CloTi one-shot. Post AC. There are three words in 'I love you' and he can't get past the first.
This takes place the night after Advent Children ends.
I'm deliberately breaking grammar rules here. Be prepared.
Please let me know what you think, as this is not the typical kind of stuff I post. Thanks.
there are three words in 'i love you' and he can't get past the first
so he sits on the side of his bed in the early morning hours
drops his head in his hands
three important things happened today
he almost lost everything in a fight with sephiroth/kadaj/jenova/himself he had been healed and given another chance zack and aeris had left him
one last smile on her face and a 'you'd better not mess up this time you dork' look on zack's was all he got before they turned their backs, walked away, and moved on
he blinks into his palms
what's it mean to move on?
today, as they left the church, denzel had looked at him and said 'i want to be just like you when i grow up' and he didn't know if he meant zack or sephiroth or cloud-
wait, he's cloud
let's try that again
today, as they left the church, denzel had looked at him and said 'i want to be just like you when i grow up' and he didn't know if he meant zack or sephiroth or /himself/-
what is it like to grow up?
he doesn't really know because he spent those crucial teenage years in a test tube
and he never got to decide to be a man
but suddenly everybody was looking at him and expecting him to be
but he never got to decide
so he's been rebelling
three important things happened today but he has two important conclusions
it's time to move on it's time to grow up
throwing back his head and laughing at the simplicity of it all
bed springs creaking-crying?-saying goodbye to the man/child/zack/sephiroth/cloud
hybrid freak that he is-was-isn't going to be anymore
and he walks into the bathroom
closes the door (it's like all those times Zack came home from drinking and--)
closes off the memories
closes his eyes
he opens them again to look at his reflection in the mirror
too-bright blond hair spiked ridiculously and wild like zack's used to be-
the hair must go
so it does
he's not sure exactly how to do it at first
so he creates a step-by-step procedure for himself to make sure he gets it right
cut hair with scissors adjust blade on electric razor (he doesn't want to look bald, only buzzed) shave head he repeats the steps to himself as he performs them
as the thick clumps fall into the garbage pail
and the tiny spikes fall into the sink like confetti
it's a party
and he feels strangely like dancing
but he doesn't know how
when he's done he looks at the new person
the last new person
the only person
he will ever be
a slight concave of the lips so precisely tiny that it has to be intentional to exist
and a lifting of the eyes
that have always been blue
like a cloudless sky
zack had blue eyes
they will be the one reminder of when he wasn't him
next come the clothes
off off off
SOLDIER styled pants and tank top flying through the air
the wolf's head amulet clanking on the floor
(another reminder of zack)
and the ribbon
around his arm
there will be two reminders of when he wasn't him
he's down to his boxers now and he
shuts his eyes
and pushes down all the memories that want to flood his mind
packs them up into boxes
one for each of them
when he seals the lids he
looks in the mirror
tilts his head
and recognizes himself
for the first time
underneath all the boyish hair
all the desperate accessories
and the childhood dream wrapped in military clothing
there is the man he's been wanting to be-is
"cloud strife" he says
"i'm cloud strife"
and it's invigorating
excited, he says it again
and he wants to show someone
he wants to show her
so he leaves the bathroom and stops at his closet to get dressed again
but he doesn't have any clothes
they are all zack's
and thankfully, none are aeris'
but none are cloud's-/his/
running a hand over his fuzzy head (it feels good)
he decides he doesn't care
he's ready anyway
so he walks down the hall and knocks on tifa's door
and when she opens it blearily
he sticks out his hand and says
"hi, i'm cloud strife"
then he smiles (/his/ smile)
blushes a little
"i need to shop for clothes"
a pause, just to make sure he gets the words right
"i love you."
A/N: I don't know where this comes from. Hell, I don't even know if it works. But at least, it was interesting to write. Thanks for reading.