Chapter 38: Epilogue
"Can't believe it's been a year already."
"I know what ya mean Cid. A year since we saved the planet from Sephiroth and a year since Spike, Aerith and Vincent died."
"Do you know if Tifa's visited the memorial yet Barret?"
"She did it first thing this morning. Spike would have been a lucky man. Do you think she's happy?"
Cid nodded. "As happy as I've ever seen her."
"I still don't understand that girl sometimes."
"Hey, you can't ever understand what a girl thinks. Trust me."
"Like you're complaining. Heck, ya even got a kid on the way. Where is Shera anyway?"
"I have her finalizing some calculations over there," Cid beamed affectionately as he pointed in her direction.
"Are you crazy Highwind, she's in a hard-hat area!"
"Shera's pregnant, not disabled!" Cid said defending his wife. "She does whatever she wants."
"Yeah, but does my Aunt know you've been letting her work on the construction site?"
"What you're Aunt don't know won't hurt her."
"Cid Highwind!" A loud voice boomed over the sound of all of the construction workers.
"I think you spoke too soon," Barret said as he back away from the looming figure of his Aunt Donna.
Donna glared down at Cid. "Highwind! You've got a lot of explaining to do."
"This is a hard-hat area woman! You can't be in here."
"Then you better get your pregnant wife outta here."
"For Christ's sakes, Shera's pregnant not dying. She can handle it!"
The noise and commotion caught the attention of the entire construction crew. They all paused from their work to stare and gawk at the mighty Cid Highwind getting chewed out by a nurse while Barret tried to placate the pair. Shera Highwind observed the scene with a fond smile on her face as she placed a hand on her stomach. It seemed that the more things changed, the more they stayed the same.
"I'm here live at the center of the newly built town of Edge in front of the Midgar memorial where President Rufus ShinRa is going to be giving a speech commemorating the first anniversary of the Meteor incident with a huge announcement to the world. With me are several spectators who have gathered for the announcement," the reporter said as she turned towards a couple. "Please introduce yourselves to the TV audience and let us know why you're here today?"
The man looked at the camera nervously before the woman beamed brightly and answered. "My name is Tina Lynn and this is my husband Mike. We're here because we moved into Edge after getting married a few months ago."
The reporter smiled. "Congratulations!"
"So I take it that you two are excited and curious about the President's speech?"
Mike stepped in to answer. "Yes, we're very excited. We both went through a lot when the Meteor incident took place and with all of the chaos that happened afterwards. We're just glad that we've been able to have a life after everything happened and can now look back on how things were versus how they are now."
"And they're a lot better now, aren't they?" The reporter asked.
"Oh yes, much better," Tina answered as she smiled at her husband.
"So any ideas on what the President is going to talk about today?"
Mike smiled knowingly before replying, "No comment."
"Oh, it seems like you have a little insider information?"
Tina laughed. "My husband does. He works in the ShinRa Army. But he won't tell me what the speech is about. Only that it will be big."
"Well thank you two for taking the time for the interview and congratulations on getting married," the reporter then turned towards another person. "Also with me today is one of the ShinRa executives who had been an integral part of the rebuilding process here, Mr. Thomas Wheeler. Thank you for your time Mr. Wheeler."
"Thank you Ms. Trepe."
"Mr. Wheeler, could you please tell us what sort of changes have taken place in the past year?"
"We've officially condemned all of the Midgar ruins. The government and the people decided that it was best to leave the ruined city alone. There had been too many lives lost and too much damage to the former city for any rebuilding efforts. All of our rebuilding efforts are being funneled into this city, Edge."
"How is the growth in the new city?"
"It's still a work in progress. Edge isn't going to be nearly as large as Midgar once was. Many of the refugees relocated permanently to some of the bordering towns such as Fort Condor and Kalm. But thanks to the engineering skills of Cid Highwind and the hard work of Barret Wallace, Edge has been able to house about a quarter of the former residents of Midgar and it's still expanding."
