Payback's a Bitch 2: Redemption Chapter 5
By Joe L.
He seemed so happy back then. Sure, at times he could be a bit cold and detached but at least he was here. Now, God knows where he is, and he's probably dead. I've never told him, because I was too afraid! Here I am, Tifa Lockheart, savior of the world and member of AVALANCHE and having faced countless monsters and life threatening situation, and I'm afraid to say three damned words! How could I have been such a coward? But of course I know why. Because of her. From the moment they met, she fell in love with him. And then she died, so suddenly that it tore him apart. I was sad too, but another side was happy that she wouldn't interfere and I could have him to myself. And I hated myself for thinking that, that a friend had died saving us and here I am being jealous of what she and him had!
Tifa Lockheart stared blankly at a picture of her and Cloud as she was in her new home in what was now New Kalm. Since the Ghiites' path of destruction had ended, Kalm was quickly rebuilt by the few remaining survivors, determined to build back their city that they so loved. For awhile, Tifa had lived with Barret, Marlene, and Elmyra in Corel and had worked in a local tavern. However, once she had heard news of New Kalm being built, she decided to move back and start a bar. It was called Heaven's Cloud. That was several months ago. And Cloud had been gone, by her estimates, around five months.
She desperately clung to some hope that somehow or another, that he was still alive and that one day he would return. But she seemed to be losing hope as each day wore on and Cloud didn't return. So here she was staring at a picture of her and Cloud. It was taken a few months after Sephiroth had been defeated at the Northern Crater. Cloud and herself were at the Golden Saucer, enjoying themselves. It was one of the few times that Cloud hadn't been moody, cold, or distant. He was actually having a good time, something that was very rare to him. And Tifa could understand why he was the way he was.
Nobody ever showed him any love, she thought. All the kids, they made fun of him because of his name and that he was smaller than them. And they were my friends. Sure I didn't do anything, but I didn't do anything to stop them. And then he saved me at Mt. Nibel and I never even said thank you. Of course, my father accused him of doing hurting me. All the other grownups in Nibel were just as worse. Whenever something bad would happen, they'd always say, "Damn Strife punk! Look what he's done now!" It's no suprise he left as soon as possible to join SOLDIER. But I can't imagine the pain he felt when he was rejected, or worse yet, when he was captured by Hojo and experimented on all of those years. My God, all the pain he had suffered in his life, I can't blame him for the way he was. If only when we were growing up if I had tried talking to him and being nice to him, think of the difference I could have made........ Now, I'll never get to see him ever, Tifa thought bitterly as salty tears welled up in her eyes.
"Oh Cloud, if only you were here......" Tifa whispered as she sobbed uncontrollably, and soon cried herself to sleep.
The Fists of God was an elite military group definetaly not to be trifled with. For hundreds of years, they had been the ever vigilant fighting force used to keep peace. King Zarin's father Yama Ketsuo had actually started the group, that had been only a few highly trained fighters. Since then, it's numbers had grown and were now at around 1,000. And with the days additions, it had grown to 1,002.
Since joining the Fists of God, the training had become much more intense than Cloud or Sephiroth. While training under Grand Master Gar'saan, it had not been as rigorous as this. It seemed to Sephiroth that he was either training or sleeping, but th at didn't bother him. After being cooped up in the Shinra Building most of his life while Hojo performed tests on him, he really didn't care.
Their first day, Cloud and Sephiroth had reported to The Chamber of Heroes, the Fists' of God's headquarters. It was a rather plain looking building, with barracks, a gym for training, and rooms for the higher ranked officers. Also, the main part of it was actually an antechamber that divided into many sections such as the messhall, briefing rooms, and Yama Auditorium, where the members of the Fists of God would gather every so often.
Cloud and Sephiroth also had been given new uniforms. Instead of their standard soldier garb, they were given the armor of a Fist of God. It consisted of shoulder pads made of a tough metal, like steel but considerably lighter. They were gold, and the breastplate was green and came down to the wrists and to the belly. Golden gauntlets protected the hands and a golden belt was fastened around the waist. The green pants had attached to them golden greaves, and the boots where black leather. To complete the uniform, every member was given a black badge to put on their right shoulder that had their last name on it.
