FF7 Character: Sephiroth, Aeris
OCs: Lycoris, Puck, Oberon, The Caddock family, Titania
Summary: The year is over....
Setting: Our world
FF7 Timeline: After DoC
Status: Multi-chapter, Complete
Rating and warning: T
Pairing: Kass-Sean, Oberon-Titania
Disclaimer: The usual. It's for fun and I don't own the FF7 stuff, Square Enix does.
Sean walked in the dining room and wrapped his arms around my shoulders. "Hey there, Beautiful," he whispered, kissing the side of my face. "You doin' okay?"
I nodded to him, leaning back against his welcome frame. "I'm alright. It feels odd not to be going to a convention this year though," I told him.
He laughed. "Yeah, but look at the souvenir you brought back from the last one. Honestly, darlin', I don't think we could handle any more like that."
I smiled and chuckled. "There's no doubt about that." I sighed. "Going to the beach is going to be strange. I'm going to be taking the time later in the month and that's weird too."
"Nah," Sean assured me. "You'll get used to it."
"We'll see," I said and kissed him.
Something changed in the room and we parted. Sephiroth stood on the edge of it, trying not to look at us but obviously wanting to talk to at least one of us. Sean let go of me and moved to sit down in one of the chairs next to me. When he moved, Sephiroth looked back at us. "I apologize for the interruption," he said, addressing both of us.
Sean shrugged. "Things happen when you live in a house with other people," he said, dismissing it. "Don't worry about it."
After half a moment, Sephiroth nodded in agreement. That was one thing that was good for me to see. He wasn't butting heads with Sean every time the two of them came into contact with each other now and that made my life easier. "What is it, Sephiroth?"
He looked away from me then, setting his ungloved hands on the table. Ever so slightly the fingers of his left hand rubbed the back of his right in a self-comfort gesture as he stared at them. He swallowed hard and then began speaking very quietly. "Tomorrow will be one year from the day that I moved into this house with you and your family. When I came here, I did not know what to expect or what to think of anything that happened here. I knew you were a Mother, my Mother, and that is something I will continue to call you until the day I die. I did not make things easy for you, or anyone else in the house. I know this now." He stopped talking and took a deep breath, continuing after a moment.
"You, both of you, took me in when you did not have to. You gave me food, shelter and care. At first, I admit I expected to be tested or commanded into something….But neither one of you did that. I don't know why. I will probably never know why. All I know is what has happened to me…must be some strange sort of magic. That is the only way I will ever be able to explain it. There is magic in this world and I have experienced both sorts first hand.
"For the first time in my life, I was allowed to be myself and that is not something I was prepared for." He chuckled somewhat bitterly. "I still am not sure I am prepared to be anything other than SOLDIER. Still," he looked up at both of us, taking care to meet our eyes personally. "I wanted to thank you…for everything."
I glanced at Sean. His jaw hung open in his shock and I knew how he felt. My husband recovered himself nicely though and nodded. "Well, it wasn't always a walk in the park but you caught on well enough." He leaned forward slowly, taking care to keep his hands on the table. "We learned a thing or two from you too." He looked at his own hands and then sighed shakily. "It wasn't easy for me to admit you are who you are." Then he looked up at Sephiroth, "But you are, no two ways around it. I've watched you jump up to the top of the house and land as smooth as any dancer on a floor. You did alright by my kids and my wife. That makes it hard for me to hate ya."
"I am so proud of everything you have done for yourself, Sephiroth," I told him. I don't know why but something was telling me that now was the time to say it. Tomorrow would be too late. "I'll admit, there were times when I was scared or overwhelmed, especially early on. But you surprised me, you really did." He blinked once. "In a good way," I said with a smile. "I'm glad that you came here. Yes, there were times when it was hard but the other times more than make up for it."
"Hard is an understatement," Sean muttered.
Sephiroth smiled slightly. "I did not make your lives easy," he admitted. He looked directly at Sean. He opened his mouth to say something and then stopped himself, thinking better of it. After a moment, he said, "I did not like you at first because of your attitude toward Mother. However, I am pleased to see the way you treat her." Sephiroth looked at me and his eyes seemed to be shining more than usual. "You are an amazing woman," he whispered to me.
I felt my throat tighten. Something was definitely off about him but I wasn't going to question it right now. Surely there would be time later. So, instead of questioning him, I smiled and whispered, "Thank you." Then I went over to him and wrapped my arms around him.
Sephiroth honestly didn't know what to do when he sat down at that table. He simply opened his mouth and words started coming out. He felt heavy in spirit, his heart hurt and his throat was tight. He wanted to shut his eyes against the world. Kassandra came over and wrapped her arms around him, pulling him close to her.
