#162 – Somewhere In My Memory (part one)

Zack: “What…what happened to me?”

Originally Published: 2/26/06 . 32 pages

Synopsis
Zack is determined to get his own memories back, so he goes to the video game character therapy center for help. But in trying to remember more about himself, he reveals something about Rufus instead.

Ramble Milestones
Nothing this time.

Zack’s always been a favorite of mine. I always thought he was unappreciated. So when he showed up as the resident doctor, it was just kinda like an inside joke. But then he became a bigger character and I decided to build toward this. The title of this one took me for-freaking-ever to come up with, but I love the results. Somewhere In My Memory is also the name of the beautiful and very recognizable song from Home Alone. Also Rudy comes out of the room for seemingly no reason in this ramble – that was setting up for a future ramble.

(dr. zack, you know, being a doctor and all, has a huge house and he and his sister bria are sitting in this huge room in his house that is overlooking the mountains and has windows all around the room. They’re just sitting there enjoying some tea)

Bria: “Zack…you know how we’ve discussed getting you some help for your memory loss?”

Zack: “Yes… But I thought you weren’t able to find anyone you thought dealt with non-medical related memory loss. Well, no one up to your standards anyway.”

Bria: “I hadn’t. But I’ve been keeping in contact with my friend Tifa…” *she trails off and waits for a reaction she doesn’t get and then moves on* “…and she told me about this Video Game Character Therapy Center.”

Zack: “A therapy center?”

Bria: “Yes. Cloud…” *again waits but gets nothing* “…attends therapy sessions there. They have a special group for people who are subconsciously repressing their memories.”

Zack: “Sounds interesting. Who runs it?”

Bria: “Her name is Koudelka. She’s a psychic, actually.”

Zack: “A psychic, huh? Well that’s a skill most psychiatrists don’t have.”

Bria: “Right. I think we should go and check it out.”

Zack: *nods* “Anything is worth a shot. You keep mentioning these people to me, and I *know* them, but only as my patients. I don’t remember anything about this job you’ve told me about.”

Bria: “I’ll call the center and make an appointment for us to come take a tour tomorrow.”

Zack: “Maybe we’ve finally found the key to unlocking my memories.”

Bria: “I hope so.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 

(the next day at the center, bria and zack arrive to find koudelka behind the the desk. She’s on the phone as usual)

Koudelka: “I’m sorry, what did you say your name was? Trad was it? …Oh, really. …Oh, really. Well, nice try *Trad*. I know it’s you, Dart! You’re banned from here! I’m blocking this number! Don’t ever call here again!” *she slams down the phone* “Sorry about that. They bounced one check too many. Then they said they’d bring cash, but claimed they couldn’t fit it all in their pockets at once. I mean come on. What do you take me for?” *sticks hand out* “I’m Koudelka. Are you Zack?”

Zack: *shaking her hand* “Yes. I’m Dr. Zack Mainstay. And this is my sister, Bria Mainstay.”

Bria: *shaking koudelka’s hand* “We spoke on the phone.”

Koudelka: “Glad you decided to come by.” *to zack* “So you’re a doctor?”

Zack: “Yes, I’m a medical doctor.”

Koudelka: “Interesting. Well, let me show you the group you’d be joining. I must say you’re way more advanced than any of them.” *they all start walking* “Well, one of them talks no problem, he just doesn’t like to. And unlike you it’s basically his childhood memories he’s repressing. They claim it’s this GF or something, but I think someone at the orphanage was putting something in the milk.”

(she comes to a door and opens it for them. Bria and zack go in and then koudelka walks in, shutting the door behind her. They’re behind the two-way mirror observing the rpg main character syndrome group. Yuri sits there with a clipboard. Squall looks bored. Cloud is staring off into space. Serge is sitting there looking blank as usual, and rudy is humming circus music softly.)

Yuri: “Squall, let’s talk about your mother.”

Squall: “I told you. I don’t remember her.”

Yuri: “Nothing? You can’t remember anything at all?”

Squall: “Whatever… I’m not repeating myself again.”

Yuri: “Fine. Be all emo or whatever you think you are. Cloud? How about your parents?”

Cloud: “Huh?”

Yuri: “I asked you about your parents.”

Cloud: “Um…cats are snuggly.”

Yuri: “Okay, forget it. Rudy?”

Rudy: *sings softly* “…doot…doot…doo-da-doo-doo…doot…doot…do-do…”

Yuri: “Uh-huh. Aren’t you a robot, or something? What’s that like?”

Rudy: *sings softly* “…doot…doot…do-do…”

Yuri: “Okay, and Serge! Do you have anything to add?”

Serge: “……………………”

Yuri: “Okay, fine! And Mr. Wall! Do you have anything to add to this conversation? Because that’s what I feel like I’m talking to anyway!”