"That's certainly impressive. Am I also to understand that Mr. Highwind's wife Shera Highwind has also come up with some different sources of energy?"
"You're quite right. Thanks to Mrs. Highwind, we've been able to use other sources of energy such as coal and oil, cutting our mako consumption down by a third. Our goal is to tap into other forms of renewable energy sources like solar power or hydroelectric plants to completely wean ourselves off of mako-power."
"That's an ambitious, but admirable goal. So Mr. Wheeler, are you allowed to divulge any information about the speech that President ShinRa is giving today?"
"Sorry Ms. Trepe, but I'm not going to steal the President's thunder. I will say that it will be an interesting moment and I'm sure it will change things. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a few more duties to attend to before the President's speech," Thomas said as he looked into the camera.
"Thank you for your time Mr. Wheeler, it was a pleasure," the reporter extended her hand.
Thomas shook it firmly before responding. "The pleasure's all mine, Ms. Trepe."
The reporter turned towards the camera for one last time. "We have only a few more hours before the beginning of the announcement. As I'm sure you can see the town square is already filling up with people waiting for President ShinRa to arrive. I'll be here waiting to broadcast the speech as well as get people's reactions to it. Until then, this is Quistis Trepe reporting for Channel 8 news."
The screen on the old television wasn't working as well as it usually did, but that was mostly due to the number of people gathered watching the broadcast. The entire excavation crew from Bone Village crowed the television and interfered with the reception. Someone had to readjust the antennae during the entire broadcast.
But the quality of the screen did nothing to erase the vivid picture Autumn had of Thomas. He looked good: the expressiveness of his eyes showed through on the old screen. Once the broadcast finished, she decided that she hated the reporter for Channel 8 news, even if she didn't know her. Jealously was an ugly thing, but something she had to deal with because Autumn knew that if she had anyone to blame, she only needed to look in a mirror.
Unable to deal with her inner torment, she left the room to take a breather. The clean, crisp air did nothing to abate her guilt. There were too many 'what if's' running through her head.
"So that was him?" a familiar voice interrupted her thoughts.
Autumn faced her sister June and nodded. "That was the guy."
June scrunched her nose up in thought. "Didn't look all that good. I take it you had to meet him in person to get the full affect, right?"
"You know Autumn, I'm really surprised at you. You've changed so much. You used to be such a cold-hearted bitch, but now . . . now you're just listless."
Autumn rolled her eyes. "I can still be a bitch when I want to be."
"Yeah, but not the way you used to. Did you know that my boyfriends used to piss their pants when you would interrogate them? Your very presence kept Sol in line. Now you're nothing but a wallflower and Sol finally grew a set and joined the Turks. It's mindboggling."
"I killed a man, June. That changes everything. His name was Private Peter Edinburg, survived by his mother and father living in Icicle Inn. He was only nineteen."
June placed a comforting hand on her sister's shoulder hoping that would ease her pain. "Sorry, I shouldn't have been so critical."
"No, it's only fair. One of us has to be the strong one."
"Do you think you'll ever get to speak to him again?"
"I hope one day I will. But it'll never be the same between us. I chose an unforgiving profession and loved every minute of it. Did you know that I got Uncle Graham fired?"
"He was fired? I thought he retired from being a coroner after the whole Meteor incident."
Autumn shook her head. "Nope, my doing."
"Is that another reason why you've been beating yourself up the past year?"
"One of many."
June looked up at the sky in deep thought. "You'll be fine Autumn. Trust me."
"How do you know?"
"You've been writing something on that computer of yours for the past few months. I know you're doing more than archiving our records. Doesn't that mean something?"
Autumn smiled at her sister's astuteness. She had been writing that novel she had mentioned to Thomas all of those months ago. "I guess it does, doesn't it?"
"Of course it does! So what are you writing?"
"It's a story about redemption, forgiveness and doing the right thing."
"I can't wait to read it when it's done."
"Thanks sis," Autumn hugged June tenderly.
