A/N: HelllOoooo! How are you? Good? I'm glad. Right, this is the last instalment of the Eien trilogy! I hope this is ended to your satisfaction, I have tried to tie up all lose ends...but...if I've missed summit please forgive me! This is a sad one, so, tissues will be needed! Lol, well, its sad for me...feels like the end of an era! UWAHHHHH! *Sobs into hanky* *Sniff* Ah, sorry...Love to you guys and I hope to be back with another wonderful FF7 based fic at a later date, however, for now, SAYONARA!
EPILOGUE: THE PROMISED LAND
There was a soft girlish giggle. "No, silly! Come on, it's time to wake up."
I slowly opened my eyes and found myself staring up at a bright blue sky through a hole in a roof. I groaned and rolled over onto my side before pushing myself into a sitting position. My head felt light, my body too weak. I looked around myself and suddenly knew where I was, I felt a sick swooping sensation when I realised that I was, in fact, lying on a bed of white flowers in an old church. "Sector six slums!" I gasped quietly to myself.
"Well, no and yes."
The voice startled me and I turned to see a figure standing in the centre of the flowers. I blinked to try and clear my vision, I couldn't see the figure very well, it was as if I was seeing it through a hazy mist. I squinted and could just make out colours. Pink, mostly...pink and brown. "W...Who?"
The figure giggled. "I think you already know, Cloud."
I closed my eyes and looked again, this time, the haze had disappeared and I could see her clearly. "A-Aeris...? Wh...Where am I? What happened?" She giggled and I saw her smile.
"Just wait, the others need to wake up first." She turned and began tending to her flowers, crouching on the floor. I licked my lips slowly and heaved myself to my feet. I felt strange, almost...empty.
I began walking around, to try and get the feeling back into my legs when I heard another groan. My eyes snapped to the far corner where I saw Zack lying in a heap. Aeris went over to him and bent down. "Helllooooo?"
I watched Zack stir. "Ugh..." His eyes flickered open and he blinked a few times. "Is...this heaven? An...angel?" He whispered.
Aeris giggled again and shook her head. "No."
"A-Aeris?" He said as his mind caught up to the present. He sat up and his eyes met mine. "Cloud?"
I nodded and sat down in a pew, my eyes drifted lazily over the familiar scenery. "Where are we? This...can't be the slums...not really."
"You'll see." Aeris replied and she walked over to another figure, lying as if sleeping in the flowers, his long silver hair spread about him like a shroud. My eyes widened suddenly and I walked over to Aeris's side.
"S-Sephiroth?" I muttered. His face was utterly peaceful, the sunlight from the gap in the roof spread across him making him seem to glow. His eyes were shut and he showed no sign of movement. "Is he...?"
"I...don't know." Aeris replied. "After what happened...I suppose it's not impossible that it could have destroyed him...after all, he's different from you two."
I looked at Zack with a frown, he had come to inspect the ex-hero as well. He looked into my eyes and I saw them widen. "Cloud! Your eyes they're..."
"Normal?" Aeris said with her soft smile. "Yup, Jenova's gone."
She looked at me sadly, her green eyes filled with grief. "I'm sorry. This time, there is no going back."
I let my breath out shakily and closed my eyes. "I feel so..."
"Free." Zack whispered.
I nodded. "Mm. Yes, free. I...had forgotten what it was to be normal." My eyes were glued to Sephiroth, who still lay motionless in the flowers, a single white petal was stirred up by a slight breeze and it settled on his cheek, just like a white feather. I stared at it for a long time. "I...wanted to be a hero, just like Sephiroth..." I whispered. "But...when he destroyed Nebeilheim I began to hate him."
"So did I." Zack agreed.
"Yes, and after everything he did...I...don't hate him anymore." I felt the sting of tears. "I...stopped hating him a long time ago."
Aeris stood at my side, her eyes drifted to mine and she covered my hand in hers. "I'm sorry...forgive me."
I looked down at her hand and took a breath. I closed my eyes. "There's nothing to forgive." I whispered as a soft breeze ruffled my hair. "Aeris?"
"When you and Zack made the killing blow on Abaddon he fell into the lifestream. The resulting explosion was too much for the old reactor and it exploded, it killed everyone in the vicinity. Nebeilheim is no more...however, Holy followed you, Zack and Sephiroth into the lifestream...it drew you to it and drained you all of Jenova's cells...it became corrupted and then called Omega..." Her eyes were filled with sadness. "Omega is the end. The planet will eradicate every living thing and then, use that energy to create..."
"...A shining future." I whispered, almost too softly to hear. My eyes were glued to Sephiroth. "Hear that? The planet's doing what you intended to do...all along. Sephiroth..." I closed my eyes and took a shaky breath. "So...what happens now?"
"Well, we will have to wait and see." Aeris muttered.
"What for?" Zack asked.
Aeris smiled mysteriously and walked away, she crouched and began looking at her flowers. Zack and I shared a confused sidelong glance.
"Well, I guess there's nothin' for it..." Zack said as he slumped into a nearby seat. "We wait."
"I guess so." I sat at his side and watched Sephiroth's body, my mind was filled with peaceful calm, but it had a slightly bitter edge to it that made me feel ill. I wanted him to wake up. I wanted to see his eyes, hear his voice and feel him wrap me in his arms. I sighed heavily and lifted my legs so the heels of my boots rested on the edge of the bench before wrapping my arms around my knees. I narrowed my eyes at Sephiroth's limp form and tried to will him awake. It was useless. He lay still, covered in petals with his eyes closed and his hair splayed around his face. Suddenly a hand in my hair made me look up, Zack was smiling at me.
"Hey, you alright?"
I nodded. "Mm. I...guess...I just..."
"Feel like something's missing?" Zack said, with an unusually sober expression on his face.
"Exactly." I replied and buried my face in my knees. "Maybe...It's him." I whispered, mainly to myself.
"I dunno...I got the same feeling. I don't...feel right. Like someone's taken something from me and...my body wants it back. Ya'know?"
I nodded again, blond hair falling in front of my eyes. I looked toward Sephiroth's body for a moment longer. "I think...I understand." I said suddenly. Realisation began to dawn on me and I stood, I walked across the wooden floor and reached Sephiroth's side. "I know what's missing."
"Well, I aint got a clue."
"It's Jenova." I whispered. "She's been with us for so long, it's strange...I...don't feel whole anymore. I...know how Kadaj and his gang felt now." I put my hands up and looked at them. "It's horrible."
"Well, we'll get used to it." Zack replied.
I shook my head slowly, I wasn't sure. Even if this was the end of everything, it didn't...feel right. I shook my head quickly, hair flying around my face and my hands clenched into fists. "No. I refuse to accept it." I said suddenly. After all those years being tortured by own imagination, I was at a complete loss. My life's purpose had been stolen from me and now there was nothing left but to wait for something to happen. I was tired. Tired of all the pain and unending grief. I was tired of waiting. Suddenly I looked up at the false sky and frowned. "GIVE HIM BACK TO ME!" I shouted furiously at the sky. "I'M SICK AND TIRED OF BEING USED! Just get on with it!" I fell to my knees at Sephiroth's side and looked down into his face, my fingers plucked the petal from his cheek and let it drift into the rest of the flowers. Then, I rested my hand on his cheek and leaned close, my lips met his and suddenly the whole room began shaking.
It happened with terrible slowness. The walls began breaking apart. The whole floor shuddered and shook so Zack and Aeris fell to the floor, Aeris's eyes were darting around and she looked terrified. "C-Cloud...stop! Please...My power isn't enough to protect you if you fight it!"
"I don't care." I whispered. The world was disintegrating, the flowers turned slowly into green tendrils of light. The sky above darkened into the deepest black and I leaned into Sephiroth's face and kissed him again, my fingers buried themselves in his luxurious hair and I whispered softly. "Don't leave me...I love you."
There was a massive explosion. Everything was torn asunder. I heard Aeris's desperate cry and it faded into oblivion...
I opened my eyes half way and saw something that made my stomach jolt with joy and terror. A brightly glowing pair of green eyes with those demonic pupils looked into mine and suddenly everything was ripped away...
My body was torn to shreds. My mind only barely held on. I drifted through green pulsing light, surrounded by nothing and everything. Horrible earth shattering screams filled me with fear, and dead silence made me wish for the return of the screams...
My eyes opened slowly. I was lying on a dusty floor, I knew the place. Slowly I climbed onto all fours and looked around. I was surrounded by quaint little village houses. I was lying in Nebeilheim's village centre. I saw the water tower and stood shakily, looking down at my hands I saw that they were gloved and I noticed I was wearing my old ShinRa trooper uniform. I looked up at the well and saw a statue...a statue of a woman. Frowning I watched as it was encased in bright light and I was forced to cover my eyes against it, when I next looked I saw it had transformed into a woman.
She had pale blond hair and wore a crown on her head. Her dress was white but she had two wing like structures that stretched out from her shoulders. Her face was peaceful looking but I found myself falling at her feet. Her eyes bored into me, as if she could see into my very soul. I shuddered and felt weak under her indomitable stare. In her hands she held a silver shield and in the other a spear. I watched, horrified as she levelled the spear at me. Everything was silent. My wide eyes begged her not to, but she showed no compassion. Her face remained as impassive as ever as she brought the spear down...
I shut my eyes tightly, feeling my inevitable destruction mere seconds away. Then, I heard a crash and white light flashed behind my eyelids. I opened them and found myself staring, hardly able to believe what I was seeing.
He stood, his sword held above him in both hands. His silver hair swaying in the unseen breeze. My mouth fell open. Slowly he turned his head and looked down at me, I could see the strain in his face as he held off the Goddesses attack. His wing burst forth from his back and a smile graced his face. The woman made no movement, she just kept exerting pressure upon Sephiroth's blade. I choked on his name, it left my lips in a tiny gasp. "Sephiroth!" His smile widened slightly and for the briefest second I saw his true mother in that smile. My hand rose and I lifted it to him, he nodded his head.
"I know." He said, his voice faint and ethereal. Then, with a deafening crack Masamune shattered. A scream tore my throat and I tried to stand to help him as the woman's spear passed through his body. He fell backwards...
Time, space, reality...
All little more than words.
Pain, grief, sadness, anger...
Nothing more than vaguely remembered feelings.
Only darkness, nothing more.
I see him.
Standing ahead of me, his eyes bright in the darkness. Behind him stand two more figures, all three have a single wing upon their backs. Angeal places his hand on Sephiroth's shoulder as does Genesis. All three of them nod to me before turning away into bright green light...
Cloud, it's time to go home now.
But I...I don't know where that is.
Slowly, a tiny glimmer of the brightest white light. I move toward it. My hand reaches...
Come, you know where you belong now...
The light consumes me. I blink away the tears. I open my eyes to find myself stood in a never ending field of flowers. The scent of grasses, the sweet perfume of the flowers. The soft breeze in my hair. All real...all too real. I can feel the gentle buzzing of energies as they run through the earth. I looked down, my feet are swamped by green light. "Mako..." I whisper softly.
Then, a voice attracts my attention, I look up and see a sight that makes my heart soar with joy. Aeris, Tifa, Cid, Vincent, Barrett, Nanaki, Yuffie and... "Zack..." I mutter and see him smile, he reaches for me and I take his hand in my own. The air is thick with Mako, it is almost tangible. My friends stand there, smiling at me and I can't help but return it.
Aeris nods. "You see...everything's...alright."
My smile widens. And, although I know, deep down, that I have lost a part of me that can never return, I feel almost...happy. Even though he's gone, forever, I know that deep in my heart I will have him with me, forever. "Yeah...I'm...Not alone. Not anymore."
Zack grinned and put his arm around me, his fingers ruffled my hair playfully. "Know where this is?" He asked after I had pushed him away with a giggle.
I nodded. "This can only be the promised land."
"Uh-huh! It's the place Omega guided all those lost souls. This is the place ShinRa spent so long searching for, this is...the new Planet. The place where everyone can restart and rebuild. Its abundant energy can be used to help us grow...as long as we're careful!" Aeris giggled and took my hands in her own. "I'm glad, I'm glad you decided to return to us."
I nodded and looked up at the rest of my friends. I saw Vincent stood beside someone I knew, but didn't know. Her long brown hair was tied back in a ponytail and her hands held Vincent's tightly, she wore a skirt and blouse with high heels and her smile was kind but very sad. Vincent too was smiling, a smile that expressed how happy he was. Tifa stepped forward, "Cloud, welcome home."
My smile widened. And, through the grief that tinged everything, I said softly; "I'm home."