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Fanfic / Us and Them

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Looking for evidence that will hopefully get his nemesis, Professor Hojo, kicked out of Shinra, Professor Gast finds Vincent Valentine in the bowels of the Nibelheim mansion. Vincent then goes and steals away Shinra's most prized project, Sephiroth, and drops him with Gast and his wife. Already expecting a child of their own, the couple decides to take the boy in and raise him as their own.

Us and Them is an Alternate Universe version of Final Fantasy VII by Madcap Minstrel where Sephiroth is raised alongside Aeris as her older brother. Eventually circumstances come that cause him to face his true nature and decide who he truly desires to be.

Pairings are Aeris/Seph, Cloud/Tifa and Jessie/Rufus (no, seriously).

There are currently two completed stories in this continuity, collectively called The Ripples Saga, Us and Them ( old version here) and Life Renewed, Love Renewed, with several one-shot side stories. A third story, Welcome to the Machine is currently in progress.

This fic contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: It should come as no surprise that President Shinra turns out to be one.
  • Affectionate Nickname:
    • Aeris(and ONLY Aeris) often addresses Sephiroth as "Sephy", which she's done since she was a baby. Normally she does it in private, but she's occasionally called him that in front of others, much to his chagrin.
    • After they get married, Seph begins referring to Aeris as his "Little Mage" (she joins a White Mages guild on Beud A'Evori), usually when he's in the mood. Aeris takes to using for herself when she's in the mood herself. Or when she wants wants to allude to sex without being obvious, which can lead to awkward situations when she says it in front of a curious three-year old.
      Sera: Who's "Little Mage"?
  • Alternate Universe: Vincent is awoken twenty-two years earlier, goes and breaks Sephiroth out and leaves him with Aeris' family. Divergences from canon proceed.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Remi seems to get this the worst, as she has four younger brothers who love to antagonize her, despite her being the strongest one in the family after her father.
  • Are We There Yet?:
    • Chapter 23 has Rufus flying AVALANCHE out to Corel to intercept a WEAPON bearing down on it. Shortly after takeoff, Barret demands to know how much longer. Rufus informs him that if he's not satisfied with their progress there are parachutes in the back.
    • The short story "Family Road Trip" has Aeris and Seph and the kids on a trip to Cid's daughter's birthday party. Keter asks the question, and Sephiroth uses a Sleep materia on him. Aeris starts giving him the Silent Treatment for that.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • Us and Them ends with Seph talking to a grave, trying to express his feelings. At first it seems he's talking to Aeris but she walks up behind him shortly after. The grave belongs to Jenova.
    • Welcome to the Machine begins with Reno and Rude outside a conference room in Shinra tower wondering what big important issue they're discussing that would need Rufus to bring in Cloud, Tifa, Jessie and the other former members of AVALANCHE. Reno is not happy when he finds a character stat sheet and realizes it was actually a tabletop gaming session.
  • Batman Gambit: When Emerald WEAPON is approaching Junon, Rufus leaks information to his father that it's on its last legs, knowing he won't be able to resist felling it himself and taking all the glory. Unfortunately for him, it's still got plenty of fight left in it and takes his chopper down, and himself shortly thereafter.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Don't spell Aeris' name wrong or mispronounce it; she really doesn't like it.
    • Ifalna reacts rather strongly to being referred to as 'grandma'. It takes a few years for her to warm up to it.
    • Whatever you do, do not bring up the Jenova Project around Sephiroth.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Aeris manages to summon the Lifestream and destroy Meteor, but the effort allows the Id's Death in her system to overwhelm her and she dies. She's revived but because the gateway to the Galactic Capital is destroyed, no one on Gaia knows about it and think she's dead.
  • Breather Episode: Life Renewed is essentially one long one. There are no evil creatures, no potentially world-ending crises, just Aeris and her family picking up the pieces, trying to get on with life as she recovers from Id's Death, is courted by and eventually marries Sephiroth, becomes a mother herself, and all the while trying to find a way to get back to Gaia.
  • Broken Pedestal: Aeris(and Ifalna to an extent) had built up an idealized image of the Cetra. When she finds out that they engaged in historical cherry-picking and that members of her own guild(made up of mostly Cetra) practice hazing, she is forced to accept that all civilizations are flawed in some way. It was also Cetra officials who foolishly ordered Professor Gast and Ifalna's rescuers to use a dilapidated space portal, causing the Gasts to miss ten years of Aeris and Sephiroth's life, due to time dilation.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: The relationship between "Alice" and "Joseph" in the book 99 Shades of Silver. Aeris and Sephiroth don't take kindly to it, especially when people who read it start taking it seriously.
    Sephiroth It's not fun having to explain to a seven-year-old what "inbred" means and why it has nothing to do with him.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: When President Shinra comes to "rescue" his son from AVALANCHE, Rufus gives hims a scathing rebuke and appraisal of his deficiencies and refusal to face facts, saying he'd rather work with AVALANCHE, which had people who are actually competent.
  • Cryptic Conversation: Whenever the Cetra speak with the planet, they usually wind up in one.
  • Cry into Chest:
    • Chapter 27 has Jessie start crying into Rufus' shoulder. He's surprised to realize she's crying over him, specifically his treatment at the hands of his father.
    • In Life Renewed, Aeris does this after Sephiroth tells her a painful story about his childhood in the labs.
  • Cute Little Fangs: After finding out their children are likely to be born with extra features, Aeris opines that a child with fangs would be cute. Sure enough, their fourth son is born with fangs. And then she has to breastfeed him...
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Fuhito is killed much earlier in the timeline in this continuity.
    • Hojo dies at the end of the introductory section.
  • Exiled to the Couch:
    • Ifalna has a certain look the means her husband had better drop his current antics or suffer sleeping on the couch.
    • In "Discipline" Aeris threatens to exile Sephiroth to the roof for a month after picking her up and carrying her over the shoulder outside. Two months for using a Confusion materia on her.
  • Embarrassing Statue: The author drew a scene of Aeris, Sephiroth and Keter returning to Gaia to find a statue of her posed like some saintly figure. She is not pleased.
  • Fee Fi Faux Pas: In "Family Road Trip", Cid and Sephiroth are eager to work with a new stock of adamantium they traded with a tribe on dwarves for. Seph is surprised that they were willing to trade after Cid called their chief "Little Guy", but they brush it off. Later, after hours of fruitlessly trying to so much as dent the metal, they both admit the dwarves got them back for the insult. Hard.
  • Feeling the Baby Kick: Life Renewed, after receiving the news that they are expecting, Sephiroth is lying in bed with Aeris, putting his hand on her stomach to feel their child even though it's still too early for that. Later, he keeps trying to feel it, but every time he does the baby stops moving.
  • Gamer Chick: Jessie is really into video games, which she turns out to share with Rufus, much to her dismay.
  • Happily Adopted: Sephiroth manages to have a fairly happy and normal childhood being raised by Gast and Ifalna.
  • Happily Married: Prof. Gast and Ifalna are shown to have a very warm, loving relationship, even if his inner child gets on her nerves every now and then.
    • Later extends to Aeris and Sephiroth as well.
  • Happy-Ending Massage: Referenced in "D-List Celebrities"; apparently Aeris will give Seph a massage when he gets home from work which usually ends up this way...unless he spent it doing paperwork.
    Sephiroth: (after failing to get Aeris to give him a massage) No "happy ending" either, I guess.
  • Hearing Voices: The first indication that Jenova is reawakening is when Sephiroth hears a woman's voice calling him her son.
  • Heroic RRoD: Aeris' efforts to stop Jenova cause the Id's Death in her system to overwhelm her, leaving her technically dead.
  • Ignoring by Singing: When Sephiroth suggests what Aeris' parents were up to when her sister was conceived, "LALALALA, I CAN'T HEAR YOU!"
  • Insistent Terminology: Jessie prefers to be called a "computer guru" rather than a hacker.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: While Aeris is pregnant with their first child, Seph gets a little annoyed that she won't find out the gender and keeps calling the unborn baby "it".
  • Kill Me Now, or Forever Stay Your Hand: In the epilogue as some financial officer of complaining to Rufus about all the changes he's made at Shinra, specifically how much they cost, Rufus sarcastically says if the guy thinks he can do better, to just kill him and take over. He won't get a better chance. The man backs down.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Vincent makes good on the extra time he has when freed from the Nibelheim mansion decades earlier. He finds and joins Avalanche, ascends the ranks quickly and becomes their leader. However, he is still a curmudgeon whose patience is constantly tried by the younger members of Avalanche.
    • With the exception of his family and friends, Sephiroth often acts as though he's surrounded by morons.
  • A Lesson Learned Too Well: After trying to peek on Remi while she's changing and Aeris giving him a lecture on the need for privacy, Raz refuses to let Sam into the bathroom while he's taking a bath, even though Sam's having a Potty Emergency. Eventually, Seph convinces him to unlock the door then hide under the bath bubble until Sam's done.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Reading Life Renewed, Love Renewed or any of the side stories will spoil Aeris and Sephiroth's fates.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Aeris and Seph can get a little frisky when they get worked up, such as in "Discipline", where they get into an argument that leads to them romping in the grass outside their home. Their sixth child is conceived during said romp.
  • Making Room for Baby: Shortly after they get married, Aeris tells Sephiroth they need a bigger apartment, because their family is already about to grow.
  • More than Mind Control: Jenova aims to make Aeris suffer, and intends to use Sephiroth to do it. Seph cares too much about Aeris to harm her directly, but Jenova keeps pushing the feelings he has for her to the edge, at times outright stripping away his inhibitions which leads to him nearly raping Aeris before Vincent manages to subdue him.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • When Ifalna is first getting to know seven-year-old Sephiroth, she states that she couldn't imagine being imprisoned by the Shinra for seven years, thinking to herself that such a thing might kill her.
    • At one point, Rufus finds Jessie, Aeris and Tifa playing a video game at or near tears. Rufus notes they must have finished the first disc.
    • Some of the books Aeris likes to read are Wild Rose, Quest of the Paladin, War of the Magi and Melodies of Life, which the author has said are Final Fantasies II, IV, VI and IX respectively.
    • While infiltrating the dreams of the author of the erotic novel based on them, Aeris runs her through with the Masamune and dumps her in a lake.
    • Rufus mentions he was considering becoming an anonymous donor to AVALANCHE at one point.
    • When Aeris joins the White Mages Guild, she gets the white robes with red triangular patterned hems. And a new staff.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Vincent searches for Sephiroth for seven years, finally tracking him and his adoptive family down to Corel. However, unbeknownst to him, Hojo was tracking Vincent's moves, leading the Shinra to find and capture Professor Gast and Ifalna. Sephiroth is furious when Hojo taunts Vincent for leading him straight to the family.
  • No Antagonist: Life Renewed, Love Renewed, has none of the epic elements of the first story, and all the sci-fi and fantasy elements are very downplayed. The main thrust of the story is Aeris' desire to return home and all the obstacles she has to overcome to get there.
  • No More for Me: A Wutai man out fishing on a lake drinking sake sees Sephiroth flying along pulling a boat with Aeris, Keter and several Cetra engineers along behind him. The narration notes he never touches a drink again after that.
  • No, You:
    • In Life Renewed, when Seph finds a pregnant Aeris stuffing her face he tells her she's making a mess. She retorts, "You're making a mess!"
    • "D-List Celebrities": Remi, speaking on the phone to an obnoxious tv network rep and generally annoying him crazy, eventually calls her inbred, to which she responds, "Inbred? Now you're going to insult me? You're inbred, how about that?"
    • In chapter 10 of Us & Them after teasing Aeris about her feelings for Sephiroth, Aeris asks Jessie if she's been drinking. Jessie's response: "Have you been drinking?"
  • Numbered Homeworld: The Final Fantasy VII world is known as Planet 131 to the greater galactic community. When Ifalna protests her homeworld being referred to by a number she is told that it's necessary because most people tend to name their worlds things like, "Planet", "Gaia", "Earth", or "Terra". Even the Seraph homeworld's name means "Our Home".
  • Official Kiss: Aeris and Seph kiss for the first time as the showdown with Jenova is coming to a head. After that, they all but admit they don't see each other as brother and sister anymore and have fallen for each other.
  • Panicky Expectant Father: We find out the one thing that can induce panic (or as close to it as he ever gets) in Sephiroth: his wife going into labor.
  • Parental Sexuality Squick: Aeris does not want to think about her parents doing the deed, at all.
    • When Ifalna makes a joke about getting invited to swingers parties, Aeris protests they should wait till she leaves the room.
    • Her response after getting the haul of sexy items that were foisted on her by a bridal goods shop ready to take back and realizing Ifalna kept one pair of lacy black panties: "Eww."
    • After she laments how hard it must have been for her parents after she and Seph got married, he points out to Aeris (who has just given birth), that since her mother is as far along as she is, they probably had other things on their minds. Aeris promptly buries her head under the covers and starts singing until he stops.
    • By the time Keter is eleven, he is sadly aware of his parents' frequent sexcapades, referring to Aeris and Sephiroth as "gross".
  • Parents as People: Much of the side stories deals with Aeris and Sephiroth, and pretty much anyone else who has kids, learning how to and how not to deal with them, such as Seph using Sleep and Silence materia to crowd control his kids, Aeris using a garden hose to break up fights, since she's not strong enough to do it herself, and Shera kicking Cid every time he swears in front of their daughter, which she quickly has to stop because said daughter starts kicking Cid herself.
  • Pink Is for Sissies: In "Right Lesson, Wrong Time", Sam is trying to get into the potty in the bathroom where his older brother is taking a bath. There's another in the upstairs bathroom, but he refuses to use it because it's ugly (pink).
  • Portal Network: The Cetran empire maintains a system of portals between various worlds, considering they are faster and safer than space travel by ship. Unless, of course, you use one that's been dormant and not maintained properly for centuries, in which case you could be stuck in transit and emerge on the other side years later.
  • Potty Dance: "Right Lesson, Wrong Time" has Sam doing this while Sephiroth tries to convince Raz to let him into the bathroom to use the potty.
  • Power Outage Plot: After Rufus shuts down the Mako reactors, there start to be issues with power production as some of the conventional power plants are no longer up to the task. The one in Junon specifically is mentioned to be falling apart after years of not being used.
  • Practically Different Generations: Ifalna gets pregnant again around the same time Aeris is expecting her first child. As a result, her sister Rakael(aka "Rockie") is actually a week younger than her son Keter. Aunt and nephew are actually best friends.
  • Screaming Birth: When Aeris was born, Ifalna was screaming. And swearing. And Gast taped the whole thing.
  • Serious Business: Once an RPG campaign gets started, no real-life talk is allowed. Not until all the potato chips are gone.
  • Shout-Out: The Papa Yoyo's burrito shop is a reference to Papa Gayo in Selena.
  • Silent Treatment: Aeris does this in "Road Trip" After Seph uses Sleep materia on Keter.
  • Slice of Life: The side stories in a nutshell, where we peek in on the family at random points in time, and Life Renewed as well, as Aeris and Sephiroth deal with the aftermath of the Jenova incident and try to move on.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • Shinra never gets around to dropping the plate here, so Jessie and the rest of AVALANCHE don't meet grim fates trying to prevent it.
    • Because Seph manages to drive off Hojo's forces when they come to Icicle Inn, Professor Gast doesn't die, and since Ifalna doesn't get locked up in Shinra Tower for seven years, she doesn't die trying to escape.
    • And Aeris herself, of course.
  • Surprise Pregnancy: Aeris and Seph had intended to wait before having children, but Aeris misread the instructions on the birth control and wound up getting pregnant anyway.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Shortly after they get married and discover she's expecting, Aeris, who is nineteen, suddenly wakes up one night going on about how this is a teenage pregnancy and she's a statistic now, to which Sephiroth points out it would only count if she was single. Turns out this was just the first of her sleepwalking episodes.
  • Time Skip:
    • There are two in the early part of the story, the first right after Hojo attempts to abduct the family at Icicle Inn when Aeris is a baby after which we find them in Corel seven years later, and the next after Hojo tracks them down again, after which the story skips ahead ten years where we meet seventeen-year-old Aeris arriving in Midgar.
    • After getting stranded on the Twin Planet, there's a skip of two years while they try to find a way to get to Gaia, during which Keter and Rakael go from infants to toddlers.
  • Toilet Training Plot: "Right Lesson, Wrong Time" has this as a minor point, Sam needs to use the potty, but most of the story is spent trying to convince his older brother to let him in the bathroom. After finally being let into the bathroom, Sam misses the potty.
  • Was Once a Man: Jenova; she was once a Seraph explorer names Resara Delrayo, until she came down with Id's Death and became the monster that fell to the planet two thousand years ago.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: After Aeris decides to run off to the Forgotten Capital, Sephiroth catches up to her and gives her a piece of his mind for running off and worrying everyone and isolating herself while Jenova is running loose. He then decides to escort her there himself.
  • Who Would Want to Watch Us?: In "D-List Celebrities", Remi wonders why Aeris keeps getting calls from TV networks wanting to do a reality show about their family.
  • Woken Up at an Ungodly Hour: Shortly after Aeris and Sephiroth find out they're expecting their first child, Aeris suddenly wakes him up in the middle of the night worrying about it. Sephiroth is not very sympathetic at that hour and she gets out of bed. He then finds her in the morning behind a cushion fort with a bag of cookies. It turns out pregnant Cetra are prone to sleepwalking so she was asleep the whole time. Seph just resigns himself to being woken up late at night.