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 19: The Basement

Friday, February 1, 0008

One Day Until the Wedding

Tifa and Cloud stood at pier 127 at Costa del Sol. The keys were in Tifa's hand. Bismarck's motorboat floated in front of them. Nothing was in their way. There was no longer a quest for anything. All they had to do was take the boat to the Island Gulag.

Tifa was wearing a black tank top and a pair of tight (and, as Cloud found it, extremely sexy) leather pants; she wanted to look good for her fiancé. She was also wearing lipstick and earrings; she wanted to look nice for her father. It would be her first time seeing him in five years.

With no more obstacles to the quest, Tifa and Cloud made their way down the dock and hopped into the motorboat. Tifa sat in the driver's seat and put the keys in the ignition. She set the GPS for the coordinates she had found in the journal.

This was it.

"Ready?" she asked, as she looked at her fiancé.

"Ready," Cloud replied. "Let's do this."

Tifa cautiously pulled the boat out of the dock and into the open ocean. She then steered the boat in accordance with the GPS. Controlling the boat was much easier than she had expected. It would be a comfortable ride until they reached the island.

"Oh," she announced suddenly. "Costa del Luna."

Cloud turned his head, only to see an empty, salty marshland.

"Made you look!" she laughed.

Tifa then took Cloud's hand with her free one. She felt blessed to have him accompany her. She always felt more confident when he was around.

Hang on, papa, Tifa thought. I'm coming.

SOMEWHERE ELSE...

Shera stared at the bridesmaid dress that hung from the closet door.

"You know what's funny?" she asked.

Cid shook his head.

"I haven't worn a dress since I was a toddler," she said.

"Really?" he asked.

Shera nodded.

"I wonder how I'll look?" she asked herself out loud. "Hopefully great. I'm also thinking about...not wearing my glasses."

"Would you be able to see?" Cid asked.

"Not too well, she replied. "But if I stay between two of the girls, I should be fine."

Cid was silent. Shera usually struck him as the geeky kind. She never even wore makeup, let alone a dress.

"I just want to look as beautiful as possible tomorrow," she continued. "The last day I'm a virgin."

And then, Cid looked at her.

"Cid," she continued, "trust me, I want this, too. It's taking our trust to the next level."

"I suppose," he grunted; he was never for sentimental talk.

"They're called private parts for a reason, you know," Shera said. "If you let someone see them, that means you really trust them. By the way, I have a surprise for you after the wedding?"

"What's that?" he asked.

"It's before midnight, so it isn't naughty, but I hope you'll like it."

MEANWHILE...

Tifa's heart began to beat faster as the island came into view.

It was a small island, completely stone and lacking vegetation. There did not seem to be any animal life, either. The only feature of the island was a building that Tifa presumed to be the Gulag. It looked as if it was two stories high, with a six- or seven-story tower to the northern end of it.

"My dad's in there," Tifa said softly as she clutched her fiancé's hand. "But...how to we get up there?"

The island was sharply elevated twenty feet above sea level. There were no elevators nor stairwells. The jagged nature of the island walls made them impossible to climb.

"That might not be the only way in," Cloud suggested. "Let's circle the island."

Tifa steered the boat around one corner; she saw nothing. She then steered it around another corner, and still saw nothing. Her hopes began to fade as she steered around a third corner to explore the final side.

An opening suddenly appeared in the rock. As Tifa drove the motorboat towards it, she noticed that it was a tunnel for the other motorboats to use. Cautiously, she steered the boat toward the tunnel.

As soon as they entered the tunnel, both of their ears were greeted by a loud magnetic sound, followed by their Materia flying out of their pockets towards the ceiling.

"Hey!" exclaimed Tifa. "What the?!"

"I felt it, too," Cloud acknowledged.

"Our materia's gone," she said.

"Looks like it's a security thing," Cloud said. "I guess I'll have to put wear and tear on my buster sword."

"Angeal's going to turn over in his grave," Tifa said.

"Who?" he asked.

"Tell you later."

Eventually, they came to an area where motorboats were docked left and right. They found an open space and parked theirs.

Tifa climbed onto the platform and helped Cloud out of the boat.

"Let's kiss for luck," she commanded.

Cloud wrapped his arms around Tifa's waist and kissed her.

They then followed the platform until the water ended, and they were greeted by a tunnel.

"Cloud," Tifa warned, "be ready for anything."

He nodded.

