[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5951824/1/The_Fifth_Act The Fifth Act]] is VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII PeggySue fic, which brilliantly defies the ‘formula’ set by VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII PeggySue fics. After [[VideoGame/CrisisCore being returned to the past]] through an accident with a time travel material, Cloud is not placed into his old body but thrown whole back into the past. With the realization that he could prevent '' a lot'' of tragedy, he sets off to kill Sephiroth. Being Cloud what he actually planned and what he ends up doing are separate things and ends up saving people anyways.


Expanded Universe oneshots available [[http://sinnatious.livejournal.com/106183.html here]]
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!This work contains examples of:

* AccidentallyBrokeTheMacGuffin: Cloud accidentally breaks the extra vials carrying the [[{{Panacea}} 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.
* AdvantageBall: Cloud consistently has the advantage over the characters due to having a decade of experience and better equipment. [[spoiler: Although he loses this when he gives the Ribbon to Kunsel]]
* AnAesop: By reaching out to others, you can help others change whether you intended to or not.
* AndThenWhat: 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.
* AppealToConsequences: 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.
* AscendedExtra: Kunsel, who becames Cloud's friend over the course of the story [[spoiler: and gets captured by Hojo for experimentation, although he does manage to break out.]]
* AscendedFanboy: 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.
* BadDreams: Sephiroth starts getting nightmares of Cloud's memories in the original timeline.
* {{Badass}}: Cloud, thanks to being a FutureBadass. By midpoint of the fic it is absolutely clear that this version of Cloud [[spoiler:easily surpasses Sephiroth]].
* BadassNormal: Young Cloud, who's not enhanced at all and is a normal kid, manages to travel from Nibelheim to Midgar by himself [[spoiler: carrying the mako-overdosed Kunsel in tow]] in hopes of finding older Cloud.
* BadFuture: 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.
* BadLiar: Cloud is not great at lying and mostly uses [[SureLetsGoWithThat people's assumptions of him to get by]]. His lies do not hold in a deeper inspection.
* BaitAndSwitchBoss: Hollander kidnaps Cloud to experiment on him under the guise of helping Angeal. [[spoiler: After chapter or so, he's [[DroppedABridgeOnHim unceremoniously shot]] by Vincent and Hojo takes Cloud for his own experiments]]
* [[spoiler: BeingTorturedMakesYouEvil: 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]]
* BerserkButton: Don't call Cloud a puppet and don't threaten his friends.
* BewareTheQuietOnes: Cloud, very quiet and antisocial to the point of being an ExtremeDoormat is the most powerful man in Shinra and can surpass Sephiroth in a straight fight.
* BigBrotherInstinct: Cloud becomes protective of Zack and Kunsel, trying to watch out for them the best he can.
* BigDamnHeroes: [[spoiler: when Kunsel is too exhausted to kill the last Nibelian wolf, Angeal swoops in and finishes it off]]
* 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 detrioration and a horrific downward spiral. [[spoiler: It ends with Genesis interrupting Cloud's fight with Sephiroth, saving both their lives and preventing Cloud's self-destruction.]]
* ABoyAndHisX: Young!Cloud and the Angeal chimera.
* BrilliantButLazy: Cloud is the strongest Soldier of [=ShinRa=], but doesn't give a shit about promotions.
* ButterflyOfDoom: A lot of Cloud's unintentional acts make major waves, such as curing Genesis as a result he never defects [[spoiler: Sephiroth never goes crazy, ''Angeal'' defects instead and '''Cloud''' gets possessed by Jenova.]]
* BrainsAndBrawn: Zack is the brawn while Kunsel is the brain.
* BrattyHalfPint: The eight-year old Yuffie, who is overly cocky and constantly stealing everyone's materia.
* BrickJoke: In a ShoutOut 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 [[spoiler: go rescue her from the Northern Crater]].
* BrokenAce: Cloud is one to SOLDIER as he can [[WorfEffect outfight Sephiroth]], is very skilled at combat and magic, is willing to help anyone that asks him but has no ambition, antisocial and his only goal is to kill Sephiroth. To Shinra this makes him the perfect soldier since he never complains nor asks for a promotion.
