one passing night

the evening is spread out against the sky


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002. there's no place like home
fenrir spells freedom
findmyownreason wrote in onepassingnight
It's one of those absolutely beautiful days when the sky outside is clear blue for a change instead of grey and the rain from the night before actually cleaned things instead of adding to the layer of grime.  Outside, the people passing on the street don't seem quite as in a rush or beat down as usual and there's a feeling of faint relief in the air, almost as if you can inhale deeply and it will be okay.  Down one of the quieter streets, there's a building with a sign over its front door that proudly proclaims itself to be Seventh Heaven.  The door's locked and the sign on it reads 'closed'... but just to the side of the building, tucked away and private, is a little garage attached to the side of the building.  That door is wide open to let the fresh spring air into its cramped interior.

It's a small space and a great deal of it is taken up with stacked boxes and bits and pieces of things that might be useful items or just might be junk.  There's a washing machine and dryer tucked into one corner and that area is the only neat one in the entire place.  A child's bike and a faded ball lay near the front of the open garage door.  What takes up most of the space however is a monster of a motorcycle, glistening black as a beetle's shell after a rain storm and even parked it looks like speed on wheels.  The air is full of the smell of oil and wax and a hint of gasoline.  And there's a long, lean pair of legs sticking out from under the back of the bike where it's been cranked up, the soft sounds of metal on metal coming dimly from underneath.  There's a tool chest nearby and a decent amount of dirty rags to show that this has been an ongoing process.  Somewhere back through the closed door on the wall that connects this with the rest of the house the faint sound of a radio can be heard playing.  The body attached to the legs under the bike might, or might not, be humming - poorly - snatches of whatever song it is that's playing.

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after much deliberation! timeskip for this is Princess Mercury, past life <3

[There's an intruder. Quiet footsteps. The swish of a long, elegant gown; too soft to hear over the noise, likely.

She doesn't know why she's here, or how she got here, as she picks her way carefully through the garage. Finally, she calls out:]


I apologize for intruding. Is someone there?

[The girl, once seen, is instantly recognizable as Ami; all the same features and build and even the same dark hair. But somehow the eyes aren't unnaturally dark right now, the gown suits royalty out of a history book, and the sigil of planet Mercury on her forehead doesn't quite seem like a tattoo.]

Edited at 2011-06-28 07:09 am (UTC)

[he hears the rustle of fabric and it's not the soft leather of Tifa's clothes. It's not the kids because they move too fast to 'softly' anything. So he's already sliding out from under Fenrir on the dolly when she speaks. His blue eyes therefor move from her feet upward and he's already starting to look confused when his eyes finally hit her face. There's a pause. And a blink. And then he's sitting up, pulling a knee up so he can rest his arm over it as he asks:]

Ami?

Ami?

[For a moment, she looks confused. The name resounds inside her somehow, but she doesn't connect it to herself right now. It's not even her. Not yet. It's her next time.

Mercury stays where she is, a show of deference to the owner of the place she's unwittingly trespassed. She smooths out her expression, maintaining her dignity, every inch the girl born and bred to palaces and the life at court.]


Please allow me to introduce myself. I am the Princess Mercury. [She glances downward, but does not sink into the curtsy that might be expected in normal circumstances - not when she quietly notes she happens to be standing near a small oil stain on the floor.]

the world needs more 'cloud in greasy clothes' images

[he's got... he's got a princess. In his garage.

For a second his eyebrows go up and he's got to resist the urge to look around for Marlene - who would absolutely trample him to be able to see a real life princess. And - she is. There's no doubt about it. He's never seen a princess in his life but every inch of her, from the clothes to the way she holds herself to the look in her eyes... she's a princess all right.

A princess that looks exactly like a girl he's friends with.

So... twin? Or maybe a different side of her? Cloud's familiar enough with not being himself that he can fathom that a little.]


Sorry.

[he stands up, using the already dirty rag over his shoulder to wipe at his bare hands. The simple dark blue t-shirt he's wearing is just as holey and grease smeared.]

You look like someone I know. Is there something I can help you with?

[This is Mercury's past, an even deeper past than the child Cloud met once before. She smiles blandly, politely, ill at-ease despite herself in the unfamiliar surroundings and especially with an unfamiliar person.]

The truth is, I came here by accident. Could you-

[She falters; it's asking a lot of a stranger, and she's not sure what to ask for even if she could ask for help. Directions to a transporter? It was better, if he didn't seem to know who she was, not to reveal her ties to the Moon Kingdom. Not if this, as she suspected by its sheer difference, was Earth.]

Could you forgive my intrusion. Is it alright if I stay a little while? [Until she can figure out how to get back. She glances towards the motorcycle.] I would avoid interfering in your work, of course.

[ He's still in Midgar, of course, but this place...

...he can't remember how he arrived here, this alley that he can't recognize the way to or from, certainly not right off. Walking slowly past the strange, worn down building with the large number seven on its sign -- which, upon closer inspection, is twined 'round with the words "Seventh Heaven" -- Cloud takes it all in.

Stranger still is the fact that he's not in his MP uniform, not entirely, instead wearing a familiar looking black tee, green pants. His helmet is tucked under one arm for reasons that he can't fathom, given that if he had to take something along, it would be his rifle, wouldn't it?

And perhaps the strangest thing of all is that --

He doesn't find any of it all that strange. Not really. ]


Hello? [ And he's stepping into the open garage now, pausing as he catches sight of a couple of long legs stretched out from behind what is undoubtedly the largest bike he has ever seen. One foot (bare) absently taps against the floor in time to the radio. (A bit off-beat, though.) ]

Uh... sir? Think you could give me directions to Shin-Ra's headquarters from here?

[Cloud hears the bootsteps but he's in the middle of loosening up a bolt and everyone knows he's not the most responsive anyway so he doesn't slide out from under Fenrir immediately. Instead, he finishes what he was doing first, piece of metal falling with satisfying weight into his palm before he pushes himself out from under the bulk of metal, careful not to knock his head against it when he sits up, wiping his hands on the already oily cloth he had across his stomach. The wrench dangles from his other hand and he uses it to gesture vaguely in one direction.]

What's left of it is -

[and then the words dry up in his throat and he can only blink suddenly large blue eyes at the person he's finally focused on enough to see in the entrance.

Spiky blond hair. Pale skin. Sky blue eyes. And a grunt's helmet tucked under his arm as if it's the most natural thing in the world...

Damn.

He's talking to himself.

Again.

He thought he was over that.

Tifa's going to worry if she finds out...

Off balance, he can only finish with:]


- closer to the middle of town.

[ Now, see, that's something that gives him pause, sends a jolt of shock from his crown to the tip of his toes, toes that stumble back a bit as Cloud's eyes widen at the sight of that first blond spike. Strange, completely strange, and he feels it too this time, jarred out of his previous lull by the plain fact that the man who's slid out from under the bike is, well. Him. Except... older. Stronger. Impossible. Cloud's mouth falls open, and the first thought that hits him is,

I look good with that bike.

Part of his consciousness hesitates and then gives his brain something of a metaphorical poke, as if telling it to come up with something else, please. Obligingly, the second thought to hit him hastily is the far more rational, This can't be real. His mouth stays open.]


I... meant more specific directions from... wait-- [ A shake of his head as he takes a couple steps forward, stumbling over nothing, to peer closer. ] What's left of it?

[ What he should be asking is, "How is this happening?" ]

[he watches himself move and it's the strangest thing. One of the strangest things. Because - he can remember that. That... being all arms and legs. He can remember it because it used to be him.

When his eyes weren't green tinted...

He's so busy watching himself in a kind of stunned shock that he almost misses the question and when it does hit, he has to blink a little bit in response.

Since when did one of his hallucinatory fractions ask him questions like that?]


I -

[damn. He rubbed at the back of his neck and shook his head. He could do this.

Whatever this was...

But he could roll with this. It wouldn't be the first time he'd talked to himself. And if he did it right - maybe he wouldn't still be standing there when Tifa came back with the kids.]


It's been mostly gone for two years now.

[ She's just leisurely walking along. Though why she's walking along in some place that only ever so vaguely reminds her of half a dozen other places she has no idea. But it's calm and such a pretty day that her mind doesn't do much pondering on it all.

She keeps walking until she hears music. It's quiet enough around her that it stands out. She walks toward it, picking up her pace just slightly when she's close enough to smell what reminds her of the engine room back on Serenity. ]

[Cloud's already taken care of the big things and he's about to start on the oil. Working on Fenrir helps him unwind. It soothes the worried and fears and dark swirls in his head. He needed today to just retreat to his 'cave' as Tifa calls it and do this. Tucked comfortably up under the bike one of his hands ventures out, feeling for the wrench he knows he left somewhere in that vicinity.]

[ She cautiously stands in the doorway and looks around. Now this is somewhere she could stay holed up in for a long time. It puts a smile on her face - well, a bigger one than she usually has as her default expression - and she's just itching to get her hands on things.

Speaking of hands. She sees one poking out from under a type of vehicle she's never seen before, though it vaguely reminds her of the mule. She also sees a wrench close by. Ah! She walks over, careful of where she steps, picks up the wrench and nudges the searching hand with it. ]


Here ya go!

[he doesn't jerk upward because he heard the approaching footsteps but he does still blink at the sudden weight of the wrench in his hand where he's still hidden under the bike. That voice... he doesn't recognize. His fingers do close around the tool but he also stops what he was doing to slide the dolly out from under Fenrir and, lying on his back, blink up at the new arrival in his garage.

She's new.

And there's something about her smile that... makes his lips want to mimic it...

Instead he blinks up at her again and, not upset so much as puzzled, responds with a:]


Thanks.

[ She smiled in response. ] This is a real nice ride ya got.

Oh Clooooud~ Say hi to future!Usagi :D

[ In all actuality, Serenity sticks out of the crowd like a sore thumb. In the muted colors of the city, she is clean and pristine. The skirt of her dress flows behind her, it's color bright like the Moon in the sky. But still, she moves through the city streets, glad that no one asks from whence she came from while she explores the new territory she's found herself in.

Adventure is a bone in her body that, even with age, has not disappeared it seems.

One more street and she finds herself passing by the Seventh Heaven. She notes the 'Closed' sign on the door and continues onward, turning in so that she's finally where the dreamer of this elaborate city is. Serenity almost walks by, glancing only briefly inside the small garage, but the motorcycle is what stops her. That bike... she knows that bike. Blue eyes slowly gaze down to the long pair of legs under the grand machine and she can't help but let a smile spread across her lips. Without a doubt in her mind, she steps in gracefully and stops until she's at Cloud's feet.

Serenity waits a moment before she finally crouches down, proping an elbow onto her knee and holding up her chin gracefully, waiting for him to hum an off key tune before she clears her throat to get his attention.
]

lol - adorable icon - I'm still deciding which timeline version of Cloud I want to sent to the moon

[he's not so far gone that he doesn't hear the light pad of footsteps. But he's also comfortable enough here that it doesn't set off any warning bells and so he lets it fade into the back of his head while he works a bolt loose with controlled strength. It drops into his palm just as he hears the throat clearing and he stops the humming he still isn't aware he was doing, sliding the dolly out from under the giant bike. Flat on his back, blue eyes blink up at the woman in his garage in surprise.

She looks... different. And yet - the same too.]


Usagi?

I'm letting you know right now, Serenity may troll younger Cloud in that post. 83c

[ She's not as small as she used to be, although that's not saying much. Usagi had probably grown a few inches before becoming Serenity -- her body more curvy and fuller as the dress accentuates. But the biggest difference is the small golden crescent moon easily viewed on her forehead. The symbol of her heritage that she will not hesitate to show. It's part of who she is and there is no shame in it.

When he calls her out by her old name, she can't help but let a smile spread on her lips. Perhaps she'll correct him. Perhaps not. Who knows?
]

Good afternoon, Cloud.

lol - he totally deserves the trolling - just forgive what are going to be terrible manners from him

[his pale brows jerk upward momentarily and he slowly sits up. The once over he gives her is obvious and slow, taking in the dainty shoes and the flowing dress all the way up to the moon on her forehead and the reassuring buns on top of her head. But more than anything he notices the change in her eyes. One of his knees comes up and he rests an arm over it, still watching her as if he's waiting for something that's going to tip him off as to what's going on. His blue eyes go back to hers.]

That's new.

[and he's so non-specific about what he's talking about it could just cover everything]

Serenity can handle bad manners don't you worry about a thing. >83

[ Calmly, she just tilts her head a little more when she notices that he's inspecting her appearance and hums softly when he makes his vague statement. Serenity's eyes take note at just how dirty he looks, but it doesn't bother her. Not one bit because this is the Cloud she knows.

Oh? What's new?

[ Going to play coy as her features sparkle with amusement because he has no idea why she's so different but so the same. ]

good girl, give him what for!

[you haven't tried to hug me yet...

It's the first thing that blurts to mind but it's also the last thing he'd say so there's only a blink to mark the fleeting thought and then he's looking at her more closely, slight frown on his face. After a minute, he firmly decides:]


The shoes are new.

[the blue eyes that raise to hers may or may not hold just the hint of amusement in them]

...I kept thinking about this timeskip and then I had to try it >_>

[ Aerith's steps are so light that it may seem sometimes she's making no sound at all, as though she stepped in the dream with only an afterthought that she should be present in something she's experiencing. Her dress ghosts back and forth as she strolls around Fenrir, a smile obvious in her voice. One of surprised relief. ]

Looks like I came to the right place.

[ However, if Cloud moves to look at her, he'll find her studying the opposite side of the garage. With interest, of course, but there are other reasons to face away. ]

[he's got good ears. Really good ears. He relies on them almost more than his eyes sometimes. So it's a surprise to hear a footfall, almost too soft to be more than his imagination, in the middle of his garage. His grip tightens on the wrench in his hand and he's already reaching up with his other to push himself out from under Fenrir when he hears -

her voice.

Everything in him goes still and he forgets to breathe. After a long moment - much slower than his original intent, he pushes the dolly out from under the bike, throat a little tight. His subconscious has grounded this dream so deeply in reality for him that he's sure he's awake. Which means - his voice comes out quiet and a little weak and he doesn't sit up or try to look at her just yet.]


Aerith?

well if this is his reaction kid!Aerith might have broken him XD

[ He's surprised. And that means -- she knows in these dreams people can meet from all sorts of different times and she's not sure just what that means. Does he remember that she told him everything would be all right? Then again, it didn't really matter if he didn't. Because this is just a dream ... in the morning, he might not remember this either. This was more for herself than him. Because in the morning, "Aerith" ...

At least he remembered her clearly. If he recognized her voice that quickly -- it's the little bit of encouragement she needs to look over her shoulder at him, trusting in his memory of her. ]


That's my name ~ [ and what follows is ad-libbed, but when she talks so easily, it almost really sounds like she's just casually passing through. ] I heard there was a good delivery guy here. Really, really good. He brings me things way up north from my mom and he doesn't even charge her that much for it. I thought I should say "thank you" while I was here. He's not too busy for a visit, is he?

awww, kid!Aerith sounds adorable - and probably would have broken his brain - but cutely!

[the guilt washes in and for a moment it almost drowns him as he's lying there on his back, looking at the ceiling. She shouldn't be here, casual among all the mundane marks of day to day life - and yet... she deserves to be here. Deserves to have her own mundane marks of day to day life - the one she was supposed to live. The one she would be living if only he'd -

If only he'd been enough.

Elmyra always insists on paying for the flowers he brings to the lake. Even though he never charges her. He always feels guilty for taking her money the same way he took away her daughter. He spends it on the kids because it's the only thing that seems right.

His voice comes out soft and a little thick, answering her question.]


No.

[he knows he should offer more, say something, make conversation - but his mind is spiraling and he can't think of anything to say despite having so much to tell her.]

Edited at 2011-07-07 10:54 pm (UTC)

[ "No." With the pause and how nearly broken it sounds, she almost thinks it's a denial, a sign that he wants to be left alone, until she replays how she phrased the question in her head. Not to be left alone, then -- which is good, because she's not sure she could have done that anyway. ]

Great. [ She spins around on her feet, approaching him by Fenrir. She crouches down and lights her hands on the dolly, gently pushing it back and forth. Simple things become novelties again when your memories of those mundane things unravel, but rather than focus on it, she looks to meet Cloud's eyes. ] Hmm, now ... where to start? We should say "hi" and ask each other how we've been. But you don't need to ask, because I've been just fine. I've been spreading flowers in the wasteland around Midgar; I don't think you've seen them yet, but try to keep your eyes peeled when you're on delivery! The earth is slowly healing. It makes me happy.

So now I'll ask: how are you, Cloud?

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