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Xmas Giftfics 2013 Part 2

Xmas Giftfic time again!  All Final Fantasy again.

For aramisa
A. Dissidia 012
B. Sephiroth, Cloud.
C. I just read that Sephiroth can be Cloud's assist partner in the game. I want a fic of that.
AN: Not much to it, but hope you like it.

It was halfway through the whirling sands and eerie silence of the Mirage Desert when Cloud finally lost his patience.

“Stop following me.”

The answering chuckle rumbled like thunder in the quiet. “And leave you at the mercy of Harmony’s forces?”

He stiffened, fingers curling into fists. “I had it under control.”

“It didn’t look that way to me, Cloud.” Sephiroth wrapped his name around his tongue like a leash made of velvet. “And you didn’t complain at the time.”

Of course he didn’t. He wasn’t stupid. If someone had him cornered, he wasn’t going to say no to someone else coming in and knocking them off balance.

If he’d known it was going to result in Sephiroth following him around taunting him though, he would have happily taken a sword or two to the gut instead. He’d experienced both sensations, and decided that the latter was indeed preferable.

He sidestepped the issue by saying, “Thanks for your help then. You can go now.” There. Nobody could complain about that. That was downright diplomatic.

Sephiroth merely raised an eyebrow in response. “You do realise that Cosmos’s lackeys travel in groups. You’re putting yourself at a disadvantage, travelling alone.”

“Why does it matter to you?” Cloud asked shortly. After all, anyone who couldn’t hack it on their own didn’t last long among Chaos’s ranks. They would just as likely be taken out by an ally as by an enemy.

“We are alike, after all,” Sephiroth drawled. Cloud cursed his mako eyes once again for giving him away. “And you appear to be less of a fool than the others running amok in Chaos’s camp.”

Great, now he had Sephiroth’s curiosity as well. That was never a good thing to have.

“Let me rephrase,” Cloud said, “Stop following me, or I’ll kill you.”

Sephiroth did not stop following him. Just gave him the same razor-sharp smirk and intent stare as always. “You are welcome to try.”

This was stalking, right? He should be used to this, really, but this was the first time Sephiroth had stalked him in person without actively trying to kill him. Cloud wasn’t equipped to deal with this.

“…Whatever. Do what you want,” he eventually muttered and turned away. Fighting Sephiroth would just be giving him what he wanted, and Cloud had spent far too long conditioning himself to do the opposite. Maybe he could find a way to just die and get out of this cycle early. It wasn’t like death was permanent on this world anyway. It shouldn’t be that hard to find someone to kill him, right?

…Except Sephiroth might stop them, just to piss him off.

Dammit. He really hated this world.

For bossborot
A. Final Fantasy VII
B. Reeve Tuesti (and/or Cait Sith, since it's STILL not entirely clear where one ends and the other begins in the original)
C. The little things that changed in Reeve/Cait Sith's interactions with AVALANCHE as they began accepting him as one of the team.
AN: Your changing prompt kind of threw me for a loop so it wound up sort of not exactly filling either of them, but hope it satisfies.

When he first started, it had been difficult to remember it wasn’t just another battle sim. They were faces on a screen, voices through a microphone, names in a dossier handed over by the Turks.

Then outside of Gongaga, Cloud said, “I trust everyone.”

Then Tifa had checked up on Cait after a battle when Mog took a hard blow, throwing the robot cat to the ground, even though she was still bruised and bleeding herself.

Then Aeris had smiled at Cait while they walked along the road, and made small talk with him about life in the Golden Saucer and where he learned to tell fortunes.

Then Barret had slapped Cait on the back after a particularly rough skirmish with a pack of wolves, thanking him for his assist with a hearty laugh.

Then Red XIII had offered Cait his spot by the fire, since he ‘was smaller and more susceptible to the cold’.

Then halfway across the world, safe and comfortable in the office, Reeve suddenly realised that he’d come to like this ragtag group called AVALANCHE.

“Sir. Sir!”

Reeve jerked his attention away from the small screen and controller. “What is it?”

“As I was saying, the quarterly reports are overdue-”

The alarm pinged on his controller, and Reeve glanced back at the screen, biting off a curse as he saw it fill with flame. “Later!” he snapped. “I’m busy!” His secretary gaped at him, before eventually shuffling from the room, shock and confusion written across her face at the harsh and abrupt dismissal.

Reeve sagged in his chair once she was gone and the dragon on the screen collapsed to the ground. He left it to Cait to cheer ‘thanks!’ when Cloud handed him a small materia, the spoils from their battle.

He should apologise to his secretary, really. It was out of character for him and hardly her fault – she had no way of knowing that halfway around the world he was assisting comrades in peril. But it had been another close one. Almost too close.

