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Beloved, Chapter 26

Title: Beloved


Rating: for violence, language, slash.


Summary: VII, 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: So I'm still not quite happy with this chapter, but I've reached that point where I feel like my edits are making it worse rather than better and also I've kept you all waiting long enough!  Posting tonight anyway since I'm not yet sure if I'll have the time tomorrow. Thank you very much for your patience, it's a long chapter with lots of action to hopefully make up for it.

Special thanks to Little House for being so super-fast with the beta to make up for my tardiness!



Previous chapter




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Beloved Chapter 26

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Genesis’s body turned cold, frozen like a green cadet getting his first taste of true combat. Thought processes ground to a halt, the weight of the water in his arms forgotten, all sensory perception dulled to the point of nothingness.


Sephiroth’s visage faded away, and Weiss dropped boneless to the ground – a puppet with his strings cut. The wound in his chest bled freely, sending crimson rivers across his bare stomach.


It was the first time Genesis had clearly seen his charge’s face in months. The sight made his stomach lurch. His skin was sallow and patched with grey, like it had turned gangrenous.


Geostigma?


Genesis took half a step towards him, but jerked his gaze back to Cloud. Dark smoke had begun to gather at his feet, rippling upwards in an ominous wave. It curled around his legs, his arms, his chest, inky tendrils racing to cover every open inch, until he was utterly enveloped in it.


When it dissipated, Sephiroth stood in his place.


“No,” Genesis murmured. Denial made his tongue thick in his mouth. It couldn’t be. He refused to believe it. The Goddess could not be so heartless to set such a trial.


Sephiroth stretched out his arm, and in another burst of black miasma, Masamune reformed, gleaming silver, all trace of Weiss’s blood gone. He turned it slightly, casually inspecting it. “This vessel is less than ideal, but it will be adequate.”


“No. This is ridiculous,” Genesis repeated, voice growing louder, as though hoping he could reassert reality by power of his words alone. “Cloud is not the same as Weiss, or those pathetic remnants and clones. This is not possible. He has his own will!”


“The human will is a strange thing,” Sephiroth replied, in a tone almost conversational. “It can be exposed to enormous pressure, and not even crack.” He opened and closed his fist several times, as though testing the response of his fingers. “But that same will can be so easily worn down over time. Doubts, insecurities, betrayals… Chip after chip, until nothing remains.”


“I don’t believe you. Cloud isn’t that weak,” snapped Genesis.


Sephiroth smirked. “Willpower is a finite resource. And my poor puppet was so very tired… Nowhere he could rest. Nobody he could trust. And most importantly… no hope left for the future.”


A chill ran through Genesis, chasing away all warmth, running right to the tips of his fingers. The memory of an old conversation echoed in his ears – flippant words at the time, suddenly made portentous.


“It’s obvious. You, Cloud Strife, are looking for a future.”


An ache grew in his chest. A settling sense of deep dread and silent guilt he’d not felt since leaving the DeepGround.


“I should thank you, old friend,” Sephiroth drawled. “You provided the very last push I needed. After that…” His smile stretched slowly, cruel. “It was only a matter of time.”


It took all of Genesis’s self-control not to rise to the bait, to still the rising tide of indignation and denial and fury. This was a battle. This was a mission. He could not affordto lose focus.

His thoughts raced. It must have been Jenova cells. Before, Sephiroth had only been able to freeze Cloud for an instant. And from what he’d learned of the past, S-cells alone couldn’t let him do anything more than influence previous clones. Outright manifestation required something more.


His gaze flitted to the water, bucket still clutched in his left arm.


…Even if the morrow should not forgive me, I shall carry no regrets.” The words were a whisper on his lips.


Sephiroth heard anyway. “And still you cling to old poems.” He lifted Masamune, shifting into stance. “I’m disappointed in you, old friend.”


“That makes two of us.” Genesis took a step backwards and to the side – enough to put just a little more distance between them, but not enough to give the impression of retreat. “It’s no surprise you became a monster. You’ve never been able to appreciate the value or beauty of anything beyond yourself.”


“Nothing else on this Planet is of any worth to me.”


“Then why are you so eager to return to its surface, time and time again?” Genesis shot back. “You’ve overstayed your welcome, old friend.”


Sephiroth didn’t answer directly, but Genesis spied the faint tick of irritation in his eyebrow – a tiny, subtle tell, that he recognised only from years of familiarity. “Ever the hypocrite. But in memory of old times, I’ll make you an offer.”


Genesis let out a bark of laughter. “Have you become such a cliché? Providing terms of surrender before you’ve even won?” He levelled his rapier at eye-height, staring down the crimson length of the blade. “Do go on, then. What is the great General Sephiroth going to so graciously offer me?”


The tick of irritation was unmistakeable now, but just as quickly Sephiroth’s brow smoothed. “A stay of execution. You can leave now, and I’ll allow you to roam the Planet as you please until the end of its days.” He gestured minutely towards Weiss’s prone form. “As a token of old friendship, I’ll even let you take your precious Weiss with you. After all…” His pause was saturated with dark amusement. “That’s what you wanted, wasn’t it?”


The temptation struck like a dagger to the gut. Sharp, painful, and utterly unexpected.


Weiss lay on the ground, still bleeding, skin grey and blotched with what he could only presume to be Geostigma. Glowing eyes blank. Helpless. Defenceless.


The offer was incredibly generous. Sephiroth might put off a troublesome fight, but Genesis would gain so much more. He could flee with Weiss. Get him to safety. Recover, regroup, and plan. Return for Sephiroth – for Cloud – later. Whatever his old foe was planning, he surely wouldn’t be able to put it into effect that quickly. Removing Weiss and having a few hours to recover would improve his position enormously.


Could he risk leaving Cloud in Sephiroth’s hands for that long, though? Would he be able to find them again so easily? He couldn’t help but be suspicious.


Yet his charge was stretched out on the ground before him, bleeding and vulnerable. No one else would help the Tsviet, and Weiss was in no condition at all to help himself. Could he risk not taking this opportunity?


Genesis stared at Weiss’s prone form from the corner of his eyes.


To even offer the choice was cruel.


“…Unacceptable.”


Sephiroth, for his part, didn’t seem surprised at that response. “You wish to rescue him, then.” His expression was as superior, as smug, as the rival in his memories. Condescending, even beyond death. “You’re wasting your time. Cloud Strife is no more.”


Genesis bared his teeth. “Then that only makes you the fool who killed the tonberry.”


It was impossible to tell who moved first. Masamune flashed, and just as swiftly Genesis backpedalled, throwing out a blast of flames.


Explosions thundered through the skeletal skyscraper, shaking the foundations and sending out waves of blistering heat. Silver flashed, and the flames parted, cleaved by a burst of blue energy. Genesis spun to the side, wind ripping at his coat as it passed him by.


He’d barely completed the turn when Sephiroth appeared before him, Masamune stabbing towards his throat.


Panicked reflex was all that let him knock the blow away in time. The tip of sword grazed his forehead. A trickle of blood ran down the side of his face. An instant slower and it would have taken out his eye.


He didn’t even have time to recover before the katana was slashing forward again, a deadly silver blur arcing towards his shoulder. He jerked aside. It cleaved through the concrete instead, tearing through the ground to reveal a sliver of the floor below.


The third strike he anticipated, and still barely managed to catch. The shock jarred his arm and rattled his teeth. It took all of his mako-enhanced strength to turn the blade and push it aside.


He leapt back, pulse drumming like thunder in his ears. Too fast. He whirled on instinct. Sephiroth was already behind him, striking at his back.


He’d forgotten. Over the years, he’d forgotten what it truly felt like, how overwhelming every fight was, how easy Sephiroth made it look even as you rasped for breath and your muscles turned to water.


Sephiroth had been strong before. But this time, using Cloud as a host… It was like comparing a wolf with a dragon.


“In over your head?” Sephiroth asked, before he vanished again. Genesis grit his teeth, spinning to parry, having to step back to bear the impossible weight as their blades clashed again.


“You’re as arrogant as ever!” Genesis spat. “You’ve obviously learned nothing in death.” He ducked to the side, sliding out of the lock as quick as he dared.


Sephiroth moved so fast he blurred, appearing and disappearing in swirls of darkness. Genesis turned, following the shift of air, and knocked aside Masamune mere seconds before it could stab him in the shoulder. It was barely enough, the katana sliding past to slice his arm, painting its edge red with blood.


