Collision of Destinies Chapter 1
The Loose Ends
Disclaimer: All Square characters belong to Square all events happening in this fanfic are not real. Just a product of my twisted imagination.
This fanfic is used for entertainment purposes only and is not intended for any monetary gains, any ill-feeling against anyone included in this fanfic. No Square characters were harmed in the making of this fanfic
A soft creak was the only sound that broke the peaceful silence as the doors leading to a grandly furnished chamber opened. Cecil Harvey looked up at the intruder and heaved a sigh.
"Rosa," he said, "I did tell you I was busy here."
"Yes, your majesty. It's just I'm worried about you." Rosa said. "You hardly relax since a long time ago what else do we need to worry about?" She sauntered up to him, both hands encircling his neck. "You really need a little rest, you know."
"I know that. It's just oh, well. It's just that being a king I have now a whole lot of things to do, and they never seem to be accomplished. Whenever I finish setting up plans for the development of Baron, another project has to come up. Else there are some foreign trade treaties I have to look up and sign. I tell you, I did actually missed the days as the Red Wings commander." Here, he stroked her hair, and craned his neck downwards until his lips met hers. Rosa returned the kiss with eagerness, and her arms tightened around his neck. His hands slipped around her waist and puller her ever closer to himself. They stood there, thoroughly enjoying the blissful feeling that bonded them both as one.
A knock on the door brought them back to reality. They hastily broke apart and composed themselves, and Cecil promptly ordered, "Enter."
The chief guard of Baron entered, knelt and said, "Your Highness, King Edge of Eblan and Lady Rydia wishes to see you."
"I'll be there in a minute." Cecil turned to Rosa "Let's see what they're here for."
There are some times when, in sleep, a person becomes half-conscious of the things going on around him, but is too much caught in the barrier between the world of dreams and reality that they only receive a partially distorted perception of their surroundings. Such was the state Edgar Roni Figaro was in on that day, exactly a year after the defeat of Kefka. He was dreaming that he was on an airship, and suddenly the ship had gone 'lopsided', leaning on one side, and he stumbled and rolled on the floor, his arms flailing in the attempt to stop himself from rolling off the ship, but the images suddenly blurred away, and he rolled off the airship
and landed with a thud on the carpeted floor of his own room.
"Oww!" he involuntarily cried out, and scratched his head, trying to clear off the last remnants of the dream. It was then that he heard laughter. He turned to look at the two figures that stood at the other side of the room.
"Had a nice sleep, I daresay," one of them commented out loud. "I was beginning to wonder if we should just leave you here to your sweet dreams, my dear brother."
Edgar chose to ignore him. He got up from the floor and addressed the other person. "Locke, did you have to really pick the door lock? Does anyone around know what knocking the door means? And how long have you two been here? Can the king of Figaro have any privacy at all?"
The two people standing looked at each other, then at Edgar, who was visibly fuming. Then Locke said, smiling, "Privacy or not, Edgar, we're here to drag you out of this room, whether you like it or not. There's no way you're going to stay here while everyone else is celebrating."
"Oh, I nearly forgot that!" Edgar slapped his forehead and muttered a curse at his own forgetfulness. "Is everyone here already?"
"You're lucky. I'm the earliest here so far. Cyan, and Celes are here already too. Setzer and the others are on their way here. C'mon, Sabin, let's drag this fellow out of here." Locke said.
"No one's dragging me," Edgar said vehemently, "unless they want me to introduce them to my happy little chainsaw." Here he patted the menacing-looking weapon lovingly. "I'll be out in a while."
The reunion party was held within the privacy of the castle walls. Edgar noted that most of them had seemed to recover from their past adventures, if not all. Shadow, as usual, kept to himself mostly. He had stayed with Relm and Strago after defeating Kefka. Locke had returned to Kohlingen at first. But due to his painful past there, he had eventually resumed traveling around the world, searching for treasure, Celes accompanying him wherever he went. Terra had returned to take care of the kids in Mobliz. Gau, as it turned out, had been adopted by Cyan, who had been chosen as the Protector of Doma, and trains a regular army there. Setzer, he had heard, had traveled around at first, but then set up a casino. Mog helped him to run it. As for Gogo and Umaro, well no one had heard any news of them ever since they escaped from the tower. Sabin and he himself had returned to Figaro castle, both ruling with the title 'The Twin kings of Figaro'.
