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 Post subject: Untitled FF7 Fanfic
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 3:50 pm 
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Location: Strangetown
Or "Second Vendetta v2", to give it its working title. The original version can be read here: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6515194/1/Second_Vendetta - but my friends over at another chatroom I go to said it was, well, pretty crap. Although people here liked it. Eh well, can't please everyone.

=========================================================

Prologue

A small platoon of Shinra soldiers were headed for the Northern Crater in search of the man in the Black Cape. They marched through the blizzards, unaffected by the bitter chill. The younger soldiers' nervousness was almost palpable as the platoon neared a treacherous rocky descent. Silence pervaded the crumbling cavern as they traversed its inky depths, and after a time, the commander halted them as they approached the centre of the crater.

"Keep your guard up. This is Sephiroth we're dealing with here." he instructed. The soldiers saluted in response and they resumed marching. They eventually reached the very centre of the crater, and they caught a glint of metal coming from an object nearby. On inspection, one young soldier found it was a curved blade. Cautiously he picked it up and took it to the commander, who inspected it. The more nervous soldiers whispered, but their superior hushed them and said it could be coincidence. Swallowing their fear, the small platoon headed further down, and then their fear came shooting back up. They could not doubt the long silver hair and the Black Cape, not even for a second. But something seemed wrong, unusual. He wasn't even standing up, let alone prepared to attack. The commander halted the soldiers and instructed them to surround him. The soldiers did so, aiming their rifles. The man in the Black Cape rolled slightly to one side, and the air was filled with the clicks of guns being primed.

"Hold your fire," the commander ordered, "because our orders from President Rufus were to bring him back alive." The rifles were lowered, and four of the soldiers hoisted the man onto their shoulders and carried him away.

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 Post subject: Re: Untitled FF7 Fanfic
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 3:53 pm 
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Chapter 1

The ear-splitting ringing sounded for the fifth time. Finally Cloud Strife lost his patience and got out of bed to answer it. He didn't recognise the caller, but he assumed that it must be important. He answered the call and recognised the voice at the other end. It was one of the Turks - Reno. But why would he be calling Cloud? The relationship between them was not a particularly friendly one, they could not even be classed as acquaintances. Even so, Reno chatted about everything he had been doing since Meteor had been stopped, but Cloud told him to skip the details and tell him why he was really calling. There was an awkward pause.

"Sephiroth is still alive," Reno finally said. Cloud hesitated, but then he inquired further about the situation. Reno explained that the Shinra soldiers had found him lying injured in the Northern Crater and had taken him back to Shinra Headquarters on President Rufus' orders.

"What does this have to do with me?" Cloud asked. Reno then went on to explain that even though the Shinra President had no intention of becoming friendly with Cloud, that he was actually asking for his assistance in finding out the entire story about what Sephiroth had done, and the Meteor incident. He also mentioned an offer of a generous payment for the service. Cloud was unsure of whether he should take it or not, but eventually he decided that he would go and assist Rufus, despite the fact that the two did not get along. He told Reno he would be at the Shinra Headquarters as soon as he could, then he ended the call, grabbing his Buster Sword as he did so, and he headed out to his motorcycle. He started up the engine and drove off.

* * *

Cloud arrived outside the Shinra Headquarters in just under twenty minutes. He shut off the motorcycle engine and applied the brake, then he headed for the front door. There was a man stood beside it, wearing a blue suit with a crisp white shirt underneath. He had spiked bright red hair and he was lightly tapping a metal rod against the wall. He took a glimpse around and seemed to pay more attention as he saw Cloud approaching. The two men shook hands and exchanged a brief glance.

"It's good to see you when we're not fighting each other, Cloud," the red-haired man said.

"Likewise, Reno." Cloud agreed. Reno then explained that he had been waiting since their PHS call, and that President Rufus would only be able to speak for a short time. Cloud nodded in response, and the two men headed into the building and immediately boarded the elevator to take them to the top floor. Once they arrived there, Reno went ahead to report to President Rufus that Cloud had arrived. Several minutes later, Reno came back.

"The President will see you now," Reno said. Cloud acknowledged this and walked through the large double doors into the President's office. The large room was almost empty apart from a white curved desk, a few potted plants and a few padded chairs just in front of the desk. A man in a red suit instructed Reno and Cloud to sit in the chairs, and they did so just as a tall red-haired man wearing an immaculate white suit strode towards the desk. His hair was straight and short, but the front kept swishing around. Several times the man had to pause to flick it out of his eyes. He stood behind the desk and shook hands with Reno, then Cloud stood up to do the same. The men shook hands, but they exchanged a fleeting narrowed glance. He then sat down behind the desk and introduced himself as President Rufus Shinra.

