Darkness Falls Chapter 36

By Gemini83

Kaede and Methos circled each other, two brothers swept up in a conflict steeped in blood and generations long.

The two brothers cut and slash at each other, rage and pain fueling their blows. Kaede swept his sword at the Chaos Lord’s head, Methos ducked the attack, then brought his knee up to Kaede’s unprotected stomach. Kaede reeled back, and jumped to the side, hitting Methos squarely in the chest. The two landed on the ground, breathing harshly, then picked themselves back up again, preparing themselves for battle.

“Glad to see you haven’t lost your touch brother,” sneered Methos.

Kaede grinned back, “I try. Tell me Methos, is their anything left in you of the brother I once knew?”

The Horseman glared back coldly at his brother, the smile gone, “no Kaede. I haven’t been him for a long time. I cut out what little was left of that child ages ago.”

The Planeswalker nodded sadly, “I never understood why you betrayed us Methos. You could have come to me anytime, we could have-”

“It is YOU who betrayed ME Kaede,” spat Methos, “you were always so understanding, so patronizing. Then that old fool chose you to be his first disciple, not me. That was the last straw really.”

“You didn’t have to go to the emperor Methos,” said Kaede, “that monster had our parents killed...”

“Do you think I care?” snapped Methos, “power is all I care about, all I’ve ever cared about!”

Kaede coldly stared back “I can see you’ve taken up with Veletta. Do you harbor any illusions that she may actually have feelings for you?”

Methos sneered back, “hell no. Do you take me for a fool? It is simply a matter of practicality Kaede, nothing more, nothing less. Emotions and such other weaknesses are simply useless appendages for those such as we.”

“You can’t mean that,” said Kaede.

“Oh really?” laughed Methos, “are you telling me you never shut yourself out? Never forced yourself to become the cold, calculating warrior you had to be in order to carry on?”

“No, I’m just saying that I was wrong,” reasoned the Planeswalker, “and so are you.”

“Oh please,” replied the Horseman, “spare me your worthless sentiment. You and I have been dead inside for a long time. We can no longer be what we once were. You bury yourself in the past, while I have embraced my own dark future. We are warriors Kaede, the beast lies within us, dark and ever-present. You can never run away.”

Kaede nodded, unimpressed, “I see you still enjoy long speeches.”

“I promise you, it must be a strictly a familial trait, since I learned it from you.”

Kaede calmly faced his brother, “I will not give in to my hatred for you brother, for despite everything, I still care.”

“That was always your problem Kaede, I tire of your sympathy,” said Methos, “allow me to rid you of your misery.”

Kaede nodded once more, “very well, you and I are warriors, we do have beasts locked away within us...let’s end this.”

The two brothers came together in a clash of swords. Methos aimed for Kaede’s head. The Planeswalker weaved to the side. Methos brought his sword around, and Kaede had to duck to keep from being decapitated. The Chaos lord swept his sword along the ground, and Kaede made his move. He jumped over the attack, extending his leg. Methos flew backwards as the kick battered into his chest.

He landed on his feet, and immediately parried Kaede’s following attacks. The Planeswalker circled his brother as he twisted his sword, trying to find any weaknesses. Methos lifted his sword in a rising slash, narrowly missing Kaede’s neck. The Planeswalker punched Methos’ exposed gut while he was in midair, and the Horseman retaliated with a downward swipe. Kaede dodged, but the blade cut cleanly through one of his belt straps. Mthos landed and kicked his brother. Kaede flew back against the far wall. The White Materia fell away from him, and bounced out the hold in the wall caused by Cloud and Sephiroth’s duel.

Kaede landed on his feet, looked back. He couldn’t go after the materia now, he would have to make his own luck. The Planeswalker ran forward, ignoring the pain as he continued his attack. And so the two brothers fought, calling upon the cold fury and warrior’s talents they had acquired since childhood...Planeswalker versus Drahk, good versus evil, brother versus brother. Their swords were flashes of light, sparks flying as their blades clashed. Methos swept his sword high, then viciously uppercut Kaede when the Planeswalker ducked. Kaede answered with a reverse spin kick, catching Methos in the back of the head. Both fell once more to the cold, hard marble, panting for breath.

“You always were my best rival,” said Methos as he rose to his feet.

“I’m honored,” replied Kaede sarcastically.

The Horseman raised an appreciative eyebrow, “ah, I see you’ve developed a sense of humor?”

Kaede sniffed, beckoning Methos to attack. The Drahk lord screamed his rage, slashing at Kaede with all his might. The Planeswalker had to make an effort to parry each blow. Seeing his chance, Kaede thrust his sword into Methos’ midsection.

However, Methos had deliberately left an opening, and sidestepped the attack. Opening his palm, Methos flashed Kaede’s eyes with a blinding light. The Drahk lord yelled in triumph as his blade sheared through Kaede’s ribs.

The Planeswalker let out a cry of pain, but managed to grab Methos’ sword arm. Summoning his energy, Kaede let fly with a powerful blast of energy, thrusting Methos several feet away. The Planeswalker limped backward, grabbing the aching wound at his side. He brought his other hand up to his mouth as he coughed out blood.

Methos stood up and laughed, “I have drawn first blood...brother.”

Kaede grimaced through the pain, forcing himself back into ready position. He raised his sword, ignoring the burning in his ribs.

Kaede smiled coldly back, “then I shall draw last.”

Aeris swung her staff in wide, sweeping arcs. Veletta met each blow with her own staff. The Mistress of Evil grinned into Aeris’ eyes as they met in a lock of weapons. Then Aeris cried out as a wound burst from her side.

She stepped back, grabbing at the gruesome cut in her side, “what...happened?”

Veletta laughed, “do you not understand the true nature of the Rite of Blood? Fool, you are joined with that weakling Kaede now. His hurts are now yours.”

Aeris brought herself to her feet, shaking her head wearily. If Veletta was telling the truth, then Kaede was in trouble. However...

“If that is so,” grinned Aeris, “all I have to do to help him defeat Methos...is hurt you...”

Veletta laughed at her, “impudent Cetra, do you honestly think you can defeat me?”

Aeris brought her staff up, daring Veletta to defy her, “only one way to find out.”

Barret and the others saw the fires in the sky, and barely had time to scatter before it came crashing down in the midst. Somke billowed from where the flames had landed, and coughing could be heard.

“Ugh,” groaned Cid, “is everyone alright.”

“Yeah,” answered Yuffie.

“We’re still here,” followed Elena.

“Somebody get the number of the truck that hit us,” moaned Barret.

Vincent walked closer to the smoke, now beginning to dissipate. There was a huge crevice in the large staircase leading to the top. But that was not what caught Avalanche’s attention. Within the heart of it all, a dark figure was moving.

“Poor bastards been fried,” said Barret.

“I’ve seen better days,” answered the voice, “but I’ll be alright.”

The figure brushed himself off, and the moonlight glowed down on the figure, revealing him as...

“Cloud!” shouted Reeve.

The swordsman nodded, “glad to see you made it.”

He looked at Red and the other, nodding at them, “I’ll ask later, but I’m glad to see you’re alive. I hope our luck holds out.”

“What’s going on up there?” asked Reno.

Cloud became silent, as he remembered Tifa’s screams. He clenched his fist, and turned around.

“Cloud?” asked Yuffie.

A hard, emotionless voice answered back, “I’m going up there.”

“We’ll help you,” offered Red.

“No,” answered Cloud, “this is personal. I will personally see each of them die kicking and screaming for what they did to Tifa.”

Shera gasped, “Is she...?”

Cloud closed his eyes, “I don’t know...I just don’t...”

Then there was no tome for words, as Cloud screamed his rage, running up the stairs and leaving the others behind.

“Great Planet,” said Barret, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen him that pissed before.”

“What he said about Tifa,” shuddered Elena, “do you think she’s...?”

“I don’t know,” answered Barret.

“We’d better get up there quickly,” suggested Cid, “before it’s too late for all of us.”

Sephiroth laughed into the night sky, howling like a wolf at the full moon. He was invincible, he would be the undisputed ruler of the cosmos. But his cries were soon eclipsed by a louder sound. It was the sound of some...beast. It sounded feral, wild, and the Horseman of Death had barely enough time to wonder what it was, before a screaming figure leapt into the air to dethrone him.

“You think you are so high and mighty Sephiroth,” spat Cloud, “you think you are Death? I’m here to personally send you to meet the real thing.”

Sephiroth stared in shock for a moment, then smiled evilly at his enemy.

“Bravo Cloud,” he conceded, “I must say, you have been more fun than I expected.”

“No more games Sephiroth,” said Cloud darkly.

“Very well,” sniffed the ex-Soldier, “then it is time to die!”

Cloud felt more than heard something from behind, and leapt away just as the ground where he was standing vanished. The marble vaporized, and Cloud squinted past the haze to see Morbius leering at him.

“Don’t you people know how to fight fair?” demanded Cloud.

There was no answer, and suddenly, Cloud was beset by the two Horsemen. Surprisingly enough, he held them both off, but he was quickly tiring. Cloud knew he couldn’t keep this up for long.

Then the inevitable happened. Cloud was forced back as Sephiroth launched a brutal offensive, and Morbius caught Cloud, slicing into the man’s back with his claws. Cloud struggled to stay conscious as Sephiroth slammed his fist into Cloud’s temples, causing him to see stars. The two Horsemen watched with satisfaction as Cloud staggered back, gasping for breath. He fell to one knee, completely at the mercy of the two dark figures.

“Morbius,” offered Sephiroth, “if you would like to do the honors...”

The Horseman of Pestilence flashed Cloud a blood hungry smile, and raised his hand to cast a spell. Cloud closed his eyes, bracing himself for the pain. However, he opened them again as he heard Morbius’ screams.

The Horseman looked at his gut, unable to make sense of what he saw. A fist was protruding from his stomach. Morbius yelled in pain as a powerful blow crashed into the back of his head, flinging him away.

“I told you never to underestimate me,” said Tifa Lockheart.

Cloud felt tears of joy stinging in his eyes, “Tifa.”

She smiled at him, “watch your back next time love.”

Cloud laughed back, “I’ll keep that in mind.”