Koudelka: *sweat drops* “Eh heh.” *presses a button that turns the sound off* “As you can see most of our patients have severe mental issues. I know Yuri would love to have someone more…talkative in the group.”

(everyone looks out to where yuri is banging his chair against the floor but no one in the room looks affected)

Bria: “Wow.”

Zack: “Has there been any improvement at all?”

Koudelka: “Well, as you know the whole business of repressed memories is kind of unpredictable. I think that everyone has a trigger that will cause them to remember. It’s just a matter of finding what that trigger is.”

Bria: “You’re a psychic. When you look into these men’s minds, what do you see?”

Koudelka: *sigh* “Not much. Squall’s brain is pretty open except for anything before he was five. I tried to go near it and, well, have you ever gotten shocked by static electricity?”

Bria and Zack: “Yes…”

Koudelka: “Yeah, well try it in your brain.”

Bria and Zack: “Ouch!”

Koudelka: “Yeah. Rudy’s head, on the other hand, is a total mystery to me. All I ever get is circus music. Then there’s Serge. The inside of his head just looks like a giant knot. And I can’t even get a straight answer from the million people who hang out with him on what happened to him.”

Zack: “And what about Cloud?”

Koudelka: *looks at zack* “Cloud’s head looks like a child’s picture book, only a lot of the pages are missing. I see you in there. A lot.”

Zack: *eyes widen* “You do?”

Koudelka: *nods*

Zack: *pause* “…Can you look inside my head?”

Koudelka: “Uh, sure. Right now?”

Zack: “Yes.”

(koudelka glances at bria who just nods. Koudelka looks at zack very hard. She remains this way for a few moments before she blinks twice and shakes her head a bit)

Bria: “Well?”

Koudelka: “I have to say, you have the most normal head of a memory repressed patient I’ve ever seen.”

Zack: “Really?”

Koudelka: “Except for the huge gap I could drive an airplane through.”

Zack: “…Oh.”

Bria: *gasp* “Oh no! Do you think those memories are gone?”

Koudelka: “Nothing’s ever gone. Zack’s a doctor, he knows he doesn’t have brain damage. He’s capable of remembering this stuff. The hole’s there because the stuff has been misplaced, that’s all.” *looks at zack* “You’re an interesting case, doctor. I’d like to sit down with you one on one and find out what you *do* remember.”

Zack: “Sure.” *shrugs* “I’m off today. I could come back later if you’re not busy.”

Koudelka: “That’s fine. We have the villain support group coming in later today, but they take care of themselves for the most part.”

Bria: “In the meantime let us pay for the group sessions.”

Koudelka: “Oh sure! Will that be cash or check?”

Zack: “Check. Who should I make it out to?”

Koudelka: “That would be to me. Koudelka Iasant. That’s K-O-U-D…”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, in the ramble room, lark, sephiroth, reeve, tseng, Brady, algus and zidane are in the tv room just watching some show when rufus bursts in with a tape.)

Rufus: “Who wants to watch some porn?”

Everyone: “What?!”

(suddenly irvine and reno run in)

Reno: “Did someone say the magic word?!”

Irvine: “Who’s got porn?”

Rufus: *holds up tape* “I do.”

Reno: “Hey! I thought you cancelled that porn of the month club I got you for your birthday!”

Rufus: “I did. A, because it was disgusting, and B, because it came to your name and your address.”

Reno: “Well, I thought my enjoyment would be a good gift.”

Rufus: “Anyway, it’s not from the stupid porn of the month club. It’s all original material! People keep engaging in sexual activities in front of my cameras, so I figured I might as well cash in on it.”

Brady: “Uh-oh…”

Tseng: “Uh, Rufus? Where’d you get this footage?”

(but rufus says nothing. He goes over and pops the tape into the machine. And everyone keeps sitting there watching, mostly out of morbid curiosity. The title comes on. It’s called ‘Rufus J. Shinra presents…Sex Uncensored!)

Reno: “That is the worst name for a porno ever.”

Irvine: “Shush! I’m watching this!”

Voiceover: “Over the next 4 hours you’ll enjoy full, uncensored pornography captured by hidden cameras. Here’s a preview.”

(reeve and tseng, from the movie set)

Everyone: “Ack!”

Irvine: *covering eyes* “Too many male parts!”

Tseng: “Rufus!”

Rufus: “I own the camera, I own the footage.”

Reeve: “You can’t use our images without our permission! Especially not in a porno!”

Rufus: “Do you employees *ever* read those contracts I make you sign?”

(zidane and lloyd from the back of the disco-center)

Everybody: “Ewwwww!”

Algus: “Slave! How could you degrade yourself in that way!”

