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Beloved, Chapter 20

Title: Beloved

Rating: M, for violence, language, slash.

Summary: FFVII, post DoC. Genesis/Cloud, one-sided Tifa/Cloud. It all starts when Cloud tries to leave during the middle of a Loveless performance.

Author’s Note: Extra special thanks to Little House in the Woods for the beta on this one - this chapter underwent a fairly massive rewrite after her feedback and I think is a lot better for it!  She egged me on and then things kind of snowballed out of control from there, so special credit is due!

Also, terrible news!  I won't be able to update next week, since I will be nowhere near a computer for 95% of the weekend.  I am not sure about  the weekend after yet either, actually, since it's a convention weekend and my plans are still in massive flux.  Honestly, November and December are looking kind of crazy for me so expect the update schedule to change, I will keep you guys in the loop on what to expect though.  Fortunately we're getting towards the end of the fic so even if it drags out a little it shouldn't be for too long.  Apologies!  Waiting for chapters sucks, I know.  :(

Anyhow, hope you like this chapter!  It is a big one.

 
 
Previous chapter




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Beloved Chapter 20

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Cloud immediately tried to sidestep, but Genesis’s rapier glowed red-hot, a stream of embers blasting from it like a Blade Beam.  Even from half a body length away the heat stung worse than a naked flame.

 

He backed up a step, just long enough to focus his attention on the materia in his pocket, before feinting right and dashing left again.  The rapier flared once more.

 

And met a blast of water.

 

There was a shriek of contracting metal and a cloud of hissing steam that burned nearly as intensely as the fire itself.  Before Cloud could dart by him, Genesis whirled, tossing the flame he carried in his other hand at his feet. 

 

It exploded into a raging fireball that scorched the ground black.  Cloud had no choice but to retreat once more.

 

“You’re activating the materia without even holding it, now,” Genesis remarked.  “You do learn fast.”  With a twirl of his fingers, both the rapier and the fireball reignited near-instantly.  “However, in this, I am the best.”

 

‘Are you crazy?’ rested on the tip of his tongue, but Cloud couldn’t force those particular words past his lips, not when he’d faced them so often himself.  Not when there was such a good chance of them being true. 

 

Instead, he demanded, “Why?”

 

Sephiroth chuckled – a low, threatening sound that made the hair on the back of his neck rise.  “Didn’t you know, Cloud?  I was friends with Genesis long before he met you.”  He gestured to himself, a lazy, elegant movement encompassing his form.  “And he couldn’t possibly let any more harm befall this vessel, after all.”

 

“Don’t presume to speak for me,” Genesis snapped.

 

Genesis didn’t deny it, though.

 

Cloud took a long measured breath.  So that’s how it was. 

 

It shouldn’t have surprised him.  Genesis had interceded before on Weiss’s behalf, hadn’t he?  Back when Cloud had first spotted him, near the base of ShinRa headquarters.

 

But that didn’t matter now.  None of it mattered.  All that mattered was fixing things.  Sending the dead back to the Lifestream, to his memories, where they belonged.

 

Cloud paced warily in front of them, circling, trying to find the most advantageous position.  Genesis turned with him, the glow from his rapier pulsing like a heartbeat, the faint hum of magic deafening in the sudden silence.  Sephiroth, for his part, seemed content to wait and observe this new development with quiet amusement, Masamune at the ready.

 

Either of them alone he could take on and win.  But both of them at once?

 

He flexed his fingers around First Tsurugi’s hilt, and ran a quick mental check of the materia he’d slipped into his pockets that morning. 

 

There was only one choice.  If he was outnumbered, then the smart thing to do was to even the odds.

 

Cloud threw himself backwards at top speed. 

 

Genesis and Sephiroth were slow to react, half-shifting to counter, only to be caught off-guard by his sudden retreat.

 

Until Cloud reached into his pocket and withdrew a ruby-coloured materia.

 

“A Summon!” Genesis swore.  He swept his arm out, throwing a raging torrent of fire after him.

 

It was too late.  It wouldn’t reach in time.  Any materia he couldn’t cast with fast enough didn’t get brought to the fight.

 

He poured energy into the spell, enough that his vision blurred for a moment, and then flung the light into the sky.

 

The air shook with thunder as the portal opened above him.  Lightning crackled around the edges, bathing their surroundings in a pearlescent glow.  Cloud hit the ground and rolled, the pursuing flames passing overhead in a wave of blistering heat.

 

From the portal, streams of energy solidified, darkening into metallic black armour, followed by vast, midnight-purple wings.  Long neck, vicious claws, eyes glowing with ethereal power.  The king of dragons.

 

Neo Bahamut.

 

The air shook with Bahamut’s roar as he spat a bullet of energy at the ground.  Genesis and Sephiroth scattered, but Cloud was already on his feet, dashing towards his foe.  Let his summon keep Genesis busy, while he took out Sephiroth.

 

Masamune met his strike, but Cloud slid and ducked and struck again, angling for a weak spot, any gap in Sephiroth’s defences.  Another blast of flame from Genesis burst at his back but he swatted it aside with a wall of water.  Bahamut roared again and the air flashed with more flares.  Out the corner of his eye he could see Genesis take wing, making himself a more difficult target, lobbing frantic fireballs at the summon gnashing at his heels.

 

The whisper of metal through air dragged his attention forward.  Pain ripped along his arm, Cloud a second too slow in his distraction to entirely twist out of Masamune’s path.  Blood ran in thin rivers along his elbow, scattering crimson droplets in the air.

