He was early, of course—having nothing to do left one with too much time, and Cloud had always been prompt. He waited for the SOLDIERs leading the mission to arrive and silently fumed over his two other MPs. He knew they were lagging because they were afraid, but fear wasn’t going to change the mission, it wasn’t going to create a miracle for them. It was best just to face it head-on and deal with it, hoping that they would be the lucky ones.
“What’s wrong?” Zack asked, coming at him with his usual quick, purposeful movements.
The clipped, impatient tone of Zack’s familiar voice immediately put Cloud at his most formally respectful. In an apologetic but crisp voice he informed the SOLDIER that the others hadn’t yet arrived, though he offered no excuses.
“We’re in a rush, so hurry up!” Zack told him, striding forward with his eyes on the floor, his thoughts clearly elsewhere.
Cloud was a little surprised to be talked to so brusquely; it was as if Zack didn’t even recognize him…
“Yes, sir!” he said, snapping to attention when answering the order.
Zack looked up and gasped, “Cloud!” With a wide smile he added, “Tossed together again, eh? It’s been a long time! Glad to be working with you!”
“You, too!” Cloud said, smiling widely with relief. It had been a long time—he hadn’t seen Zack in many long, lonely months. “I’m sorry about the others, sir—wait a moment and I’ll get them.”
“It’s Zack!” the man called after him as Cloud bolted down the hall. Continue reading