Treasured Memories Title: Treasured Memories Author:jlsigman Characters: Sephiroth, with guest appearances from JENOVA and Rufus Shinra Rating: Worksafe Disclaimer/claimer: I do not own Sephiroth, JENOVA, or Rufus, SquareE does. I did create the woman and the proto-Turks. Summary: Sephiroth has one brief time of a normal childhood. Pain and shock led to chaos. Stabbed by his own sword, he fell into the Lifestream, still clutching his mother’s head. But the Lifestream rejected him, rejected her, buffeted and tore at him until he felt himself pulled apart. His mind, assaulted by the Lifestream’s defenses and his mother’s demands for control, started to break, and tried to flee to a memory of a time he felt truly safe…
His first clear memories of Midgar showed a city that looked much different from its current configuration. The Shinra building was still just a blueprint being argued over and endlessly revised. The plates that supported the upper layer were just starting to be constructed, and the long looping train service was still many years from running. To a young boy’s eyes, however, it was a large and noisy place, and Sephiroth hated it.
He also already hated Hojo and was too familiar with his endless experiments, so when it was announced he would be spending his days in a care facility with other young children, he knew this was just another attempt to find out what he could or would do when subjected to certain stimuli. He held himself rigidly straight as they were driven to a building near the edge of the city. He would not give anyone, much less Hojo, the satisfaction of knowing what he felt.
The car stopped in front of a large wrought-steel fence. Behind it was more green than Sephiroth could ever remember seeing in Midgar, before or after. There was a building sitting several hundred feet back from the road that, while as grey as every other building in the city, somehow still looked less lifeless than he had expected. He worked hard to quash a spark that was trying to come to life in his chest.
Hojo offered no words of encouragement or even admonishment before closing the car door behind him. He was led to the building by a man in a suit that he hadn’t met before and knew he probably wouldn’t see again. Somewhere behind the building came children’s voices. There was a button beside the entrance, and the man pressed it, but no sound came through the door. However, footsteps walked up to the door, and it opened.
Sephiroth looked up at the woman, and the first word that came into his mind was ‘long’: she was wearing a flowing black dress that perpetually swirled around her ankles, the sleeves went to her slender wrists, her hair fell just past her hips, and her blue eyes held his green ones long enough to make his gaze falter. She smiled, a friendly one, and said, “Welcome, Sephiroth. I hope you enjoy your time here.”
He tried to look back up, but didn’t want to reveal anything. He nodded. He did not miss the short, sharp glance the woman gave the man in the suit, and decided he did not want to be on the receiving end of that look. The man said something about being back that evening and walked away. She firmly closed the door and waited while a locking system clicked. Then she turned around and looked at him again. It was still a friendly look, but also an appraising one. “You are tall for seven,” she finally said. “The older boys shouldn’t give you any problems, though. Come, let’s go outside and meet everyone.”
There were only a handful of children there, but he recognized the names as being related to Hojo’s benefactors. Most notable was a blonde boy about his age named Rufus, who obviously parlayed his last name into personal power over the other children. The rest belonged to various members of Shinra Electric Company’s executive board, and there was no guarantee that any of them would be there the next day. Sephiroth saw no reason to get to know any of them, and quietly played by himself.
Weeks passed, and he kept being driven here in the mornings and driven back to where he slept in the evenings. Despite himself, he quickly found that he really liked being there, away from labs and all the unpleasantness that went with those places. He was a fast learner, and the woman, whose name was never spoken, spent extra time finding more advanced work for him to do. She never pried or asked questions, although he was sure she would have seen his background file; she merely sat beside him in another one of her long dresses and answered his questions about the material.
One day there was a long vehicle parked inside the gate, large enough to take all eight of the children (there had been changes in the executive board, and one of the new members had three children), the two bodyguards Rufus had recently acquired (who changed every few days), a driver (who seemed somewhat familiar to Sephiroth), and the woman (who was wearing a long dark brown dress), as well as food and things for the children to play with. They were heading to a field some miles outside of the city, they were told, while the building they normally stayed in had some renovations done. The vehicle drove slowly over the rough ground, but soon enough they were being let loose to run in a field of white and yellow flowers.
There was a lone tree in the field, and the woman put the two bodyguards and the driver to work unloading and setting up a table, some benches, and a chair for her under its sprawling branches. While she strode around, making sure everything was in place, the three girls had started picking flowers and plaiting them together, and the boys tossed a ball around. Laughter echoed all around, and for the first time in his life Sephiroth felt like a child.
The girls finished their project and, with many giggles, presented a wreath of made of daisies to their caretaker, who sat in a low-slung field chair and bent her head so they could crown her. She sat up straight and tall, hands folded in her lap, and they worshipped her as their flower fairy queen, who would keep them safe from all harm.
The memory went dark as JENOVA snuffed it out. There was a wail, like from a lost child. /**She left you, as everyone before me left you, **/ JENOVA intoned. /**Find your succor in me, instead, and know what we will do to make them all pay.**/