one passing night

the evening is spread out against the sky


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Interlude III - The Third Dream
In the base of my spine
rhapsody_onfire wrote in onepassingnight
[She had to stop reading the fantasy novels before bed because now she was a mermaid in her dreams. She blinked at the water around her, a bit unbelieving that she was breathing and see the clear blue all around her. Much of the oceans in Gaia were hardly this clear. But it was also her dream so it could be whatever she wanted. She looked down at herself, the blue tail and extra appendage coming from behind. It was a stinger, it looked like. Her fingers were webbed with a clear membrane and her ribs and breasts were both gills and scales.

She moved about, even surfacing to look at the world around her, her red hair slicked back. She sighed and shook her head.]


My oh my...

[[OOC: November evented! Her mermaid form looks like this and shush, Miri, I like this picture. :| Let me know if you want her above water or below]]

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He was tired.

His throat was raw with sea water and lack of anything fresh and he had no idea how long he'd been drifting like this, one arm across a broken plank of what had once been his ship. His life. Now he was in the middle of the ocean and his ruined left arm was trailing enough blood that he was surprised sharks hadn't showed up for it yet. He wished they'd hurry. He was tired of fighting a losing battle and he was too stubborn to give up. If the end would just get there, he'd be able to quit without saying he gave up.

So when his arm lost its hold on the plank and the water closed over his head, all he could really think was:

It's about damn time.

Genesis had barely caught that familiar spiky blond hair before it went under. She gasped and quickly dove, looking for the body that followed. She found it and swam fast, her arms wrapping around the thin waist and pulling him up. Looking around, she spotting the the island close by and begin swimming backwards. She needed to keep Cloud's head above the water as she swam.

"Cloud? Cloud, can you hear me?"

He'd been ready to let go but some last stubborn streak in him had held his breath while his body had sunk. A part of him that would never forget mako tanks of green and liquid forced down into his lungs until he was saturated. Blue eyes open in the filtered light of the glass like water, he'd registered something swimming to him but his mind hadn't kicked in any adrenaline. If it was going to eat him, that might be faster than drowning.

Or not.

Because he felt a band like steel go over his stomach and the easy drift downward turned into a fast rise upward instead. That's when he inhaled water in surprise and the shock of that liquid hitting his lungs had him coughing, head somehow miraculously above water again. Blinded by salt water and still sputtering, it took him a minute to register the voice.

Which really made no sense at all.

"Gen?"

Her webbed fingers carded through his hair, pushing the locks away so she could get a look at his face. She saw his bloody arm as well and bit her lip, wondering just how to heal that. She had no materia this time, she was simply a mermaid. She concentrated on getting to the island.

"Yes, it's me."

They were close enough now that Cloud could possibly start walking, but Genesis didn't allow it. She let the waves and her tail push her closer to the shore. Maybe she could find some seaweed or something to wrap his arm up. In the meantime, she continued to speak to him. "What are you doing out here?"

"Dying." It was blunt even for Cloud but he was busy trying to blink salt out of his eyes, mind still trying to kick in. He could feel the waves and the sand and the sun, realized with something in the back of his head that somehow, there was land. But, still a little muddled, his mind was focusing on the important things. Like -

"You're a - fish?"

At times like this his articulation was stunning.

"I am today," Genesis grunted, now at the point where she is awkwardly dragging Cloud onto the shore with just her hands and tail. Having two legs was so much easier! Finally, she got him far enough that the water wouldn't carry him away. "I will be right back!"

Genesis crawled to the sea and swam out for the seaweed. She wasn't sure how she knew what to get, but it was better than nothing. She only wished she had her materia. But she didn't know how to do all that in her dreams. She pulled in a long trail of seaweed, the water being clear enough that she could tell when the dirt was cleared off. As gently as she could, she began wrapping his arm up.

"So, Cloud, any particular reason why you are dying in my dreams?" She asked conversationally. "Last time we met, the same arm seemed to be giving you trouble."

He tried to be helpful on dragging himself ashore. He didn't want to be a burden. But it felt as if all his strength had leaked right out of him and he was tired, so tired, of fighting to keep going. What was the point anyway? He deserved this. Right?

When Genesis left, he closed his eyes and concentrated on feeling the sun on him. He'd gotten cold and then forgotten it, he'd been in that water so long. This was nice. Almost like Costa del Sol. They should have brought the kids there, at least once, before...

One blue eye opened and he looked up as she started to wrap his arm. Kind of strange to have someone do it other than him. He was getting good at wrapping his arm by himself... At her question though he shut his eyes. His voice was a salt water croak.

"Looks like my sins finally caught up with me."

Damn. He sounded like Vincent.

That simply earned him a deadpan look and subtly tightening of those seaweed bandages. Genesis almost couldn't believe what she was hearing. He had sins?

"Clearly, you are forgetting who you are speaking to," She muttered, finishing off the make-shift bandage. "What is going on in the waking world, Cloud?"

The Cloud of her world was quite fine and dandy and geostigma free, not that she was around for the days he was afflicted. So she had no idea that his arm had geostigma and was causing him his pain and depression.

"Yeah. I guess." It wasn't judgmental. Cloud didn't really remember a lot of the Genesis rebellion. But he did remember that both of the other 1st Class SOLDIER in the woman's peer group had ended up - well, he thought one of them had died and the other had gone batshit insane and eventually died thanks to the pointy end of Cloud's sword. Maybe Genesis harbored guilt over those for whatever her part had been in them. He grunted at the tightening of the bandage but otherwise stayed silent until she was done, the familiar throbbing of the arm keeping him company.

He also had no idea how aware of what was happening in the rest of the world Genesis was. In his waking world, at least as far as he could tell, there was no Genesis.

"There's a disease. Called geostigma. It's infecting a lot of the kids and some of the adults.

...

There's no cure."

Genesis tilted her head at that. She'd been under the impression that Geostigma had been cured. She never looked up all the details, all she knew that the was cure was somewhere outside of Edge. Perhaps Cloud was simply farther behind her in time.

"There will be," She said simply. "In time."

Grunting slightly, she settled onto her belly. It was harder to sit upright when she didn't have two legs. Her fin flipped up idly, waving slightly as she rested her chin on her arms.

It was reassuring to hear though Cloud didn't know if he'd give Genesis, despite her touch with the goddess, oracle powers.

It was still reassuring to hear. So he turned his head so the sun wasn't shining directly into his eyes to look at her, not bothering move himself other than that. He couldn't seem to find much energy these days to do the things he knew he needed to do.

"When?"

His seemed to be progressing alarming quickly from what little research he'd managed to find. But... Denzel...

"I honestly don't know," Genesis replied softly, looking over to him as well. "I wasn't... awake yet. When geostigma happened. All I was able to find out was that a cure had been found somewhere outside of Edge, in the ruins, I believe. It happened shortly after some sort of attack by three silver haired men."

But since no one else had actually been up close and personal with them, no one was there to see how it happened. Genesis wasn't on speaking terms with the Cloud of her world since they've never met. And she hardly spoke to Reeve or the Turks. Who knows, maybe she could find her Cloud and ask him what happened and let this Cloud know next time they met up.

Cloud didn't really expect there to be a next time for them to meet up. This thing was eating him from the inside. He had no idea why it was progressing so quickly for him when it seemed to be slower for the kids but with all the fucking that had been done to his cell structure by this point he couldn't say he was surprised.

How aws he supposed to tell Tifa? Denzel?

How was he supposed to tell his little family that he was going to waste away and die on them just when they were getting things together?

Why did life enjoy kicking him in the teeth so much?

It was self-pity and he knew it. Frustrated self-pity. He didn't do pity for himself well. He always felt guilty when he did. Maybe he deserved this. Maybe it was the down payment on his sins for failing Zack and then Aerith. If so, he didn't exactly have a right to feel sorry for himself.

Maybe it was time he finally stopped running and paid for his sins.

"The ruins outside of Edge." He tried to remember that. Maybe he didn't have to give up just yet. But - "There aren't any silver haired men. I killed the only one of those two years ago. Reno mentioned them though and now you have too. Are they... Sephiroth?"

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