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f i n a l f a n t a s y

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Why couldn’t he see you anymore?

You were there indefinitely. He thought you’d be there on the verge of forever. He was so optimistic with you.

Because you gave him something no one had ever given him before.

As he knelt down in the soft sand, grabbing at it, clutching it to his chest, he couldn’t help but feel you were everywhere.

“It’s okay, Squall,” the wind seemed to whisper. But he knew it was you.

Your ghostly hand lifted his chin up so very lightly. Even though his darkened gray eyes could see nothing, he could feel your warmth as you gently kissed his forehead.

A slow moment passed before the brunette lifted his hands up, searching for you. Soon he became frantic, wanting any concrete sign of your presence.

“Y/N!?” he shouted suddenly.

But there was no reply.

His chest heaved angrily, dejectedly.

You gave him everything he could’ve wanted.

And then you took away what he needed most.

You.

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He was never meant to be tied down and you knew it. It could never be so clear with his rash attitude and flirtatious personality. But, as was your one true character flaw, you were an optimist and one day he would have to retire his current lifestyle. You could only hope that it would be today. You could only hope you meant something to him.

“Balthier?” you approached him cautiously. He was working on the Strahl and that always dulled his tolerance.

He kicked his foot in response, tinkering with a few more bolts before sliding out from underneath one of the engines. “Yes, buttercup?” Balthier replied with a tired smile.

“I was wondering,” you began, slowly taking a seat next to him, bringing your knees to your chest. “Do I have a chance here? Of waiting for you? I don’t…want to marry you and raise children on an airship, y’know?

“Of course,” he said nonchalantly, cleaning his oily wrench with the hem of his shirt. “They’ll need stability.”

“Yes!” You sighed happily, knowing he’d understand.

“However,” he muttered darkly while standing up. “I cannot promise you that perfect life you want, Y/N.”

For the first time that day he looked at you with brilliant blue eyes and for the first time in your life you really looked at him. Every word he spoke was true.

So you left.

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He could never let her go. To him, you were probably disposable but her…she never left his mind.

She was encased in ice, her beauty was eternal. You knew he dreamed of having her back, even when you were in his arms. Because you couldn’t be immortal, you would die.

So when the day came when you uttered the limitless words, “Vincent, I’m leaving,” he made no move to stop you. Though he was astonished. Though he was hurt. Though he knew he couldn’t live like this anymore.

You traveled away and he fell so hard it made Cloud look ecstatic. Countless days he would spend in front of Lucretia, asking for forgiveness and telling her that he intended to leave her upon your return.

And when the day finally arrived, when you stepped into Seventh Heaven, you heard the familiar sound of metallic clown shoes behind you.

“Y/N.”

You turned around, a relieved yet anxious look graced your face. Vincent took your hand in his clawed one and muttered, “I need you. I won’t let you leave again.”

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Ah, the beach. Everyone loved the beach. You particularly liked the carefree attitude, the sparkling ocean water, and all the sexy men running around with their shirts off. But one thing you definitely hated was sunscreen. There was nothing more you hated than that foul-smelling, pore-clogging liquid.

Except for Rude.

Okay, you didn’t hate Rude. You just hated the fact that he hated the beach. Even right now, he was fully clothed, sitting in a tent, tending to a barbecue. It was disgusting. Here you were in a cute bathing suite, ready to play chicken with Zack and Aerith, and your boyfriend was being prude.

Rude was prude. Prude rude.

Thoroughly angered, you stomped over to the tent and peeked in graciously. Prude Rude was totally in a hammock, taking a nap. How perfectly adorable. He looked so happy and relaxed, even his very Rude-like shades were off his face. But that was all about to change because you are a giant brat sometimes.

You gripped the side of the hammock and swung it up violently, leaving Prude Rude to tumble to the ground with wide, astonished eyes.

“Sorry, baby, but I couldn’t resist~”

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Everyday he would work late. It wasn’t even an odd occurrence anymore. It was normal. Perhaps that’s what hurt you the most. Knowing he was working his life away for your comfort.

Nonetheless, you stayed up late, waiting for him, always with a cup of decaf coffee ready for his arrival. Normally, this wasn’t too hard to achieve but with your depleting health it was becoming an Olympian task.

As your eyes began to droop sleepily and your breath wheezed in and out from overexertion, you heard the front door open and shut quickly.

“Cid!” you breathed with a smile. Creaking out of your kitchen chair, you made your way over to your husband, and fell into his arms.

“How ya doin’, babe?” he asked gruffly, rubbing his hand through your messy hair.

You paused, pulling away from him slightly. “Everything is fine. I’m just happy you’re home.”

Cid pulled you away from him and sat you down in a chair. “Bullshit. Don’t lie to me, Y/N.”

You averted your gaze and nodded. “I’m sorry, Cid…I just…don’t think I can—“

Your husband grabbed your arms roughly, bring your eyes to his angry and pleading ones. “Never say anything like that again. You hear me?”

You just smiled sadly and nodded.

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He clutched your hand lightly as you strolled through a child-filled park. The sky above was clear, only obscured by the vast Shinra electric generators. Everything was so perfect.

“Y/N,” Zack said sweetly, your name falling from his lips like rose petals drifting in the breeze.

“Zack,” you replied with nothing but a hint of paranoia in your tone. You looked at him, hoping for only good news.

But metallic blue eyes couldn’t lie. Especially not to you. “I have to go away for a while,” he said easily, sitting down gently on a bench. Even though he put a protective arm around you, you couldn’t help but feel a million miles away from Zack. “It won’t be for too long. I’ll be back before you know it.”

You both chuckled hesitantly but the air is stagnant with mocking sincerity. “Yeah, I just hate when you go away. SOLDIER never lets me talk to you or even send you letters,” you mumble, staring off at the little kids playing on the slide. “I never know if you’re okay or not.”

Zack smiled widely and turned to you, latching onto your shoulders. “It’s okay, Y/N! I’ve got Angeal. He’d blow up Shinra before he’d let me die.”

Sliding into a hug, you smiled slightly. “Okay. Just be careful, alright?”

He smiled into your neck. “Of course.”

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You weren’t a TURK. You weren’t a SOLDIER. You didn’t have silver hair. Your mother wasn’t an alien calamity. You weren’t born a slum kid.

You came from no where. You were no one. You weren’t on anyone’s side.

Walking into Midgar, you were the perfect neutrality. And Cloud envied your freedom.

“Cloud,” you called him one day, atop the decimated mako reactors. You could hear his long, calm breaths on the other end of the line and it made you smile lightly. “Come with me.”

There was a long pause. You pushed the phone closer to your ear as you look up at the dead, gray sky. You knew what your invitation would do to him.

He would fight.

Part of him would want to leave everything behind.

The other part would want to stay and fight and help and suffer with everyone.

He would helplessly hold the phone in his hand as he struggled between selfishness and selflessness. Greed and charity. Sin and virtue. Wrong and right.

“Y/N,” Cloud mumbled, his voice coursing with finality. “I can’t. I have to finish this.”

You chuckled and dropped your gaze down to the wreckage again. “I think you made the right choice, Cloud.” Your breath stopped for a just a moment before you continued, “I’m leaving with or without you. I just want you to know I’m glad to’ve met you.”

“Not glad enough to stay and fight though?”

“No,” you laughed. “I have other things I need to do. You’ve got to stay, I’ve got to go…” He seemed to nod through the phone and you smiled back. “I love you, Cloud,” you told him as clear as day and hung up.

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He couldn’t comprehend it. It was the darnedest thing. One minute you’ve got blood coursing through your veins, your skin so hot to the touch, and every ounce of you pink with reality. And then you were cold.

“I don’t understand,” he grunted into your hair, holding you as if you were a scared, flighty, doe-eyed deer that he needed more than life-giving water. “Why does this happen? Why did you change?”

He felt you lay there, unresponsive in his arms, conscious but aloof. This time was nearly over. He wanted to shake a reply out of you, to yell until you understood. But he couldn’t because it would elicit no reaction from you, verbal or physical. How was it that he was the only feeling thing in this relationship?

“Zack…” He felt his heart jump with excitement as he pressed you closer to his ear. Maybe he wouldn’t be disappointed this time. Maybe you would return this time. The real you.

“I have to leave. Please, let me go.”

Zack watched with broken and frustrated eyes as you returned to your cold and clinical self. He watched you slip out of his arms and into your skirt and tweed jacket, never once losing your eerie sense of grace and perfection. He watched you walk towards the door of his apartment, never once contemplating how this would affect him. This was the new you.

“Y/N!” the SOLDIER called suddenly, his face full of defiance. “Why? Why are you like this?”

You paused thoughtfully, a manicured hand rested on the weathered doorknob, poised to flee at anytime. Instead you chose to speak, “I made a sacrifice.” You watched his confused reaction before opening the door and leaving abruptly.

“I wish you hadn’t.”

Chapter Text

Reno was as dumb as fuck.

Even thought “fuck” really isn’t a measurement of stupidity. Even though that whole statement made no sense. Even though it some how conveys the proper allotment of anger.

“Rude! Why does he do that!? Why do I fall for it every goddamned time!?” you slurred agitatedly at the best friend caught in the middle. You began bonking your head against the wooden pub table in irritation.

“It’s the way he is,” Rude offered after awhile, slowly extending his hand to grasp your shoulder, easing you up from your self-mutilation.

Sighing, you slumped back in your chair. “I’m sorry, Rude. This must be a shitty way to spend your night off.”

Silence began to descend upon you as he didn’t respond. First, Reno blows you off on your date, now Rude’s mute. Great. You turned your head slightly to look at your big, gruff friend only to find him looking away defensively.

“Rude?”

He grunted.

“You like spending time with me, don’t you?” you smiled.

He shrugged.

“You’d be a way better boyfriend than Reno.”

He looked away again, embarrassment slightly evident in his stature.

You smiled again, this time with real happiness.

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Perhaps it was something he picked up from Reno. Or maybe Cid (everyone knows toothpicks are the gateway oral idiosyncrasy.) But the way he held it to his lips was uniquely his, like he’d been doing it all of his life.

He could’ve been doing it all of his life. You wouldn’t know. You were only a new character in the latest chapter of his life. But it’d only been recently that he started smoking in front of you.

Tifa constantly said she didn’t like it. You could agree with her that it wasn’t good for Denzel or Marlene (or anyone, really), but he knew that too. He didn’t smoke around them. The buxom brunette said she thought it was a dirty habit and he had always seemed so immaculate to her.

Was it only you who thought differently?

To you, Cloud could smoke if he damn well pleased. It did nothing to hurt your perception of his outward appearance. What you really wanted to know was why Cloud decided to take up the deadly habit seemingly out of the blue? Maybe nobody else thought that far into it, but you were worried that this was how the blonde man dealt with his problems.

Maybe he felt running away was too cowardly.

Maybe he felt too frustrated to fight it alone.

Either way, you couldn’t let this go. You didn’t want him to have to be alone.

So you approached him.

He smiled slightly, a cigarette poised at his lips.

“Are you okay, Cloud?”

He looked at you, guessing your intentions after a moment. With one last puff, Cloud threw the cigarette onto the gravel, and drove it into the ground with his heavy boot. “Yeah. I was thinking about quitting.”

You smiled at each other, genuinely, seemingly eternal. “I’m glad.”

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He had a half-life of hundreds of years. Eternal. Dark. Apathetic. One of God’s angels, broken free, raining destruction in his path.

He was too bitter. Too angry.

What is this life where all there is to know is betrayal and pain?

If Sephiroth could take his life along with everybody else’s, he surely would. Nobody deserved the life they were given. He would make sure every living, breathing person realized this. Because he couldn’t die, this was his duty, his life-long punishment.

He was content with the knowledge he spent half his life slaying worthless souls. He was content with the knowledge that he would spend the rest of his days like this. What he didn’t anticipate was an impenetrable soul.

Ripping apart a small town, he found you in a hospital bed. Your brightness blinded him and he was stunned with something he’d never encountered before: purity.

But he saw you and your life force. You were dying. Slowly, ever so slowly. But you’d be dead in a couple of years.

It shook him so, as your face held no fear or anger but compassion. In your hand fell one of Sephiroth’s feathers and he couldn’t contain his frustration and curiosity. Why were you born without half a life and he was born with too many? Why were you dying in your good intentions and yet he was doomed to live a millennium harvesting the weak and sinful?

He couldn’t fathom.

So he took you away, intent on your life’s survival. He’d met his opposite and he only wanted to keep you.

Like he needed you to survive so he could understand. To have a chance.

In your last breaths, you smiled and touched his face. You were still too youthful. “Don’t miss me. Live for me.”

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Of course he’d do that much for you.

You’d obviously done that much for him.

He saw you ripped to pieces. He was the sole witness of your near-murder. Or, rather, your full-blown murder. You weren’t going to survive. Once Vincent returned from annihilating your murderers, he saw your broken and battered body and still thought you were beautiful.

He would tell you that in your fleeting bouts of consciousness.

“How do I look, Mr. Valentine?” you joked. Always trying to lighten the mood.

“Beautiful.” He said it with confidence and unerring precision.

Yet you still had your wits about you to call him out. “Liar.” With a peaceful smile, you’d fall back into comatose.

And he’d take one step closer to the edge. As Vincent peered down the sheer cliff face, he was jolted to life by responsibility.

“Mr. Valentine? Y/N isn’t going to wake up again. She gave you and only you the jurisdiction to decide her fate.” The elderly doctor paused for effect, as doctors always seemed to do. “The choice is yours: pull the plug or pay for her life support. I’ll give you awhile to think it over.”

But he didn’t need awhile.

You’d given Vincent too much. He felt spoiled and greatly indebted to you. You were much more than just his pretty girlfriend; you were his stabilizer, his confidant, his lover, his irreplaceable other half. He would save you, keep you, preserve you.

With the hope of reviving you one day, he’d encase you in crystal. He’d keep you alive, statically floating between life and death, neither heaven nor hell. You were doomed to remain in a place of neutrality, a purgatory of your very own.

Vincent didn’t know if what he did was right or justifiable. This could be selfish of him, but what’s one more girl encased in stone to add to his collection?

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It was all like a dream, put into perspective by reality. It was young love, magical and brilliant in all its beauty, made even more attractive in the gray and barren rubble of Midgar. It was one of the things that made living worth it.

Even in the wake of total destruction, it was the one thing you held onto.

Even in a small, dimly lit room, clinging to Marlene’s hand, watching the dark-haired boy sleep in sickness, it was the one thing that gave you hope.

It was a fairy tale at its worst and a perfected universe at its best.

Because only in a perfect universe did love conquer all. And from both of your memories, it was the only catalyst in fate’s agenda.

It scared you to think this could end.

“When will we wake up from this dream?”

“What?” He grabbed your hand in a comforting gesture.

“I feel like,” you paused uncertainly. “There will be a time when we grow up and this—us—won’t be as perfect. It feels like we’re just running away from what we really should be.”

“And what should we be?” He sounded a little skeptical and offended.

“Like, old people, bickering a lot or something. Like we’re just around each other because we don’t want to be lonely. That’s what reality seems like to me.”

“Look, Y/N, we’re not like them.” He squeezed your hand reassuringly. “We’ll catch our dreams. We’ll never have to live in your twisted sense of reality if we don’t want to.”

You smiled and pressed your lips to his cheek. “I love you, Denzel.”

“I love you too.”