 

“You can’t afford to split your attention, Cloud.”  Sephiroth said his name like it was a spell, a command to freeze him in place.  It infuriated him how very nearly it seemed to work.

 

He responded by sweeping his leg out, attempting to steal Sephiroth’s feet from under him.  His opponent merely evaded, side-stepping to attack his flank.  Cloud blocked, off-balance and compensating with raw strength.  His thumb hit the sword release, the force of the swords breaking apart giving him a moment’s edge.  He snatched the lightest piece and stabbed it at Sephiroth’s leg. 

 

It sliced the boot, but didn’t break skin.  Sephiroth whirled away, Masamune flashing, the blade’s song lost under the background cacophony of Bahamut’s roars and exploding fireballs.

 

A sudden change in air pressure had Cloud check his next attack, turning to gauge the next threat.  Neo Bahamut hovered in the air, hide now scored with burns but still raining crackling white salvos of energy across the battlefield.  His gaze skated across the sky, but there was no sign of that distinctive black wing anywhere.

 

Where was Genesis?

 

As though in answer, magic flared – a tingling sensation in the air that made the hair on the back of his neck prickle.  A spell.  A big one.

 

That was the only warning before a bolt of red light shot out and struck the road.  A ring of fire spread from it, scorching the ground black in its wake. The asphalt turned molten, and then bursting from the magma came a titan, horns and flames and fiery mane, curved black claws and leathery hide. 

 

Ifrit?

 

Genesis stood across the burning void, hand raised and coat flapping from the turbulent waves of heat.  “You are not the only one capable of commanding Summon materia, Cloud Strife!”

 

Ifrit bellowed, crouched, and launched himself into the sky, a cannonball of flesh and claws and flame.  The air filled with roars as the summon sank his claws into Bahamut’s underbelly, and Bahamut in turn latched his teeth onto Ifrit’s shoulder.

 

Cloud reached for his Water materia again – one good blast with that would put Ifrit out of commission and free up his summon once more – but had to jerk back around to parry another slash of Masamune.  The shock of the impact travelled up his arm, making his shoulder ache. 

 

He swept out his leg in a kick, forcing Sephiroth back long enough to rejoin the blades.  He slammed the full sword against the ground, unleashing a devastating Blade Beam.  Sephiroth dodged, only for First Tsurugi to score a second slash mere moments later on his left side.  The wound was shallow, seeping blood only for seconds before advanced healing knitted the skin closed.

 

Then suddenly Genesis was there between them, free to join the fight with Bahamut’s attention occupied.  He broke Cloud’s momentum and forced his next attack off course.  Cloud clenched his jaw in frustration, throwing his full weight behind his next strike, doing all he could to push Genesis off-balance long enough to get a clean shot at Sephiroth.  But even when he gained a window, Masamune was there, parrying his every attempt, and by the time he’d gained the upper hand again Genesis had regained his feet, throwing fireballs at his back.

 

The ground shook as the summons crashed back to earth, snarling.  Bahamut had sheer size and strength on his side, but Ifrit had sunk his blazing claws into the base of the dragon’s long neck, grimly clinging on just out of reach of the summon’s deadly jaws.  The pair of monoliths rolled across the landscape, crushing the few surviving structures under them as they grappled.  Waves of dust and grit and smoke washed over them, stinging their eyes.

 

Cloud didn’t let himself blink – he couldn’t afford it, not with both Genesis and Sephiroth in the fray.  It was pure chaos, a whirlwind of steel and leather and black feathers with a backdrop of fire and destruction. 

 

Cloud split his sword, one driving at Sephiroth, the other slashing at his flank to intercept Genesis.  He spun on his heel, a sword guarding his back, breaking the second blade again to throw it at Ifrit.  The bellow of pain was the only confirmation that his strike struck true, as he’d already moved to deflect Sephiroth’s next attack and duck another volley of flames.

 

In the background, Bahamut’s cry thundered, the dragon finally freed of Ifrit’s grasp.  His wings were shredded and armour charred with deep grooves from Ifrit’s claws.  Cloud could sense the magic fading, Bahamut gathering the last of it in his gullet. 

 

Then with one mighty blast, he finally blew the other summon away.  Ifrit vanished in the blinding light of a point-blank Tera Flare.

 

Victorious at last, but Cloud cursed under his breath.  The energy he’d poured into the summoning had been spent, and Bahamut dispersed into motes of light not a moment later.  The materia felt dead in his pocket – even if he had the strength to spare, he wouldn’t be able to summon Neo Bahamut again for some time.

 

Which meant he was back to the original problem – two against one, short a piece of his sword, and the first signs of exhaustion and strain creeping their way in.

 

He dragged his full attention back to the swordfight, just in time to block another sweep from Masamune.  The clashing metal sounded dull and hollow after the booming cacophony of the summons’ battle.  Cloud spun and parried, throwing increasingly weak blankets of water to douse Genesis’s fire magic, even as he dove for every window, real or fake, in Sephiroth’s defence.  His arms burned from the strain, blood sliding under his gloves.  His grip tightened to compensate, making each block and parry all the more stiff and jarring.  He moved into a Cross Slash, operating on muscle memory and instinct alone.  Sephiroth dodged the first strike, barely parried the second, but Genesis appeared between them once more to catch the third.

 

Then Sephiroth smirked, and suddenly brought Masamune down on Genesis’s back.

