Hello all! First off, I do not own Final Fantasy 7... This is my only disclaimer. If Square doesn't like that, then sue me!

Chapter I

Thursday morning…

The following takes place between 7:20 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. (Sorry 'bout the '24' mockery…)

(Cloud, 7:20 a.m.)

The sun shone through the blinds and forced him awake. He rolled out of bed and grabbed some pants off the floor and pulled them up over his boxers. He grabbed a dusty-blue long-sleeved shirt with a logo for some company on it and pulled it over his head. He opened the door to his bedroom and walked into the small kitchen, pulling a pack of frozen waffles out of the freezer and dropping two into the toaster. "I wonder if Luc is gonna open today…? Doubt it. Lazy ass never gets out of bed before ten." His waffles popped up and he pulled them out and sat at the small table, dousing them in syrup.

(Aeris, 7:42 a.m.)

Aeris happily skipped out of the shower room on the eighth floor of the girls' dorm. She approached her room and fumbled around for her key in her pink toiletry bag. She opened the door to find her roommate, Elena, sitting up in bed with a groggy expression on her face. "Morning!" the brunette called out. She inhaled deeply and said, "Who doesn't love Philosophy at eight in the morning?"

Her roommate glared at her, "A non-philosophy major?"

Aeris giggled, "You're so not a morning person."

"What's wrong with that?"

"Nothing!" she said brightly, pulling on a pair of pink flip-flops to match her pink tank top. She picked up her pink backpack with a flower design on the pockets and turned to leave. "Bye, Elena! See you 'round noon!" she closed the door behind her too quickly and got her white skirt caught in it. Elena watched as the skirt pulled out of the door in several sharp tugs.

(Cloud, 8:14 a.m.)

He walked downstairs to the shop that his mother had left behind for her two children. Since she had known Cloud to be the more considerate one, she'd left the Strife Floral in his ownership. The two still acted as though they shared it, as he often handled the arrangements and Luc, the older, more book-smart of the two, handled the finances.

He walked behind the counter, pushed up his sleeves and tied on an apron with the store logo printed on it. He picked up a pair of shears and started trimming flowers he'd gathered from the attached greenhouse. He glanced up at the clock, "Forty minutes 'til opening…"

(Tifa, 8:37 a.m.)

The screech of an electric guitar sounded through the house. Tifa jumped awake on her futon and looked around for the source of the noise. Another note played and, recognizing it, she threw off her covers and grabbed her bathrobe. She tied her belt as she threw open the door connecting the garage to the house and stormed in. She marched up to the bedroom-turned-video lab and pounded on the door. "Open up!" she shouted to be heard over the noise.

The noise finally died down and the door opened a minute later. A redheaded man stood there with his long hair tied back in a ponytail, "Morning, Sunshine!"

"Don't 'Sunshine' me, Reno! What the hell are you thinking, making all that racket at this hour!"

He shot her a grin, "And here I thought you'd be grateful."

"Why the hell would I be grateful for being woken up!?"

"'Cause I'm just working on the finishing touches of yer audition video."

All anger was gone, "Really!?"

"Yep. Just needed to redo my notes during the second chorus."

"Yes!" she jumped forward, hugging him, "Thank you, Reno! But, you made a mistake."


"You said my video. It's our video."

(Aeris, 8:53 a.m.)

She stuffed her textbook and notes back into her backpack. She stood up and slung it over her shoulder. She did a little stretch and headed for the door, sighing. Finals were coming up, and she wasn't near ready. She started running down the hall in order to make it to her nine o'clock History and Uses for Mako class. "Midgar U is too big… Can't make it to the next class in the ten minutes they give you…!"

(Cloud, 9:02 a.m.)

He set down the bouquet he finished inside one of the display pots and flipped on the rest of the lights in the store. He walked over to the door, unlocked it and turned the 'closed' sign to the 'open' side. "And so it begins… Again." He walked back to the counter and picked up another carnation and his clippers. He heard a 'thump' from above, "Well, sounds like Luc woke up… Either that or fell out of bed." He heard pounding and footsteps slamming around. He grinned, "Or both."

(Zack, 9:47 a.m.)

"Zaa-aack…! Good morning, Zacky!"

"Huh…? What? Oh… Morning…" he grinned at the woman lying beside him. "How'd you sleep?"


"That's good."

"I had quite the bedfellow. It's hard not to sleep well when in such company."

He grinned, "See you tonight?"

She smiled back, "Of course."

There was a knock at the door and Zack called out, "Come in!" It opened and a tall man with slicked back black hair walked in, and then covered his eyes when he saw the woman with only the sheet to hide her.

"Zack, I've told you before. If you have company who isn't… properly dressed, then don't say 'come in'!"

"Geez, cool it, Angeal. She doesn't mind, do you?" he stroked her chin, sending her into a fit of giggles.

"I'm going to wait in the hall while your friend gets ready to go. You have a busy schedule today." He turned and left.

"Alright!" he turned to the woman, "Well, you heard the man, time to get up."

"Ohh… Are you sure, Zacky?"

"Yeah, sorry."

"If you say so…" As she sat up and moved to get out of bed, Zack slapped her on the rear in a rather obscene way. She only laughed and waved, continuing towards the bathroom, stark naked.

(Tifa, 10:05 a.m.)

Tifa sat on her futon in the garage with Reno, while Barret, a large, dark-skinned man with a metal hand, sat on the couch on the side. Tifa spoke, "That girl's certainly taking her sweet time…"

"Tell me about it…" Reno drawled.

A short, Wutaian girl in her late teens sauntered in through the open garage door and made a beeline for the mini-fridge. She opened it and pulled out a beer, smiling triumphantly, "Anyone else want one?"

The men raised their hands while Tifa looked at her skeptically, "It's ten in the morning, Yuffie."


Tifa shrugged and raised her hand. After Yuffie finished handing out beers, she twisted the cap open and slumped down in the papasan chair, "So, what's the emergency? You woke me up, you know."

Reno cleared his throat, "Well, looks like our audition video is finally complete!"

Tifa suppressed a chuckle; the man was a genius when it came videos or guitars, but when it came to speeches, he was desperately lacking.

Yuffie and Barret started cheering. "But!" the redhead continued, "We still have to send it in… Then comes the hard part."

Yuffie looked at him with wide eyes, "What do you mean, 'the hard part'?"

Tifa jumped in, "The waiting."

"Oh…" Yuffie breathed out a sigh of relief, "Thank Leviathan! I thought you meant more work!"

"By da way…" Barret spoke up, "I got us anutta gig on Sataday."

"That only gives us three days to practice… Where is it?" Tifa asked.

"The Silver Materia."

Tifa's and Reno's faces paled at the mention of the nightclub.

(Aeris, 10:24 a.m.)

Aeris jumped when the little chime sounded, letting her know she had a new e-mail. She clicked on the icon that popped up and read the message. "Huh… Cid needs me to come in early… Darn it! I needed to study for finals! Phooey!" She clicked the reply button and typed, 'Alright, be there at five! –Aeris'

She logged off the public computer and left the library, heading towards the fountain at the center of campus. The forty-foot waterfall fountain came into view and she saw a girl with reddish colored hair sitting on one of the eight surrounding benches. When Aeris was almost right behind the other girl, she said, "Hey! Cissnei! What's up?"

The other girl, Cissnei, turned around to face her friend, "Good to see you, Aeris. What took you so long?"

Red spots flared up on her cheeks, "Sorry! I got distracted with my e-mail!" She sat down beside the other girl.

"Heh. Truth be told, I just got here. How's Elena?"

"Same as always." A bright smile lit her face, "Heeey… Maybe we could be roommates next semester? I don't think Elena would mind."

"I thought you were friends?"

Aeris held her hands up defensively, "We are! It's just, she hates my long hours, and I don't think I'm going to be getting another job anytime soon…"

Cissnei shrugged, "Whatever. We could apply for the same room if you want. I mean, why not? I'm out with you until the morning hours anyway."

"Heehee! Next semester's gonna be so much fun!"

(Cloud, 10:49 a.m.)

"Thank you, have a nice day," Cloud watched the third customer of the day leave. The bell above the door clanged and a tall man in black jeans and a sleeveless black turtlenecked muscle shirt walked in. Around his neck hung an elaborate cross with varying shades of gold and silver. He wore a simple, fingerless grip-glove on his right hand and a long, black glove that ran up to his bicep on the left. Over the longer glove, he wore a golden armor plate that shielded his arm from the elbow down to his fingertips. Cloud looked up, "Morning Vincent."

"Morning, kid. Need help?" his smoky voice monotonous.

"Sure. Luc's still upstairs. Left me with the shop for the last two hours."

"How… inconsiderate," he walked behind the counter and pulled an apron that matched Cloud's off the peg in the wall and tied it on. The first time Cloud had seen this gothic man in a white apron with a big arrangement of flowers on it, he'd almost cracked up before he remembered exactly who he was.

Banging and thumping could be heard from the stairwell. The door between the shop and the stairs flew open and a woman in her mid-twenties walked through; her long reddish-brown hair tied back in a ponytail. "Speak of the devil… literally," Cloud mumbled. Vincent grinned as a response.

"Morning, Cloud!" she noticed the other man present, and smiled, "Good morning, Vincent."

He smirked back, "Good morning, Lucrecia."

Cloud glared at his friend, "Don't even think about it. I might hate her, and she might be a huge pain in my ass, but she's still my sister."

Vincent feigned ignorance, "What are you talking about?"

"It doesn't take a genius to know that you never spend a night alone."

His smirk never faded as he shrugged, "What can I say? The ladies like my look."

Cloud turned to his sister, "Please tell me you're not getting all hung up on him…"

"Hah. Hardly," she replied, though it was obvious she didn't mean it.

(Zack, 11:14 a.m.)

Zack sat in Angeal's office, drumming his fingers on the desk. "Hey, Angeal, come on…! What do I have to be here for!?" he whined.

"Because I foolishly believed you might have had some suggestions."

"Eh… I just have to kiss her… Why should I care who replaces her?"

"When a plot-important actress just drops a role, it should have a bit more of an effect on the lead."

"How 'bout this?" Zack leaned forward in his seat, "Why don't we just go to the set and pick out a girl to play the part?"

"What? You mean a girl without any experience?"

"Sure, why not?" he slurred.

"You are aware that you'll have a… intimate scene with her, right?"

"Aww… Are you worried about me?"

"It would be a girl you've likely never met before…"

"God knows I've never done that before," he mouthed off sarcastically.

Angeal dropped his head to the desk, "Alright, I'll propose your idea to the director. Who knows? Maybe he'll like it."

(Aeris, 11:36 a.m.)

Aeris obediently took notes amidst her Foreign Cultures class; this week was the Icicle Inn. She stopped writing since she already knew almost everything there is to know about the small town, seeing as to how she was born and raised there. She started doodling on the top of her notebook; she started out with random shapes, which gradually became a flower field. She sighed, catching the attention of a few other students in the class, "I miss the outdoors…! I wanna be back in my garden… I wonder how Mom and Dad are doing…? I'll have to call them this weekend…"

(Tifa, 11:51 a.m.)

"Hell, yeah!

Watch you burn…


I laugh and turn…

And walk away."

Tifa belted out the lyrics while standing towards the front of the now open garage. Yuffie's jamming intensified as her guitar solo started. Reno supplied additional notes now and then with his bass guitar, and Barret helped on drums. Some neighborhood high school students watched from the driveway.

"Hold up!" Tifa shouted into the microphone, just to get everyone's attention. The others stopped abruptly.

"What now?" Yuffie whined.

"I think we need to switch that verse up a little bit… It doesn't flow right."

"Yeah, I get it," Reno mumbled, "I think we need to mix in a few more drum notes."

"What you talkin' 'bout, foo!?" Barret jumped up.

"Easy. I said we need more. Not that you weren't playing right."

Yuffie interrupted, "Well, can we stop for now? I think I need to soak my fingers in a potion." She held up her bleeding fingertips. "Besides, I should head home and start on this gig's threads."

Tifa pulled a water bottle out of the fridge and gulped half of it before breathing, "Alright, let's break for now."

Reno addressed their audience, "Sorry, folks! Shows over for now. Shouldn't you be in school, anyway?" The kids ignored his question and stood to leave. One girl turned and stuck her tongue out at him. Reno shrugged and turned to face a grinning Tifa.

"No wonder you can't get date."

"Aw, &%#$ off, Tifa!"

"Ooh. Dirty talk," she shook a maternal finger at him.

"Hey, I let ya stay in my house."

"Garage, Reno. You let me sleep in your garage."

"Hey, it's not my fault ya got sick o' Barret's."

"I didn't get sick of it! His one room apartment was too small for him, Marlene and me. And I sure as hell wasn't gonna throw my little sister on to the street!" She stormed past him towards the house.

"Eh, whatever. Where you goin'?"

"To get some lunch. You coming?"

"Sure, why not?"

(Zack, 12:14 p.m.)

Zack walked out of his trailer, hair and make-up done for the next scene. He held a hand up over his eyes, "Damn. The outskirts of Midgar sure makes for a great desert, gang-busting scene, but I can't see a thing!"

A young man in a t-shirt and jeans wearing an I.D. tag around his neck ran over to Zack, "Mr. Fair! We're just waiting on you! Please, this way!"

"Alrighty," he followed the man over towards the set, where there were various forms of equipment scattered about, cameras, screens, lights, and plenty of other things that he didn't know what they were. Upon seeing a familiar face standing beside two blondes, one male and one female, he called out, "Hey, Angeal!"

His agent turned to face him, "It's about time. I'd like you to meet your co-stars. Rufus Shinra, portraying the part of your rival, Rayelis, and Scarlet Dokuchitź, portraying the leading lady, Renée. Mr. Shinra, Ms. Dokuchitź, Zack Fair. Or, rather, Tyler Garcia."

"Pleasure!" Zack offered a quick, playful salute.

"I'm sure," Rufus made no attempt to converse further.

"Nice to meet you, Mr. Fair," Scarlet gave him sweet smile and extended her hand, palm down, in an old-fashioned manner.

Zack suavely took her hand and placed a light kiss on the back, glancing up at her with sparkling eyes. Angeal rolled his eyes, "Alright, Zack, that's enough. The film crew wants to start shooting in ten."

"Right. Shall we?" he extended his arm towards Scarlet, who gracefully accepted. Rufus looked about ready to heave.

The same man in the t-shirt ran by, "Places, everyone!" Rufus, Scarlet and a little brown-haired boy headed towards the shiny limo that was to be used in the film. Zack walked over to the Jeep on the side and climbed in.

(Aeris, 12:32 p.m.)

Aeris sat in the restaurant eagerly tapping her palms on her knees, "Come on! Where's the food!?"

Elena and Cissnei sat across from her in matching positions, legs crossed at the knees and arms folded. The latter spoke, "It's only been ten minutes, Aeris. This place is pretty packed; I wouldn't be surprised if it took another twenty."

Aeris groaned and Elena mumbled, "It better not. I have class at one-thirty."

In an effort to change the subject, Cissnei asked, "So, Aeris, work at seven?"

"Yeah… No! Wait! Cid e-mailed me. He wants me to be in for five."

"That's awfully early."

"Yeah. The other bartender must've taken the night off. Again."

"Is that that cute guy?"

"Yeah. He's cute, but a real ladies man. A scumball if you ask me."

Elena chuckled, "Wow. Must be a real player to get Aeris this upset."

Aeris stuck her tongue out, "You haven't seen this guy. I mean, he just finishes putting his moves on some girl and then he's trying to smooth-talk me!"

Cissnei chuckled, "Maybe it's his way of showing his feelings for you."

Aeris snorted, "Yeah. Me and every other girl."

The waiter came over then with their food, "Spaghetti with meatballs?" Elena raised her hand, "Baked potatoes with cheddar and bacon?" Cissnei reached out to take it from him, "And a garden-variety salad. I assume that's yours?" he spoke to Aeris.

She nodded, "Yup!" The waiter left, and Aeris cried, "Soup's on!"

(Cloud, 12:53 p.m.)

Cloud pulled the 'Out to lunch' sign out from under the counter and stuck it to the glass door with the suction cup. Lucrecia came back down the stairs with her purse, while Vincent grabbed the keys to the shop. Cloud walked past him and held out his hand; the dark-haired man grinned and dropped them into his open palm.

"Alright," Cloud said, "The usual?"

"Sounds good to me," his sister replied.

"Eh, whatever," Vincent shrugged.

After locking the shop behind them, they walked across the street to Project G, a little diner owned by a neighbor. The bell on the door jingled as they moved towards the counter of the tiny place. "Hey, Doc," Cloud called out, "What's it take to get some grub in this joint?"

A somewhat short man with a belly to compensate came out of the kitchen wiping his hands on a towel. He threw it over his shoulder, "Hey, kid! Oh! Lucrecia! I almost didn't recognize you! I thought you were your mother for a second there!"

Vincent sat on one of the stools, "The usual, Hollander." He was probably the only person who didn't call him 'Doc.'

"Yeah, the usual," Cloud echoed. Lucrecia just nodded and sat in a booth, Cloud followed suit, sitting opposite her. "You gonna join us, Vincent?"

