I return, with some more themes. Yes, I know I should be posting more chapters, and I will, but these please me at the moment, and that's what's important.
Sephiroth. The Great General. Star of the ShinRa Army. SOLDIER poster boy. Poetry in motion. Six feet and five inches of long, heavy limbs that even Zack has trouble moving when he falls asleep.
Having been raised in the labs, it took Sephiroth some time to understand Zack's explanation of the word 'cool' and why those kids had used it when referring to him.
His silver hair, deep voice, and general way of acting around other people generally make people forget that, for all his power and position, he is still young.
After putting some careful thought into deciding, Sephiroth settled on eating Zack's cooking as the last thing he ever wants to do again. (Barring things like lab visits, which he has absolutely no control over.)
Sephiroth's education was just as extensive as his training, and his vocabulary is often a force to be reckoned with. However, on the day that Zack marched in wearing a pink chocobo suit and swearing that he'd never flirt with the Turks' secretary again, the only word he could come up with to describe the entire situation was 'wrong'.
Living in the labs as a test subject meant missing out on a few things as a child. While Zack carefully swabs blood from his back, Sephiroth reflects that being truly taken care of was one of those things.
In Sephiroth's closet you may find: Three pairs of identical black leather boots. Two pairs of casual shoes (also black). Two suits, a black and a gray. Several different versions of the harness Sephiroth carries Masamune in. A rack of ties. A hidden dry-cleaning bag containing street clothes. One gunmetal grey silk dress made to his measurements, courtesy of Reno, Scarlet, and Zack. (He has never worn it.)
After a point, the novelty of reviewing the new recruits wore off and Sephiroth began referring to them in increments such as 'the last thousand or so recruits we've had have been utterly pathetic'.
There are times (usually when he is wet, cold, and out in the middle of nowhere with Masamune, half a squad of idiots, and a horde of Mako monsters for company) when Sephiroth wonders why so many people think of him as a god, when really all he does is ride herd on a community of muscle-bound morons. If anything, he's more like a very stressed king.
Note to self: Wagging tails do not always mean friendly dogs.
On numerous occasions, Zack has suggested the addition of some color into the monochromatic outfit Sephiroth wears. It is, after all, somewhat disconcerting to be unable to distinguish snow-covered trees from the black and silver blur Sephiroth becomes when he's really getting into a fight.
There are times when Sephiroth would like to push all his paperwork into a pile and ignore it. The people expecting it could stand to learn a little patience anyway.
On an outing with Zack: "No, I don't have any change, Zack. I prefer not to jingle with every step."
Even the Great General can't make a chocobo drink when it doesn't want to.
Every now and then, when he slips and ends up hanging off a cliff or a railing or the side of a building, Sephiroth is grateful for the grip-enhancing gizmos Zack got him.
Sephiroth needs: peace, quiet, a subordinate to murder, a cup of coffee, and something with sugar in it. Now.
"No, Zack, I don't believe whatever you saw while half-conscious and drunk on my living room floor counts as prophetic visions of any kind."
It is always hard not to laugh when some over-eager kid gets up too fast and falls over when the new recruits are called to attention.
Every now and then, Sephiroth refers to Masamune as if it were a person. Zack complains. Sephiroth explains that swords have souls. Zack sighs. Sephiroth rolls his eyes.
Sephiroth makes a very interesting picture when he's just been doused with a bucket of honey and a bag of chocobo feathers.
Zack has been referred to as Sephiroth's court jester, but, as Sephiroth will swear in any court, he is anything but a fool.
Zack's favorite line that describes ShinRa in general and Sephiroth in particular to a T: "We're all mad, here."
Hojo refers to him as Sephiroth, the world calls him General, and Zack calls him Seph. No one tries to remind him that he is the child of a madman.
When does Sephiroth want you, a lowly and starry-eyed cadet, out of his office?
In the late afternoon, when the sunlight is warm and sleepy and the shadows it throws are black as pitch, he takes his gloves off and the back wall of his office becomes a stage for shadowy actors.
Falling into the reactor was both the most idiotic and the bravest thing he had ever done, but all he could think of as he fell was that Zack was up there and didn't know he was gone yet. He'd forgotten to say goodbye.
In an outfit like his, it is difficult to conceal permanent marker drawings.
"Competence like yours is underrated."
"Say it right, Seph."
"Competence like yours is underrated…in bed."
No one is safe when Sephiroth is sleep-deprived.
After Meteor, when a few people returned to Nibleheim, rumors began to spread of a silver-haired specter haunting the library at the ShinRa mansion.
