Let's start with a little disclaimer that we all know(unless this is the first of my fics you have read. if you haven't read any of my other stories, then you won't recognize this.):
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and PlayStation are owned by Square Enix and Sony, respectively, meaning they do not belong to me. I am in no way, shape, and/or form claiming to be the owner/creator of these concepts, though I do claim any characters not apart of the original Final Fantasy VII or Advent Children storylines (such as Rayne, Marcus, and Kale) mine. As such, I would appreciate fellow authors and readers to give credit where credit is due and not steal any of my characters and/or concepts. Thank you, and have a pleasant day.
Also; Terikel, if you're reading this and it's past 11:30, do yourself a favor and go to bed! Just kidding! :) Your friend, Rayna.
Also, also, this picks up in Advent Children after Tifa has just called Cloud to leave him the message saying that Reno wanted to meet him.
(Two Years Later)
Tifa sighed and hung up the phone, shaking her head. 'Well, no matter what Reno wants with him, Cloud will be able to handle it.' A thought struck her and she picked the phone back up, dialing the number Reno had called from.
"Heeeello, this is Reno."
"Reno. It's Tifa." She said, sitting down in Cloud's chair.
"Hey. What's up? Something wrong?" He asked, voice vaguely concerned.
"Nothing." Tifa said, picking up a pen and spinning it around, "I was just wondering… have you heard from Astrid? Last I heard, she was looking for you guys."
"That so? …No, I haven't seen her. We haven't even contacted her since that day."
Tifa frowned, "So… she still thinks you're dead? That's really cold, you know. She was torn up when the Shin-Ra building collapsed, and she's been traveling ever since."
"Two years of walking?" Reno asked, whistling, "Wow… that's a long time, ain't it?"
"She's trying to find you." Tifa said shortly. "You should call her. She still has the PHS you guys gave her, and from what I've gathered from when she actually stayed with each of us two years ago, she keeps it by her side every night."
"Jeez…" Reno sighed, "Yeah, thanks for telling me. I'll keep that in mind."
Tifa pursed her lips and glared at the wall, "You'll keep it in mind… So, you still might not even tell her that you're alive? You'll keep her guessing? Keep her searching?
"Hey, hey!" Reno objected energetically, a frown in his voice, "Of course I'll at least contact her, but right now things aren't in the kind of situation where we can… Look, don't worry, alright? I'll call her."
"Good." Tifa said, nodding her head, "Well, bye."
Sighing, Tifa sat down the phone and stared at the pen in her hand, "Astrid… where are you?"
Reno shoved his PHS back into his pocket and sighed, running a hand through his hair.
"What is it?"
He turned and looked near the window, shaking his head at the person in the wheelchair. "Guess who's looking for us… Who's apparently been looking for us?"
Reno frowned, "She's been looking for two years, sir. Searching all of Gaia. And you don't really have to think to guess who exactly she's been looking for."
"…" The person in the wheelchair turned to look out the window, "Tseng and Elena still haven't come back…"
"Sir, with all due respect, she's no safer out there on her own." Reno said, sighing, "Besides, she might actually be able to help us… she did fight Sephiroth, after all."
"I'd rather not drag her into this. Now, let's get ready. Cloud may be here sometime soon."
Reno scratched the back of his head as the wheelchair rolled into the next room. When the door had closed, Reno took out his PHS and dialed a number, shaking his head and putting the phone to his ear, "Sorry, sir, but this is for your own good."
Beep "This is Astrid. Leave a message." Beep
"Astrid. It's Reno. Listen… we're still alive and—"
"—and we're in a bit of a shaky situation right now, so we can't really meet. But, when all of this is over, we'll see you again. Well, later."
Astrid snapped her PHS shut angrily, glaring down at the land beneath her. "So… they are alive." There was a yowl at her side and she looked down, nodding to the navy eyes staring up at her, "That's right, Dark. It looks like the Turks are alive… do you suppose he is, as well?"
Dark Nation shook her head, growling deeply.
"Don't worry, I'm angry, too." Astrid looked back down then canyon, her eyes narrowing, "And if he is and he's with them, he will get his." She then straightened, patting the back of the charcoal chocobo she was on, "Let's go, Misha. We're headed back to the Midgar Area."
The charcoal chocobo lifted her head and stomped her feet, "Wark!"
They turned and started walking, only to stop abruptly at the face of three boys mounted on three large motorcycles.
Astrid blinked as they dismounted, "Wow… how did you sneak up on me on those monsters?"
They boys smirked, the middle one stepping forward and tilting his head, "You seemed preoccupied, so we decided to wait until you were done."
Astrid smiled, "How sweet of you." She dismounted her chocobo and looked between the three, quirking a brow, "Has anyone ever told you that you bear an uncanny resemblance to Sephiroth?"
"We've heard." The one to the left, a young boy with long silver hair, said, shrugging.
"We're looking for Mother." The one on the right, a muscled boy with short hair, said shortly, "We thought we might be able to get information from you."
"Mother." Astrid repeated, her mouth twitching, "I'm assuming you're speaking of Jenova?"
The boys nodded.
Astrid sighed and shook her head, "Before I answer your question, I'd like to ask one."
"We don't have time for that!" The shorthaired one shouted, glaring at her and taking a step forward, "We need to find Mother now!"
"Loz." The middle one stepped forward and grabbed Loz's arm, "It's just one question. Mother can wait for one question." He looked at Astrid and nodded, "Very well. Ask."
Astrid nodded, "Is this about the Reunion?"
"Yes." The middle boy nodded, "And don't worry, you're still invited."
"I am?" Astrid blinked.
The same boy nodded again, "Yes. We took big brother Sephiroth's thoughts of little brother Marcus into consideration, and we decided that it's alright to keep your invitation valid. You're free to come if you wish."
Astrid nodded, "Thank you. When is it?"
"Not soon enough." Loz growled, glaring at her, "That's three questions. The deal was one. You're overdue for answering."
"But of course." Astrid nodded, "Last I saw her, Jenova had dissipated in the center of Gaia. She's long dead, boys."
Loz roared and jumped at her, grabbing her around the neck and strangling her, "Don't talk about Mother like that!"
Dark Nation roared.
The other two boys leapt forward and grabbed Loz, pulling him off of Astrid. Dark Nation ran in front of her and glared at the boys, growling deeply with her hackles raised.
"Let me kill her! Let me kill her, Kadaj!" Loz screamed to the middle one, tears pouring down his face, "She'll pay for what she said!"
"She is our sister, Loz!" The longhaired on said calmly, still holding his brother, "Regardless of what she says about Mother, she is still kin."
Astrid, who had fallen to the ground dry heaving, stood, coughing and rubbing her neck. After reaching out and soothing Dark Nation, she shook her head and rasped, "I had no intention of hurting you, and any injuries caused by my words were completely unintentional. I was simply stating what I knew as facts."
"We understand, sister." Kadaj said to Astrid, nodding, "But we disagree. We know Mother is sill here somewhere. We can feel her."
Astrid nodded, "If you say so, then it must be so. Such is the power of the draw of Reunion."
They boys nodded, Loz still crying.
"Well, you won't get any more information out of me concerning her location; I was sure she was dead." Astrid said, shaking her head.
Kadaj nodded, "Thank you for what you did tell us, sister. It was more than what others provided."
"My name is Astrid." She said, frowning, "And I don't believe we went through proper introductions."
"I am Kadaj." The middle one said.
"I am Loz." The shorthaired, crying one said.
"And I am Yazoo." The longhaired one said.
"Pleasure to meet you." Astrid nodded, "Though I must tell you, for the sake of not leaving information misinterpreted, I don't agree with you trying to complete the Reunion. In the end, I may very well end up opposing you."
"That's fine." Kadaj shrugged, "We have yet to meet anyone who agrees with it. Though, you should be aware that if you oppose us, we'll have no choice but to remove you as an obstacle."
"We should remove her now." Loz grumbled, wiping his eyes.
"No." Yazoo shook his head, "She may well change her mind, and Mother wants as many people to come as possible."
"Very cordial of her." Astrid said, massaging her throat. When the boys mounted their bikes, she rolled her shoulders and shouted, "I'll be seeing more of you, then? Or is this it until the Reunion?"
"We may seek you out." Kadaj said, glancing at her, "We'll contact you, otherwise." And they sped off.
Astrid stared after them for a moment, turning and mounting her chocobo when they were out of sight. "Ready to go, Dark Nation?"
The hellcat looked up at her, blinking and yowling. "Meowwww…"
"I'm fine." She said, hand brushing against her neck, "He could have done a lot worse, I know. But, brushing that off, what do you say we get to the Midgar Area and look for the Turks?… And maybe him."
She turned Misha and tapped the chocobo's sides lightly. The bird jumped into gear and started running at a light jog. Dark Nation leapt to her feet and padded after Astrid and Misha, glancing over her shoulder to where the boys rode off.
"What do we do about her, brother?" Yazoo asked Kadaj, glancing over at him, "She may prove to be a problem."
"There is nothing to worry about, Yazoo." Kadaj assured, looking ahead, "We are more than enough to handle this. Besides, even if she does interfere, big brother Sephiroth will always be able to stop her."
Loz grumbled as they talked, frowning, "We should have taken her when we had the chance."
"No." Kadaj snapped, turning abruptly away from his conversation with Yazoo to glare at Loz, "Mother wants her abilities. Mother wants the Book and 'Phantasmagoria Illustrate'. Mother won't settle for less, and we must get big sister in order to get the Book and the ability." He faced ahead, setting his eyes on the horizon, "We will get her, don't worry."
Drumming her fingers restlessly against the top of the bar, Tifa sighed. 'No one's come in today…' Not that she could really blame them, though. Ever since the Geostigma had started to spread, everyone had started avoiding most of the lower-class areas and slums, mainly because that was where the infected children had chosen to hide.
Suddenly, without warning and for the fifth time that day, Tifa's mind flew to the subject of Astrid. The woman sighed and shook her head, 'I shouldn't be that worried about her… I haven't seen much more of the others than I have of her… But… but at least the others call. She hasn't called any of us in over four months now.'
Sighing and shaking her head, Tifa walked up to her room and dug around in her closet, pulling out her PHS a moment later. First, she dialed Astrid's number.
Beep "This is Astrid. Leave a message. And if this is you again, Reno, be warned… I'm coming for you." Beep
Tifa blinked and held the phone back, looking at it in shock. She then ended the call without saying anything, shaking her head, 'Looks like Reno did call her…' Smirking slightly, she dialed Cid's number.
Tifa smiled, "Hey, Cid. It's Tifa. You got a moment?"
"Sure. What's up?"
"I was wondering if you'd heard from Astrid lately." She said, twirling a strand of hair around her finger, "She hasn't called in a while and I was getting worried."
"Called about a month ago, actually." Cid said, taking a moment to think before going on, "Said somethin' about going to the Junon Area for a few weeks. Visiting Fort Condor, or somethin' like that. Haven't seen her, though, in about… a year, I think. Give 'er take a few months."
Tifa bit her lip, "Do you know who she might have kept in closer contact with?"
"If I were to make a guess, I'd actually say Yuffie. Annoyin' as that girl is, she actually got the Wutai people to treat Astrid pretty well."
"Thanks, Cid." Tifa said, smiling, "This means a lot to me."
The man laughed, "No problem. Good to hear from you again."
"Good to hear from you, too. Bye."
Tifa skimmed through the numbers on her PHS and clicked on Yuffie's, sighing tiredly and putting the phone up to her ear. The years had done to calm Yuffie… a bit. But not much.
"Yuffie! It's Tifa. Hey, have you heard from Astrid?"
"Hey, Tifa! Yeah. She came in about three months ago and stayed for five days. She called a week ago, though, and said she was getting ready to leave the Junon Area and head to the Grasslands Area. What's up? Something wrong?"
"No." Tifa sighed, sitting on the edge of her bed, "I just hadn't heard from her and I was getting worried. She's always wandering Gaia, you know, going who exactly knows where and fighting Gaia knows what."
"Yeah, I know. She's always too itchy to stay anywhere too long, but I wish she'd just find a good place and settle down, already. Guess the fight never really left her, though."
Tifa shook her head, "I don't think that was it… I think she just never found somewhere she felt completely comfortable. You know… somewhere that felt like home."
"Yeah… I can see that being it. Astrid always was a bit of the odd one out, wasn't she?"
"In a way." Tifa said, standing, "Hey, thanks for your help. I'll talk to you later, alright?"
"You betcha. Bye, Tifa!" Click
Tifa sighed and set the phone on her nightstand, falling onto her bed and staring at the ceiling. "Wutai… Junon… Grasslands… You've really been traveling, haven't you, Astrid?"
After thinking for a moment, Tifa sat back up and picked up her PHS, dialing one final number.
"This is Cloud. Leave a message."
"Cloud, it's Tifa again. Listen, while you're on your way to see Reno, keep an eye out for Astrid. I think she may be in the area…"