Disclaimer - I don't own Final Fantasy VII or its characters. Enjoy my new story!


The Beginning of the Dream

Dull sapphire blue eyes watched trees after trees went passed him from his passenger seat inside a small blue van. Cloud Strife, a famous 21-year-old pop star singer, is now moving from the loud, noisy, big city Midgar to some middle-of-no-where backwater village named Eir.

'Hey, Spike. You're alright there?' the blond hair singer heard the driver of the van asked. He turned to look at his old friend, Zack, a handsome guy with black spiky hair and sea blue eyes that seemed to glow just like his.

Yes, I'm fine. Cloud wanted to say out loud to his friend, but he couldn't. Why? Simple, he couldn't speak nor could he sing. And why can't he? Because of a car accident a few mouths ago, his driver had took a cup or two of strong whisky too much and hadn't warned anyone about it, causing the car to crash that had took away his voice forever. A month ago, his manager had put him out of business after giving him his last salary, which is a large enough sum for him to live in his old apartment for another five years, and told him that he is now useless before he kicked him out of his front door.

During the time he spent in his apartment afterward, he had become a bit desperate. Singing was his dream and his life; without it, he is like a fish outside a pond, struggling to survive. Then Zack—the friend who he had only written letters and sent his CDs to him by mail ever since he had became a star singer—had came to him as fast as he could when he heard his accident and helped him get back on his feet.

In fact, it was Zack who had suggested him to move to the country side, because he had brought a mansion there, which surprised him greatly, since Zack had told him he had been working in a delivery service company.

'Trust me. It'll be great. Even though the price for it is cheap, it's great. You'll see,' the raven hair man comforted him.

I doubt it. Cloud thought and shook his head in exasperation of his friend's optimist view on things. After all, what could be so great for a big mansion of over 5000 square feet situated at the outskirt of a small village that cost only 1000 gil, it will probably had a rat or bug infestation and pipelines problems. Still, he is grateful for Zack's company, especially since he had quit the delivery service job to stay with him and taking care of him. It's not like I haven't live in a house that hadn't had those problems before.

Now that he thought about it, the name of the village, Eir, meant "mercy" or "help" in ancient Norse and ironically, it is exactly what his current state is in need of.

'Ah, there it is!' Zack practically shouted next to him and pointed at something above the woods. The blond hair boy looked up from the trees to see the tip of two or three stone turrets. When he looked back on the road he noticed an old opened worn-out gate that leads to their new home. The van slowed down as it passed the gate and turned towards a rocky pathway.

This forest is so thick. Cloud thought as the vehicle crossed a stone bridge above a small river. The whole forest seemed to be swallowing them as they go. The leaves and branches were so thick, they looked as if they were shielding or hiding something from the sunlight. It's so... dark in here...

In a few minutes, their van stopped right in front of the old ancient mansion. The raven hair boy got out of the car first and looked up at the new home with a bright smile as he said: 'Welcome to your new home, Cloud.'

The mansion had a 16th century Victorian style and it is about three stories high. Green vines covered a large part of the walls on the left side, while the right side looked as if age had caught up with it, because the stone bricks had several cracks there and here. In short, the whole place looked dark, gloomy and lifeless.

The blond simply shrugged his shoulder in response of his friend's welcome as he took his backpack from the back seat and swung it over his shoulder. Before he closed the door, he put a small notebook and a pen in his pocket, so he could communicate with Zack.

'Go inside and pick a room, I'll take care of the things in the trunk,' the black spiky boy said as he threw a key toward his mute friend who caught it in one hand. 'Good reflexes.'

Oh please. The mute singer thought as he went into the mansion, leaving the used-to-be delivery man to take care of the heavy boxes. He slid the key into the keyhole of the bistre-colored door with a strange cross-like insignia doorknocker. The previous owners must be pretty religious.

When Cloud pushed opened the door, he expected to see dark colors and eerie statues around, but he was surprise to see that the hall was filled of royal colors, it was almost like the other mansions owned by famous people he had invited to visit before.

The floor was made of shiny limestone with beautiful golden leaves pattern on them, some small mahogany tables on either side of the hall with golden leaf-like handles, even the stairs' handles had a certain leaf pattern on them. Everything inside the eerie mansion looked livelier than the outside.

A single staircase on either side, a dark oak door right in the middle under the second floor, curved upward to the upper floor. Pick a room first, visit later. The blond quickly snapped out of his reveries and made his way to the second floor.

He picked the third room at the east wing that had a queen size bed sporting beige sheets with small golden star pattern on them. The singer took out a small picture frame and gently placed it on the nightstand next to the bed.

The photo was a woman with her blond hair tied into a tight bun, wearing a blue sky shirt and a grey skirt, but what would attract people's attention the most, were her beautiful smile and her crystal blue eyes. She was smiling warmly at the camera as she stood next to a field of white flowers that she had grown with her own two hands.

This is my new home, mother. Cloud smiled at the person in the photo, every time he does this, he felt like his mother is still very close to him, even though she had left this world five years ago. After a minute or so, he quickly placed the other items in his bag inside the drawer of the nightstand.

When he finished, he decided to help Zack finish unpacking the boxes, but when he walked out of his room, he noticed something very unusual. The door at the end of the corridor was crimson red, like it was painted with blood, while the others were just plain wood oak. Curious at why it was so different from the others, he went closer to the door and found that door had a strange cross-insignia on it just like the one on the front door, but this one had wings on it.

Weird... The blond put his hand the handle of the door, but it was locked. Huh? He tried to push and pull the door, but it won't budge. He slowly backed away and was about to try to kick the door open when he heard Zack calling for help. He shot the door a dirty look that said that he'll be back for it later before he went downstairs.

***

After a few hours of moving and pushing in furniture and boxes, the duo had finally unpacked all their belongings and made their way to the kitchen to make some delicious sandwiches. Cloud hadn't expected the mansion to have electricity, because it seemed so old and not at all modern, but he wouldn't complain or question about it.

As Zack went through the fridge to fetch the ingredients for their late dinner, Cloud took out his notebook and pen, scribbling a few words on it before he tapped his friend's shoulder lightly, gaining his attention instantly. Why is the red door on the second floor locked?

'Oh, that door. I don't really know. It was lock before I came here and so does the two other doors, the blue one at the west wing and the black one in the middle of the stairs,' the older man explained as he took some cheese, ham, lettuce and a tomato. 'The previous owner said that it had been locked long before he even owned this place.'

Why did he sell this mansion so cheap? The blond wrote down as the raven-haired teen washed the vegetables.

'Beats me,' Zack replied as he took out some bread from the kitchen cabinet, leaving Cloud to cut the vegetables into thin slices. 'All he told me it's that he is old and this mansion is beyond his age or something like that, to tell you the truth I don't even understand what he meant by that.'

I wonder if you were even listening when he is talking to you... The blond thought as he sandwiched the ingredients together. Still it's strange to keep a door lock for no important reasons. I wonder why? Oh well, it's none of my business.

The two young men quickly ate their dinner and went back to their separate quarters, but Cloud stopped right in front of his room and stole a small glance at the sangria door. His mind kept having this nagging feeling, like something or someone kept whispering next to his ears.

I'm probably too tired right now. The blond shrugged his shoulder and entered his room, believing that it was just the simple uneasiness of moving into a new, big and ancient mansion. He never would have thought that it is not the case at all.

***

Darkness and silence had always been the first thing that had invaded his world. It had always been this way since he was born. He never really dreamed during his sleeps, it was always a pitch-black cold darkness waiting for him in his dreamless sleep. Somehow he now found standing in the middle of a maze garden of some kind. The hedge walls are more than 8 feet long, making it impossible for him to jump up and spot the exit.

The cold wind was howling on this starless night, making the blond shivered not only from the bitter cold, but also from fear. The boy's naked feet shuffled with the dead star-like shaped leaves on the cold stone ground. It's so cold here... Cloud thought as he wrapped his arms around himself to keep warm.

Luckily, the full moon shone brightly above him, lighting his surroundings, and... music? He listened closely and caught the soft notes of music that could only have been made by the finest violins. Suddenly his body started to move on its own and walked past intersections, turns and dead-ends. He is searching... for what he does not know...

Then he spotted it, a marble pavilion stood at the end of his path. A lone slender shadow stood in front of the monument, playing a violin gently and slowly like he had all the time in the world, with the rose bushes around him to act as his spectators.

Even though the moonlight lit everything around him, the light couldn't seemed to touch this shadowy figure, like some kind of protection had been cast around the mysterious person, hiding his face from Cloud's sight.

Suddenly the shadow stopped playing his melodious tune as if he had sensed the presence of his silent spectator.

Who's there? Cloud heard a masculine voice whispered in his mind. It was as melodious as the music he had heard. The man slowly turned his head to look at him, but before either of them could see the other's face, everything was suddenly swallowed by darkness.


I might not be able to update as fast and as soon as I can, because of school projects and examens, but I'll do my best to post new chapters as soon as I can.