Completion Chapter 10
Interlude Three: Reconciling
Reno looked down at clouds, the planet was now far below him. He didn't want to look back up at Barret Wallice again and see what the other was thinking. Sector seven could never be forgotten, by either of them. One would carry the guilt and the other a deep hate --both deserved and earned-- till the day they died. Reno took a deep breath and looked back to the gun armed man, he was pretty sure that Wallice was going to drop him. The other man snarled at Reno, closed his eyes and jerked up. Reno tumbled onto the deck of the Highwind, very unceremoniously, landing on his backside. The red head looked over to Barret, locking eyes with him. Both were shocked at what had just happened, Reno turned away and looked at the floor. Barret looked confused or disgusted with himself.
Barret stalked away as a little form dashed up onto the deck, followed by Reeve and Tifa. "DADDY!" Suzanna yelled, rushing up to Reno. She wrapped her arms around his neck tightly. Reno's face lit up, it was as if he hadn't just barely escaped death. As if life itself had suddenly became perfect. He hugged his daughter close, putting his head on her shoulder. He closed his eyes, you're alright... Thank Holy you are alright. He let her go and pushed a red hair from her face. She put her tiny hand on his scared cheek. "You Okay?" They asked at the same time. Reno hugged her again.
"I am now." He looked up to Rude, "thank you." The big Turk shrugged. Reno turned to look at Cloud. "You okay man?"
Cloud was sagging between Vincent's shoulder and the rail of the Highwind, "I've been better."
"I take back the meat head comment, nice plan." Reno complimented as he stood up with Trigger still holding onto him.
"Just the meat head one?" Cloud coughed weakly.
"Yeah the others still stand."
"Fine, then I suppose I'll let the heroin addict one drop." Cloud was trying to focus on something other then the way his head was spinning. I haven't been motion sick for years. He moved to the railing next to Yuffie. "Urp."
"Thought you never got sick," a green faced ninja teased. Yuffie turned to look at Cloud, her mouth agape, "Oh holy Cloud what did they do to you?" The hero did not look good at all.
"My fucking railing! RENO!" Cid yelled as he came around the ship. "What the hell'd you do you son of a fucking bitch?"
"CID!" Tifa yelled. "Leave him alone, for christ's sake look at Cloud they just went through hell."
Reno looked at Tifa, she looked back at him. "I've been called worse." He mumbled to her. "'Lany can you look at Cloud? I have no idea how they made him that way." As he spoke he felt the energy he had drain away. He dug into his pocket and handed Reeve a CD. "This is all I could get. I don't know what help it will be. I need to sleep."
After Cloud introduced the contents of his stomach to the open skies, Elena began helping him down the stairs to the room she was using for lack of other options. "Hey stay awake for me okay? It won't be fun if you pass out and we both go over the stairs."
Cloud nodded. She's strong, I know I am no lightweight. Cloud fell to the bed with another lurch of his stomach. "Thanks." He muttered as he pulled over a trash can and willed his digestive system to behave. He took a moment to look at Elena as she glanced into a medical bag. She has great legs....
"You going to be sick again?" She asked in a concerned tone. Her mind was reeling, she was the medical expert of the group. She had the best training, even worked under Gast for a time. Elena had never seen anything like this before. She was getting frustrated with the situation. This was confusing the hell out of her. "When is the last time you ate?"
The hero shrugged, he was so tired. "I don't even know."
She sat a comfortable distance from him. I can't have him black out on me. The quadramean worked the last time, so maybe another shot? She frowned at the way Cloud's pupils were not dilating right. "I am going to have to give you another shot." She surmised.
Cloud started a bit at that. "Can't it wait?"
Elena bit her lip as she thought. "I'm really sorry, but you don't look good at all." You usually look DAMN good too, so that is saying allot. Her eyes widened a bit at the thought. She stood up and walked to her medical kit. "It won't take long, promise. They don't hurt."
"I know." He looked at the ground and felt a tremor threatening him. Damnit Strife, stop this, it is just a shot. No need to go into a full blown panic attack.... he wasn't helping himself and he knew it.
