Payback's a Bitch Chapter 2
By Joe L.
Cloud stared at Cid. His eyes were closed. He seemed so peaceful now. Cloud didn't know if he was dead or not. Cloud almost cried, but he didn't. He'd seen so many people pass away in his life, he had no tears left. Of course, Shera was crying hysterically, with Tifa trying to comfort her but no words could heal the sadness she felt.
"It'll be okay, Shera," Tifa said, fighting back her own sorrow. Then Shera snapped. She released herself from Tifa's hold and got up. Then she yelled, "It'll be okay? What the hell is wrong with you? He's dead! Cid Highwind is dead!" Shera opened the door an ran out, sobbing for Cid, the only man she had ever loved. Tifa started after her, but Cloud grabbed her arm.
"Leave her alone, Tifa, Let her be alone." Cloud said sternly. Tifa started to protest, but saw no use in it. "You tried your best. I'm sorry, but there's nothing we can do for Shera. We've gotta warn the others about Sephiroth. I don't know how..." Cloud thought back to when he had defeated Sephiroth back in the Lifestream. He was for sure he had ended Sephiroth's maniacal rage. He thought for sure his trouble's were over. But it seemed now that they were just beginning. What the hell am I getting myself into?
"It just doesn't make sense, damn it!" Tifa shrieked, angry that someone they thought was dead was back and obviously out for revenge. "No one could have survived what Sephiroth had happen to him. Maybe it's just some coincidence. Maybe Cid thought it was.." Cloud shook his head. "No..it was him. You can't mistake Sephiroth for someone else. Something about him..." Cloud didn't now what to do. He felt like his whole world was unraveling. You couldn't mistake someone for Sephiroth. His eyes, his long hair, something about him that was totally unique to anyone else.
"What are we going to do with Cid? We can't just leave him here," Tifa broke the long silence, startling Cloud away from his troubled thoughts.
"Huh? Oh yeah, I guess the least we can do is give him a proper burial," Cloud said. Maybe they could give him an actual funeral. Just then Cid stirred. He let out a moan of pain.
"Not just yet, Spike..." Cid said, through clenched teeth. Tifa cried out with excitement, "Cid! You're alive! You had all of us so worried, especially Shera!" She ran over and gave Cid a big hug, who grimaced in agony.
" God dammit, don't squeeze me so fucking hard! I am hurt ya know!" Even with being injured, Cid still had a foul mouth. Cid's side ached with pain. The cut was very deep, but Cid was one tough son of a bitch, and he wasn't going to go down just yet. Cloud was extremely happy, but he only grinned. He knew Cid would be alright.
"Shit, I need a smoke...." Cid said, his eyes closed. After that, he was asleep. Tifa walked over to a cabinet where blankets were held, pulled out a white one and draped it over Cid, who was dead asleep.
"Can't believe it..." Cloud whispered, mostly to himself. He was glad that Cid was alive, as was Tifa. Shera certainly would. Everyone knew Shera over time had fallen madly in love with Cid, except Cid himself. They all knew it was only a matter of time before Shera told him.
"Well, we need to find Shera! She'll be so glad to hear Cid's alive," Tifa said, exasperated, like she expected Cloud to immediately go after Shera. Cloud then nodded in agreement. He at first thought about moving Cid to his bed, but then that could cause Cid great amounts of pain. So he and Tifa left Cid asleep on the floor.
The companions hadn't the slightest idea where to look for Shera. Outside though, it was dark and quiet. Dead quiet except for the crackling of wood burning. Then Cloud heard soft sobbing. Coming from the east. It was pretty close to them, but Cloud couldn't see much.
"Tifa, I think I hear Shera. Follow me," Cloud then slowly walked over to a forest by Rocket Town. After slowly treading through the tall grass, Cloud saw Shera. Her face was buried in her hands. She was still crying. She looked up, startled that people were right next to her.
"Huh? What do you want? Leave me alone!" She said, wiping her tears away. Cloud went over to her side and said soothingly, "Shera, it's all right. Cid's alive. The cut wasn't as bad as we thought. He's asleep on the floor, but he should be fine. Please come back. I know when Cid wakes up he'll be glad to see you." Shera again burst into tears, but these were tears of joy. She fell into Cloud's strong arms in happiness. After she had gotten control of her emotions again, she released herself from Cloud's grip.
"C'mon you guys, let's go back to Cid. And then we need to see if there are any survivors. Maybe they can tell us something about where Sephiroth is headed," Tifa said hopefully, and Cloud and Shera nodded. They had to know where Sephiroth would strike next and beat him to it. They all got up and walked back to Cid's house. Cloud was amazed that Cid's house was the only one that was still intact. All the others had been decimated in Sephiroth's attack. It was like Nibelheim all over again.... This was getting very strange.
When they all arrived back at Cid's he was awake and sitting in a chair. He had a mug in his hand and from the smell of it, was drinking liquor.
"Hey you guys! Yer back already, huh? Shera! Glad your back!" He said, putting down his liquor. Shera smiled and walked over to him. "I'm so glad you're alright, Mr. Highwind." She gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Cid was blushing, "Oh god dammit, you're embarrasin' me. So, are we going after Sephiroth or what? I think I need to give him a little of my gratitude." Cid said with a smirk. Cloud frowned,
"Cid, in your position, I don't think you need to be doing any fighting." Cid laughed a the remark,
"You sound like my god damn mother! I'm going whether you like it or not, shit head!"
"No you're not." Cloud simply stated, and then with lightning quickness, punched Cid square in the jaw. Cid's head snapped back, and he slumped to the ground. Shera shook her head.
"Cloud, I think that was a little drastic." Shera went to check on Cid. Only a busted lip.
"Shera, you know Cid is in to condition to fight. If he did, he could get killed. And besides, he'll heal. If he can survive an attack from Sephiroth, then he can survive a punch from me." Tifa nodded, "Please stay with Cid, Shera. I'm sure he'll want your company." You think? Shera wanted to say. After all, she was deeply in love with him. Sure, it was an unrequited love, but soon Shera told herself, he'd catch on. But then again, she'd been telling this to herself for years.
"O-okay," was all Shera managed to say. Shew would stay at Cid's house while Cloud and Cid gathered up AVALANCHE and find Sephiroth. This time, he had to die. There would be no mercy, no pity, no nothing. He had to be killed.
Tifa and Cloud gathered up their belongings, and Cloud said, "We're going to Cosmo Canyon. Call us on the PHS if anything happens." He hugged Shera good bye, and wished her good luck on trying to keep Cid in his house while everyone else was off.
They left Rocket Town behind them. They walked up and were happy that their chocobo was still there. It was sleeping. Cloud nudged the chocobo with his foot. The chocobo opened it's eyes lazily. It slowly rose from the ground to it's feet. It gave out a long yawn of sorts, and then Cloud and Tifa both mounted on. Just then Cloud realized maybe he should go back and ask for the Highwind. But then he remembered the Highwind had been damaged and Cid was still working on repairing it. It was in no condition for any kind of flying. Cloud turned the chocobo around, to Cosmo Canyon.
The boy was in his room. He lived in Gongaga. He was only fourteen. He was somewhat of a freak, with jet-black hair spiked in every direction, baggy jeans, and he loved heavy metal music. He was listening to his favorite band, Metallica. His parents, of course, hated it when he played his music loud, but he couldn't help himself.
"Jake, turn that god damn music down right fuckin' now!" a deep voice yelled angrily. Jake rolled his eyes. His dad just didn't understand. But then again, his parents had never understood him. He suffered from chronic head aches and seizures. It ws strange, because no doctor could tell him what the problem was. Every physician told them to same thing, they didn't know. Sometimes, Jake would hear strange voices in his head calling to him. Beckoning him. His parents thought he was crazy. But that didn't bother him. He really never liked his parents anyway. They would bug the shit out of him, he didn't know why he didn't just run away. One day, he told himself, I'm getting the fuck outta here. Then it happened. A voice called to him.
"Jake," it called to him, "come to me..."
"Listen, who the fuck are you?" Jake called back through his mind.
"I'm someone you'd like to meet."
"What makes you say that?"
"Because, you and me are the same. You are destined to help me and my people. Please, don't refuse me. I wouldn't want to hurt you."
"What do you mean the same? I don't even know who the hell you are!"
"But soon you will Jake....very soon. We will meet again, Jack. Whether you like it or not, we will meet again." Then he felt the presence leave his mind. Jake was sweating. While he was psychically talking to this being, he hadn't even been bothered by the loud music. What did the voice mean "You and me are the same,"? This voice had been doing this to him for months now. Would he finally actually meet this mysterious person?
He focused. He focused in physically one mind in a sea of millions. It was Cloud's. He delved deep into Cloud's psyche, and found out the information he needed. He then left as soon as he had entered.
"So, they are going to Cosmo Canyon are they?" Gyver smirked. Unfortunately, Sephiroth hadn't murdered Cid. He was still alive. But that didn't matter. He knew where Cloud was going. Gyver needed to contact Sephiroth.
"Sephiroth," Gyver communicated telepathically.
"Cloud is going to Cosmo Canyon to meet up with the one called Nanaki."
"What would you like me to do about it, Gyver?"
"Dispatch of Cloud and his female friend, Tifa. They cannot reach Cosmo Canyon and warn Nanaki. Obviously, he will tell the others."
"As you wish."
"Sephiroth, make sure you kill them both this time. Do not fail me this time, or the punishment shall be painful, very painful."
"It won't happen again, I promise."
"Good, now go." Gyver then ended the communication. Now all he had to do was sit in his chamber and wait. It was all like a well played game of chess. You watch your opponent's moves, position your figures, and strike. And that was exactly what Gyver was planning to do.
"We should be there any minute, Tifa," Cloud said, exhausted from all the traveling. He could already see the plateaus and jagged peaks of Cosmo Canyon. But they still had some journeying to do. Just then, Cloud heard a rustling in the bushes. He stopped the chocobo.
"What was that?" Tifa asked. Cloud drew his gigantic Ultima Weapon out. It gave off an eerie blue illumination, powered by pure power and strength. He got off and walked towards the bushes. Cloud peered inside the bushes, pushing aside branches ant twigs but saw nothing.
"Cloud! Look out!" Tifa yelled and Cloud instinctively turned around. In front of him was a large wolf, with brown fur. It's fangs were yellow and sharp, and in it's eyes was a maniacal gleam. The wolf leaped at Cloud with great speed but he rolled out of the way. The creature crashed into the bushes. It howled in pain in pain and got up, but Cloud was in a ready position. The wolf paced around Cloud, in something of a dance. Then, again with lightning agility, lunged at Cloud. Cloud swung his sword in a downward arc, cutting open the wolf's intestines. It whimpered softly and then died.
"Damn," Cloud swore softly. He wiped the blood off his sword with his gauntleted hand. He couldn't believe he was almost killed by a wild wolf, something years ago he could have dispatched easily.
"I've lost my touch," Cloud groaned. If he was going to have any chance against Sephiroth, he'd have to improve his battle prowess. "Well, let's get going. No use in watching this carcass rot." Cloud climbed back on the Chocobo and Tifa and himself were again on their way.
The rest of the trip remained uneventful for Cloud and Tifa. It was nearly dark when Cloud and Tifa reached the outskirts of Cosmo Canyon. The chocobo traversed through treacherous cliffs and jagged hills till they finally were at the great stairway leading to Cosmo Canyon.
"Finally, we made it," Cloud sighed in relief, exhausted from hours of traveling.
"God, I'm so sore. I think we should rest for the night because I'm tired," Tifa rubbed the back of her neck. She wanted to go straight to bed. Cloud agreed, "Yeah, I'm kinda tired too. Let's go to the inn." Cloud and Tifa walked through Cosmo Canyon. It hadn't changed a bit. It was still very quiet all the time, and it was almost deathly quiet now. Cloud opened the inn door. There weren't very many people in the bar, and the people that were in the bar were drunk and asleep, their glasses of beer still half full. Cloud walked up to the inn keeper and cleared his throat,
"Hello. I'd like two rooms please, right away." The inn keeper squinted, and then he exclaimed,
"Hey, you're Cloud Strife, ain't ya?" Cloud nodded.
"Oh, I can't believe you're here! So, what do you need now?"
"I need two rooms for myself and Tifa here."
"Ah gee, I'm sorry Mr. Strife but we only got one room available. All the other rooms are taken." Cloud and Tifa looked at each other. They'd never shared a room together, much less a bed.....
"Take it or leave it, Mr. Strife. Hey, if I was you, I'd take it. Cuz you gots a fine lady right there and-"
"Yeah, yeah, I'll take it." Cloud said and handed the inn keeper the appropriate amount of gil.
"Have fun, Mr. Strife, he he he...." the inn keeper trailed and Cloud snatched the key to the room away from him. Cloud rolled his eyes and led Tifa to the room. He unlocked the door. It was a pretty crappy room, with one bed and a window.
"Well, here we are," Cloud stated. Tifa immediately plopped down on the bed, "Geez, I'm tired. I think I gonna fall asleep right away.." Within minutes, Tifa's eyes were closed. Cloud stood their and admired her. Her long, brown hair, her beautiful eyes, her long, silky legs. Everything about her was perfect. Maybe one day he would tell her how he felt, how much he cared for her, and that he never wanted to be alive if she wasn't with him. But not today. He closed the door behind him and slowly walked down to the bar. The inn keeper looked at him funny and laughed, "You done already, eh? Damn, that was quick. Didn't make much noise though..." Cloud said nothing at the remark.