Genesis hissed, dancing backwards and batting the blade away. His arm stung, but he shoved the pain ruthlessly aside.


“I could say the same to you,” Sephiroth replied. Wind gusted through the blown-out windows, tousling his hair and shifting grit across the ground between them. “Where has that legendary strength gone?”


Genesis’s breath felt too heavy, and he was acutely aware of the itching graze still healing above his eye, and the throbbing gash on his arm.


His movement was restricted with the water. He couldn’t keep up with this kind of swordplay. He wasn’t fast enough, didn’t have the manoeuvrability.


That left with him with only one choice.


His rapier began to glow crimson, magic curling through the runes scribed into the blade. “Just wait, and I’ll show it to you!”


He struck the ground with his sword. Fire spread out from it in a shockwave – an impenetrable wall of light and heat consuming everything in its path.


Genesis smiled grimly. If he were outmatched with steel, he would simply not allow the fight to progress to that point.


His smile quickly faded, though, when the flames began to sputter, and then a moment later, were buried under a tumbling cascade of water.


Water materia?


The last of the fire flickered out, a shallow wave of water gushing over Genesis’s boots. Sephiroth stood across from him, a green materia glowing faintly in his hand.


Cloud’s.


Genesis’ jaw clenched so hard his teeth grinded in his mouth. “Am I supposed to be impressed by that display?” he sneered. “That materia isn’t even mastered.”


Sephiroth tilted his head. “And yet, it’s more than enough to deal with you.”


Genesis all but growled, “We’ll see about that!”


He snapped his fingers, and the floor filled with explosions.


Steam billowed around Sephiroth as water burst from the materia, crashing into the wall of flames. Genesis didn’t relent, though, adding to the conflagration, a steady stream of fire and heat that built and built, until the blaze shone like a star.


The volume of water couldn’t match it. Sephiroth might have possessed the materia, but magic involved the mind more than the body. Genesis intended to make him pay for that assumption in full.


The liquid barricade collapsed, the fire eating hungrily into the space beyond, a raging torrent of flames that roared through the building, blasting out the other side, leaving only ashes and charred concrete in its path.


Except… when the blaze finally died down, Sephiroth wasn’t even singed. A translucent barrier shimmered around him, refracting the light like a thousand tiny panes of glass.


“Is that all you’ve got?” he mocked.


Barrier materia. Also Cloud’s. Genesis cursed himself for forgetting.


No matter. There were ways around this, too. Sephiroth would just as quickly learn the folly of relying on a Magic Barrier.


He swept out his arm, calling a barrage of fireballs. His foe merely smiled, not even bothering to dodge.


Until the fireballs splashed against his barrier, turning to embers… and revealed the glowing crimson blades hidden within.


The magical swords tore through the shield in a shower of sparks, hissing and sputtering like metal serpents. Sephiroth threw himself backwards, half a second too late as the ethereal blades tore through his coat.


“Did you think I was a one-trick hound?” Genesis snarled. “How quickly you’ve forgotten our battles!”


The swords dissipated into motes of light. Sephiroth was left clutching his bleeding side, with matching shallow gashes on both of his thighs. “I threw such trivial memories away in the Lifestream.” He lifted his hand, examining the blood on it thoughtfully. “You have an odd way of showing you care. Perhaps you’ve changed your mind on rescuing him?”


Genesis readied another salvo. “You’ve both survived a sword to the chest before. I’ll take my chances.” Injuries could be healed. He needed to get Cloud back first.


And if he couldn’t get Cloud back… then Genesis would make a tonberry’s grudge look tame.


With no way to be sure which fireballs held the blades, his opponent had no choice but to retreat. Genesis launched spells like bullets, his rapier singing with each slash that sent another volley peppering Sephiroth’s footsteps.


“What do you hope to accomplish?” Sephiroth asked. He weaved through the flaming missiles, and with one swipe of Masamune, blasted away three at once. “Even if you could win here, it won’t bring him back. And even if it did bring him back, what would it change? You have no place in this world, no purpose.”


“Do not presume to lecture me about purpose,” Genesis snapped, and punctuated his words with an explosion. A concrete pillar collapsed with a shuddering rumble, opening the ceiling to the floor above. “You couldn’t comprehend the will of the Goddess!”


