Shukumei

By: Miroir du Symphonie

Fandom: Kingdom Hearts

Rating: PG-13

Warnings: Disturbing Content, Death

Pairing: Leon x Cloud, implied Sephiroth x Cloud

A/N: Um, I'm debating whether it's still appropriate for me to call this a birthday gift, considering it's so dark and bad things happen to the birthday boy. D:

But yes, this was written in part for our beloved Cloud Strife's birthday today, August 19th! By Square's standards he's what, eleven? This was inspired, as I'm sure some enthusiasts will catch, by an episode of Sailor Moon. An anime which has been bleeding into a lot of my work lately - and will be important in my next major project - but let me not give that away. There is also a Crisis Core reference in there, and the first person who catches and names what it is will get my next Glasses and Braces fic dedicated to them. Well, alongside Oblea. Everything I write is pretty much dedicated to her. xD

A word about the G/B arc - yes, I'm continuing it. Yes, it will be updated soon.

I'm debating a fic for Squeon's birthday on August 23rd. Maybe I will. Maybe I won't.

I hope you guys can enjoy this, considering that it is pretty much darkfic. And don't kill me for the ending. It was just to see if I could write it. I'm not usually an advocate of that, especially with that particular person. D:

Thanks to the lovely Oblea for her badassery betaing skills. Love you, honey. :3

Enjoy! And Happy Birthday, Cloud!


He cannot hold back the scream that tears from his throat in denial.

The sky has blackened and his will is crumbling like leaves under fire—brittle and easily felled. His gloves stick to his hand with crimson stains, little cerise flakes falling to the barren ground the harder he clenches his fists. He is disarmed, gunblade just out of reach, leg bent at a morbidly curious angle. Magical strength reduced to nothing. Body artfully gashed, a painting by some cherished psychopathic child.

"Leon..."

None of that is his focal point, however. What he cares about is the synthetic angel that has turned his back on fate.

"LEON!"

Childlike fingers stretch out for him, broken body trembling at its limit's edge and he cannot stop the tears that escape stormy eyes like shameful trysts—dark but needing. He can remember the last time he cried for anything, though the mental powers that claim his mind for their kingdom render the memories veiled and hazy.

White fabric bunched in tiny pale fists and long strides he couldn't keep up with rose to the forefront of his mind like a vengeful ocean, delicate hands touching his hair in a tentative farewell—

His lover is standing now—holding a mutilated arm, wing trailing behind him and limp with blood. It is a pitiful, pitiful sight, yet the spark of determination that he can see from his distance is burning with fierce fire.

"Leon...I won't let you die..."

There is another angel that stands above him, head thrown backwards to the hells and metallic locks gleaming like the brightness in his lover's eyes. This angel, too, is ethereal—yet divinity surrounds him in the ghosts of fallen souls, their screams coalescing to form the dreadful noise in his ears. Masamune is drawn with a malicious shriek and raised in a steady hand: Sephiroth has lost interest in him for the moment and yet he cannot cease crying.

For every bootprint in the muddy ground brings the angel closer to his target. And Cloud does not look like he will survive a smiting.

"Cloud, RUN!"

The wounds are like papercuts.

It's funny, Leon thinks vaguely, how someone so cruel could be such a thing of beauty. Sephiroth's coat whips around him with a life of its own as the sword is brought down once, twice and becoming a blur as pale skin weeps in rivers. Silver hair is tossed about by the worshiping wind, pale pink lips curled triumphantly. How something so perfect could cause such pain has been the wailing of several worlds—and the only person with a hope of ending said torment is being decimated before his eyes.

Leon loses count of Cloud's wounds and then stops watching altogether: over the sound of anguished yelling he can hear breathy laughter. Can feel the warmth of another hand on his, pale and unblemished. Can see feathery aureate locks waving in the breeze—pure sunshine, not a sickening strawberry blonde.

"So unfair of you." His words startle the spaced-out blonde, his eyes returning to focus from their momentary journey. "To go off in your own world."

Blue eyes cloud with sheepish guilt and he smiles, slipping an arm around his partner's waist. Cloud smells good, as always, and he buries his nose into soft strands, taking the scent in.

