Premonitions II-C: Crisis Core

BY : Hippo_and_Friends_with_Benefits
Category: Final Fantasy VII > General
Dragon prints: 702
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy VII, Crisis Core, it any characters therin. I am not making any money here.

Chapter 39: My Cousin, the Matchmaker

November 24, 0006

"So there I was," Karnak continued, "standing next to Tifa, when Rufus calls her late mother a slut. So I signaled for Rufus to come over, and before he knew what was happening, I punched him in the stomach, kicked his ass both literally and figuratively, and then I headbutted him in the face and made his nose bleed. I then stomped on both his feet."

Karnak, Tifa, Cissnei, and I were seated on the ground outside by one of the evergreens. We were all still amazed that Karnak seemingly turned out to be Cloud.

"And he cried," Tifa added. "They say nobody's ever seen him bleed or cry, but we sure as hell did."

"Wow!" Cissnei exclaimed.

Even she seemed impressed.

"They can't call me Strife without the strife!" Karnak quipped.

The four of us laughed in unison.

"Cloud Strife, my butt!" shouted a familiar voice.

The four of us stopped laughing, and turned to see Zangan approaching. His age was beginning to show, and he was now using a cane to walk.

"You're not him!" he continued. "You're way too tall. I've watched him grow all his life. He wouldn't grow that tall. Sorry kid, but you're not him."

"Master Zangan," Tifa pleaded. "He can prove in a hundred ways he's Cloud. He knew about all my childhood experiences, and his own."

"He just finished telling us about his fight with Rufus Shinra at the bowling alley," I added.

"He even knew about how his mom gave him swimming lessons in the nude when he was little," Tifa confirmed.

"I'll admit I don't know how he could have picked that information up," Zangan replied, "but I know Cloud Strife when I see him, and it's not you. We'll have enough of this charade."

"But I never got to tell about the time I had to protect President Shinra from an intruder," Karnak protested. "God, he was boring!"

"I SAID ENOUGH!" Zangan commanded. "Anyone who supports this facade will be expelled from training! Do I make myself clear?!"

The four of us nodded in unison.

November 28, 0006

We had to honor Zangan's demand, though there were several private conversations about it behind his back.

But, there were other deals to be honored.

A few days later, Cissnei was walking across the lounge in the cabin, minding her own business, when she suddenly ran into Tifa, whose arms were folded.

"Aren't we forgetting something?" Tifa asked slyly.

"I don't think so," Cissnei replied skeptically.

"I asked Karnak those questions," Tifa clarified. "You are going on a date with Tobin!"

Cissnei was silent, she had indeed forgotten.

"I've never been on a date before," Cissnei said.

"Neither have I," Tifa replied. "But for you, that's about to change."

"Tifa," began Cissnei, "I don't know. He's my best friend, but that's all."

"Let him treat you to Gold Saucer for your birthday," Tifa insisted. "Just see if you feel anything."

"And if I don't?" asked Cissnei.

"Then you'll have a good time with your best friend," Tifa answered. "You win either way."

Cissnei groaned.

I just know it's going to ruin our friendship, she thought.

November 29, 0006

"These jeans feel really tight," Cissnei called from the fitting room.

She and Tifa were at a clothes shop in Xing, where, as promised, the latter would get the former an outfit for her big date.

"Of course they are!" Tifa replied. "You need to show your butt off!"

"Why?" asked Cissnei.

"For Tobin, of course," Tifa answered.

"How's this going to work out?" Cissnei then inquired.

"Oh, don't worry," Tifa assured her. "I've got everything planned. All you have to do is meet him at the ticket booth. He'll buy your ticket, and everything else will come naturally."

"Naturally?" asked Cissnei skeptically.

"If you click, you'll know what I mean," Tifa replied. "Oh, and don't forget. Go on the gondola with him. I heard it's where moments happen."

Okay, Cissnei thought from inside the dressing room. Here goes nothing.

November 30, 0006

I stood at the Gold Saucer tram station, waiting for Cissnei to arrive. I'll admit I was a little nervous. Yes, she was my best friend, but now it seemed like she may or may not become more. I'll be honest. I was happy with the status quo, though I'll also admit I would not be necessarily opposed to taking it further.

