He just had a bad case of homesickness.
Zack shifted his weight to his other foot, wriggling his toes a little in his boots as he did. After all, it wouldn’t have been a good thing if he had to fight with frozen feet. He stood with his arms crossed over his chest, facing the side of the path as the town was on his left and the way out to his right. Thankfully for the SOLDIER, everything was quiet, and the only thing he was in charge of at that moment was making sure that the town was safe until the next shift rolled over.
It was probably four in the morning there in Nibelheim, and the time difference with Midgar was six hours, with Midgar being ahead in time. Which meant that it was probably about ten over there, so…
A grin began to spread on his face as he reached into his pocket for the small device when the crunching of gravel beneath feet caught his attention. To his surprise, the legendary silver-haired SOLDIER was walking towards him with an unreadable expression.
“Sephiroth,” Zack greeted him with a small nod. He blinked in confusion as the said man stopped just a few steps away from him. “Are we switching shifts already?”
“No, we’re not. But don’t worry,” Sephiroth replied with a slight smile. “You’re not in trouble. I was instructed to give this to you at around this time which is why I’m here.”
Once again, Zack blinked in confusion as he watched him pull out a small white envelope from one of the pockets of his black leather trench coat and handed it over to him. He stared at it for a moment with furrowed brows, but took it in his own hand slowly.
“What’s this?” He asked, but didn’t really expect an answer.
“Happy Birthday.” Sephiroth greeted him with a ghost of a smile on his lips before turning slightly back towards the inn. “I’ll see you before we head for the Reactor.”
“Uh… thank you!” He called after him as he faded into the night. Looking back down to the letter, he scratched his head thoughtfully as he examined both sides. The dim light from a lamppost nearby was barely enough to see anything written on it, so he made his way over as guesses to what was inside ran through his mind.
‘Did Sephiroth just give me a birthday card?’ Zack thought as he stood directly underneath the light and saw that it was blank on the outside. With a shrug, he opened the envelope slowly and retrieved the folded sheet of paper.
Good morning! I’m sorry if you had to wake up early just to read this, especially since you probably need the rest for a mission. If you received this letter from Sephiroth, please give him my thanks. (I probably annoyed him too much to convince him to pass it on to you.)
I want to wish you a very happy birthday, even if I can’t be there to spend it with you. Heck, I can’t even get you anything, or make you cake! But when you come back to Midgar, it will definitely be here waiting for you, as will I.
From all the gifts you’ve given me from the two, almost three years that we’ve been together, I’ve never been able to find the right present to give in return. You’re so nice to me, Zack… I feel like I don’t deserve to have someone like you. Yet we’re still together, and sometimes I wonder how you can put up with me…
Zack smiled at the adorable smiley face that she drew with its tongue sticking out.
Just writing this letter makes me miss you even more, and you’re not even gone yet when I wrote this! But I do hope that you’ll be careful while you’re there. I can always turn on the television to see what the weather is like there in Nibelheim, so don’t you dare forget to make sure that you don’t catch a cold. And don’t you dare try and tell me that “SOLDIERs are too cool to get colds”, not just because it’s a “punny” retort, but because you can catch a cold.
I’ll really miss you when you’re gone. But I just know, that somehow, everything’s gonna fall right into place and by the time that I’ll miss you too much, you’ll be back. If only time flew like a dove, ‘cause you’d already be back here with me.
I didn’t want to make you feel homesick while you’re on this mission, though. Especially on your birthday! So now I’m going to start doing what you always tell me to do and talk positive for once. I sure hope that you’ll take my advice as well. We can’t give up! So let’s just keep looking up.
Was that positivity good enough for you? I hope it was.
I can’t think of any other way that isn’t too cheesy to say it, but I love you, Zack Fair. I can’t imagine what I would be like if I had never met you that day, and I’m glad that that is not how things are today. I know I ask for favours too much, but this is the only one that I’d want you to keep:
Never forget that I love you in a way that no one else will ever be able to.
And I’ll always remember the same.
Please, please take care, Zack. Not just your “pretty face”, but your entire being.
Oh — except for your heart. I’ve got it safe here with me.
Your number one fan,
P.S. - Let's make it last forever.
To think that he was very homesick before reading it… it had gotten worse after. But he couldn’t help but to smile. Folding it back to the way it was carefully and slipping it back into the envelope, Zack held the two ends with both hands. He could imagine her, sitting at her desk as she wrote with [Hair Colour] bangs hanging over her face as she was too busy focusing on the words.
Yes, the weather was getting more and more frigid by the second, and his uniform was sleeveless. But it didn’t bug him at all, as just the thought of her kept him warm.
“[Your Name],” he murmured to himself, smiling as wide as ever. “We’ll make it last forever.”