Uh - oh, starting another multi-chap probably isn't a good idea, but while surfing D.A. today I saw a picture of Zack, Cloud, and Sephiroth and it put a plot bunny in my head I wasn't able to get rid of, so this is because of that.

I hope you don't hate me for making this rather than updating any of my other stories, but this is also much different than any other one.

This is AU, and will become very dark. I am probably going to change it to an "M" rating, so we'll see how that goes.

Please leave me feedback on what you like or don't like on the story, I'd greatly appreciate it!

I don't own FFVII

--

Silver hair created a curtain around Sephiroth's face as his fist crashed into the stainless steel table, sending his top men jumping up into the air.

Sephiroth was considered the best looking, and the smartest scientist in the world, and the owner of Crescent Science, the leader in technological research, which recently branched into the world of military weapons, which was a field dominated by Fair Weapons, which had recently branched into the world of technological research. No one knew why either company was invading the other's turf, only that it created a stock market race as people bought as much stock as they could for one company, only to change their minds the next day.

"How?" he asked, "does a worthless playboy find the secret to immortality before us? The top scientific minds in the world can't find the greatest scientific discovery in the world, yet the living replica of Tony Stark can?" He turned to his Vice-President, Professor Hojo, "How?"

Hojo pushed his glasses upwards slightly with his pointer finger as he spoke, his voice high-pitched, raspy, and very quick. "Well, you see sir, he has much more funding than we do, and the access to all sorts of weapons clearly creates the desire for immortality, so of course, his drive to find the answer was much greater than ours." Greasy strands of hair slipped out of his ponytail because of his rapid bobbing of his head as he spoke.

"We promised the world immortality before 2030," Sephiroth growled. "If he comes out with the secret before us, this company will be ruined."

"We are trying our best, sir," Hojo squeaked out.

"Try harder!" Sephiroth snarled as he bent down to Hojo's level, leaning in so only a few centimeters separated their mouths. He wrinkled his nose in disgust at the strong smell of garlic.

With that, Sephiroth strode out of the conference room, slamming the door shut and making his Heads of Departments jump again. He pulled out his cellphone and quickly dialed a number. "I need you to take me somewhere," he said quickly and authoritatively.

"Yes sir," his chauffeur said, and Sephiroth hung up.

There was one man he knew who would get the secret for Sephiroth. He didn't trust the man, he didn't even like the man, but he could put on an act.

If anyone could get the secret, and maybe kill one of his top competitors in the meantime, it would be the best assassin in the world.

Gaia only knew how Sephiroth knew where he lived.

--

"It's done," Cloud said wearily before flipping his cellphone shut and using his foot to push open his apartment doorway.

Cloud Strife was the world's best assassin. Well, the best because the law never caught him, and he always got the job done. Called a cold blooded killer by some, the Grim Reaper by others, Cloud didn't care. Some of his friends called him sadistic, which was ironic because they didn't know the true nature of his work. He would lie to them, and tell them he was a business man. It was why he could afford the fancy furniture in his apartment. No one ever commented if a blood stain was seen in the sink. It was thought to be tomato juice, Cloud Strife was a known vegetarian and health nut among his friends.

It was always the same when he got back from a job. He would wash the blood off in the shower, he would eat some frozen meal from his freezer, and then he would go the nearest bar and drink tequila until he could barely walk. Then he'd come back home, go to sleep, wake up, and the whole routine would start again.

Cloud shook his head. It wasn't always the same. The jobs were always different. There was always a different, more efficient, more creative, way to kill someone. Cloud smirked at himself when the idea popped into his head that he should write a book. 'And instantly get the law on my ass,' he thought.

He tossed his jacket and scarf onto the nearest recliner, and cursed to himself when a silver revolver toppled out and onto his hardwood floor, creating a loud clang.

Cloud ignored it though, and took a cursory glance around his lavish apartment to make sure nothing was out of place. The knives in the kitchen were still hung perfectly; not a single blade on a smudge on it. The chairs and couch in the living room were still covered with neatly put pillows, each one a different shade of blue. The TV, Cloud noticed as he grabbed the remote, turned onto channel thirty-one, one channel different than the one he had left it on.

That was enough to cause suspicion. Acting as nonchalantly as he could, he slowly pulled a desert eagle out of the waistband of his dress pants. Pulling the hammer back slowly enough so that it wouldn't make any noise, he raised it in front of him, ready to fire at anything that moved.

He stepped through the kitchen doorway and into his hallway, keeping his steps silent as he peered into each room that had an open door. A glimmer of silver caught his eye as he passed his office. He frozen, and aimed his pistol at the source; hair, it looked like.

"Cloud Strife," the owner of the hair said. It was a deep voice, and it entranced Cloud, instantly causing him to lower his gun. "Come here, will you."

