('There'll never be anyone for me but you, Ray...' Why didn't I go with her?) Ishmael was being troubled by his memories.
"So Barret," asked Blane, "where to?"
Barret shrugged. "Dunno. Guess go to Icicle Inn to look for Shinra. Then go to Rocket Town."
They saw nothing. All in all, it was an uneventful four days excluding the fact that Ishmael and Blane had to carry a drunk Barret back to their hotel room from the bar every night.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Ruther, Denmae, and Legolas were sitting at the tavern in Kalm, when Sgt. Michaels walked in. Denmae shot a disparaging look at Ruther, who had convinced them they didn't need to be hiding. Sgt. Michaels smiled coldly.
"Well, Privates Randolph, Larsen, and Masterson," he said, nodding to Ruther, Denmae, and Legolas in turn. Several other Soldiers walked in. "Handcuff them and bring them back to Headquarters."
Denmae tried reverse psychology. "Don't bother. We want you to take us away. In fact, we were sitting here just hoping you'd find us. It wasn't that hard. Maybe we should try again," she said. Two large Soldiers started leading her away.
Legolas shook his head. "Well, that didn't work." They were flown in a Gelnika from Kalm and imprisoned in the nice, brand-new jail cells of the Shinra building.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Yuffie was arguing with her father. "But Dad," she said, "we still need the materia. In fact, we got to go find more and prevent the latest psycho Shinra president from destroying the world." Godo wasn't budging.
"You told me you were getting me the materia. Now hand it over."
Now Yuffie was really pissed off. (If he isn't just the most stubborn sonofa...) "Unless you want me to whoop your as--, I mean butt, again, you better just let it drop."
"You are NOT going to talk to me like that, young lady! Now..." Godo was interrupted by Cid.
"You know, Mr. Kisaragi, we really do need Yuffie's materia. And Yuffie, of course. (I guess..) We thought you'd understand. But, if you're really tight on funds, Vincent will give you a Master All." Yuffie looked at Vincent, completely blown away.
He was, needless to say, less than willing to go through with this arrangement. (Well, Wutai is kinda hard up right now. I guess I could always master another one...) Vincent reached in his gun and gave Godo the Master All.
Godo bowed. "That was generous of you, my son."
Yuffie made a face. (Boy am I sick of this Kung-Fu mentor crap!)
He continued. "There are some Turks here. You might find out the information you require. However, I think they are on vacation. They were last seen at Turtles' Paradise."
Cid started to leave. "I've been craving a Turtle Daiquiri for the longest time..." Vincent shook his head and followed after him. Yuffie watched them leave, then turned around to face her father.
"You know, Dad, it was sooo rude to accept that materia. We are on a battle to save the planet. You told me to use my strength and determination, blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda, and you're sitting here all ungrateful, demanding the materia when WE AREN'T DONE YET!" Her voice had risen nearly to a scream. Vincent was standing in the doorway, amused.
"Yuffie, are you coming already?"
Yuffie glared at her father and walked away, muttering. (You'll see if you'll get any respect from me anymore...damn selfish, conceited loser who's been pouting and hiding in this lousy pagoda just because he lost the stupid war. I guess I should repay Vincent. After all, my dad's being unreasonable. Like, it was sooo cool that Vincent gave up the materia, though, just to shut him up. I think I have a Level 3 All in my house. Maybe he'll want that.)
Cid, Vincent, and Yuffie walked into Turtles' Paradise and wound up almost face to face with Elena.
"Outta my way," she blurted. Honestly, she looked kind of frustrated.
"What's wrong with you, bitc--, umm, loser." Yuffie had barely calmed down enough to use that nice little euphemism.
"Not like you would care, but we've located one of the White materia here in Wutai. On Da-Chao, to be exact."
"What the hell, Elena?" Reno had just walked in. "Are you gonna tell them everything, like how Spirit is on Cactus Island?"
Elena stuttered. "Well, umm, but, you just..."
Reno turned pale when he realized what he had just said. "The hell I did Elena, /that was just to throw them off/," he whispered loudly. He looked at Yuffie and laughed nervously. "We'll just be going now, because we're on vacation," he said emphatically. Then they left in a rush.
Cid walked over to the bar. "I'll have one Turtle Daiquiri, extra stren---" Vincent had grabbed him by the collar and jerked him back over to where he and Yuffie were standing. "What was that for---"
Vincent was impatient. "We got to get the materia here, and we've got to get it NOW!"
"Really Vincent, you're such a drag," said Yuffie.
He glared at her. "What is your problem, Vincent? There is no rush to find or search for this materia, because I know where it is." Cid and Vincent stared at her. She looked back and forth between the two of them. "I found it a couple of years ago, while going up to Da-Chao to meditate. I didn't remember until just now. I didn't think it was worth anything, because it was white. So I hid it on a very good spot on the mountain."
Vincent looked at her. "How good of a spot?" he asked.
