The little boy sat and stared at the paper in his hand. He slowly rubbed the cheap print, feeling the rough tooth under the oils of his fingers. Careful not to jerk it up too quickly as to crease it, he lifted it slowly.
He stood up then, little feet pitter-pattering on the ground as he walked over to his bed. Handing the newspaper clipping to his mother's outstretched hand, he climbed on top and into his sheets. After all, if he fell, his boo-boo would heal in a few days. He couldn't ever flatten out paper to be as perfect from its original state.
"Can you read this one to me?" he asked as he fidgeted into a comfortable position and pulled the blankets over his shoulders.
"But I've read this one to you every night for a month," she argued. To her, the logic of children was never understood. It hadn't really ever been in her agenda to have any; she really had a strong aversion to motherhood.
"But mommy, I like this story," he said, a little disappointment in his voice. He had never been one to deal well with rejection. Even if she never said no, that slightly annoyed tone to her voice was far too familiar for a yes.
"I've read it so many times, I think you could read it yourself..."
"I wouldn't know the big words," he replied. She was always the better storyteller, anyway. There was no emotion to her words, and he could always picture it exactly how he wanted without the interference of another's interpretation, even if it was his own consciousness.
"Fine," she said, a hint of frustrated sigh in her final statement. She never saw the glow in her son's eyes as he smiled.
"The elite ShinRa military group SOLDIER has admitted its youngest recruit into the ranks," she began. "Sephiroth, at age fourteen, has become a SOLDIER first class. While the majority of recruits cannot even sign up for training until that age, Sephiroth has transcended above the age limit.
'His potential is... amazing,' says the President Shinra of Sephiroth. 'He is actually much stronger and more agile than some of his peers. It will be a marvelous thing to witness Sephiroth progress further.'
President Shinra is not the only one waiting for the results of the future. Dr. Hojo, who is allegedly Sephiroth's tutor and physician, has this to say of the boy: 'He is an interesting subject indeed to study. His strength is incredible; he is a highly intellectual boy, and a quickly-growing celebrity among the barracks.'
Is this beginner's luck? To put it simply: no. Sephiroth has been training for SOLDIER since the age of nine. Though ShinRa will not divulge the reason as to how they discovered his talents, it is obvious that, even then, he was of extreme power. For five long years, the boy has trained under the most watchful eyes, and he has indeed risen beyond their expectations.
However, Sephiroth is a mystery to us all. With silvery hair and unnaturally bright eyes the same shade of mako energy, his parentage is an enigma. Other unknown things about him are where he was born, his birthday, and how he got to be so perfect for such a position. Midgar Weekly was able to get an audience with the new star of ShinRa.
Midgar Weekly: So, what inspired you to be a SOLDIER?
Sephiroth: I don't really remember anything before I was involved with SOLDIER.
MW: That's certainly interesting. Do you ever wonder about your past?
S: No, not at all. My life at present is pretty good. Why would I want to dote upon the past? I'd lose my momentum and my focus.
MW: Well, you definitely have a lot of drive. What inspires you?
S: My superiors inspire me. Someday, I want to be a General, so I have to study and train until I am fit for the position. My work drives me forward.
MW: Do you ever think about relaxing and enjoying your childhood?
S: Childhood is just something to prepare us for the real world. I can rest when my goals are finally realized. Right now, I'm not worried about taking a break-- I haven't really even started.
MW: Do you think you'll regret that later on, when you'll never be a child again?
S: If I ever do, I will stop thinking about it immediately because it would make me weak. Since that would cause me to retrogress, I would never allow it to happen.
MW: What do you do in your free time, then?
S: I study. Right now, I'm working towards a mastery of materia.
MW: Really? What kind?
S: Healing materia has always interested me.
MW: Don't you think that's a little ironic?
S: Not at all. I believe in saving lives. Even though most people have an outlook on SOLDIERs as military, and therefore, murderers, people don't know the truth. The fact is, without us being the enforcement for order, there would be no such thing as justice.
MW: Do you ever get intimidated at all?
S: No. I think more often than not, my peers are scared of me.
MW: What would happen if you didn't rise to the ranks of General?
S: I am aware of the fact that I may never make General. Anyway, there are certain qualities for that position that I currently lack.
MW: Such as?
S: I am always slightly hesitant in my moves. I'm afraid I'll injure my opponent more than I mean to.
MW: You certainly have a lot of confidence in your strength.
S: Yes, I do.
MW: A lot of rumors have been going around that you gave a SOLDIER first a few broken bones during your entrance exams, but you left without a scratch. Is this true?
S: I wouldn't say that. I walked away with a bruise on my arm.
MW: Do you have any non-military plans for the future like getting married and having kids?
S: No, I haven't thought about that.
MW: Do you have any closing remarks for boys who want to follow in your footsteps?
S: If you work hard towards a goal, anything is possible.
In conclusion, it is not completely out of line to say that this boy, a precocious and determined teenager, will be a promising young fighter for SOLDIER."
The little boy was still listening intently, as if there was more to the end of that story. He knew there wasn't, not in that clipping, at least. He knew, however, that his mother would deny him another reading. Besides, it was already far past his bedtime.
"All right," she said. "I've read you your story, now you have to go to sleep." He tried not to comment on the fact that her thumb was slightly pressing against the paper too hard, and it was wrinkling in her hand. He closed his eyes and nodded an agreement instead. "Good boy," she replied.
She walked to his table with the paper in her hand and slid it back into the little folder of whence it came. The two green pockets were filled with little newspaper tidbits from the last few years. She closed it back up, noting that the binding was starting to fall apart, and placed it back on the shelf with the boy's neglected storybooks.
Sighing, she looked back at her son, having made peace years ago that some truth was more enthralling to him than fiction, and that it was perfectly normal. His beyond-bright yellow hair was perfectly normal. How it defied all laws of gravity was completely normal. And his eyes... how they glowed if she leaned in too closely... that was completely normal, too.
She flicked off his light, and began to close his door, trying to make the least creaking sounds as she could. "Good night," she whispered. "And sweet dreams..."
She never waited for a reply.