Tseng’s Prophecy; Resurrection
Tseng didn’t look pleased, and he never did. He hadn’t since he was a child, and it was doubtful that he would in a long time. He strode past the others. "Restore Materia…" he said in a tone that he himself considered was not "likable" to the other Turks. "…is a strange thing," he continued. "It revived me…yet you could not find the one thing I wanted brought back? The one thing I cared about?" he asked.
"No," said Reno in a flat voice, raising the sunglasses away from his stark blue eyes. Rude, his bald head shining in the light over head, wore a long trench coat and was polishing a ten gauge auto shotgun. "We couldn’t find the body. Someone hid it well," he said with a raised eyebrow. "We’re not going to search the world, if that’s what you mean," he said.
Tseng shook his head. "I care deeply for Aeris…" he said. "You can’t know how much. I want her back…even if she will not accept me…I don’t like the idea of her dying when I’m still alive…" he said, shaking his head. "I’d rather die than have her die."
"A touching speech, Tseng," said Rude.
"Shut up," said Elena, the blonde haired only female in the unit called the Turks. "He’s serious, you metal-headed dick," she said, sneering and raising a lip at the bald Turk. He didn’t stop polishing his shotgun, and it seemed he never removed his sunglasses.
Rude didn’t look pleased. "You’re telling me to ‘Shut up’?" he asked.
"Yes," said Elena, crossing her arms over her chest.
"Oh," Rude said. "Okay," he finished as he went back to concentrating on polishing his auto shotgun.
Tseng rolled his eyes. "Some things never change," he muttered. "You guys can’t understand…I know she was killed in the city of the Ancients…I…can’t understand what she might still see in me after all the work I did for Hojo…"
"Hmm," Reno said. "Where in the Ancients city might she be?"
Tseng let his shoulders slump. "That’s where you’ve got me," he said, turning away from them. "I have no idea. The place is a literal maze. There’s practically nothing I can do to find her," he said.
"Don’t say that," Elena said, putting a reassuring hand on their leader’s shoulder. "You’ll find her soon enough. We can use preliminary scans."
Tseng turned. "She’s dead," he said. "She won’t show on any of the preliminary scans…and you know as well as I do to get to the City we need the Lunar Harp to get through the Sleeping Forest…" he trailed again, turning away. "So many things…"
"Where do we get the Lunar Harp?" asked Reno.
Tseng turned. "The same place we get the information on where Aeris’s body is," he said. "You know the heroes? The ones we ran into repeatedly during Rufus’s short reign of power?" he said. There were nods all around. "Them," he said.
"Strife and his friends?" Reno asked. "Why would they have the Lunar Harp?"
Tseng sighed. "During their attempts to ‘save the world’, they had to get to the City of the Ancients, after the Temple, where I died, was destroyed by a shrinking black materia…they had to get there, and had to dig around in Bone City before the Sleeping Forest just before The City of the Ancients."
"Oh," said Reno. "So how’d they get it?"
Tseng ground his teeth in frustration. "Do you listen? Do you ever? I just told you, they had to dig in Bone City to get the Lunar Harp," he said, his voice a growl.
"So why don’t we just ask the guys who live there?" asked Rude from the back of the small room, no bigger then an office cubicle. "They’d surely have some information on the people who sent out to dig," he said as he finished polishing the shotgun and put it into a slip in the left of his trench coat.
Elena looked at him. "Those are the first sensible words to come from that hole of yours all day," she said with a rueful smirk on her face as he sneered at her.
"That is actually a good idea, Tseng," Reno said, shifting as he twisted the rounds of his Colt Python S&A .35, checking each round as he took a polish cloth from Rude. "We could explore around the major cities where we’ve heard they visited in their time," he said. "And get info on where they went," he finished, polishing his pistol as Rude sat back and cracked open a bottle of whine, pouring himself a glass.
Tseng nodded. "But we don’t have any aircraft to use fast transportation," he said.
"That’s where Shinra Incorporated comes in," said Rude as he sipped his whisky. "They owe us a lot of money and a lot of favors. They have quite a few airships available…and a good man like Reeve, and slut like Scarlet, and a fat bastard like Heidegger should be able to get us what we need," he said.
Tseng nodded. "Then it’s all arranged then," he said. "Now, the question is; what means of transportation do we have to get to the ‘under construction’ Midgar City? You know it’s still incomplete in rebuilding process…" he said. "Plus, the heavy snowfall in this place…"
"Kalm always gets heavy snowfall," said Elena.
Tseng glowered at her and she shut her mouth. "We need a means of transportation. Chocobos won’t last ten seconds out there, and we also need some snow gear and supplies," he said. "A car. We need a van, is what we need."
"Those things went out a long time ago," said Elena.
Tseng glowered at her again. "They were recently brought back into service by all the towns as military troop transports…and we’re as close to military as you can get from being in the actual military," he said. "I’m sure we can get one, with our…negotiating tactics…?" he said, looking at Rude, who patted his auto shotgun. "We’ll go when it gets lighter outside. What time is it, Reno?" he asked.
"Six o’clock in the morning," Reno said.
At least he talks only when I ask him too, unlike Elena…, thought Tseng. "Okay. Let’s get a strategy, grab a few winks and go to it in the early morning when the shops we need open are open," he said. "We’re going to have to get to Midgar within the week."
"Right," said Rude, sipping his whisky. "Do you mind if I go to the bar? This hotel is somewhat stuffy," he said.
Tseng rolled his eyes. "For the last time, Rude, no," he said. "We need to work on some strategies. Even Turks need plans now and then," he said. "Give me some whisky," he ordered, and Rude poured Tseng a glass and the other man drank it back. "Thank you," he said. "Okay. We’re going to need some better weapons, some potions, some foods and liquids…" said Tseng.
"Some girls," muttered Rude.
Tseng looked at him. "Rude, some of the time you’re a good man to have at my back, but other times, I just wish you would walk off with some of those hookers you meet, allright?" he asked. "Now, get your mind of naked women and get to work."
"Fine," said Rude, peeling off his trench coat, leaving his shotgun in the sheath, revealing an array of hidden weapons inside his jacket and in various holsters on his shirt. Rude was the weapons guy of the group, and carried at least twelve guns at a time on him. "We gonna heist these places?" he asked.
Tseng nodded. "Until we get the…debts…owed to us by Shinra, we’re penniless and penny pinching," he said.
"Right," said Rude. "Leave the stand up part to me. I’ve got the best guns," he said.
Reno and Tseng shrugged, but Elena stepped forward, ready to challenge Rude. "Who says you get all the fun? I want a part of this, let me stick up one of these places," she said.
It took everything Rude had not to scoff at Elena’s words. "You," he said. "want to stick up the shop owners? Are you serious? Miss I-don’t-like-to-hurt-anyone Elena of the Turks actually wants a part in this stickup operation? Forget it, I called it," he said.
"Nuh-uh," said Elena.
"Uh-huh," said Rude.
"Shut up!" shouted Tseng and Reno at the same time. They looked at each other and Tseng took it from there. "We have plans to make," he said. "Elena, while Reno and I distract the car salesman with our fancy weapons, you steal the van. Rude, you’re in charge of stealing all the other weapons and materials, got it?" he asked.
"Yeah," said Rude and Elena at once, Elena in a dejected tone, while Rude’s was one of triumph.
Tseng rolled his eyes. "Some things definitely never change," he said, turning to Reno, the one person who ever seemed to be completely confident and had superb skills. Rude was simply a gunman and Elena was an all-talk kind of girl, with some hand-to-hand combat. Reno had all of that and more, as did Tseng. "Let’s get to work," he said.
"Right," said Reno. "So, do we just distract the guy with guns?"
Tseng nodded. "That’s the general plan," he said. "There’s not really much else to do. Neither of us are big talkers, and Elena is the best driver of the bunch, and she’s also the biggest mouth in the group," he said with a scowl.
"Hey," said Elena. "I don’t talk that much," she concluded, putting out her bottom lip like she was going into a pout.
Tseng rolled his eyes. "Don’t be such a baby," he said.
"Right," sand Reno, steering Elena away, leaving Tseng by himself to look out the window of the hotel in Kalm, waiting for the early morning sun to rise and dawn another blizzard of a day in the small, old fashioned town heading north on the continent.
Soon, hopefully, Aeris…I hope your heart doesn’t belong to Strife…I hope you can find a place for me in there…you can never know how much I care for you…he thought. Aeris Gainsborough was the reason for his moving, for working on what he was doing now. He had grown up with her, but when it had started(it being the whole Meteor Sephiroth conflict) he had turned black and dark against her…could she ever take him back for all he had done?
He had died at the blade of the great Sephiroth…and had watched Aeris die from his place in the afterlife…and had regretted it from the beginning. He didn’t want such an object of beauty to die. He swallowed. Aeris was everything to him, and he would do anything to get her back, and if she didn’t love him like he did her…she could go, and leave his life as pointless, empty and dark as it already was.
Could she do that?
Would she do that?
Cloud Strife sat up in the bed, sweat beading on his forehead. The small airship was docked on the port over Junon Bay, and he had been dreaming. A dream…all a dream. Sephiroth is long dead, thought Cloud as he swung his bare legs over the side, grabbing a pair of his loose and baggy jeans and slipping them on as the early morning sun crept up over the horizon, illuminating the oceans in front of Junon a brilliant golden-blue-yellow color which captivated Cloud momentarily before he grabbed his sleeveless shirt and put it on, along with his shoulder pad. His regular outfit. He pulled a hand through his spiky blond hair and sighed.
He walked through the automatic open doors and into the corridor of the smaller mark III airship, a small take off of the Highwind, which had been destroyed at the crater in the mountains up in the north. Cloud came up to the command bridge where Cid Highwind stood, as usual, smoking a cigarette.
"Hey, Cid," said Cloud. "What’s our destination for today?"
Cid blew out a plume of smoke. "Dunno," he said. "Yuffie’s been wantin’ to go to Wutai, to show her father that she has some good materia, right now," he said. "I got nowhere else to go, there’s no particular destinations in mind…we could probably go there."
Cloud nodded. "To Wutai, mon amis," Cloud said and turned, almost running into the object of perfection, Tifa Lockheart. "Oh…uh, hi…" said Cloud, stammering as he backed up a step, resisting the urge to blush vehemently. "Sleep well?" he asked.
"Fine, thank you," said Tifa smoothly. "You?"
"Fine," Cloud lied.
He could see she didn’t believe him, but Cid spoke up. Cloud silently thanked him. "We’re going to Wutai…so guard your materia. You remember what happened last time," he said.
"You think I’m gonna do that again, Cid?" asked a light, female voice as the other woman on the crew, Yuffie Kisargi, stepped into the room, her bulky arm armor missing, as was her pinwheel star as she stood there, her hands on her hips. She was scantily dressed, only thigh high shorts and a bikini top. She wore her hair down to the cup of her chin with a white bandanna at the forehead, and had high top running shoes on. "Come on, I’m not the same Materia thief I was back then."
Cid scoffed. "Yeah, you’re a year older," he said.
"Go to hell," said Yuffie, and turned to Cloud. "How ya doin’, hot stuff?" she asked, punching Cloud playfully on the shoulder. He raised a brow at her.
"Just fine," he said.
Tifa nodded. "No tricks," she said. "Or we’ll beat the living crap outta you, you hear me?" she declared.
"Yeah, sure," said Yuffie, although Cloud somehow doubted she was serious.
"Three hours, at most," said Cid.
The van rumbled across the open landscape. Two people in the front, one in the first back seat, and one in the second. They all had mission tasks. Elena was at the wheel, with Tseng beside her, looking at maps and tapping in data logs and coordinates on a small, hand held computer which he always seemed to be working with. Reno was dividing the rations while Rude was keeping the weapons in good condition.
"Everything’s looking good," said Tseng. "According to the comp, we’ll be within communications range of Midgar City in a week," he said. "Damn, I wish that we’d gotten that airship…let the ‘conquering heroes’ stick to the land."
Elena threw him a sidelong glance. "They never had to drive along in the snow," she said.
"Shut up," Tseng replied. "Now, stay on this heading and lock in the cruise control. Rude, you got extra gas, right?" he asked.
Rude nodded. "About twenty gallons good enough?"
"That’s why we’re going so slow," muttered Tseng, so no one else could hear. He snapped the small computer board shut. "We’ve got plenty of rations and supplies, compliments of Rude, to last us until Midgar. We’ll be driving non-stop until we get there."
Elena groaned. "No sleep?" she asked.
"None," said Tseng. "We have to stay alert. There are creatures out here that could spell an end to us," he continued. "Rude, since you’re our weapons specialist, you’ll be taking care of any…forces we may encounter on our journey," Tseng said, patting his custom edition .375 Light Pistol which was seated in a holster on his right hip. "I’ll take care of them with him. Reno, Elena; you two will keep this van on course and going," Tseng said.
Midgar City was huge, and most of the re-construction efforts had worked well. The city was looking like its old self again, and the rescue forces had finally managed to lift the Sector Seven plate off of the Sector, revealing several survivors of the drastic crash, compliments of the long deceased President Shinra.
Above the city, was the high cream of society, such as where Shinra was working. In the office that had belonged to both President Shinra, and his son and successor President Rufus had died, the new President, Reeve, stood looking out the window down at the reconstruction process happening with Midgar.
"You’re too soft, Reeve," said a cool, female voice behind him, and he turned to see an elegantly beautiful, blonde haired woman, wearing a red dress which went down to just above her knees. She had her hands on her hips. Scarlet was perfect, but she was also deadly. "That’s why I should have been the president."
Reeve sighed, turning to Scarlet and the rather fat man next to her, dressed in a general’s uniform; Heidegger. "Look, you two; we’ve been over this time and time again; I’m only President due to the fact that I know what is good for this city, and that is the reconstruction projects happening right now."
"Please, Reeve," said Heidegger. "You’re spending so much money on rebuilding a pathetic city."
Reeve fought back his anger. "I’m giving people homes they lost due to people like Shinra and Rufus," he said. "They slaughtered so many when the Sector Seven plate fell, and I’m trying to give that back to them in my new form," he said.
"You are too soft," Heidegger agreed with Scarlet’s assessment.
Reeve rolled his eyes. "Why are you two here again?" he asked.
"Simple," said Scarlet. "Resign your presidency over to our dual forces. We can take care of double the tasks you want, and forget this silly reconstruction project," she continued. "If you look at it, what Heidegger and I are doing is best for the Company."
Reeve slammed his fist down on the table, startling the two people in front of him. "The Company is not what matters," he said shrilly. "What matters is the people below us who are dying from pollution and senseless acts of violence. That’s the cause I am working for here, you two, and I am not going to hand over presidency to you."
"Why not?" asked Heidegger.
Reeve was seething now. "I just told you, you fat, overpaid bastard!" he shouted at the top of his lungs, causing the doors to open and security to step in. "Security, take these two people away," Reeve said.
"You’re gonna pay for this," Scarlet hissed.
Reeve snarled at them. "Be my God damned guest."
Wutai wasn’t a very big city, but it was a city nonetheless, and the small airship had landed outside the city and the troupe had gone into the town. Now, Cloud, Tifa, Cid and Barret Wallace were in the bar. Red XIII was there, calmly licking his paws. Yuffie had gone off with Vincent Valentine as her protection from any mishaps.
"So what we doin’ here in da first place?" asked Barret.
Cid shrugged, lighting a cigarette. "Well, it is the best place with a restaurant around," he said. "Besides, we needed some repairs to the ship. It can’t withstand the beatings we put it through every damned day."
"Couldn’t we just go to Rocket Town?" asked Barret.
Cid grimaced. "Nah, they’re waiting for me there. I already told Shera to get out of the town and head to Kalm, where she’d be safe."
"Hmm," said Red XIII from the floor. "You could have sent her to Cosmo Canyon. We’re even safer there…and far more secluded."
Cid nodded. "You may have a point," he said. "When she’s in Kalm, I’ll use the PHS and phone her, all right?"
"Sure," said Barret. "If the Turks weren’t in Kalm."
Cid straightened. "What?" he asked.
"That’s where Reno, Elena and Rude went; Kalm."
"Oh, shit," he cursed. "We gotta go! Cloud; you go get Vincent and Yuffie! You’re not back in five I’m leaving without you!" he shouted and was out the door, his cigarette falling from his mouth.
Cloud was up from the table like a shot, quickly followed by Barret and Tifa. Tifa hastily paid the tab and ran out.
Tseng coughed, pouring the fuel into the small hole as snow rained down all around him. Inhuman cries were roaring in the distances, smelling fresh flesh to feast upon. Rude stood with his shotgun ready, snow smearing on his bald head. Tseng finally finished and closed it. "Got it! Let’s go!"
A scream came from the car and Tseng whirled, his gun out, as a huge creature came forward. Like a machine, Rude whipped his shotgun out and pumped it, firing a ten gauge round straight into the thing. It screamed and Tseng dove into the car, firing through the window as it smacked the side. "Damn!" he shouted.
"Drive, drive!" Reno screamed.
As soon as Rude was in, Elena stopped her foot to the floor, roaring the van off. "Get down," Rude said calmly and fired his shotgun through the window, striking a large hole in the creature. He pumped it and fired, pumped, fired, pumped, fired…until with a scream the monster stopped pursuing and fell to the ground. "Stop the car," Rude said.
"You nuts?" asked Elena, Tseng and Reno at once.
"I said stop!" Rude shouted.
Rude opened the door and pumped another round, walking back to the wheezing creature. He leveled it and fired, blowing the thing’s head apart and spattering his coat. He noticed a strange trail in the snow and looked to the car. "Oh no…" he said.
"What?" asked Reno as he and the others got out.
"We’re leaking gas. We’ve got a punctured tank."
Tseng looked up. "We’re stranded."
"Shera?" Cid shouted as he burst into the hotel room in Kalm, startling the woman in front of him. He ran forward. "Thank God you’re okay! We’re getting you outta here!" he said. "Pack your things! Let’s go."
"What’s going on?"
"Just do it, please!"
"I don’t freakin’ believe this," said Tseng. "A simple task, really. Now we have a busted van, a dead creature, and a bunch o’ guns and supplies.
More cries erupted in the distance.
"We’d better get as much outta this van as possible," said Reno. "Elena, behind the wheel. Rude, gimme the shotgun," he said. At a strange look from the other Turk, he snatched the Shotgun from Rude. "Trust me," he said, climbing into the backseat. "Everyone stay down."
He fired four shots and point blank range into the roof of the car as the van rumbled forward through the snow. He opened a hole in the roof and snow started to come in. "What the hell are you doing?" Tseng shouted angrily.
"Rude, take the gun and kill it," he said and turned to Tseng. "Opened a gunning hole."
Tseng let his jaw drop as Rude stood and opened fire as another of the creatures came into view. "You tore apart the God damned van you sonuvabitch," he hissed.
"It was necessary! You taught us to do what was necessary!" Reno said.
Tseng nodded, a slow smile on his face. "I did do that."
Suddenly, the car shuddered and started moving backwards. "What the hell is it now?" asked Tseng, turning to Elena, who had her foot to the floor.
"I dunno! It’s not responding!"
"It’s got us," said Rude between shots, pumping in more rounds. "Not for long, hopefully," he said as Reno clambered to the very back seat and kicked open the trunk. The creature was pulling backwards and it opened his smelly maw in front of Reno.
"Eat this!" Reno said and fired the fifteen shots in his clip point blank into the monster’s mouth. It screamed a horrible sound as Rude’s shotgun tore holes in its head. "Elena—go, go, go!" he screamed as he clambered back over the seat from the monster, hastily loading in another clip into his pistol and opening fire.
Elena kept her foot to the floor as she watched the gas meter. "We got maybe about a half hour of gas left!" she reported.
"Then keep us moving!" Tseng called.
"Oh God…" Reno hissed as he loaded in yet another clip as the monster charged on. Suddenly, its claws clamped down on his leg. "Aaah!" he shouted in dismay as he gripped the head rest of the chair.
"Reno!" Elena screamed, looking in the rear view mirror.
Tseng climbed out of his seat, his Colt in hand as he pulled on Reno’s jacket and calmly opened fire. The thing let go of Reno and screamed in agony and anger. "This one’s bigger then the last one!" he said, and suddenly, more cries erupted.
"Shit!" called Elena. "I think he called his friends!"
Tseng whirled, hauling Reno back into the van and looking as dozens of the creatures started coming out of the ground. "Oh shit…" he whispered. "Keep going!" he said, firing at the one close behind them. "Damn…" he muttered.
Reno gasped in pain, blood pouring from his leg at an alarming rate as he pulled off his jacket and ripped off a coat rest, building a cast for his broken leg. "Keep going!" he shouted to Elena, who was swerving the van to avoid other creatures.
Rude fired his shotgun repeatedly at the creatures. "Come on an’ get it, ya shits! C’mon! C’mon! I’m ready for ya! C’mon!"
"Rude, calm the hell down!" shouted Reno.
"Ya shits! Come an’ get it, baby!"
"Rude!" shouted Reno.
"Sorry," Rude said and calmly fired his shotgun at the creatures erupting out of the ground all around them.
On their way to Kalm, Cid noticed the action below. "Holy shit," he whispered. "Jerry, put her down. Looks like these guys need some help," he said.
"Right," said the pilot.
"What’s going on?" asked Cloud as he stepped onto the bridge.
"Take a look," said Cid.
"Holy shit! We’re runnin’ outta gas!" said Elena. "We got fifteen minutes left! Hurry up and kill the %&*^%#!" she screamed.
Rude pumped his shotgun rounds into the creatures, the one that had first terrorized them finally dead. He dropped back into the van. "We’re gonna die out here," he said matter of factly.
Suddenly, before anyone could respond, a loud engine sound came from overhead and a small airship landed on the ground. Several people came out.
"Let’s kick some ass!" Barret said, leveling his gun-arm and opening fire at the creatures.
Cloud was in the front, his Ultima Weapon clasped tightly in his hands. He ran into the first creature, his sword a blur as he chopped it to pieces.
"Come on! We’re here to…" Cid started then saw the passengers of the car as he jabbed his pike into the skulls of one of the creatures. "The Turks? And Tseng? You’re dead! We saw you die!"
"Heard of Restore Materia?" Tseng smirked.
Elena came up. "Look; we’ve got a punctured gas tank and we really need a hand…" she started.
"Where’s Aeris?" Tseng demanded.
"She’s dead…" Cid started.
"Where the hell is her body! Her body?!" he screamed.
"Why do you wanna know?" Cid asked as he led them back to the airship.
Tseng slumped his shoulders. "It’s a long story."
"Uh…guys? Touching moment but let’s get back to the airship as quickly as possible, eh?" asked Tifa Lockheart, who was kicking the crap out of one of the giant creatures.
Rude pumped his shotgun and blew a large hole in the thing’s face, making it turn to him. He calmly pumped and fired, pumped, fired, pumped, fired again and again until it fell to the ground, dead. "Run," he stated matter of factly and jogged, firing over his shoulder.
"Start ‘er up, Jerry!" Cid hollered as they got into the ship. Rude was the last one in and the ship lifted off, and everyone turned to the Turks.
"What’re you doin’?" asked Cid.
Tseng clenched his fists. "What do you mean?"
"Why’re you all out here in the middle of monster country?" he asked.
"We were on our way to Midgar for a few favors from President Reeve," said Reno in an angry tone. "What business is it of yours, anyway, Mr. Highwind?" he asked.
Tifa stepped forward. "We just saved your lives, people," she said.
"We had the situation under control," Elena chirped.
Tseng nodded. "we could have handled ourselves."
"With a leaking gas tank?" asked Cid. "Highly unlikely. From the looks of things on the monitors of that van, you had about ten minutes of gas left, and that wasn’t gonna last you very good and long with those things coming after you."
"What’s it to you, anyway?" asked Reno.
Cloud stepped forward to Tseng. "Why were you asking about Aeris’s body?"
"Because," Tseng said.
Cloud grabbed the collar of his jacket and rammed him up against a wall. "Because why, Tseng?"
"I want her alive," said Tseng. "Restore Materia."
"Why?" asked Cloud.
Tseng said nothing.
"Why?" Cloud shouted.
"Because I love her! There! Ya happy, Mister-Big-And-Strong-Hero-Of-The-Goddamned-Planet! There’s your answer! Ya happy? Huh? Ya happy? I asked ya a damned question!"
Everyone was silent as Tseng stood there, seething with rage.
"You…what?" asked Cloud.
"I love Aeris Gainsborough," said Tseng. "And I’ll do anything to have her back among the living.
"Why should we help ‘em?" asked Yuffie Kisargi.
"Good question," Barret said.
Tseng was pale looking and feeling sick in the corner, not watching, but listening to the proceedings. "We don’t," Cloud snapped. "Simple as that."
"Why?" asked Tifa curiously.
"Because we should revive her. Get her back where she belongs," Cloud said.
Tseng let his eyes come up, welling with tears. "You have no soul," he said to Cloud, who turned his gaze on Tseng. "You…won’t let me have the one chance with the person whom I love…not one…because you want her for yourself you selfish sonuvabitch. If that’s what she wants…fine…I’ll give her happiness…but if its what you want…I couldn’t care less."
Tifa looked at Cloud, and slowly, everyone else did the same.
In a movement almost too fast to see, Cloud had crossed the room and wrapped his hands around Tseng’s neck, choking off his air. "You little shit," he hissed. Tseng threw a kick into Cloud’s midsection, catching the mercenary by surprise. Rude had his shotgun out and pointed at Cloud, and everyone’s weapons were trained on him.
"This is a tough decision," said Vincent Valentine.
Tseng looked at his former comrade. "Shut up, you vampire," he hissed. "This is of none of your concern."
"I grew up with the both of you as well…before I was denied everything I had and became a Turk, like yourself," Vincent continued, his eyes blazing with anger.
"Shut up," Tseng said between clenched teeth.
Cloud got back to his feet, the red in his face slowly falling back. "Why should we help you? After everything you’ve tried to do to us, Tseng…"
"Is it any different then Reeve?" asked Tseng.
Cloud was speechless.
"Is it?" Tseng asked again. "We have jobs, we do what we are paid to do…even if it means killing. That’s what the Turks do. You were in Soldier, remember, Cloud…you killed people daily…"
Cloud turned away.
"So why should you have any more chance with this then me?"
"He’s got yo ass dere, bud," Barret Wallace said from the back of the room.
Cid Highwind puffed on his cigarette. "Man, I really don’t damned like this," he said angrily.
"Who does?" Cloud asked, turning to him, then back to Tseng. "You are not having a chance with Aeris," he said.
"Over my dead body," Tseng said.
"Works for me," Cloud shot back, stepping towards him and grabbing Tseng’s collar.
"Stop," Reno said, coming between the two of them. "Why won’t you give him a chance, Strife? You’re putting more then one person through hell, here," he finished.
Cloud looked dumbfounded. "Huh?" he asked.
Reno shifted his eyes to Tifa, then back to Cloud. "Where does your heart belong, Cloud?"
"You bastard!" Cloud punched Reno in the face, knocking the man back. Cloud was on him in a second, punching him. Tseng came up, shortly accompanied by Vincent and they pulled Cloud off.
"It’s true," Reno said, blood running from his left nostril. "Every word of it."
Cloud lunged again but was caught.
"Do you?" Tifa asked, coming in front of him. "Do you love Aeris Gainsborough…the girl you met two weeks ago…or me…the girl you’ve known since childhood?"
Tseng looked at Cloud, as did everyone else.
"What the hell…?" muttered Reeve as the doors flew open and in stepped a battered looking man. "Greg," he said. "What the hell are you doing here?"
The man named Greg looked at Reeve. He had blond hair and stark blue eyes. "The Turks," he said.
"Greg…what about them?" Reeve asked, standing.
"The Turks," he said. "Where are they? I have to stop them…from making a terrible mistake…" he said.
"Sir!" another man came in. Sergeant Kyle Fox stood there. "Sir, we’ve got a huge problem a few clicks outside Midgar…there was a fight and an airship in the area."
"Cloud…" Reeve breathed. "Greg, come with me. Kyle, you too," he said. "Let’s hurry."
"We can’t let him go to the Lost City," said Cid.
"There? That’s where she is?" asked Tseng.
Cloud snarled. "You’re not going there," he said.
"No thanks," Cloud said, punching Tseng, only to be smacked by Elena, he turned to her, but Reno was in front of her like a shot.
"Back off," he said.
Tifa looked sad. "We should let Tseng go," she said quietly.
"And let him have the chance with Aeris? After all he’s done?" Cloud nearly shouted.
Barret stood in front of him. "Darn you, Cloud," he said. "You’ve done far worse then him…and we pulled you off the streets…gave you a chance to become the man you set out to be…and you won’t give that chance…and you’re breaking the heart of the woman who loves you."
Tifa turned away.
"I can’t…" Cloud started.
"I only want a chance," said Tseng. "Please…grant me that…"
"We’re coming up on them," said Kyle.
Greg held a gun in his hand, cocking back the hammer slowly. "May God forgive me for what I must do…" he whispered.
Tseng looked at the Lost City, running crazily, hearing the others crashing through the woods behind him. Tseng’s legs pumped as he ran, the others shouting obscenities. "Stop!" Cloud was shouting. "You don’t know what you’re doing!"
Tseng tripped and fell, smacking his face into the ground. In his craze, he managed to push himself back to his feet, cutting his chest and tearing his knees, but he kept running ahead of the others. "Tseng! Tseng, stop!" Elena screamed.
Tseng tore through a bramble bush, cutting himself and tearing what was left of his jacket off and he came out through the brambles, bruised and bloodied, the Restore Materia clutched in his hands. He continued tearing down the rocky path when his foot hit a hole, spraining his knee. He fell with a strangled cry.
"In there!" came Vincent’s voice.
Tseng, despite the sprain in his knee, clambered to his feet and limped along at an incredibly fast pace. He tore through a rocky embankment and fell over the edge of a cliff, leading twenty feet down to the sandy beaches below. He screamed, the scream cut off as four of his rips snapped and his right arm broke. He got back to his feet still as the others started climbing down after him.
Tseng waded into the lake, then diving in and kicking.
"We have to stop him!" said Cloud. "I’m going down there!"
"You’ll need help," Reno said and the two men plunged in after Tseng.
Tseng searched desperately when his eyes saw something pink. He swam over, his injured lungs aching for air. He grabbed Aeris’s limp body and swam away and to the surface, just as Cloud and Reno reached the area, searching for him.
On the surface, the others saw Tseng come up on the other side. "Shit! Go around, guys!" Barret shouted.
Tseng laid Aeris down on the ground.
Aeris’s body glowed blue, and everyone stopped as Reno and Cloud came ashore, looking at the spectacle of Tseng knelt of Aeris, giving her life. He grimaced and the light faded. Tseng collapsed to the ground, breathing heavily.
No one moved.
Except for Aeris.
Her eyes slowly fluttered open and she looked around. Aeris Gainsborough was alive. "Huh…?" she asked.
"I…did…it…" Tseng said. "No…Materia…left…for me…typical…" he said, tugging Aeris’s shoulder. She looked down and gasped at him. "Hey," he said. "I brought you back…to say sorry…and…" he closed his eyes and opened them again, tears running down his temples. "I love you."
Aeris worked her mouth for a moment and looked up at the others who nodded at her, including the Turks. She looked back at Tseng.
"Even though…I acted horrible…I…cared for you…Aeris…" Tseng said and laid his head back. "I know…you don’t give a damn about me…so…go and be happy…" he said. "Let me die…and go with…the ones you…love…"
Aeris pulled something out of her pocket. Restore Materia.
The same blue spectacle occurred again and Tseng was better. He was breathing heavily and he smiled at Aeris.
"Hey," he said. "I knew I could bring you back."
Aeris kissed him.
"How touching," Rude said, and for the first time, Elena realized the man was being serious.
Tifa looked at Cloud and he turned to her. "So…you never answered my question."
"I love you, Tifa. I always have."
"Aw, dammit," muttered Cid. "I’m goin’ back to the airship. Seeya’ll later," he said, lighting a cigarette and walking off, slowly followed by Reno, Elena, Rude, Vincent, Yuffie, Red XIII, Barret, Cloud and Tifa…and finally Aeris and Tseng, walking hand in hand.
"Stop!" came a voice behind them, and they all whirled.
Greg stood there, along with Kyle and Reeve. Greg leveled his pistol at Aeris. "This ends now," he said.
"What are you doing?" cried Reeve. "Stop!"
Kyle dove and tackled Greg. "Are you nuts?"
"No! Her time has come! No! No! Noooo!" Greg said.
"It’s not your job to supply law," said Kyle.
"Die!" Greg shouted, shooting Kyle square in the gut. Kyle buckled, blood dripping from his mouth and Greg pushed the man off him and turned to Reeve. "Die!" he shouted and shot Reeve in the shoulder. He screamed and went down. He ran towards the troupe of heroes. "Diiiie!"
"Look out!" said Tseng, jumping in front of Aeris and kicking Greg’s fun from his hand. "Get back to the ship!" he said, turning with Aeris.
"Noooo!" shouted Greg. "You can’t escape!"
Greg had gone insane.
Tseng lunged out of the bushes, taking Greg by surprise. Greg struggled vehemently and hit Tseng square in the jaw, leveling his pistol at Aeris. "No!" Tseng said, tackling him as Greg fired, his shot going wide as Aeris shrieked and ducked. Tseng kicked him hard in the stomach and punched him in the face.
Greg’s insanity aloud him to put the gun in Tseng’s face. Tseng fell to the ground just as the gun went off, the bullet skinned the top of the Turk’s head. Tseng threw his fist heavily into Greg’s face and the man stumbled back, but tackled Tseng hard.
"Ugh!" Tseng shouted.
Aeris had escaped, and Tseng kicked the gun away from Greg and turned, running for his life. Greg hit him from behind and pressed the gun against Tseng’s temple. He pulled the trigger.
"No!" shouted Greg as he realized he was out of bullets. Tseng kicked the insane man off him and turned and ran, but Greg hit him in the backs of the knees, taking him down incredibly fast. Tseng hit his jaw on the ground and grimaced as pain shot up his face. "You can’t escape!"
Tseng punched Greg hard and then kicked him. The airship was insight, the others helping Kyle and Reeve onto the ship. Tseng spun and kicked Greg with his heel in the jaw, and the insane man went down momentarily before lunging back to his feet. "Diiiie!" he screamed.
Tseng threw his foot out and caught Greg in the face, stopping the man in midair. The Turk turned and ran for the airship. Maybe fifty feet, almost there…he thought, when Greg threw a rock and caught Tseng in the back of the head. It was small, so it only made Tseng fall, but it allowed Greg to lunge onto him.
"Tseng!" shouted Aeris.
"Stay back!" Cloud shouted, running out of the ship.
"Cloud!" Tifa called after him.
Tseng punched Greg hard across the jaw and gave another hard punch, making each one count. "Die yourself!"
"Uryagh!" Greg shouted, throwing his arms up into a double upper-cut which caught Tseng in the chin, knocking the man back. Cloud hit Greg from the side, knocking the maniacal man to the ground. "Heeyagh!" Grege sputtered, throwing his fists blindly into the man’s face.
"Stop!" Cloud cried.
Greg slammed the butt of his gun into Cloud’s temple, knocking the man out. He pulled a grenade from his pocket as Tseng hit him in the stomach, tackling him to the ground. Tseng lifted him off the ground and slammed him down, repeating it over and over and over again. Greg reached for the grenade but Tseng stepped on his hand, breaking his fingers. The insane man screamed and threw his foot into Tseng’s groin.
"Argh!" Tseng cried, falling to the ground as Greg got up and lunged for the grenade. "Yagh!" Tseng emphasized and lunged up, taking Greg away from the grenade and slamming him to the ground. "You…stupid…" started Tseng.
"Diiiie!" Greg shouted again and kicked him off and grabbed the grenade, pressing a switch. He turned, grinning…
…to see Tseng carrying Cloud back to the airship.
"Noooo!" shouted Greg, hurling the grenade.
"Take him!" Tseng shouted, hurling Cloud into the airship as the grenade hit the ground at his feet, propelling him face first into the side of the airship. Greg laughed maniacally and charged forward as Tseng slowly got up, blood running down his face. "You go no further," he said.
Greg grinned. "Yes I do," he said. "I will avenge my father! My father…the great Sephiroth!"
Everyone gaped at him.
Tseng stepped between them all. "Not in this life time," he said and dropped to a defensive stance as Greg charged, pulling a dagger from his boot which he plunged into Tseng’s thigh. The Turk pulled it out and punched Greg in the face, then spun with a roundhouse kick and struck the insane man in the temple, knocking him to the ground.
Greg clambered back to his feet and drew a Massumune Sword from the sheath on his back and lunged forward. Tseng dodged to the side and kicked Greg’s knee, which broke with a wet snap. Greg fell to the ground and pulled another grenade as the Massumune clambered away.
"Oh no…" Tseng turned and ran into the ship, but the grenade clambered in after him as he did close the hatch. He picked it up and tore off as the ship lifted off. He ran to the observation deck and opened it to see Greg laughing like a maniac. Tseng reared his arm back and hurled the grenade…
…and just inches from his hand it exploded.
"Argh!" Tseng fell onto the rail, and nearly went over when someone grabbed him. He looked back to see Kyle there, holding him up. "Uhn…" Tseng uttered as Kyle grimaced against the pain in his gut, holding Tseng there.
"Help!" shouted Kyle, blood running down his chin.
"Whoa!" Reno shouted as he, Cloud and Rude came on the deck. Cloud, although dazed, was not blind to the fact that he could help. They hauled Tseng back onto the deck of the ship. "Tseng…you saved us…" Reno said.
"Where’s…Aeris…?" asked Tseng.
"Here," Aeris said, kneeling down and planting a firm kiss on his lips. "I’ve wanted to do that for a long time, Tseng."
"Looks like we may live happily ever after, after all," said Tseng with a weak smile before Aeris kissed him again.
Greg pulled himself through the woods, blood running from the various wounds he had taken. "I will avenge you, father," he hissed. "I will," he said again. "Soon."
He plunged the Massumune Sword into the ground and dragged himself off in the direction of Bone City.
To Be Continued
Author’s Note: I enjoyed the ending, because I need an outlet for the violence right now. I also had devised a new villain, in Greg, a new hero, in both Tseng and the new guy, Kyle. You will be seeing more of all of them in the future. Tseng is the main character in this. I will be writing the Sequel soon!