Blindness and (Sight)
Author's Notes: Thank you Kallah and elfanatic for the c/c. The poem mentioned here is by e.e cummings...yup this is strange. The concept is derived from an original story I wrote not so long ago. Yesh. And I can't cook up a good title for this thing...hrm. Anyway, err...enjoy? get creeped out? Yea, I'll just shut up now. *tapes mouth shut*
the man walking down a lonely, untouched road, autumn leaves freshly dried and red beneath his feet. Staring through the gray branches of dead trees in his path, he could see the moon follow him. He stood there silently, gazing at it curiously in the manner a gold fish swims about near a plastic castle, forgetting its existence a moment ago in that confined glass chamber. The white moon reflected within the emerald pools of his eyes until a soft wind rippled the image into broken slices. It was a hot wind-- his mother's breath.
/There is no moon, child...The humans created this. It is another one of their lies. Listen to this warm breath. Listen to your mother's warm breath. It is truth. There is no other...Sephiroth, my child, listen./
The man blinked once and his eyes grew glazed with the soft caress of his mother's sweet, gentle voice. There was no moon. But through the sight he could never hold, there was a quiet stirring within him, rustling like dead spring leaves in winter.
//....Moon, pretty moon.//
/No, there is no moon, child. Do not listen to your weak human voice./
The man's breath thickened to a choking sob, and he staggered away from the voices.
His steps softened, vibrating in dying echoes against the pavement. He stopped in a place where an empty gray plain touched the horizon. There were no trees, and the air didn't feel like it was there at all for he couldn't tell whether it was warm or cold. But as he leaned his head towards the sky, his face basked in a thick white light, and through his green irises, that was all he could see.
For a silent moment the hot wind receded, and the high voice of a boy pounded beneath his eyes.
The little boy spoke.
the young man staring at the moon in his cold claustrophobic room. Despite the cold sheet masking his eyes, there was a certain warmth within his face and the manner he spoke. He clutched a silver sword, gazing at its jagged edge in detached wonder. On any another night he would have fancied to force the blade through his chest just to see if his blood was warm.
"My body's probably warmer as a corpse,"he chuckled sadly and then murmured, "But the moon is always...nice."
The man's eyes wandered to the wall opposite to him, suspicion crossing his features as the shadow of a small boy crept before him. The boy smiled slowly in a frightening sort of way, as if he were a mystical elf who knew something that no one else knew or would wish to hear. But in the shadows the child looked strikingly familiar, from the green in his eyes to the build of his face.
"Well hello there," the boy replied.
"And who the hell are you?"
"I'm a lost boy, Mister," he replied, still smiling.
"You're lost? Then find your way home."
"Oh, y'see mister, I don't have anywhere to go. I /am/ supposed to be around here, but brighter." The young man arched an eyebrow, replying a indifferent 'all right' while further examining his sword.
"Heh. Y'know there are a lot of lost boys around here right now. It's sorta hard to see them though," the boy nodded, cocking his head towards the man. The man shuddered in response, trying hard for his eyes to concentrate on his sword. His hands trembled.
"The moon is a pretty thing," the boy quipped suddenly. He stared painfully at it as if expecting it to disappear.
"Hah, I know you better than that. I know you feel like you're not here when you look at it. You don't feel like you're dreaming either, Mister. It's a place in between. We shouldn't think like that though...people in white coats tell me that," the boy peered hard towards his elder. "Do you dream a lot?...I wonder how it feels."
The young man winced, and for a moment something warm seized the coldness in his eyes. The moon grew softer in the sky, and the stars began to melt into gray patches of cotton. The boy glanced at the heavens silently. He stared towards the man once again, analyzing his expression.
"You want it to rain, Mister," the boy said slowly, without question.
"You clouded the skies for swwweeettt raaaaiiiinn,"he laughed heartily. The man shuddered.
"That's impossible. Go away," he muttered softly.
"You feel something strong. I haven't been out here long enough, Mister. Still, I've been here longer than yooooouuu," the boy pointed his finger towards the youth, laughing so strongly that it almost seemed like he was sobbing. The youth recognized the deranged sweetness in his voice but ignored it. He ignored many things...
... on an autumn night, when there was a gold light playing on a man's lips. His glasses were so flooded with the light that it blinded the glass lens of his spectacles into two yellow discs. He held his white hand out towards the boy. The boy trembled, for perhaps this new sensation the man was offering him would hurt more than the needles, the steel scalpel, the cold. But as Gast, the man before him, offered the elegant fingers of his hand, he turned away. He was meant for the cold. If he were to soak warmth once and lose that touch, there would be nothing left but the sickly dark and the sickly emptiness of loss. The young man still wondered how it would of felt then to hold Gast's hand, but he realized there was no purpose, for 'what if's were dangerous words. But at the moment, there was something else, an understanding he had felt with another.
"I-I...Y-You're...Just go away." The man faced the boy with a hard stare, but beneath the angry creases of his face, there was a warm plea for the boy to stay.
"Nope. I'm fine, mister. Y'see Mister, you just don't know where you are. Heh. You've been here all your life, and you don't know."
"And how do /you/ know? Stop playing these games...Just go away. Disappear."
"I am...slowly," the boy whispered sadly. The man tilted his head curiously, realizing that he hadn't quite seen the small boy's face, and with a cold gesture he motioned for the child to come forward.
"Come here," he affirmed, his ice voice melting to sleet. The boy nodded his head, walking closer into the moonlight.
"What?...how..." the young man mumbled slowly, blinking his eyes in wonder.
The boy approached him. His skin was pallid and almost translucent in the moonlight, like a ghost fresh from the grave. His pale green eyes held something the man knew for he almost thought that he had seen a dream through them one night...
"Wait, Mister. First, show me that feeling. I want to know how it's like, mister...Show me that feeling that feels like rain and moonlight," the boy whispered.
"What feeling? What can I show? Leave me alone," he tried to look away, but an aching within him held his eyes directly on the boy.
"You know me. You want to show me," the boy said softly, his eyes penetrating the young man's own with such depth that it startled him. There was a pause, and green gazed into green to paint a memory. Of a moon, of a dream. He smiled. The boy continued, "You can make the moon shine more brightly if you do, Mister. Isn't the moon pretty?...or do you want rain?"
The man knew his answer, but his face set in emotions like wind touching stone, and he said nothing. The boy returned his silence and stretched out his white hand, his soft, elegant fingers touching the man's forehead. He shut his eyes and stood there, trying to touch something within the man's mind. The broad grin on his face loosened, a certain sadness touching the curve of his lips.
"It's a sadly happy feeling, Mister," he said quietly, slipping his hand away from the young man, troubled.
"Speak. Speak it out loud for the sky to hear, Mister. We can still stay bright that way."
"Bright? What the hell are you talking about," he said, his voice angry but hidden with something curious he hadn't felt before. A question, a search for reason. Truth...
"You know who I am, Mister. But the question is where. But--"
"Where? Inside an inn, in Nibelheim," he replied calmly.
"Don't answer now. Maybe we can stay longer, and you'll learn things, Mister. You'll learn a lot of things if you have the strength to hold onto what you have."
"This is absurd," the young man mumbled, leaning forward with limp arms. Silver hair fell in front of his eyes, like thin blades of grass obscuring his view.
"Is it? You have no one else to tell it to."
"No," he admitted after some time,"No I don't."
"Then tell it."
"All right...w-what the hell." The man's eyes widened to the sky. A strange glow suddenly emitted from the moon, and clouds gathered in gray shrouds, dripping clear coins upon the ground. Moonlight melted through open holes, light basking the earth in silver as it rained. Softly.
"Your emotion is stronger, Mister. Don't you want it to last? It'll fade soon if you don't. You like pretty things don't you? It'll all go away soon if you don't," the boy declared painfully. The man's eyes widened. There was a flush of red against the boy's cheek; he seemed to have more flesh, like he was breathing, like he was perhaps able to bleed. The man felt stronger himself though a heavy sadness weighed upon him. Yet, it was better than the days before...
...he had slept for a long time, lonely in the cold, in the absence of the moon and the sun. He remembered sprawling his body atop a cold steel table, men with cruel steel in their hands, and his eyes hollowing blinking to the blinding laboratory lights above him. But once he had seen a smile and a hand without steel. For him.
//Gast...?....I should have held his hand.//
"Fine." His breath was heavy. "You'll hear it. I don't know why I even bother, but I'll tell you the damn story."
"It was night,"he began,"There were children laughing and laughing. Lights shining and shining. It was a strange place. No blood...I once thought that blood was..." The man stopped, abruptly searching within the boy's eyes for an answer.
"Melted roses..."the boy laughed suddenly, choking as if he were about to swallow a cry. "I hate them, Mister. I hate them."
The young man glared at the boy for some time, trying to understand the green in his eyes, the manner he spoke. Flesh fully replaced the phantom mists of the boy's cheeks and his skin. The man blinked, suddenly realizing something so frightfully obvious, yet impossible. He opened his mouth to speak, but the boy quickly interrupted, whispering, "Tell the story. Won't you?"
"I said I would and I will." He continued.
"I don't know why, nor do I care, but I felt like sitting and thinking. Some rookie guard mentioned that this was his hometown. Not that I'd know about that," his voice was almost angry,"I sat somewhere, beneath a tree. Trees. I don't know anything about trees. Trees. That happy laughter. Those townspeople living here--"
"No one else lives here, Mister. Only us. And we..."the boy hesitated and nodded his head, staring sympathetically towards the troubled young man.
"There is....there is someone else! Do you want to hear this? No, I won't say anything anymore. This is stupid. Fading? What the hell are you talking about?..."his voice shook. White frightened breath melted with white startled air.
"I'm here because of the moon. Mister...you remember, don't you? One night, I was walking. I don't know why, but standing still in the darkness was so lonely, so cold. The people in white coats are...no, made me stronger, but I never saw pretty things. They said I could when they were done, but I wanted to see something pretty then! I read of pretty things, y'see Mister. That's how I knew they would be pretttyy; the people in white coats didn't know of course. There was this one book, a book of poems, and it said--"
" '(i do not know what it is about you that closes and opens; only something in me understands the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)...' ," the man almost hummed. He shut his eyes. His hands were still shaking.
"You know, Mister. You know who we are, but not where...do you know where?"
"Maybe if I tell you why I'm here, Mister ...maybe, you'll know."
"Something pretty...I was walking in the dark. I wasn't afraid of the dark. It's nice not to know things, right Mister? It is..." he looked down at the floor, as if he were watching a thought, and he smiled, trembling. He continued.
"There was a small window, almost like a picture frame. And there, beyond that was silver, a bright white silver, a great ball of it. And when I stared at it, I felt like I could do /anything/, that I could see a rose one day, that I could be strong without the people in white coats. It felt so...warm watching the silver. I read that it was the moon. Do you understand, Mister?"
"...Yes, maybe," the man smiled slightly as the memory rekindled within himself. If there ever was true happiness in his life, it would be made of two memories... the moon and the memory he was holding within him, for the moment.
"But, how?" the youth wavered, disturbed. Two memories...the boy and himself. Alive? Like something tangible? How?
"Where, think where, Mister. But first tell your story so we can be brighter."
"See? What the hell are you talking about. Brighter?"
"Tell it. Please," he whispered.
"I...will," he sighed.
"Where the hell did I stop? A tree. Yes, a tree. There was a girl underneath that tree. I think she had brown hair, brown eyes. There was water or whatnot--that weak liquid people get when they're unhappy. I kept on hearing those children laughing and that tree swaying, and then I yelled at her. I screamed with something weak and wet in my eyes; it should have stayed dry. That girl wasn't scared. Foolish, stupid girl. Everyone fears me. Everyone is supposed to," the youth sighed, his voice coarse and rough like sandpaper.
He watched the moon again, bright and white in the heavens. So bright... He resumed his tale. "She said she wished she said some things, showed some things. To her mother or whatnot. She was a blubbering fool crying and telling me all that. But I listened. I don't know why," he said stiffly, though the glaze in his eyes told otherwise. They shone with regret--regret for not trying to show something inside. The young man had reached for a hand, Gast's white hand, but it was gone; he was dead, and the man had never shown him any of the heavy, dangerous hope within him. The girl understood that somehow. Yes, she understood.
"She gave me a rose. Didn't know what to do with the flimsy thing. But it smelt...nice. And she looked at me in a strange way. It wasn't pity."
"Did you like it?"
"...Yes," he said after some hesitation.
"So roses are pretty too?" the boy asked eagerly.
"Like the poem?"
"I don't understand the poem."
"Me neither," the boy paused, "We don't have much time after this, Mister. Do you know where?"
"What's your name?"
"Sephiroth," he wavered, "...Like you?"
"Mhmm, you've got it. But where is that possible?"
"The mind," the boy spoke slowly, a sort of deep wisdom visible in his pale eyes, like an old man reaching death.
"Sephiroth is older now. I don't know by how much, but we are his memories in the flesh. The memories of him, when he was happy."
"But the others...No. You lie, you freak! You--" He breathed hard, an intangible fear pounding within his head, his eyes. It was as if he were dead, always dead but never fully realizing that he was a ghost. No, it felt worst than that. It felt as if he were...forgotten.
"The others are dead, or close to it. Y'see, there are an infinite number of versions of us in Sephiroth's current mind, and they continue building, growing stronger and then dying. Do y'see mister? As of this moment, an infinite number of Sephiroths have entered here and died. He is blinded now, blinded. But we can win. We are his strongest hope."
"But how could there be an infinite number of people in his mind, in our mind...how?" he whispered coldly. His face still remained smooth, but the sweet memory of the girl slipped slowly from his grasp, like a rose of sand. He stared at the small boy intently, searching for an answer.
"Space can be divided forever and forever, Mister. But we are sheets. You are the sheets of the past infinite Sephiroths and the sheet of the newfound moment you've experienced. Y'see mister?...You have me somewhere there, but I not you." The boy's voice was grave but gentle.
"Then how could you absorb the moment? My moment. You touched my forehead."
"Because we're in Sephiroth's present mind, and everything here is connected...but the nice girl is gone."
"W-why?..."the man stuttered through his frigid voice. A part of him didn't want to know, for to him truth was vision and pain, like an ocean. Watching its blue surface brought him no joy, but beneath that, there was life, so much life. But the light failed to reach the far depths of it; the gold was hidden. But it was there. It simply took a strong soul to see it, and he was not a strong man. He knew of the gold's existence however, for far beneath the facade of pride and coldness he wore, there was that fear, that weakness that forbade him from searching. But now he was willing to try, because there was always something crawling within him, eating away his heart day by day-- a slow death. Questions. //Do I have a father? a mother? Why is it always so cold? Why do I... live?// Was he...was he willing to try?
"Mister, the hot wind...it blows it all away to dust, to a red haze. Your image of the girl, of all of them...they're gone," the boy bit his lip but continued,"We will be gone soon." A white cold mist dissipated from his lips in a sad sigh, "I saw it happen before. I escaped. First, it's cold. Oh, Mister, it's cold. So very cold. And then there's this hot, sweet wind; it seems so tempting, like you could hug yourself in it. But then you scream, hearing nothing. And you crumble, to dust. But if we keep ourselves warm, with the moon, with the nice feeling of that kind girl, then maybe we can stay."
"Then, we're dead. We're already dead,"the young man said hollowly, glancing at his sword once again. It was a bright, glowing silver against the moonlight. The thought of forcing it through his chest trembled with his hands, but he realized that it would be a redundant deed. He was already dead. Warmth and truth were not for him; the dead were never warm. A black starved shadow crashed like waves against the sky; it swallowed the silver light of the moon, the soft clouds, the rain--everything.
"The wind's comin' soon, Mister. Think hard. Remember the kind girl,"the child affirmed. But the young man stood still, shaking his head slowly.
"No, it isn't powerful enough. It would be foolish to try...and I'm no fool," the man whispered as thick hot wind brushed again his skin. It was warm-- such a happy lie.
//Warmth can come to the dead...// The man allowed a small, dark smile to tug his lips as he stared in deranged happiness towards the boy again.
"No...no, it's not. We have to try," the boy said, voice thick in desperation. The wind was seductive, but he forced it away; truth was happiness. The moon was a pure spectacle in nature; it was truth.
"Try!" the child persisted in a strong, high voice.
"Why try? You said we were gone anyway. You said that we were fading. I'm tired of trying; let me be happy in this cozy lie."
"No. Mister...please," he pleaded. Yes, it was true. He knew that they were going to fade to dust, but as the moment arrived, he wanted to grow, to bud, like a rose. He wanted to understand that poem. He wanted to understand why he liked the moon so much. He wanted to understand the feeling in him that forced him to live.
He wanted...to be happy. He had seen a younger version of himself not long ago who warned him. He was running, knowing full well that he was too weak to live any longer, and then, right as the hot wind claimed the younger self, the boy felt a seed. There was a seed, a deep realization that a path forks in different ways, and no matter how lost one seemed, there could be a way out, a way to a garden of sunshine thick with flowers and trees.
For a moment the young man's eyes agreed, but his lips fell numb, and he forgot the longing. Instead, he embraced the warm wind while whispering over and over again "Her rose, his hand...could have..." until the voice was but an echo. There was nothing left but the boy's memory of a great, sad man falling within the lonely darkness.
The boy trembled, but a newfound peace embraced him as the hot wind grew stronger, as the image of the moon faded. They could never die. Never. For somewhere else, in the depths of another person's mind, he could be there, different, but happier. There was the girl his elder self spoke of...she would remember him, and smile for him, and sing for him, and offer a rose to him...and they'd be happy --in her mind.
//Warm wind..no.// The boy turned away and stared at the silver sword, hiding in the thick folds of black shadows in the room.
//The wind won't take me away....noo wind, you won't. Sword, imagine it cutting through my skin, rusting blood...blood, I'll bleed. If I can't cry, I'll bleed. Red tears.//
"Cry in... red. Red is such a strange color, right...Mister?" the boy asked quietly, but his voice felt dead.
And a red pool crusted the vast darkness, a single rose blooming forth from it; the boy had smiled in his final moments and bled sadly with a single tear of such powerful emotion, that it became the first plant in his dream garden. But the boy didn't know that the garden would die withered and burnt in the hot wind. For a moment however, he was happy, and perhaps that was what made the difference.
The hot wind grew and laughed, and everything within Sephiroth was--
the man laughing happily for his mother. Crimson claws claimed the horizon. The moon's white glow had faded on that empty hill, on that empty night and for that Sephiroth was happy. Oh, he was so happy to serve his mother, happy to feel...loved. A scent of gold still loomed in the sky beneath the drapes of darkness and blood, but Sephiroth didn't notice, blinking hollowly at the sky.