Their would be no dilly dallying for Sephiroth and Cloud. Immediately they were introduced to General Besin Syran, the leader of the Fists of God. Not a Ghiite to be trifled with, he was a very rough and no nonsense type of man. He had no sense of humor whatsoever and found everyone not serving in the military in his own words, "..Useless piles of shit. If it were up to me, every slacker and jackass would be serving in the army."
At this moment, Colonel Renn was explaining to them what their mission was going to be. Around twenty five Fists were assembled including Cloud and Sephiroth. They were in a briefing room, which contained chairs for everyone, a television, a dry erase board for writing. That was it. Also, the entire room was green, it being any Ghiites preferred color. Sort of strange to Sephiroth, but he thought little of it.
"As you can see fellow Fists, here in Jakarht, a small village, our intelligence agents have reported Rebel activity. While it probably isn't their main base, we suspect that here is where they are receiving supplies like guns and ammunitions. As you know, Jakarht is a major producer of weapons and arms, as well as heavy artillery. Capturing or destroying this town is imperative in stopping the Rebels. We estimate that around 100 Rebels are here, but they should provide no problems. Do I have any questions?" No Ghiite in the room said anything. Renn smiled and then continued, "Good. We leave tomorrow at 0500 hours. You are dismissed." All the soldiers got up and saluted Colonel Renn, and then quietly filed out to the barracks to get rest before the mission.
"Cloud! Cloud!" A voice hissed in the darkness. It was Sephiroth's.
"It's Sh'kaar," Cloud stated matter of factly. Sephiroth nodded and then continued,
"Whatever. Listen, I think I know a way that I can get us out of here. It's a long shot however, and if failed could probably lead to our deaths. There must be-" Cloud shook his head and then said,
"No. I'm don't what to go back."
"What?" Sephiroth whispered in shock. Was he going crazy? "Cloud, are you out of your mind."
"No I'm not. I don't want to leave this place. I.......I can't go back the way I am. My friends...they wouldn't even recognize me. Look at me for God's sake, I'm not human. I....I'm a monster."
"You're insane! We can't stay here!"
"Maybe you can't, because your human. But I can." Sephiroth eyes narrowed as he peered at the man once known as Cloud Strife, savior of the Earth.
"What has gotten into you? Are you forgetting your past? Where you came from?"
"Where I came from? I was born here, damn it! I don't belong there on Earth, you do."
"Ha. Don't make me laugh. I would be as much an outsider as you, but it's better than this place. Joined to a force that's going to be eternally at war with some damn Rebellion. Let these fools sort out their own problems, they're not ours."
"You're wrong, Sephiroth. They are mine now. These are my people."
"Ignorant fool.... Don't you realize the mistake you're making by staying here? What about that the one called Tifa? Does she not mean something to you?"
"Of course! Don't even get me started about her! Every goddamn day I think about her, dream about her.... I can't get her out of my damn head," Cloud whispered remorsefully, "but I couldn't face her. Look at me, look what I have become, Sephiroth. What do you see?" Sephiroth now shook his head and left, but before he did he replied softly by saying,
"I see Cloud Strife."
"I need to see Mr. Dickinson," Reno said harshly to the secretary. She was a pretty woman with short brown hair and brown hairs, but Reno had no patience to stare at her good looks. He and his fellow Turks needed to have a chat with Reeve Dickinson, mayor of Junon. After what had happened to him, Reno was extremely pissed.
"Do you have an appointment?" The secretary said sweetly as she sat at her desk, reading some files.
"No, I don't."
"Well, I'm sorry sir but you can't see him. He's very busy." Reno felt like he was going to explode.
"I don't give a flying fuck! Do you have any fucking idea the shit I've been through because of that asshole? Do you?" The secretary at first thought the question was rhetorical, but then noticed Reno waiting for an answer, staring angrily at her.
"I thought so! And I don't care if Reeve is in his office fucking a whore, I'm going in there!" He yelled as he went past the secretary and opened up the doors to Reeve's office.
He saw Reeve sitting on his desk, apparently awaiting Reno.
"Okay, Reno I know what you and the Turks are thinking. Trust me, I can give you a perfectly good explanation if you just let me explain." Reno immediately grabbed Reeve Dickinson by the throat and stared him straight in the eyes.
"Why the fuck did you set us up you backstabbing bastard!"
"Calm down, Reno. It's that I needed a diversion......"
"A diversion? For fucking what?"
"Well, you know how you destroyed the Scientific Department and everything. Well, Ellefson has the files in his office and at his home. So I needed him distracted so that I could get to them as well and destroy them. And hey, it worked! No more SOLDIERs!" Reeve said happily. However, Reno didn't let go of his throat and he know pulled out his nightstick.
"I see..... Now, where's our money?" Reeve got a check from his desk and handed it to Reno.
"There ya go, 100,000 gil. Now will you please let go of me?"
"Sure thing boss," Reno smiled evily as he threw Reeve down onto his desk. "And if I ever see you again, I won't hesitate to kill you." Reno then walked out, satisfied that he had done his job. People have to learn, Reno said to himself, that nobody screws with the Turks.
As Reno walked into the Sleep Eazy Motel, the motel that the Turks where staying at since it was dangerous to be in Junon at the moment, the others were waiting for him. They had only gotten one room, since that was the only thing available. Reno had volunteered, as to not waste space, to sleep with Elena and was greeted with a hard slap to the face. He only smiled at it.
"So what's the scoop?" Elena said, her wound wrapped in a bandage.
"The asshole set us up. Seems were only a decoy in his grand little scheme."
"Yeah, seems that Ellefson had other places were the plans were. So Reeve sets us up so he can go destroy those without Ellefson's knowing. Gotta hand it to the guy, it worked like a charm. That bastard Ellefson still probably doesn't know what happen."
"When do you think we'll be able to go back to Junon?"
"I don't know Elena, probably never. I'll bet there's a warrant out for our arrest, and I'm sure Ellefson won't stop until we're arrested."
"What are you saying?" Rude called out, at the moment he was watching TV but was listening to the conversation.
"I'm saying that we might have to start over. We can go back and get all of our stuff, but we'll have to leave Junon."
"Isn't that a little bit drastic?" Elena said, cocking an eyebrow.
"I don't think so. But I say we go to Costa del Sol and start a new business. Plenty of sun, beautiful women, and plenty of bars to get drunk at." Reno smiled as he thought of Costa del Sol. He had some memorable experiences there, mostly involving sex and drugs.
"Whatever. I say we go to Wutai. There'll be plenty of good business there. What do you say Rude?" Rude was now engrossed in some talk show about a woman revealing to her boyfriend that she was actually a man.
"Ah, I don't care. But try and keep it down." Elena rolled her eyes and then said to Reno,
"Damn it Reno, don't be an ass about this! I say Wutai."
"I'm not being an ass! I'm thinking about it in a business manner."
"Yeah, right. Come on damn it, I'll do anything you say if you agree on Wutai." Reno cocked and eyebrow and said licking his lips,
"Anything?" Elena knew exactly what he wanted. While Reno found Elena very attractive, sometimes moreso than he'd like to admit, but she wasn't his type. He wasn't in any relationship for the longrun, he was more of a one-night stand type of guy. While he wouldn't mind having sex with Elena, he knew that she would want more than sex. Maybe even kids.
"Ha. Only in your dreams, pervert!" She said as she slapped him across the face. Reno laughed to himself and then said,
"You wouldn't imagine how many times women have said that to me, babe. And they all end of in the same place, my bed." Elena responed quickly by saying,
"Yes, but it's different when you pay them." Reno only laughed to himself at the remark.
"Whatever, you got no idea......" Elena shook her head, and then asked about the gil.
"So, where's the money?"
"Don't worry it's in my pocket. Why don't you get it for me?" Reno said playfully.
