A/N: Chapter 74, Aerith's and Zack's point of view.
So, a special fanfic for oodball. Why? Because of Sant Jordi, that's why!
This is one of the side stories I had been planning to do for Nibelheim, so consider it part of the canon of that series. oodball asked for "You know, I want to know what were Zack and Aerith doing while Tifa and Cloud were having their 'date'." almost two years back, so here it is. No beta this time because I needed to publish this as soon as I could, since Sant Jordi is already over and I'm late again. Anyway, this is probably not exactly what you asked for, but I sure hope it's good enough.
"You know, my birthday is next week."
Aerith blinked once, twice, trying to shake off the drowsiness. "What are you doing here, Zack?"
The black haired man was standing in her room's doorway. "Did I wake you up?" He asked, taking notice of the lack of her characteristic braid and the few wild strands of hair.
"It's..." She looked behind her to the room's clock. "almost twelve, I'm in my nightgown, and everyone was supposed to go to their rooms to sleep until tomorrow..."
"Sorry about that." He sheepishly said. "But now that you're up, what about going out? I heard today is special and all the attractions are free for couples." As Aerith stared at him, he tried to correct his thoughts. "I don't mean that we... well, you are a girl, I'm a guy, we could be." Aerith raised an eyebrow. "I mean, we could be for tonight! Free attractions, you know?" He let out an embarrassed chuckle while scratching the back of his head.
The green eyed girl rested her head on her hand while thinking. She had been going around the theme park with Zack and Yuffie before, but it had been impossible to cover all the squares by the time night fell.
"I just thought we could go out, celebrate my birthday even if it's a bit early and-"
"-Sure." She interrupted him, having made her mind and answering with a smile. "Let me change and I'll be right there."
"What was that about your birthday?" Aerith said as she approached Zack, who was waiting at the entrance of the building.
"Oh, that." He replied as they started to walk out of the hotel. "It was mostly an excuse for you to accept." He said as he opened the door for her. "But it's true it's next week."
"I see." She said, taking in the scenery outside.
The night sky let the lights from the Gold Saucer look even more magnificent, hiding the real stars in exchange of hundreds of colored shining shards. Aerith smiled. Having lived all her life in Nibelheim, she didn't miss the stars enough to be distracted from the spectacle. "It's so pretty..."
Before Zack could say a word, Aerith turned around, facing him. "So. What do you want to do for your birthday?"
The black haired man thought about it. "The fireworks start at twelve, so we have some time to kill until then."
"Fireworks?" Aerith asked.
"Cloud told me they are going to fire them at the end of the night. Sadly there aren't any more gondola tickets left, it would have been nice to see it from up there." Zack answered. They had been talking about Tifa when the black haired man showed Cloud the last ticket. At first, he had planned to take Tifa with him. Just like the old times, only him and his sister. But seeing the blond trying to find reasons to spend time with her, Zack selflessly gave away the ticket and reminded Cloud about the bet to use as an excuse.
Which he was regretting now, looking at Aerith at his side. Still, his sister's happiness was more important, and it was the blond's birthday.
He better appreciate such a present though.
As the pair started to walk towards the Wonder Square, Aerith turned to Zack once again. "You think Cloud took Tifa with him?"
"I'm pretty sure about it. I would have taken her if he didn't." He replied, coming to a stop. Hundreds of couples were flooding Gold Saucer, and the Wonder Square wasn't an exception.
"Then I'm your second option, hmm?" Aerith teasingly prodded Zack with her elbow, even as a hint of disappointment shone through.
"It's not like that." Zack said as he took her hand, determined to get to the square. Most of the couples were just outside, enjoying the lights, but through the windows, the zone where the games were seemed almost empty. "I'm not choosing Tifa over you, it's just different." He absentmindedly continued.
"She's my sister, she's always going to be important." Zack kept talking as he made way for Aerith, not letting go of her hand. "But sometimes I wonder why I'm not dating you yet."
Aerith's eyes widened. "What?" She tried, but the noise from all the people talking around them made it impossible for him to hear her.
"I've always been too busy with Tifa to really think about this kind of stuff. It's not that I'm not interested, it just felt that it wasn't the right moment." He went on, raising his voice over the couples'. "What I mean is, when things calm down and I... learn to let Tifa go... maybe we could-"
Zack stopped as he felt Aerith's hand let go. They had passed through the sea of people and were standing in the entrance of the Square, their objective accomplished. But the green eyed girl didn't seem to realize.
As he looked at her, a blush crept up her cheeks. "I-I.. I mean, I was just joking!"
"Another couple made it through! How 'bout it? Want me to read your fortune!" A robotic cat on a oversized mog approached them. "A bright future! A happy future! Oh, but don't hold it against me if it's not a great prediction! Oh, so sorry! I'm a fortune telling machine. The name's Cait Sith."
Aerith cleared her throat, refusing to look at Zack's eyes and directed to the fortune teller machine. "Hmm... you can only read the future?"
"You kidding! I can find missing things, missing people, anything!" The cat answered, not noticing the awkward atmosphere.
The girl thought about it, a mischievous idea popping in her mind. With a grin, she asked. "Why don't you read our fortunes? Let's see how compatible Zack here and I are!"
"A-Aerith, we should probably go...-" He tried, but the machine interrupted him.
"Free for couples for today, so here I go!" The machine danced in a strange way as the mog clapped. Suddenly, a paper came out of the mog's mouth. "That's not good..."
"Aerith, we should really go..." Zack insisted.
"No! Tell me! I promise I won't get mad!" Aerith exclaimed, ignoring Zack's suggestion.
"Is that so? Then I'll tell you... Aerith's star and Zack's star..." A sudden noise came from the machine as the next words came from the speaker in the megaphone the cat was holding. "Looks good! You are perfect for each other! Aerith's star and Zack's star! They show a great future! Zack, I'll be your matchmaker, preacher... I'll do whatever you want me to! You just call me when it all happens!"
"That's it, we are leaving." Zack said as a deep crimson blush covered his face. Taking Aerith's hand, they made their way into the square. "And we are not together!" He exclaimed towards the machine, which tried to follow them until it suddenly powered off.
"What was all that about?" Aerith asked before taking another piece of the cotton candy she was holding for both of them.
Zack let out a sigh before grinning at her. "First you say you were joking, and then you ask for a fortune about us?"
"You deserved some teasing after saying something like that!" She replied, taking the cotton away when he was about to get another piece.
Giving up on the cotton for the moment and slumping back into his seat in the bank, Zack scratched the back of his head. "I never told you about my father's job, right?" At Aerith's silence, he continued. "He makes robots..." As Aerith's eyes widened, his smirk grew. "Sometimes for rich families, sometimes for big companies as their mascot." He was struggling to contain the laughter as her look of 'Oh no!' became clearer and clearer. "Sometimes he makes fortune tellers."
"Oh no!" Aerith finally exclaimed, covering her mouth with her free hand.
"They just pop a random fortune, I used to play with them when I was a kid."
"So the voice we heard from the speaker?"
"I guess my father caught a glimpse of us in one of the control monitors. He probably called my mother over and that's what you heard. When the random fortune turned out to be bad, she took over the radio signal of the robot and... made her own. My father probably turned it off so my mother couldn't follow us around." As he finished explaining and taking advantage of Aerith's shocked state, he took the candy from her, taking a big piece of it and waving it in front of her face before eating it.
"Hey!" She complained, trying to take the cotton back.
A/N: Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
No them trying to make Cait see that they are not a couple (yet) but I think it fits Nibelheim better like this, don't you think? :P
(Before anyone asks, I am writing. Life keeps being crazy and not letting me catch a break, so I'm trying to finish the story before starting to publish again. And thanks everyone for being so patient with me.)