He raised an eyebrow, "If I sat by Lucrecia, I might give her the wrong idea; if I sat by you, well, that would just be awkward."

"Hey," Cloud thrust a finger in the other man's direction, "That was a bet." He stood up and walked around the table, dropping down next to his sister. "Happy?"

"I think so," he slid in across from the two. A minute later, Doc came out with their food and set each dish down in front of them accordingly. Cloud took a bite out of his hamburger and gave the cook a thumbs-up, his mouth full. Lucrecia stirred her soup, deep in thought. Vincent sipped his cherry slushie, staring blankly at his BLT.

"Hey, Vincent…" Cloud mumbled around his burger, "We doing anything tonight?"

"Nah… Man's gotta sleep now and then."

The blond shrugged, "If you say so. This weekend, then?"

"Eh, why not?"

(Tifa, 1:28 p.m.)

Tifa walked down the sidewalk holding a bag of groceries. She was lost in her own little world, trying to figure out how to rearrange the verse in their song. She barely noticed when she bumped into someone, she absent-mindedly mumbled, "Sorry. I wasn't watching where I was going…" She raised her head and gasped.

"Well, well. Tifa Lockhart, is it? How've you been?" the silver-haired man asked.

She raised her fists in a defensive stance, "You…! Loz, what do want?"

"I was just walking by. I think you must want something," he grinned.

"I-I don't want anything to do with you! I've kept my promise! I haven't said a word! I had my tattoo removed too, like your boss wanted. See?" she set down her bag and pushed down the knee-length sock on her left leg, revealing the faint image of a long-removed tattoo just above her ankle.

"I see. What a pity. The Boss was only ever happy when you were around. Ah, well. We'll play again later, right? See you Saturday." he waved over his shoulder as he walked away.

Tifa clenched her teeth as she fixed her sock and picked up her groceries. She resumed her walk towards home, "How does he know about that already?"

(Aeris, 1:34 p.m.)

"On top of being the common source of energy, Mako is also used as a form of steroids; increasing the strength, stamina and agility of anyone who receives the injection. Due to the expenses behind the procedure, Mako injections are only ever seen in celebrities or corporate executives…" Aeris read from her textbook.

She yawned, "This is so boring! I hate studying. But I have to make Mom and Dad proud! I will keep up my grades if it's the last thing I do!" She glanced at her pink watch, "But… I still have forty minutes 'til my last class… Then I have to get ready for work… I know! Since Elena's not here," she glanced around the empty dorm, "I'll watch another episode of 'Two Princes'! I love that show! The lead actor is so cute…!"

(Zack, 2:02 p.m.)

"You sick son-of-a-bitch! Give me my brother back!" Zack shouted at the blond man in front of him.

Rufus casually lit a cigarette, "Now, now… Where would my reputation stand if I actually let my hostage live?"

"You're sick! You hear me! Sick!" Zack shook his handgun, keeping it pointed in Rufus's direction, "Where's Phil!?"

"Oh, don't worry, he's fine," Rufus whistled and a bald man came out of the limo, pulling a young boy with him. "See?" he took a long drag on his smoke.

Zack seemed to relax a minute when he saw the boy was safe. The kid saw Zack and cried out, "Ty! Help me!" The bald guy hit the boy with the butt of his gun, knocking him out.

"You bastard! I'll kill you!" he pulled back the hammer on his gun and pointed it right at Rufus, who didn't even flinch.

"Rayelis! Watch out!" the scantily-clad woman behind Rufus called out.

"Stay out of this, Renée. Wouldn't want you to get hurt," Rayelis/Rufus replied coolly.

"Cut!" the director leaned forward in his chair. "That's enough for now. We'll continue after a ten-minute break."

"Whew!" Zack relaxed, smiling, "That was fun!" He moved over towards the boy on the ground, but the bald guy reached down first.

"You okay, Denzel?"

He stood up, "Yeah, I'm fine. Thanks, Rude. How'd I look? Was I convincing?"

"Hell, yeah!" Zack pumped a fist in the air, "I almost thought he really did hit you for a sec!"

The boy grinned, "Sweet."

"Come on, I'll show you the big boy's trailer."


(Cloud, 2:17 p.m.)

Lucrecia ran the counter while Cloud wandered around the greenhouse, watering flowers and talking to them. He always told the flowers everything, whatever was troubling him, all about his latest girl, modifications he made to his motorcycle, his plans for the night, anything.

Anything except for what he did when he was out with Vincent.

His sister would be brokenhearted if she knew. He touched his left forearm and grinned at the thought. No matter how much the shop meant to his mother, nothing could beat out swordfighting. Especially when it was a matter of life or death. He heard a knock at the entryway of the greenhouse and turned to see a slender man with shoulder-length silver hair. He raised a hand in a half-wave accompanied by a small smile. Cloud nodded, "Kadaj. Sure you should be here?"

"Mm, my cousin doesn't know I'm here. I was looking for Vincent. Your sister said you would know."

"He was here this morning. Left after lunch, though. Don't know where he got off to after that, though."

"Oh… Oh, well. Mind if I hang out for awhile?"

"I guess not. As long as you help," he held up his watering can to show what he meant. "How long have you been with us?"

"About four months now," he said with pride as he started pouring water slowly on some hydrangeas.

"How old are you?"

"Sixteen. How old are you?"

Cloud eyed him suspiciously, "Twenty-three." He thought to himself, "What the hell was Vincent thinking when he let him in? He's just a kid!" he let out a snort, "Oh, right. I was only fourteen when I first joined up…"


He glanced over his shoulder at the teen, "What?"

"Why don't you like me?"

"You're his cousin. You can't be trusted."

"I see. But, I'm different. I'll show you! I hate my cousin. He's always so cruel to me."

Cloud raised an eyebrow, "And how would you describe what you do with that Souba of yours?"

He smiled, "I tried to get him to teach me how to fight. But he flat out refused, so I taught myself!"

The blonde's eyes widened, "You taught yourself how to do that?"

"Yeah, why?"

"I would've expected you to learn something like that from a psychotic chipmunk or something."


"Never mind," he shook his head, "Hey, you wanna spar sometime?"

"Sure! When?"

"Tonight, if you can. Stop by the base at seven."

"Alright! See you there!" he turned to leave.

"Oh, Kadaj?"

He faced Cloud again, "Yeah?"

"I shouldn't have to say it, but make sure you're not followed."

He nodded and left. Cloud turned back to his flowers.

(Aeris, 2:24 p.m.)

Aeris giggled like a maniac at the TV, watching her favorite actor in his first lead role as Jonas Prince, a modern day teen who gets transported to a medieval land and falls for the princess, who was in turn betrothed to Prince Jonas. The show was all about 'royal' mix-ups between the two, 'Prince and the Pauper' style. Aeris glanced at her clock, "Oh, shoot! My class started ten minutes ago! Ah, well… By the time I get there, class would be almost over, anyway. Time for more 'Princes'!" She sat back on her bed and hugged her pillow.

(Tifa, 2:53 p.m.)

Tifa pulled up in the little sedan her father had left for her into the Midgar Elementary parking lot. She pulled to stop and got out, scanning the crowd for her sister. She spotted the little girl walking out the door with a smile on her face; Tifa couldn't help but smile herself. "Marlene!" she called out, waving her arms.

The little girl ran over to her and threw her arms around her sister's waist, "Tifa!"

"Hey, Marlene! How was your day?" she helped the girl take off her backpack and climb inside the passenger side of the car. She walked around and sat in the driver's seat, twisting to set the backpack into the backseat.

"It was great! We made macaroni paintings in art class and my teacher told us a story about the start of Midgar and we and we added some numbers in math class; ha ha! Get it? Added 'sum' numbers?"

She laughed, "'Sum' numbers! You're so clever! You sound like you had a busy day, Sweetie! I want to see your painting when we get home!"

"Sorry, Tifa. They wouldn't let me take it home yet. They wanna put it up for all the other classes to see!"

"That's great! I'll just see it when you do get to bring it home, okay?"


"Why don't you turn on the radio?"

"Okey-dokey." She pressed the power button and started flipping through the stations, "Talking, talking, talking, talking… Where's the music?"

"Hang on, Marlene. Go back to that last one!"

She switched it back and the man in the commercial spoke, "How 'bout it? You wanna see your band in an international film? Just send an audition video to 113 Gorana Street, Sector 1, Midgar. The contest is closed on Sunday, April 5th! Rock on!!!"

Tifa repeated the address in her head over and over until she got to Barret's place. She used the spare key he gave her and opened the door, urging Marlene inside. She grabbed a piece of paper and wrote down the address as quickly as she could. "April 5th! That's this weekend! We better hurry!"


