“Even if the morrow is barren of promises,
Nothing shall forestall my return.
If this world seeks my destruction…
… It goes with me”
Genesis’ rich voice tossed out the familiar words with what would be an almost careless tone if one didn’t know better. Cloud froze where he knelt, rough splintered wood digging in as the flower in his hand fell away. The gentle tap of heeled boots sounded his approach, stopping just behind him.
Cloud tensed, before rising slowly, his back still turned to Genesis, while he began to speak. “I suppose it doesn’t surprise me that even death couldn’t stop you. You always were too stubborn for your own good.” Cloud didn’t have to look to know he was smirking, his pose just as carelessly dramatic as his words. He carefully pulled First Tsurugi from his back, feeling its weigh.
Cloud doesn’t wait to see what else Genesis would say, could say, but turned and lashed out at his ghost. Genesis, looking as perfect and unreal as the first time Cloud set eyes on his former lover, blocked easily. Stepping forward an inch, he pressed on lightning fast and brutal. If he didn’t put his full strength into it, well, Cloud wouldn’t dwell on it.
Genesis slipped aside as Cloud took a swipe at his side, twirling behind the blonde who was a second too slow to stop him. They quickly met again, blades screeching as they clashed. Genesis kept on his toes, leading Cloud as they fought, but never properly attacking.
Cloud met Genesis blow for blow, leaping over broken benches and pillars as blades clashed. Shards of glass glinted across the floor, crunching underfoot as they battled. Neither held the upper hand, as Cloud ducked easily to avoid a blow, taking a short jab at the other as he straightened. Gen side stepped with a twirl, coat puffing out around him.
Before the dance could drag out, Cloud came to a realization. Genesis was dragging him in circles, never properly striking back. He was just humoring Cloud.
He let out a curse of frustration as Genesis continued to play with him until he was done. He dropped from his stance, letting his blade rest tip first on the floor of the church.
“I can’t, Gen, I can’t.” A choked sound leaves him, but no tears fall, something for which he’s grateful. He lets his blade fall to the ground with him as Genesis approaches him once more. A soft admission leaves Cloud, as his lover gently cards a gloved hand through his hair.
“I’m so weak. I’ve failed you, and Aerith. Tifa, Marlene and Denzel. I’m-” Cloud stops, his chest constricting. The redhead pulls his hand away, and settles on the ground in front of him, hushing him gently.
“My darling, I am so sorry. The fates are cruel, my hero.” Cloud leans into him, allowing himself to be weak for the first time in a long time without shame. “But you are strong, stronger than I ever was.” Genesis does not say it with bitterness or regret, like he might once have. Despite himself, Cloud laughs, but it’s a self-deprecating noise. He buries his head in the crook of the other’s neck, taking in his warmth, the smell of leather and that ridiculous apple shampoo he used to use. He felt… real.
“I regret how I had to leave you. How you lost Zack. He and Aerith watch you from the lifestream.” His voice washes over Cloud as he speaks, warm and reassuring. He had forgotten how he had missed the Genesis, and all those tiny details. “I wish I could stay, I would give anything to be there physically with you when you battle Sephiroth. But… The Goddess has already blessed me enough to even give me this short time after everything I did.” Cloud hands tighten on Gen’s coat, leather creaking softly.
“You couldn’t have controlled what happened. You were sick, and mind was failing you. Please. You… deserved better that happened.” The words don’t come easily for him, but it’s been a while since they have. Genesis was the one with a gift for words. He can feel him shaking his head.
“Dearest, you are too generous.” His hand twines itself with Cloud’s as he sighs. “But that is a conversation for a different time and place.” Cloud almost protests, because what other time and place will there be? But he doesn’t want to waste his time with Genesis, so he just sits up, and gently kisses him. Soft lips move against his, chaste and full of affection.
When they pull apart, Gen rests his forehead against the blonde’s, both unwilling to pull apart. “I will not leave you Cloud, even if is only in thought.” Tired mako bright eyes close, as their lips press together again, albeit less chaste. They press their bodies as close together as their lips, clinging desperately to one another. A final good bye.
Genesis is the first to pull away, smiling gently at Cloud, rising slowly. He offers his hand, fingers laced together as he pulls him up. Their eyes met once more, and he begins to speak, carefully pulling away. “Cloud, I’m with you to the end of the line.” His hand falls free, and he disappears, fading into the light that streams in through the hole Cloud once fell from.
But. He feels lighter somehow. Able to face his fears. Able to move forward.
“Sephiroth!” He challenges, staring him down, the steady weight of his sword in his hand, the wind whipping around him. Inhuman eyes turn towards him, and a cold smirk settles on Sephiroth’s face.
Genesis’ words run through his head, as he faces him head on.