Stripes is a piece of Final Fantasy 7 fanfiction that I started writing in 1999. In many aways, writing this was an act of self-harm, and this must be kept in mind for those who choose to read it. My own values have shifted intensely since initially writing this, but I still don't feel inclined to throw this out. This is a snapshot of who I was from 1999 to 2007. It's super cringey, and I wholeheartedly apologize for my oldschool internet arrogance. I was not writing for an audience, I was writing to avenge myself, and it resulted in a very uncomfortable piece that absolutely not be considered light reading.

Writing this brought the attention of some bad people into my life, and a lot of very cool and good ones, so I have a lot of mixed feelings about it. In the end, it's a work of someone who was extremely uncomfortable with themselves and diving into fiction to distract and try to mend some of the pain.

I wrote this thing half-asleep and upset. I do not remember half of it. It's not properly proofread and does this weird thing where it crosses over with a bunch of Earth terms instead of adhering to in-game abstractions because I wanted to put things closer to real life at the time. At some point I mixed in songs because I thought it was Cool and Dramatic! Of course, it all seems incredibly pretentious to me now as an adult, but we all have to start somewhere, you know? I think my willingness to keep this up on the internet at all is mostly for myself to look at my past mistakes and reflect on how much better of a person I've become. I might not even be able to read through this and properly tag all content warnings.

That being said, here's the content warnings I do remember.

Stripes is set in a dystopic future five years after the end of the canon the original game laid out. I did not retrofit it to include newer parts of canon even though they were coming out alongside it.

This fic has a lot of uncomfortable and antiquated themes that I no longer approve of myself, including:

- General themes of self-harm
- Tifa and Aeris fighting over Cloud
- Hojo and Vincent fighting over Lucrecia
- Very brutal bad blood from Lucrecia against Hojo, to the point where I used the dreaded "Vincent is Sephiroth's father" trope
- Cloud is coerced by Jenova into acting very brutally against the protagonists of this fic.
- Very, very strong language.

In conclusion, you should not read this fic. I've taken it down from most major social media sites because I myself find it unacceptable in the modern era, and will probably take it down not soon after this as well. If you're here and reading this, it's because you've come looking for it, or I've recently linked you personally.

To those who have enjoyed it over the years and come into my life because of it, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for liking my art. I hope to god that you don't find me to be an awful person.

To those who may read this in 2021 and beyond, it is my hope that those who read it see a bit of how I used to self-harm and learn to avoid it yourselves. A person is the master of their own happiness, and clinging to the past and old grudges will slowly kill you the longer you hold onto them. I know this now from personal experience as well, and hope all who come after me know a measure of peace, and don't have to go through the same stuff I did.

Katimus - Jan 5, 2021