Author: Nietzsche's Itch PM
Sephiroth and Aeris meet each other in the Lifestream, and clear the air over his role in her death over tea. AerisephRated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Humor - Sephiroth & Aerith G. - Words: 1,505 - Reviews: 8 - Favs: 20 - Published: 12-02-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6524036
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Author: Nietzsche's Itch
Genre: Romance, Humor
Status: Oneshot, Complete
Disclaimer: I do not own FFVII
Summary: Sephiroth and Aeris meet each other in the Lifestream, and clear the air over his role in her death over tea. Aeriseph.
Dedicated to Vashagud, because they gave me the idea for the tea conversation
He was dead. Again. Only this time, rather than lying down for a nap, which was the sense his previous 'deaths' had produced, this one felt more like falling down involuntarily, unable to rise and open his eyes.
So this was the end. No fanfare, no fireworks, even sticks of dynamite would make a charming pair of earrings for Jenova's putrefied skull. Nothing at all. If pen were put to paper on the tale, it would have an action-packed, engaging prologue, a drawn out and irrelevant middle and an anticlimactic finale. Genesis would not approve.
The bad guy was vanquished. The end.
"You're going to get grass stains if you sleep there."
Or maybe not. Not only did the afterlife possess a complexion so obscenely green it put the littlest, sickest cadet after his first experience with cafeteria fodder to shame, it came with an inbuilt alarm clock that could not be switched off.
"Leather doesn't stain so easily," Sephiroth said flatly, thinking that if he were to be forced to endure this obscure form of utopia courtesy of the powers that be, bless their lack of imagination for interior design, then living with Jenova as his internal narrator did not sound unappealing, all things considered. And if he got tired of that, there was always Strife willing to send him right back.
"Your hair will," she chirped. He groaned quietly and almost yelped in surprise when a lock of his hair was deftly tugged, and the offending hand retracted before he could take a swipe at it.
Sephiroth glared. "I don't care. Please desist from doing...that."
Aeris giggled. "But it's such a pretty colour, I've always thought, it would be a shame to get it all dirty," she said innocently, idly taking up another piece of hair and twisting the ends into a loose braid. He gave it up as a lost cause and closed his eyes in an effort to ignore the woman who had apparently decided that his punishment for being an unwitting accomplice in her murder was to be her dress up dolly.
"So, I wasn't expecting to see you here," she said conversationally, twirling the hair around her finger as she sat beside him, unnerving him both by her familiarity and the unnatural degree of comfort she was displaying in his presence, when it was taken into account that he had killed her.
Or Jenova had. But she had used his body and his sword to do the deed. That counted for something. It struck him as counterproductive in the extreme that he was trying to blame himself for what his victim apparently did not. Then again, she had spent an unhealthy length of time exposed to Zack, perhaps his inability to prioritize had rubbed off on her.
He looked askance at her, and frowned as the idea that her gentle attentions might have felt soothing, had he known what a harmless touch felt like to begin with.
"I'm dead, for good this time," Sephiroth said dourly. Aeris beamed at him, undaunted by his dark mood.
The Cetra shook her head amusedly. "I meant, I thought that Jenova would manage to take your soul with her when she was destroyed."
She smiled lopsidedly, genuine humour and a dash of something unidentifiable lighting up her eyes from within. "I'm happy that you made it here."
Sephiroth simply stared at Aeris, her words simply not computing, a feeling he was rapidly beginning to associate with dealing with the woman.
"Why?" he asked at last.
She looked discomfited for a moment, as if she had not been expecting the question. As if he would not be curious to discover the motivation behind the sentiment.
"Does there have to be a reason?" she tried for a smile.
"With our...history, there does," he said firmly. Aeris averted her gaze, and suddenly whipped out her arm. A basket appeared, improbably complete with all the paraphernalia and trappings of a picnic. He scowled, no matter how disgusted he felt with himself for allowing her death to occur; she would not be able to divert him with a glass of juice and cucumber sandwiches. His head was clear now, his mind his own, but he was not nice, and never had been.
Catching his gaze, she sighed. "I will give you your answers, but some things are best talked about over tea, I feel."
Tea? Sephiroth blinked as a quaint porcelain teapot shimmed its way into existence, steam rising elegantly from its spout.
"Will this place provide whatever you ask of it?" he queried, intrigued despite himself. Aeris appeared suddenly sheepish.
"Well...I try not to abuse it, but Zack sometimes asks it for things, silly things, bubble blowers and things like that and that usually doesn't work..." she trailed off at the black expression Sephiroth now wore, and the realization that what had been intended as an amusing anecdote to soften the tension had triggered memories of a time he would rather forget.
Aeris bit her lip in indecision, debating about whether or not to apologize when Sephiroth very deliberately picked up his teacup, drained it, and refilled his cup and her own.
"The tea is good," he commented, inhaling the scent of chamomile. She sagged in relief, but despite the gracious out he had given her, she felt the need to make sure he understood why she had mentioned their mutual friend.
Accepting her tea with trembling hands, she blurted out "Zack doesn't blame you, for anything. He knows it was Jenova, as do I, that made you act as you did."
Sephiroth surveyed her tiredly over the rim of his cup. She did seem to be sincere, and from what little he knew of her, did not seem to have it in her to be deceitful or misleading without just cause.
"I ask again, why?" he pressed.
Aeris frowned. "Because you were manipulated. You were hurt, and confused, and Jenova exploited that, as she did with Cloud, and the remnants. She's a toxic influence, and the very fact that you are here at all means that you never succumbed utterly to her, and were able to separate yourself at the critical juncture," she stressed, sounding almost exasperated as she tried to impart forgiveness upon someone who was determined to nullify her efforts.
"So that's it? All the pain I caused, even if it was not truly my will, is forgiven? The lives that were ruined by my weakness are inconsequential, is that what you are saying?" Sephiroth demanded, though it was all bark and no bite. In any case, Aeris knew his rage was not directed at her personally.
"That Cloud's pain will never be avenged?" he whispered despairingly. Aeris moved swiftly to sit beside him and wrapped her arms around his shoulders in an unreserved desire to comfort. She tugged his head gently to nestle against her neck as dry, tearless sobs racked his thin frame, combing lightly through hoary tresses.
He leant into the touch, pride abandoned, and replaced by an all consuming weariness. "Why did it have to be him that suffered for my mistakes?" he whispered sadly, clutching Aeris tightly and scrunching his eyes shut.
She kissed the top of his head before sighing fondly. "He's not as clueless as you think. Hojo got his claws into him too, and he knows some of what you went through. I'll have a word with him though, if it'll help, next time I drop into his dreams," she promised.
"Really?" he murmured hopefully. Cloud loved Aeris, not like he did that Lockhart girl, but loved nonetheless. He would surely listen to her.
"Of course. Maybe you can come with me too," she added, making his stomach churn unpleasantly. He wished to apologize, if nothing else, even if nothing he had ever had to do frightened him more.
"Thank you," he said instead, knowing it was woefully inadequate but not knowing how else to express his immense gratitude.
Aeris chuckled quietly, knowing what he was not saying. It was improbably comfortable, lying there in the grass, Sephiroth's warm breath tickling her neck and arms resting loosely on her waist. But if redemption was to be found, then who were they to question where it began?
They were at peace, but as everyone knows, peace never lasts long.
"I knew she had a leather fetish!" Zack cried triumphantly, and snickered fearlessly as two pairs of livid green eyes turned slowly to glare at him.
Life was good. The afterlife was better.