Sephiroth: “Oh god! That’s way more than I *ever* wanted to see of them!”

Zidane: “You’ve already seen me.”

Brady: *eyes closed* “I don’t wanna know.”

(lark and sephiroth making out in the voting booth)

Lark: “Hey!!”

Sephiroth: “Rufus!”

Lark: “Brady, keep your eyes closed!” *slaps a hand over his eyes* “Rufus! That’s not even porn!”

Rufus: *shrugs* “At least it has a girl in it.”

Irvine: “Yeah!”

Lark: *glares at irvine*

Irvine: “Uh…sorry.”

(reno and some chick whose face you can’t see. It’s in his room)

Reno: “Hey!! Where’d you get this from?”

Rufus: *shrugs* “I bought some footage off Hojo.”

Everyone: “Ewwwwwwww!”

Rufus: “What! I needed some filler material!”

Reno: *looking at himself* “I’m doin’ pretty good there.”

Irvine: “Who is that chick?”

Reno: “The hell if I know.”

(scarlet and palmer)

Everyone: “Ewwwwww!!”

Rufus: *gagging* “Omg! How did that get in here?!”

Lark: “Rufus! Get rid of that tape right now!”

Rufus: “No! Everyone keeps deflowering my cameras and I have the right to do whatever I want with the footage!”

Tseng: “I always knew I’d end up in porn.”

Reno: “Rufus, no one is gonna buy that thing anyway!”

Irvine: “Even *I* don’t wanna see anymore.”

Rufus: “It’s gotta appeal to someone!”

Zidane: “Only a gay/straight/voyeur who likes disgusting hookers.”

Reno: “And drag queens.” *points to screen* “There’s Hojo and Kuja.”

Sephiroth: *screams*

Lark: *shuts it off* “Rufus! You cannot market this tape!”

Sephiroth: *covering eyes* “My eyes are bleeding!”

Rufus: *taking tape out of the vcr* “Yes I am! Let this be a lesson to everybody to not have sex anywhere or in front of anything owned by Rufus J. Shinra!”

(he stomps off. Lark looks angry. She looks at Brady, who shrugs. Algus has gone back to watching the tv show and so has zidane. Reeve and tseng are looking at one another worriedly.)

Reno: “Dude, I was only havin’ sex in my room.”

Irvine: “Man, makes you wonder where else Hojo has cameras…”

(everyone looks around the room suspiciously)

Reno: “If he’s got me having sex on camera, I at least want copies.”

Irvine: “Yeah. If we had that we could keep better track of who we slept with.”

Sephiroth: *still covering eyes* “My eyes are bleeding!”

Lark: “They are not bleeding. Stop it.”

Tseng: “This whole tape is ridiculous! Can’t we get a lawyer, or something?”

Algus: “Well, Rufus does have so many of them. He was on the cover of ‘Lawyer Employment Magazine’.”

Zidane: “Geez, they make a magazine for everything.”

Reeve: “How’d you find out about that, Algus?”

Algus: “Rufus told me. His sister phoned him about it.”

Reeve: *snaps fingers* “Of course. Sunshine! She’s a lawyer!”

Reno: “And a hot one!”

Irvine: *thoughtfully* “I wonder if Hojo’s got me doin’ her on his cameras…”

Reeve: “I think I’ll call her. Maybe she can put a stop to this.”

Lark: “I hope so! I don’t want everyone watching me making out with Sephiroth!”

Brady: “Wait, *what*?”

Zidane: “And I don’t want everyone to see me with Vergil!”

Tseng: “But you told everyone you were having sex with him.”

Zidane: “Yeah. But I didn’t tell ’em who was push–“

Sephiroth: “Okay! I have heard enough! Reeve, call Sunshine and put a stop to this tape before it makes some more people bleed from their eyes!”

Lark: “You’re not bleeding from your eyes.”

Sephiroth: “I am in a figurative sense.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(later, back at the center, koudelka and yuri are talking at the desk)

Koudelka: “So, I have this doctor guy coming in here later. He’s going to be joining your group.”

Yuri: “A doctor? Ca-ching!”

Koudelka: “I know. But the best part is he’s actually a functioning member of society.”

Yuri: “So no crazy humming or falling repeatedly off the chair?”

Koudelka: “No.”

Yuri: “Finally.” *pause* “So what’s he coming in later for? We already had our session today.”

Koudelka: “I know. He’s coming in for a one on one session.”

Yuri: “What? A one on one session? You’ve never done that before.”

Koudelka: “I know. So what? He has a very interesting mind. I think if we’re gonna crack anyone, it’s him.”

Yuri: *long pause* “Do you like him?”

Koudelka: “What?”

Yuri: *wink wink*

Koudelka: “The guy is gay, Yuri.”

Yuri: “Oh.”

Koudelka: “Anyway, he should be here any minute. And you should be observing the villain group.”

Yuri: “If that jackass Cervantes forces himself in here one more time…”

Koudelka: “Just go.”

(she gives him a push and he goes off. A second later zack enters with bria.)

Zack: “Hello again!”

Koudelka: “That was prompt. I thought doctors were supposed to be late.”

Zack: “I don’t follow that stereotype.”

Koudelka: “Well, your sister can feel free to just relax in our waiting room here. We shouldn’t be too long.”

Bria: “Sure.” *she sits down and picks up a magazine*

Koudelka: “This way, doctor.”

(she leads zack to the empty room used for the rpg main character syndrome therapy sessions. They both take a seat across from one another)

Koudelka: “I’ll just ask you some questions, and you answer them the best you can.”

Zack: *nods*

Koudelka: “Do you remember your childhood?”

Zack: *nodding* “Yes, perfectly. I remember the house I was raised in, I remember my parents, my sister, the town, everything.”

Koudelka: “Your sister – older or younger?”

Zack: “She’s younger. Two years younger at that.”

Koudelka: “She told me you lost contact for a long time.”

Zack: “Yes. After my accident I went back home to find my parents and my sister but everyone was gone. Apparently my parents had moved and Bria went out to look for me. We finally found one another again about 9 months ago.”

Koudelka: “And you recognized her right away?”

Zack: “Yes.”

Koudelka: “Have you seen your parents since?”

Zack: “Yes. That was a nice homecoming. They thought I was dead.”

Koudelka: “And you recognized them right away?”

Zack: “Yes.”

Koudelka: “What’s the last thing you remember before the gap in your memory?”

Zack: *thoughtfully* “I remember leaving town. But I don’t know why. Bria told me–“

Koudelka: “Hold up a second. Before you tell me what she told you happened…you’re telling me all you remember is leaving home. That you have no idea why you did or where you were going.”

Zack: *nods* “That’s right.”

Koudelka: “Okay. Why did Bria say you left?”

Zack: “She said I left to become part of an elite fighting group. That I went to work for Shinra Inc.”

Koudelka: “So that’s where your memory skips?”

Zack: *nods* “I can’t remember anything from my time at Shinra. I don’t remember any of the people that I worked with. Bria told me that I actually worked with some of the people who are my patients now, but, they don’t talk to me about it, and I don’t remember them as anything other than patients of mine.”

Koudelka: “I see. So tell me, where does your memory pick up again?”

Zack: *thinking hard* “I remember…waking up. I didn’t know where I was or what had happened to me. Long story short I found out I was taken to a hospital after a medical student at that hospital found me bleeding to death in the middle of a field. I had been shot multiple times at point blank range. …All common sense says that should have killed me. But I pulled through.”

Koudelka: “So you have no idea why you were shot?”

Zack: *nods* “Right.”

Koudelka: “And when you woke up, you still remembered who you were and everything else you just told me? About your childhood and your family?”

Zack: “Yes. All of it.”

Koudelka: “Okay. Then what happened?”

Zack: “Well, because I had no insurance my medical bills were covered by the hospital. I was such an unusual case I was always being observed by medical students, and I guess the hospital felt bad for me. The medical field seemed interesting, so I applied to medical school when I was healed. I tried to find my family, but I couldn’t. So I just went to school, became a doctor, and focused on myself. I didn’t know what else to do.”

Koudelka: “So because medical science saved you, you decided to go into it yourself?”

Zack: “At the time I thought medical science saved me. Now I just think it helped me along a bit.”

Koudelka: “What do you mean…?”

Zack: *slowly* “…There’s something unusual about my blood.” *pause* “I’ve tested it, but I don’t know what it is. It’s something that makes me stronger… I think that when I worked for Shinra…they did something to me.”

Koudelka: “Do you think your sister knows about this?”

Zack: “I don’t know. She hasn’t told me, and I haven’t asked her about it.”

Koudelka: “And why not?”

Zack: “Because there are some things I just want to remember on my own.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, out in the waiting room, the villain support group has ended, and they’re all leaving. Bria is watching them all walk out the door. And the last one trying to sneak by, with the sweatshirt hood up over his head again, is rufus. Of course bria recognizes him right away)

Bria: “Rufus?”

Rufus: *freezes*

Bria: *comes over to him* “What are you doing hiding your face?”

Rufus: *putting the hood down* “Oh, Bria! You’ve discovered me! I was just reading to the poor children. I try to remain incognito, you know, don’t want to draw attention to myself, considering I’m a big celebrity.”

Bria: “I saw you come from the villain support group.”

Rufus: “Villains, children, everyone likes a story read to them. So why are you here?”

