There is a character in this story who I believe is alive, but for my purposes she's dead, so…artistic licence

Why I Hate You

Back, again. For a third time he plunged into this endless sea of glowing green energy. The Lifestream, the collective of all the energy from all living beings that circled the Planet. A place of eternal happiness if the Cetran legends were true. The source of all existence and its end, the place where all life began and all death led to.

Sephiroth hated this place.

He floated, detached from his body, in the middle of the sea, immersed in it but never even experiencing the briefest touch from it. While the energy about him was glowing green and blue and beautiful, his own energy appeared to them as a sickly green and black glob of tainted spiritual power. The tendrils of the Lifestream floated around him, going out of their way to avoid him, to avoid the taint he had brought into their midst. The minds and spirits of the dead would come nowhere near him, the occasional voice coming out of the darkness to shout at him. Their accusations and insults meant nothing to him. Sephiroth had fallen into the Lifestream twice before, and twice before he had survived and emerged. He would do it a third time. But that would take time, for now he had to endure his torment a third time.

A single wave of energy washed over him, and Sephiroth frowned. In all the time he had spent here, none had ever come so close. He had been detached in every way a being could be detached. Who was so bold as to intrude on his isolation? The wave finished collecting, and a few sparse lines of energy floated around him. The wave touched what would have been his arm, if he had a body, and there was a flash of a face in his mind. Long chestnut hair, pale skin, green eyes…Sephiroth cursed as he realized who had come to him.

"What do you want?" he demanded, glaring at the spiritual being hovering around him.

"I have come to see you, Sephiroth," Aeris said softly, drifting behind him.

"Obviously," he replied. "Why? I have nothing to say to you. Leave."

"Your spirit is tormented," Aeris whispered. "You cannot join the collective."

"Thank you for your keen observations, girl, I was quite unaware of that," Sephiroth sneered. "Is there anything else you wish to tell me that I do not know? That I had silver hair in life? Or that I wielded a sword?" Aeris was silent, and Sephiroth was content with that. Such cold responses had driven away many when he was alive. Perhaps it would work on her as well.

"I'm here to try and help you," Aeris explained, coming in front of him.

"Help me? I do not need or want your help," Sephiroth laughed. "I escaped this wretched place twice before without assistance and I shall do it again in time."

"You want to escape?" Aeris asked.

"Naturally," Sephiroth snorted, drawing in his spiritual arms and crossing them.

"Why?" she asked. Sephiroth smirked and closed his eyes.

"You're a fool, girl. You can find solace in this place, but I am not so fortunate. You are able to dissolve and fragment and join the collective and find peace among your ancient and long dead Cetran brothers and sisters. I cannot. This place will not accept me, it torments me. You and all your horrid companions here do nothing but torture me. I may be dead and there is nothing left in the realm of the living for me, but at the very least it is an escape, however temporary, from this place. Your Heaven is my Hell."

Around them, the minds of the Lifestream were watching the bizarre confrontation between them, the glowing green and white of the flower girl and the dark green and black of the SOLDIER. As he ended his declaration they burst into a fury of voices. A few even came so close that he could feel them more than hear them.

"Ungrateful wretch!"

"You blame us for the punishment you bring on yourself?"

"You deserve your torment!"

"Heartless bastard, you talk such of the Cetra?"

"You know so little yet assume so much!"

"Destroy him, finish him! Shatter his mind, leave him a sobbing husk!"

Sephiroth let their accusations wash over him. Rage, fury, anger, hatred. He had earned all these things and more in life. And he knew how to deal with them, brush them aside. The myriad of spirits screaming at him was nothing he could not defeat. But this girl? Hatred and rage were quite different from kindness and pity. He could tolerate the former, but could not and would not endure the latter.

"Back!" Aeris cried. The last, half-breed Cetra sent out her command and the tendrils of the angry shrank back at her order. Sephiroth scowled and opened his eyes.

"Why do you defend me?" he asked.

"Because they're wrong," Aeris whispered. "You did terrible things but you are not beyond forgiveness. In every heart, no matter how dark, there is always a light."

"And you believe there is light in my heart?"

"Yes."

"Fool," Sephiroth sneered. "If you think you can find such a light then look and do not be horrified when you find none. There is nothing in my heart but what you have heard around you."

"That's not true," Aeris sighed.

"Isn't it? Do you not hate me?" Sephiroth demanded.

