<–Chapter 18 Chapter 20–>
Disclaimer: Final Fantasy VII, its characters, and settings are all property of Square Enix so I can take no credit nor claim any ownership of that. I do take some credit for the story’s plot.
Artwork Disclaimer: I did not make and therefore own no rights to the featured artwork. It was created by artist Acorar (according to the site) and the source for it can be found on the Destined Dynasty Warriors Wiki. I was unable to locate a way to contact the artist and was therefore unable to ask permission before featuring their work. If you are the artist, I apologize profusely for this transgression and will gladly remove this picture from this and all other sites at your request.
Warning: Discussions of rape and sexual assault.
“I love her not for the way she danced with my angels,
but for the way the sound of her name could silence my demons.”
“We are all damaged, but because of her, I am beautifully sewn.”
Sephiroth put her down though he could hold her forever, nor was Aeris averse to that plan. It was quite late and the Whispers soft slept, but the Cetra was buzzing with energy. She clasped his gloved hands before going upstairs to shower and change her clothes. The forest, her attackers, the cold, and the all fear soon gurgled down the drain. She did catch of whiff of stray soft vanilla, sad to lose that to base shampoo. But he’s here now. He brought me back and promised never to leave me again. The thought was naughty that had her biting her lip as her hands worked through the tangles.
Aeris didn’t know why she put on that dress, white and blue as a winter’s day. The same one she’d worn in the Whispers that had made his eyes smolder hot jade. She had a blue ribbon to tie up her tresses in a high braid on her head. The clock on the stand flashed near ten, and Aeris blushed as she stared in the mirror. It seemed a strange time to prepare for a date. Oh dear gods, is that what I’m doing? To go downstairs and see my general, so beautiful, sad, and pale. The thought of him biding by the window brought the maid a smile. He’d have his hands behind his back, Mako eyes piercing the sea. Her heart fell then at this inner image for he’d been like that on the last day.
She didn’t wear shoes. There was no need as she slipped down the stairs. Her general was just as she’d pictured facing the waves, his silver locks mocking the foam. It looked so much paler against his black coat as she couldn’t help running to him. He never moved until the last moment when her hand nearly brushed his hair. Whirling about Sephiroth swept her up high as the flower girl’s gasp changed to laughter. It was so incongruent, her mirth in his grip, and he could only stare up for long moments.
“Um, Seph?” Aeris giggled, wriggling a bit as she clutched at his strong hands. The gloves were now gone and she was delighted at the smooth skin beneath her palms. He was far too careful to ever hurt her, but she wanted to be in his arms. Slowly Sephiroth brought her down to hold where his skin did bare. She glided her hands along his wide shoulders since the armor had been removed. Beneath was still as firm as stone cloaked in leather black. He buried his face into chestnut hair that held her soft summer scent, while Aeris shut her eyes lulled by a rhythm that took strength from its pain.
“I’ve never heard your heart so sad…did you find what you were seeking?”
He lifted his face to the silent sea, light bleeding like tears unshed. Aeris wet her lips, but let the words linger as he pushed open the window pane. Setting her down in moon against foam before sinking to his knees. The Great General laid his head on her lap, and Aeris stroked his silver hair. She had no idea what to expect, as her fingers slid through silk. The light was bare hidden behind his thin lids and wove between his lashes. Night winds blew her soft bangs forward so chestnut and pale did meld.
“I walked the length of a myriad crypts, but never found her bones. I brushed the snow from a hundred graves, but didn’t find her there. I’ve read a thousand forgotten names, but no one remembers hers. I can’t even find her to beg for forgiveness. I’m a failure as a son.”
Her ragged breath drowned out the sea as small fingers clenched in white. “I’ve never heard someone speak such sorrow and yet not shed a tear.”
“I had a tear, my little rose…and I shed it for you.” He lifted his head, but only light lived in endless emerald eyes. Aeris pushed his bangs away so they flowed with silver spill.
“You’re not a failure because you can’t find a truth you never knew.”
“I remember your words like yesterday, Aeris, ‘She couldn’t take the pain.’ She fled chased by memories and died to escape from me.”
She slapped him swift across the face then covered hers in horror. Sephiroth could only stare in silence, awestruck by the blow. The flower girl threw her arms around his neck, sobbing over and over, “I’m sorry!”
The sorries broke through frozen surprise then he murmured his litany, “Never apologize,” while wrapping her in his arms.
“I have to.” She pulled back and caressed his face where no mark would ever show. “I know what you’ve suffered and what you’ve endure. I’m so sorry that I hit you. You don’t deserve to be struck especially not after-”
“It’s alright, Aeris.” He gently laughed and took the flower girl’s fragile fingers.
“But it’s not,” she insisted, curling them tight. “I…didn’t hurt you, did I, Seph?”
“No, little one, not in the least.” He lowered his lips to her hand. “If that was all I had to endure, I’d welcome it every day.” Her soft palm smelled like waving grass as he rubbed it with his thumb. “You only did it to stop the harsh words I only have for myself.”
“Well I don’t believe them,” Aeris declared and Sephiroth smiled at her defiance. “I shouldn’t have hit you…you’d never hit me. So much for my vow of nonviolence…”
“Little flower…” His whisper was near lost. “Never entertain such a thought. Me striking you would be abysmal and shameful, an utter abuse of my strength. You hitting me doesn’t matter.”
“It most certainly does matter!” The Cetra pursed her lips as she glared up, free hand stuck to her hip. He leaned forward then to kiss her brow, laughing behind the press.
“My sweet, little rose, after all I’ve done to you, you’re worried about my pain.”
“A tenth of your pain would keep me up tortured through the night.” She took his other hand, as the general bowed his head. “You can’t make peace with the past, Sephiroth, by chasing yesterday.”
“There will be no peace, just endless torment of what I cannot find.”
“I just can’t believe it was all for nothing. Haven’t you endured enough lies?”
He lifted his lips without any mirth, shaking his head in silver cascade. “The northern lights go a very long way, and I didn’t search all beneath, but I must abandon that quest for now for there is something far worse.”
A halting breeze chilled the skin of her back as Aeris squeezed his hands. “What do you mean? What did you find?” His eyes lifted to roiling Mako. They said it all without a word and the Cetra quaked where she sat.
“Why does it want you, Aeris?” He pulled her into his warmth. Despite the horror dredged up from the past, she still felt utterly safe. That makes no sense, one part of her thought, he was that horror once. He carries it still in his very cells, and yet I’m not afraid.
“It wants me for my Ancient blood, because only I can stop it. You know it drove my people mad…”
“You never have to face it again. I know where the horror lurks…”
They said together in one voice. “Midgar.”
“I’m coming with you.” She sat back up and her tone rang with determination. “Defeat the false then find the true.” The tremor shook her to the bone.
Sephiroth clasped both her hands and held them on her lap. “I have no hatred left, little one, for it to claim my soul. Don’t be afraid…” He hung his head. “Its words are like dust to the dead.” She called his name and the general looked up to the only summons he’d ever answer. Her summer eyes wore tears like dew, and he leaned to kiss their corners. “You gave up your friends. You lost your future all because of me. I won’t have you sacrifice anything else. You’ve done more than enough for ten lives.”
Aeris stared straight to the heart of those slivers. “Between my shoulder blades,” she began, “is the memory that lives in my bones. You can’t defeat this by yourself. You can’t let it consume you again. Though it would be grief rather than hate, I can’t let you face it alone. Promise you’ll let me help you.” She gripped his hands tight, making her fragile wrists ache. “Swear it by the blood I shed…”
His blood in the steel her blood on the blade pierced the general’s broken heart, and Aeris threaded their fingers together, but didn’t regret the invoked vow.
“I swear to you, Aeris.” He bowed his head. “And I’ll always keep you safe. You protect the Planet, and I protect you.”
He stood and the flower girl lifted her head. In moonlight he shone like a pearl among stones, and Aeris followed him to her feet. Sephiroth cloaked her in his embrace, and joy pierced the rents in his soul. Looking down at her so silver bangs tumbled and she twisted strands around a small finger.
