"Ha! I've died so many times now Cloud and I come back every time, you know why, right Cloud?"

long drawn out gasps filled the dark space, the sound cutting against Clouds ears.

"So long as I live… you will keep… coming back"

his muscles ached and he reached up to whip the blood that trailed down his forehead.

"So you can be taught, puppet"

exhaustion tugged at him but he forced himself to stand tall, one hand clenched around his sword hilt.


"I am unarmed Cloud… why don't you kill me? Are you afraid to die? Afraid to lose what you worked so hard so salvage to create? You don't want to give it up, no matter what the cost do you?"

Cloud reached out and pushed his hands against the cold, damp walls of the cave. He couldn't see, didn't even know if he was going in the right direction but the darkness pushed at his nerves, he wanted to find a place with more light.

"We are connected, you and I, there is nothing you can do about it. If you kill me, you will die too. Can you really do that and kill yourself in the process?"

Anger bubbled up and Cloud wanted to hiss his retort.

"If you die, the planet, and its people will no longer be threatened by you…"

"Possibly. And a woman in a bar will lose her husband. Two unborn children will know nothing of the man who helped conceived them. And a young orphan will lose a second father. Could you do that to them?

Nothing, Cloud, no response?

No matter what you do, you're a puppet and nothing more, I hold all of the power over you either way."

the wall curved and headed back in the direction he had come in, dead end and still no light.


"It hurts doesn't it…how beautiful. did you know that you are quiet stunning? i love the blood on your pale flesh, brings out the red in your lips."

"You're a monster…"

"And you are the clone of a monster."

Cloud drew in a sharp breath and swiped again at his face to get the blood off.

"…I hate you…"

"You sound like Zack."

An explosion of rage ripped through the air.

"Don't talk about him!"

Cloud's hands tightened on the hilt till his bones ached with the strain.

"If you kill me Cloud? What are you willing to lose? What will you gain if you do?"

Cloud felt the comforting weight of the sword in his hand and smiled.

"I will gain the knowledge... that when I die… I'll take you WITH ME!!!"


He did it. With four simple strokes, Sephiroth was quartered. Clouds own scream of pain, as he died, was drowned out by the dark laugh echoing around him within the cold, empty cave.

White surrounded him. Green tendrils curled around his body, soothing him, rocking him, and easing his aches and pains.

Footsteps on hard ground sounded and the beautiful white light was shadowed with darkness.

"You should have known better, Cloud."

Masamune shimmered into existence in Sephiroth's left hand. Passing through the green tendrils, and cutting them away completely. The warmth, the bliss of being held in the arms of the life stream, so close to oblivion, vanished. Black cloaked figures clasped onto clouds arms and legs, holding him tightly, immobilized.

"Did you think I could let you get off that easily? As much as I hate it, I rely on your existence for my return. "


"Besides, death is too good for you."

Please god, no.

Instantly Sephiroth's face was staring down at him, only an arm's reach away.

"Silly puppet, did you think I would just let my favorite pet die? Not when you still have such use to me, not to mention such… entertainment. My genes made you a SOLDIER; my death made you a hero."

The cloaked figures applied pressure to clouds jaw forcing his lips apart, a whimper forced itself passed his throat.

"And now with my blood, I give you life."

From a long slice drawn across Sephiroths wrist, blood poured into Clouds mouth at an alarming rate, filling his mouth, spilling over and tricking down his pale, marble, throat.


"Puppet. that is all you are, a puppet and I am your master."

His stomach convulsed, trying to dispose of the horror that was pooling in his stomach.

"Death, Cloud? You think you could get away from me so easily, without losing something in the process? Without me having a say in it. I will show you how very wrong you are. "

hands clamped themselves over his mouth and stopped him from vomiting, forcing him to re-swallow the blood.

"My genes made you a SOLDIER, my death made you a hero and now with my blood, I give you life… "

All Cloud heard were faint whispers like needles to the skin and nothing more.


At the entrance of a small cave, three people stood. The head of the WRO, a young ninja and a tall Gothic gunslinger.

"This is the last place Clouds GPS placed him before it cut out. I think if anything he's close to here. No signs of life, no signs of immediate danger-"

"No signs of food or water either, Reeve." Vincent said as he scoured the vast stretch of land they were on.

"This place is creepy guys, I mean like reeeaally creepy, creep factor totally through the roof." Yuffie danced on the ball of her feet, glancing nervously around.

"Let's get this over with, so the ninja stops complaining. Shall we."

"Yuffie, you stay here, make sure nothing comes in after us."

"Right-o Reeve-o"


"It's been almost ten minutes, if the cave goes on for much longer we'll have to call in backup." the darkness felt thick and heavy, both men could practically taste the shadows in the air.

"I hardly think that's necessary" Vincent put in.

"Oh and why is that?" Reeve snapped back, the tension getting to him.

"A light"

Right in front of them the tunnel opened up to a large cavern with small openings in the ceiling letting in small amounts of light.

Crunch, crunch, crunch.

Crunch, Crunch, Crunch.

There were no other noises, no animals made there home in this wasteland, so it had to be-

"Cloud!" Both Reeve and Vincent rushed towards him.

He was hunched over and draped in a long black cloth, reminding them both eerily of the Sephiroth clones. His clothes underneath, of what they could see, were ripped and torn from battle.

Crunch, crunch, crunch.

"Cloud what are you doing?"

He didn't respond, so they moved forward, what was that noise?

"Cloud, are you okay?"

Crunch, Crunch, Crunch.

Vincent placed his gloved hand on Clouds shoulder. Cloud stopped what he was doing...

...and looked up.

Even Vincent let out a sharp gasp.

Clouds already pale skin and hair, were almost white, his once beautiful cerulean eyes, were now acidic blue and catlike. In his hands he held a mess of maimed flesh and black feathers, raw and covered in blood. His lips were covered in the dark crimson blood, as he let a feather fall from his lips. He stared at Vincent blankly, cocking his head to the side. There was nothing left in those eyes; he was broken, gone completely. He swallowed what was in his mouth, then, without looking away, went forward taking another bite...

Crunch, Crunch, Crunch.

"He's... eating... something... raw..." Reeve said disgusted.


Neither man, knew what exactly had occurred, but Cloud seemed completely out of reach, any chance of 'finding' him was gone now.

"What happened to make him like this?" Reeve questioned looking around "There must be something here, to give us a hint."

"... Where is the animal from?"

Reeve blinked at Vincent, unaccustomed to hearing the man speak when it was not particularly necessary. He did however agree that it was rare to find creatures at the northern crater, but not unheard of.

Still wary of Vincent's emotionless comment Reeve continued on.

"I'll look around, see if I can find anything, you stay here and watch... Cloud."

Cloud was still staring at Vincent, never blinking never looking away. The blank expression on his face never changed. And still he ate.

Crunch, Crunch, Crunch.

...Is that really a bird?...


"Vincent…" Reeve called warily." Come and look at this."

Vincent walked over, but still uncertain if he should look away from the hunched over blond man, who had eventually returned to the lump of meat in his hands, blood now dripped down his bare arms.

Crunch, crunch, crunch.

Reeve held up tattered pieces of black leather, armor, and long thin strands of white silk that covered the walls and floors. Vincent shone the flashlight at the dank cave wall.

"Blood splatter, high velocity." he said monotonously.

Crunch, crunch, crunch.

"You can get that when you rip something apart." He added.

Reeve looked at him nervously.

They stood there with Cloud and watched as he ate, Vincent was deathly quiet. Reeve began to ponder their findings over and over in his head.

Then, as the idea dawned on him, Reeve gagged, a look of horror covering his face.

"V-Vincent…" he stammered "Clouds been missing for th-three weeks… there is no plant, and very little animal life in the crater... what... what has he been eating?"

Crunch, crunch, crunch.


"With my blood I give you life,

With my flesh, I give you sustenance

And with my gifts, I give you sin, I'll take your sanity, and you shall suffer for all you have done to me. And you will pay for it… with your humanity."

Crunch, crunch, crunch.

Who's the monster now?