Final Fantasy - All Series Fan Fiction ❯ Deliveries ❯ Chapter 5

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

Delivery 41: Limit Break Theory

Far from being a limit break, it was a limitless break as Edge was now a broken city with random explosions all over the place and chaos, panic and turmoil reigning supreme. To think it all started because of one man's foolish curiosity and other man's foolish agreement.

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Many people had heard the phase 'necessity is the mother of invention' at some point in their lives. It was a reference to the adaptability of the human race and how they rose to the occasion simply because they needed to, even if they had been powerless to do anything before even if they wanted to.

The realization that there is no other choice, the understanding that it's do or die, the rush of adrenaline and the knowledge that the only hope left is the hope you create with your own power, can push one beyond the limits that seemed to be unreachable before.

It is said that everyone posses that potential, but few find themselves in a situation so dire that they awaken it. Although sometimes, even if the situation demands it, that potential is not reached because the lack of belief that it can be done is interpreted by fate as a lack of desire to accomplish it. Miracles only come to those who confidently believe in them with unwavering faith.

That aside, there could be other ways to test that theory, the limit break theory. If only the mental state and rush of adrenaline could be simulated, the possibilities could be amazing, or perhaps fatal. It might have been a fifty-fifty chance if not worse, but that would enough for it to catch Rufus' attention when Reno came into his office one day and started rambling about how many crazy deliveries Cloud could make before going on what Reno called a "super mega ultra uber awesome pwnage l337 delivery limit break of doom FTW!"

It was an interesting theory, Rufus had to admit, and what was even more peculiar was who brought this theory to his attention. To think Reno of all people would come up with a good idea, something that he could use to make transporting goods from point A to point B that much more cost effective.

Rufus paused, shook his head and took deep breath. He reached for the com-system and pressed the button, opening a communication link with the secretary positioned behind a desk in a much smaller office next to his. "Bring me a very large cup of extra strong super caffeinated coffee, not decaf, no milk, and make sure to put fifty spoons of sugar in it." Normally, one would blame craziness on too much caffeine and sugar, but this level of insanity was so great it had to be caused by a severe lack of the aforementioned substances.

Time ticked away as Reno rambled about his great idea with Rufus filtering out the sound as a well practiced habit. The door to the office was opened and the secretary came in with Rufus' coffee, setting it on the desk and quietly leaving before she caught whatever madness inducing virus the Turk and the president might have.

Rufus drank his cup of coffee without stopping, then took another deep breath after he was done, setting the empty cup on the desk. He waited for it to take effect, but somehow he was still inclined to listen to Reno's idea, which still appeared to be interesting. Maybe he was losing his mind for good.

"Alright," Rufus finally agreed, "you can test the limit break theory on Strife."

Rufus was feeling mischievous and he did have a lot of caffeine and sugar in his system, so instead of giving Cloud a lot of crazy deliveries to make, he paid Tifa, who needed the money since she had Marlene, Denzel, Cloud and herself to feed, a generous bribe to assist him on catching the delivery boy off guard and handcuffing him to the unsuspecting redhead Turk. Little did he know that because of this situation, Edge would be doomed.

End of Delivery 41

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Delivery 42: The Perfect Gift

Cloud Strife cursed his luck; he should have known that cruel fate would have him stuck with Reno again. While Cloud took care of buying some polish so that Vincent could keep his golden claw and shoes all nice and shiny, Reno poked a pyramid of polish cans that was neatly arranged on display at the store. The frustrated blond delivery boy had told his annoying redhead companion to stop several times, but Reno being Reno, did not heed the warning until the pyramid of cans fell apart loudly.

"I'm warning you," the store manager, who was stuck playing cashier for the day as well, gave Cloud a seriously creepy look. "If your friend broke anything you'll have to pay for it," the man reminded Cloud of Mukki, which made everything that much more scary.

"He's not my friend," Cloud argued as Reno came running away from the scene of the crime.

Reno grinned casually Cloud, "ready to leave, pal?"

The man who looked like Mukki took Cloud's gil, which the delivery boy had hastily dropped on the counter rather than handing it in, gave him a suspicious look, up and down, then finally bagged the polish can and gave it to Cloud. He then went off to examine the damage on the other side of the small store, while keeping an eye on the two men. Cloud grumbled and hurried out of the store. "Where do you think you're going?" The manager called after them.

"I didn't do anything!" Reno exclaimed, "that noise came from outside, the pyramid is fine, see?" He pointed while trying to look innocent.

The manager looked towards the pyramid which was behind a small aisle, he could see the can of polish on the very top peeking out above the aisle, encased in a strange glass-like structure, though that might just be the light bouncing off the shiny cans, there was no other logical explanation. "I suppose you can go, but I'll be watching you when you come back, I'll be watching you both." Another of his detailed looks, up and down, sent both Cloud and Reno running out of the store making a silent vow never to return.

They were out front in the parking lot where their rides, a black motorcycle and a red chocobo respectively, were waiting for them. A loud crash was heard as Cloud got on Fenrir and Reno hopped on Blaze. "You used one of your pyramids to keep the pyramid of cans in the store from falling, didn't you?"

"Yeah and it sounds like that guy just broke it," confirming Reno's theory, the manager came running out of the store shouting at them. "Good thing Blaze can outrun Fenrir!" It was a fact that had saved Reno's life many times when he went too far into Cloud's bad side. A split second later, in a blur of bright red, the speedy red chocobo disappeared in the distance with Reno riding him. Cloud was soon to follow, hastily starting up Fenrir after clumsily dropping the keys twice and getting away without a second to spare.

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Cloud got back to the Seventh Heaven, where Vincent was waiting for the polish, it made sense why he would hire Cloud instead of just going to the store himself. The unfortunate delivery boy discovered that Reno was there as well, with his red chocobo companion being praised and spoiled by Denzel and Marlene because Blaze was just too cute.

Glaring at Reno who had ditched him in a dangerous situation, Cloud pouted deeply and stomped over to the bar where Reno and Vincent were sitting, the former testing the latter's patience with his constant rambling. "I brought your polish," he told Vincent, then looked at Reno accusingly, "and I came out of everything alive in case anyone cares!"

Vincent accepted the polish with a quiet, "thank you," and handed Cloud a bag of gil, much too big for just the polish, there was a tip included, but it wasn't all a tip. "Don't forget my other request; I must go now so I will trust you to have it ready on time." The silent dark haired man hurried out of the Seventh Heaven before he lost the will to resist the temptation of killing Reno.

"I guess I'm off to work again..." Cloud headed for the door and Reno followed him.

"C'mon Blaze time to go, you can play with your friends later," the redhead and the red chocobo hurried after Cloud who was not happy to be followed.

"Why are you following me?" Cloud was still angry about being abandoned with that creepy Mukki-look-alike at the store.

"I know about your secret mission," Reno suddenly spoke in a serious tone as if it was a scene from a suspenseful movie.

Cloud became serious as well, with a warning look that told Reno not to give away too much information, especially not in their current location. "I thought Shinra might participate, I guess I have no choice but to let you tag along, it's worse if you do this on your own."

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Twenty minutes later, Cloud, Reno and Blaze were walking through the Edge mall thinking about what to buy for Marlene's birthday. Vincent thought it would be rude to let a young lady's birthday pass without some form of congratulations, thus he sent Cloud to find a gift since he considered himself to be a little behind in the times to be able to accurate choose something Marlene would like. Tifa was busy baking a cake and other treats, thus she entrusted Cloud with the same mission and now Cloud found out Shinra had decided to conduct some public relations and sent Reno as their representative to deliver a birthday gift for Marlene.

"When I got me this mission, I thought they just wanted to keep me busy to get rid of me," Reno refused to shut up, making random conversation with Cloud as they walked, "but then I realize they just had no idea what to buy and thought I might get a good idea because I always get good ideas, so Shinra is counting on me!"

"I think they really did want to get rid of you," Cloud grumbled. "Either way, I don't know what to get."

"I'm getting her a time bomb building kit, so you can get an expansion pack for it with parts and extra stuff so the gifts will match," Reno replied.

He received an odd look from Cloud as soon as the blond realized it was not a joke, "what?"

