Title: Three-Twenty-Seven part 1
Author: Sorceress Fantasia
Pairings: Zack/Cloud, eventual Sephiroth/Zack/Cloud
Warnings: Crack, fluff, humour, slight crossover with Chobits, slice-of-life
Word count: 835
Disclaimer: As much as I would love to lay claim to Cloud, I'm kinda scared of Seph's Masamune. So well, I don't own Final Fantasy 7 or any of its characters.
Summary: Zack's first meeting with his Persocom.
When Zack joined the military, he had expected a lot of things. Most of them were bad, and he realized the moment he'd signed his name above the dotted line that they were all true. There was the constant fighting, the physically-taxing training, the food served in the cafeteria that sooner ate a hole in your stomach than you could digest them, and the slightly muted but still discernable noises that came from some bunks in the middle of the night like certain people were playing 'find your materia slot' with things that were definitely not materia. Whoever said that being in the military was good for hooking up with girls could go scrub the chocobo stables with a toothbrush during the chocobos' mating season with the horny birds; who had the time or energy for that sort of thing?
Then he got promoted.
And he realized that he could name offhandedly some recruits who ought to be shot first before a mission started lest he brought down the whole platoon, finally knew the people who played 'find your materia slot' in the middle of the night by their first names, learnt not to twitch at all when he found whips and leashes in some officer's rooms, and he finally agreed with the others that yes, paperwork mated at night like rabbits on Viagra with no condoms when nobody was in the offices and multiplied by themselves enough to have great-grandchildren by the next working day.
The other officers assured him that he was fully inducted into the ranks when he confessed to having recurring nightmares of being eaten alive by the 'evil paperwork'.
As far as Zack was concerned, being in the military was only good for… well, if it was good for anything, Zack certainly hadn't found out what it was yet. And he had enough self-preservation instincts instilled into him enough to not ask Angeal, Genesis or Sephiroth. Those three, with all their emo-ness combined and Genesis' tendency to quote 'Loveless' for every damn thing, wouldn't have a clue anyway. And Zack was not interested in hearing enough of 'Loveless' to be able to recite it by heart, thank you very much.
Then, in a proverbial twist of fate, the answer to his question came in the form of a twisted man, as befitting of a twisted fate.
Hojo, the mad scientist who everyone had speculated to have the sex drive of a neutered Bandersnatch, was in actual fact a closet pervert who had a fetish for cute little shotacon poster boys. Or so rumours went. But it was a fact that the man had been ordered by Rufus, who recently took over the position of president from his father, to work on a project to build a super-computer, and the end result was a super-computer alright.
A humanoid half cyborg, half super-computer that was, as mentioned earlier, the poster boy for shotacon. Even if half cyborg, half super-computers didn't exactly view ages the same way humans did. Numbers, to them, were something like… a warranty period. Anything older than three years old was considered antique and out of warranty.
Still, the humanoid side of this half cyborg, half super-computer was infinitely pretty, and looked anywhere from 18 years of age to 18 and a month. More or less. Rufus had been worried about moral crusades against Shinra for manufacturing half cyborg, half super-computers that looked too young and would hence be the perfect victims for shotacon and lolicon.
With a pale, heart-shaped face framed by messy blond hair, blue eyes that held the almost eerie glow of Mako and yet were softer like sparkling sapphires, soft, supple complexion, and delicate features, the only thing that indicated the boy was not normal were the special 'ears' on either side of his head which could be opened and connect him to normal computers. Seriously, there were few questions as to why Cloud Strife was nearly locked up in Hojo's room. Thank god for Rufus' timely intervention or Cloud would never get to see the light of day.
And now Zack had the little blond at his beck and call, waiting on him hand and foot and obediently following his every order. Ah, the perks of being the only sane SOLDIER First Class! And in order to get a complete grasp of what Cloud could and could not do, Rufus had ordered Zack –did he even have to order him to do so?- to fully realize every aspect of Cloud's potential in whichever way he wanted. He even got Hojo to write and install a program into Cloud that made him so dependent on Zack that he couldn't wander too far away from the brunet.
Looking at the blond boy –Persocom, Hojo would yell- standing before him and peeking at him from under jagged, wispy bangs, Zack grinned wide enough to trip every warning bell, alarm and security system in existence.
Cloud just fidgeted and tried to pull his clothes closer to himself.
Three-Twenty-Seven part 2
Word count: 1385
Summary: Zack brings Cloud home, and Cloud meets Sephiroth for the first time.
As much as Cloud's first meeting with Zack less pleasant than he had imagined (though compared to Hojo, the degree of discomfort Zack gave him was no contest), his first meeting with Sephiroth was a lot better, if just slightly awkward. Still, with all things considered and taking into account of what Cloud already knew about the silver-haired general with no thanks to information packages that were easily downloaded from Hojo's files, he thought it was pleasant enough.
Even if his first sentence upon seeing the blond was, "Zack, put your boy-toy back to where you'd found him."
Upon leaving Zack's office, where President Rufus had readily offloaded him over to the brunet much like a sack of potatoes –expensive and intelligent potatoes, he might add- Zack had pulled him along back to the apartment he shared with Sephiroth like a kid with his latest toy or Christmas present and looking for someone to show off to. Bursting through the door, the first thing he did was shout for his friend who was at the dining table poking at a plate of… something with his fork.
Sephiroth raised a fine eyebrow, went back to stabbing the plate of… something, and said, "Zack, put your boy-toy back to where you'd found him." Ah yes, the dreaded aforementioned sentence that had more or less stuck Cloud to his spot with a stiff expression and did basically nothing to Zack, the ever optimistic one.
"But aww, Seph you never let me have any fun anymore!" he merely replied, the grin on his face urging Cloud to inch away slowly.
"The last time I closed one eye and 'let' you, I had Lazard beating down my office door with the news that you'd implied that doing squats was fundamental to passing the SOLDIER exams and some cadets had gotten severe cramps from overdoing it. And the stains on our kitchen ceiling? That was you having fun the last, last time. And don't get me started on the last, last, last time you had fun; Angeal still gets headaches when he thinks of it."
"But you had a good laugh, didn't you? And anyway, Cloud is not my boy-toy. If anything, he's /our/ boy-toy because we're supposed to share him, but he's not really a boy-toy. He's… Ah Cloud, why are you all scrunched up against the wall on that far end of the room?" Zack asked, a lopsided grin plastered on his face like it was a permanent fixture. He ignored Sephiroth's comment, "Probably because that's the furthest he could go," and gestured for the obviously flustered blond to come back. "Aw, you're awfully skittish, aren't you?"
Backed up against what he hoped was a solid and secure wall, Cloud shook his head and yelled his reply, "Not skittish! I just have a very strong sense of self-preservation! Erm, could I stay here for the moment while you two talk it out? Whatever it is! I can stay here all night, I swear!"
"Well, if you're comfortable…"
"I am! Please don't worry about me!" The blond nodded so quickly Zack was surprised he hadn't gotten whiplash from it at all. He chalked it up to the wonders of being a persocom and carefully filed the piece of information away.
Turning back to Sephiroth, who had finally given up his battle with the plate of… something and set his fork down, Zack's grin came back full force. "Anyway, as I was saying, the blond's name is Cloud, and he's going to be staying with us from now on. You've heard of the rumours surrounding Hojo, haven't you? Not the one about him having the sex drive of a neutered Bandersnatch –which I personally think has been over-exaggerated; comparing Hojo's sex drive to a Bandersnatch's is such an insult to the Bandersnatch, neutered or not- but the rumour about Rufus ordering him to build a super-computer. Well, our lovely Cloud here is the end product. Hojo calls him a persocom, but I'd rather call him by a whole list of cuter nicknames."
Sephiroth frowned. "A humanoid computer?"
"Well… more or less. We'd have to go through his specs to know what he can really do, though. That's basically why Cloud's here with us, actually. Rufus wants me –well, us- to find out what Cloud can do and cannot do, and he even got Hojo to install this frigging cool program that makes Cloud so dependent on me he has to sleep with me."
"I only have to be within 3 kilometers of you! It's not necessary for me to sleep in your bedroom, much less your bed! The program isn't that anal!" Cloud yelled suddenly, blood rushing to his face so fast he almost burst a vessel. The wall he was still firmly pressed up against was starting to have an impression of his silhouette.
"I promise I won't hog the blankets! But in case I do, you're welcome to snuggle up to me to get warmer. I won't mind even if you wake me up," Zack laughed with a wink, completely ignoring the blond's protests. "Just don't try Seph. He's real cranky when he wakes up, and he always keeps his Masamune at his bedside so I wouldn't go anywhere near him when he's sleeping, seriously. That's mostly why all of the assassinations on Seph failed back when we were fighting the war in Wutai, come to think of it. The assassins just don't get the idea of assassination when the guy's not sleeping."
Under Cloud's careful observations, Sephiroth's poker face did not twitch at all, probably already too used to Zack's brand of humour. Instead, the man seemed to be quite intrigued by his presence, quite possibly because he hadn't seen someone who was unfortunately not yet immune to the Zack phenomenon in a very long time. And according to the data files Cloud had gotten, Zack had already been in Shinra for the past three years, which was more than enough time for the people around him to get used to him. Even emo people –a label used in the data files, seriously, though Cloud did wonder if he should tell Hojo that having an internal Wiki system where all Shinra personnel could log in and edit the information for their data files wasn't the best idea- like Sephiroth had reached the consensus that getting used to Zack was a more pleasant prospect than getting forever surprised by whatever he did by the second year.
