Disclaimer: The FF characters belong to Square Enix.)


Cloud knocked timidly on the door of the next room. The dark-haired man with the scar on his face had been cold and stand-offish. Perhaps the next counsellor would be more helpful.

"Come in," said a male voice.

Cloud entered. He did a double take when he saw that the young man who was standing up to greet him had a tail. A brown monkey tail. The boy's grinning face looked like a monkey too.

"Hello, I'm... Cloud."

"Cloud!" Monkey-boy hugged him as though they were the best of friends. Cloud stood limply, momentarily stunned. "Good to see you!"

"Have we met?" asked Cloud as the man let go of him, wondering if his fractured memories had failed him again.

Monkey-boy winked. "No, I just want to be friendly, that's all. I'm Zidane. Wanna sit down?"

"Sure," said Cloud, a little bemused. This room was exactly the same as the other, yet somehow the atmosphere seemed warmer and more inviting. He told himself to ignore the monkey tail, yet he couldn't help his eyes lingering on the tail swinging while Zidane lounged back in his chair.

"So, what's the problem?" Zidane asked.

Cloud told him about Aerith and Tifa. Zidane listened without comment, occasionally pausing to scratch his behind.

"...so I don't know which one is supposed to be my one true love," Cloud finished.

"That's rough," said Zidane sympathetically. "I wouldn't want to lose any of my friends. They're all precious to me."

Cloud nodded. "I feel like it was my fault too."

"So how long have you been mourning this dead chick?"

"About two years."

Zidane gasped. "You've been depressed for two years? Geez, I got depressed once but I got over it in about five minutes, why can't you?"

Cloud gave him a tortured look.

"What about this Tifa chick? Is she hot?"

He nodded bashfully.

"Come on." Zidane leaned forward. "You can tell me."

"Her hair is very long and beautiful... and, uh, she has kind eyes... and..." Cloud's face was slowly getting redder and redder.

"Go on," Zidane urged him.

"... and, well, she is quite, um, she has..." Cloud couldn't finish the sentence.

"...really big feet?" said Zidane jokingly. He grinned and winked at Cloud. "She sounds great, Cloud. She's cute, and she's alive. What's there to think about? Forget about the dead chick."

Cloud nodded. His blue eyes looked pensive. "Yes, I think I need to move on."

"Exactly! Lighten up! You only live once. You've got your whole life ahead of you and you've got a beautiful girl to spend it with." Zidane's eyes sparkled. "And then..."

"I can meet her again," murmured Cloud.

"Yeah, but she'd want you to be happy, right?"

"And I want Tifa to be happy too." Cloud frowned. "Would she be happy... with me?"

Zidane rolled his eyes. "You really are dense, Cloud. Tifa's living with you, isn't she? And you're bringing up children together? Isn't it obvious? You need to know what you want. And you need to go for it."

"I should spend more time with her," Cloud agreed.

Zidane suddenly noticed the clock behind Cloud. His tail waved. "Whoa, look at the time! Gotta go, Cloud! I've gotta go get my Dagger! See ya!"

And he bounced out of his chair and left the room like a leaping monkey, leaving Cloud staring after him, utterly bemused.


(A/N: Yup, everyone's favourite monkey boy just put the LTD to rest in his own unique style. I don't know why some people don't like Zidane. He's great, and certainly more understanding than Squall. Cloud, being Cloud, is still as confused as ever, but that's why we love the guy, right?)