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The Fifth Act, Chapter 6

Title: The Fifth Act

Rating:
T for violence.

Summary: FFVII Time-travel. Gen. Cloud has an accident with a Time Materia.

Author's Note: Two months later, and Cloud's not much better at the time travelling thing.

Previous Chapter

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The Fifth Act

Chapter 6


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Sephiroth stared out the window, looking down on the sprawling metropolis. He wasn’t particularly interested in the view, but found himself watching for blonds, despite acknowledging the futility of the gesture.

He couldn't get it out of his mind. The strange man in Wutai.

None of it made any sense. He claimed he desired to kill him - in itself, not an unusual occurrence, as ShinRa had made many enemies and Sephiroth was the face of the company’s military arm – yet not Genesis, who was almost as prominent in the public eye.

Then there was the battle itself. It had been a long time since Sephiroth confronted the possibility of losing a fight, and it left him rattled… but at the same time, thrilled. Not even Genesis and Angeal working together could lay a scratch on him, yet this stranger slipped past his guard time and time again with ease, until it was Sephiroth who was being cornered, Sephiroth who was being pushed.


Unbelievable. Strength equal to any First Class, and speed perhaps greater than his own. A worthy opponent. No, more than that, a worthy rival.

"A gil for your thoughts?" Angeal asked.

Sephiroth hadn’t heard him come in, and chided himself for his inattention. Over two months of letting this distract him. “Just admiring the scenery.”

“So you’ve finally learned to stop and appreciate the view? I doubt that.” Genesis too, sauntering into his private office like he owned the place. Someday soon he might, now that Wutai had surrendered and newspapers were hailing ShinRa’s new hero. Never mind that the stories left out how many men they’d lost in the conflict – not just troopers, but SOLDIERs and Turks, too. Genesis might have wrangled a decisive victory out of the campaign, but the company would be feeling the cost for years.

“You’re back. The treaty negotiations were so short?”

Genesis claimed a chair and propped his feet up on the desk, which Sephiroth knew to keep clean after having paperwork tossed to the floor on more than one occasion. “Thankfully so. Terribly boring matters, very formal affair, mostly photo opportunities. Saw some Wutai theatre. Interesting set and costume design, but nothing close to the local productions of Loveless. Of course, the finer details may have been lost in translation. Their artists use an odd dialect.”

Neither SOLDIER took the bait – ask Genesis about poetry or theatre, and he’d discuss it with you for hours, long after your interest had expired, held the funeral, and passed into memory. “What were the terms?”

“You haven’t read the papers?” Genesis was more interested in examining his gloves for damage than the conversation at hand. “The standard affairs, when war is ended in an uneven fashion. A ‘compromise’ in ShinRa’s favour. Disarmament, and a garrison stationed there for a time. They’ll be allowed to continue self-governance, but taxes will be redirected to ShinRa coffers. And we agreed to delay the construction of a reactor in exchange for four years of free trade - to adjust the populace to the idea of mako power. We have to start with smaller generators, related goods and services.”

“The terms aren’t bad. If they’d held out any longer, their surrender might have been unconditional,” Angeal observed. “Though from what you’ve told me of the campaign, I’m surprised they surrendered at all.”

Sephiroth agreed. He’d been called back to the East Continent before the end of the campaign to settle some saber rattling from Fort Condor, but even in the early stages, it had been a massacre. Yet still the Wutai warriors charged them, death in their eyes. Ridiculous. There was a difference between pride and stupidity.

“Ah, and that is where it becomes interesting.” Genesis’s grin gained a sly edge. "During the treaty negotiations, Lord Godo did drop one interesting tidbit of information."

Sephiroth could see his self-professed rival watching him carefully out the corner of his eye, even as he pretended to inspect the ceiling. This time, he took the bait. "And what was that?"


"It appears he met with a stranger going by the name 'Strife'. From the way he talked, I'm led to believe that the fact they surrendered at all may have been due to him."


Sephiroth stilled, and Angeal looked between his two friends in confusion. “Strife… you mean that deserter Sephiroth went to Wutai to sort out?”

“We don’t know what he is,” Sephiroth corrected, leaving the safety of the window to sit down heavily at his desk. “He has supposedly never worked for ShinRa, but he’s unquestionably a SOLDIER.” Genesis went back to fiddling with his gloves. Before returning from Wutai, they’d made an agreement not to mention Strife’s death threat to Angeal. Their old friend could be somewhat overprotective, and would no doubt take exception to their plan to wait for the blond enigma to reveal himself again.

Which turned out to be irrelevant, as over two months had passed, and Strife had yet to make a re-appearance.

Sephiroth was impatient for it. They knew he’d left Wutai at least, but had no idea of where he went after that. He itched for a rematch. What could the mysterious blond be doing that was more important than plotting the death of ShinRa’s famed Silver General?

“He’s a nobody as far as the system is concerned,” Genesis continued, a touch of amusement in his voice.

“I doubt a nobody could hold enough sway with Wutai’s leaders to get them to make any sort of compromise. ShinRa didn’t just go onto the island fists already swinging, you know,” Angeal pointed out.


"If there is one thing the Wutai respect, it is strength," Sephiroth commented mildly. "They would at least take into account the opinion of a third party, if they believed that third party to be a superior fighter."


“Huh. If he’s so incredible, why not fight for them?” One of Angeal’s most admirable traits was his simple practicality.

“He is a man of many mysteries, our Strife,” Genesis declared lazily.

“I’m getting that impression. Sephiroth has hardly talked about anything else since he got back.” Angeal’s mouth held an odd twist, as though he weren’t sure whether he was supposed to be pleased or confused. Then he continued on to say what Sephiroth had been thinking for weeks. “And you’ve changed, Genesis. I barely recognised you when you stepped out the helicopter. Was it all really thanks to this Strife character?”

“You’ll understand when you meet him.” Abruptly, Genesis frowned, as though only just remembering something. “…How have you been feeling lately, Angeal?”

The left-field question took Sephiroth by surprise, and he turned to focus his full attention on his old friend. Angeal didn’t look any different… although was that a grey hair? Maybe he was stressed and simply not showing it.

Angeal chuckled. “Where did that come from? I’ve been stuck here training Seconds in ShinRa. I’ve had it easy compared to you two.”

Genesis was not deterred, though. “No aches, no pains, anything weird?”

Frowning now, Angeal rolled his shoulders as though to test, and replied, “Not really. My back’s a bit sore from where I pulled it when training Zack, but-”

“Still?” Sephiroth asked. “That was a couple of days ago now.”

“Was it? It’s not that painful, I only notice when I put strain on that particular muscle.” He shrugged. “Maybe I’m getting old.”

Genesis flashed him a dark glance, then swept to his feet. “I’m going out for a while.”

“Leaving again already? You just got here,” Sephiroth pointed out.

“It can’t wait. There might not be enough time!” The door slammed shut behind him, leaving the other two SOLDIERs perplexed. Genesis was known for his almost violent mood swings, but the extreme change was abrupt even for him.

“Any idea what that was about?” Angeal asked, suspicious.

“None,” Sephiroth replied, and was surprised to realise the statement was mostly true.

Apparently Strife wasn’t the only mystery on hand.

……………………


Cloud hadn’t returned to Nibelheim since Meteor. Couldn’t bear to step foot in the town square and see lifeless actors strolling about a fake set. In his opinion, ShinRa rebuilding the town as though nothing had happened was worse than leaving its charred corpse to rot. Just walking through it made him feel sick. Too many memories. Fire. Sephiroth. His mother. Years and years of endless agony in the basement of ShinRa mansion. Scratching messages on the inside of a glass tube with his fingernails. His hand trembled in recollection. It would take days just to make a single groove.

This Nibelheim, he reminded himself, was not the fake stage ShinRa constructed to cover up its misdeeds. And he needed to go through there – the cliffs on the other side of the reactor were sheer, and dangerous for even a SOLDIER to scale.

Yet his feet were planted to the ground, and refused to move. He didn’t like it. Not just the flood of memories he would inevitably have to contend with – he was content to let most of those missing four years stay lost – but also the fact that his mother was up there, and he couldn’t figure out what he was supposed to do about her.

He wanted to see her. Many years had passed since he missed her – he was a grown man, after all – but he’d lost her too soon, too violently, to not yearn for the chance to at least look on her face one more time. He couldn’t remember what it looked like when she smiled. The only expression he could recall was the twisted fear and agony of her last moments.

No. He was being sentimental. It was foolish. The smart thing to do would be to head up the mountain under the cover of night, go straight to mansion, wake up Vincent, take care of Jenova, and then be out of the village again before the sun rose.

In the end, his indecision wound up taking the choice right out of his hands. The rumble of an approaching motor went unnoticed until it was too late to hide, and then when the brakes squealed, he knew his cover to be completely blown.

“…Strife?” The voice sounded uncertain.

It was one of the men from the nearby village, who made the runs to Nibelheim and carried their excess stock to sell at one of the larger towns in the area. Cloud couldn’t remember his name, despite the fact he’d once hitched a ride with this very man when he left home to enlist with ShinRa. His timing must have been phenomenally unlucky – the truck passed this spot only once every few days.

“You gotta be related. You’re the spittin’ image of that Strife kid,” he continued. “You his Dad?”

Cloud’s eyebrows rose, and the man laughed, slapping his hand against the rolled-down window. “Just jokin’, son! You can’t be that old.”

Regardless, Cloud latched on to the idea. Now he had a way out – a cover story. “I’m his Uncle.”

“True? I never seen you around before. Coming to visit only now?”

“I didn’t know they existed before.” And the remarkable thing was, to his twelve-year-old self, the lie would be believable. Even now, Cloud didn’t know anything about his father. He very well might have an Uncle out there in the world somewhere.

“Well, hop in then! Can’t have you going up there on foot. Shiva, can’t believe you made it this far.”

Cloud had no choice but to accept – anything else would be suspicious. When he opened the passenger door, though, and took First Tsurugi off his back, the driver recoiled.

“You’re SOLDIER!”

This routine again. “I’m not with ShinRa anymore. That was a long time ago.”

He recovered fast. “Izzat so? Shame. ShinRa hardly ever sends anyone out here. Thought maybe they were finally going to clear out that nest of dragons.”

“I can take care of it anyway. You don’t need ShinRa for that.” He wouldn’t mind doing something so small. Nibel dragons were nothing to sneeze at, but like Sephiroth, it had been a long time since he feared one.

“You can probably get a free night at the inn if you tell the Mayor, then,” he chortled. “Though I guess you might be staying with the Strifes.”

“They don’t know I’m coming.” At last, he could tell the truth about something. “I might not even be welcome.”

“Well, no way telling what the missus will do, but the kid ought t’ be happy as a chocobo.” It was profoundly strange to hear him refer to what Cloud figured to be his past self, if his past existed anymore.

“Hn.” Cloud didn’t add anything more. He’d barely stopped to speak to anyone over the past two months – making it to the western continent on little more than a dingy, then having to make his way to Nibelhiem mostly on foot, since he’d spent the last of his gil getting his PHS account validated. Picked up a charger too, since his was still trapped in the future with Fenrir and the battery had run out somewhere in Wutai. It took a bit of tinkering to make work, since the connector didn't fit, and he'd had to get a voltage adaptor as well to avoid frying it - modern PHS models were designed to run much more efficiently than those produced in the energy-opulent days of mako power.

Maybe it had been foolishly optimistic, when he could have spent that gil on travel or more regular accommodation. Nobody was going to call. But he didn't want to be without a functioning PHS. Those numbers might work someday.

The car rumbled to life once more and began its bumpy journey up the slope. “Name’s Bradley Ferrey, by the way.” There it was. Another inconsequential memory clicked into place. Bradley had always been one of the nicer adults in Nibelheim – maybe because he wasn’t actually from there, and so didn’t carry the same prejudices as the others. Cloud was just the village runt to him, nothing more, and his mother a single woman living the hard life.

“Cloud,” he answered automatically.

“Really? Same as the kid, then.”

He mentally cursed. He’d have made a terrible Turk – he wasn’t good at lies. Except when he believed them. Cloud winced and shook the thought away. “It’s a popular name in the family.”

“That so? Bradley was my father’s name too. Took me years t’ ditch the ‘junior’.” He chuckled. “Still, might get a bit confusing. You and the kid could be brothers. I ain’t never seen a head of spiky blond hair like that anywhere else.”

Cloud shrugged, and looked out the window. He was feeling ill, but motion sickness hadn’t bothered him for a long time now.

The bumpy mountain road made for a slow journey by truck, though it was still considerably faster than going on foot. Fortunately, Bradley didn’t badger him with much conversation, other than the occasional remark about the weather or quip about the local flora and fauna. Cloud feigned impress, sidestepped any questions, and drank in the familiar landscape.

His heart leapt into his throat at the first sign of smoke – flames danced before his eyes – but then he blinked, and only an ordinary white wisp remained. “We’re here,” Bradley announced unnecessarily, pulling the truck to a shuddering stop by the village entrance. “I’ll go introduce you to the Strifes, first.”

Words of protest hovered on the tip of his tongue, but Cloud remembered at the last second he wasn’t supposed to know which house his ‘relatives’ lived in. Instead he nodded mutely, feeling fourteen all over again as he trailed Bradley to his childhood home. A mistake, a waste of time, a dangerous distraction, a risk… he shouldn’t be going there, yet his feet carried him onward. He had a cover story now, if a flimsy one - surely it would be okay?

“I won’t stick around,” Bradley promised as he knocked on the door. “But gotta say, I don’t often get to see long-lost relatives hook up again. Highlight of my week.” He peered at him. “You look like you’re about to faint. Don’t worry. They’re nice, if a bit weird.”

Cloud nodded faintly, heart racing faster than a Gold Chocobo on a Saucer time trial. He was on the verge of calling the whole thing off and making a break for ShinRa mansion, but then soft footsteps pattered up to the door, the handled turned, and... “Mr Ferrey?”

“Morning, Missus Strife,” Bradley greeted, grin stretched wide. “Sorry to disturb, but on my way here, you won’t believe who I picked up a the base of t’ mountain. Poor fellow looked a bit lost, I think he might belong to you.”

The door opened a little further, her eyes flicked to him, widened, and the hand dropped away from the doorknob. “You…?”

Cloud fidgeted. “Hello ma’am,” he mumbled. “I think you might have known my brother…?”

The silence stretched, but Cloud couldn’t tear his eyes from his mother’s face – it took all of his self-control not to sweep the woman into a tight embrace and never let go. She always seemed so sturdy in his memories, so much larger than life, but here now he found himself faced with a frail waif of a woman, worn to the bone. When did he grow taller than her? When did she become so fragile? Was she always like this, and he only noticed now?

Then her face twisted, and the illusion of fragility shattered. “You- You-” The word dripped with hate. “Why are you here?”

…What?

His mouth opened, then closed. His mother’s glare was stronger than a mastered silence spell.

“Away! Away with you!" she shrilled. "Do you take me for an idiot? Your family – You people!" She shook, white with rage. "Haven't you done enough?!"


Feet rooted to the ground, Cloud couldn't do anything more than stare blankly. Numbness began to creep across his body, an embrace colder than Shiva’s hug.


"Missus Strife," Bradley nervously tried to interject on his behalf. "He's come a long way-"


"I don't want to hear it! I know better now!" she snapped. “I won’t let you take him! Get out of my sight! Get out! Out!”

Some distant part of him became aware of the curtains shifting across the way as curious eyes looked on, greedily observing the latest drama to enfold the Strife household. Yet Cloud could not move. Could barely think.


That was when she pulled the rifle out from behind the door.


Enhanced reflexes finally kicked in, and First Tsurugi came around, held flat as a shield. The bullet ricocheted off the blade, thudding into the grass nearby.

"Cripes!" Bradley ran for cover, and Cloud backed up a step as another bullet hit the sword. "Why you still standing there man, run!"


He had little choice. First Tsurugi guarding his retreat, Cloud backed away until he left the line of sight of his mother's rifle, bullets peppering the path of his escape.


"And don't you dare show your face here again! Don't you dare!" she shrieked after them, firing the gun once more to drive the point home. The shot hung in the air, a dull ringing in his ears drowning out all hope.


Cloud pressed his lips together, and swallowed the bitterness welling in his throat.


What did he expect? To be greeted with open arms, even as a stranger? He knew nothing about his father's family, but he should have guessed something bad happened. Why else would his mother never talk about it, would continue to stay in Nibelheim even though they were pariahs? But that she’d shot at him…

Gaia, he was never going to get the hang of this time-travelling thing. Couldn’t anything go the way he wanted for once? Was he being selfish, seeking that small comfort of talking with his mother again, even as a stranger? What was the point of all this if he couldn’t have even that much? Everything was so familiar, yet alien at the same time.


Bradley patted him awkwardly on the shoulder, eyes wide and sweat beading his brow. He looked about as shaky as Cloud felt. "That was a bit of a fright. Why don't we go to the Inn? Have a drink. Mayor will put you up if you take care of the dragons." Not waiting for a response, the driver led the way, no doubt eager to put the water tower between them and the distraught woman with a rifle. Cloud cast one last, longing glance toward his house before following.


There really was no returning home once he left. Destiny seemed determined to make sure of it.

The ruckus had drawn the attention of Mayor Lockhart, and he stood in front of the Inn, face pinched in a frown. "Who are you?" he asked, stance full of aggression.

“This here’s Cloud Strife. Long-lost uncle of the little runt. Cloud, Mayor Lockhart,” Bradley introduced, still visibly rattled by the encounter. At least he had it together enough to do the talking. Cloud didn’t think anything other than a croak could work its way out of his throat currently.

Lockhart gave him a fierce look at the name, and the blond just about resigned himself to spending the night in ShinRa manor, or maybe not bothering to sleep at all. Go with the original plan. Get in, get the job done, and get out again as fast as possible.

Luckily, Bradley wasn’t finished yet. “His original plan was to check in and have a bit of a family reunion, but you might have heard how that went. Good news is, he’s tough as a SOLDIER, and offered to take care of the dragon’s nest for us.”

Lockhart changed his stance quickly, though the dislike didn’t disappear from his eyes. “You think you can handle a Nibel dragon?”

A distraction, however unpleasant. Mayor Lockhart, storming their house, out for blood, his mother the only thing standing in his way. Sweet, popular Tifa, who stuck her neck out for him once but only made things worse, lying unconscious on the ground. “Nibel dragons aren’t a problem.” Humans were the only problem. SOLDIERs, specifically. And mothers with guns.

The Mayor didn’t look pleased with his lack of explanation, but even he couldn’t miss the heavy sword on his back or the gleaming materia, and to someone so unused to real combat, Cloud figured he looked impressive enough to be given the benefit of the doubt. “I suppose if you clear the nest out for us, I could let you board at the Inn. No longer than a week, though! We’re not a charity,” he offered grudgingly.

Cloud replied with a flat glance. “I don’t intend on staying that long.”

Lockhart harrumphed, and in a show of deliberate rudeness, left without another word. Cloud found himself looking for Tifa, but of course she couldn’t be spotted anywhere nearby. The children would either be at home eating lunch or up on the mountain trail playing.


"He's just anxious about yer good looks - worried you'll leave a line of bastards behind you,” Bradley assured him, slowly gaining his confidence back. “But you ain’t the type. Anybody who spoke to you for more than five minutes could tell you that.” He pushed open the door to the inn. “Get in here, have some lunch. Don’t go fighting Nibel dragons on an empty stomach.” And with his head elsewhere, but Cloud appreciated the courier possessed tact enough not to say so directly.


Bradley sorted everything with the inn’s management, while the blond sat at the table, thoughts whirling chaotically. The same inn he once patrolled outside of. The same inn General Sephiroth stayed in for only one night before disappearing into the base of ShinRa mansion. The same inn that once burned to the ground.

Memories battered him from every side. Cloud thought his recall of early Nibelheim was mostly intact post-Hojo, but sitting here in the familiar foyer, watching familiar kids scamper around the water tower – like he used to, when he’d climb it and hide because no one ever thought to look up - dozens upon dozens of tiny recollections crowded into his consciousness, memories he’d been unaware he’d forgotten until presented with the right trigger to override the perplexing images of Gongaga he’d inherited.

He shivered. Returning to the mansion the first time had been traumatising enough. He sincerely hoped no further horrors lurked, hidden, in his subconscious.

Bradley slid a plate of steaming hot stew under his nose – Nibelheim cuisine, who would have ever thought he could miss it? – and Cloud started, unsure of how long he’d zoned out for.

“Eat up, you’ll feel better, promise.” Bradley took a seat next to him, apparently having adopted him. Cloud didn’t mind – maybe because they both ran a delivery business of sorts, or maybe just because he still felt indebted to him for being so matter-of-fact about a fourteen-year-old hitching a ride out of town with little more than the clothes on his back – but he couldn’t help but feel awkward about the trouble.

“You don’t have to go to so much effort. You must have other things to do,” he murmured.

Bradley shrugged. “Couldn’t jus’ leave you standing at the bottom of t’ mountain. Sides, no decent man could leave you hanging after that. Really sorry about how it all went. I was sure- well, can’t help it, I guess.” He stuck into his stew with gusto, and Cloud followed suit, though more reservedly. "What happened t’ get her so riled, anyhow?"


"I don't know." His reply sounded hollow to his ears. Realising he ought to know, he added, "I was just a kid when my brother left home.”


Bradley gave him a sympathetic look. "She might come around, after the shock's worn off. She's normally such a sweet woman, Missus Strife. Real understanding sort."


Cloud knew that, which was why seeing such unbridled anger, such hate on her face, shook him so. She'd shot at him. If he hadn't reacted, the bullet would have torn through his left lung.


Yazoo and Loz, filled with rage for their fallen brother, the gunshot echoing in his ears, his vision blurring, fading.


It's for the best, he told himself. He wouldn't be able to keep a secret from her. He couldn't get attached, not when he needed to keep moving. Moving, needed to keep moving.

His mother’s face, blackened with soot, contorted by terror, eyes going blank as her life drained away.

Yes, it would be enough just to save her. He didn't need her thanks. All he needed was to protect her when he failed before.

His mother, the one who raised him, died a long time ago.





Next chapter




Comments

( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
ixtey
Nov. 18th, 2009 11:59 am (UTC)
this post looks a bit wonky from the "recent entries" page. o.o

/reads
sinnatious
Nov. 18th, 2009 12:05 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's being spastic, can't quite figure out why. XP

Chapter text is okay at least.
ixtey
Nov. 18th, 2009 12:20 pm (UTC)
"His mother, the one who raised him, died a long time ago."

asgdjkash that last line had me go "BAWWW I FEEL FOR YOU CLOUD" ;___; I guess I can relate with that line because I lost my mother at an early age too. And the way that Cloud's mother reacted to his visit, well... really didn't expect that. ;______;

and, and, Sephiroth's point of view~ <3
sinnatious
Nov. 18th, 2009 12:55 pm (UTC)
;____;

...Looking back at these early chapters now, Cloud sure doesn't get a break.
searisme
Nov. 18th, 2009 01:20 pm (UTC)
This was good. One of my favourite chapters so far. I really liked the Seph-Angeal-Genesis interaction, that Seph still is so hung up on Cloud and that Genesis is, well, changed. Was he worried for Angeal? How sweet.

Poor Cloud though, but it's nothing he can't handle, and frankly it was an awesome explanation as for why she moved to Nibelheim. And I just realised something - there will be Vincent! Yayes! (I'm assuming Cloud'll wake Vincent up, at least.)
sinnatious
Nov. 19th, 2009 10:36 am (UTC)
Thank you~!

And a FFVII fic without Vincent is scarcely a FFVII fic at all. ^_^

searisme
Nov. 19th, 2009 01:19 pm (UTC)
Why, you're welcome.
(Deleted comment)
sinnatious
Nov. 19th, 2009 10:39 am (UTC)
Ha ha, gotta make Cloud bleed, right? :D Even if it's only in flashback.

Cloud's Ma is hard to pin down - I mean, you only get to see her very briefly in flsahbacks! But I guess that gives us freedom in characterisation!

There's just something about Nibelheim... I originally tried to make this a fluffy happy chapter, you know? But Nibelheim doesn't let you. :|
swyrel
Nov. 18th, 2009 05:56 pm (UTC)
Sephiroth seemed to channel Genesis for a second with this thought, 'What could the mysterious blond be doing that was more important than plotting the death of ShinRa’s famed Silver General?' It just seemed so self-centered of him that I had to laugh.

GAH where is the Cloud getting his materia back from Yuffie scene? I want it~ T_T

Poor Cloud. I feel so bad for you already, but Sin, you are making my heart bleed over him. Stop torturing him already. Give him some shread of hope that destiny is not out to butt rape him. T_T

Chapter from Sephiroth's POV is <3, as was the interaction between the three at the beginning. And is that Genesis running out to track Cloud down for the cure? Silly Genesis. Just wait for Cloud to come to you. It has to happen sooner or later...hopefully...

Great chapter~ <3
sinnatious
Nov. 19th, 2009 11:10 am (UTC)
Hee, that is a bit Genesis-like, isn't it? I figured Sephiroth at least knows how awesome he is, though, considering he decided to become a God once upon a time and all.

You haven't heard the saying 'things have to get a lot worse before they get better'? ;)

Heh, sorry, materia retrieval was eaten by a Time Jump. :D

Thank you!
swyrel
Nov. 19th, 2009 05:58 pm (UTC)
Well, yeah, I have heard that, but if it get's much worse for Cloud, he's going to get broken. I mean, look what all the poor guy's been through. I'm just waiting for him to say 'screw it' one of these days and go drink all the contents of about a continent's worth of bars in the hope of becoming an alcoholic to deal w/ his problems. Of course mako would probably get in the way of that...O.O I wonder what Alcoholic!Cloud would act like...
sinnatious
Nov. 20th, 2009 11:32 am (UTC)
I am almost certain there are at least fifty fics of this. :D
swyrel
Nov. 22nd, 2009 07:51 pm (UTC)
Hmm...I wonder if they would all be bad fic?
firedraygon97
Nov. 18th, 2009 11:09 pm (UTC)
There really was no returning home once he left. Destiny seemed determined to make sure of it.

Guuuh, I just feel so bad for Cloud right here. He's just so unexpectedly (for him) homesick so he heads over with this want to see his mom and she completely shuts him down. ;___; Still, interesting take on why the Strifes stay in Nibelheim even when they're completely ostracized. I'm glad there were SOME friendly adults around for Cloud in his past. Bradley is an awesome OC, great work.

but the kid ought t’ be happy as a chocobo

Haha, Cloud can't get away from the chocobo analogies. I didn't just notice this now, but I really do like how you've adapted some of our sayings into the FF universe. Gil for your thoughts, etc.

Genesis is a lot more easy going now that he's the Wutai War poster-boy and no longer degrading. XD; I like how playful he can be. Angeal wondering about getting too old is amusing, too. You'd think he'd take better care of his health. Good thing Genesis knows what's up.

Sephiroth!! Two months of pining waiting for Cloud to come fight again. Heh, I'm happy he's so rattled afterwards. He's got a taste of competition and he likes it. >D Reminds me a bit of Touya happily playing Go as a child-genius, only to get beat down by Sai/Hikaru. Rivalry is the best way to develop some of these characters!

Hope to see more of this soon~!
sinnatious
Nov. 19th, 2009 11:14 am (UTC)
Thank you! OCs are always such a worry - fleeting though their presences may be, I didn't want them to intrude.

Heh, and here I was thinking that adapting those sayings was so cheesy of me, glad you liked them!

Touya and Hikaru! *__* Ha, that comparison is surprisingly apt! Who would have thought? XD He's got a taste of competition and he likes it. This just made me picture Sephiroth as some kind of shark.

Next chapter this weekend!
firedraygon97
Nov. 19th, 2009 03:22 pm (UTC)
There's a line that can be crossed with these sayings. For instance, if you had it every other paragraph, that would be too much. But I like it dispersed randomly in there. :D

Shark!Sephiroth. >D What would that make Cloud? A dolphin?

Looking forward to this weekend for one more reason now. XP
searisme
Nov. 19th, 2009 01:35 pm (UTC)
Oh, that parallell you drew to HnG was just really spot on! And Seph totally is pining, too.
(Anonymous)
Nov. 19th, 2009 09:32 am (UTC)
I'm not sure HOW I found this, but I'm glad I did. You said in a post that FF time-travel fics were ubiquitous, which may be true: but good ones are few and far between, and this is one of the best. I hope you can be encouraged to update as frequently as you have been!

FF7 time travel fics are a guilty pleasure of mine, but I swear that nearly all of them involve him leaving his balls behind in the future and crying over Sephiroth in the Shinra academy, which is apparently a high school with push-ups.
sinnatious
Nov. 19th, 2009 11:18 am (UTC)
Heh, I'm not sure how you found it either anon! Hasn't been advertised on any communities or anything. Wow, you know, there needs to be an LJ community for time travel fics. *ponders*

'nearly all of them involve him leaving his balls behind in the future and crying over Sephiroth in the Shinra academy, which is apparently a high school with push-ups.' This made me laugh so hard. It's true! I guess that's one of the reasons why I felt compelled to write my own one despite the number already present in fandom.

Glad you're liking it, and hope you'll keep reading!
demon_vampirate
Dec. 19th, 2009 11:32 pm (UTC)
Oh Cloud, my heart bleeds for you... T__T

Poor thing... especially in this chapter... *sniffle*

(Off to the next one...)
aschenhimmel
Sep. 2nd, 2010 02:51 pm (UTC)
Somehow, the Seph POV in this chapter really convinced me that yes, Seph, Angeal and Genesis *are* friends. In a weird sort of way. Plus, you're epic in mixing a sense of urgency with the funny.

That scene with Cloud's mom is real heartbreaking though. Looking back, Cloud's life is nothing but one long string of misfortunes, but I guess one of the things that made him really stand out is that he manages to trudge on. So fantastic of you to keep that facet of him. XD
caterfree10
Jan. 2nd, 2012 11:24 pm (UTC)
Cloud bb. That part just breaks my heart every time I read it, omg. ;; I mean, having read the later chapters several times, I understand why, but still. slfkjdshskhsd *cuddles Cloud*

I also love the interaction between the SOLDIER trio. It's something I especially love reading in fic since we got so little of it in canon, so it's always a treat for me. <3 And the comparison between Sephiroth and Cloud and Touya and Hikaru/Sai is so accurate and I love it to pieces (I need to reread HnG one of these days aksfjhdsk).
skibalovesya
Jul. 24th, 2012 01:07 am (UTC)
I'm re-reading this for the first time in a long time, and I just realized something.

Why's young!Cloud twelve?

I guess the better question is, exactly what year did Cloud get himself flung back to? From what I know of the timeline, Zack was born in 1984 and Cloud in 1986, meaning they're about two years apart. (Give or take, since Zack's birthyear doesn't have an accompanying birthdate...) So if Zack's already under Angeal's tutelage, he'd be 14 if Cloud's 12. Further, Yuffie's established as 8 here and is 9 when you begin CC canon, where Zack is 16. (So many ages to keep track of. @_@)

I could be not recalling a lot of the further story, since it's been ages, but this curiosity just popped up in my mind.

And dammit, I wish I didn't sound so nitpicky, because I feel like all I do is comment on your old stories and be like HEY LISTEN about some random unimportant detail. Please, please don't get me wrong, I adore your stories, your writing is phenomenal, and I'm enjoying this just as much as I did the first time around! I'm just a big pile of neuroses and FFVII canon has taken up an encyclopedic residence in my head... x_x

Edited at 2012-07-24 01:08 am (UTC)
(Anonymous)
Jul. 24th, 2012 01:53 am (UTC)
Sin here, on lunchbreak and too lazy to login
I'm going off memory here since I don't have my lovely hand-drawn timeline of ActV notes handy, but Cloud gets thrown back about a year prior to the start of CC (i.e. prior to Zack getting called to Wutai). So Zack would be 15, Yuffie 8 and Cloud 12, but only a couple of months shy of 13 - if the ages seem slightly out of whack, it's probably due to where their birthdays fall in the year. I remember getting headaches over it, because the fic in its entirety takes place over more than a year and everybody's ages get a bit staggered depending on what month it is. It wouldn't surprise me if the math got a bit fuzzy at points, but it would only be out by a couple of months at worst.

Turns out, of course, that the Wutai War was running a lot longer than I thought and shouldn't have been 'just starting' at that point - when I first started the fic fandom hadn't yet correctly parsed all that information from the various prequels. So that part can be considered to not match canon - obviously there must have been others in charge in Wutai prior to Genesis.

Heh, it's okay. So long as you understand that I may occasionally take a bit of creative license on canon details, especially since even Squaresoft can't keep their shit straight. :) I do my best to adhere to canon where practical, but I also prefer to write more than I prefer to cross-reference everything.
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