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" a hot, if scary woman."

"Well, maybe if you didn't keep hitting...."

The words just drifted to him, tinged as green as the Mako they had come through. For a moment, Cloud wasn't sure what he was hearing, trying to pry color from words, and he was sure that words were not supposed to make him think of green and glowing and -burn-.

Slowly, as he worked at it, the words started to sink in. Some didn't mean much, but others brought up images.

Hot made him think of orange and red and green. Fire, so much fire, and pain. Hot pain, in the labs, sank in so much green burning that it was almost something to ignore, a constant burn that never ended and became part of everything.

After a moment, scary seemed to sink it, but his mind was more caught up by woman. A blonde woman, who meant safety and care and protection. Love. It was a faded thought, and she was tied to fire. And to sadness. There were others, but the most vivid was another woman, who made something in him curl up in shivering ball. Silver hair and glowing eyes and FEAR! But also something purring at him that she was good and wonderful and the focus of everything. That part was small, though, and mostly hidden by the blonde woman. The one who meant home.

The last image he got was of brawling. Of being pinned and hit. The faces changed, flickering through a multitude of different ones. Some were friendlier than others, and the hits were more playful than mean. One face he knew.

Zack. He -knew- that face, and the though made him relax. Zack was someone he recognized, and he knew was safe. So Cloud focused on him, and let the words the others said drift away from him.