Shattered Memories

by ValmontDracul

There is a series of games called "Final Fantasy" (no, it's true!). They are owned by SquareEnix. I do not work for SquareEnix (or at all for that matter). As a result, I hold no claim of Final Fantasy VII, VIII, Umpteen, or any other that might be present in this story, (nor the characters from the aforementioned games) except for the story idea itself.

It had been two years since the defeat of the sorceress Ultemecia, and everything was, more or less, back to normal. Seifer, although no longer evil, was still as much of a jerk as ever. Squall had begun to open up to Rinoa, and Selphie was dating Zell (and, frankly, had been with little progress for most of the past two years). Irvine had begun settling down, in that he was only going for one new girl a week. Note that this was a big change for him. Since Cid had moved off to spend time with his wife, Squall had become permanent headmaster at the Garden. A new set of students had just arrived, and everyone was getting ready to begin a new semester.

Selphie had been working like mad trying to make up for the fact that she still had not pulled off a successful Garden Festival. Last year, Irvine misfired while showing off to the new students, causing the bullet to carom off of walls and floors, until it flew into the Quad, injuring two students and setting fire to the decorations. The year before, Selphie had fallen off a ladder while hanging a banner, breaking her leg. This year she was bound and determined to actually complete one of the damn things.

However, this is more back story of "where are they now," for the real story has to do with a specific incident that year. A new student had arrived at Balamb Garden wielding a transfer slip from Trabia (whose Garden had gotten repaired in record time). Heads turned as he walked into the unfamiliar main hall. Girls pushed their way past each other to see him. Even the Trepies seemed fascinated by him. He looked about, somewhat nervously, his black leather duster trailing behind him. His most striking single feature was his eyes. They were green, but had an eerie iridescence to them. Of course, this was the feature you would notice second, or possibly third. The first was easily his sword. No one to the knowledge of anyone carried a 6' 6" long katana. He moved with grace, as though with great practice, keeping his massive weapon from bumping into anything or any one.

"Interesting weapon you have," a somewhat monotone voice said from in front of him. The man looked up through his long silver hair (his second most noticeable feature) to see Squall, staring intently into his eyes. "Do you have your transfer slip?"

The man reached into a pocket and handed Squall a sheet of paper, with his picture, name, and other information. Height: about 6' 4", eye color: green, hair color: silver, gender: Male, Name:... Squall thought the name was familiar, but couldn't remember where from.

"Hm... everything seems to be in order, Mr Sephiroth," he said, returning the slip.

Sephiroth was very quiet. If you weren't looking directly at him or his sword, you probably wouldn't even notice he was there. Then, one day, Sephiroth saw Rinoa in the library, her face obscured by the stack of books she was trying to carry, which were obviously about to plummet into a cascade of leather-bound wood pulp. Just as the books were about to fall, he caught them, and helped to balance them.

"Oh! Thank you!" she said, getting to a table to put the books down. She turned to face him, and said, "Thank you so..." at this point they caught each others eyes. Rinoa suddenly felt a wave of uneasiness wash over her. Sephiroth felt the same thing. It wasn't completely unpleasant, but certainly awkward. "I feel like I've known this man for the longest time..." she thought to herself.

"...Think nothing of it..." he said to her, turning away.

"Wait!" Rinoa exclaimed, wanting to get to know this mysterious person. Sephiroth paused, and turned to face her again, taking care to not look into her eyes. "Have we... met before?" she asked him.

"No," Sephiroth replied, flatly, attempting to convince himself that he had never seen this woman before. But it was impossible. Her face held a resemblance to someone he knew, or had known before he lost his memory, and her hair was the same. Perhaps a bit darker, but quite reminiscent. No, it was defiantly the eyes. Those sad eyes. A face came to mind, tears welling up, and sorrow overcoming her, her brown hair frayed. He struggled to remember, but couldn't. He turned and ran out of the room, to go to the training center, and to get himself away from this strange woman.

Sephiroth wasn't sure how many monsters he had killed in that short hour, but he did feel better. He always felt better when his sword pierced the flesh of another creature, and heard it scream. The decapitated bodies of T-Rexaurs littered the ground around him, with at least four times as many grats in shreds at his feet. He sighed, sheathing his sword. He had finished his killing, and couldn't bring himself to keep his mind off of Rinoa. He left the training center, and slammed his fist into the wall in frustration.

It was getting dark, so he returned to his dorm, and removed his jacket, setting the large sword in a standing position in the corner. Placing his jacket unceremoniously on the floor, he collapsed onto his new bed. He looked up at the ceiling, and fell asleep thinking.

Rinoa had gone and talked to Squall about this afterwards.

"I can't help but feel like I know him," she said, "It's like we're connected somehow... And now I can't stop thinking about him! I...I'm afraid of him, but he's so compelling, and I don't know what to think..."

Squall spoke for the first time since she started talking to him, "Do you want me to speak with him?"

"Yes... I think that would be good."

Squall reached for the intercom, and, pushing a button, it crackled to life. "Sephiroth: please report to the headmaster's office on the third floor immediately."

Ten minutes later, Sephiroth stepped into Squall's office, carrying himself with an air of uncertainty. "You wanted to see me, sir?" he said, so flat that it impressed even Squall with the lack of emotion in his voice.

"Yes...Rinoa has expressed concern about you. She feels that you two have met, and that you are trying to hide something. I think we would all feel better if you told her where you met her."

"I...can't," Sephiroth said, "I lost my memory twenty years ago. So you see, I couldn't have known her. She's too young. I would remember."

"Not good enough," Squall said, looking Sephiroth in the eyes. "Just think about it for a few minutes."

Sephiroth searched his mind for where he knew her. He saw a man with a gun attached to his arm, and another with a cigar constantly in his mouth. He saw a well endowed woman, but that was not the one he focused on. He saw... he watched again as he remembered his sword pierce her pale flesh, and exit the other end. Watched as she dropped the object she had been holding... she fell and he vanished. "AERIS!" he shouted, his eyes snapping open as he looked at Rinoa. Her features were different, but he saw Aeris in her. Those eyes... although a different color, there was something else there. He saw the tragedy in her soul, and the pain and sorrow in her heart. It had to be her.

"But how!" he shouted, "You died! I saw you die! I killed you myself!" Memories flooded Sephiroth's mind, and he fell to his knees. "You can't be alive..." he began to sob quietly, remembering Cloud... Cloud as he took that final slash, and cut through Sephiroth... "I should be dead..."

Squall had gotten to his feet, and drawn his gunblade, but Sephiroth paid him no attention, and watched Rinoa, who had retreated into a corner.

Sephiroth stood, regaining his composure, and drew Masamune. He glared at Rinoa, filled with a sudden, inexplicable rage. Then, he charged her. His sword came down, ready to slice her in two, when Squall's Lionheart blocked it. "I WON'T LET YOU HURT HER!" Squall shouted, as he pushed Sephiroth back, throwing him off balance. Squall followed up with a diagonal downward cut, which hit naught but air. Sephiroth had jumped two meters backwards, and brought his sword to a ready position.

Squall brought himself into summoning position, and began to concentrate. Sephiroth waved his hand, and brought a shield up around himself. Shortly afterward, Squall brought his hand to his forehead, and waved it, shouting "ETERNAL BREATH!"

Squall and Rinoa vanished into nothingness, and after a few seconds Eden appeared. It trained it's beam on Sephiroth, ready to send him into the center of a star. It fired, but its beam was held up by Sephiroth, who held Masamune pointed at the sky. Sephiroth strained for a few seconds, then slashed, dissipating the attack. Squall and Rinoa reappeared, and stared in astonishment at Sephiroth who stood with his blade against the ground, breathing heavily. At that moment, a mighty force hit the ground between the warriors, and four swords encompassing it landed alongside it. Gilgamesh stood, and grasped all four swords, glaring at Sephiroth. Gilgamesh knew that only he held Masamune, and swung all four blades at Sephiroth. Sephiroth raised his sword, and blocked. The weight of the swords pressed down on him, and he grasped his sword with both hands now. He pressed upward, violently, and Gilgamesh's swords all shattered. Gilgamesh cried out, fell back, and vanished. Squall was at a loss, and raised his gunblade.

"Enough tricks!" Sephiroth shouted, "Face me like a man!" at this, Sephiroth dropped his shield.

Squall ran at Sephiroth, ready to reduce him to ribbons. Sephiroth blocked, and returned with a horizontal swipe. Squall jumped backwards, and raised his gunblade to his side. He dropped his gunblade, however, when he felt the cut open up. He looked at his stomach, and saw a huge gash across his body. He coughed, and fell to his knees.

Sephiroth sighed, "I'm disappointed in you, Squall Leonheart! I expected more of a fight from the man I heard about at Trabia when I was transferred!"

Squall grasped his gunblade, and stood, staring Sephiroth in the face. He rushed at Sephiroth, and slashed eight times, each hit becoming progressively harder to block, and jumped back. Holding his gunblade over his head, he shouted, "LIONHEART!" He charged, and the force knocked Sephiroth into the air. Squall jumped up and followed up with fifteen more hits, Sephiroth dodging or blocking all of them, and drew his the Lionheart back for the final blow. He slashed, and shattered Masamune, leaving an enormous gash across Sephiroth's chest. They fell, and Sephiroth collapsed to his knees, the shards of his broken blade clattering like raindrops to the floor around him.

"Damn you..." Sephiroth coughed, still grasping the handle from his shattered weapon. "You haven't...cough...beat me yet..." Sephiroth stood up, and said, "We... shall meet...again." and disappeared in a flash of light.

Thanks for reading. Let me know if you want more! Also, suggestions would be appreciated, but no flames please!