Title: From, Zack Redux

Author: Sorceress Fantasia

Pairings: Zack/Cloud, Genesis/Sephiroth?, Rufus/Reno?

Warnings: AU, romance, sap, fluff, humour

Word count: 4948

Rating: PG-13

Summary: It's almost summer vacation, and all Zack wants to do is bring Cloud to the sunny shores of Costa del Sol for a sunny vacation together. But with friends like Kunsel, Yuffie and Aeris, Zack finds out that even something as simple as that can become complicated.

Time stamp: Last week of university, before summer break

Editor's Notes
Aeris Gainsborough, The Midgar Chronicles | Published: 15 April 2009

It's cliché, but nothing is more appropriate at this moment to say that time really flies when you're having fun! After a year of revealing exposés and sensational photos, both of which were made possible by our dedicated team of student journalists, the dreaded finals are here again. Here's wishing all our readers good luck for the upcoming examinations!

But before we let the evil papers overwhelm us, don't forget to read our latest issue containing nothing but exciting stories.

First off, with the summer vacations drawing near, Yuffie Kisaragi visits the famous beaches of nearby Costa del Sol, a popular dating venue for Midgar U guys who want to heat things up with their girlfriends. Legend goes that a kiss shared there is a bond that will never break, and this has already been proven by our many, many Midgar U seniors!

Next up, the final verdict has been handed down to the serial undergarment thief who was terrorizing our dorm residents late last year, and Cissnei Halliwell reports on the court case.

Never let it be said that students of Midgar U cannot take a joke as Reno Anton and Rude Martin tell you why in their two-page spread of incredible and elaborated April Fools jokes played by our student population this year.

Our week-long music fiesta has just wrapped up earlier this month, and special reporter Cait Sith takes you backstage to witness the hard work and effort poured into the event by our university's musical talents. He also scored an exclusive interview with student Genesis Rhapsodos who will be releasing his debut album with a major recording label coming June! Not only does he talk about his music, he also hints about that special someone in his life whom he says has inspired him to strive for greater things.

All good things must come to end, but fortunately, The Midgar Chronicles will only be taking a break. We promise to be back next semester with even more breaking stories and exclusive scoops! Bye for now!

Subject: Freedom!

From: Kunsel

Exams just finished yesterday, school's out, and our grades won't be released until almost two months later. So why in the world are you sweating like an ice cube stuck in a desert?

Don't misunderstand and think that I'm stalking you. It's a little difficult to not notice you sweating bullets when the spot where you were squatting at earlier has a puddle of water now. And it smells. I don't think the cleaning lady is going to like you a lot when she starts work later.

Subject: RE: Freedom!

From: Zack

I could have been jogging. And why would you know where I squatted? Stalker!

Subject: RE: RE: Freedom!

From: Kunsel

Unless you jog in t-shirts and baggy jeans, I don't think so. And I live in the dorm room across the corridor from yours, you dolt. You were already squatting at that dark corner of our dorm and drawing circles on the floor when I was taking out the trash.

Subject: RE: RE: RE: Freedom!

From: Zack

I hadn't realized you were still here. I thought you were going to stalk Miss Tifa-long-legs-Lockhart to Wutai where she's having a photo shoot? What magazine is she posing for, anyway? Playboy? Penthouse?

Subject: Hasn't your mum ever told you that it's rude to ignore someone, even if it's just a subject line?

From: Kunsel

It's not Playboy or Penthouse, you pervert! It's a decent fashion magazine doing a feature on university beauty queens! That's why they're interviewing Tifa! And I'm not stalking her! I'm just concerned for her personal safety since there are a lot of perverts out there who can't keep their dirty paws off her, so I'm going to visit and help her.

And don't change the topic. What's causing you to break into cold sweat?

Subject: My mum doesn't know how to turn on our computer at home, much less know how to email

From: Zack

When you know her personally, it's a visit. But when you don't know her personally and insist on following, it's stalking. And when you don't know her personally and insist on following while giving your actions a heroic spin, it's stalking with a delusional twist. Denial ain't just a river in Egypt, you know?

And I didn't break into cold sweat. I was just… feeling warm.

