Evolution of Innocence Chapter 19
By Janet Monstwillo
Red XIII threw an X-Potion to Reeve, who managed to get the liquid down the quivering girl's throat.
Dizzily, Yuffie sat up and glared at the Diamond Weapon. "What did we do to piss off the Planet this time?"
Reeve dodged a swipe from the monstrosity and put his effort into calling up a Fire2. "We've stopped the Mako extracting!" he shouted at the Weapon, as if that was an important reason for its attack.
After the flames around the monster began to die down, Red XIII spewed forth his reserved energy. Calling upon Bahumet Zero, the figures of the three began to fade and blur while a serpentine creature flew to their aid. From a position galaxies away, Bahumet called upon the ancient powers of the universe; magic prior to the dawn of time.
As the beam shot towards the ground, towards the Diamond Weapon, Red XIII took the opportunity to shout his theory to the others. "I think the Planet didn't make this one! The Planet makes all sorts of different Weapons, all unique! This one was just regurgitated from the Lifestream!"
The Weapon fell over from the attack and was struggling to return to the upright position.
"I always wondered what it would do if that happened," said Yuffie. "Well, he deserves what he got. That thing pisses me off!"
An exasperated Red XIII rolled his eyes. "Then do something useful, like a Limit Break."
"I was going to, before you interrupted!"
By this time, the Weapon had gotten back to its feet and was preparing to send a beam of energy towards the bickering pair.
"Umm, guys?" said Reeve.
Turning to him, they glared. "What?!" they demanded at once.
He pointed to the Weapon.
"Eeek!" screamed Yuffie. Then she tore at the creature, unleashing the multiple blows of Doom of the Living.
"Red, isn't her master limit something else?"
"Yes," said Red XIII, "but even Yuffie realizes that multiple blows against an enemy are better than one semi-strong one."
"Ohhhhh," replied Reeve.
The Diamond Weapon shrieked in pain as the ninja delivered her last slice upwards. Red XIII and Reeve continued to assault the thing with their respective weapons.
Soon, the monster took a final shuddering breath, afterwards moving no more.
"Yay!" cheered Yuffie, hopping up and down.
"I just wonder why the Diamond Weapon picked here to attack," mused Red XIII.
Reeve shrugged. "Maybe because we're right next to a place where Lifestream is near the surface."
"That's gotta be it," said Yuffie.
"Probably." The lion nodded. "I don't know about anyone else, but I need a nice bath and a long rest."
The other two nodded their agreement vehemently. The group left the carcass of the Weapon in search of a place where three beds could be borrowed for a short time.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Timidly stepping out of the pool, Kayley brushed off the beads of Mako that formed on her arms. She noticed her pistol on the floor of the cavern; next to it lay a shattered Manipulate materia orb.
A pang hit her as she realized that she had been controlling Cloud with that orb. (That's because it was his job. He's a puppet!) The thought was as fierce as ever, but something in its tone echoed hollow. She knew the truth. (No matter. We are equal now.)
"Get ready to have your ass beat, you damn dirty bitch!" shouted Cid, attempting to rally the others around him.
They remained still though, surprised by the manner in which Kayley was moving around. She had a dramatic change in body language.
Cloud watched her angrily. (We have to be on our best guard for the evil falsity that is Jenova.)
"I suppose that is what I deserve," the woman replied humbly, kicking away her weapon. "Kill me."
Daphne turned to Derin in confusion. The look in her eyes was plain. (Is this part of the grand plan?)
A shudder went through Kayley's body. "Please," she said softly. (I doubt I have the will to do it myself any more.)
"Then let's have it done with," replied Cid triumphantly, preparing himself for a showdown. Daphne and Cloud did likewise.
"No." Derin's voice was firm.
"No?!" Daphne exclaimed.
Cloud's eyes widened. "So you're saying not to kill Jenova?"
"Kill me," Kayley begged as a tear fell from her eye to the ground. She stared at the drop in startled amazement. "I can cry?" she whispered.
He watched her with a discriminating eye, and then repeated himself. "No," Derin said once more.
"Why the fuck not?" demanded Cid.
"Something is off. If she had become one with herself, she would have become Jenova-Resurrection or some form of the sort. She's still Kayley and she wants to die." He sighed. "I suppose the Masters told me that the mission was such so we would chase her to the Lifestream."
"They told me I'm a human now," she spat out, disgusted. "You might as well kill me anyway, get your revenge while I stop my suffering."
Cloud looked at her. "But we're not supposed to do that, are we?"
Derin shook his head. "I doubt it."
Suddenly a loud shriek came from behind the group. Standing behind them was a gigantic form of what appeared to be Jenova.
"You tricked us!" cried Daphne. "You...bitch!" she shouted at Kayley.
The red-haired girl just shook her head in refusal and disbelief. Seeing what her form looked like through human eyes, she began to sob. First of all, she was weeping for what her life had been like and that she could never return.
The worst thing of all, though, was that through human eyes Jenova looked hideous. And the soul inside Kayley had never been more terrified in her life.
She watched as Cid impaled his spear in the monster's body. (What on the Planet can this mean?) she thought miserably.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
(I'm still so cold. Why is it taking so long for Life to work completely?)
Tifa slowly became aware that she was covered by some sort of mantle or blanket. It felt like a hand was stroking her cheek--softly, so as not to wake her. She tried to summon the strength to open her eyes and sit up, but her eyelids felt like heavy weights.
She barely stirred and her lids fluttered, and Vincent took that as a cue. (She's waking up. Finally.) It had been a couple hours since they had gotten the rooms at the Nibelheim Inn. He had convinced Barret to rest off his battle wounds, but Vincent had been in one place, and one place only. Tifa's bedside.
Eyes finally open, she looked at her surroundings in confusion. A choked whisper came from her lips. "Where?"
Swallowing his relief and the flood of emotions he didn't understand, Vincent answered. "The inn. You're in Nibelheim."
"The physician said it was a combination of physical shock and hypothermia."
"Oh." She looked up at him.
"He told me to advise you to wear pants and a shirt that covers you up the next time you venture up into the mountains."
She shook her head a little. "I grew up here, I know what I can handl--"
"You nearly died. Perhaps you need to reinvestigate what you can handle."
"Vincent? I'm sorry...but what did I do to you? Why should you be mad at me? So the weather got a little chillier than I expected..." She sat up timidly. "No biggie."
He still did not look her. "Maybe you misheard what I said. You nearly died."
"Everything turned out fine though. I'm okay." Tifa tried to summon up a small smile.
(Thank the Planet for that.) But he said nothing.
"Vincent?" She shivered beneath the bedspread.
"Are you cold?"
"Only a little."
He met her eyes. "I can ask them to light you a fire."
"Nah, I'll be fine."
"Are you sure?" There was a concern lying deep within his red eyes. "Because the most important thing is for you to get better."
Tifa nodded slowly, her eyes still locked on his.
Never letting his gaze falter, Vincent leaned down and pulled the loose ends of the bedspread around her body. "Does that help?" he asked earnestly.
He had been careful to keep the cool metal of his claw far from her. This effort, along with moving the blanket, had left him with his one good arm nearly encircling her waist.
They had never broken eye contact. Their lips were only mere centimeters apart. She whispered. "Yes."
Instinct took over a mind ravaged with worry. Penance was forgotten for a moment.
The kiss was tender, and she instantly responded to it, wrapping her arms around him. Lips soon parted and his arm pulled her closer, crushing her against him.
"Vincent," breathed Tifa.
The soft sound intervened with his mind and he pulled himself away.
Confusion filled burgundy eyes.
"I'm sorry," he said, voice filled with remorse.
(Why is he sorry? Sorry for touching me? I--I...) Tifa's expression became full of pain.
(I cannot do anything right. Why did I ever release myself from my prison deep within the crypt of the mansion?) His eyes closed and he turned from her, walking towards the door.
She wanted to call out; she swore to herself she did. As she silently watched him exit the room and close the door behind him.
"Don't be sorry, Vincent," said Tifa, to no one in particular.
Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic