Adversary Chapter 13
Costa Del Sol, 0004 N.C.E.
He sighed as he stood in the doorway, watching her unpack her things onto the bed. He'd been standing there for about five minutes already, and she still was completely unaware of his presence. Part of him wished she'd just turn around already, and another part of him wished he hadn't come here in the first place. It wasn't that he particularly feared her reaction, it was just that he'd felt so horribly awkward around her sometimes, especially when the possibility of something physical arose. Yet it was not that he didn't want that, he simply doubted himself. A poor bushi's upbringing made not for a high self-esteem, even though he'd more than proven his worth to those around him multiple times, he still felt a deep-rooted lack of confidence within.
He cleared his throat.
She dropped her belongings and spun around, startled. She blinked a few times, the identity of the person in the room with her sinking into her brain.
"Oh...hey, Crono. I didn't know you were...come, in if you'd like." She offered, weakly. The disappointment on her face was as obvious as a neon sign. Crono frowned as she turned back to her luggage, and away from him. He walked into the room as if the floor were a sheet of thin ice, carefully and slowly.
"Man...I was really tired yesterday. I guess the whole week finally caught up with me, eh?" he shot the poor attempt at conversation into the wind.
"I guess you slept well then..." She muttered, in what would have been a sarcastic tone if she'd put more energy into it. He swallowed hard, fidgeting with some coins in his pocket.
"Yeah, I...listen, I know I didn't come over last night, but I just was so stressed out...I couldn't see anybody but the bed." She turned back around, concerned.
"I know! That's why I extended an invitation to you...it looked like you needed a hand, someone to talk to. You can't handle everything alone, you know. Sometimes you need some help...that's all..."
"Well...thank you. I'm sorry I didn't show up..."
"Don't be. You're here now, aren't you?" She asked. He looked around, confused.
"Uh, yeah...so?" She pulled him by the short sleeve of his black shirt down into one of the chairs by the window, sitting down opposite him at the small coffee table.
"So tell me everything. About you, you're life, anything. I know you're a big important guy, so don't gimme none of that 'oh, it's really nothing' stuff. C'mon, I wanna know more about you." She asked him. He rubbed the back of his neck.
"Well...geez, I dunno where to begin..."
"Anywhere! How'd you get so popular over in Guardia?"
"I defeated a monster that threatened the existence of our world." She laughed.
"Oh, thats all? Psh...been there, done that. Come on, man, tell me something interesting. What do you do?"
"I'm a Kensai. A-"
"Kensai?! No way! Really? You? The legendary Sword Saint? I...woah...that's awesome!" Crono blushed.
"I don't see what the big deal is...it's just a title...and a code of practice."
"But you're supposed to be like the ultimate master of your chosen art! It's way more than just a title and a code. They tell stories of Kensai back in my hometown. We mostly train ninja there though. Good for fighting in the forest area. But Kensai, damn, Crono! That's great!" He smiled a little.
"Actually, I always wanted to be a ninja...I just never had anyone to train me back home. As it was, I was the only person in the whole land that practiced Kensai arts, no one else had heard of them. I kinda stuck out like a freak."
"How in the hell did you learn anything then?"
"My father, he was a great fighter. He left many scrolls and writings and instructions on Bushido, the way of the-"
"Way of the warrior, I know. You don't have to explain your eastern terms to me there, Crono-San. Anyway, go on. This is really cool."
"Well, I never really knew him well. He died at war when I was very young, and my mother took me to live in Guardia, a peaceful country. I learned almost everything I know about him through his writings. I wish I could have known him better. He must have been an amazing man..." He turned his gaze out the window. She took his stray hand that rested on the tabletop.
"He sure must've been. Look at you..." He slowly looked back over at her; he returned the grasp of her hand, swallowing hard.
"I want you to know something." She nodded, her eyes wide.
"Sure. What's that?"
"I don't talk to people about my history much at all...I don't like talking about it. Usually people think I'm weird or something...but...you actually listened to me...and you didn't judge me or anything...you really wanted to know about me...not just determine my social status or something. I like that about you." She smiled, almost giggling.
"Aww...you're sweet, ya know that?" He smiled. She laughed, but then looked back at him, serious again. "Ever been in love before?" He tapped his fingers, nervously. What kind of a question was that?
"I don't know..."
"Oh come on! Seriously, don't be embarrassed or nothin'. It happens to the best of us. C'mon! Tell me, who was your first girl? I bet it was that Lucca girl you're friends with, right? She looks like your type." She teased.
"No." He said flatly. "No, she and I have always been friends. Nothing really more than that."
"Ohh...so...who was it then? Don't tell me you've been walking around single all your life." He didn't like where this was going.
"I...had a relationship with this girl I met at a fair about four years ago. She helped us in our quest, and I thank her for that, but I guess it just wasn't meant to be. It's way over now, and I'm glad, I just wish her and her royal goons weren't bent on hating me like they do..."
