Disclaimer: The Characters in this story belong to Disney and Squaresoft. One or two minor characters may be mine, but most aren’t.
Kim and Ron left for Midgar on a Friday. Neither packed much, just some spare clothes, their weapons, some food for the trip, and a couple of hundred gil their parents had given them. Shinra Inc had promised all recruits that they would be well taken care of while they trained, with accommodations, food and a fair wage. This didn’t stop Kim’s dad from giving her some last minute advice though.
“You be careful around any boys in that Academy Kimmie Cub. Those soldier types only have one thing on their mind, you remember that.”
Kim sighed and hugged her father, while rolling her eyes so he couldn’t see. Off she was to military training, where she would probably be training to go up against the worst criminals and monsters on the planet, and her father was worried about boys. Still, her father had absolute confidence in his daughter to handle anything… except boys.
Kim and Ron met at her large motorcycle and stored both their back packs in the storage compartment. Ron had been wearing a pair of sunglasses with reflective mirror lenses, since their run in with that materia monster. After learning that Wade couldn’t undo the glow that the mako had put on his eyes, he had become very self conscious about them and had worn the glasses ever since. The lenses were oval and covered his eyes perfectly. They were the kind that clipped onto the bridge of his nose.
Even Kim had to admit they kinda suited him. But she just didn’t like the reason he was wearing them, so again she stared at him with a raised eyebrow, like she often did when he did something she didn’t like.
Ron recognized the look immediately, and frowned at her. “What?”
“The sunglasses? Again? I mean seriously Ron…”
“We’ve been over this Kim!” he cut her off. “I like my glasses! I don’t see what the problem is!”
“The problem is that you’ve got nothing to be ashamed of! Your eyes-“
“Have nothing to do with it!” He ripped off the glasses and looked her right at her with angry, faintly glowing blue eyes. “I just like the glasses, and that’s it!”
Kim looked into those eyes with annoyance. “Don’t try and kid me Ron, remember who you’re talking to! The girl who knows you better than you do! And personally I think the mako eyes really suit you. They’re just like-“
“Okay, you can stop right there!” he snapped, clipping his shades back onto the bridge of his nose. “Stop comparing me to Cloud! He’s a hero! He can handle the freaky eyes! I’m just… just…”
Her expression softened. “Just what?”
He turned away and mumbled his answer under his breath and he walked off. “… a sidekick.”
Kim didn’t like seeing Ron like this. “Ron, you know you’re my partner, not-“
“Yeah, yeah,” he sighed, before turning to her and offering a reassuring smile. “Look… I’m sorry for bringing you down from your good mood, KP. Why don’t we just drop the whole glasses thing, and enjoy our trip?”
Kim looked into her reflection in his glasses, then nodded. She didn’t want to bring him down either. So for a change she let her friend have his way – at least for now. They headed off to Midgar and arrived early Saturday morning. Training at the Academy didn’t start until Monday, but they decided to do the whole tourist thing for a few days, and enjoy themselves before they got started. There was going to be a year of it, and neither of them had any doubt it was going to be gruelling. Ron did a lot more whining about that fact than Kim though.
The city they came to wasn’t really the true Midgar. The original city had been torn up three years earlier, by the meteor which had come dangerously close to destroying the planet. The city they were in now was called Edge and was built around the ruins, which were still too dangerous for anyone to inhabit. Rumors of intense mako radiation and powerful monsters kept most people away. Edge would often be referred to as Midgar as well though. And the pair found themselves enjoying this new city.
With plenty of stores, which Kim forced Ron to help her shop at, and a few particularly fun clubs, there was no shortage of things to do. In fact by the time Monday came around and they were headed for the recently built Shinra Academy for their orientation, there were still things they wanted to do. Ron smiled and pointed to a Restaurant & Bar that they passed on the way to the Academy.
“Hey check it out, its Tifa’s Final Heaven! I’ve heard about that place; the food is supposed to be amazing! Let’s stop and have something!”
Kim grabbed his wrist and pulled him away from the bar. “We can’t, we’ll be late.”
“Awww, come on Kim, just a sandwich or something? We have time!”
“I’m not going to be late for my first day because of your stomach!”
“Fine,” he retorted, trying to pull away from her. “I’ll go by myself and meet you there.”
“Oh no you won’t! You’re not going to be late either!”
She turned and cut him off with the look which always succeeded in scaring him into submission.
“Awww, Kim! Not the angry face!”
“We’re going to the Academy now!” she snapped. “No pit stops!”
He pouted childishly and looked at the ground. “Fine… But the first time off we get, we come here and eat.”
Kim smiled now. “Okay. Deal.”
As usual Ron’s cheerful demeanor was quick to return. “Booyah!”
The two were soon standing at attention in a large assembly hall, with close to two hundred fellow recruits. The hall looked similar to the school gym back home, but lacked the basketball hoops and other sports equipment. The floors were polished wood, walls made up of wood and metal girders and dozens of small windows situated around the room, near the ceiling. There were no chairs which forced everyone to stand, and there was a stage in front of them with a lone podium placed in the center. It was loud for a while, due to all the recruits talking, but the hall went silent when four people walked onto the stage.
Two of them were familiar to everyone, but the other two, not so much. There were some chairs on the stage, which three of the people took, while the handsome blonde haired man in an expensive looking white suit stepped up to the podium. Everyone went quiet as they waited for him to speak.
He spent a moment looking over the crowd and smiled warmly. Ron wasn’t sure what it was, but despite the warmth, there was something he disliked about this guy from the get go.
“Greetings cadets, and welcome to Shinra Military Academy. I am President Rufus Shinra.”
A few people applauded, but not many. Rufus and his family name weren’t very well liked by anyone on the planet. In truth if Cloud hadn’t been the one making the summons for able warriors, the turnout today wouldn’t have been nearly as good.
“I am well aware of the public’s negative feelings towards myself and my family’s company, and I will be the first to admit that we are deserving of those feelings. My family… I… Have much to atone for. And I plan to. Starting with you.”
“You may not know it yet, but there is a great destiny before each and every one of you. For the next year, you will all be trained by the best experts and instructors that money can buy. Then, after your graduation you will be dispatched around the world, to keep the peace and enforce the law. Thanks to you, the anarchic days of our world are numbered!”
This seemed to change the mood in the room a little, and a few more of the recruits started clapping.
“Shinra’s army is now a peace keeping organization. And I am asking all of you… Begging you… To please help me to atone. Help me fight the good fight. Help me bring law and justice back to the world of Gaia!”
Everyone applauded that, even Ron (who was still a little creeped out by the guy). One thing he could say about him though is that he knew how to work a crowd.
“As I said, there is a great destiny before all of you. And I could think of no man better suited to leading you into that destiny, than our new General. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the man who saved the world two times over. Cloud Strife.”
Rufus stepped down, and as Cloud stood up to take his place at the podium, he received a considerably warmer reception from the crowd than Rufus. Though he had always been somewhat of a recluse, Cloud Strife was probably one of the most respected warriors on the face of the planet. And it showed.
Ron’s applause of course was the loudest and most obnoxious. “Wooo! YEAH, GO CLOUD!! YOU DA MAN!!”
Most everyone else made do with reserved and respectful clapping, so Ron’s screaming was easily heard by everyone.
“YOU GO BOY!! WHOOP, WHOOP, WHOOP!!” He pumped his fist in the air as he cheered.
Cloud stared at the weird blonde kid in sunglasses for a moment before speaking into the microphone. “Hello… I have never been good at public speaking, so…”
“WOOO!! NOT GOOD AT PUBLIC SPEAKING, YEEEAAAHHH!! YOU ROCK SO-OW!! Kim that hurt… Wait, not the angry face again! Okay, I’ll be quiet…”
Cloud frowned for a few moments, and a few cadets started laughing at Ron’s antics. After things went quiet again though, Cloud continued his speech. “As I was saying, I am not very good at public speaking,” he said glaring in Ron’s direction. “So I will try and get straight to the point. The jobs you will all be training for in this Academy do not only entail a great deal of hard work, but also a lot of responsibility. You will be made responsible for not only the interests of Shinra Inc, but also the safety and prosperity of the people of Gaia.”
“So we at the Academy will make sure you earn this responsibility. This honor. For the next year, you will all be worked very hard. Worked to your limits, mentally, physically and spiritually. Those of you prepared to do that will become protectors of Gaia. Those who do not wish to put in the work can leave now.”
On cue Ron headed for the door, only to be grabbed by Kim and pulled back to his spot beside her. “Awww maaan,” he was heard to whine.
Cloud watched for a few moments as no one else moved to leave, and he nodded with a barely noticeable smile. “Good. Already you all make me proud. Following this ceremony, you will all be led to the main training facility in the center of these grounds. There you will all be given a full medical diagnostic, then each of you will be issued your uniforms and equipment. Following that you…”
“Um… General sir?!” Ron interrupted again. “Does this medical thing involve any shots, I can’t stand needl-OW!! Kim!”
Frowning again, Cloud ignored Ron this time. “If there are any questions, they can wait until later. For now, just allow me to continue.”
“Yes sir,” Ron muttered. “Sorry sir.” Ron was starting to get the feeling this hero of Kim’s didn’t like him much.
“Now, to continue. After you are all issued your uniforms and standard equipment, you will proceed to the training courtyard. There you will be tested by some of the Academy’s instructors and myself, and receive your rankings. The three ranks within Shinra Academy are First, Second and Third Class. First class is the highest Rank, and will be reserved for those of you already experienced in the ways of combat. Those of you who excel in the advanced first class training may even be inducted into Shinra Special Forces upon graduation. SOLDIER.”
There was a little chatter about this among the audience. No one knew they were re-establishing SOLDIER.
“But worry not, even students ranked third class can graduate and join the army. There will be ample opportunities for advancement after graduation, but I expect every one of you to put everything into your training. Rufus said it right, it is a great destiny before each and every one of you. And as your General I expect you to earn it… Can I get a ‘sir yes sir?'”
The crowd all saluted and shouted. “SIR YES SIR!!”
Cloud’s smile was a tad wider this time and he nodded. “Good. You all have half an hour before you have to report to the main building for your medical diagnostic. Take this time to mingle with your fellow cadets and get to know each other. You’re all going to be like family until graduation. That is all.”
There was a lot of applause and salutes for the General as he stepped down from the stage and mingled with the cadets with the three people that had shared the stage with him. Kim turned and scowled at Ron, now that she was free to talk.
“Ron, what were you thinking?! He was trying to make a speech, that was so embarrassing!”
He looked nervously at his livid friend. “I… Uhhh…” Before he could come up with a comment though someone came up behind him and tapped him on the shoulder. He turned to address whoever it was, but gasped when he realized it was a very beautiful girl. “Woah!”
“Greetings. My name is Yori. And you are?”
“Uh… Stop-Ronald? Er… Ron! Ron Stoppable.”
“Well Stoppable San, I feel obligated to say that your outbursts during the General’s speech, were loud, inappropriate and buffoonish.”
Ron pouted, but Kim just smirked smugly and folded her arms. “Thank you, Yori. You see Ron I wasn’t the only one…”
“But I also found it very amusing,” she giggled, giving Ron one of the warmest smiles he had ever seen. “I had been so afraid that my time at the Academy would bore me terribly! But it brings me such delight to know that there is at least one person who can bring laughter to my time here.” She bowed at him. “Thank you Stoppable San.”
“No, thank you Yori. And call me Ron San.” Ron turned and smiled smugly at Kim this time. “Why can’t you see the bright side like she can, Kim?”
“Maybe because I’m the one associated with you? Don’t you realize how embarrassing that was for me?”
His smile fell again. “Come on Kim, I thought you’d be used to me embarrassing you by now.”
“Maybe Ron, but we’re not in high school anymore!”
“She’s right you know,” the man standing behind Kim agreed. “High school is behind you.”
Kim spun around and her jaw nearly hit the floor when she found herself staring up at one of her heroes face to face. The General was flanked by Rufus and the other two that had been with them on stage.
“I… Um… Hi?” She shook her head and composed herself, then saluted. “I mean, hello General.”
Cloud had a slight barely noticeable smile, but there was definite warmth to it. “You’re Kim Possible.”
She blushed. “Uh… You know me?”
“In a world like ours, where the lawless prosper, and crime is rampant. Those who stand up and fight for what is right really stand out. I was hoping you would come.”
Her blush darkened, and she smiled. “Really? I mean all the stuff I do is really no big… Just helping people out here and there. A little monster slaying here… A cat out of a tree there…”
“Well I feel honored to have you at the Academy, Kim Possible. I will be expecting great things from you.”
She smiled and saluted again. “The honor is mine General. And I won’t let you down.”
He nodded. “I have no doubt.”
Ron smiled up at the General. “So if you know Kim, I guess you know me too, huh?”
Cloud’s look became a little colder when he looked at the boy in sunglasses. “Yes,” he said simply. “You’re the one who kept interrupting my speech.”
Ron went a little pale at first, but then he shook it off and pointed at Kim. “Yeah, but I’m also her sidekick.”
Cloud glanced at Kim. “You have a sidekick?”
“Why doesn’t anyone ever know about the sidekick?” he grumbled, before cheering up. “Awww, no big. I like to work in the background anyway. You know, behind the scenes!”
Yori seemed to find this amusing too and giggled.
Cloud just stared for a while then shrugged. “Okay.”
Rufus stepped forward and offered Kim his hand, which she politely shook. “I would also like to personally welcome you here Cadet Possible. I sincerely hope that Shinra Inc can offer you all you need to help even more of Gaia’s citizens.”
She was just a little bit colder with Rufus, though the guy was probably used to it by now. “Um… Thank you Mister President.”
As he often did, Ron decided to speak his mind without thinking. “Your name’s Rufus right? You know, I have this naked molerat back home that I-OW!!”
Kim elbowed him in the ribs. “Icks-nay on the olerat-may,” she hissed through clenched teeth.
Rufus looked at Ron curiously. “Sorry? What was this about a naked molerat?”
“It… Um… He’s… Pink?” He gave the confused President a toothy grin.
Kim closed her eyes and sighed, while Yori started giggling again.
“Okay,” Rufus said hesitantly. “That’s nice… I guess… If you’ll excuse us though, there are other cadets we would like to meet personally. Until later, Cadet Possible.”
Rufus and Cloud both walked off, but left behind the two others that had been on stage with them. By now Kim and Ron both assumed they were a few of the instructors.
Ron sighed. “I don’t think the General likes me.”
“Do not worry,” Yori said reassuringly. “I like you.”
He smiled at her, and one of the people left behind by Cloud and Rufus stepped up. She was a pretty young girl, who looked about nineteen or twenty. She had black hair, wore a pair of black short-shorts and a dark blue tank top, and had what looked like a giant ninja star strapped to her back. There was a certain boisterous, perky quality to her demeanor, though there was a definite aura of strength about her too. She smiled at Yori.
“So Yori, I see you’re quick to make friends as always.”
Yori returned the smile. “Yes, cousin. As always.” She addressed both Kim and Ron at this. “Ron Stoppable and Kim Possible? This is my cousin, Yuffie Kisaragi. She is the instructor for Wutai style Ninjitsu here at the Academy.”
Kim smiled and shook the young woman’s hand. “Hi. Pleased to meet you.”
Yuffie frowned. “Oh come on! Surely you’ve heard of me?”
Kim stared blankly. “Um… Should I have?”
“I am the great ninja, Yuffie Kisaragi! I was one of the warriors who defeated Sephiroth and stopped meteor!”
She hesitated. “Um… Didn’t Cloud do all that?”
Her frown deepened. “You don’t seriously think he did all that on his own do you?!”
“Um… Yeah… Kinda… Maybe?”
“Oh wait a minute,” Ron said, holding up a finger. “Aren’t you the one who stole all Cloud’s materia, or whatever?”
“Oh for crying out loud!”
“Oh yeah!” Kim said. “You’re that Yuffie?”
“Why does everyone only every remember the materia thing?!” she ranted. “I fought Sephiroth, you know?! You have any idea how HARD it is to avoid an EIGHT FOOT LONG SWORD?! It ain’t easy!”
Ron looked at Yori who was again giggling. “Is she always like this?”
“Oh yes,” she whispered. “The fact that she is still remembered as more materia thief than hero is a very sore subject for her.”
Ron smiled as he remembered something. “Oh wait a minute, I remember something else. You guys import the best spices down from Wutai. I spoke to the delivery guy a few times, who is totally hot for this woman back home. Called her things like the most beautiful flower in Wutai, and the fiercest and most graceful of warriors. Get him started on that subject and you can never shut him up. I think he said her name was Yuffie.”
She gave Ron a skeptical frown. “Oh you’re just trying to cheer me up.”
“No seriously, he really said all this stuff. I’m pretty sure he was talking about you. Said something about her being the guardian of the pagoda too, whatever that means.”
Yuffie’s face lit up at this. “Hey that’s me! I gotta say, flower of Wutai is much better than materia thief.” She got this really arrogant smile on her face at this point. “But you can tell the lowly delivery boy to get in line. I have the most eligible men in Wutai lining up at my door.”
Ron just smiled, glad he’d cheered her up. “Sure. I see Yoh again, I’ll deliver the message.”
“Wait did you say Yoh?” she asked, brightening even more. “Oooh, he’s the yummy delivery boy… Too bad I’m stuck in this dump for the next year.”
“He mentioned a pose a couple of times which you liked. Why don’t you show us?”
Eagerly she obliged, pulling her Shuriken from her back, and started swinging her arms in slow exaggerated but admittedly graceful motions, as she moved with her weapon in a kind of martial arts dance as she shouted loudly. “I am the great ninja, Yuffie Kisaragi!” Then she got into her pose, holding her weapon above her head with one hand, her free arm to the side and one knee lifted high. “The flower of Wutai!”
She smiled widely at Ron and whispered, still in her pose. “I like that whole ‘flower’ thing, that has a nice ring to it.”
Her attempts to look impressive really looked kind of ridiculous, but Ron still clapped. “Very cool.” He looked up and saw a man standing behind Yuffie smiling with his arms folded and shaking his head. “And you are?”
He stepped forward and shook Ron’s hand then Kim’s. He was wearing a red suit and tie, with a black shirt. “I’m Reeve. I’m currently the acting Administrator of Shinra Academy.”
“Oh, so you’re kinda like the principal here, huh?” Ron asked.
Reeve smiled. “Something like that.”
“Then I’m probably going to be seeing you a lot this year… Hey, do you have a pose too?”
He chuckled at that. “No. I’m not a moron.”
Yuffie turned and glared at Reeve with an angry pout. “Meanie!” she snapped, sticking out her tongue. “Nerrr!”
This time Ron was laughing right along with Yori. Yuffie looked at Ron again, and smiled.
“I like him Yori. He’s a keeper.”
Ron sighed with relief. “Cool, this day is looking up. One of the instructors likes me. Good news after that whole fiasco with the General.”
“Oh don’t you worry about GENERAL Cloud. He can be such a jerk sometimes. But I’ve got your back.”
She walked off with Reeve after this, then Yori smiled at him and whispered. “It was very kind of you to cheer up my cousin like that.”
He shrugged. “No big. Cheering people up is one of the few things I’m good at.”
“You have a big heart Stoppable San.”
He blushed a little. “Thanks Yori. And call me Ron San.”
“I couldn’t help noticing your mention of Wutai’s fine spices. We do indeed have some of the best in the world. Am I to assume that you cook?”
“Yeah. Another one of the few things I’m good at.”
“Very good,” Kim cut in.
“I’ll cook you something sometime,” he promised.
“I would like that,” she whispered, before surprising him with a peck on the cheek. “… Ron San.”
She walked off after that, and Ron just watched her leave with a blush on his face. Kim also watched with a slightest look of disapproval shining in her eyes.
“She’s affectionate,” she grumbled.
“Yeah,” Ron said, smiling widely now. “I think I love this place!”
Kim folded her arms and without even realising it she started pouting. “Hmph!”
Shortly after Cloud and Rufus parted ways with Kim and Ron, the General felt someone tap him on his shoulder. He turned and was surprised who he came face to face with.
“Vincent? How long have you been here?”
“Some time, Cloud. I enjoyed your speech.”
He smiled at him. Though the two had never been chummy by any stretch of the imagination, Cloud had always considered him to be a friend. “Have you reconsidered my offer? We could use a marksman with your skills on the staff here.”
He spent a moment staring with those reddish brown eyes before answering. “I’ll pass.”
“Okay Vincent, that’s your decision. But if it isn’t about the job offer, what are you doing here?”
“Just came to offer some friendly advice,” he whispered, nodding in the direction of something behind Cloud. “Keep a close eye on that one.”
Cloud looked back on the students he had just been speaking to and smiled. “You mean Kim Possible? I plan too.”
“Not the girl. Her friend.”
This caused the expected confusion. “The loud kid in the sunglasses? He struck me as a bit of an idiot.”
“Let’s just say there’s much more to him than first impressions might suggest. And he could use some guidance in the following year of training.”
Cloud looked back at the kid in question, and tried to recall his name. Ron something. He was currently saying something to Yuffie that seemed to put a big smile on her face. Knowing Yuffie, she was probably getting her ego stroked if she was smiling like that.
“Okay Vincent,” he said, still looking at Ron. “I’ll keep that in mind. But what is it that…” He trailed off when he turned back to face him, and discovered he had vanished. He looked around the crowded hall in all directions and couldn’t even catch a glimpse of the man’s distinctive torn red cape. He was gone.
“I hate it when he does that.”
To be continued…
Sorry for the ludicrously long wait, but I did promise I was going to finish this, and I will. I actually have eleven chapters finished, but tragically I’m pretty strict about making sure things a properly proof read, so that doesn’t mean I’m going to be updating every day from now on. But as often as possible, I promise. I want to get this finished. Also, don’t forget to drop me a review, they always help to motivate me that little bit more. The next chapter should be back soon.