Disclaimer: We do not own Naruto or Final Fantasy VII
Co-Author and Beta: Etheral-23
The Turks' offices were not really a fashionable place, that was reserved for their oh so dear leader and his unnecessarily large office. Stainless steel walls, couches and chairs in the reception area, some plants here on there with some paintings to make it a bit more pleasant. Their reception/lounge wasn't the epitome of comfort but it was a nice enough place for the agents of Shinra to relax.
And they had a coffee machine, so that was a plus. Said machine was a popular spot for the Turks, seriously most of them pretty much ran on the stuff considering the company's strong policy on 'no drinking on the job'.
The entirety of their members was currently gathered, save for Tseng, waiting to give a... 'Warm welcome' to the new addition to their ranks.
"So..." Alvis started as he ran a hand over his unkempt auburn hair. "Any thoughts on this?"
"The president is tired of our bullshit lack of progress" Judet drawled as she leant back on a wall, a lit cigarette in between her fingers.
"I'll tell you what's bullshit" Elena replied, uncaring that her older sister heard her swore. "That they think we're not 'good enough'. The Turks took down mean things that nearly destroyed the world"
A young man with curly blonde hair, for once without his distinctive nunchakus, gave her an apologetic look. "Ah, no offense Elena" Christoph smiled. "But you weren't there. Circumstances were different"
"Hmph" A woman with short black hair played with a knife as she sat on a chair. "For starters, we had access to a ton of materia back then" Jenna, as always, was quick to the point.
"Oh you should have seen us, kiddo" Noir the 'Legend' leant back on the couch, placing both arms behind it, blowing out a puff of smoke from his cigar as he did so. "All that power pumping through you, we were a fucking force of nature"
Ruluf deadpanned. "Annnd spent a lot of time under treatment because of that, unlike members of SOLDIER, we mere mortals can't handle all that stuff pumping through our bodies..."
Reno shivered beside Rude who both sat on the couch; "Can't recall how many times I threw up from those treatments they gave us." His silent partner in crime adjusted his tie.
Muar also lit a cigarette beside Judet; "And lets be frank, that blondie with the ancient has been making total asses out of us. Anyone here who hasn't been pranked by him please raise their hand," Elena lifted her hand; "that's because you just joined us hun."
A short raven haired man wearing glasses and a scar on his cheek sips his cup of coffee; "She could give us an edge against this guy."
Emma works on one of her guns beside a long light blond woman who had her hair in a high ponytail; "Balto, do you remember the few missions we had with her against the old AVALANCHE?"
"I remember she doesn't mess around," Christoph winced at an old memory of the woman beating a group of those Eco-terrorists like they were rag-dolls.
"I thought she was awesome!" The ever cheerful Freyra exclaimed from her spot at the chair between Emma, Jenna, and Christoph. "She was like 'woosh', 'bam'!" She through a couple of punches in the air, forcing her comrades to lean back to avoid being hit. "And those rune spells things she did! Ohhh that was so cool!" If life was run by cartoon logic, she would have stars shining in her eyes. "Oh you think she'll give me an autograph? Maybe a selfie too..."
Avis rolled his eyes. "What, are you member of her fan club or something?"
"Well, duh!" She unashamedly exclaimed.
All eyes turned on her. "Seriously?" Emma droned.
Freyra puffed her cheeks in annoyance. "I can have hobbies"
Noir took a drag from his cigar. "So long as they are not stalkery..."
The lounge doors chimed as the Turks soon see the subject of their discussion entering with a not at all happy look on her face, donning her Turks outfit with Tseng walking beside her. One would have to be thick to not feel the angry aura around the SOLDIER turned Turk who adjusted her tie.
"Nice to see ya again, gorgeous." It took everyone's willpower not to facepalm at Reno's lazy nonchalant greeting.
Tseng only rubs his eyes, holding off a sigh while Runa slowly turned to the redheaded Turk. Oh yes, count on Reno to not get the hint and be an ass 24/7.
"Reno" Her voice was dripping with disgust. "It is NOT a pleasure to see you again"
The redhead scowled but did not reply.
"Elena, meet Runa" Judet introduced their newbie to the... other newbie. "Saved our asses plenty of times"
"And now I'm assigned to permanently babysit you" Red glowing eyes showed nothing but apathy at the prospect. "I am just thrilled to be here..."
"Ohh don't be like that" Noir grinned at her from his seat. "It'll be fun"
The SOLDIER crossed her arms. "The only 'fun' I get out of this is laughing at your ridiculous code-names"
"Hey now, they call me the Legend for a reason"
"A Legend based about how much time you spend with dancers than on the battlefield, I imagine"
Far from offended, the orange haired Turk laughed out loud. "Ain't gonna lie, now that Golden Saucer has some miqo'te ladies I've just been blowing all my money there"
Reno whistled while Avis nodded with a grin. "Ohh I do love some catgirls"
A round of disgusted grunts came from the women in the room, along with the roll of eyes by some of their male comrades.
"At any rate," their boss trying to get them back on track; "Runa shall help us against our 'problem' and retrieve the ancient."
"Unless Reno feels like tongue kissing a guy again," Runa spoke bluntly as the man in question literally turned green remembered being suckered by the blond asshat. Seriously what the hell kind of materia does that guy use to do all that?! They noticed her soon taking a head count; "You're one short. You're second in command?"
Runa noticed a few heads looking downwards with pained expressions. Christoph quietly commented; "Cissnei is on leave for a bit. A friend of hers died."
At that the SOLDIER turned Turk looked to Tseng; "Then let's get to business. This unknown who made clowns out of you lot."
Much to their displeasure, her blunt words were true. "Indeed" Their leader admitted. "You were transferred to take him out"
"Alive or dead?"
"Depends on your mood" Reno rudely cut in. "Honestly, I'd say dead is better"
A glare from his superior and Reno held up his hands in apology. "Higher ups would like to know more about him, so if it is possible get him alive"
The SOLDIER popped the cricks in her neck. "No problem. When do I go hunting?" Her red eyes shined with more than the mako in them, they were alight with determination.
Freyra excitedly muttered under her breath; "So coooool..."
"Until we have info on where he is spotted, we'll inform you" Tseng assured her. "Until then, you'll go on patrol with the others"
"With the clowns?" Runa droned in displeasure.
A few of the Turks rolled their eyes at that. They weren't happy about the situation either. Oh which poor dumbass was gonna get assigned to watch over her-?
"Oh, oh!" Freyra held up her arm and waved it. "I can be her partner!"
"Very well" Tseng conceded, and the Turks couldn't help but feel he was a touch satisfied at lumping the SOLDIER with her enthusiastic fan. "Freyra will part of your patrols, we'll arrange the details later" He turned and began walking to his office. "Feel free to get to know them team, I'll be in my office looking over some papers"
As he disappeared from sight, the Turks turned their gaze to the SOLDIER. "Welcome to the madhouse" Judet droned.
"Lovely" Runa replied with just as much sarcasm.
Well those two were going to get along.
Freyra was suddenly next Runa, showing there was a bit of a height difference between them, the SOLDIER being taller. The shotgun wielder clasped her hands together and looked at her with a hopeful look. "Can I get a picture with you?"
Runa didn't bat an eye. "Well aren't you sweet..."
XxX ~ xx ~ XxX
"Have I mentioned Hedgehog pies are a pain in the ass?"
Upon hearing Naruto's utter displeasure over the little pink imp monsters for what Evie thought was the hundredth time she groaned out; "And that they keep burning your pants too."
Currently the former Anbu and nomadic adventurer were dealing with several monsters gathered in the abandoned unfinished sector 6 slums. After four months the blond Uzumaki could say he trusted Evie to watch his back in a fight and spend time with him and Aerith at the church.
Evelyn was definitely an accomplished fighter who had a gift using ice materia. Combined with her daggers and martial skills, the woman was a freaking hurricane on the battlefield.
"I'd rather fight Flans" Naruto grunted once more as he stared at the last of the little buggers die off. "Those have a delicious name at least..." And once in a while one of those jelly monsters got into the slums.
"Oh now that you mention it you should try Flan stew" An excited look flashed in her blue eyes. "The blue ones are okay; it's the red ones that have that awesome spicy flavor"
"...I said their name sounded yummy, not that I wanted to eat one"
She snorts. "Don't know what you're missing my friend"
"I'll take your word for it" The blonde replied as he dusted off his hands against his pants. He frowned as he stared at the black spots of burnt cloth on them. "Gonna have to save on inflammable pants to deal with these little bastards, killing them is good stress relief at least"
Evelyn peered over his back. "Wouldn't look down on them if I were you, they know how to sneak up on people"
"Please" He said condescendingly. "I'm a trained ninja, nothing sneaks up on-"
A remaining Hedgehog Pie jumped out of the shadows and proceeded to bit Naruto's head, its body limp as it kept a firm grasp on his skull with its strong jaws.
Naruto screamed out as he felt the fangs digging into his scalp. He flailed around trying to reach the little monster but his erratic movement wasn't helping. "Ahhhhhh! Get it off, get it off, and get it off!"
Evie only laughed while finally her friend pulled the pink imp off his head and held it in front of him. And what proceeded was the funniest scene of Naruto and Hedgehog pie in a shouting contest. Seriously that was one strange man, but the sheer entertainment value of being around him made certain you were never bored.
She soon laughed louder as the pink imp set the blond Uzumaki's face on fire which led to him punting the little monster right out of the sector. The adventurer covered her mouth, giggling while being glared at a singed slightly smoking sage. "Enjoying the show?"
The blond rolled his eyes getting a thumb's up for the reply, and patted his hair to clear some of the soot. Just as Naruto was going for some medicinal ointment, Evelyn softly chuckled and approached him. "Here" She placed her hands over his head and face.
A familiar green glow emanated from them, and Naruto felt his scrapped and singed skin healing under her touch. While it eased the uncomfortable sensation of the minor wounds inflicted by that little bugger, it also raised some questions. "Didn't know you could heal?"
"Lots you don't know about me"
The soothing energy in her hands... it was coming from her own body. "You... aren't using materia"
"Just like you don't use any yourself" Evelyn noted with a smile.
Naruto fought hard to keep the surprise off his face.
She chuckled. "Honestly, if you want to keep your abilities secret you shouldn't introduce yourself as a sage"
The shinobi just stared at her. "Okay, I have a bunch of questions right now and I don't know where to begin"
"Ninjas of Wutai call it 'jutsu' and 'chakra'" Her smile was amused as she explained, backing away as soon as she finished her healing. "Others call it 'magic' and 'mana'"
THAT got a reaction out of the ninja. 'D-did she just say the ninja here use jutsu and chakra?' Kurama lifted a brow while listening. 'So they can use chakra here!'
"Granted these days you only see Moogles and Miqo'te use magic. Most humans anymore rely on materia." Evelyn gave a slight tilt of her head to her friend; "but the shinobi of Wutai and sages like you are the exception."
"Hmm," Kurama rubbed his furry chin; "now that is interesting."
'But why would people stop using it?'
"Your guess is as good as mine kit," the old fox shrugged lazily as his tails swayed. "Any number of factors could have happened. We do not know much of this world to fully understand it"
'Maybe she can shed some light into it' Naruto mused. "How come more people don't know about it?"
"Oh, it wouldn't do for the Shinra company that people know magic is accessible even without materia" She spoke with disgust, clearly having no love for the giant corporation. "Their whole economy would suffer. Look at what happened with Wutai, their independence and reliance to mako energies had them frightened, along with that 'ninja magic' of theirs as they called it" Evelyn snorted. "Only reason Wutai lost was because they were seriously outgunned against the Shinra military"
"I see" Interesting, he filed that away for later just in case. "So Shinra keeps a tight lid on it"
"Exactly. They like to pass any sort of naturally occurring magic as the influence of mako and materia. Those elements can boost people's power, but all but replacing their own mana-"
"Made them too reliant" Naruto nodded in understanding.
"Doesn't help mako powers their electricity. Shinra is in a place of too much power so they are capable of hiding the truth. Only places that may still practice magic are those too remote for Shinra to find. Or don't have enough influence on them"
That made a lot more sense, and he thought Shinra were dicks before. He did not blame the Moogles or those cat folks from keeping away. Better than letting that damn corporation sink their claws in.
"We should get back anyways," the blond muttered.
Evie smiled; "Who's cooking?"
XxX ~ xx ~ XxX
She would traverse the world, fight against all manner of monsters and dangerous people.
She had fought giant beings whose steps made the earth itself tremble. She had faced the summonings called Aeons, ancient beings of great power who could devastate the landscape with their mere presence. No challenge was too much for her, oh no, she lived for them, relished in it.
The thrill of combat, the test of her skills.
And now, Runa was patrolling the streets...
The SOLDIER let out a frustrated sigh. All those years, all that training and missions and this is what she got as a reward. How the mighty had fallen...
At least her mother tried to cheer her up, saying that to her this whole assignment would be a temporary gig.
"Oh, that place serves the best pasta in the city~!" The cheerful Turk said, pointing excitedly at a cozy little food place on the street.
And then there were these clowns...
Freyra played with her fingers and blushed. "I-If you want we could grab a bit there afterwards? 'W-We' as in, us, the Turks. Not just the two us, although I wouldn't say no to that..."
At the back of their little party, Reno drawled. "Smooth..."
'...Least she is more bearable to deal with than Reno,' and actually capable than the lazy oaf. She recalled Freyra being a skilled huntress and the best rifle expert in Shinra against AVALANCHE.
Granted it didn't help her or these other bozos in the Turks from the unknown guarding the ancient. And if she was honest to herself she did not get a feel from the vids on this strange man. He did not act like any Shinobi of Wutai that she ever fought before, but the speed, stealth, and strength of one of their elites.
Ugh she was probably overthinking it, for all she knew against a 1st class SOLDIER he'd break like glass. Get this whole nonsense over with and back to her real duties.
'Never underestimate anyone.'
She mentally groaned as she remembered her mother's parting words before leaving on patrol. And the passing wisdom she heard from Angeal time to time before he went rogue. Runa was a lot of things but she never underestimated any of her foes before and now. That said she wasn't holding her breath either.
"This is the usual area where the ancient comes," Rude spoke up as they near the plaza.
"She goes about selling flowers" Reno said as he scratched his neck. "All smiles and sunshine that one"
"Does she have a particular route?" Knowing if she had one would be vital to finding her and the ninja.
"Hmm, not really" Freyra shrugged in return. "She starts through the plaza but doesn't really follow a specific pattern"
"Hmph" Runa looked around for any sight of her. "Any word on her last sighting?"
Rude was quick to answer. "The lower sectors. Could be hours before she appears"
The SOLDIER crossed her arms. "Then we wait" She said with authority.
Reno sighed and placed his hands in his pockets; Rude merely adjusted his glasses and complied.
Freyra just leaned in closer with a wide smile. "So, what kind of guns you like?"
It was gonna be a long wait...
XxX ~ xx ~ XxX
Standing guard at the train station for Mako Reactor 1, two Shinra officers in uniform and weapons in hand stand lazily keeping watch. "Tell me why we are guarding a place no one would be stupid enough to attack?"
"Because it's our job and we like having paychecks," his partner groaned as he shook his helmet covered head. Seriously he thought it was boring to, but he liked having a house and food to eat. "Look on the bright side? One more hour and we're off work." He deadpanned seeing the lewd grin of his partner's face; "and blowing your Gil at the Honey Bee Inn again."
"You'd change your mind if tried it once, I guarantee you."
His partner was not convince; "Yeah, excuse me if I want an actual meaningful relationship than sleeping with ladies at some brothel every night."
Both soon perk up upon hearing the coming of a train; "...Didn't we already have the scheduled arrival of materials two hours ago?"
Confusion was written on both as the object in question slowed and finally stopped in front of them. Neither really had time in thinking as one was punched hard in the face by a olive skinned man with swept-back brunette hair wearing a red bandana, olive shirt and green three-quarter trousers, brown boots with silver fasteners round the ankle, brown gloves leaped out of the train. His partner was about help till a tanned skinned woman in a blue top with metal armor and brown gloves, and knee-length green shorts round-house kicks him as she too exits the train.
As both Shinra troops hit the pavement hard into dreamland a towering muscular dark-skinned man with dirty brown vest, green pants, metal braces around his waist, and large brown boots. A thick full beard and high-top haircut, his dog tags waved a bit around his neck, a flaming winged skull tattoo on his left bicep and shades over his eyes
The man's presence alone intimated most, but what got most scared was the minigun grafted to his right arm.
Beside him a large bellied man in a yellow shirt, blue shorts with pauldrons on his shoulder and bandana on his head looked up.
Leaping off the top of the train and young spiky blond haired fair skinned man in SOLDIER uniform landed in front of the gun-armed man as his massive buster sword gleamed on his back. His glowing blue orbs remained neutral while his 'boss' grunted; "Our mission starts now, you better keep up," the gun-armed man said in a deep rough voice.
"I was in SOLDIER you know Barret," the blond man said in a calm if not cold tone.
Barret only snarled; "Then haul ass MR. SOLDIER, Tifa's friend or not, I don't trust ya."
It was because he was Tifa's friend that he was helping this lot in the first place. Honestly, it was all the same to him. Shinra, AVALANCHE, their goals didn't mean anything to sword wielder. These people fought for the preservation of the planet, but it was a fool's errand if they thought they'd actually manage to do anything that would seriously harm the corporation.
Blow up a reactor or two? Sure, it was expensive to rebuild them. But Shinra's resources were very, very vast. It'd only be a matter of time before the bear they poked so much would become fed up with their pestering and lash out.
This bunch didn't seem to care about the consequences their actions would bring. But that was their problem; this was their plan, not his.
Though he couldn't say a part of him didn't enjoy making a mess of Shinra's toys just to annoy them. They had it coming, specially after...
No, not right now. He told himself. Don't think about it.
He was just here to do a favor for Tifa; he'd get in, set the bomb, and then leave. Nothing else mattered.
Then he could go back his own way and continue his path... whatever path that was.
"Ex-SOLDIER, and it's Cloud," The blond said absently as he walked passed Barret.
The female of the group put a finger to her lips; "we have to be quiet from here on out. If my Intel and what Cloud told us is right, there are at least a dozen guards, never-mind the mechs."
"Ah come on Jessie," the swept-back brunette haired man spoke up; "we can do this. Right Wedge?"
The large bellied man only looked apprehensive but resolute; "Like Biggs said Jessie, we got this."
"Nuff chattin," Barret nearly bellowed; "let's get to this done and blow this fucking reactor straight to hell!"
'Not exactly stealthy when you holler like that,' Cloud mentally mused but remained quiet as he followed the others.
The unconscious bodies of the guards were hauled by Biggs and Jessie before unceremoniously being thrown into a dumpster. "Annnd up you go~" The woman patted her gloved hands with a smile.
Barret motioned Cloud to come to the front. "SOLDIER Boy, take point, watch out for any guards"
The spiky haired young man merely shrugged in return and moved to the front of the group. He stayed close to a wall as they neared the entrance to the reactor. The whole structure was surrounded by tall metallic walls, but Cloud knew the interior possessed a much complex structure.
He raised a closed fist to signal the others to stop as they reached a corner. His glowing eyes narrowed as he heard footsteps. The second the sight of a gun barrel entered his field of vision his arm lashed out and delivered a swift and strong blow to the soldier's chest, knocking the air out of him and making him stagger back.
With lightning fast movements Cloud moved from the corner and grabbed the guard's gun, easily taking it from his weakened grasp. A blow from the rifle's butt at the head broke the helmet's visor, shattering the lenses and denting the metal. He fell to the ground unconscious.
Cloud quickly inspected the rifle and checked the magazine. He threw the gun over at Biggs, "Here"
The AVALANCHE member briefly fumbled with it in surprise before getting a grip over the weapon. He sighed in relief that he didn't accidentally fired it off. "Warn a guy first, would ya?"
Wedge took a look at the guard, most specifically the broken helmet on his head. "Geez man..."
"The majority of the human patrols are done outside. Due to the dangers of Mako the mechs guards patrol the interior," Cloud spoke quietly. "We can't stay inside that reactor for any longer than necessary."
Biggs gave a thumbs up; "We'll be in and out in a flash." Jessie only rubs her eyes beside him.
Dragging the trooper into a shadowy area they continue their move forward as quietly as possible.
Their first real obstacle was the door leading to the inside of the complex, closed off by a security password. At the side of the gate was a computer panel, Jessie kneeled before it and took out a calculator lack device, pulling out a cable she plugged it over one of the ports and began hacking, the others took point near her.
"Come on..." She whispered before smiling. "There" The door opened. "After you gentlemen"
Cloud kept a firm grasp on his sword as he swiftly entered, eyes peeled open for any guards. The others quickly followed suit. They were treated with the sight of the complex, massive tubes lead up to the central structure, pouring raw mako energy through them.
"Where to?" Barret asked as they marched.
"According to the map of the area" Jessie said as read the data on her device. "Three hundred meters forward, should be a passage that'll lead us down to the core"
"Once we go down the elevator, the mechs will be on patrol," Cloud informed them all.
Barret patted his right arm; "Good thing we're prepared." He only received a blank look from Cloud; "What?"
"So are they, these mechs are highly deadly. Shinra does not mess around when it comes to their reactors. Especially the ones here in Midgar."
"Doesn't matter, these fuckers have screwed up this planet long enough. These Reactors are the first to go," Barret said with resolution. Again he was met by another blank expression; "Don't give that damn look you spiky headed bastard! Just show us the goddamn way!"
Cloud didn't say a word as he leads the others into the reactor main. The decryption of two more doors as Biggs and Wedge remained as guards for their exit. Jessie, Barret, and Cloud took the elevator down.
The pony-tailed brunette felt a bit uncomfortable with the anger radiating off her boss who glares a hole into their Ex-SOLDIER ally. "The planet's dying because of these bastards and their reactors! Doesn't that mean a damn thing to you?!"
"All I care about is getting this job done then I'm gone," Cloud responded as he crossed his arms.
Glaring quietly for a moment Barret soon snorted; "Yeah, after all that worrying you put Tifa through for all those years. You're some fucking friend aren't ya."
Jessie felt a chill in the air as Cloud narrowed his eyes dangerously; "I'm helping you aren't I? And don't you dare bring up Tifa like that."
'Yeah Barret pick a fight with the only SOLDIER that is actually helping us,' Jessie mentally drawled while praying these two did not kill each other.
Their leader grunted in reply, averting his gaze from the Ex-SOLDIER. "Jessie, got the bomb ready?"
The young woman patted the sack in her back, feeling the device underneath. "This beauty is ready to blow this place to hell, all we need is to do is place it at the right place and prime it" Barret merely nodded in satisfaction, so far the plan was going smoothly.
The elevator stopped and its door opened... to reveal a very poorly lit corridor of rusted metallic pipes and crumbling concrete. Compared to the rest of the facility this place look like a ruin, as if Shinra never even bothered to actually run any kind of maintenance on the place beyond the upper levels.
"Oh... wow. We sure we need to plant this bomb?" Jessie asked as they continued on, looking at the very poor state of this level. "This place looks like it's gonna fall down on its own eventually..."
"Well we ain't waiting for Father Time to do its work" Barret said gruffly.
Keeping their movements quiet as humanly possible, the trio make their way for the core. Upon getting close to a metal railing which after looking over they could see the sheer massive size of the place. Cloud's gaze was downward gave a light click of his tongue making Barret and Jessie look his way as he points to the floor below.
"See those," the spiky haired blond eyeing a fairy tall humanoid being in some blue uniform with metal arms with claws and a robotic head; "Grunts usually accompanied with Sweepers," the former SOLDIER whispered.
"Da fuck's a Sweeper?" Barret asked in a harsh whisper eyeing the Grunts below.
"Walker mech with guns for arms. Two to three times bigger than a person" Cloud explained. "Very basic and crude machinery, dumb AI, but still troublesome and shouldn't be taken lightly"
"And those guys?" Jessie pointed at the Grunts. The way they moved with their oddly proportions was disturbing.
"Fast, but lack firepower, that's why Grunts and Sweepers are placed together"
Barret pointed the barrel of his machine gun at the robots bellow.
"No" Cloud stopped him by placing a hand over the larger man's gun. "The gunfire will alert others, we should avoid them if we can"
The gun-armed man only growled but complied as they turned a corner to be confronted face to face with what looked like the front half of car complete with its grills on legs with two large gun arms pointed right at them. Jessie only saw a blue flash before noticing Cloud holding his buster sword.
When did he-
Barret only lowered his shades as the large mech fall on the left and right being cut cleaning in half. "Goddamn..."
