by Sakura Blackwolf

Excerpt one: Thy Tender Eyes Grow All Unkind





It had been long since he had started counting his wounds. But they were not just wounds inflicted upon himself in battle. They were made by him. Again did the blood flow. Again did his skin brush against the blade of the Utima weapon. Again another scar.




Ruby fell. The warmth drained from his body and onto the concrete floor at his feet. Ruby. Like the summon materia. He still remembered when he received Shiva, the first summon given to him. That girl, Priscilla, gave it to him after he had saved her life. But he could not for the very life of him guess why she was blushing so brightly.




It seemed so sudden when it all ended. The explosion of Holy crashing into Meteor was enormous. He thought he wouldn't make it. Not that he cared anyway.


His pale digits trailed along his chest. The scar there was larger and more obvious than the others that were cleverly hidden so that they hardly showed to the naked eye. The wound embedded on his chest was shaped identically like the pattern when he used the cross-slash. The only reason it was there was because the confusion that he had been hit with allowed himself to attack at his body. This he didn't care for either.

The wet tears of the planet took away the once warm feeling he had felt. Their icy touch spread and covered his body, much like the darkness he was standing in. The planet's cold digits cleaned and washed away the bleeding skin. His cut flesh turned pink. The planet was trying the heal him. But she couldn't. Already his quest to save her twisted his soul and broke his mind, mutilating his skin with the stroke of mental pain. The burden of killing Sephiroth raped his already shattered soul.

He couldn't kill his idol. Could he?

He thought so, until it actually happened

Avalanche kept telling him, Yes, he is strong, but he's not unstoppable. Even as he killed him, he still thought of the silver haired man more superior, and more deserving to live than himself. Tifa said that he didn't deserve to live, he killed a lot of people and nearly the world. Well, he killed others too. She said Sephiroth drew blood. So did he.

He almost chuckled. Almost

Was his mind starting to deceive him? Why was he starting to believe Avalanche was so...gullible? Why was he thinking that Sephiroth deserved to live? No, he didn't. He didn't. He didn't!

He did.

Cloud couldn't deny it. Sephiroth led a much better life. No one hated him. No one loved to see him wither in pain. The blond shook his head. No! Sephiroth was Jenova's puppet! He was mislead by her! He didn't have a better life! He was just..


He was back to where he started. If Jenova hadn't interfered, Sephiroth probably would've been happier. And Zack would've been here too. Their lives would be much better than his. His life was as a failure and they had easily achieved to greater heights than he had. He knew what Avlanche would say. No Cloud. You beat Sephiroth. You can't call yourself a failure. But this whole time he was wearing a mask. He was using Zack to cheat himself into a life with more appreciation.

Slowly he rose his head to the darkened sky. The clouds were grey, probably they were glaring at him with hate. The planet may have had mercy on him, but the clouds were themselves. The wind smacked at his body, bringing the healing rain at him like a storm. He didn't move. So what if suddenly he woke up the next day with a fever? The old Shinra uniform clung to his bony body. The armor and the belt were cracked and the edincoat he wore on his wrist was also ruined. A few of its materia slots could not carry the colored orbs and the ones that could clung to the armor as their lives' support. Cloud stopped staring at his scars and looked on the edincoat. He silently murmured their names. The summon materia : Odin, Bahamut, and Knights of the Round. Other than those there was only one left. It glowed yellow. The deathblow command. Normally Vincent would have it, but he told the dark haired man he needed it for the time being. Naturally he didn't question the boy's ideas for it and gave it to him. He was slightly relieved it belonged to someone who wouldn't give him 20/20 questions and he'd have to steal it ala Yuffie.

He frowned a bit.

Should he use it on himself? But then Vincent would be the cause of the blame. He didn't want to let a good friend take part of the chaos in his mind. Besides, the ex-turk had already enough sins, he didn't need more He stared at the yellow orb for a long time. he didn't know how long. Maybe a good five minutes or so.


The blonde boy didn't hear the voice, until a warm hand touched his shoulder. On instinct, he whirled around, the ultima weapon positioned to immediately take off someone's head. Tifa stared at the blade pressed to her neck, and then smiled.

"Cloud, come inside. You're going to catch a cold."

Cloud's tension faltered and he slung the utima weapon to his back once more. He turned his heel and turned away from Tifa, a hand placed upon the light pink flesh of his new wound even though it was too faint to see.

"Tifa..I'm going to be leaving Midgar now."

Tifa immediately took a step forward, "What? Why Cloud? Where are you going?"

"I don't know Tifa. Part of me still believes something in my life is missing. So I have to search for it. I might come back..someday."

The bar tender soon started to find forming words became hard. Cloud looked at the brunette over his shoulder. The rain made his vision hazy, but he cared not the wipe out the water that soaked his mako eyes. Silently, he picked out the deathblow command and threw it to Tifa, who on instinct catched it.

"Give this back to Vincent." And he left..just like that.