Final Fantasy VII: Fear

By Serena Gainsborough

Part 2

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"Dammit how hard is it to follow simple instructions?!" demanded the angered voice of the skinny raven-haired man seated behind a desk littered with papers. The poor man who fell victim to the scientist's rantings backed away as if he were struck.

"I'm sorry, Professor Hojo, but he isn't cooperating with us. He's fighting us every time. He broke Rook's arm when he tried to give him his meal," the man explained. Hojo clenched his fists as he got to his feet. Beady eyes glared at his assistant from behind spectacles set on the end of his long nose.

"Don't give me excuses, Richards. Get stronger men to hold the prisoner down while you inject him with the paralysis drug." Richards shook his head.

"It doesn't matter how many men hold him down he finds some way to hurt them." The scientist cracked a small smile as he placed his hands behind his back and rounded the desk.

"Then perhaps it is time to hurt him," Hojo said without a trace of remorse in his voice. Richards bowed his head in agreement.

"Very well." With that the assistant turned on his heel and beckoned for the two armed guards posted at the door to follow him. When their footsteps faded into nothing Hojo looked over at his desk. The top few sheets of paper had the words Jenova Project Reinstated scribbled in Rufus's messy hand. Those words filled Hojo with glee. When the go-ahead was given to start the project again he was as giddy as a schoolboy. It had been far too long since the last set of experiments had been conducted. Hojo, under the great Professor Gast, had first discovered the Jenova specimen and all had been excited. It was during that time Gast, Hojo and a young woman named Lucrecia, as the lead team, began to study Jenova. It was classified as an Ancient and only good could come from one of the race. Hojo, doing some studies of his own, learned that if he injected humans with Jenova's cells, they would be granted longer life and possibly could develop powers. After Gast passed away, Hojo began the experimentation. It was hell at best as Hojo injected twelve innocent men with the cells, but not before injecting the mother of his child as well. Lucrecia had agreed to undergo the experiments, believing her unborn child would be better off. Soon after she had given birth to a healthy baby boy, Sephiroth.

Hojo thumbed through the so-called important papers in the folder before casting them aside. His thoughts returned to Lucrecia- and to the Turk whom she was infatuated with. Their budding relationship was costly to Hojo's plans and he did what was necessary to sever it at the base. Thoughts of altering Vincent Valentine's body as he lay awake screaming sent chills of pleasure down Hojo's spine. Pain was like a drug to him and he indulged in it whenever he had the chance. He never once regretted his past deeds, all having been in the name of science. Hojo wondered if Vincent were still locked in the basement of the mansion they were in but when the sounds of a man in agony drew his attention to the present. Smiling Hojo practically skipped out of the small study and down the hall where one of his most important specimens was being held prisoner.

"Grab his arms!!! Grab them-oof!" Richards was abruptly cut off by the booted foot that smashed into his face, knocking him to the floor. Three strong men in Shinra uniforms held fast to the struggling prisoner, whose pale green eyes were wide with rage and fear. Richards staggered to his feet, reaching for his nose. Blood streamed down his face and onto his hands. Frowning he could feel the broken bridge and turned to retrieve the long syringe which lay upon a plain tray. The prisoner, a young man about twenty-three, grunted against his captors then shouted at Richards.

"You bastards!! Let me out of here!!" the man demanded as he began his struggle for freedom anew. Richards noticed a shadow fall on him and turned to see Hojo's frail form. He had a slight grin on his face as he surveyed the room.

"I hardly think you are in a position to make demands, boy," Hojo said as he took the syringe from Richards and advanced. The largest of the Shinra soldiers forcibly extended the man's right arm, gripping it so tight that a vein could clearly be seen. Another man held the prisoner's head back. Without warning Hojo jammed the syringe into the throbbing vein, pushing the contents into the man's bloodstream. Hojo ignored Richards's voicing against using the syringe without properly prepping the vein first. The young man twitched and thrashed about wildly, his legs kicking out. One nearly delivered a sharp blow to Hojo's lower left calf but suddenly the prisoner went limp. Satisfied, Hojo withdrew the needle and tossed it onto the tray near Richards.

"Take him to the holding cell. And Richards, if you ever question how I inject my specimens again you will find yourself no longer a part of this team. Are we understood?" Hojo said, glaring at his assistant. Richards nodded, saying nothing. Hojo walked out of the room as the largest of the men hoisted the prisoner over his shoulder and followed the scientist.

