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.
Banner Artwork Disclaimer: The featured artwork for the banner is entitled White rose I and was created by the very talented Deviant Artist RemusSirion who was gracious enough to grant me permission to use it here. The picture has been slightly altered from the original. All rights belong to the artist, and links are included for both the artist page and the work.
Chapter artwork disclaimer: the featured artwork for this chapter is by elsinrostro who gave me permission to use his work and pointed me in the direction of the original artist IRASHIRYUU whom i have not heard back from. THE PICTURE HAS BEEN SLIGHTLY ALTERED IN APPEARANCE AND TO INCLUDE THE CHAPTER NUMBER AND TITLE. ALL RIGHTS BELONG TO THE ARTISTs.
*******MAJOR CONTENT WARNING*******
Consistent and sustained graphic descriptions and mentions of rape/ sexual assault, sexual slavery/bondage, slavery, human trafficking, physical abuse, graphic descriptions of violence, mental abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, body shaming, starvation, torture, forced pregnancy, forced childbirth, miscarriage, forced miscarriage, abortion, and other potential disturbing and triggering topics.
Author’s Note: This chapter is…awkward lol. I’m not really sure how else to put it. I considered doing a less explicit version for people who might feel squeamish about some of the things that happen, but then I just shrugged and figured I’d put a note at the start. Without giving too much away imagine feeling guilty about something you can’t control and then feeling even guiltier when you attempt to do something about it, but then to make matters worse, no matter what you do or how often you do it, it doesn’t help either the guilt or the issue. It’s hilariously tragic, and this chapter isn’t even the most graphic. Oh, and the name of the chapter? Totally inspired by the GOT Shame Bell. You should download the app if you have the ability. It’s quite entertaining.
Sephiroth’s solution to an ongoing problem only gives the general more guilt.
Winter brought bottomless cold without mercy as snow turned the sands purer white. Both sky and earth were equally colored, and even the sea rolled that grey. It never froze, as icicles twinkled on their veranda’s overhang. Aeris would watch in awe by the window, sipping hot chocolate to augment her warmth. The promise of Heaven never faded and its Gate was never cold. She could wear what she wished without threat of chill. Even bare floors gave heat to her soles. So often, she forewent shoes or slippers. Fluttering around the estate barefoot in her briefest dresses and skirts.
The Cetra continued to reclaim flesh that would always bear its scars, but she looked less and less fearful to view. Biting her lip, she’d slide up her top, and trace the thick lines herself. Tears would still sting at the memory of how such ravage had come, but gentlest kisses and soft silver’s spill reminded her where she was.
Aeris now knew both lives to be true. The past happened, but this future was real. Her scars would always remember, but the powerful arms holding her tight told the Cetra where she belonged. Shutting her eyes, she’d lean against what could only be called a warm wall. Solid, unyielding, with strong, steady heart, and a low voice that shook all her skin. Promises all of love and safety, eternal devotion, and care. He’d kiss her crown, temples, and cheeks before she reached for the truth of his lips. Moans would escape her then blesséd throat as the flower maid writhed on his lap. Her Great General’s chuckle would tingle her limbs, as jade through long lashes burned low.
Sephiroth still hunted for winter brought monsters that slept during summer’s reign. Their blood was still hot to taint pristine snow, melting full through to deep sands. He’d fly high above within frigid winds untouched by endless frost. His skin of pure winter belied that with heat, and she called him her winter angel. He’d bow his head low at his flower’s words for “angel” seemed false to black beat.
“I’m not, little one. You know that I’m not.”
“No, I know that you are. You’re the only one here in the Whispers who refuses to see this truth.”
I know my truth Aeris, but still you do not, because I remain a coward. And your love for me…it grows every day like a garden of summer’s last vow.
Myrna and Nellie would still venture over, unafraid of winter’s touch. Aeris would bite her lip and gaze out quite guilty, remembering it wasn’t that far. Just a few steps, really, from their back door, up the stairs and into their homes. But then she recalled her encounter with Miers and the fact Nellie, too, was espoused. Desperately, Aeris wished she could conquer the basest of all her fears, but her neighbors and general all ensured her that it was still understood.
“And always will be,” Myrna said kindly as Emaline picked through her phone. Nellie drank half of her glass of wine, but nodded in full agreement. While Sephiroth peered up from checked messages, squeezing her little hand. He still, of course, had mayoral commitments even through winter time. In fact in that moment, he excused himself as some needed his attention. Kissing Aeris, Sephiroth took his leave, assured of her utter safety. She was home among friends within Heaven’s Gate, so he could fulfill these tasks.
While out he received a text from his flower that widened bright emerald eyes. Through silent streets, the report rang out clear in the misty, snow-washed air. Merely some flurries, but the sky was quite grey, and the general could smell later storm. The cold was so sharp it cut through like fire, burning nothing but his guilty heart. At sight of her name, the pain did abate. No, not really that. It’s just…changed. A different aching and far more sweet. I crave this torment from her. The text was brief:
I went over to Myrna’s.
Is Miers not home?
No, Seph, he’s not.
