Disclaimer: I own zilch. Nothing. No need to rub it in.

Chapter 1: Misfit

All you girls
You look as if you hate me
Why I'm I still here, well
You're superficial
I'm a misfit
But, baby, that's ok
All you girls
When you look into the mirror
Tell me how do you appear, well
You're superficial
I'm a misfit
You're superficial
I'm a misfit
You're superficial
I'm a misfit

But that's OK

Misfit – Amy Studt

Aeris Gainsborough looked around in confusion and jumped as someone pushed into her.

"Hey!" she cried, but they had already disappeared into the crowd.

She looked down at the map of the university canvas once more. It was no good. She couldn't figure out where she was at all. Sighing, she made her way to a bench and sat down to take a closer look.

Midgar University. The most popular choice, and for good reason. They had the best courses around. The only rival was Wutai University, but that was miles away. And Midgar itself – wow. Aeris came from Kalm, a small town. Really small. Midgar couldn't be more different. A mixture of education and entertainment. Blaring lights and noises, comfortable caf's, expensive restaurants - Every inch was bustling with people trying to make it. And she was just another hopeful.

A songwriter. That was what she wanted to be. But she had a realistic idea of the possibilities. Still, you had to try, right? So she was taking a music course here at MU.

And that was all very well, apart from the fact she had no idea where she was. She studied the map in despair. She was going to be here all day at this rate. At least she had unpacked her things and her roommate seemed cool. Tifa Lockheart. Aeris knew future friends when she saw them. And this was definitely one of them.

A pair of hands slipped over her eyes.

"Guess who?" Said a teasing male voice. She laughed.

"Hi Cloud." He sat down next to her.

"No fair. You were supposed to guess." She laughed again.

Cloud was her best friend. Always had been, ever since they were tiny children. His spiky blonde hair and blue eyes gave him extremely good looks and he had the personality to match. Carefree, good sense of humour and great to hang out with. But he was loyal too. He had always stuck by Aeris, through all the troubles they had had.

"So, having trouble getting around?" Cloud said, gesturing at the map. Aeris nodded.

"Yeah. I was coming to find your building actually. The Shinra building, right?"

"Yeah. You're in the Avalanche dorms, aren't you?"

"That's right. So where is your dorm?"

"Follow me."

They started to walk down a crowded path. Aeris tapped his arm.

"Have you finished unpacking yet?"

"Yup."

"Why don't I believe you?"

"Because you know me too well. Plus you always interfere."

"I do NOT!"

"Do too! I don't want you to alphabetise my closet again!

"Hey, I was eight!" Aeris retorted, punching him. He laughed and put an arm around her shoulders.

"Come on, Aer. I was just kidding."

"I know. So, have you met your roommate?"

"Yup. He's called Reeve and he's taking Computer class. Seems cool, though. How about you?"

"Tifa Lockheart. Business Management."

They arrived at the Shinra building. Cloud led her to room 42.

"And this is my palace." He said, opening the door. Aeris peered inside.

"Pretty much the same as my place." She commented. Cloud laughed. She followed him in and sank down onto his bed.

"I can't believe we're actually here, Cloud! We made it to Midgar University."

"Well, some of us made it into Wutai University AND Midgar University!" Cloud pointed out. Aeris blushed. Her acceptance to both major Universities had been a big surprise, but not an unpleasant one.

"Seriously, Cloud. We did it!"

"I know, Aeris. I can't believe it either. It's frightening."

They sat in silence. Then Cloud grinned.

"So, when's your first class?"

"Tomorrow at 12. What about you?"

"Same time. And literature's at 3." Cloud had had a lot of trouble deciding what to take. He had eventually settled on Media Production. Aeris had been surprised at that. It was amazing how he still surprised her after all this time. But they had both decided to take literature. Aeris, because she loved books, and Cloud because it could help with his script writing.

"Well, I heard about this café that's supposed to be really good. Wanna meet there for breakfast? My treat." Cloud offered. Aeris thought about.

"Sure. Where is it?" He pointed it out on the map. Aeris peered at it.

"Barret's. Ok, tomorrow at 9?"

"9:30."

"Deal."

Just as she said this, the door opened and a boy walked in, struggling under a large box. They jumped up to help him. They put the heavy box on the floor and the boy straightened. He had dark hair and eyes. He smiled.

"Thanks. I'm Reeve, Cloud's roommate."

"Aeris Gainsborough. Cloud's childhood friend."

"Cool. It's great to meet you, Aeris."

Reeve started to dig in the box. Aeris looked at the boxes surrounding Cloud's own bed.

"Cloud, let's start unpacking these."

"Why?"

"Because otherwise you'll lose it all and you'll come crying to me when you can't find anything." Aeris told him, opening a box. Cloud groaned.

