A.N. This is the concluding chapter of Destiny Fulfilled. Hope you will not be disappointed with the ending. Many thanks to my beta xlightfromabovex for helping me to make this fic better. And a big thank you to those who have been reading and reviewing. Your support meant a lot to me. :D

Warnings: The second segment contains a male/male sex scene.

Note to Sephyrocks: Thank you so much for yet another lovely review! It always makes me happy when someone tells me I kept Sephiroth in character. I've come to look forward to reading your reviews, and I will certainly miss hearing from you.

Chapter Eighteen

"This book is about astrometry, which attempts to measure and explain the positions and movements of stars." Sephiroth's voice pulls Cloud out of his reverie. The young God's face is once again impassive, with only a faint hint of smile at the corners of his lips, as if Cloud just dreamt of what he had seen in those emerald eyes just minutes ago.

"I want you to memorize all the books about astrometry so that you can rewrite them for my angels' education. You will also need to study mathematics and physics to understand the subject better. Lelahel can help you with that."

"Rewrite Astrometry books? How?"

"From the space, you can observe the stars better, without optical distortions from the Planet's atmosphere."

Cloud does not question how he can survive in the space, without oxygen. His God must have solutions for that. It is nevertheless unnerving to think about the implications of completing his next task.

"You want to send me away from Gaia, from you."

After all this. After what I had to go through to be with you. Sephiroth does not need his ability to read minds to know that the blond is not exactly ecstatic about his plans for the boy. Cloud was never good at hiding his emotions, and the tinge of sad bitterness in his voice was all too noticeable. Cloud has yet to realize what it is to be a God, what it is like to have eternity to live for. No bond can survive that length of time in close proximity. Physical separation was a necessary part of maintaining the bond, else Sephiroth knows he would abandon him at some point.

"That's one way of interpreting my intention for you. Another way would be that I want you to come back to me," Sephiroth replies, calming the youth's fear of being discarded and forgotten. "I want you to be around for a long time to come, perhaps through eternity if you will not tire of it and still wish to serve me. However," Sephiroth continues to speak, only to pause to hold the boy's chin to tilt it upwards and meet the now much less nervous gaze. "I will give you a choice. You can stay in Gaia for the rest of your natural life span, fulfilling tasks that are easier and quicker to complete. It will allow you to spend more time with me in the short term, but it will be all you are going to have if you choose this option – a short term, a spec of time for God."

Sephiroth could not afford giving Cloud a choice when the boy was merely his puppet. He did not wish to delay his scheme, and meeting his goal was of paramount importance to him. In any case, he cared little for the boy at the time. Now, however, he can offer the choice he once denied Cloud, and the blond has earned that much for himself.

Realizing that Sephiroth's intention is to keep him longer and not to lose him, Cloud gives a contented smile. He has never thought about the problem of facing eternal life, but one thing is clear in his mind. He does not want to be just a memory for Sephiroth, especially not a memory that will fade with time. The old Cloud never knew what he really wanted, not consciously anyway. He could not make choices with any certainty of knowing they were right then. But for once he is clear about what he genuinely desires, and when he finally speaks, there is a quiet conviction in his voice.

"I want to come back to you, for me and for you."

Sephiroth hums his approval but does not let go of Cloud's chin, and the blond watches with fascination as the dark glints he saw earlier return to the perceptive emerald eyes. The flames of Nibelheim are back, and with them the smoldering desire that Sephiroth induces in him with little effort.

Cloud cannot even begin to describe what he is feeling. Blue eyes are wide open, but they may as well be closed, as he is only fleetingly conscious of his surroundings and the soft caress of silver hair falling around his nakedness. He has longed for this moment for so long, though never with any clear picture, never really knowing what to expect, that there was no fear in him when he gave himself to the piercing emerald gaze.

At first, he was burning with shameless desire to feel Sephiroth on him, inside him. He felt hot, and yet his body craved for even more heat. Each touch from Sephiroth was a relief, a gift, even as it fuelled and intensified his desire to be utterly spent in that primal fever. Then suddenly Sephiroth was inside him, driving into Cloud with bruising force, and it mattered little whether it was pain or pleasure that he was feeling. They were one now, or at least Cloud could not see themselves apart, and that was enough to set the smoldering fire into an all-consuming blaze till Cloud and his desires were one and the same. The boundary between the self and another had collapsed in that ancient ritual where life met death and pain pleasure.

And after the fire, the flood came. Cloud finds himself drowning in a sea of strange sensations, pleasure so intense that it is akin to pain. Each time he is about to drown, firm hands placed on his hips pull him out of the pool, making him ride the wave, its rhythm set by the ocean. As the grip on his hips tightens, the soft moans that escape Cloud's slightly parted lips turn into sharp helpless gasps. Sephiroth accelerates his motions into relentless fury, finally abandoning the blond to the sweet euphoria of a long awaited release.

Cloud isn't sure when his eyes became closed or how long he has been lost in the sea of blissful sensation, but when he opens his eyes again, Sephiroth is already dressed in a silk gown, lying next to him with a propped-up elbow. Cloud smiles without shame, because there is no contempt in the emerald eyes that are currently exploring his naked form. And because he has never seen the ex-General dressed in something other than his military uniform. And the throbbing pain that stubbornly remains in his lower half even as the pleasure has been steadily waning reminds him of one simple fact.

Sephiroth has finally claimed what has always been his. And no one, not even his God, can take away from Cloud how it felt to be thus claimed. Like coming home after a long journey. Like doing something right for once after doing everything wrong.

"I was meant to be yours, wasn't I?"

"Yes," Sephiroth confirms, drawing a lazy circle on Cloud's left temple with his thumb. "Now, sleep."

The simple command caresses and soothes the blond's exhausted body into sleep and Cloud dreams. In his dream, he has perfect golden wings that carry him from star to star. He measures the stars one by one to dress them in silver outfits. They sing to him so that he may memorize their songs and play them to other stars and to his God. He listens to them, careful not to miss a beat. And he does so with a smile because he knows for certain that he will soon be back at the one place he calls home, at Sephiroth's side.

Fresh night air cools Genesis' exposed skin as he stands on a giant boulder thrown up by the sea. The steep rocky beach is not too far from the settlement, but distant enough for a welcoming solitude. It has been only three months since he came back to the survivors' encampment site, but sometimes even his own sanctuary is not enough to satisfy his need to get away from those under his protection, especially when he shares the building with Angeal.

Genesis stretches his wing, flexing his muscles and listening to the wind ruffling the dark ocean. He's just had another quarrel with his childhood friend, and he knows that the fault lies entirely with himself. Even when he was throwing accusations that Angeal didn't pay enough attention to him, he knew he was in the wrong. Angeal didn't have to tell him that Genesis should make his mind up as to what he expected Angeal's priority to be. He knew he was impossible to please at times. It was he who left all the communications with the community to Angeal, but as his friend's popularity grew, he began to resent it and the germinating sentiment among his subjects that their leader didn't care for them all that much.

Such an ungrateful, fickle lot they are!

Honestly, he cannot understand for the life of himself why he still craves the love of the capricious populace. To earn popularity isn't all that difficult, compared with the efforts required to keep it. In the end, it really doesn't matter. The winds only scratch the surface of the ocean, never fully penetrating its depths. What he achieves and does not achieve has little relevance to the universe as a whole. But then what is life without desires and feelings? However silly and insufferable, desires and emotions make it inviting, adding colors and textures to the otherwise dull existence.

Genesis sighs ruefully, his gaze focused on the far away horizon where the sky seems to melt into the sea. The beauty of the untroubled, unfeeling Nature has always had a calming effect on him. The only time it has lost that charm was when he was fighting his degenerating body. He hated her back then, because he was convinced that he was an abomination, a reject of the Planet. Now in a much better mood, Genesis begins to feel bad about how he has kept Angeal away from the Promised Land for his selfish needs.

Perhaps, he should ask Sephiroth to let Angeal stay there for a week or so, even if his God obviously doesn't miss his one-time friends all that much. The first month he was too busy and overwhelmed with the novelty of his project that he barely thought of Sephiroth. The second month, he grew anxious and after that he felt bitter. It wasn't as though he could go out and satisfy his body's needs with anyone of his choosing. Even if he were allowed that little comfort in the ex-General's absence, it just wouldn't feel the same after being with his God. Now, he just wants to feel their connection and Sephiroth's arms around him. It has been far too long since he left his home.

"I have already summoned Angeal to the Promised Land. You are welcome to join him."

Cherry red lips curve up in a smile as Genesis inhales the familiar scent of rose and vanilla, always a delightful combination with his cinnamon and intoxicating when mingled with a salty sea air. The redhead smiles at how Sephiroth's shadow envelops his own completely and how his body hums in contentment. He doesn't have to go home, go to the Promised Land: Sephiroth brings home to him, wherever they are. Genesis leans back, pressing their bodies to revel in the comforting heat and the feel of Sephiroth's lips on his head. He knows that the strong arm encircling him from behind will not always be there, and certainly not for his whim, but at moments like this, there is an unwavering trust in Genesis that his skeptical mind rarely allows.

Their connection is strong and will live on, even when his project, be it a success or failure, becomes a mere memory.