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The Fifth Act - Chapter 37

Title: The Fifth Act

Rating:
T for violence.

Summary: FFVII Time-travel. Gen. Cloud has an accident with a Time Materia.

Author's Note:  Thanks for your patience. Final chapter should be out a week from Sunday, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

This chapter is action. Entirely. You guys like action, right? 


Previous Chapter  

  

 

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The Fifth Act
Chapter 37


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The air shivered with the shriek of tearing steel as First Tsurugi cleaved through the railing. Sephiroth dashed to the left and swung at his unprotected flank. Cloud separated his sword and caught the blow, then pulled the second blade free to sweep at the General’s head. He jumped clear, settling atop one of the specimen tanks with unnatural grace. A single silver hair floated to the floor.

 

“You truly believe you can kill me?” His words were mocking, but his gaze was sharp and assessing. “I don’t think you have it in you, Cloud. If you did, you would have taken your chance in the Midgar Wastes.”

 

“I’ve killed you before,” he snarled, leaping after him. They danced across the top of the pods, trading strikes. A wild swing left a three-metre long gash in the wall.

 

“So I am to be punished for crimes I have yet to commit. I thought you were a SOLDIER, not a Turk.” Sephiroth deflected his attacks with ease, carving a wide radius with long, sweeping arcs of his blade.

 

Cloud didn’t respond. This Sephiroth would never get the chance to threaten the Planet. It wasn’t a risk he was willing to take.

 

He slashed, met air, then whirled and slashed again. His opponent blocked each strike, but was forced to step back on the last. “You’ve become stronger since we last sparred.” His eyes were narrowed. Suspicious. Accusatory.

 

“You’ve just become weaker,” he snapped, and drove his sword at his foe’s heart. Sephiroth turned to the side at the last second, sparks flying from Masamune as their blades scraped.

 

His mistake. Cloud lashed out with his foot, catching him in the stomach with a satisfying thud. The General stumbled back, clutching his ribs, and hastily threw out a Firaga to regroup. A Barrier shimmered into existence before the blond with scarcely a thought. The blazing inferno passed over him like a warm breeze.

 

The fire hadn’t even cleared before Cloud retaliated in kind. The walls shuddered with thunder as a torrent of lightning lashed through the chamber. At the last minute his target ducked – the spell missed him by a hand’s width and splashed across the ceiling instead. Glass shattered in staccato bursts as a string of light bulbs exploded, raining them with tiny shards. The Reactor plunged into darkness, lit only by the green of mako from the core.

 

Sight didn’t matter. He could sense Sephiroth clearly – could fight him with his eyes closed. He rushed forward, but the General whirled away at the last moment, taking cover behind one of the specimen tanks.

 

Of course. He’d forgotten his awareness of Sephiroth was a two-edged sword. His opponent could fight in the dark just as competently. 

 

Cloud leapt clear over the tank, and swore under his breath when the point of his blade cleaved into the floor, empty of prey. Sephiroth had rolled to the side at the last moment, and now backed up the stairs to put some distance between them. “Running away?” he growled, tugging First Tsurugi free. “Hypocrite.”

 

“Liar,” Sephiroth retorted, drawing the word out. “You lied to all of us, Cloud. Every single day.”

 

The emergency lights flickered to life at that moment, bringing a dull illumination back to the chamber. In that instant of distraction, Cloud rushed up the stairs with a shout and barrelled into the General, pushing him through the doorway and off the platform connecting to Jenova. He fell, as Zack once had, silver hair and black leather coat folding around him as he plunged to the lower levels.

 

Sephiroth wouldn’t fall far – the angle was wrong. Cloud dove after him. He might be a liar. He might be a traitor. But he would change everything.

 

His opponent twisted midair and landed softly on a wide metal beam. He raised Masamune barely in time to catch First Tsurugi. The resonating clang echoed off the Reactor walls, and the beam creaked and groaned under the stress of the impact.

 

For ten breathless seconds, they teetered in place, suspended above the core. Cloud pushed all of his weight down upon his sword, but with a burst of strength and a twist of his arm, Sephiroth threw him clear. He landed on the wall, knees bent to take the impact, then sprung off it again, breaking First Tsurugi in two to brandish a weapon in each hand. 

 

His foe deflected the first two strikes. The third sliced through arm of his coat. 

 

With a hiss, the General stepped back, driving him away with a wide swing. Cloud backed off, eyes sharp, the drum of his heartbeat quivering in his fingertips. The gash was already closing – Sephiroth always had been abnormally fast with regeneration – but it showed who was in control.

 

“Things will be different, this time,” he promised. This time it was for real.

 

Sephiroth simply tilted his head at him, considering. “…You’re not the Cloud Strife I know.”

 

Fury filled him, sharp and cold, as dozens upon dozens of taunts about his identity, his desires, his hopes and pride and dreams, echoed in his ears. “You’ve never known me!” 

 

Sensing he was outmatched in his current position, Sephiroth jumped to meet his next strike. They leapt from wall to wall, rebounding off pipes and pillars, clashing midair in a blurred flurry of blows. Masamune flashed under the artificial lights, edge tinted green by the ambient glow of mako. Cloud caught every slash with ease, knew every move and every counter.

 

When they landed before Jenova’s platform once more, it was Sephiroth who was out of breath and faltering under the weight of his sword. His black leather jacket sported several new rips. A drop of blood splashed onto the floor.

 

No mercy.

 

He drove the General back under a hail of fire and lightning – away from Jenova, into the tank chamber where they’d begun. At some point, he became peripherally aware that others had entered the Reactor. The awareness lingered for only a moment – a fuzz coloured his thoughts, his vision tunnelled, and it felt like static was flickering across his skin.

 

Nothing else mattered. His only focus was Sephiroth.

 

This time, he wouldn’t fail. For the Planet.

 

 

………………………

 

 

Zack gaped at the unbelievable scene before him. “What’s Cloud doing here?” He’d been unconscious only hours ago, and now he was here fighting the General?

 

Vincent appeared at his shoulder. He looked grim. More grim than usual, that was.

 

“Cloud! What’s going on?” Zack shouted, drawing Buster Sword and ready to join the fray if necessary.

 

The blond showed no sign of even registering his voice. He was attacking with his sword separated in two, whirling and slashing almost faster than the eye could track.

 

With no response from that quarter, Zack figured he’d try the other party. “Sephiroth?”

 

“I’m rather busy right now, Zack,” he answered, voice straining with effort as he deflected another blow. Zack stared. He’d never heard the General sound like that. Not even during his and Cloud’s impromptu duels back at ShinRa. He looked a mess, too – his coat sporting several smooth tears, and a line of blood staining his chest from a wound already healed.

 

This wasn’t right. This wasn’t right at all. He’d come here prepared to fight, but Sephiroth didn’t sound like he was a threat – if anything Cloud was the one acting weird. “We’ve got to stop them.”

 

“I don’t think we can,” Vincent murmured.

 

They had to try something. “Cloud! I thought you’d given up with the whole trying to kill Sephiroth thing! Weren’t you guys getting along last time?” he called out.

 

No response. Not even a flicker. Just the clash and clatter of swords. He felt a pit in his stomach. This was really, really bad. ‘Somebody-was-going-to-die’ kind of bad.

 

“It’s Jenova.” Vincent’s voice barely carried over the sounds of battle.

 

“Sephiroth’s crazy not-mother? How?”

 

“Cloud told me he has her cells too. We were worried about this happening.” He closed his eyes for a moment as though in silent prayer, then raised his gun and pointed it at the blond’s back, his aim wavering as he tracked his movement.

 

Zack yelped and pushed the barrel to the side. “Put that down! You are way too eager to shoot people!”

 

Vincent stared at him. “Then what do you suggest we do?”

 

He had to think fast. “I don’t know, there’s got to be some other way to- hey! Didn’t you say you guys were going to destroy her? Won’t that work? It doesn’t make a difference if it’s Cloud or Sephiroth, right?”

 

Vincent didn’t reply. Zack took that as a yes. He glanced around, frantically searching for whatever could identify as ‘Jenova’. Not much nearby that he could see except those weird pods filled with mako. 

 

“Sephiroth! We’ve got to take out Jenova! Once she’s gone, he should go back to normal!” Zack yelled over the clanging of swords. Cloud still didn’t react as though he’d heard a word.

 

Luckily, Sephiroth didn’t appear to need any explanation beyond that. He broke their lock and sped up the steps towards the doorway, silver hair streaming behind him. A blazing Firaga cut him off. Zack’s eyes smarted at the heat. “Sephiroth!”

 

He shouldn’t have worried – the General came through unbothered by the fire, but it gave Cloud the opening he needed to somersault overhead, striking at his opponent’s neck. Sephiroth ducked, but was driven away by a barrage of lightning-fast follow-up attacks.

 

“I don’t think he’s going to let me near,” he remarked. Somehow, he managed to sound bemused despite his situation.

 

Okay then. He knew Jenova was through the doorway, now. Enough information for him. “Then keep him busy, we’ll take care of it!” 

 

Sephiroth didn’t give any outward acknowledgement, but immediately went on the defensive. Zack rested on the balls of his feet, eyes sharp, waiting for an opening. The room they were fighting in wasn’t that large – though a couple more hits to the back wall might change that – but gradually, the General allowed himself to be driven into the right corner.

 

The stairs were clear! Zack took the opening and dashed up the steps. In less than three seconds he reached the top, darted through the doorway, skidded to a stop, and stared.

 

Across from him was a raised platform, connected by thick pipes, wide enough for a grown man to stand on. On the platform rested a mako tube, not unlike the one they’d rescued Cloud from five days before. But wrapped around it in protection was something he never expected to see outside one of those occult conspiracy shows - an iron mask and breastplate of a woman, arranged like some technological idol and adorned with wings of tubing and metal. 

 

“No way… This is Jenova?” Zack was stunned, and found himself reluctant to approach. It radiated an intangible menace that made him feel strangely nauseous. 

 

The sudden crack of gunshots from the other room spurred him into action. Whatever it was, it needed to be destroyed – one look could tell him that much. Demolition first, questions later. He lifted Buster Sword from his back.

 

“Zack!”

 

Sephiroth’s warning almost came too late. It was pure instinct that had Zack whirl around and catch the blade driving towards him. He slid back half a step under the force the strike. “What the- Cloud?!”

 

It was the first glimpse he’d caught up close since the blond had awoken. His eyes. They’d changed. They were supposed to be bright blue, not a vivid green with a slitted pupil.

 

It was the most terrifying sight Zack had seen in all his time as a SOLDIER.   

 

“What did they do to you?” he whispered.

 

Then Cloud pushed forward, and Zack had to slide to the side or go for a tumble off the edge. “Whoa, come on, Cloud, it’s me!” he begged. “Snap out of it!” 

 

He could see the General approaching to help, but a stream of lightning cut off his approach, and then Zack was too busy dodging and blocking to keep track any further.   Shiva, he was strong! Cloud was a slight sort of guy, and the shortest out of the lot of them, but he was matching Angeal’s kind of force! And he was fast. Zack barely held his feet as he parried frantically. 

 

The whole exchange lasted only a matter of seconds. Then with one mighty swing, Cloud sent him flying through the doorway into the previous room. 

 

Wind whistled in his ears as he sailed through the air. He spared a moment, curiously devoid of panic, to remember this was what the fall to Aeris’s Church had felt like.

 

Then Zack choked as his back slammed into one of the pods, the metal crumpling beneath him. Buster Sword clattered from his grasp, and his vision flashed white. 

 

Sheer determination was all that kept him conscious. He couldn’t afford to pass out here! But it didn’t matter. His body wouldn’t obey him. He couldn’t even move when Cloud’s feet slammed on either side of him and silver steel filled his vision.

 

Damn. This was it. 

 

Pretty lousy end for a hero. He didn’t even have time to say something cool before he went. 

 

Mentally, he apologised to Aeris, and braced himself.

 

Then for some odd reason, Zack suddenly thought he could smell flowers.

 

 

…………………

 

 

Cloud froze, sword poised over his friend’s neck. It was as though time itself had stopped, despite the fact that the hum of the Reactor droned on, and Zack continued to draw breath. After a moment, the black-haired SOLDIER cracked open an eye, looking confused. Neither Sephiroth nor Vincent dared move a muscle.

 

“Cloud?” he wheezed.

 

He’s in the way

 

No, he couldn’t be. It was Zack. Why was his sword pointed at Zack?

 

A sacrifice for the Planet

 

Stubbornly, Cloud shook his head. Zack watched him with wide eyes. 

 

There had to a different way. Zack could never be a threat to the Planet. This wasn’t right. He was forgetting something. Something important. What was he doing?

 

A new voice wafted into his thoughts. ‘Have you finally woken up?’ 

 

He’d heard that voice many times before. But that couldn’t be right. 

 

"Aeris?  How-" She was still alive. She had to be alive!

 

Zack tensed at the familiar name.

 

‘Don’t be scared. I’ve become a lot stronger since we last met.’

 

His head spun. The roar in his ears grew louder.

 

Save the Planet. The call was insistent, unrelenting. Why would Aeris disagree with the Planet?

 

She didn’t answer. Somehow, he had the impression she was humming. Then- ‘You said you were a nobody.’

 

“A nobody?” he murmured.

 

‘You're not WEAPON or Calamity, right?  You're just a nobody.  Can a nobody talk to the Planet?’

 

A chill ran down his spine.

 

It was true. He’d never spoken with the Planet. Aeris could call him through the Lifestream, could reach out and speak to him through the materia he carried and the mako in his blood, but the Planet itself? He wasn’t like Nanaki. He wasn’t a Cetra, either. 

 

Then whose voice was intruding on his thoughts?

 

Save the Planet. Destroy them. Destroy ShinRa and the humans who hurt us. It rose in volume, drowning out everything else. Aeris was gone – her presence overpowered and chased away as quickly as it had arrived. But the difference between her comforting touch to this pressure on his mind – he recognised it now. He recognised the way his head felt gripped by a vise, the way electricity seemed to prickle across his skin, the way thinking felt like trying to watch a television with bad reception.

 

“Jenova,” he rasped.

 

With a monumental effort, he pulled away from Zack. His friend didn’t move. Probably couldn’t. 

 

They’re traitors. See how they treated you. Treated us.

 

“Shut up,” he growled, squeezing his eyes shut. “I’m not a monster, like him.” He stumbled up the stairs. Vincent and Sephiroth followed, keeping a wary distance. He barely noticed.

 

Your father. Kills the Planet, hurt your mother, abandoned you. I would never abandon my son.

 

The words coiled like a wire around his heart. He staggered up to the dais. “I already have a mother.” He was going to save her. Change everything for her, and his friends.

 

These people aren’t your friends. That woman is not your mother. She already has a son.

 

Half in rage, half in panic, he tore away the metal faceplate. Rust-coloured fluid flew through the air as though in slow motion, the metallic screeching as the pipes ripped free grating across his ears.

 

Then he was there, face to face with her. Nothing but the glass of her tube separating them. Her glowing cat’s eyes open, glazed, lifeless, but somehow still seeing straight into his soul.

 

We’re the same. You don’t belong, like me.

 

He trembled.

 

This isn’t your planet. You don’t owe them anything.

 

She was clever. Able to find and exploit weaknesses and desires he didn’t even know he had. How could he have forgotten-

 

You want to destroy Sephiroth, she reminded him.

 

He did. Very badly.

 

I’ll help you, she whispered. Images and knowledge flashed before his eyes. The connection. Enough to halt Sephiroth in his tracks for just a minute, to finish the deed. You are the strongest. You can change everything.

 

His fingers tightened around his sword.

 

Then Sephiroth appeared out of what seemed to be nowhere. “Allow me to spare you the indecision,” he declared, and smashed Masamune through the glass. 

 

The tank shattered with a deafening crash, shards of it tearing at his arms and legs. Cloud ducked behind First Tsurugi as putrid, discoloured mako splashed over his boots and debris scattered around them. After what felt like an eternity, he chanced a glance over the top of his blade.

 

Jenova was unprotected – laid bare to the elements, and all the more sickly a sight for it. Sephiroth moved into stance, unmarked by the broken glass or draining mako. “No more hiding behind puppets,” he drawled, raising Masamune to deliver the final strike-

 

Then stopped.

 

The moment held. The tip of his sword wavered before Jenova, as though he wished to cut, but couldn’t. His brow tightened in effort and concentration, confusion in his eyes as his arms moved backwards even as he tried to push them forward.

 

A cruel parody of the scene of Aeris’s murder. 

 

The silence shattered under a sharp bang, and a bullet whizzed past his ear to strike Jenova in the forehead. Vincent, Cloud distantly noted. It didn’t make a difference. Jenova didn’t have a brain anymore, nor a mind in the traditional sense. It was only cells in a certain amount of concentration, passing information.

 

Kill him. Do it now.

 

A chance.