“You continue to suffer delusions of grandeur.” His old rival darted through the flames, attacking in a flurry of steel and fire of his own. Genesis blasted the floor beneath his opponent’s feet as he struggled to retreat back out of range. “You’re broken,” Sephiroth taunted. “You’re a shadow of your former self. You went crazy long ago, but you’re a good enough actor to pass as sane.”


“Better that, than a monster who can no longer even act human!” With a vicious swipe of his flaming rapier, Genesis finally forced his foe back once more. Before Sephiroth could rebound, he threw out another array of fireballs and magic swords. Two tore through the magic shield, but his opponent dodged them easily.


Sweat ran down the back of his neck, sticking his skin uncomfortably to his collar. That particular trick might have been able to break through a magic barrier, but it took a great deal more energy, and lacked the responsive speed to compensate for movement – the only reason why he hadn’t used it sooner. But the possibility existed now that any fireball might be hiding a Magic Sword. Sephiroth would have no choice but to dodge ordisable all of them.


All that meant, though, was that they’d reached an impasse. Genesis could keep him at bay with fireballs and the threat of magic swords, but he couldn’t reliably do damage. Yet he couldn’t fight close quarters, either. Not with the water to protect.


His thoughts raced, flitting through the dozens and dozens of times they’d fought and sparred years ago, searching for that one weakness, that one opening, that one strategy he’d never quite been able to find. The water sloshed faintly in the bucket as he spun out the way of an energy slash. There was always a path, always a road to victory, if only he could find it!


Then Weiss lurched to his feet.


Genesis faltered, and very barely avoided Sephiroth’s next attack. He loosed his wing, using the extra momentum to vault himself clear to the edge of the building.


Sephiroth let him go, watching his retreat with cold amusement. Genesis barely noticed, his attention fixated on the pale, rising form of his charge. Weiss took a few drunken steps forward, before finally finding his centre of balance. He straightened, and ever so slowly, raised his head.


His gaze was dull and unseeing. His eyes tracked, but there was no comprehension there, no awareness. As blank and empty as ever.


Genesis shuddered. A mindless marionette. It brought back foul memories of degrading, mindless copies. Of rotting skin and greying hair and once-proud SOLDIERs turned to little more than trained beasts.


His throat tightened, until he could barely force the word out. “How…?”


“Since you didn’t want him, I decided I could find some use for this puppet,” Sephiroth remarked, and with no further fanfare, attacked.


Weiss moved in tandem, dashing forward in a blur. Genesis threw out a salvo of fire, but Weiss didn’t slow in the least, powering through, seemingly oblivious to the burning inferno blistering his skin. The pungent scent of burning flesh rose in the air.


It left him with no choice but to cut the spell short or risk roasting Weiss alive. He raised his rapier in a guard, but could only watch in horror as his former charge merely raised his fists to strike, utterly ignoring the crimson steel waiting to skewer him.


Sephiroth had found his version of a Magic Sword spell.


Genesis threw himself from the building, taking to the sky as a last resort. Weiss couldn’t follow him there.


Sephiroth, on the other hand, could.


In a burst of black feathers and dark miasma, a single wing – perfectly formed, not bowed and double-jointed like his – stretched from Sephiroth’s back, and launched him into the air. Genesis rolled, barely catching Masamune on his rapier before it could slice him in half. The shock travelled down his arm, and it was all he could do to resist dropping the bucket to brace with his other hand.


“Don’t even think of trying to escape,” said Sephiroth. “You made your choice. You could have rescued poor, innocent Weiss. Instead, you reached for both, and now…” With a forceful push, he threw Genesis back towards headquarters. “You lose everything.”


Concrete rushed to meet him. Through dogged stubbornness, Genesis stretched his wing wide enough to alter his trajectory, crashing instead through a half-broken window two stories up. The water sloshed dangerously in the bucket, lurching over the rim. A smattering of droplets splattered on the ground.


He scrambled back to his feet, keeping the water as steady as possible. A frantic glance from the corner of his eyes confirmed he’d lost hardly any, but he couldn’t afford to risk even a small amount – they had no idea how much was necessary to displace Sephiroth’s will, much less purify the body of Jenova’s cells.


Sephiroth landed lightly on the building’s edge. This level was as bare as the others, most windows long blown out and floor stripped of everything, leaving behind only concrete pillars and the occasional scrap of office debris.


“You’ve sunk lower than I ever thought possible,” growled Genesis. “Truly, to call you a mere monster is a kindness.”


Sephiroth merely smirked, and swept Masamune through the air. Energy lanced off the blade, slicing gouges in the concrete. Genesis swung his rapier, splitting it in half. His coat fluttered in the passing rush of air.


Then the ground beneath his feet burst open.


He dove to the side, wing flapping frantically to keep his balance. Chunks of plaster and steel and concrete rained around them.

The slap of bare feet in front of him was almost lost in the rumble and crunch of settling rubble. It was only finely honed battle reflexes that had Genesis stepping backwards, barely avoiding the pale fist swinging at his jaw.

The dust cleared, revealing Weiss once more, knuckles and arms bloody with grazes, and gaze as vacant as ever.


“Weiss,” Genesis urged, willing his voice to reach. “Brother! Wake up!”


Weiss merely stepped forward again, fist driving towards Genesis’s gut. It was easily dodged, but then Sephiroth was there too, and the hasty barricade of flames was nearly too slow, bursting so close that it singed his gloves.


It had been a futile plea, and he already knew it. Weiss had remained unresponsive for months, even without Sephiroth’s thrall. There would be no miracles there.


SOLDIERs made their own miracles.


Weiss struck again, and Genesis spun out of the way. His fist carried through, taking a chunk out of a concrete pillar instead. It was almost clumsy. Sephiroth clearly couldn’t easily control two of them, and S-cells meant he was more compatible with Cloud.


He didn’t need finesse, though. One thing Weiss always had was raw strength, easily on par with Angeal’s. And worse, Sephiroth didn’t care at all if he tore Weiss’s body apart. It was now nothing more than a blunt object, a tool to be used up and discarded.


“Why do you struggle so hard?” Sephiroth appeared from nowhere and slashed at his flank. Genesis twisted away at the last moment. Masamune shivered across the bucket’s surface, leaving a razor-thin scratch in the wood. “You’re a fool. No future awaits you.” He swung again, and Masamune clashed with ring of metal against his rapier.


They matched strength for a moment, though it was no contest – using only one hand, it was all Genesis could do to keep the massive katana at bay. His arm shook from the strain, the metal rattling ominously.


“Cloud!” he hissed. “You are stronger than this! You’ve defeated him before!”


Sephiroth pushed him away with casual ease. “He can’t hear you.”


Then Weiss was there again, and slammed his fist into his side.


Genesis barely turned in time to protect the water. He could do nothing for his ribs. The ominous crunch of bone echoed in his ears, and then he was skidding across the ground, keeping his feet only thanks to the reflexive flapping of his wing.


He staggered, choking for air, some distant part of him still alert enough to lay down a cover of fire. Knives of pain stabbed into his side – dear Goddess, he had forgotten how badly broken ribs could hurt. He fumbled for the Restore materia, no time for anything but the quickest of Cures to take the edge off so he could keep fighting. The spell had barely taken hold before he had to move again, evading Weiss’s relentless pursuit and Masamune’s razor edge.


Materia exhaustion crept through his bones - a grey weariness that made flying increasingly difficult and each spell a little slower and weaker than the last. Even with Fire materia, he couldn’t cast forever. His injuries were slowly and surely accumulating, his mako enhanced healing unable to keep up even with the assistance of his patchy Cures.


He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t fight both Weiss and Sephiroth – Cloud – off and protect the water at the same time. And even if he could, that was all he could hope to do.


It was a war of attrition, and he was going to lose.


The water glinted orange in the corner of his vision, surface catching the light of the afternoon sun.


In some ways, it made it easier. He didn’t have any choice. Not really.


Perhaps it was for the best.


Weiss lurched towards him again, tenacious and unerring. Genesis threw himself clear, whirling midair to catch Masamune rushing towards his back.


Their blades clashed, bounced, and clashed again, the metal ringing like bells in his ears.


Sephiroth drove him back, deeper into the building, away from any hope of aerial escape. “Ten years, and nothing’s changed. You’re still a failure. Still fighting losing battles.” He swung again, each strike aiming for the water, Genesis barely able to fend the katana off.


Until he didn’t.


“Maybe,” he sneered, “the point isn’t to win!”

Genesis twisted at the last moment, protecting the water with his body. Masamune struck true, tearing through his coat and gouging deep into his side. Blood spilled down his leg. His rapier clattered against the ground.

He grabbed Sephiroth’s coat with one hand, holding him close, and rasped though bloody lips, “Legend shall speak of my sacrifice, of the story past the World’s End. Beloved, Fifth Act.

And then threw the water into his face.




Next chapter


Comments

( 39 comments — Leave a comment )
Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
aelathehuntress
Feb. 22nd, 2013 12:59 pm (UTC)
I love how this badass fight turned out.
sinnatious
Feb. 23rd, 2013 07:57 am (UTC)
Thanks, that's a relief.
signrain
Feb. 22nd, 2013 03:38 pm (UTC)
Oh..Wow...

I love this chapter.
darkbombayangel
Feb. 22nd, 2013 04:05 pm (UTC)
Yay! A new chapter! Love it! ^_^
(Anonymous)
Feb. 22nd, 2013 04:32 pm (UTC)
.... Oh Genesis.

Great chapter!
killiara
Feb. 22nd, 2013 04:44 pm (UTC)
And you prove, once again, how in love with cliffhangers you are.
sinnatious
Feb. 23rd, 2013 07:58 am (UTC)
LOL, last one, promise!
(Anonymous)
Feb. 22nd, 2013 07:13 pm (UTC)
Gonna delurk here and say I love this story (and pretty much all your other ones). Damn, not sure whether to laugh or cry with this chapter though. I might consider a petition to ban the use of cliffhangers in international law...
sinnatious
Feb. 23rd, 2013 07:59 am (UTC)
Hello, and thank you! Heh heh, sorry not sorry, but at least that should be it for cliffhangers this fic? I... I have to confess it's kind of hard to end these kinds of chapters without cliffhangers. I think I've forgotten how.
chisuto
Feb. 22nd, 2013 07:17 pm (UTC)
What.
I think I hate you for this.
But I also love you for this.
I'm very conflicted.

(Great chapter. Well worth the wait, so don't feel guilty about it! <3)
sinnatious
Feb. 23rd, 2013 08:00 am (UTC)
Re: What.
<3 I'm calling this 'The cliffhanger haiku'.
Re: What. - (Anonymous) - Feb. 23rd, 2013 03:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: What. - chisuto - Feb. 26th, 2013 10:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Anonymous)
Feb. 22nd, 2013 09:09 pm (UTC)
:0 my body was not ready for an update!

give me--

give me a moment

I-

wow

*takes a deep breath*

okay, off to read the chapter now!
caterfree10
Feb. 22nd, 2013 09:09 pm (UTC)
Well the string of "SHIT"s after chapters has been broken, congrats. xD Instead, now I'm going to languish until the next chapter posts, ehehehehe. |D; the endless suffering of a fanfiction reader *sob*

Ya know, I have to admit, as a strategist, I'd have probably taken the opportunity to get the fuck out of there and regroup for better success later, but Genesis is not known for taking the easy road, so I'm not surprised at him continuing to fight. xD Then again, it probably would've ended up similarly here with Sephiroth controlling Weiss, just when Genesis expected it far less and thus Genesis would've ended up in way worse condition, so perhaps what Genesis did do is probably for the better. xB

And I had a feeling about the only way to get Sephiroth doused with the water would be to feign loss and then hit 'im, heh. xD God that's a priceless image WHY CAN'T I ART. Hopefully, there should be enough left for Weiss though! But then, considering how it didn't take much of it to cure Geostigma, I'd assume there's enough. But then again, there wasn't a whole lot in the bucket to begin with and with the church destroyed askfhsdkljs :x

K, I'mma just gonna go back to actual schoolwork I should be doing right now instead of flailing over this chapter. |D
(Anonymous)
Feb. 22nd, 2013 10:07 pm (UTC)
yeah, I was thinking about the choice too, and came to the conclusion that while, logically, there was no way retreating wasn't the best choice, this is good ol' "screw you all, you pitiful mortals" Sephiroth (imagine Lucy from Peanuts with the football and Charlie Brown. remember how she always pulled the ball at the last minute? yeah, that's Sephiroth, but with blood and death instead of childhood sports and wacky cartoonish falls) and probably had some terrible, awful hidden catch that we just couldn't see and Genesis would have regretted his choice forever, and, well, Genesis knows Sephiroth, so he probably suspected the same thing and decided that it wasn't worth it to risk Cloud... awww c:
(no subject) - sinnatious - Feb. 23rd, 2013 08:14 am (UTC) - Expand
(Anonymous)
Feb. 22nd, 2013 10:02 pm (UTC)
Genesis and Sephiroth's battle of wills and verbal battles continue to be flawless.

After all…” His pause was saturated with dark amusement. “That’s what you wanted, wasn’t it?”

Sephiroth, you dick!

Genesis bared his teeth. “Then that only makes you the fool who killed the tonberry.”

...

...!

Awwww! c: Best callback ever or best call back ever.


I love that Genesis is barely not getting killed and still his witty banter is in top shape. Never change, Genesis. :V c:

Cloud’s.

8( My goodness, there is so much meaning in that one moment.

The volume of water couldn’t match it. Sephiroth might have possessed the materia, but magic involved the mind more than the body. Genesis intended to make him pay for that assumption in full.

I love little bits of world-building and theory-crafting like this one, especially when you weave them so seamlessly into the narrative instead of dumping them into exposition. :D

“I threw such trivial memories away in the Lifestream.”

Is this canon? Because if it isn't it still makes so much sense.

I know we as readers never see your words like you as a writer see them, but I think this chapter has been fantastic! It took a bit to gain steam, but it worked well with the left-over cliffhanger of the last chapter and the tension of the situation, and it kinda just got built up until we got to awesome fighting scenes, so, yeah, it's been awesome so far!

“Did you think I was a one-trick hound?”

Ha, nice.

“Even if you could win here, it won’t bring him back. And even if it did bring him back, what would it change? You have no place in this world, no purpose.”

Hmph, risky! Sephiroth is showing the limits of his possession too soon in hopes of getting under Genesis's skin. And Genesis being Genesis, it doesn't really work. :V

“Do not presume to lecture me about purpose,” Genesis snapped, and punctuated his words with an explosion. A concrete pillar collapsed with a shuddering rumble, opening the ceiling to the floor above. “You couldn’t comprehend the will of the Goddess!”

Ha ha, at the first line I was all like "hell yeah", but then at the last one I was all like "oh, yeah, Genesis isn't, um, quite sane, right, or maybe he is just being theatrical, or both, ha ha, yeah".

“You continue to suffer delusions of grandeur.”

Well, yeah, but he's the good guy here so it's okay. :V

“You’re broken,” Sephiroth taunted. “You’re a shadow of your former self. You went crazy long ago, but you’re a good enough actor to pass as sane.”

Well, damn, Sephiroth sure doesn't pull his verbal punches. I like how you unveil through him things that we all sort of knew on the back of our heads but actually bring them to the foreground in this appropriate manner. And Genesis's answer next paragraph shows that Sephiroth really struck a nerve there. :( Also, I just noticed that, while Genesis hits the mark on Sephiroth's insecurities too, Sephiroth doesn't really care any more about what he felt like as a human, so, Genesis is only barely defending himself here psychologically, but not making much of a dent on Sephiroth. That's another layer of scariness to Sephiroth's character here: he's ridiculously physically strong, if not impossible to beat, but he's all but untouchable psychologically and at most you can ruffle his feather a little emotionally, but not really hurt him. D: Now, that's a villain.


((I had to split my comment in two because character limits, whoops!))
(Anonymous)
Feb. 22nd, 2013 10:02 pm (UTC)
the rest of my comment

His thoughts raced, flitting through the dozens and dozens of times they’d fought and sparred years ago, searching for that one weakness, that one opening, that one strategy he’d never quite been able to find.

:(

There was always a path, always a road to victory, if only he could find it!

Awww! :) That's the spirit! Making me feel all hopeful and stuff. :3 c:

D: I wasn't expecting puppet!Weiss but should have. Damn!

And still Genesis holds on to the water! D: c: That's- wow, that's something emotional right there, but the words to describe exactly what it is aren't coming to mind.

SOLDIERs made their own miracles

omg c: :3

lmao that ending

first it was all solemn and poetic and had me holding my breath in anticipation and a sort of mental mantra of "oh no oh no Genesis no or maybe yes?! D: !!!"

and then


And then threw the water into his face.


pfffft XP

that's how you end a chapter in a cliffhanger

you are the queen of cliffhangers


although, the flippancy of the contrast between the poem quote and the quasi-comical water-throwing gives me hope that the whole "my sacrifice" thing was foreshadowing this moment rather than Genesis's death

oh please let it be so D: D: D:


but seriously not many characters could just spout poetry at every possible opportunity like that and be taken seriously, well done


also, I feel like we all sorta knew kinda hoped that Genesis would decide that if it, when it came down to it, but still you made it in such a way that it was such a delight and a joy to read

also also, I've seen you use "bemusement" to describe Sephiroth, but don't you mean "amusement"? doesn't bemusement mean something like confusion or something along those lines? although in those situations any of the two wouldn't be out of place, maybe

also also also, thank you so much for updating!! c: this made my day! my entire week, even!
sinnatious
Feb. 23rd, 2013 08:32 am (UTC)
Re: the rest of my comment
<3 Thank you for leaving such a long a comment! And also for noticing the tonberry callback. I wasn't sure if anyone would remember that.

The memories in the Lifestream thing is actually canon! Sephiroth has been gradually shedding 'unimportant' memories in the Lifestream while clinging to the ones he deemed necessary, which is part of the reason why he's become increasingly fixated on Cloud.

I'm glad you liked the verbal and psychological back and forth between Genesis and Sephiroth, it's been one of my favourite things to write this fic. It's like managing two battlefields at once, the physical and the verbal.

Ah, good catch with the 'bemusement', one of those errors I introduced while editing I think. Been fixed now, thanks.

LOL, you're welcome, thank you for reading and for such a lovely comment!
fezastwin
Feb. 22nd, 2013 11:00 pm (UTC)
Wow, awesome fight scene. So awesome, I forgive you for yet another cliff-hanger! Try not to leave us waiting too long though. :)
sinnatious
Feb. 23rd, 2013 08:33 am (UTC)
Heh, thank you. I'll do my best not to! Life is calming down a little bit now so that will help.
ynyuki
Feb. 23rd, 2013 01:14 am (UTC)
*-* Update! <3

Somehow I feel that Seph is getting too much sadistic glee out of all this.

And I think Cloud got revenge on Genesis for all his angsting from before with this chapter x3
(Anonymous)
Feb. 23rd, 2013 01:24 am (UTC)
Yes, that is another think I forgot to comment upon!

I really like that Genesis finally felt some regret over the things he so flippantly said to Cloud. He's the kind of person who really would benefit from some humility.

Hopefully if things work out and they both come out of this alive, it will mean good things for whatever relationship they have later on. As things are now, they are in that sort of delicate balance where they can really hurt each other badly (Genesis to Cloud, in particular) because they don't tend to measure their words and actions in terms of how they can affect others. (Cloud tends to either hesitate or act impulsively, but always regret it anyway, and Genesis... well, Genesis is Genesis.)
ladyazurith
Feb. 23rd, 2013 04:56 am (UTC)
I have to say I nearly started crying for Gen when he realized that he'd likely pushed Cloud over the edge. The whole fight was beautiful, and very much worth the wait.

The whole battle was brilliant and I love how you described Gen's fire.

And Sephiroth's greatest weakness( at least in his insanity) is not understanding people, how humans work. I liked Gen's last move, and I'm hoping he'll be ok, but sometimes stories are better if the ending isn't always happy.

Anyway thank you for the chapter!
sinnatious
Feb. 23rd, 2013 08:51 am (UTC)
Thank you! Relieved it was worth it.
gardensgnome
Feb. 23rd, 2013 09:30 am (UTC)
Niiiiiiiice. Sephiroth is such a true bastard, using whatever he pleases to attain his goals. Very much the monster.

Go get your man back, Gen!

sinnatious
Feb. 24th, 2013 01:16 am (UTC)
Sephiroth is really such a great villain, he's awesome to write.

<3
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