The Great General laughed aloud in the Square, near empty of all but the brave. He cradled the phone in a black gloved hand, amused by his truncated name. This wasn’t the first time Aeris had done so, but it only happened in text. She always used his full one in speech, but it was easier to say than to type. I supposed. He rolled his eyes, but continued to smile as he replied back through gloves that allowed.
Enjoy yourself then, my little flower. If you need me you need only call.
I love you so much, general. Because of you I’m always safe.
I love you, too, Aeris, and yes, you are safe. I’ll see you when we’re both back home.
When he returned with two presents for her (a bracelet and a new book) the Cetra was sleeping in her soft bed beneath one of his velvet lined coats. That was common, too, Sephiroth realized as he leaned on the open doorframe. He wondered if he should scoop her up, wrapped in the coat and all. She’d awake in his arms and he’d observe miracle of her gazing at him with pure joy.
She was never unwelcome up in his office no matter the general’s task. Aeris would nap or just observe, while he answered her every request. They’d read to each other ever and still as his arm draped her quivering belly. The little Cetra would look up at him, her lip between her teeth, and he’d narrow his eyes unable to fathom what dwelled starkly in summer green. She couldn’t want that. His own base desire, which disgusted him every day. He’d look down at her as he held the book open, while her finger traced the read lines. Her free hand would clutch his own’s larger fingers or couch her frail wrist in his grasp. Gazing up often to that beautiful face where lid and lash veiled emerald gleam. She could still see slim pupil cutting light as he read, chasing words that could never flee. The Cetra could’ve watched him forever. He was the loveliest thing she’d ever seen. His angel’s face, moon silver hair, and skin to darken snow. Even the eyes he thought were a horror never chilled her heart.
“You could find me, general, ever and always in the deepest dark. I’m not afraid of you at all.”
And this broke his heart all the more. That this tiny maid did love him so. Because she believes a lie. As you once did. How dare you allow this?! How dare you let this repeat? He wanted his Aeris more than forgiveness, as she nestled close to his heart. As she sat without fear in her short, ruffled skirt. As she squirmed on his lap with full glee. He gritted his teeth and forced a pained smile for his body’s instant reaction. She was so innocent as she gazed up, with summer eyes wide to the white. He’d kiss her smooth brow, and she’d reach for his neck, seeking a deeper communion. Lifting up from his lap in order to reach, and when she plopped back down it was torture. If you knew, little flower, if you knew my foul thoughts, horror would melt your dreams…
Aeris believed with no doubt in her heart that he was nothing like those men. Sephiroth would never beat her, abuse her, or take her against her will. He couldn’t. He can’t…b-because I want him. I want my Great General. A lock of bright hair was spun round her finger as her other slid down his chest. His black shirt was parted near his collarbones, and that’s where her touch made its play.
I’ve never felt like this before. I wonder if other’s do, too? Did the women I see when I went about town have these feelings, as well? Does Myrna feel this for her husband? Did Nellie feel this for hers? I want him to have me. I want him right now. She bit her lip as his brow lifted. I…want him to use me even though it will hurt. E-Even if it splits me in two. His kisses are perfect. His touch is so gentle. It all makes me feel so strange. That “open” sensation I can’t quite explain. I don’t think it will hurt as much. He’s a lot bigger than th-them, but he’s so careful. He could really hurt me…but he won’t. He can break a man’s bones…even crush his skull, but he’s holding my wrist with such care. I’m much more fragile than any man, but Sephiroth has never hurt me…
You impaled her once, he thought with clenched jaw, squeezing his eyes shut as she squirmed. His palm opened up to splay on her belly, while her smaller ones gripped his hand. She lifted her face with a gigantic grin, and Sephiroth kissed her temples. Despite tightened teeth behind perfect lips for he’d never deny her desires.
And 200 years later all you can think of is impaling her again. It’s just as depraved. It’s just as foul, given all she has suffered. You killed the “monsters” in the slums and hunt out those around, but never can you full rid the world, because you’ll never die. And yet… He relinquished his other hand, setting the book down to enclose her. It was by her behest for Aeris reached for his arm to lay it around her hips. She at least wants this, but she can’t possibly want you in that way. He lifted a hand to cup her cheek, and his little flower sighed. Turning her head to kiss his palm and softening Mako eyes.
The general sighed, too, as Aeris then laid her head to his ailing heart. She’s going to nap, he thought in relief for that was a joy for them both. He could hold her while he worked, so he woke his computer for such. However, at that light, Aeris gave a small, “Oh,” and shifted around to observe. She tossed wavy chestnut from her vision where it swept her guardian’s chest, and his jaw clenched so much a lesser man’s teeth would’ve crumbled to such a press.
The Cetra relaxed as her pale thighs did part, and she pushed down his one arm a bit. Thick fingers caressed that inner soft skin, but he had to ask, “Is this well?”
“Of course, it’s ‘well!’ It’s…more than well.” She glanced back and up to assure. “I’m…sorry I interrupted. I didn’t know you had work to do.”
“Aeris, there is no work more important than caring for you.”
“I know you say that, but reading to me is more leisure than work, isn’t it?”
