Premonitions II-C: Crisis Core

BY : Hippo_and_Friends_with_Benefits
Category: Final Fantasy VII > General
Dragon prints: 709
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy VII, Crisis Core, it any characters therin. I am not making any money here.

Chapter 3: A Tale of Two Ladies

The next Monday, I was called to the assistant principal's office. I needed to explain what Durham Haverford had been doing sitting across from me when she should have been in class. I was going to lie to cover her, of course; I would tell them that I had no idea when her classes were.

There was one girl sitting across from me in the waiting area. I recognized her. She was one of the cheerleaders; the same one I met at the table the previous week. It took me a moment because she was dressed in her street clothes, since there was no game that day.

And, sure enough, she recognized me.

"I remember you!" she greeted with a smile. "Thanks for the advice. I listened and did a good job."

"That's good to hear," I said.

This girl would not stop smiling; she was obviously grateful.

"I wasn't even sure I wanted to cheer when I tried out," she continued. "Now I think I might even make captain my senior year. I really owe you big!"

Realizing that this girl was going to keep going, I smiled back at her.

"Friends forever?" I joked.

"Nothing lasts forever," the girl said. "We have to graduate sometime. But you are a freshman, right?"

"You got it," I replied.

"Me, too!" the girl said happily. "Well, four years is a long time!"

Just then, the assistant principal poked his head out of his office and made eye contact with me.

"Can you come in, please?" he asked before disappearing into his office.

"I guess that's my cue," I said to the girl. "I'm sure I'll see you around here."

"By the way," the girl continued, "I don't think we've been formally introduced."

"I'm Tobin," I greeted as I stood up and stretched my arm to her.

"It's nice to meet you, Tobin," the girl replied as she gripped my hand, before putting a final end to one of the mysteries about her. "I'm Aerith."

A minute later, I was in the assistant principal's office. I explained what I had planned to explain: that I didn't know when Durham's classes were and that I could not confirm that she was cutting. Five minutes later, I was out of the office.

Aerith was gone; I'll never know what she was there for, but I later speculated that she wasn't even supposed to be there. I think she just wanted to meet me.

THAT NIGHT...

The apartment I lived in had a parlor, dining room, and kitchen, with a bedroom on each side. The bedroom on the left was empty; I had no roommate. It was a Shinra apartment; they were all designed that way. It was in a typical apartment building that stood several blocks from the Sector Five Reactor.

I was off from my Shinra duties that evening; that was a rarity. You would think that I would love it, but I didn't. First of all, I wasn't able to cloak myself and spy on Shinra executives. Second, like I said before, I had no roommate. I thus had nothing to do but futz around on my tablet until I crashed.

A knock suddenly sounded my door.

So much for the tablet, I thought. I didn't know this was good or bad; nobody ever knocked on my door. Realizing that I couldn't ignore it, I got up, opened it, and you'll never guess who was standing there out in the hallway.

"How did you find me?" I asked.

"The student directory," Aerith replied with a smile.

"The stalkers' guide?"

"If that's what you want to call it."

I noticed that she had a light blue baby shirt on, and her sneakers were the exact same color.

"You like blue?" I asked her.

"It's my favorite color," Aerith replied.

"I figured," I said. "Your top and shoes match."

"And I'm wearing jeans," she added. "I'm blue all over. So I was kind of craving Igor's Sandwiches across the street. Wanna come with?" she invited.

I can't really describe what I was thinking then. I had never been invited out, not even by Logan nor Durham. Of course, the alternative would be to bore myself in my apartment for the rest of the night. And...there was something about this girl...

"Sure!" I agreed.

"Great!" Aerith exclaimed with a smile.

She led me down the hall and to the elevator. I lived on the fifteenth floor, and Aerith quickly took notice of the oddity in the elevator buttons.

"There's no thirteen," she pointed out as the elevator began to descend.

"I know," I replied. "There's no thirteenth floor. Nobody would want to live on it because it's bad luck."

"But wouldn't the fourteenth floor technically be the thirteenth, then?" she pointed out.

"It would," I said. "But that doesn't seem to bother anyone."

Just then, the elevator hit the ground floor, and Aerith suddenly displayed a naughty grin on her face. Before I could say anything, she quickly pressed all of the buttons, giggling as she did so.

"Aeris!" I playfully exclaimed as I stepped off the elevator.

"Sorry," she giggled. "I couldn't resist. And it's Aerith, by the way."

"Sorry," I apologized as we exited the building.

"No worries," she assured as Igor's came into view. "Do you know how many people have called me that by mistake?"

I shook my head as we began to cross the street.

"Well, you're not the first," she said with a smile.

We walked into Igor's, got our sandwiches, and sat down across from each other.

"So I didn't see your parents," Aerith began.

"Oh yeah," I said. "They don't live with me."

"They don't live with you?" she asked in surprise.

"They live out in the middle of nowhere, Western Continent," I clarified.

"Wow!" she said. "What brought you all the way here?"

"My dad wanted me here," I replied. "He thought I should be doing something more meaningful than farming."

"He didn't find feeding people meaningful?" Aerith asked me.

I shook my head.

"So the Shinra pay for my room and board until I graduate, and then I'm off to Xing for martial arts training."

It was that moment where I started to feel a vibe from this girl. When she was around, everything was feeling...positive. Still, I didn't want an awkward silence.

"How long have you been in Midgar?" I asked.

