Sephiroth eyed her coldly before responding to her question.
"Strife hates. He hates Zack for being everything he couldn't be. He hates Cloud for being too weak to protect himself. He hates you for being everything he couldn't have."
"And what about YOU!?" Tifa spat, her face pale with rage.
"Strife hates me for torturing and raping him in body, mind, and soul. I'm the one who saw every dirty little secret he wanted to hide. I'm the one who forced him to confront every weakness and flaw he possessed. I made him revisit his most painful memories, his darkest fears, his foulest sins, his deepest regrets. That's how I broke him, over and over again. I made him loathe me and worship me at the same time. Oh yes, Strife -definitely- hates me, perhaps most of all."
"....no kidding. That'll do it," Yuffie whispered in a small voice.
Sephiroth's voice was devoid of emotion or pride during this merciless recitation, but he spared Yuffie the faintest nod of acknowledgement.
Tifa's voice quavered with rage. "You.... YOU....!!!!" She searched wildly for a fitting epithet.
"Monster? Freak? Abomination? Demon? I've heard it all before, Lockheart."
"I BET you enjoyed every minute of it, did you!?"
"At the time, yes, I did."
"How... how can you stand there, boasting about it!?"
"I'm not proud of what I've done. The 'why' isn't important. The cold hard fact is that I hurt and abused him, and nothing I say or do now will change that. All I can do is deal with the consequences of my own actions. And that's exactly what I'm going to do. So despise me all you want, Lockheart, but DON'T get in my way."
"You think I'm going to let you go off on your merry way after what you've told us you've done!?"
"I admit that I was instrumental in creating Strife, and in creating the present situation." Sephiroth took a step toward Tifa, who tensed. "But I'm not the only one responsible. The seeds of Strife were planted in Cloud long before he crossed my path.
"I wasn't the first to damage him. Your precious hometown treated him like shit -- physically, emotionally, and yes, sexually. Your father used him as a scapegoat and whipping boy at the slightest excuse."
"How... DARE... you accuse my father...!"
But Sephiroth ruthlessly overrode her outraged protests.
"No wonder he was so desperate to leave Nibelheim. But in Midgar, instead of things getting better, he only found more of the same treatment. More pain, more abuse. Fallow ground for insanity. So face it, Lockheart. He was broken and going crazy long before we ever met."
Sephiroth gave Tifa one last scathing stare, then turned to leave. But before stepping through the door, he paused.
"I've done my own share of unforgivable things, but I'm not the only source of evil on this damn Planet."