Darkness Falls Chapter 30

By Gemini83

The sun had set long ago, the full moon coming out to replace it. But the starry skies were tainted by darkness...the Drahk. Still the blood fell on the darkened battle fields...still the fighting continued. Out of the night came a beacon from the heavens, lighting the sky once more, before fading into the one place on the Planet where the fight had not touched...yet.

The Kitana crash landed on the island that held the Fortress of the Ancients. Slowly, a canopy opened, and four figures emerged from the damaged ship.

“Look after things while I’m gone,” commanded Kaede.

“Affirmative sir,” answered Kitana, “take care.”

The Planeswalker nodded, and signaled the others to follow.

Cloud raised an eyebrow as he looked at his wife. He hadn’t had time to notice before, but she was wearing something different today, donned in her leather jacket and matching jumpsuit.

“The biker girl look works for you,” appraised Cloud.

“I was wondering when you would notice,” laughed Tifa, “but after all, you do play the ‘biker’ to my ‘girl,’ or have you forgotten?”

Cloud smiled as he remembered, so long ago it seemed, when they had faced the Shinra for the very first time, “how could I forget?”

Not long afterwards, they crossed the Drahk drop craft...it was empty.

“They must have gone ahead to the fortress,” guessed Kaede.

“Well then,” said Cloud, “we’ll just have to catch up to them.”

Tifa and Aeris remained silent, and together, the four figures trekked past the ruins and forests towards the great Fortress.

What they hadn’t realized, however, was that the Drahk forces had a few surprises in store...

The Highwind landed roughly, jarring the passengers from their seats.

“Nice landing Cid,” groaned Barret, “God I’m glad I skipped breakfast this morning.”

“Can it Barret,” snapped Cid, “at least you’re alive. Right, that’s it...thank you for flying Highwind airlines, shut up and leave...”

“Is that what you say to all your customers?” asked Elena.

“No,” answered Shera, “he has more...choice words...especially when passengers annoy him.”

“All I ever asked from a landing is that I came out alive,” said Reeve, “okay people, let’s go. We have to catch up to the others.”

The men and women groaned and stretched the aches and pains from their tired bodies, forcing themselves to go on for a little bit more. They exited one by one, Cid was the last out.

Reeve took a look at the Highwind’s condition and whistled, “wow, now I’m more thankful than ever that we survived.”

Barret’s eyes widened at the sight of the damage, “look at the size of those holes...remind me to light a candle in the church sometime.”

“I didn’t know you were a religious man,” stated Shera.

“Landing safely in a bucket of bolts like that is enough to make anybody a believer,” returned Barret.

“Hey,” warned Cid, “don’t knock her. She got us down safely. Any other ship, and we’d be goners.”

“Okay then,” said Reeve, “let’s head out.”

“At least someone around here says it with authority,” thanked Cid.

The group slowly filed away from the wreckage.

“Wait a minute,” commanded Cid.

The Captain turned to Shera, “what are you doing?”

Shera straightened her glasses, “What do you think? I’m going with you.”

Cid shook his head.

“What do you mean?” she asked, “Give me one good reason why I can’t go.”

“I’ll give you three,” answered Cid, “first, fighting is not your forte, second, I wouldn’t feel comfortable looking over my shoulder to protect you, I might get distracted.”

Shera silently fumed, “I can take care of myself...and third?”

Cid’s eyes softened, and his voice took on an almost pleading tone, “if anything were to happen to you...I’d never forgive myself.”

Shera looked down sadly.

“The old Shinra almost took my dreams Shera,” said the Captain, “and though I blamed you wrongfully for so many years, you never held it against me. I almost lost you by abusing your emotions, I couldn’t bare to lose you now.”

She straightened her glasses again, heaved a sigh, and nodded, “you always did know how to fight dirty.”

Cid grinned back, “well, what do you expect from an old cheat like me?”

“You’re not that old,” smiled Shera, “just come back to me in one piece, or I’ll never let you hear the end of it.”

Cid nodded, “you got it love.”

The Pilot surprised all of them, including himself, by kissing her. Normally, he wouldn’t have allowed such a public show of sensitivity. But now he held Shera in his arms like a drowning man, and for a brief moment, he forgot there was anything in the world but her.

He parted from her, not a little nervous, “wow,” he whispered, “I must be more jumpy than I thought.”

