The figure on the bed stirred and Zack sighed. He checked again all the tubes and monitors before passing a hand into that always so smooth silver hair and leave, eyes bleary. Sephiroth woke up and shivered.
Morning was cold, as it always been in the last six months. Half of a year of pure torture, his body rebelling against all, his mind crying out for Cloud to come back… But he was gone, and was waiting…
Cloud came down for breakfast. Since few weeks, he was eating less, seemed to weaken as his skin had taken a more pale shade. Zack had examined him, but he couldn't tell what was wrong with him. Today he looked better, though, and he started rummaging through the kitchen to make himself a good meal. Sephiroth looked over his newspaper for a while and smiled.
- Feeling better today, love?
Cloud smiled back and nodded, his beautiful golden hair cascading around his neck.
- Yeah… Sephy, do you know if Zack is back from the hospital?
- Yes he is, Angel and Sky are back from the Garden, too. It's been a while now that we have been all together…
- Hi you two!
Sky, the exact copy of Cloud, waved joyfully and went to sit in the kitchen, followed by Sephiroth. The silver-haired man ruffed his son's locks and sat down too, wondering what they'll eat this morning. The blond sniffed the air and licked his lips.
- Mmm! Oatmeal! Will you put some apple chunks in it?
- That's an idea… I used to make a lot of that when you were younger… Sephy, would you please prepare some apples? I-I… My arm feels numb all of a sudden…
Cloud's face paled in a second and he gasped, all happen so fast… Angel and Zack were in the staircase and saw their father fall in the kitchen, the time Zack reached them, Sephiroth had begun the CPR manoeuvres. He brushed his father away and relieved him.
- Sky! Go get the Lightning materia!
The blond bolted off and Angel came back as Cloud coughed. Sephiroth was taken by his son, who bring him in the living room. The silver-haired man was shaking all over.
- He's gonna be alright, dad, Zack is the best, you know that… An ambulance is already on the way…
- Dad! Cloud's conscious! He wants to see you!
- Unngh… Seph…
Sephiroth kneeled down and took Cloud in his arms while his body was racked by tremors. The great warrior could sense the life of his mate quickly escaping him, so he held him closer, in a vain attempt to save him. Cloud managed a smile and sagged in those arms.
- I love you… Sephiroth…
- No… Don't leave me… Cloud… Cloud!
And Cloud closed his eyes forever. Angel and Sky came closer as Sephiroth cradled his lover's body, crying his eyes out. Zack was crying, too, and when the medics showed up he shook his head gravely. Nothing could be done, his father was dead. Sephiroth managed to give up on Cloud's body and handed him over to the medics. He wasn't able to stand up, his child gathered around him. He knew that Cloud would come back for him… All he had to do was to wait. The blackness took him out and he collapsed.
Sephiroth turned his gaze toward the window. Snow had begun to fall on Esthar, the world had changed so much, the small sword school they had opened under the name 'Garden' grew up to three huge Universities. Now they were forming SeeDs, the best fighters of the world, using Vincent's invention, the Gunblade. The vampire and his companion had died several years before when Vincent, during a hunt, got rear attacked by a T-rex. Cid didn't survived long, three days after his escape he passed away in Cloud's hands, broken hearted.
Sephiroth sighed and closed his eyes, the sight of the snow falling softly bringing such good memories… A warm embrace near the fireplace, a gentle touch, a kiss… How he wished he had used G-forces, now, to escape those painfully happy memories…
A tear slid down his cheeks, and for a moment he thought he felt a hand brushing it away…
His green eyes flew open, he knew too well that voice, it belonged to…
The blond angel sat on the bed in front of Sephiroth, his wings wide open sparkling with every move. He held out his hand, a beautiful smile on his lips.
- Come, love, your time here is over…
The silver-haired man smiled in return and reached for the hand, which, surprisingly, he could hold. Cloud's spirit lifted him to his feet, the machine to which Sephiroth was attached began to bip furiously, but he didn't care, he was following Cloud… So he held on to him as he flapped his wings, the Holy Winds carrying them into the Promised Land…
The nurse, Zack, Sky and Angel arrived too late, the great warrior was already gone, a small smile curling his lips and a golden feather in his hand…
- Professor Valentine! Hey! What's the matter? Why all the Universities are gathered in this special meeting?, asked Zell.
Angel turned to see Zell and showed him a videocassette.
- We are going to re-write the History of the Great Meteor Crisis, answered Angel.
He heard his name again and turned to see Zack and Cloud, dressed in their proper combat gear, the Buster Sword and the Ultima weapon strapped at their backs. He smiled, seeing that they had brought many things like photographs and newspapers. Angel readjusted the Masamune and followed his brothers into the huge conference room, his long, black trench-coat flapping behind him.
- Hello, all of you. You surely already know me, I'm the History teacher of the Balamb Garden University. Let me introduce ourselves. Just right to me is my brother Zack, doctor at the Esthar Hospital, and there is my other brother, Sky, art teacher at the Trabia Garden University. We are the Valentine-Strife, and few days ago, Sephiroth Valentine, the fonder of this University, passed away. He was our father. And six months before, Cloud Strife, /the/ hero of the Meteor Crisis, died too, and he too was our father… Today all of you will know what truly happen during the Great Meteor Crisis.
And with that Zack put the recorder on play.
Angel passed in a hurry, flailing something before the camera. Zack did the same, but we could see that he was fleeing with a pair of black boxers. Little Sky hid under the desk, putting on his hands a pair of black socks. Few minutes later we could hear an high-pitched scream coming from the bathroom.
- Get back here with my underwear little rascals!
A voice behind the camera answered his distress call.
- Take another, one, Seph, you know how much they like to play with your boxers…
- But it was my last two! The others are in the laundry!
- Then take one of mine!
- I can't they're all in the laundry! Zack dropped the shampoo bottle on your pile!
Two little silver-haired boys came back in the living room, battling with small wooden swords, in underwear, each of them having a pair of black boxers on the head, like a hood, playing with their blond brother who was obviously the dragon.
- C'mon Sky, you can do better than that… Daddy's trying out his new camera, roar for daddy!
So Sky raised his socks-covered paws and began to roar menacingly (or at least he try to) at his father and the two other kids starts poking him with their swords.
- For the love of God, Zack, skip that part!
The entire University was laughing his head off. Finally Sky fast forwarded the tape to the main point of the giant meeting. They heard Cloud talking about when he and Sephiroth met, his time in the Shinra army, the mission at Nibelheim, Hojo's experiments, Zack's sacrifice… Then Sephiroth gave his point of view, what he saw in the Mako reactor, the notes on the JENOVA PROJECT, which he kept, JENOVA's grasp on his body and soul, her plans, her powers… How she tried to push Cloud in hating him. Cloud introduced every member of the team, Barret, Tifa, Vincent, Cid, Yuffie, Cait Sith/Reeve, Red 13/Nanaki and Aerith. Sephiroth told them how JENOVA killed her, by manipulating his every move, how he couldn't act, why she did it. She truly hoped he's give up his love for him, that she could own Sephiroth completely once Cloud would stop loving him.
- When she understood that Cloud would follow me wherever I was going, she used his 'weakness', like she said, to push him to hand over the Black Materia. It was me who called him up in the Crater, what he freed was my soul, locked away in the Mako crystal. Seeing that, JENOVA threw Cloud into the Lifestream and locked a part of me, my human part, deep down inside of me. It's only when Cloud killed her that I was free again, but I couldn't face what she'd made me do, so I let all the rage I had against her fall on him, hoping that he would be strong enough to defeat me, and again I was right.
Then Cloud related how and why he came back, the discovery of the truth concerning his parents, and the turning point of their lives, the return of Professor Hojo, starting with the day Cloud had fallen ill, the month that followed and the positive pregnancy test… That Angel and Zack were proud to show off. Sephiroth and him exchanged few other anecdotes, talking about this and that, Zack, the army, some funny things that happened with Aerith, their visit into the Lifestream… The tape finished and Sky was about to press the stop button when Cloud reappeared, alone, in their Estharian Mansion, a much more recent taping…
- Hi love… Yeah, it's me. I know that when you'll review this cassette I'll be gone, only you and me know where it's hidden… It's spring now, 237 years after the Great Meteor Crisis, and the Second Sorceress War just ended, the world is safe, again… Seph, I know you'll probably… wonder… why I didn't tell you, cause yes, I know I'll die, I know I only have six months, maybe even less, to live, but… I want them to be happy days, I don't want to see you mourn before I'm dead… I want you to be happy until the end… I'm sorry…
The blond paused to take a big breath and wipe away some tears.
- I… I went to see Adrian, Zack's friend, maybe two weeks ago. It started by headaches, like I had during the Meteor thing… and he called me three days ago, he wanted to see me… to tell me I had a very short time before me. The JENOVA cells I'm hosting are dying, one after another. I'm going to leave… in a very short time… I'm sorry… I want to be happy, and I'll try to make it to see our children after the Great Celebration… One last time, if I don't, tell them I love them, I'm very proud of what they did and what they're doing… Please forgive me, Sephiroth… I love you, always had, and always will… Goodbye…
The Estharian President left the room in a hurry, followed by his counsellor, Kyros, before the end of the last part. His own son had rejected him…
The tape ended, and the three brothers looked at themselves, they hadn't viewed the tape up to this point, it hurt too much. It still did, but it was clearer. Angel, Zack and Sky were silent for a minute or two, when a familiar voice brought them back.
- Up there!, yelled Irvine
Up in the conference room, two angels were flying, one with golden wings and the other had one wing black and one silver… They hovered few seconds above the teachers and disappeared. Three feather fell down on their head and a red light surrounded them. Angel's wings spread open all of a sudden and he learned the 'Holy Aura' limit. Zack and Sky did the same and learned 'Omnislash' and 'Celestial Winds' limits. The students gasped, the hero's children had completed their parent's last wishes. The truth was known. In the far end of the Conference room, Squall Leonhart bolted off, tears in his eyes…
- Father! Wait for me!
*Drowned in 5 feet deep of water* WAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! *sniff* Teary ending… I'm broken hearted… Sorry… *burst into tears again* Cloud and Sephy are dead!… I'll probably write the prequel to this, and it will probably starts with 'Open your eyes', but the main title will change to become 'Calm before the Storm', and the interlude 'Lover's War'. I hope you liked that… Personally, I didn't liked the ending! I'm a meaaaaaaaaaaaanyyyyyyyy! *burst into tears again*