In the Wake of the Lifestream Chapter 1
How many times had it been now? Now that holy had finally come to rest. Now that lifestream had made its way back to the heart of the planet. How many times did he swim in lifestream, searching for the answers to his questions? Leaving all of his friends, making a new home in the knowspole, becoming fascinated with the culture of the Cetra. Even spending weeks at the bottom of the city of the ancients searching desperately for holy's messenger. How many times had he immersed himself in the lifeblood of the planet in hopes to find what he was looking for, her.
Cloud knew that he would never see her again. Never smile at her jokes, or hear her laughter echoing through his mind. He would never be able to hold her again and say all the words he was never able to while she was alive. Despite his knowledge of her inability to return Cloud still swam in lifestream, hoping he could find a clue to where she, Aeris, really was. So as often as his mako infused body would allow he dove into lifestream. Never even pausing for a moment to remember his first trip into the tranquil green depths.
Strangely enough the extreme levels of mako no longer affected his mind or body. Cloud paid no mind to his new immunity; he merely assumed that since his first encounter with lifestream a small piece of the planet had left with him. So now the normally deadly affects of mako on the human body would simply wrap Cloud in strange warmth. Sometimes Cloud would stay in for a few minutes, and at other times he would stay in for days, it was the warmth that kept him going for so long, and that suited Cloud just fine.
Two years after Meteor attacked the planet and holy stopped its advance with the aid of lifestream Cloud had decided to return north. He stayed in professor Gast's home for a while, and then traveled back to the city of the ancients. So there he stayed, searching for an answer to his insecurity without Aeris. From time to time people would visit, mainly Tifa and Cid. Cloud was unsure, but he could not help but believe Tifa still had feelings for him. Why else would she beg Cid for a ride on the Tiny Bronco as often as possible, but Cloud never could return her love. He was too wrapped up in a mindless obsession to find out as much as he could about lifstream and Aeris, and this day was no different.
" I can't let you do this anymore Cloud, your going to kill yourself!" "I don't care " Tifa's words hit a brick wall in Cloud, she could no longer count the number of times she had pleaded with him to stop entering lifestream.
"She's right kid, you've been lucky up till now. Who knows what'll happen to you if you keep this up. Shit the stuffs probably already wasted your brain." Cid couldn't help but share Tifa's sentiments. All of the old team thought that Clouds obsession was suicidal.
"I've already told you I don't care "
"Cloud NO!!" and with that Cloud once again plummeted into lifestream. The subconscious thoughts of all life on the planet immediately bogged down Cloud and he felt heavy and light at the same time, then curiously thin. Hundreds of emotions began to fly in and out of Clouds mind and he suddenly felt helpless. He felt the white Materia near is chest began to pulsate, then his entire body felt long and stretched. He knew that something was wrong.
Cloud watched countless worlds pass by him at blinding speeds. Lifestream was shuttling him through time and space to worlds he could never even had dreamed of. Curiosity and anxiety soon swept over him and as soon as this transport had begun, it seemed to stop. Cloud found himself blown down on his back starring up into the sky. Birds were chirping of the horizon and immediately Cloud knew that he was no longer in the company of Tifa and Cid. He heard voices in the background slowly get closer, and wondered how he was going to return home.
"Did you see that?"
"Wow where'd that come from!?"
"Hey there's somebody down there!"
"Really? Maybe we should go help him."
"Yeah lets go see."
A large group of townspeople were mulling about above Cloud. Cloud scanned from side to side hoping to get his bearings and saw that he was at the bottom of a large crater. Bad memories of the cataclysmic battle with Sephiroth swam through Clouds mind, but he quickly brushed them aside. As soon as his mind flew back to the present though he realized that all of the townspeople were attempting to lift him out of the hole. Before they could reach the peak of the crater though Cloud jumped from the villagers grasp and ran back down to the center of the crater. He picked up his sword, and then realized that the white Materia was no longer at his chest.
"Hey everybody, check this out!" One of the children native to the small town was calling from behind Cloud.
"Boy Howdy! Would you look at that."
"Yeah it looks like Dart's Dragoon spirit, but what's this fellar doin with it?" Cloud quickly turned around to see the young boy brandishing the white Materia. In a sweep of panic Cloud advanced toward the young boy, his hand brandished forward in an attempt to take the shinning white sphere. Before he reached the boy though a mob of disgruntled townspeople tackled him from behind. Under normal circumstances Cloud would have easily brushed them aside, but his utter panic over the loss of his last link to Aeris caused him to lose his grip on reality.
"Didn't Dart say he'd lost his Dragoon spirit a while back?"
"Yeah, in fact that's why he left yesterday isn't it. He went out to go find it. But the whole time this son of a gun had up and stole it." The villagers were quickly growing mutinous so Cloud attempted to defend himself.
"I don't know what any of you are talking about. That's my Materia, not some Dragoon thing, and I'd like it back. HEY! Are any of you listening?" Cloud's cries stood on deaf ears; all of the once friendly people were now busy plotting Clouds punishment.
"We should take him in to see the mayor."
"Yeah he'll know what to do, but where will we keep him tonight? The mayor wont be back till morning."
"I know. We can keep him in the rock quarry that'll be deep enough." A huge cry of agreement rose up within the angry mob and Cloud felt his sword being ripped from his hand, and then felt himself being lifted over everyone else's head. He struggled to break from the crowds disgruntled grasp, but felt overly fatigued from his ride through lifestream, so eventually gave up, hoping that he could find someway to escape.
With a backbreaking thud Cloud was tossed into the bottom of the rock quarry. Immediately all of the possible escape routs were raised out of the huge ditch and Cloud felt helpless. He watched as the large group of people slowly walked off, cheering each other for the successful apprehension of their illegid criminal. Cloud looked around outside the hole and saw half built buildings and piles of lumber. He assumed that the town was being rebuilt, and that's why its resident's conviently had a rock quarry.
Cloud gave out a heavy sigh and then began to think about a way to escape his new prison.