Kodou - a Final Fantasy VII fanfic

Kodou - a Final Fantasy VII fanfic

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Chapter 2: Strange dreams and weird reality.

Naomi didn't recognize her surroundings as she entered the room in front of her. At first she seemed to be on her own. She took a look around. Yep, definitely alone. And in a place she'd never been before. This kind of struck her as strange but not as much as it probably should have. In fact, she was just mildly surprised. This didn't have the air of being real at all, so she was probably dreaming. So she didn't give the fact that she was in a rather dark room with barely anything inside much of a thought.

Was it really this bad? Her frustration at her now ex-boyfriend and the situation she just escaped from? She couldn't be that desperate, now, could she? She still thought that it had been for the best to break up with him. And she wasn't likely to change her mind all of a sudden.

Suddenly she could make out a person at the end of the room but didn't know who it was. It looked kind of familiar even though his back was turned on her. She stepped a little closer, a tingling sensation in her fingers. Looking down she saw some leather gloves with cut-off fingers. When did she get those? As far as she remembered she didn't have anything like this in her wardrobe.

Now she was fairly certain that the other person was a man. He was tall, broad-shouldered and had short brown hair. The clothes were rather strange, a red coat with some bronze decor or something like that. It was too dark to see properly. As she stopped in the middle of the room the guy turned to her.

She knew this face, had definitely seen it before. It was one she heartily disliked. It was the face of a fellow musician she'd never been too friendly with because he was simply too full of himself. And he thought almost everyone else was too immature to be bothered with. Oh, how she hated him!

A grin spread out on his features - she admitted he wasn't ugly at all but she never liked or disliked someone just because of his looks anyway. She felt the urge to just punch him. She really wanted to wipe that smirk off his face.

"Found you." He didn't say more than those two words but it was enough to make her want to run away. Or simply beat him into bleeding pulp. It was his voice, alright. But what on earth was he doing in her dream?

All of a sudden the ground started to shake. She carefully stepped back but he didn't move at all. Time for her to leave. Definitely. She wondered where Kôji, Yûichi or Markus were when they were needed for a change. Then the ceiling crashed down upon her and everything went black.


Naomi woke with a start, fighting the urge to scream. Her heart beat pretty fast and beads of sweat covered her body. She looked around, not recognizing the room she was in at all. It was still dark around her but at least she could make out some outlines. She couldn't hear anything but her own heavy breathing.

Only a few things she knew for sure. She was lying in a bed. Every single bone in her body was aching like Hell. And her head felt like Tatsuya had given it a special treatment with his drum sticks. Nice.

The guitarist closed her eyes. For a while she just lay still and tried to concentrate on breathing regularly. The pain lessened eventually. It didn't disappear though. At least it ceased a considerable amount. It was much easier to focus her thoughts that way.

She completely lost track of time by the time she opened her eyes again. Okay, admittedly with her sense of time it really hadn't been there before, but whatever. The lighting conditions hadn't changed at all. So it was probably nighttime. Or someone had done his job in shutting out the light properly. But for that she could actually see too much. How long had she been sleeping anyway?

She took another look around, more carefully this time. As far as she could see the blinds weren't closed so she could rule that out. A faint ray of light fell through a rather large window right beside her, though she couldn't really tell if it was a street lamp or moonlight. This ruled her own bedroom out, too. She turned her head to overview the sparsely furnished room she was in.

There was a door on the other side of the room, directly opposite the window. Beside it a small cabinet with a TV on top which looked quite old-fashioned. She made out a wardrobe which had definitely seen better days, a table with two chairs. And then there was the bed she occupied. And that was it.

Definitely not her room. And not one of her friend's either. So where the heck was she?

Naomi blinked and propped herself up on her elbows and took another look around, just to be sure. There was nothing else to see in this room. There were no pictures, flowers or other personal things. Nothing to tell her to whom this room belonged. How could anyone live in a room like this anyway? This was beyond her. The room gave the impression of being uninhabited and she found this quite disconcerting.

She could feel a drop trickle down her cheek. Perplexed she raised her hand and touched it gingerly. Definitely sweat. Good. Wait, not good. She placed the palm of her hand on her forehead. It felt too warm for comfort. So she was probably sick. That explained why she felt like she did. But not why she was in a room she'd never seen before.

And she would really like to know how she got here. And who owned this place.

With dawning apprehension she sat up straight. Surely not...? Oh no, please! Don't let it be this sorry excuse for a man! That arrogant, freaky little... Narrowing her eyes she really hoped that it wasn't his apartment she was in. She'd never forgive him. And not herself for letting herself get into this predicament. Oh, if it was him who brought her here she was definitely going to kill him!

She needed to get a few things straight first, though. At least she should make sure if it was really his room or someone else's. To be perfectly honest - she wasn't sure what she'd done last or where she'd actually been before waking up here. The last thing she did remember was this strange dream. And she was pretty positive about it being a dream.

The young woman sighed heavily. If she wanted to find out where she really was there were just two options; either she just got up and left the room to take a proper look around... or she stayed here to wait for the original inhabitant to take pity on her by actually showing up.

A loud rumbling noise told her that waiting was completely out of question. She wasn't surprised that she was hungry since she couldn't remember when she ate something last. That was definitely a first. She wasn't the Queen of Patience anyway (more of the opposite, actually). What if no one showed up for a really long time? She just couldn't have that. So the best way to do something about her current situation was getting up and look for some food. Plus, she really needed a long hot shower.

Naomi ran a hand through her shoulder-length brightly pink coloured hair. In some way, this kind of situation wasn't completely new for her. At least the waking up in an unfamiliar room part. Usually this involved some heavy drinking the night before ending up with her staying at a friend's place. Even though she'd been quite shocked at some point - she'd never forget waking up in Kôji's apartment after drinking with him and Yûichi the night before, discovering her colleagues had coloured her hair pink in the process. Admittedly, this was the first time she was seriously confused about where she ended up. And she definitely wasn't hung over. She definitely couldn't remember getting near any alcohol for some time.

She swung her feet over the edge of the bed. As soon as they touched the cool wooden ground she heard a key being put into a lock nearby and then turned. A door was opened and then closed again. Seems that the maestro actually decided to come home, she thought bitterly. Footsteps were to be heard on the other side of the door she threw a bemused glance at.

Before she could even so much as blink the door latch moved. Now came the moment of truth. Now she would finally find out who was her probably not chosen host. She crossed her arms over her chest, finally noticing that she shivered in a rather pathetic manner.

Someone pushed the door open and light flooded the room. Naomi was blinded by it and closed her eyes. She blinked a few times as she lifted her hand to protect her eyes. As soon as she was able to distinguish her surroundings again she squinted at the door frame and winced. What she saw was the most bizarre appearance she'd ever seen - not even one of her friends in his most eccentric costume could compete. Though she was rather glad that it wasn't the person she feared it to be it was rather unsettling to see this.

The figure was about 6" - as tall as Markus. He had long black hair, wore a red bandana and a long and torn red cape with several buckles. Along with this came black leather clothes - also with some belts and buckles - and black leather boots with bronze covering. Instead of his left arm there was a bronze claw. He had a holster at his right hip, holding a pretty large weapon. But the most unusual were his gleaming red eyes. She'd never laid eyes on a person such as this before.

Either someone was celebrating Helloween quite early - or it was a cosplaying freak. Both thoughts sent a shiver down her spine. She wasn't sure what was worse. Not knowing this person or him being, well. Being what he looked like.

For a few moments they both observed each other in silence. The young woman gulped heavily, feeling uncomfortable under his piercing stare. She couldn't bring herself to say something. Or move. A small voice in her head whispered that she should flee from this otaku guy. But there was nowhere to retreat to anyway, was there?

"How do you feel?" her opponent asked after a while. He had a calm, deep and rather pleasant voice.

Naomi blinked in surprise. She didn't know what she expected... but surely not him asking for her well-being and definitely not this voice! "I..." She stopped and bit her lower lip. How did she feel, actually? She was freezing like Hell, she was confused beyond imagination, thirsty and hungry... and all her limbs hurt. There were even parts of her body aching which she never knew of being able to. However, for a moment she didn't really know how to express all that. This fact confused her even more. She's always had the gift of gab, so why on Earth did she suddenly fail to find the right words? This was another first beside her not remembering when she last came across some food.

It didn't seem like the stranger expected a reply anyway. Without so much as saying anything at all he closed the door and switched on the light, blinding her again. He went over to the wardrobe to take some dark trousers as well as a black sweater out which he handed over to her. Then he turned away and looked out of the window.

Now she finally looked down at herself and actually realized that she merely wore her undergarments and a shirt that was way too large. Anger rose inside her. At herself for being too preoccupied with her surroundings to care about the state she was really in. And at him for daring to undress her! But what happened to her own clothes? Surely they had to be somewhere close.

Her cheeks were bright red as she put on the trousers and the sweater - both were too big for her, it was his stuff - then she sat back down on the bed. Not sure if she should thank him or rather punch him for his indecency she glared at his back, carefully contemplating her words. A growl escaped her throat which showed how pissed she really was.

He turned back to her and examined her for a few seconds. "You're quite lucky," he finally stated.

This caught her completely off-guard. She shot him a questioning look. To wake up in the apartment of a man she'd never seen before - almost undressed, at that - and who was armed... without even knowing how she got here... well, that was definitely not her idea of being lucky.

"If I hadn't found you and brought you here, you'd most probably be dead by now." He leaned against the window sill and folded his arms. "You've had a really bad fever for the past four days," he continued when she didn't say anything in return and just gave him a dirty look.

Her jaw dropped and her anger was replaced by shock. "Four days have I been here already?" she squealed. "Damn! Rikuo will kill me!" Immediately she hopped off the bed but regretted it on the spot since the sudden movement made her feel dizzy. Moaning she let herself fall back onto the bed, put her elbows on her knees and delved her fingers in her hair.

The stranger sat down beside her. "You should be careful, I see you still have a fever. Maybe you should sleep a little more."

"Don't you dare tell me what I'm supposed to do," she hissed at him. "Four days..." she whispered, still in shock. "I'm so dead!" She heaved a frustrated sigh, then tilted her head and watched him intently. "It will be tough luck if I still have my job. Being absent for four days without giving word is absolutely disastrous!"

"You're sick. If you overexert yourself with that fever it won't help you at all," the dark guy retorted calmly. "If you're dead you don't need your job anymore. I don't know this Rikuo guy but he won't expect you to ruin your health for your job."

"You don't have the faintest idea," Naomi muttered under her breath and ran both her hands through her hair. One thought was still nagging at her. "Where am I, anyway?" she asked him quietly, feeling rather empty now. It was quite tiring to be angry when you were sick, too. "And where's my stuff? At the very least I should call the studio and tell them I'm sick. I guess they're either really worried or pretty much pissed off by now."

For a moment he gave her a blank stare. "You're in Edge. I gave your stuff to an acquaintance of mine, she offered to clean and repair it. She will be back in a few hours to return it to you."

"Damn!" she hissed and her head drooped. Why did something like this have to happen to her? "Where is this... Edge, anyway?" she wanted to know. "Never even heard of it."

"Edge of Midgar." He raised an eyebrow. How could she not know where Edge was? Everyone did.

"Edge of what?" she asked in confusion and looked at him, irritation evident on her face.

Now he furrowed his brow. "The city grew at the edge of the former capital Midgar after most of it was destroyed by Meteor, thus the name. But everyone knows that, so should you."

"You've got to be kidding me!", she spat at him. "When did they rename Tokyo to Midgard? Is this some kind of sick joke? Is that why you show up here with this Helloween costume? Who's behind this? Shinya, so he can take revenge on me?" Her eyes narrowed and she gave him a piercing stare. "Don't take me for a fool, I know the former capital is still Kyoto and Midgard is from an old Nordic saga."

Now he looked rather confused. What was she talking about? He wasn't sure if she was talking too quick for him to really understand her or it was all gibberish. "Midgar has always been Midgar," he said stiffly. "It has been the capital for a very long time. Until about four years ago. I don't know any Tokyo or Kyoto. Where is that supposed to be?"

Naomi gave a mirthless laugh. "Tokyo is the capital of Japan, what else? Has been for about 200 years. But I only lived there for two years now," she replied. "Not knowing Tokyo, honestly! Where do you come from, Mars? Or probably Planet Goth?" With a snort she crossed her arms and turned away from him. This was really too much for her. "And you should probably read more or you would know the story about Midgard as well."

The stranger watched her for a while. Even though she didn't look at him she could feel it. "It's your fever... you're fantasizing," he muttered. "There is no Tokyo. And no Japan. The capital was Midgar. Without a D at the end."

"Quit lying, damnit!" she finally lost her nerve and swirled about to face him. "Of course it exists! I live there! Don't give me that crap and don't tell me I'm imagining things, because I'm not!"

He sighed and got up. "I'm not telling you anything. It's the truth. This Japan doesn't exist. Probably it's a feverish hallucination or some drugs."

She stood up, hands curled up to fists. "I don't do drugs!" she growled at him. Her anger was back though she wasn't sure if it was a good or bad thing.

"Maybe not voluntarily. You probably don't even know it," he concluded. His voice was still calm but there was a new edge to it. As he was about to leave the room he turned around and looked at her. "I guess you're hungry," he stated before he closed the door behind him.

Naomi scowled after him. What the fuck was this? How could he give her that crap and then just leave? She still didn't know where she was. And how the Hell she got here. This was a nightmare. It simply had to be. There was no other explanation that made any sense. But somehow this felt too real to be a mere dream. Though with her fever she definitely wasn't one to judge.

Rolling her eyes she sat down on the bed. Something was definitely wrong here, though she couldn't tell what it was exactly. How could this be happening? All she wanted now was to go home. But as long as she didn't know where she really was and had to wait to get her clothes back this proved quite difficult.

"Well, sucks to be me..." she sighed. If things were different... Stop. Right there. Why was this familiar to her, now? Then she remembered. Shinya leaving the room after her phone call with Kôji. Her saying just those words. She blinked. Once. Twice.

"Nah," she finally waved it off. This wasn't possible. How often had she wished that things were different and never had anything happened? Unless she did something about her situation by herself. There was just no way that she ended up in a completely alien place just because of that. It was just absurd. If it was true that would mean she'd never see Luca, Yûichi and everyone else ever again.

And she shouldn't take this freak too seriously, either. Tokyo didn't exist? Don't make me laugh, she thought, you need to get up earlier to mess with me. She just knew that her whole life couldn't be one big fat lie. And not just her imagination. Impossible!

She threw herself onto the mattress in a rage and started to hit the pillow repeatedly. "Damn!" she called out. "Fuck!" She suddenly stopped. What was she doing here? She surely didn't believe anything that goth guy said, right? Why did she worry so much about it, then? She should try to sleep. Probably she would wake up in her own bed the next time. Besides... the poor pillow didn't do anything to her, it wasn't responsible for this mess she was in. She flattened the pillow carefully with her hand. "Sorry about that," she whispered. Pulling a face she slapped her forehead. Now she was talking to a pillow, for Heaven's sake! And apologizing for hitting it, at that. Something was most definitely wrong. If not just with her situation, but clearly with her. Was it because of the fever? Or the strange dream she'd had before? She didn't know. Maybe it was just because her breakup with Shinya finally got to her. Or she was just stressed out. Whatever.

With a frustrated groan she laid down and closed her eyes. She really hoped that everything would be back to normal as soon as she woke up in the morning. With that final thought she fell asleep.

3.1.11 22:30


Chapter 1: Watch what you wish for.


"Aaawwww... you've got to be kidding me!" Naomi wailed, cell phone pressed to her ear. "No, really." She listened for a while and pulled a face. "I should hate you, did I ever tell you that?" she complained. "Honestly... duh. You're such a big meanie!"

A delighted laugh escaped her. "Yeah, right. I get it." She nodded, then rolled her eyes. Of course, the person she was talking to couldn't see that. This didn't make her care about it at all.

She was too preoccupied with her phone call to notice someone stepping up to her from behind. A pair of thin but well muscled arms slid around her waist. This made her take a look over her shoulder. Upon seeing her boyfriend her face broke into a wistful smile.

"Nah..." she said. "If you want to be like that... go ahead. See if I care." She listened again. "Forget it. I'm not likely to fall for your act, you know." Suppressing a sigh she ran a hand through her hair. "Kôji," she muttered threateningly. "Don't you dare start with me!"

The arms around her waist twitched and loosened a little. Naomi raised her eyes to the ceiling, barely stopping herself from sighing. She laid a hand on one wrist to keep it from disappearing. "Sorry, but I've gotta go," she said. "No, it's fine. I don't need your help, thanks. Tell Yû I said hi." She closed the connection and turned around, a slightly annoyed expression apparent on her features.

Deep brown eyes raked over her face, narrowed in disapproval.

She disengaged from his arms and stepped back. "Please, don't start that again," she said with a sigh.

"Start what?" he wanted to know. He hadn't even said anything yet.

"You know what I'm talking about."

"I didn't even say anything!"

"No, but I know what you're thinking," she retorted tiredly. "Look. I know you don't like Kôji. Or Yûichi. And I know they're not too fond of you either. But I really don't care about that anymore," she said matter-of-factly. Before he could reply she held up a hand to stop him. She could guess what he was about to say anyway. "They're my friends and we work together. Even if we weren't such good friends, we'd still be in the same band. So there's no way I'm not going to see them at all. Live with it or don't. Your choice. I just can't put up with this any longer. And don't expect me to quit the band because of your unjustified jealousy."

Shinya snorted. "I'm not jealous. I just don't like them."

Naomi barked out a laugh. "No, of course not." Her voice was dripping with sarcasm. "Damn it! We're friends, I won't do anything with either of them. Why don't you just get it?"

He gave her an indefinable look. "I get it," he said quietly. "I may not like them but I never tried to keep you away from them. But that doesn't mean I have to like it, you know? I know you can do whatever you want."

"Great we sorted that out already," Naomi grumbled. "Took you long enough." With a deep sigh she sat down. "I just can't stand this, honestly. I don't like it that you're always at each other's throats as soon as you lay eyes on each other. And I simply hate to always end up in between, trying to establish some kind of truce." Her face was set. This was too much for her to take. It had been like this for a few months now. And she was really growing tired of this. As much as she liked Shinya, she just couldn't do this anymore.

His expression softened a little. "I know. I'm sorry."

She heaved another deep sigh. "I know it's not just your fault but theirs too." Actually, she didn't look forward to her talk with them. As much as she disliked this conversation now. But it had to be done.

"So, what are you going to do now?" he asked but didn't sound really curious, rather weary.

"Dunno," she replied with a shrug. "First, I'll talk to them. We really need to find a suitable solution to this."

He nodded but didn't say anything anymore. After giving her a thoughtful look he simply left.

She didn't follow him. Not this time. She'd done that often enough. Grimacing she hid her face in her hands. Why couldn't things be easier? Was she just too stubborn to give in? Actually, she didn't think so. She had every right to choose her friends by herself. If he didn't like them - it was his problem. If it came to friends or lovers there just couldn't be a 'first come first serve' in her book. It just couldn't work that way. But all this bitching since Kôji, Yûichi and Shinya had first met was way too much to take. It would drive anyone insane.

"I just wish things were different..." she whispered to no one in particular. Then she shrugged. "Well, sucks to be me, I guess." Sometimes she really wanted to just get away from this bullshit. But she liked her friends too much to just leave them. And she had way too much fun with them playing in their band. About Shinya... well, if she'd had to leave him that would be pretty hard too. But given the circumstances it was possible that she'd have to.

Oh she'd be so looking forward to this conversation with him...


"I just can't believe it!" Kôji exclaimed as he entered the studio where his best friend was waiting for him just like he always did when they were off work.

"What is it this time?" Yûichi asked lazily, though he could easily guess what his guitarist was talking about. There was only one topic - or rather one person - who would upset him like this.

"What do you think?" Kôji demanded, throwing his hands into the air. "Of course that dick who wants to make her choose between us and him!"

The vocalist rolled his eyes. "So you had another run in with Mr Jealous?"

His friend shook his head. "Nah... I was on the phone with Nee-chan and after a while she was suddenly like 'I have to go, sorry' and hung up on me." Running a hand through his messy red hair he heaved a deep sigh. "So there's only one guess on why that was."

The other man was silent for a while, contemplating the subject. "Maybe we should have a serious talk with her," he suggested. "One that doesn't make her think we'd want her to choose or tell her what she's supposed to do." He indicated the door and both of them left. "But she has to realize that this can't go on like this forever."

The guitarist agreed wholeheartedly. He just didn't get how she could put up with this. It was one thing that she was with that guy - though he still couldn't see why - and another that they were friends and colleagues. Yet another that her boyfriend loathed Kôji and Yûichi about as much as they disliked him. But it was her choice who she wanted to be with or make friends with. As long as she didn't neglect her work.

Of course they knew she'd never do that. They were close enough to hang out privately, too. And that was where Shinya was a nuisance. Every time they went out with his girlfriend he was giving her a hard time, being overly jealous and possessive. And they were barely getting any attention from her besides at work when he was in the vicinity or likely to show up.

It was only a matter of time before things went completely out of hand.

And as her friends they were worried about her well-being. They guessed that she wasn't happy about this situation either. So she should try to handle this one way or another sooner or later.

Maybe it would be best if they could get her away for a while, maybe go on a vacation or something like that. They'd take her best friend Luca with them, so no one would think it was all guys with one girl or whatever. Or maybe it was better if they didn't tell anyone who didn't need to know anyway. The only people concerned were Naomi, probably Luca, and of course Yûichi and Kôji. If they wanted even Hideo and Tatsuya.

Damn, I wish it were just as simple as that, Kôji thought. Just taking her on a vacation wouldn't help at all. It wouldn't solve the problem at hand. It would more likely complicate matters if Shinya learned about it. And he most probably would.

If she wanted to change anything it was solely up to her. But if she asked for help they'd be happy to give it.


A few days later found (R)Evolution's lead guitarist in front of the studio, unsure if she should just enter the building or not. Today they were off work but she knew that her friends would be here anyway. A shiver went down her spine. Maybe it was better to just turn around and leave. Come back later to talk to them properly. When she was feeling better. When it wasn't obvious she'd been crying.

She hated to be like this. She didn't cry easily. Her friends knew that. If they saw her now they'd definitely ask what happened. But she'd have to tell them eventually. They'd probably find out even if she didn't.

Rubbing her hands together she finally made up her mind and entered. Her feet automatically carried her to the studio which her friends usually occupied during their free time. Even though she had barely accompanied them for the past few months she could still find the way in her sleep. As she opened the door, though, the room was empty. She blinked in surprise. She had been so sure to find them there that she'd never even given it a thought that they could be somewhere else.

Naomi sighed and went to the cafeteria. That was the second place in this building where they usually spent a lot of time. But she couldn't find them there either.

Now she was at a loss for options. Where could they be if not here? Had they switched to some other favourite place she didn't know about? Maybe she'd been too busy keeping Shinya away from them and try to occupy his mind with other stuff for too long to notice. It was possible.

The most simple thing to do would be to call them and ask where they were. But this thought didn't even cross her mind. She never was someone who'd just go for the easy way at all.

Groaning in frustration she turned around and immediately ran into someone who just entered the cafeteria. "Ouf..." was all she could say right now.

"Now now... where to in a hurry?" an amused voice spoke up in front of her. One she knew all too well.

She rolled her eyes and all she wanted to do now was get away from here. "I'm busy," she muttered without so much as looking at him and was about to leave as he blocked her way.

"Don't be like that, sweetheart," the tall guy chuckled.

Finally looking up she could see the glint of amusement in his dark eyes. The black hair that framed his face was still carefully 'un'tamed as always. "Don't call me that," she hissed at him. "How often do I have to tell you?"

A grin spread on his face. "Looking for your friends?" he asked casually, completely ignoring her objection. "Or someone else?"

"None of your business," she replied decidedly nonchalantly, but feeling a slight pang nonetheless. She knew who he was referring to.

"Something wrong?" Markus now wanted to know, no longer grinning but rather serious.

She shook her head unwillingly. "I'm fine." He was the last person she wanted to talk to right now. And he should know it. He knew her too well for her sake and for her to be comfortable. That could happen if you knew someone for about nine years. After being friends first and then dating for almost two years. And currently he was the director for their next music video.

He sighed. If she didn't want to talk about it she just wouldn't. No one knew that better than him. There was no way to change her mind once it was set. Sometimes he thought she was too stubborn for her own good. But it was just the way she was. And he actually liked her determination. Usually. "Come on, I happen to know where you can find Kôji and Yûichi. I guess you're looking for them, so I'll just show you the way."

For a second she closed her eyes and again she wished that things were different. Then she followed him.

As they waited for the elevator he risked a glance at her profile. She didn't look too happy about something. If he dared make a guess he'd say that she'd just broken up with her boyfriend. He could even understand this decision. He wasn't around her or her friends too often since he really just directed most of their music videos but the topic about the discrepancies between her friends and that guy came up often enough to know that things haven't been looking good for a while. It was only natural that she'd have enough of all that bickering and bitching after some time.

Actually, he would have thought that this would happen sooner rather than later. He knew that patience wasn't her best trait. And always negotiating between her friends and her boyfriend so that they wouldn't rip each other apart was likely to wear her out at some point. She'd never confided in him but if she'd let him he'd help. He still liked her even though they'd broken up years ago. And he knew she still liked him too. Though she'd never admit it and usually didn't show it. Especially not when people were around.

Maybe she just needed to get away from all this for a while. Just like she went to Japan after her family had that car accident. Of course, she wouldn't take such extreme measures now. But a vacation would do her good. A change of scenery for some time could help pretty much.

He didn't think she'd do that though. If she left - even for a short while - she would probably feel like running away. She'd rather drown in her work and try to take her mind off things that way.

In his opinion that was about as good as running away too but she didn't see it that way. He groaned inwardly and raised his eyes to the ceiling. He should probably kidnap her for a while - of course with the consent of her manager and her friends - and then let her things work out. Even if she definitely would hate him for that. At least for about a few days. She'd get over it. She always did.



Reno was bored. Like Hell. He blamed the peaceful state the world was now in. Actually, he had been pretty glad about Sephiroth being gone (for the second time already). That shit with those Deepground idiots he heard about was also taken care of. At least Reeve said so. He assumed it was true. And that Omega was gone - well, everyone in the vicinity had been able to see that.

But it was all too quiet right now. Sometimes Rufus had a meeting and the once so glorious Turks acted as his bodyguards. If people went missing they checked it out. Most of the time they found them relatively unharmed, killed by monsters or hiding from someone. All too simple for his liking.

Of course there were still monsters roaming some places. Everyone knew that. But during the past few months a lot of self-proclaimed monster hunters popped out of seemingly nowhere. A few of them actually survived their new profession. But of course, if they killed the monsters that left even less to do for the Turks.

With a deep sigh he stood up from his sofa and dragged his feet to the door. Why couldn't life get more interesting again? He knew his carefree and laid back behaviour gave people the impression that he was some lazy git. But very few knew that he took his job seriously and even cared for his comrades. He looked out for them as well as they looked out for him. It was just like this. Outsiders just weren't supposed to know that a Turk was actually as human as everyone else beneath their Turk shell. They had worked hard for their reputation after all.

Since life had become this peaceful and quiet, though, some of them (mainly Elena) weren't too sure about keeping up their reputations. Elena seemed quite desperate to make friends. But of course this wasn't easy. Not as a Turk. Most people still feared them.

Sometimes, Reno preferred it that way. The only people who mattered knew him well enough. The person behind the Turk. And even to them he rarely showed him everything of his personality. The one who understood him best was still Rude.

But there were also times when he wished it was different. No one beside his comrades to open up to could get quite frustrating after a while. But barely any other person would want to spend time with him. Not unless he paid for their company anyway.

He kind of missed the old days, with Shinra being still in charge. When he was only a Turk who didn't need anyone other than his fellow Turks. And the only thing he had to think about was getting his job done. But since those times wouldn't come back at all...

The only thing he actually didn't miss about being a Turk was the assassination part. Sure thing, he was a professional. And if he had to take care of someone he did. But he'd never do that if it weren't necessary. Or if his own life wasn't on line for completing the job. And definitely he wouldn't do it with a personal motivation. It was a job after all.

