Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy, but I do own my OC.

OCxSephiroth. She worked in Shinra's kitchen when he was a boy, and became his friend. Then she vanished. Years later she reappears as if nothing has happened. This insignificant reunion becomes too meaningful for Hojo to ignore.

Hurlo thar, you! Pleeease read here before reading the story? Thank you :) Okay, this story starts in Sephiroth's childhood, without romance. Then, after this first prologue chapter, there will be a long timeskip. Sephiroth will be General, and feelings will start flourishing. Hopefully... And please read this story carefully while not skipping paragraphs..?

The OC will not be "Mary-Sue-ish" and all-powerful with magnificent abilities that stun people half to death, and she will change on the way(her age will be explained). She'll be... unusual. I'll try making this story as original as possible.
Rated for language, romance, Hojo's plans and events in later chapters... And just to be careful.


Prologue


"Take him to the kitchen, and tell them to teach him a proper lesson," Hojo demanded in something akin to a snarl, glaring at Sephiroth with spite that could bring even the most fearsome of fiends into submission. At least, that was how he could be described by a child.

"I did nothing," the eight-year old Sephiroth stated, his frowning face calmer than he felt. Nonetheless he stepped back and let a nameless scientist take him by his arm and gently pull him along.

"Exactly! You didn't do anything. That is why you are being punished!" he heard Hojo yell as they walked out of hearing range. Never before had he been that angry. Sephiroth doubted he would forget how much colder Hojo's eyes had looked than usual upon realizing what Sephiroth had done. Or rather, what he hadn't done.

For as long as Sephiroth could remember, Hojo had been testing him in various ways to check everything from his strength to his ability to react. Though it almost never hurt him, or at least not much, Sephiroth had never enjoyed it. He had only failed a few times, and one of those times was today. A large, jet-black fiend with no apparent shape had attacked him with something that resembled ink. It had soaked him completely, leaving his white garments and his silver hair completely black. Sephiroth's unforgivable mistake, as Hojo called it, had been not to avoid said attack.

Owing to this, he was taken to the kitchen to repent for what he had not done. He was not entirely sure what he should be thinking of that, as he had never been to the kitchen before. Was the kitchen an awful place?

He was not left to wonder for long, as a scorching hot, damp piece of cloth was pressed against his face to remove the worst of the ink.


The busy chef and the cooks, most of them women, outright ignored the newly arrived boy. They continued cooking and serving, cleaning and cutting, boiling and stewing, while he and the scientist who accompanied him waited. The scientist apparently felt uncomfortable, though, so once he caught sight of the chef - who also deliberately ignored them - he explained the situation with words vague enough not to awaken suspicion.

"...What?" demanded the chef, drying her hands with a cloth that looked anything but clean.

"The professor demanded of me to bring this boy here for today. Please put him to work," the scientist said in a monotone voice, moving one hand through his thick hair nervously.

A long moment passed, in which the large chef scrutinized the jade-eyed child. His black (once white, but she wouldn't be able to tell because of the ink) clothes looked wet and smelled of something she couldn't quite categorize, and his hair was fairly long and wet, also completely black. His face looked like it had just been cleaned; it was slightly red and drops of water ran down his forehead. The boy looked young, yes, but his expression was that of an adult, and strongly so. She gave a grunt of approval and waved in the general direction of one of the largest sinks. Sephiroth walked over there with mature strides and didn't stop before he was in front of the piles of dirty plates placed next to the sink. Foam, soap and food remains were all over the place. What did they want him to do? Not wishing to seem utterly clueless, he turned slowly with an expecting, yet calm expression.

"Rimm, put him to work!"

"...Yes, chef," someone replied. The grumpy voice sounded oddly muffled.

A person walked in his direction with yet another pile of plates. Forks and knives were in between each of them, turning the pile into something akin to a cactus. The plates hid some of her face from his view, but Sephiroth kept an eye on her either way. After she placed the heavy pile on the counter, she wiped her forehead with an arm and turned to him. Her dirty apron was what caught his attention first. It had once been white, he could tell, but now ketchup and food remains were all over it, leaving it quite colorful. Just like the cloth the chef had used to wipe the dirt off her hands. The brown hair of the young woman was shorter than his and barely touched her shoulders. In the current light it looked light, but he guessed it was a little darker. She wore a hat of some kind; a tight-fitting, knitted one. He wasn't sure about her age, but guessed about eighteen or nineteen. She was at least twice his age.

"Eh... Hi," she said, looking at him with something that looked like scepticism. It could also be dislike. He frowned.

"Who are you? I'm Rimm." she said. Her expression still didn't change. Was it curiosity, perhaps?
"I am Sephiroth," he answered. Rimm blinked, then lowered to sit in front of him. Now he looked down at her instead of the other way around.
"...Sephiroth. I've never heard that name before," she said, smiling for a brief second. It seemed awkward.

"I am helping the scientists," he explained. Not under any circumstances did he intend to tell her that he had never been outside the building, other than on the roof. Despite this, the kitchen was entirely new to him. Hojo had told him he would be allowed to go outside alone eventually, when he was old and strong enough. These were things he did not need to mention.

"Hm... Fine with me," she said, then got to her feet and grabbed a mop that was quite conveniently placed within her reach.

She then handed it to him, and he slowly accepted.

"Clean the floor or the dishes?" she asked, her smile widening. His grip on the mop tightened slightly after a quick glance in the direction of the dishes. She chuckled in a sad manner and shook her head, but still smiled.


After hours of mopping the floors, Sephiroth was getting thoroughly annoyed. Every time he was finished, he turned to look at the results of his hard work only to see that the cooks had once again spilled potato-, orange- and carrot peelings all over the place. He mopped again, they spilled food on the floor once more, he cleaned, they spread their mess, and so on. Just as he thought he was finally getting things under control, dinner was served to the Shinra employees and a whole new load of food, food remains, plates, platters, dirty forks, spoons and knives were all over the place again. The only thing of comfort was that his job was not as dirty as Rimm's.

Even so, she had taken her time to (awkwardly) thank him for his work since she usually had to take care of the mopping and the dish cleaning at the same time. Sephiroth vaguely wondered if she was lying, and considered asking her if she was ever helped by others to get things done. He did not ask, though.

Much later, after cleaning everything that needed to be cleaned, Sephiroth and Rimm were the only ones left in the kitchen. It was late, Sephiroth guessed it was close to midnight, and most of the lights were off. The two of them were standing next to the currently locked food cabinets.

"It's normal that they simply leave before us, because the cooks don't need to stay here just to make sure I do my job. You see, if I don't do my job, they'll just wait until tomorrow to yell at me," she said, flashing a smirk. Sephiroth simply searched her face suspiciously. Her cheeks were red from the hard work. Sephiroth had worked to the best of his ability as well, but had barely broken a sweat.
"...So, thanks for your hard work," she continued, her smile suddenly gone as she picked something from her pockets. The moment she got her eyes on the white items in her hand, she leered. She resembled someone who had just gotten their hands on something they had really been lookingforward to.

"Here," she said solemnly, then handed him a few of the white objects. He accepted them.

Then, not sure what to do, he watched her sit down on the floor with her back against the cabinets before putting some of the soft, white pieces of food in her mouth. After sitting down next to her, not too close, he copied her. Even though it looked like giant versions of the ear plugs the scientists sometimes used when they worked with fiends, it tasted much better. He could not quite describe it; it was just soft. Soft and sweet. Usually he favored spicy food, but this was different. What was it?

"Et'sh machmellosh!" Rimm said while watching him eat, her cheeks big because her mouth was full. After swallowing, she tried again.
"It's marshmallows."

"...Marshmallows?" he repeated after swallowing.

His stomach already screamed for more, though not loud enough for Rimm to hear. He was hungry. Somehow, he doubted that marshmallows were the healthiest things to eat when he was hungry, but they were the only edible (and accesible) things in the kitchen currently. The sweet taste still lingered in his mouth, though, of osme reason making it all watery. Rimm's stomach, as opposed to his own, uttered a rather loud growl, and she hit it to make it stop. Her stomach uttered yet another sound, this time louder.

