Alright kids here's the
Yuffie would do anything for her friends. After Tifa dies from a complication with her pregnancy and Cloud spirals into a deep depression, the ninja takes it upon her own shoulders to bring her friend back to life. Even if it means giving her own. However, When Yuffie falls for someone, hard, along her road toward resurrecting Tifa; will she be able to go through it with so much to lose?
The bar was dark, Yuffie noted and—although this was nothing new—it left her with an icy feeling in the pit of her stomach and a burning sensation behind her eyelids. The bar had been dark for two weeks. Darkness had encased the rooms since the day Marlene and Denzel had gone to live with Barret. Since the day Cloud had locked himself in his office. Since the day Tifa had…
Shaking her head to clear the damp haze beginning to blur her vision, the young shinobi strode up the quiet steps and gave the door a shove, expecting to find it locked. To her surprise, though the emotion barely registered on her face, it flung open without so much as a groan of protest, the bell above its frame tinkling eerily in the shadowed room. A fine layer of dust, barely there after only two weeks of neglect, swirled up under Yuffie's bright boots as she paced slowly, silently across the hardwood flooring of the bars interior. Running a hand gently across the surface of the bar, its surface unpolished and neglected, the young woman choked back the sobs threatening to erupt from her throat. She needed to be strong and now…she finally had hope. Now, she finally had good news.
Gripping the banister tightly, Yuffie gazed into the pitch black void that awaited her as she began to ascend the stairs. Her eyes had adjusted to the light, or lack thereof, by this point, but the atmosphere was still smothering her. Without Tifa's presence, the bar was devoid of life, and Yuffie's eyes burned at the implications.
The bar was dead. The bar was dead because Tifa was d—
She had reached the top of the stairs. A right-hand turn and the door to Cloud's office was staring blankly back at her. Wiping the somber look from her face and fixing a smile in its place instead, Yuffie prepared herself to act hyper, happy…like she hadn't just lost her best fr—
But it wasn't about Yuffie at the moment, she reminded herself; right now it was time for her to bring Cloud the news. The good news. The first good news any of them had heard in a while. That train of thought bolstered Yuffie's resolve to face the blonde swordsman holed up just a room away. Her fingers curved into a fist before whipping up to collide with the office door.
There was no sound from within.
"Open up, chocobo-head!" Poundpoundpoundpoundpound.
A slight shuffle was heard and then silence descended once again.
"You can't hide out forever, ya know! Now open the damn door Spikey, before I bust in there ninja-style and kick yo—" The door was yanked open so hard that it smacked against the inside wall with a loud crunch. The doorframe shuddered. As did Yuffie once her eyes focused on the sword leveled at her head.
"You have three seconds to get out." A voiced rasped out from the inky depths of the office.
"Put down the sword, Cloud."
"I'm fucking serious here; I actually have something to tell—"
"I CAN BRING TIFA BACK DAMMIT!" Yuffie screeched, hoping to break through the shroud of sorrow that was draped around the swordsman, suffocating his sense and reason.
What Yuffie didn't expect was the fist cracking against her jaw, or the wall to hurt so bad when she was flung against it like a rag doll.
"You fucking jackass!" She cried indignantly from her crumpled place on the floor.
"Don't. Say. Her. Name." Cloud spat out through clenched teeth, advancing out of the shadowed room and into the hallway. Before he could even reach Yuffie however, she had flipped to her feet and was behind him in a flash of black hair and creamy skin. The dagger pressed to his jugular was anything but an empty threat. Cloud froze at the feel of cool metal on his skin.
"You will listen to me, Strife, and you will fucking listen good." Yuffie's voice was a murmur, quiet and deadly as the shuriken she wielded in battle. "I have a way to bring her back, but if all the thanks I get is a knuckle-sandwich and a nice collision with a wall, then I might not go through with it." That was an empty threat—Yuffie missed Tifa just as much as Cloud, and if there was a way to resurrect her, bitchy chocobo-head or no, Yuffie was gonna do it.
There was silence for the space of three heartbeats before Cloud spoke, and when he did; his voice was broken and defeated.
"…You're serious? This…this isn't some trick to get me out of the bar?"
