Anyway, fic. A short vignette, Cloud Strife's sixteenth birthday. Labs, Zack, insanity, fun things like that... (I've only missed his birthday by a month... *hits self*).
"Happy birthday... to me... Happy... birthday, to me..."
It was the middle of the night, the lab's only illumination the sickly glow of two occupied mako tanks. The sun and moon couldn't reach down here, and the scientists never mind Hojo didn't feel like wasting perfectly good electricity on a couple of guinea pigs. Zack lay curled as comfortably as was possible on steel grating, but every so often heard what nearly sounded like... Singing?
"Hey, Cloud," he rolled over slightly, just enough to see the blond boy in the next tank, who wasn't curled at all but flopped bonelessly. Zack wondered if Cloud had moved at all since the scientists had tossed him back in some hours before, "you okay?"
Cloud's eyes tracked slowly, too slowly, and gradually focused on Zack. "I..." he wet his lips, even though the small motion split a scab that had already formed over the cut, "Aren't you going to say congratulations?"
Zack sat up straighter. "For what?"
Cloud smiled, and Zack was almost afraid of the expression. There was a haze behind Cloud's eyes, a vacant stare looking at something Zack couldn't see. "It's my birthday."
"Oh? How do you know?"
"Remember when," Cloud waved a vague hand, only really getting it off the floor by a few inches, "that new intern was here today? And he was all... all afraid... and you bit him?"
Zack grinned at the memory of making the guy shriek, but stopped quickly. Moving too much made the bruises on his face hurt. "I remember."
"His watch fell off while he was flailing around. It was a digital watch with the date and everything..."
Cloud trailed off, staring at nothing with a faint smile, and Zack was getting worried about his fellow lab rat.
"Cloud," he began, tapping on the glass wall to get his attention, "Cloud?"
Slowly, laboriously, Cloud curled up on his side, tucking his chin into his knees and wrapping his arms around them, ignoring the trail of blood he left on the grating and the way the mako turned a sick brown-red where it mixed.
There was silence for a few minutes, and then, just on the edge of his hearing, Zack caught a fragment of speech.
"Happy birthday... to me..."