(A/N) Yes, I've been bad, and instead of updating "Devil Inside" like I should have, I've written a new oneshot. I've had this idea brewing in my head for awhile now, but I was unsure of how I was going to tell the story. Then it hit me: Of course, I'll use Zack! Once I figured it out, I couldn't leave it alone. Thus we have my very first story in Zack's point of view. Yay!
It's set around the time of Crisis Core, though there's no spoilers, and the timeline is a little tweaked. This event never really could have happened if you're following the actual events of the game, because Zack and Cloud only go to Nibelheim once, and that's when Sephiroth freaks out and burns the place. Think of this as sort of an add-in right before the Nibelheim incident; or a happier version of the visit. XD Confusing, I know, but you'll understand when you read it. There are a few other things that I've changed around also, but nothing too major, mostly aspects of SOLDIER. Enjoy!
A Little Push
He's the only one on the whole squad that gets motion sickness. And when he gets it, he gets it bad. It doesn't matter if we're in a helicopter, on a ship, or on land in a vehicle like the truck we were just in; you can always count on him to be doubled over, green-faced in a corner somewhere. At least he didn't eat anything for breakfast this morning. I'm sure the other guys are grateful that they don't have to clean their boots after the ride with him.
Problem is, as soon as the truck stopped, I lost sight of him.
Being a first class SOLDIER, I've been put in charge of this squad of two dozen infantrymen. Our final destination is Wutai, to do some post-war inspections and equipment reconnaissance, but we're going stay the night in a town called Nibelheim before we cross the ocean to the Western continent. We were on our way to the little town in the middle of nowhere, but apparently our driver wanted to take a break, so now the recruits have all spread out and are lounging around in the hilly field next to the road.
All of them, that is, except for the one I'm looking for.
"Where's Cloud?" I ask one of the infantrymen sitting on the side of the road next to me.
He raises an eyebrow, looking confused. "Who?"
"Cloud," I say again. "Cloud Strife. Short, has hair like a chocobo." I'm hoping some of this will jog his memory, but he just shrugs.
Well that was a lot of help. Seriously, how many of the twenty-four men out here could possibly fit that description? I don't know what old man ShinRa was thinking when he let these rookies join his army. These people are hopeless.
Giving up on getting any help from the troops, I sigh heavily and push myself up off the ground. I guess I'll have to find him myself.
I met Cloud almost a year ago while we were both assigned to an operation in Modeoheim, and he's been sort of tagging along with me ever since. SOLDIERs are usually accompanied by several infantrymen to assist them with their missions, and Cloud's squad is frequently put under my command, so I see a lot of him.
He's a cute kid. Not that I swing that particular way, don't get me wrong; I've got a girl back in Midgar. But he's cute in a lost puppy sort of way. Innocent and hopeful.
He's two years younger than I am; sixteen. Born and raised in a tiny, insignificant town with big dreams of coming to the city and joining the ShinRa company's elite fighting force, SOLDIER, just like I was at his age. My dreams came true, but as for Cloud… Well, he's just not cut out for fighting. He's a lot smaller than most of the other guys, for one thing. About a head shorter and a heck of a lot leaner.
That boy is fast though. I haven't seen anyone outrun him yet; which is good, because when his battle skills fail him in a fight he'll be able to escape quickly. It's a nice advantage to have.
No, that's not sarcasm. Never mind that I'm smiling wryly to myself as I think it.
Despite the fact that he's a bit more of a liability than an asset on the battlefield, I like having him around. He's shy so I have to prod him a bit sometimes to get him to open up, but he's cheerful most of the time, so he's good company. Like a younger brother; but he'd probably be pissed if he knew that I thought of him that way. A friend, then.
A few of the other first class SOLDIERs are of the opinion that Cloud's habit of following me around means he looks up to me, and maybe he does. Who knows, maybe in a few years I'll be able to train him well enough to help him achieve his goal. I could be his mentor, like Angeal was for me.
I'm suddenly aware that my mind has been wandering while I've been looking for the little bugger, and now I've managed to stray a few hundred yards away from the rest of the group, most of who are still waiting back by the truck. Angeal was right; I do need to learn how to focus better.
As luck would have it though, I catch sight of him just a few yards off to my right, leaning against a huge tree on the bank of a glassy lake.
It's a nice change to be out here in the country rather than in the smoggy, monochrome city of Midgar. The city is exciting because of all the people, but everything is so green here. It sort of reminds me of Gongaga, the village where I grew up. The dirt road we've been traveling on cuts through a small valley, which is nestled between two curved strips of mountains. A cool breeze is gusting across the lake, whipping my dark hair into my face as I jog over to the tree he's sitting under.
At the sound of my approach, he glances up, bright blue eyes wide in surprise.
"Hey Zack," he calls over to me, a small smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.
"Hey," I greet him as I catch my breath, resting my hands on my knees. "What are you doing way out here?"
He looks away and shrugs nonchalantly. "Nothing."
I figure that he's probably just trying to get some fresh air to recover from getting sick on the ride here, but despite the casualness of his tone it seems like he's anxious about something. I know he thinks the contrary, buy he is pretty easy to read. His emotions are written plainly on his face most of the time, though I can tell he tries to hide it.
That's when I notice what he's holding.
"What's with the flower?" I ask as I plop down on the cool grass next to him.
In his right hand is a tiny yellow blossom, suspended on a thin stem with small leaves. Don't ask me what kind it is, because I have no idea. My girlfriend, Aeris, would know though. She loves flowers. She'd probably kick me if she knew that I wasn't learning a thing about them while helping her tend to the gardens around her house and in the old Sector Five church.
Cloud shrugs again in response to my question, and I can tell immediately that he's having one of his quiet days; the kind where I have to bug him until he answers me. So I switch tactics, and decide to come at the question from a different angle.
"Nibelheim is your hometown, right?" I already know the answer to this, but it seems like the best place to start to get him talking.
"Yeah," he says softly, staring down at the plant he's holding between his gloved fingertips.
I was going to suggest that maybe he was bringing the flower to his mother, but then a more logical explanation clicks into place in my mind. I grin widely, knowing that I've hit the jackpot. This must be why he's so quiet today.
"It's for that girl, isn't it?" I ask bluntly.
His head snaps up and he stares at me, startled, his cheeks turning the slightest shade of pink. His mouth hangs open for a moment while he struggles for words.
"Wha-what do you mean?" he finally manages to spit out, but he's not fooling me.
I lay back in the grass, folding my hands behind my head and fighting a chuckle. It's hilarious to me that he could get so flustered over just the mention of this one girl.
"That girl you're always talking about," I explain, smirking but keeping the laughter under control. "The one from your hometown, your neighbor. Tifa, wasn't it?" I suggest offhandedly, feigning ignorance. "You're bringing the flower to her, right?"
Cloud huffs in defeat, apparently deciding not to try to lie about it, and leans his head back against the tree's trunk.
"Well, I picked it with her in mind but…" his voice trails off, lost in the sound of the light breeze flowing through the valley.
"But?" I prompt him.
"It's not like I can actually give it to her," he finishes dismissively.
I sit up, leaning on my elbows and watching as he twirls the flower between his fingers. I'm surprised to see that he actually looks upset; there's a crease forming between his eyebrows.
"Why not?" I demand, becoming slightly irritated at his hesitance. This would be a lot easier if he'd just spill the whole explanation without me having to pester him for it.
He chews on his lower lip for a moment, looking as though he's deep in thought. This strikes me as odd, because normally when he talks about Tifa, he's chattering away happily. Most of the time I can't get him to shut up.
The first time told me about her was during the second assignment we had together. She's the pretty, outgoing, dark-haired girl that grew up in the house next to his. He told me once that she was the reason he wanted to join SOLDIER in the first place; to catch her attention. It was apparent right from the beginning that he had feelings for her, but I guess I never really considered that she might not have felt the same way about him.
"She…We never really talked much," he explains solemnly, seeming to search for the right words as his blond eyebrows furrow. "I don't think she likes me."
Oh. So that is it. Poor kid, I think for the second time today.
I can tell that there's a lot more to the story, but I decide not to push him for details about the past.
I grin again, determined on brightening his mood. "But she talked to you before you left to join SOLDIER, right?" I press, remembering one of the stories he's told me. "Asked you to be her hero or something, right?"
That has to be a good sign; maybe he's wrong about how she feels. Girls are pretty cryptic about stuff like that.
His cheeks turn a shade darker, and it looks like he's fighting a smile at the memory, but he says nothing in confirmation. I know I'm right about it though.
