By Lena ban Obsidian
today's a reason for living
today's the blood from the stone
today's the light from a candle helping us to find our way home
- Sorry, Our Lady Peace (Gravity)
Maybe a month after it all happened, he climbed the cliff face where it'd been the end of the world, and nobody had saved anybody. Maybe that landmark and its particular history had been what made it so difficult to want to 'save the Planet' in days to come; or maybe it'd been that he'd been tortured for five years for killing Sephiroth, and he'd just wanted nothing more to do with it; or maybe he'd just been in shock. Or a combination, possibly.
It wasn't really much, that cliff. The sky wasn't entirely clear, but it wasn't about to rain here. It was just...a place. Just another part of the Planet where another life had been lost. It wasn't special.
There was absolutely nothing special about it.
He was too antsy to sit.
"Yeah, you know what? Fuck you. It's not my fault she died."
He paced. He knelt down to grab a pebble, and tossed it over the cliffside, watching with mako-enhanced eyes as it flew down, clattered along the ground, skipping five or six times before it came to a stop. He grunted, still dissatisfied, and ran a hand through his hair, tugging on it, biting his lip. It was cold today; the horizon, the sky was gray with winter and a hazy film of cloud-cover. The rocks looked black. Completely barren.
Midgar wasn't down there anymore.
"...it's not my fault she died," he said again, softer, holding himself quietly and looking out over the wreckage below. "She ran off and I didn't find her in time. And Sephiroth was there, and I--" He caught himself, scowling. "I couldn't even remember your name, you know? How was I supposed to know she was that girl? ...even the flowers...I didn't think it was weird or anything. The way she talked to anything. It was just another thing that I didn't understand. I didn't do it on purpose."
Troubled, he looked down at his feet, as if he'd been reprimanded.
"I didn't. Even if...well, even if you don't believe me." His lip curled, and he scowled because it was easier than just breaking down crying. "...it's not like I made a promise to you," his voice was shakier, everything was; his vision, his breathing. He considered sitting down, but the place was repulsive to relaxing. It made him want to /move/.
He vividly remembered, out of absolutely fucking nowhere, being barely coherent in strong arms, pleading, crying like a little kid and unable to stop. Hysteric, he'd been hysteric but eventually he'd needed to breathe and he'd choked on the last little sob, too exhausted to cry anymore, and his curiosity had gotten the better of him, and he'd listened to what that voice, murmuring to him in the background of his awareness, was telling him.
"I'll take care of you. It'll be okay. I would never, ever leave you behind."
Cloud held his breath for a moment, and when he let go of it, it was shaky and sad. But he'd done enough crying on this ledge and for this town it overlooked, even if it might feel like he'd never really make it up to the person he'd lost here, that no one remembered anymore.
"...you know, you're a fucking awful liar," he said, and laughed miserably because it sounded so pathetic, accusing thin air aloud like this, sounding like he was expecting reassurance or some kind of reaction like this. Maybe he was. He always got them in his dreams, when he had dreams.
He'd not had many of them since Midgar had been destroyed. He couldn't be sure he wasn't dreaming, of course; but he didn't remember anymore.
"And your sword is duller than a butter knife," he added, somewhat petulantly, surprising himself by laughing again, a little bit more certain this time, getting into the feel of things. "I don't know how the hell you ever got so good using that lousy old thing." His hand strayed subconsciously to the buster sword that was strapped across his back, and he smiled the way that means you're trying not to hurt, because you don't want anyone to see, and shut his eyes.
There was just the tiniest trace of a breeze stirring the dead air here; it wasn't quite warm /or/ cold, though in an hour, maybe two, it'd be freezing up here. The sun was already so low on the horizon as it was that things were beginning to look angular, sharp with dark, exaggerated shadows.
He felt raw inside, but that wasn't any different from the last year, or however long it had been. He didn't hurt as bad, at least. That was something. There's always something.
"...I just wanted to tell you, um. I...I won't be there. I won't be with you for a while." His voice wavered like a teenager's, his throat threatening to ruin his little speech, but he pressed on as hard as he could. "Just take...take care of things, you know? ...I'll...I mean, eventually..."
He laughed again. It could have been mistaken for something else, with the miserable, lonely smile on his face.
"...I'll see you all again later, though. I promise."
He left a pink ribbon trapped under one of the smaller rocks, and climbed back down, and the little breeze picked up maybe for a second or two.
It might have sounded like someone was saying, 'I told you so.'
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