Final Fantasy VII: 25 Years After the Fact Chapter 4
By The Ionic Butterfly
(Author's Note: I was told that I would never go through with this. The characters that will make appearances in this story will have no rational explanations that I can explain, nor do they show up in any further chapters. This is another pure fun chapter, with a bit of seriousness near the end. If you think I should quit writing this fic, let me know. If you love this fic, let me know. I really need some serious feedback! Now, on with the RAVE!)
"Just make yourself at home. I'll go get us some iced tea," Lucas said, smiling at Aeris. She was sitting on his couch in his apartment getting ready to study for the big Zoology final that was coming up in a few days. Lucas went into the kitchen.
Aeris grabbed the television controls and flipped the tube on to watch the news. It was in the middle of a story. Aeris watched with growing interest.
"...found dead along his with two of his nurses that worked with him in his practice in Midgar. Brierley was found in his home. Police are releasing the cause of death as O2 in the bloodstream. Cause of death for the nurses has not yet been released. Police are searching for a Kathleen Nguyen, age 26, who was presumed at the site of the murder and is under suspicion. Nguyen, a single female, is about 5'8 in height and weighs about 120 pounds. Anyone with news on her whereabouts should call the number listed on your screen. We will keep you updated.
"In further news, another condor was released today from captivity "
Aeris turned the TV off. She sat in shock. That doctor was Deus's doctor. Dr. Brierley was a good man, why would anyone want him dead?
Lucas came back with two glasses of iced tea. He sat down smiling next to Aeris and handed her a glass. Then he noticed that she was not smiling. "I don't think that the test is going to be all that hard," he said plainly.
"I was just watching the news. My brother's doctor has been murdered," Aeris said.
"You're kidding? That Brierley guy?"
"He's like, world renowned for his works. He was murdered?" Lucas said wide-eyed.
"Yeah. Somehow he got oxygen in his bloodstream. How do you think that could have happened?"
Lucas furrowed his eyebrows and thought. "I have no earthly idea," he finally said.
Aeris opened her mouth to say something else, but the doorbell rang. Lucas looked to his door and then stood up. He walked to the door and looked back to Aeris. "You all right?"
Aeris nodded as Lucas opened the door. "Heya, Lucas! How are ya, cutie pie?" the girl at the door asked. She was dressed in a blouse and a mini-skirt. A dark tail had been pinned craftily onto her skirt, and a pair of round circles that resembled mouse ears had been pinned to her headband. They had become Topo's signature dress code, yet no one ever thought about teasing her for it. She was way too popular.
"Uh... I'm fine, Topo. Just trying to get some studying done," he answered, a little taken aback.
"Studying. Always studying. Like, do you ever have fun, Lucas?" she asked, stepping past him into the apartment. She saw Aeris seated on the couch. "Oh. She's here," she sneered.
"Hi, Topo," Aeris returned. The girls obviously didn't get along.
Lucas stayed by the door. "Yeah, she's kinda my girlfriend. And she's smart, so I like studying with her." He shook his head just a bit annoyed. "Topo, what are you doing here?"
Topo swirled around to look at Lucas. "Well, the end of the semester is coming. I guess that must be why you are trying to study. But you know that it wouldn't be really the end without a RAVE! I know I promised that the last rave would be my last, but Lucas, I just HAD to! And I have an invite for you, right here!" she said, pulling a bright green envelope from her pocket. "Just don't bring her, 'kay?"
Lucas frowned. "I'm not going to any rave, Topo. Especially not without Aeris."
"Oh come on, Luke. I really want you to come. If you have to bring her, you can. I guess," Topo said, setting the invitation onto a shelf. "It'll be fun, after all the silly little tests are done. If Aeris can't make it, I'll be your date, dearie."
"Oh, he'll be there, Topo. He'll be there, and I'll be with him making sure you don't get to dance with him any at all," Aeris snarled.
Lucas looked at Aeris with wide eyes. "I will?" he asked, befuddled.
Aeris quickly smiled at Lucas. "I want to go. Really," she lied.
He shook his head. "You do not," he said.
"Look, I haven't got the time for your little love spats. Come to the rave. I know you will love it," Topo said, swirling and leaving.
Lucas shut the door behind her. He looked at Aeris. "You really want to go?" he asked.
