Final Fantasy VII

Somewhere Along the Way

By LuckyLadybug

Notes: The characters are not mine, and this ficlit is. It's a random monologue of Sephiroth's, spoken to Zack during my Twilight and Dawn storyline. There are passing references to Lisa's (Chibi Cheesecake's) wonderful fic If the Fates Allow, which must be read if it hasn't been! Other references are for my stories A Simple Mission in Triplicate and So Much Was Sacrificed. And I do believe this is the first time I've written for FF7 Seph in first person, though I do it quite frequently for KH Seph.

Drifting apart is such an unkind twist of fate. It's predictable, once it's happened several times, but knowing it will happen does not mean that the pain won't come. It always comes.

I sensed that something was wrong when Genesis started to become distant from Angeal and myself. He grew more philosophical, angrier, desperate. There was such an obvious feeling of resentment and disgust towards me. I didn't sense it towards Angeal. Genesis always cared so much about Angeal, his childhood friend. I was an outsider. I was not supposed to intrude on their close-knit friendship.

Genesis always wanted to be the best, to be a hero, such as I was recognized. When we would engage in our sparring, even when it became so intense that he referred to it as a duel, I never believed it was anything other than a friendly competition. What a fool I was! I didn't notice the jealousy boiling over in his heart. I continued to be blind to it. Angeal could not bring himself to tell me. Or maybe he was just being polite.

I did start to pick up on small hints as time went by. I would have been completely unfit to be in the high-ranking position I was in, had I not at least begun to see. There were so many little comments he made, so many sneering, almost mocking, jibes at how I always felt I knew what was best, and how he wondered why I had been chosen to be so admired. He would always say that he was only joking. It was hard to believe that, after a while.

I asked him once, outright, if he was jealous of me. He asked why I would think so. When I said that he himself had made me believe it, he quoted some line from Loveless about envy being one of the seven deadly sins. Then he wondered if I thought he was a sinner. I said it was not my place to judge him. He gave me one of the strangest smiles I have ever seen, as if to inquire if that was what I really thought. But he didn't say it. Instead he quoted from Loveless again, concerning divine judgement. And it ended there. He had successfully steered the conversation away from my initial query.

Then one night, on the last mission before the one when Genesis fled SOLDIER, he became so incensed, so furious, when I had to step in to help him destroy a vicious monster. He had battled it for some time, and though it had been weakened, so had he. He might not have survived, if I hadn't gone to help him. But I always had to be the hero, he informed me. He abhorred it, he was envious of all the fame and glory I had attained. I held it unfairly, he said.

I could tell he was at least partly inebriated. I told him so, and he said No, he was all too aware of everything around him, that he knew I was cheating him out of what should be rightfully his. And that I looked down on him, especially seeing him in his current condition. I said that wasn't it at all; I was stunned both because he was still on duty at the time, and because he rarely drank to begin with. It would look very poor on his record, if word got back to SOLDIER about the incident. He accused me of planning to tell them.

I never did. The only other person who ever knew was Angeal. The two of us worked together to get him sober. And when he was, he denied knowledge of everything he had said. Maybe he honestly did not remember. But he had revealed his true and inner feelings. Even though it was what I had suspected for some time, knowing I was correct still hurt.

And then Angeal started behaving so oddly as well. Genesis had been growing bitter towards SOLDIER and Shinra for some time, and the more he tried to convince Angeal to leave with him, the more Angeal's resolve weakened. I could see what was happening, but though I tried all in my power to persuade him to stay, I felt in my heart that it was a losing battle. I had never been as important to him as Genesis. Or if I had been, I was no longer. Though we still worked as comrades, we were already far apart in our hearts and souls. As far as I was concerned, Angeal had turned against me long ago.

Maybe that was why it was not such an extreme shock when he left, too. I had known it was coming. But I couldn't help feeling furious, that he had picked such a time to depart, right when he and you were supposed to be on a mission together. I should not have been the one rescuing you that dark night. It should have been your mentor.

I still don't know how we ended up so close, or how you came to mean more to me than anyone else I had previously known. I never wanted to become close to anyone again. I was certain that if I did, something would eventually get in the way that would destroy us and our friendship.

Ironically, I was right---but it was I myself who turned against you, not the other way around. That monster, that demon, whose cells live on through me, she twisted and warped my mind. I know now that she was working to get hold of me ever since our arrival at Nibelheim. She was the reason why everything seemed so familiar, even though I had never before set foot in that town.

But it isn't an excuse. I don't care what she tried to do. I should have been stronger. I should have recognized I was falling into madness and stopped myself. I betrayed you! I betrayed you, and Cloud, and everyone there whom I was supposed to protect.

And why did Genesis do what he did? Why did he hate me so much? I don't understand what I did to him. Did I ever look down on him, as he believed I did? Did I treat him as someone lesser than myself, someone unworthy of being in my presence? I can't remember ever behaving that way. I was always honored to have been accepted by him and Angeal. I thought I had at last found close friends.

I vowed to never betray you as they betrayed me. But look what I did! The hurt they brought to me is nothing compared to the way I pierced you and Cloud, both figuratively and literally. You both still bear the scars of that night. Tifa does, as well.

How can you ever want me back? How can you ever forgive me for my crimes? To still have your friendship is more than I can possibly deserve. You never gave up on me. You never stopped caring. And you freed me from my insanity. You, and even Cloud, say that I wanted to change, that I could have done nothing if not for that. That's true, but I also could have done nothing without you.

It still seems unreal, that Cloud has forgiven me, too. He cares for me, as you do. It isn't miserable to work with him now. Many times we are still laboring long into the night, as you well know. We find ourselves falling asleep in the office. Most of the time I don't even think about Cloud seeing me doze in odd places. I would rather it didn't happen, but I don't waste time being mortified if it does, especially if he falls asleep as well.

And Angeal has returned. I never thought it would happen. I thought he would be repulsed by me and what I've done. He accepted me. And I found myself believing what you said, that he never meant to betray us. He and I slipped back into our old friendship so easily. And you are friends with him again, as well.

That leaves Genesis. He is still absent, and I know Angeal misses him. Do I? I couldn't even say. On some nights, usually when I'm alone but not always, some odd and seemingly insignificant event or object crosses my path. It will be something that I associate with him, and hence, I will think of him. I recall old times, sneaking into the training rooms with him and Angeal, listening to him read, attending the Shinra balls. It would be impossible to forget the time he rose from behind a punchbowl, reading aloud from that book of his.

But all of that is in the past. I don't even know if he came to this planet, and yet for some reason, I feel that I do know. There's something tugging at the back of my mind, some tale of a phoenix and a ronin that I know wasn't from Loveless. I can't put my finger on where I would have heard it.

Even if he never returns, or if he does and does not want to renew whatever friendship we may have had, I believe I would be just fine with that. I am not friendless. And I have made my vow once again, to never betray you, or Cloud, or Angeal, or anyone else. I will live in a way that will honor the fellowship that has been extended to me, one who is most unworthy of it.

Somehow I know that there will not be any more drifting apart.