“You were right about my heart, little one…it’s as broken and dark as the space between the stars. Nothing but love can fill that emptiness. Hate only makes it worse.”
He tilted her chin to take the kiss she always held for him, white against black, silver on shadow, as moonlight bathed them both.
“I didn’t have the right to leave you, Aeris, when you wanted me to stay.”
“I didn’t have the right to make you stay and never find your heart’s desire.”
He carefully squeezed her little waist. “My heart’s desire is in my arms, what I seek is my soul’s obligation.” Emerald drifted north though the call was slight hushed as the Great General sighed. “I don’t deserve the former and I can’t find the latter.”
“You’re right,” Aeris agreed, “you deserve so much more.” She stared up at him in adoration and sniffed to keep the tears in. Blinking, the flower girl tilted her head to Sephiroth’s small amusement. Sniffing again she turned in his arms. “Oh, what’s that lovely smell?”
“Could it be me, little flower?” He raised an arched brow, grinning down at the top of her head.
“Well that scent I know, but this one is different.” It wasn’t until it tingled her nostrils that Aeris realized how famished she was.
She bent over slightly to take a full sniff as Sephiroth slowly exhaled. Her white dress clung to every curve so emphasized by her posture. He threaded his fingers around her small waist just inches above spreading hips. His hair trickled down, brushing her breasts, and her lips pinkened in Mako light. A length of steel ever weeping blood thrust through lustful thoughts, and his hands fell into clenched fists. I truly am a monster…murdering, rapist filth.
“After your quest,” he said evenly though the words broke against his teeth. “I thought you’d be hungry though there wasn’t much here I could make.”
She peered back and grinned up in utter gratitude.
“It’s only toast and soup and that from a can. How long were you gone, little one?”
“Only a night, but I planned for more so I didn’t bother to go shopping. I was very lucky…” Her voice turned to whisper as Aeris faced him again.
“How so?” Sephiroth blinked, his gaze darting back up.
“Well…” The smallest of grins graced her lips. “I found you so quickly. I thought it would take at least a week.”
“A week for what, Aeris?”
“To find where you were!” Laughter spilled out like summer storm as she took his hand. “I’ve never seen you so distracted. Whatever are you thinking about?”
He wrenched his gaze towards the table before letting her lead him there. “Only your beauty.” It wasn’t a lie. And how I want you so.
He expected her to sit across from him, but she climbed in the chair right beside. Dipping the toast in still hot soup as she swirled her tea to cool. Aeris leaned against his arm, shutting her eyes to leather so smooth. Her dear friend laughed and played chords unheard by any human ears.
“For someone who doesn’t eat very often.” She glanced up. “You can certainly season well. I’ve made this type of soup before and it never tasted half so good.”
“I do have a very good sense of smell.” He sharpened his eyes on a cabinet door, but when her soft hand slipped over his, Sephiroth had to turn. She was still just as beautiful, still out of his reach, and still whom he wanted most. You’re worse than the darkness that gnaws at the world with intentions far more base. You’re raping her in your mind, and worse than that you imagine her willing, as if that could ever be. She’d fight and struggle, cry and bleed, bleed like she did before…
“Yes, little one?”
The Cetra wiggled closer melding herself against his arm. Sephiroth slowly slipped it around so her pale cheek contrasted his coat.
“Nothing. I just…love saying your name and knowing you’re here to answer. I really am completely safe all because of you…”
The general curled his fingers on her belly as the light seared past his lashes. Safe…you trust me more than I trust myself. This…smoke dream of intimacy. I want you more than godhood, my flower…more than I wanted to kill. “Aeris,” he breathed lowering his face to linger over the top of her head. “You’re the most precious vision in the cursed light of my eyes.” He wanted to bury himself as deep as he could in that sweet, summer scent. Deeper than the slide of flawless steel? The Great General hid his cringe. No, not that, not ever that, but both are perversions, you monster. You don’t deserve to exist in her sight, was the thought as she lifted her gaze.
He saw her intention before she even knew. “Aeris, no, you shouldn’t—” But it was too late and the maid was sitting on his lap. Sephiroth kissed her before any more words were free and it was hard and deep and claiming. She squirmed where she sat as he clasped her wrists, and the general murmured, “Mercy…” He sealed his lids but still envisioned her lips blushing deepest pink, and her hand trailed from his cheek and jaw as he sat up straight again. “I’m so sorry, little rose,” he whispered. “I’m so very sorry.”
“What are you apologizing for now?” Her dress was rumpled above her knees, a careless placed hand had found that. He opened his eyes and Aeris full shone in unleashed jade burning down.
“I…shouldn’t look at you like this, Aeris. It shouldn’t be allowed.”
“Why shouldn’t you?” She took a sip of tea and it left dew on her lips.
“Because…it’s a perversion.”
“Why would you ever think such a thing? What’s perverse about this?” A tiny finger twisted around one bang as another traced the straps on his chest.
“Aeris, I want—” He turned away so lustful light fell on shadow.
“You want what?” she whispered before biting her lip so rouge bloomed against her teeth.
“It doesn’t matter, little flower.”
“It matters a great deal to me.”
Looking at her was the biggest mistake augmenting her warmth on his lap. Her white dress embellished in blue and the bright ribbon in her hair. The barest of touches would release her tresses, less than a word would lay her bare. He clasped his hands at her soft belly to keep them from doing more. “What I want from you…” Silver shimmered down. “Can only be considered…one thing.”
The smallest noise escaped from her throat as horror froze Aeris’s skin. Sephiroth unlaced his hands around, but she grabbed them to thread their fingers.
“Is that what you think?” the flower girl asked so hushed the sea could’ve stolen her words. “Is that what you think you’d be doing?”
He bowed his head and she shut her eyes to silk that mocked the moonlight. “What else could it be? What else am I? There’s no way that you would consent.”
“Are you implying that I don’t know what I want?”
Emerald flashed as Sephiroth opened his eyes to her glaring up through the light. The teasing apparent took some of the sting, but didn’t diminish the force.
“No…not at all. It’s just that the past-”
“Has no hold over me. What makes you think I don’t want you, too?”
The general pushed moonlight hair aside so it tumbled over her, and Aeris shifted herself never moving her gaze as he concentrated on clenching his fist.
“You’re the gentlest man to ever touch me in this life or the last. You’re always so careful, always so worried that you’ll misuse your strength.” She smiled and laid a soft palm to his cheek where he covered it veiling his eyes. “And you’re beautiful. No…you’re more than that. They haven’t made a word for what you are. I could never forget what you look like yet every time I see you I’m stunned. You’re lovely, gorgeous, beyond perfection, a winter angel full of grace.”
Sephiroth almost laughed. It was that sad how she saw him through innocent eyes. The little fingers curled against his cheek beneath his larger hand. He had never held anything so tiny and soft as this flower in his arms.
“You’re calling me better than what I am, a man and not a monster.”
“You’re not a monster,” she vehemently said, locking her fingers in his. “What have you done in this life to warrant such a horrible name?”
Silence held his tongue again as jade spilled from his eyes. Aeris looked beyond the mask and squeezed their entwined hands.
“The very first time that we met again, Sephiroth, you killed to save my life. Then carried me home and made me a promise you immediately worked to keep. In the wake of that time I…fell in love with the ache of your broken heart, and when you left me…” tears escaped summer storm “…I thought I’d never see light the same. Do you know how stale the sea air smelled without your angel’s scent? The starlight on foam only amazed me in remembering silver hair. The very Planet refused to speak to me until it told me to go find you.”
His lips had parted in her fervor’s midst, but there were no words to say. The world, the very world she loved, had denied its dear child its voice. She’d been alone, alone in silence despite the fact that she lived in the sun.
“And you can’t be a rapist if I’m willing, and I am, Sephiroth…”
“What if I’m just manipulating you?” he insisted shutting his eyes again.
“We know that doesn’t work on me.”
“We know I can’t make you forget.”
