Chapter 6

Aloria cowers in fear of the reviewers, "okay!! I'll .. write something!" O.o;;;


-Growing Pains-

She awoke, drenched in sweat, her stomach aching, her heart pounding. Once again, she'd seen their eyes. Wide and innocent as she slaughtered them. Children, old men and women, middle aged people. They cried out to her for mercy and she ignored them. Her mind felt on fire, she remembered that much, but now that she was awake, she only felt profound guilt. "Why should I care about them anyway?" she whispered, the silence too deep to break by speaking at a normal tone.

Turning over, her eyes found the glowing green numbers of the clock, it was 4:00 AM. Tossing the blankets aside, she got dressed in her usual clothes and went to the gym on the fifth floor. Sephiroth was slightly peeved to note that her pants did not fit once again. Her shirt was beginning to get tight across her chest, the arms too short. She would have to pester someone about it later.

Three hours later, one of her elite-in-training entered. He was young, but had supreme promise. He'd passed the tests to become first class, but didn't have the training yet. To his disappointment, he hadn't gotten his scores in time to be included in the war.

That was fine, Zack had been recently transferred to the main building for just that. He stood near the door, arms hanging loose by his sides, his five-foot Ginzu knife hanging from the halter on his back. Sephiroth was unaware of him, her brow somewhat damp, which was a sign that she had been there for a while. She had removed her coat and was simply moving though the stances with her sword with meticulous grace, the long sleeves of her black shirt pushed up her arms. Her hair swayed free but never in the way, how the swordsman could stand it, Zack did not know.

A very disturbing thought occurred to him, one that slid past unnoticed for a second, then returned to be analyzed. "Sephiroth... beautiful?" he mumbled aloud to himself. Sure, the general was graceful, and he could certainly out-do anyone he ever came up against, but Zack's mind had somehow ended up coming to the conclusion that Sephiroth was beautiful in the sense that women were beautiful. This disturbed him greatly. "I'm not.. gay, am I?" he asked himself, brow furrowed in confusion.

Sephiroth had stopped quite some time ago, her eyes focused on Zack, who seemed to have drifted off to some far away place, leaving his face contorted in a very strange expression. For a brief moment, she wondered whether to yell at him, or simply to hit him. She settled on moving behind him and planting her foot in his rear.

Zack sprawled onto the floor face first, then slowly pushed himself onto his hands and knees with a faint laugh. "Guess I should pay more attention?"

"What were you thinking of?" she asked blandly, gliding past him, Masamune in one hand. How strange and beautiful the sword was as well, how easily she handled it, yet it was almost impossibly long and certainly should have been heavy. Some said it was really made by the Ancients, that the metal wasn't as heavy as it looked. The buster sword had twice as much metal as the Masamune even though it was some hybrid sort of metal that truly was lighter but not nearly as strong or powerful as the Masamune.

The trainee shook his head, "Nothing important," he replied, a blush staining his face. Sephiroth shrugged and stood loosely, waiting for Zack to stand. Slowly, the younger man stood, shifting the weight of Buster Sword on his shoulders. "You're here early," he stated, almost questioningly.

Sephiroth didn't answer. Just as he was going to keep his thoughts to himself, so was she. After all, she was supposed to be mysterious and dark and.. stuff like that. She paced towards the mirror, stopping and staring at Zack's reflection. ... and somehow, it came out. "I see their eyes in my dreams." She turned to face Zack once more, staring at his true face. His reflection seemed dark. Dark eyes, dark hair, pale skin. He could have been a phantom. But his expression was always open, always willing to listen... and she was given to trust him. He talked a lot, but never about anyone's secrets. "Enough of that," she stated, feeling self conscious now. Talking about her problems was like talking about her puberty, though in all truth, that numbered among her problems even though it had happened several years ago.

Instead of dwelling on it further, she lifted Masamune and stepped back into her stance. Zack had come just in time.. She wasn't sure if the company of her sword could distract her from her own mind for much longer. There was only so much Masamune could do for her, and after that, she had to seek living companionship. It was a need she couldn't deny no matter how dark and mysterious she wished to be. Surely one person knowing her real self .. or at least a part of who she really was didn't compromise her goals.

Zack reached back over his shoulder, unclipping his sword and settling into a stance of his own. When he'd come here for training, he really hadn't expected to work so closely with Sephiroth. It was amazing that this slip of a young man could actually be a general and stomp the daylights out of an entire nation.. and now, he was fooling around in the gym with someone who was probably far younger than him. No one really knew Seph's age. They just assumed he was in his twenties and just looked young, and happened to be short. Though, in all honesty, Sephiroth really wasn't THAT young looking. His face was angular, high cheek bones, pointed chin, hard eyes.. no rolls of baby fat clung to his body, nothing extra could be seen anywhere.

The general moved suddenly, Masamune swirling forward in a graceful ark that if Zack had been paying attention to the obvious shift in Sephiroth's weight, he would have had time to dodge. "Are you going to stand there and wool gather in a battle?" Sephiroth snapped. Okay.. maybe Sephiroth WASN'T fooling around in the gym with someone far younger than he.

Zack landed on his ass, Buster Sword clattering to the ground a few feet away. "No, sir, sorry sir," he replied. Looking up, he saw Sephiroth standing in a lax position, one hip turned slightly forward, left hand grasping Masamune loosely, the other upon his hip. The general's eyes were sharp and waiting impatiently for Zack to get up and continue their work. Reaching over, Zack grabbed up Buster Sword and clamored to his feet, falling into stance again. Sephiroth eyed him a moment more before resetting herself as well.

This time, Zack made sure to pay attention, watching for anything that might indicate the general's preparation to attack. Sephiroth was too fast though, and came sweeping forward in a more direct motion. Her grip on Masamune shifted slightly, sweeping the long blade down and up again. This wasn't nearly as fast as she could truly go though, and yes, she was taking it easy on the boy. This WAS his first week after all... and she was still testing him.

A block, dodge, then counter attack. Buster Sword's hilt was pointed upwards, stopping Masamune's downward sweep at Zack's legs, then his grip shifted, though instead of blocking the attack, he just wasn't there for it. Once Masamune had swept past, he dodged in under the swing, stabbing forward with the end of Buster Sword-

The set stopped abruptly with Masamune at Zack's neck, Buster Sword still a foot away from Sephiroth's trim stomach. The general said nothing, no appraising look, no change of expression to indicate whether the general was impressed or disappointed. Masamune swept back, leaving Zack to fall into his stance again, Sephiroth did the same.

She could see him trying to find an answer in her face, and she resolutely kept him from seeing it. He would figure out what she wanted him to do on his own and he would feel proud of himself for it. What did he need HER approval for after all? She let him attack this time.. watching the young man's posture change, his defense tighten. Very good! Her lips twitched as some of her smile slipped through the hold on her expression, but hopefully Zack didn't see it, or if he did, it was enigmatic and gave him no clue as to whether it was supposed to be a smile or frown. He'd figure it out on his own.

He stomped forward, slapping at Masamune with Buster Sword, twisting up and under- and in a move Sephiroth really wasn't expecting, but was fast to react to once she saw it coming, he freed one hand from the hilt of his sword to punch at her stomach. She fell back immediately, rolling along the floor and easily sliding to her feet, standing with her weight centered between her slightly more than shoulder width spread stance. Masamune was once more level and steady, Sephiroth's piercing blue-green gaze staring at her opponent over the tip of the sword.

Zack hadn't really been sure that'd work against Sephiroth. After all.. it WAS Sephiroth he was sparring. He set himself into his stance again, not wanting to push it and make the general angry. Still there was no sign of Sephiroth's mood in his expression... Zack chewed at the inside of his cheek, worrying, as his eyes searched the general's stance, his expression, his breathing pattern.. and noticed that the general's pants didn't quite fit, even though he was wearing a pair of knee-high black leather boots, his pants tucked into them. The part that visibly didn't fit was around his hips. They were too tight there and .. seemed a bit flat.. That was odd. But then, maybe he liked them like that? Who knew.. Still, Masamune remained steady, Sephiroth still and patient. Waiting... for something..

