Author Note: Hi. I am updating this fiction at long last. Sorry, it might be a little short, but with finals, scholarships and job hunting—I really haven't had time for video games and anime—thus cutting off my main fuel source for the inspiration that allows for the updating this material. Anyway, hope it brings you guys some joy—and just know that I am not dead. M'kay? Enjoy folks.


Disclaimer: Don't own Final Fantasy—I own almost every installment of his franchise (other than IX—monthly fee my ASS!) but that doesn't count for much, now does it.


Plot: Twelve years following Advent children, Marlene has grown up into a beautiful eighteen-year old woman. However, shortly following her eighteenth birthday—she is plagued by inconsistent and mortifying nightmares featuring three people she never ever wanted to see again. (Kadaj, Loz and Yazoo) However, as they continue on with no signs of ever ceasing in their production, strange and peculiar signs and events begin to come into play throughout Marlene's life. How can she be absolutely sure that these appearances aren't just in her mind?


Genre: Romance/Mystery/Horror/Drama/Angst


Pairings:

Marlene/Kadaj (Dark; I must warn you)
Marlene/Denzel
Tifa/Cloud
Aerith/Sephiroth (Mild—how? You'll see…)


Warning: M/R (Restricted) (For sensuality, domestic/fantasy styled violence, possible implications of rape (forced sex), language and a few scary scenes)


-Imperfect Paradise (Yamiko)


The Charm in Anguish
By Imperfect Paradise


Chapter Two
The Unfortunate Accident


Two slit-sized pupils gazed through what appeared to be an endless world of light. It was empty, and quiet, boring and lonesome. Nothing really exciting or lively about the whole thing—yet hidden throughout its vast reaching of wherever he may be, it was tranquil, peaceful and for the first time in his… life… he felt content and happy.

The silver haired man smirked for a moment before he thought. So this is what its like to die…

Sephiroth! Why did you attack the village? Why did you slay the villagers! -Answer- me, Sephiroth!

Sephiroth… Shinra… -Soldier-… I hate it ALL!

My village… my family… and Tifa… … … I admired you…… I 'respected' you… I'll –never- forgive you!

Heh. Those fools didn't understand the whole picture. Of course they couldn't; they were remnants of an inferior race after all. Of a race that only gilded over the past, cared for nothing that occurred and just kept building over past mistakes, with no regard to the suffering it caused. Still…

The difference is… because I –chose- to forget.

In the end,dying was simply nothing more than going to sleep. Being relieved of pain, and then just… dispersing. That was all it was. So… Why on earth did they make such a big deal out of the whole thing anyway…?

"Possibly because others would be sad… Isn't that the answer?"

As a familiar voice jabbed him with what might as well have been a knife to the heart, and he spun around to see the first solid object he had seen since his awakening to this strange and empty place.

Glaring into the forest green eyes, he spoke through dangerously low words. "You."

Not even fazed by the ferocity of his words, the auburn haired flower girl nonchalantly cocked her head to the side and answered simply, "Yes?"

Sephiroth's eyes continued to linger on the girl, regarding her with the greatest contempt. Yet he said nothing. Humph… he thought, self-righteously, How dare that the puppet's woman, comes to mock me with her very presence.

Looking towards the side, not giving the useless creature anymore attention than that of what she deserved, he spoke in a voice not avoid of any fraction of his arrogance. "You dare talk to me, traitor?"

Aerith blinked her eyes a couple of times, before asking, "Traitor? Whatever do you mean by that Sephiroth?"

Quickly advacing, Sephirtoh reached out for her neck, in an attempt to subdue her, but his hand went right through her. His eyes narrowed. One of the pitfalls of being dead. After laughing angelically briefly (knowing indeed very well that such things annoyed Sephiroth beyond all understanding) she teased him with an equal tone, "Silly—you know that doesn't work here." She then shifted her weight and scratched her chin, "Now what exactly did you mean by… traitor?"

Sephiroth (completely perturbed by was dignified enough not to show it) said harshly, "Don't play coy little flower girl. You betrayed the will of our race so you could save an inferior species. A species that destroys what you loved, for profit and dominance. One that attempt to enslave you as they did me…" he then smirked, "And you pretend like you don't care. I suspect as much, you did betray the Cetra kind without thinking of the true Promised Land."

Aerith did nothing but smile at him, almost as if his entire speech just flew completely over her head. Sephiroth regarded her at first with his usual arrogance, but a glare quickly replaced that as he moved onward. "Anyway… Mother will be here for me soon. I have already sensed her movement—"

"Then get ready for disappoint, dear Sephiroth."

Hearing this, Sephiroth stopped in his tracks, his ears almost twitching as her words echoed forth. He then turned around towards her and inquired, "What?"

Aerith began, "I said… expect disappoint. After all, you have given your… mother quite a lot of it, if you don't mind me saying so."

