The delivery had gone smoothly as usual, and Cloud half-sat on Fenrir off the side of a dingier part of town. The pen in his hand shifted as he filled out the form for proper delivery with the signature of the recipient at the bottom. Even in the unfavourable writing conditions, his neat hand-script moved fluidly in the appropriate spots of the form, a process that he had done after each and every delivery that he did no matter the time required for the next one.
Turning his chin down, his softly glowing blue eyes peered over the rim of his sunglasses before disappearing again behind the tinted lens. He shifted his grip on the pen and put it back into the compartment under Fenrir’s seat, the booklet of forms flipping closed with a flick of his wrist before following after the pen. He had to stand up to close and lock to compartment again, shaking out his left arm so that the black material covering it fell back into proper.
Cloud shifted his weight, easing it to his right foot as he prepared the lift the left and straddle Fenrir. He paused in the action at the sound of a little female voice from across the street. He turned to look in the direction that his name had been called, spotting a small brown-hair girl jumping up and down waving a hand wildly at him.
When it became apparent that the little girl was going to cross the street and come to him, he turned and walked across the sidewalk to the edge of the parked cars and looked either way to make sure that it was safe to cross. He noted that, in her excitement, she didn’t bother to look, and it caused his left hand to instantly shoot up and point at her.
“Did you look both ways, Ginny?”
His action snapped her out of her excited haze, and she stopped dead, immediately backtracking the small distance that she had made and turned back. He watched her look both ways of the street before moving as fast as her damaged legs could carry her across the street to his side. He didn’t have to wait long before her thin arms were around his thigh in a childish hug.
“Cloud! It’s been so long! You said you would come and visit me and the others in Alley 56. We missed you,” she said with a little pout on her lips. “I missed you, Cloud.” Her face grew a bit graver before relaxing, looking all like an eight-year-old that she actually was.
Holding out his gloved hand, Cloud didn’t have to wait long at all before it was clasped and held tightly. He walked slowly so that Ginny could keep up with his longer gait before stopping when he was next to Fenrir again. He leaned down and picked her up, setting her down on his motorcycle before falling into a slow crouch so that they were more face level.
He noted that she looked thinner since the last time that he had seen her, which would have been two weeks or a little more. Her brown hair hung around her in a little mass, her face smeared with some dirt from some form of childish play that had to have occurred. Her clothing, most notably socks, was brownish from lack of washing, but it was clear she had tried to smooth down her clothing before she had called to him.
“Have you eaten?” He knew she hadn’t, but he always felt the need to ask anyway. It was a sort of ritual that they had whenever they met.
“Nope,” she answered, truthful as ever, almost to a fault. She swung her legs from where she was seated, the long white scars from her accident plainly evident, but neither of them mentioned it. “Can you come and visit?”
Cloud shook his head a little, but he held a hand out to her again. He lifted her off of Fenrir when she took it and began to walk down the street, urging her along with a few small steps. She stumbled a few times on uneven pavement, and he eventually, simply lifted her up and set her on his spaulder, feeling hands in his hair in an attempt to hold on even if it wasn’t necessary. His pace quickened simply by taking up his own natural gait.
He tilted his head up when Ginny began to babble about what the other children were doing and the kinds of games that they had been playing lately. It was the same thing she talked about all the time, but he allowed her to lead the conversation, only interjecting a question to inspire her to keep talking to him or lead them on a different path of conversation.
He stepped inside the sandwich shop he usually took her to, probably her favourite place that he took her too. He set her down to walk around the shop to browse and pick out something to eat. He nodded to the elderly man behind the counter who knew his purpose and his name, which was pretty much enough for most people at this part of Edge.
“Cloud, can I have some chocolate cake today,” Ginny asked, peering back at the blonde standing behind her.
Cloud simply shook his head before reconsidering the request. “If you eat all your lunch, I will get you a piece of cake,” he replied softly, enough that only she could hear him speak. He knew she would not be able to finish the sandwich that she decided on, and he would get her a piece of chocolate cake after she had finished eating anyway.
Ginny looked over through the glass and pointed at the sandwich that she wanted, minus certain things she would refuse to eat because it looked funny or tasted bad. He urged her to order for herself, but she had to stand by his side half hidden under the dark material that hung down one half of his hips. Still, she managed to order for herself, and it appeared to please her when the fruits of her labours produced the food that she wanted.
Making her hold her plate of food, Cloud directed her to a table and lifted her up to the padded seat before sitting beside her. He knew she didn’t like it when he sat across, saying she liked him close so that she knew she was protected for that single moment in time. So, he sat beside her and watched her eat.
They never spoke much when she was eating, but he knew that other patrons watched them silently. He frequented this area not only for deliveries but because many of the orphans of Edge lived down in this sector. He was known to take care of them even if he didn’t take them all into his home – or there lack of. Each of the children knew him by name, and he had a surprising skill to know most of them by name as well.
He felt a little sorry for them, not as much as he probably should have. He knew what it was like to be a forgotten fragment of society, but that didn’t bother him as much as it probably should have. He had accepted it and accepted that someone had to take care of the little ones, and he had managed to get more than a few adopted to families… but not as many as he probably should have.
Still, they came to him when they needed something. Sometimes it was a meal; sometimes it was a cure spell; sometimes it was a leg to cling to for a few moments; sometimes it was nothing more than him acknowledging them by name… so they knew that someone remembered that they were there. He didn’t spend a lot of time with them, but he had somehow become the poster-boy for orphan awareness or something silly like that.
“Cloud, can I have cake?”
He turned his eyes down to regard her before pulling his sunglasses off of his face to hang around his neck simply. He leaned over to investigate the state of her sandwich, and he admitted being pleased to see that a little over half was gone. He insisted she save it and either give it to a friend or save it for another meal. “Hmmm…”
“Pretty please,” Ginny chimed and kicked her legs under the table, one of which continually bumped up against his knee. She gave him a pleading look that really made it seem like chocolate cake would solve all her worries and problems.
He looked like he was debated the issue until she grabbed one of the straps that hung down his chest, pulling on it and making a begging noise. “Alright… but you have to order it yourself,” he said as he climbed to his feet and watched her scoot over to the edge before staring at him expectantly. He caught the drip very easily and lifted her from the bench to the ground again, her little damaged legs unable to support even that small jump without buckling.
Waving her ahead, he followed at a slower pace so that she could get to the counter and stare at the cake in question for a few moments before his arrival. She was at his side immediately and hugging his thigh again, but he said nothing even when she gave him a pleading look, and even the elderly man behind the counter looked expectantly at her more than him.
“…I have cake?” The little voice was squeaky and shy.
“Just one piece,” the old man inquired and this time looked to Cloud. He held up two fingers to indicate two pieces, and it was gotten for them.
“You’re having a piece too, Cloud? You never have cake,” Ginny said, looking a little awe-struck as he handed her a piece wrapped in plastic and kept one for himself.
Cloud patted the top of her head as he paid and directed her back to the table again, setting his piece down before lifting her up to the table again. Seating himself beside her, he opened his package and watched her stuff a piece of cake too big for her into her mouth. He simply poked her in the full cheeks, and she giggled around the mouthful, swatting playfully at his offending finger.
She managed to do better on the cake than the sandwich, but neither actually managed to be finished completely. She looked expectantly at the piece that was still packed up next to his hand, but he made no move to consume it himself. She didn’t ask about it, and he didn’t talk about it.
Their lunch was fairly quick and soon enough, Ginny had managed a migration back to being seated on his shoulder clutching the remnants of her cake and sandwich in her hands. Half way back to Fenrir, he managed to convince her to sing him a song for the way back, and, while most of it was consumed with little bursts of giggling, a happy song was produced before his head received a hug for the attention he had lavished on her.
He sent her on her way soon after reaching Fenrir, this time walking her across the street before returning back to Fenrir. He left with her waving her only free hand and calling his name, onto the next delivery and another little orphan he was sure he would meet at that place, the chocolate cake saved for that little boy.
It was just another simple day in the life of one, Cloud Strife… or so the newspapers often wrote it down as. The media loved their tales of his non-heroic adventures attempting a simple life.