Title: Wishes With Wings (A Brightest Blue Eyes Afterstory)
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Disclaimer: No implied ownership, no financial gain, only fanwork.
Characters/Pairings: Cloud, Sephiroth, OFC, others mentioned
Rating: MA overall
Summary: It's never over.
It was almost like slow motion... Pretty sprinted to the fence, leapt up to the top rail effortlessly, and launched herself over the pit.
Cloud did as he was told, letting go the second the lightening spell was cast. It hit him squarely in the chest and everything was black for a second. When he opened his eyes, he was against a tree, watching as Pretty's momentum stopped, the look on her face being one of pure bliss.
"Be happy for me," she whispered, knowing no one would hear it.
She let go of her sword and forced herself to relax as she fell, not bothering to brace herself for impact.
Sephiroth had made it to the edge of the crowd just in time to see what was happening. Cloud and Pretty. And he was going to lose one of them. Something inside him felt like it was burning, and he cried out, not caring who heard or saw. Something inside him...
Impact never came.
Instead, an arm wrapped around Pretty's waist and gently caught her, pulling her close. She opened her eyes for a second, unbelieving, before promptly passing out.
No one in the crowd said anything.
Cloud had managed to get to his feet, slightly pained from the impact of both the bolt spell and landing awkwardly against a tree. He didn't say anything, but quickly took the sword offered to him.
Pretty was laid on the ground carefully, and after checking for any unnoticed injuries, Cloud looked at her rescuer before lunging into his arms. After a moment, he pulled back, getting another look.
"This is unexpected," Cloud said, reaching his hands to touch soft white. After a moment he winced and clutched his stomach.
"You're hurt. Both of you should see the doctor. I'll carry Pretty, you take her sword."
Cloud paused. "Maybe you should see the doctor, Angel. You're the one with wings."
Sephiroth smiled. "I've noticed. But that's the least of my concerns." He looked over to where Pretty was beginning to stir.
"Wings, Angel. Don't you think that's going to..."
Sephiroth used his most trusted way to shut Cloud up. He kissed him, moaning as curious fingers found the spots where wing joined back.
"Angel?" It was Pretty, trying to get up on her own. "What's going on?"
"We're taking you to see the doctor," Sephiroth replied, detangling himself from Cloud. "Can you walk?"
Pretty nodded, getting to her feet. Cloud grabbed her sword and followed the pair as they rounded the hole to go back into town.
The crowd parted to let them pass, silently, except for when a teenaged boy offered Cloud his sword back.
"I think you'll all be fine," the doctor said. "Even you, Pretty."
"But what about Angel? I mean..." Pretty trailed off, looking over at her brother, eyes still wide.
The doctor shrugged. "When Angel was first brought in, I did some blood work to see just how much Mako was in his system. I don't think it would surprise anyone now if I said I'm not sure if Angel is fully human."
"Not human?" Cloud feigned shock. "What does that mean?"
"Perhaps the wings are some sort of..."
"Limit Break," a voice said from the doorway.
All four turned to see Vincent standing there.
"I'm not sure what happened, but a couple villagers said I'd find you here."
"Well, see..." Pretty began, only to be hushed by Sephiroth.
"You can tell the whole story back at the resort, Pretty."
She nodded. Sometimes she almost forgot just what kind of secret she was keeping.
"Are we free to leave?" Cloud asked the doctor.
He nodded. "Just come back if you aren't feeling better in a couple days. Including you, Angel - I hope I didn't shock you too much by saying..."
"I've suspected as much. The wings are only the latest indicator. But perhaps we can discuss this all another time?"
After dispatching a hesitant Cloud and Pretty to retrieve the chocobos and cart of supplies, Sephiroth and Vincent walked back towards the resort in silence.
About midway to the line of trees that marked the resort's entrance, Sephiroth finally spoke.
"Are they permanent?" he asked slowly. After getting over the shock, he'd been making a mental list of things he'd have to do differently to facilitate the change.
Vincent shook his head. "No."
"Then... How do they... I've never..."
"You don't remember, but I've seen you with them before."
Sephiroth stopped and grabbed Vincent, holding him at arms length, tightly.
"What? Why didn't you tell me?"
"I didn't think I'd see them again."
Vincent sighed. "The scientists, Hojo mainly, thought you might be able transform, so they tortured you... I saw it once, I know they did it other times."
"Why haven't I done it until now?"
"Someone once told me that no one had ever seen you bleed or cry. Whatever happened, it was enough for you to transform." Vincent was still locked in the green gaze.
