So . . . this is a time travel fic. I know there are a few out there, but I wanted to do my own spin. Events from the compilation will be loosely referenced.
I will freely admit that a lot of this was inspired by The Fifth Act by Sinnatious (did I spell that right?); A life long forgotten by Lord Shinta; Once More With Feeling by Illusor Meaneld (I think I spelled that wrong too . . .); Butterfly Effect by Kariya and Bard Linn; and the Delivery Boy series by Diaphanous, plus several more (most of them are in my favorites). I blame them and their writing for inspiring this mess, and since they did inspire me, you may see a few token things that resemble their own stories. This is not deliberate, I swear.
On a side note, there won't be any pairings that aren't so much as hinted at in cannon. Actually, there won't be many pairings at all. I like exploring characters, and if a relationship will help explore a character (Like Vincent), then, and only then, I will use it. I'm not against any type of pairing (as long as it's well written) but I've found that I write friendships better than romances.
Now some of the characters may seem a little out of character- well, that's to be expected. People grow and develop, so do characters. (Time Travel is my excuse for some of this.) However, if you feel that I'm going too far out of character, let me know. This is my first story for this fandom, and, well, I got introduced to it by the first Advent Children movie. (One of my friends in high school loved the compilation, and informed me of all the characters, their personalities, and abilities, despite my look of 'I could care less about how epic FFVII is'. Apparently, it resembled a look of interest. This story is dedicated to him.)
I'm going to keep the timeline pretty loose. I'm not a hundred percent sure of the ages for all the characters.
Hmm, I think that's it- oh! Yeah, Disclaimer. (Didn't I technically already do that?)
Nibelheim, Nibel Mountains
The first thing Vincent Valentine thought when he opened his eyes was shit. The second was that he had spent far too much time with one foul mouth Airship captain.
He was back in the coffin. Of course, he should have expected this, considering how long he had spent in it, and they were going back to before they had met. He closed his eyes. He could hear his demons confusion at the change in their host. Chaos in particular was looking through his memories, trying to figure out what had happened.
Another problem to add to the list, he had Chaos back in his head. Ignoring them, he pushed against the coffin lid, and sat up in pitch black darkness.
The last time, he had been completely broken by Hojo, and had been too terrified of the idea of freedom (what if he lost control?) to immediately agree with Cloud. It wasn't that he hadn't tried to escape before; Chaos and the rest of the demons had not let him rest until he had attempted to break out of their prison, several times. There was no lock on his side of the doors, and the hinges were hidden.
Not to mention, despite looking like a normal set of wooden doors, the damn things were actually reinforced and had more than a couple materia and spells on them.
So, his slamming against the door and clawing it with his golden gauntlet actually did nothing productive other than letting him beat out his frustration. How was he going to change anything like this?
Two children suddenly skidded to a stop before they reached an old rickety bridge, sitting down hard as memories were suddenly added. Blinking away tears, the girl looked at the blond who had been chasing her. He gave her a shaky smile, before going serious.
"Vincent." They shot off, away from the bridge.
Vincent sighed and leaned against his coffin, having exhausted himself trying to get out again. He was too big to fit through the tiny vent that gave him air. Instead, he focused on his friends. Barret would be in Corel, Cid would be in Shinra, Yuffie- well, she'd be in Wutai, Cait Sith and Reeve would be in Shinra, Nanaki in Cosmo Canyon . . . Tifa and Cloud would be here, but would they be in any position to help him? He didn't even know how old they were, he could have decades to wait, and as much as he hated it, he was going to have to wait for rescue. A rescue that- His head shot up and he glanced at the door. He could have sworn he heard-
"Vincent!"- Children's voices. And they could only be-
"Tifa! Cloud!" Absently he pressed both hands against the door- as if that would make it give way. "Is that you?"
"We're here! We're kids, but we're here!" That sounded like Tifa. He let out a sigh of relief and rested his head against the door. Good, he wasn't going to have to sleep in that coffin until they came to get him. He listened to the muttered arguing and the attempts to pick the lock. "We're going to have to get the key, Cloud can't pick the lock."
"I'm not going anywhere." That earned a giggle, and he didn't stop the small smile. The noises on the other side faded away, and then he was alone again . . . He started pacing, trying to focus on possible plans for what to do. Once Cloud and Tifa got the key from the safe-
'We got the safe open, but it was booby-trapped with a monster', Cloud's voice rang in his head, suddenly.
-"No . . ." Cloud and Tifa were children now. No weapons or Materia. He whirled and once again slammed into the door with his fists. He did not want them dying for him, not so soon after getting this second chance. "Tifa! Cloud!" A clamber of feet on wood, and the key was turning in the lock; He was pushing through before the door had even opened, kneeling to check the bruise on Tifa's cheek. "Tifa, are you-?"
"Cloud's in trouble!" Wordlessly he scooped her up and ran for the stairs.
They found Cloud, and the monster, still in the room with the safe. Cloud was using a sword (must've been left behind by a soldier), but there was still the smell of blood . . .
Vincent didn't waste any time, firing Cerberus into the monster- it whirled and lunged at him, before falling dead to the floor.
"I'm okay!" Came the rather weak reply. Vincent resisted the urge to snort, moving to look at the now bloody blond. The monster had gotten him pretty good with his claws. "Tifa, remember . . . what happened? Today?" Vincent was silent as he checked over Cloud's injuries- gashes, which weren't too deep, his ribs might've been bruised, and he hadn't hit his head . . . He accepted the potion that Tifa gave him, she must've raided the supplies.
"Yeah, you tried to stop me from crossing the bridge and we both got hurt." Tifa grabbed Vincent's claw arm, placing strips of black electrical tape over the gold to disguise it.
"Let's just say we didn't get to the bridge, and got attacked, and Vincent rescued us." Cloud suggested. "Monster Hunters occasionally come to Nibelheim, you could just claim to be a wandering Monster Hunter who rescued two idiot kids. They're known to be eccentric."
"Truth enough." Vincent scooped him up. "I'll make it look like we came from a different direction. Are you done?" Tifa nodded, and he picked her up.
Cloud's mother, (known to the villagers both mockingly and respectfully as 'Mrs. Strife', despite not having a husband) was a very patient and tolerant woman. Mayor Lockheart, on the other hand, was the only known man that made her wish killing idiots wasn't illegal. Right now, he was up in arms over his missing daughter, not even listening to her trying to say that her son was missing as well.
"Daddy!" Tifa came running into the Square, dirty and bruised. "Daddy, Cloud's hurt! And it's my fault!" She was crying.
"What do you mean?" The town Doctor- he and the recently arrived Zangan were the only ones who could silence Lockheart with a look, quickly took charge, as he looked her over.
"I was trying to find mommy, and there was a big monster, and Cloud tried to protect me, and he got hurt, and-"
"And if I hadn't heard the commotion, they both would have died." Mrs. Strife turned and paled a little at the sight of her son so bloodied up. The man carrying him had black boots and a black prosthetic arm, and was wearing a slightly tattered red cape. The red bandana did a poor job of holding back his long hair, which partly fell into his face. She ignored the murmurs from behind her, as the hair moved, and revealed red eyes. "The girl is fine, but the boy needs healing, now." The Doctor nodded.
"My clinic is over here." The mystery man nodded, and continued to carry her son into the small country clinic, gently laying the boy down.
"The claws got him a couple times, but not too deeply- my concern is his ribs." Cloud's mother ignored Lockheart and his daughter, as well as the idiot town sheriff, entering. Mrs. Strife tried not to whimper at the sight of her baby all cut up.
"I'll stitch up the wounds, you gave him a potion?" The stranger nodded. "Good, you'll want to wait in the waiting area; I'll call you in if I need any help." They both exited the room, and Mrs. Strife took a deep breath.
"Thank you for saving my son."
"It was no trouble, I'm just lucky I heard them."
"What's your name and what are you doing here?" The Sheriff demanded.
"My name is Vincent Hart, and I am a hunter." Vincent showed them the gun at his leg. "I heard Nibel has several monsters, so I thought I'd try my hand."
"I see." Mrs. Strife barely restrained herself from rolling her eyes at his barely hidden suspicion. "And your eyes?"
"Mako poisoning side effect." Was the short response. "As was the loss of my arm."
The Sheriff shifted, uneasy. "Well, you're welcome to stock up here. The inn is always open."
Vincent nodded, and remained standing by the door. Tifa bit her lip, before slipping from her father's side and coming to stand in front of the stranger.
"Thank you for saving us, Mr. Hart."
"Be more careful next time, little one. You're lucky the boy- Cloud? - was able to get between you and the monster."
"It's not Tifa's fault!" Mayor Lockheart snapped. Vincent looked up, face blank.
"I didn't say it was, I was merely pointing out that going into the forest was dangerous."
"Cloud tried to stop me, and I didn't listen." Tifa looked at the ground.
"Which was foolish, but you were . . . upset." The stranger gently ruffled her hair. Mrs. Strife was starting to approve of this stranger, he could handle children, and he could hold his own against idiots. "Some adults don't listen to reason when they're upset, either." Was it her imagination, or did he just shoot a glance at the Mayor? "However, that's no reason not to apologize to Cloud." Tifa nodded.
"Tifa, we're going home. You can talk to, Cloud, later. Send the Doctor to me once he's done, I want Tifa looked at." The Mayor left, the sheriff following in slight confusion.
"Welcome to Nibelheim, where the people still wish to stake outsiders through the heart at the first opportunity." She saw the flicker of amusement. "Are you going to stay at the inn?"
"I wasn't planning on it, I was thinking of camping out."
"That's no good. You're more than welcome to stay with me and my son; we've got an extra bed."
" . . . I wouldn't want to put you out . . ." She watched as the man shifted, ducking his head slightly as if to hide his face behind the high collar. It was a rather endearing look, especially to someone like her who was good at reading people. She made him uneasy, apparently.
"It's fine, I already have a poor reputation for not actually marrying Cloud's father. A few more things won't hurt. Besides, we live on the outskirts of town; you won't have to worry about talking to anyone else." She glanced at the door. "Cloud could use another authority figure in his life- he's picked up on the rest of the village's dislike for us, and doesn't respect any of the other adults."
"I'm not sure how long I will stay . . . I tend to wander."
"Then my door will always be open to you if you need a place to stay."
Vincent silently weighed his options. They hadn't really had a plan in place before they came back, just a few things that they regretted and wanted to change before, well, things started to get worse.
As a wandering monster hunter, he could take messages back and forth between them. (Cloud would be more than a little amused at this.) But he'd also be able to help Cloud train his now weaker body. Tifa would get training from Zangan, she'd told them on their way to town- watching someone get hurt because of you was the most basic reason for wanting to get stronger. But Cloud, as the village outcast . . .
With training, he'd be able to get into Soldier this time, and sooner. And that, everyone had agreed, was necessary. (Cloud was completely unaware that the main reason the rest had thought him getting into soldier was necessary was because they (Tifa especially) wanted to give him a chance to fulfill his old dream.)
"If I was to train your son, would you have any objection?" She blinked at him. Cloud's mother was a pretty woman, though rather hardened. He had no doubt that she could become quite a mother bear if her son was threatened, much like how her son became a fierce wolf when those he loved were under fire. "He's . . . he's got potential, he was able to hold out longer than I would've expected."
"No, I wouldn't." She said, after a moment of thinking. "But I want you to tell me what you're doing first." Vincent nodded.
In her old room, Tifa curled up with her old stuffed animal. Suddenly, all of this seemed like a surreal dream, one that, as a teen that had just lost everything, she had polished until it shone, forgetting every single blemish of her town, its people, and her father especially. Had they really been that closed minded and wary of all strangers?
She hadn't realized it, the last time, but she had been a really spoiled brat growing up. Her father had blamed Cloud for this incident, had blamed other children for her decisions, and everyone had always wanted to play with her. She had been so flattered by all the attention . . .
Losing her town had been a wakeup call, one that she had to avoid this time. She had to get stronger, stop listening to her father (who loved her but had never really told her no), and start getting ready to take care of herself and others.
She wouldn't be able to leave Nibelheim until she was of age- unless she wanted to join the Turks, which, she definitely did not want. Once she reached that age, though, she was out of here, going to Midgar (not Edge, she needed to remind Cloud and Vincent) and getting a job.
First things first, she needed to talk to Zangan about training. There was no way she was going to run away the next time there was a fight. She needed gloves, too, and at some point she needed to get Materia . . .
Cloud woke up slightly confused. His body hurt, and where was he- it took him a moment to remember.
Back in time, and damn it, he didn't remember his childhood home all that well. He barely remembered his mom and Tifa- though if he remembered right, he had never been really accepted here, so no big loss if he just hid himself away and didn't talk to any of the other kids, right?
Right. He also needed to start training to get into SOLDIER . . . he needed to get strong enough this time.
Cloud was brought out of his thoughts as Vincent entered, cloak-less, looking faintly amused, and completely out of place.
"Once you've recovered, I've got your mother's permission to start training you."
"You're staying?" He had been sure the gunman would have taken off the moment he had the chance, or breathing room.
"I might as well; you're going need help regaining your strength." The man sat down on the edge of his bed. "I won't go easy on you, Cloud, but you're nowhere near what you used to be."
"I noticed that already." He absently touched his chest where the stitches were. He'd misjudged his reach and strength, and the monster had taken advantage when he had overbalanced. Vincent opened his mouth to say something, then suddenly chuckled and gently ruffled his hair, just before his mother entered the room.
"We'll work on it once you've healed." Red eyes glinted in amusement. Covering up the concern, and the promise of scolding.
"Aww man." Cloud tried to hide his amusement- thank the gods they'd been friends for so long, they could still read each other, even with one of them decreased in age. (It was much later, when Cloud pointed out to Vincent that Yuffie would be even younger than him, the gunman was even more amused and Cloud was left wondering if the ex-Turk had something planned.)
Wutai, Royal Palace
Princess Yuffie Kisaragi, the greatest ninja ever, was not amused. She was 4 years old, and stuck in Wutai . . . why had she thought this would be a good idea? Seriously, why had she agreed?
The 'war' was just starting; this was the last set of peace talks before the brief skirmishes turned into really bloody battles (Cloud's father must've already been lost in a skirmish, damn, though he had never expressed interest in trying to save the man he never knew). They had an envoy from Shinra staying with them, including several Soldiers . . . Yuffie couldn't remember how these meetings had panned out the last time- she had been too young and they had been so boring.
She grinned at the idea that suddenly popped into her head. If they were boring to a four year old, they had probably been boring to some of the Soldiers. And she would be a poor hostess if she didn't keep her guests entertained. With that in mind, she slipped her nurse and began to explore. This would be a good test of skill too.
She found three soldiers lounging under the sakura tree outside in one of the many gardens. And promptly froze in her position. Sephiroth, with shoulder length silver hair, was sitting there, looking bored as one of the other boys read a book aloud, while the other tended to what looked like Cloud's buster sword.
Yuffie fidgeted for a moment. Sephiroth, before Jenova, had been a decent person. While Tifa hadn't liked it, they had all agreed to go after Jenova (and Hojo) first, to maybe keep him from losing his mind, and give him a chance to redeem himself.
And hadn't part of the fact been that he hadn't felt like he was human?
Well, Yuffie knew how to beat that thought out of people (even if Vincent did sigh a lot because of it, Nanaki and Cloud always looked confused, and Cid cursed her to the Leviathan's lair and back). With ease (okay, she might have been a little clumsy) she got into the branches of the sakura tree. None of the teenagers moved, the red-head's voice had muffled her clumsiness.
She giggled as she shook one of the branches, getting the big teen and Sephiroth with the blossoms.
"Don't look now, but I think we've been snuck up on." The big teen chuckled looking up. The one reading looked up as well, though he looked a little annoyed. Oh, he must've wanted flowers too. Yuffie happily shook the branch above him. Sephiroth snickered, and Yuffie beamed down at the teen.
"Hi!" (Thank good she had already been learning two languages at this age, this would've been difficult otherwise.)
"Hello, what are you doing?"
"I'm a Sakura Ninja! I'm giving you flowers!"
"And here I thought Ninja's only gave kunai." The red-head muttered.
"I'm not allowed to play with those yet; I have to wait till I'm 7." Yuffie moved closer to them. "You're here for the boring meetings, right?"
" . . . Yes, they're important so war doesn't happen."
"War?" Yuffie tilted her head. Playing the innocent child card for all its worth. "That's bad right?"
"You could say that." The red-head muttered. Yuffie blinked.
"Ignore him, he's just grumpy this morning." The large teen smiled. "Why are you out by yourself? Shouldn't you be playing with your friends?"
"I was bored." Yuffie came down to the lowest branch, then realized her mistake a second later- "Wh-whoa!"- when she fell out of the tree and landed on Sephiroth's stomach. "And you're more interesting." The red-head cracked up, while Sephiroth regained his breath.
Angeal Hewley was trying desperately not to laugh, rather than get off Sephiroth, the little girl instead made herself at home on his lap. Sephiroth had recovered, and was now looking at him in confusion and bewilderment. Angeal couldn't blame him, it wasn't often children came up to them, completely unafraid or not in awe. (Not to mention, Sephiroth had never had to deal with how fragile children could be, and was so unsure how to handle the child without hurting her.)
"What are your names?" The little girl began to play with Sephiroth's hair.
"I'm Angeal, that's Genesis, and you're sitting on Sephiroth."
"Angeal." He corrected, and watched as the child scowled at him.
"That's what I said. Angel." Genesis was snickering again. Angeal gave up. "Gen-e, Gen . . ."
"Gen-sis." The girl nodded, and then looked at Sephiroth, who still had no clue how to get the girl off of him, seeing as she paid no attention to his softly spoken requests to get off. "Se, Se-phir . . . you've got a long name, can I call you Sephy?" Genesis was laughing again. "I'm Yuffie!"
"Yuffie?" Angeal blinked, and Sephiroth met his eyes as the little girl beamed. The name was the same as the Princess, but surely this girl wasn't . . . The Princess was in a different area of the Palace all together.
"Yep! Hey, will you play with me?"
King Godo of Wutai was starting to worry. His daughter had gone missing and he didn't put kidnapping past Shinra. However, he couldn't accuse them without proof, not just yet.
As he sat across from the Vice President, a man who really resembled a rat, to have lunch together (along with members of their households and entourage, respectively), he tried not to show anything. Lunch was an awkward affair, because there were three soldiers- the ones that were fairly high ranked, despite their youth- missing.
The mystery soon cleared up, however, as the group headed together to the meeting hall. They all stopped to watch as three soldiers played with the Princess. Slightly stiffly in the case of the strange one with the silver hair, but still much more relaxed than Godo had ever seen.
"Attention!" All three soldiers whirled to attention while his daughter quickly hid behind the one with silver hair, eyes wide. This gave him a good look at the three- the silver haired one had part of his hair braided, with sakura blossoms mixed in, the red-head had a couple smaller braids, also with sakura blossoms mixed in, and the large dark-haired teen had some dirt smudged on his face. "What do you think you are doing?"
"We were given today for ourselves, sir." Yuffie hugged Sephiroth's leg, hoping they wouldn't get into too much trouble. Her father looked torn between amusement and relief.
"So you decided to play with a child?" The man's scorn was thick.
"That child is my daughter." Godo's tone was warning. He saw all three soldiers' eyes widen and shoot a quick glance at the now sheepish princess. "She usually plays in the gardens. I am most grateful that they were able to watch her while her usual nurse was indisposed today." No one missed the sudden tension in the air.
Okay, this is not good.' "It was fun!" Yuffie beamed up at the stern adults. "Can I keep them?" That earned more than a few chuckles, though the rat-like man was still glowering. A Turk quickly came up to him and muttered in his ear.
"Oh, Very well, carry on." The man sneered and waved his hand, returning to the group.
"Princess, we will speak of this later." Her father warned her wutainese. She gave a quick bow. When the group was gone, the trio looked down at her.
"I'm not supposed to play with the servant children, and the other noble children aren't much fun, they always let me win." Yuffie explained, still a little sheepish. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you, I just wanted to have fun."
"It's okay," Angeal smiled, "shall we finish our game?" Yuffie beamed and nodded.
Later, as she headed back to her rooms (exploring along the way), she smelled cigarette smoke. Curious, she looked into one of the smaller rock gardens- blonde hair, blue coat and white scarf. "Cid!"
Cid Highwind, one of three pilots on this little summit of peace talks, blinked, before looking up at a very small, but very familiar girl. "Yuffie?" She beamed and nodded, slipping down to join him. "Well, this makes it a little difficult for you, doesn't it?"
"Just a little- anything from the others?"
"Reeve's going to get in contact with Barret and maybe Nanaki. I'm going to try and stick with Shinra this go round, I know what went wrong last time, so I can make sure it doesn't happen again." He gave her a small grin. "You going to stop the war?"
"I've made friends with Sephiroth." He inhaled wrong, but refrained from cursing. "It's not much, but I don't like rat-face."
"Yeah, he was the Vice Pres before Rufus, got assassinated by a ninja, last time." Cid sighed. "No word from Nibelheim, yet. Vinny's probably stuck in that coffin, though." They discussed the possible whereabouts of their other friends, before Yuffie beamed up at him.
"So, wanna help me stop a war?" Cid just grinned in response. He was going to enjoy this second chance.
"What can an Airship captain do to help ya, Princess?"
"Well, I was thinking . . ."
ShinRa Building, Midgar
Reeve Tuesti finished making all the calls, and began making plans to place caches of supplies in areas the others could get to. He'd already gotten the Cait Sith Corporation running before they had made the jump back, and he was well aware that no one was even going to look twice at him, or his office workers.
In fact, no one was really going to care what Urban Development's young head did, as long as he didn't step on any toes. He'd keep out of everyone's way, while making plans for alternate energy sources- disguised as 'possible backups if a reactor fails' or something. Barret and Nanaki were willing to help with that- he'd already sent documents to Barret so he could be a part of the Cait Sith Corporation, which gave him an excuse to talk to the other man a heck of a lot more. He'd make a trip to Cosmo Canyon later- claim it as a research trip, or a vacation- and get Nanaki under his employ, while also getting a chance to talk to Elder Bugenhagen . . . where did he put his calendar?
He glanced up as a blond boy entered his office looking slightly annoyed. "Can I help you, Mr. Shinra?"
"Did the others make it back too?" Reeve kept the surprise off his face as he nodded. Rufus just gave him a half smile, and answered the unspoken question. "It's only me and Rude, I'm afraid . . ." Rufus trailed off, then shook his head. "Plan?"
"Training, mostly, get a few traps set with bait, and rescue a few allies. We can't make a move just yet." Rufus nodded.
"I know this company caused problems . . . but I don't want to see it destroyed again." The boy muttered.
"We don't have to destroy anything, we can just renovate." Reeve pointed out.
"I guess . . . Jenova and Hojo are on the list, but we'll also have to deal with Hollander, before he starts Deepground . . ."
"It'll take a while to get the pieces in place, for both sides." It was like an elaborate game. But instead of one chess master, there were several on each side. Everyone had their own goals to reach in order to be able to complete their larger goal. "But I think . . . once Cloud gets here, to join SOLDIER . . ."
"Things will start moving, we just have to prepare." Rufus nodded, and stood. "I talked to my father, about working with the Turks as my starting point." Reeve blinked. The last time, Rufus hadn't even bothered to work up through the ranks. "It'll be like an internship, in a way, but it'll give me a chance to get in contact with others, and police the system a little."
"I'm working on a way to keep in contact with everyone, without fear of being traced, I'll let you know when it's ready to test. Good luck." Reeve pulled out a diagram of Cait Sith- the current model had more than one mistake in it, (it's legs were quick to wear out, hence it's need to ride a moogle) and he wanted to get it updated as soon as possible.
Rufus took a deep breath as he started walking through the halls, Rude- currently a junior Turk- just behind him. There were a lot of things he had gotten a chance to regret, after the company had been destroyed, and one of them included his father's lack of judgment. Lazard was older than him, and currently in an office, but in a few years, his brother would end up in Hollander's clutches, escape, and then be killed. His memory of the details as vague at best, (at the time, he hadn't cared, busy with his own plans) but he knew what the result would be if he didn't try to keep his brother.
Lazard had kept the SOLDIER program balanced, and he would have worked well with Reeve. He wasn't going to try and save his father from whatever fate that awaited him, but he would save his brother. He just hoped Lazard would accept him.
As for the rest of his father's old council- Heidegger, well, the man was an old warhorse, or would be. He craved power and recognition. Palmer was a coward (maybe he could get Highwind to be the head of Air and Space?) and Scarlet . . . well, she had a chip on her shoulder, but she was smart, talented and deadly. He'd keep her, if possible.
Rude didn't speak as he followed the former (future?) President of Shinra. He was still getting over the loss of the three people that he had become so close too- it was going to be odd, knowing that Reno he spoke to wasn't the one that had helped him blow up a freeway, or that Elena wasn't the one who helped him prank Reno, or that Tseng wasn't the man who had laughed when the two younger Turks had woken up in the same bed (Tseng had an underhanded sense of humor) . . . but he'd have a chance to keep them this time.
He wondered how Cloud was going to take it, he'd have a chance to save Aerith and Fair this time . . .
Aerith. They needed to do something about that. He'd bring it up to Rufus after they had gotten him into TURK training. (He had practically been a Turk, the last time, might as well make it official.)
"You do realize that this is not a game, Mr. Shinra. You can't quit once you've gotten bored." Veld frowned at the boy in front of him.
"I'm aware, that's why I picked it." Rufus had forgotten how intimidating Veld had been. "As everyone tends to point out, I'm living a very sheltered lifestyle, but there's no way for me to get out of it for real life experience, making me even more sheltered. You don't have to accept me for field missions, sir, but I would like the chance to get some experience of how the world works."
Veld raised an eyebrow. A week ago, in fact, until yesterday, the boy had still been an utterly spoiled brat.
" . . . I'd like the chance to prove myself. I'd be horrible as a soldier, Air and Space bores me, so does Urban Development, Science . . . no, I'll pass, and while I might like weapons, I'd prefer to learn how to use them more than design them. And I really don't want to spend too much time with my father- he tends to ignore me, and I get even more bored."
" . . . Very well, Rude get him a suit, you'll both report to Tseng tomorrow morning for training."
After Barret hung up the phone with Reeve, he began to walk around his old home town, absently rubbing together his two normal hands. He was going to do his best to get as many alternatives to Mako as he could. But his major concern was simple- what did he do about Marlene's parents? He wanted his adopted daughter to live and exist, but also, quite selfishly, he wanted her to still call him daddy.
Well, he'd live his life as best he could, keep an eye out if Avalanche started to form again, and he'd worry about this mess one day at a time. He'd leave the scheming up to Cloud, Yuffie, Vinny and Reeve.
Nanaki stretched out in the sun, enjoying having two eyes. He was going to have to re-learn spell casting, and hopefully stay out of Hojo's clutches this time around- he frowned, sitting up. As much as he hated it, that was how he had connected to the others. He certainly hoped that the others would come for him if they needed him . . .
He snorted. They would. Cloud was . . . rare, for a human. It wasn't the experimentation, or that he had Cetra blood (which he didn't), but the fact he was almost perfectly human. And he was aware of it.
The others were just as special and aware of the planet as he was, but sometimes, they weren't as aware of themselves as Cloud was. Cloud would never forget anyone he cared about, even if his mind lost the memories, his heart wouldn't.
He would come to pick him up when it was time, Nanaki just had to be ready by then.
And there you go- a group of people have come back in time, but they all have different 'agendas', that pretty much work towards the same goal.
Cloud's goal is to get into Soldier; Tifa's is to get stronger; Vincent, well, I didn't give his goal yet; Yuffie is trying to make sure the war doesn't last so long, if not outright stop it; Cid is going to make sure Rocket 26 actually launches, without getting anyone killed; Reeve is going to be working on Cait Sith and Alternatives to mako (With Barret and Nanaki's help); Rufus is going to try and save Lazard, as well as keep Shinra from going under; Rude's goal is to protect the Turks that didn't make it; Barret's going keep an eye out on possible Avalanche movements; and Nanaki is going to train to use spells.
Why did they come back? Well, there were some hints, but it will be revealed as the story progresses.
And a note on Lazard: If you look at his character biography, he genuinely cares for children, especially those from the slums. Some people interpret what happened to him as him working with Hollander, but I honestly think that he tried to stop Hollander (and/or Hojo), and (like Vincent) got experimented on for his trouble. (on that note, how do you spell his last name?)
Edit 6/10: position on Lazard has been slightly revised, now that I actually have a better source for character biographies, but overall, it's still the same.
Next Chapter will follow events in Nibleheim and Wutai. Unfortunately, Nanaki and Barret's characters aren't going to have much focus the first few chapters. When things start to pick up, that's when they'll have more time in the limelight.