jading: (Default)
lights afire ([personal profile] jading) wrote in [community profile] bakerstreet2012-02-09 05:23 pm

Hurt Comfort Meme

Hurt/Comfort - Hurt/comfort
is a fan fiction genre that involves the physical pain or emotional
distress of one character, who is cared for by another character. The
injury, sickness or other kind of hurt allows an exploration of the
characters and their relationship.

- Post with Character Name | Series in the subject.
- Others respond.
- Roll 1-10 at RNG for a scene, play it out and have fun!

1. INJURY. You've been injured. Broken bones or bleeding out or maybe just a tiny little papercut. The choice is yours.
2. SICKNESS. You're sick and laid up in bed, at home or in a hospital. The severity is up to you.
3. FEAR/ANXIETY. Something is happening and you're scared beyond belief.
4. LOSS OF SENSES. Sight, touch, taste, hearing, smell, etc. You've lost some important sense or ability and now you're left to deal with it.
5. DESPAIR. Nothing is good or right anymore and you can't shake the depression. Maybe that friend of yours can help though...
6. BREAKUP. You've been dumped. You need someone to comfort you, possibly by the one who dumped you.
7. MAKE UP. Fight or break up, it's time to makeup.
8. RESCUED. You've just been held captived and/or tortured for however long and finally, someone has come to the rescue.
9. BAD ROMANCE. Fight, cheated on, abused, whatever the case s, someone else can clearly see
you need comfort from someone who isn't your terrible lover tonight.
10. LOSS. You've experience a loss of some kind and need help getting through it.

Nabbed from [personal profile] hoohaw
more_than_words: (had half impair'd)

Tifa Lockheart/Final Fantasy VII

[personal profile] more_than_words 2012-02-09 06:48 pm (UTC)(link)
hurt or comforter
kinetosis: (cause every single night)

10, how about some mutual hurt/comfort?

[personal profile] kinetosis 2012-02-10 06:54 am (UTC)(link)
(My fingers are tingling.

My mouth is dry.

My eyes are burning!

(I can't breathe)

With the freezing, still waters of the lake sealed around him up to his chest, an icy vise, it's hard to move, hard to think. The cold sinks in past downed defenses, into skin and bone, but he's already empty inside; there's nothing left there to corrupt with that uncompromising chill. He's been standing in place for longer now than he can clearly recall, as if waiting for something down deep in the darkness beneath crystal clear blue water to rise up and pull him down, too. To catch his empty arms and drag him down after her.

Maybe Aerith, herself, with the last of her living blood washing clean of his clothing as he watches the shadow where she disappeared, intent, from the edge of the shelf of ancient rock he can just feel ending beneath his boots. Or could, before his toes went numb -- legs, hands, heart following after. Numb isn't such a bad feeling, though, when set up against the steady, dull throb in his head and the sharp, unabating ache in his chest. Drowning sounds just like cool water for the painful choke of breath in his throat. But something in him turns him back, still, as frightening in its own right as the hateful, destructive half of himself he can't control. The part of Cloud that would've killed Aerith, instead, if given half the chance.

Muscles gone stiff already from the cold shorten his every cautious motion as he backs away from the ledge, keeps his eyes down as he turns to face the shore he left behind to bury her. There are eyes on him, still, that he can feel, but not by far so many as before. He doesn't look up to meet them, his own hollow, dull gaze downcast, hidden carefully behind the thick fringe of blond bangs. Wading back to dry land takes all the last of his strength, anyway, the finality of the act more and more than he can handle.

But he has to. Just as he has to look to see who's still standing here, with him, as the water drains from his boots onto rocky ground and he has nowhere to run that grief won't try to crush him.

more_than_words: (home is in a child's laughter)

Re: 10, how about some mutual hurt/comfort?

[personal profile] more_than_words 2012-02-10 06:20 pm (UTC)(link)
she was my friend too...

She hasn't cried. Aerith deserves her tears but Tifa can't cry them. Instead, they're clogged up in her throat, tight in her chest, always hovering just at the edges of the lips she keeps firmly pressed together so nothing will leak through - but she won't cry. She'd covered her face and run to keep it in earlier and, now, standing on the edge of the frigid lake, she holds it in still. Aerith deserves her tears but Tifa's afraid that if she starts, she'll never be able to stop, and then who will take care of everyone else?

The others have left, thinking Cloud needs his time alone and he probably does but Tifa is bad at leaving. Instead she stays, the same way she'd stayed at the Shinra tower, leaving him on his own but still there in the background, not because she thinks he needs her there but because he shouldn't have to be alone. He just... shouldn't be alone...

He isn't the only one waiting for Aerith's arms to reach out of the water and drag him down either. In her heart, Tifa doesn't truly believed her friend will and yet - watching him, pale and ghostly, out there in the dark water - Tifa feels as if he isn't the only one on the edge of that ledge. She is too, right on the edge of losing him forever as well and she isn't sure what she's supposed to do if he does decide to let the water swallow him. All it will take him is one step forward and she'll lose the other half of her heart - and then what is she supposed to do? Because she's a survivor and that means she'll have to bear that as well and still keep going.

She wants, helplessly, hopelessly, to simply go home. Except she doesn't have a home.

She wishes... she wishes Aerith was here to wrap her arms around her in that way that looked light and easy but was deceptively tight and almost desperate and to giggle and - and just be here...

Busy fighting down another bout of tears that film her eyes, she catches Cloud's move awkwardly and one of her boots jerks forward to start into the water in response. To catch him, to drag him back to the surface - except he's slowly coming back to the shore, not drowning. Except they're all drowning... The small splash she makes is muted and she draws back again even if the pull to wade out to where he'd been is a sudden, strong surge inside her. Except she can't. They still need her. She can cling desperately to that, has to cling desperately to that or she'll fall apart. And she's afraid to fall apart. It's easier to not deal with her own heart at all. So it's a matter of determinedly swallow that lump of unspent tears down to lodge in her throat again and lock her jaw and wait for Cloud because... because he shouldn't have to be alone.

How is she supposed to help him? Aerith had been everything to him.

"You're wet."

It's possibly the most inane thing she's ever said but she can't say anything else. Can't think about anything else because the sound of his voice, so forlorn and lost threatens to crush her and she can't. She can't. She just can't. So it's easier to concentrate on the way he's dripping ice water in puddles around his boots and the blue tint to his lips from standing in the lake for so long. Easier to concentrate on that than the blue eyes she can't bear lift her own eyes to look at, not able to deal with the empty, lightlessness she's sure is in them. She can't face his own devastation or it will flip the switch on her own and - she can't. She can't. Instead, she turns away, hands clumsy as she finds her pack and digs the thick rolled blanket out of it. Mundane things, simple things, it helps her ride out the rolling waves of liquid in her own lungs. Focus, focus and it's always easier to deal with other people's pain than her own but Cloud comes close to breaking that rule. She shakes out the blanket and steps forward, trying to drape it over his shoulders. More inanity but she can't. She can't -

"You'll catch a cold."
Edited 2012-02-10 18:40 (UTC)
kinetosis: (there's nothing to tell you)

[personal profile] kinetosis 2012-02-11 12:53 am (UTC)(link)
Time is passing, again, jump-started by the token, fumbling dance of misplaced courtesy that greets him at the shore. His fingers grasp numbly at the throw of the blanket Tifa pulls over his shoulders, but he may as well be trying to catch hold of the minutes, moments beginning to escape, swiftly putting space between them and that split second upon the crystal altar when she'd been taken away from them. Dragging him, inexorably, inevitably, further from his memories, all that she is, any longer. He can't help himself, should be glad that Tifa's here to do that for him, but he doesn't feel anything new. The ice is in his heart and his lungs and it doesn't show any signs of stopping after draining the last of healthy, living color from already pallid skin.


It's not Thanks or Sorry, but a miracle still that any clear and coherent word escapes him, at all, past the broken column of his burning throat. Somewhere beneath the thick fog shock and grief cast over his limited view of the world, though, he's aware of the kindness in Tifa's gesture, if not yet the sheer strength it must take to overcome both her own crippling bereavement and his, for the sake of comfort he can't even thank her for, might not ever remember to.

Aerith had been something to all of them.

The whole heart and spirit of their confused and desperate mission to save an entire world ripped out, bled dry, gone forever -- how they're supposed to move on from this is too far beyond him to fathom, now. Anger and hatred and that stringent desire for revenge that brought them this far (that he thinks brought them this far) are all flames doused by the cold, black chill in his veins. In the morning, it'll be his task to piece them all back together, to stand up and move on from this place for all of them, because one night is more already than they can afford to spend in mourning. By then, he'll have remembered how easy it is to pretend.

But not now. Right now, it's only right to be so shattered and used up. Heartbroken and hollowed out, he isn't fit to lead anyone, so he waits to be led, instead, if there's anywhere left to go, from here. In the soft, white glow of ancient trees, the still, clear air a million miles from the smoke and smog of Midgar, there's only Tifa left with him, and she's seen him at his worst a hundred times over, already. Once more won't matter.
more_than_words: (even if you run away)

brb busy editing the hell out of everything

[personal profile] more_than_words 2012-02-11 03:21 am (UTC)(link)
she's seen him at his worse - and she'll do her best to make sure that he never sees her that way in return. She's not willing enough to explore her motivations to realize what an unfair dichotomy that is to both of them. She treasures that he trusts her with his vulnerability - and she won't do the same. He needs her to be strong, to be steady for him. It gives her a purpose and it gives her the strength to do what she has to do. If she thinks about herself, she'll break and she doesn't dare. Her last name is apt.

Her fingers touch his shirt where it's wet, careful not to do it where she'd seen their friend's blood. Not for her. She'd almost wish she could be marked by Aerith's blood if only because then, maybe, the flower girl wouldn't feel so utterly and completely lost to her. She's careful where she touches for his sake, not wanting to prod at things that are already fresh and raw. He feels like stone under the soaked fabric of his shirt, heatless and immoveable in the face of anything she could do. It tears at her raw heart like iron claws and she'd do anything for Aerith's voice in her ear to make things easier. The tears choke upward again. Aerith was the one that made everything easier and Tifa doesn't have that talent, can't even try right now because if she missteps at all, she'll fall and she's afraid she'll fall forever. Her fingers brush helplessly, come away damp and cold but it's not cold enough because it won't soak through her too.

She needs to get him warm, needs to take care of him, needs to be useful and needed and notherownhurt except her mind blanks on its usual sensibility, offering nothing. A fire. She should get him near a fire. Out of his wet clothes. Her mind simply flutters pointlessly, broken wings beating inside her skull and down through her raw chest. Her fingers shift brokenly again over wet fabric.

What good is she if she can't be useful?

"Warm. Need to- you." this time they're tears of frustration and tiredness and she shakes her head, lips locked together. Not about to give those power when she wouldn't even give tears that really were deserving a place. Instead, she turns away. She'll get her pack and Cloud's and then - shelter. She'll find one of those strange houses, one they haven't stayed in before so there won't be even more ghosts than it will already hold. Shelter. Fire. New clothes.

Don't think beyond that. Don't you dare.
Edited 2012-02-11 03:49 (UTC)
kinetosis: (these changes)

I saw nooothiiiiiiing

[personal profile] kinetosis 2012-02-14 06:53 am (UTC)(link)
He's out of the lake where they've buried her, but it still feels as though he's moving through the water, heavy limbs, heavy air in his lungs. The world around him is speeding up rapidly, and it's all he can do to struggle in slow-motion to keep pace. Tifa speaks, and it's a foreign language. But he nods dumbly, anyway, silent in his complicity. It's too soon, already, but he understands somewhere in his daze that they're going to move, and then they're going to leave, and then that's going to be it. No more time for mourning. No more wallowing in guilt. No more What if or I should've or Why didn't we -- he'll make plenty of time for that, tonight, and maybe someday later, too, once they've ended this whole ugly business that's robbed them of so very many things they've held dear, far more than just Aerith, though she's easily the freshest wound. He understands.

And shortly thereafter, reality melts into a dull, lifeless blur.

