Final Fantasy Dissidia
Make It Make Sense to Me
Notes: The characters are not mine and the story is! I already had this story idea in my mind, and then the song People Change by Rockapella fleshed it out. It takes place after A Thousand Points of Spite, which may need to be read first to understand what's happening. This is post-game, when everyone's back on their own worlds. Many thanks to Kaze for plot help!
It's been a couple weeks since the accident with Fenrir. I've been healing okay, I guess.
Zack and Tifa have been fussing over me, not wanting me to do too much before my ribs are better. I haven't ended up leaving the house, just to humor them. I hate having to feel useless like this, but it is nice to be home more. Sometimes we're running around so much that there's hardly any time to just relax.
I've had more time to be with the kids too, which they're thrilled about. Sometimes I've played board games or watched TV with Denzel. Marlene likes it when I color with her.
. . . Yeah, I was using a coloring book. Don't look at me like that.
I've also ended up having a lot of time to just think. As if I really needed that, right?
Mostly I've been thinking about you. Why did you save me back there? More than that . . . why did you save all of us at Nibelheim? I know now it was you. Did you want me to realize it? You left that note with the cryptic phrase I remember someone saying back then. All wars are useless to the dead.
Does that mean I'm alive to continue a war?
I'm tired of fighting you. It's pointless. The war is over, Sephiroth; Genesis was defeated---thanks to you, I guess---Meteor was stopped---thanks to Aerith---and Gaia is being rebuilt. Everyone's moving on, except you. You had to sacrifice yourself to stop Genesis, but now you can't rest in peace.
Why do you always insist on coming back to challenge me? You used to teach me, back in SOLDIER. I learned a lot from you, as far as sword-fighting was concerned. But I never could win you over. I wanted to get through that tough-as-nails exterior. Zack insisted there was another you back there. I never found it.
Zack told me once that you were worried about me, that you thought I was too rash. You told me that, alright---the part about me being rash. You never acted worried, just gruff. I figured you thought you couldn't ever drop the stern general front. Zack said you never did, after all---except around him. But after the things that started happening later, I ended up wondering if you'd ever liked me at all.
Did you even like Zack?
It always comes back to when you hurt him in the Northern Crater to keep us away from the final battle against Genesis. I don't care what you thought you were doing; Zack was supposed to be your best friend! He's still limping from what you did to his leg. He tries to hide it, but it's obvious. I'm not sure it'll ever completely heal.
You never even want to see him when you show up. Not that I want you to go to him. I'd rather you bothered me every day. I don't want you to go and let him know your true feelings about him. That would just crush him. He still believes in you.
Do you just want to torture us? Maybe that's why you keep coming back. Maybe that's why you kept bugging me during the fight against Chaos.
Why did you save us?
Why did you save me?
Maybe you'll never give me the answers I want. But I'm not going to rest until I try.
Fenrir's been repaired, thanks to Barret and Cid. According to them, they only brought it over under the condition that I wouldn't try to ride before I should. So I haven't. But I've been outside a lot, just sitting and doing more thinking.
I want to ride. It's one of the things that helps calm my nerves---driving down a lonely country road or even through the wastelands, going as fast as I want without having to worry about crashing into something. Sometimes I can be gone for hours. Sometimes Zack comes with me and we have motorcycle races. He gets a charge out of it, but he doesn't like riding as much as I do.
Right now I want to find you and demand some answers. You're always watching me, aren't you? So you're probably somewhere nearby. You just won't come out if anyone else is around. So if I want to talk to you, I have to go off by myself and . . .
And what? Just wait? You'd get a kick out of that, wouldn't you---me hanging around waiting to talk to you. You might not even come out right away because you'd be enjoying it too much. But I guess that's a chance I'll have to take. I'll have to show you that I'm determined to wait to talk to you.
Of course, Tifa and Zack will worry. I hate to do it to them . . . but if I could just get some answers from you, it could make all our lives a lot easier.
I left a note inside telling them what I was going to do and why I had to do it. I just hope it won't take too long.
I pull down my goggles, swing my leg over the smooth, dark side, and put the key in the ignition. Fenrir roars to life.
I'm not sure where to go, but maybe the wastelands would be a good choice. I could park on a plateau somewhere. And there probably wouldn't be anyone coming around bugging us. It's not exactly an ideal picnic spot.
It's been overcast all day, but the clouds are getting darker by the time I get on the plateau I want. I guess that probably means I'll be soaking wet before I get back. I just sigh, cutting the engine and leaning back.
"Okay, Sephiroth," I say aloud. "I need to talk to you. You already know I'm here, right?" I look up at the sky, but I just see the threatening purple clouds. Great. Purple usually indicates a really big storm, probably with all the theatrics.
I drum my fingers on Fenrir's handlebars. "I can wait."
But I don't really want to go home with the beginnings of pneumonia, either. A few drops are already splashing down on the ground, Fenrir, and me.
Why didn't I get the umbrella in the front hall?
. . . And why do people say things like "thunderclap"? It's not a clap. It's more like an explosion.
An explosion that just busted what must have been the biggest cloud in the storm.
Of course, it was right over my head.
Within a couple of seconds, I feel like I've been half-drowned. I probably look it, too.
And then it stops.
At least over me. A dark canvas has gone up, shielding me from the worst of the storm. I whirl around to look.
There's a lot of things I thought I might see.
You holding an umbrella over my head and smirking wasn't one of them.
"Sephiroth . . . !" I sputter.
"I understand you want to see me," you say. The umbrella's big enough to protect you from the storm too. As you hold it up, that jewel hanging from your wrist swings back and forth.
This wasn't exactly the way I thought it'd happen, trying to talk to you while the rain pours down around us. But I guess I can't do anything about that.
"I want to know why you saved me," I say.
"Is that all?" you ask, in a tone that means you know it isn't.
And more comes tumbling out. ". . . Why did you save us at Nibelheim? I know it was you. You left this." I take the note out and hold it up.
You barely look at it. "So, you're still coming to others to find your answers," you comment. "You can't ever attain them on your own. Just as before, I had to hand that explanation to you."
I don't have the time or patience for this. "I didn't have any reason to think it was you," I tell you. "Neither did Zack. You'd already left." Bitterness slipped into my voice. "You abandoned us."
"Did I?" There's a weird tone in your voice.
. . . You've been saying you directed me many times. . . . Did I even know about all of them?
"Are you saying you stayed around?" I frown at you.
"I'm asking you," you return.
"I don't know," I say. "Should I say Yes? You could've just been passing by Nibelheim when you saw the fire." And then something else hops into my mind. "If you were shadowing us all along, why didn't you help us before we were almost dead?!" I snap. "Why didn't you stop Genesis from burning everything?! He . . . he killed almost everyone. . . ." And pretty much all we could do was watch. Tifa tried to stop him on her own when she found her father dying and the Rapier stuck in the ground by him. She got hurt. Zack and I tried to fight Genesis in the mako reactor room. The end result wasn't much better.
You weren't there! You weren't there to help us, if you even would've.
You just look at me for a moment, then glance away. ". . . I wasn't around constantly," you say. "But I was spying on Shinra's activities and listening to their communications. I happened to overhear a distress call from Zack at Nibelheim."
". . . But you didn't get there in time. Is that what you're trying to say?" I look at you. I can't tell what you're thinking.
"That's right. Genesis had fled by the time I arrived." Your voice is matter-of-fact, like you're delivering a military report and it doesn't really mean anything to you in the long run.
I clench a fist. "You still didn't say why you saved us."
"Does it matter? It's past."
"So?" I retort. "I still want to know. It matters to me."
"If I had wanted to tell you, I could have done so years ago," you say. "I allowed you and Zack to think what you would about your rescuer's identity."
"But you let the cat out of the bag with this." I wave the note again.
"I wanted to see if the statement still meant anything to you."
You just smirk.
Okay. We can come back to this. Take a deep breath. . . .
"There's a lot of things you could've said," I tell you. "Why that? 'All wars are useless to the dead.' What's that supposed to mean, Sephiroth? Are you keeping me alive so we can continue a war between us?"
"Does it have just one meaning?" you say.
Why do you have to be so vague?!
"Sephiroth . . ." I'm trying hard not to lose my temper. You'd probably like that. "That's the only meaning I can come up with. It seems pretty clear to me."
"Do you remember what I told you when you were going to take the Crystal?"
I frown. ". . . You said it'd just lead me to more despair and more battles."
A nod. "And you chose to take it anyway." You look at me. "It's your destiny now, just as you said."
"Chaos was defeated," I point out. "That's over. Everyone's gone back to their homes."
"But the experience has changed you, hasn't it?" you return.
I fall silent. I talked about that with Zack before the accident even happened. And I knew it on my own before I was sent back to Gaia.
". . . Yeah, it did," I say. And you're a big part of why.
"Even though you are no longer in that world, your destiny remains."
Well, that's comforting. "And so you're going to make sure of it," I say dryly.
You're smirking again. "I did say that if you wanted despair, I would give it to you."
"You're too generous." I cross my arms, giving you a cold look. Why do I have this feeling that you still aren't telling me everything? What are you hiding?
And another thought pops into my head.
"If all wars are useless to the dead . . . what does that make you?"
"Indeed, what would it make me?" you say.
". . . You're telling me that you're alive," I realize. "You don't have an avatar. You survived the fight with Genesis."
"Yes, I did."
I clench a fist. "The whole place where you were fighting collapsed," I remember. "Zack thought you were . . ."
"I barely escaped."
". . . And in the end, it was the White Materia that saved us after all," I tell you. You were always mocking it, saying it was too weak. "Meteor was still coming, even though Genesis was defeated." I stiffen. ". . . He was defeated, wasn't he?" If you survived, then technically Genesis could have made it out too, couldn't he?
"Genesis is dead." You say it with a sense of cold finality. You don't want to talk about Genesis. "And if he had not been taken care of, I doubt your precious White Materia could have done a thing to stop Meteor."
Okay, maybe there's some truth to that. What am I saying? I know Genesis had to be defeated. But I'm still bitter about what you did to keep us away from that fight.
". . . What about Zack's leg?" I demand now, the anger coming back. "You were talking about things being past. Is that past? He still limps."
You glance at me, then away again. "I had a feeling we were going to get around to that."
"I want to know why." I look at you. You're staring off into the distance, your long hair blowing around in the wind. The umbrella can't stop that.
"Sephiroth, I want to know why!" I cry now, grabbing your arm. You freeze. "Zack was supposed to be your best friend. I figured you didn't care about any of the rest of us, but I thought Zack meant something to you." I clutch tighter. "You were so bent on fighting Genesis yourself that you put it above everything else. Isn't that right?"
". . . Yes, that's right."
You're still speaking in that cool, guarded voice. I let go of you, repulsed.
"What kind of monster are you?"
Now you turn back to face me. "Why don't you figure it out yourself, Cloud?" you say. I recognize the hint of danger slipping into your voice. I've heard it more than once in the past.
"Oh, I've figured out enough," I retort. "You enjoy fighting. You'll do anything for a battle, including betraying the one guy who believed in you. And guess what? He still believes in you. You don't deserve it."
I stand up, coming around to be right in front of you. "You know, Sephiroth, you really hurt me in the past. I was a young, naive kid who idolized you. I wanted to be you. I knew I couldn't be . . . but at least I wanted your respect. I always worked hard to follow your instructions and get better at my swordsmanship. But I could never get through to you. You were always stern and cold. Still . . . that was okay. I knew you were like that with everyone."
You just stay silent, watching me.
"When you left SOLDIER, I was angry. You were just gone one morning when I woke up and went to find you for training. Zack said you'd left. He also said you'd said for me to get stronger . . . so that's what I worked on. You left that message for me, so I thought maybe you liked me a little bit.
"I forgave you when I was hurt, time and time again." I take a deep breath. "But hurting Zack . . . stringing him along when he thought you cared---or worse, caring about him at first but then deciding you wanted to fight more than you wanted his friendship!---that's unpardonable. I'll never forgive you for what you did to him."
You don't look surprised. "I didn't think so." You take the umbrella away from me, letting the rain soak me through in a few seconds. You're turning away, walking across the plateau.
"Where are you going?!" I want to know.
You ignore that. "Just tell me one thing, Cloud," you say as you stop in front of one of your blue portals. "What do you think would have happened had you and the others in your party continued your quest?"
"We would've stopped Genesis." I match your cold tone with one of my own. "That was what our mission was for! In the end . . . what good was it?" My voice is raising, both because my patience is snapping and because I almost have to yell to be heard over the storm. "What did Aerith die for? What did Zack end up half-crippled for? Just so you could fight Genesis yourself?"
My blond spikes are getting plastered down by the rain. I brush the biggest one out of my eyes, glaring at you as I demand an answer.
". . . To give life."
I stiffen, staring at you. "What?" You're not making sense!
"Why does anyone die?" You turn around again. "Specifically, why do people sacrifice themselves?"
"What gives you the right to stand here talking about sacrifices?" I retort. "You sacrificed everything and everyone as your means to an end."
"Answer the question, Cloud."
I'm seething now. Just what sick and twisted thing are you trying to tell me?
". . . People sacrifice themselves for their loved ones," I say at last, "or causes they believe in." Neither of which you'd know anything about!
"More often than not, it's both at once," you say. "One's cause can frequently involve protecting loved ones. Aerith allowed herself to die in order to save you, the others, and the planet as a whole---and the cause you were fighting for. She sacrificed herself to give life."
"What does that even have to do with why you stabbed Zack?" I demand, still furious that you're even pretending to know what you're talking about.
"Sacrifices were made there as well," you say. "Zack was stabbed to give life."
I can feel my eyes widening. But before I can say anything else to you, you're gone. The portal closes behind you, leaving me standing here on this plateau, drenched to the skin.
"You're not making sense!" I scream at you. "Sephiroth . . . you're not making sense. . . ."
But if you hear, you don't come back.
I'm left standing here with the rain pounding all over me.