Junon had, unfortunately, not changed much since the last time that he had visited it. Every time he entered the large naval city, he just wanted to pick up and leave again as quickly as possible. Usually deliveries to Junon were some of the fastest that he completely, just in to where he needed to go and right back out again when the package had been delivered.
Junon was loud and still mechanized to the extreme. There were cobblestone or cement streets everywhere, and the grinding noises of machinery building other machinery made his ears hurt all the time. The glare of the sunlight off of the metal contraption that were supposed to be office buildings and stores made his headaches almost unbearable to the point where he wasn’t able to remove his sunglasses while in the city walls. The hustle and bustle of people did little to tune out the noises of advancement of the city and the navel base.
Gritting his teeth against the noise of the city, Cloud sat down on Fenrir once again, rubbing his temple to ease the ache found there. Luckily, Junon was relatively quiet, but only because it was the beginning of the week. He could only hope that there would be no more deliveries to this part of the continent, and more to nicer places like Kalm and even deliveries in Midgar.
Starting the engine to his motorcycle, Cloud left to the much more quiet plains to lead back to home. It was a nice day outside with plenty of sunshine to warm his back and there wasn’t enough wind to actually send up the dust except when he roared by on Fenrir. The roads were clear of anyone else, so he could keep to his own thoughts and his own way of doing things, meaning he remained silent and allowing his senses to ease from the gallivant through Junon harbour.
He drew to a stop and checked the placement of the sun, nodding his head a little as he remained seated on Fenrir and just fished around in his hidden pockets. He quickly located the little silver case and pulled it out, flipping it open and casually taking out two tablets. He threw them back and forced them down, shaking his head a little at the horrible taste that came along with them.
Snapping the case shut again, he tucked it away, feeling the initial wave of relief before it faded away to leave his mind clearer than it usually was no a days. The pills tasted awful though, but it was a small price to pay for pain relief. At least he hadn’t gotten a nosebleed today, which was one of the simple pleasures that he often hoped for.
Cloud reached down to start up Fenrir when he felt something shift. He paused as a tremor seemed to run along his consciousness, crawling along the edge of his awareness before pausing. He was held in seeming froze suspicion as he tentatively reached out with all of his mental senses to figure out what was lurking there, but there was no actual element that manifested as almost a physical awareness to him… not in months at least. There was another small shift, a scuttling across a tendril of his consciousness.
He shook his head and pushed aside the feeling of something building. The pills obviously hadn’t taken full effect… yet there was an echo in his mind beyond what he could actually sense. He concentrated his attention on that, moving away from the original shift, reaching out to the echo that seemed to be growing closer and closer… like a tidal wave of some sort.
He sat posed on motorcycle, keeping his head down as he waited for the moment to simply pass him by so he could continue on his way. Such moments were not completely uncommon, and he generally simply had to wait them out until they passed harmlessly by. The wave gripped at the edge of his consciousness before fading away with little more of a scratching at his mind.
Cloud sighed and relaxed a little, running a hand through his blonde spikes. And then he came to regret it…
There was a sudden build in his mind that ripped free with a blood-curdling scream that washed to all corners of his mind, two opposing forces ripping themselves apart suddenly. The scream was beyond human comparison, like something was trying to rip itself free again, lashing and clawing at his mind, drawing forth a part of himself that had lay dormant for long months. The scream intensified until it beat against the sides of his skull, pounding and slithering through his brain looking for an escape and not finding one readily available, so it continued to rampage in his skull with a furry of blows that rocked his entire physical form.
The screaming only grew louder, and he was convinced that his skull would simply split open, but no… the pounding stopped for a moment and clawed at the frontal portions of his mind, raking psychic nails through his brain. The claws tore through, burrowing in his brain until grasping onto two cords, an escape towards freedom. Sheering the two nervous cords, the wailing essence began to jam itself, causing complete blindness with the explosion of coloured pain that paralyzed his body.
It didn’t matter as the space behind his eyes began to hurt, feeling like a spread of fire was tearing down his optic nerve. He ripped off his sunglasses and grabbed his face, bending over as the screaming essence grappled and tore through him, ripping down to where his eyes were before vicious plunging itself there. It was a feeling unlike any other, and it caused a scream to rip out his throat, accenting the screaming writhing thing that was clawing inside his eyeballs.
It began to rip into the sensitive portions of his eye, displacing everything and pounding ruthlessly as if it could not find an escape despite whatever thought it had that it could have found freedom. The sheering pain was a technicolour explosion of lights that nearly had him clawing at his own face, needing to get out the demon that was making his eyeballs feel like they were bleeding from the inside out.
The screaming continued to its peak, rattling his entire frame before it narrowed down to his eyes again, the fight of whatever had awakened and come out of dormancy growing more and more desperate until blooded tears were spilling down Cloud’s cheeks. The vision behind his clenched eyelids was a combination of exploding lights, tearing screams and visions of black clawed hands ripping at the front of his eyes.
And then it suddenly came to pass, and there was nothing but silence in his mind again. The agony slowly dissipated and the claws stopped scratching, seemingly torn away and defeated by either lack of time or strength to escape him. A fine tremble ran along his muscles as he reached up and hastily wiped the blood from his face, opening his eyes a moment later to check his vision.
It was clear, probably clearer than it should have been considering the blood that had seeped from under his eyelids. His vision was still sharp as ever, even if his eyes burned and were itchy. He blinked rapidly, waiting for the final fragments of discomfort to disappear from his mind and all the phantom mental damage to ease again.
Cloud reached down and picked up his sunglasses, rubbing the dust off of them as if everything was normal. He peered into them to make sure that all the dirt was gone, and then turned them over to check for scratches. His features were reflected back at him as he studied the lens and suddenly, they were pulled closer.
Blinking his eyes, he watched as the reflection of his sunglasses in slight disbelief, pulling the reflective lens closer until it focused down onto his eyes. There… staring back at him were glowing blue eyes, just like normal. No, the blue didn’t catch his attention, it was the cat-like slitted pupils that did.
Even sitting there waiting for them to return to normal as they always had produced no effect and those wrong pupils continued to stare back at him. He shuddered and came to realize that the last strike of Jenova had left a life-lasting mark on his body that couldn’t be hidden so easily. Still… the Jenova cells that had lay dormant within him were utterly caged to prevent them from moving ever again… but at what cost to himself? More importantly, what had caused such a violent reaction?
Slowly slipping his sunglasses onto his face, he hid the new feature and intended to keep it that way as much as possible. It would be difficult to hide, and he intended for only a select few to find out anything. He was always hiding something again.