"I'll take your word for it," Elena said as she feigned puking Well, I'm going to take a shower a shower. I've been in this suit to long and I'm starting to smell."
"Me too..... Can I join?" Reno asked hopefully.
"Shutup, asshole," Elena replied, annoyed with Reno's sexual remarks.
"Maybe next time, right?" Reno called out as Elena shut the door to the bathroom.
"So you really think we're gonna have to move on Reno?" Rude asked as he flipped of the TV. Reno nodded grimly.
"Yeah, I mean, that job we took, that was dangerous. This wasn't some small time jerkoff we pissed off, this is a general of Junon, probably the most powerful city on Earth. Now, if we hadn't of been set up by that dick Reeve then we wouldn't be having this conversation. But you know Ellefson is going to still think we're in Junon, and he'll search the place inside out until he finds us. Of course, I agree with Elena about going to Wutai. God knows Godo could use the help, I mean, his fucking city is almost out of control."
"Yes. The constant gang wars vying for power have almost left him helpless. From what I've heard, he's afraid to leave his own home." Rude noted dryly. He almost felt pity for Godo, who had endured so many hardships in his life. First he had gone to war with Midgar and Shinra and had most of his city destroyed and his confidence shattered when he was defeated by Sephiroth. Then he had to raise that biggest brat of them all, Yuffie. And now, his town was overrun by criminals of all sort, looking to take control of the once peaceful tourist city. No one dared to go to Wutai anymore, fearful that they'd be killed on the street.
"Yes. He'd probably pay us anything, a lot more than Reeve paid us for this job I'll bet."
"Perhaps. Isn't Yuffie trying to help out with all the crime? I heard she was actually trying to take out some of the crime bosses, all by herself."
"Damn, 'ol Godo must be real desperate, eh?" Reno laughed so hard he started having cramps.
"Don't be too sure, Reno. Yuffie is an excellent martial artist and a highly trained ninja. If there's anyone good enough to get the job done, Yuffie can do it. She was a member of AVALANCHE you know, who did kick our asses many a time." Reno scoffed at the remark. That was a long time ago.
"Yeah, yeah..... Well anyways, we should be able to get some place to start our new business with this 100,000 gil right here." Reno then left, saying he was going to cash the check in and get the gil. When he left, Rude flipped the televison on. Totally unoblivious to his surroundings, after awhile Elena had finished her shower and flopped on the bed next to Rude, wearing mearly a towel. When Rude noticed her, he barely gave her a glance.
"Bout time you got out. I had to pee so bad that I went outside," Rude grumbled as he concentrated on the TV. Right now he was watching a cartoon, anime to be exact, about this martial arts fighter who traveled with his friends battling evil. He couldn't remember the name of the show for the life of him.
"Gee, I'm so sorry," Elena replied sarcastically, "hey, where's Reno?"
"Went to cash out check. We're going to Wutai."
"Good." So engrossed in his televison show that Rude didn't notice when Elena fell asleep on his shoulder, snoring softly.
It had been around a year since Yuffie had returned from fighting the Ghiites to her hometown of Wutai. And since then, it had gone to hell in a handbasket almost over night.
Everybody knew about the organized crime in Wutai. It had one just like any large city would have. Their were four different familes operating out of there, the Kowasa's, the Tenchi's, the Kurasawa's, and the Schenker's. The Schenkers were relatively new to Wutai, a portion of them escaping Midgar and coming to Wutai to start "business" as they called it. The Schenkers immediately seeked to take out the most powerful of the familes, the Kurasawa's. Of course, Don Kurasawa wasn't about to let this happen. But he really didn't have a shot, because he was assassinated by a man hired by the Schenker's. The Kurasawa's had many allies in high places, specificaly heading the police department and many of Godo's assisstants. They retaliated by having the police busting in on a drug ring the Schenker's were operating, ending in Jerome Schenker, Don Schenker's son, being shot by police.
Since then, the Kurasawa's enlisted the aid of the Tenchi's by knocking off a police lieutenant who was cooperating with the Kowasa's to help get rid of the Tenchi's. Since then, the streets of Wutai are owned by the families, each seeking to destroy the others. The police force could do little to resolve the problem, as many were gunned down in a setup created by the Schenker's. As it were, Godo could only stand helpless and watch as his city detoriated into a mass of violence as literally, streets were filled with dead bodies. Yuffie of course, proud as she is, decided she had enough.
"What can't you do something?" Yuffie screamed at Godo Kisigari, lord of Wutai. Godo stared blankly at a window in his room. He saw that on the street, a car was on fire, and from oppostite buildings that people were firing at one another.
"Only a year ago........... everything was so peaceful here. Now, it's all gone.... All that we have worked for, to make our nation return to the glory that it once had. It's all gone." Godo shook his head.
"Are you even listening, Dad?"
"Yes. But I can't do anything now, Yuffie. How desperately I have tried, but failed miserably."
"If you care about Wutai so much, why don't you do something!"
"It won't work. This street war is too far gone to stop. So many have died..... So many."
"So you're giving up again!" Yuffie cried out angrily as she stared at her father. After the defeat of Sephiroth, she noticed her father had regained his pride and fighting spirit. Even when the world was in perpetual anarchy, Godo fought very hard to have Wutai to press on and to never give in. And he had won. And for awhile after the defeat of the Ghiites, every was going very smoothly. But about one month, when the mob war began, all of that changed.
"I'm not giving up, dear. But I know that I am defeated."
"Damn it, I thought that you had changed! I guess I was wrong."
"Please, leave now Yuffie. I need sleep." Godo then plopped down on his bed, as Yuffie stomped out and then she angrily said to herself, if he won't do anything then I will!
All the Fists of God that were chosen to Jakarht had been assembled on the dropship that would take them there. All was quiet aboard the dropship, there was no talking aloud until they had arrived at their destination. Only when they had safely landed could they talk and Renn would then give them their orders.
They landed around three miles from Jakarht, though it would take them long to get their. As they had all exited the dropship, they noticed they were in a forest, quite thick. They couldn't see Jakarht that was jsut ahead of them. The ship departed immediately back to Dacar.
"Here we are, you now orders. Keep your eyes open for Rebels, and take now prisoners. Move out," Renn called out as he too was in the garb of a Fist of God, except he had a red badge on the left shoulder. It was the Badge of Kaoi, Kaoi being an ancient, heroic Ghiite. It was only awarded to those who had performed incredible acts of bravery in the face of danger. So he's than just a loud mouthed bureacrat, Sephiroth noted dryly.
Much to Sephiroth's surprise, he noted that Gyver was standing next to him.
"Never knew that you were a Fist of God."
"I'm not," and Sephiroth noticed that he was wearing the traditional Ghiite soldier uniform.
"So why exactly are you here?"
"Too keep an eye on you two rookies. This mission could get very quickly. These Rebels are not ones to be trifled with, I should know, I've dealt with them."
"Yes, but the mission briefing said that their probably won't be too many of them," Cloud interjected, listening in on the conversation.
"Ha. You got know idea. They say that their leader, his name is Braka'karin, they saw he is the second strongest fighter on Baakar, next to King Zarin."
"If Zarin is so strong, why doesn't he jsut fight himself."
"I suppose your right. This conflict could have ended if he had fought himself, the stupid bastard. But he is also very brash and cocky, and he believes no fighter is worthy to battle him. He says he is waiting for the time when an opponent with power equal to his appears, and then he shall show that all legends about him are true. That he is power."
"You don't like him very much do you?" Sephiroth asked. Gyver nodded.
"Yes..... We have a history of sorts. But that's not important. Just be ready for anything."
.....Hey Satan, paid my dues Playing in a rocking band
Hey Momma, look at me
I'm on my way to the promised land
I'm on the highway to hell
(Don't stop me!!!)
And I'm going down, all the way down
I'm on the highway to hell
"Highway to Hell" by AC/DC
Go To Chapter 6
Return To FF7 Fanfic