A/n: I haven't a clue what this is all about but yet another one that Mitts helped me with. Points if anyone can figure out the Northern Lights thing that's thrown in. I've just read the first two books and I love them…anyway…The adult hints are so amusing.
Cloud's Day Out
It had to be the worst day for it.
The rain was wet, (naturally). The grass was unkempt and a hazy fog misted itself like thirsty tendrils around the head quarters of that illustrious building. Shinra, Inc was a legend amongst all "Inc's" and naturally, school field trips flocked there from all around the continent. One particular school, Shinra Academy, had first dibs having been founded by President Shinra himself.
Class 4C was a particularly awful class; so naturally, they had to be the group currently visiting…
"Now remember children," Mrs Whatshername announced to the spotty, broody, moody, acne-enhanced pubescent young adults pustulising in the car park, "We are representatives of the school and President Shinra's honour, so we must be on our best behaviour, before we go any further, is there any questions?"
"MISSSS WEDGE JUST TRIED TO KISS ME!!"
"No I didn't!"
"OUCCCHH!!!! NOW HE BIT ME!"
Mrs Whatshername furrowed her brow and rubbed her temples.
"Get out of this bus and behave."
The class stampeded out of the bus which heaved and lurched as it all but toppled from the rampaging students.
"Remember and stay together in a group," the teacher said casually not paying attention as fourteen year old Barret tied the bus doors shut with his tie…
Cloud, Wedge, Biggs, Jesse, Tifa, Barret, Zack, Yuffie and Aerith traipsed into the large building and ooh-ed and Ahh-ed at the impressive architecture. Except for Zack who tried to sneak into the lifts and was frog marched back to the group by two large 3rd Class Soldiers.
The boy was too awestricken to throw a hissy-fit which he would have done to show off to Aerith, who was now laughing at him with Tifa.
Cloud's big blue eyes gazed in wonder at the doors all around the place. Perhaps his hero; the great Sephiroth sat busy working behind one of them…
He was woken from his reverie by Zack who, bored again, was shoving chewing gum into his ear. Cloud made to step on his foot but Zack knocked his other knee and it gave way; the little blonde boy keeling over onto the linoleum. Cloud screamed and jumped up scratching and pawing and clawing at Zack who held him back with an outstretched arm.
"Gotta' toughen up little man," he chuckled at him. Cloud huffed loudly while the teacher told him once again to behave and stop picking on Zack.
Tifa and Aerith laughed at the boys from another corner. They weren't completely interested in males yet but from the attention they were receiving from the males they could tell the reverse was true.
"Now class, Cloud behave, Mr Tsung is going to show us around!" she clapped happily.
"Yes, of course- has anyone seen where young Kisaragi has gone children?"
Everyone looked around and shrugged. No-one had seen her since the bus, and when the loudest, most hyper girl in the class slips off without anyone noticing, there is a problem.
"THERE SHE IS!!!"
"SHE HAS THE PROTOMATERIA!"
The aforementioned child, a young girl clad in yellow attire, she was never one for uniform, came running down from the lifts and jumped down a flight of stairs. She looked at the class, from the curious Cloud to the furious teacher, then back at the creepy looking scientists in their sterile white uniforms and took her chances. She ran over, stuffed the materia down the back of Cloud's coat and hid behind the teacher so fast only the startled blonde noticed.
Three scientists came up to her, one hunch backed and looming.
"Where is the materia little girl?" he hissed, looking at her with wide little black eyes peering over the top of his rectangular spectacles.
"It's mine! My treasure! If you can find it, you can have it!"
Hojo glanced round un-amused at the fidgeting blonde boy struggling around to pull a suspiciously mako-like lump from his back. He stormed over and yanked up the boy's top. Cloud squealed loudly at the obtrusive contact against his skin and a small spherical object fell onto the floor. Hojo picked it up and harrumphed, leaving with the other two scientists.
"Miissss, he just violated me!"
"Shut up Cloud," snapped Barret and Zack laughed.
Cloud looked at the girls for sympathy but Tifa and Aerith ignored him while Yuffie glared in a "you-are-truly-useless" way.
They began there journey through the HQ with Tseng constantly reminding them to stay in a group. Yuffie fell/jumped into a vat of mako, hoping to become stronger and had to be rescued by Tseng and some 2nd class SOLDIER who nobody cared about after the thank you s were exchanged.