"Do you want me to just surprise you? Or do-"
"Just get it over with." Cloud snapped in sudden agitation. I hate needles, I hate doctors.... I need to get a GRIP.
Elena blinked a few times at him. She turned his arm over and tied it off above the elbow. Holy, he's shaking... Is it what they did to him? Or is something else wrong? He flinched as she gave him the shot.
Cloud saw stars for a moment, he began to slide forward. Elena caught him, the sudden contact brought him back to reality and he fell back to the head of the bed. Propped up on one elbow he looked at her. Pull it together man. You are going to scare her.
"Are you sure you are alright?" She looked into his bright blue eyes, very attractive blue... 'Lany, stop it woman! You are supposed to be watching him, not anything else... He looks so vulnerable, its really sexy."
"I'm sorry, I just have this thing about being touched. Hojo kinda fucked with my idea of human contact, I didn't mean to snap at you." His unruly blond hair fell into his pained blue eyes. The color had begun to return to his face.
OH Holy, Elena you idiot! The whole shot thing makes sense now. She stood. "I am SO sorry. I mean I just forgot. Holy, Cloud I didn't mean to-" She bit her lip, "I probably should leave you alone, I mean you need some rest and I talk to much."
"I don't think you do." Cloud said, as he reached out held her wrist gently. What am I thinking just grabbing her like this? "I can't sleep right now anyway and I would much rather listen to you then stare at the ceiling."
All he did was touch her, why did it make her feel like electricity went up her spine? Elena turned and looked at him, his eyes were so sad, so needy. She wanted to hug him, but couldn't just do that too him. It would be like taking advantage of him. Why do I want to touch him so badly? "Really?" she asked at length.
"Yeah." He turned so he could face her better, sitting up with his left leg off the bed, the foot of his right leg on the knee of his left.
She sat down facing him, twisting her hand up to hold his and sitting it on his right knee. "Why is that?" Elena asked in a huskier tone then she wanted to use, that wasn't flirty was it?
"You have much nicer legs then the ceiling, for one thing." He blurted out. Damn drugs... Why did I say that out loud?
She blushed and let out a laugh, "that was unexpected," she let go of him and tucked a piece of hair behind her ear. "Nice, but unexpected." She laughed again, a wild uncontrolled sound. Very beautiful in Cloud's opinion. They looked at each other neither one spoke for a few moments. Elena talk to him! "Hey I was going to ask you something."
"Shoot." Cloud smiled weakly, hoping to have the topic introduced other then his interest in Elena's figure.
"You REALLY rode a Shirna CGM up the stairs in the Shinra building?" Her tone was light and playful, well a little flirting never hurt anyone....
He blinked at her, bikes were safe to talk about. He loved them, machines in general made Cloud interested. Motorcycles never pitied you, they never hurt you, they were just there. "Yeah I did, it was a pain in the ass too.."
"On a CGM, I am so not surprised. They have horrible steering." Something glinted in her eyes.
"You don't only drive cars I take it?" Cloud sat up to look into her eyes better. Aerith had been an exception for Cloud with her green eyes. He had a thing for brown eyes, he really did. Especially on blondes...
"No I drag raced before I was a Turk, don't get me wrong I love cars, but I wouldn't trade my Bahmute500 for anything."
Cloud's face lit up, "You have a Bahmute500? That's a Shinra special." Well DUH Strife. I mean she had to have access to it, she was a Turk. "You have any others?"
"A Hemmy C78. But that's just a trick bike." She laughed again, he's hot AND he likes bikes? This is too good to be true. "What about you?"
"I just finished my dragster. Took the body of a Bahmute750, added the CGM's exhaust and intakes. Made the blowers and used the axels from a HemmyS-Class."
Elena's eyes widened, "you are insane! All of that power? Can the body take that?" She was enjoying herself immensely now, how many guys would even have the balls to TRY that. I so gotta see it.
He shrugged. "I know I'm crazy," his head still felt funny. He looked over to the floor again, in a lower, almost ashamed tone he admitted, "Thanks you know for talking to me, I can't sleep without taking anything..."
She touched his shoulder, not even thinking about it. He didn't move away from her this time. Instead he just looked back up into her bright brown eyes. "Hey, it's nothing to be ashamed of-- er I mean.... Sorry." Open mouth insert foot. Would you like fries with that?
"I talk to much." She muttered looking at the floor.
"You don't." When she looked back to him he smiled. Elena found herself wishing he felt better. "You are something. Most woman half as pretty as you think that engines are nasty and messy."
She blinked at him. "You think I'm pretty?"
Rude and Yuffie were walking along the deck of the ship. She found that as long as she wasn't thinking about being motion sick it wasn't that bad. She smiled as him arm draped around her. "Uhm , Rude?" She asked as she leaned on the railing.
He looked at her in response.
"Do we have to go to Wutai?" She turned her eyes up to him and moved closer, burring her head in his chest. "I just don't want to go back there." He hugged her, "you won't leave me alone there will you?"
"No." Rude answered. "If he gives you problems we will leave. Meet the others back in Junion." The big Turk wasn't about to let Godo try to lord over her again. It made him ill to think that he thought he could just marry her off when she returned from saving the whole planet. Yuffie was a hero in her own right. Maybe it was the after effects of Shinra, but he relished freedom now that he had it. No one was going to take it from him or anyone he cared about again.
He sounded so positive, so sure of himself. It made her feel better about the whole thing. "Thank you, Rude." She closed her eyes, what they had all talked about just moments ago made her frightened. No one knew what was really wrong with Cloud. No one knew if going to the temple of Leviathan was going to work. All she knew was Rufus Shinra made her want to vomit and he wasn't dead yet.
Rude sighed and pulled her away from the railing.
"What?" She laughed, allowing him to lift her. "Hey you big oaf. Where are we going?"
"I want a shower." He said flatly.
"Do you need help with that then?" She teased.
"Yup." He tossed her over his shoulder.
"Why do I have this feeling that I am getting carried away with you?"
He didn't answer her, but he smiled slightly.
I am going to tickle the living hell out of him.......
Nanaki, Rovina, Scarlet, Reeve and Vincent sat in the conference room. The red beast shook his mane. "I cannot believe that man is still alive. What will we do if we can't get into the temple?"
Reeve's eyes narrowed. "We will get in, Nanaki. We have to."
Vincent nodded. "We will force our way in if we have too." The dark man sighed, it was odd having almost all of his Turks working together again. He missed Tseng badly sometimes. The kid was so easy to annoy with his seriousness.
"Force your way to a holy place?" Rovina asked. "I know that it may have to be done, but what if Reno can't connect? What if he gets trapped in there. Don't you have to be a priest of the temple to even be allowed in the altar?"
Nanaki nodded, "What we are hoping is that Reno may use his bloodline to get in. If he is half Aeon..." His voice drifted off. "And if not then we will cross that bridge when we come to it. There could be other temples."
"If not, we will just have to find those orbs ourselves or die trying." Scarlet interjected. "I am NOT going to be a Shinra puppet ever again." The entire room was filled with a silent agreement with her. All minds were on the same circuit. Never again.
"I've been called worse." Reno's words echoed in her head, it was true. He had been called worse, buy his best friend- his lover? Tifa shook her head, they had agreed that until there was no Shinra they wouldn't be lovers. That once it was gone they were planning on getting married, having children- people could say what they wanted about Reno, but he was an amazing father- have a family. Now Shinra was gone, but she had lost Reno as well.
was I supposed to do? He said he was going to crush part of my life.
He did crush it. I love him still. Despite all the blood
shed he had caused and all the hurt, she loved him. She missed those
sad blue eyes that asked her to hold him, she missed TV on the couch.
More then anything she missed that feeling she got when she stood leaning
on him in the doorway watching Suzanna sleep. Just find him and
tell him you miss him!
Tifa took a minute to compose herself before opening Reno's door. She was going to walk in and start talking, no room for him to say a word until she got what she wanted to say off her chest. She had to get it out that no matter what he did, she would always love him. She pushed the door open and stood in the peacefully silent room.
Reno was asleep, laying slightly on his side with one arm supporting
his head. Suzanna was also asleep, curled up with her head on his
chest. Reno's hand was on the small of her back, holding her close
and safe. Then gentle scene hit her as hard as a punch from Rude or
Barret ever could. All of that self-righteousness was sucked from her.
Tifa realized that it was BECAUSE he was capable of such sacrifice for a
loved one that she loved him, not despite it. Tears threatened
her eyes, I should go.
Reno's eyes snapped open, bathing his face and his child in a soft blue light. He always was a light sleeper. He looked over to her with those sad eyes that she had missed so badly. Reno seemed confused to see Tifa there, standing at his door, her eyes full of tears. Then he smiled at her, a very weary smile. He could see his own longing reflected in her wine dipped eyes. Holy, had he missed her.
Tifa pushed the door the rest of the way closed. Maybe we can talk about it? She looked to Suzanna in peaceful child's slumber. That odd feeling came over her again, almost an ache in the very core of her soul. That feeling she had missed the most returned in all of it's wordless splendor. She would call it love, but it was unlike any love she had felt before. Had her own mother been alive, perhaps Tifa could have it explained to her. That every mother could feel that happy pain. She moved closer.
Reno slowly moved to not wake Suzanna. He rolled to his back and the little girl shifted in her sleep, laying her head further down on his chest. Reno extended the arm that had been behind his head and touched the empty opposite side of the bed. It was no promise, it was no oath, it was all that it was. A forgiving invitation. He was the one offering to forgive.
She accepted, climbing next to them on the soft bed. She put her forehead next to Reno's as he rolled back over and wrapped his arm around her shoulders. Tifa slid one arm under Suzanna, who mumbled a bit and fell back to sleep. Her other arm found its way to Reno's hip. She pulled herself closer to them both and realized how tired she was. She fell asleep, finally feeling whole again.
Barret and Cid sat together in the cockpit. The pilot was chain-smoking, the gun armed man was silent. "First Yuffie, now Tifa...." Barret muttered at length. Two of is girls had grown up, he was overwhelmed with the urge to see his own daughter again. As much as he hated it, he felt old. Like he was being outdated.
Cid smashed one cigarette out and light another. "I know man. Holy, Vincent surprised the piss outta me too." The pilot let out a plume of smoke and jabbed his finger at it. "I ain't going to say this to anyone else, but I would rather Yuffie be with Rude then who Godo had picked out. No fuck'n wonder she ran away!"
Barret nodded, it had been the chief shock of the evening to find out that Rufus was alive and well. Yuffie had been vehement about not wanting to go to Wutai, but there were no other options. It was the only temple they knew of in existence still. In and of itself it was a long shot, but then again so was the victory against Sephiroth.
"Why didn't you drop him?" Cid asked after about half a cigarette's worth of silence.
"I couldn't." Barret growled. "I mean look at his kid, I can't blame him for what he did. I wanted to, but when I look back at it, I would have done the same fucking thing." Maybe I am getting old. I mean hell he's just a kid to me and that little girl a his....
"Really? So you to getting along? This is ONE fucked all to hell weekend."
The big man snarled at that. "No, I understand him. I still hate his fucking guts, wouldn't miss him if he happened to die a bloody death, but for Tifa's sake I can tolerate his presence."
"Well, that makes two of us." He leaned back in his chair, "Hey have you seen Elena?" Cid asked in an after thought.
Barret thought for a minute. "You think Spike coulda flipped out?"
Cid shook his head, "he looked like he had it together for the most part. I don't think that Reno and Rude would have let her alone with him if they thought that something could happen to her."
"You don't think that they--" Barret started.
"No." Cid shook his head, "You really think that she and he'd....?"
They continued to sit in silence for a long while. Both men missing their wives and homes. Both feeling a little too old for what was going on. Neither one ready to admit that just yet or throw in the towel. If there was a fight to happen they were in it for the long hall, there was no way to keep them out of it. They had families to protect, the world was not their main concern. Let the young ones worry about things like that. Life is too short for the world to hang in the balance, isn't it?
Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic