My first posting! Possible boyXboy pairing. You have been warned. Don't like, go away. Possible pairing is Cloud x Sephiroth. May change to M-rating later, way later, for now, there might be a few swear words and violence in the first couple of chapters.
A few years had passed since Cloud had defeated the Renmants and his Geostigma was cured. Even his mind was returned to normal, more or less. He still had a few of Zack's memories, but they would only emerge if he wanted them to. And he no longer had the confusion of blurring between reality, Zack's memories, and visits from Aerith. After the battle, everyone had celebrated and life was beginning to return to normal. His life was beginning to seem normal.
He still made the occassional delievery, but spent most of his time traveling and hunting monsters. But he no longer avoided his friends like before, and even answered his phone now. Though he traveled constantly, he visited his friends whenever he could, and made it a habit to visit graves, like Zack's and Aerith's.
The memories of fallen friends and strangers alike still saddened him, even depressed him, but Cloud no longer felt burdened or guilty like he had years ago. For the first time since the Nibelheim Incident, Cloud was starting to move on with his life.
Getting off of Fenrir, Cloud looked out at the Midgar ruins from the outskirts. Today he was paying a visit to his old friend Zack, and after giving the Buster Sword a much needed cleaning, it shined brilliantly in the setting sun. Now he needed to either continue traveling or settle in for the night.
He already visited Zack more than he usually did in the last few months, but he would probably travel across the Planet completely before returning again. So Cloud decided to spend the night by the Buster Sword and enjoy the night sky. Besides he wasn't in a rush to visit Seventh Heaven, Tifa would still be there tomorrow and he would be staying there for a few weeks most likely anyway. Giving a small sigh of content, Cloud simply gazed into the starry night sky and enjoyed the sixth sense-like presence of his friend until he fell asleep.
His dream was a swirl of color, of green, the Lifestream. He felt warm, like when he had been drifting after the fight with the Renmants. He heard Aerith's voice, he couldn't make out the words, but he could feel that she was reassuring him about something. But what? As if an answer to that, his dream became more confusing, flashing back and forth between the Lifestream and his memories.
Everything was speeding by, like it was being fast-foward. But watching as the memories that played before him were getting older and older, he realized that they weren't being fast-foward, but actually being played in reverse. Like someone was rewinding them. Cloud began to felt an instinctual sense of anxiety, if not dread. It felt like he was going back in time.
The feeling stopped, and an unfamiliar scene played out in front of him. Cloud saw himself back in Nibelheim during his childhood. His younger self had just ran away from the bullies and hid in a new hiding place- the mako cave that his mother had gathered mako crystal fragments from.
Cloud frowned, his memory may have been patchy at best, but he couldn't remember ever being in the cave without his mother present, let alone using the place as a hiding spot. Whatever he thought, he knew that he wouldn't wake up anytime soon, so Cloud simply watched.
His younger self walked around the cave, exploring with curious eyes, picking up a few random crystal fragments along the way. Young Cloud walked around more, exploring deeper and deeper into one of the many cave tunnels.
The path darkened as the lighting from the entrance dimmed and faded, but the young Nibelheim boy continued on, pulling a flashlight he had always carried around habitually before leaving for Midgar. Every now and again, he would place a crystal fragment of mako on the ground, pointing it back to the entrance.
Cloud smiled wistfully, he was always resourceful. Despite being the 'runt of the litter' and constant bullying, he always found a way out of situations. Even if he got beaten up, he nearly always managed to get away somehow. Although half of the time it was just dumb luck or someone else intervening that got him out of a jam.
Cloud swallowed thickly. Wasn't that the way most of his life went? Someone else bailing him out and a lot of luck? Like when Zack busted them out of the lab? Or his unknowingly disillusioned-self being found shortly after by Tifa? The blonde warrior shook his head wearily. Even in his dreams he couldn't escape depressing thoughts. Sighing, he refocused back to what his kid self was doing.
The small youth was still walking down a tunnel, laying the occassional fragment, until the tunnel walls began to fade back into view. A dim glow appearing at the end of the tunnel, and the boy began to excitedly run to the faint light source.
Cloud couldn't remember feeling this sick in any dream that he had before. At least not outside of flash backs and nightmares. He would recognize the green glow along the cavern walls anywhere.
The young Cloud ran into a wide cavern with a high-vaulted ceiling. Across the expanse of the cave, multiple ponds glowed brightly of green. Mako pools. Speckles of light swam within the mako, casting light that illuminated the glowing pools further. The young Cloud looked around in awe before nimbly walking around the uneven but smooth ground, staying far away from the pools, remembering his mother's warning and the frightnening symptoms he heard about mako poisoning.
Cloud's eyes narrowed, something about this mako was different than what he had been submerged and injected with, but he just couldn't quite pin-point what it was. Not only the mako, but this dream as well. The old warrior frowned, this dream he was having was the most vivid he had yet.
It was too detailed to be a hallucination, but made no sense for it to be an illussion, since this never happened in his life, it wasn't a memory either. Yet, every other time he fell asleep only to be immersed in flashbacks, he remembered each one with vivid clarity. The fact that this was very much like reliving a memory and he felt the Planet's presence earlier left a nauseous feeling in his stomach.
The exploring boy began to slowly gather more crystal fragments. What better way to pass the time than gathering mako crystal fragments? Even if he did get in trouble, he would be helping out his mom. She made jewelary out of this stuff to help earn more gil, but she spent most of her time tending to the garden and being a seamstress. So, since his mom couldn't spend a lot of time searching for good mako crystals, he would look around for her. And just look at the place! He found the jack pot!
Crystals laid about everywhere. The biggest ones closest to the mako pools. Pocketing the small ones in his hands, Cloud carefully edged to a small mako pool near the entrance. Grabbing a few that covered most of his palm, Cloud spotted a brightly colored crystal that was as big as his fist, just out of reach of the mako. The young Cloud looked at it curiously. It was green like the mako in the small pool, but solidified. Unlike the fragments he held in his hands and pockets, it wasn't fragmented either.
It was round. A perfect sphere.
Cloud's eyes widened in recognition. It was a magic materia. A natuarally-formed magic materia! During his travels, he managed to gather every materia, but only a handful of them naturally formed in mako pools. They were different from the ones left behind by monsters and made by manufacturers. Derived from natural mako springs, they came directly from the Planet.
Absolutely pure in its entirety, and subsequently, its power was stronger. When set up side-by-side, a manufactured materia and a naturally-formed materia looked exactly the same, but the feel of the inner power were noticably different to an experienced materia user. But given the rare occurence of formation, they were difficult to come by. It took him years to gather the few he had. And to think there was one in Nibelheim!
Cloud looked at the round green orb in fascination. Mako-crystal jewelary brought in a lot of gil. The only reason why no one else in Nibelheim made them was because no one wanted to face any monsters. The caves were dangerous. At least, as far as the rest of the villagers were concerned. But his mom went into the caves whenever she could, and would often bring him along. She taught him some of his first lessons about monsters.
There were two main kinds of monsters. 'Defenders' and 'Attackers', as he learned to call them. Except during certain times of the year, the caves were safe to enter. Defenders did just that, they defended themselves. If you left them alone, they left you alone. One time, when he was ten, he had collected crystals with his mom when there had been a Kyuvilduns just yards away! Basically a praying mantis as big as him!
At first, Cloud had been afraid. Not that he was afraid of bugs, but he certainly did when they were easily his size! But his mom, although concerned, wasn't worried and simply took his hand, and began walking around the cave as usual.
When he asked, she just told him that as long as they left him be, he would leave them be. And true to her word, the Kyuvilduns simply crawled up one of the cave walls a few minutes later, and simply went to sleep. Cloud smiled at the memory. He learned a lot from his trips to the mako caves with his mom.
Crouching near the mako pool, Cloud reached out for the materia orb. Keeping a firm grip on a hand-hold, he leaned a bit further, the orb just out of reach. Cloud frowned in concentration, edging just a bit closer. Just a little further. Moving closer one last time, Cloud grabbed the materia.
Pulling back as soon as he got a firm grip on it, Cloud gave a quiet cheer, not wanting to wake up any sleeping monsters nearby. Looking at the orb in his hands, he turned it over, wondering why it was round. He never seen anything like this before. Sitting up, Cloud looked at it closer. It felt... warm... alive somehow. Feeling excited, Cloud hurriedly got up to his feet, not noticing the small mako crystal fragments he set off to the side earlier.
Feet stepping on the small fragments, he slipped. Trying to keep his balance, he stepped back to catch himself. Except his foot hit nothing but air. Looking over his shoulder, his eyes widened in horror. Shouting, Cloud clawed out at the air, trying to stop his fall. Closing his eyes, he screamed as he hit the mako. His back burned, and soon his entire body. Clenching his fists, he could only think of the pain and wanting it to end.
Cloud fell to his knees, feeling the same pain. Closing his eyes, he tried to bare with it, but it was excruciating. It was like being in that lab all over again. Opening his eyes again, he found his point of view changed. Now he was seeing everything from his younger self.
Unbeknownst to him, the materia in his hand began to activate. A Cure materia. His right hand began to burn with greater intensity before a cool feeling began to sweep across his entire being. Cloud blinked rapidly, more tears falling across his face from the sudden relief.
What? What was happening? No longer in pain, Cloud felt his feet touch the bottom of the small pool. It wasn't as deep as he had first thought. Now that he was no longer in pain, he realized that he was no longer completely submerged.
Standing up, Cloud looked down at himself. At least what he could see, he couldn't see his lower half because of the mako. It was like his torso was cut off from the rest of his body and set on a mako platter.
Shaking his head, Cloud climbed out of the mako pool, running out of the cave. Trembling from what should have killed him, he looked at the orb he was still holding. To his surprise, it was glowing.
Cloud's vision swam and the cave disappeared. Everything became bright green and warm, like he was falling in the Lifestream. He could hear someone say to him,
"Good luck Cloud."
Then everything went black.
Cloud jolted awake with a gasp, snapping his eyes open. His mind racing through the dream again, wondering what it could mean. He hadn't had a dream like that before, was the Planet or Aerith trying to tell him something? Was another crisis going to happen? What was the point of the dream? Cloud slowly calmed down but choked when his eyes became focused.
Staring back down at him wasn't the outside sky, but the bottom of a bunk bed. Cloud felt his eyes widen, his pulse quicken, and his breathing nearly stop. He hadn't seen this bunk bed for over eight years.
The bunk bed he had slept in as a SOLDIER cadet.