Disclaimer: I don't own FF7. There's also one or two references to other fics. I'm just too lazy and tired to comb through the FF7 time travel fics to find out which ones. But whether anyone finds or recognizes it or not, credit goes to respective authors/owners.
It's been two months and I can't believe it took me this long! I'll admit that I had this chapter done for a few days, but I just wanted to give it another solid read through (as well as a server error). I had been having a bit of trouble with this one at first, because all of the transitions and tying them all together. And on that note, I hope that it's easy to follow or at least not too confusing, because this chapter is about what everyone else (and by that I mean Zack, Angeal, Genesis, and Sephiroth; ZAGS for short) is doing after Cloud wakes up and runs. And if there's some silly spelling errors, it's probably from laziness or document save error, or something... yeah...
Anyway, I have a few ideas what to do next, but I am open for ideas- and by that I mean that I'm pretty much begging. Plus, I am also interested in what you -my awesome readers and/or reviewers- think will happen or want to happen next.
Lastly, thanks to Kurai Ame for her PM and being an encouraging (in her words) "Pest, Author, and Reader". :)
(Shortly after Cloud's Escape, Level 45, Hospital Floor. Angeal.)
As soon as Zack disappeared around the corner, chasing after the blond cadet, Angeal mused aloud to the Chief Medical Officer next to him,
"You know, after all that yelling, shouldn't you be the one chasing after the cadet?"
Doc scoffed, "That's what you think."
Angeal looked down at the man with a raised eyebrow, "Really?"
Doc rolled his eyes, "Oh please, if your student is more than willing to chase after the cadet, then I'll save myself the trouble. Besides, if my staff can stop Reno from an 'early check out', Zack should be able to catch that cadet easily."
Angeal nodded in agreement, asking with a small laugh, "You're right. I mean, how hard can it be to catch an injured cadet?"
Surprised by the sudden death-glare Doc was giving him, Angeal questioned the man, "What?"
Doc just shook his head before saying three simple words, as though it explained everything, "You poor bastard."
Angeal ran a hand over his face, realizing his mistake, 'Oh please don't let it be one of those days.'
Taking a breath and hoping today wouldn't go straight to hell, Angeal suggested aloud, "Maybe it wouldn't hurt to help Zack out."
Doc looked doubtful, but nodded in grim determination, "Yeah, we want to make sure the cadet doesn't further injure himself."
"Of course," Angeal replied. As they began walking, he asked, "Do you really think Zack didn't handle the fight as well as he could have?"
Doc snorted, "Oh please Angeal, even I know that I get carried away with my lectures. While I'm not thrilled about what happened, I understand... Zack was just following protocal," he shook his head, "Although I still think it's rather brutal-"
"It's better for problems to happen now than later," Angeal finished for him.
Doc nodded, "Exactly."
Of all the rules dealing with Cadet Altercations, the one followed by SOLDIER seemed to be one of the more brutal ones. If a SOLDIER saw an altercation between cadets occur, they were not to intervene unless they had been seen by nearby cadets or informed by a cadet about the fight. It was a brutal weeding out system of sorts, and more informal than most. However, it was also one of the most effective ways of determining whether or not cadets can work together, and more importantly, if- and how- they can settle their differences.
While finding cadets that had the potential to be SOLDIERs was important, finding cadets that could work together was a higher priority. Being the best cadet of the bunch in the classroom meant nothing if they couldn't work constructively with their peers. SOLDIER was a life-long commitment, and the last thing needed were grudges to form. And if the new recruits couldn't work together now as cadets, there was no way on Gaia that ShinRa would even think of bringing them in as SOLDIERs. And the same thing went for the Turks as well, more or less.
As the two quickly walked down the halls, Doc called out to everyone, "Anyone seen the Puppy?" The staff members paused for a brief moment, before pointing in the same direction and gave an answer in chorus, "That way."
