Rose of Mideel Chapter 7

It's All Part of Cloud's Evil Plan

By Chocobo Goddess

The next few days passed without incident, mostly because Cloud was pointedly staying away from Sephiroth. Aerith had convinced her friends (somewhat) that he meant her no harm. Vincent and Yuffie seemed to be the only ones who would speak to him, though Nanaki began to warm up to him just a bit after a long talk with Aerith. Sephiroth suspected that she’d begged the firecat to make friends, since he and Cid were the only two without personal issues against him.

Aside from the fact that he’d murdered her, of course. But she kept insisting the others try to see past that. They would nod their heads at her, then continue to act as normal once she left the room. The talk about him didn’t bother him so much as the way they all seemed to patronize Aerith. When he brought this up to her, however, she brushed it off with a sad little smile.

“I expect them to act this way,” she had said, “They all think of me as a little girl. It used to bother me, but I know they don’t to it on purpose. I think they believe they’re protecting me.”

“From me?” he had asked, angry. “Or from the world?”

“Both,” she had said. Then she had come up behind him and put her arms around him, resting her head on his back. It always soothed him when she did that.

Cid dropped Barrett back off at North Corel, where he and his daughter Marlene lived with Elmyra, Aerith’s adoptive mother. Aerith had declined to visit just yet, saying that she would rather get used to being alive again before going to see Elmyra. They then went to Wutai, leaving Yuffie off at her father’s palace. The Highwind continued its roundabout path by stopping in Cosmo Canyon for Nanaki, which left only Cid, Vincent, Cloud, and Tifa.

Three days after Aerith’s rescue, they gathered in the meeting room. Cid sat at the head of the long table, as Captain of the Highwind. Cloud and Tifa sat across from each other. Only Vincent was absent, as it was his turn to watch Aerith. It seemed as if he and Sephiroth had some kind of understanding between them. Vincent had been seen speaking with their former enemy often these days, Tifa noted. Cid spoke.

“I wanted to talk to you guys in private,” he began, “Before I drop you off.”

“About what to do with Aerith and Sephiroth?” Tifa asked.

Cid nodded. “We need to decide soon. I’ve only got the two stops left to make, for you guys and then for Vin. I figured you didn’t want to discuss this when we were over Nibelheim.”

Cloud was leaning forward, resting his arms on the table. He traced an invisible design on its scarred wooden surface, looking disgusted. “Aerith could always stay with us…”

“But then Sephiroth would be with her,” finished Tifa. She sighed heavily. “It seems that we aren’t going to get them apart, Cloud. Not unless we tied them down or something.”

Cloud looked up sharply at that. “Now that’s an idea…”

“Yeah, right, Spike,” Cid chuckled, lighting a cigarette. “Like he’d sit still so we could get the rope around him.”

“No, no rope,” came the answer, as Cloud’s mind worked furiously, “but if we could separate them, we could do it!” Suddenly, the plan became clear.

Tifa stared at him. “You can’t be serious. What are you thinking?” The grin on his face sent shivers up her spine.

“I’m thinking that we could get Sephiroth away from Aerith, and they wouldn’t suspect a thing until it was too late. That’s the advantage of having the Highwind; we can just fly away from him. And Aerith can come stay with us until she’s better.” A feverish light appeared in his eyes. “It would be so easy.”

“What would?” Cid asked around his cigarette. He flicked the ashes into a tray. “Spill it, Spike.”

Cloud laughed, a harsh, unpleasant sound. “Okay, so here’s what we do…”


Later, Tifa stood on the main deck, hugging her arms to herself. She didn’t like Sephiroth for many reasons, but she couldn’t shake the feeling that they shouldn’t follow Cloud’s plan. He was right; it was exceedingly easy. A simple ruse would get the former General off the airship, at the same time they dropped Vincent at Nibelheim. They wouldn’t tell Vincent, so he wouldn’t give anything away. Then they would take Aerith back to Kalm with them, to recuperate fully. Cloud’s reasoning was that the longer Aerith was kept away from Sephiroth, the easier it would be for her to escape his influence.

Tifa felt terrible. Not that she wanted Aerith to be with Sephiroth, but something seemed so wrong about the whole thing.

Suddenly, she realized that she wasn’t alone on the deck. Cloud slipped his arms around her and kissed her cheek. “Hiya, gorgeous. What’s up?”

“You’re in a good mood.” She snuggled closer. In the last few months, she and Cloud had decided that they belonged together, especially after all they’d been through with AVALANCHE. Now they lived in Kalm, where they hired themselves out as bodyguards and monster killers. They were saving up for a new bar for Tifa.

“And why shouldn’t I be?” He sounded satisfied. “I’m going to get Sephiroth away from Aerith, and by the time he realizes what we’ve done, it will be too late for him to find us. He has no idea where we live, and he can’t ask Vincent, because Vincent doesn’t know either.”

Tifa closed her eyes. “Yeah. It’s perfect.”

She must not have sounded completely sure, for his arms tightened briefly. “Don’t worry, Teef. Everything will turn out. You’ll see.”

I hope so, she thought, Or all Hell is going to break loose.


Chapter 8

Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic