Final Fantasy VII

Homeward Bound

By LuckyLadybug

Notes: The characters are not mine and this ficlit is. It was directly inspired by Time spent apart at 30 Gens. Normally my pre-Nibelheim oneshots do not have a particular order, but this one I've determined takes place before Shine Until Tomorrow. Yet it is not necessary to be familiar with that fic to make sense of this one. Thanks to Kaze for plot help!

He was going home.

That was a weird thing to think, really; after all, Gongaga was home. Waving palm trees and coconuts and hot, humid summers were what he had grown up with and had loved (well, the humidity not so much). He had had a warm, cozy home, nicely furnished yet not extravagant, and a loft room to stare out at the stars. Usually he had kept the window open, the cool night air blowing through the screen and ruffling his wild black hair.

He had never much thought of Midgar's SOLDIER base as home. Midgar had very little in the way of trees or plants; its jungles were made of concrete and asphalt. It was much colder in winter than he liked, and the summers were too hot--though, thankfully, not humid. He had comfortable and air-conditioned quarters, and a window, but it was much more difficult to see the stars amid the lights of the city. Mostly what he viewed was the glow of the mako reactors against the night sky--which did have its own kind of appeal.

In spite of everything he loved about Gongaga, however, it could never be home without the people he loved--his parents, the villagers, the children. . . . It would just be lonely and hollow if they were not there. The magic would be gone.

And Midgar could never be home if he did not have loved ones there, too.

Both places were home now.

A grin came over his features as the helicopter approached the base. It had taken so long to get here! He was leaping out before it even fully landed, hoisting his duffel bag over one shoulder. He waved in thanks and acknowledgment to the pilot as he jogged across the grounds.

"See ya!" he called.

The pilot shook his head, watching in semi-amusement, semi-awe at the cheerful SOLDIER. Obviously Commander Fair had something on his mind. He was excited to be back. And there was likely someone anxious to have him back, as well.

Commander Fair was lucky.

There was always so much work to be done.

In some ways it was irritating. In others it was what he wanted. It was what felt comfortable after all this time. To have work made him feel useful and productive. Though many of the documents he had to read were exasperating. He was not often fond of typing reports, either.

But a slight smile had come over his features while looking over the report he had received earlier that day, via email. Zack had described his solo mission with fairly good accuracy, especially for one who could barely sit still long enough to type that much. Every now and then he had slipped in his narration, replacing formal words with the colloquial. The General would have to point that out to him, of course. But who knew how many reports Zack had done already that had not been corrected? Lazard might have already seen a good number in that state. The man shook his head, the silver bangs swishing with the motion.

Zack was ready for whatever mission came his way, though he much preferred it when he and Sephiroth could be assigned together. He had included a short note with his report, for only Sephiroth to see.

Sure missed you being along, pal. It would've been a lot more fun to track down the Wutaian spies with you. Just like old times, huh?

Indeed it would have been. Their first mission together had been in Wutai, though it had been bittersweet for both of them. Sephiroth had received information from Lazard, however, that he was considering sending them both back to that unstable land to inspect the progress and discover those who would be friendly to SOLDIER. For two such highly ranked SOLDIERs to be called out, Sephiroth had to wonder whether Lazard suspected trouble. It would not be surprising. Even with the official end to the war, there was always something amiss in Wutai.

He and Zack had communicated by email and over the phone while Zack had been gone. And he should be arriving back today. Green eyes glanced to the clock. Zack always liked to make an entrance for himself. And when greeting a close friend whom he had not seen for several days (or even hours), it could be expected by now what he would probably do.

"Seph! Oh wow, it's great to see you!"

He looked up, starting to attention. The brunet was rushing in, grinning widely as he flung out his arms.

Sephiroth stood up, letting himself be glomped. The slight smile returned. Strange, that he had been looking forward to this act of enthusiasm.

"Welcome back," he said.

Welcome home.