And then, another tram car arrived, and out stepped its occupant.

My heart was immediately racing.

Cissnei was wearing a pair of black boots, a dark blue pair of skinny jeans, and an orange crop top. And for the first time that I noticed, she was wearing a necklace, earrings, and lipstick.

Is that really Cissnei?! I thought. She's beautiful!

Then I realized that Tifa had given her a makeover. Considering that my cousin isn't that girly, she did an incredible job.

"Tobin!" she greeted as she hugged me.

She then stepped back, allowing me to give her new self another look.

"You look beautiful," I replied.

Cissnei gasped in surprise.

He called me beautiful, she thought. Nobody ever called me beautiful.

It touched a part of her heart that had never been touched before. It made her all tingly inside.

"Happy birthday," I said as I handed her a small wrapped box.

Cissnei unwrapped the box and opened it. Inside was a diamond bracelet.

She gasped again.

I had wanted to get her something on the border of platonic and romantic.

"Tobin," she said, "thank you!"

She then hugged me again.

Before I left for the tram station, Tifa had advised me to touch the bare skin her crop top revealed; she said it could set sparks off. But I decided to wait. I wanted to make sure she was ready.

MEANWHILE...

Tifa happily trotted down the path that led to the town of Xing. She was in quite a happy mood.

Tobin and Cissnei are on a date, she thought. I did my part for them. Now all I have to is wait.

Now comes the harder part: telling Cloud how I feel. I know he's not one to easily listen, so maybe I should find a way to get his attention.

A few minutes later, she found herself back in the clothes shop. It was open late, so she had plenty of time to browse. After a while, she found something that suited her.

"There," she said to herself. "If this doesn't get him to focus on me, I don't know men!"

SOMEWHERE ELSE...

Cissnei and I arrived in Wonder Square after we watched a play in Event Square. She was still glancing at her diamond bracelet, and was still beyond amazed that she had received such a thing.

She was smiling the whole time, too. I couldn't read her mind, but I was kind of hoping she would be feeling the spark. In any event, it was the perfect evening.

And then, I saw its potential ruin.

Cait Sith was standing at his usual spot. He immediately eyed me.

"You!" he called.

"Hello again," I greeted back.

"New girl?" the cat asked. "Cissnei?!"

I was surprised; I turned to my companion.

"You know this thing?" I asked.

Cissnei shook her head.

"Well," Cait Sith said, "I suppose you'd like me to read you're fortune."

"We'll pass," I dismissed.

"Oh, come on!" Cissnei insisted. "It'll be fun!"

I didn't want to argue with the birthday girl, so I paid the cat his fee, and he did his customary dance.

"A strange bargain will seal your fate forever," Cait Sith finally said.

"That's it?" the disappointed Cissnei asked.

"Yeah," I replied. "His fortunes are kind of cryptic."

"I think it's time we hit the arcades," Cissnei decided.

"Agreed," I said.

With that, we began walking up the stairs.

What struck me, though, was that Cait Sith had been right about the previous two girls I was with.

"A strange bargain will seal your fate forever."

What the hell could that mean?

MEANWHILE...

Karnak was sitting quietly under one of the evergreens. What Zangan said was correct, but devastating.

He had tried to pick up someone's life, instead of facing the reality that he was grown in a lab. He had wanted to forget his origins. All he wanted was normalcy.

And then, someone decided to rub salt into the wound.

"You're not Cloud," called a voice in a tree.

Karnak looked up.

At first, he didn't see anything.

Then, he saw a wing spread. A single, black wing.

"Genesis?" Karnak greeted.

"My point, exactly," Genesis replied. "Cloud Strife never met me in his life. It's Sephiroth's memories in you that identify me."

"What do you want?" Karnak demanded.

"For you to accept the truth, of course," Genesis answered.

"I already know I'm not the real Cloud," Karnak admitted. "But the real Cloud is missing. I'm the closest thing Tifa has to him."

"You're not Cloud," Genesis continued, "and you're not human. Have you forgotten?"

Karnak stared blankly.

"Of course," Genesis realized. "You were created before I met Sephiroth in Nibelheim. But do you know who your mother is?"

"Jenova," Karnak replied.

Genesis grinned.

"I think it's time we had a talk about one of your donor's origins," he suggested.

SOMEWHERE ELSE...

"What's this?" asked Cissnei as we entered Round Square.

"It's the gondola," I replied.

"Want to ride it?" she suggested, not forgetting what Tifa had told her earlier.

This is really for couples, I thought. But what the birthday girl wants, the birthday girl gets.

"Let's!" I thus replied enthusiastically.

We then boarded the gondola, and it started moving.

Cissnei soon gasped as she looked out the window.

"My goodness!"

Outside, she could see the roller coaster speeding by, and hear all of the riders screaming.

We had actually gone on it after leaving Wonder Square.

"Were we really going that fast?" she asked me.

"We certainly were," I replied.

Suddenly, a herd of chocobos ran by the window.

Cissnei looked out to see that it was, in fact, a racetrack.

"They race chocobos here?" Cissnei asked.

"You bet," I replied. "Want to see one after we get off?"

"Absolutely!" Cissnei replied.

And then, fireworks began to burst all around us.

"It's so beautiful!" Cissnei exclaimed. "I'm so glad we came here!"

And then, she became quiet. She didn't seem troubled, but she was quiet nonetheless.

I'm having such a good time, Cissnei thought. But I shouldn't be surprised. Because...whenever I'm with Tobin...I'm always having a good time.

I met Tobin when he was fifteen. That was five years ago. He's really grown up since then.

He's always listening to me. Now matter how annoying I get, he's always there to listen. You don't come across people like that too often.

And, despite the fact that he's a lot younger than me, I feel so safe with him. That really means something.

Oh, I do love him. But do I love him the way Tifa loves Cloud, or the way she loves Tobin? I really can't tell.

I wasn't raised to have these kind of emotions.

I've never loved anyone before.

What am I supposed to do here?

LATER...

Cissnei and I walked into the cabin. I walked her as far as her bedroom door. There, she turned to face me.

"I really had fun tonight," she said with a smile.

At that point, she was not sure of what to do.

Do I kiss him? she thought to herself. Or is that moving too forward? This is hard!

She smiled at me for a few moments more. Then she wrapped her arms around me and hugged me.

I hugged back. And then, I did it. I placed my hand on the exposed skin of her lower back. Moments later, I felt goosebumps rise. It seemed like I set at least a little spark off.

She then stepped back.

"So I'll see you tomorrow at training?" she asked.

"You bet," I replied.

Cissnei smiled and retired to her room.

I had mixed feelings about how it went. I was well aware that Cissnei had never been on a date before, and I seemed like she wasn't quite sure how it was supposed to go.

I figured we'd see what happens next time.

As I passed Tifa's room on the way to my own, I saw the door wide open.

"Tobin?" she called. "Can you please come in and shut the door?"

I went in and shut the door. I could see Tifa poking her head out from behind the dresser.

"How did it go?" she asked.

"Not bad," I replied.

"Tell me all about it!" she pleaded. "Did you kiss?"

I shook my head.

"That's okay," Tifa assured me. "It's only the first date. Did you touch her skin?"

"She got goosebumps," I replied.

"That means there is a spark!" she announced happily. "So when's date number two?"

"We haven't set it," I replied.

"Do it soon," Tifa commanded. "Meanwhile, I need to set mine with Cloud."

"Have you asked him out yet?" I asked.

Tifa shook her head.

"I need to get his attention first," she replied, "so I changed my wardrobe."

She then stepped out from behind the dresser and approached me until she was a yard away.

I couldn't believe my eyes.

On the bottom, she was wearing a black mini-skirt and a pair of red sneakers. On the top, she was wearing a white crop-tank with suspenders over it.

"Well," she began, "what do you think?"

"If you weren't my cousin," I said, "you'd look hot."

Tifa smiled and pecked me on the cheek.



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