Kingdom Hearts II
Notes: The characters are not mine, except for Kala-Ansa, and the story is mine, too. It's a vague idea I've had for a while that at last morphed into something I could write without messing up my timeline. It takes place shortly after God Help the Outcasts. The prompts Passion/Obsession from Kingdom100 and Fear of Women from 13 Fears assisted.
The sound of the flames crackling reached Sephiroth's ears long before his other senses returned.
He was used to it, of course--at least to some extent. Being able to control fire meant that he heard the snapping and hissing of the blazes quite frequently. He had despised his powers at first, hating that he had them instead of being able to be seen and recognized. But he had made use of them, training until he could command a blast anywhere he chose. And the time of his exile had ended. Now he used his powers to protect his loved ones.
But there was not supposed to be any fire now. He was asleep. Or he had been, at least. His eyes flew open. Was the house burning?
He could only stare in disbelief. He was no longer in his room at home. Now he was laying on a bed in a room that was bathed in fire. The flames danced from the unprotected fireplace in the corner, casting their angry red and orange hues against the walls. The various objects took on ominous shadows which grew more twisted and menacing as the blaze ate at the logs in the firebox. There was no other source of light in the room.
Pushing against the mattress, he struggled to rise. But he could not. Instead chains clinked, unpleasant metal rubbing against his wrists. Immediately he looked to his left arm. He was manacled to the bedpost. His right arm was the same, as were his legs. His wings hung freely over the edges of the bed to the floor.
What was this? How could he have been taken prisoner in this way? Surely he must have been awake before, fighting whoever had done this. No one could drag him away in his sleep without him awakening. And what did it say about Zack and Cloud's situation? They would have fought such an intruder. Were they captive somewhere too?
Or was this all a very realistic dream? The room was so warm, bordering on flaming hot. He could feel the heat against his face and his bare chest and hands. Would he wake up safe at home to discover that Zack had left the heat on too long? If he was too warm in real life, that could come into his dream.
Something moved in the dark shadows of the far side of the room. He tensed, looking in that direction. Only a silhouette was visible. What appeared to be a feminine form was closing a drawer. Then it straightened up, reaching to remove something from its hair. Shoulder-length locks tumbled free.
Sephiroth watched in confused apprehension. "Who's here?" he demanded. "Where is this?"
"This," a figure whispered, "is Hell."
A cold chill shot into Sephiroth's veins. Then this had to be some kind of dream, didn't it? Before he had lain down, he had been wondering again what would happen to him after his life was spent. Every now and then the question came back to plague him. He had never been given the assurance from the judges that he would be redeemed in the end. And though he would not be surprised if they still believed him to only be good for Hellfire, he did not want that fate.
But this was not like any Hell he had pictured. What was it going to involve? The woman who had spoken . . . was this her house? Strange, he had never thought there would be houses in the infernal pit. Maybe she was speaking of Hell in an abstract way. Though the open fire was adding to his concerns.
"To be with you is Hell," she continued now, her voice raising slightly past a whisper as she began to step forward. "And yet it is all I desire, because of what you have done to me."
His eyes narrowed, his lip curling in revulsion. He recognized who she was now--Kala-Ansa, the woman who had lusted after him, believing it was the result of a spell he had cast upon her. She had been killed by Hojo's Master Clone not that long ago. Did that mean he could really be in . . . ?
She stepped into the light cast by the fire, clad in only a white silk negligeé held up by thin straps. Her raven hair, loosed of the tight bun, played around her face and over her shoulders. Her painted-red lips turned up in a cruel smile as she took in the sight of him.
"This is how I want to see you," she purred, "helpless and at my mercy. And I have none. I will never let you go."
He glowered. It did not matter if she thought he would not be able to get free. He would. He was more resourceful than to be made to stay here, with her.
Hatred flickered in her amber eyes. "You turned my own daughter against me," she accused.
"That isn't true." His voice was filled with steel. "She still loves you, in spite of everything you yourself did to strain your relationship with her."
"She's living with a clone of you!" Her own voice grew shrill. "It's a disgrace!"
"He is kinder to her than you were," he retorted.
"Everything I ever did was for her own good."
". . . Including lusting after my body and promising my freedom from oppression if I would satisfy your desires?"
She glowered at him. "Your spell is what made me say that," she said. "It's what has brought you to me tonight." She stepped closer. "Do I not please you, Sephiroth?" She spread out her arms as if in emphasis.
"Am I supposed to be pleased that I'm chained to your bed?"
A smirk played on her lips. "Oh . . . I'm certain you will change your mind when you find what I can offer," she said. "And you . . . I already know that you have plenty to give to me. I sampled when I kissed you at the stake."
His eyes only grew more hard. "I didn't return it," he said. "If you're expecting submission from me, you will never receive it."
She began to walk again. "You don't have anywhere else to go."
He brought his wings up, prepared to push her away when she came closer. "I am not dead," he said, his voice cold. "How am I here?"
"I will it," she answered, reaching the edge of the bed. She sneered as she placed her hands on his shoulders, feeling his muscles tense under her grasp. Then she began to lean down.
Immediately all wings were flying at her, shoving her backward as she gave a cry. Sephiroth glowered as she crashed against the wall. He brought his wings around himself. He had to find a way out of this. What did she mean, she willed him to be here? She did not have that kind of control over him. She would have to either be lying altogether or twisting the truth.
Her head jerked up, her brown eyes flashing through the thick locks. "Those wretched wings," she cried. "I despise them. I revile everything about them!" Feeling behind herself for the wall, she pushed herself to her feet.
"They're mine," Sephiroth responded, his voice filled with icy displeasure. "If you want me, you will have to accept all of me. Which you can never do. Your irrational prejudice always gets in the way."
"You dare to speak that way to me after cursing me with my desires?!" She flew across the empty space, striking Sephiroth across the cheek before he could stop it.
Sephiroth met her enraged gaze. "You never could accept responsibility for your own actions," he said. "You believed that you could do no wrong. Of course you could never succumb to a feeling as base as carnal lust. You were too perfect."
"Silence!" she screamed. Then she was descending, grabbing at Sephiroth as she pressed her lips against his. One hand went behind his head, touching his hair. The other arm curled around his neck and shoulders.
This was revolting. The witch was determined to have her way with him. And he would not allow it. He would never allow it!
He pulled on the chains, struggling, desperate for freedom. The bedposts did not budge. He flung his wings at her again, hitting her from every side. If he could curl them around her body, or get them between her and him, he could force her away.
She broke the loveless kiss, crying out in fury as the royal blue wings struck her. Now she was fighting them, trying to thrust them all away. When one was pushed back, the others were still there, flailing and hitting. One of the spearhead bones caught in her hair. She screamed, tearing to get it free. As she succeeded, he brought up the other two wings, hitting her in the stomach. She stumbled back.
"You cannot have willed me here," Sephiroth said. "You are not strong enough."
She thrust the third wing away from her. "And what do you believe I did, Sephiroth?" she demanded.
"I was asleep," he said. "I'm still asleep. You willed your way into my dream."
"This is a dream?" she returned, walking to the upper right bedpost. Taking his hand within hers, she caressed the strong, callused flesh. The fingers clenched at her touch. Undaunted, she brought his fist to her mouth, brushing her lips against the skin.
Sephiroth responded by slapping her. There was enough slack on the chains to allow for that, at least.
"You've twisted my dream," he said, "but because it is my dream, I can manipulate it as well."
She raised a hand to her face, hatefully touching the sore spot left by his defensive attack. "Can you?" she retorted. "You haven't been able to free yourself."
"I just have to concentrate hard enough," Sephiroth said. "Then I will be free and this madness will end."
Her eyes flickered with both anger and cruel satisfaction. "You will never get the chance to concentrate that long," she said. "I will make certain of it!"
With that she was coming at him again, throwing herself onto the bed with him. Grabbing at his robe, she fought to pull it back from his chest. He fought just as hard to keep it in place, his wings flying at her. Several feathers came free, floating down around them. Undeterred, she thrust herself onto his chest, clutching at him in desperation. A sleeve of the robe began to tear free.
Now he was getting his wings around her. Without warning he pushed her onto the floor. Before she could get up and try again, he was concentrating with all his might. He would will the chains to break. Kala-Ansa had not denied that they were in his dream. He would believe that it was true.
The woman got to her feet in a rage. The metal links were starting to weaken. And she would not let it happen. She would never let him get away from her--not now, when he was at last with her!
"Fire, come forth!" she cried, bringing her hand in the direction of the blaze. "Encircle the demon and let him burn alive!"
As if in response, the flames leaped from the open fireplace, catching on to the wood of the bedframe. From there it was spreading to the covers and lapping at Sephiroth's clothes.
She sneered. "I will finish what I started before," she said. "You will never be allowed into Heaven. You will remain here with me for all eternity. You will still be mine!"
He glowered at the increasing inferno, bringing his wings around himself. He could not control fire that was not his own. But in this dreamworld, would it be different? Would he be able to direct it away from him? It was not logical that being burned in a dream could kill him in real life, albeit Kala-Ansa was convinced it could. And he would not take any chances.
The bedframe was splintering and tearing asunder. He pulled his feet towards him. The lower bedposts groaned, crashing to the floor and setting it alight. His legs were free, though still bearing the chains. He would have to worry about that later. Now he struggled to sit up. He was straining against the upper bedposts, clenching his fists. His will and Kala-Ansa's were crashing together. She wanted him to stay. He wanted to leave.
His clothes were on fire. The flames were eating away at the material, stinging his flesh. He gritted his teeth, forcing himself forward as he pulled again on the bedposts. Now they were tearing free. He brought his arms to his sides. They were a bit numb, and the chains might get in his way, but he couldn't worry about any of that right now. Shakily he began to stand up on the bed. The fire was coming at him again. By now there was hardly any place on the bed where he could step without landing on the flames. He would have to jump off.
