Author's Notes: This is my first fanfic that I actually decided to publish, so please give it a try. After a few reviews I'll post up the second chapter ^.^ well...please enjoy

Disclaimer: I do not own ff7 or anything even even close to it, why do you think I'm writing fanfiction?

Chapter 1

The Prologue

It was in the dimly lit laboratory that two tanks full of liquid were being held; in these tanks were two people. One had spiky blonde hair and was in the Shinra infantryman garb, while the other had medium length black hair that was pulled back with one bang in the front and was clothed in the Solider 1st class uniform. The scientist that was taking care of them, while professor Hojo was away on other business at Midgar, watched them intently. For you see, he was growing quite fond these experiments. He just recently discovered their names, Zack and Cloud, but to Hojo, their names were just Experiment 347 and Experiment 348. He had no one to really open up to, being a scientist under Hojo meant no social life whatsoever. His girlfriend recently left him and he told the two unconscious, floating bodies all about it. Some might consider him crazy, even insane, but to him it was sort of like a little girl talking to her teddy bear, only these weren't teddy bears, but grown men that weren't even conscious at the time.

The scientist grabbed his clip board from his desk and did his usual check on the two experiments. Everything seemed normal, just like always; nothing interesting ever happened.

Just then a series of bright lights and beeps appeared on the monitor that displayed Experiment 347's (Zack) vitals. The scientist dashed quickly over to where Zack was being held, and was relieved to find that the vitals all went back to normal.

"Very strange…" the scientist said to himself, finishing the checkup. Little did he know about the war that raged inside Zack's body.

A few moments after the scientist exited the room, Zack slowly awakened from his mako-induced sleep and forced himself to calmly assess the situation. He was in a tube full of mako, and could see Cloud in the one next to him. He wasn't sure how he survived the battle with Sephiroth, thinking back on it, he was saddened greatly by the events that lead up to the fight. Sephiroth was the hero he'd always wanted to be. To Zack, he was the very definition of strength. Even though he became more like his mentor, Angeal, he still, in a way, looked up to Sephiroth.

After calming himself, he started thinking of a way to escape. Thanks to his training to become a Soldier, he knew how to fake being knocked out, to not make his vitals show that he was awake. After days of careful planning, the day finally came for him to break out, that was when he saw Angeal. Relief, shock, and most of all, happiness, filled him up at the sight of his mentor. Then, as Angeal turned away, there was a flash and he found himself on the ground, out of the tube.

He tried to get up with the mako pouring all over him. Just then, the scientist rushed in, so Zack lunged with great speed towards him and knocked him out cold with a strong jab in the gut. It pays to have superhuman speed and strength.

Without a moment's hesitation, he hurried over to the tube where his best friend, Cloud, still floated unconscious in a tank full of mako. When Zack got him out, he noticed that Cloud was not breathing regularly.

'Damn, mako poisoning I bet,' Zack thought to himself. He grabbed his Buster sword and carried Cloud up the spiraling stairs from the basement of the Shinra manor, all the way to the entrance of one of the bedrooms on the second floor. Once there, he laid Cloud on the bed and scouted the rooms for some new clothes.

"I got to get him out of these clothes, it's only making the mako poisoning worse," he said aloud. Once he found an old Solider 1st class uniform in a wardrobe, he quickly got back to Cloud. He paused for a moment, hesitant about changing his friend's clothes, but sighed, knowing it was necessary.

"Hey, he looks pretty good in the uniform, but not as good as me," he smirked, and then looked away, deep in thought. 'Cloud is sick and needs a doctor, but the only good ones that I know are in Midgar, or somewhere along the way.' He almost considered leaving him, but he knew he never could. Cloud was his best friend and knew that Cloud would do the same for him. He picked up Cloud again and trudged out of the Shinra manor, and entered Nibelheim with a shocked look on his face.

"Wasn't this town burnt to the ground?!" His thoughts went back to the fire that his former friend, Sephiroth, started. He looked around warily and saw a platoon of infantrymen charging him. Zack laid Cloud gently on the ground and drew his Buster sword, entering the fight immediately, but he felt that something was wrong. Zack's movements were much slower than he expected, although he was still good enough to take the few enemies that faced him.

'What's wrong with me? What did they do to me in that lab?' he pondered. Before he could dwell on it more, he turned around and saw that the platoon he defeated was just a decoy. The real force snuck behind Zack and started dragging Cloud away. Zack let out a snarl and charged at the Shinra guards. Their faces reflected true fear, because everyone there knew the stories about the strength of the famous Solider 1st class, Zack Fair. After annihilating the enemy force, he hoisted Cloud up on his shoulder once again and set out to find Cloud a doctor.

After traveling for a couple of days, avoiding suspicion, he silently thanked Angeal for teaching him how to sneak around and avoid detection. Those lessons really came in handy while avoiding the watchful eyes of the Shinra troops. He also silently thanked Cissnei, his friend that was a Turk, for letting him 'steal' her motorcycle; it helped him to quickly zip through the land, getting him closer to Midgar. He had to skip every town he went to because of the tight security.

After a couple days of traveling the countryside, he got more and more worried about Cloud. He sure wasn't getting better.

The next couple of day's events were like a blur to him: the sneaking into his hometown, the fight with Hollander, and the fight with Genesis. It all seemed unreal to him, but when he read the letter from Aerith, he felt a strong urge to see her again. He wasn't a hundred percent sure, but he really thought that he loved her. He wanted so bad to hold her close and make all her pain go away, but he still had to get into Midgar, and that was going to be tough, especially with Cloud still in a coma, but with this will to see Aerith driving him, he didn't care so he pressed onward.

After the motorcycle he 'stole' from Cissnei ran out of gas, they hitched a ride from a man in an old pickup truck traveling the road. It was there, on that truck that he decided to be a mercenary and asked Cloud to join him, even though he knew Cloud couldn't reply. He knew that he had the skills and was sure that this would be the career for him. At least for a little bit anyway, if things went really well with Aerith and they started a family, he of course would quit. As he sat there, with his best friend (though he was still comatose) and his thoughts about his possible future with Aerith, he felt strangely at peace.

Then he stood up, leaning over the roof of the pickup truck, looking forward at the road dirt road and noticed a sniper with his rifle aimed at Cloud, so he quickly shielded Cloud from the shot. The driver stopped quickly, letting them out, and quickly sped away. Zack took this chance to hide Cloud in a safe place.

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Little did Zack know that Cissnei knew about the infantrymen's orders to capture Zack and Cloud, dead or alive, and if she knew those foot solders as well as she thought she did, then soon Zack may not be alive at all. She got permission from Tseng, head of the Turks, to search for Experiments 347 and 348 along with fellow Turks Reno and Rude. They got two helicopters and went searching through the wide expanse of country where Zack and Cloud were supposed to be traveling through.

Reno and Rude were busy looking for the Experiments when the energetic Reno finally broke the long silence by saying, "They can't be serious, there is no way we'll be able to find two needles in a hay stack this size!"

Rude replied: "There's no mission impossible for the-"

"Turks, yeah, yeah," Reno interrupted. After a pause, Rude said with a little more emotion than usual, "Also…Tseng apparently has something to give him."

Rude's thoughts went to the bundle of what looked like letters in a box with tape over it saying SEALED.

"Who, the target?" Reno asked annoyed. Rude nodded, and Reno continued his whining.

"So we're couriers now? Delivering packages to fugitives, eh?" Just then, Cissnei's voice cut through the speaker, "Reno, Rude, status."

"We got nothing," Reno replied in his usual sarcastic voice. Rude then asked Cissnei about her status. She reported the same then said, "I'm heading to point 235, you two take point 120."

"Roger," replied Rude.

"Alright, let's get going," Reno replied, turning the helicopter to its new location, hoping, for Cissnei's sake that they found their objective.

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"Heh," Zack said with a smirk as he messed up Clouds hair playfully before standing up and looking forward, with a serious expression on his face. While walking away, he didn't notice Cloud reaching his arm out to stop his friend but to no avail. As Zack continued forward, he heard the footsteps of many Shinra infantry men, but when he ran to meet them, he was shocked. There were infantrymen as far as the eye could see, and all of them had either a gun pointed at him, or a sword in drawn at him.