* CallBack
* CallForward
* CantTakeAnythingWithYou: Subverted, Cloud had all his equipment with him, including his PHS.
* CasualDangerDialog: Sephiroth, especially when [[spoiler:Cloud was trying to kill him in the penultimate chapter]].
* CellPhonesAreUseless: Once in the past, Cloud tries to call Tifa for the the call not to connect. It turns out its because the number doesn't exist yet.
* CentralTheme: Redemption
* ChekhovsGun: Cloud's ribbon (which grants immunity to status effects), which enabled Cloud's time travel it was overhelmed by the mastered broken Time materia.[[spoiler: 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 AdvantageBall and Genesis is able to stop him]]
* ChekhovsGunman: [[spoiler: Little Cloud and Vincent]]
* ChekhovsSkill: Genesis always tries to cast [[StandardStatusEffects status effects]] on Cloud, only for them to [[NoSell never work.]] [[spoiler: Once Cloud gets possessed by Jenova, Genesis's reflexive casting stopped Cloud without them having to kill him.]]
* CombatPragmatist: 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.
* CommandingCoolness: Genesis holds a rank/position of a commander.
* CuttingTheKnot: Since a lot of events center around Sephiroth, Cloud tries to kill Sephiroth to prevent them from happening.
** At the end [[spoiler: 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."
* CynicalMentor: Cloud to Kunsel and Zack
* DamnYouMuscleMemory: Genesis reflexively cast status spells on Cloud, even though he does know it doesn't affect Cloud. Inverted [[spoiler: 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.]]
* DangerouslyGenreSavvy: Hojo. [[spoiler: 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]]
* DayHurtsDarkAdjustedEyes: When Cloud wakes up [[spoiler: after being freed from Jenova's possession and Hojo's experiments]] the light of day gives him a splitting headache.
* DeadpanSnarker: Everyone has their moments, but particularly Genesis.
* DentedIron: Genesis stops his first fight with Cloud because he was in too much pain from his [[WoundThatWillNotHeal degeneration wound]]
* DefrostingTheIceQueen: Cloud slowly becomes less cold due the influence of Zack, Aerith and Kunsel.
* DemonicPossession: [[spoiler: when Cloud gets possessed by Jenova]]
* {{Determinator}}: See OffscreenMomentOfAwesome.
* DisguisedInDrag: In an expanded universe story, Cloud has to infiltrate Don Corneo's scheme with Genesis, Cissnei and Luxiere
* DoesNotKnowHisOwnStrength: When Cloud takes the Soldier qualification, he thought Kunsel was taking it easy on him only to find out he exhausted the poor guy.
* DramaticIrony: 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. [[spoiler: Hojo of this timelime thinks Cloud is his most perfect creation and scolded the other Hojo for not recognizing his own success.]]
* DreamingOfTimesGoneBy: Sephiroth gets dreams of the original timeline
* DrivesLikeCrazy: 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.
* [[spoiler: DownerEnding: In an Omake, where Cloud was sent earlier into the timeline he successfully killed Sephiroth with Genesis and Angeal hunting Cloud down to avenge him even if it meant their lives.]]
* DudleyDoRightStopsToHelp: 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.
* [[spoiler: EarnYourHappyEnding: Cloud had to lose his friends and home, join the organization he worked against, work with his worst enemy, get betrayed by an ally, experimented on by Hojo and possessed by Jenova before he finally reaches his.]]
* EmotionallyTongueTied: When Sephiroth tries to apologize to Cloud, he's at a loss what to do because he never had to apologize for anything
* [[spoiler: EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: In the bad end {{Omake}}, Genesis and Angeal decide to spent the remainder of lives hunting Cloud down to avenge Sephiroth's death.]]
* [[spoiler: FaceHeelTurn: 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.]]
* FakeOutMakeOut: 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.
* {{Fanboy}}: See HeroWorshipper.
* FindTheCure: When he learns of Angeal's degradation from Genesis, Cloud promptly tries to have Aerith recreate the spring water.
* FirstNameBasis: 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.
* FixFic: For ''VideoGame/CrisisCore''.
* ForWantOfANail: 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 degeneration holding him back.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: a Nibelheim local comments that Mayor Lockhart doesn't like Cloud because he's afraid "he'll leave a trail of bastards" [[spoiler: Guess what Cloud's father did?]]
** Ms Strife freaks out at sight of Cloud and tries to shoot him because his "brother"[[note]]Cloud's father[[/note]] and his family did something horrible to her and she doesn't want them to take her son. [[StrongFamilyResemblance There is a good reason]] to why she freaked out.
* FriendlessBackground: When Cloud arrives to Midgard, he has no allies and no friends since he left them behind in the past timeline.
* FromBadToWorse: [[spoiler: 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. Hollinder is killed, only for Hojo to take Cloud instead.
* FutureBadass: Cloud, odd variant where the badass is the protagonist. This is for good and for bad, good in that he now surpasses Sephiroth [[spoiler: bad in that Jenova and Hojo now find him the superior model.]]
* GameplayAndStoryIntegration: 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.
* GoLookAtTheDistraction: 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 Lucrecia's cave so Cloud could ditch him.
* GreenEyes combined with HellishPupils: [[spoiler: Cloud gains green slitted eyes when possessed by Jenova]]
* GlowingEyesOfDoom: When everyone sees Cloud's they assume that he's a SOLDIER despite him never being part of Shinra.
* GottaKillThemAll: Cloud intends to kill Hojo, Jenova and Sephiroth in that order.
* GroundhogDayLoop: In an expanded universe story, Cloud gets trapped in one with Sephiroth. [[spoiler: Later, Genesis and Kunsel join too.]]
* TheGuardsMustBeCrazy: 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.
* HalfTruth: Cloud tells people that he used to run a delivery service before he came to Midgar and his motorbike got trashed.
* HaveWeMetYet: Played with, Cloud knows Genesis and of his hidden degeneration but never personally met him before
* HeWhoFightsMonsters: Cloud wants to stop Sephiroth from getting possessed by Jenova and causing many tragedies, [[spoiler: he ends up getting possessed by Jenova himself]]
* HeadButtingHeroes: While Cloud is nominally on the same side as they are, he and the First Classes do ''not'' get along.
* HeroWorshipper: 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).
* [[spoiler: HeroicBastard]]: [[spoiler: Cloud turns out be President Shinra's illegitimate son]]
* HeroicSelfDeprecation: Cloud doesn't think to highly of himself after [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII all what happened]]
* HomelessHero: When Cloud gets to Midgard, 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.
* HonorBeforeReason: Angeal [[spoiler: only for him to go [[{{Subverted}} back on it]] when he was dying.]]
* HourglassPlot: Cloud is initially a humble nobody hoping to stop several tradegies. 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. [[spoiler: Cloud falls into madness when revealed the truth of his origins while Genesis and Sephiroth remain sane and stop him.]]
* HumbleHero: Cloud doesn't let his fame or his skills get to his head and tries to avoid the spotlight whenever possible.
* IJustWantToHaveFriends: Sephiroth wants to befriend Cloud, who can meet him in strength. Too bad the latter hates his guts.
* IJustWantToBeSpecial: Genesis wants to surpass Sephiroth.
* IHatePastMe: 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.
* IWasQuiteALooker: 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 him. Cloud's biological father being [[spoiler:''President Shinra''.]]
* IOweYouMyLife: Genesis is torn between his desire to help Cloud, to find more of the [[{{Panacea}} spring water]] to give to Angeal and to protect his friends from ''Cloud.''
* ImNotHungry: 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=].
* InSpiteOfANail: 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.
* IndyPloy: 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.
* IneffectualLoner: Cloud tries to keep his distance from everyone so no one would get attached to him, but they won't leave him alone.
* InnocentlyInsensitive: Sephiroth has a habit of accidentally pushing Cloud's [[BerserkButton Berserk Buttons]] by echoing his future self.
