Kingdom Hearts II

Frozen Shadows

By LuckyLadybug

Notes: The characters are not mine and this random ficlit is! I'm using a Writer's Choice prompt from Kingdom100, "Ice", plus "Catoptrophobia; Fear of Mirrors (they reflect our true selves to us)" from 13 Fears. And though it seems completely random, it does have a point. It will lead into another fic that I've been working on for some time. This takes place shortly after Same Auld Lang Syne. Thanks to Kaze for plot help and the title!

I had a weird dream a few minutes ago.

I was standing somewhere at the top of a hill. It wasn't the Dark Depths or anything around there. It was a forest with lots of pine trees, and just up ahead and down the hill was a clearing. There was a frozen pond down there, or what looked like one. And I was just staring out at it.

I guess to be specific, I should say that I was staring at a body on it.

It was you.

You were laying on your left side, just really still. Your upper wing was behind you, limp on the ice. Your lower wings were in front of you. The right one came down on your hip and over your legs, with the rest of it on the pond. Your left wing was just stretched out. You didn't have a really agonized look on your face; you looked peaceful in a way, or maybe sad.

I ran down the hill and onto the ice, yelling for you, but you didn't wake up. And it seemed sturdy, so I kept going. When I got close to you, the ice just cracked in a really weird and intricate design. Then it broke through. I jumped back, safe enough, but you were falling into the water. I crashed to my knees, grabbing for your wrist.

I caught it, but your hand was just lifeless, flopping against mine. Then you grabbed me. Even through your gloves, your skin was cold. When your grip stiffened, and you got a lot heavier, I knew you'd been frozen alive, right on the spot.

I screamed.

Then I woke up in bed, staring up at the ceiling. My hair and clothes were pressed right against my body. I didn't know if I'd screamed aloud, but I figured I hadn't, since Zack didn't come running in to see what was wrong.

So I've just been laying here for a while, trying to calm down. It's been a long time since any dream's shook me up like that. And not that long ago, I would've been rebelling against the fact that it was about you. Now I'm wondering what the stupid thing means.

Why were you laying on the ice? Why did it break when I got close enough? Why did you die when I tried to save you?

I don't pay much attention to dreams, don't get me wrong. You know I'm not really someone who feels like his dreams are prophetic, or meaningful at all. They're just a dumb, crazy mess showing what's going through my head, but in a really twisted way. And sometimes I remember stuff in my past, or my fears come out. But this one wasn't any of those things.

I throw back the covers, pulling myself up. It's stupid, but I'm going to check on you. You'll think it's stupid too.

When Zack remodeled the place, he decided that he would take the other bedroom upstairs, leaving the one downstairs as the vacant guest room. I'm across the hall from his door. Yours is next to his. And your door's half-open, so that's good. I'll just . . . have a look and go back to bed.

I keep quiet as I go over to your room. But looking in at you does freak me out. You're laying the same way you were in the dream---left side, wing positions, and all that. You're still, too. And I'm making my way in, grabbing at your arm. "Sephiroth!" I don't know what I'm thinking. I'm not really thinking at all; I'm just acting on instinct. Or something.

You start right awake, staring at me in the dark. "Cloud?" You frown. "Is something wrong?" You're just fine. Not that I really thought you wouldn't be.

I let go, shaking my head. "No," I say. And I look for an excuse. If you think I'd tell you I came in to make sure you aren't frozen to death, you're crazy. "You're letting the quilt fall on the floor," I tell you. "It's not doing you any good down there."

You reach and pull it up again. "You wouldn't need to wake me up for that," you say, your tone dry. "You could have just laid it around me."

"You probably would've woke up anyway, if I'd done that," I retort.

I wonder if you've ever got used to sleeping with a quilt. You usually didn't on Zack's couch, or mine, even though I'm sure Zack offered one to you. But you act like you're pretty comfortable when you settle down with this one. It must be nice, to sleep in a bed instead of on a couch all the time.

"Cloud, what's the real reason you came in here? I hope you don't think I'm so much of an idiot that I'd believe your story about the quilt." You're looking over at me from the pillow, not impressed.

I roll my eyes. "Worth a try." But you just keep looking at me.

"Okay!" I yell, frustrated. "I came to see if you were alright. I had a weird dream and I just . . . I don't know, I'm the idiot."

"You had a dream in which I was not alright?"

". . . Yeah." I look away. "Can we stop talking about this now?"

You just grunt. "You wouldn't normally let a dream bother you. It must have been drastic."

My wing twitches. "You were laying on the ice," I say. "I don't know . . . unconscious, or asleep, or something. I ran over to wake you up and tell you to leave, but the ice broke when I stepped on it and got over to where you were." I grip my arms. "I tried to save you. I grabbed your wrist, and you grabbed me, and then you were just frozen alive."

You don't say anything. Finally I look over at you, frowning. You're just watching me.

"Well, say something!" I snap.

You're still quiet for a bit. "Do you think it was some kind of a warning?" you ask.

"How should I know?!" I glare. "I just know it was weird, that's all."

"I'll be careful of the ice, Cloud." Your voice is dry again. "I'm sure I won't fall asleep on it."

"Maybe if I'd just yelled at you from a distance, you would've woke up and gotten away," I mumble. So now I'm trying to rewrite a dream? What's wrong with me?! It's not like the thing's going to come true.

"Go back to sleep, Cloud."

I look to you. I can't tell what you're thinking. You're probably thinking I'm nuts. Or maybe you're letting me off figuring I'm just tired. I know in the morning I'll regret acting so crazy. I'll probably wish I'd never came in here.

"Yeah," I mutter. "I'd better."

"Cloud . . ." You look up at me, frowning more. "Is this honestly bothering you?"

I know that if you think it is, you'll treat it more seriously. But it's a dream. A dream! I don't want it to bother me. It shouldn't be!

"I don't know," I grumble. "I just . . . I never had a dream like that before. It was so . . . so intense or something, like I was really living it. But to feel like that is stupid."

"It isn't."

I turn to stare at you. The last thing I thought you'd do would be to disagree with me when it's something so nuts. But you're looking at me, completely serious.

"To have a nightmare like that is often because it's either the memory of something in your past, or because it's a deep-rooted fear." You frown. "Or because it truly is some kind of premonition. I don't believe in such things happening very much, but I've seen that theycan happen. And with our track record, I doubt you can fully dismiss it. Otherwise you wouldn't have come in here."

"Yeah. . . ." But it's still a surprise. ". . . What do you think we should do?"

"It might not even be literal, Cloud. Many dreams are symbolic. But we'll be able to think more clearly in the morning." You start to settle further into the bed. "Go to sleep."

"Sure. Whatever." I turn to go. "In the morning I probably won't even want to talk about it."

"Then I'll see that you do," you tell me, half into the pillow.

Well, that's just great. As far as you're concerned, we're through talking for now. And I really should get going to bed. I've been awake way too long already.

"Okay then. Night," I say, heading for the door.

"Good night," you answer.

I leave your room and go back across the way. Zack must be in a deep sleep tonight. He didn't even wake up hearing me yell through the wall in your room. When he does, he always comes to see what's going on.

. . . You called the thing a nightmare. I haven't called it anything other than a dream. But it was pretty nightmarish. You're my friend now. That means all the more, I don't want anything to happen to you. And I definitely don't want to cause it! Zack would be so distraught. And he'd be worried about how I'd take it, too. He probably wouldn't take any time to grieve himself, because of that.

I don't even know how I'd react anymore. I'd be angry, I know that much. I'd blame myself.

Shuffling back into my room, I collapse into the bed. I just want a dreamless sleep now. And to wake up not even thinking about this thing, if it doesn't mean anything anyway. If it does, then whatever. I guess we'll talk about it in the morning.

I actually sleep pretty well the rest of the night. That's a surprise. Now, as I'm getting up, it looks gray outside. Probably another snow storm on the way. Hollow Bastion always has really harsh winters.

I go out into the hall, making my way into the bathroom. Good, it's empty. Turning on the light, I twist the tap until there's a thin stream of water going. I splash it on my face.

And then suddenly the whole place shakes. What's going on?! I'm losing my balance! And I don't want to end up in the sink or on the floor right now. I reach out, trying to brace myself. I slam forward. Something cracks under my right hand. Great, now what?

Everything's quiet. I slump back, running my left hand through my spikes. What was that!? An earthquake? That's just weird. We hardly ever have those here.

Something's running down my right hand, too thick to be water. I look over. Wonderful. I've cracked the mirror. I pull my hand away. Do I dare inspect the damage? I guess I have no choice. I turn my hand palm-up. I guess it's not as bad as it could be. Blood's seeping from two or three cuts, but they don't look too deep.

Turning on the water, I put my hand underneath it. It stings, but who cares. The blood mixes with the water, disappearing down the drain.

I glance back up at my cracked reflection. This better not take a lot of money to replace. Just look at all those jagged trails in the stupid glass. It's such a weird pattern, almost like when someone . . .

No . . . it can't be.

"Cloud?! Can you believe we had an earthquake? Oh man, are you okay?!"

I look up. Zack and you are standing in the doorway. Zack is gawking at the blood on the mirror. You're just frowning in concern, crossing your arms.

"You're pale," you comment.

I shake my head, continuing to stare at the pattern on the mirror.

I saw that exact design in my dream last night.

When the ice cracked.