Title: Who Wants To Live Forever
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Character: Cloud Strife
Theme Set: Alpha
Disclaimer: Square owns both Cloud and Final Fantasy VII, which is most likely a positive thing. Title was taken from a Queen-song with the same name.
Warnings: Hints of Cloud/Aeris, Cloud/Tifa and Cloud/Zack, and Cloud/Barret if you really peer for it. Spoilers for Final Fantasy VII, On The Way To A Smile and Advent Children.
Disclaimer: Final Fantasy VII isn't mine and the story isn't written for profit.
#01 - Speak
"SOLDIER, First Class", he said, and tried not to feel like he spoke with wrong voice.
#02 - Touch
Even after becoming himself again, Cloud had trouble remembering Zack's face, apart from the bright flash of his smile, but the warmth of Zack's body, but the warmth of Zack's body, the only touch he needed to feel like a human being, that memory would follow him to his death.
#03 - Memory
"My hero will come and rescue me", the star-lit night at the well whispered in his mind, and the gentle, touching faith in those words was as terrifying as it was beautiful, daring him to hope like that.
#04 - Vanilla
Even though he had a strange feeling that the airship looming behind them was staring at them, he dared to press his nose carefully into Tifa's soft hair.
#05 - Chocolate
He knew that a piece of chocolate was hardly enough to make up for Barret's absence, so he couldn't help but feel surprised as Marlene smiled to him anyway, and it took Tifa's patient, amused explanations until he understood that it was the thought that mattered.
#06 - Ways and Means
It's worth it because it's for Tifa, he insisted to himself, but even as he slipped the dress on, he couldn't help but expect his life to rewind itself before his eyes.
#07 - Belief
For such a long time, he believed that great Sephiroth and everything he represented were his salvation, his one chance to become so much more than he had ever been before, and although already wrecked, rest of this faith burnt away with his hometown, but instead of despair to make a lost man's last stance, it's the realization that he only can save himself that lifted him back to his feet.
#08 - Linger
As a child, he tended to keep his eyes closed and pretend that the morning wasn't coming for hours after waking up, and even as an adult he wondered how he was always brave enough to eventually face the new day.
#09 - Illuminance
He hated the way all the deaths he's seen shine like light in his mind while every happy memory seemed to be coupled with a shadow.
#10 - Ornament
"Cultural differences or not, Yuffie, I doubt that Materia used in battles qualifies as decoration."
#11 - Coup de foudre
Getting hit with his own bolt spell probably wasn't the first impression that Zack had aimed for, but Cloud was sure that if he had never seen the other boy on a moment of imperfection, he would never have allowed Zack to sit next to him in the cafeteria.
#12 - Archway
Zack was never able to convince him that the great Sephiroth wasn't actually a godly being, but it took one parade and an open view to Sephiroth trying to avoid an overly excited fan beneath an archway to make him see that Sephiroth was in fact a human, and surprisingly this only made the man grow greater in Cloud's eyes.
#13 - Fate
He had always thought that defeating Sephiroth would be his ultimate destiny, but then the Meteor's crimson glow faded from the sky, and his friends were still with him, and he finally realized that instead of a closed circle, there was a future ahead to walk to.
#14 - Pulse
Before the silence beneath his fingers, he never thought that it was possible for Zack to remain still.
#15 - Envelope
"Nothing but a fucking thief", his childhood hissed to his ear when his fingers touched the envelope on Tifa's table, and shame didn't stop burning on his cheeks until he finally fell asleep later that night.
#16 - Cold
Cloud couldn't remember when exactly he had learned to knit, but he knew that the constant cold in Nibelheim was the reason for this skill, and although Midgar was a little warmer, the habit stuck despite the laughter and the mocking glances.
#17 - Need
He knew that Zack had a girlfriend somewhere, and that he should have been with her instead of a broken mad thing like Cloud, but it took Zack's comforting arm round his shoulders to make him forget all that, and wish for one moment that they would indeed be together forever.
#18 - Drunk
"You know, Barret, I really wouldn't mind seeing you in that sailor suit again."
#19 - Mask
One good thing about masks, Cloud noticed, was that they made the best hiding place in the world, but even as part of him ached for Tifa to recognize him, he was grateful for obscurity, grateful that this way no one would ever see his failure.
#20 - Rose
A motorcycle ride hadn't treated the rose gently, but he could swear it perked up just a little as he stepped into Aeris's church, and as he rested it down with the other flowers, he allowed himself to think that he had brought it home.
#21 - Two
First he was baffled to hear Marlene exclaim that she actually had two fathers, one away and one home, but towards the end of the day, it became harder and harder for him to not to smile all the time.
#22 - Fresh
Wounds would heal eventually, like the little scratches on his knuckles, but the first dark shadow of Geostigma, crossing his arm like a curse, it had come to stay.
#23 - Bribe
He didn't really afford to toss money away, but as he couldn't shrug away the feeling of letter crunching in his fist, the proof of his failure, he finally resorted to bribing his way into the bar, just to get the awful hollow feeling in his chest away.
#24 - Error
The moment he opened his eyes to find himself from a laboratory, eerie figure of Professor Hojo looming over him with a smile that was almost fatherly, he knew it had been a mistake to survive.
#25 - Appetite
Cloud felt almost bad about thinking like this, but the scents floating over to his nostrils from Tifa's house were so much more tempting than any of his mother's cooking, but what was even worse, he hoped that it wasn't just Tifa's kitchen, but Tifa's entire house, that he wanted his own home to be like.
#26 - Refrain
His temper used to flare a lot faster, and he was far easier to agitate, and yet he was surprised to discover just how many people thought him to be cold and distant, and it wasn't until he finally began to act like that as well when people finally decided to open him up.
#27 - Family
One part of growing up to in his mind was to stop caring about how the Strife-family portrait always missed the father figure, and after the memory of his mother finally started to fade, he knew he could never be a child again.
#28 - Grieve
Cloud imagined that Aeris would have scolded him for this, how he always thought about allowing her to die, and the memory of her eyebrows furrowing with irritation, her soft green eyes taking a sharp edge, only further convinced him that he would never allow Sephiroth to take anything from him ever again.
#29 - Vapor
Tifa couldn't recall, and nobody else could tell, so Cloud came to the conclusion that the memory of mist brushing around him as he had followed Tifa to the mountains was just a false memory, and for the first time, finding something fake from his mind wasn't horrible to him.
#30 - Tea
"Didn't I tell you, Zack, that not all my cooking is deadly?"
#31 - Medicine
Some guys joked that seeking Hojo for medical help was same as walking straight into a morgue, but when Cloud finally met him, he had to shake his head disdainfully and wonder how some people just had to overreact to everything.
#32 - Moth
According to Zack, the only living insects he had seen in Midgar could be found from the slums, and he had to wonder if releasing the moth he had found from their room out of the window was a cruel thing to do.
#33 - Perfect
Sephiroth smiled at him sadly as Cloud insisted how perfect he was, and he couldn't tell if it was because of his drunken breath or his words.
#34 - Rope
It had been the worst day of his life for completely other reason, but when he fell asleep that night, he was more disappointed over Zack than over his rejection from the SOLDIER, dismayed with the way his friend had immediately assumed the worst when he found Cloud with a rope in his hand, as if he really was about to sink lower from the bottom.
#35 - Wind
The Northern Crater was cold, and the chilling breezes brushing over him didn't make him feel any better, but surprisingly enough there was no fear in his chills.
#36 - Crossroads
There had been many moments during his travel when he had wanted to turn back, to hide, go home although he had no idea where it was, but in the end he always seemed to go forward, perhaps because there was nothing behind to return to.
#37 - Summer
He had decided to become a mercenary a long time ago, and a big city like Midgar was full of opportunities, but even as the sunlight was warm and encouraging around him, he couldn't help but feel like he had forgotten something very important.
#38 - Candy
His mother always kept warning him about people who offered him sweets, that these people might have bad things in mind, but as Cloud never encountered a stranger with candy, he started to wonder against his better knowledge if it was because he wasn't good enough.
#39 - Photograph
For the longest time he kept replacing Zack's figure in the photograph with his own image, and no matter how wrong he knew it to be, it never stopped feeling natural.
#40 - Spoon
As a child he used to collect the funniest headlines from the newspapers, and as Midgar's most important newspaper started to report about spoon murders, he almost wanted to slip back to old habit.
#41 - Forest
The Sleeping Forest was the same in reality as it was in dream, the kind that tends to turn into nightmare, and while his friends too seemed to be uncomfortable, none of them was as eager to get out of the forest as Cloud was.
#42 - Mirror
Sometimes it was Zack's reflection he saw in the mirror, bright and smiling, but shattering the moment Cloud tried to get a better look of him, but while he eventually forced himself to drive the fleeting image away, he couldn't help feeling wistful.
#43 - Smoke
Nibelheim that he knew burnt down a long time ago, and it was a doll town that stood before him now, but when he saw a trail of someone's cigarette smoke float in sight, he was scared for a moment that if he stepped forward, it would be a step into the past.
#44 - Shine
He cherished his swords, polishing and sharpening them even if he wasn't planning to use them all, so he was very insulted when he caught Tifa using one as a substitute for an axe.
#45 - Balloon
He was given a balloon the day he first came to Midgar, a gesture he nearly got upset about, but he did trace the Shinra Inc.-logo stretching across it's surface for a while before handing it over to somebody else, deciding that for once in his life, he would keep onto his hopes.
#46 - Vine
There was a part of him that could never identify with Barret's intense passion to keep the Planet safe, but when he watched life bloom in the remains of Midgar, lively green vines gathering around the formerly lifeless structures, he could taste the same victory that Barret did.
#47 - Butterfly
The church had looked so empty in his eyes after Aeris's death, and he rarely encountered other people during his visits, but the day he found Denzel there, he also saw a butterfly fluttering it's way to the flowers, and while everything was still silent and lonely, the church seemed to fill with life.
#48 - Gloves
When the long blade of the Masamune forced it's way through him, introducing him to agony that he never thought he would feel, for some reason his eyes kept drawing to Sephiroth's long leather gloves, perfectly clean even though his hands were drenched with blood, and the rage following that quickly turned to determination and he found his feet back on the floor.
#49 - Venom
His heart had been full of hatred for so long, anger burning within him like a wound that had never really healed, and the day it finally faded away, and the peace came to its place, he felt like he was finally clean.
#50 - Remain
"Don't worry, I'm planning to stay home this time."