As of 10th July 2010, I'm re-uploading this whole story with proper editing, as the lines indicating change of scene etc. have disappeared at some point. Sure, it's still readable like that, but I'm an anal bastard and want it to look better, and it does make reading easier, I think. So here we go!

Disclaimer: Final Fantasy 7, its characters and their likenesses and the locations belong to Square. I'm just writing for fun. This story will be drama/weirdness/shonen-ai/etc, with a dash of oocness.

This is alternate universe yet again. I had the basic plot in mind for a long time, and when I tried to avoid doing an especially boring school assignment I started to write it down, and continued writing when I'd get stuck with Blood of the Innocents. English isn't my first language and I tend to write at a pretty late hour, so there are bound to be mistakes. And weirdness.

The long horizontal line (like the one below) indicates a change of scene or point of view.

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Prologue.

Fighting

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Night fell upon no man's land between barb-wire fences and trenches. The air was heavy with smoke, dust and the occasional cloud of mist which chilled the watchmen to the bone. The sky hung dark above it all, uncaring of their petty fights, small lives that were lost every day. So many lives wasted, so many bodies lying on the fields, stuck to the barb-wire, blown to pieces all over the battlefield. Still, no matter how few were still alive, there was never enough food or fresh water. Not enough clean, warm clothes, not enough bullets or guns.

In the trenches the men huddled together to keep warm, their feet soaked through with the two inches of muddy water making sure that it was never truly dry there. During the days the hot spring sun beat upon them, and the smell of decay got so bad that the soldiers couldn't eat even the small amounts of nourishment that were still left. But the nights were cold, so cold that they could see their own breath, so cold that the water around their feet started to freeze over the shallower puddles.

"Why won't they just give up? Stubborn bastards..." the young lookout would much rather have been inside, warming his feet by the fire.

"Because they're just that. Stubborn. Now shut up and keep an eye on the field." His older companion dreamed of a clean bed, but knew better than to complain.

"The field is covered with pea soup mist. They have maybe twenty able men left. They can't have much food or water. Even if they were stupid enough to attack now, they'd probably get lost getting here."

"Don't count on it, kid."

"Oh come on... we hit them hard the last time, they wouldn't try to attack. If they're smart, they'll give up come morning." The young man let his thoughts wander from the battlefield to back home, but the older lookout elbowed him sharply on the ribs.

"I said, don't count on it, kid. We didn't get the big guy."

"Yeah but even he can't kill us alone... can he? He can't. That's stupid." The youth was almost laughing now, even though it was a nervous sound. His companion smiled as well.

"No, but he's a smart one. We should have gotten them all by now, we would have, if it weren't for him."

"He's a scary bastard. I almost met him on the field one day."

"Almost?" The older man turned to the younger, one eyebrow raised with amusement.

"Yeah. I backed off when I saw him coming closer. What, you think I'm stupid enough to try to fight him? Ha!"

"Not so loud. There. Did you see that?" he pointed to the battlefield. A few hundred yards ahead was the enemy's side, invisible because of the mist and darkness. The youth followed his pointing hand but only shook his head.

"What? I didn't see anything."

"I thought I saw a flash of light." He reached slowly for his gun.

"Should I sound the alarm?" The youth managed to keep the quiver from his voice, staring intently at the misty field which still seemed empty to his eye.

There was no answer from his companion.

"Do you still see it?" The youth asked, straining to see or hear anything out of the ordinary. When there still was no answer, he turned quickly to the older man. His scream got stuck into his throat when he saw the older man slump to the ground, blood pouring out of his mouth and chest, where a sword was being pulled back. He tried to shout, to raise the men, to warn them of the surprise attack, but the sword was suddenly flying towards his own throat, and the world went red.


"They're all dead." The young man frowned, eyes still closed, and let out a long sigh. "The war is over. We've won, if you can call that any kind of a victory." His last words were just a whisper, drowned out by the cheering of the troops around him. Only the injured were in the barracks with him, the rest having gone over in a last, mad attack. If they would have lost this one, they'd lost everything.

Hands clasped his uninjured shoulder or patted him on the back, but he gave them little heed, too tired of it all. His helmet and armour had weighed his slight frame down and slumped his shoulders, even though they had been like a second skin on him for so long. The war was over. Maybe he could shed it now, even just for a while. Get away from the meaningless killing, have a holiday or two in some remote place where there still were happy people and food and where war was just an ugly rumour, something that happened to other people.

The jubilating soldiers left him eventually as they were finally able to wander beyond the fences and get their dead back. He finally dared to open one blurry eye, his mind weary after casting the sense-spell large and long enough to see that the invaders had all died. At least he could think that the men they'd lost had not died in vain, protecting their land and its people. But the other side, he couldn't help feeling sorry for them. They'd died because of foolish pride, so that the men who ruled their land could become richer and more powerful. In winning this battle, they would have gained nothing for the good of the common people. Nothing at all.

"Times like these... I really do wonder why the gods above don't just wipe us all out..."

"Because their sense of humour is sick, and they enjoy watching us bicker and suffer and gain what we think is important."

He whirled around, startled but also relieved as he recognized the voice, knowing that no stranger had heard him thinking out loud. A smile rose to his thin lips, cheeks blushing a bit as the taller man stepped into the bunker, still muddy and bloody from the battle but radiating relief and power.

"You can relax and rest now, love. It's all over."

"Until next time..." he muttered but sighed happily as two strong arms wrapped around him and held him safe, careful not to hurt his splintered arm. "I love you, Seph..."

"And I love you, my Cloud..."


A.N: Ahum. Dat's the prologue. Yeah. Sephiroth will be quite different from usual, but this might be what he'd ended up as if he'd grown up in a loving environment, in stead of Hojo and the labs. And if you've read my other story you'll know that I love to swear... This will be another long one, and there's a long story behind it.

Review and I'll love you forever. Such a bitch for attention.