A/N: Snippet.

Running Away From The Sky: Sky Blue

Theme: "Sky Blue," Peter Gabriel

The scholars have written stories of immortality, always hinting at its impossible allure with childish, unknowing tales of riches and greatness. He has read them, of course, having pored over the books in Hojo's libraries like a dying man searching for a cure, when in fact- oh Planet, the irony- it is exactly the opposite.

He is a man who will outlive the books he has read, and he knows all the stories with their gallant heroes and tortured immortality, and he would laugh at them if it were only worth the effort.

The truth is that the agony of living forever fades over time. After Lucrecia, he thought he would die from the pain; after Meteor and Geostigma, he thought he would die from the loneliness, and after his friends began to fade away, one by one, he thought he would die from the guilt.

There is nothing left to die for now, and he has come to accept his fate, strange and boring as it is. He exists in a twisted sort of half-life, chewing slowly on the fruit of immortality, acknowledging its rough and gritty texture without tasting a thing.

"There are no heroes."

He looks up when she speaks, and the resonance of her tone is delicate and tragic; a bittersweet reality that sometimes seems out of place. The sound of her voice is like glass shattering on stone, the last flight of a dying butterfly.

Her mutterings these days rarely unite memory and logic; often it's either one or the other, a stilted, inaccurate remembrance of years past or a sudden philosophical epiphany. He has the feeling that this hero revelation probably falls into the latter category, and says nothing.

"I know you don't believe me, but it's true," she says flatly, playing with the end of her long braid. It is the one vanity she has allowed herself. Even as ribbons of silver continue to spiral through the dark strands, she refuses to cut it, and wears it in a thick plait that coils neatly on the quilt beside her.

It is something he likes about her. His own concession to modern style included folding his cloak into a forgotten corner of the wardrobe, trimming his hair into some semblance of order to better fit in with the blue-collar citizens of Edge. The decades have ticked by slowly, and with every passing year he has become less of a monster, and more of a man.

She, however, has stayed very much the same.

"I believe you," he says at length. "I just don't understand."

When he looks at her, he no longer notices the cobalt veins spiderwebbing her paper-thin skin, the deep grooves around her cobalt eyes and beside her mouth. She is still the same lithe warrior he met in the basement of the mansion, still the same Yuffie.

"I thought there were heroes, a long time ago," she tells him. "You and Cloud and me- I mean, we were heroes, right?"

"I'm no hero," he replies, a smile curving his lips.

"Neither am I. We're both just...human." She seems to consider this for a moment, and then shakes her head. "Beneath it all, we're just human."

This is why he stays with her now, even as the world around them turns to dust. He was never a monster to her.