Genres: General, humor, and some romance...is there a genre for "utterly pointless drivel"?

Disclaimer: I don't own Final Fantasy VII or the characters within it. I am gaining no profit from this work of fan-fiction.

Warnings: OOCNESS.

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Breaking the Ice

A Somewhat Snow-Day Final Fantasy VII Fan-Fiction

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With a scowl ill-befitting his normally cheerful face, Zack tugged unhappily at his too-tight collar, sorely regretting the moment that he ever suggested he wanted to go outside-precisely twenty minutes ago.

Across the room, digging in a set of drawers with a similar scowl, was Angeal Hewley, pulling out sweaters, socks, and long-underwear with the precision and stoicism of a general. Right now, Zack wanted to march over and kick his built backside into the open drawer, but decided that it wouldn't be the best course of action for a cadet towards a First Class SOLDIER. Instead, he opted for a coward's revenge; a pink tongue flashed insultingly at the unaware SOLDIER's back.

"I saw that. Keep it up and I'll cut it off." Angeal rumbled, and Zack hurriedly retracted his tongue. Okay, maybe not so unaware.

"Can I go yet?" Zack whined, shifting uncomfortably to the other foot. He could hardly move anymore.

Angeal finally turned, giving Zack a solemn once-over. "You just need your jacket, and you can be on your way."

"Oh come on, Mr. Hewley sir!" Zack wailed, throwing his hands in the air-as much as he could, anyway. "I'm bundled as much as I can be, the snow's going to melt before I get out there, everyone else is going to laugh me out of Shinra, and it's not even cold out there!"

Angeal gave him an unimpressed look, throwing the jacket at him. Considering Zack's dilemma, he couldn't even catch it, and it just hit him in the face. Nice.

"Getting a cold, the flu, or a virus will greatly interfere with all of our training sessions," Angeal lectured, peeling the jacket off Zack's head and shoving his arms inside. "As your mentor, I think that I have the responsibility to tell you whether it is too cold or not."

"What if I just take everything off once I'm out there?" Zack challenged. "I could run around naked for all you know."

Angeal stared at him a moment, before flipping open his PHS and dialing a number. "Genesis? Yes…yes...you know Zack Fair, right? NO, my mentee. I'm about to send him outside and he is being…disagreeable. If you could-what? NO. Just make sure he doesn't take anything off, it's for his own good…What? Oh. Ha ha. Thank you."

Angeal shot Zack a smug look, which Zack returned with a rude gesture as he waddled to the door.

"Have fun in the snow," Angeal said, slamming the door.

Once Zack was finally alone, trudging up the hall in sub-zero gear, all his anger returned ten-fold. He recognized that as a cadet, he was pretty lucky to have a mentor-it only happened, after all, for the most promising of cadets.

Zack had been ecstatic when his commanding officer told him that he qualified for the mentorship program. Not only that, but that it would be his absolute HERO: Angeal Hewley, First Class SOLDIER, up there with Genesis Rhapsodos and the great general himself, SEPHIROTH.

Squee. Really, squee!

Zack imagined nights spent where his commanding officer woke him up at odd times to force him to train. He imagined a guy who could handle a sword almost as wide and long as he was. He imagined a buff, serious guy who would growl out instructions between sword slices, and then, when well-deserved, praise. (Zack had, in fact, never seen Angeal Hewley. He had read articles back in Gongaga about what he was like and everything, and had somehow built up a mental image from that.)

When he finally met Angeal, Zack nearly died from happiness-at first glance, Angeal fit the description Zack was looking for perfectly. He was buff, all right, and held a serious face for sure…and his sword…Zack was almost ecstatic at the sheer SIZE of the Buster Sword.

Angeal had stared down at him, opening his mouth, and then closing it with a slight frown. With one, simple, sentence, all of Zack's expectations came crashing down.

"You should eat more, cadet," Angeal had said appraisingly. "You're skinny as a stick!"

Considering that Zack was, in fact, not as skinny as a stick, and this was something that Zack's gramma, mum, aunts, and every other female member of his family told him when they saw him on holidays, he immediately felt a sense of foreboding.