"Royal? Are you serious? What was she, a queen or something?"
"No...might as well have been. She's the princess of Guardia."
"Oh. I see..."
"I gotta say, I'm really angry with them for what they did to me and Lucca. It's really low and wrong and I absolutely hate it when the upper class takes out their anger on the commoners. I just get so mad, I can't control my anger. When they tried to hurt Lucca, we ripped up their castle and guards horribly. Now that I look back on it, I wish I hadn't acted quite as aggressively, but some things have to be done."
"Wow. I guess you're not kidding when you say it's way over. I can't really picture you with the whole prissy-princess kinda girl."
"Yeah, you picture me more with the witty ninja chick, right?" Crono grinned. She laughed in disbelief, and kicked him under the table.
"Hey, now! That's a cheap shot if I ever heard one!"
"Ah, I'm just kidding. But seriously..." He paused, a strange clicking sound emanating from the curtains at the window. Yuffie froze.
"I don't like the sound of that..."
"Oh, but I do. Glad to meet you once again, Miss Kisaragi." She almost jumped up in the air as two men stepped out from behind the thick red curtains. Each possessed a large black firearm, which was tucked under the black sleeve of the full-bodied suit each assailant wore. One nozzle was pointed at either of the victim's foreheads. Ninja-like facemasks covered the heads of both intruders.
"Crono...don't move, those things will kill you..." Yuffie whispered.
"I know what they are...who the hell are you two!?" Crono demanded, rising up in anger. They stepped back, giving their guns a slight thrust forward, reminding him that, yes, these were quite dangerous weapons. He paused. He was definitely off guard.
"Don't move, Crono. You know what happens when some moron tries to stand up to one of these. He soon finds himself sitting down rather quickly." The taller, thinner one taunted. Crono knew that voice...
"You!" Yuffie hissed, glaring at him. "You're those jerkoffs with the motorcycles! Get the fuck out of here before we stomp the shit out of-"
"Ah-ah-ahh...I believe it is us who are in control here. So you can just tell your boyfriend here to sit down and follow orders, 'kay?" Crono began to sweat. This was where he was supposed to valiantly fight them off and protect her, but he wouldn't be able to get very far, considering...
"What do you want?" He asked, not moving from his position.
"I want you to sit down, first." Crono didn't budge. "Look, you're only making it more difficult for yourself, alright, tough guy? Sit down, and put your hands behind your head." Crono still did nothing but shake with anger. "Do it!! Sit your ass down!" He shouted, putting the nozzle of the weapon inches away from Crono's head.
"Crono...listen to him..." Yuffie begged, quietly. Crono hesitated. How he wished he had more time to consider the situation.
This doesn't make sense...if they were assassins they would have killed us already...
"Get down!!" The man yelled, forcefully jabbing the gun into Crono's head. He flinched, trying to resist the push and stay on his feet.
They want something out of us...they don't want us dead yet...
Taking the man by surprise, he seized the barrel of the gun and wrenched it out of his hands. A hard side kick to the head knocked him back onto the bed as he followed, milliseconds later, springing up onto the mattress, and pulling the trigger on the attacker's heart.
"It's a bluff! They aren't loaded!" Crono hollered. Just then the pinned infiltrator jabbed his fingers up into his eyes. "Ahhh!! Dammit!" He covered his face and rolled back, tossing the useless gun aside. He felt the man kick him viciously off the mattress, as he tumbled down, furiously wiping the water from his eyes, trying to clear them. He had to get up and back into the fight, for her sake.
In all his efforts to take down the first attacker, he'd completely forgotten about the second, who was consequently hitting the floor beside him in the same instant. Eyes now somewhat capable of seeing, Crono looked back up, and saw the hazy shapes of Yuffie and the first assailant fighting close-quarters. He was trying to twist her arm up behind her back.
Elbowing the second man who was now trying to grapple him in the face, Crono easily shook him off, and jumped back up to his feet, sliding his katana out of its sheath. Noticing his advance, the masked man jerked Yuffie up in front of him, a human shield. Crono saw her face. She was furious, wishing she could just turn around and kill him. He stared her opponent dead in the eyes.
"Let her go, or I swear I'll kill you both." The man laughed, mockingly.
"Come on, tough guy, take her. She's right in front of you, for God's sake." Crono's jaw was clenched so tight it shook, and he began to carefully advance on him, watching as he began to open a compartment on his belt. Whatever it was, it was not going to be good.
"Pick up your legs!" Crono ordered her. Eager to break free, she jerked her knees up to her chest, her captor almost stumbling to maintain hold of her. With the new area of clearance, Crono sliced down at his legs.
