Author's Note: This story revolves around the coupling of Sephiroth and Aerith, and is set no later than 2 years after the game of Final Fantasy VII. Please take note that the interpretations of the characters are entirely my own, as I have messed with them to better my story.
Disclaimer: I do not own any characters or anything associated with the game of Final Fantasy VII, or anything, for that matter, pertaining to Square. I can dream, however --;
Chapter 1: Death
Cloud's gigantic sword came crashing down and metal met flesh in a dance of death. Sephiroth, as much as he tried to dodge the oncoming blow, fell victim to the business end of Ultima Weapon. Bloodied, battered, and thoroughly exhausted, he felt he could fight no more. The icy grip of a pitiful mortal death grasped his innards and threatened to tear his body apart, but the cells of Mother withered inside of him, urging him to fight on. His hands shook as he tried desperately to hold his monstrous katana up, but Masamune was beyond fighting- it too, was well beyond tired. The sword fell to the ground as Cloud punished the general with one last, final blow…
Blood flowed down his angular face and onto his chest, only to be soaked up by the dark color of his pants. He could feel a pulsing light from within, and before he even had time to blink, strands of light shone through his skin as if he had none. The light only grew, consuming him. He wanted to scream out, to damn the blonde puppet before him for what he had done, but the general lacked the strength.
Instead, he took a deep breath, and simply let the light take him, envelope him in its shine. He was dead- he could feel it. What was left to fight for?
But as the light took him, a searing pain rippled through his body, and for a mere second of consciousness, Sephiroth knew what real and absolute pain was. He couldn't move, couldn't blink, couldn't breathe; he was rendered incapable of common thought as pure and utter agony ripped through his veins, as if his limbs were to be torn from their sockets and every cell twisted until it could be twisted no more.
And yet, as fast as the pain had come, it was gone again, and a warm, wonderful sensation relaxed him once more. His heartbeat was erratic, despite the fact that the pain had faded and a sense of calmness had overtaken his mind. He searched his mind for the familiar being that was his mother, but it didn't respond- why should it? He was dead. He had failed.
An overpowering scent of flowers overcame his senses next, though the warm feeling remained. Though his eyes were open, Sephiroth could see nothing but white. It wasn't light from a source, rather, it was simply light. Funny, as he had always pictured death to be dark and dreary and full of lost souls and cold fire…
Something was moving toward him now, something so far away had he not trained ruthlessly for the greater part of his life his eyes would have missed it- a tiny colored speck in the far off distance of no space. He grew puzzled. What was it that was coming to meet him? Death, perhaps? An angel, only to smile upon his face with its beauty then damn him to the depths of hell, where he knew he would be sent?
The speck's color came into focus- pink. Sephiroth's heart skipped a beat, then pounded so hard he grew wary it would beat right out of his chest. It was her- the girl he had killed in the Ancient Capital, the very same girl he had run Masamune through as she knelt, praying for Holy. Had Holy come? Was the planet safe from meteor?
His heartbeat only grew as she came nearer. She was still clad in that funny pink dress of hers, hideous brown boots covering her tiny feet, small red jacket covering the pale flesh of her shoulders. Sephiroth tired to move, to turn, but he found he could not. He struggled, but the grip no-space had on him remained just as tight. His lungs began to burn and the smell of flowers only grew as she floated closer to him.
Strange- how peaceful she looked, drifting toward the man that had murdered her in cold blood and greed, with her eyes closed, light smile drifting across her face. Her figure stopped when she was only inches in front of the general, and he had long since stopped struggling.
She breathed. He could feel her warm breath escape her lips and drift across his face. She remained still for a few moments longer, Sephiroth fully aware of how close they were, and the two large, white, feathered wings protruding from her back. So she was made into an angel for giving her life for the planet she cared so much for…
Suddenly, she opened her eyes and piercing mako met rich emerald for the first time. Had he the ability, he would have gasped aloud, but breath had long left his empty lungs in a simple realization- her eyes matched his so beautifully. For so long he yearned to meet another with as strange eyes as he, and here she was, dead, yet still breathing in front of him.