Cloud stepped fully into his office. It was exactly the way it was when he left for his job, except now there was a silver-haired man sitting in his chair, and a manila folder was laying open on the glass desk. A picture of a raven-haired man grinning that looked strikingly familiar was open, and red lettering was scrawled next to his face.

The man spun around, and his hair went with the momentum of the chair, and Cloud got a good look at his face. Pale skin stretched around perfect bone structure, with piercing green eyes to top it off. He smirked at Cloud.

"Don't ask how I got in here," he said in a low chuckle.

Cloud rose his pistol again, ready to send a bullet right between the man's eyes. "What the hell do you want?"

"Scuttlebutt tells me you're the best assassin in the world."

"Scuttlebutt should've told you not to break into my house."

The man chuckled again. "Cloud Strife, shooting me would be most unwise. I just came into your apartment because I have a small proposition for you."

He pushed the manila folder across the desk, and it slid before stopping abruptly at the edge. Cloud peered down at the picture again, and the lettering.

"I want this man dead, and I want his body." The man then pulled out a checkbook, and rose an eyebrow at Cloud. "Name your price."

--

"Blow," Zack whispered in the girl's ear as he held his hand up to his mouth, and the girl blew. "Blow," he said again to the girl on the right, and she did. "And here, we, go!" Zack whooped as he let the dice loose.

The two dice hit the felt table simultaneously and bounced, rolling over and over, bouncing against the opposite end of the table, on the wooden side. The continued to roll, and soon everyone was quiet, watching the dice. Zack had put a lot of money on this roll, after all. Well, a lot of money for anyone besides Zack Fair.

Zack Fair was the youngest billionaire in the world. Considered to be the greatest tactician of all time, Zack Fair joined the military at the age of sixteen and quickly rose the ranks, becoming a General at age eighteen. He won the war with Wutai within a year, beating the predictions by three years. He went into weapons manufacturing when he was twenty-one, and achieved billionaire status at twenty-two. Now twenty-four, he spent his nights gambling and picking up a new lady to take home. He was content with his lifestyle, and no one was going to change it for him.

He cheered and pumped his fists into the air when the dice both landed on "four", winning him thirty million dollars, mere monopoly money in Zack's eyes. Still, he loved winning, even if the winning money would go to a charity the next day.

"Excuse me, excuse me!" Zack heard a voice shout over the crowd of people surrounding his table, and he couldn't help but raise his head and give the source of the voice a look. It was a cute looking female, dressed in a business suit, clearly a reporter.

"Excuse me for a moment," Zack said as he winked at the two girls on either side of him before quickly pushing his way through the crowd to get to the reporter.

The girl's hair was frazzled, but the still managed to stay in a single braid that hung down her back. She had perfectly angled features, and dazzling emerald eyes. Zack gave her a 9.5 on a scale of 10. The other half a point would consider on how she was in bed.

"Calling for me?" He asked, flashing a grin at the reporter.

"Yes, actually. You are Zack Fair, right?" she asked. Her words came out in between deep breaths, and Zack couldn't help but feel a pang of guilt when he wondered how long she must have been shouting.

"The one and only. Can I help ya?"

"Yes, I'm Aerith Gainsborough from Shinra Magazine, can I ask you a few questions?" Zack grinned when he heard she was from the largest magazine publisher in the world. This would be fun.

"Shoot," he said, rubbing his hands together.

"You are called by some the Da Vinci of our time, what do you say to that?" she asked, her pencil stuck between two rows of pearly white teeth, and her pad at the ready.

"That's ridiculous, I don't paint."

"How about the Merchant of Death?"

Zack laughed. "Now that's not bad."

Aerith rolled her eyes. "Can I get a serious answer out of you?"

"Look. You're talking to a guy who's teenage years were spent winning wars. I'm finally living out my teen years now, but if you want a serious answer here's one. The only way to keep peace is by having a bigger stick than the other guy."

"Says the guy selling the sticks," Aerith said sarcastically, but she was scribbling furiously on her pad of paper. Zack shook his head. Of course, all she wanted was some stupid keeping the peace saying. "Now, knowing that you're responsible for so many deaths, how many hours of sleep do you lose thinking about that?"

"None," Zack winked, "but I'm prepared to lose a few with you."

--

That last conversation was stolen from Iron Man, but it fits Zack's persona so well in this story (for the most part he is Tony Stark in the FFVII universe, but there are some glaring differences too).

This story will switch from the P.O.V.'s of Cloud, Zack, and Sephiroth, but will mainly follow Zack and Cloud.

I won't share any pairings yet, but I will say that Zack isn't going to fall madly in love with Aerith after their night of fun :D

Again, any feedback is appreciated.

Thanks!

-The Lone Wanderer