Final Fantasy VII

Of Serious Men and Rain Puddles

By LuckyLadybug

Notes: The characters are not mine and this ficlit of randomness is! It was inspired by the 31 Days prompt Rainbows and Puddles, and the 30 Friends prompt Walk beside me. Thanks to Kaze for plot help!

It had rained for most of the day in Midgar, leaving the streets slick and wet with puddles at every turn. For the moment, the clouds were not spilling over, but they continued to loom above the base as if they were ready to split open at any given time.

Sephiroth had come prepared. A simple black umbrella was gripped in his left hand as he and Zack got out of the Jeep at the base's gates.

Zack blinked at him, placing his hands behind his head. "A little rain won't hurt you," he chirped. "It rained all the time in Gongaga. Good and refreshing, especially in the summer!"

Sephiroth grunted. "Yes, well, the rain that falls here is polluted," he answered, his tone flat. "And refreshing or not, I don't want to be drenched if it comes down in sheets. I'll take a shower on my own terms." With that he started to walk towards the building that housed their offices. Zack hurried to keep up.

"What you really mean is, you don't want your hair to get wet!" the brunet smirked, poking Seph on the arm.

"I would prefer it didn't, yes," Sephiroth answered.

Zack was amused. He yawned, stretching his arms in front of him. It was easy to get lost in thought as he kept steady pace with Seph. There was still so much work to be done today, most of it on the computer. And he wanted to find time to hang out with Seph afterwards and do something. Plus, he planned to head down to the slums and visit Aerith. Maybe he would take her puddle-jumping. They could have fun doing the simplest things. That was one reason why he loved being around her. She did not expect him to buy her all kinds of fancy stuff, like some girls would.

"Are you trying to splash me?"

Zack started back to the present. He was standing in a large puddle. And Seph was standing a good deal away from him, his arms crossed in his disapproval.

Zack blinked at him. "Huh?"

Sephiroth shook his head. "We've passed three puddles now," he said. "You've been jumping in each one."

Immediately Zack was sheepish. "Oops," he grinned, rubbing at the back of his neck. "Sorry, Seph. I wasn't even thinking."

"Judging from your expression, I'd say you were doing a lot of thinking," Sephiroth remarked, his tone dry.

Zack hopped over the rest of the puddle, going over to Seph. "I was!" he said. "I was thinking about me and Aerith jumping in puddles the last time it rained. It was great!" He spread his arms wide. "I took her out to Kalm, you know, to visit Maryn with me, and then we splashed in the puddles before we left. The sun came out later and there was this big rainbow reflecting in all of them. It was really pretty!"

Sephiroth allowed himself a slight smile. "I'm sure she enjoyed that," he said.

Zack gave an enthusiastic nod. "There's a lot more puddles before we get to the office," he said. "We could play in them or something!"

He would never forget the Look he received. Seph was not impressed by the suggestion. And he looked like he thought Zack had taken leave of his senses.

"You can play in them if you want," Seph said, "but not on the military's time."

Zack gave him a mournful look. "Aww, come on, Seph," he bemoaned.

Seph walked past him, continuing his journey. This time he was not giving in, nor did he want to. In some ways, he would always be the same serious, stern general.

But Zack would still walk beside him. He chased after his best friend, draping an arm around his shoulders. Seph started.

"Okay!" Zack chirped. "No puddle jumping! Just walking. And work. Boring, boring work, nothing but pounding on a keyboard and signing stuff until our fingers are raw . . ." He made his voice sound as despairing and melodramatic as possible.

Sephiroth looked over his shoulder, unmoved. "There's some ointment in the medicine cabinet," he deadpanned.

Zack blinked, for a moment stunned into silence. "Seph!" he exclaimed then. "You made a joke!"

Sephiroth smirked. With that he continued his pace. Zack hurried to stay alongside him, brightly grinning.

Yes, Seph would never like puddle-splashing. But he was not serious all the time. And there were plenty of things that he and Zack could share in doing.

. . . Including the mountain of paperwork inside.

Zack made a face at that thought.

Oh well, maybe when they were off-duty he could try to interest Seph in a board game, something that involved a lot of stratagem and thinking. He should be able to find something like that in the recreation room.

If all else failed, maybe they could compromise with checkers.