Disclaimer: I don't own Final Fantasy, Sephiroth, Aerith, Shin-Ra, the Turks, or anything therein. They belong to Square, and I don't make any money off of this.
A/N: During the events of Crisis Core. Zack is away on a job(possibly hunting Angeal), while Sephiroth is back alone, since he can take about any job he wanted. Just a sort of ''what if''' scenario. It's a difficult pairing to finesse, but I figure I might be up to the challenge here. I was aiming for a different angle of it. Zack and Aerith are not technically together yet in the story, they have met, and have interest in one another; but they are not an official ''item.'' I'm sort of assuming the SOLDIERS had to go on a few jobs that you don't see in the game, in between acts or whatnot, so I'm sort of playing with that, as well as a few of the game events, as well. It's a challenging pairing to try to keep to the canon with, but I'll try.
Aerith and Zack are my favorite FFVII pairing by far, bar none...but I have a certain attraction to the forbidden feel of the Sephiroth/Aerith pairing, though it can be a bit more difficult to wiggle around with. We'll see how this goes. Reviews are welcome! I don't need them, but it's fun to read them every now and then.
The story takes place over I'd say a 3 or so week period; with chapter 7 happening after a small time skip, much like CC.
The slums passed by quickly, out the tinted window of the rather roomy Soldier quarters of the usually run-down Midgar train.
Soldier operatives were able to get their own, private quarters with a locking door on the trains; these were kept quite nice, compared to the run-down counterparts of even the ''first class'' areas, which was quite a misnomer.
Sephiroth sat there, looking at everything go by; the slums, the ruin, the people who somehow did not let the despair get to them. Shin-Ra's half responsible for this, he thought to himself with a touch of disgust. Much more than half.
Sephiroth was well beyond a first-class Soldier; the thirty year old could basically take whatever jobs he wanted, and toss off the ones he didn't. He almost had as much freedom as the director himself. Today, he had decided to take a smaller job of information gathering, in the Sector 5 slums, to see what some of the commotion was about. He hadn't been in the highest spirits lately; his friends betrayals and his dissatisfaction with his work wore on him; especially the former. He was often sent on jobs requiring the ''heavy lifting'', but since no one could challenge him, he occasionally found himself getting bored with them. It was almost unfair; Sephiroth was infused with things that made him many times more powerful than any normal man, and even ones that weren't normal themselves. I suppose none of us are what you'd call normal, he thought again to himself, with that slightest hint of disgust that usually perforated his mind when he thought of such things dealing with the company.
Sector 5 had held another thing of interest to Shin-Ra, and the Turks-the girl named Aerith, whom Zack had mentioned having his own interest in. Zack was away on a job; Sephiroth actually liked the young man, though he found him immature and foolhardy at times. Perhaps he only forgot what it was like to be eighteen again, maybe he had just done this too long.
Was I ever excited about anything?
He sighed, and saw that he was approaching his destination.
Zack had taken an interest in the Ancient girl soon after meeting her, he could hear the excitement in his voice. While he didn't say much, he had only met the girl in passing, he had to admit to himself he could see what the young man saw in the young lady; who was a year younger than Zack. Chestnut brown hair, beautiful green eyes. A bit unnatural in their own way, but not quite like the Mako-eyes the Soldiers shared. Sephiroth's were a bit different yet from the rest of them, and he had his full head of silver hair since he could remember.
He stretched his tall frame out, glad to be getting off of the train; even though the Soldier quarters were rather posh. When the train pulled to a stop, he slung his massive sword onto his side; the sword only he could wield-one handed, even-normal people could barely wield it in two hands properly, they could only sort of drag it around and make clumsy hits.
He stepped off, looking around and wrinkling his nose at the smell of the slums. It's not their fault, he thought again to himself. But he still found it rather distasteful. Then again, he seemed to find many things distasteful. Did he really enjoy anything much more than fighting? He tried to think of a time where he might have, but to his knowledge, he had always been some weapon. His memories were fuzzy enough that it frustrated him sometimes, to say the very least.
He brushed the annoyance out of his head, and began his trip through the slums; he stopped to question a few people, like he was supposed to. No, we haven't seen anything odd. Yes, the other day we saw a few of those beasts, but they were taken care of. Where were you when we needed you? You know, for being some high-class soldiers, you certainly know how to ignore folks.
The questions and answers tended to be the same, except for those who didn't know anything, of which there was many. Either that, or they didn't feel like saying anything, or were just plain out afraid of the tall, imposing man with the giant sword, thinking him as much of a monster as the rest of the things around.
Not that I could blame them. They look to us for help, and we piss on them.
Sephiroth sighed, now having second thoughts about taking this job, and suddenly feeling like he wanted some action; perhaps to kill something that would try to wreak some havoc. Occasionally his frustration could reach this point. He found himself sometimes wishing his friends were still around, and the way they used to be, and other times wishing he had Zack's zest for life, which seemed to have left him...if it had ever been there.
He saw the girl, in her light blue dress, fumbling around with something out of the corner of his eye. He walked over to her.
''Need some help?'' he asked, his voice soft.
Aerith started, a bit scared. She turned around and looked up his large frame, until she saw his face. She took a few nervous steps back. ''Uhh...''
''It's ok. I'm here on business. I saw you having some trouble.''
