Okay, you know, I know, we all know. Squaresoft etc. owns, I do not. Duh. I have no rights, I make no profit, which is convenient because I'm totally content with that.

This little thing is something I just thought of and wanted to do (more is explained in the ridiculously long A/N at the bottom). One-shot. Enjoy!

THE WATCHER

Deep and sad eyes looked upon the little group from afar. He knew absolutely everything about all of them, but he would still be content to simply sit and watch them for all eternity.

There was their unofficial leader, Cloud, ridiculous blond hair defying gravity as it stuck up in unkempt spikes all over his head. His stance was stiff, disciplined and reserved, much like the ex-SOLDIER himself. The over-bright mako eyes were like scars, reminders of a dark and desperate past that still clung to the young man like a partially shredded black shroud. However, the person watching the group with a such a hungry look in his eyes had seen the harsh lines of the serious face relax into smiles, the bright vitality normally hidden by dark thoughts emerge as Cloud laughed. His friends were everything to him, even if he sometimes tried to hide it.

Next to him. . . next to him was one of his special' friends. Bright and clear and pure and lovely, Aeris was as strange and unearthly as the lifestream she seemed so oddly connected too. And, like the lifestream, she bubbled and laughed and sparkled like water under the sun. Her beauty was strange, unusual, and hard to define. She was slight, and often came off as fragile, but in her was a strength and will as pure and cold as tempered steel. The rest of the group loved her, that much was obvious. They loved her like rain in the sunshine, unexpected and refreshing and beautiful.

Now if Aeris' beauty was hard to define, Tifa's was ridiculously easy. As Aeris was cool and out of this world, Tifa was warm and down to earth. She was like homemade chocolate chip cookies-- wonderfully familiar yet still tantalizingly delicious. She had the kind of beauty that only matured with age, and would continue to do for the rest of her life. She was the big sister to everyone in the group, regardless of if they were sixteen or forty-eight. Her soft maroon eyes would sometimes glance over at Cloud in a way that was a little more than big sisterly, but never long enough or obvious enough that the blond noticed. If the others did, they just smiled sadly and shook their heads. They all loved Tifa as well, not in the adoring protective way they loved Aeris (partially since it was utterly obvious that the martial artist could take care of herself), but in the comfortable confident way a small child loves the stuffed animal he sleeps with every night.

Barret was one that loved the girl like a sister. He had been in the original AVALANCHE with her, had suffered the loss of Biggs, Wedge, and Jesse with her, had trusted Marlene to her. Barret was gruff and serious and simple, content to interpret the world in what ways made sense to him, and let smarter minds handle the stuff that was just too confusing. There was a tender side to Barret that he'd rather die than let anyone see; the side that was father to Marlene, the side that cried at the movies his wife used to make him watch, the side that knew the name of every flower in Aeris' church, and in what conditions they grew best. He was straightforward and somewhat old-fashioned and he knew it and was fine with it, content to let the way of the world stay the way of the world, and would take down anyone or anything that threatened to change that.

The young lion-like creature, Red XIII as he had been none to Hojo and the group, or Nanaki as was his real name, was also content, to some degree, with the way things were. At least, his outside manner was one of quiet dignity and self-contained wisdom, though on the inside he had shown them he too was young and scared and uncertain. However, Red remained a source of useful information, cool logic, and practical comforting advice. He was a rock for the group, something solid and dependable and unchanging. They relied on him, just as he relied on them.

Cid was also logical and full of advice, but he shouted his out regardless of if anyone want to hear it or not, usually accompanying it with stories of the past and a stream of profanity. Like Barret however, his rough, swearing exterior hid an inside as warm and fuzzy as a baby chocobo. He was not as old as he thought, and thus, he acted. His many dreams and hopes and failures had made him feel that way, and so he, unconsciously, fell into the role of father to the group. A shouting, swearing, grumbling, chain-smoking father who loved all his children dearly but would be loath to admit it.

There was one such child-- who literally was a child-- in particular that Cid would have rather thrown himself from the top of his rocket than admit he cared for. Yuffie was young, bright and alive, and she wanted everyone to know it. She was cheerful, loud, and outspoken to the point of obnoxiousness. Her vocal and straight-to-the-point manner grew on the group, despite problems she may have caused in the past, such as her theft of their material. That incident had actually served to draw Yuffie closer into the group, as her reason (partially) for the wandering and stealing and searching was revealed, along with a bit of her humanity. She was the youngest in the group, and she both acted like it and, consequently, was treated like it. However, the others loved her, and loved her forward, spirited ways that kept them amused and smiling. If they weren't exasperated and annoyed, that is.

The polar opposite of Yuffie, perhaps, was Vincent. Darkly silent and determinedly repressed, the enigmatic Ex-Turk rarely spoke, and when he did it was usually only to say something cryptic and cynical, then lapse once more back into his shell. The group grew accustomed to this the longer they spent time with him, however, and were soon able to read Vincent's moods and bouts of . . . easily. They realized he was simply human, on the inside, but he tried not to act like it on the outside because in his mind he still considered himseld a monster. They felt for him with his dark background and tortured past. Cloud in particular felt a special connection to him, having a troubled past that involved Shinra himself.

Shinra. . . . their watcher shifted uneasily, but no one in the group noticed, for his body that they knew, the body that was in their camp right now, was currently in the off' setting, emitting a low whirring sound as it conserved battery, asleep' for the night.

Reeve stared hungrily from his desk at Shinra, stared through the glassy, lifeless eyes of the toy cat, desperate to absorb as much of this oddly assembled, yet perfectly matched, group as he could. For he was not a part of it, as much as he longed to be. He was an outsider, a spy, a traitor, a fricking anamatrontic cat on and giant mog for the gods' sake, and he wasn't accepted. Perhaps he could be, if he wasn't so affiliated with the enemy. After all, people like the talking lion-cat, bitching teenager, and angsty vampire were.

A smile broke Reeve's face at those thoughts, but quickly dissapeared again. He tried to tell himself he didn't care, that his mission wasn't to make friends. But he knew he was lying.

He did care, he cared about all of them, and watched them all care about each other. It hurt, to watch them like that, but he found he couldn't stop. The times when his extended body was asleep were the best, because then he could watch uninterrupted, could watch as they smiled, laughed, talked to one another. He could feel their love surrounding each other and, in his harmless and lifeless state, surrounding him. . . .

Tifa's head suddenly snapped up and she glanced about, abruptly breaking off her conversation with Aeris and Red XIII.

What is it? Barret, sitting near her, asked worriedly. Did you hear something?Not really. . . Tifa replied, still looking around. Her eyes fell on Cait Sith, the cat slumped over it's mog, eyes wide and blank.

What the #$ do you mean, not really'? Cid demanded, one hand straying to the javelin laying near him.

Well, I just thought I. . . Tifa continued to look at Cait Sith, eyes narrowed. The cat didn't move. She sighed and shook her head, looking away. I just thought I heard someone crying.

-------------------------------------------------------------

A/N: Well now, if that isn't random. It wasn't supposed to be about Reeve at all. I mean, I bloody hate Cait Sith. Reeve is awesome, but that damn cat. . . Anyway, I wanted to write something just sort of describing each character from some distant third party, since my brother has started playing VII again. However, my stupid writer sensibilities wouldn't let me do that without some sort of explanation, so I decided to add the watcher'. My original intent, though somewhat vague, involved Sephiroth or Jenova. . . . but then as I was describing I got to Yuffie, and I wanted to do Vincent next, but I didn't want to end on Cait Sith, so I tried to find a place to fit him in but I liked my order. Then I realized that it made a lot more sense for Reeve to be watching the group, and fit with my original looked upon the little group from afar' since he is actually quite far away, being in Junon or whatever. . . So I altered the beginning a little and then added the ending which spiraled magnificently out of control and ended up with Reeve. . . crying? Ah well. I never really had sympathy for him before. It's a bit odd that sympathy was generated by a piece of my own making. :)

Oh, and now for the default author stuff I have to say. Forgive any un-accuracies you may find (un-accuracies?) or think there are, for example if Aeris is alive it's not very far and they're probably not all buddy-buddy, and they wouldn't know much of Vincent's past, or that they don't think of Reeve/Cait Sith as a spy or whatever. You're free to tell me what you think is wrong, but unless it's glaringly stupid, I'm going to consider it creative liberties. :)

Two quick things to avoid confusion:
1. When I said Aeris was cool and out-of-this-world' I was not trying to use 60's slang. I meant cool as in refreshing, like water or something. She makes me think of the lifestream. . . maybe it's those green eyes or something. And by out-of-this-world, I meant sort unearthly, like so unusual she could be a faery or a sprite or something.
2. When I said Barret was simple I did not mean like stupid or anything. I just meant uncomplicated. He sees things straight forwardly, without digging too deep. I mean, I love the guy, he's just not the worlds most philosophical guy. :)

Oh, and I apologize if I kind of lost my similes as it progressed. I went from desperate past that still clung to the young man like a partially shredded black shroud to an inside as warm and fuzzy as a baby chocobo. I can only do so many at once, I guess.

Thanks for reading! (both the story and this world's-longest-author's-note)