 

Time seemed to slow.  Adrenaline flooded his system, the fatigue suddenly only a memory.  With a speed he didn’t think his muscles had left, Cloud shoved Genesis aside, sending him stumbling out of range.  Masamune crashed against First Tsurugi hard enough to shatter the pavement beneath his feet.

 

“Hmph.”  Sephiroth leaned against the block.  “I don’t think you’re committed enough to fighting me, Cloud.  He’s in the way.”

 

“He’s helping you,” Cloud spat back venomously, voice strained with the effort of holding Masamune back. 

 

“Isn’t this touching?” Sephiroth purred.  “You defend him even though he’s a traitor.”

 

“I’m not letting you kill anyone else.”  His heart still thudded in his chest, too fast and too loud and his breath felt like it was coming too short.  An instant slower, and they would have been fighting over a corpse.

 

Genesis rallied, visibly rattled by the near miss but already pulling himself together.  “I shouldn’t be surprised you lack even the strategy to keep yourself alive, Sephiroth.  Still fighting without honour.  You’re a disgrace to the name of SOLDIER.”

 

Sephiroth smirked.  “Doesn’t that sound familiar?”  He raised his sword again and-

 

Stumbled.

 

His form seemed to waver for an instant, a glimpse of Weiss fading through.  Before Cloud could strike, though, he leapt out of reach, black wing spreading wide as it carried him safely away.

 

Sephiroth looked, oddly enough, irritated.  “As amusing as this is, I’m afraid I don’t have any more time to play with failures today.”  He raised his hand, and suddenly the static that had been nothing but a background noise throughout the fight rose, the bond constricting around his neck like an invisible hand.  Cloud grit his teeth against it, dropping to a knee as his muscles failed to obey him.  “I’ll be waiting, Cloud.”

 

Then he was gone as quickly as he’d come, disappearing into the gloomy sky. 

 

Cloud barely swallowed his gasp as the bond receded like a snapping rubber band.  He slammed his fist against the ground in frustration, pavement cracking from the impact.  Sephiroth had been right there, and he’d been frozen in place, helplessAgain.

 

That was twice now.  It wasn’t like Sephiroth to run away, to avoid fighting Cloud, regardless of how many others were present.  Even after so many defeats, he was so self-assured, so confident in his abilities.  What was he doing?  What was he planning

 

Whatever it was, Cloud couldn’t let him get away with it.

 

He pushed himself back to his feet, ready to follow, but Genesis raised his rapier in warning.  “Don’t.”

 

“I’m not letting him get away,” Cloud said.  His grip tightened around First Tsurugi, leather gloves creaking from the pressure.  “Don’t interfere.” It was offered as a warning, not as a request.  Cloud would grant that much, given everything he’d thought they’d shared.

 

If Genesis still wanted to fight after that, then...

 

Genesis huffed, and finally let the spell thrumming through his rapier die.  “Dear Goddess, would you simply stop and listen for a moment?  For once I have no desire to fight you, Cloud Strife.  But have you perhaps forgotten that there is an innocent party involved in this?”

 

Weiss?  “Weiss is no more innocent than Sephiroth.  He’s just as dangerous.”  The tragedies brought about by DeepGround were half the cause of this whole mess.

 

 “Weiss has been catatonic since the Omega incident,” Genesis snapped.  “He’s as much a drooling fool as you were after you and Zack Fair escaped from Hojo.”

 

Cloud stared, a cold sensation creeping over him like Shiva’s fingers on his skin at the implication.  Catatonic?  He couldn’t be implying… “Explain.”

 

“After I awoke, I discovered his body nearby.  I took it upon myself to take care of him.  There has been little change for months.” Genesis paused, gaze turning inward.  “Yet one day, without warning, when I went to provide him with food and water he was gone.”

 

“You were taking care of him?” Cloud repeated incredulously.  “Weiss?  The leader of DeepGround?”

 

“He was helpless,” Genesis spat.  “I am not so lacking in honour that I would leave a child to die a slow death, not when the man is all but a brother.”

 

That word crawled across his skin like something unpleasantly slimy, memories of Kadaj’s taunts whispering in his ears. 

 

He took a deep breath, reminding himself to focus.  The how first – he could worry about the why after.  “When was this?”

 

Genesis waved a dismissive hand.  “Not long after we first met.  Naturally, I searched for him.  But you know as well as I do how difficult that is in the rubble of Midgar.  When I finally found him...” He gave a mocking bow. “You know what happened."

 

"And nothing since?" Cloud asked, not even bothering to hide the doubt in his voice.

 

Genesis shook his head.  “My Friend, your dream

Heralds the return of the Goddess

Restless wandering without respite

History’s search has no conclusion.

 

It was an entirely inappropriate time to be quoting poetry.  Cloud’s thoughts were far too jumbled to notice, though.  He was irritated.  Confused.  It was too much information to parse at once, when his instincts were screaming at him that he didn’t have time to worry about it, that he needed to be pursuing, to be fighting.  And that he shouldn’t believe anything Genesis told him, not after he’d hidden this knowledge for so long.

 

But now that he was thinking, instead of simply reacting, more and more questions kept presenting themselves.

 

“I don’t understand,” he murmured to himself.  “Even with the other half of Jenova’s neck… Weiss wasn’t a clone, was he?”  He wished he could get in touch with Vincent.  Vincent knew the most about the DeepGround incident.  But he didn’t have his phone anymore, and even if he did, Vincent had gone into hiding with Shelke. 

 

This time, he was truly on his own.

