Quiet: So, a long long time ago, before I played Crisis Core, I decided to write a bunch of anthro fics. I couldn't make up my mind on what Cloud and Sephiroth should be (funny how Zack isn't even considered being something else), so I did two different versions of this verse. I found this not too long ago, sitting all forgotten in My Documents, so I opened it up and got to work fixing it up to include a few Crisis Core-y things (Angeal and Gen of course). Enjoy!
Cloud absolutely despised ShinRa.
For some indecipherable reason, no matter how much he advanced, it seemed like all the drill sergeants were out to get him for something, whether it was a matter of him being too short for a "big cat" type, too lithe and scrawny to withstand the rigorous hunt and fight training of the ShinRa clan, his fangs too close together, or in one case, too blond. What was worse, almost everyone one of the depreciating bastards was either canine or a bigger animal that just had something against feline anima in general.
It was maddening.
But he'd chosen this life, he reminded himself. His mother had warned him that fighting in the war against the Were-born would be a challenging and daunting task, but he'd insisted on going to Midgar to prove to both Tifa and the villagers that not only could he join the best and largest hunting clan in the world, but also the elite strike and take-down unit within that clan known as SOLDIER.
It was his dream to one day join General Sephiroth's personal 'pack' and be considered one of the best and fiercest fighters in the world.
Stifling the urge to pace in a tight, tense circle, Cloud chose instead to stalk away from the hellish training grounds and his insufferable substitute sergeant in favor of catching a fresh meal in the hunting grounds, his tail flicking in barely leashed agitation as he approached the informant board. A long glance revealed at least ninety or so SOLDIER-prep cadets had the same idea, and Cloud stifled a groan at the prospect of hunting alone with noisy idiots constantly scaring off the prey with their boisterous play-fights and meaningless dominance displays.
Ears and tail sagging, Cloud heaved a world-weary sigh as he swiped his identification card and logged himself in for meal time. Hopefully, the majority of the fools would be in here with an officer for hunt or stalking training rather than left to their own devices. In any case, the available game was separated into simulated environments that successfully allowed the prey to live and the anima to hunt to their preference.
As per usual, Cloud selected the mountain environment, hoping to avoid most of the wolves since they tended to haunt the flat, forest regions; that suited him just fine, since the best place for a mountain lion to fit in was…well, a mountain.
Snorting at the thought, Cloud waited for the mechanical doors to slide open to slink into the indicated corridor, his fingertips automatically flexing to release his claws. After a moment, he appeared on a steep incline somewhere near the foot of the virtual mountain, his ear swiveling as he sought the sounds of others near him. Relieved to only hear the sounds of birds and unsuspecting prey moving about, Cloud felt his tail flick in anticipation of a good hunt and meal to calm him before heading back to his room.
"Time to go to work," he said softly, a small smile lighting his eyes.
Zack was having a crappy day.
First, he'd been called into a meeting in Sephiroth's place since they'd swamped the guy with other conferences before he'd even had a chance to fully awaken in the morning, then, he'd forgotten to send a replacement for his Combat and Stalking class, so by the time he'd found a sergeant and rushed him down there after the meeting, the restless little cadets under his command were probably climbing the walls. Now he had to take the time to get a scent introduction to them next class period, which was Thursday (they met every Tuesday and Thursday so that'd be another setback in their training schedule).
Genesis was back in Wutai after an incident involving his temper, and Angeal had nearly laid an egg when he'd found out—even now, the older SOLDIER had his feathers in a ruff and was moping something fierce; it was driving Zack batshit insane. But the cake-yanker had to be the fact that Sephiroth had politely declined (as in reject, no thanks, uh-uh, nope) to have sex with him—him, Zack Fair—when he most needed it. His excuse:
"Not now, Zackary, this paperwork is not going to complete itself on its own."
Needless to say, he was very unhappy right now. Grumbling to himself, Zack arrived at the simulation chamber that all the ShinRa anima fed from, swiping his keycard in the slot to activate the selection pad. He was so busy cursing his lousy luck that he didn't notice that he had declined access to the SOLDIER hunting grounds and instead logged in as an instructor, thereby giving him access to cadet hunting grounds. Without looking, he pressed his usual button, unaware of this phenomenon, his brows scrunching as he strolled into the simulator tunnel, his steps eager to release the unwanted tension.
His first steps had barely touched the ground before he was blurring into motion, his large body nearly soundless as he prowled the simulated environment, eyes constantly scanning for Elfadunks and similar creatures. It was only when he passed his sixth cute, fluffy Jumping that he paused to sniff out his surroundings. What the hell? How'd he manage to get into the cadet feeding chambers? It reeked of weak prey, and truth be told, Zack had been looking forward to taking down a Dual Horn or an Arc Dragon to release some of his frustration, but if he was in here, then that wouldn't be possible.
He was tempted, severely tempted to howl his frustration to the false sky, but he just barely restrained himself; not only would he scare away all the prey, but he'd also terrify all the baby wolf cadets in range into flocking to him for submissive displays. Grimacing at the thought, Zack scratched the back of his head as he wondered whether he should just leave or finish up an already crappy day with an even crappier meal.
