I'm not old enough to even own my computer.

This thing burst into my mind at school today and demanded to be written, but then it pooped on me and is short. And I love how most of Zack's lines end in exclamation points. And there's lots of smiling.

Before you ask, yes, it's real, but I doubt it gets that big. Hey, everything on Gaia is huge!

The eternal battle raged on.

"Za-ack!" Aerith crossed her arms sternly. "Get the wheat bread! Wheat!"

"Aw, but Aerith!" Zack faked a pout. "Wheat bread is all... wheaty! And you can't make a grilled cheese sandwich without getting all the grains stuck in your teeth!" It was true. He'd tried it.

Aerith mimicked his expression. "But Zack, we're buying my groceries, and I like wheat bread."

"Aw..." Unable to defeat this logic, Zack replaced the white bread on the cart with the wheat variation, smiling nonetheless. "Alright, but mark my words! You'll be spending thirty minutes brushing your teeth tonight!"

It was Zack's first day off in ages, and unable to spend it with the busy Sephiroth instead offered to go grocery shopping with Aerith. She'd happily agreed, so the couple strolled leisurely down the aisles in search of nutrition, bantering over which foods they did and did not need. It was far more fun than shopping alone.

"Well," Aerith said with a smile, "if you're that concerned, we should get some vanilla and bananas, and we can make banana bread."

Zack grinned. Aerith and Elmyra's baking was delicious. "That's a great idea! But we'll get the wheat bread anyway, since you can't make a grilled cheese sandwich with banana bread."

His girlfriend laughed. "You're going to drive me bankrupt. We still have to get the cheese, too." But that only made the soldier grin wider.

"Then I'll pay myself!"

"But then you'll go bankrupt."

"No I won't!"


"Really really!"

Aerith smiled. "Well, alright then, but you're asking for it!"

"No worries!"

Actually, with his reduced paycheck, he probably would run his account dry. But hey! Something always turned up, and until then he could snack on ramen.

Or Aerith's food, but gentlemen didn't do that. Certainly not Zack.

"Now." Zack steered the cart towards the produce section, the wheels squeaking in protest. "To make banana bread, we need bananas!"

"Yup!" Aerith walked alongside him. "And Mom likes oranges, too, so we'll get some of those."

"Of course!"

This was much more fun than flirting with random women at work. There'd been some thrill in that, but now the best part of Zack's day was calling Aerith, or talking to Aerith, or seeing Aerith, or jumping in puddles with Aerith. The littlest things sent his happiness skyrocketing, and all he needed was for Aerith to be there. She was so much more special than all the other women! And it wasn't physical beauty, even if she was the cutest thing he'd ever seen; she had a pure soul, and a spirit like fire. Since meeting her, he'd never flirted with anyone else. There was no one else.

Good thing, too, because he was willing to bet Seph would've gone crazy if he'd had to rescue Zack from his victims' angry boyfriends one more time.

"Now, get two bunches so we can eat some later." Aerith said, turning around to pick a pair of oranges off their tables. "Or three, if you want one for yourself."

"Two bunches! Got it."

Zack loved fruit. Sure, he loved sugar and spicy things too, but there was just no replacement for a good old batch of raspberries or an orange. And he'd gotten around to trying one of those Banora Whites, too; he preferred regular apples, but those things were delicious! They tasted so good for something that looked ill. And now that he was thinking about it, he kinda wanted one now, but this store didn't stock them. Aw. But Aerith's cooking would make up for it! Smiling at the prospect of an afternoon of fun and delicious food, Zack absent-mindedly reached for a bunch of bananas, lifting the nearest one out of its place.

A six-inch spider sprang out of its revealed hiding spot, aiming for Zack's nose.

With SOLDIER reflexes and an embarrassingly high-pitched yelp Zack batted the flying arachnid away from his face to the floor, where he could have sworn it hissed before leaping forward to viciously assault his foot. It was rewarded with a boot to the face, skidding across the floor until an alarmed Aerith squashed it beneath her shoe.

The startled pair stared at it for a moment, then simultaneously looked up at each other.

"Holy cow!" Zack rubbed the back of his head. "I don't think that belongs in the produce section."

"Sure doesn't look like a banana to me." Aerith smiled, kneeling down next to the mangled body-- and promptly shooting upwards again with a squeal, stomping her foot upon it once more.

"It's still alive!"

Of course, Zack instantly took his cue. "I'll save you!" he cried.

By now, the other customers were watching with mixed expressions of horror and, now, amusement; Zack had quite thoroughly pounded the offending critter to pieces, until he was sure that the thing would never again frighten the living daylights out of his girlfriend. Or himself, for that matter. The soldier stood back to admire his handiwork.

"Yup! No more zombie spiders here, folks!" he chirped to the surrounding crowd. Several onlookers snickered, then shuffled away from the disgusting stain as quickly as possible. Unaffected, Zack turned to Aerith. "You alright?"

"Uh huh!" Aerith knelt down once more, and this time was not rewarded with a violent twitch. "You got him good, Zack."

The young man grinned, putting his hands on his hips. No unreasonably large arthropods could get between him and his Aerith! It was funny things like this that made every day worth living. Now he had a great story to tell, even though the others would probably not believe him at first. But maybe they would believe it if Zack admitted to being startled out of his wits. The thing had jumped out like a bolt from the blue!

"Didn't I? Man, though." Zack knelt down with her. "I bet this whole thing just cut my lifespan in half."

"Aw, well, I think it doubled up again after you killed it." The brunet girl stood up with a smile. "I guess that means I'll live to two hundred, since I originally disabled it."

"Yeah!" Zack stood upright too, giving her a hug. "You could be my sidekick!"


"Really really!"

Aerith returned the hug, then stepped back and frowned. "He was pretty big, though. I wonder what kind of spider it was?"

"I'll ask Seph later." Zack said, turning back to their deceased nemesis. He made a face at it. "I've seen monster spiders bigger than that, though. There was one the size of a desk once!"

"Yikes!" Aerith put a hand over her mouth in mock horror. "So I guess you've had practice, huh?"

"Yep! I'm Zack the Spider Hunter!" He posed, causing Aerith to laugh.

"Then why did you yell when it jumped out at you?"

"Because it scared me!" Zack stuck his tongue out. "You yelled, too."

Aerith mimicked his expression-- again. "Well, I'm not a trained professional, so I have an excuse."

"Bah! It startled me, that's all!" He looked down at it again. "Really though, we'd better go find someone to clean this up." It always bothered him that insects-- or arachnids, in this case-- had yellowish blood. The thing was smeared across the floor, and Zack became conscious that there was a crunching noise every time his foot came down. A little grossed out, he began wiping the bottom of his shoe against the floor.

"I think one of the other customers already went, so we can just get what we need while we wait for them to get here."

Zack grinned sheepishly. "I kinda lost my appetite..." he said apologetically.

"Don't worry, it'll be back by the time we're finished." Aerith took the bananas still in her boyfriend's hand. "I think we should probably get a different bunch of bananas, though."

"From another shelf. In a brightly lit area."

"Yep. Hee hee."

Zack rubbed the back of his head, casting the huge spider puddle one last glance before turning away. "Man, all I wanted was a banana..."

...And then we went home and made banana bread, and it was delicious, and that's how we defeated the giant evil radioactive zombie spider!

Somehow I think the last part could have been omitted.

Well, yeah, but banana bread is tasty! Seriously, though. Any idea what it was, Seph?

Probably a Wandering Spider, so named for their habit of wandering the ground at night. They live in tropical areas, so in the daylight they look for dark places to hide. Such as between bunches of bananas. That you found one in the grocery store was incompetence on behalf of the staff.

Naw, I think it was an accident. The thing could've fit over my face! Do they always grow that big?

I believe they can grow up to ten inches. And besides that, they're the most venomous natural spiders in the world, and dangerously aggressive.

...Wow. Looks like we got lucky.

It is unlikely you would have died. Hojo didn't, at any rate. There was one in his desk when I was young.

Heh. I bet he screamed like a girl.




...Why was there a giant venomous spider in Hojo's desk?