Fan Fic: The Fifth Act

The Fifth Act by Sinnatious is Final Fantasy VII Peggy Sue fic, which brilliantly defies the ‘formula’ set by Final Fantasy VII Peggy Sue fics.

After an accident with a time travel material, Cloud is thrown into the past (not returned to his old body) before the events of Crisis Core. With the realization that he could prevent a lot of tragedy, he sets off to kill Sephiroth. Being Cloud, what he actually planned is entirely different from what he ends up doing.

Expanded Universe oneshots available here

Also available on Ao3.

This work contains examples of:

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     Tropes in The Fifth Act

  • Accidentally Broke the MacGuffin: Cloud accidentally breaks the extra vials carrying the spring water when he fought the Grand Horn with Zack, losing Genesis's chance to cure Angeal's degeneration quickly.
    • The entire plot is kicked off by Cloud accidentally breaking a mastered Time materia.
  • Achilles in His Tent: Cloud gets Vincent to leave him by telling him where he can find Lucrecia's cave so he could speak to her. Vincent leaves so he can get some closure and Cloud no longer has him as obstacle to his plans. He comes back when the Soldiers answer Cloud's PHS in their search for Cloud and helps to remind of Sephiroth of his humanity.
  • Adaptational Badass: Kunsel is a normal Second Class with being a Mr. Exposition as his distinguishing trait. In the story, he is shown to match Zack in skill and to be far more perceptive and knowledgable than people realize.
  • Advantage Ball: Cloud consistently has the advantage over the characters due to having a decade of experience and better equipment. Although he loses this when he gives the Ribbon to Kunsel.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Cloud seems to forget his lesson about letting go of his past traumas and forgiving oneself. To be fair to Cloud, all of the sources of trauma are alive again due to his accidental Time Travel and he unintentionally loses all his friends and family in the process.
  • An Aesop: By reaching out to others, you can help others change whether you intended to or not.
    • Vengeance isn't worth dedicating your life and dreams towards.
  • And Then What?: A recurring problem of Cloud is that people are constantly questioning what his goals are past killing of Sephiroth and what will he do if he succeeds.
  • Appeal to Consequences: Cloud tries to convince Lord Godo that it would be a very bad idea to continue fighting ShinRa, explaining that their plan to unleash monsters will not work, if they surrender now they could get better terms and time to regroup.
  • Ascended Extra: Kunsel, who was the Mr. Exposition of the game, is upgraded to a Knowledge Broker and First Class candidate in his own right and becomes a close friend to Cloud.
  • Ascended Fanboy: When Cloud was younger he was a fan of Sephiroth and wanted to join SOLDIER. He finds it deeply ironic that he's strong enough to join SOLDIER and later gets promoted to First Class when he doesn't care about it anymore.
    • In the Extended Universe, his younger self does get to join SOLDIER.
  • Asshole Victim: Hojo is shot to death, mourned by no one. It was extremely easy to cover up his death.
  • A World Half Full: Midgar and the Planet by the end of the story. Yes Shinra still controls the world and is draining the Lifestream. But the terrible tragedy and huge death tolls from Meteor, Geostigma and Deepground never happened, Midgar isn't as bad as Cloud remembers it, Wutai retains a large amount of its autonomy and there's plenty of high ranking employees willing to change Shinra. As Aerith says "The Planet's stronger than you think"
  • Bad Dreams: Sephiroth starts getting nightmares of Cloud's memories in the original timeline. Due to their S-cells, they evolve to Sephiroth seeing Cloud's recent memories in his sleep.
  • Bad Future: Averted, Cloud had no desire to travel back because after all the tragedies the future was not that bad. He decided to change the past after he realized he could prevent the tragedies and traumas.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: Hollander kidnaps Cloud to experiment on him under the guise of helping Angeal. After chapter or so, he's killed offscreen and Hojo takes Cloud for his own experiments.
    • Despite Cloud's goal throughout the story to kill Sephiroth, Cloud turns out to be the Final Boss.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Being experimented on by Hojo, unbalanced by the truth of his origins and seeing Sephiroth burn down the Shinra Mansion allows Jenova to possess Cloud in Nibelheim
  • Berserk Button: Don't call Cloud a puppet and don't threaten his friends.
  • Big Damn Heroes: When Kunsel is too exhausted to kill the last Nibelian wolf, Angeal swoops in and finishes it off
    • Just as he is about to kill Zack, Aeris contacts Cloud through the Lifestream and breaks Jenova's hold on him.
    • Genesis saves Cloud and Sephiroth's lives when he reflexively casts a Sleep spell on Cloud.
  • Big Good: Minerva (the personification of the Planet) makes a brief appearance. The Extended Universe implies that Cloud's time travel was arranged by the Planet.
  • Bookends: The beginning of Cloud's journey starts with him saving Genesis when the latter's chronic pain interrupts their fight, curing him from a painful deterioration and a horrific downward spiral. It ends with Genesis interrupting Cloud's fight with Sephiroth, saving both their lives and preventing Cloud's self-destruction.
  • A Boy and His X: Young!Cloud and the Angeal chimera. The Angeal chimera was given to Young!Cloud by Angeal to protect him and Kunsel on their way to Midgar.
  • Butterfly of Doom: A lot of Cloud's unintentional acts make major waves, such as curing Genesis as a result he never defects Sephiroth never goes crazy, Angeal defects instead and Cloud gets possessed by Jenova.
    It was the small actions that make the biggest differences
  • Brains and Brawn: Zack is the physcial powerhouse who has the habit of not thinking things through while Kunsel is a perceptive Knowledge Broker who tends to overthink before acting.
  • Break the Cutie: Zack sees the dark underbelly of ShinRa when his beloved mentor disappears and both of his best friends go missing. See Good News, Bad News for specifics.
  • Brick Joke: In a Shout-Out to Crisis Core, Yuffie discovers Cloud's number and sends him spam mail about finding treasure in various improbably dangerous places. Except for a mention by Tseng, Yuffie's messages are generally ignored. Then at the very end Cloud reads Yuffie's messages and has to go rescue her from the Northern Crater.
  • Broken Ace: While everyone admits Cloud to be very powerful and skilled, a lot of his peers and superiors also think that he's very unstable. He has little to no drive outside of his desire to kill Sephiroth, has a Hair-Trigger Temper and seems to extremely traumatized with no family or friends in sight.
  • Broken Pedestal: Cloud is adored as The Ace throughout ShinRa for his skill, known to match Sephiroth and being a good mentor to those willing to seek him out. He falls off this when they find out that he essentially planned a murder-suicide for himself and Sephiroth. This ends up being for the best as they can finally help Cloud and truly befriend him.
  • The Bus Came Back: Little Cloud and Vincent join the party both bearing important information about Cloud and Nibelheim.
  • Call Back:
    • You're not WEAPON or Calamity, right? You're just a nobody. Can a nobody talk to the Planet?: At first, Aeris says this to Cloud when the Planet warned Aeris about him and how he seemed to know more about Cetra abilities than she did. Later, Aeris uses it to remind Cloud that he can't talk to the Planet. Which means the voice that Cloud is hearing is not the Planet, but Jenova.
    • In a Call Back to Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, cell phones are metaphor for emotional contact.
  • Can't Take Anything With You: Subverted, Cloud had all his equipment with him, including his PHS.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: Sephiroth, especially when Cloud was trying to kill him in the penultimate chapter.
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: Once in the past, Cloud tries to call Tifa for the the call not to connect. It turns out it's because the number doesn't exist yet.
    • Cell phones come back as a metaphor for emotional connection. Cloud's contact list is filled with dead numbers or people who (currently) have no connection to him whatsoever symbolizing how he has no friends or family in the past and he's completely alone. Tseng even lampshades it:
    There's something sad about ... a phone filled with numbers to nowhere
    • Cloud giving his cell phone number to Vincent is a metaphor for how Vincent is his only connection that Cloud is willing to listen to. His cell phone ends up being key in his rescue as the First Classes use it to find him.
  • Central Theme: Redemption
  • Chekhov's Gun: Cloud's ribbon (which grants immunity to status effects), which enabled Cloud's time travel when it was overwhelmed by the mastered broken Time materia. He gives it to Kunsel when they're both captured by Hojo to help Kunsel escape. When Cloud gets possessed by Jenova, the loss of his ribbon loses him his Advantage Ball and Genesis is able to stop him
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Little Cloud and Vincent
  • Chekhov's Skill: Genesis always tries to cast status effects on Cloud, only for them to never work. Once Cloud gets possessed by Jenova, Genesis's reflexive casting stopped Cloud without them having to kill him.
  • Combat Pragmatist: When Genesis took Sephiroth to meet Cloud for the first time, Sephiroth tries to introduce himself and Cloud springs immediately to attack him to not give him an opening.
  • Confusion Fu: Part of the reason for First Tsurugi being a fusion sword. By splitting and recombining his sword, Cloud can take opponents off guard, exploit minute weaknesses and keep his battle style unpredictable.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Zack is extremely fortunate that he went outside and went below Plate when he was musing over his failure to find out what happened to Cloud and Kunsel. Because he literally bumps into Young Cloud who went to Midgar to find Cloud and treat the Mako-overdosed Kunsel.
  • Cutting the Knot: Since a lot of events center around Sephiroth, Cloud tries to kill Sephiroth to prevent them from happening.
    If he was going to change things, there was a person who needed to die.
    • At the end when both Cloud and Sephiroth are paralyzed by Jenova, Genesis shows up and impatiently fires off a few Fires, roasting Jenova.
    "Honestly. I'm not sure what I missed, but it wasn't even a moving target."
  • Cynical Mentor: Cloud to Kunsel and Zack
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory: Genesis reflexively cast status spells on Cloud, even though he does know it doesn't affect Cloud. Inverted when they have to fight a Jenova-possessed Cloud, Genesis casts a Sleep spell on Cloud and non-lethally takes him down because Cloud lost his immunity.
    • A tragic example, when Cloud and Sephiroth's rematch goes horribly wrong Sephiroth defends himself by attacking. While Cloud manages to hold back in time, Angeal who was intervening ends up taking the blow and gets horribly wounded.
  • Damned by Faint Praise/Compliment Backfire: Vincent tells Sephiroth that he sincerely has faith in Sephiroth and that he won't go mad as Cloud fears. Since this comes after the revelation that none of friends trust him and it's coming from a total stranger this doesn't do much to comfort him.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Hojo. He's the only character to figure out on his own that Cloud is from the future. With his only clue being Cloud's S cells
  • Day Hurts Dark-Adjusted Eyes: When Cloud wakes up after being freed from Jenova's possession and Hojo's experiments the light of day gives him a splitting headache.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Everyone has their moments, but particularly Genesis.
  • Death Seeker: Cloud is interpreted by Tseng and Angeal that he desires to kill Sephiroth so Sephiroth could kill him, as Cloud is too strong to be killed by anything or anyone else.
  • Dented Iron: Genesis stops his first fight with Cloud because he was in too much pain from his degeneration wound
  • Demonic Possession: when Cloud gets possessed by Jenova.
  • Demoted to Extra: Most of Cloud's comrades in the original game (except ironically the optional characters Yuffie and Vincent) get at most cameos. Justified in that it's years before FFVII; most of the characters are too young or have (so far) no beef with Shinra.
    • As it's about the same time period, most of the major characters in Crisis Core have significant roles. The big exception is Cissnei who only appears in one brief scene.
  • Determinator: See Offscreen Moment of Awesome.
    • Both Clouds really. It's genetic.
  • Didn't See That Coming: When Genesis and Sephiroth first meet Cloud, they thought he was a normal mercenary with some sort of grudge. His skill and strength are not something they expected was possible.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Cloud tends to make hasty decisions without any good plans. He shows up on the Wutai Front but didn't bother to check if Sephiroth was even there, he tries to bribe terrorists but without an advocate he goes nowhere, he joins Shinra but has no plan to get at Hojo, etc etc.
    • Yuffie, who randomly wanders into dangerous situations and continuously insults and steals the materia of powerful Shinra SOLIDERS. It's a good thing everyone is so indulgent with her.
  • Dismotivation: Kunsel initially didn't try for First Class as he has a comfortable position teaching (and gathering information) and thought he was overshadowed by people such as Zack. It isn't until Cloud starts encouraging him and teaching him materia does Kunsel decide to aim for First Class.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: Young Cloud had the same personality of the elder Cloud when he was the same age. While he's just as determined as his uncle, he's a lot more cheerful and expressive as he doesn't have the Dark and Troubled Past. His inferiority complex hasn't grown to the severity of his uncle's due to the latter's encouragement and the fact he did got into SOLDIER. Since he idolizes Genesis instead of Sephiroth, he's aiming to become a Magic Knight and is well-read due to becoming a fan of the Loveless play to the point that he can quote it from memory.
    • According to Genesis and Zack the only thing that Cloud and young Cloud have in common is their looks and their name.
  • Divided We Fall: Conflicts within Soldiers prevent them as communicating as effectively about problems and drive the plot.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: When Cloud takes the Soldier qualification, he thought Kunsel was taking it easy on him only to find out he exhausted the poor guy.
  • Dramatic Irony: In the original Final Fantasy VII, Cloud was basically seen as a loser when the truth came out and Hojo didn't even recognize Cloud, even though he experimented on him for years. Hojo of this timelime thinks Cloud is his most perfect creation and scolded the other Hojo for not recognizing his own success.
    • Cloud is working to kill Sephiroth to prevent the tragedies and deaths of his original timeline when the latter succumbed to madness. It's due to Cloud's interference that Sephiroth never goes insane becomes a more kinder and heroic figure.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Cloud refuses to see that Sephiroth has changed and not become the monster he was. He also refuses to answer the question of what will he do if he succeeds.
  • The Dreaded: SOLDIERs to regular people. A farm woman who was previously friendly to Cloud, clams up in terror when she sees his glowing eyes.
  • Dreaming of Times Gone By: Sephiroth gets dreams of the original timeline
  • Dudley Do-Right Stops to Help: Despite Genesis initiating a fight with Cloud when he tried to find Sephiroth, Cloud willing gives Genesis a vial of Aerith's spring water when he sees Genesis suffer from degeneration. Genesis is so moved that Cloud saved his life that he gets Sephiroth to come to Wutai.
  • Dysfunction Junction: The First Class SOLDIERS. Cloud is actively plotting Hojo and Sephiroth's deaths, Angeal is dying of a terminal illness, Sephiroth is disconnected from people and trying to get the approval of someone who despises him. It's telling that the resentful Drama Queen that is Genesis is the most stable one of the bunch.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Cloud can never go back to his original timeline and lost the family and friends he had. Although Cloud finally moves past his path of self-destruction and his hatred of Sephiroth and gained new friends and family with the Soldiers and Mini Cloud.
    • Genesis nearly loses his friends due to distrust sown but he not only saves his friends but saves the man who rescued him from death and gains a new appreciation on life.
    • After dealing with Cloud's hostile and volatile nature throughout the story, Sephiroth and Cloud finally bury the hatchet and he finds out more of his human side.
  • Easily Forgiven: Besides Hojo, everything involved in Cloud's capture and Cloud's attempt to murder Sephiroth is pretty much treated as water under the bridge. The moral of the story is forgiveness so it's to be expected.
  • Emotionally Tongue Tied: When Sephiroth tries to apologize to Cloud, he's at a loss what to do because he never had to apologize for anything.
  • Ensemble Cast: The focus of the story gets split between Cloud, Genesis, Angeal, Sephiroth, Zack, Kunsel and young Cloud.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: When Angeal finds out that Cloud is a Sephiroth clone due to his large number of S-Cells, he concludes that Cloud's desire to kill Sephiroth was a journey for self-identity and to prove himself better than the original. He couldn't be more wrong.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Sephiroth can be so insensitive that Heidegger can think he's thoughtless.
  • Face-Heel Turn: Angeal betrays Cloud to Hollinder and Hojo out of desperation for a cure. He comes to regret it eventually, and turns Face again shortly before the cure is found.
  • Fanboy: See Hero-Worshipper.
  • Flanderization: A bit though the author does keep most of the personalities consistent.
    • Zack is prone to recklessness and not thinking things through. This is present in Crisis Core but Zack could think strategically, displays plenty of Hidden Depths and matures over the course of the game. This is toned down so Zack can serve as a better foil to the other Soldiers.
    • Young!Cloud acts more childlike than his 15 years in Crisis Core. The Mini jokes also don't make sense since Young!Cloud might look younger he's not significantly shorter than FFVII Cloud. The Fifth Act occurs about a year before Crisis Core which shouldn't make that much of a difference.
  • Find the Cure: When he learns of Angeal's degradation from Genesis, Cloud promptly tries to have Aeris recreate the spring water. She finally does so in the climax and has Kunsel deliver it to Cloud to give to Angeal when Kunsel goes to Nibelheim.
  • First Name Basis: Cloud gives Zack his full name, which confused Genesis, Sephiroth and Angeal who only knew him as Strife and didn't realize they were the same man. Cloud is furious when Sephiroth starts calling him by his given name. Genesis was jealous that Zack knew the name of his savior before he did.
  • Fix Fic: For Crisis Core.
  • For Want of a Nail: Cloud's presence and action cause a tidal wave of effects, such as Genesis becoming the Hero of Wutai instead of Sephiroth since he didn't have his degradation holding him back.
    • Wutai retains its independence with Cloud convincing them to surrender on their own terms and implied to have a more successful recursion.
    • Because Kunsel was already investigating Cloud's disappearance, he takes the fateful Nibelheim mission instead of Zack.
    • Genesis never defects but Angeal does.
    • Hollander's death cuts short any further experimentation on his end. It also cripples Lazard who was his sponsor.
    • Since Hojo and Jenova are dead, there will be no Geostigma or DEEPGROUND.
  • Foreshadowing: A Nibelheim local comments that Mayor Lockhart doesn't like Cloud because he's afraid "he'll leave a trail of bastards" Guess what Cloud's father did?
    • Ms Strife freaks out at sight of Cloud and tries to shoot him because his "brother"note  and his family did something horrible to her and she doesn't want them to take her son. There is a good reason to why she freaked out.
    • At one point Cloud muses on how to destroy Jenova, remembering that she's vulnerable to mundane means and that a few good Fires should finish her off. Genesis does exactly that, firing off a bunch of Firagas and burning Jenova to ash.
    • When Vincent first tries to talk down Cloud from killing Sephiroth, Cloud utterly refuses to acknowledge such notions and wouldn't even lie or budge even if it meant losing Vincent as an ally.
  • Friendless Background: When Cloud arrives to Midgar, he has no allies and no friends since he left them behind in the past timeline.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: While Genesis, Angeal and Zack like Sephiroth, they don't trust him, at all. Angeal and Genesis kept their terminal illness a secret out of shame and resentment. Genesis and Zack initially keep Sephiroth out of their investigation of Cloud's disappearance in fear Sephiroth would turn on them as he is loyal to ShinRa and Cloud's disappearance is a company cover-up. Sephiroth himself notes how no one trusts him.
  • From Bad to Worse: Angeal sells Cloud out to Hollinder in hopes of finding a cure, only for Hollinder to reveal he has no intentions of finding a cure and wants to experiment to find out how Cloud's version of the SOLDIER formula. Then Hollinder is killed and Hojo takes Cloud instead.
  • Future Badass: Cloud, odd variant where the badass is the protagonist. This is for good and for bad, good in that he now surpasses Sephiroth bad in that Jenova and Hojo now find him the superior model.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Game mechanics are fully justified and explained within story. When Cloud compares his materia to Zack's materia, he explains since Cloud found his in the wild it tends to be more cost-heavy with more power. While Zack's Shinra man-made materia are very limited and simple but easier to use.
    • Since Cloud's Ribbon is a very rare item, the rest of the cast have no idea how Cloud is resisting status effects.
  • Go Look at the Distraction: When Vincent turns out to useless as an ally due to him not wanting to kill an innocent Sephiroth, Cloud tells him how to find Lucretia's cave so Cloud could ditch him.
  • Good News, Bad News: Zack is ecstatic when he finally gets the announcement for his promotion to First Class. It is quickly soured when Kunsel is declared dead in a footnote.
  • Green Eyes combined with Hellish Pupils: Cloud gains green slitted eyes when possessed by Jenova.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Genesis is resentful that Sephiroth is more stronger and more adored despite of Genesis' hard work. While he never truly gets over it, Genesis does overcome it.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: When everyone sees Cloud's they assume that he's a SOLDIER despite him never being part of Shinra.
  • Gotta Kill Them All: Cloud intends to kill Hojo, Jenova and Sephiroth in that order.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Genesis thinks the scouts who reported Cloud's presence are morons since Cloud is not hiding in the least, is too blond to be from Wutai and is openly camping.
  • Half Truth: Cloud tells people that he used to run a delivery service before he came to Midgar and his motorbike got trashed.
  • Have We Met Yet?: Played with, Cloud knows Genesis and of his hidden degeneration but never personally met him before
  • He Knows Too Much: Kunsel is given to Hojo to experiment on when he sticks his nose too deep in Cloud's disappearance and found a lead in Nibelheim.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Cloud wants to stop Sephiroth from getting possessed by Jenova and causing many tragedies, he ends up getting possessed by Jenova himself.
  • Head Butting Heroes: While Cloud is nominally on the same side as they are, he and the First Classes do not get along.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Averted Kunsel's helmet saves his life when it deflects a bullet while he's escaping Hojo.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Cloud's younger self towards Genesis, due to Future!Cloud's meddling. When Genesis finds out Cloud and his "nephew" are the same person, he thinks its hilarious. Also, Kunsel quite admires Cloud and treats him as if the latter was his mentor, even when he outranked him (until, of course, the latter got promoted).
  • Heroic Bastard: Cloud turns out be President Shinra's illegitimate son
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Cloud doesn't think to highly of himself after all what happened
  • Homeless Hero: When Cloud gets to Midgar, he's homeless due to the fact that all his allies are gone and had no money to buy a place to stay. He ends sleeping in Aerith's church and this is rectified when he's recruited for Shinra.
  • Honor Before Reason: Lord Kisaragi was willing to fight and lose badly to ShinRa than cowardly surrender. Subverted as Cloud convinces him to surrender to give time for his resources to recover and for the Resistance to regroup.
    • Angeal holds his honor more important above thing else only for him to abandon it when he was dying.
  • Hourglass Plot: Cloud is initially a humble nobody hoping to stop several tragedies. Genesis is forever stuck in Sephiroth's shadow and resentful of it. Sephiroth is the pride of ShinRa, arrogant with it being justified because no one could beat him. Cloud is proven to be the stronger man and becomes ShinRa's top SOLDIER despite his hatred of the company if it means he gets to kill Sephiroth and gets a lot of attention both positive and negative. Genesis becomes a hero in his own right as Hero of Wutai and becomes appreciative of his life and his friends when he came close to losing them. Sephiroth realizes for the first time what it means to be someone's shadow and wanting to reach someone's level of strength but being unable to and is able to empathize with Genesis. Cloud deliberately attempts to isolate himself while Genesis and Sephiroth attempt to include him. Cloud falls into madness when revealed the truth of his origins while Genesis and Sephiroth remain sane and stop him.
  • Humble Hero: Cloud doesn't let his fame or his skills get to his head and tries to avoid the spotlight whenever possible.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Sephiroth wants to befriend Cloud, who can surpass him in strength. Too bad the latter hates his guts.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Genesis wants to surpass Sephiroth. He ends up more famous than Sephiroth as he becomes the Hero of Wutai due to never defecting.
  • I Hate Past Me: Averted, Cloud is actually very supportive of his past self and convinces the latter to stay in Nibelheim to the avoid the mess that is SOLDIER.
  • I Thought Everyone Could Do That: Cloud thought he was rather average in Soldier strength and speed since his only basis for comparison was Sephiroth and Zack and sent most of his career training to catch up. During the SOLDIER exam, he is surprised that he's actually unique even among SOLDIER. Later, he finds out that he actually surpasses Sephiroth in strength.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Implied, as when Cloud's mother meets him, she accidentally verifies Cloud's cover story of being his biological father's brother as he strongly looks like his father. Cloud's biological father being President Shinra.
  • I Owe You My Life: Genesis is torn between his desire to help Cloud, to find more of the spring water to give to Angeal and to protect his friends from Cloud.
  • I'm Not Hungry: Cloud eats very little when he gets invited to a diner by Tseng, who is making his recruitment pinch to get him to join ShinRa.
  • In Spite of a Nail: In spite of Genesis's attack on ShinRa not happening, due to a bunch of Hollander's experiments escaping Zack still falls through the roof of Aerith's church.
  • Indy Ploy: Deconstructed as Cloud's biggest problem that he never plans ahead and makes things up as he goes. Which leads a lot of his earlier actions biting him in the ass.
  • Ineffectual Loner: Cloud tries to keep his distance from everyone so no one would get attached to him, but they won't leave him alone.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Sephiroth has a habit of accidentally pushing Cloud's Berserk Buttons by echoing his future self.
  • Internal Reformist: Cloud joins ShinRa because it will get him closer to Hojo, Jenova and Sephiroth on ShinRa's dime without him incurring the wrath of the Turks.
    • Cloud remains in ShinRa post climax because he is convinced by the others that it would be more effective and less bloody to change it from the inside.
  • Internal Reveal: Cloud finally tells Kunsel that he is from the future before helping the latter escape from Hojo.
  • Interservice Rivalry: As in canon, all of the departments in ShinRa are at odds, struggling for power and funding. Cloud gets a glimpse of this when Lazard tries to recruit him to help plot against ShinRa.
    • This all comes to a head when Cloud is kidnapped. Lazard authorized the kidnapping for Hollander, his mole in the Science Department. However, he's outmaneuvered by Hojo who gains the approval of the President who orders the Turks and parts of the regular troops to support him. Meanwhile, the First Class solders are about to mutiny for their lost friends. Even within departments and factions there is conflict as each individual is struggling between their loyalties to ShinRa, their department and their friends. The Gambit Pileup was this close to escalating into a civil war.
  • Irony: Cloud finally becomes SOLDIER like he wanted, but he no longer cares for that dream.
    • In the Final Fantasy VII, Cloud was obsessed with Sephiroth: first to be acknowledged and later to be his enemy while Sephiroth didn't really care for him. Now, Sephiroth wants Cloud to be his friend and/or rival while Cloud wants nothing to do with him.
  • Ironic Echo: Better to ask forgiveness than permission. Angeal first says this when he and Genesis trick Cloud into talking to Sephiroth so Sephrioth could apologize to him. Then he finds out that Cloud's body could hold the answer for a cure, Angeal says it when he agrees to kidnap Cloud for experimentation.
  • It's Personal: Cloud's stated reason to why he needs to meet Sephiroth, people are surprised that it's personal
  • Just Between You and Me: Hojo tells Cloud of his plans and of Cloud's true parentage, but to be fair to Hojo there was no way for Cloud to break out.
  • Karma Houdini: Lazard and Tseng suffer no consequences to themselves when they help Hollander/Hojo to kidnap and cruelly experiment on Cloud and Kunsel.
  • Kill It with Fire: How Genesis destroys Jenova.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Cloud
  • Knowledge Broker: Kunsel in Crisis Core was a well informed and vaguely gossipy Mr. Exposition. The Fifth Act upgrades to him having a vast information network, being everyone's go to guy for information and in the Omakes, being better informed than the Turks. Results in a Crowning Moment of Funny during a one shot when Kunsel, during a "Groundhog Day" Loop is convinced by Cloud to put every bit of info that he's ever gathered on their version of the internet. Results in the Turks trying to kill him, among other things.
  • Koan: Genesis's quoting of Loveless are this and are often relevant to the situation.
  • Last Name Basis: Cloud introduced himself as Strife to Genesis and Sephiroth. To the point they were surprised to learn from Zack that his name is Cloud.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Cloud's fighting strategies consists of running at an enemy and attacking it though his strength makes up for it.
  • Let The Past Burn: Sephiroth burns down the ShinRa mansion to destroy the notes and evidence of the experiment and to make peace with his past. Cloud gravely misinterprets the situation.
  • Lightning Bruiser: All of the SOLDIER Firsts qualify but Cloud takes the cake. When he's not weighed down by his massive sword, he's easily faster than even Sephiroth.
  • Light Hearted Rematch: Invoked by Sephiroth, who takes Cloud to the Midgar wastes in hopes of apologizing to Cloud for the puppet insult and for a fight they've both been itching for. It ends badly and Angeal gets seriously injured while trying to break up the fight.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Sephiroth has no idea that Angeal is dying and that Genesis was dying. Angeal has no idea that Cloud and Genesis know a cure for his condition and working on re-engineering it. If he had, he probably wouldn't sold out Cloud.
  • Lonely at the Top: Sephiroth, as the top SOLIDER didn't have anyone to sympathize with or challenge himself. Which is why when Cloud shows up, Sephiroth desperately wants him as a rival.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Hojo reveals to Cloud that President Shinra was his biological father and he, Lazard and Rufus Shinra are half-brothers.
  • Mama Bear: Cloud's mother tried to shoot Cloud, thinking he was trying to take her son away.
  • Minor Insult Meltdown: Cloud attacks Sephiroth for calling him a puppet, to be fair to Cloud he wasn't completely over his trauma with the past Sephiroth.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: In-Universe example, a Midgar Zolom was far away from it's swamp habitat and in the the rocky plains. Justified in that the environments have been in flux for years and the Zolom was hunting.
  • Missed Him by That Much: Zack, Genesis and Sephiroth arrive in Banora maybe a day after Hojo kidnaps Cloud. If they'd just gotten there sooner..
  • Missing Steps Plan: Cloud's plan consists of 1. ????? 2. Murder Sephiroth/Jenova/Hojo 3. ??????
  • Moment Killer
  • Moving the Goalposts: Cloud refuses to help Lazard because he knows that Lazard will never give him what he wants and will give some arbitrary reason to why he wouldn't give.
  • Moral Myopia: Cloud's desire to kill Sephiroth to prevent the tragedies he causes could be seen as heroic if wasn't for the fact that Sephiroth at that point didn't commit any of his future crimes. Due to Cloud's intervention, Sephiroth never defects or goes mad and instead attempts to befriend Cloud numerous times despite the latter's hostility and open desire to kill him. Cloud even loses Vincent as an ally due to the fact the latter is understandingly hesitant to kill someone who hasn't done anything wrong.
  • More Than Mind Control: How Jenova is able to possess Cloud; by taking advantage of his shock from the revelations of his origins, disgust of Shinra and self-loathing and sense of superiority, she makes him open for Reunion.
  • Mundane Luxury: Electric fans are considered a luxury from Cloud's original time due the fact electricity is scarce and only used for the most important things in Edge.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Cloud tries to kill Sephiroth several times, and he fails. He would have killed Lord Godo for refusing to surrender, if Yuffie hadn't stole his Fire materia.
  • Murder-Suicide: Cloud tries to kill Sephiroth after he is freed of Jenova's possession so Sephiroth would kill him because Cloud had the horrifying revelation that he was on the path to becoming worse than Sephiroth
  • Must Make Amends: Angeal tries to help younger Cloud, Kunsel and the others to make up for his betrayal of Cloud.
  • Multiple Endings: Due to Loveless' unfinished nature, the play has many different endings. The tragic endings, the heroes Jumping Off the Slippery Slope or failing to save the world. The Bittersweet Endings, the heroes succeed but their bond breaks apart or some of them die. The happy endings, the heroes succeed with all of them surviving and hooking with their Love Interest, who would either be a normal girl or the Goddess they made the promise to.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Angeal is horrified when he realizes that Hollinder has no interest in curing him but he doomed Cloud to experimentation for nothing.
  • My Future Self and Me: Cloud meets and befriends his younger self. Since the Older Cloud is doing all the time changing, he tells Younger Cloud to stay out of Shinra.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Due to his S-cells, Cloud can sense where Sephiroth and uses it to avoid him. Once Sephiroth's S-cells awaken, he uses his to track Cloud down.
  • Near Villain Victory: Cloud and Kunsel are completely at the mercy of Hojo who has the full backing of ShinRa and the Turks to do his time travel experiments with them unable to fight back. But Cloud helps Kunsel escape with his Ribbon to better endure the experiments and bought Kunsel time to escape as a distraction.
  • Nephewism: Inverted, Cloud poses as an uncle to his younger "nephew," Cloud Stife.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: Subverted, Cloud meets his younger self when visiting Nibelheim and acts as an older brother figure.
  • Newspaper Dating: Cloud realizes he's in the past when he finds out the newspaper of Shinra declaring war on Wutai only being a week old.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Sephiroth finally gets Cloud to give him the rematch he wanted. The rematch results in Angeal getting seriously injured when he had to break up the match.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: By capturing Kunsel and putting him captivity with Cloud, Kunsel is given the truth of Cloud's past and helps the Soldiers find him when Kunsel escapes.
    • Hojo's habit of disabling the audio functions of the security cameras so he wouldn't have to hear the experiments' screaming, allows Kunsel and Cloud to make an escape plan without him finding out.
  • No Backwards Compatibility In The Future: Downplayed as the past Shinra is too decadent in energy which nearly overwhelms Cloud's more power efficient cell phone.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Cloud's decision to stop the Midgar Zolom instead of running away from it gets him sent back in the past.
    • Sephiroth attempting to apologize to Cloud ends up getting Angeal horribly wounded and causes Angeal to find out that his degeneration has reached a terminal stage.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: Genesis uses his most powerful and intense spell on his Fire Materia to destroy the immobile Jenova while Cloud and Sephiroth were distracted.
  • No Such Thing as H.R.: Zigzagged for ShinRa, they tolerate Cloud's desire to kill Sephiroth. But they force Cloud to take a vacation when he works too many hours without stop to avoid Cloud overworking himself. And Tseng holds an intervention on Cloud's Death Seeker tendencies.
  • Noodle Incident: Yuffie's Treasure Princess adventures. Taken Up to Eleven when she somehow ends up in the Northern Crater.
  • Normal Fish In Tiny Pond: Cloud saw himself as strong but relatively normal. In the new timeline, Cloud is considered the World's Best Warrior and could take on Sephiroth and win.
  • No Sell: Cloud's immunity to status effects is seen as this.
  • No Social Skills: Cloud
  • Nom de Mom: "Strife" turns out to be Cloud's mother's surname since she never got married. This becomes important when the time-traveling Cloud poses as his younger self's paternal uncle, his surname goes unnoticed until Genesis pulls the thread and realizes that Cloud has the wrong surname for a supposed uncle.
  • Not So Different: Cloud is not that different from Sephiroth, to the point that Jenova was able to possess him.
    In that split second, he'd wondered what he'd do after he killed Sephiroth.
    His first thought had been to destroy ShinRa. Destroy the company that had drained the Planet, dropped the Plate on Sector 7, and made Sephiroth possible in the first place. Destroy the man who left his mother in Nibelheim to die.
    Except… once he'd been freed of Jenova's influence, he'd realised how familiar that line of thinking was.
    When he found out the truth of his origins…
    ...The first thing Sephiroth had done when he'd returned from the Lifestream was assassinate President ShinRa.
    He started to hate ShinRa.
    Revenge on ShinRa hadn't been enough. He turned his resentful eyes towards the Planet, and constructed fanciful notions that it was to be destroyed and made anew – that it was his birthright.
    Then after a while, he started to hate everything.
    • Also, to Lazard. Both are half-brothers, abandoned by Shinra and had to work their way to the top
  • Not What It Looks Like: Cloud misinterprets Sephiroth's burning of Shinra mansion as a sign that he was falling into evil.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Zack and Kunsel are prone to this.
  • Odd Friendship: Genesis views the friendship between the cheerful and loud Zack and the dour and quiet Cloud as one.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Young Cloud's trek to Midgar from Nibelheim with an Angeal beast and the unconscious Kunsel.
  • Oh Crap!: Cloud's reaction the man who kills Hollinder turns out to be Hojo.
    • Genesis' reaction to Cloud dominating Sephiroth in the rematch as he didn't internalize how strong Cloud really was.
  • One Degree of Separation
  • One Steve Limit: Initial assumption of both Cloud Strifes, Cloud goes along with it and says it a popular name in the family. Zack differentiates the two by calling the younger Cloud "Mini" or "Spike"
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Sephiroth realizes that Genesis is completely serious about needing him in Wutai when he speaks an entire conversation without speaking in LOVELESS quotes.
    • Angeal throws away his honor and backstabs Cloud when it became clear that he was dying and time was running out.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Zack does this when Turk helicopters accidentally shot at him.
  • Panacea: Aerith's spring water as it can cure Angeal and Genesis's degeneration.
  • The Paragon Always Rebels: Angeal is considered The Heart of the Soldiers First Class and the most sane and down-to-earth of all of them. He backstabs Cloud and betrays ShinRa.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: When Tseng invites Cloud to breakfast for an impromptu interview, Tseng ordered himself a large, deluxe breakfast and eats slowly. This way Tseng will have control of the conversation and can take as much time as he want because Cloud will be seen as extremely rude otherwise. Tseng tried to take it further by purchasing Cloud anything he wanted on the menu but Cloud deliberately only orders toast.
  • Peggy Sue: Cloud becomes one after he breaks a Time materia. Subverted, as he didn't travel to the past, he created a new timeline.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Sephiroth why didn't you explain to Cloud why you burned down the Shinra mansion instead of cryptically quoting Loveless?
    • If Genesis and Cloud told Angeal that there was a cure in the making maybe Cloud won't ended up kidnapped.
  • Power Degeneration: The degeneration of Genesis and Angeal's SOLDIER treatments are major plot points. The degeneration is extremely painful, slow and thought to have no cure until Cloud showed up.
  • Power of Friendship: It's not Cloud's intentional changes that alter the timeline, it's by unintentionally reaching out to others and giving them a challenge to struggle against.
  • Pragmatic Hero: When Vincent tries to convince Cloud not to kill Sephiroth, he is only convinced to save him for last to spare him the trouble of dealing with Hojo and Jenova. Other when Cloud fights, he strikes quickly to not give his enemies a chance to react.
  • Precrime Arrest: A underlying theme of the fic is whether is moral to kill someone that is innocent of his future atrocities.
    Sephiroth: I should be getting the benefit of the doubt here, I never met your mother
  • Pretty Little Headshots: How Vincent killed Hojo. Lampshaded by Genesis how quick and clean it was.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: While Cloud is helpful and generous to others, he grows more embittered and frustrated as his journey continues. He gets blinded by his hatred of Sephiroth, frustrated at his glacial progress in tracking down Jenova and Hojo and increasingly aware of his own power. He becomes mentally unbalanced after he is tortured and experimented on and finds out that President Shinra is his father. His mental instability combined with his previous frustration and knowledge of the truth allows him to easily get possessed by Jenova.
  • Pyrrhic Villainy: Sure, he succeeds in kidnapping Cloud and sold him out to Hollander in order to find a cure. He then finds out that Hollander has no intention of curing him and fully intends to experiment on Cloud to find out what made Cloud superior. Then Hollander is killed and Cloud kidnapped again with no cure to show for it. He betrayed Cloud's and his friends' trust, is now a fugitive and has completely betrayed his ideals.
  • Pyro Maniac: Genesis likes his Fire materia too much. Depending on how you count the Extended Universe, Sephiroth seems to have picked this up.
  • Quit Your Whining: Kunsel tells Zack off for complaining about Angeal's strictness when he gets one-on-one training with on the best soldiers while getting tips from Cloud on the side, who Kunsel wants to be his mentor.
  • Rank Up: Cloud is promoted to Second-Class after a few months and is promoted to First Class a few months after that. His rise in the ranks is the shortest since Sephiroth
    • Zack gets his promotion as of canon heavily implied as a bribe/or a way to keep him distracted from the loss of his mentors and best friends.
  • Recruiting the Criminal: ShinRa recruits Cloud because they don't want anyone that could fight Sephiroth to a standstill to be on the other side.
  • Redemption Earns Life: Angeal
  • Reflexive Response: Genesis's spamming of status effects. It's useless against Cloud most of the time, but he does it anyways. Ends up saving Sephiroth's life when he casts a sleep spell on Cloud.
  • Relatively Flimsy Excuse: Cloud poses as his own paternal uncle, which backfires on him when people realize that Strife is his mother's family name. So Cloud can't be Cloud Strife.
  • Revealing Injury: Genesis's injury helps Cloud realize who he is.
  • Revenge: Part of Cloud's motivation.
  • The Rival: Sephiroth views Cloud as one, the only one that could match him in power and skill.
  • Running Gag: When the SOLDIERS First-Class see the younger Cloud, their first reaction is wonder if Cloud shrunk.
  • Royal Brat: The eight-year old Yuffie.
  • Save This Person, Save the World: Kill Sephiroth and the numerous tragedies caused by him never happen.
    • Genesis ends up being a true example of this. Cloud saving him from a horrible terminal illness prevents him from jumping into the deep end and prevents the downward spiral of Sephiroth and SOLDIER.
  • Screw Destiny: What Cloud attempts and eventually succeeds at.
  • Secretly Dying: Angeal, Genesis before Cloud heals him.
  • Secret Secret Keeper: Cloud and Genesis are the only ones that knew that Angeal was dying and there is a cure for his condition.
  • Seeking Sanctuary: When first arriving at Midgar, Cloud take refuge in the church forgetting that Aeris and Zack are still alive and occupying the church.
  • Self-Made Man: Lazard's backstory. He rose from the slums to being Director of Solider.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Cloud fully intended to kill Sephiroth, even after Sephiroth freed him from Jenova's influence and destroyed the remains of the project, even if he had to lose his own life in the process.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Cloud tries to set things right by killing Sephiroth but his actual turning point was when he cured Genesis. This sets up the domino effect of the story.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Oh Cloud....
  • Shipper on Deck: Cloud has the firm belief that Zack and Aeris belong to each other.
  • Ship Sinking: Cloud/Aeris is sunk by Cloud firmly denying having feelings for Aeris, being fully Shipper on Deck for Zack and Aeris and admitting that it would be creepy considering their current age difference. (Cloud is in his mid-late twenties while Aeris is still a teenager.) Presumably, old!Cloud and Tifa also fall under this for similar reasons.
  • Show Within a Show: The LOVELESS play serves as this.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Yuffie, Mini Cloud and Vincent have very small scenes but turn the whole tide of the story.
  • Spanner in the Works: Everyone gets a turn at this:
    • Cloud is one to SOLDIER just by showing up.
    • Yuffie accidentally saves her father's life by taking Cloud's materia, which prevented Cloud from assassinating him and forcing Cloud to work a diplomatic solution.
    • Kunsel is one to Hojo when he escapes because Hojo's near successful plan tumbles apart when Kunsel reaches the other SOLIDERs.
    • Mini Cloud inadvertently helps the Soldiers unravel the truth through his journey to find the elder Cloud.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Genesis Zack, Aerith, Kunsel, Angeal
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Literally, the author chose to call Aerith Aeris.
  • Spotting the Thread: Kunsel immediately spot holes in Cloud's identity when he meets the younger Cloud when he finds out that Strife is their mother's name, when Cloud is supposed to be his paternal uncle.
  • The Stations of the Canon: Immediately shot to hell with Cloud showing up at the Wutai front and curing Genesis of his degradation. With Genesis becoming the Hero of Wutai and Cloud's further involvement, the events of Crisis Core never happen and the whole story goes Off the Rails.
  • Sticky Fingers: Yuffie's kleptomania saved her father from Cloud. She later swipes Genesis's materia in a Omake.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: Cloud and Kunsel's fate when they are captured by Hojo.
  • Suicide by Cop: Cloud didn't plan to survive killing Sephiroth
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Young Cloud is noted that if he gelled his hair down and wore a suit that he would have looked liked Rufus Shinra, his half-brother.
  • Superior Successor: Cloud turns out to be one to Sephiroth.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: Cloud goes with a villager's assumption that he's a relative of the timeline's Cloud Strife. He later goes with Zack's assumption that he's a washed-up mercenary.
  • Sword and Sorcerer: The three top SOLIDERs (not including Cloud) form a Sword, Sorcerer and Fighter combo. Sephiroth is unmatched in swordsmanship, Angeal is the best barehanded fighter and Genesis spams Fires and Status materia like it's going out of style.
  • Taking You with Me/ Mutual Kill: Cloud tries this on Sephiroth, to make sure "all" of Jenova's cells are destroyed.
  • Tap on the Head: Tap nothing, Cloud had to be beaten on the head before Angeal could knock him out. It took him four times and a powerful sedative to knock him out.
  • This Explains So Much: Cloud finally realizes why his village treated him and his mom so badly when he finds out that President Shinra is his father. While Cloud is not the only bastard in the village, he's the most hated due to the strong Anti-ShinRa sentiment.
  • The Stoic: Cloud to everyone else. To the point Zack thinks its a big deal when Cloud smiles more than once a week.
  • Team Mom: Genesis who, ironically, also shares the role of the Only Sane Man with Angeal.
  • Tempting Fate
  • There Are No Therapists: Played With Everyone recognizes and knows that Cloud has a massive amount of psych issues and some suggest that he seek help but Cloud's reticence and unwillingness to accept help means people just let him be.
  • Think Nothing of It: Cloud cures Genesis's degradation without thinking of gaining anything from it.
  • Title Drop: Genesis brings up the Fifth Act of the LOVELESS play, which is the lost ending to the story and how it varies from happy endings to tragedies. The way that various characters say it should have ended actually reflects their character arcs: Genesis, for example, used to prefer the tragic endings but after his brush with death and gaining a new lease on life, he is beginning to like the happier ending.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Genesis is a much more pleasant and easy going individual when he is cured of his degradation and gains a new lease on life. He becomes more appreciative and concerned for his friends and less resentful of Sephiroth.
    • When Cloud comes in and quickly surpasses him, Sephiroth becomes more humble and empathetic when he is in someone else's shadow for once. He realizes how badly he treated Genesis and Angeal and how he took them for granted. He tries to be more tactful when one of his comments drove Cloud into a murderous rage.
  • Trapped in the Past: Cloud has no way of getting back to his original timeline and has to live in the new one.
  • Treachery Cover-Up: The Turks cover up Hollinder and Hojo's betrayal and why Cloud and Kunsel disappeared for months.
  • Trigger: See Berserk Button above.
  • Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight: the Jenova-possessed Cloud versus a sane Sephiroth
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Cloud to his father, President Shinra (and by extension, Rufus and Lazard).
    • It's noted that Cloud would look exactly like Rufus Shinra if he gelled his hair down and wore a suit.
  • Unreliable Expositor: Yuffie is one, as Cloud finds out to his annoyance. Yuffie described her father, Lord Kisaragi, as cowardly and peace-loving when the actual man is stubborn and very honor-bound.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: Averted with Hojo. Cloud feels outright giddy and happy when Hojo is killed.
  • Was It Really Worth It?: Cloud is asked many times if killing Sephiroth would be worth ruining his own life or worse.
  • We Can Rule Together: Jenova attempts this with Cloud when she successfully possesses him.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: There is no mention of Ms Strife's reaction when her young son leaves the village with a comatose stranger and travels cross-country to find his paternal uncle that he barely knows and she doesn't like.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Cloud is called out on attempting to kill Sephiroth when the latter never did the crimes his past self committed and for attempting a murder-suicide.
  • What Year Is This?: Cloud didn't realize what year was it until he reached Midgar.
  • Wham Episode: When Cloud is kidnapped by Hojo, who reveals to him not only that the experimentation with Time Materia has been going on longer than he knows (and he basically confirmed the theory that new timelines are created each time), but that he is, in fact, the son of President Shinra. Big whammy, indeed.
  • When He Smiles: Noted In-Universe by Zack and Aeris when Cloud does.
  • Whole Plot Reference
  • Wutai: Where Genesis initially meets Cloud. Then Genesis tells Sephiroth to come over.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Cloud
  • Worf Had the Flu: In initial introduction, Genesis manages to keep up with Cloud before he ends up crippled by his degradation wound flaring up.
    • Cloud manages to get ambushed and knocked out by Angeal. What helped is that Cloud was unaware that something was wrong and the honorable Angeal is the last person one would expect a betrayal.
    • Angeal could do little to stop the Jenova-possessed Cloud as he was without a weapon and reached the terminal stages of degradation and was severely weakened.
  • Wound That Will Not Heal: Genesis had one before it is healed by Cloud's gift of the healing spring water.
    • Angeal receives when Sephiroth accidentally wounds him when Angeal tries to break up his spar with Cloud.
  • Workaholic: Cloud takes as many missions as he can get to save himself a lot of money and to avoid having to socialize with others. He hadn't taken a vacation until he was forced to and the Human Resources of SOLDIER actually demand that he cut down the number of missions so he won't work himself to death.
  • Worthy Opponent: Sephiroth thinks of Cloud as one.
  • The Worf Effect: Sephiroth is outmatched by the more experienced Cloud.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Cloud believes that he's doing the right thing by planning to kill Sephiroth to prevent the tragedies the man causes. Not remotely realizing until the very end of the story that the Power of Friendship and his kindness toward Genesis has done far more in changing the timeline and he's on his way to becoming someone worse than Sephiroth.
  • You Are Not Alone: The Aesop of the story
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Cloud's has three stages: kill Hojo, kill Jenova and kill Sephiroth. Stage Three is attempted early by Cloud trying to kill Sephiroth in Wutai. He fails when Genesis intervenes. Stage Two has Cloud and Vincent go to the Nibelheim Reactor to kill Jenova, only to find out she wasn't there yet. Stage One has Cloud joining ShinRa to track down Hojo, only to never find him.
  • You Will Be Spared: A variant in that Cloud spares Sephiroth only to not have to deal with Jenova or Hojo replacing him
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Angeal and it causes him to grow desperate.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Zack, Genesis and Sephiroth arrive in Banora, only to find Hollander dead and Cloud gone
  • You Shall Not Pass: Cloud pulls one to to allow Kunsel to escape Hojo's clutches. He even references back to Zack's Last Stand.

     Tropes in the Extended Universe 

  • A Day in the Limelight: One of the fics focus on the crew of the main game, who Cloud left behind when he time traveled.
  • Ascended Extra: Characters who had a reduced role in The Fifth Act often get expanded upon more. Cissnei, Yuffie, Rufus, Mrs Strife etc. get bigger roles.
  • Bad Ending: In one fic, Cloud gets sent farther along in the past. He successfully kills Sephiroth (who was too young to fight him off) and Genesis and Angeal give their lives hunting him down.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Cloud is horrified to find a trading card with himself crossdressing, Kunsel misses that Cloud is upset and points out the rarity of the card.
  • Crossover: One of the stories has The Fifth Act universe cross over with the Fallacious Deity universe, also written by Sinnatious.
  • Crack Fic: A couple. The one where Cloud and Sephiroth meet the Sephiroth clones for example.
  • Disguised in Drag: In an expanded universe story, Cloud has to infiltrate Don Corneo's scheme with Genesis, Cissnei and Luxiere. Zack was initially supposed to go in Cloud's place but Cloud does it when sees that Zack is a terrible crossdresser.
  • Drives Like Crazy: According to a few of the one shots, the other Soldier Firsts have come to have a healthy respect for the way that Cloud handles his motorcycle.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Zack has a couple of Third Classes who want his attention and a chance to be on the same mission. Cloud has most of SOLDIER, at least thinking that he's attractive especially when he cross-dresses.
  • Expanded Universe: Has a whole bunch of other fics, some written by the author, some not. There is artwork as well.
  • Fake-Out Make-Out: in an Omake Kunsel hides Cloud from Sephiroth by dressing him up as a Second Class and making out with him. It works very well as homosexuality is common in the all-male SOLDIER.
  • Flanderization: While Genesis has a lot of respect for Cloud and Ho Yay with him, in the Omakes he has a flat out crush on him and is kind of a Cloud fanboy.
  • Future Badass: Young Cloud is initially ecstatic that he could grow up in a complete badass.
  • Future Me Scares Me: While he thinks it's cool that Cloud is a future version of himself, Young Cloud does not want to end up like the elder Cloud. The elder Cloud is rarely happy, heavily traumatized and barely started letting his guard down. While he has mixed feelings on the fact that he isn't likely to get as strong, Young Cloud is glad that he's much happier person.
  • George Jetson Job Security: According to Genesis, Cloud quits SOLIDER once every few weeks. Presumably, he gets rehired or Lazard just stopped taking him seriously.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: In an expanded universe story, Cloud gets trapped in one with Sephiroth. Later, Genesis and Kunsel join too.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Played further straight in the Bad End Omake where Genesis and Angeal dedicate their final days hunting Cloud down for killing Sephiroth.
  • Loony Fan: Like all First Class soldiers, Cloud gets a fan club. Who stalk him and take pictures.
  • Never Live It Down: In-Universe and out, Cloud crossdressing. The infamous crossdressing episode in the game comes up in at least 3 fics. In-Universe Cloud would love nothing more than to forget it ever happened but a fan card is made of it so it's not ever forgotten.
  • Noodle Incident: The fics expand on Yuffie's Treasure Princess Adventures.
    • One fic has Cloud and Kunsel fleeing monsters on Fenrir with Cloud dressed in drag again. The fic never explains how they ended up in that situation, only noting that it was a mission gone wrong.
  • Not So Above It All: One of the omakes has Cloud and Sephiroth trapped in a time loop. Sephiroth takes the opportunity to cause as much havoc as he can (burning down Shinra HQ, quitting SOLIDER etc) and enjoys it immensely.
  • Omake: Several, some funny and some not.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: The rest of the First Class notice Zack-in-Cloud when they realize that Cloud is acting much more outgoing and carefree around Lazard.
  • Power Perversion Potential: In an Omake, Zack wonders if Cloud and Sephiroth ever had sex, would their S-cells allow them to feel each other for positive feedback.
  • Running Gag: Cloud cross-dressing. Yuffie getting into trouble.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Cloud does his best to ignore the existence of his fan club.
  • Situational Sexuality: In the Omake, homosexuality is common enough in Shinra that Sephiroth is only bothered that Kunsel and the disguised Cloud are making out in the Equipment Room.
  • Slash Fic: Some of the AU Omakes, but not the fic itself.
  • Shipper on Deck: While extremely drunk, Zack admits in an Omake that he thinks that Cloud and Sephiroth have amazing chemistry together. Cloud and Genesis are very offended by it.
  • The Worf Effect: In the crossover fic, Fifth Act Cloud gets brushed aside by Fallacious Diety Cloud like it's nothing.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Yuffie keeps running into and provoking increasingly dangerous monsters and needs to be bailed out by Cloud.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Luxiere and Genesis make convincing women. Cloud makes an absolutely stunning woman. His friends questions how he is experienced at crossdressing.