But surely, the silver-haired general couldn't blame him! Who could fault him for his survival instincts?
Then the general walked over, and before Cloud knew it, the man's commanding presence was already towering over him, his liquid mako eyes seemingly assessing his worth. He gulped internally.
Cloud was expecting a lot of things, things that ran from hitting a target with a sniper rifle three kilometers away to recording and summarizing all those lengthy Shinra meetings, and even sillier things like how many squats he could do under one minute and if he was toilet trained. His data files mentioned that Sephiroth was a highly unpredictable individual outside of the battlefield, and he vaguely wondered how unpredictable was unpredictable.
Yup, the data files were accurate enough.
"Yes, sir. I can cook well enough. I have some recipes downloaded onto my hard drive."
"Brilliant question, Seph! No wonder they pay you the big bucks! You totally think of everything," Zack exclaimed, jogging over to them. "So, when can we have dinner? It's supposed to be Seph's turn cooking tonight, but I still can't figure out what's that thing on the plate that he keeps stabbing at."
While Sephiroth questioned the true identity of the thing that had been on the plate yesterday when Zack had been the one cooking, Cloud just swiftly slipped into the kitchen like a mice and started going through the groceries and tossing out the colonies of previously unknown life forms that now dwelled in the refrigerator.
Well, that first meeting with Sephiroth had been pleasant enough. At least, there were no threats of befriending the Masasume yet. Oh wait, there was one now, if the way Zack was yelling was any indication. But it was directed at Zack, so well… not his problem.
Three-Twenty-Seven part 3
Word count: 1551
Summary: The WikiShinra has got to be one of the worst ideas Shinra ever had.
The Shinra data banks were a complete mess by the time the company entered its tenth year, what with huge amounts of funds going missing and then reappearing in someone's personal bank account and some internal executives playing tic-tac-toe in the accounting books. So when somebody finally realized it was probably more efficient to clean up the mess literally than spend five hours in the sweltering data rooms and going through every frigging folder and electronic disc for if a demised SOLDIER First Class had bought life insurance with the company or not, the company decided to do this with the fastest way possible.
By creating an internal data management system where everyone in the company who was of a legally sound mind could input and edit data, Shinra managed to clean up its data banks in half the time they had expected. With the other half of the time when the engineers were expected to work for, they created a similar system for its personnel.
Now, everyone was who was a somebody in Shinra had their own profile pages in WikiShinra.
Having a profile page in WikiShinra was a bragging right, and while most of the pages were profiles of prominent and high-ranking SOLDIERs, some of the Shinra heads like Scarlet and Heidegger also had their own pages, though theirs were always locked for fear of vandalism.
As Cloud laid in bed on his first night with Zack and Sephiroth (unfortunately, as the guestroom was currently occupied by dust bunnies and alien life forms and no eviction notice could be handed out so soon, Cloud had to take up Zack's offer of sharing a bed), he booted up his system and connected himself to the website. During dinner, Zack and Sephiroth had had a short discussion about the people they worked with before they –well, it was mostly Zack- shot it down in favour of getting to know more of Cloud. Now, as Zack snored away softly beside him, Cloud thought it was the perfect opportunity to learn more about his two caretakers.
He first visited Zack's page, blinking at the image that loaded. That photo was definitely not Zack's. In fact, it wasn't even human. But considering Zack's nickname that he'd heard Rufus call him by and Zack's behaviour so far, Cloud wasn't sure if that image of the puppy was really that inaccurate. Still, as Zack's persocom, he felt it was his duty to do a check on who'd vandalized the article. Praying that he wouldn't wake his caretaker up, he allowed his systems to speed through the process and before long, he'd managed to track the offending IP address to a certain computer he knew was located in a special part of the Shinra building.
Did Zack have some grudge with a Turk member? He'd have to ask Zack tomorrow morning.
For now, he decided he'd just go through the information on Zack's page and he called up the page again. Joined the military at age 15, rose through the ranks in a near unprecedented speed to become a SOLDIER First Class in just three years, and currently 18 years of age. Described by colleagues to be annoyingly cheery at times, everyone believes that Zack's the reason why his mentor, Angeal Hewley, gets headaches frequently and some even believe that Angeal has gone slightly batshit due to his protégé.
Well, all checked, and Cloud was sure he'd have enough material on Zack a few days later to beef up a section called 'Number of amazing, sometimes hilarious and absolutely tasteless practical jokes Zack has played'.
Cloud moved on to Angeal.
Another SOLDIER First Class, and known as one third of the holy trinity within the military, which was made up of Angeal, Genesis and Sephiroth. Due to Genesis' preference to work alone and Sephiroth's poor emotional quotient, however, Angeal was usually seen as the emotional leader of the military branch. Took cadet of the year, Zack Fair, under his tutelage when the boy was 15, and has managed to train him into a brilliant SOLDIER, despite the boy's tendency to get into trouble like nobody's business. Rumoured to terribly regret his choice of protégé.
