Adversary Chapter 12
Ferry En Route To Costa Del Sol, 0004 N.C.E.
The warm ocean air filled his lungs as he watched the golden drops of sunlight dance across the moving surface of the waves. His eyes closed and he breathed out, relaxing his mind, and concentrating on the ebb and flow of the water beneath him. The peace and serenity did him a world of good. He needed a break from all the stress and strain the last week had put him through. It was a shame...he practically never got a chance to meditate anymore, never really had time to just sit back and enjoy the precious silence.
It was only mere days ago that he'd been lying in a stark white taproom fighting a deadly poison, and he'd been rushed away in a car to Leon's apartment, where Leon himself, along with Cloud, lay unconscious and seriously injured and ill. To his surprise, Lucca was there too, she had started to recover, with Magus' assistance. It was at that point that everything began to become extremely confusing, and Crono had stopped trying to make any sense out of it whatsoever. Tifa and Cid had used strange jewel-like objects to tend to Leon and Cloud's injuries, which were visibly healed almost immediately. However, the jewels apparently didn't take away all of the discomfort they both were experiencing the whole time.
They referred to these jewels as "Materia", and their various effects certaintly fascinated Crono, who watched in awe as they worked their magic time after time. It was nothing like the internally-generated elemental energy he was familiar with. That kind of magic was difficult to master, and often draining and somewhat painful to employ, so Crono only used it when it was absolutely necessary. He much preferred using his sword and body as a weapon. Nothing else paralleled the comfort and ease he felt there.
He felt the boat jar slightly as the clank of his heels against the cabin steps echoed in the aluminum corridor. Taking hold of the lever on the right side of the riveted door, he popped open the latch, sliding the metal away, granting himself access to the room beyond. Inside, his friend sat casually in one of the chairs, flipping through a comic book with one hand, and drinking a soda with the other.
"What's goin' down, bro?" Leon greeted him, not looking up from his reading.
"Me. I've had enough of the upper deck. I figured I'd just hang down here for a while." Crono replied, falling back down onto the bed across the room. His friend nodded.
"Coolness. Wanna soda?" he offered, still not breaking eye contact with the "book". Crono declined.
"Nah...I don't really need anything right now. Hey, by the way, how are you? Feeling any better?" Leon nodded, and cracked open another bottle.
"Sure man, peachy. Materia works wonders, if ya can get your hands on some."
"Yeah...that stuff is really cool..."
"Hey, you should talk to Yuffie about it. She knows her materia pretty damn well. I hear she used to make a business movin' the stuff a few years back. Now the stuff is hard as hell to find, so it's not much of an active business...but then again, if you get some, you can hike the shit up to a few mil' and get a buyer overnight." He explained, very proud of his knowledge. Crono was amazed.
"Damn, that sounds like some nice cash. Back where I come from, they use refined gold as currency. It's crazy...heavy as hell too. I like this gil stuff way more. It makes a lot more sense...almost everything here does, when I think about it." Leon laughed in disbelief.
"Dude, no way. If you lived here like, six years ago, you'd be singin' a different tune. The whole place used to be run by the freakin' ShinRa and the Turks and that whole mess of punkasses. It used to be hell, man. The only people with decent lives were the people lucky enough to have it in with the company, otherwise you had to slum it somewhere, live like a fucking dog, and then kiss the feet of whatever asshole shmuck in a suit came swaggering around your town acting like you owed him your life whenever he felt like it. I swear, I used to wanna punch the punk bitches from here to Junon, but I'd'a gotten a bullet in my skull if I even tried." He ranted, glowing with emotion.
"Well, I...uh...I guess every place has got its ups and downs."
"...Yeah, well I guess you got your up out of it, if ya know what I mean." Leon snickered.
"Oh, don't start...just don't..."
