This was supposed to be significantly too short for my standards, but I beefed it up like crazy for you. You get inside Evie's head a lot more in this Chapter.
A disgustingly huge thank you to : UnchainedMelody94, who pretty much raped my emails with review loving. zexydemyx66, who has continued to come back and take the time out to send me some love. And a new face xXSymmetryXx, who sent me love as well. Thank you all so much. I woke up this morning and started to practically giggle in delight from the number of reviews I had suddenly shot up to.
Also, to anyone who might be interested, I have remodeled the first chapter and revamped it for a third time. I found that this new version cleans things up and makes sense of things that didn't make sense before. Let me know.
"I thought you died Evie," he said softly, as if he could barely believe the words coming from his mouth. "I thought you were dead. I heard you scream... and I couldn't run fast enough. I could smell the blood before I even saw you. I thought you were dead..." His head dropped again and he took long deep breaths. I clenched my teeth tightly.
"I... I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you think that," I mumbled pathetically. I couldn't imagine what it was like to think that no matter what I did, or fast I ran or how strong I was I couldn't save him from what I thought was death.
"You had me worried... I thought I was going to find you with holes everywhere in your body from those fiends," I took a breath, unsure of what to say. "You should have just worn your damn armor Evie." My mouth moved but no words came out. He was so distraught and I couldn't even give him words to make him feel better. I moved from my spot on the bed and pulled his head up. He looked at me sadly and I was silent for a moment watching him. I pulled him into a hug fiercely.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. Thank you. For saving me." I muttered next to his ear. He hugged me back gently for a few minutes. He pulled away and didn't look me in the eye.
"Lay down, get some sleep... for me." he muttered and I did as he requested with a sad look. He didn't look at me as he pulled the covers back up, but I rolled onto my side and closed my eyes finding that I was more tired than I had originally anticipated. I sighed softly and felt myself fall asleep quickly.
When I woke up, Zack was no where to be found and as I looked to my wounds I smiled to find them completely gone. I stretched a bit and remained in my spot my thoughts racing towards Zack, where he was, what he was doing, if he was okay, if he was thinking about me-
My eyes widened at that last thought and I felt my body shoot up from alarm. What am I even thinking about? I fell back dramatically and with a long sigh. My hands shot up to my face and I wondered briefly how long I had been sleeping since the incident. I glanced at my phone at the nightstand next to me and grabbed at it before flipping it open.
The sun had hit it's highest point in the sky about four hours ago. I rubbed my face and my hair and turned on my side going through my phone nearly asking for something to do.
I rummaged through my emails, I noticed how thin it was, I assumed that most of the emails I was supposed to get didn't receive from out in Nibelheim. I smiled to find old pictures in my phone. Some with Genesis grumbling in the background and me with a silly face on. I chuckled remembering where they were taking. I came across a few videos as well and smiled at the General's smooth baritone apologizing to my ears. I flipped it closed and put it back on the nightstand noticing how little to none of my photos had Zack in them.
I wondered briefly why before I started to smile to myself. I blinked looking around the room realizing the smile that had crept on my face.
"What is Gaia's name is wrong with me? Why can't I stop thinking about him?" I mumbled to myself staring at the ceiling for a few minutes. My first reaction was to go out and fight fiends to clear my head, but earlier this morning I could barely keep my thoughts from Zack and if he was thinking about me. The door opened into the room and my stomach clenched to know who it was.
My heart stopped, Cloud. I let out a breath I didn't even know I was holding and smiled up at him. He returned it, closing the door and removing his helmet.
"Hey Chocobo, what's up?" He smiled at his nickname and sat where Zack had been when I had fallen asleep.
"I was coming inside to check on you. Orders from Zack," he added as an after thought. My smile faded.
"What? I'm inside a hotel, in a bed, and there are no fiends in town. I'm fine." Cloud shrugged a little, his blue eyes wide as he looked around the room. I followed his gaze but saw nothing so I returned my eyes to his. "There isn't anything to -"
"He was really worried about you Evie," Cloud muttered, effectively interrupting me. I resigned at his words. I looked away from him and paused.
"Of course he was. I was missing. He's my best friend I would-"
"No Evie," Cloud started interrupting me for a second time. My jaw dropped a little at how forceful he sounded. "It's different than that I think. He went running to find you as soon as he heard you left without any weapons or armor. He wanted to punch that guy from last night. He really cares about you. Don't just go running around making him worried like that. I've never seen Zack get that way, not even with Aerith. " I opened my mouth to say something but he continued talking. "Stop scaring us like that. It's not fair that we have to worry about you and then you don't even have the courtesy to protect yourself."
I was at a loss for words; I stared at Cloud in disbelief. Where did that come from? He looked over at me and saw my face before flushing a deep red and fumbling to get out of the room. I watched him leave his words echoing in my head for a little before I got up to leave the room and return to mine.
I showered with difficulty, my limbs were still stiff from my muscles healing so rapidly. I took my time showering and getting dressed, this time in full armor. From my gloves to my boots. All my favorite materia and my sword resting against my back. I stretch a little allowing my limbs to fill in my armor more properly.
My head was still swirling from his words, Zack's reaction to the fiends, and the fact I couldn't get any of it from my mind. I was growing seriously tired of it. I had noticed it before, but ever since Nibelheim it seemed to bother me twice as much. I assumed it was because of the fact I could see Zack every day and know that he wouldn't be leaving the town to go see Aerith who was miles and miles away. I brought a hand up to my face and felt myself heave my gloved fingers through my hair.
I stared at myself in the mirror for a time and thought silently to myself. All these feelings, all these thoughts, they way I kept acting. There's a reason behind it. There had to be, but I couldn't understand what. I sighed realizing that there was only one person I knew that I could ask about this that wasn't Zack or one of his best friends.
My eyes ran along the outside of the house as a deep breath racked my body in what I could feel was fear. I swallowed my saliva and knocked on the door quietly waiting for an answer as I looked around in case someone was watching, "Hello." I spun around to look at her in his brown boots and skimpy skirt.
"Tifa... I need... your help. Think we could take a walk?" She turned inside of the house and her father came walking towards me. I smiled warmly. He asked me who I was and if I was going to be keeping her safe. "I'm SOLDIER 1st Class, Evelia Reinhardt, Second in Command of the Shinra army." His eyes moved towards my back where Harpenger sat comfortably. He nodded his consent and together we walked around the less crowded part of town silent until I stopped at the tree in front of the Shinra Mansion. I sat down with my legs crossed in front of me.
My fingers ripped at what little grass there was silently inviting her to join me with a look. Tifa promptly sat down and put her more delicate hands over mine to get me to stop. I looked at her and mumbled an apology.
"So what do you need help with?" I took a deep breath and I felt my face heat up.
"I'm... I'm not used to being a normal teenage girl. To put it in simple words, and I was hoping you could help me understand a few things." A small smile crept up on her face. "Teef! Come on, this is serious." She chuckled gently and motioned for me to keep going. I realized that for the little we talked in that one moment that I gave her a semblance of trust, things seemed to instantly ease around us. "it's hard to explain. I just don't get any of it."
"Well let's start simple, that feeling you get like in your stomach when you can't help but smile when you see a certain guy? That means you like him." I looked at her briefly thinking about the feeling she was talking about. "Uh when guys go out of their way to be around you and to talk to you it's because they like you. Word in town, Josh was doing just that to you last night. Rumor has it he was out for a kiss." My eyes widened, I hadn't even realized. I thought he was just being friendly. I nodded slowly. "So what if there's this one guy that you can't seem to get out of your head?" Her smile grew wider.
"You probably really like him." I frowned and blushed harder at her grin.
"I don't normally giggle if you've ever noticed but... What if I start giggling around a guy I'm talking, what is that?" Tifa tried not to laugh at how little I really knew. I knew whatever I did, I did it naturally and never really noticed it before.
"Flirting, trying to get the guy to like you." We talked for some time and as a couple of hours flew by where I asked Tifa questions and she'd answer them. I realized I'd need to ask an older woman about what was going on with Zack. Tifa probably had never experienced it, every time I had asked her a question about it she usually just had the same answer: that it was weird and had never happened to her before so she had no clue.
