Final Fantasy - All Series Fan Fiction ❯ Deliveries ❯ Chapter 4

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

Delivery 31: Marble Guilt

"I didn't do anything!" It didn't matter how many times Reno defended his innocence, no one would believe him.

"This has gone too far, I want you to stop picking on Cloud!" Tifa shook her accusing finger at Reno.

The red haired mischievous Turk was currently trapped in a corner of the Seventh Heaven. He had gone there for some food and drinks but ended up trapped by an angry Tifa. "I really didn't do anything new and you already scolded me for last time!"

"Don't try to deny it, you shouldn't tell lies." It was the first grade all over again, except this time Tifa was the teacher and thus Reno was in a lot more trouble than in school.

Reno was actually telling the truth, he had already received his scolding from Tifa for picking on Cloud last time and didn't know why he was being scolded if he hasn't done anything else to Cloud yet. "What makes you think I did anything?"

"Who else would do something like this?" Tifa was jumping to conclusions, but no one could really blame her given Reno's past behavior. When something went wrong with Cloud, Reno was the first suspect.

"It's okay Tifa, I'm used to this kind of thing," Cloud was standing next to Tifa staring at his feet.

Tifa affectionately placed her hand on Cloud's shoulder. "Don't worry Cloud, you have true friends."

"Aren't you going to tell me what's going on, because if I'm going to be falsely accused I at least deserve to know why!" Reno complained.

"You know why!" Tifa retorted, refusing to explain what she was sure Reno already knew about all too well. Reno pouted and decided it was useless to try to get more information from Tifa, while she continued her speech. "After all my worries that you would try to corrupt Cloud, I was actually glad you two were apparently getting along. But then you went back to picking on him!"

Reno thought it was best to disregard Tifa's speech, which might have not been such a wise decision, and instead spoke to Cloud, "wimp."

That was all it took for Cloud to whip out his sword and hold it dangerously close to Reno's neck. "I'm not going to fall for your tricks anymore and I'm not delivering the-" Cloud's cellphone rang. The delivery boy returned the large sword to its place on his back and answered it, much to Reno's relief. "Strife Delivery Service... Hello Vincent... What? Marble? You mean you really did ask for that block of marble to be delivered so you could sculpt a statue? That wasn't Reno using your name to play a joke on me? No, it's fine, no problem, I'll deliver the marble right away, see you soon." After the call ended Cloud looked apologetic, Reno looked both accusing and relived and Tifa looked surprised. "Um... Sorry."

Reno pouted and refused to dignify Cloud's apology with an answer. He knew the misunderstanding was his fault for being so troublesome in the past, but he was feeling stubborn. "C'mon Reno, it was a misunderstanding, we're sorry we accused you so please forgive Cloud." Tifa's request was more like an order; she wouldn't allow Cloud to carry anymore guilt.

"Fine; and I'll even tag along to help with the delivery," Reno grinned mischievously.

Tifa gave Reno a warning glare but Cloud was quick to accept, "thanks..." Cloud knew Reno was only looking for amusement but felt guilty for accusing him. Thus the mischievous Turk and the unlucky delivery boy were off on another adventure.

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Delivery 32: Marble Determination

Reno was known to be a troublemaker. Ever since he was little it had been that way. Later, when he was a teenager he found his way to Shinra along side his best friend Rude and through a series of events that Reno would remember as fun, Rude would refer to as disorganized but necessary, and others would simply call chaotic, they ended up joining the Turks.

Reno had been on many dangerous missions with the Turks, everything from infiltration, to sabotage, to kidnapping and even the elimination of certain obstacles. That was what the Turks did, to put it negatively. It was a job that not everyone could handle, but Reno certainly could.

Reno liked to think of himself as fearless and strong, though others would call him rash and cocky. Somehow, the Turks always finished their missions, because they're Turks and that's what they do. One way or another, they make things work.

However, Reno could never foresee what was to occur. He thought he could get a laugh out of accompanying Cloud on his delivery. Reno's mission was to help deliver a block of marble to Vincent for sculpting purposes, or at least that's what his mission officially was. In truth, Reno's real mission was simply to have fun at Cloud's account. But after taking a shortcut riding on Fenrir through the wasteland to avoid the heavy traffic of the highway and the curious stares at the large block of marble tied to the motorcycle, Cloud had become distracted with a sad memory linked to his dear friend Zack Fair, and lost control of Fenrir, trapping both himself and Reno in a natural pitfall.

Reno was trapped, in pain, beaten and bruised. He narrowly escaped being crushed by the block of marble or Fenrir, but currently he faced a fate that was perhaps more frightening than the possibility of being sent to the life stream a few years too early, consoling Cloud Strife.

"Stop that!" Reno pouted and got to his feet, dusting himself off as best as he could. "You big baby..."

Cloud only cried harder, which made Reno wonder how in the world did Tifa maintain her sanity if she had to deal with these episodes.

"Alright, alright, don't cry!" Reno was at a loss for what to do. He mentally told himself to get things together and deal with this. "Don't give up?" Reno attempted to give Cloud some kind words, though they sounded unsure.

Then Cloud miraculously stopped crying and in a split second pushed Fenrir, along with the block of marble out of the pitfall. "Come on!" He extended his hand to help Reno out.

Surprised and unsure, Reno accepted the help and after getting back on the path asked, "how did you do that?"

"I remembered Zack and was sad because I miss him, we were always great friends. But then you told me not to give up and I remembered Zack always used to tell me that so I didn't give up!"

Reno nodded slowly. Cloud just had one of the fastest and most drastic mood swigs he had ever seen, and people dared to say Reno was random.

On the bright side, Cloud and Reno did manage to deliver the block of marble to Vincent without too many additional difficulties, though Vincent did wonder why they were covered in sand.

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Delivery 33: Medusa

His back was killing him, he had lost count of how many blocks of marble he had delivered and he was starting to think it wasn't worth the effort for the gil he got. Cloud wouldn't be able to enjoy the fruits of his hard work if he broke his spine, or dislocated his arms, or suffered a similar fate. It just wasn't worth it if all his savings were spent on hospital bills.

Thus the delivery boy decided that this was the last time he would deliver a block of marble to Vincent. At least Reno didn't tag along this time, but that hardly made things better since delivering one huge block of marble to the Shinra Mansion after another was bad enough, with or without Reno to annoy him.

However, when Cloud entered the Shinra Mansion for what he assured himself would be the last time in a long time; he became even more scarred for life. At first his vision was blocked by the huge marble he held. "I'll just leave this here. Cloud set the marble down in the main hall of the mansion. Then he saw them, he was surrounded by strange and hideous monsters, medusas it seemed.

Automatically, Cloud's now empty hands rushed to his face, covering his eyes. He reached for his sword, which he insisted on carrying on his back despite the weight adding to that of the marble he had been carrying. The heavy sword alone was fine, Cloud was used to it, but the blocks of marble from his recent deliveries were too much, and the weight of the sword added to the needed effort.

Even so, Cloud was glad he brought his sword as he prepared to fight the army of monsters that surrounded him, without gazing at their hideous faces to avoid turning into stone. Then he stopped, sword in mid swing, muscles tense from the sudden halt in motion. It was Vincent's alarmed "stop!" that prevented Cloud's attack upon one of the medusa fiends.

"Vincent, close your eyes! We're surrounded by medusas!" Cloud called out in a panic.

"Medusas?" Vincent sounded upset. "These are statues..."

Cloud opened his eyes and realized that the apparent army of medusas around him, were in fact statues. "You already showed them mirrors?"

"Cloud..." Vincent wasn't sure if he should feel angry and insulted or helpless and depressed. "These are my statues; I carved them from the marble you delivered."

If before Cloud thought delivering so much marble was a bad idea, now he was certain that it was a terrible idea. Mutant creatures could look artistic at times, but this was too creepy. "At least you tried," Cloud's expression did little to make his consolation more credible. "Actually, if you were going for a horribly scary monster then you're pretty good." On second thought, it all had to be done on purpose, because statues that horrid could not be made on accident.

Vincent pouted, "she is supposed to be beautiful, like an angel," he then proceeded to go sit in a corner, "I failed."

Cloud sighed, "I know what it's like to be depressed," and he joined Vincent in his corner where they both sat brooding even if Cloud didn't fully understand what Vincent had been trying to accomplish.

This continued until Reno came in, ranting about being bored and wanting to be entertained, though he made the mistake of openly insulting Vincent's so called art. That is when both Vincent and Cloud realized that Reno hunting was just the therapy they needed.

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Delivery 34: Cold Leaves

"Not happening..." Cloud ordered more so than asserted, not that it would change anything. "Not happening!" He yelled at the top of his lungs, scaring the near by stray chocobos. "Not happening!" His voice was carried far away by the wind, but not far enough for assistance to arrive, not that anyone could get there on time anyway. His cell phone's signal had unexpectedly died out and Cloud Strife was in big trouble, as usual. Shinra's satellite just had to choose that day to stop working.

The delivery request this time was from Godo, Yuffie's father and Wutai's leader, if only in name. As part of Shinra's attempt to build a positive image, Rufus Shinra was scheduled to visit Wutai and participate in some sort of elegant yet short tea ceremony. The event was not too overly complex, and followed the same pattern of a casual occasion drinking tea, what made it special was the tea itself.

The tea leaves were extremely rare and only grew around Wutai during the winter, but it was summer. However, that was not a problem since, albeit abundant in Wutai more than anywhere else during the winter, the leaves did grow in other places all year long, such as the area close to Icicle. The leaves were imported and taken to Godo at Wutai, where they had to be kept in constant refrigeration until they were thrown into boiling water too fast to have time to wither. If exposed to a warm atmosphere, the tea leaves would wither in about an hour.

The tea that came from withered leaves would be poisonous, instead of miraculously healing. But the risk wasn't too much of a problem, since the tea would distinctly change color if it was dangerous. However, the press was expecting the meeting between Godo and Rufus, and they wanted to take pictures of the president participating in Wutai's culture. Not having a proper tea ceremony of friendship would be a problem for Rufus, and given how much control Shinra still had over Wutai and its tourist resorts, it would also be troublesome for Godo and the general population of Wutai.

The situation became more complicated after Yuffie was added to the mix. She did not want the tea ceremony to take place, thus tried to steal and dispose of the tea leaves. Godo expected this and handed the leaves to the reliable Cloud Strife, who was supposed to deliver them on time and in perfect condition the day of the ceremony.

