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What Now?

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"What now?" Zack asked as he finally managed to get a small fire going. They were trapped deep in a small, dank cave by some sort of monster apparently indigenous to whatever rotting world they'd been thrust onto. It was getting to be a bit of a joke, really. Every time they found each other and settled down, it started again.

"I don't think we can die," Cloud said, watching as one of the gashes in his arm healed itself without magic or medicine. "Whatever sort of cruel joke this is, it runs too deep to let us out of it's vicious circle so easily."

"You've been listening to Sephiroth too much," Zack replied, digging through the small supply bag he was carrying. Hopefully there was something to burn in it somewhere. Without weapons or magic, they were in trouble.

"We're still in her universe," Cloud said, leaning back. "We're her toys now."

"I thought you said you killed Jenova," Zack stated, fishing out some scraps of a map from a couple of worlds ago. He added them to the fire unceremoniously.

"I don't think she can be killed," Cloud replied. "Any one piece of her seems to be able to grow back into something, most likely eventually into a new body for her. She's... We're like her now, able to grow back, regenerate. All of it is true. Sephiroth is a god - counterpart to her as wicked goddess. And we're..."

Zack pushed forward and threw himself onto Cloud, clamping a hand over Cloud's mouth.

"Stop it," he hissed. "I've heard this before and I know where it goes. Don't lose it on me, Strife. Don't."

"I didn't want any of this," Cloud said softly once Zack let him speak.

"I know," Zack replied, shifting them both so he could hold Cloud in his arms. It felt as though Cloud was losing weight, sinking away beneath his own skin. And they'd both lost blood. The last time they'd eaten seemed as though it were months ago. Yet their bodies carried on, and somehow their minds.

"I wanted to be..."

"It doesn't matter now. You need to stay with me now," Zack said, running his fingers up into Cloud's hair.

There were only so many ways to stay sane. Almost reluctantly, Zack trailed his hand down, tracing Cloud's jawbone before following with his lips.


"Nothing else to do until that thing leaves," Zack replied, not wanting to let go of his companion but also very much wanting to get the stained blanket from Cloud's dwindling travel pack.

They didn't have much, but at least they had each other.