Final Fantasy VII: 25 Years After the Fact Chapter 3

A Favor Returned

By The Ionic Butterfly

Amadeus punched his pillow and turned onto his side. His cot beside his sister's bed was comfortable, but he just couldn't sleep. He was happy his sister had snuck him into her dorm room rather than him having to stay at the hotel with his family. He was still upset that "something had come up back at HQ" with Reeve, and they would have to leave the next day. Cait Sith had told him it had something to do with a new discovery. He knew from hearing that statement that a trip to see Dr. Brierley would be coming up soon. He wondered what new theory he'd be tested for this time.

He stared at the ceiling. He heard Aeris sigh and turn over in her bed. He sat up and looked at her. "Are you awake?" he asked quietly when he thought he saw her eyes open.

"Nope," Aeris answered. "I'm asleep and dreaming."

"What are you dreaming about?" Deus asked grinning.

"The lady in pink. As always," Aeris muttered.

"Oh," he said.

"Why aren't you asleep?" Aeris asked.

"Too many things on my mind," Deus admitted.

Aeris stayed quiet for a moment. Finally, she became impatient. "Talk to me, you know you want to."

"Yeah, I guess I do. I just don't know where to start," he answered.

"Well, what's bugging you? Mom? Dad? Tomas? Are the girls finally taking a liking to you?" Aeris asked.

Deus grinned a bit and made a buzzer sound. "Eeeegh! Sorry, none of the above!"

Aeris sat up in her bed and scooted over. She patted the edge for Deus to sit on.

He sighed and threw the blankets back, and sat on her bed. "Do you think I am him?"



"Don't even say that name around me anymore, it gives me the creeps. No, I don't think you are him." Aeris hugged her teddy bear tighter at the mention of the man's name. Lately she had been having some awful nightmares fearing his return.

Deus knew she knew about everything he was, maybe even more than he knew himself. She knew everything except for the Turks. "I never really thought I was, Aeris, but lately things have been changing. And it's scaring me," he admitted.

"What kind of changes?" Aeris asked, cocking her head to one side.

"Just... Stupid things. I get urges to do mean things. I kicked a dog the other day for no reason," he said.

Aeris laughed. "When you get an urge to kill someone, then get worried. Boys kick dogs, Deus. It's part of growing up."

"I knew you'd say that. I've noticed people staring at me more often. Explain that."

"Where at? In your classes?"

"Yeah, but anywhere I go," Deus said.

"Is it girls?"

"What does that have to do with it?" Deus asked, nearly annoyed.

"You're 12, Deus. You're going to experiencing a lot of changes. And the girls are going to look at you a lot more now. Hasn't dad talked to you about this?"

"About what?"

"Becoming a man, Deus."

"He handed me a razor and told me to be careful with it, and wait for marriage. That's about it though."

"Geez. I can't talk to you about this. It's too weird. But I will get Tomas to talk to you," Aeris said.

"That's okay. The changes I mean don't really have anything to do with that."

"What other changes do you mean then?"

"Aeris... I can't explain it. I just feel different," he muttered, lying back on her bed. "And so alone. I hate it in Neo-Midgar. I want to live here with you. The rest of the family hates me."

"I wish you could, too. But they don't hate you."

"Like I said, things have changed. It's so pointless. Every morning when I walk to the breakfast table everyone hushes, or I actually catch them talking about me. Tomas brings home good grades from school and everyone goes on and on about how smart he is. I bring home better grades, and nothing is said to me but 'Keep up the good work.' It's so stupid and I hate it all. I'm sick and tired of feeling pain when all I'm asking is to just live my life. And like you said, I'm only 12. It's gonna get worse, Aeris. I just know it is. Cause the older I get, the more they'll believe I am him. That means they will be harder on me. I can't take it." Deus laid his arm over his eyes so Aeris could not see the few tears he was shedding.

"Sounds like you've become a bit more emotional, too," Aeris said, frowning. She stayed quiet for a moment because she knew Deus needed a moment to recover from his outburst.

"I'm scared, Aeris. I feel so utterly alone."

