So Close, But Yet.. So Far..

"Cloud, there seems to be tremors spreading around the Icicle Inn. Not normal ones, but the ones that one of the WEAPONS could generate. They've evacuated the whole area; they think that the tremors are coming from the Gaea Cliffs area. It seems that all the natives were..."

"Scared as hell?" Barret finished Red's sentence and looked at him.

Kay looked down; she had joined them yesterday when Tifa's new bar, which was located in Rocket Town, was ambushed by what seemed to be a new corporation. They had come in so fast and starting shooting everywhere that she didn't know what to do, in almost an instant Tifa was shot and unable to move on the ground. Marie figured, totally typical of course they leave it to me to make sure she doesn't die. She looked at Tifa's body and took a Materia from her pocket she looked into in and almost an instant a blue sea serpent was above the bar. With one whisper of "Tidal Wave.." everyone was washed up on the ground and Cloud was at the door with the others, who had heard all of the gunshots and ran to make sure Tifa was ok.

"Barret, do you really think that language is necessary?" Red looked around, he knew how much Barret loved to cuss, but Marlene was in the other room and he knew she could overhear them.

"Whatever. So Cloud what do you think we should do?" Barret looked around as Kai was nursing Tifa's arm.

"Cid, can you get the Highwind in shape for tomorrow?" Cloud looked over at Kai. He wasn't exactly sure if she was skilled in any fighting areas, but she proved to be of some help. She's the best healer I've ever seen besides from.. Aeris. He looked down. Why did he still have emotions for her even though he knew she was dead?

"Yup, but I gotta know, what the hell do you think we'll find over there?" Cid looked in his pocket for a cigarette and found one but couldn't find a match. "Damn.." he whispered.

"Here, I'll help you with that." Red let Cid light his cigarette with his tail.

"Well, I'm not exactly sure. With the Turks following us, I don't think it would be..." Cloud looked at the door as it swung open. Everybody had his or her weapons out by the time he looked.

"Actually, we're here to help you. I wouldn't exactly mind if you didn't get all the spotlight for once." Reno had his nightstick on top of his right shoulder, smiling and was looking around at Tifa, who he eyed greedily.

"You've got to be joking, you little Mother..."

"So you're saying you'll help us to find the source of this problem and how to stop it?" Kai stepped in and looked at Barret and muttered a fast sorry.

"And who the hell do you think you are to be calling us 'we'?" Yuffie eyed her suspiciously. She knew that Tifa and Cloud trusted her but she reminded her so much of Aeris that it was almost creepy.

"Keep to yourselves, let her speak." Vincent was getting fed up with how everybody was acting to someone who had just saved a member of their team.

"What do you want from us, if you help us with this problem?" Kai eyed Elena who was looking at Vincent with a smile.

"Nothing, just stop trying to kill us and well be fine." Rude glanced at Reno; he was getting tired of chasing around some guy with spiky hair and big sword. For all he cared he could rule the world, he just wanted to get back to a normal life.

"That's a lie. Tell me what you want from us." Kai pulled out a Materia from her pocket and all of a sudden Elena began to talk.

"We need you to help us take out the Tara Corporation. They're an old enemy of the Turks and they're rising in power. They're trying to create a new weapon in order to rule to the world. But only we can stop them if we work together. As you can see, this is going to call for desperate measures and plus Reno wanted to see Tifa again. She's all he been talking about since our last run in." Elena covered her mouth as Rude began to laugh, Reno glared at Elena.

"Why.. I oughtta.." Elena looked up at Kai. She was definitely pretty, almost beautiful and she seemed to be catching Vincent's eye. She had medium brown skin and dark brown hair that down to half her body that flowed along with the breeze, her bangs were almost identical to Aeris' but were a deep auburn. Kai wore a light blue tank top and a dark blue skirt with a buckle at the very front. Elena happened to notice that she wore many rings and bracelets and fought with.. she looked down at her gloves and noticed the rod that was behind her leaning on a chair. She seemed to be some type of cross between Tifa and Aeris with green eyes.

"Oh, just let it go. LET IT GO. Fine, you can come with us but if I find out this is a trick you're going to have hell to pay, got it?" Cloud stepped in between Kai and Elena eyeing Barret at the same time. "We leave tomorrow, the sooner this is over, the happier we'll all be."

"For Chris sake, nobody better touch my Highwind. You hear?" Cid had become very protective of the Highwind, it saved them a few times.

"Fine, and you," Reno pointed at Kai, "Keep that goddamn thing away from us." He pointed at the Materia that was in her hands.

"Don't talk to her like that!" Tifa stood up.

"Oh yeah? Make us." Elena walked closer to Tifa.

"Did you just threaten us!?" Cait stood up next to Kai.

"Excuse me? Ms. I-walk-around-with-a-blue-suit-and-a-gun-I-think-ill-seduce- vincent-tonight what did you just say?" Yuffie stood up next to Tifa.

"I dare you, take one more step." Reno glared at everyone.

