shirokage: (Brood)
[personal profile] shirokage
Title: You can't fix me
Characters: Cloud, Tifa
Pairings: None
Rating: T (maybe rated a bit high, but better be safe than sorry)
Warnings: Angst
Summary: “Try as you might, you can never truly fix me. It is too little, too late.”
Beta: [livejournal.com profile] aphelion_orion Many thanks to Aphelion for beta-ing this fic~ ♥
Disclaimer: The rights to FFVII and all its characters belong to SquareEnix. I'm just borrowing them for a while.


=====================================================================

You are falling through the darkness, and you wonder if you died when you fell into the Lifestream. When you stop falling, you notice that Cloud’s gone when he should have been with you, and your scream for his presence goes unanswered as your voice rings out in the black abyss.

A voice whispers through the empty void. A voice that should be familiar, but is not really and you can’t make out what it is saying. “Huh...what? Who...?” You look around to see if you can find the source of the voice before you ask again, “Who is it...? I can’t hear...”

The voice murmurs again, and you recognise it for what it is. Cloud’s voice. Not the Cloud of the present, but from the past, back when he was still a child.

“You were the first one... You were the first one to have broken me...”

You cover your ears and shake your head violently in denial, even though you’re not sure if the accusations are false, “No! It’s not me...! I’d never do anything like that!!” But the voice does not relent, and as you continue your ardent protests, you see Cloud’s younger form appear in front of you. He looks up at you, and you feel something clench around your heart.

His gaze is utterly blank. There are cracks all over his skin, some fine, some coarse. There are even gaping holes on his surface, showing the emptiness within. With those glassy eyes and that emotionless visage, he looks too much like a porcelain doll, one that has become chipped and cracked from some careless child’s manhandling. Were you that child? Were you really the one that did this to him?

“You were the first one to have broken me... Before Midgar... Before Sephiroth... Before Hojo... Before everything...”

You try to divert the blame from yourself, “No! I was not the one who broke you! It was Rick! It was Dylan! Not me!!” Getting more desperate, you even try to pin the blame on his mother.

“No, they were not the ones to have first broken me. My mother, she failed to heal me, yes. But she was not the one who first broke me. You were the first one...”

He begins walking towards you and repeating his placid accusations. His eyes remain blank. No anger. No rage. No heat. Just a mere statement of what he reckons to be a fact. You plead, “No! Stop it...!! Stay back!” He ignores you and keeps advancing.

You turn and run. Anything to escape that lifeless vacant stare of the broken child. You beg for someone to save you from this personal hell, “Somebody...help! Please!! Cloud, help me!!” You scream for him to save you, even though he is the same one from whom you are trying to escape. You crumple to the non-existent ground, and the empty void starts spinning, and there is nothing you can do but scream before you black out.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

You wake once more and find yourself upon a platform suspended in the Lifestream, surrounded by different pieces of Nibelheim. At each Nibelheim, there is a different Cloud, and one of them is a child too. But he is not broken. There is one extra Cloud floating above the platform itself, not in any one of the Nibelheims. One that is holding his head. One that looks like he is writhing from physical pain. Or is it mental anguish?

You talk to all of the Clouds in all of the Nibelheims, trying to convince them that there is some existence beyond this mental realm that they have constructed. You convince them to join back together and become that one Cloud again. You are doing this because you want to help your friend. Or it is because you are trying to redeem yourself in face of those un-true not-false allegations? You are not even sure yourself. Regardless, Cloud becomes whole again, and you have your reconciliation. Both you and he hear the voices of the Lifestream, and blackness sweeps over to return both you and him to reality.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Or so you thought.

You are back in the void again. The one Cloud is gone once more. And the broken child is standing in front of you once again. You thought that you had completely restored Cloud, but apparently you have not. How could you not have noticed that the broken child had not been melded back into the almost-complete Cloud?

His head is lowered, and his bangs protect you from his empty gaze. His whisper sounds again.

“None of us are the same, you know. We are all different fragments of Cloud’s soul. Some of us are memories, while others are feelings. He will not be completely healed unless all of us have joined back together.”

You clench your fists and scream in frustration, “Then why didn’t you join back!? Don’t you wish to be whole again?” Unshed tears bunch at the corners of your eyes. You want to cry because you still failed despite your best efforts. But you are not sure what you failed at: helping Cloud or redeeming yourself.

He shakes his head slowly, his hair still hiding his eyes from you.

“It is not because I don’t want to. It is because I can’t. I am the parts that he has pushed away, refused, rejected. I am his pain, his suffering. And I am too damaged to be melded back even if he wants to... Not that he does...because without me, he can distance himself from the hurt, even if it is at the price of remaining incomplete...”

The broken child finally looks up and turns his unsettling gaze on you, something that is so utterly broken and empty, blank and devoid of emotion.

“Try as you might, you can never truly fix me. It is too little, too late.”

At this, he lightly trails a finger over the cracks on his face.

“You know, some of these are over a decade old. Like when you stood by watching me suffer at the hands of your friends. Or when your father blamed me for your accident, and you failed to tell him the truth.”

He drops his hand desolately back to his side with a slow, languid blink.

“But neither he nor I hate you. He chose not to, while I am incapable of doing so. I am the embodiment of his pain, not his hatred or any of his other emotions. As such, I cannot feel anything. But the damage is too old, too deep-”

You only notice this just now. The broken child is the most solid of all the fragments. He would have been a large part of Cloud’s soul, a part that he will now be forever missing.

“- so you can piece him back together now, make him functional again, but you can never truly fix me and heal him.”

And with that, he begins to turn away. You think you see something akin to sadness in his eyes, the first time that emotion has been on his face, even though he said that he cannot feel. But before you can be sure, he has completely turned away, walking into the distance and fading into the darkness, leaving you to stand there and wonder if you were really the first one to have broken him. Even as the darkness fades back into the light of reality, you cannot be sure of the answer...

---------------------------------------------------------------------

You hear Barret’s voice, urging you to wake. You are back in reality, in Mideel. Sitting up, you ask Barret, “Cloud... Where is he?” You are relieved at Barret’s reassurance. You tell of your tale, but omit the details, especially those about the broken child. As you lie back down, you whisper to yourself, “People have so many things pent up inside of themselves...” Cloud’s pain. “And they can forget so many things...” Your maltreatment of Cloud back in Nibelheim. “Strange...isn’t it...” As blackness creeps in once again, you resolve to do anything to try and erase that guilt. You would do anything to take care of him...

---------------------------------------------------------------------

In the night before the final push to the Northern Crater, when he holds you as he would a close friend or a sibling, you know that he will not love you like you wanted him to. You have known that since Mideel. But you just hoped against hope all the same.





=====================================================================

A/N: Please tell me what you think about this. And if you see any grammatical and spelling errors, please notify me.

Cross-posted to [livejournal.com profile] ffvii_fic and [livejournal.com profile] ff_noticeboard.


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shirokage

September 2009

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