Sephiroth immediately charged towards her, and while knowing he couldn't physically harmed her, looked her directly into the eye and growled dangerously, "How dare you… You suggest that mother does not care for me. You have no idea what you are talking, you dead little puppet."

Aerith just continued to stare at him with her usual cheeriness, but than it faded in an instant and was replaced with a stern and almost vacant look. "Sephiroth," she began, "In all your words of wisdom, you awesome power, your dark star of godly strength that shines with you, you have neglected to realize the truth.

Sephiroth glared and questioned, "What truth."

"You… are… the puppet Sephiroth. You always have been."

Sephiroth could understand where she was going with this, and admitted rudely, "Yes… Shinra made a quite a fool of me—but I am no longer their concern as you can see, and once I escape from here, I will be—"
Aerith shook her head in a way that indicated she pitited the man before her, "No, no…" he began. "You're the pawn to the being you call mother."

For a moment, nothing was said between the two of them. Then, Sephiroth's shoulders went rigid, and began, with a building anger in his voice, "You dare question my loyalty to mother."

Aerith implied, "Not at all… your loyalty to her is absolute—but she, quite honestly, doesn't believe that her main chess-piece is going to do any better this time. You've failed three times. The fact of the matter is that the third time wasn't a charm was just enough for her to decide to cast you aside like nothing. Following Nibelheim and Midgard—The Geostigma outbreak had been the last chance she was willing to give you. And needless to say, you blew it big-time. That confidence she had for you is gone… dead.."

Spehiroth growled, "Continue flower girl and I swear I'll—"

"Then tell me, Sephiroth… its been almost ten years. Why hasn't she come for you sooner?"

Sephiroth struggled for an answer but couldn't find one.

Aerith milked in his confusion for just a moment, before she stated, "It's because she has found someone else. Someone more powerful, more experienced… more… fresh, and with combat capable different from yours. She's decided this new person will be more a match-up for Cloud than you ever were."

Sephiroth didn't know what to say. Were these words true. How could he not have sensed this. Had he been so cut off from mother that she was indeed working without his knowledge? It was a lie—it had to have been! Mother wouldn't abandon him—but even so…

Aerith stared at the almost broken Sephiroth a moment longer, before leaving with her final words of torment. "Sorry Sephiroth—but all pawns eventually get thrown away in the game of chess."

With that, she left him alone, the former one winged angel not even noticing that she had left.


Cloud continued to ride on his motorbike, carefree yet alert to everything around him.

It had grown quiet these past few years—perhaps a little too much for his taste. It wasn't that he wasn't grateful for this little bit of peace—heck, between Sephiroth, Shinra, Kadaj, the Undeground and what seemed like several other consequence events coinciding between one another—he would be flat out lying in a horribly sarcastic if he said missed the action.

All that mattered was that life was how it should be. With Tifa, friends, Denzil and Marlene all standing by him, how could he wish for anything different?

Even so, he was completely unprepared for what happened next.

The remnants of his geostigma and Jenova cells were in fact completely vanquished within him, but that didn't stop him from feeling the presence of them within another individual.

It happened quickly; the sound of a miniature firecracker shot from a distance rang in his ears, and he immediately swerved the side, being as careful as he could not to damage his very expensive (and incredibly dangerous) cargo. He knew one false move and his death would be too close to call. Almost as quickly as it shot, sparks landed about ten feet away from him, Cloud swerving even further to avoid the shot back of the explosion, as tiny little sparks flew from the impact point.

Who in the world, he thought completely bewildered. His thoughts were cut short when five other sounds just like that one, were heard again. Cloud coked his head behind him and saw the other explosives hurling towards him like missiles.

Knowing he couldn't avoid all of them, he looked for the closet place to take cover. All he could see were the arches of the rock, the desert of the wastelands and few plants not nearly big enough to provide refuge. Then, he saw his salvation. What looked like a cavern in the middle of a rock formation dead ahead. He hit the gas and sped forward with the fastest RMP his motorbike could give him. The flying explosives were very close, but being Cloud, he was able to get inside the crevice just as they hit the walls around the edge of the opening.

Cloud double-checked to make sure the cargo was okay and not in a condition to be ignited and continued moving towards the other opening in the cavern.

That's when he saw it—

--there, in the center of the exit, was a pile of dynamites, bombs, grenades and what looked like Nitro bottles and gunpowder. It was if someone had planned him to go through the cave in the first place.

Through his goggles, Cloud narrowed his blue eyes and thought nonchalantly, Oh?

Not sparing a second, Cloud took his bike and rammed it against the side of the wall, finding just enough of a suitable road to move upward into the cavern. It was as he suspected—another opening was above, with another light.

But what he did not expect, was the sound of another match, and just when he thought he saw a flash of silver, black and two points of glinting green—was when it was completely too late.


TO BE CONTINUED


Random Note: Sorry for the briefness of this chapter. I'm so busy lately and I just haven't had that much time for my own leisure activities. Till the next one guys… (departs)