Morbius rose to his feet, cradling his wound, “impossible, you should be dead.”

“And you should never have harmed this planet,” retorted Tifa, “but life is full of surprises, isn’t it?”

“Fool!” screamed Morbius, “I shall kill you!”

He ran at Tifa, gathering his energies as he screamed with raged. Tifa yelled out her own cries as she attacked. This was her home, her planet. She had fought to protect the lives of innocents from madmen like this. That was all she needed to give her the will to fight. That, and her love for Cloud.

Morbius raked his claws downward, and met nothing but empty air. Tifa dodged behind him, and the Horesman turned around as Tifa brought her foot squarely into his ace. She launched a furious series of punches, her raw emotions fueling every blow. Morbius tried to behead her with another claw strike, but Tifa jumped into the air, catching him with a roundhouse before he had time to react. Then she vaulted herself foot first into Morbius’ chest, forcing him back. She used her momentum to bring up her feet, jumping away and kicking him in the process. The two flew through the air, away from each other. Tifa landed on her feet. Morbius landed painfully on his arm.

Tifa ran to follow her attack, but Morbius was already on his feet, frothing with rage. With all his might, Morbius thrust his clawed hands into Tifa’s midsection. The woman grabbed the arm, but grunted with pain as the claws hit home.

Morbius laughed cruelly, “and now you die.”

“I don’t think so,” breathed Tifa.

“What?” demanded Morbius incredulously.

Tifa glared up at him, blood leaking from her mouth, “I’ve seen that move before, if that’s all you‘ve got, you are in deep sh-”

Morbius withdrew his claws, causing Tifa to gasp slightly in pain. He backed away from he, fully expecting her to topple over. She didn’t. Instead, defiantly, she stood up straight, ignoring the pain from the huge gashes in her side. Raising an upturned finger, she beckoned Morbius to attack her again.

The Horseman howled in fury, raising his hands to crush his enemy once and for all. Tifa let out a short scream of rage, jumping back and bringing her fist forward, drawing her energies into her hand. Morbius ran onward after her, and Tifa surged forth to meet him. Their two fists met, energy crashing upon energy. And then a blaze of light surrounded them both, and a ear splitting whine cracked the walls, as the light blinded all who saw. The flames swarmed around Tifa, engulfing her, flowing in and out of her body. She screamed as she felt herself being torn apart...

When the light cleared, Tifa, bloody, worn, and ragged, was still standing. There was no trace left of Morbius, none at all...

“Don’t ever mess with my husband again,” croaked Tifa, her throat dry from screaming.

“Tifa,” whispered Cloud.

Slowly, as if trying to understand the meaning of the words she heard, Tifa turned to look at Cloud. She smiled reassuringly, then closed her eyes and fell forward.

Quick as lightning, Cloud was by her side. She slumped forward into his arms boneless and exhausted.

“Did I...get him?” whispered Tifa.

Tears were streaming freely down Cloud’s eyes, “hush now, you got him. I’m safe now, thanks to you.”

Tifa opened her eyes once more, and smiled up at her love. Cloud tried to smile back bravely, but she was hurt so badly, she had lost so much blood...

“I’m sorry Cloud,” breathed Tifa, “I love you...”

“Don’t you dare say goodbye to me Tifa,” cried Cloud.

She closed her eyes tiredly.

He raised her face to his, “Listen to me. Listen to me!”

She slowly opened her eyes once more.

“We are going to go home, we are going to raise a family,” pleaded Cloud, “dammit Tiff, you can’t leave me now. I swear I’ll come after you and scold you if you leave me.”

Tifa laughed, but stopped because it hurt her to much, “slave driver...don’t worry Cloud, I’m here.”

Cloud smiled, kissed her, and held her close, cradling her in his arms.

“I think I’m going to pass out now,” whispered Tifa.

“You do that,” replied Cloud, “I’ll wake you when this is over.”

“No dice,” answered Tifa, “you’re hopeless without me, probably need me to save your backside before this is over.”

Cloud smiled down at her.

“And such a cute backside too,” added Tifa.

Cloud laughed again, “I’ll be back.”

Tifa nodded, then closed her eyes. Cloud gently lowered her to the ground, and stood up.

“How sweet,” mocked Sephiroth, “maybe I should kill HER before your eyes this time.”

Cloud quickly spun around, his eyes glowing with fury, “you...freaks...have done enough to us. Time for you to leave us forever.”

Sephiroth grinned, nodded, as raised his sword, “come then Cloud. Let us finish this fight.”

Cloud was beyond feelings now. His cold warrior’s heart had kicked in. These bastards had dared to hurt HIS wife.

“Now your madness ends. The line must be drawn here,” said Cloud prophetically.

Cloud drew his sword, and ran forth to meet his destiny...

Author’s Note: I was having a little trouble with the last couple of fight scenes. I mean, I had everything planned out, but I was falling over myself not to repeat anything. Anyway, I liked the direction I was heading in towards the end there. Oh, you are so not expecting what I am going to do next. Heck, I didn’t even expect what I was going to do next until a little while ago, one of those last minute changes...

Keep reading, and as always, thanks.


Chapter 37

Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic