one passing night

the evening is spread out against the sky

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Amongst the flowers
littleprotector wrote in onepassingnight
[It's often that Marlene finds herself dreaming. She dreams about things little girls dream about: happiness, princesses, flower fields and the like.

This time, however, isn't like the rest. It's been raining in Edge lately, and her adoptive not!parents haven't let her go outside. But, Marlene's been taking sneaking lessons from Yuffie, who had told her a great deal about the old traditions of Wutai: don't get caught. Sneaking outside was the easy part.

Grinning to herself, she jumped into the latest puddle, letting the water splash all around her.]

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[and there's not!parent number two. He's been trapped inside thanks to the weather lately himself and it's been rubbing his soul a little bit rawer each day.

Now that he's got his memories back, jumbled as they are, he can remember things about rainy days that he'd rather not.

So he was already outside, under the awning of Seventh out back, arms folded loosely over his chest and leaning sideways against the wall.

The tiny vision of white, pink and brunette has his lips twitching, just a little, as he watches it sneak down into the rain.

He should probably tell her to get back inside where it's dry. He should probably scold her for sneaking out in the first place.

What he probably shouldn't do, and yet can't help, is stay quietly where he is and enjoy the sight of someone happy playing in the rain.

Just as long as he doesn't hear any thunder at least...]

[Marlene had found a particularly large puddle, one that she knew was going to create a large splash the moment she jumped in. She just couldn't resist the temptation. She was already soaked all the way through, so this one couldn't hurt, right?

Readying herself, she took a flying leap into the puddle, the soles of her shoes hitting the ground hard and sending water everywhere. Marlene giggled loudly. She hadn't meant to, really, especially when Yuffie had told her to be as silent when she was a ninja. But it was just so much fun! She pushed her wet hair out of her face, grinning madly.]

[there's something about Marlene's giggles that make him feel - that make him feel like not such a giant failure. Even when they're not because of something he's done, they still always make him feel as if everything's going to be okay somehow. That nothing's set in stone yet and there's still hope for better things.

He'd do an awful lot, to protect her giggles.

Including the spur of the moment dart of motion when he hears familiar steps approaching the door from the other side, well known sneaker soles against wood. In a second, he's out in the rain with Marlene and scooping her up, moving effortlessly to the side of the building where support beams hide them both when Tifa opens the door to toss empty bottles in the bin for glass.

Shifting Marlene to a bit more comfortable grip but not setting her down, Cloud pressed silently back a bit more against the wall. Being caught by Tifa is hardly a nightmare - but it would mean no more playing in the rain and Marlene had only just gotten started. Sometimes... sometimes Cloud needs to watch the little girl have fun just to make his own chest feel better.]

[Marlene offers a startled gasp when she's scooped up, even more so when there's nothing to warn her about who's doing it or why. She's about to start struggling when there's a familiar warmth; the grasp is something she remembers.

Oh man. She was busted.

She opened her mouth to protest until she heard the door open. Tifa. Marlene clipped her protests. Cloud must have been there. She squirmed a bit, moving to put her arms around his neck. When the coast was clear, she whispered to him.]

Thank you.

oh - pfffft - he's so screwed.

[Unsuspecting, Tifa headed back inside, shutting the door behind her and Marlene started to wiggle. Cloud thought maybe she wanted down, which was okay even if he had kind of found the warmth and little weight of her a nice way to fill his arms and he loosed his grip so she could get down. Instead she surprised him by twisting around and hugging him.

He blinked, momentarily frozen.

Head pats were a lot different from hugs.

Her words though had the small, shy smile slipping over his mouth though and it just seemed natural to wrap his arms a little bit more around her and snug her the smallest bit closer, careful not to make the hug too restraining or tight. His head lowered and he tucked his chin against the side of her head. She smelled like wet little girl. It was a nice smell he decided, full of life and warmth and raindrops.]


sorry this is so late! between my schedule and lj... /sigh

[She was ridiculously glad that Cloud hadn't tattled on her. That would have sucked, and then Marlene would have gotten grounded. That meant no more playing in the puddles, which was a decided travesty on all counts.

She pulled back to look at her not!papa, tilting her head slightly. She reached up, pushing wet hair from her face again.]

Want to play with me?

I'll be taking off in about a week myself. As long as we both come back that's what counts :D

[Cloud was a lot of things. Snitch wasn't among them however. Or at least not unless it was a matter of someone else or him being in trouble with Tifa - in which case no amount of cute eyes were going to save Marlene. But for now they were both in the clear and he was actually starting to relax as she peered up at him.

Until she asked her question and then his brows twitched down over his eyes the smallest bit.


Feeling suddenly awkward again - and, again, forgetting that you don't just tell little kids everything, his chin tucked as he confessed:]

I don't think I'm very good at playing, Marlene.

I bet you're great and you just don't know it! You've gotta try. That's what everyone says, right?

[She won't take no for an answer, that's for sure, especially when there are still perfectly full puddles to jump into. And ones that required more jumping power than she could muster.]

[her faith in him... it makes the edges of his lips twitch upward. They all think more of him than he is. Marlene. Denzel. Tifa... But their faith in him doesn't drag him down. Instead it makes him just that much more determined to not let them down. He can't live up to it - but somehow they make him strong enough to.

He just dreads the day he's finally going to let them down - and they stop believing in him.

He doesn't think today will be that day. Somehow failure to play properly doesn't seem as world ending as most of his failures. So - he's willing to try and, brows down in concentration, he'll look at the little girl he's still holding in his arms and admit:]

I don't know how.

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