"Just to piss her off," Aeris said.
"Ah. So um... Wasn't there some studying to do?"
Aeris nodded. "Zoology."
Tomas sighed and gave up on his brother. He walked back to the kitchen table and sat down in his chair. "He's not coming out," he told his parents.
Cloud sighed and looked at the food on his plate. "I'm going to take care of this. He can't stay in there forever." He started to stand up.
Tifa put her hand to his quickly. "Cloud, he's upset. Just let him be. He'll come out when he's come to grips with Brierley's death."
Cloud glanced back at her. After a moment he sat back down to eat.
"I can't believe you guys let him stay home from school today," Tomas mused.
"The man responsible for bringing me safely from my mother's womb was murdered, Tomas. How would you feel if you precious science teacher died?" Amadeus said, slinking into the room. He sat down in his chair and began putting food onto his plate.
Cloud noticed his eyes were red, most likely from crying. "Deus, you'll be all right. All the files on you were in his office and someone else can make sure you are okay," he said to his son.
Deus looked up at his dad. "The man is dead. I'm not worried about myself. I want to know who'd have done a thing to such a great doctor."
"Don't take that tone with me, young man. I know you are hurting but it still gives you no reason to disrespect me."
Tifa sighed. And she thought that Cloud was actually being nice to Deus for once. "Both of you. Shut up and eat," she said.
Deus obeyed, but Cloud had to give her a look first. She smiled prettily at her husband, and then took a bite of her potatoes. She pointed to Cloud's plate, and he began eating.
"Aeris, something is wrong with you. Now what is it? Don't lie," Lucas said, turning to look at his girlfriend.
"Yeah, really. What's up?" Janica asked.
They were in the backseat of a taxi on the way to Topo's rave. The rave was being held at Topo's Temple. It was merely a giant single roomed building resembling a temple her parents had built for her for the sole purpose of staging raves. Behind the "temple," was a large flower garden surrounded with so many trees, it made a small forest.
"Nothing, really! I just have a bad feeling. Like something is wrong in the world," Aeris said sighing. She laid her head on Lucas' shoulder and he placed his arm around her.
"You're talking silly," Janica said.
"Janica, you're training to be priestess. You should know the way the world feels, right?" Lucas answered. "But Aeris, I don't sense anything wrong."
"Maybe it's just something that will happen to me then."
"Baby, you sure you don't want to go home?" Lucas asked.
"Yeah. I want to go party," she muttered, closing her eyes. She could not help the bad feeling in the pit of her stomach. Something really was wrong. But she didn't know what to do about it.
Soon, the cabby pulled up near Topo's Temple. Lucas paid him and then helped the ladies out.
Finally, Aeris grinned. "Party time," she said, taking both Lucas' hand and Janica's hand. She led them up to the bouncer who's nametag read, "Paul Whyte."
"May I see an invitation?" he asked in a deep voice.
Lucas had to look way up to see the man's face. He handed him the invitation that Topo had given him inviting him and two friends.
Paul looked at it and then nodded. "Go on in. Don't start any trouble else I'll have to come stop the show, got it?" he said menacingly.
"Oh yes, sir. Of course not," Lucas said, gulping.
Aeris pulled on their hands and led them inside.
Loud music greeted their ears as soon as the doors opened. Janica dropped Aeris' hand to cover her ears. "Geezum, it's a bit loud, isn't it?" she yelled.
Lucas looked at Janica. "What?" he yelled back.
"I said, it's loud!" she yelled again.
"Huh? I'm sorry, Janica, I can't hear you! The music is a bit loud!" he yelled, but this time a grin slipped his lips.
Janica shook her head in annoyance and hit Lucas on the arm.
"Hey!" he laughed.
Aeris was looking around the place. The place was crowded. It would've been completely dark save for the flashing colored lights that were shining on the dozens of disco balls hanging from the high rafters. In the center of the place, a high platform serving as a stage held Topo and a few guys brave enough to try to match her fancy footworking. Everyone else was out there dancing having a fun time. She smiled. "Come on! I wanna dance!" she called to Lucas and Janica.
Lucas and Janica shrugged at each other. They had both come because of the way Aeris had begged them to, and they would stick by her. They followed her into the place and began dancing.
The dorm hall was empty. All the students were missing. No one stood guarding the place. No one saw the man with long silver hair mentally feeling his way to Aeris' room. He could hear it calling his name. His Masamune was about to be in his possession once again. His soul was trembling with desire for it.
It wasn't long before he stood in front of the door to room number 288. He knew it was in there. He tried to open the door but it was locked. On a whim, he tried knocking. After getting no answer, he took a step back. He lifted his booted foot to the knob and kicked it angrily. The wooden door splintered as the knob began to come loose. He kicked again, and the door swung open.
"Hello? Anyone home?" he asked, eager to see what Strife's offspring looked like. He laughed and then walked straight to the bedroom closet where the Masamune was calling to him.
"Master," it said to him as he pulled it from the cloths it was wrapped in.
It took him a few moments to remember the power the sword gave him. He closed his eye reveling in it. A telephone ring broke his concentration. He glanced at the phone on the bedside. After two rings, an answering machine picked up.
"Hey, this is Aeris. I'm at Topo's rave, so leave a message, I'll get back to you," it said.
Sephiroth's eyes widened. "Aeris?" he said quietly. Had they brought her back, too? His clone had killed her; it was what had pissed Strife and his friends off so bad. If it really was Aeris, it was a perfect way to start off what he wanted to accomplish. He grinned. He had to find a way to this Topo's rave.
"Hey Aeris. It's me, Deus. Call me when you get in. It's about Brierley again," the voice on the machine said, then hung up.
"Brierley must have brought her back the same way he brought me back," he thought. He looked around the place and smiled. He kissed his blade and thought of how sweet revenge would be.
Aeris was dancing happily with Lucas and Janica, smiling and laughing at Lucas' attempts at dancing. That was when she heard the scream. There was no doubt what caused that scream within her mind. Knowing that no one else had heard it, she stopped dancing and dropped her smile a bit scared. "Did anyone else just hear that?" she asked cautiously.
"Hear what?" Lucas yelled back, stopping too.
Aeris shivered. It had to have been the Masamune. And if it had been, then something may have happened to it. She instantly wanted to go home.
"Stay away, Aeris! Yes, stay away! There's harm at home right now. Stay at the rave," the voices said to her. She covered her ears and tried to shake the voices from her head.
"Aeris? Aeris!" Janica was yelling.
Aeris looked up at her. "I... I need some fresh air," she said. She began walking towards the back door that led into the garden. Janica and Lucas followed.
Oddly enough, the garden was empty. Everyone was inside. Aeris sat down on a stone bench and Lucas and Janica sat on either side of her.
"Aeris? What did you hear?" Janica asked coolly.
"I thought.... I thought I heard a scream," she answered. She put her head in her hands utterly confused. She knew something bad was happening to the Masamune. She wanted to go back to her room and see, but she knew better than to disobey the sword. It knew best.
"Maybe it was the music," Lucas offered.
Aeris shook her head. "Maybe so," she said quietly.
Lucas put his arms around her and pulled her to him, sensing her state of mind. She rested her face in his shoulder and Janica placed a hand on Aeris' back.
"Calm down, Aeris. Whatever it is, it's going to be all right," Lucas said.
"Yeah, it is," Janica added.
A silence fell between the three for a good ten minutes.
"You guys must think I am nuts, huh?" Aeris finally said, sitting up out of Lucas' arms.
"We're not sure what's going on. But if you'd tell us, we'd try to help," Janica said.
Aeris shook her head. "You two wouldn't understand," she said.
"Those are some harsh words," Lucas said, a bit taken aback.
"I didn't mean... I...," Aeris gave up and let out a frustrated sigh.
Lucas chuckled lightly. "It's okay. I get the picture," he said.
Aeris smiled at him and nodded. She opened her mouth to say something when she saw something in the woods behind him. It was a tall dark figure. She stared for a moment and then the figure moved back into the shadows of the woods. "Don't leave yet. One more dance, and go straight home," she heard the voices telling her.
"Let's go get one more dance in and then get home," Aeris said. She stood up wanting to get back inside away from that dark figure. For some reason, she was not afraid of whoever it was. She only knew she needed to stay away for the meantime. Lucas and Janica grabbed her by the hands and they went back inside.
Topo was standing by the door with a cup of punch. "Aw, what was a matter, Aeris? Couldn't keep up and had to take a breather?"
