[Originally posted 1st January, 2022. Gift for kadajlozyazoo.]

I wonder why my Sefikura pieces always turn out so experimental lately… Please excuse the ridiculous style I chose this time (unless that's your thing) and enjoy this twisted mess of thoughts and feelings.

To my sister: I hope this makes the new year a better place for you, or perhaps makes it feel a little more like home.

At long last, the hunt draws to a close.

Cloud Strife pelts through dense snow, kicking it up in great big wheels behind him, fierce in his search for the Promised Land and overwhelmed by grief, by rage.

Behind struggling, greening eyes, he still sees it— Sephiroth's icy blade descending, warming itself on all sides with the last of Aeris's escaping soul—even all these years later.

Cloud still lives it, that silent, twisted sense of knowing, of being unable to hide from reality—the unforgiving, certain reality that death has indeed visited himself upon someone dear to him, someone he can never reclaim and never replace.

He still feels Aeris's hair, unfurling and spreading into almost-silent waters; kissing against his waist and palms, absent of life, absent of any feeling, absent of a future in which they both might hold each other again, if only for a single moment.

It's been so long that he's almost forgotten how she used to smell.

And every time he remembers Aeris, he remembers everyone else—every single person close to him that fell to those black-gloved hands, leaving him deserted and empty-hearted in the wasteland that is their Planet.

Again, and again, and again...

He hardly notices when his feet meet the cave floor, icy and almost slipping out from under him, for he has only one objective, only one man in his heart and mind—a man who will glady kill, will even more gladly feign being overpowered, anything if it means continuing this dance…

But Cloud doesn't know that.

Sephiroth waits, unperturbed, not at all concerned with whether or not Cloud will find him; he always does, after all. This time, though, something will surely be different, Sephiroth thinks, for Cloud's fury has had time to ferment appropriately, to simmer—and now, to boil—in anticipation of their meeting. Yes, Sephiroth smiles, this will be the time that he pretends to wilt beneath Cloud's strength of mind, the strength he borrowed from Mother all those many years ago. This will be the time that he performs, that he feigns inferiority in swordplay purely to humiliate Cloud with a Did you really think you could defeat me?, that Sephiroth might grind his heel into Cloud's chest or abdomen once more and again before vanishing across the snowy fields.

And thus the wheel will turn once more—the game will begin anew.

Cloud's head swims in sickening, green delirium, mind washing out to nothing as he turns the corner, as he careens along his predestined footpath, as he finds his prize.

He loses one battle immediately, before he even draws his weapon—an internal battle in which his passion overpowers him. When Cloud does show his blade, he grips the hilt just long enough to send it screaming and sparking against the cold stone floor; it sputters off into some distant corner, skittering over ice and weepy stones, and Sephiroth smiles.

Cloud wants to kill him.

Ah, but it can't only be about death—no, there's no suffering past the threshold of death, and Cloud knows that, charging as he is into a situation that would assuredly send any other man to the grave. Cloud wants punishment. Perhaps for himself, for all his gross and numerous failures, but most urgently for Sephiroth, the destroyer of all of Cloud's innocent ideals, his vision of the world—and of his companions, yes, but most of all his own mind and identity.

He needs to make it hurt first.

Were he smarter, were he not dominated by such deep emotion, he may not have thrown down his sword the instant he laid eyes on Sephiroth. Perhaps he would have worked harder to emulate the tactician's attitude at work in Sephiroth, the man he had once wanted to become synonymous with—that, deep down, he still does—and taken a more strategic approach. However, Cloud Strife has no mastery over himself, no will of his own, and clearly no heed for his own survival, surrendering his blade without regard for Sephiroth's incredible and deadly prowess.

Cloud doesn't even realize that his cock is out and hard until he's torn Sephiroth's clothes halfway off.

All at once and almost without even noticing, Cloud's hand is warm—gloves be damned, his palm is naked and flush against Sephiroth's threadbare body, against one tender, supple breast as his cock nudges into…

...something very, very soft.

Without loosening his grip, Cloud looks down, eyes trailing past Sephiroth's tight, smooth stomach and sparse silver pubic hair to find—

Sephiroth doesn't have a cock.

And Sephiroth purses her lips into an almost-smile, something flashing across the corners of her eyes, knowing that—at long last—she's finally been discovered.

Had she planned this? She barely has the time to wonder before she settles on her conclusion, spurred along by the urgency of Cloud's cock against her; she knows she didn't beckon it outright, but at the same time, she has no complaints.

She can see it on his face—all at once, it hits him, and he lets out some strangled, beastly noise, and an expression of shock spreads over his features. His eyes twitch, shivering almost into green, pupils distorting halfway to slits, and his breath starts to rattle inside him—inside that great big emptiness between his ribs—as it hits him that this is real, that this is happening, that this entire time, Sephiroth has been a woman.

