Incident 47: Reunion
The atmosphere at Cid's crowded little house was tense and Shera's efforts to calm it with tea weren't working. It was like a time bomb waiting to blow up with the former Avalanche members, Shinra and the WRO there at the same time. There were random streams of conversation flowing here and there, theories and anecdotes concerning the strange weather, with the only quiet one being Rude, but that came as no surprise.
"Yuffie says she'll be late," Cloud announced after listening to the message left by the ninja, he still never answered his PHS. "She said she was trapped in a submarine and it took her a while to break out," Cloud eyed Rufus, "she blames you."
"There you have it!" Barret took the opportunity to verbally attack Shinra, since Tifa had forbade him from physically attacking. "Shinra hasn't reformed at all!"
"She should be thanking me," Rufus defended, "I did save her from the tsunami at Costa del Sol."
"How do we know you didn't cause that tsunami?" Barret argued.
"How would I cause a tsunami?" Rufus played innocent, though it really wasn't his fault.
"I don't know, why don't you tell us what you did? Maybe you drained the life out of the planet!" Barret accused.
Tifa decided it was time to interfere. "That's enough, we're not here to argue; we're here to form a plan." She was currently sitting on the couch, with Loz to her left and Kadaj to her right, followed by Marlene and Yazoo. Kadaj threw the biggest tantrum, suspiciously accompanied by a storm, and won the right to sit in the middle, though thankfully Tifa and Marlene were able to calm Loz and Yazoo. The unhappy Cloud and Denzel stood to the side, glaring.
"It better be a #$%& good plan because it looks like the weird weather has even reached Rocket Town," Cid urged, "if this keeps up, the skies will be too unfriendly to fly and I can't allow that."
"Edge has been left in ruins after it was finally restored, the cause of the strange weather must be found!" Reeve agreed.
"Maybe it's another secret of Shinra," Barret glared bitterly at Rufus.
"This is not my doing," Rufus insisted, it was true, he wasn't causing the strange weather, the remnants did.
"Let's stay focused," Tifa stopped another growing argument.
"If we could only communicate with the planet somehow," Nanaki left it at that, he knew there was no way to do it.
Yet Cloud's eyes widened with the realization that there might be a way. "We can do that!"
All eyes were on Cloud and Tseng asked the question on everyone's mind, "how?"
"By asking Aeris..." Cloud paused, wandering if people would think of him as crazy and it seemed that they were giving him those kinds of looks. "Aeris and Zack sometimes talk to me. Really, they do, I'm not crazy!"
"The last thing you do when you don't want people to think you're crazy is tell them you're not crazy," Elena pointed out.
"I'm still not crazy," Cloud pouted.
"Let us give him a chance," Vincent suggested and the group waited in silence.
"Is it working?" Reno broke the silence and curiously poked Cloud repeatedly. "Is it? Is it? Is it?" The presence of the apparently possessed Turk made Cloud uneasy, Reno was bad enough without being possessed.
"Stop that!" Cloud slapped Reno's hand away, "it's not that simple, this isn't as easy as calling someone on the PHS." Plus some would say Cloud hasn't even mastered that much.
"Maybe we can try this from someplace else?" Nanaki suggested.
"A place with a better spiritual signal?" Vincent mused.
The church in old Midgar, the Northern Crater, Mideel's life stream hole, Shinra Mansion and several others were suggested as places to try to communicate with the great beyond, but in the end everyone agreed to go to the Forgotten Capital.
xoxox xox xoxox
By the time Yuffie arrived at Rocket Town and ran to Cid's house, she found it empty and another PHS call revealed they had left without her. She debated if she should try to catch up or be thankful she didn't have to ride on the airship.
xoxox xox xoxox
The airship landed near the Forgotten Capital and the group got off, though it was decided that the children, Marlene, Denzel and the three remnants, would stay behind on the ship, it looked like the remnants would cry because they didn't get to go. Before more strange weather came, Rufus talked everyone into letting the kids tag along, it's not like they were planning to have a battle, this was just a mission to investigate. Plus the boys really wanted to ride on Nanaki.
The large group made it to Aeris' final resting place and on the same location where Sephiroth had ended her life, now was Cloud, taking a similar position to Aeris' on that day, and closing his eyes in concentration.
"You came to visit, thanks," Aeris' voice rung out clearly in Cloud's mind. "The time is near, I gave them what they needed to find an anchor in this world, but my influence is fading; now it's up to them."
Cloud was once again in an endless whiteness, he knew Aeris stood behind him, but dared not turn around and risk her fading away. He also felt the presence of two others; all four of them back to back in a little circle. "What do you mean?"
"It's time for the boys to stop clinging to their brother," this time it was Zack's voice that Cloud heard.
"I don't understand," Cloud insisted.
"Don't worry, you worry too much," Aeris laughed, "even if the calamity is released and the nightmare takes control, if those three prove to be more than living thoughts, they'll be saved by the memories of people's hearts."
"What?" Cloud was as confused as ever.
Zack explained, "the three boys that Aeris and I adopted are ready to go out into the world, they're ready to become separate beings, if those around them wish it."
The communication was suddenly broken, the endless whiteness replaced with reality. "Reno, no!" Tseng and Rude were holding Reno back, he had gotten close enough to Cloud to pick up his buster sword while the blond was in a trance.
Cloud looked up, remembering the time when he stood where Reno was now and there was no doubt in his mind that Reno was indeed being controlled by Sephiroth. He almost expected the real Sephiroth to jump down and attack him like he did Aeris, but that didn't happen, because Sephiroth was now right in front of him, that wasn't Reno anymore, Sephiroth had recovered his power.
Rufus woke up from the trance at the same time Cloud did. He had been there, in that endless whiteness with three others, Cloud and two more, Aeris and Zack probably. What didn't make a lot of sense to Cloud made perfect sense to Rufus and all the pieces fell into place.
Sephiroth was coming back, but Aeris turned his plans against him by interfering to turn the Jenova materia into a flower. Aeris mentioned something about giving the boys an anchor in that world, that must have been Rufus himself. The Jenova flower was going back to normal slowly, turning back into materia, but Sephiroth couldn't truly return until Aeris' influence was completely cleaned out of that materia and it finally happened, it was only a matter of time.
Sephiroth threw Tseng and Rude away and swung the buster sword at Cloud, who jumped back into the water, but instead of sinking, he found himself standing on a block of ice, courtesy of Elena. Cloud glared up at Sephiroth, "let Reno go and go back where you belong!" He didn't want anymore sacrifices, not even a very annoying Turk.
"It is you who doesn't belong here!" Sephiroth jumped after Cloud, levitating above the water. Barret and Vincent shot at him to no avail; the bullets appeared to collide with an invisible force field around Sephiroth, who chased after the unarmed Cloud, who could only dodge.
"You'll never win, you're just a memory, you're dead, you shouldn't be here!" Cloud yelled in frustration, it seemed like his memories would always come back to haunt him no matter how hard he tried to move on. Tifa, Nanaki and Cait Sith came at Sephiroth from different sides, but were thrown away with an immense force that sent them to crash on the ground. "Tifa!" Cloud rushed to her side being reminded of the incident in the reactor at Nibelheim. He glared at Sephiroth and attacked, but was easily blocked.
"This is looking pretty bad, Shera take the kids and get out of here!" Cid urged.
"Yes, be careful!" Shera tried to lead all five children away, Marlene, Denzel, Kadaj, Yazoo and Loz, but the last three wouldn't move. "We have to go," they wouldn't listen, they just watched.
Vincent and Barret continued trying to shoot at Sephiroth, while Elena tried to freeze him, but all three were pushed away with tremendous gravity and sent to crash as well. Cid jumped on Sephiroth, trying to sneak up on him, but once again it didn't work and he soon joined the others knocked out on the ground.
The Tiny Bronco II, Cid's new airplane was seen in the horizon and it was perhaps best that Cid wasn't awake to watch it crash with a very sick Yuffie stumbling out of the wreckage, miraculously alive. "My materia, where is my haunted materia?" She became alert for a split second when she spotted Sephiroth, "what's he doing back?" then the delayed effects of the crash finally caught up to her and she passed out.
"The situation seems hopeless; we'd best pick up our fallen allies and retreat!" Reeve concluded.
