one passing night

the evening is spread out against the sky


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.005 short days ago we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow
like a boss
findmyownreason wrote in onepassingnight
It's a sky of storm clouds, dark and threatening, piled against each other, the air thick with the scent of ozone - but it's a silent sky.  The clouds don't move, there's no storm wind, no rumble of thunder or flares of lightning.  Instead the sky is static, heavy.  Indifferent.  Strange streaks of a living, glowing green trace across the sky in slim arches, frozen in place, paths or trailing ends of forgotten energy.  Underfoot, barren, ancient, rocky ground falls away on every side.

It's an island of rock floating in an endless sky, flat on its surface, bottom a jagged mess, as if it was ripped out of somewhere better by its roots and left to drift through a sea of storm clouds.  Far in the distance there are other uprooted clots of earth, just as barren, just as forgotten.  This island in the middle of nowhere however isn't empty.  There are ruins here, fallen pillars.  And there are bodies.  So many dead bodies.  Soldiers, scientists, civilians, scattered around the ruins, each one dead, each one bearing the traces of a violent death even if they blur at their edges and become indistinct if looked at too closely. 

There is one body that's still alive though, deep in the heart of the ruin, sitting on weathered steps that lead to nowhere.  There's a giant sword driven into the stone near his right side and a thick leather wing spreads out from his left shoulder.  He's not dressed in his usual garb, instead a ragged, lethal mix of clothes from memory, not always his, and he doesn't look up from where he has he mouth and chin pressed into the hands of flesh and clawed steel woven in front of him, elbows resting on his knees.  The stairs are clear of bodies beyond his. 

Except for two. 

On his right, near the bloody sword is the body of a dark haired man in SOLDIER uniform, spiky hair clotted in his own blood, blue green eyes closed for good.  On the left, almost under the stretch of the wing is a brunette woman, dressed in pink, flowers scattered dying and forgotten around her.

Blue eyes the color of the lightning that doesn't move through the empty clouds lift at intrusion but other than that Cloud doesn't rise or move at all.  He's here with his dead. 

What do you want?

ooc. so, another Cloud's-messed-up post.  Because we have got to get through these so we can move on to the naked in high school dreams  that just killed the atmosphere I was trying to set didn't it?  Anyway, I am shamelessly swiping the Dissidia setting and his alternate Kingdom Hearts outfit from that too.  He's not Kingdom Hearts Cloud, though feel free to think he is if that applies.  And yes, that's Zack and Aerith quite dead on the stairs with him (though that doesn't mean if you're Zack or Aerith you can't still come for the sheer mind screw of it all).  Be prepared for the emo - or conversely, some violence.  He's just come to the realization that he's going to have to abandon his family in his waking world and he's not in a chatty mood.

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Me? I don't want nothing.

[Reno puts on her nonchalant Turk air, but she really doesn't like the look of that wing. Not to mention the metal hand? Rude and the others aren't with her, and if Cloud goes crazy, she doesn't want to have to try to take him down on her own (as if she could actually accomplish that).

The corpses? That's just a part of life. She's seen so many of the dead, and she already knows about those two being dead, so that's no real shock. Who wants to keep dead bodies around, though? They're not good for anything. A quick glances at the scattered dead reveals nobody else she knows.]


Don't worry, I'm not trying to bother you. [She's just innocently standing at a far remove from you and your dead bodies, idly swinging her Electro-Mag Rod.] What do you want? [She figures asking his own question back at him is as good an idea as any.]

[His eyes narrow because everyone wants something and he's run out of pieces of himself to give away. It doesn't make any difference anyway. Sacrifices aren't rewarded and even when the 'hero' wins, he still loses.]

That section's yours.

[his eyes flick toward a corner where the bodies look particularly broken and unrecognizable, where they're heaped particularly high. There are three bodies toward the front, two men and a woman that seem specifically set aside from the others.]

The Plate and Sector Seven. Congratulations.

Tell me when you figure out how to get them to forgive you so I can do the same.

[She's got everything she wants, and even if she didn't, she sure doesn't want anything from Cloud. She turns to look at the section he indicates.]

Don't you mean President Shinra's section? Cause if I didn't do that, someone else would've. [And she might've gotten shot for disobeying orders. Not that she thinks that's some big sob story. Turks follow orders, end of story.] And if you're counting everyone I've killed following orders, there ought to be a whole lot more. But fine, I did it, I'll take it. I'll go over there and hang out later.

Don't need you to forgive me, or anybody else. [What good's forgiveness do? She thinks about it, but the things she's done are her business, her burden.]

So where's the section with all the people you've killed? Like when you blew up that reactor?

[She doesn't need some ex-terrorist moralizing at her.]

He's alone. That's her first thought somehow. So with her eyes on him rather than the surroundings, Mercury steps slowly forward. She doesn't let herself pay attention to the sky that reminds her far too much of an Entropi attack, or wonder why Econtra should be surfacing in her dreams so frequently now.

Her expression is carefully neutral, if anything vaguely irritable with herself for the emotion that impels her to do it. She doesn't answer any question, voiced or unvoiced, but instead looks down at him from her standing height for a long, silent moment.

She holds up bandages and ointment. Her face still gives away little, but the gesture perhaps speaks for itself.

Edited at 2011-11-27 11:06 pm (UTC)

Blue eyes the color of broken lightning look up at her and he doesn't raise his head. What's she doing here in the middle of all his failures, his faults? If she's here to mock or throw accusations, he's not interested. He knows what he is here. He doesn't need her reminders. The bandages that unfold in her raised hands though have his eyes flaring for a second, electric in that blue.

Healer?

It's a side of her he never expected to see.

He's - not sure what he's supposed to do with it. His eyes don't flinch and he doesn't move when he says:

"It's a little late for that for me, isn't it?"

She's healed death wounds before. (Everything, everything reminding her.) Whether she should or shouldn't, she doesn't leave the people she knows to their deaths. She smirks with some of her arrogance. It isn't too late if it's a dream. "Not if your doctor is me."

That's what she'd say it comes down to, now: just a competition, a fight, something she intends to win and the injuries, or illness, lose. And even if she does lose, she won't have sat back and done nothing.

She takes out a small phial of water (of course). His wounds go beyond normal treatment; she'll use magic.

He's not the only one dressed strangely, though if Tifa notices herself looking different it's not something she reacts to. She's never been one for concern about herself, it's the other people looking sad and broken that she reacts to, even when it's Cloud.

Especially when it's Cloud.

She's unafraid, and approached him with unabashed worry, coming to stand not too far away from him. "Cloud..."

can't see the link. Amano outfit?

He doesn't move from where he's sitting, even when she walks into the very center of all his sins, all his failures, and comes to a stop in front of him, his eyes unblinking and never leaving her form. She shouldn't be here - but it's not the first time she's walked his soul.

At her voice though, his eyes shut. Don't say his name like that, Tifa. He doesn't deserve the way you say his name, all heartstrings and safety. Why do you think he doesn't dare answer his phone?

Your voice makes him weak inside. And he can't afford that. Which is the same reason his eyes snap open, cold and sharp on her, and, without lifting his face, he growls:

"You're next. And then the kids."

She doesn't fear him. Not even here, in this land littered with bodies and storm clouds. His growl doesn't even make her blink, his sharp eyes only causing her to frown and put her hands on her hips. She doesn't understand why he's dressed the way he is, why he's so angry, but he's threatening her and the kids, and she knows that it's something he wouldn't even do.

"Don't say things like that," she replies, putting her hands on her hips. She cocks her head to the side, still frowning. "You won't hurt us. You won't hurt anyone, that's just not like you."

She glances down and softens, dropping her hands from her hips and kneeling at Aerith's side, reaching to place the flower girl's hands on her chest. A glance over to Zack, and she moves to do the same for him, before finally standing.

"It wasn't your fault."

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His eyes watched her approach but other than that he still didn't move. When she finally stopped though, the wing shifted, a slight movement.

Why Yuffie?

He liked Yuffie.

And she had the least reason to be here of all of them. She needed to leave, go back to sunlit places and gruff friends that adored her. She'd been hurt enough and he hated the thought that he might add to it. So it was a growl, she wasn't welcome here, when he said:

"Maybe Valentine wasn't the real monster after all. Go away, Kisaragi."

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He'd thought getting out of the labs would be enough of a victory for the nightmares to stop.

They'd find somewhere to crash, and he would get Cloud back on his feet because there wasn't any way the boy wouldn't recover. Except... here he was, in an unfamiliar place, in an unfamiliar outfit, and staring down at said friend. He'd noticed the bodies - and maybe he understood himself being among the dead, but Aerith? They didn't even know each other!

And that sharp tone, the fury in his voice was so unlike the kid he knew - he had to take a step back in the shock of it all. If he would ever have to die, like... this, it would never be Cloud's fault. Ever. Een if it somehow, by some chance, was... Zack wouldn't blame him. They were friends. And he wasn't about to leave him own wallowing in misery like this.

So he doesn't respond. Vocally, at least.

He just walks forward, wrapping his arms around the man and trying to pull him into an embrace.

awww - bitty Zack - the cute is too powerful!! is he kid or adult in the dream?

Cloud's eyes have a second to flare wide at the gesture, so huge and shocked a blue that it would almost be comical if they weren't surrounded by dead bodies and his dead best friend wasn't the one trying to embrace him. As is, Cloud's shooting backward with a strong beat of that leather wing so fast it's as if he's been burned, putting distance between him and the other man so quickly it's almost as if he's blinked out of that space and into a new one further away. And maybe the most telling thing of all is the way he hisses as he does it.

[[OOC: Is Tinyroth okay? I use this account for Sephiroth dreaming about himself as a kid. He'll just flicker out if anything bad happens.]]

The pale, silver-haired child is dressed all in white, appearing suddenly nearby. He examines the scene curiously, displaying no visible emotion. He's never seen so many dead before, though he has been asked to kill in exercises. What happened here? His attention focuses quickly on the one living man and the two bodies he guards.

He disappears, then reappears closer to Cloud. He tilts his head a little to one side, then glances down at the body of the SOLDIER, the most familiar thing here, as he recognizes the uniform. He doesn't like the sight of a dead SOLDIER. That doesn't seem right.

"What has happened here?" The battle, or whatever it was, seems to be over, but if he can help, he will.

[[ooc: Miniroth? oh, Cloud would feel so guilty about this if he was in the right frame of mind. Tinyroth is just perfect.]]

He can feel the approach before he sees it and his hand leaves it's gold twin to reach out and curl around the handle of the sword sunk in the stone near him. Narrow eyes of blue fire scan the area but when the head of silver finally does appear in front of him it's... much lower than he'd been expecting.

Much smaller.

He can't decide if he should try to drive the little demon away or if it belonged here, just another fractured part of what he really was deep inside. His wing flexes. They're really not that different after all apparently. Eyes wary, waiting, he answers the persistent ghost.

"I happened here."

"You did this?" He must be powerful. Sephiroth examines the carnage anew, thoughtful. He's conditioned to accept such sights without an emotional reaction, but that doesn't mean he's not analytical and desirous of more knowledge, because he always is.

He doesn't understand why the man has a wing. It looks like a real one. It moves. Was it attached to him in an experiment?

"Why? Was there a war?"

When she comes to the realization where she is, Usagi's first thought isn't the dead bodies, nor the ruins and debris everywhere. It's how the area feels. It feels terrifying and so heavy on the soul. But, she doesn't let the fear of this unknown area stop her, so step by step she walks.

Where is she? Whose dream has she stumbled on and what torment has the person gone through to feel responsible for all these deaths?

Her questions are answered the moment the stairs are in view. She can see someone there -- he feels familiar and when she gets closer to see it's Cloud, her eyes widen. Her feet move faster than her own mind and soon she's at the bottom of the stair case, looking upwards with a concerned but still very determined look on her face.

"Cloud!"

If this is what she thinks it is, there's absolutely no way she's leaving this dreamscape without accomplishing something.

There's a little white light that doesn't belong in this dark corner of his soul. He keeps waiting for it to flicker and fade out entirely. It's too fragile and too small to survive.

Except it does. Burning determinedly away despite the choking dark that lives and thrives among the dead. It's not until he hears his name called in that distinctly feminine and young voice though that his eyes finally focus and recognize -

dammit

"You shouldn't be here, Usagi. Go away." There's nothing friendly or welcoming in his voice.

He looked so different, now that she was getting a better look at him. For a moment, she almost has to wonder if this is the same Cloud.. if she may have made a mistake in recoginizing her dear friend--

--but he calls her out by name. It doesn't matter if his voice isn't warm or comforting as it normally is. He is the Cloud she knows and it makes her smile in relief for a brief moment. He's trying to get her leave, but, she doesn't. Usagi stands her ground at the bottom of the stair case, watching Cloud with those blue eyes of hers.

"What happened, Cloud?" What caused the dead bodies? Why is he alone? .. She wanted to hear his answer -- to share his pain and sadness like he had when she was at the cauldron those many dreams ago.

It would almost be funny how carefully Aerith tiptoes through the scenery--if it wasn't for what that scenery was. She's tense and clutching her hands near herself, though she occasionally stops by one of the civilians or soldiers who don't look quite as bad to see if they really aren't alive. It's hard to accept that with all these people, there's no life whatsoever.

Pink stands out in dark spots. That's probably the biggest reason she's always liked it. So when she draws near the broken staircase the first thing she sees is herself. Then Cloud, of course...and the dark wing stretching between them.

She stops for a moment, staring at the sight before she cants her head with an uncertain smile and walks forward again. "When you have nightmares you go all out, don't you? Next time, how about--"

Pink stands out in darkness. It's only when she comes closer that she sees past the black and realizes the body on Cloud's other side is not just any soldier. The next sound out of her is a startled gasp before she runs up the stairs, moving to reach Zack.

Pink stands out in the darkness. It had always been one of his guides. Now... now he can't decide though it if belongs here or not. Because of course she doesn't. She's seen too much already. Something inside his soul shifts uncomfortably, not wanting her to see this. To realize this is a part of who - what he is. He doesn't want her to know.

Yet - she's already here. How can she not know? It's her body lying next to him under the protective shelter of his wing. She doesn't belong here in his cluster of sin and sickness but he brought her here with him anyway. Just - she's not supposed to see it.

The blue light in his eyes flares at her sudden forward motion though and it takes him a minute to realize -

dammit. dammit, dammit, dammit. And damn him. All over again.

If he had a wing on that side, he'd try to cover the dead body with it. But he doesn't. All he can do is sit still and let her see just how badly he's failed her all along. He doesn't have a right to deny it - he just... wishes she never had to know. She's had enough heartbreak already, hasn't she? Now he gets to give her more. Somehow it seems a worse failure and sin than most of the dead bodies that litter his subconscious.

Sephiroth had been wondering just when he'd find himself in one of Cloud's dreams. Considering the connection the two of them had shared for a few years, he had suspected it would happen sooner rather than later and it would seem he was not to be disappointed in this.

This setting and its dead has him looking as he had before his revival, before his second chance and thus the long-haired uniformed man bearing a wing of his own ought to be very familiar to the blond seated before him.

"Hello, Cloud."

The eyes of blue fire narrow down but the seated figure doesn't move. There's no immediate charge forward with a cry of his rival's name. The air darkens around Cloud, all but crackles with rage and hatred but he doesn't rise or even immediately go for the sword buried in the steps at his side. Bracketed by a dead SOLDIER and a dead flower girl who was more than that, the only motion from him is the way his leather wing flares. His voice, when he finally speaks, is flat.

"I thought you'd come."

"Of course. I am responsible for the majority of dead here after a fashion am I not?" Despite his appearance, the feline eyes and the ex-general's voice lacked the touch of insanity which had previously corrupted both. He spoke with a calm matter-of-factness about the dead around them. After all, denying his past actions would serve no purpose, especially not here.

"Though I wonder why you're here in so depressing a setting."

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