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[fic] Let's Do The Timewarp Again [Apr. 29th, 2010|02:34 pm]
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Title: Lets Do The Timewarp Again
Fandom: FFVII-Crisis Core
Rating: PG-13? for swearing
Summary: Cloud gets a chance to save the world
A/N: Not as cracky as it sounds, but it works for a title. So, you know those timetravel fics where Cloud gets to fix the Nibelheim incident(which I absolutely adore)? I finally played through Nibelheim for Crisis Core, and, well, lets just say the massive WTF factor didn't got down any. This was my attempt to inject some sense into it. *shrug* It's not like I could do make it worse, plot-wise. XD;;

This is a little rough, but here you go.

Let's Do The Timewarp Again

Cloud took a deep breath, trying to calm the storm of butterflies in his stomach. He looked at himself in the mirror, hand going automatically to his waist before falling away for lack of his usual broad belt to latch onto and adjust. His shoulders felt too light and his missed his sturdy boots already.

It was strange to see himself in civilian gear, not that he’d be needing this outfit much longer either. Not if everything went right, that was.

Odin and Bahamut, this was insane.

No, no, he wasn’t going to panic now and let everyone down. Taking another deep breath, he ran his hands over his face and through spiky blond hair. He was twenty-five, by all the gods he’d fucking made it into SOLDIER, he’d fought the Plague when anyone sane was running the other way, and he was going to do this too or die trying.

A knock on his door made his heart almost levitate out of his throat, but he managed not to squeak as he answered, “Come in.”

”Hey, Spike, it’s almost time.”

”Admiral Fair, sir-“

”Now what have I told you about that?” Zack Fair grinned. Even now he still wore his SOLDIER uniform. Cloud wondered if he found it as reassuring as Cloud had found his.

“R-right. Zack.” It still felt weird calling the de facto leader of the entire Planet by his first name. General Sephiroth wasn’t as bad, since he didn’t have a family name anyway.

“I thought I’d come and see how you were holding up,” the admiral continued, leaning easily against the doorway.

“Checking to see that I’m not making a runner?” Cloud asked his reflection wryly, then blushed, “I-I mean-“

Zack only laughed though. “If you were going to run you’d never have gotten into SOLDIER in the first place. I wouldn’t mind running your mission specs by you one more time though.”

Cloud grimaced, but nodded. They didn’t think the procedure would mess with his memory, but they weren’t taking any chances – at this stage he’d forget his own name before he forgot his mission specs. “I can probably recite it in my sleep by now, si- Zack.”

“Good. Ready to go?”

”Yes.”

The hallways were almost deserted this far out, although it would get much busier as they approached the central reactor and the labs. Coal powered now, since the mako had gone unstable about two years ago.

Zack drilled him on his mission one more time, and Cloud nodded, face tightly controlled. It never got any easier to think about. He’d had a crush on Sephiroth ever since he was just a kid, even though his mom had made disparaging noises about SOLDIERS versus Turks. Training with the legendary Silver General had just made it worse, since he’d gotten to know the man as a person, and Cloud thought that maybe, just possibly, Sephiroth might like him back.

It felt selfish to want to keep his hero and friend alive at the cost of the Planet, but that didn’t make the feeling go away. Sometimes he wished he was a little less talented, not as fast, that it didn’t have to be him.

But, as his mom said, if wishes were chocobos, beggars would ride.

Entering the large open space that had been a training hall once, Cloud swallowed thickly. Elena stood talking earnestly with Sephiroth. She looked her age, blond hair going to grey and face lined by years of stress and worry. She bore her age well though; as leader of the Turks, she had to.

Sephiroth, like Zack and all of the surviving SOLDIERS, still looked to be in his late twenties. It was part of why the civilians – those that were left – hated and feared SOLDIERs, cursing them as unnatural right along with the Plague. After all, the reasoning went, if it weren’t for the SOLDIERS, the Plague would never have happened.

Which was unfortunately true, up to a point. If the SOLDIERS had never had kids, Jenova wouldn’t have found such easy prey so quickly, young minds without the bulwark of mako to brace against her insidious whispers. What most people didn’t stop to think about was that the larger threat was the mako exhaustion and destabilization, which had thrown the entire Planet into chaos as human civilization ground to a halt.

“Mom,” Cloud nodded.

”Hey kid,” Elena smiled.

”General Sephiroth.”

“Cloud,” Sephiroth nodded, holding out a small glass vial.

Cloud felt his stomach plummet. “Is that…”

”Yes. This should be enough to affect me.”

Cloud forced himself to take the vial, feeling it all crash in on him again.

”Your mission,” Sephiroth began, and Cloud made himself listen as it was outlined for him yet again, “is to make me go insane.”

Cloud’s eyes flicked to the robotic cat – all that was left of Tuesti – working frantically on some last minute adjustments over by the wall of computers. A SOLDIER 1st maneuvered around the little robot, double-checking the all too precious materia that would work in concert to help accomplish the impossible – and that would be the easy part.

The lights flickered for a second, and everyone paused, conversations on hold.

Lights steadied, but the air of nervous tension persisted. It had been happening more and more often – a sign even this far down that the last of the SOLDIERs were losing ground, losing men. That the Plague was one bit closer to blasting down the doors.

Cloud nodded, continuing his mission outline on his own. “I will be sent back in time to before the Plague, and de-aged so that I can join SOLDIER more easily.”

Of course, it wasn’t that easy. Time-travel was so new it was almost still theoretical, and the best they could pinpoint was within a decade. Since they absolutely could not afford to miss, he would be sent back twelve years before the all-but-uneventful Nibelheim mission, and de-aged to fourteen so that there would be no obvious mako-glow to his eyes. If anyone had told him he’d be picked for a mission based on the fact that he had light-blue eyes, he’d have laughed in their face, but since light blue showed mako-glow less obviously than, say, Zack’s dark blue or Kunsel’s brown, it had been a factor.

The de-aging wouldn’t unwind naturally, was the thing. He wouldn’t be aging so much as reverting, and that meant he’d start showing mako-glow around sixteen. If he wasn’t in SOLDIER by then, he needed to avoid drawing attention to that signal.

“I’m to join SOLDIER or otherwise get close enough to you that I can be present at the Nibelheim mission.”

Nibelheim, now there was a town on the ass-end of nowhere. Cloud had never been there of course, being Midgar-bred.

“There, I’m to-,” Cloud swallowed, “I’m to lace the research reports with a drug that will lower your resistance to Jenova and- and unbalance you mentally enough for her to gain purchase in your mind.”

Only pure will kept him from choking up or crushing the small vial in his hand.

“I’m to remove the report that showed your human parentage and damage the lights so that they stay on.” A mild measure but an effective one – with his enhanced eyes, Sephiroth had trouble sleeping if it was light. Sleep-deprivation would be one more aid in bringing about Sephiroth’s downfall.

“Once you are posessed, I am to aid you as best I can in destroying the Planet, until at last we trigger its self-defense mechanism, forcing the Planet to actively destroy Jenova.”

Laid out like that it sounded flimsy at best, crazy at worst. But it was all they had. By the time people had realized that the mako-exhaustion was killing the Planet and making it impossible to root out the Plague, it was already too late. They had to force a confrontation while the Planet was still strong enough to defend itself, and that meant that they had to trigger Jenova earlier and stronger. Angeal, Genesis, and Sephiroth were the best candidates for Jenova-posession, but Sephiroth was the easiest target, since he was still alive and helping them plan his own insanity.

“My secondary objective is to shut down the mako reactors as quickly as possible, to prevent the destabilization of the Lifestream.”

Cloud didn’t turn to look, but he could almost sense the Cetra woman, Aeris, floating in the mako-tube behind him. She was their ace in the hole – without her help, not all the computers and materia in the world could have accomplished what they were about to attempt. She would open a passage back in time through the Lifestream, while the computers aimed him like a bullet.

She still looked so young, even though she’d been in that tube for over thirty years.

Cloud would see Zack sometimes, late at night, standing in front of that tube, carefully not touching it.

Then again, Cloud was one to talk, he was usually up that late because his sparring session with Sephiroth had run late again.

The man he admired and maybe even loved a little, was teaching Cloud how to best fight and kill him. Just in case. Cloud was probably the only one on the Planet, including Zack, who could take Sephiroth in a fair fight.

<> echoed in their heads.

Aeris. There was no more small talk, no more last-minute checks. Cloud barely managed to catch Sephiroth’s hand for a second of mute goodbye before he was hustled into the small glass tube.

His mom was watching. Sephiroth and Zack were too. Everyone else was too busy making sure their stations didn’t blow up in their faces.

He felt the materia-effect hit him, making his world spin, twisting him around himself and leaving him gasping and shuddering. He half-saw Admiral Fair’s shocked face, and that just couldn’t be good.

The air around him rippled and warped even before the materia had finished chewing on him. He felt his knees give but didn’t hit the floor, world dissolving around him and the floor gave way to darkness, or maybe it was light, and then he knew nothing more.

***

He still had the glass vial clutched in his hand when he woke up, cold white stuff – snow – whipping around him. He ached all over. He cracked an eye open saw the glass he held in his hand. His very, very small hand.

‘oh. Fuck,” was all he could think. That was not the hand of a twelve-year-old. Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. How old? Maybe five? Six?

His fingers, Hel, his arms and legs to boot, were going numb, and a young voice was shouting. A child, and there was someone else running. He looked up groggily, seeing only a blur of skirts.

“Miss Strife!” the child called, “Is he okay?”


FIN


Afterword: And insert FFVII: Crisis Core and FFVII.

Yeah, so, that massive leap Cloud does when he's attacking Seph? No way he does that unenhanced. Also, no way he ~lits~ Seph by the sword that's sticking through his stomach, throws him hard enough to render him unconscious, and then survives enough mako to kill anyone less than a SOLDIER 1st.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: rafira
2010-05-01 12:12 am (UTC)

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It makes me kind of :T to think that the strength that Cloud used in Nibelheim is not his own, but this actually fits distressingly well into canon. It also made me stop and think for a second. Poor Cloud ):.
[User Picture]From: dogmatix_san
2010-05-01 02:01 am (UTC)

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Mmmm, the thing is, it ~is~ his own strength. I mean, there's adrenaline fueled acts of strength and desperation, and then there's leaping twenty feet into the air with a Buster Sword(and those things are ~heavy~). Even for Crisis Core it was just.. over the top.

And with this, Cloud's strength is, specifically, his own. Instead of adrenaline(for FFVII:CC) or Hojo's meddling(FFVII). In this timeline, he worked hard for his SOLDIER status, sweated and bled and bruised for it. Now, he ~still~ gets tortured by Hojo in FFVII, but his 'near'-SOLDIER strength/status isn't only a result of that. Not here, anyway.

And yeah, poor Cloud. Crisis Core makes me want to write fixits so baaaaad.
[User Picture]From: darthtofu
2012-05-29 10:54 am (UTC)

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This is so interesting, making the actual game the "fix". And there's so much possibility in every direction I'm just kinda like woaaah right now. I like it! (ANOTHER *smash*)
From: (Anonymous)
2012-09-03 10:57 pm (UTC)

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Congratulations. You have made it onto tvtropes' recommendation list.

And B, this is now my head canon. Goodjob.