Goodbye is only the Beginning

BY : Madisuzy
Category: Final Fantasy VIII > Crossovers
Dragon prints: 539
Disclaimer: I do not own FFVIII, FFVII, Laguna, Vincent, Kiros, Cloud or Squall. If I did they would be naked more often. I'm not making any money from this and all rights remain the property of the original owners.

CHAPTER 3



Cloud knew something was going to happen. He had that feeling of dread that had proceeded every one of his battles with Sephiroth. The numbing terror of approaching doom.



He made his way to the WRO headquarters on automatic. Sat through the briefing of their latest mission in silence. Told no one of his concerns.



Unfortunately Vincent sensed his disquiet. The gunman stopped him in the hall and asked if there was a problem. Cloud refused to meet his eyes and shrugged it off. Walked away, leaving the gunman to stare after him.



Vincent always noticed, just as his son always had. Maybe the ability to see through Cloud’s walls was genetic. Inherited through the blood that Vincent and Sephiroth shared. All three of them had shared the same path of pain. Like some kind of ‘secret society’ of the broken that no one wanted to be a member of.



As Cloud stood outside, waiting for the teams to assemble, he allowed his mind to wander back to happier times. Memories of Sephiroth’s arms around him, his beautiful smile, the taste of his kiss and the feel of their two bodies becoming one filled his mind.



He’d let no other person touch him in that way since. Refused to taint the memories with a replacement despite the fact those memories had already been torn apart by Jenova’s poison. All he had left of Sephiroth were snippets of love and hate, bits and pieces that didn’t match. He tried to forget the nightmare and clung to the dream.



A hand on his shoulder jolted him out of his reminiscing and he turned to find Vincent’s ruby eyes considering him.



“It’s time, Cloud,” the gunman said softly. Cloud looked around and noticed that the others had arrived and were starting to board the transports. He nodded at Vincent and joined them.



**.**



The underground facility was huge, a maze of hallways and rooms that sunk deep down into the earth. It had been decided that everyone would spilt up into teams of two so they could cover as much ground as possible. Vincent and Cloud had paired off and headed for the lowest four levels, leaving the higher levels for the WRO soldiers. From previous experience, they predicted that the most dangerous creatures would be in the deepest areas.



They had little trouble clearing the first three levels. The place seemed to be free of the usual failed experiments that dwelled in these abandoned laboratories. They only encountered a few mid level fiends and disposed of them easily. As they entered the final level, Cloud’s sense of forboding increased dramatically.



Every room they found was lined with Mako tanks, glowing green in the darkness. None held any creatures but the sheer number of them was disturbing. Cloud just wanted to get out of there. Memories of his own time trapped in Hojo’s lab where filling his mind and it was all becoming too much. He glanced over at Vincent and saw distress flash over his usual stoic features as the gunman stared at the nearest tank.



“Vincent, let’s check the last room and get the fuck out of here,” he said, unable to keep the fear out of his voice. Vincent nodded and lead the way down the hall to the last room.



Cloud followed him through the double doors and stopped. The last room was an average width and breadth but its roof reached up at least 10 levels. All over the walls, small lines of flowing mako crisscrossed like spiderwebs, giving off an eerie glow. The only thing in the room were five stone pillars spaced evenly around the outside. They stood over 50 metres tall, reaching straight up before curving over towards the centre of the room. Vincent walked over to one of the pillars, studying the strange symbols that were etched along its sides. Cloud wandered over to him cautiously.



“Any idea what this is?”



“No idea. Chaos seems to know something but he is refusing to enlighten me,” Vincent answered flatly.



“Maybe we should just leave this to Reeve. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to hang around.” Cloud couldn’t work out why but this room disturbed him more than the others. Vincent nodded and headed for the doors with Cloud close behind. The gunman suddenly stopped at the doors and Cloud nearly ran into his back.



“The doors will not open. We seem to have set off some kind of trap,” Vincent muttered.



“What do you mean…,” Cloud’s question was drowned out by a deafening roar that filled the room. He looked towards Vincent but the gunman was gone and his world exploded into white.




**.**



Cloud shot upright, his arms reaching out for Vincent. It took a few seconds for his brain to reboot and realize that he’d been dreaming. His arms fell back to the bed and his head dropped forward sadly. The recurring dream of his last day in his world was always the same. An exact rerun of that last mission, every detail unchanged.



Running his hands through his hair, Cloud slowly got out of bed and headed for the shower. He wanted to make sure he was clear of the main street before the locals awoke. It was easier to avoid them than take their stares and whispers. As the warm water ran over his body, he thought back over his time in this god forsaken town.



His first memory had been waking up with his sword beside him, lying in a field of rolling green hills, a perfect blue sky above him, a breeze caressing his face, totally alone and in excruciating pain. He’d drifted in and out of consciousness for what seemed like days before someone had found him and taken him to the nearest town. They’d told him it was called Winhill. He’d wondered why he’d never heard of it before.



It had taken him weeks to recover. At first he’d thought the townsfolk were kind, taking him in and caring for him without knowing who he was. Then he’d met the local mayor who had demanded that he repay their kindness by culling the local monsters down to a level that their own people could deal with. The man was abrupt and rude but Cloud had agreed to help. It was the least he could do, considering the circumstances.



He began daily patrols of the town and one day decided to try and work out were he’d ended up by questioning a group of locals. Cloud had asked them were Winhill was and they’d told him south of Galbadia. He’d asked where Galbadia was and they’d looked at him strangely and given him more answers he didn’t understand. As he’d continued to question them, asking about cities from his homeland, their answers had taken on a decidedly unfriendly tone before they’d made excuses and left him standing there, bewildered and lost. He recognised the look in their eyes and the way they whispered to each other as they retreated.



Things only went downhill from that point. By the next day none of the locals would talk to him and their previous friendly greetings turned into cold stares and obvious avoidance. With his enhanced hearing he overheard people talking and saying that he was crazy and delusional. It was like his childhood, growing up in Nibelheim, being replayed before him once more. A horrible reminder of growing up as an outcast with no allies or friends. As a child he’d taken it all in his stride but now it was different. Cloud had tasted friendship and acceptance and his adult mind craved it. He didn’t know how he could survive it the second time around.



Eventually, he’d worked out that this wasn’t his world and that somehow the strange room had transported him here. That discovery had led him to search the surrounding area for miles in all directions in the hope of finding Vincent. Weeks turned into months and he found no trace of his friend anywhere.



After six months he’d come to the depressing conclusion that he was totally alone in a foreign land. Cloud had cried his heart out then, realizing he would never see his friends or home again. Never again would he see Denzel or Marlene’s smile. Never again would he fight with Vincent, Tifa, Barret, Yuffie, Cid or Nanaki at his side. They were all just memories now. Yet more ghosts of his past to haunt his empty heart.



Turning off the shower, he got dressed quickly and slung his sword onto his back. He’d overheard the locals gossiping over some foreign President coming to stay for a week on the outskirts of the town and was planning on taking a look at him. At least it would brake up the monotony of his day.



**TBC**


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