He could leave it to Cait to control Mog, if absolutely necessary. Most of the time Cloud was directing the battle anyway, and Cait was good at following orders. But it introduced so much lag, an extra two levels of processing that they sometimes simply could not afford. The second it took to register a threat, and then another second to decide how to reply, and then another second to execute the movement… it was terrifically sluggish, especially compared to Cloud’s movements, sword swinging faster than his cameras could track, or Tifa’s graceful dancing as she kicked and punched and evaded.

If he could just get a couple of spare hours, perhaps when AVALANCHE settled for the night, he could finally finish programming that predictive motion recognition…

Reeve was elbow-deep in code when Tseng appeared that evening like clockwork. “Anything new to report?”

Today Reeve had learned that Aeris used to fear the sky, that Yuffie suffered motion sickness, and that Red XIII had a surprisingly strong background knowledge of science, and enjoyed discussing astronomy with Cid whenever the two were on night watch together. He learned that Barret’s favourite brand of alcohol was a craft beer from Fort Condor, and that Tifa knew how to play the piano.

All irrelevant. “Nothing today.”

Tseng nodded in acceptance. “You’ve been doing well, continue on as you have been.” The exchange had become routine by now. “You’ll have to give reports over the phone for the next week. I’ll be out in the field.”

“Understood.” Reeve’s thoughts were already drifting back towards optimising Cait’s code.

Tseng hesitated at the doorway, though. “Reeve… will you be able to continue like this? You don’t appear to be sleeping well.”

“I’ll be fine,” Reeve promised. “It’s only for a little longer anyway, right?”

Tseng frowned, but with a sharp nod, disappeared from his office once more.

Reeve let out a sigh and allowed himself to slump onto his desk. His head pounded. He needed more coffee.

He lost sleep to upgrades, and then more sleep when he stayed up for Cait’s watch to talk with Aeris instead of letting the AI take care of it. He lost sleep to catching up on all of the department work he neglected during the day in favour of listening to AVALANCHE’s conversations and fighting in their battles.

Most of all, he lost sleep knowing that one day far too soon they would discover the truth, when he inevitably had to betray them.

For ratzels
A. Dissidia: Fallacious Deity
B. whoever feels appropriate
C. Cloud finally makes it home.
AN: I had a hard time deciding whether to do Cloud or Tifa POV for this one. (Went with Cloud for consistency's sake.) Does this mean the end of Fallacious Deity prompts? XD

Cloud’s breath caught in his throat.

Tifa crossed her arms in the doorway to Seventh Heaven. “Where have you been all week? I’ve been calling for ages!” Her voice was harsh, cross with anger and worry. But her expression was filled with nothing but relief. “I was this close to sending the others out looking for you!”

A week.

To Tifa, it had only been a week.

Even having clung so fiercely to those precious memories, faced with reality once again, he could scarcely remember how to reply. It was almost impossible to do anything more than drink in the sight of those deep brown eyes and drown in the sound of her voice. When had been the last time he’d spoken with Tifa? Beyond those few brief words exchanged after he’d rescued her from Sephiroth, when she hadn’t even known his name.

“Sorry,” he eventually mustered. The word felt tiny and weak. Insufficient.

She’d already moved on. “What are you wearing?” Her relief and irritation were immediately replaced by puzzlement. Cloud glanced at his shoulder pauldron, laden with sapphires, and his bone-white leather boots. Right, trades from the moogles. He’d been wearing them for years. He couldn’t even remember what clothes he’d arrived with anymore. Before he could think of an answer, Tifa continued, “And is that a moogle?”

That, at least, he could answer. “…He’s a summon.” It had been their fall back explanation in all of the worlds without moogles. Nobody had questioned it so far.

“Oh! Is that what kept you? Better not tell Yuffie you found a new materia, or she’ll try to steal it from you.” The trill of phone inside snatched Tifa’s attention away from them. “Sorry, I should get that, I’m expecting an order…” Her voice trailed off as she disappeared back inside.

Cloud didn’t want to let her out of his sight – some part of him terrified that she’d vanish once more, gone in a sweep of Shinryuu’s tail, and he’d wake up back in those endless empty plains covered by eternal cloud.

But as far as Tifa was concerned, he’d only been gone a week, so he let her go and struggled not to follow.

“Does she remember?” Cloud asked Cid in a low voice. Was it even the same Tifa he’d failed to rescue from the cycle?

Cid’s bobble wobbled back and forth. “I’m afraid if she fell in the cycle previous, she would have lost all memories of the experience. It’s possible that over time she may regain snatches of it, but outside of that world…” He sank in the air. “Shinryuu claims the memories there as his right. You have to… earn them back, is probably the best way to put it. By fighting and surviving. I’m sorry.”

“No.” Cloud closed his eyes. “Better that way. She shouldn’t have to…”

Shouldn’t have to be like him. She’d not been in the cycle for nearly so long, but better to spare her those memories.

No comrades to miss. No regrets. No pointless, endless battles to haunt her nightmares.

“What are you going to do now?” Cloud asked.

The moogle looked pensive. “Are you certain it’s the right world this time?”

“As certain as I’ll ever be.” At the following silence, he offered, “I may have regained my memories, but…”

“It was a long time ago,” the moogle interjected in understanding. “So long as you’re satisfied, then… I suppose it’s time I go back to Lufenia. Perhaps there, I will be able to find a way to return to my own body.” He chuckled, the sound pitched too high for its gravity. “Although I suppose a part of me has become rather used to this form.”

“You’ll be okay on your own then?” Past resentments aside, they had been allies for many months now. And Cloud never would have made it back without him.

“Lufenia is difficult to get to, but it’s unique. A fixed point in time and space. With the powers reclaimed from Shinryuu, it shouldn’t be a problem,” Cid assured him. He hesitated, then added, “For what little it’s worth, I would apologise on behalf of Lufenia, Cloud, for-”

Apologies were meaningless at this point. He cut the scientist off before he could go any further. “Just make sure it never happens again.”

“Of course. On that, you have my word.”

He and Cid had reached an understanding long before they’d left that world. Now, there was nothing more to be said. “Good luck.”

Then with a flash of pearlescent light and a short wave, the moogle vanished.

“Cloud?” Tifa asked. She stuck her head back through the door, pausing when she found him alone. “Where did the moogle go?”

“He had to go home,” Cloud said. “Sorry. We probably won’t see him again.”

Tifa blinked in confusion, but shrugged it off. Life in AVALANCHE made them blasé about such oddities. “I was about to say before we were interrupted – Lunch is starting soon, if you want to join us. Yuffie and Red are visiting too.”

It took several seconds too long to process the names. Longer yet to draw up hazy memories of the associated faces. “Sure. I’ll be right there.”

She gave him an odd look, but with a brief smile disappeared back inside.

Cloud dragged in a long breath and held it. Cataloguing scents both oddly new and distantly familiar. The air was sharp in his lungs, and the sunlight warm on his back. Real. A hundred worlds removed from an empty dimension filled with endless grey clouds and crystalline monsters.

He shook the memory off, and reached for the door.

He had a life to get back to.

He only hoped he could remember how.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 20th, 2014 07:17 pm (UTC)
Ok, so all of those are beautiful and I'm not entirely sure right now how to describe all these emotions and the wonderfulness of these drabble. Ill be back a little later once I've discovered how to write coherently.
Feb. 23rd, 2014 04:23 pm (UTC)
Feb. 21st, 2014 07:39 am (UTC)
Feb. 22nd, 2014 05:28 am (UTC)
#3 was actually nostalgically therapeutic, and I hope this Cloud makes it through. Will there be one of Squall to finish off the drabbles?
Feb. 23rd, 2014 04:26 pm (UTC)
If someone prompts one!

Honestly I still have a WIP sitting on my harddrive pre-dating the world-hopping aspect that I really need to get a move on.
Feb. 22nd, 2014 12:41 pm (UTC)
Sephiroth following Cloud like a duckling is an oddly adorable image that has been invoked by 1. (I'm sure Cloud disagrees. XD)

2. D: D: D: oh Reeve.

3. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah Cloud making it home is so heart warming!
Feb. 23rd, 2014 04:28 pm (UTC)
Bahaha, Sephiroth would make such an intimidating duckling. (Cloud does have the chocobo hair though...)

Feb. 23rd, 2014 01:43 am (UTC)
1. Suicidal ideation has never been so funny. XD

2. Oh, Reeve. *pets* Spying certainly screws with your head.

3. \o/ Thank you, this is beautiful. Heartwarming and just a little sad at the same time. Perfect. (I wouldn't count on it being the end of FD prompts; there's still all the stuff in between that people want to know about.)
Feb. 23rd, 2014 04:29 pm (UTC)
You're welcome, I'm glad you liked it! Ahaha I think you're right, as you see there are already comments to that effect. (I don't really mind though, thanks for giving me the excuse to keep playing in that verse).
Feb. 28th, 2014 12:32 am (UTC)

Oh my god!! You wrote my prompt!!! I'm so happy!! *massive sqeeing*

Thank you! I missed so much those adorable interactions between Cloud and his stalker XD. I'm going to add this ficlet to my Cyclic Dilemma headcanon. Because as long as Sephiroth exists, Cloud will never be alone ^^

*somewhere, Cloud is looking positively frightened*
Feb. 28th, 2014 03:41 am (UTC)
You're welcome! Glad you liked it. Ahaha it does fit in with that fic pretty well. XD
Mar. 9th, 2014 02:13 pm (UTC)
these were all very good, as is standard for you :) my favourite was the one with reeve! :)
Mar. 10th, 2014 09:46 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Reeve is not in nearly enough fanfic.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )