Cait's Story

by Cait Sith

AUTHOR'S NOTE: The ideas of Cait Sith origins are not entirely my own. My buddy, Cloud, found the info. on a website. And although I don't know the name of the person who made it up, I thank him/her anyway. Oh, and one more thing, this is dedicated to you, Cloud Strife. My life long friend, my companion. If it weren't for you, I never would have know that Fan Fiction existed. Thanks for all your help, my best friend in the universe. What can I say, I'd much rather give up my moogle or Dr. Pepper than you, Cloud! Now that thats been said, enjoy the fic!

Prologue: In The Begining...

     People have been asking, so here it is! Where did I come from? In the begining, I was built by Professor Gast as a toy for Aeris. I was never activated by him, but instead was taken to the Shinra Headquarters by Hojo. There I was found, and rescued, by Reave. Reave studied my robotic interior, and using his limited technical skills, built a duplicate of me. This duplicate was activated and Reave took it to a meeting. At that meeting, he introduced me as his new idea for cheap labor. Being the jerk that he is (or should I say was), President Shinra decided to impliment me in a plan to destroy AVALANCHE.

     He never used this plan, seeing as he died before it was realized. Rufus then decided this plan was a great idea, and started it back up. That's how I came to be in AVALANCHE. As for my sacrifice at the Temple of the Ancients, that was a calculated risk on the part of Reave and I. He downloaded my memory, and rebooted the original me. He never got the chance to build a third me, though.

     As for his control over me, that was just a temporary thing. I usually acted on my own, but he could overide this with a remote control. Thats how he used me to help Rufus (when he was under his power). Now that he's in charge of Shinra, he let go of me. I now act on my own. And, that's how I came to be in AVALANCHE! Now that thats done, wanna hear about what we did after Sephiroth's defeat? GOOD! Well, here goes!

Chapter One: Rebirth...

     Cloud's eyes had finally adjusted to normal light after the bright flash. He turned and faced everyone.

     "Did you guys see...... Her?" he asked them.

     "Y-y-yes!" Tifa answered. "I saw Aeris' face... in the Lifestream."

     "Damn!" Barret yelled out. "She saved us agin!"

     "What'll we do now?" Tifa asked Cloud.

     "I have to go and see..." he told her. "Have to see... if.. she's..."

     "S**T!" Cid cursed. "I don't have time for this! I haven't seen Shera for a month or so!"

     "Yea!" Barret agreed. "I wanna see Marlene, now that the planet's saved!"

     "That's fine." Cloud said in his usual, cocky manner, "I'll go alone."

     "No you won't." Tifa corrected him. "I'll be right there beside you."

     "Thanks, Teef." Cloud thanked her. "Now, what about the rest of you?"

     "N-n-no!" Yuffie resonded to his inquiry. "I'm not going back into THAT thing!" She pointed at the crater as she said this.

     "Sorry, my friend." was RedXIII's reluctant response. "I must go back to my homeland. They need my guidance while grandpa's away."

     "... Cloud..." Vincent faced his friend. "... I can't help. I want... to find... Lucrecia. Drop me off near the Shinra sub, I must find my love, like you must find yours."

     "I understand..." Cloud reassured his dark companion. He then turned to the dazed Cait Sith. "And what about you, Cait?"

     "Who, me?" Cait awoke from his reverie. He though for a moment, then decided, "Sure! What's another adventure gonna hurt?!" Cait was keeping up his character on the outside, but inside, he really wanted to see Aeris again.

     "Alright!" Cloud adressed his crew. "Cid? May I use the ship?"

     "Of course!" Cid responded. "But... bring her back in one peice."

     "I promise, Cid." Cloud took the controls. He flew the marvelous ship around the planet, dropping off his companions. Barret was taken to Kalm, RedXIII was taken to Cosmo Canyon, Cid was dropped off at Rocket Town, Vincent took the sub to Lucrecia's cave, and Yuffie got off at Wutai.

     "At least we still have our materia!" Cait said as they waved bye to Yuffie.

     Alright!" Cloud had that serious look ok his face again. "I'm taking her to Bone Village!" With that, he ran into the cockpit.

     "I'm ready!" Tifa told him, chasing him to the helm.

     "Here we go again!" was all Cait could say.

     Cloud landed Cid's ship on the Northern Continent, near the small excavation site of Bone Village. They already had the Lunar Harp, so they ran into the Sleeping Forest without hesitation. Cait played a beautiful melody on the harp, causing the Sleeping Forest to awake, and allowing them to pass. As they made thier way to the Forgotten Capitol, they were attacked by many strange creatures. These were no problem, seeing as the three were so dedicated to find their fallen companion.

     They finally reatched the lake in which Aeris' body was kept. Cloud took a deep breath and dove to the bottom of the lake.

     "I'm going in to help him." Tifa informed Cait. She took a deep breath then jumped into the sparkling water.

     "Alright!" Cait said to nobody. "I'll... wait... here..." It was eerie out there by himself. Minutes passed, but it seemed like hours to the impatient, stuffed toy. "What's keeping them?!", the cat wondered aloud.

     Suddenly, both Cloud and Tifa broke through the surface, gasping for air. With them, they had the body of the last ancient.

     "Don't just stand there," Cloud yelled to Cait, "help us!"

     "What? In there?!" Cait reponded. "Did you forget I'm a robot?! I'll short out if I get wet!"

     Cloud growled as he and Tifa struggled to bring Aeris ashore. Tifa huffed as she tried to help push Aeris out of her watery grave. With a little effort, Cloud and Tifa had brought her to the shore.

     "Now," Cloud said, "on to the Lifestream."

     They loaded Aeris carefully on top of Cait's moogle. Cait was forced to sit next to her.

     "I'm counting on you to look out for her." Cloud told the cat.

     "You can count on me, Boss!" Cait gave him a mock salute.

     "You never take anything serious, Cait." Tifa scolded him.

     "Why, should I?" Cait asked back.

     "That's what I like about you," Cloud told his feline freind, "you never cease to make me smile."

     "What can I say," he resonded, "it's in my job description. I'm a toy, remember?!"

     They left the city, and made it back to the Highwind. Cloud flew to the crater preparing for the arduous task it would be to reach the center of the planet. Then he thought that maybe the monsters would be gone, due to the fact that Sephiroth was no longer occupying the cavern. He then thought about Holy, and how it's power had rushed through that area. Maybe it's power destroyed the monsters.

     He was wrong on both accounts. The monsters were still around. Cait held most of them at bay with the Enemy Away materia Cloud had won Chocobo racing. Tifa watched thier backs as Cloud took the lead. If any monsters decided to attack, Cloud easily sliced them to ribbons with four slashes from his Ultima Weapon. At this rate, Cloud thought, we'll be in the Lifestream in no time.

     This made Cloud smile, as he thought about holding Aeris again. Then he thought about Tifa. His life long friend, he remembered how jealous she was of his love of Aeris. And although she never admitted it, she loved him. This got him to wonder if his relationship with Tifa would ever be the same as it used to be, before he met Aeris. Before she feared losing him.

     Tifa was thinking about nearly the same thing. She knew she'd never have the kind of relationship with Cloud that he had with Aeris. He remembered Cait's prediction, how they were meant to be. And as reliable as Cait's predictions were, she beleived this one. Oh well, she thought, theres always Vincent. That thought made her laugh. She knew she'd never be with Cloud, in that sort of way, so she decided that they'd just be friends, like they always were.

     When they finally reached the bottom, they stopped for a rest.

     "Well," Cait said. "What're we waiting for? Let's go down there and get Aeris revived!"

