Materia Sickness

By: Midnight

Disclaimer: I only wish that I owned FFVII. ...Sadly that right is Squeenix's and Tetsuya Nomura's

Notes: While reading another fic about Zack getting drunk, and the metabolism of SOLDIER, and it had me thinking, what if Zack's mom ever let him play with Materia as a kid? Which made me think of possible radiation sickness that could explain Zack's hyperactivity.

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To say this was a new sight would be telling a lie. Recruit, Cloud Strife, stood back and watched in wonder. Everyone in ShinRa knew of SOLDIER 1st class Zackary Fair, the man who was favored not only by Angeal, but the General, Sephiroth and Genesis as well. They knew he had a tendency to drink and to slack on his duties to go visit his girlfriend. They knew that he never saw that bad in people and always tried his hardest. And they knew when he was coming because he left a trail of destruction in his wake.

Papers were strewn everywhere, pens scattered on the floor, and overturned desk and a sizzling computer monitor. Cloud stood agape when he first walked into Sephiroth and Zack's office. What the hell had happened??? As he stepped inside, he spotted Zack in the corner, flipping through a magazine, his phone on holographic search mode.

"Zack...."

Zack looked up and a wide grin split his lips, "Hey there, Spike. Wha's up?"

Cloud just looked around the room again, "What... what happened?"

"What do you mean?" Zack looked confused.

Cloud gestured to the mess that was the office, in disbelief, "Uh, hello? Do you see this mess?"

"Hmm? Yeah, so? It's always like this."

Cloud stared in horror. Then, slowly, he remembered something.

"But... don't you share this office with the General?"

Zack stopped then looked up, "Oops."

"Oops?"

"Well... He hasn't been in here in awhile! I forgot! Ah, hell, he's gonna maim me..."

"How could you forget?" Cloud was ignored though, as Zack zipped around the room, shoving papers in drawers and all the other crap in the room (which consisted of his Buster sword, his whole collection of Materia, and some strangely lewd magazines) into a closet, all at a dizzying pace.

"Zack? Zaaack? Zack...?" Cloud couldn't keep up. Suddenly, there was a soft clicking sound, like that of a door knob slowly turning...

Zack froze and turned around, eyeing the door, as the knob turn oh-so-slowly. Zack whipped back around, "Cloud! Hide!" Cloud just stood awkwardly while Zack dragged him over to the window, pushed it open and shoved him out it. A high-pitched yelp sounded before Zack closed the window with a resounding 'thud.'

Sephiroth strode through the door just as Zack turned around. "Seph! Oh my god, I didn't know you'd be back so soon."

Sephiroth quirked a brow, "Of course you didn't. Because you forgot." Sephiroth went about, setting down his Masamune, and the file folders he was holding, all very systematically. He seemed to be checking every nook and cranny without showing it, but somehow, Zack could tell.

"So, uh... How was the trip?" Zack tried to act nonchalant, leaning up against the wall.

"Uninteresting. Treaty negotiations with Wutai went well, aside from me being the negotiator," he said dryly. "And what about you, Zack? What have you been doing since I left?" He turned abruptly and leaned next to the window.

Zack flinched, and started to stutter, "Uh... N-nothing. W-what did you think I was doin'?"

"Oh, I don't know... Maybe... shoving recruits out windows?" And with that, he flicked open the window, grabbed Cloud by his wrist and dragged him inside. "Are you alright, Cloud?"

Cloud didn't know whether to be scared or grateful, "Uh, yes, sir?"

"Good." Sephiroth pushed up off the wall, and stalked towards Zack, "Do you have something to say about this, Zackary?"

"No?"

Sephiroth rose a brow, "Oh?"

"Yes?"

"And?"

"I'm sorry?"

"That's right. Now, is there anything else I should know about this?"

"Uhm... Nope!" And Zack slipped out of the room, running like a bat out of hell.

Cloud just looked around, sort of confused as Sephiroth walked to the closet, ripped open the door and smoothly dodged as all of the crap Zack had pilled in there fell out.

"Zackary Fair!" Sephiroth's voice resounded through the office and even the hall, and Cloud could hear a distinct yipping echoing in the halls.

Sephiroth merely sighed, and sat down at his desk. Cloud stood, not really doing anything.

"Strife?"

"Sir?"

"What do you know of Materia sickness?"

"Uhm, Materia sickness?"

Sephiroth smirked and looked up from his paperwork, "Well, do you know how Mercury is in thermometers? Well, awhile ago, parents would break them and give the Mercury to their children to play with, because it's the only metal that is a liquid at room temperature. Well they found out that constant exposure to it started to cause malformations and changes in DNA, leading to tumors. Hojo found out the same sort of thing happened when children handle Materia too readily."

"What happens, sir?" Cloud had taken up a seat in front of him."

Sephiroth leaned back, "Well, Hojo found that it can cause hyperactivity, short attention span, and impulsiveness."

"So... Everything that Zack has?"

Sephiroth chuckled, "Exactly."

"So then, do you blame him?" Cloud looked up, a strangely happy expression on his face.

"Oh, of course not. At least, not entirely."

"But you're fine with him thinking that?"

Sephiroth leaned forward, "Cloud... there is absolutely nothing wrong with striking a little fear into your underlings.

"Besides... Now I know he won't do anything stupid to me for at least a few days while I get settled again."

Cloud snorted softly, before bursting out into a full out chuckle-fest. Sephiroth looked at him, a smirk adorning his lips.

Yes. Nothing wrong with that at all.

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