I escorted her back to her home and looked at the one house in the entire town with a woman inside that I knew was older than me and I had met before. I stopped gritting my teeth. Maybe it would be better to ask a woman I didn't even know. That might save me some embarrassment. I turned away from the direction of Cloud's home and faced the opposite direction with a hope to find someone who could help me completely understand what was going on.
I smacked myself a little feeling like a complete idiot for once in my life. I always was asked for advice. I had never done the asking before and my stomach churned uncomfortably at the change of pace. This was making me terribly uncomfortable and scared. Not for my life, but of something else. Of someone laughing at me and not having an answer for me. It was weird to feel like this and eventually I stopped and leaned against one of the buildings, tilting my head back.
I lifted my hands up and brought them to cover my face as I groaned softly into them before dragging them my face slowly. I shook my head, I couldn't believe myself right now. Afraid of a little rejection from people I didn't even know. I was Evelia Reinhardt. I was famous across the world. I was Sephiroth's only student. I was a General of the Shinra Army... I fought in the war against Wutai. But here I was staring at the cloudy sky without enough strength and courage to walk up to someone older than me and ask for advice on my feelings. I groaned again at how pathetic I was feeling before smacking my head behind me once.
With a final sigh I pushed off against the building and walked around hoping to find someone who could help me. I decided to walk towards the house farther away from the center of town.
A timid smile spread across my features at my eyes locking on an old married couple sitting outside peacefully. I walked towards their house slowly, my heart pounded at how afraid I was to speak to them and they watched me with a warm smile. I returned it, aged couples were the cutest things. I greeted them softly.
"Hello," the two smiled as they held hands. "I was... I was hoping you two could help me with something." they smiled warmly, the fear in my stomach being instantly washed away at their warm and inviting aura. I felt comfortable under their gaze and my fear disappeared.
"Of course dear, I just made a fresh batch of cookies." The old lady stood and walking inside the house. The old man stood with a smile, "Mama makes the best cookies." I grinned from ear to ear as his hand wrapped around my shoulders, like the grandfather I never knew.
They didn't even know my name, and I didn't even know theirs but they were trusting and generous in every way. Being around them just made an adoring feeling well up inside of me. Inside the house I shed my sword off and relaxed in one of their comfy chairs. The couple sat together on a couch, the old woman bringing a huge batch of cookies with her.
"I didn't even introduce myself yet." I mumbled feebly at their hospitality. The two smiled warmly.
"We already know who you are dear, you saved our Grandson the other day from those terrible monsters on the mountain. Evie was it?" I nodded a small smile grazing my lips. "Thank you for saving him. We truly appreciate it. Anything we can help you with, we'd love to do." I smiled brighter. They were so kind, generous and loving. What I wouldn't give to have grandparents like them... or to even know who my parents or my grandparents were.
"I was hoping you could help me with something. I asked my friend but she didn't understand and I figure you two could help me understand it." The two remained quiet, hand in hand waiting for me to continue. "There's this guy," I started slowly. The two exchanged wide smiles and I stopped.
"The black haired fellow? What was his name? Zack?" My jaw dropped.
"I didn't even finish what I was saying."
"You don't have to dear, we saw it all over your face the other night. Continue."
I shook my head a little, "Well I... I can't stop thinking about him. All the time. Whenever I see him, I just start smiling, It hurts to see him upset and the thought of him dating a friend of mine makes me unbearably angry and unbearably sad at the same time. It started small. When I saw him, I'd smile and get this feeling in my stomach," I grabbed a cookie quickly and kept rambling.
"Then when I think about him it just makes me smile. I love the smell of him, being around him makes me happy and he always makes me laugh. We've been best friends for years now but it's been progressively getting worse,this feeling, especially since I've been around him all day and all night for the past couple of days. This morning he saved my life and he was so worried about me. I just wanted to make it stop. I felt so horrible. It was my fault that he was so upset and there was nothing I could do to make him feel better. The last time I felt like that was months ago, when he cried of his killed mentor." I looked into their fireplace as I spoke, the words practically fall from my lips without me needing to think about it. I couldn't find all the right words to explain the feeling, but that was aas close as I could really get, a glance at the couple made me realize that as silly as I thought I sounded, they understood every word of it. Like it was a story they had lived, had heard of, had experienced themselves.
