Author's Note: This was kind of random. I don't plan on putting anyone in any sort of danger…except maybe Yuffie cause she's clumsy, but no super evil monsters or Sephiroth.
"…Looks like rain, doesn't it? Those clouds look so heavy, like they're dragging themselves across the sky." A warm voice calls absently from her seat out side. The sky was dark, several miles out heavy clouds blotted out the sun. There was a chill in the air that wasn't there an hour ago and she could see lightning strike every so often."Is the cellar secured? If those doors come loose we could lose a lot more than just the stock for the bar." She calls out a little louder this time, making sure she got someone's attention.
"Yes, I checked them twice and replaced the hinges. They won't be going anywhere this year, dear." A deeper voice intones from somewhere within the home. "You worry too much, we've locked everything down and triple checked it all. We should leave before that storm reaches us." He speaks softly, feeling a need to comfort the woman still seated in an old rocking chair.
"I know, I know…it's just…what if, you know? What if the house comes down, what if the cellar floods? What will we do? What will we come home to?" Her normally calm voice was tinged with worry; her brow was knitted into a small frown. He places a hand on her shoulder, squeezing gently. She leaned into his touch, sitting calmly for a moment.
"Well, if it happens…We'll rebuild." He says with an air of certainty as she leaned into his touch. "I'll get the kids and our things, Cid should be here soon." He releases her as she stands, nodding in wordless agreement. His normally spiky hair is somewhat subdued by the heavy mist saturating the air, while Tifa's hair had chosen that moment to appear as frazzled as it could. She was continually running her fingers through it, a vain attempt to flatten her mane.
For the last year, since Nero the Sable and Deepground, since Shelke decided to stay with the eclectic band of hero's, life had been peaceful, if not boring. Cloud ran the delivery portion of Tifa's Bar while she did the actual bartending. Yuffie cooked for her on special occasions, but for the most part just helped out around the place with the children that normally lived with the couple. Aside from being a bar Tifa ran part of a newly constructed orphanage. The actual building had been put up toward the center of town and had been named, at Tifa's insistence, the Gainsborough Orphanage. Tifa had funded the construction of the building and housed many of the children in her home until its completion.
Everyone else had kept in contact so far, but then again it had only been a year. Vincent even maintained a reasonable proximity to most everyone in the group. He'd spent some time in Wutai with Yuffie and her father, had spent a month or two with Nanaki in Cosmo Canyon learning about his new family, he even made stops in Rocket Town to get supplies and visit with Cid and Shera. Barret had almost daily visits or calls to either say hello or ask how Marlene was doing. Elmyra had been living with him for the last six months or so, and they were doing quite well, all things considered. It was amazing that such a bizarre, rag tag bunch of travelers…each with a rather unique set of issues…had managed to befriend one another, let alone save the world three times running.
Tifa seemed to notice Cloud watching her, the barest hint of a smile pulling at his lips. She smiled brightly back at him, suddenly remembering she had a risen for a reason.
"Thank you, Cloud. I'll go shut the generator down and phone Yuffie." Tifa slipped on a heavy black jacket to protect her from the cold bite of the air.
"She should have called by now, wasn't she with Barrett and Elmyra in Bone Village?" Cloud turned toward Tifa with a slight frown.
"No, she headed out to check on everyone at the Chocobo Farm. I guess Billy wouldn't just leave without the chocobos, he needed help loading them all onto trucks and getting everything closed up." Tifa looked away, heading down toward the generator. "That boy is so stubborn; he wouldn't just turn the birds loose and let them find their own way. I sure hope that farm can withstand this." Tifa sighed, shifting from foot to foot.
"Yuffie's just as hard headed." Cloud interjected.
"…she better hurry up, that storm should have hit down there by now…" Tifa hesitated a moment, eyeing her PHS suspiciously. She nodded to herself and trudged down toward the generators. She didn't look back when the screen door slammed shut somewhere behind her. She dialed Yuffie's number and waited for the woman to pick up.
" Ye-…Tif..-"Static erupted from the ear piece as Yuffie picked up. "…eading…soon." Tifa listened a moment, wondering if she could hear anything on her end.
"Hurry, Yuffie! Get out of there as soon as you can!" Tifa practically shouted into the phone. A crackle and what sounded like an 'ok' came back before the line cut out. The phone beeped a few times, signaling that the connection had been lost. Tifa smiled to herself. At least they were ok.
She flipped all the switches like Cid had shown her before; made sure the main was flipped to the 'off' side and closed the panel once more. She hurried back up to the deck where Cloud met her with Denzel and Marlene.
"Barret and Elmyra are with Cid. He says Shelke picked up Yuffie's PHS signal a moment ago heading west toward the rendezvous point, generators off I presume?" He nodded to the now dark house. Tifa nodded at him, her face lighting up with a smile at the two kids.
"Ok, you two all packed and ready?" She giggled, excitement oozing from her. Both children seemed relatively aware of the imminent danger; Tifa was hoping that she'd be able to lighten the mood. If she wasn't afraid, maybe they wouldn't be.
"This is like a camping trip from hell." Denzel deadpanned.
"Would you rather stay and get blasted with lightning?" Marlene turned her fearsome little glare on Denzel. "You could blow away and wind up in Mideel!"
"At least I wouldn't have to hear you whine anymore." He met her gaze impassively.
"Look whose talking! I'm not the one being a Negative Nelly." Marlene turned her back on Denzel, arms crossed defiantly over her chest, a deep frown set on her face.
"…a what?" Denzel cocked an eyebrow at her.
"He looks a little like Vincent." Tifa noted as she eyed the two squabbling.
"I don't see it." Cloud cocked his head to one side, analyzing Denzel.
"He does the same thing with his eyebrow, and the way he's almost smiling at her. They look like Vincent and Yuffie arguing." Tifa smiled to herself.
"Vincent doesn't argue." Cloud smiled over at her.
"True." She decided to step in before either had a chance to say anything else. "Alright, that's enough. Where is Cid, have you heard from Vincent?" Marlene took a hold of Cloud's hand, squeezing it a little. He offered the girl a small smile.
"He should be meeting us out in the field as usual; Vincent is already in Rocket Town." Cloud nodded in the direction of a large, empty field. He could pick out the faint hum of the Shera's engines in the distance. "Well, sounds like he's almost here."
They covered the distance quickly; Kalm was still fairly small after all. The massive airship settled easily enough despite the fact that the winds had picked up quite a bit in the last thirty minutes. Short 'hello's' and 'thanks' were given as Tifa, Cloud, Denzel, and Marlene settled in on board.
Barret and Elmyra met them in the galley, Marlene practically tackling Barret in the process, and caught everyone up to speed.
"We be headin' out to Junon, guess we're gonna get the brat from there. Vincent should be meetin' us in Rocket Town; he got a late start or whatever." Barret spoke in an unusually calm manner. "Guess this storm's a real bastard. Accordin' to that robot girl it's one helluva nasty hurricane." He grumbled.
"Well, it isn't every year we get to see everyone, storm just might be a good thing." Tifa smiled as she spoke, the tension lessening the further they were from the storm.
"What do we know about it? Do we know when it should be over?" Cloud absently ran his fingers through the ends of Tifa's hair.
"Probably as long as any other storm, a few days maybe?" Tifa gave Cloud's thigh a pat. "Well, I'm beat; I'm going to go get some sleep before we get to Junon." Tifa rose and made her way to her quarters, Cloud and Barret following suit.
"Yeah, she's probably right. Cid might know more, Shelke's been nagging him all morning with her fifteen minute updates." Barret chuckled at the thought. Cloud smiled in return and stood. They only had maybe two hours before they'd be landing in Junon. Cloud made his way to the deck to talk with Cid, Barret took Tifa's advice and headed off to his room to sleep leaving Marlene and Denzel in the galley to read or do any of the many puzzle books Yuffie had left for them in case they suffered boredom instead of motion sickness on the long flights.
A/N: No monster's this time. Let me know if you like it at all, suggestions are always welcome :)