Final Chapter – End of Crisis
He couldn't even see how far he fell, he only knew he stopped when his back hit the ground, his vision turning white for a second as the pain rushed through him quickly. He shut his eyes hard as he tried to push the pain back into the ground he landed on. He slowly turned on to his side, opening his eyes to see where he was and how to escape. Instead he saw light emanating from one spot, Zack. He looked very different now even with his back turned to him, his black pants now turned white, and he had several angel wings draping off of his hips like a belt or skirt. His shirt had been completely removed from his ensemble and he had eight large angel wings sprouting from his back and his black hair cascaded down his back, spiking out everywhere it could. "It's incredible!" he heard Zack say, and out from behind the wings rose his arms. He had what looked like feathers sprouting from about half way up his forearm into a plume or tuft of feathers that reached his elbow. "This power! I never knew it even existed!" he said. "What have you done to yourself?" Robert asked causing the man to lower his arms. "Isn't it obvious?" Zack asked, and turned around slowly, "I have become more powerful than I could have ever imagined, I have become this worlds new god!" Zack flapped the wings on his back and hips to lift into the air easily. "You've become a monster!" Robert shouted as he brought the Ultima Weapon out in front of him. "If I am a monster, then I will be the ultimate monster!" Zack said, and lifted both of his arms, turning his hands down to the ground as he flexed his muscles. Robert felt the ground begin to rumble under his feet, and up from the ground on both sides of Zack, a pair of swords flew up, and swirled around the monster.
The blades were double sided, each with a design of a vine like etching that shaped both a diamond and a heard near the middle. At the tips of the blades, two notches were carved into the metal, and the hilt of the blades looked as if it were a spade with wings coming from the sides, a gauntlet attached to the base with a horizontal handle hidden inside.
The blades spun around Zack several times as his grin widened, and just as quickly slid onto his hands, covering the skin on his arms up to the tuft of feathers. "THIS TIME, IT ENDS!" Zack shouted, and crossed his blades in front of him before spreading them apart, flapping his wings to stay aloft.
Robert crouched down, flexing the muscles in his legs as much as he could, and jumped. He brought the Ultima Weapon behind his head, and clashed it against one of the blades Zack hand. Zack responded with a malicious grin as they nearly touched noses. With nothing more than a powerful push, Robert went flying back to the ground. He hit the stone floor hard, using his legs to flip himself over, righting his position as Zack came flying in. Robert once again lifted his sword to block, and was barely able to hold his balance as Zack raced on by, striking the blade only once to knock the man onto his back. Robert made a guess, rolling to the right with his eyes closed and hearing the metal strike of Zack's blade hit the ground where he once sat. Robert then stood up, swinging the Ultima Weapon with all his might, and hitting Zack's other sword. Zack easily pulled the blade from the ground, holding it high in the air, "And so the hero falls, to the might of the god!" he said and brought his blade down. Robert moved quickly, backing up as the blade slashed down, cutting him in the chest and through his shirt. "TCH!" he scoffed as he placed his hand against the flesh wound. "So you continue to fight even with such overwhelming odds?" Zack asked confidently. "I'll keep fighting, if only to protect my friends!" Robert told him, and lifted the Ultima Weapon into a defensive position. "Yet all you can do…" Zack said, and dashed in, slamming his sword into the blade of his opponent's sword. Once again Robert found himself flying back, and this time into a wall, "Is protect yourself!" Zack finished. Robert pulled against his arms, wrenching them from the stone as he removed himself from the imprint of himself, "How do you know that they'll be there in five years, ten years? How can you rely on others who are different than you are?" he heard Zack ask as he stood back up. "I can because I know the power of those differences! I'm stronger because of my friends, and I can rely on them to finish the battle you just started!" he shouted. "What?" Zack asked. "You don't know it, but my friends and family are fighting your agents right now, and I'm betting they're on the winning side!" he said.
Back at the battle, Tiffa kept slamming her fists into the faces of the Agents, punching them as hard as she could while her husband backed her up. She was quick with her strikes, punching and kicking the enemy with all she had. She took one more strike as she darted forward, leaving her husband's side for an instant. The moment she struck the agent, there was a powerful explosion that erupted from her fist, knocking both her and her opponent away from each other, "Uh?" she asked herself as she looked up at her husband and his three barreled gun, "Did I just Limit Break?"
