It was not uncommon for Cloud Strife to disappear with out a word, and then reappear at some later date in the same fashion. In fact, it happened more often than not. That's just how he was.

So it would come as no surprise that the blonde frequently left the magician's house at all odd hours of the night, setting forth to prowl the dead streets with no real purpose, buster sword held tightly in his grasp; his tie to reality. At night this was his city, his city to protect. He didn't require that much sleep to begin with, the mako burned and fizzed in his veins, keeping him constantly vigilant and ready. Ready for what exactly, he wasn't sure anymore.

Cloud leaned against a jagged wall, relaxed, eyes closed, simply listening to the commotion occurring in the bailey at that seemingly frozen moment in time.

Yuffie was mercilessly battling some unseen enemy, all the while crying and raving. The anger and despair and hopelessness radiated off her in suffocating waves, tangible even from his spot off in the shadows.

This was becoming too frequent an event, and Cloud found himself drawn here many more times than he cared to realize. But still, he let his body reflexively gravitate towards the little ball of pent up frustration. He felt for her, he truly did, because he could empathize. He came to listen to her, to watch her, to feel for her; knowing that even though she wasn't aware of his presence, it still unconsciously offered a small amount of comfort.

He was all too aware of the cause for such violence on her part. He'd seen it; he'd witnessed it all most every day. She annoyed Leon whenever she could, she argued and was purposefully defiant, she stole his things as if it were some trivial game, anything for his attention, willing to risk it all for even a small glance in her direction.

Yet he unknowingly shut her down every time. And through Yuffie's smiles Cloud would see the pain, worming ever deeper, the dismay and ache of rejection. She would giggle joyously, but he heard it for it truly was: a manic laugh that hinted how tired and broken she was, how she was just barely hanging on.

When Leon shut down her attempts at banter or some conversation, usually insulting her or calling her names in the process, Cloud would silently look past the fake pout and see her white knuckles, the shaking fists, the bitten down nails cutting into palms. He'd see the burning behind her eyes.

The Yuffie before him shouted hoarsely, swinging her shuriken recklessly, as if with each swing she's slicing up all her feelings and distancing herself from all the complications. She screamed again with uncontained rage, slamming the overlarge weapon into the cobblestones, embedding it forcefully between the cracks from previous vengeful fits. Finally spent she collapsed to the ground, holding her head tightly as her tired frame is racked with sobs.

And as she allows herself to be overcome by the crushing weight of her own feelings, Cloud's heart constricts sharply, almost as if by empathizing with her they are connected, able to feel each other's pain. Because Cloud understands, offering the ninja girl silent companionship in the darkness.

He understands what it's like to care for someone so deeply that it physically hurts.

He understands what it's like to not have those feelings returned.

He understands what it's like to be with that person everyday, knowing you can't have them.

He understands what it's like to watch that person invest their feelings in some one else, whether they were alive or merely a memory.

He understands what it's like to be in love with Squall Leonhart.

Does anyone else use their writing to vent all their own problems? I don't know, I just hope none of you are experiencing this right now, but I know I've connected with someone out there with this. Written last night at 2 am in my own vengeful fit, wanting only to scream, but couldn't, so this leaked out onto the page instead.