No Wish To Be Alone Chapter 21
Cloud and Sephiroth Have It Out Again
By Chocobo Goddess
Hours later, down the hall, Cloud sat bolt upright in his bed. "VALENTINE! SON! Ugh, how did I totally miss it?"
Tifa stirred beside him. "Huh?"
Cloud stared into the darkness. "Sephiroth is Vincents son!"
She opened one eye. "You are just now figuring this out?" she murmured sleepily.
Her words sunk in. "What, you knew already?"
Groaning, she turned over. "Cloud, I love you, but you can be so dense sometimes." She pulled the covers up over her head.
"Butbut, you knew?!"
She sighed. "Who do you think Vincent meant when he said his son? Someone else?"
"Go to sleep, Cloud Strife, before I have to get violent."
He fell silent. When her breathing finally slowed again, he crept from the bed and carefully left the room. He descended the stairs to the lobby of the inn, where a different desk clerk sat at the counter.
"Is the bar open?" he asked, jerking a thumb toward the restaurant.
"For another hour or two, yes, sir."
Cloud claimed a stool at the bar, ordering a beer. He rested his head in his hands, trying to make sense of everything. So, Aeris married Sephiroth. Sephiroth is Vincents son. Vincent is my friend. Aeris is my friend. Nanaki trusts Sephiroth. Sephiroth kidnapped Aeris. He kidnapped her!
In the back of his mind, a small voice said, But you were going to kill her. Jenova controlled you, just like she did Sephiroth. The difference was that she only had you for a few moments. She had Sephiroth for years. What would have happened if it had been you she had taken control over that day?
So Sephiroth saved Aeris!
Guilt boiled up inside him. I was going to kill her! He buried his face on his arms, letting out a small moan. This whole time Ive been worrying about Sephiroth hurting her, and all along I was the one he was protecting her from!
In his misery, he failed to notice another man walk up to the bar. With a sigh, the very person who dominated Clouds thoughts sat beside him and ordered a glass of wine. "Hello, Strife. Drowning your sorrows?"
Cloud snorted. "What, did you get kicked out of your room?"
A hint of a smile. "No, I have to let her sleep sometime."
The blond tried to ignore the implications of that statement. It must have shown in his face, for Sephiroth smirked.
"Get over it, Strife. She is my wife now. She is happy."
"I find that hard to believe."
The green eyes narrowed. "She is safe with me. You, of all people, should know that. Or did you forget what it was like for Jenova to grab hold of your mind and make you do her bidding?"
That struck a nerve. "And how do you know Jenova wont come back for you? She had you for years!"
"Because I effectively cut the puppet strings connecting me to her by marrying Aeris." He sipped the wine, absently enjoying the vintage. "Aeris is...very powerful. I do not think she quite realizes her potential. You saw her fight Jenova. Even if I were to focus all my energy, all my skill, I would only have been able to survive a few minutes under that onslaught. Aeris fought for days." The memory of how frail she had become caused a fleeting expression of pain.
Cloud saw it, but said nothing. He took a swig of beer. "So what happens next?"
"First, we get our personal issues out of the way."
"You mean without the others?"
"I do not see why we need to involve them. This ishas always beenbetween us." Flinging his silver hair over his shoulder, the General stood and nodded to the bartender. "Please put our drinks on my account." He looked down at Cloud. "Coming?"
"Where are we going?"
"Outside. That way, my wife and your girlfriend will not hear us, therefore, they can not interfere." He strode purposefully out of the bar and into the night.
Mystified, Cloud followed, wondering, Doesnt he ever just walk anywhere?
They walked in silence through the snow. Cloud studied his former idol as they went. His anger was set aside for a moment, curiosity at what Sephiroth had planned winning. There was an air of calm about the older man, a sense of being centered, or something, that wasnt present before. Sephiroth had always been a loner, but even beneath his cool exterior, Cloud and his friend Zack had perceived a seething restlessness. Now, however, that restlessness was gone. It had Aeriss signature written all over it.
They stopped at the treeline, in the darkness beyond the edge of town. Cloud waited impatiently for Sephiroth to speak, crossing and uncrossing his arms, shifting his weight from foot to foot. The silver-haired man stood with his back to Cloud, arms at his sides, a perfect counterpoint of stillness to the younger mans agitation. At last, he looked over his shoulder with an amused glance. "Well?"
"Well what? Youre the one who led us out here! Im freezing to death!" Clouds voice began to rise in volume. "I dont get it! Why the hell did she marry you?"
"Strife, you fail to make any sense. Start from the beginning. Tell me, why do you hate me? And I am not talking about Nibelheim. I am talking about now. You understood about your hometown the day Jenova took control of your body. Even your Miss Lockheart has forgiven me for that." He peered at Cloud, as if he could see into him and understand his soul. "I want to know, why do you hate me now?"
The question threw Cloud off guard, and he answered truthfully before he could think. "Because you got her!" He clapped a hand over his mouth when he realized what hed said. Sephiroth regarded him with new interest, knowing that hed just received an honest answer. Cloud decided it was too late to take back the words, so he recklessly continued.
