04-21-2017, 03:59 AM
Chapter 1 Seek And Ye Shall Find

She packed her bags, getting ready to leave Mideel. She knew the name of the triplets� mother, and since there was no medical file at the hospital or doctor�s office, she just showed the picture of Kunnia to some of the locals. Eventually she hit pay dirt and found out that Kunnia had relocated from Icicle. That was another piece of the puzzle, but she still didn�t have the whole picture. She could be in Icicle in three days and continue her investigations there.


Lori sat in her office, double-checking inventory lists when there was a knock on her door, and one of the new waitresses popped their head in.

�Someone is here asking questions about someone who used to live in the neighborhood, I thought you might be able to help her.� the girl said.

�I�ll be right there.� Lori closed down her laptop and went into the main room. The waitress pointed out a lady in black with a heavy veil.

She walked over to her table. �Can I help you?� Lori asked when the woman looked up at her.

�Yes, do you own this place?� The woman asked in a raspy voice.

�Yes, ma�am.�

�How long have you owned it?�

�Twelve years, ma�am.�

�Did you know this woman?� The woman handed Lori a picture.

Lori stifled a gasp as she looked at the picture of Kunnia when she was pregnant. Even thought it had been years since the �Massacre in Mideel� as the media called it, the loss of Kunnia and her babies still hurt. Lori felt her eyes start to water as she handed the picture back.

�She used to work here. Are you a relative?� Lori asked, wondering if that was the reason for the woman�s mourning attire.

�I�m just someone who honors the dead. What can you tell me about her?�

Lori sat down at the table. She didn�t know why she felt compelled to talk about Kunnia, but she couldn�t stop once she started. When she finished saying what she knew about Kunnia, the woman nodded for some reason.

�What about the father of her children, what do you know about him?� The woman asked.

Lori�s reawakened grief was beset by a flash of anger. �Kunnia�s babies had no father!�

The woman tilted her head and stared at Lori. �Did you know him?�

�I wish I never had!� Lori stood up and stormed back to her office.

The woman put some gil down on the table and left. She really didn�t need the info on Reno, she learned enough in Mideel, but Kunnia�s denial of him as their father was interesting. She would head back to Gongaga tomorrow, she had the information she had been seeking. Or at least enough of it. Those children had to be related somehow to the Ancients. Which means if word got out, they might be at risk. During this quest of hers, she had heard rumbles of some idiots trying to form cults of Sephiroth.

Lori sat back down in her chair and stared at the wall. She had never quite forgiven herself for not only hurting Kunnia with her drunken one night stand with Roth, but for not trying harder to convince Kunnia to stay in Icicle. She would still be alive if she hadn�t moved to Mideel�


Chapter 2 Cleaning Up

Rude stood in front of Reno�s apartment. It had been two weeks since that horrible day when he and Elena had died, and Reno�s apartment had to be cleaned out before the new tenants moved in. He took a deep breath and opened the door, forcing himself to pick up the boxes and walk in. This was the hardest thing he had ever had to do, both professionally and personally, but he had resisted the suggestion of having a hired stranger come in and do it. And it was fitting that this was his last duty as a Turk.

Rude looked at the list of what was supposed to stay with the apartment, and started packing up the knick knacks that Reno had added on his own. As he wrapped them up before putting them in the box, Rude noticed a subtle difference in style between some of the objects, and he guessed Elena was behind it. When Tseng and Elena were on that despicable trip to Gongaga, Reno had told him he was thinking about asking Elena to move in with him when she got back, since they spent so much time there anyway.

Rude sighed as he put the lid on the first box. When he finished with the entryway and living room, he moved to the kitchen. He had to cover his nose with his gloved hand when he opened the fridge. He grabbed the spoiled food with his other hand and started dumping it down the garbage disposal. However, when he flipped the switch, the disposal didn�t turn on. He opened the cabinet door underneath the sink and was surprised to see that the disposal was taken apart, and there was some kind of book where it was supposed to go.

Confused, Rude took the book out and cleaned the gunk off the covers and opened it, to find out there was something harder than cleaning out Reno�s apartment, it was looking at a photo album of Reno and Elena. The inside cover of the album had the words WHAT DID I DO WRONG? scrawled in Reno�s handwriting. Judging by the angles and the quality of the pictures, it was taken from one of the helicopters� surveillance system. The pictures were from all over the world, sometimes Reno was pointing out something for Elena to see, some were of them having a picnic, and others were of them just sitting together with his arms around her, looking at something in the distance off-camera. Their short-lived happiness was almost tangible in those pictures. Rude slammed the album shut and threw it in the nearest box. A few moments later he took it out and put it in his jacket.

He got the disposal working again and finished cleaning and packing up the kitchen, then moved onto the living room. Rude avoided the bedroom until the very last. It hadn�t changed since the last time Rude had been here, the place was still a mess. The bed was unmade and clothes were strewn everywhere. He picked up and folded the clothes, putting them in a box marked for the dry cleaners, then he emptied the closet and dresser. The last time he had been in someone else�s bedroom, it hadn�t been that pleasant either.


Rude knocked on the door, and stood there like a statue. In a few moments, Tseng answered it.

�Did you find Elena? If not, don�t bother me.� Tseng told him.

�I most definitely found her.� Rude replied.

The tone of Rude�s voice was the only warning Tseng had, he never even saw Rude�s fist move before he was sent flying backwards into the room. Rude walked in and locked the door, then took off his sunglasses and put them in his pocket.

Tseng finally managed to get away from Rude, dripping blood as he ran up the stairs to his loft bedroom. Rude followed, neither hurrying nor slowing down as he walked up the stairs. As Rude turned the corner, a bullet smashed into the support beam right next to him. Rude stopped and counted bullets, then charged. He slammed Tseng into the wall, and Tseng hit him in the head with a statuette. Rude staggered back, and Tseng made a break for it. Rude recovered and charged again, and this time they smashed through the wood railing onto the living room floor below.

Rude tried to get up, then realized a piece of the railing had pierced his right leg all the way through. He pulled himself over to the couch and managed to stand up. Tseng had fallen on the coffee table, and his body was impaled in various places by either broken glass or broken railing. Rude was glad Tseng was going to die painfully. He wasn�t dead yet, though. Rude hobbled over to him, and Tseng�s eyes followed his movements.

�Why?� Tseng asked as he coughed up blood. �You�re a Turk.�

Rude reached inside his jacket and pulled out Elena�s suicide note. �Consider this my resignation letter.� He held it front of Tseng�s face so he could read it, shock the foremost emotion on his face as he scanned the note.

�Elena�s dead?� Tseng had trouble getting enough air and energy to speak.

�She killed herself to get away from you, and took Reno with her.� Rude crumpled up the note into a ball. �I quit, and you�re dead. The Turks are done.�

�I�� Tseng�s voice trailed off as exhaled his last breath on a wave of bloody bubbles.

�Coward!� Rude said before shoving the note in Tseng�s mouth and hobbling over to the front door to leave.


Rude packed up the last box in the bedroom and put it out in main floor hallway with the others. He took one last look around Reno�s apartment, still hearing echoes of his voice.

�Be seeing you, partner.� Rude said as he closed the door, grabbing a row of boxes to take out to the moving van.

His next stop was Gongaga. After his confrontation with Tseng and a visit to the hospital for his leg, he had given his official report and two weeks� notice to Rufus, who accepted both without comment. Once in Gongaga, Rude took out a slip of paper, following the directions. He pulled to a stop in front of a farmhouse and went up to the door, politely knocking.


Alicia answered the door, wondering who would be here so early in the morning. Their birthday party wasn�t until the afternoon. She looked at the official-looking man standing there and wondered what he was selling.

�Can I help you?� Alicia asked.

The man pulled out a piece of paper from his jacket and looked down at it. �Is this the home of a set of adopted triplets named Lily, Ivy, and Ian?� He looked back up at Alicia.

A chill went through Alicia. This was the knock on the door she had always feared. �They�re ours! You can�t have them!� She went to slam the door as Jonathan came up behind her.

The man stuck his foot in the door and put his hands up. �I�m not here to take them, I promise. May I please come in and explain?�

04-23-2017, 05:34 AM
Chapter 3 Happy Birthday

Jonathan and Alicia sat at the kitchen table with Rude, as he told them that the triplets� parents were dead, noticing that he didn�t say how their father died. They had heard about Deepground, and were so relieved that the babies had been safe. They thought about Zack, and how he would have wanted to be in the front lines to stop them. That�s when Alicia remembered something.

�Are you a Turk?� she asked Rude.

�There are no more Turks.� Rude frowned.

�Forgive me for asking, but I met some of them years ago, and Zack spoke very highly of a Mr. Tseng.� Alicia explained.

Rude controlled his anger upon hearing Tseng praised. The Tseng they were talking about had died long before that fight at his apartment.

�He died recently as well.� Rude informed them.

�Oh, that�s too bad.� Jonathan said.

Rude just nodded. His only regret was that he hadn�t killed Tseng in time to save Elena, and therefore Reno as well. The triplets came down the stairs just then.


�You knew our father?� they asked simultaneously.

Rude nodded. �I was his partner for years.�

�If you were his partner, how could we have a mommy?� Ivy asked.

Jonathan nearly spit out his coffee and Alicia �coughed� while Rude got a funny expression on his face.

�I was his partner for work.� Rude explained, looking towards Ian. He found it easiest to look at the boy. Lily resembled her mother so much, and Ivy was a such a blend of both her parents, that looking at them brought back too many bad memories.

Alicia stood up and got the triplets� breakfast for them. �You have to stay inside today, otherwise you know you�ll ruin your outfits.� She gave Ivy a sharp glance.

�She loves to climb things. We think she was always that way and that�s why her mother named her Ivy. The kids at school call her �Climbing Ivy�.� Jonathan informed Rude.

Rude nodded sadly. Ivy was her father�s daughter alright. He stood up to excuse himself when he remembered the photo album and pulled it out of his jacket and handed it to Ian. �Happy Birthday.�

The family gathered around Ian as they looked through the pictures.

�You�ve got Daddy�s hair!� Lily said to Ivy, who nodded eagerly and smiled.

�Who is the blonde woman?� Alicia asked. �She�s very pretty.�

�She�s the one who brought the triplets here.� Rude said.

�We�d like to thank her for that. How can we meet her?� Jonathan asked.

�You can�t.� Rude answered.

Alicia made an O with her mouth as Jonathan frowned.

�I�ve got to go now, it was nice meeting you all.� Rude said as he headed towards the door.

�Will you be at the party?� Lily asked.

�I�m not sure if I�ll be able to.� Rude replied.

�Please come back if you can, the party starts at one.� Alicia said.

Rude nodded as he hurried out the door and got back into the moving van. He took a few deep breaths, fighting the feeling that he was being chased by living ghosts.


Rufus sat looking out the window, wondering why he hadn�t heard back from Reeve yet on decent candidates for bodyguards. He didn�t blame Rude for killing Tseng, he blamed himself for being so dismissive of Tseng�s obvious jealousy. He had been surprised when Elena started up with Reno, he had thought she had a preference for dark haired men.

Rufus thought back to a summer so many years ago when a young future CEO was a rebellious punk who dyed his hair black and wore colored contacts to escape his family and see how the �other half� lives. And found a young blond bartender with big brown eyes whose curiosity he decided to satisfy just so he could satisfy himself. He had been such an ass that he made her spend her hard-earned tip money on a hotel suite for a weekend for some bullshit �final exam� he came up with.

Rufus had always wondered years later when their paths crossed again if she ever recognized him, but he could never bring himself to ask her. He shook his head to dispel the memories and concentrated back on the present. Today was the triplets� birthday, and he hoped the anonymous card got there on time. He had put some gil in it for each of them.