Missed. (Final Fantasy 7)

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Missed. (Final Fantasy 7)

Post by Kaitou_Dark_Sama on Thu May 13, 2010 12:32 pm

Title: Missed
From: Final Fantasy 7 (AU)
Rated: M
Characters: All (Main: Zack Fair, Cloud Strife)
Words: 59605/60667(so far)
Chapters: 7/XX
Notes: Luckily for me, this story is already broken into section for me 8D so each section is in it's own post, alright. Alright. If you have anything you would like to say to me about this story please send them to me as Personal Messages...I don't want to clutter the thread. This is one of the only stories I have that I'm actually WORKING ON.

Chapter 1

“It’s good to be home…” Zack said as he stepped out of his car parked in front of the hotel he would be staying at until he could actually be bothered to find a place to live. The rolling fields surrounding the area could barely be seen between the houses. “This place hasn’t changed a bit…” he said to himself, his hands on his hips as he surveyed the area in front of him and tried to decide where he should go visit from here.
He decided with the park he and his old friends used to hang out at. It was a short walk from where he was staying. And when he got there he sure was glad he did. There were a few little boys running around. The sight of them made Zack think of his own past when he would run around in a similar fashion with his friends.

“Hey Zack! Catch!” A brunette boy said before chucking a ball at the dark haired boy with relatively tan skin. Because of the lack of a warning it hit him in the face and sent him sprawling backwards. The brunette laughed, “HAHA Sephiroth! Did you see that!?” He said turning to the boy with platinum silver hair. Who nodded and smirked.

“Angeal!” Zack whined as he got up and ran over to their other friend who was sitting on one of the park benches. The young teen looked up at Zack with a cocked eyebrow, “Did you see what Genesis did!?” He yelled rubbing his nose where the ball had hit him.

“No.” Angeal replied bluntly. He looked away from Zack but could feel the puppy dog eyes against his side of his head. Angeal sighed and stood up, “What did he do, puppy?” He said using Zack’s nickname from the three older boys.

“He threw a ball at me.” Zack whined, though he was visibly happy that Angeal paid him any attention. Being the youngest he was often cast aside. The other three were thirteen years old and Zack was only nine.

“You were being annoying; besides, I told you I was going to throw it.” Genesis said walking towards the two dark haired boys, shrugging as he went, a pleased smirk stretched across his pale features. “It’s not my fault you have terrible reaction time.”

“Shut up Genesis you weren’t being fair!” Zack snapped turning and glaring at the older boy, stomping his foot on the ground as though to really convey his thoughts on this point.

“Yeah? And what are you going to do about it, shrimp?” Genesis threatened glaring down at Zack.

The little tan boy seemed to snap as he threw a punch and nailed Genesis in the nose. The older man staggered back and by then Zack was on top of him beating him, landing punches wherever he could manage. But it didn’t take long before Genesis started to retaliate. Sephiroth and Angeal had tried to pull the two apart with no luck and managed to get a few hits of their own while trying to work it all out.

“HEY STOP IT GUYS!” Someone called, and that was all it took for the four boys to leave one another alone and look up at the young lady who had yelled. Her long brown hair was pulled back into a ponytail and she frowned down at the four, her hands on her hips her green eyes slightly frustrated. “You guys are friends you shouldn’t be fighting.” She said.

“Sorry Aerith…” the four boys said together letting the little girl, younger then all of them have it her way since they didn’t want to get her mad. They stood up and brushed themselves off.

“Now, Genesis, I want you to apologize to Zack.” Aerith said setting her glare onto the brunette boy, leaning forward slightly, vicious towards the four boys despite her tiny stature, barely standing to Genesis’s shoulder.

“What!? Why me!? How do you know Zack didn’t start it?” Genesis retorted crossing his arms and shaking his head in a rather childish manner, which was so like the young man to do.

“Well you just proved my point. Now apologize.” She demanded.

“I’m sorry Zack…” Genesis said quietly in a defeated tone of voice slouching forward with a sigh reaching up to scratch the back of his neck, not even looking at Zack as he spoke, obviously not wanting to add the look of victory on Zack’s tan face to the embarrassment he was already dealing with after having to apologize to anyone in the first place.

Aerith smiled sweetly, “Now isn’t that better.” Zack just laughed…

The thoughts, the memories played through Zack’s mind as he watched these little kids playing and play fighting, the two girls trying to keep the three boys from getting to rowdy. He smiled at them, they hadn’t noticed him and they didn’t now as he stood up and decided where he was going to go from here. He was going to go find his old friends. They had to still live here; no one ever left this little town. Zack himself had been one of the rare exceptions to this. But he knew his friends still had to be here, and he decided he would start with good ol’ Angeal.

The route to Angeal’s house was burned into his memory for an eternity, that, along with the directions to all his friends houses, was something he knew he would never forget in his entire life, especially since most of them lived right by his old house. He was sure Angeal would still be here, and if he wasn’t still in the same house he would be somewhere still in the city limits. He knew this as he approached the quaint little house up the asphalt driveway with no car in it.

He rang the doorbell and waited. And waited. After a couple minutes he was starting to think that no one was going to answer but the door did eventually swing open. The person behind it was rather familiar though Zack wouldn’t have been able to place him if he hadn’t slightly looked like Angeal, the angles on their faces were the exact same, but their hair was different, this man had grey hair and his eyes were brown, it wasn’t Angeal but Angeal’s father. “Uh…hey, does Angeal still live around here?” Zack asked unable to help from feeling at least a little awkward talking to this man for the first time in his life. Before he had only ever seen him once in real life and a few times in pictures.

“Angeal left here for the big city a long while ago.” The man said in a hoarse voice as he examined Zack who was suddenly even more awkward, not having ever expected Angeal to be one of the people that left this city, it always just seemed that everyone who had lived here would still live here.

“Oh…alright, sorry to bother you then…” Zack said scratching the back of his head and taking a few steps off the patio as Angeal’s dad closed the door. That had really caught Zack off guard, now he wasn’t sure whether anyone would still be here, though he knew there was only one way to find out. He stepped off the Hewley property and looked up at the sky which was turning a dreary grey to match Zack’s suddenly foul mood. He looked down at his watch, it was getting a bit late, maybe he would have better luck tomorrow, and it was probably time for him to head back to the hotel for now. So that’s what he did he started off towards the hotel where his car and everything was.

On his way back he was stopped by a voice that sounded almost familiar. It was deeper though, much deeper, and no longer broke every once and a while. But the way it was yelling was familiar, and got Zack to look around for the person causing the ruckus. The man was spotted quickly and Zack smiled, he had found someone he knew, he was starting somewhere.

The man he was looking at had almost shoulder length brown hair which was styled perfectly with most of it flipped to one side and covering his face, which Zack could barely see because of the distance and the fact that the other man was only partially turned to him. His features were pale and cold, his eyes an icy blue. He wore a red leather jacket, but it was still the voice that made Zack so sure of who it was and made him actually make his way over to him.

“Genesis? Is that you?” Zack asked as he approached and the figure became more defined, if it was Genesis as Zack guessed, the boy sure had grown into a man over the years, though still such a familiar figure he looked like a stranger as well, and that made Zack wonder whether or not people would be able to recognize him now.

Genesis turned and looked at the person who had called his name, taking his eyes off what he was trying to get into the back of his truck. Those cold blue eyes looked the tan man over, eyebrows furrowed. “Yeah…it’s me. But, do I know you?” Genesis said crossing his arms over his chest and giving Zack his full attention, but Zack was simply shocked. “What’s with that face, you look like you saw a ghost.” Genesis said as he noticed how shocked Zack seemed to be.

Zack suddenly burst into a fit of laughter, doubling over grabbing onto his knees as he laughed. It made Genesis take a step back in surprise and maybe worry. “Um…are you alright, sir?” Genesis asked bending down slightly, putting his arms over Zack slightly as though to protect him from any further episodes.

Zack stopped his laughter and looked up at Genesis who still looked slightly worried. Zack stood up straight, “Yeah. I’m fine, but are you? What was with that ‘sir’ bull shit?” Zack said with a smile putting his hand on Genesis’ forehead to check for a high temperature, but it just ticked off the brunette.

“Don’t touch me.” He snapped swatting Zack’s hand away from his face. He took a step away from Zack, his glare had returned, fiercer than ever now.
“That’s more like the Genesis I know.” Zack said with a smile, honestly so pleased with Genesis’ reaction, remembering how blunt and rude Genesis had been back when they were kids.

“I don’t know you! Stop acting like you know me.” Genesis demanded before slamming the trunk of his car closed and walking around to the drivers’ side door. Zack was shocked again and he followed Genesis. He grabbed the door just as Genesis had gotten in and was about to close it. He was glad he had had all the training the past few years or he probably wouldn’t have been able to keep the door open, it seemed like Genesis had been working out a lot to.
“What now!?” Genesis snapped.

“It’s me…Zack Fair.” Zack said with a frown, “Do you honestly not remember me?” He choked out, his throat was getting tight as his brows furrowed over his bright blue eyes.

Genesis paused and looked Zack over again his angry demeanor faltered for a moment, but didn’t come back nearly as fierce this time, maybe he felt some pity for poor delusional Zack Fair. He looked at the steering wheel in front of him, “No I don’t know you. I think I’d remember someone as messed up as you.” That seemed to really hit it home in Zack’s mind as the tan man let go of the door and let Genesis close it.

Zack stood there, not moving as Genesis turned on the car and rain started to fall from the grey sky, hitting Zack’s face as he didn’t even bother to watch Genesis start to drive away. He couldn’t believe one of his best friends could just forget him like it seemed Genesis had right now. At least it seemed as though the Earth felt for him, at least it seemed like it hadn’t forgotten him. He couldn’t bring himself to move at all. He didn’t want to. Now that he really got a chance to think about it everyone had probably either moved away or had forgotten him for the eleven years he had lived in the big city far away from this little rural community out in the middle of nowhere. He looked up at the sky and let the rain hit against his skin cooling it down just from the slightest touch, his mouth slightly ajar from the initial shock which had failed to wear off.

Head lights lit up the air around Zack, but he didn’t turn around or even think of moving. What was the worst that could happen; the car would hit him and end his life. Well so far, it seemed like he didn’t have much more to live for. The car though stopped beside him. He didn’t move. The person honked and he heard the small whir as they rolled down the window on the passenger side. “Hey, Zack.” The person called, it finally got his attention and he turned his head to the side and saw Genesis looking at him, his brows furrowed. A spark of hope started to light up Zack’s brain, and he started to think. His neck which had still been craned backwards moved to a more natural position as he approached the car.

“Yeah?” Zack asked cocking an eyebrow and resting a hand on the window.

“Are you just going to stand out here looking like a zombie and get sick or do you wanna get in the car so I can drive you to where you’re staying?” Genesis questioned. The spark was gone, it wasn’t that Genesis had suddenly remembered him; guilt just seemed to have gotten the better of the rude brunette. Zack opened the car door and got in and did up his seat belt as Genesis pulled back out onto the main road, “So where are you staying?” he asked looking at Zack out of the corner of his eye.

“I’m staying at the hotel down near the marketplace, by the park.” Zack brought up the park, not as a land mark, but in hope that it would get Genesis to remember something about Zack. But Genesis just nodded and started towards the hotel, without even a second thought, it really was as though Genesis had completely forgotten about him over the years. This depressed Zack more then he thought it would and Genesis didn’t bother sparking a conversation, and the ride was incredibly awkward, at least to Zack. Genesis still seemed to barely register the fact that anyone was in the car with him.

They travelled down the main road, one of the only roads in the small city until they got to the marketplace then to the hotel where Zack saw his car parked, compared to the huge truck Genesis was driving it sure seemed flashy and Zack noticed Genesis looking it over, not in jealousy but with a spark that said ‘my car could crush that thing like a bug.’ Zack almost smiled, that would be just like Genesis.

Zack opened the door as the truck stopped and looked back up at Genesis, “Thanks.” He said, with a small rather forced smile.

“It wasn’t a problem.” Genesis said shaking his head. Zack closed the door and walked up to the entrance of the building, he looked over his shoulder at Genesis as the massive truck took off into the distance. Zack sighed before he opened the door to the hotel and stepped inside out of the rain.

As he checked in and made his way up to his room he thought that maybe tomorrow would be a bit better than this had been. He realized if he had talked to Genesis while they were in the car he probably would have been able to get the brunette to remember him, instead of acting like a zombie as Genesis had put it. He could have brought up Angeal; if he had Genesis probably would have started to clue into back when the four of them would hang out or even to the fact that who else could know Angeal enough. He could have brought up that fight that he remembered while he was at the park, where Aerith had had to come and pull the two off of one another. But he hadn’t done any of that, he could try again another time, hopefully he would be able to see Genesis again.

He got up and walked over to the vanity on the far side of the room and looked at himself, was he really that much different, sure his skin was a little darker then it had been before and his hair was longer and all pushed back except for one strand which fell in front of his face. His arms were bigger and his muscles more defined, and he now sported the scar on his left cheek and earring on his left ear, but there wasn’t really anything that different about him, was there? Maybe he looked a little more mature, which would definitely throw off his old friends. Maybe he would have better luck tomorrow. He would try to find Sephiroth and maybe Aerith. His luck couldn’t be that bad. He sighed and went back to sit on the lumpy bed he had been provided. He hoped they were both still here.

He closed his eyes and he almost fell asleep. But he stopped himself as he remembered the other people he would have to see, like Cissinei, Tifa and Cloud. Maybe even Rufus and Lazard. It really would be good to see how many of them were still there and how many of them would still remember them. Genesis had always been a rude person, he was just being cruel, though Zack didn’t think he was lying, he was pretty sure he had actually forgotten. This city…it really did deserve the title the City That Forgets. Or maybe Genesis just took it too literally. Zack stood up and took off his vest, he changed into some more comfortable pants while he kicked off his boots and socks and this time he let himself go to sleep.

Last edited by Kaitou_Dark_Sama on Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:05 pm; edited 21 times in total

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Re: Missed. (Final Fantasy 7)

Post by Kaitou_Dark_Sama on Thu May 13, 2010 3:57 pm

Sun filtered through the curtains onto the bed in the hotel where Zack was sleeping soundly, but the sudden light made him reluctantly open his eyes, it already seemed to be a better day, at least the sun seemed to be up today and he wouldn’t have to put up with the dreary weather and mood of the day before, this was a good omen. He could tell, and it was that that motivated him to get up and get himself ready for the day ahead, where he would be reunited with Aerith and Sephiroth.

He was outside by ten in the morning and decided he would go find Sephiroth’s parents and ask them where Sephiroth would be. The fact that Genesis, Angeal and Sephiroth would be twenty five now kept slipping his mind at it really was just something he found hard to wrap his head around. He had already seen Genesis and he hadn’t looked much different than he had when they were younger, but the same might not be able to be said about Sephiroth. But there was only one way to find out.

The walk to Sephiroth’s was a rather short one, of course the walks to anywhere in this little city were short. He looked at every place he thought was familiar as he walked, which happened to be most of the town. He saw houses where old friends used to live, stores he used to go to with his parents and on occasion with his friends, though he had been nine when he left so normally he was accompanied by a parent. But even while he thought he couldn’t help but get a bad feeling, both his tries on seeing his old friends yesterday had failed, who was to say this wouldn’t be a failure as well. By now it was too late to turn back because he could already see Sephiroth’s large house down the street. It was bigger than Angeal’s and that just made it a little bit more awkward as he approached the front door.

Unlike at Angeal’s house someone answered the door relatively quickly. Zack recognized the lady, she had aged, but time had been kind to her. She looked nothing like Sephiroth, but that was to be expected from his adoptive mother. “Um, hi…is Sephiroth still around anywhere?” Zack asked in a rather uncomfortable manner, scratching the back of his neck and rubbing his foot into the wood below him.

“No, he’s not. He’s not in this town, if that’s what you are asking.” She said shaking her head. She looked Zack over again as though trying to figure out who he was.

“Oh…well I should have figured that, I’m sorry for bothering you.” Zack said nodding slightly a frown covering his tan face as he started to back up, expecting the lady to just close the door in his face, but she didn’t.

“Do you want me to call him for you?” She asked tilting her head to the side, her face gentle and almost sympathetic. But the offer really made Zack think; did he want to bother Sephiroth? He had come here looking for Sephiroth, but did he really want to bother him when it didn’t look like the other man seemed to care. He had probably forgotten like Genesis had anyway.

“No it’s fine; I don’t want to bother him.” Zack said shrugging and turning his head to the side and taking another step backwards.

“Okay, well bye.” The lady said before she closed the door and left Zack alone on the porch. The young man looked up at the sky, it was still bright, maybe there was still hope, or maybe the Earth just wanted to cheer him up and this bright weather actually meant that disaster was going to be fall him. Zack started off towards Aerith’s house none the less.

He had to pass by his old house on his way to Aerith’s from Sephiroth’s and that had to have been his first sight of good luck since coming here. He saw a FOR SALE sign on the front lawn of his old house. It made him stop and look up at the old structure. That was a sign, and not just a literal sign, he was going to buy his old house back. It looked the exact same as it had before, except for the roof, someone had re-shingled it again, which was probably for the better because when he left it there had been one patch of shingles that had been a different colour then the rest because of an accident that had occurred so many years ago. He could see the window of his old room and he wondered if it was still blue or if someone had painted it. Someone had changed the curtains in the kitchen window, but aside from that he saw no differences what so ever from when he left it. The sight of it made him smile, that had definitely cheered him up, and he was in high spirits again as he continued to the next house over, Aerith’s house.

He practically leaped up to the front door and rang the doorbell and a few minutes later a young women opened it. Her long brown hair tied up in a long ponytail. She wore a light blue dress with a floral pattern on it. She hadn’t changed at all and Zack was so happy to see her, “Aerith?” He said with a huge smile.

Her brow furrowed as she looked Zack over a couple times, resting a hand on her chin in thought. Zack’s good feeling was starting to head downhill as he realized she probably didn’t remember him, that she was just like Genesis, she had forgotten him completely. “Zack?!” She exclaimed and he looked up at her in shock as she threw her arms around his neck, which forced her off the ground, apparently he had grown a lot more then he thought he had. His mood which had been going downhill hit a jump and flew through the sky, she remembered him! Was this some sort of miracle?

“You remember me!?” Zack exclaimed hugging her back, twirling her around once before putting her down. She giggled as she looked up at him and smiled sweetly like she had eleven years ago.

“Of course I do, how could I forget someone like you, Zack?” she said putting her hands behind her back and rocking on her heels. She was so short; Zack had expected her to have grown more than that.

“Well it sure looked like you weren’t about to remember me.” Zack said crossing his arms, resting most of his weight on his left leg.

“I wasn’t…I saw that and I remembered you.” She said pointing over Zack’s shoulder at something on the driveway. Zack looked over his shoulder and saw a wagon filled with flowers. And it made him smile as he too started to remember it. “If it weren’t for you I wouldn’t have any money to my name.” She said with a laugh. Zack was off the porch and over examining the little wagon and the beautiful yellow flowers in it.

“I remember giving you this idea…I even remember building this wagon for you. Remember when Genesis came up and broke it and I had to start from scratch.” Zack said turning round to look back over at Aerith who had come to join him now. She nodded, “Then Angeal came by and told me how I could make it even better.” She nodded again, she seemed almost as happy as Zack did right now.

“You have a great memory Zack.” She said with a smile.

“It’s nothing.” He said before standing up straight and looking down at her, resting his hands on his hips and sticking his chest out in pride. It made Aerith laugh a little more.

“I was actually just getting ready to go out and sell…would you like to come with me? It would be great to catch up; I haven’t talked to you in eleven years.” Aerith said with a sigh as she picked up the handle of the wagon.

“Well, it’ll be fun, it’s not like I have anything better to do right now anyway.” Zack said with a shrug. Aerith smiled up at him again and started down the driveway, Zack followed her, “So you still live here.” Zack stated.

“Yeah, you know how rare it is for people to leave. Angeal left and Rufus is almost always out of town. But everyone else you know is still here I think.” Aerith explained as they turned onto the sidewalk and started down the road. “We’ll stop there last.” She said pointing at the house across the street. Zack followed her finger and looked at the house across the street. Zack recognized the house quickly.

“Does Strife still live there?” He asked looking back down at Aerith. She nodded. “Why his house last though?”

“I always save him the best flower…everyday so I just find it easier to go there last right before I go home.” Aerith said with a shrug as she continued down the street.

“Uh, alright then.” Zack said still not really understanding why they would go to Cloud’s house last when it was right there across the street. But Zack couldn’t help but have a butterfly flutter in his stomach when he looked over at the blonde’s house; he was honestly really looking forward to seeing Cloud again. He turned back and looked at Aerith again as they continued to walk on past the house though. “So you’ve been selling flowers for eleven years?” he asked. She nodded. “And that’s the only reason you remember me?”

She looked up at him at that, “Yes. This is the City That Forgets after all.” She said with a nod.

“Harsh…” Zack sighed out scratching the back of his neck. She sure could be blunt sometimes.

“Have you seen anyone else yet?” Aerith said obviously as an attempt to change the subject.

“Well…sorta…” Zack started as he tried to think over which part of the Genesis ordeal to tell to her, “I ran into Genesis yesterday…He didn’t remember me though, but he seems pretty much the same as he was back when we were kids.” Aerith laughed. “What’s so funny?” Zack asked.

“I was just thinking. You’re completely right, he hasn’t changed at all.” Aerith said shaking her head slightly, her long brown ponytail swaying gently with the motion.

“And what was with that HUGE truck of his?” Zack asked, finding something he could pick at for the time being. He hadn’t even realized they had stopped walking.

“That’s his baby…he named her Jenova I think.” Aerith said with a laugh.

“That’s kind of…weird.” Zack said scratching the back of his head but laughing. “I thought he was going to crush my car with it when he dropped me off at the hotel I’m staying at.” This made Aerith laugh, though Zack couldn’t tell why, so he looked down at her with a cocked eyebrow.

“Do you have one of those tiny cars they drive in the city?” She asked.

“Uh…yeah I guess you could say that.” Zack replied wondering if he should find it offensive or not. He did take it offensively when Aerith started to laugh at him though, “Yeah yeah! I’ve lived in the city for eleven years you can’t blame me for getting a car that is normal there!” He exclaimed.

“Right, right of course I’m sorry.” She said before turning around as a little girl approached, “Oh, my first customer.” She commented with a smile.

This little girl had to be four years old; she had a short dark brown braid and wore a plain white dress. Her brown eyes were bright as she looked up at Aerith, “Hi Ms. Aerith!” the girl exclaimed.

“Hi there Marlene. Are you going to buy one?” Aerith asked. Marlene nodded.

“Yes please…and can I help you pick out the perfect one for Cloud?” She asked in an adorable voice.

“Of course.” Aerith looked up at Zack, who was looking down at the flowers, “Would you like to help us, Mr. Zack?” She asked.

“Who’s he?” Marlene asked as she seemed to finally notice Zack.

“He’s a friend who moved away a long time ago, but now he’s back. Why don’t you say hello, Marlene?” Aerith said turning back to the little girl.

“Hi Mr. Zack. I’m Marlene.” She said smiling up at Zack.

“Well it’s nice to meet you Marlene.” He said with a bow, the little girl looked flattered. “And I guess I’ll help you.” He said squatting down next to the wagon next to Aerith. The three looked through the wagon until Marlene found the perfect flower for Cloud and set it to the side. Then she picked one out for herself.

“Do you think my mom will like this one?” she asked Aerith holding it up.

“Yes I’m sure she’ll love it.” Aerith said standing up straight.

Marlene took out a few Gil and paid Aerith for the beautiful yellow flower. The little girl looked up at the two adults, “Bye Ms. Aerith, have fun with Mr. Zack.” She said with a smile before she twirled and started to walk away. A few paces away she turned to walk backwards so she could say, “Protection.”

“Wait…WHAT!?”Zack exclaimed as he figured out what she had just said and why. He gaped and Marlene as she turned around and ran away giggling. Zack looked down at Aerith who was giggling away, “Why did she say that, she has to be like four years old.”

“It’s probably because of her father, he has a tendency to not watch what he says, he’s really immature sometimes.” Aerith said. Though it seemed like she was trying to hide it she seemed to be blushing.

“Why did he have a kid if he’s so immature?”

“He didn’t have a choice, it’s not his kid it’s his friends but his friend and his wife died and poor Marlene was all alone.” Aerith said with a shrug, though a frown pulled across her lips, “Barret is the only one they would have trusted with their kid so he took her in though he was only twenty two.” She explained.

“She bought a flower for her mother…” Zack said his face glum at the news, a girl that sweet didn’t deserve to have such terrible things happen to her, not that she really seemed to care about it much.

“Yeah, once a week Barret takes her to her parents’ grave.” She said nodding solemnly, “He really is a sweet guy though, especially when it comes to Marlene.” She finished as another girl walked up and asked to buy a flower.

“Sounds like it.” Zack said a small smile pulling at his mouth.

Aerith sold a few more flowers to people and she and Zack were quiet for most of that time except for the occasional hello here and there. Zack could honestly say he couldn’t recognize most of the people who came up to them, of course he had been gone for eleven years so that would make sense, especially since most of the people who came up had to be under eleven years old. They all seemed to know and love Aerith though. She sold her last flower before she turned to Zack.

“Ready to make our last stop?” She asked lifting the handle of the wagon and getting ready to leave.

“Cloud’s house? Yeah, sure, let’s go.” Zack said with a shrug, trying not to sound as eager as he really was. Aerith just smiled as she started to walk back the way they had come down to Cloud’s house.

“So Zack you never did tell me why you left? Did you ever get to be in SOLDIER?” Aerith asked as they walked.

Zack shrugged at the sudden question, “I left because my parents left, and yes I did end up getting into SOLDIER. Didn’t you notice I’m wearing the honorary SOLDIER belt?” he said motioning to the incredibly large belt around his waist.

Aerith looked down at the belt, “Oh, I didn’t notice it.” She said with a giggle. “Was SOLDIER fun?” she asked looking back up at his face.

“Well, I wouldn’t say ‘fun’ but it sure was exciting.” Zack said scratching the back of his head with a short laugh. Aerith laughed as well and then they were silent as they continued to walk along down the street towards Cloud’s house.

They wheeled the wagon right up to the porch before Aerith picked up the flower they had picked for Cloud with Marlene. She practically jumped up to the door and knocked on the light blue door. The door opened within the next two minutes and Zack felt his heart skip a beat as he saw the young man behind the threshold of the door. His pale blond hair was spiked up in almost the same way it had been when he was little. He was thin and pale and his features were smooth, blemish free and young. His eyes were a fierce, beautiful shade of blue that so many people seemed to have, but it only really suited Cloud and his blond hair. A frown was set on his face and as he looked at Aerith he didn’t even seem to really care. “Hello Aerith.” He said in his smooth voice, it was so quiet and Aerith’s voice seemed to boom in comparison.

“Hey Cloud.” She said with a huge smile on her face. She held out the flower in front of her as Cloud reached into his pocket and pulled out a few Gil. “Marlene and Zack helped me pick it out for you.” She finished as Cloud took the flower and gave her the Gil. Cloud’s brows furrowed as he looked down at the yellow flower in his hand then up at Aerith.

“Zack?” He asked his head tilting to the side ever so slightly. And Zack’s heart leapt as he was so sure that the blond might possibly remember him, he could see in the blonde’s eyes that he was thinking about it.

“Yeah, Zack Fair, he lived here when he was younger, do you remember him?” Aerith asked with her kind smile never faltering as she motioned to Zack who lifted a tan hand and waved, smiling rather awkwardly as Cloud stared him down.

Cloud continued to stare for a rather long amount of time and it got more and more awkward and Zack’s heart sank more and more as time passed. He didn’t remember. Zack could tell that now and that thought was only confirmed as Cloud shook his head and looked back at Aerith, “I don’t remember him...”

“Oh. Well, that’s alright.” Aerith said with a kind smile though she seemed sad like she wished that Cloud had actually remembered the Ex-SOLDIER member. Zack didn’t think this was alright though, now that he really thought about it, Cloud was the only one he really wanted to remember him. But the blond didn’t, and it crushed Zack, it hit him where it hurts. A lump was forming in his throat and he kept swallowing to try and keep himself from breaking right there. “Well, bye Cloud. I’ll see you later.” Aerith said waving.

“Yeah, later.” He said before he closed the door. Aerith turned around and Zack looked away from her and started to blink furiously. He was fine with Genesis not remembering him; he would be even more fine with that if at least Cloud had remembered him. But now he was simply crushed. Aerith seemed to notice how upset he looked.

“Zack...Don’t mind Cloud...” she started, as she bent down to pick up the handle of the wagon. She straightened up and looked back up at Zack, the smile that usually graced her features had turned into a small frown, “He’s the kind of person who will never dwell on the past.” She said, her frown only slightly perking up on the ends.

“Yeah, I kind of figured that…” Zack replied rubbing the back of his neck. He looked up and around and noticed the FOR SALE sign in front of his old house again, the house next door to Cloud’s and he smiled again, that made him feel just a little bit better after what had just happened. “Hey…did anyone ever buy that house?” He said pointing at the relatively large building. Aerith looked where he pointed and seemed to lose herself in thought for a while.

“Yeah. For about two years another family lived there, they weren’t there often and didn’t really do much though, I think they moved out last year.” She explained looking back up at Zack who hadn’t taken his eyes off the old building.

“Well…it’ll be good moving back in there. I wonder if it’s the same as it used to be.” He said with a smile, he could tell Aerith was slightly shocked but she seemed to get over it quickly as she seemed to realize that had been Zack’s old house. She let out a chuckle.

“That’s got to be nostalgic, moving into your childhood home.” She said with a smile looking at the building. She looked back up at Zack, “Do you have the money for it?”

“Of course I do!” Zack exclaimed planting his fists on his hips and looking down at Aerith, “SOLDIER members get paid, y’know.” He said jabbing himself in the chest with his thumb, smiling happily, thoughts of Cloud disappearing for a while as Aerith started to walk down the driveway. Zack followed her, with a bounce in his step.

“Where are you staying now?” She asked as she stopped at the side of the road and looked both ways for cars on this barren street.

“The hotel in the marketplace.” He replied pointing in the general direction as they started crossing the road towards Aerith’s house.

“That won’t do at all.” Aerith said stopping in front of her driveway, shaking her head and frowning as she looked up at a slightly confused looking Zack. She looked down at the ground and was silent for a moment before looking back up at the dark haired man with a large smile on her face, “Why don’t you stay at my place tonight!?” She suggested.

Zack didn’t know how to respond to a sudden and rather odd request like that. It was almost enough to even make him blush, but he didn’t. He took a moment to compose himself before scratching the back of his head and replying, “If you don’t mind, I’m fine with it. It would have to be more comfortable then the hotel.” He said, wondering if there would be anything he would have to be worried about, not wanting to have to tell Aerith that he didn’t and probably wouldn’t ever have feelings for her, if that was indeed where she was trying to lead this.

“Great, sounds like fun. Why don’t you go get some stuff and be back over here in half an hour?” She said with a smile swaying slightly.

“Alright that sounds good. I’ll be back soon.” Zack said with a large grin, it was infectious, with Aerith always smiling it was hard for him not to, despite everything. He turned and waved over his shoulder before walking down the long road towards the hotel he was staying at.

Upon arrival to his room he was back in a foul mood, without Aerith around him it was harder to stay as happy after a day full of learning such horrible things. Sephiroth was gone; the death of a young girl’s parents and Cloud couldn’t remember him. He quickly got some stuff together and threw it in a bag, wanting to get back over to Aerith’s as soon as possible; having his own thoughts swarming his mind was starting to really upset him. This want to banish the thoughts from his mind had him ready within what seemed like moments and he decided it would be easier if he drove down to Aerith’s.

He turned off the car in Aerith’s driveway and let out a sigh. He ran a hand through his hair as he undid his seat belt and opened the door. He picked up his bag out of the seat beside him and slung it over his shoulder when he heard some giggling right behind him making him jump and almost smack his head off the top of his car. He wheeled himself around and looked down at her with a frown on his face and his hands on his hips, “You almost gave me a heart attack…what’s so funny?” He asked seriously.

She pointed at his car and just continued to laugh before she managed to add, “It’s tiny.” Her entire face showed how amused she was, but Zack didn’t get how it was so amusing. He looked at Aerith then down at his car then back at Aerith. Then he realized that Aerith was giving it almost the exact same look Genesis had the other day and he had a feeling he would be getting this kind of a look a lot more often from here on out.

“That’s almost the same look Genesis gave it yesterday.” Zack said scratching the back of his head and frowning.

“Well I’m really not surprised now.” Aerith said straightening up and looking up at Zack, “How can someone as tall as you even fit in there?” She questioned with a laugh. Zack frowned and sat down in the driver’s seat again.

“It’s not that hard, it’s not like you’re supposed to be standing up in it or anything.” Zack said running his hand over the wheel before looking up at Aerith. “You know there are cars smaller than this.” Right after he said that though a sceptical look crossed Aerith’s face. He got out of the car, “I’m not kidding!” he said. He held his arms apart “I mean, they’re about this big and only two people can fit inside them.” He explained. Aerith started to laugh.

“That’s funny Zack, if only there were cars smaller then this thing.” She patted his car on the hood and Zack gave up as he closed the car door and started walking up to Aerith’s house. She followed him, practically skipping and still laughing at Zack’s car. He didn’t get what was so funny; a car was a car, so what if he didn’t have some sort of monster truck like Genesis. His car still got the job done, and it probably didn’t use up as much gas.

Inside Zack looked around; it was such a quaint little place. Aerith kicked off her shoes on a mat next to the door and ran on down the hall, “Mom I’m home!” she called as she ran. Zack was slightly confused though he should have guessed that she would still live with her mom especially since this entire city seemed to have changed very little in the past eleven years. Zack took off his boots and put them down next to Aerith’s shoes. The size different was almost something to laugh about but he didn’t as he walked down the hall Aerith had gone down. The hall opened to the kitchen on one side and Zack looked in and saw Aerith sitting on the counter talking to her mother who had aged nicely, the years had been kind on her. She looked only a bit older then she had back when Zack had first known her. Aerith looked over at Zack and jumped off the counter. Her mother looked up and cocked her head to the side as she caught sight of the tall tan skinned man standing in the doorway of the kitchen. “Mom, this is Zack, the one who lived here eleven years ago, the one who’s staying the night.” She said putting a hand on Zack’s shoulder. Zack just smiled and waved not knowing what to say under her critic’s gaze.

“You didn’t tell me it was a boy staying over.” The woman, Elmyra, said switching her gaze back to Aerith, in a very regular motherly tone. Zack scratched the back of his head.

“Well I thought he would stay in the guest room, he’s not going to be a bother.” Aerith said with a smile.

“That’s not what I’m worried about.” Elmyra replied with a sigh. Zack bit back everything he was going to say and try and assure her because he didn’t know what exactly she was worried about and didn’t want to give her the wrong idea just in case.

“Well he’s already here isn’t he? It would be rude to throw him out now, especially since it means he would have to go back to that hotel.” Aerith said with a smile putting a hand on Zack’s shoulder. Elmyra simply sighed at her daughter’s words.

“Fine he can stay. Dinner is going to be ready in ten minutes.” Elmyra said before turning back to her cooking, which Zack just noticed, he took in a deep breath smelling the food being cooked, he had no idea what it was having lost all his good sense by pretty much only eating microwaved food for the past couple years.

“Well I’m going to go show Zack the guest room.” Aerith said with a smile grabbing Zack’s wrist and pulling him out of the kitchen and down the hall to the stairs. The climbed the stairs and Aerith opened a door leading Zack inside. The room was a very light blue colour similar to the colour of the sky, had a bed a dresser a clock and a couple scenery paintings, but aside from that was empty. It looked, quaint, for lack of a better term. “Well you’ll be staying here tonight, Zack.” Aerith said letting go of his wrist and practically twirling into the middle of the room with a smile on her face.

“It seems nice.” Zack said looking the room over again. He walked in and sat down on the bed, which was just as comfortable as it looked, and much better than the beds at the hotel he had stayed at the night before. Aerith smiled as she came over and sat herself down next to him.

“I’m glad you like it.” She said, “Now I know you’re new back here, so I’ve decided I’ll let you know anything you want, if you have any questions. Especially about the citizens.” She said smiling at Zack.

“Well…does anyone still live here, that I used to know?” Zack asked.

“Well. The Turks are still here. They have a new member though; she tends to run her mouth a lot.” Aerith said with a laugh. Zack nodded and smiled; glad to hear the Turks were still there and together. The Turks was the name of a group who had always stuck together through school: Reno, Rude, Tseng and Cissinei. They were never apart, and it seemed like that still applied now. “Tseng leaves every once and a while, but the others seem pretty much anchored here. Apparently they work for Rufus’s dad.”

“Rufus still lives here?” Zack asked, remembering the bossy, good for nothing, snobby little brat named Rufus Shinra.

“Yeah, well most of the time, a lot of the time he travels with his father to the city, he is the vice president of Shinra now so he’s really busy now adays.” Aerith said reaching back and untying her long brown hair letting it fall to where it reached around her waist.

“Oh yeah, his dad is the president of Shinra…I’m surprised I didn’t see Rufus at all when I was in SOLDIER, I saw his dad a couple times since SOLDIER is owned by Shinra but I never saw Rufus.” Zack said with a laugh. Ha paused for a moment in thought, “So I’m guessing Lazard still lives here too then…since him and Rufus used to be such good friends.”

“Yeah, Lazard never left, he works as the vice chairman of the branch of Shinra located here.” Aerith said but she paused and laughed, “At least I think that’s his title, I’m not really sure.”

“A company like Shinra has a branch in a no where place like this?” Zack asked. Aerith simply nodded. “Well…That’s kind of shocking…I know there isn’t a SOLDIER branch here.”

“Yeah the General Affairs department is mostly what’s here. The Turks work there.” Aerith explained. Zack nodded in understanding, it would make sense for them all to work in the same place, do the same thing, and everything. They were exactly as Zack thought them, inseparable. It made him smile thinking of how they all must’ve grown up. Except for Reno, he was pretty sure the red head didn’t know how to grow up. He was sure Rude and Tseng were the same as always, stoic and quiet. Then Cissinei, he was sure had grown into a pretty young lady, maybe she had even managed to get her hair under control instead of always tying it back. It all made Zack’s heart beat faster; he couldn’t wait to see how everyone had grown up. He hadn’t been shocked by Aerith or Genesis or even Cloud, but someone was bound to shock him eventually.

“You two! Dinner!” Elmyra called from downstairs. Aerith jumped to her feet and gracefully walked out the door, followed by the not nearly as graceful Zack as he more or less plundered down the stairs. Elmyra had three plates set out on the dining room table and Zack took a good whiff of the food. He hadn’t had decent food in a long time and this home cooked meal made his mother water. He could feel Elmyra’s gaze on him but didn’t even look at her as he sat down with the two women and the three started to eat. They ate in silence, Zack simply scared of being judged by Elmyra not wanting to get off on the wrong foot right off the bat, not wanting her to get the wrong idea of Zack’s intentions by staying here.

Aerith picked up his plate along with her own and her mother’s and walked with them into the kitchen. Zack finally made eye contact with Elmyra, “Thanks for the meal, I haven’t had anything that good in years. You’ll have to teach me how to cook.” He said with a laugh and a smile. Elmyra smiled back at him seeming quite pleased with herself. Aerith walked back into the room.

“Zack…it’s about 7 now…a bit too early to go to bed. Do you want to watch a movie?” She asked.

“Sure, that sounds like a plan.” Zack said standing up. He heard Elmyra sigh as she too got up and walked around the other two into the kitchen and Aerith grabbed Zack’s wrist again and pulled him into the living room. She pushed him down onto the couch in front of the TV before she went over to a cabinet full of movies. She seemed to be having trouble picking one, it took her a couple minutes, but she did eventually pick out a movie. She put the DVD into the machine and let it start. She refused to let Zack see the cover until the movie started. It ended up being some apparently scary movie called the Uninvited.

Zack jumped slightly when the head spun around at the beginning, but aside from that didn’t find it all that frightening. Aerith on the other hand was shaking and jumped any time something happened. She was pressed against Zack’s side but didn’t take her eyes off the screen. When the girl shot out from under the stove Zack almost let out a scream, he had been expecting it, but it still got him. Aerith did scream though and it was high pitched and loud. She was literally shaking and Zack wondered what she would be like watching a movie scarier than this. At the end of the movie, Aerith seemed to understand everything that had happened during the plot. She had probably seen the movie before, but Zack was confused as fucking hell. He stared at the screen with his brows furrowed, “What the HELL was that…? I am honestly SO confused right now…” he said rubbing his eyes.

“You didn’t think it was scary did you?” Aerith asked, she finally had her composure back and had her legs pulled up under her.

“No, it wasn’t scary…but that was messed up…I thought it was real…seriously what the hell.” Zack said running his hands through his hair not quite sure what to think now. Aerith yawned and he looked at her with a cocked eyebrow.

“It’s about 9 now…we might as well go to sleep.” She said smiling at Zack, not that he finally got to look at her she looked dead tired. He nodded.

“Alright, I think I need time to think about this movie anyway…that was just so screwed up.” He said standing up. Aerith stood up after him and just managed to avoid his fist as he stretched. “Oh, sorry, I wasn’t paying attention.” He said as he realized he had almost hit the young woman.

“No it’s alright Zack, you must be tired too…come on lets go to bed.” She walked off across the room and out into the hall. Zack followed her and the two went up the stairs. Aerith paused outside of the room Zack was staying and. “Well good night I’ll see you in the morning.” She said waving. Zack nodded.

“Yeah, I’ll see you later.” He said as he opened the door and walked in, shutting it behind himself. He walked over to the bag on the bed and opened it pulling out the sweat pants he slept in and quickly changed into them, wondering briefly if it would be comfortable walking around the house in these in the morning. In the end he decided he was too sleepy to care. After throwing his bag onto the floor he fell onto the bed and was asleep as he hit it. His dreams that night filled with old memories of him and all his old friends. And himself now rekindling that old friendship, everything going the way they should have gone.

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Re: Missed. (Final Fantasy 7)

Post by Kaitou_Dark_Sama on Fri May 14, 2010 3:21 pm

Chapter 2

Zack wasn’t one hundred percent sure what time it was when he was finally woken up. But he sure was woken up. “Wake up sleeping beauty!” Someone said loudly in his ear before jerking at the covers he had wrapped himself up in enough to unravel it, leaving the tan skinned man sprawled out on the bed. Zack groaned as his eyes opened slightly, it was too bright. He could hear Aerith laughing. He managed to push himself into a sitting position and stretched, he heard his spine and shoulders crack. He moved his head around to get his neck to crack before finally looking up at the brunette standing beside his bed.

“Was there any reason in particular you had to do that?” he asked, his voice sounded groggy as a result of the fact that he did NOT want to be up right now.

“Well…since you liked my mom’s cooking so much I thought you’d want to come downstairs and have breakfast.” Aerith said rocking back and forth on her heels, her hands behind her back. “She made it especially for you.” She added as another thought.

“Well I guess I can’t refuse it then can I.” He said turning to sit with his legs off the side of the bed. He looked at Aerith as she started to leave “What time is it anyway?” he asked rubbing his eyes with his arm.

“7:30 in the morning.” She said looking at the clock on the other side of the room that Zack had completely forgotten existed.

“WHAT!? I haven’t woken up this early in years.” He said with a loud sigh falling back onto his back and staring up at the ceiling.

“But you were in SOLDIER.” Aerith said with a questioning look.

“Yeah, but I was first class, I got privileges, like not being woken up early in the morning.” Zack said sitting back up and running a hand through his messy bed head. “I usually got up around nine or ten.” He explained. Aerith let out a laugh.

“Well you aren’t in the city anymore, you’re going to have to get used to waking up earlier.” With that said, in a tone of finality she left the room, practically skipping. Zack stood up and followed her out of the room and down the stairs. Rubbing his arm and trying to keep himself from passing out and falling down the stairs.

When he was in the dining room, he had to blink a couple times to make sure he was actually seeing properly. He was, and what he was seeing was a mountain of food. Bacon, sausages, eggs, toast even a tower of pancakes in the center of the table. He sat down in front of a plate and looked up into the kitchen. He saw Elmyra smirking at him. “Thank you.” He said. He looked down at the food again, picking up his utensils, “There sure is a lot of meat.”

“It’s my mom’s new SOLDIER breakfast.” Aerith said sitting down next to Zack and smiling sweetly.

“They never gave us anything this good in SOLDIER.” Zack said taking a forkful of food into his mouth. It was as delicious as it looked if not better. Aerith let out a short laugh. Elmyra smiled happily before she came into the dining room and sat down across from Zack. This was a bit strange because now Zack felt her looking him up and down, her gaze pausing on his bare chest and abs. It really creeped him out, but he continued to eat anyways. He finished within the next fifteen minutes pushed his plate away and leaned back in his chair letting out a loud satisfied sigh. Aerith who had been sitting next to him stood up and took his plate away. When she came back in she smiled down at him.

“Do you want to deliver flowers with me again today?” she asked sitting back down next to Zack.

“Sure…but isn’t it still too early?” He said resting his hands on his stomach and tilting his head in Aerith’s direction.

“I meant after you get ready and everything.” She said with a laugh shaking her head slightly.

“Oh, of course. Do you mind if I have a shower?” he asked sitting up again.

“No I don’t mind.” Aerith replied shaking her head, her long brown hair twirling as it was still not tied up.

“Thanks.” Zack stood up and headed down the hall Aerith had gotten up and started towards the kitchen where her mom was cleaning plates. Zack paused behind a wall as their conversation peaked his curiosity.

“Aerith, I’m very proud of you…he’s a great catch.” Elmyra said with a chuckle. Zack swallowed hard and his eyes opened wide.

“It’s not like that mom!” Aerith said. Zack could practically see the blush crossing her face and it was kind of creepy. Zack had had the feeling that things were going to be seen this way in the long run and he had REALLY wished they wouldn’t. He did not like Aerith that way.

“You shouldn’t say that, you should go for him. He’s young, strong and SOLDIER.” Elmyra said.

“But I want him to be my friend. I don’t want to make things weird by going out with him or anything.” Aerith replied. They seemed completely unaware that Zack was standing right around the corner listening to their conversation.

“But you like him?” Elmyra asked. Zack held his breath.

“Well…maybe a little. But I barely know him and he barely knows me, we haven’t seen each other in eleven years mom.” Aerith said, she sounded nervous. And Zack felt like hitting his head off of the wall next to him, he did not want Aerith to like him because he couldn’t return her feelings. As he had learned during the past eleven years, he was not attracted to girls. His heart could only be captured by guys.

“It’s still worth a shot honey. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by.” Elmyra replied and that seemed like the end of their conversation so Zack tore down the hall to the stairs making as little noise as possible. He wrenched the bathroom door closed and waited for a moment. He leaned against the counter and looked at himself in the mirror. He ran a hand through his very messy dark hair and let out a long sigh. He didn’t want the two girls to end up being suspicious though as to what was taking him so long so he turned on the shower. He pulled off his pants and looked down at his body, scrutinizing himself. Was he really that good looking? He would have to assume so.

In the shower he had some time to think about what the hell he was going to do if Aerith did decide to ask him out or something. All he knew was that he would have to find the kindest way possible to turn her down. He didn’t want to leave her down a path that only came to a dead end. He sniffed the shampoo and frowned slightly, it was a bit girly for his taste but it was either have clean hair or have greasy hair and hair mattered a lot to Zack so he decided he didn’t care if it smelt like strawberries. He put the stuff in his hair and cleaned himself up a little more. He knew he shouldn’t be wasting their water but a bunch of thoughts were all running through his head and the shower was just a peaceful place where all those thoughts could muck around for hours and actually be thought out. After a few minutes, though he would’ve stayed in for longer, he managed to get himself out of the shower. He looked around before grabbing a towel and running it through his hair. He wrapped the towel around his waist holding it in place for safety reasons as he walked out of the room and down to the one he was staying in.

He hadn’t really had to worry it wasn’t like anyone was going to be in there. He dropped the towel when he closed the door and quickly got himself dressed. He grabbed his bottle of hairspray and walked back towards the bathroom his hair wasn’t always just so perfectly styled. On his way though he pumped into Aerith who smiled up at him, “You almost ready Zack?” She asked him.

“Yeah, almost I just have to do my hair...it might take me about twenty minutes.” He said with a smirk. Aerith started to laugh at him again and he frowned, “What is it this time?” He asked.

“It’s nothing. You just go do your hair I’ll be downstairs.” She said still laughing as she walked down the hall to the stairs. Zack just looked at her his mouth open and closed his mouth a couple times before shaking his head and letting out a long exasperated sigh and walking into the bathroom. He had to search for the hairdryer but found it quickly and without running into anything he wouldn’t really want to find. He took his time drying his hair before he finally started to style it. The styling process had at one point took him near an hour but he could now do it in about ten minutes. It was a skill he was proud of. When he was done he stretched and walked back down to the room he was given to stay in. He put his hair spray away and headed downstairs to go find Aerith.

“Hey Aerith.” He said as he found her sitting practically curled up on the couch watching TV. She looked up at him and smiled.

“Are you ready to go now Zack?” She asked he could still sense the rather mocking tone behind her words but it was playful so Zack didn’t take it offensively like he could have.

The two of them headed out of the house and Aerith went into her garage and got out her wagon which she must have restocked with flowers while Zack was in the shower or something. He smiled down at it and walked to the end of the driveway Aerith followed him happily. She always seemed like such a cheery person, he wondered how her life had been when he had been gone for all those years but decided she could tell him if she wanted though he would only say anything if she really wanted to know.

They started down the road towards where they had sold flowers the other day passing by Zack’s old house again he smiled as he turned to Aerith, “Hey...you’re going to have to supply me with some gorgeous flowers when I buy that house back.” He stated happily. She looked up at him and nodded happily before practically skipping off. Zack laughed as he followed her.

This day went about the same as the day before. They got to where they sold the flowers and a lot of young children or couples came up and bought flowers, usually for loved ones. It was actually rather nice and it was an easy way for Zack to introduce himself either to new people or to people he had at one point known. No one that he was especially close to ever came up though. Even though this seemed like the kind of thing someone like Cissinei would enjoy. He would try and find her whenever it was possible, he did miss her.

They sold flowers for a few hours it really was a nice experience overall but it was surprisingly tiring. Zack stretched and yawned as they started heading back. He saw figures he thought were familiar out of the corner of his eye but paid no attention to them as they spoke, “Aerith.” They both said in unison, one of them had a rather high slightly nasally voice the other a smooth, deep voice.

“Reno. Rude.” Aerith replied nodding to each one in turn. Zack blinked a couple times as he continued to walk, then spun around with a huge smile on his face.

“Reno! Rude! What’s up guys?” He called loudly running back up to them; now that he actually looked at them he could definitely see Reno and Rude in these figures. Reno had grown out his hair quite a bit and got tattoos under his eyes that kind of looked like red crescents. He was also very short even though he had been taller than Zack when they were younger because he was a bit more than a year older than him. Rude didn’t look any different except he was a lot taller and his jaw bone was much more defined and he had gotten a lot of piercings. He wore sunglasses so his strikingly amber eyes were hidden but he knew they were still as serious as always. The two of them turned and looked at him with cocked eyebrows, both of them perfectly in-sync like they always had been. But suddenly Zack had the feeling that they didn’t remember him either.

“And, just who might you be?” Reno asked in that rather high voice of his, Rude looked at Reno before looking at Zack and nodding slightly in agreement. That was exactly what Zack had been expecting. It still stung, even if he knew to expect it now. He almost flinched but managed to hold it from being visible.

“Reno, this is Zack. He lived here eleven years ago.” Aerith said walking up beside Zack and smiling at the stubborn Turk. Reno looked at Aerith then back at Zack.

“Well...Aerith wouldn’t just outright lie to me like that. But I don’t remember you.” Reno said shaking his head.

“No it’s fine that you don’t remember me.” Zack said shaking his head a rather mellow look on his face, “At least I get to see you all again.” He said with a smile. “How are the rest of the Turks. The new girl I heard about, Tseng, Cissinei...” he trailed off though as he finished her name as he noticed the sudden sour look on Reno’s face and how Rude seemed to stiffen up as well...well more than usual. Zack had no idea whether he said something wrong or not, but he would have to assume that he did, “Uh...”

“Idiot,” Reno huffed out practically glaring and turning slightly as though he was about to leave, his gaze didn’t leave Zack as he looked over his shoulder, “Cissinei’s been dead for five years. Come on Rude.” Reno said turning and walking off down the street. Rude glared at Zack for a moment, only obvious because of how furrowed his brows were before he nodded and followed after Reno. Reno glanced over his shoulder for a second before sticking his thumb up in the air, “Good job Aerith, you hooked an inconsiderate asshole.” He called. Zack was just shocked beyond belief.

“I’m sorry Zack...I didn’t know.” Aerith said grabbing a hold of his arm and shoulder in a rather comforting manner. It didn’t help, Zack looked as though in a trance, he couldn’t believe what he had just heard, all the muscles in his jaw, neck, back and arms were incredibly tight as Reno’s words rang through his head.

“No I don’t hate Reno. He was a friend of mine at one point. I’m not that kind of person. I just...wish I had known earlier.” He said shaking his head slightly his voice quiet and sounding as though it might break at any moment. So far since he had come back only one good thing had happened to him and that was meeting Aerith the only one who seemed to remember him. Though at the thought of good things that had happened images of Cloud flashed through his mind, how had that been good. Sure he had gotten to see him again but it wasn’t like he remembered him or anything.

“Come on lets head back, Zack.” Aerith said tugging at Zack’s arm slightly. The black haired man nodded as he turned and followed his friend trying to get thoughts of all these troubles out of his mind and failing to succeed.

“Yeah...But I think I’m going to head back to the hotel, then...I think I’m going to go see what I can do about buying a house.” Zack replied his voice quiet and rather slurred as he looked down at the ground and nowhere else all will to live was starting to drain away. This was something he didn’t think he would ever have happen.

“Alright Zack...that’s fine.” Aerith replied nodding, feeling for him. The two started on their trek back to Aerith’s house wordlessly.

“Why...did they remember Cissinei?” Zack asked shaking his head and running a hand through his spiky hair not understanding it at all. If they could remember her and she’d been gone for years why couldn’t they remember him. Aerith was silent so he gathered that she didn’t know either, which was in all honesty fine by him because he didn’t know if he really wanted to know why they would remember her and not him.

When they got back and put the wagon away and headed upstairs to the room Zack had stayed in and Aerith helped him start putting his things away. “Zack...” Aerith started. Zack looked up at her as though to tell her to continue, “It’s not like everyone remembers Cissinei. I didn’t remember. It’s just that they were so close to her...so it will take them longer to forget. In a couple years...I’m sure they won’t remember her either.” Zack was silent for a while after she finished talking and he just looked at the same thing for the next couple minutes as though trying to figure out what he was going to do with it.

“What about me...how long was I remembered...?” he asked after a while not looking up at Aerith as he asked. She was silent for a while as she really seemed to have to think about it.

“Certain people remembered longer...Angeal, Sephiroth and I...we must have remembered for three of four years at least...Genesis let go of the memories of you after about a year as did most of the other people in the city.” She replied looking at him her eyes filled with her caring nature. She hated seeing Zack look so down even though Zack was pretty sure she didn’t know all that much about him. Either that...or she just felt guilty.

“It only seems to be when people leave that they are forgotten...” Zack said shaking his head. Aerith nodded in agreement knowing what Zack was saying.

“Like Angeal and Cissinei...” she said for an example, though Zack hadn’t known that Angeal was forgotten too. He sighed and shook his head.

“And me.” He added. Aerith looked down and away from him and they finished with the packing of the miniscule amount that Zack had brought with him. He slung the bag over his shoulder and the two of them headed down the stairs and outside. They both paused outside of Zack’s car, this time there was no laughter about the size coming from Aerith.

“So...I’ll come talk to you again when I get the stuff with the house done and I start to move in...alright?” Zack half asked half stated.

“Yeah, I’m sure you’re going to need help with decorating and such.” She said trying to brighten the mood a little, Zack smiled really happy with her attempt.

“More than you could imagine.” He said with a short laugh, “Well I’ll talk to you later then alright?” Aerith waved to him and he nodded and opened the car door throwing his stuff into the passenger seat before sitting down and closing the door and turning the car on. He sighed as he looked over his shoulder and pulled out of the driveway. He looked back and saw Aerith smiling in his direction which made him feel at least a little bit better, though it would be hard for him to feel any worse right now.

The entire ride back to the hotel he willed himself not to break down, knowing full well that it was possible. He didn’t want to be weak. Death was just something that happened, forgetting someone after eleven years happened as well. There was nothing wrong with the situation he was in. He was going to be able to move into his childhood home, he had at least one friend who he knew remembered him and would stay by his side, and he had a chance to start over with first impressions. This little self motivation helped him more than he thought it would and he managed to keep himself from breaking down at the wheel or even when he got back to his room. Though he couldn’t help but still want everything to be the way they should, the way he had wanted it to be, with happy scenes of reuniting with old friends. But of course, luck wasn’t on his side, and he wondered if it ever would be.

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Re: Missed. (Final Fantasy 7)

Post by Kaitou_Dark_Sama on Wed Jun 02, 2010 12:32 pm

It was almost a week later when all the transactions were finally done and Zack yet again owned the house he had lived in when he was little. He couldn’t help but smile as he walked through the threshold again but this time with it as his own house; everything was the same as he had left it for the most part when he had first walked back in. The living room was spacious and empty though and it was slightly bothersome. The wooden stairs still creaked when he stepped on certain spots and there were little scratch marks in them where they did creak so he could sneak downstairs in the middle of the night and steal snack from the kitchen. It brought back so many memories. The mood he had been in for the past week was suddenly so much better, even just getting to sit in his old room on the wooden floor was enough to boost his mood.

Today was the day he was going to go talk to Aerith and buy some furniture. He was glad he waited before going to talk to her again he didn’t want to be a drag; he did want to put a damper on her happy mood. He walked over to her house, practically skipping with each step, and before he knew it he was stepping up to the front door of Aerith’s house. He knocked on the door and waited a moment before Elmyra opened the door, “Oh hello Zack, I haven’t seen you in a while.” She said with a smile, Zack smiled right back at her glad he hadn’t been forgotten yet again in that short period of time where he hadn’t talked to anyone he had at one point known.

“Yeah, it’s been a while, I was busy. Is Aerith home?” he asked, hoping that she wasn’t out selling flowers like he knew there was a chance she was. Elmyra looked off in thought for a moment as though thinking the same thing Zack was before she nodded.

“Yes, I’ll go get her, please come in.” She responded with a smile beckoning Zack forward. Zack stepped into the cozy house and stood in the small area in the hallway, next to the two pairs of shoes at the front door. Elmyra went into the house and started calling for Aerith to come downstairs. Within a few seconds she was coming down the stairs. She rounded the corner and looked at Zack.

“Hey there Zack, it’s been a while.” She said happily, her long ponytail falling over her shoulder as she practically ran down the hallway towards him. When she stood a pace away from him, she stopped and rocked on her heel her hands behind her back.

“It’s only been a week.” Zack replied shrugging a small rather confused frown covered his face; it was as though these people didn’t know much about time. It would explain why they tend to forget people so quickly. Though a week could be a long time he guessed, but it hadn’t been back when he was younger and living in the city.

“Yeah, but that can be a long time of not talking to people.” Aerith said shaking her head. Zack nodded, understanding where she was coming from but not liking the thought anyway.

“Well, I got my house back, so I was wondering if you’d like to go furniture shopping with me, I could use a woman’s touch.” He said leaning back on one of his legs and putting his hands behind his head and smiling his practically glowing white teeth almost unnatural looking against his tan skin. Aerith laughed moving her hands to the front, laughing into one of her hands.

“That sounds like fun, of course I’ll go with you.” She said, “Mom! I’m going shopping with Zack, I’ll be back later.” She called over her shoulder before steeping into her shoes and heading out the door before Zack could say anything more. Zack laughed lightly before he followed her out of the house, she had bounced right on down to his car and was examining it again with a large smile. “Do we get to ride in the mini-mobile?” she asked looking at Zack with her head tilted to the side slightly.

“Yeah.” He replied with a small smiling find its way onto his face, which had been so solemn until he had met up with Aerith again. She seemed even more excited which made Zack laugh; he didn’t really get what was so exciting about getting to drive around in a little car. He walked around to the passenger side and motioned for Aerith to follow. He opened the door and she sat down. He noticed her looking around at everything with a smile and a bright, bright gleam in her eyes.

“It smells like you.” Was the first thing she ended up saying though, which he hadn’t been expecting. He cocked an eyebrow in question and Aerith giggled slightly. “The smell of someone’s car is often the smell of themselves and their houses from what I’ve noticed.” She said with a shrug, “So this car carries your smell.” She said motioning around the small car. Zack nodded, he had never noticed the smell of his car, but he guessed that would make sense if it was ‘his smell’ since he didn’t ever notice what kind of scent he had lingering on himself.

“Alright then?” he said as Aerith laughed a little more. He closed the door of her side of the car and walked around it to the driver’s side. Wrenching the door open he sat down next to Aerith letting out a sigh as he did up his seat belt before sticking the key in the ignition and turning on the rather small vehicle, it made very little sound as the engine came to life and if anything Aerith looked disappointed by the lack of a sound.
“Is that it?” she asked with a cocked brown eyebrow.

“What?” he asked tilting his head to the side, “What else is there supposed to be?”

“All the other cars around here start with more of a… ‘roar’ not…silent like that.” Aerith said shaking her head slightly and looking down at her hands in her lap. Zack shrugged and pulled out of the driveway. Looking over his shoulder as the car moved.

“Well…cars like this don’t make that sort of noise.” He said with a shrug as he started the small car down the road, very obviously out of town. Aerith looked out the window and cocked an eyebrow a small frown coming to her features.

“Where are we going?” she asked looking back at Zack her head tilted to the side slightly in her confusion.

“Next city over, this place doesn’t have a decent furniture outlet.” Zack said as though the reply was obvious, glancing at Aerith only for a moment as he sided to keep his eyes on the road. “Haven’t you noticed that there really isn’t much in this little place?” he asked.

“Well my mom and I have always managed to get by without having to leave the city.” Aerith said with a shrug, this time Zack actually looked over at her and noticed her chewing at her bottom lip almost as though she was nervous. Zack was shocked as this all sank in.

“So you’ve honestly never left the city before?” he asked though he hadn’t wanted to hide the shock from his voice he failed to succeed at that and he mentally kicked himself for it as Aerith looked down at her feet suddenly ashamed of herself as she shook her head. Zack sighed, he would have expected her to have left the city at least to the city over before, but apparently he thought wrong.

“I’ve never had to leave…I’ve never had to go to the hospital, we’ve never had to buy stuff that we couldn’t get in town, I’ve never been invited to leave.” She started to explain deciding Zack deserved an explanation. Zack nodded with a small sense of understanding.

“It’s alright, I guess I understand. It just kind of shocked me that someone your age would have never left the city.” Zack said shaking his head before looking out the front window again and keeping his eyes on the road. “Oh.” He started as he remembered something getting Aerith’s full attention at the sharply stated syllable, “Do you know anyone who would be able to help bring things back to town? Someone with a big truck.” He asked. This of course earned him a laugh from Aerith which he had been expecting even as he formed the words in his head.

“Aside from Genesis?” she added for him, scoring a nod from the tan skinned man sitting next to her. “Well the only person that has a bigger truck then Gen is Cid. You can call him I guess, he’s got a bit of a temper…but he really is a sweetie…just be sure to tell him that I told you to call.” She explained. Zack cocked an eyebrow and looked at her out of the corner of his eye but he laughed.

“Well of course you would think he’s a sweetie, no one can help but be sweet to someone who has such an uplifting personality.” Zack said, Aerith practically started to glow at the compliment, though Zack didn’t notice as he made sure they were still on the right road and he knew where they were going. “So I’ll be sure to give this Cid guy a call after you help me buy some stuff.” He said, mainly just to hear himself say it, try and get it in his head so he wouldn’t forget.

The two of them fell silent and Zack continued for just focus on his driving and Aerith stared out the window like a child examining everything they passed with a very curious eye. Zack didn’t notice her stop looking out the window, not until she spoke again.

“I have been out of the city before.” She started. Zack looked at her for a moment with a cocked eyebrow urging her to continue talking, “I wasn’t born in Nibelheim. I was born the city over, like most of the citizens who live there.” She said as she thought, “But, I don’t think that really counts, since I was too young to remember.” She finished with a laugh. Zack nodded.

“Well, now that I think about it…I was born the city over too…We all were born over there. I remember Genesis making a big fuss over it one time. Something about how he should’ve been born someone more important…like…” he paused as tried to think of who it was that had been born somewhere a bit more fancy, the one Genesis had said, “Right, Rufus and Lazard.” He finished with a nod smiling to himself. Aerith looked at him and blinked a couple times and he realized he had just remembered one of the smallest details in his life and she probably had no idea what he was talking about.

“How can you remember little things like that?” she asked tilting her head to the side a dumbfounded look on her face as she spoke, when she finished her mouth stayed a bit ajar.

“Well, to be honest. Holding on to memories like that was the only thing that kept me sane.” He said with a shrug, and he could tell Aerith sensed a very deep tear jerking of a story behind that one statement. She wasn’t far from the truth but it wasn’t like it was that sad or anything. She made a small motion with her head when Zack didn’t say anything as though to get him to elaborate on what had happened. “It’s nothing…and I’d rather not talk about it now…maybe I’ll tell you later.” He said in reply to her look unable to help but give a small laugh.

“Alright Zack.” She said before she went back to looking out the window, “So are we almost there?” she asked her voice excited though Zack noticed the small hint of nervousness in her voice.

“Yeah, probably about five more minutes. Nibelheim really is in an isolated place…” he said with a small sigh. Aerith nodded as though she had already known that, but really Zack would have been surprised if she hadn’t known something like that.

“Well we’re all used to it, and pretty much only it in most cases. Like…I know I don’t leave, Tifa doesn’t leave, Cloud rarely leaves…Vincent doesn’t leave…but he hasn’t lived here nearly as long…but since he’s been here he hasn’t ever left.” She explained with a shrug. This was the first time Zack had heard about a new member of the city from Aerith, so he couldn’t help but put on a curious yet confused look at the mention of this Vincent. Aerith noticed and nodded, “Vincent Valentine. He’s pretty anti social you probably won’t talk to him much or at all.” She said looking at her feet.

“But, I’m guessing he has a pretty interesting story though doesn’t he?” Zack asked with a smile.

“What makes you say that?” Aerith asked with a small pout not understanding why Zack would think something like that.

“Well…he moved out here…probably from the city, he has to have a reason to move to The City that Forgets.” Zack said with an almost mischievous look on his face. It made Aerith laugh.

“Well maybe, I rarely talk to him…but Zack, don’t go pissing him off, if you do you just might piss off some other people. Vincent is…pretty important to some people. Like…Cid for example.” She said with a shrug, she noticed the questioning look in Zack’s eyes and answered his question quickly before he could voice it, “I don’t know why. When they’re anywhere near each other they are usually pissed off and tense but…if you made fun of Vincent or something around Cid he’d beat you up.” She paused for a minute before quickly adding, “Just don’t bring him up around Cid, for your own good, and don’t tell him I told you anything. Like I said before he had a really bad temper.” Zack blinked a couple times as she spoke, making sure he repeated her words a couple times in his head, to make sure he would remember. She really was stressing on Cid’s bad temper so the last thing Zack wanted to do was piss off someone.

“Alright, in a small city like Nibelheim I’m sure I’ll meet him eventually, but I took those words to heart, the last thing I want to do right now is go around pissing people off.” Zack said taking one hand off the wheel and rubbing the back of his neck with a small almost nervous sounding laugh. “Anyone else I should be careful of?” he asked looking at Aerith for a moment more before putting both hands on the wheel and looking out at the street in front of him.

“No I don’t think so. I mean…be careful around the girls who work at Barret’s bar…but you already knew to watch out for Tifa, and she hasn’t changed much since we were little, well personality wise at least. The other girl who works at Barret’s bar is Rosso…and she’s a bit of a temptress, so just…watch out around her.” Aerith said looking at the roof of the car as she spoke, as she finished though she looked at Zack for a moment before following Zack’s gaze and she went back to scanning the area like a child again.

“Alright.” He said with a nod. He glanced up at Aerith before looking out the front again laughing lightly behind a large grin, “Hey, we’re nearly there. The place I was going to is right around the corner.” He said looking around. Aerith looked at him like a very excited child before looking around again as though trying to figure out exactly where they were and what exactly they were doing. Zack laughed a little bit more at the look she had, he had never seen a person her age acting like this and he couldn’t help but find it rather amusing. “You really are excited aren’t you?” Zack asked with a smirk. Aerith looked at him and the lightest of blush snuck onto her upper cheek.

“Well, is it that weird for me to be?” she asked obviously wondering whether or not she should be ashamed of herself. Zack laughed which made Aerith blush more.

"No it's perfectly fine, don't worry about it. It's like...when I came back here, I was just as excited as you are now." Zack said shaking his head and laughing even more. Aerith smiled and ran a hand through her brown hair.

"You were really excited to come back?" she asked with a cocked eyebrow her green eyes found Zack's blue. Zack sighed.

"Well yeah, I mean I was going to get the chance to see all my old friends, all the people I hadn't seen in years." He said shaking his head, "I mean wouldn't you love to get to see all these people after they had grown up, it's so much easier to compare everyone to what they looked like when they were younger." Aerith looked a little confused as though his words had thrown her into a world of thought. "You think that's stupid right?" he said shaking his head and laughing.

"No, no not at all. It makes sense. Now that I think about it I know what you mean." Aerith said shaking her head getting a curious look from Zack. "Now that I think about every other memory I have of you...you have changed a lot, from the way you put your hair, to how dark your skin is, how defined your features are, and...you didn't have that scar before did you?" she ended with a question tilting her head to the side. Taking one hand off the wheel and running his hand over the pale pink 'X' scar on his cheek.

"Yeah, that's right, I got this in a fight up in Modeoheim." he said with a nod bringing his hand back to the wheel. "It was nothing and even when I got it, it wasn't that bad of a wound." He said shaking his head and smiling.

"Wow, so you ran into a lot of trouble when you were in SOLDIER?" she asked fiddling with her hands in her lap and smiling lightly down at her hands. "So dangerous." she mumbled to herself. Zack laughed.

"No not really, aside from a strict boss and a few little wounds we were trained to withstand serious injuries so I didn't really have to worry about anything when it came down to it." Zack explained shrugging, obviously not finding any of this serious or actually trouble after being trained to think it wasn't. He realized that he was probably one of the only people who thought that really quickly. "Well uh, at least that’s what I was trained to think. Don’t worry about it, us SOLDIER are tough we can take a little beating now and then." He explained.

“I bet, you don’t look like the kind of person who would be so violent, Zack. You look so much kinder, and you act a lot kinder too. Was it tough having to be violent and always killing things in SOLDIER?” Aerith asked tilting her head to the side and frowning. Zack found it pretty obvious right off the bat what her opinion on killing any living creature would be.

“Well I’ve never killed a person before,” He lied hoping to not make Aerith worry as much as he possibly could, “Just monsters…and it’s not difficult, actually it makes me feel a little better, like burning away stress. Sure it’s violent but it’s something I grew accustomed to. ” He paused for a moment before laughing, “And that must sound like an absolutely horrible thing to say but it’s true.” He said shaking his head a rather solemnity in his eyes but not on the rest of his face,

“Well…A little bit. Would you feel guilty killing a person even with all your training?” she asked.

“Uh…” Zack could have answered her honestly with a solid ‘no’ but didn’t want to make her think he was some sort of monster. He quickly found his source to escape from answering the question. He mentally sighed as he pulled into the parking lot of the furniture store. “Hey we’re here, you ready?” he asked ignoring her question. She seemed only bothered by it for a short moment before she nodded and followed Zack’s lead and got out of the car.

They spent the next couple hours wandering the store as Aerith picked out things she thought ‘matched Zack’. Zack wasn’t sure if he should be flattered or a bit insulted with some of her choices, and he had a feeling she was going just a bit over board. He tried to make sure she knew he only needed the basics right now that he could get more later but she didn’t seem to be listening. Zack found it hilarious how someone could find something like this so amusing and fun. She looked like a kid in a candy store. In the end he had a bed, couch and dining set picked out. He didn’t know why he needed the last one right now since he didn’t have food or anything, which made him remember he would have to hit the grocery store before he went home. He pulled out his credit card for the lady at the cashier and he mentally said his goodbyes to his money as he handed it to her. Sure he had money and he wasn’t going to run out any time soon but it was still a loss and one thing he didn’t want to have to think about right now was finding a new job, he knew he would always be SOLDIER at heart.

“I’ll go call Cid.” Aerith said as Zack and a couple store employees started lugging stuff outside, Zack of course carrying the most. What else would he expect?

“Huh?” Zack replied cocking an eyebrow in confusion scoring a laugh from Aerith.

“That one that’s going to help bring all this stuff back.” She said slowly started to back towards the pay phone. Zack nodded as he remembered what she had said in the car on their way there and she turned around and headed towards the phone. Zack couldn’t help but let out a sigh as he had the other men put down the stuff on the curb that he would wait until Cid got there and he could do the rest no problem. They left without question and Zack was left sitting on a box as he waited.

Aerith came and joined him after a few moments, "He's on his way. He says he's looking forward to meeting you." She said putting her hands in her lap and sighing.

"Is that a good thing or not?" Zack couldn't help but ask after all he had heard about Cid. Aerith just laughed and shook her head.

"No you don't have to worry about him. It's not like he bites or anything. I know with everything I've already said he must sound like a bad person. But he's not bad. Just make him laugh he's got a sense of humor and it's an easy way to get on his good side." Aerith explained pushing her bangs out of her face. Zack nodded in a sort of understanding he guessed that made sense. If it didn't he was sure it would soon anyway.

It was quiet for a longer while until Aerith decided to bring up the same question she had asked in the car. "So Zack would you feel guilty if you took the life of a person, if you knew you had killed someone's son or daughter?" The way she put it made a pang surge through Zack's heart, he had never thought about it that way before and he didn't want to think about that. He had been trained to not think of these killings as a loss but as a gain for the greater good.

"Well...I don't know." He lied with a shrug. He didn't want to lie to Aerith but he had before and he had to lie now to make sure she continued to think that he was as kind as she thought he was.

"Okay." She nodded but her face was serious, "I don't think I could talk to you seriously if you had killed someone without mercy. Those kinds of people cannot be forgiven." She said looking from Zack to the ground which her feet hovered over.

"Right." Another pang smacked away at Zack's heart, so Aerith had remembered him and that was great, but now she thought that he was some kind of menace because he was paid to kill people. Well she didn't think that right now but she would when she knew that was the kind of thing he had done. He would have to keep his mouth shut about it for as long as possible.

"Zack, what are the chances that you would have to kill someone when you were in SOLDIER?" Aerith asked, obviously so curious about anything that had to do with Zack's past and SOLDIER.

"Well pretty high. I'm sure in the end if I had stayed I would have had to kill a lot of people." He said with a shrug.

"And how would you feel about that?" she asked, she was really pressing this question and Zack was starting to find it a little awkward and harder to keep his real past to himself.

"Well I was trained to not feel anything about it...you know I can't let a death faze me, it wouldn't be good for work." Zack said with a shrug deciding to be frank with her. "But I am a softy like you said so I don't know if I would be able to do anything." he lied again, he didn't like lying but at the moment he guessed he was doing it for the better, it was better if she didn't know the truth. She seemed upset even by this answer which didn't vote well for Zack in the long run and he wondered how many more people in this calm little city would have the same mentality as Aerith had. Again his mind flicked back to images of the spiky haired blond and he shook his head letting out a small growl gaining a weird look from Aerith. But her gaze was quickly pulled away from Zack and onto the front of the parking lot and a smile appeared on her face again.

"Cid!" she called loudly jumping off of her little seat next to Zack and jumping up and down flailing her arms in the air above her head. Zack cocked an eyebrow but found the little scene amusing none the less. He laughed lightly as the large truck swung into the parking lot and honked loudly which made Aerith laugh and she sat back down as the car came up to stop in front of them and a short haired blond got out of the front. The colour shocked Zack for a second but it was much too dark to be Cloud's. Cid's hair wasn't dirty blond but it was a more yellow colour. Cid's appearance was to put it simply: gruff. He had a thin layer of blond facial hair around his face; he wore a big pair of goggles on his forehead a pack of cigarettes stuck in the side of it. Aside from that he wore gloves, a jacket, worn jeans and large boots. His dark blue eyes flicked from Aerith to Zack. he approached them and Zack jumped off his box.

"It's nice to meet you sir." Zack said sticking his hand out to offer a shake. Cid took his hand and shook it hard getting Zack's arm to move involuntarily which he knew not many people could do. He laughed lightly as he pulled his hand away and rubbed his arm.

"Nice ta' meetcha kid. Zack right?" Cid asked.

"Yeah." Zack said with a nod, "And your Cid right?" Zack decided to ask; maybe he could flatter the older man.

"You bet." Cid said jabbing his thumb into his chest. He seemed overly proud of himself Zack just laughed, "So you're a little city guy who needs my truck. Let me guess you have a tiny little car that can't get anything done." He said with a hearty laugh. Zack scratched the back of his head and sighed but kept a smile on his face.

"It gets stuff done, I mean it gets me place to place." Zack pointed out. Cid didn't seem to be paying attention.

"Right, right whatever you say, now hurry up and lets get those arms of yours to use." Cid said patting Zack's shoulder roughly, "You are SOLDIER guy aren't you?" Cid asked with a cocked eyebrow.

"Aerith told you?" Zack asked.
Cid looked confused, "No, your belt." Cid said pointing at the regulation SOLDIER belt around Zack's waist. The black haired man looked down at the belt and laughed.

"Right, I never remember that one, it's so normal for me I don't ever notice I even have it on anymore." Zack said scratching the back of his. "Alright lets get this stuff loaded." he said he picked up the box containing his bed and hefted it easily into the back of the truck. Aerith put the boxes it with chairs in one at a time. Cid picked up the table and put it in the back as Zack got the mattress. Zack and Cid hefted the couch back up into the truck. Zack looked into the very full back as Cid closed up the back. "Um, is it still going to run?" He asked with a cocked eyebrow.

"This isn't some little city boy’s toy, this thing'll run no problem." Cid said with a laugh patting the large truck heavily. This guy was very obviously tough. Almost SOLDIER level tough, but for some reason Zack didn’t think he would live that long in SOLDIER, it took a certain kind of person to be a member of SOLDIER. Zack nodded.

“Alright. So, uh, you don’t mind if Aerith goes with you…I kind of have to hit the grocery store on the way back.” Zack said.

“Not a problem.” Cid said shaking his head his hands resting on his hips. Aerith laughed a little but nodding as an answer.

"Alright well then..." he paused as he fished into his pocket and pulled out his new house key he gave it to Aerith, "You guys just head on in, if you don't mind it would be a great help if you start putting stuff together." He said. Aerith looked down at the key in her hand and smiled, nodding to Zack. Zack sighed, "Well I'll see you in a while then." he said before walking off to his car hoping they would be alright with his stuff.

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Re: Missed. (Final Fantasy 7)

Post by Kaitou_Dark_Sama on Sun Jun 06, 2010 7:09 am

When Zack pulled into his driveway again Cid's truck was still parked outside. The back of the truck was now empty but it was still there and the front door of his house was wide open something that he couldn't help but find somewhat unnerving. He took a deep breath after gathering his groceries up and heading inside. Once inside he ran almost right into Aerith.

"You're back! Let me help you with those." She said taking one of the bags out from underneath his arm. The two of them walked over to the kitchen. There was a light thud from upstairs and Zack looked up with worry practically written all over his face, it only got more worried as he heard a voice that was very obviously not Cid's. "I hope you don't mind. Cid had someone bring by his tools and they started putting together your bed." Aerith said putting the bag down on the counter.

"It's alright...do I know the person?" Zack asked looking out the kitchen and at the stairs. Aerith was about to answer the question but she didn't get the chance as the answer came storming down the stairs and into the kitchen. Its shoulder length brown hair was tied up but its blue eyes were fierce. Zack's face dropped, he was now standing practically face to face with Genesis Raphsodos. Genesis looked up and looked as though he was going to complain, his mouth was open slightly as though to speak but he stopped in his tracks when he saw Zack he looked shocked and surprised.

"Uh..." he looked at Aerith then back at Zack then his eyes landed on the groceries Zack and Aerith had brought in. "Did you get any water by chance?" Genesis asked a brown brow cocked in question. Zack was a little too shocked by the fact that this man who had completely forgotten him not that long ago was now standing in his house like he had seen so much in the distant past. Aerith had started rummaging through the bags. Zack looked over at her as she pulled out a bottle of water and threw it over to Genesis who caught it and turned around all in one motion.

“Thanks.” He said waving with a couple fingers in farewell. When he left and ran back on up the stairs Zack let out a sigh as he turned to Aerith.

“Genesis? Why him?” he asked.

“Well he used to work as an apprentice for Cid, but recently he just started working for him. I would have warned you but I didn’t think it would come up. I’m sorry.” Aerith said shaking her head and biting her lip. Zack sighed.

“No don’t worry about it, it’s fine, as long as we’re getting work done.” He said. Aerith seemed a little happier by the statement as well. “Well we may as well go help, there’s quite a bit to put together.” Zack stated. Aerith nodded and the two headed towards the stairs. There was a knock at the door right before they could even get to the second step though. Zack cocked an eyebrow. “Who the hell?” he asked under his breath, “You go on up, I’ll be there in a second.” He said walking back down the stairs and towards the door as Aerith headed up.

He opened the door and couldn’t help but cock an eyebrow. The person standing on the other side was wearing a black turtle neck sweater and black jeans. A red headband graced his forehead but it barely kept his long black hair out of his face. He was quite a bit taller than Zack and there was one thing that Zack was sure of, he had no idea who this guy was. “Um, may I help you?” Zack asked tilting his head to the head slightly.

“I need to see Cid.” The man said. His voice was gruff, kind of like it was rubbing against sand paper, but it wasn’t an unpleasant voice.

“Um…who are you?” Zack couldn’t help but ask. He wondered why someone would come here looking for someone aside from the owner of the house, it didn’t really make sense. But he assumed Cid’s huge truck would be visible miles away from here.

“My name’s Vincent Valentine.” The tall pale skinned man said standing up straight a frown on his face. Zack looked him over but his eyes didn’t rest anywhere except for the scarlet coloured eyes and thick black lashes he had. They were so brilliantly different; Zack practically fell in love with this unique character right there. Again pictures of the blond from across the street popped into his head at the thought of the word love. Zack ignored them and turned his attention back to his guest.

“Well I’m Zack Fair. Cid is ups-” Zack was about to finish his sentence when a cursing person practically flew down the stairs. Zack blinked a couple times as he looked at Cid. “-tairs… or not.” He finished. Cid grabbed Vincent’s arm and the scarlet eyed man looked at the blond with the smallest amount of surprise written across his face.

“One sec Zack, you can go up and help out Genesis.” Cid said waving the black haired man away as he closed the door behind himself and Vincent. Zack was left there alone in the hallway very confused but in the end decided to do what Cid had told him to do. He headed up stairs mumbling under his breath about how confusing things had suddenly got. At the top of the stairs he walked over to his old bedroom and saw Genesis putting together the bottom support of his bed. Aerith was sitting on the separate mattress watching him work.

“Hey Zack, this is the right room isn’t it?” Genesis asked looking up at the tan skinned man who had just walked into the room.

“Uh yeah. How’d you know?” Zack asked as he thought maybe Genesis had remembered a bit of his past that included Zack.

“I don’t know Cid was having trouble picking a room to put everything in when I got here. I told him this just seemed the bedroom so we set up in here.” Genesis explained looking back down at his work. Zack nodded he should have expected that it had just been a guess. He looked around and saw the side opposite Genesis where Cid must have been working moments before. Zack shrugged as he went over and started working where it seemed the older man had left off.

"Is there anything you guys would like me to do?" Aerith asked from where she was fiddling around with Genesis's long red jacket. The two men looked up at her then at each other, Zack was the one who replied.

"Can you open the box for one of the chairs and start sorting things out for us. Cid should be back up soon and he can deal with the actually building with you." Zack said looking at Aerith with a soft smile. She smiled back at him and nodded as she ditched the jacket on the mattress and went to opening one of the boxes that contained the pieces of the chair.

"So who was at the door?" Aerith asked looking at Zack curiosity laced her voice.

"Vincent." he and Genesis answered at the same time. Zack looked at Genesis with a cocked eyebrow and Aerith looked at him to as though expecting an explanation for his knowledge. Genesis looked at both of them before sighing.

"Vincent called him earlier and they had a bit of an argument but he decided to come over here. I don't really know what to say about it, the two of them confuse me." He said shaking his head his bangs falling out of the tie he had them in. He pushed these loose bits of hair behind his ear.

"Well I didn't think you'd meet Vincent anytime soon, Zack. Just...remember what I told you earlier." Aerith said with a heavy sigh. Zack nodded and the two men went back to work, the bed frame was already almost finished though, Zack was surprised how efficiently Cid and Genesis had done all this work. They only got to work in peace for a couple minutes though before they were bothered once again by the two downstairs.

"I'm tryin' ta work! Geet off ma back!" Cid yelled loudly coming up the stairs and walking into the room. There were more footsteps though. All the patrons of the room were watching the door at the little show that was being put on. Vincent walked into the room after Cid.

"You talk to me like that then expect me to just leave." Vincent stated with a frown standing in the doorway and crossing his arms with a scowl.

"Well it's not like we need you around." Cid said in a matter-o-factly tone. Vincent's scowl turned into a very sharp glare and his lip twitched up in disgust at the words.

"So you end the conversation like you did?" Vincent growled. Zack looked at Cid; it looked as though he didn't even know that Vincent was pissed off at him.

"I've got nothin’ more to say, now get out of here." Cid said waving towards Vincent signaling for him to leave. It just seemed to piss Vincent off more and Zack really noticed how mad Vincent was.

"Uh, hey Vincent, if you want to help you can stay." Zack said with a shrug, "We could always use another hand here." Cid glared at him but the slightest bit of smugness found its way onto Vincent's face as he seemingly won this little bout with Cid. Cid reached up to the pack of smokes strapped to his head but paused and looked at Zack.

"Mind if I smoke?" he asked an eyebrow cocked in questioning.

"Yes I do mind." Zack stated with a frown, he had never been fond of smoking, "If you want to smoke you can head outside. Sorry." Zack said with a shrug. He felt the look Aerith was giving him without lifting his head and he also knew what it was telling him. He had just started off on the wrong foot with Cid, which was something he was hoping he would have been able to avoid. Cid was glowering at him, but it seemed as though Vincent looked pretty pleased by the turn everything had taken. Zack didn’t know whether to be happy or a bit upset by what he had just done.

“What should I do?” Vincent asked in his rather quiet voice. Zack looked at him then around the room trying to think of something.

“Well why don’t you help Aerith. Cid you can come help us finish off the bed.” Zack instructed, again Cid didn’t seem to happy. Genesis continued to work away while Vincent went and joined Aerith with no question. Cid looked as though he was about to protest, but he didn’t and went to working on the last bits on the other side of the bed.

The five of them worked in silence, when they finished the bed after a while Zack went and helped Vincent and Aerith put together one of the chairs to go down stairs and Genesis and Cid did another one of them. Zack noticed how well Genesis and Cid worked together, almost in perfect synchronization, maybe it had something to do with how thick headed they both were, Zack wasn’t really sure. He, Aerith and Vincent didn’t work that poorly together either, there was very little communication between the three of them though. Aerith occasionally questioned what she was supposed to be doing but Zack could easily answer the questions. Vincent didn’t seem to talk much which seemed in his nature and Aerith seemed a little awkward around the tall man, and the awkwardness between the two of them made Zack not feel like breaking the silence between them.

When they finished the chairs they had been working on they moved them downstairs and Zack saw that Aerith and them had put the couch in the living room already. Zack moved in and shifted it slightly so it was in the same place it had been back when he was a kid and he smiled as he sat down on it. Aerith came in and sat down next to him. Genesis was standing in the doorway, "Well we're going to leave now. Good luck with everything Zack." he said getting the two on the couch to turn and look over at him. He waved and Zack smiled and waved back at him.

"Yeah, well we'll see you later." Zack said. A ghost of a smile found its way onto Genesis's face. Zack looked past Genesis at the other two standing in the doorway. Cid had a sour face on and he looked at the door. Seemingly eager to leave this place right away. Vincent had the same kind of ghost of a smile that Genesis had. Well 2 out of 3 that wasn't that bad but Zack still thought he could have done better and had all of them happy with him.

"Bye." Genesis said. Vincent waved from over his shoulder while Cid just wrenched open the door and headed outside. Zack smiled and waved as they all headed out the door after Cid. The door closed behind them and Zack let out a sigh letting his head hit the back of the couch.

"You did well Zack." Aerith said patting his shoulder and smiling at him in a comforting manner.

"Yeah, but I guess I could have done better, I wish I hadn't pissed off Cid like I did." Zack said with a sigh.

"Don't worry about it. You actually got on Vincent's good side, which is much harder than making Cid happy." Aerith said shaking her head, "And it seems like you're making progress with Genesis as well." She explained, she actually seemed very happy by all this and he couldn't help but have her mood rub off on him as well.

“I guess, but what are the chances of Cid continuing to hate me?” he couldn’t help but ask even though he had a feeling he already knew the answer and it wasn’t what he wanted to hear.

“Pretty high. He’s one to keep a grudge. Especially since I have a feeling Vincent’s not going to let up on him about it any time soon.” She said shaking her head. Zack sighed, his head resting against the couch behind him.

“I should have seen that coming.” He said shaking his head and frowning. He looked at Aerith as she got up and looked around and the empty room before looking back down at Zack.

“Would you like me to go make dinner?” she asked tilting her head to the side slightly in question, her long bangs falling into her face slightly but her face had a very kind and sincere smile on it. It made Zack smile and lift his head off the back of the couch and sit up a little straighter.

“That would be nice, if you don’t mind. I’m going to go fix some stuff in my room.” He said standing up and stretching. The two nodded to one another before they headed off to deal with what they had to deal with. Zack went upstairs and put the mattress on the bed and pushing into place where it had been when he was younger. He smiled at it before looking around trying to think of what else he could need. He liked the wood floor and the pale blue, just off white, paint on the wall. It reminded him of his childhood, which was a feeling he loved. He had a closet so he didn’t need a dresser. He strolled over and slid open the door to the closet it only had a single bar stretching from one side to the other. He would need hangers, but he could worry about that later.

When he was done rechecking out his room he headed back downstairs. Aerith hadn’t done anything special just made a few sandwiches for the two of them. It was fine by Zack though he wasn’t expecting much; he really just wanted to go to sleep right now. He jumped up onto the counter and sighed as he picked up a sandwich and bit into it. He exhaled deeply through his nose as he chewed.

“Hard to believe that things can only get tougher from here…” he stated almost morbidly.

“Don’t think like that.” Aerith said shaking her head as she jumped up on the counter to sit next to him, “You know well that there are good times waiting for you in the future. Maybe sooner than you think.” She said with a sigh and a smile trying to cheer up Zack, it worked, or appeared to work. Zack was a bit too tired now to actually feel the change in emotion.

“Yeah I guess you’re right.” He said with a shrug as he continued to eat. The two of them ate in a relative silence from that moment until they were done. Zack jumped off the counter and stretched. Aerith watched him blinking lazily. “Well I’m going to grab the few things I brought from my car. I’m sure your mom is getting a little worried, you should probably go home.” He said as he turned to face Aerith. She nodded in agreement.

“Yeah, I’m getting pretty tired anyways.” She said with a yawn, stretching her arms out at either side. Her eyes looked as though they would close at any minute as she smiled at him, slipping off the top of the counter landing gracefully on her feet. Zack escorted her out the door and walked with her to the sidewalk before waving her goodbye. The sun was already kissing the horizon as it set and Zack stared at the reddening sky as Aerith walked to her house. When she was gone he headed to his car, fishing his key out of his pocket he unlocked the trunk and opened it. There were only a few boxes in the back of the truck. Two of them were filled with clothes, the rest filled with varying items that he didn’t think he could live without. It took him two trips to get all the boxes inside and up into his room. Altogether there were six boxes.

Zack opened one of the boxes labeled ‘Clothes’ and pulled out some baggy shorts and changed into them pulling off his shirt and throwing it with his pants and socks on the floor. Voila, he was ready for bed. He stretched slightly and sat down on the floor opening the box labeled ‘Misc.’ sifting through it trying to figure out exactly what he had brought with him. There was a framed picture his mom had taken of him when he had graduated high school. He laughed slightly at the goofy look on his young face his friends Kunsel and Luxerie were with him. He set it down next to him before reaching back into the box he pulled out two things; he hadn’t remembered putting these in. There was an elastic band attaching a piece of paper to the front. He rolled it off and threw it over his shoulder before looking at the paper with a curious look.

My darling Zack,
I hope you’re doing well. The fact that you have got this note must mean you are getting more settled now. I’m glad that you can finally do something to make you happier. I would love to see how all your little friends grew up. They must be 25 by now: Sephiroth, Genesis and Angeal. I just want to wish you good luck so far away from me. I noticed you had completely forgotten this back at home so I slipped it into one of your boxes. You should share it with your friends and you can relive your old memories together with them. Enjoy, Zack. I love you and I’m always thinking about you.
Love, Mom.

Zack was completely touched. He lifted the paper to his face and kissed the word mom. “I love you too mom.” He said quietly. He set down the paper and looked at the small leather bound photo album it had been attached too. It took him a moment before he recognized it and his eyes opened wide as he opened it. He was right, it was the pictures he had taken in his last week living in Nibelheim back when he was young. He gasped lightly as he touched the plastic covering the first picture. It was a picture of himself, Genesis and Angeal. They looked so young, exactly how he remembered his friends. They couldn’t have been more than 14 in this picture; Zack knew he had been 10 in the picture. A quivering smile came to his face as he looked at it.
In the picture Genesis had his arm draped around Zack’s shoulders. He had one eye closed and was sticking his tongue out at the camera. Zack was laughing one eye closed as he looked out the corner of his open eye at Angeal who was ruffling his hair and smiling at the camera. Zack also knew that Sephiroth had taken the picture; the angle of the camera was perfectly straight as Sephiroth, who had been a bit of a perfectionist when they were younger, would do.

Zack flipped the page and looked at the next two: on the first page it was a picture of Tifa and the Turks. Zack remembered it was supposed to just be a picture of the Turks but Tifa had come in draping her arms around Cissinei, her sudden appearance making Reno fall over, Tseng and Rude looked stoic as ever. Zack’s eyes lingered on the girl with fiery orange hair. He frowned deeply and felt his throat clench at the sight of her, he couldn’t believe she was gone now. But he didn’t let it get to him; he was far too strong to let one person’s death bother him that much. The picture on the next page was him trying to take the picture again except with Tifa and Aerith, who had shown up after Reno started up a commotion, in it, but they had been interrupted again. Reno had managed to lean out of the picture in enough of an instant to grab the arm of a passing Rufus Shinra and pull him awkwardly into the picture and Genesis had come up and goosed Tifa which had earned himself a split second slap which Zack had managed to capture in the picture. Zack couldn’t help but laugh at this one; it was so cluttered it was amazing everyone had fit.

Pictures that graced the next few pages were all graced with the faces of the young versions of his friends: Angeal, Genesis, Sephiroth, Cissinei, Aerith, Tifa, Reno, Rude, Tseng, Lazard, Rufus and… he paused as he flipped to the last page, his breath hitched at it and he felt tears threaten to fall as he looked down at the two young faces in the awkwardly angled picture. Zack was looking down at his young self sitting next to a very young Cloud; the blond couldn’t have been more than 8 years old in the picture. He recognized that instant in his life immediately reliving it in his head for a moment.

“It’s a promise, alright?”

“Yeah, a promise.”

The two young voices rang through his head and his smile started to quiver. He had a feeling Cloud didn’t remember this moment in their lives in the least though it was the one moment that kept Zack working towards his goals his whole life. The one thing that kept him completely sane. He didn’t want to look at it right now, but looking through the little book of picture in general had restarted his thoughts and he knew he was going to make people in this town that forgot him remember him. He figured he would start with Genesis, even the thick headed brunette couldn’t deny something if it was shoved in his face like these pictures. Zack put the book back in the box and stood up stretching. He opened another box and pulled out a blanket and a pillow before falling down onto the soft mattress. He couldn’t help but have a slight ray of hope drift into his mind as he fell asleep.

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Re: Missed. (Final Fantasy 7)

Post by Kaitou_Dark_Sama on Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:22 pm

Chapter 3

After prying information from Aerith the next day as he was forced to go out and deliver flowers, Zack learned enough to know how to contact Genesis during the day. He learned it wasn’t possible to do it without having a run in with Cid, but Zack was willing to risk it. He was going to rebuild his old friendships whether it killed him or not. As they went back home Zack couldn’t help but notice that they hadn’t gone to Cloud’s house for the past couple days like she said she did every day.

“Why haven’t we given anything to Strife to the past couple days?” He asked with a cocked eyebrow as he looked across the street at Cloud’s house. He couldn’t help but have silently wished to go over there just so he could see Cloud again. He knew that would sound very pathetic said out loud though so he said no reason as to why it bothered him.

“He’s not home.” Aerith said shaking her head. Zack looked down at her, confusion written all over his face. After saying no one ever left this town the one person Zack would think would never leave wasn’t here? He waited for Aerith to elaborate. “Well he said he would be leaving a couple days ago, when you were still busy with your house. He had to go into town, he’ll be back later today but I know he won’t want to be bothered when he gets back.” She said, it wasn’t the best of explanation but it got the job done.

“Alright, I guess everyone has their reasons to leave every once and a while.” Zack said with a shrug glancing over at Cloud’s house for another moment before he followed Aerith up her driveway. “I’ll be right back, I’m going to go grab the movies, alright?” he said with a smile not stepping up onto the porch after Aerith. The two of them had decided while they were out selling flowers that Zack would show Aerith some really scary movies. Aerith seemed a little nervous knowing that she probably wouldn’t be able to keep composed for long even after just hearing a few of the titles Zack had said. Her lips folded into a thin line as she nodded. Zack couldn’t help but laugh at the face before he turned and ran across her lawn down to his own house.

Inside he jumped up the stairs and into his room dropping to the floor next to the boxes he had brought up the day before. Ignoring the ‘Misc.’ box he had gone through which was still open, he grabbed a box labeled ‘Movies, Games, Books’ and opened it up. He rummaged through the boxes he had put at the top of the box until he got to his movie collection. He picked up a few of them before heading back downstairs, locking the door on his way out. He walked more slowly across the lawns to Aerith's place. Elmyra was outside watering the garden they had out front. None of the flowers looked like the ones Aerith sold so Zack was a little curious as to where she grew them, but didn't ask any questions. Elmyra waved at him and told him to go on inside. He did just that.

"Zack I'm in the living room." Aerith called through the house. How she knew it was Zack that had just walked in he had no idea but he guessed it had something to do with the sound of his heavy footsteps. He kicked off his shoes and walked into the house and into the living room where Aerith was sitting on the couch watching TV her arms wrapped around a pillow, Zack laughed. He walked over to the TV and knelt down in front of it opening the DVD player and putting in one of the movies he had brought.

"Hey there," he started, she yawned in acknowledgement. "I'm going to start you off with something easy. It's predictable and really fake." He said accenting the word 'fake'. He went and sat down next to Aerith as she set up the TV from where she was sitting.

"What is it?" she asked. Zack smirked.

"Jaws." He stated. Her eyes opened wide and she clutched the pillow in her arms even tighter, Zack noticed it and bit back a laugh, “Scared of sharks?” he asked not being able to keep the smirk off of his face. Aerith nodded slowly and Zack couldn’t help but laugh, “As I said before, this one is easy, the shark is so fake. You can honestly see the rubber it’s made of. And sharks don’t get that big.” He said with a shrug, resting his arms on the back of the chair behind him.

"It's not scary?" she asked sounding very unsure as though she was having her doubts about this whole movie thing.

"I don't think so." Zack said shaking his head, "Don't worry though we can turn it off if you get to scared." He said unable to hold back his smirk as the movie started to play. Zack had seen this movie many times before and saw everything coming long before it happened; a big animatronic shark wasn't going to scare him. That ominous theme seemed to really get to Aerith though. She always seemed to be fine up until it played then she would fling herself at Zack, hiding behind his arm having one eye peek out from behind his bicep her hands clutched tightly around his forearm. Any straight guy would immediately take advantage of such a situation but Zack just found her reaction humorous though he didn't deny her the comfort she obviously got by being close to him, though the fact that she found even just his presence calming was a bit unnerving, he didn't mind being friends with her but he didn't want to be anything more than that. Another picture of Cloud shot through his head and he shook his head to discard the image and behind that image were the beautiful scarlet eyes he had first seen the day before. Where had that come from? He closed his eyes and sighed leaning slightly against Aerith. She seemed to relax at the lightest of brushing between their bodies.

By the time the shark blew up Aerith seemed to have calmed down slightly, "See it's fake. I mean you have to admit you could tell it was fake when it attacked the helicopter or jumped on the back of the boat." he stated. Aerith had let go of Zack's arm and went back to having her arms wrapped tightly around the pillow in front of her.

"I guess." she said quietly. Zack smiled almost fondly at her, she acted like a little kid more then she knew. At least more then he thought she knew.

"Ready for the next one?" Zack asked with a cocked eyebrow. Aerith's eyebrows furrowed slowly falling farther towards the middle of her forehead.

"No?" she practically asked, more like she was testing the ground seeing if that answer was even acceptable to Zack. It wasn't. They were going to continue to watch movies until the sun fell behind the horizon whether she wanted to or not.

"Well, too bad, I'll let you cling to my arm if you need to don't worry." he said with a laugh getting up and walking over to the DVD player taking out the first movie then flipping it with a less gory more supernatural movie. It was a rather crappy B-movie but it got the scaring job down pat. Especially with Aerith who screamed when anything remotely scary popped up. Again she spent most of the movie wrapped around his arm and again Zack found it funny and made no move to take advantage of her insecurity, but he did briefly wonder if she wanted him to try something though the thought made him shudder, right as Aerith jumped at something else that was apparently scary.

When this movie ended Zack finally looked over at the clock. It was only 4 in the afternoon. He frowned lightly; he was waiting till it was dark to play some of the scarier movies. He moved off of the couch, “Okay for this next one I was trying to pick between it and the Grudge. You may as well see the original even though it’s in Japanese. One of my friends told me it’s better than the English version of it. It’s called Ju-On. It’s not really all that scary until the end either.” He said with a shrug putting it into the machine, “I hope you’re ready to do some reading.” He said as he sat back down next to her and triggered the movie to play. When it started he couldn’t help but laugh, “You know if it has Japanese school girls in it something bad is going to happen.” He said shaking his head. Aerith didn’t look very pleased and she was already clinging to Zack’s arm.

She was relatively silent as they watched the video, Aerith only jumped a couple times as the movie went through. Zack had noticed her breathing pick up quite a bit at certain times but she had no serious reaction till near the end of the movie, when that girl comes down the stairs crawling like an animal with her jaw gone and her tongue just moving around. Aerith screamed as her nails dug into Zack’s tan arm he flinched slightly at the sharp pain. She started up a chant of, “Oh my god” saying it over and over again as she pressed her face into the back of Zack’s shoulder. Zack frowned; he took his eyes away from the TV screen and looked at the young brunette girl. He sighed as he ran his hand through her hair trying to help calm her down.

“Hey, calm down…it’s just a movie…” he stated quietly in a hushed voice, he kept one eye on the screen, “And a poorly done one at that…” he said to himself in addition. He turned back to Aerith his fingers practically massaging her scalp, “It’s almost done don’t worry.” He said, this reminded him of back when he was young, when he had someone who would do this sort of thing for him. He smiled fondly at the thoughts; a time when movies like this had scared him. When he was still back in school with…suddenly the memories turned sour and he fought not to remember them, glad that that scene in the movie was over, “It’s done, don’t worry.” He said and she looked out from behind his shoulder. In the next fifteen or so minutes the movie ended and Aerith completely emerged from behind Zack’s arm with a sigh. Zack smiled at her as he turned off the movie.

“Can we take a break from the movies?” Aerith asked as Zack got up to retrieve his DVD from the machine. He thought about it for a moment as he put the CD in the case and placed it with the other movies he had brought. He stood up straight and stretched getting the kinks out of his back. “Like go for a walk.” She suggested tilting her head to the side. Zack looked at the young women who had her hands in her lap and was biting her lip lightly, she obviously needed a break.

“Alright not a problem. I could probably walk out these kinks in my back.” He said turning his torso sharply to the point where his spin cracked. He reached down and touched his toes then back up before sighing in relief and looking at Aerith. “You got anywhere particular in mind?” he asked putting his hands on his hips. Aerith smiled at him and he was glad she was already a bit happier.

“No I just thought we could wander around. We can visit places we used to go to when we were little.” She said happily getting to her feet. Zack mulled over what she said for a moment before his smile widened, despite the fact that it was quickly getting dark what Aerith was suggesting sounded like a lot of fun.

“Alright, that sounds like a lot of fun.” He said with a nod. Aerith nodded back as she practically danced down the hall towards the door. Zack laughed slightly shaking his head as he followed her, a little less excited obviously. Though he had to admit that excitement was something that was not so slowly creeping up towards him. He had a feeling he knew where Aerith was going to take him. There were, after all, only two places he and his group of friends really hung around and one of those was the park. He pulled on his boots as Aerith walked on outside and stretched. She turned and looked at Zack her eyes urging him to hurry up which he did with a laugh.

They walked for a while and Zack was shocked at the fact that he had been right and that he could remember the way to the place they were going. “So nostalgic…” he said with a sigh running his hand through his hair.

“And it’s not different from when we were little too.” Aerith said with a smile as she looked up at Zack. Then she looked off at the sun set. Zack turned his head to watch it as well until the two of them fell behind trees and into the small patch of forest just outside of the city. They headed down a trail that had been beat down by countless feet to a familiar place to both Zack and Aerith, something like a little time capsule that would never be forgotten because of all the fun that had occurred here.

Zack walked through the break in the trees and smiled happily letting out a content sigh crossing his arms and looking at his surroundings, Aerith was right it hadn’t changed in the least. Trees surrounded this little clearing on three fronts. One of which was the one they had come through which was the only clear way into this little spot. At the far end, opposite where they had just come in was a creek, living out in a place like Nibelheim the water here was almost clean enough to drink, almost, but they never did; though swimming in it was something they used to do. Looking at the water now Zack was pretty sure he would still be able to swim in it. There was a slope from where he stood down to the water with a flat area on either end big enough for you to sit down easily. There was one stunted tree in the middle of this clearing with a rope hanging down from one of the higher branches and a tire tied to the end. It was clear into the creek and Zack remembered how much fun they used to have just swinging into the water. On one side under the shade of the tree there were a few stumps from when the newer trees were just plants and the old dead trees were cut down. They made great seats but aside from those, closer down to the water, there was a stone bench off to the side so someone sitting there wouldn’t be kicked in the head by someone swinging into the water. And the grass that covered everything was healthy and green and soft under foot and it was the main thing that drove the friends to hang out in this area.

He followed Aerith as she walked down to the bench and sat down. He sat down next to her and looked down at the clean creek, “So nostalgic…” he said again, he found himself saying it a lot, because that is what this all was. He was living a dream right now. Since he was merely 10 years old he had dreamt of coming back to Nibelheim. Sure it wasn’t all going exactly as he had planned, but there had been a few moments already where he felt like he did now. Things that made him so glad he was finally back here.

“It must be.” Aerith said through a sigh. Zack looked down at her but noticed she had gotten a little bit closer. He was slightly surprised by her sudden closeness but it didn’t really bother him too much, she had been clinging to him for most of the afternoon already. She leaned and rested her head on his shoulder; again he didn’t mind too much, it was a friendly and comforting gesture that Zack knew all too well. He almost instinctively put his arm around her shoulders and smiled down at her. That was when she finally caught him off guard, “Zack, I really like you, would you…uh…y’know… go out with me?” she asked shying away slightly tilting her head down to attempt and hide her blushing face, but she also seemed as though she was prepared for rejection. Zack dropped his arm and pushed her off of him lightly before grabbing her chin and turning her so she would look at him.

“Aerith, I like you too, but honestly as nothing more than a good friend. You remembered me and I was so happy.” He ran a thumb over her bright red cheek, “But it’s not possible for us to be together. My heart already belongs to someone else.” He said with a quivering smile, his blue eyes caring yet lost as though in his own world. “You understand right?” he asked tilting his head to the side slightly.

“I understand Zack, I’m sorry, I didn’t know.” Aerith said pushing Zack’s hand away from her face and turning to look back down at the water.

“I didn’t expect you to know, it’s not something I broadcast.” Zack said with a shrug and a light sigh.

“So what’s she like?” Aerith asked after a pause. The question caught Zack off guard quite a bit.

“Huh?” he asked looking down at her with a cocked eyebrow. Aerith was smiling at him already seeming to be in higher spirits. She had been acting as though she was expecting to be rejected anyways. Zack still felt bad for hurting her though.

“The person who stole your heart from me.” She said punching his arm lightly. She was already joking about it? That too caught Zack off guard. He had expected her to be a little more upset then this.

“Oh, shy, small, cute. Seems really hard to catch right now. Just an unrequited love for the time being I guess.” Zack said with a shrug and a light smile, his eyes off into the distance as he pictured Cloud in his mind’s eye.

“Why’d you leave Midgar then? You have to keep going; you’re such a great guy you can win her over no problem.” Aerith asked turning so she was facing Zack and resting her hand on his knee. He looked down at it before looking into her green eyes, they seemed so sincere. It was clear that this girl didn’t know how to be mean, didn’t know how to carry a grudge.

“Ah, they don’t live in Midgar, that’s why I left.” He said shaking his head.

“Did you love anyone in Midgar?” She asked after a short pause. Zack didn’t know why she changed the subject like that, but he was rather glad she did. He didn’t want her to know right off the bat that he liked Cloud; it was something he would like to keep a secret until he could really talk to him.

“Anyone I loved?” he murmured frowning slightly as he thought over the word, “Well…I used to think so…But that was back when I was young. I won’t make a mistake like I did back then again.” Aerith frowned at the words as well.

“What do you mean by that? What was she like?” Aerith questioned, which surprised Zack, he didn’t expect her to question on something that so obviously bothered Zack. But she was a girl gossip was something she loved he guessed. He knew he couldn’t tell her everything though. She probably wouldn’t understand.

“Complete opposite of the person I like now: cynical, pushy, sadistic.” Zack shuddered slightly at the recollection. He had never been very serious about the other guy, but he had been such a great comfort at the time that he couldn’t say he really hated being with him, though the way he acted now probably made it seem like he had hated it. It just wasn’t something he liked thinking about. “Could be such a sweetie sometimes though.” He sighed under his breath looking off to the side and rubbing the back of his neck. “But that’s in the past, can we drop the subject?” he asked looking back at Aerith as he shook his head.

“Alright I’m sorry.” She said before looking down at the water as it flowed down in front of them. Zack found the water calming. They were both silent as they stared into the waters ever darkening depths as the sun fell completely behind the horizon. Finally as the woods started to darken completely before the moon was hidden by clouds Aerith spoke, “I think we should head back.”

“Yeah, I kind of want to go to bed.” Zack said nodding a sigh escaping his lips. He smiled and Aerith as he stood up and offered her a hand. She took it lightly and he helped lift her to her feet as they headed off back the way they came. Zack let Aerith lead because she knew the area better than him and he wanted to think a little bit more. The two of them were silent until they came up to Zack’s house. He smiled as he looked at her, “I’ll come get my movies another day.”

“Alright. Bye.” Zack couldn’t see her face clearly but he could tell by her voice that there was a chance she was crying now maybe he had really hurt her. He frowned as he let his hand find her cheek he rubbed his thumb under her eye and sure enough it was moist. A pang rang through his heart. She did really like him, he hated this feeling but he knew it was impossible and it was better that she knew right off the bat, especially since he knew they could still be friends. Aerith pushed Zack’s hand away and turned her face down towards the ground.

“Don’t cry, I’m not worth it. You’ll find a nice guy one day. It’s just not me.” He said as he lifted her head up again, he gave her a kiss on the forehead. “Good night Aerith.” Zack could barely see the small smile she gave him.

“Good night Zack and good luck with Genesis tomorrow.” She said before hugging him tightly then continuing down to her house. Zack watched as she left with a small frown on his face before sighing and heading up to his house. He went upstairs and fell onto his bed. He laughed slightly into his pillow and looked across the room at the box on the floor which still had his album full of pictures in it.

“Yeah…I’m going to need all the luck I can get dealing with him.” Zack said as he started to drift into a deep sleep.

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Re: Missed. (Final Fantasy 7)

Post by Kaitou_Dark_Sama on Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:09 pm

Zack’s eyes cracked open reluctantly as a bird chirped loudly outside his window. He groaned and pushed himself up onto his elbows. He glared in the direction of the window before sighing and getting up. He practically fell off the bed and crawled over to his boxes of stuff. He dug through one of them until he found a watch. He squinted at the small hands as they ticked by. His eyes opened wide as he realized what time it was. It was already 10:30 AM; he had wanted to be out of by 10 at the latest. “Damn.” He hissed as he got up and ran down out of his bedroom and into the bathroom to have a shower and do something with his hair.

He wandered back to his room drying out his hair with his towel and grumbling to himself, he was taking a lot longer then he would have liked to take. He dropped the towel on the floor next to the door as he got himself dressed; just a navy blue button up with three buttons in the middle done up and a pair of dark jeans He went back to the bathroom and did his hair then headed back into his room. He pulled on some socks as he sat down next to his box he pulled out the album that had the pictures of his last week here in it. He smiled down at the cover as he opened it; he looked through the pictures a few times before deciding to take the whole thing with him.

The drive to Cid’s auto shop was a short one. Zack saw both Genesis’s truck and Cid’s truck parked outside. He gulped slightly as he stepped out of his car the small album in hand. He was not looking forward to seeing Cid when he went in. He stepped inside and sighed in relief when he saw Genesis sitting at a desk with his feet up on the top. He was staring up at the ceiling and looked bored out of his mind. As Zack took a few steps in he looked up with a cocked eyebrow, his confusion only deepening when he saw it was Zack who was walking in.

“Did someone run over that ant of a car of yours?” Genesis asked moving his feet off the desk to sit properly. He smirked at Zack who rolled his eyes and sighed. He opened the little book he had and looked for a decent picture. The first one he came across was one that was quite obviously taken by Sephiroth of himself, Genesis and Angeal; it was the one he had first looked at the day he had found them. Zack smirked down at the picture before looking at Genesis.

“You said you didn’t know me before. I over reacted to that like I did because… we used to be best friends.” Zack said with a small smirk ready to gauge Genesis’s reaction and hopefully not piss him off or freak him out to much. Genesis’s grin turned to a frown in a second as he glared at Zack.

“I told you before; I have never met you before in my life.” Genesis stated just as Zack threw the picture down in front of him. Genesis blinked as he looked down at the picture with a cocked eyebrow. He picked it up and examined it, his eyes opening wide in shock. He looked at the picture then at Zack then at the picture again, “What the…” he mumbled.

“This picture begs to differ. I used to live here eleven years ago. You, Sephiroth, Angeal and I used to hang out all the time, you guys used to treat me like a puppy. You were always bothering Tifa and whenever we fought Aerith would have to come and split us all up. Normally it was either you and Sephiroth or you and me starting the fights.” Zack explained crossing his arms as he flipped through the pictures some more, “All of these were taken in the week before I left for Midgar.” He said with a sigh opening the book to two more pictures which included Genesis putting it down on the table in front of him: including the one of him getting slapped by Tifa and a the candid of him, Sephiroth and Angeal. Genesis looked completely shocked just looking at the pictures. Then he winced and rubbed his head. Zack couldn’t help but be hopeful. Genesis groaned and his forehead hit the table. “Hey, you okay?” Zack asked with a frown.

“I’m fine, I’m just…confused.” Genesis sighed. Silence fell over the two of them and the sound of machinery not far off was really starting to bother Zack. Genesis had lifted his head from the desk and was looking off to the side and out a window; it was obvious he was actually deep in thought. After about ten minutes, though it could have been less than that, Genesis turned to him. “Wanna go out for lunch? We need to talk a bit more.” Genesis asked. Zack blinked a couple times slightly surprised by the rather sudden offer.

“Alright, that sounds good.” Zack was very happy through his confusion, it seemed as though he had finally gotten through to Genesis. Maybe things would go a little bit more as he had expected from now on. Genesis stood up and handed Zack the pictures he took them and they headed out. Even more to Zack’s relief he had avoided a confrontation with Cid. He followed Genesis to his truck already knowing it wouldn’t be possible to get Genesis into his little car. Zack got into the passenger seat of Genesis’s truck as the older man went to turn on the truck. He tried starting it a couple times. His eyes started to open wider as he continued to try. Then he smacked the steering wheel.

“FUCK!” he yelled before rubbing his temple. “I’ll be right back, gotta talk to Cid. We’re taking your car.” Genesis said opening his door and hopping out of his truck and rushing back into the building. Zack blinked a couple times and he slowly got out as well. He headed across the parking lot to where his car was parked and sat himself inside as he waited for Genesis. His eyes closed and he let out a sigh he couldn’t believe how well that had worked. He would have to try jogging Cloud’s memory later as well.

Zack jumped when the car door opened and Genesis practically fell into the seat next to him. He looked all but happy right now. He closed the door harder than necessary before turning and looking at Zack. “Hey, is your truck alright?” Zack had to ask. He frowned as Genesis huffed and looked away and pulled on his seat belt. He ran a gloved hand through his hair and glared out the window shifting around in his seat slightly as though trying to find a way to sit that was actually comfortable. This was the last thing Zack wanted, a pissed off Genesis was never a good thing, ever since they were little. So Zack couldn’t help but try to lighten the mood, “You were exactly like this when you were younger too. If things don’t go your way you pout and get angry and snap at whoever tries to tell you something different.” Zack said shaking his head and turning on his car. Genesis blinked a couple times as he turned to look at Zack he frowned and his eyebrows were furrowed.

“Like you’re doing right now.” He stated, it was far from a question and it made Zack laugh and shake his head.

“You’ve never scared me, Genesis. Angeal, Sephiroth and I were the only ones who would even bother with dealing with you when you were all pouty.” He said with a shrug looking out the window then smirked at Genesis, “We could take a few of your sissy punches. Even though I’m four years younger than you.”

“Sissy, eh? I’d like to see you say that now.” Genesis said undoing his seatbelt before jumping at Zack getting in a punch to the side of his head. He was right, he was a lot stronger then he had been when they were younger, but Zack was too. No little boys could get into SOLDIER. Zack grabbed Genesis’s wrists and tried to push him back seeing as his seatbelt was cutting into his collar. Genesis growled lightly as he pushed back. If that was how he was going to be Zack let go of one of Genesis’s wrists to undo his seatbelt with his now free hand Genesis punched Zack solid in the gut earning a groan from the younger man.

“Cheap shot.” Zack said shaking his head and pushing Genesis back by the face.

“Wanna see a cheap shot?” Genesis asked. Zack’s eyes widened as he knew what was coming next and opted to save himself the pain.

“Uh, no I don’t.” He said letting go of Genesis’s face. He opened the car door, repositioned himself so his feet were on Genesis’s chest and flipped him out of the car onto the pavement. Genesis groaned as Zack rolled out of the car after him. Genesis grabbed his gut and groaned again. Zack frowned and knelt down next to him. “Are you alright?” he asked. He didn’t expect to have his ankle grabbed and jerked out from under him sending him back. The back of his head smacked against the car door and he groaned in pain as Genesis got up. Zack quickly pushed himself to his feet as well as Genesis went to punch him. Zack caught his fist, then the other fist very movie like. He met Genesis’s head half way to keep the amount of pain minimal. He took a sharp breath as he flipped his hands to grab Genesis’s wrists again. In a swift movement he pulled his head back pulled Genesis’s wrists together and threw the older man down onto his knee. Genesis groaned in defeat as he slid to the ground clutching his stomach.

“God damn it…” he hissed out.

“Can we get going now?” Zack asked with a large smile. Genesis smirked up at him, obviously much happier now. Genesis pushed himself to his feet and brushed off his jacket.

“Yeah alright.” He said walking back around to the passenger side of the car and getting in as Zack sat back down and closed the still open driver side door. Genesis shook his head and laughed lightly, “You really are strong.” He stated looking at Zack as the two buckled themselves in.

“Well I would hope so,” Zack stated starting up the car again and backing up out of the parking lot, “I was in SOLDIER for four years.” He said with a laugh. Genesis was silent for a moment before he burst into hearty laughter. Zack cocked an eyebrow as he looked at the brunette out of the corner of his eye. “What’s so funny?”

“Two things.” Genesis said holding up to fingers, “One: I just picked a fight with a guy from SOLDIER and two: I’m really starting to remember you.” Zack perked up at that second reason, his eyebrows shooting high onto his forehead as he looked and Genesis and ignored the road, not that there was anyone else around anyways. Genesis shook his head, “How can I not remember something when all this proof is shoved into my face.”

“That’s a relief.” Zack said with a sigh and looking back at the road. He pulled into the parking lot of the most popular little restaurant in town. He stopped the car as Genesis got out. Zack was close behind him. First thing Genesis had to do though was stretch. He turned to Zack and smirked.

“How can you stand such a tiny thing, I was only in it for five minutes at the most and I’m in pain.” He stated. Zack sighed.

“You could be in pain because I threw you on the pavement about five minutes ago.” He retorted.

“Okay, point taken.” Genesis said. Zack shook his head as the two of them headed in. They sat themselves down in a booth near a window and a waitress with long red hair came by and took their orders, she had a Russian accent and wore rather revealing clothes.

“When’d they add a bar to this place?” Zack asked looking away from the waitress to Genesis who was practically ogling the waitress’s ass.

“Huh?” he practically gasped as he turned and looked at Zack. “Oh the bar, right. Uh, when Barret moved in he asked the manager about adding on a bar. It was a good idea for both of them. And bringing in these waitresses has helped a bit too.” He said glancing to the side at the waitress who had served them. Zack rolled his eyes but laughed. Zack couldn’t help but remember that Aerith had told him that Tifa worked at Barret’s bar and he looked around for someone who could be her, but he didn’t see her.

“It’s like no one even left this place.” Zack said with a sigh. Genesis looked at him, his head tilted to the side. Zack laughed slightly and scratched the back of his neck, “Well I mean come on, who is gone: Sephiroth, Angeal, Rufus…” he paused before adding in a quieter tone, “Cissinei.” It still hurt to think about her and the fact that she was actually dead. Genesis didn’t seem to really notice how upset it made Zack, or he was just trying to make him feel better.

“Yeah Angeal’s gone, he left about eight months ago for a job in Midgar under Shinra. Rufus hooked him up with the job.” He explained. He smirked at the waitress as she gave them their drinks and took their orders, he winked at her and she just rolled her eyes and giggled as she walked away. He turned back to Zack and continued with his explanation, “But Rufus isn’t really gone, he still lives here he just works in Midgar with his father. Last time I checked…Sephiroth was in the same situation. Sephiroth is around a lot more though.” He said with a shrug. Zack’s eyebrows shot up.

“Sephiroth is still around!?” he questioned rather loudly.

“Well yeah. I guess.” Genesis said giving Zack a motion as though to quiet down which he obeyed slightly embarrassed over that sudden outburst.

“It’ll be great to see him again. Do you have any idea when he will be coming back?” Zack questioned looking at Genesis hopefully. To his disappointment Genesis shook his head.

“Sorry I have no clue what Sephiroth’s schedule is like. I just know he’s busy really often. He works as a modeling agent. The job suits him.” Genesis said with a shrug.

“Someone intimidating like Sephiroth…” Zack said looking off to the side. He had to think about it for a moment but he had to admit, it was a job he could see Sephiroth doing.

“Yeah but on top of being intimidating he’s smart, sly, stubborn, smooth, not to mention he could pull off being a model himself.” Genesis added, smirking at the waitress as she gave them their food. Zack thought over what Genesis had said. He had never heard Genesis compliment someone so much before. Maybe he was jealous? Maybe he respected Sephiroth? Zack wasn’t completely sure. Zack was brought back to reality by a rather grossed out sound Genesis made. Zack cocked an eyebrow and looked at him; he had his gaze off to the side. Out of curiosity Zack followed the brunette’s gaze.

His eyes rested on another pair of men that their waitress was serving. The only difference he really noticed was that the waitress was laughing and talking to them and even seemed to be hitting on the two of them, who just laughed jokingly. Both of them had hair down to the middle of their backs. One had silver, nearly white hair, he had blue eyes and his bangs covered one eye and one spike at the side flew up and out like a cowlick. The other had black hair that was spiked forward at the front but also covered one of his off red, nearly orange, eyes. The black haired man didn’t have his hair tied up but it was pushed back with a white head band which looked sort of like a bandage. The red headed waitress seemed to really like both of them.

“What you jealous Genesis?” Zack asked looking back at his friend who was eating quickly, his shoulders hunched forward and his gaze aimed down at the white table top. In a split second his gaze sharpened into a glare which he directed up at Zack, who had to take a sharp breath to keep from flinching under that icy blue gaze.

“I would never be jealous of scum like them.” He stated with a razor like tongue. Zack blinked a couple times not understanding why Genesis was being so fierce.

“What’s wrong with them?” Zack asked looking at the two who were laughing together and talking to one another happily before looking back at Genesis who was glaring at them with his lip twitching in what seemed like disgust.

“Just look at them, it’s gross.” He said glancing at Zack out of the corner of his eyes then back at the two. Zack looked back at the two of them, and a small blush formed along his cheek bone as he watched the two who were now holding hands on top of the table lean towards one another and kiss. Zack thought it was sweet, the two of them seemed so happy. A smile fluttered onto his features just to be dashed away at Genesis’s next words, “Ugh…gays, that’s so disgusting.” Zack frowned and turned quickly back to his food. He ate silently and Genesis did as well. This was suddenly not going well again. What would Genesis say if he found out Zack was gay, would he shun him like he so obviously did those other two. He chewed at his lip slightly as he mulled these thoughts over warily.

When they finished eating the two of them headed back out to the car, “So do you have to go back to work?” Zack asked leaning against the door of his car.

“Yeah, Cid probably didn’t do anything with my truck. I’m probably going to have to fix her up myself when I get back there.” He said with a sigh pushing his hair back with one hand just to have it all fall back exactly where it was before. Zack nodded as he sat down in his little vehicle. Genesis went and got in the other side. He sighed loudly, “This thing really is small, there’s practically no leg room or anything.” He huffed closing the door a little harder than necessary.

“It’s more practical to drive something like this in the city. To be honest sticking out was something I didn’t want to do any more of.” Zack said with a sigh as he pulled out of the parking lot and out onto the road, driving down towards the auto shop.

“You don’t seem like the kind of person who would stick out to much.” Genesis stated looking at Zack with a cocked eyebrow. Zack laughed and shook his head.

“It wasn’t really me who stood out; it was who I hung around with. They were…different to say the least I guess.” Zack said with a shrug and a laugh. Genesis nodded, understanding, but he didn’t question any further which Zack was thankful for. He continued to drive until he pulled into the parking lot of the shop. He parked in front of the building and Genesis sighed as he opened the door and stepped out. He paused before turning back and leaning down to look at Zack.

“Hey, thanks…I’m glad I got the chance to remember you. You are very stubborn aren’t you?” The brunette said with a smirk.

“I’ve had people say that, yes.” He said with a wide smile, he hadn’t been happier since he got here, things were starting to go better, Genesis had admitted to remembering him, Sephiroth was still around, Angeal wasn’t completely gone…there was one thing that he really had to see if he could change now. “I’ll see you later Genesis.” Zack said with a wave. Genesis laughed as he stood up and stretched; resting his hand he put his hand on the top of the door.

“Even if the morrow is barren of promise nothing shall forestall my return.” Genesis said quoting his favourite book, Zack remembered when this brunette had first got that book, it had been something he had been forced to read for school. Even in Midgar Zack had been forced to read it, a great story but he didn’t love it as much as Genesis did. Genesis closed the door of the car and Zack waved to him again before driving off. He knew where he was going now; he had one more thing to deal with before he went home. He looked down at the book of pictures lying on the seat next to him.

Even if the morrow is barren of promises, nothing shall forestall my return…

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Re: Missed. (Final Fantasy 7)

Post by Kaitou_Dark_Sama on Fri Jul 30, 2010 9:50 am

He parked his car in the driveway up to the quaint white house with the light coloured shingling. Zack took a deep breath as he stopped the car and stepped out. There was no car in the driveway he noticed and wondered if maybe Cloud was still out, even though Aerith said he would be back yesterday. Zack shook his head and the thoughts left as he approached the front door. Standing in front of the door he took another deep breath. One hand was clenched tightly around the photo album the other reached forward and pressed the door bell. He heard it ring inside the house and he started to chew at his bottom lip.

“Mew.” Zack blinked as he heard the sound. He looked down at his feet and saw an adorable little calico cat with amber eyes looking up at him. He laughed slightly as he bent down and pet the small animal on the head.

“Hey there, are you Cloud’s cat?” he said, it didn’t have a collar but he himself wasn’t sure what exactly talking to the animal would prove. He shook his head and stood up straight. The cat rubbed itself against his leg before walking over to the door and sitting in front of it, mewling up at it. Zack smiled at the small animal and was slightly distracted until the door opened, he watched the cat run inside as his eyes widened and his trailed quickly up Cloud’s frame to his confused looking blue eyes. “Um, hi I’m Zack, I recently moved in across the street.” He said pointing at his house. “And, I have something I would like to show you, do you mind?” He questioned unable to help but be hopeful. Cloud was frowning though and he looked both confused and creeped out.

“Alright. Come in.” the blond finally said with a nod walking back into the house. Zack’s heart leapt as he stepped inside and looked around he noticed where Cloud had put his shoes and took his off there as well. He headed inside looking around a little as he did. The whole place seemed rather neutral. Cloud was standing in the doorway which looked like it led to the kitchen, “You can go sit down in the living room.” The blond said pointing down the hall towards the living room where Zack could see a long couch and a coffee table. He nodded to Cloud before going and sitting down in the middle of the couch and putting the little photo album down on the table in front of him. He heard the sound of something hitting plastic; he would assume he was feeding the cat. After that Cloud came out into the living room and sat down beside Zack on the couch and looked at him with a small pout and a cocked eyebrow.

“Well you said you didn’t remember me the last time I talked to you a week or so ago. Zack started, handing the book to Cloud, “These pictures were taken when I lived here eleven years ago.” He said. Cloud looked at him then took the book and opened it, looking through the pictures.

“I’m not in any of these.” Cloud stated as he looked at all of the pictures, “These are taken here but…It doesn’t really prove anything if I’m not in them.” Cloud said glancing into Zack’s eyes, Zack looked back into Cloud’s and he got lost for a moment before shaking his head.

“No, there is one of you trust me.” Zack said turning a few of the pages himself to the back of the album. He couldn’t help but get slightly choked up just looking at the picture of himself and Cloud sitting on top of the roof of his house, especially since he was sitting next to that adorable little blond boy right now, except…he wasn’t little anymore. Cloud though was frowning down at the picture and examining it thoroughly. “That’s of us on the roof of my house.” Zack stated through a sigh. Cloud looked at him for a moment then back down at the picture.

“I don’t remember this…” Cloud stated shaking his head. Zack’s heart sank. Cloud was chewing at his bottom lip, “But it does look…familiar.” He said in a small hushed voice. Zack didn’t know what to feel now, so what if it was familiar, he didn’t remember it the way Zack had hoped he would.

“That’s alright; you can look through the rest of them if you want it doesn’t really matter.” Zack said with a shrug. Cloud nodded as he started to slowly flip back through the pictures examining each one with what seemed like endless curiosity. Zack looked down at the pale blue carpet as he tried to think of something that might possibly jog Cloud’s memory. As he was thinking a cat walked up and brushed against his leg, it was a different one from the calico, this one was black and white, it had a mask of black fur across its green eyes and black legs and tail the rest of it was white except for two small black spots on its side. It looked up at Zack and meowed, Zack smiled as he pet the small animal. Then something came to him that might make Cloud remember him. “Hey, have you ever wanted to be in SOLDIER?” he asked Cloud with a smile. The cat jumped up onto his legs and curled itself up and Zack continued to pet the now purring creature.

“Well…yeah, but that was just a childish dream.” Cloud said after a moment’s pause. He closed the photo album and put it back down on the table. He looked down at his cat on Zack’s lap and scratched its chin, seeming to be rather deep in thought as he did so, his blue eyes looking completely lost.

“Yeah? You know I was in SOLDIER. First class at that.” Zack said with a smirk watching Cloud’s hand as he pet the cat.

“That’s cool.” Cloud said then an awkward silence surrounded them, and Zack felt completely crushed. He didn’t even remember their promise…the promise that Zack had been sure to keep in all aspects. He stared at Cloud’s hand as his jaw clenched and he fought back the painful lump in his throat which could only bring on tears. He was not going to cry in front of Cloud.

“Uh, I think I should get going.” Zack said standing up, the cat jumping off of him at the last second. He picked up his photo album. He turned and looked at Cloud who stood with his arms crossed, “I’m sorry for bothering you.” Cloud shrugged as he followed Zack down to the front door. Zack pulled on his shoes as he looked at Cloud again, “I hope we can talk some other time though.” Cloud nodded.

“Alright, bye Zack.” Cloud said with a curt wave. Zack nodded as he headed out the door, he didn’t look back as he heard the door close behind him. He sighed heavily as he walked down to his car, threw the small book into the passenger side and drove himself down and across the street to park in front of his house. His forehead hit the top of the steering wheel as he parked. He felt the sudden urge to spill everything on his mind to someone. He had to go talk to Aerith. He got of the car and cut across the lawn to Aerith’s house.

He had to wait a few moments after knocking on the door for the young brunette to answer it, “Oh, hi Zack! Come in.” she said stepping aside and motioning him inside. Zack stepped in and kicked off his shoes and followed Aerith into the living room, he stopped in the doorway.

“You mind if we go somewhere a little more private…?” he asked quietly. Aerith looked at him with a cocked eyebrow from where she was getting Zack’s DVDs. He sighed but smiled as he added, “I don’t want your mom to see a grown man cry.” He said looking down at her. Aerith’s eyes widened as she noticed how glassy and red Zack’s eyes were. She nodded as she jumped to her feet and headed upstairs, Zack followed her silently. She headed into the room which was obviously her bedroom. The walls were a pale pink colour, and the furniture was almost if not all white. Aerith was seated on the bed, where she patted a space for Zack to join her. He did.

“What’s wrong Zack?” She asked throwing her arms around his neck and hugging him tightly, if anything it made Zack feel even worse.

“Well…you know the person…who I said had captured my heart…?” he asked, the words were not hard to form, but incredibly difficult to actually speak. He didn’t want to hurt Aerith any more then he had the other day.

“Yes.” She stated rather sharply, which Zack hadn’t really been expecting. None the less she kept a hold on him, keeping him close. He noticed now her fingers running through the hair which rested against his neck. Such a calming feeling, but again, it only made him feel worse about what had happened and what he was going to say.

“They’re actually the reason I came back here in the first place…” he stated. Aerith stopped moving for a second before sighing and continuing to move her fingers through his hair, “It’s…Cloud.” He stated, he closed his eyes and expected the worst, bracing himself completely. Aerith stopped again before letting go of him. He chanced opening one eye as he looked up at her from his hunched over position.

“Cloud Strife?” she asked in a rather disbelieving tone. Zack just nodded, not trusting himself to be able to say anything more without breaking down into tears. “You’re…gay?” She asked, she seemed very reluctant to say the word though, but Zack didn’t blame her. Again Zack just nodded in answer to the question. “And the person in Midgar….was a guy too?” She asked. Zack nodded. He heard Aerith sigh in relief; it was weird how obvious she had made it and how clear that it made her relieved. Zack looked at her with a cocked eyebrow, “So I never had a chance from the beginning…and it had nothing to do with me as a person.” She stated her thoughts before laughing slightly and hugging Zack again, “I’m actually relieved.” She said in a quiet voice.

“I’m just glad you’re alright with it.” Zack said wrapping one arm around her and hugging her back. Aerith though seemed to notice the second side to that sentence, which Zack wished she hadn’t.

“Did Genesis say something?” She asked with a stern look.

“No, not to me at least, he has no idea. Don’t worry.” Zack said shaking his head, it didn’t seem to completely fulfill Aerith’s want but it was all she was getting. She let go of him again and sat there looking up at the white stucco ceiling, her hands clasped in her lap.

“So, Cloud…” she breathed out with a small frown.

“I went to see him today…after I talked to Genesis, I seemed to have jogged his memory so I wanted to try with Cloud too.” He explained with a shrug, “But…it didn’t work, he still has no idea who I am or…I guess more accurately, who I was.” He said his head lowering again as he sighed.

“You would have a lot of trouble getting Cloud to remember…even more then Genesis…he would never hold on to a memory.” Aerith explained, “So much has happened to him since you left, he hates his past, ‘the past is over it is nothing to live for’ or something like that.” She said with a shrug. Those words crushed Zack completely. He put his head in his hands as he fought back the urge to actually have tears drop. But with those words he had been completely cast away by the person he loved. Aerith seemed to notice how upset it made him though as she put a hand on his shoulder, “So what if he doesn’t remember the past, this gives you a chance to have him know the new you, the you today, make him fall in love with you Zack.” She said happily. Zack lifted his head and looked at her; a quivering smile pulled its way onto his face as he pulled her into a tight hug which seemed to catch her off guard.

“Thank you so much Aerith.” He said a single tearing catching to the fabric on her shoulder. “I am going to make him fall in love with me. He…no... all of you are the reason I am still sane right now…I don’t want to lose any of you.” He said with a sigh. Aerith hugged him back tightly at the words.

“That means a lot coming from you Zack. I am sure everything will work out fine for you.” She said letting go of him and pushing him off of her, “I mean it Zack.” She said. Zack nodded.

“I know.”

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Re: Missed. (Final Fantasy 7)

Post by Kaitou_Dark_Sama on Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:35 am

Chapter 4

A week goes by quickly for Zack, at points seemingly incredibly dragged out, buying more stuff for his house, stuff that he wouldn't need help from Genesis or Cid with. The only person he really talked to during the week was Aerith, and a few of the kids in town, all of which were when he went out to deliver flowers with Aerith. But he had grown accustomed to leaving Aerith as she went up to Cloud's house. No matter how much he wanted to talk to the blond and try and make an impression he couldn't bring himself to even look at the blond's house without feeling like crap. He was very happy with how his house was coming together though. He had his bedroom set up; he had a table set up in the dining room which was attached to the kitchen. He had had his couch set delivered during the week so he only needed a television in that room. Lastly he had a well stocked kitchen. He was happy with it over all.

Not once during the week did he talk to anyone like Cloud or Genesis, and he had only seen Reno and Rude once after his first encounter with them. Marlene was someone he saw quite often during the week though. She really was a sweet girl and it seemed as though Aerith had set her straight about their relationship as well, which despite everything, was doing very well, and they couldn't help but be very close friends. She really did seem better now that she knew Zack was gay, though it seemed as though she had told Elmyra who eyed him sometimes when she thought he wouldn't notice. It was rather unnerving.

A week after his encounter with Cloud though did something different actually happen, something he had not been expecting. The sound of the doorbell rang through the house form where Zack was reading a book in the living room, needing something to do because of the absence of a television. He sighed as he stood up, "Coming!" he called loudly. He briefly wondered why Aerith would be coming to his house now, he had already gone delivering flowers with her earlier, maybe he had forgotten something at her house or something. He put his book down on the table beside him as he headed down to the door. He sighed as he opened the wooden door and looked up. He froze completely at who he saw, the first thing he couldn't help but notice was that he hadn't changed at all.

"Hello Zack, it's been eleven years now hasn't it?" the man on the other side of the door asked with a smirk, crossing his arms. Zack opened the door more and motioned for him to come inside which he did.

"Sephiroth? Is it actually you?" Zack couldn't help but ask not caring how stupid it sounded; he was having trouble believing his own eyes at the moment. The first thing Zack had noticed about this man was his hair; it was long, nearly down to his thighs and it was a very exuberant colour: a practically shining silver. The tall man stopped and turned and looked at Zack with a smirk.

“Who else would it be, Zack?” Sephiroth answered with another question. Zack's face lit up immensely as he looked Sephiroth over quickly. He could feel himself getting overly excited just looking at this old friend of his and he couldn't help it when he threw his arms around Sephiroth's chest happily. Sephiroth seemed to have been expecting it to, he moved his arms slightly as he accepted the hug, though not once made a move to hug Zack back, obviously just letting the young man get it out of his system.

“Man, Sephiroth I can't believe you're actually here!” Zack yelled letting go of the taller man but grabbing his shoulders and looking him in the eyes. Sephiroth chuckled lightly at the words.

“Likewise Zack.” He said with a smile. “What brought you back out here after all those years, I have to admit I was shocked when Aerith told me.”

“Yeah I moved back about...3 weeks ago...wow I can't believe it's already been that long. But anyways, aren't you busy with work or something?” Zack asked shaking his head.

“I'm all done with work for a while, I believe I'm entitled to a break every once and a while.” He said with a smirk.

“Oh, right. Of course.” Zack said scratching the back of his head. “So you went and spoke to Aerith?” Zack asked tilting his head to the side slightly and leaning against the wall.

“Not really...It was more like she spoke to me. She saw me walking up to my parents house and stopped me right away.” He said with a chuckle. “She seems happy to have you back. Did she really remember you?” Sephiroth asked one silver eyebrow raising high on his forehead.

“Uh yeah she did. But...she was the only one who did.” Zack paused for a moment, “Oh, but I did get Genesis to remember, I had some pictures from when we were little and I was showing them to him, it seemed to hit something.” the tan skinned man said with a large smile. Sephiroth looked shocked if anything at that news.

“Really?” Sephiroth said in practically a sigh then he was silent for a moment before chuckling again, “He is the last one I would expect to remember anything...Him and Strife.” he said shaking his head and pushing his silver hair back over his shoulders.

“Yeah...I haven't really talked to Cloud much...Aerith delivers flowers to him everyday but I kinda split before she goes up to his place.” Zack said with a shrug. He paused for a moment before realizing they were still standing in the hall beside the door. “Oh! Please come inside.” he said quickly walking down into the living room and sitting down, Sephiroth followed him and sat down in the arm chair.

“You don't want to see Cloud? Weren't you good friends with him back when we were little?” Sephiroth asked cocking an eyebrow. Zack didn't know how to answer the question right off the bat. He had to think about and try to come up with an answer that wouldn't completely embarrass him.
“Well, I heard from Aerith about how he is...and I don't want to relive what happened when I saw Genesis again...Having people completely forget you exist...it's terrible.” Zack said looking down at the floor with a sigh. He paused before looking up at Sephiroth again, “You seem to remember everybody though.” he stated. Sephiroth nodded at the statement.

“Yes, things like the past are something easy to cling on to when you spend most of your time in a place as hectic as Midgar or Junon.” Sephiroth said, which shocked Zack. “Who would want to forget such peaceful times...though I guess living somewhere like here a peaceful life is just what happens, wouldn't you think Zack?” Sephiroth ended with a question.

“Well, yeah I guess so. So far it sure seems a lot...quieter than Midgar...” Zack said glancing out the window with a small frown.

“I constantly change where I live...and I can assure you...the difference is immense.” Sephiroth said with a smirk. Zack just nodded in agreement. “What time is it?” Sephiroth asked. Zack blinked once before looking over at his watch.

“About 5, why?” Zack said looking back up at Sephiroth unable to help but cock his eyebrow in question as he did so. Sephiroth smiled at him.

“I was thinking about going out for dinner, would you like to join me?” Sephiroth offered with a smirk, “It'll be nice to catch up more, I'm sure a lot has happened in the past eleven years.” He finished with a small shrug, closing his eyes before looking back into Zack's who looked almost shocked at the sudden offer, but quickly remembered the overall success of his outing with Genesis, aside from a few minor details he would rather not think about at the moment.

“Alright, that sounds like fun.” Zack said with a smile, “We can head out now if you want.” He said pointing towards the door.

“Alright, but I'm going to make a phone call first. If you'd excuse me.” Sephiroth standing up and putting up a hand as he reached into his pocket and pulling out a thin cellphone and walking towards the back door, heading out onto the empty patio. Zack's eyes followed him and for the first time since he came here he remembered that he too had a cellphone, not that he was completely sure where it was.

Sephiroth stepped back in after about five minutes, in which Zack had continued to read. He put the book down quickly though as Sephiroth closed the door. “We going to head out now?” he asked, cocking an eyebrow questioningly completely unable to hide his current excitement. Sephiroth, no doubt, noticed this, as Zack saw a smirk pull onto his long, pale face.

“Of course Zack. You can drive us, right?” Sephiroth said looking towards the front door, taking a few steps in that generally direction, stopping in the mouth of the hallway which followed the side of the stairs to the front door and the doorway to the kitchen. Zack jumped up and started towards the door, brushing past Sephiroth and pulling on his shoes and opening the door.

“Of course I can.” He paused as he was about to step outside, “You're not going to complain about the size of my car...are you?” he couldn't help but ask, just in case. Sephiroth chuckled at the words.

“Why? Did Genesis say something?” He asked with a cocked eyebrow as he started to pull on the boots he had been wearing when he arrived. The look on Zack's face explained his answer clearly enough, “Don't worry, I spend most of my time in or around...small cars. Just because this little city seems to have a thing for big trucks, doesn't mean everyone here is obsessed with them.” He said shaking his head before heading out of the house before Zack could get the chance to say anything. The dark haired man took a second to absorb what Sephiroth had said and he couldn't help but know he was right. Aerith and Elmyra didn't own a car at all(though that hadn't stopped Aerith from making fun of his small car) and from what he had seen from Cloud he didn't own one either, of course none of the three seemed like they would drive a huge monster like Cid and Genesis did. He sighed slightly, shaking his head as he decided to follow Sephiroth outside. The silver haired man was examining his small black car with a small smirk. “It's a nice little car.” he stated.

“That's the first compliment it's gotten since I moved here.” Zack said shaking his head, unlocking and opening the driver side door and sitting down inside. Sephiroth followed suit on the other side. Both men closed the door and pulled on their seat belts before Zack started up the car with a small rev as the engine started up.

“You know where you're going, right?” Sephiroth asked and Zack just nodded knowing that Sephiroth too hadn't really changed much since they were little and he would be a much easier travelling companion then Genesis had been and he wouldn't have to wrestle him out of the car and to the ground just because something didn't go perfectly. Zack pulled himself out onto the road and started heading down towards the place he had had lunch with Genesis about a week ago. Sephiroth was leaning against the window and staring at the small city with an amused smirk on his face.

“No matter how long I leave this place...when I come back it always manages to be the exact same as I left it.” The older, silver haired man said in a low voice. Zack chuckled slightly at the statement.

“I could barely believe it when I first showed up. It's like it's trapped in time or something...” Zack said with a laugh, shaking his head. If it were trapped in time being forgotten wouldn't make sense but Zack didn't dare think further into the idea knowing it would probably hurt his head. Sephiroth had gone completely silent, yes, he was definitely the exact same as he was when they were younger, constantly keeping to himself; even this gave him a sense of nostalgia. Zack had no idea that they were both pretty much thinking the same thing at that moment, thinking of how neither of them had really changed at all in all those years.

Zack pulled into the parking lot after a short while of driving and parked near the entrance. “Alright...well I guess we're here.” He said with a smile looking at the clock on the car radio before turning off the car. It was 5:07PM It was a bit early to be eating for his usual tastes, but he didn't really care. At least he got to spend this time with an old friend. He stepped out of the car and stretched. Sephiroth immediately started towards the building, and after a moment Zack joined him. They seated themselves next to a window in a booth, sitting across from one another. The same waitress who had seen to Zack and Genesis approached them. Her eyes never left Sephiroth, boring into him with what Zack was pretty sure was lust. Zack looked Sephiroth over and the shock that had been threatening to appear on his features disappeared as he noticed two things about Sephiroth. 1; He did not seem to have a care in the world that he was being stared at by the woman as he causally looked out the window. 2; He really was an attractively built man and he could see why any woman, including this waitress would want him. After a while, knowing she wasn't going to get Sephiroth's attention by staring at him she turned to Zack.

“Vould you like anyzing to drink?” she said in her accent. Her gaze turned back to Sephiroth as he moved to look at her, his gaze sharp. She looked slightly taken aback at the look.

“We will each have a water if you don't mind.” He said before tilting his chin towards the kitchen. Her eyes opened wide as she huffed and walked off. Zack sighed and Sephiroth went back to look out the window. Zack started surveying the rest of the patrons bouncing from table to table, sometimes seeing people who looked familiar from when he was young or were people he had seen since he had arrived, others looked completely new to him. His gaze ended up resting on the two who had been here the last time he had come. The gay couple Genesis had ridiculed. He must have been looking over there for a while because Sephiroth ended up following his gaze and commenting. “They're together aren't they?” he asked making Zack jump.

“Uh yeah, they were here when I came with Genesis...they seem to have a really nice relationship.” Zack replied looking from the silver haired man to the couple then back, “Do you know them at all?” Sephiroth shook his head.

“Not much.” he very subtly pointed at the one with white hair, “His name is Weiss, the other is Nero. Nero owns a store around here...Weiss works at the hospital, that's all I know.” He said looking back at Zack. “Now do you know what you're ordering? Don't worry I'll pay.” Zack didn't want to have Sephiroth pay for him, but looking into Sephiroth's eyes he decided not to bother putting up an argument with the man.

“Yeah, I guess.” Zack said with a shrug. They were cast into a silence where Sephiroth went back to looking out the window and again he shocked Zack by speaking so suddenly.

“You saw them-” he motioned to Nero and Weiss with his chin, “When you were here with Genesis. What did he say about it?” He asked Zack, not seeming as much curious as he was expectant as though he already had a feeling what Zack was going to reply with but just needed to be sure.

“He just told me how he thought gay people were disgusting and not much else about them.” Zack said with a shrug, trying to keep his tone as casual as he could, he wasn't sure how well that worked, and Sephiroth didn't give away any hint either as he just nodded and went back to looking out the window, it was kind of like he was expecting something by how he kept staring, Zack didn't dare question him though.

“And here are your drinks.” the waitress said as she placed two glasses down in front of either men. She glanced briefly at Sephiroth who did not look up so instead turned to Zack and gave him a sour smile, “Are you ready to order?” she asked pulling out a notepad and a pen from her pocket. Zack noticed that she seemed to have tugged her shirt down quite a bit more then it already had been revealing a large amount of cleavage, Zack nearly rolled his eyes and Sephiroth didn't even noticed as he turned to her and placed his order. She did not look impressed at the lack of attention she was getting but jot down his order anyways. Zack ordered as well and she nodded as she left. Zack kept his eyes on her and noticed her jerking up her shirt at the front as she left, she got a chuckle out of the tan skinned man, which in turn got a cocked eyebrow from Sephiroth. Zack shook it off and Sephiroth went back to his staring. Zack was gladly the one to end the silence this time around.

“I was told Tifa works here...but I haven't seen her around at all. Not here, not in the city.” He said after glancing around the room again. Sephiroth didn't look away from the window as he replied.

“Do you know what two places are the hottest on the Planet at any time of year?” he asked. Zack had no idea how this was relevant at all but he answered the question anyway.

“Costa del Sol and Junon, right?” He answered getting a nod from Sephiroth who just glanced at him out of the corner of his eye as he waited for him to catch on to what he was saying which he did after a moment, “Oh, do you really think shes on vacation...it's only May.” Zack said wrinkling his eyebrows together. Sephiroth shrugged and Zack started to figure maybe it was possible, in a place like this it sure could be. After a while the waitress came back with their food and Zack courteously said thank you, but she just glared at him. Zack started to eat but Sephiroth was staring at the window. This time Zack was really tempted to question what he kept staring at when he smirked and turned to the plate that had been set in front of him and began to eat. Zack bit his tongue and continued on his meal hoping Sephiroth didn't notice the way he had been looking at him, and if he had he didn't say anything.

“Sephiroth.” the voice was clear and sharp and made Zack jump slightly, but Sephiroth acted as though he had been expecting it as another man walked up and sat down next to the silver haired man. Zack blinked a couple times in confusion and didn't take his eyes off this stranger who exchanged a look with Sephiroth. For some reason he seemed familiar but Zack couldn't place a name to this face.

“This is Zack Fair.” Sephiroth said motioning to Zack who waved as icy blue eyes landed on him and looked him over for a while seeming to examine everything.

“Fair?” he repeated the name over a few times to himself before he seemed to come to a conclusion. “You lived here before. Didn't you move to Midgar when you were younger though?” Zack was shocked, but he slowly started to realize who he was talking to. His confused scowl turned into a nearly delirious smile as he finally placed the name to the face.

“Rufus Shinra!?” His tone was slightly disbelieving but Rufus just grinned at him as an answer. Zack let out a short laugh, “Man it's so good to see you!” Zack yelled sticking a hand out to shake with Rufus who took it, seeming to have been expecting the furious shaking of his arm as he glanced from Sephiroth back to Zack.

“Good to see you too Zack.” Rufus said pulling his arm back to himself and smirking at the tan skinned man. “You moved back here recently I presume?” he asked. Zack just nodded not sure what exactly to say to the other man. Zack could barely contain how happy he was that Rufus too had remembered him, maybe not everyone was so forgetful around here. Rufus seemed to notice this attitude because he frowned slightly taking a sip from Sephiroth's water, not even earning himself a stern look from the other man which slightly shocked Zack. “You know Zack, the only reason I can even recall you now is because I was recently going through my father's documents and noticed your surname.” He said with a shrug, Zack's excitement deflated slightly at this realization but he was still pretty happy to get to see yet another of his childhood friends sitting right in front of him.

“That's alright, I remember you, and I get to see you again and that's what matters.” Zack said with a nod. He noticed Sephiroth nudge Rufus's arm but said nothing at the relatively subtle gesture as Rufus stood up. Zack couldn't help the slight confusion that crossed his features. Sephiroth stood up after Rufus and turned and looked at Zack. Rufus had already walked off and didn't look back.

“I would like to talk to Rufus in private if you don't mind Zack.” Sephiroth said with a small smile, but still it looked like a smirk coming from Sephiroth. Zack just nodded as Sephiroth walked off and the younger man went back to eating though now a sense of paranoia had taken over, he was sure he was the topic of this conversation. He hated it when people talked about him behind his back, he hated not knowing what people really thought about him so he was quickly starting to get a little fidgety as they were gone for a longer and longer amount of time until finally he decided that he had to go see at least what they were doing. He stood up and and walked off in the direction they had gone, the path seeming to lead to the bathroom. Zack paused before walking in, he didn't see them right off the bat so he went over to the sink and leaned against the counter, looking at himself in the mirror with a sigh.

“Se-seph-” It was Rufus's voice Zack was sure. He looked over his shoulder at one of the stalls looking right to the floor where he saw to pairs of feet very close together, practically intertwined. Zack's eyes widened and he stood there in shock. “There's someone out there.” Came an almost breathless voice from Rufus. Zack was in denial, he would not believe what he was hearing.

“Let them listen...” Sephiroth's voice was husky as he spoke in a low voice. Zack felt the blush start to creep onto his face he couldn't, no... wouldn't believe what he was hearing. The blush intensified as he heard Rufus let out a loud unrestrained moan which seemed to bounce off the wall and centre out on Zack's ears, burrowing into his brain where he was sure it would forever haunt his dreams.

“D-damn it...Sephiroth...” Rufus husked out earning a chuckle from Sephiroth. Rufus seemed to be panting rather heavily as he let out a moan or a groan here and there. Zack couldn't stand it anymore as he turned around and went to leave. He looked down at the bottom off the stall and this time only saw one pair of tall boots, clearly the ones Sephiroth had been wearing. Zack couldn't help the shudder as he left the room and went back to their seat. He poked at his meal having a little bit left but honestly wondering if he would be able to keep it down if he did eat it. He looked around and saw Nero and Weiss leaving hand in hand and a sudden pang hit him and he felt overwhelmingly guilty for how he was reacting. He had no right judging Sephiroth and Rufus, though the fact that they would do something like that in such an...open place was slightly shocking. He could also honestly say he hadn't been expecting something like that out of either of them. He drift off into thought quickly, leaning against the table and staring out the window a small frown on his face. A couple times the waitress came up and asked if he was done and each time he would reply he was wait for his friends to come back.

He had no idea how long they have been gone when they both sat down across from him again causing him to jump slightly in shock. He looked at both of them and tried to keep the blush off his face as he questioned them, “You were gone for a long time. I was starting to worry that you had ditched me.” he said with a rather forced laugh shaking his head and smiling at the two of them. Rufus looks at the table then off to the side as though looking around at the rest of the people in the building. Sephiroth though had a calm face on, completely unfazed by anything as he smirked at Zack, his lids lowered only slightly as though he expected something of Zack but said nothing, this made Zack more nervous then he thought he would be, which was saying something after what he was sure he had just walked in on.

“I haven't seen Rufus in nearly a year...we had a lot to catch up on. I am sorry Zack, we would have included you but it was about work. Neither of us can really have word of our work leaked to anyone outside of our companies. You do understand right Zack?” Sephiroth finished in a question. Zack just nodded, not trusting himself to make words without blowing his little secret here, but maybe that made Sephiroth even more suspicious...or just confirmed what he had already guessed. “You haven't finished your food yet? You were nearly done when we left.” Sephiroth said with a smirk gesturing to Zack's plate with his fork. Zack was almost amazed by the speculation, but he was more worried as he looked into Sephiroth's eyes...and that was when he knew for sure that Sephiroth knew that Zack had walked in on the two of them and that he had wanted Zack to hear everything they did. Zack didn't know what to say didn't know what to think, his whole brain felt completely frozen for a moment and for every moment he was quiet he had this feeling that Sephiroth was becoming more and more proud of himself as though he had won something. Zack couldn't help but think completely that Sephiroth hadn't changed at all since they were younger. Everything was some sort of silent challenge for him to win, and there would never be a time when he wouldn't win, but Zack had to stay at least slightly stubborn, he couldn't let Sephiroth have all this pride in himself.

“I got into a nice conversation with the waitress, I was distracted.” Zack said rolling his eyes and smirking at Sephiroth as he forked a bit of his food and stuck it in his mouth. Sephiroth obviously wasn't giving up without a fight though as he shot back quickly and without hesitation as though he had already been expecting that exact answer.

“Yeah, what is her name then?” he asked. Zack stopped mid bite for a moment before collecting his composure again and shrugging as he tried to recall the name Aerith had given him however long ago it had been.

“Rosso.” he said with a smile, mentally patting himself on the back at his little victory. Sephiroth didn't seem to have much more to say as he just nodded. The two of them ate for a short while before Rufus stood up as something had clearly gone off on his phone.

“Well I have to get going now.” he said glancing at the small screen of his phone before putting it in his pocket and turning to Sephiroth and Zack with a smile. “It was good to see the two of you again, I do hope to see you again soon.” He said with a brief nod to both of them in turn. They nodded back.

“It was real nice to see you again Rufus.” Zack said with a large smile to the blond man who smiled back as he walked off. Zack sighed before turning back to look at Sephiroth. He had to clear this up because it was eating at his insides and still threatening to make him sick. “Hey Sephiroth...” he started, Sephiroth looked up at him and cocked an eyebrow as though urging him to continue. “You weren't really talking with Rufus in the bathroom were you.” Sephiroth said nothing for a moment as he went back to eating cleaning off his plate before smirking at Zack.

“You know very well what we were doing don't you Zack.” he said with a cunning little smile, Zack should have expected nothing less then that. The black haired man let out a sigh knowing now that Sephiroth was right and knew everything and like always no one could hide anything from this sharp and cunning young man. Zack sighed as he looked to the side and out the window in defeat, quickly cleaning off his plate as he moped. Sephiroth though couldn't help the pride in his features at his personal victory.

“You ready to get going?” Zack questioned. Sephiroth nodded as he rose a hand into the air and made a small motion to who Zack knew was the waitress. Rosso approached after a moment.

“Are you two finished here?” she asked looking between the both of them. She didn't seem to be making any attempt to make herself more appealing to Sephiroth this time around, she must have finally gotten the hint. Sephiroth nodded and she picked up their plates, “I vill be right back vith your bill.” she said walking off. Zack turned to Sephiroth.

“Are you sure you don't want me to at least help pay for this?” he asked with a small frown. Sephiroth just shook his head.

“It's fine, besides I'm sure you need all the money you need now that you're by yourself. Am I right?” Sephiroth said cocking an eyebrow at his own question as he let Zack think it over, but in the end Zack nodded in agreement. “Don't worry about this. It is almost literally nothing.” He said putting his hand out as Rosso came back with the bill and the machine. She looked at his hand before placing the bill in it. He looked at it for a moment, examining everything on the little sheet. Sephiroth pulled his wallet out of his pocket, and a credit card out of that, working around the small machine that was placed in front of him as though it was something he did every day and didn't grow up in a tiny little town in the middle of no where. Zack found it amusing. He waved Rosso off who took the machine away as fast as she had brought it over. Sephiroth stood up as she walked off and Zack did as well and the two of them headed towards the door.

“Do you need a ride?” Zack questioned as he walked towards his car.

“No I'm going to head down to my house, it's just down the street don't worry I'll be fine.” Sephiroth replied looking down the street. “Besides there is someone else I have to go talk to. Anyway, it was very nice to see you again Zack, I'll be around for the next week.” Sephiroth reached into his pocket and pulled out what looked like a business card. He turned it over and pulled a pen out of his deep pockets, Zack just watched as Sephiroth scribbled something down on it before handing to him, “Please, I would love it if you contacted me and we could get together again share a few more memories.” He said with a smile as he walked away. Zack watched as he walked away before looking over the card in his hands, and as he had guessed it was a business card which now had Sephiroth's cellphone and phone numbers as well as his address. Sephiroth was quite a ways away before Zack finally realized he was actually leaving.

“See ya Sephiroth! It was great talking to you again!” he called loudly. Sephiroth glanced over his shoulder at the tanned skinned man who was flailing his arms enthusiastically and smiling like an idiot. Sephiroth gave him a short wave in return and Zack was satisfied as he calmed himself down and sat himself in his car. Then a thought finally hit him, something which he was surprised hadn't completely dawned on him before, Sephiroth's gay. He had to sit there for a second and let that thought actually sink in. He could barely believe it...after the ordeal with Genesis he had had a feeling that gays would be completely shunned from this place...especially by people who grew up here. Apparently he was wrong, there were now Nero and Weiss, and Rufus and Sephiroth. It was almost dumbfounding. Then he had to wonder, did Genesis know? Though the question was self explanatory, of course he didn't know or he wouldn't have spoken so highly of Sephiroth. He sighed and shook his head as he started up the car pulling out onto the road and driving off towards his house, he couldn't help but be a bit happy with how things had turned out today, despite everything. If anything it gave him a little bit more hope...that maybe his feelings weren't completely futile.

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Re: Missed. (Final Fantasy 7)

Post by Kaitou_Dark_Sama on Thu Sep 16, 2010 5:00 pm

Today he was going to break his streak of no contact with Cloud. After the success with Sephiroth the other day he was ready for another round of heart break...if it came down to that. Aerith had told him she wasn't going to be delivering today which was fine by Zack as it gave him more freedom over when he went and faced the blond. And that time was now. He sucked up every last ounce of courage that he had as he walked out of his house and across the street up the driveway before standing in front of the pale blue door. This is when he finally froze and no matter how many time he took deep, calming breaths it didn't seem to help. After a minute or so of coaxing himself he reached out to ring the doorbell, no sooner that his finger had touched the button had the door started to open making Zack jump back and nearly fall down and/or trip over a rather fluffy white cat that high tailed it out of the house when the door opened.

“Zack?” the voice was quiet as Zack straightened himself out and looked down at Cloud who was looking up at him with a cocked eyebrow.

“Hey Cloud, I was just wondering if we could talk.” Zack said with a hopefully winning smile. He couldn't help but scratch the back of his neck lightly. Cloud's face showed nearly no emotion and Zack noticed he had a few of Aerith's flowers wrapped up in his hands.

“I'm sorry Zack I was just heading out.” Cloud said shaking his head. He seemed to quickly pick up on the disappointed air Zack gave off though and smiled as he looked up at Zack, “But you can come if you want, I normally go by myself...It's pretty lonely.” he offered with a tentative smile. Zack brightened up and his imaginary tail was wagging at full force at the sound of the blond's words.

“Alright, as long as I'm not imposing I'd love to keep you company.” Zack said. Cloud smiled as he closed and locked the door before heading down to the side walk. “Where are we going anyway?” Zack had to ask looking down at Cloud with a cocked eyebrow and a bright smile.

“The hospital.” Was Cloud's short response.

“Uh, okay...” Zack didn't know what else to say but he was curious as to why he would be going there, but Cloud seemed to notice the question behind Zack's single word answer and sighed.

“My mother has been in the hospital for a few years...” Cloud started, “I visit here once a week and give her the flowers I get from Aerith.” he continued. Zack just listened, kind of upset by the thought. Cloud noticed but didn't say anything more and with Zack not knowing what else to say about that the two of them just drifted off into a awkward silence. Zack hated it, but he didn't know what to say. He didn't know whether he should apologize or just change the topic, but now...the awkward silence was starting to become a little bit more comforting so he decided he would let it continue.

“Cloud!” Came a loud, stretched out call. Zack didn't recognize the voice but Cloud surely did because no one could have missed the roll of his eyes as he sighed loudly.

“Great.” Cloud huffed out and Zack couldn't help but cock an eyebrow as he looked over his shoulder to see who called for the blond. He saw just a blur of dark brown which had attached itself to Cloud. Zack's eyes widened as he looked at Cloud who looked like a lost puppy his arms out at his side and a pair of arms wrapped around his neck.

“It's been so long!” the person said. Smiling and trying to pull Cloud even tighter in an embrace which seemed to worry Cloud, and Zack for that matter since it looked like she was trying to snap Cloud's neck let alone smother him in her chest. Zack looked at Cloud's face and saw the small amount of pleading that was there. Zack sighed, this alone got the attackers attention and she let got of Cloud and looked at Zack with a sharp almost murderous look about her. Luckily for Zack, Cloud managed to cut in before she could say anything to or about him because Zack was still trying to figure out why she looked familiar.

“It's only been a week and a half.” Cloud said with a frown turning the girls attention back to him. She frowned but it turned quickly into a smile.

“I missed you for that week, I missed everyone...but,” She then rounded on Zack and in one instant he realized who he was looking at. This was, no doubt, Tifa Lockhart, he could tell by how he swallowed hard and his heart started to beat much faster at her intense look, “Who are you and what are you doing with Cloud?” she asked taking a step towards him and crossing her arms.

“Uh...” Zack took an involuntary step back and glanced at Cloud who was looking at the ground. He looked back at Tifa before straightening himself out and smiling at her. “I'm Zack Fair.” He said holding out his hand in greeting, “I moved here a couple weeks ago. But actually I used to live here when I was a little kid, but I don't blame you if you don't remember me.” He said adding the last bit because he knew he wasn't going to get that lucky and he was glad he had braced himself because Tifa was none too kind about it.

“Really, I don't remember you at all.” Tifa said giving him a sceptical look it hurt, no matter what, Zack couldn't help but feel hurt. She didn't introduce herself though and Zack wasn't completely sure why but he didn't press the subject he knew it was Tifa so it didn't really matter.

“Tifa, we were leaving.” Cloud said, there was not even the slightest bit of impatience in his voice, he seemed really good at concealing his emotions Zack was slightly envious of that wishing he could pull off this calm attitude all the time as well. Tifa looked pissed off though as though she could pretty much see through Cloud's facade.

“Come on Cloud, you can't just leave me for this nobody. I have so many stories to tell you!” she exclaimed and Zack found it ironic, he could tell by her tanned skin that she had been in the sun, just like Sephiroth had said, he would have to assume Costa del Sol. But none the less her words cut to the bone, there was no need to be so harsh about it.

“I'm going down to the hospital, Tifa.” Cloud stated and Zack could tell how much sharper these words were and they seemed to really shock and maybe even hurt Tifa as her gaze softened completely and she slouched slightly.

“I'm sorry Cloud, I didn't realize it was something so important.” She said, a small smile pulling onto her features as she clasped her hands together behind her back. “Tell your mom I say hi alright? I'll see you later.” she said, and Zack was completely shocked...utterly speechless at how timid she suddenly seemed to be. What was it about Cloud's mom that possibly made her so upset, maybe it was a touchy subject, he didn't want to press on it, the last thing he wanted to for Cloud to hate him, and he would like to make a good impression on Tifa too if that were possible.

“It's alright Tifa and don't worry I'll tell her.” Cloud said turning around and continuing to walk on. Zack and Tifa both paused though. Zack turned to her.
“I'll see you around alright? It was good to see you.” He said and she just smiled. She nodded as she turned and walked off in the other direction. Zack sighed before jogging back to walk step in step with Cloud again. “She hates me doesn't she.” It wasn't really a question but he didn't mind the fact that Cloud decided to answer.

“I think she might not...she just...gets protective of me. I don't know why.” Cloud said with a shrug.

“You're not going out with her or anything are you?” Zack couldn't help but ask. He was relieved when he got a small monosyllable chuckle from Cloud.

“No nothing like that...she's just a really caring person. Besides I don't think any guy would willingly go out with her. I mean sure...she's attractive, but with a temper like that? I don't think it would be worth it.” He said with a thin smile. Zack smiled back but he didn't like how that made his chances sound. That statement made Cloud sound very straight, a complete turn off even coming from someone as gorgeous as Cloud.

“Right, she's been like that forever though. I guess some people have just learned to deal with it.” He couldn't help but wonder whether or not Genesis still flirted with her all the time or not. He probably hadn't learned anything from all the punishment he had received when they were children and Zack found himself picturing the same scene unfolding with them the ages they are now and couldn't help but be amused by it, amused enough that he hardly noticed that he and Cloud had fallen back into silence.

They were silent for the rest of the walk and Zack would find that the reason for that would be that they had no more distractions. When they walked into the hospital they spoke to no one as they got onto the elevator going up to where Cloud's mom's room was. Zack could continue to say that he didn't like the smell of hospitals, he never had and he never would. He could barely help but frown from the instant they walked into the building which was very, very unlike him. There was a slightly morbid feeling in hospitals anyway though, though that couldn't be helped, no matter how you looked at it someone in this building was dying. They walked down the bland hallway before stopping in front of one room where there was a cart filled with plastic gloves and smock like garments. Zack was not looking forward to putting them on. He turned to the nearest nurse. He couldn't help but be shocked when he saw Weiss walking towards him, his long white hair tied up in a long pony tail with one piece stick out at the side.

“Can I help you with those?” he asked. Zack just sort of nodded and let Weiss put on the smock as Zack pulled on the rubber gloves. Cloud was doing pretty well on his own, though it was very clear he came in here quite often. “She's doing fine, nothing has changed, her condition is stable but we're still worried about her.” Weiss explained, “I'm afraid she still can't leave.” He said, Cloud didn't seem shocked what so ever Zack guessed he had every right not to be. When they were all suited up Weiss let them go into the room. It was a nice little room, the walls were an off white colour like the rest of the building and there was a chair in one corner, a bathroom through a door off to the side and a desk with a few shelves and drawers, the one thing Zack noticed once he walked in were the flowers she already had next to her bed, they were very clearly the ones Aerith grew, varied in shades of yellow. Zack couldn't help but smile as he stood in the doorway not wanting to intrude on the moment.

“Hey mom.” Cloud said his voice even more hushed then usual. He pulled the chair from the corner up next to the bed where the blond woman was lying. Her hazy blue gaze never left Cloud a small smile graced her very pale features, she looked sick, but it didn't stop her from looking gorgeous. Seeing the two blonds sitting next to one another it was not difficult to tell they were related, both of them had a rather distant look to their eyes and their hair just looked so perfect.

“Hello Cloud.” Her voice was equally as quiet as her son's. She looked at the flowers Cloud held in his hand, “Are you doing well?” she asked looking back into Cloud's eyes, her movements were very slow. Cloud just nodded in response as he unwrapped the flowers and put them into the vase with the others. “And how is Aerith?” she asked.

“She's fine too.” Cloud said as he sat back down and looked at his mother.

“And the cats?” She asked. Cloud sighed, though smiled, he was completely used to this barrage of questions. Zack just watched, attention still hadn't been brought to him and he was very glad. He didn't know how he would kill the mood but he had a feeling he would, it wasn't like he was going to say something like: 'Mrs. Strife, I'm in love with your son, would you allow me to marry him.' or something stupid like that. But now...now it was in his mind and he didn't trust himself to open his mouth at all.

“They're fine too. Don't worry, everything's fine.” Cloud said shaking his head with that ghost of a smile still upon his features. Zack couldn't pull his eyes away from the small blond. He just looked so innocent, so pristine. It took a lot of self control not to sigh lovingly and melt against the wall. “I actually found a little black kitten in town the last time I came here and brought it home. It's a bit shy...but it's getting along well with the others.” Zack was snapped out of his imagination as Cloud spoke. So far Zack could remember the fluffy white cat from earlier and the calico and the black and white cat from the last time he visited the blond, he had never seen a black cat and he couldn't help but ask now.

“How many cats do you have...?” He asked, both the blonds looked up at him both looked relatively confused.

“Five...why?” Cloud replied but his gaze was sharp as though daring Zack to laugh at him for it. Zack was about to answer when Mrs. Strife beat him to it.

“Cloud, who is this young man? I don't recall having met him before.” she said in her quiet voice looking from Zack to Cloud. Cloud's eyes softened again as he looked back at his mother.

“This is Zack Fair, he moved in across the street a few weeks ago.” Cloud explained, his mother nodded slowly and smiled as she turned back to Zack and smiled at him.

“Well it's nice to meet you Zack, I always love getting to meet friends of Cloud's.” She said with a small laugh, Zack could tell that it didn't happen much just from the way she had said that and the tone of her voice.

“It's nice to meet you to ma'am.” Zack said, he wasn't going to even bring up the fact that she had met him before it was futile anyway because there was no way she could possibly remember him. She smiled at him so sweetly as she spoke.

“I'm sorry for imposing on your time together. Cloud you should go do something with your friend. I'll still be here whenever you want to talk to me, sweetie.” She said, her gaze had drifted slowly back to Cloud as she spoke, Zack felt choked up, she was quite the sight and he couldn't help but wonder what exactly was wrong with her. Aside from looking very fragile it didn't look like much was wrong with her but he wouldn't ask, maybe he could ask Cloud later though. Speaking of the young blond man he looked rather torn, which Zack found a personal victory no matter how cruel that sounded. He was actually thinking of picking Zack over staying with his ill mother. Or maybe...he just didn't want to disobey his mother but Zack cast that thought aside.

“Alright, whatever you say.” Cloud said with a smile as he stood up. He leaned over and placed a kiss on his mom's cheek, and she did the same to him. Zack just smiled and waved at the sickly woman as she waved at him, giving her one of his winning smiles which she returned with a small smile of her own. Then he followed Cloud's lead and rid himself of the sterile clothing they had been given to wear before throwing it in a basket and exiting the room. Weiss looked over at them as they walked by. He waved good bye and smiled at them and they both waved back before leaving.

On their way back home Zack noticed the little ice cream shop that had been there since he was a little kid and stopped Cloud. “Can we?” he asked pointing at the shop front. Cloud gave him a look but Zack just laughed, “Come on, I'll pay.” he said. Cloud sighed in defeat and let Zack lead him into the small very cold store. Zack walked up and to the counter, barely examining the very young girl at the counter as he ordered. “Uh, a two scoop cone, one mint chocolate and one caramel.” He loved this combination because it combines a bit of everything. Mint, chocolate, vanilla and caramel; okay maybe it wasn't everything but it sure was a lot for an ice cream cone. The young lady on the other side laughed lightly at how excited Zack seemed with the order as she took his money and went to get his cone. Zack licked his lips as it was passed to him before he handed Cloud his change.

“Just a vanilla cone please.” Cloud said quietly. The girl nodded as Cloud paid and went and got him his ice cream. When they were both content with their purchases Zack led them out of the building and towards the park across the street, to the bench where he, Genesis, Sephiroth and Angeal used to hang out all the time. He sat down with a sigh as he continued to lap at the mass of cold yet refreshing ice cream in front of him. Cloud wasn't nearly as fierce with his, but of course, he didn't have to worry about it falling all over the place.

“I haven't had good ice cream in months.” Zack sighed as he continued to gorge himself. Cloud chuckled and Zack smiled at him.

“It's not like you'll die without it.” He said looking at Zack for a moment before laughing again. He reached out and wiped the end of Zack's nose, “Now be careful or you'll get more on your face then in your mouth.” He said showing the tan man the small glob of ice cream. Zack laughed and licked it off Cloud's finger making the blond blush brightly as he looked down at his ice cream. Zack chuckled and he felt like he had just gained another personal victory with that one, and the fact that Cloud didn't look at all disgusted by his actions was an added bonus he wondered briefly whether he should test his luck any farther or not. He ended up telling himself to go for it.

“Hey you can't complain about me.” Zack said reaching out resting his hand on Cloud's cheek, wiping a bit of ice cream off from the corner of his mouth. Cloud looked up at him, Zack couldn't tell what exactly he was seeing in Cloud's eyes when blue locked on blue. Zack just decided it was now or never, this was his one chance and he wasn't about to blow it. He leaned in closer taking a sharp breath as he ever so softly pressed his lips to Cloud's as though he may break him if he wasn't careful. His lips lingered there as though waiting for a response, he didn't get much of one but Cloud didn't push him away which he took as a good sign. After a moment he pulled himself away and looked at Cloud, he was unable to hide the worry in his eyes as he looked down at the small blond. His eyes were distant as he turned and looked off to the side then down at the ice cream in his hand. “I-I'm sorry, Cloud.” Zack said sitting back normally but his eyes never left Cloud.

“It's alright Zack.” Cloud said, he looked back up at Zack, the faintest of smiles on his face, much to Zack's surprise. “But...I think I'm going to go home now Zack. If you don't mind.”

“No not at all, it was nice spending time with you. I hope we can do it again sometime soon.” Zack said with a smile. Cloud nodded at him as he stood and and went to walk away, looking at Zack over his shoulder.

“I'd like that.” was all he said before walking off. Zack waited a moment, until Cloud was out of ear shot before he let himself fall back and let out a loud loving sigh. He chewed at his bottom lip as he stared up at the sky, he could barely believe that had just happened. His luck had just sky rocketed and it was the best thing he could ever remember happening to him ever. After a moment of his head being off in space he brought himself back down to finish his ice cream before getting up and heading back home himself.

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Re: Missed. (Final Fantasy 7)

Post by Kaitou_Dark_Sama on Sat Sep 25, 2010 12:21 pm

Ding Dong! The doorbell sounded through the house and Zack stopped his decorating in his room, getting all the little things he had brought in order. Pictures of old friends presents from friends or parents, and even a couple from teachers. Nothing of course to remind him of that horrible person he was glad he had gotten to leave. While working through the piles of stuff he ended up finding his cellphone, under the graduation picture of himself, Kunsel and Luxerie; the two people he had really become good friends with when he was younger and lived in the city. The sound of the doorbell excited Zack though, he always found it fun to answer the door or the phone or the mail for that matter and thinking of where he was he was only more excited. Maybe someone new had remembered him, or maybe Cloud had come by to visit him. Possibilities ran through his mind as he reached the door and opened it. He was greeted with a chuckle from a brunette man who had been leaning against the door and hadn't expected his stand to disappear as suddenly as it did as he toppled down into the house.

“Damn it Zack...do you just ENJOY beating the crap out of me?” Genesis asked glaring at Zack as he sat up and rubbed his head. Another chuckle met Zack's ears much lower and powerful and he looked up to see Sephiroth still standing outside. Zack looked back down at Genesis.

“No, you just like to put yourself in situations where I, or inanimate objects, find the need to hurt you.” Zack said with a smile, earning a very sharp look from Genesis which just made him laugh. “So what are you guys doing over here?” Zack asked looking back over at Sephiroth, cocking his head to the side slightly.

“We just came to talk.” Sephiroth said shrugging his shoulders as Genesis finally started to pull himself onto his feet.

“Alright, come on in. I know the perfect place.” Zack said with a huge smile as the idea formed in his head. The other two looked at each other then at Zack as they walked in, ditching their shoes at the front door before following Zack upstairs and into his room.

“Once you ask to do my hair I'm leaving.” Genesis muttered, but his words didn't go unheard. Zack couldn't help but laugh, mainly because...with who he was with...it could very possibly happen.

“Don't worry about that.” Zack said as he walked over to the window and pushed it open all the way, loving the cold breeze of fresh clean air that brushed against his arms and face. He took a deep breath and he climbed through the window and onto the roof. Sephiroth followed him and it was clear he remembered doing this when they were younger. The two now out on the roof about fourteen feet from the ground looked into Zack's room at Genesis who looked very unsure with the whole situation.

“Are you sure that roof's going to hold three full grown men?” Genesis asked sticking his head out the window and looking down at the shingles.

“I'm pretty sure, it was probably reenforced after the first time it was broken.” Zack said with a shrug as he climbed up over the window and over his room before sitting down. Sephiroth sat down next to him and chuckled.

“Wasn't it Genesis who broke it the first time?” he asked. Genesis had climbed out onto the roof and looked at Sephiroth with a cocked eyebrow.

“Yeah, he was jumping around and went right through into my room.” Zack said rolling his eyes. Genesis opened and closed his mouth a couple times as though trying to figure out whether to yell at the two of them, or question them. In the end he sighed as he climbed up and sat down next to Sephiroth. Zack leaned back, lying down and staring up at the quickly darkening sky. “So what did you guys want to talk about?” Zack asked glancing over at Sephiroth cocking an eyebrow in a questioning fashion.

“I was curious since we talked the other day...what did you do while you were in the city?” Sephiroth asked looking down at Zack, wrapping his arms lightly around his knees.

“Well I joined SOLDIER when I was 17... and I had pretty much been working there until I moved here again.” Zack said shrugging slightly. “And what about you, Genesis said something about you being some sort of agent?” Zack asked.

“Yes, I was and still am a modelling agent. I'm rather pleased with it, and I get chances to come out and still live here whenever I find it necessary, a lot of the work can be done over the phone.” He said with a shrug, “I'm guessing working in SOLDIER you never got the chance to come back out here.”

“Yeah, and besides my family lived in Midgar so I didn't really have a reason to come back out here except to visit friends...but...I had a few things keeping me from doing that.” Zack said with a shrug not really wanting to talk about it in detail. Sephiroth clearly caught the hint and dropped the subject.

“Though you know...it's funny how fate works. I'm sure if we had stayed in Midgar a little longer we would have heard of each other sooner or later...and then there's Angeal, he actually works at Shinra...so I am slightly surprised to hear you haven't been in contact with him.” Zack was shocked at the information he was being given, he had no idea that Angeal worked in Shinra too but he guessed that wasn't too surprising, most of the people who lived in Midgar did in someway work for Shinra.

“Well, it is a big building, I mean, I didn't even get to see Rufus at all and he works in the building too.” Zack said with a laugh. The three of them were silent for a while before Zack said, “Maybe fate would have brought us all to Midgar. Sephiroth, Angeal, Aerith, Genesis and myself. Maybe everyone would remember me then.” He said with a laugh.

“Or maybe fate is bringing us back together here and now.” Sephiroth brought up. Genesis didn't seem all to happy with the conversation.

“Yeah, like Angeal would give up work to come back here.” He said with a sigh, “Besides, I only just barely remember Zack now, I mean, I can't say he hasn't been here before, he has pictures and you remember him, Sephiroth. It's just, it hurts my head, y'know.” Genesis said with a sigh.

“No, not really.” Zack said shaking his head before laughing at the glare he got from Genesis.

“You know, you just got lucky that last time we fought, I could easily kick your ass the second time around.” Genesis nearly spat and it just made Zack laugh more and even made Sephiroth chuckle. Genesis just rolled his eyes and went back to staring up at the sky, now the cloak of darkness had completely covered the sky and it was alight with stars.

“Wow...” Zack sighed smiling up at them. Genesis cocked an eyebrow, not really getting it. Zack didn't get to answer before Sephiroth did.

“You really do need to leave this town sometime Genesis.” the silver haired man said looking from the sky to the brunette, his hair shone as bright as the moon. “In the city the number of stars in the sky is very limited. Out here it's stars as bright and far as the eye can see.” He said looking back up at the sky. Genesis blinked before following his gaze. “You shouldn't take even these little things for granted. Life in the city is much more difficult then living out here.” Sephiroth said, looking down at Zack, “Am I right?”

“You have no idea.” The tan skinned man replied with a sigh closing his eyes for a moment before looking up at the moon and stars high above them.

“Yeah. I guess you're right, I never really thought about it though.” Genesis said his eyes not leaving the gorgeous display in the sky.

“Of course you haven't.” Sephiroth said with a sigh.

“And what's that supposed to mean?” Genesis said finally pulling his eyes away from the sky to glare at Sephiroth.

“Exactly what you think it does.” Sephiroth said meeting Genesis's gaze with a sly look of his own and a small smirk pulling at the corner of his lips. Genesis huffed as he looked back up at the sky, though his gaze softened incredibly.

The three of them sat out there for who knew how long before finally Genesis yawned obnoxiously. “Hey Sephiroth don't you think we should get going? It has to be late by now.” Sephiroth nodded.

“I guess so.” the silver haired man replied standing up and walking back to the window, his hair waving behind him in the wind, it really was a sight. Zack watched Sephiroth's hair finding it oddly comforting before he got up and followed Genesis back down to the window. The three of them climbed into the house and Zack ushered them out the door, waving until they disappeared into the night. He closed the door and went to lie on his bed, the window open a fraction flooding his room with a very fresh air, an air he was slowly getting used to again out in the country.

“Man...” Was all Zack could manage to say he ran a hand through his hair and sighed heavily. Silver hair ran through his minds eye and he wondered when he would be able to finally tell people what had happened in his past, it was not something he was very open with now...but he figured soon enough it would come out. But he didn't like how close soon enough sounded.

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Re: Missed. (Final Fantasy 7)

Post by Kaitou_Dark_Sama on Sat Oct 09, 2010 8:23 am

Chapter 5

“Cloud...are you sure you want to do this?” Zack asked in a husky voice glancing down a blush turning his face a bright red at the sight before him. Cloud's slender frame was so perfect as he lay completely naked on Zack's bed looking up at Zack with lust burning in his eyes.

“I've never been so sure in my life.” Cloud replied in a quiet voice, chewing at his bottom lip, twisting his neck to the side and gripping at the covers on either side of him letting out the slightest of desperate whimpers, and that's about where Zack lost it. With a quick sigh he buried his face in Cloud's neck kissing, nipping and sucking at the perfectly smooth pale skin under his lips. A hand trailed down Cloud's thin body, the thinnest layer of muscle convulsing under his touch as his finger brushed along the blond's base. Cloud let out a low moan arching his back as he awaited the touch he knew was coming, and Zack didn't leave him hanging as he took Cloud's heated length in his hand and started to pump, he fell in love with the exasperated sigh that left blond's mouth...and he couldn't help but wish in that instant that this was real. He was painfully aware that this was a dream. Knowing it was a dream though he knew he didn't have to be careful. He smiled lightly as he pushed himself into Cloud, a scream from the blond echoed through the air. Zack loved it, he didn't care if it was cruel, any sound that came out of Cloud, whether it be a dream or not was the most lovely sound he had ever heard.

He started at a fast pace and listened to the sounds of pain as they turned to ones of pleasure his tone completely changing as Zack continued with his relentless pounding, one hand still pumping at Cloud's erection. After what he would assume was a couple minutes Cloud let out a very uncharacteristic laugh, an almost evil chuckle. Followed by a loud almost mocking moan. “Oh Zack,” it was an almost sing song voice that Zack knew all to well and it wasn't Cloud. “I kno~w you can do better then this.” The man stated, at this point Zack let his gaze drift up to the face of the person he was in the process of fucking to find, no, not Cloud, but the face of his ex. That one from Midgar, that one he was sure he had gotten rid of. Zack froze completely.

“Wh-what?” Zack exclaimed. The man below him frowned.

“What, were you not expecting me here?” He asked before smirking at Zack and wriggling his body underneath Zack's. “Come on, I love you, how could I let you leave me without saying good bye?” It was at this point that Zack pulled himself out of this man and backed up slightly. The thin, pale man before him sat up with a pained look on his face, this was all a dream, but why did it make Zack's heart pound so much. “You're not REALLY going to leave me for that...mutt. ARE you Zack?” his ex asked.

“Y-yes I am!” despite everything, Zack's retort was powerful, but as he expected his ex just smirked at him. “I told you! Cloud's the one I love! NOT YOU!” Zack yelled, his ex's smirk faltered and a frown and a serious look took it's place.

“Oh...maybe I'll have to change your mind...what if I get rid of this Cloud.” He said, the serious tone of voice sent a shiver up Zack's spine, he believed this man would do it, he had no doubt in his mind. “Just give me a while...everything will go the way I plan Zack...just you watch.” He said with a smirk before laughing.


“NO!” Zack sat bolt upright and immediately wished he hadn't, he fell back onto his pillow as his head started to pound. “Fuck.” this was the last thing he wanted to deal with, his demon ex burrowing into his head and into his dreams. He was terrified that in the end he may find the need to hunt him down one day, but he would leave that to worry about at some other time, he did not want to have to worry about that. He sat back up and shifted slightly to get himself out of bed when he felt a distinct sticky feeling around his groin, he fell back onto the pillow and sighed loudly. “Can anything else go wrong?” He asked himself quietly closing his eyes. He shook his head as he got out of bed and pulled the dirty sheets off the bed before heading into the bathroom to clean himself up.

“Just give me a while...everything will go the way I plan Zack...just you watch.” The words rung through his mind as he leaned against the side of the shower stall, he let out a loud sigh and shook his head before sticking himself directly under the flow of water and proceeding to clean himself up.

Out of the shower he pulled on clean underwear before lugging the dirty stuff downstairs and into the basement which was empty aside from the washer and dryer. He threw them in and turned on the machine before heading back upstairs to deal with his hair. The task of drying and styling his hair the way he had it every day took long enough that after pulling on clothes for the day he could hear the buzz of the washing machine going off, drifting up to him through the vent in the corner of the room, connecting the house to the basement. He went and switched the load over into the dryer before going upstairs and heading into the kitchen, he did not feel like putting an effort into his food so he stuck a couple pieces of toast into the toaster and sat on the floor against the fridge to wait for the sound of the spring telling him his toast was done. He stood and, out of lack of motivation just spread some peanut butter on top of the pieces and ate them like that. Simple and tasty, he had no complaints. He glanced over at the clock on the wall. 10:20AM, he was waking up later and later since his first day getting here and again he had no complaints. He figured Aerith would be by soon and they would head out. For the time being though he decided finishing off the decorating his room would kill the time.

“Good times...” he found himself saying as he rummaged through the box of stuff he had brought, the remains of stuff which wasn't already up on the wall. His fingers rested on a rope, nothing special, just a rope that was clearly snapped at one end and starting to fray. He wrapped it around his hand and laughed. This one of the few things that reminded him of his ex and his ex's family that he had kept, he figured anything that had made him nearly piss his pants in laughter wasn't a bad memory to keep things from. Not a single streak of pain went through him at the memory. The laughter of himself and his ex and the pained cries and chuckles from the others who had been with them. Maybe his past wasn't as bad as he played it out to be, but he was glad to be here now though, he couldn't help but think this was much, much better. Especially with how well everything seemed to be going, sure he wasn't completely accepted or anything but it was much better then it should have been, at least he thought it was.

He was brought out of his decorating when the doorbell rang. He had ended up threading the rope around the perimeter of the room about half a foot from the ceiling. He had been debating whether or not to put the crystal tiger he had been given by his ex's family on his dresser or not, it was such a beautiful and expensive little trinket he hadn't been able to get rid of it, but maybe it should just stay in the box. He ended up just placing it next to a picture of himself and his family before heading downstairs. He opened the door and was not surprised as he saw Aerith standing there smiling up at him.

“Good morning Zack.” She said cheerfully.

“G'morning Aerith.” He said pulling on his shoes and exiting the house closing the door behind him. “We heading off now then?” he asked he already saw the wagon full of flowers sitting in the driveway and knew they were. Aerith just nodded and the two of them headed off down the sidewalk.

“So what did you do yesterday?” She asked with a large, bright smile. Zack didn't know where to start with that question...or how much detail he should go into.

“Well...I went and talked to Cloud.” he said, Aerith cocked an eyebrow her interest piqued, “It went pretty well I guess, not much happened really...but after that Sephiroth and Genesis came over and we hung out. Shocked me to when they just showed up at my door.” he said with a laugh as he noticed the slightly shocked expression on Aerith's face. “It was a good day.” he said shaking his head but smiling brightly she returned the smile and nodded.

“Hey, you know my birthday is coming up right?” she asked smiling at him seeming very excited.

“Really...I didn't know that.” He said, kind of wishing he had remembered that, but that was one of the few things he had forgotten, if he thought about it he was sure he could remember it was around this time but he would never be able to remember a date.

“Yup.” She said with a nod, not shocked at all that he hadn't remembered the day, “Three days away. I haven't really decided whether I should do anything or not though.” She said looking down at her feet.

“I think you should, it would be fun. Having everyone together, it would be great.” He said with a smile, “Even if you don't, I owe you elven birthday presents.” He said laughing, she laughed to.

“Don't worry about it. I don't want you spending a lot of money on me, it's not even an important birthday.” She said shaking her head and looking up at him, “But thanks Zack.” Zack smiled down at her as they finally stopped in the park. He immediately launched into thinking over what he should get her for her birthday. He looked her over and quickly decided and figured he could go out later and get it for her. He couldn't get the smile of his face. Many little girls came up and bought flowers, more then usual, not that that bothered Zack or Aerith. What shocked Zack was when a familiar person approached.

“Hello, may I buy a couple flowers?” the voice was smooth and kind as he smiled at Aerith. His white hair was not tied up but it stuck out at the side like it seemed to always do. “There's a patient at the hospital I think really deserves these gorgeous decorations.” he said. He looked up at Zack who was staring at him dumbfounded. “You were at the hospital with Cloud yesterday, weren't you?” he asked. Zack felt the shocked and curious look Aerith shot him as she picked out a few flowers but Zack paid her no attention.

“Yeah, I'm Zack Fair, I moved here a few weeks ago.” He said holding out his hand for Weiss to shake.

“And I'm Weiss.” He took Zack's hand and they shook firmly, “Did you really manage to befriend someone like Cloud so quickly?” he asked.

“Well, I had Aerith's help getting close to him.” Zack said letting go of Weiss's hand and shrugging. Weiss nodded and frowned lightly, blinking when Aerith practically thrust the flowers towards him.

“Here you go, sir.” she said. Weiss's surprised expression changed to a pleased one quickly as he took the flowers. He pulled some money out of his pocket and handed it to Aerith.

“Thank you very much.” he said bowing slightly. He turned to Zack, “And it was nice to officially meet you Zack. Good bye.” he said as he turned and walked away. After he was out of hearing range Aerith turned to Zack.

“You went with Cloud to the hospital?” she asked with disbelief written all over her face.

“Uh, yeah. Is that so weird?” he asked cocking an eyebrow, the slightest of worry on his features. Aerith nodded and Zack sighed.

“I can't believe he likes you so much, I've never gone to visit his mother before.” Aerith said shaking her head.

“Yeah well it's not like we're engaged or anything, come on, it's no big deal.”

“What did you do afterwards?” Aerith asked and Zack froze up for a moment at the question wondering whether or not he should tell her exactly what happened afterwards.

“Uh...well...” Zack started trying to find the right words to describe what they had done yesterday, thankfully he was saved as someone approached. Zack had never seen this guy before, and he looked like the last person on the planet who would ever come to buy flowers from a young girl in the park. Zack just sort of stared at the large black guy who seemed to tower over Zack, and his shoulder span was nearly twice Zack's. It was a little intimidating.

“Hello Barret, is something wrong?” Aerith asked him cocking her head to the side and frowning in a very concerned fashion. Zack suddenly understood, but he hadn't expected such a big guy to have such a cute little girl like Marlene, though he had been told already she was adopted.

“Yeah, somthin's wrong.” He said and Aerith's concerned eyes narrowed as she waited for him to elaborate, even Zack was curious and slightly worried. “Marlene's real sick. I don't know how she got it, but I've never seen her like this before.” He said, and now that Zack looked at him more closely it looked like he was on the verge of breaking down and crying.

“Marlene?” Aerith was shocked and looked genuinely upset at the news, Zack couldn't blame her though, even he had gotten really close to Marlene since he had gotten here. He frowned deeply but let Aerith continue. “Is she going to be alright?” She asked. Barret seemed about to answer when another voice cut in.

“Whoa, whoa! Marlene's sick, yo?” Reno stepped up to stand at Aerith's other side, Rude standing right behind him. “That's not cool, man. Is she in the hospital?”Zack had to blink a couple times wondering if he was still dreaming or something, this didn't seem like the kind of thing Reno would have any part in. But what did he know, all he really knew right now was that he felt sort of left out at the moment.

“Yeah, don't know when she's gettin out either, so I'm gunna buy her some flowers.” Barret said, Aerith was already picking some out for poor Marlene. Zack couldn't help but wonder if the person Weiss had bought flowers for was Marlene, she definitely did seem like she would be the kind of person who would get that sort of treatment from the people who worked with her.

“Hey, throw in some flowers from me too Aerith.” Reno said motioning to her with his chin. She nodded and Reno reached into the pockets of his black pants looking for his wallet. “Hey, Barret, you heading down there now, yo?” Reno asked. Barret nodded, “Aight, then I'm going with you. You kay with that Rude?” Reno said looking over his shoulder at his friend who nodded.

“Here you guys go.” Aerith said holding a small bunch of flowers out to both Barret and Reno before accepting their money. She then turned to Zack, “Do you want to go with them too?” she asked. Zack nodded.

“You can stash that in our office on the way.” Reno said pointing at the cart of flowers and Aerith nodded. The five of them started down the street towards the hospital in the city over, the same trek Zack had made the other day, except this time with a very strange array of people with him instead of one gorgeous blond. Zack wasn't spoken to on the way though, at least not until they stopped by Reno and Rude's office to drop off the cart. Reno unlocked the door and ushered them with one hand, still clutching to the flowers he had purchased. Before Zack stepped in he put his arm out and closed the door, “I wanna say something to you.” Reno said with a frown and a rather serious face. Zack found it rather humorous since the look very clearly didn't suit Reno.

“Is something wrong?” Zack asked his brows furrowing slightly, his tone unable to stay completely serious since he was talking to someone like Reno.
“Hey man look, I'm sorry for how I treated you the last time we talked. I may have been unfair.” He said with a shrug crossing his arms and leaning against the door causally. Zack blinked a couple times as he took in what Reno just said.

“No it's alright...I mean yeah, you were pretty harsh...but I picked at a sensitive subject I understand.” Zack said shaking his head. He saw the smirk cut onto Reno's face.

“You're a nice guy, I was wrong with what I called you, yo.” Reno stated. He put out a hand, “So let's start fresh, pal.”

“Fine by me.” Zack said taking Reno's hand and giving it a sturdy shake. As they let go the door opened again and Zack was thinking over this whole 'fresh start' concept...maybe it wasn't that bad to get to start fresh with everyone, it could have been worse, couldn't it? As they headed off again he couldn't help as his eyes drifted up to sky as he lost himself in thought he was pretty sure he hadn't thought as much in his life as he had in the past few weeks.
As they approached the hospital Zack analyzed the group he was walking with. Aerith, who was walking next to him looked rather down, a frown on her face and her green eyes directed towards the floor. Reno seemed rather nonchalant with his hands in his pockets the smallest frown on his face but his eyes facing forward, his stride was long and careless though. Rude didn't show any real emotion on his face and walked with his hands in fists swinging at his sides. Barret though looked like he could break down at any second, back in the city, he was pretty sure he would find the sight quite amusing, but right now he could only manage completely concerned.

They headed up to the floor Cloud's mom was on and down the hall past her room. One of the nurses looked like she was going to say 'no more then two people can visit at a time' but looked the group over a couple times before letting them go on in. Marlene was being fed, or told to eat, by Weiss. He was smiling at her and praising her for doing as she was told. He looked up at the guests and Marlene followed his gaze. She smiled as she noticed them, “Hi daddy.” she said as Barret walked towards her and kneeled down next to her ruffling her hair slightly and smiling, though he still looked like he was about to cry. She looked at everyone else, “Hi, Ms. Aerith, Mr. Zack and Mr. Turks.” She said looking at each of them in turn.

“Yo, it's been a while hasn't it.” Reno said stepping forward. “I brought you some of Aerith's flowers...but looks like you already got some, hmm?” he said eying the canary yellow flowers on her bedside. Weiss looked at the ground and scratched the back of his head.

“Ah, yes I bought her those.” He said under his breath. Everyone in the room, minus Marlene, looked towards him. He bit his lip a little before looking up at them with a smile, “It's not a problem is it?” he asked.

“Course not, yo.” Reno said with a smile, “The more the merrier right?” he said with a laugh. Weiss smiled.

“Well, I'll leave you guys alone now.” he said standing giving the group the slightest of bows before walking on past them. Reno shrugged slightly before he stepped and looked down at Marlene.

“You remember me?” he asked with a toothy grin.

“Yeah, you're that guy who's always drunk and asking me how old I am.” Marlene said with a laugh. Reno laughed as well and Barret gave him a sharp look which Reno noticed immediately.

“Hey, hey don't worry about it.” he said shaking his hands as though to show he was innocent, “I would never do anything to Marlene, I may be a punk ass pervert but I have my boundaries.” He said with a smile.

“Yeah, don't worry daddy, he said he'd wait till I'm in high school.” Marlene said innocently looking from the red head to Barret. Barret turned a glare to Reno who slapped his palm to his forehead and the innocent comment that was almost enough to get him killed.

“Marlene...you weren't supposed to say that...do you want daddy to kill me?” he said lowering his hand as he looked at Marlene with a smile, his eyebrow raising in the middle. Marlene blinked a couple times not understanding why she wasn't supposed to say that. Zack laughed awkwardly and stepped forward resting his hands on Reno's shoulders. Pulling him back slightly.

“It was just a joke Marlene, that's why you shouldn't have said it.Right, Reno?"Zack said looking from Marlene who nodded in agreement to Reno, his words sharp. He let go of Reno who backed up slightly, farther away from Barret.

“Of course, I could never do anything to Marlene ever, besides...I was drunk when I said that...” he said his voice trailing off in a thoughtful manner near the end. Barret still didn't look all that impressed. Aerith walked around and gathered up all their flowers moving and putting them into the vase with Weiss's before stepping up beside Marlene.

“How are you feeling, sweetie?” She said running her hands through the little girls bangs smiling down at her.

“I'm fine...I just feel a little sick.” It didn't look like she was lying, she probably wasn't but it had to be something more then just feeling a little under the weather for them to have brought her into the hospital none of them asked though. “thank you for the flowers everyone.” she said looking from Aerith to the other men in the room with a smile. “They're really pretty.” Zack felt a bang in his heart at those words, she was so innocently adorable he didn't know what he would do if something was seriously wrong with her. He was pretty sure he wasn't the only one who was feeling that way though as he looked around at the rest of the rooms occupants. Reno had a very forced smile on, Aerith had a frown on, Barret was looking out the window with a solemn expression...Rude though, Rude was the only person Zack couldn't read at all.

“Ah, I'm sorry, but you guys are going to have to leave soon. A doctor is coming to look at Marlene.” Weiss said stepping into the room.

“Can't they stay?” Marlene asked with a frown obviously loving the company. Weiss was silent for a moment as he looked around. His gaze landed on Barret.

“You're her father right?” he asked. Barret nodded, “Then I'm sure you can stay. But the rest of you are going to have to leave soon.” He said shrugging, “Sorry...we aren't even supposed to let more then two or three people in a room at a time. I'll come tell you when you have to go.” He said walking back out of the room.

"You guys have to go soon?" Marlene asked frowning up at the group of adults.

"Yes sweetie we're going to have to leave soon, I'm sorry." Aerith said running a hand through her bangs and smiling down at her before standing up and taking a step back.

"Don't worry though we'll come back and visit you again, yo." Reno said with a laugh giving the young girl a salute, she gave a short laugh and Reno smiled fondly at her.

"Well, we better get going." Zack said scratching the back of his head with a smile. Aerith looked at Zack and nodded in agreement, "We'll come visit you again as well Marlene don't worry."

"Okay goodbye Aerith, goodbye Mr. Zack." She said with a smile tilting her head to the side and looking as innocent as she had ever been. Zack and Aerith waved.

“Bye Marlene.” The two of them said together before walking out of the room and waving to Weiss on their way down the hall. As they walked they passed the room which Cloud's mom was staying in. Zack couldn't help but look at it as they passed it before turning to Aerith.

“Do you know what's wrong with Cloud's mom?” he asked in a hushed voice. Aerith looked at him, her look almost shocked at the question. Before looking up and thinking about it for a while. She shook her head as she looked back at Zack.

“No, I don't know that much about it, but she's been sick for five years now...since Cloud was 14...I remember how upset he used to be...” she explained in a quiet voice holding her hands behind her back and looking down at the ground a small frown pulling onto her features.

"For 5 years..." Zack whispered looking off to the side towards the room Cloud's mother was staying. "So..." he turned back to face Aerith, "Cloud's been on his own since he was fourteen?" Zack asked.

"Yes." she replied nodding slowly, "His father died a long time ago...I don't even remember when anymore." she said shaking his head. Zack nodded and looked forward, he had sort of figured that Cloud's dad was out of the picture already. They walked in silence getting closer and closer to the front door.
"How did he manage to live by himself like that for so long?" Zack asked more to himself, shaking his head and looking down at the tiles moving quickly by his feet. Aerith was looking up at him.

"My mother used to take care of him alot...but he managed very well on his own, even with all his cats and everything."

"Those cats...why does he have so many?" Zack asked looking back to Aerith with eyebrows furrowed relatively tightly together. Aerith actually let out a short laugh which caught Zack off guard since they were talking so seriously before this.

"Cloud can't leave someone or something alone, not like how he was, so he couldn't help but pick them up when he found them. he'd probably bring any animal he found outside by themselves home." Aerith said with a shrug.

"He really is a good guy isn't he..." Zack said shaking his head. It wasn't a question, he wass sure of what he was saying but he figured it didn't matter whether Aerith took it as a question or not, he was curious as to what Aerith thought about him anyway.

"He is." Aerith stated nodding looking off to the side slightly, "He may be strange or different...or whatever you think he is," she said with a laugh, "But he really is." She said sending a very soft smile towards Zack.

"Yeah...I know." Zack said as he finally pushed the door open and stepped outside a light breeze ruffling the spikes of hair that stuck out at the back of his head. He started walking down and out onto the sidewalk when he finally realized that Aerith was eying him. "What?" he asked with a frown.

"So you and Cloud, did you just visit his mom here yesterday, or did something else go on, I mean you DO like him don't you?" Aerith asked unable to keep from smirking up at Zack. THe tanned haired man blinked a couple times.

"Well yeah I like Cloud, but that doesn't mean we did anything. What old make you think that we did." Zack said with a chuckle shaking his head and turning his gaze away from Aerith, but she didn't let up her gaze. Zack sighed loudly, "We went and got ice cream afterwards and...I kissed him." Zack said looking down at the ground a slight blush forming high on his cheeks a goofy smile coming to his face. He glanced back at Aerith who hadn't said anything.

"You KISSED him." she almost yelled in utter disbelief. Zack took in her completely shocked expression before looking down at the ground his blush darkening and covering more of his face.

“Yes, is there something wrong with that?” he asked directing the question at the ground slightly embarrassed but he was unable to keep the goofy smile off his face as he thought over the small step forward he had made the other day with Cloud. Before he could even try to think of listening to an answer from Aerith though she threw her arms around his neck and he was left supporting her entire weight as her feet sprung off the ground.

“Congratulations!” she exclaimed loudly, “I'm so proud of you!” she said rubbing her face into Zack's neck. Zack couldn't help but be slightly confused at her outburst it was clear that the blush that had taken control of his face had no intention of letting up either.

“It was just a kiss, it's not like we're officially going out or anything.” Zack said managing to get Aerith off of his neck before he was strangled.

“Yeah but with someone like Cloud, that's a huge step forward Zack. It's just a matter of time, right?” she ended with a question cocking her head to the side and smiling up at Zack looking more like a puppy then he was sure he ever had.

“I guess.” Zack said looking away and scratching the back of his head, he sure hoped it was just a matter of time from here on out. “But he could just forget it ever happened, hell I sort of think I just dreamt it.” he said shaking his head and sighing his mind replaying parts of the dream he had had the night before quickly as they continued walking after this brief stop.

"Anyway, I'm proud of you Zack, you are definitely getting somewhere trust me." Aerith said with a smiling patting Zack on the arm. Zack couldn't help but have the hope surge up in him truly believing Aerith, she was such a nice person, he couldn't help but silently be angry at himself for turning her down the way he had when she had confessed to him, though she seemed perfectly fine with just helping Zack with his own relationships at the moment. He would have to make it up to her for her birthday...her birthday, he stopped in his tracks at the thought. He needed to get her something and he needed to get her something good.

"Um, Aerith I have to do something in town here, do you mind going home by yourself?" he asked his brows raising in the middle in a sympathetic matter, "I'm sorry I didn't remember sooner, but it's really important." Aerith blinked as he spoke taking a step back.

"Oh that's fine, I believe you Zack." She said with a small smile looking a bit down.

"Hey, don't worry this is worth it, and you'll love me for it trust me." He said before taking a few steps back, "I'll talk to you later. See ya Aerith." Zack said before turning and running down the streets, realizing it was rude but being unable to do anything about it now as he looked over his shoulder and waved at Aerith, she waved back with the slightest of smiles on her faces before continuing her relatively long walk back to her house.

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Re: Missed. (Final Fantasy 7)

Post by Kaitou_Dark_Sama on Wed Oct 13, 2010 4:43 pm

Zack had ended up looking in about ten different stores before he found one, a jewellery store where he figured he may as well test his luck. Walking in everything seemed to shine, the dark decorating accenting the crystals displayed all over the relatively large show room. He looked around, impressed by what he was seeing, until, of course, he eyed the price tags on the jewels.

"Hello, may I help you look for something?" a girl asked stepping up to stand next to Zack. He looked down at her and was shocked to see how young she looked, definitely not like someone who would be working in such a refined looking place, though her clothes looked nice enough. She had her short black hair tied up as much she could with a long ribbon which hung down to the bottom of her shoulder blades. She couldn't be more then 5 foot 2 inches and had a huge smile plastered on her Wutainese face.

"No I'm just looking, but thanks." Zack said with a small, dismissive wave of his hand. The smile did not leave her face, she was clearly very good at what she was doing, or just enjoyed her work, Zack wasn't going to ask, though he knew more then anyone that the people in this town all had very interesting backgrounds and he would love to hear this young girl's, but not now.

"Alright," she started, elongating her syllables as she spoke, in a relatively childish tone, "but come find me when you've found something, or admit that you need help." she said with a laugh showing him a large toothy smile. He laughed to as she walked away and he went around again to appreciating the fine jewels that littered his surroundings, and flinching at the rather intimidating price tags. He knew it was all within his price range but he didn't think he was willing to spend this much money on a birthday gift, even if Aerith really deserved it, he would never ever think of something like this before.

It took a lot of looking around before he finally found stuff within his price range and his eyes fell on the perfect thing. He smiled as he saw a silver chain which at the end held a gorgeous aquamarine, translucent orb, it had a radius of about an inch and it looked perfect. He smiled and let out a sigh completely happy with this catch. As though a bell had gone off the young Wutainese girl, who Zack swore couldn't be more then 16 years old, was at his side.

“You found something you want?” she asked with a smile.

“Uh yeah.” Zack replied looking from the young girl to the necklace before pointing at it. “That one please.”

“Oooh, nice choice. Is it for your girl~friend~?” she asked with a laugh jokingly extending her words. Zack found it ammusing as she took a key off her neck and opened the case taking out the neckalce.

“No, just for a friend, I owe her a lot.” he said with a smile. She looked up at him before turning and walking towards the counter, Zack followed her and she rung up the necklace without saying another word. Zack was relatively pleased with the number it rang up to, sure it was still rather high but it was for Aerith and he knew he had to give her at least this.

“Well thanks for shopping here.” the young girl said as she packed the necklace into a box and covered it with fabric to keep it from breaking. She handed it to Zack and smiled, “Hope she likes it.” she finished with that huge smile of hers. Zack nodded as he turned and headed for the door.

“Bye.” Zack said waving over his shoulder. The young girl waved back rather exuberiently as the door closed behind Zack. He looked down at the box in his hands before starting on his rather long walk home.

During this walk home he came across a small acessory store on the corner of a street and found something else to get for Aerith. He exited the store shortly with a soft pink ribbion of a very nice material tied around his wrist. He really did hope that Aerith appreciated the stuff he was getting for her. He was sure though that she would appreciate anything he gave her, no matter if he made it, or spent hundreds of dollars on it.

Stepping into his house and locking the door he stepped into the kitchen. He placed the gifts down on the table before making his way to the fridge taking out an apple and biting into it before heading upstairs. He wanted to get one more thing to add to his present for Aerith. Again looking through his pictures he found the one where Aerith, Tifa, Genesis, Reno, Rude, Tseng, Cissinei and Rufus managed to cause enough commotion to make an entertaining picture but still fit in the frame of the photo. He smiled down at all the young faces before rummaging for a some sort of paper he could use to wrap the gift up in.

After not finding any sort of paper to wrap it up in he headed downstairs and and put the ribbion in the box with the necklace. He managed to find a thin paper picture frame from school and put the picture in it so he could scrawl on the back 'Happy Birthday Aerith. I owe you for 11 birthdays. Love, Zack' before putting it in an envelope and writing Aerith on the front. In the end he was very happy with it and sighed as he headed on upstairs. He glanced at his window and decided, why not.

He crawled out onto the roof and lay himself down next to it so he could look up at the stars that had started to litter the sky. He smiled, his arms folding behind his head as he let out a content sigh. Things were definitely going his way, nothing could ruin this, he was sure of that much. He seemed to be making progress with Cloud; Genesis and Sephiroth were here and he had managed to reunite with them as well; Aerith was as kind as she had ever been; Reno had finally forgiven him and was even trying to make friends with him; he had met many new people who, for the most part, seemed friendly enough. It was nice and he could breath easy knowing all this. This place was just what he wanted it to be now. It seemed to be heaven.

“How many times do I have to tell you to shut the fuck up!?” So much for heaven. Zack sat up as the voice rang through the night air. He knew it was familiar but he couldn't place it right away. When he saw the figure that was clearly Cid's though it seemed to all come together for him. He was turned and yelling at a man who was walking quickly behind him, a man whose long hair trailed out behind him but was lost in the darkness of the night, Vincent.

“Then why do you keep ignoring me?” Vincent shot back. Zack hoped they couldn't see him where he was sitting, so far it didn't seem like they did. He wondered what was really going on between them. This was the second time he had seen them argue like this. He couldn't help but be curious, he couldn't help but eavesdrop, though they didn't seem to be trying to keep it all that hush hush.

“Because you won't leave me alone!” Cid yelled taking a drag from the lit cigarette between his fingers. Zack could tell Vincent was not impressed by the response, despite how little he could see of his face.

“I don't know WHAT you think I am but I've had it with you, Highwind.” Vincet growled in a voice Zack could barely hear, but it gave him goosebumps. The black haired man sure could be intimiadting.

“Finally, what do you think I've been TRYING to do.” Cid said and Zack could practically hear him rolling his eyes as he watched him turn around and start to walk away leaving a dumbfounded Vincent. Zack's eyes trailed and lingered on Vincent, he saw a flash of scarlet which were Vincent's eyes as the pale man turned towards Zack before walking off in the direction he had come, opposite Cid. Zack had tensed up completely at the look Vincent had given him. He hoped the fact that he had heard that little quarrel didn't put him on bad terms with both of them, that was the last thing he wanted. But he wasn't sure it was anger Zack had seen in the look Vincent had shot him.

Zack sighed loudly, shaking his head as he stood up and headed back in through the window and sat down on his bed. Maybe heaven wasn't the best word to describe this place. If anything he would have to call it, interesting, for such a forgetful city.

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Re: Missed. (Final Fantasy 7)

Post by Kaitou_Dark_Sama on Sat Oct 16, 2010 10:06 am

Chapter 6

Cloud sighed heavily as he sat up and grabbed his head. He looked at his bed and saw a few of his cats scattered across the top of the covers. He sighed as he fell back again his hand running across the cat lying on the pillow next to him, the pure black cat whose large amber eyes were shut at the moment, Chaos. He couldn't believe he was even dreaming about Zack now. It seemed that lately everything that went through his mind had something to do with him. Since when had Zack started to mean so much to him. It was almost annoying. There was a mewling from beside the bed and he looked down at his little calico cat, Seto, who was looking up at him tail wagging in a rather impatient fashion. Cloud smiled down at the animal as he sat up and pulled himself out of bed.

“Alright, you're hungry, I understand.” Cloud said to Seto who seemed to understand his words. They also seemed to peek the interest of the white cat at the foot of his bed, Omega, and Chaos, both of which got up and followed Cloud and Seto down the stairs and into the kitchen. These cats were like his family now that he was all alone and he loved all of them. The other two were his black and white domestic short hair named Argento and his long haired orange tabby named Minerva. The sound of the pellet food hitting the inside of the large plastic bowl was like a call for all of the cats to assemble. He smiled down at them as they all started to eat before looking in the fridge for something for himself before ending up settling with cereal. He didn't think of himself as a cat person, but he was sure other people thought of him that way, not that he cared what other people thought.

He wondered briefly what people would think if he actually decided to get into a relationship with Zack. Realizing what he was implying by thinking this he gasped and dropped his spoon he looked at it then to his cats, Minerva, who always seemed like such a haughty animal was giving him a look. He shook his head, “It's nothing just some...unwanted thoughts.” he said to the animal who went back to eating after he spoke. It was funny how they seemed to understand what he was saying, though he was sure it wasn't completely normal to have conversations with cats. He sighed and rested his forehead on the table. There was a light thud which he knew meant one of the cats had jumped up onto the table next to his head. He knew these animals well and knew it was the newest cat, his black cat Chaos. He lifted his head and smiled running his hands through the animals fur as it started to purr at him. “Why does life have to be so painful?” he asked the animal who reacted by rubbing up against Cloud's face. The blond couldn't help but let out a short laugh as he sat up completely and brought the cat into his lap. “I'm glad you guys can't talk.” There was a meowing from the front door and Cloud couldn't help but sigh, so much for not talking. He put Chaos down on the ground as he went to the front door where Argento and Seto were sitting waiting to be let out. “Yeah, I think I'm going to go out for a while too.” he said as he pulled on shoes and opened the door. The two cats ran outside as the door opened and he followed them closing the door behind him before starting on his walk, barely glancing at Zack's house as he walked.

Like he usually did to clear his mind he ended up wandering down a path that led along the creek just in the limits of the town it was so calming, he loved the sounds that surrounded him. He knew there was a place nearby where the people from town liked to hang out but he tended to stay away from there though, he didn't like the fact that people could show up there at any time he preferred to spend this quiet time alone with no one else around. This time around though he couldn't help but think that he wouldn't mind bringing Zack on one of these walks, but he quickly shook his head and got rid of that thought, this walk was supposed to get rid of thoughts of Zack. For some reason he knew it was impossible thought. Despite how much he didn't want to he knew he would have to think about these 'feelings' he may have for Zack eventually, he was hoping that this eventually would be much, much later though. Maybe he would try and steer clear of Zack for the next little while, just so he could clear up his thoughts a bit more then the cluttered mess they were right now.

The path ended just inside of sound, right beside the small shopping district and Cloud was a bit upset that this walk seemed to end so quickly and was about to head on back down the path to length his trip when his eye caught on a partially closed box off to the side of the road. He frowned as he looked at it and it moved lightly. He felt a small kick in his heart as he walked forward and opened it, unable to help himself. He gasped slightly as he saw what was inside a small kitten with a deep red coloured fur, it was lying in the corner shivering and looking up at him with large amber eyes. Cloud frowned as he picked up the small animal which mewled in protest before quickly accepting it as Cloud held it close to him trying to warm it up and let it know it was safe. He looked around but there was no one in the immediate area, so he decided then that he was going to bring the small animal home.

His walk home was short, no matter where you were in town a walk was short so he was very glad that he got home within ten minutes knowing that eventually the small animal that he could hold in one hand would start to protest violently and probably end up getting him injured. Though at the moment Cloud didn't care about himself as much as he cared about the tiny creature. He stepped into the house, followed by Seto wanting in, and headed upstairs and into his bedroom, Omega was curled up on the foot of the bed and perked up when Cloud approached laying the small kitten on the bed next to the white cat who stretched and got up to examine this new being. Cloud knew Omega wouldn't do anything to hurt the little guy though, all his cats were very good with one another and with whatever new cat he happened to bring in. He quickly went downstairs grabbing a dish of water and a dish of food for the small creature, because who knew how long it had been since the little thing had had anything to eat or drink. Omega had gone back to lying down and the kitten was sniffing the older cat curiously. Both of them looked at Cloud as he approached and set the two bowls down on top of the bed. The kitten paused before stepping forward and going straight for the water lapping it like he hadn't had anything to drink in weeks. Omega didn't make any move to take the food or anything from the animal as it curious went to work on the food as well.

The doorbell rang and for a moment Cloud was tempted to just leave it, but despite this he couldn't bring himself not to. He sighed as he left the kitten with Omega to watch and he headed down the stairs opening the door to see Aerith looking at him with a smile. “Hello?” He said with the slightest of frowns, she didn't have her cart with her or anything and recently it had become more and more rare for her to simply visit him.

“Hello Cloud.” She said stepping inside as Cloud held the door open for her. “I just wanted to tell you that I'm planning on having a get together for my birthday in two days. You can just come over around three, alright?” she asked with a bright smile. Cloud was slightly shocked, he had always thought that people gave a good deal of notice before they had parties, but he didn't mind. He was sure he would end up forgetting if he was told a couple weeks or even just a week before hand.

“Alright, that sounds good.” Cloud said with a smile as he closed the door.

“How are you Cloud?” Aerith asked in a more serious tone which caught the blond off guard. His eyebrows furrowed as he turned to look at her, and she looked as serious as she sounded. He let out a sigh, Aerith did have every right to be worried about him, so he wasn't going to say he was annoyed by how much she pried sometimes.

“I'm fine don't worry.” he said shaking his head. He paused for a moment, “But do you mind coming up stairs I have something I'd rather not leave alone at the moment.” he said with a small smile his brows showing an almost apologetic look.

“No it's no problem.” she looked almost shocked by the offer to go upstairs but she followed him up the stairs and into his neat room without another word. She gasped as she eyed the little kitten which was still eating. “Oh my gosh it's so cute!” she said stepping forward quickly making the timid animal jump. “Where- no, when did you get him?” she said looking from Cloud to the red furred cat reaching out a hand tentatively to pet the small creature.

“About half an hour ago. I found him in a box out behind some shops.” Cloud said from where he was leaning against the wall behind. She looked at him with a rather upset expression.

“That's horrible, who could do that to such an innocent little animal.” she said looking back to the animal in front of her. Which seemed to have gotten used to her and was letting her pet him with the smallest of purring sounds arising from his throat. Cloud didn't answer and the two were silent for a little while before Aerith spoke looking from Cloud to the cat again, “So do you have a name for him yet?” she asked.

“No, I don't, I haven't even started thinking about one yet.” Cloud said shaking his head and not moving from where he was leaning against the wall. Seto had walked into the room and was rubbing against his leg and eyed the bed and the new cat warily. Cloud looked down to the calico at his feet then to Aerith, “You can name him if you have any ideas.” he offered.

“I think you should name him...” she paused and examined the small animal. It was completely read except for small streaks going up his legs and on his chest which were much darker, almost black. “Nanaki.” she said incredibly sure of the name she had chosen. Cloud couldn't help but let a small smile come onto his face as he thought about the name she had picked.

“Nanaki.” Cloud said testing the name himself, “It'll work.” he said. Aerith smiled at him. The two of them were silent again for a while and Aerith seemed to be mulling something over, which made Cloud the slightest bit worried, having a feeling a question he wouldn't want to answer would be coming up with this silence.

“How is your mother?” Aerith ended up asking looking at Cloud as she moved the bowls off the bed and sat down pulling little Nanaki into her lap and looking at the blond with a serious face. Cloud was slightly shocked by the question, he couldn't remember the last time he had actually been asked that. He would have to figure it was a long time ago though.

“She's no better, no worse. She still can't come home though.” Cloud answered with a shrug sliding down the wall to sit on the floor, petting Seto who climbed into his lap. “It's been like this for years what would make you think anything was different now?” he said not looking up from that cat that was nuzzling against his chest.

“Well I heard you brought Zack with you last time.” She said quietly. Cloud tensed for a moment as she said that, but he should have figured Zack told her at least that much, they seemed to be such good friends of course he would share details like that with her.

“Yeah, I did.” he said quietly looking off to the side and refusing to look up at Aerith whose gaze he could feel burning into the side of his head. She was clearly very curious and she had every right to be. Cloud was usually very anti-social and going out for anything with anyone was a strange occurrence that rarely if ever happened, let alone someone Cloud barely knew.

“What do you think of him?” Aerith asked. Cloud looked up at her and she was looking down at Nanaki, he could tell by her eyes that she was trying to hide something, he knew she wasn't the best at keeping her mouth shut.

“Of Zack?” he asked. Aerith looked up at him and nodded. “Well...I don't know, he'd definitely not a bad guy, but I still don't really know what to think about him.” He wasn't completely sure how the conversation had been dragged to the topic of Zack, the one thing he had been trying to keep off his mind all day, but he figured it would be done soon and he could go back to finding a way to get him back out of his head. Though he wasn't lying with what he said he still really didn't know what to think of Zack, and this answer seemed to be enough for Aerith though he really didn't want to know what sort of conclusion she had ended up jumping to.

“Well, I think I'm going to go okay? I have to go talk to a few more people.” she said with a laugh putting Nanaki down beside her though the little red kitten didn't seem to want to leave her warmth. Cloud pushed Seto off of him and stood up. He nodded and she led the way out of the room and back down the stairs. “I'll try and come by tomorrow, alright Cloud?” she said after slipping her shoes back on and moving to open the door and let herself out. Cloud just nodded, not saying a word. She smiled at him as she left without another word.

Cloud started right back up the stairs as the door closed behind the brunette. He sat down on his bed and looked at the kitten which had gone back to sniffing at Omega. Seto had jumped up onto the bed and was eyeing Nanaki from Cloud's pillow. The little cat had seemed to really like Aerith. Decided then that he didn't have enough room for another cat anyway, he would give Aerith Nanaki for her birthday, he was sure she would appreciate it. Now though he had to go back to trying to find a way to get Zack out of his head again.

After lying there for a few minutes trying to get him out of his mind his accumulation of cats lying on and next to him increased. Nanaki had curled up in the junction of his neck and shoulder and was purring loudly in his ear; Omega hadn't moved from his spot at the end of the bed; Seto was lying on the pillow next to Cloud's head; Chaos had come into the room and was lying on top of Cloud's legs while Minerva was sprawled out on Cloud's chest. He had had no success in getting the tan skinned man from across the street out of his mind and had decided an easy way to bring his thoughts away from Zack would be a drink. He turned his head glancing sideways at the clock mounted on the wall, it seemed to have been much more then a few minutes he had been lying here thinking though, maybe he had drifted off for a while here and there because he was pretty sure it hadn't been nearly six in the afternoon when Aerith had left. He sighed loudly as he pushed the cats away from himself and pulled himself out of bed, multiple sets of feline eyes rested on him but he found that completely normal, he had for a long time now. He glanced down at Nanaki who was still hast asleep, he wondered briefly if it would be a good idea to leave him on his own with the others, in the end he just set up a bowl of food and one of water in his room for the kitten before kicking all the other cats out of his room and closing the door, he really wanted to get out of the house so he decided that would have to do for now. He left the house locking the door behind him, pretty sure he wouldn't be back for at least a couple hours.

He walked into Barret's bar after a few minutes of walking and sat down at the end of the counter with a sigh. Barret looked over at him before pouring him his usual and placing it down in front of him. “Thanks.” Cloud said quietly pulling the tall, cool glass towards him wrapping his fingers around it before bringing it to his lips and draining nearly half of it in one go. It was right then that he realized it was going to be a very long night.

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Re: Missed. (Final Fantasy 7)

Post by Kaitou_Dark_Sama on Sat Dec 04, 2010 2:20 pm

"Yo Cloud, I'm closing up now." Barret's voice rang loudly in his ears sending a sharp buzz through to his mind. The blond groaned as he lift his head off the bar. He looked at Barret, barely able to keep his gaze focused.

"How much do I owe you...?" he slurred out running a hand through his hair and frowning his voice was even quieter then it usual was but out of everyone Barret was one of the few that were used to this tone and could decipher what he was saying with no problem what so ever.

"S'on your tab don't worry." Barret said with a shrug. "You need a ride man?" Barret asked the blond as he stepped out from around the side of the bar.

"No...I'm fine." Cloud stated standing up wavering ever so slightly before managing to find his balance. Barret didn't argue, Cloud had a relatively bad temper when he was drunk, and Barret didn't want to go through another strange episode where Cloud flipped on him, it just wasn't normal. Barret waited, watching as Cloud left the building, before closing up. He couldn't help but follow the blond for a while before he had to turn, he did notice though that Cloud wasn't headed for his own house, but he knew where he was going and he knew it was a path burned into the drunken Cloud's memory.

Cloud just let his feet move him along, his mind not completely sure of where he was going, at least not until he was knocking on the door of a house that was clearly not his own. There was complete silence around him before the door opened and Reno stood there with a cocked eyebrow. "Yo Cloud, what's up?" the red head asked scratching his bare chest, it was very clear that he was tired, or had even been asleep before Cloud had bothered him.

"Reno..." Cloud slurred out letting out a heavy sigh as his eyes flicked over the red head, taking in his half naked form. Cloud stepped forward an arm draping over Reno's shoulder and lacing into the hair which for once hung free around the thin mans shoulder. Reno did not fight it, this was not an uncommon occurrence to him . Cloud kissed him, more lust behind it then usual but Reno didn't complain as he kissed Cloud back, pulling at Cloud's waist pulling him farther inside so he could kick the door closed. The sound did not stop Cloud in the slightest as Reno continued to pull them back. Their lips moving from a series of closed mouth kisses to longer, more passionate open mouthed kisses. Reno let himself fall back onto the couch, trying to lead them without hurting himself, he couldn't help but be sick and tired of falling to the ground when Cloud was like this.

Sitting back on the couch Cloud put a hand on either side of Reno's head, placing a knee in between the red head's legs and continued kissing him. Reno was much happier with this position though he knew they'd probably be moving soon, if he could manage to get Cloud to let up for a moment or two.

"Cloud." Reno stated sharply pulling his mouth away from Cloud's though the blond continued to move forward trying to press their lips together again, but Reno resisted putting one hand to Cloud's lips. "Lets move to the bedroom." Reno suggested. Cloud moaned as he started kissing and licking up Reno's fingers, the red head had to admit it was quite the turn on watching the way this man used his mouth, no matter where he was using it. Reno pushed at Cloud's hips with his free hand and the blond reluctantly moved Reno stood up and led Cloud to the bed stopping when the backs of his knees hit the top of the mattress, letting Cloud push him down onto the top of the bed. Cloud attacked Reno's lips again as Reno started to push Cloud's shirt up his very nicely defined chest, just by looking at him people wouldn't be able to tell that Cloud was as muscular as he really was and Reno was pretty sure he was one of the very few people who actually knew what Cloud looked like completely naked.

"...-want you, Reno..." Cloud slurred moving his mouth to Reno's neck after Reno pulled the shirt over Cloud's head and threw it into a corner of the room without a care.

"I want you too Cloud...so damn sexy, yo." Reno said quietly into Cloud's ear which got a moan from the blond as he ground down against Reno's groin, earning a shiver of anticipation from the red head. It had been a while since he had slept with Cloud, and it was normally only when Cloud was drunk that he ever got the chance, there were very few times he and Cloud had fucked where the latter had been completely sober. Reno's hand trailed down Cloud's perfectly toned chest and reached into the front of his pants, giving his erect cock a rough squeeze getting another grind out of the blond as he let out a moan.

Cloud made very quick work of ridding both of them of there pants and underwear, as he usually did. He ground down on Reno, the feeling of friction of skin on skin sent a shiver up Reno's spine as he arched his back, pressing his body up against Cloud's before letting the blond find his lips again pulling him into another heated kiss.

One of Reno's arms flailed out at the side as he blindly searched for the night table beside his bed and from there the drawer. He wasn't the biggest fan of raw sex, he liked it when he was able to move in the morning. He fished around as best he could, though he found it incredibly hard to concentrate on anything except what was really going on at that moment, but after a while of fishing around he managed to find the tube of lube he kept in his bedside table at all times, for just such an emergency. He poked Cloud in the face with it earning a disgruntled moan as Cloud broke away from the kiss and sat up, seeming to move as though pre programmed. Reno couldn't help but just smirk as he watched Cloud apply a generous amount to his fingers though he was mentally preparing himself.

Cloud simply stuck both lubed fingers into Reno's hole stretching it for a few moment before pulling them out and going back applying a lot of lube onto his erection and rubbing it slightly. Reno let out the briefest of strained laughs just before Cloud thrust into him, his head sank back into the bed as his back arched and he let out a loud, pained moan, his eyes shutting tight. Cloud completely disregarded the sound as he began to thrust into Reno repeatedly, not letting up his pace and letting out very erotic sounds of pleasure which Reno found very attractive especially as the pain started to fade as Cloud struck his prostate sending a jolt of pleasure through his body causing him to let out a moan of his own.

Reno brought one of his own hands to his throbbing erection pumping himself to match Cloud's thrusts. He kept his eyes open as much as he could, fighting the urge to relax and let his eyes shut, he wouldn't miss seeing Cloud like this for the world since he knew he was probably the only person in the world who had seen him like this.

"Z-..." Cloud started, Reno couldn't help it, he cocked an eyebrow. Cloud's blue eyes were shut tight and his teeth looked like they were being ground together. "Za-Zack." He mumbled, Reno frowned as he stopped pumping his own cock, feeling almost betrayed as the name left Cloud's mouth. Cloud hit that sensitive bundle of nerves again and Reno arched his back letting out a deep moan again his eyes closing, but he couldn't help but every once and a while hear Cloud saying Zack's name under his breath.

It didn't take very long after that for Cloud to cum hard in Reno's ass, thrusting as deep as he could as he released his seed. Looking at Cloud and the look of pure pleasure on his face as he reached his climax, along with his own pumping managed to get him to reach his climax as well as he came on Cloud's chest. Cloud opened his eyes looking down at Reno with soft blue eyes, Reno bit his lip before Cloud pulled him up slightly kissing him again, Reno kissed him back willingly. He knew now that he didn't come first to Cloud but for some reason he was alright with that, he knew he was never really Cloud's first anyway, although he would have liked to be informed of this without Cloud being piss drunk.

Cloud assaulted his lips for a while fingers teasing Reno's nipples, pulling out of the red head and grinding against the shorter man, but it was clear by the droop of his eye lids that he was incredibly tired. This too wasn't uncommon, Cloud would get incredibly tired but be to horny to go to sleep and would end up passed out until late the next day. Reno got like that too sometimes, but only around Cloud and only on really bad days. Cloud's body was pressed flush against Reno and the red head could tell that Cloud was already partially erect again and ready for another round. Reno moaned into Cloud's mouth already knowing that this was going to be a very long night, he was not looking forward to the blond switching names to. Reno couldn't help but be shocked though; Zack was probably the last name he would have ever guessed Cloud would be moaning so erotically in bed with someone who was clearly not Zack, but he wasn't going to question how Cloud's drunk mind worked.

Reno pushed on Cloud's shorter urging him to roll over, and after a short amount coaxing he had Cloud on his back, trying to not have his lips be assaulted over and over again, but being unable to fend off from Cloud's persistence. He kissed Cloud deeply once before moving his lips down to Cloud's collarbone and from there a tongue passed over one of Cloud's nipples, farther down following the slightest of curves given as he arched his back, his abdominal muscles so perfectly defined, hard but not unattractively overbuilt. Finally he licked up Cloud's heated length earning a throaty moan from the blond man beneath him as fingers laced into his long red hair. Reno took the head into his mouth licking the tip before taking as much as he could into his mouth, bobbing up and down in a steady rhythm. Cloud arched his back and yanked rather roughly at Reno's hair. Reno chanced a glance up at the blond's face, his eyes were closed tight, but at least he wasn't calling out some other person's name anymore. Reno soaked in every moan Cloud made, closing his eyes and listening intently. Cloud didn't say another word though, not that Reno was complaining he was content with the sounds of pure pleasure that the blond was emitting.

Cloud bucked his hips as he came in the back of Reno's throat. Reno swallowed before he pulled his mouth away from Cloud's cock. It wasn't the most appealing taste, but again, it was something he was used to, he was pretty sure he would only do this for Cloud anyway so it didn't really matter. He crawled up Cloud's body kissing him again. "You gunna go to sleep now?" Reno asked in a quiet voice. Cloud mumbled out what Reno was pretty sure was an answer. The blond kissed Reno before turning onto his side, wrapping the covers around his body. Reno smiled as he got up and headed into the bathroom. He was more used to paying attention to Cloud when he was over then to himself, there was just something about Cloud that made him like this, but none the less he decided finishing himself off would be the best idea at the moment.

He returned to the room a couple minutes later with a goofy smirk on his face, glad that he had listened to Cloud so closely, it made great 'material' he was relatively satisfied with this, he didn't get sex as often as he would like it so he would take anything he could get. He pulled on his underwear as he climbed into his bed next to the blond who was passed out deeply not even moving as Reno pressed up against him wrapping an arm around his waist and nuzzling into his finely muscled back loving the warmth of sharing a bed with someone.

"G'night Cloud." Reno mumbled as he closed his eyes and let himself drift off to sleep knowing he wasn't going to get an answer from the blond who was so far away from the waking world at the moment.

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Re: Missed. (Final Fantasy 7)

Post by Kaitou_Dark_Sama on Sat Dec 04, 2010 2:24 pm

With a loud groan Cloud opened his eyes finding himself looking at a very blurry and unfamiliar ceiling above his head, which at the moment was killing him. He closed his eyes and sighed deeply trying to collect his thoughts which seemed to be incredibly scrambled at the moment. Slowly but surely everything started to click. He opened his eyes again and finally clued in to exactly where he was, and with a glance to his side looking at the man with long red hair sprawled around him simply confirmed his thoughts. Cloud sat up rubbing his head trying to move slow enough not to aggravate his throbbing head ache. He groaned again barely realizing as the man next to him started to stir.

"Yo Cloud, you up?" Reno said sitting up, his hair cascading over his shoulder as he stretched and yawned before rubbing at his eyes. Cloud lowered himself back into a lying position with another sigh.

"No." he stated, he had meant to make it a very sharp note, but he couldn't manage that, he sounded drained, he sounded pained and he was both. He should have guessed he would end up at Reno's before he went out to drink, but he never planned to end up here, but he had to admit he did enjoy Reno's company, he was someone that he found he could always go to.

"Hey Cloud..." Reno started, Cloud had closed his eyes and had no intention of opening them at the moment. He did hear the distinct clicking sound of a lighter and then the smell of cigarette smoke wafting through the air. Reno seemed to take his silence as the go ahead, and he had to admit it was, "You do realize you called me Zack more then once last night." Again Cloud was silent as a blush crept onto his face. Reno rested himself on his side draping an arm around Cloud as the blond turned onto his side to avoid eye contact. "What goin' on with you and him, yo?" Reno asked taking his cigarette between two fingers.

"I don't know," Cloud muttered after a short pause, then he couldn't help but pause again. "I guess...I like him...I just don't really know what to do about it." He said pushing Reno's arm off his shoulder and sitting up looking down at Reno who looked up at him taking a long drag from his cigarette, sitting up so he could knock the ashes out into the ash tray on his bed side table. Reno looked down at the cigarette and the trail of smoke that came off the tip of it then back to Cloud.

"Tell him." he said with a smile, shrugging; Cloud's expression turned to utter shock at those two words. "It would suck to lose you to him, but anything to see you happy, yo. Besides you know I'll be here for you if he hurts you." The smile on his face was genuinely caring, Cloud smiled weakly back at him. Reno put the cigarette into the ashtray turning back to Cloud to have the blond press his lips against Reno's. Reno couldn't help but be slightly shocked at this sudden show of affection, but he quickly applied his own pressure moving it quickly to a passionate, open mouthed, kiss. Cloud did love how he could be so intimate with Reno without having to worry about it being serious. He was pretty sure Reno was fine with the relationship they had to, as nothing more then sex friends. Reno pulled away from Cloud and smirked at the blond, "You know I love ya, man." He said, he wasn't exactly kidding but he wasn't 100% serious either, he just wanted the blond to be happy even if that meant being with Zack, he was fine with not being in a relationship anyway, because a relationship means commitment and commitment was not something Reno did well.

"Yeah I know." Cloud said, "I'll tell him." He finished with a small smile running his hands through Reno's hair absentmindedly.

"Then I bid you good luck." Reno said with a laugh. Cloud let go of Reno, standing up to search for his clothes, but groaning as he got to his feet sitting back down and holding his heads in his hand unable to bare the constant beating on the inside of his head. Reno didn't move but took another drag from his cigarette as he brought it back to his mouth. He frowned as he looked at the pained blond getting himself out of bed with a sigh, resting his cigarette between his lips as he gathered up Cloud's clothes from the floor. He felt the blond's eyes on him the entire time but didn't once look at him, until he had all the clothes in his hand and sat down next to him looking at him with a small smile. "Hold on a sec, alright, I'll get you something for your headache." he said around his cigarette a small smirk on his face. Cloud smiled appreciatively at the red head. Reno put the clothes down as he headed out of the room and into the bathroom.

Cloud let out a sigh and ran a hand through his messy blond hair. Now he just had to think of a way to tell Zack how he felt. It would wait though, he just wanted to go home and sleep for as long as possible. He slowly started pulling on clothes, getting into his underwear and pants before Reno came back with some pills and water for his headache.

"And usually, we're both messes when we wake up." Reno said with a smile, his mouth free of a cigarette now. Cloud smirked at the comment knowing it was completely true. He let out a sigh as he downed the medicine Reno gave him chasing it with water.

"Thanks." Cloud said. The blond pulled on a shirt, trying to ignore the way Reno was just staring at him before he turned to the red head again, fully dressed, "What time is it?" he asked in his usual quiet voice.

"About noon." Reno said with a shrug getting up and finding some clothes of his own to wear. Cloud was silent and Reno took this silence as a time to get dressed before turning back to the blond, "Do you want me to give you a ride home?" Reno asked cocking an eyebrow.

"Yeah, thanks Reno, that would be great." Cloud mumbled looking down longingly at the bed again wishing he were still asleep, knowing full well that was what he was going to do when he got home.

The two men headed outside and Cloud couldn't help but wince at the light of the sun which seemed to fierce after just waking up. He groaned slightly and he rubbed his eyes and followed Reno to his car. It was a sleek black car and though Cloud barely noticed Reno seemed to find it very amusing in itself. "This is a company car, no one knows I have it so lets keep it on the down low, aight Cloud?" Reno said with a wink pressing a finger against his own lips which were curled up in a humoured smile. Cloud just gave him a half assed smile in reply before pulling open the passenger side door and sitting down, pulling on his seat belt with as much enthusiasm as a rock. Reno couldn't help but frown slightly but he was sure Cloud was just tired as hell, he couldn't blame him. The red head ran a hand through his hair before sitting in the driver's seat next to Cloud and buckling himself in and starting up the vehicle.

Cloud sat there, temple pressed against the window, eyes staring no where in particular as he seemed to survery the surrounding area. Reno didn't say anything knowing that Cloud didn't want to be bothered, he clearly had a lot on his mind. Cloud seemed to jerk from his thoughts of what he was going to say to Zack, when he got the chance, as the car came to a stop in the driveway of the blond's house. Reno switched the car into park as he turned the vehicle off and looked at the blond.

"You need me to carry you up to your bed?" he asked with a smile. Cloud gave him a look and Reno just laughed and shook his head, "Alright, be careful." He said making sure the doors were unlocked as he watched Cloud get on of the car and head up towards his house. He did not move the car until he was sure that the blond was in his house.

Cloud watched as Reno drove off through the window beside the door. When Reno was gone he headed upstairs and into his room. He smiled lightly at the sight before his eyes all of his cats including the new kitten, Nanaki, were all curled up amongst one another on one side of his bed, his considerate animals had left just enough room for him to climb in next to them which he did, not even bothering to undress. He was asleep almost as soon as his head hit the pillow, locked in a deep slumber where he could forget everything that was happening and what he was going to set out to do and maybe sleep off the major headache that was pounding in his skull.

Cloud woke up as what seemed like a larger weight started to move beside him. He groaned as he opened his eyes and saw his cats all getting up and stretching. Then he heard the doorbell ring, probably for the second time. He groaned and pulled the covers up over his head ignoring as one of the cats started to walk on him and he had to guess that it was Chaos, he really did know his cats very well. The doorbell rang a couple more times in quick succession and Cloud finally decided, he had to get up because he wasn't going to be able to get back to sleep right now. He pushed the cat off of him and slipped out of bed standing on feet that didn't want to support his weight at the moment. He half walked, half shuffled his way down the stairs and to the door half expecting it was going to be Aerith, she was the only one that ever really came to visit. So he was slightly surprised when he opened the door and saw Zack standing there, looking at the ground with his hands in his pockets.

"Hey Cloud, sorry if I'm bothering you, but can we talk?" Zack asked looking up at him. Cloud paused for a minute before nodding and opening the door to let Zack in, three cats running out between his legs. Zack looked down at Omega, Minerva and Argento as they ran past him before smiling at Cloud and stepping inside. Cloud headed down into the living room and sat down with a sigh waiting for Zack to follow. Seto had come downstairs and jumped up into Cloud's lap. The calico cat curling up and silently insisting that Cloud pet him, which the blond did. Zack came in and sat down next to the blond, once his body hit the furniture an awkward look crossed his face and he seemed at a complete loss for words.

"So what did you want to talk about?" Cloud said quietly, his words slightly slurred due to his tired state of mind, he was just trying to coax words out of Zack, he was planning on doing more listening then contributing, as he would usually do, even if he wasn't on the verge of passing out. Zack was silent for another short while before he finally spoke.

"I was just wondering about...our, well 'relationship'." Zack said in an uncharacteristically quiet voice. Cloud stopped, his thought process failing to work for a moment before it finally seemed to reboot itself. He had to think about that word for a while though. It was one he did use or even think about often, but for some reason he had a feeling that with Zack the word would be coming up a lot more often.

"What about it?" Cloud said with lack of anything better to say in response.

"Well, I mean I know that kiss was probably nothing, but I was wondering if it actually changed anything between us or not." Zack said quietly looking down at the ground, dragging a hand along Chaos's back as the black cat walked by him. Cloud was again at a loss for words, he hadn't been planning on telling Zack anything for at least another day or so, this was way to fast for him. He was silent for a moment.

"Wh-what are you getting at?" Cloud asked not taking his eyes off of Seto's back, refusing to look at Zack knowing that in this moment of weakness his emotions would be far to easy to read in his blue eyes, and he didn't want to see what kind of expression Zack was making at the moment, fearing the worst already, and fearing where this conversation was headed. Though there was something else making his chest feel like it was thrashing.

"Well...Cloud." Zack fell silent after those two words and the silence made Cloud look up, in that split moment hoping that his stoic face was back and Zack wouldn't be able to read past the barrier he had built for himself in the past years. Zack's face was like a shot to the heart though, the emotions leaked through every part of his face and Cloud knew what he was going to say probably before Zack even had the courage to admit his words; much different from the usually oblivious person Cloud could be, "I really do like you...like not just as a friend...and..." the tanned skinned man looked at Cloud with a crooked smile his eyes had a sort of solemn deepness to them that really hit Cloud. Zack looked back down again and was silent.

"And?" Cloud's voice was a lot more quiet then he would have liked it to be, but he couldn't help it, this conversation alone was a bit of a strain on his sanity, he wasn't sure what the hell he thought about it or how he really felt about hearing this confession from Zack. Especially the day after he had slept with Reno, just a few hours after Reno had told him to go for it, it seemed a little to surreal.

"I was just...you know what, never mind. You probably think I'm so weird right now." Zack said standing up, "I'm sorry for bothering you, I'll just leave." Zack said shaking his head, his face was a very heated red and Cloud didn't take his eyes away from the deep blush the rested high on Zack's cheeks. He grabbed Zack's wrist before he even knew what he was doing. In doing so the look that usually graced Zack's face returned and he looked down at Cloud with an almost shocked, not to mention confused, expression.

"If I thought you were weird..." Cloud started his face with a serious set to it as he spoke, "no, if I didn't like you...I wouldn't have let you kiss me, Zack." he said in a serious tone of voice, meaning every word that left his mouth, though he had said them before his brain had even had the time to process what it was that he was saying. He did slowly start to realize what it was that just left his lips as he let go of Zack's wrist and looked down at the cat in his lap again, a blush dusting across his pale skin.

"Cloud..." Zack started, getting Cloud's attention again, the surprised look had not left the older mans face as he continued to look at Cloud as though something had just happened that he would have never expected to happen in a million years, yet alone in his lifetime. "Was that a confession?" he finished with a question, and Cloud felt his blush flare up, surely turning his entire face bright red as he looked down at the floor.

"Yes." Cloud said so quietly he himself wasn't sure he had said it at all, but none the less Zack seemed to hear him as he sat back down next to Cloud, a lot closer and much more confidently then last time, resting a hand on Cloud's knee, Cloud's eyes didn't leave the carpet beneath his feet.

"Cloud..." Zack practically sighed, Cloud did not look up at him. "You have no idea how much it means for me to hear you say that." he said in a quiet voice, his words seeming to trace along the curves of his ear more then anything else he had heard in his life, hot breath seeming to drag across his skin sending a shudder through his spine. He didn't think Zack was that close. "Will you be my boyfriend...at least for a while, to try it out." Zack asked the voice didn't seem as close that time and it sounded more like that Zack that Cloud was familiar with. Cloud paused at the question though, wondering briefly if this was what he really wanted.

"Yes." his voice was a bit stronger this time but still incredibly silent. He had to admit, at the moment this was what he wanted...and Zack had said this was to try it out right? He would take that to mean he could cut it off whenever he wanted. He looked at Zack and the look of sheer delight on his face was almost touching. Cloud smiled softly. He looked down at the ground before he continued, "But, if you don't mind, can I go back to sleep, I'm dead tired right now." Cloud said shaking his head. He saw Zack nod out of the corner of his eyes.

"Of course it's not a problem." The two of them stood up, Seto jumping off of Cloud'slap at the last second. They headed towards the door walking side by side in close proximety in the narrow hallway. They paused though as Zack stopped to put his shoes on to leave. The tan skinned man turned to Cloud putting a hand on his cheek and leaning in pressing his lips to the blond's without much but a small amount of pressure in return. Even this tiny little response got Zack riled up though. He put a hand on the wall on either side of Cloud's head, which seemed to really wake the blond up. Zack pressed his lips back to Cloud's. Managing to slip his tongue into Cloud's mouth in the blond's shock. Cloud's sudden instinct was to fight him off. He shoved at Zack's chest pushing him off of him from where his body was practically pressed against the blond's.

"Z-Zack!" he exclaimed turning his head to the side forcing his mouth away from the taller man's. A hand was rested on his hip, fingers had started to trail up his shirt but all movement stopped in the instant the name left his mouth. Cloud looked into Zack's blue eyes to see complete shock as he let go of the blond and took a step back, holding his hands up on either side of his head. Cloud was shaking despite himself, he had not been expecting that, Zack didn't seem like the sort of person to just impulsively attack him like that. The blond sunk to the floor, leaning against the wall and staring at the floor paying attention to nothing in particular.

"I...I'm sorry. I just..." Zack stuttered, clearly trying to come up with something to justify this invasion of personal space. "I'm sorry." he lowered his hands to his side, his head hung in shame as his face practically lit up from his embarrassment. Cloud couldn't think of anything to say. Zack was silent to before he turned putting on his shoes and rushing himself out the door. The door closed with a dull thud and Cloud did not move. Chaos came up and sniffed at him before sitting in front of the door but still Cloud did not move, he was not completely sure of what had just happened.

It took him a while but he did eventually manage to gain his composure and stand up suddenly feeling very bad about what he had just done. He shouldn't have pushed Zack away like that, it had just come as a shock to him and he wasn't sure how else to react to it. He couldn't say he had ever done anything sexual while sober so it was slightly strange and he had never had someone who had actual feelings for him before. It gave him butterflies just thinking about it but he wouldn't say he disliked it. He opened the door and let the black cat outside before heading upstairs. He sat down on his bed and stared at the wall. He had to make it up to him somehow, especially know that they were 'together'. He let himself fall back onto the bed and a cat climbed up onto him. His little kitten Nanaki and it came to him how and where he would make it all up to Zack. He could apologize at Aerith's party and, perhaps, afterwards he could really make it up to him. The thought though set his cheeks on fire, something sex wouldn't usually do. It just seemed different knowing that it would be with Zack and not Reno for once.

"I don't know what I've gotten myself into." Cloud said running his hands over the small reddish animal sitting in his lap. He looked up at the ceiling, he also wasn't sure whether in the end he was happy with this decision or not but he guessed he didn't have anything to lose and maybe he was getting his life back together with this, just maybe.

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Re: Missed. (Final Fantasy 7)

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