:: The Unreality ::
Raging fire, an orange glow, and extreme heat seemed to surround him. He was a young man with blue eyes and, blond hair, and he was frightened. Beyond the fires and the dark smoke he noticed old fashioned buildings, and a large mansion that was conveniently right in front of his gaze. He couldn't hear a thing since the beginning, but as soon as his eyes fell to the sight of the enormous building he was deafened by a high-pitched ring.
His hands urgently clasped over his ears, and as he noticed the ringing slowly subsiding, it was replaced by various human screams and destruction. Yet, as his eyes darted frantically for the sources, he could not see a single being around.
Moving his eyes towards the grand structure in front of him, he felt suddenly beckoned to step forward through the fires. As if he was under a magical spell, he felt his right foot move involuntarily.
Just as he did the fires went out, the area fell dark, and a man stood in front of him.
The young man's fear seemed to rise at the sight of him. He had not noticed such a man, who had long platinum hair and an evil smile, and the long sword which the man held in his hand sent chills up his spine.
"Does it seem real to you?"
The man's voice made his image even more threatening, and the young man stepped back. As he did, he was surprised by a sharp pain and froze in his spot. Within seconds he knew what the pain was and his eyes unfocused slightly, noticing beforehand that the man was no longer in front of him. Before the darkness enveloped him he felt the pain subside seconds before it racked his body once again, this time he felt the sharp blade dive into his back and protrude through his rib-cage.
He could not scream, nor understand what had happened. Only that the man with the silver hair and sword had somehow gotten behind him, that the man was indeed trying to kill him, and that he was slowly succumbing to his inevitable death. After a harsh twist of the blade, the young man opened his voiceless mouth and slumped over. The screams began to fade from his hearing, and the last thing he hears is the voice of the man.
"It seems real, right Cloud?"
Eyes forced themselves open, and Cloud darted up to sit.
It was the third time this week that he had the dream that woke him in the middle of the night with cold sweat and a pounding head. It was the twenty-first night he had dreams about him, an evil man with long white hair, and a group of people saving the world from the evil man's destruction.
Cloud rubbed his temples and sighed, trying to make the heavy thumping in his brain disappear. He thought to himself that he should at least be used to the nightmares of this unknown character in a burning village, and yet here he was again terrified from it as it strained his mind and quickened his heartbeat.
Lifting his shoulders up as he tried to relax the tense muscles along his neck, Cloud looked around his room, making sure he was back to the right world. His bachelor-like style, all bought from some pre-made bedroom set in Sears or Target, reassured him he was right where he's supposed to be. He stopped his eyes at the small window on his right, observing that it was another full-moon night as the murky white light dimly illuminated his room through it.
Cloud's mind was lost in thought. Why did these dreams play in his mind, and as if it wasn't enough that they were reoccurring, they played some sort of story of a young man, his group of friends, and a quest to destroy an evil man who wants to destroy the world.
It was all bizarre to him, seeing as most of the references to the places his dreams took him such as 'Costa Del Sol' and 'Midgar', had never crossed with him living in New York City, nevertheless anywhere else he's heard of or been to. The only familiars in these dreams seem to be some of the people involved with him as the protagonist of the story. So far, there were only four characters who traveled with him in the dreams; all of them seemed to reflect someone he recognized in real life.
Shooting a glance at the clock, Cloud decided to interrupt his thoughts for a later time. Tomorrow was Monday, and it was one of those days he didn't want to miss. He had a patient to see that he grew fond of.
She also played his character's best friend in the dreams.
He woke up only five minutes late from his alarm, and yet he felt the need to rush up from bed and into the shower.
Cloud dashed downstairs minutes later, a neck-tie limply hanging around the collar of his white shirt, and his hair still dripping wet.
He acknowledged his white feline friend, whom he named Kate, who stood on the kitchen windowsill staring lovingly at his small garden in the backyard. It was almost traditional that he let her out in the mornings to play with the butterflies that hovered shyly over the tomato plants. Quickly slipping a crack on the sliding-glass doors, Cloud let her out but not after giving her a small pet on the back and loving goodbye.
