By: General Quistis & Zhakeena
Disclaimer: I don't own anything but the story plot and the title; any resemblance to any other plots or titles is purely coincidental.
Trepe's Note: Hell, if you're just going to flame this, just go away. I don't need lowlifes like you to tell me that my work is bad because I already know that! You'll just be wasting your time. Yes, I know that Rufus and Aerith died. You don't need to point it all out and what discs they died in, dammit! But for this fic, they're alive, okay?!?!? Just shut the hell up!!! @o@' (I just hate flamers, that's all… I mean, there are other people out there to flame; but why me???!!!! DAMN!)
But anyway, don't let the title deceive you… this is not an Aerith+Rufus fic… Oh yeah, and don't mind the OOC. After all, this is a stupid attempt at a humor fic. Duh.
"What do you mean we just take a step out of that borderline and we're back in our lives?"
"Just trust me, okay? We'll be out of here in no time."
"But… what if something goes wrong?"
"You're not the type of person to say those things, Rufus. Did you bump your head during the explosion?"
"I didn't bump my head, Aerith. I just don't want anything bad happening. And we're just spirits now! What if our bodies just rotted?"
"We'll be okay. Trust me. I've prayed so hard for this!"
"Hmf… oh well, thanks for taking me with you. Maybe when we get back, I'll invite you and your boyfriend for dinner."
"Heehee! Thanks, Rufus. You're really a kind man. You should've showed that kind of attitude during your first life!"
"Oh shut up and let's go, I can't wait to get back into office and surprise everyone that I, Rufus Shinra, am alive!"
"Hey, Cloud, aren't you supposed to be asleep already?" Yuffie asked.
Cloud jerked up when he heard her voice from the kitchen doorway. He realized that he had been sitting there ever since after dinner earlier that evening… and then it was already 2:30 am.
"What are you doing here?" he asked.
"Just went down for a midnight snack," she replied as she opened the refrigerator and pulled out some leftover chicken and began to eat it.
Cloud cringed at the thought of eating. He did not even eat dinner. He didn't feel like eating at all… and seeing Yuffie eat cold chicken bits somewhat sickened him.
"Bye," Yuffie said before leaving him, taking the chicken with her upstairs in her bedroom where she stays with Tifa.
Cloud sighed heavily, thinking that everyone was just trying to ignore the fact that he wasn't eating and he would just spend the whole day walking around the new Sector 7. If he would feel tired, he would just keep on walking. Then before the sun sets, he would return home and just sit alone in his room, brooding over the past and the might-have-been and could-have-been… And he would go down for dinner but would not eat. He would just sit there, staring at his food until Barret would take it and eat it for him.
"You haven't been eating for two weeks…" Tifa pointed out.
"Really?" Cloud thought mindlessly, not really caring.
Cloud pounded on the table as he got up and went upstairs to his room. He saw that Red XIII was already asleep on his bed, not on the floor. His frown deepened as he went to the window and got out, climbing up to the roof. He sat down there, gazing up at the stars.
"Why am I doing this to myself?" he thought silently.
He couldn't help it.
"I'm slowly destroying my life and I don't care… maybe if I die of starvation and too much fatigue, I'll see her again…" he thought as he bit his lower lip.
He turned his gaze to the direction of the newly-restored ShinRa HQ. It was far from where he is but he could clearly see the tall tower.
The remaining executives had restored it and just decided to run the whole of Midgar by themselves.
Cloud's frown deepened as he remembered all the events from the past. "ShinRa is stupid enough to create Sephiroth…" he thought silently as he looked away, clenching his fists, remembering how Aerith died.
He blinked and was even surprised to find that a few tears fell from his eyes upon doing so.
He smiled bitterly. "Aerith," he said gently.
From the bedroom just somewhere below him, he didn't know that the two girls were listening.
Tifa lowered her eyes to the ground. "Why did Aerith have to die?" she asked softly.
Yuffie had this sad look on her face. "Blame it on Sephiroth…" she muttered.
"Hmf… I'm glad he's dead. He's really a pain in the ass," Tifa muttered angrily as she clenched her fists before turning her gaze to the ShinRa Tower. Her expression softened as she began to think of other things, forgetting about Cloud and Aerith…
Yuffie noticed the sudden change in the facial expression of Tifa. "Why are you smiling?" she asked.