He took the opportunity to shut his eyes. Some tears leaked out from under his lids but he didn't care. The only other person in the room was Sean and that man understood strong emotions for Kassandra if nothing else in the world. Sephiroth had heard Sean cry a time or two around her so he wasn't as concerned as he would have normally been. Making sure not to hurt her, Sephiroth buried his face, hiding his tears from the world.
She held him for seemed forever, running her hands through his hair, whispering soothing words. Confident he was in control of himself again, he moved away from her and brought his head up. She was watching him carefully, her eyes wet with unshod tears. He smiled at her. "I could not have asked for a better Mother," he told her truthfully.
That made her cry. He glanced quickly at Sean who was out of his seat, wrapping his arms around Kassandra. Sephiroth raised his eyebrow in question and Sean shook his head. "It's all okay," he said but didn't specify to whom. Dylan and Sylvia came inside noisily and Sephiroth rose from his chair to intercept them.
"What happened?" Dylan asked in alarm.
"I'm not sure," Sephiroth said with a worried glance back to Kassandra.
Dylan looked at the man who had taken the place of an older brother in his life. Sure, the guy's great and all, but there are some times when he really doesn't get it. Dylan took a deep breath. "Seph," he said, drawing the man's attention to him. "What happened?"
Sephiroth shook his head. "I don't know, Dylan. I was talking to Mother and then she started crying." His eyebrows bunched together in confusion.
"What'd you say?" Dylan asked. Step by step big guy. Come on. You can get it.
Sephiroth shrugged. "Nothing to hurt her. I told her that I could not have asked for a better Mother."
"Oh," Dylan said and suddenly everything made sense. "That's what did it," he said with the authority of a ten year old who knew his mother very well.
His older brother blinked slowly. "I don't understand."
Dylan tried not to put his hand to his head. Pinching his nose, right between his eyes, probably wasn't a good idea right now. He'd seen his mom do it enough when she was losing her patience and all it did was make him nervous. Not a good thing to do around the older brother. "Seph, moms are weird that way." Sephiroth raised an eyebrow and Dylan sighed heavily. "Sometimes you say something that they think is really sweet or something and they fall apart."
Sephiroth looked at Dylan's mom in alarm. "Mother?" he asked softly.
Dylan looked at his little sister who shrugged. He then reached out and grabbed Sephiroth's elbow, pulling him back toward the other siblings. "Seph, you don't get it," he told his brother without reservation. "It's not a bad thing."
"It's not?" Sephiroth asked, confused. He sat down in the chair to be closer to eye level with Dylan.
The boy shook his head. "Nah. It's a good thing. We say things like that and our mom's know that we pay attention to the stuff they do. They know they're not invisible and that makes 'em feel good. They feel so good they cry. Girls are weird that way."
"Hey!" Sylvia said, offended, and punched him in the arm.
"Ow!" Dylan responded and turned toward his sister, his fingers curling into a fist.
This is going to end very poorly very quickly, Sephiroth realized and moved fluidly in between the two younger siblings. "Enough," he said and both of them backed down. He looked at both of them. "You know better," he scolded softly.
Both children hung their heads in embarrassment. "Yeah," Sylvia muttered, studying her shoes.
Dylan sighed. "Yeah," he agreed.
Sephiroth looked between them. "Apologize," he instructed Sylvia, motioning to her brother.
"Sorry," she muttered, holding her arms out for a hug.
Dylan took a minute and rubbed his arm. "It's cool," he said. "I accept your apology." He hugged his sister.
Sephiroth blinked in surprise. I handled that without Mother, he realized. Pride swelled in his chest and he smiled. He looked away from the kids and saw Kassandra watching him. She smiled at him and hugged Sean. Sean nodded approvingly. Sephiroth felt another rush of pride and wondered, When do I care what he thinks? Still, it is…good to be noticed. He nodded once at both of the parents standing slightly away from him. A sharp jab in his side caused him to flinch and look down.
Sylvia grinned widely up at him, giggling under her breath. "Got you!" she exclaimed and ran off, her laughter bubbling out of her as she went.
He stood there for some time, not sure what to do. "You're supposed to chase her," Dylan muttered.
"Ah," Sephiroth acknowledged and set off to find the little girl who poked him in his ribs.
The night was cool and still, barely a breeze disturbing the few clouds that dotted the sky. My heart felt heavy. It was going to be strange, going to this new world. I hugged myself in a vain attempt to hug Kassandra. I wanted to tell her that it was going to be okay. I wanted to let her know that she didn't have to worry anymore, to let her know that she did a good job this year. "Yeah, right," I muttered to myself. "And how're you going to do that, genius?"
"A letter works well," Sephiroth said from the edge of the room, as though he read my mind.
I turned to face him, still hugging myself. "Yeah," I replied. "That would work, huh?"
He nodded. "Usually," he said softly. He walked fully into my line of sight and I saw him in his full uniformed glory.
I stopped walking and just stared at him for a minute. I know I probably shouldn't have but I did. He was worth it. "Wow," I said appreciatively and then went to writing Kass a letter. I couldn't tell her why I had to leave her. But I could tell her that she wasn't going to be alone after I leave. I could tell her how wonderful she was and so to not be afraid. I could tell her how much I loved her, in my own way, and how wonderful she was doing with her life. When it was done, I signed it and set it in an envelope, her name written clearly on the outside.
Then I did the hardest thing I had to do. I wrote a letter to Camui thanking him for his friendship and telling him not to worry about me. I wanted him to be happy, I reminded him. He also needed to rest from time to time. My tears fell onto the paper as I explained everything to him.
It took me nearly three hours to write both letters, Camui's taking up the bulk of the time. I hoped he would understand. I put a copy of a picture of the three of us, Sephiroth, Camui and myself, in the envelope. I had the original with me. We'd taken the picture when Sephiroth and I were down in L.A., both of us knowing that our time in this world would be very short indeed. And now, Cam-chan would know that too. I signed the letter to him "Aishiteru" or "I love you." I put the letter in the envelope, sealed it and addressed it. Then I put it in the "out" box for the mail and tried to wipe away the stubborn tears that kept falling.
"It's easier not knowing, I think," Sephiroth said gently as he stood at my shoulder.
I wiped my eyes and nodded. "Probably," I agreed.
"I'll only be a moment," Sephiroth said and went up the stairs quickly. He paused briefly outside Dylan's door and then went inside it. His eyes adjusted to the lack of light quicker than most and he saw the boy lying there, one arm flopped over the side of his bed. Sephiroth smiled slightly and moved over to him, picking up his arm and gently laying it on the boy's stomach.
Dylan's eyes opened and sleepily he muttered, "Huh? Wha--?...Sephiroth?" The boy blinked several times, trying to force himself awake.
Sephiroth waited for the boy to wake up enough that he would remember him. "Dylan," he said softly. "I wanted to thank you for being there. You taught me a lot." Sephiroth laughed softly. "I'll never look at Valentine's Day the same way."
"Yeah," Dylan agreed groggily. "No problem. You're not that bad you just don't think." He yawned. Then he held his arms out for a hug and Sephiroth obliged.
"Sleep well and mind Mother," Sephiroth whispered as the boy dropped back into dreamland.* * *
Sylvia's room was somewhere Sephiroth had taken care not to go into. He didn't want to be assaulted by the pinks, purples and other bright colors the girl was fond of. When he went in there, however, he found it wasn't that different than her brother's room. She had action figures, baby dolls, a tea set and toy weapons strewn all over the place. He chuckled to himself. "Somehow, I don't think it's the boy Mother is going to have to worry about."
He walked over and knelt down by her bed. He'd never seen her so still and quiet. A soft smile spread across his face as he stared at her for a minute. Now, he could understand why Kassandra could not stay angry at the children for long. She knew…all along. She knew about this peace. His throat tightened and he caressed Sylvia's head.
She woke up enough to glare at him. "My room," she told him gruffly.
"I know. I wanted to say thank you for everything," Sephiroth told her and gently kissed her forehead. "Mind Mother for me," he whispered.
The little imp punched him in the shoulder for his trouble. "Outta my room," she grimaced at him.
He smiled at her. "Good night, Sylvia," he said and then left her room, shutting the door softly behind him.* * *
He went back downstairs to find Lycoris holding her blanket, the black one with the white and red roses on the green vine going around the border. "We should go, My Lady," he said softly.
"Yeah," I said as I turned to look at him. "But I don't know how," I whispered.
"I can help with that," came a gentle female voice. Sephiroth and I both turned to see a goddess standing near the front door. "I'm sorry I let myself in but I figured that you might want my help. I'm Pysche," she told us.
Sephiroth tensed but I raised my hand, blocking him from doing anything else. "Thanks," I told her. "So," I asked with a sigh, "What do I do now?"
She motioned to my chair…couch…bed…thing. "Just lay down so that she isn't hurt when you're separated."
I did so, laying the blanket on top of myself. I shut my eyes and tried to relax.
The strangest pulling sensation occurred. Everything was dragging past me like the night I chased after Sephiroth but worse. My nerves were on fire and the sounds of the world were far away and raging all at the same time. My ears felt like they wanted to pop but couldn't. My body felt like it stayed in a stretch for far too long and moving was now very awkward and painful.
Then it was done.
Sephiroth watched as Lycoris lay down and then the goddess literally pulled her out of Kassandra. It was the strangest thing he'd ever seen. Kassandra's body elongated like warm taffy and then snapped cleanly back to what it was while Lycoris hovered in the air above her. The goddess made sure to transport her in clothes and for that Sephiroth was very grateful.
The goddess lowered Lycoris to the floor and then checked on Kassandra. "Good. She's alright," the goddess said to the room.
"Was there doubt?" Sephiroth asked as he moved forward to pick up Lycoris.
"A little," the goddess admitted. "But they both seemed to have come out of it alright. I've done the best I can. Now we have to get the two of you to Avalon." She went over to the front door and opened it.
The door didn't open to the world he knew. No, it opened somewhere else. He was in a hallway made of stone and his footfalls echoed off the walls. Holding his Lady close, he continued down the hall, the goddess on his heels.* * *
They emerged into the throne room on Avalon. Oberon and some female waited on the dais. When the female caught sight of him, she snarled at him. "I should have killed you when I had the chance."
He laughed at her. "A lot of people have felt that way." His eyes bore into hers. "You won't be the last," he said softly.
Oberon cleared his throat. Hades, Puck and Hermes came out of the nooks and crannies in the room and made their way over to their Lord and Lady. "Sephiroth," Oberon began. "Our lives have not been the same since you arrived. However, you have done things that no other of our children could have done. For that, you have my grudging respect in your ability." His eyes fell on the unconscious woman in Sephiroth's arms. "Treat her well," he said with an air of finality.
"I have every intention of doing so," Sephiroth murmured in response. "Now," he said, taking control of the situation, "if it's all the same to you, I would very much like to go home."
"The bargain between the one called Lycoris and the Lord and Lady of the Fae has been concluded. Both parties agree that they have met the terms of the bargain?" Hades asked everyone in the room. There was a flicker of something from Lycoris and something came from the two rules as well. Hades nodded, "Then, it is done," he decreed. He waved his hand toward Lycoris and her unconscious form hovered out of Sephiroth's arms, her feet barely touching the floor. He released his hold on her and she nearly fell to the floor. Sephiroth stopped her fall and supported her while glaring at the Lord and Lady of the Fae.
Energy ran through my whole body in a very rude wake up call. "Ungh," I groaned. I was up in the air and then I wasn't. I preferred the air because the floor was cold and hard. Stone. Great. And it wasn't just stone. No, it tingled which meant that it was magic stone. Wonderful.
I came to enough to stand on my own two feet without faceplanting. "Are we done then?" I asked the Rulers of the Fae.
"We are," Titania said. She looked at her husband.
Oberon nodded to us. "This past year has been…eventful," he said with a smile. "But now our business must end." If I didn't know better, I would have sworn there was a bit of sadness in his voice. He turned to look at his Queen and held out his right hand to her.
She took his hand in her left and I immediately wished they hadn't. Magic stronger than anything I had ever known flooded our existence. I thought I knew what magic was before. Ha! What I knew before was nothing more than a pitiful joke compared with this stuff. Forget the flashing lights or disco balls. This was the real deal. This was the stuff legends were made of.
And I probably wasn't going to remember any of it.
Sephiroth weaved under the sudden onslaught of magic coming from the two creatures. His eyes met Oberon's and he knew then that he had done what was best for this planet by letting the creature live. The two males regarded each other for an instant and then Sephiroth felt the tingle of mako coming from behind him.
He turned, smiling. Lycoris was trying to stand as best as she could. But she can't see what I see. Sephiroth watched as the magic flowed around and then through her, creating a solid, permanent body for her. Her proportions were fitting, a little firmer than Kassandra's simply because Lycoris had never borne children. Something pink moved just out of Sephiroth's line of sight and he turned toward it. He saw Aeris, the girl Cloud swore Sephiroth killed.
She watched him carefully, smiling slightly as she came closer. "It's time to come home," she said and extended her hand to the pair.
Lycoris nodded and Sephiroth gently took her hand. He guided her through the opening the three deities had created. He paused for a moment but then there was a forceful shove from behind to all three of them: Sephiroth, Aeris and Lycoris.
Stars blurred past him and he felt like he was falling at an incredible speed. He felt his clothes get torn off but didn't lament them. The trip this time was much faster and more forceful than the trip there. When he just thought his nerves had had enough and he couldn't stand it anymore the world broke apart into solid darkness. Aeris disappeared with a giggle and then there was nothing.
Lycoris fell ahead of him, through the air and landed in something with a splash. He tumbled without any ability to control his fall. The water rushed over him, chilling his naked body to the bone before he even realized he was in the water over his head. He kicked his way to the surface and gasped for air.
Spitting his hair out of his mouth, he began to swim to the nearest shore.