Hi again, sorry about the lack of postage for such a long time. I'm back with a quite dark story. This chapter is short but they'll get longer. Enjoy.

Chapter One

Home

Even from the beginning Cloud had never been in Shiva's best graces. Cloud had never had a happy childhood. Since birth Cloud could barely remember his father as more than a drunken slob who would systematically beat him whenever he couldn't cope with situations. His mother, whom Cloud took after physically, had left after he was born, leaving a jealous, incapable drunkard to look after him.

The blond spend most of his childhood alone, entertaining himself, he often found himself climbing Nibelhiem Mountain wandering around playing with mako and occasionally coming across small monsters he would try to tame. This was a few years before Shinra came along and planted a small mako reactor in the midst of the mountain range.

Shinra specifically asked- no, demanded!- that the children of the village be kept away from the reactor, and if possible, away from the mountains. Often the children still made their way up there but were never caught or found out. Cloud's father, the only person who didn't consciously adhere to the rules of the Shinra Corporation, mysteriously disappeared in the night. Cloud was alone.

The morning came and Cloud, once again desperate for food, forced himself home.

"Dad!" he shouted nervously into the house hoping, for once, he would not be drunk, "Dad do we have anything to eat?"

His trip to the fridge was not intercepted so Cloud assumed his father was lying unconscious in one of the room. Common sense told him to get something to eat before he attempted to find and resuscitate him.

The pickings in the fridge were frightfully bare but he persevered, finding enough to sustain him until his father could muster up another trip to the store.

"DAAAAD?" Cloud shouted, his voice ringing through the house. But there was no audible answer. The blonde checked every room and knew immediately. He had run off.

Cloud screamed in fury and threw himself at the table, upending it and knocking the rubbish from it. That bastard, he shouted inside his head, that stupid fucking bastard! He hated his father, always had, but now the hate surged inside him and with that massing hatred came this anger. With the anger, he set about destroying everything he could see in the house, smashing bottles, throwing chairs and tables, upending buckets and bins and even pushing over the fridge.

He needed to get out of the house and the first place he headed for was Mount Nibelhiem. It was where he usually went; up in the mountains, hiding in the caves, staring at the mako fountain and feeling its wispy tendrils flow around his hand. It was warm but cooling. He took off his shoes and took a step into the mako infused water feeling his worries leave him. It was so relaxing he felt he could just flow with it…and disappear into Gaia with it…melt…and flow…

He was so entranced, so engrossed in the beauty of the planet he barely noticed the other beings enter the cave.

"Hey look, it's Cloud!" jeered one of the village kids.

"Hah! Look, he hasn't even brushed his hair, what a freak!"

"Yeah and look at his clothes!"

Cloud didn't need this right now, he was thinking about what he was going to do. He was too young to get a proper job, and he could never own a house. The teenagers that swarmed around him however, didn't care about that, they were too busy mocking him, and the more he didn't notice, the angrier they were becoming.

He finally noticed when one of the braver ones, older than the others, reached out and shoved him, he tripped forward but caught his feet. The others jeered and helped along.

"Yeah you show him Daniel!"

"Show this little fucker what we think of people like him."

"Just a waste of space, like your father!"
"Yeah, imagine being related to the town drunk!" one of the other guffawed and spat on him. Cloud wiped the offending liquid from his eye earning a kick and a few punches. He fell to the floor as one well aimed punch hit just below his rib cage. He gasped for breath, the only sound that had fallen from his lips since the encounter. The bullying had gone on for years and he'd learned from experience that shouting out didn't help. Whether if was his father beating him up and abusing him for looking like his mother, or the bullies laughing at him because of his father, or his father beating him for letting the bullies beat him speaking out did nothing, so he remained silent.

Cloud stopped going to school when he was twelve. No-one forced him to go and after the head teacher commented on his lack of proper uniform he knew things would get worse. They did, the pupils began to call him scruffy and mock him for his lack of decent or even clean clothing. So he stopped going and no-one came after him.

His vision faded after the punch hit him. Scrunched up into a protective ball, clutching his stomach and head, the only other punches and kicks hit his back. He was barely aware of another faint set of voices before passing out.

"Hey, come on, leave him now."

"HAHA! Tifa likes Cloud!"

"No! No!" The black haired girl who remained hidden from view just at the entrance to the cave insisted trying to be embarrassed at their claims, "No! I mean, you keep doing that you'll kill him! Do you really want to get into trouble over him! Come on Daniel, call your blood-thirsty hounds off."

Daniel laughed loudly,

"Alright guys, come on, that shit for brains isn't going anywhere."

"Hey! The retard left his shoes over here! Let's take them!" There was more laughter.

"Look at the state of them! I doubt he'll mind if we just bin them for him!"

And they left him there, shoeless, choking for breath and unconscious, and they laughed and jostled each other on their way back home.