He's on top of Sephiroth, ready to fuck Sephiroth, the man—no, the woman—he dreamt of nearly every night for two decades, the creature who razed his mind, invaded him, stole him from himself.

He's still hard.

With one clean stroke of her blade, she could kill him.

She doesn't.

As she lets the hilt of her sword slip through her fingers, she feels all her thoughts crash into each other at once—all the echoes of But of course it would end this way, of I loved toying with you, and I loved playing with you, of I loved when you struggled, when you hunted me with such desperation.

I loved this game we've played.

I loved it all.

The Masamune clatters to the floor, and Cloud's body presses into hers without either of them asking.

Cloud is rigid above her, completely still save for weak, disbelieving tremors and the occasional desperate twitch of his cock against her folds—never softening, smearing something wet into the last of the empty space between them both.

The destroyer lifts her hips in an impossibly subtle fashion—a motion so small that the sane Cloud might have wondered if he imagined it—and Cloud rushes to fill her all at once, to drive through her, groaning as she clenches down around him. He doesn't think about how this is his first time, doesn't even wonder if this is her first time, no matter how tight she is around him, because all he can feel is how perfect it feels, how right it must be to feel so good, and his eyes swim with tears as he settles all the way inside her.

He understands now.

Of course it would end this way.

Neither of them speak, but Cloud can feel what she thinks, what she might say if she would only use her words to communicate instead of her body and her many soft breaths.

As Cloud draws back, still rickety and weak-kneed from that first impossible thrust, as one tear slips from his dewy eyes into Sephiroth's soft, silver hair, the realization sets in that yes, it was always romantic; that Cloud didn't just want to become her, but to love her, to be beside her, to share in her power, her sickness, without needing to conquer or steal it—to lay his heart in bed beside her and to keep it between them both.

He has always been in love with her.

Of course it would end this way. Sephiroth would have to take one last slice of him with her before absorbing him completely, one more final, essential piece of truth, reality, and self before she could swallow him in his entirety.

This entire time, Cloud has lusted after something entirely different than what he thought—and yet, strangely, exactly the same—something that has deceived him, murdered pieces of him, and still dared to maintain any level of distance from him.

There will be no more separation between them, his body decides, because he won't be able to take it—and he fucks her without any semblance of grace or mercy.

Sephiroth's walls cave so easily for Cloud, never rejecting the intrusion no matter how ruthless he is with his cock, the only weapon he needs now that they're the only ones left alive. Sephiroth's eyes flash green, happily consuming all of Cloud's life force as he offers it to her. She wraps her legs around his waist without a sound, and he doesn't push back, doesn't question it at all even though they've both been playing that this is vengeance, that this is being done to correct some transgressive wrongdoing, that this is rape—and Cloud buries his face into Sephiroth's neck and moans because finally, after all this time, he can smell her.

Without speaking, they use their bodies to acknowledge each other, to acknowledge the one simple truth that they simply couldn't have stayed apart any longer, that they both know what all this play with weapons has really been about; that nothing else really means anything right now, and that maybe it never has.

At some point—he can't even tell when—they switch positions, and Cloud's back is cold from the cave floor, even through his clothes, but it barely registers because his cock is so warm, so preoccupied with Sephiroth's pussy, wet and shuddering around him as he fucks up into it—

And Sephiroth laughs, because she knows he won't notice, and because she knows for certain now that Cloud will love the woman who gutted his comrades before his eyes, who lured him through blizzard after blizzard, over stone and over sea, to this impossible end. Cloud will become a dog for Sephiroth, a devoted animal that knows no one but her, that exalts her and her alone, but it will be his own decision. Sephiroth will not force this piety into him. She had never needed to in the past; it had grown in him almost from birth, long before Mother had graced him with Her power, had allowed him to participate in that coveted, inseparable bond—the bond that Sephiroth now permitted him to consummate on this ice-wracked floor, a marriage bed of dead blood and ancient salt, sealing them both together for a time beyond eternity and without hope for a reprieve.

She finishes her thought privately, with only the ghost of a smile rippling over her lips, just in time for him to choke beneath her, cock tightening and releasing everything inside of her, accepting his new fate. All of his despair, his rage, his obsession—it all belongs to her now; it is hers to turn inward in his mind, to transform into insane fidelity and lifetimes of enslavement, to love and love and love until, at long last, there's nothing left to destroy.

Sephiroth sighs in peace, in warm, post-orgasmic contentment, as though a journey without end has finally come to its impossible close. Without speaking, body trembling around Cloud and his hot seed, she tries to wave him away, to give him permission to pull out.

Only then, at the final moment before they should have slipped apart, do they both realize that each is holding the other's hands.