one passing night

the evening is spread out against the sky


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003. the strength of the Wolf is the Pack
like a boss
findmyownreason wrote in onepassingnight
It's a meadow, surprisingly bright and green and the heat of an early spring sun is just beginning to warm the air.  The grass is tall and green and there are almost more flowers than blades of grass in the area, riots of bright color and pure white hanging in delicate bells or open bursts of petals.  Listening there's the faint drone of bees somewhere nearby, busy with their pollen and even fainter the hint of a stream somewhere, quick with the melt of snow from the mountains that take up the not that distant horizon.  Weathered, stunted trees form a wood of sorts nearby, full of cool shade and the old smells of moss and bracken and last years fallen leaves.  And Cloud -


Cloud is hard to find.


Until you notice the ears above the grass.  Or perhaps a stray breeze blows by and you catch the ripple of gray fur between the swaying blades.  He's lying on his stomach, chin resting across his arms and he's...


Well, he's a wolf.  Grey and furry and lean muscle with eyes the color of the waters off Costa del Sol.  And at the moment, he's watching the whispy clouds overhead, one ear twitching absently at a nearby bird that's trying to decide if he's invading it's nest space or not.

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sdlkjlskdds hi! and omg awesome post XD

The open meadow isn't where she'd normally choose to be herself, but it's not unpleasant; in fact, she actually smiles as she realizes she's surrounded by the flowers.

She only takes a quick look to be sure no one can see it before she takes off running across the field, half ready to laugh at herself. She comes to a stop as soon as she begins to tire at all, half surprised that she can even still be this frivolous and silly.

It feels nice.

It's while she catches her breath that she has that feeling of being watched, that trickle down the neck. She frowns. Scans.

It's a wolf, which alarms her, but she stands her ground far enough away to be non-threatening. Waiting. Suddenly, she's conscious of her own breathing, slightly rapid from her running.

Edited at 2011-08-23 04:39 am (UTC)

He feels the thrumming in the earth before his ears even pick up the soft rustle of the grass as someone rushes through it and his head comes up. The scent comes to him on the breeze and it's sharp and clean and alive, something he recognizes even before his eyes focus enough to watch Ami blur past, sprinting long legs and, he thinks, laughing eyes. He's just debating whether he should get up and make himself known or keep watching like the stalker he is isn't anymore, when she comes to a stop not far from him. For just a second... she looks young and happy and he's glad he didn't interrupt.

And then she spots him and he feels like a voyeur. Embarrassed, his chin ducks just a little and his ears come apologetically forward. Unaware of it's betrayal, his tail swishes hopefully behind him.

Hers is the sharp smell of ice, mingled with that faint suggestion of some sort of hair rinse.

She realizes, somehow, who she's looking at, in a way that makes perfect sense in the dream but will leave her absolutely unable to explain how she just knew the wolf was meant to be Cloud once she wakes up.

"You saw me," she remarks. There's a second where she could be angry. Then she smirks.

"If you tell anyone about it, I'll tell them you had fleas," she warns pleasantly.

Edited at 2011-08-23 05:45 am (UTC)

The smirk is familiar and he snorts as he gets to his feet. He caught her actually having fun. It's a score point for him as far as he's concerned.

And, considering all the dark that's been in his life lately, it was good to see.

He trots over easily, far too comfortable in the four legged body and when he reaches her he rears up on his back legs. Big, oversized paws come down to rest on her shoulders for balance and, nose to nose, he looks at her seriously through his blue, blue eyes.

"Woof."

[Still small of frame, she takes a half-step back before she's ready to accommodate his weight.]

It's the first time I've been this close to a wolf.

[She's fond of animals, apparently, and far too driven by habit as one half comes up to scratch him on the head.

She may be small but she's strong. And more of a softie than she lets on apparently as her hand comes up to scratch his head. It's probably undignified and far too familiar but -

Blue eyes slit almost all the way closed in pleasure and Cloud makes a rumbling, grumbling sound of pleasure low in his chest as his ears relax backward.

She has to keep herself conscious of his identity; if he were wholly an animal, she'd probably let herself go even more, petting and speaking to him.

"You seem in good spirits today," Ami remarks. "Were you hunting those birds?" She's distracted him from whatever purpose he had here.

It's so pretty.

Fields of grass and flowers and everything like this were nothing but tales in storybooks. The only time she had seen this many flowers that weren't in Aerith's church were in Elmyra's garden in Sector 5. Even the grassy fields near the Chocobo Farm were nothing like this.

Clearly Marlene needed to run. Arms straight out, feeling the grass whipping at her fingertips. It was so calm and relaxing and she loved it... that is, until she decided to open her eyes mid-run to see the wolf. She stopped short and quick, eyes wide. That's... a rather large puppy.

lol - how could Cloud EVER deny Marlene anything she wanted?

He knows she's there even before she bursts into view because the sky seems suddenly even brighter and the air smells fresher and more full of life. He can trace her path by the smell of the flowers she brushes against as she runs and he lifts his head and cranes it. But - she's got her eyes closed and he's worried about her tripped and so he's already halfway to his feet when she stops suddenly and focuses. On him. His head immediately sinks, remembering scary stories about the Nibel wolves when he was a child and the sound of their hungry howls outside the village on long winter nights.

He'd do anything in the world to keep from scaring his family.

Very slow, he sinks back down onto his belly and then... well, it's Marlene. He fails so badly with her so often but he thinks... tipping his head so his eyes stay on her, he rolls over onto his back and sticks all four feet straight up in the air. With a little snort, he proceeds to flex his front paws as if he's high fiving the air.

especially if it's Cloud!puppy.

The stories she remembers about wolves were bad ones - they were nasty creatures, ready to attack if you got too close and threatened them. But this one... this one seemed familiar? The eyes looked similar. They were bright and blue. They reminded her of the sky on clear mornings.

She doesn't feel anything bad, so slowly she inches herself closer, her hand out in front of her like she would a stray cat or puppy. "Are you all alone?"

he'd be Cloud!puppy forever for her - except Tifa might complain about the flea baths

She's really too brave sometimes and one of these days he really needs to speak to her about that. She's like another woman he happens to be living with, too brave and too much heart. But - not right now. Right now he's grateful that she's such a brave little girl and that she's so heart driven and he tucks his front paws in against his chest and makes soft sniffing noises at her, eyes watching her carefully to make sure he doesn't do anything to startle her. After a moment, he slowly stretches out his single paw to her the way she's holding out her hand to him.

Marlene would help with the baths! Giggling the entire time.

Marlene always tried to emulate Tifa - she was one of her heroes. Just like Cloud and her daddy were. She wanted to be brave like Tifa, strong like Cloud.

Her small fingers touched the wolf's paw and she giggled. "Just a big ol'puppy! You just want to roll around in the grass, hm?"

shaking, water everywhere, a mad dash through the house before the towel got used - it'd be AWESOME

His snort is a bit fuller this time, as close to a happy sound as he can get and possibly not just in wolf form. Her fingers feel strange against the thicker leather of his paw pads but it's still Marlene's trusting touch and that's always reached deeper than just his skin with him. It's no small thing to be trusted by someone like her.

Even if they did have a rough start - including her calling him 'stupid'.

In response to her question, he shifts his shoulders, grunting a little as it does pleasantly scratch his back against the dirt. She's a smart kid. His eyes go back to the little form in front of him and the whine escapes him before he realizes it was there. The longing.

He'd do anything for his little ragtag family. If only he knew how.

Tifa was not a wolf. In fact, Tifa was still Tifa, but the meadow was a beautiful place to be, and she was enjoying it -- the beautiful day, lovely flowers.. It's pretty much the perfect day for a picnic.

Which was her intention all along, really. She's got a basket hanging on her elbow, and a blanket in her other hand, and when she manages to find a good, cozy place to settle, she sets the basket down and flips the blanket out, moving to settle down on it.

He knows she's there. Knew she was there from the second her foot first touched the soft grass and out of all the scents in the meadow that come to him, hers is the sweetest. So he's been following her, sliding silently through the grass like a gray shadow, careful not to interrupt her or give himself away. He might as well be eight years old again, though he's less clumsy this time. Overhead the sun goes the littlest bit warmer and butterflies drift into the meadow to join the droning bees. And Cloud settles down deep in the grass, watching her only because she deserves to be happy and relaxed without his presence to bother her.

It's the motion in the grass that catches the corner of her eye, and Tifa pauses in her unpacking as she turns to face it. She doesn't see anything at first, but then the breeze flows just so, and she catches a glimpse of grey among the bright colors of the grass and flowers.

Tifa reaches out a hand and beckons. "C'mere, boy."

She doesn't realize it's Cloud -- at least, not yet.

His ears lay back flat against his skull at her discovery and he feels ashamed. He really hadn't meant to intrude. He just... wanted to be near her. She deserves to have some time to herself, to relax and not worry about anyone else. He knows she doesn't like being alone but...

He remembers the stories from his childhood. The sound of the Nibel wolves and their hungry, hollow cries late in the dusk on long winter nights. He's not exactly the friendiest form for someone raised in those mountains. But - she called. And he has to come. Because he always has to come to her when she asks for him. Slow, staying close to the ground to try to hide his intimidating bulk, he scoots forward toward her on his belly, eyes watching her carefully to make sure nothing he does alarms her. At the edge of the blanket, he stops. Waiting.

There's something about this wolf that doesn't scare her -- even though she was fairly afraid of them as a child. Even now, those howls rang in her ears on cold, blustery nights in Edge, and she would always check the locks, just to be sure.

But this one.. maybe it's the way he came when she called. Maybe it's the way that he looks so... upset...

Maybe it's his eyes.

Regardless, Tifa smiled at him, and started fishing in the basket for a small bit of chicken. "Don't be scared, I won't hurt you. And.. I don't think you'll hurt me, either, right? Here, do you want something to eat?"

She doesn't recognize him and he's glad. He feels less like a voyeur if she thinks he's only a wolf. Her smile though has the tense muscles in his back and shoulders relaxing.

More than anything in the world... he fears the day he'll see fear of him in Tifa's dark eyes...

Slow, he inches forward, not exactly on his belly anymore but still trying to stay small and unthreatening.

The thought that she's feeding strays - again, though this time in fuzzy form - reminds him of all the times in the past he's watched her pick up misfits and stragglers and make them feel important and cared for.

It reminds him of when she found him in the train station years ago, that memory of sanity in a single voice when the train station was going to be the end of his world, that had him, impulsive, reaching out and snapping off the stem of a nearby flower with his sharp teeth, awkwardly holding it out in offering for her when she turned back to him.

A meadow with flowers is one Aerith feels perfectly at home in. She picks up her dress lightly as she sits down so it doesn't get all creased beneath her, and then she leans forward to pick flowers. One, two, yellow, blue, there are so, so many. Some go in her basket with the distant thought of selling them. But others she just presses her face to and takes a breath of the smell--too young to be plucked just yet.

She's humming cheerfully to herself, though that stops when she stands up and finally spots the wolf. She stiffens a bit, basket moving behind her back. But she smiles, and asks:

"You don't mind if I'm here too, do you?"

He knew the second she stepped into the meadow because the flowers all suddenly go brighter and spread their petals wider. The smell of fresh, clean earth and sunshine grow and he lifts his head, looking for her even before he realizes what he's looking for.

She belongs in a place like this.

Somewhere with a forever blue sky and no limits. Somewhere alive...

But he's a wolf today and the wolf can't focus too hard on the past without it blurring and slipping to the side. So instead, he gets to his feet and he follows her, staying low in the grass so he doesn't bother her, heart easier in his chest at the sound of her humming happiness. When she finally spots him though, his ears flip down against his skull and his head drops, tail sinking. Worried that he'll scare her before he realizes that - she might have no idea what he is. Not from experience at least though she's probably heard the stories. So his ears prick up and forward again and, hesitant, still low behind him, his tail swishes.

He also notices, with the wry 'ex-SOLDIER' part of him that she's protecting her basket instead of herself...

Aerith...

The small huff escapes him before he can think about it and his blue eyes snap to her, worried that she'll think that was an aggressive sound. To prove he's a good dog and not a bad one, he lowers his head to nose at the types of flowers she's just been enjoying, peering up at her through them with blue eyes.

gotta love crisis core for adding its own weirdness XD

She purses her lips at the wolf's acting (that weary huff was a familiar one, and now it was almost like he was peeping up at her) and takes two steps back--thoughtfully cupping her chin and tilting her head at it--before she turns and runs away, toward the woods. Her run doesn't take her far away, though; the sound of her footsteps stops behind one of the trees ringing the meadow.

She doesn't make a sound after that, body hidden from view by the tree trunk. But after a moment, eyes green as the growing moss peek out from behind, closely followed by a smile--a tiny "peek-a-boo" before she disappears behind the tree again.

Despite the possibility of danger, Aerith's actually working on stifling giggles.

She did have a tiny bit of experience with wolves, unknown to Cloud: a wolf mutated by experimentation had stayed in her church for four years. It had looked strange and more than a little scary. It had also protected her and stood by her side as she learned to protect herself. This wolf reminds her a tiny bit of that one...smart and not aggressive, unless given a reason to be.

The blue eyes, though, they remind her of something else. Blue skies, freedom and a powerful desire to enjoy it, even in the most childish and simple of ways. After a moment, she puts her hand on the side of the tree and leans over with her basket to see if she can find them again.

good ol' SE, still delivering their WTF moments one video game at a time XD

When she runs, he starts a little, as if he'd go after her before he catches himself and his heart sinks right down to the pads of his toes. She hadn't looked scared but - he was a wolf. Lacking a solid stick to hit him with, running was the sensible option. Still... the thought that he'd scared her, in any form...

He's just about to lay down right there and curl up into a ball so that she'll have the rest of the meadow to herself, when he catches a glimpse from the trees. Of a tiny peek of pink and honey hair -

was she...?

His ears perk forward and his head comes up, tail flailing unsure behind him. He's not exactly sure... but even having missed out on childish games in his youth, there's an instinctive response to peeking and hiding. Blinking, not sure he's right but willing to try, he creeps forward a little closer to the trees and flattens himself down behind a patch of hanging snowbells.

They provide adequate cover - if it weren't for his tail sticking straight up above the.

She didn't seen the fun in hide and seek at first; it wasn't a game when she learned it. But once she saw outside Shinra and encountered other kids... it was her favorite game, because she was the best at it. And she'd learned to hold onto a bit of the fun in it, even on those occasions when it wasn't a game. Although, even with her experience, she's not sure she's good enough to beat a wolf's sense of smell.

But when she looks around the tree and spots the tail sticking up, she laughs--even if he's got a good sense of smell, he's got some things to learn about this game. "My, my," she calls out. "I've never seen such a fluffy flower before!"

The tail fluffs almost indignantly and then disappears behind the flowers.

But a second later, two pointed ears rise slowly above them, twitching in her direction for the sound of her laughter.

Let's face it. Cloudy wolf sucks at hide and seek. At least at the 'hide' part of it.

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