* InternalReveal: Cloud finally tells [[spoiler: Kunsel]] that he is from the future before helping the latter escape from [[spoiler: Hojo.]]
* {{Irony}}: Cloud finally becomes SOLDIER like he wanted, but he no longer cares for that dream.
* ItsAllMyFault: Cloud believes that most of the tragedies were his fault to begin with.
* ItsPersonal: Cloud's stated reason to why he needs to meet Sephiroth, people are surprised that it's ''personal''
* JustBetweenYouAndMe: 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.
* KillItWithFire: How [[spoiler: Genesis destroys Jenova.]]
* KnightInSourArmor: Cloud
* KnowledgeBroker: Kunsel in Crisis Core was a well informed and vaguely gossipy MrExposition. 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 CrowningMomentOfFunny during a one shot when Kunsel, during a GroundhogDayLoop 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.
* LastNameBasis: Cloud introduced himself as Strife to Genesis and Sephiroth. To the point they were surprised to learn from ''Zack'' that his name is Cloud.
* LeeroyJenkins: Cloud's fighting strategies consists of running at an enemy and attacking it though his strength makes up for it.
* LetThePastBurn: 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.
* LightningBruiser: 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.
* LightHeartedRematch: 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.
* LukeIAmYourFather: Hojo reveals to Cloud [[spoiler: that President Shinra was his biological father and he, Lazard and Rufus Shinra are half-brothers.]]
* MamaBear: Cloud's mother tried to ''shoot'' Cloud, thinking he was trying to take her son away.
* MinorInsultMeltdown: Cloud attacks Sephiroth for calling him a puppet, to be fair to Cloud he wasn't completely over his trauma with the past Sephiroth.
* MisplacedWildlife: InUniverse 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.
* MomentKiller
* MoralMyopia: Cloud's desire to kill Sephiroth to prevent the tradegies he causes could be seen as heroic if wasn't for the fact that Sephiroth at that point didn't 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 hestitant to kill someone who hasn't done anything wrong.
* MoreThanMindControl: How [[spoiler: 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, [[spoiler: she makes him open for Reunion.]]
* MundaneLuxury: 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.
* MurderIsTheBestSolution: Cloud tries to kill Sephiroth several times, and [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption he fails]]. He would have killed Lord Godo for refusing to surrender, if Yuffie hadn't stole his Fire materia.
* MurderSuicide: [[spoiler: 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 ]]
* MustMakeAmends: [[spoiler: Angeal tries to help younger Cloud, Kunsel and the others to make up for his betrayal of Cloud.]]
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: [[spoiler: Angeal is horrified when he realizes that Hollinder has no interest in curing him but he doomed Cloud to experimentation for ''nothing.'']]
* MyFutureSelfAndMe: 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.
* MySignificanceSenseIsTingling: Due to his S-cells, Cloud can sense where Sephiroth and uses it to avoid him. [[spoiler: Once Sephiroth's S-cells awaken, he uses his to track Cloud down.]]
* {{Nephewism}}: Inverted, Cloud poses as an uncle to his younger "nephew," Cloud Stife.
* NeverTheSelvesShallMeet: Subverted, Cloud meets his younger self when visiting Nibelheim and acts as an older brother figure.
* NewspaperDating: Cloud realizes he's in the past when he finds out the newspaper of Shinra declaring war on Wutai only being a ''week'' old
* NoBackwardsCompatibilityInTheFuture: Downplayed as the past Shinra is too decadent in energy which nearly overwhelms Cloud's more power efficient cell phone.
* NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished: Cloud's decision to stop the Midgar Zolom instead of running away from it gets him sent back in the past.
* NoodleIncident: Yuffie's Treasure Princess adventures. Taken UpToEleven when she somehow ends up in the ''Northern Crater''.
* NoSell: Cloud's immunity to status effects is seen as this.
* NoSocialSkills: Cloud
* NomDeMom: "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.
* [[spoiler: NotSoDifferent: 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.''
* NotWhatItLooksLike: Cloud misinterprets Sephiroth's burning of Shinra mansion as a sign that he was falling into evil.
