A Promise Kept Chapter 14
" Aeris she would not want to see you like this." (Vincent)
Sephiroth stood alone on a cliff overlooking the canyon, dwelled in his thoughts.
Aeris He wanted to shout, to cry, to scream out her name and will her to come back, but in the end, he knew it was no use.
Aeris was gone. Nothing could stop the bleeding of his heart, nothing could stop the grief that tore at his soul, nothing nothing could rid him of the ice in his blood.
Yes, the ice, the cold that circulated his body mercilessly. Once he thought that was how he would live out the rest of his life, but then, he met her. She chased away the cold with her soft emerald eyes, and filled his heart with a warmth he had never felt before
And now it was gone.
He didn't know he would miss her this much. He wanted her warmth no, he needed it. Strange that he was still alive, when little by little his whole entire being was turning into ice.
Suddenly he heard footsteps behind him. Sephiroth's eyes turned cold as he turned his head and regarded the intruder.
The other man nodded, and came up to his side quietly. "It is painful, isn't it?"
"To lose the one you love."
Sephiroth felt his heart gave a painful jerk. Angrily he snapped at Vincent: "What do you know about anything?"
"Believe me I know " Vincent turned his gaze toward the horizon and said in a near whisper, "After all, I lost your mother "
" " Sephiroth didn't know what to say to that. It was still strange to think of this man, who looked about his age, to be his mother's lover. But he couldn't deny the truth in Vincent's words.
Slowly he exhaled.
"I love her." Sephiroth admitted quietly, his voice suddenly full of self-loathing, "And it's all my fault that she died."
"Don't think that way. No one could have prevented that, not even you "
"But don't you see? It was ALL my fault!" Sephiroth shouted angrily, clenching his fists, "If I didn't fall for Jenova's trap five years ago, if I prevented Cloud from giving the Black Materia to Jenova, if I kept a closer watch on her, she wouldn't have died!"
His voice started to tremble: "I promised to protect her but failed She didn't deserve that. If anyone deserved to die, it was I, not her "
Vincent suddenly felt a sense of déjà vu. He knew the feeling, all too clearly, because this was exactly the way he felt when Lucrecia died. This was exactly the same thought that tortured him mercilessly day and night
Finally he replied: "Aeris she would not want to see you like this."
" I know." At the mention of her name, Sephiroth calmed down a bit, and then, a sad smile full of remembrance smoothed his harsh expression; "She was always worrying about other people "
The innocent angel who walked this earth, so fragile yet so strong She tried to shield the world from harm she tried to protect him.
Sephiroth gazed at the stars above: "Tomorrow I will defeat Jenova, as Aeris wished."
" I want to see her again."
"I've made my decision." He finally met Vincent in the eyes, and said quietly, "Without her, this world means nothing to me."
He walked away then, not bothering to hear Vincent's reply.
Vincent gazed at his back, yet again he felt helpless against fate. He did not want to see Sephiroth die. No, Sephiroth is Lucrecia's son after all, her blood coursed through his veins. But
The look in Sephiroth's eyes said it all. The proud warrior would rather end his own existence than let the world witness his misery for a lifetime. And he was powerless to do anything to prevent that.
Vincent sighed. Looking up to the heavens, he found himself doing something he had not done for a long time.
He prayed for a miracle.
Sephiroth was walking toward the cave structures where the group stayed for the night, when he noticed someone sitting on the stone. He stopped in his track and sighed in annoyance, and turned another direction.
But whoever it was on the steps already saw him, and spoke up in a somewhat quiet voice. But with his extraordinary sensors, it was loud enough for him to hear.
"Ho ho ho You seem troubled, young man. Come here and take a seat."
It was Bugenhagen.
Sephiroth might have simply ignored him and walked away if it was any other person, but he respected this old man's wisdom and knowledge. Hesitating for a moment, he finally obliged, sitting down on the steps without a word.
"Sephiroth, is it? Well, young man, do you know what is the strongest force in the universe?"
Sephiroth blinked. He had not expected such a question to be thrown at him.
"It's the human heart." Without waiting for his reply, Bugenhagen answered his own question, "You know what's a heart? It's not simply the lump that beats and pumps blood through your arteries No, a heart is much more than that. A heart swells when you are happy, contrasts when you are sad. It bleeds when you are angry, and it bears wounds when you are hurt. It is the essence that makes you you."
Bugenhagen turned to look at him then: "Do you understand what I'm saying? A heart has no shape, no boundaries, and knows no limit A person strives for his heart's desire, and if he tries hard enough, it will become reality "
Sephiroth felt the tiniest ray of hope entering his dark void: "What are you saying?"
