--sings-- And so I'm back! From outer space! --stops-- Okay not really… So sorry for the delay in my writings people! Since September I've had a lot of work to do for school and have had no inspiration. I have at least some of that again, so I'm putting it to good use! Unfortunately, it's inspiration for another new story… I promise to continue Angel's Child. But for now, enjoy this new fiction brought to you by yours truly. And since I can't fit all of this on the summary on the listings page, here's a full description:

During the Meteor Crisis, Hojo was killed. Through the following years, his Jenova experiments were thought to have been gradually, but completely, wiped out. But two survived, as the remnants of the Shinra Company and the Turks find out ten years after Hojo's death. One experiment, left for dead two years after Meteor, has gone into hiding and cannot be found. But one was secretly used as a test subject… not even he knew Jenova was inside him; and it's one of Shinra's own, the last any employee would ever have expected… including him and his wife. Shinra attempts to "hide him" from the other experiment, to prevent another coming of Sephiroth… this is where things go terribly wrong…

This is heavily inspired by role-playing with my boyfriend Shaun and best friends Soul Vagabond and Jo; at least the character in particular that has Jenova in him is inspired. Also, you will see many connections to my other fiction Angel's Child in relation to this man's past; but I'm not telling who the guy is until chapter two mwahaha! But if you're smart you'll figure it out. I also give Soul Vagabond credit to the creation of the character Sierran, who will be featured only briefly; though she has been altered some to fit the FF7 world, she is still copyright of Soul Vagabond not me. I also give thanks to my good friend Alex for helping me work out a few bugs in this fiction's plot and course, and for editing. And of course, thank you Square-Enix for creating the FF games in the first place.

A/N: This fiction does not follow Advent Children, Before Crisis, or Dirge of Cerberus exactly. I have yet to see AC since I am a good, law-abiding citizen and am patiently waiting for the US release; I live in the US and not Japan nor do I have a cell phone, so I don't care about BC much; and DC has not come out in the US yet and I refuse to (purposely) read any possible spoilers since I want a fresh start on the game for once. And since I have yet to see/play any of these, I would appreciate if you do not flame me for not following them and please do not correct me. If you correct me (a.k.a. give spoilers that I don't use in here already), I shall smite you.

A/N: Last note I promise! Sorry this is so long. --sweat-- To avoid confusion, this is what I'm doing: I'm going to post the first chapter as a flashback told in the first-person point of view. In other words, chapter one will cover the main character's past life as he saw it. From chapter two onwards, it will be told from the third person point of view. That is to say, in a narrative way with no "I, you, me, we, etc" with the exception of dialogue. Also, the more important/memorable parts have the most detail. I'm awaiting my editor's notes so I might be replacing this chapter with one that's better edited; I'll put a message on the front of these Notes if I change it so keep an eye out if it's not there by the time I post chapter 2, then I didn't edit. And now, since I've taken up almost 1 whole page in Word with notes… Onto the story!

Chapter 1: Flashbacks

Growing up, I remember that it was rare I could have fun… I could never afford to see a movie or go to dinner with friends unless they paid. Even then, it was rare I had time. I was almost always at school during the day, working the evenings, and then sleeping at night. Since I needed to work to support our family, I remember being allowed a leave of absence from school an hour before the rest of the students were allowed to leave. Everyday that I would pack my things, I received two kinds of stares… One was from those who were jealous; they were the ones who either didn't care or truly didn't know that we were struggling, they only envied that I was leaving school before them. But I hated the other set of stares more… those were the stares from those who knew exactly what was going on, those who pitied me for living in poverty. Humph… if they pitied me so much, why didn't they help me out, give a little money or food to help out? Why did they merely stare as I prepared to leave…? Looking back now, I can't help but wonder if they had helped me, would things have turned out differently… it doesn't matter anymore though. They all died ten years ago when Meteor struck… but that comes later.

I suppose the worst part of my childhood was when I was fifteen. I had gone for a walk… it was a beautiful day out (well, as beautiful as the slums could get), but there was a scent of rain approaching, rain that would never reach the ground I was walking on, the dirt of the Midgar slums. Anyway, my little brother Bao, seven years younger than I, was being a pain in my ass as usual. I managed to slip out of the house one day when I had no work. He didn't notice until I was a good distance away. When I returned a few hours later, I found him crying on the front step. When I asked what was wrong, he said,

"I wanted to go with you. I wanted to take a walk, too. When I left, I heard mommy scream… I came back and I looked in the window… m-mommy and daddy are dead!"

I couldn't believe it so I went in to see for myself… My black father was lying on the floor with his throat cut… And my white mother was rather blue in the face; from the cuts on her neck, I think she was strangled. I left the house and asked who did it. Bao couldn't answer; he hadn't seen the man's face. Then I ran… I got as far as I could as fast as I could. Bao caught up to me… but I pushed him down. I pushed him to the ground and kept going, never looking back until I got to the outer fence of the slums… I remember it was indeed starting to rain outside of the city. At the fence… I broke down and cried. I don't know how long I was there, but I cried until a guard walked past and told me I had to step back unless I was going to leave the city.

I lived on the streets for a few days before I saw anyone I recognized, amazingly. I saw Bao walking to school one day. I approached him, but he gave me a hateful look. He told me he was in a foster home… that the Turks were searching for me to put me in one. I tried to apologize, to make him forgive me… the last thing he said was, "You promised mom and dad you'd look out for me… you promised to protect me. You broke your promise to our parents. I hate you." Then he ran off to school. Later that day, I made my decision… I let the Turks catch up to me, but instead of going to a home, I told them I wanted to join. They agreed… and took me to their training hall. I started a week later as a gunman trainee. I was going to track down the bastard that killed my parents… the bastard that tore my family apart. I was going to track him down… and kill him.

Three years passed as a trainee… and it was in three years that I failed everything I was taught. I just didn't have what it took… but the Turks saw promise in me. So they switched me to hand-to-hand combat in my fourth year. It was then that I met Reno. It was then that we were stuck in a dorm together, and found immediately that we loathed one another. Fortunately, I excelled in this course. I passed my first year with flying colors, as did this Reno guy.

I suppose I should discuss Reno a bit… I remember when I saw him, I was rather skeptical of his abilities and who he said he was. For one thing, he was a real smart-ass; for another, he had one red crescent under each eye. I was amazed that he was allowed in, for I knew that tattoos under one's eyes signified that he or she was not straight. I also knew that Shinra did not want any gay or bi men or women among the ranks; why this was so I'll never know, but those were the rules. Despite accusations that he was bi or gay, Reno swore that he merely liked how the tattoos looked. To my amazement, Shinra bought the story.

It was the middle of the second year we were Turk trainees together. I was studying in our room when I heard Reno arguing with someone outside. I took a glance and saw a man with a resemblance to Reno yelling at him. They were yelling back and forth, the entire compound heard… The man was accusing Reno of being gay, and he wanted Reno to leave the Turks. The man swung his fist at Reno, but he dodged and punched back. After the other man left, I waited for Reno to come inside. When he did come, I asked him what happened. The man had been Reno's father, Kalm's local drunk as it were. It turns out, Reno was bisexual after all. He joined the Turks after his father caught him starting to get rather intimate with his boyfriend. His father beat him nearly everyday and killed his mother from an extremely violent beating almost ten years before (this was never investigated as both Reno's parents claimed she fell down the stairs); he nearly killed Reno the day that he found him in bed with his boyfriend, as he was apparently against anyone who wasn't perfectly straight. I gave Reno some advice and, against my better judgment, a shoulder to cry on and an ear to talk to. I guess it was this incident that led us to become friends, though we didn't become close for another year and a half.