     "OKAY!" both Tifa and Cloud responded. With that, they jumped down the final stepping stones to where they finally defeated Jenova. Being within the Lifestream, it was warm. The hot currents swiftly flew by both Cloud and Tifa, and headed directly for Aeris' body, next to Cait Sith.

     "Now what?" the cat asked no one in particular.

     As if to answer Cait's question, Aeris' body rose into the air. It was bombarded by Lifestream until it began to return to normal, to the way it was before the day she was killed. Suddenly, the Lifestream below her body dispearsed, revealing Aeris' face, like they saw when meteor was destroyed.

     "You've come back for me!" Aeris' excited voice entered the minds of the trio.

     "Of course!" Cloud responded. "I had to, ever since I let you..."

     "Don't say that, Cloud!" the voice interupted him. "It wasn't your fault. Let go of that, or you'll never be happy."

     Tears were running down Cloud's cheek. "I really missed you." Cloud softly told his soul mate.

     "And I missed you." Aeris told him back. "I missed all of you!" She addressed the others.

     "Oh, Aeris," Tifa started to cry softly, "I'm so glad to see you again. I thought I'd never speak to you again."

     Even Cait began to weep as he said, "It's great to talk to you again, Aeris. I've always felt so close to you, closer than to anyone else in the world!"

     "Me too." Aeris confessed. "It seems like I've seen you long before I knew you. I've felt like you had something to do with my childhood. Weird, huh? But,... where are the others?"

     "They had other things to attend to," Cloud told her, "but I'm sure they're here with us in spirit."

     "I'll see them soon enough, I suppose." the ancient responded to Cloud's words.

     Unfortunatly, Aeris was distracting them from the evil presence that surrounded them. Without warning, the mako on which Cait Sith is powered was corrupted by an evil concience. A drifting spirit within the Lifestream.

     What's going on? Cait said to himself. I feel strange all of a sudden. Oh well, must be on account of seeing Aeris again. With that, he dismissed the odd feelings he was experiencing.

     While Cait had been thinking to himself, the Lifestream had worked it's magic, restoring Aeris' body to it's former glory.

     "Alright!" Aeris said as her visage began to disappear. "Be there in a few seconds." Her face was completly gone. All the streams of Lifestream had left her body, and gently lowered it to the ground. As those streams left from whence they came, another stream (Aeris' spirit) entered the newly restored body. Cloud, Tifa, and Cait Sith all crowded around, waiting for Aeris to move.

     A minute passed, and suddenly, Aeris' eyes shot open. She was alive! Cloud nealt down to hold his newly revived friend.

     "You're back!" Cloud couldn't fight the tears that rolled softly down his cheek. "I thought I'd lost you forever." He embraced his love.

     "You thought wrong." she told her soul mate, tears welling up in her eyes. "I have been... reborn..."

Chapter Two: Visitations...

     Cait Sith felt better. Aeris was alive! Time to spread the word., he thought. He dialed up the PHS, leaving everyone the same message.

     "Hey, everybody!" the message went. "AERIS IS ALIVE! We're coming to visit!"

     The once trio, now quartet, made their way back to where the Highwind was parked.

     "You won't believe this!" Cloud said to Aeris. "Remember that airship at Junon?"

     Yes...." Aeris wondered what he was about to tell her.

     "There it is!" he pointed to the Highwind as he said this.

     "You mean..." she was overflowing with excitment. "I get to ride in it?!"

     "Just like I promised." Cloud responded.

     "It's a little different now." Tifa interjected. "It changed forms a couple of times."

     "You never know what could happen to that thing." Cait Sith added.

     Cloud took the controls once more, but had no Idea where to go.

     "Where to?" he asked.

     "I want to see mom." Aeris responded.

     "On to Kalm!" he told his crew of three.

     On another part of the planet, Barret Wallace was sitting on the bed with his adopted daughter, Marlene. He hadn't seen her in weeks, and this week had done him some good.

     "Daddy?" Marlene asked her father. "Where are Cloud and Tifa?"

     "They're bringin' back Aeris, Honey." he told her. "They should..." He was interupted by a ring from the PHS. He answered the PHS, only to hear Cait Sith's voice.

     "Hey, everybody!" the message said. "AERIS IS ALIVE! We're coming to visit!"

     "Daddy!" Marlene jumped into his arms. "The Flower Lady?! She's back! YAAAAAAAAAY!"

     "Marlene..." he was interupted by the familiar sound of the Highwind's landing process. "They hea'!!!!" He ran out of the house, dragging Marlene behind him.

     "What's going on?" Elmyra asked the blur that was Barret.

     "Aeris' back!" he yelled as he whizzed by.

     "WHAT?!" Elmyra hoped she heard what she thought she did. She ran behind Barret, in a futile attempt to catch up. When they made it to the Highwind, Aeris was already down the rope ladder.

     "MOM!" she rushed into the arms of her surrogate mother.

     Elmyra was at a loss for words as she held he supposed dead daughter. "I thought...", she finally regained the power of speech. "I thought you were.... dead...."

     "I was." she confirmed. "That is, until Cloud, Cait Sith, and Tifa saved me."

     Elmyra and Aeris ended their embrace, as Elmyra turned to the others. "Thank you!", she addressed the three.

     "Barret!" Aeris screamed as she and Barret shared a short embrace. "It's good to see you!"

     "Aeris..." was all he could say for a moment. Then he spoke, "Theirs someone else that wants to see you!"

     "FLOWER LADY!" the little girl cried as she jumped all over the flower merchant.

     "Hi, Marlene!" she lifted the small lady. "How's mom been treating you?"

     "Just fine!" was all she said as she held on to the ancient.

     "She reminds me of you, when you were her age." the adoptive mother told her. "Now, won't you all come in for tea?"

     At the table, Barret asked them many questions. Questions like, "Why were you down there for so long? You've been gone a week or more!"

     "The Lifestream is unusual in that respect." Cloud told the large man. "Time seems to slow while you're in the Lifestream."

     They slowly sipped tea, as the aroma took Cloud back. Suddenly, he cried out, "CID! I need to take the Highwind back to him."

     "I go wif ya!" Barret told him. "Marlene? Wanna ride on the airplane?"

     Marlene squealed with delight, indicating her wish to ride the Highwind.

     "Will you be okay, mom?" Aeris inquired.

     "Oh, yes." she reponded. "I'll be fine! Go see your friends."

     "Thanks, mom." she hugged Elmyra. "I'll be back as soon as I can."

     Elmyra waved to the back of the ship as it flew to another continent.

     At their destination, Cid was going crazy. The dammed PHS was ringing like mad, and he had no idea where to find it. He was ripping apart his garrage, attempting to find the dammed thing, if only to shut it up.

     "G*dd***t!" he cursed. "Where the f**k did I put it?!"

     "What, this?" Shera asked, holding up the ringing, pager-like box.

     "I hate it when you do that!" Cid grabbed the wretched thing from her. He pushed the "mesage" button, shutting the cursed thing up.

     "Hey, everybody!" Cait's voice sounded out. "AERIS IS ALIVE! We're coming to visit!"

     "THEY DID IT!" he yelled out. "They really f**kin' did it!" He hugged Shera.

     "CID?!" Shera cried out, shocked by Cid's embrace. "What's this?!"

     "Oh, come on, Shera!" Cid told her. "Don't be so prude!"

     "Are you..." Shera slowly asked. "...Coming on to me?"

     "NO, idiot!" Cid let go of her. "I... lo..."

     Shera put her hand over his mouth. "Don't worry, Cid. I know."

     Cid's true feelings were finally released. Shera held him for a while. Then they went back to normal.

