Don't mind any mistakes or typos if/when you find any. I was very excited for this chapter and just barely managed to proofread it.
The moment it appeared that Cloud had felt something, Terra did too, a sharp frown marring his features with tension abruptly building in his solid posture. He could hear something, feeling it in the air.
Time moved faster after that, the brunette watching as the blonde left the bomb and raised a hand to the hilt of his weapon, Barret aiming his weapon arm at the man and accusing him of double-crossing him from what he'd just managed to hear.
And then it was there!
Terra's eyes snapped around just as something huge launched overhead, his gaze widening greatly. Instinct forced him to reach for Jessie, dropping them both to the floor as the thing hit the railing on the way passed and landed heavily against the ground way below them.
"Guys!" he'd heard her shout, the two getting back up with the girl moving faster and reaching for the bent railing. Terra joined her, staring down at the immediate fight that began. Cloud was striking around the back and sides, Barret staying farther back with his missiles and bullets being sent its way. And it was sending its own back, an array of them being directed and fired with the two narrowly missing them and evading as best they could-.
His grip tightened on the bent bar with his heartbeat violently stuttering when the giant sentinel aimed its gun directly at the blonde and sent out these flaming rounds, the things landing too close for his liking until one actually hit him-, his blade. Cloud had used his sword to block it before darting around to its backside again.
"We have to help them! C'mon-," the moment he'd heard her, Terra darted after her, grabbing her by her bicep, worry and concern having forced his movements to try and stop her.
"Wait! Jessie!" he called as she tried to get out of his hold, struggling to reach the ladder to get down there. No matter her strength, that thing was giving those two a run for their money. There was no way she'd be able to even dent that thing.
"Let go! We need to help!" she yelled, still trying to fight his vice-like grip. He really didn't want her getting involved. She'd get hurt, she'd be a distraction. Sure she could fight, but that thing wasn't a person, it didn't know hand-to-hand combat. He was more than sure that she wasn't trained to fight something like that.
"We'll get in the way!" Terra countered, keeping her in place with almost as much of a struggle as she was giving, her other hand reaching up to tightly clench around his wrist, pulling and twisting in an attempt to loosen the restraint, "They know what they're doing! Cloud knew this was coming!" he tried, succeeding in stopping her. She was instantly focused, her attention solely fixed on the brunette who was gazing at her with well-hidden concern.
"He did?!" Jessie asked loudly, her voice echoing some. From what he could tell, Terra had been the only one to realize that Cloud must have known this would happen.
"Yes! He said something earlier that gave me the impression that he knew that there'd be a fight," the brunette rushed out, still holding her in place, but with less of a harsh grip since she appeared stuck in place due to his information.
"But-," she stopped, her gaze drifting to the fight upon hearing what he could imagine was Barret hitting hit by the thing, "They need help, Terra!" she stated firmly pushing against him with her hands now gripping his forearms, her eyes pleading.
"We can't fight that," he couldn't see them having any effect on that sentinel. They'd only be in the way if they tried. But then, they could find something that might? What If they dropped something heavy on it? Buckled a leg or something, "Maybe... uh..." he glanced around, heart hammering in his chest while he eyed everything that could have a decent amount of weight to it-.
"You can help them!" he snapped back to her, staring at her with wide eyes and that pleading look was even deeper in her face, frantic worry so evident that he felt like he could drown in it, "I don't know why or how, but since finding you here, there's been something weird about you, like your gear for starters and the fact that you don't have your own weapon? Weird," Jessie babbled some, Terra quirking a brow at the girl, "But there's something else! I'm pretty good at knowing when someone's holding back! And with you, something is holding you back," his heart skipped, throat drying out. There was no way she could know something like that!
"Whatever it is, ignore it and help them!" she cut him off firmly, her fear seemingly turning to resolve and mental strength so abruptly that he felt like he may have gotten whiplash, "They need you down there with them!" how could she see that he had a chance against that thing when he knew that he didn't?!
"I can't fight that-," again, he was immediately cut off.
"Get over whatever's making you think you're not good enough to use your strength!" she shouted, her volume almost deafening him, and just as he was about to counter-, "Your Master didn't train you to be weak!"
In an instant, everything stopped, time pausing or slowing down, silence invading his hearing, her strong stare sparking with intense resolve and fiery strength of will. He couldn't help but agree with that. Because he didn't, he wasn't trained to be weak. He was trained to be a warrior of light, on the verge of gaining his Mark, a Master class soldier in the war against darkness.
But then Master Xehanort had- Get over whatever's making you think you're not good enough!- used him as a puppet, pulled his strings- Something is holding you back! –and made him a pawn in his schemes...
"I was manipulated to fight my friends and kill my Maste-,"
"Who cares?!" Jessie snapped at him, pushing him back so that they were standing at least two feet away from each other. He was speechless, surprised by the intensity, "You were manipulated! Forced to fight! From where I'm standing, it shows that whoever manipulated you saw your strength and took advantage of it! If you could fight your own Master and almost win, then you have insane power!" how could he argue with that...? "Master level kind of power!" his attempt at the Mark of Mastery thanks to his Masters urging, "Your Master saved you! Don't waste his efforts by thinking LESS OF YOURSELF!" ...
He could only stare for a long moment, his throat so dry and his eyes so wide, his heart hammer so hard he was afraid it'd crack and break his ribcage. His breathing stuttered, mind and rationality lost for a while before he really tried to process what was said. And what she'd said... he couldn't even argue with. It made sense, the thought of even trying to go against what she'd said hurt because no, Master Eraqus hadn't saved his life so that he could think lowly of himself, underestimate himself or for him to waste the effort behind having saved him.
Would he have really raised him, trained him, urged him to try for his Mark and then save him, only for him to berate and stew in self-pity after having been manipulated so easily?
He swallowed against the dryness of his throat, his hands clenching along with his jaw, muscles flexing and tightening under his armour and base-layer. Master Eraqus didn't train him to be weak, he didn't train him so that he could cry about how weak he was against a master manipulator and used his failure in the Mark exam to control him. He wasn't weak!
"Stay here. I mean it!" Terra ordered firmly before rounding her and heading for the ladder, grabbing both sides before swiftly sliding his way down to the lower catwalk. He sprinted towards the other end, reaching for the sword he clipped to a convenient part of his armour on his hip, and darted down the path the other two had taken for the ladder to the base level of the building. But he passed said ladder by a few feet so that he was directly above the robot.
He'd shrugged off the fact that the other two had seen him run above it.
Swiftly, he reached out vaulted the railing, sword in hand and as he dropped, air rushing passed him, he'd aimed his sword, driving it into the sentinels' head on the way down. Pain throbbed through his side as the massive tail hit him just as the sword penetrated.
"The hell you doin'?!" he heard Barret snap after the brunette hit the ground in a roll, a hand immediately cradling his side as he tried to get up with the help of the blonde that was suddenly there.
"I told you to stay up there with Jessie!" he snapped in a hiss, a heavy frown on his face and aimed directly at the brunette who'd managed to get to his feet just in time to avoid the tail again, the three of them separating and jumping apart to avoid more bullets along with it.
"Yeah, sorry. Turns out she's better at hero speeches. She's a lot scarier too," Terra replied loud enough for the other to hear over the bullets that Barret directed towards the robot, a grumble being just barely heard from the blonde as he shot towards it to attack.
"That's Jessie for you!" the larger man called out proudly, darting about and sending out his missiles. But before any of them hit, the sentinel effortless disappeared from the ground, launching up towards the wall and attached itself there. He watched as it directed its arms out, areas opening on its sides and anticipation rushed through him as they were let loose, Cloud not needing to guard or drag him around for Terra to avoid the blasts this time.
He dodged swiftly, something helping him along and confidence hit him in waves as the feeling felt far too familiar for him to not know what it was.
Having evaded the last of the barrage of bullets and missiles, Terra darted across the way just as the thing landed on the other side of the area, between them and the bomb with large mounds of debris falling from the rafters.
"I'm not a pawn. I'm not a puppet!" he hissed confidently under his breath as the other two found their safety behind said debris, Terra stopping halfway across the bridge in the centre with strong resolve growling in his chest, clawing and burning. He could do this. He could DO THIS!
"Terra!" Cloud snapped from where he was ducked, the two staring, gawking and obviously worried with wide eyes.
Just as he saw the thing light up, its tail charging fast and being abruptly aimed, Terra shot his hands out, his entire form lighting up with a mixture of glowing oranges. His Keyblade appeared out of nowhere, returning as an extension of his arms and the very tip shone bright, a beam breaking from it just as the sentinels did from its tail.
They struck violently, meeting halfway and the force almost shook him, Terra holding his ground with both hands holding his blade, the space around them bursting with a heavy gust from the combining beams.
He growled, teeth clenched with a scowl on his features, he pushed, forcing more power into it and feeling his efforts be rewarded as his side of the strike gradually took over the others, forcing the bots' beam back towards it.
'I've failed you, Terra. Perhaps I've no one to blame but myself for the darkness inside you' his mind reminded, his Master's last words returning in the heat of his power returning, building faster and faster and forcing the sentinels' beam back farther.
"And I've no one to blame but you for the light given and nurtured, Master," he spoke under the deafening thrum of the fighting beams.
He took a deep breath and poured everything he had into the attack, the beam breaking and snapping forward towards the robot, his light breaking its head from its body along with its tail. And the moment it did, the thing started violently vibrating, hitting the ground with sparks and frantic jerks, its tails' beam being haywire without the funnel the tip provided. It struck the walls, the ceiling, anything and everything within the room.
The area shook, more debris falling and crumbling, hitting the platform.
"The bomb!" Barret yelled over the chaos, managing to get close enough to see it, but then abruptly turned around in a hasty dash, "It started! Go! Go! Go!" he snapped, shoving the two forward on the way passed and headed for the ladder, Terra and Cloud quickly following after him with the brunette being forced up the ladder first by the blonde.
They darted along the first catwalk, Terra actually gaining more speed and was abruptly shoved up the next ladder by Barret of all people. He climbed it as fast as he could, debating on whether to attempt using his Glider but afraid he might not have been able to just yet. He sprinted up the steps to the next platform just as the place shook again, Barret right behind him, but Jessie was stuck, the brunette watching as a large part of the ceiling came down on the catwalk and broke some of the wall with it, rocks falling with one landing against her.
"Jessie!" he called out, having been about to climb and run the length of the massive fallen part to get to her when he'd seen Cloud make his way over without hesitation. By the time he'd made it, Barret was forcing him up the steps and along the upper catwalk, the brunette watching with a rapid heart rate as he'd pulled the rock off of her.
"Hey! We'll link up over there! Look after Jessie!" Barret yelled to them, Terra feeling relief as he noted that she seemed alright for the most part.
After the shouting, he was shoved hard along the path they'd taken to get there, Terra being forced into a sprinting match with the much larger man, to which he was already winning with his natural speed. He ran slightly ahead, climbing the last ladder in haste until he reached the top.
"Long time no see!" Jessie beamed as they reached the very top, the four of them darting down the hallway with blearing alarms going off with more explosions following behind them from the fire that had started taking over. They ignored it, Cloud running slightly ahead of them as they entered the Sweeper room and darted the length of the room for the stairs around the corner, entering the Utility sector.
Though upon showing up there, more wall sentinels appeared above them, Barret taking them out as they sprinted through the levels for the elevator, Terra almost gracefully tripping over a thick, half a foot high wire tube. But he saved himself last minute and continued after them and grumbling when he heard Barret cackle behind him.
Finally, they made it to the elevator, Cloud having quickly pressed the button, the doors opening and they rushed in, Jessie panting, Barret pressing the button and Cloud-... looking as if this were a walk in the park. He didn't look bothered at all. If anything, he looked at home in the chaos.
He felt the lift shift, three out of four in the group sighing heavily and letting the relief wash over them as it started climbing the levels.
"So you were holdin' out on us, huh?" Barret spoke up, Terra turning towards him after a moment while still panting after that race to the finish line.
"I guess," the brunette shrugged, glancing between them and noticing that he had everyone's attention for the moment, though he wasn't entirely surprised since he didn't exactly explain anything about him having abilities like that, "It took Jessie to verbally beat me to get me out of my funk,"
"Funk?" Barret scoffed, probably having not actually cared and was just oblivious to it at first. That wouldn't have surprised him either.
"In short..." he paused to take a breath now that everything was calm for the moment, "I failed my Masters' test, another Master took advantage of me feeling like I didn't make the cut, manipulated me into fighting. I fought my one and only Master, and he saved me. Me feeling worthless was what made it so I couldn't use any of my powers," he took another breath, having tried to sum it up without giving anything away and by the stares he was getting, he wasn't entirely sure whether he summed it up enough.
"So, where did that weird lookin' sword come from?" the larger of them asked, Terra, letting a smile grace his lips as he was reminded of the fact that he really did summon his Keyblade after all. He was so overjoyed, heart brimming with relief and overwhelming warmth in his chest that he'd finally gotten his powers back and been able to use them to that degree.
"It's a type of weapon that chooses the wielder. That's all I'm gonna say about it," and just as it seemed like Barret was about to continue-, "Jessie?" he called out, her head tilting with a smile on her own face, humming in question, "Thank you," he lowered his head in a respectful bow, posture firm but fluid with the trained motion he'd show a Master.
"Glad to be of service, Armour," lifting his gaze while still bowed, a light, amused breath left his lungs as she gave him a salute. A moment later, the elevator stopped, the doors opening.
"Let's go!" Barret called out between them, the four sprinting out of the lift and being joined by Biggs and Wedge on their way out of the Reactor building.