Fandom: Kingdom Hearts
Disclaimer: No ownership implied, no profit gained. This is a fanwork.
Summary: Warped. Changed. Still changing.
Cloud lay back on the bed, wondering just when everything had warped and changed, when saving lives had become secondary to hacking out an existence through any means possible. Not that there was really any wrongs that could be righted. Not that there was even anything that could really be saved. There was no world to protect and the handful of people still remaining were certainly strong enough to fend for themselves anyway.
This must be what old heroes did, slowly lay down and become nothing, peaked too soon and unable to find joy in the small things. At 22 he felt old, jaded and useless. He didn't quite feel cut out for his accidental role as mercenary, at least not on his own. He felt a bit like a horrible instructor, too.
Beside him, Riku was already sleeping, exhausted from another long day of having his mind and body filled with a plethora of experiences. They'd found a world neither had seen yet, lush and green and filled with places perfect for testing the limits of their bodies in numerous ways.
And there was nothing more rejuvenating at the end of the day than getting to dive into the cool waters of the waterfall pool, stripping away clothing until both were naked and joined, not caring about the wild, indigenous audience they'd attracted by the end.
Then, again, they were pulled back and forced through paces by that witch, not at all happy with Riku's progress, never happy. They didn't have the time to waste, she said, as if she somehow knew.
But damn, it was the only way to get Riku to smile. Not a smirk, not a leer, but a smile, somehow reaching through the hardened black of his heart to find a bit of lingering humanity.
Cloud knew he was being selfish. What else was he expected to be? Not a hero, not a savior, not... anything.
He reached to run his fingers lightly through Riku's hair, not surprised when the teen didn't even shift in his sleep. And then he pulled the blankets over himself and tried not to dwell on it.
Drink Lemonade! Tip Your Waitress!