"Since I can remember," Aerith replied. "I've been in the same house since I was seven." She then smiled at me. "Do you play any sports?"

"Just baseball with myself in the farm yard," I replied. "Until my dad took my bat away for breaking the attic window."

"Oh no!" she giggled. "My mom took my bat away for throwing it instead of dropping."

"You played baseball?" I asked her. I didn't see that coming.

"Softball," Aerith clarified. "I played when I was nine. But I wanted to do something more girly. So I cheer. And I dance and figure skate."

I was feeling another vibe at this point. This time, it was a feeling of comfort. This girl was making me feel like I could stop worrying about everything else in my life. All that I was wanting to do was smile and talk to her more.

You don't...like her, do you? I thought to myself. It was a good question.

And then, she poked me, and giggled.

"Hey!" I playfully exclaimed. "Why'd you do that for?"

"I felt like it," Aerith giggled.

I then poked her back.

"Ow!" she playfully reprimanded. "You're not supposed to poke a girl!"

"Says who?" I asked.

"Me!" she replied as she poked me even harder.

We took another hour to finish our sandwiches because we were engaged in a poke war.

What sucked about Igor's is that they closed at eight. Igor himself came over to give us the bad news.

"I'm sorry, you flirty birds, but we're closing," he told us.

"Ohh," said Aerith. "Suckage!"

With that, she got up and turned towards the exit, where something else caught my eye. Her jeans made her butt look incredible. Don't get me wrong; I'm a decent guy. But I was an immature teenage virgin at the time.

We walked back to my apartment building, poking each other along the way. Aerith really got me good when we got into the elevator and pressed the button. The poking finally ceased when we arrived at my door.

"So are you going to come to my games now?" she asked with a smile.

"You bet," I replied.

"Great!" she exclaimed.

She hugged me good-bye and disappeared into the elevator.

I then entered my apartment and sat on the couch, taking in what had happened this evening. I kind of liked this girl, and I wondered if she liked me back. It would not have surprised me if she had.

A few moments later, my door sounded a knock again.

I got up to answer, figuring it was Aerith again. I was wondering what drew her back here.

Does she want to make out? I thought to myself.

But when I answered, it wasn't even Aerith.

"Thanks for saving my butt," Durham Haverford said as I opened the door.

She was wearing a crop top that showed more cleavage, and a pair of jeans tighter than Aerith had been wearing.

"You up for a movie?" Durham asked. "Something you need an I.D. for?"

"We're sixteen," I reminded her.

"Seventeen, according to the I.D.s I made," Durham said.

So, basically, Durham had outdone Aerith. This was the first of several such occasions.

MEANWHILE...

Aerith arrived home soon after we departed. As soon as she left my building, she took another elevator to the slums below. Mind you, the slums are anything but safe for a fifteen-year-old girl to walk through, but, as I later found out, the rapists, pick-pockets, and drug dealers were the least of her worries.

Aerith probably had the nicest house in the slums. It had a red-shingled roof and two stories, with gardens and waterfalls in the background. You wouldn't even guess it was in the city, let alone the slums.

Aerith entered the house and walked into the kitchen, causing another, older woman to gasp in surprise.

"You're home!" her mother, Elmyra, said.

"Sorry I'm late," Aerith apologized.

"You outta be!" Elmyra reprimanded, annoyed. "I though you were captured!"

"Mom," Aerith began, "I haven't been followed in forever."

"Just the same," Elmyra continued, "it drives me crazy when you're home late. Did cheer practice run long again?"

"I have a new excuse this time," Aerith said.

"Really?" asked Elmyra. "Let's hear it."

"I've met someone," Aerith began.

"A boy?" asked Elmyra, the annoyed look fading from her face.

Aerith nodded with a smile.

"He is a boy," she said.

"A boy...friend?" asked Elmyra.

"He's a boy and he's my friend," Aerith replied.

Elmyra gave a disappointed look.

"Mom!" Aerith exclaimed. "I'm only fifteen!"

"You'll be sixteen in February," Elmyra pointed out. "And I was married at eighteen."

"That's true," Aerith agreed as she sat down. "Though the situation is different."

"Do you like him?" Elmyra asked. "In that way?"

"I don't know," Aerith replied. "I guess I feel a little buzz."

"Does he like you?" Elmyra then asked her.

"He might," Aerith answered. "It's kind of hard to tell."

"He didn't touch you inappropriately, did he?"

Typical mom questions.

"Mom, we just hugged!" Aerith defended.

"Are you sure?"

"I swear he's not trying to get into my pants," Aerith insisted. "We just went to the sandwich shop."

"Do you want to date him?" Elmyra asked.

"I need to get to know him more," Aerith replied. "But I like what I see so far."

"Then see him again," Elmyra insisted.

"And if I do like him?" asked Aerith. "Should I ask him out?"

Elmyra shook her head.

"Boys ask girls out," she said. "If you like each other, he will."

"And if he doesn't?" asked Aerith.

"Then you can still be friends up to graduation," Elmyra replied.

"And then, he'll be gone," Aerith added sadly. Even though she was only a freshman, she always had graduation on her mind.

"Nothing lasts forever," Elmyra said.

Elmyra, by the way, was only twenty-six at that time. No, she did not have a kid at eleven. When I met her, I could tell right away that, based on their small age gap and the fact that they don't look alike, Elmyra is not Aerith's biological mother.

But that's for later.



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