"You know, you could have killed me when you tipped the bed over," an angry Edgar half-shouted at Sabin, when he joined them.
"Ooh, king's temper tantrum, better beware!" mocked Setzer, and he, Locke and Sabin burst into laughter.
Edgar turned red in the face.
"Oh, cut it out. If Locke hadn't picked the lock in my room, Sabin couldn't have tipped the bed over. And if you're going to have anything else to say, say that to my chainsaw."
He left the group immediately of course. It was then that he saw that Terra was sitting alone, a contemplative look on her face.
She's been that way for a long time now, he thought to himself. He could never fully understand what Terra has in her mind. He understood she was a half-Esper, and that she was different from most of them. He knew that the disappearance of magic from the world had affected her physically, but he had no idea whether she's really happy about it.
"Hello, Edgar. Are you alright?"
Terra's soft voice jerked him out of his reverie. Unknown to Edgar, he had unconsciously been looking at Terra for the past few minutes, a time span enough for Terra to notice that she was being watched, brooding though she might be.
She was now standing no more than three feet in front of her, her eyes glistening green as she looked up at him inquiringly.
"Uh, oh, Terra, I I didn't mean to disturb. I was just I um, how're you these days? I mean, how're the children in Mobliz?" he managed to stammer.
"Oh, they're fine. Katarin and Duane have been helping me a lot. I'm glad they stayed even after they married. I couldn't do without them." She answered with a smile. "And how're you?"
That smile. Was there something more to it? Edgar thought. It seemed as if she's so lonely, yet happy at the same time. What the hell are you thinking, he thought, Edgar, don't start giving yourself fancy ideas. She's your friend, and no more, no less. Got it? His conscience nagged at him. "I'm fine, too." He managed. "Why don't you join the rest of them? I'm sure you have seen very little of them for a while."
"Oh, sure I will." Terra said, as she glided her way to the group.
God, I hate my conscience, Edgar thought, as he went to rejoin the party.
On another world
It was raining. However, the rain in Midgar was dangerous, as acid fills every droplet of the rain, and people rarely go out anywhere when it rains. And when it does rain, people scramble for shelter, anywhere-under bridges, into shops, although they wouldn't buy anything. And so it was in this weather that the door to the Seventh Heaven opened and a huge burly man, covered in a huge raincoat entered.
"I'm sorry, but we're closed for today," a young woman's voice floated from a corner of the bar. The young bartender's footsteps were inaudible amidst the pounding of the rain against the windows.
"Damnit, Tifa, don't you recognize me?" the burly man said, pulling the raincoat away, revealing a man with a short beard, huge muscles, and a strange gun-like equipment attached to his right arm. Despite his menacing look, he sported a grin as he hugged Tifa in a big bear hug.
"Barret!" she said. When he released, Tifa seemed a bit out of breath but relieved.
"How're you doing?" Barret asked, more in a tone that suggested it was said in customary politeness, instead of genuine inquiry. After all, he had known what happened. The young woman in front of him let out a small sigh at the question, and asked instead, "Would you have something, Barret?"
"Yes, please. Something strong."
Tifa placed the glass on the table carefully in front of the huge man, who took it and downed half it's contents immediately. He swirled the remaining contents over and over again, looking through them as if he is summoning the memories of a deep and painful past. He remembered that day they had defeated Sephiroth and parted ways. He remembered, all too clearly, all the goodbyes that had been exchanged, all the plans they had each expressed for themselves. Red, Cid and himself had planned to return to their former homes and continue with their old lives. The others had separated, each eager to find their own answers. And he seldom heard from them after that. Vincent, as was expected, returned to the cave in Lucrecia Falls, where he resided with the ghost of his former beloved. Yuffie had run off at once, on the prowl for more materia, undoubtedly. Cait Sith, or Reeve, had planned to help the reconstruction of Midgar, ad he was incredibly successful on that matter. He had even built two more Cat-Moogles, one for the entertainment industry at the Gold Saucer, and the other, surprisingly, to help at the new school in Corel, which Barret was extremely grateful for. He remembered that Marlene had always returned home with tales of the fascinating talking cat at school. He smiled a bit at the thought.