Subject: And that's why your mum emailed me mid-semester to ask for your results because you wouldn't tell her

From: Kunsel

I'm not stalking her! If anyone is a stalker, it's you because you are so stalking Cloud. You're completely obsessed over him. Ha, he must be the reason you were in cold sweat. He's the only one capable of breaking you like that.

…Well, apart from Genesis and Sephiroth on rampage, that is.

Okay, fess up. What did you do to Cloud this time?

Subject: WHAT!? So you're the reason mum wouldn't bake my favourite cheesecake when I went home during sem break!

From: Zack

You are so hoping that with all this stalking, Tifa will just panic and give in, aren't you? Just don't forget that she's got a black belt in Taekwondo and the last guy who stalked her nearly died because of assisted suicide. Well, Tifa claimed it was self-defense, but she did break that guy's ribs. Definitely assisted suicide.

I didn't do anything, alright? Why do you automatically assume that I did something to Cloud? You're so biased nowadays sometimes I wonder if I'm your best friend or if Cloud is. When did all my friends started to take Cloud's side instead of mine? Luckily, Cloud is always on my side. /insert goofy smiley/

…Anyone would freak out if Genesis and Sephiroth were out for their blood.

Subject: Really? She airmailed one to me during our vacation

From: Kunsel

For your information, Tifa happens to know that I exist and who I am because Cloud has introduced us. She knows I'm not a stalker but a concerned friend. Besides, it's not as if I've done anything offensive or threatening to her.

Why are all of us taking Cloud's side? Is that a rhetorical question? It's like asking me why I choose to watch that classic movie Advent Children Complete in Blu-Ray as opposed to watching it on DVD. There's a huge quality difference, you know? And yes, I do know that Advent Children Complete is not available in DVD format, thank you very much, but that's not the point.

And don't think you can change the topic. What did you do to Cloud to make yourself break out in cold sweat?

…That's true.

Subject: I hope you get food poisoning

From: Zack

Have you even gotten close enough to do anything offensive or threatening to Tifa? Bet you haven't been within 10 meters of her ever since you two were introduced. As your buddy, I need to tell you: give up on that woman. She's gorgeous as hell, I admit, but she's taken. Doesn't the rumour say that she's attached to Rufus Shinra? They were spotted together at that new restaurant, weren't they?

I didn't do anything to Cloud!

Subject: Did I mention your mum also baked me her meanest chocolate cake too?

From: Kunsel

And so was Tifa spotted together with a lot of other patrons of the restaurant, not to mention the servers and chefs. Just because she happened to be in the same place as Rufus Shinra doesn't mean they're together, alright? Gods, when did you become one of those brainless people who eat up everything on the rumour mill without much thought?

Besides, didn't you know that in the sea of love, Rufus Shinra prefers buoys?

Then I guess what you didn't do to Cloud is what's making you break out in cold sweat. Fess up. What do you want to do but can't get the courage out of your butt to do?

Subject: …I hate you

From: Zack

Really? So since when did Reno and Rufus start dating?

It's nothing. I just thought it'd be nice if Cloud and I could, you know, go down to Costa del Sol, since summer vacation's next week. I haven't had the chance to ask him yet though.

Subject: Stay away from the tsundere stuff, okay?

From: Kunsel

…What? Reno and Rufus? What gave you the idea!? Are they even together? I only implied that Rufus bats for the other team but I didn't name any names! How did you link those two up!?

I guess you're taking your chances on the Midgar U legend that couples who kiss at the particular beach there will stay together for the long-term?

Subject: Tsundere? What's that mean?

From: Zack

Oh, just heard some things here and there. I just assumed Rufus was two-timing Reno when I heard that rumour about him and Tifa, but come to think of it, not quite possible. Heard that Reno's got him on quite the tight leash. I just hope that the leash thing is not literal. Then again, I'll probably never find out and it's not really my business what those two do in the bedroom anyway.

Why not? It doesn't hurt to try, and I get to kiss Cloud in the attempt anyway. Now the problem is how to get him to go there with me.

Subject: If you don't know, keep it that way

From: Kunsel

What? There's a rumour in Midgar U that I haven't heard of? Where did you get wind of Reno and Rufus' relationship?

You could just ask. There are things more destructive that Cloud's agreed to (read: dating you), so there's no reason why he would refuse something so simple.

Subject: Huh?

From: Zack

Just people talking here and there, you know? I wouldn't want to name names and ruin my reputation. People tend not to tell you anything when they know you can't keep your mouth shut about their identities.

Hey, that was uncalled for. I'm hurt! But anyway, it's hard to tell. Just because he's my boyfriend now doesn't mean he'd be willing to marry me in the future, so there's no guarantee he'd agree to go holidaying with me at Costa del Sol. I need to come up with a foolproof plan.

Subject: Really now

From: Kunsel

Tell me! I know every gossip and rumour on Midgar U! Give me the source! I want to know!

Why do you need a plan for this? I mean, what could you come up with? Flowers, diamond rings, and a candle-light dinner for the romantic atmosphere? I think that'd scare Cloud away faster than you can blink. Just ask him outright so he can say yes. In the off-chance that he really does refuses, it'd be a quick rejection. I've heard it's less painful.

And stop wasting your brain cells on figuring out what tsundere means. Focus your energy on catching your boyfriend.

Subject: Hi!

From: Aeris

I've told mum to prepare the bouquet, and you can collect it from her flower store anytime. Just give her a call and she'll wrap the flowers up for you before you get there.

But I was just wondering: why do you want to get a bouquet? Is it for Cloud? You do know he's allergic to flowers, right?

Subject: Are you sure about this?

From: Yuffie

Well, I could get you one of those couple rings at a discounted rate, but I hope you know that Cloud has uber sensitive skin and therefore cannot wear most jewelry?

I assume the ring is meant for him. If it's not, let me remind you again what happened to the last two-timer I met. I'm pretty sure the grass on his grave is currently taller than an adult California Red Wood.

Zack Fair will succeed despite his recent setbacks! This world will just have to do without a few flowers and rings.
Fri at 9:41pm · Comment · Like

Luxiere likes this.

Yuffie Kisaragi at 9.50pm April 26
I guess you didn't know.

Cissnei Halliwell at 11.32pm April 26
What happened?

Reno Anton at 12.38am April 27
I didn't realize you took Gem Studies 101 this semester! Guess I should have attended classes… Wasn't the paper a killer? I mean, how were we supposed to identify which gem was on that flower ring, right?

- Posted on Zack's Facebook

Subject: Lunch

From: Zack

Hey babe, is your journalism paper over yet? How was it? It was your final paper for this semester, right? I just finished mine yesterday, so shall we have lunch together?

Subject: Sorry

From: Cloud

Sorry Zack, but I promised to treat Sephiroth to lunch today since he helped me with my final journalism report. Maybe we can have dinner together later?

Subject: It's alright

From: Zack

Dinner it is then, babe. I'll pick you up later?

Subject: Really sorry

From: Cloud

Okay. I'll see you at our usual café later.

Specially hand-sewn dolls for sale! Customization possible – as long as you provide us with a photo!

Currently in stock:

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Get two big dolls at only $55 or two small dolls at $35! And if you so wish, you can get a wedding certificate for your dolls from us at no extra charge!

Psst! We're currently taking orders for two versions of Doll Z: one with puppy ears and one without. Place your orders today to avoid disappointment!

Also selling specially-made pin cushions that come in the faces of a few choice personalities that we all love to hate! Choose from the mad scientist, the blonde bimbo, the black beard, the tea lover and the plump dictator! Pins sold separately.

- Flyer given out at the university bazaar to promote the stall manned by the university's handicraft club

Subject: Good idea?

From: Aeris

Are you the one who just bought a doll S at the bazaar? I think I saw you around, but the place was too crowded for me to get over to your side. Anyway, did you order a Doll Z? I think Cloud might appreciate one. /insert smiley/

Zack's personal commandments

1. Thou shalt enjoy life at Midgar University.

2. Thou shalt make friends at Midgar University.

3. Thou shalt pass all your classes but not at the expense of having no social life.

4. Thou shalt not eat instant noodles for every meal. – Mom insisted

5. Thou shalt exercise regularly to keep fit and stay healthy.

6. Thou shalt finish all your assignments. – Prof Hollander insisted

7. Thou shalt get to know Cloud. – underlined and highlighted

8. Thou shalt never get drunk out of your mind again and make out with random women in the club, especially not when Cloud is also there to see.

9. Thou shalt help Cloud with his assignments so he will not have to seek Sephiroth's help ever again.

- pinned to the corkboard mounted on the wall in front of Zack's desk in his dorm room and very recently updated with a prickly silver-haired voodoo doll beside it

Subject: This is it!

From: Zack

Time for dinner with Cloud, and time to ask him on the vacation! Any final things I should be noting, oh great gossip collector?

Subject: Maybe in more ways than one

From: Kunsel

I'll book us a table at the Honeybee Inn. I've heard that the club has Losers Night on Wednesdays and they provide free-flow of booze for those who have just been rejected.

Subject: You wish

From: Zack

I bet the owners of that club already know you on a first name basis, but I'll pass. I'm not taking no for an answer from Cloud!

29 April 2009 7.53pm
Subject: Tweets for the day

#01: I bet Zack never expected me to follow him to the cafeteria. Or maybe he just didn't notice me because his head is all Cloud, Cloud, Cloud now.

#02: I can't believe Zack is acting like a lovesick teenage school boy on his first date right now.

#03: Sometimes I wonder if I should get a new best friend. Preferably one who doesn't drool at the sight of his boyfriend.

#04: I think I got myself a pretty good seat to watch everything unfold. Perfect view to see both of them!

#05: Wow, is Zack – who has been speculated to have the thickest skin after armadillos – blushing?

#06: Damn it! Of all of places in the cafeteria, why did that blasted bulky bastard choose to sit where he's completely blocking my view!?

#07: Move it, you bastard! I don't know who you are, but if you don't move within the next 10 seconds, I'm going to find out your name and curse you!

#08: …When I asked you to move, I didn't ask you to stand up and give Tifa flowers the moment she passes by. Bastard.

#09: Tifa! Nooooooo! Don't let that bastard take your hand! Noooo!

#10: …Is this why I have a standing invitation to the Honeybee Inn tonight?

- updated onto Kunsel's livejournal via his cell phone

Subject: You're hereby formally invited to join in the festival

From: Yuffie

Kunsel! If you think sitting 10 tables away and just looking at the happy couple constitutes spying, you're made of epic fail! I've already bugged the table Cloud and Zack are sitting at and I have binoculars, so if you want to really hear all the juicy stuff, get your butt over to my side! I'm at the table closest to the Italian cuisine stall! Quick!

Subject: Seriously

From: Yuffie

Kunsel, I know this is probably the first time a girl has invited you for anything, but you really don't have to be so emotional about it and start bawling in the middle of the cafeteria, you know?

"So how's the food? You like it?"

"Yeah, it's fine. Are you alright, Zack? You look kind of… tense."

"M-Me? Tense? What gave you that idea?"


"Okay, so maybe I'm a little tense. I think finals really got to me, and you know how those annoying critters work. Once they sink their teeth into you, nothing short of apocalypse will make them let go."

"Zack, it's just the finals. And we both know you're going to do well enough."

"We've got different standards, us and my mother. Have I told you that she actually emailed Kunsel and asked for my mid-semester test results because I wouldn't tell her? And Kunsel, that bastard, he actually told her!"

"He didn't!"

"He did. That bastard."

"Maybe that's why your mother didn't make your favourite cheesecake cake when you got home?"

"I think so. And Kunsel even had the gall to tell me that my mother airmailed a chocolate cake."

"Ha ha ha…"

"You need to have a slice of my mother's cakes to know what he made me miss out. Hey babe… maybe you should visit my family one day. I'm sure my mother would make you a really mean cheesecake. And she'd totally love you, and so will my dad, and-"


"-I'm sure you'll love them too because…"

"Zack. Stop it. You don't have to hard-sell your parents to me, you know? With a son like you, I'm sure they're really nice people. And if you keep hard-selling them, you're going to make me think of what you tell your parents about me."

"The truth, and nothing but the truth. My mother aww-ed and ooh-ed when I told her how cute you are, with your wild blond hair and light blue eyes."


"But it's true, you know."


"Ha ha… you should really stop looking at me like that, babe. It-it's embarrassing! Ah ha ha…"

"Maybe I can go visit you and your family during summer vacation? I'll be going back to my Nibelhelm in a few more days, but I can make a detour and visit Gongaga first before going back to Nibelhelm. It's on the way anyway."

"Re-really? You'd do that?"

"Why not? You didn't think I would?"

"No-no! I just… Hey babe, what do you think about me visiting you and your mum in Nibelhelm?"


"I mean, if you're gonna meet my parents, I thought it'd be, you know, good if I met yours too. Gongaga and Nibelhelm aren't too far away, so…"

"…It'd be nice. I think my mum would like to meet you too."


"Yes, really. Now if that's what's been making you so tense, you can relax and have a nice dinner."

"Ah ha ha…"

TreasurePrincess: They're so sweet I could just barf.
About 1 second ago – Reply – View Tweet

FlowerGirl: (a)TreasurePrincess Who are you talking about?
About 1 second ago – Reply – View Tweet

TreasurePrincess: (a)FlowerGirl The two who prove that animals from different species can fall in love.
About 3 seconds ago – Reply – View Tweet

FlowerGirl: (a)TreasurePrincess Oooh! So what are they doing now to make you post that comment?
About 2 seconds ago – Reply – View Tweet

TreasurePrincess: (a)FlowerGirl Puppy just convinced chocobo to visit his parents, and now he's blushing and scratching his head.
About 1 second ago – Reply – View Tweet

FlowerGirl: (a)TreasurePrincess Oh, that's so sweet! But you're having dinner with them?
About 1 second ago – Reply – View Tweet

TreasurePrincess: (a)FlowerGirl Of course not. Zack would never let anyone play gooseberry.
About 3 seconds ago – Reply – View Tweet

FlowerGirl: (a)TreasurePrincess Are you using that device you tricked Cid into making for you yesterday to eavesdrop?
About 1 second ago – Reply – View Tweet

TreasurePrincess: (a)FlowerGirl Remind me to get him some nice tea leaves from Wutai when we come back from summer vacation. Though asking Shera out on a date with him in his stead was good enough.
About 1 second ago – Reply – View Tweet

FlowerGirl: (a)TreasurePrincess Does Cid even know about that?
About 5 seconds ago – Reply – View Tweet

TreasurePrincess: (a)FlowerGirl He will soon. Tomorrow, in fact.
About 1 minute ago – Reply – View Tweet

FlowerGirl: (a)TreasurePrincess Hee hee. Anyway, I hope you're recording Zack and Cloud's conversation because I want a copy of it.
About 5 seconds ago – Reply – View Tweet

TreasurePrincess: (a)FlowerGirl Recording already in process!
About 2 minutes ago – Reply – View Tweet

"Since we're going to so many places, I think maybe we should leave the day after tomorrow."


"In fact, Barret just told me that he's driving back to North Corel the day after tomorrow and he's alright with giving me a lift. I'm sure he can drop us off at Gongaga on the way."


"And then we can stay at Gongaga for a few days before making our way to Nibelhelm. What do you think?"

"I… ah… Are you sure Barret's car can take both of us and our luggage?"

"It should be fine. He drives a truck."


"I'll go talk to him after dinner then."

KunseltheGreat: I have an idiot for a friend. Seriously.

About 1 second ago – Reply – View Tweet

"Erm babe? I was thinking that maybe…"

/sound of a cellular phone ringing/

"Excuse me for a minute."


"Kunsel here. Shh! Shut up or Cloud will know what's going on! Just keep your mouth shut and listen."

"Ah… o…kay?"

"First off, I want to tell you that you're a jerk. You badmouthed me in front of Cloud! Everything I did was justified, alright? Your parents have the right to know your results since they're paying your tuition fees, so I just told them. Fine, I'm sorry you didn't get to eat your mum's cheesecake, but hey, you're just missing one of the many other ones she'll bake for you eventually. Besides, blame your results."

"…Ah huh?"

"And… Woah! Yuffie! Let go of my cell phone! Yuff-!"

"Hello? Zack? Yuffie here!"

"Wait, why are the two of you together!?"

"Because we just are. Suck it up. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you good luck, because you obviously need it. Who knew the self-proclaimed incredible Zack Fair would be so bad at romance? And just curious: who actually wears the pants in your relationship with Cloud? On the surface, it seems like you do, but on second thoughts, Cloud's the one who controls the direction of your conversations."


"Never mind. Just pray for good luck. And oh, Aeris sends her love."

"-ffie, you do not snatch someone's phone away when they're on the line! Anyway, Zack? Kunsel again."

"…Ah huh."

"You must be wondering why I called. There's actually a really simple reason behind this call. I just wanted to ask you one question: are you an idiot?"


"I said: are you an idiot? After that pool of sweat you left in our dorm corridor and getting the cleaning ladies pissed off at you, you're not actually going to ask Cloud to Costa del Sol after all? Granted, after that whole visiting each others' parents things-"

"How did you!?"

"-which more or less validates your relationship, there's actually no need to visit Costa del Sol, but since you've already thought so much about it, why aren't you putting it into action? Who was the dumb ass who emailed me earlier to boast that he wouldn't take a 'no' for an answer? My point is: just ask Cloud already! If he's already agreed to date you and even meet your parents, then chances are, he'd love to go to Costa del Sol with you, alright!? And no, don't beat about the bush. Just get straight to the point and ask outright."


"Well? Aren't you going to say anything?"

"Actually, I was about to open my mouth and pop the question when you called."



"Well, good for you. Go on and ask then. It's never a good idea to like someone and be too subtle about it, you know? Sometimes people just don't get the hints you've dropped, even though I personally think that some of the hints were really obvious and were dropped with the force of a sledgehammer from a skyscraper, but you know how things are. Some people are just too dense. They just don't get it, you know, no matter how unsubtle the hints are. And then the higher ups will rub salt into your wounds by letting the person you like walk by with someone else. This world sucks."

"Are you talking about yourself?"

"Me? Why would I talk about myself? I called you to talk about you and Cloud. I just rambled a little. That's all."

"What's with your voice?"

"What's wrong with it?"

"Shi- Oh god… ARE YOU CRYING!?"


"Then why does your voice sound so hoarse and husky and… you're sniffing!"

"I'm just falling sick."

"But you were fine just now!"

"It's a sudden bout of cold."

"It can't be /this/ sudden!"

"…Just go back to Cloud, okay?"


KunseltheGreat: Now I /want/ an idiot for a friend. Honest.

About 6 seconds ago – Reply – View Tweet

"Are you alright, Zack? Who was it on the phone?"

"Erm… it's alright. Kunsel just fell a little ill, and he called to complain about how terrible he's feeling."

"But he's crying? Is he okay?"

"Err, yeah. You see, because he's stuck in his room, he's watching this really sad chick flick and he's tearing up at some parts."

"You sure?"


"Okay… We should probably visit him after dinner."

"Oh no no no… Kunsel will be fine. Yuffie's keeping him company."

"…I see. Maybe that's why he's crying…"

"What did you say, babe?"

"Nothing. Nothing important."

"Anyway, I was just thinking about our vacation plans. I know you said that we can catch a ride with Barret and he'll drop us off at Gongaga and so we should leave soon, but there's this other place… which you know, is really nice and beautiful and… and… really nice and beautiful. And I was thinking… Oh screw it."


/sound of ringtone indicating Cloud's cell phone receiving a message/

Subject: Membership application

From: Zack

Hey babe, heard that there's a membership application for that special spot in your heart. Mind if I apply and bring you to Costa del Sol for our summer vacation?

Subject: I don't take double submissions

From: Cloud

You silly goose.

Yuffie Kisaragi is going to rain hell fire because of this whole thing about lovers needing no words to express themselves and thereby ruining my chance to earn some mega bucks with her audio recording. ARGH.
Mon at 7:56pm · Comment · Like

Aeris Gainsborough at 8.35pm April 29
Oh that's so cute of them! I still want the recording though.

- Posted on Yuffie's Facebook

Subject: The bells are ringing!

From: Zack Fan Club

We received the following information from a member of our word-of-mouth network: Zack was spotted holidaying in Costa del Sol with his boyfriend Cloud Strife! And they may not remain simply boyfriends for long, because a pair of silver rings was also spotted donning their ring fingers! Isn't this so romantic? Let us continue to wish the happy couple good luck! Thanks to Black Suit for the info!

- Special mail from Zack's fan club president Randi to all the members (which includes Cloud, of course)


AN: I couldn't decide to celebrate 11th August or 19th August for Cloud's birthday, so I decided to post this fic in between the two dates. XDD Happy Birthday, Cloud!