Hello~ It's me, again! With my second fic! *plays Victory Fanfare*
This is a gift fic I wrote over summer vacation for the lovely Skiba. She wanted some Seph/Zack cuteness, so I did my best to deliver. She liked it, so I figured it was worth submitting...even though I should be studying for my Physics test right now.
This is the first of two parts; I'll submit the next part after I get some reviews on this bit. I wanna know what all of you think about it, kay?
*Don't own it!*
It took Sephiroth a moment to respond to his second's call. The greeting in itself sounded quite harmless, but that was only if you either didn't know the young First or you weren't very perceptive. In Sephiroth's case, he was very perceptive of voice tone, and he was very familiar with Zack Fair. He knew that Zack's greeting had a different meaning depending on how it was spoken. If it was spoken just a bit quieter and only slightly slower, it could have one of two meanings. If his shoulders slumped, something had gone wrong, very wrong. If he came in rubbing at the back of his head, he'd done something stupid.
If Zack added an –y at the end of his little pet name and held it for about 1.5 seconds, it meant he was about to try and convince the silver haired General to abandon whatever work he was doing and go out with him…somewhere. Of course he couldn't always complain when Zack did manage to get him to cave. Last time it worked, Sephiroth had become acquainted with ice cream. If Zack ambled in and spoke in a low tone lips upturned in a smirk, it usually meant that the two would eventually become caught up in fierce kissing and fairly heavy petting. The General hated that tone almost as much as the quiet, guilty one, but that was because he could not resist Zack's acts of affection. And he just couldn't find the heart to deny the other man after he'd tried so hard to get their relationship this far.
But this particular tone was an overly happy one, and the words came quickly. When it was spoken, Zack always seemed to just bounce into the office, and Sephiroth would almost imagine seeing a tail wagging from Zack's posterior. It meant that Zack was up to…something, and usually, Sephiroth was not going to like it; and sometimes it would end with Zack coming back a little while later with eyes downcast, hand rubbing at the back of his head.
He suddenly had this feeling that he wasn't going to get any more work done.
"Yes, Zackary." Might as well let it begin and be done with…
"I got you something!"
The General hadn't bothered to look up from his work when his second had come in, but at that statement, he couldn't resist. He regarded the younger man with brilliant cyan eyes. He stood close to the doorway with his arms behind him, a wide grin etched on his face. Sephiroth could only keep the curiosity out of his expression thanks to his years of intense training. However, Sephiroth did remain wary of his Second in Command; after all, even he could not fully predict the young man, and there was almost no limit to his antics.
Zack just looked so very giddy as he made his way across the room to Sephiroth's desk. He came up close and bent across the desktop, planting a brief kiss on the General's lips before he stood straight again. He looked at the silver haired man for a few moments; he almost looked expectant, Sephiroth observed.
"Well, aren't ya gonna ask me what I got you?" Zack asked when Sephiroth said nothing.
"I-I…uhh…" Very eloquent, Sephiroth. Very eloquent, indeed.
Zack just chuckled before he pulled his hands out from behind his back, revealing a plain-looking cardboard box. Sephiroth noticed that a little green bow was stuck to the top of it.
"Ta-da! I wish I could have, you know, wrapped it to make it pretty, but I couldn't because it would cover the air holes," Zack said as he gently placed the box on the desk in front of the General.
Air holes? Why would air holes be requi-
Sephiroth's eye visibly widened when he heard a distinct sound of shuffling issuing from the box. What in the name of Gaia did Zack have in there?
"Looks like he wants to be let out," Zack said. Sephiroth's head jerked in his direction.
"He? Zackary what did you-"
"Ah-ah! I can't tell you, it's a surprise," Zack said matter-of-factly. "Now go on and open it. It won't hurt you."
