Disclaimer: All characters in this fiction are from Final Fantasy 7, an epic RPG by Square Soft. I did not create them and therefore make no claims of ownership. This fiction is simply written for my own and other's entertainment.
A New Beginning
By Wingless Demon
Cloud strolled through the double wooden doors of the Kalm Inn with purpose. He made his way to the check-in desk at the rear of the lobby and greeted the innkeeper with a nod.
"Do you need a room?" the balding man behind the desk inquired rudely.
"Actually," Cloud replied, "I was wondering if you had anyone staying here recently that may have been carrying a sword like this one." He laid the large weapon on the desk for the clerk to see, and gestured along the huge silver blade with his gloved hand.
The innkeeper seemed unimpressed with the awesome looking weapon, and simply shrugged his shoulders in response. "I don't know," he answered calmly, "what is it worth to you?"
Cloud narrowed his eyes in irritation at the man. Clearly the stubborn innkeeper knew something, but was not about to spill forth any useful information unless it proved profitable for him. Disgusted, Cloud reached into his pocket and threw several hundred gill onto the desk, hoping that it was enough to impress the greedy innkeeper. "Now can you tell me?" he asked.
The man in question raised his eyebrows slightly and smiled with approval. He reached down below the desk and retrieved a dull, brass key. "Upstairs," he said, throwing the key onto the desk in front of Cloud, "last room on your left. Number 10."
Cloud seized the key and sword and sprinted up the stairs without wasting another moment. He made his way down the dusty inn hallway with haste and arrived at room number 10. He paused at the door, taking note of the "Do not disturb" sign gracing the metal doorknob.
Taking a deep breath, Cloud turned the brass key until he heard the door lock "click" out of place. With one hand clenched in a tight fist and the other holding the impressive sword steady over his shoulder, he gathered his confidence and stepped inside.
The ex-mercenary stopped after taking only a few steps into the dimly lit room. A cloaked figure stood looking out the large window on the far wall with his back turned to the door, apparently unalarmed by his guest.
Cloud threw the huge sword onto the floor in front of him, hoping to get the concealed figure's attention.
"Game over," he said grimly, trying to sound threatening, "I think it would be in your best interest to start explaining now."
The head of the cloaked figure moved slightly to peer in Cloud's direction before returning to its original position.
"They underestimated you…" came a faint, muffled, yet clearly male voice from beneath the man's hood.
The unknown figure's voice grew slightly stronger as he spoke, but it still remained unrecognizable to Cloud. "They said you were not SOLDIER material," the cowled man added, "but I knew you were. In the end, you proved to be the strongest…"
A long moment of silence passed, and Cloud felt his heart begin to beat more rapidly within his chest. He swallowed the dry lump that was forming in his throat and he instinctively took a step backwards to distance himself from the unknown man.
Finally the cloaked man broke the silence, his voice becoming much stronger than before and now fully recognizable to Cloud. "Even stronger than… me!"
Terror, disbelief, and confusion all struck Cloud's mind simultaneously when he placed the voice. He moved his lips to spit forth dozens of questions but no words came forth.
The disguised figure slowly turned around to face him and two glowing green irises peered out curiously from underneath the cloak's hood, intently observing Cloud's reaction.
Deciding that his disguise was no longer necessary, the shrouded figure reached up and pulled the concealing hood off of his head with one smooth motion.
Cloud was transfixed to the sight in front of him; long strands of silver hair were set free from the confines of the hood when it was removed, and the man's glowing jade eyes continued to study Cloud's expressions with interest.
"Sephiroth…" he managed to whisper.
"I am glad you found your way here so quickly," Sephiroth said with a slight smile.
Cloud did his best to regain his composure. He did not want to look weak, nor appear intimidated in front of the Shinra legend. "What do you want?" he demanded, "Revenge?"
"I do not…" Sephiroth paused before continuing in a softer voice, "I do not want revenge."
The younger warrior stared at Sephiroth curiously. He was not about to buy that last statement. "Sure…" he said sarcastically, "do you really expect me to believe that?"
"When I awoke in my frozen grave," Sephiroth began, "I had to dislodge myself from the lifeless arms of JENOVA." He paused to see if Cloud was even listening to him and as he expected, the other man looked irritated and impatient already. His fists were clenched as if preparing to launch themselves in Sephiroth's direction at any moment, so the former SOLDIER General decided that he best make his point quickly because things were looking like they were about to get out of hand at any moment.
"Anyway," Sephiroth continued, "when I emerged from the frozen crater, something was different; the voice that had spoke to me constantly of conquest and power was gone, the visions of godhood and immortality had vanished, and my hatred for humanity had dissipated. When JENOVA died, the whispers in my mind fell silent."
Cloud looked unmoved by Sephiroth's speech, and he still stood ready to fight. "Shut up! I am going to end this right now." he answered unconvinced.
Sephiroth took a step back as the younger man slowly began to advance, clearly intent on doing him harm.
"This time I will settle the score," Cloud threatened, "for good."
Without wasting another moment, Cloud lunged forwards and snatched up the SOLDIER legend's weapon from the floor. He wielded the massive weapon with an impressive ease that rivaled that of its owner.
Sephiroth backed-up against the large window behind him; he should have known this encounter would turn violent quickly, but he felt strangely compelled to earn at least some forgiveness from Cloud. He remained still and did not even attempt to disarm his younger attacker. After all, any violent behavior on his part would only help to convince Cloud that he was still a monster.
"Any final words?" Cloud asked darkly, holding the sharp edge of Masamune still against Sephiroth's throat.
Sephiroth remained calm as he spoke, not even blinking when he felt the cold metal edge of his own weapon on his throat, "Do you really think I would lure you to a hotel room if my intentions were so sadistic?"
Cloud flinched at Sephiroth's last statement. His former General was right. If he had been intent on revenge he could have just snuck into Cloud's home and dispatched him when he was distracted. Why was he here then? Was it possible that Sephiroth really wanted to resolve things peacefully?
The blade on his throat relaxed slightly as Cloud contemplated the situation and Sephiroth silently breathed a sigh of relief.
"I know you have doubts," the silver haired man said softly, "and I cannot blame you."
Sephiroth slowly reached up to place his hand on Cloud's shoulder, hoping that it would help calm the young warrior. But instead the friendly, uncharacteristic gesture was mistaken as an aggressive movement.
Instinctively, Cloud snapped out of his thoughts when he saw Sephiroth's arm move towards him, and without thinking twice, he pushed his former commander away in defense.
Sephiroth was forced backwards into the large glass window behind him, which offered little resistance before shattering under the impact of his body weight.
Unable to regain his balance, the legendary swordsmen waved his arms about frantically in the air as he fell backwards through the shattered shards of glass.
Cloud watched on, half shocked as Sephiroth tore through the glass with ease and plummeted three floors down through the night air and land on the empty paved street below.
Looking down on the motionless form of the legendary warrior below, Cloud's mind became a mix of emotions.
"What is this that I am feeling?" he thought, "Panic? Guilt? Fear?" He did not know; but at the moment it was drowning out all his past thoughts of hatred and vengeance.
With much haste, Cloud left the room and ran back down the stairs towards the inn's exit, and moments later arrived at the site of Sephiroth's unforgiving landing.
It had not been that far of a fall, and the silver haired warrior had certainly endured worse injuries in his violent past, however the hard landing was still apparently enough to render Sephiroth unconscious.
The sight of the ex-SOLDIER laying motionless on the street next to shards of broken glass was already drawing the attention of the nearby locals and the incident was quickly promising to become a situation that Cloud would rather not deal with.
Not wanting to draw a crowd and create a headache, Cloud carefully scooped up his former General and dodged through a nearby alleyway to avoid the curious townsfolk.
He was able to escape the town unnoticed and quickly headed for his countryside home, completely oblivious to the small, devious grin that formed on Sephiroth's lips.
End of Part II
Return to Archive | next | previous