one passing night

the evening is spread out against the sky


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004 || all you need is a guardian angel
+ Shadow +
hisdreamsmyfate wrote in onepassingnight
Desolation. Death. Destruction.

It spans as far as the eye can see, possibly even further. To the outreaches of the Planet and beyond, only growing in its ravenous hunger and taking anything it can with it. It's a horrible, bloody sight... not one would expect to find bright, white wings shimmering in the too-bright sun. Even less so, the bundle in his dirtied arms, sound asleep.

The wings flutter once, dropping a few, floating white feathers to the remains of the torched building they were perched upon. The tips of the feathers are also burned, almost even rotting as they lay there, guided by a gentle breeze in the silent environment. And as the man shifts, the faint glow of a halo can be seen reflecting off of a broken window, the beaten body sagging against the brittle, splintered wood. He's tired of the fighting, the chaos and the panic caused by those soldiers. They weren't anything like he remembered, and... this was the result. Insanity finally caught up to him, and in a sense, he was glad to have passed before it'd gotten hold of him, too.

The infant in his arms stirs, a few soft, fussy groans jumping out of it.

In response, he gently rocked the baby in his arms, whispering in a low tone, trying to get his adopted bundle to calm down. Though still dirty, he'd long-since been able to heal it. It'd just... taken a toll on whatever spirit energy he had left, tethering him to this bleak world.

"Just a little while longer, kiddo."

[ooc: So... kind of an odd dream for him to be having, but pretty much? While Zack himself is still canon, he's dreaming of a universe that *did* fall to ShinRa. Certain things have been changed around, and I'll explain more in detail to whomever responds~]

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we'll go slow but - Zack? Baby? Cloud is all inquiring minds want to know :\

He picks his way over the broken rubble and somehow the dream only seems natural. The world's gone to hell and it's probably his fault. He's just gotten so tired of fighting. What's new is the form ahead of him.

With... wings?

His hand finds the hilt of the sword at his back in instinctive response to those wings but then it relaxes. Let's go. No. No, that's Zack. Zack's good. Zack's not going to start lighting things on fire. Zack's -

got a baby?

Okay. That's new.

So Cloud will stop in the ruined doorway.

"Zack?"

IT'S OUR MENCHILD CLOUD.

The child is a survivor, of a horrible string of events that should have never happened but did anyway. Without someone to look after it, care for it, and with both of its parents laying dead in a mass of smoldering brick and wood somewhere... what else could he do? Leave the poor kid there?

He holds the sleeping form tightly in his weakened grasp, wanting all of this to just end.

The ground crinkles and bright blue eyes snap up quickly at the arriving form, adjusting his grip to reach for his own Buster Sword. If it was a SOLDIER, he would fight. He'd protect the baby, what was left of this village, stop them all and--

...

It's Cloud. Cloud's here, Cloud's alive and hopefully sane and...

A small, faint smile spreads on his bloodied face, the relief evident in the slackening of his shoulders.

"Cloud..."

He sits up, pulling himself more out of the rubble.

"I thought I'd lost you."

bad fanfiction - here we come! Cloud says he was NOT the mother

"Zack..."

He's getting more used to seeing his friend when he closes his eyes but the blow never softens against his heart.

I thought I'd lost you

That's his line.

His arm gives a throb and his eyes narrow at it. Not now. Not here. But he stays in the doorway instead of stepping forward. He probably shouldn't be here.

It doesn't mean he can turn his back on that look on Zack's face.

"I'm here."

Are you so sure about that? Cloud does to seem to have some womanly fetishes. B]

Cloud stays in the doorway and Zack doesn't leave his perch just yet, watching his old friend with saddened eyes. Of course Cloud wouldn't want to come forward. Not to someone who couldn't prevent all of this. Couple it with the fact that he'd already died long ago in keeping the other man out of danger. No doubt this was awkward.

His wings tucked behind his back, relaxing back into the mass of broken wood and debris. Cloud just being here, not having run off by the Sky Blue Eyes that was such a horrible sight nowadays... there was still trust there. He was grateful for that.

"ShinRa did this." His voice is quiet, grieving. "The remaining SOLDIERs, they... all became monsters. I don't know where's still safe."

He drew a breath, closing his own exhausted eyes and trying to hide the dimmness of his own halo.

"You became one of them, Cloud."

[ooc: Also! Zack's death hasn't happened yet, but it's based off of what he was told.]

Edited at 2011-10-24 05:00 pm (UTC)

He steals women's underwear, Zack. He doesn't wear them..... often.

He stands silent, still in the doorway. He doesn't belong here. It's more apparent than ever when Zack starts to talk. Zack needs someone useful, someone to stand side by side with him and not fail him. And Cloud's the last man for that job considering his track record. His head aches or maybe that's his chest. It doesn't matter. What matters is that it's obvious Zack needs help - and he's fucked because all he's got is Cloud instead.

His head does come up though at Zack's last words, eyes going wide. And there's fear in that blue but - there's something else too. Almost as if he expected that somehow. His hand goes self-consciously to his sleeved arm and his heavy boots shuffle in the rubble. Backing up.

Monster. Puppet on a string.

Innocent girl's blood on his knuckles.

Zack's better off without him. Always was.

It still makes him feel like a coward though, leaving his friend that way. So he stops in the shadows, on his way out but unable to go and his feet shuffled in the rubble again as his eyes go anywhere but at his friend.

"Sorry."

ooc: someone told Zack? oooo, Cloud would not take that well. >:[

NOPE NOPE AERITH TOLD ME EVERYTHING.

He isn't sure what to say. What can he say to the man he'd completely failed to save in life? It was never Cloud's fault to begin with, wasn't anyone's but Hojo and the rest of ShinRa and their stupidity. And now...

"I don't wanna hear that."

The SOLDIER's tone is quiet. Serious.

"What matters now is that you've got your own mind back, right?" This much is enough to have him look up, to offer a gentle smile to the man he could once again call 'friend'. "And now that that's outta the way, we can put an end to this nightmare. Sephiroth's sane again, too. We're all coming back together..."

And Zack himself would hold out as long as possible, even if the Planet's spirit energy - or lack thereof - threatened to have him vanish from existance entirely. He would keep fighting, just as it always was, to get things back to normal.

"...c'mere, Cloud."

... right. Cause... Aerith would NEVER obfuscate. Ever. Right?

[his chin dips even lower when Zack rejects the apology. It's not as if he doesn't have every right to do that. 'Sorry' is a pretty sad excuse anyway. It doesn't change anything. Cloud's head does come up in surprise at the next part though, blue eyes widening and when Zack calls him over, he comes simply because it doesn't occur to him not to. He pulls to a stop when he's still about halfway to Zack though and his hand hasn't left his covered arm.

"I thought I killed Sephiroth."

Oh nooooo. Dressing you up like a 20-dollar whore was... just to get you into the mansion. Yeah.

"Cloud. Come here."

His tone strengthens when the other stops, and those quiet words don't pass his enhanced hearing. He... knew what Cloud meant, about Sephiroth being here. About the two of them together and Sephiroth being the root of this problem. But the man was alive again, trying to reverse the process, and he'd kept Zack himself from fading again on more than one occasion.

He just had to get Cloud to see that, now.

"Things are different now. An' after bein' here for a little while, you'll start to understand that. What's important is if you trust me."

you've got a kinky girlfriend, Zack.

Cloud didn't respond to the order. And he didn't respond to the comment about being around long enough to understand. What he did respond to was Zack's questioning his trust in the dark haired man. Cloud's head, which had started to sink, snapped back up and for just a minute the blue fire in them was purely Cloud without a trace of fever or foreign influence. His voice didn't change to match it, still low and steady, but it didn't waver either.

"I trust you."

And because actions meant more than words, he took the rest of the steps that brought him to Zack. Wings or no wings, Sephiroth or no, Zack was Zack and Cloud's trust was complete. For that moment, Cloud was himself and so his eyes held his friend's for a minute longer and then dropped to the baby.

"Didn't know you were playing stork now too."

You're even kinkier for going along with it. B]

And that was all the former-SOLDIER needed. He gives a soft laugh, bowing his head back down to the tiny body in his arm, then looking back up to meet his friend's similar blue eyes. The sternness, the hesitance in them was gone as soon as it'd arrived, and the relief was evident in the SOLDIER's posture.

"That's all I wanted to hear from you, buddy."

The infant in his arms stirred, giving a fussy moan before the man's arms juggled carefully in trying to calm it down. Blue eyes were locked back down on the tiny, dirtied face, his tone softened more as to not wake the resting child again.

"Poor kid was just about dead when I found him."

He responded seriously, shifting a hand to brush away a stray, golden lock on the nearly-bald head. Whatever hair was growing in had been matted with dirt and blood, and he'd wished there was some place to properly wash it off to keep the poor thing from getting an infection. "I managed to take out a SOLDIER that was just about ready to stomp on him."

hey, it was only once. I don't even want to KNOW what you two used to get up to

Cloud stepped closer. It let him soak in the feeling of Zack being there and real and alive and it let him look down at the baby which he made no move to touch. It was scrawny and dirty but it obviously still had some fight in it by the way it was fussing. It reminded him of the babies he'd seen in the slums of Midgar when he was being what he thought a mercenary should be. He'd never paid them much attention then, but their mother's had never been Zack.

What kind of monster turned on children?

What would he ever do if he hurt Marlene or Denzel?

Blinking dully, not willing to let the thought take hold for fear it might come true if he did, he nodded.

"He looks just like you."

--no. No you really don't. Though you should SINCE YOU HAVE MY MEMORY.

Zack blinked, then glanced down at the infant again, giving a light smile at the othe man's words. He'd... never really paid all that much attention to it before, but the baby did look like himself, back when he was living in Gongaga with his parents.

The thought of his parents back home, possibly dead, was... not a good one. He felt a painful pang at his heart, holding the child closer as he tried to draw his attention back to Cloud. His Cloud. Not that monster that led an army of SOLDIERs to this devastation.

"Except we don't want this little guy turnin' SOLDIER on us, huh?"

Carefully, the winged man shifted to try and jump off the mound of rubble, his movements stiff and pained, but still swift enough to fight. He wouldn't be giving up now, not even when the entire Planet's energy ran dry. He'd find a way to exist... somehow.

"Maybe we should be glad he can't understand what's goin' on."

Zack... there were things even JENOVA wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole to copy/paste into my head

Cloud could regret giving up his materia. It was part of the Planet and everyone on the team had silently agreed not to use it anymore the same way no one would use mako energy anymore. But a good kick of a mastered Restore right now would have been healthy for Zack and Cloud was sure the Planet could spare a little of it's juice.

Or... looking around... maybe not.

His hand shifted at his side, almost as if he was going to reach out and help balance Zack but it didn't follow through on the gesture. Instead, face expressionless and voice to match, he asked:

"Zack - where's my family?"

so the whole plot of FF7 was Cloud copy/pasting things to spread wank?

Zack had turned to lead the two of them back to base before the young man's question rang in his ears. He stiffened, pausing in his step and unable to look the other in the face. But the change of subject, and the former-SOLDIER's hurriedness spoke volumes, still speaking quietly as to not cause the infant to stir.

"--base's just around the corner here. We've got a few good men an' women left, so the area's pretty secure."

He started walking, hoping Cloud would drop the subject long enough for them to reach help. "Sephiroth's leadin' us, but he's back in his right mind. Everything he's been doin' here, I'm proof of that. We'll be safe."

well, there was a snowboarding game too

He doesn't shift to join Zack when his friend starts to move off. In fact, he doesn't even turn his head to follow him with his eyes. Instead, Cloud simply stays just as still as if he were made out of some of those stones Zack was just resting on and his eyes don't change.

"Zack - " neither does the voice. "Where's my family?"

and a motorcycle one. :O

Zack's pace slows, until he comes to a stop completely, standing in the middle of the wasteland. In the distance, the sun is beginning to set, and the low moans of approaching SOLDIERs could be heard not too far off. But between the two men, there is a long, exaggerated silence, with the raven-haired man still keeping his back to the other.

"Cloud..."

His voice is even softer now.

"I'm sorry."

mm hm, mm hm - chocobo racing too - because plot can always wait for a sidequest

If he hears anything of the approaching danger he doesn't give any indication. There's no indication he's aware of the outside world at all. And his voice never changes from it's soft, low tones.

"I did it, didn't I? I killed them."

.../got almost all S ranked HAS NO LIFE AND GIVES NO FUCKS.

"...we should keep moving."

The response says it all, one hand moving to wrap around the other man's upper arm gently. But there's sadness in those blue eyes as he looks back, almost mournful for what his friend had become.

"Everyone's waiting, Cloud."

Chocobo racing ROCKS! Meteor can wait until Joe's ass has been properly kicked

The response does say it all and even though he'd somehow already known it, a part of him still turns over sickly inside, willing away the knowledge.

But no. He doesn't get to hide from the truth anymore. He spent too long doing that already. He promised - never again.

He doesn't shake off his friend but he doesn't react to the touch either and he certainly doesn't indicate he's going to be joining him in his trip back to camp. Zack says everyone's waiting... but no one that matters is. Cloud's chin sinks toward his chest and his eyes find the toes of his boots. No matter how long he was gone, no matter how far he ran... he'd always known home was waiting for him at the end. Now it isn't and he can't even feel gutted because there's nothing inside him that's feeling anything. He nods, just once, and looks back up, focusing blue eyes that glow with mako on Zack.

"Tell me where the heart of all of this is. What's the root that's causing it."

/is reminded of a fic where the black rider was actually sephiroth sleepwalking LOL.

The root, no matter what universe, what dimension, is always the same.

It's who started the issue of SOLDIERs in the first place, and it's who was the spark of life within a monotonous, dull world. The one responsible for so many deaths, so much pain and confusion that the Planet was hurting this badly. The one name everyone eventually knew.

"...Hojo." The name is spoken with a quiet venom, angry at what it meant for his best friend, and everyone else. Just speaking it out in the open was a sin in itself, and he almost regretted it. "Hojo captured us, mutated the SOLDIERs like this. And it got out of control because he just wouldn't stop."

His grip tightens, unable to look his friend in the face.

"...he's the reason you're not here with us anymore."

LOL - fanfiction is an amazing, horrifying, wonderful thing

"I'm sorry." He says it soft and low. He's sorry that he wasn't stronger. That he let Hojo warp him into whatever monster he'd warped into. But he's also apologizing for whatever that monster did to Zack. Because that's his sin too. There were no excuses or passes on his failures. He'll never make amends for it. But he can try to make it better. Hesitant, because it feels almost as if he's comforting Zack and that seems all backward, he raises a hand to rest it on Zack's shoulder. Zack's the strong one, the one that can do anything, the one that doesn't need anyone's help to do the impossible.

"I'm make it right."

It's a promise. He'll make it right. For Zack and the baby and Aerith's planet... but he'll do it because of Tifa. And Marlene. And Denzel. Because he's going to finish this - and he isn't planning on coming out the other end. Having that goal, that finish line, to concentrate on is all that he has to keep himself together, to keep himself from utterly shattering into uselessness. Just a little longer. Just finish this.

"Tell me where he's hiding, Zack."

ISN'T IT SO. There needs to be more awesome fics like that. ;n;

He tenses up at the apology - something he'd heard far too much and spread too thin as the situation grew out of control. I'm sorry it happened, I'm sorry they're dead. I'm sorry you're dead. I'm sorrysorrysorry--

"Don't."

His voice is even quieter, his hand dropping from the man's arm slowly.

"Don't... start apologizing. Start helpin' to make things right again." Because he doesn't want Cloud to apologize for something that was out of his control as well. He adjusts his hold on the infant, using his free hand to gently guide his friend over, out of the smoldering ash and tattered remains.

"We're workin' on finding that out now," He said, strength returning to his demeanor once more. "He keeps moving, keeps crawlin' back into whatever little hole he can find. ... But Sephiroth's got a plan to flood him out."

I plead the fifth - or insanity. I think they both work in this case

Cloud let's his friend guide him because Zack's not on the diseased side of him, not touching the rotting part of him, but he only lets him guide him out of the building. He's not going back to whatever camp what's left of the rebels have set up. Not for him. He's already done that, already been part of a team. Already lead his team. He can't afford to do that again.

And there are some things he can't forgive.

"What is it?" he asked, focusing on what's important, and he hopes to Holy that it's better than his plan.

bb are you holding out on awesome fics on me.

He knows Cloud has issues with Sephiroth. After everything that had happened ay Nibelheim, how could he possibly blame him? But he wasn't going to let Cloud run off on his own again, either. He saw what happened the last time he'd attempted something like that, and the sight of the man's body mutating so horribly while all he could do was watch from the Lifestream was something he never wanted to witness, ever again.

So he ignores all that for now, focusing on the mission at hand. Maybe he's holding your arm just a little too tightly. He doesn't want his friend to leave.

"We've got an ally, posing as one of his monsters. Whatever information Hojo's giving him, we're keeping track of here." Using his free hand, the SOLDIER pulls out a small PDA, revealing countless folders and files crucial to their mission.

"The only downside is that we can't protect the guy from here. We... can only hope he's able to hold his own against that kind of an army." Just saying those words leaves a bad taste in his mouth. The young soldier had chosen his fate, had explained in great detail how anyone coming to help would just jeprodize the mission. It was a suicide endeavour.

...Zack knew. No matter what happened, they all would get out alive.

I don't think awesome would be the right word if we're still talking about mpreg fics

Maybe Zack is holding his arm too tightly but it feels good. It feels - real. Cloud needs Zack to be real and he needs his friend's grip. His own arm shifts so that he can grip Zack's arm in return. Needing the contact, needing his friend to still be alive and there. Even if that makes him a selfish bastard considering the fact Zack looks like death warmed over and Cloud should be the one doing the supporting.

He sure as hell hadn't done it enough for his own family when he'd... when he'd still had the chance...

He does look at the files though, noting them even if he can't take the time, doesn't have the concentration, to analyze them. Whoever the plant is, they're braver than anyone should be. And they're risking a lot more than death if they get caught. His eyes lift back to Zack's.

"Why doesn't Sephiroth just use the cells to find Hojo?" Except Zack wasn't around for that part. "Sephiroth dragged me all over the Planet using the Jenova cells inside me. He did it to the clones too. I didn't realize it but the Jenova inside me wanted to rejoin the cells inside him. Some kind of reunion. Before I killed Sephiroth, I had to stop Hojo first. He'd injected Jenova cells into himself. Why doesn't Sephiroth use the cells to find Hojo?"

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