Ughhhh…! I fail on such an epic level… Wanderer sent this back to me almost a week ago and I've been putting off writing my A/N. Because of that, I'm just going to list the names of my beloved reviewers instead of posting a little note. I'm fairly certain that I replied to your reviews via PM, but if I didn't, feel free to send me a virtual slap. And let it be noted that it has been a full four months since my last update. I told you guys this story could last for another year!

Many, many thanks to ken08002, oodball167, V-Ninja :D, Lunie, Truth, Snaps, mc, Trueflame, g2, zff, and FM16! Thank you so very much for sticking with this fic after all my epic fail… Love ya!

Thanks to The Lone Wanderer for beta-ing!

Chapter XX

Two Weeks Later… August 9th.


The following takes place between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

(Yuffie, 2:30 p.m.)

Yuffie ran through the base, pointing out minor flaws in the room. She pointed a finger at Biggs. "What did you say?"

The raven-haired man raised his hands in defense. "Nothing, Yuffie."

"Good. This is Cloud's birthday…"

Vincent looked up from where he was attempting to fold origami cranes at Yuffie's demand. "Technically, his birthday isn't until Tuesday…"

"But if we don't celebrate it now, then the term 'surprise party' loses all meaning."

She jumped as a vibration echoed in her pocket and she pulled the black flip phone from within. She checked the caller I.D. and flipped it open. "Hiya, Cloud! What's up?"

The low voice on the other end replied, "You know what's up, Yuffie! I want my frickin' phone back! And what are you answering it for?"

"Oh, come on! What's a little game of cat-and-mouse?"

"Yuffie…" The man sighed, likely taking a minute to calm himself. "I need my phone. What if something happens to Tifa? Or the baby?"

"Oh, she's gone for, what, a week? I have your phone. If she calls, you'll be the first to know. I'm doing this for your benefit, you know!"

"…And how is stealing my phone benefiting me?"

"We both know you'd be yakkin' your lips off with Tifa if I let you keep it!"

"Help me out here… What exactly is wrong with talking to my fiance while she's away from home?"

"She's famous, Cloud! She's gonna hafta travel a lot! You're gonna hafta get used to not having her around!"

"But while she's pregnant?"

"Again. She's going to be doing this all the time!"

"…Which brings me to my next point. Aren't you in the band? Why didn't you go? Why are you still here to harass us and our innocent cell phones?"

"Because it's some lyric thingy… Teefs had to authorize and mix lyrics and stuff… Nothing I can help with. Reno's always been there, helping Teef write the songs since day one. It's only natural he'd go."

"Yuffie, I will find you, and I will kill you."

"Yeah, yeah. As if you haven't given me that threat before."

"I'm serious this time, though. I'm getting my swords-"

"Oh! Gotta go! You're getting another call!"


She hit the button to end the call with him before accepting the incoming call. Before she could say a word, the voice on the other end rang out, "Cloud! You'll never guess what happened! Trust me, you won't. C'mon, guess! Oh, fine, I'll tell you! We finished up here in Kalm earlier than we expected, so I'm on my way home now! My train is just coming in! I'll be home for your birthday after all!"

Yuffie scratched her head. "Um, that's great, Teefs, but I'm not your boyfriend."

Tifa was silent for a minute. "…Yuffie? Why do you have Cloud's phone?"

"It's a long story. Trust me when I tell you, you don't want to know."

"I think I do, but I'll wait until I'm home and I can hear Cloud's side of it."

Yuffie shrugged. "Whatever." An idea started to spawn in her mind and she grinned. "Say, Teef…"

"I don't like that tone, but what?"

"We were putting together a surprise birthday party for Cloud today…"

"His birthday isn't for another two days…"

"What don't you people get about the aspect of 'surprise'?"

"Geez, fine. What were you saying?"

"How would you like to help give this party the ultimate surprise?"

"What do you mean?"

(Zack, 2:47 p.m.)

Zack climbed out of his Gabbiani and walked around to open the passenger door. He helped Aeris out and escorted her up to the door arm-in-arm. She smiled at him and looked down at her pink t-shirt and cut-off shorts before saying, "Zack… I'm really not dressed right to be treated like this…"

He turned to her and replied with a smirk, "There's never an occasion where you shouldn't be treated like a lady, Vicki."

Smiling, she shook her head. "Uh-huh… Forget that, Jonas. Not after you ditched me for Princess Karina."

"Hey!" A shocked expression crossed his features. "We were in an 'off' period!"

"You still moved on awfully fast."

"Yeah, I know. That's the main focus of fans right now. If you look at all the blogs and forums, the Karnas-shippers are all chewing out the Jocki-shippers because of that."

"I still don't get how name-mashers know which Jonas is involved in the pairing."

"It's easy! Jonas Prince is known as 'Jonas,' while Prince Jonas is called 'Prince.'"

"So Prince Jonas-Vicki shippers are called 'Pricki's'?"

"Naw… Well, that's what Jocki's call them, but they're called 'Vince's'."

