I was always…different. When I was a kid, I had this feeling of superiority, not only over the other children, but even some of the adults. I wasn't a bad kid, but I never did have much use for rules. Once I stole an apple from the town's grocer. Half the town was trying to catch me, but I was a fast little devil.

I was strong, too. I remember this one time when the town bully was picking on a little girl from out of town. She couldn't have been more than five years old. I was only seven at the time, and the bully was at least twelve. He was no match for me, of course.

After the bully was unconscious with a black eye and a bloody nose, I turned to the little girl. She ran and hugged me. She was a lot stronger than she looked. I pulled her away and looked at her. She had short hair and tears pouring out of her dark eyes. "Wow," I said to her, "you're almost as strong as I am!"

"Really?" she asked uncertainly.

"Yeah, you just have to be brave. Think you can be brave?"

"Uh-huh!" She gave me a nod and ran off.

I was raised by my mother. I never really knew my father. I think he left right after I was born. My mother was the only one I ever listened to or took orders from. But I was getting bored with our tiny little town. One day, when I was ten, a Turk visited our town.

I had stolen another apple and jumped from the ground straight to my roof. The Turk saw me. As I leaned against my chimney and took a big bite out of the apple, the Turk leapt onto the roof. I looked over at him as he walked towards me.

A month later, I had finished undergoing a series of near-impossible tests of strength, endurance, speed, and prowess both physical and magical. It was like hell, and when it was over, my reward for passing the tests was even more impossible training. Shinra said they were going to turn me into the ultimate weapon, but when the time came for initiation in SOLDIER, I refused.

I told them I would become better than those in SOLDIER without the special treatment they received. A lot of people thought I was crazy, but I must have made an impression with the right people. Before long, I was put through the beginning stages of SOLDIER training. It wasn't easy, but I got through it. My accomplishments earned me respect from pretty much everyone, even some of the top members of SOLDIER.

I even met Sephiroth once. I was fifteen at the time. I watched him take down a huge dragon, and afterward I told him that someday, I would be even stronger than him. He seemed almost insulted at first, but then he realized just who I was. He chuckled a bit and said, "I guess I better watch my back, then."

As my strength grew, so did my reputation at Shinra. Unfortunately, I attracted the attention of an insane scientist named Hojo. He captured me in a giant, glass tube and started conducting experiments on me. He injected me with a modified strain of Sephiroth's DNA. The results were far from pleasant.

I experienced excruciating pain on every inch of my body for weeks on end. I thought I was going to lose my mind. In fact, I think I did. As Hojo performed experiment after experiment on me, the pain in my shoulder grew. One day, while one of his assistants was testing the resiliency of my skeletal structure by attempting to drill through my arm, I finally snapped.

A wing sprouted from my left shoulder, and an incredible power surged through me. I broke free of my prison, took back my then silver katanas, and fought my way out of the Shinra facility. Badly injured, I fell through a large hole in the roof of a church in the slums.

When I came to, I found myself in a bed of mako eyes. Next to me were a pair of emerald katanas and a bright green materia.

A year later, I was hired by a woman with long, brown hair and large man with a gun on his arm to help blow up a mako reactor.