“Don’t worry,” Shera whispered back, “you’ll be alright, if only because you’re too cussed to die.”

Cid laughed, and turned to the others, “let’s go.”

He looked wistfully back at Shera one more time, then turned towards the long journey to the Fortress. Cid caught a gleam in Barret’s eyes.

“Not a word man,” warned Cid, “I mean it.”

Barret raised his hands non-combatively, conceding to his friend.

“Don’t worry Cid,” said Reeve, “we’re all allowed our small comforts...we deserve it after all we’ve been through.”

Cid nodded, “even so, we’d better all get back in one piece.”

“Why,” asked Elena, “because Shera won’t forgive you otherwise?”

“No,” returned the Captain, “because I won’t forgive myself...we’ve lost enough people already.”

The others fell silent, remembering all too well the last flight of the Silverstrike and the brave souls on board.

Elena fought back the tears, not allowing herself the luxury of that weakness. She was a Turk, after all...the last Turk.

Reeve squeezed her hand in empathy, but Elena could only nod a thanks, she was too devastated to think clearly.

Each of them were lost in their own thoughts, thinking about the dangers behind, and the dangers ahead...so preoccupied, in fact, that no one noticed the moving shadows that followed them...

...the Emperor’s wraith guards...

Vincent held Yuffie in his arms as his alighted on the edges of the island.

“Wow,” said the young ninja, “I should take you around with me on my next trip. I’d save a fortune on car rentals.”

Vincent simply looked back at her.

“That...and you’re a hunk in that new form of yours,” winked Yuffie.

She noticed a bit of red tinge Vincent’s cheeks, and Yuffie laughed.

“I’m glad to be a source of such amusement,” replied Vincent.

The young ninja pouted playfully, “now don’t get cross on me...besides you look good when you’re just yourself too. In fact, I prefer you that way.”

Vincent gave her a meaningful look.

Yuffie’s eyes widened, “hey, I didn’t mean that I...listen Vincent, I trust you. And if that means coping with what you can become sometimes...well, we all have inner demons locked inside ourselves.”

“Even you?” asked Vincent.

“Especially me,” replied Yuffie, “like I said on Gold Saucer...I’m getting tired Vincent. It’s like I’m constantly having to fight for my own sanity nowadays.”

Vincent nodded, “I know well how that feels Yuffie. But don’t worry, I’m here whenever you need me.”

He had so much more he wanted to say to her. He wanted to tell this quirky young woman how, over the course of the past few months, she had made her way into his heart. He wanted to let her know how he really felt about her...not just hints and guesses...he wanted her to KNOW.

Yuffie nodded, “thanks Vince. I’ll be here for you too, when you’re ready.”

Vincent smiled under his red cloak, perhaps she did know, at that. The ninja seemed to have a unique insight into his introverted character of late. But whatever their feelings for each other, it would have to wait until this was all over. Perhaps then he could-

Vincent stopped walking, and Yuffie almost slammed into him from behind.

“What’s wrong Vince?” she asked, “We have to keep moving so we can catch up to the others. Come on, we can make it.”

“No,” said Vincent in a low voice, “we can’t.”

“Why not?”

“Because...we’re being hunted.”

Yuffie held back a gasp, and forced her ninja instincts to kick in. She immediately sensed what Vincent meant. How could she have missed it before?

In the distance, shadows watched the two warriors from their perches among the shadowed trees, the night air hiding them from sight. But their evil auras left a foul presence in the air, dark and foreboding. The Drahk wraiths were waiting patiently to fall upon their enemies and rain down death...

Author’s Note: Hello out there. If you haven’t noticed by now, things are happening very quickly indeed. I must like to torture myself or something. You wouldn’t believe the level of writing I have to keep up to make all these back-to-back action scenes. Personally, I’m used to having it interspersed between slower scenes...enough wallowing in self pity. Now I must write the next chapter. In my rush to flesh in the last three chapters, if you’ll believe me, I’ve written them all in two days. And now I’m working on the next...I can’t stop myself from writing, I’ve got to finish this before mid-terms, or you’ll have to wait until summer. I sure as heck don’t want to be waiting around that long! It’s interesting what writing 4+ chapters in two days does to a person’s dreams (collapses in chair, then gets back up to write). I’ve gotten several ideas from my subconscious meanderings alone. Enough jabbering, on to the next chapter. Thanks for reading.


Chapter 31

Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic