one passing night

the evening is spread out against the sky


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001: watch for me by moonlight
like a boss
findmyownreason wrote in onepassingnight
[The road, if it can be called a road, is narrow.  So narrow that it would be hard to walk along it facing forward instead of sideways.  To both sides there's a drop off that seems to go down forever, layers of shadows and tendrils of mist that float disturbingly deep in that darkness.  Mountains rise on either side, catching the moonlight and showing cracks of pale blue and silver white but they're too far away too touch, their forms jagged and sharp in the night.  The path winds and twists back on itself, crumbling at the edges, hairpin turns and broken snake backed twists, a giant's dropped spool of gray thread leading upward.  Always upward.  In the empty night something's creaking, like old wood, loose and dry, the protest of frayed rope a higher counterpoint even if there is no wood or rope to be seen.  Just the gravel path, the moonless sky pin pricked with stars and the foreboding guardian mountains.  The wind's cold and sharp as it washes through the pass, and it cuts on each inhale, stealing away the warmth of exhales and turning them to white clouds promising snow.  It's an empty world, alone and lonely, coming from darkness and vanishing into darkness again.

Until the vibrating roar of an engine.

It starts quiet but the rumbling growl grows in volume quickly.  Something's coming.  Fast.  There's a light like an approaching star, falling too fast to be real, switching back and forth on the back trail, light vanishing on the turns before glowing even bright with each new appearance.  There's the skid and slip of gravel falling down into the endless night, whispering against the sides of the road as it falls and the sound of the engine is a purr, a warning, an inevitability. 

Run? 

To where?

There's not even a side to step off to.

The approaching form takes shape, slick, sleek black gunmetal with the stars washing silver over it and it doesn't care, a wolf on tireless feet as it speeds out of the darkness.  Run, walk, stand and wait.  There's no difference to it and no slow in it's breakneck approach.  One moment it's there and then, suddenly, it's here.  There's a flash of gold, of blue and of eerie, misplaced green as the motorcycle roars straight through -

And Cloud Strife suddenly acquires a new passenger.  A new package.  PC it's been marked in Tifa's clear handwriting.  Precious Cargo.  It's his job to see it safely delivered and Fenrir's engine thrums as the bike leans and sways down that impossible, narrow forever road into night.  Cloud's body moves with the bike as if they're one and the same, taking the insane turns at an insane speed, sometimes shifting the bike so far on it's side to make a turn that it's a straight look all the way down into the mist and falling dark.  Against the cold, he's warm and as solid as the mountains that never seem to pass on either side.  But Fenrir's tires skid in the gravel and the wind doesn't like sharing the road with anyone else. 

Hang on tight.  It's going to be one hell of a ride.
]

ooc:: anyone up for a little midnight ride? I'm back and catching up so posts will be slow at the beginning but pick up as I go.  Feel free to be the one latched suddenly on to our intrepid delivery boy or come up with your own approach.  Just realize he's not slowing down.  Adults in the back, smaller kids in the front for the ride.  And with that in mind - Cloud's got a weakness for kids.  Feel free to age your characters down physically or even mentally for this.  Trust us - you're in good hands.  He's a
professional after all...

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[ The darkness is the thing that bothers her initially. It bothers her because she carries the guilt; all her stars in her world are gone save for hers. The darkness is a constant reminder of all the things that she couldn't save.

But, she continues following the straight and narrow path even if there's a fear of falling off the side. Not until she hears the loud revving of an engine in the far distance -- getting closer..

... closer...

and when she's scooped up unceremoniously, it takes her seconds, maybe even moments to realize that she's on the back of a motorcycle and clinging for dear life -- her long blonde pigtails jerking in the wind that's broken through just by the sheer speed of this rider. Usagi's eyes close just as quick as they open and every time she tries to open just one, he takes a steep turn and she shuts her eyes closed once again.
]

[she's... strong. At least if her grip around him is any indication for someone that slender, she's got a lot of strength in her arms. He certainly isn't going to have to worry about her falling off, he thinks as he takes another hairpin turn, leaning low and into the curve as Fenrir's tires skid and cling, scattering gravel that falls forever downward.

He doesn't know why she's his delivery or even remember where he's supposed to be taking her... but even if she wasn't marked PC he'd still keep her safe. Frail but strong, tiny but tenacious in her grip... it makes him want to keep her safe. So he lets go of Fenrir's handle with one hand as it hits a long straight stretch and bursts forward and he lays his gloved hand over her thin arms that are around him. His voice is soft but somehow it carries in the cold wind:]


It's all right. You're safe.

[ Big things come in tiny little packages. Anyone who knows Usagi can attest to that saying. She does force herself not to cry out in surprise at how he's speeding; a feat that's a lot harder than one would think. She doesn't want to fall, she doesn't want to fall, she doesn't want to fa- ]

....?

[ Even if she involuntarily flinches at another sharp turn, it doesn't stop the look of shock that falls on her face. She can hear his voice clear as day and feel his hand on her arms that are wrapped around his waist. Usagi doesn't know him but even still there's something in his voice that makes her heart flutter.

It's warm and she knows that feeling before. It's belief but moreover it's trust that this stranger wasn't going to let anything happen to her while they rode at insane speeds down the road. Suddenly, she's not afraid anymore and her hold relaxes. Just enough to be noticed but still firm and tight.
]

You're really good at driving, Mister.

[he feels the minute relaxing in the way she's holding him - he can breath now for instance - and, for just a moment, there's small, almost shy smile on his lips.

...she believes him...

All his life Cloud has wanted nothing but to be able to protect what he loves - what he feels should be protected. He's... failed at that more times than he can count. And he's gone through hell in the pursuit of being 'enough' to measure up to his own standards. He doesn't deserve anyone's trust in his abilities... but each time someone does anyway it tightens his resolve to not let them down. It... makes him feel as if there's still hope for him. That - maybe this time... maybe this time he'll be what they deserve.

He'll keep her safe. Nothing will hurt her while he's there. And he'll see her safely wherever it is she needs to go. Silently, his heart promises it. His gloved hand gives her pale arm a light squeeze before letting go to return to the handle and Fenrir roars forward like a bullet.

Her words, carrying impossibly just as easily as his did, however have the edges of his lips curving again and the vague stroke to his long abused male ego can't help but glow a little bit under her praise, the little boy inside him feeding off of the pride in his driving. His voice comes out a little gruff as he mercilessly squashes that but it's gruff with hints of embarrassment, not rough edged with anger.]


It's Fenrir. He knows how I want to move before I do.

[his chin ducks. Just a little, not enough to take his eyes off the road ahead as he leans into another turn.]

And... it's Cloud. I'm Cloud.

[ There's a lot of belief and hope she exudes. She could be considered naive for believing in a total stranger but at the end of it all, it was just Usagi being herself. But she could just tell that he knew how to control this mechanical machine.

It was almost like Haruka and how she drove; like the wind and at her own pace but she knew how to shift and shape to her surroundings. There was no way that anything wrong could happen as long as he stayed focused.
]

Your motorcycle is named Fenrir?

[ It's an interesting name. Foreign. But, Usagi's eyes glance down to look at it. She stares for moments and a small smile appears on her lips as she looks back up and straightens herself up so she can try to peek over Cloud's shoulder. ]

It fits! It's a nice name!

[ It's difficult for her to see the face of her driver -- what with all the turning and shifting. But, she does manage to see the slight upward curve of his lips until he lowers his head just slightly, a few of his spiky locks obscuring her view.

But before she's able to sit herself back down, she catches his name in the wind.
]

Usagi!

[ She answers back, voice bright and cheerful. ]

Mine's Usagi!

[She loves it.

The feeling of speed, the feeling of
freedom. She can let herself go, she can be carried and swept away the way she's always wanted to. Ami shakes her head, as if the wind running through her hair isn't enough.

After a few seconds of letting herself bask in the sensation, she opens her eyes and her voice is firm.]


Just who are you?

[And for that matter, an explanation of how she's come to be clinging on to his waist lest she fall, would be appreciated.]

What are you doing? [A kidnap?]

[he's aware the moment he's joined by someone else on Fenrir and he can tell it's a woman by the body pressed up against his back. He doesn't think, immediately, to wonder who she is or why she's there though. She's his delivery and it's his job to see her safely to her destination. That she doesn't talk right away doesn't seem strange. Just... comfortable. He's comfortable with silence and she seems that way too. He leans low into a curve, body pulling hers down with him naturally thanks to the arms around his waist. The wind rushes past and the stars overhead don't move in their icy sky.

Her question though has him slipping a glance over his shoulder at her from the corner of one blue eye before he focuses on the narrow road ahead again.]


Cloud. I'm taking you to the drop point.

[Cloud. In all the people she's met over so many different worlds, she's never met his alternates. Never known him. Why, then...?

It doesn't matter. Drop point? That's right; she has a package to deliver. The dream puts it into place in her mind. She nods, resulting in a slight nudge of her chin against Cloud's back.]


Get me there quickly. Even faster.

[This is entirely for her own sake, for the thrill of the speed.]

[he feels the brush of her chin, knows it's a nod and his own chin dips in imitation. Verifying that he understands. Her words however have his teeth showing and, if there's a bit of wolfishness to the movement, it's all right. He thinks it won't scare her. Ahead the narrow road straightens out and the gravel turns to packed soil. He can feel the pound of the pleasure of speed for speed's sake in his own veins and he leans low into the body of the beast he rides. Fenrir's engine roars to a higher pitch and there's a moment of stillness as it seems to gather itself.]