After so many attempts of escape by SOLDIERs and TURKs alike, it was second-nature to them. Most staff members couldn't pin down a mako-enhanced patient by themselves, so for safety reasons- as well as to minimize damages, and therefore, paper work- they simply pointed the person in charge of the patient (or one of the SOLDIERs on Hospital Duty that week) in the right direction and begin to lock down whatever wing the patient was in.
After a few minutes of walking, Doc was beginning to frown, "We should have caught up with them by now."
Angeal frowned as well from the commotion he could hear up ahead, before sharing his observation with his companion. Instead of looking relieved, Doc cursed and broke out into a run. Concerned and slightly confused, Angeal followed after him.
Both of them stopped before the entrance of another ward, slack-jawed expressions making their way on both of their faces at the sight. Angeal was left speechless, and even did a small double-take, but his companion was less responsive.
Doc's right eye just twitched.
Patients were running around, flailing their arms, climbing on doors and furniture, and occassionally fighting the staff or each other. All the while, medical personnel were chasing after the patients trying to pull them away from either objects or people.
Four staff members were trying to break up a fight between a SOLDIER Second and a Turk. A nurse was trying to pry a patient off the top of an open door. Three others were trying to wrestle down an especially unruly patient long enough to use a tranquilizing needle on him.
One of them moved to inject the struggling patient, but instead of getting the patient's flailing arm, she got one of the men trying to keep the patient pinned down, accidentally drugging up and knocking out her colleague.
Angeal stared at the sight before noticing a recently recruited SOLDIER Third hiding behind a potted plant and rocking himself back and forth. With wide frantic eyes, the SOLDIER kept repeating to himself over and over, "I'm okay, I'm okay, I'm okay. It's not here anymore, it's gone. I'm okay, I'm okay, I'm okay."
The shivering SOLDIER was flinching and jumping at every loud noise. The poor man looked like he was having a seizure.
Angeal resisted the urge to step back when wide eyes turned to him, as well as the urge to push the young man away when the SOLDIER launched himself at him. Looking over his shoulder, Angeal looked down at the SOLDIER hiding behind him, hands gripping the back of his shirt.
"PLEASE DON'T LET THE DEMENTED CHOCOBO GET ME!"
Wincing at the hollered plea and not knowing what to do, Angeal awkwardly patted the SOLDIER's back, looking over to Doc for help. Doc was just standing there, his face buried in his hands as he groaned, muttering to himself, "Not again! This is the second time this month! Why is it always this ward!"
Wandering what Doc was talking about, Angeal ignored the chaos around him for a moment and looked up at the sign above the entrance:
"Outer East Wing, Psych Ward"
Angeal stared at the sign.
"Just for the record, I blame you for this," Doc said, referring to the SOLDIER's earlier statement of how hard it could be to catch a cadet.
Mind you, this cadet was being chased by his student, a SOLDIER Second, his protégé. And the cadet was injured, hell, he had almost died less than an hour ago!
Angeal's left eye just twitched.
(Twenty minutes later, Level Fifty-Two, SOLDIER Floor. Genesis.)
-Scritch, scratch, scratch.-
Genesis was in his office quickly writing his speech for the orientation. Glancing at his new phone, he frowned slightly at the time, a quarter before seven. The pen moved faster, his hand moving across from one end of the paper to the next in frantic seconds.
-Scratch, scratch, scritch.-
His meeting with Director Lazard had taken longer than he had expected. After a short debriefing of his previous mission, Genesis had been given a new... 'responsibility'.
As of next month, he was to make several appearances with the new SOLDIER Prep cadets.
Lazard said it was to provide motivation for the teenagers. Genesis considered it torture.
It was bad enough he had to go to meet with the new recruits that actually made it in to SOLDIER, but now he had to meet them before they even took the test.
He learned that after being told that he had to partake in the orientation. An orientation that he had only learned of that morning, instead of at last week's meeting. A meeting which he had not fallen asleep.
And Angeal had saw it for himself that he had his eyes open the entire time.
Never mind that Genesis had has mind elsewhere throughout the entire meeting, namely 'LaLa-Land'.
