Final Fantasy - All Series Fan Fiction ❯ Deliveries ❯ Chapter 3

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Deliveries: Record III

Delivery 21: Finished Early, With No Rest

Cloud Strife was in a pretty good mood, note the past tense. He had finished work sooner than expected and received several generous tips. But Cloud's good mood would not last as long as he thought it would, and he had Reno to blame for that.

If not for Reno, Cloud could have spent some time alone with Tifa and possibly get around to confessing his feelings once and for all. But that was not what occupied Cloud's mind. The delivery boy was as clueless as ever when it came to wasting opportunities for romance with the task of feeling sorry for himself; because he, apparently, never got any chances to tell Tifa how he felt.

Sure Cloud would have wasted his opportunity anyway, but Reno made it worse, Reno make it really hurt, physically and emotionally, and the pain would last in both forms. Even though Cloud mistakenly classified Reno's presence in the Seventh Heaven upon his arrival as harmless, the Turk would soon prove him wrong.

"Reno!" Cloud's angry voice snapped.

"Were you going to use this?" Reno tried to fake innocence as he pointed at the chair he had just pulled out when Cloud was about to sit down.

"You can't tell me it wasn't obvious," Cloud glared.

"Fine, I won't tell you since you already said it yourself." An expert of survival, Reno was feeling confident regardless of how often he was told that one day he would push Cloud, or someone else, too far and get into trouble. But of course, Reno was always in some kind of trouble anyway, so he didn't really mind as much as he should.

"Then why did you do that?" Cloud felt his anger rising, while Tifa stood speechless.

What in the world could Reno be planning this time? "It was an accident?"

Cloud glared and Tifa decided it was time to speak up. "Reno, that was a terrible thing to do. I want you to apologize to Cloud right now."

"Or what? You'll send me to sit in the corner?" How old did Tifa think Reno was, three?

"I won't do business with you anymore and that means no more food and drinks," Tifa firmly replied.

Reno showed his tongue to both Cloud and Tifa, before finally pushing out the words, "sorry Strife," with insincere ease.

Cloud looked at Tifa with pleading eyes, as if asking if he could kill Reno, but Tifa shook her head; she preferred her customers alive. Cloud sighed and attempted to sit down again, this time actually holding on to his seat, but once again Reno prevailed. Cloud felt a jolt of electricity and a yelp escaped him. "Reno!"

"I didn't do anything!" It was obvious that the Turk's electrorod was to blame.

Cloud finally had enough, while he rubbed his sore behind with one hand; he pointed his sword at Reno with the other. Then the chase began. Ultimately, Reno got away and Cloud wasn't able to sit down for a while. For once, the delivery boy wished he had not finished his deliveries so early, and thus avoided exposing himself to Reno's random craziness.

At the time, Cloud didn't know that Yuffie had actually hired Reno to make sure that Cloud didn't 'sit out' another opportunity to tell Tifa how he felt. But Reno only understood the part about not sitting down.

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Delivery 22: Electrorod

It all started with a misunderstanding and it was blown out of proportions. One could blame Cid, or Cloud, or Reno or Yuffie, or any combination of those four.

"Cid can I talk to you?" That was the first step Cloud took deeper into his doom as he delivered some airship parts to Cid in Rocket Town.

"Chatter away, I'll be working on this and listening at the same time," it looked as if Cid was in fact so focused on his work that he wouldn't listen to Cloud's story at all.

But Cloud was desperate for someone to rant to, so he did as Cid said and chattered away. "It's Reno, he's so annoying!"

Cid laughed, proving that he could hear Cloud and was paying attention to his words even if he didn't look it. "Everyone thinks he's annoying, except maybe Tifa because he spends so much in her business, but I think even she loses her patience every now and then too."

"You're right about that," Cloud nodded. "I don't know how Rude puts up with Reno all the time."

"I'll have to admit Rude is as tough as they come, being able to put up with Reno." Cid picked up another part of the relatively small airship component he was working on and started to attach it to the rest of the component's structure.

"That's just it, Tifa doesn't want to lose her customers because if Reno stops coming then he'll go out of his way to stop Rude from coming over." Which would benefit Cloud in terms of having less competition for Tifa's attention, but Tifa would be upset to lose a customer. "It was also Reno who talked Tseng and Elena into coming to the Seventh Heaven regularly. Reno brings customers and spends a lot so Tifa puts up with him," and at this point Cloud pouted.

"It must be hard dealing with him," Cid agreed, feeling truly sorry for Cloud.

"You have no idea. The trip over here was hell because I still can't sit down without pain," it sounded odd, but Cloud was too upset to notice.

Yuffie had requested a Turk mission and Reno had been the one to go on that mission. The ninja worded her request in an interesting way and Reno wasn't really paying attention so he took it literally.

Yuffie wanted to make sure Cloud didn't 'sit out' another chance to confess his love to Tifa, but Reno only understood something about Cloud not sitting down. An electric shock to Cloud's behind had ensured that the blond didn't want to sit down again for a while and it also put Reno on the top of Cloud's revenge list.

However, Cloud soon found that taking revenge on Reno would not be that simple. Reno had, not only an army of fan girls to protect him, but thanks to his business at the Seventh Heaven he also had Tifa on his side and somehow even Marlene and Denzel thought he was cool, which made Cloud feel guilty for not spending more time with the kids.

After Cloud had vented out what happened to Cid, it left the pilot very confused. Thus Cid decided that maybe he shouldn't have been listening after all.

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Delivery 23: Publicity

"Mr. Shinra, I'm here to deliver your coffee," a voice was heard from the other side of Rufus' office door.

"Come in, don't interrupt, I'm in the middle of something important, just put the coffee on the desk," Rufus replied while grinning widely at some newly received financial reports. Who would have known something like -that- would turn out to be such a gold mine?

"I don't have a keycard Mr. Shinra, I'm only a lowly new assistant boy who makes coffee for the high executives and occasionally helps carry their briefcases," the same voice replied.

"Incompetent fool! At least you know your place, so I'll be merciful and forgive you." Rufus opened the door electronically from his desk. Then in a split second, the president found himself pinned against the glass window behind his desk, with an oversized sword on his throat. "What's the meaning of this, Strife? Who hired you to be the new coffee boy?"

"Nobody hired me and I don't have any coffee for you. I want you to take that video off the Shinra network!" Cloud demanded.

"Oh you mean the video involving you and the newspaper battle? Though luck Strife, that video was filmed in Shinra property, with Shinra equipment and that means Shinra owns it! Leave before I call the Turks!" Rufus yelled.

"Can't fight without the Turks?" Cloud maintained his threatening position.

"That's not what I'm saying! It's just that it's their job to fight." It was obviously an excuse; Rufus knew he couldn't possibly survive a fight with Cloud by himself, but the Turks had their tricks.

"Let him go," a woman entered the office and her voice made Cloud freeze on the spot. Thanks to Cloud's shocked and unmoving state, Rufus was able to push the gigantic sword away and slip out of danger.

Cloud turned around in surprise, he knew that voice. Although Rufus was expecting the Turks to come to his rescue, the woman that had entered the office was not Elena, nor any other female Turk; in fact, she was someone who was supposed to be on Cloud's side. "Tifa, what are you doing here?"

As much as Cloud liked to see Tifa smiling, he did not like that particular kind smile on her face. "I watched the newspaper video, it was great! This is a wonderful opportunity for your business and you shouldn't pass it up. Shinra and the Turks are still troublesome sometimes, but I think we can all agree that they have changed. You should be grateful for all the publicity you got thanks to that hilarious video. Do you have any idea how many delivery requests have come since it went public?"

Cloud felt himself twitch. Tifa not only laughed at the video, all in good humor but it still embarrassed him, she also approved of said video being used as part of a publicity stunt from which both Shinra Inc. and Strife Delivery Service would benefit.

"You heard her Strife, you should be thanking me!" Rufus grinned victoriously, while Cloud had no choice but to accept the situation. One thing still bothered Rufus though, "why didn't the Turks come?" He thought aloud.

"That's because I requested a mission to have the Turks answer the phone and tend to the restaurant and bar while I went to look for Cloud." Rufus didn't think much else of it after Tifa's explanation, but he wouldn't have been pleased to know that the Turks knew Cloud had gone out to get revenge on Rufus, and by accepting Tifa's request they would not be there to save their spoiled boss.

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Delivery 24: Failure to Deliver

The day had finally come, and if anyone who heard was superstitions, they would think the Gaea cliffs were going to melt. Honestly, everyone had given up hope of Cloud finally telling Tifa about his long time crush. In fact, even Tifa herself thought Cloud would never admit reality, even if she already knew it. But today was the day of truth and Cloud was determined to finally get the words out.

The delivery boy went downstairs with a firm pace, the rhythm of his steps matching with Tifa's soft humming. Today he was feeling confident. Not only had they've been friends for a long time, since childhood, and thus knew each other very well, but they had been living together for some time, and if anything it warranted that they get along very well, at the least; and at the most, it predicted a happy romantic relationship.

Cloud Strife stood confident in front of the bar after all his trials and tribulations. He had missed all his chances to talk to Tifa alone and today he had an audience consisting of Rude and Yuffie, a mismatched audience indeed. Yuffie was loud and energetic, while Rude was so quiet he was barely there.

Yuffie ceased her chatter and paused to look at Cloud, while Rude kept his attention on his drink, ignoring the blond completely until Yuffie started to nudge him. Rude looked at Cloud and for a split second he was surprised, then his expression regained his trademark calm neutrality. Yuffie however was another story, though she was at a loss for words, a miracle in itself, she continued to flail around expressing her shock.

Cloud cleared his throat and spoke, "Tifa," his voice was determined but gentle. "May I talk to you?"

Tifa had been busy cleaning and though she heard Cloud arrive, she had not yet looked at him. "Sure," then her eyes went wide, "Cloud!" She looked at her customers; Rude had quickly gotten over the shock and hid his amusement behind his sunglasses, while Yuffie looked like she would hyperventilate if she didn't recover her ability to speak, but so far she could only babble incoherently.

"I have something important to tell you!" Cloud insisted. "I've been waiting for a long time to tell you and it's my own fault because I... I've been a coward really. I mean, I've had a lot of chances to tell you this and I still haven't. Somehow, I always end up ruining the moment and staying silent instead of just saying something and telling you all about it. I just keep it all bottled up inside like I've been doing for year and years. It's about time I got around to tell you, so I decided that the day when I'll finally say everything is today and here I am. I'm ready, I won't wait anymore, because I've kept us both waiting for long enough already and-"

"Get on with it!" Yuffie slammed her fist against the counter. "Don't ramble and just say it already!"

Cloud took a deep breath; nothing would stop him from telling Tifa how he felt, nothing! "I love you," Rude couldn't take it anymore, hearing Cloud ramble like an idiot, combined with the fact that he had lime green hair and was doing his best to ignore it, was just too much. The usually quiet Turk fell over laughing, causing Cloud to speak his name in surprise, "Rude!"

Then Cloud clasped his hands over his mouth and Tifa felt her eye twitch. She sighed and shook her head while Cloud ran up the stairs in embarrassment and disappointment after ruining the moment again. Little did he know that all of those present, Tifa included, knew what he was trying to say, she just wanted to hear it from him, even if it wasn't the perfect confession.

Once again the delivery boy couldn't deliver his confession. As for his lime green hair, he did manage to bleach it back to normal later. The cause of it was a predictable one, which can be summarized in one word: Reno.

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Delivery 25: Piano Problem

It was black with some white and it was neither square nor round. But those where not the main problems with the item Cloud had to deliver, the problem was its size and the fact that it was delicate, but Cloud decided to forget that second fact and focused on the size. "There's no way..." An imaginary lightbulb appeared atop Cloud's head. "It's a decoration, of course..." But why would Tifa decide to put a piano in the middle of a bar, he didn't know.

"Welcome back Cloud, did you see the piano?" Tifa's question was rather obvious, how could anyone not see the piano? Rather she meant to ask why Cloud had not said anything about the piano.

"I saw it," then something clicked in Cloud's blurry memories, wasn't there a piano at Tifa's house back in Nibelheim? That would explain a lot, maybe Tifa wanted to start playing it again. What remained shrouded in mystery was the reason why Tifa would choose to buy such a large piano when there was clearly hardly any room to put it. The customers might start using it as a table and leaving their glasses on top of it to drip moisture and ruin it. Then Tifa would be upset, and no one wanted to see Tifa upset.

