Sweet Memory
by Aquila Hawk


"That light’s too damn bright. I can’t see a @#$%ing thing!" Cid cursed as the powerful light filled the Highwind.

Cloud leaned over a rail by the huge window of the bow. "It’s working. Meteor’s shattering. We won, it’s all over!" Cloud wearily stood up. "It’s over. Aeris’ prayer worked…"

Cid, still standing behind the wheel, yelled at Cloud, “It’s not over yet! Now strap your ass down, and don’t crap in yer pants! That @#$%ing thing left us a damn shockwave to deal with!" The Highwind tossed and turned in the wake of the shockwave. "Shit! I can’t keep her up much longer!"

Cait Sith, while trying to keep his balance, hopped up behind Cid. "Set down near Kalm. I’m evacuating everyone out of Midgar now, so I’ll meet up with you soon."

"Alright. Later then!" The shockwave stopped, and Cid turned the Highwind towards the small city of Kalm. "This is gonna get bumpy, so sit yer @#$%ing asses down again!" He made his approach, but did not crash like he had thought. "We’re down…?"

Everyone was scattered across the bridge, dazed but otherwise fine. Barret was at the bow of the Highwind, holding onto the rail. "Damn it Reeve, where’s Marlene!?!?"

"Don’t worry, she’s safe in Kalm. I’ll take you to her personally. Just give me a few minutes to get there.” Cait Sith waddled towards the exit. “Watch for the helicopter."

Everyone exited the Highwind, and Reeve’s helicopter arrived several minutes later. The rotors did not stop, but Reeve stepped out. "Well, I guess Midgar’s Urban Development is not my responsibility anymore." He turned to the pilot. "Take off and make sure everyone gets out of the city. We already lost Sector Five, so the rest could come down too."

Barret ran up to Reeve and grabbed him by the collar. "Awright you Shinra scum, where the hell’s Marlene!"

Reeve struggled to breath. "Kalm… If you let me go, I can take you there." Barret reluctantly let him down. "Anyways, it’s fortunate we did move her. You just heard me, Sector Five collapsed. There’s nothing left in the slums.” Reeve adjusted his collar.

Tifa walked up to the group. "So what about Cait Sith?"

"Ah my faithful remote. He served his purpose, and it deserves some rest." Reeve reached behind Cait Sith’s head and flipped a switch. Cait Sith slumped over, and did not move again. "Now, shall we be going?" Reeve began to walk with Barret close behind him, and the rest followed them.

As they walked into Kalm, they noticed that the only light in the town came from candles and oil lamps. The city was once dependent on Mako energy from Midgar, but with the reactors out for good, they had to make do. The night was silent, as all the people had cowered in their homes. Reeve walked to the building that had a large tower. "She’s here with Elmyra." Barret pushed him aside as he ran up the stairs. Tifa followed Barret, but Cloud turned and left the building.

Red XIII followed Cloud. "Cloud, what is wrong?"

Cloud turned around. He looked depressed. "…Nothing. I just need some time alone."

Red XIII could not let Cloud’s haphazard response. "Grandfather used to say, ‘weary hearts should not turn and hide.’ So, I will ask again."

Cloud closed his eyes and sighed. "…Aeris…"

Red XIII also became overwhelmed by sadness. "…Oh…"

"…I just need to be alone right now…" Cloud walked away, but Red XIII did not follow. He instead went to join everyone else in the tower.

Barret walked through the door and immediately ran to Marlene. He picked her up and hugged her. "Marlene, you’re safe." Tears began to pour from his eyes.

Marlene too sobbed a little. "Papa, you’re crying. You’re whiskers hurt when you cry."

"I’m jes so happy to see you…"

"I’m ok… The ‘Flower Lady’ protected me."

Barret let his daughter down and exhaled slowly. He closed his eyes as he sat in a nearby chair. "I dunno how ta even say it…"

"…I know… She returned to the planet, but she came back for me." Marlene smiled innocently.

Barret fell back in the seat. "…Marlene…?" Barret was not the only one puzzled by this sudden remark; the entire room stood still. Barret thought to himself, I know Dyne wusn’t, but... wus Elenor an…? The room remained silent.

An opening door broke the silence. Red XIII walked in. "What is going on?" No one moved or even looked. "This is one of those awkward moments isn’t it?"

Tifa turned around. "Where’s Cloud?"

"He wished to be left alone,” Red XIII said softly. “What is going on?"

"We’re not exactly sure…" Tifa answered. She began to think about Cloud. "I’m going to look for Cloud. This is not like him." Tifa left the room.

Tifa left the building and began her search. Even in the dimmed light of oil lamps, she could see the finest detail of every brick and shingle in the small town. She began to walk towards the staircase that led to the upper terrace. Most of the storefronts were dark, except for one small shop. In front of the shop stood Cloud. He was wearing a clean white shirt instead of his torn SOLDIER shirt. Tifa approached him slowly. "I see you bought a new shirt."

Cloud looked up from the railing he was leaning on. "My old one smelled like blood…" He tried his best to smile, but he couldn’t. "…Not even my blood…"

Tifa put a hand on Cloud’s shoulder. "What’s wrong?" Cloud said nothing, but looked down over the Kalm city scape. "Oh… I see… Cloud, you can’t beat yourself up over her death. Sephiroth came out of nowhere, there was nothing you could do."

Cloud clenched his fist, and his face twisted with the agony of the moment. "I had my sword drawn! I was about to kill her myself!” Tears began to form on Cloud’s face. “I could have stopped Sephiroth… I-I knew he was there, I could feel him… It’s because of me she’s…" Cloud broke down on the railing and began to cry. "Aeris is dead because I didn’t defend her… Because I couldn’t raise my sword up, and strike Sephiroth as he came down… I let her… die…"

Tifa continued to plead. "Cloud, it wasn’t your fault. No matter what you did, Sephiroth was still there."

Cloud did not look up. "I still could have…" Cloud stood up and began to walk away. "Sephiroth burned our hometown. He murdered Aeris, and he nearly destroyed the planet… so I fought. But now..."

Tifa started to follow Cloud. "What about me, Cloud?"

Cloud stopped and turned around. "What are you saying?"

Tifa stared deep into Cloud’s dimly glowing eyes. "Cloud… I love you."

Cloud was perplexed by Tifa’s response. "I… I-I…"

"You don’t have to say anything… I guess I just realized it. I couldn’t say anything before, because of… well… how you felt about Aeris." Tifa looked Cloud in the eyes. "I know you loved her, but you held back. Why?"

Cloud began to relax as he breathed deeply. "I couldn’t hurt you…"

Tifa was taken aback. "You held back… for me?" she now felt as guilty as Cloud.

"I care too much for you… I knew that you had feelings for me, so I kept my mouth shut,” Cloud said, looking back into Tifa’s eyes. “To tell you the truth, I cared for both of you. But did I love Aeris, or was that another of Zack’s memories? …I don’t know…"

Tifa took Cloud’s hand. "What you felt must have been from you. You feel it now, Cloud, even after you came to."

Cloud stepped back and leaned against the railing. "…I miss her…"

Tifa embraced Cloud. "So do I… We can never forget her memory." The two stood in the darkness holding and comforting each other.

Cloud looked up from Tifa towards the night sky. "I never really noticed the stars before… After dealing with Sephiroth and Jenova, it makes you wonder what else is out there. Are there more demons or angels out there? Planets live and die all the time, many forgotten in time. Societies, animals, lives… I need to know."

Tifa looked up at Cloud. "Know what?"

Cloud looked down and meet his eyes with Tifa’s. "What they died for, …what she died for… I’m going to Cosmo Canyon with Red XIII. Maybe the elders can teach me about the ancients."

"Then I’m going with you. There’s nothing left of Midgar and Nibelhiem isn’t the same…” Tifa said, sadly. “There’s nowhere else to go…"

Cloud scanned the darkened buildings of Kalm. "Then we’ll find a place."

"Cloud…?" Tifa asked with surprise.

Cloud smiled, something that he felt like he would never do again. "We’ll find a new town, a new life, somewhere far away from Midgar. Just the two of us."

Tifa was moved by Cloud’s sentiment. She looked deep into his eyes and became lost in their soft blue glow. The two moved closer together, and soon touched lip. They kissed for only a moment, but both felt that brief second as an eternity unto itself. "So what now?" Tifa asked softly.

Cloud was still caught in the moment, as they stood in the silence of the night. "What about now?” Cloud responded trying not to ruin the stillness around them. A time passed, and Cloud began to wonder about the others. “So where is everyone?"

"I almost forgot,” Tifa said as the two broke from their embrace. Tifa looked at the tower just inside the city wall. “They’re in that building over there."

Cloud looked up at the tower. "You think they’re worried? You know how Barret gets when he can’t see everyone at once."

Tifa laughed softly. "Yeah, well he won’t admit it, but he cares about everyone. Don’t tell him I said that though."

Cloud smiled. "Should we go meet up with them."

Tifa returned Cloud’s smile. "Yeah, let’s go."

Cloud and Tifa walked up the stairs that led to the loft apartment. Everyone was still in shock by Marlene’s strange words, but a little less then before. Cloud looked around the room. The entire crew was still watching Marlene, as if she were going to conjure a miracle. "So, how’s everyone?" Cloud asked, trying to shatter the awkward silence. The group broke from its trance.

Cid tapped a cigarette on the wall near an open window. “We’re all fine.” Cid then turned to a nearby candle to light the cigarette. “You know, the entire town could see you two out there. Looked like thing were getting a little cozy.”

Reeve reclined back in the chair he was sitting in. “So does this mean you two are finally...”

Cloud shifted his eyes between Reeve and Cid as if to scold them. “That’s personal.”

“Hey, we’re just happy for the two of you,” Reeve said as he sat up in the chair.

“Yeah, there’s no reason ta’ get work up about it,” Barret said as he put Marlene down. “You two’ve put us through a lot, y’know, so spill it.”

Cloud and Tifa, in unison, both said, “No.” Cloud looked about the room, scanning for others. “...Where’s Yuffie?” a panic stricken Cloud asked, while checking his materia.

Barret, Reeve, and Cid all tried their hardest to try not to laugh. Cid pointed down a hallway. “She’s... probably still paying homage to the ‘porcelain god,’” Cid said, trying even harder to avoid cracking.

“Oh,” Cloud said, feeling like a fool. “...Motion sickness?”

“Ooohh my head...” Yuffie said, holding her head as she walked down a hallway, but stopped halfway into the room. She tried to keep something down in her throat as she turned around and ran back down the hall.

Everyone watched as Yuffie ran back to the bathroom. Their attention was soon distracted by Marlene’s yawning. Barret got up from his seat to put his young daughter to bed. “It’s past your bedtime, Marlene,” Barret said softly.

“Ok, Papa,” Marlene replied while yawning again. Barret led Marlene to another room, and left it a minute later alone.

Reeve nodded towards the door Barret was closing. “What’re you going to tell her?” Reeve said as if he were chummy with Barret.

Barret leered at Reeve with eyes angrier then anyone had ever seen. “The hell you wanna know for!? Ya’ gonna get your Shinra buddies back together, jes so ya can take Marlene away from me!? Well it ain’t gonna happen!” Barret said as he began to charge, but Cloud and Cid stopped him.

Reeve stared down Barret, upset with his accusations. “Listen! I don’t want to see Marlene taken from you either. I never want to see what happened to Aeris again. She is now the last of her kind, and... I don’t think you should tell her.” Reeve closed his eyes and faced away. “There will be others out there that will try to find the secrets of the Ancients. If they were to know that Marlene was an Ancient, they would never stop hunting her. Let her grow up as a normal child. It’s unfair to lay such a heavy burden on her.”

Barret struggled to get away from Cloud and Cid, but he was a lot calmer. “Then wut am I supposed to tell her?”

Reeve sighed as he tried to come up with something useful to say. “Tell her... tell her that her memories are strong. Tell her she has an active imagination. Tell her something, just don’t tell her any of this. It’s for her protection. If she knew, others would find out. Do you really want to raise her, while always running?”

Barret relaxed, and for the first time had some respect for Reeve. “No, that’s not wut I want. I want her to grow up like any other kid.” Cloud and Cid let go of Barret, and Barret sat back down. “I can’t tell her...”

They were all quiet for a moment. Cloud again looked around the room, and just realized that Vincent had hardly moved since he had been there. Leaning against a dimly lit corner, Vincent stared at the floor. “Vincent, you haven’t said anything since we got here,” Cloud said, trying to break Vincent’s trance.

Vincent looked up, but did not move otherwise. “There’s nothing left to say,” Vincent coolly said, and looked down once again. He said something under his breath that sounded like ‘Lucrecia,’ but said nothing else.

Cloud was not sure what he had heard, but assumed Vincent was thinking about his long lost love. “You going to look for her?”

Vincent sighed. “She’s alone out there, and has been for a long time. For years, she suffered and I slept...” Vincent shook his head, as he began to lose his cool. The thoughts of Sephiroth, Hojo, and Lucrecia seized his mind in an iron grasp. “None of this should have happened! I let it go too far... I should have stopped him when I had the chance.” Vincent’s ranting haunted the room. Everyone had seen him as cold, almost heartless. A man driven by vengeance, but now they saw him broken down by guilt.

