Author's Note: The ending of Advent Children just didn't make much sense to me, given that Cloud was a delivery boy between the years after Sephiroth died and came back, and was never in SOLDIER. Sephiroth died far too easily for being the pride of Shinra, as well as a better fighter than both Angeal and Genesis. I felt like the ending of Cloud succeeding was just so that good would "triumph" over evil. But the fact is...
Sephiroth should kick Cloud's ass. Every time. Plain and simple.
Disclaimer: Final Fantasy isn't mine, or any of the characters associated with it. I am but a lowly writer entranced by the glory of all that is Sephiroth.
He was aware, but only just. Consciousness seemed to be entwined with unconsciousness, causing his thoughts to drift in and out of focus.
He was supposed to be doing something, but yet his mind couldn't grasp onto the thoughts that had been so poisoning him before. He had been planning something, something incredibly important...but what was it?
It was hot and cold, inviting and uninviting. Everything existed in this place, all planes of emotion, of feeling, but it was so jumbled, confused... He knew he should feel strange, wrong even, but he couldn't recall why.
Something was different.
Cloud stood motionless, horror-struck, as he watched Kadaj tumble toward the concrete below, that sick, insane smile on his young face so intense that it reflected in his cat-like eyes. Those green orbs positively gleamed.
Fluid skimmed over the edges of the black container as Kadaj pried of the lid with one of his black-gloved hands. His look was one of pure ecstacy.
Pain. Blinding, extraordinary, exquisite pain. Every part of whatever he was, flooded with the feeling. His conscience reached blindly, madly at the stimulation, flashes of something coming back.
This was what life was: pain. That one word reverberated around him, taunting him. Pain. He used to feel it... He latched onto that thought, the one thing that was stagnant in this world of chaos. Pain.
If he could scream, he would have, but in this place there was no sound...only...nothing. Every part of him was in agony, pulled, dragged, ripped, torn, shredded in every direction. Pulled toward something...somewhere.
He blinked, materializing Masumune in his elegantly long-fingered hands. The steel of his sword felt familiar in the grip of leather.
The blonde had been hurtling toward him with the thick Buster Sword, but it was stopped unexpectedly by the power of the wicked Masamune. Sephiroth flung the blonde away without thought, suddenly remembering what he was, who he was.
He was here to kill Cloud.
"You murdered me, Cloud," Sephiroth stated, his pupils deadly slits as he recalled the memory of standing in front of the tank before Mother, and then having the Buster Sword slice through his back. "When it was not yet my time to die." His life came back to him in a rush, everything flashing painfully like a television screen inside of his head.
He was alive.
Masamune cut through the air, just missing Cloud as he dove out of the way. The sword would have been awkward in the hands of anyone else, but it was a graceful weapon in the hands of the silver-haired Sephiroth. Its length must have made it a foot longer than the height of its owner, allowing Sephiroth an insane amount of reach that Cloud had to compensate for. He would have to get in close if he had any chance of winning.
Again, Sephiroth swung the murderous sword at Cloud, the thin, glimmering silver so much quicker than the Buster Sword, which was intended for strength rather than speed. But Cloud somehow managed to keep blocking the General's attacks, sometimes even managing to get in his own.
"Such a disappointment, Cloud. None of the skill of Angeal, nor the recklessness of Zack," Sephiroth said teasingly, his tone edged with the almost undetectable hatred that was boiling under his mask of cool, indifferent composure. His thin lips curled into what appeared to be a smile, as he saw the conflict in the eyes of his opponent.
Cloud threw himself toward the silver-haired man, the Buster Sword barely missing the smooth black leather of Sephiroth's long buckled coat. Sephiroth laughed, his deep voice cutting through the air like Masamune. He sounded insane.
"You are nothing to Angeal, or to Zack. You don't even deserve to say their names!" Cloud shouted, his voice tainted with emotion for the first time in a long time, as he reflexively looked down at the Buster Sword he held. Angeal's sword. Zack's sword. His sword. Adrenaline pumped through his veins in copious amounts. His stance become one of offense instead of defense, and his face contorted in anger as he thought of Nibelheim, of the wreckage and death the General had left behind.
He went straight for Sephiroth, not even allowing him to reply.
A blue slash that Cloud hadn't expected, hit him square in the chest, cutting deep and sending streams of blood behind him, in his wake, as he maneuvered the Buster Sword so that it blocked the next slash of magicka before it could hit his body.
Cloud slumped slightly, as Sephiroth hovered lightly above the ground, landing several feet away. His sea green eyes focused intently on the blonde, taking in the large cut that ran from his abdomen to his right shoulder, the weakness already being displayed in his stance. But Cloud griped the Buster Sword even tighter, his look one of the utmost loathing.
He would kill Sephiroth. He had to kill Sephiroth.
Those blue streaks came quicker than ever, at every arrogant, studied movement of Masamune. Cloud lifted off the ground to avoid them, though that only caused Sephiroth to redirect their path. The blonde blocked each one, taking strength from the pain of his wound as the blood dripped down his torso, making his black clothes stain even darker.
Finally the Buster Sword met Masamune mid-air, stopping the blue slashes that Sephiroth had been releasing relentlessly.
"So eager to die, aren't you?" Sephiroth's look was malicious, and Cloud was close enough that he could see the swirling of the green of those evil eyes, the black slits that revealed nothing.
Cloud cried out in rage, the Buster Sword clanging heavily into Masamune. He thought of Zack, of Tifa, of all of his friends, his movements becoming more calculated as he tried to outdo the quick, deadly skill of the silver-haired man.
He wasn't sure how long they fought, how long he had continually been losing ground. All Cloud knew was that he was growing steadily weaker with every crushing blow of Sephiroth's Masamune sending him back.
Little did he know, Sephiroth had been weakened to begin with, but simply enforced his traditional rigid control to ensure his enemy did not know it. His strength was good, however, it was nothing like what he had been at peak efficiency on the battlefield...what it had been like...before he died. He was not certain whether it was using the more limited reserves of Kadaj (he supposed that he might only be using what had been available, namely Kadaj's strength, as his had yet to build up his own) or if coming back had weakened him temporarily. Either way, Cloud's power wasn't laughable, especially when he himself was not in optimal fighting condition.
They matched each other swing for swing, but the General's keen eyes, so used to examining bodies for weakness, could tell that he it would not be much longer before Cloud would inadvertently make a mistake due to his tired body that had already lost so much blood.
Finally, the mistake came. Cloud, focused on keeping up with the barrage of attacks from Septhiroth, couldn't block the wave of magicka that came from the man's unoccupied right hand. He flew back toward the concrete, his body skittering over the unforgiving surface, the Buster Sword clattering a few feet out of reach. He sighed, already trying to get to his feet to grab the sword, but his hand was stopped by an immaculate black boot.
The boot pressed into his hand, causing the knuckles to crack from the pressure. Cloud tried to yank his hand away, but the powerful force of Sephiroth holding his boot to the ground was too much. His senses were filled with the smell of the leather of Sephiroth's clothing, and the copperish scent of his own blood.
"You were never good enough. You killed me as a coward would," Sephiroth said, as he allowed Masamune to penetrate through the flesh of Cloud's muscled shoulder. The blonde moaned in pain, trying to pull away from the sword like a wounded animal.
"You couldn't face what you were...t-that makes you a coward," Cloud hissed out in pain, between clamped teeth.
Sephiroth made a "hmph" noise, his smile broad, arrogant. He pushed Masamune another inch deeper into the bloodied meat of Cloud's shoulder, replying, "Oh Cloud, so naive. Don't you understand what I'm going to do?"
Cloud was practically writhing, thought he still tried to wretch himself from both the boot and the sharp, jutting pain of Masamune. But now the sword was stuck into the concrete, pinning him as he was. "Kill everything, destroy the planet. You are insane, after all," he said sarcastically, his eyes filled with pain.
