A/N: Thank you all my lovelies.. I'll try to fix the whole traveling between characters thing. Well kids…. I smell conflict, read the title, I think you'll get it….ha ha ha ha ha….ok, well read on lovelies..

BTW: FFVII belongs to the smexy lovelies at Square-Enix, not me…yet..

Life on Standby

Chapter Six: Give 'Em Hell, Kid.

"Alright men, in order, we have a member of SOLDIER here to give you guys an evaluation to see if you too can be qualified to become a member of SOLDIER." The older man walked up and down the lines, giving a small smile to each of the men in front of him.

Cloud looked at his feet, all day all he could think about was Aeris, she filled his mind and it almost drove him insane. In his mind he hoped that it would be Sephiroth that would give them the evaluation, he knew that if it was Zack, he would be over come with rage.

How did he get a girl like her.

He sighed he knew that it would never be Sephiroth, and that he would never have a chance with Aeris, she was after all, Zack's girlfriend.

The door slowly opened and a pair of black boots made their way in, Cloud looked up and gazed into a pair of mako blue eyes.


Zack walked up to the door sighing, he hated this part of the job, he had to judge each person and then he had to tell them if they where good enough to be in SOLDIER.

He straightened himself and walked in, hoping to god that he didn't have to be the bearer of bad news.

Cloud?

He stared at the smaller man, a smile coming to his lips, "alright men, ready, this is gonna be a rigorous test, I hope you all prepared.


She smiled as she stared out the window, it was a beautiful. She hardly got any of that in this god forsaken city.

"Aeris?" There was a small knock at her door.

She looked up, "Yeah, what is it mom?"

The door slowly opened, and the older woman walked in, "Aeris, have you talked to Zack lately?"

Aeris shook her head, brown ringlets moving softly, "No, I haven't talked to him for about three days, why?"

A worried look came over the older woman, she looked down and sighed, "Aeris, sweetheart, why where you with that other boy yesterday?"

Her emerald eyes grew for a second, "What other boy…Oh, you mean Cloud, we'll you see, he's new around town and I was showing him around and then he walked me home because it was late."

"Oh." The older woman tried to smile, "Well, make sure that his intentions are true and that…" she stopped, "And make sure that you don't hurt Zack."

"Hurt Zack?" She tilted her slender head in confusion.


Cloud's body felt destroyed, never in his life had he received so much of a beating in such a small amount of time. He laid on the floor, sweat pouring down his pale brow. He tried to get up but he couldn't, his body didn't let him get up.

Come on Cloud

His mind pleaded with him, he needed this more then any thing else in the world.

"Oi, Cloud, come on, you have to do this, you're falling behind everyone else." Zack shook his head as he looked at the younger man, laying on the floor breathing hard and covered in sweat.

"I….can't…." His voice was as broken as his body.

Zack walked over to the younger man and knelt down, whispering in his ear, "Cloud, if you don't complete this test, you can never be in SOLDIER."

What do I care?

"And if you can't get in SOLDIER, you'll never get a girl." Zack gave one of his care free smiles. Cloud looked over to him.

A girl.

Cloud narrowed his eyes and forced himself yup. He gave Zack a quick cold look then ran to try to catch up to the other men.

Zack blinked and shrugged, "Wonder what's got his panties in a twist."


He laid in bed, alone, tired and miserable. He thought that it would be best if he wrote a letter to Tifa, but then again, what would he tell her.

Dear Tifa,

I finally got a chance to take my SOLDIER test, but I probably failed, oh by the way, did I mention that I hate my only friend here because I want to steal his girlfriend away from him. So how are things on your end?

"I rather not." He sighed and turned facing the wall. "Gods, my life sucks." He couldn't help but wallow in his self pity. "Aeris." He partially mouthed the words, to afraid that some one would hear him.


She perked up, looking around.

"Is something wrong Angel?" Zack played with her loose strands of hair.

She shook her head, "No, I just thought I heard someone call my name, must have been nothing." She smiled and looked at the paper that he was writing on, "What's that?"

He looked up at her, "Well, this is the cut sheet, this is the list of all the men that have made it into SOLDIER. Sephiroth thought that it would be a great idea to give me this job." He sighed and continued writing.

She read over the name carefully, "Hmm…. That's strange, Cloud's name isn't on here."

"It's not a mistake, he didn't make it."

"Didn't make it?" Her eyes became sad for a moment.

"Yeah, he just isn't good enough to get into SOLDIER. It's sad, but it's true." He sighed.

Aeris sighed, "Do you have to be the one to tell him?"

Zack nodded.


Cloud waited in line, his eyes downcast, he hated this, the day of judgment, he hated to be judged. Some of the other guys told him that Sephiroth was going to be the one to tell them if they made it or not. He could handle the great Sephiroth telling him that he was never going to make it, but to have Zack tell him, Zack, who was just a few years older then himself, that would drive him insane.

The door slowly opened, Cloud looked up and saw him.

Zack

He clenched his teeth, he had to keep his cool this was the man that would determine his future.

Zack looked at him and gave him a small smile. Cloud nodded back, knowing that the next few minutes would not be pleasant.

Zack stood in front of the men, holding a sheet of paper. He looked down the line of men, "Alright men, when I call your name, I want you to go through the door behind me to get fit for your suit." He cleared his throat and read the first name off.

Cloud was the last one left, all the other men were in the changing room, getting fitted. He felt like he was on the edge of reason and sanity. He looked at Zack who was collecting his paper to leave.

"This is you're fault." His voice was barely a whisper.

"Hm, What was that Cloud?" Zack turned to face the younger man.

"Cloud looked him in the eyes, "This is all your fault. You didn't want me to become a member of SOLDIER."

"That's ridiculous." Zack turned around, hoping the younger man would calm down.

"NO! You're afraid that I might be better then you. You're afraid that I'll be better then you and that scares you." Cloud started to raise his voice.

Zack was getting tired of the attitude that Cloud was giving him, all he did was try to make the kid feel comfortable in his new surroundings. And what did he get back? "Listen Cloud, there is a reason you're not in SOLDIER, and that's because you're not good enough."

"Not good enough…not good enough." Cloud had a cold smile on his lips, "I know something you're not good enough."

Zack narrowed his eyes, "And what would that be?"

Cloud took a step closer to Zack, he swore that he could smell her on him, "You're not good enough for Aeris."

Zack could take any thing that a person could throw at him with good stride; but what he couldn't take was when anyone would bring up Aeris. He balled his fits and glared at Cloud, "You don't know anything about Aeris, and you sure as hell don't know anything about me."


Aeris sat happily at the table, she smiled and hummed a song as she looked at the door. This was the night that Zack promised that their lives would be changed.

The door slowly opened.

She looked up, "Hey Zack." She stopped, he walked in, his top lip a bit bruised. "What happened to you?" She reached up for his face.

He looked down at her and gently pushed her hand away, "Don't worry about it." He pulled out a seat and sat down, rubbing his temples, Reeve's voice going through his head:

I'm sorry Zack, but you've lost the promotion.