Categories > Games > Final Fantasy 7 > Hiding


by Firefly99 1 review

It's so difficult to fight with long blond hair getting in your eyes...

Category: Final Fantasy 7 - Rating: G - Genres: Angst, Drama - Characters: Cloud Strife - Warnings: [!!!] - Published: 2005-05-14 - Updated: 2005-05-14 - 1798 words - Complete


His face was reflected back with a spider's web across it.

It was the men's toilets in some crappy Junonese bar. People went to that bar to drink themselves blind - mostly the Shinras who lost jobs and lives and Weapon survivors. It's sad that there are places like this in the world.

The mirror was broken. Some guy must have had seven years bad luck. I hope he did. I've never understood vandalism. No point destroying something built for you, right? The air in here was still and stunk of a violent mixture of ammonia, cigarettes and TCP. I felt really dirty. I'm normally waaaaay cheerful about whatever comes up, but I'd ended up wasn't much of one.

It kinda killed my spirit, I guess.

It's also worth mentioning that I, a really hot young specimen of a woman, was in the men's. That can make anyone feel unclean.

But I was following /him/. I could see his back, the tight SOLDIER top revealing the heavily-muscled shoulderblades and the long, deep line of his spine. His arms were bare, looking even paler and anaemic in the flickering fluorescent light - but I could still make out the sleek, powerful definition of the muscles.

He was the only reason I was here.

"Yo," I said, trying to get his attention. "Yo. Cloud? Couldn't we have gone someplace...y'know...nicer?"

My voice sounded as anaemic as the light in here. Slowly, he turned to face me. His eyes met me, and I felt that usual icy chill down my spine at the darkly glowing blue. He normally wasn't like this, but today...

"There isn't anywhere nicer, Yu," he said, using that cute little nickname only he calls me. "I want...I want to get this over with."

He sighed, reaching out and touching me on the shoulder. The little half-smile he gave me told me I shouldn't be so upset. I wasn't sure what he was planning, but I felt like I trusted him a little more.

Why is he so in control of everything? Why is it that he seems to know when everything'll be alright and how to make sure? Why is it he makes me feel whatever he wants me to feel wherever I am?

I guess since we're best friends he has a bigger effect on me than other people. We couldn't be closer. We were always talking to each other and stuff. He doesn't talk a lot and I'm forever mouthing off about something and we sort of cancel each other out.

"I don't like it here," I admitted bluntly. He was silent. He's often silent. But his silences tend to mean a lot. His voice and face aren't very expressive, but his eyes are. You sort of...feel along with him. It's hard to explain. And his emotion of calm happiness began to seep into me. I risked a tiny smile.

"I," I began to joke, feeling a little more like my usual self. "And I thought the kitchens in fast food chains were pretty squalid."

Cloud snorted with badly withheld laughter.

I backed away from that scene in my head, freeze-framing the bright flash of a smile that burned through those eyes, revelling in the perfect sunshine blond of his hair...

It may sound totally melodramatic, but you can't really know why I had to do that unless you've seen him face to face. He's just...perfect. There's something about his face or the set of his eyes or the perfectly-formed full lips or the cute little nose or...Gods, I don't know. But he doesn't look human at all. Humans have faults. I'm surprised I didn't think that something was up when I met him first. It's not every day you meet someone who looks that...special.

He...he stands out. He shines. He's kind, gentle and prettier than I am, yet strong as steel and fiercer than a Nibel wolf - you can see it all in that beautiful face. Then you have his eyes. So strong and bright and pure and intriguing. You can't help but want to be with him. You want him to talk to you. Once you've seen him - whether you've fallen to his sword and are gazing up into his eyes just before he takes your head off, or just glancing at him from across a crowded street, your world seems empty unless he's there. He's bright and blond and beautiful, filled with vibrance and life even in a dark place like this.

He was single-handedly making this bearable.

I sort of...reached out then. I don't know why. I touched his wild-as-hell perfect blond hair. It's such a nice colour, like sunshine drizzled in honey. It fell so mysteriously across those dangerous, dazzling eyes. Feeling...weird, I began to twizzle the long strand over and over between my fingers.

It was lovely hair, soft and thick. I briefly lamented the mess of tangles, knots and split ends that grew from my head.

Cloud pulled away, and turned back to face the mirror.

What the hell did he want to do? Why'd he drag me in here?

He looked sadly over his distorted reflection for a moment, then reached into his pocket, withdrawing an old multi-purpose knife. I'd seen it before. (He was very good at picking locks with it.)

There was a look of hatred in his eyes as he flipped out the scissors.

There was one more second when he stared at his reflection, his eyes discoloured slightly by the tarnished mirror surface. Then, he reached up and hacked off one of the long strands of hair that frame his face, leaving only a centimetre or so behind.

The strands landed in the sink below, curling slightly the way cut hair does.

He turned to face me. He looked a little different without the hair over his eye. His expression, though, was...relief.

"Cloud," I said, "why's this so...important? If you wanted to cut your hair, you could have just - "

"I'm doing this because I hate it," he hissed, the scissors taking off more hair. "I've always hated it."

"You hate it?"

"Yeah. It kept getting in my eyes. It gets in the way. I don't even like the way it looks," he sighed, cropping off more. "I hate it."

"I like it," I said, not realising how flaky it sounded.

"Yuu," he said, his refection in the mirror smiling a little, "I promised you all I'd stop pretending, didn't I? Stop hiding behind someone else's face and...and be true me."

He was having a little difficulty getting the words out.

"The way I look is nothing but an elaborate pretence. I mean," he said, taking one of the long, silky strands out of the sink and dropping it in my hand, "It's not even its natural colour."

I looked at it. Such a lovely colour. It was disappointing to think that it wasn't real. I glanced up at his splintered reflection, realising for the first time how dark his eyebrows were.

"I...I wanted to stand out more. I wanted to look different," he told me, snipping away at the hair at the side of his head. "I wanted people to look at me in the street. I felt like I was the same as everyone else...that there was someone I was very like. The feeling faded after a while, but I didn't."

Trust Cloud to find symbolism in everything, I thought grudgingly. The feeling didn't last. I settled for a wan smile.

"I always...knew what was going on somewhere inside me," he noted. More and more golden hair curled into the sink. "And I've always wanted to play the hero. The gorgeous young hero who defeats the bad guy and wins the girl. Back when I was a kid I'd always get out my toys and play Knights. They'd go around beating up the monsters." He drew back a breath and looked at himself in the mirror. His hair was half-long, half-short. He reminded me of one of the more insane W-Rockers. "I wish it was that easy." Sighing, his scissors returned to his skull again, flashing away the long strands.

"Looking...y'know, like this...was just another way of hiding in a person who I'm not," he said, his voice hushing to a parched whisper. "I stood out. People noticed me. For a while I felt like the hero. But..." His sigh was long and heavy. "But it's hard to fight with long hair getting in your eyes. Heroics are...more than just looking the part, more than being able to carry the sword a little. I guess I just didn't understand that."

"Cloud..." I said. I sounded like Tifa. He shot me a smile.

"It's alright. I'm sick of being Cloud the Hero." He gave a short laugh, and dropped the scissors in the sink as well. Grinning, he ran a hand through his new hairstyle, cropped to short, sporadic lengths. He looked pleased.

He looked different, too. His face seemed a little rounder and more open, his eyes larger and more...relieved.

It's hard to explain.

"I wanna be Cloud," he said, smiling at his transformed reflection through the dark cracks on the mirror. "Just...Cloud."

And, for probably the first time ever, I...I understood what someone else really meant.

Firefly's Feelings (or Why I Wrote This Travesty)

This was inspired by many things, but mostly that next-to-last Codec conversation in MGS2 where Rose was telling Raiden about how much she had to change to attract his attention, and a brilliant pseudo-manga I got for my birthday in which the opening scene is a generic CLAMPsy bishounen cutting off his long bishie locks with a look of relief on his face.
I also began to think about what would happen after the game if I'd have been consulted. Forget all that AC stuff - I'd have had Cloud travel the world trying to work out what sort of a person he is and living it up to compensate for those five years in the t00be of d34th!!11 But then I began to think about how someone like that would be bound to stand out, and this fic sorta fell together.
There was also the desire to write some slightly harder Clouffie - Archica does such brilliant Clouffie angst and she made me jealous aspire to write like her. I was also inspired by the kickass Cendrillo and the beautiful, metaphor-laced dialogue she uses regularly in her works (but especially Haphazard Composition).
I dedicate this fic to Cendrillo for providing inspiration, and to Silverdancer for giving me someone to shout at when I get writer's block.
Longest AN ever.
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