For some reason, Sephiroth was not quite reassured by his second's words. But it was clear by the look on Zack's face that the young man was not going to tell him any more. He would have to find out what this 'gift' was himself. That meant opening the box…himself. He felt a distinct disgust at himself for his…fear? He could level armies. His presence both dazzled and put fear in the hearts of those who saw him. He was renowned as a hero, a demon, and he was afraid of a small cardboard box? He was the General of SOLDIER. Whatever was in the box before him could, in no way, match him. And Zack would never want to hurt him. Slightly put at ease, Sephiroth rose out of his office chair so he would be able to see into the box once it was opened. Erring on the side of caution, still, he tentatively placed his gloved hands on the holed lid of the box and lifted it up. The lid was placed so it was leaning on the side of the box, and he peered intently into it.
He could not hold back the soft gasp that came from his lips at the site of what sat in there. His eyes instantly went up to Zack. Judging by the look on his second's face, his own expression must have been quite the sight. Cyan eyes flicked back down into the box and they were met with a pair of shining little brown ones. Without really thinking, he lifted his hands to the opening of the box, torn between reaching into it and lifting the tiny thing out and…not.
"Let me see your hands," he heard Zack's voice, his tone soft. "I'll take your gloves off."
He let his gaze move to his own leather encased hands and watched as Zack's own gently moved over them. The black leather gloves were removed to reveal pale hands with long, elegant fingers. He didn't bother to inquire as to why his gloves had to be removed. Once they were, he hesitantly reached down into the box, and his fingers wrapped around a warm and fuzzy little body. He pulled back bringing the tiny thing into the clear light. It was revealed to be a tiny lop eared bunny, its tiny form covered in soft, light gray fur with a patch of white on its nose.
"Do you like him?" Zack asked.
"I…" Sephiroth had no idea what to do. Zack seemed to sense this.
"Go ahead and sit back down. Let him sit in your lap so you can pet him."
Sephiroth did as instructed and carefully sat back in his office chair. He then gently set the tiny bunny down on his lap. His fingers continued to run over the soft fur, and clearly, the little creature enjoyed the treatment.
"Apparently he's a…Kalm Lop Eared Dwarf," he heard Zack say. "I went back to that little pet store we visited on one of our outings. Little guy was the last one they had, and I thought he looked perfect. I think he suits you too. The breed is supposed to be quiet, gentle, and playful, so I figured he'd be a perfect little companion for you when I can't be around. Plus, I know you have quite the soft spot for cute, tiny things."
Sephiroth couldn't help the small blush, and Zack chuckled because of it. But the man was right. For all his strength, Sephiroth had an affinity for things that were small and fragile. And, during one of his and Zack's last outings, they had wound up in a small pet store. Zack had spent the entire time standing back and watching the silver haired man peer at every tiny animal in wonder, while the store clerk had been absolutely astounded and confused at the spectacle.
"You know, Seph, you never did answer my question," Zack told him.
"What?" Again, Sephiroth, very eloquent.
Zack could only laugh at the General's behavior. "Do you like him," he clarified.
Sephiroth continued to run fingers through soft fur. "He's so soft…and warm…" he mused aloud. He then looked up into Zack's mako blue eyes and smiled. It was small, but it was genuine. "I do like him. Very much. Thank you, Zack."
Zack grinned triumphantly and put his hands on his hips.
"I'm glad. Though I was pretty sure you would," he said. "Oh! Just to let you know, I used the keycard you gave me and put the rest of his stuff in your apartment."
"Well yeah. He's got a cage, some food, a water bottle. I filled his cage with litter, and bought an extra bag too. I even got him a little litter box, cuz apparently these little guys are smart and can be trained like cats to use one! That way he won't have to be in the cage all the time! You can let him out to hop around-"
"Zackary," Sephiroth pulled him out of his rant.
"Well the little guy has to have all that so you can take care of him."
"But why would you do all of this?" For me?
Zack only chuckled before moving the bunny's box and leaning across the desk again. He pressed his lips to the General's in a loving kiss. "I wanted to," Zack said after they parted. "He's a gift to you."