"So, as I'm already sure Reno's told you," Rufus explained, "that Sephiroth is still alive. He probably already told you that he's here in Shinra HQ. What I'm asking from you, Cloud," -- here he leaned closer to the blonde man, "is for your help in getting the full story of Jenova, Meteor, and what Sephiroth has done. Reno's already told me you were in active pursuit." Cloud nodded after the explanation. He told Rufus a little bit about the main events that had occurred, but before he could start to go into detail, Rufus held up a hand to stop him saying any more.

"I wish we could continue this further, but I have some important meetings to go to. I was hoping that you would be able to get some information out of Sephiroth. I want his side of the story as well. I gave Reno the details." Rufus stood up, nodded to Cloud and Reno, then left the room. Once he had gone, Reno walked with Cloud back to the elevator, explaining the requests from Rufus.

"Alright, Cloud, here's the deal. I take you to the high-security confinement area, where you'll meet one of my colleagues who'll take you to the room that Sephiroth is in. You ask him any questions you can think of, and write down anything he says. Anything at all, doesn't matter if it doesn't make sense. Once you've done that, we'll meet back here, see what you've got, then I'll take it to the President once he gets out of his meetings." Cloud acknowledged the task and took a clipboard and pen from Reno. He wasn't sure what to expect. Would Sephiroth co-operate? Or would he be placing his life in danger for what seemed to be such a simple task? With a sigh, he pushed his worries aside just as the elevator stopped at the 54th floor and the doors slid open. Reno stepped out of the elevator at a brisk pace, and Cloud followed him. The two stayed silent until they reached a heavy-looking metal door where a young woman wearing a long white coat, a red blouse, a pair of black shoes and a black pencil skirt was stood. She saw the two men coming and smiled, holding her hand towards Cloud for a handshake.

"So you must be Cloud Strife. I'm Dr. Sky Randere, and I've been put in charge of our 'patient'." The way she said the word patient sent a chilling feeling down Cloud's spine, but he steeled himself and inquired further about this 'patient'. Dr. Randere told him that it was indeed Sephiroth, but that she and the rest of the team were wary of the way he was acting. She and Cloud walked towards the heavy door that had a hand scanner and a retinal scanner on the wall to the side. Dr. Randere used both scanners, and with a long, slow hiss, the door slid sideways to allow them entry. The two walked inside and the door slid closed behind them. The room itself was clean, whitewashed, and smelled faintly of disinfectant. In the middle of the room was a bed with white sheets, and lying in the bed was a man who looked as if he was lightly sleeping. Cloud and Dr. Randere moved closer to him, and both of them could see that his skin was very pale, and that his hair was long and silver.

"Dr. Randere, could you leave me alone with him a moment please?" Cloud asked. Dr. Randere nodded, told him to be careful and left the room. Cloud heard the soft hiss of the door opening and closing. He then looked closer at the man lying on the bed and sat down on a nearby chair, resting the clipboard on his knee and pulling the top off the pen with his teeth as he did so.

"Sephiroth?" Cloud asked quietly. The man in the bed slowly opened his eyes and sat up unsteadily. He looked across at Cloud and tilted his head slightly to the side, narrowing his gaze. He then shook his head and blinked.

"It's me, Cloud Strife. Look, Sephiroth... I need to ask you a few questions..." Cloud held the pen over the clipboard, ready to note down anything Sephiroth said, as Reno had instructed.

"Cloud Strife?" Sephiroth seemed to test the name a moment, "I... I don't remember... anyone... called that." He shook his head and his hair flew around wildly. Cloud scribbled down a few notes on the clipboard.

"That's funny. I remember you. We used to be... partners, didn't we?" Cloud chewed the end of the pen whilst he waited for Sephiroth's response. When he did, he just shook his head and replied that he remembered nothing of the sort. Again Cloud scribbled on the clipboard.

"What about Jenova?" Cloud leaned closer. Sephiroth shook his head again, but he mumbled something that Cloud could not make out. When asked to repeat it louder, he bit his lip and said that it didn't matter. Cloud took note of the whole thing. He then asked about Meteor, about the whole incident with the Planet... but each time Sephiroth only responded with a shake of his head and a statement that he remembered nothing. Cloud sighed, put the top back on the pen and stood up.

"I might be back later," he said before he walked towards the metal door and pressed a button beside it. It opened with a soft hiss, and Dr. Randere was waiting for him. She asked how everything went, and Cloud told her it all went surprisingly well, despite the fact that he had found out next to nothing (but he didn't mention this fact out loud). He then quickly headed back towards the elevator, giving Dr. Randere a little wave before he did, and waited. When the doors slid open, he stepped inside and pressed the button for the top floor.

The doors slid open as soon as the elevator reached the top floor. Cloud stepped out and found that Reno was waiting for him, and he gave the red-haired man the clipboard.

"He didn't say much," Cloud sighed, "and what he did say hardly made sense." Reno nodded and looked over the notes that the blonde man had made. He shook his head and hit the clipboard against his face.

"It doesn't make sense. Man, this whole situation makes no sense! You got exactly the same out of him as Rufus, Elena and I did, and a few others in HQ! I don't know what Sephiroth's game plan is, but I'm telling you, it ain't funny. You saw firsthand what that guy did, right?" Reno gestured to Cloud, who said that he had. The red-haired man continued, "He's denied knowing anything about it to all of us. But I'm gonna try out a different theory. I'm going to ask someone who has no connection with Shinra employees to ask Sephiroth the same questions. If we get the same answers back, then we can perhaps rethink. But if we don't, then we need to prepare."

"Something doesn't seem right... I mean, the way Sephiroth responded to the questions... it was like he definitely didn't remember a thing. But I'm not ready to take that chance yet. I don't want to make assumptions, knowing who we're dealing with." Cloud sighed and clapped a hand to his forehead. He didn't get how Sephiroth could suddenly have no recollection of what had happened. This would probably need some thinking over. He said goodbye to Reno and stepped in the elevator. Before the door slid shut, Reno pushed it back open.

"Cloud, if there's any news, I'll call you. Keep your PHS handy," he said with a nod, stepping backwards as the door slid shut.

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 Post subject: Re: Untitled FF7 Fanfic
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 3:54 pm 
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Chapter 2

Cloud returned home straight after the meeting, his mind in a state of confusion. How could Sephiroth have forgotten the transgressions he'd committed in such a short space of time? Was this amnesia genuine, or was it all part of another plan? He tried not to think too much of it and went to visit his long-time friend Tifa Lockheart. Perhaps her company would help him make some sense of this, or give him a bit of a distraction.

He caught her just as she was about to go shopping, and she allowed him to join her. The two walked past the shops of Midgar, stopping periodically to browse the items in the windows. Tifa seemed rather excited about picking things out, and most of the time Cloud simply nodded and agreed with her. Just as they stopped outside a shop named 'Aerdan's Apparel', Tifa stopped and looked at Cloud.

"Is something on your mind?" she asked, gently placing a hand on Cloud's cheek. "You're not being yourself at the moment." He sighed and told her about the meeting with Reno and President Rufus, and that he'd had to interrogate Sephiroth with little success. She nodded and was about to say something, but Cloud held up his hand.

"Reno said he'd call me if they found out anything else. This is bothering me, Tifa. Why would Sephiroth suddenly remember nothing of the things he did in such a short space of time?"

Tifa pouted a little. "I'm not sure. Knowing what he's like... this is probably part of another plan of his." Her voice grew icy. "Even if it is genuine, I'll never forgive him. He murdered my father!" She clenched her fists and trembled with rage. Cloud gently pulled her into a hug.

"None of us would be able to completely forgive him. But look at it this way... if this is genuine, and the memories don't come back... he might just be able to start fresh. And even if his memory did come back, as long as it didn't send him back down that path... well, he may be able to lead an almost-normal life."

Tifa made a noise of protest and thumped Cloud in the stomach. "How can you think he'd change for the better? He's a cold, heartless murderer! He burned down my home! He killed Papa!" She shrieked and tried to pull away, but Cloud tried to calm her.

"I know, Tifa... but no amount of bloodshed will bring him back. Also, we can't just look at this one way." He shook his head as he spoke. Tifa was still trembling, but she had calmed down a little. She nodded weakly and looked up at Cloud, her eyes shining with tears.

"Let's not go on about this... it hurts me to think about it." Cloud nodded in response and hugged Tifa again. She wiped the tears from her eyes, and the two resumed browsing the rest of the shops. They seemed to enjoy it less than before. Perhaps Cloud shouldn't have brought up the subject. Then again, if he hadn't, Tifa probably would have guessed.

* * *

The twosome returned to Tifa's house just as it started to get dark, both carrying several shopping bags. Tifa gave Cloud a gentle kiss on the cheek, thanking him for helping her out. He chuckled lightly and said he was always glad to help out his long-time friend. Tifa opened her mouth as if to say something, but Cloud's PHS gave off an ear-splitting ring. He groaned and checked who was calling. The frequency on-screen was not one he recognised, but he answered anyway.

"Cloud Strife speaking. Who is this?" His tone was businesslike, but the only responses he received were a few grunts and a brief snatch of heavy breathing. He inquired again about the caller's identity, but he got nothing in reply. Just before he was about to hang up, someone spoke, and it wasn't a voice Cloud recognised.

"Listen, Strife. I've heard about what you're trying to do. I won't let you stop Sephiroth from resurrecting Mother." The voice was cold and harsh, and despite his hardened resolve, Cloud felt his heart pounding.

"He doesn't remember anything. You're wasting your time." Cloud heard the slight quivering in his voice, and hoped the caller wouldn't pick up on it.

"Everything's already planned out. A friend of mine is going to remind him when he visits Shinra HQ. Reno already sent for someone not related to Shinra in any way."

"You won't win. I'm not letting this happen again."

"Really. Let me give you a piece of advice, Strife. Don't try anything funny." After that, the line went dead. He looked across at Tifa, and the two exchanged worried glances. He then briefly told her what the call had been about, and her eyes widened in shock. She rushed towards Cloud and gripped his arms, looking up at him.

"You can't let them do it. Cloud, you have to warn Reno. I don't want anyone else going the same way as Papa did, and I'm not having another Meteor incident."

Cloud nodded and smiled lightly. "I'll let him know." He took out his PHS and punched in Reno's frequency.

* * *

Meanwhile, at Shinra HQ, Reno was waiting for this mysterious new arrival he knew nothing at all about. Was it really wise to trust this situation with a complete stranger? He tapped the metal rod impatiently against the wall and sighed heavily.

"You must be Reno." The voice was behind him. Reno jumped slightly and turned around. He noticed that the new arrival was a man around twenty-five years of age, wearing a skin-tight leather suit. He had a strange metal device strapped to his left arm. Reno took special notice to the man's crop of short silver-coloured hair and his green cat-like eyes. He felt his throat going dry. Questions whirled in his mind. Did Sephiroth have any siblings or other family members that he wasn't aware of? Reno could only nod in response to the man's statement.

"I believe we have some... business, so to speak. You said you needed help getting the full story?"

"Oh yes, I think--" Reno had only just managed to speak when his PHS rang. He ushered the other man out of the room and answered.

"Cloud, this isn't really a good time! I've only just got someone in here to speak with Sephiroth. He was the only one brave enough to take it on."

The red-haired man picked up a sigh. "Reno. Listen, you can't let them do it." Now he wasn't sure what to do. He asked why, and Cloud explained. "Whoever you've got there, he's not doing it for our benefit. Only for Jenova's. We're talkin' about Meteor all over again."

"You mean that I've just caused--" Reno cut himself off when he realised the other man could still be there. He lowered his voice. "I could potentially be dooming us all over again?" Cloud answered with a simple 'yes'. "Right. I'll have to get him out, then you'll have to come to Shinra HQ as soon as you can. We need a Plan B." The call ended, and Reno put his PHS away. He called the other man back inside.

"Sorry about that. Business call."

The other man gave Reno an sceptical look. "I see. So, where were we?"

"Ah, actually, there's been a change of plan." Reno paused to think about how to phrase his way of telling the other man to get out. "That call I just had, I actually have to attend to some business in Costa del Sol. That does mean I'm going to have to ask you to leave and come back some other time."

The look of scepticism was still there. "You told me you were off work." The other man rolled his eyes.

"I'm really sorry, it was very short notice. We'll pick this up later." Reno gently pushed the other man in the direction of the way out. He hesitated a moment, but he eventually walked out, shooting a cold backwards stare in Reno's direction as he did so.

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 Post subject: Re: Untitled FF7 Fanfic
PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:59 am 
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Chapter 3

Cloud had just finished parking his motorcycle outside Shinra HQ and was about to head inside when he caught sight of the man with short silver hair dressed in leather walking out with a look of anger on his face. Was that the 'friend' the unknown caller had mentioned, or one of Sephiroth's relations? He couldn't be sure, but he assumed it was the mysterious friend. He headed into the building and saw that Reno was leaning against the wall, looking rather pale.

"What happened? Who was that guy who just walked out then?"