A moment passes in silence except for a small bird chirping in the tree above. I shift my gaze to sky; clear blue visible between the swaying branches overhead. Then both of us look up towards the sudden sound of loud voices in the direction of the road. The driver must be ready to go, so the troops are loading back into the truck.
Cloud stands up at the same time that I do, his uniform's helmet tucked under his arm, and we start heading back. He doesn't say anymore on the subject, which isn't a surprise, but I don't miss the fact that he's still holding on to the flower. He's probably hoping that I'll let the issue drop.
Not a chance.
"C'mon Cloud," I urge as we make our way across the field and towards the rest of the group. "If you want to win this girl's heart, then you need to give her the flower. Show her you care about her."
He frowns at the suggestion, but says nothing.
Silence is not the way to get me to shut up, buddy; you should know that by now.
"I'm serious, man. Girls love that kind of romantic crap," I say, winking at him.
"Zack…" he groans in frustration, rolling his eyes at my logic.
I know I'm bugging him, but if he wasn't so stubborn I wouldn't have to. It seems silly to me that he should stay unhappy just because he's too shy to tell her how he feels. He's a nice guy, why shouldn't she like him? She should at least know that she has the option, right?
My smile widens and I start to make another suggestion, but he cuts me off.
"Let it go," he almost growls, but it still sounds more like pleading.
"You're going to miss your chance," I continue chiding him, ignoring his request completely. "Some other guy is going to come along and snatch her away, and then you'll be sorry." I say dramatically, motioning with my arms to make my point.
He glares up at me, lower lip jutting out in defiance. I reach out and poke him in the arm playfully as we continue walking towards the truck, which is just now coming into view over a distant hill.
"And do you know why that other guy will be able to take her away?" I ask rhetorically, knowing that he won't comment, so I answer myself. "Because he would have gotten off his bony ass and given her the flower."
Cloud lets out an exasperated sigh, clearly tired of my insistence, and I can barely hold back a snicker.
Teasing him is always entertaining. For me, anyways.
"Now I know why Angeal calls you 'Zack the puppy'," he says matter-of-factly. "You're enthusiasm is really annoying." He says it seriously, but I know he's joking because of the smirk pulling up one side of his mouth.
Then that innocent smirk turns into a triumphant sneer, the likes of which I have never seen on his boyish face; his eyes twinkling with some new found, possibly evil knowledge.
What on Gaia is he thinking?
"I bet the other guys would get a kick out of that nickname, huh Zack?" he asks innocently, though the threat is poorly disguised.
I stop cold, standing just a few yards away from the road now, and he pulls up a couple feet in front of me, watching the color drain from my face with satisfaction.
"You wouldn't," I say sternly, scowling at him as menacingly as I can manage.
He only grins wider in response, and I know then that he's serious. He'd be willing to humiliate me in front of the other infantrymen with Angeal's little nickname for me if I don't stop jabbing him about the flower thing. I really don't need that nickname getting out to the troops. I'm supposed to have authority here, and I can't do that very well if they're all snickering behind my back.
Devious little bastard.
"Fine," I say after drilling him with a stare for a minute. "I'll leave you alone about Tifa, and you just shut the hell up about that. Deal?"
He nods, chuckling under his breath, obviously pleased that he's found something he can use to get me to leave him alone.
I start towards the truck again, and he follows after me cheerfully.
The remainder of the ride goes by quietly, mostly due to the fact that as soon as the truck started moving, Cloud lost his smug smile and started looking queasy again. He didn't turn green this time, but he does look pretty pale, so I decide to leave him alone. Even if he is blackmailing me, I still can't help but pity him.
Within a few hours our truck pulls up on the outskirts of the small town, shadowed by huge, snow-capped mountains. There's an old, creepy looking mansion on the outside of the town, but most of the houses and stores are grouped close together, centering around a water tower in what I assume would be considered the town square. Our driver heads over to the local bar, but it's starting to get late, so I take the rest of the group to get rooms at the inn.
During our walk through town, I notice belatedly that Cloud is still wearing the helmet from his uniform. Most of the other infantrymen take them off whenever they can, because they're not exactly comfortable, so I'm wondering why he's keeping it on.
"What's the deal with the helmet?" I ask him, cocking an eyebrow.
He hesitates, looking away for a moment before he answers. "I told everyone before I left that I was going to get into SOLDIER, and well, I'm not exactly first class yet," he says with a grimace.
A smile spreads across my face, because I'm reminded of my first visit back home, before my promotion.
"The consequences of being cocky," I mumble under my breath, and he grins knowingly in response.
Thankfully the little inn has enough rooms for all of us when we go to check in around sunset, though it's going to have to be several of us to each room. That's entirely bearable, because it's usually at least five guys to a room in the housing quarters of the ShinRa building. We're not allowed to live below the plate because we have to be on call at all times, and rent on the upper plate tends to be pricy, so most people just live in the company building and put up with the crappy living conditions. I can't wait until I can afford my own apartment.
Cloud refused to stay the night at his own house, though I can't imagine why, but he did agree to let me come along while he visited his mom. He wasn't planning on telling her that he was here at first, but I guilted him into it, telling him about how heartbroken she'd be if she knew her only son didn't come to see her while he was in town. I don't visit my parents often enough, one of the consequences of being in SOLDIER and living thousands of miles away, but I know how happy they are to see me when I do come home. I don't want Cloud to miss out and regret it later.
Whether or not he's been keeping touch with his mother while he's been away is a mystery to me, but he must not have told her that he was going to be in town any time soon, because she's extremely surprised to see him standing at the front door.
She looks startled for an instant, and then her face breaks into a bright smile. "Cloud!" she shouts, pulling him into a suffocating hug. "Oh honey, I'm so glad you're home! I've missed you!"
"I missed you too, mom," he says bashfully, his voice muffled against her chest while she squeezes him.
I remember Cloud mentioning that his mom was a single mother, although he never said what happened to his father. He didn't seem to want to talk about it, so I decided not to broach the subject. He's the only child too, so with him gone away to Midgar, I bet his mom gets lonely.
"Oh," she says suddenly, finally seeming to notice me standing off to the side. She releases him slowly, though her hand remains on his shoulder. "Who's this?" she asks, looking up at Cloud; he's actually a little taller than her.
"This is my friend, Zack." He motions vaguely in my direction with his thumb.
"Zack Fair," I clarify, reaching out my hand to shake hers. "Nice to meet you, Mrs. Strife."
Cloud rolls his eyes at my politeness, but his mother smiles sincerely, and I grin back at her. She seems like nice woman; younger looking but still motherly. She has a frilly apron tied around her waist and her light blonde hair is pulled back into a loose bun. Now I know where Cloud gets the hair color, though the jury is still out on why it sticks up the way it does.
"So nice to meet you too, Zack. It's wonderful to finally meet one of Cloud's friends," she says, glancing back at her son again.
He seems to be uncomfortable standing out in front of the house; fidgeting slightly. He's probably afraid somebody from town is going to recognize him, but he smiles at her anyway.
She leans over brushes his hair out of his face. "Look at you, you're getting so tall!" she exclaims with pride.
That's when I burst out laughing.
"You mean Cloud used to be shorter than he is now?" I gasp, doubling over with laughter.
I get a death glare from him in response to my outburst, but it doesn't stop me from chuckling for a few minutes.
His mother puts her hand over her mouth, stifling a giggle and quickly changing the subject. "Will you two be staying for dinner?" she asks.
I finally catch my breath, and look to Cloud for the answer, hoping that he's not so pissed off at me that he'd deny me some good food. There's a delicious smell wafting from the doorway of the house, and my stomach growls in response.
After a bit of a fuss, Cloud agrees to let his mom cook for him, and he lets me stay too. I'm really glad I got to eat with them, because that woman can cook. I haven't had a home cooked meal in a long time, so it really hit the spot. The ShinRa cafeteria food I've been living on isn't great by any standards, just edible.
I eat until my stomach can't possibly fit anymore, and Mrs. Strife laughs pleasantly and says that they must not be feeding us well enough. I like Cloud's mother a lot, she has one of those really warm smiles that lets you know that you're welcome in her home; and I'd be willing to bet that she's the type that would make her son breakfast in bed when he's sick. Cloud is probably spoiled.
She teases him good naturedly during dinner, making sure he's not working too hard and asking him if he has a girlfriend in the city, which he denies vehemently. She also goes on for awhile about how completely adorable he is in his ShinRa uniform; something that I find extremely amusing, though I keep my reaction in check after he shoots me a fierce glare from across the table.
He brushes off all of her concerns, clearly embarrassed by her coddling, but I can tell that they're probably pretty close.
We spend a few hours at his house before Cloud insists that we head back to the inn to get some sleep. He's probably afraid that I'll find some way humiliate him in front of his mom; which, honestly, I might have considered, if he didn't have the ability to humiliate me still hanging over my head. I'm surprised he didn't pull that after the short joke earlier.
After a final goodbye and a promise from Cloud to write her letters more often, we head back to the inn. It's late by the time we make it up to the room, and I suddenly realize that I'm exhausted. I haven't gotten a whole lot of sleep lately, because the last few nights have been spent on the road. I think Cloud is feeling it too, because his eyelids are drooping and he's yawning hugely as he climbs into bed. I barely drag myself onto the mattress, and I'm asleep before my head hits the pillow.
When I open my eyes the next morning, the first thing that I see is that damned flower, sitting on the table next to my bed. I glare at it, irritated that Cloud is still being so obstinate about the whole thing. Why is he saving it if he's going to refuse to give it her? It makes no sense to me.
And then, slowly, a plan starts to develop in my mind.
If Cloud doesn't want to say anything to Tifa, then maybe I'll help him out.
I sit up groggily, and glance over at him in the next bed. He's still seems to be sleeping soundly; snoring softly, bits of spiky blond hair poking out from under the covers, so I figure I'll probably be safe to sneak out of here without disturbing him.
I dress quickly but quietly, pull on my boots, and grab the flower on my way out of the room.
Zack Fair is going to play matchmaker.
It's still pretty early, the morning air is chilly in this mountain village, but luckily there are quite a few people milling around. I walk around the quiet town for a few minutes, receiving several strange looks from the townspeople, before I finally find what I'm looking for. A young girl with long, dark hair is sitting in front of a little house across from the inn, and right next door to Cloud's. She fits his description perfectly, so I'm assuming that this must be Tifa.
I walk over to where she's sitting on the porch, and she looks up at me quizzically with big, dark eyes. Her stare is locked on my eyes; probably noticing the faint, iridescent glow there that marks me for what I am.
I'm used to getting suspicious looks within the city, but the people there are used to seeing SOLDIERs walking around amongst them, so it's not that bad. People in small towns and rural areas are different though; some of them actually fear ShinRa. I hope she doesn't try to run away from me, though she doesn't frightened, just curious.
"Hey there," I greet her cheerfully, but she only cocks an eyebrow in response. "Your name wouldn't happen to be Tifa, would it?" I ask politely.
She studies me for a while before she gives her answer, probably trying to figure out how a SOLDIER who she's never met knows her name.
"Yes," she says finally, standing up and brushing herself off. "And you are?" Her voice is soft, but I can tell that she's on guard, not that I blame her.
"Zack." I give her a small grin, but she still looks wary of me. I'm probably creeping her out.
I quickly decide to get to the point before she starts backing away, or tries to kick me or something. Despite her slight figure, she looks like she might be able to put up quite a fight.
"A friend of mine wanted me to give this to you," I say, holding the flower out to her.
Technically, that's a lie, because Cloud didn't want me to give it to her, but he did want her to have it. That's close enough; I'm winging it here.
Tifa looks bewildered for a moment, but then she reaches out and takes the blossom from my hand hesitantly, looking down at it in confusion.
"Who-?" she starts to ask, but the sound of footsteps crunching on gravel interrupts her.
She looks up at the same time that I do to see a figure in an infantryman's uniform stopped mid-step in the path behind us. I immediately recognize him as Cloud, despite the fact that his helmet is obscuring his face. I'm sure that he's pissed at me, but he doesn't say anything. He just stands there frozen twenty yards away from us, the blush spreading across his cheeks visible even under the helmet's visor, staring at the girl next to me.
I glace back at Tifa to see that she's staring at him, too. She looks puzzled at first, and then a bright smile spreads across her face. She must recognize him, and has put it together that he's the friend that I mentioned.
He smiles back at her, and though he's obviously embarrassed, I've never seen him smile so widely before.
He steps towards us slowly, pulling off his helmet because, obviously, that's not fooling anyone today.
"Hey Tifa," he says timidly, though his smile is still loosely in place.
She beams up at him. "Cloud, you're home." Her voice is gentle and sweet, and a twinkle appears in her eyes as she looks at him.
Cloud must be dense; of course this girl likes him.
"When did you get back?" she asks when he doesn't say anything else.
He glances away awkwardly, scratching the back of his head in self consciousness. "Last night," he admits, looking as though he's afraid he's going to get scolded.
"Why didn't you tell me?" She does look a bit disappointed, but her tone is still light.
Cloud hesitates for even longer this time, getting that same, somber look on his face as he did when he explained to me why he couldn't give her the flower.
"I didn't know if you'd want to see me," he answers honestly, shifting nervously on his feet.
She takes in his expression, but smiles at him reassuringly. "Of course I do."
He returns her smile easily, their eyes locking for a moment before awkwardness causes them to glance away.
Even if they didn't talk much while they were growing up like Cloud claimed, it's obvious that there's some sort of connection between them.
"Oh," Tifa seems to remember the flower in her hand, and glances down at it. "Thank you. Daisies are my favorite."
He grins at her again in response, unabashedly now, though the flush is coming back to his cheeks.
I start moving back towards the inn, feeling like I'm intruding on a private moment, though I've obviously been forgotten by both of them.
After leaving Cloud to sit on the porch with her, I busy myself with the task of rounding up all of the other recruits, our supplies, and our driver in preparation to leave. It takes me for a little over an hour, so it's midmorning by the time I get everything in order. I know that we need to be going soon, but it kills me to have to break them up. Every time that I glance over at them they're sitting close, talking and laughing like old friends.
I sigh, finally deciding that if we're going to make it to the harbor on time and catch the ship before it leaves, we need to go now.
"Cloud!" I call over to him from across the town square, catching his and Tifa's attention immediately. "We've gotta go, man!"
He looks disappointed, but he and Tifa stand up, dusting themselves off. He glances back at her and says something over his shoulder, presumably a goodbye of some sort, and starts to take a step in my direction. She catches his arm though, stopping him making him turn around.
At first I think she's probably just telling him something else, but then she throws her arms around his neck and pulls him into a hug. There's not much of a height difference between them, he's only a few inches taller than her, so she's able to wrest her chin on his shoulder. After the shock wears off, his arms wrap around her waist, and they stand there embracing in front of her house.
I chuckle to myself as I watch them. His back is to me, so I can only imagine what color his face must be right now.
They separate after another minute, exchanging some final goodbyes, and he turns back towards me again. Sure enough, as he gets closer I can tell that his cheeks are stained bright red. He looks happy enough though; grinning like an idiot. Tifa looks after him with a smile of her own, and then turns to disappear into her house, taking the little yellow flower with her.
I smirk at him, pleased that I had something to do with the outcome of this morning. I expect that he'll offer some kind of thanks for my help, but the first thing he does when he reaches me is sock me in the arm. Not a friendly mock punch either, it actually hurts.
"What the hell?" I yell at him, recoiling, more surprised than in pain.
"I told you not to get involved!" he shouts, glowering at me viciously, his previous smile lost.
"Hey, I helped, didn't I?" I counter, rubbing my arm.
His expression softens a minute amount, and he seems to be considering whether or not he's going to stay mad at me. Then he lets out a deep sigh, losing the glare all together.
"Yeah, I guess," he finally concedes.
I stare at him, cocking an eyebrow and waiting for my proper thanks. It only takes him a few seconds to understand my expression.
"Thanks, Zack," he says, a small smile returning to his face. His tone is slightly sarcastic, but I can tell that he means it.
I grin and slap him on the back. "No problem, buddy," I say as we both start towards the truck.
Now, you see how easy that was, Cloud? Sometimes all you need is a little push.
(A/N) Like Tifa says, "A little push is what he needs, that's all." XD I'd like to think that if Cloud would have gotten over his shyness and just talked to Tifa when they were younger, (or had Zack to kick him in the butt), then they could have been better friends. This is the first time I've ever written Zack into a story, so I hope I got his character close enough. O.o Most of the inspiration for this came from the scene in Crisis Core where Zack and Cloud are talking in the Nibelheim inn. It shows both Zack and Cloud's interaction, and Cloud's reaction to Tifa being mentioned, so I've always liked it a lot. I adore the friendship between him and Zack, and I just couldn't resist writing about it. Plus, Cloud is absolutely ADORABLE is Crisis Core, so I wanted to write something with him at that age. XD
Anyway, thank you in advance to anyone who decides to review! They totally make my day. Constructive criticism or comments of any kind are greatly appreciated. I've usually got updates on what I'm writing at the moment on my profile, so don't be afraid to check that out too.
Oh, and a special thank you to my friend Shibara1310 for editing this for me! You are amazingness! -hugs-