Title: Silver Lining

Author: Sorceress Fantasia

Rating: PG

Warnings: Possible spoilers. Slight angst for some, humour for others.

Disclaimer: I don't own Final Fantasy 7 or any of their characters, as much as I would like to.

Summary: Done for LJ's omni-challenge. Covering his life from his trooper days to the events of Advent Children, 19 drabbles, 11 icons. All done in tribute of Cloud Strife.


Post-Game

04. Song

Marlene and Denzel recently got infatuated with a nursery rhyme, and they would hum it wherever they were, whatever they were doing. It was a song they had picked up from the other children they played with, and once it got into their heads, it just wouldn't leave them alone.

And the song was seriously contagious too.

A few days after they started alternating between singing and humming that tune, Tifa began doing the same when she was cleaning the place and washing the dishes.

Cloud just enjoyed lounging around and listening to them sing and hum.


07. Family

Sometimes Cloud wasn't sure what he was to his friends.

During the crazy chase around the world for Sephiroth, everyone had made him into a leader. Not an extremely competent one, but still a leader nonetheless. And somehow, one way or another, he became the one to look for when troubles turned up knocking on their doors. Like whether they should climb up the Gaea's Cliffs when they were already so exhausted or risk letting the silver-haired general get away, or even if they should buy one more bottle of potion because they were a little short on funds.

Then, after they had defeated Sephiroth and helped avert the meteor crisis, everyone suddenly treated him like a kid.

Tifa was always worried if he was eating well. Yuffie wondered if he was overworking himself, and sometimes she would leave him voice messages on the phone and ask him to slow down a bit. When he wasn't busy, Reeve would call too to offer his help regarding his Strife Delivery Services. Barret would rather kill himself than admit it out loud, but he was probably worried if Cloud had disappeared. Even Cid had called on several occasions and would slam the phone after throwing a curt but strangely endearing question: "So you're still alive, eh?"

And sometimes, he was treated as a partner-in-crime.

Like the one time Denzel and Marlene had asked him to buy a cake home for Tifa's birthday, to which Tifa had responded with a warm smile and hugs for all of them. Then there were those few occasions when Barret warned him on threats of castration about his surprise visits to his daughter, or even the time when Yuffie had roped him into helping her write up a contract that would give her everyone's unused materias.

His friends were probably the ones who put the fun into dysfunctional.

Then again, that was what made them his family.

…Probably.


10. Routine

It was almost a habit of sorts now.

One of the, if not /the, first things tumbling out of his mouth whenever he picked up his phone was, "Strife Delivery Services. We deliver anything."

Vincent had gone completely silent when he got that. He probably wasn't expecting that when he had decided to try out his newly-purchased cell phone on Cloud. Both Cid and Barret had chewed him out for being a workaholic. Yuffie just guffawed and teasingly asked him if the services included delivering himself to her doorsteps.

Cloud was just glad that Red XIII didn't do phone calls, because he was sure his friend would probably use that as a springboard and leap right into some philosophical or psychological topics. It was probably difficult for him to call because of his paws.

And then when Marlene got that damned tagline when she called to ask if he would be home for dinner, she insisted that it was too monotonous, and it would probably be great for his business if he would change the way he said that line.

He ended up spending the rest of the night reciting that line over and over again, in different enunciations and emphasizes.


24. War

After walking into the war zone that used to be Denzel's room, Cloud just sighed, shook his head, and walked out. After he had ordered Yuffie, who was visiting and ended up becoming Denzel and Marlene's temporary playmate, to clean up the room, that is.

He ignored Yuffie's indignant cries that she wasn't the only one responsible for the mess and so Cloud should have ordered the children to clean up as well.

Those were his kids, alright?


28. Dress

The last time Tifa had dragged Cloud to the markets to buy Marlene a new dress for her birthday, he had been highly reluctant. Not that he didn't love the little girl who was so much like a younger sister and even a daughter, of course, but the idea of spending time and shopping for a dress was something he abhorred.

When Tifa directed him to a white dress off the racks of a small shop and asked him what he thought about it, he sighed and replied that dresses were not something he was familiar with. Wariness flooded him at the strange gleam in Tifa's eyes.

She promptly pulled out a purple dress and asked him again, "And is this something you're familiar with? Oh, I almost forgot. We'd probably need a wig too to jog your memory."

As she giggled and paid for the purple dress, Cloud just felt like digging a hole and hide.


30. Turning 30

Cloud had honestly never thought about turning thirty.

It was like he was still a Shinra trooper just a moment ago, and the minute he turned around, he found himself drowning in the many congratulatory yells on his thirtieth birthday and choking from the occasional gruff and loud slaps on his back. Seventh Heaven had probably never seen a noisier day.

After escaping Yuffie's idea of pranking the birthday boy, Cloud got a temporary respite when he went upstairs to deposit all the presents from his friends. Of course, Marlene and Denzel had both extracted a promise from him to come back down as soon as possible with their doe eyes attack, so he wouldn't be safe for long.

But when he dropped everything onto his bed, and was about to leave, he was surprised to see a glint on his table. He walked up to it, wary that it was one of Yuffie's pranks, only to feel his body stiffen at the sight of what exactly it was. The light from the moon had reflected off a small silver ear stud, one he had seen /him/ wear before, and next to the little accessory was a small but resilient flower, the types that grew in /her/ garden.

When Marlene toddled upstairs, almost miffed that the birthday boy was absent from his own party for far too long, she blinked when she saw Cloud staring intently at something in his hands as though in a daze. She never found out what they were, but it wasn't important, because Cloud had given her a warm, sorely missed smile before leading her back to the heart of the party.

-owari-

A/N: Even though this is one day early, happy birthday, Cloud. I'll always be your biggest fan. 3