Vita, Amare, et Cruciamentum

(Life, Love, and Torment)

Disclaimer: FFVII and everything it encompasses belongs to Squaresoft Inc.

Chapter 6 Don't Leave Me Here Alone

What in Hell's name was he still doing here, toying with her while simultaneously allowing her to lead him on, Sephiroth wondered? It seemed as though the world had decided to lose all sense of reason within the short time between the moment she'd arrived and now. And still, he continued to ravage her mouth, tasting honeysuckle and berries and the sweet essence of spring.

But there would be no culmination to this crescendo of inflamed passion. And when he finally left her, alone and at the mercy of this monster infested land, he would likely never set eyes upon her again. He'd never delight in the mixed desire and fear in her beautiful green eyes, or savor her soft, trembling mouth.

This unique, mere slip of a girl who claimed to be the last Cetra – she drew him like a mindless moth to the brilliance of her flame. Beyond all logic and past mortal control. Sephiroth suddenly had the urge to strike her and silence her forever, for having this maddening power over him.

How dare she?

He felt a touch of moisture brush against his cheek, causing him to pull away gently to study the girl he continued to hold in his arms. Seeing the tears that she tried to hold back, he felt a rush of disgust flow through him.

"Women," he began contemptuously, "Always crying at every little thing."

He'd angered her again, and somehow, the thought almost made him smile. Almost.

She tried to fight him again, pushing and even clawing at his exposed chest, but his arms remained steadfastly locked around her, trapping her against him.

"Gods, I hate you!" she exclaimed, as reality intruded her mind, bring her back from the dizzy fervor that he had skillfully worked her body to. "I've already told you that I want to go home, you...you jerk!"

"Yes, and I don't think I'm ready to let you go yet," he answered. Mako eyes bore into earthly green ones, mesmerizing his prey.

Aeris angrily wiped at her eyes, furious at the entire situation. "You can't just," she paused, groping for her words, "Force me around like this. Is this how you treat your other women? Is that the only way you can have them?"

"Am I really forcing you, witch?" Sephiroth asked. His voice returned to a carefully modulated, seductive quality. "If I were to stop this forcing, would you run to your safe, secure little home? Away from the danger you sought out yourself by coming here?" His hands slid down from her slim waist to the curve of her hips and he pulled her roughly to him, making sure she could feel the results that their passion-play had wrought upon his body. He smirked at the startled gasp that escaped her lips.

"And would you lie in your lonely bed, dreaming, wishing, wanting? Perhaps cry these pathetic tears you show me now for whatever imagined hurt you feel?"

"You can be assured that whatever it is I'm dreaming about will have nothing to do with you!" she shot at him. She practically never cried. Not since outgrowing that childish indulgence which was severely frowned upon in the harsh environment of the Slums. But sometimes, in the stillness of the solitary night, sometimes…But she should never have done so before him!

Tears of frustration, resentment, fury continued to escape, though she fought them as best she could.

This is what you brought me here for? She asked the Planet that was now silent as death. To be subjected to this?

"Anyways, it's not surprising that you can't understand something as human as tears," Aeris shot at him while trying to wrench out of his solid grip. "After all, no one's ever seen a monster cry."

Sephiroth tightened his hold on her waist and his lips pressed into a thin line. "And I couldn't have imagined a Cetra as weak as you."

Sensing she had hit upon a delicate topic, Aeris couldn't help but continue to goad him. Where normally she would have been appalled, she was just incensed. "Oh, what's the matter, General? Touchy subject? Actually, I can't even imagine that a man like you could be born in any may resembling normal. Is that why you use all of this force? Because every woman you've ever met couldn't stand the thought of being touched by a man as completely abnormal as you?"

For the rest of her life, Aeris would never forget the intensity with which Sephiroth's eyes had glowed at that instant. Like two haunted, eternal orbs possessing innumerable demons that she could not fathom.


"Normal members of soldier? You mean you're different?"

"N…no…"

"Was I? Was I created this way too?"

"Am I the same as all these monsters…"

"…I've always felt since I was small…I was different…but…not like this…"


Hojo…humans...They're to blame!

Vengeance.

I'm…What am I?

Damned.

Gods, why?

/The silver-haired boy cowered in the dark corner of his cell. When would he come to take him for his next injection? Gods, they hurt. Like writhing serpents mercilessly tearing at the insides of his body./

/"You'll never amount to anything! Look at you. You're just some freak of nature that Shinra and that crazy Hojo want to play around with."/

/"Nothing. Nothing but an engineered monster. You're a lab rat. No identity, no family. Nothing. That's all you'll ever be. An outcast. A long haired reject."/

/Monster/

Is slaughter the only way? The only way to survive in this world?

So be it! Stand in my way and I will destroy you. I have no choice…

You forced this on me. You're the one to blame. Damn you Hojo. Damn you all!

Alone.

Always standing alone.

/The boy reached out his hand towards the fading light beyond his cell door. Grasping, always grasping at shadows and air, reaching out for the one thing that always eluded him.

"Please. Please…Don't leave me here alone…"/


Aeris had never been more frightened. He was just staring through her, as if lost in a memory.

"Sephiroth?" She said tentatively.

Oh Gods, what have I done? Why's he acting like this?

"Sephiroth, please. I-I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said those things."

It seemed an eternity passed before his glazed eyes gradually focused until they were once again pinning her like a squirming specimen under the brightness of his gaze. As though an invisible smoke screen had suddenly been removed from between them, his eyes were at last unguarded. And in their depths…

I'll always remember...

It was late afternoon...

In places no one would find...

Gods, she'd known. She'd known all along what lay beneath the surface. But she'd ignored it and allowed herself to be taken in by his rakish façade. Now, she would have given anything to be able to take back the words that she'd spoken in thoughtless anger.

He looked at her with such ill concealed longing, a burning passion dangerous enough to consume her. Could a man like him really feel the need that she read in his eyes? But was it a need for her, or just… Oh Gods, could she truly be seeing…tears, causing the mako of his eyes to glow brighter? Could it be?

Is the pain that's best concealed always the most destructive?

"I'm sorry." She whispered, unable to say anything else. "I-"

He leaned towards her, so slowly, and her breath caught in her throat. She could feel the nearness of his lips even after her eyes had drifted shut. Time seemed to suspend in that one tender moment, where all walls were torn down and there was only simple honesty between them.

One last kiss…

"You win this round," Sephiroth whispered.

Her lips tingled wildly from the soft caress of his breath, and without realizing it she began to arch towards him.

He pulled back slightly to prevent the kiss that would have otherwise destroyed the both of them. Carefully, he removed one hand from around her waist and brought his fingertip to the corner of his eye. He studied the solitary bead of moisture that rested so innocently upon his finger. It was like a stranger that he hadn't expected to appear before him, so foreign.

Sephiroth leaned back, drinking in the details of the face that he knew he'd never be able to put from his mind. Slowly, gently, he brushed his fingertip across her trembling lower lip, moistening it with that single tear, and brought his head towards her again.

One last kiss…

"Dream of me," he breathed against her parted lips, careful not to touch them.

And then he was gone. It ended as suddenly their interlude had begun, leaving her with a terrible feeling of emptiness.

There was no final parting kiss, she realized with disappointment. And he never even asked for my name.

Perhaps it's better this way.

Aeris gazed at the dark horizon. There wasn't a single thing to show that he'd ever been there with her. Not a trace of the darkly desirable General left upon that desolate plateau beyond Midgar.

Maybe it was all an elaborate dream.

I had to have imagined the tears. He'd never…It's just impossible. Shinra's greatest General, the immoveable Sephiroth.

Could he really have spent what seemed like an everlasting, fleeting moment here with her?

Could he really have made her feel such an intoxicating combination and desire and fury, desperate need and hate?

Surely it was just a fantasy.

Her tongue darted out to moisten lips that remembered all too well the forbidden pleasures of his kisses. Her eyes widened suddenly and she turned to face the dark, sprawling complex of Midgar as she tasted the poignant traces of salt left on her lower lip. The essence of a lifetime of torture and despair, culminated in that single, insignificant drop of salted water that had dried upon her lips.

Unbidden, images and sensation from just minutes past assaulted her. Sephiroth, eyes glowing with beautiful, frightening intensity, the veil of his stoicism lifted for that one single moment. The torment she'd seen had been undeniable. She could feel him holding her again, tracing her lower lip with infinite tenderness. And denying her that final kiss.

Dream of me…

In places no one would find

All your feelings so deep inside

It was then that I realized

That forever was in your eyes

The moment I saw you cry

I will, Sephiroth. How could I not?

I'll find you.

And this time I won't forget all the secrets you're hiding. I won't let you get away so easily.

Child, the Planet whispered, this is much bigger than just the two of you. All encompassing. Fate of world.

I know, Aeris answered. I won't fail you.

She closed her eyes and savored the feeling of the icy wind cutting through her thin clothes. It was a welcome reminder of reality. Of life.

The world was far from perfect. Far from content and peaceful. But even the darkest crevice is not impenetrably black. And every shadow is born from a light.

Sephiroth…

Dream of me.


AN: VAeC has an unfinished and abandoned sequel, titled "Dream of Me." It's very different, more action-based. If interested, check it out on my website.

At the moment, I'm working on a post-AC fic titled "Sepsis." It can be found here.

If you have a moment, please PLEASE visit the link in my profile that will take you to a fun and cool quiz on how you communicate and receive love. I'm doing a project for one of my classes and taking a survey. I would really, really appreciate it.

Love,

Lyralina

PS. Reviews are nice too. Hehe.