Now he was airborne, his wings spreading for balance. The fire reached out for him with its cruel fingers, brushing his feet and legs. He only barely missed falling into the flames now surrounding the bed. Then he was descending, landing on his feet on an unoccupied portion of the carpet. The stinging swept over him as he hit the ground. His feet had been hurt by the inferno. He dropped to the floor, rolling to extinguish the flames still eating at his clothes.
Kala-Ansa shrieked. She was diving at him, leaping through the fire as she came. It did not hurt her, but it was an eerie sight to see a woman ablaze--in more ways than one--coming right at him. Sephiroth moved out of the way, leaving her to slam into the wall and set it alight.
She flew at him again, crashing on top of him as she fought to restrain him on the floor. He grabbed her wrists, digging in with his fingers as he threw her to the side. She caught his wrists, refusing to let go as she struggled to get to her knees. The sleeve tore further. Abandoning it, she took hold of his throat. A sickening sneer came over her features as she gripped tighter, pushing in with her hand.
He snatched her wrist, struggling to tear it back. His eyes were watering, both from the smoke and the pressure on his throat. Her lips were pulled back in a wretched smirk as she continued to hold onto him. "There is no escape," she hissed, starting to bend down.
A weak growl passed through his lips. He clutched tighter at her wrist, beginning to twist it in his grasp. Still determined to end his life, she did not let go. But at last he was forcing her hand away. He was much stronger than she was, no matter how much willpower she could exert on this plane. He gasped, turning onto his side as he choked and coughed for want of air. His throat was burning. He breathed heavily, his wings twitching as the welcome oxygen rushed into his lungs. But then he coughed again. The smoke was rushing into his lungs as well.
And by now the room was almost entirely encompassed by flames. He gripped the floor as he watched the fire, his eyes narrowed. He had to bring his desire for the blaze to be extinguished to the forefront of his mind. That was all he would think about.
But the fire continued to dance in front of his eyes, as if mocking him. What if Kala-Ansa was right? What if he would perish and he would remain with her, unable to escape? Would he really be condemned to such a fate? Would the good he had tried to do mean nothing? God had listened to him before, but did that mean he was welcome in Heaven?
This was foolishness. She was either deliberately preying on his worst fears, or else it was a coincidence. She did not have the power to kill him. He would refuse to die by her hands. And he would also refuse to keep thinking about what would happen when he did die. This was not the time. He would push these concerns out of his mind and focus his attention on stopping the inferno.
Water could extinguish it, if there was a lot of it. Could he will water to come into his dream? Kala-Ansa was laughing now, as the flames had almost entirely trapped him. He turned his face away from the blaze.
A drop of something cool splashed on his face. He blinked, looking up. The roof had split open. Rain was pouring down on them. Kala-Ansa screamed in rage, stumbling to her feet as she stared up at the sheets of water. The fire was going out.
Her eyes flashed. "So! You would rather drown?" she exclaimed, her face twisting in a grotesque manner. "Of course. What would a fire-wielder fear more than death by the element that can always stop him?" Her hair blew out around her. "There will be a flood! Then you will come to me!"
"There won't be a flood," Sephiroth retorted, struggling to stand. "I'm going home." He spread his wings, flapping them as he raised off the floor. Then he was traveling upward, through the hole in the ceiling. Kala-Ansa cried in fury, throwing some of the splintered wood up at him. It bounced harmlessly off his back.
But at the same time, the rain began to increase. Kala-Ansa was indeed attempting to call down a flood. Sephiroth growled, shielding his eyes from the downpour. He would have to struggle through it anyway, no matter how difficult it was going to be. He would not go back. Yet if it kept pounding down on his wings, especially the one that had previously been crushed, it would be impossible to stay airborne. Maybe now he would have to concentrate to make it stop.
Without warning a bright light encircled the strange building behind him. He turned, looking back in surprise. What now?
"You will not harm this man any more," a stern voice declared. It was filled with ethereal power, even causing Sephiroth to momentarily freeze. "You will never have him with you where you are."
Kala-Ansa's response was a bone-chilling cry of anger, hatred, and defeat.
The light grew brighter still. Sephiroth, now hovering, was seeing but not watching. What he had heard stunned him. He had not made up this person's presence in the dreamworld. Whoever it was, was truly there. And if he had understood correctly, it had just been declared that he would not go to Hell when he died. If that was so, then at this point of his life he must be doing something right.
Now the glow faded. As it dissipated, the rest of the scene turned to black as well.
Sephiroth fell to the floor with a crash. He looked up, his heart racing wildly. His bangs, damp with perspiration, were clinging to his face. He was safe, back in his room at home. The moon shone through the window to his side. He was kneeling on the carpet next to the bed, his wings spread out on the floor.
It had just been a dream. A very realistic dream, manipulated by both Kala-Ansa and Sephiroth himself--and ended by the mysterious, divine being.
He pushed himself up, reaching for the mattress with one hand. As he rose, he stiffened in shock.
His clothes smelled of smoke. They were eaten through at places, the edges of the holes brittle and singed. Ash was falling from his hair. And the sleeve of his robe was descending, neatly torn at the shoulder seam.