Premonitions II-A: The Long Week of Hell

BY : Hippo_and_Friends_with_Benefits
Category: Final Fantasy VII > General
Dragon prints: 1604
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy VII or any characters therin. I am making no money off of this work.

Premonitions II: Crisis Core

Chapter 2: A Cautious Reunion

January 28, 0008

5:00 p.m.

Tifa exited the building dejected. She had not found anything she had been hoping for; she had anticipated at least a lead. Instead, the Continental Governor had seemed nearly as secretive as a Shinra executive would have. The Shinra might be gone, but that did not mean there would not be successors. It certainly did not mean that people would never be corrupt or selfish again.

Power is as power does, she thought. I'm sorry papa. I really am. Maybe there's another way?

Tifa then looked up, and noticed something. A woman was standing across the street from her, wearing jeans and a gray baby shirt. She seemed somewhat familiar, but Tifa could not figure out from where. So much had happened.

The woman suddenly turned to Tifa, and made eye-contact with her.

And then, Tifa recognized whom the woman was.

"Elena?!" exclaimed Tifa.

She was indeed hard to recognize without her blue suit and tie.

"Tifa?!" Elena replied.

Tifa instinctively took a step back, and rolled her fists. They were, as far as she could tell, still enemies.

Elena, however, calmly remained in her position.

"It's okay," she assured her. "No need to run. We're not enemies anymore; I'm out of a job."

She does have a point, Tifa thought. Shinra's no more. She has no reason to attack me. Still, she happens to be in Nibelheim. She shouldn't have any reason to come all the way down her other than to cause us trouble.

"What are you doing here?" Tifa asked, attempting at her best to not sound too confrontational.

"I live here now," Elena replied.

In Nibelheim?! Tifa thought. We're neighbors?! 

"You live here now?" she asked aloud.

"We all live here," Elena explained as she began to point to houses. "Rude lives in this house, Reno lives in the one next to it."

All the Turks live here? This either can't be true or it can't be good. Why would they want to live here? They know it's where Cloud and I are from!

"What made you come here?" Tifa asked. This was concerning.

"When the Shinra collapsed," Elena replied, "all the Turks were naturally laid off, and all the actors playing townspeople quit. Realtors didn't want the houses to crumble, so they sold them to those who couldn't afford anything else. Namely, us."

Tifa wanted to believe that, but there was still something that just did not seem right. This was the first she had heard of this, and she had been living here for weeks.

"If you live here," Tifa began suspiciously, "how come I haven't seen you until now?"

"It's a long story," Elena replied. "Tseng and I have been out of town. It was...interesting."

"Costa del Luna?" Tifa asked slyly, referring to the nude beach the Elena and Tseng had visited earlier. Cloud and Tifa had gone on a diving expedition, and, afterward, accidentally surfaced at Costa del Luna, and, even more accidentally, spotted Tseng and Elena on the beach, naked as the day they were born. Of course, Cloud and Tifa kept the swimsuits on, and quickly fled the scene.

"Close enough," Elena blushed.

Tifa was able to feel relieved; it was obvious then that Elena had no desire to kill her.

"So you actually did it," Elena continued. "You took care of Sephiroth and saved us all. Thank you."

"No worries," Tifa replied. When it came to Sephiroth, Tifa and Elena had always been on the same side.

The two remained silent for a few moments before the ring on Tifa's finger was spotted.

"Oh my God!" Elena shouted. "You're engaged!"

"I am!" Tifa happily replied. "I got engaged two days ago."

"Is the lucky guy who I think it is?" Elena asked.

"It's Cloud," Tifa replied. "That's who you were thinking, right?"

"Of course!" Elena replied.

"Is that why you went to see the Continental Governor?" Elena asked.

"That also," Tifa replied. "There were other things, but she shooed me out just now. She had a problem with how I dress."

"Bismark's a little on the conservative side," Elena pointed out. "Did she still agree to do your wedding?"

"Do my wedding?" Tifa asked, perplexed.

"All weddings on the Western Continent are officiated by the Continental Governor."

"I didn't know that," Tifa said. "She registered it, so I guess that was an obvious yes. But I didn't know she would be officiating it. I'll be wearing my wedding dress, so I suppose she won't be bothering me about my attire then." She then looked down. She could see her bare midriff, flaunted for all to see. Today was seemingly the first time she had offended someone with it. "I wonder if I do wear too little."

"Well..." Elena began, but stopped herself. She did not want to upset her frenemy.

"What?" asked Tifa. It seemed that the Continental Governor was not the only person who objected to Tifa's ever-exposed belly button.

"It's nothing," Elena replied. "Never mind."

"Go ahead," Tifa pleaded. "It's okay. I'm probably the hardest person in the world to offend."

"You don't want to dress like that when you're married," Elena pointed out.

She does have a point, Tifa thought. I'm marrying Cloud in less than a week. I shouldn't really be showing my body off for other men like that. Hell, no other girl I know, married or not, shows off that much skin. At least not anyone past twenty.

"I think you're right," Tifa said aloud. "I probably should dress a little more modestly."

"You know, they just opened a clothes shop next to the diner," Elena pointed out. She then smiled. "Come on. I'll take you."

Unknown to them, Karnak exited the Continental Governor's office.

5:30 p.m.

Tifa stood in the fitting room with a pair of jeans and a blue tee shirt in her arms. Elena had picked them out; she said they would cover a lot more skin, but still make her look good.

"Well," said Elena, who was standing across from her, "try them on!"

Tifa was silent.

She's going to watch me change?! she thought.

Then, Tifa remembered how she worked at a similar clothes shop when she was fourteen. Every now and then, she would see two people enter the fitting room together. Most of the time, it was a couple, who gave her somewhat of a sheepish look as they entered and exited. Less frequently, she did see two girl friends go in together, each with their own clothes to change into. She even saw mothers and daughters go in together once or twice.

Two weeks before Tifa had ran away to Cloud's house, she overhead her mother talking to her father about how the former shared a fitting room with her aunt Kara, and that how the said aunt was changing her pants and had forgotten she had gone commando that day.

She realized it was quite common for two women to share a fitting room, but she was still Tifa; she was still very private when it came to what her clothes concealed.

"I got this," Tifa said, attempting to ask Elena, as politely as possible, to step outside.

"Huh?" Elena asked.

"I'm sorry," Tifa apologized. "I'm a little different. I'm not really comfortable changing in front of anyone."

"The last time you saw me before the sewer, I had no clothes on!" Elena reminded her.

"It's just a thing about me," Tifa said. "I'm a very modest girl. Nobody's ever seen me naked, topless, or even in my underwear but me behind closed doors."

"Not even Cloud?" asked Elena.

"Not even Cloud," Tifa replied.

"I don't mean to sound too personal," Elena began, "but aren't you and Cloud having sex by this point?"

Tifa shook her head.

"We're waiting until we're married," she said.

"For religious reasons?" Elena asked. "If you don't mind me asking."

Tifa shook her head again.

"My mom was killed in a car crash when I was a kid," Tifa explained. "It was something I promised her, literally moments before that happened. My dad had just cheated on her, and she didn't want to see me get used by anyone."

"I'm so sorry," Elena said. "I had no idea."

"But I think my dad's alive," Tifa continued.

"He survived the Nibel Reactor?" Elena asked.

"I think so," Tifa answered. "After we escaped from the gas chamber, I found Cloud, and we ended up falling into the Lifestream. We saw a lot of people we knew who had died, but my dad wasn't there. My mom was, Cloud's mom was, Biggs was, and so was Wedge. Even President Shinra appeared briefly."

"Why him?" Elena asked.

"Because he was...never mind," Tifa replied. "The important thing is that my father wasn't there when he should've been."

"Well," Elena said, "no worries. I'll step out."

"I won't be long," Tifa promised.

Elena duly stepped out as the curtain closed. She quickly made her way to the counter.

"This is on me," she whispered to the clerk.

A moment later, Tifa emerged from the dressing room.

"Let me see!" Elena exclaimed as she ran over to her and scanned her outfit. "Perfect!" she shouted.

"I like it," Tifa admitted.

"No worries, by the way," Elena said. "I covered it."

Tifa gasped in surprise. "Elena! You didn't have to!"

"I wanted to," Elena insisted. "I really want you to know that I'm not your enemy."

"Oh, Elena, I know," Tifa said.

A few moments later, they were outdoors again.

"How did he propose?" Elena asked.

"He didn't," Tifa replied with a smile. "I did."

"You did?!" Elena exclaimed. "I've never heard of a girl proposing to a guy."

"I'm not just anybody," Tifa said. "I really threw him off, too. I told him I could never be his girlfriend again. Of course, he thought I was leaving him, but I proposed before he got too upset with it."

"Did you get down on one knee?" Elena asked.

"Yes," Tifa replied while smiling and nodding.

"Did he cry?"

"His eyes got wet," Tifa answered. "I knew him all my life, but that was the happiest I've ever seen him."

"How far apart are you guys, anyway?" Elena asked.

"Seven months," Tifa replied.

"Who's older?"

"He is," Tifa answered.

"Tseng and I are a little further apart," Elena said. "He's forty, I'm twenty-one."

"The same age as Cloud," Tifa pointed out.

"Wait a minute," Elena said. "You're only twenty?"

"That's right," Tifa replied.

"And you're getting married?"

"I know I look only twenty, and physically I am, but my memories are closer to thirty."

"Closer to thirty?" asked the perplexed Elena.

"Have you been getting premonitions lately?" Tifa asked.

"I have," Elena replied.

"It's because of that crazy girl who destroyed Junon," Tifa informed her.

"You mean that girl in the red dress who was impersonating Heidegger and Scarlet's love child?" Elena asked.

"That's the thing," Tifa replied. "She wasn't impersonating Bestla; she actually was Bestla. She came back from the year 0016. When Cloud and I fell into the Lifestream, we regained our memories from the future."

"But Bestla was killed by falling debris," Elena objected. "How could she be alive in the future?"

"She wasn't originally supposed to die," Tifa answered. "But when the 0016 Bestla arrived here, it affected everyone and everything she touched, or even went anywhere near. This included the 0008 Bestla. The 0016 Bestla unintentionally killed her younger self."

"So what are you saying this is?" asked Elena.

"The best way to describe it would be an alternate reality," Tifa replied. "Whatever might have happened after Holy moved no longer matters. Everything beyond that has been changed."

"Wow," said Elena. "Did Tseng and I get together in the original timeline?"

Tifa shook her head.

"He never found the phase materia. Sephiroth actually stabbed him."

Elena gave Tifa a troubled look.

"He didn't die, though," Tifa quickly added.

"But we never ended up together," Elena said sadly.

And then, Tifa said something that she had never expected herself to say.

"We're all getting together tonight to celebrate our engagement," she announced. "Care to join us?"

Neither woman realized that Karnak was watching them.

THE STUFF THAT MIGHT HAVE GONE UNNOTICED...

This is the first appearance of Elena since the confrontation in the sewers about two third thirds of the way through Premonitions; she is not seen again for the rest of the story.



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