Author: Alma PM
It's just one crisis after the next...isn't it?Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Parody - Cloud S. - Words: 2,157 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 1 - Published: 11-08-07 - id: 3881175
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Bad writing... Good times. Caution: Sarcasm ahead.
"That's it!" he said, "I'm quitting!"
Tifa paused mid-bite, crumbs falling to the open newspaper on the table.
"Quitting? You can't quit!" Tifa replied, taken aback, "How are you going to pay your half of the rent?"
He thought carefully for several moments, one hand under his chin. "I'll just have to quit living here, too, then."
"But your name is on the sign out front," Tifa argued.
"Yeah, it was fun those couple times I actually delivered things instead of hanging out here, but I'm just not the stay-at-home type."
Tifa rolled her eyes. "But you're never at home."
He didn't seem to hear her. "Remember back when we were just traveling the planet and living the adventurous life? That's what I want to go return to..." he said wistfully.
The look in his eye told her that this was yet another one of his passing obsessions that he would not let rest until the fun of it wore out. Last month it had been (insert extraneous hobbies that Cloud would never actually find interest in, but had pursued for whatever reason in an attempt to fill his vast amounts of spare time, given that he hardly actually worked a full 9-5). And now he wanted to go back to living like a vagrant-outcast-failed-experiment ShinRa MP – I mean Ex-Soldier First Class...
Tifa let out a weary sigh. "Being homeless was fun and all, but I wouldn't exactly call it something I missed." Her eyes scanned over the barroom in the bluish morning light to indicate that she favored this stable life over a vagabond existence.
"Well, I'm going to go wander around, then. And being the disaffected deeply troubled insensitive person that I am, I'm not going to call you or let you know where I'm going, despite the obvious affection you have for me." He headed for the door without another word.
"That's fine," Tifa countered, clearly hurt by his words because of her obvious affection for him, "Because being your emotionally stable, even-tempered foil who remains your sole canon love interest (alive, that is), despite your constant coldness towards me, I'm just going to wait around for you to return – possibly engaging in some rather scandalous yet completely justified affair with Vincent and/or Reno."
Cloud blinked a few times, taking all this in, then his eyes illuminated knowingly. "Ah, of course. Perhaps then I'll brood in Aeris' church for a few hours in an attempt to conceal my frustrated love for Zack and contemplate how fucked-up it is that I actually considered doing my best friend's girlfriend, even though I can claim I was innocent under the guise of identity loss. But you can be sure I won't call you, even though we'll end up in a hot make-out session in a rather racy location, like the middle of the bar during business hours, the moment I return – which may be never because I'm just that damn mysterious."
"And I'll immediately begin drinking myself into a stupor once you leave because my life revolves around you in every way," Tifa said with a nod towards the rows of liquor behind the bar counter, "Until said scandalous affair with Vincent and/or Reno makes me realize what I'm missing out on by constantly pining over you instead of living my life."
"At that point, I'll be sure to return and whisk you off your feet, possibly also declaring my hidden love for you that's been festering since we were children, before engaging in said hot make-out session in a racy location."
"I'm glad we're in accord," Tifa confessed, blushing because of her obvious affection for him. Yes, it's obvious. It's been obvious ever since she asked him if he remembered his damn promise the moment he returned from the first bombing mission with Avalanche.
Cloud nodded once and departed, leaving Tifa alone in the growing silence of his absence. Her eyes fell on the nearest bottle...of course.
Once outside, Cloud happily set off for the plains around Edge – ah, the ole fields of endless monsters. Of course, they weren't actually monsters, but Cloud liked to think of them as such because mindlessly slaughtering torrents of wildlife somehow didn't sound as heroic.
Cutting down dozens of hapless creatures, he suddenly realized something horrible. Something terrible. Something downright freakish! The suspense was killing him, so he eagerly revealed to himself what had been so horribly horrible!
The "monsters" had all been carrying exorbitant amounts of gil. Much much more than usual.
Now, Cloud knew that the assorted animals of the planet had been gradually eating their way into the everyday work force, - hell, the Tonberrys had long set up their own lantern company just last year - but that was no excuse for the ridiculous amount of gil these otherwise unremarkable creatures were carrying.
Cloud was prying another four thousand gil from the cold dead claw of a (insert clawed-monster name here) when it suddenly occurred to him that he had just made over fifty four thousand gil in the last hour killing helpless monsters, more than the laughable amount of fifty four thousand gil he received in an entire year working at his own business! Good thing he quit that dead-end job!
But with this much money, he could afford to buy Tifa something fancy enough to sweep her off her feet after she attempts to find solace in Vincent's and/or Reno's uncompromising allure. She would undoubtedly be thinking of Cloud and perhaps, he hoped, feel guilty enough about to allow him to sweep her off her feet. This would require thinking, precision timing, and –
"Muhhhhnnay!! Wooo!" an obnoxious voice suddenly shouted nearby.
Cloud turned, wondering how the hell he didn't notice someone standing right next to him. A man, who had been hunting monsters just as Cloud had been, was standing over the carcass of some tiny fuzzy woodland creature.
"Lookit all this gil this one monster dropped! I'm rich! Rich, I tells ya!" the man continued babbling in this fashion.
Cloud then realized that he wasn't the only one profiting from this sudden influx of monster-money. Without a moment to lose, he got back on his bike – since he had been chopping apart monsters while riding past them citing that it was simply more fun that way – and rode back towards Edge, his pockets heavy with the inconvenient weight of many many coins (ah, hell, let's just assume they also have paper money, for his sake).
He did not call Tifa, just like he had said, however he did not go to Aeris' church, just like he had not said. In fact, he wanted to buy Tifa the perfect gift because she really was so obviously attracted to him and he never had the nerve to talk to her about it straight up, so he would buy her a present that would symbolize how much he cared, and also to make sure Vincent and/or Reno realized that she was his canon love interest and not theirs.
But the moment he arrived at the new Wall Market conveniently relocated in Edge with a plethora of new shops in addition to the old, he knew something was wrong. Maybe it was the frantic masses of shoppers holding mounds of gil in their palms, crowding around store-fronts and shouting gibberish, or maybe it was just the marvelous intuition he had about these sorts of dangerous situations, but Cloud understood that something bad was going to happen and also that he had effectively been the very last person to discover the huge influx of money from killing off monsters.
He thoughtfully examined the huge signs now posted in nearly every window down the street, proclaiming price hikes on all their goods and even, in the most extreme cases, sold out stocks.
"Oh great, what will I buy for her now that will be cheap enough to leave me with leftover cash to buy some crap for myself?" Cloud muttered under his breath, watching a bunch of feverish shoppers shove past him. Truly a dilemma.
Reno and Rude strolled into his office, entirely unannounced yet surprisingly welcome, and Rufus turned briskly to face them.
"What do you suppose we do..." Rufus said softly, holding up the papers, "... about this?"
There was no need for explanation. The horrible, terrible, unspeakable terror of the rapid influx of untraceable monster money had been going on for weeks, although Cloud had only just now realized it after finally quitting his dead-end job as a postal worker – I mean, delivery boy.
Rude spoke first, shrugging, "Burn some money?"
Reno cut in, "Smoke if you got 'em?"
Rufus looked away, an expression of pure pain driven straight through his soul as this new page was turned in ShinRa's book of many pages. "This..." he could hardly speak evenly, "This is it. This will destroy the city. Somehow, someone – possibly monsters – have been printing additional money and flooding our economy with it."
"But why?!" Reno and Rude shouted in unison, because they found it so darn amusing to do so.
"To cause the start of something far worse than these people have ever seen before," Rufus began melodramatically, "To attempt to bring ruin to ShinRa, in particular, I'm sure. To bring about a new crisis! An economic crisis...!" He paused for dramatic emphasis.
The two trained assassins gasped like frightened school girls.
Rufus nodded in agreement of their exaggerated inhalations of air, and went on darkly, "An economic crisis through means of... inflation."
Rude interjected his opinion, although it was quite uncharacteristic of him to speak any more than a single line. He was, however, surprisingly eloquent. "Even though I've never had any sort of formal education outside the realm of killing, I can say with confidence that an increased supply of money can only mean that market prices will be forced to increase since everyone will be buying things they could previously not afford, and the value of our gil will subsequently decrease. If the monetary trend continues in this fashion, there could be a consumer panic resulting in a shortage of goods, and eventually gil could become virtually worthless. In an extreme case, complete chaos could ensue."
Rufus huffed. "Yes, that's what I said – Inflation!"
Far above the glass office, outside in the sudden roaring wind that accompanied Rufus' chilling words, a dozen white doves flapped their wings in a flurry and ascended, their tiny forms disappearing into the sunset, even though it should still only be mid-day judging by the pacing of events. The symbol of peace had effectively abandoned the city; now only chaos would ensue, as Rude rightly predicted.
Far below in the shopping district, Cloud was still standing in the middle of the street, silently assessing the situation. And all he could think about was buying Tifa a goddamn present so he could successfully earn the right to their undoubtedly hot make-out scene that would follow the moment he returned to her in the next promising, though unnecessary, chapter.
Will Cloud be able to woo Tifa away from the tall, dark, and handsome Vincent and/or sexy and smug fire-haired bad boy Reno? Will there be a hot sexual encounter between them because Cloud is just that damn alluring? Will that matter more than the horrible, terrible, unspeakable economic crisis that threatens the very fabric of Edge's market, and by extension, ShinRa's stranglehold on the city? Can these questions be answered in a manner fitting their overly-hyped implications?!