"Thats right, you evil bastard. Of all the people in the world, it had to be you." The young mans voice shook with emotion. "I knew she wasnt mine. I knew it even before she left. But when I was being used by Jenova, it was you who got to save her. Its not fair!" He cried out in agony. "Goddamn it, I hate you! Youre my worst enemy! My whole existence for the past five years has been built around stopping you. And now, youre f-cking married to Aeris! Wheres the justice in that? She deserved a saint, someone who was worthy of her love. Instead she gets the devil himself, the man who wanted to be a god!"
Sephiroth merely waited, betraying no emotion. Cloud couldnt stop the words from leaping from his mouth, taking his shredded heart with them.
"It should have been the other way around. I was supposed to protect her from you!" He let out an inarticulate scream of frustration. "Why did I have to be the bad guy? Why was I the one she had to be saved from? I love her! Gods, it makes me sick to think about you two together!"
The armor of calm about Sephiroth cracked a bit. "Jenova believes herself a poet. In her eyes, it was the most fitting thing to have you kill the very thing you loved most. It would have worked, too, except the Planet intervened."
"Right! I keep forgetting that you and the Planet are friends now! How nice!" Cloud spat. "So not only do you make me look bad by saving Aeris, you now have the Planet singing your praises!"
"Cloud, I am sorry. Theres nothing I can do to change your mind. If you want to hate me, go ahead. Aeris disagrees, and whether you believe me or not, I love her, too. You do not have to protect her any more. That is my job now."
Cloud stood toe-to-toe with him. "I dont want you to protect Aeris! I want you to die!" He drew himself up to his full five feet, nine inches, staring furiously into Sephiroths eyes. Desperately, he screamed, "Why did it have to be you?"
Sephiroth took a deep breath, closing his eyes. I will not kill him. I will not kill him.
The Planets voices spoke. Open eyes. Look.
A green whirlwind had surrounded the two of them, rising from the snow at their feet. Cloud was alarmed for a moment, then comprehension dawned. He looked at Sephiroth, who seemed unworried to be caught in the middle of the swirling Lifestream. Then the images began.
Sephiroth descending, Masamune in hand, to kill Aeris as she prays. A command from nowhere, and his face changes from insane delight to horror. Clouds sword raises to strike down the young woman. Sephiroth lands, left arm sweeping Masamune up in a short arc to intercept the wide blade, right arm surrounding Aeriss waist and pulling her out of harms way. Then running, fast as an airship, running away with the cries of her friends echoing in his ears, with the beautiful girl cradled carefully in his arms.
Aeris looking up at Sephiroth as he sleeps, blushing when he wakes. Aeris brushing her hair. Sephiroth leaning forward and whispering in her ear. Sephiroth pulling her into his embrace, seizing her mouth, Aeris responding. A nosy innkeeper, an expression of fury in Sephiroths eyes, a flash of desperation and desire.
Aeris and Sephiroth in a stream, arms about each other, green Lifestream surrounding them.
Sephiroth kneeling, clutching his head, horrified, guilt-ridden. Masamune beside him, forgotten. Faces of victims pressing in at him, taunting him. Red despair. Terror. Repentance. Then Aeris, hair aflame in the sun, red-brown wings arching over him as she whispers to him. Peace.
Aeris in pain, her mind being torn apart by Jenova. Sephiroth watching helplessly, then running with her again, this time across snow with Vincent and Nanaki. The four of them striding into a church, an indignant cleric performing a marriage ceremony. Jenova fighting harder, then reeling back at the final kiss. A golden shell surrounding Aeris and Sephiroth. Wings of brown and red springing from Aeris, a single, silvery white wing from Sephiroth. Light of different colors dancing in the air.
Sephiroth smiling tenderly down at Aeris, holding her close in his arms in bed, in a dark room lit only by a fire. She wakes, happily curling closer to him. He strokes her hair, a strange combination of love, desire, and disbelief at his fortune written across his face.
The visions ended, leaving the two men breathless. The Lifestream spun back into the ground without a sound.
There, said the Planet, Should help convince him. Rest is up to you.
Thank you, my friend, Sephiroth thought gratefully. He looked at Cloud. "Well?"
The younger man looked ruefully at him. "Are we back at the beginning with this well stuff?" He was bent double, catching his breath, hands on his knees as though hed just run twenty miles. "Because I dont want to go through all that again."
"Fair enough. What do you think now? Though I think the Planet showed you more than I would have."
Cloud straightened. "I still dont like you, but ,"
"I okay. Fine. You were chosen by the Planet. I cant change that. Aeris loves you, its pretty obvious that you love her. But I dont have to like it. Im keeping an eye on you, General."
Sephiroth sighed. "Whatever you want. Just leave us in peace." He looked up at the stars again, noting that false dawn was near. "We had better get back inside. I am starting to get cold."
Cloud waited a moment as Sephiroth began walking away. "Im still going to protect her!" he called.
"Do whatever you want, Strife," Sephiroth repeated, "So long as you do not interfere with my marriage. Keep reminding yourself that she is my wife, not yours. Do that, and we will be able to coexist." The silver-haired man sounded weary. "Now, are you coming back to the inn or not? The others will wonder where we are if we are gone much longer."
"Im coming," replied Cloud Strife, thinking, Just watch yourself, General Sephiroth. This isnt finished between us. If Aeris gets hurt, you will pay with your life.
Ill see to it personally.
Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic