Final Fantasy VII: 25 Years After the Fact Chapter 5
Boy Meets 'Goyle
By The Ionic Butterfly
(The concepts of Gargoyles are owned by BuenaVista/Disney Studios, and are used without knowledge or consent of the previously mentioned companies. The characters Elisa Tendo and Nicodemus Maza are owned by Ranwolf, and are used with permission. The character Miyabe Tendo is mine. Besides, it's just a non-profit fanfic that The Ionic Butterfly occupies herself with. Besides, who'd be stupid enough to sue a college student?)
The place was finally clean. The police had finished their investigation the day before, and Aeris, Janica, and Lucas had went to cleaning the place up. The amazing fact was that nothing was broken. Everything was overturned, and papers were strewn everywhere, but nothing was broken. Nothing was even reported missing. Aeris had a hard time getting Lucas and Janica to shut up about her missing sword to the police. She had promised to explain it all when the place was back in order.
Janica placed her holy books back on the table in the living room of their dorm apartment and wiped her hands. "Done."
Aeris smiled and nodded. "So it is."
Lucas plopped down onto the couch, and Aeris sat down by him. When he put his arm around her, she kissed his cheek making him blush.
"Don't start," Janica said.
Lucas chuckled as Janica sat down in a chair with a heavy sigh.
"So you gonna tell us what is going on?" she asked.
The phone rang. Aeris jumped up to get it. "Hello?"
"Hello, is this Miss Strife?" the voice asked.
"Yes, it is, may I ask who is calling?" she asked the authoritative sounding voice.
"Leon Kennedy, the investigating officer on your case," he answered.
"I just wanted you to know we couldn't find any fingerprints or any clues whatsoever. We'll continue an investigation, but at least nothing was stolen," Kennedy said.
"Thanks," Aeris said.
"We'll keep in touch if we find anything out," he said, then hung up.
"Who was that?" Janica asked.
"Some police guy saying that they don't know who broke in," Aeris said, sitting down by Lucas again.
"Ah. Tell me, why do I have this sick feeling you do?" Janica asked.
Aeris sighed. "Look, you guys. What I am about to tell you cannot leave this room. You both have to swear on the things most important to you that you will not tell a living soul what I am about to say."
Janica and Lucas looked at each other. Each wondered what could be so serious that she would want to keep it from the authorities. Not only was it dangerous, it was outright stupid.
"Swear or I'm not telling," Aeris said.
Lucas sighed. "I swear to the Five Gods I won't tell a living soul." He didn't take his religion lightly. He would have to honor that oath.
"I guess I swear upon the Saints of the past," Janica offered. A priestess in training wasn't about to take her oath lightly either.
"Okay. I know I may sound a bit crazy, but I promise I'm telling the truth and not making this stuff up. Do you guys believe that 25 years ago, my father truly defeated Sephiroth? I mean, do you believe in all the old stories about Jenova and the Mako reactors and stuff?" she asked.
Lucas nodded. "Without a doubt. Master Kisaragi would not make things like that up."
All eyes then turned to Janica, who had not said anything. She sighed. "I... I believe in some of it. The parts about the Cetra and Meteor being summoned I believe. I believe it was prayer for Holy that saved the Planet, not the efforts of the so-called heroes. I think the stuff about that one guy being controlled by his mother was just an alibi for him. And as for your dad, Aeris? Maybe he just got hit on the head a bit too hard," she rambled.
Lucas was used to believing in different things than the people at the college, especially Janica. It did not bother him much. Aeris, on the other hand, was a bit shocked. She knew many people did not believe Nanaki's book was history. She shrugged. "Well, if you don't believe, then you may think I am nuts. But then, what I am about to say may disprove my parents' stories."
Janica and Lucas just looked at her.
"See, on my eighth birthday, I was given a present. It was my most prized possession. My parents, along with Reeve and Master Kisaragi, gave it to me. They made me swear to never let anyone find out until I was much older. They had found it in the ocean in the north. It was about three years after dad killed Sephiroth. It had been Sephiroth's sword, the one they call the Masamune," she said, stopping purposefully.
"Wow. That sword... There are so many legends behind it," Lucas said with a bit of amazement.
"Yeah, but only that guy Sephiroth knew how to master it," Janica added.
Aeris shook her head. "No. That's not true. What people don't understand is that the sword lives. It is actually alive with a soul of some sort. It's very intelligent. It can be used by anyone, sure. But the sword itself picks who masters it. It chose Sephiroth as a master. And when dad handed it to me, it spoke to me. It called me master."
Her friends could only stare.
"I know, I know. But it's true. I'm not crazy. I know I'm not. I know who broke in here and stole my Masamune from my closet," Aeris said.
"Let me guess. Sephiroth, right?" Janica said sarcastically.
"Janica, I freaking saw him at the rave! With MY sword! That's why I screamed!" Aeris snapped.
"Hey! Calm down, Sweetheart," Lucas said soothingly. He could believe what Aeris was saying about the Masamune was true. Animism was part of his belief system. If the sword had chosen to speak to her, he would believe it. Janica's views were even with the Cetra and Lucas knew she might never believe what Aeris was saying. But the fact Aeris was saying she met Sephiroth...
"You saw him? Ah, come on, Aeris," Janica said, rolling her eyes.
"I'm serious! It was him!"
"Maybe it was just someone who looked like him Aeris. The man is dead," Lucas added.
Aeris sighed. "You guys, it was him. I swear," she said, dropping her head into her hands. "He looked just like Deus, but he was all grown up. He had my sword. How in the hell would anyone know the Masamune was in my closet unless it called out to him?!? I'm sure it talks to him, too," she muttered through her fingers.
"So it would be unlikely for it to call someone just acting like Sephiroth its master. If it only chooses a few, then it most likely would not call a fake man master," Lucas mused aloud. "What if there was some way Sephiroth was alive?"
"Wait a sec. You're buying this?" Janica asked Lucas.
"Aeris and I have been friends for a long time, Janica. A very long time. She would not lie about something she feels this strongly about. She's not crazy, either. You're damn straight, I'm buying this," Lucas said, raising his voice a bit.
"You're just trying to get laid," Janica snarled back.
"Stop it, you two. Just stop it. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have told you guys at all," Aeris said quietly before Lucas could retort.
"Aeris, for real. What's going on?" Janica asked.
"I told you!" Aeris yelled, lifting her head. Her face was covered in tears.
"Well, you don't have to yell!" Janica said.
Aeris got up and ran to her room, slamming her door and locking it behind her. She threw herself onto her bed and cried. What had she done? She had trusted her friends with this information, and they didn't believe her. It was so important that they believe her and give her support, but they didn't. And on top of it all, the Planet's worst enemy had her sword.
Lucas looked at Janica. "Look what you did," he muttered.
"Me? I'm not the one humoring her," Janica said, folding her arms.
"I'm not humoring her. I think there is some truth in what she has told us. Maybe you should just humor her for a while. It'll make things easier until whatever is going on blows over," Lucas said, standing and heading to Aeris' room.
"Lucas, you know the man is dead," Janica said. "Even if I believed that a piece of metal is somehow alive with a soul, how can I believe that a dead man walks the Planet!?"
"I don't know. Just... Just play pretend. Act like it's a ghost story and we're part of it. Just say what you need to say to not make her cry!" Lucas knocked on Aeris' door.
"Just forget everything I said. Please!" Aeris yelled.
"I will not. Now open this door," Lucas said.
"No," she answered.
Lucas looked back at Janica. She had buried her face in her hands in thought. He took a deep breath and then put his hand to the doorknob. He used his magic to mentally feel the knob and the mechanics that kept it locked. Easily, he snapped the door unlocked and opened the door slowly.
Aeris sat up on the bed quickly. "I locked that!" she said, tears running down.
"I unlocked it," Lucas said, walking inside and shutting the door back.
"There's no key!"
Lucas sat on the edge of her bed. "My talents do come in handy."
"Oh. You mean you can..." She stopped and smiled slightly.
He smiled back and she threw her arms around him crying. He held her with a heavy weight on his soul, knowing that he had inadvertently caused her tears. He rubbed her back while trying to shush her. After a few moments, she had stopped.
"Aeris, I think that there is a lot of truth in what you told us. And well, I think that if it is Sephiroth, we need to tell our parents so that they can take care of it," Lucas said softly.
"No! You swore! Look. I'm going to get my sword back, okay? If I can just get my sword back, I can handle him," Aeris said, sitting up to look at him.
"Now you really are acting demented. This is Sephiroth we're talking about. If it really is him, that is."
"First I have to find out how he is still alive. I know my sword will call to me. It still talks to me, asking me to help it, and to save it. I don't think it likes being used for mass destruction. I can take him out," Aeris said.
"We," Lucas said.
"I said we. You were saying I. You're not doing anything without me," Lucas said.
"Lucas, I think that..." Aeris was cut off by a knock at the door.
"You guys? Can I please come in? Oh dear, please!" Janica begged from the other side.
Aeris looked at Lucas. "Did you lock it back?"
"Nuh-uh. It's open, Janica," Lucas said.
Janica walked in, her face completely white. "I... I just had my first Voice speak to me," she said calmly, sitting down on the floor in front of them.
Lucas smiled. "Hey, that's wonderful! Can you repeat what you were told?"
Janica sat quietly not quite believing it. Ever since her mother's death, she had known she wanted to be a priestess following the ways of the Cetra. There were many priests and priestesses that she looked up to that often spoke of having Voices of Ancients talk to them. Many people thought that the Cetra would only talk to the Cetra. But since there were no more Cetra on the world, the Voices got "bored" with no one to talk to. So they talked to the people following them diligently. One knew that they would succeed as a priest/priestess after hearing a Voice. Janica sat in shock after hearing her first one.
She had heard that she would know the difference between a Voice and a little voice in her head. She never really thought she would. But now she had. It had been a male Voice. He had only spoken two words to her. "Yeah, I can. I'm just still in shock," she said.
Aeris was wiping her eyes again as she looked down at Janica. "Out with it! Come on, now!"
"It was a he. He only said two words. He had a sexy voice, too," Janica said with a blank stare on her face.
"Janica! What did he say?" Lucas asked grinning.
Janica gave a small laugh. Then she looked into Aeris' eyes as her smile faded. "Sephiroth lives."
A moment of silence had fallen between the brothers. They were seated on the beach near Midgar watching the waves crash. They had been out of school for nearly an hour, and were actually getting along for once. Tomas had a stick drawing intricate patterns into the sand.
Amadeus was sucking on a grape sucker thinking deeply. "Hey Tomas, what the hell is the point of breaking into a place when you're not gonna take anything?"
"It's called vandalism. People do it just for fun. Sick, huh?" Tomas said. Then he looked at his brother. "Have you ever done anything like that?"
"Maybe," Deus answered simply. "I still think there was some other reason. There had to have been."
Silence fell again as a gentle zephyr picked up. Tomas shivered and reached for his jacket. He pulled it on and looked back out over the ocean. "We should be getting back soon."
"Not yet," Deus said. "Lemme finish my sucker."
Tomas looked at his sucker. It looked like it had just came out of the wrapper. "How much longer will it take you to finish it?"
Deus shrugged. "You really want to go home? I have dishes when I get home. I'm not in a hurry."
Tomas sighed impatiently. He opened his mouth to give Deus a smart remark when there was a flash of light from behind him and a piercing scream arose in the air. It chilled him to the bone. Then he heard a loud thump, and the scream ended.
He turned around to see something lying in a heap a little over 30 feet away. It was in the high grass and he couldn't tell exactly what it was. Judging by the scream, it was a girl or some sort of animal.
Deus had heard it too. It had startled him and made him drop his sucker into the sand. He had jumped up to go see what it was before Tomas moved.
"Deus, be careful!" Tomas said, jumping up to chase his little brother.
Soon the brothers stood over the heap. It was a creature of some sort. Tomas saw it was curled up in a ball hidden almost completely by the large fleshy-looking wings on its back. The crop of brown hair on its head pulled into a ponytail made Tomas think that it may have been human. But those wings... And it was wearing clothes. Tomas could see a white shirt on it in the spot between its wings. A pair of blue pants seemed to be on it, too, covering its bottom half.
"Oh man! It's a demon!" Deus said with wide eyes.
Tomas gave his brother a sidelong-annoyed glance. "You believe in too many conspiracies," he said quietly. He knelt down beside it, a bit afraid that maybe Amadeus was right. There was a shallow rise and fall in its back showing it was still alive. "Where the hell did it come from?"
"Exactly! Look, I'll go get a stick and we'll kill it. It's a demon!" Deus said, running off.
Tomas sighed at his brother and let him go. He timidly reached out a hand and touched where its shoulder should have been. He gave a small push to roll it over. It gave a soft moan as it rolled onto its back.
He gasped. It was a girl. She seemed to be in a peaceful sleep, as if she had been sleeping in that spot all her life. Other than her wings and a pair of small pointy ears, she looked human. Tomas swallowed hard. It was the most beautiful creature he had ever seen in his life.
Deus came running back with a stick. "What the hell... It's a girl," he said, confused.
"Yeah, it is. And she's hurt. We better get her back to the 7th Heaven," Tomas said.
"If she's hurt, don't you mean a hospital?"
"Deus, look at her. She has wings. They'll like, cut her up or something," Tomas said, purposefully playing on Deus' beliefs.
"You're right! Let's get her to the 7th Heaven. Mom and Dad'll know what to do," Deus said.
"Go get our bookbags. I'll carry her," Tomas said, carefully lifting her into his arms. He gave a small grunt as he did. She was a lot heavier than he expected, but the way she went limp in his arms made his breath catch. She was so beautiful! She could not have been a demon. Maybe she was an angel of some sort.
"I'll run on ahead and tell mom and dad before you get there," Deus said, with their bags on his shoulder. When Tomas nodded, Deus took off running.
Cloud kissed Tifa's cheek before heading downstairs to watch some television. She began wiping the bar down. It had been a very slow day. Only two other people were working in the 7th Heaven and they were trying to convince Tifa that they could handle the place and that she should join Cloud. Tifa wouldn't hear of it though. She placed the towel under the bar and sat down in a chair.
She was worried about her daughter. She knew Aeris could take care of herself. The fact that Aeris wanted to stay in her dorm for the 4 weeks of vacation before her classes started back up troubled Tifa. The break-in made the situation even worse. She wished her baby would come home. There was also talk of her and Janica getting a real apartment and Deus moving in with them. No wonder her hair had been turning grey for years now.
She was about to pick up the phone to call Aeris to see if she was okay when the door burst open. Tifa looked up quickly and saw her youngest son run in. He stopped and doubled over, his hands resting on his knees as he tried to catch his breath. "Mom!" he called out, panting.
That was when she noticed that he had his black bookbag as well as Tomas' dark green one. And Tomas was not with Deus. Her heart skipped a beat as she got the sick feeling something had happened to Tomas. "Amadeus, what is the matter?"
"I... Hang on a sec... Let me get my breath," Deus said, taking a moment.
"Where's your brother? Is he okay?" she asked quickly.
Deus nodded. "Yeah He's fine But She's not," he huffed.
"She? Who is she?"
"Some girl-like creature we found. She's hurt."
"This is not an animal hospital, Deus," Tifa said, placing a hand on her hip.
"But she's not an animal. She looks like a girl. But she has these wings. See, me and Tomas "
"Tomas and I," Tifa corrected.
Deus rolled his eyes, standing up. "Whatever. We were at the beach and then she was there behind us. It was as if she had fallen from the sky. Tomas is bringing her here now. I ran here to tell you they were coming."
Tifa shook her head and folded her arms, not liking the sound of the story. She walked to the door just as Tomas was climbing the steps slowly. Sure enough, a girl was in his arms. She was either asleep or out cold one. When Tifa reached out to help Tomas, he grunted.
"I got her. Go open the doors for me." He was adamant that he hold the girl in his arms as long as he could.
As Tifa held the door open for Tomas, she got a good glimpse of the girl's face. Her eyes widened and she had to fight a smile. There was no way the thoughts in her mind were possible.
She led Tomas downstairs into Aeris' room. Tomas' arms were grateful to lay the "angel" on the bed, but he was upset that he had to let her go. He sighed and looked at his mother.
Tifa had already started checking the girl for a pulse and for any visible bleeding. Her sons watched her anxiously. The girl's face reminded Tifa so much of the woman she was sure was her mother. She finally felt a bump at the base of her head. "You boys said you were at the beach and she fell?"
"Yes, we were," Tomas said, looking at the girl again. He was still a bit stunned by her beauty. How come Deus wasn't staring at the girl the way he was? Hell, he didn't even believe in love. What was going on?
"Amadeus, go get your father," Tifa said, smiling, brushing a strand of hair out of the girl's face. She looked up at Tomas and realized he was blatantly staring at the girl.
As Deus ran to get Cloud, Tifa sighed. "Pretty, isn't she?"
Tomas looked up quickly at his mother. "What?"
Tifa laughed. Tomas looked as if he had been doing something wrong and had gotten caught. "I said, she's pretty, isn't she?"
"Uhm.. Yeah, I guess so," he mumbled, looking back at her. "Is she okay?"
"She's got a nasty bump, but she'll be okay. I think."
That was when Deus returned with his father.
"What's going on?" he mumbled, rubbing his eyes because Deus had woken him up from his nap in front of the television. Lately, his recliner had become his favorite nap spot. When he caught a glimpse of the winged girl on the bed, his eyes widened. "Where the hell did she come from?"
Tifa looked up at Cloud and smiled. "Tomas and Deus say she fell from the sky near the beach."
"Oh, shit. What is Gaspar up to now?" Cloud asked, running a hand through his hair.
Tifa laughed. "Does she remind you of anyone, Honey? Look at her closely."
Cloud took a few steps forward and looked at the girl's face. "I'll be damned. She looks like that Miyabe woman that saved me and Yuf from the End of Time."
"My thoughts exactly."
"But that's impossible," he said, looking back at Tifa.
"No it's not. With Gaspar, nothing is impossible!"
Cloud folded his arms. "Maybe you're right. Has she got a key or a 'trigger?"
"I don't know." Tifa turned to Tomas. "Was she carrying anything?"
Tomas shook his head. "Not that I saw." He was still trying to figure out what the hell his parents were talking about.
"Figures," Cloud muttered.
"Well, we have to help her," Tifa said.
"Oh, of course. I'll call Reeve and see if he still has a set. But you know darn well that when Gaspar puts someone in this dimension that he'd hide all the sets," Cloud muttered once again.
Silence fell and Tomas and Deus were left confused. "What?!" they both asked with the same impatient expression on their faces.
Cloud sighed and Tifa smiled. "It's just Gaspar playing some games with us," she said.
"Gaspar is the old guy at this supposed 'End of Time' place?" Tomas asked skeptically.
"He is," Cloud said.
"When your dad was trapped there, there were two people from another dimension that helped him home," Tifa said.
"Yeah, I remember that story. So what? You think she came from another dimension?" Tomas asked.
"She looks just like the woman that came through."
Tomas looked back at the girl wondering if her mother was even half as pretty as she was. He swallowed hard. At least he understood the part about her not having a set. What if she was trapped in his world for the rest of her life? He fought the urge to touch her face. What the hell was he thinking?
"So you think this is her daughter?" Deus asked.
"Could be. We'll ask when she wakes up." Tifa stood up. "Let's leave her alone and let her rest for now."
"Good idea," Cloud said, yawning.
As everyone began to walk out, Tomas stayed behind. "Someone should stay and watch her, right? To make sure she is okay and nothing happens to her? I mean, she is in a strange place and if she wakes, she might get scared."
Tifa could not fight a smile. Her son was definitely smitten with this girl. "That's a good idea. Cloud, you want to stay?" she teased.
"No! Dad's got to help with the bar tonight, right? And so do you, Mom, and Deus has dishes. I'm off tonight, and I was just gonna do some homework anyways..." Tomas rambled.
His mother nodded to stop him. "Sure, Tomas. You watch her then."
Tomas sat down in a chair and looked at the girl yet again. He could feel her driving a turning point into his life. Maybe love wasn't such a myth after all.
Tomas' eyes were beginning to droop. His mother had already been to the room three times telling him he should get to bed. It was somewhere around midnight and he was not used to being up so late. He pinched himself and his eyes popped back open.
He looked back down at an old magazine he'd found on Aeris' dresser and continued to silently disagree with the advice columns. Then he heard a rustle. He looked back up at what he was calling an angel to see her hand had raised to her forehead and her face had furrowed with pain. He held his breath as she moaned. "She's coming to," he thought as he set the magazine aside.
Soon, brown eyes blinked open and squinted to get used to the lamp light that was still on. Tomas watched her carefully as she finally got her eyes to focus. Then she turned to look at him.
Tomas swallowed hard before trying, "Hello."