That made Aeris get teary-eyed. She touched his arm and he quickly sat up and put his arms around her, burying his face in her shoulder. She held him as he cried. She had gotten used to him doing this. It was as if he always let himself come undone around her. It was a bit longer this time though than usual before his sobbing and shaking stopped.

When it finally subsided, Deus pulled away from his sister. He wiped his eyes and apologized. "I'm sorry. I really am. You're the only one who'll listen to me unload like that though."

Aeris reached up and pushed a silver strand of hair from his face. "I know. And I love you. I understand that you feel alone. But I tell you what. Seriously, do you want to stay here with me?"

"More than anything in the world." His heart skipped a beat with hope.

"I can't do anything right now. But I've had this idea. See, next semester Janica and I was talking about getting an apartment. If you think that you could do home school I could help you. But you'd have to get a job and help out with the rent. I'm sure mom and dad would go for it." {Author's Note: Don't flame me with Child Labor Laws. Cloud did go off to join SOLDIER around the age of 14, so obviously this world has none.}

"You're serious?"

"Yep. Sure am. I'm sure Janica wouldn't mind. She seems to like you. No, I mean really like you. I'd have to find a way to keep her from corrupting you, but still. I am serious."

"You are the greatest..." he said, and hugged her again.

"Do you think you could handle home schooling? And hold down a good enough job to help with the bills?"

"And I could cook and keep the place clean."

"Atta boy. I'll talk to mom and dad during the semester break. Okay?"

"I can last a few more months like this, I think. Now I'm happy!"

"Good. So lay down and go to sleep. And try to stop being so negative."

Deus kissed his sister's cheek and hopped back down to his cot. He smiled as he pulled his blankets back over him and settled down. He suddenly remembered something.

"And be careful with Lucas."

"Why do you say that?"

"He told me what he is. Just watch out for his potential to be what they think I am. Sorry to say that in such a confusing manner, but I can't say his name anymore," Deus answered.

"Oh. Yeah. Of course," Aeris stammered. She was still in awe of the magic herself.

Deus closed his eyes as he heard his sister start to hum the Gainsborough Ballad that she liked so much. She had hummed it to him while rocking him to sleep as a baby. And it always put him to sleep when he heard her humming...


(One Week Later)

Deus sat in his hospital garb on a check-up table. He was humming some song stuck in his head that had been on the radio as his mom had drove him over to the doctor's office. He was kicking his legs lightly drumming his heels against the wooden table base. He was proud because this was the first so-called check-up that his mom had not insisted she wait in the examining room with him. She was in the waiting room. He was all alone in the room with no other noise save for his singing, his drumming, and the light humming of the air conditioner keeping it freezing in the room.

He hadn't had time to figure out why they wanted to examine him yet. He had no idea what had been thought of to prove he was Sephiroth. HQ had changed a lot of their codes on their database and he had not yet had the time to sit down to crack them. He'd been too busy actually studying for his tests at school. He stopped his humming when he heard the warning knock at the door.

The pretty nurse walked into the room smiling at Deus. He always called her the pretty nurse because she always smiled and tried to get him not to be nervous as opposed to the other two nurses who looked like they used to work for Shinra a long time ago and never smiled. Her name was Kathleen. Her face and body wasn't all that special, but Deus found her pretty merely for the fact that she smiled a lot. And maybe the fact that she gave him a sucker whether he yelped or not if given a shot had something to do with it, too. "How are you feeling today, Amadeus?" she asked, setting up a thermometer.

"Pretty good. How about yourself?"

"I'm doing good. It is a little hectic here today because Nurse Thelma is out, but at least they are assigning me to the peaceable patients like you," she said, smiling a bit more. "Open up. Say ahh."

Deus obeyed and she put the thermometer in his mouth. She began asking him the yes or no questionnaire he always had to answer. He answered most by shaking his head no. He stopped when she asked, "Have you had any strange urges to do things abnormal?"

He thought of the time he had kicked that poor dog. He shook his head no since Aeris had said he was just growing up. "You hesitated," she said, and the thermometer beeped. She took it from his mouth.

"I was thinking because it is a new question," Deus said.

"Ah. Well, Dr. Brierley is going to be here shortly. I'll be back when he's done with you. Would you like a sucker when he's done?"

Deus grinned and nodded. "Grape, please."

Kathleen smiled. "I'll see if I can filch one for you." She left him alone in the room again.

He considered the last question she had asked. Aeris had said the urges were just part of becoming a man. But wouldn't the doctor know that he had those urges? If so, why ask the question? He sighed and began chewing his thumbnail. And why hadn't Kathleen pricked his finger for a blood sample? They always took a sample. He wished more than ever he knew why he was here.

After a few minutes, the doctor knocked on the door and came in. Dr. Richard Brierley had been his doctor since the day his mother knew she was pregnant with him. He had worked in Mideel for a while before relocating to Midgar. Deus knew HQ had paid Brierley handsomely to do so, after the fact that he had been injected with Jenova cells. Money could make men do anything. Dr. Brierley had been one of the top scientists working on the Jenova Project after Sephiroth had... defaulted. That was why HQ and Reeve especially wanted Brierley. He was simply one of the best. Deus just knew he was his prize patient, even if he wasn't allowed to brag too much.

Dr. Brierley was in his usual white lab coat, black pants, black shoes, and stethoscope around his neck. He had let his brown hair grow out a bit since Deus had last seen him. But his eyes seemed darker than usual. He looked... tired. Was this new information keeping the old guy up at night?

"How are you today, Amadeus?" he asked, looking at the replies to the questions.

"I'm doing all right," he said through his thumb.

"Are you nervous?" the doctor asked.

"No. Should I be?" Deus replied.

"Noooo, but you are biting your thumbnail rather intently. Have we developed a taste for nails?" Dr. Brierley asked, smiling a bit.

Amadeus jerked his thumb from his mouth. "No, sir. I just..." He stopped and just grinned.

"Ah. You grace me with a rare sign of happiness. What are you so happy about?" he asked.

"I got to see my sister last week. She was in a play. She had the lead and she was so awesome," Deus said.

"Oh. She goes to the Southern Temple College, doesn't she? The one that was built over the Temple Ruins?" He looked up at Amadeus.

Deus had to fight hard to keep a laugh from coming out. Was that it? Did they really think that the Ruins held some sort power still? Did they think magical mystical forces had somehow warped him? Amadeus was sure that is what it was. That and Lucas' shoelaces. Of course. It had to be.

"Yeah, I think so." Deus felt like teasing. "Isn't that what the Black Materia was? The actual Temple?"

Dr. Brierley stared at him for a moment. "Do you really believe in all that bull malarkey about the Ancients and Sephiroth and the Black Materia?"

"Like you don't," Deus thought. "I think there has to be some truth in it. My parents wouldn't lie to me. Would they?"

It was the doctor's turn to stifle a laugh. Then the exam took a turn for the usual bit. His pulse and heart rate was checked, along with his eyes and throat. His ears were stared into and his kneecaps hit to check reflexes. Deus sat quietly through it all pondering how successful Aeris' proposition would be once Dr. Brierley was taken into account. When that was finished, he expected to be handed a cup to pee in. It never came. Brierley left him saying he would be right back.

Deus became nervous then. Maybe he just forgot the cup. Soon Dr. Brierley returned with Nurse Kathleen. No cup. He looked to Kathleen and she smiled. "We're gonna have to stick you, big boy," she said. The name big boy always came out when there was something painful involved.

He looked to see a syringe hooked up to a blood bag. "What the heck do you need all that blood for!?"

"Amadeus, calm down, okay? We're afraid the cells may be multiplying at a higher rate than needed. And if that is true, we need to so something to stop it as soon as possible. We need enough blood to test this out thoroughly. So just calm down, this will be over with sooner than you think. We're only taking a pint," Dr. Brierley said calmly in his relaxing tone.

Kathleen had already set to work, helping Deus lay back on the table and propping up his head. She gave me a squeeze toy to hold in his hand and tied a bandage around his arm rather tightly. "Hold your breath," she warned once she had found a vein and cleaned his elbow crease well with sterile fluids.

Deus cried out as the needle entered him. He really hated needles. Gosh, it stung so badly. He closed his eyes and whimpered. "Keep your eyes open, Deus," Kathleen said, laying her hand on his forehead gently. "It's okay, it's not that bad." She smiled. Then some of the pain subsided.

Soon it was over with. The needle was pulled out and again it stung. After the bleeding stopped, Kathleen placed a bandage with little psychedelic designs on it over the already-sore wound. Dr. Brierley took the blood bag and left with it. He looked up at Kathleen and she smiled. She pulled four grape suckers from her pocket and handed them all to Deus. "That's for being such a big boy," she said, winking.

He had to smile. "That's it. You can put your clothes back on and skedaddle now. We'll call you if anything is wrong or we need to see you again." She left him alone to change back into his clothes. He did so slowly, feeling a bit dizzy from the blood loss. He stuck one of the suckers in his mouth. Then he wandered into the waiting room to see his mom reading a magazine. "Ready?" he asked her. He even gave her one of his suckers.

Tifa nodded and they left the office.


Richard Brierley sat clutching the icebox holding the blood bag inside it. Sure, he could have gotten anyone's Type B blood, but he was sure that Strife boy's blood would be best. He looked out the window and to his dismay, found that they were no where near his house yet. Kathleen and Venusa, two of his nurses, sat opposite from him in the limousine that he had called. Venusa was on the phone with Thelma, the nurse he had left at his house that morning.

"How is he?... Yes, we have it and are on our way... I think it will have to be soon... All right." Venusa hung up the phone and looked to the doctor. "Thelma says he is fine. We have at least three hours to transfuse with no harm."

Brierley nodded, but he didn't want to take any chances. He lowered the window dividing them from the driver and said, "Please hurry. I'll pay you triple for any tickets you may get, and double your fare."

As soon as the window was lifted, the limo began to move considerably faster. Brierley closed his eyes. He was getting a headache. Why did returning a favor have to prove so dangerous and time-consuming?

Soon they were on the outskirts of Midgar. His mansion would not be far from there. He had it built in an exact replica of the old Shinra Mansion, merely because he admired the architecture. HQ had paid for the building of it, and had bought the land for him. It was his mansion on his land. And he loved it dearly.

The driver pulled up the gate and stopped. He got out and opened the door and Brierley let the nurses out first. He stepped out and handed the driver $150 gil. "Will that do, sir?"

"Oh yes, sir. It will do just fine," the driver said smiling. He hopped back into the limo and left.

"Let's get this in him," Brierley said, opening his gate and heading inside. The two nurses followed obediently. They went to the room with the hidden door to the library. The only changes in the blueprints had occurred there and what lay beneath. Stairs no longer led the way down. Brierley had it replaced with an elevator that stayed locked unless you had one of the four keys. He held one, and each of his nurses held one. The library itself was the same, but an extra lab room had been built. It was rather large, and it lie behind a secret panel of books.

As they entered the lab room, Thelma stood up. "He's doing fine, Doctor. His heart rate has slowed down a bit, but it is still steady," she informed him.

He thrust the icebox at Thelma. "Get it in him. Now," he instructed with no room to be argued with. Thelma, Venusa, and Kathleen set about hooking the blood bag up to the man lying on the bed. Brierley looked at the man lying there, still in awe that he had been here for over 13 years. Of course, nursing him back to health had taken that long. And soon the time would come to wake him. It was getting to hard to keep him alive in the state he was in.

The man lay in an induced coma on the bed. He wore nothing but a pair of black slacks and about twenty needles and patches. An oxygen mask covered his mouth and nose. It was a sad state for such a wonderful creation to be in. His long silver hair had been pulled into a braid rather than having to cut it off. His muscles had most likely weakened with years of unuse. Other than that, his body looked the same as it had 25 years before when he had defaulted.

But Brierley had cured him of that. He had spent years trying to reverse the hold that the Jenova cells had on him. He was certain he had accomplished it. It still didn't add up that his nose bled a lot, and when it bled, there was substantial blood loss. Amadeus' blood would help with that, as often as he needed it. The kid was nothing more than a guinea pig.

"There we go. He's taking it, Doctor," Venusa said, touching the man's forehead. "We will have to wake him soon. He cannot possibly carry on like this without retardation or deterioration. He's strong, yes, but still. I think he is at his limits."

"So he is," Brierley muttered. "So he is." He wondered what Reeve would do to him if he found that he had somehow brought the project gone wrong named Sephiroth back. Reeve was so gullible he would believe anything. Brierley needed only to produce a theory and Reeve would chase it down, putting innocent people under suspicion. Reeve certainly had eaten the particle concentration theory up. Paranoia was a wonderful ally. But Reeve would never understand that if it had not been for the Jenova cells poisoning Sephiroth's body, he would never have been a bad guy. He had been a great man at one time. But Reeve would never see that.

Brierley remembered that good man. It had been many many years before, during the war with Wutai when he was only training as a doctor. He had signed up with Shinra to fight because it would be great experience to be trained on the battlefield. However, there was one day he had gotten a bit too close for comfort.

He had been led out onto the battlefield to pull wounded SOLDIERS from the field. He was checking one man with a wound to the stomach to see if he was even alive when he felt a gun to his head. "You're fixing to die now. Tell me how afraid you are. Beg for your life!" the clearly Wutanese soldier said.

Brierley was so scared he could not even begin to babble. He began to cry instead, and the man behind him heard this and laughed. Then there was a swift whoosh of wind behind him. Suddenly the head of the Wutanese soldier rolled in front of him. The gun fell from his head. He wasn't sure whether to scream or what.

Slowly, he turned his head to see what lay behind him. A man with long silver hair, emerald eyes, and the longest bloody sword Brierley had ever seen in his life stood behind him looking at the remains of the soldier. "Sadistic wretch," he spat. Then he looked to Brierley. "Are you a doctor?"

Brierley nodded very slowly. "Help that man. He's a good man," he said, kneeling beside him.

"I... I was... checking for a pulse when I was interrupted," Brierley stammered. He placed his hand to the man's neck. "Faint, but it is there. I need to move him somewhere where I can get better equipment."

The man in black placed his sword in its sheath and gathered the dying man in his arms. "You owe me a favor for saving your life. Heal this man as that favor," he said. He moved him to one of the abandoned medical tents that had been set up. "His name is Louis Gainsborough. He's been a very brave man, fighting only to get the war over with so he can return home to his loving wife."

Brierley was busy hooking the man up to machines and trying to get the blood loss to stop. "And your name is...?"

"Sephiroth. SOLDIER First Class. And you are doctor...?"

"Intern Richard Brierley. I've heard quite a bit about you."

"Most likely."

Suddenly, despite Brierley's efforts, the dying man's body began to spasm, and then the slow beep beep of the heart monitor gave way to a flatline. Sephiroth looked at the machine and shook his head. "You still owe me a favor, Brierley." Then he left.

Brierley shook his head and looked at Sephiroth lying on the table. Sephiroth was a good man at heart. It was only the cells that made him go mad. And now that Brierley was sure he was rid of those cells, it was time for the wondrous creation to rise again. The favor would be returned.

"Shall I mark a date down, sir?" Kathleen asked.

"Yes. In 30 minutes. I want him to wake with fresh blood in his veins."

"30 minutes!? But, Doctor, that hardly gives us time to get things ready!"

"Nothing has to be ready. All he needs is the serum to wake him. Nothing more. Well, maybe a damn good explanation, too," Brierley said. Of course, his nurses didn't even know how he had gotten Sephiroth. It was too unbelievable for most minds. But a mind as intelligent as Sephiroth's would believe. He was alive; he'd have to believe!

"Yes, we'd all like to hear that," Venusa said.

"I'm afraid I can't let you know. It's really top secret," Brierley said, rubbing his chin. The information would be too dangerous in their hands. It was a lot to realize that all worlds were in chaos because of the devices he had used to save Sephiroth from Cloud Strife. It would be too much on the minds of these ladies.

He sat down in his chair. He looked to Kathleen and she was looking nervously at the man on the table. "Do you think all our hard work has not been a success, Kathleen?"

She looked at him. "I'll...I'll prepare the serum, Doctor," she stammered.

"I think we deserve an explanation. You said if this was a success, you'd tell the world. I think that we deserve to know ahead of the world," Venusa said, placing her hands on her hips.

Brierley stared blankly at her. She finally sighed and began to help the other two with preparations. "He'll probably wake up in shock or horror. His last sights weren't too pretty. Have some light sedatives on hand."

He watched as the nurses scurried about. He looked into Sephiroth's peaceful face. Of all the books in the Shinra Mansion Sephiroth had read, he had not realized the worth of the one that Brierley had found hidden under dust and cobwebs. Brierley had found it and tucked it into his trench coat the day the library was excavated. The title was too intriguing. He remembered that a surge of power had run through his body when he had first picked up that book and read its title. Gaspar's Theory of Time. From that very first moment, he knew how dangerous the book could be.

He went home that night and read the entire book. Since it was merely a few days after the defeat of Sephiroth, Brierley was upset that he'd never be able to repay the favor. But the man named Gaspar was from another dimension altogether. And that fact made him think that maybe he could still repay Sephiroth.

Brierley only had to wait a few months for Nanaki's book to come out. It gave a very detailed description of Sephiroth's last stand in the Life Stream. Of course, Nanaki's book described how and why Sephiroth had went mad. And Gaspar's book held ideas that could turn entire worlds around and make them turn backwards.

Gaspar's book spoke of devices such as chrono triggers and gate keys. It even spoke of a hero from another world whose friends brought him back from the grave so their world could be saved. This feat used a device called a time egg. It also required an exact replica of the hero. The friends had found these devices with the help of Gaspar and a Dr. Norstein Bekkler.

Brierley planned out everything, knowing he could repay the favor to Sephiroth by returning his life and curing him of the poisonous cells in his body. He only needed the devices. But without the cooperation of Gaspar or Bekkler, he didn't have a prayer. And he had no way of breaking his world's barriers to get into their world. But he knew a way had to exist since the book had found its way into his world.

After he had exact plans laid out describing in detail how he could use the four devices to save Sephiroth from Cloud's final thrashing in the Life Stream, he wasn't sure what else he could do. And then one night, his wishes were granted. He was in his apartment in Mideel cooking his dinner and looking over some new medical findings when a knock came at his door.

Brierley was a very solitary man and he never had any visitors. Especially not as late as this was. He answered the door to a Wutanese-looking young man, who smiled at him. He was in a uniform that read "Zeal Wind Delivery Co." on the label. His name was on the other label. It read, "Mune."

"Hello, is there a Mr. Doctor Richard Brierley living here? I have a package for him," Mune said, grinning.

"I am he. Who is it from?" Brierley demanded.

"Hey, I don't know, Mister. I just deliver it. If you'd be so kind as to sign here, please?" Mune handed the man a clipboard and a pen.

Brierley signed it then noticed someone lying on the hall's floor. "What the hell!" he asked looking past Mune.

Mune turned to look and rolled his eyes. Another man dressed in the same uniform lie prostrate on the floor. "That's my brother. Don't mind him. Masa, get UP from there and act like you have some sense!"

Masa looked up at him. "I'm playing dead, Brother. I hope the doctor here understands what I am representing." He grinned and suddenly stood up.

Mune took the clipboard from Brierley quickly and handed him a black velvet bag. "Do take my brother's warning seriously, doctor. Don't mess with things that need to stay broken." Then Mune and Masa took off running down the hall.

"Hey!" Brierley shouted after them. But they were gone. Just as fast as the wind...

Brierley took the bag inside and sat down at the table. An eerie feeling crept over him as he realized that it was after nine o'clock. What company delivered after nine? He quickly opened the bag, hoping what he was considering was possible.

A pendant shaped like a key, a round device with a turning dial, and what he knew to be a time egg was hidden inside. He had to keep from yelling for joy. Now all he needed was a clone, but with the gate key and the chrono trigger, he had his ticket into Dr. Bekkler's world.

When he called the telephone operator and asked to be connected to the Zeal Wind Delivery Company, she told him that no such a company existed anywhere in the World. With that, he didn't care who had sent it. It only mattered that he had it.

Once he reached Bekkler's lab in some strange world so similar to his own yet so primitive, he found that the doctor had been awaiting his visit. The doll of Sephiroth's exact image had already been made. When Brierley questioned how Bekkler knew exactly how Sephiroth looked, Bekkler just smiled. He told him that many great legends had crossed the dimension barriers and that he knew one day someone would want a Sephiroth doll. Brierley was not satisfied with that answer, but Bekkler threatened to destroy the doll if he were pressed any further. "All things have reason, my good boy. And in time, they shall all show their secrets. So be patient," he was told.

He understood the time travel well enough to go back in time in his world to the exact moment Cloud's blade had first touched Sephiroth's body. The hard part was getting into the Life Stream. The moment he found Sephiroth and Cloud, he had to smile with wonder. Here he was, about to rob a hero of his glorifying moment. It was too bad for Cloud. The favor had to be repaid. They both looked so full of hate and rage for each other. He tried to imagine how Cloud must have felt, the entire fate of the world resting on his shoulders in that moment. He knew he was too big of a wuss to handle that kind of pressure. Even though the scene was very inspiring, the doctor could not stand and stare forever.

It took some work for the doctor to replace the real Sephiroth with the doll. Sephiroth and the clone were pretty heavy statues to play with. As soon as he had made sure everything was perfect, he held onto Sephiroth and used the chrono trigger and opened a gate right before them sending him back to his original time. Before Sephiroth could wake up, Brierley had pumped him full of drugs to keep him comatose. He was, after all, a very dangerous man under the influence of Jenova cells.

The next day, the velvet bag was gone, including all its contents. But he had what he wanted. He didn't need the devices any longer.

"It's... It's all ready, Dr. Brierley," Kathleen finally said. She held up the syringe that held the fluids to wake the creation called Sephiroth.

Dr. Brierley took his cue. He stood and took the syringe, inserting it into a vein in Sephiroth's arm. "Dear Ancients, let this work...," he prayed silently as he slowly emptied it into his body.

Emerald eyes flew open, still filled with the same hatred and rage Brierley had seen in them before. Sephiroth sat bolt upright, looking around quickly. "Where is he!?!" he demanded.

"The sedatives, Venusa," Brierley commanded, feeling fear creep into his body.

As Venusa walked towards Sephiroth, he raised an arm and effortlessly pushed her away. "I asked where he is. And I want to know. Right. Now." His gaze burned into Dr. Brierley's gaze.

"He's not far from here, Sephiroth. But you must calm down. You will be killed again just as fast if you keep this up."

"Killed again? I am immortal, you fool! I cannot die. I am your god," he snarled.

"No! You are NOT immortal! Ladies, if you please. Leave me alone with him," Brierley said, not wanting the ladies hurt. They all three rushed from the room.

"You were killed, Sephiroth. Killed. Cloud Strife utterly destroyed you when you drew him into the Life Stream with you. You are nowhere near a god. I have spent nearly 14 years now trying to rid your body of those damned Jenova cells that made your body turn against you due to your mother's control. You must realize you are not the man you were. You have a chance to start over now. You have to take it," Brierley explained.

"How did I get here?" Sephiroth asked.

Brierley explained.

"I did not overlook that book. I read it and did not need to bother with it. Now. Where is my sword? My Masamune?" Sephiroth asked, tearing the patches from his body.

Brierley handed him a white linen shirt. "I believe that Strife found it in the crater some odd years ago, and gave it to his little girl."

"Pardon me. His girl?! A girl holds my sword? She cannot understand the power... She cannot use it properly! Where is this girl?" Sephiroth demanded.

"You need to take it easy, Sephiroth. She's away at some college near Mideel," Brierley said.

"I'm going to get my Masamune," he said simply, pulling on the shirt.

"I don't think that is a wise idea. See, the world does not know that I have saved you."

"Why did you save me?"

"Because you saved me years ago in the war with Wutai, Sephiroth. And when I could not save a friend of yours, you told me I owed you a favor. And now it is repaid. You are cured of your mother's curse and..."

"My mother did not curse me...," Sephiroth said simply.

"Yes, she did. Her cells were pure poison to your body, but not to your soul. I've cured you," Brierley said.

"She did not poison me. She did not curse me. She made me something greater than anything you and any other human could understand," Sephiroth said, lowering his gaze at Brierley.

"She made you think that. Strife killed you. Not once, but twice. Once in that reactor, and then once in the Life Stream. Had you not given into your mother's curse..."

"If you say curse one more time...!" Sephiroth roared.

"It's going to take you a while to begin to think differently of yourself. You are not who you used to be, Sephiroth. She does not guide you anymore. Your muscles are weak. Your mind is your own. And you must show the world that you are no longer a destroyer else they will kill you again," Brierley said, still a bit nervous.

"I think you have underestimated me, dear doctor. I am destined to rule this planet. I will stop at nothing to do so." Sephiroth began walking around the room.

He was amazing Brierley. Here he was, after lying on a bed for so many years, walking around with ease, speaking very coherently and still determined to finish what he had started so many years ago. Brierley knew he'd soon find out he wasn't as powerful as he once was though, and that determination would fade. "I wish you luck." He grinned.

"Are you mocking me?" he asked, turning suddenly to face Brierley. His face was too serious.

Brierley froze with absolute fear. His grin faded quickly, as if it ran from his face. Sephiroth had something in his hand, but he could not see. "I... I didn't mean... I didn't mean for it to sound as if I were mocking you. I was simply wishing you luck."

"Luck? There is no such thing. And I still think you are mocking me. I think you are mocking my mother, too."

"I know better than to mock you. Believe me. But so much has changed within you and so much has changed around you that you need to relearn about things." Brierley didn't know what to expect next.

"Do you think I cannot understand these changes?"

"No, I didn't say that. I said you must relearn. You are still thinking with the mind your mother controlled, and you cannot even understand that."

"My mother never controlled me. She guided me. She showed me what I am. What she showed me, I will be, and you or anyone else will not stand in my way. I'm going to get my sword," Sephiroth said, heading for the door.

"If you leave, you won't survive!" Brierley called out, knowing the world would redestroy him as soon as they realized who he was. He didn't realize that his words sounded like threats to Sephiroth. He never got the chance to even ponder that thought. He instantly saw that it was an empty syringe that Sephiroth had in his hand, and that the plunger was pulled back. It wasn't really empty; it was filled with air.

Brierley stumbled backwards trying to get away as Sephiroth deftly leapt over the table and grabbed him. He screamed but the scream instantly fell dead as Sephiroth buried the syringe into his jugular, and filled his bloodstream with air.

Venusa then barged into the room, followed by Thelma and Kathleen. "What the hell did you do to him!?" Venusa screamed, right before the scalpel Sephiroth had thrown at her lodged in her left eye. She fell dead to the floor. Thelma and Kathleen ran.

Sephiroth shook his head and went after them. From the looks of the place, he was sure he was in Nibelheim. This had to be the Mansion. He caught Thelma and simply snapped her neck. Where had the other nurse gone? He searched the house to no avail. He then lost interest in her, knowing she or anyone else was no threat to him. He just wanted his Masamune at the moment. It was with the daughter of the man he hated so deeply in near Mideel. It was going to be too easy.


Aeris awoke from her nap very troubled. The woman in pink in her dream had been praying and crying, as if something were very wrong. She forced her breathing back down to its normal rate, and then sat up.

"Help us," she heard two small voices cry.

"Oh no. Not the voices again," she muttered.

"Aeris, please help us. Danger is on its way. Save us."

When she had heard the voices before, they had never come from a definite direction. This time, she could tell the voices were within her closet. She got out of her bed and opened the closet door.

"Don't let him use us for harm."

She got on her knees and looked through the contents of her closet floor. In the back, she pulled out the cloth that held her most prized possession. She unwrapped it slowly and held it carefully in her hands, for it was actually quivering.

"Please...," the Masamune begged.


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