"Weird… What about Prince-Princess shippers?"

"They're 'Kance's.' Don't get me started on the guy-guy and girl-girl names. Yegh. I mean, Kunsel's my buddy, but that's it."

Aeris giggled. "Well, I guess I should be relieved that you won't be leaving me for him, huh?"

He leaned closer and pressed a light kiss to her lips. "I'm not planning on leaving you for anyone." He paused. "Especially not a dude."

(Cloud, 3:21 p.m.)

Cloud sat on the couch of his home, the chaotic mess quiet for once. Vincent was doing Goddess-knew-what, Luc was teaching a summer class at the university, Tifa was out-of-town, and Marlene was staying with Barret for the week.

He sighed and leaned back in the fabric. When's Tifa getting home…?

The door opened and a familiar dark-haired head leaned in. "Hey, kid, grab your keys. We're going for a ride."

Cloud rolled his eyes. "Don't feel like it, Vincent."

"Too bad. I came with orders to find you and bring you back with me, unconscious or no."

"Ordered? Aren't you in charge?"

"I'm notgetting on Yuffie's bad side."

"She has a good side?"

"You know what I mean."

"What's she want me for?"

"She's had some time to think it over and she realized what a bad girl she is. She wants to apologize and give you your phone back, but she's too proud to come crawling up to your door and ask for your forgiveness."

"Tch, fine. I'm not doing anything, anyway."

Cloud stood, wandered to his room, grabbed his keys and followed Vincent outside. He saddled into Fenrir and called out, "Where is she?"

"Where else?"

"Alright. See you there."

(Yuffie, 3:43 p.m.)

Yuffie paced back and forth, waiting for Vincent to get back with Cloud. Finally, the roar of engines—one being the unmistakable sound of Fenrir—sounded from outside. She giggled with joy and ducked down out of sight. The door to the warehouse opened, sending a bright light into the otherwise dark room. Cloud's voice sounded out, "The place is empty, Vincent. The lights aren't even on."

The light faded as Vincent shut the door behind them. "She was here when I left…"

Yuffie signaled to Kadaj off hiding behind a cabinet for him to get ready and he, in turn, signaled to the rest of the group.

Cloud sighed. "That's it. I'm out of here."

Yuffie mouthed 'now!' to the rest of the group and jumped up, shouting, "Surprise!"

Vincent clicked on the lights in the back as everyone waited on a reaction from the guest of honor. Cloud only sighed and dropped down into the sofa. "Nice try, guys, but I'm really depressed."

Yuffie clapped her hands together. "I bet you'll be better once we give you your presents!"


She looked over at Vincent. "Can you help me bring it out?"

Vincent gave a smirk. "Sure thing, Yuffie."

Cloud leaned his head back and rubbed his temples. "Should I be scared?"

Yuffie reached around back of a cabinet and grabbed Tifa's wrist from where she was hiding with a smile. "Nah… I don't think so. It was my idea, but we all chipped in."

Vincent took her other wrist and pulled Tifa out. Cloud kept his hand over his eyes, shielding them from the sight of her. Yuffie resisted a pout at his behavior and stamped her foot on the cement to get his attention.

He looked up, his eyes finally falling on Tifa and a wide smile spreading on his face. Jumping up from his seat, he ran forward and pulled her into a hug. He pressed his lips to hers and held her close.

Yuffie stood on the side, trying to decide between smiling her mouth off or throwing up on the floor. She finally settled on smiling and grinned openly as her best friend and her almost-brother continued to greet each other passionately before her eyes.

(Yuffie, 4:16 p.m.)

Yuffie made her way down the sidewalk, riding on the back of her boyfriend for the past five months. She grinned widely at the expense of the passer-bys, not caring what they thought of her. She was happy to be with Reno and she didn't care what they thought of it. A thought she'd been struggling with came to her and she paused, mulling it over in her head. "Hey, Reno?"

He glanced up slightly to look at her. "Yeah?"

"Um…" she began, not really sure how to voice her thoughts. "I… You know what you said? About getting serious…?"

A light of hope entered his eyes as he warily asked, "Yeah?"

"Uh, well, I've been giving it a lot of thought, you know?"


"And, well, after seeing how happy Teefs has been with Cloud, I… I wanna give us a shot… As more than we are right now."

He grinned and twisted, shifting her so she was in front of him. "Really?"

She smiled a little weakly at first and shifted to stand before giving him one of her patented grins. "Yeah!"

He leaned forward to kiss her happily before pulling back slightly. "You're not pregnant, are you?"

She made a face at him and replied, "Hell, no. What gave you that idea?"

"Well, you said that you saw how happy Tifa and Cloud were…"

"I meant in their relationship! Not in that they were having a baby!"

"Just checking."

"You do want to have a better relationship, right?"

"'Course! What kinda fool d'you think I am?"

She grinned again. "Just checking."

Soo… Not a lot of Cloti, but enough to keep us shippers satisfied, I hope.

Please, please, please, please, please, please review? Please?

-Queen of Fail