Four Years Later...
Shinra discovered that the original Nibelheimers are still alive. Just that they fled to Cosmo Canyon because of a monster attack while they still had free time that morning before a second wave as the monsters began behaving erratically when the Shinra Mansion exploded, and attacked the populace around nighttime causing mass panic. That was the story Zack asked Tseng to report as when the Air Strike came to torch Nibelheim, there's no sight of people. Zack learned of the Air Strike from Cloud. So Nibelheim was rebuilt when the Nibelheimers went home, after earning enough money for clearing up rubble and rebuilding with Mayor Lockhart hiring a team of bulldozers to clear up the destroyed houses after everyone salvaged belongings what could be salvaged and went away again for the bulldozers to clear up the destroyed buildings except for one. Shinra took advantage of this to hide what must not be seen in the Shinra Mansion.
Only Cloud's house stayed in one piece, much to his and his mother's relief.
During those four years, everyone has their homes rebuilt under a new village blueprint plan. By this time, Cloud, Vincent and the SOLDIERs were working in Icicle Inn, and Cloud's mother staying home, happy with their new house that they actually owned. Cloud bought her beauty products to regain her youthful beauty and healthy weight that she lost from too much stress and he hopes that she re-marry so she would no longer be lonely as he's overseas, working. Not all men in the world are like his father, whoever hell he is.
Zack had asked Elmyra permission to take Aerith with him for her safety, having fully known of the company's dirty workings. It took Vincent's morbid scenarios that Elmyra finally relented in letting Aerth go...after showing her his chest. Aerith also lives in safety of the Cetra Village beyond the Sleeping Forest and she was at home there with the Rui sisters and also started training.
As for the five men working as Crystal Miners...things changed between them too. Since they have each other for company for many years with Cloud occasionally going home to give money to his mother, they became very close friends. Vincent, being the oldest, tended to care more for Sephiroth like a father would in a bid to pay for his past failures and the consequences of his failures and the wisest among them. Sephiroth...enjoyed Vincent's attentions as he never knew what its like to have a caring parent, being scientifically, verbally and emotionally abused and stunted all his life. Genesis returned to being his old self, reading Loveless in their house and took to emptying his late family's wealth for their own. They live in their own house in Icicle Inn with the ex-employees using aliases and Cloud stayed as himself.
Cloud is now 21 years old with Zack being 23. Sephiroth, Genesis, and Angeal are all 29 years old even though Angeal didn't look the part. And Vincent...still remained ageless even though he is purified but this time, it has something to do with being the Harbinger's Avatar, Chaos. With a Planetary Weapon sealed in him, he was made immortal because if he dies, so does the Weapon much to his chagrin. He wanted to be human again. After earning enough money to buy the girls things they needed, he traveled in search of methods to regain his humanity, leaving his duty to the boys. And without Vincent, Angeal took to being the voice of reason with Cloud's help regarding their three other friends.
Trouble started when Vincent left. And that trouble is hormone overdrive. Granted, Sephiroth, Genesis and Cloud were lust-worthy beauties but he doesn't see them they way and is the only one to stay straight. Sephiroth and Cloud who were emotionally stunted as Sephiroth's past speaks volumes and Cloud focused more on livelihood than his social life made it easy for Genesis and Zack to woo their desired men(and Genesis gloated that he gets to top Sephiroth which was TMI). Sephiroth took quite a while to 'court' but Genesis loved a challenge. And Cloud thought Zack was being friendly...until he kissed him and it spiraled as Zack was too good at kissing he eventually 'went native'.
Angeal knew someone has to be sane in their house and that's him. He also set up rules so they could enjoy themselves without getting found out by neighbors.
In the meantime, the 'top three' regained their strength by exposure to the mako-saturated environment in the mountains...and they took to training Cloud as he is the least skilled and that was because he had no battle experience after learning from Zangan. Monsters aside, he could not fight seasoned warriors the way he is now. Cloud started with Zack...before learning under Angeal. Sephiroth is way too much for him and Genesis is the best magic user among them. So they trained the young man too. When they earned enough, they took to traveling around to purchase equipment and material all over the world and also go home to the Cetra Village to train the girls for when they decide its time for payback.
This starts their story.
'Welcome back!' Shalua age 20 greeted the boys.
'We're here for training improvements on you ladies.' said Sephiroth. 'That, and new equipment.'
'Ooh, new material?!' Shelke, now 16 greeted them excitedly.
'Yes, that too.' Zack grinned. 'Loads of weapons and new materia, you'll love em'!'
'We'll be training until you girls mastered the new material we brought over.' said Genesis. 'We're working you hard to the bone so get ready. Once we all mastered our material, we will leave this village to train Shelke's Synaptic Net Dive ability after teaching her computers in Kalm. Kalm has the resources we need for her to learn. She needs to know computers and actual hacking skills before using Synaptic Net Dive. The rest of us will find what other networks can she dive in besides the Infonet.'
'Er the human body for one.' said Sephiroth. 'Our own body alone has so many systems. Then the rivers linking to oceans, the lifestream...even our own minds.'
'And that's a lot.' said Angeal. 'Its too much so we'll deal with computers and anatomies first. And we have to get the girls up to snuff. Physical peak condition, combat and weapon skills and magic skills. Moreover what about Limit Breaks? I'm not even sure if they have Limit Breaks. We can't leave without them knowing some.'
'Right...let's work on it, shall we?' Cloud grinned. They proceeded to work the girls hard in training and making practice out of monsters. Using the weapons they bought them, they started with the weaker weapons as practice stuff, before giving them their strongest weapons when they start to travel and find a way to bring down Shinra, the Company that started their hell.
Vincent was experimented on by Hojo for getting in his way with his specimen inside his own wife. Vincent lost his humanity in failing to convince Lucrecia it was wrong to experiment on a BABY and failing to stop Hojo due to the pains she gets. The only time she decided it was wrong was after saving his life!
Sephiroth, Genesis and Angeal were experimented before they left the womb and two of them nearly died if not for Cloud.
Zack who knew too much, was marked for death.
Cloud has his own beef...his mother was raped by a Shinra employee, resulting in his birth. He wanted to find and kill the bastard so his mother gets her closure and get the courage to fall in love again as not all men are monsters.
The Rui sisters have their lives ruined when Shinra is after Shelke for her powers.
And Aerith...has it just as bad as Sephiroth. Years after Project S, Hojo discovered that Professor Gast met a REAL Cetra, married her and has a child with her. Her father was murdered and she and her real mother taken to the company to be experimented on until they managed to escape after four years, but her mother passed away from too much blood loss from bullet wounds, leaving Aerith orphaned and hiding at Sector 5 after being adopted by Elmyra Gainsborough with her real name being Aerith Faremis before adopting her foster mother's surname to hide from Shinra. The Turks knew the truth but is not forking her over to the company on Tseng's orders. As a religious wutainese, he believes she should come on her own accord to help the world with her powers...not that the man knew what the company ACTUALLY wanted from her and her mother. He keeps her existence a secret until Shinra finds out on their own.
That came as a surprise to them all.
All of them have valid grudges against the company.
After seven months of physical and combat training and mastering of Materia...they started equipping their best weapons.
Sephiroth has his new katana, Muramasa, Genesis has Murakumo, Angeal wields Ragnarok, Zack has Excalibur, Cloud has Caladbolg, Aerith has Nirvana, Shalua has Twin Magnums and Shelke has Orihalcon daggers. Their ultimate weapons. While each of them has choice materia, they divided their summons among them...and Cloud has a lot of rare summons that he found in North Continent and by looking around Bone Village and Sleeping Forest and two of which, he gave to his friend Tifa years ago. They had to divide the summons among them equally.
Cloud has Odin, Alexander and the Real Bahamut, Bahamut Zero and Neo Bahamut materia he went in North Crater for, and the others have artificial summon materia which is not as strong as Cloud's Natural Materia. They asked the old mayor of Bone Village where to find Natural Summon Materia so all of them can have one. He gave his Materia to the ex-SOLDIERs, not really minding. And Aerith suggested that to be fair, they put the materia in a box, shake said box and then pick one ala lottery and they'll have to deal with what they get. Angeal ended up having Alexander while Zack wound up having Odin and the remaining boys got the Bahamuts.
The old man who was the remaining pure male Cetra told them, and passed on his powers to Cloud as he too, has dormant Cetra lineage through his mother which the old man awakened. The gene skipped his mother and landed in him which the old man enhanced. He also explained that Cetra are 'reborn' through humans who have special powers such as Cloud and Shelke. But even he has no idea how to help Vincent become human again without coming to the power of science as its science that ruined their lives in the first place.
So they began traveling to locate the other Natural Summon Materia...starting with Nibelheim.