-Scritch, scritch, scratch.-
'At least,' Genesis thought, returning to his earlier unhappy turn of events, 'I won't be the only one.'
The only consolation he could take from the horrible situation was that Angeal and Sephiroth would have to meet the cadets as well. While Angeal probably wouldn't mind all too much, Genesis took comfort that Sephiroth would probably... dislike every minute of it.
Turning his mind to more pleasant thoughts, Genesis thought back to his phone call with Angeal after having run into that blonde cadet. He had informed his friend that he would find a cadet waiting in his office.
Genesis wasn't sure what was happening in the background, but it sounded like Angeal was trying to break up a riot. Whatever was happening on the other line, Genesis wasn't sure if he wanted to know or not.
Considering he worked at ShinRa, knowing something could give him an advantage in a situation, be it on a mission or in a meeting. However, taking into account the other people who worked at ShinRa, sometimes he was better off ignorant. Like how no one wanted to know why the President was at the Honey Bee Inn, or what he was doing there- or rather who.
Genesis had shuddered the thought away from his mind, 'Never... Never again.'
When Angeal said a hasty goodbye, Genesis could have sworn he heard something about a chocobo before his freind hung up. As though to rid himself of the thought and focus on his writing, Genesis shook his head before he realized that he had ran out of room on the card, having filled out both sides already.
Looking at the few ideas he had written on the index card, he sighed in resignation before leaving his office. He couldn't afford to spend anymore time working on his speech, he needed to get to the orientation room. Otherwise, he would get to spend even more quality time with cadets if he was late.
'Goddess no,' he thought with a near-shudder, 'I have to spend enough time with them as it is.'
And to think he had already had the unfortunate luck to run across one in the Executive Elevator. What is the world coming to if a no-name cadet could gain access to it from the Turks' Office Floor? Another talk with Tseng was definitely in order, along with a cup of tea.
At least the cadet had been interesting though, so he wasn't put into quite the foul mood he usually experienced post-mako shots. It also helped that he had caught the whole thing on camera. He was looking foward to testing out the new slo-mo feature on his phone.
Although, he had been telling the truth that he was impressed, he wouldn't admit that he had also been genuinely surprised- and a bit amused. After all, it was a rare sight to see a cadet attack the General with fan club posters. All the more pity though, the cadet would probably be kicked out.
Fan club posters or not, it could still be considered attempted assault on a superior officer. Not to mention the insubordination from failing to salute his superiors, or the second attempted assault when the cadet tried to hit him. The fact that the cadet tried to hit him didn't upset him. It was the fact that the cadet ignored him that irritated Genesis.
Well, on second thought, perhaps 'ignored' wasn't the right word. The cadet had been completely zoned out and hadn't moved when he had called the cadet to attention. He was oblivious, probably lost in thought about having actually met Sephiroth.
Genesis rolled his eyes, 'Fans, honestly. They're always after Seph.'
He frowned though at that last thought, because the cadet couldn't have been a fan. Despite the manila envelope being full of posters, the cadet had treated it like a weapon more than anything else.
When the cadet had first dove into the elevator, he hadn't even realized that they were there. But the cadet had tensed as soon as he realized he wasn't alone. Without so much as looking up.
Genesis hummed in thought. The cadet was... odd to say the least. He was first oblivious, then wary, then horrified about bumping into Sephiroth before throwing the posters at him.
Then the cadet was horrified again, before looking skittish. After falling through the elevator doors, he looked wary again, guarded and ready for a fight. After that-
Genesis groaned as he rubbed his head. This was giving him a headache. The cadet was just a bundle of seemingly random reactions. Putting his hand down, Genesis frowned at the cadet's last reaction, when the blonde tried to punch him.
If that was the cadet's reaction from being caught unaware of his surroundings, what would his reaction be from a surprise attack?
It was an interesting question.
And did the cadet always react that way? Did he punch any of his friends when they tried to get his attention while he was lost in thought? Did he space out like that often?
'Oh joy, oh rapture,' he thought sarcastically, 'I'm curious.'
He wanted to find out more about the cadet and he wanted answeres. And now that he was curious, he didn't like the idea of the cadet being kicked out.
'Hm...' he thought, before mentally declaring, 'I'll just have to make sure that doesn't happen then.'
If he had to "forget" about the event, then he'd forget about it. Besides, he could care less about the paper work that it would take to file a report and a letter of discharge to the cadet.
'The only thing left to do,' he surmised, 'Is confiscate any video serviellance recordings and get Sephiroth to agree. Now what to bribe the man with? The man has a moderate case of workaholic syndrome, so less paperwork is likely out of the question. Hm... This may be problematic... Maybe if I-'
Said man was brought out of thoughts as he looked up to see Angeal storming down the hall towards him.
'Oh,' Genesis thought, 'Angeal's angry again. Hm... What did I do this time?'
Seeing his friend angry again was nothing new, because he usually had something to do with it. Thinking back to the last few days, he frowned when he couldn't think of anything that would upset his friend. How odd, he couldn't think of anything he had done recently.
But, if he took the recent mako shots into consideration, he wouldn't have been able to do anything to piss off his friend in the last few days. Genesis stood still, waiting for his friend who was only yards away now.
"WHAT THE HELL-
Uh oh. Angeal was cursing. Angeal doesn't curse. Angeal never curses. This was worse than Genesis had initially thought. He wouldn't walk away unscathed.
-DID YOU DO!" Angeal yelled at him, less than a few steps away now.
'Well, no escaping now,' Genesis thought to himself, before nodding to his friend as though he wasn't being yelled at, "Hello again Angeal- !"
Instead of getting a greeting in return, let alone being allowed to finish his sentence, Genesis was blind-sided by a right hook to the face.
'Planet,' Genesis inwardly groaned from the black eye that was surely forming above his left cheek, 'It's been a while since Angeal's lost his temper, and even longer since he did so after mako shots.'
Genesis caught Angeal's left fist, saving himself from receiving a complementary black eye, but he didn't block the other fist heading for his solar plexus.
Genesis slightly winced as he felt the air knocked out of him. He had seen that coming, but between taking a solid punch to the gut, or taking another one to the face, he'd rather focus on blocking the one heading to his face.
Not that he couldn't block both punches though, he just took into consideration that taking at least a few hits would hopefully calm Angeal down a little and stop further beating on his person.
And maybe- maybe- he deserved that for all the crap he put his friend through over the years.
Genesis mentally eye-rolled, 'Like I'll ever tell him that.'
Even if all of ShinRa already knew that he deserved at least a punch to the face.
Luckily for Genesis, he was right about taking a few hits. He wasn't punched again. Unfortunately for him, he was only partially right. Angeal was still furious, so instead of being punched again, Genesis was grabbed by the front of his trench coat and hauled up off his feet.
'Uh-oh,' Genesis thought, eyes widening as he vivdly remembered, 'There's a window behind me.''
-WOOSH! CRASH! SHATTER!-
The three-inch thick window had hurt. A lot. And he knew he was going to be feeling that in the morning.
(Meanwhile, somewhere back stage in the orientation room. Sephiroth.)
Sephiroth quietly flipped through the files about the new cadets that would be arriving any minute on the other side of the curtain. He glanced around from time to time, watching the various people busily moving or idly waiting around.
A few sound technicians doing some last minute checks on equipment, SOLDIER and Turk representatives chatting or reviewing their own speeches, make-up artists doing some touch ups to those who asked. The usual works.
Sephiroth looked up as he heard a faint noise from above him. It sounded like something had landed on the ceiling above him. Seeing a few people walking on the catwalks, he concluded that the sound must have come from one of them dropping equipment or something similar.
Looking back at his surroundings, Sephiroth noted that everything was ready to go. Just a few last minute adjustments and...
'Where is Genesis?' he thought, noticing the absent of the man.
It was 6:53 already and the orientation would be starting at 7:00. He had already given them an extra few minutes, but they were still yet to arrive. Genesis's meeting shouldn't be taking him this long, even with the cadet to deal with.
