It was early morning when Tifa woke up and looked around to see Cloud sleeping in the chair next to her. He opened his eyes as soon as she started to move around in her bed.
“Good morning,” Tifa said with a smile.
“Morning,” he replied sitting up straight in his chair. “How are you feeling?”
“Better. I guess I just needed some rest.” She was feeling a little more cheerful today and was looking forwarded to leaving the hospital. “Sorry I slept all day yesterday. I hope you weren’t bored.”
“I was able to keep busy,” Cloud informed her. He didn’t want to tell her about Mile’s escape just yet.
Shortly after a nurse entered the room and checked Tifa’s blood pressure.
“Everything looks good,” the nurse said after writing some notes in Tifa’s chart. “The doctor will write up your discharge papers as soon as he makes his rounds and you can go.”
“Thank you,” Tifa told the nurse before she exited.
It was not long before Tifa was free to go. When they left the hospital Tifa asked when Reeve was sending someone to pick up Miles. Cloud had no other choice but to inform her of Mile’s escape and decided what their next step was. Tifa looked a little upset with the news but otherwise took it better than Cloud anticipated. Maybe she was listening to the doctor’s orders to avoid stress.
“We should go see if Reeve is still in Edge,” Cloud suggested. “Maybe he has some new information.”
Tifa agreed and they made their way towards the town’s exit. They were walking across the main bridge when they saw Reno and Tseng standing outside the mayor’s office. Reno waved them over when he spotted them walking by.
“You two headin’ out?” Reno asked them.
Tifa nodded yes.
“We’re going to see if Reeve is still in Edge,” she told the redhead.
“He’s there. He just called to tell us the peacekeepers arrived with Genesis this morning.”
“They have Genesis? What about Weiss?” Tifa asked.
“No Weiss abandoned him in Nibelheim so Reeve sent some guys there to go get him. The director was about to go there if you want a ride.”
Cloud and Tifa accepted the ride from the Turk leader. They followed him outside town to the waiting helicopter. It did not take long for them to arrive at the airfield. As they exited the aircraft and walked towards the town they were surprised to see all the damage the city suffered.
Parts of the city were still in ruins when they arrived and the town was undergoing extensive reconstruction. Tifa didn’t even want to know how many casualties there were. By the sight of the damage she presumed the numbers were high. The headquarters itself suffered extensive damage and had rubble surrounding it. Similar to what was seen at the Junon location.
Tifa decided to go to 7th Heaven to check on Denzel and Marlene while Cloud and Tseng went to the WRO headquarters to talk to Reeve. When they entered the building they went through security and Cloud followed Tseng towards Reeve’s location. Reeve was in a workshop talking with a WRO technician next to the mako chamber holding Genesis. They turned away from their conversation when the two entered the room.
“Good, you brought Cloud with you,” he told Tseng.
Cloud walked up to Genesis who was floating in the mako chamber. His body looked lifeless with his head slumped over and his eyes closed.
“Is he alive?” Cloud asked.
“We think so,” Reeve informed him. “Have either of you seen Vincent?”
“Not since last night,” Tseng replied. “He went to search for Miles.”
Cloud was surprised to hear Vincent was in Healen last night. He must have met up with the Turks after he went back to the hospital.
“I’ve been trying to call him but his phone is off. I have a team posted in Nibelhiem waiting to see if Weiss or Miles return but still no sign of them,” Reeve updated the two.
“What do you plan to do with him?” Cloud asked turning away from the Mako Chamber and towards the commissioner.
“We’ll have doctors look at him to assess his injuries. We are hoping Miles or Weiss will come looking for him.” Reeve informed Cloud. He then turned towards Tseng. “Our medical team will need some information from you about Genesis.”
Reeve himself knew very little about Genesis and the other Jenova projects. He was only the director of city planning when Genesis turned against Shinra and even as the head of urban development the other executives and the former president Shinra would leave him out of anything that didn’t involve his department. Even when it did involve his department they usually just ignored his recommendations anyway.
Tseng walked over towards Cloud and inspected Genesis.
“What do they want to know?” Tseng asked Reeve while he was looking in at the unconscious man inside.
“I think they just want to know if you have any information regarding his medical history and…” Reeve paused when he noticed the expression change on Tseng’s face.
“Is something wrong?” he asked the Turk.
“I don’t think this is Genesis,” Tseng informed him turning to face Reeve and Cloud.
