It had been the better part of a decade since the three of them had battled like this. It was in Midgar back then, too, though they’d chosen Junon as their virtual playground. Even now, Genesis wasn’t certain if that was really where things started to fall apart, or if it was just the first unhealing wound between them.
Pain blazed through him and he was forced to refocus, smiling wryly as he regarded the neat tear in his coat, feeling blood dampen the fabric beneath. Their fights had always been intense, but Sephiroth wasn’t checking his blows this time. The fondness he’d once taken for granted was replaced by an unsettling hollowness, everything about Sephiroth seeming washed out; the man he’d been seemed long gone. “I suppose you really have forgotten, haven’t you? Never let it be said I shied from the chance to beat some sense into you, old friend.”
Sephiroth sneered, but the real emotion wasn’t there. “I am a god. Stand against me and I will destroy you.”
“Even if the morrow is barren of promises, nothing will forestall my return.” The words still came easily, but were bitter on Genesis’ lips. “You left me to rot once, my friend, yet here we are once again. The world may have forgotten who we once were, but I remember.”
Sephiroth didn’t deign to reply, bringing his blade down hard, sparks flying as Masamune and Rapier met at full force - Genesis would give him no quarter, he never had. “You are a fool. It’s useless to resist, I will win.”
“Overconfidence will destroy you first,” Angeal said, spinning into Genesis’ place, the two falling into sync as if nothing had changed. “It doesn’t have to be this way, Sephiroth.”
“There is no other way, you are only ensuring your death!”
There. There was real emotion at last, frustration flicking in those washed out eyes, and Angeal smiled wryly. “I’m already dead, Sephiroth. Just like you.”
“You’re nothing like me,” he hissed furiously.
“We’re the only ones like you,” Genesis retorted, black wing stretching to full glory, mirroring Sephiroth’s own. “Therein lies your only immortality, Sephiroth, that you will never be truly forgotten.”
“I will never be a memory.” Sephiroth’s eyes narrowed and he flicked his blade to the side in challenge. “No more distractions. I will not be delayed any further!”
“So be it.” Genesis ran a hand along the length of his blade, new runes lighting along it. “My soul, corrupted by vengeance, hath endured torment to find the end of the journey.”
Sephiroth lunged, blade set to kill.
“Enough!” Angeal met him blow for blow, wings straining to keep himself aloft under the force of it. “That’s enough, Sephiroth.”
“Get out of my way,” Sephiroth snarled, too far gone to understand the bitter irony of his words. With a flurry of blows, he wrenched free of Angeal, wing beating hard to send him towards Genesis. “I’ll show you torment!”
“In my own salvation,” Genesis continued, two great flaps of his wing bringing him up to meet Sephiroth, spinning in the air to gain momentum. He gasped softly when Sephiroth’s blade cut deep in his shoulder, managing a faint, bitter smile as he finished the verse. “And your eternal slumber.”
It was almost anticlimactic, somehow, to watch Sephiroth clutch at his chest where Rapier had impaled, shock written openly across his face. “But I…”
“Goodnight, my friend,” Genesis whispered, pulling his blade back and watching as Angeal caught Sephiroth, easing him back to the ground.
Angeal brushed Sephiroth’s bangs out of his face, smile soft and sad at the hurt and confusion that passed through washed out green eyes before they finally closed. “I’ll make sure he’s alright this time.”
Genesis huffed a laugh, nodding. “Take care, then. And if you ever put him back together, you keep that bastard in place. I’ll join you when the Planet is done with me.”
Angeal laughed, shaking his head. “Alright. Be careful, Genesis.”
“Mm.” He inclined his head slightly, watching Angeal curl his great white wings around them. In a moment, they were gone, a swirl of white and black feathers whirling away as a gentle rain began to fall.