This Army Life
1st Note: Holy Crow! A new episode and it isn't even Christmas!
2nd Note: OOC-ness ahead!
3rd Note: I am in my new office and I have a lovely picture of Sephiroth hanging over my desk. The profs take one look at it and decide it's not worth it to give me lip. :)
Disclaimer: Final Fantasy belongs to Square-Enix. (Until they sell their souls again. Of course, technically, Tetsya Nomura owns ff7.) Apologies to Monty Python and especially John Cleese.
Episode 40: Mobs, Witches, and the Occasional Fire!
"Sir! Sir!" Giles stuck his head in the tent.
Sephiroth rolled his eyes. "Yes, Giles?"
"We've caught the witch!"
Sephiroth paused for a moment and confirmed with himself that he had no idea what Giles was talking about. "What witch?"
"The one that's been making the cream go bad!"
The General groaned. "The cream goes bad because you leave it out of the fridge all night long."
"The milk goes sour too."
"For the same reason."
"The chocobos aren't doing well."
"Because we're eating them."
"Our crops are going to hell."
"We aren't growing any."
"We still got the witch! Can we burn her?"
Sephiroth stood, pushed Giles aside, and walked out of the tent. Everything looked as it should. He grabbed Cloud by the collar as the spiky one passed by. "What the hell is Giles going on about?"
"About what, Sir?"
The General gave him The Look (TM).
Cloud held up both hands defeat. "He keeps saying that one of the nurses is a witch."
"What has he done to said nurse?"
"Not much. Zack untied her from the support post in the mess tent."
Sephiroth dropped Cloud and looked at Giles. "Why do you think one of the medics is a witch?"
"She turned me into a newt!"
As The General let out an exasperated sigh, Cloud smacked the Giles up the back side of the head.
Giles sniffed and rubbed his head. "I got better."
"I'm going to get something to eat." Green mako eyes looked back at Cloud. "Is Zack still in the mess?"
"Great. Find Rufus and tell him I need sanity."
Cloud flipped out a notepad. "Do you want sanity in liquid or solid form?"
"I'd like to take this moment to reiterate: You are a very bad person, Cloud Strife."
"Thank you, Sir." Cloud ran off as Sephiroth turned to the mess. Rubbing his temples, he sat down next to Zack.
"Who's responsible for the latest bit of garbage to spew from Giles' mouth?"
Zack shrugged. "You might want to give the men a rest."
Sephiroth looked at the assembled soldiers still standing at attention. "At ease."
Everyone went back to eating.
"So you have no idea what this is about?"
"Nope." He took a bite of food.
"Yeah?" he said between mouthfuls.
"Why are you wearing a sparkling, leopard skin jacket?"
Zack smiled. "It's my pimpin' new mob coat!"
"Oh dear Ancients..."
"It's the newest in stylin' mob wear. I can't wait to show Aeris!"
"So she can dump you? You look ridiculous."
"Come on... Admit I look great!"
Sephiroth put his head on the table. "You can't be part of the mob or any other mob. You're a SOLDIER."
"We work for Rufus. He is the mob."
Sephiroth resisted the urge to cry. "Why the new clothes?"
"So I look good when we find the witch and burn her."
"Just when I thought life couldn't suck any worse..."
Sometime in the middle of the night, in the middle of a pleasant dream... (Or as pleasant a dream Sephiroth can have...)
"Sir! Wake up!"
Sephiroth sat up quickly, his hand already on Masamune, until he realized that the world was silent. "Giles. You do realize that I value the precious little sleep I get. Why in the Planet's name would you wake me when we aren't under attack?"
"We got the witch!"
He resisted the urge to bang his head off of something hard and made do with the thought of banging the Private's head off of the nearest tree. "Get out of my tent before I run you through."
"But we need you to judge the witch!"
"I have Masamune in my hand."
"Eek!" Giles screamed like a little girl and ran for it as Sephiroth stood. After a quick brushing of the hair, he walked outside. A small group of soldiers were standing around the canteen. A young female medic was on top, trying to avoid the soldiers on all sides.
Sephiroth grabbed one of the soldiers. "What's going on?"
"We found the witch. Duh."
Sephiroth's eyebrow twitched and the soldier only belatedly realized who he was talking too. He also realized he was on fire. The man ran screaming for the nearest lake. The General grabbed Zack, who was still in his pimpin' new mob coat. "What's going on, Zachary?"
"We found the witch."
"You do realize that the last time I saw someone as insane as you, I had to pay admission."
"You went to see the Sissy and Egbert Circus too?"
"This night is not going well." He looked around. "ATTEN-HUT!" Every soldier came to attention, including the medic on the roof. "WHEN I GIVE THE 'AT EASE' EVERYONE HERE WILL RETURN TO THEIR POSTS OR THEIR TENTS. AT EASE!" Everyone scattered.
"Uh, Sir? Could you help me get down?"
Sephiroth looked up at the medic. "How did you get up there?"
"Pure panic, Sir."
"Go ahead and jump." He caught the medic and set her on her feet. "Why do those morons think you're a witch?"
"They think we're all witches, sir. It doesn't help that witch rhymes with bitch and Giles overheard us talking about Houlihan."
Sephiroth raised an eyebrow. "I don't care what you say about your superior officer when you aren't at camp, but so long as you're here you will be respectful. Understood?"
"Get back to the med tent before the morons come back."
"Yes, Sir." She saluted and ran off.
The Next Day
"Burn the witch! Burn the Witch!"
Sephiroth's head hit the desk. "I swear to the Ancients, I will blow Niebelheim up before I die if only to kill Giles." He stood and walked out of the tent. "WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON NOW?"
The men suddenly jumped to attention, dropping some poor woman to the ground. Said poor woman turned out to be a very pissed off Scarlet. The nearest soldier got a taser in the groin as she stood up.
She stomped over, waving the taser in Sephiroth's face. "Where's Rufus? I know he's responsible for this!"
"Rufus isn't responsible for this, and I haven't seen him in days." He crossed his arms over his chest. "And how can you say you aren't a witch? I've seen the book you keep in mmphhh--"
Scarlet's hand landed on The General's mouth. "Don't say that out loud!" She took a deep breath and stepped back. "This has something to do with Giles doesn't it?"
"So the men are following him around like lost sheep."
"And you are planning to fix this when?"
"The next time Wutai attacks. The stupid ones always go in the first bombing after new recruits come in."
Scarlet put her taser away. "Has anyone ever told you that you're evil?"
The General rolled his eyes. "As compared to whom? Hojo?"
He crossed his arms over his chest. "So, why have you graced us with your delightful presence, Scarlet?"
She smiled big and wide, like a little girl. If little girls had shark teeth and a shit eating grin. She pulled a box out from under her coat. "I've brought the newest model. I thought Rufus would like to test it for me." Inside the box was a shiny, new shotgun.
"I'm sure he'll love it. Just drop it in his tent and get the hell out of here, before I let the men burn you at the stake."
Scarlet gave him the Look of Death(TM). "Don't you want to know what it does?"
"It could turn people plaid for all I care. Scoot."
Cloud walked up to them and looked in the box. "Is that the new plaid gun? Sweet!" He picked it up and took aim at one of the many people in the camp who owed him money and pulled the trigger. The soldier's clothing changed into a plaid so horrible he went instantly insane and fell to the ground in a gibbering mass. "AWESOME!" Cloud ran off before anyone could stop him.
"Well. That was unexpected."
"Let's stop him before he goes mad with power."
Scarlet nodded and followed The General deeper into camp.
After hours of searching...
"This is bad. We've been all over camp and all we've found are victims." Scarlet toed the nearest gibbering mass with her High Heels of Doom.
"We need to find him soon. A mob is forming." Sephiroth pointed at a crowd gathering around Zack and his pimpin' new mob coat.
"Burn the witch! Burn the witch!"
Sephiroth put his head in his hand. "Wait. Never mind. Let's find Cloud before the mob burns a member of my medical team to death."
"THERE HE IS! GET 'IM!"
The mob took off as one, chasing down a man with familiar chocobo-like hair.
Sephiroth and Scarlet stood speechless as Cloud ran passed them, followed by a mob of... pimping new mob coats.
"Holy crap, mother!" Scarlet took off after the mob, running full tilt in heels.
Rufus appeared out of nowhere. "Wow. She can book it in heels."
Sephiroth rolled his eyes. "Where the hell have you been?" He sniffed and smelled alcohol. "Never mind. Next time you ditch to drink with the Turks, take me with you."
"Can do. So. I heard you needed sanity?"
"It's too late for that. Scarlet made you a new gun, Cloud stole it, and now the entire camp thinks he's a witch."
Rufus blinked and looked up at Sephiroth. "I miss a lot when I'm gone, don't I?"
"So they think Cloud's the witch and not Scarlet?"
"We're passed that part."
Rufus put on a pair of reading glasses and rifled through a sheaf of papers pulled from his coat. "Giles thinks nurse is witch. Zack has pimpin' new mob coat. Soldiers chase nurse up on roof. Soldiers think Scarlet is a witch. Cloud steals gun…" Rufus mumbled. "Here we are! Mob catches Cloud!"
"WE'VE CAUGHT THE WITCH! BURN THE WITCH!"
The mob came back, dragging Cloud with them. They stopped in front of Sephiroth and presented the Chocobo Kid.
"Witch!" one of the men barked.
"I'm so pleased that you managed to learn one new vocabulary word today. I guess that brings the number of words you know up to two."
"Witch!" he said again and shook Cloud like a rag doll.
"Yes. Yes. I know. Who's got the gun?"
"I do." Scarlet walked up to Rufus and reached out to give him the gun. Then she thought better of it. "No. This is way too much power. Even for you." She put the gun back in its box and it disappeared underneath her coat."
Rufus gave her puppy dog eyes. "Please?"
"ALL RIGHT!" Sephiroth yelled. "You two can take your sick love games elsewhere. I have a witch to deal with." He looked at Cloud.
Cloud smiled. "A little help here?"
"Burn the witch! Burn the witch!" the mob chanted.
Cloud's smile turned frantic. "Please?"
Sephiroth crossed his arms over his chest and tapped a foot.
"I swear I'll give up the chocobo wrangling! Please!"
Sephiroth smiled. "Good boy." He looked at the crowd. "And how do you know he's a witch?"
Zack threw his hands up in the air. "He was turning people plaid!"
"And the last witch turned Giles into newt. How is this different?"
Giles stamped his foot. "I got better!"
"And everyone else won't?"
"Dude! The plaid makes my eyes bleed!" Zack pointed to his face.
Sephiroth leaned forward to have a look. "You should have the med staff look at that."
Zack backed off. "No way! They're all witches too!"
Sephiroth put his head in his hand. "Listen. Medicine is not witchcraft. And Cloud isn't a witch either. Using a gun to turn people plaid is not witchcraft. It's Scarlet-craft."
"But Scarlet's a witch!"
Scarlet through her hands up. "That's it! I'm out of here!" She turned and left. And she didn't notice when Rufus slipped a box out from under her coat. He hid it behind his back.
"Listen people. We've been flinging food at the enemy for months because we don't have any ammo left. Our last chance to get anything decent has just left the camp. Now, if there actually
was a witch in the camp, we would be winning this damn war instead of sitting at stalemate all the time."
Giles jumped up and down, waving her hands. "What if the witch is a spy?!"
Sephiroth put a hand on Giles' shoulder to keep him from bouncing up and down. "It's nice to see that the two lonely brain cells you have occasionally bump into each other, Giles, but the answer is still no. There aren't any witches in the camp. Though I'm pretty sure there will be dead bodies in a few minutes if you don't put Cloud down and give up on this nonsense."
The soldiers dropped Cloud and shuffled off. Rufus examined his new plaid gun. Sephiroth took it out of his hands and broke it over his knee.
"No!" He dropped the pieces and grabbed the sheaf of papers out of Rufus' coat. He rolled them up and swatted Rufus over the nose. "Bad! Go to your tent!" He dropped the papers and followed Rufus to make sure he stayed in 'time out.'
Cloud picked up the roll of papers and flipped them to the last page. "Let's see. Scarlet leaves. Cloud gets away. Rufus gets swatted. Sephiroth goes to bed… No way!"
He ran to the canteen. Inside, men were nursing there drinks after a long day of mobbing. Cloud snuck behind the bar and into the back office. He carefully opened the door to the closet and peeked inside. Tonberry and Zack were standing next to an altar. On the altar were a bell, a very familiar book, and a black candle.
"Dude. Scarlet's gonna be pissed about the book."
Tonberry just look at Zack.
"Okay. Okay. But you shouldn't be resorting to witchcraft to kill Kakashi."
Tonberry pulled out his knife.
"Yeah. I know he's a immune to your 'poke of death,' but that doesn't mean he isn't immune to witchcraft. Seriously, he's unkillable!"
Tonberry turned to the altar and slowly moved toward it.
"You're welcome. Just tell me when you're done with the book so the clones can put it back."
Cloud closed the door and leaned against it, slack jawed. "Tonberry's the witch?!"