Liana Is No More Chapter 4

Thoughts of Two Friends

By Amber Gehrke

The clock had read five thirty-one when she arose from her slumbers, but now she had since showered, changed her clothes, and arranged her hair. Now, it was already six twenty-three. Morning, it hadn't greeted her this morning. Clouds had come in.

Liana knew immediately, when she woke up, that was something was terribly wrong. She had dreamed about it too. She had dreamed many things that cloudy drizzling night. Liana had time to blow, but she didn't want to focus her mind on something that most likely wasn't true.

She dreamed in bed… Liana could remember it in horribly well and vivid detail. She had stepped up to Shinra Headquarters, all of the lights were dim, or turned off. She stepped in wet puddles on the ground and opened the door to go inside. Inside… inside… Shinra Headquarters…

There were fires blazing all over the place, shattered glass, weapons, and burned cloth were all over the place. Burning cadavers were scattered all about, their mouths still open some of them, if they still had skin to show. The smell of burned flesh was intensifying and absolutely horrid. Papers and sheets of white cloth were flying in the air, dying people held their loved ones in their palms. Liana felt like gagging in her own dream. The stairs were lit ablaze, the heat rising greatly. The red, orange, and even yellow flames were dancing all over.

Then, as Liana blinked her eyes in the dream, all of a sudden, she found herself in a different room. It appeared to be at the top of Shinra Headquarters, for as she gazed out the window with her dimmed dark cerulean eyes, she saw all of Midgar from above. The city was magnificent, not a single scratch to be seen on the buildings or the life of the city at night. But, as she turned from the window, she saw more dead bodies, more fires blazing, and screams being shouted from the walls.

And as she turned her head to face the President's desk, she saw a smaller figure, not the one of President Shinra, a fat old and ugly man, whom she thought looked like a fish. She saw a different face come into play.

A young man sat in the chair, his fingers grappling with his blond hair hanging over his hair and his dark blue eyes staring coolly at Liana.

"Welcome to… Shinra."

Liana clenched her fist and yelled, "This isn't Shinra! You did this to all of them, didn't you?!"

The young man smiled evilly, "I did not. I swear it over my cold heart."

"Then who did…?"

There was silence in the room, except for the screams from the walls and the sound of cackling flames.

Liana's eyebrows flinched. "Dammit! Who did it?! Answer me!"

More silence yet again. The man smirked. He said, "Look out the window. Whom do you see? Or rather…" he gazed at her face, his charming eyes singing. "What do you see?"

Liana took a step forward to the window to see, but she dare didn't touch the glass. Outside, hovering over the city, was… was a beautiful dragon, with silver wings flapping speckles of sparkling light below. It was wonderful… so majestic…

Liana's eyes grew wide. The dragon roared a lovely song from its mouth, its teeth flashing brightly. The song sounded almost familiar to her. It was absolutely beautiful. She saw its lovely sparkling red eyes, its wonderful silver majestic wings, and dangerous claws. She saw a dragon, of purifying strength, a pure dragon with a mystical heart. She watched as the creature flapped its wings to release millions of sparkles of green light. Its body was pure silver, as well as its wings. It had a wonderful long neck, with a jewel crested into the middle. It was a crystal blue, such a breathtaking blizzard light blue. Crystal, untainted crystal.

Liana didn't realize she could have such flamboyant dreams. The vividness was terrifying. As well as the fact when she realized the dragon she was looking at was pure evil.

The young man smiled and began to laugh. It was so chilling and evil, her hands begged to cover her sensitive ears. Then, the dragon's eyes swept around to the building and it charged.

Liana screamed and covered her head as best she could. She heard breaking glass, deafening thunderous noises of crushed concrete, and screeches from the dragon's mouth. What happened to its song…?

The next thing Liana knew, she had screamed and awoken from her sleep. It had been a terrible dream. Short yes, but somehow it seemed to be more than that.