Bugenhagen did not answer that. Instead he smiled and asked a question of his own: "What was your friend doing before she died?"
Sephiroth lowered his gaze: "She was praying for Holy "
"Then pray with her." The old man stood up and looked at him in the eyes, "No one is totally helpless against anything. You have found something that your heart desired, don't repress the yearning, set it free You never know the outcome until you get there, Sephiroth."
With that, Bugenhagen went back into the caves, leaving Sephiroth deep in thoughts.
Pray with Aeris for Holy? What did the old man mean? Did he mean that something would happen when Holy is being set free?
Sephiroth gazed into the horizon. Unconsciously, his grabbed the hilt of Masamune tightly.
Morning came, the group bid Bugenhagen farewell and prepared to head for the Northern Crater. Red XIII was leading the way out of the canyon. Just when they were close to the exit, he suddenly stopped in his track, and so did the rest of Avalanche.
"What the " Barret muttered in surprise.
A huge airship stood quietly in the fields, its metallic body bathed in the glorious golden light of the raising sun.
"&%$#*! That's "
"Highwind, Shinra's largest military aircraft." Sephiroth finished the sentence Cid was struggling to get out.
Cloud reached for his sword: "What do they want from us this time?"
As if hearing his question, a man dressed in dark suits appeared on the deck. He waved to them and then descended from the ship, walking toward them. A woman followed him closely. When they came closer, Sephiroth was the first one to recognize them. His eyes narrowed: "That's Reeve."
"The head of the Urban Development?" Tifa looked a bit startled, "What is he doing over here?"
Red XIII cocked his head: "Who's the woman? She look familiar."
"What? &%$%$#@%^!!!" Cid almost jumped at the mention of that name, clearly he was still very pissed about his last encounter with the woman.
"Cid, Calm down! Let's see what they want from us first." Tifa tried to restrain the pilot who was lunging forward.
"^%$%! I'll skin that %$#@ bitch alive and then ask %$#@ questions later!" Cid struggled against Tifa and Barret.
"Enough!" Cloud growled, "This is not the time for nonsense!"
"Non sense?! &^%$ " Cid's roaring suddenly ceased. Everyone turned to Sephiroth, who had just cast Mystify on him.
Sephiroth merely shrugged and put the materia away, not saying a word.
"Good thinking." Cloud complimented in a low voice, surprising them both. Somehow, they had been working more like a team now, since the lost of Aeris.
After a few moments, Sephiroth replied evenly: "Thank you."
Cloud nodded. As Tifa whispered to Cid, telling him that he better cool down or they are going to ask Sephiroth to keep up the spell for as long as eternity. The rest of the team turned their attention to the approaching Shinra department heads.
Reeve was good looking, to the surprise of Avalanche. They thought with the exception of Turks, all Shinra employees either looked like Hojo or Palmer, both very repulsive to the eyes. However Reeve was a surprise to them.
The man stopped in front of them and spoke in a deep voice: "Avalanche, I presume?"
Cloud nodded once, looking at him and Shera each in turn: "What do you want?"
"We came to bring you a proposition." Reeve looked at the group, Cloud and Sephiroth in particular: "We know you are going against that alien creature Jenova, and we offer to take you to the Northern Crater, and defect the force shield there."
Cloud raised a brow: "Force shield?"
"I guess you don't know then. Jenova constructed a magical sphere around the Northern Crater. Ordinary people can't even get close to it, and bullets won't penetrate it either." Shera spoke up calmly, as if she never met them in her life before, much less nearly killed them with a bomb.
Tifa knew this would only make Cid angrier, so she quickly distracted him with a question: "If bullets won't work, then how are you going to defect the shield?"
"We plan to blast it with Mako cannon." She answered, "That was what we used to defect the shields around the Temple of Ancients."
Cloud's eyes flashed in anger and pain at the remembrance of what happened: "If you hadn't done that, none of this would have happened! When are you ever gonna learn?"
Shera glared back at him coolly: "I was only following orders."
Reeve quickly cut in before an argument could start: "Please, this is not the time to place blames. Our time is limited. We must destroy that creature before it's too late."
Unexpectedly, Yuffie spoke before Cloud could: "Is this your idea, or Rufus's? If that bastard is involved, count me out."
Reeve bowed his head momentarily: "The President does not know about it yet He is also looking for a way to destroy Meteor, but he refuse to seek help from outside the Shinra."
Barret snorted: "Then why do you come to us?"
"Because I believe you are our best bet for survival now. We need Cid Highwind's navigation skills to blast the shield, and you have some of the finest fighters on the face of this Planet." Reeve replied honestly, "Please, I beg you to consider."
Avalanche looked at one another, and then most of them looked at Cloud. He cleared his throat: "If this is a trick "
"I wouldn't dare to do that to you Mr. Strife or General Sephiroth. I do not have a death wish." Reeve assured him quickly.
Cloud nodded: "Alright then, fly us to the Northern Crater."
When they boarded the Highwind, they threw Cid into the control room and dismissed the spell on him. Taking control of an airship like Highwind made him calm down considerably, although a string of curses can be heard from where everyone was seated. Most of the more rich and creative ones were directed at Shera, with one or two randomly thrown at Sephiroth. However, the two subjects of his abuse chose to ignore him completely.
Suddenly the airship rocked violently, nearly sending everyone flying out of their seats.
"Hey! What the hell was that for?" Yuffie complained and turned to check her weapon, the Conformer beside her seat. She casually took a glance out the window, and then completely froze: "OH MY GAWD!"
The rest of the team saw it too. It was a giant robot-like creature flying in the air, coming toward them.
"Shit! Better destroy whatever that is, before it hits us!" Shera grabbed for a machine gun.
Sephiroth did not say a word. He simply grabbed Masamune and went up, followed by Cloud, and then the rest of the team with the exception of Yuffie.
The young ninja was completely stunned out of her wits, she simply sat there next to the window, muttering to herself: "Oh my gawd, there's a monster, there's a monster. Oh my gawd "
Vincent sighed and hauled her up with his good hand: "It's too dangerous to sit here, come along."
Up on the deck, a fight already started. Cloud and Sephiroth slashed at the creature, Barret was shooting it frantically with his gun arm, while Tifa and Red XIII used magic.
Finally, when the creature was weakened enough, Cloud jumped high in the air and shouted the final limit break that he recently acquired: "Omnislash!"
When he was done, all that was left of the creature was a pile of rubbish that slowly disintegrated into dust and was blown away.
Sephiroth stared at Cloud in surprise. The young man had grown so much compared to five years ago. He must admit that he was quiet impressed by that powerful limit break.
Cloud sheathed his sword. He stood here, his shoulders heaved as he tried to catch his breath. Suddenly, a purplish light gathered in front of him. Instinctively he reached out his hand, and a sword materialized in his hand.
"What the " Cloud looked down in surprise. The sword was very well crafted, the size, weight and shape suited him perfectly. But the strangest part was that the sword seemed to be radiating a powerful aura.
Sephiroth spoke quietly: "That creature must be a creation of the Planet. This is a holy sword, Strife."
"What do I do with it?"
Sephiroth shot him an impatient glance: "What else? Use it. You earned it, it's yours."
"Is this how you acquired your Masamune?" Tifa asked curiously.
Sephiroth did not answer. He only gazed ahead as the ship regained its course: "We are almost at the Crater." He spoke quietly as the force field became visible.
Shera loaded the small cannon onto the deck and with Cid's excellent navigation, she managed to blast Jenova's shield rather quickly. The Highwind landed near the mouth of the crater.
Reeve stayed on Highwind, but Shera insisted on coming with them, and the team did not object to that. After all, what they were about to face was Jenova, a creature who existed for more than two thousand years. The more people they had on their side, the better.
"Tell me, where the f_ck did all these &^%$ monsters came from?" Cid cursed as he stabbed a Dark Dragon violently with his spear.
"That ^%$# alien probably summoned them." Shera replied coolly as she fired a few bullets into the monster's brain, ending its life.
Yuffie retrieved her Conformer and looked at her weird: "Don't you ever, like, get nervous?"
"No." was the emotionless reply before Shera walked ahead, along with the rest of the group, into the depth of the crater.
They encountered some more monsters, two of them were immensely powerful and unlike anything they've ever seen before, probably mutated from Jenova's cells.
Soon, the reached the heart of the Crater. As soon as they were there, a voice greeted them: "Welcome, foolish low-life creatures. You will have the honor to witness my ascend into God-hood."
"What the " Yuffie gaped at the huge figure towering over them, her eyes threatened to join her feet on the ground, "Am I dreaming, or is that really the gay Turk?"
"He mutated." Vincent replied simply.
The pale creature in front of them was at least over twenty feet tall. His face was deformed and unrecognizable except a pair of frightening silver eyes. He had two gargoyle-like wings sprouting out of his back, and his lower half of the body looked like a plate, making him hover in mid-air.
Sephiroth narrowed his Mako eyes, then suddenly lunged forward with Masamune, taking a first strike.
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