Sephiroth, Cloud, ShinRa, Nibelheim, and pretty much everything else in this fic are © SquarEnix. I don't own any of this except the story itself, which is kind of bland anyway.
Placed in-game, the night before Cloud, Sephiroth, SOLDIER Officers A and B, and Tifa all climbed Mount Nibel to check the Mako reactor. Everyone remembers that, right? From Cloud's story?
Like Snow on Silver
It was dark.
The darkness was not surprising--a glance at the clock proved that it was quite late--but the chill in the air seemed alien, carrying with it a feeling that this particular warrior had never known before. Taking a deep breath, keeping it slow to insure silence, he rose to his feet. Giving a glance to the three subordinates that had been sent along with him, assured by their even breathing that they were asleep, he slipped out of the room.
Blue-green eyes snapped open, glowing faintly, and the second highest- ranking officer sat up in his bed. He squinted slightly to see through the darkness, and found that the door was open, letting the faintest bit of moonlight from the hall windows cast into the room.
Quietly--though not in the same perfect silence as his superior--he rose to his feet and rushed out the door, dashing back inside to grab his deep indigo boots, which he pulled on clumsily as he hurried down the stairs.
He realized, as he pulled on his shoes, that it was cold. Even inside it was cold. He sighed at the memory of insisting he would be fine in his standard garb. He had been told he was going somewhere cold, hadn't he? But he had thought--fool that he was--that there was no way anything the ShinRa officials deemed cold could compare to even the autumn chill of Nibelheim.
Of course, it had turned out they were being sent to Nibelheim.
'Idiot,' he thought. 'Thinking you could handle freezing weather just because you grew up here...'
He peeked around the corner, checking the lobby, and found that it was empty. His sunshine-pale eyebrows furrowed. "Sephiroth?" he whispered to the darkness, receiving no reply. The boy let out a sigh and went to the door, taking a coat off the rack --he was certain the innkeeper wouldn't ever know he had borrowed it--and pulling it on before turning the knob.
He had to blink away the brightness that greeted him, the light seeming much greater than he considered normal, but it took only an instant to see that he had found who he was looking for.
Noting that his breath rose in white puffs from his mouth, he stepped out into the brightness, snow crunching under his booted feet.
The man, standing in the middle of the square, eyes closed in exultation, arms outstretched as though embracing the falling snow, turned to look over his shoulder. His turquoise eyes had snapped open at the sound of footsteps, and he silently berated himself for having not heard the door being opened.
"Cloud," he said simply. When the sunshine-haired boy nodded, Sephiroth turned away one more, tilting his head back to see the full moon. The clouds surged around it, throwing flakes of frozen white down to the earth, but they still could not dull the intensity of the moonlight.
"W-What are y-you doing?" Cloud inquired, breathing into his hands and rubbing them together. He was freezing, even through his gloves.
The silver-haired man shrugged, lowering his arms at last and turning around to face his partner. "It's snowing," he replied.
"This is Nibelheim, it snows all the time here," the boy retorted incredulously. "What's so great about snow?"
Sephiroth held out one hand to catch a tiny, fuzzy-looking bundle of ice. His lips curved in the faintest of smiles as he watched the white fade against the black of his glove. He threw out both hands and spun around in place, looking back up into the sky. "I've never seen snow before," he explained.
Cloud's eyes widened, the rubbing of his hands ceasing for a moment in surprise. "You're kidding me."
Sephiroth turned to look at him again, over his shoulder, and shook his head. The snow that had gathered, invisible among his pale mane, went flying at the motion. "No. I've read about it, of course, but I've never actually seen it before." He paused, cocking his head to one side. "It's really rather...pretty."
The younger warrior came up behind his superior, gripping the jacket tightly about his shoulders. "Yeah, I guess so..." He looked up to follow Sephiroth's gaze, noticing for the first time since his childhood how gracefully snow fell, and how perfectly it joined with the snow that had already fallen. Becoming a blanket of the purest white in an instant...
He sighed. "It'll all be melted by morning, though. I'll bet the townspeople won't even know that it snowed."
"That's too bad," Sephiroth breathed, catching yet another bunch of snow in his gloved hand. "It's really much to lovely to never be known."
Cloud nodded, stepping beside the black-garbed elite. He was reminded once again, as he looked at the silver-maned warrior's face, how intense Sephiroth was. It seemed as though he couldn't feel anything just slightly- -any emotion he felt was a bolt of lightning through his heart. When he was happy, the world seemed to glow; when he was sad, everything grew dark; when he was interested--in anything at all--it seemed as though nothing else in the world existed for him.
And when he was angry...
Cloud shook his head, clearing it of the thought. This was too bright a night to tarnish it with those memories. "Yeah," he said with a smile, looking back up into the sky. "It is."
Sephiroth gave the boy a sideways glance, smiling, and then let out a deep breath, watching the way his breath took form, becoming almost opaque, then faded into nothing. He bent down and scooped up a handful of snow, watching as it, too, vanished in a matter of seconds.
"You're acting like a little kid," Cloud said softly.
Sephiroth turned to look at him with his eyebrows raised. "Really?" The boy nodded. His smile faded and the elite turned away, lowering his hand and letting the water trail off his fingers. "Like a little kid...a child, seeing snow for the first time..."
"Sephiroth?" Cloud's eyes grew shadowed with concern, their glow fading considerably.
He sighed and shook his head, forcing a smile. "It's all right. I was just thinking..."
He let out a sigh and let the façade fall. "A lot of things."
Cloud raised his eyebrows, waiting for Sephiroth to elaborate. When he didn't, the boy decided it was probably not a subject he was permitted to hear about. He changed the subject to cover the silence. "You know, it's almost the same color as your hair."
The superior officer blinked. "What?"
"The snow," Cloud clarified, "is almost the same color as your hair."
Sephiroth gave a short chuckle. "Is it?"
He nodded. "Yeah, expect that your hair has a bit of a metallic tint to it...like snow on silver."
Now the black-garbed man laughed. "Are you trying to be poetic, Cloud?" he inquired, one eyebrow raised, a smile brightening his features. The teen flushed pale scarlet and he shrugged.
Sephiroth shook his head, sighing though his smile, and placed a hand on the boy's shoulder. "Come on, we have work to do tomorrow. It won't do anyone any good if the two commanding officers are too tired to get up in the morning." He walked past the boy, pausing to look at him in the doorway. "Of course, you'll probably oversleep anyway."
And with that he went back inside. Cloud gave a half-smile, looking up at the moon just once more before retreating back into the warmth of the inn after Sephiroth.
The door swung shut behind him, leaving the snow to fall in silence.