A Door Between Worlds

BY : Angellostnet
Category: Final Fantasy VII > Crossovers
Dragon prints: 631
Disclaimer: Final Fantasy 7 and 8 are property of Square Enix. I do not own them, or any content from them. I am recieving nothing for writing this. This is pretty tame until the end.

Disclaimer: This is a long story that is very plot intensive. Up until the last several chapters, it is mostly PG, i.e. anything of a sexual nature is more suggested than described. The reason for this is that it fits the stories arc where it comes in, and really doesn't before then. If you are the PWP type, you would do well to simply move on to the next tale, as this one will not satisfy you. Honestly, the reason I am posting this to ADULT-Fan Fiction is because the story loses something without the decidedly adult material.

If you're still here, lets have at it.

Update 2/5/10

Contrary to popular, or unpopular, rumor, I have not abandoned this story. It is in the process of a massive rewrite, of sorts. I intend for the story, at a certain point to follow two distinct story arcs. The first, the story as it is now posted, and soon to be completed. The second will be decidedly less focused on relationships, more poignant, and far less happy ending-ish.

-----

The silence was almost deafening

As ridiculous as that sounded in her mind, there was no other way to describe it. She looked around at the cavern she found herself in, knowing she had not consciously come here, and wondered once again just where, exactly, HERE was. She was asleep, she knew that much, as this was not the first time she had found herself looking up at the seemingly perfect dome that was formed by the ice walls around and above her. Each time it had ended the same, with a voice calling her name. When she turned to look, she would find herself laying in bed, covered in sweat. Already she could hear the faint voice, a voice she would swear to Hyne she had heard before. It was a woman's voice, pleasant and melodic, and yet indescribably sad. And then, suddenly, there was something else, something new. Another voice; male, deep, harsh, and far more importantly, right behind her. She had no choice but to turn at the sound, and caught a brief glimpse of red, and then...

"Quistis!"

Quistis sat up in bed. Bolted might be a better term, she thought, clutching her blanket in front of her. Just as she started to breath, another thud on the door.

"Quistis, you awake yet? C'mon already."

A smile played at the tip of her mouth. If the thud hadn't given away the identity of the assailant in question, his whiny voice always seemed to.

"I am awake, Zell. What do you need, and, come to think of it, why are you awake this early?"

She could hear the grin behind the closed door. "Rinoa came 'n got me. Squall's lookin for ya."

Quistis groaned and collapsed back onto the bed. She could not recall many times where the Commander had needed her, particularly this early, and it had proven to be good news. She still wondered if she would ever get used to calling a former student 'The Commander', even if he was almost her age.

"Is this a dire emergency, or do I have the luxury of cleaning myself up first?"

"Don't know. Just passin the word along." and with that, she heard him leave.

She decided that if it was truly dire, she would have heard the sirens go off. Climbing out of bed, she looked into the mirror and groaned again. She usually tied her hair up before going to sleep, but she had been in a meeting with the Headmaster and Squall until all hours, and she had simply collapsed onto the bed.

After a long shower, Quistis finished cleaning up from the night before, prepped in her daily uniform, and headed up to the bridge. Her second sign of the day that things were not off to a good start was seeing the Garden was in motion. Cid was usually quite selective about moving the Garden, choosing to do so only when the need for haste outweighed the expense and effort made. Which was increasingly rare of late. Not that Quistis was complaining, as she finally had her teaching schedule somewhat on track again. She told herself that she was looking forward to the new batch of Seed cadets taking over most of the workload, and leaving her to teach. But Quistis was left wondering how much she really believed it. She had not seen Irvine or Selfie for months, nor did time allow her to keep up with Zell, Rinoa or Squall outside of official Garden business. Returning to the persona of reclusive teacher worshiped by her own fledgling fan club, which to her displeasure had somehow survived every struggle, was enough to make her cringe. Watching her friends and former comrades in world saving enjoying the company of a budding love wasn't helping either. Even Zell was the beginning and end for that poor girl in the library, to the amazement of all. Of course, he had probably spent more time in the library in the last few months than the previous lifetime collectively, so Quistis had to concede it had some merit.

"Bridge to Miss Trepe, please report to the bridge immediately, thank you."

Quistis shook off her random thoughts and worries, and made double time toward the elevator.

-----

She always hated this part

And she was pretty sure the spiky haired tyrant was cheating somehow when the lots were drawn.

How else could Yuffie have gotten the short end three times already. It's wasn't that she didn't like Vincent, in a weird "saved the planet together" friends kind of way.

Okay, so maybe in a few other ways she didn't like to think about, which was all the more reason to suspect Cloud's hand in this.

It was just hard for her to go to the cave, and Vincent spent just about every waking moment in there, which was a lot for a...for him. It was just so QUIET in there. She could hear her own breathing, no matter how hard she tried to still it, and for a super ninja, who was supposed to live in shadows and silence, it was still...well...creepy.

"I mean, it is a tomb", she mumbled to herself before slowly moving into the caves entrance. She could never understand how the whole place was made of ice, but it wasn't very cold inside. And how did the ice stay icy during the summer heat? Yuffie shook her head and wondered if she was slowly turning into Cloud with all these questions. She was a woman of action.

So why did this place still scare her like a little girl

In her defense, nobody liked coming in here, hence the drawing of straws every so often to get someone to make sure Vincent was...what?...still Vincent? They weren't really sure, but they all worried about him just the same. She would have thought Vinny and Cloud would have a lot in common, but he was the one who held the straws, which meant he didn't have to draw, which meant he didn't have to go. It didn't take Red to figure out that trick.

Having learned from the first two visits, Yuffie remained quiet, as much as she could anyway, while Vincent knelt at the alter. He told her after the last visit that he knew she was there before she came in, and he would come out when he was ready.

Which was usually several hours later

Yuffie could have left at this point to wait for him, knowing it was probably what he wanted her to do, but she still stood motionless behind him as he softly repeated a prayer. She had asked Red what the words were, as they were in some long dead language, but Red had simply frowned, and told her it wasn't his right to listen in, nor hers either. The words sounded pretty enough, and she had to admit (quietly, to herself) that his voice was mesmerizing when he prayed. It wasn't even sad, really, just solemn, calm.

As she watched him, she knew she had to ask. It might kill her to do so, not the least because he would probably treat her like a child for asking, but it might also kill her if she didn't. Waiting for a break in his prayer, she asked, softly

"Are you talking to her, or the planet?"

After what seemed like an eternity of silence, she heard him sigh

"I'm seeking her forgiveness, and praying for her soul to be at peace."

"How will you know when you're done?"

"When I no longer have a voice to speak, or a heart to feel."

As he slowly began the prayer again, Yuffie slid down the ice wall onto the ground and wrapped her arms around her legs. It almost seemed worse than a lecture would have been. It wasn't what he said, but what he didn't have to say. She knew that, unless he fell in battle, he would never die. So he was resigned to do this for the next forever or so, which wasn't fair. It wasn't fair to Vincent, because her death wasn't his fault, no matter how much he needed to think it was. It wasn't fair to Lucrecia, who had to lay there like an Ice princess, perfectly beautiful and perfectly silent, unable to forgive him no matter how much she wanted to. And yes, she admitted to herself, it wasn't fair to Yuffie. It's not like she thought she had a chance with him or anything, but she could get him to talk when the others couldn't. That had to mean something, right?

Yuffie was so lost in thought that, if she didn't have the trained ears of a super ninja, she would have missed the sound. It was a woman's voice, soft as a whisper.

"Quistis"

Yuffie looked up at the sound. Vincent had stopped praying, so he had clearly heard it to. Vincent looked up at the alter in confusion, then at Yuffie.

Yuffie stood up. "You heard that, right?"

Vincent looked lost, "Indeed"

"Who said that? And what is a Quistis?"

"I would presume", he said, slowly, "that it is a person. As to whom spoke, there can be no doubt". He looked over at the alter, and the woman seemingly at slumber within.

"Whoa, Whoa, hold on." Yuffie said, louder than she intended. "There's no way..."

"It was her. Whoever this Quistis is, she is sending me to find them."

"Why?"

"It is not for me to ask. I am at her command." And with that, he rose to his feet, seeming to hover into a standing position.

Still wishing she knew how he did that, Yuffie walked up to him. "This is crazy, Vinny, even for you. You don't know that was her. And you don't know that Quistis is a person. It could be a place, it could be... an ancient swear word for all we...I mean, you know."

"I will know when I find it." He looked down at her, "A moment ago, you were wishing my life had a purpose. Now it does. This is my penance."

'How does he know what I was thinking'

"That's not what I was thinking...er, not exactly. I just thought..." but by this point he was past her and heading out the door.

"Let me come with you, at least."

Like she always did, Yuffie spoke before thinking about what she was saying. Vincent stopped, and turned back tword her. His face was calm, if somewhat hard.

'Score another one, genius', She thought to herself. But anyone one else who had gotten the short straw would have made the same offer, right?