"Listen, cut it with the sarcastic crap. Watcha got to drink?"
"For you Mr. Strife, anything. Anything you want is on the house."
"Really? Anything I want?"
"Really. So what'll it be? Vodka? Tequila? Rum? Ale? Beer?"
"Let's see....gimme a shot of vodka."
"Of course," the inn keeper said and from a row of glasses pulled a shot glass out. Then from a cabinet took out a bottle of clear liquid. He poured it in the glass and handed it to Cloud, and then he poured one for himself. "Cheers." Cloud and the inn keeper tapped their glassed together and then drank. After he was done, Cloud wiped his mouth off.
"Damn, that's good stuff. Gimme more," he said. The inn keeper poured another glass, which he downed in seconds. He motioned for more. Again the inn keeper poured him another glass which he drank. By the sixth shot, Cloud was wasted and was having trouble keeping his balance on the stool he was sitting on.
Shit, gimme some more of that," Cloud stuttered. The inn keeper shook his head.
"I think you've had enough, Mr. Strife." Cloud brow furrowed, "Whaddaya mean I've had enough? I'll tell ya when I've had enough ya stupid fucking dick!"
"Mwa ha ha....Now now, no need for name calling my dear friend Cloud," said the inn keeper, who's voice all the sudden had changed, taking on a more deeper, eviler tone. "You've had quite enough for one night."
"The hell is with your voice?" Cloud asked through his intoxication. He looked at the inn keeper and then saw he was morphing into a strangely familiar figure. His hair grew long and silvery, he became muscular, his features became handsome, his eyes became from green to light blue. There he stood before Cloud, Masamune in hand, Sephiroth.
"Oh my god..." Cloud said in awe, drunk but amazed by the fact that Sephiroth was still alive and standing right in front of him.
"Good to see you again Cloud. How long has it been? Three years since you defeated me in the Lifestream?" Sephiroth stated, pacing around Cloud. Cloud did nothing, barely even breathed.
"Why so shocked? Don't you know I can't die? I mean, I didn't die when you threw me in the reactor in Nibelheim, did I? You though your troubles were over, my dear friend, but they are just beginning." Sephiroth smirked. Cloud stumbled out of the stool he was sitting on. Sephiroth walked slowly towards him, sword at his side.
"Mwa ha ha! As if running would do you any good, Cloud. Don't you see, I will find you. I will always find you. We are both children of Jenova. We...we are almost like brothers. We are bound together forever," Sephiroth laughed. Brothers, he thought. They were like brothers....
"No....this can't..be happening," Cloud crawled away from Sephiroth feebly, who hovered over Cloud.
"Now Cloud, don't think you'll be getting away-" Sephiroth heard footsteps. He saw a shadow. It wasn't human. It was animal.
"Cloud? Cloud, are you here?" the voice called out.
"Red XIII," Sephiroth grumbled to himself. Red lumbered around the inn. It was very quiet, no voice could be heard. Just then he saw a figure behind him. He turned around. It was Sephiroth.
"Nanaki, protector of Cosmo Canyon, so glad you could join us!" Sephiroth grinned evilly. Red growled.
"What in the name of God? You're alive?"
"Of course I am. You and your pathetic friends could never defeat someone like me."
"However pathetic we might be, we defeated you once. And I wouldn't doubt we could do it again."
"You overestimate yourself, Nanaki. Where as you have been immersed on study, I have been resting, regaining my power for this very moment, when I shall kill you and your friends." Sephiroth stared at Red, still grinning.
"I am not afraid of you, Sephiroth." Red growled defiantly.
"Ah, but you should!" Sephiroth screamed maniacally and lunged at Red with Masamune. Red jumped out of the way, over Sephiroth. He landed on his feet. Sephiroth turned around, but too late. Red was upon him, his claws slicing through the air. He pounced on Sephiroth, knocking him to the ground, savagely scratching and biting, but with little effect.
"You think your claws and teeth will hurt me?" Sephiroth mocked.
"I know they will!" Red retorted and roared and once again was upon Sephiroth. But the Sephiroth kicked Red in the stomach, knocking him off. Sephiroth picked up Masamune and charged at Red.
All the while Red and Sephiroth were fighting, Cloud crawled up the stairs, to Tifa's and his room. He had to warn her that Sephiroth was here. He slowly climbed on his hands and knees up the stairs. Finally, he opened to the door. Tifa was asleep, the way Cloud had left her. He had no time to admire her charm however, for he was drunk and he had to warn her that Sephiroth was here.
"Tifa! Wake up!" Cloud weakly called. Tifa stirred. It took all of Cloud's concentration, but he finally stood up. He walked over to the bed and nudged Tifa. She yawned,"What is it?" she sleepily said.
"Sephiroth....he's here!" Cloud said, falling to a knee. Her eyes immediately opened wide and she jumped up off from the bed.
"Holy Jesus, are you alright?" Tifa said, noticing Cloud was having a hard time standing.
"Yeah....just drunk....you gotta help Red..He's in the bar fighting Sephiroth," Cloud trailed off, and was asleep. Tifa left him there and ran off to find Sephiroth.
Sephiroth and Red walked around each other, in a deadly dance. Sephiroth would fake a lunge, and laugh when Red would cringe. He's toying with me, Red though. He's just toying with me. Sephiroth lunged at Red, who ducked the attack, but Sephiroth recovered and lifting Masamune up for a fatal swing to Red. While he did this, it left his stomach vulnerable for attacks and Red took the opportunity and smashed into Sephiroth's stomach. He knocked Sephiroth into the wall, who dropped Masamune. Red took the opportunity and tore into the fallen man. In Red's eyes there was a fire and hatred and a burning passion to kill no one had ever seen. Red had gone in a berserker rage. No one, not even Sephiroth, was going to stop him. Red bit at Sephiroth's neck, and drew crimson blood.
"Arghhh! Damn you, Nanaki!" Sephiroth cried, trying to protect himself.
"What's the matter, Sephiroth? Is one pathetic animal too much for you?" Red growled. Sephiroth smirked, "On the contrary. You are pathetic! Now I finish this game!" Sephiroth punched Red in his ribs, and pushed him aside.
"Now you will die.....ULTIMA!" Sephiroth cried out.
"Oh God!" Tifa cried out. Sephiroth was going to cast Ultima. It would surely destroy this entire building. She ran back up the stairs to get Cloud out.
"Cloud! Wake up! Sephiroth's is going to use Ultima! Everyone in this building will be destroyed!" Tifa cried out, grabbing Cloud by the arm and pulling him up.
"What about Red?" Cloud asked, still groggy. Tifa shook her head,"I don't know! But we have to get out of here! Now hurry!" Tifa looked around. If she went downstairs, that would be suicide. Then she looked at the window. She didn't have much time to decide.
"Hang on Cloud! We're jumping out the window!" Tifa said, as her and Cloud ran out the window. Tifa smashed through the window, with glass shards cutting up her pale skin. She held on to Cloud's hand as they fell two stories. After what seemed like hours, they finally hit the ground with a loud thump. Cloud groaned.
"Tifa...Tifa are you okay?" He mumbled, but no response. Then a wave of panic hit him. Had Tifa not survived? He started sweating profusely, and felt his heart almost break in two, but then was comforted by Tifa's sweet, melodic voice,"I'm alright. Just cut up a bit. Now let's go!" She said, and both her and Cloud got up and ran as fast as their injured bodies could go. Then they heard a loud boom and a wave of energy threw them through the air as if they were rag dolls.
"Oh God, what happened to Red?" Tifa asked, as unconsciousness overtook her.
"ULTIMA!!!" Sephiroth cried. He lifted both of his hands in the air, and a green ball of pure energy formed. It fell to the ground, and started growing, slowly at first but then more rapidly and rapidly. The sound was that of a vacuum to Red's keen ears, sucking up all the mass around it as it grew bigger.
"I will drag you screaming to the pits of Hell, Nanaki!! It's time to meet your father Seto!" Sephiroth screamed, and in a flash, he disappeared.
"NOOOOOO!" Red called out, but too late. Ultima exploded in a wave of magic energy, destroying the entire inn, and sending splinters of wood and bodies and anything else inside sprawling through the air.
Gyver sat in his throne, and saw the events. They pleased him, very much so, but he would have preferred that Cloud would have died. Still, Nanaki was dead and Cloud and Tifa were at the least injured. He laughed to himself.
This is all too easy, he thought. You'd think the people that saved the planet would put up a better fight. Gyver's room was almost always dark, with very few items adorning it. The only abnormal piece of finery in the entire room was a statue of the greatest Ghiite, Gyver's people, to ever live, Yegolar. Yegolar, according to Ghiite history, was the first to make contact with the Planet and speak to it. He found out all sorts of information about Mako, the Lifestream, and everything else conceivable, which the Cetra stole. It was prophesied that one day Yegolar would be reborn in a body of a human, to once again lead the Ghiites to their former glory. Soon, he would find the reincarnated spirit of Yegolar, sooner than anyone thought. He just needed Sephiroth to finish off AVALANCHE. And then, dispose of him.
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