Final Fantasy - All Series Fan Fiction ❯ Rage of the Wolf-Lord ❯ Unexpected Allies ( Chapter 2 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Disclaimer: I own everything but the characters and some places/ideas…dammit…
“C'mon Seph, you know you want to meet her!”
The exuberant young man was dragging the youngest general Shinra had ever known behind him, pulling at his wrist as they passed dilapidated buildings and piles of rubble that might have been sturdy structures at one time.
“Zakuri, I am already following you. I just don't see why you must hold my hand like a lost little child. I'm perfectly capable of navigating my way through the slums without your weird internal GPS getting us lost before you finally figure out where we are.”
“Ah! Don't call me that!” Zack scowled. “”And I don't get lost, either!”
Letting go of Sephiroth's hand, Zack ran forward excitedly. “We're here!”
Sephiroth looked up at the massive structure that must have once been a church. The only real difference he could see between this building and the rubble around it was the tiniest ray of sunshine hitting its roof.
By the time Sephiroth had walked up to the door, Zack had one open already and was gesturing for him to enter.
Stopping as soon as electric-green and verdant met, he managed a small nod at the hugely smiling female.
“Hel,” he politely greeted.
“Jormungand,” she replied.
Zack looked at them both in exasperation. “You guys suck! That `hello' was horrible! Seph, this is Aeris. Aeris, Sephiroth.”
Aeris giggled at Zack. “Nice to finally meet you, Sephiroth. Zack has told me so much about you!”
Clasping one of Sephiroth's hands in hers, her other hand reached for Zack's outstretched one.
“Come, come! I made pies and cookies. And tea!”
She dragged them over to a blanket placed on the ground surrounded by flowers, sunlight drifting down to finish the utopian effect.
Sitting on the blanket, she released their hands to clasp hers together.
“So, Sephiroth, how did you get manage to get dragged down by the puppy?”
Zack groaned at the nickname, while Sephiroth grinned, feeling relaxed.
“That will never go away, will it? Such an undignified nickname!” Zack stood up and placed his fisted hands on his hips in mock indignation.
Sephiroth, totally out of character, rolled his eyes while Aeris tried to stop her giggles.
“Maybe if you wouldn't rush around, getting in everyone's business, bouncing around from one end of Shinra to the next. You could always ask Angeal for suggestions.” Sephiroth paused, a thoughtful expression on his face. “Then again, he is the one who gave you the title.”
Zack huffed, plopping back down before grinning like a mad fool. Which he, undeniably, was.
“Angeal and Genesis had the same time of leave on few occasions,” Sephiroth started. “On one such occasion, Angeal wanted to leave Midgard for a little, and Genesis followed. They were headed to the outer edge of the slums when they came upon Zack entering Midgard.”
Zack leaned back on his hands, taking over for Sephiroth. “I was getting mugged by a few new cadets at the time. I was, what, fourteen?” He paused, rubbing his chin, then shrugged. “Well, it doesn't really matter. There were only about four of them, and I didn't like the thought of getting mugged on my first day here. So I whooped their asses. Wasn't hard, they were noobs who didn't even know how to throw a punch. I was actually really disappointed in the fight.”
“Anyway, Angeal and Genesis apparently the entire event, from start to finish.” Zack's eyes crinkled from the large smile on his face. “Angeal walked over to the cadets and got their names, and the names of their commanding officers, the proceeded to tell them that even a puppy could kill of provoked enough.”
Aeris giggled again, amusement in her eyes. “So puppy stuck from that?”
Zack grinned. “Yup! Genesis had come over to my side in all his crimson broodiness, quoted something from Loveless, then told me that since Angeal had nick'd me, I was stuck with him.”
Sephiroth coughed into his hand, smiling at the randomness of Genesis yet again.
“So Angeal took me by the shoulder, told me I had potential, then dragged me into Shinra. When he introduced me to Seph here, it like instantly clicked. He looked my straight in the eyes, nodded his head, and said `Garm' with that hot little purr he's got.”
Sephiroth growled. “I did not purr!”
“Zack waved a hand in the air and smirked. “Sure you didn't. Anyway, I responded with `Jormungand', and we've been pretty much inseparable since.”
Aeris laughed at that.
“And then,” she said, “you decided to filter more sunlight in by widening the hole in my roof with your body. Always unpredictable, aren't we Zack?”
Sephiroth groaned. “How did you get to a point as to where you fell off the plates? No, wait. Never mind.” Sephiroth rubbed the bridge of his nose. “I don't really think I want to know.”
Zack crossed his arms and grinned smugly. “It was the smell of pies. I didn't notice I was falling until I had already hit the ground.”
Sephiroth closed his eyes and rubbed his temples. “Zakuri…”
Aeris piped in at that point. “I hadn't even made any pies that day, nor did I bring any with me. Isn't he amazing?”
“He's something, alright.”
Zack's grin suddenly fell off his face. “More serious topic. When are we getting the fourth?”
Sephiroth shook his head. “As soon as I can get any information on him. Finding and going on only blue eyes is taking a while.”
“He has blond hair.” Aeris jumped in. “It spikes up like Zack's.”
Sephiroth and Zack both turned to look at her.
“How do you know this Babe?” Zack asked.
“A vision. Just a few days ago, his parents joined my realm. Disfigured, mutilated, and burned to death. He had to watch it all, even though he wasn't present.”
Zack growled and Sephiroth frowned.
“From what I could glean from their memories' the village they were from was superstitious and hated difference. They were different. Their bodies were dumped into the River Van. The only other thing I could get was craggy mountains and cold.”
Sephiroth stood abruptly, the `General' mask back on. “Excuse me. I have just received more than enough information to find him.”
With that, Sephiroth turned and marched out, back stiff with anticipation.
Zack grinned at Aeris, then followed after Sephiroth. “Thanks Babe! He's been going nuts over this for ages!”
“Good luck!” she called after them.
Cloud woke to a nose pressing its damp self to his cheek. Opening blurry eyes, he sat up and stretched.
Wondering where he was, it all suddenly came back to him, and he crashed into reality.
His parents were gone.
Eyes tearing, he cried out in pain, howling into the morning mist. A chorus of howls followed behind his. All of them knew they had lost something. And they knew that the gods did not approve of it. This village will bring strife upon itself.
Cloud wiped his eyes on his shirt, then stood up. Quickly grabbing the little pack next to him, he removed the book.
“If you don't mind, will you make sure that this book doesn't get damaged. Thank you.”
Walking out of the cave, he started towards the old abandoned house that was even further out than his house used to be. Supplies were a must, and even if they might be old, they would be better than nothing. He doubted the villagers would like him walking into town.
Pulling out gleipner, he unrolled it a little, then wrapped it around his waist. Anything for protection and warmth at this moment.
He turned back, only to find Thytr and Myrkr behind him. Startled, he jumped a little, then placed his hand behind his head.
“Eheheh…I was just gonna ask if you would come with me. I don't feel very comfortable alone.”
Thytr shook his head, and Myrkr huffed. “We would follow you anyway, hvelpr.”
Cloud blinked. “Oh, well than thank you.”
Turning back around, he trekked the dangerous gorge, stumbling once in a while, but mostly keeping his feet beneath him.
Before too long, he stumbled to the front gate of the abandoned Shinra Mansion. Pushing open the gate, he stepped onto the half-overgrown, half-dead lawn, the wolves trailing behind him. The front door wasn't exactly closed, just kind of hanging there. Pulling it open a little more, he made a wide enough entrance for the wolves.
It was huge on the inside. Examining all the rooms on the bottom, he didn't find anything even remotely useful. Not even a wooden stake.
The grand staircase in the foyer of the building was half gone, only the right side remaining. Gingerly placing his steps, he went up. Deciding left was the best course for now, he headed for the first door. Another empty room. The other room had a giant cabinet in it.
Stepping up to the cabinet, Cloud felt a bit of unease, but nothing much as he opened the door. Inside was a collection of guns. Beautiful, if not well maintained. Hanging on the inside of the door was a key.
Pulling off his little pack and stuffing it with all the ammo and every pistol he could find, he unwrapped gleipner from around his waist and used it to tie the rifles onto his pack. Grabbing the key, he exited the room, then moved to the opposite side of the staircase.
Another mostly empty room, and he entered the last room. It was a connection of two room. An entrance, and a bedroom. The bedroom was almost fully furnished, which surprised Cloud.
The bed didn't have a frame, but the bookcase was full of books. Glancing through the titles, he noticed one didn't quite fit. Instead of being a scientific book of some sort like the others, it was a book of fairy tales.
Cloud pulled it off the shelf, and at that moment, the wall nest to it opened up. The two wolves growled in surprise, crouched down in threatening stances.
Looking through the opening, Cloud saw a set of rickety looking wooden planks forming some sort of strange spiral stair.
“I think it might be safe. I'm gonna go down.”
“I don't like this,” Myrkr stated as she went down first.
“I don't either, but who knows what might need to be taken care of now, instead of later.” Thytr replied. He was going to take the rear.
Cloud agreed, though that wasn't what he was agreeing for. He felt like there was someone calling him. Not really talking to him, but asking for help.
The bottom opened into a cave-ish hallway. At the end of the hallway were two doors. Pulling the key out of his pocket, Cloud went to the locked door first.
Pushing the door open, it was only full of coffins. All of them opened except for the one in the middle. Pulling a pistol out of his pack, he crept towards the closed coffin, rapping on the lid lightly.
The knocks that replied almost scared Cloud to death. He jumped back in a startled squeal as the lid pushed itself off, and the wolves jumped in front of him.
Red eyes gleamed in the darkness, looking straight at him. Studying the little boy in front of him, he finally took note of the two Nifl wolves growling at him from in front of the boy. Interesting.
“Why have you come here?”
Cloud jumped again as the red-eyed man spoke.
“Don't say too much. Basics should be just fine.” Thytr said, staying crouched low, though not growling anymore.
“Okay.” Cloud blink as the red-eyed man gave him a strange look. “Um…I'm looking for supplies.”
Red eyes blinked, then the man stood up and stepped out of the coffin, leaning against it. “Why are you looking for supplies here?”
Cloud gulped loudly, then said in a shaky voice, “I found the key to this door upstairs. I thought there might be something in here I could use for protection besides the weapons I've got.”
The man shook his head. “I mean, why are you looking in the Shinra Mansion. Why not in a village?”
Cloud's face folded in on itself for a minute, then he gave a shaky smile. “Because the villagers will kill me if I show my face to them, just like they did to my parents.”
The man closed his eyes, deep in thought. “I am Vincent Valentine. If you would like, I will accompany you through the mountains.”
Clouds eyes widened. “Can I trust him?”
“I smell no lies on him.” Myrkr replied.
“So he's safe?”
Thytr looked closely at the man, then relaxed. “Yes, he would do well on our journey.”
Vincent stared at him as he seemed to be talking to himself, but then noticed the wolves sinking down onto their haunches.
“Okay, if you want. But these are my friends, and they're coming too.” Cloud stood up as straight as he could and looked the man in the eye. “I'm Cloud Strife, and I just want to leave Nifl behind.”
Vincent nodded. “Very well. I will need to find weapons to-“
“Do you use guns?” Cloud interrupted.
“Yes.” Vincent replied simply.
Cloud removed his pack from his back, and Vincent realized that all of his Rifles were strapped to the outside of it. When Cloud opened the bag, all of his pistols were in there, including Death Penalty.
Crouching down next to Cloud, Vincent claimed all the guns but the one Cloud was holding, and somehow fit them all onto his person after checking them for damage. Cloud watched in wide-eyed awe as they disappeared into the scrappy red cape.
Gleipner back around his waist, an empty bag on his back, and one destroyed lab room later Vincent and Cloud were on their way back to the little wolf den to get the rest of Clouds things, smoke and ashes filling the air behind them.