Premonitions II-A: The Long Week of Hell

BY : Hippo_and_Friends_with_Benefits
Category: Final Fantasy VII > General
Dragon prints: 1580
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy VII or any characters therin. I am making no money off of this work.

Chapter 13: Uncle Albert's Farm

Thursday, February 1, 0008

Two Days Until the Wedding

9:00 a.m.

Yuffie paced around in circles as she listened to the ringtone. She had called another frenemy of hers, and was impatiently waiting for him to answer. The wedding was only two days away, and she still did not have a date. Now she was becoming concerned.

"Hello?" a male voice answered.

"Darin!" she happily exclaimed, feeling relieved.

"Yuffie?" he asked in surprise.

"It's me!" she replied.

"I haven't seen you in school in weeks!" Darin said. "Where have you been?"

"Oh," replied Yuffie, somewhat annoyed by Darin's naivety. "I've been around."

"So what's up?" he asked.

"I called to ask you something," she announced.

"Shoot," he approved.

"Would you like to go to Cloud and Tifa's wedding with me?"

"Why?" he replied scornfully. "So you can sneak back to my house and raid it?"

He then hung up the phone.

"Dammit," Yuffie muttered. "Isn't there anyone I stole from who still trusts me?"

MEANWHILE...

10:00 a.m.

The farm stood alone on the plains outside Gongaga. It was literally out in the middle of nowhere; not in the sense that this was a farming community, but in the sense that the farm was the only shred of civilization surrounded by nothing at all. The boundaries of the farm seemed like the end of the world.

Cloud and Tifa slowly walked up the lane to the farm house. To the right was the steer barn, and beyond the house was the pig sty. The rest of the farm was crops.

"I can't even remember the last time I've been here," Tifa sighed.

"I'm sure he'll be happy to see you," Cloud said as they approached the front door.

"I'm just hoping he's home," Tifa replied. "I can't call him."

"Well," replied Cloud, "there's only one way to find out."

Tifa nodded as she knocked on the old metal door. Moments later, the door opened, and a stout man in farm clothes appeared.

"Tifa?!" he greeted in a low raspy voice.

"Uncle Albert!" Tifa greeted as she threw her arms around him.

"How long has it been?" he asked as he hugged her back.

"Too long," she happily replied.

"And is that your old friend Cloud I'm seeing?" he asked.

"We're engaged," Tifa said happily.

"Engaged?!" Uncle Albert exclaimed. "That's amazing. Come on in!"

Uncle Albert led them through the foyer and the kitchen to a sitting room with an old-fashioned stove in it.

"This is a pleasant surprise," Aunt Lara said from the sofa. "I'm sorry if I didn't get any calls. You know how the reception is out here."

"My phone's been hacked," Tifa replied as she and Cloud sat down. "I wouldn't be able to call you anyway."

They continued to talk for an hour. Tifa had not forgotten that her purpose of the visit was to find out through Tobin where the Island Gulag was. She made one or two attempts to lead up to it, but her aunt and uncle simply seemed too happy to see her. Finally, she could no longer resist.

"Can I talk to Tobin?" Tifa requested. "There's something important that he knows."

Uncle Albert frowned. He ran his hands over his beard as Aunt Lara closed her eyes.

"Tobin's missing," Albert explained.

"Missing?!" Tifa asked.

"We haven't heard from him in weeks," Aunt Lara added. "Not since Meteor was summoned."

"What happened?" asked Tifa.

"He just disappeared," Uncle Albert replied. "Mind you, this was when Meteor was summoned. A lot of people were doing weird things because of that."

"Is there anyone who might know where he went?" Tifa asked. "Any friends or anyone else?"

Uncle Albert shook his head.

"Tobin doesn't really have friends," he replied. "He's always been kind of a loner."

"He's been out of school for a while," Aunt Lara added. "Once you're out of school, friends tend to drop like flies. But he didn't have that many, even when he was in school. Do you know he's never had a girlfriend?"

"No," Tifa replied, "I didn't. But, then again, I never had a boyfriend until Cloud and I were together."

"There was one girl he liked in high school," Uncle Albert said. "He went to the prom with her, but they never dated after that."

"Poor Tobin," Tifa sighed.

"I wouldn't have approved of her anyway," Aunt Lara added. "She used to giggle and try to have fun at the most inappropriate times."

Tifa immediately placed her hand on Cloud's shoulder for support.

"That has a familiar ring to it," Cloud muttered.

"The only friend he might still be in contact with would be his best friend and roommate," Albert continued.

"His best friend and roommate?" Tifa asked.

"Yeah," Albert continued. "She still lives in Cosmo Canyon. Maybe she knows where he is. Maybe she doesn't. I can't say."

"I suppose we can head there next," Tifa decided.

"I'll give you the address," Aunt Lara said.

"When is the wedding, anyway?" asked Uncle Albert.

"This Saturday," Tifa replied. "In Nibelheim. Of course, you're all invited."

"No worries," Albert said. "Aunt Lara and I will be there. Tobin, I don't know."

"I'll make sure I find him," Tifa assured them. "And my father. I've actually tracked my father's location to the Island Gulag. I plan on going there to take him home once I find out where it is."

Uncle Albert's eyes became troubled.

"Tifa," he began, "I've heard about that place. You know what goes on there?"

Tifa nodded.

"I've been praying every day that Tobin didn't go there," Lara added. "Is that why you wanted to see him? Because he might know where it is?"

Tifa nodded again.

"Well," continued Lara, "he might."

"Surely you don't think this is what your father would want, do you?" Uncle Albert asked. "You could get captured and experimented on."

"I know it's possible," Tifa admitted. "But I also know it's possible I can bring him home in time to walk me down the aisle."

"I've already lost my brother," Uncle Albert said. "Losing my niece would break me."

"I'll be careful," Tifa insisted. "I promise."

"So was Brian," Albert retorted ominously. "And so was Tobin."

SOMEWHERE ELSE...

11:00 a.m.

Karnak and Yesha knelt, remaining hidden in the tall grass near the northern boundary of Cloud and Tifa's backyard. The former had binoculars in his hands, pointed at the windows.

"I'll be damned," Karnak muttered. "Nobody's home."

"They have to come home sometime," Yesha mentioned.

"Where we can't kill her," Karnak pointed out. "We'll have to ambush he while she's away."

"Then where could they have gone?" asked Yesha.

"I believe that can be determined by simple investigation and reasoning," Karnak replied.

MEANWHILE...

11:30 a.m.

"WOW!" exclaimed Jessie as she stepped off the tram. "I've always wanted to go to Gold Saucer! But I've never been."

Barret stepped off of the tram behind her.

"Well," he said with a smile, "that just changed."



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