Sephiroth caught himself staring at her complaining abdomen. A strange sensation made his lungs constrict, something that had never happened before. Was it because of the food?
Then he started laughing. His laughter was not loud, but muffled, partially constrained and barely audible. It sounded more like stifled coughing.

"Ah, you're laughing!" Rimm exclaimed, giving a lopsided smirk, as if it was a big deal. In a way it was.

He had never laughed like this before, without being able to hold back.
Was it simply because her stomach had growled that he laughed? What was so amusing about that?

"Laughing?" he asked, his expression changing into one of question. Something tugged at his lips, and he feared it was a smile. Rimm laughed as well, unaware of his inner conflicts.

The next minutes passed fast, as she kept him occupied by asking random questions, and Sephiroth avoided giving her any straight answers.
He felt oddly light inside. Then Rimm gestured at the clock.

"Perhaps you should go home, before someone starts missing you too much," she suggested, watching the clock above the door.
"No one is waiting." That seemed to wake her up, and she turned to him.

"...No one? No family? ...Then, who do you live with?" she tried carefully, apparently trying to avoid making him feel uncomfortable. He hadn't felt sad in the first place. Why would he?
"I have no friends, but I know people. That is enough," he said with a faint frown on his face.

His words were followed by a long silence, in which she withstood his strong, emerald stare. Unable to hold his bright eyes with her own pea-colored ones, she turned away. He did not. Would Hojo be mad if he was late? Or would he be pleased, considering that this was, after all, supposed to be punishment?

"Then, can I be your friend?" Rimm asked, turning back to him with an expression that looked almost comically lazy . It appeared to him as if she was trying to rid them of the awkwardness from earlier. There was no doubt about it. She was trying to humor him. To keep him entertained.

"...If you want to. But Hojo mustn't know," Sephiroth stated, but immediately regretted it.

Frowning, he rose to his feet with grace that few others could ever hope to manage. Once Rimm got up, she watched him stride to the door and swaggered after him, apparently swelling with pride. Even though he knew she was doing that because she wanted to cheer him, a child, up, he couldn't stop his lungs from constricting again when he turned to look at her. This time, however, his face remained calm and he did not laugh out loud. His... friend... ignored it, and kept strutting down the hall, past the secretaries and guards who worked late. They also had trouble holding back smiles at her foolish behavior. Smiling was apparently contagious.
But not dangerous.


Sephiroth never told Hojo that his 'punishment' failed. On the contrary; he pretended to be exhausted and weary when returning from the kitchen. In reality he was only slightly tired, but not at all fatigued. Somehow, getting his first friend had been worth it, despite his regrets when he first accepted her offer. Therefore, during the next days and weeks, he made sure to do his best and hurry every time Hojo tested him. That way he was allowed to walk around more, and eventually he was allowed to go to the floor that held the kitchens when he had the time.

However, because he felt uncomfortable due to his lack of knowledge in friendship matters, he needed to try to learn from Rimm. Without her noticing it. In the beginning she smuggled a little something for them from time to time. Sephiroth used his remarkable stealth to get hold of a few food articles on his own, then shared it with an increasingly thrilled Rimm. The largest food article he had smuggled before the chef locked the fridges, cabinets and food storages, was a big box filled with brownies. He had never seen a happier expression than Rimm's when he offered her some. Her face and eyes had expressed pure bliss when she ate. Then again, he usually never saw people who were pleased enough to smile. Gradually, the ink from the fiend he'd fought earlier disappeared, first leaving his hair dark gray, then light gray. Currently his hair was almost completely silver again. Rimm never mentioned it.

It did not stop there. The two started working harder so they could leave the kitchen a little earlier, then went somewhere else to eat whatever they found. Sephiroth caught himself wondering what kind of 'food-borrowing' challenge she would come up with next. The cooks were suspicious, but eventually started ignoring Sephiroth altogether. He didn't mind as long as Hojo did not find out. At the time being he just had to stay low. It was almost... too easy.

"Your hair looks lighter than usual. Wasn't it very dark the first time we met?" Rimm asked, looking at him through narrowed eyes. She and Sephiroth were in one of the many common rooms relaxing. Because it was late, no one else were there. Only a few light were on.

"...The first time I was sent to the kitchen, I had ink in my hair. I was being punished for letting a fiend do that to me. My hair is actually silver," he explained, waiting for her reaction. It was normal that people asked him why his hair looked like that. He didn't know why. Hojo said it was because he was special. He was not entirely sure if that was positive or negative.

"Silver? Like gold and colorful jewelry?" she asked, and Sephiroth frowned. She could see for herself.
"My hair is not jewelry, but the color may resemble that of certain silver accessories," he said.

"Oh... Sorry. I can't see that," she said, moving her arms so that they hung behind the sofa she occupied. Sephiroth eyed her from his stress-less chair.
"What do you mean." It was a demand, and her response was an awkward smile. Her reluctant frown didn't last for too long, though.

"I can't see colors. I'm color-blind." she said, looking at him to see his reaction.

He didn't know what she was thinking, but personally, he had never heard of such a thing.
What was he supposed to say to a person who couldn't see colors? He had never heard of such a thing.

"...Silver hair is... uncommon," he said simply. If she hadn't been color-blind, would she have avoided him because of his unusual looks? Would she have chosen not to be his friend?

"Uncommon is good," she said, squinting at him with her pea-colored eyes.


"Hey, Sephiroth, I have an idea!" Rimm said, more excited than he was used to. She was usually nonchalant, and even quite rude at times(especially towards people she knew), but not this noisy.

This time around they were sitting on the floor in a narrow hall; a dead end. People passed by from time to time, but no one looked in there. For once they had taken a break in the middle of the day, which was not too normal. They had nothing to eat, though. Not that it mattered much.

"What is it?" he asked in his usual way; slightly annoyed on the outside, and only a bit more curious on the inside.

"Do you think I can go see the scientists and ask them to help me see colors?" she asked.
"...It would probably be better to go to a doctor or a hospital."
"But I can't afford that..." Rimm continued, making an unusual sulky face.

Sephiroth looked at her pouting with distaste, knowing that if he ever tried that in front of Hojo, he would be dead meat. He had seen many fiends be cut apart while still living, not because they had done anything wrong, but because if Hojo killed them first, they would disappear in a cloud of pyreflies before he could inspect them properly. He would rather not have to see Rimm being used in some experiment. Some times he wondered if Hojo knew far more than he let on. It was as if he was constantly hiding something.

"You could ask. Since they are Shinra scientists, perhaps they will have a look at you for free since you are a Shinra employee. But avoid professor Hojo," Sephiroth offered silently, reluctantly, not thinking she would go through with it any time soon.

"Huh... Thanks. I'll do that once. When is your birthday? I'll give you my thanks then, with a present or something," she mumbled, her eyes closed in a frown as if she was thinking deeply.

"I do not know my birth date," Sephiroth stated. Her frown deepened and she opened her eyes.

"...Oh. So you've never celebrated it?" she asked. He did not have to answer for her to know the answer.

Her eyes narrowed in thought for a while and she moved her hands behind her head for support. She still wore a hat, or beanie, as she dubbed it, but not the same as before. Her shoulder-length hair was accompanied by a few 'bowl-cut' forelocks, which went a little past her cheek bones. His own silver fringes were only slightly longer.

Sephiroth let the side of his head rest against the wall, with his ear against the cold surface. From the other side he could hear faint voices from a random meeting. He barely picked up some of the words, but they didn't tell him an awful lot. The higher-ups usually kept things to themselves.

Fireworks... Expensive. Celebration, foolish New Year-

"I have an idea now!" he heard Rimm say quietly, yet in an exited way, and turned just in time to catch the tiniest of smirks. He narrowed his eyes at her.


Apparently, Rimm also knew about the events happening around New Year. He knew what New Year was, and he was also fully aware of the fact that it was celebrated every year. He did not, however, know why it was such a big event. Years came and passed just like everything else. Personally he had never celebrated it. He had only listened from inside the building. Hojo had told him something about unnecessary excitement that would steal Sephiroth's focus on his training and his tests.

Nevertheless, in some unexplainable way, he had managed to smuggle himself out and away, to where Rimm was supposed to meet him.

"Come here! Hurry!" Rimm said in a hushed voice, walking fast. She bent over slightly, as if not to be seen walking around. Sephiroth's swift strides carried him after her easily, and both of them stopped in front of two glass elevators in the end of a hall.

"Okay, we have two alternatives. One, we take a lift up and sneak past the President. Two, we take the stairs and pass a number of guards instead." she informed him.

"...It is better with just one person," he replied, feeling strange inside. It was excitement, he assumed, only stronger than usual. Rimm stepped inside the important-looking glass lift. He did not have to think twice before following. After that, however, he watched her use a strange looking card to unlock the highest floor available. The lift started moving and went up. A pressing silence ensued as he felt gravity pull him down a little more than usual as they moved up.

"How did you get that card?" he asked, his focus on the ground below them.

The lift was fast. While it was moving, it felt like his weight increased. That was because of the speed, he knew. Perhaps that was why the President always used a helicopter to get to work.

"I borrowed it from the chef. She serves dinner to the higher-ups personally, so she has a key card," Rimm replied, looking up.
"Does she know?"

"..."
He watched her swallow as she looked down at him.

"I... actually borrowed it from... her private closet. Now... Let's hurry, or we'll be late."

Once they arrived at the President's office, they were surprised to not see him anywhere. Rimm said he had probably gone to the ground level to attend the festivities. That was most likely the case. To avoid being seen by the cameras, they ran along the walls through the dimly lit room, as fast as possible, and continued up the final stairs to the uppermost floor.

The roof.

"Christmas is already over, and it's New Year already. I still don't have money for a present for you, but I told you I'd give you something. I hope the fireworks will do," she said while looking at him with a guilty, sheepish face. A vague suspicion told him she was just acting. Or perhaps not.

They weren't a second too late. Rimm didn't even get to start a countdown before fireworks were all over the place. In all kinds of colors, they danced across the sky in hundreds of shapes and forms, some looking like hordes of pyreflies, others exploding, all of them dying after falling like illuminated rain for many long seconds each. It seemed as if stars were falling around them. Great suns spun around in the air and shattered, stunning lights coloring the dark blue expanse that was the sky. Even Rimm enjoyed the sight, despite not seeing all the colors. Sephiroth had never seen anything like it. No matter how ashamed of himself he would be later, he simply could not stop himself from staring with wide eyes and a slightly open mouth. He was absolutely stunned. Of course, letting Rimm see him like this was out of the question, so he made sure his face was out of her view.

Not that she noticed anything - she was to busy gawking at the sky.


Some days later he went to the kitchen as usual only to find that Rimm hadn't been there since before New Year. That was quite visible; the place was a mess. He questioned a few of the cooks about it, but they shook their heads and shrugged. The chef, who seemed oblivious to the fact that Rimm had 'borrowed' her key card earlier, didn't know anything either. But she said that Sephiroth wasn't the only one who had been there looking for her. Even Rimm's father had been there a couple of times.

Sephiroth was not worried. The heavy feeling tugging at his chest was not concern, but rather guilt. What if the cameras had seen them when they were on their way to roof? The guards in the monitoring room could have spotted them. Had the Shinra officers found her later and arrested her? Should he do something? Could he do something? The warm sensation of annoyance and heavy feeling of guilt was weighing him down the more he thought of it. It was completely opposite from the calm feeling of their friendship making him feel lighter. Rimm was not there, either because someone had caught her, or because she had left on her own. As much as he hated to admit it, the first option was not really likely, because then he would have been taken as well.

Either way, his friend was gone.


-R-R-

Rimm's age will be explained, as will her appearance, her past, her objectives, (blah-blah-blah,) but in time, not all at once.
If you can't imagine how Rimm looks, I'll be posting pictures of her on DeviantArt. There's a link to my DevArt profile on my fanfic profile...