Zack sighed. "Boy oh boy, the price of freedom is steep," he said, smugly. He reached for his Buster sword, drew it, and held it up to his forehead.

Memories of Angeal's words and teachings flashed through Zack's mind, and then he said, quoting his mentor, "Embrace your dreams…and…whatever happens…protect your honor…" He looked up at his foes with a fierce determination. "…AS SOLIDER!!!" He charged at his enemies with his trusty sword in hand. "COME AND GET IT!!!" was all he yelled before jumping in the crowd and did a swirl with his blade, sending a chunk of the soldiers flying. Like a madman, he slashed, cut, stabbed, decapitated, dismembered, and split his enemies, all the while, dodging bullets and sword slashes.

He noticed again that his strength was being held back like in his previous fight with the Shinra guards in Nibelheim, but he didn't let that stop him. He kept at it, with the memories of his friends and close ones fueling his desire to win. He kept fighting, even with a few bullets in him and cuts everywhere. He kept fighting.

"Live…Live…Live…" he told himself, even when his strength left him and his sword grew heavy in his arms.

"Live …Live…Live…" he repeated over and over aloud, ignoring the pain racking his body every second and with every movement he made.

"I...have to...LIVE!!!" he yelled at the top of his lungs, and with a last burst of energy, he slayed even more soldiers.

With no more strength left, he swayed side to side and the few remaining soldiers took this chance and cornered him. Covered with blood and wounds, Zack staggered over to them, trying with all his might to win, all so he can see his beautiful Aerith. The thought of making her cry with his death sent him past his limits to defeat the enemies in front of him. They were the only things in his path keeping him from her and her beautiful smile. With Zack's pause of picturing Aerith, the infantry men took this opportunity and shot him again, sending him flying on his back.

Zack coughed up blood and tried to grip his sword again, ready to continue, but before he could, the soldiers shot him point blank, leaving him to die. Zack looked at the storm above but couldn't feel the rain on his skin. He figured his body must have gone numb due to the blood loss. Zack's eyes grew heavy and then he closed them and took his last breath.

When Zack opened his eyes, he was floating in a grey void. He looked at his body and was shocked to find no wounds or blood on him or his clothes.

He looked around, shocked. "Am I in heaven?" he asked aloud, then it hit him, he was dead and he would never see Aerith ever again. He yelled at the top of his lungs in agony with tears streaming down his face. He didn't want to die, but now there was nothing he could do. He was dead. End of story. Then, just as all hope was lost, a bright sphere of light appeared before him and Zack stared at this entity in shock, unable to find words.

Then the entity spoke in a deep, echoing voice, "O' creature of Gaia, do you wish to keep living?" Zack felt a great warmth from this being and spoke with desperation, "Of course! Is there anything you can do?!"

The bright entity was silent for a moment, then spoke in a calming voice, "Fear not hero of destiny, you are not destined to die here. Now, take hold of your inner light, the will to live, and you shall be among the living once again." Zack nodded, concentrating on finding the light the entity spoke of, and, after searching very hard, he found an inner light within him.

"Grasp that light," the entity commanded, so Zack grasped it and felt a warm feeling wash over him, peace and other positive emotions flowed through him. Then the grey void that surrounded him swirled around uncontrollably and, in a flash, he found himself back on the battle ground where he had so recently 'died'.

He grunted when the pain washed over him, though not as bad as before. He looked to his side and saw Cloud lying next to him with his hand on his Buster sword. Zack tried to move, but found he could not. Then, when he felt all hope was lost, a helicopter flew in with a very familiar female Turk yelling worriedly at him. He couldn't make out what she was saying over the thunderous sound of the helicopter, but he smiled and sighed in relief, even though it hurt to do so. He and Cloud were going to be alright, and as his eyes where closing he heard the white entity's deep echoed voice, "take care of your new life, hero of destiny…"

Author's Notes: How was it? Give me feed back about what you thought of it.