His smile faded when he looked back at the sad expression of the young woman before him. Right after the final battle, Cloud had insisted on traveling the world, and despite his protests, Tifa had gone with him. That was, until three months ago. Cloud left one morning, leaving a letter to Tifa. It had read:
By the time you read this, I will probably be far away. I'm sorry it has to turn out this way, but I know you wouldn't consent to me leaving if I consult with you before I leave. I had made many promises and failed to keep them. I cannot forgive myself. My only hope is to run, run away from all those memories. I cannot bear to look at any of our friends in the face again, especially you, Tifa. Professor Hojo had called me a failed experiment. Now I believe I truly am. I have failed. I failed to protect Aeris as I had promised her, just as I had failed to protect you at Nibelheim those many years ago. I don't know yet for sure where I'm going, so I do hope you will not waste your time looking for me. You deserve someone better than this failed experiment. You have wasted enough of your time trying to help me, but I finally understood that I am lost, and that I can never hope to redeem myself. True, I had killed Sephiroth, but it hasn't helped to bring back anyone who we lost. Your father, my mother, Zack and Aeris can never be brought back. And now, I hope you can turn your back on this failed experiment and continue with your life. I wish you all the best of luck for your future.
Tears trickled down Tifa's eyes as she re-read the letter again and again. The droplets fell, merged with one another, sliding slowly down Tifa's ivory smooth face. Barret sighed as he held an arm out to her shoulder and reassured her, "That spiky head will come back, I'm sure. He just needs some time to clear himself, that's all. He will come back, Tifa, I'm sure."
Tifa had nothing to say.
Only the pounding of rain on the window outside could be heard, followed by the occasional clap of thunder. It was as if nature itself had pity for the young lady inside the bar, and was crying just as hard. Then, the sobs came thick and fast.
On another plane of existence, somewhere else in the clouds
Squall gazed intently as he surveyed the eyes of his adversary. His hands sweated as his fingers fidgeted on the handle of his gunblade, impatient for action. His fellow SeeDs stood at a distance, watching the oncoming battle with varying degrees of interest. Zell was hollering suggestions at him on which best tactics to employ, while Seifer watched with an amused smirk, no doubt hoping that he would in some way make a mistake and get embarrassed for a change. Irvine and Quistis stood silently at the side, watching the oncoming battle with relaxed expressions but tense minds.
The mechanized war machine struck with it's left fist forward. Squall skillfully shifted the weight of his gunblade to his right side, parrying the oncoming blow. He lunged forward, ready to deliver a counterattack, but, in the space of time that no human had ever thought possible, the right fist of the war machine shot out, catching Squall square on the jaw. He tumbled backwards, but recovered fast enough to block a flurry of incoming blows, which followed the initial surprise attack, the gunblade flashing in the sunlight as he swung it left and right until the mechanized being paused after a series of unsuccessful attacks. Squall jumped back himself, adjusting into a defensive stance.
"If you're planning to only parry it's attacks, we'll have to stand here all day. Or if, we might just get lucky, then we might just have to wipe you off the floor after a few more attacks like that." He mocked. "You'd be better off on the offensive, Squally."
"I know what I'm doing." was the short reply.
Seifer chuckled again as Squall had to duck and roll several feet as the war machine delivered another combination of high, low and sideways punches. The battle seemed to go badly for Squall. He knew he had to attack before he was attacked. If he kept this up, it would go badly for him, and he couldn't have that happen.
With fresh determination Squall got up, and readjusted his grip on the gunblade, and concentrated.
From within his spiritual being, he called upon the thing that had helped him most in his previous battles a few months ago, in the battles against Seifer and Ultimecia. He found it, trapped in the midst of the new complex of feelings that had grown within him after those battles. He concentrated, and, with a great effort, brought it up to the surface.
With inhuman speed and godlike agility, he leapt high over the war machine as it came at him again. He landed behind it, swiftly turned, and rushed forward, putting all he felt he had in this gamble of minute chances in the battle before him.
A ringing clang of metal against metal could be heard as he hit the machine with the first blow that he had intended as part of his attack. He swung to the left, then right, then left again, continuously, feeling the satisfactory clang again as the gunblade dazed the machine with the onslaught. The machine had no time to respond, much less perceive what was happening to itself. The attacks were delivered so furiously that it sent the machine partway into the air. With a mighty effort Squall leapt into the air and struck the final blow.