Reno proceeded to explain the logic behind his brilliant idea, "Marlene is still young, but she's growing up and I thought a girl her age would prefer to be treated like a young woman rather than a kid."

"What does a bomb have to do with that?" Cloud failed to see the logic.

"Women like that kind of thing," Reno stated as a matter of fact, "don't you know anything? Women love weapons of mass destruction and anything that creates flashy explosions. Marlene is turning into a young lady so pretty soon she'll be interested in all that stuff."

Cloud opened his mouth and closed it again like a fish. He was in no way an expert on the subject and for all he knew Reno's theory about a young lady's approaching adolescence might be true. "Are you sure about that?"

Reno nodded, he was a Turk the kind of women he was around were all cruel sadists even if they hid it underneath a sweet appearance, though one could theorize that Turk or not, all women were sadistic by nature. Even the rookie had a very scary side that Reno knew not to provoke.

"Well if you're sure..." Cloud paused, the dilemma was not truly solved, they knew what to get but not where to get it, "so where do we find a time bomb kit and expansion packs?"

Reno laughed at the obvious question, "we're in Edge's mall, we can find anything here!" Then the trio of two men and a chocobo went off to find what they were sure would be the perfect gift.

End of Delivery 42

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Delivery 43: Heavy

Cloud Strife was a quiet man, more than a little on the emotional side, with a tendency to go emo. He had a huge crush on his childhood friend Tifa Lockhart, who liked him as well and tried to tell him on many occasions, but Cloud was either too stupid to understand or clumsily ruined the mood. He had a variety of unfortunate things happen to him, such as accidentally making Tifa angry several times due to being misunderstood.

Cloud lived a sad life as a delivery boy struggling to make ends meet while freeloading on Tifa, as if he didn't have enough difficulties expressing his feelings as it was. To top it all up, there was a red haired pest that came and went as he pleased, making Cloud's life even more miserable. There was nothing he could do about Reno of the Turks, he was a good customer to Tifa and she had bills to pay and mouths to feed, which more often than not included his.

Cloud and Tifa had two children, neither of them their biological family, but they might as well have adopted the kids. Marlene's official adoptive father was never around and Denzel had no living relatives either. Thus they both lived with Tifa and Cloud completing their strange little family. Sometimes, Cloud didn't think life was so bad, he could almost smile sometimes, then Reno would pop out of seemingly no where and do something that would break the concentration Cloud was building up to remember how to smile.

Everyone had their own burden to carry, some would say, Cloud thought of that while he delivered a new refrigerator up the stairs of Healin Lodge, he thought of many things, of his misery and other depressing thoughts, since the activity of pushing a refrigerator up stairs wasn't exactly pleasant or cheerful.

Rufus Shinra thought he was doing him a favor by hiring him, in a sense he was, but in another he wasn't. Either way it was amusing to watch so Rufus won. Reno had apparently broken the old refrigerator, who knows how that happened, but the machine had stopped working.

"Everything happens for a reason," Cloud caught a piece of a conversation taking place at Healin Lodge on the top of the stairs, in the balcony where the show could be easily seen. It was Rufus who said that, he was talking about replacing the refrigerator, but Cloud was too focused in his task to catch the while conversation and took it out of context concluding that Rufus could say deep things sometimes, unlike Reno who seemed to never take anything seriously.

Cloud had to stop to think, to reanalyze his life and to give thanks for the good things in it. He set the refrigerator on one of the steps, holding it so it wouldn't tilt and go tumbling down. Then Reno popped up out of nowhere as he usually did to ruin things. "Yo Cloud! Did you get tired?" He peeked out from the top of the refrigerator pushing it enough to make it slip into the next step. Cloud managed to steady it, but it crushed his toes, making his scream of agony echo.

Cloud had to manage to get the refrigerator up to Healin Lodge with broken toes. It didn't help that Reno accidentally stepped on his foot after the delivery was made, before he could get himself out of his the range of Reno's trouble energy waves. Cloud wanted to decapitate the red haired pest, but couldn't bring himself to do it; a depressing creature such as himself had no right to end the life of a being that was smiling 99% of the time.