The ex-SOLDIER said nothing as he place his sword on his back which stayed in place from the magnetic disk. Moving ahead, the AVALANCHE members follow him to a steel ladder which was for emergencies. Both agreed with the blond that taking the stairs be dangerous given the Grunts and Sweepers at the bottom. All three easily slide down and use any and all means as cover as they near for the core.
As Jessie sighed in relief as the slide door closed behind her. They gazed at the massive pipes and ladders they need to use to reach the core below. "Shouldn't be any guards here," she muttered beside Cloud.
Barret said nothing as he glared hard at the core of the Mako reactor. Without a word he and Cloud started their way down with Jessie following.
"We should be quick about it" Cloud advised "Short exposure to Mako energies isn't harmful, but we're walking into the central power lines" Indeed, he could feel the energy in the air, the very same energy that dwelled inside his body. "There are higher concentrations here. It's better if we- well, you play it safe and don't stick around for long"
Barret huffed in reply. "Duly noted" He turned to Jessie and held up his hand to her. "Give the bomb, you take point here" He'd rather not put the others near the core if he could help it.
"You sure about it boss?" She said in concern.
"Don't worry about it, I can prime it. You stay here; it's safer than in the core"
She let out a short laugh and handed the bag to him. "What, you suddenly immune to mako now?"
The dark skinned man gave her a smirk. "Trust me, a bit of mako ain't gonna hurt me"
The young woman lightly snorted as she shook her head watching the two going down to the core. Absently her mind strayed to the people on the upper plate, more of those living in sector 1 and 8. But she quickly shook it off, 'for the sake of this planet we have to do this.' They came this far, considering every other actions they have done, what's was a little more blood on their hands.
Stepping off the ladder, both men stride their way over to the large metal cylinder where all the power lines connected to. Where they came to a stop they saw a basketball-sized valve wheel.
Barret extended his good arm holding the bag to Cloud; "Set the bomb."
"Wouldn't that be your job? Your group's idea after all," The blond said blankly.
"Oh shup up and set the goddamn bomb!"
Rolling his eyes, the former SOLDIER grabbed the bag. As he stepped for forward for the core he pause as quick pain passed through his head.
'Be careful! There is more here than you know!'
"Yo Cloud!" The said spiky haired blond rubbed his eyes as he looked back to Barret; "What's wrong?"
Rubbing his eyes and with a light shake of his head, the former SOLDIER waved it off which only made the AVALANCHE leader grunt. Pulling out the fairly decent size explosive and setting it onto the valve wheel. As Cloud set the timer Barret gave a nod; "Will have plenty of time to get out of here and watch this place-"
Alarms soon ring out in their ears and echo throughout the core room, both sharply turn seeing a giant object walking down the one of the walls. Its sharp six pointed legs keeping it from falling before it leapt off and lands hard in front of Cloud and Barret.
Protected by red plating, the mech rose slowly on six multi-jointed legs. Above the base was a smooth plated upper body with two large arms, at the end of the mechanic limbs were three metallic claws underneath two large gun barrels. The tail consisted of multiple joints, with the 'stinger' being composed of three sharp blades.
The lenses on its head gazed at the human, shining brightly as it scanned them. "NON-PERSONAL DETECTED. YOU ARE TRESPASSING INTO A RESTRICTED AREA. SURRENDER OR YOU SHALL BE EXECUTED ON THE SPOT" The machine commanded on an emotionless synthesized voice.
While Barret stared with caution and shock at the great mech, Cloud merely tilted his head and sized up the machine in front of them. "Huh, didn't know Shinra kept Guard Scorpions at the reactors in Midgar"
The large man harshly whispered to him. "How could you not know?!"
The lenses on its head flared red. "TIME'S UP. PREPARE TO BE TERMINATED"
The barrels on its arms glowed.
"Shit!" Both men swore and jumped out of the way, narrowly avoiding twin blasts that exploded right in between them. Barret stood up and aimed his machine gun at them mech's head, he roared as he opened fire, the weapon spinning rapidly as it unleashed a barrage of pure lead. The bullets dented the plates but otherwise did not manage to do much harm to it.
Cloud took out his sword and dashed at superhuman, slashing at one of the legs. The great sword tore through the metal and circuitry, causing sparks to fly out. But the limb was still functional as it turned around, following the blonde. The mech determined Cloud to be the greater threat, and so unleashed a barrage of fire at him. The former SOLDIER deftly avoided the blasts with bursts of speed, flipping over the air as he did so.
However much to the leader of AVALANCHE's dismay he was not forgotten as the guard scorpion's tail attempted to strike at him as the big man narrowly avoided its triple bladed stinger. "That tail also fires out a laser," Cloud swerved to and fro from the hail of bullets aimed at him.
"OH THAT IS BULLSHIT!" Barret roared as he soon saw a green gleam in the middle of the stringer's blades. "Fuck me!" the large man bellowed leaping forward or would have been turned to ash by the stinger's laser.
"Fire at the tail's base," Cloud instructed as he flipped backwards; "that's the weak point."
The metallic handed man took aim at area Cloud pointed out. Bullets weren't going to cut it, so Barret decided to go for his hidden ace. From the center of his circular barrel of his minigun emerged another, thicker barrel. This one looked more advanced than his machine gun, aligned with red lines of circuitry.
The barrel's end shined, much like the mech's had done before, as he took aim at the tail's base. "Hope you like this" He grunted through his teeth and fired.
A red laser beam was fired, the hot energy impacted directly at the unprotected joints, burning and melting the metal with a blast. The tail flickered erratically before falling limp to the ground.
"Got'cha!" Barret cheered in victory.
His smile was obliterated when one of the arms aimed its gun at him.
The light coming out would have torn him to shreds, if not for the swift intervention of the swordsman who sliced the arm in half in a burst of blurring speed.
Cloud gave Barret a slightly smug look. "You're welcome"
The guard scorpion turned awkwardly as it damaged areas buzzed wildly, glancing back to the explosives, cloud gripped his buster sword tightly as he dashed forward. 'We can't waste time here. We have to end this now,' with one foot the former SOLDIER ascended high above the Guard Scorpion as it only remaining arm fired at both him and Barret who dodged and fired back.
With his weapon over his head, the spiky haired blond lets his strength and gravity take over as he brought down his killer blow. The AVALANCHE leader cheered seeing the great mech being sliced in half with the both sides falling off the walkway and into the exposed Mako.
Landing expertly as he sheathed his blade, both he and Barret look back to the explosives. "HAUL YOUR SKINNY BLOND ASS!"
Both mad dashed across the walkway as the alarms kept blaring throughout the core.
Jessie's eyes darted from one place to another as the alarm's horn blared loudly, red light flashed in intervals. She bit her lip in anxiety; she had heard the blasts and sounds of fighting, even from here. Her companions were facing something big, so she feared the worse.
The sound of footsteps running over the metallic railings alerted her, turning around she sighed in relief as she saw Cloud and Barret running towards her. "Done! We gotta get out of here!"
No problem with her. Jessie joined them and quickly they took the elevator in order to regroup with the others and escape.
XxX ~ xx ~ XxX
Neither really heard the explosion but what Naruto and Aerith saw while the flower girl did her rounds of selling her namesake on the upper plate was a blinding flash of light and the ground shook beneath them so viciously they were slammed hard to the ground along with everyone else in sector 1 as the reactor exploded.
The former Anbu's senses kicked in as he covered his close friend, shielding her from several pieces of shrapnel and chunks of cement from buildings struck from the reactor debris. Naruto hissed as some flying metal scratched his arm and back.
As dust, debris, and fire covered sector 1 and likely sector 8, panic set in for the citizens ran wildly throughout the area. Both Aerith and Naruto's ears ringed as they help each other back to their feet. Dust covered their clothes and bodies as they could see the masses running away in terror. When the ringing died down, screams nearly deafened them as their slowly turned to see the Mako 1 reactor in flames. Literally blown in half if the amount of metal that crashed into the sector was anymore proving that they needed.
"You are a fucking kidding me," Naruto said breathlessly as he looked wide eyed at the devastation before him.
Aerith only covered her mouth as she fought the tears seeing the lifeless bodies close to them and on the street. Cars crushed in by large chunks of metal or broken buildings. "Why?" her voice nearly a broken whisper.
"Get back" Naruto told her as he helped her get to her feet, she didn't need to see more of this tragedy. "I'll see if anyone needs help, you stay here. Okay?" He said as gently as possible.
Still shaken and tears in her eyes, Aerith could only stiffly nod in reply.
"I'll be back soon" With that, he turned and quickly sprinted farther into the district, soon he disappeared from Aerith's view.
The flower girl had to find the closest surface she could so she could lean in it. She tried to calm her racing heart but the task was nigh impossible. The sheer shock of the event was fresh; the sight of people hurting remained with her even as she closed her eyes and buried her face in her palms.
Aerith breathed in and out slowly, trying to calm herself. She slowly shifted her hands from her face over her chest, where she felt the loud drumming of her heartbeat.
Her hands could not stop shaking, all those people, their lives extinguished in a second. She rubbed the few tears away from her eyes, even where she was the brunette heard several people shout out.
"AVALANCHE," the young ancient slowly shook her head; "this is not the way..."
Not really paying attention to her surroundings, a streak of blond got her attention; "Naruto?" Shaking her head, the figure in question turned as the young spiky blond haired man gave her a blank look as her eyes finally truly focused on him; "Oh, I'm sorry. Thought you were someone else."
The man gave an understanding nod as he ran off. Aerith's emerald orbs lingered on the man before rubbing them as she took a deep breath.
XxX ~ xx ~ XxX
'WHAT THE FUCK!?' Reno's voice blared through Runa's earpiece as she only gave a piercing glare at the now destroyed Mako reactor 1. 'What the hell happened?!'
Standing beside the former lady SOLDIER Freyra only gaped at the devastation wrought by the reactor's explosion; "Sector 1 and 8..."
Runa clinched her fists; "Think we can take a guess on this."
'AVALANCHE,' Rude remaining remarkably calm as ever; 'we should assist the people and send a report to HQ.'
"Has anyone seen our target?"
"Understood" The SOLDIER nodded. Turning to the others she said; "Let's go" They broke into a sprint towards the affected area. Their new objective was clear, help the civilians. For the moment their priorities had changed.
They navigated through the sea of people easily; crowds stared in horror at the smoke coming from the great reactor while sirens blared through the highways. Firetrucks and other emergency vehicles speeding up towards the danger zone to provide relief effort and conduct rescue and cleanup operations.
The Turks arrived to see various buildings damaged by the blast, with debris littering the street and wounded people moaning for help, a few brave civilians were trying to help them get out from under the rubble as the professional aid arrived. Paramedics and rescue experts began helping in any way they could.
Reno ran his hands through his hair in frustration. "Shit..."
"It had to be those terrorists" Freyra said as she quickly moved to the nearest person, checking his wounds. "AVALANCHE is the only group in Midgar that would have done this"
Runa's keen senses heard a muffled coughing, along with a weak plead of help. Her red eyes shifted a building where a car had crashed, bringing down a wall along and a floor above. There she saw a child, dirty and bruised, laying above the rubble with large piece of broken wall above him, keeping him trapped.
In a burst of speed she was suddenly standing on the rubble, kneeling in front of the child and pushing the rubble away with ease. She gently took him in her arms, he seemed vaguely aware of what was happening around him, to the point his eyes barely focused on the woman carrying him. The SOLDIER quickly moved towards the paramedics where she handed the child to them.
"Here" She said to a woman in scrubs who took in the child.
The woman nodded as Runa dashed ahead upon hearing another moan under some rubble.
"Okay push," a man groaned as he with two others plus Rude pushed aside a large chunk of metal that crashed into one of the stores. Gravity soon aided them as the metal crashed loudly onto the sidewalk. Inside the building they saw portions of the inside had caved in and least a dozen people hurt.
None wasted time as they slowly got the injured out to the emergency medics. A woman in near hysterics ran up to the bald Turk screaming about her brother. Running the far side of the store Rude saw most of where the ceiling had fallen, as she explained her brother had pushed her out of the way, the Turk wasted no time removing as much as of the debris as he could.
His expression turned grim after lifting a large section of the broken ceiling and finding only a lifeless figure underneath. He did nothing as the sister ran passed him and to her brother. She wailed as she held her brother's deceased body tightly.
Outside Freyra ran a hand through her hair as one ambulance left with injured and another came for more. How many people were injured, or worse..?
Absently she saw an elderly man, covered in dust sitting on the sidewalk. His eyes blank as he stared at the burning remains of the mako reactor. "So this is AVALANCHE's way of protecting the planet," spoke to no one as he soon looked at a bloody necklace held tightly in his hand.
Grunting, Reno gently puts an injured elderly woman in a stretcher. Rubbing his eyes, he soon sees a familiar shade of blond in the distance he taps his earpiece; "Uh Runa? Think I see our target."
The message went to all the Turks, who immediately became more alert. Runa's crimson eyes narrowed as she quickly walked towards Reno's position, the other Turks of their group quickly gathering as well. The redheaded man was staring intently at something, or rather someone, further down the streets.
They spotted a blonde figure, a man, helping the people affected by the blast.
"That's him?" The SOLDIER asked, she had seen the pictures from the profile, but she needed to make sure.
"That's him" Reno confirmed with more than a bit of grudge in his voice.
Freyra pointed out; "He's a tough one" She looked at Runa with excitement in her eyes. "How do we do this?"
The SOLDIER contemplated in silence for a few seconds with her eyes closed. "We do nothing. I will take care of it"
Reno did a double take at that. "Wait, by yourself?"
"This guy isn't some random fugitive." Rude warned her.
"And I'm no random soldier" She stated as she rolled her neck. "Continue helping the civilians" The red eyed woman ordered as she adjusted her gloves. There was a sharpness in her voice, the target was in her sight, and he wasn't getting away. The commanding tone in her voice was strong enough that the other Turks couldn't help but obey.
She was the elite SOLDIER here after all, if she said she had this then she damn well had it.
"This will be over quickly" And with that, she marched towards the ninja.
The others could only see her go.
Freyra looked at her with both infatuation and admiration. "That was so hot..."
XxX ~ xx ~ XxX
Naruto helped another woman be taken into the ambulance by the paramedics. The vehicle became full and so it rode off towards the nearest hospital. The jinchuuriki sighed as he looked around him, seeing the firefighters and other officers working to get the people safe.
He leaned back against an alleyway wall, pinching his nose. This whole disaster had to be AVALANCHE's fault, nobody else was dumb or ruthless enough to do something like this. 'And no one else has the balls to pull something this fucking bold,' Kurama agreed as he only shook his head seeing the carnage through his partner's eyes.
"When your actions reflect those you fight against, you're no better than they are," the old kitsune said solemnly. Naruto growled as he clinched his fists; "calm down brat. Return to Aerith and get some rest, you've done enough here as you could."
The blond was too emotionally numb to argue as he took a long deep breathe; "Elmyra is probably freaking out as it is."
Standing straight, the blond was about to leave till a feminine voice spoke behind him; "Not so fast." Turning sharply his glowing cerulean saw a woman with short red hair in a familiar business suit glaring at him hard. "You're not going anywhere."
As if the day did not suck even more; "I am in no mood today Turk. Go-" Naruto's voice died in his throat as the woman had closed the distance between them in a second and slammed her gloved right fist into Naruto's jaw.
The blonde was sent down flying down the alleyway, he bounced off the ground a few times as he came into contact with it, rolling around as he finally stopped.
His jaw hurt, oh gods he couldn't remember last time he was in this much pain before. Slowly, he rose from the ground, pushing himself up with shaky arms. 'The fuck was that..?'
"That woman there just slapped your shit" Kurama sounded more impressed than surprised.
'Oh gee, really? I couldn't tell...' Naruto grumbled as he rubbed his tender jawbone. He hadn't met anybody who could get such a solid hit on him with that much power behind him in this world... until now it seemed. A single leap and she cleared the distance between them in the blink of an eye, and one punch from her sent him flying through the air.
Just what the hell was she?
Lifting his gaze, he saw the woman approaching him with a calm walk, adjusting her gloves at she did so. In the darkness of the night her red eyes seemed to glow... in fact, they were glowing a bit.
Was this... a SOLDIER?
"Hmm," Kurama sounded curious; "looks like they decided to take you seriously."
So the president brought out one of those famed SOLDIER folks he kept hearing about. Getting to his vertical base the former Anbu stared at the woman who stopped several feet away. Neither spoke a single word. 'I can't fight her here.'
Shifting his feet, Naruto barely avoided the woman's fist as she closed the distance between them again. Quickly he back away with the woman giving pursuit. No way was Naruto going to fight a member of SOLDIER in an area of injured people.
Both moved like blurs through the damaged streets and alleyways.
XxX ~ xx ~ XxX
Naruto knew he had to lead her away. But where? Fighting inside a city was a bad idea for heavy hitters. Well... not the people fighting exactly, but rather for the bystanders. Lots of broken stuff and the potential that someone would be hurt accidentally.
He just needed to-
A blur dashed pass him.
His blue eyes widened as the SOLDIER woman was suddenly in front of him, a completely serious and determined expression on her face as she raised her leg to deliver a sweeping kick.
Naruto fell to his knees, his legs scrapping against the ground as he dodged underneath attack before pushing himself off the ground and continued running.
The suit wearing woman glared with her shining red eyes before continuing on her pursuit.
The shinobi bit back a curse as he jumped over a busy street and once more entering an alleyway. As he passed through another street he managed to spot a warning sign that mentioned a construction area nearby. That's it.
The blonde followed the sign and entered a construction site in its early stages. Large blocks of barren earth, steel beams making up the inner structure of future buildings. Various pieces of machinery and equipment lying about. And not a soul nearby.
Naruto wished he had the time to set up the place with traps, but he could feel his pursuer wasn't far behind. Sure enough, the SOLDIER woman landed after jumping over the large fence keeping the area restricted from the public. She slowly stood up and looked at him with those cold yet fiery red eyes of hers.
She adjusted her gloves once more and rolled her neck.
The sheer level of energy radiating from this woman was...
It's been a long time since there was anyone who could catch up to him. Mostly because he had yet to go all out against anyone in this world who could handle it, part of him sort of thought there wasn't anyone.
"That's just the ego talking," Kurama pointed out.
It had happened before back home. After fighting against Kaguya he went through a period in which he thought the others just weren't strong enough to face big threats at his side. If he was strong enough then there was no reason for the others to risk their life.
Gods he hated that fault of him so much, the flaw in thinking he could handle everything by himself. Way to listen to Itachi, Kakashi, Sakura, and everyone else who had pretty much told him the same thing. He really was a forgetful moron wasn't he?
Naruto didn't consider himself prideful, he had confidence in his abilities, but perhaps standing so far apart from other people when it came to fighting made him underestimate his opponents AND his allies. A fact that was happily reminded by people he met back in the Nations. Princess Maiyuri, Yuma, to name a few. Not to mention how his friends improved in ways he never could once they were allowed to once more keeping up with their training.
He was never sparring with Lee ever again...
And so here was another opponent ready to prove him wrong once again.
The woman tightened her gloves; "My name is Runa, SOLDIER 1st class, formerly," Oh was there a touch of anger in her tone.
"I take it that joining the Turks wasn't your idea of a pleasant career change?"
Now that got him an evil glare; "Thanks to their ineptness in capturing you, the president felt the need a SOLDIER would do the job right."
"Yeah," the blond drawled; "I don't feel like being one Hojo's lab experiments any more than letting you guys having Aerith. Politely tell Mr. President he can fuck himself."
Runa tightened her gloves; "You're coming with me whether you like it or not."
"...Cissnei is way better at verbal threats than you are."
"I don't care for trash talk"
"I bet you say that because you're not good at-WOAH!" He yelp in surprise as closed the distance between them and tried to strike him with a right hook. "See you don't waste time talking!"
The two continued their exchange; the shinobi dodged her savage strike as he countered with his own. Runa's hand to hand style was like a mixed martial-arts brawler style, one with many years of experience if the precision, strength and swiftness of her strikes were anything to go by. It was only thanks to Naruto's own reflexes and ANBU refined martial-arts that he was able to put on a good defense.
He wasn't going to let the SOLDIER get even a solid hit, he had taken a full powered one from her before and it had been nearly devastating, even these swift strikes of hers carried great strength. Runa had power and speed in spades, and she wasn't afraid to use them.
'Runa, where are you?!' Reno's voice spoke from her earpiece. 'We lost sight of you and the target! Give us your location!'
Runa's head turned to the side as her cheek was struck by Naruto; the SOLDIER softly growled she returned the favor by kneeing him in the stomach, unaware that the earpiece had fallen off.
'Runa come in! Can you hear me?! Is your earpiece working?! Say something if it isn't!'
Shotgun's voice cut in; 'If it isn't working how is she gonna say anything? Dumbass...'
Naruto grunted as he stepped back to gain some distance, but Runa was unrelenting in her task to bring him down. There wasn't a second's hesitation in her moves. She aimed a roadhouse kick at his head, but Naruto dodged back and kicked at her other leg, causing her to fall to the ground.
Runa softly gasped as she fell; there was no time to get up as the blonde aimed a fist at her face. She rolled back on the dusty ground, avoiding his attacks. When it seemed like Naruto's next punch was going to land, a hand shot up and grabbed his wrist. Red eyes looked at him with a frown as she tightened her grip.
The shinobi cried out as his wrist was dislocated, Runa pulled him towards her and they rolled on the ground. The SOLDIER sent him flying towards a steel beam on one of the structures, where he collided painfully with his back. He quickly regained his senses, fighting the pain to see Runa running at him at full speed.
Her right hand was raised ready to strike, and the glove in her had been glowing with strange blue sigils.
With a grunt, she drives her fist to his chest. It easily tore through and impacted upon the metal, bending the beam out of shape heavily. Blood was sent flying from the hole on his chest... unless it should have if not for the fact it was not a human chest what her fist had pierced, but instead was a wooden log.
Glowing red eyes narrowed as she stared at the piece of wood around her arm. With a flex of her limb she ripped the log to shreds.
"Wutai technique" She muttered to herself. "Substitution... I guess you really are a ninja"
XxX ~ xx ~ XxX
From inside one of the buildings in constructions Naruto hid, controlling his breathing into soft barely audible gasps. He looked at his dislocated wrist and grimaced, oh how hated this part...
He muffled the sharp growl from his throat as he relocated his wrist. Shaking his hand, he kept alert; 'And I thought mom and Sakura had vice grips for hands.'
"Nice to see someone who's actually a real challenge for you? Tseng and Cissnei notwithstanding, looks like SOLDIER wasn't a lot of hot air."
Kurama offering his two cents while his partner kept vigil for his enemy. She was more than just brute force since he has not heard her footsteps once.
'Okay, let's do a quick recap' the blonde thought as he pressed his back against a wall. Peering over the corner to make sure she wasn't nearby. 'She's fast, she's strong, and she has no sense of humor'
"She channeled energies in her fist in that attack. Do you think that was materia?"
'Hmm, maybe' Naruto guessed. 'But SOLDIERS are supposedly infused with mako, maybe it's that and she's not really using any materia right now. It's possible the mako awakens their own energy without them knowing'
Kurama pondered on this. "If she is infused with raw nature energy then it's no surprise she is your physical match, perhaps even stronger and faster than you at your current form."
The shinobi grunted as he stealthily relocated to higher area of the construction to have a better vantage point. 'And those symbols things she did must be some kind of spell. Which means she has tricks up sleeve'
"Well, so do you boy"
Naruto did not even fight off the grin as he vanished into the shadows.
XxX ~ xx ~ XxX
Her steps were silent as Runa's red orbs surveyed everything around her. Shinobi are widely known to use their surrounds to their advantage. But she was not going to let this ninja play her like he's done with the Turks.
A larger bang made her sharply turn as she lifted her leg and roundhouse kicked a metal barrel. The force behind it ripped the barrel in half and the pieces went flying.
A sharp whistle echoed everywhere; "Nice reflexes."
The SOLDIER turned Turk said nothing as lightning began buzzing around her gloves hands; "I'm will not play games with you Shinobi."
"Seriously, I do respect someone who's all business, but how tightly wound are you? When was the last time you got laid?" Oh, he is definitely a grade 'A' smartass, she will give him that.
"My last vacation a couple of weeks ago" She blandly replied as she adjusted her tie; "A nice guy and his pretty girlfriend. Nailed them both"
He... honestly wasn't expecting that answer. "Oh, good for you" He was enough of a pervert to congratulate her.
"I would have enjoyed my vacation more" Her voice felt like the bite of an angry ravenous animal. "Was it not for the fact it was cut short due to some shite making arses out of the Turks. Making the company assign me to a task way beneath my paygrade"
"...Ah" He clicked his tongue a few times awkwardly. "Sorry about that?"
