Your Promised Land

By Kimetara

Disclaimer: FFVII is not owned by me.

          *Where...?*  Clear emerald eyes flickered open, to be met with hazy green.

          *Am I...?*

          Welcome to the Lifestream, Cetra.

          Your Promised Land.

          *Promised Land?  But then...where are the flowers?  The happiness?  The comfort?*

          At her thoughts, wisps of the translucent warmth surrounding her swirled, in and out, mists being blown in a gentle breeze before fading away.

          The mists cleared, bringing forth the land Aeris had, for all her life, imagined.


          Sought after.

          * many flowers...  Pure air.  Forests.  Animals.  ...people?*

          * that you, Dad?*

          Aeris stepped out of the Lifestream and into her Promised Land.

          Near the sea, a dark figure stood.  Strands of silver fluttered through the wind, a black cape whirled around his feet as he looked past the horizon.

          The sun had just set, and the brilliant watercolors of the rainbow stained the sky.  Twilight was quickly coming, and the chill sea breeze soothed his soul.

          It was all he had ever truly wanted...away from hatred.  Away from anger.  Away from greatness, and the responsibilities it brought with it.

          Away from expectations, away from demands, away...away from all.


          He wanted peace.

          Didn't he have it?

          *This is...the Promised Land.*

          And yet...and yet...

          Peace still evaded the mind of Sephiroth.

          Far away

          In the distance

          Past her clear meadows, her lost loved ones

          Aeris caught sight of a lone figure.




          He is not right, Cetra, the Planet whispered to Aeris.  For him, the Promised Land is lacking.

          It is not right...  Aeris could feel the Planet's uneasiness.  For a moment, her Promised Land rippled.  The flowers were no longer as clear, as sweet smelling.  The air seemed to gain a slight taint.  Her companions shifted, their outlines misty.

          Then all was back to before.

          The woman closed her eyes.  *Even now?  Even now, you call on me to save you?*


          *Oh, all right.*  Keeping her eyes on the dark man, Aeris stepped forward.

          Soon, she found herself at her killer's side.  Vaguely, Aeris noticed the landscape had shifted - from her field full of flowers and love, to a deserted seashore at twilight.

          *His Promised Land...*

          "It's not right."  He spoke, his voice a deep, troubled velvet.

          "It's not?" she replied, unsurprised he knew it was her beside him.  Here, all was known about everybody, and all was accepted.

          Sephiroth shook his head, gazing out at the ocean, soothingly sweeping in and out of the sands.  The coolness of the water penetrated his boots, the breeze brought a new freshness...and almost, almost, he lost his discontent.

          But his mind struggled to keep hold.  *Something is not right!* it screamed.

          *Why?* he asked himself.  *Why can't I just be happy?*

          *So something is not quite never is.*

          *But this is the Promised Land!* it cried.  *Promised Land...*

          Sephiroth shook his head.  What was it that would not leave him alone...?

          "It's an illusion."  His voice shattered the peacefulness of the starlight, and once more, the Promised Land rippled.  The air grew humid, the sands became unsteady, the ocean, in its deep, pure glory, gained a corrupted greenness.

          And in a moment, all was back to before.

          But he knew.

          He had found it.

          "It's an illusion..." he repeated, mostly to himself.

          "So what if it is?"

          Sephiroth turned, startled.  "You...don't care?  If this is all fake?"

          Aeris looked at him strangely.  Her eyes, translucent sparkling emeralds, gazed upon the dark man with a hint of...pity?

          "I understand," she mused.

          "Understand?" Sephiroth pressed.

          "Your discontent."  Aeris bent down, allowing the cool ocean water to flow over her hand.  "Normal humans don't see the illusion.  We Cetras are content with it.  You..."

          "Are neither," he finished for her, no trace of bitterness in his voice.  Sephiroth turned his eyes back to the ocean.  Eyes the same color as the Lifestream...

          "It's not all fake," she spoke at last, standing up, holding something in her hand.  "It was created by the Lifestream, yes...and what is something to us, is another thing to another...but it isn't fake.  It's a world built upon our dreams and wishes."  She seemed to be talking to the object she was holding.

          "It's a world of illusions," he stated.

          "'s real.  It's as real as we believe it to be," she countered softly.

          "But if I wished...if I wished for it to change, it would.  If, say, I wanted to be near a desert than an ocean, then I would."

          "If you truly wanted that," she agreed.  "It's your Promised Land.  It is all you wish it to be."

          "It's not real."  Again, the land rippled, this time, the effects lasting longer than its previous shifts.

          Aeris sighed, causing Sephiroth to turn toward her.  She watched him carefully, seeing the turmoil in his eyes.

          *Poor man...* she pitied.  *Can't he just be content?*  "Here."  Aeris held her closed hand to him.  Hesitantly, Sephiroth reached out.

          Aeris placed the object she had picked up in his palm, before removing her hand.  Sephiroth could feel it moving slightly, tiny legs prickling against his skin.

          It was a sand crab.  Sephiroth watched as it scrambled around in his hand, a slight smile tugging at his features.

          "Can you tell me..." she spoke gently, "can you tell me that isn't real?"  She paused, waiting to see if he had an answer.  When he didn't reply, Aeris turned back to her own Promised Land.

          Sephiroth saw her leave in the corner of his eye, her form growing steadily fainter in the distance.  He returned his attention to the small creature in his palm.

          *Sand crabs...did I wish for sand crabs?*  Perhaps...what was created, was created for him, and could be changed at his will...but it was still real.  It was not only what he had wished for, but what it was.

          Musing, Sephiroth placed the tiny animal back on the seashore, watching it quickly burrow beneath the sand.

          And he felt peace.

AN: Mmmm...this was a bit of an experiment with my writing style.  I wanted to see if I could write more poetically, I guess, since in my other fics, the tone is more brash.  I'm really sorry, I don't think it got anywhere close.  *sigh*  But please review!

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