...hold on -

[and then there's an impact so strong it's almost a punch in the chest except it's not physical. The giant bike surges forward like a bullet fired from a gun and the world melts into streaks of gray and silver and black as it cuts through the wind itself.]

[The moment of impact makes Ami cough once as she tries to get her bearings afterward - still on the bike, still moving forward, still unharmed; it wasn't an accident, it was acceleration.

Then it's her turn for her grin to widen, the spark in her eyes to deepen. She lets out a laugh, loud enough to hear even over the engine in this close proximity.]


So you know how to ride after all!

Edited at 2011-05-23 08:03 am (UTC)

[he lets out a grunt of his own and it just might be stifling another, more amused sound as it comes. The sound of laughter, her laughter, has his own lips relaxing and shifting upward and it's like a bird winging next to them for him, free and forever able to soar.

There's not a lot of free laughter in his life and his soul feels the patter of a woman's laugh like water on parched ground.

The bike kicks up another notch in it's impossible speed, racing flat out now, in response to her challenge and the wind tears past like icy claws on the exposed skin, wild and feral. His voice is just as quiet and calm as ever though, even if that might just be a hint of dryness to it as he says:]


A little.

[and the bike plunges suddenly downward as the road shifts under it, Fenrir roaring forward into the dark like a monster made of the wind itself, treaded tires griping the road and leaving it torn in its wake as it races time itself.]

Hope this "drop off" is okay!

[ She's starting to recognize the pull of Passing dreams -- not all the time, but just enough that when this one comes she stops it. Almost.

Time may seem to slow to a crawl for Cloud temporarily, and if he's paying any attention to the sky at all, he'll notice a bundle of pink and red overhead, nearly on top of him.

Aerith falls gently, more slowly than one ever should in reality, right behind Cloud on the motorcycle, sitting sideways. The moment she's on, the speed of time and everything else returns to normal. She quickly wraps her arms around his waist to hold on.

Also completely normal? The incessant giggling at Cloud's back, even as the wind whips sound away. ]

[he feels the way the world around him slows down, the way everything seems to pause in it's breath, and his head comes up just in time to catch a softly falling blur of pink and red. His blue eyes have a moment to blink as it registers - and then the world snaps back into place around him and the wind is a howl in his ears as Fenrir roars forward under him.

...and a soft form is pressed close against his back making a sound like music in an abandoned music hall.

His breath leaves him in a slow exhale that seems to steal every tight line of tension from him and her name comes with it:]


...Aerith...

[ She's pleased with herself for the little trick, even if it's only a dream. But the slow breath and the relaxation get her attention before he says her name, and the giggles quiet down as she looks up at what she can see of his face.

... And then beyond him, to the vast blackness of the night sky ... that with the whipping wind, knowing how fast they're going -- it makes her feel so small. She ducks her head against his shoulder blades again, filling her view with dark fabric. Cloud knows where they're going. ]


It figures you'd get a big old monster bike. [ Her slight trepidation about the scenery doesn't show in her amused tone. Cloud's macho tendencies are never safe from her teasing. ] Does it have a name, too?

I figure he's guilt wallowing enough in the other post, we'd give them both a break from it here ;)

[he knows, vaguely, that he's supposed to feel guilty for something. And he also knows that, for some reason he can't remember, he hasn't seen Aerith in a long time and he's missed her. But, for this dream at least, the 'why' of all of that is a vague blur and his mind is content with leaving it there. Her arms around him feel good and right and so does her warmth against his back. It's as if something's back in place again that had been missing before. When she teases him, his lips twitch. His voice is low but it caries in the wind somehow anyway.]

Tifa got it for me.

[yep. It was entirely her fault. Not as if he found it and asked her for the trade for it before she'd ever seen it herself or anything... nope. Entirely Tifa's fault.]

His name's Fenrir.

She's spoiling you!

[ It's shouted to Cloud with no small bit of astonishment, considering how expensive the bike looks. And she'd once thought she was being spoiled, asking for so many flower carts from Zack.

... He would have loved this bike. She shakes her head to herself, and then puts one hand on the motorcycle's frame, the other still wrapped around Cloud. ]


Nice to meet you, Fenrir. Be good and listen to Cloud, okay? For this ride I'm counting on both of you.

[ Her voice, directed downward, projects less in Cloud's direction, but it's still easy to tell she's talking, and what to. ]

and then, because I am a doofus

[ ooc: seriously if you want just one go ahead and tell me, but. it was very tempting! ]

[ THUMP.

... Someone oughta tell Tifa that Fenrir may hold two, but Barret pretty much makes up the two on his own. Hope you don't mind a much bigger back pressed against yours, Cloud. Barret's not got a clue how he got there, but when he looks over his shoulder and sees blond spikes he just grunts. ]


Yo, Mr. Leader! Where the hell we heading now?!

but - but - Cloud loves doofuses! being one himself and all...

[Tifa has a weird sense of humor labeling Barret PC. But Cloud already knew that about her. Having the huge man behind him makes him glad that Fenrir's such a big bike and not one of those tiny things he sees the kids zipping around on. It also makes him rethink his decision to not wait to leave until Barret's truck could get delivered. The loud greeting and question however have the very edges of his lips shifting upward and it's a mix between an honest smile - and an honest smirk. His first raid on a ShinRa reactor had been just the two of them setting the bomb - somehow it seemed fitting it was just the two of them again. He still scoffed. Not about to get sentimental on the other man.]

Reactor at Fort Condor is turning out monsters even though it's supposed to be shut down. We get to shut it down for good. Seems they think we've got some experience in that area or something.

but does he like bears in marshmallows?

Hehehe ... [ Unlike most of what Barret does, his laughs aren't all that loud. In fact, his chuckles are just low enough that people have found them creepy before. He can't help finding it funny that the terrorists' service has been requested. ]

Maybe we do. Least one of us was payin' attention during the missions!

[ One of us was being a space case ]

they're his favorite kind of bear

[Barret does have a creepy laugh and yet Cloud, used to it, finds it reassuring. It means the larger man is enjoying, or anticipating more often enjoying, something. As the tires of the bike meet harder packed earth as the narrow path gives way to more open a more open plain, Cloud understands.

He's looking forward to this too.

Barret's observation however earns a snort and Cloud shrugs.]


Hard to pay attention to anything with all the lecturing you were doing at the time.

what about grizzlies?

[ He is. Barret's got that tightly wound anger in him that's barely restrained -- has to be. The "PC" is written on his palm as well to match Cloud's delivery list, but this time not in Tifa's handwriting; a child's scrawl. Looking at it reminds him of the reason he keeps himself from going on a self-destructive rampage.

Still, sometimes he just wants to tear things apart. Luckily monsters and reactors are acceptable targets. So you bet your ass he's looking forward to this. ]


Hnf. Can't do anything with you.

[ ... Of course, just because Barret tries to stay alive doesn't mean at all that he plays it safe. As evident when he gets impatient. ]

Hey, how long's it take to get there?! Can't you hurry this thing up?!

Back tag? What's a back tag I've never even heard of it-

[For a few moments there, Roxas thought that he was about to be run down. The dream is detailed enough that he's confused for a few moments, unsure if this one has symbolic meaning to himself and no one else- but no. Roxas has a great grip, but he's lithe, a person made for speed less than power. And so he's up the front, hands clenched tightly around the curve of the seat before his thighs as he tries to swallow his heart back down his throat.]

[He's never been on any mode of transportation aside from a train, didn't even know something as horrifying as this could be created, and his eyes are wide against his own wishes as he tenses at each turn, a small noise of misery escaping into the wind.]

[If he ever saw one of these things in his waking moments, he was going to. Kick it. Push it over and stomp away like a little kid who hasn't had his way, because this is probably one of the more genuinely terrifying moments of his existence. Roxas doesn't have the guts to look behind him and view the person driving, but he lets his thoughts be known with a mildly hysterical shout.]


This is insane!

Edited at 2011-05-28 12:24 pm (UTC)

psh! backtag. I don't see no stinkin' backtag

[The form in front of him is vaguely Denzel size, maybe just a little bigger. And, as far as he can tell, it's hanging on like a leech to the front of Fenrir's seat. It makes the edges of his lips twitch and he has to clear his throat at the shout to hide his amusement.

Yes. Yes, it is Roxas. That's why he loves it.

He's still not big on scaring kids - well, not for long at least, and so he shifts a little bit. Not much, not enough to crowd, but enough so that his chest and arms form more of a shelter around the smaller body, close enough to be a physical protective presence without being too far in the kid's personal space. His voice is low and calm.]


It's okay, kid. I won't let you fall.

there was no stinkin' backtag =n=

[This is crazy. And so is the person behind him, Roxas must assume, considering that they seem completely at ease with the current goings on. He would have found Cloud's words a bit more irritating if he was actually listening, instead its more of a murmur to his ears, accentuated with the way Cloud's body shifts around him in a protective motion.]

[At the very least, he can conclude that the guy isn't actually trying to kill him, and that's always a positive.]


Where are we going? [A pause- he has to take a few moments to catch and expel another breath through the wind, the air moving thick and fast around them.] Who are you?

[he'd slow the bike down, except part of taking the thin turns and the side-winding track is that the faster he goes the less chance the rest of the world has to realize what a heavy bike Fenrir is. It may not make sense scientifically but if it works, it works and Cloud will let science catch up later. He's also not about to let the body in front of him come to harm in any way.

Heart attacks not included.]


I'm taking you home.

[because where else do you take kids? And after a pause he'll add:]

I'm Cloud.

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