one passing night

the evening is spread out against the sky

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[ Report II ] The Library
Without Words
plotdeviceturk wrote in onepassingnight
This dream has an old familiarity to it, almost homey despite the rather fantastic setting. It's a library, but not one that would likely exist anywhere. The shelves are formed of translucent ice, formed in to whorls and twisting pillars that hold countless numbers of books. As if to completely defy logic, flowers grow from the floor and the temperature is pleasantly cool.

Tseng can be found at one of the myriad of shelves, pulling books off and opening them before dropping them on the ground at his feet in his frustration. "I can't read any of these."

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Cloud's more fascinating by the flowers than the falling books or structures of ice. He's very, very carefully picking his way through them, trying not to step on any and doing a surprisingly good job of it considering his clunky boots and usual careless way of walking. He does raise his head at Tseng's voice though and his brows come down as another book falls.

"You should be more careful of the flowers."

Tseng gave him a sad half smile, turning and casually crossing his arms. "They're fine, if there was any danger to them they'd move." He replied calmly, "They're... special like that."

"Aerith's flowers?" it's an easy guess. Cloud's eyes lift from the plants, move over the books and settle on the Turk. He doesn't know Tseng very well - just as well as a man dying in front of you can be known. But - he was important to Aerith. That means something pretty big in Cloud's book.

And Cloud had an uneasy alliance with the Turks by this point. What was left of them at least. He hadn't seen most of them since Meteor though and he hadn't seen Tseng since the Temple. Speaking of which -

"Elena tried to hit me because of you."

Tseng doesn't answer the question, it's just over the side of personal that he doesn't know how the hero would react. He instead fixes the blond with an amused look.

"You'll have to forgive her, she didn't know that I'm far too stubborn to die that easily." It was something of a sick running joke really, people always thinking he was dead or replaced by himself. "I'm sure Tifa would try to hit me if she thought I killed you."

For just a minute, Cloud's lips curve and he's relaxed and looks like he might have if there had never been a Meteor. If there had never been a Hojo. It's in his snort.

"She wouldn't try."

Squatting down on his heels, he reaches out, gloved fingers surprisingly delicate for someone that swings around a sword the size of a small person. They brush one of the flowers petals, barely enough to even cause it to sway on its stem. Without looking up, he emotionlessly says:

"I don't remember any good coming the last time someone from Shinra went through a library of books looking for something."

Tseng's pretty sure Tifa wouldn't mind hitting him if given a reason, but he won't say that bit aloud.

"I've seen far worse in my inbox on my desk than Sephiroth did in that library, Cloud. I'm a Turk, which is more than kidnapping, assassination and looking intimidating downstage from a podium." There was a light tone to the line, it was a dry sort of joke. He tilts his head a little, studying the blond and debating on saying anything more.

"Do you remember the first time we met?"

It's the 'try' part. Tifa wouldn't miss the way Elena had. And it's got nothing to do with Tseng being bad at dodging and more to do with Tifa's will to connect her fist with someone when she's angry. Even Cloud lays low on those rare occasions.

His fingertips brush the flower again, almost as if he's waiting for it to disappear or burst into gold light. He doesn't look up from it at Tseng's joke but there might, just might, be the hint of a smile at the tight edges of his mouth. It's hard to tell with his shaggy hair in the way and his chin tucked. At the question though, his fingers pause.

"I - " There's a long pause and hesitation. But it's a dream. They're not being as guarded as they usually would be. Right? "There are some memories I never got back, some that are still fractured. Even with the Lifestream dip." Tifa couldn't put him entirely back together. There were parts she didn't know, couldn't help him walk through and there hadn't been time. His own memories were still mixed with the imprint of the ones Jenova had stolen from a dying man for him to make him into the perfect order accepting soldier. He's still not sure what's his, guessing as he picks his way through. It comes out more vulnerable than he'd be in the waking world. He sounds younger, though he'll never sound sixteen and innocent again. "I remember ravens. And suits. I remember that a sword felt right when it was in my hands. I remember... I remember they hurt a Turk I was with... did I know you then?"

Edited at 2012-01-13 03:25 am (UTC)

"That was on June 28th, 0001. You were part of the team assigned to protect Professor Ralheigh from the previous AVALANCHE." Tseng informed him calmly, "Our first meeting was when you were briefed on the mission to Modeoheim, it was a few months before the one you're remembering. You met Zack on that mission, I was one of the others on the mission with you two."

He'd been the one who crashed the helicopter after they'd been shot down, but that particular detail would be Cloud's to remember.

"You were one of the few people with that sort of clearance outside of SOLDIER or the Turks."

He remembers - Zack. Always Zack. Finally Zack. Such a huge overshadowing part of his life, of that time in his life, that everything else is shadows on the edge. He'd been so excited to be on the same team as a SOLDIER... the motion sickness that had wiped out everything else so that even the crash had been a relief because at least he'd been on the ground again... walking, snow - being noticed.

Being noticed.

Infiltrate the base. Zack had ... not been very sneaky. They'd been -

sneaky. Like Turks.

"I'm sorry," it's the youth in a Shinra grunt uniform but the older man in black means it perhaps more. "I didn't protect you. When we got jumped."

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