Aeris frowned. "And I suppose you didn't"
"Look, Miss 'Lockheart-Strife.' I could out-dance you any day of the week, so don't give me that," Topo said.
"My ass," Aeris said.
"Care to try it, missy?"
"Topo, just shut up. Geezum, I can't even dance myself and I could out-dance you!" Janica said, not wanting Aeris any more upset than she already was.
Topo whirled on her. "Ex-Cuse me?" She blinked with wide eyes.
"Come on. You, me, on the stage now. I'll show you how to dance, you little snot," Janica said heading for the platform.
"Oh, that is IT! You're mine, girlie," Topo said, dropping her punch onto the floor and heading to the deejay.
After Topo pointed her finger in his face and yelled something, he turned off the music and turned on the spotlights to the stage. "Miss Topo has ordered a Switch dance while she faces off against Miss Janica on the stage. So let's get to it," the deejay said.
The spotlights were killed as soon as Topo reached the stage. The crowd fell silent until Topo yelled, "LET'S GET IT ON!"
A strobe light illuminated the place as Aeris reached for Lucas' hand. Music filled the silent void. "Dance!" the deejay yelled over the microphone. Topo began her footwork while Janica did a damn good job of keeping up.
"I don't like this," Lucas said as he and Aeris began dancing. It reminded him of something out of a cheesy old horror flick. But he saw Aeris was smiling so he smiled, too. Soon this dance would be over and they could go home.
A few moments later, the deejay screamed, "Switch!" Aeris and Lucas both quickly found a new dance partner and began dancing. After a few more switches, they lost sight of each other.
Aeris danced with one person after the next, hoping to find her way back to Lucas. It was kind of creepy. The strobe plus the eerie music was chilling. Plus she had danced herself into a corner. Aeris could still see Janica keeping up with Topo on the stage. She smiled to think that Topo was meeting yet another match. She laughed as Topo actually stepped on her tail and faltered a step.
Aeris swirled around, this time with her back directly in the corner. A new partner had already found her. But he wasn't dancing. He slowly looked her up and down as Aeris watched in horror. "Help us!" the voices yelled.
The man before her had taken her sword. And since she would swear it was her brother Amadeus all grown up It had to be He smiled slowly.
"No " Aeris said. She shook her head and repeated herself.
Sephiroth smiled and touched his blade. It seemed to Aeris that he was raising it. Her heart nearly stopped.
Aeris clenched her eyes shut and screamed at the top of her lungs. It wasn't long before the music had been turned off and the lights turned on. As her scream faded, murmurs came from within the crowd. She opened her eyes to see no one was in front of her. She looked around at everyone wildly, and they were staring at her as if she were crazy.
"Aeris! Aeris, are you all right?! Geez, people, let me THROUGH!" Lucas yelled, making his way through the crowd. He made his way to Aeris and held her by the shoulders shaking her.
Aeris looked up at Lucas. "Get me home. Now," she said.
It didn't take long for Aeris to be seated in a taxi with Lucas and Janica on the way back to their dorm. When the reached the place, Aeris got out as quickly as possible. Lucas paid the cabby quickly following after Aeris and Janica.
He caught up with them easily. Aeris pushed the button to go up on the elevator. After a few moments when the door still had not opened, Aeris ran to the stairs. Lucas and Janica gave each other an odd look and followed her.
As they made their way up, Lucas and Janica both began to get a bad feeling, too. They reached the second floor and made their way down the hall. Lucas was the first to notice that the door to the girl's room was slightly ajar. "Uh oh," he said.
It was then that Aeris and Janica saw too. Janica was the first to the door. Before Lucas could argue that maybe they should call the police first, Janica had slung the door open. She gasped and covered her mouth. "Oh sh... I mean, Geezum," she said.
Lucas and Aeris could see into the apartment themselves. It was trashed. "Oh shit is right," Lucas said. They carefully walked into the place looking around.
Aeris' eyes widened as she realized what had happened. "It's gone," she said, going straight to her room.
Lucas and Janica followed. "What's missing, sweetheart?" he asked.
Aeris did not answer as she went to her closet and searched for her sword. She fell to her knees and started shaking.
"Aeris, what is wrong?" Janica asked.
"Everything. Everything is wrong. This is... This is really bad... I have no idea what it means, but it is bad."
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