"I KNEW it was a bad idea to bring you here!"

"Come on, help me!" Aeris ordered. Reeve laughed.


When Aeris returned to her own dorm a few hours later, having left Cloud in a perfectly organised room (which she doubted would last for more than a week), she found Tifa lying on her bed, listening to music. The brunette grinned and sat up.

"Hey Aeris. Find your friend?"

"Eventually. I'm never going to be able to find my way around!"

"You will."

Tifa had lived in Midgar for most of her life. Her parents had died in a car accident when she was just five years old. She had been brought up by her parent's best friend, Barret. The same Barret, it turned out, who owned the café. Tifa laughed when Aeris said she was going there the next day.

"I work there. It'll be cool! You can hang out there, loads of people do. Barret's fine with it."

Aeris sat down on her bed and straightened the poster of a band hanging next to her bed. Tifa glanced at it.

"You like the Turks?"

"Yeah. Do you?"

"They're pretty good." Tifa said. She stood up and stretched.

"Hey, Aeris, you wanna come to my self-defence class? It's really fun. Every Wednesday night."

"Sure. I've been meaning to find some extra-curricular activities." Aeris, said, putting the map in her drawer.

Tifa went into the en-suite shower room. Aeris heard the water running. Slipping a Turks CD into the CD player, she listened to the lyrics before sitting down at her desk/dressing table. The mirror, already surrounded by pictures, reflected her face. Aeris looked at it for a moment.

She had long, light brown hair, usually tied back in a plait and bright green eyes. Cloud always said her eyes were her best feature and he was probably right. She didn't think she was particularly good looking. She wasn't unattractive, but compared to Tifa, who was amazingly beautiful, she felt extremely plain.

Aeris bit her lip. She had seen a lot of beautiful girls today. She would never fit in. Cloud could always fit in, in any situation. His cheerful attitude always attracted attention and he bathed in it. Aeris loved Cloud dearly, as a friend only, but she could see exactly how good-looking he was. Girls flocked around him like seagulls. True, he flirted like crazy, but he had never had a serious relationship.

No, compared to all of these people she wasn't pretty. She was a misfit. Of course, you couldn't really judge yourself, could you? She tried to look at herself differently. But it was hard. She gave up and pulled her notebook out of a drawer. She took a hair slide and put her hair up into a bun to keep it out of the way.

She tapped her pen on the desk in tune to the music and looked at the CD case. Four members of the band. There was Elena, a lovely blonde girl, who sang the main vocals and played lead guitar. Tseng, an oriental looking guy, played the drums and Reno, redheaded played keyboards. The last member was Rude, who was completely bald and always wore sunglasses. He played bass guitar. They all work dark blue suits and were one of the most popular bands around at the moment. Aeris loved their songs. A mixture of rock and jazz, culminating in a unique-sounding music.

Aeris sang along with the last few bars of the song as she wrote ideas for lyrics in her notepad. Musicians always said to sing what you were feeling. That was where the music came from. Inside yourself.

Aeris read the lyrics she had written and wrote a title for the song. 'Misfit'. She hummed a tune and went to sit on her bed, strumming on a guitar, searching for melody. She sang the chorus of the song, then stopped, rewrote a couple of notes and tried it again. This time it worked.

"Hey, that's really good!" she jumped. Tifa had returned from the shower, clad in pyjamas with a towel wrapped like a turban on her head. Aeris blushed and closed her notebook.

"I was just- I mean-"

"Hey, calm down Aeris! There's no need to be embarrassed, that was really good." Tifa said, sitting down and rubbing her hair with the towel. Aeris smiled.

"Thanks. I'm just not used to people hearing my stuff. It's normally just my friend."

"I know, it must be hard to let people here it. It's personal stuff." Tifa said with surprising insight. Aeris nodded.

"Exactly. You going to bed?"

"Yeah. My first class is in the morning. You want me to wake you?"

"If you would."

Aeris pulled on her nightdress and started to brush her hair out as Tifa blow-dried her own. Once they were both in bed, Aeris admitted,

"I wish I was more like you."

"How come?"

"Well – you're so confident. I feel weird. I'm just a small town girl. You know exactly what you're doing."

"Aeris, don't be so hard on yourself. You've only just moved here. Give it a couple of weeks and you'll be fine. I mean, I'll help whenever I can, and so will Barret. And you've got your other friend as well. So, relax, OK? Everyone feels nervous at first." Tifa reassured.

Aeris smiled.

"Thanks."

"No problem. Goodnight Aeris."

"Goodnight Tifa." Aeris said, switching off the light.

As she rolled over, pulling her duvet over her, she smiled.

Maybe she was a misfit. But that was OK.