Disclaimer: Do not own or gain any money writing this. Characters belong to SquareEnix. This disclaimer is valid for all subsequent chapters.


Chapter 1: Possessing a flower

The air which wrenches at his hair, bites at his face and drives needles into his eyes, is cold. Cold, much like his heart.

Or so he has always felt in contrast to the warmth of his other, happier, self.

But when his blade plunges through her spinal cord with the resulting pain briefly searing through both of them, he realizes he has never known the cold before. For the freezing chill of empty numbness which settles in the body of his other half and more importantly into his own heart is an entirely different being.


How has it come to this? What has brought him to conceive this twisted plan to murder his cheerful other self?

It all started when he saw the way that woman held her crying bundle of cloth.

The way her gaze was full of things he didn't understand or had ever seen before.

The way she clutched at the thing in her arms tightly but carefully, curling over the ball as the researchers and their muscle approached.

The way she cried in desperation as they held her down and tore the bundle of cloth from her arms.

The way terror screamed in her voice until one of them hit her over the head.

The way she futilely reached for the bundle of cloth, even as they dragged her feebly struggling self away.

The way despair uttered itself in her whimpers while her eyes never left the ball held in another researcher's bosom.

The way her tears fell from her eyes to leave a wet trail of inadequacy on the unforgiving floor.

He did not know what he witnessed, but a burning juice of envy filled his stomach. The only thing he knew was that he wanted it too. More than he had ever wanted anything before.

So when the white coat abandoned the bundle on a table after having sprinkled dreampowder over it, he freed himself from his confinement. Freed himself like he'd learned to do long ago but never done, for he had had no where else to go.

He would not get in trouble, for the black boxes only watched during experiments, and no one else knew about the things he could do.

Quietly he leaped onto the high table to find out what could illicit such a response from that woman.

An ugly face met his gaze. A child, just like him, only smaller and with no hair.

Envy curdled his skin. Why did this creature receive such profound emotions like what he just witnessed when he only experienced disinterest and fear?

If he could only take its place…

He would take its place.

He would, in fact, become it.

So he grasped its face in his small hands, while his thumbs pulled its mouth open. His soft lips covered its small cavity and he let all of his envy and longing for that strange thing the woman gave this creature burn up his throat.

In silence, he regurgitated all of his deepest, darkest and most esoteric secrets into the others mouth. The infant jerked in its imposed sleep, struggling for breath as some of his vile essence slid down its trachea.

But he held fast until he was done. Lifting his head, he gazed into the open mouth as the black substance quickly infiltrated and merged with this creature.

Slowly he felt his new self awaken, the beating of his second heart promising to be the bright beacon of his future.

The alien sensations quietly informed him that this other part of him was not a he but a she.

The infant's eyes slowly opened, and the first thing she saw in her new existence were slit pupils within glowing eyes and the pale shade of short cropped silver hair.

./.

The first time his new mother held her, a revolution swiftly swept through his spirit. In the night he wrapped his arms and blankets around himself and pretended that he too, was being held while reveling in the gentle warmth which enveloped her.

The mother, Ifalna, did not suspect anything. She didn't notice that her infant's eyes were only the slightest bit greener and sharper than before.

./.

Aerith, as his other self was called, received dolls as a present – the grace of one of the scientists, and Mother played with her often.

He stole one of the dolls and played with it too.

When some lab personnel saw him they took it away and gave him a wooden sword instead.

"Dolls are not for boys, now do your exercises properly." They said ridiculingly.

./.

When Aerith's hair grew long, Mother pulled a comb gently through it. So he lets his silver hair grow long too, breaking the hands of anyone who tried to cut it.

As it's length begins to match Aerith's he pulled a comb through his own, in tandem with his Mother. Pretending that it was she who brushed his hair so caringly.

./.

The first time he tried to giggle as he did through Aerith, the scientists looked at him disapprovingly.

When he found a ribbon and tied it in his hair like Ifalna did for her, his sword instructor pulled it violently out, sneering disdainfully. "Only girls wear ribbons."

Quietly Sephiroth wondered if only girls had mothers too.

./.

One evening they brought out lots and lots of files to be thrown away. It was all on computers already.

That night Sephiroth freed himself from his confinement and went looking for his mother. His own mother.

He did not understand many of the words in the files with his name on it, but Jenova appeared often. Maybe it was his mothers name?

./.

He had to kill. Kill and kill. In preparation for war, they said.

He preferred to spend his time as Aerith, doing nothing, talking about everything to her mother. Even when Ifalna was not there she was not entirely alone. She could hear the voices from the Lifestream. They were not always comforting but at least she was not entirely alone.

He listened along with her.

./.

When Aerith was seven, Ifalna made a break for it.

As he felt his second heart pounding and breath run ragged, he did what he could by 'accidently' creating a distraction.

When a shot rang out he was as horrified as her when Mother gasped and stumbled.

While the train rocked he watched through Aerith's eyes as the floor was slowly dyed in the colour of his dread.

The glass orb Ifalna pressed in her hand in return for his mother's life was of little comfort.

./.

It was Materia, which his Ifallna had given her. He had seen them, touched them and used them before. But none of them had been white like this one was.

He tried using it through her, but nothing happened. It did nothing. It may as well have been a glass orb like they first thought.

He would exchange it back for the lost life, if he could.

It was of little comfort, but it was the only thing in her possession which belonged to her mother.

./.

Elmyra was a good woman. She treated Aerith as her own daughter and listened dutifully to everything the girl told her. He loved to talk through Aerith, because he was never allowed to talk. It didn't matter about what, it could be silly and shallow, big or small.

He told her about the labs and about their experiences. Not only about Aerith's but about his own. Elmyra was horrified and held her tightly to her bosom, whispering comforting words and promising that she would protect her.

He found a toilet to lock himself away in and curled up in the cubicle, pretending the hard plastic walls were a caring and accepting embrace. Just like Elmyra's.

He had never received comfort for the pain he suffered in his life before.

./.

He ran away, too. He knew they would look for him more so he went farther. To Kalm.

Knocking on a door he stared hopefully up at the woman who opened the gates to a welcomingly bright and warm home.

She examined him, from head to toe, and his heart fell as her eyes grew guarded. A man came from behind her and they whispered about a boy with strange eyes and calling Shinra Security.

He left quickly.

Combing through his silver hair, he gazed into the fountain of his despair. Glowing eyes looked back at him. His pupils narrower than everyone else's.

He hoped that a lady like Elmyra would find and save him from the reflection in the mirrors which he could do nothing about.

But the only ones who came to offer him shelter from the cold were the familiar Shinra uniforms.

In the sector 5 slums the usually cheerful Aerith ran crying to seek comfort in her new mother's embrace.

./.

He spent a lot of time outside. The sky was so vast and open and limitless, yet he could not express himself, had to do as he was told, be who they wanted him to be.

The shackles of their words and opinions were so, so very heavy…

Underneath Midgar's suffocating plate, Aerith lived happily. She could say what she wanted. Say what he wanted. And still be loved and accepted. Things he didn't have, no matter what he did.

He hated the sky. It promised things he could never have. Yet he could not help but yearn for what it taunted him with. Wanted the wings that would bring him his freedom in the many colours of the heavens. He wanted many, many wings.

But if he had wings, he would be a monster, just like the animals he was told to slay.

./.

Blood ran thickly on the Wutai battle front. The cries that pierced his ears were easily silenced. His name rang throughout the world and he was condemned as the silver demon on the land which earned him the title of a hero.

In the slums the adults whispered about a freak who talked about the dead, and the children openly threw stones at Aerith and called her the names their parents wouldn't say to her face.

If she - who looked just like everyone else and had never hurt a fly - was a freak… Then what was he?

./.

She was instantly aware of the man who loved Elmyra as he died.

They both hoped that this passing would not influence their mother too much like they had both seen people change from the tolls of war.

So she told Elmyra about the man who came to visit and that she should not be too sad.

Their mother cried anyway when the official news came.

It hurt them both to see her sorrow.

./.

She was kind to everyone. Had learned to act like a girl should and not talk about what things that made her strange. But everyone still kept their distance from her.

Sometimes, however, she would hear someone close by and glimpse a young dark-haired man in the distance. He recognised his facial features as Wutaian.

One day, she snuck up to him. Guessing that he had been protecting her from the monsters that hid in the slum's junk. She thanked him.

He was different from the others, saw deeper, looked at her differently.

The man confessed he was Tseng from the Shinra company and wanted to speak to her.

Their hopes for an accepting friend were dashed like a skull against stone. He did not want Aerith to have anything to do with Shinra. They both hated this company. Let at least one of them be free from it's clutches.

So she ran away from him.

But Tseng came to her home and Told Elmyra that he wanted to retrieve her because she was an Ancient.

She saw the terrible understanding in their mother's eyes while he resigned himself to the outcome. However, she desperately clung to hope, denying his claims which she had all but told her mother about in the past - before she had learned not to.

In the end she ran out in fear of what she might see in those once warm eyes.

There was no one in the slums like her. No one who could understand her. Not even Elmyra.

But if no one understood this simple girl, then who could possibly understand him?

./.

He did not understand the other SOLDIERs. They willingly changed themselves in order to be better at fighting and killing. If he could he would be just like Aerith, he would not kill.

But it was on the battlefield that he met them. Angeal and Genesis. Together they fought Shinra's scape goats, leading their troops and making names for themselves.

Their achievements came closest to Sephiroth's own, unlike what anyone else had managed before. He spent what time he could with them. Went easier on the people of Wutai so they could have a chance to grasp the glory of war. For every day those two grew stronger, so did the seed of hope that they too were like him, that they could one day be as strong as him.

He sensed something from them. Knew they were different. He wished that one day they could share their secrets with each other, and that theirs would be just as deep and dark as his own.

For once he had something Aerith didn't. He had friends.

./.

Elmyra pretended like nothing had happened, even though she now knew for sure Aerith was different. Her mother didn't seem to hold it against her, but her fear kept her away until his longing for love and a warm meal brought her back home again.

So she walked alone and friendless on the streets until she found a church. A church with flowers in the barren lands of Midgar. An impossibility, an anomaly. Just like her.

There she spent her days with the plants and the voices in the lifestream as he added to their number with his newfound companions.


Author's notes:

Reviews: Thanks to X3eloved, tocasia, Sakurablossomhime and YellowWomanontheBrink for their feedback on this chapter.

I thought of this recently and couldn't get it out of my head, so I decided to write it while doing research for my other story since this story is simple enough and not too long.

This is not a happy story people, so be warned. Rating may go up in future chapters.

Updates: updates won't necessarily be regular, since it isn't my main story.

Editing: I will continuously edit the chapters. Mostly spelling, but I may even elaborate on or add scenes I had forgotten. Any bigger changes I do I will notify about when updating the next chapter.

Feedback: Love all kind: Hate it, love it? Got something to say about the writing or the concepts. Spotted some plot holes? I'll take all you're willing to share! If anyone feels inspired go ahead an act on it, I'm be right there cheering for you!

Cover image: Is by LuzifersChoice on DeviantArt used with her permission. If you'd like to se the full picture you can find the link on my profile.

Next chapter: The events of Crisis core.