Author: theatrhythms PM
once upon a time, there was a world where battle was commonplace and war was an everyday occurrence. danger lurked around every corner, and every soul hung somewhere in the balance between good and evil, light and dark, love and hatred - all those epic, eternal struggles where only the strongest of will and heart came out victors in the end. this is not that world.Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship - Cloud S. & Zack F. - Chapters: 4 - Words: 5,677 - Favs: 1 - Updated: 04-07-13 - Published: 02-10-13 - id: 8995765
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Fantasies: Final Fantasy VII, Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy IV.
Pairings: Zack/Aerith, Zack/Reno, Zack/Cloud.
Characters: Zack, Aerith, Angeal, Sephiroth, Terra, Riku, Sora, Reno, Kain, Cloud.
One: the way Aerith's hair curls around her face, accents it like a Victorian picture frame encasing and ensuring the immortality of a girl who, because she was pretty in the moment her photograph was taken, will never again know the meaning of the word 'ugly' and will never once see the inside of a catacomb and damn, she is the definition of perfection, all creamy white skin and perfect chestnut brown hair and those jade green eyes that make Zack feel like burying himself in a quilt of her and dying quietly, even if his blood would be as vain as it would be cold.
Two: laughter, especially when it's coming out of Angeal, Sephiroth, or Terra, who laugh and smile so little it should be considered a sin, and when it's genuine, oh, when it's genuine, when Angeal will drop the papers he's grading to hide his eyes in his palm and let out that quiet, rumbling chuckle of his, when Terra will stop trying so hard to be an asshole and just give the fuck in to Zack's teasing and smile, plead with him to shut up, you dork in a way Zack knows is the very opposite of serious, when Sephiroth will take his glasses off and press his hands to his face and pull his hair halfway up into a ponytail and look at Zack like he's simultaneously the most ridiculous as well as the most wonderfully delightful person he knows and just laugh like he never ever ever does, like the series of unusual noises escaping him are so special they should only be tasted on his tongue very rarely – when it's genuine laughter, Zack is a winner in the truest sense of the word.
Three: those moments when Zack can see the wall inside Riku breaking – even if only a little –, those times when something human and not android or stony or fantastic or deific will peek through his sea green eyes or slip into the tone of his voice or have him reaching out for Zack – not with his arms but with the unsure little frown on his face and an ambiguous comment or two and a pair of petitions in his gaze, and Zack will know that Riku hasn't totally forgotten what the Earth feels like beneath his toes or forgotten how to feel or forgotten the importance of being flawed or forgotten the simplicity of his brand-new existence or forgotten how to be warm, and Zack knows that Riku's alive when he's allowed to hug him like he's more than just his best friend – he's someone who knows what it's like.
Four: Sora, who lives up to his namesake with his grandiosity and his constant presence and his blue-blue-blueness, and he isn't blue in the sad, endless sort of way, but in the way his benevolence is something you can identify simply by his colors, and by his colors, I mean his smile, I mean his laugh and how he looks at everything like it's an adventure and anyone like they're his friend, and when it's overcast, everybody is affected by the lack of brightness and everybody is praying for a sunny day, because really, they need Sora – or at least Zack does – and when it's nighttime and Sora's grown dark and sleepy, people will look at him and wish upon his stars for better days, and, unlike the real, uncontrollable, unpredictable sky, Sora will happily oblige.
Five: the cigarette smoke that climbs the invisible ladder of air above Zack's head when he lies pressed against Reno's side and attempts to catch his breath, and at first, he hates looking at it, hates watching it rise because it reminds him too much of himself – secondhand and glamorous and constantly obscuring the senses – but it slowly comes to hypnotize him just like Reno knows so well how to, slowly works its way into his bloodstream and has him addicted, especially when he can taste it in his mouth and thick on Reno's tongue, especially when it lassos him into bed and finds its way into his own lungs, and Zack feels like he's slaying a dragon when he's got Reno beneath him – no longer the vulgar fighting creature he so often wears the skin of but a lover in the truest sense of the word, and smoke is billowing from his nose and his mouth and getting caught in the space between their lips, and the only thing Zack keeps hating about it is the smell it leaves on his clothes, something his nose likes to pick up when he's kissing Aerith goodbye.
Six: the pigeons that strut and hop around him when he's lying in the grass at the Twilight Park – soft, susurrating, gray and white and dusky blue feathers, with their silly red eyes that aren't an indicator of evil for once, with their normalcy, their oddness in the sense that Zack hasn't seen or encountered them before this life, and if he miraculously manages to stay still and silent long enough, they'll perch upon his knee, his foot, maybe even his chest if he's lucky, and they'll remind him of how different he is from the person he once was, remind him of the massive, gaping lack of anger inside him, anger that's been replaced with simple anxiety, sometimes sadness, sometimes even panic, but never anything as red as the eyes of the birds that rest on him until he finds it too difficult to refrain from speaking up.
Seven: sometimes his thin, stiff lips will curl into little crescent moons of amusement, happiness, positives that he'll only ever feel truly comfortable expressing with his words or his eyes and never with his mouth, and Zack will find himself getting lost in the feeling of having accomplished something great, of having a loved one be more than simply content for once, be great enough to smile, and Kain almost never smiles because Kain is a man of comfort zones and careful stoicism and he's made an art out of controlling everything his existence will output, and Zack's made a habit of trying to trick him into forgetting about all the pretense and all the baggage and all the caution and all the pain he's constantly carrying around, and the two of them will quietly battle at this as two soldiers on the battlefield of time and hearts and vocal cords when they're together, and sometimes – when Kain's thin, stiff lips will curl into a smile – Zack will know he's won.
Eight: when he's in the middle of one of the ridiculous conversations he so often gets stuck in at around one o'clock in the morning – a drawn-out dialogue about the importance of separating your darks and your lights when doing laundry lest you end up with your clothes looking like they've come out of a dumpster, as Genesis says; world history according to the well-intentioned students of Phoenix Downs University laid out to him by an exceedingly, hilariously exasperated Angeal; Cloud's odd, slightly terrifying theory that things you've received from others somehow enable your loved ones to watch you at all times – a notion that prompts Zack to suggest that the Duran Duran poster the blond got for his birthday three years ago is Tifa's magic mirror to every blistering night (afternoon, morning) of passion they happen to share; he and Riku's mutual attempts at figuring out the genotypes and phenotypes of just about everyone they know – a feat they realize is impossible when Riku points out that everyone's family tree is screwed to shit, but their conversation goes on for about an hour and a half nonetheless; Sora relating his first experience with marijuana to him, his visions of Hades in a flower crown and bananas galore and how he skateboarded face-first into Sephiroth's garage door and he and Riku nearly woke the whole neighborhood with their asinine laughter; a phone call with Reno on the subject of the most bizarre episode of Little Einsteins he saw that morning.
Nine: Cloud's eyes – two beautiful blue orbs with the faintest rings of green around the pupils, two baby worlds constantly plagued with storm, two windows to the museum of thought that is the blond's mind, two of the most wonderful things Zack's ever beheld in his twenty-one years, and two becomes Zack's favorite number when he's looking into those two eyes, when he and Cloud are two people existing in the world at the same place at the same time, when their two hands hang clasped together between their hips as they walk along the campus courtyard, when he's parting Cloud's two lips with his own, when he's found passion between Cloud's two thighs, when he's found peace in Cloud's two arms, when Cloud's two ears are red and flushed when he's feeling bashful or he's laughed too hard, when Cloud's two shoulder blades are exposed and it's all Zack can do to keep from kissing them, when they lie together – just the two of them – and whisper endless, meaningless things into the darkness of a bedroom where only they belong, and when Cloud looks at him with his two eyes deep enough to stand in, that's when two becomes Zack favorite number, and that's when he knows the sky won't ever inspire him quite the same way it used to, when he knows he will never see the sea ever again without seeing Cloud's eyes first.