Completion Chapter 11
Movement Five: Landing
The sun was rising behind them as they neared Wutai. The mountains were literally glowing in a cold, still, red and orange fire. The dirty clay- like rock held the Highwind's shadow for just a second here and there as it dance ever closer. A nervous lump in Yuffie's throat lifted with the mountains that seemed to reach out to her. She leaned back into Rude. The big man dropped his arms around the ninja, hiding her thin waist. Reno stood next to them, his daughter on one side and Tifa on the other. Tifa was leaning on him; his arm about her shoulder and her's about his waist. Suzanna insisted on standing on the railing to get a better view of Wutai. Hence, Reno's other hand was firmly on her shoulder. The three of them seemed to be very comfortable with the situation. Both Reno and Tifa knew that they would have to talk sooner or later, but for now they were both content with the silence.
Cloud and Elena were on the other side of Rude. The blonde hero appeared much better then the previous night, although he was still plagued by coughing fits at a fairly frequent schedule. The color had begun to return to his skin, making the purple bags under his eyes less noticeable. He noticed Yuffie's sudden retreat to hiding in Rude, he winked at her, "Don't worry Yuffie, we won't let him get to ya."
Elena nodded from where she leaned on the railing, "yeah, who would mess with all of us?" She swiped a hair out of her brown eyes.
"Thank you guys." Yuffie's voice was smaller then she wanted it to be. The ninja was so occupied with the dread of being back on Wutai that she was not motion sick in the slightest.
The Highwind touched down, spilling golden dust and emerald grass of the rich Wutain land up in the air. The jewel-toned debris clouded their landing from view. When the dust cleared, there was a small company of troops to engage them. One of Lord Godo's captains stood at their head. They were not his special forces (those were all ninja's) however; they were still about a dozen strong and armed. The troops surrounded the entrance of the airship and their captain shouted in a commanding voice. "What do you want here?"
The gangplank of the ship came out, revealing only two tall figures. There was a dead silence in the warm air as the figures became visible to the troops below. Vincent and Reno walked out to the company side by side. Vincent's red eyes took in every man slowly causing an uncomfortable shifting about in the troops. His intimidating gaze focused on the captain. "We need to be allowed into the Temple of Leviathan." The dark man spoke.
Shake, the captain, tried valiantly to not seem afraid of the two ex- assassins. To his surprise he seemed to be succeeding, if only slightly. "Only the Temple priest is allowed in the inner forums, riff raff is not allowed in the gates. I cannot let you in the Temple, even if I could you wouldn't get far." He crossed his arms in an attempt to finalize his decree.
Reno's mouth quirked up in a dangerous half smile. "Is that so?" He asked in a low tone, at the other man's nod the red head continued speaking, "so you have no control in the Temple what so ever?"
"We do not." Shake stood unmoving.
"Well then, looks like we will have to break in, thanks for nothing."
Shake's jaw hung open. His brave face faltered slightly, "you-"
"We will fight about it if we have to. Humanity is at stake here." Vincent interjected. The dark man was not above muscling the troopers, but with the Aeons after them they were pressed for time as it was. Maybe they could be threatened into backing down without the need of violence.
"Then you men shall have to have a fight on your hands. The Temple is a sacred ground." Shake swallowed, he didn't want to fight with them, tales of the violence and the raw power of Shinra still haunted both men's steps. No one made to back down; the only course of action was for the troops to draw their weapons. Shake lifted his hand, signaling to his men who took fearful aim. Even after its fall, Shinra carried enough fear in normal men to allow Vincent and Reno alone make a dozen men waiver. The moist air tumbled down on them as the sun cast the first lights on the meadow. The tension mounted.
"Stand down all of you!" Yuffie's voice came from the entrance of the airship. All attention turned up to the new pair on the gangplank. Yuffie stood with Rude protectively behind her. The big man had his arm on her shoulder. With a gentle tap from her small hands he let go and followed her to the dewy plain. She stopped to stand in front of Vincent and Reno, glaring at Shake. Vincent and Reno smiled at her and then looked expectantly at the troops. She looked odd standing protectively in front of her much larger friends, but her voice commanded attention and it was given to her.
"Lady Yuffie?" came the flabbergasted response to her appearance. Shake looked up to Rude and scowled, her father would NOT be pleased. "What do you mean by this?"
"You and your men are to leave them all alone. That is what I mean." She said frankly.
