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Chapter 17 - Hero Again

When the author's world is connected, she goes on a quest through time with Yuffie and Riku to find her way home. Appearances by the casts of FF7&8. Rated PG just to be safe. For anyone who's ever wanted to travel to other worlds. Comments please!

Chapter 17 - Hero Again

Chapter 17 - Hero Again
Chapter 17

"Explain this to me again." I was roaming the main hall of the hotel, looking at the instruments displayed there. Apparantly, the art exhibit had been replaced with a music exhibit. I eagerly scanned it, hoping to find some information about my flute.

"I heard that you and your friends are going on a quest. I wanted to come along. Please take me with you, kupo!"

"But why?"

"All my friends want me to be a mail carrier, or a card trader, or a synthesizer. But I want to be a record-keeper, kupo! All the best moogles keep records of quests and adventures, kupo! I thought it would be the prefect opportunity." I remembered the moogles who had done all the game-saving in FFIX. Apparantly they were record-keepers. And this moogle looked definitely Gaian. Not at all like the ones here in Traverse town. The wings were bigger, and his nose didn't take up half his face.

"Well, I wouldn't mind having you along, but I'd have to ask my friends first...." I trailed off, wondering if Riku would stay with the group. He could go off with Sora, if he wanted. There was really no reason for him to stick with us. I sat down heavily on the piano bench belonging to an elegant old upright placed at the very end of the hallway, near the receptionist's desk. I would really miss him.

"You mean the silver-haired boy, kupo?"

I nearly fell off the bench. "You're telepathic?!"

"What did you think pom-poms were for, kupo? Decoration?" The moogle shook his head. "That's why we never let anyone touch them, except our mates."

"Oh." I was stunned. "Well, if Riku and Yuffie agree, you're in,...I'm sorry, I don't even know your name."

"Mogruko." The moogle smiled.

"I'm Melanie" I smiled back.

We lapsed into contemplative silence for a while. I looked up the hall. Checked the left wall again. No flutes. Checked the right wall again. No flutes. So much for that.

"The best person to see about that would be Lady Eiko," Mogruko suggested. "If any one would know, she would."

I nodded. "I suppose you're right. I was hoping to avoid a side trip, though..."

It was Mogruko's turn to be stunned. "You know Lady Eiko?"

"Not personally..." I sighed. "It's a long story."

Seeing that I really didn't want to explain it at the moment, Mogruko yawned and said, "Well, I think I'll go to bed. Thanks for everything, kupo." He looked at me with glittering eyes for a moment, then trotted away to the blue room.

I sighed. Alone at last. My companions were too preoccupied to contact me mentally or otherwise. I could think things over. But nothing came to mind. Turning around on the bench, I decided a little music wouldn't hurt my thinking process. It seemed like forever since I had laid hands on a piano. I began to play "Holding My Thoughts in My Heart" from FFVII, my favorite piece thus far. It contained bits of the main Highwind Theme here and there, but was mostly just contemplative and gentle. Slowly, I drew out the last chord and let the final note fade into silence.

"Very nice." I jumped so hard my knees nearly hit the bottom of the keyboard. That voice...I slowly turned around to meet Cloud's mako-eyed gaze.

"T-thank you," I stuttered.

"It sounds familiar..." He murmured. Suddenly- flash! An image of another upright, and a younger Cloud sitting entranced as Tifa played, 'Do, rei me ti, la..." Flash! The image was gone. I looked up to see Cloud clutching at his head. He quickly let go in embarassment. "I'm assuming you saw that too?" Cloud asked. Cool as ice. Completely typical of the ex-SOLDIER. I nodded mutely. "Due to Jenova's cells, I am capable of telepathic activity now and then." His lips quirked slightly in what might have been a smile. "It just tends to be a bit... painful."

"I noticed," I said dryly. Having an alien being's cells in your body was painful enough. Making contact through those cells...I couldn't imagine. I remebered that in FFVII, all of Cloud's flashbacks had caused him to collapse, or even lose conciousness. But the influence of Jenova's cells had never turned him to evil. Sure, he'd had weak moments, but who doesn't? He was my hero- the bishie among bishies- untill I played Kingdom Hearts. Now I was terrified of him.

After the inital contact, Cloud's mind was still with mine. He winced mentally, though nothing showed on his face. "I was have to understand. I had nowhere else to turn." He should have been smarter, I thought. How could he expect good things to come from joining with evil? "But Hades promised me...that bastard..."

My throat was tight with fear, and images of Cloud's buster sword were very much on my mind, but I asked anyway: "You wouldn't have really killed Sora, would you?"

"I don't know...I don't know..." he murmered, close to tears now. "At that moment, it was like being pinned between two stones. I had been contracted to kill him, I had killed before, but somehow, I just couldn't do it. That moment of hesitation was all Cerebrus needed, luckily,"

"Yeah..." I remebered the huge, three-headed dog knocking the buster sword clean out of Clouds hands.

"I don't know how I fell so far..." Cloud was in earnest agony now, it was starting to show on his features.

"But you still had some light, even then..." I said, answering both our dilemmas. "You said you just couldn't do it."

"Yes..." Cloud's head lifted a little.

"And you're back with Aerith now," I finished with finality. "You have your light."

There was no doubt about it, he was smiling now- a rarity, since his normal facial expression was one of non-expression (quite the oxy-moron, no? But then again, we all know that Cloud's just one messed-up guy XD)

" I your hero again,?" He asked, still smiling.

Surprisingly, I didn't blush. I even had the courage to look him straight in the eye and tell him, "Yes."

"Good. Now, maybe I can forgive myself." With that, he left the hallway and made his way to the red room. I decided I'd been up long enough and sacked out in the blue room. But in that strange state between sleep and wakefulness, when your mind is just drifting, I picked up on some pretty interesting things.


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