'And on that note, where is Angeal?' he thought.
Angeal should have been here already, he usually arrived the earliest of the three of them. The only thing he had to do this morning was to be with him and Genesis at Tseng's office, but he had been called away half way through for an unexpected cadet altercation amongst the new recruits.
Pressing a few buttons and holding his phone to his ear, Sephiroth patiently waited for Angeal to pick up, intent on finding out what was delaying his friend this time. When he was greeted with Angeal's voice mail, Sephiroth simply made a small 'hm' noise, not all that surprised.
Just last week, they- that is he, Angeal and Genesis- had their routine mako injections, and Angeal was the one who got the extra shot this time around. Sephiroth silently sighed before he dialed Genesis's number next.
Angeal rarely had any violent outbursts after the mako shots, so he was probably just helping someone out again and merely had his hands busy. It wouldn't be the first time and wouldn't be the last.
'Perhaps there was another fight between a Turk and SOLDIER again,' he thought, waiting for Genesis to pick up. It wasn't all too uncommon for altercations between SOLDIERs and Turks to occur either. The daily banter and rivalry would escalate occassionally, especially on Mondays.
Whatever Angeal was doing though, it couldn't have anything to do with the cadets. Anything that involved cadets were always open-and-close cases.
"Hello, this is Genesis Rhapsodos."
Sephiroth sighed when he heard Genesis continue,
"I can't take your call right now, so leave a message. And if it's not worth the time for me to hear it, I swear to the Goddess that I will throw a Fireball at you."
Not bothering to leave a message, Sephiroth hung up. Standing near the giant red curtains that hid the stage from the audience's sight, Sephiroth frowned. Other than the faint noise from everyone preparing back stage or the catwalks, it was... quiet.
That couldn't be right.
There should be nearly two hundred recruits being seated on the other side of the curtain.
Moving one of the red curtains minutely, Sephiroth stepped out onto the stage, frowning at the empty seats. There was not a single cadet in sight. They should have been here by now.
'Where is Zackary Fair?'
Angeal had told him, his protégé had been excited and looking forward to the orientation. He was most likely with the cadets, but the cadets were supposed be here by now. Yet no Zack.
From what he knew of the younger man, he took all his assignments and meetings seriously, despite his lack of professionalism whilst performing them. So if the 'Puppy' was missing, then something must be wrong.
And Sephiroth didn't like it one bit.
Dialing the number he remembered from Zack's last updated file, Sephiroth patiently waited for the phone to ring.
(Roughly a minute before Sephiroth's phone call. Level Fifty-Two, SOLDIER Floor, Eastern Stairwell. Zack.)
Zack walked into the hallway with a small frown on his face, looking as if he lost his new squeaky toy. Which he did, considering he lost the cadet TURK floor... and he was so close to finally catching him too...
But then Reno had to mess it up! Zack scowled briefly at the reminder.
Luckily, Angeal had called and let him know that Cloud was caught and that he'd be okay. So then he had been looking forward to escorting the rest of the cadets, since that was his original duty, he had been looking forward to it all week!
But no! He couldn't even do that, because now he had to write a report about what happened. Well, that wasn't the real reason, Angeal had told him to report to his office to tell him what happen. And to be brutally honest with himself, he was still worried about Cloud. Zack stuffed his hands in his pockets hanging his head down in a 'kicked puppy' look.
Still, he had been looking forward to it for seven days, six hours, and twenty minutes. And now he would probably get in trouble for not getting the cadets to the orientation room. He tried calling several of his SOLDIER buddies to fill in for him, but none of them answered.
Zack sighed as he kicked away a small piece of glass, he needed to think happy thoughts, look things on the bright side. He nodded to himself. Yeah, that's what he needed to do.
This shouldn't be seen as a missed opportunity, but a chance to help out a future friend. With that, Zack smiled broadly and walked pass an open window where the morning sun was shining through, the everyday bustle of city life rising up to meet his ears.
Zack nodded to himself, 'Today can still be a good day. The sun is shining, the breeze feels nice and- WAS THAT A BROKEN WINDOW!'
Zack took several steps back-
-Step, step, step.-
-and stopped on several pieces of glass.
"Woah..." Zack muttered, before rubbing his eyes in disbelief and awe, "That looks so cool! How did they pull it off?" he shouted, not even knowing who 'they' were.
What he had first thought was an open window was actually a broken one. Due to how high it was, the glass was considerably thicker, leaving the window relatively intact. However, a simple broken window wouldn't have been much cause for excitement, other than concern for getting it fixed. But this broken window was different.
Right in the middle of if was the break where a large chunk of glass missing because of some object that had passed through it. It didn't look like some SOLDIERs were horsing around and accidentally threw a weight like a frisbee. And Zack would know if that happened again, er, not that he had anything to do with it of course.
Anyway, the missing part of the window looked like the silhouette of a person standing like a Cactuar, but upside down.
Little did Zack know, that just minutes ago, ShinRa's two Commanders had exited the building via window, along with several other SOLDIERs that followed shortly afterward to break up the fight.
Feeling curiosity get the better of him, Zack leaned forward to poke his head out through the window, after snapping a picture on his phone of course. This was definitely going on his wall later. As Zack expected, the view looked as normal as ever, if not a bit brighter from the direct morning sunlight. Not to mention a bit cooler from the wind.
On the side of the building, he could see the building extend further out a few times starting around the thirtieth floor, extending further out the closer the level was to the ground floor.
It wasn't until Zack looked down that he realized what he had thought was the normal chatter of city life was actually coming from the SOLDIERs trying to break up a fight between the two SOLDIER Firsts on the roof of the twentieth floor.
"What the..." Zack began, before spluttering out in a yelp, "Is that- is that Genesis and Angeal fighting?"
Not thinking twice, Zack jumped out the window to help, hollering as he plummeted,
"LOOK OUT BELOW!"
-THUD! THUMP! FWUMP!-
There was a moment of various noises of pain and surprise (in the form of yelps, groans, and whimpers), before being followed by shouting and yelling from the Commanders Zack had landed on, as well as the SOLDIERs that had helped soften his landing.
"Zack? What the hell are you doing!"
"Get off me! You're on my arm!"
"What the hell man?"
"Gah! You hit me in the eye with your elbow!"
"Woah! Watch it! You nearly cut me with your damn sword again!"
The jumbled shouts and complaints were cut short by a loud shuddering noise.
It wasn't until he saw the horrified looks from half the SOLDIERs that had been previously trying to pull the Commanders apart that it dawned on Zack that the group was currently on top of a flat glass sky light.
Everyone became silent and looked down at the glass panels they were lying on.
All eyes stared at the breaking glass, watching as web-like fractures stretched across the glass from the center of the group.
-CREAK! SCREECH! CHINK! CREEEEAK! CREAK!-
Only heavy breathing could be heard from the majority of the group, the fight between the two Commanders providing quite a challenge- more like a surprise suicide mission.
Everyone remained still, not caring about whatever incriminating position they may or may not be in.
If Zack hadn't literally jumped in, the two Commanders would have still been fighting. Thankfully, Angeal was knocked back to his senses with a heavy boot to the head by his student, snapping out of his Genesis-aggravated anger. Well, 'stunned' was the better word at the moment.
Although, if Zack hadn't jumped in, then none of them would be in the current situation they were in now.
As the groaning of the glass paused, giving only an occasional warning for the SOLDIERs not to move, one of the SOLDIERs quietly drawled in casual exasperation, "Hey Zack."
Zack perked up slightly and greeted cheerfully, "Hey Kunsel. Is this why no one was answering my calls?"
"What do you think?" someone muttered.
Zack frowned slightly, with wide puppy eyes, "I thought you guys you didn't like me anymore."
Kunsel rolled his eyes while everyone else had similar reactions, still muttering under their breaths.
"So, uh, what happened?" Zack asked. Kunsel met him with a blank look through his helmet,
"Dude. You fell on us."
"I didn't fall, I landed. There's a difference!"
Everyone made shushing noises at the two, before waiting for the glass to stop creaking. A few beats of silence later and someone asked slowly,
"Do you think we can move?"
Someone else muttered, "Maybe..."
Before anyone could try to move, the ring tone from Zack's phone trumpeted in the air.
-Insert Zack's victory music in Crisis Core (or Cloud's ringtone in Advent Children)-
Everyone held their breath as the ring tone played. When it finally stopped, no body spoke.
Zack and a few others watched in dread as a miniscule piece of glass in front of them slowly moved, wiggling out of place from its confinement between the fractured pieces of the glass still supporting them.
Eyes were opened wide and breaths held in suspense. The silence that came afterwards was almost chilling, but the words that followed was worse.
"Uh oh," Zack said.
At that moment, everyone knew that they were screwed.
In a quick motion, the small fragment was squeezed out of place with a small noise.
There was just enough time for Zack to mutter, "Oh shit," before,
-CRASH! SHATTER! WOOSH!-
The sound of shattering glass was accompanied by a lot of yelling shouting, before being followed up by,
(Moments earlier, on the stage in the orientation room... again. Sephiroth.)
Sephiroth slowly walked around, waiting for Zack to pick up. He was doing that a lot today, calling and waiting. Getting nothing but a voice mail, he snapped his phone close.
Walking toward the curtain again to send someone after Zack and the cadets, Sephiroth stopped at a second noise.
The noise came from above him where there was a row of sky lights. Sephiroth looked up, but, as expected, saw nothing. At the moment, the sky lights were covered by black out curtains, since the orientation would start off with a brief video presentation of what was to be expected before the speeches began.
Giving a mental shrug, Sephiroth faced the curtain again, drawing it aside to walk through.
Sephiroth turned around, looking up. A large lump had appeared on one of the black-out curtains. Something sharp cut through the material, and soon the curtain was splitting.
As the curtain ripped, several people fell through and landed onto the center of the stage.
Sephiroth was surprised when he recognized Angeal, Genesis, and Zack amongst the pile of SOLDIERs. Before they could recover, the wooden beams beneath them splintered, before cracking apart. Sephiroth noted that they had just landed on top of one of the trap doors.
Watching the men disappear beneath the stage, Sephiroth took a few steps forward.
Peering down through the broken floor at them, Sephiroth looked at what he could only describe as painful. As pitiful pained noises and curses filled the air, Sephiroth sighed.
He wasn't worried. There were no enemies or monsters nearby, so there was no imminent danger. And since each and every person in the pile of bodies were making some sort of noise, no one was dead. Maybe injured, and in pain, and very sore, but not dead.
He was, however, just a tad bit exasperated.
Sephiroth had no other obligations to do after the orientation. And now that that would probably be postponed to next week, he would have nothing to do. While this may have normally cheered up the General, he knew that his day would be far from relaxing, because now he had to deal with... this.
Shaking his head once and briefly closing his eyes, Sephiroth just sighed again.
(A long undetermined amount of time later. Somewhere on Level 45, Hospital Floor. Cloud.)
Cloud groggily woke up, slowly going over what happened to him since first waking up in the past, not quite connecting the dots and remembering that he was now in the past. As his (mostly) irrational suicide attempt finally came to mind, Cloud instantly sat up with one thought going through his head:
'Tifa's going to beat the shit out of me!'
And he would deserve every brutal second of it.
Cloud almost whimpered.
And if that wasn't bad enough, all his friends would gather after hearing the news and have a competition to see who could throw or hit Cloud into the air highest. It would all be to cheer him up, of course.
Too busy imagining his friends having a fun game of "Cloud-Tosssing" after suffering a proverbial and physical beat down by Tifa, it took a few minutes for Cloud to notice his surroundings.
He wasn't sure if he was dreaming or not yet, but either way, there were too many fluffy, white pillows in the room. Cloud was sure of it.