenital syphilis he contracted from his mother in her time as a prostitute during the Occupation period, where she met Miller's father. Others think it may have to do with the parasites. I believe it had to do with the trauma he went through, first with the Skulls, then in the hands of the Soviets in Afghanistan. It's true, physical trauma can affect the eyes, especially on the head. Pilots who went through particularly violent injuries on crashes sometimes suffer damage that affects their eyes, often enough to put them out of flying for the rest of their lives. They can still see but they lost a part of their sight critical to flying. That's one mundane example that makes sense for Miller's condition. Adrian Cronauer, the USAF radio DJ would be best known in the movie Good Morning, Vietnam, portrayed by the late and great Robin Williams thought much of the movie had very little to do with the real Cronauer's experience there.