Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Disclaimer: No ownership implied, no profit gained. This is a fanwork.
Characters/Pairings: Cloud, Vincent
Summary: Reflections after the final battle.
The world was strangely quiet. No one knew what to say, especially those who had been there, who knew what had happened. And even those who weren't sure found themselves speechless. In Kalm, when the Highwind landed, the locals just came out to stare at the sky, watching the after effects of the atmospheric fireworks that had continued on for hours after the final battle. No one said more than a few words to the dozen and a half people who staggered from the airship. But it wasn't as though they had any desire to advertise what they had done.
Cloud was silent, which was unnerving but understandable. Whatever he'd been through when he'd been sucked momentarily into the lifestream, it had done something to him. It was visible in his eyes. It echoed through his body. Once he was through staring at the sky with the rest of them, watching as the lifestream burst through the planet's shell, he had just walked to the back of the airship and sat down. He had stared at his hands, occasionally touching the bit of blood that had dried onto them. It wasn't his.
Vincent was the first to do anything once they'd spilled onto the streets of Kalm. Some of the Highwind's crew headed straight to the bar while others begged for gil for a comfortable room at the inn. While Tifa found herself taking care of those details, Vincent walked over to where Cloud sat, moved only so far as to lean on a stone building.
"We had to," he said, reaching what he hoped was a comforting hand to Cloud's shoulder. "We had to."
"Did we?" Cloud asked, looking up. His eyes were watery, but his tears seemed to want to defy themselves and not fall. "If I'd known... I..."
"We had to," Vincent replied, slipping from his crouching position to sit beside Cloud. It was the closest he'd been to another person in longer than he cared to remember.
"This is the end, right?"
"Where the end lies isn't ours to decide," Vincent replied, glancing from Cloud to the sky. He knew it wasn't a reassuring answer, but it was all he could truthfully give.
"Did we win?" Cloud asked a moment later. "Could we win?"
"Losing and winning go hand in hand."
And then, they both sat silent.
Drink Lemonade! Tip Your Waitress!