Chapter 9

So it’s now updated with the ones I’ve put on fanfiction.net. Damn, I’m still getting used to this interface in wordpress. Anyway, feel free to comment what you think of this stuff. (Once you read it, anyway..)

 

Chapter 9: Falling

“Why is the President Shin Ra here?” Tifa asked in an incredulous voice. She already knew the answer, though: It was just as Cloud said, a trap. But that raised the question of how. Even if they increased the security in all the reactors, for the president to be in the one they actually planned to bomb- it was too much of a coincidence. The only answer was-.

“A traitor.” Cloud said like the calm before the storm, tense and prepared.

“No way!” Barret shouted. “No one apart from AVALANCHE knew of the plans, no one!”

“But…” Tifa cut herself off. That only meant that one of them was the traitor.

The president seemed to be looking at them in amusement.

“Ahh.. So you must be that… What do you call it?” he asked with mocking eyes.

“AVALANCHE!” Barret said defiantly. “And don’t you forget it!”

Jeez Barret, no need to antagonize them further. But that was fine- distraction had its purposes. Now how to escape…

“Long time no see, President.” Cloud said, his eyes unblinking.

The president gave a start at that.

“Long time no see…? Ahh…” He looked at Cloud’s eyes. “You’re the one who quit SOLDIER and joined AVALANCHE. I knew you’d been exposed to Mako from your eyes.”

“Tell me, traitor, what was your name?”

“Cloud. Cloud Strife.”

“Forgive me for asking but I can’t be expected to remember every SOLDIER’s name”, the man said, as if not really interested. “Unless, of course, if you become another Sephiroth. Yes, he was brilliant, perhaps TOO brilliant..”

The president seemed to be muttering to himself more than talking to them but he got Cloud’s interest. Sephiroth? What was it about him? He disappeared years ago…

“Don’t give a damn ’bout none of that! This place’s goin’ up with a big BANG soon! Serves y’all right!” Barret seemed to have gotten over the confusion of the moment and was all fired up again.

President Shin Ra sighed.

“And such a waste of good fireworks, just to get rid of vermin like you…”

“VERMIN!? That’s all you can say…VERMIN!” Barret was now enraged. Not good. “Y’all Shinra’re the VERMIN, killing the planet! And that makes you King VERMIN! So shu’up jackass!”

“You are beginning to bore me.” He did sound bored. “If you’ll excuse me, I have a dinner I must attend. I’ve arranged a playmate for you all, though, so don’t worry.”

“Dinner!?” Barret exclaimed, incredulous, as the president started boarding his chopper. He aimed at the president. “I ain’t even started with-”

“Tch.” Cloud muttered in distaste as he casted an intense flame to counter the beam headed towards Barret.

“What’re you playing at!?” Barret glared at Cloud. “I almost had him!”

“Idiot. That THING almost had you.” Cloud corrected, pointing at what seemed to be a red robot with fans and vents around its body.

“What is that thing?” Tifa shouted as she dodged a barrage of bullets from the robot.

“Meet AIRBUSTER, a techno-soldier!” The president’s voice seemed to be amplified. “ Our Weapon Development Department created him. I’m sure the data he’ll extract from your dead bodies will be of great use to us in future experiments. Now, if you’ll excuse me…”

“This is from SOLDIER?” Tifa looked incredulous as she watched the helicopter ride away on the night.

“No way! It’s just a machine!” Cloud said angrily.

“In any case, we have to do something about it!” Barret ran on the platforms, narrowly avoiding a another laser.

Well, it seems that he talks sense sometimes. But…

“SOLDIER? This thing? It’s too early for you to be challenging a real SOLDIER!” Cloud said as he jumped, his mako enhanced body helping him reach the Airbuster’s height.

For those few seconds, it seemed that time slowed down. The robot’s arm was glowing and it was absorbing air slowly. Air compression?

Cloud brought up his bangles and crossed them, green and blue materia pulsing in unison ever so slowly…

Bolt…” Cloud whispered. “ALL!”

Time sped up.

A hundred lightning bolts came from all directions and targeted the Airbuster. Originally a technique for attacking multiple enemies, Cloud modified the process a bit, allowing a focused attack to the enemy.

“Hah!” Cloud spun as he got down.

“Tss.. Show-off.” Barret snickered.

“Got a problem?” Cloud glared.

“Stop!” Tifa said in a commanding voice. “It’s still not over.”

Cloud looked over his shoulder and saw the robot levitating a bit. Damaged but definitely far from destroyed.

“Well, it looks like it won’t be able to fly up now.” Cloud pointed at the fried parts. “Let’s surround it. I’ll go around!”

Surrounded in front and behind, the robot had nowhere to go.

Self-destruct sequence activate

Tifa was like a human weapon, sending a flurry of kicks and punches which passed through the metal and backed up as Barret fired a Big Shot.

Seriously, what was Tifa doing all this years? Cloud thought, incredulous. In any case, time to wrap this up!

“Guys, move back!” Cloud said as his blue eyes glowed in sync with the area around his hands and the Buster Sword.

“Heehhhhh” Cloud groaned for a moment as the mako gathered in his arms. He let it burst. “Cross Slash!”

The Airbuster exploded as a fiery glow of a cross remained on the air, taking the parts of the platform around it.

“Damn!” Cloud cursed. Cross Slash didn’t make things explode.

“Hey, you all right!?” Barret shouted as Cloud held on the edge of the destroyed platform.

He could have made it but another explosion started.

“The bomb! We took too long!” Tifa moaned.

Barret’s eyes met his. Cloud nodded.

“It’s gonna blow, let’s go Tifa.” Barret said quietly.

“But Cloud… Barret, can’t you do something?” Tifa looked at Cloud. Damn, his hands were slipping.

“Not a damn thing.” Barret growled. “Hey, you gonna be alright?”

“Don’t worry about me, idiots.” Cloud said grimly. “Worry about yourselves! I’ll be fine.”

“Cloud! Please don’t die! You can’t die! There’s still so much I want to tell you!” Tifa had tears on her eyes.

“I know, Tifa…” Cloud smiled at her. Then he glared at Barret. “But, will you guys please stop talking like this is the end? It’s making me more bloody nervous! It’s irritating!”

“Okay. Sorry about this.” Barret said gruffly as he carried Tifa into the other building to safety. Odd, he sounded sincere…

                The platform was starting to get too hard to hold. Everything around was already ablaze.

                He could let go and fall or get his hand burned and STILL fall.

                “No brainer!” Cloud said mockingly as his hands let go.

                Hero, huh?

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