Darkness Falls Chapter 35

By Gemini83

Aeris walked through the strange smoke, the others not far behind. There was a strange light here, it had something almost surreal about it. And the smoke...it was as if the smoke had a life of its own, moving as it willed.

Aeris saw a shape ahead, and walked closer to it. She held her staff tightly, wary of any tricks. Then she finally came to the source of the shape, and gasped...

It was a little girl, no more than six years old. She was frightened, tears streaming down her face.

“Mommy,” she cried, “they did something to mommy. Why wouldn’t she move?”

“Who...are you?” asked Aeris, “are you alright?”

The little girl nodded, “what happened to mommy?”

Aeris cried softly, unable to speak, and drew the child into her arms.

“Why wouldn’t she move?” repeated the child.

Aeris closed her eyes, knowing all too well what had happened.

“Don’t worry, you’ll be fine,” comforted Aeris.

“You won’t,” answered the child.

Aeris barely had time to register that something was wrong before a blast threw her away from the child.

Aeris landed roughly on the ground, coughing out blood as she shakily raised herself to her feet. She looked confusedly at the girl.

The child laughed, “you are so gullible...fool.”

The girl disappeared as the smoke engulfed her. The mists then cleared away to reveal a breathtakingly beautiful woman, in a cold sort of way. She dressed in a blood red gown, and her dark eyes held death in them.

“Veletta,” breathed Aeris.

The Mistress of Evil laughed once more, “too true. I thought to amuse myself with you, but it seems that you are not worthy of me. Your death will drive Kaede mad, and then he will know the pain he caused me.”

Morbius surged forth from the mists, and raised his hands, summoning forth a spell.

A blast of fire threw the Horseman against a nearby pillar before he could attack.

Morbius quickly got to his feet, “who dares!?”

A wind blew through the room, clearing away all the smoke. Tifa grinned at Morbius, her gloved palm still steaming from the blast.

“Liked that did you?” she laughed.

Veletta glared as she saw Kaede helping Aeris to her feet.

The Cetra cried in his arms, as Kaede held her tightly, and ran his hand through her hair.

“Your feud is with me Veletta,” said the Planeswalker, “leave her out of this.”

“Oh, but Kaede, you brought her into this” replied Veletta, “and now we cannot let her live.”

She laughed cruelly, “I belong to Methos now, as he belongs to me. But you...I cannot believe you made a Rite of Blood with...this....this...”

“My name is Aeris,” voiced the Cetra, glaring fiercely into Veletta’s eyes, “I saw what you’ve done to him, how you tried to break his will. But you failed. He doesn’t belong to you.”

Morbius laughed harshly, “ah, but he does, more so than he will ever belong to you.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” demanded Cloud.

Veletta laughed again, “Kaede, have you not told them your secret? No, I see you haven’t.”

“Let us tell you,” sneered Morbius, “Kaede is one of us, because his brother is one of us.”

“His brother?” asked Tifa.

“Methos,” answered Kaede.

“METHOS IS YOUR BROTHER?” demanded Cloud.

Kaede lowered his head, “...yes...”

Aeris shook her head, “why didn’t I know? I never saw it in your memories.”

“That’s because I hid them,” replied Kaede.

“You could have told us,” said Tifa.

“No you fools,” sneered Veletta, “do you not know what drives such a man? He has killed, and he has enjoyed it.”

Kaede shook his head, “No...”

“Oh, don’t say you didn’t,” sneered Morbius, “we drew on your dark side...it loved the heat of battle, the dark joys of slaughter. Such a pity you had to kill it when you left us.”

“Shut up.”

“You understand now girl?” laughed Veletta, “he is one of us...a child of light such as you could never have a meaningful bond with him.”

Kaede’s eyes glowed red with rage, “SHUT UP!!!”

“Yes Kaede, give in to your urges,” prodded Morbius, “hate us, become one of us.”

Kaede clamped down hard on his fury, forcing himself not to give in. He turned to the others, pain clear in his eyes. Pleading with them to forgive him one more time.

“You see now,” he explained, “why my kind despise me...”

Aeris shook her head sadly. Tifa remained silent.

Surprisingly, it was Cloud who dispelled their fears, “I’ve done questionable things in my time Kaede. When I was with Shinra, you wouldn’t believe half of the things they made me do...then again, perhaps you could.”

“Cloud,” whispered Tifa.

“I almost killed my best friends Kaede,” continued Cloud, “I did other things too...if Tifa found it in her heart to forgive and accept me, we can do no less for you now.”

Kaede looked wide-eyed at Aeris, who nodded back at him.

“You could have told us,” cried Aeris, “we would never forsake you Kaede, we...I...love you.”

Kaede closed his eyes once more, and held Aeris to him tightly. A single tear rolled down his cheek.

“How utterly sickening,” said Morbius, “allow us to put you out of your misery.”

“I will enjoy killing your love after all Kaede,” mocked Veletta, “then you will belong to us once more.”

“Never,” spat Kaede, “I will die first.”

“THEN DIE!!!” yelled Veletta, letting forth a great blast of energy.

Kaede slapped away the attack, responding with his own power. The others leapt from the waves of blue energy, hiding behind a series of great pillars. Kaede disengaged and soon joined them.

“Cloud,” shouted Kaede, “we have to get to Methos!”

Cloud nodded, “Sephiroth’s planning something, we can’t afford to get caught here!”

Aeris squeezed Kaede’s arm, “you two get out of here.”

Kaede looked at her incredulously, “you can’t be serious.”

“She’s right,” said Tifa, “you and Cloud go on, we’ll hold off these two.”

“Will you be alright?” asked Cloud.

Tifa nodded, “but we won’t be if you don’t stop this.”

Cloud turned to the Planeswalker, “Kaede?”

“We don’t have a choice,” Kaede considered his options, “I may not know what they are planning, but I can guess where they are heading...”

“Up top,” deduced Aeris, “where the empty spires are.”

Kaede nodded, rising to leave.

“Wait,” said Aeris, “take this for luck.”

She handed him the White Materia, “you may need it.”

Kaede smiled reassuringly, and kissed her once before rising and nodding to his friends.

“Well then,” said Cloud assertively, “let’s get going.”

“Cid would be proud,” smiled Tifa, giving him a quick kiss.

“Yeah, well,” returned Cloud, “I hope he’s around when this is over...so I can brag about it.”

Tifa grinned, then looked past the pillars.

“Ready?” asked Aeris.

The others nodded.

“Go!” shouted Tifa.

The two women let loose a torrent of spells at the two Horsemen, as Cloud and Kaede ran past them into the darkness beyond...

Cid and the others looked at the Fortress with varying degrees of interest. There were scorch marks on the walls.

“They are inside,” said Vincent, “battling...”

“Kaede must have caught them by surprise,” deduced Red, “now they have to get to where they are going by the long route.”

“And where exactly are they going?” asked Reno.

“That is simple,” replied the Cian, “I found something in my readings. I would guess that they are headed for the spires at the top of the Fortress.”

“Well then,” said Yuffie, “let’s get going.”

Barret looked at the building and winced, “we have to climb up THAT?”

“No choice,” said Vincent, “it’s the quickest way there.”

“Great,” he grumbled, “fine, let’s go before my judgment gets the better of me.”

Sephiroth had finally made it to the spires. All those months of training, all those weeks of studying schematics...it all came down to this.

“Well?” asked Methos, “what now?”

“Now, my dear Methos,” returned Sephiroth, “we wait.”

“Wait?” demanded Methos, “what the devil for? Let us finish this so I may go back to kill Kaede.”

“You’ll get your chance,” came a voice from behind, “here I am Methos.”

The Horseman of Chaos turned, and grinned savagely at his predecessor.

“It’s probably just as well,” sniffed Sephiroth, “I need you to finish this anyway.”

“What do you mean?” asked Cloud.

Sephiroth laughed, “you still don’t get it, do you? None of you do! This is more than just a weapon. It has the power to make me invincible!”

Methos quickly turned to Sephiroth, “the plan was to empower the Dark Purge.”

Sephroth shrugged, the fool still didn’t understand. But then again, he hadn’t bothered to study this place. And knowledge was power, after all...

“That too,” replied Sephiroth.

He turned to Kaede, “but before any of that can happen, I would appreciate your swords and the White Materia.”

“Over my dead body,” cursed Cloud.

“Happy to oblige...”

Tifa met Morbius’ attacks blow for blow, but she was taxing herself to the limit. She had been fighting since the beginning of the Drahk invasion, while Morbius had only just begun. He was going to win, and he knew it.

Tifa blocked several punches in quick succession with her armored gloves, then caught Morbius off guard with a spinning kick.

Morbius fell back, bringing his hand to his bleeding mouth, “not bad girl.”

Tifa narrowed her eyes, smiling darkly, “I haven’t even started yet.”

Aeris and Veletta circled each other, striking out with their staffs. Aeris met the dark woman with a fire in her eyes.

She let forth a series of attacks aimed for Veletta’s head. The Mistress of Evil simply ducked the attack, bringing her staff around to smash into Aeris’ face.

The attack hit her squarely on the temple, and the Cetra fell to her knees. Veletta lifted her staff again, but Aeris raised her hand, quickly casting an ultima spell. The Drahk lord flew back into one of the numerous pillars, dust rising as the structure toppled.

Veletta rose from the wreckage, eyes blazing, “impudent mortal!”

She ran to Aeris, raising her staff above her head.

A large section of the wall flew inward, blasted to rubble. Pieces of marble and steelwork flew through the air, driving the four combatants to their knees.

Cloud flew screaming through the hole, and crashed into the far wall on the opposite side. The Avalanche member sank into the marble, as if it were made of wet clay.

“Ugh,” he groaned, “I see you haven’t grown rusty either.”

Sephiroth walked calmly through the hole, “your refusal to die is annoying me.”

Cloud grinned, tearing himself away from the wall, “sorry to disappoint.”

He ran towards Sephiroth, blade drawn. The two met in a lock of swords, glaring into each others’ eyes.

Morbius glared at Cloud with hatred, “insolent pest, I will kill you.”
Something tapped him on the shoulder, and Morbius turned around to meet a fist crashing into his face. The Horseman staggered back as a flurry of punches barraged him.

“Never...turn...your back...on me,” said Tifa between hits.

Morbius’ eyes flared, and he grasped Tifa’s throat, lifting her off the ground.

The woman gagged, trying to pry away Morbius’ fingers to no effect.

Morbius grinned into her eyes, taking the time to savor her death.

Tifa braced herself, slamming her foot into his stomach. Morbius faltered, and Tifa used the momentary distraction to escape. She flipped backwards, catching Morbius on the chin as she brought her foot up. Tifa jumped away to land on her feet, while the Horseman landed hard on his back.

Morbius glared up at her, daring her to attack.

Tifa furiously ran up to him, attacking the monster that would dare endanger her home. She punched and kicked, and would not be stopped. But in the end, Morbius had trained for centuries, and Tifa hadn’t.

Morbius launched a counter attack, and the first indication Tifa got that she had lost was when his clawed hand raked through her side.

She let out an agonized scream, clutching tightly at her stomach, then collapsed.

Cloud’s stomach grew knotted as he heard her cries. Sephiroth swept Cloud’s feet from under him in the momentary distraction. Cloud countered with a kick to the throat as he fell to the ground.

Sephiroth drew back, slightly coughing.

Cloud got up, then saw Tifa bleeding her life away on the cold marble floor. He let out an enraged yell, running towards her. But Morbius let forth a blast of fire, blinding Cloud. He quickly brushed the flames away, but was caught of guard by a blow from behind. Cloud had barely enough time to see Sephiroth leering at him before he was beset by a blast of pure green energy. Cloud jumped backwards, narrowly avoiding the attack. However, the energy circled around, slamming into Cloud, throwing him against the wall.

Sephiroth let loose another blast, and Cloud jumped through the air, desperately trying to get away from the attack. But wherever he went, the blast followed. Cloud ran as fast as his legs would take him, but still the green energy followed him.

Cloud skidded to a halt, crossing his arms before him, then struggled to maintain his consciousness as the energy hammered into him.

The blast’s arc sent him flying through the wall and beyond. He was thrown across the night sky like a shooting star. Then a great explosion engulfed him in a shower of light and fire.

Author’s Note: Thanks for reading! Bare with me, we’re almost done! Have a few chapters left yet. Wait till you see what I’m going to do (grins)...


Chapter 36

Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic