Title: Going Back
Author: M snowym
Fandom: Final Fantasy: Advent Children
Pairing: Zax/Cloud (mentions of Cloud/Aeris and Cloud/Tifa)
Warnings: angst! mild language! and more angst!
Word Count: 224
Before there had been Aeris,
before he met Tifa,
before there were any of these devastatingly important people that he’d easily give his life for in and out of battle,
there had been no one.
But a little while after that, there had been Zax.
Before the mind-fucks and fuck-ups, he’d been a lowly soldier, while Zax had been one of the best in SOLDIER. They met, they fought alongside one another, and their friendship had morphed quickly into one of those things that Cloud had needed to wash himself of, because he couldn’t live on remembering the exchanges and experiences between them with the way Zax is now.
Zax is dead, and he accepts that now. Cloud can finally accept everything that did and didn’t happen, within and outside of his mind.
Even so... sometimes even now, when Tifa presses her lips to his, he can almost feel a ghostly presence taking over him, taking him back. Zax had understood him. Aeris had understood his haunted looks. Tifa accepts the ghosts that haunt him now. That’s all that Cloud asks, even if it’s too much. And when Tifa gives him that smile that holds just a bit more pain than happiness, he knows it is.
So he drifts back again to that time that it had been Zax smiling, and his heart clenches.