“It brings you joy.” He cleared hair from her face before kissing her brow. “And there’s nothing imperative today. Just odds and ends I can do anytime. I figured while you were napping I would.”
“Well, I’m not too tired. I’d like t-to watch if I wouldn’t disturb you of course.”
His free arm now circled her little waist and the flower maid muffled her moan. He closed his eyes. The wiggling that followed just made his “problem” worse.
“My playful rose…” The low voice rolled, and she shuddered to the vibration.
Her legs spread wider to her running heart, which beat in that opening bud. Only with him did her petals unfold without forced penetration. Leaning back on his chest the Cetra gazed up, but he stoically kept his eyes forward, for in their vision, where she couldn’t see, the depths of his fantasies played.
The little maid exposed on his lap robbed the general of all concentration. He was happy that what he did was by rote, both work and explanation. They’d be smooth and soft as the folds of a rose replenished with endless dew. My delicate flower would prove that name well, and I would be more than careful. How could I not be? She’s an exquisite gem who was utterly brutalized. No one should bear even half of her torture. Hurting her even inadvertently would be the very worst of all my crimes…
She leaned slightly forward, and his gaze swam down her back where her little skirt hid even less. Against his will, he envisioned her bent as he plowed her from behind. Clasping her crown in his large palm, as he pierced those hot, dewy petals…a sharp inhale widened jade bright eyes, as Sephiroth curled up his lip. In utter revulsion he forced his gaze back for such thoughts couldn’t be entertained, and the general had to hide his disgust as he explained the mundane to her. She was forced that way for a hundred years! How dare you have such lustful dreams? None of this eased his utter self-loathing…or remotely quelled his response. Nor did it cease far flung fantasy for in them she wanted such…
Sephiroth kissed her, driving in deep as he cupped the back of her head. He pulled away, witnessing ecstasy as silver hair washed them both. Staring down with unblinking eyes to ensure she was never in pain. She was so tiny he had to be careful, so tight his concentration must match. She couldn’t be hurt. Never again. And his name did erupt like a song-
A harsh rush of breath flung his eyes open and he desperately searched her face, but Aeris had fallen asleep on his lap, lulled by words he’d named banal. Legs to the side in her chaste white, lips wetter than new spring morn.
Sephiroth sighed, but it held no lust. She was his again only to guard. He finished his work, shut off the computer, and rose with her held in his arms. The Cetra murmured softly and curled closer in, couching her face near his neck. The scent of silver coalesced there and his bangs could caress her skin. The general considered where to lay her, but decided her ornate bed. The shadows had softened as the evening grew, and he could make dinner and tea.
There was no one Sephiroth had wanted more in any of his lives, and he never believed self-loathing could grow from the lies he already lived. This went beyond want for she had his heart, but the lust tormented his soul. He thought about her morning and eve, dreaming things that just couldn’t be. She was not for him. He’d no right to think of his Aeris in such a way, but his depraved mind would let no image cease of his wanton dreams fulfilled. In that way Sephiroth knew it a jest for she could not possibly want that. Not after she’d lived through century’s hell when such was all she had known. Chained and beaten, starved and raped…over and over again. Without reprieve and un-surcease, as she cried and screamed and bled. If he did take her, she’d beat tiny fists against him and beg him to stop. But his fantasies never showed such fear for in them she moaned his cursed name. The thought of her terror cooled his ardor, but he hated that even more. They had loved it, the ones who were dead, and he’d no use for such foul thoughts.
Not even to tame my base desire. No, I want none of her fear. I want her willing and warm in my arms. Faugh…how are you better, you monster? You think about raping her every day, but worse you imagine her willing. If she knew what you were and what you had done, she’d scream to your ever touch. Her flesh would recall that dire wound and hatred would flood summer eyes.
The choice could only belong to Aeris, and the Cetra could not consent. Not when she felt she owed him the world when in truth that’s what he owed her. Aeris still did not know his truth, nor could her awful past be quenched. Nor can mine, Sephiroth always remembered. I can be nothing but horror. She finds my veneer appealing and fair, but I know what I am in the dark.
On days of less chill (and when Miers wasn’t home), Aeris would venture to Myrna’s. Nellie’s was rarer for her lush friend did not like being home herself. They’d all gather in Myrna’s warm kitchen, and Em would put down her phone. She actually loved the flower maid’s reading so Aeris would always bring books. In necessity, Sephiroth would go about town to take care of mayoral tasks, and more often now he’d stand on the shore, gazing out at the endless expanse. Berating and shaming and hating himself for both his lust and his lies. It was far too cold for Aeris to join. She could hardly stand the quick trip to Myrna’s, but though the cold cooled none of base heat, the general still had to try.
Hunting did help, but brought even more guilt. I’m killing to quell my desire. Though it was needed and necessary, Sephiroth gave himself no regards. Sometimes til morning he’d stalk out the monsters he was no longer sure were more fell, but before the sun prepared the dawn, he had to be back with her. While he might be tormented by base and foul thoughts, she loved to wake up in his arms. He’d made a promise and at the very least, he’d not be forsworn in this. He was happy his skin could never dry out as his shower brought semblance of solace. Though he was of course still ashamed of his actions and glad he needed no light. Save my curséd eyes, which I cannot quench, but no pure light need witness this…
Once afterwards when he’d redressed, Sephiroth laid on his bed. Aeris was out, over at Myrna’s, having wine and tea. He could always go. Invitation was open, but this time he’d kissed her goodbye. Protectiveness filled him as the general watched her make it there undisturbed. Not that he believed anything would happen, but if he were there, he’d make sure.
He had his shades drawn against bright of day, though that bothered him as much as the cold. With his eyes closed he could just see his light that not even slim pupils could filter. He considered what he would make her for dinner…then saw her with tiny clasped hands. She was smiling at him in her short skirt, her head tilted starkly up. Despite the ache surely seizing her neck, she held this pose for him. So that she could see his “glorious height,” as the maid so often claimed. Faugh. He shifted while creasing his brow, as behind she now wet pinkened lips. Of course, Aeris hadn’t worn that to Myrna’s…she never left Heaven like that. Though he and her friends always told her she could wear whatever she wished. Granted, it was also frigidly cold, but in summer, she’d have the choice.
But…in his mind, she was dressed in such, which made sense for Aeris was home. Heaven’s Gate was warm, and she was with him, safe and always secure. Sephiroth frowned as guilt flayed him raw. She’s not safe from my lustful thoughts. Her brief skirt was ruffled like so many she loved, and, of course, beneath she was bare. The tip of spun chestnut kissed her calves. Gods help me. The general gritted his teeth. Her hair’s longer than her skirt. He went to his knees, tracing the lines on her flesh with fingers, lips, and tongue.
Nor did it help in reality, when she’d plop right down on his lap. Lift his large hand with her tiny two to cup his palm to her breasts. Then gaze up at him almost defiant, as if daring insist she didn’t yearn, but Sephiroth couldn’t help it. She can’t possibly. She’s doing this all for me. I’m forcing her, because I think it so. I should move my hand… But he could not. Instead they both filled his large palm until he brought up the other to share. I’m a foul monster invading her mind. But the general had done nothing so heinous. At least not on purpose…but what if I’m in there inadvertently and this is the result?
Prior times he’d been more than guilty of sadistic mental attack, but any such abominations were century’s old…and done under his own duress. Sephiroth couldn’t still the fear that his lust was coercing his flower. It doesn’t matter if it’s inadvertent. I must be invading her mind. I’m raping her mentally and physically, too, he thought as she moaned on his lap. Writhing against him as he kissed her throat, shoulders and collarbones. Her perfect, soft breasts blessed his fingers and palms. He was so careful for taut, pink tips. One hand traveled to her quivering belly, and Aeris had then pushed it lower. Beneath her short skirt and the maiden hard shuddered as his fingers caressed inner thighs, but Sephiroth would never breach this boundary no matter how much he wished. She’d never stop screaming. My thick, vile fingers could not penetration this tortured part. What if I tore her?? Yes, she is healed, but she can’t help but remember. It can’t be done. It can’t even be thought. But he imagined both that and far more. She’d clench on one finger and moan in is arms as his teeth slid down her neck. The latter did happen, but he tightened his fist. He would not be as foul as them. Licking her throat to release more moans. The fallen shut his eyes even tighter. To dispel visions of what he true wished, but they would never die. That tight, little cunt would close around him, as Aeris clung to shoulders so broad…
When she sat on his lap or (Gods forbid…) wiggled, it only made it worse. She’d be tighter and wetter than spring’s fairest dream, and he’d stretch her to her very limits. He’d have to be careful, but he always would be. His rose would no more be abused. What do you think you’re doing now?! he thought in the midst of it all. Beneath her white skirt the dance would so play while they ravaged each other’s lips…
The general covered his face with one hand, as truth and fantasy clashed. In the midst of desire, he’d found straining buttons to grant himself some release. I’m 200 years old, he thought desperately. More if I count darker past. I’m not a raw boy. I was the Great General. I’m Mayor of the Whispers, respected by all, and this tiny maid’s ever protector, and yet here I am, lying on my bed performing the crudest of acts. Yet it changed nothing. No endless guilt relieved his desire as he imagined her whispered, Yes. His moonlight hair would spill on her belly as they both drowned in mutual light. He’d make sure she was ready before ever so slowly pushing himself through her folds. I’d split her in two. His thoughts were still desperate. He wanted to claw at his face. No ounce of pride dwelled in that assessment, just a feared realization. No matter how gentle, no matter how slow, she’d surely scream in pain. You’re worse than the cowards you slew in the slums, because you know her story. You know what she suffered, and yet you still lust. She thinks me her friend, her angel, her love, her hero, gods forbid. I’m just like them to abuse her so, and worse for I think she enjoys it.
But neither self act nor lustful thoughts would leave the fallen in peace. In every daydream she was more than willing, but that could never be. She can no more consent than I could grow a wing and make myself whole at last. If she knew what I thought or what I did now…she’d lock her bedroom door. Terror would again descend to cage my rose once more.
