Chapter 13 – Then Was Nothing, Now We're Heroes
"When were you going to tell us he could perform Limit Break?" Angeal asked as he slammed his hands down on a wooden desk. The mangled walls that surrounded them were from an office building, one that looked to have been abandoned a long time ago. Whatever paint was on the inside was peeling, and the ceiling was warping dangerously. Outside, one could see nothing but destruction and the fallen bodies of what looked to be monsters. Zack sat behind the same wooden desk, an ornate oak desk that had been scratched up on the right side, and stained with what looked to be blood. The frown on his face was one of focus, as if he were listening only to his thoughts. Genesis watched as they stared at each other while he leaned up against one of the walls, "Limit Break?" he asked. The two broke out of their staring contest, and turned to him, "Are you serious?" Angeal asked, only to get a questioning look from Genesis. Zack stood up tall, letting his hair fall down his back, "The technique is something passed down when you survive Mako Infusion. When you are forced beyond your limits in battle, the power of the Mako in your body will overflow and teach you a powerful attack instantly." he said "Even after Limit Break the move will be accessible to you, however severally powered down and it gets harder and harder to Limit Break each time, because you always get stronger from it."
"You seriously didn't know that?" Angeal asked. "Hey, no one ever told me!" Genesis defended as he lifted his hands up. "Leave him alone Angeal!" Zack said, "I didn't think it was worth mentioning because he'd already induced Limit Break four times before. It should have been nearly impossible for him to do it again!" Genesis looked up at them and whistled, "Well, now I'm impressed!"
"Well now I'm impressed!" James said as he watched Yuffie flail her arms around telling everyone how her husband had saved her. "You better be, I mean, he was like 'Woosh', 'woosh'." she said as she spun her empty hand above her head before throwing it in front of her, "And then, 'VOOM!' And the swords all came apart and slammed into the ground like meteors from outer space! I swear there're still craters out there!"
"Sweet!" James said in excitement, "I can't wait to fight Genesis again, maybe I'll find my own Limit Break!" Yuffie chuckled, "You've got enough power, we don't want to have you going Limit Break." she said. "Hey that's not fair, he's done it how many times now?" James asked. "That was my fifth time." was all Robert said in response. Yuffie turned around and wrapped her arms around his neck, "And for that I thank you!" she said. James and Aerith adopted a curious look as the rest simply chuckled or smiled. "Why is that?" Robert asked and was greeted by a kiss on the lips from his wife. "Because each time was for me. You broke you limits to save me!" she said when the broke apart. "Well! Let's get movin you ass holes!" Cid said as he twisted his toothpick in his mouth, "If we're gonna find Zack before he turns the world against us, we should head out now."
"But what about the shop?" Tiffa asked. "No worries." James told her, "I've got some friends named Densel and Marleen who will help with that." Yuffie smiled brightly, "How about Jessie?" she asked. "The friend Tiffa had be your Bride's Maid and Vincent's date?" Barret asked. Before Tiffa could answer, Robert spoke up, "Great call her up, and I can get hold of Biggs and Wedge! They're old friends from my months as a Mako Pool guard, they owe me some favors!" he said, "Now let's get moving!"
"Wait, I'm not completely packed yet!" James said suddenly. "Just what are you bringing?" Tiffa asked. "Oh, just the essentials!" James said innocently.
Tiffa let her jaw drop to the floor as she watched James hook up an old game console she's seen in his store to a large TV screen he had somehow snuck on board. "These are your essentials?" she asked as she looked around his room. He had successfully placed his favorite snow gear in his closet, grabbed every poster he had, and stuffed his sock drawer with candy and chips. Yet his floor was still clean. He'd also managed to sneak aboard several old games and three different consoles. "Yup!" he told her, just as Cid spoke over the loud speaker, "Alright, now listen up you bastards. We're takin off now so get yer asses on deck." he said. "You heard the man." James said as he stood up and turned Tiffa around by her shoulders, "We have to meet him on deck!" Tiffa frowned as he shooed her out of his room, "I can't believe you!" she said, "We're trying to save the world and you bring video games and your snowboard!" James smiled as he locked the door behind him, "One, no one said it had to be boring, two, most of those games I'm still play testing…" he said. "Translation, you haven't beaten them yet!" Tiffa suddenly said, interrupting him. James rolled his eyes to look up, almost wanting an answer to just fall into his brain, "Yah, I guess!" he finally said when nothing else came to mind. Tiffa rolled her eyes in frustration, "And the snowboard?" she asked. With a huge smile, he flexed his right arm and held onto it with his left hand, "You never know when you'll find a great place to use them!" he said. Tiffa sighed, and was interrupted by Cid, "JAMES, TIFFA, WE'RE ALL WAITING FER YOU! GIT YER ASSES IN GEAR!" the fisherman shouted. "We'd better book it!" he said, receiving a nod from his friend, and the two began their run down the corridor towards the deck.
"Sorry we're late!" James said as he and Tiffa made it to the deck. "Yah, yah!" Cid said and was quickly shushed by his wife Shera. Robert stood in front of them, has arms folded and a stern look masking his face, "Alright, our objective is to find and neutralize Zack and his Z-Agents before they do too much damage." he said, "We know that Angeal thinks Zack is going to infect everyone with Mako, but somehow I doubt that's the truth. Zack said he wants to be the hero this world needs, so our first priority is to find Zack, only he knows what's really going on."
"How do y'all know that?" Aerith asked. Robert turned to her, "Because he's a loner, he was that way in the Mako Pool guard so that's what I'm going off of." he replied. "Wait, you remember him?" Yuffie asked. "Yah, it happened when I met him face to face." he responded, "Either way, he needs to be stopped. Though I'd prefer to keep him alive, maybe we can help him in some way."
"Whit if the eejit jist dennae give in?" Cait Sith asked. "Then we'll have no choice, I'll even do it myself if I have to." Robert told them with hesitation, "Yuffie and I will take Fenrir along the ground, the rest of you take to the sky and keep an eye out for him." James pumped his fist in the air, "Finally, action, adventure," he said and gently placed one of his arms around Aerith's shoulders, "And good company!" he said smoothly. "Just keep your eyes on the ground!" Robert said sternly, "We're not on one of your random adventure trips, this is serious."
"Alright, alright!" James said as Robert pushed past them, "Kill joy!" Suddenly a realization hit him and he turned to find his brother and his wife exiting the bridge door, "Wait, does this mean you remember me too?" he asked, just as the door closed. Tiffa placed a hand on his shoulder, "That would be a 'yes', James." she said. "That's bad!" James told her, startling everyone, "He'll want pay-back for me stealing his Halloween candy!"
"I heard that!" Robert shouted from beyond the door. James simply slouched, sagging his shoulders in defeat, "There goes my secret!" he told himself.
If James focused hard enough, he was sure he could still see the speck of his brother on the roads. He was surprised at how fast that bike could move and he found himself wishing he had one like it, "That would be cool!" he said to that thought, and found something in the corner of his eye moving toward him. At first he didn't pay attention, but the faster it went the more he recognized it. With only a second to spare, he Mako Shifted the Masamune and blocked as Genesis slammed into him. The two of them fell off of the side of the Shera, (Cid's new air ship) and tumbled towards the ground below. "Carful!" James said as he quickly pushed Genesis away, "You act like you want to kill me!" Genesis simply chuckled as he placed one foot on top of the other. James followed suit, "I had faith you would see me!" he said, and the two of them jumped off of their own feet, charging in at each other and clashing swords again. "You do realize we're at 16000 feet right?" James asked. "Do you think that's a problem?" Genesis asked as he deflected another strike and spun around, clashing his sword into the Masamune again. "By the way, how'd you knock me off of the Shera?" James asked, his smile never leaving his face. "Oh you know." Genesis said with laughter in his voice, "The usual way. Saw you guys, climbed into a giant fortress cannon and got them to shoot me at you!" James laughed at the joke as they once again separated, "You mean that big ass thing at the Junon Military Museum? They told me it didn't work!" Genesis smiled as once again they dashed in towards each other, "That's your problem, you asked." he said. James smiled again as he pushed away and pointed himself towards the ground. With a quick push of his legs he dashed down, Genesis following close by. James turned around and swiped his sword back and forth; creating a mass of air blades that sailed right at his opponent. With a smile as wide as a cartoon's Genesis slashed at each of them, and with a dash of his own, raced after James. The Sephiroth stand in, pulled his head backward, turning him completely upside down as Genesis' sword passed by. Once again Genesis met his eyes, and the two of them clashed swords again.
"Have you ever played 'Run Monkey Run' upside down?" James suddenly asked as they continued to dance and turn in mid air. "Are you kidding, it's the only way anyone can get passed round one!" Genesis said while he laughed. James smiled, "I agree, I have no idea what that game designer was thinking!" he said. Once again they pushed off of each other, and with one foot on top of the other, back flipped only inches from the ground, landing smoothly on their feet. "Nice landing!" Genesis commented. "Thanks!" James said. And suddenly Genesis smiled, "Dude, what would you say if I asked you to join the Z-Agents?" James pretended to think about it, and dashed in, locking his sword with Genesis'. "You mean those thugs that think their tough just because they have Mako in them and work for Zack?" he asked. "Oh come on dude. I work for Zack!" Genesis said as he pushed against James. The swords seemed to explode with power as the two warriors separated, "Reluctantly!" James countered as the two of them landed some ten yards away, "Sorry buddy, but no thanks. He'd never let us fight like this and you know it." This time Genesis pretended to think about it, and dashed in, slamming his sword against the Masamune, "I guess you have a point there!" he said with a smile. James smiled, "You wanted me to say no!" he said and pushed Genesis away by bumping into him and throwing his sword to the side. Genesis landed gracefully on the ground and smirked, "Why whatever do you mean?" he asked in a false shock. James smiled again, "I like you kid!" he said. "So tell me, why do you keep fighting, even if I'm not there to face you?" Genesis asked. "Oh that's easy!" James said as quickly lifted his sword in the air, swinging it high and bringing it down in front of him, "I just like this sword!" and placed his free hand in his pocket, leaning back casually and smiling at his friend. Genesis smiled, "Should have known you'd say that!" he said and the two of them jumped into the air, clashing swords again. "What about you?" James asked. "I don't like Zack in the least." the red clad warrior said, "I just fight for him because he's helping my family stay alive. He promised to feed them and cloth them and keep them safe."
"Hell, I'm rich, maybe I can help!" James said. Genesis lowered his face as they landed, and ducked a horizontal swing. He decided to take one of his own swings, and James lifted the Masamune to block, "No thanks dude, then I'd feel like I had to go easy on you!" he said. James was just about to argue, but the look in Genesis' eyes when he lifted his face told him what he needed to know. "Kay!" James said as once again they backed away from each other, "Just be careful, I'm not sure Zack can be trusted."
"I will be!" Genesis said as he reached into his maroon coat and pulled out a pistol, "Zack wanted me to hit you with this. He's scared of your limitless power!"
"Limitless huh?" James thought out loud. "That is why you cannot Limit Break, you have none to break, at least that's what he told me." Genesis explained and shot the dart of red Mako at James' feet just as the Shera lowered quickly to the ground, kicking up dust, "But I like you kid! Don't ever change!"
"What about one little rule!" James shouted as Genesis turned around, "We never involve the innocent in our fights no matter what. It just wouldn't be fair." Genesis turned his head as the dust thickened, "I agree. No hostages. Just you and me!" he said as he disappeared from view by the dust.
"Welcome back!" Vincent said as he stood there, waiting for James to land on the deck. "Thanks!" James said as he smiled to the man with the dark aura. "Well?" Vincent asked. "Hm?" James wondered as he walked up next to his friend, "Oh Genesis? He got lonely and wanted another match." James easily slid by, entering the Shera without any confrontation. When he got to the bridge, that was another story.
"What the hell happened?" Cid asked angrily, "I got you on camera one minute and the next, gone! What'd you do, jump off for fun?"
"Sorry Cid." James apologized, "Genesis decided to pay a visit."
"A visit?" Cid asked as he leaned over the large metal wheel of the Shera. "That must a been some surprise visit to knock yah off a yer feet like that!" Aerith said innocently. Cid slapped his own face and sighed, "Yah, it was." James said with a smile. "Did you two fight?" she asked. James stood there, looking into her eyes as he thought about his answer, "Yes." he finally said, "Yes we did!" Aerith smiled brightly, "That's good!" she said, causing everyone in the Shera so stop in surprise. "You two are the best a friends, so Ah don't need to worry." she said, clearing up the confusion, "If'n you two didn't fight, then Ah'd be worried!" she said and playfully patted him on the face. James smiled a little as she walked past him, "Hey," he called after her, "Wanna play some video games?" he asked. "The hell?" Cid asked as they left, "When did that bastard have time to grab video games?"
"He snuck them aboard." Tiffa said. Vincent smiled and let lose a snort of a laugh. "What's so funny?" Tiffa asked. "Just that everyone here except him and I think it was a bad idea. At least there's something to do in his down time." Vincent said and lifted from the wall. "Dinnae tell me ye're encouraging this." Cait Sith said in surprise. "Not in the least, but on the other hand James and I have a little score to settle!" Vincent said and continued his walk. "I know we shouldn't have made Vincent the play tester!" Barrett said as he slapped his hand against his forehead. Red XIII took off, barking and yipping happily as he raced after Vincent, "Did he bring any of the older consoles? Those are the only ones I can play!" he shouted.
Zack focused hard as he waited, his eyes staring into what looked to be a Mako Pool. This one was surrounded by cave walls, thick supports carved out when the Life Stream had made its home here. Zack once saw this place as beautiful, but now his mind was focused on someone else. 'Robert!' he thought, 'Why are you getting so much stronger so quickly? I'm the strongest, I should be the hero. So why does the Ultima Weapon still chose you as its master and not me. What am I missing?'
"Sorry boss!" he heard Genesis say. He barely moved an eye to greet him, he just continued to stare at the Mako in the pool, "I couldn't hit him with the Red Mako, he destroyed the dart in mid air!" Genesis lied as he stood there at the entrance. Zack's eyes narrowed in anger, 'Very well. You may leave!" he said. Genesis nodded and kicked off of the cave wall before walking away. 'Again I fall short.' Zack said, and Mako Shifted the Buster Sword into his hand, 'Why, when I have the strongest weapon in all the worlds, do I keep falling?'
To Be Continued…