"Sweetheart, if you can do it, so can I!" he told her and lifted his gun up to the sky. A light blue energy quickly built up in between the three barrels, and launched into the air with a blast, "BOOYAH!" he shouted as he felt the power leave his gun. The energy reached into the clouds, causing lightning to form and surge. "Really?" Tiffa asked, "You just said that?" She was distracted when the energy came back down, slamming into the ground in the middle of a group of agents. "Yes dear, I did!" he told her with a smile, and changed his gun back into a mechanical hand, "WOOOW!" he cheered as he pumped his fist. He quickly turned, and slammed that fist into the face of an approaching agent. "I think I married a crazy man!" Tiffa said with a mixture of excitement, worry and humor. "Focus you two!" Yuffie shouted as she found herself surrounded by enemies. She quickly spun around, reaching her conformer out as she did, cutting the entire group down. Vincent jumped over her, turning upside down quickly and pointing his Cerberus the way he came from. Three quick shots, and he found himself not followed anymore, "Alexander!" he called out, and the giant castle turned to listen, "Take Bahamut and Iffrit and make sure the reinforcements are late!" The castle seemed to nod, and the three summons turned to make their way to their positions. "Ah hope he knows what he's doin!" Aerith said as she rode the back of her dragon. James and Genesis stood there behind her, each with a smile on their faces. "He's got something up his sleeve!" James said as he looked down. Bahamut was the first on the scene, spying an army more than twice the size of the first marching towards the battle field, "This is my stop!" James said, and leapt from the back of the dragon as Bahamut let off a massive blue fireball towards the enemy. He pointed himself at the attack, wanting to surprise the troops as he arrived. "HEY!" Genesis called out, "Wait for me!" and jumped off to follow his friend. Aerith smiled as they dropped down, "Ah kin tell, they're better friends now!" she said. Bahamut tried to turn his head and look at her, his eye brow lifted to ask if she was serious.
"So as you can see Zack, you've lost this war, there will be no where for you to run after this!" Robert said as he continued. Zack stayed perfectly still, glaring at the boy as he spoke, his face contorting into anger as the information was relayed, "There will be no throne, no offerings and no worship, the war is over, and…" Robert continued. He was interrupted when Zack dashed in, forcing Robert to lift the Ultima Weapon again and block several strikes from Zack. He quickly decided to jump and avoid the man and reach a higher rock. Zack flapped his wings, all of them, and followed quickly, striking again and again as Robert swung his sword to block. Again Robert jumped, this time over Zack as the two of them fought, flipping once to try and attack at the same time. Zack lifted one sword and blocked, the blade of the Ultima Weapon scraping across it as Robert continued his flight. With a smooth landing, Robert ran off again towards the edge of the rock and jumped to another one, Zack close behind him as he landed. They engaged again, both swinging wildly to attack and block as they spun and flipped around each other. Robert ducked one strike, and jumped back from another, making his way to the back, and running close to the wall of the cavern. With a quick flip of his wrist, he Mako Shifted his full multipiece sword just as Zack came in close, trying to attack without warning. Robert jumped again, flipping over Zack, his head only inches from touching hair with the monster as he spun around to face the same way, and landed behind him, both swords at his sides. He brought the blades in, and Zack lifted both of his swords, blocking the scissor strike easily. He then opened all eight of his wings and pushed Robert backwards and almost off of the rock he was standing on. Instead of trying to regain his balance, Robert pushed off, back flipping to another rock just a short distance away. He spun in mid air again, facing away from Zack as the man lifted one of the swords in his hands. He landed in a crouch, and jumped again, letting the rock he had been standing on be split in half by the power of the other. Zack flapped his wings again and chased Robert along his path.
The guard pushed his legs to spring as hard as they could as quickly as they could, leaping from rock to rock as Zack tried to catch up with him. He landed on another rock close to the wall of the cavern, and turned direction as Zack's blade pierced the wall that would have been in front of him. He ran to the edge of the ledge, and lifted his feet up to the wall, running along it as Zack followed close. Robert looked up just as Zack lifted his swords, and Robert reacted, swinging his swords to collide with his opponent's half way as he continued to run along the wall. He reached another ledge and continued, the war of two blades raging on above him as he ran along the walls again. He quickly made a sudden stop as Zack kept going on, and flipped down to the ground, catching the back of his blade on a ledge to swing around a pillar, and hide from the winged man. "Ho!" he breathed to himself, "I'm glad James signed us up for that Parkour class all those years ago!" He turned just in time to see Zack turn the corner, and lifted his swords to cross in front of him. The force Zack asserted when he slammed into him lifted Robert off of the ground, causing him to fly into a wall on the other side of the cavern, and drop to his face, his two swords falling to his sides. He began to stand up, grabbing both blades as he did, and felt Zack's boot hit him in the chest, knocking him to the wall again and forced him to a seated position. He quickly felt the tip of both Zack's swords press against his shoulders, threatening to be pressed into his skin. "I am all powerful!" Zack said and began applying more pressure, "What makes you think I'll be afraid of your friends?" Robert could feel the blades slowly pierce into his skin, wetting his shirt with his own blood, "I'll start with your brother, or maybe that girl you call a wife!" Zack said, catching Robert's attention and anger, "How would you like that?"
Robert let the memories of his wedding, their first date, and the time they met run through his mind. The memories pushed him, drove him further, and he dropped his swords to the ground willingly this time. He reached his hands into the slots of Zack's blades and pushed with all of the strength he could, slowly removing the tips from his arms. Zack pushed back, slowly losing ground as the metal of his swords finally exited the man's skin. Robert then pushed the two swords away, letting them burry into the rock behind him instead and grabbed the handles of his two swords before lifting his feet and kicking Zack in the chest. The god found himself pushed back several feet as Robert lifted himself back up, both swords firmly in hand, "I won't let you anywhere near them!" he said furiously, and his eyes started to glow again, "What's this?" Zack said, "I thought you could only Limit Break seven times!"
"I am the man that breaks his limits, THIS is my power!" Robert shouted, and lifted the Ultima Weapon into the air. From his back sprouted metal wings, the stem separated from his back as it floated there, like a bone with a large crescent moon shape on the top. Another piece floated above that, shaped like the edge of a can with two spikes extending off of the top. The five blades on each were strait and sharp, like the blade of the Buster Sword, each getting smaller as they traveled down the wing. In the center of the hole made by the stem and top part, spun a strange blue gem shaped like a large twelve sided die, the gem itself spun in just about every which way it wanted. The only thing connecting the wing together, and to his back, was the green mist of Mako, shaping itself around the blades and into the wings of an angel. "I am Robert Gaia, code named Cloud. I will not let you destroy everything I know and love, it ends here Zack!"
Zack scoffed, and flapped his wings to rise into the air flying up to reach a different level than his opponent. Cloud crouched down, leaping into the air right at him, and clashed swords with Zack. The two easily stale mated, and Zack found himself confused as to how Robert wasn't falling. It felt to him like the man he was fighting was pushing harder, "What is this power?" he asked. Robert simply pushed the man away, his two swords held tightly in his hands as he slowly brought them to his sides. "This is the power my friends gave me, and I plan on using it to defeat you!" Cloud said, and rushed in again, clashing his swords into Zack's, by passing him entirely. Zack flapped his wings, again, harder this time, ascending up to the opening of the hole in the ground, trying to escape. Robert turned and made his way out to chase him, Zack using his swords to break pieces off of the sides of the narrowing entrance and tossing them at his pursuer. Robert swung his swords at the projectiles, slashing them in half and some times more as he chased Zack to the surface. In one last ditch effort, Zack spun in a tight circle as he made his way into the sunlight, shredding the opening and letting the rocks fall towards the man following him. Robert pushed forward faster, dodging the smaller rocks and destroying the larger ones as he burst through the collapsing opening.
The two of them hovered there, glaring face to face as they stared each other down. Zack tried to make the first move, but Robert was quicker, dashing off to one side, and circling Zack quickly. Zack let his eyes open wide in disbelief, and turned around to see his opponent floating there smirking. "It's over Zack." Robert said confidently, "Stop this madness and turn yourself in! That way no one else has to die!" Zack narrowed his eyes in focus, and flapped his wings with all of his might, racing towards Robert at speed that had his opponent startled. Robert lifted both of his swords up to block, finding the speeding Zack almost like an animal on the hunt as they clashed swords. Robert flew up, chased buy Zack a few feet before he flipped over and let the winged man pass him by. Zack quickly turned around and once again chased his opponent. Robert turned around and let Zack's swords clash with his own. He leveled out, flying straight along the ground as he turned again, finding Zack keeping up with him. The wild dance the two of them made was erratic, sharp, and defined. Robert darted up again, this time with Zack nearby. They separated again, only to come back and meet in the middle, clashing blades and passing each other. The two of them repeated the action several times before Zack stopped and spun in a circle, his two blades held out at arms length. Robert held out his swords, letting the tips of Zack's swords scrap his to come to a stop. He let his blades follow the path that they were lead into by Zack's swords, and stopped them, turning the path in reverse and clashing the blades again, stopping the deadly spin of the winged man. Zack then turned the unoccupied blade to his opponent, trying to stab Robert in the chest. Instead he pulled his hips forward, letting the blade slide behind him harmlessly. Zack tried to turn the blade, but somehow Robert spun with it, keeping himself out of harm's way before taking off again. Zack began to chase him again, this time into the airspace of the battle.