It would be nice if there was someone who didn't flinch in his proximity. Someone else he could talk to. Not a prostitute or someone who hoped for some price (like a better reputation for themselves). But that would most probably only be possible with someone who didn't know him as a Turk. And the only people who didn't know anything about the Turks were still babies. He was more thinking about the lines of meeting some actual woman. And it was pretty unlikely that someone like this actually existed.

Gosh! He was glad he was alone now. If Rude or Tseng knew he was having a moment like this they would surely laugh at him. Or Elena... he could already imagine her either making fun of him until he wanted to kill her or annoying him with a best-friend and understanding attitude. He just couldn't have this. He was a Turk for Gaia's sake! So he should behave like one.

With another sigh he finally stepped out of his apartment and wandered the streets in search of something to pass time with, hoping that something exciting would happen soon so he wouldn't be bored anymore.



It was nearly closing time and barely anyone was at the bar. Not long and Tifa could finally call it a day. Though it would be lonely to go to sleep alone - again. And no one here to talk to. Of course, Cloud was away on business. And since his second defeat of Sephiroth he had opened up to her and other people considerably. She guessed she had Aerith to thank for this. Again.

Now she had been a good friend to talk to. Even though she'd stolen Cloud's heart from Tifa she had liked the Ancient pretty much. And they had gotten along perfectly fine.

Tifa should be content about how things had turned out until now and she knew it. But somehow she had the nagging feeling that something was missing. She couldn't put her finger on it, though.

Finally the last few people left the 7th Heaven, leaving her by herself and she was able to close up and clean the place.

It was a comfortable routine, one where she was able to think about stuff and wouldn't be disturbed by anyone. Though sometimes she would prefer to be able to share her thoughts with someone.

The children were asleep already.

After she was finished cleaning she felt kind of restless. Though she was glad that the customers had left she was still not satisfied with being all alone here. She really missed having a friend to talk to. Someone who wasn't prejudiced or felt obliged to spend time with her but did it out of their own accord. Of course she had her friends from Avalanche. But this wasn't what she wanted right now. What she needed.

As she put the last glass on a shelf it hit her. What she wanted right now was a friend who was just that. Someone she could talk to about anything and who would hold back about their opinion on stuff. Who was not either a guy or a fighting comrade. A simple friend. Who wasn't as scarred as her. Someone she could comfort with. But she knew that there was no such person. The definition of the person she wanted ruled everyone she knew out.

It was quite a sad thought, actually.

Pull yourself together, she thought fiercely. You're not alone. You have friends. The best you could wish for. And you saved the planet. With them. Plenty.

Sighing wistfully she turned off the lights and went upstairs.


Vincent / Lucrecia

It was never completely dark in the cave near Nibelheim. There was always this faint glow that never died, only changed its identity. Always following the mood of its source even though no one new this fact. Barely anyone knew about this cave, for that matter. At the far end was a crystal. It contained a person with flowing long auburn hair, tied into a loose ponytail. She wore a white lab coat and her hands were folded like she was praying.

Vincent was kneeling a few steps away, like he had done so often during the past years after learning about the crystal's and its content's existence. He looked at it, his torn cape spread out behind him.

"Lucrecia," he said quietly as if she could hear his every syllable. "Everything's all right now."

A few moments passed. Then he continued, "Omega and Chaos have returned to the planet." His claw tightened as he looked at her, who was frozen in that crystal, has been for more than thirty years already. His Lucrecia. The love of his life. The one he'd failed.

Then he got up, a small smile tugging at the corners of his lips. "Thank you," he told her wholeheartedly. "It was you. You were the reason I... survived." Finally having said this he turned around and made his way to the exit. Since he now had his back turned on her and only looked forward for once he didn't notice a tear rolling down her face.

If only he knew! If only she could move or at least speak to him. Anything but only listen. But the crystal was a most effective prison for her. She was so sorry. And she was actually happy to hear his words. But in a way, they also made her sad. They sounded too much like a final good bye. He would probably never come here again.

Please, she thought desperately. I want him to be happy. He needs someone he can depend on and someone he can protect.

She knew there would never be someone who could replace herself for him. But if someone was able to break through his barriers it would be a good start.

The other option was somehow getting out of this crystal. But that was something she had stopped to believe in a long time ago.

3.1.11 22:26

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