n.n; I should be working on "Dream Carefully" ...

.::. One Size .::.

Why was it so red?

Cloud stumbled, the thick clunky boots tripping him up. He fell, rocks digging into his palms, and breathed harshly against the ground, dust swirling around his nose and making him sneeze miserably. He shoved himself back up, staring up at that damned hill, eyes burning. Shuddering gasps made his body rise and fall almost convulsively, like he would break.

"Its hurting again." he said breathlessly, staring sightlessly. Blood was leaking from his palms, rocks grinding into his knees, but he forced himself to crawl forward. "Ohgoditshurtingagain ..."

Deep throbbing pain in his head and chest, harsh and ripping like death and heartache and everything in the world cruel -- suffering, but he couldn't bring himself to hate the pain or anything that might have caused it, and he told himself it was just a bit more -- just a bit longer, even though he knew it meant never coming back down -- to reality and to her -- but he didn't really want her because she -- she tried to break him -- harsh and cruel and it was too much -- too big!

Burning liquid ran along his face, harsh and tormenting. Oh, god, he'd killed the man, had killed--! God, there was blood everywhere, whelming up and he felt like he was swimming in it. He screamed, but it broke off into a harsh coughing. He clawed at his throat, bent over and curled as though it could save him. Curled over into himself and into the red, and he tried to drown in it, but it wouldn't let him -- wouldn't touch him! Couldn't can't wouldn't let him fall and wouldn't catch him and wouldn't let him sleep.

"I didn't mean to! Fuck, its red--! So red; its everywhere!"

A keening noise arose, startling him, and then he realized it was himself. He slowly unbent his body. "God, its everywhere--!" had to keep going, had to find -- but god, the red was everywhere and it wouldn't touch him -- and somehow he craved it more than he knew he should because red -- red meant safety and sleep and everything would be all be right -- if only the red would touch him and let him sleep -- !

Then there was dirt under his bloody fingertips, and he scrabbled for purchase-- desperate and suddenly wanting it more than the red everywhere -- wanted it because it stood for something safer -- saner -- and more tormenting. "I found you -- dammit, I found you -- its hurting again!"

Blood, blood was everywhere -- and he found -- but nothing was happening, nothing was changing -- the pain was ripping at him and his soul -- didn't know how much more he could take -- but he had to -- needed it -- but the red wouldn't touch him -- Accusing. Cold.

"I didn't mean to! You have to -- I didn't mean to!" Don't leave me! Don't go away! Please -- anything --!

He let himself fall forward onto the ground, scrabbling at the dirt, heavy stuff that hid something precious underneath -- scrabbling and wanting it back -- wanting it with everything that was inside -- the pain -- needing it. "Please--! I didn't mean to, I wouldn't have --!"

Red rocked rhythmically -- soothing -- softening, gentle. Understanding. Rippling -- like water but not -- warming but it still wouldn't --!

"I'm sorry, ohmigodi'msosorry!" he wheezed, broken. "Its too big -- I can't -- not without you!"

Red -- the red wouldn't go away -- and it wouldn't come to -- and it wouldn't and he could -- ohgoditwashurtingsomuch.

"I can't -- Zach ... Its too big, I can't do this...I can't do any of this! Its too big . . .god, please understand!"

I can't -- I can't do any of this! And you always made it better! Make it better, again, please? Make it better? I can't ... Its too big, everything's too big, and you -- you made everything fit right ...

I can't fill this role, I can't! Ohgodpleasemakeitstop... It's hurting again!

"Why can't you make it better?!"

Sound so defeated, broken, sobbing on a grave ... wanted to crawl down inside that coffin of dirt and sleep forever if it would just --

You were the only one who ever made it better! You were the only one who made it fit! The only one that didn't make the world too big!

Its too much -- I'm not strong like you! Its too big . . .

"Always one size too big, right?! Right, Zack?! Ohgodmakeitstophurting!" was that his voice so ravaged from screaming?

Everything was always one size too big --! Everything! SOLDIER, the world--!

"I can't do this! You left me-- You bastard! How could you leave me -- You knew I couldn't -- and its hurting again!"

Harsh and disturbing, a keening of despair, but it didn't stop the breaking pain -- didn't stop the world -- didn't make the red touch him.

"I didn't tell anyone, Zack -- not ever! They don't know, wouldn't tell them --"

And you don't want me anymore -- god will the fucking red STOP?!

"They don't want me -- they want you! its always you they see!! I hate you! Its hurting and it won't stop!"

Dirt gritted against his teeth. "Too big, Zack -- you knew it would be!"

When had everything ever been just the right size?!

"I can't live up to Tifa's dream! I can't be a SOLDIER! I wasn't meant to -- I can't -- its too damned big!"

Gently rocking side to side, cold air quickly stealing away body heat. It was all too big. You -- you were too large for life! You matched the world! The world was too small for you! Its hurting again and you can't make it stop! You can't! Because "you left me alone! Why? Did I do something?!" I couldn't have done anything! You were the one who could take anything, and now you're gone and "I can't do it alone!"

"Zack, godeverythingwastoobig! That uniform -- this uniform! Your's ... and its too big! The world's too big!"

Come back to me! Don't leave me alone anymore! I saved the world, its all okay! You can come back! Haven't I proven myself enough?! You're the only one -- the only one -- the only --

"The world was only too small when you --"

only too small when you --

Tangled in warmth --- but its hurting again and it isn't stopping! Why aren't you stopping it?!

"OhgodZack ... Zack, i'msorryanditwon'thappen -- I won't go I swear -- I won't drink with Ronni, only with you, if you --"

Don't leave me again, I wanna --

"If I ask you're mother -- don't you think--?"

Hysterical sobs. What was he talking about?

"Zack can't come out to play -- he's sick --he'sgonnagetbetterright?"

"But you aren't, Zack! You're not getting better and I dunknowwhatI'msupposedtodo --"

All you had to do was -- and I killed him! It was too easy -- just throw away my childhood -- my ideals -- for you! Because you made him -- everything was too small and you -- you left me! You're the only one that could do -- and you --!

"God, Zack, I didn't mean to kill him--! If it would change -- I didn't mean to!"

Numb, bloody fingers unbuckled a sword from his back, bring it around to see the blade. He set it gently -- reverently -- on the grave. I brought it back, Zack! Isn't it nice! I brought it back for you --

His body buckled under the force of more sobbing. "God, the blades too big .. its all -- I'm sorry! I tried -- I did!"

Zack, I don't know how they say I saved the world! I couldn't -- and you -- goditshurtingagain!

He collapsed forward onto the grave, fingers twitching and scratching at the dirt. Eyes dull, blank, unseeing, a broken smile on his face. The blue purple uniform, the large sword beneath him -- how'd he managed to use it? -- this life -- "Its all too big for me, Zack ... right size for you, but me?"

God, I'm the only survivor ... the only one left ... Zack and Sephiroth are dead and -- red, god the red was everywhere! But -- it wouldn't touch him. Zack and Sephiroth -- covered, but it wouldn't touch him.

"I want a number -- let me --" I want to -- ! I want a number, I want a name of my own, I want to be with you! But the red --

It won't touch him. "Gotta make red myself -- gotta do it -- belong."

One life is too big even for the three of us.

"One size too big ..."

Red swallowed him whole.

.::. O. wa. ri. .::.

Oi, was that interesting. You know, Not even I am sure he killed himself. O.o; I'd been thinking about that flashback for a while, and I thought it was an interesting thing. I wrote this after reading a lot of ZackCloud ficcus, so ...

Yeah, the CloudZackness of it all got lost mostly, but I tried. I think when I jotted down the idea it was intended to be horrible unemotional, but .. well, we all see how that went. Oi ...