Rufus didn't take his eyes off the battle of Sephiroth and Cloud, with the first clearly having the advantage. "I don't think Sephiroth is going to let us go." He looked at the frightened remnants, who Shera was trying to take back to the airship, but the three were unmovable. "Isn't there a way to stop him?"
Shera, Reeve, Marlene and Denzel were surprised at the question Rufus directed at the three silver haired boys, how could his young sons know how to stop Sephiroth? Unless the true extent of their abilities was something Rufus kept in secret. The three boys wanted to cry, but they were trying to be brave, yet they didn't know how to answer.
The remnants stayed quiet for a long moment until Rufus shook his head hopelessly. "We'll have to try to retreat, I doubt Sephiroth will let us take everyone out of here, but there's no choice. Maybe Cloud can distract him long enough." It looked doubtful as Cloud was currently struggling to keep his own sword from decapitating him at the hands of Sephiroth, holding the blunt part from both sides as Sephiroth pushed it towards him.
"Be brave..." A voice echoed in the breeze, everyone heard it, even in their subconscious, and light rain began to fall. It was different from the harsh weather that came when the remnants cried, this was a gentle rain of healing, bringing everyone back to their senses slowly.
"Hold on to your dreams..." another voice encouraged and the three remnants looked determined as they ran towards Sephiroth.
"Stop, come back here!" Rufus tried to stop them, worried for their safety, but it was too late. The remnants ran into Sephiroth, fading into him as if they were absorbed.
"It's about time you little traitors came back," Sephiroth felt a surge of power, he was stronger than ever, but something was out of place, the power started to overwhelm him.
Though the remnants themselves were not fully aware of it, and Sephiroth had thought they were to be his little minions, the planet had given the boys a mission to stop Sephiroth. The legendary warrior was surrounded by light, shining so brightly that the exhausted Cloud had to look away. The gentle rain stopped, but the skies turned darker and in an explosion of light, Sephiroth disappeared, to exist only in memories once again and the dark clouds faded, with the sun shining once more.
Reno was left behind in Sephiroth's place; he slowly woke up to find everyone curiously looking at him. "He's gone now," Reno assured, because he knew it, he felt it, Sephiroth was no longer there, it was something they all knew somehow.
"What about the haunted materia?" Yuffie suddenly asked.
"I don't think it's coming back," Reno replied, much to Yuffie's agony.
"My materia!" The ninja cried.
"My Tiny Bronco II!" Cid joined her in agony, "you'll have a lot more to worry about than materia you little thief!"
xoxox xox xoxox
The group, minus the remnants, had returned to the airship where they managed to get the full story out of Rufus. "To think you hid that all this time," Barret sounded accusing.
"If I haven't, no one would have been able to stop Sephiroth," Rufus defended.
"I know it's not like me, but I'll have to agree with Rufus this one time," Cloud spoke to everyone's surprise, "I didn't like those boys either at first, but at that moment, in the end, I knew they were allies of the planet, sent by the planet itself and by Aeris and Zack, who took care of them in the life stream and helped them change for the better. They stopped Sephiroth, they chouse to stand by this world and the people."
The airship was filled with murmurs of agreement, followed by a long solemn silence. The three silver haired little boys who saved the world were gone.
xoxox xox xoxox
One week passed and the world continued taking steady steps towards recovering. Rufus and the Turks were back in Edge and the city was being repaired. It was a quiet morning in the new Healin Lodge and Rufus found himself missing the three little terrors that made his life so interesting. Suddenly he heard some cries, followed by Elena's voice trying to soothe them, "don't cry, the pancakes will be done soon, but you have to wait for them to be cooked."
"Here's some juice while you wait," Tseng offered.
Though there had been cries, there was no storm outside, no thunder, no lightning, no rain, no hail, no wind, no earthquakes. Rufus curiously made his way to the kitchen to find three familiar silver haired boys who rushed to hug him, "daddy!"
"You're back!" Rufus was glad to have them back, even more so because it looked like the weather problems were over.
"They just showed up this morning saying they were hungry and wanted breakfast," Reno explained while Rude stood as quiet as ever, watching the scene.
Rufus smiled, "welcome home..."
Disclaimer, I don't own Final Fantasy VII.