"Anytime. So ready to go back to watch the rest of the broadcast?"
Autumn nodded. She wasn't quite ready to absolve herself of all of her guilt, but it was a step in the right direction.
Flipping through the magazine, Elmyra glanced over the various articles detailing the lives of different people throughout the planet. They showed a picture of Nibelheim with several residents coming clean about the ShinRa cover-up that occurred there. Apparently, the former ShinRa workers only wanted to live quietly in the mountains like they were originally ordered to do, but this time as legitimate residents. Some of them even had children who had lived their entire lives there. The picture of a little boy holding a slingshot really captured the rustic lifestyle the townsfolk embraced.
There was a separate article detailing the interesting mix of cultures and people in Fort Condor where the local residents, the Wutai ninjas and the evacuees from Midgar have found an interesting harmony. It somehow all had to do with tending to the adolescent condor that lived on the top of the fort. Elmyra smiled at the picture of a little girl named Elly standing proudly between a high ranking Wutai official; the ShinRa executive, Eric Rivers; and one of the elders of Fort Condor while a massive bird spread its wings behind them.
She skipped over the advertisement for the brand-new wave machine at Gold Saucer that featured Dio's son, Ace. But the short article featuring the chocobo Princess Angelina caught her eye. The chocobo was slated to beat all of Teioh's old records and was doing it on her own two legs.
Elmyra almost dropped the magazine when she flipped to the next page. On it was a picture of everyone who had lost their lives during the Meteor incident and her adopted daughter, Aerith, smiled back at her. She knew that they were publishing this article, but actually seeing it brought tears to her eyes. The smile never left her face as she read it. They captured everything true and pure about the girl she raised.
"Auntie Elmyra, why are you crying?"
Elmyra wiped her face as she showed the article to Marlene. "Look sweetie, it's Aerith."
"The flower lady!"
"Yes, the flower lady."
"Do you think that she and Uncle Cloud are in the lifestream? Papa says that that's where everyone goes when they pass away."
Elmyra hugged Marlene. "Yes. I'm sure that's where they are. They're in their promised land."
The flames of the Cosmo Candle burned brightly across the dusty canyon. Nanaki, son of Seto, stood proudly before the residents with his life-mate, Kaya, by his side. A full-feathered headdress adorned his mane: a symbol of the newest elder for the Canyon replacing the late Bugenhagen. It wasn't long after Sersa's death that Nanaki's grandfather followed to join the lifestream. Nanaki stood before the eyes of the past, present and future; ready to address the crowd on a day of remembrance for what once was and what will be.
"We are of the soil and of the air. We encompass everything that brought us life and can easily be revoked of that in an instant. A year ago, many of our brethren lost their lives in a catastrophe that nearly took the life of our dear planet. But we were saved and so was the planet. As we stand on this day of remembrance for all those who lost their lives, we stand here not in sadness or regret, but in happiness.
"Happiness that their memories live on in the lifestream and that one day we will all be reunited. Our loved ones are with us in the air we breathe and the water we drink. They will continue to protect us as long as we protect the planet. Bugenhagen, Sersa, Vincent Valentine, Aerith Gainsborough and Cloud Strife; they are ones close to me who have passed over the year. But today, I do not remember them for the life that they could have lived, but instead I think about the life that they are giving to us and to the planet. Remember and rejoice."
The citizens of Cosmo Canyon all bowed their heads in respect as Nanaki finished speaking. Kaya nodded her head and gave her life-mate a smile, "It was a good speech."
"It was from the heart."
"And that is why it was a good speech."
The flames of the Cosmo Candle flared causing tiny flecks of ash to float into the air like fireflies. The tiny embers danced amongst the crowd in warm gratitude before being carried away like laughter.
Nanaki smiled. "Yes, it was a good speech. And I think that those in the lifestream liked it too."
Two elderly men sat on a pair of wicker rocking chairs on the front porch of a rustic home. This was not the life that he had pictured living a year ago; in fact, he had not pictured being alive at all: until he had met her.
