Final Fantasy VII

Before I Die

By LuckyLadybug

Notes: The characters are not mine, and this ficlit is. It was directly inspired by a prompt I discovered at the Livejournal community 31 Days, Yet Let Me Kiss My Lord Before I Die. Perhaps off the wall at first glance, but what's come out of it actually seems plausible and in character, at least to me. I am completely fascinated by the complex platonic relationship between these two characters, and I really have tried to keep Crisis Core spoilers out of this, but one or two may have briefly sneaked through. It takes place in my Twilight and Dawn timeline, but the only things necessary to know are that it's after Dirge of Cerberus, Sephiroth is sane again, and everyone is on Earth.

The snow was falling lightly over the burnt and torn ground. It had been a battlefield only moments before. Crimson was staining several spots, but as the flakes continued to flutter down, the puddles were swiftly becoming covered. For this to be accomplished, however, the pure white of the snow had to be tainted.

Other flakes landed upon the two swords, and on those bearing them. Both the long silvery locks and the short auburn hair were gaining two-toned colors. The owner of the former did not notice. His eyes were closed, the naturally lengthened lashes brushing against his cool cheeks. He would be alright. He was only unconscious, having been thrown into his current position and state after delivering one of the fatal blows to the enemy. Having been batted away by a cruel paw, he had struck his head on the hard ground.

The other was very much awake, but would not be for much longer. With a red-gloved hand he gripped the deep wound in his side, gritting his teeth against the agony. When he had attacked with the other killing blow, that had finally sent the creature tumbling off the precipice, it had lashed out in one last, vengeful act, sinking its claws into the flesh as it had lost its grip. The warrior had doubled over, nearly crumpling to the ground. He had only barely made it to his comrade's side before collapsing.

He would not be able to get up again. Both of them had wounds, but his were the most severe. And whereas once he had been angry and ungrateful to the other for assisting him in battle, now he had matured enough to realize the necessity of it. He could not have fought that beast alone.

Not that he was going to survive this, anyway.

Laying on his uninjured side, he studied the lifeless form next to him. A proud warrior, a strong fighter, the one who had always been recognized back on their homeworld. They were the same age, and their skills were comparable, yet the red-cloaked one had never achieved the fame and glory he had desired. He had lived in the shadow cast by the great phoenix.

And oh, he had been envious. Why should Sephiroth receive everything? He did not even want what he had. He had even told the other, wearily, that he could be the hero if he wanted. He had seen that it was tearing apart their friendship, and he had known it was not worth it.

"I was so foolish," the auburn-haired man murmured. "My jealousy, and later, my deterioration, together obliterated my mind."

It had driven him to split apart any remaining shreds of the friendship they had once had. He had become even more bitter, thinking only of devastation and destruction. Was it any wonder that when he had gone to Sephiroth, demanding help to stop the deterioration, Sephiroth had refused him? After everything that had been done to everyone, and to Sephiroth and Zack personally, why would Sephiroth feel like helping even if he could have? He had been angry and hurt, his patience in ribbons. He had been let down time and again, and he had not been able to take it any longer.

And perhaps even, Jenova had influenced his words somewhat, at that time. She had manipulated all of their fates, hadn't she? She and Hojo.

"What sad lives we have led. You fell into despair as well, your madness moulding you into the perfect monster. And I assisted in bringing it about, even if it was not my intention. . . ."

But that was all over now. On this new planet, this Earth, Sephiroth had finally found peace once again. The other had continued in his solitary existence, until he had been rediscovered by Angeal. And for a time, he had stayed with them. But he and Sephiroth had never been sure how to mend things between them.

Was it even possible? There had been injured feelings on both sides, the wounds being driven deep into their souls. Sephiroth still felt immensely betrayed. If the explanation was only insanity, then perhaps he would be able to get over it easier. He had forgiven Genesis whole-heartedly for anything said and done while his mind had been lost. But the problem had started long before the deterioration had really set in. And he had never been sure that the other's driving jealousy had been overcome.

Sometimes the red-cloaked man wondered that himself. There were times when he felt that Sephiroth still had so much. He owned an internationally-renowned company. Again he had fame and glory. He lived in an immaculate mansion, where his closest friends stayed as well. He had made peace with Cloud Strife. And he still did not especially want the prestige he held. He just wanted to live without turmoil, with those he held dear.

"You were always a good friend to me." The conscious man's voice was growing pained now, and not solely from his memories. Vertigo was setting in. "I held a rare pearl of true fortune, and I abandoned it."

A seldom-seen expression of regret passed over his face. Maybe there was not any way to ever fully fix things again. What had once been was lost. And he was not certain he would survive his physical wounds to try another time.

He leaned over, taking his unbloodied hand to brush aside the strands of the long bangs that had fallen into Sephiroth's face. He had been many things to the other over the years---an awe-inspiring idol, a great warrior, a wise leader, a kind friend. He had been all of the above again today.

Bending down, Genesis Rhapsodos placed a quiet kiss on Sephiroth's forehead. "Good night, sweet prince," he murmured. "The ronin bids you farewell."

He fell back, slumping to the ground as his eyes closed.