Reno took a few deep breaths before facing Cloud. "I don't recognise him, but he looks similar to Sephiroth in a few ways. The guy scares me. I didn't show it to him though... I don't think."

Cloud shook his head. "Let's try not to think about him for a few moments. You said before that we need some sort of Plan B. What were you thinking of?" Reno explained a few ideas, but Cloud only seemed interested in one – they let Sephiroth out of Shinra HQ and allow him to lead a fairly normal life, but he would need to be supervised. Just in case, Reno added. Cloud nodded.

"Alright, well, I'll let Rude and Elena know that we'll need a few guards. Cloud, you go to Dr. Randere and tell her to let him out, and if she says anything, say that Reno sent you."

"Right..." Cloud raised an eyebrow. "Who'll be his supervisor?"

"I was hoping that you'd do it, but if you don't want to..."

Cloud held up one hand. "No, it's fine. I'll do it." He paused. "Which way was it to the room Sephiroth's being kept in again?" Reno relayed the details, and Cloud went up in the elevator, back to the containment room on the 54th floor and Dr. Randere's office.

* * *

"Mr. Strife? I wasn't expecting you back here again. Reno told me that someone else was coming up here." Dr. Randere said as Cloud walked up to the door of the containment room. She whirled around just as he reached the door, placing her hands on her hips. "You can't go in there unless you have clearance."

"There's been a change of plan, Dr. Randere. I need to get Sephiroth out. Reno's orders – if we don't move him somewhere else there's a chance we could end up with another Meteor incident on our hands." When Dr. Randere asked why, Cloud told her about the strange man that Reno had encountered and the bizarre, threatening PHS call he had received. She nodded and opened the door to the containment room. Cloud hurried inside and noticed that the bed was empty. His heart thudded in his chest. Had those other people got to Sephiroth first?

"What's going on here? Was Sephiroth already moved out, or..." Cloud began, but he was cut off when he saw that two members of Shinra medical staff walked out of a small sideroom, and Sephiroth was following unsteadily behind them. He was wearing the same Black Cape as Cloud remembered, although he was holding one hand to his head at irregular intervals.

"This isn't any more questioning... Cloud Strife, was it?" There was still some confusion in Sephiroth's voice.

"No. No more questioning." Cloud paused. For now. "Actually, I'm here to tell you that you'll be going elsewhere. Reno organised it, and it's to..." He paused again. How was he going to explain its purpose without inadvertently triggering anything potentially deadly?

"Hmm? It's to what?" Sephiroth prompted.

"It's to keep you safe." Cloud sighed an internal sigh of relief, even though Sephiroth prompted him for further information about these arrangements to 'keep him safe'. "Well, safe from people who might think you've done something you don't remember doing." Still Sephiroth prompted further. Cloud groaned softly. "Look, we're doing this for your benefit. Trust me, you don't have to know the details, but it'll work out."

"I don't even know why I'm here." Sephiroth paused and pressed one palm to his forehead, swaying a little on his feet. His eyes flickered a moment. "What is this Meteor people keep mentioning, anyway?"

Cloud's eyes widened slightly. "N-nothing important. Listen, the sooner we get you out of here, the sooner we can stop worrying." He took hold of Sephiroth's wrist and led him out of the room, where Dr. Randere was signing some papers on her clipboard. She waved the two of them on, then Cloud called the elevator, getting inside it whilst also pulling Sephiroth in, and pressing the button to send it down to the ground floor.

* * *

A young blonde woman dressed in a blue suit was waiting for Cloud and Sephiroth when the elevator reached the ground floor. Cloud recognised her as Elena. She ushered the two outside quickly, not wanting to risk panic spreading throughout Shinra HQ. Cloud noticed that there was a white van waiting close to the main doors, but its windows were blacked out.

"Reno went ahead to double-check the security on the new area. I'll take Sephiroth from here. Cloud, meet us at this address." Elena handed Cloud a scrap of paper with the words 'Sector 4 Slums, Gamma Building, No. 29' scrawled on it. She then gently led Sephiroth towards the van and seated him inside it. Cloud jumped on his motorcycle and kick-started the engine, driving out of the Shinra HQ parking bay just before the van did.

The two vehicles remained close for the journey, but even though they were going at a faster speed than the other road traffic, some people seemed to pay attention to the van, since the blacked-out windows seemed suspicious. Elena had instructed Sephiroth to keep his head down so that he couldn't be seen whilst her bald-headed colleague Rude drove towards the agreed address.

