Disclaimer: The usual. No money made, yada, yada
Summary: Zack makes a discovery
When you’ve lived with the same people day after day, year after year, the details of their lives became woven within a fabric so seamless and fine that the smallest unraveling cannot not pass without notice.
Anders’ blue thread that went with him everywhere, still faithfully mending little holes and big ones years beyond his cadet days. “Yeah, yeah- its my good luck charm, okay? Now hand over that shirt, Zack- ya look like a bum.”
A faded bandanna wound around Kesla’s sword sheath for the same reason.
Line upon line of tiny tally marks wandering over Terrel’s armor in commemoration of an entire menagerie of monster kills. A tiny lightning-bolt charm always swinging from Sakka’s belt loop- a birthday gift from his little sister.
A mosaic of hardship shared, badges of courage molded in the shapes of scarred armor, frayed laces of boots worn thin, all of it stained by miles uncountable. Wry smiles around campfires Damn, that one almost got me as mismatched thread followed the path of a shining needle and stitched another hard-won victory into the only medals a SOLDIER truly valued.
Familiar stories, the ones told over and again when long winter nights in the middle of nowhere called for gathering close around the fire, remembering where and how those faint, long-healed scars came from because they were there and lived through the mud, blood and misery right beside you.
Laughter, too often brittle and forced until enough bottles stood empty to take the edge of that pain away, until you could remember the ones who didn’t come back with something besides a gut-wrenching hollowness that would never truly fade.
Names and faces, brothers of the sword disappearing into oblivion one by one, leaving nothing behind but an unsolved mystery and memories to prove they’d ever existed.
Cold, wet, and desperate, Zack wrenched open a warped, featureless closet door in the basement of a house of horrors, and a carelessly entangled torrent of memories tumbled to rest at his feet.
This piece was inspired by the question of where those poor unfortunates in Nibelheim’s rector pods came from, and speculation regarding Cloud’s clothing after he and Zack escaped Hojo’s lab.