His lip curled up as jade bled raw between his loose splayed fingers. She was his world, and he her protector. And yet here I am, doing…this. He wanted to bury himself as deep as he could into those molten hot petals. It wouldn’t be much for she would be tiny, and she’d surely scream ere his first thrust. However, in vision, her palm cupped his cheek as she gazed into thorny slivers. Contorting around him, brought several times, til her arms fell upon her fanned hair. In chestnut rain it covered the mattress like the sea conquered cold shore.
When he finally emptied himself inside her, the general sighed in relief. The hand over his face eased some of its tension though his other still had some to quell. In vision, Sephiroth smiled down to the little maid flushed full red. Her tiny hands were twitching to aftershocks of what he had wrought within, and his lashes soft fluttered in flickering light as he fully finished inside. Squirting seed deep in that tight, little cunt, while her back arched and summer sweet rained.
Sephiroth opened his eyes and reality pierced him with the truth of what he had done. Pinching the bridge of his nose, his face contorted in full and utter revulsion. The general’s curses would make seasoned sailors blush to their very ears. Words not heard in two century’s time, still foul despite elite tone. He couldn’t even look at his left hand. It usually bears the sword. Well… Mako roiled to emerald from jade, lighting more visible shame.
A gentle knock sounded at his door, and “Sephiroth?” was the call. He’d never been a man easily surprised, but the shock near robbed him of grace. Gaping in horror, the fallen near tumbled off the bed to prove such curse true, but then his teeth clenched as just that sweet voice made him ready again. He forced himself back into his pants, fighting the buttons for control. Finding his feet with great discomfort, Sephiroth strode to the door. Never would she come in uninvited, but his foot still held it in place.
“I was going to shower, my Aeris. Is all well? Are you alright, little one?” He’d not expected her home this soon, but then realized it was well into eve.
“Yes, general. I’m alright. I had a nice visit with Myrna and Em.” Her little voice made him bow his head til his brow pressed against the lintel. She was more than likely wetting her lips until they glistened pink. She might’ve changed during his preoccupation and was more than likely in her “house” clothes. Shortest skirts with ruffles like petals heralding that sweet pink below…
“I’m happy my Aeris. No one troubled you on your way back, I’m sure?” He squeezed his eyes shut. What if she had called and had needed for him to come fetch her? I was too busy imagining performing the act that brought you the highest of pain. I’m no protector. I don’t deserve your love. I should tell you my truth through this door. Cry, ‘I’m a monster. because I slew you long ago on an altar of light! Do you remember? Do you recall? Penetration is always the same…’
“Not at all, Sephiroth!” Aeris insisted and he heard her palms bless his door. Then she leaned against, pressing her body. Those soft and perfect breasts…
“Good.” It was only not strangled because his will stayed intact. “I’ll be out in some moments, and I’ll make you dinner then read to you, little one.”
A soft giggle answered and he wished he could knock his head against the jamb. It wouldn’t hurt, but she’d surely hear that and wonder what ailed him now.
When she was gone, he stripped off his fouled clothes to seek the shower once more. What he did again was far easier there and cleanly washed away. He was growing used to covering his face so he need not view the act. I really should force myself to look, but the shame is too great for vision.
As droplets pattered, he kept his face covered to once more plow that sweet maid. He barely even had to try. Just her image in mind was enough. He wanted to wretch, he felt to ashamed. I’m abusing my tiny charge. Even though dream, this is abomination, yet she’ll adore me still. Leaning against the shower wall, Sephiroth could only glare down. Fascinating, he dryly thought, as desire owned him again. Yes, this is exactly why you were created…to squirt seed deep into the last Cetra’s tiny, pink cunt. He squeezed his temples with the same strength that had easily crushed men’s skulls. Immune to the press, but not to the guilt as that word echoed in his thoughts. Then his jaw clenched tight as again he imagined bringing her numerous times. She clung to his neck and cried his name as silver hair stroked her breasts. The vision of plowing her once again lifted his head with a sigh. He stared at the ceiling while water whispered judgment on flawless winter skin.
He cleaned and dried himself once more, redressing in typical black. I deserve no part of that innocent flower, he thought as he braided dried hair. His lips cruelly twisted for only himself in thinking his hands could do wholesome work. The fact I’m allowed to touch her hand is more blessing that I deserve. Sephiroth was happy that the task he performed had no need of a mirror. Moon whitened silver obeyed his command as he bound it behind his crown. He kept his forelocks high and free lest he need a shield for his shame. Tiny fingers would push them behind his ears, though, to reveal his angel’s face… He huffed as he shook his head, so the silver mane mirrored snow light. In between curtain creases, emerald caught glimmer, a world washed far cleaner than he.
He noticed the smell when he left his room, and Mako cut through his long lashes. Descending the stairs, guilt falling harder, as the scent led him to the kitchen.
Soup was the starter, along with fresh bread. He wondered if she’d mixed it at Myrna’s. The main course was sea bass, and her laptop was opened to tip her in seasonings. She…made me dinner, this innocent flower I constantly rape in my mind. Cobbled together a meal for me as I imagine her constant defilement.
Aeris nearly flew into his arms, gazing up in utter glee. She stood on her tiptoes, reaching for him, and Sephiroth scooped her up. Blessed with sweet kisses all over his face. He had to close his eyes. So, she blessed them, too, the thin, veined lids where light shone through blood always seen. Her lips tickled her lashes and she giggled in turn to the brush upon pursed pink. When she found his lips, he had to answer, tightening the seal against jade.
Before sightlessness, he’d seen that her dress was exactly as he’d expected. She’d changed into white fringed with a pink sash that turned into a bow. At her small waist it trailed farther down, longer than short, ruffled skirt. Those ruffles, he thought, tilting his head to better taste the sweet. They’ll lead to my undoing.
“You didn’t have to do this, my flower.”
“I wanted to, Sephiroth!” She kissed him again, and he carried her back to the kitchen with a sigh. A smile lurked within it, though, as the general observed all her efforts. Holding her easily in his one arm, he lifted the spoon for a taste.
“Hm.” He pondered and Aeris cringed. He tenderly kissed her cheek. “I have eaten many excellent things, though few and far between, but this soup, my flower, demolishes all. You’ve made this true Heaven’s Gate.”
She hid her blush against silken hair as her guardian softly chuckled. Sitting her down at the head of the table, he’d not the heart to disengage her fingers. In delicate weft, they clung to his neck so Sephiroth was obliged to stay bent. He was unsure why the little maid wept, but guilt nearly crushed his heart dry. What if…
“I love you, my general,” she whispered and out of her sight he gaped. Eyes wide to the white, face a stone mask that alabaster would mourn. “My…Sephiroth.” She slid her palms over shoulders that would never cease to awe her with their breadth. He wore only a black buttoned shirt and no coat to hinder assessment, so Aeris closed her eyes as her general crouched to allow her better access. His own hands were tentative to catch her small waist, but her high hum told him this was relished.
“Shall we eat, little flower?” He turned his head slightly, and chestnut scent swam through his nose. “You did so much work. You must be hungry.”
“Just…a bit longer, please. I…love your wide, wide shoulders.”
He couldn’t help but laugh lowly at that…more and more praise for his strength. “I can’t say I don’t love this soft, little belly.” He ran his thumbs gently up. She pulled in with a gasp as slim fingers curled, and his mirth echoed ever low.
“Do you know all the ways you’re wonderful, Sephiroth?”
His lashes could not shield utter pain. As least she couldn’t see with her cheek pressed to his, as her little hands swam still on his shoulders.
“I can’t even imagine one.” But I know a million ways why I am foul.
“I can think of so many.” Aeris inhaled frost angel scent like winter spun through warmth. She shifted herself upon the soft cushion wishing it were his lap. “First and foremost, you saved me. Without you I’d be raped and chained. This…snow would seem a blessing in warmth for how I’d be left to freeze.”
“Midgar rots within cold ashes,” he promised with Mako eyes in blaze. Happy this light fell not on her, but rather to darkness beyond. The evening could take it, scattered through snow where it burned on the edge of drops twirled.
“A-All because of you.” She renewed her grip on his steadfast shoulders, shuddering to endless measure.
“Are you cold, little one?” Sephiroth pulled back to scrutinize his rose. Her eyes were soft closed as if summer hid from the winter that raged outside. He squeezed her middle ever so slightly to remind Aeris he was always there.
“Not at all, general, a-and if I were…” As he imagined, she tucked a silver lock behind his ear. “You’d never allow it. You’d make sure I was warm. Another wonderful thing.”
Returning her little palm to his shoulder, the Cetra could bare hold her awe. Her own bangs fell forward, and she shook them away, but her forelocks were stubborn, too. Chuckling softly, he allowed one hand to relinquish its hold on her waist. With exquisite care, he tucked chestnut away before sliding his thumb down her lips.
“That’s something else.” The little voice quavered always to his tender touch. “You’re so gentle and you’re so kind to temper immeasurable strength.” She caught that hand as so forlorn he shook his head to her praise. “You protect me and keep me safe, a-and you p-punished those who hurt me before. You’ve never hurt me.” He lowered his head, but vision did not affect hearing. “And you made sure those like me were aided, too. You’re my angel…my angel of light, and you’re beauty’s angel, too. You must be the most beautiful angel of all l-like you’re the greatest of generals.”
Sephiroth’s lips lifted with no trace of mirth as the fallen shook his head. Praise and glory poured from her lips, and it was only because he had lied. By not speaking, by not telling the truth, he allowed this farce to continue, and now his base lust had entered the mix in the foulest way of all. But to top it off, she’d made him dinner. She need not do servile tasks.
“There are so many more, my S-Sephiroth.” She still needed grow used to that. Not saying his name so much as possession, as he called her “his Aeris.” Lifting his gaze in softer expression that he only wished warmed his eyes, Sephiroth took the love undeserved as it bound his broken heart. Her innocent face beamed in foul light, making the emerald gleam pure.
He covered the little hand upon his, as awe then parted his lips. For now, the fallen stared into summer and in it he saw himself. What was within couldn’t be real, for there he had two perfect wings. In my dreams I’m not even whole… A moon bright halo ringed his crown more silver than even his hair. No, it’s not true. I’ll never be that, and yet…and yet, her pure eyes. She can’t reflect falsehood so that I must be unless… His heart seized upon his dark guilt. She sees me like this because she knows not. I’m more of a hero each day. He had to stand. He had to escape. He would tell her if he looked even longer. So badly he wanted that sight to be true, but he’d learned what it meant to court lies. I’m still courting them because I allow her believe I am what dwells in true green.
Setting the table, Sephiroth served her first as he sat on her right, but Aeris had no wish to be at the head. She hopped down and re-placed her chair. So, by her general’s side she perched, leaning against him between bites.
The rest of the meal was as good as the soup, washed down with fresh brewed tea. Outside the snow seemed to freeze in the night, still as earthbound stars. The Cetra looked up while gripping his hand, watching emerald compete for eve’s chill. He would certainly win for eeriness, but thick fingers so gentled, clutching his flower’s, were nothing but solid and warm.
She smiled and rose, and that broke the spell winter had laid on his sight. Blinking just once, he watched her soft flutter so humming back to the kitchen. Sephiroth almost followed, frowning at the thought she meant to tidy up. It was bad enough she had made him dinner. She would not be forced to clean, but Aeris returned with hands and arms laden, and he did stand so he could assist.
“I wanted to try to make a pie,” she told him, while setting it down. “But crusts are so difficult! Myrna showed me, but I knew I’d just mess it up.”
She bit her lip expecting prejudgment, but the general had none to give. Setting the little plates and spoons down, he slid a smooth palm to her cheek. Aeris turned her face to the heat, as she heard the strong pulse in his wrist. “Whatever you made would’ve been wonderful, Aeris. There’s nothing you could’ve ‘messed up.’”
She bit her lip, a bit skeptical then relaxed for sincerity. “Well…anyway Myrna made this. It’s strawberry, I think. She said to try it with…ice cream?” Aeris placed the cold box beside before burying her fingers in his. The Great General threaded all together, sharing abundant warmth. “It’s so cold though…” she shuddered a bit, and that was all it took for his embrace. His flower would not be allowed to freeze, and she smiled up at her protector. “Mm, Sephiroth…I love this so much, b-but we should have dessert. I-It should be a proper meal.”
He chuckled and kissed her brow. “Whatever you wish is what’s ‘proper,’ my Aeris.” But he did release her at request.
The slices were served and covered with cream white as the falling snows. Sephiroth only had a few bites as he sipped his coffee black, while Aeris savored several more, offset with ginger tea.
“I never was much one for sweets.” Emerald gazed through the mists. “It wasn’t allowed.” A crease marred his brow. “And now that I have choice, I rarely do. I forget just how sweet such is and only a bite or two is needed.” He peered over at her as swirling snow light limned his silver forelocks. He kissed the taste from more reddened lips, and Aeris had no problem sharing. Engulfing her face in both of his hands, the general slanted their mouths together. The moan that ensued unbound troubled heart that his embrace was unwanted.
Afterwards Aeris climbed into his lap and heaved the purest sigh. “The great and beautiful Sephiroth…” she murmured as bisected Mako froze. Mists tore through them at that “great” and her fingers swirled moonlight locks. In grief he forced his lids descend as past release turned to a lie. He wanted her just as much as before, while she shifted herself towards comfort. Bare legs bent over the arm of his chair as his embrace had to surround. So long as she craved it, so long as she needed, he would not leave her bereft.
Aeris took his much larger hand into hers and lifted it for a kiss. She scrutinized the length and breadth of each finger, tracing her tiny ones on. Sephiroth’s other hand curled only slightly where she’d placed it against her thigh. “You’re beyond gentle.” She kissed him again, keeping it up for better view. When she squirmed slightly, he cleared his throat, and that other hand clenched to a fist. Aeris didn’t notice or wasn’t concerned as she mused, “It’s the first thing I knew.”
“What’s that, little flower?” he said against teeth.
“Your gentleness, general.” The Cetra breathed deeply and leaned against him, gripping his great hand tighter. “It’s the first thing I remember about you…the first thing you were to me.”
He bowed his head. The first should be death for that’s what I was. That’s what this foul hand did bring. Yet she greeted that “death” with sweet kisses, and he’d no choice but to accept. Lest I tell her…tell her now and watch her flee in fear. His heart could not take such so he lied to himself and said it was for her protection. We have just dined…she is relaxed. It’d be…greater sin to trouble such peace. Silver spilled over the skin so exposed above her soft, pale breasts. The dress was cut to hide no cleft, and she needed no shawl in the Gate.
Her lovely face suddenly scrunched into frown, and Aeris looked up at his sorrow. “Men…they’re so strong, Sephiroth.” The general let light frame her as he scowled, but she wasn’t afraid of him now.
“There are no men stronger than me, my Aeris, and my protection is absolute.” He closed her tighter with one arm, and she freed his hand so the other could join. Locked in such strength, the Cetra just breathed, and his lovely scent swirled through her soul.
“I know, Great General.” He tilted his head at that title’s sudden return. “That makes me so happy. I’m guarded forever by you, but…it’s just so unfair!” She threw her gaze up with bottom lip trembling. Red spots in her cheeks grew into patches and summer eyes darkened like storm.
“What’s unfair, my Aeris?” Concern filled his tone, but he was partially elated. Anger seemed the emotion most foreign, a feeling never allowed. It meant defiance and that led to torture in a world where pain was gil. While he hated her tiny fists balled in frustration, Sephiroth was happy she knew she now could.
“Men are so much stronger, Sephiroth. A-And they have the m-means to rape…” He gritted his teeth as she squirmed against the very “means” that never would.
“They never will again, little one,” he’d ever and always ensure. She took a deep breath, but ire didn’t break, and he held Aeris closer.
“I know, general. I know that always. I believe you, Sephiroth, I do. But it…makes me a-angry that they could do that. That they didn’t care that they hurt me!” Shiny green heralded tears, but anger washed out fear and grief. “They didn’t care at all…”
“I care very much, my little flower. I care that you were hurt. It’s one of the reasons I guard you now. You’ll never be hurt again.” He took her little hand this time, no longer joyous in the least at her ire. How much angrier will she be when I tell her my truth? The flower maid squeezed his steadfast fingers as her other fist remained tight.
“They were so brutal and they hurt me so badly, a-and they hurt others, too.” She covered her eyes with her free hand, sobbing for their abuse. The general rubbed her quaking shoulders, easing tension between finger and thumb. “B-But worse than just hurt me, they f-forced me to bear by that awful act. Over and over, never ending, they gave me that agony!” She screamed it in tears, and Sephiroth just held her in this time she could finally speak. This was torment a hundred years old. Fear was a given as much in rape, and despair was a gift well known, but she deserved wrath far more than he had. It’d been beaten back but never extinguished.
“They just used me so…however they wished. They didn’t care it hurt so much. They ripped me apart each and every time, a-and if I bore it was so much worse. I’m…I’m a person, and they did that to me. They did those horrible things!” Shaking broke through all control. “A-And I w-wasn’t the only one. It wasn’t fair and it wasn’t right!”
“No, Aeris, it was not. It’s why I helped you that fateful day. It’s why I went back to…cleanse.” He looked away at that chosen word, but the Cetra’s glare turned to respect. “It’s why I’ll care for you forever. What happened to you was beyond abysmal. No one deserves such a fate.”
His gentle, warm palm never ceased motion, reminding Aeris where she was now. “It’s just so unfair that they could do…that, all of it, general. Men have the means and the strength to beat, rape, and… make p-pregnant?”
“Impregnate,” he told her in rue, but Aeris nodded, grateful for the term.
“I-Impregnate people like me, a-and there was nothing I could do to stop it, u-until I had you, Sephiroth.”
He bowed his head and moonlight slipped over her still reddened face as he blinked. “I’m not so sure about that, my Aeris. You’re quite good with that staff.”
“I-I think I might’ve had one before, but it didn’t do me any good. I think there were too many to fight off.”
“Well there wouldn’t be too many now. Also, in Midgar, which remember is ashes, law had broken down. If you did for someone as you’ve fought me, I doubt any town’s man could stand.” A wry smile curled his lip, as he lifted her chin. “Don’t discount yourself, little one, and remember the ways you are safe.”
She matched his past blinks as she placed her cheek against his solid chest. The heart beneath her still pink ear pounded the promise in, and Aeris recalled decency and laws, but above all her general. “No one will ever hurt me again,” she said without need of assurance, but Sephiroth would never deny her that as his lips fell to her crown.
“No, my Aeris, never again, and all those who did have been punished.” His brow creased in frown recalling the dead who had not received his judgment, but her relieved sigh pushed them from his mind for Aeris was all that mattered.
“I only want you to touch me, Sephiroth. No other man is ever allowed.”
“Never, my Aeris. Never again. You belong to me alone.” He kissed her temple, sitting up tall as he shook silver locks from his face. Gazing down at her, this tiny maid who meant more than him than life. “You’re mine to love, mine to protect, mine to care for and cherish.”
“A-And your mine, too, Great General.” She brushed her own hair away. It was disheveled as his would never be, but Mako light did not care.
“I’m yours, Aeris, always and always.”
“Forever and ever?”
“And more.” He covered one half of her face with his palm, tilting it up to his light. “Beyond it, my flower, past it all. Eternities without end.”
Aeris wished to reply, but was attacked by a yawn, which she was obliged to fight. Smooth as a shadow he stood easily, holding his rose in his arms.
“Only you, my general. I only want you. Only your touch on my skin…all of it…” She quivered as his heart bled its grief. “I…I want…” She yawned once more, but pulled herself even closer. “Forever…” she whispered. “Only you. Gentle…impossibly strong…”
When Sephiroth laid her on the couch, Aeris roused a bit. Realizing he meant to clean up dinner’s mess, she stubbornly tried to rise. Exhaustion stalled her and when his coat weighed her down, she accepted the heavy, warm leather. He slid a couch pillow under her head, maneuvering the maid without effort.
The kiss to her brow sealed the deal, and she must’ve full fallen asleep. Sweetest dreams played behind tired eyes, a world made wholly of green. The pure interspersion of emerald and summer, the former to glitter like stars.