"Gyaah!!!" He screamed in pain, the cloth around his shins torn and bloodying fast. Yuffie whipped her head back into his face, releasing his grip, and knocking him away. She planted her feet down firmly, and spun around, ready to fight again. She was about to stomp down hard on his knees, but something stopped her. She felt a dull thud in her chest, and then a sickening numbness spreading down her torso seconds later. Looking down through blurry eyes, she saw a thin needle sticking out of her shirt. A stubby handgun-type weapon was in the hand of the floored attacker, and he was preparing to load another dart in.
Beginning to lose consciousness, she stepped back, Crono catching her as she fell. She looked up at him, glazed eyes full of worry.
"Please...don't let them take me..." Her eyes shut and her head rolled to the side.
"Never." He whispered, bolting over toward the bed and laying her down, instantly whirling around. The small gun was pointed at him.
"Liar." The wounded attacker hissed, pulling himself up with one arm, and firing his weapon with the other. It made a sort of "thunk" noise, the air pressure firing the dart out at a high enough speed to pierce the skin of the toughest beast.
Somewhat out of reflex and somewhat out of adrenaline, Crono jolted back and his arm ripped through the air with such momentum it carried him around three hundred and sixty degrees, where he emerged, holding his hand out to spite the intruder.
In the center of his palm, a small needle rested harmlessly.
The mans eyes bulged, as Crono stepped forward, feeling quite invincible after his display. He slapped the flat side of the katana across the masked face, and then reached out and tore the cloth covering off of the man's head.
"I know you...your name's Alex. You're those guys who tried to jump me in the street..."
"Charmed." Alex sneered, out of options.
"What, no big guy this time? I kinda liked him. He gave me a nice tattoo...Sephiroth, right?" Crono egged him, inches away from his face.
"He doesn't have time to waste on you and that whore. Hey, by the way, is she good? I figured she was after I tangled with her, but I wasn't really sure." He fired back. Crono drove an uppercut into Alex's stomach, hearing the satisfying expulsion of air from the lungs and gagging.
"Good one, smartass. Keep it up and Ill use this." He shook the blade in his face. "What the hell are you doing here anyway?" Alex smiled wider.
"Oh, of all the things, O' great Kensai, you should know. Kensai? Damn, Crono, that's great!" He mocked Yuffie. Crono grabbed him by the collar, and slammed him back against the wall, putting the blade to his throat.
"Listen here. Start talking or start dying." Alex rolled his eyes.
"Wow, you are bad at this. Hell, why doncha' just go ask Yuffie, she's right there! Oh wait, no she's not! Hahah!" He crowed, pointing his finger.
"What?!" Crono turned around, his eyes widening. The mattress was bare.
The other one! Him!
The silver-haired man's fist landed full-speed on Crono's jaw, snapping his head sideways. He fell straight down, completely off balance. Moments later he heard the sound of shattering glass, undoubtedly Alex escaping through the window.
There was no time to clear his head, regain his bearings, or even pause to think. Staggering forward, Crono rushed to the window, to find Alex halfway down a cable that was attached to the wall by a spike. A black van with tinted windows was running and waiting for him at the bottom, three stories down. It was insane, just the thought of it. It was preposterous.
It was now or never.
Crono avoided the remaining jagged protrusions of glass, and pushed off the ledge with both feet, somersaulting out of the window. The wind slashed at him, tearing through his hair and rippling his loose clothing. One, two, three sets of lighted windows zipped by his falling body in a blur as he prepared for impact, kicking his feet out. His right leg landed first on the roof of the van, with a horrifying crunch, as he heard the bones in his lower leg shattering. It didn't matter. He couldn't feel anything anymore. Reversing his katana, he plunged it through the roofing of the car, ripping it to the side as a crinkled line appeared in the metal. As he made the next cut, he saw Alex let go of the cable, now on the ground, and begin limping rapidly toward the vehicle. He could worry about him now. With a kiai shout, he tore the next area of metal away, a triangular gap now where a solid surface once was.
"Yuffie! It's me!" He shouted down to her still body. She was slumped in a corner about five feet below him. He heard the passenger's side door slam. They were going to take off and fling him from the vehicle, a point at which he would not be able to pursue them from. Diverting from his immediate goal, he twisted to the side, ramming the blade down through the windshield, as he heard the brothers shout in surprise. The van began to lurch forward, the younger brother kicking it into gear. This time Crono aimed the blade at the driver, drew back, and stopped...something hit him in the side...
No!! Not now!!
A dart was lodged in his flank, a tingling feelinglessness sweeping across his body. The driver floored the gas, and the van streaked forward, Crono's body flying off the back, as he skidded across the rough pavement. Screaming, he tried to force himself to stand, but his leg was useless. He fell straight back down as the van tore out of the parking lot of the hotel, and out of sight. He pounded his bare knuckles against the ground.
No...goddammit, no...I can't believe it...
He let her slip through his fingers, just like sand. He'd failed her. The will to fight brutally kicked from his body, he submitted to the strange drugging effect of the syringe buried in his flesh. He didn't care.
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