Hello, welcome!
Before you dive into the fic, a few words from the author here. I, of course, do not own Final Fantasy VII and the Compilation, its characters, locations, events etc. This fic is done for recreation only, I make no profit.

This is an alternate timeline fic, revolving around Tseng. So, some events may not happen at all, happen as they did in cannon, or in that order. I know there are a lot of fics similar to this... but so it goes. If you're tired of them, you won't read this of course. I'd like to think my spin is at least a little interesting.

Please don't mind the centered numbers I use as breaks throughout the story. There's no great meaning to them. Just a formatting quirk of mine. That all aside, I hope you enjoy!

Chapter 1: If I Knew Then

SOLDIERs deserting... copies... Rhapsodos and Hewley... AVALANCHE... Modeoheim... Aerith... Nibelheim... Sephiroth... Zack... 88 letters... the plate falling... the President dead... the Temple of the Ancients... the Masamune-

Tseng shot upright, panting and sweating, eyes blinking in uncertain intervals as his mind spun, dizzy and disoriented. The lack of familiar scenery didn't help, this room he was in sterile and unfamiliar. 'No... this room is...' Trying to regain his senses, find some sort of balance, the Turk rookie took in a deep breath. In... slowly... out... just as slow. He repeated the process, feeling his heartbeat finally settle down, the panic begin to ebb. The formerly erratic beeping of a heart monitor eased into a mild rhythm of tones, audible proof of Tseng's reclaimed calm.

He shifted on the bed, adjusting white blankets that covered his legs, trying not to instinctively pull out the IV connected to his arm. Despite the intense throb and pain behind his eyes, Tseng was reclaiming his wits. His chest hurt, a bandage wrapped around it. He was in the infirmary... one of ShinRa's if the logos on the machinery was any indicator. He swallowed and eased his body back against the pillows, the pain from his injury spiking, no doubt aggravated thanks to his sudden start. His hand moved to massage over the bandages lightly, and a flash of what'd woken him up just moments before cut through him.

Cut through him exactly as Sephiroth's Masamune had.

Tseng let out a gasp, another string of visions assaulting him, a maelstrom of sights and sounds that flashed through his mind faster than he could truly comprehend.

Jenova... Hojo... Weapons... Meteor... Geostigma... the Northern Crater... Remnants... Cloud Strife...

His eyes rolled back, body nearly convulsing as phantom pains hit more of him. His face hurt from abuse he surely hadn't suffered, from violence at the hands of a green-eyed silver-haired youth he'd never met. The heart monitor began to beat out a distressed song as the rookie tensed, fingers curling from pain all over, but more than anywhere in his head. The training he'd received as a Turk seemed impossible for him to put into use right now, no matter how much he struggled. Shear blind panic was hitting him hard, furthering the distress his body was in. He tried, so very very hard, to think rationally.

Because he'd never been run through by Sephiroth, didn't rank high enough in the company to have any but the most remote associations with the SOLDIER. He'd never been hurt in the Northern Crater... never been there at all! He wasn't here in the infirmary thanks to some sort of mortal wound... he'd been careless in a training mission! He'd been knocked about and taken down by men with blunt objects... not blades. He was bruised, not bleeding beneath his bandage. No matter how much he tried to tell himself though, the pain continued to grow, his body convulsing with the shock of deadly metal plunging through him as he tried to keep it out of Sephiroth's hands...

Keep what?

His fingers curled and clutched at the air, as if seeking out something, and he coughed and gagged as his breathing lost any semblance of a pattern. The buzzing in his ears stopped him from hearing the screaming of the machines around him, and he never really realized how many nurses came rushing in to see what was happening. Whether he closed his eyes or not, he lost sight of the room and the world around him. But he continued to see... see such impossible things.

- 1 2 3 4 5 4 3 2 1 -

"Ah... you're awake now..."

Head groggy and mouth feeling as if it were stuffed with cotton, Tseng had the fleeting notion that the nurse had realized it before he had. With the way his head was feeling right now, it was entirely possible. He could have been lying here awake, eyes opened for an hour, and not actively understood he was no longer sleeping. He knew he should feel annoyed at that, should feel upset at this slip in behavior. A Turk shouldn't lie about, wasting the day away unaware of their surroundings. But... a heavy fatigue had settled over him in both mind and body, and the rookie couldn't force himself to care.

The nurse, who'd been adjusting the bag connected to the IV that ran to his arm, seemed undaunted by his lack of response. She leaned over him slightly, looking at his eyes in that seeking clinical way. Her smile never wavered, professional yet possibly genuine, and she gave Tseng a little pat on the shoulder. "I'll just call the doctor then... you gave us quite the scare!" The rookie nodded his head, feeling unbearably slow of wit right now and not even comprehending his situation properly. Why was he in the infirmary?

While the nurse was paging the doctor, Tseng turned his eyes down at his body. Beneath the hospital gown he could see the top of a bandage wrapped about his chest, and he moved a shaking hand that felt like stone from his side to touch it. He rubbed his fingers absently over the binding, brows furrowing as he tried to recall. How... had he gotten here? Everything was disjointed, and though it couldn't technically hurt to simply think... it truly seemed to. The more he attempted to remember anything right now, the more a persistent throb began to grow behind his eyes and at his temples.

Finished paging the doctor, the nurse wandered back to the bedside, sympathy in her eyes. "Does it still hurt? It probably will for a while, but we can prescribe you some mild pain killers. Wait..." She glanced down at his chart and shook her head. "Very mild, Mr. Turk. Your department and its stipulations, I swear." She laughed, though it was clear she was a little annoyed. "'No substances that might alter mental performance in any manner... no use of materia in healing wounds unless absolutely necessary'... honestly. You would have been out of here immediately if we'd tossed a Cure at you."

Tseng licked his lips slowly, taking in her words, trying to fit them into his head so that they made sense. He didn't have amnesia... not completely. He was aware he was a Turk, but his current situation was still muddled. He looked at his chest, then back up to the nurse. "I... I wasn't stabbed, was I?"

The nurse's eyes widened, and she looked clearly startled by the question. She shook her head, beginning to speak just as the doctor walked in. "No, you certainly weren't stabbed."

The doctor grabbed the chart, sending a keen look at the others in the room. "Stabbed?" He queried to the nurse, who shot a vague look at Tseng from the corner of her eye.

"Ah, it looks like he's a bit disoriented..." She explained, stepping back to give the doctor room to work. The doctor nodded his head, popping on a smile that didn't hit his eyes as he pulled out a small light. Without a word he moved, shining it in Tseng's eyes, before pulling round his stethoscope and having a listen to his chest. The usual 'breathe in deep... now exhale' routine went by, and this at least seemed comforting to the Turk. This felt familiar and safe. The doctor continued his checks in silence before stepping back to scribble away at his patient's chart.

"Well, Tseng, everything seems alright for you now," he said. His eyes never left the chart, and his voice was brisk and efficient. Perhaps the nurses ShinRa employed were paid to be friendly, but the doctors need only be efficient. Too much of a bedside manner was probably a detriment. "To answer your question, you were not stabbed. You suffered from three severe concussive blows, two to the chest and one to your shoulder. There was also a mild one to your head, no doubt what knocked you out and, as it seems, what is causing this disorientation you're feeling."

The doctor snapped the chart shut and fixed Tseng with a gaze. "However, I see no reason to hold you here any longer. Despite your earlier incident, I'm satisfied we do not need to worry about a concussion at this point. You may leave and return to duty tomorrow." The Turk nodded his head, trying to remember this fight he'd been in. The doctor made it as far as the door before he paused, looking over his shoulder. "I realize the Turks do not disclose mission details... but... tell me, would you have been exposed to any Mako during that mission?"

"No," Tseng answered smoothly... and while he had the sense that was the truth, he would have stated something similar no matter what. It wasn't the doctor's business to know. The doctor nodded and left, leaving the nurse who very kindly helped Tseng get ready to leave. As much as he wanted to just go home, try to clear his head, he knew he needed to contact Veld immediately. No rest for the Turks, even a rookie.

End chapter note:

Well, that's one chapter down. Hopefully enjoyable for you all. I know Tseng doesn't have the popularity that the other FF7 characters have, but I like him quite a bit. Hopefully others do, too. Zack and Aerith will be playing significant roles later, if you need bait to keep reading, ha.
Reviews are loved, though if commenting on something you don't like do at least try to be polite and constructive. This is just for fun, right? Right!