Fandom: Final Fantasy 7
Warnings: Worksafe! But maybe not so very keeping-brain-unbent-safe. ^^;;
Word count: 1,235
Summary: In the end, he would be the one who stood in the flames of the end of days, the planet at his feet.
Prompt: Sephiroth/Aeris - healing - Lights will guide you home/And ignite your bones/And I will try to fix you.
A/N: This is post-Advent Children, but how far post, well. This...was supposed to be part of the series I started last kinkest, Ein Sof, and then I realized it wouldn't work for what I had envisioned. But as I wrote it? Or rather, as I edited it this morning? This turned into something set separate to something in the same Kabbalistic-tinged space as "Ein Sof" to flat-out "Ein Sof" and got a new name--it had been "Like a Prayer" because what to do with it came to me when I was listening to Tori Amos' cover.
...since this wasn't a planned "Ein Sof" fic, um, the "Joudama Explains It All" hat is at the cleaners. ^^;; Um. *pulls on Joudama Explains It All 'Kerchief* The new title, "Aharit ha-yamim," is from Jewish eschatology, and means "The End of Days." It refers to a time of warfare and the coming of the Messiah, and yeah.
*stuffs kerchief in pocket* Anyway! Enough of that. You don't need to have read earlier Ein Sof fic for this, since each of them stand alone, (although reading the author's notes to "Shevirat ha-Kelim" might explain the imagery in here), so don't let that scare you. :D
Cloud might have won once more, but Sephiroth had survived such splits before.
He had survived Mother ripping his head apart from the inside out; he had survived the Lifestream trying to pick him apart; he had survived the three being split away from him, had survived those three pieces growing away, becoming separate and then, in the end, being taken by the Cetra girl before he could bring them back into him--taking them while he had struggled to bring himself together.
He was incomplete and faded and fragmented, but he had survived it before and he would survive it now. This was his world and in the end, he would be the one who remained; he would be the one who stood in the flames of the end of days, the planet at his feet.
The Lifestream rejected him, as surely as he rejected it. It knew him for what he was, alien and a curse. And the planet was something to be conquered, to be broken, to be destroyed, as much a curse as he was. The planet fed off death more than he did; she owed him a debt her destruction alone could replay.
He began to take what he needed, reaching for pieces of the ones tainted with Mother, unable to join the Lifestream fully even after the Cetra had flushed the planet clean. She had flushed the planet of Mother, perhaps, but not of him, not of the fragments of souls of the clones Hojo had made, and it was these he searched for, these he slowly teased or ripped from the Lifestream--they were him and they were his, and the planet would not have them.
The planet gave them willingly--even if the souls they had been fused to did not--for the planet knew these things for what they were, separate and alien and impure; something to be excised.
Or so he had thought; he had forgotten that he was not the only one who traveled the Lifestream, forgotten as he reached towards a fragment of himself that spoke of will, the part that had been most lost with the loss of the fragment that had called itself Kadaj.
He traveled towards the soul, the parts that were separate even within the Lifestream, and he reached towards it, to rip the drifting soul apart and pull what was his back into himself, and when he touched it they stood in a field of white and of flowers; everything else, the Lifestream, and fragment housed behind a memory of eyes of a blue like the sky and "You mean you're different?" sharp as a knife, gone as if they had never been.
"I'm sorry. But I can't let you do this," a woman's voice said, and the voice was so sad. "I know that some parts were yours first, but they're his now."
"Ahh. You," was all Sephiroth said as his eyes narrowed. Her kind had fought his Mother long ago, and while they had won, the price had by pyrrhic. History, it seemed, repeated itself, and the sins of the mothers were visited unto the children down through the seventh generation. The two of them, the dead who did not rest, were all that remained of their progenitors.
"She's gone now," was all she said in reply, something gentle in her face. "It can finally be over, you know."
"Over?" he said, raising a sardonic eyebrow and giving her a cold smile. "Why would I wish for that?"
"You were always alone," she whispered, as if she hadn't heard. "But you don't have to be. You can let go, Sephiroth. You can be free," the Cetra--the thing he was not, the opposite of the monster they had cobbled him from--said, her eyes, as green as his own, pleading with him. "You're only truly separate because you make yourself. You hold on to these memories of Jenova, and that's what keeps all these fragments of you vibrating out of place. No one that Hojo did this to, none of them, can rest...not while you suffer like this."
Her eyes were filled with something Sephiroth didn't fully understand. He had seen the look before; had seen it in Angeal's eyes when Sephiroth and Genesis had fought--something tortured behind the anger at the both of them, something he had never been able to completely grasp. "You can finally, finally rest now."
She held out her hand, and he narrowed his eyes, knowing how this played out, memories of how in this way, she had taken his will-fragment; taken "Kadaj."
She pulled her hand back slowly, going stiff as her eyes widened and unfocused as she seemed to listen. She closed her eyes, tilting her head down and clasping her hands together, as if in a prayer. But from within the center of her clasped hands, something seemed to glow; a bright spark drawn from the Lifestream into this space. And he hungered, because he felt part of himself within the fragment, and he would have what was his.
"Are you sure?" she whispered, and her words were not towards Sephiroth. "But you've given up so much already..." Her words trailed off, and she suddenly laughed, the sound like bells, but there was so much despair behind it all, as if she laughed because otherwise, she would weep.
She opened her eyes, slow tears now rolling down her cheeks. He didn't understand the tears, didn't understand the way she smiled and the smile was one of sadness and pride, all together.
"I will have," Sephiroth finally said, for even the dead had limits to their patience and after the last defeat he had already waited so long, "What is mine."
And that was when she nodded and came forward, face still damp with tears, her hands still clasped tight. She stood before him, looking up, and he thought it would be easy to reach and snap her delicate neck and simply take that fragment and its spark, but that was an illusion, and that in this place--her place--the rules were not the same, and he would lose no more of himself to her. Cutting her down had only made her stronger, and only the gods above and below knew what would happen if he cut her down here, in this space.
Instead he waited, and she came close, head bowed. When she finally looked up, her eyes were clear.
"Be whole," she whispered. She raised up onto her toes, and touched her lips against his cheek, and for the first time, Sephiroth understood what a "mother" truly was, and her touch. And it was in that moment, her lips touching his cheek as the hands that had cradled the shining fragments of soul and spark pressed against his chest, pressing what had been his first but was now somehow so changed, tainted by its vessel, back into him, that he felt the weight of everything he was and everything that was gone, of everything that had been and everything that was no more, and the emptiness of knowing everything he had never had, and how it, and how he, and how--
--And in that moment--the horrible moment of knowledge as the world of flowers and white and peace expelled him--if he could have, he would have killed her again.