The final blow proved to be decisive, as the onlookers watched, amazed at this performance. The final blow had torn what was supposed to be the strongest armor apart, exposing a torso of circuits and complicated machinery that, a few minutes ago, had been a mighty opponent before Squall.
Squall threw his gunblade over his shoulder and sauntered over to his fellow SeeD members, who were applauding enthusiastically. He gave them a thumbs up and went over to a rather aged man who had stood further away, watching his performance.
"Headmaster Cid, I suggest that the prototype needs a bit of improvements on the defensive commands more." He stated, rather officially.
The headmaster looked up at the young commander of the SeeD forces. He shifted his gaze suddenly, surveying the landscape, as if it suddenly had aroused a new interest in him.
"Hmm..I will consider that. You are dismissed for now. Thanks you for your demonstration, commander Leonhart." He said officially.
Back to a previous scene
"Rydia, are you sure of this?" a worried Edge asked a green haired girl standing beside him, for the hundredth and second time. The girl, however, was apparently not sharing his anxiety.
"Edge, you don't need to help if you don't want to!" she snapped at him, for the hundredth and second time as well.
"Rydia, it's not that, it's just "
They were interrupted by the arrival of Cecil and Rosa in the main hall.
"Greetings, Edge, and Rydia." Cecil said in his warmest manner. "It's been quite a while since any of you have came for a visit, and both Rosa and I were wondering if we should be paying you the visit, instead." He chuckled.
"Welcome, Rydia, and Edge. It's so nice to see you both again." Rosa said, following her husband's greeting to the pair. "What brings you here?"
Rydia seemed hesitant to speak.
To her surprise, it was Edge who brought it out. "Your majesty, Rydia has been asked by Leviathan himself to investigate into a matter which even Leviathan himself has not been able to decipher. The lord sensed a great disturbance at the location of the base of the giant tower of Babil. He said that the powers that originally created it were even higher than those under his authority, and he told Rydia that it would be wise to investigate it in order to decipher it's function. By doing that the intention of its creators could be truly understood."
"How are you planning to accomplish this?" Cecil asked the most apparently sensible question.
"I think they'll need help," Rosa stated, more as if it were obvious question. "The question is, who'll go?"
"I can, with your permission," Kain spoke up. Apparently, he had entered the main hall unnoticed.
Cecil looked up. "Kain, are you sure?"
"As sure as I am talking now, your majesty. I'll have someone arranged to take my place, and I'll be ready in less than a day."
"Very good," Cecil said. Personally, he was glad he had managed to persuade Kain to stay in Baron. The Dragoon had intended to leave for the mountains to perfect his skills and to seek solitude, but Cecil had managed to persuade him to stay as the Captain of the Dragoons of Baron. Kain silently acknowledged, bowing his head as he left.
"Well, I think that might be it," Edge said, breaking the silence. We'll be reporting if anything's going on that shouldn't. Until then, farewell and take care, your majesty."
"Same to you, too, Edge of Eblan. And you too, Rydia." Both Cecil and Rosa waved, and the duo departed.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Studio Madness XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Somewhere, in the studio
The door banged open as Butz, Lenna and Faris strode into the room labeled, "Author's office". Steve looked up from his twenty-fifth cup of coffee for that day in shock.
"Hey! That's it! Why didn't you include me in this fanfic? This is the last straw! Nobody here respects me! And that includes you!" Butz pointed an accusing finger at Steve.
"Yeah! How come we get less fanfics than FF4 and FF6? It's impossible! We're supposed to be recognized! And you didn't help with that either, didn't you?" Faris and Lenna added. (Hey, they're supposed to be sisters, so I'll shorten their dialogue even here! He he!)
"Hey! Calm down a bit, won't you?" Steve said, trying to wave away the menacing sword pointed at his neck, held by Butz. "Can't we er just talk about this?"
"No!" all three chorused together.
"Well, the point is, I've never played FF5, so it's really going to be a pain inventing roles for characters totally alien to me even my memory is poor and I forgot many important parts of the other Final Fantasies "
"Oh, right. So that means you fanfic authors can insult us all the time? Lenna, I think we'll have to teach this kid a little lesson " All three had grins on their faces.
"I summon, Mini Hiryuu!!!"
And the rest of that day, screams were heard as the Mini-Hiryuu ran rampant among the offices. The casualties included: Steve. Only Steve.
To be continued