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[personal profile] argentimperator


"I don't remember my hometown. I wouldn't know." It was easier to speak civilly to Strife with the helmet making him look like any other trooper.

"Uh...what about family?" Zack asked uncertainly.

"My mother's name is Lucrecia. She died shortly after I was born. My father..." Sephiroth chuckled, shaking his head and waving off the question. "That's complicated. Come on, let's go."


That girl... She'd been familiar. Younger, dressed differently, but Sephiroth remembered her. Something else to fix. Someone else he owed a debt, though she didn't know it yet, and hopefully never would. He waited until Zack was done talking to her.

"We depart for the reactor at dawn. Make sure to get plenty of sleep. Only one of you needs to keep watch. Make sure you get some rest as well." He moved to go into the inn, then paused, glancing back. "Ah, that's right... You have permission to go visit family and friends, if you so wish."

He opened the doors and entered the inn, thinking about his own plans to visit family. Sephiroth would have to wait until the others were asleep for the night; if Zack caught wind that Sephiroth was entering Shinra Mansion, he'd want to come, too.


"What are you looking at?"

Sephiroth didn't look away from the window. He knew now he'd been born here, but he hadn't expected this sense of...recognition. "This landscape... I could swear I've seen it before."


It wasn't hard to find the secret passageway in the mansion. Hojo's absurdities were as predictable as ever. Sephiroth leapt lightly down the center of the spiral stairway to land in the passage. Quick strides brought him to the first door; a locked one. He drew Masamune and sliced around the edges before knocking the door in with a balled fist. It fell with a thud, raising dust and scattering some large, monstrous bugs. He sheathed his blade again and moved to the coffins, tossing them open one by one. He made a sound of satisfaction when the last revealed a familiar figure swathed in black and red.

"Vincent Valentine. It's time to wake up."

"To wake me from the nightmares... Who is it?" Red eyes opened and Vincent sat up, gaze sharp and intent. "...Never seen you before. You must leave."

"You haven't seen me because you've spent too much time sleeping here. It's time for us both to leave."

Vincent shook his head and started to lay back down. "My long sleep has given me time to atone. I have nothing to say to a stranger. Get out."

Sephiroth allowed a hint of exasperation and frustration to show on his face. Stubborn... "If you just sleep here, you will never be able to change anything. You know of me, Vincent. My name is Sephiroth."

"Sephiroth?" He jumped easily out of the coffin, standing by the head. Vincent no longer looked so inclined to go back to sleep. "You are...her son."

"Yes. Let's go. This is no place for us to talk."


"Tifa! You're our guide?"

"At your service!"

Sephiroth shook his head, raising one hand in a pausing gesture. "That won't be necessary. We have someone else to show us the way."

"Wh- We do?" Zack asked, confused. At the same time, Tifa protested, "But nobody is a better guide than me in this town!"

"He knows the way well enough, and is better able to protect himself. You should stay here in town, Ms. Lockhart. Vincent!" Sephiroth only raised his voice slightly. He only needed to raise his voice slightly. Vincent dropped smoothly from the roof of the store beside them and approached silently. Zack startled.

"Whoa.... creepy. This is our new guide?"

"Vincent Valentine," Vincent informed Zack, his eyes only leaving Sephiroth briefly. Sephiroth's smile was faint but there. Vincent didn't know, but it was good to have his father supporting him.

"Let's go."


"Keep guard out here. That girl didn't like being left behind. If she follows, don't let her in. This is a top-secret facility. Vincent..." Sephiroth paused, meeting the other man's eyes. "Please, keep watch on things out here. Zack and I will enter alone."

"...I don't like it."

"I know." He really did. There was understanding, and almost sympathy, underlying his calm tone. But Sephiroth couldn't risk Vincent intervening inside the reactor. Not this time, anyway. "I wouldn't ask if it wasn't necessary."

Reluctantly, Vincent nodded. Sephiroth gave him a grateful look before moving up the stairs. Into the reactor.


"Are they...monsters?"

"That's no easy question to answer, Zack. I was taught... Monsters are abominations spawned by mako energy. I no longer find that simple answer to be sufficient."

"You said 'average' member. What about you?"

The question stung, moreso after seeing the things Hojo had wrought in this reactor. It wasn't the question that made him gasp and step back from the other man, though. Jenova struck, more powerful than he had ever felt her before, clawing at the foundations of his mind. He could feel the pulse of the machinery around and inside her body, the nearness of her presence, of the largest focus of what was 'Jenova', behind the door marked with her name.

Different, always different, never belong. You cannot belong with them, you are not one of them. They all leave you, human, traitors, so cruel. I will be with you.

He didn't even notice when he pushed a worried Zack away, focused on the battle within his own mind. Sephiroth used everything he knew, every trick he had learned, to lock her away from himself. "I am human!"

"No such luck. You are a monster."

Sephiroth threw up a hand, casting his Wall to intercept Genesis' spell. The main force of it scattered around him in bursts of flame. Genesis landed lightly on the stairs behind him; Sephiroth half-turned towards him. The degradation... This was how bad it had gotten?

"Sephiroth... You were the greatest monster created by the Jenova Project."

"Genesis... So you are alive!" Zack's voice sounded strained, the spell must have hit him more fully. Genesis gave him a brief glance.

"I suppose I am, if you can call this living." Genesis reached up to touch his face. Vain as ever, Sephiroth thought, and tried to ignore the edge of fondness to the thought. This Genesis was different. More desperate.

"I know what you want," Sephiroth told him, making a chopping gesture with one hand, sharp and impatient.

"I want you to understand the truth. The Jenova Project is-" Genesis was cut off with a sharp sound of pain as Sephiroth's fist slammed into his stomach. Sephiroth probably enjoyed his look of shock far too much as he wound his other hand into Genesis' hair to pull his head back.

"I know what the Jenova Project is. I do not care. You are operating under the misconception that I still believe Jenova is my mother. Do not." Jenova's wail of distress was like nails against a chalkboard in his brain. Mine, my child, my son. I am your mother, I will love you. I will be here for you.

"Sephiroth! You are..."

Sephiroth cut Genesis off again, pushing him down against the stairs. The redhead struggled as Sephiroth pinned him down, but Sephiroth had always been the physically stronger of the two of them. And Genesis stopped fighting, lips parting in an 'o' of shock, when Sephiroth spoke again.

"My friend, your desire... is the bringer of life, the gift of the goddess."


Sephiroth kissed him, rough and unhesitating. His tongue slid into Genesis' mouth without losing a moment. The shocked sound Genesis let out was muffled by Sephiroth's mouth. Zack's shocked sound was not so muffled, but Sephiroth ignored it, kissing Genesis until the redhead started to respond before pulling back.

"My cells are no cure. They will only delay things. You must seek your answer elsewhere...Genesis..."



No one else knew he'd been changing what was meant to happen. Sephiroth had wondered if the dead might be different, but he knew now the answer was no. He could feel it, as Angeal's white wings tangled with his black one amidst all the burning green. He didn't know if that would change when they reached whatever time it was that Angeal had been plucked from into Adstring. It didn't matter. He would keep his secrets, and simply be grateful for Angeal's buffer between his battered psyche and the eroding flow of the Lifestream.

"She isn't gone. I can still feel her. She's waiting."

"Then you wait, too. You need time to heal, Sephiroth. ...I never thought I'd be saying that to you. Get some rest."

"I don't want to risk-"

"I'll wake you if anything important happens, or if I have to go. I promise, on my honor."

Sephiroth slept.



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December 2013


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