OMG!!! I just recently read the original version of this and I realized... it was crappy.. okay, so maybe I wrote it a year ago, but that's NO excuse, it's getting fixed. So this is 'When Life and Fantasy Cross Version 2.0'

* * *

Sephiroth, Zack, and Cloud were walking slowly though the tall grass near Junon, returning from a three day training mission. In the distance the inner sea washed upon the shore and the smell of the water was in the stiff breeze. Clouds high in the sky occasionally obscured the noonday sun. The wind kept the heat down, but it was still warm and Sephiroth felt stifled in his black uniform, he did his best not to show it though. Zack and Cloud were freely fanning themselves. Zack was talking nonstop about a girl he'd met in Midgar, some Aeris or something. Vaguely, Sephiroth remembered her, but not very well, some experiment of Hojo's. And if she was an experiment of Hojo's, Sephiroth had no intention of telling the scientist where she was.

They came to a stop when Cloud suddenly flopped to the ground, laying in the tall grass and disappearing among the weeds. "Do we really have to make Junon by noon, Seph? It's REALLY hot out here!"

Zack watched Sephiroth's face for any sort of hint as to the general's mood, but a flick of a black-gloved hand set the first-class at ease and he flopped into the grass as well. "I'm going on a date with Aeris tomorrow night... She says she's got some friends if I could find anyone to go with them." He looked at Cloud who lifted his head to peer at his hyperactive friend.

"Alright," Cloud said, "It's something to do."

Both sets of eyes traveled up to where Sephiroth was still standing, looking imposing and apparently not paying attention. Finally, he looked down at them with a hint of confusion in his eyes. "Want to come?" Zack asked.

Cloud was silent, watching for the General's reaction as he propped himself up on one elbow.. he'd never seen that much of an expression on the man's face. Sephiroth took a breath, about to reply that he had better things to do, but, they apparently DID want him to come. Strange. "Alright," he replied, shocking Cloud into falling back down into the grass. "But," Sephiroth stated then, "If you intend to get there on time, we'd better move." He started walking again, the grass barely making a noise as he walked through it stoically, though.. there was a hint of a smile on his lips. Hurriedly, Zack and Cloud got to their feet, stumbling after their leader.

****

Aeris was standing in her usual place on the street corner of the sector three upper plate, selling her flowers for that terribly low price of one gil each. HOW she and her mother managed to stay fed was a mystery to Zack, but he put thoughts like that aside in favor of rushing over to her and lifting her off the ground with his hug.

"Zack!" she exclaimed breathlessly and placed a kiss upon his cheek. "You're back!" of course it was an obvious statement, but Zack was too overjoyed to see her to comment on it.

He gave a nod and set her feet on the ground once more, "Seph put us through hell, though," he gave a sigh. "Oh, and I found some guys to go with us..."

Aeris lifted her hand and smoothed his hair back from his face, "Who?" she asked, as if on cue.

"Cloud and Sephiroth."

Her basket hit the ground, "Sephiroth said... you're lying, aren't you?"

Zack stepped back, picking up her fallen flowers and handing them to her, "Nope, he agreed completely on his own."

A blush crept up her face, "Oh- I'll have to find someone for him! I didn't know you'd get...more than Cloud to come! I'm sure Rachel's got a friend she knows who'd be interested in coming. I think she said one of her friends just turned seventeen... that's about Sephiroth's age, right?"

Zack shrugged, "Can't really tell with him, but I suppose that's how old he is.. he mentioned not being much older than us once. Wish I could remember what he'd said." A shake of his head, and a kiss to Aeris's cheek followed that statement. "Got everything picked out?" he asked her. A bright nod his answer.

"But I'm not going to tell you what!" she said and poked his nose. "Not till tomorrow tonight, anyway."

"I suppose I'll just have to be surprised then," he said mournfully.

* * *

Katy stood staring at her reflection in the mirror, a slight frown on her light pink lips. Her red hair flopped down around her pale crème face giving her a somewhat rosy hue, though what she was frowning at wasn't that, it was the giant pimple in the exact center of her forehead. Rubbing at it with one finger, she sighed. "This sucks... of course it pops up on the day of my FIRST DATE EVER! I swear.. if there is a god up there, he's laughing at me." Oh, sure, she'd been out with friends before, but this was different, this was a completely blind date, one she'd been informed of this only yesterday, but she'd said yes because it was either sit on the computer all Friday night or go out and socialize. She didn't get out enough as it was.

She bowed her head, looking down at the sink that had hairs all in it. Recently, she'd switched bedrooms with her parents, due to the fact that her mother was going to have surgery soon and didn't need to be walking up and down stairs. Katy had been in the bedroom right beyond the kitchen on the first floor of the house for years and she was still cleaning up from moving three weeks ago. Sure the room was bigger, but the floor squeaked and the bathroom didn't have a shower of its own.

The hairs in the sink were from her father's shavings, as were the numerous water spots on the mirror in front of the sink her parent's fault. Her eyes traveled from the spotty brass faucet and into the mirror, then focused on the pendant hanging from her neck a moment. Sterling silver and rather tarnished but she certainly didn't mind that. It was a leg-less dragon in mid-flight, wings outspread and tail twisted around into a wizard's knot- well, that's what it looked like to her anyway. Straightening from leaning on the counter top, Katy looked again at her face. Her skin was clear of any blemish except for the one pimple, not counting the little inconsistencies in the color of her face from one place to another. Some were darker red then others, some way too pale. She rubbed her eyelid, trying to get her contact lens to feel right and picked up her brush.

Pulling the brush though her hair, her lips twitched downward yet again. "Wish my hair would grow." She'd dyed her hair red about three months ago at the same time as her sister had- same color too, and her sister was already showing roots, Katy's on the other hand, looked absolutely natural. She flicked her hair back behind her ears and put the brush down. "Well... It's not like I'm the only one that gets them," she rationalized, trying to put herself back into a better mood. "At least I'll be able to wear my pretty dress- finally."

She reached down, opening a drawer and pulling out the various makeup supplies she rarely used. Katy had never considered herself a true frump. She was just lazy. Frumps weren't often bitten by that bug that bestowed beauty on girls. She admitted she wasn't a beauty model, but at least she had some curves. She could wish for bigger breasts and a smaller waist, but at least she had a waist that was discernible from her hips and chest. Katy mused that she had an hourglass figure of sorts, but only on days when she was really feeling good about herself, today wasn't exactly one of those days.

She applied her makeup carefully, not having had much practice in this sort of thing. Downstairs, she was sure her father was fuming that he couldn't go along with his shotgun and leer at her date. A smile touched Katy's lips, causing her dimples to show somewhat in her rather rounded face. Her brown eyes sparkled in the light somewhat, watering from having to put on dratted mascara.

Taking a deep breath, she finished putting on her coral-pink lipstick and quickly put her finger into her mouth pulling it out and wiping off her finger then pressing her lips onto a folded piece of toilet tissue, removing access lipstick. She washed her hands quickly and dried them off on a nearby bath towel and stepped back, looking herself over in the mirror. It didn't look too bad- she hoped.

"Katy! Your ride's here!" her sister yelled mockingly. Katy glowered. Her sister Samantha was such a pain sometimes. Her first blind date and her sister had to be a snot and taunt about it.

"Coming," Katy replied, coming down the stairs. She would meet her date at the restaurant, her ride happened to be her friend Rachel.

Samantha smirked her pale thin lips at Katy when she saw her little sister. "Aww! You look so cute!" The taller girl crowed, but she was only taller by a few inches, and with Katy wearing high heels, her sister wasn't so high and mighty.

The urge to strangle her sister arose, but was forced down firmly. She hugged her parents and her sister tackled her with a hug as well, much to Katy's disgust. She was nervous and her sister had to act like this, it was annoying, it was more than annoying. Snagging her black wrap from the staircase banister, Katy hurried out the door at a dash, attempting to avoid the nasty spiders and stuff that resided on her front porch.

Rachel rolled her eyes slightly at the preformance and simply awaited in her car, watching as her friend climbed in and made sure her dress wasn't going to be caught before shutting the car door. Katy waved to her parents and once they were out of sight, she looked down at herself. Sighing, she picked at her black velveteen dress, the top of which was beaded and sequined in silver. There were slits up both sides of the skirt to her knees and on her feet were velvety black heels that were only about two inches high but were already killing her feet.

Katy stretched her feet out in the car and sighed. She really wasn't looking forward to this. She really expected the whole night to be a bust. The night rushed past outside her window as Anime music blared on the radio. She took a breath and looked over at Rachel, she was wearing a black skirt with a pattern of red flowers. Her shirt was dark red, same color as the flowers on her skirt or close enough to not matter. She wore a black sweater top over her shirt. Katy had to admit that those colors made her look thin, for Rachel wasn't a stick, but she wasn't fat either, simply endowed. Katy didn't really care if her friends were blue elephants as long as they were nice to her.

"So, any idea who our dates are?" Katy asked, rubbing the back of her neck.

"Dunno. Aeris wouldn't tell me even their names, said it wouldn't be fair because they don't know ours," Rachel replied as Katy turned the music down some.

"I'm probably going to have a severe case of 'Foot In Mouth' disease. That probably wouldn't feel comfortable, considering that I'm wearing heels!" Katy tried to joke. "How will we know which one is our date? Does Aeris decide?" Katy was somewhat unsure about Aeris, she was just too close to THE Aeris from her favorite game. Of course, Katy had never met her, but if she turned out to be anything like the Aeris from the game, Katy wasn't quite sure she could stand her. Flowers and pink just weren't her thing.

"I think Aeris decided... I told her that it was your seventeenth birthday last week and she really wanted you to come," Rachel replied.

"I have the urge to suddenly smack her with my sweatdrop... maybe smack you with it and say 'Shut Up Gourry!'.." Katy replied, making a 'Slayers' reference. Rachel laughed softly and said some Japanese word that Katy didn't quite catch or know the meaning of so she simply replied with a soft "Ano. So where are we going for dinner?"

"Some really fancy place, I can't remember the name of it right now," Rachel replied, her hands, eyes, and feet concentrating on driving. Katy let the silence lengthen, allowing Rachel to do her thing and keep them alive. She realized that she'd forgotten to bring a jacket of any sort and hoped that she wouldn't get cold. She figured that it was likely her date would be a nerd and that he'd try to do things like put his arm around her. "Ugh... I hope my date doesn't look like Peewee Herman!"

Rachel laughed softly in her light and somewhat breathy voice, "Oh no!" she replied in her silly anime voice.

* * *

Sephiroth felt incredibly stupid wearing a tie and only kept himself from fidgeting with it the way Cloud and Zack were by sheer willpower. Cloud ran his fingers though his hair. It was slicked back but his constant messing with it was going to mess it up quickly. The restaurant was one of the upscale ones in Midgar and therefore had plenty of people wandering around wearing really fancy clothing. Sephiroth wondered where any of his current company had gotten the money to pay for getting a table here let alone actually buying dinner. He pondered picking up the check and decided he would, but only if his date managed to impress him.

Zack nudged Sephiroth's ribs, "Hey, look! There's Aeris and those look like her friends. The three girls making their way over were all dressed nicely. Aeris had her long brown hair pulled up into a bun with a tail, small braids spiraling around in it. She wore a dark red dress with a slit up one side almost to her thigh. The two girls behind her were not exactly the most eye catching in the world, somewhat more along the lines of 'they have nice personalities'. Sephiroth felt somewhat disgusted as he watched the slimmer of Aeris's two friends stare at him as if she'd just been hit over the head.

The other girl was wearing black flats and so looked short compared to the two other girls who were wearing heels. She had dark brown hair pulled back with some stands falling out hanging in curls. Aeris hugged Zack and smiled at Sephiroth and Cloud.

"Hello!" Aeris said brightly, looking at Cloud and Sephiroth, taking the dark-haired girl's hand, she brightly smiled, "Rachel, this is Cloud, Cloud, Rachel!" The red-head was trembling somewhat, and was very pale. She closed her eyes and clenched her fingers into her palms, taking a deep breath. Opening her eyes she fixed a smile on her lips that showed her dimples and some of her front teeth and gap between them. "Sephiroth, this is Katy, Katy, your date, Sephiroth."

Katy laughed softly, "Kida figured already, 'Ris," she replied. Looking up at Sephiroth again she held her hand out nervously. "If I say something stupid, please forgive me, I've never been on a date before in my entire life- not to even mention a blind date. To tell the truth, I wasn't expecting you. I thought I'd get paired with some geeky guy who could be found on Uglypeople.com."

Sephiroth's lips twitched but the rest of his face didn't move. He took her hand but didn't hold onto it longer then necessarily. He watched Katy closely, noting that she tried her best not to stare at him as if he were growing twenty heads. Rachel seemed to be at a lack of anything to say to her date, so they were led to their table. Aeris insisted that each pair sit beside each other.

"Um, you right or left handed?" Katy asked Sephiroth and he simply gestured with his left hand, "Okay, then you sit here, I'm a righty and it's a little embarrassing to be having an elbow war in such a nice place." Rachel and Aeris giggled a little at that.

Katy looked around after sitting down, aware that Sephiroth was not entirely pleased with how things were going. Their waiter came, dressed primly with a towel over one arm, he looked like one of those stereotypical waiters at fancy restaurants and Katy refrained from commenting until he was gone. He asked for their drinks. Sephiroth ordered a scotch, figuring he would need it by the end of dinner. Cloud ordered a coke, as did Zack, Rachel and Aeris ordered tea while Katy was fine with water. They were given menus then and Katy unfolded her's, looking though it, her fingers playing with the pendant around her neck.

"Was it just me or did that waiter seem to come straight from one of those old TV shows?" Katy asked eliciting a snort from Cloud. Katy tapped her chin, looking at the prices, "Ye gads! Who in the world is going to pay for this? Is it too late to go to McDonalds or something?"

"Katy! This is your belated birthday dinner!" Aeris said, looking miffed and Katy sank back, "We're going to eat here and you're going to enjoy it!" Sephiroth was the only one who heard the resigned sigh from his date.

Zack looked at Katy, "So how old are you?"

"Seventeen," Katy replied softly, her fingers fretting with her skirt. A waiter returned, setting their drinks in front of them carefully then hurried off.

"Well, happy seventeenth!" Cloud said brightly.

"Yeah, thanks.." Katy said, sipping her water and looking sadly at the lipstick mark she left on the glass. "All that time I spent putting the stuff on only to lose it to the cutlery," she said mournfully and Aeris laughed.

The waiter that had taken their orders was suddenly there yet again as if he'd popped out of nowhere to simply be at their service, though his nose remained stuck in the air. "May I take your orders?" he asked in a somewhat nasal whine. The waiter's promptness was somewhat suspicious, simply because most of the other diners at the restaurant weren't attended so quickly. Katy felt the air move as Sephiroth shifted in his seat, as if he were uncomfortable. She listened as everyone else ordered their dinners and finally it came to her and Sephiroth.

"Um, you go first," she said to Sephiroth, looking at her menu still. She'd never been one to order first.

"I'll have whatever she gets," Sephiroth said, eyeing Katy. Perhaps it was a test- but in reality, Sephiroth just didn't feel like making any decisions... he'd never been out to dinner before either, therefor didn't know what would be good. He'd lied to Hojo in order to get out without anyone bothering him tonight.

"Well, thanks for throwing all the responsibility on me!" she said but was amused by this, as if she'd somewhat expected it but hadn't really. "Alright then.. I think we'll be having spaghetti." The waiter bowed after writing down the last order and retreated. Rachel and Cloud were busily talking about different kinds of hair gel while Zack and Aeris were just mooning at each other.

"You know," Katy said into the silence that had befallen their side of the table, "alcohol kills brain cells." Though she really didn't have a problem with drinking, so long as those who did it were responsible with it.

Sephiroth gave a soft grunt as he sipped his scotch. "That's what Hojo says."

Katy paused a moment, "Well, be kinda upsetting to see such a nice guy like yourself absolutely brainless." It seemed like an excuse to tell him something without outright saying it.

"Nice?" Sephiroth asked, sounding skeptical, though he was somewhat nervous.

"Yes. Nice. It's Hojo's fault for what you act like now," Katy said, trying not to reveal that she knew all about him already.

"How would you know?" Sephiroth asked stiffly.

"Um... Sore wa himitsu desu," she said, lifting one finger and winking at him.

Rachel caught what Katy had said and laughed, apparently it was some sort of inside joke with them. Sephiroth did not see what was so funny about her telling him 'That is a secret'. He watched her, getting suspicious of Katy as time passed. She rarely said anything though, apparently having as much to say as he did.

He looked around at the room, taking note of everything, exits and layout of the tables. The lighting was golden, but somewhat dim. The floor was marble with a live band playing soft music off to one side. The diners were all dressed nicely. The table he was sitting at was in a small alcove that kept them mostly secluded from the eyes of others.

Sephiroth felt eyes on him and looked down to see Katy looking at him. She smiled slightly and turned her attention back to her hands, which were in her lap. He realized that she'd noticed the tiny red zit on the side of his jaw and felt somewhat embarrassed. His hand lifted and rubbed at it a little.

Katy smiled again, "Don't worry about it, I've got one right here," she touched her forehead and he realized that she'd managed to cover hers with makeup, but it was still somewhat visible. "Is there anyone that you've ever dreamed of meeting- real or not?" she asked suddenly.

"Well... no," Sephiroth replied hesitantly, wondering where she'd suddenly come up with that subject.

"I've always wanted to meet Cid Highwind," Aeris spoke up.

"I'd give anything to meet the Chocobo Sage," Zack said.

Cloud grinned, "The only one I've ever wanted to meet is sitting at this table." Katy picked up her napkin and threw it at Cloud.

"That's my line!" she said as Cloud caught the napkin and threw it back to her.

Rachel thought a moment, "I think I'd like to meet Lina Inverse. Or Xellos."

"Oh you would wouldn't you?" Katy rolled her eyes. "I can't stand him!"

"I feel sorry for him when he gets his arm ripped off!" Rachel replied.

