Cloud's Worst Nightmare
Chapter II: Cloud's worst nightmare
It took them an hour and half when all of them finally reached the exit of the Northern Crater. Fortunately, no more monsters tried attacking them for the rest of their trip. That, Sephiroth assumed distastefully, was the only advantage of the stinking behemoth's blood on his precious hair as the vile creatures dwelling around seemed to finally recognize who the master was. Yet as fast moving as they were, it was still quite a long, long way for them in their quest of finding somewhere to bathe. It was bad enough walking around in such weather in their birth suits.
As if the ever-so happy Planet was thinking of a more creating way to make them suffer while living, white, glittering snow was sent falling from the contrasting black night sky. Well, at least it still had the mercy to send their very naked forms back on this living world here at night. Yet…
"Damn! It's so damn cold out here!" Loz complained through his gritted teeth, which were chattering non-stop.
Despite their exceptionally strong body system, it didn't mean they were immune to such harsh temperature, which certainly would freeze normal people to death. Even if the effect on them wasn't fatal, the situation was very much less than pleasing.
"We're not that lucky this time, I think." Yazoo said, referring to the comfort they had forced from the Shinra.
"Why can't we be lucky?" Loz said, stamping and kicking the snow-covered ground as he glared at his younger brother angrily as if he was the cause of the misery of it all. "You mean the Shinra doesn't want to play with us anymore?"
Really, really seriously, Yazoo missed his Velvet Nightmare. The feeling of its cool metal against his gloved hands and the fun and power he had when holding the trigger—especially when he wanted to test if inside of some idiots' heads were really vacant and airy… He couldn't help but miss it more as he didn't have the chance to try it on his whiny big brother. Yet he withheld answering Loz's question as it was also difficult for him to make a smart remark without losing his cool by teeth chattering.
"Dream on, big cry baby." Apparently, Kadaj wasn't one to mind the teeth chattering infection as he couldn't let the opportunity to make fun of Loz slip. "You aren't that attractive."
"Why you-?" Loz bared his fangs and if it wasn't for that he had to have his arms around himself, he would have raised a fist.
Kadaj laughed—the ringing sounds of his youthful voice and teeth chattering were soon carried away by the cold wind as he let his gaze wandered toward his long-lost eldest brother who was wordlessly striding six feet ahead of them. The teenager's big green eyes watched with earnest interest at how the moonlight colored-tresses swayed slightly as his eldest brother walked. And here he had thought Yazoo's hair was long…
"Why do you keep your hair so long?" The youngest brother voiced the question of his wonder despite him having a vague idea of how comfortable it would be to have hair the same length as Sephiroth's right now. Must feel nicely warm.
The ex-general gave him a side-glance. "And why is yours so short?"
"Nah, Loz's is shorter than mine." Kadaj grinned, twirling a lock of his own silvery hair between his thumb and index fingers as if to make clear of the fact.
"I can see that." Sephiroth said eventually and that was the last thing he said before he sped up, regaining his leading position, long silvery locks dancing freely in the strong wind.
Kadaj watched him and shrugged. "I know."
The rest of the journey was in silence saved for the occasional complaints from Loz accompanied with instant reactions from Kadaj, some rare but neat remark from Yazoo and the unmistakably sound of teeth chattering. Sephiroth kept his mouth shut until the familiar sight of Icicle Village came into view.
"Here we are."
It was already midnight and everyone but very few villagers was sleeping.
"So…what do we do now?"
Cloud Strife moaned and tossed in his bed—the old wooden bed creaked under his weight. His fair skin was soaked all over with perspiration and he was gripping his light blue sheet so tightly his knuckled turned white. The bed gave another loud creak as he thrashed. And before you pervert readers had your imagination ran as wild as a throng of mad chocobos, I have to say that our dear chocobo head was just having a nightmare.
Yet it wasn't any usual nightmare but the scariest nightmare he had had after a certain one he had some years ago concerning a certain explicit scene of pure torture between him and his ex-nemesis with him being chained up and tormented non-stop until he was out of breath with one evil feather duster. That nightmare, although it was so long back then, still had effect on him as he couldn't bear seeing or having a feather duster in his house.
Oh, the horror of giggling to death.
However, this nightmare he was having right now was yet another worst one that could easily rivaled the delicate terror of feather duster.
Everything around him was white. White but not blindingly bright as he could look into the never-ending brightness without hurting his sight. Yet it seemed that there was nothing else but sheer whiteness except for the field of colorful flowers under his feet. The flowers sent a familiar sweet fragrance to his nostrils, bringing back the sweet yet painful memory of someone he failed to save.
Within a blink of an eye, that someone was standing with her back toward him, long brown hair that was neatly tied with pink ribbon swaying slightly despite there being no wind.
Cloud stared, finding himself lose for words for a while. It wasn't that he didn't know what to say. It was just that there were many things he wanted to say that he didn't know how to begin with. And slowly as if unsure, he took a step toward her, lips forming the only word he could think of right now in a time that felt like eternity.
"Aeris." Her name.
"Why are you here, Cloud?" She asked in her usual sweet voice that he missed so much.
"I want to…" He was about to say 'be forgiven' but Aeris interrupted him with her fist of giggling first as she spun around to face him. And… Cloud gasped, his eyes widened like a saucer pan at what he saw.
There, in her small hand, was a leg—complete with foot and nails— of a, unmistakably, roasted chocobo, which the ever-so gentle Aeris was happily munching on.
"Want some, Cloud?" She asked with a chunk of sweet meat still in her mouth. "It's very good." Aeris grinned and opened her mouth to give him a better sight of the chocobo meat she was chewing, promptly offering him his share of the leg she was holding.
With all the power he could muster, Cloud Strife screamed.
His loud scream of pure horror ended as soon as his head and body hit the solid floor. Hard. Cloud opened his glazed blue eyes, blinking a few times to clear his head. And as the vivid memory of his nightmare came back to haunt him, he shuddered.
Omen. He thought grimly. The picture of poor cute little chocobo being eaten up by a grinning Aeris… nothing could be as terrifying as this thing…
This must be a really bad omen.
…Except for a feather duster.
Cloud pulled his light blue sheet tighter around him as his gaze wandered toward the digital clock on the counter next to his bed. It was almost half past seven now and Tifa was probably already up. Yes, he was right as he could hear the footstep making its way toward him and…
"Cloud, are you alright?" Tifa asked as soon as she swung the door open. The brunette was no doubt hearing his tormented scream since he was sure was loud enough to wake Vincent in his ultra sleepy mode up. "I heard you scream. Is anything wrong?"
Yes, she definitely did hear him.
"…" Cloud stared blankly at her for a while before he slowly voiced: "I'm…okay."
Tifa eyed him with worry clearly shining in her eyes and when he said nothing else, she sighed, placing a hand on her hip. "Well, then, breakfast's ready."
Wordlessly, Cloud nodded.
It didn't take Cloud long before he finished everything he needed for the morning and was sitting on a chair at the dining table, waiting for breakfast to be served. He could hear Tifa hum a soft tune to herself in the kitchen as she went to bring the tray for him.
When she was finally back, Cloud was already helping himself to the orange juice.
"Good morning, Cloud," chirped Marlene as she ran past the still-open dining room door. Denzel followed closely in tow. "Morning, Cloud. We're out playing for a while." He said, waving at him. Cloud raised a hand in response.
Tifa smiled as she set the tray down. "Surely you can help yourself, right?" She said jokingly and patted him on the shoulder. "I'm checking the other children," with that she left the room.
Cloud picked up a toast, spreading butter on it with a knife and took a bite. As he chewed on his breakfast, his restless mind drifted back to the horrid nightmare he had had. Golden brows creased and he frowned as his free hand reached for today's newspaper lying not so far away. Mako-blue eyes carelessly skimmed the pages, looking for nothing in particular. That was until…
Cloud's eyes widened and he almost choked on his toast at what he saw:
'The most audacious crime ever had happened at a clothes shop in Icicle. Four nude silver haired-men—probably they were in some perverted orgy—broke into Mr. Ben's shop last night, racking and taking everything and anything they wanted. None of them ran away as the alarm rang and good old Mr. Ben, the owner of the shop, along with a group of village police went to investigate. One of them had threatened Mr. Ben and the police with a very long sword that, according to Mr. Ben, was frighteningly sharp. He even demanded a shower and a room to stay the night without being further disturbed.
This group of brutal criminals left a few hours before the sun rises but the life of a man whose shop is left totally in chaos can never be the same again. Also it was reported that a nearby weapon shop and materia shop were also raided by this very same group of silver haired-people. For further information see page 16.'
Yazoo sighed contently as he ran a slender finger up and down the length of one of his new guns. Although it wasn't that similar to Velvet Nightmare, it still felt very good having a gun—or, in this case, two—in his possession again. His thin lips curved into a small smile as he ran his finger up and down its metal length again.
"Stop that. You're freaking me out." Loz said—almost growled, seeing that Yazoo had been doing the same thing over and over for hours now.
Yazoo looked up, pausing from what he was doing for a brief moment and then his lips cracked into a smirk before turning back to lovingly caressing his gun again, chucking softly—yet sounding oddly dark and scary—now and then.
"You're really freaking me out." Loz muttered and edged away as far from his gun-obsessed younger brother as much as possible, tapping his foot—now clad in brown leather shoes—impatiently. He was now in a hunky plain shirt that the color matched his shoes very well. It had strip-down button, which he left the first three unbuttons, showing quite a sight of his strong muscled chest despite him being the first one complaining about the coldness when they were traveling naked.
His black jeans were also plain and a little loose but weren't really baggy and he had a little-too-tiny creamy bag with lots of dark brown stitches all over slung over his broad shoulder.
"What takes them so long?"
The short haired-man said—more of speaking to himself—as he tried to ignore the evil chuckle from his feminine younger brother leaning on a metal stool just a few feet to his left.
Yazoo was wearing a long sleeved turtleneck. Its light green color made the man even more captivating to look at as it complimented the glowing shade of his eyes so beautifully. The fabric was quite thick and surely would keep its wearer fairly warm but still felt soft and nice enough. But it seemed the man, just like Sephiroth, liked his pants black and fit. Regrettably, there were no leather pants in the shop they raided, so the closest things they got were, of course, fit black pants and black leather shoes.
But of course, having leather pants or not now mattered little to Yazoo since he now had his precious there to caress all day all night.
It was weird. Ever since they were kicked out of the lifestream, they seemed to have lost their special ability they used to have—whether it was calling slave monsters or flying. What was left was just stronger-than-usual body system and that didn't help much when it came to battle. Not that he thought grand battle was going to happen very soon. They had no real objection here but to wander in this living world until the Planet finally fixed its technical problem. But it felt more safe and convincing when you have your weapon.
"Here they come." Yazoo said, finally stopping fondling with his guns for real and put them back into their holsters, nodding toward the two approaching silver haired-men.
"You're late, brat." Loz barked almost instantly at the approaching youngest one, putting an emphasis on the last word oh-so-clearly. The teenager now looked even younger than usual with dark blue t-shirt with many gashes and silvery-grey letters screened diagonally on, which can be read, funnily enough, as 'Mama Forever' put over another t-shirt, grey in color, with longer sleeves, bleached baggy jeans and sneakers. He even had a cap on his silver little head. All in all, Loz didn't know why he found the brat much more 'bratty' now with the change of his appearance.
"We are?" Kadaj asked back, emphasizing on the word 'we' as their eldest brother, dressed in blood-red dress shirt and, of course, just like Yazoo, fit black pants and black leather shoes, reached them.
"Make haste on your ice-cream, Kadaj, if you're going to eat at all." Sephiroth said plainly, looking down—since he was the tallest—at the vanilla flavored ice-cream that was melting in the teenager's grip and staining his palm and fingers.
"You sure you don't want some, nii-san?" Kadaj asked while licking at his melting ice-cream and his fingers. "This thing is really good."
Sephiroth ignored him.
"Yazoo?" The teenager offered but the asked man just shook his head and laughed—not that freaky laugh he did when playing with his guns, though.
"There's none for you, Loz." Kadaj smirked victoriously and savored his sweet time licking his ice-cream long and slow just to make sure his short haired-brother get annoyed.
Strangely enough, his other two brothers, especially Sephiroth, didn't seem to notice or mind this at all. That, or he didn't show it on his stoic pretty face.
"We were almost frozen to death last night and you're eating an ice-cream?" Well, not really frozen to death but it was still cold.
"If you don't remember, we're in a different town now and if you haven't noticed yet, there's no snow, bro." Kadaj retaliated, now biting into the cone. "Unless you have Alzheimer or you're blind." As an after thought, he then added.
Loz bared his fangs but before he could strangle the boy back to the stupid 'waiting room', Yazoo spoke up, tilting his head to the side, as it was his habit.
Sephiroth was quiet for a while as he pondered his option. Then with lips curving into a twisted smile… "We're heading…" Cat-like green orbs sparkling with mischief and pure evilness, the Great Sephiroth declared the destination in his deep, ever-so sexy voice:
"To Chocobo Farm."