"Who? Me? Her, him, or him?" Yuffie snapped back.

Cid got up, "Look, just shut the hell up all of you. And you know Reno, for once I gotta say; she's got a point. There's a lot more of us than there are of you." This seemed to be everybody's cue for they all got up and stood next to each other in a line except Cloud and Kai.

For minutes all you could hear was shouting and nobody seemed to be listening at all. Yuffie covered her ears and began to start singing to herself loudly and Elena and Tifa were glaring at each other that Cloud was scared they would begin to pull each other's hair.

"Please, stop.. JUST STOP!!!" Kai got up and looked at everyone as Cloud began to laugh.

"You guys look like the sorriest creatures I've ever seen. I'm going to sleep." He began to walk upstairs as Yuffie just came to her sense and took her hands off her ears.

"What happened?" She looked around at everybody who seemed to be looking at Kai.

Kai looked down, "I'm sorry.. it's just that I can't stand to see.." She looked up knowing they wouldn't care either way and ran out the door. Just then a window opened and Vincent seemed to have disappeared.

Red sighed. "You have to admit, we were being extremely immature."

Reno looked down at him; "I'm not taking any lessons from a talking.."

"Reno just drop it." Rude looked around. "I'm off to sleep. I'm taking the couch."

"..cat." Reno looked at Rude and shook his head then sat down on the couch with him to go to sleep.

"Guess that's our cue." One by one after glaring at one another Cait, Cid, Tifa, Barret, Red, and Yuffie walked upstairs.

"Where'd Vincent go?" Elena looked outside the window.

"Doesn't matter, just go to sleep." Reno looked up at the ceiling.

Elena sighed and lay down on the floor to get some rest.

Kai looked so much like Aeris it was almost insane, Cloud walked into the room he would be sharing with all the guys. He shook his head, he knew she was gone but Kai just seemed so much like her. Suddenly the door swung open and Red, Barret, and Cid walked into the room.

"What the hell were you thinking when you let them work with us?" Barret sat down on one of the chairs in the room.

"Thinking that we might just need some extra help if were going against a WEAPON." Cloud looked at Barret as he began to grumble.

"'Night, I suppose we had better get some sleep. Tomorrow will be a big day." Cid stretched out on his bed.

"Hey, where's Vincent." Red looked through the window.

+++

Kai sat down on the porch. She hated to see bickering among people, and to make matters worse these were the people that she would be working with for quite awhile.

"That was a very brave thing you did inside, we could've easily torn you apart." Vincent jumped down from the roof behind Kai but was looking in another direction.

"I hate to see people bickering and I have a feeling I'll be here for awhile." Kai didn't seem surprised that Vincent was there. That's a first, he thought to himself.

"You are very beautiful you know. You remind all of us, of an old friend."

"Thank you, I suppose but I think I already figured that out." She looked up at the stars. Actually, she sent me here, she thought.

"Who did you think we were talking about?" Vincent looked around he felt like he was being watched.

".........Aeris." Kai whispered as they both stood there in silence for a while. After what seemed like eternity, Kai heard the swish of a cape telling her Vincent had gone. But he didn't see the tear run down her face.

+++

"Red, wake up. I need to tell you something." Vincent stood above Red, shaking him.

Red yawned as he looked at Vincent, "What is it?"

Vincent sat next to him and told him about what had happened outside.

"So you mean, we were not the only friends Aeris had?"

Vincent shook his head. "Obviously not.."

"This could cause a lot of things. Should we tell Cloud?"

This time Vincent nodded looking at Cloud's bed to realize he had not been sleeping at all.

"Aeris..." Cloud looked up at Vincent and nodded. It was about time he should talk to Kai.

He closed his eyes and drifted into a deep sleep as his eyes began to open he saw Aeris standing over him through a blue mist. "Cloud, don't worry. I'm with you. Just stay safe.. please, understand what I'm doing."

"Aeris, don't leave us! You can't! I can't let you go again.. not after you're so close.."

"Cloud, be strong. Now, she's with you.... Now.. I'm with you.."

"Don't let go...AERIS!!"

He opened his eyes to see Kai looking down at him. "He's ok. He's just a bit tired." He looked around to see that everyone was in his room looking at him. Kai pulled out a Materia.

"We all got worried sick, you started screaming in your sleep about not letting something go. Then you said 'her' name.. and we knew for sure you were sick..." Tifa looked down, there was no need to explain whom 'her' was, Sephiroth killed her a while back. Cloud was too late to save her. She was a girl with light brown hair and green eyes.

Kai mumbled something and Cloud began to feel all his strength return to him. Funny he thought, I went to sleep to regain any lost energy and I just lost some from a dream. He shook his head, he knew he saw Aeris again, but what did she mean she was with him?

"Pack up everyone, were leaving in an hour." Cid looked down at Cloud.

"You sure 'bout that oh mighty Spiked one?" Cid looked at their spiked hair leader.

Cloud smiled. "Lets mosey."