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.
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?’