While she was thinking of her dream, she had already accomplished grabbing her purse, brushing her teeth, and shutting the hotel door behind her. Today, Liana was going to go shopping. Where, she didn't know, but she decided last minute, as she woke up that morning, that she wasn't going to do any roaming near Shinra. It gave her a chilling feeling now that she thought about Shinra. Shopping, she would go shopping. She wouldn't go to Shinra Headquarters today. She was going to look around and get a feel of her new working place, but no. Not anymore. Absolutely not.

Somehow, that dream had cleansed her soul. Now she realized that something in the future would attempt to destroy Shinra, or something like that. It wasn't perfectly clear, no. Liana would have to figure this one out herself.

It would be difficult, but she had to try.

Lance held his grip tightly on the rail. The train began to screech its brakes; soon Nibelheim would be in his sights. The tracks weren't far from the small town, but they wouldn't be visible from the plains. Sure, the whistle of the train would blow loud enough to be heard, but it wouldn't be seen until it pulled up to the train junction, which was just behind the reactor, in the mountains. Lance would have a long walk ahead of him to get inside the city, but it was well worth it. Thank God Artaus had the heart to give him a train ticket to Nibelheim. Unfortunately, he had to take an airship to Cosmo Canyon. That was where he was almost caught.

Dammit I thought Shinra said they weren't going to come after me again if I gave them the blue Mako! Wait a minute… they found out? They found out didn't they?!

The train's intercom came on and announced they would be stopping shortly, so Lance held on to his luggage and grasped the handlebars overhead.

I didn't think Shinra… would discover so quickly! Shit, I wish the police hadn't found me so quick! Goddamn! Do you think they know where I am? Or where I'm going? Shinra… do they know about… Bahamut…? Dark… Bahamut? No…

Lance winced as the train slammed on its brakes, and his head came forward into the wood walls. His wrist hit the cold metal poles.

"Damn!" he said aloud, dropping his bags and holding his wrist. The other passengers, though there weren't many, less than twenty, all looked at him, but he ignored it. He didn't have time for it, he had a date to catch up with. A date… who sounded she would be a promising customer.

If I get rid of the Dark Bahamut Materia, the faster… the better…

Lance picked up his bag again, and as soon as the train stopped, he bolted out the door, handing the attendant his proof he had bought a ticket and wasn't stowing off. Then, Lance raced down the wood planks and onto the path that would take him to Nibelheim. The other passengers looked at Lance as though he were crazy and began to board the bus to take the road to Nibelheim. Lance didn't care, he didn't want to be seen on a public bus full of people. Besides, he didn't want to spend his money right then and there, 1,000 gil for the bus, not to mention what it cost him for the train ticket.

Lance sighed and lugged his bag closer to his body. He saw his breath in the air as he breathed, big puffs of smoke, it appeared. It was cold all right, the bitter cold was starting to reach his skin. High up in the mountains, he would have problems with air pressure, perhaps some shallow breathing and massive headaches. Everything but the headaches wouldn't bother him. He already felt one coming on. Hey, it was a big price to pay for illegal Materia dealing.

Lance tried to focus his mind on other things so he could pass the time… and try not to feel the pain of his headache.

I haven't really been making that much money lately… but business has been good for the most part. People… they're too picky about their own lives and money… well screw them. I have a life too, you know…

Lance sighed again, watching his breath appear, then vanish.

Maybe I should go back home to mom… she would like that a lot. She wouldn't care how much money I made, or lost… she would only care… that I was finally home. She has helped me… countless times, how could I ever repay her? Maybe… maybe just loving her that much is enough…

Lance kicked a few pebbles away down the path, and he watched them slide over the edge of the cliffs. He heard a few plunks as they tumbled onto other ledges, but as he peered over, he watched it crumble onto a lower ledge, and the other pieces falling below. He wished he could hear them hit the bottom. He couldn't see anything below that ledge where the pebble crumbled, there was so much fog, he couldn't make anything out. Lance didn't even know if there was a bottom underneath that fog.

