Rose of Mideel Chapter 2
By Chocobo Goddess
Daylight never made it all the way to the bottom of the Crater.
It was a bare, frozen place, with the thinnest dusting of snow from the ledges above. Massive crystals had formed along the walls, their reflections the only reason any light at all found its way to the floor. In the middle of the ancient, natural room, a few snowflakes began to stir.
Not only did he need to return to life, indeed, Sephiroth needed a new body as well. His own had been shattered by Clouds final attack upon him in the Lifestream. The snowflakes turned to motes of light and grew brighter, swirling in a mad pattern. Bone, blood, flesh, hair, all re-formed in the shape of a man who had once terrorized the Planet. Finally, he was finished, exactly as he had last appeared: shirtless, wearing black pants and boots, the wicked blade Masamune clenched in his left hand. His unbound hair flowed in silver rivers about his head, and his eyes snapped open, blazing neon green.
Sephiroth sat up, feeling strange in his new body. Every last detail had been re-created, from a mole on his arm (one of his few physical flaws) to the tattooed number "1" on his hand. The only new thing was a scar, even paler than his skin, that marked where Clouds sword had run him through. He reached around to his back, finding the exit wound also scarred over, but almost unnoticeable to his questing fingertips. It was, he realized, the mirror image of what he had done to Aerith.
Aerith! I need to find her! He thought, leaping to his feet and instantly regretting it. Pain coursed through him, forcing him to double over. I cant believe this is happening to me. I was the most powerful man on the Planet! I was going to be a God, and Mother no, wait, that was in the past. I fought Cloud Strife and his friends, and Jenova was laughing at me, leaving me behind then I was in Hell, and suddenly I was chained to the wall of the chamber, with all those idiot Cetra arguing about themselves. The Planet said I had made the chains
The Planet It had gotten him into this. Worse, it had involved Aerith, and he knew better than anyone else that she didnt deserve to go through the same pain again.
"Oh, well," he sighed, deciding to talk aloud, "At least she has it for company until I can get to her. Lets see, if I woke up here, where I died, then it follows that she would be in "
ANCIENT CITY! MUST GO TO ANCIENT CITY! The cry echoed in his mind, nearly staggering him as he rose to his feet again.
AERITH IS IN ANCIENT CITY. CANNOT HEAR ME! Was that a note of hysteria he heard?
What do you mean, she cant hear you? And why can I? This doesnt make sense.
OF COURSE DOES NOT MAKE SENSE. SHE SHOULD HEAR ME, CANNOT. THINKS SHE IS ALONE! Sephiroth could swear that if the Planet had hands, it would be wringing them.
Now calm down. There must be an explanation for this. Maybe shes just unaware
NO!! The voice screamed, THINKS SHE HAS BEEN ABANDONED! IS GRIEF-STRICKEN! AND GETTING SICK. THINKS NO REASON TO LIVE. DOES NOT KNOW WHERE YOU ARE.
Im going now.
WHY NOT RUNNING YET!?
Dammit, Planet, Im trying to move! This body isnt doing so well. It looks and feels like my old one, but it doesnt have the same training and conditioning my old one went through. So this may take a moment.
WAIT. A green light surrounded him, and the pain disappeared. HOW DO YOU FEEL NOW?
He flexed his sword arm. Much better, thank you. Is this temporary?
YES, UNFORTUNATELY. CANNOT DO MORE. CAN YOU RUN?
Yes, he sighed, I can. To himself, though, he thought, I hope I can find her in time.
The last echoes of Aeriths scream died away to be replaced by the sound of her weeping. Her world was in ruins, lacking even the familiar, comforting presence of the Planet. That had always been the one thing that gave her strength, during the most difficult times and the most horrible pain. The Planet had been her mainstay, from the time when she was a little girl to the day of her death. Even in limbo, the Planet had spoken to her.
Now, it was gone.
Am I no longer worthy to hear you, my dearest Friend? She whispered mentally, holding her breath as best she could around choking sobs, waiting for the soothing touch on her mind, or the booming, chiding voice it used when she did something silly. Still nothing.
Aerith gave in to her grief with a wail that quickly degenerated into uncontrollable tears. Slowly, even that faded to pathetic whimpers.
The snowstorm whipped Sephiroths hair about his face. He forced his legs to move, to keep up the ground-eating pace that had once seemed so easy and effortless. The Planets spell had worn off hours ago, somewhere near the edge of the Sleeping Forest. Since then, Sephiroth had kept going through the power of his will alone. His mind began to feel sluggish, his head light from the thin mountain air. The Planet had led him through the forest to the edge of the Ancient City, but could not help him further. It only urged him on occasionally now.
He stopped in front of a beautiful mural of a colorful fish. I I remember the last time I was here. Gods, I killed her then. Why did we agree to this? How can I face her now?
TOO LATE FOR THAT. MUST FIND HER! SO CLOSE. The voice became concerned. NOT WELL. SHE IS IN PAIN.
I am too, Planet. Being hardy only counts for so much.
It seemed to notice his condition. WILL NOT LET YOU DIE.
Well, thats reassuring, he replied tersely. Without another thought, he walked straight through the mural and down the steps it had hidden, calling Aeriths name.
"Aerith! Aerith! Where are you?"
Whose voice is that?
"Answer me! I know youre here. I came to find you!"
It sounds so familiar.
"Listen to me! Youre not alone! Do you hear me? You are not alone!"
Coming closer a man do I know him?
"Se phi roth "
Strong arms went around her, freezing cold on her skin. She felt hot. It was hard to breathe. She tried opening her eyes, but her vision swam in front of her, and she shut them again quickly.
"Oh, gods, youre burning up. It was right," he was saying, "Youre getting sick. Dammit! I dont even have a potion on me."
"Im all right," she tried to say, but it came out as, "Ahhmrahhhd." He picked her up, making the world spin. She tried to protest, but didnt have the strength to struggle.
Sephiroth was alarmed at her temperature. With a promise to let them rest soon, he willed his legs to carry them both out of the chamber and back up the stairs. To keep himself awake, he talked aloud to her.
"There must be a place around here where we can build a fire. I bet there are even some blankets or something that we can use, right? Im sure theres no food or anything, but thats fine, too. I can go hunting once Ive had some rest, just for a few minutes."
Somehow, he stumbled into one of the conch-shell-shaped houses just outside the main building. It was simple, with a small bed on one side of the room and a fireplace on the other. The blankets were little more than rags, but they would have to do. He put her carefully down on the bed and went to light the fire. A wooden chair, broken into pieces, became the fuel, and soon he had a cheerful blaze that heated the room. He collapsed beside her on the bed, drawing her feverish body against him for whatever shelter he could give.
Finally, he let his mind go, and blackness overtook him.
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