 

“Perhaps a clone was never necessary,” Genesis remarked.

 

Startled, Cloud dragged his attention back to the former SOLDIER.  “What?”

 

“There are two things that determine every SOLDIER’s makeup – mako, and Jenova cells.” Genesis was moving into lecture mode, pacing back and forth as he talked.  “Processed mako on its own causes mutations.  You’ll have seen the same effects on monsters living near Reactors.  There are a variety of successful processes, but the part you are concerned with are the Jenova cells.” 

 

He paused, as though waiting for a response – or maybe just for theatrical effect.  “…There are two types of these, as well.  Most SOLDIERs receive an injection of inert Jenova cells.  This is what I received, as did Zack Fair prior to his capture by Hojo. The other kind are S-cells.”  His lip curled on the words, as though they were dirty.  “They are a special type of modified Jenova cells – essentially, the next generation of Jenova cells.  That is what you and Sephiroth possess.”

 

Cloud knew that already.  “So you’re saying that he doesn’t even need clones?  He just needs someone already enhanced with Jenova cells?”  A pit opened in his stomach.  Would the nightmare never end?  Was he going to have go through this every two years for the rest of his life?

 

Genesis frowned, staring into the distance where Sephiroth had retreated.  “Not precisely.  His hold on Weiss is evidently weak," he noted.  "He possesses Jenova cells, like all SOLDIERs – like myself, too - but the connection is a thin one.  If I am correct – and I am - Sephiroth can only manifest because Weiss lacks any will with which to fight him."  He sniffed.  “Pathetic, really.”

 

Cloud’s thoughts flashed to Kadaj’s gang, when they’d kidnapped the children suffering from Geostigma.

 

Only children, though.  Those who were young.  Unsure.  Malleable.


And then there was Weiss.  According to Genesis, Weiss had been reduced to a blank slate.

Just like Cloud had been, once upon a time.

A perfect puppet.

 

The edges of First Tsurugi’s hilt dug painfully into his palm.

 

"It doesn't appear he has the strength to take control for long periods, either, if his pattern thus far is anything to go by,” Genesis mused.  

 

It was a good point.  Sephiroth had retreated.  Twice, now, and his reaction times had been sluggish by his usual standards.  Cloud had assumed he was planning something… but if Sephiroth couldn’t manifest for long periods, and needed to save strength to try… that might explain a lot.

 

Each time he’d retreated, just beforehand, the façade had faded for a moment.  It might have accounted for why the bond was so frustratingly intermittent and vague, too.  And why else would Sephiroth have laid in wait, hiding, for so long?

 

A long, awkward silence stretched between them.

 

"We should find cover,” Genesis eventually said, frowning at the destruction wreaked by their battle.  Small fires still flickered from Ifrit's summoning, and smoke curled from the craters left by Bahamut's flares.

 

It was late, and dark enough out that the odds of the Turks or WRO still having search patrols nearby were slim.  But if any of them were within the city walls, or had any sort of vantage point, that battle would have been impossible to miss.  People would be coming to investigate.

 

“The theatre would be best,” he continued, and eyed the blood coating Cloud’s arm.  “Are you going to use a Cure on that?”

 

Cloud ignored it – the wound had been worse than he first thought, given that it was still sluggishly bleeding even now, but he could barely feel it.  “You can go.  I still need to stop Sephiroth.”

 

“In your state?”  Genesis scoffed.  “You’re bleeding and exhausted.  Even I would be tired after summoning that creature, not to mention your casual abuse of Water materia you haven’t even fully mastered.”

 

Cloud kept his attention carefully focused on the distance.  “It didn’t help that I had to fight two people instead of one.”

 

The pointed silence following that statement was so sharp it could have drawn blood.

 

Even if the morrow should not forgive me

I shall carry no regrets.”  Genesis murmured into the wind.  The faint whine of helicopter rotors began to rise in the distance – still far enough away not to be a concern, but they would have to move soon. 

 

Cloud went to collect the stray piece of his sword he’d thrown at Ifrit.  The parts rejoined with a heavier clunk than normal – First Tsurugi would need a lot of maintenance after a battle like that.  “It doesn’t matter.  If your theory’s right, Sephiroth will be weak right now.  This is the best time to strike.”

 

Genesis’s eyes narrowed.  “In case you missed my point before, let me make this perfectly clear, Cloud Strife.  Our enemy is Sephiroth, not Weiss.”

 

And that right there was the thought Cloud didn’t want to consider, had been stubbornly ignoring as though hoping he could wish it out of existence.

 

If Weiss really were catatonic, if he were being controlled…

 

How different was that to Cloud handing over the Black Materia?  And even the atrocities committed by the Tsviets… how different was that to what Genesis had done in the past?  Or the Turks?  And for that matter, how much of even that could they attribute to Weiss?  How much was Omega and Hojo?

 

And all of that led to another unsettling question.

 

…Was Genesis to Weiss what Zack had been to Cloud?

 

His stomach lurched unpleasantly at the thought.

 

Cloud didn't want to consider the implications of that right then.

 

He was Zack's living legacy, and Zack had fought for him until the bitter end.  It would have been so much easier for Zack to kill him or abandon him, to shed the risk and the burden.  He likely would have survived if he had.

 

The situation with Weiss was not the same, but the parallels were too many to ignore.

 

This was going to become complicated.





 Next chapter


Comments

( 42 comments — Leave a comment )
killiara
Oct. 27th, 2012 06:19 am (UTC)
ALL THE FLAILING!

And poor Genesis, having to try and get Cloud to see logic past his KILL SEPHIROTH mode.
sinnatious
Oct. 28th, 2012 06:52 am (UTC)
<3
caterfree10
Oct. 27th, 2012 06:28 am (UTC)
Dear fucking god, where do I begin? aslkjfs;dlfj

As usual, I am awed by and jealous of your wonderful fight scenes. We got close to a threeway battle in the early part of The Fifth Act, but this just gives us a glimpse of how crazy it could've been. Granted, Sephiroth's not at full strength at all, power discrepancy between pre-Nibelheim and current time notwithstanding, it still makes for a great treat. I may or may not have squeed when Cloud summoned Neo Bahamut because shameless bias for the Dragon King. <3

Though Seph taking over Weiss specifically because he was comatose makes a hell of a lot of sense, especially because of the reasons mentioned in the chapter re:how weak the connection is between Seph and Weiss and how, if he were able to fight back, he probably wouldn't be able to control them at all. Though damn those parallels, jfc. It's little wonder Cloud's got a lot of inner conflict now about the situation.

'Course, now the next big question is how to get Sephiroth gone without killing Weiss in the process. I mean, the guy's been controlled by Hojo and then Omega prior to his mental check out, so while his hands aren't clean, he's had a lot of shit happen to him too and Seph's not helping whatsoever. Either way, this is gonna be good.
kitty11chan
Oct. 27th, 2012 06:44 am (UTC)
I prefer Bahamut ZERO, myself.
caterfree10
Oct. 27th, 2012 06:46 am (UTC)
I just plain love any and all versions of Bahamut, tbh. There's a reason my dragon pendant's named Bahamut, ahaha. //dorkfish.
kitty11chan
Oct. 27th, 2012 06:48 am (UTC)
So's my second hard drive (the first is Shiva). XD & the computer itself is First Tsurugi.

Edited at 2012-10-27 06:49 am (UTC)
caterfree10
Oct. 27th, 2012 07:55 am (UTC)
lmao, I wish I had more things named after FF summons (besides legendary pokemon *glances at Platinum and whistles*), but I don't. Blargh, maybe a good name'll come to me when I finally get my as around to buying an external myself, lol. |D;
sinnatious
Oct. 28th, 2012 06:51 am (UTC)
It was actually a tough choice between the two versions! I eventually chose Neo Bahamut because I figured it was more realistic that Cloud could cast that one quickly. Have to agree with Caterfree though, all Bahamuts rock.
sinnatious
Oct. 28th, 2012 06:49 am (UTC)
Thanks, it was a super-fun fight scene to write for that very reason (a bit of a challenge, too!)

That is indeed the question, and I shall be addressing it in the next chapter. :) Hope you like that one too!
kitty11chan
Oct. 27th, 2012 06:47 am (UTC)
Well, damn. Honestly, though, I have no problem with him killing Weiss; the guy has been asking for it. Don't sympathize with him!

Epic battle scene, though. Nicely done.
sinnatious
Oct. 28th, 2012 06:47 am (UTC)
LOL, that is an entirely valid viewpoint and I cannot blame you for it.

Thanks! :)
love_michiyuki
Oct. 27th, 2012 11:14 am (UTC)
Fortunately we're getting towards the end of the fic...

Actually that is worse news than that we won't get an update next week :(

And damn wow, I can't believe how well you're writing all those battle scenes. Normally I just skim those, but with you they are really interesting!
sinnatious
Oct. 28th, 2012 06:46 am (UTC)
Aww, it's not that close! We have at least a half dozen chapters left to go. :) Better the fic gets finished eventually right?

Thanks! Although I'm a little worried I'm starting to use battle scenes to solve all of my writing problems. 'Chapter is boring? Battle scene. Don't know what to do next? Battle scene. Written myself into a corner? Battle scene.' XD
signrain
Oct. 27th, 2012 01:11 pm (UTC)
We're getting towards the end of the fic?

I'll bore without your fic. ><

Do you have time for gift fic this year?



Oh.. Cloudy...
I think Sephiroth want your body the most. You are the strongest SOLDIER with so many S cell in your body and you're the fine puppet for him. [Although I want Sephiroth to want your body in a good way after he watched you and Genesis make it. ;P]

Even if the morrow is barren of promises
Nothing shall forestall my return
To become the dew that quenches the land
To spare the sands, the seas, the skies
I offer thee this silent sacrifice
sinnatious
Oct. 28th, 2012 06:42 am (UTC)
Well, not that close, we have a few chapters yet! And it's not like I won't go write new fic eventually. :)

I'm going to try and tackle some gift fic, maybe a reduced number, will have to see how I go though. No promises, but it would be a shame to break tradition!
signrain
Oct. 28th, 2012 11:25 am (UTC)
Yeahh!

Well, I'll prepare some challenge for you.

xD

aveyalara
Oct. 27th, 2012 04:41 pm (UTC)
Now there's a dilemma. I don't feel much sympathy for Weiss here but I do understand where Genesis is coming from. I'm not sure though if Genesis gets some redemption points in this one either. Nevertheless, it's a relief to see that Cloud isn't trying to kill him anymore and is actually seeing tue situation with Weiss similar to his and Zack's before. Still, life would've been easier if Genesis just let Cloud put Weiss to sleep.

Anyway, that was one epic holding-my-breath-till-the-end fight scene. Plus points too for Neo B. and Iffy making an appearance. And because this chapter was awesome, you still have all my love. ヽ(´∀`)ノ
sinnatious
Oct. 28th, 2012 06:39 am (UTC)
Life would be easier yes, but that would also be a much more boring story. :)

Thanks! It is long past time I made use of some summons, glad you enjoyed it! :D
ratzels
Oct. 27th, 2012 04:52 pm (UTC)
Genesis-Zack parallels! *squees*

Excellent fight scene. Remarkable. :D
sinnatious
Oct. 28th, 2012 06:38 am (UTC)
Thanks!
ynyuki
Oct. 27th, 2012 04:54 pm (UTC)
Pushing work aside for this. *-* Totally worth it. The fight scene was epic <3<3<3

Neo Bahamut:1 Ifrit:0

Cloudy needs a hug. Q.Q Sephy is complicating things, bad Seph, BAD. T_T Genesis. I have no words for you. Why didn't your inner compassionate person come out during Crisis Core? T_T
sinnatious
Oct. 28th, 2012 06:38 am (UTC)
Bahamut was always going to win a fight against Ifrit. :)

Well, a bit part of Crisis Core was Genesis losing sight of the SOLDIER way? It wasn't until Zack handed his ass to him at the very end that he sort of rediscovered the true meaning of honour in the classic 'hit a bad guy hard enough and he'll turn good' trope.
firedraygon97
Oct. 27th, 2012 06:19 pm (UTC)
Haha, I was half expecting Tifa or someone else to show up and even the odds a little.

I have no idea how they're going to force Seph out of Weiss without needing to kill him. Maybe Cloud'll invite Seph into him and seal him Merlin-style? In any case, I'm looking forward to what you're cooking up for this new development!
sinnatious
Oct. 28th, 2012 06:36 am (UTC)
Oh god, that would have turned into a total free-for-all. XD My brain hurts just trying to choreograph it.

Thanks! Will be tackling that very issue next chapter. :)
kotoshin
Oct. 27th, 2012 09:50 pm (UTC)
am I the only one?
>Then Sephiroth smirked, and suddenly brought Masamune down on Genesis’s back.

I kept thinking this was going to happen for the past few chapters ever since Genesis started defending Sephiroth. Cuz, y'know, Seph's not exact the sweet-natured grateful for comraderie soul you saw in CC anymore ....

and no worries, RL > net, even lovely, lovely fic like this. I'mma gonna be scarce myself working on nano (and use the remainder to re-read beloved and work on 16.5. XD)

sinnatious
Oct. 28th, 2012 06:34 am (UTC)
Re: am I the only one?
Heh, that you did. (I don't think you were the only one worried about that either, so you're not alone!)

Oh, neat! Good luck with Nano! :D
fezastwin
Oct. 28th, 2012 04:31 am (UTC)
Awesome :)
I've been reading this since you started and I hadn't posted a review.

At first, that was because the first couple chapters didn't grab me. It seemed like ... Cloud has a mid-life/post traumatic stress crisis and decides he's gay.
So he'll cheat on Tifa to go be with Genesis. Genesis is really arrogant and his character annoys the crap out of me - So why the heck am I reading this?

I'll tell you why, because you a pretty talented writer. So I stuck with you and this story to see if you would pull me away from my initial impression.

You did :)

See, bet you thought I was gonna just bash on ya now, huh? ;)

You have a talent for making me care for your characters, and your plotting skills are pretty decent too. Another reason I didn't post a review sooner was that I guessed immediately the mysterious clone was Weiss, and didn't want to throw you off your game. I did that once in a review to a friend ages ago :(

Well, you've managed to make me care about Genesis. Even though he's still a bit of an arrogant prick, the guy has a conscious. And he has proper SOLDIER honor, caring for a former comrade in arms who was also used & abused by ShinRa. Angeal would be proud. So would Zack.

Poor Cloud, now what? How the heck do they fix this mess?

Well, have fun with your convention and all your other plans for the next couple months! But try and find some time for this, it's too good to leave hanging here. :)

Thanks for an enjoyable read. And forgive me if I sounded negative at first.

Fez



sinnatious
Oct. 28th, 2012 06:33 am (UTC)
Re: Awesome :)
Hey!

Thank you for taking the chance and sticking with it, and glad I could eventually deliver for you! That's really useful feedback too, I did actually worry about much of what you said but you're the first person to mention it, which confirms that my private concerns were not entirely imaginary.

Heh, and I honestly thought everyone would guess it was Weiss from the very start, it was the most obvious twist ever, but I greatly overestimated how many people knew anything about DoC it appears! Still, thank you for the consideration.

Thanks, looking forward to it all! And not to worry, I won't leave the fic hanging. Odds are I'll just miss a weekend update here or there, or possibly will just switch to fortnightly updates.
lenine2
Oct. 28th, 2012 06:31 pm (UTC)
The parallel between Genesis and Zack was poignant. Any reference to Zack makes me want to bawl like a little bitch. So OK, you make me hope that Weiss will survive, for Genesis's sake.

What will I do with my Saturday mornings without a Beloved update?
sinnatious
Oct. 29th, 2012 10:36 am (UTC)
Zack's memory is a very powerful weapon indeed. ;__; I still get all emotional when I think about the end of Crisis Core, of any of those little cutaway bits in Advent Children.

I highly recommend sleeping in until lunch, personally. :D
kleptomancy
Oct. 29th, 2012 11:47 am (UTC)
LJ ate my comment. :[ fml

I kind of feel a little more compassionate towards Genesis after this chapter, but still...

I kind of get the impression Sephiroth has been aiming to get into Cloud's body (ahahahaha) since the start... he has been acting really touchy-feely in the past couple of times that he's made an appearance, and seems to try and tempt Cloud to his side/freeze him via mind control rather than fight. I mean, it's Cloud or Genesis that have instigated all their physical battles so far.
Cloud is, after all, the superior vessel if Sephiroth needs one. He has enough S-cells, superior enhancements, and he's not exactly in the best mental shape after Sephiroth framed (?) him for murder to isolate him from AVALANCHE, and now Genesis, however well-intentioned he was... well, I think Cloud better watch out.
I don't think Sephiroth was planning on Genesis sticking his oar in though, so hopefully something good will come of that.

BUT YEAH, another great chapter this week! Looking forward to whenever you update next. :p Hopefully I'll survive the wait.
sinnatious
Oct. 29th, 2012 01:51 pm (UTC)
Ah, hate it when that happens. :(

But quite a thorough analysis! :) Glad you enjoyed the chapter, and good luck with the wait! I'll do my best to keep it a short once.
darkbombayangel
Oct. 29th, 2012 03:32 pm (UTC)
I love the chapter! ^-^
skibalovesya
Nov. 2nd, 2012 07:45 pm (UTC)
Okay I had a mile-long essay prepped in my brain immediately after reading this but my computer had been out of commission for a while. So this is probably going to suck big hairy balls by comparison. XD;;;

Basically just wanted to toss-in a heads up that Genesis reasoning, while on the right track, is kind of backwards. And given what canon gives us, which is a little contradictory in places, I'll explain why.

Essentially, OGC, being without Genesis, only has one kind of 'cell' and that's straight up Jenova cells. What Hojo is described as doing during the Nibelheim experiments, according to game canon and Ultimania canon (which is crappy canon, I assure you, but clarifies things where needed), is as follows:

When he got a hold of Zack and Cloud, and the survivors of the Nibelheim incident, he tested his Reunion theory re: how Jenova supposedly when separated would attempt to recombine into one whole being again. He administered the SOLDIER enhancement process to all of them—there are 14 known victims and likely others, who weren't numbered or named (1-12 are numbered in-game, Zack and Cloud are 13 and 14 but have no number, and there's an ex-SOLDIER in Junon who dresses like a Sephiroth clone later but never does the Reunion shindig). Now, the enhancement process basically wrecked everyone except Zack, and double-wrecked Cloud. It didn't have the intended effect, however, because Sephiroth and Jenova merged into one superbeing at some point between then and the FFVII beginning. So the clones, rather than being Jenova mindslaves, became Sephiroth mindslaves. This extends to Cloud as well, but he had a delayed onset reaction to it.

Now, in CC, there was a distinction made between the type of Jenova cells that Genesis and Angeal possess (G cells) and the type that Sephiroth and by extension all SOLDIER members have, which are S cells. The game is kinda unclear on what this means, but let me try to clarify... Genesis received his enhancements from Gillian, as she was injected with Jenova base cells and then her cells were mapped onto him secondhand when he was still in the fetal stage. His body didn't totally merge with the cells, causing the degradation. Degradation is sort of an autoimmune response to the Jenova cells acting like free radicals in his system, according to canon, so his body basically tried to tear itself apart to get the cells out. Angeal meanwhile inherited the cells from Gillian via natural birth, so they merged perfectly with his body and he gained all of Jenova's abilities, no degradation. (Until later when he went all nutso with the monsters he merged with, which Hollander was against because they were being brought in unnaturally and triggered a degradation response.)

Anyway, what I'm getting to is, S cells are just backwards notation for regular Jenova cells, since there's nothing different about Sephiroth's own cells and canon already said that Zack and Cloud received Jenova cells. But the term is used to distinguish them from G cells in that G cells are acquired secondhand while S cells/basic Jenova cells are acquired firsthand.

Genesis's reasoning, therefore, is basically right except for one thing. The reason Sephiroth wouldn't be able to get a hold on Weiss isn't because his Jenova cells are basic, no, it's because they're G cells, and Sephiroth's body doesn't have a connection with G cells. It probably can't, because G cells are "impure." His hold with Cloud would be more perfect because Cloud has pure Jenova cells and Sephiroth has pure Jenova cells. So, Genesis is right... for the wrong reasons.

All of Deepground have G cells, since they were made from Genesis, but degradation isn't mentioned likely because DoC was made before CC. I'm sure there'll be some explanation as to why the Deepground SOLDIERs don't degrade, but that's basically a summation of canon's view on the Jenova cells.

*whew* Sorry for wall of text.

Edit: (Oh, one tiny thing otherwise: the word clone is a misnomer in the original game. The Japanese game used copy (literally 'kopii') where it says 'clone' regarding the Sephiroth clones. So there's no canon distinction between the terminology for the clones and copies. It's all a big namey-wamey wibbly-wobbly mess of mistranslated splatter.)

Edited at 2012-11-02 08:38 pm (UTC)
kleptomancy
Nov. 3rd, 2012 10:08 pm (UTC)
I'm just poking my head in to say
ow my brain.

fictional science is weird.
sinnatious
Nov. 4th, 2012 11:42 am (UTC)
Yay pseudo-science discussion!

Sephiroth DOES have second-generation Jenova cells, though - because Lucrecia was given Jenova cells the same way Gillian was. The difference between S-cells and G-cells then, one can assume, lies in the fact that Hojo also secretly enhanced himself with Jenova cells, whereas in Angeal's case it was only the mother. (Unless of course you subscribe to the fanon idea that Sephiroth's father is Vincent). In any case, the S-cells and G-cells are what allow the 'pure' Jenova cells to take (or not take, in the case of G-cells - if you'll recall, the Jenova cells didn't work on Zack because he, like all of the rest of the SOLDIERs bar Sephiroth, had G-cells. It worked on Cloud and the other villagers because they were blank slates, genetic-enhancement-speaking).

Square's pseudo-science is pretty damn inconsistent though - the biggest examples being, of course, the discrepancies between CC and DoC. You can maybe explain the lack of degradation in DeepGround away by the fact that the mako side of the enhancements were different? Regular SOLDIERs didn't need the ongoing treatments, not to mention they used other weird methods such as stagnant mako for Nero etc. etc. Maybe the ongoing mako treatments were actually to fight off degradation?!

Yeah, the clone thing's a misnomer. Really, if you think about it, where canon translated 'copy' it would have been more accurate (though still not perfectly so) to call them 'clones' (e.g. Genesis copies), and the cases where they call them clones perhaps better they were called 'copies' (because the method was copied in hopes of producing the same results)? Doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things though I guess, it's just the slang terms, I'm sure the WRO or Neo-ShinRa have a much more accurate description in their paperwork somewhere.

Edited at 2012-11-04 01:13 pm (UTC)
skibalovesya
Nov. 4th, 2012 03:24 pm (UTC)
But Lucretia didn't have them injected into her and then had Sephiroth, Hojo injected the Jenova cells directly into Sephiroth's fetal form. Definitely not the same method as Gillian and Genesis.

The way SOLDIERs are created in canon is the same cocktail of mako and Jenova cells that was injected into fetus!Sephiroth (don't think about that mental image too much) but into full-grown humans instead. So they're just Jenova cells, straight up.

He later enhanced himself with Jenova cells near the end of Disc 2 and mutated into a blobmonster as a result.

And the rest of the SOLDIERs did not have G-cells, else they would have degraded. Only the G-type SOLDIERs have G-cells, and they all fell apart at various speeds. Deepground devolved into what it became after the Genesis fiasco, or so I can glean from canon, since the biggest piece of evidence of exactly what went down in Deepground is Japan-only and I haven't sat down to the whole subtitled game yet. orz

I can go on and on about this for hours, though. FFVII canon is my speciality. u_u *is a loser*

Edited at 2012-11-04 03:26 pm (UTC)
sinnatious
Nov. 5th, 2012 01:09 am (UTC)
Lucrecia definitely had Jenova cells injected into her (they were added directly to the fetus as well, basically Hojo threw around Jenova cells like they were going out of style) - that was the whole source of her visions, and also the reason why when she tried to kill herself later she didn't die and then went on to seal herself in a crystal cave instead! Gillian and Genesis had different methods, (Genesis missing a step) but it's very similar to the method for Gillian and Angeal.

There's a bit of discrepancy in which SOLDIERs are G-type and which are made by Hojo's simplified method then. Zack is most likely G-type - if you search the notes in the mansion in CC, one of them speculates that the reason why experiments didn't work on Zack was because of this, Hollander also theorised this later when the attempt to use the S-cells Hojo gave him by eating his hair (lol wat) didn't work. This is also the basis of the theory of how Cloud wound up with Zack's memories and abilities, because he used the transferral abilities of G-cells to do so.

This is, of course, somewhat conflicting with original game canon, it really comes down to how much credence you want to give CC's storyline in the grand scheme of things.
swyrel
Nov. 10th, 2012 05:12 am (UTC)
Gah I finally was able to sit down and read this chapter and you did such an amazing job! And you used summons! This is the first fic I've read where summons were used and you did such an amazing job. I love how I've read so many stories by you, but I keep getting such surprises from every single one. I don't think I'll ever get tired of your stories and will reread them for years to come.

But turns out my anxiousness over Genesis was not wo merit! How dare Sephiroth try to kill him! I mean c'mon, you are in a world where everyone is going to try to kill you And you try to kill your semi-ally just to get to the guy you really want to fuck over? What the hell, Sephiroth?

Oh god, the parallels sentence almost setnt me sobbing bc it reminded me of the parallel of Angeal dying (which I just got to last week) and passing his legacy to Zack, and then Zack doing the exact same to Cloud. The game already has me sobbing! Don't need the story doing it to me too!

Hope your cosplay is coming along nicely! <3
sinnatious
Nov. 10th, 2012 09:29 am (UTC)
Thanks! I've read summons in the occasional fic before but for such a big feature of the FF7 world they turn up surprisingly rarely! Which made this a lot more fun to write. Hope I can keep surprising you in the future! Maybe when I stop that will be time to move on to a new fandom. :)

Haha, yeah, you totally called that one. ♥

Sorry? Not sorry. FF7 has so many truly tragic moments. :( I still tear up over anything Zack or Aeris related. Oh man, the 89th letter especially... Even just thinking about it... ;A;
(Anonymous)
Dec. 29th, 2012 10:51 am (UTC)
ngh so much relief after all that tension
(Anonymous)
Jan. 1st, 2013 10:48 pm (UTC)
Also, not gonna lie: I thought Sephiroth was totally going to pull a Shishio. D:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpHnGL0yrxY#t=45s

That would be harder to block than what actually happen. D:
( 42 comments — Leave a comment )

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