All right-y. This is a gift fic for JenesisX. Turns out we both gave Sephiroth a pet, and she very much liked Lapin and wanted me to write about him. It took a little while, but I finally got it done early this morning.
So... not much else to say except that it's about Lapin, the cute little bunny from My Gift to You. Expect him to show up quite a bit.
No real warning here...except bunny-cuteness. Beware the large brown eyes of the gray fluffy menace! ...Oh, and there's some very light slash... can't forget that.
It was 1900 when Sephiroth entered his apartment.
Normally, to return from his office so early was both a relief and a slight annoyance. It meant that his work load had been abnormally light, which meant much less stress; however, he'd grown used to spending so much time locked in his office working that he was often left wide awake and bored until it was finally time for him to retire to bed.
The introduction of Zack into his life had solved this problem of boredom for the most part. While it was always a treat to return to his apartment and be greeted by his vivacious lover, coming back early was also a treat for Zack and a treat he often took full advantage of. There's seemed to be nothing Zack loved more than taking Sephiroth out into the city, discovering something Sephiroth had never done, and then taking him to do that very thing. Given that such instances were common, Sephiroth could safely say that whenever the younger First was present, he'd never have to worry about being bored.
Even time indoors Zack insisted on find something for them to do, though he'd long since admitted that it was mostly in an effort to keep Sephiroth from working outside of his office—which he did... quite often.
However, as Sephiroth came to stand in the living room, he did not catch the tell-tale sounds of scrambling that signaled Zack's presence. He heard no sound of loud footsteps, the only alert Sephiroth usually got before he was abruptly grasped and pulled into a very strong embrace. There was only silence.
It came as no real surprise to him. As to be expected, his and his lover's professions inevitably forced the two of them apart on occasions. This was just one such time.
Zack had been sent out on a mission near Junon, an assignment he received the previous day. He hadn't been happy about it in the least, and had spent the better part of the day and the next morning grumbling in discontent about it. Apparently he'd had plans for the day... plans that included the both of them showering together then later thinking up some new ways to coax Sephiroth out of his clothes and into bed once he returned from the office. A mission to Junon certainly would not allow for such things. But like a good SOLDIER, Zack left for his mission on time... leaving Sephiroth to wake up alone in bed, a mail on his phone as a goodbye.
Sephiroth sighed as he took in the empty room only to perk at the sound of soft shuffling from the corner. He glanced towards the sound, spotting the rather large cage that had been set up there, a smile coming to his face when he caught sight of movement within it. Perhaps this night alone would not be so boring after all.
He immediately made his way to the cage and kneeled before it, smiling at the small occupant that sniffed curiously in his direction. A soft chuckle left his throat as he undid the latch on the cage door. He moved back and settled cross-legged on the floor as the tiny ball of fuzz eagerly clambered out of his cage, head raised to sniff the air.
Still slightly tentative, Sephiroth reached out and gently pet a tiny furry skull and rubbed over soft floppy ears.
"Good evening, Lapin," he said softly. "I trust you were not too bored while I was away."
His smile grew when he felt the tell-tale vibrations of Lapin contentedly grinding his teeth, and he pressed his fingers into fur to scratch more firmly. The little head pushed back into his touch, and he continued to scratch and rub until the bunny pulled back and wandered away. Sephiroth chuckled again when Lapin caught sight of his toy ball and pounced on it, eagerly chasing it as it rolled away.
With the rabbit occupied, he took the time to inspect the cage. The bedding was due for replacing in a few days, but the litter in his litter box would be changed in the morning. There seemed to be enough food in his dish to last the night, however the water bottle was almost empty. He unhooked it from the side of the cage and got to his feet, making his way into the kitchen. He was sure to mind where he stepped as Lapin tended to rush about the apartment when he played; the last thing Sephiroth wanted was to step on him.
He strode the sink and emptied out what water remained in the bottle before giving it a good rinsing. He tended to clean everything of Lapin's, even if they likely were not dirty. Zack often teased him for being what he called a "neat freak," but if it meant keeping Lapin all the healthier, he was willing to endure Zack's jests. At least the extra chore gave him something to do...
He was filling the water bottle when he felt something akin to claws digging into his foot, making him jump in quite an undignified fashion. Immediately Sephiroth looked down and noticed the offender at his feet gazing up at him with big brown eyes, paws resting on the top of his foot. They stared at each other for a moment, Lapin's nose wiggling curiously before his tiny body shuddered and he wandered away.
Sephiroth snorted and watched the rabbit wander curiously under the table, standing on his haunches as he continued to explore. He had to hold back a laugh when the little creature lost his balance and toppled over. Instead, he shook his head and headed back to the living room, pretending he hadn't seen a thing.
The water bottle was soon reattached to the cage and Sephiroth contented himself by sitting in the middle of the living room floor, keeping a watch over his rabbit. He watched him hop about curiously, alternating between playing with one of his toys and sniffing about for something new to inspect. At some point, Lapin wandered back into his cage for some water and a trip to his litter box before coming right back out and resuming his exploration. The entire time, Sephiroth watched, still fascinated by the tiny creature and his curiosity. At the same time, though, he was watching closely, taking in Lapin's body language.
It was so fascinating to him how a seemingly simple creature could convey so much, and he'd made it a priority to learn and understand as much as he possibly could. He watched the rabbit's every move, the way he shuddered in a show of happiness and how he'd sniff about in curiosity. However, his rabbit had a tendency to show his happiness in a much more dramatic fashion...
As if on cue—perhaps Lapin could somehow sense his thoughts—the little gray rabbit did the oddest thing, leaping into the air, shaking and twisting his tiny body before bounding back towards the kitchen and repeating the motions.
A binky, it was called... at least according to everything Sephiroth had read.
The first time Sephiroth had seen Lapin do such a thing, he'd been somewhat concerned, worried that his pet had some sort of neural condition. When it was followed by Lapin suddenly dropping limply onto his side, Sephiroth had actually taken the rabbit to the vet, uncaring of the odd stares he got... and he'd gotten many.
Luckily, the veterinarian could tell he was very much unfamiliar with such behavior and was happy to fill him in on how normal it was. Sephiroth had left the office a bit more informed about his pet and the additional pleasure of knowing that aside from some lack of knowledge, Lapin was in very good health. And if the jumping and shaking was any indication, he was happy as well.
Zack found quite a bit of humor in how overly concerned Sephiroth seemed to be and teased once more when he'd heard about the impromptu vet visit.
Now, Sephiroth no longer worried about these "binkies," and couldn't help but find them quite endearing.
Lapin must have noticed that he was watching him and faced him, gazing right back at him. His floppy ears were perked slightly forward, and his nose twitched rapidly. Sephiroth just gazed right back, tilting his head in a curious gesture. The way his bangs shifted made Lapin perk up and flick his head to one side, his ear flopping about as he did.
He laughed softly at this display and reached a hand out to touch the floor in front of him, lightly scratching at the carpet. As if Lapin understood the gesture, he approached with no hesitation, coming to settle before the First. Sephiroth watched as the tiny body flattened against the floor, its furry head craning forward, closer to his hand.
Fingers left the carpet and settled onto the furry skull, lightly scratching as they'd done earlier. His sensitive ears caught a soft grumbling sound emanating from under his hand. Lapin was typically not vocal, and made very little noise, one reason why Zack decided he would make a suitable pet. While Sephiroth had read that this soft grumbling was a sign of contentment, Lapin seemed to just settle for the typical teeth grinding. He listened as the sound continued for another few moments; Lapin must have been in quite a good mood.
"You are being quite vocal today," he said softly, noting the way an ear twitched at his voice.
Suddenly, Lapin shifted out from under Sephiroth's hand and craned his head upward. Before Sephiroth knew it he felt the distinct sensation of a tiny tongue licking at his wrist and equally tiny teeth nibbling at his skin. Lapin was grooming him.
He made no effort to hold back the soft laugh that escaped him as he continued to rub and pet floppy ears with his fingers. Lapin tended to prefer being on the receiving end of affection, and it was rare that he return the favor. But Sephiroth couldn't help but feel his heart swell in his chest at the display, having read that even more affectionate and less demanding rabbits rarely groomed their owners. It appeared to be a rabbit's way of showing their version of respect, and it made him happy to see that he'd apparently earned Lapin's respect... why this made him happy, he had no idea.
He continued to pet and scratch, Lapin continuing to groom until the bunny stopped and moved closer to his lap. Gently, Sephiroth gathered him into his arms and moved to the couch, the First settling him into his lap once he was seated again. Lapin didn't move from his spot, his body seeming to flatten over Sephiroth's legs. It didn't take long for those big eyes to drift closed.
While it was not so much in his character, Sephiroth turned the TV on, creating a source of background noise while he contently pet and rubbed over soft gray fur. Just seeing the rabbit drift to sleep seemed to make so much tension and stress leave him.
He was no longer all that worried about Zack's absence. While he would always be concerned when his lover left on missions—the young First's recklessness so often got him into trouble—he wouldn't be as lonely as he waited for the other to return. Though Lapin would not come bounding loudly into the living room, jump on him, him and squeeze him in greeting, he was always nonetheless excited when Sephiroth came home. Of course, Lapin wouldn't talk to him, wouldn't hug him, he would keep Sephiroth occupied with demands of treats and attention.
Hopefully, before he knew it, Zack would come noisily through that door—tired and dirty—and try to hug him before he pushed him away and demanded that he clean first.
But until then, he had Lapin, and that was good enough.