A/N: My first thought when I decided to write this story was: 'I can't believe I am doing this.' Despite numerous attempts of talking myself out of it, I still found myself in front of the computer and typing away. So here am I, jumped the band wagon and quite happy with doing it. Anyways, this fic is born of one too many time travel fics mixed with my twisted imagination. It didn't help that I was reading/watching Ai no Kusabi on the side. It's rated M for a reason, so don't like don't read. Oh, and reviews please.

Title: Frozen Skies
Chapters: 1 of ?
Rating: M
Pairings: Sephiroth/Cloud, Zack/Aerith, and others
Warnings: AU, time travel, slash/yaoi, non-con/dub-con, and the rest...
Summary: A hero was a broken man indeed. But even in death, Cloud could not escape. Send back in time by the Planet, he could not seat back and let history repeat itself.

Disclaimer: Don't own anything. I just like to torture the characters.

Chapter One

As the defeaters of evil and defenders of innocents, heroes were necessities to the balance of humankind. The elders praised them for their benevolence and the youth idolized them for their prowess. They were legends immortalized by the tales woven by time. Almost no one realized the fates of heroes only brought pain. 'Hero' was not synonymous with frame or glory. Instead, the life of a hero was full of heartbreak and sacrifices. A destiny doomed with loneliness from the start. They sought change, perhaps brought it, and along the way they stained their hands with blood—leaving rivers of red in their wake. In the end no matter how much they gained from their deeds, nothing could make up for what was lost in the name of greater good.

A hero was a broken man indeed.

Cloud Strife knew that fact well—too well in fact. Once upon a time he would have felt some anger towards fate, but not anymore. He was simply too numb to care. Besides, there was not much left beyond his gilded prison. Curled into a fetal position on the silken bed, he let himself drown in the space between sleep and consciousness. He would always remain suspended there, afraid to fall into the trappings of either. Cradled by soft pillows, it was so very, very easy to sink into oblivion. Instead, he fought against the drowsiness with all the willpower he could muster. He didn't want to close his eyes. He was afraid to close his eyes. Behind closed eyelids, he would see nothing but red. Eventually, the red would bleed into a sea of blood, where he would be left to drown.

By now, he was familiar with every part of his cage. The room was spacious but sparsely decorated—nothing impractical and everything sterile. It was almost completely cut off from outside except for a steel door on one side and a balcony on the other. Blinds were drawn aside to reveal the pair of glass doors that led out onto the balcony, letting the morning light steal into the otherwise lifeless room.

The sky outside was a beautiful shade of blue—exuding tranquility and jubilance. It was clear with the exception of pale wisps of white, the epitome of a perfect summer day. For all its beauty, it paled next to the wide feline eyes—twin pools of blue more stunning than any sapphire and purer than any glacier lake. But there was not light in those eyes now, only broken resignation. A perfect reflection of its surroundings. Dark laughter tumbled out of his throat as he gazed at the only view he had of the outside world. Once, he might have seen the beauty of the scene but now it was only dull and lifeless. Just like him.

How long had it been?

How many days had passed as he lied in this prison of stone and silence? How long since the last time he was free of hunger and pain? The days and weeks had blurred into meaningless flow of suffering and fear. There was no use in keeping track and Cloud gave up a long time ago. Time no longer touched him in its passing.

His arms trembled as he pushed himself into a sitting position and his pale lips stretched into a bitter smile. He had fallen far. He, who could take on the Great General of Shinra, was reduced to nothing but a trembling mess. Pathetic. Relegating the thought to the back of his mind, he forced the disused muscles in his legs to work. With some effort, he pulled his legs off the bed and planted them firmly onto the carpeted floor. The only article of clothing he had, a thin white robe, sagged slightly at his movements but he made no move to straighten it. Once again, his attention returned to the azure sky outside, forever out of his reach.

Humans always longed for wings to soar the sky.

He did too, once upon a time, before bitter experiences taught him his folly. Humans were so obsessed with the sky that they forgot that the higher they went, the longer the fall. Anyone who reached for the stars should be prepared to be burned to ashes. The price of wanting something unattainable. A price he was still paying to this day. His foolishness had cost him more than he could ever regain. He thought of his friends, people he had let down in the worst ways possible. Too many of them lost with the bloodstained sands of time while he watched helplessly on the sidelines. He had vowed to himself then—as long as he lived, he would never lose anyone again. Even if he had to become a monster, he would protect them all until his body fell apart.

But he couldn't even do that could he?

All the promises meant nothing if he didn't have the strength to keep them. He was weak. A failure in every way. His friends paid for his weakness, paid for their trust in him. He lived on as the light left their eyes. He was always the survivor. Perhaps it was fate's way of punishing him for his sins—a half-life burdened with guilt and regret. All his sacrifices amounted to nothing. They all died because he was a coward. He should have kept fighting. Should have done more…should have and didn't. Even if he didn't hold the blade, his hands were still tainted with their blood. Just one more crime on his sin ridden soul.

He didn't even have strength left to mourn.

He was tired—a bone deep weariness seeping through his body. It wasn't just his body, but also his soul that longed for rest. The fight had gone out of him years ago. Now, he was nothing more than a puppet for others' enjoyment. He had so much to atone for that the weight was crushing him. The ghosts haunted him and his broken mind held no solace. There was no salvation for him.

Could sins ever be forgiven?

Using a post for support, he stood up on unsteady legs. When was the last time he walked on these feet of his? After a few tries, he managed to take a few steps without falling flat on his face. His progress was slow but every step was filled with conviction. Staggering his way to the balcony, he slid open the glass door and leaned momentarily on the frame to take some weight off his feet. He didn't expect to be forgiven. His sins couldn't be forgiven. He would only be paying his due. Letting go off the frame, he stumbled across the span of the balcony to look over the edge. Sitting on the edge of a cliff, there was nothing below the mansion that was his prison but rocks and water. The cliff sloped down in a steep drop before meeting the roaring waves a few hundred feet below. The waves attacked the cliff side with unrelenting ferocity, seeking to bring down the unyielding stones. In true form of nature, it was a battle where the strongest would come out on top.

With stiff movements, he climbed over banister and stood on the edge of the balcony. Looking down, he could only see the white foams reaching heavenward as the waves crush against the rocks. The waves strained against its limits, daring anyone to brave its fury. He was glad to note that despite the mako in his body, surviving the fall to the raging water below was impossible. In his weakened state, he wouldn't stand a chance. If the fall didn't kill him, the water would surely drown him. Either way, he would end up dead. He could almost see the Lifestream calling him. The peace he wanted was within his grasp. Just one more step…

Then he was falling.

Cold wind bit into his skin as he plunged from the sky. His long blond hair danced wildly, creating a golden halo around him. He stared up at the sky as he fell. The vast expand of blue seemed as if it could be captured and held in one's hands. His gaze moved to the radiant sun that was almost the same shade as his hair. A chuckle escaped his lips only to be snatched away by the wind. His mother must be prescient to name him Cloud after all. The irony—both his name and coloring were of the sky, yet he was destined to fall short of heavens. As the wind whistled past his ears, he savored the illusion of flying. It was as close as he could get to freedom.

For the first time in years, he tasted the bittersweet flavor of freedom. Free from manipulations and lies. It was pitiful really that his freedom could only come in form of death. It didn't matter now. Everything would be over soon.


The pain was violet and all-consuming. He was no stranger to it, bearing it without a sound. Pain was his constant companion and he took comfort in the fact that his suffering would end soon. The impact against the water could be felt through every part of his body. His brittle bones did little to break the fall. Agony overwhelmed him as he sank below the waves. Ribbons of light danced with the waves as he sank into the darkness, a pale imitation of the Lifestream. His broken body drifted slowly into the depth of the currents.

Closing his eyes, he let the world fade into black.