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 17: Fixed

Friday, February 1, 0008

One Day Until the Wedding

The rest of her strength exhausted, Tifa dropped the journal to her side. She knew what she needed to know now. She knew where the Island Gulag was. She would go there, rescue her father, and bring him home. And then, she would marry her best friend.

But, of course, that would be if she survived long enough. She was well aware that she was still bleeding, both inside and out. The pain from her injuries was subsiding, but she knew it was because of the blood loss. She had no idea of how close she was, or how much time she had left. All she could do was wait, and hope for the best.

She had felt herself getting weaker as she read the journal. By now, she could no longer lift any of her broken arms or legs. She could no longer lift her head, either. She could still feel blood trickle from her face, and she wondered how much she had left in her body.

And then, she felt her life begin to flash before her eyes. It included her childhood, adolescence, and the little adulthood she had, along with her former life in the old timeline that no longer existed. She remembered the horrid things, like her mother driving to her death off the road, or herself dying and turning to dust in the old timeline. She also remembered the happy moments, like when she and Cloud admitted their love for each other that night on the bridge of the Highwind.

But her favorite moment was when she was wearing that purple dress, getting down on one knee and proposing to the man she loved more than life itself.

But now, she was dying. Yesha had broken every limb in her body. She would certainly be unable to walk down the aisle in such a condition, assuming she even survived, which was becoming less and less likely. She had no idea how she could possibly be saved, given her injuries, but it sounded like her cousin had had success with a similar situation of some sort. Time, however, was running out.

And then, she felt the shuttle land.

A few moments later, the shuttle door opened, and a bald man in his fifties entered.

"Who are you?" he demanded. "What do you want?"

Tifa was nearly dead at this point. She could barely speak.

"Help...me," she weakly pleaded.

The man examined her failing body. He then spotted the pager in her hand.

"Where did you get this?" he demanded.

"To...bin," she struggled to reply. "Cou...sin."

"Is Tobin your cousin?"

Tifa weakly nodded.

"Is your cousin dead, then?"

She weakly nodded again.

"I figure he be dead," the man continued. "But I see he gave ye his lifeline. My name's Skrug. Ye presses the button, I'm going to try and save ye."

He examined her again, noticing her broken bones and loss of blood.

"I'll do what I can," Skrug continued. "First, I need your blood type."

"B...positive," Tifa uttered weakly.

"You be in luck," Skrug announced. "I have me a bag o' B positive. It'll keep ye 'live while I set your bones!"

He then wheeled the gurney out of the shuttle and into his house. He then wheeled Tifa down a flight of steps into the basement, giving her a bumpy ride. The pain was unbearable.

He then went to a closet and took out a bag of blood and a needle. Tifa was so swollen that it took him a while to find a vein. When he did, he inserted the needle.

Tifa slowly felt life coming back into her.

Once the bag was empty, Skrug immediately got to work setting Tifa's broken bones. He started with her arms, which were painful (for her) to set. He then moved to her legs, which were more painful to set. He moved to her broken feet, which were even more painful to set than her legs. And then, the worst of all came when he set her jaw.

After all of her bones were set, Skrug fastened Tifa to a set of chains, and suspended her over a pit.

Looking down, Tifa could see that the pit had a green glow.

It was Lifestream.

"Hold your breath," Skrug commanded as he made his way over to a lever. "You'll be down there for a minute and a half."

Then, without further warning, Skrug threw the lever.

Tifa plummeted into the Lifestream, jerking to a stop three yards in. Although her bones were set, the pain was still extreme. Only this time, as her jaw was set, she was able to wail.

Looking down, there was endless green as far as her eyes could see. It was completely different from the time she and Cloud were in there, fixing his soul.

And then, the pain suddenly began to lessen. She felt her bones, and scars, heal. She was able to move her arms and legs without any pain, and was able to open and close her mouth with the greatest of ease.

And then, she was yanked up to the surface again.

Skrug unfastened her, and allowed her to step onto the floor.

It was like she was never beaten.

She was healed.

MINUTES LATER...

Tifa stepped outside to see a familiar face.

Alicia Reynolds-or Cissnei, as she was mainly known-was standing there. Behind her was a helicopter that was apparently still in her possession.

"I had a feeling you might come here," Tifa said.

"You okay?" Cissnei asked.

"I am now," Tifa replied.

"You used the Spring?" Cissnei asked.

"I had to," Tifa answered. "Karnak ambushed me. Yesha had all my limbs broken. I would've bled to death if I didn't have the pager."

"I never though that the journal would prove so dangerous," Cissnei observed. "You obviously found it."

"Right before I was beaten, yes," Tifa confirmed.

"Does it reveal where the Island Gulag is?" Cissnei naturally asked.

Tifa nodded.

"It revealed a lot about the past seven years," she replied. "He seemed mostly accurate. There were a few exaggerations here and a few embellishments there, but mostly he told the truth."

And then, it hit her. Tifa's eyes began to well up with tears.

"And now he's gone," she continued as she wiped one of her tears from her face.

Cissnei hugged her.

"I'm sorry," Tifa apologized. "He was my cousin, but the journal revealed how much he meant to you, too."

"If I could cry," Cissnei said, "I would. But I'm here for you now."

"Maybe I can cry for both of us!" Tifa laughed through her tears.

Cissnei, by the way, was still as filthy as she had been when Tifa and Cloud met her earlier, but neither girl cared. They both had what they lost on their minds.

"Listen," Tifa began, "I know where the Island Gulag is now. Why don't you take the journal. That way...you'll always have a part of Tobin with you."

"Tifa," Cissnei replied, "I couldn't."

"I insist," Tifa pressed.

Defeated, Cissnei accepted the journal.

"Thank you," she said.

Cissnei then reached into her jeans pocket, pulled out a folded piece of paper, and handed it to Tifa.

Tifa slowly opened it.

It read: "61882"

"The Shinra master code," Cissnei informed her. "I don't know if it still works over there. But if it does...you're chances of coming back might improve."

1:00 a.m.

It was one in the morning when Tifa finally returned to Nibelheim. It was now time for what she had been looking forward to the most that night: seeing Cloud again.

Cissnei landed the helicopter next to the well, allowing Tifa an easy walk home. She had wanted to get her home as quickly as possible; there was no way to tell whether Karnak was still pursuing her.

"Thanks for getting me home, Tifa said with a smile.

"No problem," Cissnei replied. "See you Saturday. You'll be such a beautiful bride."

The two friends hugged, and Tifa climbed out of the helicopter, making her way straight to her front door.

No doubt, by now Cloud would have surely awoken from the sleep she had put him in. She was expecting him to be furious, but there was no avoiding it.

She turned the knob, opened the door, and entered her home.

"Where the hell have you been?!" Cloud demanded in a nervous voice.

He was standing by the stairs, looking like he had been pacing for a while.

Tifa looked her fiancé in the eyes. She was well aware she had some explaining to do.

"Listen," she began, "I know you're going to be mad again, but-"

"You went and got that journal, didn't you?" Cloud interjected.

"I got it," Tifa replied, "and I learned a lot from it."

Cloud gave her one of those "I'm not stupid" smiles.

"I knew you hadn't really given up on finding your dad," he said. "Did you find out where the Island Gulag is?"

"Four north and seventy-one west," Tifa replied.

And then, tears started forming in her chestnut eyes.

Cloud immediately placed his hands on her shoulders.

"Cloud," she continued, "my cousin Tobin is dead."

"Tifa," he said gently, "I'm so sorry."

"He had so much to live for," she sobbed as she wrapped her arms around Cloud and buried her head in his shoulder.

Cloud held her close and rocked her gently.

She soon gathered herself.

"There's more," said Tifa. "Can we sit down?"

Cloud nodded and led her over to the couch.

"There's something else I learned from the journal that I think you should know."

"What's that?" he asked.

"Zack wasn't killed in that ambush," Tifa replied. "He arrested for sure, but Alicia saved him."

"She saved him?"

Tifa nodded.

"If Zack survived," Cloud asked, "why is it that, two years into the future, we found him in the Lifestream? During the Geostigma Crisis?"

"My guess is he died at the Gulag," Tifa replied. "Along with Tobin."

And then, Tifa began to cry again.

Cloud pulled her in and kissed her.

"I really love you, Cloud," Tifa sobbed. "You forgive me for every little shenanigan I pull off."

"Well," he said, "now that we know where the Island Gulag is, all that's left is to go there and get your dad."

"We can't get there without a speed boat," Tifa replied. "Which we don't have."

"We'll work on that," Cloud assured her.

Tifa nodded.

"Tomorrow," she said. "We both need our rest."

Cloud nodded in agreement.

"I'll catch up with you," Tifa said.

Cloud nodded again, stood up, and went upstairs.

Tifa sat for a moment before getting up herself. But, instead of walking upstairs, she went to the patio door and stepped out.

Prior to reading the journal, she had forgotten how she used to talk to her mother.

"Mom?" she softly began as she slowly gazed at the sky. "I know...I haven't talked to you for a while, but...is dad still alive? And if he is...can I save him?"

There was no answer, as usual.

Tifa then lowered her head, until she was staring at the pool. Beyond that were the apple trees. Beyond that was the tall grass that signaled the boundary of their backyard, and of Nibelheim.

She then realized that Karnak could be hiding in that grass.

She quickly turned around, went back in, and closed and locked the patio door. She then went upstairs, went into the bathroom, and changed into her pajamas.

"Are you decent?" she called towards the bedroom door.

"Yeah!" Cloud replied.

Tifa then entered the bedroom, turned out the light, and climbed into bed. She wrapped her arms around Cloud and held him close.

Earlier, she thought she would never get to hold him again.

MEANWHILE...

Cissnei sat alone on the couch in her Cosmo Canyon apartment, gently cradling the journal her best friend had written.

On one shelf in the room, there was a memorial shrine to Tobin that she had set up. There was a picture of him surrounded by candles that were constantly lit. It was always painful for her to look at, but she needed to honor him in some way.

"Oh, Tobin," Cissnei said in a broken voice, "I'm so sorry I couldn't have done more."

She then held the journal close to her heart; it was all of Tobin she had left.

Here eyes were wet.

But a tear did not form.



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