Gently, she lifted her hands to his face and placed her open palms on his cheeks. "Sephiroth," he voice rang clear and beautifully, echoing in through the light.
He couldn't answer. It was his name she called, his name that cascaded down her rosy lips only to fall upon his face with her tender breath. But it was also he who killed her. She shouldn't touch him, and yet she smiled into his eyes as if they were old friends once, old lovers, perhaps.
"Sephiroth," her voice rang out again. This time, she tilted her head slightly, eyes still locked with his. "Do you wish to live?"
His eyes could only grow. What was she saying to him? Did she not realize the depth of his sins? He tried to destroy the planet, and yet here she was before him, hands upon his face, gazing into his eyes, asking him a question as if she had done so every hour of every day of her life.
He opened his mouth and answered. "I do not deserve it." The words were painful, and while they stung, he knew it was for the best- he could not go back. Were he to, he would be feared still, hated by all. He had tired to destroy the earth in blind green and selfish want.
"You don't answer me truthfully, Sephiroth. It is a simple yes or no question. Disregard all you have done- forget, and answer with your heart." Her thumbs traced gentle circles beneath his eyes.
"I-" he searched for the right words. It was wrong to want life back, but he didn't want to die. How could he forget what he had done? For the first time in his life, Sephiroth felt truly afraid. "Yes, I want to live…"
Aerith smile grew, and while it was kind, he couldn't mistake the sadness behind it for anything else. Carefully, she wound her arms around his neck and brought their bodies together, his head nestled safely in the crook of her neck.
"I will give you a chance, as will the planet…" Sephiroth could feel the vibrations from her throat as she spoke.
"You must learn to accept a gift when it is given."
"There is always a catch- nothing is free."
She sighed deeply. "For every right, there is a wrong. For every day, there is a night. For every good, there is an evil. In order for me to go back, I must take back with me, to the plane of the living, someone who holds as much evil as I good. Your soul was tainted by greed and lust for power, but you can change. I know you can…"
"How do you know I won't kill you again?"
"Certain strings are attached- if I die, so do you. If you die, so do I. Besides, I have removed all traces of Jenova from your system- you are no more than a man now, Sephiroth."
Oh, if she only knew how many years he yearned to hear those words. He wanted to be normal. He loved his power, no mistake, but to grow up and be shunned by the children his own age, and disregarded by his own father… How his heart burned.
He took all from her and yet here she was, willing to give him everything he wanted. His only reason for becoming a god had been to be better than those who pushed him away- they would have had to accept him, or die. But now… Now, nothing had to die. Perhaps his pride, but that died with the final blow of Cloud's sword…
"I am sorry it hurt so badly," she sighed, pulling him out of her embrace and looking, once more, into his eyes. "But it was the only way I could take her from your system. You must make a promise if we are to go back- you must promise to never kill another human."
It made sense. Finding that he could move, he found the strength in his body to nod. "And what have you given, as penitence?"
Again, she smiled deeply into his eyes. "I have given up the promised land, so long as you can come with me."
His sharp intake of breath stunned her- had she really thought him so heartless? "You can't- it's your birthright," he argued.
"I would not be happy knowing that someone would suffer in Hell because I was selfish."
Sephiroth knew not what to say. Did she care for him? He could only hope this was no ploy, that it was no sick joke some demon decided to play on his mind.
"I ask you again, Sephiroth. Do you wish to live?"
A scroll of parchment floated into his view from his left, and he watched in wonder as Aerith brought his hand to her mouth and took the tip of his pointer finger and placed it to her lips. Without warning, a small pain began to pulse at the end, only to realize that she had bitten his pale flesh. Blood beaded at the end of his finger.
"Sign your name," she requested. He did, and when he finished writing his name in his own blood, he looked down at the neat, yet erratic handwriting. He turned back to Aerith and she pressed her finger to his own lips.
"I cannot harm you again," he protested. Her gaze did not falter, and he finally did what she asked with her eyes. She signed her own name under his in a beautiful scroll that was completely her own. When her finger left the parchment, it dissipated.
She turned back to him. "You made a promise," she said sternly.
Green light surrounded them both as Aerith once more brought the silver-haired man into her warm embrace. Then, all went dark and quiet.