She exhaled deeply; he could tell she was nervous often around his type. Well, except for Zack.
''I..I'm just trying to get this to the church. It's for the flowers.'' She pointed to the large bag. She looked back at him. ''Sephiroth. I do remember. We've met a couple of times before.''
''We have. The flowers?'' He hadn't remembered seeing flowers in Midgar since...ever.
''They grow in the church. I don't know why, but I've been caring for them. Some of the only bright life left in this place.'' She looked sad; not accusing like so many of the other people.
''Here.'' he said. He lifted the bag like it were paper. ''Tell me where to put it.''
''Uhh..yes. Come with me.'' She still looked nervous. She found herself looking at him often; every time she saw the man, she found herself sometimes unable to not stare. She didn't know why, but he had the most unearthly look about him, and a very dangerous aura. She wondered why he was helping.
She looked away as he caught her staring. He said nothing. Sephiroth, while rather distant, did know how to be a gentleman. It wasn't that much of a stretch to help the girl one of his comrades was interested in carry something.
When they reached the church, he dropped it off.
''T...thank you.'' She smiled.
He smirked slightly. ''You're welcome.''
''This isn't part of your duty. Pack mule?'' she chuckled.
He managed a small smile at that. ''Mind yourself.'' There was no menace in his voice, however. Sephiroth, under the right circumstances, could have a very dry sense of humor, if you knew how to get it out of him...and how to read it. He found this Aerith, which the Turks were always watching, rather intriguing himself; there were times he swore that he felt a sort of unknown connection. But he simply chalked it up to a sort of deja vu or some such nonsense.
''Why are you here, anyway? Usually they send the more normal soldiers down here to investigate.''
''I felt like taking this job today.''
''You pick your work?''
''Basically.'' He didn't quite like when people pryed, but her questions were innocent enough.
''I've heard a lot about you from Zack. He says you're unstoppable.''
He snorted laughter. ''He's correct.''
''Do you know where Zack is?'' She looked down at her flowers and began to do a few things with them.
''Off on a job. I'm not sure when he's due back. I wouldn't worry. He's a strong one.'' He hoped Aerith would not tell Zack he said these things. The boy didn't need any more ego and excitement in him; Sephiroth almost feared he would explode if that happened.
''I know.'' She looked up at him, finding herself staring at his eyes again. He sat in silence in one of the pews for awhile, wanting to take a break, he figured. He had been at this all day. Even he deserved a break now and again, after all.
''Have you seen anything odd?'' he asked, after a long while of silence, him sitting there, her working with the flowers. He figured he would try to somewhat stay on his job. Aerith was here often enough, and seemed quite smart, she might actually know some of the things that went on.
''Monsters around. More every day. We aren't being told much.'' She set down her small shovel and sat on one of the pews. She looked back up at him. ''We're used to that, though.''
Somehow, her words did not hold the contempt that the others did. He didn't know why; either she was one of the most forgiving souls on earth, or she simply did not concern herself with what went on upstairs. Perhaps it was a bit of both.
''Same thing as many others said. We're trying to find out why, as well.''
''Is that why you've been investigating?''
''Correct.'' He sat down as well, looking up. ''Some light gets in.''
''Why not go above and plant them if you like them so much?''
The young lady looked uncomfortable. Teenager, he thought to himself. Zack mentioned she was a little younger than him.
''The sky makes me nervous.''
He looked a bit confused at that. ''Why?''
''I...don't know. It just does. I've been down here my whole life.''
''Maybe you should see it one day. I'm sure Zack would take you.''
''Maybe.'' She looked back at him again. He found himself examining her eyes again, before he looked away. He did not like what he had a feeling was going on in his subconscious mind at the moment.
''Well, if there are other problems, I'll be back. I'll be conducting investigations here, so keep your eyes out.'' He stood.
''I feel like I'm being watched, too,'' she said, suddenly.
You are. ''I'm sure it's the stress of the unknowing that's been going around. You'll be ok.''
She nodded. ''Thanks again.'' She turned back. ''Maybe the sky isn't as scary as I think.''
''It's not. You would like it. You could grow...all of the flowers you like under it.'' He bowed slightly and walked out, without saying another word.
Deciding against the train, he walked back to the Shin-Ra headquarters, even though it was a slightly longer route. He felt like clearing his head for some reason, and cursing himself at the same time.
What was going on in his head? I had seen the girl many times before, and suddenly I start to act like some drooling teenager? God, what has this job done to me?
He really felt like being alone at the moment. Perhaps the stress of everything, including the disappearance and attacks of Angeal and Genesis were simply wearing on his mind.
He found he felt an odd bit of comfort in that church, something that had been severely lacking from his life ever since the betrayal of his friends and the discoveries of bits of truths that had been long buried. Perhaps it was a comfort that he had never felt. He couldn't remember.
He approached Shin-Ra headquarters, not looking at anyone, in his usual manner, to give his reports.
Perhaps I shouldn't take these investigation jobs in Sector 5 anymore. I might not be the one for them. I should be out there, killing like I always have been.
Somehow, he found he might want to continue, though.
A/N: Shorter intro-type, I guess. I know what direction I'm going with this I think; I'm hoping I'm keeping them somewhat in character in their CC lifetimes.