Tifa twitched and turned back to her friend with a sheepish look on her face. "N…nothing," she replied.
"You're looking at ShinRa," Yuffie said with an impish smile on her face.
Tifa raised an eyebrow. "I was looking at the stars, not at ShinRa," she fibbed.
Yuffie's smile widened. "Okay, I believe you," she teased before turning away, going to her bed and plopping down with a sigh. "Just go to sleep, Tifa… and dream of that dead guy tonight!" she teased.
"What dead guy?" Tifa demanded.
"I don't know… Sephiroth?" Yuffie asked.
Tifa instantly got her slipper and threw it at Yuffie.
"OW! Okay, okay, I know how much you hate that guy and would prefer it if you were the one who killed him instead of Cloud… sorry!" Yuffie said before covering herself with her blanket.
"Hmf…" Tifa responded before looking back at the ShinRa Tower once again. She smiled gently at it before finally deciding to go to sleep.
Aerith slowly opened her eyes and sat up, gazing around her surroundings. It looked like a dump. "Oh my…" she exclaimed as she got up, dusting herself.
She stopped moving when she realized that she was wearing white. "I'm supposed to be wearing pink…" she thought silently with a frown on her face. Her heart suddenly began to beat faster. "Uh-oh…" she muttered. She turned around and saw some broken glass. She quickly ran to it and studied her reflection.
Rufus got up in a start when he heard her scream. "What the…" he began. He stopped when he saw that he was looking at his own body. "But… what am I doing there if I'm here?!" he muttered before slowly looking down at himself. His eyes grew wide in surprise. "PINK?!" he thought. He looked back at the guy in white.
"Oh no…" he muttered.
Aerith turned back to Rufus with tear-stained eyes. "Something must've happened when we crossed… maybe the gods are playing with us…" she said with a trembling voice before finally bursting into tears.
Rufus fell on his knees. "I'm in her body… and she's in mine…" he realized silently with wide eyes. He looked at Aerith crying with his body. "Damn… don't cry! You're ruining my poise!" he snapped.
"But… I can't help it! I thought… I could go to Cloud now but… HOW AM I GOING TO FACE HIM LOOKING LIKE THIS?! I can't kiss him looking like this! People will think he's gay!" Aerith wailed helplessly.
"Oh shut up! People are also going to think that I am gay!" Rufus snapped impatiently as he got up and went to her, helping her up. "Now stop crying before people see us here and starts suspecting something!" he said.
She sniffed as she wiped her tears away. "What are we going to do?" she asked.
"I don't know. Maybe you were the only one who's supposed to be coming back and I wasn't allowed because I was the bad guy before… so they're punishing us." he muttered glumly as he flipped his hair.
"We can't just go to our respective homes and surprise everyone looking like this… maybe we could just switch places for a while?" she suggested with a weak smile on her face.
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"I'll go to ShinRa and you go to Sector 7," she replied.
He raised an eyebrow. "You gotta be kidding me!" he said as he moved away from her.
"But Rufus, people are going to think that we're freaks or something if we just go back to our own homes looking like this and we tell them the truth… like they'll believe us too! Let's just do this and while we're at it, we'll look for a solution so that we'll get back into our own bodies!" she said.
He sighed heavily, but even if he doesn't like the idea, he just agreed. "Okay, but I most certainly am NOT going to kiss Cloud when I see him. Pweh," he mumbled to himself.
Aerith gave him the best pleading look one can contort out of Rufus' face. "Please? Just one peck at the cheek? Cloud will think that I didn't miss him at all!!" she said.
"NO! I won't! Aren't you worried about another person doing the kissing for you?!" Rufus snapped. Aerith's appearance looked kinda funny, though, when doing that angry face.
"But, Rufus…" she stammered.
He flipped his hair (Aerith's bangs actually) and spoke up and realized that even his voice isn't the same… it's Aerith's voice too. "Why not play hard-to-get? Guys love that! The more he'll crave for you…" he pointed out with a sly smile on his face.
"I don't think that's a nice term, Rufus," Aerith said, completely hating her new masculine voice. "Besides, playing hard-to-get after you've died isn't much of a turn-on, don't you think?"
Rufus sighed, and regretted it when he sounded too feminine for his tastes. "Oh… I'll just ad-lib my way when I get to your little AVALANCHE hideout, ok? I am not in the mood to think about locking lips with Cloud right now… PTWEH!" he started to walk away but then he stopped. "Hey… where is the AVALANCHE hideout?" he thought silently.
"Rufus, do you know your way?" she called out.
He didn't want to sound so ignorant so he just said, "I'll find my way, don't worry!" and faced her. "Oh by the way, don't you dare giggle like a diseased hyena while you're in my body!" he said with a threatening look on the face… Aerith's face.
Aerith giggled. "I won't, don't worry, Rufus."
"YOU JUST DID!" he snapped.
"No, I didn't… Oh by the way, please try to avoid snapping impatiently and flipping my bangs every now and then… and yeah, don't make me wear white or black coz I'll look bad with those. Okay?" she asked with a smile on her face.
"Oh yeah, and don't smile too much." Rufus reminded her before looking behind him, examining his butt. "Oh man! My butt is too big!" and turned back to Aerith. "No wonder that spiky-headed jerk likes you! Hahahahahahaha!" he teased.
"That is so OOC of you, Rufus," she muttered ridiculously before turning away. "Okay, ShinRa's just in the middle of this City… I can find my way easily… but I don't think Rufus can find AVALANCHE that easily… hmf… Oh well… he said my butt is big so I'll have my revenge: I won't tell him the directions… HAH!" she thought with a mean look on the face… Rufus's face. She also thought that she should avoid smiling for some days while she and Rufus are working out on how to get back to their own bodies.
Rufus quickly made his way out of the dump, dusting Aerith's body. "Darn it… now I have to be like Aerith for days… except for the 'loving Cloud' part." He thought silently with a frown on his face.
Okay, so he's walking like a man… which looks strange on Aerith's body.
And Aerith is strutting like a woman… which really looks strange on Rufus's body.
The early-risers were really staring at them.
"Reeve, some folks went to my office this morning and told me that they saw President strutting his way over here. I thought they were crazy so I threw them out. Gyah," Heidegger said as he wolfed down his lunch: a meatball sub with oodles and oodles of gouda and limburger cheese. Yum.
Reeve held his breath, the smell of the cheese not allowing him to think clearly. "That's quite amusing, Heideggy. Now please finish your sub before I die of the stench," he mumbled.
"Kyah! That stinks, Heidegger!" Scarlet exclaimed too.
"Gyahahahah!!!! Oh, Reno, what's the matter?" Heidegger said, laughing right at the Turk's face.
"Oh my god! I mean, sir," Reno gasped. "The supposed late President Rufus ShinRa just strutted at the Turk office this morning and asked if he could see the acting President today, sir!" he said, miraculously keeping a straight face.
"Asked? Not bellowed or screamed or shouted or commanded, but asked?! Kyah?!" Scarlet exclaimed.
"Uh… yeah. He's talking to Elena right now. Actually, he's giggling with Elena right now…" Reno answered.
"This I gotta see!" Heidegger said as he, Reeve and Scarlet ran towards the Turk office.
"But isn't he supposed to be dead?!" Reeve asked.
"Shut up, the important thing is he's alive! If he takes over ShinRa again, we'd have our evil advantages again! Kyahahah!!!" Scarlet snapped as they slowed down upon nearing the Turk Office.
"You should really think of redecorating this office, Elena. It's so miserable and glum-looking… I won't let my employees work in this state!" they heard a voice say.
"Gee, you really think so, sir? I once tried to convince Tseng to paint our file cabinet pink, but he rejected the idea instantly…" Elena answered.
"Oh my… well then, I'm allowing you to redecorate this miserable little office! Oh… and could you please tell Heidegger to buy pink roses and other pink flowers? We'll fill the whole building with flowers!" Aerith explained.
Rude was just sitting in one corner of the room but he was ready to faint any time soon. "Oh no… I wonder if President Rufus bumped his head or something…" he thought silently, pretending not to hear anything.
"Hey, Mister Rude,"
Rude stiffened. "Ugh… did President Rufus just call me Mister Rude? Is that a good or a bad thing?" he thought silently as he wiped the sweat off his forehead.
"Can you show me to my office?" Aerith asked.
Rude and Elena thought for a while. "Maybe he can't remember some things… oh well…" the former thought before he stood up. "Yes, sir," he said.
From outside, Heidegger and the others moved away from the door to give way.
The door opened and Aerith peered at them through Rufus's eyes. "Gee… they look funny. And look at Heidegger's uniform! And Reeve's uniform resembles the Turks'… they should change that… or else I might think he's also a Turk…" she thought silently before smiling sweetly at them. "Hello," she greeted happily before walking off with Rude going to the elevators.
"Oh my god… This isn't happening," Reeve said, rubbing his throbbing forehead.
"Gyah… next thing you'll know, he'll give us nick-names or something…" Heidegger said, as he listened to 'President Rufus's' conversation with Rude about giving the Turks baby blue suits as uniforms.
"What a dump," Rufus said out loud as he continued to roam around Sector 7. "I thought those executives have done something about this place already?! I oughtta give them salary deductions when I get back in my office…" he thought silently.
He stopped walking as he looked around the place, staring back at the people who were staring at him strangely. "Hmf!" he flipped Aerith's bangs and walked away with clenched fists. "I think I'm really lost…" he muttered glumly. He rounded one corner and stopped when he bumped against this girl.
"Watch where you're going you…" he trailed off when he realized who it was.
Tifa looked at "Aerith" strangely. "A…Aerith?" she asked.
Rufus moved away from her. "Oh my God… she's taller than me……" he thought as he stared unbelievably at her.
Tifa raised an eyebrow. "Is that really you? Why are you staring at me?" she wanted to say out loud, but something was telling her that the girl in front of her isn't Aerith.
"Pardon me, but do you know where Cloud Strife lives?" Rufus asked with a forced smile that gave Tifa the creeps.
"Are you Aerith?" Tifa asked, ignoring the question.
"Yes, I am Aerith," Rufus replied.
Tifa stared at "her" for a while. "Don't you remember me?" she asked with a gentle smile on her face.
"Uh… you said that you're from AVALANCHE?" Rufus asked, feeling so unsure, just depending on his memory of her when he let them hear his inauguration speech.
"What?! Aerith, I was your best friend!" Tifa exclaimed, then covered her mouth. "Oh, sorry… I guess you've been through a lot that you don't remember anybody else but Cloud…" she said before getting closer to "Aerith" and gave "her" a comforting but friendly embrace. "Don't worry, Sephiroth is dead… but what are you doing here?" Tifa asked unbelievably.
Rufus was already blushing, suddenly not knowing what to do. "Do girlfriends hug each other?! Am I supposed to hug her back?! What the hell is she doing?! Who is this girl?! What the @#$% is her name?!" he thought silently in alarm.
"I… I was given a chance to return here… surprising, huh? Hee hee hee!" Rufus replied, imitating the way he imagined Aerith would be saying that.
Tifa let go of "her" and jumped up and down in joy. "Oh, Aerith! That's really good to hear! I mean… we really missed you! Most especially Cloud! C'mon, let's go back to our house!" she said happily with tear-stained eyes before grabbing "Aerith's" hand and dragged her along.
"Lady luck must be on my side… she's going to lead the way home…" Rufus thought with a silent sneer.
Upon arriving at the AVALANCHE home, Rufus made a face. "How the hell do they fit inside this little hole?" he thought silently, counting the remaining members of AVALANCHE in his mind.
Tifa opened the door. "Cloud! Cloud!" she cried out happily.
"He's not home, Teef…" Barret trailed off when he saw the girl standing behind Tifa. "What the… Aerith?!" he said in disbelief.
Yuffie stopped washing the dishes and ran to them. "AERITH!!!!!" she screamed happily and jumped up at her old friend, hugging "her" tightly. "Oh, Aerith, I'm so happy! You're baaaaaack!" she said excitedly as she cried tears of joy.
"Foo'! C'mere! Give ol' Barret a hug!" Barret exclaimed, giving "Aerith" and Yuffie a BIG bear hug.
"OH MY GAWD!!!" Rufus shrieked out, causing Barret and Yuffie to loosen their grip on "her".
Rufus realized what he had done. "Uh-oh… gotta be careful…" he thought before flipping his hair and flashed them a sweet smile. "Oh… sorry… I was just… stunned… the hugs were too… too tight! Hee hee hee!" he said.
"Did she just flip her hair?" Barret asked aloud.
The shriek made Vincent, Cid and Red XIII arrive from the second floor in a nick of time, thinking that Tifa or Yuffie could be in danger.
The three halted and stared in awe at "Aerith".
"What the @#$@?! Aerith?!" Cid said.
"Aerith?" Vincent asked in disbelief.
Red XIII blinked. He could sniff something wrong…
"Guys, where's Cloud?" Tifa asked.
"He went out. He always does, remember?" Yuffie said, trying to calm herself down.
"Somebody get that @#$%^%$ guy!" Cid commanded.
"I'll do it! Heehee!" Yuffie said, jumping up and down before taking off with her ninja-like speed.
"I really need to sit down…" Rufus thought silently, feeling his feet ready to give way.
"Aerith, we're really happy to have you back here!" Tifa said before hugging "her" again.
Rufus turned red.
Red XIII approached "Aerith" and began to sniff her.
"What's wrong, Red?" Barret asked.
Tifa let go of "Aerith" and stared down at Red XIII.
Red XIII stiffened as he stared up at Rufus with a surprised look on his face. "You're…" he stopped when he saw "Aerith" twitching her eyebrow at him and clenching "her" fists.
He just smiled sheepishly. "I see that there is something wrong, so I'll just shut up," Red XIII thought silently before he pounced at Rufus.
"Whoa… eh… hehehe… nice… doggy?" Rufus asked, not really sure of what kind of animal Red XIII is. He suddenly missed Dark Nation.
Red XIII licked Rufus's face. "Nice to have you back here, R…Aerith!" he said with a plastic smile on his face.
Vincent was staring hard at Aerith, noticing that there was something wrong with the way she's standing… and her eyes had this different sparkle… "Must be the cause of Sephiroth…" he thought silently before turning away, but he still couldn't help but think about it.
"Listen, guys, can I sit down now? Cause walking over here really took a lot of my energy, and…" Rufus trailed off when he heard the ninja shrieking from the outside.
"Heeeeeeere's CLOUD!" Yuffie screamed, throwing Cloud at the door.
"Ow?! What the hell's wrong with you, Yuf—Huh?!" Cloud's eyes grew wide upon seeing the brown-haired girl in braids standing before her.
He began to shake. "Aer…Aerith…" he said, feeling the world suddenly spinning around him… but he could still see her clearly in spite of it all. He slowly made his way to her, but then decided to just rush. He ran to "Aerith", meaning to embrace her, a thing that he'd been wanting to do before but he wasn't given the chance to do so; so he's really taking the opportunity right now.
Rufus's now green eyes (hey, they're Aerith's eyes, remember?) widened in shock as he moved aside, accidentally tripping Cloud with Aerith's feet, so Cloud accidentally hugged Vincent Valentine.
"Ugh, you…" Vincent pushed Cloud away.
"Ohohohohohohoho! Please don't hug me, Cloud… not in front of them…" Rufus said with the most feminine tone he could muster.
"Huh?" Cloud asked, blushing all of a sudden.
Tifa and the others smiled impishly at them. "Okay, we'll go out for a while," she said before they all stepped out, leaving "Aerith" and Cloud inside.
"No, don't leave me!" Rufus called out to Tifa, but she ignored him.
Cloud instantly hugged "Aerith". "Oh Aerith, I missed you so much… I… I'm sorry for what happened before… I promise to make it all up to you now…" he said.
Rufus could feel the hairs on his back rising. "NOOOOO!" his mind screamed, but he couldn't move. "OK, ShinRa… this is just a hug. Nothing more. You can handle it! It's just a stupid, blasted…"
His thoughts stopped in an instant when he saw Cloud puckering up.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRGHHHHH!!!!!!" he screamed.
From outside, Tifa and Yuffie giggled. "Gee… what are they doing inside?" Tifa asked.
Vincent raised an eyebrow as he blushed slightly. "I think we'd better stay away for a while," he told them.
"Aww… @#$%$#@#$%&&^$!?!?!? @#$^*&%!!!!! That Cloud's a !@#$%^^$# Casanova guy! Bwahahahahahaha! SCORE!" Cid cheered happily.
"Oh yeah! That foo's a man now! Wahahahaha!" Barret cheered.
Red XIII was smiling impishly as he snickered. "Gee… President Rufus must be having fun…" he thought silently before turning his gaze to the direction of the ShinRa building. "But I wonder where Aerith is…" he thought silently.