The unfortunate delivery boy made his way down the stairs, to Fenrir, forgot to collect his pay and had to go back up to get it, down again, and finally he drove home to the Seventh Heaven.

Cloud didn't have the energy to go on more deliveries so e procrastinated and left them for tomorrow. Tifa came to greet him and stepped on his foot by accident; Cloud swallowed his agonized cry this time and struggled up the stairs to his room.

Finally, a few minutes later, Tifa appeared at the door, "Reno called and told me you hurt your toes, why didn't you say so?"

"It doesn't matter..." Cloud pouted, he was laying on his bed on his back, his shoes were off and his toes were turning purple.

"Of course it does!" Then Tifa spoiled and babied Cloud for the whole day. Maybe things really did happen for a reason, to remind him that he didn't have to carry the full weight of life on his own.

End of Delivery 43

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Delivery 44: Shade Vision

It was a quiet morning in the Seventh Heaven when Cloud went downstairs as usual and stopped as he found something most unusual in front of the bar. He looked at the large package almost as big as him. He observed it from different angles, other than the size it looked normal enough. It was a big rectangular box set vertically, wrapped in brown paper with a white label on one side, with black writing. He looked at the address, catching the word Shinra right away.

The package was apparently for Rude, which Tifa soon confirmed also explaining that, "it was brought in very early today. I think they could have taken it to Shinra's headquarters, but they were instructed to deliver it here. Your job is to take it to Shinra and you've already been paid," she handed him a white envelope with his name in black ink on top, followed by the name of his company, Cloud Strife, Strife Delivery Service.

Cloud received the envelope and opened it, finding a single gil within, "cheap," he grumbled indignantly, there was no way he was going to deliver that huge box for such a low payment.

"Actually, the payment was quite generous, I just took the liberty of subtracting your living expenses for the past few months from it," Tifa clarified with a satisfied grin. For once she wouldn't have to stretch her gil to immeasurable proportions for the sake of making ends meet for the month, though she would still watch her budget because Cloud didn't always make this much and even more rarely paid for his food.

Cloud froze for a moment, his jaw ajar, his eyes blinking rapidly, "oh," he shifted uncomfortably, transferring the weight of his body from one foot to another. "Well I guess I should deliver this then..."

A moment of awkward silence passed until Tifa finally spoke again, "yes, you should," she encouraged Cloud to get going.

"But it bothers me," he complained pouting, "it's bad enough that Edge is basically living on Rufus' charity, because we all know he funds the WRO, now Rude is doing things like this too?"

Tifa wanted to ask if it was okay to live on her charity then, but instead chouse to word it more gently by saying, "you should be thankful for the help you receive."

Cloud looked sad, his guilt increasing, he had been dragging a different burden lately, "I guess..." he turned his attention towards the box and stretched his arms in preparation. He positioned himself in front of it with his feet apart and bent his knees, doing a few squats and arm flexes as a warm-up. Then he wrapped his arms around the box and focused all his strength in lifting it, which resulted in him falling backwards and throwing the box up against the ceiling, it was as light as a feather. The box collided with the lamp above and fell down on top of Cloud, who easily pushed it away in indignant embarrassment.

"Cloud Strife!" Tifa scolded, "how could you throw the box, what if you broke whatever is inside? I can't believe you would do this after Rude went out of his way to help!"

"I didn't mean to!" Cloud knew he wouldn't get out of this so easily despite his kicked puppy expression.

"You better see that it's not broken!" Tifa was upset and in her anger she didn't think of the consequences of opening the box.

Not wanting to provoke Tifa further, Cloud opened up the box and found a lot of foam pieces and something in bubble wrap. He pulled the thing out and took the bubble wrap off, it was another box. He opened it and found the same scene in a smaller proportion. The action was repeated seven times before Cloud found the item contained inside the multitude of boxes bubble wrap and foam, a pair of shades. He curiously tried them on but the world was distorted, "everything looks weird."

"Oh no, are they broken?" The multiple boxes, bubble wrap and foam were exaggerated and Tifa suspected the interference of Reno in arranging the packaging, it was hard to believe the shades could break with all that protection. She took the shades and tried them on, but the world also looked strange, "now I see, that's why."

"That's why what?" Cloud just hoped that the shades weren't too badly damaged or he might suffer the wrath of Tifa, all because of Rude, which made it that much worse.

"It's the mystery of why Rude never takes off his shades even indoors or at night," Tifa replied, feeling victorious at having solved it, though she still intended to give Cloud another piece of her mind for his carelessness. "It's because Rude's shades are also glasses, it's a prescription, that's why it won't work for everyone," thus one of the mysteries of the world was finally solved.

End of Delivery 44

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Delivery 45: Husband

It took Cloud a good forty-five minutes of begging and pleading to make Tifa understand that he was not engaged to anyone, let alone the rich old woman who announced her engagement to him on the newspaper. The ancient fossil, I mean, the old lady, could no longer count on her eye sight for much and got Reno mixed up with Cloud when the redhead had to spend the day taking care of the blond's deliveries, after making yet another of his famous messes where Cloud had to suffer the consequences again.

The sweet old lady had given Reno cookies, convinced that he was Cloud, and asked about a certain something she had requested of Cloud. Reno, without knowing what the request was about, agreed to it, thus accepting Cloud's engagement to her.

"So you're telling me this is all Reno's fault?" Tifa finally seemed to understand, "that does make sense."

"Yes, it's his fault!" Cloud stressed, "now what am I going to do? What if I break off the engagement and she's so sad she drops dead right there and then, I mean she is old and fragile, then I'll be a murderer!"

"So you're going to marry her?" Tifa knew this was a lose-lose situation as well as Cloud did.

"Of course not!" On the verge of a nervous breakdown that would probably leave him comatose, Cloud sat at the bar, "Tifa, what should I do?"

"Reno got you into this mess so he should get you out!" Tifa insisted.

Cloud vigorously shook his head, his blond spikes not even moving, hardened with a helmet of gel, "I can't let him interfere anymore. He got me into this mess by trying to fix another mess from earlier, he broke my toes and that's why he was doing my deliveries, remember?"

"That's a good point," Tifa acknowledged, "but that doesn't change the fact that Reno needs to learn to clean up after himself, I'm going to call him."

"No!" Cloud glomped Tifa, trying to stop her from calling, "do you know what the ultimate doom is? Do you know what my biggest curse is? Do you know what a sure disaster is? Do you know the name of true despair?" Cloud dramatized, still holding on to Tifa. "Reno! Reno! Reno!"

The aforementioned red haired Turk entered the Seventh Heaven, his expression frightened and very un-Turk. He backed away slowly, "Cloud, please tell me you don't always call out my name when you make out with Tifa."

"Cloud Strife, get your hands off me!" It came to light just how Cloud was glomping Tifa, he let her go immediately, but she slapped him anyway.

"Oh no, you even got her to wear goggles just like mine, what's next? You'll whine at Tifa until she agrees to dye her hair red? I'm seriously going to be creeped out if you do that, even more than I am now!" Reno continued to back away slowly until his back hit a wall.

"Why are you wearing Reno's goggles?" Cloud inquired suspiciously, he knew there was something different about Tifa, but in his panic to explain his dilemma, he couldn't figure out what it was. Now he knew, what was out of place were Reno's goggles on her head.

"Because, Reno forgot his goggles here the other day and I wanted to remember to return them," she removed the goggles handing them to Reno.

"So that's where they went, I thought my collection looked smaller," Reno eyed Cloud suspiciously, "so, this isn't part of anything weird?"

"You know what's weird?" Cloud growled, "your strange ability to get me into trouble!" He took the newspaper and pointed out the engagement ad.

"You're getting married to that old hag?!" Reno gasped in surprised, "wow, who would have thought, you just got even weirder, yo!"

"You're the one who got me engaged to her so now you have to solve it!" Cloud yelled, "Tifa was right, you should be the one to fix this mess, how much worse can it get? You'll fix this even if you have to marry her in my place, it's not like she'll be able to tell the difference!"

If not because Reno was already against the wall, he would have backed away more. "Wait, you said she can't tell the difference, right? So why don't I just send someone else to take your place?"

