Wow. Ok, this is offically the final chapter in these two stories. *sniff* Ok, I'm sad, but ridiculously happy! And I know I said a few days, but I got stuck somewhere in the middle. Hope you like it!
6 Months Later
Cloud smirked slightly, while watching Yuffie and her father argue. Leaning against Sephiroth, he yawned slightly as Rufus and Zach walked up to them, Rufus pale as the white dress shirt he wore.
"So you think he'll kill you now, or after you marry Yuffie?" Cloud asked, grinning wickedly when the ShinRa President paled even further. Wincing as Zach hit him lightly on the arm, he glared at his other lover while rubbing his arm.
"Don't pay any attention to him, Ruf-" BOOM! They all ducked instinctively, looking towards the throne where the ninja and her father had been arguing. Godo was open mouthed with shock, staring at what once used to be his throne. It was now a melted and burning pile of gold and wood. Cloud was ready to make a dash to the girl when she raised her hand again, face livid, a sphere of Fire materia clenched in it, but Rufus was faster. The blonde wrapped his arms around her, making her freeze in his arms.
"Shhh Yuffie," Rufus whispered soothingly, glaring at Godo the entire time. "Regardless whether he gives his blessing or not, he is still your father. I know you don't want him dead." Yuffie dropped her arm, and growled ferociously at her father, though she relaxed into the embrace.
"I don't care if he gives his blessing or not," she hissed, though the strong words were spoiled by the tears in her eyes. She closed her eyes a moment, showing a side of her many hadn't seen in the past two years. She looked weary, nothing like the strong, confident Hiala (General) of the Wutai. She looked every bit her age, only 20. Taking a deep breath, she opened her eyes, and looked calmly at her father.
"I would like your blessing, but I do not need it. I will marry Rufus, even if it means relinquishing my birthright. I love him father." Godo's face closed down, even as his dark eyes turned thoughtful. Cloud glanced up at Sephiroth with a raised eyebrow, asking silently if he thought Godo would agree. His lover shook his head, frowning. Shrugging, Cloud turned back to the scene in front of them. They were only here for moral support, having nothing to do since the Creations had agreed to stay on the Northern Continent, and not interfere with human lives. They weren't able to breed, so once the odd 30 or so of them died, there would be no Creations of Hojo's left on the Planet. Right now, they were waiting for Glaci, Maya, and Opal to give birth to their children, which would happen roughly in about another six months. He let the random thoughts drift away as he snuggled in closer to Sephiroth, hugging the mans arms tighter around him, when Godo nodded his head decidedly. He held his breath in anticipation as the Leader walked up to the couple, and then extended his hand to Rufus.
"I don't like you, or your company. I can freely admit that I hate the idea of my daughter marrying you." He took a deep breath. "I can also freely admit that you are not your father, and you have made ShinRa into a company that should be respected for the help it gives the Planet, and its people. I give you both my blessing." Rufus reached for his hand, face openly shocked, but Yuffie had other plans. She screeched in happiness, and launched herself at her father, hugging him fiercely. Godo staggered back, but was smiling widely as he returned the embrace. Everyone watched in amusement as the two melted into hugging, kissing, babbling people, their old grudges gone. For the time being, at least.
They were married a week later, and in ten years time, Godo stepped down from the throne, Yuffie took over, and Rufus changed Wutai into a economic power all on its own. Thanks to Rufus, Wutai was now a trade island, renowned for its handmade woodcrafts, which were exquisite. They were the only exporter of special kinds of fish, found far and deep out in the blue ocean, and through it all, Yuffie managed to keep her country true to their native ways, turning Wutai from the once beaten, dispirited people, into what they once were. Proud, confident warriors.
Sweating, Sephiroth grunted softly as he took another piece of lab equipment down into one of the rooms at the very bottom. They were renovating the old ShinRa mansion, and their first order of business was removing all the lab stuff left over from Hojo, down into the very bottom of the underground rooms. After that was done, mostly everything below the first floor was going to be sealed off. They all liked the mansion, but not what was underneath it.
Growling softly, he set down the heavy steel table, and stretched. It was the last piece from the third level, the last piece before they began to wall things up. Tomorrow everyone was coming to the mansion, truly getting together for the first time in ten years. Rufus and Yuffie were bringing their twins, a boy and a girl, five years old. Angeal and Aeris, they had decided to call them, after the two people who had been critical in helping them achieve the peace that had now settled over the Planet. Reno, Rude, and Tifa were taking time off from the club/restaurant's they owned and managed, and even Marlene and Vincent were flying in from the research they had been doing on one of the islands to the south. Sephiroth frowned slightly as he made his way up the stairs. He didn't know if either Denzel or Genesis had gotten his message about the gathering, since they were off with some of the wolf pups, training them in the depths of the rainforest on Wutai. He had told Yuffie to find them, because if anyone could find the two 1st Class, it would be her. Even in ten years, she still made sure to keep her skills honed. Granted, most of her training came from chasing around the twins, who, unfortunately, inherited her curious nature and hyperness.
He reached the top of the stairs, and only instinct saved him from being thrown back down the stairs when two, sandy blonde kids threw themselves at him.
"Uncle Sephi!" the two screamed, and grinning, he picked them up, one in each arm. He listened to them babble as he walked towards the happy voices in the entranceway of the mansion, his heart light.
He was sitting on the end of the couch, a glass of brandy in his hand, staring into the fire. Cloud had his head resting on his lap, and Zach sat on the floor, all three of them quiet as they stared into the flickering fire. It had been a good visit, if a little surprising. Tifa had shown up with Rude and Reno, and she had been very pregnant. She had said, with pride, that the baby was Rude's, but they all had an agreement going on. Apparently, they had developed into a threesome, much like Zach, Sephiroth, and Cloud. She had agreed to have one child with each of them, and the way the two men had fawned over her, there was no doubt in anyone's mind that the arrangement was working for them. Even Tseng and Elena had a little girl, Rela, with her fathers dark eyes, and the bright blonde hair of her mother. They had decided to stay with Rufus, and the Turks became the guardians of not only Rufus, but Yuffie, and the twins as well. They had already recruited several more people, building up their force.
Cloud shifted slightly, lazily reaching a hand over and draping it across Zach's shoulder, idly caressing the muscular chest. It was quiet in the mansion, since Maya and Glaci were outside with their offspring, hunting in the mountains of Nibelheim. Opal had disappeared soon after her children had learned how to hunt on their own, and no one had heard from her since. Their had been sightings from the Wutai that were out in the ocean fishing, of a great black bird, fishing in the ocean for large fish and whales. They didn't know where it went, but the popular belief was that there was a small island out there somewhere, that she was now living on. Glaci and Maya had made their home with the three Generals, while their offspring went off into the world.
Denzel and Genesis had shown up, much to everyone's delight. They had kept in contact with people, but only very sporadically. It seemed that they were living quietly in the outskirts of Banora, growing the famous Banora Whites there, along with other vegetables and fruits, and a few animals. Marlene and Vincent were in perfect health, and it was with much amusement, that Marlene relayed the way she had gotten her husband to get rid of the red cape and headband. She wasn't able to make him get rid of the metal shoes, but they were locked in storage. Those two were flying around the Planet, researching the regrowth of plants and animals, and those animals that needed to be protected until they could come back. Everyone was busy with their perspective occupations, and the three Generals lay before the fire, staring into it, content.
20 years later…
Zach sat cross-legged before the mansion, soaking up the sun that was beating down on him. He kept a careful eye on Angeal and Aeris, as they sparred before him, as well as Laura and Marion, Tifa's two daughters. Marion was Reno's, as could be easily told by the shock of pure red hair on her head, but she had her mothers eyes, dark and imperious. Laura was the elder, being Rude's, she had mocha colored skin, her hair and eyes dark as her mothers and fathers. Rela, Tseng and Elena's daughter was supposed to be here as well, but Tseng needed her for something in Wutai, so her trip had to be cancelled.
