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Protect Her for Me - Complete by ElvenWhiteMage Protect Her for Me - Complete by ElvenWhiteMage
Lineart: [link]
Rainless: [link]
Clean: [link]

Phew! Finally finished. Here's the colored version of the lineart I submitted a few days ago, complete with blood, rain, fog, and Cloud's distinctive haircut. It took me forever, but I have to say I'm pleased with how it turned out. :D

The blood makes me proud. ;)

I have both a "bloodless" one and one without the rain. I'll post both of them, though only the rainless one will be submitted to my deviations. The bloodless one will go into scraps. This is so that people can see details if they want.

Time: 7 hours and 15 minutes.
Media: Adobe Photoshop CS3, Wacom Bamboo tablet.
Original Size: 1920x1200 pixels.

FFVII (c) Square Enix 1997-2010.
Splintered Dreams (c) Fairheartstrife 2008-2010.
Image (c) me 2010.

----------------------------------------------------

Gunfire reported over the desert, the sounds echoing with the rain. Zack was horrified to see Cloud, who had begun crawling from behind the shelter of rocks, riddled with bullets on sight.

"NO!" Zack roared. Rage and Fury lifted him from the ground, his own tattered body screaming in protest but he refused to let anything stop him from reaching his friend. He swung his arm, the heavy blade singing it's death song, removing two heads clean off their shoulders.

The third soldier ignored the commotion, raised his weapon and fired-- dead center to Cloud's chest.

"Damn you!" Zack plowed the broad blade of his weapon into the other man's back, nearly severing the man in half. Bloody entrails fell to wet sand, but Zack paid the mess no mind. He slid through the muck, leaning over his friend.

"Cloud! Cloud, can you hear me?"

A grimace. "…Zack…?"

"Cloud!" Zack gripped his hand. "Hang in there, okay? I'll get us out of here." He coughed, swallowing back bile and blood.

Cloud blinked up into the rain. "Zack."

"I'm right here. I won't leave you." Zack watched with a sinking feeling of helplessness as the flickering glow in Cloud's youthful blue eyes waned to a dull sheen. The hand gripping his so tightly but a moment ago went limp and a trickle of crimson escaped between pale lips. A shudder and the glow dimmed farther. Life was being erased from those fathomless depths and there was nothing Zack could do to stop it. He wanted to scream in frustration over his own helplessness.

Cloud struggled to speak, his throat working convulsively. "Zack..."

"I'm here, Cloud."

"T-Tell...Tifa..." A spasm and another grimace. Once the pain receded, Cloud tried again. "Tell Tifa I'm sorry...couldn't keep our..p-promise...wanted..." His breath was coming in short bursts, quick and painful. "Tifa..." Fingers clutched at sodden ground. "I never forgot..."

Zack's jaw clenched, teeth grinding together as he fought down tears. He pressed his gloved hand to Cloud's head, ruffling the blood soaked blond spikes in a familiar way. "Easy, man. Take it easy."

But Cloud was determined, as relentless on the brink of death as he had been in full life. Zack still recalled with vivid detail how strong and brave his friend had been in the depths of Nibleheim mountain, facing down the greatest warrior Shin-Ra had ever unleashed onto the planet. He had done the near impossible and killed Sephiroth--after being fully impaled upon Masamune.

Cloud was too young, too strong, too vital to die!

With dwindling strength Cloud his head, forced Zack to meet his gaze. "Swear it, Zack...swear you'll tell her...protect her…" Cloud clutched the back of Zack's head. "Protect her."

Zack could in no way refuse Cloud's dying request. Nor would he. He blinked back tears. "I swear it, Cloud."

Satisfied, Cloud nodded once and went limp, lying back into the cold mud. "Hnh... Not...cold anymore..." His lips quirked somewhere between grimace and smile. "Too bad...never made...SOLDIER..."

At this, Zack's carefully composed expression began to crack. He inhaled sharply, a choked sound catching in his throat. "SOLDIER's are monsters, Cloud. You... You're a hero. You're the best friend I've ever had." Zack couldn't finish. Didn't want to talk like this was the last time.

Cloud's smile was faint, but genuine. "Thank you..." His free hand settled across his wounded chest, fingertips searching for something. He lifted a picture out of his pocket.

Without seeing it Zack knew what it was. Tifa. Young and smiling impishly between Zack and Sephiroth mere hours before all their lives went straight to hell. Zack took the bloodstained photograph reluctantly. "I'll find her." Zack had no way of knowing if the girl had even survived the Nibleheim disaster, but if she had, he would find her.

Satisfied, Cloud nodded and closed his eyes. "I think…I'll sleep now…"

Zack's own eyes closed with regret and sadness; a solitary tear slipped past his long lashes, blending with the rain. "Goodnight, my friend."


-From chapter 1/Prologue of Splintered Dreams, and the inspiration for this illustration
Add a Comment:
 
:iconfullmetalheart20:
FullmetalHeart20 Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013
It's reversed!?!?!? Just...wow.
Reply
:iconelvenwhitemage:
ElvenWhiteMage Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Yep~! And the story's even cooler. :D Angsty as hell, but really cool. You can read it here, if you're interested. [link] Fairheartstrife is awesome. She's also here on devART, if you want to view some of her artwork.
Reply
:iconshadowfoxbd:
Shadowfoxbd Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012
Saw this pic and read the short story behind it. Gotta read the rest. Love your attention to detail, and the flow of the story.
Reply
:iconelvenwhitemage:
ElvenWhiteMage Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you very much! But the story, unfortunately, isn't mine. It's by an amazing author, :iconfairheartstrife:, over on Fanfiction.Net. I was just inspired to create fanart of a few scenes from it. I highly recommend that you read it. It's a wonderful story!
Reply
:iconshadowfoxbd:
Shadowfoxbd Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012
Thanks
Reply
:iconelvenwhitemage:
ElvenWhiteMage Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Not a problem! (Just in case the icon didn't show up, her penname is fairheartstrife.)
Reply
:iconm65p3:
M65P3 Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This part made me wallow up with tears and having a picture with it made it all the more sadder. :sniff:
Reply
:iconelvenwhitemage:
ElvenWhiteMage Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Ummm... I'm going to take that as a compliment, so I'm glad I achieved the effect I was going for. Thanks for commenting! ...And here's a :hug: because you look like you could use one. :)
Reply
:iconm65p3:
M65P3 Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:) You certinally. The story is a really nice twist to that part of the series. That's why I like it so much. That the emotions on their face.
Reply
:iconelvenwhitemage:
ElvenWhiteMage Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
It totally is. And I'm so glad the emotions came across so well. The feelings of anguish I was trying to portray are that soul-deep kind, the depths of which cannot be truly described in words. I'm grateful that this image displays those so well. :)
Reply
:iconziggyzamfir:
ZiggyZamfir Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
NOOOOOOO....This is gut wrenching :tears: I love the story behing the picture. Awesome writing skills :)
Reply
:iconelvenwhitemage:
ElvenWhiteMage Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Ah... It's not my story. But I'll pass on the compliment to the writer!

The story is Splintered Dreams by Fairheartstrife. You can read it on Fanfiction.net, if you'd like. It's really awesome!
Reply
:iconziggyzamfir:
ZiggyZamfir Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Aha, than you very much :)
Reply
:iconelvenwhitemage:
ElvenWhiteMage Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
You're very welcome!
Reply
:iconpureglory88:
pureglory88 Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011
Was playing crisis core ost while i came to this page. All of a sudden the ending song Why just started. Irony, coincdence, or fate? xP
Reply
:iconelvenwhitemage:
ElvenWhiteMage Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Probably a mix of three. XD Glad you liked it.
Reply
:iconakanemuramasa:
AkaneMuramasa Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2011  Student General Artist
I read this story and nearly cried at this scene
Reply
:iconelvenwhitemage:
ElvenWhiteMage Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
So did I! :cry: So heart-wrenching, right?
Reply
:iconwolfraver13:
WolfRaver13 Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2011
Amazing work! I have such a hard time drawing blood!
Well done!
Reply
:iconelvenwhitemage:
ElvenWhiteMage Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you very much!
Reply
:iconwolfraver13:
WolfRaver13 Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2011
You're very welcome :iconmogplz:
Reply
:iconelvenwhitemage:
ElvenWhiteMage Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Yay! Moogle.

...Kupo. :heart:
Reply
:iconxjackxofxtrades:
xJackxOfxTrades Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I feel bad that I love this.
The roles switched is something I honestly have never thought about. .___.
Reply
:iconelvenwhitemage:
ElvenWhiteMage Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you very much! :hug: Don't feel guilty about loving it- I love it, too, and I'm the one who drew it. Seriously, if you think this is good, I highly recommend reading :iconfairheartstrife:'s fic that inspired this.
Reply
:iconlizolb:
LizoLB Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
I like how you did the faces here, It looks really good :D
I like the blood to :heart:
Reply
:iconelvenwhitemage:
ElvenWhiteMage Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks! I was very proud of how it turned out, so I'm glad you like it. :)
Reply
:iconlizolb:
LizoLB Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
no problem, its a nice pic. 'comment from my psp'
Reply
:icondemyylove14:
Demyylove14 Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2010
I really like the story and the way you've switched the story round (Y)
Zack doesn't die this time woo hoo xxxxx
CloudXTifa ~ ZackXAerith
Reply
:iconelvenwhitemage:
ElvenWhiteMage Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Erm... Thank you very much, but it's really not my story. It's by fairheartstrife, who actually has a page on here: [link]

I agree about the Zack thing, though. I was happy that he didn't die in this story (though Cloud's death just about killed me). I can't wait to see where she goes with it next. :)
Reply
:iconulurnaga:
UlurNaga Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2010
.....WOOOWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *instant love*
Reply
:iconelvenwhitemage:
ElvenWhiteMage Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you very much! :hug:
Reply
:iconulurnaga:
UlurNaga Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2010
You are very very welcome :iconglompplz:
Reply
:iconkatt315:
katt315 Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2010  Student Traditional Artist
So terrible...your Fanfiction is so heart-wrenching...and your art-work holds such emotion...

I'm speechless. Really well done. O_o

Eventhough your Fanfiction is a AU story...I wonder if Angeal's watching over Zack at this scene. I wonder what he would be thinking...:P sorry...I'm a fan-girl of Angeal. XD my fangirl-ism gets in the way alot.
Reply
:iconelvenwhitemage:
ElvenWhiteMage Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the compliment about the artwork... but, uh, which fanfiction are you talking about? If you're referring to Splintered Dreams, then I'm afraid you've got the wrong author. *fairheartstrife deserves your compliments about that story.

I'm a huge Angeal fangirl, too. :D I think Angeal probably is watching over Zack in this scene. :XD: He's just that awesome.
Reply
:iconkatt315:
katt315 Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2010  Student Traditional Artist
Ahh...my fault. x3

But yes the Art IS really well done...it's amazing how emotional the piece is. I love the way you've done the rain...but Zack's expression...D;;; so terribly sad.

I wonder what Angeal would be thinking whilst watching Zack...

8D We got another Angeal Fan-Girl? *sends out invitation to Angeal group*
Reply
:iconelvenwhitemage:
ElvenWhiteMage Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you very much! I'm glad to see I accomplished my goal. :) Angeal would probably be thinking something along the lines of how he "wishes he could be there so Zack wouldn't have to deal with this on his own", or something like that. At least, that's the impression I got from the game. Angeal wouldn't try to coddle Zack or shield him from the world, but he would want to be there to make sure that Zack doesn't have to bear this burden by himself.

...I think. :O

Sure I'll join the Angeal group! ...How do I do it? *is hopeless when it comes to DeviantART's new website*
Reply
:iconkatt315:
katt315 Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2010  Student Traditional Artist
D;;; Sorry for late reply. Administrating a tough group like mine isn't easy. Especially because alot of people don't know the animal.

:3 I think you're right...Angeal's like that. You should make Fanfictions. I think you'll be good.
Reply
:iconelvenwhitemage:
ElvenWhiteMage Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
No problemo. I'll bet it's more than difficult. :D And I have made fanfictions. Here's one with Angeal in it: Lost In Translation
And here's one from Cloud's point of view: Cast Me Gently Into Morning

If you're interested, you're welcome to read them. :) I'd be more than happy to hear what you think.

(I'm debating on posting Cast Me Gently Into Morning on devART, and maybe Lost in Translation, too, if the first is well-received)
Reply
:iconjonouchifanboy:
JonouchiFanboy Featured By Owner May 8, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
I have only one thing to say. "Damn can you draw!"

So sad and sweet at the same time. Poor Zack poor Cloud. Great Cry at Zack's death, cry at Aerith's death, now I'm crying for Cloud. Final Fantasy it pawn all other games no contest.
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:iconelvenwhitemage:
ElvenWhiteMage Featured By Owner May 13, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Totally! And thanks very much! I'm glad I was able to convey the emotions of the scene so well. It was inspired by fairheartstrife's Splintered Dreams, which is an equally wrenching fic.

Surprisingly enough, I didn't cry at Aerith's death like I did when Zack died in Crisis Core. And I cried when I read Cloud's death scene in Splintered Dreams. Strange, huh?
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:iconfreakyfan3754:
freakyfan3754 Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2010  Student
Wow, that is just raw, man. Only word I can think of. Well done.
Reply
:iconelvenwhitemage:
ElvenWhiteMage Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks! That's exactly the effect I was going for. :-) Not to mention that they both kind of look like they've been through a meat grinder... Eh, sorry. Gave blood this morning and I'm still a little out of it. :dohtwo: Eh heh heh...
Reply
:iconfreakyfan3754:
freakyfan3754 Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2010  Student
lol, how appropriate
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:iconelvenwhitemage:
ElvenWhiteMage Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Hee hee, no kidding. ;P
Reply
:iconfairheartstrife:
fairheartstrife Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2010
**speechless**

This is so wrenching and heartbreaking. O.o THANK YOU!! You captured the pain and horror and just plain misery of the scene so wonderfully! I'm linking this to my profile on FF.Net. :D

The rain and blood look fantastic.

This is just...again...amazing, and I thank you so much for sharing, and I'm insanely flattered to be the source of your inspiration. **is giddy**
Reply
:iconelvenwhitemage:
ElvenWhiteMage Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Ergh, I did it again! I meant "Splintered Dreams"... I'M REALLY SORRY!! Sleep deprivation plus blood drive participation equals a not-aware artist. :dohtwo:
Reply
:iconelvenwhitemage:
ElvenWhiteMage Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for commenting! I'm so glad you like it. :XD: I'm glad the rain turned out well- I wasn't too sure about it at first. I really just used a filter on Photoshop called "Fibers" to create its effect, and, like I said, I was uncertain because it seemed a little... grainy? But I'm glad it looks okay. :D Thanks for linking! ...I think I accidentally misnamed your fic earlier on one of my comments... I apologize if it was anything other than "Shattered Dreams." Just donated blood, so I'm a little hazy right now. :backstab: :nirvana: Ergh... Ramblings aside, thanks again!
Reply
:iconthe-kitteh:
The-Kitteh Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
that's... bloody O.o

but the picture's AMAZING and fits the story so well! **applauds** brilliant work!
Reply
:iconelvenwhitemage:
ElvenWhiteMage Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
It IS bloody. But then, so's the scene it's taken from. There will be a bloodless one posted in my scraps, but right now I'm pressed for time (between classes) and so unfortunately it'll have to wait. :cry: It's pretty, too.

Thank you so much for the compliment! I'm glad you like it. :D

Can't you tell I'm pleased with my handiwork? :XD:
Reply
:iconthe-kitteh:
The-Kitteh Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've seen the bloodless one as well, I like this one - rain & blood combo - the best :)

I'd be pleased with my handiwork if I ever did something as amazing as this!
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April 26, 2010
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