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The next day Cloud received two messages, one from the old lady breaking off their engagement and explaining that she understood could not stand in the way of true love. It was apparently something that she realized after Cloud's so called soul mate went to see her with a tearful confession of undying love for Cloud. Tifa denied over and over ever visiting the old lady.

The second message confirmed Tifa's innocence and revealed Reno's plan. "Reno!" Cloud yelled at Reno, who had shown up at the Seventh Heaven that day to give his report, claiming that everything was alright. "Why did you send Mukki to the old lady?"

"I was trying to play matchmaker, I mean they're both clearly desperate if they like you, so they have that in common. I didn't expect it to turn out like this, but it's not so bad, I mean you're not engaged anymore and Mukki already liked you before!" Reno tried to defend himself.

"Of course it's worse, if you're involved, it has to be worse, I shouldn't have let you fix things after all, I never learn," Cloud dramatized exasperated, even if it looked like a situation couldn't get any worse, Reno could always make it worse.

A somewhat amused, "oh oh," escaped Tifa as she looked at the newspaper, which caused Cloud to rush over to see. The rich old lady had decided that she would give up on marrying Cloud, but instead she would support Mukki. The newspaper was full of ads with 'Cloud+Mukki' on them and several variations of this surrounded by hearts. Cloud promptly fainted and while he was out, Reno made his get away.

End of Delivery 45

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Delivery 46: Candy

On one side there was Shinra and on the other Edge. On one side stood Rufus, Reno, Rude, Tseng and Elena, while on the other there was a group of upset parents, In-between there was Cloud, Reeve and a large group of hyper children including Marlene and Denzel.

It had all stated that day at lunch, when Marlene and Denzel made their way to the school cafeteria. As independent students they were home schooled most of the time, but also attended school sometimes, mostly for testing. This was one of those finals weeks when Marlene and Denzel had to be in school for basically the entire week, the whole day for five days.

"My brain is in pain," Denzel complained, math would be the death of him.

"Mine too," Marlene agreed solemnly, "and now it's lunch time," she didn't sound happy about that at all.

Denzel twisted his nose in disgust, if only his lunch troubles were something simple like odd smelling mystery meat. Oh no, it wasn't that at all, the problem was the load of unappetizing looking vegetables on display behind glass. "We're not chocobos, we shouldn't eat greens."

"It's Reeve's fault," Marlene reminded, he was the one who insisted on giving the schools a healthy menu. Having healthy food available for those who wanted it, meaning old antiquated teachers, was one thing, but decent tasty food should also be available for those who ate for the sake of taste and filling their tummies and not for some something stupid like attempting to somehow relieve their multiple old age aches and pains, which would not go away anyway.

"I never thought I would be saying this, but I miss radioactive mystery meat," Denzel confessed, "I've been doing math all morning; I'm fed up with yucky stuff." Denzel began to make his way out of the school cafeteria.

Marlene glanced at the unappetizing menu again and before her face turned as green as the vegetables in disgust, she hurried after Denzel, "this sucks."

Denzel totally agreed, "one day I'm going to join the Turks and get revenge on Reeve for this."

"Me too," Marlene decided. Then they saw a familiar red blur zoom by, followed by a black one that came to a screeching halt.

"I won!" Reno jumped off Blaze with a large box.

Cloud grumbled, "it wasn't a race," despite saying that he had been working on Fenrir trying to make it faster, but could not keep up with Reno's red chocobo, Blaze. "I give up, what kind of greens have you been feeding Blaze to make him so fast?"

"Greens?" Reno looked both disgusted and offended, "what kind of a cruel father would I be if I fed my baby greens? I give him yummy stuff like cookies, cake, ice-cream, candy, that sort of thing."

Cloud sighed hopelessly; Fenrir would be forever doomed to be in second place whenever he raced Reno, "of course, nothing beats a sugar high chocobo."

"That's right!" Reno confirmed, he opened the large box and took out a bag of jellybeans, "here you go Blaze, have a snack."

Cloud's eyes widened, "I thought we were supposed to deliver healthy snacks to the school."

"The contract Reeve signed said good snacks and these are good," Reno explained as Blaze devoured the jellybeans.

Marlene and Denzel immediately rushed over to Reno and gave him big sweet smiles, "can we have some candy, uncle Reno?" They chorused.