Sephiroth only blinked glowing eyes at him, taking a second to register what he said. Then, he looked back down at the bunny still lounging contently in his lap. His brow knitted in a look akin to shame.
"But, Zack," he said. "I have nothing to give you in return."
"I didn't get him for you expecting something in return."
Zack held up a hand to stop him. "No 'buts,' Seph. I got him for you because I wanted to, because I love you."
Sephiroth could barely keep his breath from hitching. He was still not at all used Zack saying that just as he wasn't used to all of the First's gestures of affection. That didn't mean that they weren't appreciated. No, they were and greatly so. Still, these proclamations of love caught him off guard, but since it was Zack, Sephiroth didn't try so hard to keep that guard up. A soft sigh signaled that he'd given up the argument…for the moment. He let his gaze drift back to the tiny bunny. It seemed to have drifted to sleep under his light touch.
"Now ya need to name him," he heard Zack say.
"What should I name him?" he asked as he looked up to face younger man.
Zack sighed and shook his head. "He's yours. You're supposed to come up with one."
Sephiroth looked back down at his new animal and thought for a moment.
Zack suddenly clapped his hands together loudly. The sound was loud enough to jerk the little creature awake.
"Alrighty! Let's go back to your apartment and get him all set up," Zack said, bending down to gather the box up from the floor where he'd moved it.
"You woke him…"
"Aww, he's fine, Seph. Once we get to your place you can cuddle him to sleep all you want."
"Zackary, I still have work to do. Why don't you take him back with you until I'm finished. You have a key."
"No can do, Seph! How long have you been stuck in this office today, anyways?"
Sephiroth opened his mouth to give Zack an exact time, but Zack stopped him with a raise of his hand and a shake of his head.
"Don't say it. Just get up, and let's go. It's late, and you should have left this damn office hours ago," Zack said as he turned and headed to the door.
Sephiroth sighed. There was really no point in arguing with the man once he was set on something. And Zack was determined, as always, to get Sephiroth's nose out of mounds of paperwork and out of his office. The General could very well have just stayed seated in his chair; after all, he was much stronger than Zack, and his second couldn't really physically move him. But if he did that, Sephiroth would be stuck with a little bunny in his lap, and that would certainly serve to keep him from getting his work done. Might as well choose the lesser evil and cooperate. So, the silver haired man gently gathered the tiny form into his arms and rose out his chair. He then followed Zack out of his own office and to his apartment.
Once there, Zack showed him everything. He'd placed the rather spacious cage in a corner of Sephiroth's living room. It was close to the ground so that with the cage's door opened, the little bunny could make his way to and from it whenever he pleased. The covered litter box was placed in a far off corner of the kitchen and the remaining litter and cage bedding were placed in the cabinet under the sink. Zack had even bought a small basket and a few chewing toys which were placed by the cage. Zack instructed Sephiroth on the basic care of the animal: when to change its litter and cage bedding, how much to feed him, and when to clean his water bottle. All the while Sephiroth listened intently with the bunny napping in his arms; he hadn't had the will to put him down at all.
After a while, Zack decided it was time to go back to his room. He said Sephiroth needed some alone time with…Lapin so they could bond.
"All that should give you a good start, but who knows, you may end up wanting to spoil the little guy and buy him more stuff. It's not like you have anything else to spend that massive paycheck of yours on," Zack joked as he began to leave. "If you need any help, just let me know, kay?"
Sephiroth nodded. "Thank you, again, Zack."
Zack only shook his head and reached up to rest his hand on the back of Sephiroth's neck. He lowered the man's head and captured his lips in his own, but he was sure to be careful, since little Lapin was still in Sephiroth's arms. When they pulled apart, Zack whispered a soft goodnight and headed to his apartment. Sephiroth watched him until he was out of sight, then went back into his own living space and closed the door. He headed over to his plush couch and sat, placing Lapin back on his lap lightly stroking the bunny's fur while he thought.
He had to think of a way to repay his second…