And then she heard something that stopped her heart

"As you wish"

Vincent turned back toward the entrance and headed outside. Yuffie stood, stunned and speechless.

He had said yes. Not "if you keep quiet"", or "You're not old enough to understand." Just like that.

Shaking off the moment, she looked back at Lucrecia, and damned if she didn't have a hint of a smile.

Yuffie shivered, and ran out after Vincent, not entirely sure what had just happened, or how she was going to explain it to Cloud.

-----

It was all Quistis could do not to smile as the elevator doors opened. Squall was pacing back and forth on the deck, deep in thought.

Squall Leonheart could be counted on like the rise of the sun. To have your back in battle, to take charge in the heat of battle, and to pace restlessly whenever he wasn't fighting something. She had heard somewhere that some are born for battle, it being their purpose and calling in life, and they are capable of little else. While it seemed cold somehow to see Squall in such a light, she had to admit that he always seemed to be preparing to confront another enemy. Zell fought with reckless passion, but that was simply because he did everything with reckless passion. She had never seen someone who could eat like he did. Irvine had the steady hand of a sniper in battle, but had the slow, easygoing nature of a ladies man otherwise. While she had, at first, been quite annoyed at his incesant flirting with every woman he met, even in Selphie's very annoyed presence, she had come to accept that it was a harmless part of his nature that would, if it was ever guilted out of him, cause him to lose much of his joy in living. His devotion to his lady was unmistakable, and quite admirable. Quistis just wished Squall could find such a purpose and joy, as long as it didn't involve killing something. She had hoped Rinoa's influence and natural joy for life would rub off on him, but despite the obvious connection they had, he seemed set on being him. Which at the moment meant the pacing.

Also present were Rinoa, Xu and Headmaster Cid, which completed the decision makers at the Garden. Quistis waited several moments for Squall to notice her arrival, assuming it was the signal to begin the meeting. When he didn't look up, she stated, simply, "Squall."

He looked up and came to a stop. Looking around for a moment, he shook off whatever thoughts had been troubling him.

"Alright, I guess we can get started. Quistis, thank you for coming so quickly. I think I should let Rinoa start, as she knows a lot more than I do at this point."

Rinoa smiled, "Well, not really. This might just be my overactive imagination at work."

"I hope so,", Squall added, "but I have my doubts. Go on."

"O.K., it started about three weeks ago. Things have been kinda quiet since, well, all that happened. I was looking forward to putting things back together and all. Anyway, I had a really weird dream one night."

At this, Quistis, who's mind had wandered a bit to her own dream that morning, looked up at Rinoa.

"I was in this large field. The sun was shining and it was beautiful, really peaceful, quiet. But it didn't feel like anywhere I had ever been. I know I haven't seen every place there is in the world, but it didn't even feel like I was on this world. I can't explain it, but it felt like..."

"As though you had been taken to another plane of existence entirely."

This last statement for Quistis had everyone looking at her. She had finished Rinoa's statement unintentionally.

Rinoa smiled. "Well, yea. It did kinda feel like that. How did you know?"

Quistis sighed and looked over at Squall. "About the same time Rinoa's dreams began, I also started having peculiar dreams. As though", she looked at Rinoa, "As though I had traveled somewhere distant. Almost alien. I was in a cavern of perfectly formed ice, forming a dome. Each time I came to be there, I would hear a voice calling my name, softly at first, and then gradually louder. When I sought out the source of the voice, I would awaken." She didn't mention the recent change, and wondered why she held back.

Squall looked over at Rinoa. "Did you hear a voice?"

A frown formed on Rinoa's face. "I don't think so. I didn't hear any sound but the wind blowing. At least not until last night. That's why I called you all here. Something changed."

Again Quistis wondered why she didn't volunteer that her dreams had also changed. "What do you mean?"

"I saw a group of chockaboo's feeding in the field, and one of them was being ridden by someone. She was young, with black hair, and she was singing to the one she was riding on. Her voice was beautiful"

"Anything else about her, anything you would recognize again?" Squall asked.

Rinoa blushed a deep red. "She had a pretty big, um, chest. I don't know how she stayed upright in the saddle. She also had a pair of gloves hanging from the saddle, almost like boxing gloves."

"Did you see anyone, Quistis?" This from Cid.

Quistis hesitated, not sure how to answer. "I don't know. As I said, whenever I tried to find the source of the voices, I would awaken. I tried to avoid doing so after a while to stay in the dream and try to get an idea of my location."

"Voices? More than one?"

It seemed to everyone that Quistis seemed particularly uncomfortable with this last question. Almost as if...

"What are you afraid to say, Quis?" Rinoa asked, knowing it get a spark of annoyance from her friend, who had hated the shortened name ever since Zell had coined it.

"I heard...another voice last night. A man's voice. The soft voice always seemed almost ethereal, floating around me. The second voice was from right behind me. It startled me. When I turned around, I expected to be taken back. And I was, but first I got a glimpse of him. Not to where I could get many details. He was very pale, and he was wearing some kind of cloak, wrapped around him, scarlet red. The exact color of his eyes."

"Red?"

"Red, and very intense. But also very calm. I cannot put it into words."

After a few moments, with Quistis trailing off and looking a little pale herself, Squall spoke up.

"Rinoa told me about her dreams a week ago. I was ready to write them off, but now I have to think there is too much to be a coincidence. I would advise both of you to take every opportunity to try to figure out where you are when you have these dreams. And I'm going to have someone bunking with you for the next few nights, someone with a different sleep schedule, I want to see if something is going on while you are asleep, or if you are even still there. Maybe you are literally being taken somewhere."

Rinoa immediately began nodding, but Quistis was less excited. Having to sleep knowing someone was watching her was a bit uncomfortable to her. But she could see the wisdom in it.

As they were about to move on to Garden matters of business, Xu spoke for the first time.

"Quistis, what did the mans voice say to you?"

Quistis again paused, "I couldn't make it out. I only noticed how close it was."

While Cid continued the discussion, Quistis noticed that Xu was looking at her, seemingly unconvinced. Quistis wasn't sure why she had lied, but she wanted to make sure she had actually heard what she thought she had first. Then a thought struck her.

"Headmaster?"

Cid turned his head toward her. "Yes"

"If this is about dreams, why is the Garden moving?"

Cid looked at Squall before answering, "Though it pains me to do so, my dear, I'm afraid that will have to be considered priority information for the moment. All I can say is that I made the order before I knew of this development, but it is conceivable that the two are related. I will be able to divulge more as we near our destination."

-----

"You know, Vinny, some of us need to stop and rest every, oh I don't know, couple hundred miles or so."

Yuffie's backside was beginning to feel like it had been permanently molded into the saddle she had been in for far to long. Vincent had never seemed the type to ride for long stretches, but they had set out directly from the cave where she had come to get him, fairly early in the morning, and it was long past dusk. They had indeed covered a long distance, but to where they were headed, she could only hope Vincent had some idea.

"We are almost there."

"Almost where?"

Not surprisingly, she got no response. Loath as she was to admit it, her coming along had been her idea, and she was trying her best not to be a burden, if for no better reason than she didn't wan't to get abandoned out here. But if he kept up this pace, she wouldn't be able to keep sight of him anyway. And oddly enough, the sight of him bouncing up and down on the bird still hadn't gotten old, even after all the miles. She had tried to strike up a conversation a few times, but it had come to nothing.

"Zealots", she mumbled to herself. But finally, he came to a stop. And so did her breathing.

They had arrived at the Forgotten City.

'How did I not recognize as we were coming up?', she thought to herself. Granted, the last time they had been here, they had flown in, and she wasn't much for flying, keeping her eyes closed most of the time when she had to be on deck. But after what had happened the last time they were here, she couldn't help but question his thinking. After they had buried...had left her in that pool, Yuffie had vowed never to return. She gave serious thought to turning right around and heading back to camp, but she looked over at Vincent, and decided she would see it through. Whatever IT proved to be.

"Why are we here, Vincent?", This came out almost as a whisper.

Vincent noted that it was the first time since they had set out that she had called him by his full name. "Looking for answers.", he finally said.

"If this Quisits is here, I don't know that I want to find them."

Vincent looked down at Yuffie, still looking intently at him. The fear in her eyes was as obvious as it was powerful.

"Yuffie, I am truly sorry for bringing you here. But I know the answer is here somewhere. And we can pay our respects to Aerith. I am sure she would not object."

Yuffie closed her eyes. While she believed what Vincent was saying, she didn't see the sadness in his eyes that she knew had to be in hers. Aerith had been the older sister she had never had, and Yuffie didn't want the nightmares to begin again. The sight of the sword sliding through her... Yuffie shook her head and opened her eyes. "Let's just be quick, please."

"I know how difficult this is for you. I am grateful that you chose to accompany me." With that, he climbed off of the chockaboo, tied the reins to a tree, and headed toward the city with Yuffie close behind.