"Of course, we brought this candy for all the kids here, but since you two are my pals, you get to choose the best candy first," Reno set the box down and allowed Marlene and Denzel to take what they wanted from it.

Cloud opened up the box he had as well, by then they had been surrounded by hungry children who smelled the sugar of salvation. They handed out all the candy and the kids were hyper through the afternoon.

That evening, a group of parents confronted the proprietary, manager, supervisor, secretary, stock holder, and one and only employee of Strife Delivery Service, Cloud Strife, about the hyper state of their kids. They also extended their accusations towards the sponsor of the event, Reeve Tuesti, though the money actually came from a donation from Rufus Shinra, since the WRO was as much of a freeloader of Shinra as Cloud was of Tifa.

The blame was redirected towards Reno, who surprisingly stepped forward and claimed full responsibility for the event. That was when Cloud and Reeve knew that Shinra was up to something. Rufus then called everyone's attention to a list containing the grades of the children from their afternoon tests in comparison to the morning tests of that day. It was a well known fact by those who were still young or young at heart that the more hyper you are, the better you will be at guessing during multiple choice bubble tests.

The parents were tricked into thinking the candies were super vitamins that enhanced the brain, but the children saw through the excuse right away. The fact that uncle Reno and his friends not only gave them candy, but also helped them get away with eating only candy for lunch, made them all the more cool.

Cloud and Reeve missed out on taking the credit, while Rufus and the Turks looked victorious. Children were the future after all and the future would be loyal to Shinra.

End of Delivery 46

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Delivery 47: Admiration

Cloud Strife did not like Rufus Shinra. In fact, he did more than just dislike him, he strongly disliked him. It wasn't hate, not anymore, if it ever was, but it was still a strong dislike. Even so cloud had to make a living somehow, even if it meant working for Shinra making little meaningless deliveries to Rufus in-between his jobs for Reeve.

This time Cloud was entrusted with delivering over the counter medicine to Rufus' office, as the president was suffering from a cold. As soon as he entered the Shinra building he shivered. It felt like being outside near Icicle without a coat. Cloud though he might as well get it over with as soon as possible so he hurried to the elevator with the bag from the pharmacy on hand.

As the elevator went up, the atmosphere got colder. Edge was suffering from a summer heat wave. The sun was brutal so cloud had been looking forward to Shinra's air conditioner, but this was too much. Cloud finally reached the top floor; he stepped out of the elevator and fell. The floor was covered in ice. A big red chocobo with ice skates passed by. "This is Shinra," Cloud reminded himself, "expect the unexpected." He recognized the chocobo to be Blaze, Reno's chocobo who, being raised by the red head as his son turned out to be a lot like his father.

With some difficulty cloud finally made it inside Rufus' office to find total chaos. "Cloud, help!" Nanaki jumped into Cloud's arms, tackling him to the floor in the process. "Reno wants to make me pull a sleigh, make him stop."

"Don't be such a baby!" Reno complained, he was wearing a fuzzy red hooded coat. Despite the summer heat outside, a coat was very much needed inside the Shinra building. "There's no Snow but there's plenty of ice in the upper floors. That should be close enough."

"Why don't you get Blaze to pull your sleigh?" Nanaki protested.

"He's a chocobo, chocobos are to ride on not to pull sleighs. Besides, he's busy practicing his skating," Reno argued.

Rufus was shivering behind his desk with a coat and blanket. He was trying to type something, but lacked the precision to do so at the moment. His face was red from his fever and anger. "Outside..." he strained his pained throat, "go play outside!"

"Yes, sir!" Reno chased Nanaki out of the office.

Cloud was finally able to stand. He picked up the bag with the medicine and placed it on Rufus' desk, "here's the delivery."

"Here's your payment," Rufus gave Cloud some gil and opened a bottle of cold medicine with shaking hands.

Feeling sorry for the president's state Cloud offered, "let me get you some water for that. He went to little refrigerator in a corner of the office and got some cool water in a moogle mug.

Rufus accepted the water, took his medicine and voice something incomprehensible, which Cloud assumed to be a word of thanks.

