"Hurry Aeris!" Iflana urged her daughter as they fled through sector 5, "only a little farther baby."

     Nearly dragging the small child Ifalna continued her flight to the train station.  She knew the soldiers were not far behind.  As Ifalna turned a corner the train station came into view, her ticket to freedom. The train was just preparing to leave; they would make it just in time. But, Aeris was getting tired; the small child could not keep up and did not comprehend the dire situation she and her mother were in.

     "Mommy! I don't wanna run any more! I wanna stop!" the child cried as she began to slow her exhausted legs.

     "No Aeris we can't only a little father, we can't stop now." Ifalna said, trying to speed her daughter up. Behind them the soldiers turned the corner. They instantly spotted the woman and began firing. Ifalna yanked her daughter's arm and began to run as fast as she could while towing Aeris.  The bullets ripped through the air past them.

     Ifalna and Aeris neared the train.  With only 50 yards left Aeris' legs gave out and she fell to the ground. Ifalna jerked the child to her feet.

     "Just run, we're almost there!" she cried to her child.  They neared the train, they were holding the doors open for her. With only a few feet to go a searing pain tore into Ifalna's back. Stumbling for a few steps as she continued to run for the train Ifalna fell to the ground.

     "Mommy!" Aeris shouted, terrified by the bullets flying by.

     "Hurry Aeris get on the train" she choked out the words as she struggled to her knees. The pain was unbearable.  Aeris refused to leave her side. Ifalna looked up at the train. It seemed farther away than ever before. Her hope died as the pain worsened.  Choking back sobs mixed with pain hopelessness Ifalna almost gave up.

     Almost. She looked to the small child at her side. Aeris looked back with pleading green eyes, willing her mother on. She was hardly four years old, she didn't deserve a life in the constant torment of those labs. She refused to give up and die, not when her daughter needed her.

     Gathering what strength she had left Ifalna struggled to her feet. Stumbling on towards the train every inch seemed to take hours to cross. As Aeris was pulled into the train Ifalna again fell to the ground less than an arms length away from the train. She couldn't move, the pain was crippling her body was rendered useless.  Lifting her head she looked up into the train. Aeris looked back down at her. Tears falling from her green eyes.

     "Hurry Mommy they're coming, Hurry please!" the child cried, pleading her mother to get on the train.

     Ifalna could here the heavy footfalls of the soldiers getting closer. The train was starting, Praying to the planet for strength she reached an arm up towards the train, grabbing the floor of the train she began to pull herself in. Aeris pulled on her mother's arm, helping as much as a small child can. As she struggled into the train it began to pull away. Grasping at the smooth metallic floor her grip constantly slipped.  With a final effort she pulled herself completely into the train just ahead of the doors as they hissed shut.

     The world around her faded black and the sounds of the train slowly drained away.  The only thing she was away of was the burning pain that was spreading throughout her entire body, but that too seemed to be fading. She struggled to keep her thoughts together and coherent.  Everything was getting mixed together. There was some thought that seemed important. Ifalna struggled to place it. Green eyes, just like hers, in a small angelic face.  Aeris!

     Ifalna forced her eyes open. She was staring up at the plate that supported Midgar. She was vaguely aware of the small child pulling at her arms. She had to take care of Aeris. Struggling to breath she tried to rise to her feet, but to no avail.  Tears began to flood her eyes as a feeling of helplessness invaded her mind.  She would be forced to leave her daughter behind, alone, in a cold horrible place. Still she struggled to hold on to her life.

     Then through her blurring vision she saw a face. She was asking her something but it all got blurred together. Ifalna could feel herself slipping away. She still had to make sure Aeris was safe.

     "Please…take…A…Aeris…Some...where...safe…" she gasped out with her final breaths. She didn't hear the planet protesting her decision, so it must be right.

     Slowly she turned her head to the side to get one last look at her precious daughter. She would be alone in the world from now on. There was no one else in the world like her; But Aeris was strong, she would have to be. As her life slipped away Ifalna thought of her husband and the Promised Land that she would soon join him in. One day she would see Aeris there, but now she knew that is would not be soon. With her gaze fixed on Aeris and with a peaceful smile on her face and the planet's voice becoming stronger in her mind Ifalna's vision slowly faded to nothing.

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     Sephiroth stood inside his temporary tent, his gaze fixed on the piece of paper in his hand. It was a letter from President Shinra.  It stated that he was the newly appointed general of the Shinra Army.  The previous general had just died in the most recent attack against the Wutians. Now, at the age of 15, Sephiroth was in charge.

     He knew that many of the older officers would be angry and resentful that a child would be leading them, making his job that much harder, but what could he do?  In his two years in the army Sephiroth had been nothing but successful and had quickly risen in the ranks of SOLDIER, he wasn't about to give up all his hard work now.  He would take control and if any of the men objected they would face the consequences, already Sephiroth was formulating a plan of attack against Wutia.

  Sephiroth stepped outside his tent into the cool night air. Most of the men were eating around campfires that had never been lit, cheerful chatting with their friends or inviting new to come and join them. Sephiroth watched  with a sort of detached interest, in his two years in the army he had not once been in any group like the many he was now observing.  Even though there were now many young men his age it seemed that none were willing to talk to him.  When he had not been in the position he was in now every man in the army had treated him as an outcast.

Sephiroth knew he was different, there was no other explanation for it.  For years he had searched for the reason but had never found it. The fact that he had no family certainly didn't help much. Without any family or friends, completely shut out from the world Sephiroth had no problem devoting his entire life to his life as a soldier.

It was time now to address his troops. As Sephiroth stepped forward towards the men all the conversations came to an abrupt halt. All of the men looked at him as if he was a great disturbance. Forcing a look of cold indifference to his features Sephiroth began to inform his men of their new situation and strategy. 

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     A young girl sat on her bed gazing out her window.  Her long brown hair curled down around her knees. Her ruby eyes were fixed on something outside her window. Down below a blonde haired young man walked out his house to some unknown destination, probably to the market for his mother, he was a nice like that to his mother. A smile crept to her lips. 

     The young man turned his head and looked right up at her.  Gasping in surprise the girl ducked down under the windowsill. Had he seen her? Did he know she had been watching him? She flushed bright red at the thought.  She laid low until she was certain that he was gone. Slowly she cautiously peeked over the bottom of the windowsill. After deeming it safe to again sit up she rose back into her former position.

     She sighed as her eyes followed the boys every movement in the market.  Oh how she wished that she could talk to him, just once.  She wanted to so badly but could never work up the courage to start a conversation with him, no matter how many times the opportunity had arisen.  It wasn't that she couldn't talk to boys, most of her best friends were boys. It was just that every time she approached him she was rendered speechless by those deep dazzling blue eyes and the way his bright blonde hair was so perfectly spiked. 

     How many fantasies had she had with him? Too many to count, everyday she pictured the two of them together. Holding her in his arms, whispering sweet nothings in her ear. What if  he walked up to her door right now on his way home, he would suddenly admit his love for her and she would admit her love for him and they would live happily ever after.

   Picking one of the flowers out of the vase filled with yellow and blue flowers she twirled it idly with her fingers imagining hundreds of situations in which they could suddenly fall in love that day.  Again she tracked him on his way home from the market willing him to turn and walk up to her door.  Too caught up in her daydreaming she didn't notice as he looked up at her window from the street.  Their eyes locked and they gazed at each other for what seemed like forever. She tried to will herself to smile, to wave, to do something but she was frozen she could do nothing but stare back.  Finally he broke eye contact and continued on to his house. 

     She watched him until he disappeared into his small home, which was so close just next door.  Once he disappeared inside she sighed and leaned her head against the windowsill.  Why couldn't she every do anything. He must think that she hated him or something, if only she could tell him how she felt! Oh well.  The flower she had been twirling suddenly caught her attention…I wonder.  She took the blue flower and began pulling the flower off one at a time. He loves me. A petal drifted to the floor. He loves me not. One joined the other. He loves me. Another tumbled through the air to land on her bed. He loves me not. The one on the bed was joined by another. He loves me.  The petal joined the two on the floor.  For a few longs moments she stared at the one petal left on the bare stem. He loves me not. Oh what am I hoping for? Oh Cloud.  Tifa flopped down onto her bed and fixed her stare on the ceiling. The last petal twirled and fell alone onto the floor.

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     For the fifth time that day Cloud walked by Tifa's house, it seemed like he was always finding reasons to walk by.  He always hoped for that brief glimpse or her sitting by her window, or sitting in a room by the window, or playing in the front yard with her friends.  How he wished he could be one of her friends, no matter how much he despised all of the other children he felt like he loved Tifa with all of his heart.  So what if he hardly said a few words to her, that was no reason not to love her.

     He just wished that he could find some way to see if she cared, if she even knew he existed, or if she even knew his name.  For all he knew she could be like every other child in town and hate him, she could think he was some sort of social outcast and be disgusted at the very sight of him.  How did he know she didn't look away every time she saw him because of disgust?

     It just wasn't fair. How could she like all of those other boys and never want anything to do with him? They were all so hopelessly immature, with all their stupid little games, they all laughed at the stupidest little things. They were all protected from the reality of life.  Kept safe from the cold world.  Why did he have to be different, why couldn't he be so blissfully ignorant?

     Cloud continued to mull over his dark thoughts as he entered the painfully small house that he and his mother shared.  The small house was empty and dark, she must be at work.  For some reason Cloud was angered by this.  It just wasn't fair, his mother shouldn't have to work all day and struggle to support the two of them while other children's mothers got to stay home and simply clean the house.  He shouldn't have to take over the job of being the "man of the house" while all the other children get to play all day without a single worry crossing their naïve little minds.

     When he got older and married Tifa he would never leave her, he would always be there to take care of her, she would never have to lift a finger unless she wanted to.  His children would be free to run and play all day long.  He refused to be like his father.