Here we go with Chapter 3!
By the way I would just like to say a huge thank you to the people who have reviewed this story so far, you made my day each time I got one!
''So why do the PA sport this as their logo.''
''I already told you; Penelope Armstrong raised me and my brothers- I drew that when I was very little, when the PA was just a small organisation. Penelope thought it was good.''
''And you kept this design,'' he questioned. It was transparently clear that he was suspicious of her. This annoyed her slightly; she hadn't done anything wrong.
''Well it's my design,'' she said irritably, ''and I make all sorts of references to it during the book which I didn't want to change; do you know how long it took to research everything?''
Yet again the Silver warrior raised an eyebrow at her. Jane bit back an outburst which would surely have got her arrested. Put of the corner of her eye she noticed movement outside the shop, and glancing out to the window her heart stopped. Panic and feat hit her mind like an ice-ball. ''U-um, did you bring an army with you?''
She was too scared to be annoyed at how ridiculous her voice sounded. The SOLDIER's green eyes followed her petrified gaze. To his credit he didn't even bat an eyelid, as if he ran into armies hanging around bookshops every day.
''You should leave while you are still able to,'' Sephiroth said in his ever-calm baritone voice. Realising what he meant Jane's eyes snapped to him, and she said something which at a later date would have been found very stupid.
''You are not fighting in my store!'' she yelped as she ran around the desk to stand defiantly in front of him. The bell above the door tinkled. Jane turned round to see who had entered.
''John?'' It was her brother. All of a sudden the feeling of dread in the pit of her stomach multiplied tenfold. She glances out to the small army outside her shop and back to her brother again. ''What are you doing?''
John glanced at Sephiroth very briefly, but then trained his attention on his little sister. He didn't seem at all surprised to see the SOLDEIR there.
''Jane, come away, it's not safe here anymore,'' he said quietly. Her brother extended his hand out to her as if he expected her to take it. Jane looked at him blankly, but was saved the trouble of responding when Sephiroth spoke up.
''Hn,'' he said with amusement, ''as we thought. You have betrayed Shinra.''
''And with good reason!'' John snapped. Jane couldn't help but notice the fear in his voice, but she wasn't sure if Sephiroth did. ''You deserve what's coming to you. Jane lets go.''
''What the hell is going on?'' she asked weakly, pointing from John, to the army outside, and back to John again. ''What, I mean what's- Just WHAT?''
''There's no time Jane, come on!'' He countered urgently. Behind her Sephiroth began to move, perhaps reaching for his weapon
''You leave my sister alone!'' John shouted, ''Do it, or else…''
Jane's senses were dulled from shock. It was like she was in a dream, or underwater, yet everything was scarily real. The army outside wasn't making a sound, but she could feel their presence. They were on edge and ready to kill. John reached into his pocket and took out something the size of a cigarette lighter, but with an unmistakable red button on it. Her blood turned to ice.
''John… please tell me that's not a detonator.''
Jane stared at her brother, not daring to take this in. He was pale and slightly sweaty, but he looked determined. John was now looking at Sephiroth, keeping a wary eye on him in case he moved. Sephiroth chuckled.
''Well it seems you are no longer in the middle of a family feud – you are all united on one side now.''
Jane snapped before she realised what she was doing and looked over her shoulder at him.
''Don't you dare speak for me!'' she glowered before turning back to the maniac with the death-button. ''John, I'm not going to let you blow something up, I thought you were better than this!''
John let out a shaky breathless laugh. His eyes were alight with a fire she had never seen in him before. He looked quite deranged.
''These bombs aren't just wired to something, they are all over Shinra building,'' he said.
''John no!'' Jane yelped and took a desperate step towards him. ''Please, please don't press that!''
''Why not!'' he retorted angrily, and pointed towards Sephiroth. ''It's because of them that we're orphans! They deserve it! They're monsters!''
''No-one deserves this! This is evil,'' She tried to reason. John quickly became even angrier.
''I swear to Lucifer, if this is because of that bloody SOLDIER you've been seeing-''
''Genesis is my friend!'' she snapped defensively. ''And it's not just because of that! Normal people work there; they hold jobs so they can support their families – what will happen if you blow the place up? You'll be causing more damage than the war did!''
''Jane ENOUGH! Get out of here before the fighting starts, I'm not gonna lose you too.''
Jane was having none of this. She was so angry and scared that the thought of complying never even crossed her mind.
''What the hell's gotten into you?'' she screamed. Her voice clawed at her throat and she temporarily forgot the Sephiroth was there.
''Shut up and GO!'' John roared back at her, his thumb moving dangerously close to the detonation button.
Jane straightened up and raised her chin. When she next spoke she didn't scream, but her voice was still slightly hysterical.
''No!'' she said and folded her arms across her chest.
''I said no.'' she repeated stubbornly. ''I won't leave. This store is all I have-''
John threw his head back and growled angrily.
''Jane stop being stupid and get out.''
''You should listen to him,'' Sephiroth said quietly. Jane jumped, only just remembering that he had been there all along. ''It wouldn't be good to stand in my way.''
''Don't you even…'' John stepped forward threateningly. Even though she was pissed at her brother, she couldn't help but admire his guts for standing up to the legendary swordsman. But then she saw the murderous glint in the man's eye.
''John-'' she said warningly.
''Enough!'' John commanded and glared at Sephiroth. ''Even if you kill me, we've got another detonator. Shinra is going down, no matter what!''
To Jane's shock, the SOLDIER didn't even look phased. In fact he looked rather amused.
''Coward,'' Sephiroth smirked. ''You don't have what it takes to face us.''
John shook his head, a grin unfurling on his face also. Jane wondered if whether this was just a guy thing. Were all men this crazy?
''No, we're not cowards, we're just smart. What use is brawn without brains?'' he asked. John was clearly goading the man. Jane wanted to reprimand him, but the bell above the door tinkled again. Jane glance to see who it was and staggered back as if punched in the stomach.
''What's taking so long?'' the boy asked. Her was her age, and had sandy coloured hair and the same eyes as John. He was dressed in jeans and a black shirt.
''J-James…'' Jane stammered. Even she couldn't tell whether she was horrified or delighted at this sudden apparition. What she was seeing just could be true. It couldn't.
''She's not listening!'' John said, turning to his younger cousin. James studied Jane for a moment before stepping forward, completely ignoring Sephiroth.
'H-how are you-'' Jane breathed, but James shook his head and held out his hand, just as John had done earlier. Jane looked at it as though she thought it might birst into flame.
This person infront of her couldn't be her cousin. She had been told years ago that he was dead. As in shot dead, the same time and place that her parents and aunt had died, leaving Jane and John to fend for themselves in this big and dangerous world. She and James had been the best of friends when they were younger. His loss had left her feeling hollow for years after, and now... poof! He was here, like magic.
''There's no time, let's go,'' he said authoritatively.
''You're dead,'' Jane said. She hadn't even blinked since she first saw him. She was afraid that if she closed her eyes for even a moment he would disappear. James grinned, but it made Jane feel hollow. She had dreamt and hoped that her cousin was somehow alive; that the report of his death had been false. And here he was, in the flesh, looking as solid and real as everyone else in the room.
So why wasn't she happy?
''No, I'm very much alive'' he grinned, as if they were all in one some sort of joke. He patted himself on the chest and looked over himself, pretending to look for any missing pieces. He spread his arms to show her he was whole. ''See?''
Jane dimly registered movement to her left. The sound of John speaking snapped her out of her daze. She looked around at the three men and quickly realised this was going to get out of hand, soon.
''H-hey, one wrong move and I'll – I'll…'' John growled, trying to sound fierce. He wasn't very successful, the reason being, Sephiroth had just drawn masamune. The wicked blade gleamed in the light.
''You don't have what it takes,'' Sephiroth smirked, taking delight in the other man's indecision
''Don't push him!'' Jane warned, pushing herself off the bookcase and standing up straight.
''I…'' John was very unsure now. It seemed things weren't going to plan for him. Perhaps he had expected no resistance from Jane once she had seen her much loved and much missed cousin.
''Hn.'' Sephiroth chuckled. Actually chuckled. How could he laugh at a time like this? Couldn't he see what a dilemma this was for her? For a moment Jane hoped, rather than thought, that Sephiroth could get everything under control; he was a SOLDIER, right? He was trained for this sort of situation. But James had other ideas.
''Well I do!'' James said confidently, and produced the second detonator from his jeans pocket.
''NO!'' Jane screamed, only just stopping herself from lunging at him. John was looking more and more torn. ''I thought the PA wanted to save people? How many people will die if you press that button? Didn't you think this through?''
''Yes. I did.'' James smiled.
That wasn't the smile she remembered from when she was little. This one was mad. This guy couldn't be the same James. She wouldn't allow it to be.
She wanted to voice this, to make him understand, but didn't get the chance.
He pressed the button.
''NOOO!'' Jane lunged forward but John caught her and pushed her back none too gently. She hit the bookcase once again and it dawned on her – there were no explosions. John and James exchanged glanced. Now they were scared. All their leverage with Sephiroth was gone.
''Hn.'' Sephiroth chuckled again. His blade moved slightly and her brothers glanced at it. Then at the detonator.
''What?'' James muttered, as John pressed his button also. Again nothing happened. Jane let out a shaky breath. The shock of James pressing the button had sent an almost debilitating wave of pain through her brain, separating her thought process from what her body was doing. She didn't even know how her legs were managing to support her body.
She glanced at Sephiroth who hadn't even reacted as far as she could tell.
''We knew of your plan long ago,'' he said simply, but his message was obvious; you've already lost. He fished out his phone and checked it idly before sliding it back into his pocket. ''The bombs were disarmed precisely 32 seconds ago.''
John stumbled back a pace, but it seemed he, like Jane, was too paralyzed to move. James seemed to have more control. But was weighing his options, waiting to see what would happen.
Jane almost cried when Sephiroth turned towards her. She was sure he would start by killing her. ''I should thank you,'' he said, ''you provided us with the extra time needed.''
This was the catalyst needed to gear James back into action. He turned furiously towards his cousin.
''So you ARE working with Shinra?'' he glowered. Jane began to panic. Looking into James' eyes, it was hard to see any human left in there at all. John also seemed to be startled by his behaviour.
''No, I'm not, I swear! I ju-'' Jane stammered, but James was having none of it.
''I should have known; what with that SOLDIER always-''
''Genesis has nothing to do with-'' Jane snapped back. The situation was quickly deteriorating.
''We should have had you killed a long time ago!'' James yelled.
''James, this is my sister!'' John intervened. But James wouldn't hear any of it.
''SHUT UP! I'm not siding with anyone!'' Jane screamed. She couldn't help the tears forming in her eyes. She was going to die. Either Sephiroth would kill her for having these two as family, or, dare she even think it, James would kill her through his temper.
''And that's reason enough,'' James said in a deafeningly quietly voice. The silence tore at her ear drums and James reached behind him in slow motion and pulled a gun on her.
''No James-'' John tried weakly.
Just like a gunshot starts a race, James's bullet started the fighting.
Jane was thrown backwards, the force of it knocking over the bookshelves behind her. Pain seared in her shoulder and head, and the books and shelves overwhelmed her. She could hear the sound of fighting right next to her. It struck her how loud the sounds of swords clashing actually were. This was the end. She was going to die by a blade, if the bullet didn't kill her first.
Wait – the bullet! It hadn't hit her. Slowly her brain managed to catch up with her. There had been a flash of sliver; Sephiroth had used his blade to deflect the bullet. The sound of breaking glass now assaulted her, as shards of the window exploded into the shop. Hundreds of voices were yelling. Thankfully the books and shelves that she had been pushed into were still covering her.
But only one thought was in her head now; she couldn't stop here. There was nothing she could do; she couldn't stop the fighting, it was too late. All she could do was run.
And that was what she did. Trying her best to keep low, Jane scrambled on hands and knees, bruising herself on every hard object she passed over until she was not far from the counter. She pushed to her feet, ran and vaulted over it and slammed into the wall. She used her hand to cushion the blow and quickly ran to her left, praying that none of the flying bullets were aimed at her.
She skidded to a halt bay the door leading out into the alley way and began fumbling with the lock. Damn her hands for shaking so much. Twice she dropped the keys before she managed to get the right one in the lock and turn it.
Jane dashed out into the cool night air and slammed the door shut behind her. Instinctively she made to go right but stopped suddenly as though she had hit another wall. More soldiers were just outside the gate, all waiting to get close enough to the SOLDIER to fight him. Just how many were there? Was Sephiroth fighting alone? Surely not; Shinra had known what was happening, right?
Jane desperately looked behind her. The PA soldiers hadn't seen her yet. With the sound of the fighting so close, the slamming of the door was barely noticeable.
The building opposite hers was only one storey high.
The dumpster, she thought quickly, I can use it to get on the roof. Turning, she ran the length of the alley and used the momentum to jump on the dumpster. She glanced up the wall and jumped. She only just managed to reach the top. Her feet scrabbled against the wall as she tried to climb up, managing to badly graze her knee before she did it.
However, it seemed she was determined to have rotten luck. One of the PA soldiers saw her climbing up on to the roof and alerted two others, who then proceeded to break down the gate.
Jane couldn't think properly. She couldn't process what was happening; everything had transpired so quickly. The cool night air was daggers in her throat as she ran, stumbling and blind with panic. The fear was so tumultuous that it was an actual physical force working against her. Each time she tried to make a decision it attacked her.
But her will to live seemed to be stronger. Not wasting a second, she scrambled up and dashed off across the roof tops. She wondered what the people inside the houses were doing, what they were thinking. Were they scared? If so, not nearly as much as she was.
Jane came to an alleyway but didn't stop. She leapt, arms flailing and eyes wide, onto the fire escape of the next building over, and began to climb. Risking a glance back over her shoulder she let out a strangled sound which was half way between a scream and a whimper.
The three PA soldiers had made it onto the roof and were looking right at her. There was only one thing to do; keep on climbing.
Twice she nearly fell. This fire escape was rarely used and rusty. One of the rungs broke beneath her foot, and near the top two of them were missing. She would have managed fine had not two helicopters passed above her, one of their search lights catching her full in the face. Jane slipped and winced against the light, and when she opened her eyes her breath caught in her throat. The ladders didn't reach the roof.
''STOP RUNNING OR WE'LL OPEN FIRE!''
The last of her pursuers made it to the fire escape just as Jane kicked through the window to her right. The lights were off and this was an emergency. Some day she would apologise, she promised herself, she would come back someday, alive and well.
Only then did she realise she was crying. Her throat hurt and her lungs burned but she kept on running. She wanted to stop, to have a moment to breath. Her feet pounded on the floor and the front door came into sight, but she didn't slow down.
Jane slammed her body into the door as hard and she could. As if this didn't hurt enough, she and the door connected painfully with the floor of the hallway. Little lights popped up in front of her eyes as she shook her head, trying to clear them.
She didn't have time for this. Dragging her half limp body into a standing position, and carefully trying to ignore the two-inch-long shard of wood now imbedded in her lower right rib cage, she stumbled up the stairs. Jane only made it up one flight before she heard the unmistakable sounds of the three men entering the building. This alone was enough to re-ignite her brain.
Trying to be stealthy yet quick, she continued until she reached the exit onto the roof. It was open; some luck at last! She burst through, only to have her ears assaulted once more by the sound of helicopters and fighting. She shuddered at the sound of gunfire. The thought of bullets ripping through flesh wasn't a comforting one to her, given the situation.
She began to run again.
I wonder if John and James are dead, she thought. If they were facing Sephiroth, they must be.
She was too scared to be angry at James, but felt betrayed by John. He had raised her since she was twelve, took care of her, but now…
And how was James alive? Was it really him? His appearance had scared her more than anything else that night.
After covering the distance of two buildings, Jane heard yet another thing to make her heart stop.
They had almost reached the roof. She didn't look back, or register what they were saying as they burst through the door, but she didn't have to. A bullet soared past her ear and she screamed, partly from this, and partly because she had found the edge of the roof with no braking distance to think of.
Time slowed down, just like it did in movies. She flew off the roof, another building approaching quickly. The alley was about a metre and a half across, and bless the Gods, Goddesses and whatever else there is to worship, the building in her flight path was just one story shorter than the one she was leaving.
''Come on Jane,'' she managed to think, ''tuck and roll, just like you learnt.''
The landing was a little rougher and quicker than her departure. Her legs felt the first effects of the impact which sent a shockwave through her whole body. Her teeth clashed together so hard she was afraid when she looked, they may have all cracked and shattered, next time she had the heart to examine them.
Her ankle twisted awkwardly beneath her and she slammed her shoulder into the ground. She barely managed to keep her head from making the same sort of impact. However, the sound of the soldiers approaching the edge of the roof left her no time to dwell on the pain, and in an instant she was back on her feet and running as if her life depended on it, which it did, a little.
Jane was too busy worrying about what was behind her that she didn't notice the one of the Helicopters from before was on an intercept course with her. She did however, look up as it began to fly lower, its spotlights - and GUNS - pointing right at her.
Great, she though numbly, two sets of pursuers. What did I do to deserve this?
Seeing the Helicopter the PA soldiers open-fired on both of them. Jane screamed and tried to cover her head with her arms and keep running at the same time. It didn't work.
A bullet ripped through her side and she fell to the ground painfully. She got up and tried to run in another direction, but a man in a black suit jumped from the helicopter and made to intercept her. He was too quick – she didn't have enough time to avoid him. They collided.
It was just about as painful as running into a wall, this guy was solid. Jane panicked even more as his strong arms snatched around her. She thrashed around, struggling and screaming as the helicopter downed the PA soldiers, who fell limps a ragdolls.
''Get off me! Let go!'' Jane sobbed and screamed. Hot tears were now gushing down her face.
''Calm down, I'm with Shinra,'' The man shouted.
''I don't care let go,'' Jane shot back. They were now struggling so hard that Jane's feet left the ground. The man grunted as one of her flailing legs kicked him.
Unbeknownst to Jane, another man approached them from the helicopter.
''Do something!'' The first man growled to the second, and then Jane's vision went black.
For now I have decided to keep going with this, and I hope that all you wonderful people will continue leaving your kind words, they really help to motivate me. Anyway, I hope this ''long lost relative who is suddenly not dead'' isn't too cliche, but it is a good plot point so... please be kind.