Eternity passes and is halfway repeating when Sephiroth steps back, smirking. Cloud seems to fall in slow motion—legs buckling and sending him to his knees before even those fail him.

"CLOUD!"

"Leon..."

For a moment Leon thinks that this is the end. No amount of mako can undo what had been done, and yet—even the angel is surprised when the blonde struggles once more to his feet, glaring hazily. "Yet still, you refuse to die." Those cat-eyes are greener than the poison that spawned them and all flickers of amusement are gone. "Enough of this game."

Cloud stumbles a single step, weak and shaky. And then the death sword makes a ringing arc and pierces the blonde's jugular.

It is their life together that he sees when Sephiroth turns to him, not solely his own. He can remember the little things—waking with a lithe figure curled to his side, fighting mounds of shadows back to back, spending content hours speaking in quiet tones and sharing gentle kisses.

"Do you understand, Leonhart?"

Sephiroth's voice is soft, almost gentle. "This is your doing." A gloved hand rests on Leon's shaking shoulders, yet makes no violent move. "The others were simply...puppets. Spares. They needn't have died." Soft lips brush against a bloody ear as the angel kneels behind him. "But you turned Cloud away from me. Irreversibly."

Leon says nothing. He cannot speak. Cannot breathe, not while this angel is zapping his air in a painless, divine retribution. "Therefore, all must pay."

And then Leon's memory expands: Aerith. She lays on her side with an old wound reopened, and all he can see is her gentle good mornings and the aroma of her treats. Tifa. Her lifeless arms end in stumps, yet he views only her strong hands curled in protective fists. Yuffie. She dangles upright from the Depths' stone wall, Conformer's spokes holding her in place. In his mind she crouches like the ninja she was, ready to take the world in her small, klepto fingers. Goggles are wrapped too tightly around Cid's neck, but to Leon they are fixed over mellow blue eyes.

"All must share my pain..."

"Shut up." His words are soft and juvenile and very unwise—they are close, so close, and a hundred deaths present themselves using only a fist. But the words rip at sloppily stitched scars and he cannot stand to hear them.

Sephiroth laughs softly and stands.

"Dreams of the morrow hath the shattered soul..." The angel departs, his steps slow and measured, his hair no longer tossed but instead weighed down by pouring rain. "Pride is lost...wings stripped away, the end is nigh..."

And Leon is alone.

He does not know how long he sits, numb, despondent, clothing sticky and red. Eventually, weak fingers feel for the hilt of a gunblade and he finds it, dragging it nearer. This action is a signal: the clomp of large, yellow shoes in the distance spear the oppressive silence.

A heavy head raises.

"LEON!" It's Sora, sans companions, panicked look on his face and those blue eyes wild as he yells. "It's the town—bodies are everywhere—everyone's—"

Sora doesn't take note of his surroundings until he almost trips over Cloud's corpse.

"Huh?" The brunette falls to his knees, eyes disturbingly wide. "But—this—what—Cloud?" Even from a distance, Leon can see the growing pool of tears. Cloud's limp hand is flailing wildly in the teen's grip as if the motions can resurrect its owner.

"I think it's dead now, Sora."

Sora drops the appendage as if it's on fire. Brown spikes—strongly, painfully familiar—flop about an anguished face as the Keyblade master takes in the carnage. "Leon, what happened?" His voice raises to a scream. "WHO DID THIS?"

Leon chooses not to answer. "So unfair, Cloud..." The gunblade is cradled close, ever faithful, his only weapon. And his last hope. "To leave for a world of your own..."

He checks Lionheart. There is one bullet left in the chamber. Sora's eyes widen.

"You can't!"

The teen is crying, running, closing the distance, clutching his arm. "Please, Leon. Please, you can't! Just..." Sora hiccups, painful tears blurring each azure iris. "Tell me who killed them. Please."

There is silence for a moment, bloodless lips moving, trying to name the angel. "Seph...iroth." He shudders. "Sora, I'm done. Please, get rid of him."

"STOP!"

Leon sees black, then white. His last feeling is relief.

"Don't leave me behind."

fin