Down the hall and in another room Aerith Gainsborough sat huddled in a corner, her hands pressed firmly over her ears. The screams of that young man's pain had frightened her to the point of tears. She had tried in vain to block out his screams but they seemed to go beyond her senses and into her very soul. The torture the young man underwent seemed endless since Aerith's arrival here two days ago. The ambush in the house at the Forgotten City had taken her completely by surprise, leaving her no time to defend herself against the assault. They hadn't even let her change into warmer clothes. Aerith knew she must have caught a cold since she had been sneezing and felt utterly miserable.

The sound of the door opening made Aerith jump slightly as she turned her head to see a Shinra soldier deposit a raven-haired young man onto the cold floor. Aerith kept her eyes downcast as Hojo stepped into the cell. He knelt down to check the man's pulse before looking up at Aerith.

"You don't look well, Ancient." Aerith held herself as she started to tremble. Hojo cracked a small smile before rising to his full height and whispering to the soldier. He then cast a glance over at Aerith before leaving the room. The guard tossed in a blanket then left. When the door closed Aerith reached for the blanket and gathered it around herself. She crawled over to where the young man lay and covered part of him with the blanket. As she sat there trembling she started to think about Sephiroth. The last time she had seen him they were laying face to face on the bed they shared, his strong arms around her in a protective embrace. She wished for his warmth then and there. She knew he must be worried about her and most likely was on his way to Nibelheim. He wouldn't condone to having Aerith in this prison.

Thank you for covering me....I was cold...Startled, Aerith stared down at the man, her eyes wide in awe. He had spoken directly into her thoughts! How? Only the Cetra could communicate that way...

You're welcome. Who are you? What does Hojo want with you?

My Jack...I am the same as you. I am a Cetra...

What? But I thought I was the last one...where have you been hiding?

I'm so tired....and cold....

Aerith herself felt the same way and lay down next to him, covering both with the blanket. Jack was in fact very cold to the touch. Didn't Hojo even take care of his precious specimens? Aerith started to warm up herself as she lay beside him. She suddenly coughed, then sneezed.

You've a cold....

I know...when they took me from the Forgotten City I wasn't able to wear proper clothing. Jack, why does Hojo want us? tired.... Jack's voice died down as he surrendered to sleep. Aerith closed her eyes and exhaled. She whispered Sephiroth's name as she, too, fell asleep.

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Hushed whispers followed the tall lithe man everywhere he went, but he paid them little mind. He already knew what they were saying. Isn't that Sephiroth? Why yes it is, but isn't he dead? No he's a ghost! What if he kills us all? I heard he destroyed Nibelheim. Nonsense! That small village is fine. Where do you kids come up with these things? Sephiroth had heard it all. From the moment he entered Bone Village all the workers had dispersed as if he were a lord. Getting a man to talk was a bit difficult but once he had seen Sephiroth's Masamune he was ready to tell Sephiroth his life story. As of now Sephiroth stood on the docks near Bone Village awaiting a ship that was arriving from Costa de la Sol to retrieve the remaining archeologists that had spent time in the village. Arms crossed, his sword sheathed at his side, Sephiroth looked as if he were about to challenge the sea itself. He had been hard-pressed to get to Midgar and to Aerith but like all things he had to wait. Waiting is what he had been doing for the past three hours. Suddenly something round and orange bounced against Sephiroth's ankle, giving him a start.

"There it is!" came the voice of a small child, about seven years old. Sephiroth turned to watch the little boy run toward his ball. The child was dressed poorly, his green overalls much too big for him. He wore no undershirt and an oversized beret-type hat. He was smiling even as he neared a man used to being feared.

"Be careful! Don't get too close to the water!" called the child's older sister. The little boy was practically upon his ball when the wind pushed it from its resting place near Sephiroth's ankle toward the beach. Sephiroth watched the boy fly past him, his arms outstretched as if he were airborne.

"Gotcha!" he announced, grabbing the ball before it neared the beach. As the sister called for her brother to come back Sephiroth spotted something moving within the bushes near the boy. Narrowing his eyes, his hand unconsciously went for the handle of the Masamune. Everything from then seemed to happen in slow motion.

The boy turned and cried out as a wolf-like creature sprang from the bushes, its hungry fangs bared. Sephiroth's Masamune was out in a heartbeat as he advanced. One hand snatched up the child and ball while the Masamune met with its target. There was a howl of pain, then the splattering of blood upon Sephiroth's black cape. Sephiroth stood above the beast, his eyes fixed on the withering carcass. With quick reflexes he had severed the head, ending its life.

"Oh no!!" cried the frightened voice of the older sister as she raced down to where Sephiroth stood. The boy was holding onto his ball tightly, his eyes squeezed shut. Looking at the boy, Sephiroth furrowed his brow in confusion. Something as simple as a child seemed beyond him, but sure enough he was holding one. And the child wasn't afraid.

"I don't know how to-" the girl paused as Sephiroth slowly turned to look at her, the sun gleaming off his Mako eyes. She drew in a breath. "Thank you," she finished after a moment. Sephiroth simply nodded and handed the boy to her. The boy wrapped his arms around his sister, his sobs muffled by her long hair. The girl smiled a bit before walking away with her brother. Sephiroth watched them go before he turned away to stare at the sea. Suddenly he doubled over in pain, his only support coming from his sword. Damn!, he swore inwardly as he willed the pain to stop. Hoping no one had seen him, Sephiroth walked toward the beach and away from prying eyes. The breeze coming off the sea fanned out his hair as Sephiroth inhaled and exhaled slowly. What is causing this pain? Is it because of my worry for Aerith? Or is it something...much worse? Sephiroth looked down on himself before wiping the creature's blood off him. The sound of a ship's horn drew his attention from what he was doing. At last the ship had arrived. Looking up into the sky, Sephiroth thought of Aerith. Hold on, Aerith. Wherever you are, I'll find you.

From her hidden place behind three large fuel barrels Tifa watched the Shinra guards patrol the area around the exit to Midgar. After leaving Red and the bike in a safe spot, Tifa had gone on ahead to see how many Shinra soldiers were around and what they would do to their chances of getting out of Midgar. Banners depicting Shinra's want to find and capture the members of Avalanche would also hinder Tifa's plans. Sighing Tifa sank to the ground and shook her head. She could just get on the bike and run, but the chance of her being captured was great not to mention her being shot on sight. What am I going to do?, she thought nervously. There were no ships leaving Midgar at this end of the city and the airport was strictly used for Shinra execs. Looking over her shoulder at the Shinra soldiers again she was surprised to find them leaving in a group, led away by an unseen commander. Tifa suddenly gasped. They were switching shifts! This would be the one and only time she could slip out of the city. Rushing back to where Red was hidden, Tifa hoped the time would be enough.

Red sat curled up next to the covered bike resting contently when his ears picked up footsteps. Lifting his head and opening his good eye, he saw Tifa coming for him. Her face was slightly flushed from her sprint. Rising to his feet Red stretched and yawned just as Tifa came to a stop before him. He looked up at her curiously as she bent over, hands on her knees.

"What happened?" he asked. Tifa sucked in a breath as she rose to her full height.

"I found our way out of the city, but we have to move now! The guards' shift switch won't last long and we only have one chance to do it." Red nodded and leapt into the sidecar.

"Let's go!" Tifa agreed and hopped onto the bike. Starting the engine, Tifa revved it and pulled swiftly out of her parking spot. She blew past the people that passed by, eyes open for the new set of Shinra soldiers. The exit for Midgar could be seen and Tifa drove faster. Suddenly one Shinra soldier spotted her zipping by and shouted.

"Hey, it's one of those Avalanche members!! Get 'er!!" he ordered. Tifa looked over her shoulder to see armed guards swarming around, their guns aimed and ready. Red, too, saw that their cover had been blown.

"They're getting closer!" he cried. Tifa frowned as she sped past a trio of guards. This isn't what she wanted at all. But even as her heart raced at their being shot or captured she still found it pretty damn exciting. Tifa gasped suddenly, alerting Red.

"What is it?"

"They're blockading the exit!!" Sure enough a number of soldiers had moved crates in front of the exit before standing in front of it guns cocked and ready. Tifa instantly knew she had to jump it. Shouting for Red to hang on, Tifa leaned against the bike and sped up. Red did so, leaning into the wind. The soldiers scrambled in a blue wave as Tifa launched the bike over the crates. It cleared them just barely, the wheel of the sidecar ripping the top off. The bike landed on the open road with a thud which made both passengers grunt. Gunshots followed them as Tifa pulled away. Soon enough she had cleared the exit, speeding under a green sign that read 'Last Exit in Midgar'. Tifa heaved a sigh of relief.

"That was close," she said. Red agreed.

"Do you think we'll make it to the Forgotten City safely now that Shinra knows we're out?" he asked. Tifa shrugged.

"I hope so. If we're lucky Cloud and the others have already found her and made sure she's safe."

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Cloud kept from crying out loud as the Tiny Bronco 2 flew past a flock of large birds that squawked their displeasure at the plane. Cid laughed from the pilot's seat.

"Havin' trouble keeping your cool, boy?" he said with a wry grin. Cloud was quick to shake his head. Vincent, who sat behind him, said nothing but had a small smile on his face.

"Nah, nothing of the sort. Just a little nervous, that's all. Never was one who liked being in motion," Cloud said. Cid laughed again and turned his attention to the sky ahead of them. For almost six hours they had flown endlessly but the small plane hadn't even passed Fort Condor yet. It would be a long trip to Nibelheim if their speed remained the way it was. Vincent stared at the ground below them, scrutinizing it carefully. He had seen countless trees, some animals and beasts but what captured his interest at the moment was a parade of men and trucks.

"I see some sort of caravan down there. I can't tell from up here but I think the Shinra logo is on the truck," Vincent reported. Cloud turned around and squinted. Cid threw a pair of binoculars behind him, nearly hitting Cloud in the head. Taking them Cloud peered down at the ground. Sure enough the Shinra logo could be seen as clearly as the sun. Frowning Cloud lowered the binoculars and called to Cid.

"Get us closer, Cid. I want to know what they're transporting."

Having landed at a secluded spot, Cid stayed behind to guard the plane while Cloud and Vincent scouted ahead to see the caravan. Ducked behind some bushes the pair watched as the procession went by, the large green truck aligned with marching soldiers. The truck reminded Cloud of his days in SOLDIER and that thought made him frown.

"What in the world is Shinra transporting? And to where?" Cloud wondered aloud. Vincent suddenly withdrew his gun, his eyes alert.

"What is it?" Cloud asked as he reached for his sword. Vincent held his claw up to silence Cloud as he listened. The guards had all drawn their weapons, looking around. Cloud watched then gasped as a large beast suddenly leapt out, its fangs bared. It pounced on some men, bringing them down while others shot it. It was a perfect diversion to see what was in the truck.

"Come on, let's go," Cloud said before sprinting from his hiding place. Vincent was beside him almost instantly. Guards ran amuck around them, paying the two Avalanche members no mind. Coming upon the back of the truck Vincent shot the lock in one blow. Cloud pulled the doors apart and staggered back as if in shock.

"What did you see?" Vincent asked. Cloud could only point numbly, his voice gone. Vincent did so and narrowed his red eyes. The word Jenova could be seen inscribed on the metal containment unit. Jenova had been the one who started Vincent's nightmare all those years ago.

"They found it," he stated flatly, trying to suppress his emotions. Cloud shook his head in disbelief.

"That's impossible. I thought Sephiroth had Jenova." Cloud then paused. Sephiroth wasn't Jenova's keeper anymore and must have abandoned her somewhere. He clenched a fist.

"Shinra has Jenova again. They're transporting it to Nibelheim. My God, Vincent...Hojo might start experimenting on humans again!" Vincent turned to stare at Cloud, his red eyes radiating anger. Anger seemed to be the only emotion Vincent freely expressed.

"We must destroy it, Cloud. Take it somewhere, hide it, anything!" Cloud agreed with his red cloaked friend and reached for the container when suddenly he heard a voice inside his head. It seemed to command him to not touch where Jenova was stored. Getting a grip on his senses, Cloud went to grab it again when an invisible force threw him onto his back. Vincent went to his fallen friend and helped him up.

"What happened?" Cloud shook his head, trying to clear the cobwebs.

"I don't know. Come on, let's go. I can't get near it for some reason." Vincent was about to object when the sosoldierstarted gathering, causing the two men to run for the shelter of their hidden place.

"Jenova?! Holy shit, where'd the hell did Shinra find it?" Cid asked in his usual manner when Cloud and Vincent returned. Cloud shrugged before heading for his seat in the plane.

"Damned if I know, Cid. But if Jenova is headed for Nibelheim again, then we can be sure that Hojo will begin experiments." Cid took a drag on his cigarette and exhaled, shaking his head.

"This just gets more fucked up as time goes on. Awright let's go!" Cid said, climbing into the pilot's seat. Cloud and Vincent settled in their seats as Cid ignited the engine. Soon the plane was airborne once more, veering northeast towards Junon.

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Aerith was jolted awake by the sound of Jack's grunts. Still barely aware of her surroundings Aerith sat up, drawing the blanket with her. A large man stood over Jack, sneering down at him.

"C'mon, nature boy, giddup!" he ordered, kicking Jack in the side. Aerith gasped and covered her mouth in despair as Jack rolled onto his side, eyes closed in pain. Struggling to his hands and knees, Jack slowly lifted his head to glare at the soldier. Aerith could feel the tension in the room, almost as if Jack were the sole source of it.

"Not..this time." Suddenly Jack lunged at the large man, his hands reaching for his throat. Aerith cried out as the two men fell to the floor, struggling against the other. Jack had his hands wrapped tightly around the man's neck, his arm muscles tight. The large man tried to get Jack off him but suddenly jerked violently before going slack. Aerith's heart was pounding so loud she thought Jack could hear it as he slowly got to his feet. Turning to her, he extended a hand. Aerith paused a moment, staring at the hands that had just choked the life from the soldier.

"Come on. If we stay we'll both be done in." Aerith looked up into Jack's pale green eyes. Despite the fact that he was filthy from head to toe his eyes possessed a certain quality. Almost as if he knew far more than his years let on. Hesitantly Aerith took his hand and in an instant the two were off. Jack lead the way, walking against the wall as he kept an eye out for guards. An exit appeared before them and Jack stopped, pulling Aerith behind him. Aerith kept close, her body pressed against Jack's. His body heat seeped through the thin nightgown she wore, making her realize how cold she was. Suppressing the urge to cough, Aerith watched as Jack kicked the door open. No alarm sounded, making Aerith curious. Pulling her along Jack raced down a narrow hallway until at last they reached another door. The door to their freedom. Twisting the knob Jack pushed it open with his shoulder, allowing the sun to shed its light on them. Aerith had never felt so happy to see the sun as she did when they stepped out of the house. Jack looked over at Aerith and realized she was shivering.

"Oh, I'm sorry, I should have brought that blanket." He looked at her a moment more, seeing for the first time how lovely she was. Her chestnut hair was long and full, falling past her hips. Her bangs framed her face perfectly even though they were matted from her capture. Dark circles resided under her aquamarine eyes, her cheeks were flushed from the escape. When she sneezed Jack was pulled from his thoughts back to the present.

"Let's get you someplace warm." Taking her hand he led her around the back of the house into a small alleyway. Jack couldn't see any Shinra troops patrolling the grounds, making him heave a sigh of relief. He was still woozy from the drug Hojo had given him and Aerith couldn't keep up in her condition. Suddenly the aroma of a fire burning alerted Jack's senses. Looking up he could see that the house next to the old mansion had a chimney, black smoke rising from it and floating heavenward.

"Stay here and keep out of sight. I'm going to see if I can find a doorway into this house. Will you be all right?" Jack asked. Aerith nodded, offering him a smile that highlighted her pale features. Jack returned her smile before turning away. Aerith huddled against the wall, her arms tight around herself. She couldn't believe that Jack was also a Cetra, just like she. How could it be? Jack must have lived in seclusion his entire life. Aerith glanced heavenward, exhaling. At least he was spared growing up on the run and afraid. Shinra must have searched far and wide to find him now, at an age when he can defend himself. Lowering her gaze Aerith began to think of her mother, Ifalna. Ifalna had been a happy woman and a loving and affectionate mother. But she always seemed so sad, like something had been taken from her she could not replace. Aerith was a little girl when she and her mother fled from the science laboratory. The run had exhausted Ifalna to the point of death, her last words to a caring woman named Elmyra Gainsborough to take Aerith somewhere safe. Aerith had heard her mother's voice from then on, always present in her church. How she missed her church now.

"Hey!" Aerith looked over, drawn from her thoughts back to the present. Jack stood behind an open door, his head poking around it. He gestured with his right hand for her to join him. Aerith carefully hurried to his side, the ground biting into her bare feet. Jack put an arm around her shoulders and led her inside as he closed the door. Aerith looked over the small basement, knowing automatically a fire was lit by the warmth of the atmosphere. Jack stepped away from her and disappeared around a stack of crates. He returned with a dusty brown blanket, laying it out before the black furnace. Sitting down Indian-style Jack offered Aerith a smile and waved her over.

"Come on, sit down. I know you must be cold." Indeed she was and Aerith took no time in sitting beside Jack. Jack regarded her for a moment before speaking.

"Where are you from?" Aerith coughed, covering her mouth in the process. Jack didn't like the sound of her cough. A fever was sure to be the next ailment.

"Midgar," she replied hoarsely. Jack stared into the burning coals of the furnace, nodding.

"He always said he wanted to go to the big city. Our village was all but a wasteland due to that Mako reactor exploding."

"Who? Your brother?" Aerith asked. Jack shook his head, staring down at the blanket. His finger traced lazy circles in a crease as he spoke.

"He was like a brother to me. We grew up together in Gongaga Village. There was always something exceptional about him, something I took notice of well before they did." Jack was frowning as he recalled that particular day. Curious Aerith urged him on.

"We were both sixteen playing in the open fields near the village. He and I always used to pretend to sword fight using sticks that were found laying around the ruined reactor. I saw some men in uniform head toward us. I also saw his parents were with the men. I didn't know what was going on, but my friend had been chosen to join an elite program of fighters based in Midgar. Later on I learned it was a Shinra based program but at the moment all I could think about was losing my best friend. He left soon after. Years later I left the village to study under Bugenhagen in Cosmo Canyon. I was always interested in the Planet, that's how I learned I was a Cetra. I was captured outside Cosmo Canyon by Shinra soldiers and dragged to Nibelheim for some 'tests'. "

"What was his name?" Jack turned to look at her.

"Zack." Aerith's eyes widened as all the color drained from her face. She shook her head, bringing her hand up to her mouth in disbelief.

"Hey, what is it?" Jack paused when he saw tears in Aerith's eyes.

"Zack...and I...well, he was my first love. I never found out what happened to him after he went on a top secret mission. His parents said he never returned. I- I met him while selling flowers in Midgar. I used to do that to earn some money since my foster mother was poor. He bumped into me actually, and when he turned to apologize I stared into his eyes, seeing how they were Mako-enhanced. I guess it was love at first sight. We used to meet at a cafe near the playhouse every day after that. He promised me he'd come back after his mission was done. That was...five years ago." Aerith wiped away her tears. Jack was unsure of how to comfort her, but he couldn't let her sit there in tears.

"Zack did speak of a girl. Well, according to the letter he sent his parents anyway. Maybe she was you," Jack said. Aerith smiled slightly as she shook her head.

"Zack was very popular among the ladies. But I always knew he held a special place for me in his heart." Jack placed a hand on her shoulder, offering his comfort.

"I'm sorry....I lost him too. You see, he died while trying to come back to Midgar. I felt him pass into the Lifestream. I was meditating on a cliff overlooking the canyon when I heard his voice. He said to me 'Jack..I'm sorry we couldn't say good-bye...I've missed the times we shared...take care of...the little guy...for me..okay?' Then he was gone. To this day I don't know who 'the little guy' is, or was if he died." Aerith looked down, her sadness threatening to consume her. Zack had been killed, most likely when he was trying to come back to her. Hearing of it now was almost more than she could bear. Jack sat silently as Aerith wept, knowing she needed to let the emotions out. After her sobs died down to a few sniffles she looked up at him.

"You were his friend. Thank you for letting me know what happened to him," she said, smiling a bit despite her tears. Jack returned her smile. He then started to chuckle.

"I don't even know your name," he said. Aerith smiled and introduced herself. Jack bowed his head, murmuring how pretty her name was.

"Why does Hojo want us?" she asked after a few moments of silence. Jack shrugged.

"I don't know. When I was taken it was more or less shoot first ask questions later. They shot me while I was trying to escape, right in the leg. It was a tranquilizer dart, but I'm going to have the puncture wound for the rest of my life. Hojo mumbled something to me about restarting a project of some sort and I'd play an important role in it." Aerith felt her fear rise anew, making her tremble. Jack placed an arm around her shoulders, bringing her closer to him. Aerith welcomed his embrace, leaning against his shoulder.

"We'll get out of here, don't worry. But we need to get you some medicine. How do you feel?" Aerith sneezed in response.

"I feel a little weak. I need to lay down...," Aerith said, closing her eyes. Before Jack realized she had fallen asleep in his arms. Jack held her gently, allowing her to rest. She would need all her strength if they were going to be able to flee Nibelheim.

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On to Part 2.

Back to Fear.