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.

Chapter 20: The First and Second Floors

February 1, 0008

One Day Until the Wedding

THE FIRST FLOOR...

Tifa, Cloud, and Brian climbed the stairs. They were now on the first floor of the Island Gulag. It no longer looked like a dungeon; the walls were white, and the hall that was before them was well lit.

It looked somewhat like a hospital, and Tifa could not decide on how to feel about that.

"So you guys saved the world?" Brian asked as the three made their way down the hall, keeping their eyes peeled for any surprises that might present themselves.

"We did," Tifa replied. "But we had a lot of help. We had a group from all over the world. Barret Wallace, Yuffie Kisaragi, Cid Highwind..."

"Vincent Valentine," Cloud added.

"I heard he was dead," Brian mentioned.

"He is," Tifa replied. "It's complicated."

The three of them passed two rooms visible through large glass windows, one on each side. Both rooms had surgical tables; Tifa shuddered at the thought of what might have transpired there.

"Experiments were done on this floor," Brian explained. "A lot of people who went up here never came back down."

"I can't believe a place like this exists," Cloud added.

"So," Brian continued, "when did you two...officially become a couple?"

"Right after Meteor was summoned," Tifa answered. "I confessed it on the bridge of the Highwind."

"The Highwind?" Brian asked.

"FKA the Shinra 2000," Cloud clarified.

"And you proposed to him," Brian repeated. "That is the first time I've ever head of a girl proposing to a guy."

"I don't believe in gender roles," Tifa insisted. "After all, I was the only girl in Nibelheim who never went to dance class."

"So who wears the pants in your relationship?" Brian asked.

"She does," Cloud replied.

Tifa simply smiled and nodded.

Just then, the hallway came to a cross-intersection. As they crossed, they were attacked on both sides.

"More scout-bots," Tifa muttered as she cracked her knuckles.

"No problem!" Cloud announced as he drew his buster sword.

Cloud took care of both of the scout-bots on the left with one swipe.

Tifa, meanwhile, uppercutted one of the ones on the right, knocking its head off. She then decapitated the other one with her foot.

"My God!" Brian exclaimed in amazement. "Zangan trained you to do that?"

"Yeah," Tifa replied. She then walked over to Cloud, knelt down, and picked him up. "And this!"

"I didn't know that!" Cloud exclaimed as the world suddenly turned upside down for him.

"Well, now you know," she said as she set him down.

The three of them then continued up the hallway. Two more rooms with big glass windows lay up ahead. As they passed them, Tifa noticed that the one on the right was empty.

The one on the left had a mutilated corpse on its operating table.

The three of them all turned away from it in unison.

"Papa," Tifa began nervously, "did they...do anything to you?"

"I was injected a couple of times," Brian replied. "But that was it. I think they kept me here because they didn't want me telling anyone about this place."

"I wouldn't be surprised," she said.

"Most older people like me just dealt with injections and tests. It was the younger crowd who got the more...violent experiments."

Tifa grimaced at the thought of it.

"So do you plan on having kids someday?" Brian asked, hoping to lighten the mood.

"You bet!" she replied.

"Boys or girls?"

"Boys, hopefully," Tifa quickly responded. "I think I was born to be a boy mom."

"Incoming!" Cloud suddenly shouted.

Four more scout-bots appeared up ahead.

Cloud, wasting no time, ran ahead and dispatched them quickly.

"Where did you get that sword of yours?" Brian asked. "That guy who came to Nibelheim with Sephiroth had one just like that."

"It's the same one," Cloud explained.

The three of them continued down the hall until they reached a corridor.

"The stairs to the second floor are just around that corner," Brian explained. "Once we get up there, the control room won't be too far off."

The three of them rounded the corner, and immediately stopped.

A menacing contraption was guarding the stairs to the second floor. It was a rod on a spherical ball, with arms coming out of its sides. It was similar to the S-252 Cloud and Tifa had encountered the previous Monday. Only this one had "arms" with machine guns attached to them.

"What is that thing?!" Brian exclaimed.

"An S-352," Cloud replied.

"We had to deal with something similar a few days ago," Tifa added. "Only now, we don't have any materia."

"It's poorly designed," Cloud assured them. "Look how the wires are showing on the arms. This shouldn't be too hard."

He drew his buster sword, and approached the S-352.

As it turned out, the wires were showing to make the arms more flexible.

The S-352 quickly pointed its left machine gun at Cloud and opened fire.

Cloud jumped back just in time to avoid getting pelted with bullets.

"Okay," he sighed. "I need a plan b."

"You know what?" Tifa suddenly said. "I think it is poorly designed."

Before Cloud or Brian could say anything, Tifa approached the S-352.

The contraption immediately opened fire.

Tifa jumped to the left.

The S-352 repositioned itself and continued to fire.

She jumped to the right.

The S-352 repositioned itself and continued to fire.

She jumped to the right again.

The S-352 repositioned itself and continued to fire.

She jumped to the left.

The S-352 repositioned itself and continued to fire. And then, it stopped. It was out of bullets.

Tifa quickly dashed to the S-352 and ripped its gun-arms off with one firm yank.

"It was too slow for me," she said as she turned to the men behind her and smiled.

"That thing could have killed you!" Brian reprimanded.

"Just wait to you hear about the rest of our adventures!" Tifa said. "I've fought and killed things that were far more dangerous. And I was briefly petrified."

"What?!" Brian exclaimed.

"Long story," she replied, before leading the two men up the stairs.

THE SECOND FLOOR

The second floor looked identical to the first, with white, brightly lit hallways. Only this time, the control room was somewhere on the floor. Once it was accessed, all of the prisoners would be released, and the Island Gulag would be no more.

"So," Brian began, as the three of them continued down the hall, "please forgive me...but...this is a dad question."

Both Tifa and Cloud groaned in unison.

"You're not...pregnant, are you?" he asked.

"No," Tifa laughed. "No way!"

"We'll have kids someday," Cloud added. "But not now."

"We're waiting until we're married," Tifa added. "I'm...actually still a virgin."

"Sorry I asked," Brian apologized. "I was just a little surprised that you're getting married at twenty after only a few weeks of dating."

"It's really complicated," she said. "I'll explain everything when this is all over."

"We're living in an alternate timeline," Cloud added. "That's really the most we can say right now, but we have memories of the old timeline that no longer exists. Our minds are closer to thirty."

"Yeah," Brian agreed. "You will need to sit down and explain this to me. It sounds like you've been through a lot."

The three of them then came to another cross intersection of two hallways.

Two scout-bots approached of each side.

"These guys don't give up!" Tifa exclaimed.

She then stood in between them and allowed them to approach her. As soon as they were close enough, she ripped both of their heads off simultaneously. The bodies fell to the ground with a thud.

Beyond the cross intersection was a sealed double door on the right hand side of the hallway. Above it read: MASTER CONTROL ROOM. AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY.

"Here it is!" Brian announced suddenly.

As the three of them approached the door, they noticed that it would not open.

"It's sealed," Brian said. "Figures. The security level would have to be high."

And then, Tifa spotted a number-code console next to the door. She pulled a piece of paper out of her pocket. It read: 61882.

"Maybe this will help," she suggested.

She typed the code into the console.

A moment later, the door slid open.

"Where did you get the code?" Cloud asked.

"Alicia gave it to me," Tifa replied. "Six-one-eight-eight-two."

"Six-one-eight-eight-two?" Cloud repeated. "As in June 18, 1982. Rufus Shinra's birthday."

The three of them entered the control room. Inside, there were several surveillance screens. There was a microphone on a console; it seemed to be used for announcements. Several computers were placed throughout the room. There were also several file cabinets, and a safe.

But what attracted their full attention was a large, round, red button on the far side of the room.

Below the button, it read: "EMERGENCY CELL RELEASE."

"It looks like I just press the button and it's done?" Tifa asked herself out loud.

"It appears so," Brian agreed.

"Is an alarm going to sound?" Cloud asked.

"I'm not sure," Brian replied.

"One way to find out," Tifa said.

She approached the button, and opened her palm. And, before she could change her mind, she pressed the button.

An alarm immediately sounded.

Cloud and Brian jumped.

Tifa did not.

What's the big deal? she thought. They already know we're here anyway.

She immediately ran to the microphone and took it into her hand.

"Attention all prisoners!" she announced. "If you are hearing this, your cell doors are now open. My name is Tifa Lockheart, and this is an escape. You need to get to the motorboats and leave the island. The dock is on your level. Six people can fit on each boat. Please make your way immediately. Thank you, and Godspeed."

With that, Tifa set the microphone down and turned to her father and her fiancé.

"I think it's time we got out of here ourselves," she suggested.

Cloud and Brian nodded in unison.

With the alarm still blaring, the three of them exited the control room, and turned in the direction from which they came. Just a trip back down the hall, down the stairs, down another hall, down another flight of stairs, and through the basement and to the dock would be all it would take.

But they did not get very far.

Several yards away stood another unpleasant, familiar face.

It was Yesha.

"Where are you off to?" she taunted.

"We're going home!" Tifa retorted. "And we're taking my father with me."

"Have you forgotten already?" Yesha continued. "I nearly killed you last night over a measly journal. What makes you think I won't finish the job over your father?"

"I'll tell you why," Cloud responded as he drew his buster sword. "The odds are a little more in her favor now!"

With that, he quickly charged toward Yesha.

Unfortunately for Cloud, Yesha was quicker. She threw her arm out, striking him.

