I stayed up all night looking through the sketchbook over and over again. Cloud had an amazing talent that he just hid from the world. Of course, there are talents that everyone feels they must hide at times…

Cloud sketched almost everyone in town, my father, his mother, the teachers, Sunnie, himself, and…me…

I shouldn't have been so surprised. Cloud did sketch everyone in town but this…all of this was amazing.

I flipped back to his other sketches. None of them quite had as much detail as the two unfinished girls.

The lighter of the two girls was also the youngest. A small face, with a happy smile, and short light curls surrounding her tiny head. This must be Sunnie.

I flipped to the older girl with the straight, long, dark hair that flopped over into her eyes. Her eyes were turned away from me and she was gazing at something far off. She had her face set into her palms and her mouth set into a calm smile.

There was no way that this could've been me. It was just too pretty. I, after all, didn't spend enough time with Cloud for him to sketch me, nor was he in my class at school, and…wait, did this mean he did this all from he memory? He sure has one heck of a good memory if he did…


I must've fallen asleep at one point. Father woke me up so I could go to school; he asked me if I was sick because I rarely slept in.

"Nuh-uh…I was studying late last night. Big test today, I'm ready!" I lied. There wasn't even a test this week because of the big tests going on next week…weee…

"Don't let your grades slip, Tifa," he threatened.

"They won't! I just told you I studied all night!"

"I suppose you're right, study up!"

He's so dense sometimes…


"Hey Cwoud," I giggled, "You left this outside last night."

I was cast this 'Death Stare' as I handed back the book. "Y-you okay, Cloud?" I stuttered, backing away…slowly

"Mmmmm."

The 'Death Stare' turned into the 'Blank-Stare-Of-Doom.' Before the drool progressed, I snapped my fingers in front of his face. "Cloudo, yoo-hoo Cloudie!"

"Naaa…huh, what?" he asked, finally snapping out of it.

"Dude, what was that all about, you're like 'Evil Cloud' then you're like 'Drunk Cloud.' C'mon, what's up?"

"Did you look through my sketches?" He asked turning red.

"I respect your privacy, Cloud," WARNING: TIFA IS LYING "I would never look through your sketchbook unless you allowed me to."

"Oh, thanks Tiffs…" He sighed, "I'll show you what Sunnie looks like when I'm done."

"Okay, are you working on anything else in that? Towns, animals, or people?"

"Yeah..." he chuckled, "but not now…I'm only concentrating on finishing up my little cousin now." WARNING: CLOUD IS LYING

"Oh, that's good," I laughed, "but what's up with the 'evil' face?"

His face turned back to stone again, "that's not really important now, is it?"

He turned and walked away towards the school building.

I stomped my foot into the yellow dirt. "You're getting as bad as Squall, with your "emotional constipation" nowadays!" I yelled up at him.

"Not interested…" He yelled back without turning.

"That's getting cliché!" I hissed.


Now, we skip ahead to my teens. Cloud and I never really did get that close. I actually grew out of my crush on him and started crushing on the soldiers that came in and out of here to see the reactor.

I gotta admit, some of those guys in SOLDIER were pretty hot. However, this is only coming from the mouth of a thirteen-year-old girl. I got smarter…eventually.

I knew every inch of Nibelheim and I picked back up with my friends…hey, I am a sociable girl, don't blame me for not holding a grudge.

I show signs of growing up…"blossoming" into a fine young lady…if you know what I mean…I got taller, much, much taller than Cloud now, but still…

I get dates now…but they're still like, "play dates" from when you're four. Father is being such an…ugh…


"You're that much into SOLDIER, huh?" Sunnie asked. For a little kid, she sure could talk. "I like Turks better, but that's just me…"

Ah, she thinks she has all these boyfriends. She wants to marry Cloud when she grows up…Cloud feels awkward about that.

By the way, even though I've changed a bit, Cloud still looks like Cloud. I mean NOTHING has changed. He still seems to avoid me at all costs though…why? The world my never know.

"Sunnie…I gotta go…" I mumbled as the glint of silver caught my eye.

"You're gonna spy on those soldiers coming in, aren't you?"

I glanced back from the large silver sword attached to the man's back and back to her, "N-no, I'm not. I just have to go now…that's all."

"Kay, well, I'll tell Cloud you said 'hi' right?"

"Right," I nodded, turning to catch up along with the soldiers.

I never really spoke to the soldiers…nor did I really like their personalities…I just thought…

Those heroes. Those men fought to keep peace. I had heard it all before, heroes to children, protectors of the peace. They all seemed to be the knight in shining armor to me. One day, I know, a SOLDIER will save me, I just know it.

As I inched closer, the infantryman standing at guard looked at me. I had always thought that those men had somehow become dishonored…not being allowed to show their faces. It seemed kinda sad. He tilted up his chin and I could just barely make out the features. "Hey there," he greeted, with a chuckle. He knocked on his helmet, "this scare you?"

I shook my head, of course. These ordinary soldiers couldn't take their helmets off on the job; it was against the rules or something.

The grunt looked over at the SOLDIER. "Can I?" He begged, "It creeps out the girl." He folded both of his hands as if he were praying, "pleasepleasepleasepleeeeease! Pretty pretty please?" Then he stopped, "plus it's hard to see with this stupid thing on."

"Will you shut up if I let you?" the SOLDIER asked with a grin.

"Yes," he stood with his back straight, "so, can I Angeal?"

"I thought you said you'd shut up."

The grunt snapped back into attention.

"Good," Angeal said as he turned to walk off, "we're just looking at the reactor again anyway."

I glanced back at the infantryman. He glanced back at the SOLDIER. As soon as he seemed out of earshot…

"Of all the idiots on the Planet…I just had to be his apprentice."

"Huh?"

"Meh…" he grumbled, "One day I'll move up. First class!"

"What?" I asked.

"Oh," he laughed, taking off the helmet. "I'm just about to become a second class SOLDIER soon, right now, I have to wear this," he held out the thing that seemed so large for his head. "Here."

He stuck the silver helmet on my head too quickly. The thing was heavy and as soon as it went on it turned everything in my line of vision dull red. Uncomfortable, I took it off and handed it back to him.

"Yeah," he nodded at my expression, "imagine having to wear that five hours a day."

I looked up at him and gasped, the guy was freaking tall for his age. I mean, he could have only been what at the most? Four years older than me, if that? However, what startled me the most was the intense color of the eyes. Honestly, people with jet-black hair like that couldn't have had such bright blue eyes, right? I mean, the eyes were bluer than the sky…that's blue, huh?

"I get that a lot," he grumbled.

"N-no! It's not that you're frightening…!" I insisted.

He shrugged, "I know what you're thinking. And no, I do not, in fact, glow in the dark…that I know of."

"Good to know," I laughed.

"It's the eyes, right?" He stated, looking down at me.

"N-no, not at…yes."

"I knew it!" He chuckled, planting a serious expression on his face, "a true mark of a SOLDIER." He nodded, "'tis true…"

"Ah…" I mumbled at a loss for words, "So this is that 'operation' that they speak of."

"Yeah," he groaned, "not really all that painful…it's a reeeeally pointy needle, then a couple days of rest, then dah-dah-dah you've signed a life contract."

"Yes, I suppose after you do that…" I started.

"…Yup, there's no turning back. You stay looking like this for eternity…" he pointed to his eyes, "...I hope I wanna stay with this job."

"Why?" I questioned, putting both of my arms behind my back. Slowly, I found myself sliding my feet in the dirt, and jumping back up.

"Well, duh," he laughed, knocking the helmet, "once you do the Mako…and then you try to get a job with anyone who doesn't like Shin-ra…"

"Oh…" I mumbled, picturing how that would look going into a business interview looking like a soldier, I suppose you do have made quite a big commitment to SOLDIER. "I see…"

"Actually," he chuckled, tossing his charcoal colored hair out of his eyes, "I'm not supposed to have any Mako yet."

"But…lemmie guess…" I snorted.

"I'm special," we both stated at the same time. He started to laugh while I tried to keep a serious expression on my face.

I failed.

Both idiotic teenagers (that would be me and the grunt) stood there in the middle of Nibelheim laughing over nothing. Yup, that's a normal day for me.

"Hey, uh…" he lifted a finger and gestured behind me, "somebody wants ya…"

I turned around to meet my brown-haired classmate, "what do you want?" I grumbled.

"Uh, hey. Um…how do I put this…?" he mumbled, poking the inside of his palm, the rest of his sentence came out in a blur, "Cloud wants to see you two nights from tonight, you say yes?"

I was totally and utterly taken back, C-Cloud was asking for me? Well, it probably wasn't such a big deal…Cloud isn't into girls yet. Or…he just can't hold onto a girlfriend. Well, what the heck? Right?

"Yeah, sure, whatever..." I moaned, "But why can't Cloud ask me himself?"

"Uh…" The copper haired boy glanced over his shoulder… "Um…"

"D-Don't tell me!" My new soldier friend snickered, "He's—he's…" He burst out into hysterics…actually, I don't see what's so funny. It's just Cloud, after all…

"Cloud! Get your arse out here!" My classmate yelled, glanced around, and broke off into a run.

"Man, he is fast…!" I told my soldier friend, looking up.

Apparently, "Mr. Third Class" was faster than the other guy…

"Hey, Cloud," I laughed, "the others are gone, will ya come out?"

I turned around and there he was. I shoved a blonde spike away from my eye. "Cloud," I laughed as the spike flung back into place, "how come you're always so shy?"

"Easy," he said shrugging off another tan messenger bag, "That's just how I was raised."

"So, you were raised to play mommie for a little kid?"

He groaned, "Don't bring that into this."

"Sure, sure…Miss Cloud…" My hand flew up to my throat, "Oh, excuse me…Mrs. Cwoudie."

We both shook that image out of our heads, "I am never going to allow myself to cross-dress again," he groaned.

"Good."

"So…will you meet me in town?" He asked.

"Of course, Cloud. I'll see you there," I assured him, patting his shoulder.

"Okay…thanks," he sighed.

"What for?" I asked, pulling on the ponytail that had always seemed to be on the back of his head. Honestly, I think he was born with it...

"Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow…I want to talk to you about…Ouch! Will you stop that?!" he shouted.

"Sorry," I murmured.

He grinned, "Its okay, Tifa," he laughed, "just don't do that anymore."

I nodded, but that guaranteed nothing.

"I want to meet you in town to talk to you about something…I can't tell you now…" a pained expression crossed his face, "but I will tell you then, you'd be the first in town to know, okay Tifa? You will come right?"

"Yes, Cloud," I assured, "when have I ever lied to you?"

"Well…there was that one time…"

"That was a rhetorical question!" I snapped.


Yay! I did it! Chapter 3 is up. guys, I am so, so sorry for being so slow with this...I've been very busy and I've been doing this one paragraph at a time...I figured that I had to include the infantryman at some point because he plays quite a big role as a SOLDIER later on. Oh, and we'll talk about Mrs. Cwoudie further on in the story...a very interesting "family role play." (I own none of the main characters nor do I own Nibelheim...but man, do I sure wish I did...Imagine what would happen then, huh?)