• Ghost of Cloud's Past

    Winter had just hit as the holiday season began in Midgar. Cid was steadily working on “Santa’s Sleigh”, helping his “old pal” Saint Nick, so he could make the long haul on Christmas Eve, delivering presents to all the kids around the world. On his radio played “Christmas Time Is Here”, the sounds of which flowed throughout the Sector 7 Slums. The somber but sweet melody calmed his old crotchety soul.

    At the Seventh Heaven, Tifa and Marlene strung popcorn on wire to decorate the tree. It was a grand fir tree. Ever since Sephiroth was defeated and Shinra replaced, things were looking up for those in the slums. Passageway to the plate above was permitted. The quality of life below was greatly increased, even if it was at a slow rate. Nonetheless, everything was looking up.

    “Tifa,” Marlene asked, “why do we celebrate Christmas?”

    Tifa replied, “Just string the popcorn so the tree can look pretty, dear.”

    At the bar, Yuffie and Red XIII were hanging garland and holly. Yuffie noticed an open box behind the bar and took a peak. “Advent Children Calendars!” she shouted. “Can we have them now?”

    “I was going to wait until Midnight to give them to you,” Tifa said, “but since you’re all so helpful and I’m in a jolly mood, why not?”

    Red XIII butted in and took one out with his snout. Marlene ran up and grabbed another, a nice blue one. Yuffie grabbed the last one.

    She looked over at Marlene’s. “Hey, I wanted the Shiva Advent Children Calendar!” she moaned, sitting down in a huff. “I didn’t want the Chocobo Lure one!”

    “Master Thief should’ve been quicker,” Marlene said, holding the Calendar close to her. Red XIII paid no mind to all of this, as he had already taken all the candy out of his Earth Advent Children Calendar and continued hanging Holly.

    “Thanks, Tifa,” he said.

    “Red,” she replied giggling, “you weren’t supposed to eat it all at once!”

    Red XIII shrugged. “Meh, this whole holiday thing seems like it was just thrust upon us for no reason anyway.”

    “Now that’s enough of that,” Tifa said, stringing the popcorn. “Anyway, where is Cloud?”

    The holiday season really seemed to get Cloud down. He was on the outside of town just staring into the night sky. He couldn’t stop thinking about Aeris, and in turn Sephiroth. Even taking down Sephiroth never made things feel right. “She was so innocent,” he’d think, watching the stars twinkle. “She’ll never get justice now.”

    As for Barrett, he was in the basement ironing out his Santa suit. “Every year I’ve got to wear this damn thing and I have no idea what for!” he growled. “Damn thing gets so wrinkled in that small ass box I’ve got to hide it in. But I can’t let Marlene see it, it’d break her heart to know I was impersonating Santa.

    “Why can’t that Spiky headed fool ever do this? He just runs off thinking about Aeris, not knowing I know what he’s thinking about. He’s gotta good woman in Tifa and he’s pining over her still!”

    Five loud raps came from above. Barrett let the elevator down. It was Cid. “Got the sleigh fixed,” he said, taking a long swig of beer. “The children will really get a kick out of it this year, I’ve added flares to shoot out of the back, like a rocket engine!”

    “Rocket engine!” Barrett shouted, doing that crazy arm-waving thing he always does, “I ain’t getting in any rocket engine sleigh or whatever!”

    “No, you jackass,” Cid growled back, “they’re just flares to LOOK like a rocket engine.”

    “Well then,” Barret said, still flailing, “why didn’t you say that before?”

    Above them, Caith Sith came barreling into the bar. “Have you heard the news?” he shouted.

    “What’s going on?” Tifa asked, still stringing popcorn. What she didn’t notice was Marlene eating the popcorn off the other end of the string.

    “Santa Clause is here!” Caith shouted, bouncing up and down with the vigor of a lunatic. The others ran up to him squealing, asking where he was.

    Tifa was miffed. She knew Barret wasn’t ready. “Caith,” she said, “I’m sure it’s a few days too early, ISN’T IT?”

    “No, he’s already delivery gifts to Midgar!” the cat meowed. “However, he’s now going by the name Sephy Clause. It doesn’t make sense to me, but this whole holiday never made sense to me anyways!”

    “Sephy Clause?” Tifa thought. It seemed too transparent. “Could he be back?” she thought, “or was this some kind of warped trick?”

    “I’ve got to see Cloud,” she told the crew. “Stay here with the others, Caith, and Marlene, stop eating the popcorn!” She scurried off and the others went on with the decorating.

    Cloud was heading back to the slums when Tifa came to him. “Cloud, I think we’ve got a problem!” she said, almost out of breath.

    “Now what?” he thought, shaking his head.

    “Caith Sith told us there was someone going around calling himself ‘Sephy Clause’ bringing gifts to children.” She explained, “I don’t know if this is some sick joke or if…”

    “Don’t say it,” Cloud said. A rush of delight hit him, and he didn’t know why, but he tried his best to hide it. “Uh… we don’t need him back, that’s for sure.”

    “We’ve got to get to the bottom of this!” she cried.

    “Don’t worry, I’ll figure this out,” he said, holding her close to him. “You go back and keep an eye on Marlene and the others; I’ll talk to Vincent and see what he knows.”

    At this time Vincent was staying in Midgar as well. He had showed up during the summer, the others not really knowing why. They figured this was one of the other nonsensical things that happened ever since Sephiroth was defeated, which included the celebrating of this random winter holiday.

    “Can we just get on with this story?” Tifa asks, breaking the fourth wall.

    Anyway, Cloud made it to Vincent’s place, a small shack not different from the others of the slum. His, however, was more raggedy, as the others had used the opportunity to fix their places up a bit.

    All that was inside was a single coffin. Cloud walked up to it and gave it a swift kick. “Alright, Vincent, jokes over!”

    The coffin popped open and slowly raised Vincent. He turned his head and gave out a big yawn. “Why are you disturbing my slumber?” he moaned.

    “You know a lot for a guy who sleeps all the time,” Cloud asked. “So what’s the deal with this Sephy Clause?”

    “Are you insinuating that I’m behind that?” Vincent said, staring Cloud right in the eyes.

    “So you do know about it?” Cloud retorted, pointing his finger in Vincent’s chest.

    “I’ve heard things,” he replied, pushing the finger away. “I don’t sleep all the time, you know. I’ve got some life in me these days! But yes, I’ve heard of a tall, lanky figure dressed in bright crimson bringing some children gifts.”

    “Some children?” Cloud asked.

    “Yes, not everyone who crosses Sephy Clause’s path is fortunate.” Vincent answered, slashing across his throat. “Quite a few of the adults haven’t been so lucky. They usually receive a gift of steel across the throat.”

    “Why didn’t you bother saying anything to us?” Cloud yelled. “Sephy Clause! SEPH-Y! If you couldn’t deduce that, you’re brain is as dead as your spirit!”

    Vincent sat back down in his coffin. “Sigh, I worry about you, Cloud. I don’t know how this would affect you, considering your guilt,” he said, as he lay back down. “I thought he’d come right for you. I guess there’s something else to this whole thing other than avenging his own death.”

    The casket closed and Cloud suddenly found himself outside. “Christmas Time Is Here” still rang through the air, snow fell from the sky. “Why is it snowing under the plate?” Cloud wondered, looking up. The sky was clear and grey. “Where’s the plate?”

    He looked forward and found a tall figure in a long red coat and a floppy Santa hat. His hair was long and silver, hanging out from underneath. In his one arm he held a sack flung over his shoulder. In his right hand was his long Masamune.

    “Sephiroth!” Cloud shouted, taking his Buster Sword out. Just then he noticed it was covered in Kitty stickers. “Damn you, Marlene!”

    “Sephiroth?” the figure said. “I’m not Sephiroth, I’m Sephy Clause!”

    “Cut the crap, Sephiroth,” Cloud growled. “I don’t have time for your games!”

    “You seem upset, Cloud,” Sephy Clause said. “Didn’t Sephiroth’s death atone for Aeris’ murder?”

    “No, it didn’t,” Cloud said, looking down at his sword. “It did not.”

    “What would it take then?” Sephy Clause asked.

    Cloud thought about it. “The world is now safer without Sephiroth,” he said, putting down his sword. “And really, that’s all Aeris would’ve wanted.”

    He looked at Sephy Clause. “I don’t need to fight you,” he said, “but I need to save the others from you!”

    Sephy Clause put away his sword. He flung his sack on the floor. “Cloud, I had something for you, but it seems you’ve already given it to yourself,” he said, tossing the Masamune away.

    A glitter of light flowed from the back and enveloped Sephy Clause as he rose into the air. The light glimmer every color of the rainbow. Finally the form landed, as a fat little man dressed in red fur.

    “Ho, ho, ho!” the man laughed.

    “Santa Clause?” Cloud yelled, dropping the Buster Sword.

    “Yes, Cloud, ‘tis I,” Santa said. “For you, I’ve gotten you a peace of mind. You’ve realized that killing Sephiroth was never going to bring Aeris back, nor would it make that hole in your heart fill again. It wasn’t your fault she died, and you did everything you needed to do to make things right.”

    “But Santa, what about all those people Sephy Clause killed?” Cloud asked, holding his head in pain.

    “HO, HO, HO!” Santa laughed. “No one dies on Santa’s watch! I made your friend say that. I’m sorry, but it was the only way you could come to terms with all of this.”

    “Come to terms?” Cloud asked himself. “What is this, Oprah? What even is an Oprah?”

    “Cloud, you’ve realized the world is now a much better place after all your friends and you have done. Many sacrifices were made, but in the end everyone played their part!” Santa said, putting his arm around cloud.

    “Now, come on! Tifa has an Advent Children Calendar just for you!” he said, walking Cloud back to the Seventh Heaven. The plate above them reappeared and the snow ceased. “Christmas Time is Here” still rang through the air.

    “God, I wish he’d put on a different album,” Cloud lamented.

    “I’ll see what I can do,” Santa said as Cloud entered the bar.

    “Aren’t you coming in?” he asked Santa.

    “No, I can’t let Marlene see me,” Santa replied. “Anyway, I must be off.”

    “One more thing, Santa,” Cloud asked, “why do we celebrate Christmas?”

    “Just go inside and get your Calendar, Cloud,” Santa said, disappearing into the night.

    Cloud turned around and went in. Everyone was there, except for Aeris, of course. But that was okay. He walked up to Tifa and gave her a kiss on the head. She handed him his Advent Children Calendar.

    “Kjata!” Cloud cried. “But I wanted Shiva!”


    Artwork/Photo Credits:

    Sephiroth Santa w/ Cloud, by the very talented photographer Sunstroke http://sunstroke-art.deviantart.com/

    Sephy Clause, by our very own very talented DrAssenov http://drassenov.deviantart.com/

    Sephiroth's Christmas Revenge, by the very talented artist/cosplayer generaltifa http://generaltifa.deviantart.com/

    A very special thanks to all of them for their excellent work & allowing me to use it for my little fanfic. I hope you enjoyed & have a great holiday season!
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Ghost of Cloud's Past started by Colonel Angus View original post
    Comments 3 Comments
    1. DrAssenov's Avatar
      DrAssenov -
      Oh that ended in much less violent way then I was expecting! XD Thanks again!
    1. Bubba's Avatar
      Bubba -
      Very enjoyable! Nice and festive!
    1. Loony BoB's Avatar
      Loony BoB -
      Great work, Angus, and lovely art in this too!
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