DISCLAIMER: Not mine, theirs. I could still pretend, I hope...
STATUS: Final Fantasy VII crossover.
PAIRING: Anything but 1x2 and 3x4 is unacceptable in my book. Wu-kitty, however, is single, if anyone is interested... *snickers*
WARNINGS: Ummm... language? Sarcasm is laid a little thick, I think... Weirdness? OOC? You decide, I just know I have a migraine again...

 

The Chosen
Kel
Part 3/?

 

 

"You see my Gundam," he stated flatly, coldly narrowing his eyes on the redhead. "Now you have to die."

And he pulled the trigger, a roaring repercussion of a gunshot being carried with the gentle costal breeze.

Reno hadn't even had the time to react to the kid's sudden action. He didn't think the moppet would just out-and-out shoot him without further explanations! Usually the attacker was _supposed_ to yak a bit longer while he tried to formulate a plan. Apparently, this little sprat wasn't going to follow the Rules of Those Who Were Dumb and Oblivious to Intelligence of a True Evil Person.

Damn. The kid had to spoil _all_ his fun. But, of course, Reno didn't expect the kid to miss, either. And miss he did; judging by the whistle of the bullet and the buzzing of the repercussion, he didn't miss by much. But by the roar of pain and anger that came from behind him, he expected he was FAR from the kid's mind.

Normally Reno would have just let the sprat kill the monster on his own. Served the little sucker right for shooting at Reno of the New Turks! But the kid's look of obvious confusion and uncertainty...

The kid may have been a pro assassin, but this was the first time he'd ever seen a monster. It was evident in the way his statement–or what he had as an statement– just froze completely. Stupid brat; he acted like he never even heard of them! Intending to give the sprat a good talking to on the Ways of Assassination afterward, the New Turk quickly brought out his Nightstick and began to work at the huge monstrosity.

Five minutes later the monster was as dead as dead could get. The young boy just looked at him–well, more or less glared, really– and turned toward that _thing_. Without a thank you. How rude can you get?

"Yo, kid," Reno called out. "Aren't you going to at least apologize for trying to shoot me? How `bout a thank you?" He received neither. Irate, he stalked after the sprat with a mind to give him a good talking to. "And mentioning that monster..." he began, "don't you think you could act a little more professional? Staring in stunned stupidity can get you killed, you know that?"

"Hn," snortheth the sprat as he climbed that whatever-the- hell-it -was with ease. "You talk too much."

"So I've been told," Reno replied drily, almost humored. "You always this blunt, or is it a new thing for you?" Looking at the WEAPON-type thing, he frowned. "What the hell _is_ this, anyway? Looks like a WEAPON."

"It is a weapon," the kid replied coldly, but Reno sensed an underlying `duh' in that statement. Unperturbed, Reno shrugged and kicked it for good measure.

"Then why ain't it moving?" he asked in a mutter, mostly for himself to hear. But somehow, the kid heard, too.

"I am not yet piloting it," he replied in monotone. Reno grimaced; WEAPONs needed pilots? Sooo... Did this mean the kid was an ambassador from the Planet or something? Was he sent out into the surface to warn or protect the Planet?

Nahh. He'd been reading too many sci-fi books again.

Without an invitation –Reno preferred it this way; it annoyed the people he was trying to annoy– Reno scrambled up the machine to see what the sprat was up to. With little ado he plotted himself right at the edge of the cockpit entrence and peered inside.

He found himself on the wrong side of a gun barrel for the second time in ten minutes. Was he having a nice day or what?

Or what.

"Get off my Gundam," the sprat demanded curtly, once again with the cock of the gun. Reno wrinkled his nose at the demand but staid exactly where he was.

"Not a chance in hell," Reno commented thoughtlessly. "I need to give you a good talking to on the Ways of the Assassin. Number one: don't kill just anyone. You could be killing a convenient ally."

"Hn. Do you work for Oz?"

"Say wha?" Reno questioned in confusion. "Have you been watching the Wizard of Oz too much, or what?"

"Answer the question."

"No," Reno said drily. "I work for President Reeve. That help?"

The sprat tilted his head to the side. "Who's Reeve? What country am I in? What's your job with Reeve?"

"Methinks you doth not know much," Reno replied with a smirk. "Reeve is Reeve, you're in the Costa del Sol area, and I'm Reeve's personal bodyguard."

"So Reeve is here?"

"No. I'm on vacation." Reno raised one brow. "Don't get any ideas, kid. Last think we need is this world going into an uproar because an overzealous sprat decided he wasn't a happy camper."

"Hn." It didn't look as if the brat took any heed to Reno's warning. "What is Reeve's connection with Oz?"

"What the hell is Oz?"

"Hmm." The sprat ducked back into his cockpit, finally taking that blasted gun out of his face.. With a sigh Reno leaned over the edge to see a holographic screen pop up in front of the boy. With a bright `cool', he leaned farther and stuck his hand through the screen.

The sprat looked as if he didn't care, but the next comment told Reno it annoyed him. "Take your hand out of my screen."

With a cocky grin born with years of use, Reno asked teasingly, "Why? You gonna bite me?"

"Perhaps." That answer got him to jerk his hand back in a quick motion. It was the total conviction the kid said with the one word, and the straight face he held while saying it. In any case, Reno decided he should take his dangling legs out of the cockpit, too. Y'know; just for good measure.

After a moment the sprat made one of those little `hn' noises again. Curious, Reno bent over to look at what the brat was looking at. He couldn't read it; of course, the fact he was actually standing _behind_ the screen and looking at the backward image it had created, it wasn't much of a surprise. But from what he could tell it was a news clipping. A picture of what looked like a small, burned down town was on it.

"What's that?" Reno asked. The closest he could figure it was a picture of one of the underprivileged slums in Midgar, but the remaining forestry around it quelled that idea.

"According to this," the boy said in the same monotone voice as always, "it is what's left of Costa del Sol after the Federation bombed it."

"Say _what_?!"

~~~~~~~~~~

"So you're saying you killed a big dinosaur before you got here?" Duo asked his crony with a cross-eyed look that seemed to just scream "You need more help than we can give you, Wu-kitty." Wufei didn't reply to the hidden comment. Without a second word he tilted his drink back with a sigh afterwards.

"Maxwell, I know what I saw. What I saw was a huge green dinosaur stoning people."

"No way! You mean Dino was a drug dealer too?"

"Argh! Baka!" Wufei scolded harshly. "Not that type of stoning!"

"Soooo.... Dino was throwing rocks at people?"

"No!" Wufei said in irritation, looking as if he would whap the baka a good one any second. "It was turning people into stone, moron!"

"Oh!" Duo exclaimed with a wide, teasing grin. "Okay. Y'know, you should make things clear every once in a while. There could be ten different terms for `it was stoning people' and I could have named all of them without even thinking that the monster was actually turning people into rock statues. Just so you'd know..."

"Ba-a- ka," Wufei muttered in exasperation. "Talking to you is not what I need right now."

"Yeah. You need a professional psychotictrist."

"It's psychiatrist, and I don't need one," Wufei claimed tiredly. "What I need right now is a good place to sleep."

"You're outta luck," Duo said in true regret. "We don't even have the cash to pay for the food," he added with a wave of the hand, motioning to the empty plates on the table, "or the drinks." With that he held up his own drink and downed it fully. Amazing. One drink and he already felt sloshed... Considering he could hold his liquor better than the best, he had a feeling he was supposed to be in a worse shape at the moment of consumption.

"As I was about to explain," Wufei added, taking out a pouch, "we have the money."

"Eh? What'd ya do, rob someone?" Duo asked as he took the brown pouch from the Chinese youth's hand. It was plain brown, made of cloth similar to leather. An `A' was stitched on the side in a wide, graceful way. With a glance inside, Duo's eyes widen. "This is gold!"

"They call it gil, I believe," Wufei replied. "It's apparently their currency here. If they have this all over the place," he raised one delicate brow, "don't you think Oz would have certainly taken over this town?"

"Most likely," Duo replied with a small frown as he and Wufei stood from the booth and walked toward the bartender. "Why do think they haven't?"

"My thoughts on this at the moment is irrelevant," the Chinese pilot said smoothly, nodding at the price needed to be paid and giving the brown-haired beauty with large female attributes in her chest area. As he dug through the pouch to count the sum, the young woman smiled at Duo.

"You're travelers, huh? Welcome to New Midgar." Her voice was melodious, smooth as silk and husky. He grinned, nodding.

"Yes, ma'am," he chirped cheerfully. "Everyone so far has been very nice," he commented further, "which isn't what I can say about where I come from."

"Oh?" she said, taking the needed gil from Wufei's hand. "Where are you from?"

Duo faltered for a millisecond. Wherever they were, it was far from whatever he learned in geography, that was for sure. He could just pick any random city he knew, but for some reason he had a strange foreboding against that little idea. Turning his eyes slightly to the Chinese youth, he raised one brow slightly, challenging the other pilot in his knowledge.

The Chinese pilot grunted, handing the sum of the money to the tender. "We just came from Nibelhiem, traveling from the mountains from Rocket Town. We just took a boat from Costa del Sol to Junon and walked here."

Duo frowned. Rocket Town? Where the heck did Wu-man get _that_ kind of name?...

"I know what you're talking about now." The girl smiled sympathetically. "I used to live there myself until it was burned down a few years back. Now the actors that Shinra hired live there as permanent residents. They don't like it when people start poking in their business. Especially travelers."

Duo didn't know what she was talking to, but he decided to roll with the punch. "We figured that," he said drily, rolling his eyes. "Wu-chan didn't get along with anybody there. So stuffy..."

"Shut up, Maxwell," Wufei said tiredly, narrowing his eyes slightly. To the bartender he asked, "Do you know where any adequate inns are located, miss?"

Wufei? Civil? Oooo, Duo was certainly going to talk to the other boy about that later. "What my friend means is, do you know any place _cheap_ but has good room service?" Wufei glared at the braided idiot, but Duo only grinned blithely and blew a friendly raspberry. The girl smiled softly at their antics, pointing to the north.

"The New Midgar Inn is north of here," she supplied helpfully. "It's close to the construction of President Reeves office. You can't miss it."

~~~~~~~~~~

After the boys left, Tifa Lockheart shot a look over to her companion and friend, Yuffie Kisaragi. "You're saying the one with the braid came out of the stomach of a WEAPON?"

The ninja girl nodded vigorously, her eyes following the two boys passed the glass windows. One of the boys–the one with the small ponytail and coppery complection of a Wutainese man–turned to look back into the window and looked straight at her. The girl smiled, waved, and turned back around with a mutter.

"I bet his friend is just the same," she claimed seriously. "I'm not joking, Tif. That guy came out of a WEAPON and walked here. The monsters refused to go anywhere near him."

"Oh, come on!" she laughed lightly, holding one gloved hand to her lips. "No monster is afraid to go near anyone! Even the timid creatures come out to bring dangers to the human kind."

"Not any of these monsters," Yuffie muttered moodily, peeved that her friend didn't believe her. "A wolf ran from him in fear, Tif. I _know_ that they fear no one, but for some reason it's like he's protected from all threats." A suggestive tone came to her voice as she added slyly, "Protected by the Planet, for example?"

Tifa hesitated, unsure of wether she should reply to that or not. Yuffie, as sneaky and devious as she was, wouldn't be so serious about something like that if it wasn't true. Sure, Yuffie had played her fair share of mean and cruel jokes to get a laugh for herself. Like the time she claimed she saw Hojo slinking around New Midgar. Or the time she told Cloud that Tifa had a date with some handsome man she met at the bakery. Or the time....

"Now that I think about all the stories you've told us in the past," Tifa finally replied, "I think about how likely this particular story has a chance of being another one of your practical jokes."

Yuffie's jaw dropped. "I'm _serious_, Tif! Haven't you ever heard of the little boy that cried youko?"

"...."

".... I think you describe it `the little boy that cried Nibel Wolf."

"Oh, yeah! Sure, I've heard of it."

"Doesn't this strike you a bit similar?" she went further, a pleading look spreading across her face. "I'm crying WEAPON here– don't look at me like that, the last time doesn't count!–, but when I really mean it this time, you don't believe me!" A terror-filled look crossed her face. "Gawd! Does this mean that guy's gonna sneak up on me at night and kill me??"

Tifa snorted. "I thought you were the best ninja in Wutai. Where'd all that courage and boldness go?"

"It ran away when I reminded myself of that stupid story!"

"...."

"Ti~fa..."

"Fine! I'll talk to Reeve and Cloud about it," Tifa replied irritably. "Now get out of here. I have a business to run, you know!"

"Thank you, Tif! You're the best!" With a V sign, she added teasingly, "besides me, of course!" Laughing, the girl dodged the plastic spatula thrown her way and ducked out of the door, leaving a exasperated Tifa shaking her head in exaggerated sorrow.

"What have I got myself in now?..."

~~~~~~~~~~

It was dark that night in New Midgar. The people of the modest city were sleeping peacefully in their own homes after a hard day's work. The elderly told their grandchildren stories of the olden times, the children listened in drowsy interest as they yawned and stretched, trying to keep their eyes open for as long as they could. Married couples, old and new, embraced in the safety of their own homes, for once feeling content with the world as was.

Two figures came riding in silently, blown in like leaves in the wind. They disembarked their mounts slowly, seemingly reluctant to let the giant birds go just yet. Finally, after a short, quiet discussion, they let go of the bridles and let the birds go their own way, back to the far where they belonged.

"I hope Duo is here," the blonde angel murmured quietly, standing closer to the lanky boy with the long bangs. "He usually isn't so careless as to leave his cockpit opened."

"Or leave his Gundam in plain view," added the lanky boy just as quietly as the other. They had found the black death Gundam a while back, while traveling from the small farm over the mountains. The fact it was just abandoned without any rations missing had worried the blonde boy immensely.

"Duo would have headed for the nearest town. Besides the Chocobo farm we passed, this is the closest area."

"Hai..." Quatre Winner paused, looking around the quiet town with a small smile. "This place doesn't even look like it's been touched by war. Not like all the other places we've been to," he added with an unusually bitter tone. Trowa Barton placed a soothing hand on one shoulder.

"Let us find an inn," he said noiselessly. "It is more likely than not that at least Duo will be there."

Quatre nodded in agreement, quickly calling out to the only figure he could see on the street. She seemed to be locking up a restaurant of sorts...

"Excuse me, miss?" he called, and the young pretty woman looked up from her routine to see who was calling her. She smiled softly in greeting, giving the lock a final twist before turning her full attention on the two young men.

"Hello," Quatre said warmly in return to the woman's gentle greeting. "I was wondering if you could help us find an inn to stay at... And if you've seen a short young man, very energetic, and has an incredibly long braid?"

She nodded. "The nice boy with the Wutainese friend, right? His name is Maxwell, isn't it?"

Quatre's smile brightened. "Yes! Did he and his friend go to the inn also?" //Wutainese?...//

"I believe he did," the woman informed them politely, nodding in agreement. "Are you traveling companions? I don't believe they mentioned any..."

The two boys paused, unsure how to reply to that musing though. Finally Trowa said, "We were separated. There were originally five of us. We are hoping our friend will meet us along the way."

She nodded, seemingly accepting their half truths. She politely gave them directions to the inn, pointing whichever way every once in a while. Finally she finished up with, "I told your friends they couldn't miss it. I hope you find them okay."

"Thank you," Quatre said courteously with a small bow. "You've been a big help. Sayonara!"

Her head tilted to the side, mouthing the unfamiliar word in the darkness and frowning. Filing that puzzle into the back of her mind. "Have a nice night!" she called to them as they walked off into the darkness.

~~~~~~~~~~

It was dark.

And it was cold.

It didn't let these minor technicalities bother it. They would arrive at their destination soon. And when they did, those lesser beings would pay.

They would pay dearly.

~~~~~~~~~~

Tifa was trained extensively in the arts. Not that she boasted often, she considered herself being at least one of the top twenty martial artists out there. One had to be the best at something was her motto in life, and she was good at martial arts.

That, and she made a mean AVALANCHE Special.

This, however, was beside the point. One of the uses of martial arts was to heighten all sense to a perfection and develop a decent sixth sense for battle. Her woman's intuition helped a great deal in this matter. Thus, this is how she knew she was being followed.

It didn't bother her at all. If she kept her guard up, she'd be prepared for her stalker if he ever decided to strike. It wasn't like she was helpless against some guy who got his kicks from stalking women in the middle of the night. Not every loony from Midgar could have died from the Meteor, ne? That was too bad...

The fact she lost track of her stalker as she neared her home bothered her greatly. One minute she glanced every once in a while to catch her shadow, the next he was just gone like the wind. As if he'd never existed. Tense and prepared, she slowly glided into the alley where she last `saw' her stalker.

"Hello, Ms. Lockheart."

Tifa's heart jumped into her throat when the collected and calculating tone reached her ears. She could see the figure in the darkness; short, yet it was too dark to see any physical features. But his voice was shockingly familiar. That voice...

"I don't have a lot of time to explain, but I request that you deliver a message for me." The figure stood straighter, no longer leaning against the wall as he had before. "The boys you have met are important, Ms. Lockheart. They are here to save the Planet, whether they know it or not."

"Young...?"

"I don't have a lot of time," he repeated, this time an urgent undertone filling his voice. "Ms. Lockheart, don't assume that the creature you fought at the Northern Crater was the last of its kind. They're coming for you. For vengeance. For the energy the Lifestream can provide it. They will corrupt the Planet and kill it slowly, leaving mankind alive to suffer through the times to come. And when the last of mankind dies, they will take the energy their life force fed to the starving Planet and leave it. Nothing but a ball of stones and mud."

"They? Who are–"

Suddenly the figure turned, running down the alleyway toward the other end. The last thing Tifa saw of the figure was cool, brilliant blue eyes that remained forever in her memory. She made a move to follow the short figure, but he was gone before she could go very far. Stopping her futile attempt, she simply stood alone in the empty alleyway, unbelieving of what she saw with her very own eyes.

"Rufus? Was that really Rufus Shinra?"

She had nothing but the cool night air and the twinkling stars to answer her.

End part 3

 

Kel: Coming up in the next chapter...

 

"Ma~an! Why did you have to be a pugnacious little bastard? That's _my_ job!"

"Why did you have to be a vexatious fool? That's _Duo's_ job."

"Ho-ho! I see Mr. Perfect is developing quite a sarcastic nature, eh? Why the change all of a sudden?"

"... Must be too much exposure to idiocy..."

"..... Hey, was that supposed to be an insult directed at me?"

"Do I honestly have to answer that?"

"... Little pipsqueak..."

 

Kel: What's this? _Heero_ developing a sense of humor?!? Where is my deranged mind taking me NOW? Find out in the next chapter... If you dare. Mhmhm... Mhmhmhmhmhm..... Mwahahahahahahahahahah! ^________^ C&C welcome!