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 14: The Roommate

Thursday, February 1, 0008

Two Days Until the Wedding

12:00 p.m.

Karnak and Yesha trekked up the lane that led to Uncle Albert's farm.

"My God," muttered Yesha in disgust. "Who would live in a place like this?"

"Low people," Karnak replied. "The world's filth live in places like these."

"She better be here," Yesha grunted. "I want to beat her to death and get the fuck out of here."

"That pigpen would be the perfect place to leave her body," Karnak pointed out. "Maybe they'll eat her body."

At that moment, a tractor pulled up to the intruders and stopped a mere yard from them.

"Excuse me!" shouted Uncle Albert in a less than welcoming voice. "This is a private residence!"

"My apologies," Karnak replied. "I'm looking for someone."

"My Mrs. and I are the only ones here," Uncle Albert retorted. "And I don't know you."

"We're actually looking for Tifa Lockheart," Karnak explained. "Aren't you her uncle?"

"Well," replied Albert, slightly calmer, "that depends on why you're asking."

"I'm president of the fan club," Karnak lied. "And this is my vice president. I got reports she's here right now. I just wanted to ask her a few questions."

Uncle Albert grunted.

"My niece has a fan club already?"

"You bet!" Karnak replied. "She did save the world."

"I'm afraid she's no longer here," Uncle Albert replied.

"Not here?" asked Karnak.

"She went off somewhere," Uncle Albert explained. "I'm not at liberty to say."

Aunt Lara then exited the farmhouse with a rifle in her hands.

"Now I suggest you two get off my property," Uncle Albert warned.

MEANWHILE...

12:10 p.m.

Cloud and Tifa entered Cosmo Canyon to see a familiar face standing by the Cosmo Candle.

"You guys!" greeted Red XIII as he ran over to him. "What brings you here? Don't you have a wedding to plan?"

"That also," Tifa replied.

Red XIII's face became serious.

"You're father," he remembered out loud. "I'm sorry. I don't have any leads, I'm afraid. But I'll help you in any way I can."

"Thank you," Tifa replied.

"Don't mention it," Red XIII insisted. "You deserve to have your father walk you down the aisle."

"Red XIII," began Tifa, "did you ever know a guy named Tobin Lockheart?"

"I've heard the name," Red XIII replied. "He used to live here. Is he a relative of yours?"

"He's my cousin," Tifa answered. "But I haven't been able to reach him. I was hoping his roommate would know where he is."

"It's a shot," Red XIII agreed. He then pointed his snout to one of the houses. "That's the one," he said.

Tifa thanked Red XIII, proceeded to the house, and knocked on the door.

Tobin's roommate answered the door. She was dressed in a pair of jeans and a dark blue tee. Her eyes were brown, and her hair, red and wavy, ran down to her shoulders. She appeared to be twenty-three or twenty-four.

"Tifa?!" she asked.

"I was wondering about you," Tifa began.

"Well, you found me," the roommate replied.

"It's been a while," Tifa commented.

"It has, hasn't it?" the roommate agreed. "I suppose you're looking for your cousin?"

"I am," Tifa answered.

"I'm sorry," the roommate apologized. "I haven't seen him in weeks, and I'm worried sick."

"I am, too," Tifa agreed. "We were just at his parents' house. They haven't heard from him either."

"It scares me," said the roommate. "But, please, come on in."

Cloud and Tifa entered the home and sat down on the sofa, while Tobin's roommate sat down on the chair. It was a modest home with the parlor, dining room, and kitchen in the common area. There was a bedroom on each side; one for the roommate, one for Tobin.

"He's my best friend," the roommate continued sadly. "I never thought I'd ever be this worried about someone, but here I am."

"Trust me," Tifa said, "if my best friend went missing, I wouldn't know what to do with myself."

"We've known each other for years," the roommate added.

"I'm sorry," Cloud began, "and I don't mean to pry, but you do have a name, don't you?"

"Oh!" said the roommate. "I've forgotten my manners. My name's Alicia. Alicia Reynolds.

Tifa mouthed the name, almost as if she was surprised.

"Listen," Cloud began, "before he disappeared, did he mention anything about a place called the Island Gulag?"

Alicia looked at Cloud sadly.

"That's where he went," she replied.

Tifa felt her stomach tighten again; now both her father and her cousin were in that same awful place.

"So he obviously knew where it was," Cloud observed.

"He found out through somebody," Alicia said. "I never found out who."

"Why did he go there?" asked Tifa.

"The thrill, I guess," Alicia replied. "Mind you, Meteor was falling. We were all expecting to die anyway. Why not go out with a bang?"

"I see your point," Cloud said.

"Did he tell you where the Island Gulag was?" Tifa asked.

Alicia shook her head.

"No, he never told me, because he knew I would follow him."

And then, suddenly, Alicia presented a look of enlightenment on her face.

"I should've checked the journal," she muttered.

"The journal?" Tifa asked.

"Yeah," Alicia replied. "Tobin left me a journal that he told to hide. I'm actually thinking it might have been for you."

"Really?" asked Tifa.

"He told me that if ten days went by and I didn't hear from him, that I needed to hide the journal in the ruined reactor."

"You mean the one in Gongaga?" asked Cloud.

"That's the one," Alicia replied. "I haven't seen him since. I gave him more than ten days. Hell, I waited almost twenty days before going off to hide it."

"I'll get the journal," Tifa announced. "I'll find the gulag, and I'll rescue both my father and Tobin."

Silence filled the parlor. Tifa, despite being used to it, braced herself for the response.

"You must not do that," Alicia began.

"I have two family members that need my help," Tifa said. "Besides, don't you want your best friend back?"

"Karnak will get you," she continued. "He'll do one of two things. One, he'll beat you, break most of your bones, and let you bleed to death internally. And he's good at it; I've seen him do it. Two, he'll send you off the the gulag yourself, and you'll never see Cloud again."

"I have to take that chance," Tifa said.

"Your dad wouldn't want that," Alicia dismissed. "Neither would Tobin."

"Nobody else can help them," Cloud insisted.

"Leave this alone, Tifa," Alicia warned. "Promise me, Tifa. Promise me!"

"Listen," Tifa began, "I knew my father was still alive ever since I failed to spot him in the Lifestream. He's not dead, but he's not here. Why? Because he's imprisoned somewhere. I've now traced his likely whereabouts to a gulag that I know everything about except for the coordinates. I sorely need to rescue him. And ever since the Northern Crater, I've been given nothing but warnings about the consequences of doing so. I know there are risks, and I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't afraid of what might happen, but this is important to me, and I can promise you nothing, except that I'll consider it."

Alicia was silent, knowing there was no convincing Tifa otherwise.

"Cloud and I are getting married this Saturday," Tifa added. "You're an old friend; you're invited."

"I'll be there," Alicia said. "Hopefully with Tobin, if he returns."

"Give me a chance to find him," Tifa pleaded.

"Maybe the journal can help," Alicia suggested.

"And it's in the ruined reactor?" asked Cloud.

"It's in a blue locker," she added. "The combination is 33-39-9. It might reveal where the Island Gulag is. It might not. But, it's a shot."

A few minutes later, Cloud and Tifa were leaving Cosmo Canyon and walking toward the Highwind.

"Alicia Reynolds," Tifa sighed.

"Did she and your cousin...like each other?" asked Cloud. "In that way?"

Tifa shook her head.

"Not that I know of. They were best friends, though. They were roommates for four years."

"How long have you known her?" he asked.

"Alicia?" Tifa replied. "Since I was sixteen. But, until tonight, I never knew her name was Alicia Reynolds."

"You didn't know her real name until now?!" asked Cloud in surprise.

"She had a couple of names, actually, when I first knew her," she continued. "She got one of them from how she was born."

"How she was born?" he asked.

"Her mother died in childbirth," Tifa explained. "Because Alicia was delivered through a C-section with the most unorthodox tool."

"What was that?" he asked. "A screwdriver?"

"A shuriken," she answered.

"A shuriken?!" Cloud exclaimed. "Ouch!"

"She has still another name," Tifa continued. "The one I've always called her."

"What was that?"

"Cissnei," she replied. "I called her Cissnei."

Tifa then stopped, and turned to Cloud. She had an emotional look on her face.

"What's wrong?" he asked.

"I don't want to go to the Island Gulag anymore," Tifa replied, in a somewhat broken voice.

"You're giving up?" Cloud asked.

He was shocked; for the last few days, retrieving her father seemed to be all that she could think about.

"Everyone's right," she continued. "It's not worth the risk. Tobin already tried it and got captured." She paused. "And I can't bear to be without you. I won't. It's been hell without you, and I'm not going back there!"

She then placed her arms on his shoulders and kissed him deeply and passionately.

"Are you sure?" Cloud asked, once the kiss was broken.

Tifa nodded as a tear rolled down her cheek.

"What do you want to do, then?" he asked.

"We have a wedding to plan," she replied. "And a life to start. It's time to move forward."

She kissed him again, savoring the feeling of his lips against hers.

12:45 p.m.

"What's this area called?" asked Jessie as she and Barret entered a familiar-looked part of the park with a jumbo-screen television.

"Wonder Square," Barret replied. "This was where we met Cait Sith."

"Speak of the devil," Jessie said as she noticed the familiar feline standing near the stairs leading to the arcade room.

"Howdy, folks!" Cait Sith greeted.

"You still readin' fortunes?" Barret inquired.

"Just a little side money," Cait Sith explained. "Would you two like your fortunes read?"

"We'll pass," Barret dismissed.

"Boo!" pouted Cait Sith.

Barret and Jessie then climbed the stairs and entered the room with the arcade games.

"Pick out any one you want!" he offered.

"Is this one okay?" she asked as she approached one the read "Mog House."

"Whatever floats your boat," he replied as he popped a coin in.

"This is Mog's house," began a female narrator. "It's in Mog Forest on Mt. Mog.
The beginning of another day in the life of a moogle. This year, Mog is pipapopupo years old. That's twenty-eight in human years. He's at that age when he should be looking for a mate. But before Mog can become an adult, he first needs to learn how to fly. Even though Mog trains hard everyday, he still can't seem to get off the ground."

The game then cut to the moogle attempting to fly, but landing hard on the ground.

"Poor thing," Jessie observed.

"Looks like he's still got a long way to go," the narrator continued. "Here's where you come in. Help Mog learn how to fly by pushing O button and feeding him his favorite Kupo nut. But don't overfeed him. He won't be able to fly if he's too fat."

Jessie pressed the O button on the arcade console, feeding the moodle a modest amount of nuts.

"Oh?" continued the narrator. "It seems like Mog's decided to take another shot at it."

Just then, the moogle began to fly, circling around several times as he did so.

"He did it!" exclaimed the narrator. "He's flying! Now, he's finally become a full-fledged Mog."

The moogle landed, took a bow, and disappeared inside.

"Tired but relaxed," the narrator continued, "our little Mog turns out the lights early and goes to bed. Good night, and sweet dreams."

Suddenly, a pink moogle appeared.

"Oh?" continued the narrator. "What's this? Here comes a female moogle!"

The female knocked on Mog's door. Mog promptly answered it.

"Seems he likes her too," the narrator observed. "Now, will Mog be able to fly gracefully in front of her? Help him out with a few kupo nuts."

Jessie once again fed him a modest amount.

"Oh?" announced the narrator. "It seems like Mog's decided to take another shot at it."

Once again, the moogle began to fly in circles.

"He's flying!" the narrator exclaimed. "Mog was able to do it! She must have fallen for his graceful flying form."

The screen faded to black.

"Sometime later..." read a subtitle.

A scene with Mog and his mate leaving the house began to unfold.

"Looks like things are going good with his new Mog-friend," the narrator said. "Time for a quiet date in the forest. Her name is Mag. She is a good-natured moogle."

The moogle couple walked offscreen, followed by twelve babies.

"Best of luck to the both of you, Mog and Mag," the narrator said. "May you have lots and lots of healthy Mogs! Uh...no worries there, I guess..."

The screen faded to black, and a "FIN" appeared.

"That was cute," Jessie said with a smile.

Barret smiled as well; she seemed to be recovering.

7:00 p.m.

Cloud gasped for air as Tifa continued to kiss him passionately. They were back at home, and ready to fully focus on planning their wedding.

They were on the couch, with Tifa on top of Cloud. She was gripping his shoulders firmly and pressing her tongue against his, leaving him with few intervals to breather. She had her shirt rolled up again to expose her midriff, hoping to make the moment somewhat sexier. She had wanted to make out with her jeans unzipped, but she knew that it would arouse them too early.

Cloud, meanwhile, as Tifa was arched, was treated to a generous view of her butt. He took satisfaction that, in two days' time, he would be seeing it bare. He continued to kiss her passionately as he pressed his tongue against hers, running his hand over the exposed small of her back.

And then, Cloud began to nod.

"What's wrong?" his fiancée asked.

"I don't know why I feel so tired," he replied. "Especially since it's not even nine..."

He did not finish. His eyes were closed, and his head was resting against the couch.

Tifa, meanwhile, knew exactly why he was feeling so tired; she had put sleeping medicine in his drink shortly before they started making out. She got up off of the couch, and took a long look at the man she loved.

"I love you so much," she said to the sleeping Cloud. "That's why it breaks my heart to lie to you. But I can't have you come with me for this. I really do need to find my father, Cloud. But it's not right that I risk your life along with mine."

She then knelt down and stroked his spikey hair.

"Cloud," she continued, tears in her eyes, "I know I might not survive this. But, if I don't, I want you to be happy, okay?"

Cloud, being fully asleep, did not respond.

"I know you'll forgive me," Tifa said as she kissed him. "Hell, I know you're okay with me doing this. In fact, I know you'll come with me. And that's why I'm doing this. You can't be risking your life for this. Only I can."

She then kissed the sleeping Cloud on the mouth one more time, and stood up. She then went upstairs to the bedroom and opened her closet. She quickly replaced her blue jeans with a pair of black ones, and put on a black leather jacket, zipping it up. She also donned a black hat. Next, she went downstairs and out the back door, and opened the toolshed. She was relieved to find that her father's minibike was still there, and that it had a full tank of gas. She then silently rolled the minibike through the house and toward the front door.

And then she stopped.

Something had just popped into her head.

Tifa quickly went upstairs again, this time to her dresser.

I almost forgot about it, she thought to herself. This can save my life tonight.

She opened the top drawer to see a small box in the upper left-hand corner. Upon opening the box, she spotted the pager that she had been keeping there. She stared at the pager for some time; she had had a feeling she would need it someday.

"Just in case," Tifa said to herself. "Just in case."

She then returned downstairs, rolled the minibike out the front door, mounted it, and rode it out of Nibelheim's southern exit and into the night.

"Hang in there, papa," she said.



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