Author's Notes: The lyrics are from Don McClean’s “Vincent”. The characters are from Squaresoft’s “Final Fantasy VIII”. This story is mine. Are we clear?


By Link621


Cloud brushed some wild blonde hair out of his eyes. The wind made it most difficult to try to look out on the land. It was a perfect night. It wasn’t too cold, or too hot, and he could see every star in the sky. His navy blue and black outfit seemed to be just part of the midnight blue sky. When he turned to look behind him, his bright blue eyes found the man he’d just been considering, and he frowned. Vincent was a good man, he knew. Somehow, he thought he might be the only one who could ever see it, but he could somehow sympathize with the darkness of Vincent’s heart.

The two cast long shadows in the moonlight, looking like pillars in the moonlight even though they were both relatively short. Vincent’s gentle gaze was fixed on Cloud as well, meeting his eyes without falter. Cloud took a couple steps to meet Vincent down at the base of the hill. “This is about Lucrecia, isn’t it?” Cloud asked quietly. Vincent just nodded, diverting his eyes. “Do you need to talk about it?” Vincent looked up slowly to meet Cloud’s eyes again, and nodded.

~ Starry, starry night...

Paint your pallet blue and gray.

Look out on a summer’s day

With eyes that know the darkness of my soul

Shadows on the hills ~

Aeris was busy romping around trying to tell Cloud about all the different plants they saw while Cloud was still pondering what Vincent had told him. Vincent had been betrayed by the one who loved him most... Betrayed... Cloud let his face fall to his hand, combing back his wild gold locks with a shaking hand. He could only remember one thing—Sephiroth. If the boy was really Vincent’s son... Cloud bit his lip. He wouldn’t blame Sephiroth for hating him after what he’d done. He still remembered clearly the color of those merciless aqua eyes as they bored into him, burning their impression in his mind. Cloud had loved those eyes, and he still did. He respected them, and loved them, but he couldn’t stay with Sephiroth.

~ Sketch the trees and the daffodils

Catch the breeze and the winter chills

In colors on the snow linen land. ~

Cloud had to sit down in the mid-day heat. It was too much to think about at the same time as they walked. Vincent wasn’t talking about himself, he was talking about Cloud and Sephiroth, or so it appeared. Vincent had nearly gone mad, but it made perfect sense. After all, Vincent was left by the woman he loved for the mad scientist Hojo... Sephiroth was left by Cloud for... a bad reason. Cloud mentally kicked himself. Did Vincent come to him about it because no one else would listen, or because they wouldn’t hear it even if they listened?

Cloud looked up as he was gently touched on the shoulder by Tiffa. She had a worried look in her eyes that spoke volumes. Yes, Cloud knew about her feelings. He knew, because he had once reciprocated those feelings. Now, though, there was Sephiroth to worry about. Cloud wasn’t the knight in shining armor anymore, he was the boy to be rescued. Tiffa might listen to Vincent’s story. Tiffa had been left as well.

~ Now I understand...

What you tried to say to me

How you suffered for your sanity

How you tried to set them free.

They would not listen, they did not know how...

Perhaps they’ll listen now. ~

That night, they were camping, when Cloud took the time to be alone an try to sort his thoughts. It was another perfect night, and Aeris tried to make it romantic. She came over to Cloud, holding a bunch of flowers, and offered Cloud the flowers as a gift. He took them, piling them on the ground, and set them on fire with his magic to make heat so he could stay out a while longer. Aeris obviously wasn’t happy with this outcome. She stormed off, muttering under her breath. Cloud just shrugged. “Thanks, bitch,” he muttered when he could be sure she was really gone.

Cloud lay down on the cool grass and watched the fire dance. Fire had always been associated with Sephiroth, for him. He remembered the way Sephiroth’s frosty hair fell from behind his ears as he leaned down to kiss Cloud. Cloud had giggled, pushing back those strands of silk for Sephiroth, and giggling more at his lover’s irritated grunt. Cloud could almost touch the memory, as if it were really happening, it was so vivid. He remembered the flowers Sephiroth had brought for him suffered the same fate as Aeris’ flowers, but they had been violets—Cloud’s favorite.

“Cloud...” that deep voice purred in his ear. Cloud looked over his shoulder, and for a second he thought he saw Sephiroth, looking at him sweetly from those aqua eyes. After a moment, he realized the eyes were red, and that he was actually looking at Vincent. Cloud smiled at the older man. Vincent was the next best thing to Sephiroth when he was so confused and needed to talk about the past.

~ Starry, starry night...

Flaming flowers that gently blaze...

Swirling clouds in violet haze

Reflect in Vincent’s eyes of china blue

Colors changing hue... ~

Vincent told Cloud stories all night of his life when he was young, nearly twenty years before. All the while, he gently stroked Cloud’s hair whenever he could. Cloud decided it must have been like a security blanket to Vincent, and he was sure it was comforting to him. When he mentioned his love of Lucrecia, I couldn’t help but cringe. He was definitely in love with her, but she two-timed him. Vincent’s eyes began to fill with tears as he re-told the story to Cloud.

Cloud’s eyes also became wet as he listened. He looked away, unable to face the story, just to find Vincent’s hand on his chin, pulling him back to look at his face. Vincent’s eyes held the same pain as Cloud felt. Cloud sniffed a little, feeling absolutely infantile. Vincent gently ran a hand over Cloud’s forehead soothingly, and Cloud felt his heart skip a beat. It was just as Sephiroth had done. When Vincent’s lips descended on Cloud’s, the blonde didn’t resist in the least. Vincent pulled Cloud tight against him, and Cloud reacted by pulling tighter to him in turn.

~ Mourning fields of amber grain

Weathered faces lined in pain

Are soothed beneath the artist’s loving hand ~

Cloud was in his tent, breathing evenly, almost as if asleep, but it was a cover-up so that Barett wouldn’t worry about him. He had come to understand fully what Vincent was to him. He was like the Sephiroth that Cloud couldn’t have, only he could have Vincent, if he wanted. Not for Vincent, but because Vincent wanted to give the man who was best loved by his son something for his work to be supportive of his son. It was just between Cloud and Vincent, and Cloud had a feeling that no one at all would understand. Maybe, one day, Barett would understand when he had to face the reality that his daughter would fall in love. Until that day, it was just Vincent and Cloud.

~ Now I understand....

What you tried to say to me

And how you suffered for your sanity

How you tried to set them free.

They did not listen, they did not know how

Perhaps they’ll listen now ~

It was much later that Cloud really knew why Vincent did what he did twenty years before. He loved Lucrecia, and she loved him back, or so he thought. In reality, she would never love him in the way he loved her, and he still let her walk all over him. When he saw Lucrecia with Hojo, of course he flipped shit. Cloud wouldn’t have been able to deal with seeing Sephiroth with another man/woman. Cloud wouldn’t have spent another second thinking about Sephiroth, though. He was able to forget bad memories in a way that Vincent clung to them.

But that one perfect night for Lucrecia and Hojo was truly perfect. It had been weather like it was now, with stars in the sky and not even a drop of rain or fog. There weren’t even clouds in the sky to disrupt the perfect atmosphere. It was the exact wrong night for Vincent to spot them. He ran to the lab, and did as any lover would do, taking his own life before he ever got to know his only son. Cloud might have done the same in that position. Vincent crawled into a coffin to wait for twenty years then, and was found by Cloud who was intent to give Vincent that chance.

It was hard to think that any one man would have to bear such pain just for being a good guy. The world was a harsh place, and Vincent could never have survived in a million years. Cloud could have told him that long ago... Or maybe not, because Sephiroth had taught him that when they were young. Cloud snuggled further into the pillow case. ‘Vincent....’

~ For they could not love you

But still your love was true

And when no hope was left in sight

On that starry, starry night

You took your life as lovers often do...

But I could’ve told you, Vincent

This world was never meant for one as

Beautiful as you. ~

Cloud dreamt. He dreamt of Sephiroth standing in front of a window on a perfect night. Sephiroth gently brushed back some of his silver hair and stared out at the stars. Cloud watched all this from down the hall. Lining the walls of the hall were portraits of SOLDIER who had proceeded both Sephiroth and Cloud. All of them had a story, Cloud was sure, but their faces meant nothing to him personally as he made his way down the hall to Sephiroth. The other boy never turned until the last minute when he looked up at Cloud with sad aqua eyes.

Cloud went up on his toes to kiss Sephiroth. They never spoke so much as a word to eachother as they calmly kissed and embraced in the starlight. Cloud had the eerie sense of being watched from the portraits on the walls. He and Sephiroth were a secret, and he had always been paranoid about someone finding out and the secret being whispered along the lines until they were both thrown out of SOLDIER for breaking more rules than Cloud could count. It felt so weird, kissing him there. Usually they’d waited until they had a moment in a small room or office. Not in such an open area...

~ Starry, starry night

Portraits hung in empty halls

Frameless heads on nameless walls

That watch the world with eyes that can’t forget

Like the strangers that you’ve met. ~

It was the wrong-ness of the situation that made Cloud realize he was dreaming. When he woke up, he quickly got dressed and left the tent to look around in the early morning light. It had snowed while he was asleep, the gentle carpet between his feet was soothing, oddly, and made him feel just a little more safe even with the constant threat of monsters. He looked over to see someone lying in the snow, looking like they’d been to hell and back. Cloud ran to them, just to recognize them as Vincent. He drew a sharp breath. Vincent was sprawled on his back like a big red bat, or something, where his cape made up his wings. It was too alike an image from the past for Cloud to handle.

Cloud remembered vividly how Sephiroth had been sprawled naked across his red like everything pure on the black blankets. He was white as snow, and his hair was a perfect contrast to the black sheets. Cloud lowered his body to meet Sephiroth on the bed. Sephiroth had made it very clear that none of it had to happen, but Cloud loved the perfect SOLDIER. He wasn’t going to ever let Sephiroth out of his sights. Not then, he wasn’t, anyway.

It took Cloud a moment to realize that Vincent had been bleeding, and that there was a puddle of dried blood surrounding him under his cape. Vincent... was dead. Cloud would feel betrayed and confused, were it Sephiroth, but Vincent had made peace with Cloud and the rest of the world before he went, so Cloud was willing to accept his death.

~ The ragged men in ragged clothes

A silver thorn, a bloody rose

Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow ~

Cloud led the others to a third victory over Sephiroth, feeling empty for beating the man who’d once been his lover. He didn’t want to kill Sephiroth, not really. He still wanted to be with Sephiroth—Vincent taught him that. None of the others would ever understand what Vincent and Cloud had talked about. Cloud realized when he saw Tiffa celebrating, that they might never understand.

~ Now I think I know

What you tried to say to me

And how you suffered for your sanity

How you tired to set them free

Would not listen, they’re not listening still

Perhaps they never will...? ~

~~ THE END ~~


Author's Notes: Sorry, that was really depressing. I won’t do it again, I promise. Didn’t like my Cloud? Well, I don’t like him at all, so be glad that I even got this close to anything respectable. And, sorry Aeris fans, but I just hate her with no remorse. I might actually like Rinoa BETTER than her... that says something. Anyway, yeah, thanks for reading. Oh, and a cookie to anyone who knows who Vincent was “setting free” in this story.

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