Summary: An e-mail volley that went wrong

Summary: An e-mail volley that went wrong. Spawned out of boredom. I can't even use the excuse "It Was Late And I Was Tired" on this.

Warnings: AU and absolutely no explanations as to why the storyline's so screwed up. No real plot. OOC actions taking place right, left, and center. Vast innuendo and flat-out portrayal of yaoi, although I'm wondering as to why I need to warn about yaoi when no one ever warns me when they're going to do horribly-written het.

Notes: The above was not to imply that het is bad, but I know someone's gonna take it that way. And Square owns the characters and most likely a good chunk of the world.

Further notes: Catt, this was entirely, undeniably, and completely your fault. This one's for you.

***

And now, a reading from the book of Square, chapter 1, verse 7…

And having rested from the exhausting work of creating things, the Lord then set about to invent the world's oldest profession:

Management.

He looked upon the world and said, "I am the Lord. For me to rule my own creation myself would be a waste of my infinitely unfathomable powers. So let there be an angel to manage the affairs of this world. Let his powers be nearly equal to my own, and let his name be... Sephiroth the Archangel."

And so it was. And the Lord looked and it was good.

Then, the Lord did frown and scratch his head. "Indeed, I am the Lord. And indeed this new angel is one of my most aesthetically pleasing creations. But to only have one creation such as this is merely the smallest part of my range of powers. I will give him a counterpart to aid him in the grimness of dealing with ruling. So let there be a friend to the archangel and let his name be Zackary."

Then, the Lord did exert his powers of creation and once again, there was a creation. With a Celestial finger-flick, the Lord dropped them both down to the Planet to do His will. And the Lord looked and it was good.

A few Celestial seconds ticked by.

The Lord drummed His fingers and hummed a little.

A Celestial fly gave a Celestial buzz.

In the divine nature of His own being, there was a shift in the Lord. For, to only behold one's own glory for all eternity is, frankly, boring. The Lord did have the amusement of beholding the perfection of his created world and the relief of not having to manage it. But the Lord did know that conflict is too often the sole source of amusement for the perfectly-inclined. So, the Lord set about creating the second oldest profession:

Villainy.

The fearful material took shape under his hands, writhing and twisting in spasms of darkness and lunacy. He looked upon the creation. And the Lord did grin and the angels did sigh and the villainy blinked and stretched its villainous hands to the world in eager anticipation.

So, the Lord did sayeth, "This villainy pleases me, because it assures me that there will always be an Primary Eternal Struggle between good and evil. Good will eventually win, in the end-times, but it will have to overcome evil. And I will make sure this happens by making my final creation, the force of Good Heroism of such beauty and ability and strength, that none shall defeat it.

And because my previous creations seem to be suffering of boredom on the Planet, I will personally add something to this creation in order to solve their problem. And let my creation of Heroism be named Cloud, for clouds are all I see in heaven. I will leave the Villainy unnamed, for that will be his undoing by the hands of Cloud."

And so it came to pass that the Lord created the first Hero and at the same time, created the concept of the sex drive and the mechanics therein, as well as the Second Eternal Struggle of "Who's on Top?"

Coming back for an encore and not yet ready to call it for the day, the Lord did create and introduce the yaoi threesome.

And the Lord looked upon what he had wrought.

And it was good.

***

"Between now and our next appointment, I would like for you to consider all of the different ways that you can kill bunny rabbits."

"All right... but are you sure that once they're dead they can't come back to haunt me?"

"Yes. Don't worry: a dead bunny is a gone bunny."

"Thank you so much, Cloud. You will never know how much you've helped me."

Cloud smiled at the man, opened the door, and let him and another couple of men out. He watched him walk down the hallway and out the entrance to the clinic. Carefully, Cloud closed the door and walked back to his seat. He started to sit down, but stopped. He walked over and closed the window. Then he sat down.

He then proceeded to laugh as hard as he could for the next ten minutes until he inhaled the wrong way and started to choke and turn red. It was times like this that he actually enjoyed his job. It validated the basic philosophy that Sephiroth had made up a long time ago, that one's employment should match one's entertainment, hence Cloud's job of giving psychiatric help to people even more whacked-out than he was.

Then he heard what seemed like a crowd gathering outside his door and changed his mind.

"Oh God... not Vincent again!" he groaned, but he walked over to the door and opened it anyway.

He scanned each person as he walked through the door. Finally, he walked up to one and said, "So, Vincent, how are you?"

"Cloud, why is it that you never seem to talk directly to me?"

Cloud cursed silently to himself. "I'm sorry. I don't know what I was thinking. Please, sit down."

Vincent sat down. One of the figures who had accompanied him inside, dressed in black and red, walked up to him and whispered in his ear, "Look outside Vincent... do you see a coffin? I see a coffin. If you jump out that window, you might make it to the coffin..."

"Look, Vincent, the window has a screen in it that is impenetrable. If you attempt to jump through it you're only going to hurt yourself and get plastered on the sidewalk."