"Can I ask what in the world is going on?" Cloud was still shivering and he wanted to get out of there, but his curiosity would keep bothering him if he left without knowing the origins of the craziness.

"It was hot so Reno turned on the sprinklers and air conditioner in the upper floors. I ended up catching a cold because of it," Rufus explained. "We managed to get the sprinklers under control but Reno broke the air conditioner controls. Until they're fixed, the building is stuck in this cold temperature. The water from the sprinklers flooded a few inches and was frozen into a layer of ice. I don't know how, but Reno tricked your friend into coming here and he's been chasing him around trying to get him to pull a sleigh."

"Wow," Cloud was amazed. He sometimes had a hard time putting up with Reno, but Rufus did that practically all the time. At that moment cloud could feel no dislike for Rufus. The Shinra president was strong, patient and merciful. Cloud could feel nothing but the greatest admiration for him.

End of Delivery 47

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Delivery 48: Special Present

"Okay Tifa, you can do this," Tifa told her reflection. She was alone in her room after having closed the Seventh Heaven early that day. She had enough of hinting to Cloud that she liked him and getting no response in return, unless the response was a misunderstanding. Those were eventually forgiven, but in the end things were left at that. Nothing changed, nothing new developed, they were stuck.

With Cloud seemingly unable to get over his embarrassment about past mess-ups, it was up to Tifa to make things clear for him. "I can't believe I'm doing this," she grimaced, was she really going through with it? She took a deep breath, "it's okay, even if I make a fool of myself it'll be worth it in the long run... I hope."

Tifa put her plan into action. She changed into her red bikini and picked up the golden wrapping paper. She wrapped it around herself, holding together with red ribbons. Once she was all wrapped up as a present, she picked up the gift box she had prepared and went to Cloud's room.

Tifa set the large gift box down in Cloud's room and crawled into it. He just had one more delivery to make so he would return soon. She tried to relax as she waited and soon she fell asleep.

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Later, Cloud returned to the Seventh Heaven and let himself in with his spare key. There didn't seem to be any signs of anyone there. The kids must still be visiting the Gold Saucer with Barret. Cloud could picture Marlene and Denzel being all hyper and driving Barret insane.

The exhausted delivery boy noticed that there was a big box in his room, with shiny golden wrapping paper and a red ribbon on top. The box had no address and the lid seemed to be loose as if it could be easily lifted off without breaking the wrapping.

Cloud shrugged and carefully picked up the box. When in doubt, assume the content is breakable; that was one of the rules of survival for delivery people that he learned the hard way. The box had to be for Rufus, all the fancy looking boxes he delivered these days were for Rufus. He though he was done for the day, but what was one more delivery? Besides, Rufus might give him a tip.

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Tifa didn't wake up until a voice called her name, "Tifa?" Cloud had already left, oblivious to the trouble he caused. The box's lid was removed and light invaded the space inside, where Tifa had been sleeping curled into a ball.

"Rufus?" She examined her surroundings. What was she doing in Rufus' office?

"I have to say, this has been the most original marriage proposal I've received this entire week," Rufus commended. "I'm surprised Strife played along and actually delivered the box, or did you trick him into it? I suppose I could do you the honor of going out with you, since you went though all this trouble." Tifa's glare was so potent that Rufus had to back away. "I should warn you," the president stammered, "I prefer women who are not murderous sadists."

Tifa growled at him, her glare still deathly. However, Rufus was not her target. As soon as she got back home and changed out of the wrapping paper into decent clothing comfortable for combat, Cloud Strife was dead.

End of Delivery 48

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Disclaimer, I don't own Final Fantasy VII. Delivery 41 was inspired by a review from Holly-Sama. Delivery 42 was requested by Sharem, the concept was polish, a gift for Marlene and Reno complications. Delivery 43 is for Plushietiger, the concept was something heavy falling on Cloud's toes. Delivery 44 was requested by Agatsuma Ritsuka, the concept was Rude ordering glasses. Delivery 45 is a sequel to Mission 72, requested by demonlifehealer. Delivery 46 was requested by Circle of Phoenix. Delivery 47 was inspired by the Shinra Database role play. Delivery 48 is a companion drabble to Mission 76.