     Two hours later, they heard the all-to-familiar sound of Cid's other love in life.

     "They're back!" they yelled at each other, scrambling out the door. Cid nearly ran Aeris over, he was so glad to see her.

     "It's good to see you, too, Cid!" she told the excited pilot. She then turned to the woman acompanying Cid. "And I'm glad to see you, Shera!"

     Aeris and Shera hugged for a moment, then stood next to their men. "But, Cid." she turned to him. "Where did the rocket go?"

     It's a long story, Aeris." Shera cooly told her. "We can talk it over, over tea." She entered the small house.

     "More tea?!" Cait exclaimed. "Oh well, I'll have some!"

     "I'll have some tea!" Barret yelled, running into the house.

     "Slow down, Daddy!" Marlene tried to keep up.

     Cloud, Aeris, Tifa, Cid, and Shera all laughed as they entered the captain's home.

     "... And that's the whole story." Cid finished his story about his realization of his dream.

     "AMAZING!" Aeris exclaimed, excitedly. "I wish I was there. I bet THAT was exciting!" She turned to Cloud. "What other adventures have you been on?"

     Cloud and Cid told Aeris stories, but Cait Sith decided to go outside for a breath of fresh air. I have another strange feeling., He thought. It must be Cid's second-hand smoke.

     He had once again mistaken the odd sensation he kept experiancing. Dark power was over-runing his metallic body, causing him to black out.

     An hour later, he was revived by Tifa's worried face.

     "Are you okay, Cait?" she asked.

     "It is time......" the cat said, in an entirely different voice. He then returned to normal. "... Where am I?"

     "You're in Cid's backyard, Cait." she answered. "Are you alright?"

     Cait Sith grabbed his head with both hands, and nelt down atop his moogle. "Help....... me......" he cried, suddenly, his voice changed. "Must... go... to... PROMISED LAND!"

     "SNAP OUT OF IT!" Tifa yelled as she shook him.

     "Must... regain... BLACK MATERIA!" Cait Sith yelled in his own voice.

     "CAIT!" Tifa screamed at him, slapping him across the face.

     "Ah!" the cat cried out, surprised. "What'd you do that for?"

     "Cait." she quietly said. "You're acting strange..."

     "...ugh..." Cait groaned. "I'm fine..." His moogle hopped off, taking him to solitude.

     "I don't like this." Tifa told herself.

     Cloud walked out into the backyard. "Tifa?" he asked. "What's wrong?"

     "... oh..." she thought for a moment, wondering what she'd say. "... Cait was acting strangely... and... I..." She cut herself off.

     After an akward moment of silence, Cloud grabbed Tifa's shoulders. "I know that tone of voice." he told her. "What's REALLY the matter?"

     "Nothing!" she snapped, freeing herself from his grip. "I was talking to Cait Sith, when he started to act strangely. He hopped off... probably wants to be alone..." She went back into the house.

     Cloud gazed up to the heavens. "Why me?" he asked the stars, not expecting a response.

     When the group (including Shera) reached the Highwind, Cait was impatiently waiting for them.

     "S**T!" Cid cursed the cat. "Where the hell were you?!"

     "Here!" he yelled back. "Waiting for you guys! Where'd you think I was, Gongaga?!"

     The party looked at each other until Cloud broke the silence. "Cait... this isn't funny. Stop joking around!"

     "Whose joking?!" he answered, sarcastically. "I really WAS waiting for you! Let's go!"

     Tifa smashed her palm against her head. "This is gonna be a LONG day."

     RedXIII was on pins and needles. It's been hours since he had recieved Cait's unbelieveable message, and they still hadn't arrived. That Cait!, he thought. He's giving me an ulcer as well as a headache!

     "Calm down, Nanaki." the Elder Bugen told him. "They'll be here shortly."

     "I hope you're right." the beast answered.

     "NANAKI!" a young child screamed as he entered the observitory. "A strange ship full of visitors has arrived! What should we do?"

     "IT'S THEM!" Red yelled out, ignoring the childs question. He then rushed pass the boy to greet his friends. When he reached Cid's landing site, he leaped into the awaiting Aeris' arms, struggling to hold back a rush of emotions.

     "Oh, Red!" Aeris wept. "I've missed you!"

     "Thank the stars!" the beast yelped out. "You are back among the living once more! This calls for a celebration!" With that, he jumped out of Aeris' arms, and rushed to make arrangements.

     "Daddy!" Marlene tugged on her fathers jacket, rubbing her eyes. "I wanna go home, Daddy! I'm sweepy!"

     "Okay, Hon!" Barret reasurred his daughter. He then turned the the Highwind's pilot. "Cid, would you mind takin' Marlene back to Kalm?"

     Cid let out a curse. "Only if you come with me! I don't wanna be stuck alone with some brat!"

     "CID!" Shera scolded her love. "That wasn't nice! Oh well, I'll come with you, too! Can't let you and Barret be alone together! Who knows WHAT kind of language Marlene would pick up!"

     "Fine." Cloud addressed his crew. "We'll tell Red to hold the festivities until you return." Suddenly, the annoying PHS started to ring. Cloud picked up the thing then answered it.

     "This is Vincent.." the dark man's cold voice said. "I've gone to Wutai. Me and Yuffie are waiting here for you and..." The PHS was fumbled around until Yuffie's shrill voice was heard.

     "HEY, CLOUD! I'm waiting to see Aeris again! Come down and see me!"

     "Alright!" Cloud told the theif. "Cid's coming to get you now! Cloud, out!"     

     "Damn!" Cid cursed to no one in general. "I thought I never had to see that annoying little b***h again!"

     Later, Cloud and Tifa were relaxing in the Inn, while Aeris, Red, and Cait were down in the bar enjoying some nice tea.

     "It's kinda nice to be alone like this, Cloud." Tifa told the half-awake man lying next to her. "I didn't think we'd EVER be alone like this, not since you left Nibelheim.

     "Yeah..." he lazily responded.

     Tifa couldn't help the rush of memories. "I haven't really spoken to you in a while... Cloud?" She turned to see he was sleeping. "Dammit." she silently cursed. "Just my luck! I'm alone with you and you decide to doze off! Oh well! You are kinda cute when you're asleep." She stroked his hair for awhile than went to bed, herself.

     As they slept, a mysterious, old man was watching them. He waited for a moment, gazing at Tifa's sleeping form. He was dazed, seeing that face again. Suddenly, he was startled by a roar from down-stairs.

     Meanwhile, Cait and Red were trying to tell Aeris some stories.

     "No, Red!" Cait yelled to the beast. "It was in JUNON where we fought the Diamond weapon!"

     "No it wasn't!" Red yelled back. "It was near Midgar! I remember because you told us they moved the Sister Ray there!"

     Aeris yawned. "It's late, boys. I'm going to bed." She got up and went back to the room.

     "I'd better go, too!" Cait said, getting back on his moogle. "See you tomorrow, Red!" With that, he left.

     "It was Midgar." RedXIII told himself as he left for the observitory that was once his grandfather's home.

     All was silent that night at Cosmo Canyon. The heroes were fast asleep, all except Cait Sith. He was still awake, wondering where he was. He had somehow fallen out of the Inn, Moogle and all, and was lying on the floor.

     "How'd I manage that?" he asked himself, and was answered by silence. He dusted himself off, and made his way back to the Inn, when he suddenly felt a wierd feeling, like the one he felt in the Lifestream. He stopped moving for a minute, then reversed his direction, heading for the main cavern of Cosmo Canyon.

     His moogle sorta hopped up the stairs, bringing him to the Tiger Lily weapon shop. His moogle raised it's large arm, and slammed it down hard againt the padlock that kept the weapons locked up. With the might of that blow, the lock broke apart, allowing Cait access to the weapons. Hearing the sound, the shop keeper made his way to his store.

     "What're you doing?" he asked the would-be burglar. "Wait... put down that...." He was silenced by the sharp blade of the Butterfly Edge, slicing his stomach open. With an evil cackle, the seemingly possesed toy proceeded to brutally murder four more innocent civilians, before abandoning his blood-stained weapon. He then made his way back to the Inn, glad to see that he managed to keep himself from being stained by the blood.

     He woke up, finding himself in his room, along with his friends. It was early, and they were still sleeping. What a terrible nightmare! he thought. It seemed so REAL! His thoughts were broken by several strong men breaking down the door.

     "What is the meaning of this?!" Cloud yelled, pleased to see he never managed to undress himself last night. "What do you want?"

     "Get dressed!" the leader of the mob demanded. "You are hear-by to be taken into custody for the murder of five innocent people!!"

Chapter Three: Exile...

     "It wasn't us!" Tifa screamed as they dragged her out of the Inn. "Why would WE kill innocent people?! We saved the entire PLANET!"

     "Listen to her!" Aeris pleaded. "We did not kill ANYBODY!"

     "You are in the possesion of these!" one person said, holding high thier weapons. "It had to be you.... COME WITH ME!"

     The unfortunate trio were dragged to the observitory, in order to recieve punishment by the newest leader of Cosmo Canyon.

     "What're you doing?" RedXIII asked the leader of the mob as it arrived. "Stop man-handling my friends!"

     "But, Nanaki...." one of them stepped up to him, "They have killed five citizens of Cosmo Canyon while we slept..."

     "Do you have proof?!" the beast asked, expecting none.

     "They ARE armed!" the leader spoke. "And they are strangers..."

     "But.... you have no proof!" Red shot back. "If it weren't for these people, we'd all be dead at the hands of Sephiroth! LET THEM GO! We will investigate the deaths at a later date."

     "How can you say that?" someone yelled in disbelief. "We demand justice! The guilty party must be punished!" This was followed by yells throughout the mob. "We must exile them from our village.... and if you're not with us, you're against us...."

     A child began to cry. "Nanaki..."

     "They are my friends." Red stood bold. "And I will stand by them!"

     "Then...." the leader reluctantly told him, "..we must exile you, too." With that, the mob soon turned on the former leader of Cosmo Canyon, and within minutes, the entire group was banished to the cave of the Gi.

     "This is just great!" Cait Sith sarcastically remarked. "Some celebration THIS is!"

     "I don't believe..." Red went speechless.

     Aeris conforted the animal, "It's okay, Red.... just be strong...."

     "We have to find a way out of here!" Cloud took his position of leader once more. "Red, doesn't the cave lead to the other side of Cosmo Canyon?"

     "....Yes..." Red slowly answered.

     "Good." Cloud responded. "We'll go through the other side of the cave and meet everyone back at Rocket Town. Cait, leave everyone a message on the PHS." His order was met with silence. "Cait? Where'd he go?"

     The group searched for the missing toy, but couldn't find him anywhere. "Must've gone ahead of us, that impatient little....." Tifa started to mumble to herself. "I'll leave a message on the PHS."

     "Thanks, Teef!" Cloud told his childhood friend. "In the meantime, we have to find Cait and get out of this place."

     "But...." Aeris interupted, "we don't have our weapons..."

     "It'll be tough," Cloud told her, "but we can do it." They slowly made thier way through the cave, until they reached a fork in the road.

     "Which way?" Red asked.

     "We'll have to split up." Cloud ordered. "Aeris, you and I are going left. Tifa, you and Red go right." They all shouted afirmatives as they spilt up and ran down thier respective paths.

     They were unaware of the shadowy figure that was watching over them. This old gentleman was following the party ever since the moment of thier exile. He stopped to think for a moment, then decided to follow Tifa and RedXIII.

     Tifa was upset at the fact that Cloud chose to leave with Aeris inetead of her, but she didn't let it show. Besides, Red was alright company. It could be worse, she could've been stuck with Yuffie.

     "We almost there?" RedXIII asked aloud, not noticing the huge spider's web infront of him. He looked ahead, just in time to see the web get tangled around him. He screamed, "Help me, Tifa!!!!"

     "Alright, I'll.... what the?" Tifa blurted out, noticing that Cait Sith was just ahead. "Cait?! Boy, am I glad to see you!! Help me get this web off of Red."

     Cait moved forward, silently. The cat had an evil look on his face, kind of a half smile.

     "What's wrong with you, Cait, HELP ME!" Red yelled to the toy. He didn't budge, he just kept walking tword Tifa, with the same evil expression. Suddenly, from behind it's back, the Moogle pulled an all-to-familiar sword.

     "The Masamune?!" Both Red and Tifa yelped.

     "No." Cait spoke in a voice entirly different from his-own. "It's just a duplicate that was won at Gold Saucer, but it'll do."

     Tifa recognized the voice, it sounded like, "Sephiroth?!"

     "Yes." the cat answered. "While you and my puppet were bringing that ancient back to life, I possesed the mako inside this stupid toy, allowing me to control it's pathetic body. It's not MY choice, but it'll do until I become god of this pitiful world."

     "You'll never get away with this!" RedXIII informed him, forgetting the fact that the web had him immobile. "Cloud'll stop you!"

     "That failed experiment?!" the evil consciousness laughed. "He won't harm me while I'm in the body of his friend. Now, to show you my complete control, I'll kill you BOTH!"

     Tifa screamed, wishing Cloud was somewhere nearby. "Stay back!" She put up her fists up. "I'm trained in..."

     "Your threats mean nothing to me!" he threw some gil at her using the Throw materia, knocking her off her feet. "Now, say goodbye." He began to laugh like a maniac as he brought the sword down the Tifa's chest. In his true voice, he spoke the word, "Sorry..." before Sephiroth forced him to plunge the blade into Tifa's heart.

     Tifa went silent. Cait then turned to Red. "Now that thats done, YOU'RE FINISHED!" Suddenly, he spoke in his true voice once more, "LEAVE MY FRIENDS ALONE!" The moogle dropped the blade, as the cat held his head with both hands. "Have... to stop.... the killing..." he said as a tear ran from his cheek. "..Can't.. let Sephiroth... control me.... IT'S TOO LATE!" Sephiroth's voice took over once more. "Watch your friend's die like the girl!"

     Cait rolled on the floor, fighting for control. "NO!" he finally yelled out, leaving the scene. Within seconds, RedXIII had passed out.

Chapter Four: Discovery...

     Cloud and Aeris had reached the point where the two paths meet. The trek had been easy, considering they were unarmed. The ghosts must have left when thier leader was defeated. Cloud figured.

     "Where's Tifa and Red?" Aeris asked.

     "I don't know." Cloud responded. "Maybe they ran into trouble."

     "Come on!" Aeris yelled. "We have to help them!"

     Within seconds, Cloud found himself running down the path Tifa and RedXIII should have emerged from, trying to catch up with Aeris. From a distance, Cloud swore he saw Red trapped within a giant spiders web, either dead or unconscious.

     "There they are!" Aeris called out as they approached the area. "At least, there's Red! Where's Tifa..... AH!" She screamed when she finally reached Tifa lifeless form. "What...."

     Cloud cought up, only to see the same horifying thing. "TIFA!" he yelled, kneeling beside her dead body. "Who could've..." he asked himself, tears welling up in his eyes.

     Aeris began to softly cry, when she nearly tripped over something sharp. ".... CLOUD!" she yelled. "It's the... the... MASAMUNE!"

     Cloud lifted his head from Tifa's body, "WHAT?!" He jumped up to where Aeris made her discovery. "How could it be?! I saw him..."

     Red finally began to move once more. When his disobedient eyes finally opened, he was welcomed with the sight of his friends. "Cloud.... Aeris... help..."

     Cloud and Aeris freed RedXIII from his web prison, then began bombarding him with questions. "Slow down." The weary animal ordered. "Let me start from the begining..." Red told them the entire story, how he became entangled in the web, and how Cait showed up, possesed by Sephiroth. He told them EVERYTHING.

     "So...." Cloud began to understand. "That's why Cait's been acting so strange, Sephiroth's controling him. We have to find him and stop him!"

     "But we can't.... kill Cait..." Aeris pleaded. "We have to get Sephiroth out of him."

     "How?" RedXIII asked.

     "I don't know." Cloud admited. "But, we're gonna need help. Let's get out of this horrible place and meet up with the others!" After giving his order, he turned to Tifa. "Tifa... I'll get you back. You need my help, and I'll save you.... just like I promised..." He lifted her body, and laid it comfortably upon the rocks, in preparation for it's life forces return.

     Sadly, the trio moved on, hoping to leave the cave without further incident. "CAIT!" Cloud yelled when they reached the exit of the cavern. "WE'LL BE BACK TO HELP YOU!" Cloud paused for a moment, then stepped back out into the light of day.

     That same old man was still following the group, luckly over-looked by all. He saw what happened to Tifa, as her possesed friend was forced to do her in. He knelt before the woman who he haden't seen in so long. He softly began to weep, and held the lifeless body in his arms.

     When Cloud, Aeris, and RedXIII finally made it to Rocket Town, they were exhasted. Without weapons, they had to run from every enemy.

     "What kept ya'?" Yuffie asked when thet entered Cid's house.

     "You try... walking here... from Cosmo Canyon..." Aeris sputered, "without... weapons..."

     "Eek!" Yuffie yelled in sympathy. "Well, anyway, great t'see ya', Aeris!"

     "Lemme... catch my breath..." Aeris proclaimed. They rested for a few minutes, then began the reunion.

     "I've missed you both." Aeris told both the young ninja and the dark man.

     "I've missed you.... as well..." if you looked close enough, you could see a small tear wind it's way down Vincent's cold face, as if escaping from his red eye.

     "Aeris....." Yuffie said, holding her close. "It hasn't been the same without you."

     "Yeah, yeah!" Cid interupted. "Now, what happened to Tifa?"

     "Sephiroth." Cloud answered simply.

     "WHAT?!" the rest of the group exclaimed.

     "Sephiroth has control over Cait Sith, and we have to get him outta there." Cloud continued. "Any ideas?"

     "What about the White Materia?" Vincent cooly asked.

     "It's lost..." Aeris sadly anounced. "Long gone..."

     "I'm stuck." Yuffie exclaimed. "What can we do?"

     "Are you sure the White Materia is really gone?" Cloud asked.

     "Well... pretty sure..." Aeris began to think. "Come to think of it, it could still be around!"

     "We have to find it!" Cloud ordered.

     "But what about Cait?" Barret asked. "We can't just let Sephiroth make him do anything he wants!"

     "Barret's right." RedXIII agreed. "We have to find him as well."

     "I guess we have to split up." Cloud finally decided. "Aeris, you take Barret, RedXIII, and Yuffie with you to try and find the white materia."

     "Got it!" Aeris confirmed. "But, what about you?"

     "Cid, Vincent, and I will find Cait!" Cloud told her.

     "But,..." Cid began to ask. "How are we gonna get around? We only have ONE Highwind!"

     "Good question." Cloud thought for a moment then declared. "Let the flight crew of the Highwind take Aeris and the others to the City of the Ancients, we can take the buggy... you kept the buggy, right?"

     "Of course!", Cid exclaimed. "Let's do this!"

     "Are you sure you want me with you?" Vincent slowly asked.

     "Why not, Vincent?" Cloud was puzzled. "Is there a problem?"

     "None...." Vincent finally answered.

     The party split into two. Cid reluctantly left the Highwind in the care of it's original crew as he drove the buggy tword Cosmo Canyon. "Why there?" Cid wondered.

     "I need my Ultima Weapon." Cloud told the pilot. "You and Vincent are gonna sneak in and take it."

     "We are?!" they asked back in unison.

Chapter Five: The Ultima Weapon...

     When night finally fell, Cid and Vincent snuck into Cosmo Canyon. "Let's just get the f**kin' sword then get the hell outta here!" Cid yelled to his companion.

     Vincent silenced the angry Cid with his claw, then whispered back. "If you don't wanna get caught, I suggest you keep silent." He let go of Cid's face.

     "That hurt." Cid whined. "You oughtta watch where you put that thing."

     "My apologies..." Vincent said, sneaking off into the night. "Now, let's split up." Before Cid could give him an afirmative, Vincent was off in the dark.

     "Great." Cid said to himself. "Where the hell am I gonna find both the sword AND Vincent." Cid reluctantly entered the cavern, hoping to get lucky. Of course, luck wasn't on his side.

     Vincent was already in the observitory by the time Cid finally made it into the cavern. Obviously perfers the light. Vincent thought, Not at all like me. Vincent quietly searched the tower, being careful not to make a sound.

     Having searched the entire premise of Bugenhagen's old home, Vincent climbed down the ladder, wondering where to find the lost weapon.

     Meanwhile, Cid was searching the nooks and crannies of Cosmo Canyon. "Where the hell did they put that f**kin' sword!" Cid couldn't help but shout. Unfortunatly for him, he awoke a sleeping merchant.

     "Whose there?" the groggy item seller asked.

     "S**T!" Cid yelled, running to escape the canyon. When he reatched the buggy, and safety, he tought to himself, I hope Vincent has better luck!

     Vincent had finally found Cloud's prized sword within the small dewling of the Elder. Looks kinda heavy. Vincent told himself, How does Cloud lift this thing?

     After a few attempts at lifting the heavy instrument, Vincent decided to adopt a new stratedgy. Unleashing his hidden power, he transformed into the feared demon Chaos. Lifting the large sword with both arms and legs, he flapped his mighty wing until he was airborn. Letting out a horifying screech, the demon of chaos had left the Canyon, wielding the mighty Ultima Weapon.

     In the buggy, Cloud and Cid were impatient for Vincent's return. Looking into the starry sky, they saw a frightening figure fly by the moon.

     "What the hell was that?!" Cid asked Cloud.

     "Looks like Vincent had to transform..." Cloud responded.

     Chaos dropped Cloud's sword, let out an evil cry, then transformed back into it's normal form. "Found it..." Vincent said with a hint of humor in his voice. "Now... where to?"

     "On to Nibelheim!" Cloud announced.

     "Why Nibelheim?" Cid asked.

     "Sephiroth knows I'm after him." Cloud answered. "He knows what memories Nibelheim will bring up, especially since Tifa's..."

     "You're not going insane, are you?" Vincent asked without any concern in his monotone voice.

     "I don't wanna have to slap you around!" Cid sarcastically told Cloud.

     "Don't worry, Cid!" Cloud mused, "I'll try not to..."

Chapter Six: Seperation...

     The trio reached Nibelheim, finding it exactly like it was since last they left it. They slowly made thier way to the mansion, hoping to find thier friend.

     "Should we split up?" Cid inquired. After not getting a response, he turned to his friend. "Cloud?!" The leader of the group was on the floor, hold his head with both hands.

     "Cait must be near." Vincent declared, preparing for a surprize assault.

     "It may be Cait's body," Sephiroth's voice called out, "but it isn't the Cait Sith you know!"

     Cid jumped to his feet and pulled out his Venus Gospel. "Leave the poor cat alone, asshole!" Cid told Sephiroth. "He never did anything to you!"

     "It's so like you to pick on the innocent!" Vincent began to get angry.

     "Isn't it?!" Sephiroth sacastically asked, laughing like a mad man. "It's so nice of you to bring my puppet back to me! RISE, CLOUD!" Cloud got to his feet. As Sephiroth fought to control Cloud, his control over Cait Sith slipped.

     "Help... me..." the cat pleaded in his ownn voice. "No one will save you!", Sephiroth took control once more. Suddenly, Cait began to flip out. "I... DON'T... WANT... TO... KILL.... ANYMORE!" Having said that, Cait fled from the mansion, and up to the mountains.

     Cloud fell to the floor. Vincent and Cid helped their friend to his feet. "You alright?", Cid asked. Vincent remained silent.

     Cloud shook his head. "Yeah..." Cloud told his friend. "... Thanks for your help..."

     "What can I say," Cid humbly responded. "I've kinda gotten used to you! Now, let's follow Cait!"

     They climbed the mountains, without further mishap. When they finally reatched the abandoned reactor, Cloud began to feel an onrush of memories. He couldn't handle it, and fell to the floor. He began to feel Sephiroth's dark power corupt his mind, playing games with his feelings.

     Cid dropped to his knees beside the fallen warrior. "Cloud? Can you hear me?"

     "Sephiroth's inside his mind." Vincent iformed Cid. "Let's go inside the reactor and finish this!"

     "Let's go!" Cid was prepared for the worst. A chill ran down his back as he entered the reactor, Vincent seemed unafected. I wish I could play it cool like him, or at least when I need to be!

     The pair made thier way to the interior of the reactor, near the center of the Jenova project. "Have you been in here before?" Cid wondered.

     "No." Vincent cooly responded. "It's all new to me."

     "Welcome!" Sephiroth's voice welcomed them. "Now, prepare to die!"

     "What the?" Cid asked. "Where is he?"

     Vincent spun his giant Death Penalty around before turning and firing. "Behind us." His shot hit Cait's moogle right in the gut. "Hurry up with the Venus Gospel, Cid."

     "Yeah, yeah!" Cid impatiently told his counter-part. "But, we don't have to kill 'im! We just have to wait for the others to get the White Materia!"

     "That'll never happen!" Cait informed them in Sephiroth's cold voice. "My powers are to great to be stopped by holy!" The moogle pulled out another copy of Sephiroth's sword. "I hate having to use this copy of my sword, but it's enough to kill the likes of you!"

     Cid rushed the possesed cat, holding his Venus Gospel high. "I don't wanna have to do this..."

     At a speed faster than Cid's eyes could follow, the fake Masamune had sliced a large a cut across his chest. Cid flew back, finding his shirt soaking in blood.

     Vincent began to open fire on Cait, hoping Cid could fend for himself. "Nice try, Vincent! But you can't stop me!" Many of the shots were ricocheted of Cait's metal body. "Now, pepare to end up like Tifa!"

     Vincent lept out of the way as the copy of Sephiroth's weapon just barely missed him. "Nice try.", Vincent told the cat, "But I'm faster than that." Vincent lept into the air and landed on the moogle's head, kicking the cat off. The moogle swung wildly trying to his Vincent, who quickly moved from every swipe. The moogle prepared for one final slash, trying to chop it's unwanted rider in half.

     At the last second, the dark man lept from the enraged toy's head, sparing himself from the blade. Having missed it's intended target, the moogle sliced it's own head in two, causing it to malfunction. Fighting wildly, it just barely missed Cid, Vincent, and Cat with it's blade until finally colapsing upon the floor.

     "YOU!" Sephiroth's voice poured from Cait's mouth. "How could you?"

     "It can be fixed." Vincent told him. "Anyway, it's not vital."

     "I'll.... fix it..." Cid grunted over his pain. "Now... how about a cure spell... Vince..."

     "He's got other problems." Sephiroth informed him. "Namely, me!" The cat took the copy of the Masamune from the moogle's hand and, to Cid and Vincent's surprize, lifted it. "Being robotic has it's advantages!"

     Cloud's whole perception of reality had been ripped from his mind. The scene before him unraveled in twisted clarity, considering that somewhere in the reaches of his tortured soul, he knew that this place did not exist anywhere but inside his own violated mind. The illusionary world he had entered was strange beyond the understanding of the human mind. It was like being inside the cave, the lifestream, the forgotten capital, Nibelhiem, and Midgar all at once. All of the elements of Cloud's subconscious that tortured him had created this place inside his shattered soul. All of his pain, all of his rage, all of his love, all of his hate; everything was here and no place else. The waves of hatred had become tangible, their tendrils enveloping him in his own pain: and then he fell.

     Images passed before his Mako blue eyes, searing his soul with rage: images of Aeris being stabbed by Sephiroth, Nibelhiem burning to ashes, Zack's face before the Shinra soldiers shot him to death, and worst of all: finding Tifa's cold and lifeless body slain by the maniac who had ruined both of their lives. He had finally begun to realize that she was the one that he truly loved, the one who he wanted to spend the rest of his life with, and now she was gone! Sephiroth. It was all his doing, his fault that Cloud's life was in ashes, that the warrior was always lurking on the brink of sanity- the master of his own illusionary world. He was here, somewhere, trying to take control, and Cloud would never let that happen again. This was his mind and nobody else's, and he was NOBODY'S puppet.

     "Sephiroth!" Cloud roared, "Show yourself, NOW! You killed her you bastard! You've taken everything from me! Leave my friends out of this! This is between you and me!"

     The painful images swirled insanely, flashing with eerie light, until it all disappeared and only Sephiroth remained, laughing in his mania, his cold green eyes staring into Cloud's angry blue ones.

     "Hello, clone." Sephiroth said coldly, "I've been waiting for you." Cloud grit his teeth in anger,

     "WHY? WHY, YOU HEARTLESS BASTARD? I LOVE HER!" Sephiroth laughed at his adversary's pain.

     "Why, Cloud? Because I want to make your life a living hell. I want you to suffer as I take everything you ever cared about away from you. And then I will take away the one thing you haven't cared about since I murdered Aeris- your VERY LIFE!" The Masamune dematerialized in his empty hand, and he entered his en guarde position. Cloud's face was twisted with rage, and tears streamed from his eyes as the Ultima Weapon appeared in his hands.

     "I can't believe that I EVER wanted to be like you! I HATE YOU WITH EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING!" Cloud lunged wildly at Sephiroth, missing him completely as Sephiroth swung his Masamune at his head. Luckily for Cloud, the weight of the blade made him fall to the ground, as Sephiroth's blade missed him by mere inches, slicing a spike off his head. Cloud rolled on the ground, as Sephiroth's Masamune barely missed him and stuck there. He kicked the wicked blade from Sephiroth's hand as he frantically scrambled to his feet. Strangely enough, the sword was returned to Sephiroth's hand.

     "Pathetic Cloud," Sephiroth mused, "Your foolish pride will not allow you to kill an unarmed opponent. Your morality makes you weak!" Cloud lunged at Sephiroth, slashing deep into his side as black blood poured from the open wound." Sephiroth screamed and fell to the floor.

