Disclaimer: I don't own it. Other wise this would not be FANfiction on a FANfiction site being hosted for free! And I would be one rich son of a bitch right now.
Warnings: This is set before Nibelhiem and Sephiroth's plurge into insanity. There is lots of swearing, poking fun at each other, crude humor and just plain mean-ness from these guys. You'll see that there may be some out of character-ness but that is for a good reason.
Pairings: Sephiroth/Cloud and Zack/Reno, eventual Sephiroth/Cloud/Reno/Zack (plus some swapping).
Additional Note: This story is being edited, and fixed for errors. If you see any, then please tell me!


He Wasn't Always Insane
Chapter One

It's almost amusing to think that there was once a time when he wasn't a psycho. When Jenova hadn't nestled into the crevices of his mind and sunk in too deep to remove. Before he thought about the 'promised land' or killing everything within his reach. Before he became an object of fear in not only his enemies but also everyone around him. Before his name became a taboo to speak fondly of. But I assure you there was a time. There was a time when he really was the man I'd admired so much. The Sephiroth I knew…

I'd joined Soldier a little too late to fight in the war, which really did upset me. I wanted to be just like him. Powerful, respected, and thought of as a hero. But I made it to rank along side him far to late to accomplish what he did. I would always be his inferior, but as long as I could watch him be great I guess it didn't matter to me. In short the man was my fucking idol. I did everything short of worship him.

At first, the thought is that he's a cold-hearted stone of a man. At least that's what he appears to those who don't know him. He always seemed calm and collected. A war machine. But I learned that even with his amazing abilities, he was still human underneath it all.

Before the incident at Nibelhiem, I'd been assigned under his command for three months...Three months and during most of it, in very little contact with the higher powers of ShinRa.

I met Zack first, his second in command, who was a friendly person, talkative and sly. Always talking about this girl he knew and he carried a large broad sword heavily on his back when not in use. He told me all the warnings of what to do and not to do. I learned early on that if I was ever to refer to the General as "Sephy" that I would most likely "get my ass stomped", quoted from Zack.

He's approached in silence, but that smile on his face made him seem like a very laid back kinda guy. He nodded for me to follow him, so naturally I did. We ran into a few of the Turks after Zack came to 'fetch' me to bring to his superior. I didn't say anything while Zack spoke with a large bald man with shades, but one Turk struck out in my mind. I never spoke directly to him until much later. He had an unusual hairstyle of short and spiky in the front and long in the back and it was an intense fiery red color. He gave me a short sneer before he and the others left and before I could get any names. It was then that Zack had turned to me.

"Heh, that was Reno, he's pretty young too. Damn surprising he made it to Second-in-Command already." He smiled brushing at his spiky black hair absently.

"Why did he give me that look?" I asked, not sure of whether it was stupid of me to be worried about a simple expression.

"Huh?"

"He scoffed at me." I answered and suddenly it seemed to click with him.

"Oh that…Well the little redhead has a sort of affixation with the General. Hell I can't name many who don't. I still get a little flushed around him myself. He's just irritated that a newbie is 'invading upon his territory'." Zack laughed heartedly.

"So he thinks I'm competition? To what? Sephiroth's not…gay…is he?"

"Don't come in here with a closed mind like that rookie. Other wise the General will shock the hell out of you." He replied with a small smile, not answering my question.

We walked in silence. I didn't really take that to heart when he said it, and he was right. I followed his steps closely not wanting to get lost, or make an ass out of myself. I'd finally made it to First Class Soldier rank and it was nerve racking in that I didn't have the slightest clue as to what to do. I wasn't even supposed to be here.

He stopped so suddenly that I didn't have time to prevent myself from nearly running him down. That'll teach me to pay attention. Luckily he only chuckled deeply and turned to me.

"If I were you I'd get that spacey-ness out of your system now. Seph isn't very patient, and he won't repeat himself unless he likes you. Make a good impression, because he's got a temper renowned by the gods." I gulped. He made Sephiroth sound like my deciding fate, and that if I messed up I was in for it. In for what I don't know, but in for something that reeked of horrible and painful.

Zack opened the door to Sephiroth's office, and ducked quickly avoiding the stapler that came flying at his head. I moved to the side and just barely missed getting pelted with it myself.

"I told you to knock before entering." A cool, calm, and intimidating voice echoed through the room to the door.

"Sorry, but you also said last time: 'if you knock one more fucking time, I'm going to string you up outside my window and beat you with a desk leg.' I think a stapler to the head is more pleasing…"

"Well when I say knock on the door, I'm referring to your pounding my door down, in a rhythmic beat."

"You should specify more. I'm a little thick headed you should know by now."

"Okay, idiot aside, this is my new pet?" Sephiroth looked at me for the first time and I forced back a gulp. He was as intimidating in appearance as was his voice.

"Yep, this is the one!" He pushed me forward into the room and pulled the door shut behind him, he then took it upon himself to direct me until I was standing directly in front of the General.

I felt a little unnerved as he scrutinized me, watching me slowly unravel with nervousness. He smiled lightly before motioning me to sit in the chair that was to my direct left. It took everything not to stumble and fall over on my face. His glowing mako tainted eyes were almost paralyzing.

"I hope you're not as bad as this one." Sephiroth finally spoke. His deep and masculine voice betrayed the feminine features of his face and more obviously his hair. He pointed to Zack with the pen he's been writing with. Zack was now sitting on the edge of the General's desk. "If you're like him then you'll be more of a pain than a help."

"Hey now, I've helped your ass out of a lot of stuff…"

"Name one."

"Paperwork."

"That doesn't count, because I refuse to do paperwork unless it requires my signature."

"I've learned how to professionally forge your signature so you don't have to do even that."

Sephiroth turned to me, no hint of conceding defeat, but not willing to continue to argue a pointless battle. "See, he talks back too much and gives me too much grief."

"I retrieved your new recruit here, give me some credit…"

"I'll pass. What's your name rookie?" Those eyes were on me again.

"Cloud. My name's Cloud Strife."

To be Continued…