The Purpose of Revenge
By Moony

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the rights to Final Fantasy, or any of its characters.

AN: I was bored, so I wrote this. Therefore, you should not expect great things from it. Oh, well. Read and review, please!! Also. . . . +grimaces+ this is a touchy subject amongst FFVII fans, but I don't like Tifa. So some Tifa-bashing managed to sneak into the story. PLEASE don't review if you're offended by this and you just want to complain about how evil I am for liking Aeris and blah blah blah. . .if you are a devout Tifa-loyalist, then just don't read. Okay? Thanks, you've saved us both a lot of grief.


Her name was Gainsborough.
It had been muttered casually amongst a fit of giggles, and had I been a touch less sober, I wouldn't even have noticed. But I did.

We'd been at Costa De Sol, and we'd managed to convince the nutbar in charge of this suicidal mission - Cloud, that is - into letting us relax and get tanked. Hell, the bar even had a karaoke machine. Who could say no to that??
So we'd dragged him down out of his hotel room and sat him down on a stool, with Tifa and Aeris flirting with him all the way. Of course, Aeris would have the most success, with Tifa watching nearby, pouting. Some drunk sitting a few seats away was staring at her with a raw hunger, but she wasn't desperate enough to take up his offer. . . yet. I never really liked her that much, anyway. She made it clear what she wanted, but never went out and got it. Also, it was quite obvious that she was hiding something. Thieves can always tell.
Because of Aeris distracting Cloud rather successfully, I managed to trick him into buying me a drink. Several of them, in fact, before someone decided it would be funny to get Red to sing. I don't even know why he came down, but Aeris was behind it, and Aeris had a way of getting you to do things you just don't want to do. I smirked at the thought. She knew it, too. Her, I liked.
Watching Red sing to a local idol's new song was so tremendously entertaining that I decided to get more people up to the microphone. Watching people make asses of themselves is highly amusing. Especially when you're wasted.
"Hey, Cluddy-buddy!" I slurred, kicking his foot. "Why don't you sing a duet with Miss Aeris?"
Cloud's eyes widened, and he was about to refuse until Aeris jumped in and insisted upon doing it. I grinned. Good Ol' Aeris.
They stepped up to the microphone, and the pink-clad girl grinned sweetly at the audience before someone cat-called and Cloud shot the guy an icy glare.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, please put your hands together for the absolutely dazzling vocal stylings of Cloud Strife and myself, Aeris Gainsborough!"

Gainsborough.
It's amazing how quickly you can sober up when the proper stimulus is used. My attention immediately left the singers as memories flooded my mind. It seemed like only seconds had passed before she finished her song with Cloud and sat down on the stool next to me.
"Yuffie!" She laughed. "Why don't you sing?" She nudged my arm. I forced a grin.
"Tell me. . . what did your father do?"
Had she not been drunk, she would have noticed how odd the question was. I never asked any personal questions about my fellow adventurers. Instead, she acted like I was asking about the weather.
"Well, he was a scientist." She said, stirring the drink the bartender had just placed in front of her.
I frowned. A scientist?
"Never heard of a scientist named Gainsborough." I stated. Aeris sipped her drink and grimaced, then shook her head.
"I never knew HIM. He died in a war in Wutai." She frowned. "Mother was so sad. . ."
I was speechless. A war in Wutai?? I took that opportunity to excuse myself from her company, ignoring her pouts and pleas for me to begin my long and potentially successful drunken singing career. I slowly crawled up the stairs, groped for the room-key in my pocket and clumsily shoved it in the door. It was amazing that I even got the right room, as I wasn't paying any attention to what I was doing. I somehow managed to kick off my sneakers before sliding under the covers of my bed, burying my face in the pillow.
Gainsborough.
My mind was wandering, unaware of my surroundings, but I still felt the dull ache come from my hyper heart. I may have been in a hotel room, but I found myself reliving the words that Old Geezer once told me.

~~

"It was dark. I was in the front line, guiding the men into battle. We'd been waiting for hours when the sound of cannons finally announced their arrival. We charged blindly forward, fighting with all our might and honour. . . but our ancient weapons and customs were no match against their material and guns. I was forced to call a retreat. But one of theirs. . . he raised his gun and aimed it at me, trying to prevent me from escaping.
"I heard the crack and saw the flash, and it seemed that nothing I could do could stop it, but I didn't feel the bullet's bite. Instead, a small soldier jumped in the way, taking the bullet and slumping against me. I could smell the blood and the sweat and the tears, and I stood, shocked, for several moments before I thought to start joining my men as we headed for sanctuary. I removed the soldier's helmet to give him some air, and I remember the way her hair feel around her face. The picket wasn't a man, but your mother. She'd left you and snuck into my forces, wanting to fight by my side.
"The opposing side knew they'd won. They began to back off, content that they'd stilled our revolt. I stared at the man who'd shot my wife, blinking back tears. His face was horrified, and he seemed unable to move, frozen in place like some grotesque, bloody statue. One of his allies called to him, and I'll always remember the name he said. 'Gainsborough! Come on!' he cried.
"Gainsborough. I remembered that name, Yuffie, and you should, too. Gainsborough helped to desotry our home, and Gainsborough killed your mother. Never forget that."

~~

The memory rang through my head as clear as the gongs back home, and just as loud. It was HER fault that my mother was dead. I stopped. Well, maybe not EXACTLY her fault, but Gainsborough was dead, and his burdens were now hers. I rolled onto my back, staring at the ceiling.
"What should I do?" I asked. I don't know why, but I suppose I hoped that my voice would carry all the way home, to the old hack I call a father. I guess I hoped he would answer.
But he didn't, and I was forced to decide on my own.

I can say now that I had contemplated slitting her throat or smothering her with a pillow. Would exacting my vengeance upon her be the right thing to do? I didn't think so - what would be the point? Would it restore honour to my eternally disgraced family? Would it bring Shinra to its knees, or have Wutai to be recognized as the strong and proud city it once was? Would it bring my mother back? Would it even allow her to rest in peace?
Why? How?
I'd been raised by a man who dwelled on revenge and dreams. I wanted to make him happy, but only by making his dreams a reality. I didn't want to soil my hands with the blood of innocence in hopes that it would please my dead mother.

I heard Aeris come up the stairs, giggling silently as she and Tifa entered the room. They flopped down on their beds, asleep before five minutes had passed.

But then, would I ever be able to look at her the same way? Would I, in her place, always see a man covered in dirt and blood, holding the weapon that had murdered my mother?
"Pssssst. . . Yuffie. . ." Aeris hissed. I supposed she hadn't been sleeping after all. I turned my head towards her bed, on the right of mine. "Red and Barret sang a duet." She snickered.
I rolled onto my other side, facing the wall, and hoped the gods wouldn't see me grinning. It may have been dishonouring my people and my mother, but as far as I could really be concerned, Aeris was just another person with a last name I'd happened to hear before.
"Sorry, old man." I whispered, and soon after, fell asleep. The last thought that rang through my head was how I shouldn't feel so bad, now, about swiping her materia earlier on that day.