I grabbed another cookie stuffing it into my mouth looking to the two for answers. The old woman smiled and reached over towards me to grab one of my gloved hands. "My dear, you're in love." My heart sunk, my breathing stopped and there was a loud pounding in my ears. I stared at them suddenly at a loss for words. I opened and closed my mouth trying to find the right words, but they were gone. I tilted my head a little before shaking it. That didn't sound right at all.
The thoughts in my head couldn't even seem to connect their words together. Love. I... I was in love... with Zack.
I shook my head; it was starting to feel suddenly very light as my thoughts raced and I tried to speak. "You're kidding." I muttered quickly as I took a shallow breath and felt my head get even lighter and my breathing become difficult. This just seemed too difficult to grasp and I blinked profusely before everything just went dark suddenly.
I groaned, my head was pounding. I looked up to see the old woman and the old man from before. They were watching me with worried eyes. "Wha happened?" I asked softly as my hand rose to massage my head.
"You fainted dearest, came at a bit of a shock to hear that you were in love with your best friend." I groaned even louder that time, cringing away from them.
"No. You've got to be kidding me." It didn't seem possible... but it was the only answer I had. The old man helped me back into my chair before they both sat back down.
"No dear, you've got all the symptoms, you're in love. The sooner you accept it the sooner it'll stop nagging you. It bothers you because you don't know what it is. Now that you know, think about it. How do you feel?" I sat back my face still stuck in a disgruntled look before I started thinking slowly. The sooner I accepted it... the sooner it would stop nagging me. There was a feeling... almost of closure for finally understanding the feeling. She was right, I could feel it welling into this one word that seemed to make everything come together and make everything that nagged me before go away.
"Better, how do I know that I've come to fully accept it? I'll be honest I still don't believe it but It feels good know what it all means." the old man spoke up this time.
"You'll know because when you finally come to accept it, all you'll want to do is be as selfless as you can. You will want to give him everything you have, and every breath of life just to see him happy. The only thing that will matter to you is him and his happiness." I took a few deep breaths nodding, taking it all in. It was difficult, almost more difficult than not knowing the reason behind it at all.
"Is there any way for me to know if he loves me back?" My eyebrows furrowed, it seemed like a silly question once it left my lips. My face heated up in embarrassment wishing I could take it back the moment it was in the open.
"Not for sure. We'd have to hear how he feel about you to know anything for sure." I nodded gently munching on another cookie. I thanked the couple tremendously for their help, asked their names and listened to them talk about their own love story. I couldn't help but smile at how they recalled special moments together and they would turn to each other, smile and kiss. It made me wish that years from now I could do that with someone I cared about. Zack came to my thoughts and I smiled to myself.
I wish I had known people like them my whole life. I wish I had grandparents who loved like they did, without reserve. I smiled the whole time while I was with them my thoughts no longer nagging me so fervently, and the slow and gradual realization of how right they were working through my thoughts.
Maybe this is real... Maybe this is the truth of it. I left their home thanking them countless times and assuring them that I would bring Zack to meet them one day and that I would be back sometime before I left Nibelheim to head back to Midgar for a last goodbye.
It was night time now and as I walked back towards the hotel I glanced off to the side to see Zack and Cloud standing together, seemingly talking to each other. I stopped in my tracks and smile as I watched Zack's hair flow in the wind and Cloud turn to look at me. Zack's gaze soon followed and I waved. A smile crossed Zack's lips and he returned the wave, the simple gesture making my heart swell. I turned my gaze to the ground, my smile widened helplessly as I walked inside the hotel to resign for the night.
HQ16: Next Chapter is Chapter 30! Which means that this is twice as long as my original Zack Fair story. Something special is gonna happen next Chapter, maybe a kiss? Wink wink. Let me know what you think, throw me an idea for the special 3-0. In the mean time, enjoy the disgusting sad foreshadowing at the beginning of this Chapter.