(Cloud)

"That was the weirdest, nastiest, and most vile thing you have ever done to me! Not to mention uncalled for."

Zack, back in his own body, trudged down the street, arms crossed and mad.

"It was the only thing I could think of, Zack! I didn't want you to be stuck inside Cloud's body forever! If surprise worked before, it'd work again, right?" Aerith tried her best to calm him down with a few sweet words and a smile or two. Of course, once Zack is steamed…it takes awhile to bring him back down to being calm.

"So you kneed me?! Yeah, now I'm myself again but I can't have kids."

"I said I was sorry, Zack!"

The silver-haired teenager from earlier stuck beside Aerith. He looked up at Zack. "You're a SOLDIER," he chuckled, "I'm sure you'll survive the battle field…especially without your—,"

"Oh!" I snapped my hand down over his mouth just in time for Zack to get even angrier with Kadaj.

"Why you little…!" He snagged him up by his collar so he could look him in the face, "You and I are going to have a little chat on when not to get me pissed."

Kadaj's index finger shot out and jabbed him in the eye.

"You son of a…"

Zack dropped him to nurse his eye for a second. Kadaj scrambled away, trying to get as far away from Zack as possible.

Zack shot down the street trying to keep up with the teen.

I looked over to Aerith, who was still standing there half-dressed. "And you don't feel a bit awkward standing in the middle of Midgar in your underpants?"

She giggled, "not at all. I've experienced worse…"

I flinched, because I know that is actually true. I sure enough felt awkward standing next to her like this. In a strange way though, I kind of…NO! I cannot, cannot let any more of Zack's overrated emotions control me. I put my face in my hand, "please Aerith…go into an alley or something. I do not want you to embarrass yourself anymore. I'll walk with you if you want."

She shook her head with a smile. "I want to know if Zack catches Kadaj."

I laughed, "Yeah…actually, I do too."

So we followed the two "children" through Midgar waiting for Zack finally to catch up to Kadaj.

…And Aerith stayed dress-less.

He tackled him down around the playground. "C'mere you little…!" Kadaj shoved his hand up his nose.

"Can't you hear that?" He asked quickly.

Zack still had managed to keep Kadaj in a chokehold. "Hear what?"

He shoved him to the side. "You imbecile, can you not hear his voice?"

Everyone fell silent until we could hear a couple's conversation going on above us on the slide.

The woman had a strong, clear voice, I knew who she was instantly, "So…what rank were you?"

He cleared his throat, "I was in first. A general."

She giggled, "Oh yes, I remember you now! You came to my hometown to investigate the reactor! Thanks for that. The town would've gone up in flames if it weren't for you."

I watched Zack's grip loosen on Kadaj. He was hanging onto every single word of this man's story. This could not be true…both of us, both of us saw Nibelheim go up in flames. Zack and I, we were BOTH THERE!

The girl sighed, "I wonder what happened to him…"

"Who?"

"The other first class," she replied. Zack head snapped up to listen. "You know, Zack?"

"He was taken by Shinra after he was injured in the reactor five years ago. Nobody's sure what happened to the poor guy…"

Good, good, so that part of the story was still accurate…

"…A-and the other first?"

The other first-class? I didn't know there was one other than Sephiroth.

"He left with Zack. I haven't seen him since he got that burn…" He replied.

The…burn? I defiantly don't remember that…I don't remember having three first-class SOLDIERs…I don't remember Nibelheim surviving the fire…"

"I-if you DO see him around. If you see Cloud around…" she mumbled. "Tell me first, okay?" She stated quickly.

What did she just say? Did she just imply that I was the first-class?

Zack's personality broke. Right then and there. He dropped Kadaj and his back shot straight up. "Hell no, just hell no. This is too…too…"

"Zack?"

Everything went silent. Nothing in the park made a sound. Even the surrounding city just turned quiet.

The woman looked down; her black hair fell down past her face. She grinned, "Speak of the devil, huh?"

"T-Ti-Tifa…?!" He sputtered. Obviously, he wasn't expecting to see her in a long time.

The other man leapt down from the slide and gave us both an awkward stare.

"Zack Fair? With Cloud Strife…? And a lovely woman too, I see…" He smiled.

I knew this man. I hated this man with every ounce of my being already…and yet, here he was standing in my midst unarmed…

The man I trusted, the man I admired, the man I wanted to become…the man that sent me back…

"Sephiroth," both Zack and I stated. We both knew the task that needed to be done to win…and yet, I can tell—I can feel—that neither of us will fight this man.

This Sephiroth was far too…too sane…to be the man I had to kill. I couldn't kill an innocent man…

Except he isn't an innocent man. He is Sephiroth…and what scares me most is…

I remember what this scene was all about…this was supposed to be Aerith's and my first date together. Zack came up a lot in conversation then. He did again this time too…but that's not what's bothering me. What is bothering me is, if Tifa and Sephiroth were having that conversation in this very spot...

"Gross…!" Zack blurted. I suppose he was thinking the same thing.

Sephiroth was on…I shuddered…a date. A date with Tifa.

I listened to Zack begin to snicker next to me—I forgot, he was there before too…in spirit anyway.

"BWAHAHAHA…!"

Zack broke. I think he was done with trying to look cool. He was bent over in hysterics.

"T-T-Tifa! You, a-and him?" He snorted, "I never saw that coming!"

Both Tifa and Sephiroth stared at him in his emotional swing as Aerith began to giggle. "It's true!" She laughed, "You two just have to be the strangest couple I have ever seen…"

The two shared a look at each other for a second before nodding in agreement. Then everyone was laughing while I was standing there dumbfounded with the even more so confused Kadaj and we both attempted to make heads or tales with this.

"So…" he muttered, "I'm confused. This isn't…Sephiroth doesn't…"

I understood what Kadaj meant. The Sephiroth here was not the man I was looking for. This Sephiroth was laughing and smiling. This wasn't the man that sent me here—could this possibly be the Sephiroth that Zack once knew?

That evening, Tifa took us to Seventh Heaven—the same old bar in sector seven that it ever was. Surprisingly, nothing inside had changed. Sadly, everything went downhill right there.


"So…you are what they made in the labs last?"

"No! Yes! Wait….NO!"

Sephiroth started throwing question after question at poor Kadaj—I almost felt sorry for him… almost.

As that was happening, I looked over at Tifa of who was having what seemed to be a very expressive conversation with Zack. They were just talking so I ignored them. Aerith was hooked on their conversation, though, and was watching them with a sudden fascination.

She sat in the window, swinging her legs. Before, Sephiroth gladly gave his coat up for her and she gladly accepted, wrapping it around her more like a blanket than a coat. She giggled at the two people in her line of sight and turned away.

I followed her attention.

I think I understand what Zack meant when Aerith talked about me after seeing him in the Lifestream.

When I was a kid, I tried very hard to impress the girl that lived next door. I didn't have anything special about me…and she had so much going for her. She was the fastest and strongest girl in town…not to mention that she had looks. I didn't have much, I was not strong, or fast, or brave…and honestly, I looked fairly normal. I had nothing special at all. Therefore, I watched that girl live her life with all the boys in town wrapped around her finger. I kept telling myself that I would join SOLDIER—even if I never made it to first class, I would have something. Being a SOLDIER meant you were something. Being that "something" would have made her notice me. She always wanted a "hero" and I knew it.

I intended to be that man one day.

So, I left home and one day, I did meet that girl again. I had already made it into SOLDIER and I saved that one girl many times. I already had found a girlfriend (and she had asked me out.) and I thought that…for one time…I had finally, finally, became the man I wanted to become. Except, I had forgotten. I forgot who I was before. I did not care about that one girl anymore—she was just a friend, an acquaintance. I already developed feelings for someone else… (Not to mention I suddenly had a severe draw to most women) However, I did remember later…I remembered everything.

In addition, I admit it. I admit that she was one of the reasons…she was the very top reason…

The girl I tried so hard to impress all my life…was standing right across the room, planting a kiss on Zack Fair.


Chapter 8 is up! Sorry for the wait...I've taken a second job. (...yay.) I promise to update this because for the last week I have been so tied up in the planning for the storyline I'm now extremely excited to write it. So...wow. Tifa had the hots for Zack. (That explains so much) So everything's flipped. Maybe Sephiroth is trying to make Cloud expand his horizons instead of fighting. (Uh-oh. Cloud won't win, then) I hope to get the next chapter up soon. Until then...I own none of the characters or FF7 because if I DID Fenrir could have babies. I would make that motorcycle bear children, I tell you!