Katy snorted, "But he gets it back! Besides, it's only what he deserves for leading them in circles the way he did. Though.. if I had the power he does.. I'd act the same way, probably why I hate him. Jealousy!" Sephiroth's lips twitched yet again at that last statement and Katy's attention moved back to him. "Thought of anyone yet?"

He shrugged, sipping his scotch, looking down into its contents a moment before he finally took a breath to answer. "Maybe..." he shook his head.

"Maybe who? I won't laugh at you," Katy urged.

"Haplo, from a set of books I read-" he said slowly, expecting blank looks or perhaps stares of shock that he actually read fantasy.

He was startled by the immediate and excited response, "HAPLO?!" Katy interrupted her eyes going wide once again. "You read those books?! Oh my gosh! They were the greatest!" Katy clasped her hands together, eager to hear Sephiroth's opinion of something that had made her begin to love reading.

Sephiroth found a slight smile touching his lips, "They were," he agreed.

"Specially the part where Alfred cusses Haplo out, that was soo funny!" Katy gushed, apparently on a topic she didn't usually get to talk about.

Sephiroth nodded in agreement but stated, "Personally, I liked Jonathan."

Katy nodded as well, "Tragic end though, wouldn't wish that on anyone." She gave a bit of a shiver, "Ripped to pieces then made into a Lazar!"

The others at the table were somewhat startled, not only by how Sephiroth had suddenly opened the way he did but that he had found something so obscure to talk about with this strange redheaded girl. Turning himself to face Katy a little more, he continued talking with her about various happenings in some set of books none of the others had heard about. Conversation on the other side of the table finally started up again, leaving Sephiroth and Katy to themselves, for they were far too interested in their topic to mind the rest of them. Their dinner came finally and talk subsided to comments between bites.

"Ou, I've got an idea. Lets go out and do something else expensive and charge it to Hojo. I'm sure he's done something lately to deserve it," Katy suggested with an evil grin toward Sephiroth.

Sephiroth smiled evilly, "Hmm.. That is a very lovely idea, Katy," he replied.

Katy pretended to swoon out of her seat. "Wow... he said it was a good idea!" she gushed in an exaggerated way, "be still my beating heart!"

Sephiroth smiled somewhat again, never having had anyone flirt so outrageously with him before. "I'll pay for dinner," he announced and Aeris immediately tried to complain but his look stopped her words.

* * *

Katy closed her eyes, being full with absolutely wonderful food, sitting beside the one she figured she loved, or at least liked a whole lot, Sephiroth in the flesh, instead of just an image on her computer screen. She listened to the talk go on around her as Sephiroth polished off his second glass of scotch. She opened her eyes, looking down at her hands, finding Sephiroth's right hand in his lap. Katy pondered a moment, looking back at her own hands, seeing her silver ring glittering on her finger. Slowly, she took it off, fingering it some then slipping her left hand over to his right and tucking the ring into his palm.

Lifting her head slightly, she saw him looking at her in puzzlement. A slight smile touched her lips and she simply mouthed the words 'Thank you' and returned her attention to the conversation, diving into it once again. Sephiroth looked down at the ring for a long moment then slipped it onto his pinky, the only finger it would fit on. No one had ever given him anything and said 'Thank you' at the same time. He wondered what he'd done to cause this and found nothing.

The time came that Rachel and Katy had to leave because of curfew and they said their good-byes. Sephiroth wasn't sure he wanted Katy to leave just yet, but he knew she had to.

"Thank you for being my date, Sephiroth, I really hadn't expected much when I first got invited and wasn't sure I wanted to come, but I'm glad I did," Katy said to him.

"You want this back?" Sephiroth asked, about to hand the ring back to her, but found he couldn't get it off his finger. "It won't come off.."

Katy giggled softly, "Fate says you should keep it then," she replied and Sephiroth gave up trying to get it off.

"Why did you give it to me?" Sephiroth asked, completely mystified still, Rachel was off by the door, waiting for Katy to come.

"Sore wa himitsu desu, Sephiroth," Katy replied with a grin, "Just remember me, please? I'll always remember you, if that makes you feel better in any way." She suddenly put her arms around his shoulders and snuck a kiss on his cheek. "Keep safe and don't go listening to old pickled women who say they're family members, they generally lead to trouble." She turned, hurrying to catch up with Rachel and they were soon away.

"Old pickled women? Where did that come from?" Sephiroth asked and scratched the back of his neck, a blush across his cheeks that had been there from the moment she'd hugged him and deepened when she'd kissed him. "Didn't have to ask me to remember you, Katy, I would have anyway." He turned, going over to pay for dinner, the thought of charging it to Hojo occurring to him again.



FIN!