one passing night

the evening is spread out against the sky


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[007 ☿] Dream a little dream
young ami ♥ carousel
waterfell wrote in onepassingnight
[It's been a rainy dream, as Mizuno Ami (aged seven) walks home. Her backpack looks quite plump and full, probably due to the extra books she brings to have something to focus on during lunch.

Some things distract even her.

Ami hops across a few small puddles then, after a quick thought to decide it's alright, she hops across a much larger one. She sails through the air- and clears her target! All dry. She giggles in satisfaction.

The rain has stopped by now and there's a playground nearby, where the ground and equipment are somehow dry enough to use. Ami has a long time before Mama will be home, and she knows the people who live around here and play at this spot.

She can finish her homework after dinner (and she really will). Right now, she really wants to play. She climbs carefully into the seat of one of the swings, which turns out to be a touch too high for her and she pumps her legs but barely gets up momentum.

She might need a little help. She could also use a friend to play with.]

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have a slightly older Cloud, post Dirge

[he's standing in a playground and it might be Edge, except it looks less cluttered than Edge does. The concrete feel of the place is the same though. The air has that 'after rain' taste to it and the puddles attest to that too. It's a clean, safe feeling and he lets his feet take him forward. Feels like a Dream. Not his though... someone else's. The water gives him a hint but he's willing to wait and see.

His footsteps bring him to a playground and he's not surprised to see that there's a little girl on one of the swings. Or by the fact that, otherwise, the place is empty and devoid of people. He'll watch the little legs swing determinedly for a moment and then, still standing at the entrance, he'll softly ask:]


Would you like some help with that?

[In the dream, something of their meetings seems to carry over because she treats him like she might one of her mother's friends instead of a stranger. Ami comes to a complete stop before she answers, which only takes a moment, and answers very seriously.]

I can't go very high by myself on this swing. Could you push me, please?

[her response has his lips softening and relaxing into a quiet smile and he steps forward. She's only very small but he thinks he recognizes her anyway and so he'll pause in front of her, sinking to rest on his heels so that they're eye level.]

You're Ami, aren't you?

[Ami nods her head very seriously.]

My name is Mizuno Ami.

[he'd thought so. He's learned to recognize the feel of her dreams. So he'll give her a soft smile and straighten up. Gentle, he'll rest a hand on top of her head, half stroke, half reassuring touch. Then he'll move back to the back of the swing and slide his hands up the chain to get a good grip.]

And I'm Cloud. Hang on tight, okay?

I will! I promise!

[Ami tightens her grip and shifts her seat excitedly.]

[she's young and innocent and it makes him smile to see her that way. But he can already see the touches of seriousness in her that will grow as she gets older, dancing in and out of her mischievous nature. With that in mind, he draws the swing slowly backward, further and further. She's handing on tightly though and he's keeping an eye on her as she shifts higher and higher in the sky. When he lets go, gravity does the work, plunging her forward and then upward. As situations go, even for a playground, it's not the least bit dangerous if she's hanging on but he suspects she'll like the little rush and risk of it all the same. When the swing comes back, his hands are there to simply give it the soft push that will let her keep her momentum going.]

[The seriousness will become hardness and coldness; the mischief will come to border on maliciousness. But right now, she's simply Ami: a normal girl who happens to be bright and have a dream to become to a doctor.]

Kyah! [It's such a great feeling, the suddenness of the unexpected motion; like going to the amusement park with Mama and Papa and going on all the rides she's brave enough to try.]

I'll fall! [She doesn't sound convinced of this; in fact, she's still grinning.]

[he listens to her sound of pleasure and it only makes his own quiet smile grow. It's good to hear her so carefree, enjoying herself without the shadows of the past to try to catch at her ankles and drag her backward. A quiet chuckle escapes him and he gives the swing another careful push to keep her soaring without jarring her in her perch.]

You're too clever for that, Ami. But if you do start to slip - I'll catch you.

[Some part of her wants to test it, jump off to see if he really catches her. But if she does that, and he isn't there, she'd be hurt.]

Do you promise?

[even so young, there are still some traits she'll never lose. He's been dream walking long enough that he feels safe enough to tell her:]

Test me and see, Ami.

[But... but she's nervous to. She's not sure she wants to know the answer.

But even without knowing him, something of the feelings she has carry over: She might even be able to say she trusts him.]


I'm coming!

[She swings once, twice more and lets go. It's not so high that she'll be hurt if she does fall, but she's heading towards Cloud and trust.]

[as long as he's physically able, he would never betray any child's trust in him, much less Ami's when he knows what that would one day cost her. So he's already ready when she flies free of the swing and he touches the dream just enough to slow things the slightest. Not enough to jar and he doesn't need to, but it makes it softer for her as he steps forward and opens his arms wide for her. Her little body impacts with his and he cushions it, catching her close in his arms and wrapping her tight. And the sheer pleasure of the act of her trust wins quiet laughter out of him as he spins, keeping her close and protected against his chest as he comes to a stop. His voice is soft and warm and happy as he answers:]

And I've got you.

[Ami finds herself wrapped in the unexpected hug, and finds it pleasant. Warm, safe, reassuring. It reminds her of Mama and Papa a little. She hugs Cloud back, an impulsive gesture, and only lets go to carefully tuck a strand of hair back away from where it had fallen into her eyes.]

Is it alright if I want to do it again?

[he won't set her down unless she shifts as if that's what she wants, holding her easily tucked safely seated in the crook of his arm. She's probably too old to be held but he'll steal the moment while she's distracted.]

Mm.

[there's one of his throat noises and the brief head dip that signals agreement. He's got all the time in the world and Ami is precious to him. Spending it making her happy is a good way to spend it.]

As long as I'm here, I'll catch you every time.

[Yep, just like Mama and Papa. Ami's lucky, really.]

Just one more time! [It'd be rude to keep asking all afternoon.] One more time.

One more time.

[he'll set her down gently, waiting until he's sure she's steady on her feet before letting go. Once she does, he'll take just a minute to watch her before smiling softly and moving back to his position at the swing. Even after everything he's been through, all the growing up he's done in the recent years, Cloud still always feels closer to children than adults, as if the understanding between them is clearer. He'll wait until she's settled, drawing it out just a moment to let her anticipate and then he'll take the chains of the swing in his hands again and ask:]

Ready?

[Ami grabs on tightly enough to leave an imprint on her hand before giving the go-ahead.]

Ready!

[his smile grows and, sure that she's hanging on, he again repeats the process, pulling the swing back and back and back before letting it fall forward and wing it's way upward. A few easy pushes let her soar even higher.]

[Higher, higher; it seems important to get away, to soar, to fly. Of course, it isn't flight; but it's as close as she can come, and she loves it for that.

She loves it more for what's about to happen next. When she reaches as high as she's comfortable with, she calls out for Cloud.]


I'm jumping, I'm jumping!

[her little voice is like music and he relaxes, already shifted into position and waiting for her. He opens his arms for her.]

I'm here.

[She jumps right into Cloud's arms again and laughs. This is the best. She's not in any hurry to be put down, so she doesn't wiggle at all, half-afraid he'll put her down if she does.]

Got you.

[he catches her easily, she's even aiming for him this time, and wraps her close in his arms again. Even now, so far along in his life, he still has issues with touch, both craving it and shying away from it. But he's never had any barriers when it comes to children and this one is precious to him. So he holds her cradled against him as if he can keep out the entire world with the barrier of his arms and he doesn't move to set her down if she doesn't indicate that's what she wants. Instead he briefly tucks his face to rest his chin against the top of her head for just a moment before straightening and turning so they can both see the empty swing still swaying.]

You got pretty high that time.

[She won't be the same until later, when she'll be just as shy of touch at her best and when uninvited touch will be almost guaranteed to make her lash out still later. It's hard to let someone close enough to do it.

Right now, though, it's much easier to accept. She may not be the most huggable still, but she can accept it as something pleasant, without stiffening or flinching. She looks back at the swing.]


Did I go even higher than last time? [She thinks she did, but she needs outside confirmation! Rigorous testing and all that.]

[with a thoughtful noise Cloud will tuck one arm so that it supports her and walk over to the swing. With his free hand he'll measure a point on the pole of the swingset and then again another that's a bit higher up on it. Brows down at the seriousness of it, he'll nod.]

Almost a whole hand higher the second time. You must have lost weight between the first and the second try if you got that much higher.

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