Everyone arrived at the Gamma Building in Sector 4 within fifteen minutes of leaving from Shinra HQ. Cloud parked his motorcycle in an alley next to the building whilst Rude parked the van in front of it. Elena emerged from the van, ushering Sephiroth out as she did so. Rude climbed out the opposite side, and he helped Elena. Cloud, meanwhile, was checking the tyres on his motorcycle when he felt something cold touch him on the back of his neck. He shuddered slightly and one hand closed around the hilt of his Buster Sword.

"You didn't really listen before, did you?" Cloud recognised the voice from the threatening PHS call. The cold thing touched his neck again, and he turned around slowly to see that it was a gunblade. He couldn't make out who was pointing it at him though. He held one hand up whilst the other one remained gripping the hilt of his sword.

"I warned you not to try anything funny, Strife. I'll give you one last chance. As I said before, you can't stop Sephiroth from resurrecting Mother, and we will remind him about it if he's forgotten." Cloud closed his eyes for a brief moment and took a deep breath.

"Who's 'we'?" he asked as he opened his eyes. There was no gunblade aimed at him, but he felt the cold touch on the back of his neck again.

"You'll find out when the time comes. If I decide to leave you alive." There was a peal of chilling laughter, then silence. Cloud looked around, but he couldn't see anyone. He sighed and headed out of the alley, where Reno was waiting for him with his arms folded.

"Surely it doesn't take you that long to park your bike, Cloud." Reno snorted a little.

Cloud sighed. "I know, but someone was in the alley. I didn't know who it was, but I recognised the voice from a threatening PHS call I'd received before you called me to Shinra HQ."

"Oh?" Reno leaned in closer. "What did they want?"

"I don't know, but I think they want another Meteor incident. They said that I can't stop Sephiroth from resurrecting Mother, and that they'll remind him about it since I told them that he'd forgotten."

Reno shook his head. "We can't let that happen, no matter what we have to do. We have to keep Sephiroth well hidden, and--"

Cloud cut him short. "I think they already know he's here. The one who got me in the alley... they knew he'd been brought here."

"Son of a Chocobo! That means we'll have to relocate again!" Reno was about to tell Rude and Elena, but Cloud told him that they should all stay here and keep out of sight. Perhaps these mysterious people would leave them alone then. Reno sighed and nodded. "I'll call President Rufus, tell him to send a few more guards. We can't take any chances."

"Right." Cloud nodded in response and went into the building.

* * *

The alternative arrangements that Reno had made were not particularly first-class, but at least it was better than the containment room in Shinra HQ. All the basic amenities were there, and there were security cameras in the corners of most of the rooms. There was also an intercom system installed. Cloud went inside, and noticed that Sephiroth was sat on the sofa, just finishing off a glass of juice. He sat down next to the other man and the two exchanged a brief glance. They sat in silence for a few moments.

"It feels strange..." Sephiroth began, his voice trailing off slightly.

"Strange how?" Cloud turned to face him.

"Do you know what it feels like... to not be sure of who you are any more?" The question sparked a few odd memories in Cloud's mind. He remembered about his former colleague Zack Fair, and that he had basically lived his life, only coming across the truth when he and Tifa had fallen into the Lifestream. During that time he'd had no recollection of who he really was.

Cloud could only nod weakly. "It turned out that before I knew the truth, I was actually living out my late friend's life." He looked down at his feet. "Not that it matters now."

Sephiroth let out a long sigh. "Well, I don't really know which part of me is real. Some of my memories tell me that I was both an admired and feared member of SOLDIER First Class, but others suggest that I kill others and destroy things for the sake of something that I referred to as 'mother'. Which one is really me?"

Cloud bit his lip and thought a moment. Both parts were true, but remembering the Nibelheim incident made him realise how easily Sephiroth could misinterpret things. He would have to be careful about how he answered this. "To be honest I'm not entirely sure myself. I think it'd be best to not think about either of those things and start fresh." Sephiroth had a look of confusion on his face, but he nodded and said he'd try. He fiddled with the empty glass in his hands.

Reno entered the room just as Cloud stood up. "Alright, the guards are on their way. Whoever those guys are, they won't be getting us." The blonde man was about to head out, but Reno blocked his progress. "Where are you going?"

"I'm just going to visit my friend, Reno. I'll be back in a bit." Reno nodded and let Cloud pass. The blonde man had had an awkward feeling when Sephiroth brought up the whole thing about not knowing who you were. He needed time to think. Maybe he could visit Tifa, but he wasn't sure. Perhaps it was best not to tell her about this. She was already apprehensive.

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