Life as a SOLDIER

Disclaimer: The mention of fairies and elves later on in this chapter is not any relation to Fairy Red. It's just random chance that Cid encounters in the woods. Just understand that.

A/N: Of course the fairies and elves below have nothing to do with me! As if I'd introduce myself in this fanfic! Only amateurs do that!
Mario: Or extremely gifted writers who know how to let themselves into the fanfic without ruining the story do that.
Me: …or that. -shrugs- Thanks for waiting! And these aren't the only updates I'll have coming! Oh-hoh, no! There's plenty more where these came from! HAH! With that, let's carry on!

Chapter Forty-Nine: The Advent of the New Year! Part 4
Tifa gaped at Cid. "…you…? You're Yuffie's father…?"

"Yes…I am," agreed Cid.

"…no way…" breathed Tifa. "You--You CAN'T be a father to somebody…! I mean, you…"

"Shocking, I know," said Cid. "Let me tell you the story, short and sweet. I met Yuffie's mother, I fell in love with her, I seduced her, Yuffie's mother had Yuffie, and I left Wutai to work at Shinra Company."

Tifa stared blankly. "All that?"

"Yes," answered Cid.

"If you fell in love with Yuffie's mother, why didn't you tell her you loved her?" asked Tifa in disbelief. "You wouldn't have to do something as drastic as that to win Yuffie's mother's love! What was her name, anyway?"

Cid shrugged. "I dunno."

"You don't know or you don't remember?"

"Either…or both."

"You're unbelievable!" exclaimed Tifa. "How could you stand there and admit freely that you have a love child?!"

"I'm southern," said Cid proudly. "We're born shameless."

"…right…" said Tifa slowly. "Well…well, okay then. Now I know the truth. Does Yuffie know the truth?"

"I…no, she doesn't," said Cid slowly.

"Then why are you afraid she'll recognize you? If she's never seen you, how have you seen her?"

"I visited Wutai when she was 5. For her birthday, I bought her a drinking license."

"You got her that drinking license," said Tifa in surprise. "What a nice birthday gift… Did Yuffie's mother know that you got her the drinking license?"

"Yes, she signed it for me. She agreed to not let Yuffie know about me. She wanted to protect me…and Yuffie."

"I see…" said Tifa. "Well…thanks for telling me. Now I know what's bugging you. But I don't think Yuffie will be too upset to know that you are her father. After all, she looks nothing like you." she opened the door slightly to take a look at Yuffie. "Except the nose."

"You think so?" asked Cid, rubbing his nose. "I don't think our noses look alike…"

"Well, that's just my opinion," said Tifa with a shrug. "Well, let's close up early tonight and get some sleep."

"Okay," said Cid. "We'll finish dinner and catch some Zs."

"Okay," agreed Tifa, coming out of the kitchen.

Cid pulled the pie out of the oven and set it on the stove to cool. "Hmm…our noses look alike…" thought Cid aloud, rubbing his nose again. "At least she got something from me…"

The next morning…at Shinra Company…

Cloud had reluctantly gotten up at 6:00 AM, waiting for Sephiroth to show up. "It's two days after Christmas," muttered Cloud to himself, sitting at his table. He glanced down at all the gifts he received for Christmas. ….Sephy had better explain what that collar means… Cloud thought about it for a few seconds, closing his eyes as he remembered the last time someone told him about a collar.

Flash: "Why are you giving that Chocobo a collar?" Cloud asked curiously as Tifa applied a collar around a Chocobo's neck…

Flash: Tifa smiled at Cloud and answered, "A collar shows ownership. If I put a collar on the Chocobo, then other people know to not shoot it or steal it. See the collar tag?" she pointed to the collar tag. "It says 'Tifa Lockhart' on it. Anybody in Nibelheim will know that this belongs to be, because it has my name on it…

Cloud opened his eyes wide, blushing suddenly. Do-Does Sephy claim to own me?! Why--Why would he do that!? he stood up hurriedly. No, I--I don't belong to no one! No one can lay claim to me…!

Cloud glanced at the collar, and noticed that the collar had a tag on it. He hesitated for a few seconds, and picked it up to read the tag. It read: "Whoever or whatever should be wearing this, it means you now belong to me, Sephiroth."

"Awa….!" wailed Cloud, dropping the collar and backing up. He's claiming to own me…?! He gave me the collar because…he wants me!?

The door opened and Sephiroth poked his head in. "What happened?" he asked. "I heard you go 'awa'."

"I--what…?!" Cloud glanced fearfully between the collar and Sephiroth. "No--Nothing's wrong! I-I'm fine, I… I was…"

Sephiroth noticed the collar on the table and smirked. "Ah…you've discovered why I gave it to you."

"Yes, that I did!" exclaimed Cloud. "What's going through your head, thinking that giving me a collar for Christmas will make me yours?!"

"You sound so shocked," said Sephiroth, closing the door behind him. He approached Cloud slowly, saying, "But you showed no objection when Zack laid claim to you."