It was about seven months after Reno's father came that we were fully initiated as Turks. And it was at the initiation party in the Seventh Heaven bar that I met the most beautiful woman I had ever seen…Her name was Sierran. She had black hair and the most beautiful red eyes… Every time I saw her, she wore a deep red shirt, blue jeans, and a vest of violet and gold. When we met, she was an entertainer. She performed magic tricks and told us our fortunes, what would happen to us later. When I spoke to her about my future, she said that I would soon fall in love with someone I could not be with… and if I pursued that love, I would lose it in the harshest and most painful way possible. But I refused to heed her warning; I waited until she was leaving and I walked with her for a while. I saw her a few more times. Hells… the third time we saw each other, I managed to work up the nerve to kiss her… It's one of only a few sensations I will never forget. That… and the last two times we saw each other.

We were dating secretly for months. It was almost one year when we slept together… I met her in the slums outside my old house. I took her to the Shinra tower, and snuck her in through the back staircase, which I thought was never monitored. I took her to the roof and we sat up there, watching the stars. We went down to my room a few hours later, since Reno and I didn't share a dorm anymore, and we made love… and it was that night I told her why I joined the Turks, and that the minute I quit I intended to marry her. She only smiled and said that if we were still together when I quit, she would graciously accept.

The next night we had another date… but she never showed up. I waited until late that night but I never saw her. The next morning, all Turks and Shinra personnel were called down to the shooting range. The president called me forward, and handed me a pistol. He pointed at the end of the range and told me to shoot the target. I had raised my gun, but before I pulled the trigger I heard my name come from the target. It was Sierran… Somehow Shinra found out… somehow they got to her. I looked at the president and refused to follow through.

"You need to learn a lesson. You know we have rules about having intimate relationships. Prove your worth as a Turk. Shoot her. That's an order."

But I still refused… it wasn't until the president threatened to kill her, my brother, and myself that I agreed… but it wasn't even that. As he threatened this, I watched a guard throw her to the ground and start to beat her. I fired at the guard… but my gunman skills had not improved. I missed him… and I hit her in the chest. I walked up to her numbly, and very faintly heard the president tell me to finish it. I told her I was sorry and I loved her, then I shot her in the head…when the president took his gun back, I retired to my room. Reno couldn't even sway me to leave.

It wasn't until a week had gone by, and I was given a mission, that I left… it wasn't until I got the mission I had wanted since I joined that I was able to find the strength to come out and perform my duties. I had been put on the team that would track down a serial killer who for years had been targeting interracial couples. The only negative part about it was that Reno was my primary partner.

Reno and I researched the information on the case for almost two months. We finally had enough information to track him down. Shinra wanted him alive to send him to trial. But I was out for blood. I wasn't going to take him prisoner. The moment I saw him, I was going to kill him. Reno and I got the information, and when the rest of our team went off-duty, we set off in my helicopter. We found him just past the swamp, on the way to Fort Condor to seek refuge. But we managed to stop him. Unfortunately… when we injured him enough to stop… we recognized him as Reno's father. We questioned him just to make sure we had the right man, but I knew immediately that we did. I held my gun to his head, to insure that I would not miss, and asked Reno if he wanted me to kill him. In that moment, I knew how brave Reno really was… I saw what kind of Turk material he had, and I saw great promise in him… I must admit... it scared me. It scared me… to see the look on his face. The coldness in his eyes and the stillness in his face when I asked permission to kill his father… he hesitated only long enough to stare his father in the eye, to let his eyes say to his father "I hate you bastard… you've deserved this for a long time." Then without further hesitation, he said, without breaking eye contact, "Kill him." As he walked back to the helicopter, his father pleaded with me to let him live… he shouted curses at Reno's retreating back. But I did not sway. I shot him between the eyes. He didn't even scream.

It was only after his body fell limp that I saw the active grenade in his hand. I only managed to get a couple of feet farther back before it went off… it was a homemade grenade, so my body was bombarded with pieces of metal that would not have been there otherwise. The blast swept me off my feet, throwing me hard to the ground. My glasses shattered… I felt blood on my face, and one of my eyes still has a tiny scar from where a small piece of my glasses scratched it. Reno came to my side and radioed for help. But I begged him to leave… I had done what I joined the Turks to do, and as much as I wanted to find Bao and gain his forgiveness… I was ready to die. Reno kept talking to me though, and as soon as a medical helicopter was within my hearing range, everything else went black…

This is where my past becomes clouded…I don't remember waking up until a good two months went by. But… my body was completely healed. The scars were very faint. And my muscles… as much as I expected them to have atrophied, they were even stronger than they had been before I was injured. I had no trouble getting up and walking; I was even able to do pushups and pull-ups and running the next day. At the time, I did not think too much about it. I felt lucky…but at that time, I was still unaware as to the kind of man my doctor was… Dr. Hojo.

Though I must say, I got a pleasant surprise. Reno, it seems, had barely left me while I was bedridden. He told me there were periods of time each day that I was not allowed visitors, but I didn't care. I had a friend, my first since I had joined the Turks. When he told me he'd watched over me, I felt that I could trust him. Over the next few weeks, we were barely apart; we learned every little detail about each other's lives. To this day, I've never been so close to anyone except perhaps my wife… but there are times I doubt I am even so close to her.

Two weeks after I awoke, I approached the president's desk. I laid my resignation on his desk, placed my badge and my gun and my taser next to it, and turned to go. But I stopped when he asked if I really wanted to quit. When I said I did, he sighed and shook his head. He told me that if I really wanted to quit, they would have to execute me, as I knew too much about the company. I didn't care; I just wanted out… but then he said Bao would be killed, too. He said that they couldn't take a chance that I told my brother what I knew. I begged and pleaded with him to change his mind, to kill only me, but he stood firm. Hojo caught my eye in the room as I gave in to the president and gathered my things, ripped up my resignation. Hojo approached the president as I left. I heard him say, "You made a good choice. The man is very attached to his brother, excellent rouse, sir. Besides, after what I did to him, I do not wish to lose him."

I never got a chance to ask Hojo what he meant. After that day, I was put on assignment to follow the actions of a new terrorist group called AVALANCHE. I went on to work against them for another three years. Then when I was twenty-four years old, I felt my first hint of fear that I had since my parents died… that fear came from another bout of love. Fortunately, this love ended better than my love for Sierran…

Nine years after I joined the Turks, the small town of Nibelheim was the topic of great excitement. To start, monsters had been seen coming from the Mako Reactor in the mountains. A group of SOLDIERs, led by General Sephiroth, were dispatched to dispose of them. Only a few days after they left, a group of us Turks were assigned to go to Nibelheim. When we got there, the entire city was in flames. I learned later that Sephiroth had found out he was the Jenova Project, and went mad as a result. We split up; a small group went to the Reactor while the rest surrounded the town.

I was working alone that night, and I'm glad I was. I looked up and turned from the town as I heard someone walking down from the reactor. I ran up to the hunched man and told him that all survivors were to come with the Turks for questioning. Then he turned… He was an older man, whose name I learned later was Zangan, and he was a martial arts sensei. But I didn't pay attention to him. Over his shoulder was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen since Sierran… looking back now, this girl was even lovelier than Sierran was. Her hair was long and dark brown, and her skin was fair. She was wearing a white shirt and a vest, skirt, and boots that were all a matching brown color. As Zangan pleaded with me to let him go to Midgar to get her fixed up, I saw why she needed a doctor; her stomach had been sliced open. I watched her blood fall to the ground. I finally told him to be silent. I laid her on the ground, and inspected her injury. It was deep… I didn't need to ask what happened to know that Sephiroth's sword had done it; I had seen his handiwork before. I looked up at Zangan, and I told him to leave her with me. I got him to trust me to take her to Midgar and get her to a doctor. As I told him this, the girl opened her eyes. And as I looked into the dark brown orbs, I became obsessed with her. She stared at me a moment, then tried to get up. She threw a punch at me, but I easily grabbed her soft, gentle hand.

"You're a Turk… You work for Shinra, it's all Shinra's fault that my father is dead and my town destroyed… Fucking bastards…" she muttered at me. Still she tried to get up. I reasoned with her the best I could, doing my best to gain her trust. "Why should I trust you? Shinra has done nothing to help me or my friends… you got Zack and Cloud ki-" I never let her finish the sentence. I planted my lips gently to hers and held her hands tightly to keep her from thrashing around. When I kissed her, she went very still. I took care to hold it a long moment. When I pulled away, she opened her eyes again (they seemed to have closed during the kiss) and stared. I told her that if I didn't want to help, I would not have kissed her. I told her my name, and she gave me hers: Tifa Lockhart. She thanked me, and took something from her neck. She laid it in my hand and fainted again. I pocketed the item without another thought and took her to my helicopter; by this time, the others were leaving. I was off-duty after the mission, so I took her to my old home. I cleaned the house, patched her up, and hid her there. When I got her comfortable, I looked at the item she gave me. It was a gold necklace with an opal pendant. Her name was inscribed in it… I put it around my neck and to this day refuse to remove it, despite my attempts to return it to her (she refuses each time I try).

Zangan never came to us, despite the promise he made that he would come back for her once he got the chance. I suspect he might have gotten captured or even killed… But at any rate, Tifa took a couple of days to wake. I kept her fed and warm, and took care of her the best I could. It took nearly one month for her to be able to walk properly again… In that month, we became close… we told each other everything. Except me… I told her nothing about my parents being interracial, or what I knew of Shinra, or even Sierran. Now that I look back, I wonder why I didn't leave the Turks then, it would have been so easy… but I did not. And I wonder now if I had left the Turks then, would my life have turned out as good as it is now…?

She remained at my old house for nearly six months total. It was at the end of the sixth month that I finally found Tifa a job. I got her a job as a waitress in the Seventh Heaven bar, and told her that until she could find a better home, she could use my old one. She thanked me and gave me a long, gentle kiss for my trouble. I don't think my blushing went away for two weeks. During my six months with her, I was able to retrieve a large number of my family pictures and personal belongings. I was lucky my house never got ransacked… As for Tifa, after she left to work at Seventh Heaven I rarely saw her again. I was able to stop in every so often for a few drinks, but it was hard to find the time… It was another five years before we were together again, if only for a few minutes.

Five years after I met Tifa, Sephiroth returned. He killed the president of Shinra; his son Rufus took over. During that year Reno destroyed the Sector 7 slums in which I had grown up (he dropped the Midgar plate on it), Aeris the last Ancient was killed, Tseng and Rufus were almost killed, and my love for Tifa grew stronger. I fought her during those long, though few, months. Though I thought of Tifa often, I could not help but feel a pull towards someone else… When Shinra asked for volunteers to go after Sephiroth, I did not hesitate to add myself to the ranks. I felt… attracted to a point. Whether it was an attraction towards killing Sephiroth, allying myself with him, or inadvertently committing suicide, I'll never know. I take it back… I know now. But that comes later… much later. Anyway, as Sephiroth fought against us, he summoned a Meteor. We tried to destroy it… and we failed. It hit Midgar, obliterated it. But shortly before it did, I got a call on my cell phone… the reception was awful. But I could make out a little of the voice… "It… Bao… forgive… brother…" After that the other phone was cut off. I was wrought with disbelief… It couldn't have been my brother. But I had no more time to think about it; Rufus had been injured by the Sister Ray cannon's attack on Diamond Weapon, and he needed my assistance. As we doctored him, Meteor hit Midgar. I looked out the window and watched as a wave of green light overpowered it; I found out later from Tifa that it was Holy, that Aeris had summoned it before she died. When it was over, Reno, Elena, and I went into Midgar to find survivors. I went to my old house one last time… and lying on the ground I saw my brother. He was under a pile of rubble… there was a large puddle of blood under him. But he was still alive… I knelt by him slowly and tried to help him but I was unable… He managed a smile when he saw me.

"Hey… you know… you looked better with hair," he laughed. I had started going bald several years before, sometime during my training. Premature balding is a curse in my family. But I don't complain about it, I think I look like an idiot with hair anyway. I laughed at what he said. He was already very thin himself and I pointed it out to him. We sat laughing at each other for a long time… it felt so natural to be with him, to be brothers again. Finally, as he was barely alive anymore, he started crying. I held him, and apologized. He told me he had forgiven me long ago, that it was in the past. But it wasn't until recently that he was able to contact me. I told him our parent's killer was dead, which put another smile on his face. Bao let me hold him… and with his last breath said, "I love you… goodbye." I said the same back to him, and held his body for a long time. I don't remember crying, but when Reno came to get me to leave, my face was heavily stained, as was my brother's face from the tears I shed. I buried him outside the city, where my parents were laid to rest. I still go to see them five times a year: once on each birthday, and once for each death day.

Two years went by quietly, but then all hell broke loose. Three of Sephiroth's clones had lived through Meteor, and they wanted him back. A disease called Geostigma also broke out among people with Jenova or Mako inside them. Cloud had it, as did many children. For a while, Reno, Rufus, and I were afraid we would get it; after all, Shinra employees were given Mako injections to make them crueler, more able to do their jobs. But we never got it. At least, Reno and Rufus didn't. I had one of the mildest cases. Had I not seen a doctor to diagnose it, I would not have guessed that I was inflicted. But it went away quickly, and the clones were all killed. Unfortunately I cannot give all of the details… Cloud was involved more than the Turks were. I should ask him later about it…

A few months after the clones were destroyed, Reno, Rufus, and I went to Wutai for the Leviathan Festival. We felt that we deserved a break. While we were there, we bumped into what remained of AVALANCHE: Cloud Strife, Barret Wallace, Nanaki, Vincent Valentine, Yuffie Kisaragi, Marlene Wallace, Denzel Lockhart (Tifa adopted him after the crisis; he was one of the children inflicted with Geostigma), Cid and Shera Highwind (who were preparing to have a baby it turns out), and Tifa Lockhart. When I saw her, I literally froze in my tracks. I had never seen her like she was then. Her hair was in a bun, and she was wearing a white silk kimono. I swear to the gods she looked like an angel… We talked for a few minutes, and then our groups went separate ways. Later that night, I took a walk to see Tifa. As I walked, I saw her sitting with Cloud. She was speaking to him quietly. He said something in return, and stroked her face. I stopped and watched silently as she took his hand away. Tifa was biting her lip and staring at the ground. Cloud lowered his face, too, and closed his eyes, speaking in a low voice. She only shook her head and smiled, but I could tell it was forced. As Cloud stood, she grabbed his arm and said something else. He smiled and nodded, then kissed her slowly. He walked back to the hotel and left Tifa sitting there. She closed her eyes and rubbed the bridge of her nose with her fingertips. As I walked up, I saw she was crying. So I sat next to her and wrapped an arm around her. She jumped, but smiled a little when she saw that it was me. Tifa laid her head on my chest and told me what had happened. She had told Cloud that she loved him, but he didn't return it. He was still too attached to Aeris, and had no feelings stronger than friendship towards Tifa. I let her tell me everything, and cry as much as she needed to. Then I made her look at me. I even took my sunglasses off, so I could look her in the eye better. I told her that I loved her with all my heart… and I kissed her again. I don't know how long the kiss lasted; seconds, or minutes, or maybe hours. But it's another sensation, one of many that I've had with Tifa, that I will never, ever forget.

After that night, we saw each other several times. I took her to dinner, or a concert, or a movie. And for three months we dated that way. After three months, she asked to stay with me for a night. Tifa said that her house was being exterminated, but she later admitted that she just wanted to be with me. When she came over, we made out… and got more intimate. When we got into my bed, she told me she loved me… that when we first dated, she wasn't sure if she could. But she told me she loved me and that was enough. And when she said that, I finally told her about Sierran and my interracial background. I told her that if after knowing that she didn't love me, I would understand. She kissed me deeply again, and said, "Do you know what's changed between when I said 'I love you' and now? Not a damn thing…" And we had sex… more amazing than what I'd had before. Before she fell asleep I held her in my arms, close to me as I could get her. I whispered into her ear, asked her something I wanted to know for years… and I smiled widely when she looked up at me with a sleepy smile, kissed me, and said "yes."