Life as a SOLDIER

Disclaimer: She owns not Square Enix, Final Fantasy, or any other related characters and such. This story is a work of pure fiction, and is in no way based off of the game nor the movie. This is just Fairy Red's idea on what would've happened if/when Cloud joined Shinra to become a SOLDIER. If you don't like spontaneous random ideas such as these, then Fairy Red kindly asks that you don't read this. Thank you.

A/N: …that was kinda formal. Hmm. Anyway, as Disclaimer said, this is 100 fanfiction. I'm not basing any of this fanfic on the game or the movie. I wrote this for my own enjoyment, but if you like it, that's cool. So, let's begin!

Oh, BTW, this is a repost.. Thanks for correcting my mistake, StarlightPhoenix! ; I forgot for a second…

Mario (in undertone): It's been a long time since she last played FF7...

Me: No, it wasn't! I last played it…

Mario: Yep, in 2002.

Me: TT Mario, leave.

Mario: leaves

Me: Anyway, I've corrected the mistake. Sorry for any confusion I might have caused. ahem let's carry on.

Prologue: The New SOLDIER

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Cloud looked up at the huge building that was called Shinra. Standing not a day older then 16, Cloud looked back once at what he could possibly be leaving behind forever…

"Excuse me!" called a voice. Cloud jumped and looked forward to see a man about 23 years old run towards him. "You're Cloud Strife, right?" asked the man.

Cloud nodded. "Yes," he agreed quietly, not quite meeting the man's eyes.

The man looked Cloud up and down. "You don't look like the right build for joining SOLDIER," he aid half to himself.

"…I came here to become stronger," said Cloud in the same quiet tone. "I heard that Shinra does great things for this planet, so…"

"Hmm…all right," said the man. "Follow me."

The man motioned for Cloud to follow him, and led Cloud inside Shinra. "Come this way," said the man, leading Cloud down a hallway. There were many other SOLDIERs around, and they all stopped and cast Cloud curious looks as he walked by.

Cloud bent his head lower as to not meet anyone's eyes, and followed the man. Soon, the man stopped in front of a room, and knocked on the door. "Hey, Zack," said the man. "Open up, we have a new kid."

New kid? thought Cloud to himself as he heard someone inside the room reply, "A new kid? Sure, I'm coming!"

The sounds of a chair being pulled back and footsteps were heard, and the door opened to reveal a tall dark-bluish hair and striking green eyes. The man called Zack looked Cloud up and down. "Are you sure this is SOLDIER material?" asked Zack, casting Cloud a wary eye. "He looks like he'd not last a week."

Cloud didn't respond, and the man answered, "He, Cloud Strife, said he wished to come here to be in SOLDIER."

"…Okay. I'll take him to that room," said Zack.

"That room?" repeated Cloud, speaking at last, looking up at Zack. He's tall, thought Cloud to himself. He's got to be at least 3 inches taller then me…!

"That room," repeated Zack calmly. "Don't worry, Cloud's quite…ah, safe in my hands," said Zack to the man, placing a hand on Cloud's shoulder.

"Sure thing, Zack," said the man as he walked down the hallway.

"Er…" started Cloud, at a loss of what to say next.

Zack walked ahead a few paces, and rounded on Cloud. "You want to join SOLDIER to become stronger?" asked Zack.

Cloud nodded, keeping his eyes on the ground.

"…how old are you, kid?" asked Zack.

"Hardly a kid," muttered Cloud. "I'm…I'm nineteen…" Cloud blinked. Why did I lie like that?

"Around these parts, 19 is a kid," said Zack matter-of-factly, not noticing cCoud's momentarily guilty expression. "I'm a kid myself," remarked Zack cheerfully.

Cloud said nothing.

"Cloud, don't you ever talk?" asked Zack.

Cloud shrugged, not saying anything.

"Oh, so you're a quiet guy," said Zack. "Well, I'm afraid that won't do for me," Zack told Cloud flatly. "SOLDIERs are not quiet and shy."

"…but …but I…" started Cloud, not looking up.

"No buts!" said Zack. "Come on, let me take you to the assembly, a meeting's about to start anyway. It'll tell you everything you want to know about being in SOLDIER and the dangers and responsibilities. Got it?"

"Okay," muttered Cloud, following Zack to a huge room where thousands of other SOLDIER-hopefuls awaited to hear the assembly.

"Okay, I don't need to hear the assembly, so I'll come back when it's done, okay?"

"Wait--wait!" stammered Cloud, looking up in shock at Zack. "You're leaving me?"

Zack raised an eyebrow. "What, do you need me in there with you to hold your hand?"

"…no, it's just…" Cloud cast his eyes to the floor again. "Nothing…"

"You wanted to be in SOLDIER, right?" asked Zack as he started to walk away. He nodded his head in Cloud's direction. "Hang in there," he said with a smirk as he close the door.

Cloud stood in shock for a second, then found a seat in the back of the room. At least I'm away from others, thought Cloud. At least I can get comfortable here… Cloud sat down, thought for a dew more seconds, then sprawled out onto two chairs, falling asleep as the assembly started.

With Zack…

Once outside, Zack sighed wearily and leaned on the door. "Sheesh…." he sighed as he walked to his room. "They always leave the newbie to me…" Zack closed the door to his room and sat at his laptop, thinking. he won't be happy about this, thought Zack. I wonder what he will do when he meets Cloud… Zack opened his laptop, and typed up the report of "his" genes. "…when he sees Clouds genes… he won't be happy…"

Cloud's profile was already written up. It was written up as soon as Cloud was born. "Hmm… it says here that he's sixteen… Oh, well." Zack's eyes narrowed slightly. "I wonder… how one of Jenova's cells could've gotten into you, when…" Zack clicked up another profile. "…Sephiroth won't be pleased," said Zack with something like an ironic smile. "Hopefully, Sephiroth won't pay much attention to Cloud…"

Zack glanced out the window, seeing the sun set. "Ah, who am I kidding?" asked Zack, shaking his head. "To make things work out, I'll arrange a meeting between them…"

4 hours later, with Cloud…

Cloud blinked awake. "…?" he asked. He sat up, and realized that everyone was standing and clamoring loudly, all rushing to sign up to be in SOLDIER. "Oh, no! Did I fall asleep?" he gasped to himself. Looking around frantically, Cloud hurried to the front with everyone else, and quickly signed his name on the paper.

Zack watched from the doorway. Kid, did you miss the assembly? Have you any idea that you just signed your life away…?

Cloud looked around, spotted Zack with a gasp and hurried towards Zack. "There you are," said Cloud, not looking at Zack, but rather at the wall. "I've signed up, like you said to."

Zack blinked. "You'd do anything I say?" asked Zack.

"What…? No, I wouldn't," stammered Cloud, looking flustered for some reason. "Uh…where do I stay? I'm--I'm tired."

"…follow me," said Zack. He took Cloud upstairs to the third floor and to a room at the end of the hallway. "Here's your room," Zack announced cheerfully, kicking the door proudly. "Go on in."

Cloud hesitated, then he entered the room. He flicked the light switch on and looked around. "It'll do," he said quietly. "Thank you…"

"Huh?" asked Zack. "I couldn't hear you."

"…nothing…good night…"

"Night," answered Zack, closing the door with a shrug.

After Zack left, Cloud flopped himself back-first onto the bed, looking at the ceiling. It's not what I expected… thought Cloud. But…if this SOLDIER will get me stronger for Tifa…Then I'll do it… He closed his eyes and thought about the promise he made to Tifa before he left…

Flashback- the day before Cloud's 16th birthday…

"Cloud!" called Tifa. "I'm glad you waited for me! When I heard that you were going to leave to go to Shinra, I just knew you wouldn't leave me without saying good-bye!"

Cloud looked up at his friend. Tifa was about one year older then him, but he and Tifa have always been good friends. "Of course I wouldn't leave you without saying good-bye," said Cloud. "I'd never leave without saying good-bye to my best friend."

Tifa smiled. "I'm glad…" she turned to face the road, and turned back to Cloud. "Hey, Cloud," she started.

"Yes, Tifa?"

"…why are you leaving?"

Cloud blinked. The question had caught him off-guard. "Why I'm leaving…? I…I don't have a reason, really… I guess I just…want to be stronger…"

"Cloud, if you want to be stronger, you could stay with me." Tifa's tone wasn't accusatory, it was inviting Cloud to say something to Tifa (something special!).

"…like what?"

Tifa laughed, and held out her pinky. "Promise me something, okay? Promise me something right here, right now!"

"Promise?" repeated Cloud.

"Yes!" Tifa hooked her pinky around Cloud's. "Promise me that when you get to Shinra, to become SOLDIER…don't ever lose strength, okay? Grow strong, and come back to visit me. You promise?"

Cloud held his pinky there with Tifa's for a second; then he smiled and nodded. "Yes, Tifa, I promise to grow strong so that I can come back to visit you."

"Okay! You promised me, Cloud! Don't forget!"

End flashback…

Cloud opened his eyes. Now that I'm here… thought Cloud sadly, the way things are apparently run here…I'll do my best, thought Cloud determinedly. He rolled onto his side, looked out the window, and drifted into an easy sleep.

With Zack…

Zack was reading Cloud's profile. It's no wonder, Zack was thinking to himself as he ate a bowl of chips. He looks as if he'll be very easy to program… Shachoo wants to use Cloud to test the new programs… But…why…? Zack looked up at the ceiling. "…maybe Sephiroth knows something about him I don't yet… Whatever that is, I'll find out…" frowning slightly, Zack turned his attention to the computer and read through Cloud's "current program".

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A slight mini cliffhanger for you. I think. Ah, heck, I was never good at the whole "cliffhangers" thing…Well, stay tuned for more.