There is no by-the-book set of regulations for streaking.
"An eye for an eye," he growled, advancing on Zack with a bottle of bleach. "Do you want to be pink or orange?"
Never conceal eggplant in anything the General will be eating. The results are violent and unpleasant.
He makes music when he fights. The thump of his boots on the ground provides a beat for the melody of Masamune singing through the air.
She was there so quickly, going from sibilant voice in his mind to a screaming thing digging sharp nails into his tentative hold on sanity in an instant. He never stood a chance.
A calculated flip of his hair is enough to stop traffic when he's out in public.
General Sephiroth wishes there were enough hours in the day to finish his paperwork, whip the cadets into shape, beat Zack into the mat at the gym, and relax with a good book.
If the lights are on but nobody seems to be home, Zack checks the bathroom first. Chances are Sephiroth has discovered a new shampoo.
Go to Zack. Destroy Jenova. Go to Zack. Destroy Jenova. How was he supposed to choose?
"Why do you care about history? You made history!"
"A world is nothing without history."
"Do not come in."
"You tripped over something when the power went, didn't you?"
When he has a few hours to himself, Sephiroth reads online editions of all the books he missed reading as a child. His favorite involves a loveable stuffed bear who lives under the name of Sanders.
The first time Zack was going into a fight with men under his command, he stopped by Sephiroth's apartment for some advice. He found Sephiroth seated on his knees in the living room, a string of polished wooden beads in his hands, and a picture of Zack in front of him. His eyes were closed and his lips moved constantly, whispering the name of one of the Wutain deities. Zack backed out of the room silently, went to his men, and lead them to victory.
Only those skilled at bumbling into things and then removing those things ever had a chance of getting past the walls he built around itself. And that was how he'd wanted it.
"I really don't think-"
"You wanted to know what it was like to be normal."
"But streaking isn't-"
"Just go with it. Come on!"
The first and only time Sephiroth was motion sick, it was with Zack at the wheel of their Jeep.
As a teenager, Sephiroth visited Wutai near the end of the failed negotiations that led to the war. Looking around at the quiet people and their beautiful home, he wondered why ShinRa wanted to hurt them so badly.
Alone, Sephiroth floats in the LifeStream, reliving and cherishing every moment spent with Zack and Cloud.
The trouble with having such a fast metabolism is that he needs to eat a lot more than one would think, and a lot more often. Thank god for pocket-sized snacks.
Sephiroth believes that, someday, even Cloud will forgive him for not being strong enough.
His first snow was quickly followed by his first snowball fight, first snowman, first mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows, and first truly unpleasant cold.
How old was he when he became an adult? Far too young, he thinks, because he can't even remember.
Reasoning with Zack when he has made up his mind is like reasoning with a brick wall, but not quite as impossible. It just takes force.
After the glow of the reactor faded into all he could see and he felt himself slip out of his body, he waited for someone to come and tell him what a bad boy he'd been. To his surprise, there was only a gently caressing touch on the side of his face before he found himself alone in a quiet place with the promise that he would not always be alone and to bide his time.
Note to self: confectioner's sugar is very light, easily made airborne, and sticks to everything.
ShinRa always had a sense of the dramatic, so they sent him in when things looked their worst and he saw what a horror war really is, when both sides have lapsed into a grim mindset of kill or be killed and can't even remember what it was like to be home and at peace.
Reporters on one side, fangirls on the other. Cinderblock wall at his back. Three Turks in front of him, brandishing weapons to deter the mobs coming at them. Sephiroth thinks he may be in trouble.
"But they're just-"
"Stars aren't just anything, Seph. Just hush and listen to me."
So they lay together in the grass outside the base, staring up into the velvet blackness, Zack murmuring names of constellations and old, old stories.
Note to self: find a way to mark personal effects to remind people that they are mine and not to be touched. Urgent- mark Zack.
"Just get it over with."
"I warned you."
"Shut up, Zack."
No matter what the fangirls say, his hair is silver. Silver, dammit!
He has learned to be gentle around the things he cares about, because some things are very, very fragile.
Tall, well-built man looking for a lover of long hair, bladed weapons, and other men. Call xxx-xxxx
Note to self: do not sew things to fingers.
"Just get in here and help me."
Zack did, squeezing in and reaching up to tug on a case jammed in the top shelf. When it came loose, they tumbled backwards.
"Glad you finally came out of the closet, Seph."
"Shut up, Zack."
Playful and in a good mood for a change, he reached out to dip his hand in the dusty remains of their campfire and reached across to smear gray lines down Zack's face.
"Y'know, they said they wanted those reports in soon."
"Define soon, Zack."
"Not sure, exactly, but probably today."
"Now tell me why I should care."
Even though his legs are long enough to take the stairs two or three at a time, Sephiroth always steps on each and every step.
During relief efforts after a hurricane when he was young, Sephiroth learned than he was not meant for construction.
That night, trapped in his own body and trying to flee the alien thing infesting it, he felt like a helpless animal for the first and only time in his life, running from something larger and far stronger than he was.
While he was falling, he discovered that they- whoever they were- hadn't been kidding when they talked about your life flashing before your eyes when you're dying. What they got wrong was that it wasn't in reverse, the way he'd expected. It started with his birth and ended as he ended, in death.
The bedroom door is open. One of his gloves is missing. The room smells of fur and the dustruffle on his bed is rumpled. There are three puppies under the bed, chewing on his glove.
Be it puppies, cats, babies, or glass animal figurines, Sephiroth has a secret fondness for all things tiny and fragile.
"Um….Seph? Why are you wearing that?"
He fingers the thick black leather around his neck, smiling faintly.
"It makes me feel safe."
The space within Masamune's reach is his to control.
The first time he was touched and not hurt because of the touch was when he was lying, ill and weak, on the floor behind his desk after his Mako dosage was upped. Zack found him, helped him up, and tucked him into bed. There was no hurt, even when his bare hands flitted over Sephiroth's skin, checking for injury. He will always remember that.
After the pain, after he was torn from his bleeding, dying body…..he had wings.
The first time he let Zack make his mother's cure-all tea was also the last time he let Zack make it.
He had begun to heal, but he was still raw and defenseless underneath when Jenova tore his sanity away.
It's rather fun to dance around the apartment to whatever music he has on the stereo at the moment, wearing one of those flimsy paper crowns found in cheap party crackers.
Falling down into the burning green of the reactor, he wished he'd had longer with Cloud and Zack.
He isn't supposed to wear jewelry, so he wears the necklace around his wrist, hidden under his gloves. It has a tiny glass bottle hanging from it, containing three grains of rice, each with a name written on it: Cloud, Zack, and Sephiroth.
Nothing feels quite as good against his skin as a pair of jeans that have been thoroughly broken in for the sole purpose of being lounged in.
Some scientist thought it would be good for him to have a grasp of the arts as well as the more concrete subjects. Alone on a quiet Sunday, he takes his easel and his paints out and lets the brush take control.
There's a treatment for everything: stomachache- that pink stuff; headache- aspirin; muscle ache- hot bath; heartache- Zack.
It really is a gift to be able to make an innocent piece of fruit into a sexual invitation without even trying.
Most of the ShinRa mansion is still intact. He prefers to haunt the library, where some concentration lets him lift a book from the shelves, put it, open, on a table, and leaf slowly through it.
For a long time after the fall, he would suddenly stop whatever he was doing and look at himself, trying to find the scars and reminders of a life that was gone.
Despite his truly impressive height, Sephiroth is capable of folding himself into small, tight spaces. Zack doesn't understand how he does it.
Note to self: do not play 80's pop where subordinates can hear it.
After listening to Zack prancing around the building singing carols for an entire day, Sephiroth is ready to kill the next person who suggests that he sing 'Jingle Bells' at the annual Christmas party.
He can sleep anywhere, as evidenced by Zack finding him napping under his desk, across the back of the couch, in the back of a noisy transport, and straight through an attack on their camp during the war.
If he tries hard enough, hovering around for days on end and prodding at Cloud's head hopefully at frequent intervals, he eventually worms his way in for a quick dream vision that never accomplishes his actual intention to explain himself to Cloud and apologize.
Naturally, with hair like his, Sephiroth is a living, breathing, static electricity conductor. When he's in a good mood, he likes to zap Zack.
Zack was forced to drink fresh milk as a child, and therefore does not understand Sephiroth's almost feline obsession with the stuff. Sephiroth can't get enough of it.
From a safe place behind the couch, where his camcorder can't be spotted, Zack films the groggy, zombie-ish morning habits of the wild General in his native habitat.
Somehow, he'd thought there would be a lot less work to dying. Instead, he spends his time trying to determine what the hell has been done with his file, because he seems to have been stuck in a spiritual waiting room and forgotten.
Sephiroth likes to take things apart. Sometimes, he even puts them back together.
There are ways to die that are far less dramatic and clichéd than throwing oneself off a high place to save the lives of friends- even if one has already nearly killed both of those friends and there is no telling if either will survive long enough to realize one's intentions- but he always did have a flair for the dramatic.