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The Fifth Act, Chapter 13

Title: The Fifth Act

Rating:
T for violence.

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

Author's Note:
And Cloud enters the lion's den.


Previous Chapter

__________________

The Fifth Act Chapter 13

 __________________

 

“Excellent Strife, we’ll be stopping the simulation now,” an unfamiliar voice crackled over the speaker. The air shimmered, and the grassy hills dissolved into cold, grey steel. Cloud stood at ease, not even out of breath. 

 

After a moment, the side entrance whooshed open, and Tseng and another man – the voice on the speaker, he guessed – entered. Cloud studied the newcomer thoughtfully. Rufus? No, too old for the time, complexion slightly darker, and Rufus never wore glasses.

 

“Strife, I’d like you to meet Lazard. He’s the new Director of SOLDIER operations.”

 

“I wonder how long it will take before I can drop the ‘new’,” Lazard commented wryly, extending his hand.

 

Cloud looked at it blankly, before realising he was supposed to shake it. He did so carefully – the last time he shook Cid’s hand, he had nearly broken the pilot’s fingers. Though it was really Cid’s fault for making bad taste jokes about cross-dressing at that exact moment. “I have the job, then?”

 

“Almost,” Lazard replied. “You completed all three mission sims flawlessly, but I’m curious – what did you think of the simulator?”

 

He considered his answer carefully. “…It’s realistic, but it doesn’t replicate fighting conditions in the field well.” 

 

“How so?”

 

He scuffed his boot against the floor. “The terrain is smooth and even, and the weather controlled. I’ve fought some of those monsters before. They’re a lot harder to kill when you’re fighting on mud, or sand is stinging in your eyes, or you’re being blown off course by high-speed winds.” He flexed his hands. “And cutting through the real thing is different, too. The resistance is all in your mind, so your cuts always work the way you expect them to.” Sword fighting was the one topic Cloud could talk about at length.

 

His answer appeared to please Lazard. “Yes, there are drawbacks. It’s more cost-effective than field training, but there really is no substitute for the real thing. So as one last test, we’d like to see you in action against another SOLDIER. The objective will be to disarm your opponent.”

 

Cloud frowned. “Disarm how? A SOLDIER without a sword or materia is still dangerous.”

 

That took Lazard back a step. “To the unenhanced, certainly. But consider a fight between two civilians of equal strength. The fighting would normally stop when one possesses a weapon, and the other finds himself without, wouldn’t it? The same would be true of two SOLDIERs.”

 

Cloud thought that over, and agreed. Simple enough, then. 

 

Tseng slipped out the door, and returned with a SOLDIER dressed in a dark purple uniform, face partially hidden by the regulation helmet most SOLDIERs shunned. Second Class. This test wasn’t simply a formality, then. “Kunsel, this is Strife, the applicant I was telling you about.”

 

“Hey,” he greeted. He sounded friendly enough. Cloud nodded politely. No point getting on the bad side of his future co-workers. “Wow, you guys weren’t kidding. Are you sure I’m not being tested by an undercover First here?”

 

“Strife’s induction to SOLDIER is a bit backwards,” Tseng explained. “We had to adjust the exam accordingly. You’re the last test.”

 

“Sure thing. Don’t worry, I’ll play nice.” Those words were directed at Cloud. “Everyone deserves a fair chance at getting in.”

 

“Materia is allowed, though please exercise some restraint,” Lazard requested. “The training room is tough, but quakes and summons – well, I’m sure you can use your good judgement.”

 

They both nodded their assent, and Tseng and Lazard retreated back to the observation room.

 

Kunsel did a couple of squats. “Are we ready to rumble then?”

 

Cloud drew First Tsurugi and inclined his head, giving the SOLDIER Second the benefit of the first strike. Kunsel grinned. “You’re pretty confident, aren’t you?”

 

“It seemed like good manners,” Cloud replied. Flashes of this man cropped up in his memories, even though he knew he’d never met him before. Which meant he was one of Zack’s old friends. 

