*Disclaimer: I own nothing but my original characters and ideas….and the plot bunnies in the corner. Please don't sue, I'm a poor college student that has no life and way too many video games.*

"If the screams from my trunk bother you, then turn up your radio."

Of Prologues and Memories

Zack was forgetting, forgetting things, people, and places…even himself. He was aware of what was happening but he could no longer bring himself to care. He knew he had a kind loving mother…once upon a time, a long, long time ago. But he could no longer remember her name or even what she looked like anymore. It was the same with everything else. He knew his favorite food was strawberries but he could not remember what they tasted like, just like he remembered his favorite music was country but no longer knew what sound it made.

Instead of his mother's face he saw the harsh uncaring eyes of his captors, his tormentors, his masters. Instead of the taste of strawberries he tasted the cold metal of a bit and the occasional cardboard like protein packs disguised as food. Screams of anguish and pain replaced the sound of his music. But no matter how hard he tried to forget how he and his friend, Cloud, had ended up here…he couldn't seem too.

Zack was seven years old when his Mama walked into his bedroom small bedroom. With three siblings he was forced to share with his elder brother, he didn't mind though. Sometimes, when it was late and a storm raged battle across the vast sky, Jeremiah let him crawl into the warm sheets and wait it out until the first light of dawn broke.

His Mama had told him grimly to pack his things, for they would not be coming back for a long while yet. Papa was staying behind with Jeremiah to run the shop they owned in…he couldn't remember…it started with a G, maybe a J. It would be just Mama and him since sister Amelia was due to be wedded in several weeks. His aunt had fallen ill, but it wasn't from a cold or flu, no, she was suffering from terminal lung cancer due to exposure of vaporized mako. There was nothing anyone could do for her accept keep her comfortable in her last few months.

The Fair family resided mostly in…it definitely started with a G, but a few had a traveling spirit and settled elsewhere, his aunt had been one of them. She was a kind slightly over weight woman getting up in her years and had a gift of healing, so at the tender age of sixteen she left her family far behind and bestowed her abilities upon the less fortunate that she came across. I

t wasn't until many years later, widowed and without children, did she settle on a small farm in Nibelhiem. It was her ill fortune that her property was down wind of a Mako Reactor. So it was with a heavy heart that the seven year old said good bye to his family and warm sunny home, leaving with his Mama to the cold windy unforgiving mountains far to the north where the land touched the sky.

Zack couldn't remember meeting his best friend Cloud, who was four at the time, but he did remember how they had ended up in this mess. It was all his fault, Cloud had tried to talk sense into him, but Zack was a Fair and they weren't anything if not stubborn with a dash of tenacity. He had ignored his new best friend of two months and continued his exploration. Cloud had followed him hesitantly, all the way through the forested mountain and inside the old abandoned mansion.

He could still remember the tiny voice whispering words of fear. He remembered the too blue eyes pleading silently. He could feel the tiny, pale, smooth hand grabbing his arm, his shirt, his hands, trying to pull him back. He remembered so much, too much, and yet not nearly enough.

The mansion hadn't really been abandoned but they discovered that fact a little too late. One minute he had been playing adventurer, dragging a still reluctant Cloud behind, and the next they were strapped down on an examination table. There had been a creepy old man with glasses staring down at them with a smile that they both would become very familiar to them, and Zack knew, he would never forget that.

Zack learned later that the man's name was Professor Hojo, and he was a sick twisted fuck if he had ever met one. The son of a bitch enjoyed making them scream; especially Cloud…said he made the most exquisite sounds when in agony. Zack was a kind, loving person, just as his Mama raised him, and before that day he had never known hate. Now he knows nothing but.

The metal bit clicked painfully against his white and abnormally sharp teeth as Zack's jaw clenched in frustration. He was alone right now, the Professor having taken Cloud for a little one-on-one time with the boy. He did that occasionally, separated them, but only when one was being punished. Hojo always left the culprit to stew in silence as he tortured the innocent party instead. That was, of course, if one of them was innocent.

Zack wasn't sure how long they had been here, in this mansion of terror, but it must have been a long time. Zack felt older, that was for certain, and Cloud looked a lot older, at least a decade if not more. Zack wasn't sure how he looked since there were no mirrors and he spent the majority of his time blindfolded, but he was certain he had grown as well.

He knew Hojo had irreparably changed them, both physically and mentally. Zack's memory was spotty at best, but he was certain that both he and Cloud had looked different then what they appeared as now…and used to have less appendages. Zack thought upon it no more as his ears swiveled to the door. He could hear Cloud's tortured, broken, wordless screams. Zack bit into the metal harder.