Aerith, in a dazzling feat of bravery snuck into a laboratory somewhere and let loose several guard dogs. They were so overjoyed they merely licked her and ran off, the only trouble arising when she was found and yet more soldiers had to fend the beasts back into their cages. Naturally they weren't happy to return and it wasn't helping that Aerith continued to whack her fists against the heads of her "rescuers". After she was returned, kicking and screaming to the group the teacher was beginning to fume and rage. She was down to three pupils left intact. Everyone had managed to get into some sort of bother.
Tifa had nearly been fondled by a random perverted soldier, (Wonder why…)
Barret had tripped over his own feet into a table of chemicals, several of which had disintegrated his jacket.
Well….no-one really knew when exactly Cloud had disappeared and nobody had cared enough to let Mrs Whatshername know. As far as anyone was concerned, and they weren't, Cloud had been unseen for over an hour.
It had started with a seemingly innocuous pat on the back that pushed him into the wall where he started crying for twenty minutes and the teacher screamed that he was giving her a headache.
"Cloud, must you insist? Zack has already apologised, he told you he meant to hug you but in joke!"
"You really need to grow up boy."
Zack stuck his tongue out at Cloud, whose face was bright pink and stained with tears. He'd had enough and the first time Tseng wasn't explaining electrons, neutrons, protons and Shadow particles, he legged it through a convenient door headed off into a long corridor.
It was dusty and possibly unused for a while. A thin layer of dust lay underfoot and he coughed slightly, his asthma playing up a little but luckily not too much as Yuffie had stolen his inhaler when she jumped into the mako tank. She was rescued but the inhaler wasn't.
He wandered for a while, trying doors at random. A few opened but most were locked and he found himself stranded on the 43rd floor somehow without having used a lift.
He liked keeping his own company. No-one would annoy him if he was alone…or push him into walls…or steal his inhaler…or press chewing gum into his ear…or pull his trousers down during gym class…
Anyway, the corridor changed into a sterile white hallway, through a laboratory, into a ventilation system, and he somehow found himself near a set of offices. Curious, he walked into the thankfully empty room and began to root around, looking for something exciting. He found nothing of interest save a large bed, and, since he couldn't remember the last time he had a decent nights sleep without worrying; he snuggled deep into the sheets and closed his eyes. He wasn't planning on staying long, just to relax for a few minutes and then find someone who could return him to the rest of the class but, as if under a spell, as those large blue orbs closed Cloud surrendered to his tired urges…
Sephiroth hated school field trips. You see, while the little children pranced around on the lower floors, Sephiroth was either confined to his room or the gym so that he wouldn't scare anyone. Not that Sephiroth didn't like working out. To be honest, Sephiroth owed most of his firm abdominal muscles to field trips but that wasn't the point.
Now, when Sephiroth returned, glistening, with water dripping down his convexed, recently showered pale stomach and his long silvery hair weighted down with moisture tickling his back and found a young boy waiting, asleep, on his bed, he thought President Shinra had decided to be nice to the General after all. He approached the boy slowly, not wanting to frighten him and slowly he remembered the school trip and gave a loud "tsshk!" of disappointment.
He dreams had been shattered by his own realisation. He would have to return the child…wouldn't he?
The child, a light sleeper, stirred and opened his eyes. He sat up and screamed loudly.
Sephiroth barely moved, yawning and scratching his back.
Cloud looked around wildly, suddenly remembering what had transpired.
"Why are you in my room?" Sephiroth growled at the boy, his eyebrows unconsciously folding down across his brow.
"I...got…lost!" It was the only valid, multi-purpose excuse he knew off by heart.
"You're Mister Sephiroth aren't you?"
"You're my hero," Cloud simpered, he hadn't meant it to come out but he felt an impulse to explain his gape. Sephiroth rolled his eyes, he got that a lot.
"Do you really murder people?"
Sephiroth raised an eyebrow, but in mirth.
"How old are you kid?"
"Thirteen and a half…"
"Damn…you are too young."
"Too young for what, Mister Sephiroth?"
Sephiroth smiled privately.
"As much as I'd love to tell you, I'd be gutted by the president, and while he is no more than a mere annoyance, he's really not worth the bother."
Cloud nodded like someone who was following the conversation. Even though he wasn't.
"What do you eat Mister Sephiroth?"
"Foods, you're so big and strong."
Sephiroth gazed curiously at the blonde. He was, thirteen, did he say? He spoke like a child, but perhaps he was just speechless at the thought of meeting his hero face to face. He'd met thirty year olds who turned into sixteen year old fangirls in his presence…
"I-eat-" he thought for a moment and smirked, "Lots of vegetables kid."
"Don't call me kid," Cloud pouted, "I'm going to be tough and strong like you mister Sephiroth, sir!!!!" The corners of Sephiroth's lips pulled upwards ever so slightly. The General ruffled the little boy's hair. Cloud's pout grew. Sephiroth laughed cruelly.
"Nice one blondy, you're going to scare away the opposition with that cute little face!"
Cloud hid his face.
"You should take things so personally," Sephiroth advised, watching the blonde have his little mood. Cloud looked up and realised he was being silly, and in front of hero no less, he was going to embarrass himself and he had enough help doing that at it was.
"Sorry…" he mumbled staring down at the floor again.
Sephiroth raised both his eyebrows this time.
"Why are you apologising? First rule is to never apologise, as soon as you apologise that confirms you did something."
Cloud thought about this, there was some truth in his words.
some paper and a small well used pencil from his pocket.
"Tell me more stuff mister Sephiroth sir, tell me, what do you do when people annoy or bully you?"
"HA! People, bully me? As if they would…you just need to make sure you hit them one more time than they hit you."
Cloud, unaware of irony, was frantically scribbling down notes. Sephiroth rolled his eyes. The kid was ridiculously slow. It was no wonder the boy was bullied. Plus you didn't ask ways of getting around it if you were the most popular kid in the class…
"Do you know how to use a sword kid?"
"Well you could try taking up a weapon for starters…it always helps if you can defend yourself, the best weapon is one that is completely inconspicuous, that way the authorities cannot prove that it really is a weapon you're carrying. Cloud noticed the long katana almost the same size as his hero safely stowed away in the sheath against Sephiroth's waist but didn't say anything.
"I assume you're here with the little school congregation which is currently terrorizing the staff? Was there or was there not a child who thought it clever to jump in a tank of mako?"
"They'll be looking for you, and if you go missing there will be riot I'm sure, and I cannot deal with headaches very well, I shall escort you back to the group."
He pulled an elastic band from the dresser and tied his drying hair back from his face, his bangs escaping the bands confines. "You will be safer with me than returning on your own."
"No-one will be looking for me sir," Cloud explained gnawing on his lip, he was fighting back tears but the General could clearly see them.
"Come now, a SOLDIER has to be strong, you want to be a SOLDIER right?"
"No. I just want people to like me."
"People like SOLDIERS, surely you've realised that."
"Of course Mister Sephiroth sir,"
Sephiroth opened the door.
When Cloud and the General, topless, arrived at the front desk where the group now was pandemonium ensued. People swarmed around the incredibly self-assured man who didn't alter his stride for the boy who had to run every few steps to catch up.
"MOVE," he ordered to his "fan club" that did exactly as he told them.
"I believe in have in my possession, something that belongs to you ma'am," Sephiroth said stiffly to the fretting teacher.
"CLOUD! HOW DARE YOU RUN OFF-"
"Ahem." Sephiroth interrupted quietly but his voice silenced everything. "The boy did not run off, it was my fault, I needed a helper and the boy merely assisted me."
"Thank you Mister Sephiroth for putting up with him, we shouldn't have let him come, he's always hitting the other children, I think he's special needs, he's so different…"
Sephiroth glowered down at her. She took a step backwards.
"Are you implying, that children who are different are automatically problem children, do you even pay attention to these children, it is in my understanding that the boy just needs an extra bit of help, perhaps, I know I was never a sociable child." He chuckled loudly to himself as if laughing at a personal joke.
"Are you disagreeing with me? You do realise I can speak to the President and revoke your teacher license any time I wish."
"Yes sir, I understand."
Tseng watched the preceding interaction with a large smirk; Sephiroth could always get the job done.
"Now Children," he distracted the group, "we are going to pair up with some Sodiers now, consider it a joke of the company, and a chance for you to see some disciplined mercenaries battling it out. Would you like that?"
The kids cheered and Sephiroth, who was now sitting cockily and relaxed on the stair banister, listened in, his curiosity piqued.
"First we'll go up to the Soldier floor and you can choose them."
"Cloud, you will stay with me," decided the teacher, "you haven't behaved well enough to participate in this."
Sephiroth slid off the railing.
"Worry not Cloud," Sephiroth insisted using his new-found knowledge of the boy's name, "I shall be your partner."
"No, really Sir," insisted Mrs Whatshername, "Cloud doesn't deserve this and we don't want to put you out."
"Put me out? HAHA! How droll, as if anyone could be me in a sparring contest."
Cloud, honoured that his hero could do such a thing, stepped over to him and took his hand. Sephiroth didn't move but never missed the wide cheesy grin that took over Cloud's face for a few seconds.
His hand was large and when the General responded his clasped hand covered most of the young teenager's. Cloud felt safe in his grasp, safer than he'd ever felt but resisted the urge to snuggle his face against him.
When the group returned the Soldiers they had picked all held the children's hands. The children were practically dragging them along. The younger ones were reluctant, spying Sephiroth at the bottom of the stairs but he merely gazed at them coldly, giving no indication that he cared whether they came closer or returned to their dorms to cry in fear.
"Cloud, you can't pick Sephiroth," Tseng insisted, "that is a blatant disadvantage to the other children."
"He did not pick me," Sephiroth stated, "I picked him. You know fine well if I wasn't interested I would have merely left the boy to stew."
Tseng looked as though he would have like to argue, but the General's free hand, his left one, rested on the hilt of the sword in challenge. Tseng preferred to keep his head attached to his neck so he folded and nodded.
"Very well, everyone out of the training field."
The training field was a large football pitch sized area of grass outside the main building of the headquarters. It was pretty basic and Sephiroth led the way, practically hauling the young boy who clung to his hand.
"So which of you want to go first?" Tseng asked indifferently, he knew who was going to win regardless,
"Cloud's dude should!" Barret shouted, "he's the worst in the class, his fighter should have to fight first, then he'll have no energy for the later rounds and he lose because he's crap and-"
Sephiroth glared his nastiest, coldest look towards the boy who quietened down immediately. Tseng watched Sephiroth, as if warning him not to hurt anybody that badly.
"I accept," Sephiroth said stiffly, releasing his grip on the blonde, "who wished to fight me first?"
"I will," announced a rather rough-and-ready 2nd Class Soldier, Zack's, "Let's see what you got sir!"
"Very well," Sephiroth agree, amused at his cockiness and ready to thrash him."
The two stepped further into the field and drew their swords. Sephiroth barely moved while the Soldier pranced around him lunging at random intervals but never taking the silver haired General by surprise. Sephiroth was merely teasing him. Once he was bored of the battle, he parried the sword and, once he was off balance, Sephiroth kicked his knee. It gave way and the Soldier fell to the floor Sephiroth's sword pressing lightly against his neck.
"I FOLD I FOLD!" the soldier screamed and Sephiroth laughed.
"Get up and go train private."
The Soldier nodded and ran off. Zack fumed in the corner.
Most of the battles continued in similar ways, ending when Sephiroth was bored of them and he tripped them or knocked the swords out of their hands. The last battle was against Aerith who had picked a 1rst Class Soldier, who Sephiroth knew very well.
"Genesis…trust you to lend a hand, I thought you were supposed to be in Wutai."
"Can't a bard relax once in a while friend?" he laughed in disarm.
"I'm not going easy on you."
"I wouldn't have it any other way!"
Tseng walked between them.
"Remember, no magic, there are kids here and if you injure them-"
"Yeah, yeah, we know," Genesis grumbled, "just keep them back and there will be no problems."
Tseng counted them in,
"After three; one, two-"
They started at two, swords locking together and sparks flying around dangerously.
"Cheat that you are Sephiroth!"
"You're no better."
Genesis laughed, drawing back his sword at the same time as Sephiroth and jumping back.
The two clashed swords again, parrying, reposting, and clashing together yet again.
"You're getting better Sephi!" Genesis teased.
Genesis' sword slid along Sephiroth's shielding one, and when it reached the hilt, Sephiroth swung it out and Genesis ducked, avoiding what could've been a crushing blow.
The duel continued on a similar note while the kids watched in awe. They were too engrossed to remember the previous battles.
"You picked a good fighter!" Cloud exclaimed.
"Yeah, you too!" Aerith nodded, unable to draw her eyes away from the feuding "friends" but she still grinned.
"You better not be going easy now Sephi!" Genesis drawled and evaded the next attack, dodging around him and whacking Sephiroth across the head with the base of his sword.
Sephiroth staggered but reposted, spinning his sword around to hit him but Genesis backed up, jumping high up into the sky and he missed again.
"Give up old man; you know you can't beat me in a straight fight."
Sephiroth was annoyed now.
"In a straight fight yes, but you've never liked to play fair…AND NEITHER HAVE I!"
He released a jolt of electricity, using the thunder materia concealed in his pocket and directed it at Genesis as he landed a few metres away. It connected and he gasped, falling backward while his muscles spasmed.
"SEPHIROTH, I SAID NO MAGIC!"
Sephiroth wasn't listening and lunged at Genesis, who caught himself just in time before Sephiroth's sword connected and threw his sword forward. It was knocked from his hand and fell to the floor.
"Out." Sephiroth said simply.
Genesis growled but said nothing and walked off.
Cloud gaped. He couldn't believe it. He'd never won anything in his life and Sephiroth had just won this "competition" for him. Aerith clapped with the rest of the kids, they were too impressed to care whether or not they had won or not.
Tseng shook his head at the bowing General; show off that he was.
"Alright kid, you won," he said to Cloud, "What kind of prize would you like?"
"I WANT TO BE A SOLDIER!" Cloud exclaimed.
Sephiroth looked around in surprise. Tseng shook his head.
"You can't your too young, we don't take in recruits until they are sixteen, we don't even consider applicants until they are at least fifteen years."
"You know Tseng, I could use an assistant, and even Shinra wouldn't disagree if I brought up a valid reason."
"But he's young!"
"Then a year from now, he'll be fifteen then won't you Cloud?"
Mrs Whatshername interrupted,
"No, he'll be-"
"YES, Fifteen." Sephiroth insisted determined to prove that annoyingly ignorant woman wrong.
Tseng rolled his eyes; there was little point in arguing with him so he didn't.
Lunch followed the brawl and Sephiroth noted how Cloud sat in the corner as far from the group as possible eating his sandwiches. The teacher sat with Tseng and Sephiroth talking about Cloud…
"I mean look at him, he doesn't even try to integrate himself into their group; it's his own fault."
Sephiroth watched as Barret threw the crusts of his sandwich at Cloud and growled. He walked over slowly to him, everyone stared.
"Pick. That. Up. Now." Sephiroth hissed.
Barret nodded quietly and ran off to do so. Cloud didn't look up from his sandwich as Barret walked over to pick them up. Nothing was said and they returned to what they were doing.
"See? Barret is so kind! He went over to say hello and he ignored him!"
Sephiroth was getting irritated now.
"What kind of person appointed you as a teacher?" he asked her but didn't stick around for an answer. He turned to the children.
"I have reason to believe you dislike Cloud. Is that right?"
Silence. The kids were too terrified to say anything.
"Is. That. Right?"
The kids looked at each other then nodded.
"He looks like a girl!"
"He dresses different."
"His hair is funny and girlish."
Sephiroth could have laughed. Not.
"If I find that you are annoying this boy from this point on…"
"What are you going to do about it?" Tifa challenged, "it's not as if you go to our school!"
Sephiroth drew his sword and stabbed the table. The kids jumped in fright.
"SEPHIROTH!" Tseng yelled, holding back Mrs Whatshername who would have ran over to protect the kids, "They're just children!"
"Yes…" Sephiroth said but not loud enough for the adults to hear, "undisciplined children…now, like I said, if I hear you've been annoying little Cloud over there, well…ask the table."
He laughed loudly and walked off.
"I'll see you soon perhaps Cloud."
The bus trip back wasn't as exciting. Though Sephiroth had asked the kids to refrain from annoying young Cloud, they completely ignored him. Cloud, merely happy to sit alone in peace, was grateful of it. As he stepped onto the bus he thought he saw a shadow move up in one of windows. He squinted and was sure he saw Sephiroth looking down from it.
Cloud waved up to him but the man was so high up, Cloud wasn't sure he'd seen him. He wasn't sure if the light was shining off the window but Cloud had sworn his hero had smiled down at him. A crimson blush flushed onto his cheers and his stomach swelled with delight. He knew now, he wanted to be a SOLDIER and he was going to work for Sephiroth somehow…in any way possible.