"Hi," she whispered back hoarsely. She sat up slowly with a hand on her head.
"How's your head?"
"It's hurting." Then she looked around. "Where... Where am I?"
"In my sister's old room. My brother and I found you out near the beach. You've been out cold all day."
The girl seemed to be lost in thought for a moment. "I know this may sound crazy, but I don't think I'm from this planet."
"If my parents' guess is right, you are from an entirely different dimension. Do you happen to know a lady named Miyabe?"
The girl nodded. "My mother. How do you know her?"
"She saved my father once. Along with a man named Nicodemus, I think. My parents thought you looked just like Miyabe, and they guessed the rest."
She looked at him for a moment, then looked down. She seemed to be in thought.
"My name is Tomas Strife. What's yours?"
"Tomas? You're Tomas?" the girl said, her eyes lighting up quite a bit.
She laughed. "My mom held you as a baby then. She was going to name me Tomas if I were a boy. This is cool! You have an older sister named Aeris, don't you? And a dad named Cloud? And..."
Tomas cocked his head to the side smiling at her. "Yeah. Aparently your parents have told you all about their journey here."
"Yeah, it used to be one of my favorite bedtime stories as a kid. You're like a fairy tale come true!"
"So are you," Tomas replied. Instantly, he realized it had been said out loud. A look of shock fell onto his face.
But the girl didn't notice what he had meant. "My name's Ellie, by the way. Er, Elisa Tendo-Maza, if you want to be technical, but everyone just calls me Ellie."
"You sure are lively for a young lady with such a nasty bump," Tifa said, walking into the room.
"Is this your mother?" Ellie asked Tomas.
Tomas nodded smiling. Ellie. Elisa. What a pretty name for such a pretty girl.
"The woman who taught my mother to ride... what was it? Chocolate Boes?"
Tifa and Tomas laughed. "Chocobos," Tifa corrected with a smile. She sat on the bed beside Ellie and began to touch her bump carefully. "Doesn't that hurt, sugar?"
Ellie nodded. "Yeah, but I've had worse."
"Tough girl." Tifa stood up. "Are you hungry?"
"Yes, ma'am," Ellie said, placing a hand on her stomach.
"Well, come on then. Let's go find you something to eat. We've got a lot to talk about." Tifa held out her hand to the girl.
Ellie smiled and took Tifa's hand, standing up. Tomas realized she must have realized that his family was going to take care of her in that moment. He followed them upstairs to the bar where things were just winding down.
Cloud was wiping down a few dirty tables as the last of the customers were getting their belongings together to leave. Deus was grumbling as he filled a bucket with dirty dishes. "Look who's up," Tifa called out to them.
Cloud and Deus looked up at the girl. She had draped her wings around her shoulders making a psuedo-cape. She waved nervously at the two.
"Hello there," Cloud said.
"Hi," she replied, a bit shy.
Deus just stared thinking about the fact that she could still be a demon. She was getting along with his family so easily... He'd have to keep an eye on her. He placed the bucket down on a table and moved closer to his mother.
"Um... Is she..." Cloud started.
"I'm the daughter of Miyabe Tendo and Nicodemus Maza, if that is what you are asking," Ellie said, her shyness fading.
"And how did you get here?" Cloud asked.
"Um..." she started.
"Let's get her some food first, then she can talk," Tifa said.
"We got to get this place cleaned up first," Cloud said.
"That's what the hired help is for," Tifa said.
Deus smiled as he thought he was getting out of having to wash dishes.
"Yeah, but Deus still has to wash the dishes. There's no replacement for him," Cloud said, handing his towel to one of the girls working there who was staring at Ellie.
Deus frowned. "Yep, this is how she gets in. She singles them away from me and gets into their minds. I better hurry. I may not have much time," he thought, grabbing his bucket and slamming dishes into it.
"You better be glad those are plastic, young man," Cloud said, as they headed downstairs.
Everyone tried not to stare at Ellie as she ate the only thing she thought she could handle: a bowl of vegetable soup with crackers. She was eating and explaining her story between slurps. Tomas listened with great interest.
"So since my birthday is in like, four days, I thought it was a big birthday surprise my parents were planning. The guys at the door that gave me the package swore it wasn't a joke. I guess it really was Masa and Mune. My parents have told me of their journey here so many times... Anyways, I was sitting in my living room laughing because I thought mom and papa were up to something. I opened up the letter from Gaspar and it said there's a world whose greatest enemy affects my future, and I must go to protect my future interests. I remembered my mom and papa had to go to a designated point, so I started playing with the trigger and the gate key. Then a gate just pops open right in front of me and the next thing I know, I'm in a room with Tomas," she said.
Tomas smiled at the fact she remembered his name. He pushed his glasses up on his nose.
"Well, we'll take care of you until we can locate a set," Tifa said.
"That could take a while. But I'll call Reeve in the morning and try to get some help from that front," Cloud said.
Ellie was still smiling. "Thank you very much, Mr. Strife, Mrs. Strife. It means a lot to me."
Tifa turned over in her bed to see that her husband was still awake. He was doing nothing more then staring at the ceiling. She moved closer to him, draping her arm over his bare chest. "What's on your mind, darling?" she asked when he looked down at her.
"It's nothing," he muttered, pulling his arm around her shoulder.
"Yeah right. Then why aren't you asleep?"
Cloud sighed. "It's just... Gaspar brought that girl here because he said this world's greatest enemy affects her future."
"But Sephiroth is dead," Tifa said.
"Exactly. So is there something worse than him out there? Something that wants to do more than destroy the Planet?"
"Depends on how you look at things. If it hadn't of been for Sephiroth, we wouldn't be together, right? And nothing else in this world would be the same. So maybe that's what Gaspar meant. Stop being so pessimistic and get some sleep," Tifa said.
"Yeah, you're right. I'm just paranoid." He kissed the top of her head and closed his eyes to sleep.
Lucas and Janica sat across from one another in the living room of the girls' apartment. They had been silent for quite some time, neither one doubting the thoughts in the other's mind. Sephiroth and all the horror stories they had heard of him clouded their thoughts.
It was Janica who spoke first. "You know we have to tell. She's crazy to think she can handle him alone if the stories are true."
"We swore," Lucas whispered, chewing on a fingernail.
"I think in such a case, the saints of the past will forgive me. Is there no forgiviness in your gods minds?"
Lucas frowned. "In some cases, I suppose. I just... I guess you are right. But who should we tell?"
"General Rahn? His armies wouldn't stand a chance against Sephiroth."
"Well who the heck can!?"
"Maybe Master Kisaragi would know who to tell and even how to redefeat him."
"Maybe you guys should just stick to your oaths!" Aeris fumed from the doorway.
Lucas and Janica sat frozen.
"You guys swore. Don't you dare go back on that, I'd never forgive either of you," she said.
"Aeris, you are being an IDIOT!" Janica said when she suddenly snapped out of it. "It took the greatest power on earth to defeat this monster the first time, what makes you think that someone like you can take this man on? Tell me!"
"I'll have the Masamune. It is its will that I beat Sephiroth."
"If this sword calls out to you, what makes you think it does not call out to him the same? It may have been a factor in him believing he was invincible," Lucas said in a worried tone. Maybe she too was losing touch with reality.
"That was Jenova making him think that and you damn well know it."
"Bullshhhh...," Janica stopped herself and ended up frustrated. "BULL MALARKEY! Him saying all that was just mind games he wanted to play with your parents. He found a force greater that his evil ways and used it as a way of making people believe he was superhuman."
"Janica, Master would never make something like that up," Lucas said.
"Well, maybe she doesn't know it is a lie. Sephiroth told it, Mr. Strife believed it along with Mrs. Lockheart, and they passed it to their followers. Since they couldn't explain it any other way, maybe they were... mistaken. They thought it was a good explanation so they just kept believing it. Like the myths from way back when, kinda," Janica said, calming down a bit.
While Lucas sat deep in thought over Janica's words, Aeris sat beside him shaking her head. "But you guys, you promised. You swore! Why do the people I trust wnat to betray me?"
Lucas stayed in thought.
"I just told you, we'd only tell for your own good," Janica said.
Aeris stayed quiet and Lucas gently took hold of her hand. "What if she's right?" he asked.
Aeris squeezed his hand. "Don't. Just please. Don't."
"Don't what?" Janica asked.
Lucas looked at Janica and sneered. "Can you be sympathetic for just a second?"
Janica's eyes widened and her mouth snapped shut as she tried burning a hole through him with her eyes.
Lucas turned his attention can to Aeris. "Are you scared?"
"Of you guys telling, yes. Of Sephiroth, no."
"What if what Janica is saying is true?"
"How can you tell? How do you know our parents weren't mistaken? We'll never know until we ask."
Aeris stared at their hands. "You don't understand."
"How can I? Look, I know you're strong. You're really really strong, and maybe the Masamune does want you as its master. But this is Sephiroth we are talking about! I don't understand why you think you can take him on."
"I can. I know I can. If we tell anyone, they'll make us sit back and watch as they play heroes again. I want my sword back. I want to prove myself. I want to prove I can walk in my father's footsteps."
"This is NOT the time to play hero!" Janica hollered.
"You just think that because you are scared! You both are scared!"
"Scared for you life? Yes I am. I've pretty much grown to love you and now you're wanting to throw it away. Aeris, please. Think about it."
"I want my glory."
Lucas fell back into thought, knowing he still had to tell but had to somehow make her think she was getting what she wanted.
"You want your death," Janica said.
"No. Look, just keep your mouths shut, please?"
"Wait a sec. If we tell, and they all go in search of Sephiroth, will they know where he is?" Lucas asked.
"No. I will because the Masamune will call to me."
"Ah. So what if we told them he's alive and wandering this planet, and then went after him ourselves, since we'd know where he is?" Lucas asked.
"What the HEL...LO are you talking about!?" Janica exclaimed.
"Just what I said. If we tell, they'll be too busy making plans to keep up with us. We can go after him ourselves."
"Ourselves?" Janica asked.
"Well, Aeris and I, anyway. And anyone else that she thinks might can help us," Lucas said. When Aeris wasn't looking at him, he gave Janica a wink. He hoped she would go along with his plan then.
Janica looked at him funny and then shook her head. "I guess I couldn't let you guys go alone."
"I think this might work," Aeris said.
"Me too," Lucas said.
"Okay. Then you guys call and tell them. I'll call my dad, too," Aeris sighed.
"You go call your dad first," Lucas said.
"I'll do it in the morning. I'm going to get a drink," Aeris said, standing up and leaving the room.
Lucas watched her leave the room. Then Janica was instantly by his side. "What are you doing?" she asked harshly.
"Look, we go with her, okay? When she hears the Masamune call to her, we call the people that know what the hell they are doing. Since they'll most likely be people with a lot of power, they'll have better transportation than us and will beat us there. They'll take care of it posing no real threat to us or her."
"You're just as sneaky as your mother," Janica said.
"I thought you didn't believe in the rumors..." Lucas said, grinning.
"I'm too suspicious of things, I reckon, Cloud. I'm sure the girl means no harm. We've yet again lost the government's set. But I will arrange for some of my men to start looking for one. We must help her because we still owe her family a great debt," Reeve rambled.
Cloud grinned. "Yeah, the Maza's will always be able to get favors outta me. So how are things going?"
"Cloud, this particle concentration theory is about to drive me nuts," Reeve said.
"I have a bad feeling. Something awful is about to happen," Cloud heard Cait Sith warn in the background.
"What? Shut up, okay? My nerves are on end as it is," Reeve said to it.
Cloud felt sorry for Reeve. He was hardly anything more than a nervous wreck anymore, always fearing the return of that demon-spawn he had killed 25 years before. That was when his line beeped. He felt a chill go up his spine. "Um, Reeve? Hang on a sec, I've got another call."
He carefully reached his finger up to the button on his phone and pressed it. "Hello?"
"Hey daddy!" Aeris said.
"Hey there, sugar!"
"I... I kinda got some bad news. I don't want you to be mad or anything... But I think I know who broke into my room."
"Oh do you now? Who was it?"
"Well, I lied when I said there was nothing stolen. Are you sitting down?"
Cloud knew. Already before his daughter had said anything, he knew exactly what item was missing and who had taken. The only thing eluding his mind was how... He sat down.
"See, my Masamune was stolen, Daddy. And somehow... Oh gosh. He's..."
Aeris fell quiet. So did Cloud.
"I just wanted to call and tell you. I hope you know what to do with this information," Aeris finally said.
"All right. I'll call you in a little while. Don't move from that phone side and I mean it."
"Okay. Love you, Daddy."
"Love you too. Bye."
Cloud reached a shaky finger up to click back over to Reeve.
"Cloud! Cloud, are you there! Man, come on! Oh shit he's alive! I don't know how but he's alive! Cloud, man! Answer me!" Reeve was yelling frantically.
"I'm here. And I know. Aeris just called me."
"You sound so damn calm, man! Yuffie just called me, and General Rahn is on hold. I'm guessing that all three kids knew. Oh geez, what are we going to do?"
"Reeve. Calm down. Take a deep breath. We're going to do the same thing we did last time. Send the fucker back where he belongs: Hell."
Tomas woke up slowly not wanting to open his eyes yet. He layed in his warm bed for a moment before the panic hit him. There was way too much sunlight in his room. He jerked up and looked at his alarm clock. "Oh, man! I'm late!" he thought, jumping out of his bed. He quickly grabbed some clothes from his closet and changed. He was pulling on his shoes when a knock came at the door.
He finished tying his shoe and was about to stand to open it when Deus let himself in. "Why didn't you wake me up, you little twirp?" he asked.
"Because mom came in our rooms and turned off our alarm clocks. We're not allowed to leave today. Something big is going down," Deus said quietly.
"Oh, will you quit it with the conspiracy crap?" Tomas groaned.
"It's not crap. Dad's had calls from Aeris, the President, Wutai, Junon, Uncle Barret, the whole lot. He's really upset about something, and mom is worried, too. They're saying nothing is wrong with Aeris, but they have arranged to fly her and Lucas and their friend Janica here."
"You heard me. They won't say what's going on. I think it has something to do with that girl Ellie, though." Deus sat down on the edge of Tomas' bed.
"Ellie?" Tomas felt his heart skip a beat at the very mention of her name.
"Yeah, you know. That girl that has you under her complete control?" Deus asked.
"Shut up!" Tomas said.
Deus grinned. "It's the truth, no conspiracy theories included. You know it's the truth."
Tomas sneered at his brother. He gave one final tug at his shoelaces and stood up. "I'm going to find out what's up." He opened his door and Deus stood up to follow him.
The boys looked around the place looking for their parents. They couldn't find them in the home beneath the bar, so they went upstairs. The girls who usually worked the morning shift were running the place, and their parents were no where in sight.
Tomas noticed that Ellie was standing by a window looking out. He walked over to her. "Good morning," he said.
Ellie turned to look at him. He noticed that she was dressed in some of Aeris' old clothes. "Morning, Tomas." She smiled at him.
"Did you sleep okay?" he asked.
"Not really, but I'm wide awake."
"How's your head?" he asked.
Ellie put her hand to it. "It's fine. I've had worse, but I'm gonna be all right."
Tomas was then at a loss for words.
"Oh yeah, your parents. They said to tell you that they had gone to the airport to pick up some people," Ellie said, twirling her ponytail with a finger.
Tomas nodded. "What's going on? Do you have any idea?"
Ellie looked around. "It's been chaos around here all morning. I'm sorry, but I'm not quite sure what is going on myself."
Tomas looked out the window over her shoulder and saw three cars drive up. Deus hadn't been lying. Out of one car stepped his parents and his sister. Another held Lucas, Yuffie, and Ryouji. Lucas was holding a cat. The third held Janica and General Rahn. That was when Tomas noticed that the bar was empty of the usual customers.
They came inside, and Tomas gave his father a look. Cloud merely shook his head and walked past him. He felt a hand on his shoulder and he looked back at Ellie. "Are these people important?" she asked quietly.
Tomas nodded and named each one off to her. Soon everyone was seated around some rearranged tables. The girls running the bar were quick to get everyone drinks. Cloud looked up at his sons and Ellie. "Have a seat, this may concern you too," he instructed.
The seriousness was getting to Tomas.
"Not everyone is here yet," General Rahn commented.
"Yes, but it will take the rest of the people a little while to get here. Then we'll meet at Headquarters and have some official meetings, discussing plans of action and such," Cloud said.
"Right now, let's just get everyone awake and fed," Tifa said. The girls, having served the drinks, were taking orders for breakfast.
"Why didn't you tell us sooner, Aeris?" Yuffie was the first to ask.
"I wasn't sure," she lied.
"Let's save it. We don't need the criticism. We know now and that is what matters. Should've could've's don't count," General Rahn said. Janica beamed at her father.
Aeris stirred her coffee nervously. She wasn't enjoying the attention she was receiving. She was in a meeting room in Headquarters, surrounded by the most powerful people of the world. She seemed to be the only nervous one in the room. She realized this was because they were veterans, and well, she was inexperienced.
Reeve was explaining the situation so far to those who were just getting into the game. Then he looked at Aeris. "And Aeris here, has seen him. It's no joke any longer. Please, Aeris. Tell us what you've experienced."
Aeris didn't flinch under the eyes of the people around her. "Well, my apartment was robbed. The only thing missing is my Masamune, which once belonged to Sephiroth. My friends and I had went to a party that night, and I saw him there with my sword. This is all I know." She wasn't about to let them know it called out to her.
Discussions began. Aeris was left out of the conversations, but at least she heard their plans of action. A world-wide search was to begin, sending out all sorts of militia all over the world. Movement would begin the next morning so that time for preparations could be made. Reeve had planned a press conference.
Aeris knew her move had to be made soon else she would never get away from the heavy guards she knew her father would place on her and her friends.
"So? What happened?" Tomas asked when Aeris came into the living room of their home.
Aeris saw that he was holding hands with that strange girl. "Well, the world is about to become militarized, much to the pleasure of General Rahn," she said.
Janica looked up at Aeris. She, Lucas, and Deus were playing cards on the floor. "What's to happen to us?"
"We're to be locked up here," Aeris muttered, plopping down intoa chair.
"No fair!" Deus said. "I don't want to be cooped up! I'll go nuts!"
"No shit!" Tomas said, then covered his mouth remembering that Ellie was by his side. "Sorry," he muttered.
"I can't help it. We're supposedly stuck here."
"Supposedly?" Lucas asked, looking up.
"Well, when it calls, I'm running," Aeris whispered.
"When what calls?" Deus asked.
"Shhhh!" Aeris hissed sharply. "The Masamune, of course. It speaks to me. When it calls, I'm going to rescue it."
"Aeris? Have you been doing drugs?" Tomas asked quietly.
"Too cool!" Deus said, his green eyes wide.
"Tomas, you don't understand. It's like the Masamune is a part of me. I have to go save it."
"I've heard of such things before, it's not so strange," Ellie said quietly.
"Maybe in your world, Ellie, but here, stuff like that is ridiculous. Inanimate objects don't call out," Tomas said.
"Yeah, and your dad took place in the Jenova Reunion. Look, Tomas. It doesn't matter. We've just got to help your sister no matter what. It'll get us out of this martial law situation, nonetheless," Janica said.
"I'm going! I am definetely going!" Deus piped.
"Shh!" Lucas, Janica, and Aeris sounded in unison.
"Do you want them to hear?" Lucas asked.
"Sorry. But wait..." Deus said and looked up at Lucas.
Lucas saw the look in the kid's eyes, and knew what he was thinking. If he and Deus went, then the men in black following them might know their every move. Lucas fought a grin. He and Janica would not have to tell anyone where they were going after all. The men in black, the former Turks, would know. And they'd tell Reeve everything... "Hush," Lucas said, quickly using his magic to make his words form within Deus' mind.
Deus looked at him, confused. "Just do it. I'll explain later. It's for our own good," Lucas added.
"But what?" Aeris asked.
"We'll miss school," Deus said, feeling a big pang of guilt for lying to his sister.
"School will be cancelled. And since when do you care anyway?" Aeris asked.
Ellie looked at Lucas knowingly. He knew she must be able to sense magic, but since she kept her mouth shut, he didn't say anything either.
"So when will this thing call?" Janica asked.
"I don't know." Aeris looked around at the group. "Can you guys fight? I know Deus, Lucas and Janica can. What about the rest of you?"
"Fight?" Tomas asked with wide eyes.
"Yeah, fight. We're going after Sephiroth, right?" Deus asked.
"We're going after my Masamune." Aeris corrected. "If we have to kill Sephiroth to do so, then so be it."
"I can fight," Ellie said.
"Well, I can't. But I'll go along just to help out those who get hurt." Tomas said.
"Fine. When I say it's time to go, I mean it. So you guys get together whatever you need." Aeris was serious.
They all looked at one another. Were they really gonna do this?
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