Perhaps mom wants to see Liana again… she always talks about her on my phone. Always… I guess she really misses her…

Yes… I do too. I miss Liana a lot… she is so kind and caring, I could really use her right about now. She'd make me feel a lot better… That's why mom loved her so much… I guess…

Lance laughed a little as a memory came back into his mind.

I remember… that one Christmas…when Liana visited… mom complained about how I never had any girls become involved in my life… and she said, "Since Liana came along, you haven't had a relationship with any other girl." And I was like, "Mom, she's a friend…" but mom never seemed to get it… then… then…

… As she was pouring the wine, all of a sudden, in the middle of everyone… aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces, my whole family… she yells out in the middle of conversations…

"Don't you think that Lance and Liana should get married?!"

At that point… yes… both Liana and I… were ready to bolt right out of that room! Liana was so embarrassed but she never… never once did she show it. She was that good about it. That was funny… really…

"Now that I look back on it…" Lance said over his thoughts. "That was pretty funny, even if mom really meant it."

I could tell Liana had a little thing going for me… we had shared times together… like good friends… maybe mom just thought we had gone further than that. No… the only thing that mom would have gotten that idea by… was that one evening… yes…

Lance shuddered as a breeze came in, a chilling breeze that caused his flesh to create little bumps on his arms. But the warm feeling of the memory, created a partial distraction from the cold winds.

Cosmo Canyon… that's where it was… after an evening of exploring the telescope in what was his name again…? Bugenhagen, yes him. His laboratory… after a wonderful evening of exploring the stars, we sat outside to watch the sun set in the opposite direction. Oh, the colors… it was most spectacular…

Liana commented on the clouds in the distance… I wanted to show her the colors of the sky… streaks of pinks, yellows, purples, and blues… oh the view was extravagant… absolutely magnificent… it was the perfect moment. For her… and for me.

It was so peaceful up there sitting on the edge of a canyon cliff, her legs dangling over the edge, my arm wrapped around her shoulders. She… wanted to play her flute for me… she loved playing her music during a most wonderful time, when she had the mood, the feeling to play… and now that the sun was setting in the distance… she ran back to grab it. I don't remember if I was surprised, or angry that the perfect moment had been broken… all I remember is the tone of her voice, the sweetness…

Liana came back just as the colors were beginning to fade. It wasn't over yet… as she began to play songs… I don't know what they were, the titles… all I know is the fact of how sweet she sounded playing her flute like that… her lips singing the notes…

As the sun disappeared over the horizon… I leaned over to her ear and whispered for her to stop… just to stop so we could spend the last few moments in silence… to spend with each other…

And she did, she set her flute down and leaned her warm body up against mine… her neck leaned against my shoulder…

And we sat, for ages it seemed… and as the stars were appearing one by one, we drew closer… and closer… Liana commented on how nice my cologne smelled. I admit, I was at a loss for words as well… I couldn't think as I was sitting there with her. I myself, began to love her as secretly as she loved me…

And… when the sun and the colors were finally gone… I leaned my head to plant a small kiss on her cheek. She shivered a little, but then as I began to kiss her cheek again, she got the feeling as well and hugged her arms around me… how I felt so happy then…I miss her…

We kissed, but that is the farthest we've ever gone…

Lance stopped in his tracks as he reached a wood plank bridge. The rails on the edge of the cliff were gone on the side he had come on, but they weren't on the other side. The posts stood lonely there, holding the ropes in place. He sighed, he knew he would have to cross it to reach Nibelheim unless he found another path, but he didn't really want to go through so much trouble. He would take the bridge.

His feet stepped on the wood planks, the bridge shaking under his weight. His body carefully slipped onto the bridge. He held his grip on the ropes and edged his way towards the other side, his body keeping as steady as possible.

Lance slowly edged his way to the other cliff. It didn't take him long to reach the middle, but it felt like ages at the rate he was going. It was going along pretty slow. It only took him about five minutes to reach the middle with his bag slung around his shoulders, but it went along easier as his footing got used to the unsettling wood planks. He breathed easier as the walk became easier to handle.

I can't help but to imagine what would happen if I fell right now…

Soon, in eight minutes or so, Lance was across to the other side, and safe for the most part. Now he had to worry about prowlers about in the area, wolves and birds, not to mention nasty creatures rummaging around the reactor.

He continued to walk along the stone path.

If only Liana were to see me here now…but… we're only friends now. She knew me after Tseng… I think she was twelve when she met him… I don't remember. She moved to Kalm because her mother died. That's how she came along to Kalm… I didn't meet her there, I met Liana in Rocket Town, trying to open my new hotel. Well, the hotel is still there, and I still have it in my name… but I don't go there much anymore. The business is good, I still get the money delivered to my house… but now my younger sister Serenity mainly looks after it…That's another woman who has been involved in my life… Liana saved her… I love them both. I love them both… so much…

Lance shuffled his feet along the stones, knocking more rocks and pebbles down below.

Liana had so much money placed under her after her parents had died… however, as I heard from Liana, she never knew her father. But, Liana had all the money in the world… she even owned a couple businesses, but the money never mattered to her. She would use it to help people in need, give it to charities… but what she did for Serenity was unspeakable.

After Serenity fell ill and she went to the hospital… Liana came along about then to Rocket Town and claimed she would pay for all of her expenses… mom said no, I said no, and our family agreed that we wouldn't allow it. However, as Serenity grew more sick as the time flew by, our money and luck… were all running out. The illness wouldn't stop… oh what kind of cancer did Serenity have? Yes… lung cancer… poor child…

Liana and Serenity wouldn't give up… Liana saved all of us. We would all be in serious debt if it wasn't for her. In time, Serenity healed…

"I remember that like it was yesterday…" Lance said, his whispers traveling in the foggy air. He could see lights below him, and down the path. Nibelheim… it was in his sights.

"I made it!" Lance declared, swinging his bag off of his shoulders and racing down the path with his heavy boots. He was excited, the morning was the best time to do business. He was more alert, when other people weren't. He might be able to gather a few extra gil here and there if he kept on his toes… but then again, after a long night of traveling… he felt a stay at the inn wouldn't sound too bad right now either.

His footsteps got closer and closer to Nibelheim as he ran. Soon, he was inside the small village with small buildings and shops. He immediately ran for the inn, which was on the other side of the little village of people. He said hello to the pedestrians on the stone walkways, waving his hand gently. He knew if he was a little nicer, they would appreciate his company a lot more. But as he looked around… he saw some of the people didn't appear to be from Nibelheim either, and some… some had uniforms on.

"Dammit…" Lance said under his breath. "The cops already found me…"

Lance's steps became more persistent, his desire to make to the inn was growing quicker by the second. He passed the large well in the middle of town and ran inside the inn, not looking back to see if the cops were hot on his tail. He stopped at the counter, ringing the bell as hard and as fast as he could.

"Yes yes! Can you not see? Coming, am I!"

Lance squinted to make sure the person was feeling all right. He stopped ringing the bell and watched as the strange man approached the desk.

"Come for a room, yes?"

"Uh…" Lance answered. "Yeah. Do you have one?"

"Sleep in a room, you can. But my father is off duty, see him, you shall not."

"Are you from around here?" Lance asked politely.

The man shook his head, his strange blackish gray hair flapping. "No I am not. Fort Condor, is my home. That is where my father and I myself, were born. Come to Nibelheim, we did."

"I see." Lance responded, tapping his fingers on the desk. "So… are cops from out of here allowed to stay here?"

"If business need be, of course! Why, good friend? In trouble are you?"

Lance squinted his eyes at the door as he turned to face it. "No… I didn't say that. But I have been before for no apparent reason… so I assume the cops have come here for me…"

"Cops? Here?!"

Lance turned back to the strange little short man with black gray hair. It dangled over his brown eyes. "Outside, leaning on the well."

"Cops, be cursed! Like the cops, I do not. Scared of them, I am. Be rid of them, would you?"

"If they should come in, tell them they're not welcome to stay, not matter how much money they pay you. Have you had cops stay here before?"

"Never have I let one inside this inn. And in the future, I do intend to follow that. Frightened are you by cops?"

Lance smiled. "No I'm not afraid." Lance thought to himself silently. Wow… I might get a room for free! Maybe, maybe not… this guy is such a wimp!

"Can I go upstairs now? I wanted to get some sleep… I'm awfully tired…"

"Go ahead, you can. Good friend, sleep well."

Lance winked at him, and picked up his bag to carry upstairs. Once he reached the top, he saw that the one door up there was occupied, so he returned downstairs, yawning as he did.

"Uh… sir? That room up there is occupied."

"Oh mess up did I! Follow me. Take you to another room, I must."

So Lance followed the short man to the back behind the counter and past the burner, where there was another door. The man opened it to reveal a nice, cozy room. It had soft wood dressers, tables, and chairs, a nice looking bed, which was a queen size, he believed, and lovely curtains and carpet patterns. It was too comfortable and rich appearing for Lance to afford.

"How much?"

"Only 500 gil sir. Per night."

Lance smiled. So things were a little better than he thought. "Thank you so much!" he said, shaking the short man's hand.

"The key is here. Take care of it, you shall."

"Indeed." Lance replied, taking it from the man's fingers. "I'll be sleeping here most of the day. I have a busy night ahead of me. Is… there any bars or places were people gather to have a drink or talk or something?"

"In Nibelheim, no. A bar on the outskirts, there is. Ten minutes, down a path south. No need for car or vehicle."

"Thanks a lot. I'll pay you a little extra."

The little man shook his head, his hair flapping about. It was about to the tops of his eyebrows. "No need for extra money. Your presence, is all that need be."

Lance waved to him and he watched the little man leave the doorway. He turned around to gaze inside the room. Lance had to admit, he was impressed by the quality. The carpet had wonderful woven patterns in it, the seams each meeting each other perfectly. The curtains to the windows were a nice light green color, matching the darker green carpeting. It certainly had a lot of color into it… he liked that. It all matched.

He set his bag down on the floor and set the key on the table next to the bed. The morning sun was arriving from the east, so it was on the side of the window. It would be enough light if he opened the window. That way, the sun wouldn't hurt his eyes while he was sleeping in the bed. The bed looked very welcoming…

He plopped down on the bed, kicking off his untied boots as he did. He placed his hands behind his head and looked out the window he opened. The mountains looked very beautiful from here, it surrounded most of the city. But his mind wasn't exactly focused on the mountains… he had other things to think about…

I wonder where Liana is right now… do you think she's thinking about me right now…? Boy, if only I could somehow tell her I was thinking of her… man… I miss her a lot…

And as his thoughts continued on… his eyes fluttered closed, and the reality around him became nothing more but silence to his ears.

Liana had been around the town, a little bit in Sector Three, but mainly she had been shopping in the Wall Market, which was a fun place to go as she discovered. She had taken a train to Sector Three earlier, buying a few items there but she didn't find everything she needed, so she went to Wall Market to pick up the rest of the items.

She had walked inside the Pharmacy to pick up some medicine to take back to the hotel, and to her bags still waiting there. In the Wall Market, she also found several other items, like a new dress for instance, she loved buying new clothes! She stopped by the Materia Mart to grab a couple orbs for herself. Ice and Thunder were her final choices, even if she already had a few, she was planning to sell those anyway. Materia was helpful to her, she hoped those would come handy.

After heading for some Materia, she stopped by the restaurant to have a late morning breakfast. She gulped down some pancakes in no time, she sure was hungry. After eating, she browsed around the Weapons Store, just down the path. She took a peak at Don Corneo's Mansion. She had heard of him, but she didn't dare try and go near that place.

She didn't find any weapons she enjoyed, so instead she bought a couple batteries, she would be needing those in the future.

