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Something in The Silver Lining

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-Aftermath of The Battle of New York, United States, 2012-

After shwarma, after SHIELD attempted—without much success—to get them to reveal their civilian sides or at least hand over a number to be contacted with, AVALANCHE deliberately checked themselves over in the lobby of SHIELD's New York office and removed every single device that had been placed on them or their weapons.

They left them in a tiny pile on the lobby's waiting area with a card that simply read,

We helped save the world. Could you possibly let us be who we are without using these? Stark has the sole contact number you will need; be glad he has one at all.


P.S. You're worse than the organization I used to work for if you can't place these properly. - Gunslinger

-Queens, New York, 2012-

They all shifted back to themselves and split up to dissuade further investigation by a stretched thin SHIELD.

Meeting back up at Vincent's apartment was sort of routine by this point and Vincent was just glad thier space hadn't been harmed. He tapped on the Materia he'd buried in the door and was happy to feel the Silence, Shield and Libra fall into place.

He kicked off his dusty boots, tested to see if the water was on and if he still had electricity or if the invading force had knocked it out entirely.

The electricity sputtered but held, Vincent reinforcing it with a slight surge of Thunder.

The water was not running but Aerith coaxed it through the pipes and into the bath, which they heated with Fira.

"Okay, let's see. First order of business is to get clean or as clean as we're going to get. Nanaki, you first. Ladies, you're second batch mostly because Aerith's going to have to change the water or purify it. Cid, Barret then Vincent and I because I know you're back up on MP but you're still sore from it and I don't want you passing out." Cloud ordered, groaning as he sat down on the spare sheets Vincent had laid out not to get his floor too dirty. "C'mere."

He didn't have to be told twice, peeling off his duster, hanging it up and then slumping against Cloud. Cid braced Cloud and Barret braced Cid, massaging at his right arm where the mechanical one had come out.

Vincent flexed his left and felt the phantom sensation of the gauntlet's mechanized skeleton run through his own.

"... Where's my baby girl? Where's Marlene?!" Barret shot up at that, his body shaking.

"She's here, in Yuffie's room." Vincent soothed. "I picked her up from school early, she wasn't feeling well and everyone else was busy on the contact list."

"Oh thank Shiva." Barret's shoulders slumped in relief.

Marlene cracked open the door, running to Barret, not caring that he was covered in the dust of the city. "I remember! It's weird but I think everybody I know is here except Denzel."

"We'll find him in the city." Cloud reassured. "Though I don't think he'll be very happy."

"Oh. Right." Marlene snuggled underneath Barret's chin. None of them offered commentary on the way Barret's tears leaked through his beard and touched Marlene's hair.

Eventually, all of them were clean and either wearing some form of Vincent's clothing or Yuffie's extras.

Food was easier, the electric stove still working now that the Thunder had taken root in the system. He got water by melting a Blizzard cast directly into the pot.

Vincent hummed as he finished making the food, careful to fold foil over his plates because of the low water availability. "It's more than I thought I had here."

"It's cause Ah went grocery shopping, last meet-up we had here." Cid countered with a teasing nudge. "Otherwise it woulda been tea an' nori crackers."

"Hey, we eat more than... Okay, so I might've..." Yuffie spluttered awkwardly as AVALANCHE laughed. "Vincent, help."

"What she means is that neither of us went shopping because she had a test and I had a planned trip to accompany Ms. Potts to her meeting in D.C. this weekend. I suspect she'll be calling me in a few hours after she gets into contact with Mr. Stark." He supplied with a faint chuckle.

"Right, I forgot you worked there." Cloud mumbled as they all dug in.

"I work more with her than him, though he has been to my office since Yuffie keeps asking his AI about past lives." Vincent said, raising an eyebrow at her as she slurped obnoxiously on her noodles. "Are you staying here or...?"

"Of course we're stayin' Vince," Cid gestured at the destroyed chunk of New York and snorted. "This feels like a repeat o' Meteor, to be honest with ya."

"Y'know, I think you're right." Cloud huffed. "A city that's got rubble in its center and a big event that hurt a lot of people. We're going out there, right?"

"Of course."

-New York, United States, 2012-

Refreshed and rested, all of AVALANCHE (save for Marlene) transformed and made their way back to the epicenter of the attack, Stark Tower missing nearly all of its letters.

"We're here to help. Where do you need us?" Vincent asked. "Melee, SOLDIER and myself can lift chunks of buildings and the others can handle healing and defense in case there are any of those creatures left."

"Hey, sure, we—Wait, did you say you could lift chunks of building?"

"... Yes."

"We've got a few spots where cranes won't get to in time and if you can lift it..."

"They have a better chance. Direct us." He finished.

Vincent shed his cloak into the ether and rolled up his sleeves, lifting chunks of building alongside Cloud. They ended up handing them to Tifa in order for the rest of AVALANCHE to break the chunks into more manageable pieces.

They lifted out more dead bodies than Vincent cared to count, though Aerith revived as many as she could reach and directed Nanaki and Yuffie into doing the same. AVALANCHE was joined by some of The Avengers, namely Captain America, Thor and Iron Man.

"How long have you been at this?" Mr. Stark asked as he flipped up the face plate of his armor.

"Since this morning," Vincent huffed as he tossed another chunk of building at Tifa, who neatly kicked it in half and sent it flying at Cid and Barret. "We've taken breaks but we could do with a solid rest period."

"Umm, this might be invasive but... Have you done this before?" The Captain took in their set-up and how they worked as one well-oiled unit.

"Years ago and in similar circumstances; I would tell you the story if I wasn't busy." He answered the Captain as he finished with the building, stretching to crack his back and then his knuckles. "If you'll excuse me."

Cloud took over carrying the building chunks, this time with Thor helping Tifa take a break by taking over her duty of splitting them. Tifa chewed on a sandwich half, handing the other over to Vincent as she sat in his lap.

He curled around her and murmured, «I didn't expect to see them at all. They strike me more as the heroic come and go sort.»

«We probably would've seen the Captain at least. Cetra said that he's got the right stuff,» Tifa said in Nibel as she tapped over his scarred heart, «She also said that our statuses have been upgraded from plain old AVALANCHE to actual Planetary WEAPONs minus the weird names. Which means that all of us have close to yours and SOLDIER's strength but only when we're like this.» She pressed a kiss to his chin as she finished.

«We're only meant to be resting for a short while, yozora.»

«Rest a bit longer. You were the first to start lifting those building chunks, after all.» She hummed as she slyly offered him another sandwich half.

Vincent was about to take a bite out of it when Cloud settled into his lap as well, stealing the half and chewing with a guileless expression when Vincent grunted under his weight.

«She's right, you know. Dragoon and Cannon have it and White Rose has been dying to leave the med tent to pick up a rock as big as she is to terrify the Avengers. Relax.» Cloud added around a mouthful of sandwich.

«... As you wish.»

«Did you just—»

«He did! Sneaky bastard.»

«Your sneaky bastard, as I recall.»