Cloud rethought that. "Well, okay, maybe you can fly, but I've never seen you do that for long periods of time."

Vincent looked at Cloud in shock, which is to say, he looked at Cloud and blinked twice instead of his customary once. "…"

Cloud stared out the window, absently wondering how anyone could mistake a common mailbox for a coffin.

Vincent tried again. "…"

Cloud drummed his fingers a little and started humming the orchestral version of "One Winged Angel."

Vincent finally transformed in irritation, spreading Chaos' wings and shooting five feet straight up in the air. The rush of air swept around the room and knocked the extensive sword collection off the wall in a clattering ring, hung where ordinarily would hang documents assuring the office's patients that their psychologist was, in fact, more sane than they were.

The fact that Cloud's walls did not contain such documents was left to the patients' imaginations.

"…!!?!"

Cloud turned around at the sound of objects falling off the wall and jumped apologetically. "Sorry, Vincent. I can't hear you when you only talk in punctuation marks, remember?"

Vincent transformed back, eyes glowing red and hot. He went about the tiresome task of actually putting his thoughts into words. "…How did you know what I was thinking, Cloud?"

Cloud smiled helplessly and shrugged.

"Kill him, Vincent! He cannot help you," said another blue-suited figure with short black hair and a gun on his hip.

Vincent started to look at Cloud violently.

Cloud picked up a pencil. "C'mon, Vincent. Tell me what's on your mind so we cab both go home. Other than wanting to kill me, you know."

This time Vincent did not allow any emotion to be betrayed on his face. Instead, he neatly composed himself and started telling Cloud all of his problems, most of which involved guilt and vast feelings of inadequacy. (Cloud could not reveal most of these problems to the author of this story because he feared it would violate the doctor-insane patient relationship.)

Eventually the appointment was done and Cloud managed to shepherd everyone out of the room. Vincent continued to give him funny looks as Cloud made faces at a man wearing nothing but a claw and a few artistically placed black ribbons.

Finally, they were all outside and Vincent politely shook hands with Cloud, reminded him of their appointment next week and asked after Cloud's roommates… all without saying a word. He then started to make his way determinedly after a white-lab-coated, nervous looking woman.

Cloud sighed. His looks, his claw, his tragic past always infatuated everyone who knew Vincent but many were deterred by the fact Vincent would only speak in a mixture of silences, short gestures, and deadpan expressions. It kept them from realizing that rather than an unstable, dangerously guilt-ridden vampire, he was an unstable, dangerously guilt-ridden vampire who also was an ex-Turk capable of monster transformations and didn't look kindly on those who were unfamiliar with his code of communication.

Cloud knew differently about Vincent. He knew differently about a great many things, perhaps due to his unique ability to see inside of people's minds--an ability that had gotten him a good deal of gil in his make-shift career as an unlicensed, illegal psychologist. (He cringed at being called a "shrink", but that was probably due to an inferiority complex at being short.) After all, one could not be a mercenary forever.

He locked the doors of the office and walked home. It was a pleasant evening, and the street seemed to pleasantly void of people and their walking-talking problems.

Almost empty, that is.

"Hey, little kid. Ever played with fire materia before? Betcha didn't know how fun it is…"

Cloud groaned. Why did he have to care? He should just walk away.

"Why don't you try lighting that piece of paper on fire, little kid?"

I'm walking away, Cloud thought to himself. This isn't my problem, so I shouldn't waste my time with it.

"Why don't you see if that apartment complex burns too, little kid?"

Cloud stopped dead in his tracks. He turned, walked over to the child and snatched the materia out of her hand. After pocketing it, he turned to face the man.

"I would really prefer that you not corrupt the minds of little children. Midgar has gone through a plate collapse, a giant monster attack, nearly getting smacked by a meteor and rocked by the Lifestream. We don't need any fires," Cloud spoke assertively.

"Who are you?"

He counted to ten and thought fixedly about how he would be within home in two blocks. "I'm Cloud."

"Cloud? A name? Interesting. Who is/are your parent(s)?"

"None of your business."

"I suppose that makes sense, but who said that names were logical, anyway? Speaking of which, why should a name care what this girl does? It's not as if you're going to gain anything."

When one lives with a slightly disgruntled, over-sexed, returned-from-the-dead megalomaniac and an inexplicably resurrected, also over-sexed first class SOLDIER, one learns not to mince logic and to get to the point as quickly as possible. Cloud decided that he had spoken to Fire long enough. He took the materia from the girl and put them in his pockets. Fire, holding a look of shock on his face, slowly faded away.

Cloud stared directly into the little girl's face. "Never let me see you playing around with materia again. They're dangerous and you're too young."

But the little girl didn't seem to be listening. "Who... who was that you were talking to?"

"No one. No one at all," Cloud muttered, walking away.

***

A man walked into a room. He placed his papers on a desk.

The woman at the desk looked through the papers, smiled, and looked up at him. "I must say I am impressed with your apparent desire to join our little institution," she said. "But before you can become a full-fledged member, you must answer a few questions for me:

First, how many letters are in your first name?"

"Three."

"What is the first letter? Please don't be nervous."

"C."

"Good... good... now tell me the second letter."

"I."

The woman smiled. "Excellent! I knew that you were promising material. Please accept my apologies, but I must now ask you this last question as a matter of routine. I am sure you will answer it correctly.

Please state the third letter of your first name."

The man hesitated, but eventually answered: "B."

The woman's smile froze. "Did you just say, 'B'?" she asked.

The man nodded nervously.

"Well then," continued the woman, "I'm afraid that you are not yet ready to join us, Mr. Cib, but I am sure that you will be pleased to know that we offer education and enlightenment programs that will correct your little... abnormality." Two men in black suits walked up to the client, grabbed him, and walked out of the room via a hidden door.

The woman smiled. "Next?" she said, as a new man walked into the room and put his papers on the desk.

***

Hojo was a man who bore a striking resemblance to Cloud. Like Cloud, he was very good as seeing the insides of people. He just used slightly more invasive means on a more regular basis.

The man had an interesting perspective on life. He believed that there were some sort of external forces afoot in the world and that everything these forces made was good. Therefore, reasoned Hojo, since the forces specifically chose to make man mortal, death and biological experimentation must be a good thing. By bringing this service to others, Hojo fancied himself a servant of these forces.

Put bluntly, Hojo was a professional killer—a "doctor", in theory, although Hojo himself never liked the term. After all, it implied that one was only willing to experiment and kill for money and various financial grants, and to Hojo torture was also an exciting past-time.

***

"Get out of the fucking bathroom!"

Inside the shared apartment, Zack charged by, clad only in a towel and banged on the bathroom door. Turning the key in the lock and hanging up his jacket, Cloud wished for the thousandth time that they had managed to find an apartment that had more than one shower. At least it explained where Sephiroth was; he always felt better when he could keep tabs on both his roommates and lovers, making himself less susceptible to being handcuffed to the bedposts and taken advantage of in several pleasurable but always embarrassing ways.

He coughed a little. "Hi Zack."

Zack turned. "Hey Cloud. Look, hold this for me a second, please?"

He handed Cloud a loofah sponge, gave him a hurried peck on the forehead, and started digging through the closet.

Behind the door, the noise of the shower went on undeterred.

As Zack rummaged angrily for his Buster sword. Cloud massaged a crick in his neck and watched with the mildly bored eyes of someone who has seen the same scene unfold many, many times. He wondered whose turn it was to cook that night; and whether it was his; and if so, if he would be able to persuade them to just send out for KFC instead. Fried chocobo wasn't his favorite but it would beat actually having to cook. He just wished they didn't have to pick it up all the way in Kalm…

The shower turned off.

Zack, having located his sword buried in the chaos of the closet turned on his heel and swung the blade at the door. Sephiroth, who opened the door dripping wet and stark naked, ducked his head and nimbly caught the piece of door-lintel that was chopped off. He handed it to Zack who was grabbing for his towel that had slipped down a good ways during the swing. He threw it to Cloud who, not up to doing any home repairs at the moment, dumped it on the floor behind him.

He waved. "Hi Seph."

"Oh, so there you are. When did you get home?"

"Just now." He squirmed out of the drippingly wet embrace. "Jeez, get a towel.'

Zack pushed by, grumbling. "'Bout time you got out." He snatched his sponge from Cloud.

Sephiroth, not knowing or perhaps just not caring about the fact he was leaving a water trail down the hallway much in the matter of a snail, leisurely meandered to the bedroom. Cloud waited and counted. One… two… three…

"GET YOUR ASS BACK HERE NOW!"

We have ignition.

Sephiroth stuck his head out the doorway. "Yes?" he inquired in a superficially polite voice.

Zack stomped out of the bathroom kicking out an array of empty bottles, wet towels, crumpled leather clothing, and a squeaky chocobo bath toy that Cloud had purchased on a whim at the Wallmarket-mart. "Look! This shampoo bottle was full two days ago when I bought it! You're not the only goddamn person in this place with long hair!"

Sephiroth shrugged. "So?"

"So?! I'm out five hundred gil and there's six-foot long silver hairs clogging up the damn trap!"

"My heart bleeds for you. I used up all the hot water, too. Enjoy." Sephiroth closed the door firmly. Cloud put his hands over his ears in anticipation of what he knew was coming.

"You arrogant, selfish, no-good bastard, just wait until I get finished and then we'll see who's laughing about it…" Trailing off, Zack stepped on the squeaky chocobo bath toy which, in accordance with its nature, squeaked.

Glaring at the toy as though it were personally responsible for all of his misfortunes, Zack picked it up, tossed it at Cloud and snagged Cloud's wrist. "C'mon. Might as well have some company in there if the water's gonna be cold. Be a nice challenge for us."

Cloud, in accordance to his nature, squeaked.

TBC…