AN: Just a quick piece for FunkySocksLover as it's her birthday and her current favourite pairing are these two.
Characters: Zack and Cloud
Warnings: A little silly, fluffy.
Cloud might have only been a cadet, but it had not taken him long to realise there were two types of rules within SOLDIER, neatly jumbled together within the SOLDIER handbook he had been given on his first day. Like all the cadets, he had read it from cover to cover, not wanting to embarrass himself by forgetting something key on the first day. When he had realised the division, he began to laugh.
The first type of rule was the kind of rule you would find in any army handbook anywhere, that had ever been written. It was all about keeping your boots clean, being smart, respecting the officers and addressing them correctly, and the importance of not being late. It was all important, but equally it was obvious. Anyone with an ounce of sense could work out these rules.
The second kind of rule was much more interesting. It read as though someone had been playing madlibs with the dictionary. Rule 24 for example - that stray puppies are not attack animals, and should not be trained to line up for formation in the space generally reserved for generals. Or rule 74 - that it is inappropriate to turn up on official parade in camouflage gear, especially with matching hair, unless you have been detailed to do so.
These rules got more interesting when they had subsections, as though an individual was actively fighting back against them. This led to rules like rule 39, which began normally enough: "All SOLDIER must be dressed in full uniform for parades". This rule began to crack at 39a "The uniform must be one whole uniform, not a mix of different dress codes", and by 39b "The uniform must be one specified to SOLDIER, not another force or the Turks", it had clearly come apart at the seams.
Cloud looked over this list, memorising any that seemed relevant, and wondering why exactly all of these rules had been brought in. There seemed to be no reason to them, and half of them seemed to be the product of a deranged mind - and that was if they were just fictional. The thought that there might be someone out there who was deliberately meaning new rules were needed amused Cloud as he settled down for his first night in the dormitory.
Zackary Fair, the reason for the existence of the second set of rules, was making sure that his uniform was on smartly. Today, he got to meet the cadets he would be helping to train, to try and impress upon them the importance of their job and of fulfilling their duty well. When he had told Angeal about his role, the General had merely laughed and said that he hoped Zack got a cadet like Zack had been. Zack thought this sounded rather fun, and he hoped so too. Once happy with his uniform, he ran to meet the cadets.
There they were, lined up smartly, helmets on, gaze straight ahead. He'd have told them to relax, but he was worried that doing so might damage them - they were almost certainly fragile, and this would be too new to them. So instead he walked up and down the lines, asking questions.
"Now." He began, having done his best to answer what he could. Some of the men were laughing, but one boy, smaller than the rest and nearer the front, was looking almost annoyed. "Does anyone have any questions to ask me? That aren't about Sephiroth and the showers?" The few hands which had raised dropped again, leaving only the small and annoyed looking cadet with his hand up.
"Yes cadet?" The boy began to speak, when Zack interrupted him. "Take your helmet off. I want to be able to see who I'm talking to." The cadet obeyed, revealing spiky blonde hair which seemed helmet-proof, and a pair of piercing aqua eyes.
"The rules sir. I can't help noticing that some of them seem a little..." He hesitated, words failing him.
Zack stepped to his rescue with a smile.
"A little unorthodox?"
"Oh, that would be because they were written with me in mind." He grinned, holding his hand out to the kid.
"Zack Fair, and you are?" He could see how lost the other looked, rather out of his depth. This must have been new to him, and he probably felt rather frightened. He couldn't help noticing he was also quite cute.
"Cloud Strife sir."
"Alright then Cloud. I look forwards to working with you, I'll advise you, and see if we can find any more loopholes in those rules."
Cloud smiled faintly, and Zack beamed, wanting to make him smile once more.