Sephiroth laughed once more, the sound foreign and wrong. "Yes, and begin anew. Humanity always stood in the shadow of Mother, always fell short. Humanity must be purged, destroyed."
"These people don't deserve to die!" Cloud answered, adding strength to his voice.
"When I'm God, everyone dies," Sephiroth declared, ripping Masamune from the bloody mess it had created, freeing it.
Without warning, in one deft movement, the metal severed Cloud's head from his shoulders.
Spehiroth didn't even pause as he wiped the blood off of the glistening steel, and gripped Masamune in his left hand. He glanced at Cloud's corpse, the already lifeless eyes staring up into the bright sky. Sephiroth extended his right arm above him, his black-gloved hand opening and stretching the fingers upward. Dark, grey clouds that had not been there a moment before, covered over the forget-me-not blue.
A lifeless sky to match the lifeless eyes. The thought made Sephiroth smile.
He could make out the figures of what was left of Cloud's circle of friends, coming toward him. Their pace quickened even more as they realized that Cloud was not moving.
Everyone had to die.
The bodies were lying haphazardly all around. Even the hilt of Masamune had blood upon it, as did the normally spotless leather of Sephiroth's coat. His long straight hair flew out behind him in the light breeze, reminiscent of a flag. His hair too, was bloody, the silky strands sticky with the red that had started to clot, making the grey locks tangled. His bangs fluttered against his face, leaving traces of blood like a gory war paint across his jaw and cheeks.
He walked over the body of Tifa Lockheart, and toward the edge of the roof of the building he was standing on. His arms opened reflexively--in what would have looked strangely like a welcoming gesture--causing the ground below began to quake.
Cracks at first, small, but noticeable. They became big enough that small pieces of the asphalt fell through them into whatever laid below. Wider and wider the cracks got, until they became one huge fissure in the earth. The sky grew ever darker, small flicks of lightening breaking through the black, all from the force of Sephiroth's power.
He floated slowly from the building, his arms still held out, head thrown back. He dropped lightly next to the opening, and walked the last few steps so that he could look down.
The fissure went so far down that even his mako-enhanced eyes could not discern anything through the blackness of it. But he knew what was at the bottom...he knew just like Mother knew...
He lifted Masamune to rest inches from his face, his cat-like eyes reflecting back at him from the mirrored surface of the sword that had taken so many lives. Eyes that had seen so much death, endured so much...suffering.
Sephiroth removed his gloves, carelessly dropping them to the ground one at a time, while still holding Masamune. His thin fingers touched the cool of the metal. His eyes closed in pleasure for a moment as he ran his right hand down the cold surface slowly and methodically.
"Masamune," he whispered, his green eyes intense. His eyes closed again as he held the sword in both hands.
A memory flicked on in his mind's eye. He could remember the first time he had seen the sword, the strange way the bright lights of the lab had bounced off of its surface, and the bizarre weightlessness of it as he picked it up. It was not made of normal steel, but of an unknown substance that had come from the rock Mother had been encased in. It was not of this planet, whatever material it was constructed of. Even Hojo could not recreate it, so he had instead had it made into a weapon for his greatest creation: Sephiroth who also had pieces of that foreign planet in himself, things given to him from Jenova. Perhaps that was why the sword felt so right when he wielded it and tore through human foes. It was the one thing besides Mother that was truly a part of him.
This planet was not a part of him.
A dark light came from his hands, wispy and smoke-like as it curled up the length of the steel. He infused it with the potency of Mother's gift, allowing himself to be almost completely sapped of energy when he finally stopped.
He looked down. In that darkness, somewhere, was the precious Lifestream.
Without ceremony, Masamune streamed downward into the darkness, into the core of the planet. Mother would finally have her wish, as would he. The foreign matter of Masamune would destroy the Lifestream, as would the essence of Mother.
"When I'm God, everyone dies," he repeated in a whisper, a black wing tearing from his back. The ebony feathers extended and the wing stretched open to catch in the wind. He ascended to the sky without looking back.