“How can you tell?” Cloud asked. It looked exactly like the man he fought in the Mako Excavation Facility and Junon. He even had the cut on his face that Cloud gave him when they were fighting earlier. If Tseng was right then the man he was fighting this whole time was not the real Genesis.
Tseng turned back towards the fake Genesis and pointed at his hair.
“This man is showing signs of degradation. The real Genesis was cured of degradation years ago.”
“So he was a copy all along?” Cloud asked.
“It appears so.” Tseng walked towards Reeve and Cloud.
“I wonder if Weiss knew the man he helped was not the real Genesis,” Reeve questioned. This could explain why Weiss had not yet returned to Nibelhiem. “It seems like we are back to square one,” he said sounding frustrated, “and we have no idea where they are or what they have planned.”
“If they even have a plan,” Cloud added.
Cloud did not think they were able to plan this far ahead. So far they had put a stop to their plan to blow up the WRO buildings and they rescued Tifa and Shelke. Plus Cloud did not think Miles and Genesis would have been able to anticipate Tifa shooting the fake Genesis. He did wonder what the real Genesis up to if they were fighting a Genesis copy this whole time.
“We don’t even know what is motivating Genesis. Does he have a grudge against Shinra like Miles? I don’t even know what connects him to Deepground.” Reeve asked. He knew little about his connection with Deepground. Reeve looked towards Tseng wondering if he had any answers.
“Many SOLDIERs have a connection to Deepground in a way. It used to be a medical facility for injured SOLDIERs. They would be sent there for care and rehabilitation but overtime it went underground and the SOLDIER’s that were sent there never returned to regular duty. They became elitist and would experiment on themselves; some using Genesis cells. Although all this was encouraged by the late president Shinra but I do not think Genesis has the same hatred towards Shinra as Miles.” Tseng informed them.
“Maybe Genesis was just using Miles to help him revive Weiss,” Cloud suggested.
“And Miles needed Genesis’ copies to help him retrieve the huge materia,” Reeve added. They were never able to recover any huge materia so they wondered if Miles still had plans for it.
Cloud was starting to get frustrated. They had more questions than answers. They could stand there and theorize all day but it was not getting them any closer to finding Genesis, Weiss or Miles. He decided to go check in on Tifa and the children. He was curious to see if their home was one of the many damaged from the attack anyways.
“I am going home to check in,” he informed Reeve and Tseng. “Let me know if you hear anything.”
Cloud exited the WRO headquarters and walked a few blocks towards 7th Heaven. Cloud was relieved to see their neighborhood was not as damaged as other areas. There were a few buildings with some minor damage nearby but the 7th Heaven was unscathed.
When Cloud entered his home he was greeted by Marlene and Denzel who were happy to see him. He wondered if Tifa told them they might not be staying for long. He felt bad for leaving for so long and then return only to depart again.
“Cloud!” Marlene yelled giving him a big hug when he entered. “How was your trip?” she asked him.
“Good,” he lied to her. “I am glad to see you two are okay.” He changed the subject.
“Nanaki has been taking good care of us,” she informed him. “Tifa told us that Yuffie and Shelke are okay. We were really worried. They went out to help people when the city was attacked and never came back. We looked everywhere for them after the attack. Have you heard from papa?”
Marlene was so excited she was going a mile a minute.
“He went to Corel to help the citizens. I’m sure he will be back as soon as possible,” he assured the girl.
“Do you know who was behind the attacks?” Denzel asked Cloud.
“Yes, but we are still looking for them,” Cloud informed Denzel. He wasn’t going to lie to them about that but did not want to go into details. “Where’s Tifa and Nanaki?” he asked.
“In the kitchen,” the two children said simultaneously.
Cloud proceeded into the kitchen with the two children following. Tifa was doing dishes and having a discussion with Red XIII who was sitting on the floor nearby. They both stopped talking when Cloud and the children entered the room.
“How was your meeting with Reeve?” Tifa asked.
“Not as promising as we hoped,” Cloud informed her without going into too much detail.
Upon hearing this a worried look appeared on Tifa’s face. She wanted to discuss this further but they needed to wait until the children were gone. She finished washing the dishes and Cloud proceeded to dry them while she started making lunch. The two children started to set the table.
Sensing something was wrong Nanakin changed the subject.
“Did Denzel and Marlene tell you they helped out after the attack on Edge?” he asked them.
“No, how did you help out?” Tifa asked the children smiling.
Marlene stopped setting the table to look at Tifa.
“We brought water and bandages to injured people until helped arrived and Denzel helped with some of the rebuilding.” Marlene said excited to be telling Tifa.