* ObliviousGuiltSlinging: Zack and Kunsel are prone to this.
* OddFriendship: Genesis views the friendship between the cheerful and loud Zack and the dour and quiet Cloud as one.
* OffscreenMomentOfAwesome: Young Cloud's trek to Midgar from Nibelheim with an Angeal beast and the unconscious Kunsel.
* OhCrap: Cloud's reaction [[spoiler: the man who kills Hollinder turns out to be ''Hojo'']]
* {{Omake}}: Several, some funny and some [[BadEnding not.]]
* OneDegreeOfSeparation
* OneSteveLimit: Initial assumption of both Cloud Stifes, Cloud goes along with it and says it a popular name in the family. Zack differentiates the two by calling the younger Cloud "Mini"
* OOCIsSeriousBusiness: [[spoiler: Angeal throws away his honor and ''backstabs'' Cloud when it became clear that he was dying and time was running out.]]
* OutrunTheFireball: Zack does this when Turk helicopters accidentally shot at him.
* {{Panacea}}: Aerith's spring water as it can cure Angeal and Genesis's degeneration.
* PeggySue: Cloud becomes one after he breaks a Time materia.
* PowerDegeneration: Unintentionally curing Genesis of his, makes the first major waves for SOLDIER.
* PowerOfFriendship: 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.
* PowerPerversionPotential: In an {{Omake}}, Zack wonders if Cloud and Sephiroth ever had sex, would their S-cells allow to feel each other.
* PragmaticHero: 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.
* PrecrimeArrest: A underlying theme of the fic is whether is moral to kill someone that is innocent of his future atrocities.
-->[[spoiler: '''Sephiroth''': I should be getting the benefit of the doubt here, I never met your mother]]
* PrettyLittleHeadshots: How [[spoiler:Vincent killed Hojo]]. Lampshaded by Genesis how quick and clean it was.
* PyroManiac: Genesis likes his Fire materia too much. Depending on how you count the Extended Universe, Sephiroth seems to have picked this up.
* QuitYourWhining: 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.
* RankUp: Cloud is promoted to Second-Class after a few months. [[spoiler: He and Kunsel are promoted to First-Class when they were believed to be dead when Hojo captures them.]]
* RecruitingTheCriminal: Shin-Ra recruits Cloud because they don't want anyone that could fight Sephiroth to a standstill to be on the other side.
* [[spoiler: RedemptionEarnsLife: Angeal]]
* ReflexiveResponse: Genesis's spamming of status effects. It's useless against Cloud most of the time, but he does it anyways. [[spoiler: Ends up saving Sephiroth's life when he casts a sleep spell on Cloud.]]
* RelativelyFlimsyExcuse: Cloud poses as his own paternal uncle, [[spoiler: which backfires on him when people realize that Strife is his mother's family name. So Cloud can't be Cloud ''Strife''.]]
* RevealingInjury: Genesis's injury helps Cloud realize who he is.
* {{Revenge}}: Part of Cloud's motivation.
* TheRival: Sephiroth views Cloud as one, the only one that could match him in power and skill.
* RoyalBrat: The eight-year old Yuffie.
* ScrewDestiny: What Cloud attempts [[spoiler: and eventually succeeds at.]]
* SecretlyDying: Angeal
* SecretSecretKeeper: Cloud and Genesis are the only ones that knew that Angeal was dying and there is a cure for his condition.
* SeekingSanctuary: When first arriving at Midgar, Cloud take refuge in the church forgetting that Aeris and Zack are still alive and occupying the church.
* SelfMadeMan: Lazard's backstory. He rose from the slums to being Director of Solider.
* [[spoiler: SenselessSacrifice: 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.]]
* SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong: 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.
* ShellShockedVeteran: Oh ''Cloud''....
* ShowWithinAShow: The LOVELESS play serves as this.
* SituationalSexuality: 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.
* SlashFic: Some of the AU Omakes, but not the fic itself.
* SkilledButNaive: Cloud sees Zack as this now that he's the older one.
* SmallNameBigEgo: Yuffie believes she's a great ninja that can take down Shinra, when she's a little girl that can be stopped by Cloud holding her by the scruff of her robes.
* SpannerInTheWorks: 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.
* SparedByTheAdaptation: Genesis [[spoiler: Zack, Aerith, Kunsel, Angeal]]
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: Literally, the author chose to call Aerith Aeris.
* SpottingTheThread: 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.
* StickyFingers: Yuffie's kleptomania saved her father from Cloud. [[spoiler: She later swipes Genesis's materia in a Omake.]]
* StrappedToAnOperatingTable: Cloud and Kunsel's fate when they are captured by Hojo.
* [[spoiler: SuicideByCop: Cloud didn't plan to survive killing Sephiroth]]
* SuperiorSuccessor: Cloud turns out to be one to Sephiroth.
* SureLetsGoWithThat: 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.
* SwordAndSorcerer: The three top [=SOLIDER=]s (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.
* TakingYouWithMe[=/=] MutualKill: [[spoiler:Cloud tries this on Sephiroth, to make sure "all" of Jenova's cells are destroyed.]]
* TalkingIsAFreeAction
* TheStoic: Cloud to everyone else. To the point Zack thinks its a big deal when Cloud smiles more than once a week.
* TeamMom: Genesis who ironically also shares the role of the OnlySaneMan with Angeal.
* TemptingFate
* ThereAreNoTherapists: PlayedWith Everyone recognizes and knows that Cloud has a massive amount of psych issues and some suggest that he seek help but Cloud's [[TheStoic reticence]] and [[IneffectualLoner unwillingness to accept help]] means people just let him be.
* ThinkNothingOfIt: Cloud cures Genesis's degeneration without thinking of gaining anything from it.
* TitleDrop: 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.
* TookALevelInKindness: Genesis is a much more pleasant and easy going individual when he isn't slowly dying or resentful of Sephiroth.
* TreacheryCoverUp: The Turks cover up Hollinder and Hojo's betrayal [[spoiler: and why Cloud and Kunsel disappeared for months.]]
* UpgradeVsPrototypeFight: [[spoiler: the Jenova-possessed Cloud versus a sane Sephiroth]]
* UncannyFamilyResemblance: Cloud [[spoiler: to his father, President Shinra (and by extension, Rufus and Lazard).]]
* TheUnfettered: Cloud was approaching this territory as he was willing to go through extremes to achieve his goals.
* UnknownRival: Sephiroth believes that he and Cloud have a rivalry, when he's not trying to kill him Cloud wants nothing to do with him.
* UnreliableExpositor: 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.
* WarriorPoet: Genesis. Unlike in canon, his quotation of ''Loveless'' is at least somewhat relevant to the story.
* WasItReallyWorthIt: Cloud is asked many times if killing Sephiroth would be worth ruining his own life or worse.
* WeCanRuleTogether: [[spoiler: Jenova attempts this with Cloud when she successfully possesses him.]]
* WhatTheHellHero: [[spoiler: 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.]]
* WhatYearIsThis: Cloud didn't realize what year was it until he reached Midgar.
* WhamEpisode: When Cloud [[spoiler: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.
* WhenHeSmiles: Noted InUniverse by Zack when Cloud does.
* WholePlotReference
* {{Wutai}}: Where Genesis initially meets Cloud. Then Genesis tells Sephiroth to come over.
* WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds: [[spoiler: Cloud]]
* WorthyOpponent: Sephiroth thinks of Cloud as one.
* TheWorfEffect: Sephiroth is outmatched by the more experienced Cloud.
* YouAreNotAlone: The Aesop of the story
* YouCantThwartStageOne: Cloud attempts to kill Sephiroth in Wutai. [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption He fails.]]
* YouWillBeSpared: A variant in that Cloud spares Sephiroth only to not have to deal with Jenova or Hojo replacing him
* YourDaysAreNumbered: Angeal and it causes him to grow desperate.
* YourPrincessIsInAnotherCastle
* YouShallNotPass: Cloud pulls one to [[spoiler: to allow Kunsel to escape Hojo's clutches.]] He even references back to Zack's LastStand.
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