Waiting for me to impress him.

The thought clicked in and Sephiroth saw it. Once more, she suppressed the satisfied smile that wanted to stain her lips. Zack waited a moment longer, then snapped in, sweeping his sword upwards. Masamune blocked and pushed the wider blade a way. Every one of Zack's attacks were blocked, but he pushed himself to do his all, to try to break through Sephiroth's perfect defenses. Sephiroth counterattacked from time to time, giving Zack just enough to move into defensive stances as well and display his ingenuity in that field as well.

It was upon that scene that Bryne walked in, his eyes widening slightly at the fast paced exchange of blows. The sound of metal clashing and singing was nearly deafening, but he stood in the door, mesmerized. Masamune swept down and to the side, Zack jumping over it and swinging Buster Sword at Sephiroth who dived down and rolled, coming to his feet and bringing Masamune around in an upwards arc only to be blocked by Buster Sword.

The spar was a thing of beauty, a thing of grace, and simple intricacy- and Bryne wasn't the only one sorry to see it end with a sudden thump and clatter. Zack winced, moving to get up and grab his sword again, but Sephiroth had already lowered Masamune, twirling the blade to point behind him. "That's enough," she stated regally, one hand moving to her hip as she leaned her weight on that hip a bit. And.. Bryne wasn't the only one to notice the hint of satisfaction in the general's voice. Sephiroth moved, gracefully walking towards the door where Bryne stood. He straightened and saluted, ...somewhat aware that he'd gotten a long sweeping look from the general.. appraising perhaps? Or just the type of look a woman gives an attractive man? It disturbed him.

"Sephiroth, Sir," he stated, "President Shinra wishes to speak with you."

She suppressed her sigh and nodded ever so slightly, gliding from the room and towards the elevator. She'd visit her room first, pick up her coat and the clips for her sword before going to see him. Being fashionably late was always mysterious, and presumptuous. It would serve Shinra right though. The fat man needed to learn that Sephiroth wasn't his slave and she would do things however the hell she liked to till the day he didn't need her.. then she'd kill him. Why? Because, she was fairly sure she'd be sick of him by then. She was already sick of him.

The items in question were claimed and donned, and as Sephiroth staked down the hall, she pulled out a tube of chap stick, applied it to her lips and pressed her lips together, hands recapping the tube and dropping it back into the pocket of her coat.

The elevator had arrived as Sephiroth stalked down the hall to it, Tseng was stepping out, and had witnessed the general's chap stick application. The Turk blinked slightly, standing in the doorway of the elevator, holding it for the shorter black clad warrior. He didn't even glance at him or mutter a 'thanks' in return, but then, there was something of a preoccupied look upon his face. He stepped out once Sephiroth had inserted his keycard and pressed the button for the top floor. Both turning, they met glances as the doors slid shut between them.

He gave a shiver, "...when did I start thinking of him as 'beautiful'?" Tseng asked himself absently, rubbing the back of his neck as he continued down the hall to his office.


"Since when did I think Tseng was cute?" Sephiroth muttered to herself. "where did that thought COME from anyway? ... I think I am gay." That didn't really give her much encouragement for the future.. She'd had a few who were lovers in her troops, but they'd always been looked down upon even though they fought with just as much strength and courage as any straight man. It bothered her though, and would likely continue to no matter what.

The elevator continued upwards and her thoughts trailed onwards. She was starting to feel guilty about allowing herself that extra look at Bryne. She wasn't sure what it was, but his thin waistline and hips simply made her want to .. want to do something to him.. She wasn't sure what.. but it was something that probably required a penis, which she still didn't have. How long would it take? She was ready to move on with her life and try new things.. but her body was holding her back.

A soft 'bing' announced her arrival- Sephiroth frowned slightly and looked up at the numbers over the door. No.. someone was getting on. The doors opened and Scarlett stepped in, adjusting her bra and pushing her breasts into place within the cups. Sephiroth wasn't impressed. "Going to the top floor?" she asked somewhat sourly, but that was her general mood. Probably the heels did it to her.

Sephiroth made no reply to that comment. After all, why would she be above the floor her room was on if she weren't either going to see Hojo or the president? Scarlett scowled slightly and moved to the side of the elevator, leaning against the glass as Sephiroth remained in the center, looking imposing despite her lack of height. Though.. Scarlett was only two inches taller due to her heels.

Silence fell, though Sephiroth could tell the stupid slut was thinking something along the lines of 'stupid bastard'. The thought nearly made Sephiroth laugh. Thankfully, the doors opened and they were on the highest floor the elevator could go to. Sephiroth was the first one out, stalking towards the downstairs area of the president's office.

Scarlett came after, her walking behind Sephiroth was simply... irritating.. She wasn't sure why, but the clacking of those heels against the tiles made Sephiroth feel like either running away or turning around and beheading her. Probably the beheading part would have been more fun. But, she wasn't allowed to behead other executives.

Shinra just ruined ALL the fun!

Stalking past the two front desks, Sephiroth headed up to the president's office, Scarlett still following behind. She finally came into the upper office area, finding Shinra facing them with a great cloud of cigar smoke around him.

Heidigar was also present, and he was standing off to the side, arms folded upon his man-breasts.

The President shifted his immense bulk, taking the cigar from his mouth and tapping the ash into a tray on his desk. "I brought you three here.." he took a long drag on the fat stick, and let it out as he spoke again, "Because I want you three to work on a new training method for the new weapons that have been developed recently." He shifted, and stood slowly, "I don't want to hear any complaints that you can't stand so-n-so. You're going to do it, or risk a paycut."

"I'm not getting paid," Sephiroth pointed out sarcastically and made to turn and leave.

"On the contrary, Sephiroth, you've been getting paid from the moment you were born. Not even Hojo knows that." He smirked slightly as Sephiroth paused and looked over her shoulder-guard, "And if you don't do this, I will find ways to make your life uncomfortable."

Her eyes narrowed. Yes.. she'd kill him...possibly even soon. "And if we go along with it? Do we get any benefits?" Scarlett asked sourly, as if it were a chore to be anywhere near Sephiroth.. and it likely was, for she couldn't seem to get into his pants. Sephiroth just.. wasn't interested and gave her the most disgusted looks whenever she tried to seduce him.

Shinra grinned around his cigar, and after taking a puff on it, he brought it down from his mouth and answered, "Yes. A pay-raise." This seemed to get Scarlett's attention. "By five percent." That really got her attention. Sephiroth looked bored. "and since Sephiroth here, doesn't seem to care about money, I'll give him something special instead."

"And what would that be?" she asked sourly.

He grinned, yellowed teeth looking disgusting in his face. "Anything you want, boy!"

Finally turning to face the president, she placed her hands upon her hips. "I want new clothes, these don't fit anymore and I look like a complete idiot wearing them when they should have been thrown out a year ago."

Silence... met her statement.. as if she'd said something wrong. She forced herself to remain staring hard at Shinra instead of glancing nervously at the other two in the room.

"okay...." came the somewhat.. puzzled answer.

"When do we start this?" Sephiroth asked, shifting and folding her arms on her chest, attempting to change the subject.

Coughing, Shinra nodded, retaking his seat. "Tomorrow, Heidigar will show you. That is all." He began to lift his cigar to his mouth again.

Sephiroth's eyes narrowed slightly, "And when-" she started.

"Tomorrow!" Shinra snapped. Scowling a bit longer, she finally turned and headed down the stairs, aware that now Heidigar AND Scarlett were following her. She turned her steps away from the elevator and took the stairs instead.