Story: Ex-SOLDIER Tifa (all chapters)

Authors: Bara Aozora

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Chapter 1

Title: Chapter 1: Bar Tabs

[Author's notes:

March 8, 2007 Author’s Note: AAH. Freaking preview button.. I had everything all typed up and perfect.. Then it deleted everything. GAH. Anyway.. >.< I’ll be adding these little updated notes because the old notes are just what was going on when I was actually writing the chapter. XD But yeah, since I’m posting it on DeviantHearts, I figured I should add updates to it. Gives me a chance to read over them and edit stuff I felt like changing. I’m glad I can still read chapter one and not want to rewrite it though! I’m also glad I haven’t given up on this fanfic after a year, too.. My other stuff, other than Cow Plushies, I’ve thrown away before I posted D: But I’m not going to do that with this fic! I’ve got everything planned out in a general direction, so I still have stuff to play around with XD.. So yeah! Enjoy! I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

A/N: Just a way for me to vent my pent up need for romance on Christmas eve/day. (Just because it’s bordering midnight.) Sucks being single this time of year .. There may be spoilers. If you haven’t finished the game and have already watched Last Order or Advent Children, then I’m ashamed of you. YOU NEED TO PLAY THE GAME FIRST TO GET THE FULL EXPERIENCE ;-;..

This is just a kind of amusing idea I had played with when I was around 12. I had made an RP character named “Ex-SOLDIER Tifa” because I thought, “Hey, If Cloud’s memory could have been warped like that, who says Tifa’s isn’t?” The idea came back to me after reading a Tifa in-depth bio on a shrine called LOVELESS and watching Last Order again. It kind of answered questions as to how Tifa got to Midgar and how she recovered from the Sephiroth encounter in Mt. Nibel. So here it is, a weird-little piece of yay that I came up with at 1 am Christmas eve/day.

WARNING: Shoujo-ai/Yuri/Lesbian themes. You’ve been warned. If you hate, you leave. None in this chapter, but there will be later.



 Chapter One: Bar Tabs

When you meet someone, there are characteristics and trademarks that you remember about them. For example, one might say, ‘Did you see that girl with the dark hair?’ or, ‘That guy in the blue shirt’ et cetera. That girl with the dark hair has a name, and so does the guy in the blue shirt.

Names, however, are also means of a trademark to recognize a person. There are millions of names, yet many are duplicated, so it’s not exactly original, but when someone mentions it, they recognize a person’s face, triggered by the name.

Tifa Lockhart. The big-breasted one in AVALANCHE, the girl who could beat machines down with her fists, that girl who never missed a deathblow when she was wearing the God’s Hand. All of these aliases led to one person. One person who didn’t quite know who the hell she was, but she was always the optimist on the outside.. She’d hide her own insecurities to bring up the spirits of others, one way or another.. But-

“Hey! You! More beer!”

Being called “You” sometimes could suffice.

“Yeah, I’m coming,” Tifa responded with an exasperated sigh. “I’m starting to have regulars again.” She stated with a smirk on her face, placing a mug of beer on the man’s table. The bartender, waitress, and owner then crossed her arms over her chest and tilted her head, stating in an almost motherly tone, “It’s sad to think that my regulars don’t even know my name, though.”

Ben was his name. He was a former ShinRa employee who lost his job because he was leaking secrets to the media. “Don’t worry, Cheefa! I know everyone’s name..!” He slurred, then grinned, “You don’t know mine, though.. It’s Rufus!” He stood up and turned to the group of people he was drinking with and exclaimed, “Look’it me! I’m the president of ShinRa! I’m an asshole who got the company from his daddy!”

It was bittersweet for Tifa to watch people like Ben. Sweet to see ShinRa was still hated, bitter because of the results for those who opposed them. Those lives ShinRa ruined were always ruined effectively, trying to keep their own reputation from decreasing. It was their fault the Meteorfall had occurred, it was their fault Cloud’s past was messed up as it was, and it’s their fault, frankly speaking, it was their fault the world sucked!

There were some advantages, though. She had been getting to know a few Turks on their off-days. Even though she hated ShinRa with a passion, and the Turks were, quite possibly, one of the most important variables in ShinRa’s success, Tifa wasn’t one to hold grudges towards paying customers.

“Beer me, Lockhart!” The obnoxious voice rang from a table in the corner.

The usual trio of Turks sat there. They were the ones that AVALANCHE had encountered most often, and they also were the ones who frequented the semi-newly rebuilt 7th Heaven most often. The other Turks, Tifa had never even met, and she didn’t know if she would want to. However, if they were anything like these three, then she might have made an exception or two.

Reno was a fiery haired loudmouth whom Tifa could see arguing with Yuffie Kisaragi or Barret Wallace over a smallest detail like laughing in his direction. The Turk would try to sometimes act cool and collected, but once he was started up, he’d rampage. It’s always refreshing, and even appealing sometimes, to see people with energy to spare and radiate to others. Reno was one of these people; he’d always have a snide smirk on his face and he’d probably fight for his team no matter the possible outcomes: Win or lose. That was a given as a Turk, though. Perfection was merely a prerequisite, or job requirement, for them.

To Tifa, Reno almost seemed like a male version of Yuffie. Minus the stealing and the bounciness. Maybe that’s one reason she liked having him around. Though she hated to admit it sometimes, Yuffie was one of the reasons their group didn’t fall into depression. Without her, Tifa wouldn’t have had any other female companionship and Tifa would have probably gone crazy. So without Tifa, AVALANCHE would have been a sausage fest with a Cat plushie and a dog.

Rude could have probably been the polar opposite of Reno. Calm, collected and conservative. He had never once talked about himself around Tifa, perhaps because of insecurity, or maybe he was just being plain shy. Rude was like.. A bodyguard, always with his sunglasses on and knowing how to handle himself in those Turk-y jobs.. Tifa, though, being one to see the small details in people through years of practice, could definitely see through that stony façade.

It may sound conceited on her part, but she knew that he liked her. She had that kind of sixth sense, to see those kinds of little hints and clues. It was cute, in a way, but Tifa never felt that way for him. And she couldn’t explain it, but she felt she probably never would. She hadn’t felt that way for anyone except.. ‘Enough about that,’ She forced the thought to the back of her mind.

Lastly, there was Elena, just another cute blonde person in Tifa’s life. Maybe it was something about the way she looked or acted, but Tifa felt a certain itch when she was around the girl. She felt an itch that she couldn’t scratch because she didn’t know where it was, why it was there, or how she would scratch it. It wasn’t a sexual itch either. At least she’d know how to scratch that. It was more of a blurry sense of déjà vu of an alternate universe whenever she made eye contact with Elena.

Perhaps she was just a hybrid of all the interesting people in her life and it made her remember them. She had the hair color, that rare blonde, which Cloud had. Maybe Tifa just had some kind of weakness for blondes. Elena had the newbie kind of feel that Aeris did when they had first met. Tifa could still recall the time the youngest Turk had leaked information out to them by accident. Tifa wondered how long it would have taken the team to get to Junon if they didn’t hear about it from Elena? Anyway, Elena also had the spunk, the defiant and rebellious attitude, which Yuffie carried. And though Tifa didn’t particularly want to think such a corny line, she had the same analyzing, brown eyes that she, herself, had.

“Quit staring and give me a beer!” Reno blurted, reeling Tifa out of her reflective reverie.

Rude characteristically remained silent as he sipped on his own beer, but Elena had to interfere, “We’ve got work tomorrow, give it a rest!” A mock-exhausted look and a bit of a laugh. Then after a moment’s pause, Elena said enthusiastically, “Beer me too!” Elena took her work seriously, yes, but a beer or two wouldn’t hurt. She was no longer the new recruit, so she didn’t have to worry about messing up. Perfection was just a part of the job.

For Elena, it was only around those two, Reno and Rude, that she could really be comfortable. She had already passed the awkward newbie stage, and she never felt any kind of attraction towards them, so insecurities were long gone. The two were like brothers to her, on off-days. On workdays, they’d have to try to keep a professional atmosphere. They had worked together for years, and even during training.. ‘Hm.. What about training?’ She thought absently. Must have lost her train of thought.

Tifa saluted them from halfway across the floor and retreated to the bar. She quickly came back with two more beers, saying as she placed them down on the table, “I should hire some help, being bartender and waitress is a killer on busy nights. I hate having to drag Marlene from a normal life to tend a bar.” However, the bills that were piling in didn’t exactly give her the funds she needed to hire any other help. “Come to think of it.. You guys haven’t paid your tabs.”

The three, including Reno, grew silent at that comment. Perhaps they sobered up at the thought of exactly how much money they owed Tifa. Reno merely stared blankly at her, his body angle frozen for a minute, Elena lowered her head, and Rude, ever prepared, took out a calculator.

The bustling of the rest of the bar continued behind them, none of the four uttering a word. Rude, however, finished the calculations and showed it to Elena and Reno with a sigh.

If possible, they grew even more silent. And the hopeless looks on their faces were priceless. Finally, Elena said, “I wonder how many paychecks that is..”

Reno chugged down his beer and slammed the mug onto the table, “We’re never gonna pay that off! Are you sure you didn’t hit a few extra zeros in that calculation?”

Tifa went through the numbers in her mind. They’ve come at least two days every week for the past year or so, not including vacations. Between the three of them, they order ten or more beers amongst each other, and occasionally some food.

Rude recalculated the price, narrating as he did, “I actually rounded down, so..” He punched in a few numbers, “We usually have ten beers.. We come every week unless something’s happening..” He trailed off as he multiplied the amount per week by the amount of weeks since they first visited.. Then he showed the amount to the others again.

“Oh.. You missed a zero last time.” Elena stated sadly.

Reno, however, stood up and pat Tifa on the shoulder, “You’ve got yourself a few helpers now!” In his mind, it meant he could drink during an extra job on his days off. He’d probably just be clean up or waiter anyhow.

Rude’s eyebrows went up behind his sunglasses, “…” Working at 7th heaven.. With Tifa as his boss..

Elena sighed and ran a hand through her blonde locks, “I guess that’s the only way, isn’t it? We’ll work off the tab.” She turned to Rude and said regretfully; “There’s no way we could pay that without getting an extra job anyways.” She stood up, turned to Tifa and put her hands on her hips, “Where do we start, Boss?”

“Do we get free beer?”

[End notes:

A/N: Well. That's a start. Like most shoujo-ai fanfics.. There won't be any actual shoujo-ai until later on. If you liked what I have so far, review. If you have constructive criticism, review. This is just the first chapter.. So I might end up revising it or adding some things depending on where the story takes me. XD Also, since is going to have some kind of update during the holidays, I'll save more updates for later. Merry Christmas and whatnot. Email if you personally want the story sent, but yeah. Review please! XD

March 8, 2007 Author’s Note: Yeah so, I didn’t do much editing XD Only the occasional word here and there, and the first line, because the original one sounded kinda weird. D: If you want to read the original, the story is on my account.


Chapter 2

Title: Chapter 2: Déjà Vu

[Author's notes:

March 8, 2007 Author’s Note: I don’t plan to edit this chapter much.. I know I’ve been pretty satisfied with it since I was on a burst of inspiration when I was originally writing it. Even though I was single, lonely and loveless during the Christmas holidays. XD I’m not anymore! But yeah! If I edit anything, I’ll probably note it at the end.

A/N: Okay, Chapter 2! I must admit I didn’t expect to receive 3 good reviews on the first day! Thanks! So, since I have a little boost of inspiration, let’s get on with it. I’ve even figured out how I’m going to fit it into the story without messing with the game’s plot XD. Oh, also.. This takes place after the movie, but Tseng’s dead since he died in the game at the Temple of the Ancients. I don’t know why he was in the movie.. Also, regarding Reno, I know he ends his sentences in the movie with “Zotto” or “Otto” but the translation changed it to, “Yo” So I decided to go with “Yo.” I didn’t put any in the last chapter, because I forgot about it.. but there are a few in this one. (I actually added it in..)

Disclaimer: Oh right. Before I continue.. I don’t own FF7. .. If I did, there’d be way more girls, Jessie would still be alive (Which is a possible future fanfic. No one ever confirmed her being dead XD), and more stuff about the Turks.

WARNING: Shoujo-Ai hints near the end of this one! If you love it, read it ;D If you don’t.. Too bad. o.o; Oh right, if you didn’t catch what Shoujo-Ai means, it means Lesbians, girl loving girl, femmeslash, Yuri and all of those other wonderful names that make it so hard to search for them on the search engine.



Chapter 2: Déjà Vu

The Turks were Jacks-of-all-Trades. They could handle any situation, do any job, and make their work nearly perfect in all aspects. Being waitresses or waiters and bartenders would be no problem if they knew the procedure, and they could even pick that up rather quickly. Tifa was quite impressed, to say the least.

It had only been a few weeks and the jobs in the bar even seemed to fit the three Turks perfectly. Reno had commented that Rude would have made a much better bouncer, but Tifa never needed to limit how many people entered her bar. It was never that popular, after all. Maybe an occasional troublemaking drunk would make his way into the bar, but it was nothing that a heroine of AVALANCHE couldn’t handle on her own.

Reno was a natural bartender. He had the slick attitude, the ability to flip and mix drinks, and Tifa had to admit he was just genuinely good at it. Even some of the lingo that regulars used became new vocabulary for him. Tifa was surprised that he wasn’t drinking half of the ones he mixed, since that seemed to be his original motive to work there. So, considering the circumstances, Tifa thought that maybe he was actually enjoying the job.

“Neat or on the rocks, yo?” Reno asked a customer, already mixing the drink that was ordered. The man ordering replied, asking for the ice, and Reno turned around, threw the shaker into the air and caught it behind his back, pouring the drink without spilling a drop. The customer was happily entertained and even gave Reno a tip, which Reno accepted graciously.

Rude, however, was as stoic as ever. He wouldn’t talk much, but he took orders like a professional bartender. It was nothing as flashy or extravagant as Reno’s was, but for people who already knew what they wanted, they went to Rude. And, unlike Reno sometimes, Rude would never get any complaints.

Even Elena was a surprisingly good waitress. Perhaps she had worked as one before she became a Turk? Elena had a different kind of charisma that made people want her to take their orders, and she would receive tips from each customer. Tifa almost didn’t recognize the girl! Looks like she had really grown out of the insecure, unorganized Turk she once was. But thanks to Elena’s charismatic service, more people are ordering food, and Tifa would actually get a chance to cook more than a few times per night.

Cooking was always more fun than bartending, really. With cooking, one would actually see how much their customer enjoyed the food. It was a job that was way more gratifying than seeing someone getting tipsy. Then while they were tipsy, they would only order more to drown themselves in liquor rather than because they enjoyed the taste and effort put into it.

Tifa didn’t have to supervise the Turks anymore, it seemed. She could even take breaks now when there was nothing to cook, without having to call Marlene down. There were two bartenders working the bar and a waitress already, so all Tifa really had to do on those days was cook. It was almost too easy, and she had to admit that it was much more lively around the bar with them around. It kind of saddened her to think they were only going to work there temporarily, just until they’ve worked off the tab.

“Okay! One house special coming up!” Elena said with a salute as she stepped away from the table.

Walking over to the window of the kitchen, Elena spotted Tifa cooking and she felt a sudden jolt in her brain. Her eyes shut tightly, trying to shake the feeling away, but it merely made the pain momentarily worse. It was as if thousands of tiny bolts of lightning all struck at once inside her mind. She nearly dropped the tray she was carrying, but she managed to regain herself before anyone could raise suspicion. Elena figured she was just getting a headache from the amount of work she was doing. After all, she was working two jobs with no days off, so she brushed it off and ignored it. She stepped over to the window and called out to the cook, “Lockhart! Another house special!”

Originally, Elena had referred to Tifa as ‘Boss’, but it just felt weird, since they were basically rivals when it came to their teams. Plus the only person she ever really called, ‘Boss’ was Rufus. Elena was the main girl of the Turks and Tifa was the main girl of AVALANCHE. They had fought against each other once or twice and each knew the other was a formidable opponent, almost equal to each other, even. To think of one superior to the other was almost like giving up! So naturally, Elena reverted back to calling the woman by her last name.

“Here’s the first house special. The second one will be done in a bit!” Tifa said as she placed the order on the windowsill.


The night progressed as per usual, perhaps a little busier than usual Monday nights due to the increasing popularity, but it seemed like the usual amount of work because of the help. So, soon it was time for clean up. This was where Tifa could feel that the business had increased; it meant more dishes and mugs to wash. It was almost starting to become like a pattern for them on Mondays and Tuesdays. Tifa would have help and the Turks wouldn’t have to owe her their tab by the time it was paid off.

Most of the customers had left by then. It was a late hour and people usually have work on Tuesdays. Rude was assisting a man who had nearly passed out, and once it was certain he would at least find his way down the street without collapsing, Rude returned to help with the cleaning.

“At least there’s no puke!” Reno said with a grin as he washed a couple of mugs. “Last week one of those ex-ShinRa regulars tried to fight me while he was drunk,” He started, putting down the clean mug and starting to mock the customer, “He was all like, ‘Hey, Turk! Wanna piece of me, you bastard?!’” He picked up another dirty one and held it as if he was talking to it, “And I was like, ‘Yeah, let’s go, yo!’ And I punched him in the gut, so he started puking and..!”

Reno turned to see there was no one even listening to him. Rude had begun putting up chairs and sweeping, minding his own business as usual, while Elena and Tifa were washing the dishes in the kitchen. “Tch. Ingrates!” A bit of a chuckle could be heard from Rude, but he kept his head down so as to not bring attention to himself. Reno, however, noticed and narrowed his eyes at his long-time co-worker.

Meanwhile.. In the kitchen, Tifa washed the used-up dishes while Elena dried them, “I’ve never had so much demand for my cooking before.” Tifa stated to jolt a conversation into action. The most she’d ever had to make was three or four in one night, and that was usually for the Turks themselves.

“Well, I’m not surprised,” Elena stated with a bit of a smirk, “You’re better at cooking than you think.” Elena took her eyes off of the dish she was drying to see Tifa looking at her with a bewildered expression. The blonde quickly corrected herself, drying the same plate more thoroughly, a tint of red coloring her cheeks, “That is, with my superior waitressing skills, of course people would order what I recommend!” An awkward laugh came from her as she put down the plate she had been drying down on the counter.

Tifa smiled to herself as she started to wash some utensils, “Thanks, Elena.” She chuckled a bit as she focused on washing, rinsing and placing the utensils on the rack beside her. “Never thought I’d hear a compliment from you of all people.”

“Well, Lockhart, despite the Turk reputation, I like to be honest sometimes.” The Turk replied defiantly, almost sarcastically, as she moved on to the utensils that Tifa was putting in the drying rack.

“You can call me Tifa, you know.”

At that comment, Elena lifted her eyes and locked them with those similar, piercing brown orbs Tifa had. A vague, blurry memory flashed in Elena’s mind. It was an intense déjà vu of a time and place she didn’t recall at all. And in that flashback was the image of Tifa, younger and dressed differently, but with the exact same expression as she wore now.

Still calling me Sergeant, Elena? I don’t call you by rank, do I? You know me better than anyone else here.” The blurry face of Tifa chuckled softly, and then stated, “You can call me Tifa, you know.”

Elena was shocked for a moment. She didn’t know where that took place, when it took place, or how she knew that girl at the time. All she knew for certain was that it was Tifa. And just as quickly as the déjà vu came, it disappeared. She was a bit shaken from the image, and her jolting back into reality made her jump a bit. That image left her a confused and disoriented blonde.

..A confused and disoriented blonde who just cut herself with the knife she was drying, “Ah!” Elena pulled the knife away from her hand and put the finger to her lips, a reflex that came naturally when one hurts their finger. For a split second, she looked like that new Turk recruit once again.

Tifa looked at the girl beside her and caught the momentary look of annoyance in Elena’s features. Not annoyance towards Tifa, but rather at herself. It was an expression that was new to Tifa’s eyes, but it triggered yet another one of those feelings she had, except this time, it was different. It was more of an image switching back and forth between the current Elena and a younger Elena. It was that same itch she couldn’t scratch. Her head pounded for a second, as if her brain refused to let her think any further about it.

Her eyes shut and she shook her head a little. Soon enough, she regained her senses, “You should be more careful when handling stuff like that,” Tifa stated in a slightly scolding tone. She washed and dried her hands quickly, then motioned for Elena to show her the finger. “I thought the Turks would have taught you how to handle sharp objects,” She continued with a little teasing grin.

Elena’s look of annoyance shifted from herself to Tifa at the teasing, except with more of a light-hearted feel to it. She looked at her finger and saw that the cut was slightly deeper than she had originally thought, and that meant it wasn’t going to stop bleeding just yet. Finally, she showed the hand to Tifa, rolling her eyes a little, “It’s just a small cut! I’ve been through much worse, Lockha-..” She saw Tifa glance up at her with a smug smirk on her face, so Elena corrected herself, looking away with a subtle blush, “..Tifa.”

Tifa went back to examining the cut, and she couldn’t help but giggle a little at Elena’s struggling attempts to adapt to the new name. “Hm.. It’s not too deep, but it still might get infected if I don’t put a bandage.” Tifa pulled a small bandage out of a nearby drawer and wrapped it around the girl’s finger.

Elena, however, couldn’t shake the image of the blurry memory out of her head. Where was that from? How would she have known Tifa before Meteor? She definitely looked a lot younger than she did when they first met.. And why would she ask her not to call her “Sergeant”? So many questions left unanswered, and she didn’t want to seem crazy, so she didn’t ask the girl.. Maybe it was just a dream Elena had and she was just remembering it? ‘Yeah.. That’s got to be it.’ Elena reassured herself in her mind. After all, she has been working at the bar with Tifa as her boss lately. Little did she realize, she was staring at Tifa’s face the whole time she was pondering the memory.

Elena finally snapped out of it with a little, “Eh?” when she saw the former AVALANCHE member waving her hand in front of her face, “Sorry, what did you say?”

“I said it would get infected if I didn’t put a bandage.” Tifa responded with a bit of concern, wanting to make sure the girl didn’t blank out again.

Elena then glanced down to her finger and was a bit surprised to see that it was bandaged up, “Ah, right. Thanks.” Elena brought her opposite hand up to her own temples and rubbed it a little, “Sorry, I guess I just have a headache.” It wasn’t the whole truth, but it wasn’t a whole lie. She didn’t want to say something stupid like, ‘I had a flashback of you when you were younger and you wanted me not to call you Sergeant.

Thankfully, it looked like Tifa believed her. “Well if I can do anything to help, don’t hesitate to ask.” She began to put the dried utensils away before continuing, “Hey, if you need the day off tomorrow, I think I could handle waitressing on my own.”

Elena followed suit by starting to put away the dishes, deciding they were safer than the utensils for tonight, “Well, since Reno and Rude are going to be here, I’ll probably end up coming anyways.” Returning to an empty condo with nothing to do except microwave some instant food and turn on the T.V. wasn’t something Elena considered fun on her days off. To be honest, the most fun she’s had recently was in the bar with the other three..

Ever since Tseng’s death in the Temple of the Ancients, Elena hasn’t felt like going out and trying to meet anyone to fall for, and she could never, ever see neither Reno nor Rude as more than co-workers. Now that she thought about it, though, she had never even been in a relationship. At least, none that she recalled. She didn’t even remember ever being kissed! ‘What a pathetic life I lead,’ Elena thought to herself sadly.

Wait.. Never been kissed?

By now, they had been finished putting the clean dishes away. Elena glanced at Tifa, who was leaning over the counter and calling out the kitchen window to the other two guys, asking if they wanted something to eat. An immediate response from Reno, “A ham sandwich, yo!” And a silent request from Rude for the same thing. It was just like Tifa to look out for everyone else.

I swear I’ve felt someone kiss me before..

Elena touched her lips gently with her index and middle finger, then wondered how she could have possibly known how it felt to kiss someone. Maybe it was just her imagination running rampant, or her desperation was causing her to make up stories.. In any case, Elena’s thoughts were still going as Tifa turned to her afterwards.

Elena watched her for a moment, and then had another sudden flashback. It was sudden and brief, but it was unmistakable. Tifa had kissed her, a long, long time ago.

Wait.. Lockhart? That can’t be right.. I’d remember something like that. We’ve never even really been alone in the same room, let alone her kissing me.

“Want anything to eat, Elena? I’m making sandwiches for the guys.” Tifa asked with a smile, opening the refrigerator and pulling out some bread, mayonnaise, and sliced ham.

It’s just my imagination.. There’s no way something like that could have happened.

“Elena?” Tifa asked again, closing the door to the refrigerator and setting the items on the counter. When the Turk seemed to still look at her with a bewildered look, Tifa took a step towards her and leaned in close enough to see the girl’s eyes up close. She waved a hand in front of the girl’s eyes as she did earlier, saying, “What’s wrong?”

Then a shock went through Tifa’s nervous system when Elena looked back at her. Tifa saw the same memory that Elena saw earlier, except through her own eyes. A vague memory of Elena with her arms around her neck and staring back at her with those same brown eyes.. Then, the image of two of them sharing a kiss that neither of them currently clearly recalled.

Tifa took a step back to regain her distance and she blinked a couple of times. ‘What was that..?’ She shook her head to get the image out of her brain. ‘I’ve never.. We’ve never..’ Tifa couldn’t even think straight that moment! It was Elena’s voice that knocked her back into reality.

“Oh! Uh.. Yeah! I’d like a sandwich too.” Elena then quickly moved out of the kitchen to escape the strange occurrences, rejoining Reno and Rude in the main bar.

[End notes:

A/N: All right, there’s the second chapter! As usual, if you liked it, then review. If you didn’t then tell me how you think I could make it better. .. Just to let you have a little bit of visualization of how I imagined the shocks and flashbacks to look.. If you’ve seen Advent Children.. It’s kind of like how it looks when the Geostigma was acting up. If you saw it as something else, that’s okay, but that’s how I saw it.

March 8, 2007 Author’s Note: Okay, yeah like I expected, I didn’t need to edit much XD I loved writing this chapter. I totally had the visuals in my head the whole time. I still get that feeling when I read it over, and I remember how much I wished I could animate this fanfic to make it into an anime or something just because I knew how it would look! >.< One of the few changes I actually made are that she got a bandage from the drawer instead of her pocket, and a few other sentences. XD Read and Review, please!


Chapter 3

Title: Chapter 3: Tifa`s Room

[Author's notes:

March 9. 2007 Author’s Note: I have to be honest that this is one of my favourite chapters. (Oh wow, this Microsoft word is CANADIAN. I’m using the computer at school. >.>;; ) Anyway, this is one of the chapters that I wrote completely on a while on an inspiration whim. I think I wrote the first four chapters of this fanfic in the span of three days. LOL. This chapter and chapter 6, 7 and 10 are my favourites, so I don’t think I’ll be editing it too much.. But yeah, I have the original at home, so I thought, oh what the hell. I’ll edit it at school. Enjoy! ;D

A/N: Well, to those of you who’ve read my creation thus far, I applaud you. Thanks for the reviews! Every time I got one I was like, “OMG. Someone likes my fanfic! Happiness.” So yeah, here it is. So if you want me to continue further, review this one too. There was lots of irony and foreshadowing in the last chapter and I hope this one turns out just as well or better. XD This one’s gonna be a long one. Character development and whatnot. I might even throw in a bit of ShinRa conspiracy near the end! Who knows? I was stupid, thinking of taking out a chance at awkward shoujo-ai moments.. WHERE’S THE FUN IN TAKING THAT OUT? Honestly. So I put them back in there. Oh yeah.. About Tifa’s room, I assume she’d make it a little nicer than it was in Advent Children in the year between then and this fanfic. And I don’t know if I’ll explain why Cloud left or not.. We’ll see.

Thanks to those who beta-read this chapter for me. It would have been very different without your cooperation. Yay Ginko and Bao!

Again, I don’t own FF7, check chapter 2 for what I’d do if I did.



 Chapter 3: Tifa's Room

The next morning, Tifa sighed, newly awake in her bed dressed in her usual sleep apparel, a tank top and whatever underwear or shorts she was wearing when she went to bed. The sunlight crept through the blinds, telling her that she had overslept. Judging from the fact the sun was near her eyes; it was probably one in the afternoon and she should have woken up earlier to make Marlene and Denzel some breakfast.. Or lunch, even. Well, it was expected to wake up late when you fall asleep at around three in the morning.

She and the three Turks spent a few hours just relaxing, eating, drinking and talking the night before. Tifa, herself, hadn’t had more than two drinks since she wasn’t much of an alcoholic, but she still woke up with a headache. Well, the headache wasn’t from the alcohol.. She knew what a hangover felt like and this was no hangover. It felt like she had been thinking too much. As if she had hundreds of mathematical equations looping in her head.. And she knew the cause.

Those weird memories that never happened were driving her mad last night. The way she recalled them, they were still blurry and uncertain, but some details were clearly identifiable. Details like knowing how soft the blonde’s hair was under her fingertips, the aroma that Elena gave off when they were as close as they were, and of course, the way her lips felt against hers. The soft, warm feeling Tifa sensed in her chest whenever she would remember it..

Wait! Stop stop stop! This is Elena you’re thinking about. Those memories aren’t real! They’re just hallucinations.. Or you’re remembering some kind of dream you had before. Now get up, wash up and get something to eat. End of story.

Still.. Those feelings were way too realistic to be from a dream..

Tifa sat up quickly and ran a hand through her hair with frustration. The locks were shorter now than they were during Meteor. When she cut it, it was like closure for that chapter of her life and it only reached her lower back now. It was still long, but not as long as before. She still found it kind of strange to not have the implausibly long hair, despite wearing it this way for over a year now, but Tifa still liked how it looked now. Perhaps she just missed how it felt to have the long hair since it reminded her of her travels with AVALANCHE. Sometimes they’d be on the road for days and no matter how hard she tried, her hair would always be on the ground through the night and dirty the next morning. Even though she hated it, it was still a fond memory. She even sometimes had to beg Cloud to stay at an inn the next day so she could shower. Then, when they did, and she did get to shower, she’d spend the whole morning hogging it, much to Yuffie’s dismay.

A delicious aroma in the air told her that she wouldn’t have to worry about making food for the two kids, but rather herself. That Marlene is going to be a great wife for someone, someday. Tifa inwardly hoped that Denzel and Marlene would eventually become more than friends, but that was saying too much since they were only nine years old. They would definitely make a cute couple, though.

Tifa turned her body so her legs dangled off of the side of the bed, facing away from the window. She stretched her arms up, releasing a yawn before recoiling back and rubbing her head a little. Even though it was 1:01pm, it still felt too early for her to get up. Her eyes wandered around the room, her fighter’s instinct forcing her to check for anything amiss, and once she had confirmed that everything was fine, her eyes fell on the bed opposite hers. It was Cloud’s bed. As usual, it hadn’t been slept in, but that worry was long gone by now. But it’s been almost ten months since he left.. So Tifa doubted he’d come back this time.

At least she could easily say that she had gotten over him now. She was more worried about him as a sister would, or as a mother would.

The desk beside her bed was still littered with papers, as was the wall it leaned up against. There were more photos of everyone in AVALANCHE pinned to the wall, but two important photos sat in frames on the desk beside the phone. The one big group photo they took after they cured the Geostigma, and the photo of her, Marlene, Denzel and Cloud.

Deciding 1:02pm was a good time to get up, Tifa stood from her bedside. Her feet were annoyed by how cold the floor was on a spring day, but her slippers were a little too far away and the bathroom was just across the hall.

However, it seemed that not going to get those slippers turned out to be a bad idea, “Ow!”

Tifa stepped on a Chocobo Knights Action Figure.

She quickly checked the bottom of her foot for blood. Relieved to see there was none, she picked up the toy and glared at it. She then realized how ridiculous it was to get mad at a toy and laughed to herself, placing the figure on her dresser, “Thought I told them not to play in my room..” Regardless, she took a robe from on top of the dresser and slipped it on, being more careful not to step on anything this time as she made her way to the bathroom.


The sun blaring down on the sleeping form of Elena was enough to rudely awaken her. She instinctively shielded her eyes with her hand, but thought of a better idea and pulled the pillow from under her and covered her head with it. Unfortunately, by then she was fully awake and unable to get back to sleep. Her head retreated from its safe pillow cavern and she squinted when she still saw the sun, “It’s too early for the sun to be..” She then glanced at the clock and her eyes widened. 1:00pm. All right, so maybe it wasn’t too early for the sun to be out.

Reluctantly, Elena sat up in her bed. That didn’t seem to be too great of an idea, though, because she was met with a pounding sensation in her brain on the way up. A head rush? Maybe she sat up too fast.. It definitely wasn’t a hangover. She only had a couple of drinks last night and she knew full well how many drinks it took to have a hangover.

“Ugh.. My head..” She laid herself back down onto her pillow and shut her eyes tightly. Strangely, as her eyes remained shut, all she could picture, or even think about, were those strange ‘memories’ of Tifa. And the more she thought about it, the more her head pounded and screamed at her to stop trying to remember. It was as if her brain didn’t even want to remember if it happened at all.

Despite that, Elena still remembered the feelings clearly, even if she couldn’t quite remember the situation. She felt a certain kind of warmth in her chest as she thought about it, a comforting and content kind of warmth. She knew how soft and smooth Tifa’s skin felt, especially on her cheek and abdomen, even though she didn’t ever remember touching her in any way other than attacking and defending in battle. Elena recalled how once she would practically melt whenever she saw Tifa smile at her or laugh.. And the way Tifa would kiss her..! Shiva! It was so..

No! It didn’t happen! They’re just from dreams. They’re not real, they never were real.’ Elena reassured herself. There was no way she could have known Tifa when she was that age. It would have made Elena about the same age, and she knew the first time they had met was in the Mythril Cave. Yeah! She clearly introduced herself, explained what the Turks did, and accidentally told them where Sephiroth was going. She remembered that perfectly!

..Well, that doesn’t change the fact they feel real.

No, no. She clearly remembered her past. She had a loving family and a cat! She had a younger sister.. And.. Wait.. She didn’t have a sister.. Or a cat. All right, start over. She had a loving family and.. No..

..I never really had a family.

The realization hit her like a ton of bricks and her brain hammered viciously as she thought about it. Her family was never around. Elena sat up again and held her head with both of her hands tightly, trying to calm the storm in her mind. Instantly, memories of her childhood flooded back into her.


Her parents were ShinRa employees, both of them. Her mother was a scientist for the company, and she would always try to take care of Elena, but she was always busy, so Elena’s only memories of her were her mother ignoring her. Elena loved her mother dearly, but she always told her to play alone.. And her father.. Her father was..


He was a Turk. A very important Turk. He would always tell her about how he wanted her to grow up and do something to change the world. He wanted Elena to become something worthwhile, not to do dirty work like he had to do. He’d never be home and..


And she had an older brother.. And a dog.. And-


Wait.. What was she thinking about again?

Elena shook her head a couple of times to regain her senses and she looked around. Her headache was mostly gone now and she was in her apartment.. What did she do last night? Ah, right.. She was at the bar with Tifa, Rude and Reno. She hadn’t forgotten about her memories of Tifa.. But she tried not to think about it. Looking over to the clock, Elena sighed softly. 1:02pm. Pushing her blonde hair out of her face, she threw her legs over the bed and stood up, stretching unceremoniously as she yawned. Then she was caught off guard by a sudden rumble in her stomach, and she looked around to make sure no one else heard it, “Gotta get something to eat..”

Elena clearly wasn’t a morning person.


After feeding herself and changing into proper attire, Elena plopped down on her couch and flicked on the T.V. She was dressed to go out, since she planned to head to 7th Heaven pretty soon, but it seemed like heading there at 1:45pm was a little too early when she started work at 4. Sure, maybe the memories had triggered her curiosity a little bit and she kind of wanted to see Tifa to confirm or disperse the thoughts, but that could wait couldn’t it?

Click. News. Click. Some comedy show. Click. Chocobo Races. Click. More news..

Well, it never hurt anyone to be a little early sometimes.

Elena turned off the T.V. and grabbed her keys, wallet, and other usual things she always brought with her, just in case. She grabbed a jacket, put on some comfortable shoes, headed out the door and locked her apartment behind her.

Or at least she would have.

Once she stepped out of her apartment door, she heard the phone inside ring. “Ugh. Perfect timing.” She rolled her eyes and went back into the apartment reluctantly. Elena shut the door behind her and kicked off her shoes carelessly, knowing she'll be putting them on again soon anyways. She nearly tripped on those shoes, but she regained her balance before she could hurt herself on any kinds of corners. She finally reached the phone and she took a breath so she wouldn’t sound rushed, then soon picked it up, holding it to her ear.

“Elena here.” She said into the phone, but inwardly, she was thinking, ‘Why couldn’t they have just called my PHS?

“Hi, Elena? This is Tifa.” The other voice said with uncertainty. Tifa had never called her for anything other than work before, so this was rather new for her as well. Tifa had actually been staring at the phone for a few minutes after she ate, then she went to see if Denzel and Marlene were all right, just to pass some time. When they dismissed themselves to play, Tifa was left alone again, and with all those strange memories.. She just had to call someone. And who better to call than Elena?

Elena, however, was pleasantly surprised. She smiled to herself and leaned against the wall, ‘Well that explains it. She doesn’t know my PHS number.’ “Ah, hey, Tifa. What’s up?” No matter how hard Elena tried to stop it, she was happy that the girl called. All of those strangely mixed emotions and feelings were starting up again and she tried to distract herself from the feelings and focus on the conversation. So she started playing with the telephone cord.

“Well..” Tifa started, her side having a cordless phone, so she didn’t have anything to distract herself with, “I was wondering if you wanted to come early today and um..” She paced around and started to play with a loose lock of hair, trying to think of a reason. She really just wanted some company or someone to talk to..

“I-I’d love to! Actually, I was..” Elena stopped herself from admitting that she was heading out the door right now. The Turk was too proud and she didn’t want to seem too eager to go over there, “I wasn’t doing anything right now. So I’ll probably be there in a few minutes.” Elena smirked to herself at that. ‘Nice save,’ She cheered in her mind.

“..Help me set up for-“ Tifa continued her explanation, as she sat in her desk chair, still fiddling with that lock of hair. Then she realized what Elena said. Her eyes widened and she smiled, stammering out as she sat up straight, “Oh! Yeah, sure! I’ll see you soon then.”

“Yeah, see you!” Elena hung up the phone and sighed with relief..

But, that relaxed look didn’t last very long because seconds later she was jumping up and down like a giddy teenager who just got a date.

Once she was finished her little outburst of glee, she leaned against the wall again and laughed a little to herself. Now she didn’t have to make up some stupid excuse as to why she was going there two hours earlier than she needed to. Taking a deep breath to regain composure, Elena pushed herself off of the wall and walked over to her shoes again. She had a self-satisfied smile on her lips as she put them on again and she was soon out the door.

She locked her apartment behind her and walked down the hallway with a bit of a bounce in her step.

It seemed like today was going to be a good day.


Once Tifa hung up, she exhaled a breath she had been holding in. She put the cordless phone down on the desk and laid her head down beside it, smiling to herself, “Well, that was difficult.” Simply put, she couldn’t get Elena out of her head. And without anything to concentrate on, Tifa was going to go insane from the numerous confusing, albeit intriguing thoughts.

Agh, what am I doing? Even if I talk to her about it, what would I say? ‘I’ve been having weird flashbacks of you and me making out’?

Tifa had to admit that she felt a painful tightness in her chest and a pounding in her brain whenever she thought about the moments between Elena and herself. And the more she thought about it, the more vividly and frequently they came.

But those never happened! I’m probably just making it up as I go along.. I’m straight! I liked Cloud before and got over him, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like men!

Biting her lip instinctively as the scene flashed again in her mind, Tifa tried to fight it and convince herself that she was straight. Straight straight straight. Not attracted to women and not attracted to Elena. All right, so maybe she hadn’t liked any guys lately.. But it’s not like that has anything to do with Elena!

Then, another flashback returned even more viciously than before.

There was a cold sensation beating down on Tifa’s back. Her surroundings told her that she was in a shower, but the image in front of her spoke volumes of other things. A younger, teenaged, naked Elena stood in front of her with a grin on her face, “Are those injections having other effects on you, Tifa?” A giggle, then Elena’s eyes seemed to wander from Tifa’s eyes down to Tifa’s chest. “I think they’ve gotten even bigger.”

Even though Tifa didn’t realize it, she knew there was a blush on her face at the comment, “I hope not.. I already had to request bigger bras last week.” Tifa replied in a younger voice than her usual one, sticking her tongue out at the girl. From the looks of it, Elena was about the same height as her at the time. Tifa then decided to take initiative and snaked her arms around Elena’s waist, saying with a smirk, “Plus, I think it’s normal, since they have the same kind of effect on your..” She lightly pinched the girl’s behind, causing Elena to jump a bit.

A pink tint colored Elena’s cheeks and she narrowed her eyes at Tifa good-naturedly, “Speak for yourself, double-jug.”

Same to you, junk-trunk.” And before she knew it, Elena forced Tifa onto the shower wall and-

“Anyone here?” A female voice called into the bar.

Tifa was promptly pulled out of her daze. She could feel her heart hammering against her chest and she had to take a moment to catch her breath. Quickly clearing her throat, even though she didn’t currently trust her own voice, Tifa called out, “Upstairs!” Once she realized that it was Elena coming up the stairs, she quickly checked her hair in the reflection of the picture frame that sat on her desk. When she decided she looked presentable enough, she stood up and met Elena halfway.

“Never been up here before,” Elena said as she looked around. Initially, she was excited to come to see Tifa, but now that she was within 6 meters of her, she honestly didn’t know what to say. She even tried not to make eye contact, since she knew that it would only trigger even more of those memories.

Though, it seemed easier said than done.

Elena looked around at the picture frames on the walls, then into a room that contained teddy bears and knight figurines. That must have been where Denzel and Marlene slept..

Elena tried to fight it, but her eyes were slowly wandering back to Tifa, and once she did look at her, her eyes took in the sight before her eagerly. Sure, Tifa was dressed in her usual attire, the sleeveless black and white top with the black shorts with a semi-apron on. Elena wasn’t quite sure if it was meant to be a skirt or if Tifa just cut up an apron to make something like that.. Either way, Tifa looked great. Sadly, this outfit was a little more concealed than the one Elena first saw her in, but.. ‘Stop thought process there!’ Elena commanded her mind; even though she still recalled the mini-skirt that Tifa once wore, even when she kicked so high, so often. And the white top that, if wet, would probably.. ‘STOP THOUGHT PROCESS!

“Really?” Tifa started, not noticing, or maybe not wanting to notice, how Elena looked at her. Then with her usual hostess instinct, she started to give a tour, “Right in there,” She motioned to the room beside her own, “Is Marlene and Denzel’s room.”

She then pointed to the room across the hall without needing to move, “And that’s the bathroom.”

There wasn’t really much to tour at all.

Elena shook the thoughts out of her mind and looked at each respective room as Tifa talked about them.

Then, Tifa moved aside so Elena could see past her, “And this is my room.”

Elena took a tentative step into her room and looked around, “Not bad,” She said with a bit of a grin. Then she added on quickly, “Considering you live over a bar and all.” ‘Ugh. Smooth, Elena.’ Stupid pride getting in the way. Then she spotted the second bed and she asked, “Oh, someone else lives here too?” Elena tried to hide the bit of jealous venom in her voice, but her mind told her that she had no reason to be jealous. Nope, no reason at all.

Tifa mock-glared at Elena because of the comment about her living conditions, but shrugged a little and shook her head. It was just Elena being Turk-like. Her mind then wandered back to Cloud for a moment, once he was mentioned, and she watched the bed as she replied, “Cloud used to live here for a bit, then he left to do his own business. I don’t think he’ll be coming back this time, except to use us as an inn or something.”

That statement seemed to calm Elena’s nerves somewhat, but she found herself scanning Tifa’s face for any signs of unrequited love as she talked about Cloud. Finding none, Elena inwardly sighed with relief. “Well, if it’s him, I’m sure he’ll be alright.”

“Yeah, you’re right.” Tifa walked over to her own bed and sat on it, putting her hands under her knees and swinging her legs a bit. Tifa, herself, was also trying to avoid looking at Elena. With that shower memory fresh in her mind, she didn’t know what kind of images she’d see if she even looked at the girl.

Elena shrugged a little and walked over to Tifa’s desk, looking at the pictures on the wall. They were of all of the members of AVALANCHE, yet Elena still scanned for her own face on the wall. It wasn’t so much to confirm if the memories were true, but more to see if she was more than just a regular at the bar or a rival or.. Whatever, there were none there anyways. She leaned over slightly to get a closer look at the ones on her desk. Of course Tifa wouldn't have any pictures of her. “Pictures are a great way to keep memories safe, huh?”

Tifa nodded mutely as she gave up her attempts to not look at the girl. While the pictures on the wall distracted Elena, Tifa found her own eyes wandering over the girl’s body. She definitely never noticed how slim and toned Elena looked without the suit on before now, and normally she’d wear an apron over her clothes when she worked as a waitress..

When Elena leaned over to look at the pictures on the desk, Tifa got a clearer view of her from the side. The sun from the window on the opposite side of Elena just seemed to add to the effect, giving her a kind of unearthly glow. Afraid that she was thinking of an overused cliché, Tifa refrained from laughing at herself when she thought, ‘Especially with the blonde hair, she looks almost like an angel.’ And even though she berated herself for noticing, just like in her memory, Tifa noticed Elena had all the curves in all of the right places. Particularly around..

That was when she realized she was leaning forward in order to see Elena’s behind. That was also where she realized she couldn’t because Elena turned towards her and waved a hand in front of her face as Tifa did to her the night before, “You all right?”

“Huh?” Tifa blinked a couple of times, then quickly sat up straight, shaking her head to get it out of the gutter, “Yeah, sorry. I was just thinking about something..” Tifa tried harder to get the thoughts out of her mind. So she said the first thing that came into it, “Why don’t you have a seat? It’s only two o’clock, so we’ve got plenty of time before the bar opens.” Plenty of time for what, Tifa? Well, regardless, Tifa motioned to the spot beside her on the bed.

Elena knew that it would be just as easy to sit in the desk chair, but she decided against it, for reasons she didn’t quite know or want to admit, and sat beside Tifa on the bed.

“You mentioned memories, right?” Tifa asked, leaning forward and resting her elbows on her knees. It was clear that she was debating with herself whether or not to ask Elena about the strange memories she’s been having, but that was the whole point of Tifa inviting her over early, so..

“Yeah, I don’t know, I was just rambling,” Elena said, also seeing the opening to ask about the headaches and memories. “I just think you’re lucky you have pictures to remember things by,” Elena played with the fabric of her own shirt for a moment, and then looked up at Tifa to see her listening intently, “I don’t have any pictures of myself when I was younger. At least I don’t think I do.” Judging from how many pictures Tifa had on the wall, Elena assumed she had albums of herself as a child and teenager.

Tifa thought about that for a moment, “You know.. I don’t have too many from before Meteor.” She only owned one picture of herself from before she came to Midgar, and it was of herself, Sephiroth and Zack. She didn’t have any clear memories of anything after that, and no pictures to confirm anything from between the time she left Mt. Nibel to meeting Barret and starting 7th Heaven. And she also didn’t particularly want to remember the time they bombed the reactors.. “I like having pictures of good memories, I guess.”

Tifa sat up and turned her body so both of her legs were pulled in and she was facing Elena, “Hey.. Have you ever felt like..” She started, not quite sure how to word her thoughts, “..Like you might have had amnesia at some point?”

Elena’s eyes widened at that comment, but she just nodded wordlessly to allow Tifa to further explain what she meant by that.

“Like maybe you’re remembering things you don’t recall ever doing? Or saying?” Tifa tucked a loose lock of her own hair behind her ear and glanced down at her own knee. She had to gather her resolve, preparing herself for either learning the truth or being looked at as insane, before looking back up into Elena’s eyes. And once their eyes made contact..


They both felt surges run through their minds, both experiencing a blinding headache simultaneously. Elena shut her eyes tightly and lowered her head, while Tifa brought a hand to her temple and shut her eyes as well. When the headaches cleared, they looked at each other again with confused looks.

“Tifa,” Elena started, leaning in a little as she tried to make sure her mind wasn’t playing tricks on her, “How did we first meet?” She asked, watching the girl carefully.

“We were in Mythril Cav-“

“Think harder,” Elena interrupted, urging her to remember further.

Tifa stared at Elena with lost eyes, not breaking contact with Elena’s eyes as if she was searching Elena’s mind instead of her own. Then the flashback came, a wave hitting her brain as she held her head tightly.

Sergeant Lockhart, you’ve been assigned a new roommate,” A Shinra guard stated as he saluted Tifa, who was lying on her bed casually since it was her day off.

Really? I thought they wanted me by myself,” Tifa said more to herself than the guard, “Well, let her in.”

The guard left the room and Elena stepped in, saluting Tifa. “My name is-“

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Don’t be so formal,” Tifa said with a grin as she sat up and looked the girl over, “We’re off duty for now, right? Put that hand down.”

Reluctantly, Elena lowered her hand with a sheepish smile on her face, “Sorry, I’m kind of new at this.”

Tifa smirked, “That much I can see,” then she hopped off of her bed and stepped up to the girl, holding her hand out for a shake, “My name’s Tifa.”

Elena looked at the hand, and then took it into her own, shaking it with a genuine smile on her face, “Elena.”

Tifa’s headache soon wore off and she stared at Elena with a surprised look, “We didn’t meet at Mythril Cave..” She then figured for Elena to ask those kinds of questions, then.. “Have you been remembering weird memories too?” Tifa asked with a bit of urgency.

With wide eyes, Elena nodded, finally confirming she wasn’t going insane, “What happened back then? When did these things take place? Why did we lose our memories?” She subconsciously placed a hand on Tifa’s knee and looked at her with desperate eyes. Elena was desperate for the truth and she was hoping she could find some of it within Tifa, “Were we together? Like.. In love?”

Tifa tried to remember, digging into her mind to see if she could recall. She did know about the feelings she felt when she was with Elena. And with her right next to Tifa, asking her about the past and about them being together, the memories of the feelings and her current emotions were mixing together. Tifa just wished she could give her an answer she was sure about. Her brain ached when she looked at Elena, but she wanted to find out so she dug deeper. Her head pounded even more furiously than ever, and with each pound was a newly revealed memory. And when she tried to remember anything further..


Hey, Elena.. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but..”


Don’t make it sound like we’re gonna die, Tif.. I’ll definitely see you again.”


But.. In case I don’t see you for a while, then.. I just wanted to say that I’d never forget you.”


Neither will I. No matter what happens, I’ll always remember you.”


..I love you, Elena.”


I love you too, Tifa.”


Tifa held her head with her hands feeling as if her head would explode otherwise. The fierce pounding ceased, but a deafening high-pitched tone that reverberated in her ears and the world around her began to spin. Milliseconds later, she forgot the memory, but the sound continued. “Are you okay?” All Tifa could see before falling unconscious was the blurry face of Elena with a panicked look on her features.

“Tifa!” Elena caught the girl in her arms as she fell forward, “TIFA!” She shook the girl a little in an attempt to wake her up, but it proved to be useless. Elena swiftly, yet gently, guided the girl down onto the pillow as she, herself, got off of the bed so Tifa could lay down comfortably. “What’s going on here..?” She asked herself, worry coating her voice.

Sitting on the bedside, Elena watched the girl’s serene, beautiful sleeping face for a moment. A memory came back, but not nearly as intense as the ones Tifa went through.

It was a memory of herself, sitting on Tifa’s bedside in a completely different environment. And she was taking care of a younger, more vulnerable, Tifa.

And just like in the memory, Elena brushed away some of the hair covering Tifa’s eyes, then let her fingers rest on her cheek comfortably. Elena caught herself leaning in, so she pulled her hand back and looked away guiltily. ‘I’m not the type to steal a kiss while she’s asleep.

Elena then smirked to herself, thinking, ‘So much for saying they were just dreams.’


“..A special mission?”

“Yes, I want you to retrieve an experiment that ShinRa Labs has sent out to test for social capabilities. She’s had memory cleansing and reprogramming, so she may seem rather unwilling to go with you, but I want you to bring her back, regardless. The method you bring her isn’t of importance. I just want her alive. Do you understand, Rude?”

“..Affirmative.” Rude answered, “Who is it that I am going to bring?”

“I’ve sent a fax, I want you to bring her as soon as possible. Judging from previous experiments, the effects of the memory reprogramming should be wearing off. Be careful, she’s very clever, deceitful and very, very dangerous.”

The fax printed on Rude’s side of the line and he looked at the picture. His eyes widened behind his sunglasses, but he couldn’t refuse the order, “I understand. I’ll try to retrieve her as soon as I can.”

“Oh, don’t worry about it today. It’s your day off, after all. Ah, yes, I forgot. Don’t tell your comrades about this, either. I'll send some other Turks to accompany you. That is all.”

After hanging up the phone, Rude fell back onto his couch, took off his sunglasses and stared at the paper in disbelief. “…”

[End notes:

A/N: First off, I’d like to say.. THERE’S YOUR COLD SHOWER, VANA! XD. Now then, I was really stressing about this chapter because I was worried I made them out of character. If you agree, say so ;-;.. I made an excuse to myself that they’re only out of character because of the headaches and confusion.. They’d obviously feel more confused and vulnerable and stuff. I also put a little teaser at the end. :3 Ah, Rude.. What are you going to do? Anyways, the next chapter will be a fun one. All the little flashbacks put into one, making for some Tifa + Elena SOLDIER-lovin’.

As always, review please. ;-; The only reason I keep going is because of positive feedback.

March 9, 2007 Author’s Note: XD God I love this chapter.. Took me an hour to read it all through and edit, with interruptions from my info tech teacher and my googling things.. Something I found interesting: LOL. So true. :3 Anyways.. I didn’t edit much, but I was thinking about something that I had written in chapter 10 that I might want to change.. Maybe I will change it.


Chapter 4

Title: Chapter 4: Platonic!

[Author's notes:

March 11, 2007 Author’s Note: Okay! Chapter 4. This was a fun chapter to write, I remember, and actually I plan on making chapter 11 a flashback chapter as well. After all of the stagnant drama, we (or at least I) need some action, comedic relief and Tifa/Elena SOLDIER lovin’. Plus.. The really fun stuff is only just beginning.

A/N: Yay Chapter 4! Get ready, I’m gonna take all of the flashbacks and put it into one big flashback! There might be another chapter like this one later on because I KNOW I’m gonna leave stuff out of this one. XD I intend to. I’ll put another flashback chapter later in the future where their plans about ShinRa and stuff.. I also KNOW that I made Elena out of character in this one during the flashback. She’d been alone for so long and suddenly she’s with this mass of people who she doesn’t know D:! And without her father! Of course she’s gonna be out of character. She becomes more like herself later on though. Yeah, and I left out the shower scene, sadly. I wanna keep the rating proper, you know XD.. Who knows, I may write it lime-ish and put it in one of the flashback chapters.

Sorry the chapter’s a bit late, though. My holiday’s been kind of sucking and I guess it’s just been showing a little. Updates may come a little slower in 2006, though. School starts up again and usually I become blah.

Oh yeah. Happy New Year. XD



Chapter 4: Platonic!

ShinRa ruined my life. It wasn’t only my life they’ve ruined either. They ruined the lives of so many people close to me, and even those who opposed me.

They even took the life of my father, the only family I had left.

I’ll never forgive them.. I hate them all.

Tifa Lockhart, sixteen years old, was now an official Sergeant of SOLDIER. During her days as a private, she received many injections and tests to see her capabilities and add improvements to her pain tolerance, physical strength and agility. She knew the road to revenge would be long, and possibly painful, but she had no idea it would be quite so.. Lonely.

Because Tifa was a special case, she was told she’d have a single room unless they find another test subject capable of withstanding the same injections and training she had as a private. Since the male SOLDIERs had possibilities of trying certain things while she was asleep, they decided that ShinRa’s secret weapon wasn’t worth risking in a cabin of rowdy men.

Jenova cells didn’t seem to affect women much, or at all, so they’ve had to find other means of creating enhanced SOLDIERs: Eva Injections. So far, though, Tifa was the only subject who hadn’t had any side effects or damage physically or mentally. Even knowing that no one before her had successfully gone through the tests, Tifa still accepted them willingly, knowing that if they succeeded, she would rise quickly within the company. And if she could rise quickly, she could tear it down from the inside just as easily. It was quite reckless, but at least she got lucky that time.

The fact that she was the only one, so far, gave her a certain confidence and edge. Along with her natural skills as a martial artist, she had the enhancements to aid her in her training. That meant that most people, even some higher officials, have failed to defeat her. ShinRa was definitely excited to create a second one like her.

Tifa should have expected her time at ShinRa to be lonely. She was practically the only woman there in a place filled with deprived men. Deprived men who she could beat up. If that wasn’t sad enough, she had to admit that after the mess with Cloud, Zack and Sephiroth, she didn’t even have much interest in men, let alone men who couldn’t even defend themselves against her.

So here she was, newly promoted and optimistic about another promotion in the near future.

She kicked off her shoes, fell back onto her bed and put her hands behind her head, letting herself get comfortable on her day off, for once. She had no doctor’s appointments today, no training scheduled until tomorrow, and no missions until she’s assigned, so she was allowed to sleep the day away. It was better to sleep than to be courted by anymore would-be SOLDIERs anyways. So shutting her eyes and exhaling a breath, she slowly drifted off to sleep..

Or at least she would have liked to.

She heard someone knock at the door and her eyes shot open.

‘..It’s supposed to be my day off!’ She stayed laid back and rolled her eyes, “Come in!” She made a note to herself that if this wasn’t an important message; she was going to hurt the messenger.

A man stepped in, almost trying to look angry and tough as he stood at attention. He seemed to be a new recruit, taking his job so seriously. He didn’t even make eye contact with Tifa.

“Sergeant Lockhart, you’ve been assigned a new roommate,” The Shinra guard stated as he saluted Tifa.

“Really?” Now that sparked her interest. Does that mean someone else passed the tests? She knew that ShinRa wouldn’t room her with a man, so it must be.. She smirked to herself inwardly. Maybe her time here wouldn’t be quite so lonely after all. “I thought they wanted me by myself..” Tifa said more to herself than the guard, “Well, let her in.” Tifa lifted her head so she could see the door and awaited the arrival of her new, and hopefully cute, roommate.

“Yes, ma’am.” And with that, the guard left the room.

A young blonde, not looking any older than Tifa herself, stepped in. She had a look on her face that spoke of insecurity, worry, and uncertainty, but her eyes blazed with passion and revenge. She didn’t know of any other way to infiltrate ShinRa than by joining SOLDIER, since at her age, they wouldn’t accept her unless she was an experiment. They injected a couple of chemicals, which she was told only succeeded on one person before her, but she accepted anyways. She had to get into ShinRa no matter what.

However, it looked as if the training she received from her father long ago sufficed to get her into the SOLDIER program as well. ‘Dad..’ She thought sadly as she remembered the man, seemingly her only family.

Suddenly, she remembered her manners and saluted the girl on the bed, “My name is-“

“Whoa, whoa, whoa. Don’t be so formal,” Tifa said with a grin as she sat up and looked the girl over. A rare rose in a field of grass, indeed. ‘She is cute!’ This blonde had the innocent demeanor of a new recruit, and yet looked like she could hold herself well in a battle. ‘Lucky, aren’t I?’ Tifa thought to herself with an inward chuckle. And she was going to be Tifa’s roommate too! “We’re off duty for now, right? Put that hand down.”

Reluctantly, the new recruit lowered her hand with a sheepish smile on her face, “Sorry, I’m kind of new at this.” So this was the Tifa Lockhart she’d heard so much about.. She was even more than the girl had originally expected. Though she pictured more of a scary woman who’d command and train her day in and day out. This girl looked much nicer than that. At least she hoped she was nicer than that..

Tifa smirked, “That much I can see.” She hopped off of her bed, landed on her feet, and stepped up to the girl, scanning her over now that she was up close. Tifa nodded and held her hand out for a shake with a friendly smile on her face, “My name’s Tifa.”

The blonde must have noticed the way Tifa was scanning her over, because before she knew it, a light pink tint spread over her cheeks. She looked at the hand, and then took it into her own, shaking it with a genuine smile on her face, “Elena.”

“Nice to meet you, Elena,” Tifa started.

“Oi! Tifa! How about some one-on-one training in my room?” A voice called from outside the dorm.

“Maybe when you can actually beat me in a match, Rex!” Soon, she was reaching around the girl and shutting the door behind the blonde, “Sorry about that, some of the other SOLDIERs like to try to look into my room or get dates..” She narrowed her eyes towards the door, “Honestly, sometimes men just don’t get a clue, do they?” If there was anything other than combat that Tifa was good at, it was communication. She could easily break the ice, and it showed in the way she talked to Elena. It was also clear that she was confident in most aspects of herself because of the way she carried her own weight: Confidently and proudly.

Elena giggled a bit at that scene, already beginning to feel more comfortable in the environment that she had originally been afraid of. Already, she was thankful for Tifa’s presence and the way she dealt with the man so easily only made Elena start to admire her strength even more.

Elena knew that if she were the only female in a crowd of men, she honestly didn’t know how she would react to comments like that, or if she could even defend herself properly if any were to advance on her. She had always been sheltered and protected by her father, but other than that, she was always alone. That meant that she didn’t quite know how to talk to people, so now that she was suddenly exposed to this new group.. Elena felt like hiding.

She could feel an aura that Tifa gave off. So despite her uncertainties, Elena could feel a wave of confidence and strength entering her body just by being near Tifa. It made Elena feel warm, comfortable, and able to take on armies as long as this girl was there to support her.

‘Wait a sec, Elena. Don’t think like THAT! She’s gonna be your roommate!’ She scolded herself, ‘It’s okay to look up to her, but..’

Tifa took Elena’s hand in her own, excited to finally have some good company, “Anyways! Let me give you the tour.” She had an energized grin on her face. Finally getting a roommate was better than taking a nap all day! “Here is the main part, I guess you already know that, though. I sleep here, relax here..” She sweatdropped a little when she realized ShinRa hadn’t even given the new girl a bed. ‘Where do they expect her to sleep?!’ Tifa inwardly scoffed, ‘Perverts.

‘..Where do they expect me to sleep?’ Elena seemed to have the same thoughts running through her mind as she stared at the single bed. Sure, she never had any particular issues with sharing a bed with another girl, but.. They just met! And Elena didn’t really want to ruin her only potential companion by kicking her or mistaking her for a plush toy when they were asleep.. Though, it didn’t seem too bad, considering.. ‘Ah! Don’t think that! You’re straight, Elena! Straight straight straight.

“Well anyways, I’m sure they’ll get you a bed soon enough,” Tifa reassured her, not wanting to be too forward with her flirting by inviting Elena into her bed the first night, “Let’s continue the tour!” She said enthusiastically. Serving as a tour guide in Nibelheim did have its perks after all. Tifa motioned towards the mini-hallway, “Down there is the bathroom..” Then she motioned to a little area with a refrigerator and stove, “And I guess you can call that a kitchen. I don’t like the cafeteria food, so I just make my own stuff sometimes.”

Elena just nodded dumbly as she listened to the tour, following the girl’s motions with her eyes. There didn’t seem to be any need to move from that one spot really, so.. Elena questioned as to why Tifa was holding her hand. That question was soon answered because Tifa guided her to the one bed in the room and sat on it, motioning for her to sit beside her.

“So tell me about yourself! Why’d you join, how old are you, and all that business.” Tifa said with a grin, facing Elena as she pulled her feet in.

Elena sat where she was directed and put her hands on her own lap, shrugging a little as she faced Tifa, “I dunno, really, why I joined..” She inwardly thought to herself, ‘That’s a lie, and you know it.’ She, then, added on, “I guess you could say I wanted to learn how to protect myself.. I don’t really have family anymore, so who else would, right?”

Tifa’s eyes seemed to widen at that statement. ‘No family?’ Elena seemed to have a similar story to herself.. Only Elena’s wasn’t out of revenge, but self-defense. “No one to protect you, huh?” Tifa sat back and thought silently for a moment, staring up at the roof as she tongued her cheek a bit. “Hmm..”

Elena looked at her new roommate inquisitively, a questioning look appearing on her face. She didn’t know exactly how dedicated to ShinRa Tifa was, but Elena wasn’t going to risk telling her that her reason for joining SOLDIER was for revenge. She just met her, so what if she were to report her or something? Elena couldn’t risk it.. Her father’s honor depended on it. So what could Tifa possibly be thinking about?

“It’s settled then!” Tifa exclaimed, standing and making a fist, holding it in front of herself proudly, “Until you can defend yourself and beat up everyone here,” She said with a confident smirk, “I’ll protect you!” Then when Tifa realized exactly how corny that sounded, she rephrased herself, “Err.. I mean, I’ll help you out!”

Elena stared at Tifa for a moment, not believing what she just said. ‘She’ll.. Protect me?’ The blonde was speechless. No one had ever said that to her before! She’s always had to be strong for herself, she’s always had to take care of herself because her parents were never around and her brother was put up for adoption because of delinquency.. All she really ever had was her dog, but even he ran away from her.

“You’d.. Really do that?” Elena asked, a blush on her face at just the thought.

“Of course!” Tifa stated, putting her hands on her hips, “But just until you can fight me and tie.” She grinned as she sat beside the girl again, “Then you’d help me out too, right?”

Elena nodded, tears welling up in her eyes and threatening to spill. She didn’t allow them to fall, though. Even if Tifa said she’d be there to protect her, Elena would still have to be strong and become stronger!

“Hey now, don’t hold back on me,” Tifa said, “You’re allowed to cry sometimes, you know.”

Elena smiled at the girl in front of her, thankful to whatever fate brought her to Tifa. A tear slid down her cheek, but it wasn’t a tear of sadness. It was a tear of hope, if there is such a thing, “Thank you, Sergeant.” Elena said, figuring Tifa deserved whatever respect she could give her.

“You’re welcome,” Tifa saluted her lazily, a grin still on her face, “From now on, I’ll be your family, okay?”

Elena returned the salute and nodded again, “Okay.”


Tifa and Elena went through training and injections together. It was almost like a routine for them now.

Training was a breeze. With the enhancements that the two had received, within a few weeks, Elena was almost up to par with Tifa. Perhaps it was from the encouragement from the higher-ranked girl, or her own drive to become stronger so she wouldn’t hold Tifa back, but either way it worked. She was almost equal to her.

The SOLDIERs and scientists definitely expected the two of them to become rivals, Tifa striving to maintain the lead, while Elena working to catch up and surpass. But it was quite the opposite. The two worked together like a dream. However, one would have to say that Tifa was better during missions.

Tifa was like a born leader when she led missions and operations. She’d know exactly what to do in situations to make sure her platoon was safe and her objective completed, and she’d execute the plan quickly and efficiently.

Elena wasn’t quite the leader that Tifa was, so she was satisfied as the one to follow her lead and make sure the plan was done. Soon, it came to the point where she’d want to follow the girl no matter where she went. The way Tifa cared so much and let Elena be herself, no matter what ShinRa expected of her.. It made her feel wanted. It made her feel like, as long as it was for Tifa, she could die.

Elena never voiced her thoughts or feelings like that though. Tifa would probably get creeped out or something.

Though the way Tifa acted sometimes..

“Wanna sleep with me again tonight, ‘Laney?” Tifa said with a wink, sitting on Elena’s bed with her elbows on her knees. She watched the girl in front of her with a grin, as she was in the middle of changing.

Of course, Tifa meant the platonic kind of sleep, but that didn’t fail to bring a blush to Elena’s face at the thought of it. What a way to joke around, though. And when Elena was changing into her pajamas too. However, now that Elena was more comfortable around the girl, she was able to counter her statement without restrictions, “You sure about that? The last time we did, you couldn’t even get up in the morning!” She said over her shoulder, since her back was facing Tifa. She was unbuttoning the blouse she had on, so it made sense to at least turn around, but that didn’t stop the grin from appearing on her face.

..Yep. Totally platonic!

Tifa, herself, was already dressed in her pajamas, but she had changed right when she got back. She honestly didn’t like to wear ShinRa uniforms, no matter how much armor they provided. Tilting her head a little to get a better look at Elena’s backside, she arched an eyebrow, ‘I never noticed that before.’ Tifa smirked as she leaned back on the girl’s bed, “That was because you’re too cuddly and soft to let go!”

Elena’s blush deepened at that. “No comment..!” No matter how hard she tried, Tifa always won when they played this game. She finished unbuttoning her shirt and she removed it, rotating her shoulder and cracking her neck a little.

Tifa giggled at the girl’s response, but when she removed the shirt and revealed her toned mid-section, Tifa felt a lump catch in her throat. She was kind of relieved that Elena was turned the other way, because the girl would have caught the pink color on her cheeks. No matter how many times she’s seen the girl change, it’s always entertaining to watch.

“Quit staring, pervert.” Elena said with a laugh.

It looks like Tifa was caught!

Elena had a smug grin on her face as she pulled on a more comfortable, white, cotton shirt. She sat on Tifa’s bed, imitating her earlier pose and putting her elbows on her knees, leaning on the arms.

Tifa was a little surprised initially, but she sat up with a calm look on her face, “I’m not being perverted. I’m just supervising your.. Progress.” Her eyebrows bounced up and down suggestively, “As any good Sergeant would do.”

Elena’s eyes widened and she covered her chest, throwing a pillow at the girl with a deep red on her cheeks. “You’re still a pervert, Sergeant!”

Tifa giggled and caught the pillow, holding it as she stood up from her spot on Elena’s bed. She walked over to the other girl slowly, putting emphasis on her steps before she sat down beside the girl on her own bed, “Still calling me Sergeant, Elena?”

Elena sat up straight, that same earlier blush still apparent on her cheeks. Being this close to the other girl definitely does something to her composure, because she couldn’t even seem to find any words to say. She didn’t want to call her Sergeant, she just didn’t know if she was allowed to be anymore personal than that..

“I don’t call you by rank, do I?” Tifa grinned and placed the pillow on Elena’s lap, “You know me better than anyone else here.” A little laugh escaped Tifa’s lips as she remained watching the girl.

Elena stared at her, still wordlessly, because she knew what was going to come up next.

“You can call me Tifa, you know.”

The smile on Elena’s face returned, replacing the blush as she nodded, “Got it, Se-.. I mean, Tifa.” Then, once again, she became aware of how close the girl was to her and the color returned to her cheeks.

“And since you’re already on my bed..” Tifa started, a lecherous grin appearing on her face. She leapt forward and tackled the girl onto the mattress, beginning to tickle her mercilessly. Elena, being as ticklish as she was, broke out into fits of laughter and near-tears. She squirmed underneath Tifa’s weight, but it seemed futile to escape the moment of torture.

It seemed that once Tifa decided Elena had enough, she stopped and giggled to herself, “I never knew you were so ticklish!”

Elena was more than a little relieved that the girl stopped, so she took a minute to catch her breath, “You’re ruthless..” She uttered as she exhaled. Then with a strong counter, she pushed Tifa so she would be lying on her side beside her.

Tifa allowed the girl to take control for the moment and she just watched her with a smile, “Does this mean you do want to sleep with me?”

Platonic! Platonic!

“As long as you don’t grope me like last time..” Elena said with a grin, kicking the blanket on top of the two of them.

Tifa grabbed a comb from her own dresser and threw it towards the light switch, hitting it and enveloping the room in darkness. Just as another testament to her skills. She then wrapped an arm around Elena’s waist and whispered softly, her grin still visible in her voice, “I can’t promise anything.”


It seemed like the closer Tifa and Elena got to each other, the less they cared about ShinRa or SOLDIER. They both still craved revenge, but it was mutual how much they craved each other. They both tried to play it off as friendly gestures, neither knowing exactly how the other felt. At least it seemed that way, until a slightly, yet typically cloudy day at the end of April..

“I like you, Elena.”

Or so it seemed.

“Okay, I’ll just say it like that. Plain and simple!” Tifa said to herself, pacing in the dorm ponderingly. Her Chocobo slippers should have probably worn a path into the floor by now, but she didn’t care. She was reasoning ways to tell Elena that she seriously liked her! “But I’ve already said it so many times before.. Then I pretend it’s ‘like’ in a friendly way.”

Tifa sat down on her own bed and ran a hand through her hair in frustration. Who would have thought risking a friendship that she’ll need for the rest of her time here with a few words or actions would be so hard! Then again, if all the signs that Elena sent to her were right, then that would mean she returned Tifa’s feelings! Maybe she was too scared to admit it? Maybe she already liked someone else? Maybe-

“Hey Tif! I’m back!” Elena called as she entered the dorm, closing the door behind her and locking it out of habit.

Tifa jumped a little, surprised at the sudden entrance. She thought Elena had heard her talking to herself, but it didn’t seem like it, “Hey, how’d it go?”

Elena shrugged a bit, “I’m not sure really.” ShinRa was using them as battle subjects for the new robot prototypes. The engineers figured that if they could handle combat with the best SOLDIERs, then they could handle combat with most things. “I think the bio department was happy I beat them, but the robot department wasn’t.” It was amazing, even to Elena, that she could beat those kinds of robots with just gloves on, as well as her armor. Just a few years ago, she would have been decapitated or shot to death if she went up against something of that caliber.. Now she was considered one of the best SOLDIERs! Of course, it was because of the enhancements, but it was also because of her capabilities that she was so strong.

“I’m not surprised,” Tifa laughed, kicking off her slippers and lying back on her bed. She tried to make it seem as if she wasn’t nervous or anything. Tifa didn’t exactly want her reputation towards the other girl to be ruined. “Did you bring me a chunk of it like you said you’d try to do?” Tifa rolled onto her stomach and faced Elena as the other girl took off her backpack and the SOLDIER jacket.

However, underneath the jacket, a large gash across her midsection was revealed.

“Elena!” Tifa immediately pushed herself up on the bed in a kind-of upward position and gestured for the girl to come closer, “How did this happen..?” She shifted so she was sitting again and motioned towards the cut with a worried expression on her face.

Damn it.’ Elena thought as she heard Tifa call to her, ‘She noticed.’ She tentatively took a step closer, looking away with a bit of shame as she sat beside the girl on the bed, “It’s nothing, really.. I just got reckless.” Elena saw the look of worry on Tifa’s face and she was kind of glad that Tifa still cared for her so much, but she hated the thought of letting her down or making her ashamed. She wanted to be stronger so Tifa would like her! And not just as friends! It’s been itching at her lately, those growing feelings she had for Tifa. She didn’t just look up to her now.. She didn’t just see her as family.. Elena wanted Tifa to be much more than that.

“It looks pretty bad..” Tifa said softly, bringing a finger to gently touch the outside of the cut. She saw the girl wince, or shiver, at her touch and she pulled her hand back as if she burned herself on a stove. She then said with a scolding tone, “You should be more careful, Elena!” That was probably the difference between them. While Tifa thought situations through during missions and battles, Elena just seemed to rush in without thinking.. Either way, Tifa wrapped her arms around Elena’s neck and hugged her tightly, hoping she wouldn’t aggravate the cut, “Don’t ever do that again, okay?”

Elena was caught off guard by the sudden embrace, but she smiled and returned the hug, shutting her eyes happily.

Tifa sighed softly, inwardly cursing the SOLDIER Uniforms for being so unreliable, “I don’t want to lose you, too.. If that cut were a stab or a bullet-”

“I know,” Elena said sadly. Of course she knew! That was why she didn’t want Tifa to see her like this, “I’ll be more careful next time.. Plus, this’ll heal by the morning.” With all of the nano-machines and chemicals working inside of her body, Elena knew that she’d be fine and back in training by tomorrow.

That moment was where Tifa realized that, despite how enhanced they were or how strong they were, one of them could be taken away at anytime. The next mission or battle like the one Elena went through, and they could die as easily as a shot from behind! That meant, who cares about inhibitions or worries.. ‘I won’t hide from her.. I’ll just tell her outright.’ She was going to tell her! Right now!

..Any second now!

“Tifa..” Elena started, still holding onto the girl tightly. “Remember when you said you like me?”

Tifa’s eyes widened. Elena beat her to the punch?! She pulled back from the embrace enough just to see the girl’s face and she nodded, “Yeah?” Was she going to do it first? Was Elena going to tell her that she liked her back?! Maybe she figured out that it wasn’t just out of friendship! Maybe she got creeped out by the thought of Tifa being a lesbian and hugging her! Well, whichever it was, it had Tifa on edge.

However.. It looked like Elena lost the nerve, “Actually, never mind..”

Elena slowly loosened her grip on Tifa’s waist and began to pull away, but Tifa wouldn’t let her. The Sergeant kept a firm grip around her neck and hugged her close again. ‘Who cares if she turns you down, Tifa.. Just as long as she knows.

Then, taking a deep breath, she gathered her courage and softly whispered into Elena’s ear, “I like you, Elena. As more than a friend..” Tifa just took a giant leap into something she promised herself she wouldn’t back out of. ‘It’s all in Elena’s hands now.

Elena was shocked by the sudden pull, but she wrapped her arms around Tifa’s waist again and held her just as tightly, if not tighter, than before. Then the words came out of Tifa’s mouth and into her ear, and before her brain could even fully process the information, she responded, “I like you too, Tif.”

Tifa was honestly, pleasantly surprised by the response and how quickly it came. She reflexively tightened her grip on the girl and shut her eyes, thanking whatever anomaly up there liked her.

Elena even surprised herself with the response, but she wasn’t going to back off now! The person she stayed with, adored, and basically couldn’t stop thinking about just told her that she liked her as more than a friend! Her mind raced happily and she almost became dizzy from the bliss that overcame her, but she stayed conscious, “..As more than a friend.”

However, both of them couldn’t help but wonder if they were still going to be platonic with each other.


Back in the current year, Tifa Lockhart, age 23, slowly fluttered her brown eyes open. ‘A dream?’ She thought as she looked up at the ceiling of her own bedroom. A dulling, throbbing pain resided in her brain, probably from the effects of the memory remodeling and the fact her brain was fighting against it. Either way, she remained awake and tried to get her senses focused. There was an old fan a little to the left that she remembered she had to replace, and since summer was coming up soon, she should probably get that done.. It was old and rusty, and Tifa could have sworn it was gonna fall off.. She glanced at the clock. 5:00pm!? ‘Crap, I have to open the bar.. It should have been opened an hour ago.’ Tifa moved her arm to help herself sit up, but was met with a heavy weight on her hand. She blinked and looked at the source.

Elena had fallen asleep by her bedside, holding onto her hand.

Did she watch over me the whole time?’ Tifa asked herself in her mind. Of course, she didn’t know the answer for sure, but that’s what it definitely looked like. Tifa smiled warmly at the girl beside her and sat up completely, still holding Elena’s hand within hers. Thousands of thoughts went through her mind, but the thoughts of how she felt when she was younger burned brightly as she momentarily watched the sleeping form of her friend. She pulled her hand from Elena’s grip and gently stroked the sleeping woman’s hair, “Who would’ve known..”

Subconsciously realizing the absence of Tifa’s hand from her own, Elena began to stir, searching for the source of warmth. Her search was stopped short, though, when she felt a hand gently petting her. She opened her eyes slowly and looked up without moving her head to see Tifa watching her with a smile on her face. ‘Is this a dream..?’ She asked herself in her head.

Once Tifa saw the girl was awake, she withdrew her hand, staring at Elena as if she couldn’t believe she was once the girl that was in her memories. “You up, sleepyhead?”

Elena blinked when she realized it wasn’t a dream. She sat up and looked at Tifa with a panicked, worried expression, “Are you alright?! You suddenly blacked out when we were talking earlier!”

Tifa nodded and ran her hand through her own hair, “I still have a headache, but I’m fine.” She looked at Elena warily, wondering if she remembered the same memories Tifa recalled.

Elena looked at the girl unsurely, as if she doubted Tifa was really okay. She looked fine on the outside, but Elena knew how much those headaches hurt, and it looked like Tifa was having a bad one.. ‘Anyway,’ Elena thought as she fixed her hair habitually, ‘I’ll ask her about the memories.’ She opened her mouth to speak..

“UORYAA!” Then was rudely interrupted by Reno shoving through angry customers, running up the stairs and into the room (without knocking), and saying, “You guys up yet?!” He saw that they were sitting up and put his hands on his hips, saying angrily, “It’s harder to take care of a bar full of MEN when all they want to see is the waitress and the owner, yo!”

Tifa noticed that Elena was going to say something and she was prepared to listen. However, when she saw Reno’s intrusion, she glanced at Elena to find she was peeved at the fact she was interrupted.

Elena had her back to the door, so she was free for a moment to have an annoyed look on her face at the interruption, ‘Ugh.. Reno..! Horrible timing!’ She turned and nodded, waving her hand at him, “Yeah, yeah we’ll be down in a bit! She just recovered, dammit!”

Tifa suppressed a snicker and looked at Reno again, “Yeah. Thanks for taking care of the bar while I was out.”

Reno nodded and changed his angry demeanor to a familiar smirk, “No problem, Boss!” He turned to go back down the stairs, ‘It’s the least I could do for ya, yo.’ He added in his mind. “You better not take too long, yo!” It seemed Reno had received similar orders that Rude had, and of course, he couldn’t tell his comrades, so this was like his own retribution for what ShinRa was going to make him do.

[End notes:

A/N: Wow, there were a few things that could have been done differently in this chapter, and so much I didn’t get to fit in because I didn’t want to make an ‘OMFGWTFWRONGWITHYOU’ long chapter. So look forward to another flashback chapter in the future. XD School starts tomorrow, so updates will probably be slower. I’m glad I got 4 chapters in during the past week-ish, though. I honestly didn’t think I would finish this chapter tonight, but hey, I surprised myself. Thanks for the support, people! Will need some more support for the next chapter to come. *Hint hint*

March 11, 2007 Author’s Note: Yeah I didn’t expect to change much in this chapter.. Though it made me realize that Tifa had already blacked out once, so I shouldn’t make it happen to her again. LOL I might have to edit ch. 10 then.. I’ll go do that soon. I also find it funny and ironic how I thought 5000-6000 words was a really long chapter.. When the chapters just get longer and longer each time D: Chapter 10 is fscking 8000 words ;o;


Chapter 5

Title: Chapter 5: Keep Away

[Author's notes:

March 15, 2007 Author’s Note: Just to let everyone know.. The version of this fic that I’ve posted on DeviantHearts isn’t the latest one. It’s just the revised, slightly edited one. LOL I was just reposting it here. People should really read the author’s notes when they read.. Because I already have 10 chapters of this posted on at And the second Author’s notes are just what I originally wrote when I first created the chapter. So they’re not really updated.. The ones that have the current date are the updated ones.

A/N: Yeah, REALLY sorry about the late late submission. .. I’ve been so busy lately with school starting again and exams that I haven’t had any time at all to work on this ;-;.. But don’t worry! I’m not giving up on this one! Anyways, this chapter has me really stressed out. I’ve restarted about 4 times.. and always at around 11pm-1am or 7am, I’m trying to write more, but it reached such a writer’s block and I really wasn’t satisfied with what I originally had. I keep editing and editing, but even my beta readers didn’t like it as much as the other chapters D:! Honestly, I don’t particularly like the events in this chapter either! . ; But it has to be done in order to push forward with the story. It’s a rather important chapter, so I’ll do my best to make it the best I can, and again, very sorry for the late update.

Oh yeah, I noticed there were some weird MS Word grammar things that changed when I uploaded the previous chapters. Turns out they don’t like “?!” (Question mark, exclamation point) and they just leave it as “!” (Exclamation point). I’ll probably reload some chapters because some of the lines like Reno’s, “You want a piece of me, you bastard!?” in chapter two was changed and it sounded weird, at least to me it did. Shudder “You wanna piece of me, you bastard!” (LMAO. XD)

I’ll try to avoid using that combination of unwanted keys, or I’ll keep note of them and try to edit them in the uploader.

Sidenote: Onee-chan means “Older Sister” That’s what Marlene called Aeris in the movie because they didn’t want to say “Aeris” at all. XD

(Mini-update within the update: I fixed minor corrections in the earlier chapters. Hope it fixed some things D)

The usual disclaimer: FF7 doesn’t belong to me, warning, lesbian alert. D:



Chapter 5: Keep Away

“Hey, Marlene.. Do you really think those are going to grow?” Denzel asked as he sat on a nearby crate. Ever since Cloud left the three of them a while back, Denzel had to take over as the ‘man-of-the-house’ so to speak. Sure, Tifa did most of the work and she was much stronger than Denzel, but he was working on it. Plus, he knew that he would do anything to protect Marlene.

“Of course it will! It’s Onee-chan’s water!” Marlene stated as if it were the most basic knowledge in the world. Even in this little patch of dirt, a few flower seeds with some hope, care, and of course, Aeris’ water, Marlene believed flowers would definitely grow to brighten up the depressing gray atmosphere of Midgar. It was her new project and she was dedicated to it, if only as a kind of monument to the late girl.

Denzel didn’t want to crush Marlene’s dreams, so he left it alone, figuring he’ll just play along. Who knows, they might actually grow in this lifeless Midgar. “Yeah, you’re right. It cured everyone, so of course it can grow some flowers, right?” Letting his hopeful imagination soar a little, he made a fist and held it in front of his face determinedly, “I bet you could even grow a garden with that magic water! Magic flowers that will cure everyone!”

Childish dreams are always so cute.

Marlene smiled excitedly, obviously deceived by the imaginative ideal. She finished watering the plant with the liquid from the Church and crouched beside it, new hope that it would really sprout.

A gentle silence fell between them, but it was neither awkward nor tense. It was a silence of comfort, knowing that someone really cared and supported you.

Denzel swung his legs back and forth, occasionally kicking the crate under him. He was glad that he would be able to hang around Marlene like this. Even though he knew he was supposed to be the one to protect her, he simply felt safe and secure around Marlene. It was as if everything was great as long as he knew she was all right.

However, all good times must come to an end.

Marlene was still crouched beside the patch of dirt which she planted the seeds in when she saw a shadow cover the dim light that was supposed to nourish the plant.

She looked up and her eyes widened at the sight she saw. When you’re a nine-year-old girl and you’re only about the size of a six-foot-five, scary man’s leg, one is bound to be at least a little scared of what might happen when one towers over you.

“Marlene!” Denzel jumped up from his spot on the crate and threw himself in front of Marlene, holding his arms out protectively as he glared at the man. “Who are you?” Denzel promised he would protect her. And even if it meant facing Sephiroth, Denzel would hold his ground fearlessly!

A jolt to the boy’s gut was all it took to knock him down. Much needed air was forced out of his lungs and the abrupt pain shook his nerves. Never had he felt pain like that before; his worst injuries were probably a few bad cuts or the effects of his Geostigma. He could already feel his vision blurring and a sudden urge to cough, but the coughs came out as gasps desperately trying to recover from the blow. A scream could faintly be heard from Marlene as the fading image of her kicked and flailed to get away from the man, and the last thing Denzel could think of before he blacked out was, ‘I wasn’t strong enough to protect her..


For a good minute after Reno left, there was an awkward silence between the two women. Tifa and Elena stared at each other, neither saying a word nor even blinking. So many questions were unanswered and so many thoughts ran through their minds, but how to put them into words? What question would they ask first? Were those memories even truths? Even that they didn’t know.

An intense gaze came from Tifa, as if she was analyzing the girl to make sure she was the same Elena from her memories. She tried to piece together the unique traits that couldn’t have possibly been changed by the years gone by, memory loss, SOLDIER or the Turks. The way Elena would occasionally bite her thumbnail whenever she got nervous or worried, and the way she would get so worked up when she couldn’t do something.

It wasn’t just the little habits, though. It was partially the small physical traits like the way her short, blonde hair fell so perfectly over her right eye, how she always stood with such good posture that she probably wasn’t even aware of.. Even the way Elena fought her a while back in Rocket Town reminded Tifa of the girl from her memories.

They were all things that Tifa had noticed before, but she never really gave them second thoughts. Tifa always thought of herself as observant, but she didn’t even know Cloud’s little habits or intricate details! Yet with Elena, every move seemed so meaningful and important, that Tifa’s eyes would just seem to pick up these things without her even having to examine her or search for them.

It had to be her! Elena had the same name, same age, same brilliant blonde hair color.. And she even recalled the memories herself! Tifa’s eyes began to scan Elena’s features once again with her own curious brown eyes. Elena had the same deep, captivating brown eyes, the same look of insecure pride, the same curve in her back and the same smile that made Tifa almost lose her breath.. Tifa quickly caught herself before she started to think of even more corny adjectives for Elena’s characteristics, ‘Pull yourself together, Tifa!

She was just certain that it was Elena. It was definitely Elena.

Elena’s eyes, however, had a more contemplative look towards Tifa. She began wondering if her whole life and perspective would change if she found out that these ‘memories’ were real. Why wouldn’t they be real? It was definitely possible. She couldn’t remember her past well at all, except a blurry mess with the occasional picture, so that added to the probability. Tifa also seemed like she was remembering things from the same past, but she wasn’t quite definite about that yet. Before Tifa blacked out, she seemed to remember, but ever since Reno left, she hadn’t said anything.

She had to ask, Elena wasn’t the type to leave things hanging, after all.

“Elena..” Tifa finally uttered to break the silence.

Elena blinked to re-focus her eyes, not realizing she had been staring at Tifa without blinking for the past minute. It looked like Tifa beat her to the icebreaker, “Yeah?”

Another short silent moment as Tifa tried to piece together the words she wanted to say. Many candidate questions arose in her head, and she knew she could have asked thousands of different things to Elena in order to confirm her suspicions. Only one question seemed to stand out above the others, and if answered correctly, it could really prove to her whether or not all that she had remembered had actually occurred.

“Do you have a scar on your stomach?” Tifa asked, hoping against hope that the scar was there and she wasn’t just going crazy.

Elena stared at Tifa for a second, dumbfounded by her question. Of all the questions that Elena could think of to ask Tifa, or be asked by Tifa, she had no idea why the hell the brunette would ask her if she had a scar on her stomach. She nearly burst out laughing, but she managed to settle with a simple grin on her face, “Are you sure you’re alright?” She reached out and placed her palm on Tifa’s forehead, a giggle on her lips, “You don’t feel too warm..” Of course, Elena knew her body better than anyone else. Therefore, she knew the answer to that question.

Tifa laughed a little and hit away the hand on her face with her own. Leave it to Elena to break the tension like that, “I’m pretty sure I’m fine!” Tifa crossed her arms and tried to feign annoyance. Yes, she realized how strange it must have sounded, but nonetheless, she restated her question again with an irritated pout, “Do you, or do you not, have a scar on your stomach?”

Elena began to sober up her joking demeanor, but kept that faint grin on her face. She stood up from where she sat, saying to the other girl, “See for yourself.” Elena calmly lifted the hem of her shirt halfway up her midsection, revealing a faded scar. It should have probably looked worse, considering it was originally a really bad gash, but the nano-machines and other enhancements increased her healing and reduced the visibility.

Tifa examined the scar carefully. It was faint, but it was definite. It was in the exact same place it would have been if Elena had really been slashed by a robot when she was a teenager. She slowly reached out towards the scar, just so she could be certain that it was the same skin, and gently placed her fingertips on the area, “It’s real..”

Elena shivered a little at the cold sensation from Tifa’s fingers as they were placed on her abdomen, but she inhaled and let the hem of her shirt fall back down so the scar was covered once more. “Of course it’s real. But how did you know I had this scar?”

Elena sat herself back down on the chair she pulled from the desk earlier. Then, with the same questioning look, she crossed one leg over the other and leaned back, her elbow resting on the top of the backrest. “I don’t even remember how I got it. It’s just always been there.”

Tifa blinked a little, pulling her hand back when the shirt hem fell back down and calling herself out of her contemplation. Elena didn’t remember where she got it? That means she didn’t remember some things from those years ago.. “I remember where you got that scar,” She stated thoughtfully, almost as if educating the woman on something she should have already known. “You fought a test robot for ShinRa to see if human SOLDIERs were more capable than robots.. I was in our dorm afterwards and that was when..” Tifa could feel her cheeks heating up, her conceited demeanor fading. She didn't know how weird the next part would sound to Elena if she didn’t remember, “That was when I told you I liked you.”

Now it was Elena’s turn to be surprised. She didn’t think Tifa remembered anything! She even had to remind her of how they first met! Now suddenly Tifa knew about scars she didn’t remember getting and knowing exactly what happened when she got the scar? “Wait.. I thought I got this scar when..”

Then the memory returned to her.

I like you, Elena. As more than a friend.”

Elena uncrossed her legs and sat up, “I was fighting the SOLDIER X5 Prototype!” She blinked a couple of times, and then looked at Tifa with a bewildered look, “You remembered that?”

Tifa nodded and smiled happily, thankful she wasn’t going crazy. “While I was knocked out.. I remembered a lot of things..” She looked away for a moment, down to the wrinkled sheets of her bed, as she recalled all that she remembered. Then, with a hint of a smirk in her voice, the Ex-Sergeant continued, “I was so cocky and arrogant.. I felt like I could do any mission and do it better than everyone else.” She then gave Elena a sidelong glance and continued, “Especially if I was teamed up with you.”

Elena could feel a familiar redness creep onto her cheeks, but she forced it back, surprised that she would get embarrassed by such a vague comment. Reviving her countenance, she put a smirk onto her face and said, “I was such an amateur back then..” She was now looking back at Tifa head on, “So that means you remember a lot now? Why were we there?” Yet another question was still bugging her in the back of her mind, “..Were we, you know,” Elena lost her nerve and pulled her eyes away, casting them to the window with a deepening color of red on her cheeks, “Together? As in..” She rubbed her knees together in an uncomfortable fashion, “You know..”

“Girlfriends?” Tifa caught a glimpse of the blush on Elena’s cheeks and she laughed a little to herself. The once proud Elena of the Turks could still become embarrassed! Tifa pulled herself to the edge of the bed and let her feet fall to the floor beside it. The memories had definitely implied that something was going on between the two of them, so she had no doubts about that. Her doubts and worries now lay in what she felt at this moment. Did she still have feelings for Elena? She knew that she had been thinking about her a whole lot and all of those emotions bottling up within her were driving her mad.. But did she really feel that way for Elena still?

“Yeah.. That.” Elena noticed Tifa inching to the edge of the bed, but she didn’t move or flinch from her seat beside the bed. She doubted those unusual images at first, put them aside as if they were merely strange dreams that she had recalled.. However, now that she knew that Tifa knew the same thing, and with the recollection of how she felt when she was with Tifa..

Those feelings didn’t seem like they were going to go away anytime soon. She didn’t even know if Tifa still felt the same way at all anymore.

“Elena,” Tifa started with a soft, yet still cautious smile on her face. “I think..” She then glanced up at Elena’s brown eyes once again and felt a warm, familiar impulse run through her body, “No, I know.” Those feelings seemed to give her the extra push of courage, able to be sure that those feelings were correct. So, reaching out and taking Elena’s hand in her own she held it softly as she said, “I was in love with you.”

Elena stared back at Tifa, her jaw slightly dropped as she heard her words. ‘She was in love with me?’ Had Elena been in love with her as well? From the feelings she recalled and the emotions she was currently feeling, she probably was. That would mean that Tifa, the Tifa sitting in front of her right now, was her first love. She gave Elena her first kiss! She nearly smacked herself for not realizing it earlier. Well, she noticed it, but.. At the time she didn’t want to admit it.

Elena smiled. She could see from the look in Tifa’s eyes that the brunette was regretting what she had said and was afraid of how Elena would react. She squeezed Tifa’s hand reassuringly and finally said, “You know..” Elena smiled at her honestly, glad she finally resolved something, “I was in love with you too.”

Tifa felt a swirl of comfort in the middle of her chest, now sure and confident that those memories were real. Now the question was why did they both forget them, and why were they in SOLDIER to begin with? Why did they separate? So many questions and Tifa didn’t think she could figure them out on her own. At least now she knew she wouldn’t have to discover those mysteries alone. Little did Tifa realize that as she was contemplating what was going to happen, her head was slowly gravitating towards Elena’s.

Elena, too, was subconsciously allowing herself to lean forward, in hopes of partaking in a kiss that she had solely forgotten but longed to remember. She inwardly smirked at her own thoughts, ‘Since when have I been so corny and romantic?

“You two coming downstairs or what, yo?” Reno yelled as he marched upstairs and burst through the door.

Wonderful timing, as always, Reno.

The two quickly pulled away from each other, having been barely an inch away from touching lips, and a tint of red appeared on their cheeks simultaneously. Elena, always being the first to backfire at Reno, reverted back to her usual attitude, “God, don’t you ever knock?”


“Reno..” Rude uttered from his spot at the bar, his hand on a mug he was cleaning. He held a look that was different from his usual stoney exterior. It was as if he had been arguing with himself for a long time—debating a situation in his mind—with a look of deep thought on his face.

Reno just finished serving a customer, so a grin was on his face, but once he saw the look on Rude’s face, he immediately became sullen, “What’s wrong, yo? You usually look depressing, but not that depressing.” He said in an effort to cheer up the other guy.

“If you had to betray a friend for your job.. Would you do it?” Rude asked, not taking his eyes off of the counter. Though, of course, one couldn’t tell where he was looking with his sunglasses on all the time.

Reno’s eyes widened at that suggestion. Could it be that Rude was assigned a similar mission that Reno was? “What are you talkin’ about, yo?” Reno put a hand on his own hip and arched an eyebrow, “Who do you have to betray? Me? Elena?” Funny how Rude would say that, though, since Reno’s own mission involved betraying Elena.

Rude shook his head and put the mug down before finally looking up at Reno, “..Tifa.”

“Oi, oi. You’re kidding, right? ShinRa doesn’t have beef with AVALANCHE anymore.”

“It’s not because of AVALANCHE.”

Reno looked a bit more confused, but he crossed his arms anyways, “So why do they want her?”

Rude knew he was already going against his orders by telling Reno, but.. “They said she was an experiment of memory reprogramming. They wanted me to bring her back, but they didn’t say what they would do to her.”

Once Reno heard the word ‘experiment’, he thought of those deformed, gross things that they kept in those giant tubes in the labs. He hated going in there.. It made him wonder how many Jenova babies they had to create before they made those monsters that roamed outside of Midgar’s walls. “Tifa doesn’t look anything like those experiments, though..”

Rude shook his head with a little smirk on his lips. Experiments didn’t have to look like the monsters in the labs.. However, he quickly returned to his point and frowned again, “I don’t want to betray her..”

“Of course not. You have that crush on her, yo!” Reno laughed a bit and put his hands on the counter again, pausing the conversation to serve another customer. Once he returned to private conversation distance and privacy, he continued, “I have a problem like that too though, except it’s Elena.”

Rude stared at him as if he were a ghost, “You.. Like Elena?”

Reno’s eyes went wide and he immediately denied any instance of that assumption, “NO! No no no, yo!” He even waved his arms a little and shook his head to reaffirm his denial; “ShinRa wants me to bring her in by force because she’s supposed to be an experiment. Or used to be one, or something.”

Rude continued to stare, that case was equally shocking.

“I’m not gonna, though. I’m gonna tell her to run away, yo. She’s like our sister, right?” He ran a hand through his hair and said, “Tifa’s been kind of the same to me lately, I guess. Like a sister.”

Rude had so much riding on this decision. Being a Turk had been his life. His father was a Turk, and Rude was raised to become a Turk! He thought he could overcome any kind of obstacle with a straight face as long as it was for ShinRa.. But this seemed to be overriding his whole purpose of living, his purpose being his job as a Turk. After all, what’s the point of living if you can’t protect the ones you love? Rude realized that was all the support he needed. He’d help Reno get Tifa and Elena, and even Denzel and Marlene, out of there. “We have to get them out of here tonight then.”

Reno smirked and nodded, approving of his decision, “Alright! Who cares about ShinRa!” He felt that as long as his friends could be safe, he didn’t care what happened with his job. Not like they could kill him, right?

“Where the hell are they, anyways?” Reno asked out loud, “I called them down fifteen minutes ago!” With that said, he left the bar to be handled by Rude, and walked up the stairs. He was about to knock, when he heard voices inside. Tifa and Elena were discussing something, and being the nosy guy he is, he had to listen in.

Were we, you know, together? As in.. You know..’


Reno’s eyes shot wide open and he couldn’t stop himself from imagining the two women together, locked in a passionate embrac-.. Ack! He forced the thoughts out of his head in order to keep a nosebleed from making an appearance, and then listened more intently.

I was in love with you.’

I was in love with you, too.’

Crap! This is bad! Bad bad bad! If Rude found out about this, he’d be heartbroken! But he deserved to know the truth! Reno began to make his way down the stairs to tell Rude, then realized, ‘Wait.. If they’re suddenly confessing like this..’ He immediately marched back up the stairs and burst through the door, “You coming down or what, yo?” He asked frantically, glad he stopped them before anything serious could happen.


It was needless to say that Tifa and Elena finally came downstairs, greeted by the attention and applause of half of the men who were already in the bar. ‘Perverts.’ The night was in full swing and they seemed like they were going to be busy for a couple of hours into the night. However, something was bothering Tifa..

Denzel and Marlene hadn’t come back yet. She knew that she clearly made a curfew for them to be back before eight o’clock whenever they went out to play.. So where could they possibly be?

While she was lost in her own contemplation, she realized she should have been paying more attention to what she was cooking. “Ouch!” From the sting of pain, she looked down at the source and saw that she had cut herself on her finger. A droplet or two slid from the wound and she sighed at her own disregard, turning on the faucet to clean the wound. She fished a bandage from her pocket, which she made sure to always have on hand now, just in case.

The memory of caring to Elena’s wound the night before revived that warm feeling she got whenever she even thought about the blonde and.. “Speak of the devil.” That same familiar blonde head of hair peeked through the window and brought a grin to Tifa’s face.

“Another house special!” Elena called into the kitchen, a similar grin on her face as well.

“Coming up!” Tifa also placed the previous order onto the window and smirked, “There’s the other one.”

Elena saluted her lazily and took the plate before rushing off to deliver the order.

Reno, however, was suffering from a more guilty conscience. If Tifa and Elena liked each other, then what gave him the right to stop them from being with each other? He should be happy for them! They’ve found happiness within each other, even if he couldn’t find happiness for himself. It made Reno kind of bitter, in a way. Elena could get a girl, why couldn’t he keep one for longer than a month?

Ah, right, it’s because he’s so ‘badass, yo.’ He grinned to himself as he thought about that, and then shook his head at himself.

Maybe he just felt bad for Rude.. After all the poor baldy wanted to sacrifice his job, which was basically his life, in order to save a girl who didn’t even return his feelings! Well he would have still cared for her as a friend, but.. It just didn’t seem fair for the guy!

Rude was resolute, though. Even if it was unrequited love (which he was unaware of), he was going to save Tifa from ShinRa. He knew that when the ShinRa Labs called the Turks to call in an experiment, it was never a good thing.. He would save Tifa and Elena from that no matter what.

Ring ring.

A phone was ringing, but whose was it? Ah, it wasn’t the bar’s phone, it was a PHS. Quickly, Reno left through the back door and answered, switching quickly to his professional mode, “Reno here.”

“Reno, change of plans,” It was President Rufus Shinra. It wasn’t very rare for the president to call the Turks on their PHS’, but it still caught Reno slightly off guard because Rufus would never call on his days off.

“Boss, what’s up?” It was kind of intimidating, being the first one that Rufus would call..

“I need you to retrieve Elena as soon as possible. I’m sending back up Turks to your sector now, the operation will commence in an hour. Understand?”

“..Yeah, I understand, yo.” And with that, he hung up his PHS, his head aching as he thought about the consequences of his next actions.

A similar phone call was delivered to Rude minutes later and Rufus received a similar reply. “Rude, there has been a change of plans. The operation will commence in an hour. I’ve sent back up Turks to your sector, meet them outside of 7th Heaven.” Rufus then added on what he didn’t tell Reno, “Also, let her know that the two children she had been taking care of are with us. She’ll be more willing to come that way.”

“…I understand.” Rude closed his PHS and put it into his jacket pocket once again. His frustration building within him, he balled his hands into fists and punched a nearby wall, attempting to release the tension of his mission with the outburst. He made his way back into the bar and quickly told Reno of the situation. Reno, however, was already aware of what was going on, so all that mattered now was telling Tifa and Elena and getting them out of there.

Rude went into the kitchen while Reno stayed in the bar to talk to Elena.

“Elena! Come here, yo!” Reno called out to the waitress, waving for her to meet him in the back.

Elena soon complied, stepping out to the alley and crossing her arms, “Hurry it up, Reno, we’re busy tonight.”

“That doesn’t matter right now, yo!” Reno put his hands on his hips and narrowed his eyes at her. Then he remembered his purpose for calling her out there and he became somber.

The blonde watched him with confused eyes, waiting for him to speak first. It was truly rare to see Reno like this. So she knew that when he was, it was best to listen because it must be urgent.

“You have to get out of here. Get out of Midgar as soon as you can.” He said, looking at his friend seriously.

Elena’s eyes widened at the suggestion and her eyebrows knit together in concern and confusion, “Hold on.. What?” She shook her head and tried to grasp the sudden circumstances, “..Why?”

“ShinRa.. They’re after you. They’re supposed to be in this sector in an hour to bring you back to HQ and do some freaky experiments on you and Tif, yo!” Reno’s fists were tightly closed and he looked at the blonde, worried about her safety. “I know I’ll probably be fired for this, ‘Lena, but I couldn’t just stand here and let one of my best friends go through what those other lab rats had to go through!”

Elena looked at the fiery redhead, everything suddenly piecing together. ShinRa realized they were regaining their memories and the bastards wanted to recall Elena and Tifa to erase them again! No, Elena couldn’t let that happen! She finally began to remember and that void in her life was starting to fill up again.. She couldn’t just let that slip out of her grasp! She nodded at Reno purposefully and smiled, “Thanks, Reno.”


Rude entered the kitchen to find Tifa cooking up another house special. He felt something catch in his throat as he stepped up to her, so he cleared his throat to get her attention.

“Ah, Rude.” Tifa turned and smiled at him, finishing the dish and putting the completed meal onto the plate. “What’s up? Someone starting a fight out there?”

“..Tifa,” Rude said seriously, removing his sunglasses to look at Tifa properly.

The smile wiped off of Tifa’s face when she saw how serious he was and she immediately stopped cooking, “What’s the matter?” She washed and dried her hands, turning and leaning against the counter she was working on.

“You need to leave Midgar as soon as possible.” He said bluntly, trying to get to the point so they don’t waste any time. “ShinRa is after you for an experiment and they hired the Turks to recapture you in an hour..”

Tifa stared at him for a moment, caught off guard by the sudden information. ShinRa had no reason to be after her! Their differences from Meteor and Sephiroth’s return should have been solved and put aside.

“But, why?” She tensed up and her hands gripped the counter until her knuckles seemed to be turning white. Tifa still had that inward hate for ShinRa still burning within her from the incident with her father, the whole past with Cloud and Zack, and of course, the memory loss of Elena and herself. It was at that moment that she realized exactly why ShinRa wanted her to be recaptured. Her eyes narrowed and her teeth grit, “So that’s it, huh?” They were calling her and probably even Elena back to re-erase their memories! She knew she had to get out of there before the Turks could reach them, but her first concern was, “What about Elena?”

Rude, having not expected that response, let his eyebrows raise in surprise, “You knew about Elena?” He shook the shock out of his head and continued, not wanting to waste time, “Reno’s talking to her. She’s going to escape with you.” Rude found it rather odd that Tifa would place Elena’s safety above her own, but he tried not to dwell on it. He was more worried about how he was going to get them out of there and stall his co-workers and whatever machinery or army they were bringing.

“And what about Marlene and Denzel?” Tifa didn’t know if she was prepared to leave everything behind so quickly, but considering the situation, she knew she had to. She had to protect those she cared about. Tifa still hadn’t changed in that aspect of herself. She always put the safety and concern for others above her own. So since Denzel and Marlene hadn’t returned yet.. She became worried. Where were they?

“ShinRa had captured them as a reason for you to come willingly.. I didn’t find out until a few minutes ago.” He knew it was inevitable that Tifa would have to leave but thinking he wouldn’t be able to see her for a while.. He decided he’d tell her how he felt. “I’ll do my best to make sure they’re safe..”

Marlene and Denzel had been kidnapped.

Tifa felt her chest ache and her head pound at the news. An array of emotions, both her motherly and feminine instincts alarming, saying she had to go rescue them now. She wasn’t even their real mother, yet they were the only family she had left.. She couldn’t just leave them in the hands of ShinRa!

But wait.. She had to think rationally. Tifa wasn’t going to be indecisive and spontaneous. She had to calmly think of a plan.. ‘Think Tifa.. Think!

Tifa felt like it was her fault.. She shouldn’t have let them play outside by themselves! Now they were in the hands of ShinRa so they could use them as bait to capture her.. “Marlene.. Denzel..” No, this isn’t the time to be thinking about what she shouldn’t have done. It’s time to think about what she should do.

Rude lost his nerve to tell Tifa how he felt after seeing the look on Tifa’s face.

They had stood there silently for what felt like forever to Rude, but after a few minutes in reality, Tifa audibly inhaled a deep breath. When she exhaled, there was a difference about her. She wasn’t the insecure, worried-sick mother she was a moment ago, nor was she the confused, pessimistic Ex-SOLDIER bartender. The fire that burned in her eyes was that of Tifa Lockhart, member of AVALANCHE; A strong-willed fighter with her head on her shoulders and determination to follow through.

“Thank you, Rude.” Tifa smiled at him with resolve burning in her eyes, “I’ll escape with Elena for now.. Then we’ll come up with a plan to get Denzel and Marlene out of there.” Her first priority, as any mother figure, was to rescue those children.. But she had to be rational and save herself first. So, not wanting to waste any time, Tifa headed towards her room to gather some of her belongings she felt she’d need.

“…” Rude stood there, cursing himself for his cowardice. He didn’t know when he’d see her again after tonight! He didn’t even know if he would see her ever again! Though.. Perhaps it was better not to tell her yet. After all, they were doing this to make sure Elena and Tifa stayed alive. It gave him more of a reason to ensure that. He’ll have to tell her someday, so she has to be alive to hear it.

[End notes:

Old A/N: Well there you have it. Chapter 5 after much delay and nitpicking of the editing form. God that took a long time. I’m not even completely satisfied with it yet.. There are parts about this one I liked, though. Reno, for example. XD Rude is a surprisingly difficult character to write. He doesn’t say much, so everything is hidden under his mask of stoicism . ; It’s so hard to keep him from being boring. Anyways.. There was much character development in this, at least on Tifa’s part. Elena didn’t get much of a part in this one, sadly. But they finally have instances of romance in present time! This was a long one.. I’m happy about it, for the most part.. It just feels like it’s missing something I.. More action/adventure in the next chapter and hopefully more romantic parts as well! And in later chapters.. Yuffie comes into the picture! D Again.. So sorry for the late submission. I feel like I’m losing readers already.

April 24, 2007 Author's Note: Alright, that took a while.. Just like when I originally wrote this chapter, it was pretty painful to go through because it felt like all the things in this chapter were just.. I dunno. I didn't wanna write them, but it was inevitable, kinda thing. And so it's 3 in the morning, I couldn't sleep from like 1am so I was like "What could I do to make myself sleepy?" And so I started editting this chapter again. I probably missed a few things because I just skimmed through it. Probably couldn't do much to save this chapter anyways XD And I'm actually tired now, so this worked! Anyways, I also plan on entering this fanfic, though incomplete, to fanfic contest for April-May. :3 So I'm writing that in here to show I didn't plagerize XD. But yeah.. I'll get working on chapter 11 pretty soon. Reading over Vagrant's Rhapsody a bit reinspired me some. :D


Chapter 6

Title: Chapter 6: Deadly Duo

[Author's notes:

April 19, 2007 Author's Note: So, it's been a while since I've done any kind of work on this fanfic. XD The last time I touched it was in March and I feel bad.. I had to take kind of a break because I was having some major trouble with my girlfriend, or rather, ex-girlfriend, and now I'm single again. Yeah, getting dumped ain't so pretty. D: But yeah! Now I'm back into it and editting over my chapters again. Then I'll start on 11, which is gonna be a fun chapter :3 More memories woo!

Old A/N: Alrighty, I’m picking up where I left off in chapter 5. It was kind of cliffhangy, wasn’t it? I won’t leave you like that XD. I’ve confirmed that doesn’t like exclamation points and question marks together. I’ll stop using them . ; Unless I convert to .txt files.. But.. Meh. XD. Anyways.. Yay, first fight scene!

Note: For better reading, download the FF7: OST (Final Fantasy 7: Original Soundtrack) and listen to:

Lurking in the Darkness” in the beginning,
Hurry” after the ‘Vrrm.’
Still More Fighting” after Tifa’s line, ‘Come and get me, you ShinRa bastards!’
4-14 Jenova Absolute” after ‘SOLDIER X5.’
Either “The ShinRa Corporation”, “Turks Theme” or “Those Chosen by the Planet” after ‘However..’ (Personally, I like “The Shinra Corporation”)
J” (Yes, that’s a song name) after ‘The cavalry has come!’
Cid’s Theme” after ‘Tifa! Long time no see!’

Those were the songs that I listened to while I was writing the sections. XD Kinda fits the imagery I was going for. If it were the game, I’d definitely put those songs in there. There’s also an optional one for the end, preferably if you have the FF7: Piano Collection.. “Ahead on Our Way” In the piano collection is good for the ending. It’s a tearjerker, that song.. But Cid’s Theme works up until the end as well. I’ve bolded or marked most of the song-change places if anyone seems interested. XD

Disclaimer/Warnings: The usual, I don’t own FF7, and I’m not making any moneys.. And there are lesbians. Shoujo-ai. Yuri. Femmeslash.. Whatever you want to call it. ‘If that’s not your cup of tea then why did you come to this tea party?



Chapter 6: Deadly Duo

The streets of Midgar were no longer the slums they once were. Once upon a time, the streets of the Slums overshadowed by a giant 'pizza' in the sky. The night sky became open after Meteor, and the people of the city were able to see the stars and moon that everyone seemed to have forgotten existed. That is, the survivors were able to. For a place as technologically advanced as Midgar once was, the streets were almost eerily peaceful in sector 7. In the midst of the night, no one dared to step into the open air. Why? With such a history as Midgar's of terrorist activity and apocalyptic crisis, no one ever wanted to leave their house. Therefore, the streets were normally quite peaceful.

However, that night was anything but one of those peaceful nights.

Dozens of cars and motorcycles sped down the streets, heading to the locals’ favorite bar “7th Heaven”. The bar was the only constant refuge for those wanting to escape their daily lives. However, this time, it would be the opposite for Tifa and Elena. 7th Heaven was their gunpoint for the night.

The duo created an impromptu escape plan, but they weren’t alone as they escaped from the bar. In the sky, a helicopter flew overhead, and some patrol bots followed behind the mini-army of Turks within a select few of the vehicles..

That's an exaggeration. There were actually only about five Turks.

But behind the stampede of vehicles.. The Behemoth of them all trudged, rolled, and terrorized it’s merry way down the street, hoping to catch two maidens as its prey.

Although it was unconventional, Tifa and Elena rushed their panicked selves through the sewers of New Midgar. They had said their quick farewells to Reno and Rude, but they weren’t able to say anything to their customers. They didn’t want ShinRa to have any other leads as to where they went and how they escaped.

It seems they should be worrying more about how they were supposed to get out of Midgar, though. “From the paths we already took, I’m guessing we should be in Sector 5 right now,” Elena stated, head tilted up in searching her immediate vicinity for a passage or manhole to the surface. Sector 5’s abandoned church was near the closest exit of Midgar, so if they could just make it that far, they’d be able to manage at least to Kalm.

Tifa glanced about their current area, trying to formulate a plan to first, get out of the sewer and second, sneak out of Midgar unnoticed. Even though the situation was dire and it was important for the two of them to escape safely, Tifa couldn’t help but feel the thrill and rush of excitement from escaping like this. It was as if they were prisoners of war sneaking out of the POW camp. It reminded her vaguely of the missions from SOLDIER that she would lead.. The sense of purpose and survival that coursed through her veins and the quick, spontaneous thinking she had to maintain. She felt the same rush and adrenaline, the same sense of responsibility and command that she knew so well.

“There’s a manhole over here!” Elena called from a few meters away. The blonde began to climb the ladder to open it, but..


This time, the pounding and vibrations weren’t coming from their heads, thank goodness. It was an external pulsation, and it was faint, but it was definite. Normal people probably wouldn’t have been able to feel it, but Elena and Tifa weren’t exactly normal people, were they?


They were coming.

Elena stepped down from that first rung and looked at Tifa seriously, “What should we do?” Elena was never a leader; she was always so indecisive and unable to be in control. She could never allow herself to have the lives of others placed in her hands like Tifa could. Tifa knew how to handle situations, and that’s one of the things Elena admired about the woman.

The look on Elena’s face was once again of the SOLDIER under the order of her commanding officer, prepared to battle frontline at a moment’s notice for her leader.

Tifa shut her eyes and listened to the rumblings above them, “The big one we heard has a couple of little patrol bots with it.. And a bunch more trailing behind.. There doesn’t seem to be any people unless they’re inside the machines, and Sector 5 must have been cleared out to capture us..” Tifa mused, her heightened senses allowing her to analyze the ground above them. In order to escape from Midgar, they had to go through this sector, “They knew we’d come here because it’s the closest exit without having to cross at least three sectors..”

Tifa knew it wasn’t time to reflect on what they did wrong, so she shook her head and refocused on the situation. They had to somehow get out of the manhole and past the patrol bots undetected, but how were they supposed to manage that?

“Hold on..” Elena said, narrowing her eyes at the manhole as she listened as well, “Doesn’t it sound like they’ve surrounded this manhole?” A patrol bot was right above them and two others were behind it, with many more coming. Could they have known where they were?

Elena reviewed her memory for the files of the robots that she dealt with in ShinRa.. Which of them could have known where they were without vision sensors?

“They must have used the X6 series with heat sensors..!” Elena came to the realization, “They know we’re down here!” If the robots knew they were there, that would mean reinforcements were going to come soon.. Come to think of it, the robots could have easily blasted through the ground and caught them. Well, they wouldn’t because that would be destroying Midgar streets more, causing for repairs, which costs money.. And they probably didn’t want to kill Elena and Tifa.. The robots wanted to capture them, and if they failed, the Turks and others would come for them as well.

Tifa’s eyes opened and she stared up at the manhole as well, “Damn it!” So much for sneaking out of there unnoticed.. The only way they could get out now was to fight their way through and hope they get out before even more reinforcements come!

First thoughts, both of them exiting through the same spot may prove to be a disadvantage. One of them had to find another manhole, plus if they had heat sensors, then some of the robots might follow and spread out the fighting a little bit..

Second thoughts, “Hey, Elena, are you still a good fighter?”

Elena stared at the girl in disbelief. Tifa really thought they could fight through all of those robots single-handedly?

Third thoughts.. Then again, why couldn’t they? They had done it many times before! Even after SOLDIER, they were still going up against countless machinery in battle during Meteor!

Still, Elena usually had Reno and Rude fighting by her side.. But, it didn’t mean she doubted her skills at all! She knew she could have taken those robots on! Well, maybe not alone.. And not all of them..

..Well, Tifa was there with her! They could have a little contest between who beat more robots! Yeah! It’s not that she was scared of fighting alone..! Elena was a strong, independent Turk. And Ex-SOLDIER! It was just.. Reassuring. You know, that Tifa was with her. It was reassuring to know that Tifa would be fighting by her side.

So summoning all of her confidence and pulling out her Ice Baton, her basic Turk elemental weapon (One of the items she never leaves the house without), Elena grinned at Tifa. Elena didn't know where the company got the Batons, but they were basically mastered Ice Materia embedded or something into the Mythril. Anyways, she knew what was coming next. There was a time she could have taken on thirty of these robots at once.. A few like this would be nothing! “You should know that I’m better than you now, Lockhart.” She stated with a challenging tone.

Tifa grinned when she saw the air of confidence in Elena and she pulled her fighting gloves from her pocket, “We’ll see about that, rookie.” Now Tifa was excited about busting up some ShinRa robots.. But strategy comes before primal robot-bloodlust, “Find another manhole, first.. There should be one down a little further. I’ll come up through here and act as a main decoy and you attack from behind. Only a few of them would follow your heat signal.”

Elena nodded, knowing it was best to follow Tifa’s orders. She made her way further into the corridor, checking her equipment as she approached the next manhole. Though she couldn’t see Tifa from where she was, she could hear and sense if the girl had gone up to begin fighting.

Sure, the majority of the robots had stayed to guard Tifa’s exit, but many also followed Elena to the new one..

Elena patiently waited for a signal, her eyes shut as she clutched onto the second rung of the ladder from the exit..

Come and get me, you ShinRa bastards!

There it is! Elena grabbed hold of the top rung and swung herself upside down, planting her feet on the roof to kick the manhole open. She landed on one of the robots and used her elemental weapon to freeze it instantly. She stood on top of it for a second, her arms crossed assertively and a smirk of self-assurance on her face. ‘Gotta look cool, even if there’s no one really watching.’

It was a strange, sudden surge of power and confidence that she never really realized she had as a Turk. Even when fighting with Rude and Reno, she didn’t feel nearly as strong as she did when she was fighting beside Tifa. So being with Tifa and remembering the training they went through in SOLDIER probably gave that power to her.

Before the frozen patrol bot could thaw, she stomped down on it hard and caused it to shatter into millions of bits under her feet. Now that the situation came up where she had to fight more robots, Elena couldn’t help but wish she had Reno’s Lightning Baton.. Still, ice had its many uses as well.

“Ice 2!” Elena called as she cast the spell onto the ground in front of some of the oncoming robots. Many of them slipped and failed to reach her, so she focused on those that were between her, Tifa and the exit of Midgar. That exit which, ironically, was blocked by the biggest machine of them all, appropriately named, “Behemoth”. It was more like a tank than anything, and the side had the word ‘Behemoth’ painted on.. One would think ShinRa would try to make it a little more inconspicuous.

Tifa, on the other hand, seemed to be enjoying herself more than one would expect when fighting for your life. She had a fire burning in her eyes; A passion for battle that she hadn’t forgotten, but needed to revive from its peaceful lifestyle. She was starting to take out robots in two or three hits!

A quick combo. Boom. Spinning hook kick. Crash.

All the while, Tifa was avoiding the bullets and blades that were swinging in her direction. Tifa was definitely in the zone. The fighter felt a rhythm, flowing in the way she moved and the beat she kept her hits, and if anyone were to watch her consistently, they would believe that she was dancing. She truly made martial arts an art.

Elena similarly captured the beauty of the way magic was supposed to be used. She didn’t only use magic, though. She also utilized her own physical enhancements to her advantage, embedding her physical hits with magical assistance. The blonde was like poetry in motion, her ice magic creating an icy blue-grey spiral around her as she spun and cast. She was dancing and reminiscing with her instincts, moving as a deadly reincarnation of the ice queen, Shiva.

Soon, both of the heroines met in the middle once again. They stood back to back proudly, a land of ice on Elena’s side and a land of broken, spark-filled robot debris on Tifa’s. They were prepared. They were more than prepared to take on the rest of the machinery, this time fighting as joined souls.

The beauty and grace of their attacks interlaced as they fought. The pair was a breathtaking duo that blended and moved as one, none ever contradicting the other. Two maidens bound by a fate that none could attempt to sever. An identical alternative to the legendary Noir, two women who held bloodstained hands and carried the burden of death on their shoulders. They were inseparable, they were destined.. They were definitely meant for each other.

Truly, it was a sight to behold, watching Elena and Tifa fight together. It was as if they were dancing an intricate, choreographed dance of destruction. They were beautiful in every aspect, and both even wore smiles of concentrated nostalgic peace on their faces, as any couple would wear when dancing with their one true love. Their attacks were a display of physical and magical power, ice trails floating in the air as fists and feet cut through to connect.

After about a dozen more robots were destroyed effectively, all there was left remaining (until ShinRa sent in more) was the Behemoth.

The Ex-SOLDIERs prepared for the encounter, but the tank remained static, refusing to clear the way for the two to sneak out of Midgar. Instead, a compartment on the roof of the monstrosity opened. A silver and black robot, shaped as a female humanoid SOLDIER leaped out, flipping and landing right in front of the beastly tank with a strange, robotic fluidity. If it weren’t so obviously metal, it would have almost looked like a riding suit for motorcyclists. The way it was designed and built so sleekly, one couldn’t help but wonder if ShinRa created it for battle or for display.

Elena’s eyes narrowed in questioning as she stared at the machine, “That robot..” She had never remembered studying the files of the private files of every single robot, since she only really needed to know the ones she dealt with. This humanoid machine, though, seemed vaguely familiar.

SOLDIER X5. It was the robot that gave Elena that scar! A new, upgraded model, obviously, but it was the same design and build. The only difference was that now, rather than being shaped like a mech or some version of the Hulk, it had the slender, petite build of a female.. This was going to be a fun battle for the blonde.

The robot dashed forward, its arm transforming into a blade as it thrust towards the pair. Tifa and Elena didn’t hesitate to jump aside, avoiding the blade smoothly, but that was what the druid anticipated. It flipped forward onto a one-handed handstand, balancing itself perfectly as it aimed its feet in the respective direction of each woman. Concealed weaponry in the feet of the robot aimed and fired bullets at Elena and Tifa, catching them off guard and narrowly grazing both of their shoulders.

Tifa grasped her own shoulder for a second, the sting of the cut shocking her back into reality. She knew that she had to concentrate, yet relax. She had to react quickly, yet think rationally and not be taken by surprise like she just was! If she had her materia.. Things would have been a lot easier! ‘I’d kill for a Haste or a Summon right about now..

Elena bit down the pain from the sudden bullet, knowing it was amateur of her to even get hit by it. In the corner of her eye, she saw Tifa wince and the fire for revenge in Elena’s eyes burned even more brightly. No one dares hurt Tifa! Not now, not ever! She knew Tifa would be all right, but it still pissed her off.

Elena decided to be the one to make the first move this time. She cast ice on the ground to make a path towards the robot, then jumped towards the path, landing on one of the damaged robots and using it as a makeshift ice-board to surf along the surface. Once she got close enough, the X5 began its attack as well, starting a dash towards the oncoming blonde.

Tifa, however, was approaching the robot from the side taking the non-frozen path so she wouldn’t have to worry about slipping. She had to estimate the exact time and location Elena and the robot would make contact at the speed they were going and the ice factor. Tifa sped to that point, full speed even lacking her Haste materia.

The blonde flipped off of the board and barely avoided the slice from the blade. While she was upside down and airborne above the robot, she managed to reach her hands out and grab hold of its head firmly with a prepared, highly concentrated Ice 3 spell. Instantly, she froze the head as she held onto it in the air. She only had a second to perform the move and soon, Tifa came in from the side with all of her momentum, jumped and did a flying side kick on the SOLDIER imitation. The result from having its frozen head held in place and a kick of that much power delivered from the side was certain doom for the robot as its body was swiftly removed from its head.


Rather than a flurry of sparks emitting from the top of the robot’s headless form.. Blood, tainted black and red, spilled from the android.

Tifa stared, eyes wide with surprise as she watched the body, which she thought was fully robotic, bleed like a human would.

Elena held the frozen head for a moment staring with disbelief, but quickly dropped it once she saw the blood from where the neck should have been. It shattered upon contact with the ground unintentionally, but the confusion was still fresh in Elena’s eyes. “..Blood?” What could this mean? All of the other robots were completely metal with no biological parts at all! Even the previous X5 prototypes were completely robotic. Elena remembered this well from when she was still in SOLDIER. She had destroyed one in battle, after all, and she clearly recalled there not being any blood whatsoever from the robot.

The two of them stood silently for a moment, confusion and disturbance warping their minds.

“Bravo, you two. Looks like even a combination of biological and mechanical technology couldn’t defeat the Prodigies.” A voice echoed, supposedly from inside of the tank.

Both Tifa and Elena turned to the Behemoth, eyes narrowed and in their fighting stances. Looks like there was an actual person inside the tank as well. The fact that the two had unintentionally and unknowingly killed the person inside the X5 was now in the back of their minds, but after going through their whole lives witnessing death and destruction from their own hands, it didn’t affect them nearly as much as it would have before they joined SOLDIER.

“As you may have guessed, there was an actual human inside of that robot,” The voice continued, an obvious smirk on the person’s face according to their tone, “You see, after you proved you were not loyal to ShinRa, it was a great loss for SOLDIER.” The voice was feminine, but the person didn’t even bother to leave the confines of the Behemoth, probably for fear of immediate death or something similar. “We were forced to erase your memories, but we kept you in Midgar for close observation in case we could use you again in the future.”

Tifa grit her teeth and she could feel her fingers tighten her fist. This woman made them sound like pawns! As if they could control them with a switch or command at any time! ShinRa.. Ugh.. She hated them so much.. But she knew she had to stay calm.. They wouldn’t be able to penetrate that tank with just fists and ice. Plus, what was more important was getting out of there as soon as they could.

Elena seemed more curious about what the woman was saying, and though she kept her weapon at ready, she still questioned her, “Who are you? Why did ShinRa erase our memories?”

Who I am is not important, and that information is confidential, Elena.” The woman let out an almost sadistic laugh, one that reminded both Tifa and Elena of another certain mad scientist who was named Hojo. “ShinRa tried everything they could to recreate another like you two, but only resulted in failure after failure. You could even say that how Sephiroth was to the Jenova cells are what you two are with the Eva cells. Eva cells were injected into women, but their side effects were..” A hesitation from the voice, possibly to think of the proper word to use in the situation, “I suppose you could say they were, ‘Frequent’ and in often cases, ‘Disturbing’.. You two were the only ones who passed those tests without any side-effects.”

Tifa suddenly felt disturbed. This woman, whom she didn’t know, was comparing her to Sephiroth, the madman who tried to destroy the world. Sephiroth was one of the reasons she came to hate ShinRa so passionately. He was the reason for all of Cloud’s turmoil and caused all of them so much misery. Comparing her to such a person wouldn’t exactly sway her to join ShinRa again. What she was more worried about was the robot they just decimated. Frequent and disturbing side effects.. Tifa couldn’t help but shudder at the thought of how many more women were back at the labs, going through what this headless android had to go through. It was a real person, but was it just some random kidnapping on the street? Were the people voluntary? Would Marlene and Denzel go through the same thing if they weren’t fast enough? How many times have they tried to create SOLDIERs like them anyways? “So what we just killed..”

“Bingo! That woman, number 114, was a failed experiment. It must have been an honor for her to die at the hands of the Prodigies, but it’s not like her brain could even comprehend an honor, or even anything, anymore after all of her injections and treatments. She was merely a puppet. A near-lifeless mannequin who had no other reason to live than to serve ShinRa.” The mysterious woman’s voice sounded so vaguely familiar, but neither Elena nor Tifa could quite put their finger on who she was. Still, she had no right to take healthy women, inject stuff into them to make them vegetables, then call them puppets and send them to their own demise!

“You monsters..!” Elena growled, her hand gripping her weapon as she prepared an attack.

The voice laughed again, a sickeningly heartfelt laugh, considering the situation, “Don’t be so hasty, now! None of them would have had to go through what they did if you two just stayed with ShinRa.” The woman was toying with them, “Now just be good girls and come back to HQ with us, then those other women won’t have to suffer anymore, right?” Actually, all of them knew that ShinRa, being as greedy and power hungry as they were, would still have tried to create more female SOLDIERs, and even if Tifa and Elena went back with them, they wouldn’t stop their tests. Both of them stood their ground, not making any movement to let the woman believe they were even considering the idea.

The mystery woman let out another of those disgustingly haughty, boisterous laughs.

“I didn’t think so.. Too bad, though. I guess it was worth a shot!” Both Tifa and Elena swore that if that woman laughed that manic laugh again, she’d sorely wish she hadn’t. Because there would definitely be a foot lodged into her throat before she could even finish laughing, whether it would be Tifa’s or Elena’s foot depends on who’s faster. “But I digress, ladies.. The cavalry has come!

Tifa and Elena turned to see an army of motorcycles and machines racing towards them. “..Fuck.” Tifa then scowled at the fact that they both let the woman talk for so long as to buy time for the reinforcements to arrive. They should have at least tried to get past the tank.

Elena shook her head, not believing they were going to get captured so easily, “Tch.. Dammit! What are we supposed to do now?” Now that there were hundreds of other machines and people to fight, it would be that much harder trying to get past the tank!

Tifa looked on, believing there was hope even in the most seemingly hopeless situations, “I’m thinking, I’m thinking..!” From the way it looks.. They might have to fight them off again. But with the amount of energy they used on the first battle, she didn’t know how long they would last against an army like that.

Just then, a black and blue airship, which was designed more like a jet fighter (or the “Celsius”), flew overhead from outside of Midgar. It looked well prepared for battle and speedy as well, with a smooth, aerodynamic build and some visible artillery. There were most likely hidden missiles and other things hidden inside, but this was no time for analyzing! Whoever built this ship was definitely talented in technology and weaponry.

It sped over the army, placing bombs and other explosives on some of the bulkier looking parts of it. The two fighters stared in disbelief, wondering if this jet was on their side or not..

Once the pilot knew for sure that the army was held off for the few minutes they needed, a rope ladder dropped down from the vessel and a girl’s voice called out to them, “Tifa! Long time no see!”

Tifa gasped, her eyes wider than saucers as she stared up at the jet. “That voice.. No.. It couldn’t be..” But who else could it have been? Still.. Tifa was there when she died..

Elena, however, had already begun climbing. Their little prayers of hope had been answered by some anomaly in a jet fighter! “Tifa, what’s wrong? Let’s get going!” It was obvious that this person had some kind of beef against ShinRa and they knew Tifa, so any enemy of ShinRa was a friend of theirs!

Tifa soon followed up the ladder, almost suspiciously, after Elena. This person.. That voice that she recognized so clearly.. She couldn’t believe it. She wouldn’t believe it until she saw the pilot with her own two eyes.

“You’re not getting away this time, my Prodigies!” The voice from the Behemoth called. The tank aimed its guns towards the jet and fired, hoping to delay its departure. The bullets hit some parts of the metallic hull of the jet, but it didn’t do much more than that. It was clearly built to last in battle, and the two who were climbing the rope ladder just had to hope the bullets didn’t hit them or the ropes.

Once Tifa had finally made it into the airship after the blonde, narrowly avoiding a couple of last gunshots from the Behemoth, the hatch closed and the fighter quickly took off towards the exit of Midgar. However, it didn’t look like the Behemoth was quite finished yet. Out of what seemed to be the mouth of the beast, a missile launched, zooming its way through the air and towards the airship.

However, since the pilot had excellent maneuvering skills, she managed to dodge the missile long enough for it to fly into the ocean and do no harm to anyone.

Once they were in the clear, Elena collapsed onto her back with a relieved sigh onto the metal floor, laughing with an almost silly grin on her face, “We made it, Tifa!” Now that they escaped from that close call, Elena felt a great sense of pride and luck in the fact that they avoided death once again!

Tifa smiled as she leaned against the metal wall, laughing a little as well, “That was a close one..” She felt more exhausted than anything, but the brunette pulled herself onto her feet. There was still something troubling her in the back of her mind. Who saved them..? Was it the person she suspected? She had to find out.. Still, she knew it couldn’t be..

However, first thing’s first. She walked over and stood in front of Elena and held out her hand with a warm smile on her face, “Another victory, right?”

Elena opened her eyes, then looked up at Tifa with a similar smile on her face. She took the hand and stood up with her assistance, softly saying, “Yeah, another victory.” It was such a nostalgic feeling, fighting alongside her old commanding officer again.. Even after such a long time apart, their connection and bond with each other still remained perfect, and it showed in the way they moved with each other on the battlefield.

Once Elena was standing, Tifa still didn’t let go of her hand. It wasn’t a big gesture, but she wanted to somehow show that the feelings she recalled from SOLDIER hadn’t disappeared with her memories. So they walked, hand in hand towards the cockpit to meet the person who saved them from certain doom.

The door slid open at the press of a button and the pilot’s chair was still turned around towards the controls, there was a head of brown hair tied back into a somewhat messy ponytail.. The pilot set the plane on cruise control, and then she turned the chair around. The girl was smiling widely as she saw the two women standing there, “Hey, Tif. How’ve you been?”

Tifa stared in disbelief, shaking her head as she fought back the tears threatening to well up in her eyes. “Jessie..? It couldn’t be.. It was just her imagination.. Jessie died in Midgar when the pillar holding the plate for sector 7 was destroyed! Biggs and Wedge died too! Barret nearly had a breakdown and they had to go save Aeris..! With a bit of an iffy feeling, Tifa wondered if Jessie felt hostile towards the other original members of AVALANCHE such as Barret and Cloud because they never looked to see if they were alive.. Well it wasn’t like they could.. And with a pillar and explosion so close, one would assume they were dead anyways.

“The one and only!” Jessie replied, saluting the two of them with a wink, “Can’t get rid of me that easily.”

[End notes:

Old A/N: END OF CHAPTER 6! Yay! Fufufu.. Most of you probably thought Jessie was Aeris in the middle, there, DIDN’T YOU? XD Aeris in a jet.. Doesn’t seem to fit to me, plus I can’t make up a way to bring her back, since they seem to LOVE having her dead in the actual game and movie so she can use her godly powers to gameshark you and make you win.

Anyway, for those of you who don’t remember Jessie.. FOR SHAME! She was one of my favorite minor characters in the game! Along with Elena and some others.. Jessie was an original member of AVALANCHE, along with Biggs and Wedge. Wonder if anyone spotted the irony in the last line.. Since she’s the only Jessie ever, but Biggs and Wedge have been in like 5 other games.. Jessie was the bomb technician girl for AVALANCHE and she had a crush on Cloud for a time..? She got her leg stuck in one of the reactor missions and you had to pull her leg out so she could unlock the door. XD I’ll explain more in the next chapter. Geez, I hope some people remember her at least.. DISC ONE PEOPLE! MIDGAR!

Also..! The next chapter is the one most people (Or some.. Or maybe just me..) Have been waiting for! YUFFIE’S DEBUT!

So, as always, saw something you really liked and stuck out? Saw something you didn’t like and want me to fix or be more aware of? IF SO.. REVIEW PLEASE. Hell, either way, review.. I want to know if anyone’s actually reading anymore. This chapter came faster than 5 did because I actually liked what I was writing this time. Chapter 5 was so blah for me. The reviews really helped a lot.. I NEED SUPPORT AND MOTIVATION TO WRITE MORE CHAPTERS!

May 8, 2007 Author's Note: Alright I was doing this in Info Tech class again. LOL I did the whole thing in one hour, so I'm quite proud of myself. I keep putting this fic off because my life has been pretty hectic lately, but don't worry, everyone.. I'll get it done eventually! XD Please be patient with me. It takes me bursts of inspiration to get through chapters.. But I'm always reinspired after reading the fight scene in this chapter. God that was such a good scene.. ;o;.. Anyways.. Yeah.. Class is about to end so I should get going. :3


Chapter 7

Title: Chapter 7: Appreciation

[Author's notes:

A/N: Yay, chapter 7! Anyways, yeah.. FINALLY, Yuffie gets to come in! But first, I’ll have to explain the whole Jessie thing, don’t I? How did she know to come save them? How did she escape death from the sector 7 pillar? Ohoho..! You’ll see! But a quick note.. The game didn’t develop her personality much other than she likes flashy things and that she hated ShinRa.. So if she seems out of character to you.. Sorry, it’s how I imagine her to act and I don’t have much to work with.. You don’t have much to fall back on anyhow, do you? XD Also, I don’t know what age she was, but I assume she’s younger than Tifa.. Maybe 16-17-ish during Meteor. That’s just my take on it though.

Also note, Yuffie’s birthday is on Nov. 20, from what my instruction booklet says. Since it’s warm enough for them to be walking around at night without freezing to death, I assume that 3 years after Meteor would make her about 18. I’d say Jessie was about the same age.. And Tifa and Elena are 23. (Tifa’s birthday is on May 3. I assume this would take place after May.) Though.. The ages probably wouldn’t have mattered anyways. This is just me being uptight XD.

Oh. And I know Yuffie’s a part of “Intelligence” teams in games like Dirge of Cerberus and Kingdom Hearts 2.. So I don’t mean to make her not fit that role. It’ll all be explained in later chapters. Maybe. =D

Disclaimer: Don’t own FF7 or any of the characters, unless I decide to introduce a new one, which I was considering. I’ll see how I feel. XD



Chapter 7: Appreciation

“Jessie.. How.. When..” Tifa was speechless as she released Elena’s hand to take a step towards the long-lost girl. She couldn’t even will her lips to form the questions she wanted to ask her old friend. It was simply so unbelievable, that this girl everyone thought was crushed by a pillar was sitting not even two meters away from her.

How did she survive that explosion, that fall from the pillar, and all of those rocks crashing down? How did she get out of Sector 7 if they couldn’t even get into the Sector from the Wall Market? The passages were completely blocked by debris.. Was she angry with her, Barret and Cloud for not trying to see if she was alive? Were Biggs and Wedge alive? How did she know to come save her and Elena at that time and place?

..How the hell does she have such a nice airship?

Jessie stood up when she saw her old friend’s confusion. She placed a hand gently on Tifa’s shoulder, just to prove she was real, if nothing else. “How did I survive?” Her clothes were considerably different from the rebel attire she used to wear, but inside, she was still the same person. Instead of green pants and gray armor on top of a blue shirt, Jessie had a slightly less colorful tone to her outfit. Even with the different clothes, though, she still sported a red bandana as a remembrance symbol for her fallen comrades.

Tifa nodded, still not trusting her voice completely to speak. She still recalled the insecure, young teenager from three years before, so it still shocked her to no end as she looked at the girl in front of her. Tifa wasn’t surprised to see that the demolitionist had changed through that time, appearing more confident and experienced than when they were in AVALANCHE. However, she could still see glimpses of the girl she knew, that talented girl who usually kept to herself, but always got the job done. Sure, she had a few setbacks, but who doesn’t? No one’s perfect, after all.

“It’s kind of a long story..” Jessie started, an uneasy smile on her face as she pulled her hand back. It was great to see Tifa again after all those years, but it still hurt her to think back on it. At the time, she knew that AVALANCHE had made a pact with each other. If anything were to happen to some of the members, the rest would still go on and fight for World Restoration. Still, the fact that she was still alive and they didn’t even bother to check.. It would make anyone feel betrayed and alone.

A nod came from Tifa once again, “It’s okay. We’ve got time to listen.” She knew that she had to save Denzel and Marlene, but they had to plan and recruit before they could do so.. Jessie would be an asset to that kind of mission and anyways, after finding out someone survived a Sector plate falling on them after three years, you’d be able to spare a bit of time to listen to their story!

Jessie began her explanation of how she managed to survive such a disaster, “The explosion from the Sector 7 pillar threw me off of the staircase.. And when I landed, I broke a couple of bones..” She subconsciously rubbed the arm she had broken at the time, glancing out towards the direction the plane was flying. “You’d think I’d hate bombs and stuff after that, but I don’t,” She joked. “Lucky for me, though, a big portion of the Sector-separating walls and the plate left a space where I fell, so I didn’t get crushed.”

Tifa shook her head slowly, glancing away to the metal floor, “If we could have somehow gotten through that entrance.. If we tried harder to find you guys rather than assume you were dead..” Elena stood next to her, offering as much comfort as she could in this kind of situation.

“It’s all right, Tif, really. You guys just followed the pact. I understand completely.” Jessie still had one of her hands on the opposite arm, but she bent that one as well to give herself a self-hug for more comfort, continuing her tale, “..I looked for Biggs and Wedge, but I knew they were already gone, and at the time, I thought I’d die with them.” She shuddered a little, remembering how scared and truly alone she felt. “But a search team led by Rude came by, looking for any survivors, and brought me back to ShinRa. They healed me, and then asked me if I knew anything about AVALANCHE. I denied because I thought the rest of you were gone too..”

Tifa and Elena listened intently, but kept silent to allow Jessie to finish her story. Tifa still had some questions, but they could be asked later.

“I was pretty beaten up from that pillar, so I had to be hospitalized for a while, but when I recovered, I worked as a technician for ShinRa for a while, even though I was still against their cause.” Jessie grinned a little, “For a teenager to get into ShinRa’s technical team, I must have some pretty good brains, huh?”

Attempting to lighten the slightly sullen mood, she crossed her arms, “I was in a different department from the Turks, but I still had good terms with Rude and Reno because I gave them custom elemental weapons, Fire, Lightning and Ice Batons.” She glanced at the Ice Baton Elena carried and grinned, “But I quit that job at ShinRa a while ago, but I still had the ship I built while I was there.” She touched the chair she was sitting in earlier and smiled, “ShinRa let me have it for a bit of a price, even though I made more than half of it myself.. But I think it was worth it!”

Jessie, getting more comfortable with telling the story, finished off, “Reno and Rude would still call me for tech help when they really needed it, plus I think they knew that I was a part of AVALANCHE at some point. That’s why they called me when you guys were escaping. Imagine my surprise when they said that one of them was, ‘Tifa Lockhart of AVALANCHE’.” Jessie put her hands on her hips and smirked a little, “Ex-SOLDIERs, huh? I had no idea.”

“Neither did we,” Tifa said with a sigh, rubbing the bridge of her nose. She still seemed rather stressed out about the whole ordeal. “At least not until yesterday.” Tifa was kind of shocked that none of the Turks told her about Jessie. She glanced at Elena to see if she knew Jessie at all, but the blonde looked like she had never met the technician in her life.

Jessie had a questioning look on her face due to the answer she received, but she didn’t ask about it. The younger brunette glanced over to Elena, who was standing there a little uneasily. Elena didn’t know this girl, but Tifa seemed to know her well.. Jessie faced her and started to speak, “I’ve seen you before.. We’ve never really met because I was in the development department in Junon, but you’re a Turk, right?” She held out her hand for a handshake towards the blonde, “I’m Jessie, nice to meet you.”

Elena blinked a couple of times, but accepted the handshake offer, “I was a Turk, but I’m not quite so sure anymore. After a stunt like that, I think I can safely say I’ve been fired.” Elena shifted her eyes off to the side, running a hand through her blonde hair, “Plus, after what’s happened, I don’t want to work there anymore.”

The trio felt the ship begin to slow down as they approached Fort Condor, and quickly, Jessie hopped back into her seat, “We’ll stop here.. I know that there will be people in Junon looking for the ‘Ragnarok’ and us. The people here are pretty much up for anything that’s anti-ShinRa.”


The job of a ninja and a thief is never complete. No matter how many missions he or she finishes, no matter who they work for or where they live.. There is always more to do in the world. Of course, for the greatest ninja in the world, Yuffie Kisaragi, that rule was absolute. Even though she had restored Wutai’s pride and economy with all the money she made and rare materia she had, she still felt unsatisfied and unfulfilled. The exciting life of a ninja would always be the life for her. And that meant a life with lots and lots of Gil and possessions.

“Nyuk nyuk nyuk.. Easy target..” She whispered to herself while clinging to a wall beside a window. Sleep materia was definitely a thief’s best friend. The effects won’t last very long, and a sudden noise would probably wake up the victims, but none of that would be an issue for Yuffie. She’ll be in and out with a blink of an eye.

Yuffie had upgraded since her last excavation for treasure. Now, instead of targeting common folk houses, her target was a rich businessman, who lived in a mansion and had two guards right outside of the door to his safe. “Irresponsible guards who can’t seem to stay awake, right?” She whispered into the face of one of the sleeping guards. While she was there, she might as well taunt them a little up close. “Outwitted by a teenager!” She smirked, sticking her tongue out at the guard and crossing her eyes to make herself even more comical.

Well, while I’m here..’ She thought deviously, pulling out a black marker. Then, like the aspiring artist she could never dream of becoming, the thief began scribbling on the two guard’s faces. One with common sense would break in first, then leave right away without leaving a trace.. But Yuffie had much more confidence than that. Once she was finished her work of art, she stood back to admire her creations. ‘Perfect.’

Silently tip-toeing around the sleeping beauties, Yuffie pulled out her lock-picking needles. Too bad the room with the safe didn’t have any windows on the outside.. It would have made her job a whole lot easier. However, it would have been significantly less fun and exciting if it had been too easy. ‘Alright.. Just push this a little and pull it up..’ She had her ear pressed against the door, and her tongue licked her own lips as she concentrated on the lock.. ‘Almost there..’

Ring ring.

The ninja froze in place, her eyes wide with disbelief. “..Shit.” That did not just ring. ‘Ugh.. I knew I forgot something!’ She forgot to turn off the ringer on her PHS. Frantically, she reached to silence the phone, but it looked like her masterpieces had risen already. Yuffie knew that one of her adventures would lead to a battle again, and it looked like this was going to be one of them! She pulled out her Four-Point Shuriken and got into her fighting stance.

The seemingly more easy-going guard sat up from his spot and looked around, dazed and confused. He looked over to his partner, obviously clueless as to what was going on, but before he could even begin to speak, he was interrupted by his own burst of laughter. He pointed at his partner with one hand and held his stomach with the other, obviously entertained by the appearance of his comrade.

The more serious guard saw his partner laugh at him, and a vein practically appeared on his forehead, his fists clenching in anger. How dare he laugh at him when his face looked so stupid and.. He glanced at his reflection in the glass and saw the hideous, yet comical, drawings on his face. Spotting the thief facing them with a smirk on her face, he automatically knew the culprit.

“You little brat..!” The dolled up, infuriated guard called out as he charged towards her with his fist raised.

Yuffie is normally able and prepared to fight at any time.. But.. This time it was different. She took one look at the guard, charging towards her with the ‘beautiful’ image on his face, and she just cracked up. Holding her stomach tightly to minimally contain her laughter, she pointed at the man and laughed as hard as her stomach would let her. Tears of joy welled up in her eyes, but sadly, a conveniently placed electronic cage made her sober up straight away.

“Got you now, you thief!” The other animated guard called into the cage.

It was needless to say that Yuffie was laughing, or at least snickering, until she got to the jail.

Sure, it was shameful for the world’s greatest ninja to be caught by lower-class guards in such a manner, but she had to admit that it was well worth it. Plus, she had tons of people she could call when she was in a jam like this! “Let’s see..” Her Dad was out of the question. They were having another fight because she didn’t want to get married to some strange guy she didn’t know. Cloud seemed to be out on some adventure again. Barret had Marlene to preoccupy him. Cid had his newborn and his wife.. Cait Sith, or Reeve rather, was out of the question as well. She never really liked the guy. Vincent.. Nah. She didn’t know where the hell he was, and he probably wouldn’t bail her out anyways. So that just left..


Ah, how ironic it was.. The one person she would want to impress ended up being the only person she could call in her time of need. She picked up the phone and dialed the woman’s PHS cell phone number, ‘C’mon, Tifa.. Pick up.. I only get one phone call!

The device rang on the other end of the line. Tifa blinked awake at the piercing noise, apologizing to Elena, on the other bed, for waking her up. Groggily, she picked up her cell phone and looked at the display to see who was calling. It wasn’t anyone she knew, but she might as well pick it up.. Just in case it’s something important, maybe from Rude or Reno, or ShinRa about Marlene and Denzel. She cleared her throat and answered the call, “Hello?”

Tifa! It’s about time you answered!

“Yuffie?” Tifa asked, sitting up in her bed. Well, it wasn’t exactly her bed, but Jessie’s airship had cabins and she was in one of those beds. They said they’d stay for a bit at Fort Condor, but.. Their beds were just too gross. Everyone seemed to use them, and AVALANCHE only used them because they were desperate.

Yeah! Long time no talk, huh?” The energetic voice rang on the other end, “Actually, I was wondering if you could.. Bail me out of Kalm Jail?

Tifa practically smacked herself for answering the phone. She was losing valuable rest over this? She fell back with her hand on her forehead, onto the pillow she had desperately wanted to fall asleep on again, “What happened to being the World’s Greatest Thief?” The fighter stated sarcastically.

That’s World’s Greatest Ninja, Missy.” Yuffie said back, an obvious grin on her face judging from the tone of her voice. “And it was a cleverly set up trap! I’ll explain it to you if you bail me out! I know you have tons of cash buried under those breasts of yours!

Reflexively, Tifa covered her chest and looked insulted, “I don’t think that’s something you should be saying to the person who can save you, you little..!” She was about to hang up, but..

Okay, okay! I’m sorry! I didn’t mean it!” Yuffie was desperate now. She had never been caught in a prison before, and she was sure she could have picked her way out, but they took her lock-picking needles and her bobby pins! “I’ll owe you one!

Tifa was a naturally kind person. So, despite how annoying Yuffie could be sometimes, she still felt obligated to help her fellow AVALANCHE member. “Fine, but you owe me one.” And with that said, she hung up her PHS.

“All right! Thanks, Ti-“ Dial tone. Geez. Just because she called in the middle of the night doesn’t mean she has to be so testy! Yuffie hung up as well and crossed her arms, “Tch. Must be PMSing.” She laughed a little, then looked at the guard who was making sure she wasn’t calling to get someone to sneak a nail file in or something. She saluted the guard with a wink, but the man remained unimpressed, leading her back to her cell promptly.

Once back in her cell, Yuffie stood in the middle, putting her hands on her hips, “Man! Everyone has to learn how to relax a bit.” She looked over to the bed they provided her with and.. “Aw, sick!” She refused to even sit on that. The ninja also noticed that there was a toilet in the back of the room.. What the hell! They expect the Great Yuffie Kisaragi to do her ‘business’ out in the open like this?

Okay, whatever! That does it! She sat cross-legged in the middle of the cell, folding her arms and bowing her head with closed eyes. “I’ll just sit here until Tifa comes.” Of course, she didn’t know how long that would be.. But it was better than touching anything else in this filthy dump. Now what could she do to pass the time? Make shadow puppets..? Hah. With what light? She shook her head, dismissing the idea. That wasn’t going to entertain her anyways.

She ruffled her own hair in frustration as she reflected on her earlier attempt, “Why couldn’t I get the loot this time?” She asked herself out loud. One of the guards arched an eyebrow at her, but she shook her head and decided to keep her mouth shut. Contemplating the reason for her failure, she listed what she had done from beginning to end.

First, she used the sleep materia. That was a good start. Then she mocked the guards a little, wasting valuable time. Aha, mistake one. Then, she drew on the guard’s faces. Mistake two. She had forgotten to turn off her cell phone ringer. Mistake three. Wow, Yuffie was on a roll, wasn’t she? All of those mistakes ended up in one big fall in the end, resulting in her being captured and taken here.

..Well, there was a good side to all of this.

She’d get to see Tifa again.


An excited puppy at the pound. That’s the only image that came to Tifa’s mind when she freed Yuffie from her jail. The hyperactive teen’s eyes were lit up, she practically jumped out of the cell when she saw the dark-haired fighter.. And Tifa knew that if Yuffie had a tail, it would be wagging back and forth. “Tifa! I knew you’d come for me!”

“And what if I didn’t?” Tifa replied, grinning as she began to walk towards the exit. “I spent all of the money I had left on bailing you out, you know. You owe me big time.”

“Don’t say that! You did come for me and I could pay you back easily.” Yuffie declared proudly. Living her life as a thief and a high-class ninja did enable her to many riches, after all. Plus, since her father practically owned Wutai, she was considered a ‘princess’ of some sort to the country.

“Yeah, well.. I have two friends with me outside. I have something really important to take care of, and I might need your help,” Tifa started, opening the front entrance of the jail and beginning to walk through the blue, cobblestone streets of the town. “It’s a long story, but I’ll fill you in. We just need all the help we can get.”

“No problemo, Tifa! The Great Ninja Yuffie, at your service!” Yuffie exclaimed, knowing she’d rather go on an adventure with Tifa than steal from petty mansions any day. Curiosity was eating at her, though. Tifa said she brought two friends with her.. She assumed one was Cloud, so maybe the other one was Barret? Still, he had Marlene to take care of, but.. Tifa would have referred to them by their names, not something as vague as ‘two friends’. Well, might as well ask! “So who are your friends?”

“Elena and Jessie,” The ex-SOLDIER replied. That brought a shocked reaction from the ninja.

Elena? The Turk? Why her?” Yuffie asked, disbelief clearly showing on her countenance. Weren’t they practically enemies to begin with? Of course, Yuffie didn’t know much about the Turks other than they were ShinRa scum who did the dirty work. And all she knew about Elena was she was captured in Wutai by Don Corneo with her. A slight shudder came from Yuffie at that thought, but she quickly pushed the memory away. She wasn’t about to recall that sickening event anyways.

“Really, really long story.. I’ll explain to you later on the airship.” Tifa sighed, a look of exhaustion and exasperation coloring her already tired looking features. Considering it was the middle of the night, and all of the events which had occurred in the past few days.. Or hell, just that night, were weighing her down. All she wanted to do now was get a good night’s rest and hope tomorrow everything somehow solves itself.. She knew better than that, though.

“..Airship?” Yuffie paled, her normally colored skin turning a ghostly white. Her last experience with an airship.. Was Cid’s Highwind. And of course, everyone knows what happens when Yuffie is in an airship.

Tifa saw the look of dread appear on the teenager’s face. One would think someone who would be turning 19 soon would have gotten over the motion/air-sickness after 3 years.. With a sly grin on her face, she arched an eyebrow at the ninja, “Could it be that you still get airsick?”

Yuffie had a caught look on her face. She quickly turned her head away and crossed her arms, a defiant expression trying to cover the shamed one; “I haven’t even stepped onto an airship since Meteor! Like I’d go through that hell again willingly.” She eyed the smirk on the other woman’s face and quickly looked away again, a little ‘Hmph!’ coming through her nose. “I usually walk, unlike you lazy bums.”

Tifa shook her head at the girl and began walking towards the airship, “Well, we lazy bums have to get places faster than your legs can carry you.” She looked over her shoulder to see if the girl was following, but kept speaking, “If we didn’t have the airship, you would have been sitting in that jail until morning.”

The ninja grimaced at the logic. That was definitely true.. She wouldn’t have wanted to be sitting there for so long. Even the greatest ninja in the world has limits to her patience! She followed after the long-haired brunette reluctantly, wondering if they were going to take off soon.

“Elena’s probably still asleep, but I had to wake up Jessie to fly this thing.. You might want to thank her. Or apologize to her.” Tifa said as she walked up the ramp and into the ship. Sure, Tifa had her chances of flying Cid’s airship before, but this piece of machinery was way more complex than anything she had ever handled. Of course she had to wake up the technician.

“Jessie?” Yuffie was still unfamiliar with the name, since she had never met Jessie in her life. She had joined AVALANCHE after the party had escaped from Midgar. She was only a part of the adventure from Junon onwards, so all of the members of the original AVALANCHE were unknown to her. Barret, Cloud, Tifa and Aeris never even wanted to speak about them, so they almost never did. Yuffie barely recalled the story, but she asked anyways. It could have been another Jessie. “Hey.. Didn’t you guys say she was dead?” She stepped up the ramp and stood beside Tifa, a confused expression on her countenance.

Tifa paused a moment before activating the switch to pull the ramp up. It really still did hurt, remembering what happened in Midgar. She was thankful that Jessie survived, but so many depressing memories accompanied that thankfulness. For a moment, the halls were pitch black, but soon lights turned on near the floor so they could see where they stepped. “I did say that, didn’t I..?” She forced a small smile onto her face, “I actually also thought she was dead until earlier today.” Tifa said softly, as if her words would awaken her blonde comrade if she were to speak too loudly.

The shorter teenager followed her closely, the new surroundings reminding her of a shinier version of Cid’s Highwind. She shivered slightly at the memory, but listened to Tifa anyways. Although it would seem unlikely, Yuffie sympathized with the girl, not wanting to crack any jokes or comments at what was clearly serious for the brunette. “Oh..”

“But I told you.. I’ll explain everything later.” Tifa paused at a door in the corridor, putting her hand near the control panel, “Down the hall is the bridge. Jessie should still be in there.” She smiled faintly at the ninja, though it couldn’t be seen very well with the current lighting. Soon, she continued, still in a hushed whisper, “I’m gonna get some more rest. It’s been a long night.” And with that said, she pressed a button to open the door to the cabin, a hissing sound emitting from the mechanism.

Yuffie whispered, after what seemed to be a bit of hesitation. “Wait, Tifa.” Yuffie reached out and touched Tifa’s arm to stop her from moving into the room. Pushing her pride back again, she spoke in an even softer tone, “..Thanks.” She had tried to say it earlier on the phone, but Tifa had already hung up.

Tifa looked a little surprised. It wasn’t like the selfish ninja to offer her appreciation as she did, and even though she did, Tifa would think that Jessie deserved more thanks than she did. Either way, it was a gesture that was well welcomed by the long-haired Ex-SOLDIER, “You’re welcome, Yuffie.” She said with a more genuine smile, which could be sensed in the tone of her whispered voice. “Good night.”

Yuffie pulled her hand back and nodded, watching as the fighter stepped into the dark room. The door hissed shut and Yuffie looked down at her own partially lit feet. With her hands behind her back, she kicked a little at nothing. It was a small gesture, but the bashful smile, that couldn’t really be seen on her face, showed that she was proud of herself for saying what she did to Tifa. So, though apologies and thanks weren’t really the ninja’s cup of tea, she felt she might as well continue this little streak of hers. It gave her a warm kind of feeling, but maybe that was because of the person she had been speaking to. Well, only one way to find out!

Moving her hands to the back of her head, she walked down the hall to the end doorway, where an illuminated sign that read “Bridge” hung. Subconsciously taking a deep breath, Yuffie steeled herself and opened the door. This room was brighter than the hallways, but that was probably because there were people asleep in the other rooms. Yuffie had to readjust her eyes for a moment before speaking, “Hey.. Anyone here?”

Jessie had been working at the computer near the navigation console, but she turned her head at the voice. This must have been the person Tifa was talking about. A previous AVALANCHE member who helped them defeat Sephiroth, huh? She looked about Jessie’s age, and judging from what Tifa had told her, Jessie couldn’t help but wonder what she was really like. “Just me here.” She swung around her seat so she was fully facing the stranger, “I’m Jessie. Nice to meet you.”

When the technician had to deal with business and meeting people, she learned some valuable communication skills. However, if she were to face a situation similar to when she was making Cloud’s ID card on that Midgar train, or when she had just spoken to Cloud in general, she knew she would revert back to her old habits. Currently, Jessie was wearing her glasses because she didn’t think anyone would be around, but now that she was facing someone, she hastily removed the spectacles. With a tint of pink on her cheeks, she held out her hand, hoping the new member of their team wouldn’t adjust to that image of her.

Yuffie smiled at the girl, grasping her hand and returning the handshake. “I’m Yuffie.” She released her hand and took note of the action where she removed her glasses, but she didn’t dwell on it. “I just wanted to thank you, yenno, for flying all the way here to pick me up.” She rubbed the back of her neck a little, a nervous smile on her face. It felt a little weird, thanking someone she didn’t even know.

Jessie replied, “No problem! I’m always willing to fly this baby.” She pat the console beside her, the smile on her face switching to a grin. She had heard from Tifa that the thief they were picking up really hated flying. Jessie just thought she’d joke around with her a little to get rid of the awkward feeling right away.

Yuffie, however, froze at the statement. If she was always willing to fly, that meant they would be flying a lot. That didn’t comfort her one bit, and suddenly she felt like jumping outside and not going along with Tifa and the others.. But she knew she would regret it. For more than one reason.

Jessie caught the look on the girl’s face and laughed a little, “I’m just joking, but we will have to fly eventually.”

How did she know..?’ Yuffie asked herself in her mind. Is it that obvious that she gets airsick? She started a sentence, “How did you..” but trailed off a little, just eyeing the girl suspiciously.

“Tifa told me,” Jessie replied, the grin switching back to the kinder smile she had on earlier.

“I should have known,” Yuffie shook her head, putting her hands on her hips. “What else did she tell you?”

The brown haired pilot looked up as she tried to remember, “Not much, except that you’re a thief and a ninja.” Jessie still found it interesting, that she was in front of someone with such skillful physical talents. It was admirable to her since she wasn’t exactly the best fighter around. Sure, she could hold herself with a gun or other kinds of weapons, but compared to Biggs, Tifa, Cloud and Barret, she wasn’t particularly up for the challenge. She was more of a behind the scenes worker, and she enjoyed it that way.. But she would rather be able to defend herself without having to rely on others. So the fact that this girl, who was her age, could do such feats.. It amazed her.

“Correction. I’m the Greatest Ninja in the World.” Yuffie boasted with a wide smile on her face. Compared to the way Jessie saw Yuffie, Yuffie probably saw the opposite point of view towards Jessie herself. Here sat a girl, who was her age, who could understand all of that technology mumbo-jumbo that she couldn’t even think about reading. She was even a pilot! Yuffie knew she wouldn’t be able to stand even being near the controls of an airship when it was in motion. She might.. ruin the controls. Either way, the ninja found those talents to be accomplishments beyond her reach. She wished she could have skills like those.

Of course, neither voiced their opinions. How strange would it be for someone you’d barely met to tell you that they admired your talents? It would be like talking to some kind of celebrity!

“You can get some rest in one of the cabins. I’ll show you to a room..” Jessie said as she stood from her seat. However, from the fact that she, herself, hadn’t gotten enough sleep and the sudden motion of standing, a sudden dizzy moment came over her and she stumbled a little. Lucky for her, Yuffie had good reflexes.

“Whoa!” Yuffie exclaimed when she reached out to steady the girl, catching her carefully, “Maybe you should take your own advice!” The ninja appeared concerned as she held onto her for a moment to make sure the brunette wouldn’t fall again. “Are you alright?”

Feeling the strong arms catch her and wrap around her, Jessie couldn’t help but relish the warm feeling for a moment. She had never been in a relationship, and she was an orphan as well, so the comfort of a hug was rare for her.. It dizzied her, so Jessie brought a hand up to her own temples and tried to center herself. She nodded a little when she was asked if she was alright, but soon regained her balance and smiled at Yuffie appreciatively, “Thanks.. I probably got up too fast.” A blush colored her cheeks, but she tried to force it back.

Yuffie shot her a look that screamed a sarcastic, ‘Yeah, right.’ The ninja knew better than that.

Then Jessie caved, “..I guess you’re right. I’ll get some rest too.” She pulled back from the awkward, accidental embrace, and rubbed her arm with an embarrassed look.

The Wutaian nodded, glad that the girl would take her advice. “Good. Wouldn’t want you crashing the plane because of drowsiness.”

“Yeah..” Jessie looked away, realizing that that could very well become a case if she didn’t get enough rest. She started walking towards the door, saying, “Tifa and Elena are probably asleep in that cabin right now.. You can stay in mine, if you want.” Jessie hoped the girl wouldn’t get the wrong kind of idea.. There were only a few beds per cabin and since Tifa and Elena were asleep already, it would be disturbing for a new person to barge in. That’s the only reason, of course! Consideration!

“Yeah, good idea.” Yuffie said, following after her, “You don’t snore, do you?” She asked with a grin.

[End notes:

July 10, 2007 Author's Note: I'll just post the rest of it without re-proofreading them. I was pretty satisfied with the later chapters XD

A/N: So there’s chapter 7! I like it, but I don’t know how others would really feel about it. It’s more of a light-humored chapter compared to the others, and it’s mainly character development and history storyline.. The love triangle that will form soon will be interesting, but it’s more like some weird kind of square or curved shape, if you add Jessie into it. XD I hope I explained how she survived well enough.. I love writing Yuffie, and now that I’ve kind of established the current emotions, I think I know where it’s going to go. I was really hung up on what to do, as most of you on know, but hey. I know you guys want me to get to the romance-y stuff already, but I kind of like the pace I’m going. I might put another memory chapter in soon, but I haven’t decided if it’s going to be 8 or 9. Anyways, hope things make more sense now and some questions were answered. XD Reviews please!


Chapter 8

Title: Chapter 8: Pillow Talk

[Author's notes:

July 17, 2007 Author's note: So I wrote this chapter after I got together with my ex. *shrug* So kind of.. disregard the Author's note at the end. 

Old A/N: Well, after a long and mind-wracking break.. I’ve come to chapter 8 of Ex-SOLDIER Tifa. Though, I think it should be called Ex-SOLDIER Tifa and Elena, but that just sounds icky. Plus I need that irony in there.

Okay, so this chapter.. It’s very Tifa/Elena centric, so I apologize if anyone was looking forward to any more Turks, Yuffie and/or Jessie development. That might come in next chapter. I also think I start to repeat myself or get carried away in some parts.. so just bear with my desperate need to express everything I feel needs expressing in that section.

Disclaimer: FF7 isn’t mine. Lesbians in this story. Watch where you step or dog crap might get on your shoe. I don’t have a dog though. XD



Chapter 8: Pillow Talk

Tifa stepped into the dark cabin, the door hissing behind her. To her, it felt like this night would never end. Morning seemed so far away, but she knew it was fast approaching. All she had to do was get some rest and it would be daylight. And yet, here she was, still wide awake and on her feet. She knew that sleep would be the best option. That way, she wouldn’t be too tired during the day, she’d have a clearer, more rational mind for planning and decision making.. Still, it was easier to count the reasons she should get to sleep - trying to force herself to fall asleep was another matter entirely.

Although it was difficult in the dark, Tifa managed to make her way over to one of the beds without injuring herself. To be stealthy and silent were some of the minimum requirements for SOLDIER, so it just came naturally to Tifa now. Still, at times, stealth wouldn’t be enough against an opponent with sensitive hearing, or sharp eyes. It seemed, though, that the only person Tifa could never sneak past was Elena. She would try to surprise the blonde when she was asleep, back when they were SOLDIERs, but Elena would always wake up and stalemate it somehow.

Right.. She’s always been a really light sleeper, hasn’t she?’ Tifa remembered with a small smile on her face. Even through the dark, she glanced in the direction of the blonde’s bed, ‘She probably woke up when the door opened.

As if on cue, the rustling of sheets could be heard from the other bed, indicating the blonde was shifting herself. A soft sigh could be heard, but the figure soon relaxed again.

“Hmm..” Tifa examined the figure on the other bed for a moment, a smirk appearing on her lips, “Quit pretending to sleep, you little liar.”

A soft “Hmph” could be heard from the blonde, but she kept her back turned towards Tifa. She saw the whole scene at the door with Yuffie. How dare that annoying little ninja suddenly call and jump into their mission? From what she remembered, Yuffie was thieving, conniving, rude, hot-tempered, and impulsive! Of course, she didn’t know the Wutaian as well as the members of AVALANCHE, but Elena did know that she was going to intrude on this mission..

And she also felt irritated by those good-night words she said to Tifa.. ‘And the fact that Tifa actually went to pick up the spoiled brat!’ Elena shifted her body in the guest bed uncomfortably..

She was not jealous!

What would she be jealous of? Yuffie Kisaragi? Hardly. Just because she was able to travel with Tifa during Meteor.. And Elena hadn’t even known of her feelings until a couple of days ago..

Just because of the way Yuffie thanked her and touched her arm, and how Tifa responded with that warm smile.. Elena had tensed up, her insecure anger boiling up inside her.. So maybe she was a little jealous. Elena wanted Tifa to look at her that way!

There was more movement in the room again. This time, the rustling came from Tifa’s end of the room. However, they weren’t sheets that were in motion. They were clothes. Since she had to go down and pick up Yuffie; that meant she had to change back into her usual attire. Tifa wanted to wear something a little more comfortable when she went to bed. So she was glad the lights were off because she could simply take off the black vest and dark shorts.

She knew she previously had a relationship with Elena, but it had still been a long while since she was actually undressed in front of the woman. That meant she was still a little shy and self-conscious about her own body. It has been a while since she had done any fighting, so she may have put on a bit of weight.. That would make any girl feel a little self-conscious.

It was strange.. Just a little while ago, Tifa and Elena were practically strangers. Elena was merely a Turk and Tifa was merely a Bartender and ex-AVALANCHE Member. Neither would have guessed that they shared a hidden past with each other.. And even though they had the memories of SOLDIER, they also had the memories of Meteor. Things were definitely different, now that she compared the two.

“You just have to work on your stealth, Tif.” Elena finally responded, a little smirk now present on her face. How entertaining.

A silent moment, then a little more rustling could be heard from Tifa’s side, this time from the sheets of her bed. It wasn’t nearly enough to indicate she actually slipped into the bed, so Elena assumed she just laid herself down without putting on the covers.

The blonde had a lot on her mind to contemplate while she waited for Tifa to pick up Yuffie. Sometimes it was exactly what she would need to sort out her troubles, a few moments alone, lying in her bed. She’d stare into nothingness just to clear her mind of uncertainties. So to have those rare moments disturbed, and by a certain annoying ninja accompanying Tifa to their room no less.. It caused a small flame of jealousy to ignite in Elena’s stomach again, as she had felt earlier, and she grit her teeth discreetly when she had listened to their conversation. Still, Elena could sense.. No, Elena just knew.. That Tifa didn’t have any feelings for the Ninja. It wasn’t just her gut feeling or a sense of denial and stubborn pride within her. She knew for sure. Elena just had to remind herself of that fact so her worries would be admonished. ‘Tifa doesn’t like Yuffie!’ She repeated in her mind.

Still, that didn’t stop her from feeling a little uneasy.

The two former lovers currently lay there in their respective, separate beds for another long, dragging moment. Neither really knew what to say, though they knew they wanted to say so much that was on their minds. Neither even knew what to think, really, even though they subconsciously thought about everything that had happened anyways. And through the past few hours, even though they had so much time together and opportunities to speak about the still confusing issue, they still haven’t addressed it seriously.

What had taken place that night.. What had been happening in their minds through the past few days.. It all came so quickly that they couldn’t even really stop to smell the roses. They didn’t have time to stop and smell the roses. Hell, they didn’t even have time to pack anything!

They both knew the other was awake.. They both wanted to say something. But what would they say?

“..So we picked up a new recruit,” When it came to ice-breakers, Tifa was the master. She wanted to lighten this thick mood, even if it was just temporarily, “Yuffie Kisaragi. You probably remember her from that little incident in Wutai,” It was clear there was a grin on Tifa’s lips, even if Elena’s back was turned to her.

“Ugh.. How could I forget?” Elena grimaced at the memory of Don Corneo and his lackeys hanging her and Yuffie off of the Da Chao Mountains. A fat, old pervert kidnapping young women for his own sick pleasure. Geez, how creepy can you get? Thank goodness Rude and Reno were there.. Oh, and AVALANCHE, of course. But even though she recalled that event so clearly that it would still give her nightmares sometimes, she still didn’t know Yuffie too well. She only knew the fact that she was unbearably annoying.

“I think she’d be an asset to our mission,” Tifa rolled onto her side so she could face Elena, whose back was still turned to her, and she continued to smile to herself. The fighter could sense the venom in Elena’s voice, and she could see how she tensed up through her silhouette. Could it be that she was jealous? Aww, how cute. “She could infiltrate the security systems and disable the alarms before we go in to attack.”

Another small “Hmph” could be heard from Elena’s side of the room, but she didn’t say anything other than that.

That confirmed it for Tifa. Elena was jealous! She hopped off her bed and sat on the edge of Elena’s, laughing a little. The sudden addition of weight caused Elena to bounce a little, though she tried to remain nonchalant. Tifa leaned over so she could see the blonde’s face, that smug grin still on her face, “Are you jealous?” Tifa asked. She knew the other woman would deny it, but she wanted to tease her about it anyways.

Elena blinked as the smirking brunette suddenly came into view, but she regained that composure and she frowned almost immediately, “I am not jealous!”

See? She knew she would deny it! “You are so jealous! It’s written all over your face!” Tifa poked at her forehead some.

Elena swatted her hand away and allowed a little smile through her proud façade, “Why would I be jealous?” She quickly reverted back to her faux-mask of nonchalance, turning over to face the brunette and redirecting Tifa so she wouldn’t be towering over her.

“No reason!” Tifa rested her head on the opposite end of Elena’s pillow, that smug smirk still on her face as she watched the frustrated blonde, “Because you have nothing to worry about.” Tifa smiled and snaked one of her hands around Elena’s waist, “I don’t have any feelings for Yuffie.”

Elena almost sighed in relief, but she kept silent. She didn’t know what to make of the contact.. Was Tifa coming on to her? Did she still have feelings for her? All Elena felt she could do was to stare into this strong brunette’s eyes and hope for the best. The feelings she had so many years ago were still burning deep inside herself, and judging from the way Tifa looked at her and how she acted towards her.. She probably felt the same way.. Of course, Elena wasn’t going to assume, but she could still hope. So there they lay, side by side, silently staring at each other through the darkness.

Once again, it was Tifa who broke the silence, “Elena..” She was thinking of similar things, and now with the blonde so close to her for the first time in years. To have her in her arms again after such a long separation.. She just had to ask.

She had to know, “What are we?”

What a vague question, Elena thought. Is there really an answer to it? The blonde’s mind raced and her heart pounded against her chest. What were they? They were 23-year-old women on the run from a major corporation. They were former employees of a bar in the slums. They were Ex-SOLDIERs who rebelled and got their memories erased. They were fighters who yearned for the heat of battle once again. They were survivors, even in a world as cruel as theirs.. They were once lovers, together in some kind of fateful bond that didn’t want to be broken. But really, what were they? Guess that all depends on what Tifa meant by the question, probably.. “I don’t know, Tifa..”

The brunette didn’t move, she didn’t want to shift her body; She feared that if she were to move even an inch, she would wake up and this would all be some kind of weird dream.. She feared that if she were to move, Elena would wiggle away from her grasp, from her touch, and she would have lost her once again.. But still, the answer that Elena gave her wasn’t satisfying enough.

Although she feared the outcome of her actions, Tifa inched a little bit forward. She moved the hand that was wrapped around Elena’s waist up to her face, not losing eye contact with her. Then, tucking a loose lock of blonde hair behind Elena’s ear, she gently cupped her cheek, whispering, “Elena.. Do you still have feelings for me?”

“Wh-.. I-I..” She stuttered out, a lump catching in her throat. She knew her cheeks must have been a dark red because she could feel the heat rising to them. She was so close.. Elena could almost feel her breath on her lips! Just a little closer and..! ‘Oh man..’ Her mind raced a million miles a minute, ‘What do I say? Do I still like her? Well, yes.. But am I ready to say so? What’ll happen if I do? Maybe she’s just playing around because she remembers we used to be together. Well, she doesn’t seem like she’s playing around.. Maybe she still likes me! It sure seems like it, but.. Oh Shiva, that’s hoping for too much. Crap, I’ve been silent for too long! I have to say something! Anything! Just speak, Elena!’

Instead of speaking, though, Elena figured her actions were a thousand times more meaningful. She was acting impulsively, but she didn’t care. Elena closed the space between her and Tifa, wrapping her arm around her waist and pressing her lips firmly against the brunette’s. Years of separation and loneliness poured forth into the passion of that one kiss, that one little interaction between the two women meaning so much deeper within. And although the kiss probably only lasted a short time, it felt like an eternity for the two.

Once they finally, reluctantly, pulled away, they were breathless. Not only had it been so long since they’ve felt the love of another in that way, but it had never felt so dizzying before.

Finally, Tifa decided to respond, a warm smile present on her lips, “I’ll take that as a yes..”

“Likewise..” Elena replied, a similar smile on her face.

Soon enough, the effects of the day and the comfort the other brought were enough to lull the two to sleep. There were so many things to worry about, so many things to plan, and so many things to stress over.. But for now, for at least this one night, both of them could forget about it all and just focus on the warmth of the other and the sounds of their interlaced heartbeats.


Where am I..?

I don’t know..

Wait, remember what they taught me.. Analyze the situation..

This black room with no windows. My eyes are open, but I don’t see anything. There’s no light coming in from anywhere.. ‘Am I dead?’ Ow! Okay, shouldn’t have pinched myself.. Well, at least I know I’m not dead.

I’m lying in a bed, but I don’t know where.. It’s harder than my bed at home. The sheets feel stiff and this pillow feels flat.. I must be somewhere where they have a lot of these beds.

In a hospital? Did I get hurt?

I don’t remember getting hurt..

What’s that sound? Footsteps? It’s soft, but I can hear something other than myself now.. That must mean I’m not here alone!

The question now is if they’re here to help me or not.

I try my voice, but it doesn’t work.. Exactly how long have I been asleep for?

Ow again. Okay, blinding light! At least now I see something!

Examine your surroundings again, get a feel for the area.. My eyes are finally adjusting to the sudden bright light and.. I’m actually in a white room. There’s a mirror on the wall and the furniture is silver. The ceiling has a fan in the middle, and the bed I’m in has a little teddy bear in the corner of it.. It sure looks like a hospital.

Those footsteps were coming closer, so I guess it’s probably a doctor. Sounded like they were wearing heels, so it’s probably a woman.

Wait a second.. Since when could I hear so well?

“Are you awake now, my prodigy?” Prodigy..? The door’s opening and.. I was right. It’s a woman and she has blonde hair. She looks like she’s in her thirties, but then again, a lot of old people look pretty young nowadays.. Anyways, I didn’t say anything back. I couldn’t seem to get my voice working..

“Ah, right.. You can’t speak right now. Well, you can see me, yes?” I nodded, but I had never seen this woman before.. Was this really a hospital..?

“Good, that means you haven’t lost your sight.” She has a clipboard with her.. She’s writing stuff.. Was I supposed to go blind or something?

She’s checking her watch.. “Seems just about time for the next injection. Can you sit up?” INJECTION? Oh, well if this is a hospital, I guess they’d give injections.. But why do I need one..?

“It seems you’ve forgotten what’s happened as well. I suppose that’s a good thing. Now be a good girl and hold still..” I did as I was told, even though I hate getting shots. But then, my body suddenly felt tired and heavy again.. It wasn’t until the last second did I see the ShinRa logo on the opposite wall.


Tifa’s eyes opened suddenly, staring up at the silver, metallic ceiling of the airship’s cabin. What was that..? Another memory? Was that what happened to them when they were still in SOLDIER? Or maybe it was a glimpse of what Marlene was experiencing right now?

No, Tifa.. Calm down. It was just a hallucination. It was probably just another memory. They wouldn’t do that so soon to Marlene, would they?

Her head ached again, that familiar throbbing feeling that she felt whenever her mind went through the process of pondering ShinRa’s actions. She had a cold sweat on her forehead, indicating that she was being disturbed by that dream even in her subconscious state. Now she was worried.. She knew that they only took Denzel and Marlene as hostages for her and Elena to return to them.. But what if they decide to do some of their unorthodox experiments on those kids?

Just thinking about it made Tifa’s stomach churn..

Her eyes were staring straight up, but in the corner of her eye, she could see something else.. Oh, but not only that, she could feel something else as well. Something warm and inviting was wrapped around her. Tifa slowly turned her head and her eyes met with the similar brown ones of Elena.

“What’s wrong, Tif..? Had a nightmare?” Elena asked, her concerned eyes staring back into the brunette’s. Elena had her head on Tifa’s shoulder ever since they fell asleep, but once she had started squirming around, the blonde immediately woke up. Elena could tell from the distressed look on Tifa’s face that something was disturbing her. So until the woman woke up, the blonde just wrapped her arms around her midsection, hoping she could offer some comfort.

“I hope it was just a nightmare..” Tifa whispered softly in reply, “Either a nightmare or another memory.. Or maybe it’s what Marlene’s going through..” She brought up her free hand to her forehead and tried to tame the beast of a headache she had. It was times like this she wished she carried around a Remedy or something.. Some kind of pain killer. Well, she would just have to bear through it again..

However, as any mother, surrogate or not, would do.. Her mind wandered back to those kids.

“Marlene.. Denzel..” Inwardly, the brunette was beating herself up over what happened. If she had taken better care of the children, this ordeal wouldn’t have happened. If she had been a better surrogate mother and paid attention to those kids, rather than just on herself and her job.. They’d still be with her. Tifa, however, didn’t voice her thoughts. She didn’t want to burden Elena with her issues because she had dragged the blonde far enough into her life. She didn’t want to have to rely on her too much for support.. Tifa wanted to be the one to support her.

The dark-haired woman turned her head away again, staring up at the ceiling once more. She didn’t want Elena to see her weak. So if she were to let loose and start to cry, she didn’t want Elena to know.

Elena could sense the stubborn pride in the woman, though. She knew she was holding back and she wouldn’t let her! Elena wanted to be involved in her life. Elena wanted to be the only one Tifa could really rely on for support when she can’t support others any longer. As cliché as it sounds.. Elena wanted to be the shoulder Tifa could cry on. “What happened wasn’t your fault, okay?” She placed her hand on Tifa’s cheek and turned the brunette’s head back towards her, looking into her eyes with a small, reassuring smile. “But I can tell you right now that we’ll definitely get them back..”

Tifa stared back at the Turk, her eyes glassy with near-tears. They weren’t tears of sadness, but of hope. Perhaps she just needed that reassurance that she could get through this.. Maybe she just wanted to be the one to be cheered up for once, rather than having to always be the optimist of the group. Or maybe it was just the determination, reliability and trust in Elena’s eyes that made Tifa just want to melt into her arms and never be released..

So, even despite all of the pride and inhibitions, Tifa allowed a single tear to slide down her cheek.

Elena was proud that she could break through that wall that Tifa managed to build around herself through the years. Gently wiping away that tear and placing a gentle kiss on the fighter’s forehead, she sealed the silent oath. Elena promised herself in her own mind that she would use every ounce of her being to ensure that those tears would never appear again through sorrow.

And so, Tifa pulled herself closer to the blonde. She fit her head perfectly into the crook of Elena’s neck and whispered a soft, “Thank you..” Before once again attempting to sleep. How grateful Tifa was to have Elena there.. The Turk was like a pain-killer that she was getting addicted to. The only thing Tifa could really do was pray that nothing would take that away from her.

[End notes:

July 17, 2007 Author's note: Alright, so don't even pay attention to the rest of the author's note here. I'm done my finals, my computer is fine, my wrist is fine, I don't have a girlfriend anymore, I hardly ever play Gunz anymore, I actually just finished chapter 11, and I don't get paid to teach little kiddies how to kickbox anymore. I do it for free now, and I work at EB Games, selling video games to little kiddies now. :D

Old A/N: There’s the end of chapter 8! I’m so, SO sorry about the long wait.. I hope people still remember this fic. And I hope that some of the scenes in this one compensate for the length of time needed to wait for it. After all, anticipation makes things taste just that much sweeter. :D

I do, however, have my reasons for the long delay of update!

1. I had final exams during June-ish.

2. My computer had to be reformatted, so I lost most of the chapters and notes.

3. I broke (Fractured) my wrist, which meant very, VERY inconvenient typing.

4. I got a girlfriend :D Time well spent.

5. I’ve been in a computer slump since the reformat because my video card wasn’t working.. But I got it to work recently and have been playing Gunz Online like.. Non-stop.

6. After 2 months, I was done chapter 8, then I restarted.

7. A month after restarting it, I had another delay which made me forget what I wanted to put into this chapter. Then I went back to my original idea and added the new parts to it.

8. I also got a job. Teaching little kiddies how to kickbox. XD

So.. Again, sorry about the extremely prolonged update. I’ll try to do better? I just hope this chapter was worth the wait.. As always, Review please.


Chapter 9

Title: Chapter 9: Kalm Days

[Author's notes:

July 17, 2007 Author's Note: Not really much to say about this one.  This was honestly mostly a filler chapter, or character development chapter, for the foursome. xD No, they're not having a foursome. Anyways.. This was a fun chapter to write for all of the cute moments and such, but I guess it's not the most exciting. xD It was just a setup for chapter 10, I think.  

Old A/N: Yeah, yeah.. I’ll admit the last chapter was sappy. XD I was hoping to receive more reviews before I started the next chapter, but here I am.. Starting the next chapter. Anyways, this one is centered on the growing love triangle/square/quadrilateral that is building between our little party of four.

I know in the movie, Yuffie didn’t get airsick on Cid’s new ship the Shera or whatever.. But they also had a LOT of mistakes in that movie.. Like Tseng was supposed to be dead, Rufus was supposed to be dead.. Physics were defied to the max.. So whatever! XD

Also, I don’t know what I was going through when I wrote this chapter, but there are big mood swings between scenes. You can tell from the music that it’s kind of contradicting, but I guess it adds a sense of contrast, showing exactly how different the mood can be between the situations that are presented..

A/N #2: I finally got FF7: Dirge of Cerberus. I haven’t beaten it but I discovered a lot of things that contradict with my fanfic. For example, Tifa didn’t have a bar in the rebuilt Midgar, because it was so destroyed and wasted from the “Meteorfall” (which I have been referring to as “meteor-era”), but she had an orphanage open in “Edge”. Since I was unaware of this to begin with, I’ll simply continue on as if I had not played up to chapter 6 of DoC and hated how Square-Enix ruined Yuffie. :D)

Optional Background music!

From the FF7: OST! Sections separated by line breaks or otherwise written :D

First Section:Descendent of the Shinobi” 2:44

Starting at: “So you’re sure this stuff will take care of it?”

Second Section:Holding My Thoughts in My Heart” 2:13

Starting at: “Even when an airship wasn’t in motion..”

Third Section:Those Chosen by the Planet” 3:15

Starting at: “Boom.

Fourth Section:On The Other Side of the Mountain” 2:34

Starting at: “So why don’t you wear your glasses?”

Fifth Section:On That Day Five Years Ago” 3:12

Starting at: “Tifa didn’t want to get up.”

Sixth Section:Debut” 2:35 (Don’t ask. XD It just fit in my opinion)

Starting at: “Gawwd.. Aren’t they up yet?”

Seventh Section:Mark of a Traitor” 3:30

Starting at: “In her mind, questions were always afloat.”

Eighth Section:Barret’s Theme” 3:25

Or “Cid’s Theme” 3:09

Starting at: “The dynamic duo ventured onto the roof of the jet.”

Oh yeah. As usual, the flashbacks are in italics and sound effects (and other things I feel like) are in bold.

If you decide to use the BGM, then I suggest copying it onto notepad or something.. It’s hard to keep scrolling up and trying to find the song, then going back to the spot you were reading. D:

Disclaimer: Beware of Lesbians. D:



Chapter 9: Kalm Days 

“So you’re sure this stuff will take care of it?”

Yuffie suspiciously eyeballed the little bottle of tablets that Jessie handed to her. Being the sneaky and conniving trickster she was, the ninja felt she should be suspicious of anything consumable that she’d receive from someone she’s only known for 24 hours.

Well.. It wasn’t that she didn’t trust Jessie.. She just had to be careful! After all, tranquilizers or ethers aren’t exactly the healthiest things in the world.

Jessie nodded resolutely in reply, a proud look on her face as she hooked her thumbs into the pockets of her pants, “I’m positive. You’ll be able to go on any airship, sea vehicle or anything without getting sick.”

Yuffie examined the bottle more.. She had to study poisons and other kinds of medicines to earn her title as a ninja. Opening the lid, she sniffed the inside. She wrinkled her nose a little.. No matter how often she had to memorize the smells of medications for her training, she would never like it. It smelled of metallic substances, but of all the deadly drugs she learned about, this didn’t smell like any of them.. So at least it wouldn’t cause instant death.

“Just trust me! I took them while I was learning to fly, and I used to get sick all the time.”

The ninja arched an eyebrow at the brunette. Taking out one of the tablets, she eyed it carefully.. It was a olive green color, and it was just smaller than her pinky finger’s tip. There seemed to be a hint of tranquilizer, some remedy, and some.. Something she didn’t know. “What’s in it?”

Jessie looked up as she counted off the items with her fingers, “Well there’s..”

Index finger, “Remedy..” Middle Finger, “Tranquilizer..” She lifted her ring finger, but..

Yuffie looked at the girl with anticipation, wondering what the secret ingredient in the formula was.. “And?”

“That’s all!” Jessie said with a guilty grin. Yes, there was another ingredient, but if she told Yuffie what it was.. Then she probably wouldn’t take it. “Just trust me on this, please?”

Yuffie narrowed her eyes at the technician. There was something incredibly fishy about the way she said that. Well.. They did say they were going to travel to Fort Condor again.. Guess this would be the best time to give it a test run. “Fine, but if I still get sick then I’m taking it out on you, Jessie.”

And with that said, she swallowed the tablet. She didn’t feel anything strange.. There was no twisted, sick feeling as if she were going to die. Actually.. It didn’t feel like anything had changed at all! “Weird.. I don’t feel any different.” To be honest, Yuffie expected herself to become delusional and foam at the mouth.

Then she’d be unconscious for the ride so she wouldn’t have to get sick!

..Of course, that was just the ninja overreacting as usual, but it was still a possibility.

“What did you expect? Thought you’d level up or something?” Jessie said with a smirk on her face, turning her back with a grin and walking over to her seat at the control panel. She slid the pair of goggles she wore around her neck onto her face, adjusting it to her comfort before starting to flip a couple of switches.

Yuffie looked confused, “Level up?” What in the hell was she talking about? Maybe these pills really do make you delusional.

“Oh, hah..” Jessie rubbed the back of her neck, realizing the girl would have no clue about what she was talking about, “Sorry, I’ve been playing too many video games lately.” The technician loved her video games.. She began playing when ShinRa released a new console that connected to your TV, called the “Shintendo”.. She could spend hours on that thing if she didn’t need to work. Jessie continued to fiddle and prepare the controls, nonchalant, as if she had done the same things a million times before.

The short haired ninja took a seat in the co-captain’s chair, propping a leg up on the piece of machinery in front of her. Crossing her opposite leg over that one, she leaned back in the chair and put her hands behind her head, trying to look more relaxed than she felt.

This person beside her is an old friend of Tifa’s. That meant she knew so much more about the fighter than Yuffie herself did. The ninja wasn’t sure if she should be jealous, or if she should ask questions.

Well, let’s start off with the most important question right now, “Uh.. Whatcha doin’ there?” She glanced at the buttons that the technician pressed, seeing them light up..

“Setting up for departure, what does it look like?” Jessie said with a grin. Even though she was normally rather reserved, she had a bit of a devious side to her which loved playing tricks on people. Or simply, she loved to see the worried and nervous look on Yuffie’s face.

..And the look did appear, laced with a hint of panic. Yuffie hurriedly straightened her back and reached out in an attempt to stop her so they wouldn’t depart anytime soon. She wasn’t ready to test the medicine yet! But her urgency and her awkward positioning on the chair caused for a lopsided Yuffie.

With that said, it should be obvious as to what happened next.

Splat. Down went Yuffie and down went Yuffie’s ego.

The ninja tumbled off the chair, landing practically face first beside Jessie’s feet. “Oof!”

The brown haired pilot stared for a moment in disbelief as she removed the goggles from her eyes and set them on her forehead. What just happened? A few seconds of silence, then the situation finally registered in both of their minds.

Jessie stopped her actions after the moment of silence to chuckle for a moment, her shoulders shaking with hints of her laughter.

Yuffie, with slight swirls in her eyes, soon came back to Gaia and quickly jumped to her feet, obviously embarrassed. She immediately crossed her arms and tried to play it off as if she hadn’t just fallen face first off the chair, a blatant tint of red on her cheeks, “W-What are you laughing at!”

At the ninja’s attempt to regain her pride, Jessie couldn’t help but laugh harder, arms wrapping around her own midsection in an attempt to calm herself down. The irony of it all was just so sweet. Here was Yuffie Kisaragi, a hero of this world and a high class Wutaian ninja, struggling to maintain her image as such. Jessie had to allow the stereotypes to slideshow in her mind, how ninjas were supposed to be stealthy and skilled, balanced and suave.. How heroes are supposed to be completely capable and valiant!

Yet here was Yuffie, despite knowing of the girl’s fame and skills, she realized she was still human. Meaning that, despite the fame and skills, she could still make mistakes and learn from them as Jessie did. That thought, and this newer, more realistic image of Yuffie, brought a smile to Jessie’s lips. And the technician couldn’t help but find it unbelievably, ironically.. Cute.

Yuffie sat back in the chair, arms crossed as she waited for Jessie to stop laughing.. ‘Before I make her stop laughing!’ She had an annoyed pout on her face, obviously still being laughed at. “It wasn’t that funny,” she said, rolling her eyes.

Jessie calmed her laughter down to a little giggle, taking a deep breath to fully quench the humor. She figured she had humiliated the ninja long enough. So smiling gently at the red ninja, she decided to give her a little break, “Don’t worry, we’re not taking off until Tifa and Elena are up.”

A look of relief came upon Yuffie’s countenance and she nodded, “Good.”

Then a little grin appeared on Jessie’s face again, “And I won’t tell anyone about that.”

Yuffie’s eyes widened microscopically and her body tensed a little, but she quickly hid it, “About what?” She sweatdropped a bit, and forced a nervous sounding laugh, “I have no idea what you’re talking about!”

Jessie watched her with a smirk on her lips. Who would have thought the ‘Great Yuffie Kisaragi’ could be so entertaining?


Even when an airship wasn’t in motion, there will forever be a breeze surrounding it, beckoning it to take flight once again.

Elena had spent much of her life alone. However, all of those times were filled with thoughts of solitude and revenge. Never did she have the time to think solely upon herself, nor did she ever allow her senses to embrace the phenomenon of this world, such as this breeze flowing through her blonde hair.

Although she still didn’t have much time for either of those things, she could allow herself a moment in this peace, sitting on top of this motionless jet with the wind enveloping her. And for a quick minute in time, she felt completely at peace.

Actually, only in these past few days had she really allowed herself to reflect on her own emotions and her past. She hadn’t taken it into much accord before. Everything seemed so set out for her, that she just had to do what she was told and everything would turn out right.

Now all of these new doors were opening up, giving her the chance to choose her own path and make it her own.

And it was all thanks to Tifa.

Tifa was the one who opened those doors and is now taking her by the hand, urging her on. The brunette had always been there for her when she was uncertain or afraid. She was always there to restore her confidence and allow her a moment of weakness to rely on someone else for a change.



Elena brought her hands to her head, repressing the pounding in her brain. Her whole body tensed as she struggled to stay conscious. Millions of jolts were coursing through her body, branching out from her brain, to her neck, to her limbs, and striking at her heart, making her breathing shallow.

It was ShinRa Inc. She was in the building, being restrained in one of the hallways which she had walked down millions of times before.

Another memory of SOLDIER?

She felt a stream of sweat slide from her temple to her jaw line. Her senses fired up, allowing her to feel every single existence around her, experiencing the memories in horrendously vivid details. She curled into a helpless ball, feeling like a fragile child as she hugged her legs to her own chest.

That powerless, restraining feeling surrounded Elena as she stared at nothing but the figure in front of her. The only sensation that coursed through her was this numb feeling of betrayal. Because of that, all other senses seemed merely secondary compared to that pain that was stabbing at her heart.


Tifa stood in front of her, arms crossed with a scornful look on her face.. “Take her away.”

Then she felt numb. Numb with fear and confusion.

It was definitely in ShinRa HQ. And Tifa was there.. But there was something heart wrenching about the memory. Rather than the usual warm, welcoming feeling her chest would feel when she thought about Tifa (despite the ache in her brain), it felt painful throughout her whole body this time.

It was definitely something she’d rather not remember.

Stop thinking about it, Elena.. You don’t want anything to ruin what you have now.’ She thought to herself stubbornly. She’d rather be ignorant of that truth, even though she knew deep down inside that she wouldn’t ignore it.

The dull ache soon subsided, and Elena had curled her legs to her chest, feeling violated by the memory.


She couldn’t even clearly recall the situation, but she knew it was painful to remember, either physically or emotionally.

Maybe it was during the tests? Maybe I was going rampant as a side effect from one of the injections..’ She asked herself.. Her mind wracked for answers, anything to prove that that image wasn’t true. Anything to restore her trust and confidence completely, rather than have this doubt and worry dwell in the back of her mind.

Or maybe it has to do with when she was separated from Tifa?

But why would Tifa have that hateful look on her face..?

Elena didn’t know.. She simply couldn’t remember.


“So why don’t you wear your glasses?” Yuffie inquired, curious about this stranger. If they were going to do some kind of mission as a team, she figured she should get to know her teammates a little better.

Jessie looked from the screen, to Yuffie, then back to the screen, “I usually wear contact lenses..” She wasn’t up for this conversation very much. She used to always get teased about her glasses when she was younger, by Biggs and Wedge, which made her switch to contacts. She would only wear her glasses in private, when no one else could see her.

..Because whenever someone commented about her glasses, she was reminded of her fallen comrades.

A younger, skinnier and paler Jessie sat in front of a console with an unnecessarily large screen.. There was nothing extraordinary about her appearance, there was no flashy make up or hairstyle which caused her to stand out.. She was just an average looking girl. Or some could possibly see her as a stereotypical shy girl with glasses.

Outwardly, one wouldn’t see the sensitivity below the skin, or the spunk that could arise from provocation, or the intelligence and knowledge beyond her years within her mind.

Outwardly, she was just a plain old teenager named Jessie.

Yuffie spun around on the co-captain’s chair childishly a few times, and then she sat backwards on the chair, leaning against the backrest with her chin on her arms, “Why? You think they make you look like a geek?” she asked, not meaning any kind of malice. The ninja was merely curious, but if she just happened to have a bit of a teasing ring to her voice, it wasn’t her fault!

Sure, she wasn’t much for appearances because she didn’t think it was important. The people who mattered, really, were the ones who didn’t look skin-deep. The people who mattered didn’t really care about her appearance.. However, it seemed that the people who mattered simply didn’t exist then. No one could really see her for the person she was.. They could only see her for the person she appeared to be.

Jessie grit her teeth a little behind her closed lips and shot a little glare at Yuffie for a split second, but soon reverted back to her nonchalant work on the screen in front of her, “I just don’t like them, okay?” Jessie spat, slightly annoyed by the path this conversation was treading.

Maybe that was why she didn’t initially like Biggs. Or Wedge for that matter. First impressions are always only skin-deep.. And Biggs had this tendency to wear his emotions on his sleeves and, of course, he spoke the first thoughts that would come to his mind without thinking. While Wedge, on the other hand, didn’t seem to have a backbone at all. She was amazed at the fact that they could be best friends with each other when they were such polar opposites.

Hey, four-eyes! Check out this news thing!” Biggs would say. Of course, he’d never mean it. It was always just a joke to him, but he never knew the kind of impact his words could have at the time. It wasn’t until Jessie started getting more comfortable with him and started insulting him back did they really start to get along.

Quit calling me four-eyes, you SOLDIER-reject!” She’d yell back, a hint of laughter in her voice.

Wedge was a different case, however. He was probably as shy and unsure about himself as Jessie had originally began. He was the “sidekick.” The one who willingly went along with whatever the rest of the group wanted to do. The first time he ever spoke for himself, really, was when he decided he had enough of Biggs’ teasing everyone, even if it was all in good fun, “Y-You shouldn’t call her four-eyes..!” He’d stutter aloud, playing with an idle object in his hands. “You might hurt her feelings..” Aww. Wedge was such a gentleman.

She quickly learned to love the two of them as her own family.. As well as Barret and Tifa.. But those two were a different story. Tifa was like her mentor, and Barret was like the uncle or older brother she never had. Biggs and Wedge.. They were more like equals to her. She didn’t think of herself as anything more or less than them..

Alright, so maybe in the beginning her feelings were kind of hurt by the teasing. Not only that, but she simply didn’t like the glasses themselves. They were always sitting on her nose, always getting foggy when it was humid or extra-polluted outside.. They were just a bother.

The short-haired girl was a little caught by the other’s sudden annoyance, so she tried to recover herself, “Whoa, I didn’t mean they look bad!” She grinned in that Yuffie way she did, a little toothy, but seemingly only on one side of her face.

“I like them,” The ninja simply stated, tilting her head to one side as she analyzed the girl’s face, “They make you look cute.”

After getting sick of all of Biggs’ teasing, though, she finally managed to get her own contact lenses. Finally, she had gotten that monkey off her back and..

Wait a second.

Did she just say what I think she said?’

Did Yuffie just say the glasses were cute?

Now it was Jessie’s turn to be caught off guard. She was snapped out of her memories and pulled back into the present by that comment. Never has anyone ever told her that she looked good in her glasses, let alone ‘cute’. A blush tinted her cheeks and she started to work a little more frantically on her computer, trying to avoid further embarrassment. “Don’t flatter me,” she said with deepening color on her cheeks.

“I’m not flattering you!” Yuffie said, pulling out a mirror from a pouch which was attached to her thighs. She only had those pouches because she needed somewhere to keep her throwing objects, and also because her shorts didn’t have very spacious pockets. So why does Yuffie Kisaragi have a mirror on hand? Well, when you’re as conceited and proud as Yuffie Kisaragi, the Greatest Ninja in the World is, you’d need to keep up appearances.

“Get your glasses on!” Yuffie demanded lightheartedly, sticking her own head into the space between the technician and the screen, obstructing her line of vision.

Jessie stared at the ninja in front of her with owl-like eyes, blinking a few times. She was slightly stunned by how forward this girl was. The brown haired technician thought to herself, ‘I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone like her.’ Whether that was a compliment or an insult depends on how you look at it.

Jessie finally complied, reaching into her pocket to grab the case for her glasses..

But.. They weren’t there anymore!

“You were taking too long,” Yuffie stated impatiently, opening the case, pulling out the glasses and putting them onto the other girl’s face.

Again, Jessie was shocked by the suddenness of the situation. When did she take her glasses?! ‘How did she do that?’ She thought numbly. Normally she would be peacefully working on her computer, but her peaceful little world sudden became invaded by something so surprising and unexpected. This was the effect of Yuffie, an unlimited ball of energy and vitality.

Yuffie held the mirror in front of the girl’s face with a cat-like grin on her own visage, “See? You look great!”

Jessie took a look at herself in the mirror and saw the glasses sitting clumsily on her face. Having someone else putting glasses on her would never make the spectacles sit right. She just turned red again, removing her glasses and shaking her head, embarrassed laughter coming from her lips as she put them onto the console in front of her.

“You’re full of it,” she said with a light air about her and a tint of pink still sitting on her cheeks. Even if she, herself, didn’t think the glasses looked good on her, it was always nice to receive a compliment once in a while.

The people who mattered, really, were the ones who didn’t look skin-deep. The people who mattered didn’t really care about her appearance..

Jessie had just found one of the few people who actually mattered.


Tifa didn’t want to get up.

Plain and simple.. She just wanted to stay in bed and sleep more.

When she had opened her eyes to be greeted by the morning, she stared at the empty space beside her on the bed. Tifa assumed she’d see the blonde there beside her, sleeping in her arms as she had for so many nights all those years ago. However, the blonde was missing.. Perhaps she had already woken up.

Or perhaps last night was all just a dream.’

Tifa brought her fingers to her lips and shut her eyes, remembering the soft feel of Elena’s lips against hers.. ‘That couldn’t have been a dream!’ The brunette thought stubbornly. Unless the memories she regained were so vivid that even the sensations reached her in her dreams.

Fighting against her wish to stay in bed and not let the future come reeling its ugly head her way.. She sat up, supporting herself one of her hands behind her. The other hand buried itself in her hair, glancing around her habitual area for her alarm clock. Finding none, she realized this wasn’t her room. Alright, so most of this is reality, then.

There was no sunlight to filter through the blinds of her room.. There was no sweet aroma of Marlene cooking breakfast for Denzel and the little girl herself..

Tifa took a moment to wonder how so much could happen in one day, where her whole life would change from that peaceful morning of trivial matters and careless stepping on Chocobo Knights Action figures, to this feeling of dread, homesickness, and her life being turned around almost completely.

The contrast Tifa felt between this morning and the previous morning was immense.

It was all sinking in now. The morning before, she had everything. She had a wonderful job that she enjoyed, employees she had fun working with, two wonderful kids to take care of, her cozy home above the bar.. And now, after operating completely on instinct the night before, it was all registering.

Tifa had lost everything.

But in another way, she had gained so much as well. She regained some of her memories of a time she didn’t recall, her SOLDIER experience and how evil ShinRa really was to her and Elena. She had Elena now, both of them slowly remembering the time they spent together and the love they shared. She was reunited with Jessie, someone she thought was dead and one of the only people in the world to be like a younger sister to the brunette. And of course, from her memories of AVALANCHE, she was reunited with Yuffie, one of the most skilled and willing people to help and support her in this time of need. With all of them together, she knew that this mission would succeed.

Tifa’s past had caught up to her and reeled its ugly head her way. She idly wondered if Fate was testing her. Observing her limits and breaking points to see when she would snap.. Seeing what variables changed how Tifa reacted and lived.

Well, you know what?’ She turned her body and planted her feet firmly onto the cold floor, reaffirmation burning in her eyes. The fighter was going to take whatever that entity dished out at her and come back fighting. She was going to get through this to protect the people she loved, and if that meant fighting against the Aeons themselves, then so be it.

Tifa stared Fate straight into the eyes and, with a determined look, she whispered, “Bring it on.”


“Gawwd.. Aren’t they up yet?” Yuffie complained, hanging off the top of the console in front of Jessie, much to the technician’s dismay, looking like a lazy cat during a summer’s day. Waiting was so draining for the ninja, even though it should have been quite the opposite, since she was, in fact, a ninja. “It’s already..” She glanced out the large windshield, “Like.. Three o’clock!”

Jessie glanced up from her work of reconfiguring the engine output from ‘Super awesomely fast’ to ‘Only slightly awesomely fast,’ as Yuffie put it, and asked, “How did you know that?” She didn’t see any clocks nearby except her own watch, and taking a look at Yuffie’s wrists showed that she didn’t have any watches either..

“Geez, you’re a pilot and you don’t even know how to read the sun?” Yuffie looked at Jessie with an arched eyebrow, but only got a confused look in return. ‘Someone’s got no survival skills,’ The ninja thought to herself.

The short haired girl sat up on top of the console, crossing her legs in a meditative pose, and said in a mock-calming voice, “Allow Guru Yuffie to show you the ways, young one.”

Then she grinned and pulled out a permanent marker from her little pouch of tricks. Why the ‘Great Yuffie Kisaragi’ needed a permanent marker? Well, you should already know that. She moved towards the edge of the windshield, marking where the horizon would be. Then she would mark all of the angles for each respective hour.

“Hey!” Jessie stood from her seat with wide eyes, “What are you doing?!” She stared as her baby, her life’s work, was being drawn on with this ninja’s graffiti. “I kind of need that windshield to.. Oh, you know.. See!” The pilot barked sarcastically.

“A few little black dots won’t kill you!” Yuffie said, hopping to get to the glass on the roof, “All done!” Then she ran to her original dot and drew a chibi sketch of herself giving a ‘V’ with her fingers. A grin was plastered on the live ninja’s face that was extremely similar to the one she had just drawn.

Jessie sat back down and massaged the bridge of her own nose, beginning to get a headache from all the work she’s been doing. Or maybe it was the fact that Yuffie just committed vandalism on her life’s work that gave her such a migraine. Either way.. She’ll probably just wash it off. Or force Yuffie to do so.

“There. Now when you look out the windshield, if you’re facing the East, these dots will tell you what time it is in the morning!” Yuffie then spun around on her heel, that cat-like grin still on her features, “And if the sun is going into the west, then you’ll know what time it is in the afternoon! It works the same way backwards. You just have to turn the jet west.”

Jessie had to admit.. That was actually pretty useful. “Wow..” She never even considered telling time without her watch. “Thanks.”

“No problemo!” Yuffie smiled with satisfaction, regaining some of her lost energy. “Now stop working and help me wake up those two lazy bums.” Yuffie said, leaning against the console, looking over to Jessie with her head tilted back.

Jessie reluctantly looked at her work. She had finished all of her reconfiguring, but now she had to record the data and update the server.. Well she could do that later. She won’t forget the data, since she could practically recite the whole log by heart, and the outdated server will still be outdated and upgradeable when she returns.

She put the console to sleep and stood from her chair, “Sure, let’s go.”


In her mind, questions were always afloat. Always a critical thinker, and ever the analyst, Jessie’s brain constantly had questions.. Questions left unanswered, questions with answers that sprout more questions, questions which could never be answered. She never voiced these questions. Always, Jessie was the kind to keep to herself, and handle her own problems, never burdening others with matters of her own, or matters which she knew could be solved through reason.

Even now, as she walked down this silver-lined corridor which she, herself, had engineered, questions came one after the other..

This odd, yet compelling ninja.. Where did she come from?’

The logical answer to that would be Wutai, wouldn’t it?

Why is she here?’

To help Tifa, right?

Why does she want to wake the others so badly?’

Probably because she has the patience of a boar..

What made her leave the life she lived to pursue a life like this?’

Hmm.. She never said, did she?

Why does she continue to move, while pulling me along for the ride, even if I’m the complete and total opposite of her?’

I.. Don’t know.

How has she.. Lured me in so quickly?’

No no, it can’t be like that..


Jessie looked over to the ninja, both of the girl’s hands locked behind her head as she bounced cheerfully down the corridor beside the technician. She was blabbing away about something completely pointless and unrelated.. Jessie couldn’t concentrate enough to listen, but she was still attentive in another way. She observed this girl as if she were a Rubik’s Cube, searching for an answer that just led her to more questions, diving further into the puzzle without solution. Yuffie was so carefree, but was it all a mask? A façade to fool those who try to analyze her? Perhaps it was just a ploy of trickery so she’d be harder to figure out..

This brunette was certainly one for solving riddles and difficult puzzles, after all.

But what was a riddle without any clues?

“Hey,” Jessie interjected, interrupting the girl in the middle of her sentence about one of her adventures at attempting to tame a chocobo, “I never asked you.. But why are you here?” Jessie knew the question was rude, and perhaps insulting or hurtful.. Asking someone why they’re here. It’s like giving them a hint that you want them to go away. Jessie knew for a fact, though, that this girl wouldn’t simply run from an insult.

“What do ya mean by that?” Yuffie asked, stopping in her tracks and arching an eyebrow. She had peeked into Tifa and Elena’s room while Jessie was spaced out, and they were both gone, so they’re looking for them in the other parts of the ship. Yuffie smirked and shook her head as if the answer should have been obvious, “I got caught by the cops and bailed out by Tif? And now she needs my help.. Duh.” She poked at the brunette’s forehead.

Jessie swatted her hand away, “That’s not what I meant! I know you got caught, but,” She put her hands on her hips, “Why did you leave Wutai when you had such a comfortable lifestyle?”

“A comfortable lifestyle isn’t my style,” Yuffie said with a wink.

Hm.. That answer is clear-cut enough.’ Jessie thought to herself. But there was more to it.. No one is that simple. She merely waited for the girl to continue, her scrutinizing eye searching the short-haired girl’s.

“Kay, so..” Yuffie crossed her hands over her chest and leaned against the nearest wall in the corridor, facing Jessie, “My dad wanted me to get married to some guy, kay?” Yuffie rolled her eyes defiantly, “You happy now?”

No.. There’s more.’

Jessie remained steadfast, not saying a word, but analyzing her further.. The way Yuffie shifted uncomfortably against the wall.. The fact that she was leaning against the wall to support herself and how she crossed her arms to avoid playing with her fingers. She was good at hiding herself, but not good enough to escape Jessie’s trained eyes.

Yuffie grimaced under the girl’s gaze.. No one has ever looked at her with such intense eyes before. No one has ever taken her seriously enough to stop and try to see her for who she is. No one has ever wanted to see her for who she is.

Forever, she will be considered the annoying little ninja thief. And that’s how she liked it.. That’s how she was comfortable.

But this..

Her secrecy was dissolved by this girl’s obvious will, “I’m here because.. I want to be with Tifa.” She stated, not making eye contact with the girl, “I don’t want to grow up and get married to some guy..” The ninja unfolded her gloved hands and ran one of them through her short mane of hair, “Tifa is.. Well..”

Jessie felt a pang in her chest. Had she grown attached? Had she had such a lack of proper companionship for so long that she was being hurt by someone she had only known for less than 24 hours?

Jessie asked herself again, repeating the question in her mind, ‘Why is she here?

“I love her,” Yuffie said, finally looking up at the girl, her eyes dead serious, “I’ve loved her for years now.”

Why is she here?

Jessie cringed minutely, her eyes widening momentarily. The words stung at her chest and her eyes, never having experienced heartache so unintentionally. She then returned to her own façade, a forced smile hiding a secret, unrequited crush.

She’s here because..

The ninja actually couldn’t believe those words she had kept secret to everyone except her own conscience had rolled off her tongue so easily to this stranger. This girl whom she didn’t know until last night.. Why could she confide in her, when best friends that she had known for years never even knew of her sexual orientation? It felt good to get it off of her chest, though.

Because she loves Tifa..’

Jessie gathered herself further, still smiling warmly at the girl.. She knew of Tifa’s relationship with Elena, but she couldn’t bring herself to tell Yuffie about it. It would break her heart. Or maybe there was this hidden, shadowed dark side of Jessie that would secretly hope for Tifa to break Yuffie’s heart so she would be permitted to mend it back together.. You can’t force someone to stop being in love, but you can rebound once their heart is broken. Then, she would be the only one in the Ninja’s ey-

No! She couldn’t think like that! No no, she had to play the role she always played. She had to observe and let things take their natural course.. She had to remain impartial and..

Oh Shiva, what was she thinking?

“I hope all turns out well for you, then.” Jessie said with a smile. She meant every word, but in what way she meant it remained a mystery, even to herself.

Now the question was.. What could she do about it?


The dynamic duo ventured onto the roof of the jet. They had checked everywhere inside the jet, but it just crossed Jessie’s mind that they may be outside of the craft. And, what a surprise, there the two of them were, sitting side-by-side while overlooking the calm lands surrounding Kalm. They appeared to be speaking, from the way their heads nodded, but instead of talking directly to each other, it appeared, to Jessie, that they were staring ahead, not making any eye contact with each other..

“There they are!” Yuffie ejected, bounding gleefully towards the couple, and possibly ruining a romantic moment. Yuffie, for the split second before she said anything, suspected a connection between the two and felt uneasy. That was the first time she had seen the ex-Turk in years, but now that she had seen her conversing with Tifa about something other than slicing each other’s throats.. Yuffie had to admit she was a little jealous.

Jessie stood at the entrance, one hand on her hip with a shake of her head. What an interesting group of women they were..

Yuffie tackled Tifa from behind, a mischievous grin on her face as she exclaimed, “You two lazy asses didn’t even greet us good morning!”

Tifa fell forward slightly, having expected the tackle, but knowing she couldn’t do much about it, “Hey, I just woke up, okay?” She said, peeling the girl off of herself with a bit of a laugh, “You have to learn how to be patient, you narcissist.”

Yuffie pouted, shot a look between Elena and Tifa, then turned back to Jessie, making her hands into a makeshift megaphone, whispering, “Hey, Jess.. What’s a narcissist?”

Jessie just shook her head more, laughing out loud this time. Elena and Tifa both joined her, leaving Yuffie to be pouty and confused.

Jessie was lost in thought, though, reflecting on a story she heard once as a child from Wutaian legends. She was suddenly reminded of a certain legend of four women. The protagonist was a high priestess who had the powers to change the world, a second was a monkeylike or even catlike guardian with unspeakable, hidden strength, a third was a loyal, passive, yet stylish lone wolf type, and the fourth was an idealist analyst who shared her intelligence with the group to help them on their journey to the west. They all had tragic pasts, but were bound together by a red string of fate. They couldn’t sever those bonds, even if they wanted to.

And that’s how Jessie currently felt about their little group.

If she were to relate those characters to their current situation, she’d think Tifa were the leader, the high priestess character who could change the world. Tifa had the strength and optimism, yet proper leading skills, focus and charisma of a true leader. Jessie felt like anyone would heed to her beck and call and Tifa would be a reliable pillar for them.. After all, she is a Taurus.

Yuffie would obviously be the monkey. A deceptive monkey with pure motives, like when she just wanted to restore honor to Wutai, but she would do any means to achieve her goal. Once pushed over the edge, she would unleash powers that no one would truly know of.. But Jessie believed Yuffie would be the happy glue that kept them from getting too serious and absorbed..

Elena would be the loyal lone wolf. The blonde seemed to prefer to follow rather than lead, yet she still would be alone in a crowd, so to speak. She was utterly loyal to Tifa, which would make sense since Tifa said that they were in SOLDIER together.. And they were involved, so..

Anyways.. That would make Jessie the analyst. She thought about it for a moment, then agreed. She was taking care of most of the intelligence portion, since she wasn’t quite as capable as the others in the physical field.. But that was just her being modest!

They all also have these tragic, yet partially secret pasts.. And Jessie honestly felt that they were bound together by fate. And together, they would be able to accomplish this mission.

“Alright, guys. I’ll cook something up, then we’ll plan for the mission.” Tifa said, standing from her spot and dusting herself off, smiling at Jessie as she walked past, as if she had a smug look on her face. It was almost like she knew what Jessie was thinking.

“Wait Tifa!” Yuffie said, scrambling to her feet to catch up with the woman, “I’ll help!”

Elena laughed at the two of them, still remaining outside of the jet, “Alright, call me when it’s done!”

And Jessie stayed silent, merely enjoying the atmosphere they produced, despite the circumstances that caused them..

What question was running through her mind now?

How long will days like this last for?’

[End notes:

July 17, 2007 Author's Note: Okay, so I just discovered recently after completing chapter 11 that Elena actually has an Older sister who is a Turk. This came as a complete shock to me. I had to edit a bunch of plans, but hey, it should still work out. xD  

Old A/N: Yeah.. I think this chapter was a little different from the others. Way more sections because I kept switching scenes between the four of them and I wanted to see what it would be like with BGM throughout the whole chapter. I know there wasn’t much plot progress because I meant for this to be more of a character development chapter. Also.. Jessie and Yuffie kind of remind me of Tomo and Yomi (from Azumanga Daioh) around section six and seven. XD

It kinda dragged out a bit, didn’t it? D: I was a little sad when I wrote most of this chapter.. I had a few issues in my life and this was more of a pick-me-up. To be honest, it worked, but I don’t want to need to have to get issues every time I want to finish a chapter.

Also, if you were wondering about the legend thing.. I kinda got the idea from Gensoumaden Saiyuki, which was actually taken from a different legend of a group of four guys going to the west with a high priest as their leader. It’s the anime I’m currently (re)watching. That anime is actually very similar to this fic in some ways, I guess.. At least that’s how I like to think of it. :D

I’ve also figured I should stop asking people to review because most people don’t listen . ;.. So to all of you who don’t review but liked the fanfic.. You’re mean! ;o;

So let me know what you think, please.. I didn’t have much inspiration for this chapter x.x; So I’m strong enough to admit that this was pretty boring.. But we’ll get to the exciting stuff soon. Very soon. :D

Oh and if you were wondering.. I looked it up and Tifa’s a Taurus (May 3) and Yuffie’s a Scorpio (November 20). I looked for the personality traits on XD I’m personally an aquarius :3 Feb. 3


Chapter 10

Title: Chapter 10: Rejection

[Author's notes:

July 17. 2007 Author's Note: This is really one of my favorite chapters. It was the most fun to write, it's the one year anniversary chapter of the fic, and the flashback scene at the end is awesome. All of it is effing awesome! Chapter 3, 6, 7 and 10 are my favorites. xD   

Old A/N: Welcome to Chapter 10. Christmas has passed, and I felt like I should celebrate the one year anniversary of this fic! Yep folks, I take THAT long to write 10 chapters!

(Secondary note: I think it’s sad that I was planning to get this chapter out by Christmas.. And it’s already months past. I really hit a writer’s block. .. I was considering just giving up on it, then I realized “NO! I CANNOT GIVE UP! THIS IS MY WORK AND I WILL GO THROUGH WITH IT!” It’s just getting to the good stuff too ;o;..)

Ah yeah.. Not really any background music for this one. Except at the end, with the flashback, after they go on the zip cord, start playing “Still More Fighting”. Very fitting and fast paced. :D

Disclaimer: Lesbians art here. Thee who art homophobes shall be cast into the flaming pits of hell where the devil shall ravish you and serve you Dr. Pepper made of real doctors! FF7 also doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to Square.. Square who fused with Enix to destroy the remains of Final Fantasy to make Squee-nix.



Chapter 10: Rejection 

Cooking was a relaxing outlet for Tifa. She was allowed to be creative and considerate for the people she was cooking for, just like her motherly side craved. She cooks to heal her own soul, kind of like Chicken Soup, except without the lame overdone stories. She never thought about it too deeply though. Why take the fun out of something by overanalyzing it when you could just enjoy it for what it is?

Tifa decided to go for a common breakfast menu of eggs, bacon and toast, with orange juice.

Yuffie had followed the fighter into the tiny kitchen and was currently sitting on one of the counters, kicking her legs as she watched the woman work, “Need any help?”

Tifa tongued her cheek while her eyes darted through the small selection. She knew that Jessie wasn’t too big on cooking, but she expected more food than this. Well, at least she had eggs and juice in the fridge. Tifa suspiciously pulled out the juice, opened the top, and sniffed it, wondering exactly how long it had been in there. Thankfully, the juice and eggs were still fresh.

“As long as I have all of the items I need, then I should be fine.” Glancing towards the counter, beside Yuffie, she spotted a loaf of sliced bread and she was relieved at that. “Now if I can’t find any bacon, then I’ll have to make something else..”

“Tifa, you know..” Yuffie inserted, leaning forward on the counter with an inquisitive look on her face, “It’s three o’clock.. Maybe it’s a little late for just breakfast.”

Three o’clock? No way.. Was she sleeping for that long? The long-haired woman arched an eyebrow at the girl, then looked over to the clock. “Oh! Hey, you’re right,” Tifa said as she rubbed at her temple with one of her hands, “I must just be out of it.”

Well, Tifa did sleep late last night..

Tifa forced the memories from the night before to the back of her head and rethought her menu. If she was going to serve brunch, or at least brunch for her and Elena in case Yuffie and Jessie already ate breakfast, then they might as well..

“Why don’t we just go into town to eat?” Tifa said, releasing an exasperated sigh. Cooking in a kitchen that wasn’t hers was torture enough, but not finding anything to cook was another thing.

Yuffie wrinkled her face at that, “But I always liked your cooking..” The ninja always ate out. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.. She was getting sick of it. It was always fast food or something because she didn’t know how to cook anything more complex than rice. And even then, she would screw up. She wanted a nice home cooked meal for once.. And to have it cooked by Tifa would just make it all the more sweet.

Tifa closed the refrigerator and leaned against it, crossing her arms with a smirk on her face, “Well, I don’t have anything to cook.” She took pride in cooking for AVALANCHE three years ago. Yuffie and she used to have to restock on groceries while the guys went to buy equipment. The short haired girl never had a sense for cooking, but when she was picking out fresh ingredients, which she would sometimes eat raw, she had a natural knack for it.

Yuffie finally got a grip of her current situation. Sure, it had crossed her mind when she first followed Tifa into the kitchen, but she had forgotten her motive completely when Tifa started talking about food.. And bending over to stick her head into the fridge.

Yuffie tilted her head to get a better look at the view which was being presented to her.

She was alone with Tifa in that room. This was her perfect opportunity!

One of the main reasons Yuffie never acted upon her feelings all those years ago was because of the spiky-haired blonde. That was coupled with her own doubts about her sexuality and the fear of rejection that Yuffie became familiar with. So it stopped her from making her feelings known as well. She was smart enough to know that saving the world came before her own trivial matters, even if during the start of her journey she deceived them to steal their materia.

“Hey, Tif..” Yuffie inquired, looking towards a cupboard on the opposite end of the kitchen, “Do you still have feelings for Cloud?”

“Cloud?” Tifa used to talk and think about only him, caring only for his needs, and wanting to complete her mission of staying by his side. They had made a promise as youths, her and Cloud. Tifa had said, ‘Hey, why don't we make a promise? Whenever I'm in trouble, my hero will come and rescue me. I want to at least experience that once.

Sure, Tifa had experienced it once at the Mt. Nibel Reactor, but it was funny and ironic how she ended up being the heroine for the blonde, supporting Cloud and saving his spiky ass from the lifestream.

But now, of course, Tifa had a different blonde. Maybe she had a thing for them.. A blonde fetish. Maybe all of her previous feelings for Cloud were just illusions of a perfect lifestyle she could have. Growing up, having kids with the man who saved her life.. It was all just fantasy, and she knew she didn’t want that anymore.

“No, I don’t,” She finally stated, shaking her head to confirm it. Tifa looked over to Yuffie with an inquisitive look, “How did a question like that come from cooking?”

Yuffie hid the panicked look on her face with a laugh, “Oh, I was just curious!” She rubbed the back of her neck with a goofy smile on her face, thinking successfully, ‘Okay, good. Cloud’s out of the picture.. Maybe I should..

“Although..” Tifa started, interrupting Yuffie’s thoughts. She was smiling with a thoughtful, distant look on her face as she softly said, “There might be someone other than Cloud.”

Yuffie blinked, her back straightening like a puppy at attention, “Someone else?” Who could that be?

Yuffie had this faint, small hope that Tifa was talking about her.. The ninja knew, though, that thinking things like that would just jinx it.

Don’t jinx it! Stop thinking about it! STOP!’ Yuffie shook her head in frustration, then gathered herself, asking with a sly smile, “Who is it?” She crossed her fingers behind her back, praying Tifa would say what she wanted to hear. It wasn’t much, but she felt like it boosted her chances.

Then, Tifa flashed Yuffie that smile..

..Tifa smiled that same gentle and optimistic smile that always made Yuffie’s heart stop. The ninja’s eyes were fixed upon Tifa’s face as she awaited her reply..

Then she heard it.

“It’s Elena.”

What..?’ Yuffie could have sworn her heart really did stop for a moment in time. It felt like all of her internal organs were cringing uncomfortably, and she stared incredulously. “Elena..?”

Tifa expected that kind of reaction, but perhaps for different reasons than what Yuffie felt. She expected the other members of AVALANCHE, especially Yuffie, Barret and Cid, to be shocked by her involvement with Elena.. Specifically in a romantic way. After all, Elena was a Turk, whom they fought countless times as AVALANCHE. And those three seemed to be the ones who hated ShinRa enough to let it be known.

However, there seemed to be another reason Yuffie was shocked, and even hurt by those words. For a second, Tifa almost wondered if it was because she liked a girl, but she knew better.

Perhaps Tifa might have known about Yuffie’s feelings for her, but she couldn’t directly turn her down if she were to make a move, nor could she hide it from her if prompted. The fighter wasn’t as dense as people gave her credit. Wouldn’t it hurt Yuffie more to think Tifa was hiding her relationship with Elena from her, just for Yuffie to find out later? Tifa felt it was better to let the girl know sooner than later. And Tifa couldn’t simply allow the girl to follow a fantasy, a false hope that she created.. That would be more heartless than telling her.

Tifa placed her index finger in front of her own mouth, indicating that it was a secret, “It’s a secret, kay? Don’t tell any of the others.”

Yuffie, still in a disbelieving state, nodded. She didn’t know whether she should go scream at Elena or break down crying. Either way would have resulted badly. She realized that in order to stop the drama before it starts, she would have to play it cool and not allow her emotions to take over. “I won’t tell anyone.. It’s just..” She smiled bitterly, casting her gaze to the kitchen’s floor. She didn’t finish her sentence.

She just couldn’t.

So she had to pretend as if it didn’t hurt.

“I’m happy for you,” Yuffie said clearly, forcing a smile with closed eyes. Normally, her voice would have cracked because if one looked closely, they’d be able to see tears being desperately held back. She was quite the actress, this ninja.. And obviously, Tifa hadn’t noticed the pain in her eyes. After all, her eyes were closed.

Tifa smiled back, “Thanks!” Sure, she had noticed.. But she couldn’t very well hide the truth. If Yuffie wanted to pretend it didn’t hurt to stop things from being awkward.. Then Tifa would let her. “So let’s get something to eat in town?”

Yuffie nodded, then hopped off the counter, walking towards the metallic kitchen door. She avoided eye contact with Tifa, brushing past her and saying, “I’ll go call the others then.” She opened the door and it emitted a hiss.

She paused for a moment, one hand on the frame as if she were hesitating, contemplating whether or not she should say what she wanted to say or if she should keep it to herself forever.

Tifa eyed the girl inquisitively. She had an idea of what was going through the ninja’s mind, but she wouldn’t say it out loud. The brunette knew how much pride meant to the Wutaian.

“You were always out of reach..” Yuffie said, her back still toward Tifa. Her voice cracked slightly, a chip in her attempt at a stone exterior, “Even after three years.. You’ll always be out of reach.” Then without another word, she shut the door and made a break towards the bridge, praying she’d find Jessie there.

In a way, she was running from her emotions to save herself from getting hurt. She ran, forcefully closing the door on her past, trying to escape from the pain she was bound to endure if she were to remain in that kitchen. She ran, hoping to find sanctuary in the presence of a friend. She ran to Jessie, knowing somehow that she would find comfort by going to her. After all, who else in the world would listen?

Oh, how weak Yuffie felt. How sorrowfully she looked at herself. Before yesterday, no one other than Tifa would even give her two thoughts. Only two people in her life had ever listened to her for who she was. Aeris was one of those people, the older sister whom Yuffie could look up to. The other was Tifa, the one person who could understand the ninja without judgement.

Aeris was dead, so she couldn’t help.. And Tifa was the one causing this anguish, so she couldn’t really confide in the source of her pain.

There was no one else in the world to run to except Jessie.

Running was all the ninja knew how to do.


It was difficult to find another bar like Tifa’s. Rude and Reno learned this the hard way. They searched all over the slums, finding only run down, dirty bars which could never even compare. Even the beer itself made the two question whether it was beer or urine. Being part-time bartenders themselves, they should have known a thing or two about what drinks should taste like, and in no way did this piss-beer taste how it should. They shouldn’t even be sitting in a dilapidated place like this..

“You know what, Rude? We should just mix our own drinks at one of our places, yo,” Stated Reno with a disheveled sigh. “We’d stop before we got too drunk because we wouldn’t be able to pour anymore, am I right?” He followed up with a smirk.

“…” was Rude’s typical response. No comment. The guy always did keep to himself, didn’t he? Stony and brute. That was his nature. He held in his emotions at all costs, only allowing the words that he felt were needed to be said to come out. Getting drunk with Reno wasn’t his idea of a good time at the moment. There was too much to be done, too little resources to do everything, and too much time to spare because they weren’t able to do anything about it.

The ball was out of their court now.

“You’re thinking about Tif, ‘Lena and those kids, huh?” Reno injected into the already melancholic Rude. “If I know Elena like I think I do, then she’s fine, and probably bitchin’ about something right at this moment!” Then, in his best Elena impression, Reno crossed his arms as he had seen the blonde do many times before, and in his whiniest voice he exclaimed, “You’re not doing it properly! That materia goes there! Nya nya nya!”

Despite his efforts to tune out the red-headed one, Rude cracked a smile and puffed a soft withheld laugh through his nose at the impression. It wasn’t as accurate as Reno thought it was, but it did certainly capture the essence of Elena’s bossier half.

“I saw that, yo! You smiled..!” Reno pointed a finger at his friend, an accomplished look on his face.

Then, realizing his own words, Reno looked baffled, “Whoa, wait. You..” His eyes widened, “You smiled?! But you’re Rude! You never smile!” An over exaggerated expression came over the more charismatic Turk. Teasing his partner was one of his favorite past times.

“..Shut up.” Rude replied stoically. He only ever says what needs to be said, and that is something he felt needed to be said. Without Elena around, the red-headed, hot-headed, big-headed Reno would need to be told his place by someone.

A moment of silence fell between them, Rude wondering if his statement of ‘Shut up’ actually worked. In reality, Reno was just thinking of what to say next.. And how to say it.

“Hey, Rude..” Reno called for his attention tentatively, squinting his eyes a little in a sense of worry, “I have something serious to ask you.” The activity of the rest of the bar around them, Reno grabbed the mug he was drinking from, took another sip of his piss-tasting beer and grimaced. Reno didn’t want to ask what he was about to ask.. But he had to! It’s been bugging him!

“How do you feel about..” Reno rolled the questions and the different ways he could ask them in his mind, his eyes casting to the corner and his mouth pushing to the opposite direction of his eyes. “Hm..”

He could ask how he feels about Tifa, but Rude knew that Reno knew that already.. He could ask how Rude feels about Elena, but how would that be segway to telling him, gently, about Tifa and Elena? Should he even tell him? Reno wasn’t even clear himself of what they were to each other. He could just be causing unnecessary worry in Rude’s part. But.. He was already involuntarily given this unnecessary worry, so now he could wonder out loud rather than keep it to himself!

Ah! “How do you feel about same sex relationships?” Reno asked, proud of himself in the fact that he was able to properly formulate the question without any misinterpretation.

Yeah right, no misinterpretation.

Rude arched an eyebrow at his co-worker and wondered where the hell that question would come from. Was Reno gay? Well, Rude wouldn’t be very surprised, but why would Reno be telling him this? Was Reno attracted to him? An uncomfortable feeling came over Rude and he just sat there, saying nothing. However, his body language made a clear statement of, ‘Please don’t hit on me. I like Tifa.’

Reno caught on and quickly tried to dismiss the thought, “No no! I’m not talking about me, yo!” He waved his hands in front of his face and backed away from Rude just a little, in case he ruined his segway. Guess it wasn’t as foolproof as he originally thought.

Rude wordlessly took a sip from his drink, obviously having nothing to say to Reno at all.

“It’s just..” The red-headed Turk scratched his own head, narrowing his eyes unsurely, “You know, ‘Lena.. Ever since Tseng died, she hasn’t really been into any guys, right?” Reno cast his eyes towards his grubby looking mug, fiddling with the handle for sake of having something to distract himself. “Have you ever thought that she might be, you know..” He lazily waved his fingers a little, “Swinging the other way? Batting for the other team?”

Rude arched an eyebrow behind his dark sunglasses. Actually.. He had never thought about it. He just assumed Elena was straight because of Tseng, but now that he thought about it more clearly.. He couldn’t really pinpoint it. But what did it really matter to them whether she was gay or not? Neither of them liked Elena in that way.. “So?”

“So.. If Elena were a lesbian..” Reno suggested, pulling out a cigarette pack from his pocket. He shook the box once to get one out and held the unlit stick between his lips. “What if she and Tifa were.. You know.”

“I’m sorry, sir, but you can’t smoke here,” The bartender stated from further down the counter.

“Tch, cheapskates,” Reno said as he took the cigarette from his mouth and placed it on his ear, for later use. Sure, smoking was a horrible habit. It shortened Reno’s already short lifespan and it was going out of fashion.. But he still thought it made him look cool and hardcore. Just the way the smoke looked as it rose from the white stick coming out of his mouth. A nonchalant look on his face with his eyes closed and his body relaxed.. Reno was such a poser.

Rude was wordless throughout the discussion though. Now he was thinking about Tifa again. He hadn’t really given the thought that there was a possibility that Tifa were a lesbian. But now that he considered it.. His mind wandered back to his conversation with the brunette. When he mentioned that ShinRa was after her, Tifa’s first reaction was to ask, ‘What about Elena?’ It seemed as if Tifa was more concerned about the blonde than she was for herself.

Rude didn’t say anything of his thoughts to Reno. He wouldn’t say anything until he was absolutely certain. However, these ideas will probably haunt him on his own, caging in all risks of being hurt.

For now, though, there was work to be done.

Rude stood, still not saying a word, much to Reno’s dismay. The bald Turk left his tip and payment on the counter, while Reno just stood from his spot. Why waste good money on crap beer like the ones served to him? And for Reno, what was more important right now was heading out so he could have a smoke.

The pair stepped through the doors of the bar in Edge.

“Three..” Reno counted down as he pulled the cigarette from his ear, “Two..” He placed the stick in his mouth, shutting his eyes as he and Rude walked in their suave way towards the car they took for this mission.



A sudden explosion came from the bar behind them, flames and debris shooting from the building.

There was so much work to be done and so little time to do it.

Reno smirked as he saw a flaming piece of the bar’s sign fly onto the ground near the car. The flame on the piece was still burning bright, so why waste good gasoline from his lighter?

The red-headed Turk picked up the piece of the sign with gloved hands, held the flame close to his face, and lit the cigarette. He tossed the piece of the sign over his shoulder and breathed out a soft stream of smoke from his lips.

Rude walked with lost purpose, his emotions shrouded by the sunglasses on his nose and the stoic expression on his face. No one would know of the thoughts running through that bald man’s head. No one could realize his mindset. No one would know that secretly, in the depths of his mind, he was screaming about how frustrated he was. Inside, he was tormented by this, by everything. The pressure from his father as a child, the unrequited love, the cruelty of his profession, the betrayal of his friend.. Everything seemed to be falling apart, but outwardly, he still appeared calm and collected.

Rude was a stone cold Turk.. And not even falling in love would change that.


Jessie wasn’t hungry. Plain and simple. She had already eaten her breakfast, a lazily toasted bagel with cream cheese and a glass of non-expired orange juice from the kitchen. She was never one to eat much, since she was always so absorbed in her work and her computer that she would sometimes forget to eat. Still, she didn’t require much energy anyways.

She never considered herself much of a fighter.

Jessie was definitely always the support. Bombs, distractions, intelligence, piloting.. She did it all, but all of it was achieved through sitting at a desk or constructing something.

Always support.

Even now, as she glanced from her workstation monitor to the surveillance screens, she spotted the ninja racing from the kitchen towards the bridge. Jessie felt she was needed again, not a battle of war, but a battle of will. And that was the type of battle she could support and win.

The door behind her opened with a hiss and she turned from her work. One look at that ninja and the technician could see a side of Yuffie that the ninja refused to show anyone else. One look at her pained and tear-stained face, and Jessie’s heart melted in remorse. It was as if a burning flame had been reduced to embers, glowing with the life that once resonated from its midst, but not able to do much more than flicker, waiting to die out.

Still, in her weakest moment, the fact that Yuffie still had the energy within her to express the emotion, untainted and unbidden, showed that she was more alive than anyone. That she could feel the pain in all of its power made her life more credible and real. But since Yuffie is Yuffie.. Her stubborn pride restrains her expression, choking her words before they come out of her mouth and silencing her cries for help.

Yuffie didn’t say what she wanted to say. She felt that she needed to stand alone, facing her issues with her own conviction. No one has helped her with emotional pain before. Not her father, not her late mother, not Aeris.. Not Tifa. She wasn’t going to start now. She was going to deal with this on her own because relying on others was weak in her eyes. Relying on others wasn’t dependable or guaranteed. There was too much risk involved because becoming vulnerable to others makes you susceptible to more anguish, more pain. She needed to become stronger on her own.

“Tifa..” The ninja said softly, forcing a smile, as if only uttering the fighter’s name was painful, “She wanted to know if you want to go into town to eat..” The door leading to the corridor shut itself behind the ninja, leaving them to their privacy.

Jessie looked on, her gentle brown eyes offering the least comfort she could. She could tell what had happened. Those tears were tears of heartbreak, those reddened eyes were eyes of rejection, and that sullen, aching voice was a voice of a girl in need of a shoulder to cry on. Even if Yuffie didn’t ask for it, Jessie was already on her feet, walking towards her.

“I’m not hungry,” Jessie stated with an air of compassion in her voice, “I had a bagel earlier.” She would be the emotional pillar for the ninja to lean on. No hidden agenda, no alternate motive.. Just pure, unfettered solace waiting for the ninja with open arms.

“I..” And though Yuffie was as proud and strong she believed herself to be, there is a limit to how much a person could stand. Yuffie grit her teeth, frustrated with herself. Her thoughts turned from depressed rejection to bitter anguish. Was she not good enough for Tifa? What made Elena so special, anyway? Yuffie shut her eyes tightly, trying to contain herself. “Tifa and Elena..”

Jessie understood. Of course she understood.. She knew about Tifa and Elena ever since they arrived on the ship. However, it was gnawing at her brain, the guilt and fact that she allowed this pain to be inflicted. She could have prevented it by telling Yuffie about the two before the ninja went to confront Tifa with intent to let her know how she felt. She could have prevented these tears that were falling from Yuffie’s eyes.

But Jessie was a coward. She didn’t know why she didn’t tell the girl about them. Perhaps she didn’t want to be the one to cause the pain. She wanted to be the one who saved her from it. Now the question was whether or not she should admit to knowing beforehand.. The possible consequences to telling Yuffie that she knew about Tifa and Elena rolled around in her mind.

Yuffie would probably be hurt further, since the person she went to for advice and comfort had misled her and she was hurt by it. Yuffie would probably hate her for it. But most of all, Yuffie wouldn’t ever trust her again.

Jessie couldn’t let that happen.. She briefly considered the consequences for not telling Yuffie, and in general, it seemed way less severe than if she were to tell her right now. Sure, it kind of made her a liar.. But she felt she was doing it for the other girl’s sake, to save her from more pain.

So wordlessly, Jessie wrapped the sullen ninja in her arms.

And that was all of the encouragement that Yuffie needed to finally let loose. She buried her face into the pilot’s chest, allowing her emotions to take control with unrestrained fervor.

Perhaps it was a cry for help on Yuffie’s part. She couldn’t find comfort in the arms of the person she felt the closest to, so she searched for the love she needed elsewhere. In a flurry of restrained passion, caged emotions, and a forcefully closed heart, Yuffie allowed herself to be free for this moment. And she had to admit that it felt great to finally let it all out.

The tears slid down the ninja’s cheeks and onto Jessie’s clothes, but they were a variety of different types of tears. Tears of release, tears of regret, tears of rejection, tears of pain.. But most of all, tears of joy for finally receiving the steady comfort she always craved.

Jessie, however, felt the need to help the girl in order to help herself. Not because of pity or her good nature, but out of genuine caring for this ninja. Like Yuffie, nothing remained constant in her life. Her parents died, her friends died or abandoned her, and she had to face the cruel world on her own, learning to close her heart and lock it from ever being stepped on again. For once, she wanted something to be ongoing. She wanted to be the pillar for this girl, this strong, but fragile girl.

Knowing someone for such a short time.. Growing attached to them and making yourself completely vulnerable. Wanting to give anything to see them smile again..

That is the risk one takes when they fall in love.

‘..Fall in love, huh?’ Jessie never thought she would even contemplate that theory. She looked down at the girl who was crying all of her frustrations, her worries, her heartaches and her angers away, and Jessie gently stroked her hair, hoping to calm her tormented mind.

Even if she was just a rebound case, she didn’t care. Jessie found something that felt warm, comforting and real, and she wanted to hold onto it.


No matter how hard you try to run away from your past.. It always comes back to kick you in the ass.

Elena leaned indifferently against the wall outside the corridor of the kitchen. She stood in the opposite direction of the bridge, since she knew that Yuffie would head in that direction after this conversation. She heard every word of it, albeit unintentionally. As the ninja emerged from the room, Elena was out of Yuffie’s vision; even peripherally. It was only natural for the ex-SOLDIER to use that stealth, and Yuffie was so distracted by the rejection that she didn’t even notice Elena standing there, head tilted up and eyes closed in thought.

Before, Elena disliked the ninja. She was rude, impulsive, annoying, thieving, conniving.. But, after seeing the girl get her heart broken, the blonde sympathized with her. She felt she could relate. Even though Elena hadn’t really been directly rejected by Tseng, but she knew her feelings weren’t returned. He had always had a thing for Aeris, and even when she was out of the picture, he disappeared from the picture too.

She did feel sorry for Yuffie.. But she couldn’t help but feel happy inside at the fact that Tifa had chosen her without any doubts or hesitations.

“I know you’re out there, you eavesdropper,” The blonde heard from inside the kitchen.

Elena’s eyes finally opened and a subtle grin graced her lips. “I’ve been caught, haven’t I?” She said out loud, directed towards herself, but intended for Tifa to hear. Pushing herself off of the wall, she pushed the button to open the door.

Tifa could be seen there, one hand on her hip and the other hand hanging freely. She felt horrible for rejecting Yuffie like that.. But it was better than misleading her, then hurting her more so in the future. She justified the reasons, but she couldn’t shake off the guilt.. “How much did you hear?”

Elena stepped through the door and crossed her arms over her chest, a look of a guilty pleasure on her face, “Everything. At least everything starting from, ‘Do you still have feelings for Cloud?’” Again, she felt bad for Yuffie, but good for herself.. Seems cold doesn’t it?

“It had to be done.. This was probably the best way for her not to get too hurt,” Tifa said, a remorseful look on her face.. “She’s like the little sister I never had.”

Elena looked up to the ceiling of the kitchen, uncrossing her arms and latching her fingers together behind her back. “Still.. Pretending to be oblivious to her feelings seemed pretty cold.”

“You think?” Tifa said with a confused look, “This coming from the ice queen? The Turk with a stone heart?” The fighter teased the Turk, a smirk on her face.

Elena blinked and looked at the brunette in front of her, “What! Since when?”

“Just a little rebel talk from the slums.. Turks didn’t exactly have the best reputation, you know,” Tifa said with a little roll of her eyes. Then with a sigh, her motherly side surfaced once again, “I hope Yuffie’s doing okay..”

The blonde took a step towards Tifa, taking her hand and shaking her head, “It’ll take her a little while to get over, I think..” Elena tried to give her a reassuring smile, though, “You can’t expect her to be perfectly fine..” Words of wisdom from someone of experience.. Elena knew well how Yuffie felt. When she found out Tseng loved Aeris, albeit unrequited, she still felt hurt beyond belief. But she was still young, and unaware of a different love that she knew was real.. “But Yuffie’s a tough girl, and she has Jessie to help her out, right?” Squeezing Tifa’s hand, “She’ll be fine.”

“You’re right.. I’ll give her some time alone before trying to talk to her again..” Tifa looked down at the hand that held hers, then back into the brown eyes that reflected her own. “Let’s go grab some brunch,” The long-haired fighter began to lean forward, intent on giving a kiss to the blonde, but..


It was a perfectly good moment between the two. But it was only to be ruined by that familiar, pounding headache.. “Ugh.. Not again..”


And soon to follow were the memories.. Elena’s eyes became unfocused, unable to hold her own weight as she fell forward into Tifa’s arms. “Elena!”

That was all she heard before she blacked out.


On the battlefield, or during a mission, everyone had to be serious. There was no room for mistakes. Mistakes are what could cost someone their life. Tifa’s squadron never made an error, but on and off the battlefield, everyone could see their confidence. Over-confidence would sometimes lead to being egotistical and big-headed.. But Tifa wouldn’t allow that.

Pride, we’re all clear for take over. Over.” Her radio buzzed.

You don’t move until I give the signal, you got that, Wrath Squad? Target must be in isolation first. Over.” She spoke back into the device, her irritation clear in her voice.

Yes, ma’am. Over.” The mocking voice of the Wrath squad leader replied.

Tifa released a sigh, shaking her head as she carefully prepared her sniper rifle. It was a simple assassination mission to take out a syndicate plotting to overthrow ShinRa, but it had to be done well, leaving no trace of SOLDIER’s participation.

The Lieutenant positioned herself, the only other person in the abandoned building with her being her second-in-command, Elena. She looked through the scope, the crosshairs aimed into the building across the street.

Elena held her sub-machine gun loosely. She never really liked to use the guns that ShinRa provided them with. She preferred hand-to-hand combat, or melee-weapon to weapon or robot. However, there was still quite a bit of time until the official start of the mission. So the blonde asked Tifa a simple question..

What’s with the squad names anyways?”

Tifa didn’t move her head from the scope, ready at any time, but clearly able to multitask, “Have you ever heard of the ‘Seven Deadly Sins’, ‘Lena?”

Elena shook her head, but since Tifa couldn’t see her, she had to verbalize her response as well, “Nah, I haven’t.. Is that like some religious thing? I didn’t know you were into that.”

The brunette smirked a little, “I’m not.” She finally finished setting the position exactly how she wanted it and pulled her head from the scope, “It’s just something that stuck with me. I heard about it from one of the Privates. The Seven Deadly Sins.. Pride, Wrath, Greed, Lust, Gluttony, Envy and Sloth.” Tifa sat against the wall of the building, her SOLDIER uniform hidden in the darkness of the room.

Seven.. If there are seven, then why did you pick it? I mean.. You only have four squads in your command, including your own.” Elena asked, glancing at her watch.

Only Pride, Wrath, Greed and Envy sounded cool for a squad name,” Tifa stated, a smile on her face, “You wouldn’t want to be called the Lust Squad, would you?”

Elena snickered, shaking her head. What a lame reason! But she shot back with, “Maybe if we had an all-female squad.” She hoped to catch an envious, protective look from Tifa, so she watched her reaction in the corner of her eye.

Tifa narrowed her eyes, about to retort, when sounds of gunfire could be heard from across the street.

Wrath Squad!” She called into her radio, “Status report! Over!” Her head tilted to listen to the radio while Elena pulled out her binoculars and scanned the premises.

Lieutenant, Wrath Squad has moved in!” Elena said with a disbelieving air.

Those idiots! They’re gonna get themselves killed!” Tifa rushed to her rifle and looked through the scope to get a better view, “Target in sight, but he’s surrounded by bodyguards.” She called into her radio again, “Wrath Squad, get your asses out of there before you’re seen! You’re only backup!”

I’m not listening to orders from some woman, got it? I should be Lieutenant, not you.” The Wrath Squad leader’s voice rang through the small device.

Tifa rolled her eyes, remaining calm. She wasn’t about to lash out at one of the squad leaders for being sexist towards her. “Alright, I’m going in. Those idiots don’t know how to follow orders unless I’m there to keep their asses in line..” Tifa said as she stood up. It was ridiculous! Tifa just had to be stuck with that sexist prick.. She knew that this was bound to happen sooner or later, and she knew she was going to teach him a thing or two about manners once they got back to base.

Elena nodded, immediately knowing what to do. She grabbed a zip-cord launcher from the bag of equipment and set it up quickly. She pulled the trigger, the four-point grappling head shooting from their position to the wall above the window where the target was being guarded. Once the hook was firmly latched, Elena secured the other side to the other wall. “Line set, Tif!”

Tifa nodded and equipped her fists. She was way better with her fists than she was with any gun. “Cover me!” And Tifa grabbed a latch, hopped out of the window, hooking the zip line and sliding down towards the other building. Close behind her was Elena, using a different method to slide down. On her boots were hooks designed for the zip line.. Since she needed her hands free, she slid down with her feet.

Of course, the syndicate inside wasn’t stupid.. If they were enough of a threat to ShinRa that they had to send in their SOLDIER units, then they had to be smart. They spotted the girls sliding down and immediately opened fire.

Haste!” Elena used the materia equipped in her armor. As if time began to slow, her and Tifa could see traces of each bullet passing them by.

Tifa had obviously expected this, so quickly and skillfully, she transitioned her body weight to the side as each bullet could be seen with ease for the genetically enhanced SOLDIERs. Swinging on the cord from left, right and occasionally over the top, Tifa easily dodged the bullets.

Barrier!” Elena, however, had a more difficult time, considering her feet were her only support on the wire. She slid down the line as if she were snowboarding down a mountain, but to keep the bullets from reaching her, she needed to use her materia again.

The Lieutenant burst through the window, shards of glass showering onto the floor as Tifa used the momentum to bounce off of the floor with a handspring and wrap her legs around one of the bodyguard’s neck. She twisted her hips and broke his neck, then planted her hands on the ground and threw his twitching body to the side.

Elena shot in after her, blade drawn and cutting the cord behind her. Immediately as a second bodyguard rushed towards her, she lunged forward, stabbing, twisting and slicing through his midsection. After a quick analysis, she spotted four remaining bodyguards and their intended target, the syndicate leader.

Tifa was already taking care of two of them with deadly grace. Her moves were fluid and oddly beautiful, a spectacle to watch if any of her victims lived to see it. As she ricocheted off a wall and dived towards a bodyguard with a roundhouse kick, her hair made a trail behind her like a cape in the wind. After landing the kick, she turned about and faced another, giving him a wink before pulling one of her signature moves: Somersault kick.

So much for being a subtle mission.

The two SOLDIERs didn’t need to say a word to each other. They knew at all times where the other was, and they communicated almost telepathically, only the occasional glances serving as conversation.

Elena crouched down and shut her eyes, with her head bowed down as a man rushed towards her with a baton. Her blade was held firmly at her side, and it almost seemed as if she were paying her respects to the men she had killed and the man she was about to kill. The man began to strike down, but Elena met him halfway as she leapt upwards, slicing in a perfect arch from the ground, along the man’s midsection, and up to his neck.

Behind her, another bodyguard with a knife raised his arm to stab the blonde.. But before he could, Elena threw her sword upwards and grabbed the man’s weapon arm, flipping him over her shoulder. She hopped back and the blade landed in the middle of his chest. That was the last of the bodyguards.

Ice 2!” Elena said as she cast an ice spell on the target, freezing him in place. Elena simply flipped her hair back, and crossed her arms with a smirk on her face again, waiting for Tifa to complete the mission. She knew that Tifa would have wanted to take out the target, even if it was mostly respect on Elena’s part.

Tifa grinned, glad that Elena knew how she liked it. Calmly, she walked up to the frozen sculpture that was once a man. She made a fist, her gloves audibly clenching over the sounds of gunfire in the next room. Then, with a firm straight punch, the ice block shattered.

By now, it had been one minute since they hopped out of the window to the zip cord. Haste had quickened their movements, after all. And finally, the gunfire reached the door. Tifa stood next to Elena, her hands on her hips as Ken, the Wrath Squad leader burst through the door.

Wrath Squad, clean this up.” Tifa said as she stepped past the bewildered leader. She had just proved her point that she deserved to be Lieutenant.

Back in present time, Tifa brought the unconscious Elena back to the cabin bed that they slept in the night before. It was only natural, though, since Tifa took care of her in SOLDIER when the injections would have side effects on her body. Elena was less susceptible to the injections than Tifa was.

She couldn’t help but wonder what memories were being revived in the other woman’s brain.

After the mission, once both Tifa and Elena were cleaned up and dismissed, they were free to return to their quarters, “Tif.. Do you ever regret doing what we do?” The young Sergeant Elena asked her commanding officer.

Tifa thought about that for a moment. She has killed anonymous, nameless people for the sake of a company that she wanted to destroy. She sacrifices her own body on a daily basis to withstand the injections and training sessions that would kill a regular person. Blood has stained her hands on hundreds of occasions, and the guilt of killing remained on her soul..

The crimson blood that stained their hands remained there forever..

And all of this for the sake of revenge..

But even after all of those cons, there is one pro that overrides them all: She met Elena.

No, I don’t regret this,” Tifa said with conviction. She turned to her comrade, her friend, her love, looked into her brown eyes and continued, “Because without all this, I wouldn’t have you,” She leaned forward and kissed the girl’s forehead, “And without you, I would be nothing.”

A deep blush rose onto Elena’s cheeks, but she smiled sheepishly. Even though the line was corny, Elena was still impressed by it, and it was definitely a response she was happy with. Playfully, she hit the other girl’s arm, “You big-breasted sweet talker.”

Tifa rolled her eyes, a lightened mood circling her while she laughed. The tension from the day melted away when she saw Elena’s smile, as it always did. She retorted with her own comeback, “Oh shut up, I’ll say anything to get in your pants.”

[End notes:

July 17, 2007 Author's note: *Sighs..* That last flashback scene was gold. The rejection of Yuffie was gold too.. The Turks too! Aaah. I love this chapter. ._.;

Old A/N: There you have it! Two months overdue from the time I actually wanted to finish this, but hey.. Whatever! Again, sorry about the delay, but I had a big writer’s block.. Again. I wasn’t even RPing for the longest time too! And that’s so weird for me.. I’M ALWAYS RPING! I felt so out of the writing loop.. Like I lost my super powers or something.

Anyways.. Hope you guys enjoyed this chapter. I enjoyed writing it once I got back into the mood XD Sorry about the long flashback/fight scene. I wanted to put in some action in! It was getting so stagnant and soap opera-y.

And yes.. I have noticed that this chapter is the longest so far.. I’ll try to make it less lengthy next time.

So.. As always, reviews please!

Edit: Changed a little thing in the middle so that Elena faints instead of Tifa, since Tifa already fainted in chapter 3. XD Elena had the injections later in her life so the blackout would have happened a little later too, right? Also.. There was a sentence I didn't finish that I forgot to delete the first time LOL.

Edit #2: Yeah, I deleted some stuff in this last author's note. I'm single again, no girlfriend >.>;..



Chapter 11

Title: Chapter 11: Introductions

[Author's notes:

July 17, 2007 Author's Note: And finally, we get to the currently updated chapter. From now on I'll be posting here and in simultaneously! I hope everyone continues to read. (Also, finally the story is getting to the good stuff. xD)

A/N: Alright! Getting this fanfic off of Hiatus, finally! Sorry guys, I’ve been catching up on my real-life self for a little lately since the breakup and I got my drivers license recently, too.. D; Me plus driving plus single equals going out and spending more money than expected. So I’ve been working, going to school, and driving around doing stuff lately. D:

But yeah! Don’t worry, I’ve still been thinking and feeling guilty every time I think about how I should be writing this baby. So here we are with another flashback chapter! I hope it turns out as well as Platonic! did.

Also: Thanks to Dannichu for Beta reading the first part of this chapter xD!




Chapter 11: Introductions

[Suggested BGM: Final Fantasy 7 OST (Disk 1) – Honeybee Manor]

“Don’t touch that!” A yelp came from a certain blonde.

“Why not?” A lecherous chuckle came from a certain brunette, “It’s squishy.”

“Because it’s mine! Go grab your own, you leech.”

“But.. Come on, please? Can’t I just hold it for another few minutes?”

A soft, exasperated sigh came from the blonde. She finally caved in. It’s almost impossible for her to say no to the brunette. “Fine.”

“Yay!” Tifa wrapped both of her arms around it.

“H-Hey! Be careful with it! I wanna keep it for a while..”

The oversized moogle had an adorably blank expression on its face as a teenaged Tifa squeezed the stuffing out of it. She had originally won it for Elena at a festival in Kalm during a shooting game. They went to the festival during their rare day off and Tifa wanted to impress the girl claiming that the moogle’s cuteness paled in comparison to the blonde. That earned a blush from Elena and Tifa swelled with pride at the thought that she was such a good girlfriend. However, Elena, ever-competitive, had to win one for Tifa so she wouldn’t feel spoiled. So to the amazement of the man at the booth, she won an equally large, equally cute, chocobo plushie for Tifa.

Of course, getting a chocobo plushie for Tifa resulted in one of her lewd comments, “Is this your secret way of saying, ‘I’d like to ride you’?” She said with a suggestive smirk.

Elena just rolled her eyes at the time.

Tifa was almost regretting letting go of the giant moogle, though. It was so soft and cuddly and much like Elena herself, “Wanna trade for Chokey?”

A disappointed pout came from the blonde. She figured Tifa should have known that it didn’t matter what kind of gift it was, just as long as it was from her.. But if she took away the gift and replaced it with one that she got for Tifa..! Then that’s just like saying, ‘Here! I don’t want yours, I want mine! Give it back!

Tifa looked up from the cuddling of the giant white animal and caught sight of the pout and inevitable silence from the blonde, “Hey.. Come on, I was just joking..”

Elena reached out and grabbed the equally soft and fluffy, yet unloved, chocobo, hugging it tightly without another word to her girlfriend. The bird’s big blue eyes stared innocently at nothing while the blonde rested her head on it, sitting on her bed away from Tifa.

Tifa, however, wouldn’t take the silent treatment. Taking the moogle with her onto Elena’s bed, she poked her head into the girl’s vision, offering her apologetic puppy dog eyes.

Elena turned her head the other way to avoid looking at her. At least the chocobo loved her! Obviously, Tifa didn’t know what her gifts meant to her.

Tifa took control of the moogle’s limbs and poked the blonde gently with it, “Chokey.. Moggy’s sorry for cheating on you with Tifa!” The brunette then wrapped both of her arms around the blonde so she could wrap the moogle’s arms around the chocobo for one big, soft hug.

Elena loosened her grip on the yellow plush toy, feeling Tifa’s arms around her from behind. She couldn’t fight the smile that was creeping onto her lips.

“Nothing, not even some stupid moogle plushie, would ever replace my Elena,” Tifa said softly into her ear.

Elena shut her eyes and leaned back into the brunette’s arms. She was happy with that line.

“You’re my favorite toy!” Tifa said in a louder voice, squeezing the other girl around the midsection.

“Oh Shiva, that was so cheesy!” Elena yelped, attempting to squirm out of the girl’s grip.


[Suggested BGM: Final Fantasy 7 OST (Disk 4) – A Full Scale Attack]

Elena hated survival training. She absolutely detested it. It wasn’t as if she couldn’t handle it, but Elena was more of a sheltered, city girl. A boot camp in the middle of Junon forest with these twisted drill sergeants wasn’t exactly her idea of a vacation.

“453.. 454..” She counted out loud as she pulled her body weight up until her chin was above the bar. In the blistering heat, even the most biologically engineered SOLDIERs would be craving water. She was at least one hundred chin ups ahead of the others in her squad since she was lighter, but had just as much, if not more, arm power. A stream of sweat made its way from her forehead, down the side of her face, causing her blonde hair to mat and stick hairs to her face..

And to make matters worse, they separated her from Tifa for the day! Granted, she’d see her when they reached the cabin at night.. But she’d probably be beat by then and she’ll just want to crash and sleep.

Still, she wasn’t allowed to complain because she and Tifa agreed to keep their relationship with each other as much of a secret as they could. ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell,’ you know? It didn’t really stop Tifa from attempting public displays of affection, but at least they never said it out loud in public.

Tifa, on the other hand, was in the field right now with the Wrath Squad. She was spending time with each squad to get a feel for how to give them orders in emergency situations. She also felt that to be a good leader, she had to develop bonds between herself and the troops under her.

However, switching between squads on the field meant that she would be separated from Elena.

That made Tifa pout inside.

The fact that she missed her probably showed how attached she was getting.

There was one discovery she made during this stupid boot camp assignment, though. And she was eager to show Elena later that night.

“Wrath Squad, move out! Over.” She commanded over the walkie-talkie.


[Suggested BGM: Final Fantasy 7 OST (Disk 3) – The Flow of Life]

When night falls on Junon forest, all is illuminated by the moon stars alone. The neon glow of the city’s bar signs and streetlamps were too far away to show their way, but who needs sight anyways? Moonlight was good enough for Tifa.

That pseudo-light filtered through the trees, washing the two girls’ faces in its essence. There were no cabins that they had expected. There was no lunch or dinner to be provided for them.. No, in a real situation, getting stuck in the forest would not have guaranteed sleeping quarters or meals. No one’s going to hold your hand and guide you like in the city.. No. Out there, you had to fend for yourself, down to the very last primal detail (much to Elena’s disbelief).

“Psst.. Wake up,” Tifa whispered into an uncomfortably sleeping Elena’s ear.

The blonde was leaned up against a tree, blade in hand and head tilted down. There was a little trace of drool coming from the side of her mouth, but it was quickly sipped up again once the girl awoke, “Hn..?”

“AH!” Her senses snapped into place once she saw the figure next to her and she hopped to her feet in frenzy of different scenarios. Once she saw the silhouette of her partner, though, she immediately calmed. “Geez, Tif, you scared the crap out of me!” She whispered in an angry tone.

“Shows how much you know about these sessions,” Tifa said with a bit of a cocky grin, “You shouldn’t even be sleeping, Sergeant.” The brunette stood from her crouched position, putting her hands on her hips and continuing her little lesson, “If I were a monster, you’d already be dead.” The experienced Lieutenant reflected on her own first experiences with survival training and shuddered slightly, “If you need sleep so badly, you need to learn how to sleep with your eyes open.”

Elena nodded, still remaining seated with her arms now crossed, “So how do you sleep with your eyes open, then, Lieutenant?

“You don’t,” Tifa said simply, “But don’t stay up for more than 3 days straight. You might start hallucinating.”

Elena face faulted. She was serious?

“But there’s something I want to show you, Elena..” Tifa whispered with a mysterious air about her, which was only enhanced by the strange blue moonlight atmosphere around them. “Follow me.” And with that said, she took off in a sprint.

Elena, still a little dazed by the sudden wake up call, looked upon her commanding officer with bewilderment. ‘What the hell is going o-..’ She began to think, but she quickly realized she had no time to think before she would lose sight of her!

“Dammit, Tifa!” She jumped to her feet, her body objecting due to the horrible torment it had to endure earlier in the day. Still, she quickly stretched upwards, and sprinted in pursuit of the brunette. ‘Where would she have gone..

By now, Tifa had been hidden by the thick forest, but Elena had her own tricks up her sleeve. Her eyes were well adjusted to the darkness now to the point that she could run at her full speed without crashing into any unwanted trees or branches. Her ears, however, were a different story. The night was quiet save for the few crickets or fireflies.. As well as a waterfall? So she could hear every step and every broken twig from a mile away. She listened and figured Tifa was running northbound, judging from the footsteps..

She sprinted in that direction, but suddenly Tifa’s trail was gone. Even her sound.. She couldn’t hear her! Her footsteps weren’t on the ground anymore! “What the hell!” Elena stopped to listen again carefully. Was Tifa testing her or something? ‘Ugh.. Well, I’ll show her!’ When it came down to Elena proving herself.. She was quite stubborn.

Tifa, as if she knew how frustrated Elena was becoming, had climbed a tree. It was a childish tactic, but an effective one. She held back a snicker and held her position in the tree by the surprise she had discovered. If Elena was as good as Tifa thought she was, she should arrive in.. Three.. Two..

“There you are!” A voice came from behind her.

Ah, Tifa knew her girlfriend too well.

Elena put her hands on her hips and pouted angrily at her commanding officer, “If that was your idea of a game, then you’re such a cheater!”

Tifa swung herself upside down so her long hair cascaded behind her head like a curtain to hide the scene behind her, and she grinned at the girl, her face lit, yet shadowed by the moonlight, “Who said climbing a tree was a part of the rules?” She put her hands behind her head and continued, “I just said, ‘Follow me.’ And you did. Congratulations, babe!”

Elena stepped closer to the upside down figure in front of her. The branch she was hanging from wasn’t exactly high off the ground, so Tifa’s eyes were about the same level as her own. The blonde simply narrowed her eyes at the brunette, “So what did you want to show me?” It wasn’t like Elena was irritated. She was just a tad.. Grumpy. She didn’t exactly get enough sleep.

Tifa just smiled knowingly at the girl and swung her body forward a little bit, placing an upside-down kiss on Elena’s forehead.

Elena feigned annoyance, but then she discarded the façade and just smiled, closing her eyes. There was no way she could stay irritated at Tifa, anyways.

Tifa touched the blonde’s cheek with her fingertips and whispered softly, “Well, while I was out here, trying to lead those Wrath Squad idiots through a mission..” She began, her voice containing a joking air, “I found something I think you’ll like.” Her long hair was still acting as a curtain, hiding the scene behind her head effectively. The opening wasn’t exactly a very big one.

Elena, now curious as to what it was, arched an eyebrow.

“But it’s a surprise, so you have to close your eyes first!”

Elena grinned a little, secretly loving surprises when they came from Tifa. Still, she rolled her eyes good-naturedly and said with a mock-exasperated sigh, “Okay, fine.. You win.” And she brought her hands up to cover her eyes.

Tifa waved her hand and made a few funny faces to see if Elena was peeking. Once she was sure she had her eyes covered, she flipped off of the branch and landed behind Elena, putting her hands on top of her hands to cover them more so, “No peeking!”

“I’m not!”

Then, leading Elena through the little opening in the forest, into a clearing, Tifa said softly as she pulled her hands from the girl’s face, “Alright, open them.”

Elena opened her eyes and was breathless once she saw the scene before her. That waterfall she had heard earlier, but not quite paid attention to, was right in this clearing. It looked like a tropical paradise, except with the light of the moon and the hundreds of fireflies playing in the air instead of a blazing sun and salty beaches. The water looked like a mirror, and if there were no ripples from the waterfall, it would have perfectly reflected the trees and moon above them. However, since it did have ripples, the reflection was distorted a little, but in an artistic way..

Elena didn’t think that such a beautiful scene could exist in Junon Forest. Junon, a place with such industry and metallic, unnatural machines. It was like a paradoxical dream. And it gave her that little hope that there’s still beauty in this ugly, twisted world. It almost brought tears to her eyes. Almost.

“Wow.. It’s beautiful..” A breathy whisper came from the blonde.

Tifa had to nod in agreement, but her attention wasn’t on the scene. Her attention was on Elena, “Yeah.. Beautiful.”

Elena turned her gaze to the brunette and smiled an almost-teary, “I love it.. Thanks for bringing me here.”

Tifa took a step forward and wrapped her arms around the girl’s waist, “You’re welcome..”

Elena’s body replied by wrapping her arms around Tifa’s neck, looking into her similar brown eyes. She felt like she should say something at a time like this, but her mind was so overwhelmed that she couldn’t even form complete thoughts, let alone sentences. She was so dumbfounded by the scene that all she could really do was smile and shake her head while trying to think of something witty to say.

Instead of exchanging words, though, they simply joined in a gentle kiss. It wasn’t excessively passionate or hungry, but it also wasn’t your typical ‘Honey, I’m home’ kind of kiss either. It was soft, warm, romantic, and most of all, it was..

Suddenly broken.

“I love you..” The soft whisper came from Tifa’s lips and it was barely audible. It was such a rush for her senses, being around Elena. She felt energized, yet so relaxed.

“Huh..?” Suddenly, Elena’s vision was blurring. What did she say? Did she even say anything? Elena

Tifa repeated herself a little louder, “I…”

Tifa’s proclamation fell upon deaf ears. Elena’s eyes stared into space, a glaze overcoming them as she slowly fell from consciousness. Her body slumped against her commanding officer’s and her breathing lessened.

“Elena..?” Tifa held the blonde in her arms, easily holding her up and shaking her a little, panic settling into her, “Elena!”

But the girl just wouldn’t wake up..

Tifa’s mind went into full-blown panic mode now, “Shit! Elena..!” She repeated in her head, ‘Please don’t be dead, please don’t be dead..’ And even though the breathing could still be felt and heard, she was praying inwardly to whatever entity was up there to not let Elena die. Of course, she was over exaggerating, but..

No! No. Tifa had to stay calm and remember her training.

She reached for her communicator, keeping the blonde safely secured in her arms. This had never happened before! It looked like similar side effects from the injections that they had on common occasion.. But they never lost consciousness before.

“Medic! SOLDIER down at Vector 7-9, over!”

It’ll be alright..


[Suggested BGM: Final Fantasy 7 OST (Disk 2) – Ahead on Our Way]

This scent..

It’s so familiar.

Who could it be..?

Elena could feel her fingers tingle. It didn’t hurt.. It just kind of tickled. A little movement and slowly the feeling would return. Awakening from their numbness, Elena’s hands could once again feel the covers of the bed. It wasn’t soft and familiar like the ones back in their cabin, but it wasn’t unpleasant. A little rough and a little starchy, like a mass produced bed. The return of her sense of touch slithered up her body like slow-moving electricity. As if she was reactivating, and the blood was finally coursing through her veins once again. There was something warm and soft against her right hand, which was a stark contrast to the feeling in the left one.. But it didn’t alarm the girl. It felt natural. It felt normal.. And it felt familiar.

Like this scent that lingered in the air. What could it be?

Elena opened her eyes, but her sight did not return. Perhaps it was dark? Who knows how long she was out for.. ‘Ah! Tifa.. And that beautiful scene! Ugh.. Why did I have to faint at such an inconvenient time?’ Her thoughts grazed her mind as she tried to recall her last memory completely. She had kissed Tifa under the moonlit sky, by an oasis with fireflies surrounding it.. They broke the kiss.. And Tifa had said something.

‘What did she say?’ Elena asked herself.. She couldn’t hear her at the time. She couldn’t even see her lips move. But she could feel the vibrations from Tifa’s neck when her arms were around her.. And the way her heartbeat was changing..

Oh, right. Back to reality.

Elena tried to focus on regaining the rest of her senses.. Let’s see.. Touch. Check. Smell. Check. Sight? Uh.. Not check. Taste? Well, can’t really check that right now.. Hearing? The sound of footsteps was fading, footsteps of someone with high heels, to be exact.. Sounded like they were walking away from the room. It was nice to know she could hear, at least.

Finally, her hazel eyes began to adjust.. It was a grey roof. It looked rather unwelcoming, but what part of ShinRa was welcoming to begin with? As her eyes adjusted to the roof, she saw a fan. It wasn’t anything extravagant, but she didn’t expect it to be. Her brain finally clicked in to allow some of her other body parts to move and she turned her head to see a figure at her right side. They were holding her hand and..

That scent.. She recognized it..

And without thinking, she uttered the word, “..Mama?”

The figure beside her didn’t move. The only movement that came from them was the soft rise and fall of their breathing. It was the dark haired girl, by her side as always.

Elena’s eyes focused in and out, and suddenly she realized, “Ah! Tifa!” Elena was a little embarrassed, but she was thankful that the girl was asleep. She’d never hear the end of her teasing if she heard Elena call her “Mama”. Her vision was still a little blurry, but she was certain it was Tifa. She must have fallen asleep watching over her.

Elena moved her body closer to the girl’s sleeping form and closed her eyes again, “Thanks.. As always.” Now this scent was more like it! Tifa always smelled good. It was a natural thing for the brunette.. Like her body emitted a gentle perfume of cherries.. Or was it strawberries? Or maybe a strange mixture of scents that she just couldn’t pinpoint.. Either way, it still made Tifa unique and smell very good. And Elena loved basking in her smell.

Tifa slowly began to stir, her sleepy eyes reluctantly opening. She lifted her head, focusing her eyes and allowing her brain to wake up and remember exactly where the hell she was. Her cheek was marked by the folding of the sheet she had her head on, but she wasn’t aware of it. Then she saw Elena’s form in front of her, and she recalled the night’s events. Elena must still be sleeping.. Or?

“Wait a sec, you’re awake!” Tifa caught the smile on Elena’s face and the changed position, then shook her head at the girl, “Lazy bum. If everything was exhausting you that much, you should have said so!”

Elena opened one eye to acknowledge the girl had said something, then shut it again quickly as if choosing to ignore her, “Hmph!” She wasn’t about to show weakness to her commanding officer! It was true though. The intensive injections she had to endure before the boot camp and field work.. Then not being allowed to sleep? It had all taken its toll on Elena, and even though she was an enhanced SOLDIER, she was still human.

“Well, how are you feeling? Are you all right now?” Tifa asked with worry hinting in her eyes.

Elena nodded, “I’m okay. Still a little dizzy and blurry, but it’s coming back.”

Tifa breathed a sigh of relief, “They injected you with extra stuff, didn’t they?” Tifa clenched one of her fists, gripping some of the bed sheet along with it. “Those bastards need to learn some restraint!”

Elena smirked and placed her hand on Tifa’s cheek, trying to calm her, “Don’t worry about it.. They just want me to catch up to you, is all.”

Tifa pouted. She honestly thought that Elena was equal, or even better, than her! Why would they need to inject her with more? Tifa narrowed her eyes towards the door, and had a thought in the back of her mind, ‘If those jerks pull another stunt like that, I’ll personally take care of them.. I’m not going to lose Elena to ShinRa too..’

Her eyes then softened when she looked back to Elena. She smiled and brushed some loose strands of blonde hair from the girl’s face, “What matters most to me right now..” She leaned forward and kissed Elena’s forehead, “Is that you’re all right..”

Elena could feel a blush creeping onto her cheeks, so she simply nodded her head.

But now, Tifa was curious about the night before. Did Elena remember what happened? “Hey, ‘Lena..” She blinked a couple of times, “Just curious, but.. Do you remember last night at all?”

Elena looked up at the ceiling in thought, “Actually.. I was gonna ask, but..” She looked at Tifa and sweatdropped, “Who are you, exactly?”

Tifa’s eyes widened in disbelief, “N-No way.. You.. You can’t be serious!”

The blonde couldn’t help but crack up at her girlfriend’s expression. She tried to hold back, but she burst out in laughter. “Your face! Haha! Priceless!” She had a little giggle here and there, but she calmed herself down and grinned at her girlfriend, “I’m just joking, Tif.”

Tifa nearly keeled over. Thank Shiva she was joking, but that really freaked her out. She almost had a heart attack! “Don’t do that!” She said, her hand grasping her own chest, “Geez!”

Elena went back to trying to remember the night before, “Last night, huh?”


I love it.. Thanks for bringing me here.”

Elena snapped, “Ah! You brought me to that oasis!” She smiled, nodding to herself, “Then we kissed.. Then I fainted, right?”

Tifa looked a little disappointed, “I thought that was all you’d remember.”

Elena blinked a couple of times at Tifa’s sudden saddened disposition, “Hey.. What’s wrong? Did I forget something?”

Tifa cynically thought for a second, ‘No, not really. Just the first time I officially say ‘I love you’ to you..’ Then decided to let the girl rest before putting anymore stress on her, “Don’t worry about it. It’s not really too important.”

Elena arched an eyebrow.. Tifa wouldn’t look so disappointed over something unimportant.. But did she really want to force it out of her? Nah, better to let Tifa tell her on her own terms.. Now to take a different approach to the situation! “Did you try to do something to me while I was asleep?” She asked with an impish grin.

“No!” Tifa exclaimed, crossing her arms, “You should know I’m not like that when you’re unconscious!”

“Well how would I know? I’d be unconscious, after all.” Elena replied, a smug grin on her face.

Tifa deadpanned. How was she supposed to reply to that?


[Suggested BGM: Final Fantasy 7 OST (Disk 4) – On The Other Side of The Mountain]

“Elena, I’m bored.”

“Yeah, I know.. But we have to finish these scenario assignments.”


Tifa was lying on her stomach, staring down at the paper on the bed sheet in front of her. She thought she was finished with school when she left Nibelheim. She knew everything she needed to in order to fight, and anything she didn’t know, she would adapt to on the field. So why did ShinRa insist on making her suffer mentally as well as physically?

Elena had fully recovered, but instead of being sent back to Midgar, they remained in Junon for the Comprehension Tests. The week before had been the physical stuff.. And it looked like this week was the mental stuff.

Yeah, mental as in crazy mental!

A groan escaped from the brunette’s throat. She wasn’t normally one to complain, but the two of them have been training and working non-stop since.. Well, Tifa couldn’t remember when they last had a break. Rolling onto her back, Tifa put her hands behind her head and stared up at the ceiling.

“The way I see it,” Elena began, leaning back in her chair and stretching her arms up, “Is that if you finish faster, then you have more free time later. Didn’t you ever have homework in Nibelheim?”

“Well, yeah..” Tifa said, pushing her lips to the side in thought, “But I never really did my homework. Johnny helped me! As long as I did well on tests, then the teacher was happy.”

Elena sharply turned her head towards the brunette on the bed and narrowed her eyes at her, “’Help’ as in you got someone else to do the homework for you, like you tried to make me do earlier, right?”

“Exactly.” Tifa replied innocently, a wide grin on her face.

The blonde rolled her eyes and looked back at the paper. When it came to academics, her parents were always strict on her. She wasn’t allowed to go out and play with her dog or her friends unless she was finished her homework, so she was used to studying. This kind of scenario assignment wasn’t too difficult for her.. It’s just taking longer because Tifa kept distracting her.

They had been temporarily transported to the Junon base when the EVA Project facilities received more funding from the higher-ups to upgrade the Midgar location. Elena thought it was nice to see the sun clearly for a change, but she didn’t look forward to going back to that other lifeless dump. But still, in the middle of summer, it was getting pretty warm without any air conditioning in their new quarters.

Tifa, ever the optimist, laid sprawled on her bed, mock-suffering from the heat, “It’s so warm here..” She complained, forgetting about the assignment and using it as a makeshift fan instead.

Elena couldn’t disagree with that one. They were used to colder conditions, considering everything in Midgar was basically made out of concrete, metal and Mako. She was getting used to the new living quarters, but she had to admit that she was already adapted to their other location. Now that the discomfort had set in, though, she couldn’t continue working on some unrealistic scenario paper. “You know what..” She said with an exasperated sigh, “Let’s take a bit of a break, then.”

Tifa’s eyes lit up at the word ‘break’ and she sat up like an excited puppy, “Really?” She knew that Miss Responsibility would see things her way after a little persuasion. She hopped off of the bed and dropped her blank assignment paper on the desk with Elena’s nearly completed one and took the blonde’s hand, “Great! Let’s go into town and get some ice cream!”

Elena glanced at the girl’s paper, “Hey, you didn’t even sta- Whoa!“

“No time to think about that! Life is short, Elena, so we need to make the most of the time we have!”

And in a rush, and excited Tifa dragged her partner out the door by the hand.


[Suggested BGM: Final Fantasy 7 OST (Disk 2) – Cait Sith’s Theme]

Okay, so ice cream was a good idea on a hot day such as this, but where were they even supposed to buy ice cream in an industrial sector such as Junon? Sure, they got military discounts everywhere in the city, but everything in this place was so.. Dull. Just like Midgar! No ice cream, no arcades, not even a beach! And they were right by the water, too..

Tifa stopped and leaned against one of the buildings, arms crossed in frustration. The heat was getting to her, and so was the fact that nothing was going her way today. “This is sad..”

Elena, however, didn’t mind the lack of things to do. She was just glad to get out of that stuffy room and spend some time with Tifa, “It’s not that bad. At least we’re not wearing our uniforms.”

“Yeah..” Tifa nodded in response, knowing that if they were on duty and forced to wear those awful, suffocating uniforms on a day like this, she definitely wouldn’t have survived. Her eyes wandered about the scenery. It was a nice day and she was out with Elena, so that was all she really needed. Her gaze fell upon the blonde beside her, wondering about the glowing aura she always seemed to emit. Maybe it’s just natural or something.

Elena looked up at the clear, blue sky. A rare sight of not-quite-so-polluted skies and the afternoon sun made the blonde shield her eyes from the brightness of it all. They stood on a boardwalk close to the sea in front of an item shop, and from there they could see the monstrous metallic sea vessels and weaponry that was in the water and sticking out of the buildings. The water had this odd tinge of green that was reflected with the sun’s light, and it made Elena suddenly want to visit a beach as well, where white sand and blue waters would welcome them to relax and just lay on the beach with no cares in the world.

A soft sigh escaped from the blonde’s lips. Funny how unnatural machinery and natural beauty, like the skies and water, don’t mix, but they could still blend in the right circumstances.

While the blonde was lost in her thoughts, Tifa watched her contentedly. The brunette barely noticed that Elena had turned towards her again. Her eyes quickly darted away towards the water, trying to conceal the redness creeping onto her cheeks from being caught staring.

Elena simply smiled and said with a sly grin, “You know.. You see that ship there?” She pointed towards the cargo ship, wide open, in the bay, “It goes directly across the sea to a resort town called Costa Del Sol.”

Tifa’s eyes widened for a second at the thought.. Then a smirk slowly began to creep onto her face, “What are you suggesting, my dear?”

“I’m saying..” Elena grazed the girl’s arm with her own before taking her hand and locking their fingers together, “That we deserve a bit of a vacation, wouldn’t you agree?” Elena took a couple of steps forward, pulling Tifa along.

Tifa smiled at that, “And that’s one of the reasons I lo-..” No.. The timing isn’t right, “Like you so much!”

Elena heard the little hesitation, but she didn’t question it.. She just wanted to get out of this heat! No guards and a wide open cargo hold, huh? Could be a trap..

The duo snuck behind the wall of the ship. It looked like the coast was clear, but it was safer to send one at a time. Usually Tifa would go first, but.. “Go on ahead, Sergeant. You initiated the mission.” She said with a grin.

The blonde smiled and nodded, stealthily taking off and heading into the ship. She hid behind a few crates and signaled an ‘okay’ for Tifa to follow.

It wasn’t much of a mission. They just snuck to an opening in the crates that made a little fort around their position.. Then they awaited their arrival at the resort.

“Shh, you don’t want anyone to hear us.”

“Then keep your hands to yourself! You know how I get when you touch me there..”

“Well, how about..” Rustling of clothes could be heard.

“Hey!” A playful slap.

It wasn’t too dark since the light filtered in a bit from the staircase entrance from the deck. A shadowy figure of a crewmember cast their silhouette on the square of light on the wall and called out, “Who’s there?”

Elena, the victim of the earlier voluntary molestation, clamped her hand over Tifa’s mouth to shut her up. What was the point of getting onto the ship if they were just going to get caught by a sailor anyway? They were supposed to be SOLDIERs! Stealthy and tactful! Still, Tifa was such an idiot for touching her in places that made her..

“Ah! T-Ti..!” A deep red blush was now on the blonde’s normally fair skin.

..And that lecherous grin was still on Tifa’s.

Then a flash of light appeared from the flashlight that the sailor held. And it was obvious that the girls’ position was rather awkward. “Y-You..”

Elena, already a red tomato, pulled herself away from Tifa and stormed towards the sailor, electricity in her eyes. “You saw nothing!” was the last thing the man heard before being knocked out by a hard hit from the blonde’s fist.

It was needless to say that the two were caught. Sure, they could have simply beat down every crew member on the ship, but they had no clue on how to navigate or drive the thing.. Regardless, they got to the beach, at least! Too bad they didn’t get to enjoy it as much as they’d like.

“We’re being sent back to Midgar?” Tifa complained, “But we just got here!”

“Yeah, but you’re not even supposed to be here!” Tseng said through a frustrated sigh. These two girls were going to cause problems for him. “You should know better, Lieutenant Lockhart. You’re a Lieutenant for Ifrit’s sake..” He massaged the bridge of his nose. This wasn’t what he needed during his vacation.

And before they knew it, they were on a jet heading back towards Midgar.

“Sorry, Tif.. I blew our cover,” Elena apologized, feeling really hopeless. She got the brunette in trouble for her plan and her mistake. She wouldn’t be surprised if Tifa was annoyed at her.

Tifa grinned and shook her head, “Nah, don’t worry about it.” She crossed one of her legs over the other and put her hands behind her head in thought, “Such a pity, though..” She started, “That beach looked really nice from the.. What.. Thirty seconds we stood on it?” A bit of a laugh came from her, but it wasn’t bitter or cynical. It was merely amused. “I was really looking forward to seeing you in a swimsuit, though.”

Elena just shook her head with a smile, “I didn’t even have a swimsuit, you know.”

Tifa smirked, “All the better.”


[Suggested BGM: Final Fantasy 7 OST (Disk 2) – On That Day Five Years Ago]

“Dad..” Sometimes nightmares allow the truth to come out. Elena tossed and turned in her bed, drenched in a cold sweat and her muscles tensing unconsciously. “I’ll avenge you..” She uttered out, her eyes shutting tighter, “ShinRa.. Bastards..”

Tifa was still awake. She looked over at the blonde from her desk, the only light in the room being her desk light. Late night cramming for Tifa really meant late night cramming. She arched an eyebrow at the girl’s sleep talking. ‘Dad, avenge, ShinRa..’ Tifa thought, ‘Almost sounds like something I’d say.’ She stood from her seat and stepped over to her girlfriend’s bed.

“Dad..! No!” Elena woke up with a start, her eyes wide and her bangs matted to her forehead. Tifa sat on the edge of her bed and held her hand.. Elena had been having nightmares lately, and she could tell. The blonde hadn’t had a full night’s rest in a while.

“Nightmares again, huh?” Tifa said softly, using her sleeve to gently wipe the moisture off of the girl’s forehead.

“Y-Yeah.. Same one.” Elena replied, a tad short of breath.

Tifa looked concerned in the dim light. Forgetting about the written tests she had to take, Tifa made Elena first priority, “Want to tell me about it?”

Elena sat up and ran a hand through her hair in an attempt to clear her mind. Should she actually tell Tifa?

“All I seemed to pick up was ShinRa being a bastard for some reason,” Tifa tried to lighten the mood a little, clearing the girl’s face from the hair that fell over her eyes. “Which is reasonable, but I’m just curious as to why that is a recurring nightmare.” Elena had always kept her hair that way, cut short and simply falling in her face.. Not long enough to be tied up, but still long enough to fit so conveniently behind her ears. Tifa knew her mind shouldn’t be wandering, but it was so damn hard not to get distracted by this girl!

Elena smiled with a bittersweet tinge to it, “Do I have to have a reason to think that way?” Sure, she trusted Tifa, but if telling her the personal reasons that led her to joining SOLDIER would hinder her mission in any way.. She didn’t want to risk it.

“Everyone has their own reason,” Tifa started, “Company failure due to their expansion, homes being destroyed or taken away..” Her list trailed off, a guilty look overcoming her face, “Loss of a family member..”

And that hit Elena hard. Memories of a time that had since passed created a whirlwind of emotions within her, and honestly, she didn’t know how to feel. Here she was, Sergeant Elena of the Pride Squad, led by the notorious Tifa Lockhart. She was a pawn to the corporation she hated the most, the corporation that took away her family, and yet this was the best thing that could have ever happened to her. Even through all of the emotional hardships, the painful injections, the rigorous training, and the seclusion from the rest of the world.. She felt safe and secure with Tifa. Tifa was the only family she felt she would ever need, but her whole reason for joining was because of her father. She needed to avenge him and stop ShinRa from ever doing their horrible deeds to others, ruining their lives and killing innocent people.. Yet here she was, personally staining her hands with the blood of other people for the sake of ShinRa, and why? Because she was fighting for a lost cause in bringing them down. She wanted to take them down from the inside, but it was proving to be more difficult than she initially expected.

“You were calling for your dad,” Tifa stated softly. She didn’t mean to pour salt on the wound, but there was something she needed to express to her comrade as well, “And that’s when I realized, I know nothing about your past.” Tifa caught the guilty look on Elena’s face and she tried to reassure her, “And you basically know nothing about mine.”

Elena opened her mouth to talk, but Tifa’s quick reflexes allowed her to put a finger over the blonde’s lips and silence her, “Wait! Let me finish.” Elena just nodded in reply.

Tifa had nothing to be afraid of now. She pieced all of the clues together and she knew she could trust Elena. After all, Elena was her girlfriend. She put on her best tour guide voice and began her introduction, “My name is Lieutenant Tifa Lockhart. I’m Seventeen years old and I grew up in a mountain village called Nibelheim.” The grin on her face sobered a little but she continued anyway, “Two years ago, a platoon of SOLDIERs came to my village, led by the ‘Great Sephiroth’. A childhood friend of mine was in that squad too, his name was Cloud Strife.”

Elena simply listened, not knowing where Tifa was going with this story.

“I was the best tour guide in town, so they hired me to lead them to the Mount Nibel Mako Reactor. We discovered some of the experiments ShinRa was performing on SOLDIERs with the Jenova cells, and that drove Sephiroth mad. He locked himself in the basement of the ShinRa mansion back in town and no one really knew what happened in there.” Tifa cast her eyes away, “But not too long after, Sephiroth went back to the reactor to retrieve the Jenova specimen there.. And on his way, he set fire to the whole village.. And murdered my father.”

During her story, Elena’s eyes became slowly more concerned. He murdered her father? That sounds rather familiar.. “Then that means..”

“My hometown.. Everyone I knew and grew up with..” Tifa’s knuckles began to pale and turn white from clenching her fists so tightly. She grit her teeth to hold back her burning rage, the deep hatred that was so embedded into her being, “They all died that night except Cloud, my teacher Zangan, and myself. Master brought me to Midgar and disappeared after that.” Tifa had a somber look on her face, recalling the events of that time, “I was alone to face life, no family, no friends.. And all of that with this revenge looming over my head.” She shifted her eyes back to Elena, who was now looking at the lamp on the desk, “I hated ShinRa.. SOLDIER.. Sephiroth.. All of it.”

Elena looked back to Tifa, knowing now where this was going. It was all so clear now, but at the same time, it was all so confusing. “But you still..”

“I joined SOLDIER to take them out from the inside. I had no where else to turn.” Tifa finally admitted, “And even then, I was alone to face this.. Until I met you.” She leaned in closer to press her forehead against Elena’s, then smiled and said, “So that’s me. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Elena grinned a bit at the last line, then started her own story, “My name is Sergeant Elena White, I’m sixteen years old and I never really had a set hometown. I was born in Kalm, my father was a Turk, and my mother was a scientist, and both of those jobs made us move around a lot. I have two older siblings, a brother and a sister, and I used to have a dog.” Elena chose not to disclose too much information about her family.. She wasn’t exactly ready for that yet. She didn’t know who could be listening to them at that moment, “When I was really young, my brother was sent for adoption, taking our dog with him and when I turned eleven, my older sister became a Turk like my father.”

Well, that was sure a lot of information that Tifa had no knowledge of. And it looked like there was still more to it, too.

“My sister had moved away, so it was just me and my parents, but even they were never home because of their jobs. Especially my mother. She practically lived at work.” Elena fumbled with her bed sheets between her fingers, “I was a real big daddy’s girl..” She bit her bottom lip, minimally holding back the tears welling up in her eyes. She wasn’t as mentally strong as Tifa was, so she couldn’t exactly joke about her history. So through near-tears and choked words, she continued, “But last year.. He was murdered by ShinRa for leaking information to outside sources..”

Tifa couldn’t bear to see the other girl cry. She wrapped her arms around the girl carefully and held her close. Elena hadn’t cried about her father’s death in a long time, but that didn’t mean she didn’t have nightmares about it. She was being haunted by the memories, but until now, she hadn't expressed herself. The blonde buried her head into the crook of her girlfriend's neck, salty tears slipping from the sides of her eyes. Through a choked, stifled laugh, she said, "Nice to meet you, too."

[Suggested BGM: Final Fantasy 7 OST (Disk 3) – Interrupted By Fireworks]

Tifa simply smiled and shook her head at the stupidity of the situation. Still, "Now you're officially the person who knows the most about me.. And it turns out we both hate ShinRa and joined for the same reasons, huh?" She pulled back from the girl a little and used her thumb to wipe away the remaining tears on her cheeks. Seeing the nodding reply from the blonde, she decided to remind the blonde of something, "And if that doesn't prove what I said before you fainted.."

Elena looked at her with a questioning look.. She didn't recall Tifa saying anything before she fainted at the Oasis.

"So you really didn't remember!" Tifa said, disappointed, "It was such a good set up, too!"

"Oh.." Elena said, also downtrodden now as well as confused, "Sorry, I must not have caught it."

Tifa rolled her eyes and sighed, "Well.." She placed her hand against the blonde's pale cheek, dimly lit by the desk's lamp, "Let me remind you.." And with that said, she pressed her lips against Elena's softly once again, hoping this time, she doesn't faint.

And the memory came rushing back to the blonde. The oasis, the fireflies, the reflection of the water, the sand on her feet, the warmth that Tifa gave her.. And of course, the words she uttered after they kissed. She returned the kiss with fully anxious fervor, as if it were the last kiss she would get to share with the brunette.

But once it was broken, she opened her eyes to shoot herself from her daze and put her finger on Tifa's lips to silence her before she could say anything.

"..I love you too, Tifa."

[End notes:

A/N: I watched Last Order over again.. And I noticed that Elena was a Turk in it. Or at least I THOUGHT she was. In fact, it was Elena’s older sister! Also, a year before Marlene was born, that same sister fell into a mako reactor during its explosion. She is then unconscious for the next three years.

I also researched some other stuff. Turns out Elena has an older sister (Born ‘1972, supposedly. Elena is supposedly born 1979) Four Rookie Turks were hired in 1990 and Elena’s sister’s first mission was when the Sector 8 reactor was almost bombed by AVALANCHE. Although it conflicts with the plan I had before, I may try to implement this into the fanfic. It also claims that Elena is 2 or 3 years younger than Tifa.. I’m gonna say she’s one year younger . Just for kicks. We’ll see. xD Also, Elena’s last name probably ISN’T White. I just made that up because they never gave her a last name in the game xD! She also wanted to become a Turk in ‘1996’ because the game actually took place in 1997, after seeing her sister in action, and she does so in 1997.

Again, sorry for the wait. I needed a lot to think about in this chapter. There were so many options and moments I could have put in. As you can see, there's not much action going on in this, (sexual or physical D:) but it was a more lighthearted chapter, fluffy Tifa/Elena stuff. I'm saving the action for later :3.. Plus chapter 10 was already a really good fight scene. XD I really hope people still remember this fic. :O As always, please review! I really appreciate them. The reason I mostly started working on this again was because I got a random review out of no where xD..


Chapter 12

Title: Chapter 12: Seven Sins

[Author's notes:

A/N: Welcome back to the world, huh? xD Finally another update, and this time, I’m trying something a little different! A theme for once! Instead of some random symbol as the title of the chapter, I’m actually using an idea I got from a past chapter. :D Truth is, I didn’t even realize it until halfway through the chapter, but I was actually portraying the Seven Deadly Sins (See chapter 10, but the actual sins, not the squads) in certain scenes! I don’t really expect everyone to see where I was going with this, or to even see the use of the devices at all.. But I have this idea for more specific side effects from the injections they received when they were younger to do certain things when they’re older..? It’s hard to explain without spoiling anything..

Either way, it’ll make sense in the end.

Deviant Hearts Note: Hey everyone! xD Sorry I didn't post it here when I first submitted the chapter.. I promise to update here right when I update from now on. xD



Chapter 12: Seven Sins

It takes a lot of courage for someone with a lot of pride to admit that they are weak. To know ones limits and listen to them, or to continue to battle those limits while striving to become stronger. Though, when it’s a rivalry in question, no one would wish to back down. Neither would one even come close to admitting their weakness, especially when you’re a fierce Ex-SOLDIER or a skillful, self-proclaiming ‘Greatest Ninja in the World’.

Elena had no idea what Tifa was thinking, assigning her to do some physical training with Yuffie Kisaragi! Sure, Tifa was the leader of the current operation, so she supposedly knew best, but how would she honestly benefit from Yuffie trying to kill her? She didn’t even get along with the girl. She never did! Since they met at the Wutai Ruins under Don Corneo’s stupid plot to get back at AVALANCHE, Elena and Yuffie had not seen eye to eye. And now with both of them liking Tifa.. And Tifa choosing Elena.. Things were a little tense, to say the least.

Yuffie jumped forward in a zigzagging pattern, the look on her face determined to prove herself. She slid, feet first, towards the Ex-SOLDIER, feeling the grass of the Kalm Plains under her feet and hands. Then, once she was a foot away, she jumped and flipped, changing her downward momentum to an upwards one, spinning in the air and kicking towards Elena’s head.

Earlier, when Elena woke up from the blast of memories of SOLDIER, Tifa – The caring commanding officer she was – had already set up a training crash course for them. Tifa knew exactly how Elena’s body was feeling, and it wasn’t that her body was weak; it was her mind that was causing her to faint. Both of their minds were being affected by this, and Tifa knew that they had to overcome this if they were going to rescue Marlene and Denzel from those ShinRa bastards.

Plus, Tifa had to fight all of those robots and a SOLDIER X5 right when she woke up yesterday! She thought it was only fair that Elena do some physical exertion after the memories she was bound to have, whether it be to focus more on the mission at hand, or to simply get her mind off of the confusion that would arise.

Elena stood strong, hands balled into fists and feet firmly rooted into the ground. Her head moved a few inches backward to avoid the kick, and she merely felt the breeze of air from it, avoiding it completely. To counter the way that Yuffie fought, agile and quick, she had to focus her senses into detection and protection. She had to know where Yuffie was, where she was going to go, and what she was going to use to attack her. Normally, Elena’s fights consisted of quick elementally-enhanced attacks. Materia was her friend, after all. But why fight fire with fire? It just makes a bigger fire, after all. No, Elena liked to fight fire with water.

Elena ducked down as Yuffie attempted another jump, allowing the girl to pass over her before jumping as well into a backflip, kicking the airborne ninja in the back with one of Tifa’s signature moves: The Somersault Kick.

Yuffie was shot forward, barely able to turn and catch herself on her feet. Elena was good, she had to admit. She felt a tinge of jealousy at the fact that her rival for Tifa’s affection had just used one of Tifa’s moves against her! Yuffie couldn’t simply rush into this fight with flailing legs and arms. She had to think, she had to observe, and she had to plan and react in order to land any hits on the Ex-SOLDIER.

It was a mind game now - An enhanced, fast-paced game of chess that both players had to be aware of. To use a leaping knight or a steadfast rook to protect the king; or use the queen to conduct an assault. Or in both of their cases, to be pawns of Tifa, the mastermind behind this plan.


Jessie couldn’t understand Tifa’s mindset either. She knew that Tifa knew those two hated each other. She also knew that Tifa knew that both of them had too much pride to back down to the other, especially when it came to their two main ideals – Fighting and Tifa. And because of that, Jessie couldn’t help but think a little badly of her old friend. She had put Yuffie through so much pain, and now she’s pouring salt on the wound by making the two battle against each other.

Then again, salt does disinfect and make wounds heal faster..’ Jessie absently thought to herself.

Tifa, however, had her arms crossed, watching the two intently as they fought. She knew their strengths and weaknesses, both in battle and in personality. She knew what they must do in order to overcome the other, but if they both realized those things, they would simply cause another stalemate as it was now. She had confidence in both of them. Tifa had personally taught Elena how to fight all those years ago, and Yuffie was a naturally gifted ninja, trained from the moment she was born. With Elena’s SOLDIER enhancements, it made both of them virtually equal.

She and Jessie had been discussing the plans for the ShinRa invasion - How they would attempt stealth with the jet, who to send in first, the floor plans and the estimated time it would all take. Of course, to go over the full plan, they would need all four of them in the same room to discuss. So if that were the case, and the mission was going to be tomorrow, why was Tifa wasting time having the two fight each other?

“So... Why are they fighting, again?” Jessie asked with her eyes on the fight as well. She turned her glance to Tifa, worried about what kind of twisted sight she would see.

Tifa had been waiting for that question. She grinned with satisfaction at her own cunning and turned her head toward Jessie to talk to her, but her eyes remained on the fight, “There are a few reasons, Jess,” she began, “One is that they’re both probably rusty when it comes to hand to hand combat, no weapons or materia.” She smirked when she saw the Somersault Kick. Elena must have known she was watching. That also must have meant Yuffie knew too.

“Two is that in order for all of us to work well together without any tension, they have to let out their aggressions right now, before even planning for it.” It was clear that Tifa knew the two of them really well, Yuffie from recent, personal experience, and Elena from past, unchanging experience. “And I know they hate each other right now because of me. But the reason they stick around is also because of me.” Sure, Tifa felt a little bigheaded saying that, “But this mission isn’t about me, and I want them to get that through their heads.” She glanced at Jessie, who was listening with her analytical eyes, “It’s about Marlene and Denzel.”

“So why don’t you just have them argue it out, instead of physically fighting each other?” Jessie asked, obviously still not clear about the motive. Jessie was never a fighter, so she didn’t quite understand the frame of mind of these people.

“When you get to know them as well as I know them, you see a few things about their personality,” Tifa said, her attention on the more intricate details of the fight. Which kick was aimed where, which stance signified what.. She could see it all, so she was training her mind as well, trying to predict what each was thinking and what they were going to do next. “Both of them are so stubborn. Stubborn and proud.” She smiled and shook her head, “So they would never admit to being jealous or weak. So, of course they would accept the chance to prove themselves over the other.”

Jessie nodded. She could tell that trait right from the beginning, at least of Yuffie. Elena didn’t seem too stubborn from first glance, but she could see the determination and pride in the way she was fighting.

“But the two of them also have a great deal of respect,” Tifa continued, “Despite how disrespectful Yuffie may seem.” Remembering the ninja’s recent activity.. Getting thrown in jail, calling her and demanding she pick her up.. She eyed the marks on the jet’s windshield and assumed Yuffie did that too. “Yuffie has respect for people she can look up to or equal, and Elena’s the same way. They’re both way more alike than they think.. But that’s also probably why they dislike each other. They see characteristics in the other that they don’t like in themselves.”

She caught the bothered expression on Jessie’s face. Tifa knew when she saw a crush, and she knew that Jessie had one on Yuffie. Why else would she be so defensive for the ninja? That also probably meant that Jessie was irritated at the fact that Yuffie liked Tifa. She could also be jealous that Tifa knew Yuffie for a much longer time.. But Tifa wanted to make it perfectly clear that she wasn’t going to be competition over Yuffie’s affection. She would be glad for the two of them if Yuffie and Jessie got together!

“You should have seen when she first joined AVALANCHE,” Tifa said, a bit of a chuckle in her voice, “We fought her in Junon forest, then after we beat her, Cloud was his usual sarcastic self. Seemingly, it was because she was beaten, proud, and stubborn that she joined our party.. But in reality, she respected our strength.” Tifa uncrossed her arms and put on hand on her hip, “That girl is a lot more than meets the eye. If she can see that Elena’s equal to her in mental and physical power, she’ll respect her and they’ll be able to tolerate each other, at least for the mission.”

Jessie nodded in understanding. It certainly did fit their characteristics that a method like this would force them to understand each other. Perhaps Tifa was right and something as barbaric as fighting out their emotions would work on them.


Sparring was a deep form of communication between two people. It was on the opposite side of the spectrum from sex, but it still had all of the little games that sex entailed. Instead of knowing what the other person wants and doing it for them, one would do the exact opposite. Instead of bringing their counterpart pleasure, they would inflict pain.. One still would read their movements to see what they’ll attack with next, look at their eyes to see how tired they are mentally, and look at the expression on their face to get the psychological advantage.

And it looked like Yuffie and Elena had a stalemate in every aspect.

After ten minutes of continuous fighting, anyone would be tired. Their stamina wasn’t quite as good as it was during Meteorfall, but they still had a lot of gas in the tank. They could clearly read the other’s movements, and by trying to stay three steps ahead of the other, they merely read those three steps and built the pace of the battle. Their eyes were locked, fire and a passion for battle burning in both of their pupils. With their determination to overcome the other, they could probably go for another hour.

..But the most amusing part was the smirk on both of their faces.

They both looked confident, they both rivaled the other, but it also looked like they were having fun. It almost seemed like they were playing a game as they sparred.

Elena lunged forward and threw a knee to Yuffie’s stomach, but the agile ninja jumped and caught the knee with her hands, doing a pseudo-front-handspring over the blonde and landing behind her with a sweep, however, thinking a few steps further, Yuffie doubled up on the sweep with a spinning hook kick in the same direction, except towards the air.

Elena had expected either a sweep or a side-kick to her back, however because she couldn’t see the girl from behind, she had to predict one or the other. She chose the sweep by jumping over Yuffie’s sweeping leg, but she didn’t anticipate the spinning hook kick, which caught her right in the side.

The blonde was thrown a little ways to the side, but she grounded her legs again, sliding back into her stance. So far the score was tied, and they were playing shot for shot. Neither could get the advantage over the other..

Not bad,’ Elena thought with a smirk, ‘I can see why she was a part of AVALANCHE. And just like back then, she’s still trying to kill me.

Yuffie landed, also in her own stance, bouncing on the balls of her feet and ready to react at any moment. She had one of her hands up near her chin, but the grin on her face could be seen as well, ‘She’s pretty good.. Fights just like Tifa.’ Yuffie’s malice had died down a little halfway through the fight. She could see that Elena was just as strong as she was, but she wanted to be better!

Elena couldn’t help but admire Yuffie’s stamina and technique. She really seemed like a ninja. Her technique was quick, practiced, and she never hesitated.. Elena had never fought the girl one-on-one before, but she was clearly a tough fight. She felt like she had a new found respect for the girl.

And despite what had happened between her and Tifa, Yuffie couldn’t help but feel that same kind of respect. Elena was calm, cunning, and had the reaction time of a cheetah. Every move Yuffie made was countered somehow, and only with luck could she land really decisive hits. She would never admit it out loud, but she was just as good of a fighter as the ninja herself.

But now, with both of them short of breath and weary of the next attack, they both had the opportunity to decide the winner with one last shot.

They were a bit of a distance away from each other.. Maybe thirty meters apart. For what felt like an eternity, although only a moment, they stood in their respective stances. They knew the next move would decide the winner and finally determine which of them was stronger.

They simultaneously took off using their last spurts of energy to sprint towards the other with a prepared attack.

Stop!” A voice called, halting the two in their tracks so suddenly that they both almost lost balance. With wide eyes, they looked in the direction of the voice to see what caused their fight to stop before the winner was determined.

Both of them were dumbfounded. “..What the hell, Tif!” Yuffie exclaimed with frustration, fists balled at her sides and an annoyed look on her face, “It was getting to the best part!” She spoke shallowly, trying to catch her breath again.

Tifa just showed a fox-like grin and said, “If I left you two to fight out here the whole time, we wouldn’t get any planning done, now would we?” She knew she couldn’t let that fight finish. Determining a winner would have the opposite effect of what she wanted. Instead of an equal standing in the mission, and each others eyes, there would be malice again, as well as tension.

Elena could see through Tifa like a window, though. The Turk wanted to prove that she deserved to be the one Tifa chose and that there was no doubt in her abilities. Still, if she wanted to play it that way, then she’d let her.. One doesn’t defy their commanding officer, after all. After taking a moment to catch her breath, Elena followed the brunette into the ship, glad that Tifa still knew how to be a leader.

Yuffie rolled her eyes, pouted, then reluctantly followed suit, muttering to herself, “Just when I was about to win too..”

“You so weren’t,” Elena said, her back still to Yuffie and walking in the direction of the airship.

"I so was!" Yuffie exclaimed, light-heartedly feigning frustration. They were like quarrelling siblings, the respect was there, but they teased and joked as rivals should.

And Tifa was satisfied with that. At least they were talking to each other now!

It was a game of chess - Reading the moves, predicting what will happen next, and taking the right action towards the wanted result. Tifa was the chess master and she was playing against ShinRa Inc, and she knew that if there was still tension between Elena and Yuffie, the mission would fail miserably because of lack of communication, will and teamwork. Tifa knew how to be a leader, and she knew how to handle her comrades.. She was playing strategically, figuring out which move to make, which piece to use; The sturdy rook, the leaping knight, the calculating bishop, or the flexible queen.

Or perhaps they were all the unwilling pawns of ShinRa Inc.


“Ah.. My prodigies..”

A quiet, reminiscent sigh escaped from the older scientist’s mouth. She was daydreaming of a fantasy of the past reality, when life was good, work paid well, and she had two daughters to care for.

“You will return to me soon,” She uttered, touching the glass of the observation window, “You have to..” A twisted smirk appeared on her face, but her eyes remained half-lidded, her blonde bangs falling over her eyebrows.

And there sat Marlene Wallace, her image distorted by the aqua color of the observation window. The look on her face spoke volumes as she resisted - mentally and physically - the treatments from the biomechanics who attempted to work on her. She was forcefully held back while they put restraints on her arms and legs to the chair in the middle of the room, and promptly injected her with a fairly large needle in her arm. Over her head, the sign on the chair read, “Experiment LA-02”.

“Don’t resist, little one..” The blonde woman whispered, no one around to hear her, “Let mother take care of it..”

Marlene had tears welling in her eyes, her whole body tensing as the injections coursed through her veins. It almost seemed to glow a faint blue under her skin, and those around her could almost see her grow in front of them. It was experimental, but then again, what wasn’t experimental when it came to bioengineering?

Everyone reacts differently to different injections.. But this one was specifically made for Marlene.

Her strong spirit remained for just a little longer. Through the painful pulsing and tensing of her muscles, through the blinding pain coursing through her veins that she never knew before, she still tried to stay strong. She didn’t let the tears fall, more for herself, to convince herself that everything would be all right, rather than to convince the people she had to stand up against.

The small frame of the nine-year-old relaxed for a moment, taking the precious time to breathe, shiver, and finally, cry a little bit. She gave in for this moment of peace, a moment where it didn’t hurt and where she could hope that someone would come save her from this misery soon.

“It’ll all be over soon.. Won’t it, my little Elena?”


Boom. The touch of her skin. Boom-Boom. The taste of her lips. Boom. The smell of her hair..

It was all so tranquil, so lethargic, that it sent her into a kind of euphoria. That if heaven were a place, or a feeling, or a sensation, then heaven would be every spark of electricity that pulsed through her body when they touched. Heaven would be every chill that gets sent up her spine when she whispered into her ear. Heaven would be every heartbeat that echoed from her chest to her temples and back again.

“So once the grounds have been covered, Yuffie will move in to secure a route..”

In public, they had such a subtle approach to their affections. The sultry glances, the bump of their shoulders.. When she said something, sometimes her expressions would say something else. When she touched her here, she would feel it there. It was a bit frustrating, really - This game that they played. They could tease and play all they wanted, but no one would really win, until they actually..

“Elena, are you listening?” Tifa asked her, looking directly into her eyes with an intense gaze. Tifa didn’t have any underlying tone to her fixed gaze. It was serious, and the girl wasn’t playing around.

“Huh? I mean..” The Turk almost felt like she was being scolded, “Y-Yeah.. I mean.. Sorry, Tif. Could you repeat that last part again?” She asked. What was she thinking? There was a life altering mission against the company who killed her father, ruined their lives somehow, and kidnapped Tifa’s surrogate children! She had to focus. Focus, focus, focus.

“We don’t have much time to prepare, Elena. Pay attention.” Tifa returned to explaining the plan in detail, from the exact coordinates of their entry points on the blueprints to the equipment that Jessie prepared for them.

Elena was still.. Distracted, though. She had to be serious! She had to focus! She had to stop imagining some of the lustful images that appeared in her mind..! ‘Tifa’s hot when she takes control like that..’ Ack! She felt her cheeks burn from the thoughts that were running through her mind, and she knew Tifa noticed it. And the other two probably did too. Elena saw them glance at her, Yuffie’s eyebrow quirked up in questioning while Jessie just looked at the blonde from above the rim of her glasses. She suddenly felt self-conscious. As if they knew what she was thinking, and she was probably making it obvious by the color of her cheeks and the suspicious responses.. “W-What?” Her blonde eyebrows furrowed in annoyance, her head turned to the side with a glimpse of the old, proud Turk Elena shining through in all her glory.

Since when have I been such a..’ Elena’s train of thought began, ‘Such a..’ Her face scrunched together in frustration, and she suddenly stood from her chair looking flustered, “I’ll be right back..!” She stated with her volume a little louder than intended, and the tone of her voice a little more rushed and irritated than usual. She semi-stomped out of the room, her body tense and her joints almost rigid. The door slid shut behind her automatically and she pressed her forehead against the nearby wall for a moment, “Ugh! Since when have I been such a hornball?” She whispered to herself in frantic aggravation, praying no one inside the meeting room could actually hear her.

Yuffie’s raised eyebrow remained raised and her eyes tossed a shrug and a bit of a smirk towards Jessie. Although the two younger girls hadn’t heard the blonde, Tifa heard her loud and clear. Her serious demeanor wavered for a second and she snickered to herself softly through her nose, “I guess it’s about time we took a bit of a break, huh?” She thought out loud. It’s been a while since she held a briefing meeting led by herself that she almost forgot to have a break.

“Sounds good,” Jessie agreed. The four of them were probably in that room for a few hours, going over each possible detail, every possible entrance and everyone’s objectives. It was dark, save for the light in the middle that outlined the holograph of the ShinRa building. Each of their dimly lit faces was a blue hue in that light source, until Jessie flicked the lights on.

The ninja stretched lithely, like a cat, as she let out a yawn that she had been holding back. She sat up and kicked her feet onto the table, leaning back in her chair with her hands behind her head, “It’ll be a piece of cake!” She said with a grin, “In and out and we’re gone!”

Tifa left the two to their own devices as she stepped out of the room to check on her second-in-command. By now, Elena had made it to the washroom and was rinsing her face off with cold water.

Cold water..’ Elena’s brain flashed images from one of the first memories she recovered. The two of them during SOLDIER.. In the shower.. Cold water beating against their backs while Tifa..

No no no!’ Another splash of cold water on her face. Stop that! She put her hands on the side of the sink and stared at her own dripping face in the mirror. Ever since they left Midgar, she hadn’t taken a good look at herself. She looked like the same old Elena, short, blonde hair reaching to her chin, same brown eyes. Except now, there was something different.. A kind of knowledge that wasn’t there before.

The blonde dried her face and let out a sigh. She had to recompose herself before she went back to that briefing. If Tifa knew she was hot and bothered, who knows what the brunette would try.

Then, just as Elena was about to press the button to open the door to the bathroom, the door slid open. “Huh?” Came the surprised noise from the blonde.

Tifa rushed in, grabbing the blonde and kissing her fiercely, cutting off any following words from her comrade. Elena was completely caught off guard, but she didn’t resist at all. The Turk’s eyes went wide and she staggered back slightly. Tifa guided her back against the sink, taking in her scent and kissing a trail down to her neck.

Elena, in reaction to Tifa’s advances, semi-sat on the sink’s edge. Once her mouth was free, though, “T-Tifa! What’s gotten..” She couldn’t even finish her sentence, because Tifa’s lips had already interrupted her again, kissing her, then trailing down her jaw line again, her body pressed against the blondes with as much leverage and pressure as possible. Tifa was like a lion, seeking out her prey and hunting it down for the kill.. And it looked like Elena was the prey.

“I want you..” Tifa whispered heavily into the girl’s ear, her eyes half-lidded as her hand slid from the blonde’s short hair, down her cheek to her neck, along her shoulder and resting against her breast with a firm grope. Even Tifa couldn’t explain the sudden lust that came over her.. It took over her and took control of her.. All she could think of at that moment was Elena. Elena’s body, Elena’s heart, and Elena’s damned seductive brown eyes.

Electricity pulsed through the blonde’s body in the form of a shiver as she heard Tifa’s needy whisper. She writhed, her head tilted up in ecstasy while Tifa said and started to do everything she had wanted her to. It was as if the brunette had read her mind and was acting specifically to please her.

She loved it. She loved every moment of it. And--

..Chocobo song?

Tifa pulled back for a moment, a look of, ‘What the hell is going on?’ written on her face. Elena, however, had a look of dread. Not only dread for the fact that the person who’s calling her PHS was interrupting possibly the most action she’s had in how many years, but that Tifa heard her embarrassing ringtone. And not only that.. But if it was that ringtone, that meant it was Reno, and it was probably important.

“Damn it, Reno..!” Elena whispered in a hot frustration. She dug her hand into her pocket and pulled the small, high-tech PHS from it. Of course it was Reno, ruining one of the best moments yet again. Even when he’s not around, he’s still imposing himself. Should she answer it? That would be rude to Tifa though! She looked at the PHS again and rolled her eyes, “I can call him back.” She pressed the ‘end’ button to send a busy signal to the redhead.

Tifa just laughed, the mood only a little killed by that PHS. She was glad that Elena would rather focus on her and the rare intimate moment they had, so it wasn’t hard to get back to the way they were. Tifa leaned in once again, caressing the blonde’s face with the back of her fingers. However, right when her lips were about to make contact with Elena’s once again..

That same damn song cut through the air, killing the mood entirely. Tifa rolled her eyes, clearly frustrated at the second time. One time, she wouldn’t have minded. If it was only once. As a matter of fact, it was funny the first time! Twice, though? It must be important, and it was also annoying. It was also completely killing the mood. The fighter could almost see Reno’s either confused or grinning face on the other side of the line, and that just frustrated her even more. She snatched the phone from the blonde’s hand, rolled off of her body with her backside against the sink, and answered it, holding it up to her ear, “Hello? Reno?” Tifa attempted to mask the annoyance in her voice.

Who is this and what have you done with Elena!” The muffled yelling of the redhead could be heard from where Elena was standing.

“Reno, it’s Tifa. Elena’s fine. What’s up?” Tifa rolled her eyes up towards the ceiling, tilting her head back with a bored look on her face. She probably should have been waiting for this call, but hearing Reno’s whiney voice wasn’t exactly her favorite thing in the world. She knew it was selfish, but for a split second in her mind, she wanted to forget about the mission and just focus on Elena for the next few hours. Of course, the ex-SOLDIER couldn’t forget such a responsibility, though, so she patiently listened to the fiery redhead.

Elena took the moment to catch her breath, idly wondering what the hell just happened.. She should have been eagerly listening to the status of Midgar, the Turks and the kids, but she was just too dazed, hot, and bothered to give a damn about anything except Tifa. She sent a sidelong glance over to Tifa and let out a soft sigh at the missed opportunity, ‘Dammit..’ Her mind complained.

“No, Reno. With that kind of drink, you have to use Vodka,” The bartender explained over the phone in near disbelief. She thought it was something important, but it was just the redhead asking his idiotic alcoholic questions. It seemed like he and Rude hadn’t been able to find a decent bar, after all. “No.. Just.. Hey, no! Ren-..” Tifa sounded like she kept on getting interrupted, “Dammit, Reno, listen to me! I said Vodka! Using Tequila would just make it.. Yes, exactly.” She rolled her eyes, then shot Elena an apologetic look. She definitely should have just let the blonde screen the Turk’s call.

Alright I got it now, Tif! Thanks! Can I talk to ‘Lena?”

Tifa handed the phone to the blonde, resting both of her hands on the sink’s counter and shutting her eyes. They should probably have gotten back to the briefing room by now, but..

“Hey Reno, what’s up?” Elena said into the PHS. She had a feeling he’d just ask her something stupid like he did with Tifa.. But if the reason he called was for his alcohol problems, then why didn’t he call Tifa’s PHS? No, it would have to be something important.. And it was probably something he didn’t want Tifa to know, so he masked it with that pointless question. ‘Clever, Reno.. But Tifa probably figured it out,’ Elena thought to herself. She discreetly tapped the volume button on the side of the PHS to lower it to a volume she could barely hear.

Look, ‘Lena.. You can’t let Tifa know what I’m about to tell you.” The rarely serious voice of the Turk rung in Elena’s ear as clear as a bell, “It’s about Marlene, yo.”

Tifa’s eyes were on Elena’s expression, examining the minute changes in her eyes and the muscles on her face. She couldn’t hear Reno, so instead she listened to the tone of Elena’s voice, trying to find the change of tone to seriousness. The Tifa from SOLDIER knew when the girl would try to hide something from her, and she also knew that some things never change.

“Oh, her?” Elena spoke, trying to mask her voice with a casual air, “That girl you told me about the other day, right? How is it going with her?” She also attempted to speak in code. Maybe Tifa would misinterpret Marlene for some nameless date of Reno’s.

Reno must have caught on, so he continued, “She and Denzel are being held in different divisions, yo.” He paused for a second, “Denzel’s in the normal containment cells.. But Marlene.. They took her to the labs.

Elena’s eyes grew wide for a quick moment, but quickly reverted to its nonchalant state, “No way, are you serious?” She forced out a laugh, “What’s she doing there?”

Tifa could practically feel Elena’s nervousness. She decided to end the girl’s misery and leave the room. She knew there was something that she was hiding about a ‘girl from the other day’ and ‘how she’s doing’. Tifa wasn’t getting jealous, but she had a feeling she knew what it was about.

“I’m gonna resume the meeting soon, so don’t take too long, kay?” Tifa said, kissing the blonde on the forehead with a bit of a grin. She then directed her voice towards the receiver of the PHS, “Bye Reno!” And with that, Tifa stepped out of the bathroom.

Elena smiled softly at the retreating figure. Although the circumstances in which they were brought together were pretty rough, she couldn’t have been happier. She felt that as long as she was around Tifa, she wouldn’t really have to care or worry about the rest of the world. But of course, that was a selfish way of thinking. She waited until the footsteps of the dark-haired Ex-SOLDIER were gone before speaking into the receiver again, “What have they been doing to her?” She asked with a worried tone.

I don’t know, yo.. But whatever it is, it ain’t pretty.” The soft and almost reluctant voice of the redhead responded, “News travels fast, though.. Last I heard, the head scientist was a bit off her rocker, if you know what I mean, yo.

Elena shuddered at the thought of what they could be doing to the poor girl. Unwillingly going through the ordeals of biochemical tests and other kinds of freaky ShinRa business.. What if Marlene ends up like that SOLDIER X5 they fought? Or worse, like those monsters in the Mako pods on Mt. Nibel. “Is there anything you could do to stall for time?”

A sigh of deep thought came through the line, “They won’t even let me into the lab.. There’s not much I can do, yo. Or else I would have tried it already.

Elena nodded. Reno definitely would have rushed in head first into something like that, “I’m sure Rude would have some connections. Try to stall for more time.. And if you can, prevent them from injecting her with anything.” Elena cast her eyes towards the floor, “She’s only nine years old.. Too young to go through that.”

I’ll do my best, yo.” Reno replied, hanging up with a click.

Elena let out a soft sigh as she hung up the PHS. Her blonde hair fell into her face as thoughts of the pain that the young girl was going through coursed into her mind. Little did she realize that the footsteps had returned not long after they had left, and Tifa had been listening in on the conversation. She knew it had to do with Marlene, and from the information she just received.. They needed to succeed on this mission. Tifa wouldn’t accept a failure.

Then, Elena felt a small rumble in her stomach, “Ugh, I’m hungry.”


“LA-02?” Marlene sat on the plain white bed of the quarters designated for her. Her mind felt fuzzy. She didn’t know any other way to explain it. A mind filled with thoughts, but no particular thoughts stuck with her. No faces, no names, no pictures, no words.. But for some reason, that combination of letters and numbers was clear. It must have been the last thing she saw before she blacked out. She definitely had a headache, but she had been awake for at least 20 minutes, bored out of her mind, but not really minding because she felt too incapacitated to move.

“It means ‘El-Ay’, I think,” A soft voice came from the other side of the wall. Despite there being a glass wall (probably for observation), and a door, the rest of the walls almost seemed office-like. Not like cubicles, but as if it were an actual office turned into a bedroom or quarters. They didn’t seem very sturdy, but going through any direction would lead to more rooms just like this one. Still, if two people were close enough to the walls, they could probably hear the other one speak.

“Who are you?” Marlene asked, her eyebrows quirking up. It wasn’t much of a hope, but if she could have some other form of comfort than hugging her legs to her chest, then it was welcomed with open arms.

“They call me TA-01 in the labs,” The other feminine voice replied. She sounded teenaged and bitter, as if she was also forced to be there. “I don’t quite remember my real name.. But the scientist calls me ‘Tifa’. Whatever that means.. Or whoever that is.”

Marlene’s ears perked up again, as if she were a puppy hearing a whistle. The name triggered her senses, “Tifa?” Her memory was still in tact, so she clearly remembered who Tifa was. Marlene looked around, probably thinking that if she heard the name and recognized it, she would find Tifa somewhere in the room. Sadly, her hopes were shattered in only seeing the white walls and hearing the mysterious voice again.

“Yeah.. I think I heard it on the news sometime a while back, so the head scientist must be a fan or something.” A small laugh, apparently trying to conceal whatever emotional or physical pain they were going through. “So what’s your story? You seem to have just gotten here, so you must still remember what it’s like out there.” A bad joke, but still an attempt at a joke at least.

Marlene smiled a little, finally a source of comfort and companionship in this desolate place. She needed a friend right about now. “Well, I’ve lived in Midgar for as long as I can remember.. I’ve been living in an orphanage with Tifa and Denzel, while Papa’s away rebuilding Coral,” Marlene explained. “Then.. I’m not sure how long ago this was.. But some scary ShinRa guys kidnapped Denzel and me.. And that’s the last thing I remember before coming here.” Marlene turned a little more towards the wall, as if turning towards her faceless companion would comfort her some more.

“Tifa, huh?” The girl on the other side almost laughed, “Well that’s ironic, isn’t it?”

Marlene grinned proudly, “Yeah! She was a part of AVALANCHE, the group who saved the world!”

A silent realization came over the girl with no name, “So that must be it..” Some rustling could be heard on the other side of the wall, “What’s your name?”

Marlene had to think for a second on that one, “..Marlene.” She looked upwards in thought. Marlene still didn’t know anything about this girl! “So what’s your story, then?”

The girl on the other side was silent for a moment again before speaking again, “Hm?” Silence again.

“I asked what your story was,” Marlene repeated.

“Oh, sorry.” The girl sounded distracted.

Marlene blinked, “What are you doing over there?”

Just a few more seconds and the girl finally responded as she did before, “Sorry, I was writing down your name and some of the stuff you said.” The girl sounded happy to be making a friend, but sad at the same time, “I’ve been losing my memory, so I want to keep this journal so I can remember stuff.”

Marlene nodded, “So what do you remember about your life before this place?”

The turning of pages could be heard faintly, then a few seconds to read over the precious words on the page, “I used to live in Junon. I came here about a year ago, when I was about eight-years-old, because my parents sold me to ShinRa. I was an only child, but I wasn’t lonely because I had the townspeople take care of me.. And I think..” She thought hard to remember, “I don’t know what it is, but I keep remembering a dolphin.” She smiled a little, “I love dolphins.”

The small bartender was shocked, “Eight-years-old? You don’t sound like you’re nine-years-old now.” She tried to imagine what this girl would look like if her voice was that tone. She sounded at least fourteen or fifteen.

The girl on the other side of the wall smirked a little, “I know. I don’t look nine either. You know those painful injections they gave you when you came here?” She clearly remembered her first few days, but tried to push the thoughts of the pain away, “They’re called EVA cells. I think they mean Electro-Viral Antibodies or something like that.” She crossed her arms as she recited what her caretaker had told her, “They are enhancement cells mixed with stabilizing cells and some other wonderful junk.” The girl could tell from Marlene’s silence that she was confused, “Anyway, it basically means your body, brain and skills grow five times faster until you reach a certain level. Then once you reach that level, the cells work to keep you there for as long as possible.”

“Oh..” Marlene said softly. So that’s what they were injecting into her.

“It hurts like hell at first. It almost feels like your body is being pulled from the inside.. Expanding and stuff, right?”

“Yeah..” Marlene shook her head as the memories of the blinding pain were remembered.

The faceless girl said, “Don’t worry. It gets way easier.” Marlene couldn’t see her face, but she knew from the tone of her voice that there was a reassuring smile on her face, and just that was enough to bring her some comfort.

[End notes:

A/N: So there you have it! Chapter 12 in all of its glory, and my attempt at a theme for the chapter: The Seven Deadly Sins. As I mentioned in previous chapters, the seven deadly sins are:

Pride (Elena and Yuffie’s fight,)

Wrath (Same fight,)

Greed (Scientist lady being all greedy with Marlene,)

Envy (Elena’s feelings towards Yuffie, Tifa being jealous near the end?,)

Gluttony (That last, “I’m hungry” comment xD,)

Lust (Clearly, the make out scene.)

and Sloth (Tifa and Elena wanting to forget all of their responsibilities.)

I don’t know if anyone else could sense it, but I was trying to incorporate those ideas into this chapter as side effects of the injections from years ago. The EVA cells, as they’re diminishing through the years, would have these side effects. I don’t mean for it to be a religious symbol or anything, but it kind of magnifies the fact that the cells are evil, and so is ShinRa. xD

Also, during the course of the sparring match between Elena and Yuffie, there was a recurring idea of Chess for some reason. I kept thinking of chess, I guess.

Again, sorry for the long update. I’m glad this came faster than some of the other updates, but I’m actually pretty happy with this chapter. And I can’t usually say that about myself. Not much really happened.. It was just some important character development. As I’ve mentioned to people before.. I already know how the fic is going to end. It’s just the path in getting to the end that I need to write. Though, a lot of these chapters don’t turn out the way I expect them to.. Except like chapter 1-4 and 6. Oh and 7. For those of you who have read this far, I thank you for your patience, and I hope you continue to read until it’s all over. But even after Ex-SOLDIER Tifa is done, I want to make side-fics and other things to it. So stay tuned! Also, Reviews make the world go round. In fact, the only reason I got to finishing this chapter was because I was re-inspired by a review. :D Thanks.

Edit: I was done this chapter actually a few days earlier, but my computer’s motherboard like.. completely crashed on me while I was at school I feared for chapter 12’s life! I thought I’d have to start from where I last uploaded it on.. But it's fine!



Chapter 13

Title: Chapter 13: Love Me

[Author's notes:

A/N: So here we are again, starting another chapter. I hope I actually get them to ShinRa this time xD. That’s what I’m planning, at least. We’ll see where it goes.

The recurring theme for this chapter is the first few lines in Italics. For every scene, there’s a way to relate it, and I have it all so perfectly formed in my head that I hope it was expressed as well as I tried to make it. Some of them won’t make sense until you’ve read later chapters.. But I won’t tell you what you’re supposed to be feeling as you read it, so I’ll let you figure it out on your own as a reader. xD

There is also suggested Background music (BGM) throughout the scenes. I suggest using them because it makes the scene that much more intense and like the game. xD And I put a lot of thought into it! So have the FF7 OST and the FF7 Piano Collection ready before you start reading. :D



Chapter 13: Love Me


She loved her.

No matter what she did, no matter what she said, she knew she loved her.


[BGM: The Flow of Life – FF7 OST

It was cold, it was desolate, and it was driving Tifa crazy. What the hell happened? Everything was going according to plan, and then her body just crapped out on her! Her mind felt heavy, as if it was taking all of her will power just to think coherent thoughts. It had been a few hours, actually. Probably. The fighter wasn’t certain, but she knew it definitely felt like more than a few hours. She could barely open her eyelids halfway, and her body felt numb. Did her body just crash on her or something?

Huh. Light..?

[BGM: Aeris' Theme - FF7 Piano Collection

Tifa wasn’t quite sure if she was opening her eyes or closing them, but she knew she did hear a familiar voice, “You lazy bum.”

Now the Ex-SOLDIER knew she was hallucinating, “..Aeris?”

“Damn right, it’s me,” The face of the late ancient peeked through the blinding light around the fighter, “Didn’t you figure it out yet? You’re dead!”

Tifa stared, jaw dropped and dumbfounded. “Wh-..” She tried to look at herself, but her body wasn’t there, “How did I..” She was too stunned to even finish her sentence. It kind of made sense.. It was cold after all. She always imagined death to be pretty cold and metallic. It was a strange feeling.. Cold and desolate, while still a contrasted light and warm. It was as if she was sitting in a paradoxical world. Or maybe she felt as if she was in two places at once.

Aeris just grinned that playful grin of hers, “Nah, I’m just joking. You’re still alive.” The full view of the flower girl, dressed in that same pink dress and that same red jacket that Tifa remembered so well, “I just wanted to see your reaction when I said you died.”

Tifa didn’t know what to say. She wasn’t impressed with Aeris’ bad taste in jokes, but she was definitely relieved. The furrow in her eyebrows and the confusion in her eyes were apparent, but slowly, she began to see her own limbs through the light, “Where are we? Why are you here?”

“Now, is that any way to treat an old friend, Tif?” Aeris smiled, hands behind her back and leaning forward in that inquisitive way she always had done.

Now, Tifa had thought she had been in a bed or some kind of horizontal position.. But she felt like she was floating in some kind of strange sea of air that could sustain her. ‘Maybe this is all just some crazy hallucination..’ She thought to herself.

“Bingo! That’s absolutely right, Miss Lockhart!” Aeris exclaimed, ever-smiling, “This is all just a figment of your imagination.” The smile wavered for a moment as she softly added on, “Even me.” But the smile quickly returned. If Aeris was good for anything, it was bringing someone’s spirits up. The ancient half-crossed her arms, holding her elbows with her hands, “Whether I’m really here or not is up to you. I mean, I do have that kind of power, but it’s rare that I’m actually able to be consciously..” She examined Tifa’s face a little, “Well, maybe not-so-consciously seen.” And she pouted her lips a little, “Or maybe this is all just in your head, and I’m not really here, you know? It’s nice that you still think about me!”

Tifa took a closer look at Aeris’ face. This isn’t real.. Or is it? Did she even want to know? Her hand lifted and floated towards Aeris’ cheek, just to verify the reality of the situation, but Aeris retreated back a few inches, and so did Tifa’s hand. “So is this supposed to be some kind of divine intervention, or are you just here to check up on me?”

Aeris seemed to take a seat on something, though it was more like she just leaned back onto nothing, “A little bit of both. I mean, look at you. You totally need it.” Aeris giggled, but continued, “I mean, do you even know what kind of situation you’re in? Not exactly the best party to go to on a Saturday night, if you know what I mean.”

Tifa arched an eyebrow. She clearly didn’t remember what exactly was going on, but this was all in her head anyway. It was probably just a dream! Yeah. Just a dream. Tifa still let curiosity get the better of her, though, “What do you mean?”

“I’ll let you figure that out on your own,” Aeris smirked, “It’s more fun that way.” She floated closer to the Ex-SOLDIER and put her hands on her hips, a stern look taking over her face, “But hey! Someone’s quite the little player, aren’t you?” She demanded to know.

Caught aback by the accusation, Tifa’s eyes widened, “What!”

“Psh, you can’t lie to me, Tifa. I’m an angel. I know what’s going on,” Aeris crossed her arms defiantly, “You have a thing for blondes, don’t you? Even turning down Yuffie for her.. Elena, right? That Turk?”

Tifa just turned red at that. Although she had been getting used to her relationship with Elena, no one had really outwardly asked her if they were together. Yuffie implied it but.. Aeris was so damn forward! “Yeah, so?” She shot back in good nature, “I’m not the only one into blondes.”

Aeris rolled her eyes and smiled, “Well, Cloud wasn’t always the only one I was interested in, you know.” She winked at the fighter.

Tifa stared in disbelief again. ‘What the hell is with all of these sudden proclamations of.. Ugh, never mind.’ She knew she was being conceited and presumptuous by thinking this.. But.. It was her turn to cross her arms now, “Don’t tell me..”

“Yes, yes, okay? I liked you.” Aeris sighed in mock-exasperation, “But how would you know if I actually said that or if you just came up with it in your subconscious?” Aeris had that evil grin on her face again, which was really ironic for someone who claims to be an angel, “Geez, you’re so conceited. Imagining I like you, I didn’t know you felt that way about me!”

Tifa laughed. This was ridiculous. Of course it was all just in her head. She had always, in the back of her mind, wanted Aeris’ attention when they both fought over Cloud. Though Tifa wasn’t exactly aware of it herself, since she was in denial.. “Well, since this is just my subconscious, I guess you wouldn’t mind if I said that I liked you too.”

Aeris’ eyes opened in surprise. She didn’t expect that kind of reaction, “Really?” Tifa actually thought she was hallucinating, “Wow..” Maybe it was better that way, but.. “Anyway! I don’t have much time, so let’s make this quick.” The ancient quickly changed the subject, her cheeks reddening a little under Tifa’s gaze.

It was Aeris’ turn to reach out. She placed her hand over the fighter’s heart and touched the fabric of her shirt gently, “This won’t hurt a bit.” Then, as if it couldn’t get any brighter, her hand glowed with a soft, healing light.

Tifa was shocked that she could actually physically feel her, but it was mixed with a warm, inviting feeling.. What was it? Her body began to feel normal again. In fact, better than normal! She felt re-energized, revitalized! Tifa looked down at herself, “Whoa, what happened?”

Aeris cast her eyes to the side, “Well, you know us ancients, angels and ghosts. We’ve got crazy powers.” She said with a grin, “Actually, there’s a whole explanation! The EVA cells inside your body actually react to the prayers and spirits of the Ancients. Can you guess why?”

Tifa blinked.. “Why?” She always had this feeling around Aeris for some reason. The girl was supposed to be her opposing force, but she was simply shocking the words out of Tifa’s system this time.

“It’s a secret!”

Tifa smacked her own forehead. It couldn’t have been Aeris right in front of her. She wouldn’t believe it. Aeris was dead. This was just her mind playing weird tricks on her. Either way, she was feeling refreshed and ready to kick some more ShinRa ass! She had no time to be dreaming of Aeris.

“Well..” Aeris continued, taking an air-step closer to Tifa, “Wish I could stay longer, but.. You know, they get mad.” She sadly smiled as she began to float upwards, but before she could be out of reach, Aeris placed a soft, quick peck on Tifa’s lips. A kiss so light, Tifa didn’t know if she actually felt it or not. Her hand caressed her old comrade’s soft cheek and lingered there until she was completely out of reach.

The light began to fade as Tifa’s eyes opened and adjusted to the room. It looked almost blue in color. The brunette in pink who had been floating in front of her had faded away as suddenly as she came.

“Just a dream..” Tifa rationalized, “Of course it was. There’s no way Aeris could have talked to me and stuff from the dead.” She sat up and examined her surroundings. A ShinRa detention cell. It was a cold, yet familiar place. She had definitely been here before during Meteorfall before they met Red XIII. When they came to rescue Aeris.. And..


Even when she was in SOLDIER.

No, Tifa. Focus on what’s happening right now. Was she caught? Tifa tried to recall the events leading up to her in the detention cell.

Still, a recognizable figure floated above her, out of sight.. Aeris, though simply the spirit of an ancient long gone, touched her lips with a small smile on her face, “I’ve always wanted to do that.” She whispered to herself with a bit of a giggle. “Tifa.. Such a player, aren’t you? Elena, Yuffie, Rude, Cloud.. And even me.” Aeris shook her head and sighed softly, “At least I got a kiss.”


[BGM: Infiltrating Shinra Tower – FF7 OST

“Yuffie, do you read me?” The informative voice of Jessie, buzzed in the ninja’s ear. Yuffie had the job which required the smallest physical build, the stealth, and the speed to get through the security undetected, secure a route to the detention wing of the building, and disable the security system.

“I hear ya,” Yuffie whispered back into her COM link. She was the first, and possibly the most important, part of the plan. That is, if they wanted it all to go smoothly. They weren’t there to destroy the company this time. The group of four was there solely to rescue the kids who were kidnapped.

“There should be an exit that leads to the 64th floor’s hallway approximately 50 meters ahead of you,” Jessie told her.

Yuffie, however, despite her being so pumped up to do the most important job originally, didn’t exactly feel like army crawling through air ducts, “Thank Shiva.. I can finally get out of this thing.” Jessie’s soft giggle could be heard through the earpiece and Yuffie smiled at hearing it.

Yuffie glanced through the vent opening to check if the coast was clear. She arched an eyebrow, but a sweat drop nearly appeared above her head, “The bathroom?” She sighed a little. The dirtiest job is always given to her, “You’ve gotta be kidding..” She muttered as she hopped out of the vent and onto the floor in front of the toilet. “So that’s what I was smelling..”

She looked back at the toilet and gave it a flush for good measure. She knew she was trying to be stealthy, but.. Then no one would get suspicious if they saw her leave the washroom.

“Did you just..” Yuffie heard Tifa’s voice in the COM link.

“No!” Yuffie whispered, embarrassed. She rolled her eyes and just continued on with the mission. Yuffie stalked through the halls of the 64th floor, using Jessie’s instructions to make her way there but.. “Oh crap.”

“What crap?” Elena interjected, “You actually took a crap?”

“No!” Yuffie shushed the blonde, who was laughing on the other side of the communicator. Even though this was a serious mission, it was clear that the four of them were confident enough to be able to joke around. They’ve done so many dangerous missions, thefts, or assignments before that this one didn’t require the usual level of seriousness, especially when it’s just the three of them watching Yuffie crawl through vents.

“What’s wrong?” Jessie asked.

“Security..” Yuffie whispered as she pressed against a wall.

Wait. What was she doing? She had no reason to be afraid of a stupid security guard! She was the great Yuffie Kisaragi!

She waited beside the corner for the guard to pass her, then stepped out of her hiding place and waved innocently, grinning as she greeted the guard. There was a mask over their face, but she could still see the look of initial surprise in their body actions. That didn’t last long, however, because before the guard even knew it, Yuffie had them pinned to the wall, her elbow at the guard’s neck lifting them a few centimeters off the ground and a shuriken pointed at where their eyes would be. Oh, not to mention her knee so far up their crotch that it would leave any man crying for their mothers.

Except.. Yuffie arched her eyebrow. There was nothing there? A smirk spread along that ninja’s coy lips. She never saw too many female security guards around. Of course, the girl was struggling to fight back, but with her neck holding her up via Yuffie’s elbow and Yuffie’s knee shoved in places she’d rather not have her knee shoved, the guard was a little more than frozen.

Tifa, Elena and Jessie all stared at the camera that was placed in Yuffie’s headband. “What the hell is she doing?” Tifa asked, tilting her head to get a better view.

“Oh Shiva, is she..” Elena began. She mimicked Tifa’s movement of tilting her head and her eyes widened slightly, “I knew Yuffie was fast but..”

Jessie just silently watched, stared. She didn’t know what to think really. There was Yuffie, forcing a female security guard to go to a storage room and.. Now she was forcing her to undress?

Tifa put her hands on her hips, “She realizes we can see what she’s doing right?” There was a logical explanation, Tifa knew.. “If she needed a uniform, we could have just stolen one from a locker or something.”

Elena rolled her eyes, “She must think it’s more fun this way. I mean look at her.”

Yuffie had momentarily taken off the headband to change into the newly obtained uniform, after her captive had been successfully tied up, that is. She stepped up to the guard and grinned, “Was it as good for you as it was for me?”

A bit of muffled retort and struggle came from the girl. Soon enough, Yuffie removed the mask from the girl’s face too, to find a young brunette girl, probably not even a few years older than Yuffie was. The ninja put the girl’s mask partially on her head and smiled, “You know, if you didn’t work for ShinRa, we could have had something special.” She winked at the girl and put her headband back on, putting the mask on overtop of it. “Bye-bye now!”


[BGM Off

It was needless to say that Yuffie had safely completed her part of the mission. She disabled the security cameras and alarms that would trigger massive amounts of SOLDIER to come. She could have easily done the same job without stealing the uniform, but it was extra insurance..

Tifa and Elena had prepared themselves while Yuffie was sneaking through the vents. Their COM links were all directly connected and would be able to hear each other from other ends of the building. All Tifa really needed, and all she really had, were her comfortable clothes, her fighting gloves, and a few select materia.

Elena had her baton, her materia and some borrowed clothes from Jessie. Nothing too complicated, it was just a spandex-like material body suit that was designed for ShinRa employees. Jessie explained to the blonde when she supplied her with it, “I had taken one for myself since they were black, warm, and water resistant. It also doesn’t conduct electricity, so I thought it might come in handy.” That was about an hour before they started the mission.

The duo was prepared for their part of the mission, which was to use the secured paths to reach the children—Denzel who was being held in the normal containment cells and Marlene who was in the lab. There was one person, however, who was still a little distracted.

Jessie stared at the little monitor supervising Yuffie’s endeavors, wordlessly rolling the events around in her head as the cogs turned in her brain. She was dumbfounded by Yuffie’s forward actions. For the short time she had known the girl, she had only seen the side of the ninja that she allowed Jessie to see. No more, no less. Perhaps this infatuation that she has with Yuffie, this stupid little crush, is nothing more than that—A stupid crush. It was pretty clear now that Yuffie had just been flirting with her and not really giving a crap about her. From her unbelievable actions towards that security guard, that stranger.. Maybe that was the real Yuffie. Maybe that was the side that Jessie had missed. And now the technician didn’t know what to think. Was Yuffie just playing with her emotions this whole time? Did she not mean any of the things she had said to her? Did she really need her when she was rejected by Tifa? Or was she just conveniently there?

“Jess, I’m heading out. Buzz me if there’s any trouble,” Tifa said as she poked her head into the control room.

Jessie snapped out of her daze and nodded at Tifa, “All clear so far, Yuffie’s secured all necessary routes and you’ll be taking the path to the labs, Marlene should be there, unless they’ve moved her since the last time Reno contacted us.”

Tifa nodded back and put on a choker, with a camera inside, “Camera check. Clear?”

Checking the monitor for Tifa’s camera, her eyes glanced to Yuffie’s once again, who was heading back towards the jet. Once Elena and Tifa were gone, she’d be left alone with Yuffie until they got back.. When normally she would be ecstatic to have such a chance.. After that encounter with the guard, Jessie was unknowingly jealous. “Clear. You’re good to go,” Jessie replied, “Good luck, Tif.”

“Thanks. Elena already went in?” Tifa half-turned, ready to get her part of the mission started. This was going to be a piece of cake.

“Yeah, if it goes as planned, she should take less than 20 minutes.”

“Okay. I’ll be back before you know it!” Tifa said, a smile on her face and a V shape on her fingers as she exited.

And so there she was again, Jessie, alone with her computers and gadgets, to contemplate on her emotions and confusing questions she had no answer to. She thought she had found someone she could fall in love with. Would Yuffie simply break her heart? Had she been lying this whole time?


[BGM: Descendent of Shinobi - FF7 Piano Collection

Yuffie snuck her way back onto the ship. She knew that Jessie would be in the bridge and that she had been watching the camera.. Would Jessie be all cute and jealous? Or maybe she’ll be all hot and bothered from her sexy display? She was excited to see how the technician would react to her entering with a security guard uniform on. ‘Hmm..

Yuffie grinned to herself as she removed her helmet and unbuttoned the first few buttons of the blouse. ‘Maybe this’ll do it,’ She thought slyly. So, sliding open the door to the bridge, Yuffie saluted the pilot, “Yuffie Kisaragi here, reporting for duty!”

Jessie froze at the sudden proclamation. She was lost in her own thoughts for the moment, and she honestly didn’t want to really look at Yuffie, “Ah, hey. Good work.” She continued to type on the computer, not missing a beat as she attempted to seem unphased. Jessie didn’t even turn around to acknowledge the girl..

That was not the reaction that Yuffie wanted at all. Good work? That’s it?

So Yuffie, like a child, pouted. She took a few steps towards Jessie, completely forgetting about the camera that was in her headband. Jessie watched the camera out of the corner of her eye and she could feel her heart rate increase with every step she could hear behind her and the sight of the back of her own head in the monitor. Why the hell was she getting so nervous?

Yuffie interjected her face into Jessie’s line of vision and said, “Not happy to see me?”

If this had been any other time, Jessie probably would have found the vision of Yuffie’s face and her own surprised face in the monitor off to the side to be comical. Now, however, she allowed herself to be a little stubborn, “It’s not that. It’s just..” She hesitated a little as she glanced at the security guard uniform that the ninja was wearing, “It’s nothing, don’t worry about it.”

Yuffie caught the glance and grinned as she reached an understanding, “Oh, I see.. You’re jealous!”

Jessie’s eyes widened for a second then went back to normal behind her glasses, “I am not jealous.”

“You are so jealous.”

Jessie retorted, “Of what?”

Yuffie leaned in closer to her face and stared right into the brunette’s eyes, “The security guard.”

The momentarily panicked look of someone caught off guard appeared behind the girl's glasses and she quickly masked it again, “You’re full of it..” She said with a mixed tinge of sadness, annoyance and even a little regret. Jessie felt used, as if being the only one in the immediate vicinity when Yuffie needed help was her only reason for even looking at her and spending time with her. That if she had the choice, Yuffie would go for Tifa at the drop of a hat and leave Jessie as everyone else had. Or if a better offer came along, then Yuffie would go off with them. Jessie didn’t need that kind of drama in her life.

“Jess..” Yuffie hadn’t considered the possibility of hurting Jessie. She thought that the girl would have taken it how everyone else does, and not really give a damn.. But Jessie actually gave a damn. And it showed in the tear that slid down her face. Yuffie reached out and gently wiped it away.

Jessie hadn’t even realized she was crying, so when the tear was wiped off her face, she noticed her vision blurred from the tears. Still, Jessie didn’t say anything.

“Jess, look..” Yuffie looked at her apologetically, “I.. um.. I wasn’t thinking. I thought that you would just get jealous or something cute like that.” She still had her hand on the girl’s cheek, “I didn’t think it would make you upset..”

The brunette listened, but she didn’t trust her voice enough to reply, so Yuffie watched her for a moment. She remembered the other day when they were talking about Jessie’s glasses and how they looked cute on her, and how they were in a very similar position to this. Jessie had even said she was full of it then, too. Yuffie had to think and she had to think fast. What could she say to fix this? How could she show Jessie that she wasn’t interested in any other girl?

Yuffie knew she liked her for sure now. The little show she put on with the security guard was her pathetic attempt at forcing Jessie to say it out loud in an angry way like, ‘I like you, okay? That’s why I’m jealous!’ But things didn’t really go quite as she had planned. Instead, by seeing the degree that Jessie was upset, Yuffie could safely assume she had hurt her because the girl liked her that much. So what would Yuffie do with this newfound knowledge?

Jessie was searching the ninja’s eyes for what she was thinking. She swallowed a lump in her throat as Yuffie’s face inched closer to hers. Was she going to kiss her? Was she going to KISS her? Would she just be used again, or is this for real? Was she being real before or was Jessie just a rebound case?

Yuffie, only a few centimeters away, whispered softly, “I just wanted your attention..”

So Jessie, slightly dazed, replied, “Well, you got it..”

Why don’t you two just kiss and make up already?” The voice of Elena rang through the COM Links.

Both Yuffie and Jessie’s eyes opened wide, suddenly remembering that Tifa and Elena could hear what they were saying. She pulled back quickly as if they had just been caught, “Holy Crap! Way to ruin a moment!” Yuffie said with annoyance into the COM link once she regained her composure, “And I was just about to tell her I liked her!”

A snicker came from Tifa’s link, while Elena just laughed softly. It took a few seconds for Yuffie to realize what she had just said, but once she realized it, she looked at Jessie once again with a worried look, “Uh.. I mean..”

Jessie’s small smile grew into a grin, which turned into a chuckle, which turned into a full on relieved laugh at the whole situation. Jessie stood up and took the steps needed to close the space between herself and the ninja and wrapped her arms around her neck, hugging her tightly.

Yuffie blinked a couple of times, then flushed red, “So does that mean—“

Before she could finish that sentence, Jessie had kissed her on the lips.


[BGM: Underneath the Rotting Pizza - FF7 OST

“I knew it,” Elena stated proudly, though softly into the COM link. She knew this building like the back of her hand, so she knew the security routes, she knew where the detention cells were.. This was a piece of cake.

Just being in this setting was sending electrical currents through her brain. She didn’t know if it was adrenaline, EVA cells working through muscle memory, or if it was just a psychological reaction to being near this place. She had been there a thousand times before, bringing traitors, criminals and other victims to their confinement, but it was just so unusually familiar that her brain was aching with memories.

This hallway. This door. This keypad with the same code used for how many years. For security’s sake, she typed in Reno’s code to release the lock and the door slid open. There was Denzel, hugging his knees to his chest in fear, worry and most of all, dejection at his own helplessness.

The boy looked up at the blonde in the doorway and he was about to exclaim, but Elena shushed him with a gesture of her index finger in front of her lips. She took another glance in both directions of the hallway, then motioned for him to follow her.

The boy complied, excited to finally be released from his confinement.

Elena led him back through the way she entered, her head pounding and pulsating with new memories to the beat of each step that they took towards the jet. Her SOLDIER memories were mingling with her naïve Turk memories, but she knew they were both true.. Except for one that kept recurring.


That powerless, restraining feeling surrounded Elena as she stared at nothing but the figure in front of her. The only sensation that coursed through her was this numb feeling of betrayal. Because of that, all other senses seemed merely secondary compared to that pain that was stabbing at her heart.


Tifa stood in front of her, arms crossed with a scornful look on her face.. “Take her away.”


“No! It didn’t happen!” Elena said, her hands gripping her head in a desperate attempt to deny the false memories. She snapped quickly back into reality once she felt the confused, worried eyes on her of Jessie, Yuffie and Denzel. She had made it back to the ship with the boy, but.. “Where’s Tifa?” She felt herself becoming weak, but if that was how her body felt, then Tifa’s probably felt the next stage of that. Elena had discerned that everything that Tifa goes through happens to Elena shortly after. Fainting, regaining memories, regaining confidence in her abilities..

She had to go help her. The blonde didn’t even wait for Jessie or Yuffie to reply. She just had this sixth sense in the back of her mind that Tifa was in danger. She sprinted out of the jet, leaving a confused trio in her wake.

Elena sped through the halls as fast as her weakening body would allow. She knew it was foolish and headstrong to believe she could be Tifa’s heroine this time, instead of the other way around as it usually was. She knew it was foolish and headstrong for her to believe her body wouldn’t crap out on her by the time she reached Tifa.. But she had to try. She loved her, and she wasn’t about to let her be captured, or worse, killed.


[BGM: Trail of Blood – FF7 OST

Weak. That was one word to describe how Tifa’s body was feeling as she attempted to ward off the two SOLDIER X5’s guarding the lab. Dizzy was another good word. She could feel her energy slowly, gradually, being sapped from her body. She knew when her body started feeling weaker, that she should have turned back, but her stubborn pride and her determination to save Marlene from the evil clutches of this company’s hands stopped her from turning around, and now she was going to pay for it.

She was able to recall her training as a young student of Zangan back in Nibelheim, but all of her muscle memory from SOLDIER, her reflexes and her battle strategies, were fading from her head as if they were only a figment of her imagination.

Here she was, the mighty Ex-SOLDIER Tifa fighting off two robots that should have been a piece of cake for her. Yet, here she was, barely able to lift her leg into a kick, or throw her fist as a punch.

A solid, metallic kick in the ribs, followed with a solid punch to her gut and an axe kick to the top of her head sent Tifa plummeting to the ground. She pushed herself back onto her feet, but soon, everything turned into a dull white-gray, and she collapsed once again.

The last thing she saw before passing out was a blur of black and blonde as Elena bulleted into one of the SOLDIER X5’s, landing a side kick square in the robot’s gut as her baton froze the other X5 in place. Seeing the first one stagger back towards the wall, she took the opportunity to follow suit and freeze it with a powerful Ice 3 spell. She had to force herself to forget that there were beings that used to be human inside those suits.

A sudden haughty, boisterous laugh emanated from the intercom sound system around them. Elena recognized that laugh as the woman who was inside the Behemoth when they were escaping from Midgar. Elena kneeled before Tifa’s limp body and checked her pulse and breathing quickly before her protective side took over again. She looked around with only her eyes hiding any kind of weakness her body had felt, “Show yourself, you coward!” She thought it was suspicious that there were no other employees around, but she wasn’t about to complain.. Unless this was part of that bitch’s plan.

“My dear, Prodigy,” The voice started in a motherly voice, echoing down the halls and ringing in Elena’s ears, “You’ve forgotten everything, haven’t you?”

Elena could feel her mind swirling and her body beginning to feel even weaker, “No.. I had forgotten everything before, and we’ve both been remembering the shit ShinRa has done to us..!”

“To us?” The woman repeated, almost mockingly, “I hope you mean what she has done to you.” Unlike the first time they encountered the scientist, her voice wasn’t as mocking as before.

To her?

[BGM: Who Am I – FF7 OST

The memories that she had been trying to force away since the morning before were rushing back in a torrent of denial, but truth.

Elena remembered what it felt like to feel her heart ache at the sight of Tifa staring at her with cold, heartless eyes. Her body not responding to her own inward cries of resistance as she was taken to a detention cell and injected with that amnesia inducing serum. She remembered everything. The betrayal, the heartbreak, and the one who caused it all.


“Do you remember now, my dear?” The voice said softly from behind her.

Elena didn’t even turn to look at the woman. She sensed her there. It was that familiar scent that she recognized. This time, it wasn’t Tifa’s familiar scent of a mix of cherries or strawberries, but that strange indescribable scent.

“She.. Betrayed me.” As if in a trance, Elena stood with the remaining energy she had left, staring at the body of the woman she thought she loved. She knew she loved.. But now knew never loved her in return. She had only used her to get to ShinRa.

Suddenly, it seemed like everything they had remembered and gone through in the past few days meant nothing. The blonde was hypnotized by the thought that the girl had never loved her to begin with, and sent her to her own demise of having her memories erased and to live as a Turk.

Sergeant Elena White. You are now under arrest for conspiracy against ShinRa Inc.,” The voice of a younger Tifa played from the intercom and in Elena’s memory.

It was in a hallway similar to the one they were in at that moment, when Tifa was standing before her with a troupe of SOLDIERs ready to arrest her.

And Elena didn’t even put up a fight because she was too stunned, too betrayed, and too heartbroken to even move. It was a convincing act, if nothing else. So convincing, that she even tricked herself into feeling the pain.

Tifa stood in front of her, arms crossed with a scornful look on her face.. “Take her away.”

Elena felt her body weakening again, further this time, as she collapsed to her hands and knees once again beside Tifa, silent, defeated tears slowing from her eyes to the fabric of Tifa’s top.

Jessie and Yuffie had been desperately trying to reach them through the COM link, but their shouts were subjected only to deafened ears. Yuffie had even tried to re-enter the building, but was stopped by a mass of SOLDIER X5 prototypes. ShinRa wouldn’t allow anyone to interfere with the scientist’s mind games. They had planned for all of this to happen, and the people in the jet could only stare in horror as the events unfolded.

Elena rested her head on top of Tifa’s chest, listening to her steady heartbeat, unaligned with her own racing—doubting—heart filled with confusion and a feeling of dread. For the first time in a long time, they weren’t in sync, and one of the first memories she had regained kept playing in her head in repeat mode.

Hey, Elena.. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but..”

Don’t make it sound like we’re gonna die, Tif.. I’ll definitely see you again.”

But.. In case I don’t see you for a while, then.. I just wanted to say that I’d never forget you.”

Neither will I. No matter what happens, I’ll always remember you.”

..I love you, Elena.”

I love you too, Tifa.”

[End notes:

Author’s Note: Honestly, I didn’t even intend on putting Aeris in there originally. xD It just kind of happened because I was thinking, “What would Tifa think about if she was hallucinating? Her dead best friend!” Then, “But what if it WASN’T a hallucination? O” So I kind of wanted to instill into the reader a sense of confusion as to.. whether Aeris was really there or if it was all just Tifa’s imagination. Whether or not it really worked, I don’t know xD It’s kind of like that movie Ratatouille, with the little chef Gusteau.. You know.

I also didn’t intend on making Jessie and Yuffie have such a big development in this chapter. It was supposed to be mainly focused around ShinRa and Tifa/Elena, but after the sudden idea of Jessie getting jealous over a security guard and I just had to keep going with it. How often do you get an NPC like that in this fic anyway? xD AND THEY KISSED:D

Then once we got back to the main plot, it went pretty much as I had planned. Slightly better than I imagined it in my head, I think, but this chapter was mostly inward struggle than outward. It was a tad rushed, too, because I have a whole crapload of tests in school this week and I have work in a couple of hours, so if there are any mistakes I might have missed, I’ll fix them later xD I also strongly suggest using the BGM. xD It makes the scene that much more INTENSE.

As always, please leave a review. I really appreciate them and I really need them to keep going :3.


Chapter 14

Title: Chapter 14: Remember

[Author's notes: A/N: Alright. I’m gonna try using first person perspective/POV for the first bit of this chapter. D This chapter is completely Tifa/Elena centric, so have fun with that! I certainly enjoyed writing it. xD No background music for this one. It’s not stationary enough in a type of mood to have music to fit.]


Chapter 14: Remember


She was beautiful.

I’ve been told that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If that’s true.. It wasn’t in that cheap way that people see beauty now. It was a timeless kind of beauty. In any dimension, any country, they would see her—the way she fought, carried herself, and smiled—and they would automatically know that this woman was a goddess. She was strong, caring, and smart. She did it all so naturally, and she was the one I had always looked up to. Yet somehow, she made me feel like I was her equal..

‘How does she do it?’ I always wondered. She was the epitome of perfection to me, and I adored her with all of my being, but she treated me with such respect.

Of course, back then, I couldn’t make it seem like I was worshipping her, you know? As much as I loved her, I was stubborn, and as much as I had love for her, I had my pride in myself, so it was natural that those roles would clash. I could still adore her, but be discreet about it.

It was never easy for me to say, ‘I love you.’ To her, or to anyone.

Even when I would speak with my own mother, it was unnatural. It lacked that emotion and I could never speak with her like a mother and daughter should.

“Mommy, let’s go outside!” I said once as a child. It was whiney, it was demanding, and it was stubborn. Yet, as persistent as I was, and how hard I had tried, she never would play with me. She would never talk to me, except to utter the words, “Mommy’s busy, Elena.” She would tell me, “Go find your sister,” or “Go ask Daddy to play.” I mean, I knew she wanted to take care of me, but her job required her to be on call, all the time. And as much of an attention craver I was, being the youngest, it made me resent her a little bit.

I still loved her, as a daughter should, but I could never say, “I love you, Mother.”

But with her—With Tifa—I went past that stubborn barrier. I loved her so much.. So much that I gave her my heart, my body, and my soul. I belonged to her, and I was willing to uphold that to the point that I would sacrifice myself to ensure her survival; her happiness; her freedom. I would have taken bullets for her in a heartbeat.

And what does she do?

She takes that loyalty and crushes it between her fingers. She took my heart, the heart that I gave to her so willingly, and instead of nurturing it and caring for it.. She cut it to pieces and watched it bleed with her betrayal.

So what happens to someone when their heart is crushed? What happens when their soul flies away and only the vessel remains?

They become lifeless. They lose meaning, resolve and purpose. They lose all emotion and become soulless SOLDIER, killing machines with no purpose in life except to hurt others.

Is that what I’ve become?

As I watch her through the one-way mirrored glass window, I just tell myself that I feel nothing. If I can convince myself of that, then perhaps the painful memories will go away. Maybe I can look back at the times that felt so warm, so loving, and so meaningful, and then salt them knowing that it was all a charade. A charade played by the woman whom I thought loved me, to use me as a tool in her own selfish revenge.

How bittersweet.

All of the soft touches can turn into painful scratches into my skin. The warmth of her embrace will turn to blistering irons that burned me. Her kisses—her sweet, heartfelt kisses—will turn to poison that splashed onto my lips, implanted themselves into my blood cells, and circulated through my body.

If I can morph that stupid, naïve, ignorant love into this realism.. If I can stand on my own two feet once again.. If I can forget the way she made my heart pound in my chest every time she looked my way. If I could stop loving her..

Then maybe I could live my own life.

For my own sake. Not hers.


For the first time in a while, Tifa felt okay. Not 100, but she was feeling stronger physically, at least. Her head was still a throbbing mess of goo, but she learned a few days before that couldn’t be helped. She sat alone in her detention cell after that strange encounter with Aeris—or at least she figured it was Aeris—listening to the quiet buzzing of the lights, the ticking clock in the corner, and her own long, steady inhales and exhales. She remembered, vaguely, how she ended up in there: That pathetic fight against the nameless robots, and collapsing just outside the lab. Elena had come to save her butt, and..

That woman came. Her head was way too out of it to make out what they were saying, but she blacked out before she had the chance to see Elena kick her ass. There was no way Elena could have been beaten by her.

But.. Wait.. Why would Tifa be in there if she won? If she won, she would have dragged her out of there. So.. Maybe Elena passed out too..!

The sudden realization reached the brunette, and she stood up, looking for any way she could escape. “Shit.. I have to go help her!” And what about Marlene? And Denzel? And Jessie and Yuffie? What happened to them?

Tifa searched for her COM link, but it was gone. How the hell? It was practically embedded into her ear and back molar..

“I’m sure you’ll find that all of your equipment is gone, my dear Prodigy,” That voice spoke through the speakers in the top corner of the room. “It seems you severely underestimated us. Come now, you should remember who made you into who you are.” The fighter’s defenses were automatically raised and she became alert, ready for a surprise attack.

“Where’s Elena?” Tifa barked to the voice. She grit her teeth and glared up at the speaker amp. She knew that wasn’t where that bitch actually was, but it was close enough to vent her rage towards.

She could hear a soft chuckle, followed by the same smug voice, “Why, she’s right here.” The light on the other side of the observation window turned on to show Elena, standing there with a new outfit—A new ShinRa outfit.

Tifa could have sworn her heart had stopped.

She rushed to the window, confused, worried, betrayed. She placed her hands on the glass and stared helplessly. Tifa hated the fact that she was wearing an outfit from ShinRa, and Elena must have hated it too. She always hated it, didn’t she? That’s what she used to say.. It was a black, skin-tight cat suit, with armor pads for the shoulder, elbow, torso and legs. And of course, they had that ugly ShinRa logo on it..

“What the hell have you done to her?” Tifa asked angrily, more desperately. Elena couldn’t have been doing this of her own accord. They must have brainwashed her, or tricked her, or even erased her memories again! She must be doing this to trick them! Elena couldn’t have gone back to them after all we had been through..

“What have I done? I’m sorry, but you must have forgotten what you did to her, my dear,” That voice. That horrible, horrible voice resonated through the speakers and bore a hole into the brunette’s head. What could she have possibly done to Elena that would make her switch sides so fast?

As if their relationship meant nothing to her.

As if Tifa meant nothing to her.

Tifa could only desperately try to remember anytime she had been anything less than wonderful towards the blonde, and though it was a conceited thought, she felt forsaken. Didn’t she treat her like a queen back then? ‘Sure, there were times I’d tease her, or I’d give her some criticism.. But that wasn’t even close to this..’ Tifa thought to herself. She felt abandoned by the one she loved at the time she needed her most. Tifa didn’t know what the hell she had done.. And she was being punished for it.

Perhaps this scientist had a sick, twisted sense of humor, or got a certain strange enjoyment out of torturing the two women. Like guinea pigs, or experimental moomba, the scientist could have just gotten a sadistic pleasure out of their mental torment. After all of the mental torment she received in her past, she felt she should pass along the karma. It was like pulling the wings off of flies, or burning ants with a magnifying glass.. These women were disposable, but there were always the exceptional ones that she favored and followed around like a curious child. Tifa and Elena were those exceptions. She felt like a puppet master.. Trying to push her puppets to the limits, just to see what would happen.

“Don’t you recall, Miss Lockhart?” The taunting voice of the scientist echoed through the intercom, “That day you sacrificed your beloved to raise your rank and reputation?”

Tifa still stared silently at Elena, unsure of what to think, how to feel, or what to say. Elena couldn’t even hear her, so what could she possibly say to convince her? She definitely had other means of communication, since they both had mastered sign language during their training, but Tifa’s hands were too numb and too frozen to even consider the action. Once the words of the mystery woman registered into Tifa’s mind, her eyes widened and turned to the speaker, “I would never do such a thing..!”

“Oh but you did, and you did it in such a convincing way, too.” That voice droned her words, slowly and painfully, wanting to wring and pull every agonizing second out of Tifa’s sanity, “Here, let me remind you, my prodigy..”

And the recording played, a little static was with it, verifying that it was a recording.

Sergeant Elena White. You are now under arrest for conspiracy against ShinRa Inc.”

Tifa froze. That was her voice. Not Elena’s, but Tifa’s. It was how she sounded maybe five years ago. The recording triggered the memories, flashing sections of the timeframe in her already abused head. She grasped her head with both hands in a feeble attempt to hold it together and keep it from exploding, her eyes wide and her pupils becoming smaller and unfocused.

Take her away.

She had done it. She betrayed Elena.. But why? She remembered the cold, ugly feeling.. She didn’t want to do it. So why did she?

The voice continued, “You must be asking yourself-”

“Shut up! Just shut up!” Tifa’s interruption stunned the voice slightly.

And Tifa had lost all of her solidity. All of her stability just flew out of the door, along with her resolve and her certainty. She held her head and shut her eyes as tightly as she could in her vain endeavors to force away the voice and the actions she had done. How had she betrayed her like that? How could she atone for causing this whole mess? Why did she do it?

“Asking yourself..” The voice continued with the grin as blatant in her voice as it was on her face. This was her entertainment. “Why did you arrest her, Tifa? Hm?”

The woman was clearly having the time of her life in this psychological torture. Her maniacal laughter reverberated through the room, and it was driving Tifa mad.

Elena, through her attempt at being stoic and robotic, could see Tifa distressing on the other side of the glass. Suddenly, her training meant nothing. She could hear everything the scientist said, but she couldn’t hear a word Tifa said. Her knuckles tensed and her heart wrenched at the sight of Tifa agonizing under the voice who convinced her of this. Elena couldn’t deny the fact that even if Tifa betrayed her all those years ago, she hadn’t betrayed her since, or prior to that day. Everyone makes mistakes.. And for once in her life, she should try to forgive rather than forget. She couldn’t let Tifa suffer like this!

She rushed to the window and banged on it with her fist, trying to get Tifa’s attention enough to distract her from whatever pain was being caused. She wanted to let her know that she forgave her! But alas, her efforts were hopeless. Tifa had crouched like a child, succumbed to her own memories and the torture that came along with it, “Tifa! Tif!” Elena grit her teeth as she watched the woman writhe in her mental anguish.

The voice was quieter, less taunting, and more thought provoking, “Why did you do it, Tifa?” Tifa, frozen in her brain anguish, wasn’t sure if that was still the voice in the intercom or if it was her own inner voice asking that, “Did she mean nothing to you? Was revenge really that important?”

And with that, the flood of memories revived themselves in Tifa’s head. Her eyes still wide and her pupils so small that they almost looked lifeless.

Good work, Lieutenant.”

The moment she arrested Elena, the feelings of lonely continuation, as if she had lost a comrade on the field and she was now the living dead, alive enough to continue through the motions, but dead on the inside without her. Still, it was a part of the plan. She had to do it to increase her rank. The company had recognized this, and appointed her as the bodyguard of the president.. And that was when she launched her attack. That was her intent. She did all of that, suffered for all of those years, betrayed the only person she could ever truly claim to have loved, just for that singular moment of truth. And she failed at her assassination.

Perhaps she had been too distracted.. Or perhaps it was all of the Turks and SOLDIER X Prototypes that stopped her, arrested her, and erased her memories, kicking her out to the streets of Midgar to be found by Barret.

Had Tifa planned that? No, if she had planned it, then it wouldn’t have left her with such a desolate feeling. Tifa, through the blinding pain searing through her head, strove to recall the encounters beforehand.

And now the puppet master decided that now was a good time to allow Elena to speak to Tifa. The door separating the two rooms opened, but since Tifa was incapacitated, Elena took it as a sign that she was now allowed to see her. If anything, Elena wanted to run over to Tifa and comfort her, hold her close and keep her there until all of the bad memories were gone.

However, Elena knew that the scientist was watching. So she knew she couldn’t make it obvious that she wanted to help Tifa. She had to feign hatred.

She stood, fists balled and her stance ready.. She was going to help Tifa, and she was going to help herself. All of her inner turmoil had to be released, and she knew Tifa was strong enough to take it, even with her current mental state of defeat. It was cruel and unusual methods, but Elena felt there was no other choice if they wanted to get out of there eventually.

The sadist probably expected her to fight Tifa with vengeful drive. So she had to give the woman her twisted entertainment to get out of there unscathed.

However, vision and life returned to Tifa’s eyes and she opened them with sudden recollection. Her head shot up and she knew why.

The two prodigy SOLDIERs prepared themselves mentally for the battle they were about to endure. The only way they could physically prepare were the hidden knives on Elena’s person, and the solid gloves in Tifa’s pocket, ready to be equipped. Unsurely, the young brunette looked over to her blonde companion.

Are you sure about this?” She asked, clearly reluctant to pursue the plan Elena had crafted.

Of course I am! Look, if they think you’re loyal enough to them that you could betray me..” Elena tried to sound convincing, but she couldn’t help but feel afraid herself. “They know about our relationship now.. So they’re probably going to separate us anyway, right?” Elena was the one who formulated this plan, yes, but it didn’t mean she had to like it. “If they see that you can turn me in, it would squash all of their suspicions, give you way more credit, and knowing them, they’d probably promote you, too.” It wasn’t much, but it was the best one she could think of. The only one either of them could think of, really. However confident they were, neither of them were thrilled about the fact that they had to be separated.. And who knows what they would do to Elena when imprisoned.. The blonde was willing, though, to suffer through this if Tifa could manage to take down President ShinRa. She could be freed after Tifa succeeds anyways.. And she was confident enough, or cocky enough, to think she could easily escape from whatever prison they put her in.

Tifa sighed.. She knew they were going to be pulled apart regardless. She overheard their officers and scientists talking about them, and their plans for them. Not one minute longer could either of them spend being ShinRa’s little experiments; Especially if they weren’t going to be together. They had tried to come up with dozens of plans, all of which ended in failed outcomes, and since they weren’t going to be together anymore.. This was their only shot at fulfilling their purpose. So they had to go with what they had.

Again, it didn’t mean they had to like it. Tifa, feeling the desperation of the pending separation, wrapped her arms around the blonde tightly, as if it were the last time she would ever get to do so, and she felt the girl grasp onto her with an equal amount of fervor. They were both scared, but they had no other choice.

Tifa slowly, reluctantly, pulled away, whispering softly, “Hey, Elena.. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but..”

Elena shook her head, avoiding eye contact so the unconfident feeling she had wouldn’t show in her eyes, “Don’t make it sound like we’re gonna die, Tif.. I’ll definitely see you again.” She couldn’t say that with 100 percent conviction, but she knew they’ll both survive.

Tifa cupped the girl’s face with her hand and turned Elena’s head back towards her, looking at her directly in her eyes, “But.. In case I don’t see you for a while, then.. I just wanted to say that I’d never forget you.” Tifa knew, that even though she had to fake the betrayal, and that she will have to say things she doesn’t want to say, she wouldn’t mean any of it.

Elena grounded herself enough to be able to look into her girlfriend’s, her love’s, eyes, “Neither will I. No matter what happens, I’ll always remember you.”

..I love you, Elena.”

I love you too, Tifa.”

Tifa, in her older state, turned to see Elena standing in the doorway, ready to fight. She was shocked, for one, to see the woman there at all. This felt like some profound kind of nightmare.. But she could tell from this physical pain caused by mental means that it wasn’t. For two, she was hesitant. The normally confident and headstrong Ex-SOLDIER, faced against her equal, her love, and her partner.. It could possibly be the scariest moment of her life. If she were to fight to win, who knows what would happen to Elena. If she were to lose, well, she’d get beaten up herself. There was no winner. Elena was so convinced of the betrayal that she was willing to fight her.. All that they had been through suddenly flew out of the window.

So, she was determined to make Elena remember. Tifa knew that if Elena could remember the set up and the betrayal, she would remember it was all fake and she would change her mind in a heartbeat. Tifa didn’t even want to go through with that plan! It was just their only option, and Tifa had failed them.. And she was going to make up for it!

Still, it seemed ridiculous that both of them were going to fight each other, even though they were only fighting each other for selfless reasons. Elena was going to fight her to ensure the act that the scientist was waiting for would be played. So even if she still forgave her, she had to feign hatred. In other words, she was fighting to keep them safe. Tifa was going to fight Elena to make her remember, because if she couldn’t listen through words, actions would have to follow. Elena clearly still didn’t remember, but Tifa did, so she was going to force her to remember. Interesting logic.

But first.. She looked at the girls eyes again. That secret language that they spoke through their eyes.. It was blocked off before. Elena had closed her heart from her. Through all of this confusion and misinterpretation, Elena had completely tried to separate herself.. But now, Tifa could see a glimpse of hope. There was a tinge of regret in Elena’s eyes, and there flashed an instance of hope that Tifa knew was the girl that she loved trying to escape from this charade.

Elena still doubted her, and from the looks of it, she was pretty convinced by ShinRa about what had happened. After all, they had audio proof and whatever screwed up means they used to get to her.. So Tifa just had to be a little bit more persuasive.

Elena’s eyes still flashed with determination, a flame that reflected her intention. She was going to fight Tifa, but just for the show for that bitch up there. At least, she hoped just for show.

If she were to get carried away.. “Prepare yourself, Lockhart.” She said with a cold, icy tone to her statement. She had no weapons on her—only her bare fists. This was going to be a brawl, and she knew that’s what that woman expected. If they tired each other out, they would just be captured, memories erased and she would try again..

Tifa nodded and took her stance, concentration and focus bringing her back to her training days against Elena. It was just like a sparring match, right?

They were going to fight, but what was going through Elena’s head? Why were they fighting? For that woman? Was Elena serious? She didn’t even really want to fight! She was going to beat the truth into the blonde’s head, and she had decided on it, but now she was hesitating again. Honestly, Tifa would rather talk than fight. She knew it made her seem like a wuss, but..

POW! While Tifa was distracted by her thoughts, ironically, her thoughts of how she used to be concentrated and focused, Elena had rushed towards her and planted a jumping spinning back kick into her torso, sending her flying back to the opposite wall.

The scientist watched from the cameras she planted in the corners of the room, “Ooh, that’s gotta hurt!” How delicious it was, seeing a battle filled with anger, deceit, and heartache. Confusion, inward conflict and mistrust. It was her will to make them fight and hate each other. She had lived vicariously through her two prodigies, and now she felt that they should experience the same kind of pain she did, all those years ago. She sat back in her chair and watched the drama unfold.

Tifa slammed against the white wall, surprised that she hadn’t left a body-shaped dent in it. What was wrong with her? She’d normally see that attack coming from a mile away. Elena had gotten faster. Or perhaps her will to fight the blonde had deteriorated enough to affect her reaction time.

“All of those times you exceeded me..” Elena said in a voice that was almost no louder than a whisper, her head low and her voice no louder than a whisper, “Outranked me, outdone me..” Elena had never voiced her envy of the woman before, but now that her doubt had surfaced, all of the spite had come along with it, “I felt so useless! So worthless!”

Elena raised her head, reaching Tifa, standing right in front of her and grabbing the collar of her shirt, glaring at her right in the eye. Was she still pretending? Or was it her real feelings now? “I was never good enough for you! You..!”

At this close of a distance, she kneed the woman in the gut, and then elbowed her in the shoulder with a downward strike. “You never needed me! You were just using me!” Elena had forgotten her purpose and was lost in her sea of emotions.

Tifa had lost her will. Her head was a torrent of uncertainty now. She didn’t want to fight Elena. She had thought she treated the girl so well during their training, but now, as she listened to her love’s jealousy of her, she could do nothing but allow her to punish her. All of this could have been avoided, and they would have lived their fairy-tale ‘happily-ever-after’ if she had succeeded in her mission that day.

She thought she loved Elena too much to fight her back that moment. She never thought of the woman as worthless, and she never planned to use her, but her voice wouldn’t come out. Tifa couldn’t tell her how she felt. Her stomach sank from the gut-wrenching knee attack, and her shoulder nearly dislocated from the elbow strike, but she remained stagnant, her head low in shame. Of course she needed Elena. She still needs her.

Elena kept changing her mind. She was originally not planning to even attack Tifa, but now that she recalled, she couldn’t help but wonder what she was to the brunette. “Talk to me, dammit!” She growled, shaking the woman as her rage took over. She grabbed hold of both of Tifa’s shoulders and forced her back against the wall, her head automatically brought up to look Elena in the eyes once again. Her eyes stung with tears that threatened to spill. Tears of anger, pain, heartache and confusion.

Elena was desperate for answers. “Was I your plaything? Your sex toy?” She needed answers, “Your lackey? Your slave?” She was searching.. “Was I just that girl you could walk all over, mess with, and throw away? Make me fall stupidly in love with you, give my heart to you and let you just throw it on the ground and crush it?” For the truthful answers that could only come from Tifa. She choked out through her tears and grit teeth, her resolve to fight fading as she looked at her pillar of strength in front of her crumble. “Tifa.. Did you even love me?”

And with that question, Tifa snapped back to her usual state. Her eyes went from being cloudy and unsure to bright and confident once again, and she stared right at Elena while she planted her back against the wall and lifted her knees, landing a strong double-legged push kick against the blonde’s torso. Shot for shot, wasn’t it? “How can you even ask that?” She said, her fists held so tightly that she felt her own nails biting into her palms. “Of course I loved you! Of course I needed you!”

Elena was stunned by the attack, soaring backwards and hitting the bed that Tifa had been sitting on. Neither of them anticipated a real argument or fight, but here they were. Elena let out a cough, the air from her lungs had escaped and she was urgently trying to reclaim it. By this point, she fell to the floor with her back against the bed frame weakly watching as Tifa caught up with her, straddling her waist and grabbing her by that dreaded ShinRa outfit’s collar as she had done to Tifa earlier.

“You should know better than anyone else that I was willing to do anything for you!” Tifa saw the tears stream down Elena’s face, but she continued her words, “I never felt like I outranked you, because you were always equal to me.. You were always there for me! Through the training, the injections, the battles, the missions..!”

She bit her lip a little, fighting back her own tears, “You were my strength, Elena..” She kept staring into the blonde’s eyes; even if Elena refused to let the brown eyes, that were so much like her own, persuade her like they always had. “Without you there, I would have never survived on my own. You were the reason I kept go-”

“Bullshit!” Elena pulled a reversal on the girl, flipping her over and pinning her, even if Tifa’s legs were still around her waist. “The only reason you needed me was to get to ShinRa!”

If Elena wasn’t going to listen, Tifa would make her listen.

“No! Don’t you remember?” Tifa arched her back into a back bridge and planted her hands into the floor, “We..” Tifa used her hips to flip Elena over, throwing her to the floor behind with her legs, “We had to do something while we were still together..”

They lay sprawled on the floor for a few seconds, but to the two women, it felt like forever. The heavy breaths could be heard throughout the room, but they weren’t from fatigue as much as emotional distress. Elena, through the confusion and lies, knew she had to find the answers in her own memory, and not to let it be swayed.

Then, just as quickly as they fell, they scrambled to their knees in defense. Elena still wasn’t convinced, but she was willing to hear Tifa’s story.

They grabbed each other’s arms in an attempt to gain control again, but once again, it was a stalemate. “You thought of that plan!” Tifa, in her haste, had loosened her grip and Elena faltered for a moment, surprised by her words. “They found out about us..! And they were going to separate us! I didn’t want to go along with it, but we had no other choice.”

“How could you say tha-“ Elena’s burning eyes, filled with wrath and anger, blinked as the memory refreshed.

Tifa saw that glimpse of hope again, through the corrupted, misinformed mind. She had to keep pushing at it, “We had to do something, because separate, we knew we couldn’t take them on our own.” Tifa looked away, “I couldn’t think of a plan, but you.. You wanted to sacrifice yourself because we were so sure I could single-handedly assassinate ShinRa as his bodyguard. Then we would have escaped together..”

It looked like Tifa was finally getting through to the blonde, as the logic turned wheels in her mind.

“Don’t listen to her,” The voice on the intercom seethed, “She’s lied to you before, and of course she’ll lie again. She knows you’re stronger than her. She knows what really happened, and she’s just trying to distract you.”

“Elena..” Tifa said, her eyes softening, though stinging with tears. She used to be a SOLDIER, she wasn’t supposed to cry, but here she was, wracked by her strongest emotions in the face of the woman she never was able to escape. She never wanted to escape her. So releasing the blonde’s arms, Tifa lowered her defenses once again, carefully placing her hand on Elena’s cheek, “It was my failure that made all of this happen..” Two tears, seeping out from the edges of Tifa’s eyes, spilled onto the floor.

This image of Tifa in front of her paralleled exactly to that Tifa from five years before, just before they had begun the plan, ‘Tifa..

Feeling Tifa’s fingers stroke her cheek, Elena’s memory flashed. In instances of nanoseconds each, she remembered each kiss, each caress, and each time Tifa looked at her the way she was looking at her that moment. This way that she loved her, this way that no one could properly describe in words, was still fresh and obvious in her mind. So much that she wondered how, and why, the hell she was being so selfish. How—and why—the hell could she ever have doubted this woman, who had so much faith, trust and love in her.

It was that moment that the confusion had lifted, and Elena clearly remembered each moment of that day. She did think of that plan.. And she was so certain that it would work, that she literally bet her life on it. Still, it didn’t work, and as much blame as Tifa put on herself for not completing the task, Elena blamed herself for coming up with the plan to begin with.

But that was a matter of consequence that was best saved for later. The blonde scientist was still supervising their actions, just for her own twisted pleasure, and now they were being less entertaining. Elena remembered that she had to hate Tifa for this little moment in time, but she couldn’t close her heart off from her anymore. That secret language that they spoke was revived and they had a deep, meaningful conversation within a matter of milliseconds.

I’m sorry.

There’s nothing to be sorry for.”

Then, Elena swatted the brunette’s hand away from her cheek, stood, and stepped away from her, “You’ll never get me to believe your lies.” Elena said spitefully. However, the amount of venom in her voice was considerably less than earlier.

I’ll come back for you.

Okay, I’ll be waiting.

There was a secret smile under her scornful look, one that only Tifa could see. Stepping backwards, the blonde retreated to the room she was in previously, the door shutting solidly behind her by the push of a button.

Tifa sighed and feigned dejection. At least Elena remembered the truth now. She fell back onto the floor, emotionally and physically exhausted, and laughed to herself in that shaking way to make it look like she was crying. She was probably failing at it but.. Whatever.

“Hmph,” The scientist scoffed, crossing her arms unhappily. That wasn’t as fun as she hoped it would be.

She leaned forward in her desk and watched the brunette with a minute interest, “Miss Tifa Lockhart.. My prodigy.” She grinned a slow and sly grin, “You’ve got her wrapped around your little finger, don’t you?”

She traced a finger along the screen of the monitor, “Or perhaps it’s the other way around?”


I don’t really know what I was thinking when I doubted her. I’ve never desperately needed anything in my life other than air, food, clothes and shelter, you know? Maybe a bit of helpful materia here and there.. Maybe some kind of transportation.. But that’s not my point. I didn’t think I would need another person. Ever. And I guess when you’ve loved and trusted someone, you don’t expect them to betray that.. But with the way our minds work, we become a little paranoid that someone we gave our hearts to just might do that.

I should have known better than to believe what a complete stranger told me about Tifa. Even if she had evidence.. Contrary to what the evidence actually said, everything else Tifa had done for me was better than I could have asked for. She was the family I never had.

And I thought I never would desperately need another person in my life..

But I need her.

And as conceited as this may sound, I think she needs me too.

That warm, optimistic smile on her face when she shoots that grin at me.. That sometimes gentle, sometimes firm way she touches me.. And that look in her eyes—those damn beautiful brown eyes—that captivate me every time with how much adoration there seems to be in them.. That look when we were about to do that final mission in SOLDIER, when we held each other with such desperation in hopes of not being separated.. If those aren’t signs of how much she needs me.. Then I don’t know what is.

It isn’t stupid, naïve love that I have for her. It’s real love in its best form: Requited. I was standing on my own two feet; I just had Tifa there beside me in case I tripped.

She completes me, and I love her. I love the way she makes my heart pound, the way I still turn red at her compliments.. I don’t think I’ll ever stop loving her.

To get through this.. We’ll need to work together. In order to get out of here.. I can’t doubt her like I did. That ShinRa scientist is going to try to confuse me again.. But I won’t let it happen. And I know Tifa wouldn’t either. I have to make that woman believe that I still hate Tifa.

I don’t know.. I don’t want to do it.

I need to talk to her.. But she’s still in that room. I want to see her.. But I can’t. Right now, I’ve got to focus on what should be done, and how it would be done.

I’ve decided I should stop being so selfish.. And live my life by her side.

For both of us, not just myself.

[End notes:

A/N: Well there it is! This is a pretty dense chapter, I think. A lot happens, and it’s mostly internal. I know I always say this, but sorry for the delayed update. I actually had the majority of this chapter finished like a month ago.. I just couldn’t figure out how to end it. Please don’t hold any grudges on me ToT;.. As always, read and review! And look forward to the next chapter. xD I’m going to try to make it have a little bit of everyone :D.. Well not everyone, but the cast of my fanfic at least. xD

Sorry for the lack of BGM. I kinda imagined the whole thing to be in a state of silence. Hope you enjoyed it!


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