"Your father has been worried, m'lady." Shake's tone was one that many would use when talking to a small child. He was accustomed to her being a whiney, spoilt girl and it was all to easy for him to go strait back to treating so. After all, she was such a small woman in the first place.
Yuffie's reaction to the captain quickly smashed out his ideas of her character like a spent cigarette. She took in a pained breath and in a calm manner addressed her former protector. "Doubtful Shake, he is embarrassed." The captain's jaw slacked open for a second time as she continued, "Now, if you do NOT mind, I am taking them to the Temple." She spun on her heel and turned back to the Highwind, "report that to my father and tell him if he is man enough to deal with his own child that is where I will be."
Reno looked from Vincent to Rude and back to Shake. The captain's mouth was still hanging open even as he looked to Yuffie's retreating back. Vincent and Rude had silently turned with Yuffie to follow her back to the Highwind, leaving Reno alone with the frazzled troops. The red head did the only reasonable thing that he could think of. He tossed Shake a smirk and winked, "so sorry we couldn't stay and play. Duty calls ya know." With that he also spun on heel and followed her back up to the Highwind.
"Well, what the hell we doin' now?" The pilot asked as the gangplank pulled back up. "They don't look to happy."
"They are not." Vincent replied, "they will be even less happy when Yuffie's message is received." He leaned on the railing of the ship and sighed. How much more difficult can this situation become?
Yuffie looked shame faced. She realized that she very well could have made this whole trip a loss with her big mouth. "I'm sorry guys. I just-" she started.
"Hey, I'm proud a ya." Reno slapped her on the back. "It is about time you stood up for yourself with those morons." He laughed as the ninja smiled, "As long as you don't start a big brawl here we will be fine." Reno made as if he was contemplating something, "If all else fails we will just tell them that poor lil' Rude here would be a mess without you." He winked up at his best friend, but the big man just shook his head.
The group stood in an almost circle on the deck of the Highwind. No one knew what exactly to say, or who to look at to say it. There had been mixed feelings about going to the Temple of Leviathan in the first place. It was only a legend Nanaki knew of, that people could travel from other worlds to the Aeons. The basic idea was that if they were on this planet then why couldn't they send someone out as well? Maybe Reno could even get help if he made it to another place. A long shot was the only thing they had and time was wearing thin.
Barret Wallice wanted to see his daughter and his wife. He needed to hold them, to feel something that was for sure and for real. "I wanna go get Marlene and Elmyra." He said, breaking the silence. "They are at an inn with Shera." No one said a word to him in response. No one moved all thirteen of them were waiting for someone else to speak. The Turks looked from Reno to Reeve and back, while Avalanche looked to Barret and Cloud. "Well got damn it Spike what's going on!" Barret snapped when his patience was gone.
Cloud blinked, as if he just realized that he was supposed to be the leader of Avalanche. All eyes turned to the blonde hero of the planet. He looked over to Reno, "first off who is in charge here?"
"As far as I am concerned you can be," Reno replied. "You got us out of that lovely Midgar lab and all." He turned to Vincent and Reeve, "I am not really in charge of the Turks anyway."
"Yes you are." Both Reeve and Vincent spoke at once.
"Okay then," Cloud opened his mouth to speak, but instead he coughed deeply. Elena patted his back with a worried look on her face that her fellow Turks didn't miss. The hero cleared his throat and continued, "Barret you and Cid go get Marlene, Shera and Elmyra." At the pilot's worried look he added, "don't worry Cid, I won't leave the Highwind unguarded. Bring them back here and try not to cause a huge fight about it." He then turned to Reeve, "You and Scarlet stay here with Elena, me, Tifa and Vincent. We will keep an eye on things here. The rest of you head out to the Temple, get in and then get out."
To his surprise every nodded and began to get ready. They still think your some huge hero. Even after everything. He took a deep breath and suppressed another coughing fit. Elena's hand was still lightly on his back, he didn't completely mind. He looked over at her and she took her hand away quickly as if she too had just noticed it. As he watched this new team of hero's take off at his command to try to save the planet again he could have laughed. Cloud Strife, he realized, was no more prepared for this then he was the first time.
As they neared the Temple, Rovina, Nanaki, Yuffie, Rude, and Reno were intercepted by Lord Godo and his ninjas. The Wutain Lord stood at the head of his special forces, his dark eyes widened as he saw Rude's arm about his daughter's slender shoulder. "Yuvette!" Godo snapped at his child, "What are you doing here like this?" The ten men with him put their hands on the katanas at their hips.
Yuffie leaned back into Rude, enjoying the look of shock that sprang onto her father's face. "We need in the Temple, Lord Godo. We will get in one way or another."
Her request had no effect on the large man. "Who is he?" Godo stammered, still a bit shocked at her boldness to allow some common man to embrace her in front of him.
"None of your business." Yuffie retorted, "are you going to allow us through or not?"
"I cannot allow anyone into the Temple one way or another, it is locked till morning when the priest returns." Godo sighed, "Yuffie I have been worried." He added sternly.
"No you haven't, don't give me that!" She growled at him, "you only want to marry me off like some damn door prize to better Wutai!" Try as she might, Yuffie couldn't put the way he had treated her in the past. She raised her voice as she spoke, "even after I helped take down Sephiroth and save the Planet."
"You are my only child, Yuffie. I was doing all of that in your interest." His tone had changed swiftly, from an angry ruler to a worried father.
"Marrying Rufus Shinra was NOT in my interest Father, it was in yours. I come back and WHAT do you do? You try to marry off to some Junion man instead. I am not yours to pass around!" He cheeks had flushed, while she tried to sound angry Yuffie only succeeded in sounding hurt.
Her father's face flushed in his own anger. "So you pass yourself around it seems?" He glared at Rude whose face was impassive even as he pulled the ninja closer.
"It is none of your business what I do with myself." Yuffie said smugly, looking away from him to the Temple.
"You are MY daughter!" He was getting angrier by the moment.
"This is not what we came for." Rude interjected shocking everyone. "We will return in the morning then." He was tired of Godo, the man had upset Yuffie, and that in turn had upset Rude.
"You are not welcome here." The leader of Wutai hissed. Lord Godo crossed his arms over his chest and in frustration added, "none of you are."
"To damn bad." Reno replied. "We need in the Temple. This is important, your deals with your daughter are not the issue here."
"What would YOU know about raising a child?" Godo whirled to face the scar faced man.
"I seem to get along better with my daughter then you ever have with yours." The red head quipped, silencing Godo. The ninja's prepared to battle from behind their Lord.
Yuffie was quick to interject in the name of time. "Please, Lord Godo, please. I wouldn't come to Wutai unless I had no other choice; we are all in danger here. Avalanche and the Turks are working together, that has to mean something to you. Do you want to lose what you have?"
As was his nature, Godo only took in what information he wanted to. "So you are a Turk then?" He asked Rude angrily.
"Listen to me!" Yuffie stomped her foot in an effort to pull her father back to her. "We will be gone as soon as possible, all we ask is to be left alone."
While he would never even admit it to himself, Lord Godo was more impressed then insulted by Yuffie's actions. The large man rubbed his chin in thought for a few moments. He looked to his daughter and the people she had following her. He had heard enough tales of how vicious Turks could be; he needed no display of it. "Yuffie, your friends may stay unhindered. But I wish for you and him," he motioned to Rude, "to come home and speak with me."
Yuffie looked up at Rude for verification; it seemed like an innocent enough request. She held her head high as she looked at her father. "Swear on Leviathan and the health of Wutai that they will not be hurt?"
Godo nodded, "I swear Yuffie, the ship will be untouched and no one on it shall be harmed."
A deceptively calming breeze swept Cloud's unkempt hair around. Elena leaned on the railing next to him as they listened to what had transpired in front of the Temple. Reno related the whole Godo encounter and the fact that they couldn't reach the Temple until the morning. Cloud frowned at the information. "You think Godo will try anything?" he asked at length.
"If he does Rude won't take it. He's not the type to be taken in just like that. I am not to worried about it." The red head commented. He looked over to Suzanna as she patted Rovina. Things weren't going well in the red head's mind. He was worried that they would be caught again. He was worried that his daughter would be caught. Reno was worried that his daughter could end up in the clutches of Yrene and Appollyon. Not going to happen. There's got to be a way around it. There has to be.
Rovina purred as Suzanna itched behind her ear. "I wish I could do this myself..." Her voice drifted off happily. The sent of people approaching caused her to sit up. "Who is coming?"
"Barret, Cid and their families." Nanaki responded from the railing.
Suzanna came up next to the red beast and hugged him, "Is Marlene with 'em?" The little girl asked as she craned her next to see.
Reno gave a half smile at his daughter, "don't be a pest Trigger."
"She isn't, " Rovina responded. The black beast sounded almost wistful.
Barret sat his little daughter down on the deck of the Highwind. As soon as she saw the other child she smiled broadly, "Trigger!"
"Yay Marlene!" The two little girls hugged, talking at once. The trained ear could probably only pick up "how are you?!" "I missed you!" "What'cha been up to?!" amidst the playful chatter. They had gotten very close during the time that Marlene was kidnapped. The girls had wanted to keep in touch, both cried when they were told that couldn't be. It had been a year since they had seen each other and it showed in their excitement.
Barret smiled at them both, it always made him happy to see Marlene happy. The innocence from them made him almost forget who his daughter's friend's father was. Almost enough, but this his eyes drifted over. He looked up to see a similar smile on Reno's face that graced his own. The red head lifted his eyes to Barret's, both men immediately scowled at each other. The change was automatic and instant; pride and joy were displaced by pure hate.
Elmyra didn't miss the tension. She kneeled by the girls, "why don't you two go play? Are there any chocobo's in the pens?" Suzanna nodded and the two girls took off, laughing all the way. Reno turned to walk the other way and Barret looked over to the opposite side of the ship. She placed her hand on her husband's large arm. "Reno." She called in a stern voice. The red head stopped but did not turn around, "you get over here right now, mister." She scolded. As Barret tired to walk away she grabbed his shirt. "You too. Turn around."
Reno looked at both of them. "What?" he snapped. He began to walk over to her albeit reluctantly. "You aren't gonna hit me with anything are you? Like a pan or a rolling pin?"
"I just may if you don't behave." She put her arms on her hips. "Those two little girls of yours are good friends. Look at how happy they were to see each other." Reno stood next to Barret, both men looked at her. Very uncomfortable looks on their faces. "You two need to get along."
"WHAT?" both said at once and immediately glared at each other yet again.
"He is an assassin!" Barret snapped at Reno.
"Your no damn better! You think that reactor was empty when it blew?" Reno growled defensively.
"That is NOTHING like sector seven!"
"I didn't have a-"
Elmrya's eyes narrowed. She crossed her arms over her chest. "ENOUGH! Both of you stop this now!" They turned again to look at her, shocked that she would interrupt them. "Barret, I love you, but you need to grow up! What would you do if someone threatened Marlene?" The big man was speechless. "You and I both know that plate would drop if it were you in Reno's shoes." She whirled to the red head "And you. The reactor was a necessity. It had to happen and you know it. You have a little girl to fight for to. YOU of all people should understand what Barret did."
Reno and Barret felt like five year olds. Both men stared at their shoes. "Now I don't care if you two hate each other. I don't give a damn if you really wish the other would have a bloody death. I DO care about those poor little girls not being able to be friends because their fathers are to bull headed to let it go." She arched her eyebrows at them. "Can you two get along or do I have to find that rolling pin?"
"Find the rolling pin, when your done with it I am going to shove it up his- " Reno started.
"I would love to see your scrawny ass TRY that!" Barret glared. The two men stood face to face again. Ready to kill.
Tifa ran up behind them followed by Vincent and Cloud. "Reno! Stop picking a fight!" Tifa pleaded as once again she was in-between a Turk and Barret. "Please guys this is no time to be fighting with each other!"
Vincent moved in front of Barret, "she is right and you both know it." The dark man's voice was level. "We need to work together here Barret. You didn't want anyone to die and neither did Reno. But people did. More are going to die if Rufus and those Aeons get their way. We only bought a day at best by wounding Appollyon." Not even Barret Wallice could stand up to the red eyes of Vincent Valentine. "Honestly Barret, it isn't like you can tell Marlene not to be Suzanna's friend. You both are wrapped around those kid's fingers." With that the ex-Turk walked off down to check on said girls.
Reno looked at Barret and sighed, "Okay okay." He raked a hand through his hair, "I am sorry man, for everything. Don't hold me against my kid." I can let it go if you can."
"I won't forgive you." Barret extended his hand in spite of his words. "But I can accept you, I suppose. For our kids." He looked to Tifa who was letting out a breath in relief that she had been holding. "You make one wrong move wit Tifa and I will smear you all over the planet and back though."
"Ya don't gotta worry about that." Reno took the older mans hand and shook it once. An alliance was finally formed. Even if it was a reluctant one. Reno looked around and nodded to Cloud, "so what now Spike?"
"Well, as long as we get to that Temple in the morning I don't care. So lets call it a free night? Odds are we ain't gett'n many more."
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