Disclaimer: All characters and cities mentioned within belong to SquareEnix and I claim no rights to them nor do I make any money from the writing of this... In other words - please don't sue me I don't have the money...

A/N: So, this will hopefully turn into a small series of drabbles written about Zack and Angeal as viewed by other people. A experiment with perspective, really. As a quick note, I'm not sure if many people will be able to figure out when this takes place so... this happens moments before the beginning of Advent Children, as in minutes before. If anyone has any further questions about this particular chapter feel free to contact me. So, without further ado, on with the first drabble.

Before the Storm

It was like every other day in Edge; gray sky above, gray city beyond, with the ruins of Midgar looming on the horizon. It was as dreary as it ever was for the orphaned and homeless of this mockery of a city, barely a construction site really and worse, almost, than the slums of Midgar used to be.

A light rain drizzled down upon the heads of a small group of children huddling beneath the remnants of an awning as they tried to escape the worst of the storm. Beyond the alley where they hid rain fell faster and harder upon the denizens of Edge, creating small rivers in the streets and drenching every soul who dared to venture out into the skies wrath.

One member of the group, a skinny boy who had been shoved from the innermost circle to stand upon the very edge, wrinkled his nose in a sniff as he wrapped frail arms about his chest to preserve some form of heat. He glanced upward as a large drop of water fell before his eyes, thanking whatever deities there may be for the hat he had found just the other day – it did a great deal to keep him drier than many of the other orphans he knew, though it didn't do much to keep him warm.

He turned his attention back to the falling rain as a pair walked by, before his eyes snapped shut with a sudden sneeze. When the boy looked up again he was met by the smiling face of a man with some of the wildest hair he had ever seen. Vibrant violet-blue eyes, that seemed almost as if they were glowing, locked with the boys before sliding shut as the man's mouth stretched into the widest possible grin.

"Here," he said extending his arm, holding out a large bundle of material towards the boy, "this should help." The child stared at the thing, listening to the chatter of the children behind him, before glancing at the man's companion. He was an older man, possibly in his thirties, with hair just as dark - if less wild - and eyes just as queer; his stern face was kind, though, and he nodded at the boy who took the object from the younger man.

With another impossibly large smile the young man ruffled the boy's hair through his hat and stood to his full height. "Don't worry," he said to the small crowd, "everything will be a lot better soon, you'll see." The boy and his friends simply stared as he walked back to his partner and the two wandered off down the alleyway.

"Sometimes, Zack," they heard the older man say as the pair neared the corner, "I think you have too good of a heart."

"Eh, it won't hurt anyone if I give the kid something to keep him warm." The young man cheerfully elbowed his friend before strutting forward as he laughed. The other man chuckled quietly before playfully shoving the shorter out onto the main street, following shortly after.

The moment the men were out of sight the rest of the children gathered around the boy, murmuring and chattering excitedly. "They looked like SOLDIERs," he heard a boy mutter.

"Did you see how big they were," another girl whispered.

"I heard someone say SOLDIERs haven't existed for years now" was one child's bossy retort.

"Hey," the boy turned as someone tapped him on the shoulder, "what'd they give you anyway?" He shrugged before shaking the material until it unfolded revealing a brand new coat. The children began muttering all over again in awe as the boy slipped the coat on over his worn clothes.

"I'll be right back," he muttered to the others before dashing out into the rain. He raced onto the nearly deserted main street glancing around to spot the two men, but they were nowhere to be found. Confused and dejected he shuffled back to the awning where he was again assaulted by the questioning children.

"Did you find them?" a little brunette girl with a moogle plushie asked. He shook his head, frowning.

"They disappeared," the boy muttered, "they just weren't there."

Puzzled chattering broke out among the orphans until one boy suddenly shouted. "Hey look," he exclaimed, "the rain stopped!"

"Come on," another girl said, looking at the boys, "let's go."