He'll never remember clearly which of them found the place, whose decision it was to go inside, whether he was followed or led. Someone had to've started the fire crackling away before his feet, but his hands are still stiff with the cold and his recollection of digging through one of their packs for the tinder box and kindling is broken at best (neither of them having thought to equip the proper materia, and maybe it's odd that he doesn't think he's ever seen her use that particular magic, either, but the thought slips away like so many more wasted seconds before it can ever properly coalesce). His boots are still on (and his gloves, and that's probably why he's still freezing), damp but no longer soaked through. Most of the water he's left behind, a trail through the woods and back to the Ancients' city proper, as they went chasing through the shadowy glow of alien, luminescent night, and it seems wrong that those flashes of memory are so much brighter than the rest, all smudged or forgotten as he tries to think back a minute--

Ends up thinking back much further, and the warmth of her limp and lifeless body is on his arms, again, and he pulls them back from the radiating heat of the fire in the hearth before him to wrap across his frozen chest. With the sudden motion, the blanket he's worn the whole way without thinking slips from his shoulders, and he remembers there's someone else still with him, too.


His eyes are as bright as their flickering source of light, in the shadows of the strange, spiral house, when he looks up. On some level, he's sure he should be terrified to let any one of them out of his sight, now, as if another shadow might fall upon the rest of them from above, pick them off one by one, until it's just him again, completely and utterly alone, just like--


Nothing that's ever happened to him, before.

Watching her hurts his eyes a little less than looking blankly into the fire, at any rate.
more_than_words: (the tints that glow)

excellent, schultz. Excellent

[personal profile] more_than_words 2012-02-14 07:54 am (UTC)(link)
She's done most of the work. Cloud's turned to ice water and stone and she envies him but she can't - she can't. So she does the work because if she's working than she's not thinking and she's safe. It's just that Aerith is everywhere here and it's so easy to get distracted from working...

the spirals in the shell turn into memories of curling hair and giggles in the dark about silly hairstyles. The texture of the wood under her hands as she gathers it for the fire is like the sticks she used when she and Aerith would sneak away together to train.

the empty shell house is just empty and even with her and Cloud in it, it's missing someone.

things will never be full again.

Tifa wants to sleep but she knows the second she stops, it will all come crashing over her and she won't be able to lose herself to the dark of dreamlessness before the loneliness has her. Aerith ... Aerith treated her like a girl and when she was with Aerith it had been fun to be a girl. Hair ribbons and whispered secrets and 'does this bangle make me look fat'. The stupid memory makes her want to laugh but she presses her hands over her face while her back is to Cloud and presses that rough leather in hard until it stops. Because if she laughs, she'll cry. And if she cries, she'll never stop. So much easier to concentrate on digging out a cook pot to make something hot to drink in, so much easier than realizing that tonight no one's going to brush her hair out for her and coo over it.

That no one's ever going to brush out her hair before bed but herself ever again.

Blink so the tears don't escape and fall in to spoil the water she puts over the fire. Blink so nothing breaks loose. Blink until you can keep going.

don't think

be strong

She hears the blanket fall belatedly, like sound has to pass through water to get to her and she thinks of Aerith down there in that cold water all alone and staggers to her feet from where she'd been crouched down to set the water to boil but she doesn't go back to the lake to save her friend. It's too late for that. Aerith is gone and Cloud's going and she's going to be all alone but it doesn't occur to her that she'll ever be the one to die. That's always for everyone else. Her job is to get left behind. Because... because someone has to remember so that they'll be missed. She scoops up the blanket and then pauses in the act of starting to drape it back over Cloud, unaware of his eyes because she's so busy not paying attention to anything but the inanimate basics. Cloud's got his arms curled around himself and she can't tell if he's trying to hold Aerith or himself. It reminds her though that he's probably still cold and being in wet clothes doesn't help. Her hand shifts, reaching for him and then hesitates. Not sure she can touch him.

She just might shatter if she touches him and she can't. She just can't.

Except he needs her. So she focuses, concentrates on the basic necessities and that's his harness. Because she needs to get that off of him so she can get the shirt underneath off of him and then it will be his gloves and iron bracer and boots and socks. Let the fire warm him. It was the one thing she'd asked him to do, light the fire. Because she didn't think she could handle watching flames lick at wood right now. The memories had to stay separate or the dreams would keep her from sleeping tonight and she needed to sleep. She needed to escape. The others needed her to be strong so they could rest and mourn and not have to be for a while.

There should be a spare shirt in Cloud's pack. Socks too. And it never occurred to her to ask him to do any of that for himself. She'd do it because it was a distraction for her and it would give her hands something to do other than shake or fist helplessly. Careful, methodical, she moved like a little old woman, scared to break bones of glass and intent on finishing each task in front of her methodically before moving on to the next. Don't think. Take care of Cloud. Don't think.

Don't miss her.

Be strong.
kinetosis: (and your head on the ground)

[personal profile] kinetosis 2012-02-14 11:17 am (UTC)(link)
There's something around him, or inside of him, something dark and black and horrible right to its core -- and maybe that's what she sees, when she starts and stops like that, as if she'd glanced at him and for one second seen something else, only for the light to change as she shifts closer in the dark, to brighten and reveal the true shape of things. There's no fooling himself that it might be the first time, anymore, either; all of them saw, when he went ahead alone, and that's only more for tomorrow, more to explain or to dismiss by the light of day, impossible things that are worlds away from the tedious agony of making it through another hour without breaking down, now. Of thinking that things will just be all right, so long as each one of them can simply keep it together until this has passed -- as if it might, really, and that the same strength will ever be back in their spirit, as a whole or in parts, without Aerith. There's something inside of him that stopped and started him the same way, when he went ahead to meet her where she'd knelt to pray for a miracle to save them all.

(A... Puppet?)

(puppets have strings)

(where are mine)

The pain is creeping back in, with the icy chill no longer racing to coat every molecule of his being, no longer protecting that empty hollow where some piece of him has been ripped out, but retreating, instead, as he chases down the incomprehensible swirl of thoughts that barely resemble his own. As if he hopes to think of Aerith and think ahead at the same time, but can't quite resolve the two, because they'll no longer fit together just so -- she isn't to be a part of their future, any longer, and no one else's, for that matter, either.

He can almost fully feel his toes, again, but he doesn't care enough to pass this even a token acknowledgement in anything but the driest neutrality. Nor the feeling of someone (Tifa) tugging at him, sudden and foreign, as his gaze drifts back to the loose spill of the packs containing the majority of their remaining worldly possessions, the dark beyond the flames at his feet. He's tired, exhausted, from the fight and the hurt and the cold, but his eyes shut only for one instant before he starts sharply to

(feel again that there are hands on him, but not hers. Stronger, somehow, different down to the movement in each muscle, but comforting, almost, still. They don't belong to a stranger, but he doesn't know whose they are, or why he'd ever trust them enough to do this for him -- unbuckling his harness, taking away his armor, helping him because he can't help himself

but he

if he could only

open them again.

"I can-- Do the rest on my own," he insists, alive again for a moment as he lifts an arm sluggishly to fend her efforts off. Gentle but persistent. He isn't sure he can look too steady doing it, but he has to finish the job, himself, because if she does, he might be forced to confront those fleeting scraps of long-lingering sense memory, put a face to a name and a name to the grievous sin he's committed, and he isn't -- ready for that. He isn't prepared, yet, to turn and face whatever it really is that's waiting to be found, there in the fathomless black of his own shadow. And maybe Aerith was a part of what kept those things at bay, but now isn't the time to think about that, either.
more_than_words: (like silken thread)

[personal profile] more_than_words 2012-02-14 12:45 pm (UTC)(link)
{she sets down the shoulder piece she already has loose as carefully as if either she or it is made of fine glass. When she straightens -

she's lost.

What does she do now? Her mind blanks on her, so busy concentrating on what she had planned to do that nothing new fits into that space. Her fingers twitch, helpless. She doesn't - what does she- She isn't usually this helpless. This pointless. The sheer frustration of being that way washes through her again and she locks her lips down hard against it. She should know exactly what to do. Taking care of the others is her job. She's good at it. When she tries to now though it's like water through her fingers, her mind refusing to jump from one point to another, constantly getting tangled in loops like yarn. Turning away, back to Cloud again so he can't see, she presses her knuckles to her lips hard, mashing them against her teeth. If she presses hard enough, if it hurts, maybe it will let her think.

Or at least hurt somewhere that's not her chest.

She's not self-destructive though and so she only does it until she's sure she won't accidentally make a sound and give herself away, trusting the sounds that Cloud's making behind her with the soft rustle of leather and wet fabric to hide her. She just wants -

she just wants to stop.

She can't. If she stops, she'll drown and that thought scares her. She'll be strong instead and she'll be useful and when everyone else is all right... than that will mean she'll be all right too.

... right?

Knuckles across her eyes and she remembers the water in the pot and something hot to drink and Cloud will need that once he's done. If she's hurting, she knows he's hurting even worse and she can't imagine how he's holding himself together when she can hardly do it herself. Or what she's supposed to do to help him when he finally breaks.

All the hot drinks in the world won't fix that and what if he never comes back from breaking...?

The sound does slip out then, when she's not ready for it and she feels the bolt of pure horror, fingers clamping hard over her lips too late. Desperate, she adds a weak cough so that he won't know and she won't have to acknowledge it. No. No, she's not going to break. She's not. She's not. She's going to pour the hot water in the pot at the edge of the fire into mugs and add some tea bags and her hoarded honey and she's going to -

She's going to -

be strong

She's going to be strong. Just until the tea. And once she's got the tea she'll be strong until the next small task. And the next. Don't think about it. Palm rubbing hard over her lips, she turns for the fire. A hot drink for Cloud. She just needs to get far enough for a hot drink for Cloud.}
kinetosis: (I was swimmin' in the Caribbean)

[personal profile] kinetosis 2012-02-19 03:04 am (UTC)(link)
[ Mechanical, as if the parts he's made of no longer quite match up, he starts in where she leaves off and has it ever been this difficult to remember where his belts fasten or how to unlock the armor over his wrist? He doesn't think so, protective bandages unraveling in his hand over skin that's too clean, gloves hitting the rough, weather-worn wooden floor with a useless, wet smack as he sets unfeeling fingers to the zippers on his boots.

He knows something is wrong, something more, when she turns from him so abruptly, but the cold and the hurt in his head are so hard to fight through and he was never the best at reading her, to begin with. It doesn't seem right to reach for her, when he can barely hold himself together; one or both of them is sure to crack beneath the weight of so much grief, before long, but he doesn't know if holding it up together will make things easier or simply crush the two of them that much faster. There are things he can protect her from, now that he's strong, elite, SOLDIER, maybe even including that sickening darkness inside of him -- but when he was younger, he'd been so certain that would mean everything, never questioning his own belief.

And now that he knows it isn't, definitively, that there are so many things in the world that he can't stop from hurting her, no matter how impervious he makes himself, his standing on unsteady ground feels shakier than ever. What good is he, if he can't keep his promises? What good is he, if he can't keep any of them safe?

Aerith's smiling face

(She wants to fly. I said I'd take her someday.)

is nothing but a memory, now.

Will they all just forget her, one day?

That whisper of sound shatters his deepening depression, pulling him back to the surface as his arms unfurl from where he's clutched them tight over his chest again without realizing.

(No. No, I won't.)

When she turns back toward him, Cloud meets her halfway, reaching for her shoulder with one bare, chilled hand. He masks the similar sound that chokes up out of his throat with a whisper -- nothing, nonsense, just her name, and ]

I'm sorry.
more_than_words: (my bonnie dear)

[personal profile] more_than_words 2012-02-19 08:31 am (UTC)(link)
{she's supposed to be the strong one. She's supposed to be strong for everyone else but she's supposed to be strong especially for Cloud. He needs her more now than ever. There's so much she can't do, so much she's never going to be able to do but she can - she can -

be strong

Except she can't. She just can't and the second Cloud actually touches her, reaches out for her, her desperately tight grip on all those locked in tears shatters completely. The noise leaves her throat and it's raw and wounded and she doesn't even know how she got there but she's against his chest, trying to hide against the stone cold skin. She tries, she really tries, locking her jaw and squeezing her eyes shut but the first real cry's already been loosed and the next one follows. And then the next. Past the first one, they're quiet, stifled sounds, half swallowed down again but there's no mistaking that they're utterly lost, or the hot tears that start to slip down his chest.

She's lost Aerith and maybe she's lost Cloud and now she's lost herself too. She can't stop. All she can do is huddle against her best friend and fall apart.}
kinetosis: (we can be together)

[personal profile] kinetosis 2012-02-19 09:30 am (UTC)(link)
[ Tears track burning trails down the swath of skin between the edges of his vest, hanging loose over his shoulders, still heavy and damp and cold, but there's only an instant's flinch before he wraps his tired arms around her. It's the second time, tonight, that one of them has cried against him. The third he's held somebody helpless to him. But the last, he hopes, he'll have to come this close to losing it, himself.

No, when he crumbles inside, he'll do it quietly; he'll hide inside himself, where it's safe, where no one knows, where he's kept everything painful, each unending cruelty life has afforded them, since the last time he cried. He doesn't remember where he was, or who was with him, then, knows nothing of that empty, white memory but the scent of gunpowder and blood and rain and how very much he doesn't ever want to be there, again.

So he keeps it together, best as he can, while the warmth of her burns a far more permanent mark over the scars beneath her touch. He lets her cry uninterrupted, unmoving, and it feels almost cathartic for him, too, although he knows it's likely only the illusion of reprieve. A desperate touch of empathy, because there's no one around to do the same for him. To pretend to be some kind of solid, implacable support instead of something wretched and hollow inside.

He lets her remain, unbothered, until the water starts boiling over and the pot is in danger of burning and he realizes he hasn't the scantest idea what it was she was intending to make for them, anyway. He draws an arm back, a hand that's not nearly so cold squeezing her shoulder. His clothes still need to be lain out and their bedrolls made and he can do this if he just keeps telling himself he can.

If she just keeps on needing him to. ]

Tifa... Come on.
more_than_words: (be my hero)

[personal profile] more_than_words 2012-02-20 05:44 am (UTC)(link)
{Aerith finally gets her tears... and Cloud does too. It's been five years since she's cried in front of anyone. It's been much longer than that since it brought her comfort. This time though, it does.

He doesn't tell her everything will be all right and he doesn't talk nonsense to her. He just holds her close and lets her cry and it's exactly what she's needed - what she's always needed. He's her shelter and she curls into him and - it changes everything. Nothing is ever going to make this right, but he lets her cry in the safety of his arms and it drains the cold hopelessness out of her. He's wet and he's cold but between them she finds warmth and - it helps. Still raw, still lost and afraid and lonely, still hurt over Aerith's loss, Cloud's quiet hold on her is still the tipping point that slips her away from turning inward and slowing shriveling inside. By the time he moves, he's already pulled her away from the emptiness that was threatening to pull her in forever.

It was supposed to be the other way around. She was supposed to be there for him for a change. His touch, his words, remind her and she feels guilty even as her heart beats a little less heavy and dull inside her. She should apologize, except she doesn't feel up to words yet, tears having tapered out even if she's not sure she'd entirely safe from them coming back or not. Tired, washed out inside, she simply nods against him. Useful. She's supposed to be being useful.

As soon as she thinks of how, she will.}
kinetosis: (last call for sin)

[personal profile] kinetosis 2012-02-20 07:51 am (UTC)(link)
[ He's cautious, now, like she's some imminently breakable thing, and any sudden movement might rend open the fresh wound on her heart, spilling over that clear, saline stuff that isn't blood but stains just as darkly. But she hasn't reclaimed that faltering but persistent incentive that'd somehow kept her going right up until he'd broken and opened the flood gates just to selfishly save face. She stays where she is, and he doesn't have the heart to prod her further. Doesn't know what he's doing, at all, except that he'll only regret doing nothing, if he can't make himself move just a little, now.

Picking up his gloves with the arm not still wound lightly around Tifa's shoulders, he folds them over together to avoid a nasty burn as he leans closer to the fire to lift the pot of boiling water off. Bubbles stream down the sides, sizzling into the flames, more steam. He sets it aside far as he can, to cool or settle or something like that, while he waits for Tifa to remember what it was she wanted so sincerely to make for them.

And it's strange, the things that occur to him between the thoughts of Aerith, so recently departed that it still can't completely sink in, that chase him down no matter how he tries to hold them back. He thinks of his mother, who would be horrified with him, now, living like some drifter. He thinks of the stifling closeness of that tiny, three-room house and the way it warmed and the way it smelled in the evenings, with dinner cooking. He thinks of smoke and ash filling his lungs and tries to remember how he'd seen her last. What had turned him away from his own burning home in agony.

And then it's Aerith, burning (but she won't because she's in the water, now, forever), and he has to squint in the dark to make out the shapes of their surroundings after looking into the fire so long, but he's almost positive it isn't Nibelheim and somehow they aren't yet in his own personal hell. Close enough, maybe, but there's time left to wait.

That's fine. He's in no rush to grasp desperately at the next step, the next moment to make it to without slipping. The rest can wait, petty as it seems, until he's had his fill of waiting, himself. ]
more_than_words: (my bonnie king.)

[personal profile] more_than_words 2012-02-20 08:55 am (UTC)(link)
{there's something impossible reassuring about the way he keeps his arm around her even as he does something else and she sighs out and stays, body relaxed against his in the way that being emotionally spent has drained out of her. It makes her feel as if she might not have lost him already... as if she's not lost either. They can't lose each other if they're holding on.

She wishes they could have held on to Aerith better.

She doesn't lift her head from where it's resting against him either but, after a long moment of feeling the comfortable emptiness of being spent, she notices his face.

He hasn't cried yet.

She's not sure if he will, feeling as if maybe she snatched the opportunity away from him when she fell apart herself. She should have fought harder against crying, should have given him that chance but now he's seen her cry and he won't think she's strong enough to hold him if he does. It's that bitter twist on how protected and cherished it always makes her feel when he's there for her. She loves it and yet, she worries that it just reenforces his belief that he can't let himself be vulnerable in front of her. She wants to protect him too.

Nothing can protect him from what losing Aerith means though. She just wishes she could be strong enough for him.

Without lifting her head, she reaches up and lays her hand against his cheek, not offering words, just... wanting to be there for him too. Wanting him to know he wasn't alone.}
kinetosis: (these changes)

[personal profile] kinetosis 2012-02-27 05:57 am (UTC)(link)
[ It's the first motion she's made in what now must be the end of whole ages of sitting here with her, other than the quiet tremors that accompany uncontrolled emotion, what would probably have been real, earnest sobs were the two of them not so deeply, completely worn out. Everything he does feels oddly depleted until her fingers brush over his cheek, the frail sensation reminding Cloud that there's no room for him to splinter into shards of himself, too.

As if he hasn't, already, and isn't merely the more apt at making it seem otherwise.

He doesn't lean into her touch, or force it away -- simply doesn't have it in him to react to much more. Instead, he presses again back toward the rational, practical. The fire won't burn forever, and searching for more fuel to throw on the flames doesn't have much appeal. Further desecrating this place, now truly the end of a people. No more ancients in the world. No more Aerith in the world.

Everything circles back to that.

He shakes his head. ]

Let's... Get some rest.
more_than_words: (and starry skies;)

[personal profile] more_than_words 2012-02-27 07:21 am (UTC)(link)
{her fingers pull back, curling to tuck into her hand, hand retreating to curl against her chest over the sluggish beat of her heart.

He's right. Smelling the smoke from the fire, hearing its crackles as it struggles to hold off the darkness, she knows he's right. They can't stop here, no matter how much this place has become a mausoleum yet again for loss and emptiness. There's still a madman on the loose, still a world to save. Aerith's world... a world to save for Aerith. They need their sleep, even if it comes without rest and he's still damp and chilled. It's time to return to being practical. She can do that. She's good with practical things. She's always been better with practical things. It's just a matter of straightening and pulling away from him and out of his arms. Leaving him on his own.

she can't do that...

She's never been able to do that. So instead she shifts over and pushes up to her knees facing him, cupping his face in her hands to search for his eyes with her own. Hers may be red and swollen, their usual wine color almost lost in black - but they're clear. The tears he let her cry have washed them clear and even though the wound is still fresh and raw, the poison's been flushed out of it. Touch light, barely there, she strokes his cheek, and then carefully nudges in to rest her forehead against his, eyes closing on an exhale. One slim arm wraps around his shoulders but her other hand shifts to his hair.

Somethings are more important than being practical.}
Edited 2012-02-27 07:21 (UTC)