     "I can see that YOU don't have that problem, Sephiroth!" Cloud shouted. "Despite my morality, despite my feelings, and everything else you call a weakness, I am stronger than YOU will EVER be! It's our flaws that make us human, Sephiroth! And sometimes, it's our flaws that make us special!"

     Sephiroth laughed insanely and dematerialized. Cloud watched in awe as a castle rose from the ground, slowly at first, the towers breaking through the earth, revealing everything from the main hall right down to the drawbridge, which opened itself as the dust settled. The fortress was black as pitch; the air was thick with evil. Cloud shook his head in awe- all of this was transpiring within his own shattered mind. He knew that Sephiroth was somewhere inside the castle, that he must find him and end this before he went insane. He sheathed his gigantic Ultima Weapon and headed for the bridge.

     On the bridge he was met with a spectral image of Sephiroth, his expressions dull but his eyes glowed evilly,

     "Come to me, my puppet, come inside and die!" Cloud ripped his sword from his back and slashed at the apparition, which only laughed with maniacal glee and disappeared.

     "Damn you, Sephiroth." Cloud said half-heartedly as he trudged up the drawbridge and inside. The main hall was filled with opaque blackness, with no sign of anyone or anything in the darkness. He searched the hall, but could find no exits, no sign of anything, and the drawbridge had closed behind him. "Coward!" Cloud shouted to the empty air, "Show yourself!" He was met with a ray of light that came from the ceiling above. Shards of light formed a warrior in the center of the room, wielding another Ultima Weapon! Cloud's eyes must be deceiving him, the man wore the garb of a SOLDIER, and his hair, face and eyes matched Cloud's own. He was staring at himself. His double spoke not a word; only raised his sword to duplicate the position that Cloud had already entered. Something inside Cloud growled. Kill him, Cloud. He lost everything you ever loved. He couldn't stop Sephiroth from killing a single person that you needed to retain your sanity. He was a weak, pathetic imposter, too cowardly to except his own fate- living a lie. So kill him Cloud, because you blame yourself! YOU BLAME YOURSELF!

     "DIE!" Cloud screamed, charging at him, slashing him to pieces with his sword, breaking the other Cloud's Ultima Weapon in his rage. The double fell to the ground, bleeding from a million wounds, dying. He spoke,

     "Cloud.I'm you.and you.hate me.just as much.as Sephiroth. You have killed me.killed yourself.but I don't.hate you.for it. Cloud.don't give up.don't lose.what you have left. It isn't over.*." The light faded from his Mako blue eyes and his head hit the blackened floor, lifeless.

     "I'm sorry." Cloud said, but the words were choked with tears. He thought he would never forgive himself, but seeing him just now, the pain in his eyes, the guilty innocence that his soul displayed, he couldn't hate himself-or blame himself- anymore. Sephiroth appeared, floating above the ground, still bleeding from his side.

     "Who is it that you really hate, Cloud? Too weak to stop me, too strong not to try, you truly are a failure!" He dematerialized again, leaving Cloud beside himself with anger. Slowly, a doorway rose from the left wall, light piercing the darkness and hurting his tearful eyes. Cloud had no choice but to enter, so with a hardened heart he walked slowly through the door.

     The room has larger than the last one, and far more open. Flowers lined the center, and everything looking bright and happy, although it had an etheral sense about it. Cloud recognized the place immediately- Aeris' church in the Sector Five slums. Aeris appeared in the center of it all, tending her flowers as though nothing had ever happend that fateful day when they had met each other for the second time. Cloud stepped forward in shock, and Aeris noticed him and raised her head.

     "Cloud?" she asked, a smile spreading across her face, "Cloud!" she cried in out in joy, running to him. She wrapped her arms around him and kissed his cheek. "You know," the flower girl stated, "All that time in the lifestream all I could think about was you. I never stopped loving you, Cloud. But why? Why couldn't you save me?" The girl's emerald eyes became dark and sinister, "Why couldn't you save me Cloud?" She pulled away from him, and the room was filled with spectres from his past, dead and rotting, all around him, clawing at him and groaning,

     "Why couldn't you save me, Cloud?" his mother asked, tears in her lifeless eyes. The ghosts persisted, Biggs, Wedge and Jessie were among them, and all the people of Nibelhiem, and all the people who had died in the Sector Seven slums were clawing at Cloud, horrifying him. Finally, they dispersed, leaving a white-faced Cloud to face the ghost who haunted him more than any other.

     "Tifa..." Cloud gasped, "I'm sorry, sorry that I couldn't stop him. I wasn't even there to say goodbye..." Tifa turned to him, her brown eyes cold and dead,

     "You didn't keep your promise, Cloud..." the woman said. The words echoed in Cloud's head for what seemed like an eternity as the illusion disappeared, leaving only the form of Sephiroth, ignoring his wound and laughing maniacally at Cloud.     Cloud screamed in anger and thrust his sword at Sephiroth, as the castle around them disintegrated, the madman fell to the floor, cursing. There was murder in Cloud's eyes. Murder and vengeance, and vengeance was his to take.

     Sephiroth struggled to his feet as Cloud thrust his sword into the ground. "This is MY MIND, Sephiroth! You took my life away from me, and now I'm taking it back without any help from anyone!" Both fabled weapons disappeared into nothingness, as the hole in Sephiroth's side healed.

     "You fool." The evil man said, but he was interrupted by Cloud's fist smashing into his mouth, the feeling of airiness as he lost a tooth, and the copper taste of blood overwhelming his senses. Adrenaline coursed through Cloud's body as he landed another blow, smashing Sephiroth's nose, and then another, and another until Cloud hit him with a vicious uppercut to knock him sprawling on the floor. Before Sephiroth even had a chance to get up, Cloud tackled him and had landed another blow, smashing his head against the ground. Sephiroth struck back, spitting blood, but Cloud deflected in with his other hand and kept hitting him. There were no thoughts in Cloud's head except for pure sadistic joy. Sephiroth was the one who was hurting now! He struck again and again in a punch pattern that seemed to have no end. Sephiroth's lifeforce had become weak, and Cloud gripped his neck and strangled with all his might!

     "DIE!" the young man screamed in a voice not even his, "DIE!" Sephiroth's form lay all but dead in Cloud's trembling hands. The evil man's eyes looked up at Cloud's face, at all the rage and hatred that this man- the man who had looked up to him- bore towards him. Cloud brought his fist high above his head, "DIE!" he shouted again, and Sephiroth's lifeforce was shattered by the final blow. Cloud rose to his feet, suddenly back in the real world,

     "STAY OUT OF MY HEAD!" he screamed with all his might, and then fell to the floor again, gasping for breath, but knowing that he had beaten the biggest asshole in the world.

     Vincent was in trouble. Killing the moogle was fine, Cait didn't need it. Now that Sephiroth was using Cait himself to fight, Vincent couldn't kill him. He couldn't count on Cid's help, as he was slowly dying on the floor. If Vincent wasn't careful, he'd be joining him.

     "Why don't you fight me?" Sephiroth asked. "Don't want to kill your friend?!" He began to laugh like crazy again. Vincent did a midair flip, landing on the other side of Cait. As Cait turned, Vincent slashed him across the face with his claw, temporarily blinding him. Using his Full Cure materia, he revived Cid, seeing as he'd have to repair Cait.

     While Vincent was helping Cid, Vincent felt a sharp pain down his back. Vincent fell to the floor, feeling the blood rush from his back. Luckly, Cid was there to distract Cait from the fallen Vincent.

     "Help... me..." Vincent cried out to Cid.