Cloud was immediately lifted off his feet, and went flying across the hallway, hitting the wall hardly. He then fell to the ground, and slumped over on his side. He was knocked out cold.

"Cloud!" Tifa cried.

His buster sword skidded away, stopping at the corner of a cross intersection between two hallways.

Yesha then turned toward Tifa and Brian.

"It's too late," Tifa announced triumphantly. "I've already freed all the prisoners. They're escaping in the motorboats as we speak. Once they get home, they'll tell everyone they know about this place. Even if you kill me, you've lost."

"I'll do far worse than kill you," Yesha snarled as she began to approach Tifa and Brian.

Tifa cracked her knuckles.

"First," Yesha continued as she drew closer, "I'll kill your father right before your eyes."

Tifa instinctively stood in front of Brian.

"Then," Yesha threatened as she continued her approach, cracking her own knuckles, "I'll kill your beloved childhood friend and fiancé."

Tifa looked at Cloud in panic. He was still unconscious on the floor.

Yesha stood in between them, rendering it impossible for Tifa to come to his rescue.

Unknown to anyone, a hand took the stray buster sword, and dragged it away.

"Finally," Yesha said as she stood a yard away from Tifa, "I'll break your arms and legs all over again. But I won't let you bleed out this time. I'll leave you to live out the rest of your life in misery. You'll live with me on your mind until the day you die."

And then, a sword slid through Yesha's chest. It was the buster sword.

Tifa immediately glanced over to where Cloud had fallen.

He was still there.

But if it wasn't Cloud, she thought, than who?

"You," growled Yesha as she stepped forward, gruesomely relieving herself from the sword. "You bitch!"

She took one step forward as the blood gushed from her chest.

Then another.

And then, she fell on her side, dead as a door nail.

The body continued to bleed as a shadow with spikey hair appeared over it.

Tifa, still bewildered at what had just happened, looked up.

Zack Fair was standing behind Yesha's body, buster sword in hand.

"I knew I recognized that voice on the intercom!" he said.

"Zack!" Tifa exclaimed. "You're alive!"

"Mostly," Zack corrected. "I did have a few experiments done on me, but they wanted me alive because of my...history." He then turned to the fallen Cloud. "What happened?" he asked.

"Yesha knocked him out," she replied. "She was nasty. She almost killed me last night."

"And Mr. Lockheart," Zack continued. "I thought you were dead!"

"I thought you were dead!" Brian replied.

"We can tell our horror stories of this place some other time," Zack suggested. He then turned, and made his way over to Cloud. He knelt down, and waved his hand in front of his face. "Come on, Cloud," he commanded. "Wake up!"

Cloud remained still.

Zack then turned towards Tifa, and gave her a solemn look.

"Forgive me," he requested.

"For what?" she asked.

In response, Zack smacked Cloud across the face.

Tifa gasped in shock.

And then, Cloud's eyes fluttered open as he regained consciousness.

"Welcome back, Cloud," Zack greeted.

"Zack?!" he asked in surprise. "You're alive?"

Zack nodded and smiled.

Cloud immediately got up and hugged his friend.

Zack then helped him to his feet.

"Well," began Cloud, as he spotted his weapon in Zack's possession, "now that you're alive again, you may as well keep the buster sword. I know how important it is to you, and you are its rightful owner."

In response, Zack handed the buster sword back to his friend.

"You're a little more important than my sword, Cloud," he said. "But just a little."

"Zack," Tifa began as she approached him. "I'm really sorry I blew up at you back at the Nibel Reactor. I've since learned that not all Shinra employees are evil."

"Apology accepted," Zack assured her. "That was a long time ago." He then spotted her left hand. "Is that an engagement ring?" Zack asked.

"It is," she happily replied.

Zack then turned to Cloud.

"So you did manage to tell her how you feel!" he congratulated.

"She said it first," Cloud admitted. "And she proposed."

Zack turned to Tifa in surprise.

"If it can't be any more obvious," she said, "I don't believe in gender roles."

"Does this mean you're going to carry him over the threshold?" Zack asked.

"I wasn't planning on it," she laughed. "But now that you mention it..."

She stopped. She spotted another figure down the hallway. His hair was spikey, like Cloud's and Zack's. Only it was blue.

Zack turned to see what Tifa was looking at.

"Zack Fair," taunted Karnak.

"Victor Karnak," Zack taunted back. "Somebody's ruined."

"I suppose so," Karnak replied nonchalantly. "Though I must admit I was getting tired of running this place. Anyway, I guess all that's left is a final showdown between me and you."

Cloud drew his sword.

Tifa cracked her knuckles.

"That is," Karnak continued, "if you can catch me!"

With that, he turned around, and ran off.

Tifa, Cloud, Brian, and Zack began to run in pursuit.



You need to be logged in to leave a review for this story.
Report Story