Fortunately, Yuffie didn't discover it was Cloud who held the leaves until it was too late, but she did have just enough time to sabotage Fenrir, a fact that took Cloud by surprise, the culprit at the time still unknown. Cloud's precious motorcycle stopped moving just south of the chocobo farm. He had to travel to Junon and catch a ship from there, where he would continue to guard the leaves until they were handed over to Godo in Wutai.

The unfortunate delivery boy examined the contents of the cooler he carried. The leaves were still the purest white, but they would turn brown after the ice around them melted if Cloud didn't do something fast, even if all he wanted to do right now was curl into a ball and cry about his misfortune. Then the sound of an approaching helicopter was heard.

At first Cloud thought he was saved, but then the helicopter, clearly identified as belonging to Shinra, started shooting at him. Cloud grabbed the cooler and evaded the bullets. This was all for Shinra's sake, so why was that helicopter shooting at him? He was as confused as he had ever been, but this was not the time to stop and think about. Whatever miscommunication had occurred, if Cloud didn't do something fast, it would cost him his life. "Not happening!"

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Delivery 35: Pawns

Once upon a time, a delivery boy was sent to make a delivery, an event that happens many times in the world. But this delivery boy was different, though he still called himself a boy, he was in fact a man, a Soldier, though never officially. He was strong, he was agile, he was fast and he was in deep trouble.

The special tea leaves he was to deliver, would bring forth the peace ceremony, a formality without which there could be no peace between Shinra and Wutai. Everyone knows that peace is not about good intentions, truthfulness or sincerity; it is about giving a good show. If the press doesn't have sufficient material to inform everyone that there is peace, then there is no peace.

Fan service is another vital element of peace and many fans wanted to see Rufus in a classic Wutai outfit, like one of those ninjas in the movies, the kind that fight with amazing special effects, even if a real ninja would dress lighter and trip on the complex outfit in real life, because not even a ninja could handle the multitude of colorful layers of fabric and shiny accessories, not to mention it would be bad for camouflage.

Should the tea leaves Cloud transported in a little cooler become warm, that would be the end of them, as they would wither rapidly and become unfit for consumption; hence why Cloud was in a jam, to put it lightly.

The delivery boy, since he prefers to be called boy, ran as fast as he could in the general direction of Junon, where he had to board a ship guarding the tea leaves. His only worry was not the cold fading away in the summer heat and the leaves withering, but also the helicopter that kept shooting at him. Plus poor Cloud was on foot due to his precious Fenrir being sabotaged earlier.

Cloud was so consumed with self pity, that he fell to his knees, unable to bear his misfortune any longer, and yelled at the top of his lungs, "I give up!"

Though Cloud expected the helicopter to continue its relentless attack, instead it laded, and Reno got out. Cloud watched in shock, twitching as the redhead approached.

"Hey Strife!" Reno casually gave Cloud a pat on the back and helped him to his feet. "I'll admit I'm kind of glad you gave up, not that I can't handle the mission, I am a Turk after all, but I didn't want to have to eliminate you. People think Turks and Soldiers can never get along, but that's not true, Tseng told me about how he used to go on missions with a Soldier and-"

Cloud wrapped his hands around Reno's throat, preventing the natural flow of oxygen from continuing. "Why were you shooting at me?"

Reno flailed around, until Cloud realized he could not speak and loosened his grip. "You're trying to poison Rufus!"

"I'm not trying to poison him; this is a delivery for him!" Cloud reluctantly let Reno go.

"Then you were tricked, I should have known," Reno rubbed his neck where Cloud had nearly broken it, but he mentally assured himself a Turk could take it.

Cloud wasn't sure if he should take Reno's statement in a positive light, Cloud was innocent, he was not an enemy of Shinra and he was not trying to harm anyone. Or he could see the negative side hidden in Reno's tone; Cloud was an idiot to be tricked. The delivery boy decided to go with the positive version, because he couldn't stand one more negative thing in his life, "explain."

"I received a message from an anonymous person saying that you were carrying poison disguised as tea leaves, so I had to save my paycheck, I mean my dear president." Reno showed Cloud the message in his PHS.

Upon examining the message, the way it was written and its general tone, Cloud thought it was familiar. The message was similar to the anonymous messages Zack would get every now and then, and show Cloud in the past. Being so nice and heroic, Zack would run off to investigate, even if Cloud, as well as several others, didn't recommend it. "It's a fake, cruel spam."

"How do you know?" Reno inquired.

"What's to stop someone who hates Shinra from trying to ruin the peace ceremony at Wutai?" Cloud reasoned.

"Good point," Reno analyzed the situation, "I know, we'll make the delivery and at the Junon point, we can have the cargo tested and if the goods are tainted we'll dump them. No one will accuse you, since you couldn't help it but to be tricked."

Cloud pouted at Reno's allusion to his lack of intelligence, but decided he wasn't in the mood to argue. "Fine, let's go." At least he could ride in a helicopter the rest on the way. "Reno, you sounded like an illegal trader for a second there," Cloud mused as the two walked towards the helicopter.

"That's the negative side," Reno laughed and climbed in the chopper, followed by Cloud. Both men strapped themselves in and Reno tried to take off.

A few minutes passed. "Why aren't we moving?" Cloud was becoming both impatient and worried.

"I don't know; everything looks fine with the controls, but I don't see a lot of wind outside. Could you take a look?" Reno requested.

"Don't abandon me," Cloud spoke the line with such emotion, he could have been playing the most dramatic scene in a movie.

Though Reno just thought it was weird and unenthusiastically replied, "I won't."

When Cloud took a look outside, he saw that the helicopter blades were gone. Not completely gone, a small portion of them was there, ranging from five inches to a foot long, definitely not long enough to fly. "Reno! Someone cut off the chopper's blades!"

As if on cue, Yuffie jumped out from behind the helicopter, where she had been hiding unnoticed. "The treasure Princess claims victory! Score another for the White Rose!"

Just as a very angry Reno and Cloud were about to wipe that victorious grin off Yuffie's face, both their PHS received a message at once. The message was directed to the Turks and supporting team, which included Cloud, and read, "the peace ceremony has been a success, return to Shinra."

They were all perplexed at first, but later realized that the delivery had been a decoy, this time Godo took care to consider the threat his daughter presented. The time announced for the ceremony was not when it was to take place, it was the hour in which the ceremony would be broadcasted world-wide, supposedly live. In truth, by then it would have all been over and Rufus would be at Healin Lodge enjoying the pleasure of seeing himself on TV.

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Delivery 36: Delivery Man

"I think it's cool," that was the last thing Cloud needed to hear. If Reno thought it was cool, it meant it was bad for Cloud, not that he needed any confirmation, this was obviously bad.

Cloud frowned like he never frowned before, he was reminded of Robin's colorful super hero costume. Batman wore black, Batman was ready to sneak around in the night, Batman used logic. Robin wore a red and green outfit with a yellow cape. Who in their right mind would wear such bright colors while trying to sneak around in the darkness? It made no sense what so ever.

Than again, Cloud was not expected to sneak around in the darkness of the night, playing vigilante and stopping criminals. That was the Turks' job now and hey did it in their usual uniforms. Cloud was expected to catch people's attention and amuse them like a clown in hopes of getting more customers.

"I don't like-" Cloud stopped as he watched Tifa's expression fall. He had arrived home at the Seventh Heaven after making a delivery to find Tifa all worked up about a surprise for him. Then Cloud was dragged upstairs and locked in his room with the order of changing into the outfit that was left for him on his bed.

Cloud was horrified when he saw the strange super hero costume with the initials DM in glittery golden letters on the chest of a bright red, impossibly tight, sleeve shirt, which wasn't long enough to reach his waist and left half his abdomen exposed. The pants were a sickening shade of green, much too tight making them hard to move in and were seven inches too short of reaching his ankles, but still covered the knees so he couldn't pretend they were shorts.

Contrary to the rest of the outfit, the boots and cape were too big. The black leather boots with an excessive amount of silver buckles, were loose, which made them rub against Cloud's feet, even if he wore his thickest socks. He considered wearing layers of socks to fill up the extra space, but the second pair of socks wouldn't fit over the first and he ended up ripping three pairs trying. At least the boots were tall enough to hide that the pants were too short.

There was also a yellow cape, in a bright shade one had to look at with sunglasses, it was so long Cloud had tripped on it five times while trying to fasten it on his shoulders and walk to the door to show Tifa the ridiculous outfit that would satisfy whatever cruel joke she had played on him. Ah, the things he did for love.

Cloud wasn't expecting Reno to be standing in the hall along with Tifa when he came out, nor did he expect the redhead to take a picture. Reno was supposed to be downstairs, eating Tifa's freshly baked cookies. The killing intent was very had to resist for Cloud and as soon as Reno expressed his liking for the outfit, Cloud had to differ, but stopped himself when Tifa looked disappointed.

"I don't like, to show off so stop taking pictures, Reno," Cloud warned through the clenched teeth of his forced smile.

Tifa smiled genuinely, "I think you look very handsome. Reno's idea was great, a super hero, Delivery Man, I'm sure you'll get more customers if you wear that."

Cloud felt himself twitch, not only had Reno started this disaster, but he got Tifa to participate, he must have known Cloud couldn't say no to Tifa. "Reno," Delivery Man growled angrily, "just where did you get this outfit?"

"We were cleaning Healin Lodge and found the pants. They're from an old Robin costume Rufus wore one when he was younger, they don't fit anymore and he doesn't want them anyway, so he told me to give them to you in the name of Shinra, as a good deed," Reno explained.

"Good deed, my foot," Cloud growled, he was sure Rufus and the Turks all had the worse intentions in giving him the hand me down pants.

"About your feet, those boots belonged to Sephiroth; they were laying around in his locker in Junon, they kind of forgot about it until now and asked it to be cleaned out to make space. I guess they thought it would blow up or something, because they wouldn't open it without a Turk there. I didn't know what to do with the boots so I brought them too," Reno's story did not make Cloud happy.

"Sephiroth?" Cloud glared, "are you saying that Sephiroth's stinky feet were once in these boots?"

"Sephiroth's feet did not stink, it's true, I heard all about it, the one with stinky feet was Genesis," Reno informed.

Cloud only growled indignantly in response, while containing the overwhelming need to strangle Reno.

"The shirt is mine," Tifa revealed, "well, it's yours now, Reno said he couldn't find the rest of the Robin costume so I modified one of my shirts and wrote DM for Delivery Man. The cape is made from a sheet; it's nice and long for a heroic look."

"Do I have to work in this?" Cloud grimaced.

"Of course, why not? It will attract more customers!" Tifa was certainly cheerful about the entire idea and Reno looked very amused.

"Thank you," Cloud forced the words out, then directed a deadly glare at Reno that seemed to say he would be needing the protection a real super hero.

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Delivery 37: Offended

Cloud was convinced that there was something very wrong with him and the hurt in Tifa's eyes further confirmed what the stinging pain in his cheek declared, he had hurt Tifa's feelings. Cloud slowly turned his head back to face Tifa, the red hand print throbbing in pain. With the punches she threw, he knew she could slap very hard, but it was the offense in her eyes that hurt the most. "How can you be so insensitive?"

Cloud's mouth moved but he only chewed air, no words came out, no matter how hard he tried to say something. Then he glared at Reno, whom he had been talking to before Tifa stormed out of the kitchen, marched right up to him and imprinted her hand on his face. She had been doing dishes and Cloud had to tightly close his eyes to protect them from the soap, a few soap bubbles and foam stuck to his hair, but he didn't notice, or didn't care.

"What did I do?" Reno raised his hands in the air. "Tifa storms in and slaps you and you're blaming me? I'll admit I've done my share of the mischief in the past, but this time, I don't even know what this is about." The red haired Turk paused for a moment, until he broke free of Cloud's glare and gave Tifa a puzzled look. "Mind letting me in on the information?"

Tifa huffed, "don't worry about it Reno and thank you." Stomping her feet, Tifa returned to the kitchen.

Cloud growled, teeth clenched and glare deadly. "Reno..."

"I swear I don't know what this is about. I didn't do anything!" Reno thought for a moment, as if collecting his memories and doing a double check, "nope, I didn't do anything, not to Tifa."

"Tifa isn't angry at you, she's angry at me and I know it's your fault!" Cloud was at the end of his patience with Reno.

"If I did anything bad, then Tifa would be angry at me instead, so that proves I'm innocent! Besides, she said thank you, I don't know what for, but she did." This was very confusing to Reno, but his main focus would be to try to prove his innocence, though that wasn't looking good.

Cloud was about to take the fight outside, certain that this disaster, which he still did not fully comprehend, was somehow Reno's fault. However, Tifa's voice interrupted that plan, "enough! Cloud, don't take it out of Reno, the words came out of your mouth, he was defending me."

Both men looked at Tifa, who had returned to stop their argument. Reno nodded energetically, though he didn't know how he defended Tifa and did not remember doing so. It didn't matter, this would surely be beneficial. "Yeah, I was defending her!"

"From what?" Cloud demanded.

"From you," Tifa accused.

Cloud was in shock, "what did I do?"

"You know what you said," Tifa glared.

Cloud was so confused and cornered, he didn't have the energy to fight anymore, instead he turned to Reno for the answers Tifa denied him, "what did I do?"

"You said that thing and I said that other thing," Reno had no idea what was going on and that fact became apparent to Cloud. Nevertheless, Tifa understood Reno's riddles to perfection and nodded in agreement.

"I'm sorry!" It was the only thing Cloud could think of saying. "I don't know what I did, but I'm sorry! Tifa, you're the most amazing person I know, kind, nice, sweet, considerate, beautiful, strong, talented and a great cook!"

As Cloud babbled out compliments, Tifa's face softened, despite fighting to keep a stern expression. "If that's what you think, then why were you telling Reno I'm stupid, fat and can't make a decent meal?"

There was a long pause as both Cloud and Reno processed what Tifa was saying. Minutes earlier, they ran into each other on the street and talked while they headed towards the Seventh Heaven. Tifa had only caught part of their conversation.

"She's stupid, fat, and can't possibly make a decent meal," Cloud had insisted.

"Shh, not so loud, Tifa will hear you. Besides, I don't agree, she's all the opposite!" Reno had argued.

As the conversation replayed in their heads, they realized where the misunderstanding came from. "We weren't talking about you!" Cloud wasted no time to clarify. "We were talking about that chocobo. There was this really stupid and fat chocobo at Healin Lodge and whenever I tried to deliver something, she would peck at me. Elena would sometimes call her off, but she didn't really listen. I saw her eating rocks a few times, no wonder she got so heavy with all the rocks she ate. Anyway, since there's no way she can race; Reno was telling me they're going to cook her. I don't think a chocobo that ate rocks would taste very good."

"Don't listen to him," Reno countered, "the roasted chocobo will be a good will gift from Shinra and it was supposed to be a surprise for you, but Cloud ruined it and that's not what the chocobo is like, it's a high quality chocobo!"

"Oh, that's-" Tifa started, but Cloud interrupted.

"Good will gift? Rufus just wants to play a bad joke on us! What does he hope to get out of this?" Cloud looked at Reno suspiciously.

"I'm-" Tifa tried again.

"Nothing!" Reno was quick to defend, though his argument fell, "he just wanted Tifa to put up a couple of fliers here, so that the customers can see them, nothing big."

"Cloud," once again, Tifa was ignored.

"I knew there was a catch!" Cloud continued the argument.

The entire time, Tifa tried to communicate that she understood what happened and wanted to apologize to Cloud. She was also very flattered by what he said and wanted to thank him. She wanted to make it up to him for the false accusation, but she couldn't get a word in. Feeling ignored, Tifa retreated to finish washing the dishes and left Reno and Cloud to their argument, maybe he deserved that slap after all.

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Delivery 38: Written Confession

"It's only a few pictures," Rufus insisted, but Cloud wouldn't hear it.

"I'm not going to cooperate with this," the delivery boy had gone to Healin Lodge to pick up a package, but instead he was forced to hear a business proposition.

"Is it so far from the truth?" Rufus insisted, ignoring the quiet chuckle from Reno on his left and the roll of his eyes Rufus simply knew Rude was doing behind his sunglasses to his right.

"Yes!" Cloud exclaimed impatiently.

Rufus wanted to continue improving Shinra image and after a gossipy magazine had brought it to light that the president hardly had any friends, Rufus had tried to practice public relations by making sure he was seen in public spending time with other people. Those other people were the Turks in civilian attire, but they were still easy to recognize, thus the desired effect did not take place.

Rufus then had the brilliant idea to become best friends with Cloud and that would surely please the press. However, Cloud refused to pose for the camera that would take the photos to be mysteriously leaked to the media, proving what great friends Rufus and Cloud were.

"Cloud, I'm hurt, I thought we really were friends!" Rufus was certainly pretty enough for the big screen and he was capable of deception if the need arose, but on that particular occasion, his acting was fairly bad.

"Yeah and that's exactly why you need to arrange these pictures instead of just showing up one day at the Seventh Heaven and hanging out like normal people do?" Cloud argued. "Is it that the Seventh Heaven isn't good enough for you?"

"I like the Seventh Heaven," this time Rufus sounded truthful. "I would like to go to the bar or to dinner, Tifa's cooking is first class and she's-" Rufus decided to finish explaining his reason not to go quickly, Cloud was glaring. "Anyway, I can't go to the Seventh Heaven because last time I went the gun arm man tried to kill me."

Ah yes, Barret. Since the Turks, especially Reno and Rude, were such good customers to Tifa, he had to get used to seeing them at the Seventh Heaven more often than not when he returned to Edge from the oil fields to visit. He resolved to thinking that Rufus was the real bad guy controlling the Turks before and thus he convinced himself not to pick a fight with the Turks. Forgiveness was out of the question, he wasn't ready for that, so instead, Barret redirected his anger.

"I guess you have a point, but what about right now? If we're such good friends, than why won't you even talk to me without your bodyguards?" Cloud inquired.

"They wanted to see you too, because we're all good friends," Rufus replied.

"Rude doesn't talk to me and Reno just picks on me all the time," Cloud pouted, not realizing how childish he sounded.

"Do you Reno?" Rufus raised an eyebrow at the red haired Turk.

"Of course not!" Reno defended, "I'm the perfect example of a good friend, Cloud's just emo!"

Cloud continued to pout and glare at Reno, until Rufus sighed and admitted, "fine, so I feel better if my bodyguards are here. It's not my fault that you're mentally unstable and violent." Cloud growled and gripped his sword, which caused Rufus to grin victoriously because his point was proven, despite the implications of his being right, "see what I mean?"

Somehow feeling defeated, Cloud forced himself to relax the battle stance and let his sword rest on his back. "I'm leaving."

"Very well, I am not going to force you to agree, but my call for you to come here on business wasn't false. I do have a delivery for you," Rufus then handed Cloud a letter, "this is for Tifa." Cloud eyed the envelope suspiciously, while Rufus assured it was, "business only."

xoxox xox xoxox

Cloud returned to the Seventh Heaven with the letter, but was he still doubtful about giving it to Tifa. He couldn't resist his curiosity any longer and opened the letter to find a detailed declaration of love. Angry, Cloud crumpled the paper into a ball and threw it towards the trashcan; he didn't bother to look at the signature at the end of the letter. The paper ball bounced off the edge of the trashcan and fell on the floor unnoticed by Cloud.

The upset delivery boy realized that killing Rufus Shinra wouldn't do any good. He resolved he should calm down first, then come up with a plan of action. Cloud left the Seventh Heaven once again, climbed onto Fenrir and sped away, focusing on the road and the wind, to try to clear his head.

xoxox xox xoxox

While Cloud was gone, Tifa remembered it was time to take out the trash, since the truck would pick it up later that evening. She went to Cloud room to see if there was any trash and found a paper ball next to the trashcan. She assumed he meant to throw it away, but she was curious about it and opened it up.

Tifa was shocked at the declaration of love, but why had it been thrown away? "Did he change his mind and thought he might not like me this much after all?" Tifa decided not to mention this to Cloud; though she was feeling disappointed that Cloud wrote her that letter and decided not to give it to her.

xoxox xox xoxox

At Healin Lodge, Rufus waited for his plan to take effect. Everyone knew that Cloud Strife was in love with Tifa Lockhart and didn't have the guts to tell her. Thus Rufus wrote a letter in Cloud's name for the delivery boy to give to Tifa and unknowingly confess his love.

The subject of the letter was unknown even to the Turks, since Rufus feared Reno's big mouth would ruin the plot. After Tifa accepted Cloud, he would be confused but certainly happy. It shouldn't take him too long to put the pieces together and figure out that it was all a kind favor from Rufus. Then Cloud would be more than happy to help with Shinra's good image in gratitude for the help received with his love life.

xoxox xox xoxox xox xoxox xox xoxox xox xoxox

Delivery 39: The Power of the Mind

Reno stared at his glass, the drink was sweet, so sweet he questioned if it had any alcohol in it at all. He glanced around the Seventh Heaven, the bar was full and the large majority of the people there, with the only exception of Tifa and himself, were drunk. Even Cloud Strife, with all the mako in his system, appeared to be drunk. The delivery was currently singing a terrible sounding duet with Cid Highwind and the rest of the drunken customers of the Seventh Heaven seemed to be enjoying it. No doubt about it, they were very drunk.

"Tifa, I'll have another of these," maybe Reno was more resistant to alcohol than he thought. The drink, though very sweet, was strong enough to even send Cloud into happy drunk land, and Cid had a lot of resistance to alcohol as well, in fact, Reno had never seen the pilot drunk before.

"Here you go," Tifa served the drink with a smile, as if she alone knew the answer to the mystery that plagued Reno, why wasn't he drunk?

Reno drained the new glass quickly, he felt no burn down his throat, no lightheadedness, no need to join Cloud and Cid turning their musical duo into a trio and no intention of telling stupid 'three soldiers walk into a bar' jokes. He was sober, he was very sober. "Tifa, another one and make it really strong."

"Sure," Tifa prepared the drink, serving it in a larger glass this time.

Reno drank it without difficulty, again he felt nothing and it was both puzzling and frustrating. "I'm still sober," he grimaced.

"Another one?" Tifa offered and Reno nodded, thus she served another drink, which he consumed with ease.

"I don't get it," Reno pouted. "I'm not drunk at all!"

Tifa still held her knowing smile. "That's the power of the mind Reno, if you don't want to get drunk and put your mind to it, no matter how much you drink, you won't get drunk. Look at Cloud and Cid, they came here determined to get drunk and they got drunk. You need to put some effort into it; the alcohol alone won't do the job if you're determined to stay sober."

Reno thought about Tifa's words. Her new sweet drink was a hit, everyone was ordering it and everyone was getting drunk on it, except Reno. He wasn't consciously trying to stay sober, but unconsciously, maybe he was. Perhaps the sweetness of the drink had brought him to underestimate it, thus firmly believing that the drink was not strong enough to make him drunk. With that conclusion came determination and his brain refused to succumb to the trance of the alcohol.

"Do you want to try again?" Without waiting for an answer, Tifa placed another tall glass of the sweet substance in front of Reno.

"Okay, I'll really put my mind to it this time," Reno focused hard as he drank slowly. He could feel it now, all those drinks catching up to him. His senses were blurring and his coordination was becoming clumsy like never before. He had never been this drunk in his life. Maybe underestimating the sweet drink was a mistake; it all finally caught up to him. "Wow, you were right, this stuff is strong! What was it called again? 'Navaja'? That means 'Razor', right? Good stuff!" Reno staggered away from the bar, off to the corner where Cloud and Cid were giving an encore, leaning on the wall and on each other to stay on their feet.

Tifa grinned in amusement as Reno joined the singing and the three dissonant men continued their concert. "It's 'Naranja'," Tifa whispered to herself; that meant 'Orange'. Cloud had mistakenly delivered a crate full of orange juice instead of alcohol, but Tifa had to serve her customers something, so she poured the juice into alcoholic looking bottles and that was all it took. To be drunk or to be sober, it was all in their heads.

xoxox xox xoxox xox xoxox xox xoxox xox xoxox

Delivery 40: Insurance

Rufus Shinra was very pleased, his face not matching the situation at all. However, there were no cameras or paparazzi there to capture his unfitting expression and somewhat cruel joy. To his benefit, the accident had not been fatal, he wasn't heartless, he was simply amused.

"I'm really sorry," Cloud had not stopped staring at the floor of Reeve's office at the World Restoration Organization Headquarters since he and Rufus, along with Reno who was the president's bodyguard for the day, arrived. "Really I am!" He lifted his gaze a little, but lowered it to the floor again when he caught sight of Reeve's stern look. He was just like a little boy who broke something important and wanted to convince his parents that his guilt was so great he required no further punishment to learn his lesson.

"Accidents happen," the victorious grin never left Rufus' face as he placed his hand on Cloud's shoulder.

More so than feeling supported, Cloud felt like Rufus was rubbing salt on the wound, metaphorically speaking, for his actual wound had already been taken care of. It was a small scratch, but Rufus insisted on Cloud accepting his kindness and sent Reno, the closest Turk at the time, to give him first aid. As a result Cloud now sported a chocobo decorated band-aid on his right arm.

"Yeah, accidents happen!" Reno agreed grinning like a Cheshire cat, then the cat turned into a sad kitten as he looked at Rufus, "the president is always forgiving, right?"

"Most of the time," Rufus warned, he didn't want Reno to go crashing any of the Shinra owned vehicles for fun thinking he could get away with it, not that Cloud's crash had been the redhead's fault; for once, Reno was not to blame for the latest accident.

Reeve sighed deeply and massaged his temples, his headache ever growing. "Insurance, insurance..." he muttered. Cloud appeared to be sincerely sorry for the occurrence, albeit regardless of that, Reeve would have to pay for his good will.

Cloud had not been doing so well in his delivery business, it's no that he didn't get any delivery requests at all, but rather that the few he got led to less than pleasant experiences of varied natures and causes, with Reno being the main cause of Cloud's misery.

Because of that, Reeve decided to be nice and talk, meaning persuade, meaning pressure, meaning whine at, Rufus so that the young president would give Cloud some jobs, preferably jobs that didn't involve any interaction with Reno. Rufus eventually agreed on one condition, with Reeve having given Cloud his recommendation, the final vote of confidence came in the form of an insurance contract where Reeve would take care of all the expenses involved in restoring everything to the way it was if Cloud ever messed up a job, provided that the delivery boy was the one at fault and that it could be proven that Reno was not in the ten mile radius at the time of the problem.

Several witnesses could testify that Reno was in Healin Lodge when Cloud's accident outside Edge occurred, just over ten miles away. Thus as stated by the contract, Reeve had to uphold his end of the deal. "Fine, I'll pay for the cargo that was destroyed, what was it anyway?"

"A fruit basket," Cloud muttered.

"It was a good will present from Shinra to the mayor of Kalm," Rufus elaborated, because that sounded so much cooler than just saying fruit basket. "That's not all you have to pay for, the contract states you have to restore everything to the way it was, Cloud here needs Fenrir repaired; we wouldn't want him to go out of business, right?"

"No we wouldn't," Reeve growled and Cloud cringed.

"I said I was sorry," the delivery boy whimpered.

"A contract is a contract," Reeve accepted his fate with a grim expression. "Alright, I will pay for Fenrir's full repairs and the fruit basket."

"Good will present," Rufus corrected, "and don't forget Cloud's medical bill."

"For what?" Reeve could see nothing wrong with Cloud's health.

"That!" Rufus pointed at the band-aid on Cloud's arm, as if telling Reeve with his expression that he was oh so insensitive for not noticing. "Reno had to give him first aid, so you'll have to pay his medical bill."

"Reno is not a doctor," Reeve pointed out, annoyed at the redhead's amusement with the entire conversation. He must have been very entertained to be this quiet.

"That's my point, he's a Turk, he's an all purpose being trained to offer transportation in a variety of vehicles, go on undercover missions, and act as a heroic knight when needed. Transportation, Undercover, Knight, that's what a Turk is. He's more expensive than a doctor and he gave Cloud his services today," Rufus insisted.

Reeve felt his head pounding; he knew there was no way he could win this argument no matter how much logic he threw out, Rufus was too good at bending it. "Transportation, undercover and knight? What about the R? Reaper?"

"Don't get off topic!" Rufus defended.

"Alright, you've won," Reeve just wanted them to leave so he could rest after getting some pain killers for his headache. "I'll pay for the fruit basket," Rufus pouted and Reeve corrected himself, "I mean the good will present, Fenrir and Reno, is that all?"

"I suppose that will do," Rufus grinned victoriously, "we'll be going now, have a nice day," he stepped out of Reeve's office followed by Reno, while Cloud stayed behind, frozen like a statue, staring at his shoes.

xoxox xox xoxox

"You know," Reno began as he and Rufus got on the WRO building's elevator, "Mr. Cat Lover is just going to ask for more funds from Shinra to take care of all the expenses. Speaking of which, will I get a bonus for playing doctor?"

Rufus frowned, "it's about the principal, but you just had to point that out and ruin it. I'm not giving you a bonus; in fact, the next WRO donation is coming out of your paycheck!"

For the rest of the day Reno tried to talk, meaning persuade, meaning pressure, meaning whine at, Rufus so that he wouldn't give his paycheck to the WRO. Unfortunately Rufus was very stubborn.

xoxox xox xoxox

Back at Reeve's office Cloud still stood there unmoving, until Reeve sent him away with a tired expression, "you can leave too."

"Sorry," Cloud apologized once more before rushing out of the office. He cared about Zack and Aeris, he really did. But couldn't they give him those spiritual messages and otherworldly pep talks when he wasn't driving?

End of Record IV

Disclaimer, I don't own Final Fantasy VII or Batman and Robin. Navaja (razor) and naranja (orange) are Spanish words. The marble saga was requested by Rei Mumei and it includes Delivery 31, Mission 63 and Delivery 32. Delivery 34 was requested by 2write4life and Delivery 35 is its sequel. Delivery 36 was requested by kikofreako. Delivery 37 was requested by Houkaru Kisaragi, the concept was Cloud accidentally offending Tifa. Delivery 38 was requested by Holly-Sama, who wanted someone to confess feelings for Tifa. Delivery 39 was requested by Sacred3, the concept was Cloud delivering orange juice. I got the idea for Delivery 40 from Kaarina Helvete, the concept was Cloud crashing his bike while he's daydreaming.