 

“By the Goddess!” A new voice suddenly intruded. “All you want to do is destroy that thing, correct? Are you or are you not SOLDIERs?”

Genesis?

 

Suddenly, a burst of heat rushed past them. The Firaga exploded in Jenova’s face, throwing him and Sephiroth to the wall. Cloud staggered to his feet, watching in shock as the angry flames rose to the ceiling. 

 

The auburn-haired Commander stood in the doorway, covered in soot and looking incredibly put out. With a vicious sweep of his hand, he cast another Firaga, and then another. Each blast sent out a blazing hot shockwave of air that tousled his hair and burned his eyes.

 

Cloud seized as an unearthly scream tore at this thoughts. He gasped and dropped to the ground, fingers clutching his head as the pain and fury and betrayal clawed at his heart. It went on and on, drowning out everything else, like red-hot needles in his skull, building and grating and ripping then… silence. 

 

His head felt clearer. Lighter. As though a headache he’d carried for weeks suddenly went away.

 

Slowly, he turned his gaze to the tube that once housed Jenova.

 

Nothing but smouldering ashes. 

 

Genesis adjusted his gloves. “Honestly. I’m not sure what I missed, but it wasn’t even a moving target.”

 

Sephiroth stared at the remains, apparently in as much shock as Cloud. Of course – he would have felt the backlash of Jenova’s fury as well. “The Goddess is cruel, to create such a trial,” he murmured.

 

She was gone. Jenova was gone. No missing head, no neck, no lingering appendages for remnants to steal. No more Reunion.

 

And Cloud hadn’t done a thing. Had been reduced to a puppet, once again. He felt ill. It had been up to everyone else to destroy her. Zack was in the next room, badly hurt because of himZack, who he’d sworn to protect. And then also, on the way here, Angeal…

 

He felt hollow – the empty puppet Sephiroth always accused him of being. He was having difficulty processing everything that had just happened. Frantically, he tried to organise his thoughts. The plan. What was the plan? What was it he needed to do now? What was next?

 

Hojo was dead. Jenova was destroyed.

 

His hands shook. He clenched them into fists.

 

“Someone will need to tend to Zack,” Vincent’s low baritone murmured in the background.

 

Zack dragged himself to the doorway, face slightly pale and hand pressed against his ribs, but otherwise whole. “Don’t worry about me! I’ll hold up for now. Genesis threw a cure at me on his way through. More importantly, we need to do something about Angeal.”

 

“Angeal?” Genesis’s voice was sharp.

 

“You didn’t see him on your way up here? I guess you might have taken a different path. He’s hurt, bad.”

 

There was just one last person who had to die, if he wanted to save everyone. If he wanted to be sure.

 

No, that wasn’t quite right. Two.

 

“I fetched the boy to guide me. He’s outside. We went across the bridge, since time seemed to be of the essence.”

 

“There’s a bridge? Damn, that would have been way faster.”

 

Cloud slowly stood, steadying himself against the wall.

 

“What about you Sephiroth? Injuries?” Genesis took charge.

 

The General gave a slow shake of his head. “Nothing serious.”

 

He adjusted his grip on First Tsurugi.

 

“Good. Then does anyone mind explaining what precisely is going on here?”

 

They wouldn’t understand. But Kunsel knew everything. He’d explain it.

 

“Even I’m not entirely sure…” Zack trailed off, glancing in his direction. “Cloud?”

 

One last task he had to complete.

 

With a war cry, he charged the General. 

 

“Sephiroth!” Genesis shouted.

 

Sephiroth whirled, unprepared. Vincent cocked his gun and fired. A bullet struck him in the leg – a moment later, another grazed his arm. Cloud ignored it, pressing ahead, bearing down on his target with single-minded determination.

 

Masamune flashed – a wild, desperate attack to force him off course.

 

Except Cloud didn’t even try to block it. 

 

The thin steel speared his side but he still didn’t stop, pushing himself forward. He gripped the blade with his left hand – felt it cut into his palm, the blood spill over his fingers, the metal grate against his rib cage. He choked on his breath, and tasted copper. He’d punctured a lung. 

 

“Cloud!” Zack screamed. It sounded like he was shouting from underwater.

 

Every step was agony, but he grit his teeth and kept moving. 

 

This was how it was supposed to be.

 

Sephiroth stared at him, an expression flitting across his face the blond had seen only three times before. 

 

Wide-eyed shock, coupled with genuine human fear.

 

There was a flash of light out the corner of his eyes. Cloud felt the touch of materia brush over him, but it was already too late.

 

With his remaining strength, he raised First Tsurugi for the last strike.






Next chapter



 



Comments

( 59 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
May. 5th, 2010 11:31 am (UTC)
I hope you don't mind me repeating just how awesome I think your parallelisms are.

/coherent

LAKHLKADHGOIHOHORRH OMG CLOUD! NOOOOO, IT'S OVER! STOPSTOPSTOPSTOPSTOPSTOPSTOPSTOPSTOP! Damn good thing Cloud doesn't have a Ribbon anymore.

Holy shit , no joke about All. That. Action.

/flail
ixtey
May. 5th, 2010 12:01 pm (UTC)
Holy shit , no joke about All. That. Action.

for some irrational reason, this has me ROFLing. XD Looking back at sin's "You guys like action, right?" after having read all that makes me see the cautious tone in her a/n. :))
fateofshadow
May. 5th, 2010 11:37 am (UTC)
O_O

*Shakes you* DON'T LEAVE IT THERE, HOW COULD YOU~! *rocks self* Happy place, happy place...
ixtey
May. 5th, 2010 11:45 am (UTC)
FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF SOMEHOW I KNEW SOMETHING LIKE THIS WOULD HAPPEN. YOU YOU YOU CLOUD YOU ANGST-BOY YOU EVEN MORE MELODRAMATIC THAN GENESIS YOU ARGHH ADKLJSAODKL

Figures. I faintly remember Technoromanticism. In which Tezuka dies. :/ And Stalking the Angel. In which something bad happens, but I can't remember what. WAIT, I SUDDENLY DO. SO THAT'S WHY THIS WHOLE SUICIDE THING SOUNDS FAMILIAR TO ME.

I kind of realized that I should've lowered my expectations of a sappy-happy ending. Queen of Tragedy, indeed. XD

But but but I'd have to say if there was something that made me crack up here it was Genesiiiis. asjkdhlasd Genesis why so awesome ♥♥♥

I do hope that when Cloud goes to the Life Stream he gets scolded by Aeris. Scolded real good. :PP aklsdjlkas and speaking of Aeris, she's also made of awesooome. I wonder how she got her powers of awesomeness back? *u*

there could also be an off-chance happy ending happening as we really don't know what will happen to Cloud's soul after he dies and shizz like that, but I'm kinda skeptical over whether a happy ending would happen. We've got way too much emo already in Cloud, here. XD


tl;dr. This fic rocks. to exponential proportions. Waiting so bad for the next chapter. 8D
ixtey
May. 5th, 2010 11:56 am (UTC)
'Your father. Kills the Planet, hurt your mother, abandoned you.'

This sentence has me confuzzled.

And I just have to add that this
'A cruel parody of the scene of Aeris’s murder. '

tore at me so much. I've just witnessed that scene on FFVII, so askdjasdkldf. woe woe woe.
(no subject) - ixtey - May. 5th, 2010 12:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sinnatious - May. 5th, 2010 12:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ixtey - May. 5th, 2010 12:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
ojuzu
May. 5th, 2010 12:06 pm (UTC)
When the scent of flowers was mentioned, my first thought was 'Did Aeris just come out of nowhere and fix everything?' And YES, YES SHE DID. :D

I love that you brought Cloud's parentage up at just the right moment (you did say he was one of President Shinra's kids, right? I wasn't imagining that?) and that while Cloud was standing there grappling his issues and all the readers were waiting for his big moment of realization, Sephiroth just kind of nudged him to the side so he could get rid of Jenovah. It didn't work, of course, but he gets points for his problem-solving skills.

And then Genesis showed up and saved everyone in like ten seconds. :D That should take care of his lingering hero complex.

...And then DAMMIT CLOUD YOU'RE SURROUNDED BY YOUR FRIENDS AND JUST HELPED SAVE THE WORLD, NOW IS NOT THE TIME FOR THAT SELF-DESTRUCTIVE THING TSENG TALKED TO YOU ABOUT TO POP UP AGAIN. We've been over this; suicide is a bad idea!

I mean, god. /personally offended by Cloud's issues
sinnatious
May. 5th, 2010 12:23 pm (UTC)
Aeris has alllll the cheat codes. :D

You are not imagining that, Cloud recently found out through Hojo of his ShinRa relation. Although I love your choice of wording. I have a fun mental image of Sephiroth kind of elbowing Cloud to the side while he's in the middle of a breakdown. XD Your comment amuses me greatly.

(no subject) - ojuzu - May. 5th, 2010 12:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
mickeytheblue
May. 5th, 2010 12:16 pm (UTC)
O_________O

That has to be the mother of all cliffhangers of this fic >______<

and the ACTION!!! WHOAAA!!!

I don't think I can survive more than a week without the next chapter. NUUU!!!

I'm gonna warn my sister (who is also following ur fic) to not read this chapter yet and wait til u update the last one so that she won't suffer as much as I am right now XD
sinnatious
May. 5th, 2010 12:27 pm (UTC)
I am pretty proud of this cliffhanger, yes! :D But at least it's the last one, right?

You saint. If it were me, I'd totally share the suffering. ;)
skedaddle_san
May. 5th, 2010 12:17 pm (UTC)
Look at what you've done! You've reduced us to caps-locking asdf spammers. Hang your head in shame!

:((

Obligatory:
ASDFJKSUWNMWTHCLIFFHANGERISUNCOOLJASJJ
I'll be looking forward to your next chapter... =_=! *starts to plot about what'll happen next*
croix_souillees
May. 5th, 2010 12:46 pm (UTC)
“Allow me to spare you the indecision,” he declared, and smashed Masamune through the glass. <- I found that really, really cool.

This... is awesome. Also, love how you did the equation of "the world doesn't revolve around Seph and Cloud." *amused, is... mostly speechless.
sinnatious
May. 6th, 2010 11:36 am (UTC)
Sephiroth needed to have some cool moments too, tempting though it was to give them all to Genesis. ^_^ Glad you liked it.
shadowartemis
May. 5th, 2010 04:38 pm (UTC)
I probably will be upset about the cliffhanger later but right now I can't get past my Genesis love. @_@ Genesis saves the day, entirely unimpressed by Jenova - hee~! As someone who named her first car after him entirely because of this fic, I am pleased he got to be the hero. But oh no Cloud!! We're going to have to set you up for another Tseng councelling session, aren't we? :/ Maybe throw Aeris in there for added calming and shame-on-you effect.
sinnatious
May. 6th, 2010 11:36 am (UTC)
Your car is named Genesis? XD That's awesome! I hope it's red.
(no subject) - shadowartemis - May. 6th, 2010 01:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
kiriana
May. 5th, 2010 05:04 pm (UTC)
Aaaaaaah, so good! *______*

Genesis coming in and blasting off Firagas was definitely one of the coolest moments.

Genesis adjusted his gloves. “Honestly. I’m not sure what I missed, but it wasn’t even a moving target.”

XDDD And what a great way to end the chapter. Your cliffhangers always make me want more.

swyrel
May. 5th, 2010 05:59 pm (UTC)
Cloud, you jerk! Everyone has been stopped, and you even said yourself, no more Reunions. So why still try to kill him?! And also kill yourself?! Though, I didn't see that part coming, but of course Cloud wouldn't leave himself alive, especially after Jenova took control of him like that.

Oh, cliffhangers, how I hate you so. T_T

Genesis, you just waited for the moment to make your dramatic entrance didn't you? Probably standing outside the whole time listening in to see when the best time to enter would be.

GAH If Cloud dies, then how will anyone find out that Aeris has the cure for Angeal?

You write action so well. ^^

*waits eagerly for the next chapter*
sinnatious
May. 6th, 2010 11:38 am (UTC)
Genesis can't possibly let Vincent take all the dramatic entrances! He has a reputation to uphold. ;)

Thanks. Action is really hard to write, but rather fun at the same time.
(Anonymous)
May. 5th, 2010 06:07 pm (UTC)
o cloud! it's so cruel that he was used as a puppet AGAIN, and was manipulated to act as sephiroth had too!

man, i was afraid that cloud would conclude his reasoning by killing himself--his kid self! so that he wouldn't potentially become another sephiroth somewhere in this different future. but this is no better--to kill both himself and seph?!

arrrgh! cliffhanger is killing me...the softie in me wants a happy ending T_T

thx for this wonderful update!
sinnatious
May. 6th, 2010 11:39 am (UTC)
Wow, killing his kid self? :O That would make him truly villainous. Chilling idea, anon, truly chilling.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - May. 16th, 2010 05:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
reighost
May. 5th, 2010 06:13 pm (UTC)
*SCREAM*!!! T_T WHAT THE HELL! CLIFFHANGER RIGHT THERE? AND WHO KNOWS WHEN THE NEXT UPDATE IS COMING! *headdesk* *whimper* Nnnuuuuoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
madisuzy
May. 5th, 2010 06:14 pm (UTC)
wow. I just read all 37 chapters straight and there's one more to go and its a mega huge torturous cliffhanger!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you don't mind me friending you, but if I miss the end of this, I may die.

Honestly, this is the first fan fiction without sex in it that I have ever read and I am stunned by how totally fantastic it is. You had me completely addicted by the end of the first paragraph and I could not stop reading. You are an awesome writer. I never imagined I could be so addicted to a fan fiction story without yaoi... your story line is just that good. Sorry to ramble... it's 4 a.m. and I've been reading for hours... time to sleep and eagerly await the last chapter. wow, what a ride.
sinnatious
May. 6th, 2010 11:45 am (UTC)
Not at all. Oh, I do love your icon. You captured the moment!

Heh heh. Seriously, the first non-yaoi fic EVER? Who tricked you into reading it then? XD You may be surprised to find some of the best fanfic out there is the gen stuff! I think it's because when you don't have romantic subplots or other sexy stuff to carry it, you have to work really really hard on everything else. Anyhow, I'm glad you liked it. Go sleep!
(no subject) - madisuzy - May. 7th, 2010 06:33 am (UTC) - Expand
(Anonymous)
May. 5th, 2010 06:14 pm (UTC)
:)
Ahhhhh!! *random flailing*

The fighting! And the Jenova influence! Get it, Sephy? And then the regrouping at the reactor! And Vincent being trigger happy O.o

And then Cloud being stabby! It’s ZACK, CLOUD! *more random flailing*

Thank God for Aeris! *sigh*

I hope Jenova-“£%”! dies. Slowly and painfully! >.<

I thought Sephiroth was gonna get it then... GENESIS! (As awesome as ever ;))

Poor Cloud- feeling like a puppet again :/

AND then---- GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

*random flailer dies*

Suicide by Sephiroth!? I can’t do anything but hope this ends well QQ. Man, I really feel for Sephiroth! And Cloud! (And Genesis- who knows how he’s gonna take this)... and Zack! And Kunsel! And Mini-Cloud! ANGGSTTTTT! Poor guys :(

Oh the horror of cliffhangers :/

Ah well, thanks for the chapter! Have an awesome week! :D

sinnatious
May. 6th, 2010 11:47 am (UTC)
Re: :)
Suicide by Sephiroth - listed by HR as the third-leading cause of death among employees? XD

Thank you~
(Anonymous)
May. 5th, 2010 08:06 pm (UTC)
rec
this story has been recommended at http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/FanficRecs/FinalFantasyVII
sinnatious
May. 6th, 2010 12:14 pm (UTC)
That's incredible! Thank you! ^_^
laleira_granite
May. 5th, 2010 08:26 pm (UTC)
What. The. HELL.

Aauugh it's too much help me heeeelp.

So this is exciting. Um. I really don't want Sephiroth to die... (Cloud is his own problem -- we've got Spike.)

Buhoo. Waah. The suspense, it kills.

You are a genius. An evil genius. Madgirl. Yes.
laleira_granite
May. 5th, 2010 08:36 pm (UTC)
But to be coherent.

Aaaugh I don't even know what to saaaayyy.

In this order, Aerith, Sephiroth, Genesis and Cloud all had Crowning Moments of Awesome in this chapter.

Mind you, Cloud's Moment is also a Wallbanger. But with such a seemingly clear-cut outcome on the way...? No, I expect to be surprised. I'd be surprised if I wasn't. This is going to be amazing. Hee. Heeheee.
(no subject) - sinnatious - May. 6th, 2010 12:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Anonymous)
May. 5th, 2010 09:33 pm (UTC)
...
I'm agreeing with Skedaddle-san.

Obligatory:
WHAT THE HECK ICAN'TJUSTOHMYGOSHNONONONONONONO!!!!!

Okay, so now that we're here, I can say that I could really think of three endings, depending on how cruel you are (which I have only this fic's experience on, sorry).

1. Cloud could be physically taken over by Jenova completely and start the Reunion. Creepy and probably difficult to write if only because it's difficult to write the bad guys winning. However, if you wanted to do it, I have no doubt that you could.

2. Cloud being snapped out of it, either by Sephiroth (unlikely) or someone else (far more likely). My friend and I debated on what Sephiroth could possibly say that could get through to him...and came up mostly blank, and even what we did come up with really wasn't strong enough. ^^; However, if Cloud did get snapped out of it, then I figured two endings:

A. Cloud goes comatose and has to recuperate back at Midgar, ends up telling everyone everything and then disappears.

B. Cloud goes suicidal on everyone and jumps into the reactor, taking Jenova with him.

*sigh* Well, we were close.

--Obi
sinnatious
May. 6th, 2010 12:23 pm (UTC)
Re: ...
All awesome endings. Although the first one isn't really possible anymore, since Jenova is now ash. Although bad guys winning is fun to write on occasions, yes. I love a good villain.

And don't worry, I wouldn't use any of my previous fics as a barometer. Despite what ixtey may say, I have been cruel with endings 50% of the time in the past, which means anything can happen! \o/

Although I must also say - option B would open up a huge can of worms. Because that's kind of what Sephiroth did in the first timeline, and look where that led. o_o
firedraygon97
May. 6th, 2010 12:00 am (UTC)
LOGIC WINS (round 1)! It's almost a surprise whenever this happens, since so many 'classics' have characters that can't see common sense until it's too late (like Romeo and Juliet, with the whole Tybalt/Mercutio scene). I'm glad Zack and Aeris got through to Cloud!

Hopefully LOGIC also wins round 2, because I don't really get why Cloud's all psycho again without Jenova messing in his head. D: Just because he wants to be 'super 100% sure' that Sephiroth doesn't go crazy? Sit down and talk about it, please! You've proven that you can take Sephiroth on no problem, so just wait for a more opportune moment if need be...! *sigh* It's too bad I can't see any ending where Cloud gets to live happily-ever-after in the past...

Vincent's so trigger-happy. I love it.

Genesis! From firefighter to pyromaniac. XD I'm glad they didn't just toss Jenova into the mako, since a whole bunch of problems tend to crop up from that. Anyway, back to Genesis -- hee, he got little!Cloud to help him along the way~ Those two are just too cute together.

And like swyrel said, unless Kunsel knows about the water cure thing and, y'know, wakes up from his coma with his memories intact, people are going to be hella confused if Cloud is successful with his suicide-by-Sephiroth. :O

Hope you have a lovely week. Thanks so much for writing this epic fic, I'm looking forward to reading the last chapter! ♥
firedraygon97
May. 6th, 2010 12:10 am (UTC)
...what would've been hilarious is if Vincent shot Cloud in between the eyes when he went in for round 2. He did it to Hojo, Jenova (to no effect...), and just, he -- *flails* Vincent~~

[/end crazy]

I need to study, haha. Otherwise I would've doodled something for these lovely comment above~ *__*
(no subject) - sinnatious - May. 6th, 2010 12:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - firedraygon97 - May. 6th, 2010 04:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sinnatious - May. 7th, 2010 09:15 am (UTC) - Expand
aori_tsuki
May. 6th, 2010 06:02 am (UTC)
Action. Action. BUZZAH YOU GAVE US ACTION--

--and somehow it came to this. Damn, it's like One Piece all over again because you knew this was going to happen eventually, but it still hurts. Damnit, I'm going to reread you P3 fics.
aori_tsuki
May. 6th, 2010 06:06 am (UTC)
p.s. I'll be reccing this to tomomichi. *_*
(no subject) - sinnatious - May. 6th, 2010 12:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - firedraygon97 - May. 6th, 2010 04:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aori_tsuki - May. 6th, 2010 10:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
french_noodles
May. 6th, 2010 11:02 am (UTC)
YES!
It's finally ending? THANK YOU! Now I just have to endure a bit more and read the rest of the chapters (from where I stopped) in one shot on sunday! :DD
sinnatious
May. 6th, 2010 12:39 pm (UTC)
Yup, only one chapter left.
Pro trip: Best not to tell the author you've been hoarding chapters until the last chapter is finally out, lest she decides to be cruel and holds it back until your resolve breaks! ;) (I'm kidding. Or am I?)
demon_vampirate
May. 6th, 2010 04:48 pm (UTC)
Too busy reading to comment! Fast-paced is good!

..."ambient glow of mako"? Who knew mako-glow was ambient?

OH JENOVA-CLOUD STOP BEING AN ANGST MUFFIN.
I think somebody needs a hug. From Sephiroth.

OH NOOOOOOOOOO YOU MADE ME LIKE SEPHIROTH AND NOW YOU'RE HURTING HIIIIIIIIIIIIMM!! DX
wah ;n;

GO STOP HIM, ZACK. GO GO GO GO GO. BUT DON'T GET HURT.

XD Vincent-- "More grim than usual, that was." heehee~♥
BOUNDLESS WISDOM.
(Hm, that quote brings to mind a thought I'd never had before-- "that is" vs "that was"... hm.)

“I’m rather busy right now, Zack,” he answered, voice straining with effort as he deflected another blow. Zack stared. He’d never heard the General sound like that. Not even during his and Cloud’s impromptu duels back at ShinRa. He looked a mess, too – his coat sporting several smooth tears, and a line of blood staining his chest from a wound already healed.
LOVE these lines. It makes me go "ooh Seph" and "DX OH SEPH" and "cute Zack is cute" all at once. (Mostly the first two though.)

NO ZACK YOU'RE WRONG NOBODY IS GOING TO DIE. BESIDES THERE'S STILL ONE CHAPTER LEFT IF ANYBODY'S DYING THE LAST CHAPTER WILL FIX IT.
Also omg, I talk like that... “Sephiroth’s crazy not-mother? How?”

NOOOOOVINCENT!
Zack yelped and pushed the barrel to the side. “Put that down! You are way too eager to shoot people!”
...[/puppy moment]

Of course he didn't need any more explanation, he's Sephiroth.
[/shojo-hair moment]

“I don’t think he’s going to let me near,” he remarked. Somehow, he managed to sound bemused despite his situation.
Only Sephiroth. Though, I've been told I'm also capable of such feats...

...though a couple more hits to the back wall might change that...
Pft. Too true.

Ho damn. Gunshots. Gunshots bad.
AKFJHKJFHKJHDFF ZAAAAACK BE CAREFUL
terrifying is right
MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP ZACK BE CAREFUL ASDKAJHFKJHSKJSJ
owie-- aww, Zack's reminiscing, how cute-- AJKDFHKJSDHF
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOZAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACKNONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONO!!!! NO! NO!
how could you make poor Jenova!Cloud do that aksjhfkasjhdfkjdjkkffff

...oh phew.

GO! GO CLOUD GO! FIGHT CLOUD FIGHT!

Haha, “Allow me to spare you the indecision,” best line ever.

VINCENT I LOVE YOU.
GENESIS I LOVE YOU TOO. (Snarky bastard.)

Owie. Sounds like a magnified migraine. Migraines are bad enough, man.

nononononononononononononononononononononononodon'tdoitdon'tdoitClouddon'tdoitNOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

DAMMIT THAT IS THE FOURTH TIME YOU'VE MADE ME CRY IN MY HIGH SCHOOL LIBRARY!!!
*sniffle*
...I can't wait for next Sunday.
sinnatious
May. 7th, 2010 11:56 am (UTC)
If there's enough mako to glow, it certainly can become ambient lighting! :D

Cloud totally wants to hug Sephiroth. He just keeps dodging. :| Maybe he should remember to put down his sword first.

'That is' VS 'That was' - the fic is written in past tense, so it had to be the latter. I actually tripped over that sentence first time. -__-

I made someone cry? :D Success! \o/

LOL, your comments. They're getting progressively more stream-of-consciousness.
(no subject) - demon_vampirate - May. 7th, 2010 12:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
teekoness
May. 9th, 2010 06:43 am (UTC)
I've spend the last few days attempting to figure out what to say... in vain. I *still* don't know what to say. Utterly speechless. Therefore here are somewhat coherent notes:

1. Awesome fight scene.
2. Genesis = funny and still very dramatic <3
3. Jenova = scary bitch whose death makes me happy
4. I saw the possibility of Cloud dying, but... not like this. (Provided he dies.)
5. Eep! Cloud if you want to die okay, but DO NOT take Seph with you.
6. Hoping for happy ending nonetheless.
7. Will still love fic if unhappy ending.
8. May I friend you?
9. *goes crazy while waiting for next chapter*

sinnatious
May. 9th, 2010 07:55 am (UTC)
1. Thank you!
4. I was seriously fretting someone would guess this scenario, because you guys came so close a number a times.
8. Of course! Actually, I've just noticed that you've posted new ShinRa fic without telling anyone, so I'm friending you right now so I don't miss any more.
9. One week! And it will all be over.
amethyces
May. 10th, 2010 02:22 pm (UTC)
I just discovered this on ff.net and loved the first two chapters, then I discovered that lo and behold, the story was almost complete here! Spent almost all day reading this yesterday and am still a bit cross-eyed from staring at the computer so long lol.

I really enjoyed your version of ffvii time travel, and having Cloud as a peer to the other main characters made it quite different from most of the others I've read. Poor Cloud, it seems like he always ends up in a lab somehow, though I never would have imagined Angeal instigating it before this.

Sorry that I don't have more coherent comments at the moment, but I think my brain is stuck on the cliffhanger. Can I wish for nobody to die? :( Wonderful writing though, I really enjoyed the entire read.
sinnatious
May. 16th, 2010 11:24 am (UTC)
Ha ha, you're one of the clever ones who visited my author profile I see. ;) Thank you, I'm glad you've enjoyed it so far, I hope you like the ending too.
(Anonymous)
May. 17th, 2010 01:08 am (UTC)
Insane
I had a lot of trouble waiting for the today, last update ( happy & sad note ) when obi told me you updated I knew my suffering for THIS chapter would pay off. And indeed it has! Waiting is a virtue. But I must again call you a dirty, nasty ect... BUT your not a whore and yes...I still love you! lol don't hate me! just rambling from the super uber greatness that is you mind! My I pick it? ANYWAY, Next one. be prepared for another looong whatever this is!


Mike
caterfree10
Jan. 12th, 2012 07:58 pm (UTC)
So many things I love about this chapter, I don't even know where to start, amg. Well, besides again loving having found this fic after its completion instead of keeping up as it's posted because cliffhangers are evil |D;

Forever loving the action scenes. <3 They're well paced as the previous ones were, and the urgency of trying to stop Cloud is well-conveyed. I love that Aerith was briefly able to break through to Cloud and help nudge him out of his destructive path, too.

Jenova's line of getting into Cloud's head makes me wonder what courses she took for Sephiroth in the original timeline - probably picking at having lost his two closest friends and saying something along the lines of "I may not be human, but I'm better than that and so are you." I mean, we can't know for sure how she did since I don't think we'll ever get that piece of canon, and God knows there are a multitude of ideas, but it is something to think about at any rate. x3 /rambling

Aiyiyi, one more chapter to go on a reread and then my reading queue gets to be tackled! Hopefully. Well, I'll need something to keep me sane during the semester. :V
( 59 comments — Leave a comment )

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