Next on Cloud's list was Genesis.
SOLDIER First Class, most well known in the military for being a huge 'Loveless' fan and his tendency to quote passages from the timeless classic offhandedly for all and any occasions. Also happens to be Angeal's childhood friend who joined the military at the same time and rose through the ranks together. Currently has not taken anyone under his wing, and usually works alone or with Sephiroth or Angeal. According to the records, however, he seemed to prefer working with his childhood friend as Sephiroth once competed against him for the title of the prettiest SOLDIER, and Genesis was still holding a grudge against the silver-haired general.
Cloud rose an eyebrow at the large trivia section that he had a feeling Genesis' fanboys and fangirls had helped compile. Genesis was rumoured to have a secret identity as an international pop sensation that'd sold loads of records and was popular for giving fan-service on stage?
Now it was Sephiroth's turn.
Cloud took a quick glance, and he was almost disappointed at how similar the information up on the page was with what Hojo had already provided him with. SOLDIER First Class, highly unpredictable individual outside of the battlefield, can't cook to save his life, shares an apartment with Zack, wields the legendary Masamune that sometimes doubles as a laundry pole when Zack runs out… Nothing new, unfortunately.
Despite the late hour, Cloud decided to search for one last group of people: the Turks. Since Zack had probably offended or gotten into trouble with at least one of them (hence the puppy photo up on his WikiShinra page), Cloud thought it'd be a good idea to get to know them as well. Vaguely, he wondered if any of them were more decent than Zack and wouldn't mind taking him off his hands. At that thought, Cloud very carefully removed Zack's hand that was crawling towards his boxers with a rather disturbing accuracy.
Cloud decided he liked going online at night, when most people were asleep and he had more bandwidth available. He resisted the urge to curse Hojo for being stingy and not setting him up with a personal internet connection. He would have cursed more had the page he was looking for not turn up.
Hmm… According to the page, the Turks were a group of people attached directly to the president, and their work scope included everything under the sun. As long as the president wanted it done, they'd do it.
Cloud blinked. Hey, wasn't it a little tough on them? What if the president wanted someone to clear his flooded toilet bowl and clean the piece of gum he stepped on in his new leather shoes? The poor souls… Cloud silently said a prayer for them as he removed Zack's hand that was inching towards his crotch again and wriggled further away from the human leech. Was the man really asleep!?
Anyway, back to work, back to work. Turks, Turks, Turks… Ah, a snippet of trivia on the page revealed the origin of their name: during a ball to celebrate the completion of a new reactor and also for Thanksgiving, the previous president had gotten suitably drunk on fruit juice, and with it, his desire to create a new group of people to clean up after him increased. The man had taken a look at his table and promptly named the new group after what was being served for dinner. It was, supposedly, with much persuasion and pleading that the group had not been named Turkeys.
The poor souls.
Uh oh. As if on instincts, Cloud flipped out of bed just in time to avoid a full frontal glomp. Holding his hands in front of him defensively, he watched the figure still lounging in his bed cautiously, uncertain if the man would suddenly decide to leap up and grab him like he was a crocodile and Cloud was the zebra crossing the river. After several minutes of Zack continuing to lie in bed like a log, Cloud narrowed his eyes. A thought occurred to him, and he gingerly inched towards the bed again, squatting down by the edge. Slowly, he poked Zack's cheek.
The man's only response was an annoyed swipe.
Cloud tried again.
Another swipe and a groan.
Deciding to take another chance, Cloud crept back onto bed, slipping under the covers quickly. He sighed contently at the warmth seeping back into his bones and the feeling of the soft bed underneath. It wasn't long before his eyelids began to close of their own accord. They slid lower and lower, lower and lower, until finally, those baby blues were completely shut. His breathing evened out soon enough.
That was when Zack's arms pulled him closer until they were completely flushed together. Cloud did not even budge.
"Heh, Cloud, you've completely underestimated me, haven't you? A SOLDIER can lie in wait for as long as they need to catch their quarry and complete their mission," he uttered softly into the boy's golden locks, pressing a kiss there as he finished. "Good night, little one."
A/N: Now, if you noticed, this fic's summary is 'A 'what if' series of ficlets about a threesome, as written in twenty parts, with characters from Final Fantasy Seven, where Cloud is Zack and Sephiroth's persocom'. Currently, I only have 3 parts written, and not much ideas for the other 17 parts. If you are still reading this, please feel free to give prompts, which I may or may not take depending on how active my brain cells are. XD
Also, if you have an idea on how to incorporate Sephiroth into Zack and Cloud's relationship, please also help. XD Sephiroth is kinda unwilling to destroy the 'delicate' balance between those two and hence has not given me any opening to start writing them as a threesome. XDD