This sense of foreboding became definitely impounded over the following days, when Angeal didn't wake him up during the night for surprise training sessions ("You need your eight hours of sleep, cadet"), didn't push him too hard in sword practice ("I'm going to go slow so you don't get hurt, all right?"), and didn't. Let. Him. Touch. The Buster Sword. ("I don't want you to get hurt, cadet.")

For Gaia's sake, Zack dern wanted to get hurt! -anything to avoid being treated like a baby. He was one of the promising cadets, for God's sake! He was supposed to get bruises on bruises, and complain to his friends about them with the beaming pride of a SOLDIER showing off battle scars. Instead, if he got a freakin' papercut, Angeal would immediately stop everything to find him a Band-Aid.

And this was the final straw.

It had snowed that morning-little fluffy things that had had Zack ecstatic down at the cadet barracks. In Gongaga, it NEVER snowed-and if it had, Zack hadn't ever seen it. In Midgar, though, it was winter; the previous snowstorms Zack hadn't been able to participate in, because of all the exams he'd had. With a mentor, now, those were pretty much past, and Zack was more than eager to get out there and experience snow. He thought it wouldn't be a problem to get permission from Angeal-he wasn't doing anything dangerous, anyway.

Or so he thought.

Angeal had insisted that it was freezing out there, though Zack was quite sure it wasn't. But because of his mentor, he was now bundled for freezing weather...

…like a little kid.

The jacket, for one thing, was covered completely in little smiling tonberries-tonberries. Zack had never seen a real tonberry, at least not yet, but he was sure that they wouldn't be grinning and waving at you. His pants were a bright red, and down one leg were white words proclaiming, "STARE!" His rubber boots were a bright, shiny red, and his snow hat had a pompom. A bonny freakin' pompom.

And then to add insult to injury, his scarf, which covered half his face, was covered in chocobos. (All right, so the scarf was cute, but not on HIM.)

So, all together, Zack looked like a freakishly tall, unhappy five-year-old. Plus, he was hot, but not in the way he'd like; Shinra's heating was on full blast.

Zack scowled, tugging again at his collar. He could take off just his jacket. He wouldn't get in trouble for that, would he? He had on at least four other layers, anyway.

Looking cautiously around the hallway, Zack tugged off one pastel purple glove and jerked at the zipper on his jacket, getting it halfway down. It was hard when he couldn't properly bend over to see, though. Gritting his teeth, he tugged it completely off, trying to get his other arm over to pull out of his sleeve.

Someone tsked in disapproval and-was it? -amusement.

Zack's head whipped up sharply.

Standing in front of him, smirk in place and hip cocked off at an impossible angle, was Genesis Rhapsodos himself.

Zack stared. Where had the guy come from?

Reaching out one red gloved hand, Genesis pulled the jacket back onto Zack's shoulder. Catching the other corner, he zipped it up effortlessly. Zack, by this time, noticed that the SOLDIER was way too close, and squeaked in alarm. Genesis stood to his full height, looking amusedly down at his friend's flustered mentee, and leaned in close.

Zack had a fleeting, alarming thought that he was about to be kissed, and blushed furiously.

Instead, though, the officer did something odd. He stuck out his index and middle fingers, pointed them towards his eyes, and then folded back his middle finger and poked Zack's nose. With one fluid motion, he was already sweeping around the corner by the time Zack blinked.

It took only another few seconds to remember Angeal's PHS conversation.

It took a few seconds more for Zack to realize what had happened. When he finally did, he went completely red.

It took another few seconds, waddling down the hall as angrily as a cadet marshmallow could, to plot out his mentor's death in several very violent ways involving loss of Mako powers on the mentor's part and mysteriously gained ones on the mentee's part.

During the course of these consecutive thoughts, Zack also did not notice the many PHS's, cell phones, and other devices being pointed at him from the people he passed by.

He was fudged. In more than one way.

_._._._._

It was gone.

Well, not completely, but not exactly there.

This morning, the ground had been a smooth, sparkling white blanket that just screamed out JUMP IN ME! MAKE SNOWSEPHIROTHS AND SNOW ANGEALS AND HAVE FUN!

During the amount of time that Zack had been inside, however, the sun had been steadily doing its thing; it was already getting warmer, anyway, and any snow that Shinra got was liable to be the last frost. Thus, the sparkling virgin whiteness from the morning before was nearly gone. Instead, there were slight patches of dirty gray fluff, in-between frosty, squishy mud. The parts that were still white were covered in muddy footprints from the mentorless cadets who had gone out happily before; a sad snowman someone had made was tilting to the side, carrot nose drooping.

It wilted more as the full force of Zack's rage rippled off him in waves.

Angrily, Zack kicked at a stone lodged in the mud, but only managed in making his foot get stuck in the mud.

After a while, though, the anger finally seeped away, and Zack was just left feeling very unhappy. One of the main reasons he'd joined the army was that he'd be able to travel different places, and experience things he wouldn't in Gongaga. One of the reasons on top of that list was to experience snow-something he'd never been able to do as a kid. And then he couldn't even do that. Zack couldn't even think of waiting 'til next year…

Plus that, it wasn't even cold outside. Zack was very, very hot, and nowhere near catching all the illnesses Angeal had told him about.

He felt an undeniable urge to sink to his knees and wail in pure frustration. The only problem was that he couldn't bend his knees to do so. So he settled for pretending that he was doing so, staring down at the muddy snow forlornly.

Something wet hit him on the shoulder. The only way he could tell was by the slight pressure it made.

"Hey, is that you, Fair?"

And this was just what he needed. Why? Good Gaia, why?

Zack turned around, facing the group of older, slightly bigger cadets with a carefully schooled, straight face. "Yeah, it is. Why?"

The tallest one's eyebrows shot up as he whistled in mock surprise. "Well, well, well, aren't you lookin' hot today?" He grinned, and the other boys let out a chorus of hoots and wolf whistles. Zack immediately put him as the ringleader.

"Buzz off," Zack replied irritably; looking as menacing as he possibly could in a chocobo print scarf.

(Which wasn't much at all.)

"But bayyyyyyy-beeeeee," the older kid whined, stepping a little closer. "I wanna see more of you. You're not going to send me off when it's so close to you finally getting someone's attention, are you? Or…" he smirked, and now Zack could see maliciousness enter his gaze. "Are you too involved with that mentor of yours? We all know that's the only reason you made it into the program…"

Zack stared at him. Oh no he di-dn't.

He saw red.

The next thing he knew, Zack had taken a step forward and shoved the guy-hard-in the shoulder. He was pretty strong for his age, he knew, and the guy landed flat on his behind, blinking in surprise. The rest of the group stopped laughing and moved in for blood, but Zack was pretty sure he could handle it. He was one of the rising stars among the cadets, after all. Zack let an over-confident smile flood his face. He would rule these kids.

He forgot one important detail.

One kid he managed to nail hard in the nose, and he staggered somewhere off to the side as Zack aimed another punch at a random shoulder. He was stepping forward to meet the next kid coming-

-when he was tripped.

That was okay. When you fall, you just have to get back up.

Zack tried to get up.

And he couldn't.

Now, usually, it would've taken only a few minutes. Zack was pretty fast on his feet, even off of them. But he was currently the human marshmallow, who had fallen onto his side, and he couldn't move anything. Only thing he could move was his fingers, which wiggled frantically with the effort of him trying to upright himself.

A boy came forward and poked Zack's shoulder with his toe, and Zack increased his efforts with an angry cry, but as more of the boys began to kick at him, he gave up and curled up as much as he could. The hits didn't hurt as much as his pride. There is no way in heck, Zack thought miserably, that this could get any worse.

It did.

"Hey!" someone shouted angrily. The boys paused in their kicking, looking up, and then abruptly froze. Zack, thankful for the distraction for a split instant, swiveled his head around-and froze in horror.

No no no. He can't be here. He'll make it worse!

Yet despite all of Zack's desperate pleas, the furious Angeal Hewley did not disappear.

"What do you think you're doing?" he demanded, striding forward.

To their credit, the boys surrounding Zack didn't immediately start running. Instead, they just looked back and forth between Zack on the ground, and his angry mentor a few paces away. Zack morosely remembered the face of one of the cool kids in middle school, back when his mom had shown up in a bubble-gum pink car and told "Snookums" to get in. He was pretty sure he looked the same way.

"Well?" Angeal growled. It was the first time Zack had ever seen him seem so much like the dream mentor. It didn't matter, anyway; nothing could take away the mortification.

Quick as a snap, Angeal suddenly had one of the boys dangling by his collar a foot or so off the ground. The cadet began screeching bloody murder, half of the group darted away, and the other half lingered uncertainly, looking in horror at the one of their own.

Angeal shook the now whimpering boy up and down. "You all," he growled, "Stay away from my kid." He dropped the kid. "Or I'll come after you."

Wide-eyed, Zack watched the other cadets run off. He'd had to be saved by his mentor. He couldn't even fight his own fights. Zack shut his eyes. What a nightmare. Maybe he'd wake back up in his barracks.

"Zack?" Someone was leaning concernedly over him. "Zack, are you all right?"

Angeal had actually called him Zack, for once? Wait…who cared, anyway?

Zack cracked an eye open. "Buzz off."

"Are you hurt?" Angeal asked again, laying a hand on Zack's plush shoulder.

"Not as much as I'd like to be," Zack mumbled. "I can't get up."

Angeal was completely quiet for a moment, before some shuffling went on. Curiously, Zack tried to tilt his head to see him, but could only catch a glimpse of his face. He actually looked worried, and Zack went on staring, suddenly realizing that Angeal had actually been worried for him. Then he snapped out of it after realizing that Angeal was always worried about him.

This train of thought came to a screeching halt when Zack was abruptly lifted into the air. Flailing in surprise, he howled with embarrassment when he realized that Angeal was now holding him. That wasn't the worst part, though-he was being held bridal style.

"Put me down!" he screeched. "What the heck is your freakin' problem? PUT. ME. DOWN!"

Completely ignoring him, and for some reason unaffected by any hits that Zack put in, Angeal calmly walked back into Shinra Academy. The secretaries were staring at the flailing, screaming cadet and the SOLDIER who carried him, but Zack didn't care. All he wanted was to put down…immediately.

Out of the corner of his eye, Zack saw a flash of movement and turned to look, eyes widening. Standing in a doorway, elegant and cool as always, was General Sephiroth. Not only that.

He was smirking. He was smirking at Zack's predicament. Not even cool disinterest could be

Zack officially gave up on life. He stopped screaming, went limp, and turned his face into Angeal's chest. He allowed himself to be carried, quietly, to Angeal's apartment, and by the time they got there, he had elaborately planned his suicide in ways that normally cheerful cadets shouldn't.

Angeal carefully lowered his mentee on the couch (putting him upright when, limp, Zack listed to the side) and sat on his haunches in front of him, watching his face carefully and waiting for a protest.

Zack was the first one to break the silence, with a hoarse, frazzled laugh. "Can…can you just run me through right now, and be done with it?" he asked, between hysterical bursts of laughter.

Angeal frowned. "Why would I do that? You would be hurt."

"Because of that!" Zack said, his laughter rising into a shrill shriek. "It's always about me not being hurt! 'Don't touch this' and 'Don't touch that' and 'Oh no, don't touch that, you'll be huuuuuuuuuuurt'!" Zack waved his hands around in the air. "I'm sick of it! I'm sick of you."

Horrified, Zack clapped his hands over his mouth; he was quite sure he had never said anything like that to anyone in his life. Angeal's eyes had widened comically, but the rest of his face remained completely stoic.

"I-" Zack began quickly, trying to correct himself and say, somehow, that while he was sick of Angeal, he wasn't, like, sick of Angeal, but Angeal beat him to it.

"I…didn't realize that I was being that overbearing," he admitted. Zack's apologetic face morphed into an annoyed one, and Angeal sighed, admitting, "Yes, I knew I was being overbearing. It was just that…" He ran his hand through his hair. "I really, really don't want you to be hurt. In any way."

"Gee," Zack said, "I didn't figure that out."

Angeal shot him a look that made him immediately shut his mouth again. "Not in that way! It's not just you being a government ward, or even keeping honor. It's…"

"What?" Zack shot back. "Because I looked like a homely farm kid that needed to be protected, so you took it on yourself to take care of me? Heck, I came here to get away from that! I can-"

And that was when, with a frustrated snort, Angeal leant forward and, gripping Zack's spikes in one hand to keep his head still, smashed his lips against Zack's.

Zack, paralyzed in surprise for a moment, broke off whatever he was saying. Shocked, his mouth fell open, perfect if Angeal was the kind of person who would take while the other was vulnerable, but Angeal was already pulling away, striding quickly to the other side of the room. Zack noted dazedly that his mentor was pouring out tea.

"Wha…what was that?" Zack stuttered, knuckles white from digging into the couch cushions. Angeal strode back over, handing him a mug, and turned away from him, pointedly sitting on the floor facing away from his mentee. Zack noticed that his ears were burning red.

Getting up from the couch, his mug in a death grip, Zack sat on the floor next to Angeal, looking up at him. He could hardly feel the floor through his neglected layers, but he didn't care. When his mentor didn't look at him, Zack childishly pinched his shoulder.

"That's why you took me as a mentee?" Zack wondered aloud.

Angeal flinched, looking down at him. "I'm in no way a sick pedophile," he snapped.

Zack raised an eyebrow. "I didn't say that."

Angeal stared at him, and then flushed, looking away. "It wasn't like that at first," he mumbled. "I didn't even know who you were. I was expecting a mentee that I could work to the bone, and mould, maybe. But then I saw you, and…" Angeal offered up an apologetic smile, and Zack could see something in his eyes that, in his fury before, he hadn't seen.

"…and…I couldn't do it. I liked you so much that…I babied you." There was a long, awkward pause before Angeal mumbled, "Sorry."

Zack looked up at Angeal, inching a little closer to his side. Then, mustering up his courage, he darted up, pressing a kiss that was mostly teeth to Angeal's cheek. It felt kind of fuzzy, like when Zack had kissed a chocobo's head once when he was five. He wondered if that was what it was supposed to feel like.

"I…" Zack began, ashamedly, "I actually didn't mind it when you babied me."

Angeal raised an eyebrow. "Because I kissed you?"

Zack flushed. "N-No…not all because of that. It was…" he gave a frustrated sigh, "I might have been putting up a tough guy act. I actually joined the military, and it was my first time away from home. And I might have missed my mom, a lot. And…" Zack looked up, smiling nervously. "Maybe I liked it when you babied me, a bit. And…I like to complain." The last part was added resentfully; Zack didn't want to tell anyone that, and he wasn't sure why he was soul-baring to Angeal. "So…maybe you're like…the mom I didn't want before…?" Zack finished, petering off.

Angeal looked horrified. "You think…I'm a mother figure?"

"Yeah, I mean, no!" Zack tried to hastily correct himself. "You're like a mom, but…different."

"I don't know whether that's sweet or creepy," Angeal finally said, giving in and putting an arm around Zack's shoulders. Despite himself, Zack leaned into him.

"If…you don't overbear on me," Zack suggested, "Then maybe it'll be a little easier to get along."

Angeal tensed up. "You won't get hurt?"

There was a lot of work to do here, Zack thought resignedly.

"No," Zack said, "I won't. I joined the military because I thought I could make it through 'being hurt'. So if we could work around that, it would be cool. And maybe I wouldn't feel like I'm making out with my mum."

Angeal chuckled, pulling off the snow hat and pressing a kiss to the top of Zack's head. Content and sweating buckets in his snow clothes, Zack leaned into him and closed his eyes contently.

When it came down to it, maybe Angeal was overbearing. Maybe he was kind of parental in nature. Heck, he was sort of like Zack's mother.

Zack smiled, touching his lips.

The only difference was, mothers didn't peck on the lips.

Zack was totally fine with that, as long as Angeal did.

fin.

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Review, review…

A/N: This is what happens when you have writer's block, are chronically depressed, and are desperately sugar deprived. (And are listening to all the music you liked when you were twelve. O_O) OOC Zack and Angeal, gahhhh….

Anyone else remember when you were little and your moms used to bundle you so much that if you fell over, you couldn't get back up? I still can. Tsh. Elementary school kids have it hard, man.