The Agents looked up with pride as they saw their leader flying around, keeping pace with the other man. "Holy shit!" Tiffa said in surprise. "Cloud?" Yuffie asked. The two factions turned their heads back to the battle, and this time with more vigor, began fighting again.
It seemed as if the two warring titans in the sky didn't even notice what was below them as they fought, each one keeping the pace of the other as they danced. Robert made a suddenly move, backing up from the man to break the pattern of metal hitting metal to move further into the city. Zack followed, his anger radiating from deep inside his core. Robert watched, waiting as Zack neared him. He stopped, leaned back and let Zack's blade soar right over him. With a quickly turn, he let his eyes shine again, the power to break his limits shining through. Once again the fighting stopped, the people still alive turning to watch the spectacle.
Cloud lifted his multipiece sword to swing it in the air above him, touching the blade to his back. Zack darted in, trying to stop the attack before it happened. Robert tossed the sword at his enemy, the blade coming apart with a light blue aura surrounding it like fire dancing around the blade. It never struck him, instead it lifted up, creating a circle above him like a halo, causing him to stop in surprise. Robert dove down, the Ultima Weapon in his hands as he touched ground and raced up, slashing Zack up the center. The floating blades then turned, the tip facing Zack, and rushed in, passing by the middle before falling to the ground creating a much larger circle on the roof. Robert stopped in mid air, spun the Ultima Weapon in the air and turned back down, again slashing Zack down the middle and landing in the middle of the ring of blades and on the top of a tall building. The air in front of Zack compressed, it seemed as if it would crush him as he reeled from his new injuries, and then it expanded in a flash, like an explosion, sending him to the ground in front of the warrior as Robert swing the Ultima Weapon in a circle in front of him and place it on his back, like a victory dance.
On the ground, the Agents watched as their master fell, and with fear engulfing them, turned to flee. "I think we won!" James said as he let Aerith peek out from behind him. "After them!" they all heard the MH solders say, "Capture them all alive! They have to stand trial for all of the lives they've taken!" They all stood still as the other solders raced past them, one solder stepping up to Yuffie and removing his mask. There under the black metal, stood the detective. "Captain Thalwald?" she asked. "Hey, don't look too surprised, I do undercover operations as well. Besides, this was a lot more fun than clean up!" he told her. "I'm just glad it was you and not that crazy general guy!" she said. "Speaking of which, I never saw the general pass by us!" Tiffa told her. "Oh no!" she said, and ran past Thalwald, "CLOUD!" she screamed. Without a word the detective ran with her, trying to keep up with the ninja.
"I'm sorry Zack!" he said softly. Zack struggled to get to his feet, leaving both of his swords on the ground. "I was…supposed…to be the hero!" he grunted as he felt his strength leave him. "A hero doesn't start problems or keep others from them, all they do is give others courage to fight for themselves." Robert responded. Zack trudged forward, reaching out with one hand and collapsing into the arms of his opponent, "Was I really so wrong?" Zack asked, "Was everything I did in vain?"
"No!" Robert told him, "You started something, I just wish you would have stopped. I wanted you to see it for yourself." Zack simply smiled, and looked up. His eyes opened wide, almost as if he could see something that wasn't there, "Such beauty!" he said to himself, "Am I really worthy of this?" Zack slowly reached his hand out, wrapping his fingers around the air as if to grab another hand, and stood up. With labored steps, he walked forward, disappearing as he went, in a wisp of Mako sprites, little balls of green energy that faded quickly. Robert stood back up; watching as the man disappeared, finding a better place to live. He let the sun rest against his skin, the warm rays soothing whatever stress he had.
Gunshot, that was all he heard, and the pain of several bullets piercing his back swept through his body. The pain alone made him fall to his knees, and the sounds around him dulled until they were nothing but thumps from a far away drum. He could feel his power fade; the wings on his back disappear like smoke from a shell. The bullets stopped when he heard shouting, familiar voices all muffled together as if a thick wall were between them and him. A man struggling, and being thrown to the ground. Then he felt familiar hands try to hold him up as he let his body fall backward. He looked up, finding the fading face of his wife, his beloved Yuffie. "Hold on!" she said, her voice muffled severely. Then, black.