She was hit by a pang of guilt when she realized the girl had probably been talking since the commercial had come on, "Oh, I'm sorry, Marlene! I'm so, so sorry! What were you saying?"

She looked at her shoes, "Nothing…" She ran off to the single bedroom in the apartment.

"Marlene! I'm sorry!" Tifa walked after her sister, feeling ashamed of herself.

(Cloud, 3:16 p.m.)

Cloud set down his watering can and left the greenhouse, locking it securely behind him, and went upstairs, "Eh… Luc can handle the shop for awhile…" He walked into his room and picked up his aptly-named First Tsurugi. He smiled when he felt the familiar weight in his hand. He slid halfway under his bed and dug around. He came back out with a whetstone and started sharpening the blade. "Alright, Kadaj… Think you can take me on?"

(Zack, 3:48 p.m.)

Zack lay in the trunk of the limo, his hands and feet bound together. "What happened…? Phil!" he jumped up as best he could and wound up hitting his head on the roof of the trunk. He glanced at the small, blinking red light of the camera, and said his lines, "So… Now what…? I have to get out of this thing… I can't believe that Rayelis! What a frickin' bastard! Holds kids hostage in order to get to me…!" He looked right at the camera, "Shit. I messed up. S'posed to be 'just to get to me…' not 'in order to…' Damn." He slid one hand out of his 'binds' and knocked on the roof of the trunk. It cracked open and he screamed under the flood of light. He inhaled deeply, enjoying the fresh air. He sat up and glanced apologetically at the Wutaian man with long, black hair sitting in fold-out chair, "Sorry, Mr. Tseng. I messed up my lines…"

The director shook his head and looked down, "Get some air and look over your script, then I want see you back in that trunk. I want to get this scene done today if we can…" He glanced at the sky, "On second thought, let's forget it for now. It's getting too late to keep filming."

(Aeris, 4:11 p.m.)

She hit the 'stop' button on her DVD player and pulled out the disc, putting it back into its case. She slipped out of her billowy white skirt and slid on a pair of denim short shorts. She undid the black string on her neck and picked up a pink handmade beaded choker with a flower hanging off the front and put it on. She exchanged her silver bracelets for a set of cheap, rainbow-colored plastic ones. She switched the floppy pink ribbon in her hair for a pink and white scarf, tying it at the top of her braid. Lastly, she swapped her flip-flops for a pair of black and pink ankle boots. She grabbed her backpack and ran to the bus stop.

She arrived just in time for the four-twenty bus. She hopped on and showed her student I.D, granting her free passage. She sat down towards the back for the twenty minute ride from Sector 4 to Sector 6.

(Cloud, 4:28 p.m.)

Cloud stood behind the counter of the shop, putting together yet another bouquet. He sighed, "Half an hour 'til closing… Then it's fun time…" He leaned back against the wall and started fingering the chain attached to his jeans. The bell above the door jingled and he shot forward, pretending to do work. He looked up at his customer, a slender woman with long brown hair and brilliant green eyes. He spoke, "Hello, welcome to Strife Floral…"

The woman smiled, "Hi! I'm looking for a specific type of lily. My husband and I are in town, visiting our daughter, and I wanted to surprise her with her favorite flower."

"Alright, do you know anything else about the lily? We have a lot of different varieties…"

"Well, it's called something like… a Faith Lily! That's it! Do you have any?"

"This way…" he led to the back of the store, "What's your daughter's favorite color?"

"Well, her favorite color is pink, but she loves the flowers in yellow and white."

"Looks like we have a couple of those in stock. How many would you like?"

"Just one. I'm no good at arranging flowers…"

"I can arrange them for you. Free of charge."

She crossed her arms, "Really? I find it hard to believe a young man such as yourself knows a thing about flowers…"

He chuckled, "I get that a lot. Believe it or not, I put together most of the arrangements in this store."

"If that's the case… I'd like a dozen lilies. All white and yellow, if you have enough."

"Of course," he counted out twelve and brought them to the counter, "This will take a few minutes if you want to come back."

"That's alright. I'll wait."

"If you're sure. Feel free to have a look around."

"Thanks!" she started wandering around, smelling various flowers. Cloud started trimming the stems to mix them up a bit when the woman looked up, "Do you have a girlfriend?"

He looked up in surprise, mouth hanging open, "Wha-?"

"Oh, don't look so shocked! I meant for my daughter!"

He felt himself relax a bit and forced a smile, "Sorry, I make it a policy not to get involved with customers."

"Oh. But, my daughter isn't technically your customer."


"That's a shame. Here's her cell number if you change your mind…" she smiled sweetly and slid a piece of paper across the counter.

"Oh, boy…" he thought to himself. He finished with the bouquet, and wrapped it in plain white plastic. "Here you go, Ma'am."

"Thank you! How much is it?" she started digging in her purse, eventually coming out with a wallet.

"Fifteen hundred gil, please." (A/N: Gil is somewhat equivalent to yen or cents in my stories. I figure roughly two bucks is a decent price for common medicine (Potions). Besides, Final Fantasy was created in Japan, so it'd make sense if their currency reflected that of their native country.)

The woman paid him and left, smiling all the while. "Thank you," he called after her.

(Aeris, 4:48 p.m.)

She got off the bus and ran the rest of the way to the Lucky Girl, the bar where she worked. As she approached, she could see the line already forming outside. She walked right past and up to the bouncer outside. The bearded, grey-haired man sat on a stool outside the nightclub's doors. He smiled and nodded when Aeris waved. "Evening, Miss!" he called out over the noise of the crowd.

"Evening, Zangan!"

"I take it Cid wanted you early?"

"He didn't tell you? That stupid jerk took the night off again." She ducked under the red rope marking the line.

"I see. Well, I won't keep you waiting," he unlocked and opened the door with one hand, and held the crowd back with the other.

Someone in the line shouted, "That old dude's built tough!"

Zangan grinned, "Better believe it, kid."

Aeris smiled and slipped past the bouncer, "Thanks! See you later!" She skipped down the steps of the empty club and ran behind the bar. She slipped into the back room and stuffed her backpack into a cubby designated for her belongings. She walked back out and started setting up for the night.

(Tifa, 5:04 p.m.)

She and Reno sat side-by-side on her futon again, Barret on the couch and Yuffie in her papasan. The only difference from the morning was that Marlene now sat on Tifa's lap. "Okay," Reno slurred around his beer, "So what's so important this time?"

"This time…" Tifa was damn sure she'd build up more suspense than her redheaded cohort, "The news… is… downright… EXPLOSIVE!!!"

"Wah!" Yuffie squeaked at her bandmate's sudden outburst.

"Check this out, guys," the singer held out the address she'd heard on the radio. The others all examined it, including Marlene.

"Okaaay… It's an address in Sector 1… Big whoop," Yuffie yawned and fell back in her chair.

Tifa held up her index finger, "Not just any address. If we send our audition video to it, there's a chance we could appear in that new movie they're filming in Midgar!"

"Whaaat…!" the Wutaian guitarist jumped back to her feet.

"Uh-huh. The ad said they're looking for an authentic, rockin', garage band! I think Checkmate is perfect for the job! Don't you guys think so?" She held her hand out, palm down.

"Hell, yeah," Reno set his beerless hand on top of hers.

"Well, shit! Whata we still talkin' 'bout it fo?" Barret stacked his metallic hand on top of Reno's.

"Don't leave me out!" Yuffie slapped both hands on the drummer's.

"Yeah!" Marlene called out, not entirely sure of what was going on, set her hand on Yuffie's.

(Zack, 5:20 p.m.)

Zack looked into the mirror and tugged at his tie, trying to get it to look nice and still be comfortable. Finally, he gave up and succumbed to the noose. Angeal walked in, dressed in slacks and a t-shirt, "Evening, Zack."

"Yeah, yeah. If there's one thing I hate, it's these formal dinners with the director."

"Look on the bright side. You're new friend will be there."

"Who?" he cocked an eyebrow.

"Scarlet Dokuchitź."

The actor shuddered, "I can't stand that bitch. She's so full of herself."

"Hmm… Not unlike a certain actor I know…" he stroked his stubble-covered chin thoughtfully.

"Well, whoever that is, give him a piece of my mind."

He gave a little salute, "Will do. Say… When's this dinner over?"

"I dunno. Hopefully by eight."

"Well, come see me when it's done. I need to talk to you," he punched his fist into his palm before grinning and walking out.

"A-Angeal! I was kidding!"

Well, that's chapter one! Let me know what you think! Flames are okay, but if you want to yell at me, then at least have the courtesy to tell me what you hate. On the other hand, if you liked this so far, then by all means, let me know what you like so I can add more of that! If you want to review, feel free!