In Sector Three, she hadn't found much, but she found a little something for Lance, and she knew he would absolutely love it! Lance was always interested in books about magic and Materia, and she had spied a good one on sale in a bookstore in Sector Three. She bought in keeping Lance in mind. As soon as she saw him again, she would give it to him. But…

It had been a long time since they saw each other. Liana was beginning to wonder where he was right now. They had been friends a long time. A very long time indeed, she hoped that he hadn't forgotten about her.

But she doubted that. In fact, it had only been four months since they last saw each other. It wasn't that long…

But it did feel like an eternity. Liana missed him so much on lonely rainy nights. She would gaze out the window… and remember that one night she had spent with him. Her mind would drift away to all of the times they had shared, all of the memories they had created… all of the friendship and affection they had given each other. Lance was like a brother to her, more like a brother than… than…

Liana shook her head. Her hair swished about. She wouldn't think about that. She knew she had an older brother, but her mother had told her horrible stories of his past, and his dreams to become the greatest fighter in the world. The greatest fighter… go off all day and battle creatures and run off to Gold Saucer to find yourself a career? No, that's not what she had in mind… Her older brother she thought, would be someone caring… someone who would take care of her when she was sick, lift her chin up when she was down, give her advice when troubling thoughts occurred… that's what a real older brother was like…

Her older brother, turned out to be a gangbanger, a person running around slapping off deals with drugs and illegal weapons. As far as Liana was concerned, her brother could kiss her ass. Her mother told her never to search for him, never to find him, never love him.

But how could her own mother saw that? She gave birth to two wonderful children, herself and her older brother, no other family members… didn't she love them both? Didn't she expect them to love each other too?

Liana hoped that she would somehow find her brother. It came so suddenly… why had that feeling come just now?

Maybe Kaiba… oh my! Maybe he's in big trouble… maybe he's hurt! Or maybe… my emotions can't take this much longer. Does Kaiba have to do with Shinra? That couldn't be… but then again… Shinra does manufacture illegal weapons, maybe Shinra is Kaiba's prime source for obtaining weapons to sell…? Perhaps. Perhaps not…

Kaiba, her older brother… damn her cursed caring mind. If her mother told her not to search, how could she resist? She still felt connected to him… even if she didn't know him and even if he never loved her…

Liana had an idea come flying into her mind. Perhaps Kaiba was actually looking for her, and that he was right here in Midgar right now! But… she knew that would be impossible. How would Kaiba be able to tell what she looked like? Would he walk up to every person and ask, "Hey, is your name Liana?"

Of course not. Liana would have to find him for herself, or Kaiba would have to do the dirty work himself.

How could I be thinking of this just now… when I've had years to think this through? I'm going shopping… the next thing I know, I'm thinking of my older brother… I don't even know who the hell he is! Kaiba is just a faint memory in my past… mother told me to stay away… how could this be happening so fast…?!

Liana stopped on the sidewalk and closed her eyes for just a moment. She felt her fingers curl slightly, holding one bag in one palm, her purse in the other palm.

She shook her head as violently as she could, and she didn't care if people on the sidewalk could see her doing it. Kaiba would have to be rid of in her mind before her thoughts took over. She was sick of hearing his name over and over in her head. Kaiba was only her older brother, whom she had never known in her life.

Maybe he's dead… and he's trying to send me a message… or something like that… Kaiba's dead and he wants me… to feel his pain as… well, just before he died… I don't know, but I want this feeling to be rid of right now!!

Liana grasped the bags more strongly and opened her eyes back up. Her eyes began to fill with tears, and people walking stopped to stare and look at her.

"Go away…" Liana said, pushing through the people. "Leave me alone!"

Liana ran far down the sidewalk, her footsteps making loud noises on the pavement.

She ran down into a dark alley, and dropped her bags down near a trashcan. She stooped down near the wall and began to shake.

"Damn…" she whispered, shuddering. "Something is wrong with me…"

Chapter 5

Amber Gehrke's Fanfiction