Just a few notes…

In this story:

Tifa is fourteen. Therefore the whole Sephiroth killing her father and destroying her village hasn't happened yet.

Women cannot be SOLDIERS hence her being undercover.

She still knows Cloud but they have no romantic inclinations and treat each other only in a brother and sister like way at most.

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Tifa Lockhart couldn't believe she was here. She couldn't believe she was training to be a SOLDIER. And most of all, she couldn't believe that not a single one of the people around her had realized that she was a GIRL. That is, other than her best friend Cloud.

'Why was she there in the first place?' you may ask.

It was simple really. Her parents died in an unfortunate accident, leaving her an orphan with no relatives to speak of. Cloud was her only remaining tie to what could resemble a family, and thus, she joined the SOLDIERs with him. He was her best friend, her rock, the only reason she kept on living this long. That was why she did all she could do to get here.

Tifa resisted the urge to smile at Cloud's exasperated look as she sat down beside him for breakfast which was served at seven o'clock sharp as always. There was no one up yet except her and Cloud.

"You know, we've been together here for about a year now and you still look surprised when you see me every single morning." The dark haired girl remarked, shaking her head in amusement. "I'm not leaving any time soon, Cloud."

That was true. She wasn't leaving just because he wanted her to. She practically had to walk on crushed glass to just get here and there was that fifty percent chance of getting found out hanging above her head every single day.

"It doesn't hurt to hope now, does it?" he dryly replied, shoveling food into his mouth in a tired fashion.



Tifa shrugged, "Suit yourself."

"Here are my two favorite 3rd class SOLDIERS!" a bright voice boomed from behind them.

The best friends sighed, one thought crossing their mind in almost perfect synchronization: "Zack..."

Zack was a 1st class SOLDIER who was really fond of them for some reason. She sincerely wished he'd back off. It wasn't that Zack wasn't nice, he was the opposite, he was super nice, he was the type of guy you'd want for a friend. It was just…

Tifa sighed. She supposed getting caught by Zack would be relatively better than the other three…

"The three top 1st class SOLDIERs…" her mind wandered, not noticing the concerned looks of the two guys sitting beside her.

Angeal Hewley, Zack's mentor, well known for his sense of responsibility and honor…

The 3rd class SOLDIER winced. She would get a decent flaying from him if he ever figured out. He'd berate her for dressing up as a male and infiltrating Shinra's SOLDIER Department, probably kick her out in the process.

But then, that still wasn't as bad as getting found out by those two…

Genesis Rhapsodos and Sephiroth, the most feared SOLDIERs ever.

She would get thrashed by those two, she was sure. Dragged over hot coals… trap her in a freezing block of ice… drown her maybe..?

She tried to repress a shiver and failed.



"Is something wrong, Lockhart?"

Two pairs of really close mako infused blue eyes stared at her.

She almost screamed, in a girly fashion, but thankfully, she stopped herself at the last second.

"Ti— Storm?" he asked, rolling his eyes internally at her hand picked name.

Yes, she was known as Storm Lockhart now. The name 'Storm' was supposed to be her name if she was born a male, or so her mother told her.

Tifa nodded, not really trusting herself to speak.

"Hey, have you heard?" Zack grinned, sitting beside her at the same time throwing his arm around her shoulders, a fact that didn't surprise her or her best friend anymore, unlike the first time he did it.

The look on their faces...

Tifa half-smiled at the amusement the experience brought to her now.

"Heard what?" the blonde teen asked, sapphire eyes narrowing slightly, an obvious sign of curiosity.

"Seph and Genesis are taking protégées." Zack whispered in a low voice, as if it was a big secret.

Cloud's eyes snapped to her face at once, obviously stating that she had to do her best to not get picked.

Tifa rolled her eyes at him, as if she were that stupid. "How are they going to pick?" she asked the older teen, her voice pitching a bit deeper than her usual tone.



Zack shrugged, "No idea. They're keeping it a secret."

The vermillion eyed teen sighed, running a hand through her short locks. Yes, she cut her hair. She couldn't go in here with long hair without looking female, unlike a certain someone…

"…this is a good opportunity for you guys! You'll practically be a shoe-in!" the 1st class SOLDIER cheered, his bright countenance giving off encouraging vibes.

Tifa blinked, missing the first part of his sentence. "What about you and Angeal? Aren't you taking students?"

Zack shook his head, crossing his arms as well. "I'm not ready for that yet. Actually, I don't think I can ever do that. Taking in a specific student and training him? The responsibility is kind of daunting." He laughed, scratching the back of his head sheepishly. "Angeal says he's taking a break from teaching for a while."

The undercover teen nodded slowly, completely forgetting the food in front of her.

"Storm, aren't you gonna eat?" the 1st class SOLDIER asked, eyes glowing in concern.

Shaken out of her thoughts, she nodded slowly, taking her spoon and dipping it into the soup.

It would be fine. She got this far. This thing won't change her life. So what if they took on students? There was a one in a million chance she'd get picked.

She started eating, ignoring the tingling of dread that seemed to grow in her stomach.

XXXXXXXXXX

Sephiroth stared at the files on his desk.



A compilation of the best 3rd class SOLDIERs.

From here, he was to pick his student, his new responsibility.

Freezing green eyes critically assessed the pile. This was pointless, certainly. Why would 1st class SOLDIERs take in personal students?

"We need more 1st class SOLDIERs. We cannot keep handing the four of you all the difficult missions. Therefore, you and Genesis will choose your prospective students that you believe have the potential to become 1st class." Lazard told them pointedly, his tone brooking no arguments.

The general pursed his lips together into a thin line, an irritated expression on his face.

"You haven't chosen yet." The familiar deep baritone of his friend sounded from the door.

Sephiroth glanced at him, "No."

"I see."

"Have you chosen?" he asked the man dressed in scarlet, his tone quiet.

He gave a shake of his head."No, but I think I have someone for you." He smirked, raising a hand which held a small caramel colored folder.

Curiosity pricked at the silver haired general, "Who?"

A file skidded over onto the middle of his mahogany desk. "Him."

Sephiroth's eyes moved downward, a picture the first thing he saw.

It was a young man, barely an adult, stared up at him, smiling happily.

Short raven locks, mako infused vermillion eyes, heart shaped face. He frowned slightly. The boy looked almost feminine.

The name was written on the bottom: Storm Lockhart.

Interest piqued, he opened the folder, oblivious to the almost sly expression on his friend's face.

XXXXXXXXXX

Tifa shivered, her eyes drawn to the angry gray clouds forming in the sky outside her window. She gingerly wrapped her arms around herself, heart pounding in an abnormal rate. A storm was coming.

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OOH! Did you guys enjoy that? Hahaha, well, please review. Oh yeah, if anyone can offer to be my beta-reader that'd be great!