With one swift strike, Cloud punched Vincent across his face. “Vincent! Wake up! Sometimes you can’t change destiny. ...Sometimes you can’t protect those you care about...” Cloud clenched his fists, trying to control his emotions. “You were not the one who broke Lucrecia’s heart, it was Hojo.”

Vincent shook off the punch, and composed himself. “...Cloud... Thank you, I needed that.”

Again silence gripped the room. Grief and remorse lingered in the air like a thick fog, clouding the thoughts of everyone. Reeve looked around the room trying to think of a way to break from the cycle of sorrow he and the others were in, even while he was fighting his own sense of guilt. “So, what now?” Reeve said, trying to end the silence.

“It’s getting late,” an almost unnoticed Elmyra said from one of the corners in the dimly lit room. “It would be best if you decided what to do in the morning. Now all the beds are prepared, so I expect them to be used.”

“Thank you, Elmyra,” Cloud said with the greatest of respect. Everyone in the room got up and left for their rooms, except for Cloud and Tifa. Cloud approached the only unoccupied room, and began to enter. Tifa promptly followed. Cloud turned around, surprised by Tifa’s bold action. “What are you doing?”

Tifa looked at Cloud in the eyes, and asked, “What do you think?”

Cloud realized what Tifa meant. “Oh,” he responded, feeling like a jaded fool, as he closed the door behind them.

Morning came and shone its light into the city of Kalm. The name suited it well, even after the events of the previous night. Meteor was gone, so the sun was the only thing that shed its light on the world. It was in the wake of this serenity that Cloud and Tifa awoke, staring lovingly into each other’s eyes. They held each other closely as they had throughout the night. Neither spoke, so as not to ruin the moment. Time passed, but neither noticed. Several minutes later Tifa asked softly, “Did you sleep well?”

“Waking up next to you, who wouldn’t?” Cloud responded, equally as soft. They both continued to gaze into each others eyes, holding ever closer. There was peace in that moment, and it seemed to last forever.

“Damn it! That was the last muffin!” Barret yelled from the main room, shattering the once prevalent calm.

“So much for a peaceful morning,” Tifa said, with a touch of humor. “Everyone else must be up.”

Cloud looked at the closed door. “Then I guess we should be, too.”

“You Shinra’re always jes thinkin ‘bout yourselves!” Barret shouted at Reeve.

“Hey, hey, hey! I’m a Palmer, not a Shinra. And honestly, it’s a muffin. You’re going nuts over a muffin,” Reeve responded, trying not to laugh at the comic scene he was now a part of.

Barret stumbled around different responses, trying to find the right one. “Yeah... well... um... yeah, I wanted it...” Not even Barret could withstand the humor of his response. The room filled with laughter. “Heh, heh, guess we been fightin too long. Little things jes set me off easily.”

“Heh, yeah we’ve been at each other’s throats too long. I’m ready to stop the fight. How about you, Barret?” Reeve said as offered his hand to Barret.

“The Shinra are gone. Can’t say I have much hate for you any more,” Barret responded as he clasped Reeve’s hand. “The fightin ends here.”

Everyone’s attention soon shifted as Cloud and Tifa walked from their room. Cloud sensed the eight pairs of eyes that were now fixed on himself and Tifa. Both Cloud and Tifa were too embarrassed by the attention they were receiving to say anything. “Never thought you two would ever get up,” Cid bluntly said.

Cloud looked hesitantly at Cid. “Yeah... good morning to you too,” Cloud said, uncomfortable with Cid’s all too blunt greeting. The main room grew silent, but unlike the silence of the previous night's guilt and sorrow. It was an awkward silence, as the entire group waited for Cloud or Tifa to speak.

Tifa scanned the room, trying to think of a way to change the subject. She desperately tried to avoid changing the subject to that of the inevitable discussion of everyone’s departure. Unfortunately, Tifa could not. “Cloud and I don’t need to explain ourselves,” Tifa said, trying to end that line of discussion. “Anyone have a problem with that?” No one said anything. “Good.”

Red XIII peered out the window that looked out upon Kalm. The small city was slowly coming back to life. As he watched, hundreds of people flocked through the city’s gate. Many of them looked as if they had come from a war zone. Most where covered in dust and rubble, and some had open wounds that had stopped bleeding. “The city has become a little more crowded,” Red XIII noted aloud as he continued to watch the steady stream of people.

Reeve moved over to the window. “I was afraid of this. They’re all refugees from Midgar,” he said with grave concern. “The city won’t be able to support them long.” Reeve contemplated this new turn of events. “I guess I know what I’ll be doing.”

“Oh yeah?” Barret asked abruptly.

Reeve sighed, and let a slight smile creep across his face. “Yeah, I... was a city planner after all. Kalm was never designed to hold so many people, so I’m going to stay here and help the local authorities deal with this.” Reeve sighed again. “It’s time I make amends for what I was responsible for.” Reeve leaned over the windowsill and took a deep breath.

Cid lit up a cigarette, but Elmyra took it from his mouth and stepped on it. “Cid, do you really have to smoke right now?” she asked, very cross.

“Fine,” Cid said, disappointed. He thought for a moment. “I guess I’ll be gettin' back home. Don’t know what I’ll do, but at least I have the Highwind to work with... If I can get her to fly again.”

“What about Shera?” Cloud asked while picking up a piece of fruit.

“The hell should I know! She can do what she wants,” Cid replied without really thinking about the question. He, however, realized that the question was not ‘what Shera will do’ but ‘what about Cid and Shera.’ Cid sank in his seat. “Oh...” Cid said with a slightly lower tone. He began to think about the question as it was meant. “I don’t know. I’ve been a real asshole for years; I don’t know how to make up for it... I’ll just have to, that’s all.” Cid looked over at Barret. “What about you, Barret? The planet’s saved, and eight very large Mako Reactors now had the shit blown out of them. What are you going to do now?”

Barret grinned as he quickly came up with his answer. “I’m going to the Gold Saucer!” he replied gleefully. Everyone stared at Barret, except Marlene, who was very excited to hear Barret’s reply. “What? Ain’t any of ya’ watch TV?” Everyone relaxed again. “But seriously, I am gonna take Marlene there. With everything that’s happened, I jes want to spend as much time as I can with her. Then we’ll probably go to North Coral, see if I can help get them back on their feet. I owe em’ that much.” Barret looked over at Red XIII, as if to pass the torch to the next person. “You goin’ back to Cosmo Canyon?”

Red XIII looked away from the window. “Yes, but it will be strange without grandfather,” Red XIII said with a great deal of grief. “It will be my duty to protect Cosmo Canyon, just as my father did.” Red XIII began to smile a little. “I feel like I have grown a lot since leaving. The true test is to come. Soon the old nations will rise again.”

“Yeah, and Wutai will be the strongest!” Yuffie cheerfully chimed in. “My hope was that no nation would be the strongest,” Red XIII rebutted. “I would hope that the nations of the world would work together for peace and unity. There is no better way to protect a homeland then assuring peace worldwide. We are all connected in a strange and beautiful web. What happens to one of us, affects us all... I think Grandfather wanted me to realize this.”

“Blah, blah, blah, Wutai will still be great!” Yuffie again interrupted, still very proud of her homeland, and as arrogant as usual

“So are you going back to your father?” Vincent asked.

Yuffie looked at Vincent. “Yeah, that old fart wouldn’t know what to do if I weren’t there,” Yuffie said sarcastically, yet still with a sense of caring. Something began to bother Yuffie. “Hey, Vincent. You said I looked familiar to you when we first met. Why?”

Vincent looked at Yuffie. “Because your grandmother looked like you at your age.”

Yuffie looked at Vincent in disbelief. “How long were you sleeping?!?!”

“Forty years,” Vincent answered without hesitation.

Yuffie still looked at Vincent in disbelief. “Forty years?!?! I can’t even sleep forty minutes! Not that I’ll have time to sleep. I’ve gotta find more materia for the glory of Wutai!”

“Oh yeah, that reminds me. Catch!” Cloud said as he tossed a sack in front of Yuffie.

Yuffie was curious about the bag. “Hey, what is this?”

“Unmastered materia, and a tranquilizer. Just in case,” Cloud answered.

Yuffie was offended by the tranquilizer. “Hey! Don’cha think I can handle a little traveling!?!?” she snapped back as she threw the tranquilizer pills on the ground. “But... thanks,” she said gratefully

“Just one more thing,” Cloud added as he pulled out a round green stone. “This belongs to you, and it’s mastered.”

Yuffie stared at the stone in awe. “Leviathan... Hmm, guess I have no choice but to take this off your hands.” Yuffie took the materia and locked into a bangle on her left wrist along with three other green stones. “Still not gonna let my dad retire,” she said grinning. “What about you, Vincent? You gonna look for Lucrecia?”

“Yes,” Vincent said with no intention of delving deeper into his plans. Vincent looked at Cloud, trying to shift the focus from himself.

Cloud sensing Vincent’s eyes upon him, closed his own and leaned against a wall. “I’m going to Cosmo Canyon to learn everything I can about the Cetra. It should be obvious why.” Everyone’s eyes were on Cloud. Cloud looked up again. “Besides, can’t fight a war if their’s no one to fight.”

Tifa stood next to Cloud. “Well you’re not going alone,” Tifa said looking into Cloud’s eyes, but her focus soon trained on her hands “Maybe I can train others in the way Master Zangan trained me. One on one training, from place to place. Maybe one day Master Zangan and I will cross paths out there,” Tifa finished, and looked across the room. “That just leaves one person.”

“Elmyra,” Barret said, looking at the woman who for almost a year cared for his daughter. “You’ve done so much for me. I don’t know were to start repayin’ you.”

Elmyra smiled at Barret. “There’s no need.” Elmyra grew very somber. “Aeris probably never told you, but she was at her happiest with all of you. Whenever she called home, she would tell me about all the place you have been and the people you met.” Elmyra sat down in a vacant seat. “The last time Aeris called was a couple of days before she died. She told me that she was going to stop Sephiroth once and for all, but didn’t think that she would come back alive. I tried to stop her, but she wouldn’t listen. The last thing Aeris told me is that she had no regrets, and that she loved you all,” Elmyra said, trying to finish without sobbing. The room was once again filled with grief. Elmyra tried to pull herself together, and moved to the window to watch the flood of refugees. A lot of children were mixed in with the crowds, and a lot of them appeared to be separated from their parents. “Too many lives were lost last night, and now hundreds of children are orphaned... I know what I have to live for now.” Elmyra’s spirits began to rise as she realized her new mission. “I will make sure that these children are taken into good homes were they can grow up being loved.”

“Guess this means we all have our lives planed out for a while,” Cid said.

Cloud stood up from his leaning position. “Guess so.” Silence befell the room, as they all came to the realization that their inseparable band was in fact going their separate ways. The silence began to eat at Cloud. “Listen. We can’t regret this. We all knew that at the end of this, we would all go our separate ways. We can’ let our bond get in the way of our futures, but we need to let it keep us together in heart... Besides, we’ll all keep in touch. Right?”

“Damn man, you’re right!” Barret enthusiastically responded. “No matter how far apart we are, there’ll always be a part of us that is together.”

“Well I guess this is goodbye...” Reeve said, trying to mask the sadness he felt.

“Yeah...” Yuffie’s normally ecstatic voice seemed withdrawn.

“It’s been... interesting,”Cid said as he placed his empty cigarette box on the table.

“I will miss you all,” Red XIII said without joy, while Vincent stood silent. “We’ve been through a lot haven’t we?” Tifa asked, unable to outright say goodbye.

“The war’s over now, and... I couldn’t ask for a better group to fight with,” Cloud said with a straight and almost sad face. Cloud looked out the window at the now risen sun, contemplating everything that has happened over the past year. Realizing the sun rose on that day, and without the red hue of Meteor, Cloud smiled. “At least it’s a nice day for a new beginning.”

The End


Writer’s notes:

This is my first completed fanfic. I began working on this after completing chapter 5 of my much larger story, Cetra Legacy, to explain some events that occur during that part of the story. This is also the first story in a series that will connect Final Fantasy VII and Cetra Legacy together a little more solidly then Cetra Legacy alone.

Changes made: The original version (before I moved the story onto my laptop) had Cid’s dialect blocked out. I will probably block it out again if I decide to send it to RPGamer.com. I also changed the street scene with Cloud and Tifa. Originally, they just embraced for a short time then returned to the group. However, after criticism from a friend of mine, I changed the scene to have a more romantic theme. Not easy for someone without much experience in romance. The last major change was that the first version only went up to where Cloud and Tifa join up with the group again. Everything after that was created recently.

Special Thanks:

Mary-Alice for helping me find a bunch of errors in this fic.
My friends John and Amber for their initial reaction to this fic.
Daguerreo's Secret Library for insperation to keep going on this fic.
The BOCES program of the Capital District, without whom I probably would have never found writing a good pass time.
And finally, to Squaresoft for creating a game with such a compelling and openly debated storyline.