A/N: Yep, it's a rewrite! I had to change some things, and the way I previously wrote it was not working out. Plus, it was just so horribly written and short. Hopefully, the quality got a lot better, and the plot interests a lot of people. By the way, if you're looking for something new and different in the FFVII fandom/archive, please check out my most recent fic, Strange Anticipation. I even searched to make sure no one had done it before too, ha. As always, please make sure to review and/or alert. You better do it or else I'll knock on your door and beat you up with Cloud's sword. Just kidding, but please do. :)
Disclaimer: I don't own Final Fantasy VII. If I did, things would be totally messed up.
Summary: She's been imprisoned on some island for who knows how long, but she's coming back. He's been having dreams of a possible previous lifetime that features a blurry-faced girl, but he's going to find her and get some answers. He's a seemingly innocent stranger, but his secretly buried memories are awakening. Why will these three come together, and what must they do? CloudxTifaxZack.
The sun was shining brightly, as if glowing to it's full extent. There were few leisurely floating clouds that would have otherwise made the skies as clear and blue as the waters beyond the shoreline. Winds and breezes would randomly blow and appear, as if playing hide-and-seek with one another, resulting in puffs of fresh air. Today had wonderful weather, nearly perfect. Just like any other day, she thought with a scowl ruining her pretty face.
She hates it, despises it. It reminded her greatly of the day when she was sent here to be imprisoned, wrongly accused of faulty crimes. She was here on this lonely island, supposedly excluded from the human race, or so they wished to believe and assume. A series of certain past events played through her mind and a quiet giggle escapes her pink lips. The prisoner couldn't understand why she was here. If her so-called crime was so gruesome and cruel, why didn't they just kill her instead? Oh yeah, the whole "torment the evil soul" thing. Her fingers are on her lips, feeling the small smile that graced upon her face. The silly fools probably thought that she was dead, her ashes presumably scattered around and across this seemingly paradisaical island by the the winds and possibly washed away into the ocean waters. Her lips spread wider at the thought of them forgetting her, overlooking the false accusations and framing of her for things she had not committed.
You are innocent. Her smile turns genuine.
Being locked away on a stranded island was so cliché she thinks, but the time in this hellhole was not spent wasted. She had a lot of time to think, and so like an opportunist she always was, she thought and thought and thought until she wanted to pull her hair out. Date and time was hard to tell here, having no man-made instrument for indication and precision. She starts to chuckle when thinking of her plan to return and possibly meeting surprised and old, familiar faces. Oh, they would definitely be surprised, whether or not she would be pleased or disgusted to see them. 'The infamous Tifa Lockhart has returned.' That thought leaves her gasping for air, her laughing becoming a bit out of hand. People were and always will be stupid and ridiculous.
But, she's in quite a dilemma. To forgive or avenge? She wonders if she should forgive since the time spent here enabled her to do just so, and was the main purpose of her imprisonment, besides to just "rightly" punish her of course. It allowed her to think of people's thoughts and reasons behind their actions. Suddenly, she recalls herself telling someone, or someone telling her that actions could speak louder than words. Of course, it was natural for old memories to fade and disappear as time elapsed. The woman shakes her head and refocuses on her main thought. Maybe she should forgive since she doesn't want false rumors of her to ring true or to go into a psychotic rampage and gain nothing but blood lust, but patience can run rather thin when you're taken advantage for your nice and generous character. In converse, she asks herself why she can't erase the people who have wronged her, but remembers that she doesn't like removing a life with her own two hands.
The slightly cocky demeanor starts to fade, and the smile disappears when actually questioning the degree of success and how functional the plan that she and another made. It was the same person that helped her endure the many boring and hateful years here, possibly centuries. 'Will it work?' 'Will it fail?' She had asked herself these questions after conceiving the strategy. Things will have to naturally fall into place or else she'll have to get out of her own way to make it work, and she would prefer to not do that. Thank you very much. A soothing and matronly voice goes through her ears. It calms and reassures her that everything will be okay. She sighs for she knows what she must do.
The confined figure lazily strolls onto the shore, the beach. As the winds blow, white sand fly around her pale feet, tickling her bare toes. She walks up to the beautiful ocean waters that she had many contradicting opinions about, due to a pair of blue eyes and a sudden rush of memories and emotions. She's staring lifelessly into the blue waters and sees a reflection, a reflection of herself. Sometimes when she'd forget what she looked like, she'd come here to look and deny that the mirror image given was her. Dark and long locks, piercing red eyes, porcelain skin, and a curvaceous body. It continues to amaze her that she looked the same, despite the time, despite the laws of nature. The woman thinks the picture is pretty, but Tifa Lockhart was no vain creature. She kicks the water in repulsion and disgust.
Her fingers and hands are fidgeting and fiddling with her plain, white dress. 'Why do you do that, you stupid woman?' She knows and doesn't at the same time. She hates tormenting herself but loves to remember how to feel. When she is there, she remembers how to feel love, pain, happiness, and sadness. It reminds her that she is or once was human and not some worthless object carelessly tossed here. Sometimes she wondered what had more advantage, being a human or not being one. She angrily kicks the sand, small particles flying around her, giving the illusion of a trapped fallen angel.
After relieving her stressed mind, she withdraws and bends down, softly patting the sand as if afraid it would throw itself into her eyes. She feels the need to apologize since it had done nothing wrong, like a few people she knew. The brunette stops, feeling silly for apologizing to an inanimate object. Sigh. Maybe things would be better if she didn't execute her comeback. Maybe things wouldn't. She thanks the sand for possibly helping her or confusing her mind even more.
Don't worry. You know what you must do. Tifa feels less burdened.
She's on her feet and starts to focus, and golden flecks enter her ruby orbs. The feel of power and strength course through her veins, making her body slightly shiver in pleasure. She's trying to handle and control the familiar strong burst of energy that had been vacant during her long and seemingly almost permanent stay in her "home." Tifa can feel the start and anticipation of the oncoming events. However, things happen, whether she notices or not. The brightly shining sun dimmed. The waves stopped splashing and crashing. The air turned flat. Wildlife hushed to a mere rustle. Life seemed to stop, or at least for a little bit. She's standing very still, and her eyes close. The waves shyly kiss her feet, the wind starts to tangle itself into her long mass of hair, and the sun dimly shines on her figure. She releases a long breath.
Her eyes open, and she cranes her neck up so that her glowing eyes see the unnaturally darkening sky, quickly filling with brightly shining stars. The night, the stars, the promises. It was forever burned into her memories. She laughs at her past naivety and says a silent apology to a certain someone or someones for what was about to happen. Her face is still upright, and her eyes start to glow as she says silent words of incantation, her body floating a bit from the ground. Suddenly, she stops with an ungraceful plop onto the sandy surface. That was energy draining, her body feeling dehydrated and empty, but the accompanied adrenaline rush was something she always enjoyed.
The brunette was on her side, chest panting heavily but soon reduced to a regular breathe in, breathe out. She starts laughing and smiling in glee and delight. It had worked! It was imperative for this to succeed, and she had done it, not expecting it to be accomplished because of her lack of practice and faith from previous failed attempts. But, her thoughts wandered to why it had worked. Were the gods finally helping her, taking pity on this poor soul? She's not not so sure, but does a silent prayer in thanks and receives a warm breeze in return, softly caressing her heart-shaped face. The ruby eyed woman had on a smile that could rival the sun's brightly shining inferno.
Tifa slowly yet finally stands up and pats down her attire. "It's finally done."
A job well-done. Now, we must wait.
That's why you don't mess with an Element. Or shall she dare say, Elements?
O O O
When you watch those family sitcoms on television, you see those ideal wives welcome their hard-working husbands home with a bright smile, asking them how their day was with a kiss to the cheek. Well, if that were to happen, Cloud Strife would answer and say that it was a mother fucking, ass bitching, shitty day with a set of pearly whites to match his loving wife. He honestly didn't like cursing so much in one sentence because he thought it was unpleasant and distasteful, but the string of words seemed to describe his day perfectly. Almost.
Stupid customers. Stupid customers with their nasty complaints. Stupid customers with their absurd needs. Stupid customers with their fighting words. Stupid customers with their throwing fists. Everything was all simply stupid, stupid, stupid. That seemed to be the word of the day, aside from headache of course. The throbbing pain in his skull was a constant reminder.
To add the icing on the cake, he got fired today, due to the vile remarks and complaints concerning a certain "chocobo-haired freak." He could care less, always thinking and wanting to say, "How about you check out my totally invisible finger?" The boss kept yapping about something and how he had not listened to it. What was that saying again? Oh, the customer's always right; that statement was a load of crap. He was gonna quit anyway; people were never really his specialty. Sure, most of the time spent was on the road, but the rest was needed for excellent customer service. He could say nothing and shove the papers at their faces, which was what he preferred, but some liked to have conversation and insult him. A lot. Was it really his fault that wild savages and people liked to attack him, or certain things were natural and could not change? There were remarks on his hair that supposedly looked like the rear end of a chocobo, a sleek and sexy motorcycle that was claimed and said to be ultimately useless, and creepy looking eyes that scared people out of their panties. He decided that he didn't mind that last one.
Ugh, searing pain. Leather covered fingers went up to rub at his temples. There were so many aching headaches today, concerning people and their foul mouths, constantly and incessantly poking his already frazzled mind. Maybe he should just say 'screw it' and become a misanthrope. He didn't like people, and people didn't like him. It was simply perfect. He was always a loner anyway, excluded from others for something he couldn't control, dating all the way back to when he barely knew how to walk and talk properly. What can he say? Old habits die hard.
The lone wolf turned off the engine and parked Fenrir, his beloved motorcycle, in a hidden garage. As everyone said around here, you can never be too safe unless you were mother fucking Shiva. He smiles a bit at the thought, thinking how ironic it was to put a god's name and a curse word together in one sentence. After removing his lean body from his most valuable possession, he examines it, making sure it had not receive the same amount of abuse as he did. The examination said that it needed slight modifications, but the repairs were not going to be made today. Exhaustion was taking a toll on his body.
With a resigned sigh and pat to a certain motor vehicle, he enters his measly home, slamming the door shut and carelessly tossing his keys on some nearby table. His face starts to scrunch up when he feels a throbbing in his cranium; pointer and middle finger immediately come up to pinch the bridge of his nose. The pained figure is honestly surprised that a vein hadn't popped yet, considering all the injustice that had happened today. With a few long strides, he unceremoniously plops onto his worn-out-couch. The back of a glove-covered hand rests against his handsome face, and he exhales roughly. Yep, if he was going to continue to finance himself, he needed a job. Quick. A small part of his mind thinks of an oversized blade, idly sitting in the corner of his room. He can't believe he almost forgot about it, but remembers that it was forbidden at his prior working station in fear of a loss of customers.
But, it has finally come back to that. Why did he quit again? Oh yeah, the whole repenting for his sins thing. If someone knew of his previous occupation, they would say that it was a load of bull. But, Cloud liked to think that he wasn't just some cold-hearted assassin. There were just some things that were morally wrong for a human to do. Sure, he had done it because a job was a job, but it didn't mean that he didn't lose countless hours of sleep or have horrible nightmares from it. From all the guilt and the pain and the begging and pleas from his targets, he had quit and made sure no offers would be able to be passed onto him.
But, the pay was high and the deals blunt and straightforward, no questions asked, and he liked that. He was also usually in a solitary state, which he preferred, never used to nor liked the idea of company. Plus, he had gained quite the reputation, able to make someone wet their pants from just one look. He smiles at the image playing through his head. Sure, people would say that the pros overcame the cons, but there should be morals or a set of guidelines that many should follow. Due to the lack of that, the world had turn into a big green and blue piece of shit. People, the same hypocritical power-hungry monsters, should not be the judgment of life or death. Or at least he thinks so.
Oh, gods. He had to rejoin the league of assassins, the only job that he was actually good at, the only job where he was the best. Sigh, maybe he could put half his brain on shutdown or knock himself out after he completed the job. Hard. Being acquainted with Barret tomorrow will be quite interesting. The retired assassin did a mental search for the address of a bar named Seventh Heaven and made sure it would be fresh in his brain tomorrow morning, which may or may not be so pleasant. If it wasn't, he could just always take a couple of shots, pretty convenient that there was a bar if you asked him.
Slowly and lazily, he picks his body off the couch and walks into his small kitchen, opening a medicine cabinet and looking through the hazardous mess of pills and other medical related things that was in desperate need of a clean out and organizational rescue. Aspirin, aspirin, aspirin- that was the mantra that he was repeating in his head on loop. With an 'aha!' and bright glint in his sapphire eyes, he finds his target and gets bottled water, due to the current living conditions and his strict sanitary hygiene issues. Soon, he chugs the duo and walks the short distance to his private bedroom.
The temporarily relieved blond yanked off his boots and socks. Ooh, that feels good; his feet have finally escaped the confines of his ill-fitting shoes. A pair of calloused hands escape worn out leather, and he unzips his sleeveless shirt with his dark trousers and tosses them into an abandoned corner, which he would remind himself to pick up tomorrow but unsurprisingly wouldn't. Bah, he felt strange for interrupting his daily nightly routine by not taking a shower, but it was just too late and so, so exhausting and tiring. He falls onto his back on his unkempt bed, and the bed sheets twist and form around his masculine body, giving him some warmth to his nearly bare skin.
His eyes are half-closed when he starts to think again, drifting to his past dreams. It was strange and weird, very different, as if showing him what he could have been in the past or an active imagination gone wild. It seemed to be the same everyday, getting clearer and clearer with each passing day. He laughs as he remembers him being a prince, having people constantly at his beck and call, certainly very different from his current life. The prince chuckles a bit, thinking how his life would be different if he had at least a fifth of that social life into his current nonexistent one. But, there was also this other main character of his ongoing fantasy, a girl. Unfortunately, it would never last long enough for him to clearly see her, except for a pair of wine-colored eyes, or find out anything useful about her. She, this mystery girl, had plagued his mind twenty four seven. He likes to think that she ruined his job, but a small part of his mind says that he just wants something to blame, and that this girl deeply intrigued him more than he would like to admit.
But, he's just tired right now. So, so tired. He really doesn't want to put his brain in overdrive right now, considering that it was excessively mistreated. Maybe he can just close his too blue eyes and pretend that he lived another life. Maybe he can meet that ruby-eyed girl again in his enigmatic dreams. Maybe he'll actually forget reality and focus on fantasy. Yeah, he'd like that...
O O O
A last roll of his broad shoulders paired with a crack in the neck were the last things that he did before taking out his PHS and dialing for a ride home. Okay, he can now officially and finally say, "mission completed!" Those monsters had needed to go, dangerously attacking people on roads and interrupting transportation. A satisfied sigh escapes shapely lips, and a sound is heard when he drops onto the ground, arms and legs spread out in relaxation. He wonders how long it's going to be until he's picked up, possibly around 15-30 minutes, by car or a helicopter.
A well-dressed man identified as Tseng, leader of the Turks, was talking to him. His unwrinkled, starched suit moved a bit each time as he spoke a word. "Zack Fair, this is your first, offical mission with your new title. I expect you to do and finish well."
The male figure sat up, took his oversized sword, and put it back in his harness on his back. He remembers the words and face of a past mentor, someone who he had cared for deeply and thought of as an elder brother. Zack Fair had reached his life long goal, becoming a First Class SOLDIER a couple of years back, but it wasn't as great as he thought it would be. Maybe it was because the famous trio had disappeared, making him shoulder all the hard work. It had been roughly three to five years now, and there was still no news of the men. Shinra had claimed to be frantically searching, but he had worked long enough with them to know the truth. They obviously weren't. At first, they actually did try and care, for they were the greatest men Shinra had ever received, but after a year of failure, they had given up.
Ugh. He was assigned ship duty when there were plenty of Second Classes? Heh, he just said duty. His new Mako injections were not helping him right now. The heightened sense of smell was more of a disadvantage than an advantage. There was fish and sweat and... was that...? Okay, he was definitely not digging this. He needed to do something fun, pranks possibly?
Zack sometimes wondered if they had deliberately disappeared, not wanting to handle some of the dirty work that they had shared with the Turks, or if it was because they had wanted to leave, and Shinra had found out, wanting to exterminate them. Whichever the reason, he was quite jealous, for he knew he would not be able to quit alone, not knowing anyone who had worked for the cursed company to leave and remain alive, whether officially or not, except for the three men. The indigo-eyed man didn't exactly mind everything though, most of his obligations were to eliminate monsters and check out Mako reactors. Also, he had come to be quite famous, known for his strength and charming personality paired with his incredibly good looks.
Score! Kunsel was so going to kill him later, but it was worth it. Everyone was starting to loosen up, needing some distraction to lessen the tension. He thinks that he's gonna rest in his quarters for a bit. People don't constantly need help. Or at least he hopes and thinks so.
So, everything was not all that bad. No, not really. He did occasionally think about what his life would be right now if he had stayed with his parents in Gongaga, living a boring country life. Sure, he felt bad, but he was a boy with natural dreams and goals. A mental list reminds him to visit his parents soon. Zack Fair was living the life; he had fame, power, and good looks. He chuckles when he thinks of his face plastered on posters of many teenage boys, idolizing him, doing and thinking what he had done when he was younger.
A small rumble. A big quake. Oh shit, he had just woken up from a much needed nap, and there was trouble, now? It was perfectly fine before. Oh geez. The slightly foggy- minded man stepped out of his resting quarters, seeing all the men run towards the deck, forming a line for the emergency lifeboats. Impressive, they weren't exactly please-stay-in-a-single-file-line, but they weren't oh-holy-shiva-we're-all-gonna-die! Who knew Shinra practiced emergency drills?
His arms are folded beneath his head, and his eyes are closed when he hears the engine of a car past by him. One blue eye opens and an eyebrow arches, checking to see if it was indeed his ride. Typical black car with the loud Shinra logo. Yep, it was his. A door opens, and he sees fiery red hair come out. Yep, definitely his. The slim body exited the vehicle, car keys twirling around his fingers, and a usual smug look on the young and pale face. The red scars or tattoos (he never would tell him) seemed to accent the mischievous glint in the red head's aquamarine eyes.
SOLDIER skills immediately kicked in. He runs inside and puts his sword upright, so that the blunt of it touched his forehead, saying words that belonged to a past mentor, "Never lose your dreams. No matter the situation, never lose your honor." Zack Fair ran back out to the deck, scouting his surroundings.
"Oy, the oh so great Zack Fair is tired already?" That smirk was something he was already used to.
"Definitely. The weird people that you try to hitch hike from are quite an interesting bunch. I think I saw a guy making love comments to his chocobo." His body is already up, hands laced together to crack, and body twisted and turn to stretch.
"Interesting, that must have been pretty fun to watch. Since I'm such a nice guy, how about I take you back to my place?" A wink and a grin. This playful banter was starting to get a bit out of hand.
"I'm sorry to say that I'm not into that. I like vagina, but whatever gets me back into the city." A charming grin slipped onto his lips. His long strides get him to the front passenger seat, the door already opening, and his muscular body going in.
The other male figure entered the vehicle, turning on the engine and the blasting stereo. His foot presses the pedal, dangerously accelerating them out of the ruins. Zack was already used to it, knowing him for quite a while now. But, all he can do is think. Think about what had been happening for a couple of weeks now. Images would randomly appear, whether he meant to receive them or not. He didn't know if they were buried memories or if they were made up images. For some odd reason, he remembered only the first half in his past memories but not the rest. It was just so mind boggling and aggravating, not knowing what everything meant or what it was.
He vaguely hears Reno talking, and he gives a short answer or small statements that was suitable to whatever the red-headed Turk was requesting. Reno seemed to notice that the soldier wasn't exactly in the mood for their usual chitter chatter and took the hint. Zack didn't know if the pictures playing through his head was a message, but it only showed him what had happened on his first official mission as a First Class SOLDIER. The puzzled man remembered it, but he did not recall it as clearly as he had now. Everything could wrap around his calloused finger, but no, not this. He could not solve these mysterious, animated pictures.
There was the mission and the pranks and the laughs, but there was also the unnatural disaster. It was horrible. Men choosing their own death by jumping off the ship, people frantically pushing others to manage a ride on a lifeboat, and thunder and lightning giving off scary sounds and sights. It could have easily been mistaken as a natural disaster, but he thinks- no, knew- that some superior being was causing this wreck, manically and cruelly laughing at them from some altar above. And then, there was him, jumping off of the ship. He remembered the feeling of being hopeless and wanting to escape the world from a coward's way out. It was disheartening to say the least. And there was him, lifelessly and helplessly drifting further and further in to the ocean waters, regretting and wishing.
But then, he was in a cave, safely tucked away in some makeshift home. And he felt confused and scared and nervous and happy. So, so many conflicting emotions bursting inside him. And there was a bright, white light with a figure walking towards him, casting shadows on the floors and walls, but it'd always stop then. It would just... completely stop and leave him hanging.