The Legacies of Final Fantasy Seven.
Chap 1-7 Chap 8-13
"Mmm. Cloud?" Tifa stated. He was getting dressed. "Where are you going?"
"Back to my room. Me, Aeris and Barret are going out." Cloud replied.
"Oh, okay. See you later." He leaned down and kissed her cheek.
"Bye." He left. She couldn't help but feel a little surge of disappointment. Today was her birthday, after all. No one had said anything to her about it. There was not the usual rush of presents, or birthday greetings in her room. Although, she had to admit, it would be a bit inconvenient to be woken up by her friends coming into her room and seeing her naked in bed with Cloud. Especially with Yuffie around.
She had a shower, putting on her new fragrance, and got dressed. Then she fell asleep for a while, about an hour or so. She saw only the Turks when she went down for breakfast. She decided to just go over and talk to them.
"Well, look who it is," Reno declared. "Yuffie too much for you to handle?" he smirked.
"Shut up, Reno!" Then, taking a guess on what Cloud had said last night, "See you're no stranger to Yuffie's charms." He actually went slightly pale.
"For your information, I was getting back some Materia."
"At three `o'clock in the morning?"
"What about Cloud sneaking off to your room? Strange time for anyone to be up and about, isn't it?"
"And you! You think your pretty boy actually cares? If he cared he would have done something long ago! He's just using you." He was beginning to annoy her.
"Cloud is anything but manipulative! What about you? You're slime - a born bootlicker, sucking up to anyone who's worth the trouble!"
"You have no idea, do you?"
"Asshole - what?
"Poulet. It's Costan for prostitute."
"Oh, I suppose you have to know that one in every language, otherwise no one will know what you want!"
"Well, it would be quite useful for me if I wanted you!"
"Hey, what's going on?" A blush crept up Tifa's cheeks. It was Cloud. "Tif? Reno? Rude? Elena?"
"Oh, Reno and Tifa thought that they'd exchange some unpleasantaries," Elena told him. "It was amusing, so we didn't bother to stop them."
"Right. Well, playtime is over. We have some serious work to do."
"Fine." Reno said. Under his breath he muttered, "Whore." Tifa heard him.
"Why you-" she yelled, going over to punch him. Suddenly she was locked in place. Cloud had hold of her arms. "Warthog!"
"Son of a bitch!"
"Brat! Spreading your legs for the first person that passes!" Tifa squirmed out of Cloud's grip and started chasing Reno. "She wants me!" That made Tifa even madder. She backed him into a corner and began hitting him. He fought back. She had to admit, it made her feel a lot better. It was when he split her top that she kicked him really hard in the groin. "Oof!" She turned, pulling her top together.
"Tifa. We're not gonna get anything done if you're gonna fight with Reno every step of the way." Cloud glanced at Reno. "Even if he is a dickless worm."
"You just don't understand, do you!" She ran from the room. She ran out of the hotel, away from Junon and then suddenly... she stopped running. Her screams echoed through the air.
"Thanks, man. She was beating me to a pulp." Reno got up, winced, and clapped Cloud on the shoulder. He whirled and smashed his fist into Reno's face. For some reason it felt very satisfying. "Bloody hell! What the fuck was that for?"
"The same reason as this, asshole." He shoved his foot into Reno's stomach. Then he proceeded out the door through which Tifa had left.
He searched the whole hotel for her. Nothing. Through Junon, he also searched. Still nothing. He found tracks leading away from Junon and followed them. They went into a forest and stopped in a clearing. There were lots of other footprints here as well. There was a piece of material lying on the ground. Tifa's red scarf, he recognised. He picked it up and put it in his pocket. There was a noise, like a tree branch breaking. He looked up. Many people suddenly jumped out of the trees. They were the same as the troops they had already fought at Junon.
"Fuck!" Cloud exclaimed. He hadn't brought his sword with him. Instead, he made a break for it. They followed him all the way back to Junon. He saw them coming into Junon, hounding him every step of the way. He grabbed his sword and ran back out of Junon. They still followed him. He brought out the PHS and dialled Red.
"Red! It's Cloud. Tifa's missing and I'm being followed by an army the same as the one that attacked Junon. Tell the others!"
"Alright. Where are you?"
"Heading east from Junon. Whoa! Red, I'm gonna have to leave you now. I gotta jump." Someone slashed his leg. "Fuckin' son of a bitch.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!" The PHS dropped out of his grip as he started to fall. He grabbed hold of an overhanging branch about 500ft down. There was a cave behind it. He cleared a rock out of the way and scrambled in. The cave went deeper than he had first thought. It was a series of underground caves. He put marks on every way he went so as not to
get lost. He heard footsteps behind him. He just ran until they backed him into a dead end.
"The boss is gonna be happy with us." One of them declared. Cloud looked at his eyes. They burned with Mako, the same as his did. "Get him!"
"Raagh!" A red thing leaped from above Cloud's head. He drew his sword and started attacking. They were equal to his strength, but not his skill. They fought on through wounds that would have stopped any other human. Cloud changed his attack
slightly. He whirled and dodged; heads and limbs flew. When most of them were dead, the red thing leaped to the attack once more. They were all dead within a few minutes. Cloud scrambled up into the cavern that the creature had come out of. It jumped up after him. They ran through the caves for daylight. When they came out, it wasn't familiar.
"Where are we?" he asked the creature. Now that they were in daylight, the creature looked very much like Red.
"We are three miles north of Junon."
"Who are you?"
"Lashia is my real name. My specimen name is three, or Expira XVIII. The last two don't have any meaning to me."
"So what species are you?"
"Liguar." That name sounded a bell in the back of his mind, something Red had said. "Same species as your Red, I believe."
"How do you know about Red?"
She laughed. "I can read, so don't pretend you're not famous. You saved the world."
"Yeah, well it had to be done. Besides, Red is the only one of his kind."
"Not so. I'm proof of that. There are whole planets out there crawling with different species. Nanaki's pack landed here. I am part of his pack. I'm supposed to be his fiancée."
"Surprising, isn't it. My father told me what happened. He was kicked out of the pack. My mother was pregnant with me at the time - a couple of weeks away from it. Seto found my father guilty of treason; apparently, he had told the Gi tribe where our pack was. My father had been tricked into it. My mother went into silent labour and told my father to take me away. No one else knows I'm alive. She told everyone I had died in her. They knew I was a girl, and Nanaki was two years old at the time. I'm 48. He's 50. Our pack breeds early. I was chosen to be his wife." She looked away. "My father was killed a few years ago by the army in blue."
"If that's what you called them. They are meaningless. I've killed every single one of them I ever saw. Why are you here?"
"I'm running from an army like Shinra and trying to find someone."
"A girl? White t-shirt, dark shorts?"
"Yes. Why? You seen her?"
"Yes. About an hour ago, being taken north. By that army."
"Shit. Damn bugger it!"
"Watch your language. You sound like Cid."
"How'd' you know `bout Cid?"
"Same way I know about the rest of you. The article I read said that he swears like a pirate. Can't say a sentence without having some sort of swear word in it."
"That's Cid, alright. How `bout Barret?"
"Not quite as bad."
"Please come back with me."
"I can't." She shook her head.
"Why not? We could use you."
"As a pet? As your sniffer dog? No thanks. I don't think so."
"No, your knowledge, your sense of... well, sense! Red doesn't make a lot of sense when he gets excited."
"It's a failing of the pack."
"So you'll come?"
"If it will make you shut up."
"Now, are we going to Junon or not?"
"Okay." She rolled her eyes.
They reached Junon about an hour later, bypassing the woods. Red and the others were waiting in the town square. Cloud limped up to them, suddenly noticing the pain. Lashia hung back a bit.
"Cloud, where's Tifa?" Reeve asked. "Did you find her?" Slowly Cloud reached into his pocket and brought out the scarf.
"I was too late. The army took her north."
"Who's that?" Aeris asked, looking at Lashia. Cloud looked back over his shoulder. He went to talk to Lashia.
"Can I tell them?"
"No. I shall step forward. Nanaki should recognise a female of his own kind. The others, I will speak to them once Nanaki has acknowledged me."
The pain. It ran through her body like a forest fire. Slowly light started to come to her eyes, unfocused, blurred, but getting clearer.
"The specimen is starting to come round. Upgrade to Level Two."
"Upgrade commencing." Tifa felt the chair back rising so that she was in a sitting position. "Upgrade complete."
"Well, Ms. Lockheart. How do you feel?"
"Who are you?" Tifa managed to get out.
"I asked you a question. You do not disobey!" Sharp pain went through her body. She muffled screams but could not help writhing in the chair, trying to get away from that awful pain. It stopped.
"You see, Ms. Lockheart, I am in control. Right now you are useful to me. If you start misbehaving, I might just decide your life isn't worth anything. How do you feel?"
"Don't lie, Ms. Lockheart. I know how you feel."
"If you know, why bother asking?" That drew a laugh from him.
"This is going to be fun. You wield many sharp edges. I've heard about your tongue. It's famous for being used on one Reno Sharp, a Turk."
"Bite your tongue!"
"I just love it when people say that! My master can extract any piece of information she wants from your mind."
"Don't you dare even try!"
"Too bad, isn't it? She already has what she needs - plus a few other things that might prove useful."
"Go to hell!"
"This'll be even more fun than I thought. Well, what about your romantic night alone with a certain Cloud Strife. Your information about him could be useful. Not to mention the fact that it's your birthday." He smiled at her. "Now comes the really fun part. You had a different childhood to most, didn't you? Lessons from a karate teacher who treated you like the daughter he didn't have. A concealed love for Mr. Strife. A man who nearly raped you when you were thirteen." She gasped. "You see, Ms. Lockheart, I know. I know your fears, your hates, your deepest, darkest secrets. I know everything about you, Tifa, and you will never know anything about me."
"Who are you?"
"Who am I? I am Prof. Kaiser. This man behind me is my assistant, Prof. Heath." Another man came up to stand behind him.
"Ms. Lockheart, I presume."
"Get away from me!"
"She's a tough nut. We're going to have fun with this one, Kevin."
"Seems so, boss."
"Stop that, both of you! Tell me where I am!"
"The Northern Hole, if you must know."
"Northern Hole? Where the fuck is the Northern Hole?"
"Near where the Northern Crater used to be."
"People are gonna hear about this!" she threatened, though she knew it was empty.
"No one can find this place anyway. It is a centre of Mako. We used it to create the appearance of it being invisible. Also to steal Shinra's idea of a Mako enhanced army. We have done some tests on people. Men can take sufficient amounts of Mako. No women have come through yet." He smiled. "You can be one of our tests. We were hoping for that Ancient, but you'll do just fine."
"What's happened to the women?"
"Four tests. Two madnesses, two deaths."
"Who was she?" Tifa asked, in relation to a vision she had seen earlier, before waking up.
"Crimson Paige, daughter of President Paige. She volunteered to be an experiment. The thought of unlimited power appealed to her. Her dad didn't let her, though. She had a crush on someone with the enemy. After Shinra was destroyed, her plans went to pot. She wants you with a vengeance, my little sweetheart."
"Sleep time now. Oh, Kevin is watching you; don't try anything stupid. Sleep well." He turned and left the room. Her chair was bound in a lying position.
She was there for about three months; still no one came to her rescue. Each day she thought more of Cloud. Each day she cried at the end.
"Well, my darling, we've found Cloud. We're bringing him here in a few days." It was Prof. Kaiser. He was the only person she saw, apart from Prof. Heath.
"What will happen he doesn't come?"
He smiled bleakly. "He will come. You'll see."
"Can I go to the loo?" Every day she did this. "This place is making me sick."
She ran into the toilet cubicle, fell to her knees and threw up.
"I must've flown north a hundred times. There's nothing there." Cid said as Cloud banged his fist on the table.
"Lashia said they were headed north! What's wrong! Is it hidden or something? Dammit, they could be doing anything to her!" He launched into a series of profanities that made even Cid turn slightly pale.
"How about you ease up on the pirate language? I'm sure it's very entertaining, but no one else can concentrate," Lashia suggested.
"Post for Mr. Cloud Strife. Mr. Strife, please come to the reception area!"
"Thank you," he said sharply, taking the letter.
A matter of some urgency has arisen that may involve a Ms. Tifa Lockheart. We must ask you to go to where the Northern Crater used to be. There is a path that will lead you to our place of business. Your appointment is on 21/10/38. We look forward to seeing you. Come alone.
"Dammit!" Cloud said when he read the letter. "Three days? Three bloody days?"
"Look on the bright side," Lashia said. "At least a member of your pack loves you. He still won't accept me. He doesn't even talk to me." Lashia avoided saying Red's name if she could. "Tell him that whenever he's ready to stop being childish, I'm ready in my room." She stalked off.
"What did she want?" Red also avoided Lashia's name if he could.
"She wants you to behaving like a kid. Take her to Cosmo Canyon and get the Elder's approval. They must want you to have kids to protect them when you're gone. What's the big deal?"
"Well, nothing really, but I've seen enough love disasters to know one when I see it."
"Only because you're avoiding each other. Talk to her. Open the communication lines. At least then you don't have to go through me. Give her a chance. There's something fairly good on the rocks. Don't wait too long." He sighed.
"Fine. If that's all you think it'll take, I'll try." Red padded away.
"Yo! Cloud! What's up, buddy?" It was Barret in an unusually good mood. Even Cloud, in his state of despair, noticed.
"You seem cheerful today. What'd you do, rob a bank?"
"Nope! All my damn paperwork is finished. I can spend more time with Marlene now that I've sorted out a year's files. I can also concentrate on getting some info about these guys we're up against."
"Right. Fun for you. Listen, Barret, I'll be going out in a couple of days. I dunno how long I'll be gone. Don't do anything stupid, okay?"
"Where you goin'? You haven't been out at all since Tifa got tooken!"
"Read the note." He shoved it at Barret.
"Shit! You're not serious `bout goin' `lone, are ya?"
"I have to, Barret. If they know where Tifa is, they could help me save her."
"Fuck! Just wait `til t'other guys hear about this!"
"No! I'll tell who I think needs to know. Tell Cid to use the Highwind to take Red and Lashia back to Cosmo Canyon. Yuffie will take the Turks back to Wutai and warn her father. Reeve and Aeris can go to Kalm and warn their citizens. Vincent can take Nibelheim. Cid can drop everyone off at his or her homes then go to Rocket Town in the same capacity. You go to Corel. I'll use a Gold chocobo to get to where I'm going."
"Do as I say!" Cloud snapped. "Warn the citizens; assemble the armies. We have another Shinra on our hands. Be careful."
"Cloud. Good luck. Oh, here. Don't fucking lose this PHS and all. They cost a fortune."
"Thanks Barret. I'll call when I need you." Barret left. Cloud could hear him bellowing at the others, telling them what to do. He went down to the reception area.
"I'll need a Gold chocobo for two days time, please."
"We have two left for that day, sir. Would you like to review them?"
"Okay then." The receptionist led him round to the stables at the back.
"These are your choices, sir. Goldenrod, S-Rank, high stamina, medium speed, good-natured, female; and Cadmium, S-Rank, high stamina, high speed, bad tempered, male." Cloud looked at them speculatively. Bad tempered normally meant high-strung. All
he needed was a good rider that didn't use a whip.
"I'll take Cadmium, please." The man looked slightly surprised.
"Very well then sir. Excellent choice. I'll leave you to get acquainted." He bowed and left. Cloud walked over to Cadmium.
"You're not the only one with girl troubles, you know." He grabbed its beak. "Don't try anything stupid with me. If you behave, I can guarantee that you and her will be together. Any Nut you like. Promise. Now behave for everyone before and after me." He walked away.
"Well, dear, surprises are in store for everyone. Mr. Strife is coming faster than we expected." Prof. Kaiser said.
"Good!" she responded fiercely. "Then he can deal with you and get me out of here!"
"All in good time, darling, all in good time."
"Yes Kevin." Prof. Heath came to talk to him. "Ah. I see. Well, this may prove to be one of our more interesting experiments."
"What?" Tifa asked. "You're not talking about me, are you?"
"Why didn't it show up before, sir?"
"The radar has not passed over there before. We never considered this possibility."
"Right. I'll send for a doctor."
"What? What do you need a doctor for?" Tifa inquired.
"To see how safe it is to inject Mako into you in your present condition."
"I should have put it together before. The nausea, sickness."
"Why don't you just tell me?"
"You remember a romantic night with Mr. Strife?" How could she forget? "It has borne fruit."
"Meaning what?" she asked, though she was having some suspicions.
"You're pregnant, my dear."
"What!" She started struggling.
"Pity. President Paige was considering you as a replacement for his wife. He will be disappointed."
"You're lying! I wouldn't go near that lech anyway!"
"Well, we shall soon find out. If you pull through, it may be tried on other pregnant subjects."
"Leave me alone!"
"I shall leave you in peace for a few moments to absorb the shock." He left. Pregnant? She couldn't be. She peered down at her tummy. It's been three months, she told herself. I won't show yet. Cloud's the father. Cloud. After all we've been through is it fair to put this on him as well? So soon? While Jenova's daughter roamed the Planet with her siblings? An idea came to her. Cid had spent the last two years building rockets. He had about twelve, in all.
Jenova had nine living children. They could launch them in a rocket. Or nine different rockets, programmed to nine different destinations. None of them were up to fighting another nine Jenovas.
"Time's up. Are you okay now?"
"Fine. No thanks to you. Can I go to sleep now?" "I'll wake you up when I need you." She dozed off.
"Tifa. Wake up." A bright light was shining in her face. "Can you shut that thing off?" she demanded. It was turned down.
"This is Dr. Smith." A man in a white lab coat joined him.
"Yes, she is very strong. There is a possibility. Put in Mako strength 5 first. Inject 2.5ml. She will become stronger."
"Prepare the subject and the needle!"
"Subject prepared. Needle ready."
"Fire!" Something hit her arm. She flinched.
"Injection complete. Prepare tummy needle."
"Inject." Something punched into her belly button.
"Drink this." Dr. Smith said.
"What is it?" It was luminous green.
"The essence of Lifestream mixed with Mako strength 100 - twenty times as hard as your injection. Easier, though." He poured the liquid down her throat. Then he turned to the professors. "Give her this to drink three times a day - right before meals if you can manage it. Inject her five times a day. As soon as he wakes up, after breakfast, after lunch, before dinner, before she goes to sleep. Same strengths."
"Thank you doctor. This will affect her child, I presume."
"Yes, professor. That is the point, isn't it?"
"Of course. Dismissed."
"Good day." The doctor left.
"How will it affect my baby?" Tifa demanded.
"If our research is correct, then your child will have super Mako strength - the strongest ever. You may want to neutralize it until its older. As for yourself, you will have normal human Mako strength. The child will have two Mako injected parents and be essentially Mako itself." Tifa frowned. Super human strength? It was like something out of a fairytale.
"What are you going to do to Cloud?" she asked.
"Research him. Find out what he is, how he beat Sephiroth, why he heals quickly, that sort of thing."
"What do you mean, what he is?"
"He's unlike anything we've ever studied before. Our army thrives on Mako - though none of them have taken in as much as the Shinra army used to. Mr. Strife used to be in soldier, did he not?"
"That makes him a perfect specimen. There is one other person we could possibly use."
"Another ex-soldier. Zackeroy Antrath or Zack. Have you heard of him?"
"Do you know where he is?"
"No! I've just... heard a friend talk about him."
"Er, I dunno, I have lots of friends," she lied (not about her friends, about who she knew it was).
"You're lying to me. Don't lie!" He pushed a button; immense pain shot through her body. "Who is it?"
"A... Aeris!" The pain stopped.