 

“Your loss, underestimating a Second Class!” Cleverly, Kunsel hadn’t gone for his weapon. Using the advantage of a first strike, he’d spent the time firing up an ice spell.

 

The atmosphere crackled, rapidly cooling. Cloud held out his hand. An eye-blink later, a mid-level fire spell blossomed, roared, and intercepted the shards of ice before they could fall. The air hissed. Mist billowed through the training room. Cloud drew his sword.

 

“Damn, you’re fast!” Kunsel rocked back on his heels as the clash of steel lingered in their ears. Broadsword, like Zack, though his was lighter and shorter. The knowledge appeared before him like magic. They’d been training buddies.

 

Best not to get lost in Zack’s memories, not when Kunsel was angling around, trying to get inside his guard. Their swords tangled and scraped, each of them going for the hilt, trying to break each other’s grip. The SOLDIER Second danced back, but Cloud met him every step of the way, cutting off his escape, striking hard and fast with every blow. 

 

Not bad. He had textbook form. His moves were economical, but his footwork was a little slow. Cloud parried a slash, saw an opening, and drove forward, but stopped his strike at the last second. 

 

Kunsel’s face turned white. Cloud had pulled back from what would have been a killing blow – a blow Sephiroth could have blocked, but no one else. The SOLDIER threw himself backwards, desperate to put some distance between them. He fumbled for his materia. Lightning crackled through the air. Moments before it hit, Cloud called on Barrier. A translucent wall shimmered before him. The spell sputtered into harmless sparks.

 

They traded blows, Kunsel struggling to keep his feet under the relentless assault. Cloud considered several methods of tripping him up – if he brought a second blade into play the battle would be over almost immediately. No, a single sword would be more than enough. Blue eyes calculating, he stepped back on his opponent’s frantic parry. Kunsel cursed as he overextended.   A sharp tap on his fingers with the hilt of First Tsurugi, and the SOLDIER’s sword clattered to the ground. 

 

Sword taken care of. Cloud ducked in, moved around his opponent one smooth motion, caught the fist aiming for his face, and popped out the ice and lightning materia equipped to the SOLDIER’s bracer.

 

“Yield!” Kunsel called out, just before Cloud could kick his knees out from under him and drop him to the floor. The blond released the captured fist and stepped away, giving the Second room to organise himself. After a moment, the entrance hissed open again, and Tseng and Lazard returned.

 

“Are you alright, Sergeant?” the Turk asked.

 

Kunsel nodded, gasping. “Just… give me a minute to catch my breath. I wasn’t expecting a sprint match.”

 

Cloud returned the stolen materia, which Kunsel accepted with a breathy ‘thanks’. He himself wasn’t tired at all. Had he really been moving that fast? He’d tried to stick to a reasonable speed, and assumed Kunsel had been doing the same, since he kept up with him pretty well. Pushing his opponent to exhaustion hadn’t been his intention. Maybe fighting Sephiroth for so long had warped his understanding of the limits of the average SOLDIER.

 

“So, Sergeant Kunsel, what are your thoughts?” Lazard asked.

 

“Sign him up,” Kunsel advised, hands on his knees and still catching his breath. “It’s like fighting a First. You’d be mad to let him get away. Plus, he’s going to be giving me materia lessons.”

 

Cloud frowned. “Materia lessons?”

 

“You have to teach me how you cast that fast.” He flashed him a tired grin. “I thought I had the drop on you with that first spell, but you cast that fire so quick it didn’t matter!”

 

Cloud shrugged and looked away, feeling awkward. He’d never thought about it, but Avalanche had tracked down some pretty rare materia when they’d been preparing to take on Sephiroth. Cloud trained to cast faster because he knew how quick Sephiroth was, knew that any one of them could only distract him for a few seconds at a time. Any materia they couldn’t get to a decent warm up speed simply didn’t get brought to the fight.

 

“He’s quick with a sword, too. You swing that thing around like it weighs nothing more than a rapier.”

 

“I agree.” Lazard regarded him thoughtfully. “I’ll be honest, Strife, I had my reservations over hiring someone outside the usual internal process, but you’ve proven yourself a man of talent. Welcome to SOLDIER.”

 

Kunsel slapped him on the back. “Congrats! Looking forward to working with you!” His grin widened. “And can I just say I’m relieved you’re going to be on our side?”

 

Cloud nodded at both them. “Thanks.”

 

Things became something of a whirlwind after that. Tseng added his well-wishes then vanished somewhere, and Lazard stepped him through dozens of contracts, all of which Cloud’s paranoia had him reading twice to make sure he didn’t miss any fine print. He got a tour of the facilities, a request to report to the Briefing Room first thing the next morning, and a long list of contraband items, most of which he recognised as drugs and foods that reacted poorly with mako. 

 

Eventually, all of the paperwork and orientation had been sorted. Kunsel showed him to the barracks, and wouldn’t leave until Cloud had promised to give him some materia tips later. Promise extracted, the door finally closed behind him, and Cloud Strife, newly minted SOLDIER Third Class, could inspect his new home.

 

He suspected ShinRa had given him Second Class quarters instead of Third, but he wasn’t about to complain. It wasn’t spacious, but there was a desk and a bed and a cupboard – already holding military-issue pyjamas and two Third Class uniforms - and a private bathroom. No window, and for a second claustrophobia clawed at his throat, but he fought it down with the reminder that the bunks on the Highwind were half the size. The only difference was the location. 

 

No window meant extra privacy, but it also reduced his escape routes. Cloud tapped on the wall experimentally. Chipboard and insulation. Should the worst happen, he could always tear straight through the wall to get out. And there was always the air vent.

 

So. He’d finally made it into ShinRa headquarters. What next?

 

Considering Cloud didn’t possess anything not already on his person, he didn’t need to unpack. Instead, he started feeling his way around the room, checking for microphones and hidden cameras. The paperwork might have been in order, but he still expected ShinRa to spy on him. Shiva, they’d be stupid not to. 

 

He jerked at the harsh knocking on his door. A visitor already? He hadn’t been in his room for more than five minutes. 

 

Should he answer? Maybe it was Zack. Or Kunsel or Lazard forgot something. So much for a chance at some time alone. With a sigh, he opened the door.

 

He hadn’t expected to see a red leather coat.

 

“Genesis?”

 

“Strife.”

 

The man looked good. Healthy. And for some reason, delighted.

 

“Welcome to ShinRa,” he greeted airily, breezing into the room and apparently not bothered by the close quarters at all. “Here to kill Sephiroth?”

 

He glowered at the reminder. “Apparently ShinRa looks down on that sort of thing from their employees.”

 

“He’ll be elated to hear that. What made you decide to work for ShinRa?”

 

Cloud had prepared for this conversation. “They offered me a good deal.”

 

“And you took it?”

 

“It was attractive after the past few months on the road.”

 

Genesis made an amused sound in his throat, but didn’t follow the line of inquisition any further. Instead, lyrical poetry fell from his lips. “My Friend, your desire

Is the bringer of life, the gift of the goddess.

 

Cloud folded his arms. “What’s that supposed to mean?” He’d read Loveless – everybody in Midgar had, you couldn’t escape it – but the exact definition of the ‘gift of the goddess’ varied from play to play. 

 

“That… potion, or whatever it was you gave me, back in Wutai. Do you have any more?” His voice dipped, words laced with urgency.

 

The request surprised him. “One vial wasn’t enough?” That dosage had been more than enough to cure even the worst cases of Geostigma, but maybe degradation worked differently.

 

“It’s not for me,” he corrected, hushed. He leaned out to the open hallway, checking for eavesdroppers, then confided, “A friend. Angeal.”

 

It took a minute for the name to register. Angeal…. Angeal… Zack’s mentor, black hair, Buster sword, single white wing. Gaia, how could he have forgotten? He’d met Zack on the mission where Angeal died, his own student forced to slay him. Cloud felt suddenly ill.

 

“Degradation. Sure, I still had another two-” His voice faltered as his fingers found the pouch hanging off his hip, though. It didn’t feel right. 

 

With dread, he removed the pouch and shook the contents onto the bed. 

 

Glass. Nothing but shards of glass. His ethers, potions, hypers, remedies… and Aeris’s water. Smashed, gone, as though they never existed. How had he not noticed?

 

“No… when I fought the grand horn…” he whispered, fingering through the mess of debris. When he hit the crate. It must have happened then.

 

He chanced a glance at Genesis. The man stared at the shattered remains on the bedspread as though unable to comprehend their meaning. 

 

“Angeal…” Abruptly, Genesis whirled and grasped him by the shoulders. “What was it? Where did you get it?”

 

Cloud shook his head. “It’s not, there’s not any-”

 

“Someone must have made it!” His fingers curled, digging painfully into the blond’s arms.

 

Cloud wrenched away. “I can’t get any more! The person who made it – she’s gone!” How else to explain it? 

 

Genesis stared at him as though struck. 

 

The blond shifted awkwardly, massaging his shoulders. He felt terrible, but what could he really do? He didn’t know how Great Gospel worked, or what exactly it was that made the wellspring at the church so special it could cure even Geostigma, the disease which not even the strongest potions or remedies or spells could soothe. 

 

This could cause problems, though. Genesis might be cured, but Angeal would continue to degrade. What would happen? Would Angeal desert ShinRa? Cloud searched desperately through the fragments of Zack’s memories for some clue. Angeal had been the more rational of the two deserters, and in the end, sacrificed himself. He probably wouldn’t try to destroy the world. That was something. But what would he do? Would he stay with ShinRa quietly until the end? Would he disappear into the Science Department and never emerge? Would he run off and live out the remainder of his days as a hermit in seclusion?

 

Or perhaps more importantly, how would Genesis react to his friend’s condition?

 

“There – there might be a way to cure it, still,” he offered, hesitant.  “I know someone – they didn’t create the water, but if I explain it, maybe…”

 

“Bring me to them!” Genesis implored.

 

Cloud shook his head. “I can’t. They’re in hiding, last I heard.” It was sort of the truth. “And it might not even be possible. It’s just a slim chance.” A slim chance Aeris might be able to recreate her miracle. He didn’t want to ask – the poor girl had been spooked enough that he knew of her Cetra heritage – but surely she wouldn’t mind trying if it would save Zack the pain of losing his mentor?

 

If nothing else, he might buy some time. Having Genesis and Angeal around would maintain the status quo. Hollander would stay at ShinRa, hopefully limiting Hojo’s power. The chaos Genesis spawned that led to their eventual deployment to Nibelheim would be delayed.

 

Cloud knew he had many months yet, but sometimes it felt like days. 

 

Genesis didn’t look happy about it, but asked, “How long?”

 

“I don’t know for sure. I’ll get in contact. It might take a while. How long does he have?”

 

“Perhaps you should tell me. You seem awfully well informed on degradation. I was under the impression I was the only person Hollander had told.” The desperation had disappeared, to be replaced with curiosity and cold cunning.

 

The silence stretched while Cloud considered the best explanation for that. How many holes did he leave in his performances? This was Turk work. What would Vincent say?

 

Vincent wouldn’t say anything at all. That was why they were friends, back in his timeline. Cloud liked the philosophy, and turned his attention to cleaning the glass up off the bedspread.

 

Eventually, Genesis gave up on the topic, crossing his arms and leaning against the wall as though they were friends catching up, as opposed to strangers who’d met only twice before. “Have you seen Sephiroth yet?”

 

“I was only hired today.” He went searching for a bin, and located one in the bathroom. The glass tinkled musically against the plastic.

 

“He’ll come later.” The words were spoken with authority.

 

“And do what?” If ShinRa’s intention was to lure him into the building so Sephiroth could confront him on home turf, they were being naïve. The skyscraper would be destroyed in the process. 

 

“Talk, I presume. He’s curious about you.”

 

Cloud made plans to hide for the rest of the day.

 

“If you want to avoid him, he hardly ever visits the Training Room,” Genesis commented, bright blue mako eyes fixed unnervingly on the blond.

 

Surprised, Cloud examined the SOLDIER in return, but the First only lifted his chin slightly, matching his gaze without reservation.

 

Slowly, he asked, “Why tell me that?” Genesis didn’t strike him as the sort to help others out of kindness. 

 

He shrugged. “You’re the most interesting thing to happen around here in a long while, Strife. It amuses me to see Sephiroth’s feathers ruffled. He looks like a great big cranky silver bird.”

 

That was all? It struck him as the sort of thing Zack would do. Then again, in all of his memories Genesis had been bitter and viciously angry over his fate – he never had the opportunity to witness the man the magazines called a ‘warrior poet’, possessing a clever and light-hearted wit. He’d always assumed them to be flowery trash. “Thanks.”

 

Genesis made a sort of mocking bow, then hesitated, as though indecisive over his next words. Cloud swept the last of the crystalline fragments from his bedspread in the silence. 

 

Eventually, he murmured, “It is the least I can offer in return.”

 

Cloud’s hand stilled over the bin, particles of glass glittering on his fingers.

 

Stiffly, Genesis turned and made to leave the room. “He is guided by hope that the gift will bring bliss

And the oath that he swore to his friends.

 

Gratitude. Genesis was thanking him, in his own oblique way. 

 

The realisation stole the breath from his lungs. All along in his crusade, he’d been prepared to face persecution, prepared to have ShinRa chase him down like a rabid dog once more if it meant he could guarantee the safety of the right people, but never did he once expect anyone to thank him for his efforts. 

 

He couldn’t leave it hanging like that. “Wait!”

 

Genesis paused, turning back slightly, framed by the bright hallway lights. 

 

Cloud’s intention had been something along the lines of ‘it was nothing’ or ‘it’s the only difference I’ve made’, but the words wouldn’t come unstuck from his throat. As the silence stretched and Genesis raised a curious eyebrow, he eventually blurted, “Why doesn’t Sephiroth ever visit the Training Room?”

 

The SOLDIER’s blossoming smile possessed a decidedly grim twist. “Interesting question. It’s because his father is the head of the science department – and let’s just say, the science department has been known to requisition the facilities every now and again.”

 

Jackpot.







Next chapter

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
searisme
Dec. 9th, 2009 11:57 am (UTC)
*cackles* You cannot escape me! I've been lurking all night, and now, finally...!

Ah, yes. Pleasant evening, is it not? *not shifty-eyed at all*

Ou! I'm liking Kunsel. Any friend of Zack's is a friend of mine.

And Genesis! Even better Genesis and Cloud! Genesis quoting Loveless at Cloud, and Cloud interpreting it! ...but poor Angeal.

*waiting for Seph*
sinnatious
Dec. 9th, 2009 12:13 pm (UTC)
*brb, dying of laughter*

XD You really are channelling Yuffie now. If Yuffie shipped Gen/Cloud.

Sephiroth returns next chapter, you need not wait long. :)
searisme
Dec. 9th, 2009 12:42 pm (UTC)
*You're welcome, I er- ... aim to kill?*

Ah, but the question is - do you know, are you completely positive, that Yuffie indeed does not ship Gen/Cloud?

Yayes! I'm looking forward to the sulking, and the stalking, and the ruffled feathers.
ixtey
Dec. 9th, 2009 12:52 pm (UTC)
I love the little detail about Cloud being able to go on with swords forever. It made me remember that he was actually a guy, with guy things and all that.

kjasdh,asbndkj GENESIS KJASLASKJASHA when I saw his name the moment I scrolled down, I swear all I could think about was SQUEEEEE and a mini-heart attack made itself known. Oh, GenCloud deprivation, indeed. Even the slightest bit of in-character interaction with them brings me to the brink of fangirl insanity.

“Talk, I presume. He’s curious about you.” Cloud made plans to hide for the rest of the day.
> those were one of the best lines, I literally LOLed while I was reading that. No wonder my sister's looking funny at me now...

I feel sad for Angeal though. Although I'm not so sure I'd want to see him healed, Zack's future might change since he won't get his sword.

Looking forward to SephCloud interaction! *can barely wait* 8D

aaaaand, I was supposed to be doing homework right now, but... oh well. XD
sinnatious
Dec. 10th, 2009 10:27 am (UTC)
XD Your Gen/Cloud deprivation is indeed critical if that little scene is enough to get you so excited. Happy you enjoyed it, though. :D

So callous a reason to deny Angeal a cure! Just so Zack can get Buster? XD I have to admit, Zack without a Buster is foreign and unsettling.

Pfft, fandom >> homework. ;)
ixtey
Dec. 10th, 2009 01:26 pm (UTC)
I'd really like Angeal to get healed too, but hey, a Buster is a Buster. It just feels so wrong to see Zack without one. I hadn't even considered the possibility of Cloud's potions shattering (since I thought the shattering sound at the other chapter was a hip bone that healed in five seconds due to mako or something and I actually thought the wet thing on Cloud's pants was piss, dear God. *facepalm*)

Why yes, fandom pwns homework every time. But certain people *cough*parents*cough* do not seem to agree with me at all. Oh woe. :PP
(Anonymous)
Jan. 5th, 2013 04:14 am (UTC)
I thought the same (a hip or something shattering but healing right away) and that the wet thing was blood. *shrugs*

ollie outie, ol' commentie
swyrel
Dec. 9th, 2009 06:54 pm (UTC)
O.O More Genesis/Cloud interaction~ Even if it wasn't slashy...I didn't even see the part w/ the broken vials coming. I guess it would be too easy for both of them to be healed just like that. Oh, I hope Aeris can make more. T_T

Wonderful chapter!
sinnatious
Dec. 10th, 2009 10:42 am (UTC)
Thank you!
firedraygon97
Dec. 10th, 2009 02:52 am (UTC)
Though it was really Cid’s fault for making bad taste jokes about cross-dressing at that exact moment.

The thing is, the thing is -- Cid wouldn't have known about that little excursion unless Aeris or Tifa spilled the beans. XD I can just imagine that, around the campfire right before a big battle. "And that one time at Don Corneo's..." And Yuffie'd be all, "Awesome ninja skills!" :O

As the silence stretched and Genesis raised a curious eyebrow, he eventually blurted, “Why doesn’t Sephiroth ever visit the Training Room?”


Cloud's so flustered! I'm amused that being thanked makes him so awkward. He's such a modest hero in that regard. At least his groping at something to say leads him to some excellent information on Hojo. XP Maybe he can figure out the whereabouts of Jenova, too! Can't say I'm looking forward to that little reunion; I hope Cloud knows what he's doing!

Question: how does Cloud NOT notice all his potions are broken until now? D: The pouch would've leaked all over his leg or something...
sinnatious
Dec. 10th, 2009 11:30 am (UTC)
Yuffie would be impressed. Oh wow, I want to write that scene now. XD But my intention was more to imply Cid had made the joke without knowledge, because hey, even Cid's not so reckless as to risk his fingers like that. :P

Gotta love our modest hero. <3

Answer: I refer you to this line in Chapter 11: He was faintly aware of a trickle of blood running down his forehead, and a wetness soaking into the leg of his pants. In other words, he felt it, but in the middle of a fight and afterwards Zack moment, didn't really notice.
firedraygon97
Dec. 10th, 2009 02:54 pm (UTC)
That's what I kinda thought about Cid, too, but then I wondered when a cross dressing joke opportunity would arise. :/ Not much of that going on in the FFVII verse, aside from that one scene...Haha, poor Cid.

Ahhh, at least he noticed it! I missed that bit and was all, "Is the pouch plastic-lined on the inside?! Wouldn't the potions be swimming in there..." *shakes head* Thanks for clearing that up. :D
kysna
Dec. 19th, 2009 06:18 am (UTC)
(Leaving stalker-mode for a few seconds just to point out something I felt was strange.)

Cloud parried a slash, saw an opening, and drove forward, but stopped his strike at the last minute.

'Last second' seems to be like a better fit. But that's just me being iffy, it didn't ruin my experience with the chapter at all.

Nothing could possibly say how pleased I am with this story, especially with how IC everything is. (All my praises are practically said already.) It's so hard to find a story that can easily make me bawl, laugh, and go "OMG!", especially in one chapter.

And sad to say, The Fifth Act is also making me lean towards Genesis/Cloud ... no! I must resist and continue to support Tifa/Cloud.
sinnatious
Dec. 19th, 2009 06:30 am (UTC)
I read those paragraphs over again, and I do agree, that's a better choice of word. (Though I used it again later, so changed that instance to something else to avoid repetition.) Thanks! ^_^

Glad you're enjoying it, and hope you keep reading.

Curious affliction, that. :D Hey, no reason why you can't support both!
lunarfirefox
Jan. 10th, 2010 03:27 am (UTC)
This is completely random, but I google searched "The Fifth Act" and it lead me to this page xDD
caterfree10
Jan. 3rd, 2012 09:24 pm (UTC)
Eeee, more Gen/Cloud interaction, yey. <3 I swear, possible interaction between those two is basically the main reason I'd ever want another FFVII game, negl. It really is a shame about the water though. But then we wouldn't have a plot line for later now would we. x3

Cloud's critiques of the simulation system are wonderful too. With so much experience, he'd easily spot any disconnect between the virtual reality world and how it compares to real world experience. Love those details so much asfkjhdskj
(Anonymous)
Jan. 5th, 2013 04:07 am (UTC)
Cloud looked at it blankly, before realising he was supposed to shake it.

...Oh, Cloud. XD

Though it was really Cid’s fault for making bad taste jokes about cross-dressing at that exact moment.

Can't say I blame Cid. I bet that story cheered up AVALANCHE on multiple occasions.

Genesis. C:

Then again, in all of his memories Genesis had been bitter and viciously angry over his fate – he never had the opportunity to witness the man the magazines called a ‘warrior poet’, possessing a clever and light-hearted wit. He’d always assumed them to be flowery trash. “Thanks.”

I'm glad I found your fics and I'm clinging to this statement with all my might: We only saw the worst of Genesis in Crisis Core.

It also makes for an interesting contrast with "Beloved"; he is still acerbic and, while still playful once he starts trusting Cloud, there is something like barbed wire to his words and whole person. So it's interesting to see a Genesis that is... I don't know, sweeter? Softer? More innocent? Less bitter? Uncorrupted? Unbroken? Here. It's nice, and kind of heart-breaking.

It's also interesting to see the changes from this version to ff.net's version, small as they are!
sinnatious
Jan. 5th, 2013 06:25 am (UTC)
Thanks! Yes, it was an interesting challenge when I started writing Genesis for Beloved compared to Fifth Act. He's no longer the full-bore bitter, angry, cruel villain he was in Crisis Core years, but he's definitely a bit broken and still bearing scars from it. It took me a while to settle on a happy medium.

Keen eyes that you spotted any in this chapter! The biggest changes were two extra scenes I added, but there were definitely a lot of small fixes throughout.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )