The Orphans of Cerberus

BY : Fetherhd
Category: Final Fantasy VII > General
Dragon prints: 1741
Disclaimer: Square Enix holds all rights the the FFVII world and its characters. This is a not for profit fanfiction

The Orphans of Cerberus Ch. 43

Rude whistled at Whisper to catch the white's attention. The male stopped his frantic pace for a moment and listened as the Captain's rough voice echoed over the intercom.
"Hey…. you boys better find a good fricken hand hold down there…things are fixing to get pretty damned rough!"
Crimson eyes blinked, then the beast wrapped his tail around a coil of cable. Rude took care to make sure he was well braced. A sharp yelp jerked The Turk's eyes back and he caught Whisper putting out the smoking end of that long appendage with hasty swipes of his tongue. One dark brow arched in question. The albino gave the Turk a happy, but sheepish look and flicked his fingers at the coil.
"Don't touch that…I've got the main cycling up and it is live!"
Cid swore as he powered up the auxiliary engines. The whole ship shuttered and metal moaned as the duel rotors chopped the air, straining to lift excess weight created by ice and snow. The great machine started to slowly rise. The floor bucked and the craft twisted violently as she got enough altitude to feel the full force of the wind.
The Captain wrestled with the helm, trying to keep their nose up and level as the same downdraft that had slammed Reno's copter down tried to do the same to them. Reno reached over the shorter man and added his strength to the fight. Cid did not waste the breath to swear at him or to thank him His worried gaze was on the twin engine's gauges as both needles crept into the red.
"Fuck…come on you bitch…fly!"
Both experienced flyers winced as their ears picked up the high pitched whine that said an engine had reached its’ limits and was going to soon protest in a spectacular manner. Highwind's hand dived frantically for the throttle only to be intercepted by Reno.
"Damn it…CAPTAIN…if ya can't get us over the peaks we are as good as dead anyway!"
Cid hissed and slashed a glance at the gauges…they were pegged over past the red.
Reno did not relent.
"YO…Chaos is going to vaporize that mountain! This canyon is goin to channel the ground wave right down on top of us! We gotta get some altitude!"
The string of words that came out of the blonde's mouth, made even the jaded Turk's brows shoot up. Still… Highwind proved he had balls, he pushed the throttles until they were wide open. The engines took on a new desperate note and still the wind pushed them back.
Cid tapped the glass over the gauges… and very quietly murmured…
"We are so fricken screwed!"
A deep throb suddenly shook the great craft. Cid's blue eyes flew wide and he slapped Reno's hand away as the Turk pointed at another gauge. It had been quiescent. Now the needle leaped to life.
"Holy SHIT!…That pink assed bastard did it! The fricken main is online and…. ah Fucking HELL! Now I'm gonna have ta fricken apologize to the big genius of a monkey!”
The pilot flicked the cover off of a toggle and slammed it up. The throb changed to a slow thump as the huge center rotors started to spin. The airship lurched up.
Reno crowed and pumped a fist into the air….
"YO…Come on baby….lift your fat ass for yer daddy!"
Cerulean blue eyes slashed the redhead's way and an answering… almost savage.. grin lit the Captain's face. Funny thing…it was an exact match to the exhilarated look that made the younger pilot's face seem to glow.
The big ship responded as only a good ship…much loved… would. As her main screamed its’ way up to speed, she put her shoulders to the wind and ploughed her way into the sky!
As they topped the peaks….Highwind let Reno watch were they were going, he was desperately scanning the storm roiled clouds …looking for the missing. For a moment he thought it was in vain…then his sharp gaze caught a dark speck in the white of the blowing snow. The pilot could tell instantly that his friend was in deep trouble. The same nasty wind currents that had tried to pin his craft to the ground were tossing the great winged demon around like he was so much chaff.
Ah FUCK….the Captain could not believe he was going to do this!
He ducked under Reno's arm and when the startled Turk took his hand off the helm, Cid's strong, broad one grabbed it and put it back on. The other slender hand was engulfed and the older man danced them across the triple throttles.
"Starboard, Port ,and Main…fuckin keep er straight on into the shitten wind. I'd prefer ya kept her fricken level and steady as hell for a few!"
Reno's green eye's flew wide and then blazed mako blue as he put his strength into the helm, heeling the big ship over to point her bucking nose straight into the storm. The three engines howled as he throttled up to compensate. Cid gave the grinning Turk a curt nod….grabbed a safety line and ran for the outside observation deck.
The Captain’s face was twisted into a grimace of concern as he attached his line inside the balcony's door and staggered out into the storm. He hummed with worry as the wild wind slammed Chaos down a couple of hundred feet and those great bloodied wings beat with driving thrusts trying to slow the fall while the demon was tossed from side to side. Mother Gia…how was the ancient being staying air born with just the power of his own two wings? For that matter HOW in the fricken HELL had Chaos gotten off of the ground carrying that kind of load? The flyer shook his head…totally impressed in spite of himself.
His gaze jerked back with a surprised curse as his temporary pilot… pulled a Reno… and dropped HIS ship straight down…in essence moving them closer to the struggling flyer. (Cid had to give the boy credit…the Turk DID keep her perfectly straight and level as he did this!) Chaos must have sensed them, because his weary head lifted and Highwind caught a hot flash of golden narrowed eyes, as the demon redoubled his efforts.
Cid hissed at this bitch of a northern storm. The fickle wind current suddenly turned, catching those straining sail like wings and driving the two bodies forward and up. The updraft caught the burdened demon throwing him as if his great weight were nothing. The bat winged fucker was going to come in too high and slam hard into the fricken hull! The Captain reacted instinctively. As the struggling flyer was carried high over the rail…the man leaped up, grabbed what black and grey he could get a hand hold of and swung his compact weight over and down.
It was enough to change Chaos' uncontrolled trajectory. Instead of slamming into the unyielding wall, all three tumbled through the flight deck's open doorway. The exhausted demon had just enough presence of mind to close his wings around all, as they hit the deck, then slid and rolled to a flesh bruising stop. It was a testament to how much the dark lord had drained himself when the minute they settled into a tangled heap, his form dissolved to be replaced by a barely conscious gunman. A stunned Cid heard Reno above the howl of the wind.
"Oh… HELL… no!"
Lifting his head, the Captain got a quick glimpse as the mountain of granite that had hidden the labs seemed to…swell. OH SHIT! His eyes reflexively closed as the entire mass of it disappeared in a brilliant searing blue flash. For the first time in his adult life…Cid's "imaginative" mouth failed him.
"ARGHH…..RENO! Get her ass turned to the wind and RUN!"
"Mother FUCKER!"
The Captain tried to scramble up as Reno…his face, dead white, disobeyed! The three on the floor started to slide as the ship's nose rose. Her pilot kept her head on to the oncoming pressure wave, feathering the throttles. There was a soft grunt from the black form under Cid and he felt a powerful hand close over his ankle. A foot grabbed onto Valentine's gauntleted arm and the other grasped a rail. Shadow's thick tail wound itself around that foot…locking it down. Every one was shoved tight into the floor as the airship lifted fast, ruthlessly being force up by the mass of air being pushed ahead of the explosion. Reno jammed the throttles forwards and as they topped the wave, he daringly spun the ship on her axis. The straining aircraft practically leaped forwards, listing heavily to Port as Reno kept her moving sideways at full throttle. Shadow snarled quietly and tightened his grip. They were in danger of being flung right out the door. Vincent hooked his good hand into Cid's waist band just as the Captain found his voice!
"Holy flaming chocobo NUTS…Reno… you fricken, air sucking ASSHOLE from a Gods be DAMNED lunatic asylum!"
Highwind could not believe this. He could feel his baby vibrating under him, her struts moaning with the strain. If you had told the Captain that a massive airship could be SURFED down the rolling bow wave of an explosion before this, he would have called you a fucking loon! Reno (the brilliant…albeit CRAZY motherfucker) whooped like a banshee, his lean form holding the helm hard over, forcing the mighty ship to hold to her course with everything he had.
"OH YEAH! FUCKING ride er baby…YO…ride er ta HELL and back!"
The explosive wave eventually ran out of momentum. Reno slowed the craft to run with the storm, then watched apprehensively as Cid untangled himself from his fellow floor huggers.
The redhead stuttered a little as he tried to explain…
"YO…Cid…eh…Captain…If we had turned our ass to it…she'd of been rolled like a small town whore!
The Captain very slowly stalked up to the helm. His cerulean eyes never left the redhead's face as he ran a slightly shaky hand through his hair, than calmly lit a smoke. A good solid inhale seemed to steady the blonde's nerves. Reno winced as the man took one blunt finger and lightly tapped the Turk's solid chest.
"Ya had better fuckin listen good…cuz I am going to shitten say this only once. YOU are the Gods be DAMNED… craziest…LUCKIEST…fuckin son of a bastard I have ever had the fricken dubious pleasure of knowing."
Highwind's face was solemn, and his next words were utterly quiet with no trace of his usual flamboyance. …
"Son…that was probably one of the best seat of the pants feats of piloting that I have ever had the honor to see!"
The blunt finger turned hard as the older man gave the redhead a serious poke.
"NOW… having fricken said that…get yer fucking, flame crotched, INSANE ass… away from my damned helm!"
Abraham silently watched Marion as she read and then re-read the results of Ice's latest blood work. The little Vet had not rested more than a few minutes since they had returned to Shinra Mansion. She had been ruthlessly driving herself into the ground.
Shadow would recover. Whisper had spent a harrowing four hours in surgery with his brother, helping Marion and Griffin get that accursed collar off of the black's neck. Abraham had practically vaporized the hateful thing when it was brought out. Although… it was what had saved his son in the long run. The repeated dosing of liquid silver that he had received as "punishment" had helped the black's body build up a premature resistance to the corrosive poison.
The Vet also made herself responsible for a very impatient Yuffie and…. Ice... who drifted in and out of awareness. Griffin had taken over the care of the newborns, who were all doing well. All… that is except the little female who had been warmed back into life. That little one had evidently not been able to draw enough life giving oxygen in the one breath she had been allowed to take before her long freezing. Her body was slowly ticking along…but there was no mind evident behind the soft topaz of her blank eyes.
The Patriarch tilted his head as he heard Reno enter the lab. AH….he had been waiting for the boy.
"Marion… you need to get some rest."
The elderly man winced as the Vet slammed a hand down on the lab table and then violently swept glass and paper onto the floor. Her husky voice was a breathless sob.
"Damn it Abraham…I do not have the time to sleep. I am trying…I've got to….it's just not FAIR!"
The man waited patiently and Marion finally looked up to meet his warm grey gaze with haunted eyes.
"I can't save her….and I don't have the heart to tell HIM this!"
The woman did not notice the Turk as he quietly slipped behind her. A flash of gold from the darkness on one medical bed showed that SOMEONE had noticed.
The Alpha wolf held her attention.
"I will tell the winged one…you do not have to be the one to do this."
Marion looked as if she were going to protest then she yelped as Reno deftly planted the hypo he carried in her thigh. The woman rounded on him and the man stepped back, startled by the desperation in her eyes. She staggered and strong arms caught her as she fell.
"Damn it Reno…please…" The rest was almost a sob. "I don't want to sleep alone!"
Surprised by the fear he heard in those words. The Turk gently cradled her increasingly limp body.
"Yo…you can bunk with Whisper and me?…"
The woman managed a derisive snort at this.
"Yeah…that's what I figured you'd say!"
There was a soft rustle. When they looked towards him, Shadow rolled onto his side to make room and lifted the edge of his blankets. At Reno's questioning look the woman gave him a relieved albeit groggy nod. She was asleep before the man settled her gently beside the beast. Shadow slipped an arm around the small body and pulled her into the curve of his belly as he settled the blanket around the exhausted woman's shoulders. Abraham gave his son a thoughtful nod then he rose and left the lab.
The Patriarch moved silently through the quiet halls of the mansion. The only way they had been able to get Yuffie to rest…was to dump the dead to the world body of Valentine into her bed and order her to keep the man there. When the old wolf slipped into the Princess' room, he was not surprised to see the girl fast asleep, curled up against the man's chest. Vincent lifted his head and wearily watched as the grey eyed man approached the bed. Abraham kept his voice low.
"Marion told me to tell you that it is all right now for the father…um…fathers to come down and see Ice's sons."
Abraham watched silently as impassive crimson eyes studied each of Ice's newborn sons in turn. Vincent bit the end of a finger and slipped his leather glove off. That hand dropped to gently shift the three little bodies apart. The smallest protested this with a little squeak. He was as black as his uncle….with wings of unrelieved night. When the little one's eyes opened to indignantly track a long, pale finger…they were the startling vivid blue of a mid summer sky. The second boy was a soft blonde…almost the exact color of ripened wheat…he sleepily blinked deep burgundy eyes at his…ah…fathers…tightened his butter yellow wings around himself and promptly went back to sleep. A careful hand moved soft wisps of mane out of the way…and then stroked across the tiny nubs of creamy white horns. The first born was an unusual dove grey, there was almost a lilac hue to his silken coat. He already had the beginnings of a black, spiky mane that was tipped with rich cinnamon red. The eyes that gleamed intelligently up at the bonded three were Chaos' glimmering gold. This one fluttered HIS twilight purple wings and crankily insisted that he be allowed to wiggle back and resume sucking on a brother's tail!
Something imperceptivity tight relaxed in the old wolf's face as Valentine's still, pale features softened. The weary crimson of his eyes brightened and then warmed to rich burgundy and his mouth sudden curved up in a rare…true smile. The fingers of the gunman's flesh hand gently tickled the black's velveteen belly. The little male squirmed and his blunt muzzle opened in a toothless grin as his tail coiled along Vincent's gun calloused palm. The man's whispered words were almost inaudible.
"Ahh…Mother Gia….Chaos, Galian! Our "puppy's" are….beautiful!"
Vincent got a vivid image of Galian with his whole body awag. The wagging slowed as Griffin appeared at Abraham's elbow…none of the bonded three liked the look that shadowed the Patriarch's grey eyes.
Vincent desperately tried to shield his heart from the storm of emotions that raged through him, centering around his two demons. Any who saw the gunman at this moment would have no clue as to the maelstrom going on inside of his mind, so still was his pale face. Chaos hovered quietly, close to the surface, as the man settled in a chair Abraham had placed by Ice's bed. The gunman wanted to speak with the golden female for a moment, then he would step back and give the Ancient Being time to be with his mate.
The man’s ungloved flesh hand softly stroked the sleeping female's rich cinnamon mane.
"Mother Gia….I am so sorry Ice…maybe if we hadn't followed you…this…"
A soft growl vibrated his hand and he found himself looking into tired silvery blue eyes. The female's hands drifted through a hesitant dance.
"Vincent Valentine…Don't you DARE feel sorry about this! I am very glad that you followed and brought Whisper and myself up out of the dark. I.. thank you…for allowing me to live in light and warmth, even for just a little while.
Valentine understood fully when her pale gaze drifted to look around the med lab and her fingers weakly danced again.
"Chaos…I do not wish to spend anymore of my life in this place…would you please take me to sleep in my room?"
Valentine turned a questioning glance to Griffin. The quiet man sighed…
"We are just buying her time… the outcome will be the same no matter where Ice is at."
The bartender met the gunman's unhappy crimson/gold gaze unwaveringly.
"If I take her off of support, she has a few more hours of consciousness, then coma. It will be no more that forty eight hours."
A slight nod…and Vincent let Chaos come forwards. He would not deny his eldest what time the golden were had left. The demon waited silently for Griffin and Abraham to disconnect the machines and remove the needles that were tying Ice to life. Then the winged one carefully carried his mate up the long staircase and settled her onto her bed.
Ice's pale lips lifted in a contented smile as she reacquainted herself with the place that Cid and her had chosen as HERS with a loving glance. All of her odd little "Troop" drifted in one at a time to give the female their love and to say good-by. Even Rude, who carried Yuffie up…the solemn Turk was only able to plant a soft kiss on Ice's velveteen lips and then he hastily had to leave. Marion and Abraham brought the kits to stay in her room and the three sons nestled together, sleeping in there mother's arms one last time. No one had the heart to tell the dying female about the one little daughter who's slowly breathing, mindless body remained in the incubator situated not to far from her bed. A few hours later, when she slid into a final coma…Chaos buried himself so far down in his Host's mind it was as if the eldest wasn't there at all.
Highwind had already said his good byes to sweet little Ice but he joined the others in her room when Abraham came onto the ship to let him know that she was leaving them. The Captain was very worried about Chaos. Valentine had distractedly told him that there had been no sign from his eldest for over twenty four hours and the man was worried about the Ancient demon's state of mind. It was as if the demon was gone. Cid was surprised to see a bewildered look of loss in those crimson eyes when the man confessed that he missed the dark one's presence. The blonde swallowed against a sudden lump in his throat…Mother Gia…It was bad enough that he was already missing the breath of sunshine that Ice had brought into his life…NO…he suddenly realized that HE missed the bat winged fucker too!
When he joined the solemn group by Ice's death bed…the pilot looked hard into Valentine's dull red eyes. There was not a hint of gold there and when Cid raised a questioning brow…the gunman gave a dispirited shake of his head.
FUCK…Cid could NOT believe he was going to do this…and in front of everyone!
The man stubbed out his smoke and two strong hands closed on a surprised Valentine's shoulders.
"HELL…Fucking promise me ya ain't goin ta fricken knock me inta next week!"
Ruby eyes flew wide…
Cerulean blue bored into the crimson.
"Listen ya bat winged fucker…I know ya can shitten hear me! Ya just can't do this. I fricken understand WHY ya might want ta pull a shitten Vincent and hide fucking forever…but there are a hell of a lot of people out here who are yer Gods be damned friends…we are HERE ta help ya through this, that’s what FRIENDS are for!"
The man's rough voice broke….and he gave the stunned gunman a little shake.
"Damn it Chaos….I wanna be here for ya…Doncha….you can't fricken…I wanna …ah HELL!"
Vincent went rigid as the Captain leaned forwards, his desperate gaze never wavering until he settled his strong lips over the gunman's. The kiss wasn't passionate…it was almost chaste. BUT…it did stir a reaction. The raven haired man held himself perfectly still as he felt Chaos push forward for the first time in over a day. The demon returned the flyer's gentle, tentative kiss, and then he rested Vincent's pale forehead against that of the blonde's. The deep, rough voice was a quietly pleading whisper.
There was a whisper of power that moved through the still, grief filled air of Ice's room. The Goddesses golden light danced on the slight breeze…and Chaos' broken prayer was answered.
"Do not despair…beloved son….I am here…"
Vincent sucked in a surprised breath as he felt the brush of unseen warm lips on his forehead. The words that accompanied this were as soft as the rustle of an angel's wings.
"The Mother recognizes that these three have sacrificed and suffered for her sake. We give this gift as a small payment toward that debt. Gatherer of souls…come forward and do that which you were created to do."
Vincent felt Chaos try to withdraw back to the depths of his mind.…
The silky voice was inexorable….
"I do not …ASK… Obey me in this, Harbinger of Doom, and feel what it is to be a bringer of hope…all will be well. Hold the little vessel and "gather" the other's life essence."
Vincent did not mind stepping back at all, he did not wish to bear the brunt of the emotional storm that was raging through his eldest's heart. All watched as the great demon gathered the small, unmoving body of his pale daughter with incredible gentleness and held her, cradled in the crook of his arm. Then the Ancient Being carefully settled on the bed beside the still form of his mate. He eased Ice up until she was carefully infolded in the comforting strength of his wing. Chaos ran his talons gently through the cinnamon mane, then with a softly whispered…“I AM SORRY MY LOVE”… he rested his hand lightly over his lover's failing heart.
Watching and "feeling" from inside his eldest's mind, Valentine's own heart broke as a long, golden tail stroked along warm grey skin and slowly wound itself around the demon's thick wrist. Beside him, trapped in a being for whom experiencing grief was a new and terrible thing, Galian lifted up his muzzle, singing Chaos' sadness for him. The gunman realized that all the Were's present had dropped into their beast form. Raising their shaggy heads, the "Family" gave voice to an eerie harmony. The sad beauty of wolf song sounded in the room.
Whisper sagged, dropping onto his rump to sit with his long toes folded and his tail wound into a tight unhappy coil. Reno eased down beside him and let the white bury his long face into a warm, strong shoulder. Rude gently pulled an unabashedly sobbing Yuffie into his arms so she could lean on his solid strength. Abraham's beautiful voice rang out like the deep tolling of a bell and the song became a haunting chorus as all of the Family and forest brethren who had gathered on the mansion grounds joined in.
Glimmering points of green energy started to lift and coalesce around Chaos. Ice's tail released its’ hold and fell limp as her form began to fade. The golden light of the Goddess flared bright, mantling and then obscuring the dark form of the demon.
"This was a bright spirit…dimmed but not extinguished by pain, grief and loneliness. Only in the autumn of her life was her flame allowed to shine, warming those around her with kindness and compassion. We give this one the chance to relive a stolen childhood, surrounded by Family and protected by those who have finally opened their shuttered hearts so that they may know joy!"
The glimmering mix of green and gold blazed like the new life in spring, swirling and tightening around the too still form of the little kit. Then it seemed to sink, fading until just bright highlights were left. These settled on the little female's pale coat, dappling her body in shimmering gold. The power of the Goddess lifted away, causing Chaos' raven mane to rise and dance as if being caressed by gentle fingers. The grim face lifted and golden eyes closed for a moment as for the first time in his long existence the demon was granted a gentle peace. Movement against his chest had his eyes snapping open and then widening as a tiny golden tail, stroked along the back of his hand and twined around and between his fingers. Wonder made the dark lord's aquiline face breathtakingly beautiful as Chaos' daughter squeaked, and stretched. One soft wing, the color of new cream, opened and fluttered as her delicate wedge shaped muzzle split in a tongue curling yawn.
Cid had slipped silently up to kneel beside the demon and a dark wing lifted and then settled lightly around his shoulders as the man's blunt finger gently stroked the child's cinnamon mane. The gruff pilot's face lit up in a dazzling smile as the kit opened her sleepy eyes to gaze solemnly up at him.
"Well….I'll be damned….!"
They were the pale, pale blue of arctic ice.

(For a short time!)

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