“I only helped unload some materials; I didn’t build anything,” Denzel said being modest. He was never one to brag.
“That’s great! I’m so proud of you two for helping out,” Tifa stopped to praise the children and then went back to preparing the food.
It didn’t take long for everyone to eat the lunch Tifa made. After they finished eating the two children left the house to go see if anyone in the city needed any help with the rebuilding. Cloud, Tifa and Nanakin stayed in the kitchen to talk about Cloud’s meeting with Reeve.
Cloud informed Tifa that the Genesis she shot was really a Genesis copy. Tifa was not sure how to take the news. She really didn’t care if he was the real Genesis or not; it was still the man who put her and Cloud through hell. She was more upset with the idea that Genesis, Miles and Weiss were still free and they had no idea where they were.
Nanakin on the other hand was surprised to hear about Tifa’s actions and they proceeded to update him on everything that had happened so far involving Miles and Genesis. Although they did omit a lot of the personal information and some details surrounding Tifa’s time as their hostage. The feline was silent after listening to Cloud and Tifa fill him in.
Talking about everything they went through over the last few days was starting to stir suppressed emotions in Tifa. Although there was a lot of uncertainty regarding their next course of action she was determined to try to maintain a positive outlook like her old self and make the most of her time at home with Cloud and the children.
Shortly after their conversation Nanakin excused himself to go take a nap in the other room leaving Cloud and Tifa sitting at the kitchen table. Tifa could tell Cloud seemed a bit more tranquil now that he was at home, just like her, but she also knew all this uncertainty was bothering him just as much as it was bothering her. There was a few minutes of silence before either of them spoke.
“How are you feeling?” Cloud asked Tifa with a concerned looked.
“A lot better now that we’re home,” Tifa informed him forcing a smile.
Physically she felt great but her mind felt like it was being pulled in a thousand different directions. She didn’t think talking about it was going to help either. Tifa knew if she told him everything she was feeling right now it would just worry Cloud more.
“How are you feeling about all this?” She asked him in return.
“I donno,” Cloud told her truthfully.
Like Tifa he had all kinds of thoughts running through his head right now. He was thankful Tifa and all their friends were okay after everything that had happened but at the same time he felt defeated because the people who caused them so much suffering were still free and possibly planning against them. Not to mention the worries that come with the uncertainty of being a father and not knowing how his unborn child will turn out considering everything it had been through before it was even born.
Tifa reached out and placed her hands on Cloud’s hand resting on the table. It was like she knew what he was thinking and was trying to comfort him. They sat there together for a few minutes until the silence was broken by the sound of Cloud’s phone ringing.
He let go of Tifa’s hand and reached into his pocket.
“Hello,” Cloud said answering his phone. He was silent as he listened to the person on the other line. “Yes, we’ll be there,” he told them.
Cloud closed his phone and looked at Tifa. “It was Reeve. He said Weiss was spotted near Nibelhiem. Cid will be at the airfield in an hour to pick us up.”
Tifa nodded in agreement and left the room to go upstairs to take a quick shower and get a change of clothes, Cloud followed suit. After getting freshened up they found Nanakin napping in the living room. They woke him up to let him know that they were leaving again. Then Tifa and Cloud left to go find the children.
They located Denzel and Marlene a few blocks over helping some of their friends with the cleanup of their homes. Tifa and Cloud were sorry to see that other families they knew very well had their homes damaged by the attack. They wanted to help but had other priorities. They told themselves if their neighbors were still repairing the damage when they returned they would assist as much as possible. They told Marlene and Denzel they were leaving and gave them each a big hug promising to be back as soon as possible. Then they made their way across town to the airfield where the Shera was waiting for them.
When they boarded the ship they were greeted by Cid and his crew. Cid told them that he just came from Corel and Barret was in the lounge getting some rest. He told them that Barret had been working non-stop helping with the Corel rebuild after they located the explosive device at the WRO office.
“Are we waiting for Reeve?” Cloud asked the Capitan.
“Nah, he said he needs to stay in Edge to work on some stuff. Are you two ready to go?” Cid asked them.
Cloud and Tifa nodded yes and they all proceeded to the bridge to prepare for takeoff. Shortly after Barret joined them on the bridge.
Cloud and Tifa filled them in on their time in Healen leaving out the part about Tifa being in the hospital. They did not want to worry their friends. They knew telling them would cause more questions and they did not want to go into much detail. There was not much talking amongst them as they made their way towards Cloud and Tifa’s hometown.