He didn't know how long he was asleep, he just knew that he was. He was warm not cold as he expected, though the arms wrapped around him might have had something to do with is. He opened his eyes slowly, the lids twitching at first as he let the light in slowly. He felt stiff; his arms, his legs, even his mind. With great effort, he lifted his hand, touching his face. Then he heard a crash, the crash of a metal tray hitting the ground, "OH MY GOSH!" he heard. He opened his eyes even wider as the person next to him shot up, "WA!" Yuffie shouted, "What, what?"
"You're awake!" the nurse shouted and turned to the door, "Let me go get the doctor!"
'Doctor?' he asked himself, and turned his eyes as he saw his friends and brother enter the room, "Why do I need a doctor?" he asked out loud, catching Yuffie's attention. "You're awake!" she said and leaned in, grabbing his face and kissing him on the lips. He didn't mind, but his head was still reeling. James whistled twice, causing Yuffie to blush and break the kiss. Instead of snapping back at him, she just looked embarrassed. "What happened?" Robert asked as he felt his strength slowly return. "Dude, you got filled with a clip's worth of anti-Mako ammunition, a victory present from the MH2 General himself." Genesis told him. Robert nodded, and the doctor he remembered from before came in, pressing a stethoscope to his chest, "Amazing!" he said, "After the surgery I was doubtful of your recovery, there was just so much damage!" Robert looked to him with curious eyes, wondering if he had any other intentions, "Hey, don't worry bro!" James said as he walked up to him, "The Mako Hunters division 2 has been disbanded completely! And the general has been tried for attempted murder on your behalf! Thalwald really let him have it in the courtroom, it was so cool! I just wish I had the whole thing on video!"
"How long was I out?" Robert asked, and Yuffie turned to him, embracing him in her arms, "You've been asleep for three months!" she told him. 'Three months?' Robert asked himself. "You've been called a hero! Worldwide!" Yuffie told him, and reached behind him, pulling the Buster Sword from against the wall, "We got your swords back for you!" He smiled at her, and kissed her on the lips. Again James whistled, but this time the two ignored him.
Several months later, they had all finally relaxed, getting back into their lives as much as they could. The hype from the hero title had died down a bit, letting them finally have some peace and quiet without having to sneak along the rooftops from crazy fans. James had more business now than he thought he could handle, but was happy to be able to hire Jessie, Biggs and Wedge to help him around the shop. Robert and Yuffie on the other hand had moved into his father's old house, the one left to the boys after his demise. It was there that a peculiar ring of the doorbell brought them to meet with Captain Thalwald, who now had a shiny new badge that said Chief on it. "Chief Thalwald!" Yuffie said as she let him in, "Has a better ring to it than Captain!"
"Yah, I thought so too!" he replied as he was escorted to the living room. "Robert!" Yuffie called out, "Thalwald's here to talk to us!" Thalwald placed his finger in his hear and rubbed it while she was turned, but feigned innocents when she turned back. Robert came from the kitchen, rubbing his hands in a dish rag as he walked. "Hello detective!" he said. "Not a detective anymore!" Thalwald said, "I'm actually head of the combined Mako Hunter's force! Chief to be exact!"
"What?" Yuffie asked as she sat down, "Are the Mako Hunters a police force now?"
"Sort of!" Thalwald said, "There are still lots of Z-Agents out there, and it's our job to bring them in." Yuffie looked out the window and sighed, "It's incredible, the Mako Infused are actually becoming a part of society, the Mako in there system is being stabilized rather than trying to be destroyed."
"We've learned a lot from your group of friends," Thalwald said and leaned forward, placing his chin in his folded hands, "Which brings me to the reason why I'm here! Mako Monsters have been popping up all over the place now that Zack's gone, like a plague that's broken out of its jar!" Robert and Yuffie looked to him, curious as to what he was talking about, "I'm trying to put a team of mercenaries together to hunt down these monsters and keep them from getting the idea that attacking humans is a good idea. I call it the AVALANCH Unit. And I want someone I can trust!" he told them. Robert and Yuffie looked to each other. "Of course it will only be on call, and I assume that the calls will be few and far between, so you'll have plenty of time to rest after each mission!" he finished. It was when Yuffie smiled that Robert turned back to them, he Mako Shifted the Buster Sword, and placed it on his shoulder, "You'd better make it worth our while!" he said, and smiled himself.