"It's big isn't it?" Tifa had started to wonder why Cloud wasn't alarmed by the piano. He was too calm, which caused her to conclude that the fact that he was supposed to deliver the piano either escaped him, or he was in a state of shock unable to further react.

"Yes, it is." There was a pause followed by an awkward silence until Cloud finally asked, "why did you decide to buy such a big piano?"

"I didn't," Tifa replied and Cloud began to pale, fearing the worse. Then Tifa dropped the bomb, "you're supposed to deliver that piano to Rufus' office... on the top floor of Shinra..."

"Please tell me there's a cargo elevator we somehow missed," Cloud begged.

But Tifa shook her head solemnly, "I'm sorry Cloud but I... we..." She took a deep breath and decided it was time to take a stand. "You know that new company, Planet Power, that uses oil to produce electricity instead of mako or coal? Not many people realize it, but Shinra actually owns it, they just thought it would be best to give it a more planet friendly name. It's supposed to be supervised and approved by the World Restoration Organization, but Shinra owns ninety-three percent of its stock, to be specific, Rufus does, and the WRO owns the rest."

"Did he threaten to cut our electricity if I didn't delivery the piano?" Cloud gripped the handle of his sword, which always rested on his back.

Again Tifa shook her head, "no, it's not like that. Rufus has been more understanding than I thought he would be."

That reply took Cloud by surprise, "what do you mean?"

"Christmas recently ended. Because of the holiday season I got some extra customers and worked none stop. But the prices of the drinks had also gone up and since alcohol is not indispensable, they can't freeze the prices. I also have other bars to compete with so I couldn't bring my prices up to make up for the costs. The point is, thanks to the extra sales, I did make more gil even if I had to spend more, supply, demand, volume, you know. But it was Christmas and then came New Years. We bought a lot of presents for our friends and the kids, and then we got all those fireworks. Even if I did make more gil, I spent more than I made and well..." Tifa paused there, she didn't want to be mean, but they were mostly living off her work. She not only took care of the bar in the evening and nights, but she also ran it as a restaurant during the day, all the while playing secretary for Strife Delivery Service.

The delivery boy in question felt a harsh wave of guilt wash over him. There he was, splurging his gil in accessories for Fenrir while Tifa was supporting everyone. "I'm sorry..."

Tifa sighed, "it's okay Cloud, we'll get through this. Anyway, we're a little behind in our electric bill. We owe the entire month of December and what we've consumed in January so far. Rufus couldn't find someone to deliver the piano to the top floor of Shinra since they don't have a cargo elevator and it won't fit in the regular one. He was thinking about having it tied to a helicopter but the WRO thinks it's too dangerous and an aircraft that's actually designed for cargo would be too big to land on the roof. Rufus said he would take care of the electric bills for December and January if you deliver the piano safely."

"How could they not have a cargo elevator?" Cloud's world was falling apart as he continued to think about the upcoming task.

"Shinra has retired from the heavy equipment industry. It would make them look bad if they had a cargo elevator in their new headquarters when they're only supposed to be working as a company that manages data now," Tifa explained.

Cloud pouted, everyone knew that Shinra had their secret bases elsewhere, the WRO just haven't found them yet. "Then, I'll have to carry the piano up the stairs..." Cloud sat down before his knees gave in at the mere thought of the approaching ordeal.

"Don't worry," Tifa tried to look on the bright side. "Rufus assigned the Turks to help you," and that only made Cloud feel worse.

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Delivery 26: Piano Trickery

Rufus was getting dizzy watching the chase around his desk, consisting of Reno running for his life and Cloud trying to take it away. The president cleared his throat and the world seemed to freeze under his icy glare. Both Reno and Cloud could merely turn their heads towards the Rufus from the same places where they stood. "Where is my piano?"

Cloud's stiffness disappeared and his body felt like jelly. Rufus was holding all the cards and Cloud didn't want Tifa, Marlene and Denzel to be left without electricity and who knows what else. "I... he dropped it," Cloud pointed at Reno.

Reno raised his arms in defense, "I did not! You let it go first!"

"Enough!" The two bickering men were silenced by the president again. Rufus sighed and massaged his temples. "If only I had a cargo elevator this wouldn't have happened. No matter how many times I tell the World Restoration Organization that Shinra is reformed, they won't believe me. Reeve keeps saying that we don't need cargo elevators if we're only working with managing data; he thinks we're going to hide weapons up here if we're given the means. I even had to hire the carpenters to come up here and build my desk in the office, just so I could have a decent sized desk to work on." More like a gigantic desk, but at least that solved the mystery about how it got there without a cargo elevator.

"The piano..." Cloud stared at his feet, "and Tifa's electricity bills..."

"It's alright, even if I was the one who proposed this deal, I fully intended on paying those bills. In fact, would you give this envelope to Tifa? It has the receipts that certify that her electricity bills have been fully paid up to date." Rufus stepped around his huge desk and handed the envelope to a shocked Cloud. "Don't worry about the piano; I'll have someone take care of it. Oh, if only Reeve had been more reasonable about the cargo elevator..." Rufus dramatized.

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Some time later, at the WRO headquarters, Cloud persuaded Reeve into letting Rufus have a cargo elevator at the new Shinra headquarters. By persuaded I mean he criticized Reeve's cruel mistrust, despite Rufus' acts of kindness which proved that he had changed, while making choking motions that made Reeve feel very threatened and intimidated.

Cloud would have waved his sword around for effect, but the unfortunate delivery boy found that it was missing. The receptionist testified that it was confiscated in a random security visit from WRO, while Cloud was battling it out with Reno and the piano on the stairs. "I want my sword back too!"

"I assure you, I don't know what you're talking about," Reeve truthfully replied.

Then the door to Reeve's office was opened and two men walked in carrying a large sword together with great effort. "Mr. Tuesti, where do you want us to put this?"

Cloud glared daggers at Reeve and grabbed his sword. "I thought we were on the same side! I thought you really wanted to help the planet!" He was having a horrible day and finally snapped in an emotional breakdown. "Are you just searching for power?" Cloud yelled.

"No, of course not! I'm sure this is just a misunderstanding! The cargo elevator... consider it done. In fact, we will not only authorize it, but the WRO will also finance its construction as well!" Reeve pleaded.

"Fine, just make sure you don't go back on your word," Cloud stomped out of Reeve's office and left the WRO headquarters.

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Later, Rufus was at his office when he received a call from Cloud. "Is that so? Then you were able to reason with him? Wonderful, I commend you on your skills as a negotiator. No problem; don't worry about that, and thank you." Rufus hung up with a wide grin on his face. "Reno, you can tell the Junon division we will be ready to receive the new shipment as soon as the cargo elevator is complete."

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Meanwhile, at the WRO's headquarters, Reeve had calmed down enough to demand an explanation from the two employees that brought in the sword.

"He said it was an antique decoration for your office, a gift," one of the employees stammered.

"Who said that?" Reeve asked.

"The man who brought the sword, we don't know his name," the other employee replied. "It was a bald man wearing a suit and sunglasses."

Reeve twitched, they had been deceived. "Tricky Shinra..."

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Delivery 27: A Song of Opposites

Reno covered his ears but he could still clearly imagine the sound he didn't hear. He closed his eyes, but even if he wasn't looking at the source of the sound, he knew it was there. "Tifa, make it stop!"

Tifa, known to be the caretaker of pretty much everyone, knew she was expected to give Reno something that would make his headache go away, because she guessed that was the problem. As anticipated, Tifa did just that, placing some pain killers and a glass of water on the counter in front of Reno.

Reno looked at the items placed before him, "this won't help."

"Don't you have a headache?" Tifa asked.

"No, I just want Mr. Emo to shut up!" Reno pointed at Cloud who was lost in his own little world sitting by the window and did not react to Reno's complaint.

Tifa then proceeded to remove the headphones from over her ears. She could hear Reno's words just fine over the music, though it did help ease the strain of listening to his insistent chatter. However, the music playing in her ears completely blocked out the sound of Cloud's soft singing. "Cloud..." Tifa let out a breath.

"Make it stop!" Reno begged.

"Stop complaining, it's not that bad. Cloud actually sounds pretty good but so sad..." and it broke Tifa's heart, but at the same time she didn't want to interrupt the beautiful melody.

"That's just it! It's sad and emo and I don't like it!" Reno pouted.

Tifa sighed and shook her head. "You're opposites, you and Cloud. You're always cheerful even in a situation where a normal person wouldn't be. You always say what's on your mind, even if nobody asks, and it takes a lot for me to get Cloud to say anything. You're always asking everyone who they like, always talking, but Cloud he..." Tifa shook her head.

"He likes you but is too cowardly to get it out already, and maybe too stupid to realize you already know?" Reno offered to finish the statement.

Tifa nodded, "you never worry and you never stress. Could you..." Tifa silenced herself as the realization sunk in and she observed Reno's expression. How could she so carelessly come close to suggesting such a thing that would surely end in disaster? "Listen closely; I don't want you to try to make Cloud as carefree as you, so wipe that mischievous grin off your face. I'm not letting you pick on him!"

"How did you know I was thinking that?" The Turk was an open book, unlike the delivery boy who kept things bottled up. Reno glared at Cloud who continued to ignore the world around him. "I was only trying to help."

Light rain began to fall, fitting Cloud's solemn mood perfectly. It reminded him of Aerith as the rain slowly became more abundant and he continued singing about his loneliness, making up the words that didn't always rhyme but somehow matched. After a while, Reno left the grim atmosphere despite the rain and Tifa went to hug Cloud. It was a gesture Cloud didn't expect but greatly appreciated and for once in a long time, it made him smile.

The next day Cloud was feeling a lot better. However, that would soon change when he went to work as usual and realized that all the requests for deliveries he was supposed to pick up were false and they held no clues as to who played the joke on him. Let's just say, Reno doesn't like it when someone spreads a gloomy mood.

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Delivery 28: Costa Del Sol

After all those frustrating missions and deliveries, Cloud and Reno both needed a vacation. Thus Reno decided to run off to Costa del Sol and invited Cloud to come along. Though Cloud was doubtful that he should leave without finishing his deliveries or telling anyone, his frustration was too much and the image of the cool relaxing waves and the warm comforting sun of Costa del Sol, was too tempting to pass off.

As a result, Cloud ended up getting a ride from Reno and tagging along to the beach. The two men sat at the beach relaxing and providing delicious eye candy for all the lucky tourists and local fan girls. The soft waves washed against the shore and the sun shone brightly in the skies with no clouds to be seen anywhere, save for Cloud Strife at the beach.

"You're going to fry and I'm going to laugh," Reno said in a teasing song-like voice.

Cloud pouted and glared at the sun block as if it was his worse enemy. "I don't need that," he pouted stubbornly. Zack didn't need it, so neither did Cloud.

Though Reno was supposed to be the more foolish of the two, Cloud had his points. He remembered, even if he did not wish to recall, a time when he went on vacation to that very same beach in Costa del Sol along with Zack, a few other soldiers, Turks and infantrymen. Coincidentally their vacations overlapped, which gave Cloud time to hang out with his best friend Zack.

When at the beach, Zack did squats and refused to wear any type of protective skin lotion, claiming he didn't need it. Cloud also remember witnessing Zack's excellent swordsmanship with a beach umbrella, noting that it could be just as powerful as a buster sword if handled with skill.

Cloud admired Zack and aspired to be like him, so of course, he wanted to imitate his hero. Thus Cloud refused to wear sun block, despite the fact that his complexion was far more sensitive than Zack's. The result was a very red and pained Cloud Strife, who swore never to set foot on the beach without sun block, and later broke his oath.

"Good thing I brought a camera," Reno grinned.

Cloud pouted some more, "it's not like you're wearing anything to protect yourself from the sun." In repose, Reno held up the bottle of sun block, to which Cloud insisted, "you're still not wearing it."

"I was about to," Reno looked amused, as if he was plotting something he would greatly enjoy.

"I'm not putting it on you," Cloud warned.

"I don't want you to," Reno urgently assured. "I was going to call a certain someone for this..." There was a dramatic paused in which Cloud looked curious, confused and a somewhat worried, while Reno continued to grin smugly. "Where are you body of thoughts?"

"I'm here, I'm always watching..." a female voice was heard behind Cloud, which caused the delivery boy to jump in surprise and fall off his beach chair, face first into the sand, and Reno laughed.

At first it was a little creepy to be stalked by a body of thoughts, but those were the thoughts of Reno's fan girls, they created that girl who always followed him. Her appearance was different every time Reno saw her, though she mostly followed him from a distance until that occasion when he began to doubt that his fan girls still loved him and the body of thoughts spirited him away to prove that they did.

The only explanation was that, since she was made from the thoughts of many different fan girls, she had no definite form and adjusted her appearance to fit the environment where she appeared. Regardless of the colors she chose, she always looked beautiful, because the lustful obsessive pure love of fan girl is beautiful.

"Where did you come from?" Cloud asked when he regained his composure and was done glaring daggers at Reno. There was something strange about that girl, as if she was no ordinary human, though Reno certainly wasn't bothered by it.

"Mind giving me a hand with this," Reno held up the sun block, fully expecting a positive reply.

"I can't, my sisters, the ones who created me, will be angry if I touch you unless it is absolutely necessary." Then she disappeared, leaving a very freaked out Cloud and a very upset Reno.

"Reno, did you see that? She vanished!" Cloud pointed at the empty spot where the girl stood a mere few seconds ago. Though the locals didn't seem bothered by it, it was as if they were used to strange occurrences taking place at the beach, even if this was very different from the occasional sea monster.

Now it was Reno's turn to pout stubbornly and throw the sun block to the sea in frustration, "fine be that way!" In the end, both Cloud and Reno were fried by the hot sun.

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Delivery 29: Nightmares and Carrots

Studies have revealed that people dream every time they sleep. Dreaming is part of the REM stage, which stands for rapid eye movement, and it is a necessary part of the sleep cycle in order to feel rested upon awakening. But even if people dream when ever they sleep, they don't always remember their dreams. That is because the brain interprets the images as unimportant false gibberish and disregards them, not bothering to commit them to memory.

However, if one wakes up during the REM stage and the conscious thought process kicks in, those images will not be automatically disregarded, and the subject will remember the dream. Such was the case of Cloud Strife this morning, even if he certainly wished it wasn't. He had to get up early to make some deliveries and set his alarm clock to wake him up, now wishing that he hasn't, no delivery was worth this.

By mere chance or cruel fate, Cloud was awakened in the middle of a rather gory dream in which Sephiroth had taken control of his mind and was causing him to attack everyone with Omnislash. The images became embedded in his mind and when he woke up, Cloud screamed at the top of his lungs, threw his alarm clock against a wall and proceeded to cry like a baby.

"Cloud!" Tifa rushed upstairs to rescue her hero. "What happened? Are you hunt? Say something!"

"Nightmare," Cloud chocked out while Tifa hugged him and tried to console him. "Sephiroth... the nightmare..."

"Shh, it's okay Cloud, it was only a nightmare, Sephiroth isn't coming back." Tifa continued trying to calm Cloud, holding him close and caressing him gently.

Meanwhile Reno stood at the door looking annoyed, "how come nobody cares that I had a nightmare about being magically turned into carrot?" The other Turks were there as well, they came to have breakfast before heading to Shinra. Marlene and Denzel had been woken up by the scream and stood there sleepily in their pajamas.

Tifa glared at Reno, "shut up carrot-top!" Couldn't he see that she was busy with a hysterical Cloud?

Reno gasped and pointed at Tifa, "you didn't just call me that!"

Elena giggled, then it evolved into a full laugh, which was joined by Tseng, Marlene, Denzel and even Rude. In fact, Cloud also laughed a little. "Carrot-top..." the delivery boy let out silly sounding giggle, "carrot-top..."

"Stop it Strife!" Reno yelled. "I'll take strawberry, that's okay because strawberries are kind of cool, but I won't accept any carrots! Actually don't call me strawberry either, that's just weird coming from you."

Cloud let go of his Sephiroth-trauma for a moment and smiled at Reno's annoyed expression. "Carrot," the blond grinned mischievously, "from now on, you're Carrot!"

Tifa nodded in agreement, "right, don't forget everyone, Reno is Carrot, got it memorized?"

"Are you going to come play videogames with us after work today, uncle Carrot?" Denzel asked and Reno twitched.

