Final Fantasy VII
Notes: The characters are not mine and this ficlit is. The idea is both Lisa's and mine, when we were discussing Kadaj's and Sephiroth's eyes. I don't know if Sephiroth's eyes just sometimes go the way Kadaj's do, or if they're always that way by default, but this is just a little piece for fun. So just . . . go with the flow?
It was quite a pleasant evening at the SOLDIERs' base. Twilight had come and gone not that long ago, and now the deep bluish-black velvet of the sky stretched over the grounds and the buildings and the trees. The diamonds of the stars twinkled and shimmered, bathing the two commanding officers with their gentle light as they walked past.
Zack yawned, brushing the hair out of his eyes as he and Seph rounded a corner. They were heading to the officers' quarters now, probably to Seph's place, where they would hang out until it was time to sleep. It had been a long day of training the men and doing paperwork, and they both deserved a break.
Without warning Seph stopped, frowning as he looked ahead to where two Third Class SOLDIERs were sprawled under a tree. Zack stopped as well. There was nothing out of the ordinary about this scene. The men often decided to chill out after evening mess was done.
He looked to his friend, blinking curiously. "What is it, Seph?" he asked.
Seph was already heading in their direction. "Those men are being punished for the food fight they started yesterday," he said over his shoulder. "They were assigned to the garbage detail tonight." And of course, there was no way that they could have completed it this fast.
Both of the lower-ranked SOLDIERs looked up as Sephiroth and Zack approached, blinking at them in confusion. "Oh, good evening, sirs," one of them hiccuped.
Drunk, too? Man, these guys were really asking for it! Zack frowned, crossing his arms.
Seph glowered at them, his voice sharp as a blade. "On your feet!" he barked.
The one who had spoken grabbed onto the tree trunk to steady himself as he hauled himself to his feet. His companion latched onto the other's shirt, which was hanging free from the trousers, and hung on while pulling himself upright as well. Then they placed their arms around each other's shoulders, too tipsy to stand on their own.
Seph's lip curled in annoyance. Telling them to stand at attention would make them both topple to the grass. There was not any way they would even be able to take care of their assignment in this condition.
"How long have you been here?" he demanded.
The second one regarded him, puzzled. "Since we signed up, is what!" he cackled.
"Do you need me to rephrase the question, SOLDIER?" The tones of steel persisted. Zack shivered. Having Seph mad at you was an experience he did not want to discover.
And wow, what was up with Seph's eyes? His pupils were contracting into catlike slits. How was that even possible? Was he even seeing it clearly? Maybe it was a trick of the light. The Third Class SOLDIERs did not seem to have noticed, but then again, it was not likely that they would be noticing anything right now.
They both blinked at Seph, not understanding his words.
"How long have you been under that tree, intoxicating yourselves?" Seph nodded to the tree in emphasis.
"Oh!" chirped the first. "Since after evening mess, I reckon."
Seph's gaze never left the two wayward men. "The garbage detail was supposed to have been seen to directly after the evening mess," he said. "Did that figure into your plans?"
They looked at each other, then back to Sephiroth. "No, sir!" said the second.
"If it's possible for you to recall anything that happened while you were still sober, the garbage detail for this week was given to you."
Surprise and then recognition stole across the flushed faces. "Oh, that's right!" gasped the first. "I remember that now!"
"Me too!" declared the second.
"We'll get right on it, sir!" cried the first, releasing his friend as he struggled to step forward. Instead he wobbled, crashing forward onto his face in the dirt.
Seph stepped back in disgust to avoid being crashed into. "In your condition, you'd end up throwing yourself away along with the garbage," he growled. "Not that it would be a bad thing."
He reached down, snatching the SOLDIER's shoulders and hauling him to his feet again. "Both of you are going to take hot showers and sober yourselves," he directed. "Then you are going to take care of the garbage detail, and neither of you will see a soft bed until it's done."
"And we're confiscating this stuff," Zack added, walking forward and taking up the bottles of liquor still sitting below the tree. Seph nodded in approval.
"Do you have to, sirs?" whined the second. He turned his gaze to Zack, as if making an appeal. After all, Zack was not nearly as strict as Sephiroth. Surely he would understand! It was just a little fun.
"We have to," Zack said, giving him a Look in return. He might be less strict, but not when it came to such a blatant breaking of the rules. Seph had a right to be angry. These guys were always causing trouble as it was. This was probably going to earn them a couple nights in the brig, at least.
Holding the bottles in one hand, he took hold of the second one's arm and begin to lead him along. Seph was already taking the first in the direction of the showers, ignoring the protests.
But it was going to be almost impossible to ignore the loud, off-key singing of some drinking song from a movie.
When they arrived at the building and went in, Sephiroth led the first man to the nearest available shower stall. "And don't come out until you're sober," he ordered, leaning over to turn on the taps. The hot water emerged, and Sephiroth quickly moved out of range as he began to pull the curtain shut.
"Wait, sir!" the man slurred. "I'm still dressed."
"And stay that way," Sephiroth retorted. "You're too drunk to get out of your clothes." It was too easy to picture how that would end up. The idiot would soon abandon the effort, forcing Sephiroth to undress him. And that was not what the general wanted to be doing tonight!
He should not be doing it at all. It was the responsibility of the Second Class SOLDIERs to look after those in Third Class who went astray. But if he or Zack tried to call for Second Class right now, who knew what else might go wrong in the meantime?
Of course, he was going to have to stay right there until this was over. The nightmarish possibilities were endless. The SOLDIER could wander out of the shower, still drunk, and attempt doing the garbage detail anyway, making a mess of it. He could dance around in the stall and slip, hitting his head on the floor. Or he could . . .
Here was Zack now, bringing in the other one. And somehow he had managed to keep hold of the liquor bottles at the same time. That was good. The last thing they needed was for there to be another mess to clean up. And if the alcohol was adorning the ground, the two morons would probably sit and whine about that for a while.
"Okay," Zack said as he guided his charge into the stall adjacent to the other occupied one, "just stay in there and shower." He also moved to turn on the water, making sure to keep the bottles well out of the intoxicated man's reach. Then he carefully backed up, tugging on the curtain.
"What should we do with this stuff, Seph?" he asked, turning to look at his friend as he waved the glass containers in emphasis. "Can't really leave it around where they might get it again."
"Put it in that cupboard," Sephiroth directed. "We'll get it when we leave. Hopefully by then, they'll be able to walk on their own."
Zack nodded, opening the door and placing the bottles on the shelf before closing the cabinet again.
He had no sooner done this when a wet object soared from seemingly nowhere and landed in the sink, splashing both Sephiroth and Zack as it went.
"Hey!" Zack cried. "What the heck?!"
Sephiroth glowered at the crumpled shirt. "It came from over there," he announced, pointing to the shower stall Zack had abandoned.
In the next moment an undershirt followed the main shirt, getting itself caught on the shower curtain's rod. Zack gave a low whistle, shaking his head as he went back to the stall. "Don't try to get your clothes off until you're sober," he said. But with the way things were going, was it likely that he would even be listened to? The guy seemed to want to perform a striptease.
"I'm sober, sir," the Third Class SOLDIER retorted, his voice still slurred beyond belief.
"Oh yeah, suuure you are," Zack said, crossing his arms.
Without warning an off-key voice interrupted all other thoughts.
"OH! Siiiiingin' in the rain, just siiiingin' in the rain! What a glorious feeling, we're haaaaappy agaiiiin . . . !"
Sephiroth ran a hand over his face. It was going to be a long night. Stepping out of the room to call Second Class might have to be attempted.
"Siiingin' in the . . . Hey! Help! I'm falling!"
A hand shot out from the curtain, flailing before grabbing onto Sephiroth's coat. He could only stare in disbelief for a split second before they were both descending. And then, suddenly, he was sprawled on top of the first man, who cackled on the floor as the water continued to pour over them both.
"Seph! Hey, are you okay?!"
He looked up through drenched bangs as Zack pulled the curtain aside further, concern in his lavender eyes.
"I'm fine," Sephiroth grunted as he started to push himself up. And he was, but he was boiling with anger.
Zack quickly took notice that his pupils were catlike slits again.
"Wow," Zack said, nearly an hour later. "That was crazy."
He and Seph were finally back in Seph's quarters, tired and put-out after their experience. It had been almost impossible to hold the SOLDIERs still while the water ran over them. They had kept wanting to leap or sway in their respective stalls, and had nearly slipped several other times. Luckily, there had not been any other untimely spills, and now they were doing the garbage detail while two Second Class SOLDIERs observed.
Sephiroth nodded in agreement. He had taken a shower himself, once they had arrived here, and now he was drying his hair while Zack observed from the couch.
He looked up questioningly from behind his damp locks.
"I was wondering about something. . . ." Zack watched with curiosity as Seph continued to rub the towel with vigor over the long locks. He said nothing, and Zack was encouraged to continue. "A couple of times tonight, your eyes got kinda freaky."
"How so?" Seph asked, sounding bored.
"Well . . . the pupils . . . they got really narrow, like cats' eyes," Zack explained. "But then they went back to normal after a minute or two."
Seph grunted, giving a half-shrug. "It happens when I'm angry," he explained, "and my feelings have reached their zenith. I don't know why." Walking over to the couch, he plopped on it in weariness. This was not an adventure he wanted to see happen again. After the garbage detail was accomplished, both of those men would be sleeping in the brig, and in the morning, he was going to look into having them dishonorably discharged. They had never been of much use, and only created more work for everyone else. It would be better if they were court-martialed.
"Most people aren't aware of the phenomenon," he added, "since they're rarely standing that close to me when it happens."
Zack shook his head, brushing a stray lock aside so that he would not move onto it by accident. "Man . . . I hope I never get you ticked off like that, Seph," he said.
Sephiroth smiled vaguely. "You, Zack? I doubt you would even be capable of it."
Zack grinned now, placing his hands behind his head. "That's good," he said.