The two of them entered the tunnel. The floor, ceiling, and walls were dark brown concrete. There did not seem to be any technology of any kind. The tunnel continued to lead straight, seemingly endlessly.

Eventually, the tunnel ended, and they came to a doorway.

Moments later, four scout-bots emerged from the opening.

"Shit!" Tifa exclaimed. "I almost forgot about them!"

Cloud immediately drew his sword and decapitated the nearest scout-bot. He then impaled a second one.

Tifa, meanwhile, performed a side kick that decapitated the nearest scout-bot to her. She then performed another side kick on the remaining scout-bot, causing it to crash into the wall and leave it mangled beyond repair.

"Those were the prototype," Cloud sighed as he put his sword away. "That was way too easy."

"I think they know we're here," Tifa said as she gazed at the scrap metal.

"We'll find him quickly," Cloud said.

They passed through the doorway, and immediately saw the prison cells. They were now more than three yards square, and each and every one of them had an occupant.

The occupants were both men and women. They were aged from the late teens to the early seventies. Some of them were missing limbs. Many of them looked ill.

"Help me!" one of them pleaded.

"Hang in there!" Tifa assured him.

She moved from cell to cell, looking for her father, but to no avail. None of the cells' occupants were identified. She was looking for a needle in a haystack.

"Papa!" she called, hoping he would recognize her. "Dad!"

But she did not get a response. She began to move more frantically, hoping that Brian would be in the next cell.

And then, Tifa felt a gun press against her head.

"Freeze!" shouted a familiar voice.

Cautiously, Tifa put her hands up.

"Anus!" Cloud greeted as he ran toward him and began to draw his sword.

"Anez!" he angrily corrected. "Put that sword away!" he then commanded as he tightened his finger on the trigger.

Defeated, Cloud did as he was told.

"I didn't actually think you would be dumb enough to come here," Anez continued. "I thought Yesha breaking you to pieces would teach you a lesson. Obviously, it didn't."

Tifa was silent. She would not dignify anything with response.

"You really, really, really want to see your father?" Anez taunted as he pushed the gun into Tifa's head. "Is that really why you came here?"

Tifa still didn't respond. She felt as if he was trying to play some sort of head game with her.

"So be it," Anez finally said. "I'll take you to him."

Tifa's eyes widened. She was wondering if he meant what he was saying.

"But don't try anything funny," Anez warned. "My finger's on the trigger."

Tifa cautiously nodded.

"Let's get going, then," he announced.

Tifa was led, still at gunpoint, through the halls of the basement past an endless line of cells. She still looked for her father's face, but the prisoners were all strangers, and most of them did not seem interested in the situation.

Cloud followed closely behind. He was tempted to draw his sword, but he was well aware he would be putting his fiancée's life in danger if he did so. He spent the whole time thinking of another way to rescue her.

Finally, Anez stopped them. He then went to a cell that was just ahead of them, entered a code on the console, and the door slid open.

This is it! Tifa thought, not heeding the circumstances. After all this time, now my father's only a few feet away!

"Few minutes," Anez said as he pointed to the open doorway. "That's all."

Slowly, Tifa moved forward to her destination, with her heart pounding. Seeing her father was a few moments away After weeks of speculation and searching, it had come to this. She turned to her left.

He was sitting on his cell bench with this head down. His hair was graying, as it had been five years since she had last seen him. His mustache had been replaced with a beard, and he had lost a considerable amount of weight. But his eyes were easily recognizable. She would recognize them anywhere.

"Oh, papa!" Tifa cried as she ran to her father and threw her arms around him. Tears of joy ran down her face.

"Tifa?!" he exclaimed in a tone of voice that sounded somewhere between surprise and horror. "They captured you?!"

"No papa," she sobbed, "I came here to rescue you. I spent the last two weeks looking for you. Now, I've finally found you!"

Brian broke the embrace, and gently guided his daughter back so he could have a look at her. He had not laid eyes on his daughter in five years. Now, it was a moment to savor.

"My God, you've grown up," he said in awe. "You must be twenty now."

Tifa nodded as more tears fell from her eyes.

"It's hard to keep track of time here," Brian continued. "How did you find me?"

"Tobin wrote a journal before he was killed," Tifa explained. "I found it, read it, and found out where this place is. And now I'm here to take you home."

Brian opened his mouth and began to say something. And then, he noticed Cloud standing at the doorway.

Cloud noticed the acknowledgement as well, and began to feel uneasy. He had not forgotten his attitude towards him.

"Papa," Tifa began as she place her hand on his cheek, "Cloud didn't take me to Mount Nibel. I went there on my own, and..."

"I met Zack Fair again shortly after he arrived here," Brian interjected as he turned towards Cloud. "He told me how you hurt yourself protecting Tifa from those creatures outside of the Nibel Reactor. I don't know how you came to be such a good friend to her over the past twenty years, but I'll always be grateful for it."

Both Cloud and Tifa felt relieved; it was obvious he no longer hated the former.

Tifa realized that it would be a perfect time to tell him the good news.

"He's become more than a friend," she added as she flaunted the diamond ring on her left hand.

Brian's face brightened as he spotted the engagement ring.

"When did this happen?" he asked in amazement.

"A week ago," Tifa replied. "Right after we saved the world from Sephiroth. If you saw a bunch of green energy suddenly come out of the ground last week, we kind of did that."

"Well," said Brian, "I was kind of locked up in here, so I really didn't see anything or even hear about the outside world. For the same reason, though, I won't be sour he didn't ask me first."

"He didn't even propose," Tifa corrected. "I did."

"You proposed to him?!" Brian exclaimed.

Tifa nodded with a smile. People's surprise at that never got old.

"You raised me to be a strong woman," she continued. "So I opened my heard and made a bold move. A bought the ring, I got down on one knee, and I asked him."

"Wow," said Brian with an amazed sigh. "My daughter's getting married!"

Suddenly the cell door opened again.

The noise pierced Tifa's ears.

In came Anez, still armed with a handgun. There was a smirk on his face.

"Time's up!" he announced firmly.

He then pointed the gun at Brian and placed his finger on the trigger.

Tifa quickly realized what he was about to do.

"No!" she cried as she immediately flung her leg in Anez's direction.

Her foot struck his hand hard; the gun flew out of his hand as Anez doubled on the ground, clutching his hand in pain.

The gun, meanwhile, hit the wall with such force that it broke in two.

Brian was astounded.

"Where did you learn to get so quick and agile?" he inquired. "I've never seen anyone react that fast!"

"Zangan," she replied. "I had training with him for several years after you were taken. I went to Xing and trained for three years. I even learned how to pick up a guy twice my size."

"How's he doing?" Brian asked.

Tifa sadly lowered her head.

"He...isn't," she answered. "Karnak killed him. He set the cabin I was staying at on fire, with me, Tobin, our friend Alicia, and Zangan inside. I was able to save everyone but him."

Meanwhile, Anez rose to his feet. He felt the pain lingering. He saw the broken gun in two pieces on the floor. And then, he saw Tifa, the woman who had beaten him.

Enraged, Anez lowered his head so it was aimed at Tifa; if he struck her chest with his head, all of her ribs would break. Then, after letting out a hideous noise, he charged in her direction with all his might.

And, at the last moment, Tifa jumped out of the way.

Anez's crashed hard into the concrete wall. He shook momentarily. Then he collapsed to the ground.

The three of them kept an eye on the fallen Anez for a good minute, waiting for something to happen.

But nothing did.

Cloud cautiously knelt down and checked for a pulse.

"He's dead!" he observed. "So long, Anus! I guess you do need brains to be the boss. An asshole just won't do."

Tifa broke out laughing, recalling the email she had gotten from Shera.

Gradually, her laughter subsided, and she stood solemnly. She then realized it: her quest had succeeded. She had found her father. He was alive, and now he could come home with her.

But, he, quite understandably, was not quite ready to flee.

"You know," Brian began, "there's still nearly a hundred other prisoners down here."

Tifa looked at her father, and realized that he was right.

"There should be enough boats for them all to escape on," she said. "Who are we up against?"

"Just Karnak," replied Brian, "his remaining three, and any technology."

Tifa smiled. She could use a victory lap.

"Anyone objecting to freeing the rest of the prisoners?" she asked.

Cloud and Brian both shook their heads.

"There's a control room on the second floor," Brian said. "If we can get inside, we can free everybody at once."

He then led Tifa and Cloud out of the cell, through the prison, and to the stairs that led to the first floor.

"So when's the big day?" Brian asked.

"Tomorrow," Tifa replied.

"Tomorrow?!" Brian exclaimed in surprise.

"Yes, tomorrow," she repeated happily. "And you get to walk me down the aisle!"



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