The Second Incarnation Part 6

Double Trouble

By Shelly Ichishita

"Cloud, you gonna move and let us in or what?" Barret said, breaking Cloud out of his stupor. Cloud wavered and Cid reached out a hand to steady him.

Cloud shook him off and walked into the villa. "Sorry." Why was he getting hit with this all at once? He thought. Cloud sat on the couch and motioned for Barret and Cid to explain.

"Um, where do we start?" Barret asked Cid.

"I think we start off by apologizing." Cid replied. He turned his head to Cloud and Tifa, who was standing right behind Cloud. "We really shouldn't have surprised you like that. It's just that we were so excited we didn't really use our heads."

"That's for sure." Tifa interjected.

Barret shot her a look. "Anyway Tif, let's get on with it. Go ahead Cid"

"Okay, so after your dinner Tifa, which was real good by the way, me and Barret headed down to the pool hall. We were playing a game of cutthroat with the owner when Aeris walked in. We hurried over to tell you guys the good news."

They all turned their heads toward Aeris. Cloud looked at her with undisguised suspicion. How could she be sitting in front of him? They had all seen Sephiroth impale her on his Masamune. She was fidgeting under his gaze; Aeris had never done that. He thought. The guys noticed it too.

"Hey Spike, ease up!" Barret said, in an attempt to lighten the mood. "Aeris must be exhausted. Why doncha take her to the bedroom Tifa?"

The woman's spoke for the first time since Cloud saw her. "I don't think I'm the person you think I am. My name isn't Aeris." She broke down sobbing; "I don't know what my name is!"

The door opened as if on cue. Nanaki and Yuffie walked in, supporting a girl identical to the one sitting in the living room. They positioned her on the couch next to Cloud and Yuffie ran to get her materia. But before she had taken two steps the other "Aeris" stood up and enveloped the unconscious girl in a healing mist.

To Cloud it seemed as if time had stopped altogether. He looked around the room to gauge everybody's reaction. Tifa looked pretty shocked, Barret looked as if he was going to keel over, and Cid ran to get Shera. But overall Yuffie and Nanaki looked the most shell-shocked. I guess I must look pretty confused myself. Cloud thought as he scratched his head. He looked directly at Yuffie, "Yuffie, could you please take our visitors to the bedroom?"

It took Yuffie almost a minute to reply, "Of course Cloud." She took the two Aeris' by the hand and led them into the bedroom.

"Shera, Tifa. Do you think you could make some coffee?" Tifa and Shera started towards the kitchen. "Make it Irish please." Cloud added.

"Sure thing Cloud." Shera replied as she walked into the kitchen.

"Um, Cloud?"

"Yeah Nanaki?"

"Do you really think that's a good idea?"

"What you mean the coffee?"

"Exactly, I'm not sure it's in our best interests to consume alcohol right now."

"Come on Red, I think we really need it." Barret said.

"I think so too." Nanaki replied. "But if those girls aren't Aeris..." Nanaki trailed off, not willing to voice exactly what his suspicions were.

"I see your point." Cloud scratched his head. "Too bad. I really could've used a drink. I'll go tell Shera and Tifa to keep the coffee black." Cloud walked toward the kitchen.

As soon as Cloud walked through the kitchen door Cid asked, "What's wrong with him and Tifa?"

"What makes ya think something's wrong?" Barret shot back.

"I was just wondering because he's been saying 'Shera and Tifa' and he's not looking her in the eyes and stuff."

"I didn't even notice that. Very astute Cid." Nanaki said as he stared ponderously at the kitchen door.


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