"Yes, I do," Aeris admitted. "But just because I hate you does not mean you do not deserve absolution."

"And why do you despise me so?" Sephiroth asked. The vision of Aeris closed her eyes as she began to drift around him again.

"You killed me," she said simply. "You took me from the ones I love, the ones who loved me. You sliced through my chest without so much as a glimmer of regret and died hearing your prideful words of doing so in my ears. Even now, I see no remorse in your heart for what you did to me, or anyone."

"So you see, you have just proven me correct. There is no good in me, do not waste our time looking for such trivial things," Sephiroth agreed. "I told you to leave me be and I am telling you again."

"Why do you say such things?" Aeris whispered. "Do you like being hated, Sephiroth?"

"I'd rather be hated than pitied," he growled. "Pity is for the weak and the pathetic, and I am neither."

"What about love?" Aeris asked. "Would you rather be hated than loved?"

"Loved?" Sephiroth laughed. "Once again you prove yourself a naïve fool, girl."

"You do not need to insult me," Aeris defended. "I am only trying to understand you, so I can help you."

"You think you can help me!?" Sephiroth roared into the darkness. "You assume you could understand my hatred, my torment? You think being the hunter is any easier than being the hunted? Do you even know why I hate you?" Aeris was silent. "Then I shall tell you. You were born to a mother and a father who loved you, took care of you. Your mother sacrificed herself to save your life from Shin-Ra, and you would found by a woman who raised you. You spent your life surrounded by flowers, family, friends, even would-be lovers like those idiots Zack and Cloud."

"I was raised not even knowing who my parents were. No, not raised, I was bred. From the time I was able to understand and speak I was told I was the first of many, the start of SOLDIER, their first and greatest agent. I was trained by the finest teachers in history, weapons, magic. From around the world the strongest, smartest and best men and women came to share their knowledge with me. I was given the finest instructors possible and when I was old enough a sword was placed in my hand and I was sent out to destroy. And I destroyed and I came back and I was sent out to destroy again, again and again and again!" Sephiroth fell quiet for a moment.

"And then one day I find that, perhaps I was meant for more. I find out my life of destruction and death was a lie, that I had a higher destiny, a greater purpose. But in time I discovered that too was a lie. My Mother was not the last of a race, or the ruler of the Planet. She was a plague upon the Planet, destroying its citizens mindlessly, like I had done my entire life. And I once again turn to find my true fate facing me – destruction. It's all that has ever been expected of me, all that was ever asked of me, and it's all I've ever done. Kill." Sephiroth leered at Aeris' spirit angrily, his lip curling up.

"I hate you, girl, because you do not and will never know such things. I thought I was the last Cetra, when you really were. I had no friends, no family, no lovers to hold me. You had them in droves. I was bred to be an engine of destruction, you were raised to be a healer. I was lied to at every turn by those who presumed themselves my masters, you were told the truth by those who saw you as an equal…I hate you, girl, Ancient, because of what you are. You are everything I thought I could have been, everything I should have been, and everything I wanted to be. I look at you and see everything good and pure in the world, that I was denied. Even now in this place, you are allowed rest and someday your friends shall die and all will be well again while I continue to find temporary escapes and am ultimately pushed back. You have everything, while I have nothing."

Aeris was silent, and Sephiroth sat back. He had never spoken so openly to anyone before. Hopefully, his burst of revelation and rage would convince her to leave. He could endure the torment another few years before he escaped the Lifestream for a third time, as long as she was not here to pity him and feel sorry for him.

"I am sorry," she whispered. Sephiroth scowled.

"I do not need your pity!" he repeated.

"You're right," Aeris nodded. "You should hate me. I have all the things you never did, I was given everything I ever wanted while you were never even asked."

"Thank you," Sephiroth muttered. "Now leave. As I said you could not understand my torment, so you cannot help me. Find one who could understand me or do not bother speaking to me."

The green tendril of energy that was left of Aeris Gainsborough slipped away, and Sephiroth relaxed slightly. Now at last he was alone again. However, he dismayed when he realized she had not left but merely backed away. Worse, a new stream of energy approached, and Sephiroth tensed, waiting to see whom it was. Another face came to his mind's eye. Long dark brown hair, creamy complexion, dark brown eyes. Sephiroth supposed she would have been attractive, if he had been interested in such things.

"Hello Sephiroth," the woman whispered. He frowned as what may have been a hand came to touch his cheek. How dare she touch him so, who did she think she was?

"Who are you?" he growled, not prepared to deal with another game of twenty questions with someone else who wished to waste his time and patience. The woman sighed.

"My name, long ago, was Lucrecia," she replied. Sephiroth blinked. That name meant nothing to him.

"That name is unknown to me," he said aloud.

"I know. You do not know me, Sephiroth, but I know you quite well," Lucrecia replied.

"I am not in a mood for games," he snapped.

"Do you know your parents, Sephiroth?" Lucrecia asked. Sephiroth narrowed his eyes. What type of question was that?

"No and I do not want to, woman," he replied. "What does it matter now?"

"They are both dead," Lucrecia explained. "Your father was once a handsome and brilliant man, but…I am afraid his ambitions got the better of him and he became a twisted shell of who he once was."

"As I said, what does it matter?" Sephiroth said. "I do not know who he was and don't care."

"Hojo," Lucrecia stated. "He was your father." Sephiroth was surprised, and he looked away from the spectre before him. The information seeped in, and he scowled.

"So, that pitiful old fool was my father," he spat. "I am not sure which revelation is more disgusting, that he fathered a child, or that that child was me. I thank you for that information, woman. It shall give me more to be tormented with."

"Do not think so of Hojo," Lucrecia said softly. "He was once a great man, when he fathered you, but I am afraid the Jenova Project did terrible things to him, both physically and mentally. When I hid myself from the world he was a shade of the man I once loved."

"You?" Sephiroth whispered, turning back.

"Yes," Lucrecia's energy caressed his cheek again. "Sephiroth…I am your mother."

"Lies," Sephiroth cried. "Hojo created me through Jenova!"

"No…I was injected with Jenova cells while I carried you, but you were my son, always have been. Your Jenova cells merged and grew with you in a way like no other, but you were always human. Jenova was never your mother," Lucrecia explained. Sephiroth shook slightly.

"So…yet another lie," he said bitterly. "Well, I suppose that is all I can expect, that is all I was ever given. Lies, hatred, anger and pity."

"I do not give you those things," Lucrecia corrected.

"You do not hate me?" Sephiroth asked. "Or pity me perhaps? Look upon me mother, look upon your wretch of a son!"

"I am," Lucrecia said. "And I do not feel pity, or hatred…I feel love."

"Love?" Sephiroth shrieked. "Do not lie!"

"I'm not lying," Lucrecia's energy wrapped around Sephiroth's own green and black sphere of twisted spiritual energy, and he gasped. "I hate those who twisted you to their own ends, and those who lied and deceived you. I even hate myself a little for letting Hojo do such horrible things to both of us. And I feel sorry for all those who took your happiness and replaced in with hatred and rage to suit their own ends. But you, Sephiroth? Son? No…I love you, as any true mother would. I would be lying if I said I didn't feel sorry for you, for all you could have been and couldn't be. But more than anything else, I love you."

"Love me," Sephiroth whispered, lowering his head.

"More than anything," Lucrecia nodded. "When I was pregnant, I knew Hojo would try and twist you into some sort of science experiment, but I hoped that you would become a fine man someday. And even if he succeeded, you became a fine man, Sephiroth. For all the destruction and pain you caused, you were intelligent, handsome, well-mannered and respected. I'm proud of what you had been before Jenova came into your life. You made your mother happy."

"I…" Sephiroth whispered, closing his eyes. Lucrecia's energy slipped inside his bubble of energy and wrapped around him.

"I love you, my son, and always have. All I ever wanted for you was peace, and I'm so sorry you couldn't find it in life. But please, now that it's being offered to you, do not deny it again. Come with me, Sephiroth. Let go of your pain, it can't hurt you anymore, unless you want it to."

"N…no…" Sephiroth choked out. A feeling of incredible warmth came from the energy around him, and to his shock, he felt the same glow rise from within him. He lifted a hand and watched the appendage vanished in a bright light. "Mother…"

"Shhh…." Lucrecia soothed. "I'm here son….I'm here…" Sephiroth tipped he head back and smiled, the first smile of happiness in his entire existence, as the white glow consumed him.

Not far away, Aeris lowered her head and smiled as a ball of green and black energy flashed and dissolved in a burst of bright green, the particles dispersing and becoming one with the Lifestream.