shirokage: (AC-Cloud)
[personal profile] shirokage

Title: Forgetting me, forgetting you
Characters: Cloud
Pairings: None
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Angst. Set one year before AC, so slight spoilers if you haven't watched it?
Summary: “Or maybe I shouldn’t really say I’m leaving. ‘Cloud Strife’ was never really here in the first place.”
Beta: Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] aphelion_orion for beta-ing and providing ideas~
Disclaimer: The rights to FFVII and all its characters belong to SquareEnix. I'm just borrowing them for a while.









“Cloud, run!”



Clenching his left hand, Cloud tried to stop the spasms coursing through his left arm. Feeling disoriented, he closed his eyes and let the smell of her lilies calm his wracked nerves, reminding him that he was not in Nibelheim, not in Hojo’s lab, but in her church. He stayed like that for a moment, basking in the temporary respite, before bringing his shaking left hand into his line of sight. These attacks were getting stronger each time, and they were happening at more regular intervals. It wouldn't be long before he would be able to see them again.

Pushing himself upright by bracing his right hand on the crate, Cloud forced away the headache that these flashbacks always brought along. He didn’t have time for that now, there would be enough time for that later. Right now, he needed to end this façade, this false existence, once and for all. With his resolve renewed, Cloud began his task of ending this farce:



"Tifa,



As trite as it may sound, I will have left by the time you find this letter. This time for good.

Or maybe I shouldn’t really say I’m leaving. ‘Cloud Strife’ was never really here in the first place. Even after awakening in Mideel, it was still Commander Zack Fair that led Avalanche to victory.

‘Cloud Strife’, as the world knew him, died in Hojo’s lab six years ago.



Smiling wryly, he could picture Tifa’s reaction to his statement perfectly.



I can just hear you say, “What do you mean, Cloud Strife died six years ago!? You are Cloud Strife and you are the one who has written this letter!”

But I’m not the Cloud Strife that you, or anyone else from six years ago, knew. I don’t remember anything about me. The only bits I do remember are just what you found in my subconscious when I was in my coma.

The Promise. The Nibelheim Mission. The Reactor. Nibelheim Burning. Zack’s death.

But that’s all there is to it. That’s all I remember of my life as ‘Cloud Strife’. I’ve forgotten everything else.

I have forgotten me.

I know that you would argue, “What about the memories from when we went to stop Meteor? Don’t they belong to Cloud Strife?”

I was wearing Zack’s identity all along. It was never truly me experiencing those things, so those memories might as well belong to Zack. Even now, most of my memories are of Zack, but they’re not memories about him. They’re memories of being him. And I suppose I was Zack enough, because you all believed that I was a First Class SOLDIER.

But despite being Zack enough to save the world, I was still not enough to save her.



He could still recall everything in painful detail. How serene she had looked in her prayers. How helpless he had been on the altar. How quickly it had all ended. He could still remember it all very clearly. Too clearly. It was like he was reliving it every single time, and yet, never was he able to change anything.



I should have been able to save her, even if it was at the cost of my own life.

Just like how he saved me.

So if I had really been Zack, there would be no doubt that she would still be alive.

But I really shouldn’t be Zack in the first place. I should be Cloud Strife.

As it stands now, I’m neither Zack Fair nor truly Cloud Strife. I’m only a mere husk of either of them, just a living body without a true identity. And the only reason that I’m able to sit here and write this letter is not because I escaped from Hojo on my own. It is because Zack saved me.

I had promised Zack that I would live out both our lives. It is easier said than done and I’m starting to regret that promise. How am I supposed to live for both of our sakes if I am neither Zack nor Cloud? Yet, I continue to live on borrowed time,



At another spasm, Cloud looked down at his left arm. Though the long sleeve hid it from his sight, he knew clearly what was underneath: the taint of Geostigma.



but even that is reaching its limit.



Even as he wrote it down, he could feel the truth of this statement. The claws of the taint were digging deeper into his soul every day, and he was powerless to save himself. As always.



So you see, even now, I cannot save anybody. I cannot even save myself.

So please, forget me.

Forget the child that was never your friend. Forget the outsider that was the town’s scapegoat. Forget the dreamer that promised to save you.

It shouldn’t be that hard.

After all, I’ve already forgotten me. I’m sure you can do the same.



‘Cloud’



Turning his face into the sunbeams and taking a deep breath, it was as if he was allowed to truly breathe for the first time in his life, to be truly allowed freedom from his chains of those identities from this moment on, even if the remaining time was disappearing by the second. After folding up the finished letter, he slipped it into the envelope and addressed it to the Seventh Heaven.

Just as he was about to stand, a sudden breeze swept through the desolate church, scattering flower petals in its wake. The smell of the lilies was too much like her scent, and with that fragrance, the wind brought back the memories of her death once again. It was almost funny that despite how clearly he can remember the scene, he couldn’t remember the slightly musty odour of the old altar, or the sharp stench of blood. The only smell that he could remember was her soft floral scent as he cradled her cooling body.

Would he really dare to break the shackles of the past and leave everything behind? Would he really dare to forget her sacrifice by dissociating himself from the memories? Would he really dare to desecrate the memory of Zack by running from everything?

The breeze swirled around him once more before rustling his blond spikes and disappearing.

It was too much like how she would gently embrace him in comfort, too much like how Zack would ruffle his hair in fun.

It was almost as if they were asking him to reconsider his departure by reminding him of their past presence in his life. That was impossible but it did make him reconsider. Would he really dare forget everything, just to run from the guilt and end his own pain?

No, he would not. He would not dishonour their memory by forgetting them. He had already forgotten Zack once. He would not do it again.

Shaking his head at his own foolishness, he shredded the letter as he stood up. With the torn letter in his left hand, he knelt beside the flower patch and dug a shallow hole. Placing the destroyed papers in the pit, he smiled sadly for their memory as he buried his desire for escape from this wretched existence. The end of his road was nearing, and for them, he would walk to the path’s end.

For them, he could continue to be ‘Cloud Strife’. Just for that little bit longer.





Concrit will be much appreciated~ ♥

(no subject)

Date: 2007-07-22 02:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] icedark-elf.livejournal.com
I like this. I like the way he lays out his case, even if he does tear the letter apart later, it's still easy to see him thinking it.

Though the last bit, this part: The end of his road was nearing, and for them, he would walk to the path’s end.

That is easily my favorite line.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-07-23 02:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] akuma-no-kage.livejournal.com
I'm glad you like it~

I was aiming for this fic to be one of those 'lost events' where the fic is supposed to fit into the canon storyline, but doesn't affect it at all. I guess it kind of worked?

That line was one of my favourites too~

(no subject)

Date: 2007-07-26 09:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] serinance.livejournal.com
This is a wonderful piece of work! :D You've got his character down perfectly! I can't wait to see more of your stuff. &heart;

(no subject)

Date: 2007-07-27 12:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] akuma-no-kage.livejournal.com
*blush* Thank you~ ♥

(no subject)

Date: 2007-10-12 06:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cherrymilk.livejournal.com
I loved it! You're such a good writer! ^__^ Keep it up!
xoxo

(no subject)

Date: 2007-10-17 08:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] akuma-no-kage.livejournal.com
Thank you~ I'm glad you liked it~ ♥

-le gasp-

Date: 2007-10-23 10:47 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
You nailed down his personality perfectly!!! X3 I love this story!

Like most of those who commented so far, the line "The end of his road was nearing, and for them, he would walk to the path’s end." was probably my favourite line~ <33 It's another of those lines that kinda give off this happy-ending feeling like the line "I'm not alone" from the end of AC! You did great work~! ^^ Another great line would have to be "For them, he could continue to be ‘Cloud Strife’. Just for that little bit longer."

Overall, FANTABULOUS!!! X3

Re: -le gasp-

Date: 2007-10-26 06:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] akuma-no-kage.livejournal.com
Thank you~ ♥

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shirokage

September 2009

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