Blue and green hue swirled in a dance, twining together to create something beautiful, something inhuman. The colors glowed, and she could swear she saw gold in there, hiding somewhere, peeking through when it seems safe enough. As though it were afraid to be overtaken by the brilliant colors mating before it. Mako energy makes the colors glow, unnatural and yet still so beautiful.
Abruptly, she was brought back from her trance, realizing that she'd staring into Cloud's eyes, and everyone was giving her that Look. The one that screamed of knowing everything she had hidden inside her, cutting her open and leaving her bare.
Pushing back, she huffed and looked away. Yuffie decided this was a good moment to start telling a story (at the top of her voice, no less) of a princess who's followers bowed to her feet and gave her their materia at every opportunity.
This was enough to break that awkward silence, that knowing in the air, as everyone fell back into that routine of teasing they'd developed. Underneath it all, is something unspoken, something more than everyone just catching Tifa staring into Cloud's eyes like a lovesick teenager.
Not for the first time, Tifa wished she could take that hidden tension, pull it from it's shadowy corners, and hit it for all she was worth-to destroy it, so they could believe in themselves without any kind of doubt. Her enemy was elusive, only revealing itself in the slight twitch in Barret's left eye, the way Aerith would look into the distance more than usual. It was in the corner's of Cid's mouth, turned down, and in the way Yuffie was practically frantic about distracting everyone with her antics. Tifa just hoped this invisible monster wouldn't eat them alive before they succeeded.
The murmur is there, always present. Over the years, she's learned to put it in the back of her mind, a little like suppressing the urge to sneeze. It sits there, tickling the back of her throat, until she allows it to happen. That's how she describes it. (though not to anyone in particular-she doesn't like to talk about it much.)
It comes naturally, listening to the voices of her Planet. Hers. It was hers to live for, hers to protect. Something inside her, bone deep and ages old told her this since the day she was born.
She was born to protect her Planet, her people. It was drilled into her head from early on, even when she vehemently denied anything to do with the Ancient race, with their ties to the Planet. She just wanted to be normal, to live her life simply. After all she'd been through, at such a young age, didn't she deserve that?
She was reassured it wasn't fair, but who else could they turn to? Who else would put everyone on the Planet above their own life? Aerith couldn't argue-when put in such a way, she couldn't refuse her heritage. Not that she ever had that choice.
Traveling with everyone, trying to stop Sephiroth, she would find herself unable to sleep. Those nights, when they were sleeping outside with the starry sky as their blanket, she would look up and close her eyes, allowing the Planet's voice to enfold her in it's warmth and love. When she had her doubts, all she had to do was look at the people around her, the people she passed daily, to know that she couldn't fight her fate.
Yuffie was always doing something strange.
Cloud caught her, one time out of many, sticking her tongue out at nothing, her head tilted upward, as though she were trying to catch snowflakes on her tongue. It was a sunny day, one of those where pollen clogged the air, and the distant horizon was hazy. He couldn't figure out just why she was pirouetting around with her arms spread wide, mouth open wide.
Normally, he would have shrugged it off, chalking it up to her being Yuffie. She was the type of person who couldn't be defined except by her name, a mix of loudness, jittery legs, lewd humor, and fierce loyalty. This time, he couldn't shake it off.
Once they'd stopped for the night, he found himself beside her as they were setting up camp. Unable to let the opportunity pass, he asked her just what she was doing earlier. She gave him one of her "you-are-a-real-idiot-Cloud" looks that he found himself receiving more often than not, and she let loose a hefty sigh.
"I'm tasting the air, Spikey. Isn't it obvious?" His expression must have spoken volumes about his confusion because she rolled her eyes. "Air has a taste. It tastes yellow this time of year. I want to remember that, when I look at you guys after this craps over with."
He honestly couldn't think of what to say-because what could he say? Yuffie slapped him on the back, bouncing off as she called over her shoulder.
"Can't say you taste yellow, Spike. Maybe a little bit like chocobo feathers!"
Watching her go, his eyes widen. When had she tasted him?
Nanaki knew the power of memories tied with familiar scents-his nose was more sensitive than those of his companions, and more often than not his mind would attach some memory to any new smell encountered. Like a photograph in his mind, so that years later when he ran across that scent once more, it would bring back the past like a wave.
After traveling together for a bit, he could find his friends (because what else were they but friends? They were all so much more than that.) by scent alone. When told this one evening, Cait and Yuffie both let out sounds of disgust, imaging the worst-human smells weren't exactly pleasant to humans, so they assumed Nanaki was assaulted with offensive smells all the time.
He assured them this wasn't the case-that was when they demanded to know just what everyone smelled like to him. Nanaki considered not saying anything, but figured there would be no harm-and so, he told them.
Cait smelled artificial-like burnt wires and old stuffing that grandmothers would hoard in order to make teddy bears for their grandchildren. Yuffie laughed at this until she was red in the face, then Nanaki told her that her scent was like that of a child-something like cotton candy, sweet and horrible for the teeth. Once she'd stomped off, he settled down to sleep, a little too please at himself. Nanaki really didn't want to reveal anymore than he had to-some things were private, kept close to the heart, and this was one of those things that was truly his.
Cold metal gleamed when the light hit it just right, and he would trail a finger over one of the tips of his claw. It was inhuman, he was inhuman. His left hand was just a way to showcase this to everyone who saw him-it cried of blood and death, warning others to stay away from that man. Vincent wouldn't have it any other way.
One thing he couldn't explain, were the people he'd come to consider his comrades. His cloak was ragged, something people tend to shy away from with their eyes. However, when he was around Tifa she would take the edges, running her fingers over the blood red fabric, and give him a reproachful look. You should take better care of this, Vincent.
Sometimes, when he was polishing his claw, the shining surface a little rough from use, dents and chips visible to his eyes, Yuffie would pop up. She would suggest cleaning it with toothpaste, a toothbrush, and a little elbow grease. She would even volunteer Cloud's toothbrush, only to find herself the target of an ice cold glare.
None of them seemed to have the same reservations normal people did when it came to him-Cid thought nothing of it when he'd guffaw, slapping Vincent hard on the shoulder for a quiet retort to whatever story Yuffie was spinning at the time.
It was unnerving. It was confusing. He accepted it for what it was-a group of people who went through Hell and back together, and that was a bond that surpassed even the strictest of reservations.