"I'm tellin' ya man, babes change everything. They mess up your mind. Get yourself a chick, and everything's great, then suddenly somethin' comes and knocks ya off your cloud and you realize that maybe everything wasn't so great after all. That's why I don't get myself caught up in that commitment shit. It's just not for me. Now, you on the other hand...you got that whole noble thing goin' on. And you got a bangin' chick knockin' at your front door. The world is cutting you a break, my man. Catch it while you can, or you, like, just might wind up another average Joe, y'know?"
"But...I just...I...I don't know. I guess I just don't want to get pinned down again. Get sucked into something where I can't be me. Be with someone who doesn't want me for what I am." He shook his head.
"Dude, your last girlfriend fucked you over, that's all well and good, but this is different, man. She's a new person."
"I know, I know. And I like Yuffie, but..." Leon cut him off.
"Why?" Crono blinked a few times, unsure of the question.
"Why? Whaddya mean, why?"
"Why do you like her?"
"I just do! It's that simple!"
"Ah ah ahh...nope, sorry. Not good enough. Tell me. Like, what's she got for ya? What do you see in her?"
"Come on, Leon, this is stupid..."
"I'm serious. What do you see when you look at her?" He put him on the spot. Crono sighed.
"I dunno. I see a girl..."
"Good, good, that's always a good start..."
"...with, y'know, kinda pouty lips, and big brown eyes...a real sweet face. Her hair kinda falls into her eyes...it's...cute. She's really funny, nice laugh..."
"That's one mean body shes sportin' around, dude. She got kinda tall, too. Seriously, you shoulda seen her a few years ago. She was like, small! I remember watchin' the ceremonies on TV and I saw her and I was just like 'damn...what's she doing up there? Shouldn't she be in school or something?' But now it's like...wow, man. That's all I can say. Wow." at this point, Crono couldn't hide the huge grin he was fighting futiley.
"Yeah, but you know who else is hot?"
"I can think of a few people offhand..."
"That girl from the pizza parlor. Whooo! Man she's fine. Serves a mean pie, too." An almost empty soda bottle found it's way to the side of Crono's head, smacking against it and spilling liquid everywhere.
"You suck, you know that! That was low, man!" Leon shouted, snatching up more garbage and sending it Crono's way. The Kensai fell back, out of his chair, unable to contain his hysterical laughter as he did his best to avoid the scraps of plastic and empty cans flying through the air. "Oh, so it's funny, now, huh?" The blonde taunted, pitching anything he could find from pens to crumpled papers to pillows down at his jocular friend.
"Your god damn right it's funny. Mmmm mmm, ooh Melanie, wow, the lucky guy who gets you is on the very tip-top of my jealousy list...oh, if only I were with you now..." He pretended to sigh, rolling to his feet and dodging a wild swing. The next one, however, was aimed a bit more carefully.
"Ow! Hey, watch the violence there, pal." Crono grunted, guarding his stomach from future blows. Leon was laughing now, throwing a chain of loose-fisted punches, some of which hit, others which brushed away in glancing shots. Covering his face, the redhead walked straight backward into the bed, flipped over, and rolled to the floor on the other side.
"Oh man! That was classic, dude! You got smoked, bro!" Leon gloated.
"Yeah? Yeah? You want some? You ain't seen nothin'." Crono's leg's coiled and tucked into his chest, his torso rolling back onto his shoulders, when all of a sudden his feet rocketed out into the air, carrying him up and onto the mattress. He could see Leon's eyes bulge a little bit, but he stayed cool.
"Oooooh...nice hop there. Want some bunny ears to go along with it?"
"Oh, you are so dead." Crono jumped forward, the room erupting into a two-man brawl. Although the punches were pulled, Crono could still feel the muscle behind his friend's strikes. Where he had come from, he was the strongest man around, the world's champion, but the pure force Leon could produce was impressive even to him. The metallic hands seemed to have something to do with it. Leon, on the other hand, was having a hard time keeping up with Crono's speed and masterful dexterity. Crono didn't just fight with his hands, he used his entire body, the unsureness of where the next blow would come from complicating matters greatly. The two were a comparable match in terms of hand to hand combat.
As the blows grew more and more frequent, and the pullback became more and more nonexistant, the sounds of heavy combat inbetween sarcastic taunts and cursing was audible throughout the whole ship. It wasn't long after that the door flew open, the fight coming to a halt. The crowd in the doorway stared wide-eyed in disbelief.
"What the hell is going on in here?" Cloud shouted in the form of a question. The two combatants looked at each other, quite badly beaten, and, to everyones surprise, began to laugh. Strife wasn't amused. "I said, what the hell is going on in here? I don't talk for no reason!"
"Oh, us? Uh...we were just...eh..." Leon began.
"Training. It's...necessary to keep up with your training if you want to be expert martial artists like us." Crono explained.
"Exactly." Leon nodded.
"Training, my ass! There's broken glass all over the floor, soda spilled everywhere, pillows, garbage! You guys look you got hit by cars! What the fuck kind of training is that!?"
"Definintely." They began to laugh again.
"Will you idiots shut up! I'm paying for this goddamn room, you know! The least you could do is take your nonsense outside!" He stormed off, walking past his wife and Cid, whom looked back after he'd passed.
"Weirdass kids..." He shook his head, and left as well, leaving only Tifa, shaking her head with a tiny smile.
"You guys...smacking each other up like that, you don't know the first thing about the art. If you ever want some real training, come see me and the Yuffster, we'll show ya how it's done." She spun on her heel, and walked away. Inside, Leon and Crono exchanged dubious glances.
"Sound's like a hell of a lot of fun, man." Leon said with a grin, wiping the blood away from his nose. Crono nodded.
"I'm scared of Tifa though. She looks ferocious. Anyway, you did awesome, man. Great fight, although I wish I knew it was gonna go that far. I haven't been hit that hard in years."
"Anytime, dude. What say we go see whats going on outside? Everyone's probably wondering what the hell happened."
"I'd suggest we wait till we both stop bleeding, then we can make our grand entrance." Crono advised.
"Hey, word to that. You want a soda?" He asked.
"...Against my head or in my hand?"
"...Nah...I don't need anything right now."
A grand entrance it was indeed, with all focus brought upon the two of them as they barged into a room full of seated people. Heads and eyes turned toward them, some were shocked at the combat residue on their faces, others were just plain annoyed as they stood there, hands behind their backs, toting clueless grins on their faces.
"Hey man." Leon said to Cloud, who was tapping his fingers, waiting. "We're here." Strife clapped his hands, sarcastically.
"Very good. You found us. Sit down." He curtly pointed to two empty chairs on the other side of the large dining room table. Slightly humbled, they quietly walked over to their "assigned seats" and sat down.
"Hey there, handsome." The violet-haired woman greeted Crono as he took a seat next to her. He smiled and gave her a quick hug, not wanting to aggrivate Cloud anymore than he already had.
"Blue dude! What's up, hammer?" Leon slapped Magus on the back, who glanced at him briefly and grunted something unintelligible in response. He wasn't much for Leon's banter.
"Okay! Are we done, gentlemen? Good. Listen up, to most of you, this is gonna seem like a vacation, but I assure you, it isn't. Now that we know that Sephiroth...or at least a representation of Sephiroth is in existance, everyone is to be on red alert, twenty-four, seven, understood? We're not playing games here kids. This is real. You screw up, you die. End of story." He paused, looking directly at Crono. "We're only stopping here for a few days to get our heads clear and to get out of the fray back in Midgar. I don't know about anyone else, but all of my time is going to be spent formulating a plan. No one knows how dangerous Sephiroth is like I do, and I know firsthand that if you don't keep your head straight and focus, you'll find yourself a nice new home in an oblong box. For everyone's safety, I'd advise that no one stray too far from the group. Stragglers are easy targets. Are there any questions?"
"Yeah, man. Like, who died and got you elected supreme leader of all that is right? I mean like, aren't we all at risk? Shouldn't we like, all be making the plan?" Leon said with a laugh. The room was silent.
"...I'm gonna pretend I didn't hear that. Now, to anyone who has a functioning brain that hasn't been deadened by perpetual stupidity, I ask if there are any questions..." Cloud pressed, looking back and forth around the table. When no responses came, he gathered his things and walked to the door. "I'll be in my room if anyone needs me." He added as he left the room.
"Psh...what's up with him? He wanted to know if I had any questions. I wanted to know why he's the automatic leader all the time. I don't see what's wrong with that." Leon slouched back, putting his feet up on the table.
"Look here, Mr. Slacker. He's the best damn guy we have, alright? And if you don't like it, well then fine. Go get yourself killed. That's one less idiot we gotta deal with in this god forsaken mess. He knows what he's doin', we trust him and he pulls through, that's the way it works. Unlike some people..." Cid griped. Leon sneered at him and stood up, shoving his chair in.
"Alright, fine. You guys don't like me? Whatever. But if you're just gonna pass me off like I'm some kinda stoned-out loser punkass, then think again, alright? Cuz' I might not be a big hero like all you people, but I'm a person man, I gotta right to say what's on my mind. I gotta right to know what's goin' on. And I ain't no slacker, so just shove it, old man! You don't know nothin' about me!" he shouted, his fists shaking. Enraged, Cid pounded down on the table, and stood up as well, glaring at the younger man.
"You wanna say that again, boy?"
"Yeah, I think I do. Sh-"
"Will you just fucking stop it already!!!!" Crono roared, jumping up out of his seat, flinging his chair back to splinter into pieces as it smashed against the wall. He now had everyone's full attention, even Leon's and Cid's, as he breathed heavily, almost a snarl. He was livid, and everyone knew it.
"Dammit, people! I'm not Cloud! I don't know what the hell a ShinRa is or what this Sephiroth creep is all about! I'm not from around here, I don't know you all that well, and I'm sorry if you don't trust me like you trust each other. But I do know that if we keep letting stupid shit like this happen all the time, Sephiroth is gonna have one hell of an easy time rubbing us out." He stopped talking long enough to catch his breath, and try to calm himself down.
"Don't you get it? We're gonna destroy each other from the inside out! We're trying to form an alliance to fight and we can't even get off the drawing table without getting in each other faces! We are fucking hopeless!! It's all gonna fall apart, and you're all gonna look for someone to blame...but the only person there is to blame is yourself. I'll be the first one to admit that I'm no innocent. I got into that scrap with Cloud because I couldn't just swallow my pride and let the guy do his thing. But we're supposed to learn from this shit, not just keep repeating it! Now I might not like you, and you might not like me, but for God's sake, there are bigger things at stake here than personal comfort! So just...everybody, cool your damn jets!" His voice rasped, the room tense with emotion. For a while, he stood there, awkwardly, not a word being uttered, until finally, Leon stepped forward.
"Sorry, guys...I...I didn't mean to..." He stammered, choking back his emotions. Everyone could see the mist forming in his eyes, yet he acted like everything was no big deal. "See you all later..." He whispered, quickly turning and walking out the door, further prolonging the painful silence.
"I think we should all get back to our rooms. Get some rest, you'll probably need it." To Crono's surprise, they actually listened, and began to pack up and file out the door. Perhaps his tirade had earned him a little respect.
Perhaps it just made everyone uncomfortable...
"Hey..." Yuffie said, snapping him out of it. "You okay?" He touched his forehead and nodded.
"Yeah...I'm fine." His breathing was still shaky. She frowned.
"If you need anything...anything at all...I'm in cabin four. I'm a light sleeper, so don't worry about it." And then she went on her way, leaving him an empty room, which he summarily exited, and returned to his quarters once again, Leon asleep on opposite bed.
He slid beneath the covers, still wearing his normal clothes, and tried to shut the world out. He needed some sleep.
Anything at all...
Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic