A great big field stretched out around him, seemingly going on forever. Bright yellow flowers raised their heads from their green beds. Cloud stood staring around in confusion, where was he?
"Hey, it's been a while..."
He spun on his heels and saw a tall, dark haired man wearing a big grin. Beside him stood a woman in a pink dress, she stepped toward him with her hands clasped at her chest. Her green eyes shone as she looked into his face. "Cloud...welcome home!" She said quietly.
Cloud smiled a little. "I guess...this means I'm dead?"
"Yeah, kinda sucks at first but when you get used to it it's not so bad." Zack said with a shrug.
A shadow fell across the group, Cloud turned to see Sephiroth stood behind him. His face was neutral. "Is this what you call a promised land?" He muttered looking around. "This is the lifestream, you're using memories to recreate a world of your own."
"But...Isn't that basically what you wanted to do?" Cloud replied. "Look, you can't hurt me anymore! I've already died, this is it! We're stuck here...just deal with it."
Aeris was frowning furiously at the silver haired man. "Why are you here?" She snapped.
He raised an eyebrow. "Because I decided that I would follow Cloud. Wherever he is I will be. I need him to stay in this form." He shrugged. "Deal with it, woman."
"How dare you..."
Zack put a hand on her shoulder and smiled at her. "Calm down, what's the point in getting angry? We're here now so, let's just deal ok?"
Cloud sat on the floor in amongst the flowers. "So...what do I do now?" He muttered.
"You wait. You wait for the Planet to call you...if she's ever in danger again she will return you to your body and you will be sent back to the surface." Aeris replied sitting beside him. "It's not so bad! We get to watch all our friends and family! We can keep an eye on them."
Cloud shook his head slowly. "We get to watch but we can't affect them?"
Aeris shook her head slowly. "No, I'm sorry."
"I can." Sephiroth said with a smirk. "It takes quite a lot of energy but I can return to the surface...In fact..." he looked up. "I still have two remnants up there that can still follow orders."
Cloud's eyes widened and he stood suddenly. "Yazoo and Loz!" He said. "Sephiroth...you..."
The man turned to Cloud and touched his fingers to Cloud's face. "Maybe I will, maybe I wont...The conclusion is up to you Cloud. Will I murder your friends just because I can? Or will I stay with you?"
Cloud stepped close to him. "Stay." He muttered. "Don't hurt them, there's no need. It's over now."
"And what will you do for me in return?"
Cloud laughed, "Anything." He muttered.
Aeris turned away and Zack looked a bit ill as the pair kissed. "Get a room!" He said loudly. "Don't tell me we gotta put up with this for eternity?" he muttered angrily.
Time passed, Cloud spent his day's talking Zack and Aeris while Sephiroth hovered on the edges watching him. Whatever Cloud did, Sephiroth was there, wherever he went Sephiroth followed. Cloud seemed content to just wonder the lifestream aimlessly. Sometimes he would listen to his friends and feel happy that they were alright, sometimes he would listen to the living people going about their daily business. Sephiroth watched him closely, he was never far away. A light seemed to surround Cloud, a light he thought had been extinguished when he had burned Nibeilheim to the ground. He was smiling and laughed easily, enjoying Zack's company.
One day Cloud was stood on the edge of their little world looking out at the swirling colours of the lifestream. His blue eyes following the winding strands of energy. He smiled as some of it broke off and surrounded his outstretched fingers before fading away. Sephiroth watched him from a distance, he suddenly saw a huge grey timber wolf stood behind Cloud, he frowned slightly, what was that about?
"You can see it too?" The voice made Sephiroth turn around. Zack stood with his arms folded across his chest and he had a small smile on his face. "It's his guardian." Zack said softly. "The name of his bike is Fenrir, the name of a hell hound...or something. It's also...because of his loneliness."
"You seem to know a lot."
"Hey, I've been watchin' over him since I died. Ya'think I'd leave him like he was? I couldn't let him wander the world completely alone could I? I promised, I said I'd never leave him so I never did." He reached up with a sigh and rubbed the back of his hair. "Ah, but it doesn't matter now. He's happy...for now. That's all we ever really wanted for him."
"Hmmm." Sephiroth turned back to the blond who was now sat on the floor, the wolf still behind him but leaning its head on his shoulder. "You mean, he's lonely? Even with us here?" He said, mainly to himself.
"Yeah. Stupid huh?" Zack shook his head. "You should know what can ease his loneliness, you, more than anyone here, know what he really wants." Zack turned away. "I just wish...it didn't have to be you."
Sephiroth laughed. "Oh, you still harbour animosity toward me? Even after death?"
"Yeah, I do." Zack replied simply before walking away and fading into the distance. "Don't hurt him, you bastard."
Sephiroth chuckled again and he returned to Cloud's side. The wolf vanished. He sat beside the blond and stared up through the vague blue sky that didn't hide the darkness surrounding them. It was as if they were on a tiny island in the centre of a pitch black sea. He felt a weight on his shoulder and saw Cloud leaning against him with his eyes closed. He smiled, of course he knew what Cloud wanted. He knew because Cloud was his puppet, and the puppets wishes were the same as the masters. There was nothing Cloud could do, feel or even think that Sephiroth didn't. They were bound together with an unbreakable bond, for eternity.
"You can never escape." He muttered running hands through Cloud's hair.
Cloud sighed and a smile crept onto his lips, he snuggled against Sephiroth. "I know." He replied simply. "I am yours for eternity Sephiroth, you are my promised land."
"My perfect little doll..." Sephiroth muttered leaning back on one hand and staring up at the world above him. Maybe the destruction of the planet could be held off for a while. Maybe he could wait a while longer, Jenova would have to have patience. These things took time after all. He smiled slowly. Mother's plan could be done at any time, history did have a tendency to repeat it's self. Especially where Sephiroth was concerned.
There is no hate, only joy
For you are beloved by the goddess
Hero of the dawn, Healer of worlds
...Legend shall speak
Of sacrifice at world's end...
Even if the morrow is barren of promises
Nothing shall forestall my return
To become the dew that quenches the land
To spare the sands, the seas, the skies
I offer thee this silent sacrifice