He locked his front door behind him, quickly messing with his already neat tie and ruffling his hair with a hand as he stepped out. It was only a ten minute walk to his office, and fortunately the day blessed him comfortable weather.
Just before the end of his block, he turned towards the large windows of the coffee shop. He spotted a light-haired woman with greenish blue eyes and waved to her as his eyes met her smile. The woman was beautiful, with fair skin, a kind smile, enchanting gaze, and to his luck only a year older than he. Cloud had known her for quite some time; sadly he only shared conversations with her when he went in the coffee shop.
On the other hand, in the odd dreams that went on in his mind at night, she was a frequent face. This woman was an ally of the protagonist; her name was Aeris in the story. In reality, Cloud did not know her name. He was never able to ask her during all those times he came in and got coffee, nor did he remember looking for a name tag whenever he was in front of her. He made a small mental note to clear that inquiry soon, although he knew his awkwardness toward beautiful women would cause him to place the thought in lowest priority. Cloud was exceptionally gifted with analyzing, theorizing, and listening, yet intimate interaction with women seem to surpass him.
He crossed the first stoplight into the next block, in fast pace, although for sure he wouldn't be late.
Arriving at a townhouse, in front of a door which read, 'Dr. Strife PhD. 3881 Brook Street, New York NY', he quickly went through the doors and found his secretary looking up at him disturbed.
"Sir? Something wrong?" the woman with round glasses, ponytail, and light auburn hair spoke carefully, "You look like you're late for something."
"Uh… no, no Shera, I just woke up a little late this morning that's all," Cloud picked up the morning paper that sat on top of his secretary's desk and scanned it uninterestingly, "Got any cancellations today?"
Cloud was hoping the woman would say no. He had only one appointment of the day, and it wasn't one he'd want cancelled.
The woman now recognized as Shera looked up towards the clock and noted that her boss was ten minutes early, but decided to not say a word about, "No sir, your first appointment will be here in about fifteen minutes. Mr. Valentine, the parole officer, called in this morning and said they'd be a little late."
In his mind, Cloud sighed in relief.
"That's fine. Just send them in when they get here, Shera, thank you," taking the paper with him, Cloud passed the small but cozy lobby of his office and through a glass door with his name etched onto it.
Inside was a more spacious room, about 4 times bigger than the lobby, with many windows and bookshelves, and two white couches that sat parallel from each other near the front French windows on his right. The room looked more fitting for a literary buff than a psychologist, but the warm and cozy feeling it gave certainly helped many of his patients relax during their time spent here.
Cloud walked to his left where his desk sat, and placed the newspaper on top. He sat on the leather chair behind it, pulled out a few filed folders, and a note pad and pen.
The sudden click of the door handle seemed to surprise him as a dark, long-haired man with piercing brown eyes came through the door.
"Good morning, Dr. Strife," the man spoke respectfully, and Cloud recognized the man as the parole officer.
Cloud took a quick glance at the grandfather clock before he got up from his seat and shook the man's hand, "Good morning, Mr. Valentine. I hear you were running a bit late, but it seems to me you're just on time."
The man in a dark navy tie-suit gave a small chuckle, "My mistake on the calculation, I thought I was going to be given another hard time." The man motioned to the woman who seemed to have magically appeared behind him.
Cloud glanced at her with a sincere smile, "I see, well thank you very much Mr. Valentine, for escorting her. I will see you in about two hours."
The man acknowledged his words and turned to leave, quickly telling the woman he passed to 'behave', before shutting the door behind him.
With just the two of them standing in the room, Cloud who was looking forward to the day, decided to break the silence.
"How's your day been so far, Tifa?"
The long-haired brunette crossed her arms and avoided eye-contact with him. She responded dully and with such careless attitude as to reflect what she was feeling.
"Let's see, I had to wake up early for this… So far, it sucks."
A/N: As all of you should know, FF7 characters and affiliations are owned by SquareEnix. Please don't sue me, I don't have money . Hope you enjoyed the prologue, and please review. Thank you.