"If you want to call her so, yes."
"How did she talk about him?"
"Before she died, she told me `n Cloud about him. Just like Cloud, but with black hair. He used to be her boyfriend, but he disappeared about seven years ago. No one knows where he is."
General (mainly Cloud and Tifa still, though).
Red XIII sighed. He had taken Lashia to Cosmo Canyon as per Cloud and Barret's instructions, and was talking to her for the first time since her discovery. He had also warned the Elders about the upcoming crisis and now he had nothing to do. He wasn't allowed to sit in on their meetings because they seemed to think that he might tell his other human friends about their decisions.
"Nanaki?" It was Lashia. He turned his attention to her. "There's a shaggy, black-haired stranger here who looks very much like Cloud. Gongaga people have brought him here. They're afraid of him. He has a big sword as well. He wants Aeris - though he doesn't seem to have much control over what he's saying."
"I'll come down and see him."
"Shall I come too, Nanaki?"
"Yes, Lashia." He wished she wouldn't do that. Any time she wanted or needed to do something, she asked him first. It was annoying as well as inconvenient. He'd tell her to stop, but he didn't have time right now. He bounded down to see the Gongagans.
"Red XIII! Thank goodness!" It was Zack's mother. "We found him wandering in the forest outside Gongaga. It took all of us to get him here."
"Leave him with us." Red said harshly. "Lashia! Get the PHS. It's in Bugenhagen's room. Go!"
"Yes sir." She ran off. He shook his head. He continued to talk to Zack's parents. When Lashia returned, he called Aeris.
Aeris was in the bath when Red called. She jumped up and wrapped a towel round herself.
"Hello?" Red relaxed slightly when he heard Elmyra's voice.
"It's Red XIII."
"Yes? What can I do for you, Red?"
"Can I speak to Aeris?"
"Of course. She'll just be a moment." He heard her call.
"There's a stranger here from Gongaga. He's wounded and not very coherent. From the snatches of conversation we hear he wants you."
"What does he look like?"
"A bit like Cloud. Come and see for yourself."
"I'll be right there, Nanaki."
She rubbed herself dry. Once she was fully dressed, she ran down to tell her mother she was going to Cosmo Canyon.
"Rent a chocobo, and have some lunch before you leave." Aeris shook her head.
"I'll take some with me. I have to get there as fast as I can." Someone knocked on the door. Aeris went to get it on her way out. "Mom! It's Reeve!" She turned to Reeve. "I'll see you in a couple of days, okay? Ask mom." She ran off to the stables.
Reeve went to talk to Elmyra. When he found out Aeris' plans, he jumped out of his seat to go after her. She already had a good head start on him.
"Lashia! I got here as soon as I could. Where's Nanaki?" Aeris asked.
"At the inn with the man. Go quickly!" Aeris ran to the inn.
"Aeris! There you are!" Red said. He felt an enormous wave of relief rush over him.
"Nanaki, where is he?"
"In the back room. He's asleep right now. I'll tell you when I need you." She heard some thrashing. "I need you now, Aeris. He wakes up after a minute of thrashing."
"Let's go." They walked into the back room. Aeris stifled a gasp.
"No. Where is she? I can't tell you. No, Hojo, I won't do it! Don't hurt her, Sephiroth. Take me! Take me! Aeris! Aeris! I'm... alive. Where am I?" Zack saw some faint blurs. "Who am I? I... I don't know. Who is she, who even in death has to come and taunt me? She can't be dead." He sat bolt upright. Aeris jumped back. He reached out his arms. Then he saw some movement. Instead of the grey blur of a room he normally saw, he saw a face. A woman's face. Almost a familiar face.
The woman who walked in his dreams. Whom he'd nearly died for. One, plain, simple woman. A name came to him from out of his memory. Ariel? Areis? Aerith? Aeris? The last one. Aeris.
I was finding it hard to write just using Tifa and Cloud for channels for my imagination. So, I've opened up a bit. Don't be surprised if it's a bit everywhere. I'm new at this. Please, judge fairly.
Chap 1-7 Chap 8-13