"What are you talking about?!" demanded Cloud, backing up as Sephiroth came closer. "He--He never…!"

"What of that black ribbon he gave you? You said he called you his gift to him. A gift is something given to somebody, therefore making that something belonging to someone. Zack claimed to own you the day he gave you that ribbon."

"Wha..? No, no!" shouted Cloud, shaking his head. "Zack would never think like that! He--He's different from you!"

"Anything Zack befriends or loves always ends up as his. You know that choker that Aeris wears?" asked Sephiroth. "Zack gave that to her too. One of Zack's SOLDIER friends? Those gloves are custom made…by Zack. The other SOLDIER friend? He wears his hair in a small ponytail, with a hair thing that Zack gave to him. You and the black ribbon are no different."

"That's--That's not true!" cried Cloud. "Zack isn't…he-he's not..!"

"You should learn not to live with delusions." Sephiroth had gotten Cloud against a wall. "You are like so many other tragic things. Things that were meant not to own, but be owned." Sephiroth took Cloud's hands. "And you are that to me. You are mine."

Cloud stared in shock up at Sephiroth, then cried out and tried to pull away from him. "Let me go! Let me go!!"

Sephiroth just laughed at Cloud's vain attempts to break free. "Don't try to run, Cloud. You can't escape it. Nothing you can do will make me go away."

Cloud yelled desperately, making another attempt to break free. "Let me go, you're hurting me!"

The door opened again and Zack came in. "Cloud, what's-- What's going on!? Sephiroth, what are you doing?!"

"Let's call this training," said Sephiroth with an evil grin.

Zack ran over to Cloud and Sephiroth and pulled Cloud away from Sephiroth. "What do you think your doing to Cloud?!" demanded Zack, hiding Cloud behind him. "This is NOT training! This is cruelty! And torture! How can you live with tormenting Cloud?!"

"Because I bought him long ago!" answered Sephiroth. "He gave himself to me freely! I not only bought his freedom, I bought him!"

"You left me no choice!" cried Cloud from behind Zack. "You wouldn't let me choose!"

"You still agreed," said Sephiroth. "You agreed because you had no choice. None except me."

"He has me!" exclaimed Zack. "He was happier with me! Whenever he comes back from you, he's always in pain, always tired… You're just a sadist out to make sure Cloud suffers as much as possible!"

"And how long did it take you to figure that out?" asked Sephiroth. "His pain is my pleasure!"

"His happiness is mine!" retorted Zack. "I can't let him near you any more!"

"Do you really want to fight me for him?" asked Sephiroth skeptically. "You'd be dead in less then a minute."

"I will not be fought for!" yelled Cloud, running towards the door. "I don't belong to nobody! Just leave me alone!"

"Cloud! Wait!" called Zack.

"No…no! I won't…!" Cloud shook his head, and quickly ran out of the room.

"Cloud!" yelled Zack.

"I'll catch him long before you do," said Sephiroth calmly. "And when I do…oh, how sorry Cloud will be for ever talking to me like that."

Meanwhile, at the 7th Heaven Bar…

Compared to the chaos witnessed at Shinra Company, the 7th Heaven Bar was pretty quiet. The only ones awake were Cid and Tifa.

"Hey, Tifa, look!" exclaimed Cid. "A rainbow!"

"So?" yawned Tifa. She didn't even realize that it was impossible to see rainbows in winter.

"I'm gonna follow it and bring back a big bag of gold!"

"A big bag of gold?" asked Tifa, drinking some coffee.

"Yep! Then we can make this into a hotel! A suite!"

"Then go astound me and bring back a big bag of gold," mumbled Tifa, drinking some more coffee sleepily.

"I sure will!" said Cid excitedly. He put his jacket on and hurried after the end of the rainbow. What incredible luck I have! thought Cid. To find a rainbow AND its pot of gold! Thank you, Lady Luck! After a long half hour of running, Cid reached the edges of the Forgotten City. "Ah! There's the pot of gold…!" Cid crept towards it slowly, and looked inside…only to find the pot empty. "…what the…?"

"Looking for something?" inquired a voice.

Cid jumped and looked down at a fairy who was leaning on the pot, watching Cid carefully. "Uh…ahem, where's the gold?" asked Cid casually.

"Oh, I got tired of people stealing my gold from my pot," answered the fairy. "So I switched to this platinum MasterCard," she said, lifting a platinum MasterCard. "It's pretty useful. No-one's stolen my gold at all."

"Oh…" said Cid slowly in disappointment. "It's just…nothing, never mind."

"I bet you wanted to steal my gold," said the fairy shrewdly. "I don't blame you. Gold is a pretty valuable thing to you mortals, huh? It becomes gil for you, and you need gil for everything and anything."

"…well, if you put it that way, then I suppose the answer is yes…"

The fairy shrugged. "Okay, then. Here," she said, holding out a bag of gold.

Cid gasped. "You--You mean it?"

The fairy smiled. "Use it well mortal.

"Actually, my name is Cid Highwind," answered Cid.

"I see… OH!" shouted the fairy suddenly. "Look, a unicorn!"

"Where?" asked Cid, looking around for a unicorn. There was none. "Hey, I don't see it…" he trailed off upon noticed that the fairy was no longer there. "…huh. That's strange," said Cid, scratching his head and walking back to the bar with a bag of gold. As he approached the bar, he heard shouting voices. "…!" he hurriedly ran to the bar.

Tifa's bar was being robbed by a mobster-looking man, and he was pointing a gun at Tifa. "Now show me the safe!" he yelled.

"Su-sure," stammered Tifa, feeling to tired to fight. She went behind the bar to the safe. "Here it is… Do you want me to open it?"

"No, I want you to dance with it," said the mobster-looking man sarcastically. Tifa (knowing that you should do as a crazy man says or he'll kill you) tried to figure out how to carry the safe to dance with it. The mobster-looking man rolled his eyes and shouted, "Yes, open it!"

Tifa flinched and knelt down to the safe to open it. As she fiddled with the safe's combinations, the mobster waited impatiently.

"Hey, look at me when I talk to you!" he shouted.

"…I can't open the safe and look at you at the same time," said Tifa, trying to be reasonable with this man.

"Okay, okay!" said the mobster, raising his arms. "I'm the piece of shit. I'm a nobody." Tifa shivered and continued to enter the combination. The mobster noticed a watch on the bar counter and asked, "Hey, does this watch have any features on it?"

Tifa glanced up quickly to see what he was talking about. "Yeah, it has a stopwatch," she said. "I haven't figured out how to work it yet, though."

"You just push this button right here," said the mobster, pushing a button on the watch. "See, even this piece of shit knows how to work this stopwatch--"


Tifa stopped, and slowly stood up to see what happened. The mobster fell over dead, and Cid stood at the doorway, a gun in his hands. She stared in shock at Cid, as though asking an explanation. "He was gonna kill you," said Cid worriedly.

Tifa walked around the bar to see the dead mobster. "He…he's dead?"

"You don't hate me now, do you?" asked Cid, lowering the gun.

"No, I don't hate you, it's just…" Tifa closed her eyes and rubbed her head. "Getting up early and the violence suddenly in the morning is a little much…"

"Well…what now?" asked Cid, tossing the gun somewhere.

"Well, we better hope no-one upstairs heard the gunshot," said Tifa, still rubbing her head.

"Too late," muttered Cid, hearing thumping upstairs.

Vincent came downstairs, quickly followed by Yuffie and Barret. "What happened?" asked Vincent, his gun at the ready.

"Did someone attack us?" asked Yuffie, pulling out a four-point boomerang.

"I warn you, I'm armed!" yelled Barret, his mechanical arm becoming a machine gun. Yuffie and Vincent stared at Barret. "What?" asked Barret.

"It--It's nothing," stammered Tifa. "It's just… Cid saved me from this mobster. He was robbing the bar, and Cid thought he was gonna kill me, so he shot him."

"Oh," said Barret, his mechanical arm returning to normal.

"Well, what do we do with the body?" asked Vincent, putting his gun away.

"Get rid of it, I suppose," said Yuffie, pocketing her boomerang. "Let someone else deal with it."

"Good idea," said Cid. He dragged the body outside and into an alleyway. He came back inside and dusted his hands off.

"Why, Cid, you're a hero," said Yuffie. "You saved Tifa today!"

"A hero? Me?" asked Cid. He cleared his throat and drew himself to full height. "Of course I'm a hero! I knew I could save Tifa all along!"

"Aw, Cid! You're so brave!" chorused everyone.

Tifa took a shuddering breath and said, "I'll-I'll be at Aeris's church. I need to calm down…"

"Of course, Tifa. We understand," said Vincent. "Hope you feel better soon."

Tifa nodded and walked shakily to Aeris's church. She knocked on the door and called, "Aeris! Can we talk?"

Footsteps were heard, and Aeris opened the door curiously. "Tifa!" she exclaimed in surprise. "What brings you here so early in the morning?"

"We need to talk… You'll never believe what happened this morning!" Tifa came inside and sat down at the front bench.

Aeris blinked and closed the door. "Of course, Tifa. I'm all ears. Tell me all about it. I was looking forward to seeing you today."

"I… You were?" asked Tifa suddenly.

"Yes," said Aeris. "I have something I need to talk to you about too. But you can go first."

"…all right," said Tifa, and got started on her story of how she was attacked that morning…
WOW! What a violent chapter! Funny, a little, but mostly violent! -slaps forehead- I said these were gonna be FUNNY LIGHTHEARTED 6-part story… I can't ever keep a promise. Oh, well. A quick warning: some Tifa/Aeris coming up. Not a standard shojo-ai pairing, but I want to see how it works out. Just letting you know! See you then! Bye!