99 Shades of Silver?!
Sephiroth and his three-year-old daughter Remi sat on the front steps of the porch, which wrapped around the large home he shared with Aeris and their three kids. The house had five bedrooms, and a giant basement that could always be transformed into at least two other bedrooms. They had chosen this house, knowing that between fertility statistics of Cetra/Seraph intermarriage, and their unspoken open-door policy on children, that the rooms would fill up over the years. Indeed, they were already making plans for one of the empty rooms, upon finding out quite recently that Aeris was expecting baby #4, right after adopting a wolf cub.
Yes, their home was turning into quite the madhouse. Thank goodness both Sephiroth and Aeris had infinite patience with children. Well, that wasn't completely true. Sephiroth had almost infinite patience with his own children, and had pretty much learned to ignore their friends that often spent time at the house. At least Keter's friends were part of Sephiroth's own extended network, and were too intimidated by the mighty mercenary to cause trouble while they visited. Remi was content to either tag along with Keter and his friends, or be taken along on play-dates with little Lynx Darklighter. Baby Aleph, thank the summons, was too little to socialize for now.
Right now was a time that Sephiroth cherished: one-on-one time with one of his kids. Right now, he was entertaining Remi by telling her of his travels through space with Aeris, and eventually Keter.
"Keter was only two years old, and we'd first come back after five years of being stuck on the other side of the galaxy," Sephiroth said to Remi as she sat in his lap.
"Daddy fight monsters in space?" Remi asked eagerly.
"No," Sephiroth admitted, "I just worked in mines, or construction sites."
"No monsters?" Remi asked, clearly disappointed, "Why?"
"There weren't any monsters where we were living, except when we lived on the Twin Planet."
"Daddy and Mama came back to fight monsters?" Remi asked as she reached behind her and pulled a feather from the deformed little wing on her back.
Sephiroth frowned. "What did I say about doing that?"
"Doesn't hurt!" Remi boasted.
Her father sighed. He knew the wing should be amputated, as it was a lightning rod for infections, given it had no muscles or nerves. It was literally skin, bones, a bit of tissue, and feathers. That was what made it so dangerous: that Remi could not feel if something was wrong. Planet forbid she ever cut her wing...
"It doesn't matter if it doesn't hurt. At least you have those pretty white feathers. I don't want you plucking yourself bald." Sephiroth told her firmly.
"Yessir," Remi said, looking chastised. Then her mother's demanding look appeared on her face. "More story!"
Sephiroth obliged her. "We came back because we wanted to see your grandparents, and let some friends know that your mother didn't die from that bad sickness she had."
"Oh, Kjata alive…" Sephiroth sighed, wondering how to get around that question.
"Excuse me…" a man said cautiously as he approached the front gate.
"Yes, may I help you?" Sephiroth said, a little too quickly, grateful for the distraction.
"My name is Hawk S. Dorgan," the young man introduced himself, "I wondered if I could have a moment of your time."
"Stranger!" Remi accused Hawk.
"Yes he is," said Sephiroth, "So you'd better go inside and wait for me."
"'Kay," Remi went up the steps into the house.
Sephiroth exhaled, relieved that he wouldn't have to answer such a heavy question for his three-year-old.
"I've been interviewing many of your friends and family members in hopes of putting a historical retrospective together. About Meteorfall, the Nibelheim War, and Avalanche's part in it all."
"Who are these friends and family you spoke with?" Sephiroth asked.
"Well, I did speak with your wife yesterday," said Hawk.
Sephiroth scowled. "She didn't mention that to me."
"I only interviewed her briefly in the town square. I bought her some curly fries and a soda, and she was more than happy to talk to me."
Aeris, your pre-natal appetite will be your undoing…Sephiroth thought, cringing.
"I also spoke with Tifa Lockheart, though Cloud Strife didn't want to talk to me."
"Well, he's not much of a people person," Sephiroth remarked.
"Yes, almost pathologically shy," Hawk observed, "Zack Fair and Yuffie Kisaragi were able to fill in some of the gaps. The Darklighter family was able to tell me about Mrs. Shinra, and it's not hard to know Rufus Shinra's biography."
"If you've come to ask me about the WEAPON incident in Wutai, I have no explanation," Sephiroth grumbled.
"Well, your violent nature has been the subject of much speculation for years," said Hawk, "Why not clear up the rumors?"
"I don't care to," said Sephiroth, "It allows for privacy."
"Even though there are many parents who won't let their children play with yours?"
"Did Aeris tell you that?"
"She did. She seemed a little sad about it."
"Aeris is a little more sensitive about these things."
"I do find it interesting that two polar opposites have been married for the past seven or eight years. Can you tell me more about the marriage?"
Sephiroth bristled. This was none of the man's business.
"No, I don't think I will."
"Well…can you tell me about the fabled 'Jenova Project' that you're famously intertwined with?"
That did it.
"Come here," Sephiroth moved closer to Hawk, who began backing away fearfully.
"Sir, I just-!"
"Come here," Sephiroth said again, this time more menacingly.
"Sorry to bother you!" Hawk yelped as he ran away.
Sephiroth stalked off, very irritated at this point. A long walk would be exactly what he needed to calm down.
When he returned, it was already ten o' clock. Keter, Remi, and Aleph were already asleep.
"Why do you look so tired?" Sephiroth asked as he saw Aeris already in bed, her eyes closed.
"I had to explain death to Remi before she'd go to sleep," she mumbled, "It was not easy."
"Why didn't you tell me about that stupid journalist?" he asked as he sat on the bed.
"I think the story about what happened to Avalanche is worth telling," said Aeris, "Don't you?"
"The Jenova Project is none of that man's business," Sephiroth said testily.
Aeris opened her eyes. "Oh…" she sighed, "He went there, huh? I'm sorry…he was really nice to me. If I'd known he was going to talk about that, I'd have set him straight."
Sephiroth rolled his eyes. "He bribed a pregnant woman with food. That's supposed to be 'nice'?"
"I was hungry!" Aeris whined.
"You say Keter gets his appetite from me, but I have my doubts."
"Yes, well…" Aeris turned toward the window, "Baby and I need to get our sleep."
"Yes, so soon. Your 'little mage' is tired. I'll fulfill my wifely duties in the morning..."
"I didn't mean…!" Sephiroth said defensively, "I just felt like watching something on TV here."
"Suuuuuuuure," Aeris teased him, "Fine, just keep it down."
"And in the news tonight, Junon socialite F.M. Payne is now even more well off after the passing of her father, industrialist D.D. Duncan. Payne is said to have inherited over 1 billion gil, and plans to go into writing fiction…"
Garbage on the news…Sephiroth thought…Oh well. I suppose that means things aren't doing too badly if that's all they have to report…
Two months later…
Aeris wandered around the "New Releases" section of the local bookstore. She then smiled as she found the book she was looking for: "Wild Rose". It was the long-anticipated prequel to "Quest of the Paladin", which had been her favorite book as a teenager, next to "Melodies of Life".*
As she took the book, she noticed the cover of the book sitting nearby on the "New Releases" section. A long sword looking remarkably like Masamune decorated the otherwise plain black jacket. She looked at the title.
"99 Shades of Silver"
No…Aeris thought, amused, just a couple of coincidences…long sword, the word 'silver'…
Still, Aeris found herself picking up the book and reading the inside of the jacket.
Seventeen-year-old Alice Marlborough loves her older brother Joseph, but he fights for freedom from the evil Sun-Ra empire. Though ashamed of her forbidden feelings, she joins him in the fight so she can be by his side. At the freedom fighters' headquarters, she meets the pathologically shy Clyde Stokes, the depressed Tina Lovejoy, and the suicidal bomber Jasmine. Upon discovering a traitor in the Sun-Ra empire, the sadistic yet idealistic Prince Radford, the war against tyranny begins to turn against Sun-Ra. Yet all is not well when the mighty Joseph begins to descend into madness. Alice will stop at nothing to retrieve the man she loves from the brink of insanity, regardless of what happens to her!
Aeris looked up and stared into space.
I'm clearly having a sleepwalking episode…she thought as she put her hand to her stomach. Indeed, she was six months pregnant, and at this stage, still prone to such episodes. Okay! This is not the first time you've had a lucid dream. Just put the book down, and go home, and go back to sleep…
"You saw it too?"
Aeris turned and saw Yuffie grinning at her.
"You're in my dream too?" Aeris marveled, "Usually there's aliens, or pirates, or magical creatures. This is the first time one of my friends is in my 'episodes'."
"Um, Aeris? What the hell are you talking about?"
"I'm asleep," Aeris said matter-of-factly, "It's the only reason why I'd see a book like this, that's clearly poking fun at me, and everyone I know."
Yuffie took the book and put it back. She then held up a bag and pulled out a copy of the same book. "Uh, you're not dreaming. I just bought a copy myself. Reno tipped me off, and he couldn't stop laughing. Why? What's it about that's got you thinking you're dreaming?"
Aeris looked even more suspicious. Reno knew about this book? Since when did Reno even read anything but dirty magazines?
"Let's go," Aeris said as she pulled Yuffie out of the book store, "We need to get to the bottom of this…"
Yuffie turned the page, read for a few seconds, and burst out laughing again as she and Aeris sat at a small table outside of the bookstore.
"I hate you so much," Aeris sulked.
"But…" Yuffie giggled, "Alice is just so funny! Flowers in her hair, flowers seem to line every path she walks!"
"Look, I like flowers, but really? Can we say 'overkill'?"
"Oh, crap…" Yuffie said as she turned the page.
"What now?" Aeris groaned.
"Is this what really happened when you and Sephy-poo did 'it' for the first time?" Yuffie asked, her eyes wide.
"Give me that!" Aeris snatched the book and began to read. She then chucked the book as far as she could, narrowly missing a shopper's head. So flustered was she, that she didn't bother to apologize.
"Well?" Yuffie pressed.
"NO, that is not what happened!" Aeris sputtered, "T-that's confidential information! And furthermore..." She looked down at her hands, her face turning red, "...what happens in the book is anatomically impossible, even for a seraph!"
She got up.
"Where you going?" Yuffie asked.
"Home," Aeris sulked, "If I read anymore of that garbage, I'll go into premature labor!"
"Sephiroth!" Aeris howled as she entered the house, slamming the front door behind her and stalking past the children.
"Mom's mad…" Keter whispered to Remi, "We gotta get out of here!"
The two children scrambled out of the room and ran toward the back door. Immediately, Keter ran back and scooped up a bewildered Aleph in his baby seat, carrying him away.
"What's the matter?" Sephiroth asked as he came down the stairs.
"They put us in a stupid sexy book!" Aeris blurted out.
Aeris made a beeline for the desktop computer that sat in the corner of the living room. She fired up the web browser and typed in the book's title into the search engine. Once she arrived at the author's website, she pointed at the monitor.
"Read the summary!" she exclaimed.
Sephiroth peered at the screen, his eyes getting progressively wider.
"...How…?" he managed to ask.
"That's what I want to know!" Aeris said angrily, "What's worse is that Yuffie bought a copy of the book, and she can't stop laughing. And…well…"
Aeris suddenly looked uncomfortable.
"What is it?" Sephiroth glanced at his wife warily. Then something else on the screen caught his eye, and he began to read again. "Nevermind," he said after a minute, "I think I know. Are these...'love-scenes' between us frequent...?"
Aeris looked around nervously.
"Great," Sephiroth growled, "I say, we send Yuffie and Tifa over to this author's house and interrogate her."
"Why can't I go?" Aeris protested.
"For the safety of our unborn son," Sephiroth reminded her, "Oh wait…I think I know who this author is…"
"Who?" Aeris wanted to know.
"F.M. Payne…" Sephiroth entered the woman's name on the search engine, "…is a woman who recently came into a fortune when her tycoon father passed away. That would give her a lot of time and money to get this literary garbage done. Her own publishing company, even."
"And that's exactly what she did," said Aeris as she read on, "Looks like she marketed this to middle-aged women like herself. People like, say, Elmyra, only she's too intelligent to ever like this."
"It seems to be a popular trend," Sephiroth recalled, "It's interesting how now that the world is safe, people have plenty of time to devote toward stupid pursuits."
Aeris sighed. "I'd better go find the kids. I must have had my 'scary face' on when I came in."
"Sephy…" Aeris poked her husband awake that night.
"Wha…?" Sephiroth groaned.
"Can you please go find this author, and kill her?"
Sephiroth chuckled, "You're that hot and bothered by this?"
"Hey, you go read what I did and tell me you wouldn't be angry!"
"My little mage is feisty tonight..."
"Oh, 'little mage' my foot!" Aeris snapped, "Fix it!"
Sephiroth sighed and took a good look at his wife. Yes, she was indeed asleep as she ranted. Pregnant Cetra were known for having sleepwalking episodes and night terrors during their second trimesters. He was only relieved that she was just approaching the third trimester, and the episodes would end.
"I'll be back," he said as he got up and left the room.
Heading down the hallway and into the living room, he booted up the computer. After the operating system loaded, he opened his email account, hoping Zack had found out anything about where this woman had gotten her half-true sources.
He saw an email from the former SOLDIER, and opened it up.
"BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! ROTFLMAO!" was all it said.
Sephiroth angrily closed the email and stalked upstairs back to the bedroom.
"Did you kill her?" Aeris sulked, still obviously partly asleep.
"Yes," Sephiroth lied, "I set her on fire, along with the publishing company. I also bombed every bookstore that carries the book."
"Yay…" she cheered sleepily, "My hero…" She promptly nodded off.
Tifa put down the literary magazine, and groaned loudly. The two women were sitting in Tifa's kitchen. Aleph was eating cereal in a hi-chair, and Keter and Remi were in the back yard playing with Marlene and Denzel.
"I know!" Aeris said angrily, "They portray me as a helpless damsel-in-distress who needs her big bad lover to protect her. Don't they know I can fight as well? This author spins our story into some melodramatic semi-erotic thriller, and now people treat it as if it were all true!"
"What about me?" Tifa complained, "I'm portrayed as this depressive type who torments herself by throwing herself at an emotionally dead man. Yuffie? Yeah, she's sneaky, but the book shows her as a hopeless kleptomaniac."
"Yuffie really doesn't care about that," Aeris pointed out, "She thinks it's a riot."
Tifa sighed. "Jessie is seen as a masochistic, suicidal mad genius, not to mention the book decided to go with all of the myths about Rufus being a wife-beating sexual sadist."
"They made Sephiroth into a flat-out murderous anti-hero."
"So have you found out anything about this?" Tifa asked.
"That journalist we talked to a while back," Aeris told her friend, "He's credited as the author's source. I guess he lied about making a historical retrospective, and let the author buy him off with her newfound fortune."
"Poor Cloud didn't take it very well," said Tifa, "I just hope Zack goes easy on him at work today. Zack and Yuffie are the only ones who weren't offended by the book."
Zack could not speak, still shaking with laughter as he sat in the old warehouse that served as Neo-Avalanche's headquarters.
"I hate you," Sephiroth stated.
Zack doubled over.
"You do know they made you gay, right?" Sephiroth pointed out.
"Don't care!" Zack giggled.
Yuffie walked into the room carrying the book, grinning from ear to ear. "Zack, you should see…!" she then stopped short at the sight of Sephiroth, and then burst into giggles.
"Just say what it is and be done with it," Sephiroth snapped at the ninja.
"I…" Yuffie put her best serious expression on, "I just wanted to say that I truly respect a man who waits until he marries…even if he's over a hundred years old…!"
"Wait- what?!" Zack exclaimed as Yuffie began howling again, "You're way ahead of me, Yuffie- I'm only on chapter five!"
"What kind of idiot would even assume I'd talk about my personal life with some stranger?" Sephiroth growled, "And I'm not a century old, thank you."
"Maybe we should hunt down that journalist and find out what happened," Zack joked.
"You mean so we can send him candy, flowers, and thank-you cards?" Yuffie added.
Before anyone could even react, Sephiroth snatched the book from Yuffie. He quickly incinerated it in his own hands.
"You ass!" Yuffie squawked.
"This book is hereby banned from here," Sephiroth declared.
"What gives you the right to do that?" Yuffie argued.
"My ability to destroy any book that makes it through the door," Sephiroth answered her.
"Cloud, you've been awfully quiet today," Yuffie nudged the blond swordsman, who was sitting in a chair in the corner.
"Shut up," he muttered miserably.
"It's not that big of a deal, bro," said Zack, "Look, you need to have a sense of humor about this. Both of you!" he looked over at Sephiroth.
"The people in town know who 'Joseph' is," Sephiroth pointed out, "I'm getting rather tired of protecting people who take pleasure in gossiping about my family. I personally don't care what people say, but now the neighborhood kids are giving Keter a hard time. Trust me, it is not fun explaining to a seven-year-old what 'inbred' means, and why that word has nothing to do with him."
"Tifa was accosted by a group of 'concerned' housewives," Cloud sulked, "Offering to set her up with someone more 'emotionally secure'."
"Awww…" Yuffie couldn't help but feel bad now.
"Stop moping," Zack scolded his best friend, "You may be an emotionally insecure man-child, but Tifa loves you regardless."
"Man-child? You're one to talk…" Cloud said pointedly.
"You're all immature," Sephiroth interjected, "Now, are we going to get some work done, or have we declared today to be a literary club meeting and self-help seminar?"
"Yeah, yeah, he's right," Yuffie admitted, "Let's get down to business…"
"It's late," Sephiroth remarked that night as he saw Aeris sitting on the sofa in the living room.
"I've read about white wizards, even white mages who were able to pull this off…" Aeris explained, her eyes closed.
"Pull what off?"
"Infiltrating one's dreams," Aeris replied, a smirk on her face.
"Oh, I see…" Sephiroth suddenly understood.
"Go back to bed," Aeris said, still smirking, "But don't go to sleep. Your 'little mage' will be along shortly, and we'll celebrate our certain victory together,"
Sephiroth smiled lecherously. Not saying anything, he turned and left the living room.
Ah- no, Aeris, don't think about that until after you pull this off! Don't want the woman getting more "inspiration"…Aeris thought.
It must have been about an hour that Sephiroth waited, watching TV, anxiously checking the clock.
Finally, Aeris waddled in, looking satisfied.
"Mission accomplished," she declared proudly.
"First tell me about her dream," Sephiroth said as Aeris sat at the foot of the bed.
Aeris giggled. "Oh, that. Well…I showed up with a bunch of flowers. I have to have the flowers, right?"
"I made sure to wear plenty of pink, and I was about ten pounds underweight."
"Yes, I get it. You made yourself a carbon copy of 'Alice'. Get to the good part, already."
"Maybe I should be an author, if I've got you so hooked on this 'story'," Aeris teased him.
"I'm growing old," Sephiroth sighed impatiently, "Get to the good part. I know you did something devious."
"Honestly," Aeris chided him, "The sexiest lingerie I could possibly wear doesn't compare to when I do something devious, does it?"
"No. Now get on with it."
"So there I was, I even hummed and skipped around."
"Like when you were seven?"
"Hey, I can't help it that Alice is a woman-child."
"I put her at the end of a road, sitting down, writing her sequel. I threw flowers around, one by one, skipped down the road, and when I got to her, I held up my last flower to her. Then…it changed into Masamune."
"Oh, I think I like where this was going..."
"I ran her through just like you do to the monsters."
Sephiroth's eyes were as big as saucers. "You didn't."
Aeris' eyes twinkled. "I did. Then my 'eyes welled up with sadness' and I told her she was ruining a lot of real people's marriages with her drivel. Then I picked her up and dumped her in a lake."
Sephiroth looked ready to pounce.
"Stay, boy," Aeris warned him, "I'm not done."
Sephiroth lay back obediently, waiting for his wife to continue.
"I then zapped us to the Ryukahn Desert and started brow-beating her a bit. You know, how any woman who agrees to let a man wed her and then rape her daily, is not a hero, but an individual who needs serious psychological help…at which point, I became 'Dr. Aeris, self-help guru'."
"Doctor Aeris?" Sephiroth snickered.
"I even had a little clipboard," Aeris giggled, "I also told her that a man that far gone into his madness isn't going to be retrieved by having his victim remain stupidly loyal to him no matter what physical and psychological torture he puts her through, and that such a man should actually be put out of his misery. Like Resara Delrayo, only I didn't go there."
"A wise choice. She doesn't need anymore 'inspiration'."
"Then I made a giant thermometer appear, and threatened to shove it up her nose if she didn't stop printing that book. She can write twisted stories about completely dysfunctional people all she wants, but she'd better leave real people out of this. Especially real people who saved her and everyone else in the world from rejoining the primordial spirit ooze from which they came. I don't think she'll be troubling us anymore. Tomorrow night, I'll deal with our sellout friend Hawk S. Dorgan. Maybe I'll threaten to rip his you-know-what's off if he doesn't make a career change."
"So violent…" Sephiroth said admiringly.
"Now, now," giggled Aeris, "It was only a dream, after all. Let's focus on real life, shall we…?"
"About time…" Sephiroth said as he pulled Aeris closer to him.
"I can't believe I'm doing this…" Tifa groaned as she and Cloud sat in the back of Zack's old truck.
"Sephiroth said Aeris took care of the author and the journalist," said Cloud, "Now we just have to take care of this little eyesore."
"He's the one who's had experience with this sort of thing," Zack remarked as he drove the truck down the deserted road, "Why can't he help us out?"
"Baby Aleph has a cold, which means while Aeris fusses over him, Seph has to wrangle the other two kids," Tifa explained, "Something tells me he'd rather do this any day."
"The man could destroy the world if he wanted," Yuffie snickered, "But he's still whipped."
"Dare you to say that in front of him," Tifa goaded the younger woman.
"Yeah…he doesn't like it when I'm honest," Yuffie sighed.
"How come you two are helping us anyway?" Cloud asked, "I thought you two thoroughly enjoyed the book and that the rest of us were taking ourselves too seriously."
"Oh, if it makes you all that sad, then I gotta help my buds out," Zack answered with a grin.
"Liar," Yuffie snickered, "The book is finally catching up with you too."
"Really?" Cloud asked.
Yuffie nodded. "Some waitresses over at Papa Yoyo's tried to set him up with a very effeminate line cook."
"Awww, was he cute, at least?" Tifa teased Zack.
Zack shuddered. "His name was Bubba. Picture a white version of Barrett, but with a lisp."
"Oh god, there it is…" Tifa groaned as she stood up in the cab.
The billboard stood on the side of the road. The new rising star in the literary world. The story of Gaea's saviors told at last! 99 Shades of Silver, in stores everywhere!
"There's probably other billboards like it," Zack pointed out.
"Nope- Cid took care of the one in Rocket Town, and Barrett had his people take care of the one in Corel," said Tifa.
"Why would Barrett even care?" Zack asked, "He's not even in the story!"
"Well, that's why he cares," said Tifa, "I guess he was kind of offended that they ignored him."
"Crazy rich oil tycoon…" Cloud muttered.
"Reno, Rude and Cissnei took out the sign in Costa Del Sol," Tifa continued, "And Sephiroth is handling the one in Mideel next week,"
"What do you think Aeris did that guarantees us the author will not promote the book?" Tifa wondered aloud.
"She and Seph won't tell us," said Zack, "Said it would make us all paranoid if we knew that part of her powers."
"That woman freaks me out more than her hubby sometimes," Yuffie admitted.
"All right, everyone," Zack announced as Yuffie got out of the truck, "We're all set? Tifa and Cloud, you both have Sleepel?"
Tifa and Cloud held up their wrists, which both had the purple materia orbs inserted into the bangles they wore.
"Yuffie, you have Ifrit?"
"'Course I do!" Yuffie scoffed.
"All right," he continued, "The coast seems clear so far, so we might not need to take care of any witnesses, but let's make this quick, all right…?"
"Here you go," Aeris said as she put a handful of dry cereal on Aleph's plate the next morning.
The baby happily began to munch.
"This just in!" the radio nearby announced, "Last night, the latest in the series of billboard vandalisms occurred on the road leading to Kalm! Yet another billboard advertising the latest bestseller '99 Shades of Silver' was destroyed, this time what looked to be one hell of an inferno. The author refuses to comment,"
"Tell you the truth, Tom…" the announcer's co-host interjected, "Just as well. My wife won't put that stupid book down, and it's all she and her friends will talk about,"
"Maybe it's a group of pissed-off husbands that did it," the announcer joked.
"Wonder what that was all about?" Aeris asked, a little too innocently.
"Have no idea…" Sephiroth yawned indifferently.
"I'm done," Keter announced as he stood up from the breakfast table.
"Me too," said Remi.
"All right," said Aeris as she took their plates to the sink. The two children scampered out into the back yard. As she sat down, Sephiroth spoke:
"So tell me something, Aeris..."
"Did that woman try to make a case at all, or was she too struck by the weird dream you created to even speak?"
"Ah…" Aeris put down her tea and clasped her hands together, "Yes, I did leave a little something out. Well, she explained that in the sequel…"
"Oh good god…" Sephiroth groaned.
"…Alice would give up and start pleading with Joseph to kill her. This would stir something within him…"
"Like the contents of my stomach…" Sephiroth quipped.
"…and he would come to his senses concerning what he was doing. And he'd treat her more kindly."
"What about the madness?"
"Oh, true love finally came through in the end, and they had about twelve children who knew nothing of the horrible early years...nor did they suffer any birth defects despite their parents being siblings."
"Anything about 'Clyde and Tina'?"
"No, I think she knew I took issue mostly with 'Alice' and 'Joseph'."
"I find it unnerving that she used my old alias as a name for the character that's supposed to be based off of me. How much info did that Dorgan character get regarding me?"
"It's over, Sephy," Aeris reassured him, "I haunted their dreams, they stopped printing the books, the others blew up the billboards, the website is still down, and the legacy will fade."
"I just didn't know we were so interesting," Sephiroth mused.
"You think we'll have twelve kids in real life?" Aeris joked.
"Time will tell…"
"I can't hold it off…" Joseph growled, "Forgive me, dear sister! It is all the more easy to just let the madness take over! The best thing I can do is let you run far, far away, where the others can protect you from my insanity!"
"Never!" Alice threw her arms around him, "I will stay till the very, bitter end! We will work on this together! If I die trying, so be it!"
"So innocent…" Joseph hissed, the madness having returned, "I will put out the flame!"
"Fight it!" Alice wept.
Reno put down the book, wiping his eyes, laughing uncontrollably. Oh, this was a gem! Too bad he could never tell anybody he still owned a copy…
*A/N: "Wild Rose" is basically Final Fantasy 2, "Quest of the Paladin" is Final Fantasy 4, and "Melodies of Life", Aeris' favorite, is Final Fantasy 9. Final Fantasy 10 and 1 exist as crossover worlds in this universe. :)