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Beloved, Epilogue

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: This was quite late, apologies, RL has put me through quite a bit of a wringer the past couple of weeks and writing has been the very last thing on my mind. But we’re here! The end! And it’s an incredibly long chapter to finish off, too. This fic on the whole took way longer than intended and meandered way off course – but for all that it didn’t turn out as I originally hoped, I wound up a little bit fond of it. I guess it’s best put that while I’m not happy with the result at a macro-level, I like it at the micro-level. And learned some new things besides.

Also one last round of applause for Little House, without whom I can say this fic would have been a lot worse and who steered me around some nasty potholes and generally pushed the quality of this fic higher than it would have been had I been left entirely my own devices.

Thanks everyone for reading and commenting, I hope you enjoy the epilogue!




Previous chapter



____________________

Beloved Epilogue

____________________


It had been the longest night of Tifa’s life. Longer than the nights spent in Mideel, wondering if her childhood friend would ever awake from his mako-induced delirium. Longer than that quiet, solemn, potentially last night spent under the stars. Longer than that first evening in Midgar, after Zagan left, and Tifa found herself all alone in a world gone insane.


They’d returned to Edge first – the Turks disappearing almost immediately to bodyguard Rufus. Tifa and Nanaki had gone back to Seventh Heaven to fill Barret in, and set about calling Reeve and the rest of AVALANCHE, just in case. Cait came riding in on Mog around midnight, to act as their liaison with the WRO. Cid and Yuffie had arrived with the dawn, less than half an hour ago. Tifa tried to keep herself busy, digging out ethers and potions, and making sure everyone was battle-ready.


Eventually, though, all she could do was wait for word. From Cloud, or if the worst happened…


She clenched and unclenched her fists, focusing on the pull of wrappings and leather. “Vincent should be here for this.” If the worst case scenario eventuated, they would need everyone.


“Naw, it’s a relief his creepy ass hasn’t turned up,” Barrett grunted. “Then I’d know we’re in trouble.”


“Ain’t that the fucking truth,” Cid agreed sourly. “He’s like a goddamn bad omen, only shows up when everything’s going to shit.”


“Try to relax,” Nanaki counselled her, head resting on his crossed paws. “You’ve done everything you can for now.” He at least seemed confident Genesis would get Cloud back for them.


Tifa took a long breath, struggling to recall Master Zagan’s teachings about calm and focus and patience, about the time for action and the time for waiting. It didn’t help.


Sometimes it felt like ever since Meteor, all she’d done was wait for Cloud.


“Wait! Guys!” Yuffie hollered from the window. “I think I see him!”


Tifa jolted in place, ripped from her thoughts and torn between racing to see for herself and risking having her hopes dashed.


Then the door swung open with a tingle of the bell, and Cloud and Genesis stood framed in the entrance, the morning sun blinding at their backs.


“Cloud!” Cait exclaimed.


“’Bout fuckin’ time!” said Cid, puffing angrily on his cigarette.


“What the hell, Spikey, makin’ us worry like that?!” Barret boomed, but his face was stretched in a wide grin.


Tifa braced herself against the countertop, her grip so tight it felt like the wood might crack. “You made it back.”

Cloud’s gaze snapped to her, darting to her neck. She rubbed at it self-consciously, and tried to put on a reassuring face. It didn’t feel convincing to her, but it must have worked, as his posture relaxed minutely.


“By all means, don’t give me any credit,” Genesis sniped.


“Sephiroth?” Cait asked urgently.


Cloud paused at that, eyeing the robot cat warily. “Is that Reeve?”


“Nah, just Cait and Mog,” Cid grumbled. “Reeve’s off trying to corral fucking cactuars at the WRO. Mobilisin’ and shit.”


A ripple of tension ran through both SOLDIERs at that, so Tifa hastily jumped in to explain, “To fight Sephiroth, right, Cait?”


The robot cat nodded vigorously. “Ach, that’s right lads! You’re in the clear, I promise you. Reeve’s already sent word down ‘bout that. Nobody’ll be messing with ya!”


“Not like we’d let them, anyway!” Barret boomed. “Shoulda never let Reeve talk us into any of that shit in the first place. AVALANCHE has got to stick together!”


That Cloud looked reassured made Tifa’s stomach flip – had he been worried about coming here? “Thanks, that helps.”


“You’re too forgiving,” Genesis muttered, only just loud enough to be heard by everyone.


Cloud didn’t acknowledge that comment. “As for Sephiroth, you don’t have to worry. That’s been taken care of.”

The room let out a collective breath of relief at that. “The clone?” Nanaki queried in a softer voice.


That met with an uncomfortably long pause, before Cloud eventually murmured, “…We couldn’t save him.”


“What the hell happened out there?” Barret thumped his gun arm on the table. “How many times is that bastard gonna come back, huh?”


“Shit, and the Church’s destroyed now too, ain’t it?” Cid commented. “If some crap like Geostigma comes up again…”


Cloud shook his head. “I don’t think Sephiroth will – can – come back anymore.” He suddenly looked very tired.


That caught Tifa’s attention, as she found herself running a closer eye over them, reading the story of the past day. They were both a mess – it was obvious that Cloud had at least changed his shirt at some point, but had done a poor job of cleaning all the blood and dirt off his face and arms. The absence of his gloves was telling, as was the raw-looking half-healed wounds on his left hand and shoulder. And Genesis was no better – his jacket tattered, held together by what looked like staples in some parts, and one side liberally darkened by what Tifa suspected was dried blood. All along with a slightly grey tinge to his pallor that spoke of lingering materia exhaustion.


It sent a wave of fear and dread through her. How close had they come this time to losing Cloud for good?


The others were already moving on to new points of interest, though. “Hey, so you’re this ex-SOLDIER guy Tifa and Red were telling me ‘bout, huh?” Barret gave Genesis an assessing stare, followed by a wide grin. “Thanks for taking care of Spikey for us!”


“I’ll say!” Yuffie said with eyes that all but sparkled. “Where did Cloud dig you up?”


“I’m starting to think the brat has a thing for pretty boys dressed in red,” Cid grunted at nobody in particular. Then louder, continued, “So, you’re Genesis Rhapsodos. Heard you were dead.”


Genesis subtly shifted outside of Yuffie’s reach. “Have we met?”


“Fell asleep in a Loveless performance once. You woke me up for the final act.”


Cloud side-eyed the former SOLDIER at that. “You went to the theatre enough to make a habit out of that?”

I am hardly the one at fault here. The truly alarming thing is the sheer number of philistines who either sleep through or try to leave performances early,” Genesis retorted haughtily.

Cid just grinned around his cigarette. “Didn’t realise it was one of the famous First Class SOLDIERs at the time, though. Name’s Cid Highwind, by the way.”


“A pleasure.” Genesis paused, gaze turning inward. “The name sounds familiar. Did you work for ShinRa?”


“I flew a couple of supply runs back during the Wutai War. We were never formally introduced, though. Never gave enough of a crap about all that networking shit.”


Genesis looked thoughtful. “Ah yes, I may recall. One of our best pilots, until Palmer poached you for the Space Program.”


“Wasn’t poached. Always wanted to go into space.”


They forgot sometimes that it wasn’t just Reeve who’d once worked for ShinRa. That once upon a time, Cid had been high up in the hierarchy in his own way, even if it had come crashing down long before they met.


“Interesting friends indeed, Cloud Strife.” Genesis’s gaze wandered over the rest of the group. “Vincent Valentine?”


“That jerk’s still not answering his phone!” Yuffie fumed.


“He’s been in hiding ever since you left.” Barret rumbled. “Reeve’s been trying to get into contact. You know anything ‘bout it?”


“Hm,” was the full extent of Cloud’s cryptic response on that. “I’ll get in touch with him once things have calmed down a bit.”


“I’ll give you a lift if you need it. Shera Mk II’s parked just outside the city limits,” Cid offered gruffly. “You have any trouble getting here?” He’d apparently taken note of their bedraggled state as well.


“We avoided running into anyone.” It was a strangely evasive answer, until Tifa remembered the wing Genesis had sported before. They’d flown in, then.


Tifa took a deep breath, pushed aside her lingering worries, and finally managed a proper smile. It was always important, to her at least, that she greeted Cloud home with a smile. Some part of her had thought it might help, once upon a time, when he’d been gone more often than not. “I’m glad you’re back. We missed you.”


This time, it was Cloud who looked away, guilt dancing in the edges of his eyes. “Tifa…” He cleared his throat. “We should talk.”


Her smile faltered.


Since when was Cloud the one to ask to talk?


But he was right. They needed to talk. Had needed to talk for a long time. “Right. Now?”


“You’ll be okay?” Cloud asked Genesis.


He was met with scorn. “I should be the one asking that question.” Genesis made a shooing motion. “Go, deal with your melodrama already.”


“I promise I won’t steal his materia!” Yuffie sang, and then paused, considering Genesis greedily. “…Do you even have any materia?”


“Probably better for everyone if you don’t answer that question,” Cid commented around his cigarette.


Tifa led the way to a booth on the far side of the bar, leaving the chatter behind them. It was close enough that they could still see everyone, but far enough away to have at least a modicum of privacy.

“Oh! Your sword – we had to leave it at the Church,” Tifa suddenly recalled. “We tried to bring it back with us, but-” But Reno’s arm was broken, and Nanaki couldn’t help, and it took both her and Rude to merely lift the weapon – carrying it any distance at all was out of the question.

“It’s fine.” Cloud shifted, showing her the sword slung into its usual harness on his back. He unhooked it, propping it up by the table so he could sit down. “We stopped by to pick it up on our way here.”


It was such a normal part of his getup that she hadn’t noticed it until then. “Right, okay. Good.”


Neither of them spoke for a long moment. The air was heavy with awkwardness. How long had it been that way? She wanted to say it was just since the clone became active, but maybe it had been even longer.

“I’m sorry.” Tifa broke the silence first. “What Reeve suggested – it wasn’t meant to go like that. But when you left, I-”


“I know why you did it,” Cloud interrupted. “I’m not happy about it, but I don’t blame you for it. It’s not you I’m mad at. Not really.” He ran a tired hand through his spikes. “I thought, when I saw Sephiroth had you-” He cut himself off, hesitated, and then finished, “It didn’t seem so important, after that.”


“You left your phone,” Tifa said. “I think it was important.”


He didn’t have any response for that.


She clasped her hands in her lap, staring down at them. Her knuckles were still wrapped, ready for battle. “Were things really that bad? That you couldn’t even trust me anymore?”


He’d kept so many secrets. It was Geostigma all over again.


“It wasn’t that I didn’t trust you,” Cloud replied. “I didn’t tell you about Genesis for other reasons. Reasons I didn’t really understand myself, at first.”


The following silence grew fat, thickening the air between them.


Then Cloud said, “It’s not working.”


She swallowed, and wished the silence back. “I know.”


“I don’t want to run away anymore,” he confessed. “I don’t want to keep lying to you, either. Or myself.” He shifted restlessly in his seat, and abruptly admitted, “I’m in a relationship with him. Genesis.”


Tifa paused.


Digested that.


Then burst out, “What?”


Nanaki glanced over, but Tifa hurriedly waved his attention back away. She leaned across the table, speaking in a furious whisper. “You’re talking about a romantic relationship, right?”


That was a faint blush rising on Cloud’s cheeks, she was sure of it. She hadn’t seen that in years.


She sat back again, stunned. There were so many questions, so many things she needed to say, that she didn’t know where to begin. “Why didn’t you ever tell me? That you were…” Of all the secrets Cloud had been keeping lately, this one surely was both safe and necessary to share!


He hunched his shoulders, beginning to resemble the more evasive, embarrassed Cloud she’d known in childhood, before he left for ShinRa. “It caught me by surprise too. I think I might have known once, before…” He trailed off, gaze turning distant.


Before mako screwed with his memories.


It explained an awful lot, in retrospect. She had wondered about it, more than once, when Cloud never seemed interested, never even looked. They couldn’t forget that whole incident with the dress, either. But he’d never quite fit the stereotype, and there had been that whole thing with Aeris, so she’d never taken the notion seriously. Never followed that train of thought to its inevitable conclusion.

Still, okay. Right. She wasn’t prepared for this turn of events, but she could accept it. After all, she’d spent plenty of time wandering through Sector Six back in Midgar so it wasn’t exactly a foreign idea, and she once thought Biggs and Wedge had something going on too. It would take some getting used to, but…


“With him?” she sputtered. “He’s…” She struggled for words. A diva? A stranger with a seriously suspicious past?


They glanced over at the others, where Genesis had Yuffie all but hanging off his arm and Barret laughing uproariously.


“He can be charming when he puts his mind to it,” Cloud offered.


She shook her head in disbelief. They’d only met for a scant few minutes, but for most of those minutes Genesis had been a First-Class jerk.


Although… she supposed he’d been operating under the idea that she’d sold out Cloud to the WRO at the time. And he’d healed her even so, and Nanaki too. And then he’d gone to face down Sephiroth single-handedly, with half-mended injuries, to get Cloud back.


She turned back to face him properly then, and to her surprise, met his eyes clearly.


It almost took her aback. Somehow, she’d become used to him avoiding her gaze, turning his face away, or hiding behind sunglasses. But now he didn’t flinch, glowing eyes steady and focused on her.


“He’s been good for you,” she realised.


Cloud did look away then, grimacing. “Vincent said the same thing.”


It was hard not to be jealous. It wasn’t the same sort of jealousy she’d had for Aeris, but something quieter. More desolate. The realisation that despite years of trying to provide everything she thought Cloud had needed, someone else had done more for him than she ever could.


“How long?” she asked.


“We met at that Loveless performance. The relationship…” He hesitated. “…Not until I left. It’s still new, but I want to see where it goes. And that means…”


She didn’t want to hear it, didn’t want to draw it out in words. “I get it.”


This was a break-up talk. Even if – looking back – they’d never formally discussed their relationship in the first place.


Tifa had never really had dreams, not the way some of the others had. Until her hometown burned, her life had been mostly comfortable, her wants simple and in many ways childish. She’d had a vague wish to leave Nibelheim. Hopes of a knight in shining armour sweeping her off her feet, and carrying her into an adventure with a fairy tale ending.


Cheap wishes and romantic fantasies. She’d known that, and so focused on the practical matters of life instead.


It still hurt to see them die all over again.


Some of that must have shown on her face, because Cloud murmured, “None of this was your fault.”


She grimaced, looking away. “It’s everyone’s fault,” she replied, “And no one’s.”


They fell silent. Tifa tried to think, tried to imagine what would change, where life would go now. But it was too soon. She was still getting over too many shocks from the past day, much less the past couple of weeks. It left her numb.


“I’m going to need some time. To get used to the idea,” she eventually admitted, then hurried to clarify, “You’re still welcome here, though. Always. Genesis, too.”


He shifted in his seat. “Thanks. But I think we’re going to steer clear of Edge for a while. Until things die down a bit.”


Oh.


“You’re leaving, then.”


“Just for a while. I’ll come back and visit. Later…” He shrugged. “We’ll see.” He fiddled awkwardly, before continuing, “Marlene and Denzel…”


“-Will be fine,” Tifa interrupted, because even if she could hardly recognise the Cloud currently sitting before her, she could recognise that particular guilt trip coming a mile away. “They’re growing up fast. Marlene will be nine soon. Denzel’s already twelve. They’re old enough to understand.” She crossed her arms. “So long as you call and visit. We’ll hold you to that. No pulling a Vincent on us.”


His lips quirked with the hint of a smile. “Right.” He glanced around the room. “Where are they, anyway?”


“Stayed up all night waiting with us, even though I told them to go rest while they could. They only crashed out about an hour ago.” Which was the only reason she could guess as to why they’d slept through the ruckus so far.


Cloud nodded in understanding. “Let them sleep. I’ll come by again before we leave, to say goodbye properly.” He stood, but hesitated. “I’m sorry. I never wanted… I didn’t want to hurt you.”


Tifa stood with him. “That’s relationships, Cloud. You’re going to have to get used to it.”


Neither moved for a long moment – maybe both knowing that as soon as they did, something profound would have ended. That what had been words would now become reality. A sense of nostalgia, a fear of change in a world that had changed too much already, glued their feet to the floor.


Tifa refused to fear change. She spun on her heel and led the way back to the others. “Come on, we shouldn’t leave Genesis fending for himself forever.” Especially not with Yuffie, whose kleptomania tended to rear its head with new people, like it was some sort of initiation rite if you spent more than ten minutes in her presence.


Despite what she’d said, when they re-joined the group Genesis appeared to be holding up remarkably well, though that might have been because the topic had moved on to colourful epithets about ShinRa and Sephiroth, which all of AVALANCHE could get behind and for which Genesis could apparently bring reams of fresh material to the table.


“You guys done?” Barret called out.


“Yeah. Sorry.” Cloud took up position next to Genesis. They exchanged a fleeting look, before Cloud nodded slightly, and Genesis’s shoulders relaxed.


There were questions in everyone’s eyes, so Tifa cast about for something to do. Her gaze landed on one of the side tables, where she’d gathered supplies earlier. “Oh! I have some ethers and potions. You should take some before you go.”


“You’re going?” Yuffie asked in horror. “Already?”


“I’ll come by again later. There are some things I have to deal with first,” Cloud replied. “And thanks. You can keep the potions, but we could use the ethers.” He took three, and tossed two to Genesis. Genesis pocketed one, and immediately downed the other. His complexion improved almost instantly.


With the colour back in his face, he really was astoundingly good-looking – the sort of person she could imagine gracing magazine covers. “Where are you off to?” she asked. Making conversation, at this point. Trying to make things feel natural again, even though they wouldn’t feel natural for a long time to come.


“Someone I’ve been meaning to talk to for a while.” Cloud shared another glance with Genesis. “Ready to go?”


“As fascinating as your friends are, Cloud Strife, we’re here for your sake, not mine,” Genesis remarked. He took a shallow bow. “A pleasure to make your acquaintances.”


AVALANCHE in general made the usual disorganised babble of unique pleasantries back. Tifa stayed silent, but made sure to hold Genesis’s stare as his eyes swept across them. They lingered, briefly, and she was struck by how similar they were to Cloud’s. Not just the colour or mako glow, either.


She nodded at him. She didn’t like him - or maybe it was more she didn’t know him - but she would entrust her childhood friend to him. Genesis replied with a regal dip of his head in return. No hint of apology, but a silent acknowledgement.


Then they were gone, as quickly as they’d come, and Seventh Heaven was quiet was once more.


“Jeez, that was a lot of fuss over nothing then,” Yuffie complained into the sudden silence. “Now what are we gonna do?”


“You stupid or something?!” Barret thumped her on the head with his normal hand. “Did you really wanna fight Sephiroth? Be grateful we got nothing to do!”


Cait nudged Mog closer to Tifa and tugged on her shirt. “What did Cloud want to talk about?”

“Oi, didn’t that look like a private conversation to you, you bucket of bolts?” Cid growled, picking up the toy cat by the scruff of his neck.


Cait flailed wildly in his grip. “Yikes, I was just asking!”


“It’s okay,” Tifa said, clasping her hands behind her back. She kept her head held high, but couldn’t quite bring herself to meet anyone’s eyes. “You’d find out eventually anyway. We agreed that it wasn’t working out. He’s leaving with Genesis for a while.”


“Wait, with Genesis? Do you mean… are they like… you know… are they…” Yuffie made some obscene gestures with her hands.


“Yuffie!” Barret barked.


“What?! I can’t be the only one who was thinking it!”


Nanaki had gone wide-eyed. “Oh. So that’s what Vincent meant.”


“Aw hell, what are you lot, a bunch of teenagers?!” Cid scowled. “Quit gossipin’, you’re embarrassing yourselves.” He puffed on his cigarette angrily, and gave Tifa a beady stare. “You alright, Tifa?”


She folded her arms, and managed a small smile in response. “I will be.”


It was probably better this way. She could rage at the unfairness of it, cry a bit, and in the end absolve them both of blame. She didn’t have to break it off herself. She could finally stop waiting for a day that would never come.


And maybe… maybe now Cloud could be happy. And once he was happy… maybe Tifa could allow herself to be too.



………………..



Cloud kicked in the door with a single blow. It tore off its hinges in a deafening crash and a shower of splinters.


“I do appreciate your sense for dramatic entrances,” Genesis commented.


They stepped to the side as a bullet whizzed past and struck the wall behind them. “I don’t think Tseng agrees,” Cloud commented, stepping back into the doorway with his sword held out like a shield. His gaze swept the office. It was easily twice the size of Reeve’s at the WRO, yet featured little more than a large polished wooden desk and plush dark blue carpet.


And three Turks, all with their weapons drawn and ready to attack.


“Hold your fire!” a smooth voice ordered. A moment later, from behind Tseng a familiar face emerged, dressed in perfectly pressed white suit, and blond hair carefully combed back. “Cloud. What a surprise.”


“Rufus ShinRa.” Cloud lowered his sword, slinging it back into its harness.


“I’d appreciate it if you simply knocked next time. Under the circumstances, such a violent entry is bad for everyone’s nerves,” Rufus said amiably, before suddenly lurching half a step backwards as Genesis followed him into the room. “You’re-!”


“So nice to see you again, Vice-President,” Genesis greeted with a grin that would put a coeurl to shame. “You’re much taller than I remember. Children grow up so fast.”


Rufus’s expression flickered wildly, until swiftly reverting back into pleasant neutrality. “Reno informed me that you were alive, but I admit I wasn’t prepared to see you so soon.”


“I decided to come out of retirement.”


Rufus settled into the tall-back leather chair behind his desk, Tseng immediately moving to stand at his shoulder. Reno slouched in one corner and Rude stood at attention in the other. “In that case, to what do I owe the pleasure of this visit, gentlemen?”


“Don’t play stupid,” Cloud said. “You know why I’m here.” He should have done this ages ago.


“Humour me.”


Cloud crossed his arms. “This whole mess had ShinRa’s dirty fingerprints all over it. You might not have caused any of it directly, but don’t think I didn’t know what you were doing.”


“I understand you’ve been having troubles, but I fail to see what that has to do with Neo-ShinRa.”


“Please,” Genesis scoffed. “I’m a hermit and even I could tell what you were doing, it was so obvious. ShinRa public relations for beginners – when the company is trying to shake off bad press, create a villain to take the heat instead. Then when the public is sufficiently frightened by this new threat, swoop in to deal with the menace. You generate good press and distract from the bad all at once.”


Rufus folded his hands in his lap. “You sound as though you’re speaking from experience.”


Genesis smirked, and flicked his hair out of his eyes. “Naturally. I’ve had the honour of being on both ends of such campaigns.”


“I suppose you would have a unique perspective,” Rufus conceded. “However, you forget that the threat was in fact, very real. If it weren’t for-”


“I was shot at, and couldn’t even return to Edge to let anyone know that Sephiroth was back,” Cloud interrupted. “Think about how things could have gone if they played out even just a little differently.”


“That ain’t-” Reno started to snap from the corner, but Rufus held up a hand, and the Turk fell sullenly silent.

“I will grant you that things developed in unforseen ways, and that in this instance we were fortunate that there were not worse consequences. Neo-ShinRa is once again very grateful for the service you’ve provided to the community. And rest assured, Reeve has already spoken with me as well. We will be doing everything in our power to make amends.”


“Maybe instead of making amends, you could stop causing me trouble in the first place.”


“As I’ve stated repeatedly, that was never our intention.” Rufus spread his palms disarmingly. "You were simply collateral damage, Cloud. Not everything revolves around you."

"Then ShinRa really hasn't learned anything," Cloud spat. "You want to be different from your father? Figure out a way to do things that doesn't involve collateral damage. Then maybe Neo-ShinRa will have actually changed." His piece said, he spun on his heel to leave. Talking to Rufus always frustrated him, and he was better off going before he drove a fist through the wall.

“Try not to get into any more trouble, Vice-President,” Genesis sneered as he followed Cloud from the room.


They headed back through the fluorescent-lit hallways of Neo-ShinRa’s headquarters, leaving a trail of spooked office workers in their wake. It might have had something to do with their entrance via the roof. There was a lot less security to deal with coming from the top floor.


“You enjoyed that,” Cloud noted once they were out of earshot.


Genesis’s grin was all teeth. “He was always a pompous, power-hungry little brat. It was an absolute joke that he was made Vice-President at his age. I would say that it was the beginning of ShinRa’s downfall, but then, the rot had set in long before. It was only starting to stink.”


“I wouldn’t know.” Rufus would have been Vice-President at ShinRa while Cloud was a trooper, but huge swathes of his days at ShinRa had been lost to mako poisoning. He couldn’t even remember the names of his squad members, much less anything about office politics at the time.


Cloud hit the button to the call the elevator to go down. He didn’t want to hitch a ride from Genesis if it weren’t necessary. Short stints were fine, but motion sickness was never fun.


The elevator arrived with a soft, digital chime, and he and Genesis stepped inside, pressing the button for the ground floor. Just before the doors closed, Reno and Rude slipped in after them.


Cloud’s hand immediately found the hilt of his sword. Genesis mirrored his movement.


“We’re not here to fight, yo.” Reno held up a hand in a gesture of surrender. The other was wrapped in a cast and sling, and Cloud had a micro-second’s spike of guilt at the recollection of their skirmish. “Boss just wanted us to escort you out, make sure security didn’t give you any trouble or nothin’, that’s all.”


“Or, perhaps, to make certain that we don’t cause any trouble?” Genesis remarked archly.


“Or that,” Reno agreed easily.


Cloud shifted into a less offensive stance, though he didn’t remove his hand from First Tsurugi.


The doors slid shut again under a frosty silence. Genesis crossed his arms, eyeing both Turks with open derision.


The elevator slowly ticked past the levels. The building was nowhere near as tall as the original ShinRa Headquarters, but the elevator dramatically slower. Rude cleared his throat.


“Look, I ain’t saying sorry,” growled Reno abruptly. “You were acting shady as shit, yo.”


“I’m not saying sorry for your arm, either,” Cloud replied flatly. “Why haven’t you healed it yet?”


“Your boyfriend over there took off with the only damn Restore materia around without bothering to share,” Reno snapped.

Genesis huffed. “It’s not as though you asked. I seem to recall you were much too busy threatening me, in fact. Your tactics in that respect are positively stellar.”

Meanwhile, Cloud blinked, animosity briefly forgotten. “How did you know that we were…?” He’d only told Tifa, and that was less than an hour ago.

“You mean- You’re seriously- aw hell!” Reno spluttered. “That’s a like a fucking bomb waiting to go off, yo!”


The animosity made a swift return. “I don’t think it’s any of your business.”


Reno opened his mouth to reply, and then spying both his and Genesis’s expressions, appeared to think better of it. He leaned against the elevator wall with a scowl. “Whatever. It’s not the point anyway. I ain’t apologising and you’re just going to have to deal.”


“I didn’t expect you to,” Cloud said. “What the hell is your problem, anyway?” Reno seemed more angry than embarrassed. It wasn’t exactly the response he’d expected.


“Nothin’!” When Rude turned his head slightly to stare Reno down, the Turk slouched and amended, “Fine! I’m just pissed, yo. That you stole our chance to get even.”


“Of course. Because fighting Sephiroth is so much fun,” Genesis drawled, brushing somewhat deliberately at the rips and bloodstains still marring his coat. “By all means, next time you’re welcome to take him on first. We can take bets on how long you’ll last.”


“There won’t be a next time,” Cloud interrupted, before Reno could get out his retort. “Even if there were any Jenova cells left, there won’t be enough of Sephiroth.”


Reno shoved his working hand in his pocket and turned his head, glaring at the elevator wall. “I know all that, okay? Doesn’t change shit. Elena deserved better.”


Genesis opened his mouth to reply, but Cloud quelled him with a quick look. The former SOLDIER acceded with a polite tilt of the head, and turned his attention to inspecting the cuffs of his coat. Right or wrong, some topics were better left alone.


This time, the silence held until they finally reached the ground floor, and the elevator whooshed open with a soft ding.


Reno and Rude didn’t move to follow them out. As Cloud stepped into the foyer, though, Rude rumbled, “The bike.”


“Ah, right,” Reno muttered. “Your bike’s clean, yo.”


Genesis raised an eyebrow. “It wasn’t before?”


The Turk’s face twisted. “Cloud knows what I’m talking about.”


Cloud nodded. He wouldn’t say thanks, though. Not for what should be the case in the first place.


Still, it was a relief, knowing that he could reclaim Fenrir. Something small and normal, after the last few weeks of extreme displacement.


“Later, yo.”


The doors slid shut again with a gentle clank. Genesis and Cloud left the foyer, heading onto the concrete paths of the street outside.


The air felt incredibly fresh against his skin, even though they’d not been inside for more than fifteen minutes. The sun was warm, and the roads were busy but the sidewalk relatively quiet. It was as close as it got to a perfect day in Edge.


“So, who shall we terrorise next, Cloud Strife?” Genesis asked. “You mentioned Reeve Tuesti, earlier?”


Cloud slanted him a glance. There had been a slightly odd tone to his voice, a discordant note that caught his attention. And now that he was looking, his companion seemed both tired and increasingly uncomfortable.

Genesis hid it well – extremely well – but Cloud was familiar enough with him by now to recognise the tension in his posture, the way he was holding himself almost too casually. Being this deep in Edge, on top of meeting everyone at Seventh Heaven earlier, and then facing off with Rufus and the Turks after that…

Too much, too fast. Cloud could appreciate that. He didn’t handle crowds wonderfully on a good day, and he’d not just emerged from several years of almost total isolation. And then there was the wound of Weiss’s loss, still so fresh…

“I think that’s enough. We spoke to Cait – that’s as good as speaking to Reeve.”

He watched, and caught the subtle shift of muscles as Genesis relaxed. “A shame,” he said. “I had hoped to make a larger impression when I came out of retirement.”

Amused, Cloud asked, “Taking on Sephiroth wasn’t enough of an impression for you?”


“Even the most glorious battle remains fiction without witnesses,” Genesis quoted authoritatively as they made their way along the sidewalk, heading vaguely back towards Seventh Heaven. Their path led them through the centre of Edge, and they soon found themselves walking through Meteor Plaza.


Cloud noted Genesis’s gaze lingering on the Meteor Monument – the twisted sculpture of scrap metal erected as a memorial, destroyed by Bahamut SIN, and now finally reconstructed once again. “You’ve never been this far into Edge, I guess,” Cloud murmured. “Neo-ShinRa commissioned it, when people first started re-building here.”


Genesis scoffed at that. “A mark of ownership in the ruins they helped create? Tasteful.”


Cloud shrugged. “Probably. A lot of people resented it when it first went up. But it’s all some people have. Too many bodies disappeared into the Lifestream before they could be identified.”


They came to a stop by the monument, Genesis bending to read the plaque set before it. The plaza was eerily deserted, giving it an unusually sombre atmosphere. Later, when it hit lunchtime, it would fill up with hundreds of office workers from Neo-ShinRa’s headquarters or the WRO’s offices, and in the afternoon once school let out it would turn into a popular meeting place for the bored inner-city children. For now, however, they had it to themselves, with only the occasional civilian passing through on errands.


Cloud shifted restlessly. He needed to ask, and couldn’t put it off any longer. “About what I said, earlier. To Reno.” To Tifa, too, but Genesis hadn’t been there for that. “Do you still… are we…?” He fumbled for words. He couldn’t seem to find any that didn’t sound hopelessly insecure and childish.


Genesis straightened. “I had thought, given earlier events, that you had ruled such possibilities out.”


He had reacted poorly to the revelation that Genesis had been keeping Weiss’s role in the whole saga a secret from him – even now that breach of trust stung. And Sephiroth’s barbs still echoed in the back of his mind, doubts left unresolved.


“…I don’t know what to make of it anymore. Any of it,” Cloud eventually admitted. Maybe not even that first unexpected kiss in the theatre.


They both stared up at the twisted metal sculpture. It gleamed in the early morning sun, and its shadow scattered and stretched like a misshapen spider web across the pavement.


“It seems to me, Cloud Strife,” Genesis began haltingly, “that neither of us have been entirely forthright. With each other, or perhaps, ourselves. Assumptions have been made. Too many of them.” His lips pursed. “Even I know that is not the most stable foundation for any sort of lasting… relationship.”


“I know.” He’d learned that lesson with Tifa. “I want to at least try. But…”


“But…?” Genesis prompted.


He mulled over it for a long moment, and then finally settled on asking, “Why?”


“Pardon?”


“Why… this? Me?”


In the end, that was what it all boiled down to. A lack of understanding of motives. There was too much tangled history between them, their circumstances too strange, for him to keep taking things at face value.


“It’s unbecoming to fish for compliments, Cloud Strife,” Genesis lectured.


Cloud gave him a flat stare. “Have you looked in a mirror lately?”


“Of course I have. I live in a theatre. Your point?”


Cloud sighed and turned his gaze back to the monument. “Never mind, then.”


In the following silence he could all but hear Genesis stewing. He rode it out. Cloud could enjoy silence for days at a time, but Genesis, for all his solitude, was a man who preferred it remain relegated purely to the realm of dramatic pauses.


Beloved is the Dawn

The bell of broken slumber

To a healed world, a new oath

A promise carried past the end.” His voice carried across the plaza, a lonely echo of plays long past.


Cloud waited, but when Genesis didn’t add anything more, asked, “…Is that your idea of an answer?”


“You’re right. I have no idea what I was thinking. You clearly have no appreciation for the arts,” Genesis sniffed.


“I appreciate the arts fine. It’s just kind of difficult for me when your primary method of communication is poetry,” Cloud muttered.


Genesis folded his arms haughtily. “Ask vague questions and receive vague answers, Cloud Strife. If you wish for me to speak plainly, then speak plainly yourself.”


He didn’t want to articulate it, not while the wounds of the past day were so fresh, but if he didn’t deal with this now, it would become his relationship with Tifa all over again. “I can’t figure it out. I keep wondering - is it because of Zack? Or am I replacement for Sephiroth? Or is it just that you’ve been so isolated that anybody would do?” He couldn’t help the sound of frustration in the back of his throat.


“You have been harbouring some concerns, haven’t you?” Genesis asked, eyebrows raised.


Cloud glanced away, turning to watch the traffic passing by instead. It hadn’t seemed important before, when it felt like the whole world had turned against him. But now, after Sephiroth… he needed to clear the air. It was the only way he could hope to put the nightmare fully behind him.


“I doubt that there is any way I can answer that question which will satisfy you,” Genesis admitted with a shrug. “Is it because you are connected to Zack, and by extension Angeal? Perhaps partially, at least when we were still strangers. Are you a replacement for Sephiroth? Hardly, beyond the fact that I have found in you a far more worthy and satisfying rival than I ever did him. As for isolation, how are either of us to know for sure? Yet I have had plenty of opportunities even in my exile to seek companionship, and I did not feel the urge.”


He paused, staring up at the Meteor Monument, the morning light playing across his features. Eventually, he said, “Perhaps it can best be answered another way. Tell me, Cloud Strife. How did you fare in your quest for understanding?”


The question took Cloud briefly aback. It felt like a lifetime ago since he’d voiced that request to Genesis, that excuse to Vincent.


“I don’t think it was that I needed to understand, really,” Cloud muttered, rubbing the back of his neck. “…It was more, I needed to be understood.”


Genesis went still.


“Genesis?” Cloud prodded when he didn’t respond. And then stumbled back as Genesis suddenly seized him by the collar and dragged him into a kiss. “-mmph!”


When they broke apart again – Genesis not relinquishing his hold – he breathed, “Therein lies your answer, Cloud Strife.”


Cloud just stood there, still faintly dazed. Genesis had that effect on him a lot. “That’s all there is to it?” It was really that simple?


“In a world that so hastily judges you, you underestimate the value in a companion who judges you for nothing.” Genesis released his collar to slide his fingers along Cloud’s throat to his jaw, his touch feather-light. “Though certainly, it is not your only redeeming feature.”


Cloud caught his hands. Neither of them were wearing gloves for once – Genesis’s too soaked with blood, and Cloud’s torn ragged.


They stood like that, in the middle of Meteor plaza, as thirty seconds crawled by in an instant.


“So,” Genesis eventually murmured, “I ask again. What now, Cloud Strife?”


He considered it. “First, let’s go back to the theatre and get some sleep.” Neither of them had anything amounting to meaningful rest for the better part of three days now. They could still function as normal, and the ethers Tifa had given them earlier had helped, but even SOLDIERs had limits. “Then I guess we ought to go track down Vincent and Shelke, let them know they can come out of hiding.” There was no particular rush, and given enough time Shelke would likely go net diving to gather news herself, he owed Vincent a heads up. “As for longer term… what do you want to do? Do you want to keep staying at the theatre?”


“There is little point, now that my continued existence is no longer secret,” Genesis remarked with a shrug. “I would not be averse to shifting somewhere with electricity and plumbing. The only value the theatre retains is memories now.” His voice darkened on that last note.


Reminders of Weiss. Cloud could understand he would want to get away from that. “I have a mansion in Costa Del Sol then. We could go there for a while.”


Genesis’s expression turned incredulous. “You have a mansion. In Costa Del Sol.”


“Yeah.” When Genesis’s expression didn’t shift, he explained, “I sold off some excess materia, and I had a lot of winnings from the chocobo races too. Rufus put it up for sale after the President died, and I guess it was part getting one over ShinRa, but it was probably more that it’s never a good idea to have a lot of gil around Yuffie.”


“Dear Goddess, not just a mansion, but ShinRa’s mansion. You’re actually rich,” Genesis sputtered. “Why, pray tell, were you living in a spare room in a bar running a one-man delivery service when you have a mansion in Costa Del Sol?!”


Cloud shrugged. “AVALANCHE wanted to help with the rebuilding efforts to begin with. And there was the Church – I wanted to take care of the flowers, for Aeris.” The thought made his chest ache. Sephiroth had destroyed the Church utterly. When they stopped by to retrieve his sword, that had been apparent.


Better the flowers lost than Genesis, though. Maybe a couple of years ago, he wouldn’t have been at peace with that, but these days he was sure that Aeris wouldn’t have accepted any other outcome.


Genesis shook his head in bemused wonder. “Just when I think I have you figured out Cloud Strife, you throw in some other ludicrous revelation.”

Cloud crossed his arms, maybe a trifle defensively. “Do you want to go to Costa Del Sol or not?”

“This at least explains the ridiculous extravagance of your custom sword and bike,” Genesis declared. “You’ve been secretly sitting on a fortune this entire time. I’ve changed my answer. I was only after you for your gil.”

“Right, you can stay in the theatre then, I’ll go live in the beachside mansion.” he replied in a deadpan, turning on his heel and walking away.

Then there was a blast of air at his back, and arms dragging him into the sky with startling swiftness. “Genesis!” Cloud cursed.

Genesis merely smirked. “You’re not getting rid of me that easily, Cloud Strife!”








________________

Thanks for reading!


Comments

( 51 comments — Leave a comment )
gardensgnome
Apr. 13th, 2013 10:29 am (UTC)
*grins evilly as Cloud promptly chucks up all over Genesis* Good thing they are still in need of baths.

“I have a mansion in Costa Del Sol then. We could go there for a while.” - THIS IS PERFECT!

Yay ending, you finished it CONGRATS! but also sadness ending. I've never particularly liked Genesis but I really do like yours. He compliments Cloud very well.

Good ending to a good story *nods*

Now enjoy a well earned break and hopefully rl will ease up on you as well.
sinnatious
Apr. 14th, 2013 03:34 am (UTC)
Thank you for reading! And for all of your comments throughout. :)

LOL, writing fanfic is a break for me really, I wouldn't do it if I didn't love it. But I will enjoy being able to work on new projects without feeling guilty. :)
aelathehuntress
Apr. 13th, 2013 12:43 pm (UTC)
You did a lovely job with the epilogue and your Genesis is fantastic.
sinnatious
Apr. 14th, 2013 03:34 am (UTC)
Thanks! :)
makkaka
Apr. 13th, 2013 01:24 pm (UTC)
Askdkdncjrksjsjedhcjeiheskdndidnzns *__________*

*flails around like no one's business* irjendbfhfklekefnf

Eeeeeeee the ending so perfect fjffijsjsndnfbgrjke

Aaaaaaaaah Cloud Cloud Cloud you angsty little thing you <3

Lkjjfdsaqieirfjfkdks--- I'm sorry I can't even comment about how amazing the while story has been and how amazing your writing is and how sugoi you works are because I'm drowning in a boiling vat of my feels ahsjdkkdkfoskajdjfiej

So.

When can we expect the next fic? =v=9

//bricked
sinnatious
Apr. 14th, 2013 03:35 am (UTC)
Heh heh, thank you! Very happy you liked it! :D

Next fic... I'll probably post a couple more of those long-neglected Xmas prompt fills relatively soon, after that, who knows!
lenine2
Apr. 13th, 2013 06:16 pm (UTC)
Like gardensgnome, my first thought was - if Cloud barfs on Genesis that will certainly kill the mood.

The picture of Genesis hastily stapling his coat before appearing before Cloud's friends makes me love him even more.

I am sad about the church, and the pool and flowers, but have to agree with Cloud.

It was great fun reading this. Thank you for writing!
sinnatious
Apr. 14th, 2013 03:37 am (UTC)
I like how everyone went straight to the barfing. XD

Thank you!
killiara
Apr. 13th, 2013 07:37 pm (UTC)
That was absolutely beautiful. Genesis as awkward-but-hiding-it was ADORABLE. And bless Cloud for recognising when he hit his people-limit.
sinnatious
Apr. 14th, 2013 03:38 am (UTC)
Thank you! Cloud would know the people-limit thing quite well, I imagine. :)
(no subject) - killiara - Apr. 14th, 2013 03:43 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sinnatious - Apr. 14th, 2013 03:46 am (UTC) - Expand
mauralucky7
Apr. 13th, 2013 08:11 pm (UTC)
This was a great ending. Although I'm not sure Genesis wants to fly all the way to Costa de Sol with a motion sick Cloud. I love how you flesh out Genesis's personality, not outright saying that he's vain, but just simply writing that he had stapled his coat back together before they went back to seventh heaven.

Great Job Sin. Get some rest.
sinnatious
Apr. 14th, 2013 03:40 am (UTC)
LOL, I would hope they make tracks the more traditional way for at least part of the journey!

Genesis has priorities.

Thanks, glad you liked the ending! And thank you for all of your comments throughout too. <3
darkbombayangel
Apr. 13th, 2013 08:44 pm (UTC)
I am sad to see it end. I love it! But I do love it when Cloud told Genesis he have a mansion. It's so funny. ^-^
sinnatious
Apr. 14th, 2013 03:41 am (UTC)
Thank you! Alas it had to end eventually. Thanks for reading and for all of your comments throughout, they were definitely appreciated!
(Anonymous)
Apr. 13th, 2013 08:59 pm (UTC)
*sobs*

It's over! D':

Oh, well. I loved this chapter! All loose threads nicely tied up, and while not a promise that everything will be happily ever after, it is very optimistic and full of hope!

Also, I loved that this chapter was full or WHAM reveleations. "Oh, btw, I have a mansion." "Oh, btw, this is my boyfriend." etc. etc.

I finally got the meeting between everyone in Avalanche and Genesis and that was cool.

And Serious Conversations! I'm glad Cloud is learning from his relationship with Tifa and actually voicing his concerns (and that he did The Right Brave Thing To Do and talked everything out with Tifa).

Just- so much goodiness here! And I wasn't expecting the thing with Rufus! Brilliant!

And Genesis being uncomfortable to be around so many people so soon! I hadn't even thought about that.

Even if it didn't come out like you hoped, I'm still so happy you wrote this and put the best of your efforts into it. It was a real joy to read and I think it's kind of spoiled me for other FFVII fanfictions. (Just like The Fifth Act did before this. XD)

Thank you so so so so much!!!
sinnatious
Apr. 14th, 2013 03:43 am (UTC)
Thank you anon! I'm pleased the ending managed to deliver for you. In some ways I wish I hadn't left all of this for the epilogue, writing the AVALANCHE meeting was especially fun,, as was Rufus. (Nobody ever expects Rufus. ;))
ynyuki
Apr. 13th, 2013 11:29 pm (UTC)
*flails*

Me hearts happy endings <3

Genesis' tongue grated on my nerves a bit, but considering the circumstances, I guess it would be a IC attitude... = not helping Cloud's insecurities though.

Loves the last scene x) <3 Twas adorable <3
sinnatious
Apr. 14th, 2013 03:47 am (UTC)
We have to give Genesis some slack, he's had a very rough couple of days. ;)

Glad you liked the ending! Thank you for reading! <3
caterfree10
Apr. 14th, 2013 03:55 am (UTC)
Heh, would've made it here sooner today, but it's 413 which is Homestuck's anniversary so I've been running around all day with my fellow Homestucks, lol. xD my cheeks still hurt from all the smiling, ehehe |D;

ANYWAY, I have to say I'm really satisfied with the ending, probably ridiculously so. I like that Tifa isn't immediately accepting of Genesis (as well as including that it might be related to the simple fact she doesn't know him). I mean, hell anyone in her position would be similar, I would imagine. And OH YUFFIE as much as some people want you to grow up, I never do, you're fucking adorable. <3 ngl I want her and Genesis to become friends bc they could have entirely too much fun raising hell together. *cackles*

Adored everything about Cloud and Genesis telling off Rufus, especially Genesis emphasizing calling him "vice president." Simply icing on the cake. P: I can understand some of their frustrations, but Neo-Shinra definitely still has a long way to go. *nod*

I cannot express how much I giggled toward the end though. The calling back old conversations between them and recent unearthed fears, not to mention simply bringing up how rocky a footing their relationship has just makes me love it even more, especially how they come to the best understanding. <3 And omg, Cloud just oh so casually dropping that he has a mansion in Costa del Sol and Genesis' reaction (not to mention that entire last four paragraphs *cackles*) will never not be priceless.

Kinda sad to see this ended for good, but it was definitely one hell of a ride I'll not soon forget. and will probably be read as many times as I have TFA, kekekekeke //BRICK'D

also playing "Alternia" and "Showtime Piano Refrain" on repeat was an A+ idea while reading the epilogue *nod nod nod* //BRICK'D INTO THE SUN
sinnatious
Apr. 14th, 2013 04:04 am (UTC)
Happy Homestuck anniversary! :)

Thank you, that is awesome to hear! Endings are always a little nerve-wracking so to hear that you are satisfied is great. <3

I can't bring myself to write Yuffie as a proper 24-year old, she's still sixteen at heart!

Thanks for reading, and for all of the comments too! I always enjoyed them. :)
(Anonymous)
Apr. 14th, 2013 11:11 am (UTC)
Wonderful
Thank you.You just made my day. A wonderfully satisfying ending all around.Wish Rufus got his nose broken or something ,but can't have everything I guess.
kitty11chan
Apr. 14th, 2013 01:47 pm (UTC)
This was an epic ride. Thank you for writing it.
aramisa
Apr. 14th, 2013 02:35 pm (UTC)
Just a comment passing by
Well, I was going to write this comment yesterday but, laziness XD. I just want to thank you for writing for the FFVII fandom. Not only for this fic but for the The Fifth Act and those wonderful drabbles as well. I love the fact that you know the game and the characters so well and decided to add even those who are sometimes forgotten by the fandom, like Red XIII in this one (when was the last time Red XIII did something in a fic, or in CANON since we are at it). Or write those little pieces of info about a character that convince me that I'm reading the real character and not a fic, like that part about Tifa trying to remember Zagan's teachings. Tifa being treated as a character and not just eye candy or as a shipping thing it's something I love to see. Even if I'm not a fan of the pairing, I enjoyed reading about Cloud finding happiness with somebody. It doesn't matter how much the "serious" part of the fandom of the new games want to convince me about Tifa and Cloud being right for each other, I just don't see them as compatible.

Well, without anything further to add without falling in those compliments you are probably tired of reading (you rock!, you are the best writer in FFVII!, please have my babies, etc.) I'll just say that I hope you keep writing for the fandom. It's right now the only thing that made me came back to it after so many years :)
sinnatious
Apr. 17th, 2013 09:53 am (UTC)
Re: Just a comment passing by
You're very welcome! Thank you for the lovely comments. I really like writing in the FF7 fandom, the canon itself is so well developed that there's a lot to work with. And I actually really enjoy writing the less popular characters too, will definitely need to write something else featuring them.

I have to agree with you on the Tifa thing, even though it's heavily implied in canon I can't picture it working out, it felt like both parties were sort of forcing the relationship in Advent Children (hence a lot of this fic). But fandom's a large and diverse place so everybody is welcome to their own ships and interpretations.

I probably won't keep writing in this fandom forever - I'd get way too stale, there are already plenty of symptoms of that in this one - but I'll definitely write at least one or two fics more in it. I hope you'll read and like those too!
signrain
Apr. 14th, 2013 03:58 pm (UTC)
Great Epilogue.

You make a charming Genesis and a beloved poem, then you can capture their Characters just so perfectly, with humor.

I have a few problem with the fighting scene, no.. not you fault, but it's because I'm not very good at English to imagine the picture from reading that easily, the last fighting scene with Sephiroth still great anyway.

Your Genesis matches Cloud perfectly, like a best buddy and old married couple, I hope they'll be happy together for everlasting.

You may hate me.. since I love to tease and annoy you, but I love your writing, please keep writing, and you can ignore me if you don't like me..

I hope someone could make this one a podfic, I want to hear the poem read out loud, it must be beautiful.

There is no hate, only joy
For you are beloved by the goddess
Hero of the dawn, Healer of worlds,
I hope to read the next story from you.



Edited at 2013-04-14 04:10 pm (UTC)
sinnatious
Apr. 17th, 2013 09:34 am (UTC)
Ah, I never actually realised that English was a second language for you, thank you for soldiering through this then!

And not to worry, I will always keep writing, in one form or another. :)
(no subject) - signrain - Apr. 17th, 2013 01:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
qem_chibati
Apr. 15th, 2013 10:18 am (UTC)
I am tired, but I just wanted to say that this is brilliant.
sinnatious
Apr. 17th, 2013 09:31 am (UTC)
Thanks! Get some rest. :)
ratzels
Apr. 15th, 2013 03:25 pm (UTC)
Excellently wrapped up, thank you. :)

I'll just join everyone in delight over Genesis' reaction to Cloud having Shinra's mansion. I laughed like a loon at it.
sinnatious
Apr. 17th, 2013 09:31 am (UTC)
Thank you for reading! Happy that you enjoyed it. :)
(Anonymous)
Apr. 20th, 2013 01:20 am (UTC)
Annonymous
Loved this story. By the way will you be posting this fic to fanfiction.net?
sinnatious
Apr. 20th, 2013 01:42 am (UTC)
Re: Annonymous
This one, probably not FFnet. I'll put it up on Ao3 when I get the chance though.
(Anonymous)
Apr. 27th, 2013 03:31 am (UTC)
Awesome! You finished!

Well done with cleaning up all the loose ends, though I was hoping you'd drag Vincent back in...

I guess that's one too many pretty boys in red cloaks, huh? :)

I don't think any one has mentioned it yet, but I loved this exchange:

"You’ve been secretly sitting on a fortune this entire time. I’ve changed my answer. I was only after you for your gil.”

Gen, you goldigger!

I really enjoyed this ride, and am probably going to keep stalking you in hopes of further FF7's.
sinnatious
Apr. 27th, 2013 11:37 am (UTC)
Thanks! I did want to do something more with Vincent, but felt it would be too convenient for him to magically reappear after going into hiding, and he'd fulfilled his roles already.

Cheers, hope to see you around. I'll inevitably write at least a couple more FF7 fics before I wander on.
swyrel
May. 2nd, 2013 04:49 am (UTC)
OMG Sin, I so love you. I finally finished rereading it, and I am as still in love with it as I was when you first started writing it. Probably more though since Genesis is still alive! I was convinced that he was going to die. T_T You had me so worried about him most of the story.

And the final fight was so epic. I figured it would mostly be Cloud, but I'm so glad Genesis got his chance to shine too. Well, actually, I was glad after the fact. Throughout the whole thing, I was sitting on the edge of my seat hoping that he didn't get killed.

And the ending~ Somewhat slashy bits. Needed a bit more (such as some steamy lovin' back at the theatre), but I can live with what we got :P I just can't believe Genesis didn't put a sword through Reno, even if he was acting all nice again. Or Cloud for that matter, since he knows that Reno cut the brakes now. T_T

And the mansion! Apparently there will be slashy bits there, but where are they, Sin?! I need to read those. T_T

I just adored this fic. It wasn't as long or as detailed as Fifth Act, but even so, I fell in love with it, and it is def one of my top two (Fifth Act being the other one :D)!

Can't wait to see the next project~

sinnatious
May. 2nd, 2013 02:04 pm (UTC)
Haha, yes, I do recognise that for a slash fic there was shockingly little slash, I think I've forgotten how to write it or something. Still, thank you for reading it all the same and glad you managed to enjoy it regardless. :)

Hope to see you around on future fics too!
bladebird
Jun. 21st, 2013 07:56 am (UTC)
I just discovered a new love...Genesis!! I followed you from A03, I follow your FF.net account but thought you had quit until I saw your A03 account today. I read other Genesis/Cloud fics but I think yours the best. I mean they were good too but I felt that they made Genesis too emotional and weak.
sinnatious
Jun. 21st, 2013 09:17 am (UTC)
Yeah, sorry, I'm a bit pickier about what I put up on FFnet compared to LJ. And thank you! I don't think that this fic is a big success in terms of the pairing but I hope it might inspire other Genesis/Cloud authors to raise the bar.
kotoshin
Jul. 7th, 2013 03:07 am (UTC)
Found a piece of fanart
sinnatious
Jul. 7th, 2013 04:41 am (UTC)
Re: Found a piece of fanart
Oh wow, awesome find!
shangrilove
Nov. 22nd, 2013 01:02 am (UTC)
First, I just want to say, wheeeeeeeee so much Genesis! I love it! I mean obviously I love it for a lot more than just the Genesis, but you've gone above and beyond in portraying my favourite character so nicely. I mean I loved The Fifth Act and now I'm so blown away by Beloved that I can't think about anything else. Damn girl, you really know how to turn your reader into a quivering inarticulate fan.

The fact that you titled this "Beloved" is just oh so appropriate. The relation to Loveless, the fact that it's the unofficial sequel to Loveless... and the way Genesis move on to quoting Beloved as much as Loveless after a decade, it's all so perfect. Is it just me or is Beloved a bit more optimistic than Loveless? That works well because while Loveless fit the whole dark period of JENOVA/degradation/Shinra, the transition to Beloved signals them moving past that.

The Genesis/Cloud interaction.... it blows me away how naturally they come together, it reminds me of flickering flames coming together and then apart again before it turns into one big flame. Or maybe I'm thinking too much about Genesis with his fire materia. XD

I always have a thing for stories/characters that revolve around one central theme, and not that they were balantly obvious but comes together in the end and the reader is like "Omg now I finally get it.". The whole theme of Cloud wanting to be understood and Genesis wanting someone to understand him just made them so complimenting. They are absolutely perfect for each other.

I always found AC!Cloud kind of sad, the way he didn't really care about anything anymore and it almost seemed like he was saving the world out of a sense of responsibility and taking on so much angst because of it. And Genesis is the exact opposite, he's lost any feeling he has for the world, and even if Sephiroth were to destroy everything, I doubt he even cares anymore. But for opposing way they viewed the world, they are still so so similar. After everything they've been through with Shinra and being experiments, I think they're the only ones left who can be together without having to explain the darkness that still lingers.

It also fits, that the only two to find out and gains the confidante of Genesis and Cloud are Vincent and Nanaki. In a way I can see there was a subtle line between the ones who were experiments and the rest of them. To be fair, I was a bit disappointed by Tifa and Reeve. I completely understand though, the whole thing about good intentions/for the greater good but it really wasn't fair to Cloud and I felt so bad for him. But then again, this and how Shinra operates is such a great reflection of how the world really is. The whole way everyone went about living in fear, Shinra creating and feeding those fear reminds me of living in post-sept 11 North America right now. It's really great to see the parallels there.

Sorry about the really long review, but this was such a masterpiece that I once again, it just gave me so much feelings and I really appreciate the amount of work and creativity you put into it. Beloved is as much as a piece of art Loveless is. Maybe I'll start quoting line from it now and completely confuse everyone in my life.
sinnatious
Nov. 25th, 2013 12:43 am (UTC)
Thank you! You're much too kind. I wish I had something more to say in response, really. (Although please don't go around quoting Beloved. XD My hackneyed little plot point of a poem doesn't even deserve to be mentioned next to Loveless!)
phoebe_chan
Jun. 13th, 2014 05:08 pm (UTC)
So I found this fic and weeeeeee.
I have a big hidden love for Genesis/Cloud, and a longfic for this pairing? An amazing, IC longfic for this pairing with all their issues, and Sephiroth meddling like he does? Gift of the Goddess, probably.
I read The Fifth Act before this I'm just terrible at commenting, but I have to say I'm absolutely in love the way you write Genesis. His diva-attitude like Tifa pointed it out here, his general attitude, his love for theatrics, gosh, I love everything about your Genesis.
But then again, I love everything about Genesis in general.
I really loved the whole world's response to the events of the games, it makes perfect sense. And AVALANCHE's underlying fear that what if Cloud gets controlled again. It is a valid fear, and as we know, valid fears can push people into drastic actions.
I love how Cloud and Genesis need to learn how to communicate with each other about their issues, and how they took the steps neccessary for that. I love how Tifa is understandably hurt, but her biggest concern wasn't Cloud's sexuality but the fact that she doesn't know Genesis, so she has no idea if he would treat Cloud well or not.
I have to agree with Reno a bit, though. I feel bad that they couldn't even get a drop on Sephiroth for Elena. Not killing him, of course, but you know. Clip his wing a little for example. But I guess such is life - sometimes you can't avenge the ones you love, sometimes you have to fight off your bitterness a different way.
I love how everyone's actions were understandable, the conclusions they reached were logical... simply just neither of them had all the pieces that were needed to see clearly. So they hurt each other, and they need to work to fix their friendships. They started to work it out with apologising, but they all have long way to go.
Also? Cloud thinking that Genesis would want to adopt Nanaki? Best. Thing. Ever.
Seriously. Thank you for this experience.
sinnatious
Jun. 15th, 2014 10:24 am (UTC)
Thank you for such a lovely comment! I wanted to write a proper Genesis/Cloud pairing longfic for ages, and while this fic wasn't everything I wanted it to be in that respect, I'm happy whenever fellow fans of the pairing like it!

Bahaha, well, it makes sense, right? Nanaki is like all of Genesis's favourite things. :D

Thanks again! Glad you enjoyed it~
(Anonymous)
Oct. 11th, 2015 07:30 pm (UTC)
Sometimes Makes Long Comments Anon here!

I just re-read this. Still holds up, even knowing all the twists and turns.

I cannot muster the words to tell you how much I've loved your fics. (I'm still trying to get into the right mindset to read and enjoy your Cloud/Vincent one, but it'll happen!)

I once said that your stories have spoiled me for all other FFVII fanfiction out there. It's still true. You have a way of writing that is so utterly engaging and elegant and it feels weird to say this but it kind of inspires me to try more artistic endeavors myself.
(My own attempts at fics have languished and died in forever-WIP folders now lost to computer crashes, but hey, it was fun at least.)

You have a way with words, is what I'm saying, that makes it genuinely enjoyable to read what you write.

Also, I'm sorry for bringing this up after so many years (you've probably forgotten?), but even after all this time the curiosity persists, and the production/brainstorming processes of stories interest me a great deal:

What was your original outline for this story? I have the vague memory of you insinuating that maybe Genesis was hallucinated by Cloud, when I commented on the dream-like nature of the segments in Midgar (which the narration itself pointed out more than once), and apparently things with Sephiroth changed many times?

But it's okay if you don't answer that bit. To be honest, I just wanted to gush at you one more time for the gifts you've provided us in this silly, sometimes overly-enthusiastic fandom. I want you to know all those hours of work were appreciated, and still are.

Thanks for being there!
sinnatious
Oct. 12th, 2015 06:27 am (UTC)
Hi Anon!

Thank you for your kind words! Even if your writing career was short lived I hope you're enjoying other creative pursuits too.

Oh man I could talk writing meta and methodologies all day, I don't mind the question at all.

For this fic, I have to admit that my outline was very very threadbare after the first few chapters - I had some notion of three major obstacles to overcome in Cloud and Genesis's relationship (Tifa, Weiss, and Sephiroth) as well as wanting to explore how the public would react to a new clone threat in the aftermath of Dirge of Cerebus and... that was pretty much it. I wound up mostly writing it chapter by chapter, and only looking at most two chapters forward while writing, then going back later and fixing anything that clashed with the direction the story wound up going.

One thing I initially started with though was that Genesis was upfront with his search for Weiss from the beginning, and they were much more cooperative on the matter, but it felt OOC on both sides so that was something that got changed. The Church getting destroyed was also something last minute which then obviously made big changes to the ending because limiting their supply of water meant Genesis had to make a choice, whereas initially Weiss was going to get cured by dunking him in the pond and Cloud wasn't going to get possessed. Stuff like that.

Not a great method! I got stuck a lot (writing myself into corners/making the story boring) because of this, and while it seemed to have worked out okay in the end, things would have gone a lot more smoothly if I had a clearer outline from the start. That said, I still do this, which is why I haven't posted anything for ages. ;__;

Thanks for dropping a comment! I forget that LJ exists lately but gosh I miss some of the great discussions we can have on here.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Oct. 15th, 2015 04:08 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sinnatious - Oct. 18th, 2015 03:52 am (UTC) - Expand
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