Yuffie smiled. "I'll just have to show you, won't I?"
Vincent turned away, and blushed. (Why did she look at me like that?) Cid walked over to the bar.
"I'll have one Turtle Daiquiri, to go---" Vincent grabbed him by the collar, and they headed towards Da-Chao.
They were standing on the highest pinnacle of Da-Chao, right in front of the face of one of the massive figures in the sculpture. "Where do we go from here?" Vincent asked.
Yuffie reached over to the right eyelid, and pushed it up, kind of like a pocket door. Inside of the "socket" of the eye, a White materia orb was fitted. She took out her pocket knife, wedged it against the materia, and pulled it out.
Cid looked extremely amazed. "How did you ever find that hiding spot?"
Yuffie shrugged. "It was a place they used to hide a materia during the war, as a last resort. You're cornered, lead them up here, they're so smug, pull out the hidden summoner, wham, bang, thank you Leviathon--they're gone."
Vincent silently laughed at the way she put it. (I wonder if she knows what she just said? Or maybe I only got that connotation because I'm the one having the problem. I'll just ignore her for awhile.)
She continued. "Of course, it only works once. Element of surprise and all that sort of crap. But the war ended, and the materia was removed, and now you guys and I are the only ones that know of the existence of this exceptionally cool hiding place."
"One would assume so, I guess, if one thought they were alone." Yuffie jumped and whirled around. Rude was standing there, hand outstretched. She walked over to him.
"You shouldn't sneak up on people like that. Geez, man, if you think I'm just gonna, like, hand it over, you are definitely a few eggs short of a dozen, if you know what I mean."
Elena walked over the peak. "If you do, though, kid, we may not have to kill you. We can just leave it at maimed seriously or disabled for life."
Vincent spoke out angrily. "If you challenge us, you will end up being the gimp." Everyone cracked up, even the Turks. Vincent put his head in his hands. (That decides it. I've been hanging around Yuffie way too long.)
"Alright kids, the variety show's over." Reno came over the top. "Give us Mercy or you will die a truly painful death."
"Sure," said Yuffie, "I'll give you mercy. I'll count to ten and if you leave I won't--oh, Mercy is the name of the materia." Both sides prepared for battle.
Yuffie opened things up with an Ice-All, Ice-Steal as Well combination. She got a Ziedrich from Rude, another Minerva Band from Elena, and some Electro-Mag rod thingy from Reno, which she promptly threw back. It hit him smack-dab in the middle of his forehead and he was down for the count, for the time-being, that is... Elena cast Bolt on Yuffie, and Cid got her in the shoulder with the Sepulchre Lance. Vincent shot Rude in the leg. Rude punched Vincent and broke his nose. Blood started spurting out. Yuffie turned around and glared at Rude. When Doom of the Living was over, he had a severe concussion, several broken limbs, and a jaw that just wouldn't go back into its original position. Reno, now awake, electrocuted Yuffie with the Electro-Mag rod she was stupid enough to throw back. Cid caught a major artery on Reno's arm with the lance, so the Turks limped away, with Elena in the middle supporting the men.
"Don't you think for a moment we'll forget this," she yelled as they slowly went down Da-Chao. Vincent cast Cure3 on Yuffie.
"You idiot," she said, sitting up. "You're still bleeding and you cure me? Tell him he's a fool," she said to Cid.
"You're a foo--" began Cid, but Yuffie cut him off.
"Fine, Vincent, I'll cure you." She cast Cure3 and his nose was back into position, completely healed. "Is it okay now?" she asked, concerned, looking him straight in the eye.
Vincent nodded. "It's nine fow...I mean, it's fine now," he stammered.
"Let's get down," said Cid.
Cid was sitting in Turtles' Paradise, finally having his Turtle Daiquiri. Yuffie was debating whether ir not to give the Level 3 All to Vincent. She walked over to where he was standing, the fountain.
(Reminds me of Lucrecia's waterfall...) he thought.
"Vincent," said Yuffie, "It was real cool how you handled my dad, and gave him your own Master All."
Vincent waved his hand. "It was nothing. Just a material possession. In the end we are all nothing. Just lonely souls in the endlessly flowing Lifestream..."
Yuffie cut off his poetical lament "I just want to, like, reimburse you for what you did. If anyone should be put out for my dad, it should be me. I'm responsible for what he does. Sometimes I feel like I'm the parent instead of him."
Vincent looked at her, wondering if she was serious or if she had somehow convinced the bartender to give her a drink. "I want to give you an All. It's not mastered, but then, when it is, you'll get the new one from it, unlike an All that's just mastered and I hand it over and that's it..." Yuffie realized that she was rambling on and on and on, so she wisely shut up. (Gawd, why am I such a friggin' moron? Why can't I seem to say anything remotely intelligent in front of this man?)
Vincent shrugged. "Where is it?" he asked.
"Well," she said, "it's at my house, but I could go get it and bring it to you."
He shook his head. "That's okay. I'll just go with you. There's nothing in this bar to make me want to stay, not even the Turtle Daiquiris."
About an hour later, Cid looked around and noticed Vincent and Yuffie were gone. (They must've gotten, *urp*, sick of me drinkin' and gone to her house to play Turbo Grafx 16 or something.) He staggered to her house, and was just about to go in when he heard some, ahem, odd noises coming from the inside. He peered inside of window. (Isn't he gonna hurt her with that claw, now that she isn't wearing any clothes?) He slowly plodded back to the bar, and drank about 5 more daiquiris to erase the very strange scene from his memory.
Vincent woke up the next morning in Yuffie's bed, in Yuffie's shorts and nothing else. He carefully peeled them off with his one good hand and dressed back in his normal attire. (I don't seem to remember why I put those on, but I do remember putting them on. Oh God, I never wanted this to happen...) For, of course, Yuffie was also in her bed, right next to where Vincent had been laying. She was covered up with a blanket, but she obviously wasn't wearing her shorts, if that was the only article of clothing missing.
She woke up, groaning. (Oh my head... How did I hurt my head?)
Vincent looked at her. "You banged it against the wall, when, right after, umm..."
She closed her eyes and sank back onto the bed. (This has to be the dumbest thing I have ever done...) "Vincent, did I ever even give you that materia?" Vincent shook his head, acting very sad. "Ohmygod, I am such an IDIOT!"
They looked at each other, and burst out laughing. "Uh, Yuffie?" Vincent said, "I think your shorts might be a little stretched out..."
They left, fully clothed, and rather guiltily, I might add, to find Cid. He was passed out at the bar. They shook him awake.
"Well," said Yuffie, "we didn't find out much news, but we have a White materia. Can we go to Rocket Town now?"
Cid shook his head. "Don't-know-my-head-hurts-Shera-hates-it-when-I-drink-where's-my-goddamn-tea?" He followed them, mumbling, back to the Airship, but they would keep him grounded until at least the next day, or the day after, or perhaps even...
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Nibelheim was as lame as ever. (At least there aren't any Sephiroth clones anymore) Cloud thought.
Red XIII sniffed the air and looked around. "This place always has a strange smell around it," he said.
Tifa sighed and looked around. "If there's going to be anyone anywhere around here, I have 1000 gil on the reactor..." They headed towards Mt. Nibel.
Cloud saw a something shiny on the ground. He picked it up. (A lousy Moogle Energy Bar wrapper.) He threw it back.
Tifa snatched it back off the ground. "Cloud," she said, exasperated, "two things: number one, if there's a wrapper on the ground, some one was here recently. That's a good sign. Number two, for the love of God, don't litter."
Cloud shrugged. "I had forgotten about your new little ecology kick." They continued on to the reactor.
Tifa shivered. (This place gives me the willies.) She looked down and saw the place where her father had died. (And for a good reason, too.) They walked into the main part of the reactor, and saw Heidegger and Scarlet. Oddly enough, they were arguing over which type of chocobo races better: Black or Wonderful.
"Wonderfuls dash about as well as my dead grandmother," Scarlet was saying.
"Golds are the best of all," said Cloud softly. They both turned around and looked at the trio as they entered the chamber.
Heidegger snorted. "They probably think Jenova's still here."
Scarlet raised an eyebrow. "Not funny. So, what are you rejects doing in here? This reactor, may I remind you, is owned by Shinra, Inc. As the trespassers you are, we are allowed to have you removed--by force." Scarlet and Heidegger prepared for battle.
(Puh-lease!) Tifa cracked a cocky smile and put her hands on her hips. "Maybe if we had any time to spare on you bozos..."
Red XIII said, "We'll forget what you just said if you tell us your purpose here."
Scarlet walked towards him. "Wouldn't you like to know?"
Cloud drew the Lowlellean and pointed it towards Heidegger. "Well, umm, gee," he muttered.
Scarlet made a motion to move towards Cloud, but Tifa made a threatening gesture. "Allright, allright, enough already," Scarlet said, "we're here to find some lost files of Hojo's. They weren't in the mansion, so we thought they might be sealed in here. Where Jenova used to be."
Heidegger looked ready to bolt. "But this place is creepy, so we're leaving now, okay?" Cloud let him and Scarlet walk away.
"Why would Hojo's papers be important?" Tifa asked.
Cloud shrugged. "Dunno."
Red XIII said, "Maybe Raieyana knows. She knew everything about the White materia, and she also knows Aysta. Real well, at that."
"Wait a minute," Tifa said, "this means we can't do much of anything until we meet back up in Rocket Town."
Cloud sighed. "I don't want to spend another minute here. No one will know if we get to Rocket Town a day or two early." So they left Nibelheim, relieved, and headed to Rocket Town.