Hello!

You might have seen this story before as A Dream the Universe Forgot. Well, I never really liked that title, and the story has been taking up space on my account not being updated since sometime in 2001, I think. Well, I decided to revive it.

Sorry to anyone who has me on author alert and thought I'd updated Holiday Blues. Not yet, but soon! I swear this time!

For anyone that's been reading Love is Like a War: after a quick revamp and edit, this story is now a companion piece. A prequel. Whatever you want to call it. They stand independently from each other, however, and one is not required reading for understanding the other. This just shows what Cid was doing before the events portrayed in that story (a Rufus/Tifa fic, in case you didn't know).

Warning: Cid is very angsty in the beginning of this. Beware! He will seem quite out of character. But that's the whole idea. The plot sort of revolves around it. Hopefully, by the end of the story, he will be back to his old self. Or better! I love Cid, and will enjoy torturing him.

Also: This has nothing to do with Advent Children. I haven't seen it yet, so don't flame me because this is old school!

Disclaimer: Nothing you recognize here belongs to me. And though I like to pretend Cid and Shera belong only to themselves, I think Squaresoft might have some kind of claim on them.

Shower of Sparks

Chapter 1: Fading Flame

Shera's POV

Every day was the same. Come rain, come shine, from summer into autumn...each day at the small house in Rocket Town inhabited by Captain Cid Highwind and Shera Stargazer passed away into the oblivion of time, undistinguished, without ceremony, identical to all the others.

Noontime on one of these bland, prefabricated autumn days found Shera in the kitchen. She was making tea and a sandwich for Cid, just like she had every day for the past several months. The monotony was beginning to get to her, but she had never yet complained. Shera sighed as she heard The Captain enter through the back door. She didn't understand what had happened to him. Ever since the battle for The Planet, he had been in the gloomiest, most un-Cid-like mood that she had ever witnessed. The fight

with Sephiroth was six months ago now.

Cid flopped down into his favorite chair, somehow managing to take out and light a cigarette at the same time. Those who knew Cid well would comment that his movements, though still fluid and oddly captivating, lacked the energy and bravado that they came to expect from him. He propped his feet up on an adjacent chair, loosening the white scarf that perpetually encased his neck. His sky blue eyes did not twinkle with mischief as he absently ran one gloved hand over his stubbled cheek, instead they stared vacantly at some unknown point along the table, as though he were looking right through it. His gaze drifted briefly to Shera, moving slowly and deliberately as she always did.

"Tea ready yet?" He asked in a flat voice, casting his eyes downward long before Shera gave a response.

Shera didn't bother to turn around. "Almost, Captain."

He nodded to himself, releasing a long stream of smoke through his nose. The comforting wisps swirled all about his head, caressing him like a great, misty octopus.

The silence in the kitchen as Shera poured The Captain's tea was far thicker than any amount of smoke that Cid could dispense. Shera hated seeing him act like this. How she longed for the days when he would

swear and shout...because in those days he would also sometimes laugh (and he had such an infectious laugh), talk, at least smile...as it was, he barely said 5 words in a day.

Shera felt a somewhat irrational anger building inside of her. His behavior made no sense! He was one of the heroes of The Planet, along with his friends from AVALANCHE. He had achieved his dream of being the

first man in space. He had enough money so that both of them could live comfortably for a long while, and he could tinker with his plane and the airship to his heart's content. Yet here he was, going through every day as though all of his accomplishments were worthless, and life was a complete waste of time!

Shera shook her head imperceptibly as she presented Cid with his sandwich and slid into the chair across from him. She obscured her face with a magazine, forcing back the tears that threatened to fall. She knew any sensible person would have left ages ago, but she hadn't been able to do it. How she loved him...and through all the years of being shouted at, sworn at, ordered around-- it had never hurt more than it did at that moment as she watched him sip his tea, eyes distant and numb, seeming unaware that she even existed.

Cid's POV

Cid Highwind finished his lunchtime tea and promptly exited from the kitchen. Damn, he hated it when Shera looked at him like that. Like she didn't understand who he was anymore. Probably because, truth be told, neither did he.

People would laugh. They'd think it was real damn funny, wouldn't they? Captain Cid Highwind, having an identity crisis? How #ing quaint.

He reflected, sitting on the back steps of the house, on all that had happened in the past year. AVALANCHE, Shinra, Aeris, Meteor, The Rocket, Sephiroth...He shook his head, sparking the end of yet another cigarette. He could make no heads or tails of any of it. All he knew was that the most important time of his life had flickered by in an instant--the whole thing felt like one brilliant flash of light--and now

it was over. And he was here. And he had no idea what the hell he was supposed to do now.

What on earth could there be left to do for a man who had helped save The Planet from the greatest of evils, and embraced the very stars where they dwelt in the sky? Cid felt like he didn't have a dream left to

chase. He'd sent all his dreams into the universe, and that was where they'd remain.

He got up and walked over to his airplane, grinding the remains of his cigarette into the hard ground as he stepped. He picked up a wrench, scanning his eyes over the section of the engine he had been working on

before lunch. He didn't know why he was bothering. Of course the damn plane would fly again. But where the hell did he have left to fly it to? Rage swelled inside of him and he hurled the wrench a the ground, where it landed with a solid thud.

"#!"

Cid tore angrily at his deceptively soft blonde hair, causing it to stick out at odder angles than usual. In a furious haze, he kicked the first thing that came into his vision, which happened to be the Tiny Bronco.

clang

The sound of his foot connecting with the metal on the side of the plane reverberated through the air as he fell promptly to the ground, grabbing his foot and releasing an anguished grumble.

He wasn't wearing his steel-toes today.

Cid sighed and placed another cigarette between his dry lips. As he savagely ripped clumps of brown autumn grass out of the lawn, he looked back towards the house, his thoughts turning to the one person he understood even less than himself.

Shera.

He furrowed his eyebrows, squinting when the sunlight reflecting off the windows hit his eyes. Why in hell was Shera still here? He tried not to think about it too much, but if he were her, he'd have been long gone by now. But she was still there every day when he got out of bed, exactly like she was the day before. To his distracted mind, she sometimes seemed like just another part of the never-shifting scenery.

Shit...if she didn't hate him already, after that tank #8 disaster, she surely must by now. If only he wasn't such a bastard all the time, maybe things could have been different. But it was too damn late for that now, just like it was for everything else.

Rising somewhat stiffly from his perch on the lawn and redirecting his attention to the Bronco, Cid Highwind began to feel distinctly like the old man that Yuffie Kisaragi liked to claim he was.

So this is how it begins...I haven't changed the first chapter much at all from when it was A Dream the Universe Forgot; not that anyone ever read that story anyway. LoL it won't be a long story, 3 or 4 chapters the way I have it figured. Please let me know if it's any good!