     "Hold on!" Cid told his friend. "Cait! Fight Sephiroth!"

     "I'm... trying..." Cait's voice broke free. "... kill... me!"

     "I can't, Cait!" Cid told him. "It's still you in there."

     "Then suffer a painful death!" Sephiroth took control once more. He swung the phoney Masamune around, re-opening the wound on Cid's chest.

     "Now, to finish you both!" Sephiroth's voice spoke. Cait found control, dropping the sword. "Don't... want to... hurt anyone... ANY MORE!"

     As Cait battled Sephiroth's control, Cloud burst into the reactor. "Cait!"

     Cait was rolling on the floor when Cloud approached. Cait got up. "I have control." Cait informed his best friend. "I finally understand your pain, Cloud. I understand what you went through. I can't control Sephiroth like you can, finish me!"

     "I can't, Cait!" Cloud responded to Cait's request.

     "You have to," Cait screamed, "before Sephiroth makes me do something else terrible! I don't wanna kill anyone else."

     "I have a plan, Cait." Cloud told the cat. "Lay down."

     Cait did as he instructed, expecting his demise. Showing incredible control, Cloud used his enormous sword to slice open Cait Sith, allowing the mako to drain from his body. When the mako was gone, so was Sephiroth's control. If only Sephiroth would stay dead this time.

     Cloud used his Full Cure materia to bring both Vincent and Cid back to normal. Unfortunately, Cait Sith was beyond the help of and type pf magic. Only the power of science could save him now. "Cid," Cloud turned to the mechanic, "can you fix him?"

     "I can give it a shot!" Cid confidently replied. "Hell, with Shera's help, I can fix anything!"

     This moment was broken by Aeris amd the other busting in. "What happened?" she asked.

     "Sephiroth is gone." Cloud informed everyone. "But so's Cait."

     "But I can fix him!" Cid declared.

     "Whew!" Yuffie wiped the sweat from her forehead.

     "Thanks for not leavin' anything for me!" Barret sarcastically said.

     "Sephiroth's evil is gone." RedXIII spoke aloud. "But at what cost? Tifa.... Cait..... many other people...."     

     "Don't worry, Red," Vincent told the beast. "Sephiroth will be punished for his sins."

     "And I'm sure the people at Cosmo Canyon will let you back in." Yuffie added.

     Cloud began to softly cry as memories of Tifa seeped into his thoughts. Aeris put her arm around him in an attempt a consoling him. "It's okay, Cloud. If you brought me back, you could...."     

Cloud turned his head to face her. "You think so?"     

"Sure!" Aeris replied. "Now, come on, Cloud, let's go get Tifa."

Epilogue: Wrapping Things Up...     

     "Owwww!" Cait screamed. "Watch what you're doing, DIPS**T!!!!!"

     Cid mumbled to himself as he contined his repair work on the mechanical toy. Since the mako he used to run on was easily corupted, they decided to power him with one of the Huge materia.

     "Shut the hell up, you annoying f**k!" Cid finally yelled. "You're lucky I'm takin' the time to fix you!"

     "Calm down." Shera told her companion. "We can't let Cait stay dismantled."     

Cid began to cuss silently as he always did when Shera proved him wrong. He took his blow-torch to Cait's metal body once more.

     "Hey!" Cait screamed. "Y,y,you should be more careful. You could melt my circuits or somethin'!"     

     "Will you shut up?!" the mechanic yelled back. "Or am I gonna have to turn your voice-box off?"     

     The cat went silent for a moment, until Cid made a slight mistake. "Ooops...."

     "Ooooops?!" the toy went histerical. "What's this 'OOOPS?!' Don't you dare 'Ooops....' me! You..... GREAT GOOGLY MOOGLEY! MY HEAD'S ON BACKWARDS! You son-of-a-......"

     Cait Sith went silent as Shera flipped off his voice-box. Cid turned to his partner, "Thanks." Cid took a drag from his cigarette, "Ahhh..... the sweet sound of silence."

     Meanwhile, Cloud and Aeris had already made it to the bottom of Northen Cave. Aeris was racking her brain trying to reatch Tifa's spirit. Cloud was getting down-hearted, Aeris was having too much trouble.

     "I... can't get.... Tifa..." Aeris sputtered. "... to.. much... trouble..."

     "Keep trying." Cloud began to worry, maybe they were to late.

     "...WHAT?!" Aeris yelled in suprise. "She's alive! Cloud! The planet says Tifa is alive!"

     "WHAT?!" Cloud was shocked. "How could this be..." Cloud began to cry tears of joy. "Ah, who cares! Where is she?"

     When Cloud and Aeris finally made it back to Rocket Town, Cid had finished repairing Cait. Cloud and Aeris were glad to see him functioning properly once more.

     "Cloud! Aeris!" Cait's moogle ran over to them. "I'm so glad to see you again!" The cat lowered his head. "I hope you can forgive me for what hapened to Tifa..."

     "Of course, Cait." Cloud told his friend. "It wasn't your fault."

     "But I have even better news!" Aeris interjected. "Tifa's still alive!"

     Cait and Cid passed out from the shock. When everyone was concious again, they flew the Highwind to Nibelhiem. As the planet had told Aeris, Tifa was still alive in this rebuilt town.     

     Without word, Cloud rushed into Tifa's house, as the other fought to catch up with him. Without so-much as a thought, Cloud sprinted up the stairs and into Tifa's room. As the planet had told them, there was Tifa, asleep in her bed.     

     "Tifa!" Cloud exclaimed, waking the woman from her sleep.

     "Cloud!" Tifa bolted out of bed and hugged him. "It's good to see you...."

     Aeris, Cait, and Cid burst into the room, happy to see Tifa still among the living.

     "Cid! Aeris!" Tifa was happy to see them. Suddenly, Cait walked up to her with his head bowed.

     "Tifa..." he began, ".. I'm sorry for what happened. Can you EVER forgive me?"

     "Of course!" Tifa cheerfully responded. "Don't blame yourself, there wasn't anything you could have done."

     "Wait a sec!" Cid interrupted. "How did you get here?"

     "I was saved by an old friend." She answered. As if on cue, that same old friend entered the room. Cloud recognized the face, and put a name to it.

     "Zanghan?!" He spoke. "How could it be.... How did you.... When did you..."

     "Slow down." The old martial arts master told him. "Let me explain... After that incedent five years ago, I decided to go to Cosmo Canyon. You see, I over-heard some of Sephiroth's words... about the ancients and the Promised Land. I went to find out more about, hoping to find a way to stop him.

     "There I have been, until the day you showed up. Wanting to see Tifa again, I followed you into the Cave of the Gi, where I saw what happened to Tifa. Once you three left, I mourned over Tifa, finding her still faintly breathing. Amazed, I rushed out of the cave, hoping to find a place to heal her. I was lucky when I found that the fake Nibelheim had been turned into a real town, with doctors and merchants and everything else.

     "I applied first aide to Tifa, just barely saving her in time. And... that's the whole story."

     Cloud approached Zanghan. "Thank you." He told the old man. "You saved Tifa's life twice now. I don't know how to repay you..."

     "Think nothing of it." He joyously responded. "I'm happy to help a great student like Tifa."

     "Now," Tifa turned to the others. "let's go see everyone else."



The End!

AUTHOR'S NOTE: So, that's the whole story. Did you like it? Please, send feed-back to my buddy Cloud and be sure to tell me. Wow, this serious fan fiction is hard work! If you liked it, tell your friends! If you didn't like it, you have problems. Oh well, see ya! Shera flipped off his voice-box. Cid turned to his partner, "Thanks." Cid took a drag.

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