"Spikes, the only trick I'd play on you would involve me stealing your materia. Now, can I put my dagger away, or are you gonna throw another hissy fit that involves sexy ninjas smacking into inanimate objects against their will?"
The blonde head dipped a little as he mumbled an apology, voice laced with guilt.
"Eh, whatevs. I'm a tough cookie, I can handle being pushed around by a bully every once in a while. Besides, you hit like a girl." Yuffie tried futilely to lighten the mood as she sheathed her dagger in her boot and headed down the stairs. "If you wanna listen, I'd prefer to have it be somewhere where I can sit down. Seeing as your office creeps me out, I think it should take place down here." She called as she descended the stairs.
Settling herself in one of the booths, Yuffie waited as the heavier, plodding steps of the swordsman mimicked her path down the staircase and carried him to the opposite side of her booth. They sat together in silence for a few moments. Yuffie finally wrenched her gaze off of the patterns in the wooden table and met the aqua pools that were nearly boring holes in her skull. The twin shadows beneath his eyes, black as hate, had not been there two weeks ago.
"Alright, so here's the deal. Basically, I get to have all the fun, and do all the cool stuff, while you sit here like a good husband and wait for me to resurrect your wife."
"What exactly are the details?" Cloud asked quietly. Yuffie winced inwardly. She had been hoping against all hopes that he wouldn't ask her that, so she wouldn't have to lie. However, he did ask, so now he left her no choice.
"Well, I go on a journey and gather a bunch of Wutaiian ceremonial shit, bring it to where there's Lifestream, say a few words and then she comes out all sparkly and pristine and covered in green goopy crud, and you two go off and live happily ever after and pretend she never…passed." The lie came easily—Yuffie was a ninja after all, and deception was her way of life.
"How do you know this will work?" Again, that internal reflex to flinch fired in Yuffie's brain, only this time Cloud's question was rewarded with the truth.
"Because…because I died once. When I was four I got poisoned. Some plot to kill off the heir to the throne…and uh…my mom brought me back. So, I guess I'm living proof that it works, huh?" Silence swathed the room again, until Cloud asked his final question.
"…What about the baby?" His voice broke on the last word.
"Oh gawd, Cloud…I'm sorry, I don't know. I don't know if the baby will make it or not. But the pregnancy was…the cause of her death, and this process heals the person being brought back, heals them of whatever killed them so…I don't think the baby will make it." Yuffie's downcast eyes suddenly brightened. "But, you never know! I could be wrong." In a jerky motion, Cloud lurched across the mahogany surface separating the two and had clamped his hands around Yuffie's shoulders.
"Yuffie Kisaragi, on your honor as a ninja, on our friendship and on Tifa's soul, promise me that you will do everything in your power to bring her back to life." Her eyes were wide and her jaw was slightly slack as he gave her a shake. "Promise me!"
Yuffie's eyes squeezed shut, a bit of pain coursing through her as her resolve wavered. She wrenched her eyelids open as determination flared within her core and stared squarely into Cloud's eyes, haunted eyes that were desperately seeking her confirmation. "I promise." The ninja whispered.
The sun was high in the sky as Yuffie set out across the plains outside Kalm. Had this been a normal day, before the death of Tifa and before Yuffie made promises that would be horrifyingly difficult to keep and before she had shouldered a lot more maturity than she cared to deal with, it would have been a joyous setting.
Instead, she chose to reflect upon the miserable event that led to the beginning of what would be her last journey.
Throughout Tifa's pregnancy, no one realized that the martial artist was sick. Perhaps if Aeris had still been alive she might have known, what with her sixth sense she possessed for when any sort of disease or sickness was present in someone close to her. But the hard truth was, Aeris wasn't alive and no one realized that Tifa had developed Toxemia. The only complaint she ever had was that her eyesight was getting a little skewed at times. Her blood pressure had been fine until the one, fatal morning.
The sun had just begun to rise as Cloud returned to the bar from an early delivery. The first, horrific sight that his gaze fell upon was Tifa's seizing, swollen figure, twitching on the floor of the Seventh Heaven. By the time she was brought to the hospital, it was already too late. Her kidneys and liver had begun shutting down when she had gotten up to open the bar. Her blood pressure had spiked and then she had entered into a coma. Her internal organs were still failing, one by one. Tifa was going to die.
The whole of AVALANCHE kept vigil at the hospital, but only Cloud was allowed in the room with her. Vincent stood in the corner, his façade of stoicism marred by the worried crease of his forehead and the anxious tapping of his fingers. Red was pacing, his tail flicking to and fro worriedly. Cid was outside smoking cig after cig after cig to ward off the anxiety and worry. Shera was with him, dealing with the smoke that she detested—her show of support for her husband. Barret was a mess. He sat with bloodshot eyes brimming with tears, howling sobs tearing from his chest. Reeve was staring blankly at the wall across from him, looking more like a zombie than the calm, collected and spirited man everyone was used to seeing. Yuffie was curled in a chair, hugging herself as if she were about to shatter, her face buried in her knees as she immersed herself in memories, reliving the deaths of thousands of her people at the hands of Shin-Ra. Their vigil was a relatively short one.
Not six hours later, a cry was heard from within the hospital depths. It was the sound of a heart breaking, of love being lost, of death. Yuffie had heard the sound too many times to count, but never from so close a friend. She had not been with her father when her mother died, but she could imagine—with sickening clarity—that the sound coming from Cloud Strife's lips as Tifa Lockheart died was a replica of the sound her father would have made when his beloved wife passed away.
Yuffie jerked herself from her memories as a pack of Midgar wolves loped out from the underbrush to surround her. With a slight sigh and a quick flick of her wrist, Conformer was sent soaring. Four down, five to go and her shuriken was back in her hand and flying again before a second had passed. One wolf was left, a one-on-one battle and Yuffie decided to have some fun with it. There was an odd mound of boulders to her left and Yuffie sprinted towards it, up it and flipped backwards. As she reached the peak of her arc through the air, where she was horizontal with the ground, she released Conformer, her muscles performing actions so familiar that she didn't even feel a burn. The wolf's yelp let her know that her projectile had found its mark as she landed in a crouch, head bowed. One hand shot up to receive her weapon; it was shouldered and she was sashaying away before three heartbeats had passed.
With the wolves gone, Yuffie's mind could return to its meandering. As the scenery passed around her, patchy green grass swaying in the breeze and random cliff faces or outcroppings dotting the landscape, the ninja did her best to keep her thoughts from hovering on the real task she would have to complete. It had taken Yuffie one week to even consider the ancient ritual, and then another week to gather enough courage and determination to suggest it to Cloud.
In the end, Yuffie always knew she would go through with it. Because the ninja, the youngest of their patchwork family, would do anything for her friends. Even die for them. This journey would be proof of that.
The girl allowed herself a bittersweet laugh. She wondered if Cloud would have still made her promise to do whatever she could, had he really known just how much she could, and would, do.
Yuffie didn't actually need to gather "Wutaiian Ceremonial Shit" as she had so eloquently put it to Cloud. She simply needed to go on a journey and along that journey she needed to find the one thing that completed her life. The one thing that if everything else incinerated into hell, as long as it was still there she could go on living. And once she found that, whatever it so happened to be, she had to give it up in the most final way possible. She had to kill herself. Her life energy, her sacrifice, would bring Tifa back.
A life for a life. One life, given willingly with everything to lose and nothing to gain but a cold grave, could bring back another who had expired before their time. Leviathan was a god who believed in sacrifice and loyalty, but not always fairness—after all, loyalty is not about being fair, it is about commitment and honor no matter how unjust the circumstances. The resurrection ritual was one of Leviathan's many sacraments to demonstrate that lesson.
It was the same ritual that had given Yuffie a second chance when she had died prematurely, and the same ritual that had taken her mother's life. It was what would give Tifa and Cloud another chance at a happy ending, another chance to start a family. And it was what would end Yuffie's life. The ninja would do anything for her friends.
(AN: Alrighty, this was an idea that hit me one day and so I decided to see where it would take me. This chapter is more of a prologue than anything else. Reviews are always appreciated, especially constructive criticism. Flames will be used to roast puppies, so don't do it! It's cruel and mean and just NO! Also, I'm aware that Yuffie and Cloud might be a touch OOC, but Tifa just died so…I think angst and depression is warranted. Now hit the little purpley-gray button!)