Disclaimer: What you are about to read is an accurate account of the events that occurred while Esse played her cherished copy of FFVII. Your experiences may have differed. If so, she feels sorry for you; you must've fought through the run-'o-the-mill, generic, sanitized-for-your-protection encounter. Esse owns not FFVII -- just the aforementioned cherished copy. Money Esse makes not -- period. End of discussion.

Warnings: A few iffy words? Extremely sad, strained humor? A Sephiroth that's OOC to everyone but Esse?

Notes: Repeat after me: It's all in good fun. Yeah, that's right. Hey, at least I entertained myself for a few hours.

Ad Nauseam

Estuans interius
Ira vehementi
Estuans interius
Ira vehementi
Sephiroth
Sephiroth

And he knew he was great, the greatest, worthy of god-hood, for he had his choir, and they were glorifying his name. Or something close to his name, as the last echo of, "Sephiros!" bounced around the cloudy confines of nowhere; but the choir'd had little chance to practice, because airfare to the northern crater was hideously expensive, so he was willing to forgive them. After all, they'd likewise butchered the flower girl's name.

Aerith, with the help of the life-stream law offices of Figaro & Figaro, was considering turning the multitude of suites against the choir into one nifty, easily managed class action. He'd already signed the forms she'd sent -- postage due, but then, a dead flower girl could scarcely be expected to have the funds to mail documents from the hereafter. Houdini had been struggling with the problem for years.

Yes. He was great, and god-like, and bought postage stamps with pretty pink hearts and the universally accepted message of "Love" emblazoned across them.

Jenova refused to use the stamps, preferring ordering her minions about by mind control. Her loss. Then again, being a disembodied head could explain her less-than-stellar penmanship. Not that it mattered -- not since Cloud had julienned her. Jenova had her work cut out for her, putting back together the thousand of matchstick sized pieces she was currently scattered about in. She had a long, long time in which to organize her next Reunion. And hopefully, next time around, she'd mail her invitations with darling "Love" stamps.

Estuans interius
Ira vehementi
Estuans interius
Ira vehementi
Sephiroth
Sephiroth

Hadn't the choir already sang that? Nevermind. He was Sephiroth, and he was the center of the universe, and he would destroy Cloud and his playmates. Or, well, maybe not destroy. But he definitely wasn't bringing out the good china. After all, they'd just hacked his dear mother into Malbor bait. Not that he hadn't engaged in mother-mutilation himself upon occasion -- her disembodied head testified to that, quite loudly, and most frequently during the holidays, when she felt her son wasn't living up to his filial duties of enslaving mankind, destroying the world, and unclogging the shower drain stuffed full of his long, prematurely grey hair.

He was great, and he was the epitome of dastardly sexiness, and he was a bit miffed that Cloud wasn't challenging him. Instead, he was confronted by the little ninja, the stuffed mog/cat, and the big, red dog/cat.

"Give me a break," he muttered, flapping his one wing in a vaguely rude, decidedly fowl gesture. "Where's my puppet? This is so not fair. Where's the challenge? The titanic battle between good and -- me? This can't possibly be right…"

"You're telling me?" The little girl pouted, and plopped down on the ground, and pouted a bit more. "I'm the great ninja Yuffie. I'm supposed to steal your gil, not give it away." She continued pouting, and scratched at the back of her left hand, and searched her pockets until she found her coin purse. "This is so stupid."

"I'm glad you -- hey!" Sephiroth floated a few feet back, and rubbed stinging tentacles together. Several hundred gil now lay strewn about him. "That hurt! What do you think -- Oww! Stop that. I'm trying to be evil and ominous and OUCH! Stop pelting me with gold!"

The big, red dog/cat shook his head sadly. "We know we can not defeat you in battle, so we must Coin Toss you to death instead."

The stuffed mog grunted, while the cat on top cheered, and leered, and threw gil with frightening accuracy. "It's how Shinra's always solved its problems in the past. If you can't beat them, bribe them."

He was great, and he was nearly divine, but he was also now buried under a pile of loot. The singing of his choir faded, and he could hear his assailants prancing away, and discussing tax breaks under the current Midgar code.

"Well, that certainly didn't go as planned…"

Sors immanis
Et inanis
Sors immanis
Et inanis

He rubbed at blurry eyes. The situation seemed familiar. His choir heartily provided ambiance, while he floated in misty nothing, and waited for his adversaries to appear. Jenova was minced, diced, and canned in tins of kitty chow. The soufflé was rising in the oven. And Cloud and company were striding forward -- well, the others were striding forward. Cloud was mosey-ing.

He thought he should say something impressive. Should recite his manifesto -- impressively. But he was a bit off his game, and was afraid of speaking in too loud of a voice, 'lest his soufflé should fall. So, instead, he raised a barrier around himself, and thought smugly, "Hah! That'll keep the coins out!"

And he waited. And he waited, while Cloud and company did various and sundry tasks, not limited to an inventory of their supplies, and the wiping of dragon zombie bits off their shoes, and the styling of hair until it was just so-so -- and Sephiroth was surprised that it took Vincent the longest to arrange his tresses in cute crimson bows, though Tifa was nearly as meticulous in the braiding of her corn rows. And Cloud, while not competing in the styling competition, took an inordinate amount of time buffing his nails.

Finally, he gave a small cough, and said, "Excuse me? Are we fighting to the death, or what?"

Vincent, ever elegant, inclined his bow-bedecked head. "By all means, go ahead."

So, soufflé be damned, he Super Nova'd the lot of them. And Cloud managed to dodge -- somehow -- while seated on his rump and painting his toenails a complimentary shade of azure. But Tifa and Vincent, they weren't as lucky. And Sephiroth gloated. And laughed maniacally. Then pouted a pout that put Yuffie's best pout to shame as Tifa slowly stood. And performed her Final Attack.

As the last knight faded, Sephiroth assessed the damage to his glorious person. He'd lost a few feathers. Split a few tentacles. Not so bad, considering that Tifa was laid out flatter than his soufflé…

But she wasn't. She was standing, and casting Life 2 on herself, and Vincent was standing as well, and preparing to cast…

"No, no! This is so not fair!" The knights returned, and Sephiroth thought, briefly, in between wallops, that maybe it would have been wiser to have been Janitor of the Shinra army, instead of General. They both wore the same uniform.

Cloud looked up from the direly important task of his pedicure. "You think this is unfair? You should see them cheat at poker."

Estuans interius
Ira vehementi
Estuans interius
Ira vehementi
Sephiroth
Sephiroth

He was going to take Masamune, float on over, and start decapitating the members of his choir. Or arm them with sniper rifles -- let them take out Cloud's cronies. While he pulled Cloud aside, and explained proper puppetly behavior to the blonde nitwit.

The members of Avalanche were off his Secret Santa list. And they could forget about Valentine's cards as well. With or without "Love" stamps.

Except he'd already ordered flowers, and bought boxes of chocolate shaped as hearts, and there really wasn't any other use for tin-foil doilies, diabolical or not. And Cloud had been such a good little minion in the past… So maybe his puppet would still get a gift or three. Along with the law offices of Figaro & Figaro, who'd managed to win him quite a handsome settlement from the infernal Squix corporation; the lawyers were getting a lovely fruit basket, as was the flower girl. He could afford the postage; he still had plenty of gil left over from his first ignominious defeat.

Veni, veni, venias
Ne me mori facias
Veni, veni, venias
Ne me mori facias

He knew better than to attack the big guy with the machine gun grafted on to his arm, the same as he wasn't going to lay a tentacle on the old geezer puffing away on a crumpled cigarette. He figured they were booby-trapped, much as the longhaired wonder-twins had been.

No. This time he was going after Cloud. Because Cloud spent all his gil on mortgage payments for his villa, and Cloud was constantly getting his materia stolen by the little ninja girl, and Cloud wasn't paying him the slightest bit of attention, but was instead sneaking over to the choir, and humming the chorus to Sephiroth's theme.

Veni, veni, venias
Ne me mori facias
Veni, veni, venias
Ne me mori facias

Sephiroth was great, and he was starting to get pissed off at constantly being ignored, and he floated after Cloud and bitch-slapped him with one of his lesser tentacles.

"Ooh." Cloud rubbed his reddened cheek, and his glowing, mako-blue eyes grew brighter with unshed tears, and his lower lip trembled. "Why do you always pick on me? Huh? It's always -- Cloud, bring me the black materia. Cloud, bring me an ice-cold lemonade. Cloud, bring me the remote control. Well, what have you done for me? You slap me, that's what! And I've had enough. No more Mr. Nice Puppet!"

Cloud unleashed his limit break. And Sephiroth bore it stoically -- besides a few whimpers over his feathers being ruffled. It was an awesome limit break. It was a damaging limit break. But in the end, it wasn't enough.

Smirking, Sephiroth slapped Cloud again, then dared the other two to do anything about it.

Barret shrugged. "Yo, man. You do your thing, I'll do mine. If we were playing Uno, I'd be using my Skip card now."

Cid flicked ashes across the misty white nothingness, and shrugged as well. "I'm on break. Looks like it's your turn again, Cloud."

Sephiroth -- had a bad feeling. And it had very little to do with his unpaid property taxes, and much to do with Cloud Strife, who was rubbing furiously at wet eyes, and firming trembling lips, and, perhaps worst of all, mimicking his last attack.

The little ninja had left her intrepid leader with materia, after all.

Cid flicked more ashes. "Sucks to be you."

Veni, veni, venias (Gloriosa)
Ne me mori facias (Generosa)
Veni, veni, venias (Gloriosa)
Ne me mori facias (Generosa)

He was going to strangle the frickin' choir with his hair. Or replace their hymnals with last year's Wutaian fishing regulations. They were jinxing him.

Cloud was there, as were the rest of the stalwart troupe. They were seated in a circle, and the stuffed mog had just raised its hand, while the cat had shrilled, "Let's play telephone."

He was great, and he was omnipotent -- if only the rest of the world would realize it -- and he would smite them for their insolence! Smite, and ravage, and he would serve tea without any cream! Except for Cloud, for while Sephiroth was great, and omnipotent, he didn't think he could handle the teary eyes and trembling lips of his puppet ever, ever again. It was in his best interests to keep his failed clone as happy as possible.

For Cloud, he'd even bake scones.

But first, the smiting! And he'd get right to it, as soon as he could figure out what was keeping him from divine retribution. Because, while he certainly had the will to smite, the actual smiting seemed a bit beyond him.

The big, red dog/cat wagged his flame-tipped tail, and beckoned him closer. "Looks like we're in for a bit of a wait."

"Yeah." Yuffie had pulled a wire clothes hanger from -- somewhere -- and was currently straightening it. "Some doofus paused us. So, we figured, we don't ever get t' just sit around and talk anymore, ya know?" With a flick of her wrist, she started a small fire in the center of the circle. "Did anyone bring marshmallows?"

He was great, and he was the sexiest maniac to ever attempt world domination -- even if he was a bit mutated at the moment -- and he floated next to his arch-nemeses -- the straps of Tifa's suspenders, which had much more than just the weight of the world to bear -- and he ate s'mores, and pondered on the peculiarities of existence.

He had a feeling he wasn't going to win this battle. Nor the next one. Nor the one after that. In fact, it seemed that he had the rest of eternity to look forward to being stymied in increasingly embarrassing ways.

But for now, he would settle for reminiscing over past eviscerations, and maybe his good china would see use after all. And Cid had a mop that he was more than willing to lend, and it was about time the hazy whiteness got a good cleaning. The mists were starting to look a bit dingy around the edges. And maybe the flower girl could mail herself from the afterlife and join them -- he was more than willing to cover her postage, what with all the left-over "Love" stamps he had laying around.

Veni, veni, venias (Gloriosa)
Ne me mori facias (Generosa)
Veni, veni, venias (Gloriosa)
Ne me mori facias (Generosa)
Sephiroth

"When the fuck are they going to shut up?" Barret aimed a few rounds in the choir's direction.

Sephiroth was great, and he smiled a chilling, manic smile. "It seems we have a common enemy." Besides, Cloud had started humming along again, and he would've hated to have to reprimand his puppet. And it had been ages since he'd last gotten the chance to impale anyone.

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Ira vehementi
Estuans interius
Ira vehementi
Sephiroth
Sephir -- urk!