All Places In-Between
Chapter One: Why I set out
I upended the bottle of vodka that had been passed to me by Cloud. He'd informed me to lighten up, that it was a celebratory occasion, and that I was far too uptight to be enjoying myself.
He was wrong. I was enjoying myself. I was watching Cid laugh so hard he nearly suffocated and Barret attempting to tell a story he was far to drunk to recall properly.
That wasn't sarcasm there; I'm serious. It was funny, despite not having copious amounts of alcohol in me. I simply don't laugh very loud, that's all.
Still, it was Cloud's house and I wasn't going to argue. I took another drink from the bottle, then handed it off to the first open hand that asked for it.
It had been two years since we, the silent heroes of the Jenova war, had purged the world of that beast of a creature. Getting together on Aerith's birthday was becoming a tradition of sorts for us, though several of our motley crew had yet to arrive.
It was well pat midnight when Reeve called. He was tired, as he should be, but there was a somewhat urgent tone to his voice when he apologized for not being able to make it out this year.
"Yuffie came around, right?"
Silence filled up the room as everyone tried to recall the night through their drunken stupor.
I stopped in, taking hold of the conversation. "She hasn't shown up, no. She hasn't called, either. Is something the matter?"
Reeve sighed heavily on the other side of the phone. "I've been in contact with Wutai for a while now – Shinra is doing some legitimate trading negotiations as of late. Godo knew that I was one of the crew and asked me if I'd seen or heard from Yuffie recently. No one seems to know where she was headed, and she hasn't checked in with her father for quite some time."
"I thought she and Godo didn't get along."
"They don't, but Yuffie makes occasional calls to speak with her grandmother every once in a while. Godo told me that Yuffie always told them the next time she'd call so that they could expect it, but she hasn't called and it's been more than a few weeks."
"Little shitfire wasn't one to let much tie her down," Cid interjected.
Reeve sighed again. "That's part of what I'm thinking; Yuffie wasn't one to give a damn about if anyone knew what she was doing or where she was going."
"Unless she was trying to get attention." Yes, Cid, we know.
"But," Reeve continued, clearing his throat. "It seems her phone was disconnected, which points to suspicious activity. Something doesn't seem right about this."
Tifa bit her lip. "Call us back in the morning with any ideas you might come up with. When everyone sobers up, we can form search parties."
So, that's what we did. The next morning, everyone already haven taken a few days off of work or whatever it was they did with their normal lives, we loaded up with aspirin (or at least the ones with hangovers did), supplies, and all set out to different cities with recent pictures of Yuffie.
And, after six months, we still hadn't found her.