Author: Chocobo13 PM
Paying a visit to Zack's grave, Cloud has a strange dream and wakes up several years in the past as a SOLDIER cadet. He thought he was done, but it seems the Planet had other plans. Post-AC. Warning: Possible boyXboy pairing between Cloud and Sephiroth.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Humor - Cloud S. & Sephiroth - Chapters: 8 - Words: 39,510 - Reviews: 262 - Favs: 459 - Follows: 649 - Updated: 03-20-11 - Published: 07-07-10 - id: 6121393
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: FF7 doesn't belong to me.
Second chapter for you guys. It might not be too exciting, but I hope you enjoy it anyways. I'll try to get the next chapter up soon, but I'm just kind of making this stuff up as I go. But I'll do my best! And don't be shy to let me know what you think, it really helps me to come up with a different spin on this kind of story. So enjoy! Or hate it. If you don't like it... uh... thanks for reading anyways?
Cloud Strife is not an idiot.
He had been an idiot years ago and maybe he still had his moments from time to time, but that was expected.
All humans are prone to acts of stupidity, and Cloud was no exception.
However, he knew himself very well, probably a whole lot more than most people. Then again, he wasn't like most people was he? Given the ordeals he had to undergo throughout his life, it was quite impossible for Cloud not to know himself. Not that he minded all too much nowadays, he was moving on with his life afterall, and as part of the process, he learned a lot about himself.
One thing Cloud learned was that he is a reasonably rational person with a surpisingly level head. He could keep his cool in fights, knew his limits, and knew when to push pass those limits. While he was an expert fighter, he had other 'fields of interest' as well. For example, Cloud knew quite a few things when it came to weapon design and mechanical egineering. Afterall, how else did he obtain Fenrir and First Tsurugi? He couldn't just buy them. He made them from scratch, but his situation rather demanded him to create these two masterpieces of creativity.
During the time he designed and forged them, Cloud had been quite the... uh... troubled soul at the time, to say the least. That is if a troubled soul consisted of a not-quite mentally sound individual that needed to kill a world-reknown hero and fighter. One that had basically went insane and was on a one way track to destroy the world. An insane hero that didn't seem to stay dead either. Even though it was sheer luck that Cloud killed Sephiroth the first time, the fact that this feat needed to be repeated more than once had just encouraged Cloud to make First Tsurugi and Fenrir.
What was used to make them and how they were constructed were questionable at best, but what worked, worked. As to how he named them, it was quite simple when it came to his blade. Cloud had made First Tsurugi, well, first. So he named his sword, 'First Sword'. Not all that creative, but it was just a name to call the project he was working on at the time. However, the name just sort of stuck and kind of grew on him. The name wasn't as important as the actual weapon itself, but giving First Tsurugi a name did make it seem more complete.
When it came to Fenrir, Cloud did put a lot more thought into the name of his beloved motorcycle, but for the moment that's irrevelant. There are some more pressing matters going on in Cloud's life, such as him waking up several years into the past, so back to the current topic at hand.
Cloud Strife is not an idiot.
So when his lips were turning blue, lungs starting to burn, and brain beginning to turn fuzzy, Cloud remembered the most important and basic task needed to live: breathing.
Quietly gasping in air, Cloud stayed calm. At least as calm as a person could be when they seemed to have woken up in the past. Assuming that he didn't suffer brain damage, Cloud quickly concluded that he was fine. Absolutely fine. Nothing wrong at all. Whatsoever.
'Remember to breathe. Inhale, exhale, repeat,' Cloud thought shakily, lungs burning again.
Breathing normally once more, Cloud sat up. He couldn't panic. Well, he could, just not yet. He needed to learn more about his present situation. Or was it past? Either way, he needed to know just what his current situation was. Starting with when and where he was first, followed by why he was here and what he should do. Then, he'll find a nice little nook or cranny to hide in so he could panic... and perhaps cry... just a little. Then eat some ice cream to cheer up.
'Guh, when did I break up with someone? Get a grip on yourself and focus Strife! You got things to do.' Cloud reminded himself, shaking his head a little. Saving the world and other adventures aside, how did he manage to keep his friends again?
Rolling his eyes, Cloud turned his focus to the room around him. Now was not the time for panic and sarcasm, he'll save that for later. Ignoring the time travel ordeal, Cloud could see nothing out of the ordinary. His dorm room looked like it had the first time he had been here.
'When I was fourteen,' Cloud's eyes widened. Looking at his hands, he had remarkably smooth white skin. At the sight of his scrawny arms, Cloud wanted to run straight to the bathroom. Whether to throw up or see his reflection, he wasn't sure. Although, he was willing to bet that he would throw up either way. So why not delay the unpleasant experience of regurgitating the insides of his stomach?
Besides, as curious as he was to see what he looked like, that could wait for a little while more. He needed to find out the year and date. If he knew that, he'd be able to act like a normal cadet. Why even bother to act normal? Well, there was no point for Cloud to deny the very real possibility that he was unlikely going to return to his own time in the next few hours. And there was also the possibility that he wasn't hallucinating either, that was a good reason to act normal. So in the meantime, he could at least stay below the radar until he could form a real plan of action.
Focusing again on some sort of goal, Cloud rolled out of bed. Luckily for him, it was night time (if his fellow cadets sleeping soundly was anything to go by). But how much time did Cloud have before the morning wake up call sounded? If he wanted to do anything, Cloud needed to know how much time he had to do whatever he had in mind.
Looking along the walls, he immediately found the room's clock and learned that it was roughly three in the morning. The bright LED blue lights made it easy to find, and had been placed at the far wall in between the two rows of bunk beds. So if he had been entering the room, he would be facing the clock at the end of the aisle. Spotting something on the clock, Cloud witheld a frown. He wasn't quite sure, but he it looked like a button camera. He was being watched.
'And if I was on the other end of that camera, I would see who came in, who was fighting, or who would try to sneak out and break curfew.'
Now what to do about it? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Cloud knew he was being watched. Great, he could use that information and deal with any problems he would have with the camera later, but he didn't need to worry about the camera since he wasn't going to do anything unusual. Cadets could be out of bed, they just had to be in their dorm room when lights went out. So what would be unusual about him being up for a few minutes from what could be passed as a bad dream? He just needed to stay calm and find out the date.
Finding a calendar near the entrance door, Cloud quickly walked over to it. Checking the first date that wasn't crossed off, it was Sunday, or Monday if the dates were crossed off the next day. Moving the calendar off the wall so he could find out the year, Cloud began to form a plan.
If he was lucky, it would be Sunday and he would have an extra day to find out what he was supposed to know. If not, Cloud needed to find his backpack to see what he was supposed to know at whatever age he was and find his schedule.
Looking at the year, Cloud blinked. He even rubbed his eyes. But the numbers remained the same. This couldn't be right. If this calendar was up-to-date, Cloud was born twelve years ago. There was no way Cloud could be twelve. He signed up when he was fourteen, and that was the minimum age requirement ShinRa had. And that's how old he should be.
This time, Cloud didn't stop running to the bathroom. However, the bathroom only had a toilet, sink, and mirror, all close together, which meant it was rather small. So when Cloud ran in, he bashed his shin against the toilet.
Normally, he would be unphased by a kick to the shin, but that was when he had more mako than an average SOLDIER First. Any injuries left behind healed up quickly, and as a result, the pain didn't linger. And as Cloud hopped on a foot holding his shin in pain, he quickly concluded that he did not have any mako in his body.
Hitting his elbow against the metal sink, Cloud yelped, letting go of his shin in exchange for his elbow and leaning away from the sink. The stinging pain wasn't so bad, he had been through worse, but the pain still surprised him. Unfortunately, he stepped on a small puddle of water and slipped.
So now he was falling. Not only that, but his younger body hadn't gone through years of excruciating pain. He was accustomed to the pain mentally, but his younger body seemed to be far more sensitive than his older body in comparison. Cloud also learned that his reflexes were virtually gone as he hit his forehead against the bathroom door, slamming it shut, and crashing to the floor.
"...ow..." Cloud quietly wheezed, the breath knocked out of him. Rolling off his stomach and onto his side, he silently groaned. His nerves were a lot more receptive since his body hadn't physically gone through all the battles he had before. And since he hadn't gone through those fights in his younger body, all the reflexes he had ingrained through muscle memory didn't exist. This wasn't good, not even ten minutes and his life was already in danger from himself.
A minute of silence trickled by when Cloud gently sat up. At least he didn't wake up anyone, so now he could return to his attempt to look at himself in the mirror, slowly of course. Since the door was closed and he had no mako in his body to enhance his vision, the room was dark. However, there must have been light coming from under the door, because Cloud could just barely make out the room.
Reaching out for the sink, Cloud carefully stood up, quickly reviewing what he knew since waking up in the past. He was currently in the SOLDIER Prep Program, in his dorm room, at three in the morning. The clock had a small camera on it, meaning the room was being watched, but he'd worry about that later.
Today was either Sunday or Monday, and he would need to find his schedule and latest homework assignments to see what he learned so far and act accordingly. And if the calendar was up-to-date, he was only twelve when he should be fourteen.
Flicking the lights on, Cloud stared at his reflection puzzled. He wasn't that surprised at his younger reflection. That and he had been through too many things to be surprised by something like this. Honestly, seeing his face was rather anti-climatic. Other than his hair being spikier and face being younger, the experience was just strange, not all too surprising, albeit a bit painful from his earlier entrance.
Calmly scrubbing the small gashes on his temple and left elbow clean, he wasn't sure what to think of his eyes. They no longer had that mako glow he had gotten used to, he had his normal eyes again. He couldn't remember them ever having been such a vibrant sky blue.
He looked so young.
Pulling off his shirt to dry off his face and see what his body looked like, Cloud felt his heart clench. His skin wasn't the healthy tan he had, but the paler skin he had when he left at Nibelheim. He had some muscles, but still on the scrawny side. Looking at smooth skin, he couldn't see any scars. He only had a few from before the lab, the rest coming from being experimented on. But now they were gone, not a single trace of them ever existing. It was as if it never happened.
'Because, technically, it didn't,' Cloud thought miserablly.
All his friends were strangers now. Besides Tifa, his friends were unaware of his existence. He was just a no-name kid from a back-water town. Cloud leaned heavily against the sink, resting his head against the mirror, sighing. It was like his whole life was wasted. Not only that, but all those deaths never meant anything.
'No,' he thought, 'they would never have died... They're still alive... Zack and Aerith are alive!'
Cloud looked up, smiling broadly. His two friends were still alive. Even if they didn't know him yet, he would find them again. If he could, he would right now. But to think, Zack and Aerith were still alive! Like that day on the cliff never happened, and Aerith was never killed by...
Cloud frowned. How could he forget that? If Zack and Aerith were both alive, that would mean Sephiroth was alive as well. His first thought was to kill the man and get it over with (again), but that was just plain stupid. Not only was that suicide, but the man wasn't trying to kill anybody, just people against ShinRa.
He was still the General of the ShinRa militaty and not insane. That was good, he supposed, but he never knew what Sephiroth was like as a person. As a fighter, yes, he fought the man several times after he had gone over the deep end, but he never really talked to the man, which could be a problem.
Cloud didn't know what the man could actually do now. Before it was rather simple, insane Sephiroth had wanted to basically destroy the world, but now... Cloud didn't know what the man was truly capable of, but he was willing to bet that the man was still as deadly as ever, if not more so.
What was worse, Sephiroth would be just as observant. And if anyone could read Cloud's face like an open book, it was Sephiroth. So staying as far away from the man as possible would be Cloud's first responsibility.
The last thing he needed was for the General himself to notice something different about him. Worst case scenario, he would be questioned by the silver-haired warrior himself. Although, Cloud mused what Sephiroth's reaction would be if he told him his life story, from now to the Reunion, to the time travel that brought him back to the start again.
And in all likelihood, the General would either believe him, or believe that Cloud was delusional and thought what he was saying was true. Oh, that would just turn out absolutely lovely, especially since he had been delusional at one point.
'Memo to me, memo to me: Stay as far away from Sephiroth as possible,' Cloud thought. Then he remembered the person he wanted to stay away from the most, almost shuddering in disgust.
The last thing he wanted, was to be anywhere near that slimy bastard. It was bad enough that nut job was alive again. If he got anywhere close to his person, Cloud would not hold himself responsible for his actions.
If anything, he would make himself responsible for doing everything violent to the mad scientist. Actually, that was a good plan, but, because Cloud had priorities (and the fact that he would not put Hojo as a first priority in anything other than a hit list) he would set that plan as a secondary mission: Make Hojo's life miserable.
Now back to his primary mission, well, he didn't actually have one, but he had the goal of finding out why he was twelve when his reflection looked a bit older. Stepping out of the bathroom, Cloud walked over to his foot locker at the end of his bed.
If his name wasn't literally on it, he probably would have winded up searching his bunkmate's locker. Although he identified his locker, he forgot the combination to it.
Thankfully, befriending an ex-Turk (that he had found sleeping in a coffin) had the benefit of lock-picking lessons. Now, the lock didn't have a key hole, but Cloud had also learned how to crack them. So less than ten minutes and nearly a hundred combinations later, Cloud had finally opened his locker, making a mental note of what his combination was. All the camera would have seen though was his back and a lot of head scratching. Just a cadet who temporarily forgot his combination.
Inside the locker were a few SOLDIER Prep uniforms, underneath them were his casual clothes, a pair of tennis shoes, and an extra pair of combat boots. He pulled out a plain black messanger bag, but after a quick look in the main pocket, there was nothing in it besides a few blank compostion books. What happened to his textbooks? As far as Cloud knew, cadets only recieved foot lockers. So if his textbooks weren't in a hallway or gym locker, where were they?
Cloud pushed his clothes aside and found a small shoe box. It wasn't a textbook, but hopefully it would have his ID or something. Pulling the lid off, he found all his personal items and knick-knacks. Holding up a picture, Cloud smiled. It was a picture of him and his mom in the kitchen. His mom was still alive... He would need to pay a visit to her, maybe he could write a letter to her in a few days.
And no, Cloud was not crying. He just got some dust in his eye.
Returning his attention to his locker, Cloud rummaged through the box some more. There was nothing much in it. Some pictures and letters from his mom, the newspaper article that inspired Cloud to sign up for SOLDIER, a wristwatch, a stop watch, a flashlight, and... a necklace?
Lifting it up, Cloud recognized his mother's handiwork, mako jewelry. It was a pendant that consisted of a wire mesh net attached by a metal ring to a medium-length chain necklace. And underneath the small metal links of the mesh net was a Cure materia. The same naturally-formed materia he had in his dream.
"Hmm... curiouser and curiouser," Cloud quietly mumbled.