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Fic: Windows (KH, Aerith)

Title: Windows
Author: Katrina
Beta: None, point out any mistakes
Fandom: Kingdom Hearts
Challenge: [community profile] daily_prompt/750 words
Series: No real series
Characters: Aerith
Words: 797
Rating: PG



They say that eyes are the windows of the soul, and if that is true, Aerith is aware they have a very serious issue.

When Cloud came back to Hollow Bastion, he hid in a variety of ways. Mostly by refusing to look people in the eye and lurking around a great deal. She hadn't thought much of it, figuring it was a case of him trying to readjust. After all, it had been nine years since the fall of their home and the scattering of the survivors.

It wasn't until she got a good look at his eyes that Aerith realized that Cloud might not have been as much a survivor as they had thought.

The glow, that was something new. She never remembered his eyes glowing before. Thought it was hard to remember those blue eyes from time to time. Sometimes, in vague recollections, Aerith thought they had been a different shade of blue, something paler. Cloud's eyes were darker, and she always shook her head as she tried to get the strange memories out of her head.

They led to other memories, ones of a dark haired boy she didn't quite recall. Just a flash of an image here, the sound of a laugh there. A bright smile, and a whisper in her mind that went on about hero. Memories that couldn't be real, because Cloud was blond and had dark blue eyes.

But she didn't remember Cloud having eyes that glowed in the dark, the way they had when she had woke up thirsty and gone to get a drink. He had been crashing on her couch, and when she stepped into the living room, those glimmers of blue fire had focused on her.

Something with all of this was very wrong. Memories weren't how they should be, and she knew that something about that was wrong. Just like she was having issues with remembering other things. Other details, like the boy who had brought them news of Cloud. He was a friend, but she was having issues with his name now and then.

Frustrated with herself and with the feeling that things were going to get much worse before they got better, Aerith tried to focus on what to do about Cloud.

He was different, and she wasn't sure how much of it was just the time gone by, or if there was something darker involved. She didn't dare bring this to Leon, not yet. Those two circled each other like wary dogs now, she didn't need to give them any more reason to snap at each other. So it was something that she'd puzzle at by herself for now. Yuffie had issues with the concept of secrets at times, and Cid would slip back into father/older brother mode, something that the younger refugees from Hollow Bastion had finally gotten him mostly out of. Being the oldest of their group had taken a toll on him, and he had bursts of being over protective.

Right now, she'd have to go on her own. Perhaps after she got together some more clues, she'd talk to Merlin. He had plenty of ideas of his own, and he might help her figure out of her friend who wanted to be a hero had ended up as a hired assassin for Hades. She had a hard enough time imaging Cloud fighting at an arena at all, let alone killing people for munny.

Eyes were the windows into the soul, and behind the glow that he had developed over the years, there was something missing in Cloud's eyes. He had been a stubborn, caring person. Not that he wasn't both of those things now. But they were hidden much more. Well, at least the care was. The stubborn was clear for anyone to see, given his obsession with Sephiroth. Or, perhaps, it was Sephiroth's obsession with him.

In any case, something was wrong, and Aerith wasn't sure if the part of Cloud that was missing wasn't the heart of him. He was a perfect shell of a cold, efficient fighter.

Not heartless, no. Not like the things that crept around and fed on those who couldn't flee fast enough or fight hard enough. Nothing like that. Whatever was wrong with Cloud, it wasn't that. She was sure of it. But there was something missing in him, and while she had heard of Sephiroth's claims, she didn't think that it was Cloud's darkness that was missing, either.

He felt so hollow, and it was something she saw clear in his eyes. Blue glass was what they were, and she was worried what would happen when something finally made them shatter.

They had a very serious issue, but she hadn't a single idea of how to solve it.

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