Her faintly glowing eyes narrowed.
"In my defense, it wouldn't have come to that if you guys just left me alone" Naruto spoke up again; "And much more importantly leave Aerith alone and we are square."
"She is the only ancient left on Gaia. She is more valuable than you will ever know. She belongs to Shinra;" She barely dodges several kunai that came for her face. Only a cut to her cheek showed as blood dripped.
"Aerith is a person, not fucking property. And I'll kill Hojo before he could ever touch her," she heard the strong rage in his tone.
She heard the sound of a wire above her. Looking up, Runa saw a steel beam falling from above. She lifted a closed fist, and the beam bent around it the moment it made contact. The SOLDIER only moved to let the beam fall in front of her.
"You're a strong lady" The shinobi's voice commented.
The buzzing sound of blades cutting the air was heard, and Runa sharply turned to her left and saw three large spinning blades coming at her. She turned to the side to avoid the first, the next weapon came in diagonally so she leaned back to avoid it, for the last one she raised her left fist, and the blade shattered into pieces as it touched the glove. The weapon fell to the ground, allowing Runa to see it was a fuuma shuriken.
Hmph, she didn't see any of these weapons on him. He somehow pulled his arsenal from nowhere, just like a ninja.
A barrage of kunai descended upon against her, she responded with a flurry of swift punches and jabs that deflected them with them ease.
Runa was a little disappointed with these traps...
Then she noticed all of them had paper tags on them, and were on fire.
Her red eyes widened. Acting on instinct, she clenched her fist as lightning sparked around it, coming from shining runes, and slammed it against the floor.
At the same time, the tags went off. Two explosions occurred at the same time, a fiery blast of flames, and a burst of pure electric energy. The two forces collided with great force, rocking the area of the structure.
As the smoke settled, Runa rose unharmed, her lightning having shielded her from most of the blast. She stared down at her suit and frowned. She just got this thing...
XxX ~ xx ~ XxX
"Did you see that?" The fox asked.
'Yep' Naruto nodded. 'Those gloves of hers, nothing can break them' and she was able to channel some strong energies through them as well apparently, if that bit of the spark show was anything to go on.
"But it's the only piece of her gear that seems unbreakable."
And indeed, Naruto could see it. While her gloves seemed to be on pristine condition, the same could not be said of her outfit. Her suit had tears and cuts made by the weapons she avoided; it was also burnt in some areas due to the explosion. Whatever those symbols that empowered her gloves were, it appeared she did not have them on the rest of her clothes.
'And it just had to be lighting to,' Naruto mentally groaned.
Kurama only rolled his eyes; "Time to up the game kit. And since Senjutsu is useless here in Midgar use my power if you need it."
'Not too much though, like hell am I going to attract more attention on us.' And no way did he want Shinra even learning anything about Kurama.
Patting down some smoke from her shoulder Runa soon duck a straight fist from the blond which she countered with a leg sweep taking his down. Slamming her fist into his chest she blinked as his puffed into smoke.
Flipping back to her feet she is soon confronted by two more blond ninjas as they attacked her together. She was sure Angeal mentioned one time about some Wutai shinobi that could make copies of themselves.
She blocked and parried their every strike, the one on her left slashed at her with a kunai, tearing down at the side of her suit. Runa quickly grabbed his arm and kicked at his ribs, the clone dispelled in smoke. Before the other clone could strike she dispelled him with a swift uppercut.
Then more clones descended from above. And more and more kept coming.
Runa was attacked from all sides. She channeled lightning through her limbs to enhance her speed and strength. Her punches and kicks were blurs shrouded by arcs of energy as she parried, countered and attacked. For every clone she took out, two more came to take their place.
One of the clones dropped kicked her; she crossed her arms to shield the blow but was thrown back all the same. Another clone slashed at her from behind with a kunai, making a large cut on the back of her suit and drawing blood as it pierced her skin.
She held back a cry of pain, and two swift strikes turned her head from side to side, saliva mixed in with blood from her lips. And kick directly at her abdomen threw her back.
The clones swarmed her, nearly obscuring her figure from view.
Then, a flash of lightning.
The clones closest to her were incinerated, and the others could only stand back and watch stunned.
Runa stood with her head hanging low enough for her hair line to cast a shadow on her eyes. Her whole body shined with blue energy as arcs of lightning danced around her. Her suit, torn and battered, billowed as if caught on a strong breeze. It only tore further with the energy coursing through her body. A gloved hand grabbed a hold of her jacket and shirt, and with a strong pull she ripped them from her body.
Runa raised her gaze, glowing red eyes shining with anger and determination. She now stood wearing a sports bra as the only piece of clothing in her torso, revealing her slim and athletically toned body. The wounds on her figure were slowly closing.
The SOLDIER adjusted her gloves once more. "My turn"
And then she moved.
The wind force from her speed sent objects and steel beams behind her flying like they were nothing. Naruto lightly growled as he watches his clones now being utterly decimated before they could even attack her.
'It's like the Raikage's favorite jutsu but amped up to a hundred,' this was getting one sided fast. 'I'm not going to have a choice am I?'
"Not if you want to beat that kit," Kurama replied straightly. "I'm your partner and your friend boy. I refuse to let this woman or Shinra take you. Let's show her our power."
XxX ~ xx ~ XxX
'I am getting bloody sick of this shite. Where's the-' the wind left her lungs as a hard fist slammed into chest. She coughed up blood as she was slammed into a steel beam denting it.
Hitting the ground, she coughed harshly as she looked up. His hair looked wilder while those strange marks on his cheeks now look like dark blades. The blond's hands were claw-like now as his eyes were shadowed by his hair.
"Let's see what you got," his voice was even harsher now.
Getting to her feet, Runa whipped the blood off her lips. Her lightning grew fiercer seeing two glowing blood crimson orbs with slit irises glared right at her.
"Hmph" She was starting to doubt this man was a SOLDIER, there was something strange about him.
Either that... or they had another mutation ordeal on their hands, like it happened with Genesis. If Wutai had made him, then it was likely those features on him, the eyes, the sharper nails, were all the result of genetic defect in the process to create the super soldiers.
Runa was someone who trusted her instincts, and right now her instincts were telling her that the man in front of her wasn't a SOLDIER.
Either way, she had a job to do. The eggheads could figure him out later.
The SOLDIER rolled her neck. "Still not impressed"
With a swipe of her hand, she conjured various runes in the middle of the air. The glowing sigils transformed into pure elemental attacks as they forth as fireballs. Naruto jumped away, narrowly avoiding the explosion that took place.
The woman moved in a blur of energy. She delivered a powerful kick, which Naruto dodged. The kick was strong enough to completely rip a beam in half. Naruto pushed himself from a steel beam, a chakra enhanced punch aimed for her head.
Runa reeled her arm back and struck, the clash of their fists created a shockwave. Then again, and again and again. Their fists blurred as they exchanged a seemingly unending barrage of strikes.
The SOLDIER quickly dodged to the side, she swiftly turned her back to him and delivered a strong elbow strike at his stomach. Making the blond gasp as spit flew from his mouth. She grabbed a hold of his arm and threw him over her shoulder and unto a steel beam.
Her hand quickly formed a single shining straight line in the air. "Isaz!"
The rune exploded in a blast of ice.
Runa glared as she saw her target frozen in place; "Guess you weren't much aft-" A reddish orange hue soon covered the blond. She could see the ice cracking and melting fast as he let out an ear shattering roar which doubled as a shock wave sending her flying hard into cement wall.
Without even time to catch her breath she saw the man charging her with spinning red dark purple orb that came to life in the palm of his hand. Her danger senses screamed loudly as darted to the side in time see the wall she hit utterly annihilated. It was like a high powered drill laced with explosives when she seen the orb connect to cement.
Yeah, don't get hit by the spinning ball of death.
Shaking it off, she and Naruto were once again moving at blinding speeds. The metal skeletal structure of the building in construction quivered and shook from the power sent by shock waves with each exchange growing more and more savage.
Her lightning and whatever the hell that reddish orange fire that covered her opponent's body radiated everywhere around them. Naruto jumped over to the next level of the construction and Runa followed, a blur of blue chasing a red one. They clashed in the air, momentarily creating a flash of purple as their energies made contact. Rapid blows were exchanged each time they met, creating gusts of wind.
When their arms locked in a clash, they saw a smirk in the other's face.
Runa wasn't gonna lie, she was enjoying it.
Naruto hadn't fought someone like her in a long time.
They pushed away from each other and landed in different steel beams, they were nearing the top of the construction. Runa stood one floor above Naruto.
The SOLDIER eyed a standing beam at her side; a lightning enhanced kick severed it and held it over her arm. Runes shined over the material, it bended and twisted, increasing in length as it lost width. It transformed into a large spear like weapon with rugged edges. Lightning danced across its form.
With a grunt and ripple of her arm muscles she tightened her grim, and launched it with all her might with a cry.
Its throw made a shockwave, the sheer pressure tearing apart the building parts on its path.
Had Naruto not dodged, that thing would have pierced his heart. But it was still fast enough to make a deep cut in his arm.
The spear did not stop, it went straight through any steel beams on its path and soon left the construction and impacted nearby on various machinery. The machines exploded as they were consumed in a localized lightning storm, illuminating the area momentarily.
XxX ~ xx ~ XxX
"Holy shit," Reno muttered slowly beside Rude and Shotgun who all expressed shock seeing another explosion mixed with lightning several blocks away from them.
The trio soon dashed where they hoped was their fellow Turk.
XxX ~ xx ~ XxX
Finally Aerith had stop shaking but still saw the people in a fierce panic while emergency responses were assisting the injured. Her head shot up upon hearing another explosion seeing lightning arching wildly in the distance.
A knot had been forming in her stomach with Naruto having been gone for a long time. Now her fear was growing deeper; 'Naruto.' She started running.
XxX ~ xx ~ XxX
Naruto did not take his eyes off Runa as he started using hand signs before taking a large deep breathe. Finishing the last sign he roared as stream of fire came forth like a dragon fire straight for his target.
The SOLDIER/Turk used her speed dodging the fire which melted the steel beams like they were butter. She smirked as she kept running seeing he could direct that fire easily as he turned his head. Leaping high to another area of the construction Runa whistled witnessing half the structure collapsing and hitting the ground with such force the very ground quakes for a second.
The blond snorted as he finished his jutsu staring at Runa; 'Breathing fire like a dragon is so damn cool. And it only took how many days for Hein, Jian, and Hui Zhong to help me get it right?'
"It was two weeks you dumb ass. Now focus brat," Kurama rolled his eyes.
The SOLDIER moved her hand in arc above her head, casting a curved line of runes in the air. The runes shot in the form of homing energy shots that swiftly soared through the air. Naruto jumped from beam to beam, avoiding them, smartly maneuvering in a way that most of the homing projectiles would crash against a part of the structure in small explosions.
He caught a glimpse of Runa attempting to heal her wounds with another one of her glowing sigils while he was occupied, so he threw a chakra charged kunai at her.
"Agh!" She cried out the weapon bury itself on its shoulder. She glared at the object in question and pulled it out with a grunt. She looked up from her wound in time to see the shinobi clear the distance between them and kick her in the face.
The SOLDIER did not let the fall stop her; she conjured forth another sigil as she aimed her hand at the ninja. Naruto jumped in order to avoid whatever she was gonna fire at him, but unknowingly fell into her trap.
His head hit a large shining rune that formed right above him; the sigil exploded with violent force and launched him directly to the ground. The two finally fell through a piece of broken floor and unto the ground, where they remained immobile a few feet away from each other.
Soon enough, they grunted as their forms stirred, struggling to get up.
Runa looked at him with her fiery red eyes. She licked her bloodied lips spat a glob of mixed saliva and blood. "Didn't think you'd give me this much trouble"
Naruto painfully chuckled as he kneeled, pushing himself up from the ground with his arms. "Wanna know a secret? Haven't even used all of my tricks against you" He said, and it was true.
The SOLDIER mirrored his smile with one of her own. "Well, same here. But I guess we both know we shouldn't go all out while on a city"
Both painfully got to their feet, their breathing was heavy but their smiles never wavered. Lifting his hand Naruto formed a vermilion Rasengan; "You ready?"
Lightning formed around her fist so brightly it glowed like a beacon. "Let's dance," her smile turned as savage as his.
Red and blue charged forward in a blur as both roared their attacks connect.
XxX ~ xx ~ XxX
Aerith panted as she sprinted towards Naruto's location. After that light show there was no doubt in her mind that he was in one of the construction sites on the edges of the sector. She was nowhere near as fast as him but her own mastery of her energy and the training of her shinobi friend had provided for her had allowed her to reach a very fit physical condition, so she was able to cover the distance in a time regular people just couldn't.
She only hoped she arrived in time before anything else hap-
The night sky lit up with the largest explosion of pure concentrated energy she had ever seen in her life.
The ancient could only gawk at the sight.
XxX ~ xx ~ XxX
The Turks had to stop in their tracks as they stared in both a mixture of horror and amazement.
"...Holy fuck" Freyra muttered.
XxX ~ xx ~ XxX
From her place on a tall vantage point, Evelyn titled her head with a smile. "Well, they sure know how to put on a show"
XxX ~ xx ~ XxX
Naruto gasped as his eyes shot open. His lungs took in as much air as he could as gazed up at the night sky above? That shouldn't be right. His body protested as the blond got to onto his knees and sat up. His eyes now back to cerulean were wide as he found himself in a crater that was once a construction site.
His head turns forward hearing coughing as Runa groaned as she sat up. She was partially covered in soot like he himself was. "Dog's bollocks," she muttered as she froze seeing the devastation both had wrought. "Oh this will be coming out of my bloody pay," she huffed as her eyes looked back to her target.
There was silence between them for several moments before they began chuckling which slowly turned into rousing laughter. It lasted for least a minute as both heard the sound of a helicopter and sirens.
Neither said a word as Naruto vanished in soot and wind.
"Well a draw is better than losing," Runa muttered as lied back down with a groan.
XxX ~ xx ~ XxX
"Ouch" The jinchuuriki winced.
"Stop squirming" Aerith said as she adjusted the bandages on his torso. They were sitting on his bed back at their house, where she had proceeded to heal him with her magic. "Honestly, the mess you get into sometimes" She shook her head as she sighed.
Elmyra was as the blond predicted in a near panic seeing both in the state they were in as they arrived home. Even more so seeing Naruto had looked like he came from a full scale war. Hence the current situation after both got a shower and their night clothes on.
"Hey, that crazy chick came after me" He defended.
"And instead you choose to fight her rather than make a run for it with a distraction as you usually do with the Turks" The flower girl accused.
"...I was a bit curious about her"
"Well, your 'curiosity' just turned a construction site into a crater and will cost the city millions"
He winced and looked guilty. "Sorry" But in all honestly, that fight had been so exciting; it's been such a long time since he met an opponent of that caliber. "But... I had fun"
Aerith gave him a dry look. "'Fun'?"
"I have not had a decently good fight in years. But when you're fighting someone who's at your level. When your fists connect, that's when you feel a warrior's kinship," Naruto smiled in reverence.
His words were only met with a blank look; "I did not understand a single word you just said."
"Have I mentioned to you this girl is not a warrior?" Kurama retorted dryly. "Thus she does not think like a one, genius."
Naruto only gave a dry look to his brunette friend.
XxX ~ xx ~ XxX
No matter how much Tseng massaged his temples; the headache just wouldn't go away. "You were brought into our ranks to bring a quick end to this and prevent further trouble" He calmly seethed through his teeth. "This is NOT what the president ordered"
Runa leaned back on the couch on his office, her battered body patched up but she didn't look much in pain with how relaxed her posture was. Though that could be due to the needles that previously held healing potion which now laid on the table in front of her, she had injected more than a few of those agents to speed up her recovery. She had a cigarette in her mouth like she had just gotten laid and enjoyed every minute of it.
She puffed out some smoke. "The fat bastard can take it up to me personally if he dares" A few of the Turks gaped at the sheer disrespect direct at the president. Judet, Maur, and Alvis collectively rolled their eyes. Noir let out a snort while Christoph smiled sheepishly. She sounded very confident in her position as the top SOLDIER of the corporation. "The target proved more dangerous than you think, so he's gonna need me to make sure we catch him. And trust me; I'll make sure to bring him in"
Once more she let out some smoke, her red eyes shined with excitement as she grinned. "Besides... I wanna fight him again" He wasn't getting away.
"...So cool" Freyra swooned.