Walter nodded his head. "You know, a man could get spoiled living life like this."
"Ain't nothing wrong with being a little spoiled, especially in our old age," Casey laughed.
"Did you ever picture yourself living this long? Hell, why did I even ask, of course you pictured it. It's just . . . different."
"Glad that someone actually beat some sense into ya."
Walter snorted. "Zangan chose wisely in teaching her. If anything, I think she's probably surpassed him in more than just the physical abilities. She's got a good head on her."
"She ought to. Never thought I'd see anyone ever talk you out of that damned agreement with Zangan. Blasted, meat-headed fools the both of ya."
"You never worked out in the field. It was all paper-pushing for you."
"Yeah, well, like a damned good anything you or I did for the company. At least the younger folk are fairing better," Casey said.
"They're carving out their own path by learning from what us old-timers have gone through rather than copying it. Have you heard the plans?"
"Yep. Rufus and Reeve ran it by me a while back. I tell ya, the company should have been split up a long time ago. There were times when I never knew if we were a corporation or a government."
"Business is business. Politics is politics. What more of a differentiation do you need?"
"It never was that easy to tell when we were still working. Never thought I'd see the day when something like Rufus's plan would ever happen," Casey sighed. "You probably never did either. Say. What did she say to you that day to make you change your mind?"
Walter closed his eyes as he spoke. "She told me that Zangan had written to her telling her how he could barely jump or move like he used to. He wanted his death because there was no more fight left in his body. Then she took one good look at me and said that I still had fight. My old bones weren't done yet and she was right."
Casey nodded his head. "Guess I gotta find something to keep you alive and kicking."
"I've already got a project that's been keeping me on my toes."
"Oh, what's that?"
"New recruits," Walter smirked.
The old friends shared a laugh as they reminisced about old times. It would be a ritual that they shared with each other on the wooden porch in Kalm until the day they passed on without much of a fight.
"So, do we need to go over everything again?" Reno asked as he sat in a plush couch with his feet propped on the coffee table.
Clubs shook his head while the remaining Turks said 'No.'
"Good, everyone has their places to keep the President covered. We'll be heading out in an hour. Sol, you go ahead and take your place in the Army and keep us apprised of any bad-mouthing."
The young teen saluted with a harmonica as he left the room whistling an old country tune Walter had taught him. The rest of the Turks sat in the lounge lazily waiting until it was time to secure the perimeter.
"Hey Reno?" Diamonds asked.
"I know that you like the codenames that were given to us, but why do you call Sol by his real name and not us?"
Reno scrunched his brow. "Dude, what are your real names anyway?"
"Theodore," Diamonds said.
"Bob," Clubs said.
"Dick," Spades said.
Hearts looked up at Reno and answered, "Gaylord."
Reno, Rude and Elena looked at the four men and all agreed on the same thing, "we're sticking with the codenames."
Father and daughter stood across from each other in a rare display of familial bonding. She lifted the teapot with practiced movements as she poured a cup for her father. The silk kimono was a far cry from her typical ninja attire, but this was a special occasion.
Old eyes studied his daughter with a mixture of pride and sadness. "She'd be proud to see you like this."
Yuffie smiled. "Mom always liked dressing me up."
"I don't mean your dress, though you look like the very picture of a Wutainese princess," Godo said. "You've grown. The time you've spent away on your travels has changed you into an adult."
Yuffie blushed at the praise. She didn't want to think of herself as an adult, she hadn't even turned eighteen yet. "I'm still a young whipper-snapper who can kick your butt any day of the week."
Godo scoffed. "I'm not going to give you credit for that. I'm still the Emperor and can put you in your place if need be."
"Oh yeah? Well, who was it who negotiated with ShinRa to make it so you could regain your title as Emperor and help restore Wutai to its former glory?"
Instead of the rebuke that Yuffie anticipated, Godo smiled as he took a sip of his tea. "And that's why you've grown dear child. It's your fiery spirit and steely determination that has lead you and our country back on track. Your mother would be as proud of you as I am."
"Dad," Yuffie said as she reached out and squeezed her father's hand.
"Now if only that spirit could be used to find yourself a suitable husband."
Yuffie rolled her eyes. "Geez, old man, you had to bring that up didn't you. And I was just about to give you some respect."
"Sort of like that surfer boyfriend of yours? What was his name anyway? Mace, face?"
"It was Ace. Besides, we broke up a few months ago."
Godo smirked. "Good. A boy who doesn't even know how to introduce himself to his host before scavenging the kitchen is not worthy of you."
"You know, you're not the only person who's given me shit about dating him so let's just drop it okay?"
A knock at the door stopped the argument as the father and daughter plastered cordial smiles on their faces. "Enter," Godo said.
The door opened as a ShinRa trooper entered and bowed. "Emperor Kisaragi, the General that you summoned from Fort Condor has arrived."
"Excellent, please send him in. Oh, do you know how long we have before the announcement?"
"Probably another hour or so. I'll come to escort you and your party when it's time."
"Thank you," Godo bowed his head slightly, dismissing the trooper who left the room.
"Gawd, another hour? I wish I brought a magazine with me to read. So who did you summon from Fort Condor?"
"That runt? I still can't believe that you made him a General."
Godo smiled knowingly. "He's grown. And it was only fitting that he became a General since he was one of the five pagoda warriors."
Yuffie brushed the comment aside. "Please, I beat all of them and you a while back. I can do it again if I wanted to."
Her father said nothing, merely drinking his tea. When he heard the knock on the door, he watched his daughter carefully as he gave the visitor permission to enter.
Yuffie watched the door open expecting to see a short kid with a child's face. Instead, what walked through the door was a tall boy with the face of one who was almost a man. Sharp eyes took in everything about the room, including her.
"Emperor Kisaragi, Princess Yuffie," General Shake greeted.
"General Shake, it is good of you to join us today. How are things at Fort Condor?"
"They are well. The natives have been more than hospitable to us and are considering having a unit of Wutai soldiers stationed there permanently along with the ShinRa soldiers," the young General answered while trying to maintain eye contact with Godo. But his eyes kept on drifting to Yuffie who still hadn't closed her mouth since she saw him enter.
Of course, this never escaped Godo's keen eyes as he watched the teenagers. "Oh, how rude of me. You both probably haven't spoken to each other in over a year, yes? Let me leave you two alone so you can catch-up while I run to the restroom."
Yuffie looked at her father with bewilderment and a bit of appreciation as her mind kept on drifting to the more muscular and hotter Shake that was in front of her. Shake blushed as he tried to conceive of how the tomboyish Yuffie could look stunning in an elegant kimono.
Before either teen could reply, Godo had left the room and closed the door with a resounding click. Outside the room, a few ShinRa troopers that were standing guard looked at the Emperor of Wutai in curiosity. Godo was walking down the hall with a grin plastered on his face as he muttered the words, "you're still thirty years too young to top me Yuffie. Too soon, too soon."
He sat staring at the document, marking it up with a pencil. The text had been edited countless times by himself, Reeve, Thomas and even Tifa. They all said that it was a good speech, but Rufus felt that there were a few parts that lacked depth and feeling. He always had been a perfectionist. After reading the document for the umpteenth time, Rufus dropped his pencil and let his eyes wander to give himself a short break.
The office that he had in Edge lacked the splendor and grandiose of his former office in the ShinRa Tower, but after everything he had been through the small room was a welcome sight. Tifa had helped him decorate it, filling it with pictures and various trinkets. There were always fresh flowers placed in a vase near the window: a tribute to Aerith Gainsborough. Next to it was the first posthumous award he had ever given as President of ShinRa. It was a framed medal and certificate honoring Cloud Strife with the official rank of SOLDIER, First Class. Tifa had a copy mailed to Nanaki so he could put it next to the Ultima Blade at Cloud's memorial.
Rufus wished that he and Cloud could have gotten a chance to know each other. Perhaps in another lifetime or in another universe they could have been friends. But that probably would have been a world where he would be leading and living another life without her and that was one thing he refused to relinquish. He smiled as he heard the sound of heels clacking along the wooden floor of his office.
"Did you change the speech again?"
Rufus graciously took the steaming cup of coffee as he let his fingers linger over the delicate skin of the woman who graced his presence. "Thanks. This is just what I needed."
"What you need is to stop fretting over the speech," Tifa chided. "You're going to be giving it soon. Changing anything now will just throw you off. Of course, unless you wanted to take Reno's suggestion and start telling lewd jokes."
"Believe it or not, one of them made it into that last draft we had been working on. He had one of the Turks hack into my computer as a test of the securities and firewalls on our network."
"Let me guess, they also changed your desktop to a badly photo-shopped picture of Sephiroth's head on the body of a naked woman?"
Rufus shuddered. "They got your computer too?"
"Unfortunately. Reeve and Chris were the only ones to get by unscathed. They're already working on getting all of the computers upgraded." Tifa walked behind Rufus and rubbed his shoulders to relive any tension. "Try to relax."
"Thanks Tifa," Rufus said as he reached for her hand and gently squeezed it. He could feel her hair tickling his skin as she worked to loosen his muscles. He had fallen in love with her when her hair had been short, but now that she'd grown it out, he found himself completely at her mercy. The fact that she now wore pencil skirts and silk blouses as part of her job also helped. "Are you still thinking about that new position I offered you?"
"Any word on when you'll tell me whether you accept or not?"
Tifa leaned down to wrap her arms around his neck as she rested her cheek against his. "It's a tough decision. This would be a huge change. I feel a little under-qualified as it is helping Reeve's wife with all of the new orphanages and schools. I don't know if I'm ready for any new responsibility."
"The title would only stay for two years at most while we remain in transition."
"That's only assuming that you and Reeve aren't voted in to continue serving."
"A lot can happen in two years. I doubt that I'd be able to change my image that much that people would be willing to vote for me in a general election, don't forget the fact that this would be the first general election to vote for the leader of the only governing body on the Eastern Continent."
Tifa moved to face Rufus as she spoke. "You're wrong about that. In case you haven't noticed, the people love the new you . . . I love the new you."
Rufus smiled as he rubbed the empty space on Tifa's left hand. "But not enough to give me an answer yet. You could be the premier First Lady of the World Regenisis Organization. It's groundbreaking."
She smiled shyly as she bent down to give him a kiss. "You know I'm not the type to marry you for the title. It's precisely because of the title that I'm not sure."
Rufus pursed his lips in thought for a moment. "You know I would give all of this up for you, right? You need only say so and I'd do it."
"I know. But I'm not a selfish woman. You're the type of man that needs to be in a position of power to guide people. It's your gift. I could never take that away from you, especially when the world is in dire need of someone to help lead."
"Then I won't run when the time comes for elections. I'll just say that I'm the transitional President and nothing more. Reeve can run and pick someone else as his VP."
Tifa shook her head. "You and Reeve make a great team. And if you both are going to do as well as I think you will it would stall the progress that you're trying to create."
"What would you have me do to make you say 'yes'?" Rufus asked.
"Simply leave out the titles. I don't want to be known as the First Lady of anything."
"Then what do you want to be called?"
Tifa smiled. "Your wife."
Rufus chuckled. It was such a simple request he should have figured it out long ago. "Consider it done. So now will you agree to marry me?"
"Good, because I'm tired of keeping this ring in my pocket. I'd rather see it on you," he said as he took out a diamond ring. It was fashioned to resemble the one her mother used to wear. By itself, the ring seemed to be a far cry from the tastes of the most powerful man in the world; but once it fit snugly to Tifa's finger, the ring bore an elegance and grace in its simplicity.
They kissed with a renewed passion. It was a kiss that simmered on the edge of molten desire, but was kept in check by their professional demeanor. It simply wouldn't do to have Rufus ShinRa give a global broadcast with lipstick smeared on his lips and his hair looking like he had had a romp with his fiancée on his desk.
"We should stop. You need to get ready now," Tifa said in a breathy whisper.
Rufus took a deep breath. "Right. It's time now."
Tifa reluctantly disentangled herself from Rufus while he straightened his suit. Gathering his papers, he adjusted his tie and ran his fingers through his hair. "How do I look?"
Tifa smirked. She flicked a few loose strands of his perfectly combed hair. "Now you're ready."
Rufus returned her smile and walked arm-in-arm with her towards the stage. He ignored the stares and whispers as he and Tifa entered the view of the crowd. He ignored the flashes of cameras and microphones that were thrust his way or the way the Turks pushed the crowd back. The only thing he could see was the podium.
Television cameras all pointed in his direction as his face was projected onto the many large projector screens throughout the city. He was certain that the public and many news outlets had spotted the new jewelry that adorned Tifa's left hand. The thought brought a smile to his lips as he set the papers down on the podium and looked to his right where Tifa stood smiling at him encouragingly. Though he didn't look, he knew that Reeve and his wife stood to his left while Thomas, Eric and Chris were next to them. He could feel Yuffie's eyes staring holes into Tifa's ring and Emperor Godo's eyes burning holes into the back of his head, waiting until he got to the part on his speech about liberating Wutai. The crowd watched him silently anticipating the mere movement of his lips. It was time.
"Citizens of Gaia. I come here today to speak to you about a new era of unity and peace . . ."
And all of Gaia listened to his voice as he spoke of freedom, peace and choice. Historians would say that this day marked a turning point in the political world. However, the change was at least a year in the making when an arrogant young businessman bore witness to the near destruction of the world due to man's hubris. Sephiroth tried to eradicate all hope and dreams with Meteor. What Sephiroth didn't envision was that hope and dreams would overcome death and despair as Meteor became the catalyst the world needed to change for the better.
Final A/N: It's finally over. After seven years of writing I'm finally done with this story! I have no doubt that there are many continuity glitches in the story. I probably spelled some characters' names two different ways (i.e. Aeris, Aerith) and killed off characters from the game that didn't actually die (i.e. Tseng). I did start writing this long before they even announced Advent Children or any of the Compilation of FF7. I tried to not let the Compilation influence me too much in the direction the story was going to go because I had a pretty set plot. There were a few changes, such as changing Lucretia's character. I had originally had her to be much more likable; then I played Dirge of Cerberus.
I actually started this more on a whim when I was in a writing challenge mood to try and write a convincing Tifa pairing story. Tifa is my favorite character from the Final Fantasy series so I wanted to have some fun with that. The storyline with Rufus's half-brother was really intriguing so I went with that and what started as a fun story grew into a monster. I didn't realize the type of legs that this story would grow or that I would end up writing this much.
As much fun as it was writing it, I am glad that it's finally over. This story has weathered a lot through the ages. Throughout the culmination of writing this, I've gotten engaged, married and had a kid. Probably in a few years I'll reread the entire thing and fix all of the glaring errors that are in it (because there is no doubt in my mind that there are many). To end this rant, I'd like to thank everyone who has stayed with this story from the beginning or who may have joined in the middle. It's been a long journey, but I hoped you've enjoyed it.
List of known plot inconsistencies within the story:
-Chapter 2 Rufus said that he first met AVALANCHE during the time his father died. Chapter 18 where during the time when Rufus's father died he was drinking with Reno and half-brother with AVALANCHE
-Tina Cross v. Tina Carter (one of my OCs)
-Barrett v. Barret
-Ultima Blade v. Ultima Weapon (one is a sword Cloud can equip and the other is an enemy)
There are probably more, but these are the ones off the top of my head.