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Fallacious Deity, Part 4/4 (2nd half)

(The second half - read this part first) 


She stood, largely still as a statue on the battle field, magic lashing around her.  When she did move, she floated like a petal on the wind – weightless and graceful. 


Cloud leapt over a blast of blinding white energy, twisting his body mid-air, slashing with his sword.  Cosmos vanished, reappearing at his flank.


"You are an agent of discord," she said, expression mournful, pitying. "You sow divisions among friends. There is conflict in your heart."

"Maybe so," he said. "But it's my decision."  He slashed the air, sending a blue stream of energy slicing off his blade.  She didn’t have the same kind of blind spots Chaos had, but she was slow on the draw.  He took advantage, pressing the attack, keeping her on the defensive.


Her veil fluttered as a shield of light shimmered, blocking his strike.  Cloud grunted at the unexpected resistance, and kicked off it, somersaulting in the air.  He gathered magic, and the sky filled with flaming rocks.  Nothing compared to a goddess’s magic, but nothing she could simply brush off, either.


“I do not understand,” she said as the flames cleared, “This is destiny.  This is how things should be.  Why is it that you fight so hard against peace?”  Cosmos truly thought she was doing the best for her warriors. 


“I pity you,” was all he said in reply.  “You don’t get it at all.”


There were a lot of worlds out there.  More than he’d ever imagined.  And it was chilling to realise that somewhere out there, there had been a scientist just as terrible, and even more brilliant, than Hojo.


Maybe, if things had turned out a little differently, Cosmos could have come to understand them in the end.  Maybe if she had been the one who’d been cornered, if Cloud hadn’t struck at Chaos, and Harmony’s defeat had been allowed to take its inevitable course.  Maybe if all hope of fulfilling her purpose had disappeared, she could have eventually been freed of it.


It hadn’t worked out like that.


Cloud rolled to the side, barely evading another blast of burning white energy.  Globes of light burst around him like deadly fireworks.  He brushed them aside with a wide sweep of his blade, ignoring the burns licking up his bare arms, the scrapes and bruises he’d picked up from his desperate tumbles.  He dashed forward, lifting his sword high.


Then suddenly, a chance.  Cosmos paused, rock-still, attention captured by something off to the side.  Her lips pursed, as though to form a word…


Cloud struck true.


Cosmos staggered.  He swept into an omni-slash – too fast for even her magic to whisk her away.  He struck again, and again, each slash deep and infused with energy.


Then, on the last, his boots hit the white sand with a heavy thud, and energy burst behind him like thunder.  He whirled, ready with his blade, but Cosmos was engulfed in a stream of white light, motes of power leeching from her.


She made no sound.  She simply sent a pained, mournful look at some point past him, and then the light flashed, blinding him.  Rumbling shockwaves sent a wave through the still waters, sloshing over his boots and roaring in his ears. 


When the brightness faded, Cosmos had vanished.


And just like that, it was over.


Cloud took a deep, shaky breath.  His arms trembled – only now was his fatigue making itself known to him, only now did he realise exactly how far he’d pushed his body to move fast enough, strike hard enough, to fight a goddess.  He pushed it aside, along with the gathered aches and burns.


They’d done it.  He’d done it.


They were free.


The battlefield had fallen ominously silent behind him.  Belatedly, Cloud turned, to see what it was that had caught Cosmos’s attention at the crucial moment.


His blood ran cold.


The Warrior of Light stood there, arm still outstretched, mouth vainly struggling to form a word.  “Cos….mos…”


Masamune protruded through his chest.


“Light shall be laid to rest here,” Sephiroth drawled, and yanked the blade free.  The knight slumped to the ground in a clatter of armour.  His helmet – one horn cut in half – rolled away, letting loose grey hair fall free to frame blank, lifeless eyes.


No sooner than the body had fallen did Sephiroth set upon Firion.  The warrior had been stunned to see the Goddess fall, and was too slow to draw.  In one stroke, Sephiroth knocked the first weapon from his hand, and slew him on the next.  The rebel dropped to the ground, blood spreading like a crimson cloud in the shallow water.


“Wait!” Zidane yelled.  “We’ve won!  There’s no more point to fighting!”


With a glint in his glowing green eyes, Sephiroth turned on the thief next.  Zidane let out a cry of alarm, daggers flashing as he spun to avoid the deadly sweep of the katana.  He let out a wild burst of energy, forcing the swordsman away, but it caught him only a breath.  He choked, eyes widening, as Masamune ran him through.


“Zidane!” Bartz cried.  With a roar of anger, far throatier than anyone expected from the lithe Mimic, he charged, Brave Blade in hand.


They clashed, blades singing, but for all his borrowed techniques, Bartz was not Sephiroth’s equal as a swordsman, and rage dulled his skill even as it enhanced his strength.  Soon enough, he too fell, clutching his bleeding gut as the life fled from his eyes.


“Pitiful,” Sephiroth remarked.  “I don’t understand how any of you lasted this long.”  In a swish of leather, he vanished, reappearing behind Tidus, blade raised.  The blitzballer scarcely had time to widen his eyes.


There was a whoosh of air and a tanned blur.  Jecht smashed into Tidus, knocking him clear.  Masumune glanced across his chest, dragging a finger deep gash through his flesh.


“Sacrificing yourself so readily?” Sephiroth drawled.  “I expected better of you.”


Jecht dropped to a knee, braced against his sword, even as crimson ran in rivers down his torso.  His voice was gruff and pained.  “Yeah, well, that makes two of us, don’t it?”  He struggled to push himself to his feet, but the effort proved too much, and he slumped to the ground, fresh blood spilling forth with every heaving breath.


“Dad!” Tidus let out a strangled cry, running to his side.  Glowing green eyes tracked his path, fingers tightening around the katana’s slender hilt…


This time, Cloud was the one who moved, summoning energy he didn’t know he had left to dash between them.  Steel rang against steel, Buster sword pressing back against Masamune’s deadly strike. 


This is a surprise.”  Sephiroth leaned forward, eyes half-lidded, close enough for silver hair to brush against his arms.  “Rediscovered a taste for fighting?”


With a heavy slash, he drove Sephiroth away.  The SOLDIER glided back a few steps, unbothered. “How could you?” he asked, though he wasn’t really surprised.  He’d expected something like this all along.


“How could I not?” he asked, tone mockingly philosophical.  “It suited me to play along, until you removed the last true obstacle for me.  And now…” he slid into stance once more.  I shall be the god of the new world.”


Cloud shifted his grip on Buster sword.  Exhaustion dragged on his limbs, but he readied himself to fight anyhow.


“You’ve done well until now, Cloud,” Sephiroth said.  “But I have no more use for you.” 


As he made to step forward, though, flames exploded at his feet.  A wall of heat brushed his face as Sephiroth’s form was consumed with hungry fire.


“You monster!” Terra had tear tracks running down her face, a faint glow beginning to surround her, mere moments from breaking into full esper form. 


The SOLDIER wasn’t so easily taken down.  He swept free of the flames, Masamune glinting orange in the firelight.  Before he could even take a step towards the girl, though, a bright red form ducked under his reach, dirk flashing.  Sephiroth let out a small grunt of pain as the dagger plunged into his leg.  Before he could retaliate, Onion Knight had darted back out of reach, and a third form ran forward, silver gunblade bared. 

Squall was swordsman enough to hold his own against Sephiroth.  The air filled with the clash of metal and thunder of gunshots.  Cloud tracked the battle, and the moment his foe gained the slightest advantage, rushed his back.  Sephiroth twisted away, evading them both… straight into the whirling tornadoes surrounding Terra.


The savage winds tore his coat ragged, cutting fine lacerations across his skin.  Forced on the backfoot, Sephiroth whirled away.  A black wing unfurled from his back, scattering black feathers in the air.


He was going to make an escape.


“Not today.”  Cloud forced tired legs to launch him into the air. 


Sephiroth slipped to the side, the tip of the Buster slicing through a sheathe of feathers.  Masamune flashed – cutting through his shirt, grazing his ribs.  Cloud wrenched away, lashing out with his foot, kicking him square in the gut.


Then Onion Knight was there too – leaping straight from Squall’s shoulder, throwing out balls of lightning.  Sephiroth batted two away, but the third caught him, sending him into spasms.  His wing seized.


Then he dropped - right into Terra’s blast of pure, chaotic energy.


In the end, there wasn’t much left but a charred, smoking corpse.


Cloud hit the ground with an awkward stumble.  The ever-present itch at the back of his skull faded.  Quietly, with an arm pressed against his still-bleeding side, he turned to survey the carnage.


In that short window after Cosmos’s fall, Sephiroth had done more damage than any other Chaos warrior before him.


He closed his eyes, taking the moment to centre his focus and push away his fatigue.  If only he’d reacted quicker…


With a deep breath, he turned to survey what was left.  Squall, Terra, and Onion Knight were a little worse for wear, but holding together for now.  Nearby, Tidus knelt over Jecht’s bleeding form. 


“You’re crying, aren’t you?  You’re such a crybaby.  Stop crying,” Jecht groused.  His normally gravelly voice was strained and oddly wet.  There was a lot of blood staining the water.  Too much.  More than even a potion might hope to fix.


Tidus sniffed.  “I hate you.  Why did you have to go do a thing like that, huh?”


“Hah!” Jecht let out a huff – somewhere between a laugh and a grunt. “You’re my son, right?”


“Yeah.  And you’re my Dad.”


Jecht’s eyes were growing glassy.  “That’s right.  Even if you’re a crybaby… you’re still my son.”  His words grew pained, and breathy, and slowly, his body seemed to relax.


“Dad?  Dad!”


Cloud looked away.  Seeing someone give their life for you – he knew what that felt like.  Nothing they could do for him.  Best to give him space for now.


There was one thing he could do.  A short distance away, Cecil knelt, broken on the ground, his allies and goddess all murdered.  Blood ran down his pale features - his eyes glassy with shock.  His injuries had likely saved his life, marking him as a non-risk, and thus not worth Sephiroth’s immediate notice.


Cloud moved to stand by him.  “You okay?” he asked. They might have chosen different sides at the end, but there were no sides anymore. 


Cosmos was dead.  Just like Chaos.


Dazed, the knight turned his gaze to him.  The hollow hopelessness in the stare spoke volumes.  “I don’t know.  Golbez… brother… what am I supposed to do now?”  The words were directed at himself, wretched and pained.


Cloud remained silent for a long moment as he considered his response.  “I think… above all else… your brother wanted you to survive.”


Cecil turned pale, haunted eyes on him, but slowly, his expression began to clear.


Onion Knight stepped in then, a familiar blue bottle clutched in his hand.  “You need some?” he asked, looking pointedly at the wound in Cloud’s side.


“It’ll take care of itself soon enough,” he murmured, lifting his arm to show the bleeding had already stopped.  Onion Knight nodded, and hurried over to Cecil, muttering apologies and explanations and holding the potion to his lips.


A short time later, the six survivors stood in the centre of Sanctuary.  A cold breeze drifted across the white landscape, sending ripples through the shallow water.


Squall rested his gunblade on his shoulder.  “So we’re it, huh?”


Terra clasped her hands to her chest, as though in prayer for fallen friends.


“Sorry,” Cloud murmured.  “I thought he might be planning something.  I just didn’t expect it would turn out like this.”


Squall scowled.  “He caught us all off guard.”  He eyed the former Chaos warrior with suspicion.  “What about you?  How do we know we can really trust you?”


He met the stare evenly.  “…The conflict’s over.  There are no sides, anymore.” 


No one had any response for that.  The small circle of survivors spoke to its truth eloquently enough.


Tears tracked down Tidus’s face.  Angrily, he swiped them away.  “So, now what?  Shouldn’t we be disappearing?”  His voice was hoarse and angry, full of blame, but he made no move to act on it.


“Maybe, with both of them dead, there’s finally balance,” Onion Knight theorised.  “Maybe we didn’t need them for existence – maybe we just needed their power to insulate us against the side that would deny us it.”


As theories went, it wasn’t a bad one.  Cloud couldn’t sense the dark presence of Chaos’s powers anymore – he’d likely expended the last of it fighting against Cosmos.  But neither did he feel that smothering, draining sensation, as though some invisible force was trying to suffocate him out of the world.


“…Then I guess we just have to start looking for a way home,” Squall muttered.


They fell silent as bright light, a harsh gold, filled the air.  As one, they turned their faces skyward.


A dragon of light and fire circled the heavens.  The fallen bodies shimmered, and rose, streams of their essence drifting in wind, pulled inexorably towards the swirling vortex of power. 


ShinRyuu had arrived.


No telling who would be reborn this cycle.  Maybe everyone.  Maybe no one.


It didn’t matter, though.  They were still here.  The conflict might have been over, but their journey wasn’t yet finished.


“We’ll survive,” Cecil said softly.  “And we’ll find a way home.”


Cloud nodded, eyes tracking ShinRyuu’s path across the sky.  Then he turned, and started trudging through the shallow waters.  There seemed no point to it – Tifa was dead.  The gods were dead.  But he still had his freedom, and comrades, this time.  Cecil and Tidus and Squall and Terra and Onion Knight.  And however long it had been… he still wanted to survive.  He still wanted to see his own world, one last time, if only to be sure it hadn’t been a dream.


And maybe, just maybe, Tifa would be there.


But whatever their path, it wouldn't be found here.  "...Let's mosey."





( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 25th, 2011 06:24 pm (UTC)
*takes a deep breath*


Somehow, the last line MAKES IT.
Jun. 26th, 2011 12:49 pm (UTC)
XD And to think I spent a good twenty minutes staring at the line wondering 'is this too cheesy a last line?'
Jun. 26th, 2011 12:10 am (UTC)
Sorry for intruding here, but I COMPLETELY agree with killiara! Especially with the "mosey" bit - I've still got a giant, goofy grin on my face!

I have to admit, you caught me off guard with Sephiroth. In hindsight, I reeeally should've seen that coming (garn, I fell for his not so innocent oh-but-I've-gots-amnesia act! You even warned us about him!)
Jun. 26th, 2011 12:53 pm (UTC)
It's such a cheesy line, I'm starting to see why it bugged Cid so.

I know! I figured everyone would see it all coming ages away (the plot overall is fairly predictable, after all), so happy to hear that surprised at least one person. :)
Jun. 26th, 2011 03:21 am (UTC)
...Whoa...just, whoa... What a ride.
Jun. 26th, 2011 12:43 pm (UTC)
THE LAST LINE IS A KILLER. kjashdjkashdsa also,

“I lost my will to fight a long time ago.” He raised his sword. “But I kept fighting anyway.”

Cloud will never stop being my favorite FF character. Sephiroth's a close second. I totally did not expect that he would react that way! I even thought that the whole thing would end with everybody fighting and dying, in a Chaos-died-but-he-is-still-within-our-hearts kind of way, lol.
Jun. 26th, 2011 12:59 pm (UTC)
*high-fives* I'm with you there. Even though the rest of the FF cast all have their charm, Cloud's always going to be No.1.

That would also be a pretty interesting ending! XD I have some small regret now that I didn't write it as all of Chaos banding together to triumph over Cosmos, but realistically, Chaos suck too much at working together for that to happen.
Jun. 26th, 2011 01:49 pm (UTC)
SO MUCH DYING ; A; I'm going to have to play some happy games to balance the sad, now :c

ANYWAY, even though I knew about the twist regarding Cosmos beforehand, it's been a fascinating read nevertheless. I think, the greatest point of interest for me was seeing the various reasons each of the warriors had for picking a 'side' in the skirmish before Cosmos fell. Bartz' was probably the one that stood out the most, because his whimsical disposition tends to to lend itself to 'chaos' in my mind. But just being a wanderer isn't necessarily disorder, is it? I guess I'm saying that despite my initial thoughts, it does make a lot of sense that he would side with Cosmos.

“I lost my will to fight a long time ago.” He raised his sword. “But I kept fighting anyway.”

Definitely the line that stood out to me the most, though ♥

When I do get 012 and get the reports, I'll probably come back and re-read this story, just to see what stuff I might have missed :>b

If you can be bothered going back and checking, I believe BATHE IN THE LIGHT is Warrior of Light's line, not Cecil's. Unless Cecil also has that line and I never noticed since I avoid fighting him like the plague :/

Thank you for writing this story! It's definitely been a fun read ♥
Jun. 26th, 2011 02:05 pm (UTC)
Haha, well, you had already reasoned it all out before I even started posting so it was never going to surprise you. :P

Bartz could have gone either way, I think, but I thought the idea of peace might appeal to him more than something as abstract as 'free will', especially since, despite his wandering ways, he takes orders without much fuss in FF5 (and once you start thinking about it, had most of his decisions made FOR him).