Bria: “Oh, I’m here with Zack. He’s meeting with Koudelka about the problem with his memory.”

Rufus: “Oh. Still doesn’t remember working for Shinra, does he?”

Bria: “Nope.”

Rufus: “You know the company isn’t responsible for mental damages, right?”

Bria: *rolls eyes* “I know, Rufus.”

Rufus: “…’Cause if it was…man, would I be bankrupt!”

Bria: *thinks* “Rufus… that gives me an idea!”

Rufus: “You just said you wouldn’t sue!”

Bria: “I’m not gonna sue! I just think it would be a great idea to get everyone together who worked with Zack! They could each tell him a memory they have, or something! Maybe that would help to jog his memory!”

(koudelka and zack return. They come over.)

Zack: “What would jog my memory?”

Bria: “Oh, Zack! I was just talking to Rufus…you know you used to work for his company, anyway, I thought it would be a good idea if you met with some of your old co-workers! If they told you some things they remember about you, maybe that’ll jog your memory!”

Koudelka: “That’s actually an excellent idea. It might benefit our other patients as well. I’ll make some phone calls, and why don’t you plan to come back here tomorrow with anyone you think might help.”

Bria: “Sounds great!”

Koudelka: “Around 3 o’clock would be perfect.” *to rufus* “That way you won’t miss the villain support group meeting.”

(she goes over to the desk. Bria and zack look at rufus who looks very embarrassed)

Rufus: “Heh…those villains just love their stories! We’re reading ‘The Little Engine That Could’ tomorrow.”

Zack: “There’s no shame in needing emotional support.”

Bria: “Yeah, Rufus!” *puts an arm around his shoulder* “You can admit it!”

Rufus: “Yeah… I think I can’t.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(and so rufus goes back to the ramble room.)

Rufus: *yells* “All past and present Shinra employees meet in the ramble room right now!”

(he goes in the ramble room, which is empty, and waits. And waits. And waits. No one’s coming)

Rufus: *yells* “This is to help Zack!”

(tseng, reeve, elena, reno, rude, sephiroth and vincent all come into the room.)

Rufus: “Oh sure! For Zack you all show up!”

Sephiroth: *looks at vincent* “What are *you* doing here?”

Vincent: “He said past and present.”

Sephiroth: “When he said past he wasn’t talking about B.C.!”

Rufus: “I only need people who know Zack.”

Vincent: “…Oh.” *hangs head and leaves*

Rufus: “We all have to go to the video game character therapy center tomorrow.”

Reno: “Why?” *suspiciously* “Is it for some kind of intervention? Because I can quit whenever I want to!”

Rufus: “No, Reno. No one cares about your health. Bria thinks it would be a good idea if Zack met with some of his old co-workers. She thinks it might jog his memory.”

Tseng: “Why does he want to remember so badly?” *mutters* “There’s a lot of things I’d like to forget…”

Rufus: “I don’t know! Look, the fact is you better all show up at three o’clock tomorrow! Or it’s extra work for all of you!”

Rude: “You already make us do extra work.”

Rufus: “Shut up, Rude! You should be glad to get overtime!”

Rude: “What overtime?”

Rufus: “Okay, just shut up!”

Sephiroth: *sigh* “Fine, Shinra. We’ll show up.”

Reeve: “But what about Hojo, Scarlet and Heidegger? They worked with Zack too.”

Sephiroth: “I thought we were trying to help his memory. Not gross him out.”

Rufus: *annoyed sigh* “I guess I’ll call them.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, in loser land, they’re all sitting around watching tv as usual. Except for hojo. He’s counting a stack of money)

Nida: “Hey, Hojo! Where’d you get all that dough?”

Kuja: “I hope you plan to use it on me.”

Hojo: “I got it from Rufus. I sold him some of my footage.”

Seymour: “And what, dare I ask, is he planning to do with it?”

Hojo: “I didn’t ask any questions. I’m simply interested in the money.”

Heidegger: “And I’m interested in food! Gya haa haa!”

(the phones rings, hojo picks it up)

Hojo: “Hojo’s sperm bank and lab.” *pause* “Oh. ………Oh, I see.” *sigh* “Very well. Good-bye.” *hangs up* “That was Rufus.”

Scarlet: “Did he get my new business card?”

Hojo: “I don’t know. He said we have to go down to that therapy center tomorrow afternoon. Apparently we’re going there to try and get Zack his memory back.”

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! That rhymed!”

Scarlet: “Ugh. You got us roped into this now? Why didn’t you tell him we had plans?”

Nida: “What plans, whore? All you do is sit in front of the tv all day!”

Scarlet: “And what do you do that’s so great?”

Nida: “I drive the Garden!”

Scarlet: “I said that’s so *great*.”

Nida: “Shut up, ‘ho!”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(later that day, reeve, tseng, lark, sephiroth, reno, irvine and zidane meet with sunshine. They’re all sitting around the ramble room)

Reeve: “Thanks for coming, Sunshine.”

Sunshine: “I have no problem helping out my brother’s friends with some legal advice!”

Sephiroth: “We’re not really his friends.”

Lark: “Hey! I like Rufus!”

Sephiroth: “Right *now*?”

Lark: *frowns* “Okay. Not really.”

Sunshine: *frowns* “What’s going on? Has Rufus done something bad?”

Tseng: “Wow. You really don’t know him at all, do you?”

Reno: “He’s been known to pay us in subway tokens.”

Sunshine: “What subway?”

Reno: “Exactly.”

Zidane: “And his friend keeps me as his slave!”

Irvine: “Zidane…that’s really got nothin’ to do with Rufus.”

Zidane: “I know… I just wanted to complain.”

Reeve: “Anyway, we’re not even here about the other bad stuff Rufus has done. We’re here about a little tape he wants to market.”

Sephiroth: “Yeah. A porn tape.”

Sunshine: *gasp* “What?!”

Tseng: “Long story short, we’re all in it.”

Irvine: “Well, I’m not sure if I’m in it or not, but I better be.”

Reno: “You are.”

Irvine: “I am?”

Reno: “Yup. I stole one of Rufus’ copies.” *long pause* “For evidence.”

Irvine: “And you watched it?”

Reno: “Well, I fast forwarded through the gay stuff.”

Irvine: “Who was I with?”

Reno: “Well…” *looks at sunshine then at irvine and then at sunshine again*

Sunshine: *gasp* “*I’m* on the tape?!”

Reeve: “Rufus put his own *sister* on the tape?!”

Reno: “Well, in his defense he probably didn’t know it was you. Most of your hair was in front of your face.”

Sunshine: *turns really red* “Well… Everyone, I promise I’ll do everything I can to stop Rufus from putting out this tape.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(the next day at the video game character therapy center…man, I am sick of typing that phrase. I’m just gonna start typing vgctc. There’s a lot of people there. There are a bunch of wild arms people there for rudy and a bunch of chrono cross people there for serge. As far as final fantasy characters go, zell, selphie, quistis, and seifer are there for squall, while tifa, cid, yuffie, vincent, barret and red are there for cloud. And of course rufus, tseng, reeve, reno, rude, elena, scarlet, heidegger, hojo and sephiroth are there for zack. Koudelka and yuri are trying to organize everyone. They’re over talking to the chrono cross people.)

Seifer: “I can’t believe I’m here to help Squall! I don’t wanna help Squall! I hate Squall! We’re enemies! Like Samson and Goliath!”

Zell: “You mean Samson and Delilah, Seifer! Or David and Goliath!”

Seifer: “Shut up, chicken wuss! I know what I’m talking about!”

Zell: *flips out* “No you don’t, idiot!”

Quistis: “Stop fighting!”

Selphie: “Heeey… Why isn’t Irvine here?”

Seifer: “‘Cause he’s not an orphan, you idiot! Remember? He was only in that orphanage at all because his mom dumped him there because she had too many kids!”

Selphie: “Oh yeah…”

Quistis: “Yeah, he was there like a week.”

Zell: “I kept forgetting it because of that speech he gave that time.”

Quistis: “Yeah. That was just to shut Rinoa up.”

Zell: “Oh right…”

Koudelka: *yells* “Okay, Chrono Cross people! This way!”

(koudelka and yuri head down a hallway and all the people from chrono cross follow. Meanwhile, to the non-shinra ff7 people)

Tifa: “This is really important to me, everyone! I want Cloud to get his memory back!”

Barret: “Yo, girl! That spiky head be getting dumber by the day!”

Red: “You would know all about that.”

Barret: “Yo, shu’ up, cave man! You ain’t all that either!”

Red: “Cave man? You do not even know what that is!”

Cid: “@#$@%#%@#^!#@$$#$%^@#^&#*^#!”

Barret: “And you shu’ up too, Cid! I sick ‘n tired a hearin’ ’bout that girl! She don’t like you!”

Red: *mutters* “I wonder why…”

Yuffie: “Can I tell Cloud about the time I stole everyone’s materia?” *dreamy sigh* “That was the best day of my life…”

Tifa: “That’s fine. Whatever you think he’ll remember.”

Vincent: *sigh* “There are many things I’d like to not remember.”

Barret: “Yo, shu’ up, dracula! You always bringin’ everybody down!”

Red: “Leave Vincent alone. Not everyone has to be a loud mouth.”

