03-13-2017, 09:23 PM
Chapter 1 Trouble in Paradise

Kunnia woke up suddenly, unused to Mideel�s warmer environment. Six weeks earlier, after�after she had changed the locks, she kept hearing about the rebuilding they were doing, and fliers kept appearing in her mailbox about all the employment opportunities. After three weeks of feeling constantly out of sorts, and thinking maybe she did need a change of scenery, she called the number on one of the fliers, and was told to expect an information packet. It arrived two days later. Looking over it, she found she would be given free fare to Mideel, as well as accommodations for a one month trial period. However, if things didn�t go well, she had to pay her own way when she left. There was a regular employment application form which she filled out and mailed back in the prepaid envelope.

Three days later, she got her approval letter along with travel voucher. She gave Lori her two weeks notice, and reassured her that all was forgiven. She also gave her landlady notice. When she started packing, she wondered what to do with the orchids. They hadn�t wilted yet in the weeks she�d had them, so she didn�t want to just throw them out. After she was all packed, she decided to give the orchids to the orphanage.

The day of her departure arrived, and Lori and the other waitresses gave her a going away gift, which they told her she wasn�t to open til she got there. After some hugs and tears, Kunnia headed to the airport where the special charter flight to Mideel was waiting.

She presented her travel voucher to the stewardess and her belongings were loaded into the cargo hold. Fifteen minutes after she boarded the plane, they took off. It took eight hours to get to Mideel, and Kunnia slept through most of it. When they arrived and she got off the plane, she was immediately greeted by an official from the Mideel Economic Development Committee and given a map of the area, with living quarters highlighted. Assured her luggage would be delivered to her, she followed the map to reach her new residence. She was too hot in her current outfit, but she planned to change soon enough. She looked around as she followed the path, and saw wild orchids growing. They were pretty, but the ones Roth gave her were nicer. Kunnia nearly tore the map up in rejection of that reminder of what she�d come here to escape.

She didn�t get any unpacking done that day, because once she got to her new place, she suddenly was overwhelming tired. She noticed her boxes in a corner of the front room. She took her boots off and made it to the bed before becoming oblivious to everything.

Kunnia�s eyes were adjusting to the semi-darkness she woke up in, when she suddenly got nauseous. She hurried to the bathroom, and barely made it before she started throwing up. Thinking it was due to the change in environments as she adapted to her new surroundings, she ignored it. Then for the next two weeks it came and went, so she went to see the village doctor. His diagnosis almost made her throw up again.

�I�m pregnant?� Kunnia managed to get out.

�Barely, I�d say about two months. But you understand that�s not precise. Babies hold a lot of mysteries that we are still trying to figure out.� Dr. Turin told her. Noticing her lack of happiness, he instructed his nurse to explain the options available as he went on to his next patient. With all the hordes of orphans needing homes, women weren�t as interested in having to go through pregnancy and labor.

Kunnia only half-heard the nurse, she was too stunned. She took the pamphlets the nurse gave her, and somehow made it home. She threw the pamphlets on the coffee table and crawled into bed. She would have killed Roth if she could have. Instead, she cried herself to sleep.


Elena walked into the employee lounge, surprised to find Rude sitting there alone. �Where�s Reno?� she asked.

�Passing gas for all I know.� Rude answered.

�Are you two still squabbling?� Elena sighed as she went to open the fridge looking for a snack.

�Hey, things would have been fine if you hadn�t called me at Icicle.� Rude defended himself. �Your nagging made her think I was married.�

�This is my fault? You�ve got a lot to learn about women.� Elena grabbed a sandwich marked with his name, and threw it at him as she stalked out of the room.

Rude just sat there for a moment, with the plastic wrap around the sandwich clinging to the side of his face. Then he grabbed the sandwich, took the wrapping off, and ate it, chewing sullenly as Tseng walked in.

�As soon as you�re done with your sandwich, we�re leaving.� Tseng informed him.

�We?� Rude had trouble getting the word out over his salami and egg sandwich.

�Yes, Elena will be working with Reno for the next few months, as will you and I.�

�Fine with me.� Rude finished his sandwich and threw the wrapper in the trash. �What�s the assignment?�


Chapter 2 A Tangled Web

Elena wrinkled her nose as Reno approached. Kunnia must have meant more to him than she thought. In the two months since she broke it off with him, Reno hadn�t been the same. He still did his job to the letter, but something was missing, besides a bar of soap. She felt a slight pang of remorse for her part in it�he wasn�t exactly heartbroken, but he was suffering. Pushing that from her mind, she glanced down at the folder that had their current assignment. Rufus wanted to keep Reno away from Mideel until after the babies were born.

�Where�re we going?� Reno asked, scratching at his dirty face.

�Nibelheim. Don�t you ever pay attention to the briefings?�

�Well, let�s go then.� Reno climbed into the pilot�s seat.

Elena got into the helicopter and strapped herself in. At least hadn�t lost his competence as a pilot. When they got there, Reno got out and started to head for the bar, when Elena demanded they go to the hotel first, and after she got them separate rooms, she told Reno to go to his room and take a shower. He ignored her and took his room key, then headed to the hotel bar. Elena sighed. How did Rude put up with him?

Reno sat down on a bar stool and ordered a bottle of whiskey. He was halfway through it when an attractive woman sat down next to him. She tried to talk to him, but when he looked at her, he saw Kunnia�s face when she caught him with her boss. He turned back to his whiskey then, knowing that it would be pointless to encourage her�he had tried other women in the previous weeks, and it was disastrous, even if he didn�t see Kunnia�s face when he looked at them, he felt worse afterwards, not better. He finished his whiskey and left the woman there, talking to thin air. Finding his room, he threw himself down on the bed and passed out.

Elena sat down in Reno�s recently vacated barstool. �Any luck?� she asked the woman.

�No. What is with that jerk? He didn�t even ask my name. And does he ever bathe?�

Waking up the next morning, Reno made himself a cup of coffee and downed it with a couple painkillers. Then he headed to the shower, and barely rinsed himself off before getting out and getting dressed. He opened his hotel room door just as Elena was about to knock on it, knocking on his head instead.

�Oh, you�re ready, good.� Elena said, wiping her hand off on her suit. �Well, let�s go then.� She turned sharply and headed down the hall to the elevator.

Reno followed her, pushing the lobby button when he got in.

�How long are you and Rude going to continue to behave like children?� Elena asked.

�I�m just doing my damned job. He can do whatever he wants. What are we doing here?� Reno answered.

Elena slammed the file folder into his chest just as the elevator opened up to the lobby. �Doing our damned job.� She stalked off out the door.

Reno looked at her retreating figure in surprise, then scanned the documents in the folder before heading after her.

03-14-2017, 06:56 AM
Chapter 3 The Plot Thickens

Kunnia woke up and just laid there in bed staring at the ceiling. Pregnant! What was she supposed to do now? Her hand unwillingly went to her as-yet flat stomach. Her mind went back to her preparations for her trip to Wutai where she had first met Roth. Her parents were worried about what trouble she might get into, so she had scheduled an appointment with the family doctor to get an implant, but that hadn�t been necessary. After an preparatory exam for the procedure, Kunnia was informed she could never have children. That was the main reason she put up with Roth for so long, she never had to worry about having children he�d neglect.

She laughed out loud bitterly at the irony of her only pregnancy being by the one man she never felt was fit to be a father. At least she found it highly unlikely he�d ever find out. When Lori had come for a visit, she had told Kunnia that no one in Icicle had seen him since that day. Kunnia got herself out of bed and dressed for work. She�d have to start doing double shifts at the caf� for the tips, and moonlight preparing/stuffing information packets for potential immigrants, to earn a nest egg to live off of, for when she was unable to work.

Reno and Elena were finishing up their investigations in Nibelheim when Elena got a phone call.

�Yes, sir?� Elena asked. �Alright, I understand. For how long? It will be done, sir. That is good to hear, sir.� Elena hung up and turned to Reno. �We�re to head to Gongaga now. Well, I am. You�re to head back to Junon. The President wants to go on a cruise for a few months, and you�re on guard duty.�

�Yes ma�am.� Reno said and headed for the helicopter.

Elena hurried after him and put her arm on his to stop him. �Reno, if talking would help��

Reno paused for a moment, then kept walking. �There�s nothing to talk about, I�m just a man without honor.�

Elena sighed. She hoped he�d snap out of it soon. She had always found his attitude to be a trial, but she missed the old Reno now.

Reno landed the helicopter near Gongaga village for Elena, who started to get out, then started to come into the pilot�s area instead.

�What are you doing, Elena? This is your stop.� Reno said.

�I�m out of ideas on how to get the old Reno back, so I�m giving it one last shot.� Elena announced, then grabbed Reno�s face and kissed him, releasing him almost immediately. �Oh God, do you ever use mouthwash?� Elena scurried out of the helicopter, making gagging sounds.

When Reno flew over the Junon docks before landing, he saw Tseng and Rufus there waiting for him. He wondered what Tseng would think about Elena kissing him, even if nothing was meant by it. Aerith was long gone, so it�s not like Tseng is going to moon over some dead chick when Elena is fawning all over him.

Landing the helicopter, he handed the checklist to one of the maintenance techs and headed over to the docks. When he reached Rufus� yacht, Rufus made a gesture dismissing Tseng, who promptly went off on some other errand.

�Permission to come aboard, sir.� Reno remembered to say.

�Permission granted. Welcome aboard, Reno. We�ve been waiting for you, now the crew can get this journey under way. Join me for a drink?� Rufus asked, leading the way to the dining room, which included an elegant wet bar.

�What would you like to drink, Reno?� Rufus gestured for Reno to sit down at the table.

�Anything but scotch.� Reno grimaced at the memory.

�Some brandy then.� Rufus said, pouring two glasses and bringing them over to the table before sitting down opposite Reno. �I must confess, I had an ulterior motive for asking you to be my guard on this cruise.�

�To fire me and dump my body in the ocean?� Reno asked as he sipped his brandy.

Rufus laughed. �Hardly. I�m the boss, I hire people to do that for me. It�s so you and I can talk without any interference.�


�You haven�t been the same since your mission to the Crater two months ago. Was it guilt about your last mission there, when you were unable to rescue two of your colleagues who were brutally tortured as a result?�

�No, but thanks for the reminder.� Reno knocked back the last of his brandy, and Rufus gestured for him to refill his glass.

�Then what is it you�re missing in your life that you had before the second mission to the Crater?� Rufus probed.

�Honor. My honor left me and won�t come back.� Reno was on his third glass now. �I want to go find it.�

�Honor is not something tangible like this table or these glasses, Reno. Finding it is not like a treasure hunt. It�s internal, not external.�

�Mine was real. It was warm.� Reno drunkenly insisted.

�Well, after this trip, if you still think that, I�ll give you a month off to go look for it. Right now I think you could use some sleep. And your bathroom is fully stocked, feel free to use it in the morning. Third door on your left.� Rufus gestured down towards the correct hallway.


Kunnia walked to the doctor�s office for her monthly prenatal exam, with a slight waddle. At four months now, she was beginning to have the weight gain happen more rapidly. She was excited for today�s appointment, since she was going to have the first ultrasound and be able to see her baby. Kunnia was generally happy about the pregnancy now, as long as she kept trying to convince herself there was no father.

Once in the examining room, Kunnia could barely contain her impatience to see her child as she was told to lie down. The equipment was wheeled in, and the gel put on her slightly rounded stomach. Kunnia kept her eyes on the monitor as transducer was put on her stomach and the picture started to appear.

�Oh my word!� Dr. Turin exclaimed.

�What? What is it?� Kunnia felt a stab of fear. She just saw blobs on the screen, not sure what it was supposed to look like.

�Oh, nothing to worry about my dear, you�re just having triplets.� Dr. Turin informed her.

�T�triplets?� Kunnia felt faint. Caring for one child she had prepared herself for, but three? �That bastard!�

�Excuse me?� Dr. Turin said.

�Oh, never mind, Dr. Turin. Where do you see three? I�m not sure what�s on the screen.�

�Here is one of the heads, there�s the second one, and here�s the third one.� Dr. Turin pointed them out on the screen.

�Are they healthy?�

�They seem to be developing properly, but it�s hard to tell at this stage, especially when there are multiple fetuses. The bloodwork will tell us more. And you�re lucky, my dear, that I heard a renowned specialist in multiple births is coming to vacation in the area for an indeterminate amount of time. I�m sure he wouldn�t mind just popping in on your next visit.�

�What�s his name?�

�It�s Dr�.ah�Molly, what is that specialist�s name again?� Dr. Turin asked his nurse. �Oh yes, a Dr. Tseng.�

03-14-2017, 08:55 AM
Chapter 4 Showtime

Kunnia woke up suddenly, aware of a sharp pain in her stomach. She put her hand on it, telling her babies to calm down. She was glad to be halfway through her seventh month now, so she wouldn�t have to do this for too much longer. She had just gotten her monthly checkup in the afternoon, and as Dr. Turin suspected, Dr. Tseng was more than happy to consult. He had given her some pills to help her cope with the strain of the final trimester, and had asked if she had chosen names yet.

Kunnia had been giving a lot of thought to names. She had refused to know the gender before delivery, wanting to be surprised. For girls, the first name that popped into her head was Orchid, but that sounded ridiculous to Kunnia, so she decided on Lily instead. Then she decided to stick with plant names, so the other two girls would be Rose and Ivy. For boys, she refused to name one after their father, so she decided on Ian, Christopher, and Ethan.

�Those are fine names.� Dr. Tseng had told her. �Now, I�ll be leaving in the morning, so you�re back in Dr. Turin�s capable hands. Remember to take two of those vitamins every night before you go to sleep.�

Kunnia had followed instructions, and taken the first two before managing to maneuver herself into bed. She was really getting tired of feeling like an oversized blimp. Now as she lay in bed, with the stomach pain increasing, she was starting to panic. She couldn�t get out of bed with the pain to reach the phone, so she started yelling for help. Eventually she heard a response. She yelled more, and when the other voice got closer, she recognized it. It was Dr. Tseng!

�Dr. Tseng! Something�s wrong with the babies!�

�Don�t panic, Kunnia. I�m coming in.� Dr. Tseng replied.

Kunnia heard him fight with the door until it suddenly flung open, with bits of wood flying as well. Dr. Tseng ran over to her side.

�Lucky I happened to be out for my last midnight stroll when I heard your cries. What happened?�

�I don�t know, I took the pills you gave me, then I went to bed. Then I woke up to stomach pains and they�re not going away.�

�Well let�s check you out.� Dr. Tseng felt her stomach. �Okay, it seems your little ones are ready to make their stage debut.�

�It�s too early!� Kunnia started to panic again.

�Oh, don�t you worry, your babies are developed enough, they�ll be just fine. But I think we�ll need to do a C-section, and I�m not sure we�ll make it to the hospital in time. I need you stay here and be calm while I go grab my bag, I should only be gone around three minutes. Do not try and move.� Dr. Tseng warned her before he ran out the door.

Kunnia closed her eyes and just concentrated on her breathing. Before she knew it, Dr. Tseng was running back to her side.

�Alright Kunnia, I�m going to have to put you to sleep. Don�t worry, this won�t harm the babies. When you wake up, you�ll be in the hospital.� Dr. Tseng informed her as he injected a syringe into her arm.

The last thing Kunnia remembered from that night was Dr. Tseng pulling scalpels out of his bag.

The sun shining on her face woke Kunnia up. She felt a strange combination of emptiness and pain in her stomach. Then she remembered the events of the previous night and tried to shoot up in bed, but that hurt her stomach terribly and she was forced to lay back down. A nurse walked in, and saw her clutching her stomach.

�Oh, you didn�t try to sit up, did you? You won�t be able for a while yet.� The nurse said as she checked Kunnia�s stomach, and dabbed some antiseptic cream where the stitches had just been aggravated by Kunnia trying to sit up.

�Where are my babies?� Kunnia wanted to know.

The nurse wouldn�t look her in the eye. �Dr. Turin will be in shortly to give you the news.� She hurriedly left the room.

Kunnia stared after her, a deathly chill coming over her. She put her hand on her sore and now flat stomach. She stayed in that position until she saw Dr. Turin walk in. He looked rather haggard.

�Dr. Turin! How are my babies?� Kunnia asked impatiently.

Dr. Turin hung his head down. �I�m so sorry, Kunnia, when Dr. Tseng brought you in, he told me what happened, and that when he was bringing you and the babies to the hospital, they suddenly�they just��

�Where are my babies?� Kunnia�s voice went shrill. �Where are my babies?

�They�ve already been buried, Kunnia.� Dr. Turin finally managed to tell her.

�I want to see my babies! Give me my babies!� Kunnia became hysterical, trying to get out of the bed.

Dr. Turin signaled for a nurse to bring a sedative, and he had the nurse hold her down while he injected it into Kunnia.

�Where are my babies? Give me my babies!� The repeated screams finally stopped.

Epilogue, Part Two

As soon as Kunnia passed out, one of Shinra�s doctors for hire came in with neo-natal equipment and performed the C-section while Tseng assisted. The two girls and the boy looked very well formed. When the doctor gave him a girl to put into the first incubator, Tseng smiled down at her. �Aerith lives on.�

�What was that?� the doctor asked.

�Nothing.� Tseng put her in the incubator and wrote �Lily� on the I.D. card. When given the next girl, who had red hair just like her father, he wrote �Ivy� on it. For the boy, he wrote �Ian�. Then he loaded the incubators into the waiting helicopter while the doctor sewed Kunnia up.

After the doctor was done, Tseng sent him off in the helicopter with the babies, while he carried Kunnia to the hospital.



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