Premonitions II-C: Crisis Core

BY : Hippo_and_Friends_with_Benefits
Category: Final Fantasy VII > General
Dragon prints: 708
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy VII, Crisis Core, it any characters therin. I am not making any money here.

Chapter 28: An Unholy Attack

A few days later, Zack was running towards the Sector Five Church. There was no need to ask why; Aerith was in there, tending her flowers as usual. He was always happy to see her, and did so every chance he got. Even though they lived together now, it never seemed enough.

And then, as Zack approached the stairs, he turned around and folded his arms. He got a troubled look on his face.

"I thought I felt some kind of presence," he said out loud.

He scanned the area behind him. But there was nothing there.

"Was it just my imagination?" he said to himself.

He scanned the vicinity again. There was still nothing.

Realizing he had a girlfriend waiting for him, he turned around and entered the church.

Unknown to Zack, a machine slowly pursued him.

INSIDE THE CHURCH...

A bizarre wolf-like winged creature presented itself to Zack as he entered the building. He gasped in shock; this was certainly not what he had been expecting.

Aerith was standing next to the creature with her right hand to her mouth. She was clearly frightened.

"Zack!" she exclaimed as she looked him in the eyes from across the church.

His heart was wrenched; it was the most frightened he had ever seen her.

He quickly grabbed his sword with his right hand and signaled for her to come to him with his left.

Aerith shook her head and began to sob.

Zack then cautiously approached the creature.

As the creature raised its head to howl, a familiar face was revealed on its chin.

"An Angeal copy?" Zack said aloud as he let go of his sword.

As Zack drew closer to the creature, the church doors opened again. The machine, presenting a cannon and shield, entered, and aimed its cannon at the creature.

Zack attempted to come in between the dreadful contraption and the creature. Then, the creature charged the machine. It struck the shield before flying straight up and out of sight.

Sparks then began to fly from the machine. Zack quickly shielded Aerith as the contraption exploded.

The creature then returned, landing a few feet from ground zero.

"Thank you," Zack said to the creature.

The creature howled toward the sky.

"Was it protecting us?" Aerith asked.

"Yeah, probably," Zack replied.

And then, suddenly, the creature collapsed.

Zack quickly went over to the creature and examined it.

"Looks like it's degrading," he said.

"Poor thing," Aerith said sadly.

"Does this mean," Zack began, as he continued to watch the creature, "Angeal is out there, too?"

Zack stood up, and then, so his surprise, so did the creature.

It began to flap its wing, circling the couple once, and then flying out of the church.

"It was so...I don't know...sad," Aerith observed as she folded her hands and lowered her head.

"What did you come here to do?" Zack asked the creature, though he doubted that it could hear him.

Then, Aerith finally turned to Zack.

"So, a flower wagon," she began. "Let's make one!"

Zack slowly turned to his girlfriend. This was yet another instance of Miss Gainsborough wanting to have fun at an inappropriate time.

"Yeah, but..."

"Don't worry," she interjected.

"Can you hear me?" Zack called to the creature while pointing his finger. "Stay right where you are!"

Aerith simply folded her hands behind her back and smiled.

"I'll take care of things," Zack said.

Aerith walked a few feet in front of him, and turned around.

"So that flower wagon," she began. "Let's do it."

She then walked to the flowers, and turned around again.

"Come on, Zack," she commanded. "This way."

"Oh, yeah," he said unenthusiastically as he approached her. "Hey Aerith, when the wagon is done, you're going to sell the flowers above the plate, too, right?"

"Yeah," she replied as she put her hand to her cheek. "But I'm still a little scared, so..."

"Of the sky?!" Zack asked.

Aerith shook her head.

"All that's been happening lately," she clarified. "First, I'll fill the slums full of flowers."

"Oh, come on, Aerith!" Zack protested. "When you go above, I'll go with you. There's no need to be scared."

"Thanks, Zack!" she said with a smile.

"All right, lets get started on that wagon, then!" he exclaimed. "I'll gather the materials. Aerith, you wait here!"

When Zack left the church, the mood changed completely.

Three more machines with cannons and shields were waiting for him outside the church.

"Oh, there's more of you!" he said as he drew his buster sword. "Well, don't just stand there. Do something!"

The machines closed in on him, but, as their shields were made of wood, Zack had no problem destroying them.

And then, he saw Tseng approach him from the side.

"What are those things?" Zack asked.

"A new automated mobile weapon," Tseng replied. "They automatically detects and attack monsters. Arms development deployed these in Midgar as an anti-Genesis copy measure. These new models were able to eliminate most of the copies inside Midgar, apparently."

"That's pretty impressive," Zack observed. "But why the heck was I attacked, then? Can't they tell the difference between SOLDIER operatives and monsters?"

"Currently, no," Tseng replied as he folded his arms.

"Well, that's annoying," Zack sighed.

"They'll fix it eventually," Tseng assured him.

"By the way, Tseng," Zack said as he turned and folded his arms, "I'm annoyed with you, too. You were spying on Aerith again, weren't you?"

Tseng stonewalled him and began to walk away.

"Silent treatment again?"

Tseng stopped without looking back.

"If you want to go play with Aerith," he said, "you're welcome to do so. I'm just fulfilling my duties as a Turk."

"Hey!" Zack exclaimed angrily. "I'm not 'playing' with Aerith! I'm fulfilling my duties as SOLDIER to protect-"

"Oh, mister SOLDIER!" interrupted a boy as he ran up to Zack, "I heard you're making a flower wagon! I'll help you make it really fancy so you can surprise Aerith!"

"No!" Zack objected. "This isn't what you think! This is for her protection. Hey, Tseng!"

"Just remember to play it safe," Tseng warned as he walked away.

"For a wagon?" Zack asked as he scratched his head.

"He means use condoms," the boy replied. "You don't want to get her pregnant, do you?"

"Hell, no," Zack sighed.

The boy turned out to be good enough to help him find materials to build a wagon.

THE NEXT DAY...

Aerith scanned the cart for a few moments with her hand to her mouth as Zack stood proudly by their creation.

"Not quite what I expected," she said.

"Really?" asked Zack, somewhat disappointed. "I think it's fine. It's all about the flowers, anyway."

Aerith folded her arms so that her hands touched her elbows.

"I want a nicer one," she requested."

"Stop being so picky!" Zack protested.

"A tiny little wish," she said as she folded her hands behind her back and gave an innocent smile. "That's all."

"They're tiny," he agreed, "but you have lots, right?"

"That's right," she confirmed. "Want to hear?"

"How many you got?" he asked.

"Hmmm," mumbled Aerith as she turned her back towards him. "Twenty-three?"

"Write them down," Zack commanded. "So I don't forget."

At that moment, his cell phone rang, and he instinctively answered it.

One of those is that I wish he would turn that cell phone off, she thought.

"There are new developments," Sephiroth announced over the phone.

"What?" asked Zack.

"Headquarters, now!" Sephiroth commanded.

Zack hung up the phone.

Aerith gave him a sad look. She knew what that meant.

"Work stuff?" she asked.

"Sadly," Zack replied.

"Here," Aerith said as she handed him a slip of paper.

She looked at him in the eyes and tried to smile, but she had trouble doing so.

"Was that Sephiroth?" she asked.

"Affirmative," Zack answered.

She gave him a nervous look.

"He sounds...troubled," she observed. She then placed her arms on his shoulders. "Please be careful," she pleaded.

"Will do," he promised.

They kissed, and off he went.

LATER, AT SHINRA HEADQUARTERS...

"Legions of monsters have spawned near a regional mako reactor," Sephiroth explained. "The workers have all gone missing. Local SOLDIER operatives have also vanished. The company is dispatching additional operatives to investigate the matter. You and I, that is."

Zack stood with his arms folded. It was odd; he and Sephiroth were the only ones in the room.

"Roger that," Zack said, trying to hit his suspicion.

Of course, Sephiroth knew better.

"What's wrong?" he asked.

"Well," Zack replied, "you know. I thought you found something out about that other matter."

He was obviously referring to Genesis.

"The missing operatives were the ones tracking Lazard," Sephiroth continued. "Also, they had reported a strange, podlike device in the area."

"Is that Hollander's?" Zack asked.

"Probably the same device that was stolen in Modeoheim," Sephiroth replied.

"Meaning..."

"Lazard, Hollander..."

"And Genesis?" Zack interjected.

"We'll have to go see them," Sephiroth confirmed.

Zack nodded.

"Let's go."

"First, go to the SOLDIER floor," Sephiroth commanded. "We'll depart as soon as you and the rest of the men are ready to go."

"Understood," Zack complied as he began to turn and leave.

"Our orders are to investigate the reactor," Sephiroth continued as Zack stopped. "They mention nothing of old friends." Sephiroth then turned to the wall. "Depending on what happens, I may abandon Shinra."

Zack gave a concerned look. He certainly wasn't expecting that.

"Until then, I'll remain loyal to SOLDIER," Sephiroth finished.

AN HOUR LATER...

Zack entered the church once more, eager to see Aerith.

There she was, on her hands and knees, tending her flowers as if nothing could possibly go wrong in the world. The tank top and skirt made her look extra soft and feminine.

It would break his heart to let her down.

"Oh, Zack!" she exclaimed as she stood up and turned to face him with a smile. "Are you done with work already?"

Zack sighed. There was no easy way to tell her, so he decided to be direct.

"Actually," he replied, "I was given an important assignment, and I have to leave Midgar for a while."

Aerith placed her hand to her mouth; she was clearly troubled.

"When will you be back?" she asked.

"I really don't know," he answered.

It was the truth; what Sephiroth had said made him wonder how it would all play out.

"Oh," she said as she lowered her head. "Can I call you?"

"Of course!" Zack replied as he put his hands on his hips. "And don't worry, the job will be a cinch. I'll be back in no time!"

Aerith suddenly raised her head.

"Hey, let's start now!" she suddenly exclaimed.

"Huh?" asked Zack as he folded his arms. "Start what?"

"Start filling the slums with flowers!" she clarified.

"I suppose we can do that," he said.

It would get his mind off of things.

Aerith smiled as she walked up to Zack and put her hands on his shoulders.

Zack smiled back as he wrapped his arms around her waist and kissed her deeply. He then lowered his right hand several inches, allowing it to rest on her butt through her skirt.

"Zack, stop!" Aerith playfully reprimanded as she yanked his hand off her behind. "We can't do it in the church!"

"Oh, can't we?" Zack questioned.

Then, without warning, he slipped both of his hands under her skirt and panties and squeezed her butt cheeks.

"Zack, I mean it!" Aerith exclaimed as she pulled his hands out of her skirt. "We'll go to Hell!"

Zack sighed.

"Later tonight, okay?" she promised with a smile.

OUTSIDE...

Aerith pushed the cart full of flowers through the playground as Zack looked on.

"Yeah, it's really cute!" Zack observed. "I like it!"

She stopped pushing the cart, and turned to him.

"Do you think we'll sell a lot of flowers?" she asked. "Nobody's coming."

"Just give it a little more time!" Zack assured her. "A lot of people will come, you'll see!"

"I think it's because the wagon doesn't look very nice," she suggested.

Zack sighed and hung his head.

This again.

And then, someone approached.

"Oh!" Aerith exclaimed. "A customer!"

"Hey there!" Zack greeted after practically running over. "Want to buy some flowers? Ten gil a pop. That's a special one day offer. You're not going to find a better price anywhere!"

His girlfriend watched and giggled from her spot. She couldn't hear what he was saying, but she knew he was making an effort for her. It made her happy inside.

A moment later, Zack came charging up to her.

"Aerith!" he exclaimed. "This customer will buy if you can go down to five gil."

"Sure!" she approved. "Any price is fine."

Zack shook his head.

"No, we have to be a little more aggressive than that," he insisted. "I'll renegotiate for seven gil."

"But the customer just left," Aerith said sadly.

Zack sighed.

"I'm sorry, Aerith."

"Why are you sorry?" she asked. "I'm having such a wonderful time." She paused, and smiled. "Because you're here with me." She then spotted a boy entering the playground. "Hey look, Zack! Another customer!"

This time, Aerith ran over.

Zack, meanwhile, out of the corner of his eye, noticed Tseng hiding behind the cat slide. He realized that while his girlfriend was negotiating, he might as well do the same. So he walked over to him.

"Don't worry about Aerith," Tseng immediately assured him. "Protecting the subject is part of surveillance duty."

"You're the only one I can depend on," Zack admitted.

Suddenly, Tseng began to chuckle.

"Hey!" Zack exclaimed. "Why are you laughing?"

Tseng, instead of responding, gave Zack a stern look, reminding him of his place in the food chain.

Defeated, Zack simply pointed his finger.

"I'm counting on you!" he said before rejoining his girlfriend.

LATER...

Zack and Aerith did manage to sell all of the flowers within a two hour timeframe. They were now back at the church, and had parked the empty cart in the aisle. They were sitting together on one of the pew benches, unwinding from the day.

"Thanks for helping," Aerith said with a smile as she pecked Zack on the cheek.

"Don't mention it," he replied. "I wanted to spend more time with you."

Aerith smiled again, this time with her mouth open.

"You read the note!" she said happily.

"Well, yeah," Zack said sheepishly.

"Don't be embarrassed!" she insisted.

"Well," he continued, "what were your other tiny wishes? Besides the wagon?"

"Hmmm," she began as she put her index finger to her mouth. "I guess I'd like to feel less confined."

"Less confined?" Zack asked. "Am I smothering you?"

Aerith simply giggled. She quickly pulled off her shirt. She then reached back, unhooked her bra, and set it next to her.

"No," she said. "I just needed to free my girls after a day of selling flowers."

Zack smiled and put an arm around Aerith's now-bare shoulders.

"How did I get so lucky?" she asked.

They continued to sit and talk in the pew for an hour. Aerith had locked the door, so she had no concern that anyone would walk in on them while she was topless.

"Alright," she finally said as she stood up. "No more teasing." She then slipped off her skirt and panties in one tug. "Let's do it on the altar!"

Another hour later, Zack and Aerith were laying on their backs on the altar, still naked, and still sweaty from their lovemaking. Both were staring at the ceiling.

"Still worried about going to Hell?" Zack playfully asked.

"Please!" Aerith giggled. "'Be fruitful and multiply.' Genesis 1:28."

The smile faded from Zack's face.

Genesis, he thought. I wonder if I'll encounter that son of a bitch at the reactor.

I also wonder...if Angeal is still alive.

THE NEXT DAY...

At Shinra Headquarters, Zack rounded the corner to find a trooper standing alone against the wall.

"What's up?" he asked.

"I'm having a little trouble rounding up the group," the trooper replied.

"We're in a hurry," Zack reprimanded. "Let's move it."

"Sir!" the trooper obeyed immediately.

And then, Zack recognized the trooper.

"Cloud?!" he exclaimed. "Together again, eh?" He gave him a fist bump. "All right!"

"Thanks!" Cloud said. "Hold on. I'll get everyone."

With that, he darted off.

Zack smiled; if there was anyone he could trust, it would be Cloud.

LATER...

Cloud stood at attention with two other troopers as Zack looked on.

A moment later, Sephiroth approached the four of them.

"By the way," Zack asked, "where are we going?"

Sephiroth turned to Zack.

"To Nibelheim," he replied.

Behind Sephiroth, Zack could see Cloud's mouth drop open.

I'll explain why; Cloud just so happens to be from Nibelheim. He lived right next door to my Uncle Brian until all hell broke loose.

That happens soon.



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