Instead of the flood of memories Yuffie was expecting, she was struck by how calm the city was. She didn't know how a place could feel ancient, but this one did, as though everything about it wasn't subject tot the laws of time and space. It was as if nothing had changed. As they climbed the stairway and approached the water, she noticed again how clear and still it was. No leaves blowing around to interrupt the surface. In fact, as far as she could tell, there wasn't so much as a breeze. The silence was as palatable as Lucrecia's cavern, but it didn't feel the same. It felt warm, peaceful, almost inviting.Such thoughts should have felt weird to Yuffie, but for some reason, they didn't.

"Yuffie."

She hadn't realized that Vincent had stopped walking. When she looked back at him, she noticed he was looking off at something. Turning her gaze to match his, her breath caught again. He was looking up at the stone ground where it had happened. The blood still stained the stone, the marks where the battle had taken place against Jenova also visible. She looked back at Vincent, recalling how he had fought alongside Tifa and an enraged Cloud. He had seemed so cold, unfeeling, even then. But now the sadness was in his eyes, almost drowning her. He had cared, he had felt, and he had mourned. Vincent didn't seem to notice when, still looking into his eyes as he looked at the spot, she took his one good hand into hers. There was still so much about him she didn't understand, and while a voice in the back of her mind told her she should be paying attention to where his attention was, to give her dear friend the respect she deserved, she couldn't take her eyes off of Vincent. All at once, he began to pray, the same words he spoke in the cave.

Softly, almost a whisper, she spoke. "Teach me the words, Vincent. I need her to forgive me too."

Vincent looked down at Yuffie, at a loss for words. She had clearly grown a great deal more than he had realized in the last few years. It had been almost three years since that day, and while she often thought he didn't notice her growing and changing, he couldn't imagine how one could not notice. She had never possessed the purity and innocence of Aerith, or the kind hearted, motherly nature of Tifa. But she had matured, that much was unmistakable. He could not remember her ever looking so calm, so solemn.

For the next few hours, he taught her the words of the prayer, along with their meaning. Together they prayed for their lost friend, and for the first time he could recall since he had been reawakened, really since he had been a child, before Lucrecia, the Turks, Hojo, any of it, he felt truly at peace. Without knowing why he was doing it, Vincent removed the head band and cloak that hid his features, and after laying the band on the ground on top of the stains, he placed the cloak around a stunned Yuffie. Before either could speak, as though either would have known what to say, they both heard a soft laugh. It seemed to float around them, a laugh she knew as well as she knew her own heart, for it was in her heart that it had found a home.

It was her. It was Aerith.

Tears began to fill Yuffie's eyes, and she suddenly threw her arms around Vincent, the cloak drifting around both of them. Caught by surprise, Vincent slowly placed his good arm around her shoulders and held her as she cried. He still didn't know why Lucrecia had sent him here, but it had served to heal a wound in Yuffie, so he would wait for the moment to come. This wasn't about his mission right now.

And then he heard it. They both did

"Quistis"

Yuffie released her grip on Vincent and looked up at him. She had forgotten what had brought them here until now, but the voice was the same she had heard in the cave. But why here? Had Lucrecia come back here after she died? Had she ever been here in life? Being a scientist, Yuffie knew she would have loved to come to a place so full of questions, so much history surrounding her. Did she leave something behind for Vincent to find.

Then the voice came back

"Protect Quistis. She is the key. The time has almost come."

Yuffie looked back into Vincent's eyes, a look of question on her face. He looked down at the headband covering the stain, a reminder of another soul he had tried to protect and failed. This way why she had called him here, he realized. Aerith had been taken, and the consequences had almost cost the planet it's very existence. Lucrecia, and Aerith, were telling him that Quisits, whoever she was, held the key to something just as important. He had not been called here, they both had. Yuffie was now as much a part of this as he was, called by someone she loved to be a guardian. If it had been the old Yuffie, he would have wondered if she was capable of grasping what it all meant. But one look at Yuffie's face told him she could feel the importance of it.

Yuffie was the first to speak. "We have to get the others. We have to convince them. When the time comes, we will be ready. Aerith, I promise you that."

She picked up the headband, slipped the cloak off of her shoulders, and handed both to Vincent

"We have a long ride. Let's get going"

He nodded, and began walking toward the stairway down

"Vincent."

He looked back at Yuffie

"Thank you. For making me come here. For letting me say good-bye."

"I think she may yet play a part in what is to come. The planet is still hers to keep watch over."

They both headed back to their waiting rides

-----


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