"So they go away?"
Both Cloud and Pretty leaped off of the front porch the second they saw Sephiroth and Vincent come up the path. Cloud had an edge on the frail woman though and was in Sephiroth's arms before she'd made it halfway.
"Wait up!" Pretty cried, panting heavily before stopping a few steps later and sitting down, too exhausted to continue.
Neither Cloud nor Sephiroth noticed though. It was Vincent, like always, who retrieved her and scooped her into his arms.
He carried her back to the house against her protests.
"You can hug him later," Vincent said. "It's Cloud's turn now."
"Cloud?" Sephiroth met Cloud's questioning gaze as they walked back to the house a few minutes later.
"Angel... It's just... Wings..." Cloud reached out to touch the white feathers again.
"Vincent said they'd go away."
"I didn't ask." Sephiroth said, smiling at Cloud. "Do you like them? I once remember you telling me I made a nice looking angel."
Cloud managed a faint smile. He'd caught an image in his mind of the winged creature Sephiroth had become eleven years ago. No... This was totally different. It had to be.
Afternoon passed to early evening as the three men sat in the sun parlor, each finally sharing all they knew about each other - and themselves. Pretty had been awake for the first few minutes, but exhaustion had gotten the better of her and she'd fallen asleep with her head on a sofa arm and her legs stretched across Vincent's lap.
None of it had been easy - Cloud had even looked physically ill more than once while talking about his past. Vincent had stayed calm, explaining all he could recall of the early experiments that had been done on both himself and Sephiroth. The records on those, he assumed, had been destroyed or sealed away, which is why Sephiroth hadn't found them in his first bout of madness.
And Sephiroth... He sat on a chair he'd brought from the kitchen, turned around so his wings were unobstructed. When he wasn't talking, he leaned forward so his chin against his arms which were folded on the back of the chair. Most of the time, he was silent, listening intently and trying to fill in the pieces of his memory that were gone. Most of the madness was either missing or dreamlike.
They were all sitting so far apart too. Cloud was sitting on a large-armed wicker chair, looking uncomfortable, his hands between his knees. Sephiroth knew Cloud didn't want to relive any of what they were discussing. Blue eyes hadn't met his in the last hour. And they weren't even close enough to touch their fingertips if they'd wanted to.
Vincent and Pretty were across the room; Pretty discounted because of she hadn't been actively participating for hours.
Friends, lover, and former lovers, none of it mattered at the moment because suddenly there was only one goal: The truth.
Cloud looked up when he heard a rare noise - one of pain from Sephiroth. He hadn't even heard what Vincent had been saying, not wanting to hear it.
It was like it really had all been too good to be true. These last six years. He'd tried so hard to forget the past, but... He looked up when he heard that rare noise signaling that Sephiroth was in pain.
He had his eyes closed and hands to his head, wincing as if...
"Angel?" Cloud asked softly, standing up.
At the mention of his name, Sephiroth opened his eyes to show Cloud the one thing he didn't want to see - had seen before... The look of a man losing himself.
"No..." Sephiroth said, shaking his head before rising and quickly exiting the room.
"Angel..." Both Cloud and Vincent looked over to Pretty. Neither had realized she'd woken up and witnessed what had just happened. Her own red eyes met Cloud's as she shakily stood. As soon as Vincent was free to move, he had his good hand on Cloud's shoulder, silently instructing Cloud to stay where he was.
"He remembered something bad," Pretty said as she reached the doorway. "This happened all the time the first year I lived here. I'll take care of him."
"Pretty, you're in no shape to..." But Vincent trailed off as Pretty was gone down the hallway, towards the kitchen.
Cloud hadn't moved. Part of him wanted to run to Sephiroth but the look in those glowing green eyes had scared him. It was the look from Nibelheim, sixteen years ago. Suddenly it seemed like yesterday.
"Cloud?" Vincent moved to face him, tilting his chin up with metal fingers. "Come on. We should check on Angel."
Cloud responded with a slight nod, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath before following Vincent towards the kitchen. He'd killed his lover once... twice... He didn't want to have to do it again.
Pretty had set a glass of water in front of him before wrapping her arms over Sephiroth's shoulders, leaning against his back, between his wings as she whispered to him.
"I brought you some water, Angel. Don't make me worry. I'm not very good at it. Whatever it is... Whatever you remember, you know it won't ever change how I feel about you." She smiled before letting go and kneeling on the floor, trying to peer up at Sephiroth's face. He had it buried in his arms against the back of another chair, eyes closed, trying to dam the rush of horrible memories.
It was all there now. All of it. Even the things he'd lost in his youth, as he was trained - brainwashed by ShinRa.
"It won't change how Cloud feels either, Angel. You should know that."
By now Cloud and Vincent were standing in the doorway, watching silently as Pretty pleaded with her brother to at least take a drink of water.
Finally, Sephiroth lifted his head and looked at Pretty, not noticing the other two. "It will."
"Angel..." Pretty couldn't find words as she looked up into Sephiroth's eyes. Something was truly wrong. She'd sat with him years ago while other fragments had come back in waves of pain and regret, never asking for details. This was different.
This was everything, coming at once, screaming inside Sephiroth's mind and telling him detail after detail of things he'd never wanted to remember.
"Angel?" Cloud stepped forward, trying to be understanding but keeping his eyes averted.
Mako green flashed as Sephiroth turned, regarding the two men standing across the kitchen. "I'll be okay, but..." He paused for a moment, weighing options. "Vincent, will you take Pretty away for the evening?"
As Vincent nodded, he was glad he'd left off the part about it possibly being safer. His strong Mideel self was keeping him from madness again. For now.
Pretty chose not to protest as Vincent carried her from the porch and to the chocobo stable. She knew Cloud could handle whatever was gong to happen. Besides, she trusted Angel - he'd saved her three times now. This was between him and Cloud.
Anyway, a night anywhere with Vincent could prove to be rewarding, no matter how poorly she felt.
Cloud had sat down at the table once Pretty had kicked off her house slippers and shakily followed Vincent out the back door. Slowly he reached out, covering one of Sephiroth's hands with his own.
Thankfully, the eyes that looked up to meet his were the ones he was used to seeing.
"I remember everything now. I remember doing everything I did to you... I remember that girl you mentioned the first night you were here." Sephiroth looked down a moment before changing his posture so he was sitting straight and could hold both of Cloud's hand in one of his, the other grabbing the glass of water Pretty had left him.
"I know that wasn't you. Not the Angel... Not the Sephiroth I knew when I was sixteen."
Sephiroth shook his head before taking a swallow of the water. "It was and it wasn't."
"What do you mean?"
Squeezing Cloud's hands quickly, Sephiroth set the glass of water back down before responding.
"If I'm remembering the truth, I had moments of clarity during Meteor. Maybe they're why I didn't just kill your entire group when I first had the chance. And you... I knew I wanted you close and I didn't know how to do it. And then I learned I could call to you and that you'd listen." Sephiroth sighed, knowing he sounded ridiculous. It hadn't seemed so silly at the time. But now...
"I..." Cloud started to speak, but he was quickly cut off.
"You're hard to kill." It was said with a smile, an honest smile. He could handle the knowledge that had been re-bestowed on him.
"So are you," Cloud replied.
Sephiroth shook his head. Hopefully with Cloud's continuing acceptance, he could sort through his memories - slowly. He could control them, live through them, and get past them.
"I just don't stay dead."
Cloud grinned back, pulling his hands free. "You don't happen to remember the secret to that, do you?"
Laughing as he stood up, Sephiroth stretched his wings carefully in the confines of the still sunlit room. "Maybe I did achieve godhood. These wings don't hurt the case for it."
"I thought Vincent said they went away after an hour or so. It's been closer to eight, hasn't it?" Cloud asked, watching as a couple loose feathers fell to the floor.
"I could get used to them," Sephiroth replied before stopping mid-step. "I'll miss leaning back though."
They both laughed as Sephiroth pulled Cloud from his chair.
"I'll have to learn to sleep on my stomach too."
When bright blue eyes met green, they showed no lingering hatred. Instead, there was something else there, similar to the look Cloud had given Sephiroth sixteen years ago that had been the start of their relationship.
"You can always sleep on mine."
Sephiroth smirked and pulled Cloud from the kitchen.
"I think I'll take you up on that," Sephiroth shot back as they walked through the hallway.
"Now?" Cloud asked, already knowing the answer. He wasn't going to protest. Despite the heavy nature of the day, he hadn't been able to chase away stray fantasies of just what it would be like to be taken by the angel, his fingers tracing the sensitive bases of those stunning wings as they were joined.
Sephiroth turned quickly and pinned Cloud against the wall with both arms and wings, kissing him deeply and rubbing their bodies together in raw lust.
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