“Or see you as anything but what you are so I doubt this manipulation. Besides why would you tell me? Why explain if your intentions were so foul?”
He frowned below now half-veiled lids scattering the gleam on his lashes.
Aeris sighed, “Well why don’t you try to convince me that I don’t want you?”
The general tilted her chin, clasping her hands and neon joined jade burning bright. Her breath wisped out against her lips to the blank and flawless face. Then she squirmed upon his lap with the tiniest of smiles.
Sephiroth sealed his eyes to her quiet giggle, lashes trembling on his cheeks. “If you keep doing that…” His lips brushed her ear as the whisper was cut on his teeth. “I may just bend you over this table.”
She turned for the kiss, and he ate at her mouth as though starving for summer sweet. “I want you, Aeris,” he promised between. “More than godhood and glory to have you writhing like that beneath…”
“I think then it’s settled…” She clung to his neck.
“But I don’t want to hurt you, my flower.”
She sighed so heavy feeling the tension that rode his solid shoulders. “Dear gods…are you really this stubborn?” she muttered. “You don’t have to be afraid of that.”
“There’s no fear for myself, only for you. I’m your protector. How dare I do anything that might bring you harm? How dare I…” He shook his head. “…take you for myself?”
“Because if you do, I’ll just let you know. I trust you, Sephiroth, more than anything. I trust you as much as the Planet.”
Indignant bells rang in jest that turned to joyous song. It crashed through her soul like the beat of his heart, broken and shackled by guilt.
“You…trust me?” He tilted her chin again and laid a kiss so soft to her lips. Opening his eyes, he searched her face unable to bear what beamed from her skin.
“Of course I do! So very much.”
He shook his head. This couldn’t be real. “The instant I touch you, you’ll scream in horror.”
“You’re touching me right now,” she reminded.
“You know what I mean, little flower.”
“I do, Sephiroth, and that’s utterly false. I’m not going to turn you away.”
“But what if I hurt you? What if you tear-” He jerked his head to the side with teeth bared. Agony shut his eyes so hard they ached through the crush of his lids.
“Sephiroth…” Her voice so sweet matched the fingers on his skin, and the Great General relaxed his features, unable to resist her call. Her bangs were framing her soft lit face, which as always was lifted to him. “You are not going to hurt me.” A long lock of hair had spilled over his chest, and she twisted it amongst the straps. He buried one hand beneath her braid and laid his brow to hers. “This is not the same act that brought you pain.”
“Hush, let me finish.” Amusement battled the heavy guilt to give a slight lift to his lips. “You have to remember I accepted my fate long before it ever did fall, and now look at me.” She brushed his temple. “I gave my life to save the Planet, and now I’m wrapped in your arms…”
“Aeris, the mere sight of you is worth every moment of torture…and you want to allow me more than sight when you’ve already given so much. You let me touch you.” A gentle hand caressed her cheek and she curled against his chest. “You allow me this.” He kissed her hard, claiming the maid in this act far greater than words. “And now…” His eyes lowered in molten heat. “You say that I can have more.” Sephiroth slid his hand slow down her side, a mere gentle brush of her breast. The sliver of pupil shivered in doubt, but what mirrored in jade was pure joy. “You…adore me, and I don’t know why. It’s beyond my understanding. Why do you love me, Aeris?” He lifted his eyes so desperate for truth for truth had been so long denied. “All that I did-”
“Doesn’t matter now.” Silver spill covered her fingers, and her smile rivaled his Mako light. “I love the you that is, not that you that was. The past has no hold over me. You’re not that pawn.” She squeezed her eyes shut praying hard that this would pass through her skin. “You’re not the fallen. You’re my general, my angel, and my love.”
Sephiroth cupped her cheek in his hand and took the tears from her eyes with one thumb. All of his fears not to do as they wished were fading from his tongue. She loved him. Beyond any reason he could see, past any doubts he could muster, above any shadow from his past. He smiled and she wriggled delightfully as the general halved his eyes. Their light was cut against his lashes as he tipped her face up for a kiss. Sephiroth rose to his feet as their tongues kept the dance, cradling Aeris in one arm. He gestured with the other and the lights went dark, but he needed neither that nor open eyes to find his way. Against her cheek his palm spread wide, warmer than sunlight at noon.
She barely even realized that they were upstairs for his step had been smooth as new ice.
“I didn’t think someone with only one wing could fly so very fast.” It was breathed against his lips, and his chuckle sent a thrill through her skin.
“I might’ve been wrong about you, little flower. You’re not very kind at all…”
The bed had been made just as she’d left it, the balcony shut, the drapes drawn tight. He sat her on the edge and went down on one knee to worship her with his gaze. Encasing her hands, the general still fought to believe she was truly his. Bathed in deep emerald, she shone like a sky graced in sun and moon and star. “Will you,” she whispered, “will you turn on the light. I want to be able to see you.”
He lifted his hand and the light obeyed to show frost white skin against black. Sitting beside her, Sephiroth gripped the end of Aeris’s braid. A high sound escaped the Cetra’s throat before it was caught by the kiss from above. He wanted to taste her very moans, as her lips unfolded like petals beneath.
She barely noticed the spill of free chestnut against the back of her dress, but she couldn’t ignore the brush of his thumb along her trembling throat. The softest touch that woke melody as it sang along her nerves. Large hands covered her shoulders complete before sliding down her arms, and Aeris traced the leather black, too, smiling at the stark difference in size.
Sephiroth wrapped his arms around her as the flower maid clung to his neck. Washed by silver, her fingers slid through moonlit silk that teased soft skin. He kissed her brow, her cheeks, and her eyes taking the tears before they full formed. Giving up on her quest to best his wide shoulders, Aeris moved down to the clasps of his coat. The buckles were tricky behind sealed lids with a kiss to steal midnight between, and fingers once steady to comfort shy blooms were clumsy on unseen locks. She managed that though despite the distraction, but the straps were beyond her will.
“How do you ever figure this out?” Sweet breath came in blushing huff, and the general cupped the back of her head. Her cheeks were full flushed, but her lips could’ve shamed the rose that gave hue to the dawn.
“You grow used to it, little flower.” He took her small hand and placed it on his chest where his heart so caged did pound. Leading her fingers to the right spots, he watched her face as she undid the straps.
The Cetra grinned up still without any guile, and almost shyly pushed the leather aside. It was quite ungiving and took two hands as he laid kisses on the side of her neck. Wispy hair swam sweet as summer scent bloomed, and he nibbled the skin to her gasp. The arc of her spine paused Aeris’s task so low laughter fell from above. He took pity on her and shrugged out of his coat shaking his hair in silver rain. It beat against her cheeks without any violence, as the Cetra slid her palm down his arm. There would never be give to her little hands, but something else caught her eye.
“You still have that?”
Sephiroth peered over. “Of course I do, little flower.” The pink scrap of past adorned his white skin, couched in the fold of his bicep. “Do you want it back?” Jade searched her face, joy multiplied in the light.
“No.” She laid her palm to the place, blinking up into his eyes. “It’s…fitting that you wear it now. Oh!” She jumped slightly and he curled his arm around her lower back. “I just remembered. I have something of yours.”
Jade couldn’t burn brighter as he watched his flower reach into her breast. From her bosom came the feather so black to mock death’s bitter herald, and Sephiroth’s eyes froze for he knew where she’d collected that prize.
“Do you…do you want this back?”
“No, Aeris, it’s yours. It belongs to you more than anything ever could.”
She tossed the pinion and it flew to the nightstand then put his free hand on her breast. He took this gift, laying her down on the pillows and devoured her mouth like sweet rain. They weren’t even the wettest petals of all for that he need go lower, searing kisses all the way down. Pink was her color from what he could see, and he wondered what else was so blushed.
“What did I do, little flower,” he murmured, “to deserve this trust you have in me?”
“Be who you are,” she whispered the words. “Gentle and kind…my great protector.”
“I’ll always be gentle with you,” he promised hands skimming the flare of her skirt.
“You don’t have to tell me…” Her eyes squeezed shut so starlight burst behind. She was glad for the pillows, glad for his hair between her tightened fingers, but her breath bare waited in the press of his lips where her dress had once been. “I already know because you always have-”
And then there were no words for a while. She couldn’t speak and he was involved in keeping her in that state. Sephiroth was far more worried about fragile fingers than silver hair that wouldn’t tear so when she was lost in throes of his act, he gently loosened her little hands and kissed vanilla washed palms. Pressing his teeth to the pulse in her wrist, the general caught her flushed face in his gaze.
“Yes…” she whimpered. “Yes…” Again.
“Is that all you can say now, Aeris?” He smiled and lifted himself above so silver came spilling down.
The flower maid reached through light’s waterfall. “I’ll always say yes to you…”
Sephiroth’s smile then turned to bare awe as her eyes trembled hard not to blink. “Is this what you see, little flower?” he whispered. “Is this my true self before?” The back of his hand brushed from temple to chin, and she pushed a pale lock from his face.
“Yes…it’s what I’ve been telling you all along. Your beauty is beyond blinding.”
“But…” His pupils slid within her gaze, slicing through the layers of his image to find what he was to her. “I’ve seen myself before in mirrors. I always knew what I was. But this…this here. I never did dream I could be what now lives in your eyes. Do you really see me this way, Aeris? I’m not a monster at all…” His hand did not tremble through powerful will as he slid it beneath her neck. The tears that now swam distorted no inch of that glorious vision, and Aeris though joyful bore slightest envy that unblinking eyes would miss nothing.
She kissed him deep as deep can go and summer never tasted so sweet. “Do you finally see it now?”
“I see how you see me…that must be the truth because you carry no guile.”
Slim as a shiver, soft as a sigh the great emerald eyes pierced her deep. Aeris slid a finger down his face for she held no fear of them now. She no longer had cause to fear the darkness for that gleam would never dim. Sephiroth slipped her white dress down, as she slanted her mouth hard against his. She reached for his belt and he laughed still entwined within the curl of tongue.
“I see you have no trouble with this particular buckle,” he said with her lip between his teeth, and the blush that bloomed limned her skin in fire that matched his heat.
He entered his flower exquisitely slow, driving in so gently. Every petal was dripping with dew and only her tightness offered resistance. The heat of his gaze never left her face as he carefully plowed this rose. Aeris clung to his shoulders her head thrown back beneath a rain of moonlight and ash. She bloomed so very slowly around him, stretched taut but willingly opened. Sephiroth’s emerald eyes were made for her and held the Cetra’s face in their light. Watchful and worried for some sign that pleasure would descend into raw pain, but she could do nothing but unfold beneath as each thrust stole ecstasy’s due.
She was so tiny, his most precious flower, and the air that much sweeter because she breathed it in. Her fingers fought valiantly to cling to his neck, but the rhythm stole what strength they had. Her hands fell back against the pillows, and he kissed her to catch every cry. She opened her eyes when his brow locked to hers so Aeris could see as he claimed her. Awe and pride both played together, a strange truce in his flawless face. She stroked the hair that now coated his shoulders, the dichotomy of marble and silk. He shook the strands away from his sight so they swept her breasts and belly. Then took the small palms to kiss every finger before pressing both hands above.
Within her mind the Planet erupted in joy beyond every life. Past, present, future all melded together, but still it could not be contained. The little Cetra knew that ecstasy shimmered within hot Mako light, but it was pure now between emerald and jade, the union of love and devotion. He kissed her hard then watched her close as he drove in even deeper, but his flower’s contortions were all of delight and the dew never once diminished. A high, little squeak arched her back, lifting her hips towards him, and Sephiroth found the sweetest plunge had reached her very depths. Aeris forced herself up in soft tremble so her lips brushed against his ear. “You begin now where I end…there’s no ‘you’ and ‘me’ only ‘us.’” Chestnut lay soaked in a skein of sweat like summer drowned in storm. She would’ve said more, but her voice had new use, and his name shut bright eyes in pure joy.
Above his tight fist her hands shook and clenched, and Sephiroth finally noticed her struggles. She’d been fighting against his iron grip, and he hadn’t even noticed. In horror he released her wrists though her hands still quivered above.
“Why’d you let go?” Aeris managed the words for he’d stopped to search for bruises that never would bloom.
“You were struggling, little flower. I…was hurting you.”
“No,” she insisted, clutching his neck. “No you weren’t, not at all.” She shifted her hips, flesh still tight around, but he wouldn’t continue until he was sure. “What did I tell you before, Sephiroth? I love your absolute strength. I was…testing it,” she laughed so soft as he tilted his head bemused.
“Just to see if I had any chance, any chance at all. I don’t…” The Cetra looked up in awe without fear, biting her lip a deep red. “I was doing everything I could to escape your grasp and you didn’t even notice.”
“I’m sorry for that.”
“There’s no need to be sorry.” She kissed him so he shut his eyes to her coated in endless light, and when he retook her ever so gently, each thrust brought a squeak. Emerald rained down to matching silver as he held himself above, but skin would always call to skin like summer chased by snow, so Sephiroth wrapped her in his arms to feel her quivering warmth. A slice of ice cut at her ribs, and Aeris turned her head with a gasp. A different silver, cold and grey gleamed around his wrists.
“You’re still bound,” the flower girl said as he pressed his lips to her brow. That lowered his eyes to what she had named, and regret flew over his face.
“Yes, I am, but it’s fine, because I’m bound to you.”
“You should be free.” She tried to grip one, but it was beyond her hand’s span.
“I’ll never be that.” He cupped her cheek with halved and lowered eyes. Covering the skin he could reach with his lips so she drowned in sweet smelling seas. Aeris couldn’t remember the sad distraction as his tongue stole what protests remained. Below she contorted and twisted through light, and he freed her cries for the want of his name. So slowly he drew it out of her ‘til she wondered if she knew other words. The slowness he kept while peering down in full and rapt concentration.
Between aftershocks Aeris opened her eyes, and a weak smile covered wet lips. “Is that your general’s face?” She grinned so coy before convulsion caught her with a cry. It was hiding in between those slow thrusts, and her mouth worked around too much joy.
His lips lifted up in knowing half smile. “You were saying, little flower?” He gave her some moments, but there was no chance the Cetra could respond. “Ah, that’s what I thought.” His face turned quite wicked, and long lashes shadowed cheeks that mocked palest frost.
“I was wrong…” she said in words chased by breath, “when I said you were completely good. That was…positively wicked.”
“And you liked it?”
“I loved it.”
“That is sweet relief.” The kiss proved his words to be true. “I never believed you could be for me, Aeris.”
“Well I wanted to be so I am.”
The blink was so quick she almost missed it, but for brief second the sorrow was cleaned.
He had known many battles and countless conquests though he dwelled in the shadow of grief, but this, oh sweet this, was the easiest victory Sephiroth had ever achieved. It hadn’t been taken. It hadn’t been won. It had been utterly given.
“The greatest of generals you certainly are…” Aeris ran the back of one hand down his face before brought into one final shudder.
She fell asleep against his chest as he whispered love upon her name. The Cetra would’ve answered, but he held her tighter, and she was far too happy in that to speak. The evening was older, dying in light, and he kissed her brow at the moment of slumber. Then silenced the lights as the darkness rose up to drag him into hell. He dared to sleep. He dared to dream, and the scratching stole that night’s joy. It breached the strength of innocent touch to tear through his haunted mind, and the blood he could see so hot in his lids limned the sword that now grew through her chest.
Author’s Note: I have been waiting a long time to post this chapter 🙂 I had to go with the two Christopher Poindexter quotes, because I could not decide between them; they were both so perfect. If I had to choose, it would’ve been the second one, the “beautifully sewn” of which I have made a macro. I also had another picture in mind, which you can find here. I’ll have more to say about this in my editing blog, which will be put up after all the chapters have been posted.
The next chapter Rising Shadow will be posted next Friday July 31.
Thank you so much for reading!
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