*facepalm* It would not surprise me if I mixed up their lines, 'light' here, 'light' there... I think you're right, 'Cleansing light' would be what I was after... ^_^; How embarrassing!
(no subject) - tenshinoakuma - Jun. 26th, 2011 02:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - sinnatious - Jun. 27th, 2011 10:01 am (UTC) - Expand
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Jun. 27th, 2011 01:20 am (UTC)
Jun. 27th, 2011 10:02 am (UTC)
XD Thank you for reading even having not played the game! Hope you weren't too lost!
Jul. 18th, 2011 02:10 am (UTC)
Dang, still haven't played Duodecim yet! I should get on that...

Hee, I think Sephiroth must've used that puppet line on purpose. What a bully. His God-complex is crazy. ♥
Jul. 18th, 2011 01:04 pm (UTC)
You really should! It's awesome! And contains the first game too if you didn't get to finish that~
Aug. 7th, 2011 03:48 pm (UTC)
Why~!? Why isn't this on FF.net~!? I'd love to add this into my favourites! D;

I absolutely heart this fic! >w< It's interesting to see how the tables have turned for the villains after Chaos is gone, and the twist in Cosmos... I'd always wanted to read something akin to that, that harmony may not necessarily be good. Thank you, thank you for writing!

The conflict of views where the heroes picked sides is both heart-wrenching and awesome. It's so... them, and none of them are exactly wrong. ;_; Oh, and bonus points for WoL/Cosmos! WoL is my favourite character, and I'd always like that pairing~ X3

The ending's bittersweet, but Cloud's last line provide an assurance that everything will be alright again. :3
Aug. 7th, 2011 03:50 pm (UTC)
Whoopsies, the anonymous comment would be me. 'X3
Aug. 8th, 2011 11:31 am (UTC)
I didn't add it to ffnet as I didn't think it was really worth it. I tend to be a bit more cautious with what I put on ffnet as opposed to LJ.

Thank you though! I'm happy you liked it. I kind of thought it was a shame you didn't get to fight Cosmos in the game, especially since Chaos sounds more like the victim than the villain in their backstory.
Sep. 5th, 2011 03:32 am (UTC)
OMG THERE IS SO MUCH SQUEE I can't even begin to describe everything I loved. Puppet Cosmos, Sephiroth guarding his back, choosing peace or freedom, THE "I PITY YOU" LINE FROM AC, "let's mosey..."

Just spent a couple of hours reading, and this is fan-effing-tastic and has seriously made my day.

Argh, I wanna know what happens afterward! Where are the people taken when they're reborn? Will Cloud and the other survivors be waiting there for them? Will they still choose sides against each other because they're stubborn like that, or will they work together and try to find a way out? So many questioooooons!
Sep. 5th, 2011 05:26 am (UTC)
Thank you!

I am actually working on a Confessions of a Creator sort of AU sequel to this, but it'll probably take ages as my attention is split between a whole bunch of things at the moment.
Feb. 19th, 2012 04:35 am (UTC)
I have never played Dissidia before, but I still enjoyed this. (And now I really wanna play it!!)

Thanks for posting.
Feb. 19th, 2012 09:44 am (UTC)
Thank you for reading!

Yes, play Dissidia! It is a fantastic game. *_*
Jan. 5th, 2013 09:15 pm (UTC)
Goodness! I want to facepalm myself for not seeing that one coming, because it makes so much sense!

Such a good story, this one.

(Also, poor Cloud! Trapped in this hell for decades and decades! D:)
May. 7th, 2013 09:43 pm (UTC)
Why I haven't see this fic before?? It's awesome! I wish Dissidia will have more and better fics. I have't played the game, and likely I'll never will since these new consoles are far too expensive for me, but I love the idea of it and the story seems to be decent for a fighting game.

I also have to say that I think you are a really mean person for making me believe this was a fic when Cloud and Sephiroth make peace and you ended up tricking me.I know it was naive of me but damn you! YOU MADE ME CARE!!!! T_T
May. 8th, 2013 10:19 am (UTC)
Thanks! Glad you liked it. Heh, and sorry about the Sephiroth betrayal, but then I never did say that they would be friends anywhere in the summary!

As for the consoles, the PSP is a generation and a half ago now! I'm pretty sure you can pick one up for less than $150 new if you shop around, and easily for under $100 if you buy secondhand.
(no subject) - aramisa - May. 20th, 2013 05:50 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sinnatious - May. 20th, 2013 09:31 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aramisa - May. 21st, 2013 01:14 am (UTC) - Expand
( 33 comments — Leave a comment )

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