A faint scent suddenly caught his attention and his tail waved in excitement as he recognized the scent. A reptile was around here somewhere, and judging by the musky scent, it was a rather large one too. Not Behemoth-sized mind you, but at least big enough to interest him.
Well, at least things were looking up.
Step. Pause. Step. Pause. Crouch low, body as small as possible…Wait for the prey to completely relax…unsheathe your claws and settle your weight on the balls of your feet. Lean forward, focus, gather all your energy into your legs, aaaaand…lunge!
Cloud burst from the thicket in a rolling dive, claws aimed at the soft, vulnerable throat of the Under Lizard.
The first blow caught it just under its pulse point, which was fairly bursting from its skin as the creature thrashed its head in a frantic attempt to dislodge him and gore him with its single head horn. Cloud held on with grim determination, and waited until the lizard was panting with exhaustion before abruptly pushing his feet against the ground and flipping his prey; he rode its thrashing form to the ground with one arm preventing its head from moving and his leg pinning its thick tail. It roared in alarm as it wound up on its back with no way of defending itself, but in one quick motion, the blonde pierced the jugular vein, abruptly ending its struggling.
Warm blood gushed from the wound, coating the anima and making him wince at the splatters that were almost guaranteed to be on his face and in his hair; it was a good thing the hunting uniforms didn't stain or absorb liquid, but he would still be hitting the showers in the outside room after this.
Cautiously sitting up from his straddling position around the larger creature's neck, Cloud let his tongue curl around a speck of blood along his upper lip before lifting his hand and beginning the tedious process of cleaning his hands. His mind was already considering how much he was going to eat and how much he was going to hide for another time since he hadn't originally planned on taking on a meal quite this large. His frustration had gotten the better of him and he'd taken it out on the first thing he'd come across. His long tail flicked in satisfaction as he checked under his nails for any stray blood, still mentally sorting out his problem.
Should he take his time and stuff himself since he didn't have any more class or just eat his fill for now and bury the rest in a hidey hole? Hmm, but then that might not work since there were plenty of scavengers in the program willing to take his spoils without a thought to the trouble he went to.
"And I'd rather not take on a pack of slobbering, idiot wolves or a two-ton bear," he muttered aloud.
"Hey, now we can't all be that bad," a voice purred from behind him.
Yowling in alarm, Cloud bristled protectively over his meal as his head whipped around until narrowed baby blues met amused sky-blue.
Those eyes immediately revealed the other anima as non-feline, but the bushy tail, pointed, triangular ears, wide-fanged grin, and the responding comment immediately identified him for what he was—wolf.
Shit, he thought, eyes narrowing as he decided whether he should be attacking or trying to negotiate. Then his eyes caught sight of the uniform clinging to the handsome anima's body, his eyes going accordingly wide.
"Don't you dare 'Sir' me," the dark-haired wolf ordered, his tone exasperated. "Don't catch my attention by being all cute and feisty then turn into a suck up at the first sign of my rank."
Puzzled, Cloud shifted on his toes, his stiff tail giving a few small, languid curls before stilling.
"Am I in your way or something, si—er…?" Cloud blurted, his eyes darting from the SOLDIER to his kill as if worried the bigger anima would make him give up his meal.
A hearty laugh rumbled from the other male's throat as he stepped closer. "Name's Zack. Relax, kitten, I'm not after your kill, no matter how nice it looks," he reassured with a cheeky grin and wink. "Quite frankly, I'm more interested in you right now," he added.
Rather than having the intended effect of relaxing the younger male, Zack's words caused Cloud to tense up and shift warily to the balls of his feet. Interest from a dog was never a good thing for any feline.
"…Sir?" the blond asked, ears flattened and brows creased.
So cute! Zack thought, his grin widening just the slightest bit. "Where're you from, kid?"
"The Nibel Mountains," the cat admitted, his suspicious blue eyes only causing Zack's amusement to grow.
"Ah, no wonder you were able to take down that lizard. Must be child's play to someone who grew up with dragons and needlekiss hangin around," the elite mused. After a moment, the thoughtful expression was chased away by a grin, and Cloud watched that furry tail begin to wave in the air like an over energetic flag. "You probably had hedgehog pie for breakfast."
Cloud felt a smirk tugs at his lips. "Actually, we had Zuu, Sir."
Both of Zack's brows raised as he tried to figure out whether kid was joking or not. A long look showed a small, somewhat compact kid with barely a fifth the weight of a typical Zuu, and bright, gravity-defying spikes that probably stood out like a beacon on a hunt. The blond blushed under the scrutiny, but the small smile remained on his face, and his tail was flicking back and forth with satisfaction.
Well I'll be damned, he thought. "So you do have a sense of humor under those cute little kitty ears of yours."
"I am not cute, and I am not a kitty," the blond growled, a decidedly cute scowl on his face.
Zack stifled a laugh and folded his arms. This kid sure was interesting. Maybe… "So what are you, then?"
"I'm a mountain lion, a cougar, a puma; but I am not a kitten," he stressed.
Oh yeah, he's feisty alright.
This one was definitely a keeper.
Note for those who have no idea what monsters I'm talking about in the fic. Original FF Monsters. *is a nerd*
http://finalfantasy . wikia . com/wiki/List_of_Final_Fantasy_VII_Enemies