I do not own Final Fantasy or its characters.
Because if I did, there's no way in HELL Zack would be dead.
"Hey, Zack?" Aerith began, looking down at and tending to the flowers with a contemplating look in her emerald green eyes.
Said person looked up from his arm wrestling match with his previous SOLDIER mentor, Angeal Hewley, both curious about the sudden seriousness of the flower girl's voice.
"Yea, babe?" Zack asked, leaping to his feet and bounding across the expanse of white space to the flower patch, where he walked much more carefully until he was close enough to Aerith to kneel down next to her.
"What if I had an idea that might work, but might not work?" she asked, so engrossed in her thoughts that she didn't realize what she was saying didn't make any sense.
Zack blinked in confusion, tilting his head to the side in an adorable puppy-like manner before tweaking the imaginary little dial on the side of his head so he could hear Aerith's thoughts. (They had enough self awareness to not be swallowed up by the rest of the Lifestream, mind you, but that didn't stop them from sometimes blending their minds together like the other souls and accidentally listening to each others thoughts. They preferred to stay on different "frequencies," as Zack called it, because Zack had more than once had less-than-appropriate thoughts about Aerith that Angeal would really rather not hear.)
"...Um," he began eventually after he got the gist of what Aerith was planning. Angeal had taken to sitting beside the magical little pool of water off to the side that they sometimes used to check up on their living friends (or use as a T.V. when they're bored), most likely trying to telepathically ask Genesis what the hell he was doing sitting in a bubble in a Goddess-forsaken cave for Gaia knows how long.
"Think about it," Aerith gushed, offhandedly tweaking her own "dial" to get her mind away from Zack's, because even though they were together, having someone in your head wasn't a very enjoyable experience, "Cloud wouldn't be so depressed, Genesis wouldn't be in bubble-" insert annoyed grumble from Angeal, "- and Sephiroth wouldn't be all secluded from the rest of Lifestream competing with Cloud in a depression contest!"
"Speaking of Seph," Zack began, looking over his shoulder at Angeal, "Where's his cell, now? Did it move again?"
Angeal blinked up at him, thinking for a while, "Yea, it's just past the Nibelheim group."
"Even dead, they're still so small town," Zack grumbled, turning back to Aerith. "How do they even stay grouped like that? I thought they were supposed to be absorbed by the rest of the Lifestream."
"I'm not sure," Aerith admitted, frowning in contemplation. "The Turks stay away from the SOLDIERS, too."
"Since when could you pick where you flowed?" Zack cried out indignantly. "That's so not fair. I wanna live under Costa del Sol. Why are we under a Zolom nesting ground? Do you know how bad it stinks when I so much as try to stick my head out of the spring?"
"Anyways," Aerith interrupted, "Back to the topic; I couldn't send Cloud because he hasn't had enough contact with the Lifestream for me to influence his soul-"
"He's been here four times," Zack deadpanned incredulously, "He swam in it."
"- Yep, not nearly enough," Aerith went on, ignoring him. "And it would seem like a pretty overused storyline, for some reason," she mulled, a thoughtful finger on her chin.
"...Huh?" Zack asked, making a face.
"And Angeal doesn't know Cloud enough to make a difference with him," Aerith finished.
"What?" Angeal asked at the sound of his name, looking up from the pond curiously.
"Why not you?" Zack whined. "You know what you're doing. What if I get sent back too late? Or too early? Or way too early? I don't know about you, but I'd rather not wake up in a two year old body with a twenty-three year old mind." He shuddered.
"Please, Zack?" Aerith pleaded, giving him puppy eyes. "I could always just bring you back if it doesn't work..." His stare wavered at her big green eyes until he finally sighed explosively, throwing his arms in the air.
"You stole that from me," he pouted, gesturing to her tear-jerking expression. "But fine, I'll do it..."
"Hooray!" Aerith laughed, throwing her arms around his and kissing his cheek. "Thank you!"
"Yea, yea," he said with a grin, rolling his eyes and hugging her back. "So how's this gonna work?"
"Oh, I could do it at anytime," she explained, pulling back. "Since the Lifestream exists everywhere and everywhen. Just tell me when you're ready!"
Zack hummed, looking over his shoulder, "Hey, Angeal, I'm going back in time, kay?"
"Be back by ten," Angeal mumbled distractedly as he now watched a chocobo race, having given up on talking to Genesis for the time being.
"Okay, let's do this!" Zack said cheerfully, turning to Aerith with a grin expectantly. She smiled back at him and kissed him.
"Hey, wait a second!" Angeal gasped, now just realizing what Zack had said.
"Okay, see you in a bit!" Aerith replied to Zack cheerfully. And then she placed her hands on either side of Zack's head, and a strange numbness had taken over him, not unlike falling asleep.
The Goddess paused in her chess game with Odin, blinking thoughtfully when she felt a disturbance in the force.
"What happened, my Lady?" Odin asked curiously.
Minerva shook her head with a fond smile. "That girl is at it again."
When Zack first opened his eyes, he figured that the familiar white light he saw was just a bad case of photo-sensitivity and that he would blink a few times and be looking up at the ceiling of his apartment in the Shinra building, but after blinking quite a few times and rubbing his eyes furiously, he realized that no, he was still dead.
"Hey, babe?" He called out, looking around for Aerith or Angeal. "It didn't work!"
The only thing he saw was a pond like the one they used to watch the living world, and he crept over to it curiously, gasping when he saw what was in it.
He was in his apartment, alright, just waking up and putting on his 2nd Class SOLDIER uniform. And unless the pond decided to start playing older scenes, then he did get sent back in time.
"What the hell am I supposed to do now?" he wailed, throwing himself down on the ground beside the pond.
Zack Fair, SOLDIER 2nd Class, paused in pulling his turtleneck over his torso when he heard someone yell something, someone that he thought sounded suspiciously like himself.
"That's weird," he muttered.
What's weird is watching yourself get dressed from a completely different location, the voice grumbled in response, and Zack jumped in surprised when he realized it was in his head. How am I supposed to contact Aerith from here? I'll guess she'll notice if I change anything or not...
"Um," Zack began, bewildered, and a little freaked out. "Why am I thinking thoughts I'm not thinking?"
Was I that loony? the voice went on. I don't remember this. Why am I talking to myself? Did I go crazy and not notice it?
"Um, I wouldn't know?" Zack said uncertainly. "Who are you, just wondering? Why are you in my head? And why do you sound like me? Oh, damnit, I knew I shouldn't have drank that stuff Reno gave me! It was probably some weird experiment the Science Department put him up to!"
Why the hell would you drink something a Turk gave you? the voice demanded as if he were stupid.
"Hey, I had just come back from a mission and I was really thirsty!" Zack cried in his defense.
There was a moment of silence where Zack had started to think the voice had gone away and it was just some type of sleep-induced hallucination, but then the it started up again. Wait...you can hear me?
"Uh, who do you think I've been talking to?" Zack asked rhetorically.
So, yeah, feedback is appreciated! This is my first FF7 fanfic, too, so don't hate too hard xP