"No Aeris!" he shouted, when he noticed that they girl was holding back her strikes. "He's not going to break if you attack him all out! Now do it again!" She bowed her head to him, and turned back to her twin, launching into the offensive with quick strikes. Nodding in satisfaction, he blinked when something moving swiftly blocked out the sun for a moment. Looking up, he grinned with the sun flashed off scarlet wings. Marlene and Vincent landed gracefully, folding their wings as the young adults stopped what they were doing and ran towards them.
"Uncle Vincent! Auntie Marlene!" was the chorus of voices, causing the three adults to smile widely. The two Protectors lowered very large packs off their backs, and Zach raised an eyebrow at the weapon sheaths that poked out of the leather. He raised an eyebrow at Vincent, who only shrugged, though he couldn't stop grinning.
"We found something interesting in Icicle," Marlene said, her pack also clanking as she shifted through it. She pulled out a pure black katana, laced with veins of blue and green. Zach blinked, then grinned.
"They kept all those weapons?" he asked, looking over his shoulder when Cloud and Sephiroth came out of the mansion, neither having shirts on in the 90-degree plus heat. He was distracted for a moment, watching the way the sunlight played over their muscles, but was brought back to himself when Marion screamed in delight. He looked back, to see her holding two short swords, that were shaped like a teardrop at the top. She stepped back and swung them around her body, grinning. Her sister Laura was inspecting two hand axes, eyeing them critically. Angeal was holding what could have been a standard SOLDIER broadsword, if it hadn't been black. Aeris had hold of a staff, that was odd with it being metal, but the top contained a perfectly clear, spherical crystal, that glimmered with a multitude of colors. Without being asked, the four young adults stepped back into the clearing they were training in, and took up their positions. The adults watched as they sparred against each other, before turning to each other, though keeping an eye on the youngsters.
"The people of the village didn't know what to do with them, so they gave them to us," Vincent said, narrowing his eye as Aeris struck a vicious blow on her twins thigh. He only winced, and then grinned at her, resuming the spar.
"How's Alia and Silk?" Cloud asked, since his SiC had decided to stay in Icicle, mainly to watch over the Creations that were still running around up there. Marlene grinned at him briefly, before stalking over to Marion. She was staring at her sister, aghast at the blood that was coming from the cut on Laura's arm.
"Those are not padded blades girls!" she said loudly, smacking Marion on the back of her head lightly. "You need to be more careful, or I will take them back!" The two girls snapped to attention while the twins snickered softly, bowing their heads towards the winged woman. She walked back, shaking her head.
"Their fine. Alia is still single, and I think she prefers it that way," she said, then grinned widely. "Besides, Silk has chased most the men away." They all got a smile out of that, knowing how protective the wolves were of their charges, before resuming watching the sparring.
"It's almost scary how much of their parents personality they have," Sephiroth muttered absently, not really meaning to be heard. Zach did though, and snorted.
"Aeris is another Yuffie, just without the stealing," he said with a smirk. "That includes the mastery over materia, already. That staff will be good for her, since her main weapon is magic."
"Angeal is more like Rufus now though," Cloud said thoughtfully, watching the concentration on the young mans face. "He always thinks things through, which is good."
"Laura has Rude's meticulous attitude," Marlene said with a grin, watching the girl move with the axes precisely. "But she also has Tifa's big heart." Sephiroth nodded.
"Marion is very much Reno," he said with a smirk, watching as the youngest one snarl in frustration when unable to land a blow on her sister. "But she's careful, which Reno isn't."
They watched the young ones spar for a while longer in silence. Angeal and Aeris were already 25, and it wouldn't be long before Yuffie would step down from the throne, and Aeris would take her place. Angeal already said he wanted to follow after his father, so he was going to take over ShinRa when Rufus decided to step down. Laura was 21, already managing and running three of her families clubs, with Marion, 19, working with her to learn the ropes. It was strange that Rela wasn't there, since her charges were the twins, but they had known being around Cloud, Sephiroth, and Zach, there was no way something was going to happen to the heirs. Suddenly, Cloud clapped his hands loudly, making the four stop, and lower their weapons.
"Time for a break! Go into the house and get yourselves something to drink and eat!" The four shouted, and taking their weapons with them, they filed into the house, laughing and joking amongst themselves. The young faced, but old souls watched them go, the same thought on all their mind. That is our future.
8 years later…
Cloud held Aeris and Angeal to his chest, as they stood by the dual graves. Yuffie had contracted a rare disease that there was no cure for, and had died within two months of being diagnosed. Rufus, unable to live without her, had gone monster hunting, and had died under their claws, though not before destroying every creature. The family priest was going on about how their souls were now in the Lifestream, that they had entered the Promised Land. No one was really listening to them. Marion and Laura were ensconced in the embrace of their mother, their fathers standing directly next to them. Rela was holding her mothers hand, her face carefully blank. It wasn't until she sneaked a glance at the twins, that sorrow filled her dark eyes. Everyone had loved Rufus and Yuffie, as evident by the sea of people that spread out from the graves, filling the cemetery and the surrounding areas. Aeris sniffed against his chest, and Cloud only held her tighter as the priest finished, stepping back from the graves.
He looked around the silent mass of people, and felt his own lengthened life span like a vise around his heart. Everyone was showing signs of aging. Aging that wouldn't happen to him, or those close to him, for a long time yet. Even with keeping themselves in shape, the grey hair and fine lines were obvious. Things that he didn't have. Sighing, he gently kissed the forehead of the two adults in his arms. Though he may resent the longer lifespan, he could not regret being able to guide the generations that were yet to come. It had been the last request of Yuffie and Rufus. The three Generals had sworn that they would guide and protect what they had all worked so hard to achieve. They never broke their word.
100 years later…
The third generation of club owners, Royalty, and Turks were spread out in the clearing before the mansion, awaiting instruction. The three Generals wandered through the lines, having finally developed the fine lines next to their eyes, and around their mouths. They didn't look any older then thirty, even though they were over 150 years old. They corrected movements, even as they thought.
Tifa, Rude, and Reno had all passed away within a year of each other, then Tseng and Elena a few years later. Tifa's daughters had turned the four clubs that their parents had owned, into a multi-million dollar business, with clubs, restaurants, and martial arts studios in every major city on the Planet. The twins had kept their parents dream alive, and Wutai was now the center of the worlds economic business. ShinRa was still a thriving business, though it had fallen into the background, thanks to Angeal. The majority of the Company was now military, and inventions, though the world needed little else besides the police forces in every city and town.
Rela, Tseng and Elena's daughter, had built up the Turks to a formidable force, and were exclusively for the Royalty of Wutai and ShinRa. Even now, Rela's great-great grandson was in the group of young adults who were training, preparing to take over the leadership of the Turks. It had become hereditary, and most of the Turks were now descendents of Tseng, Elena, Rude, and Reno. The twins, another hereditary gene among the descendents of Rufus and Yuffie, were also training, working harder then most. They took the stories that the three General's told to heart, and worked all the harder because of it. They believed when they were told the world was once much worse. Where towering forests now stood outside Midgar, there once were deserts. Where millions of people had died in the rainforests of Wutai, cut down by the once greedy company of ShinRa. They believed. And Cloud, Sephiroth, and Zach kept their promise to Yuffie and Rufus. It was why these people were here, being trained by them. The three imparted their iron control, and firm beliefs into the young adults, in the two years they were required to train under the General's. They learned about honor, the value of honestly, and not repeating past mistakes. So far, in three generations, it had worked.
200 years later…
Zach groaned as he stood, brushing off the dirt from the garden on his pants. He took a moment, looking past the garden, and into the vast expanse of pristine, forest covered mountains. He could hear Denzel and Genesis arguing playfully in the kitchen, and Vincent and Marlene laughing at their antics. Sephiroth and Cloud had gone down to the now city of Nibelheim, to purchase some things that they didn't grow in their garden. It was only a week ago that the training for the descendents, as they had started calling it, had finished, and the adults had gone back to their perspective jobs. Though Yuffie, next in line for the Wutai throne, had called Sephiroth only yesterday, complaining about the two wolves that had decided to follow her and her twin back to Wutai. It seemed that the descendents of Lupus had gotten into her room, and decided to tear the place apart. Sephiroth had been polite, but at the end, he had smirked.
"Yuffie, I can't punish the wolves from Nibelheim. You wanted them, you punish them. Good day, my dear." Then he had hung up, laughing.
He looked up at the sound of wings, and smiled when Maya landed gently on the ground, careful where she placed her claws. Her and Glaci had gotten old, and they all knew it wouldn't be much longer before they were the next ones to go. Maya's scales were dull with her age, and though her eyes remained bright and intelligent, there was a tiredness in her every movement. She sighed and settled herself down under the huge oak tree in the middle of the garden, even as Glaci walked around the mansion, panting. She lay down against Maya's belly, and the two of them regarded Zach with amused eyes.
"It is fulfilling to see our offspring interact with the humans of this Planet," Maya said, her voice papery thin, unlike the robust, crisp tones she used to have. Glaci nodded, stretching out on her belly.
"They have adapted well to intelligent animals," the wolf hissed, yawning. Zach nodded. He had noticed the same thing, on his last trip to Midgar. The wolves, eagles, and dragons were not as populous as the humans, but something Hojo did made it so the first six generations were born with completely different DNA. There was no chance of inbreeding, and now, the animals were an accepted part of society. They even had jobs, because they were just as intelligent as the humans. He ran his hands through his hair, a hint of grey starting at his temples. They had finally figured it out. Every hundred years was roughly ten for their bodies. So even though their minds were about 350 years old, their bodies were only in their late thirties, maybe forty. It was the same with the four Protectors. Even Vincent was beginning to acquire silver hairs. He shrugged mentally, and brushed mental fingers against the two doorways in his mind.
Where are you loves? He asked, and was rewarded when they sent him a brief image of walking up the long driveway that led to the mansion. Stretching again, he grinned.
"You two are staying for some food, right?" he asked, and smirked when the two great animals nodded.
"We never pass up on food. While we may like our meat raw, whatever Cloud does to the wild boar is very tasty," Glaci said, licking her lips. Maya echoed her, and Zach laughed. They all were happy, and that was what truly mattered.
500 years later…
The Generals stood at the edge of the pulsing green pond, where the two had emerged when they were reborn into this world. Genesis and Denzel had gone into the Lifestream over fifty years ago, their bodies having reached their limit. No one was surprised though, since they had been talking for a long time of how they were ready to move on. The same for Vincent and Marlene, though it wasn't their bodies that gave out. They had been doing their research on a remote island somewhere in the sea, and a freak storm had sent them hurtling into a rock face, killing them instantly. That had been over 100 years ago, but no one could find it in themselves to actually mourn. The three had known, talking to them in their dreams, thanks to Aeris, that they were perfectly happy where they were now.
The Planet was stable, and covered with wildlife and vegetation. They hadn't trained anyone new in quite some time, but they knew it wasn't needed anymore. The ideals they had strived so hard to imprint on the past generations had finally taken a firm hold. The Planet was a peaceful as a Planet filled with humans could be. There would always be thieving, murder, and backstabbing, but that was human nature. Thankfully, the generations of intelligent animals had tempered the natural dark side of humans, and there wasn't as much "evil-doing" as one would expect. Everything they had asked for, everything they had worked so hard to achieve was firmly ensconced in the Planet, and that was all they wanted.
They stared into the depths of the pond, their hands firmly holding onto one another's. Zach's hair had turned pure silver, while Cloud's still spiky hair had only paled until it was almost white. Sephiroth's hadn't changed at all, besides that it was cut only to his waist now. They all had the fine lines on their faces, weariness in their still softly glowing eyes. Their bodies ached when they awoke in the mornings, their skin was only slightly saggy, because they still endeavored to keep themselves in shape. But now, as they stared at the pond, they knew it was time to go. They had been on this planet for almost 1,000 years, and there was nothing left for them to do anymore. The three blinked when forms began to take shape in the pond, rising gracefully out of the stream. Aeris was in the front, gliding towards them with a smile on her face, but behind her, everybody stood. Kadaj, Loz, Yazoo, Angeal, Genesis, Denzel, Marlene, Yuffie, Vincent, Rufus, Reno, Rude, Tifa, Elena, Tseng, Barrett, Cid…everyone, including Lupus, Draco, Aquila, Glaci, Maya, and Opal. The three smiled, overcome with a feeling of immense peace, as they walked into the constantly shifting pond. Aeris opened her arms, and embraced all three of them. As she did, the age melted away from their faces, turning them all back into the youth's they once were.
"Are you ready?" she asked, and as one, the three nodded, their bodies dissolving into the Lifestream, accompanied by backslapping, welcome homes, and laughter.
257 years later…
The three crept towards the abandoned building, staring in awe as the ivy covered walls. The eldest, with silver hair and bright green eyes, nudged the smaller blonde, smirking.
"I dare you to go in there, Angel," he said, causing the blonde with spiky hair, and bright blue eyes to glare at him.
"Fuck you Daemon," he hissed back, causing the other boy, with feathery black hair and violet eyes, to shoot him a glare.
"Watch your mouth Angel," he said imperiously.
"Fuck you too Raz," he spat back, making the black haired boy scowl, and leap on him. The two wrestled around in the dirt, while Daemon stared at the building, ignoring them. He was 7, Angel 5, and Raziel 6, but for some reason the three, who had been born in Nibelheim, had been best friends since meeting by accident on a playground a few years ago. The old, abandoned mansion had always held an attraction for them too, and whenever they had free time, they would always sneak up here, and stare at it, though they never went in. Legend had it, that there were three Generals who had lived in the mansion, for almost a thousand years. He scoffed at that, because unless you were one of the Anima's – the three races of intelligent animals – you were lucky to live to be a hundred. They loved hearing the stories though. Of how the three would burn with fire, swiftly killing their enemies with one blow of their unique, black blades. How they kept the peace though their long lives, and how they were friends with people with wings. They were a completely different story, the four Protectors, as they were called.
"Death," Angel whispered, staring at the building with blank eyes. On the verge of saying something, Daemon was captured by how beautiful Angel looked, standing in a sunbeam. A older version of him seemed to superimpose itself over his face, and he knew instinctually that he would do anything to protect this boy/man in front of him. A word floated across his mind, and he smiled slightly, feeling as though he was dreaming.
"Lover," he whispered, causing Angel and Raz to look at him, both with the blank expression on their faces.
"Brother," Raziel whispered as well, and the three shifted unconsciously to form a triangle. They stared at each other for long moment, seeing the men they used to be, but also the boys they were. Their eyes pulsed once with fire, and the spell was snapped. They blinked, and looked at each other curiously, before turning to look at the mansion. The spell was completely snapped when Raz squeaked, looking at his watch.
"Oh shit! We gotta get back you guys! My mom is making dinner for us!" he yelled, and the three boys took off down the path, forgetting the weird feeling that had taken over them, though the sense of completeness never left them again. Yes, life was very good, especially when you were completely normal. Finally.