"Say yes uncle Carrot, it'll be fun!" Marlene added, and Reno twitched some more.

"You're all pure evil!" Reno pouted and stomped away while the rest of the group continued to laugh.

xoxox xox xoxox xox xoxox xox xoxox xox xoxox

Delivery 30: Return of the Paper Boy

He should have been thankful, he kept telling himself. Cloud really should be glad he was given another chance, but he wasn't. Far from it, Cloud Strife was miserable. The insistent barking was ear splitting, and though he was in a good physical condition and did not tire easily, Cloud was fed up with all that running. Maybe doing this on foot hoping to attract less attention than on Fenrir wasn't such a good idea after all.

"Stop chasing me you stupid mutt!" Cloud yelled without looking back at the dog that continued giving chase. It was a good thing that he didn't bring his sword, or else he would have sliced that dog to pieces. "Go away!" He wanted to kick the mutt, he really did, but he knew it would somehow backfire, because for the unfortunate Cloud Strife, everything always did.

It was all Reeve's fault, Cloud told himself, but in truth it was Cloud's own fault for accepting to take back the newspaper delivery job despite having a certain feeling that it would turn out badly, and that dark premonition was correct. Cloud Strife was tempted to go back into his own illusionary world and believe that was not a paperboy, nor was he a delivery boy at all. He was Cloud Strife, Soldier First Class.

Cloud turned around and held his ground. "Go away!" He screamed at the dog, glaring at it with piercing mako eyes.

The dog let out a frightened high pitched squeak as if it had been harshly kicked, though Cloud never touched it; and it ran away whining loudly and completely terrified.

Cloud stood there watching as the dog disappeared in the distance down the street, turning a corner and leaving his line of vision. "I'm a monster..." It was another phase of making himself believe he was a Soldier First Class and not a delivery boy. Like others Soldiers before him, Cloud was now having his 'I'm a monster' moment of angst.

"Oh no sweetie; that mean dog had it coming." Coincidentally, the chase had stopped in front of the house of an old lady. The old woman was the classic granny type with graying hair and a sweet patient voice. "You're a tall little boy." She completely ignored the contradiction in her sentence as she assumed that Cloud was in fact still a school boy, albeit a tall one. "You must drink your milk every day, that's very good."

"Um... thanks..." Cloud honestly wasn't sure how to respond.

"No need to be shy sweetie, oh my granddaughter would love you! She likes shy cute boys," the old lady giggled like a fan girl plotting to pair up her favorite 'shipping' or pairing.

"I really should be going; I have to deliver more newspapers..." Cloud thought it was time to leave before the old lady decided to play matchmaker.

"I understand sweetie, but tell me, do you have any spare newspapers? Mr. Fluffykins could really use some for his litter box..."

Cloud sighed and decided that he hated this job and that he didn't care what Reeve or anyone else said or did if he failed. Cloud Strife was not a paperboy, nor was he a delivery boy; he was a Soldier First Class. "Just take them all," and with that said, Cloud gave the old lady his entire bag full of newspapers and ran off to fetch his sword and go on an imaginary Soldier mission someplace far away.

End of Record III

Disclaimer, I don't own Final Fantasy VII or Kingdom Hearts. Deliveries 21 and 22 are linked to Mission 53. Delivery 23 was inspired by Plushietiger, Shanna W.I. and Aki Masamune. Delivery 24 was requested by Feather Wolf. Delivery 30 was inspired by a review from Feather Wolf, whom I also credit for the name 'Mr. Fluffykins'. Delivery 27 was inspired by a review from Sacred3, the concept was Cloud singing about his loneliness and it starts to rain. Delivery 29 was inspired by a review from Houkaru Kisaragi. There is also a reference to Axel's famous quote from Kingdom Hearts, "got it memorized?" The stories "Missions" and "Deliveries" are connected but can be generally understood as separate collections. The piano saga was inspired by a "Deliveries" request by kikofreako. It is made out of Cloud's delivery duties and Reno's missions revolving around the same piano. It includes Delivery 25, Mission 57, Mission 58 and Delivery 26. Delivery 28 is a sequel to Mission 55 but can also be read as a separate story, it was requested by Sharem.