Barret: “Yo–“

Tifa: “Barret! Stop it! Why don’t you think about what you’re going to say to Cloud?”

(barret mumbles unhappily but he’s quiet. Koudelka and yuri come back out. She’s mumbling unhappily)

Koudelka: “I tell them no animals or freaky disfigured people, and what do they do?”

Yuri: “What’s up with the straw guy?”

Koudelka: *sigh* “Oh well. Wild Arms! This way!”

(she turns around and nearly bumps into rudy)

Koudelka: “Rudy! No! We told you to sit!

Rudy: *looks around* “…..happy clowns…..”

Koudelka: *turning him back around* “Yeah, okay. Let’s go.”

(again she and yuri head down the hallway and the wild arms people follow her. Meanwhile, the shinra people aren’t very talkative…)

Rufus: “…………”

Reno: *hums to himself*

Rude: “…”

Tseng: *sigh*

Scarlet: *rolls eyes*

Heidegger: *quietly* “…gya!”

Reeve: *taps foot*

Sephiroth: *crosses arms across his chest*

Elena: *frowns*

Hojo: *clears throat*

(not a very talkative bunch. Anyway, koudelka and yuri return)

Koudelka: “Final Fantasy 8!”

(the ff8 people follow koudelka and yuri back down the hallway. Bria also enters the room. She spots tifa and goes over to her)

Bria: “Tifa! Hi!”

Tifa: “Hi, Bria!”

(they hug)

Bria: “Wow! You look great!”

Tifa: “Thanks! How are you doing?”

Bria: “I’m good! I’m really hoping that Zack makes some progress today.”

Tifa: *nods* “I’m hoping the same for Cloud.”

Bria: “Thanks again for telling me about this place.”

Tifa: “Oh, no problem! I want Zack to get his memory back.” *pause* “Because if he does…”

Bria: “I know. There’s a better chance for Cloud.”

(tifa nods just as koudelka and yuri return)

Yuri: “Cloud’s group! Follow me!”

Koudelka: “Hey! That’s my job!”

Bria: “I’ll see you later. Good luck with Cloud!”

Tifa: “Thanks!”

(bria goes back to the lobby to wait. Tifa and the rest of her group follow koudelka and yuri out. That leaves the shinra people to wait.)

Reno: “…You think I have time for a smoke?”

Rude: “No.”

Scarlet: “Yeah… I could use one too.”

Rufus: “There’s no time to smoke! They’re going to be back in a second for us!”

(there’s silence. Everyone in the group looks very uneasy. After what seems like forever to them, koudelka and yuri come back out.)

Koudelka: “All right. We’re ready for the rest of you.”

(they all exchange uneasy looks like they’re being led off to be executed. Silently they follow koudelka and yuri to one of the therapy rooms. A bunch of chairs have been set up in a semi circle around the one zack is sitting in in the center. He’s smiling and looks very at ease. All the shinra people go and take their seats, still looking very uneasy. Then koudelka and yuri leave, shutting the door behind them.)

Everyone: “……………………………………”

Zack: “Heh. Hi, everyone! How is everyone? Heidegger, are you sticking to that diet?”

Heidegger: “No! Gya haa haa!”

Zack: “Elena, how’s the baby?”

Elena: “Oh. She’s great. Just perfect.”

Zack: “And how are you, Tseng?”

Tseng: “Fine.”

Zack: “And Reeve?”

Reeve: “I’m good.”

Zack: “Scarlet, how’s that new medication?”

Scarlet: “It has less side effects.”

Zack: “Reno? How are you?”

Reno: “I’m cool, dude.”

Zack: “And Rude?”

Rude: *nods* “Good.”

Zack: “It’s good to see you, Sephiroth.”

Sephiroth: *looks distracted* “…Yeah.”

Zack: “And Rufus, thanks for coming.”

Rufus: “…No problem.”

Zack: *looks at hojo* “And I don’t believe I know you.”

(everyone looks at hojo, who looks very uncomfortable)

Hojo: “Oh. Well. I’m Dr. Alexander Hojo.”

Zack: “Oh! So you’re a doctor too?”

Hojo: “Well, more in the scientific sense than the medical sense. But I do dabble.”

Sephiroth: “You sure do, you sick bastard! Why don’t you tell Zack–“

Rufus: “Sephiroth! Stop!”

Elena: “Um, why don’t we start with some happy memories?”

Everyone: “………………………”

Rufus: “Tseng, you start.”

Tseng: “Me?”

Rufus: “Do it, Tseng!”

Tseng: *sweat drops* “Uh, okay.” *mumbles* “Happy memories…uh…okay…well…we…uh…slept together…”

Everyone: *groans*

Tseng: “What?”

Scarlet: “And yet they call me the office slut!”

Zack: “Uh…sorry. I…don’t remember.”

Sephiroth: “There’s a change, Tseng. Someone not remembering *you*.”

Tseng: “Oh ha ha, Sephiroth. Maybe he remembers the time we made out at the Halloween ball!”

Reno: “Wait *what*?!”

Elena: *wide eyes* “I don’t think we worked for Shinra then.”

Sephiroth: “I’m afraid Zack wasn’t there for that little gem, Tseng. You’re one year too soon.”

Rufus: “I wasn’t even there for that. Thank god!”

Hojo: “I started putting cameras around the building after that.”

Scarlet: “Ew! That’s your son, you sick bastard!”

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! When’s lunch?”

Rude: “…This isn’t helping…”

Reeve: “Everybody! Stop it! Rude’s right! This isn’t helping Zack!” *everyone quiets down* “Now. Let’s try this again. Rufus, why don’t you start?”

Rufus: *sigh* “Well, I don’t think you saw much of me, Zack. I was pretty much on a permanent business trip. You know Junon, right?”

Zack: “Yeah.”

Rufus: “Yeah, well, that’s where I was. All the time.”

Reno: “They have a *sweet* bar there.”

Reeve: “Reno!”

Reno: “Sorry!”

Zack: “Oh. Well what was your job?”

Rufus: “I was the VP. Now I’m President. My father was President, but he’s dead now.”

Zack: “Oh. I’m sorry.”

Rufus: “No, it’s fine. He was a bastard.”

Reno: “Hey, Zack! Me n’ you and Rude went drinkin’ one time in Midgar! You got so drunk you ended up makin’ out with that skanky chick who sold the flowers! Remember that?”

Zack: *thinks* “No… I don’t remember that either.”

Rude: “Dude, that was Aeris.”

Reno: “Really? Wow. Well, my memory of that is pretty shot.”

Elena: “Zack, we used to talk a lot when I worked for Shinra Intelligence. You tried to set me up on a blind date with one of your friends right before you went on that mission to Nibelheim with Sephiroth!”

Tseng: “Elena…”

Elena: “Oops!”

Zack: *blink blink* “What mission with Sephiroth?”

Everyone: “………………”

Zack: “You know…when they found me…I had been shot five times at point blank range.” *looks at everyone* “…Any of you…know anything about that?”

(everyone looks away. Most of all hojo. Sephiroth looks like he’s getting increasingly angry)

Zack: “What…what happened to me?”

Sephiroth: *snaps at hojo* “Why don’t you tell him what you did to him, you sick freak?! Why don’t you tell him what you did to him and Cloud! What you used them for!”

Hojo: “Now, Sephiroth…”

Tseng: “Sephiroth, don’t–“

Sephiroth: “Don’t what, Tseng? And why don’t you tell Zack how you and your little followers were in charge over there, huh? You helped out plenty!” *looks at reeve* “And so did you!” *looks at scarlet* “And your reactor blew up and killed half the people in his hometown!” *to rufus* “And you were just sitting in an office while all this was going on!”

Tseng: *gets up and glares at sephiroth* “We never would have had to do what we did if YOU hadn’t done what *you* did, Sephiroth! So why don’t *you* tell Zack why he has that scar across his forehead?!”

Sephiroth: “How can you stand up for Hojo?! After everything he’s done how can you stand up and blame *me* for what happened?!”

Tseng: “I’m not defending him! And I’m not blaming you! But we’re all guilty, Sephiroth! And that includes you! So sit down! Because while we were the ones who carried the Nibelheim project through, *you* were the one who started it!”

(sephiroth says nothing else. He looks mad, but he sits down in a huff. Tseng sits as well. No one speaks for a long time.)

Zack: “Something bad happened to me, didn’t it.”

Reno: “…Yeah, dude.”

Zack: *nods* “That’s fine–” *tseng goes to talk* “Please! …I don’t want to know anymore. I’ve heard enough for now. Thanks for coming. You can all go.”

(no one moves for a moment. Then they all get up, most of them looking apologetic. Quietly they file out of the room. Rufus is last.)

Zack: “Rufus! Wait a minute.”

Rufus: *pauses in the doorway* “Yeah?”

Zack: *comes over to him* “I wanted to talk to you about something.”

Rufus: “What is it?”

Zack: “I know that when I worked for your company, I was injected with something.”

Rufus: “It’s ma–“

Zack: “Besides mako. I know what mako is. There’s something else. I must have been injected with something different. Something…special.”

Rufus: “…Okay… So why do you wanna talk to me about it?”

Zack: “Because…you have it too.”

(and certainly rufus j. shinra has never looked more shocked in his life. Because as a member of soldier, zack was injected with something ‘different’ and ‘special’. And that something, is jenova)

TO BE CONTINUED…

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