This story was inspired by one of the shorts in RegenesisX's Intelligent Conversation. If you haven't read it, first off you should, secondly that means this will be a Victorian-Fantasy Style AU, where SOLDIER is a monster hunter's guild. While the setup isn't exactly the same as the short (I've messed a bit with who is with who and who is what gender) the inspiration is there. I don't normally write complete AU's and with the exception of Sephiroth's past self in Full Circle don't tend to do much gender bending, but some plot bunnies just can't be ignored.
Genesis is a woman and married to Cloud.
Sephiroth is a woman and married to Angeal.
Elena is male though currently single.
Zack, Tseng, Rufus, Reno, Rude and President (King) Shinra are all still male.
I'll make notes of other genders as they appear.
There will be magic, and I will most likely be borrowing some from D&D especially for non combat spells. There are just some that are to fun not to include.
Cloud moved silently through the woods, as the fog began to settle in thick. Genesis was close behind him. How Genesis moved through these woods in heels and a skirt, Cloud would never know. All he knew was that questioning his wife on her fashion choices was very dangerous.
"Redcaps, had to be Redcaps." Genesis lamented. "I always get blood everywhere when its Redcaps."
Cloud looked back to his wife with a sigh. They were supposed to be having dinner with King Shinra when they had gotten the word that some murderous Fae were terrorizing a nearby village. His wife refused to change, she still wore her formal attire, black heeled boots, a blood red dress with black lace trim, a black corset with sliver accents, and black lace gloves. Her silver chocker said tightly around her neck, a pair of earrings dangled at each side.
The look was completely destroyed by the cross bow in her hands. "I don't know why you refused to change."
"We are going to kill these little shits, then we are going to that dinner. Sephiroth is not going to have all night alone with the man to convince him to give her the position. I've put too much effort into this." Genesis growled out.
"I think the very fact that you and me are the ones out here, while Sephiroth and Angeal are enjoying dinner speaks volumes about who the King thinks is better suited for the job." Cloud tried to sooth his wife. Still making his way through the woods tracking the Redcaps. They were following them back to their home, hoping to destroy the whole nest.
"I suppose, but I still don't trust her, her tongue is as silver as her hair!" Genesis exclaimed.
"And no matter what she says, it doesn't change the fact that she can't even cast half the spells in the book, while you've mastered nearly all of them. He'd be foolish to let Sephiroth have the position." Cloud had been over this several times with Genesis. He didn't even think Sephiroth wanted the position as Royal Archmage, and if she did, it was only to get under Genesis's skin.
"I knew there was a reason why I loved you, you really know what to say to a girl." Genesis said, giving Cloud a quick kiss.
"I think that's it." Cloud said pointing through the fog at an earthen embankment.
"Ready?" Genesis asked holding her crossbow in one hand, charging a spell in the other.
"Ready." Cloud nodded, pulling his sword from his sheath.
Genesis cast a large fire ball at the mound as a dozen or more dwarven like creatures poured out. Cloud was ready to meet them with his sword, and Genesis pick off to many that got away with her deadly accurate crossbow.
When the dust settled, Genesis sighed, looking down at her clothes. "See what did I tell you, always blood everywhere."
"Oh like you're not just going to magic it off of both of us." Cloud said sounding a little annoyed.
"Not the point." Genesis said, as she cleansed both of them with a low level spell.
"Let's go, if we hurry we can make the main course." Cloud smiled at her, as he started to walk back to their horses.
"Go evening, Lord and Lady Strife." Said a man dressed in a uniform, bowing as they walked up.
"How far into dinner are they?" Cloud asked the man.
"They have yet to start, the King does not wish to start the meal without you." The door guard informed them.
Genesis just smiled, the King never waited unless it was for a guest of honor. "That was kind of him." She remarked.
They walked into the main dining hall, and Genesis noted that Sephiroth definitely looked sour. Angeal seemed to be having a hard time keeping his wife's temper under control. Prince Rufus was seated next to his father, and Zack was sitting on Angeal's other side. The two seats next to the Prince had been left open for them, and Tseng, the head of the president's royal guard sat at the other end.
"Sorry we were late my Lord." Cloud said bowing to the king, as Genesis courtesiesed.
"No, need to apologize, not when you two were out keeping my Kingdom safe!" Kind Shinra said with a bit of a laugh. Sephiroth just scowled harder.
They took their seats at the table, and the Kind clapped his hands, as several servers appeared with their meal.
"What was it this time?" The King asked, the old fat man seemed enthralled with the tales of his monster hunters.
"Redcaps sir." Genesis answered.
"Redcaps really? Oh I bet that was a fierce fight! But not a story for the dinner table, you shall have to tell me later." King Shinra replied. He had already started to eat.
"We would be honored." Cloud said nodding to the man, before saying a quick prayer and eating himself.
"I sometimes forget how religious you types are!" King Shinra mentioned, still a bit of merriment in his laugh.
"Sometimes the good Lord is the only thing between you and death when facing those creatures." Cloud answered. He knew by now it would only intrigue the man, rather then infuriate him.
"I suppose so!" Came the King's reply. Genesis was loving the praise as much as she was enjoying Sephiroth's misery.
Outside of official business the two were close friends, but their completive spirit quickly dissolved any warm feeling the two had when SOLDIER work was brought into the picture. Like this dinner with the King.
Once they had all politely finished, and the servants had taken the dinner. King Shinra stood.
"I would all like you to know, that I have finally made my decision on the position of Archmage."The King started, and Genesis just smiled. "I'm certain I have chosen the right man for the job."
Man, Man MAN! Genesis's mind railed. What MAN had more skill then herself? A master Sorceress. She silently fumed as the King continued.
"He already serves me well as assistant commander of the SOLDIER Guild," Cloud shrunk away from his wife. "Lord Cloud Strife,"
What the hell is the man thinking! I can barely cast from the 3rd Circle of spells! Cloud thought as he could feel the fire in his wife's eyes on him. Sephiroth was sitting across from them barely containing her smirk. She didn't care so much that the position didn't go to her, as that it didn't go to Genesis. The fact that it went to the woman's husband was priceless.
"I am honored you would chose me my King." Cloud said standing with a bow. Genesis almost stabbed him with her fork.
The King, continued to smile, obvious to what he had just done. "I'm sure your wife will be a valuable resource to you!"
"Invaluable, sir." Cloud replied as Genesis eyes burned brighter, she knew exactly what that meant. Cloud was saved when desert was brought out. It was only temporary he knew, this was going to be a long night.
"SEXIST ASSHOLE!" Genesis raged as she destroyed another piece of furniture.
Cloud new better then to stop her. Despite his earlier appointment he knew his wife was far more skilled with magic then he was.
"HE ONLY GAVE IT TO YOU, BECAUSE I MARRIED YOU!" Genesis screamed as a painting on the wall flew apart.
Cloud stayed silent, he knew it was true.
"I WOULD KILL HIM IF IT WASN'T TREASON!" She flung herself into a chair and started to cry a bit. "All that work gone!"
"Genesis," Cloud said trying to hug his wife.
"Don't touch me!" She snapped. "This is your fault!"
"How is it my fault?" Cloud said looking at her.
"Because! Because! Oh damn it all." Genesis collapsed in on herself.
"We knew how he felt about woman, it's the same reason Angeal's head of SOLDIER, instead of Sephiroth, even though we know Sephiroth can hand him his ass." Cloud said, bringing up Sephiroth's position was at least enough to calm Genesis some.
"Ha!" Genesis laughed a bit. "I still remember her face."
"See, and if she tries anything, just remind her that I can actually cast magic. Angeal doesn't have the heart to kill anything he doesn't have too." Cloud pointed out. He really like Angeal he did and Sephiroth really, but Genesis was his wife. His wife who as very dangerous when she was angry. Most woman might shatter a glass by throwing it against a wall when they really got going. Genesis could waste their entire manor, and had more than once.
"I just really thought it would be different with the Archmage position." Genesis said, "I was a fool wasn't I?"
"No you weren't," Cloud said kissing his wife. "I really thought it was going to be you too."
"Well, I suppose we do have something to celebrate. I may not be the Archmage but I am married to him." Genesis said with a devilish grin, pushing her body tight up against Cloud's
"Very happily married?" Cloud asked, but his eyes were starting to glaze over.
"Very," She whispered into his ear.
Cloud was about to start leading her to the bedroom of their private quarters, when a knock came at their door.
"Sir!" He heard a voice through the door, and about groaned.
"What is it Johnson!" Cloud almost snapped. Genesis hadn't stopped pressing herself against him, and was currently running her hand through his hair.
"There is a messenger here for you, he says its urgent!" Johnson's voice filtered back through the room, as Genesis started kissing Cloud's neck.
"It's always urgent," Genesis hissed.
"Duty calls my dear." Cloud said gently pushing his wife away.
"You owe me." Genesis said, readjusting her clothing.
Cloud just glanced back at her, "You know you have time to change."
"Humph, like I'd go out dressed in those rags!" Genesis said throwing her hands up, and Cloud just shook his head leaving the room.
"Reno, what a delightful surprise." Cloud said, though his tone was a bit sarcastic.
"I'm really wounded, yo." Reno said covering his heart with his hand.
"You just interrupted me and my wife. Either you tell me what you want or I'll tell her it was you who interrupted us, and let her get it out of you." Cloud said crossing his arms.
"Calm down man, this is legit." Reno said putting his hands up.
Reno worked for the royal guard, but he was also involved in all other kinds of shady deals. Usually pixie dust, troll's blood (both often fake), he even tried to pedal some dragon scales one time. Suffice it to say Reno had found himself on the wrong side of the law, near as much as he had the right side. It was also why he was so damn good at his job.
"So what's so important to have you calling this late? If it was a monster attack they wouldn't have sent you." Cloud said eyeing the man.
"Your the new Archmage big shot right?" Reno said, and Cloud about groaned. If Reno told him he had some Unicorn hair for sale he was going to kill him.
"Apparently so, I wouldn't mention it near Genesis though if you want to live." Cloud said pointing back to his private door.
"Tough break for her eh?" Reno said shaking his head,
"Why are you here Reno?" Cloud decided to be direct.
"The King wanted the artifacts delivered tonight." Reno said, "We've got a couple of wagon outside."
"You can't be serious." Cloud said bringing his hand to his face.
"Totally serious." Reno said with a bit of a smirk.
"Don't touch anything let me go get Genesis, she'll know what to do with it." Cloud said.
"Wouldn't dream of touching any of that stuff, don't fancy a life as a Three-Toed Sloth. " Reno said as Cloud reentered his private chambers.
"So what is it this time?" Genesis asked, lacing up her boots.
"Reno." Cloud said pinching the bridge of his nose.
"Reno? Shouldn't that be Fair's job. I mean since when do we take care of humans, or has one of his deals got him in trouble?" Genesis said putting her hands on her hips.
"No, Reno's here, with the artifacts." Cloud said just waiting for the outburst.
"WHAT!" Genesis screamed. "WHAT IDIOT TOUCHED THEM!"
"I have no idea, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't Reno." Cloud replied.
Genesis just brush past him out in the hall. "Reno, show me now, and I swear if one thing is broken!" She huffed.
"Alright alright! Sorry King's orders and all." Reno said holding up his hands, even Reno knew better then to do anything to piss Genesis off when she was already upset. He really felt sorry for Cloud.
"Who packed them?" She asked, a sharp tone still in her voice.
"Hojo." Reno replied, as soon as he was out of her line of sight.
"That, that moron! It's probably all gone then, the idiot and his 'science' he has no appreciation for magic what so ever!" Genesis was good and wound up, as Cloud caught up with them.
"He knows better than to damage anything though. He may not understand it, or appreciate it, but he knows better than to destroy royal property." Cloud tried to calm his wife. Really he was the only one that could argue/reason with her in this state, and not get a fireball to the face.
"We'll see." She said, but her fire had started to smolder, as they stepped outside the manor house.
There was a carriage and 3 covered carts. "Where's the book." Genesis damned.
"Right here mama" Elena, a new recruit for the Royal Guard said, holding the book to his chest.
"Well give it here you twit!" Genesis screeched.
"I'm sorry mama, but I was ordered only to hand it over to the Archmage." The poor boy was shaking though.
Genesis hand raised, preparing to blast the unfortunate blonde, before Cloud grabbed her arm.
"He's new, forgive him." Cloud said looking at his wife, before taking the book from Elena and handing it to Genesis.
"I told ya blonde, don't mess with redheads." Reno smirked at Elena. For his part, Elena just sunk back into the carriage, still terrified of the woman.
"What about the rest of it?" Reno asked Genesis who was looking through the book checking for damage. It was impossibly old, with cloth pages, and Reno couldn't read a damn thing on the cover or in its pages.
"The Grimoire is fine at least." Genesis said closing the book and holding it to her chest. "Everything else goes to the east wing, I will be inspecting it all, be careful everything there is worth more than your lives combined!"
Both the servants sent by the king, and those who served Strife Manor started the process of carefully moving things.
"Why is she giving order's when Lord Strife is the Archmage?, and why did he give her the book?" Elena finally had the courage to ask another of the Royal Guard Rude.
Rude just sighed. "That would be Lady Genesis Strife, and anyone can only guess why the King appointed her husband to the position instead of her. It's not our job to question him, but it's said Lady Strife has more magical ability then anyone since Merlin himself. Lord Strife, has some skill but there are many in the kingdom that could best him."
"Then why do you think he made Lord Strife Archmage, instead of his wife?" Elena asked looking at the woman, watching over the crates going by.
"The number one reason on my list of guess is that she's a woman." Rude said, before grabbing a box himself. "Though it could very well be how unstable her temper can get. Either way, I'd recommend staying out of her way. Stay in the carriage, we'll take care of the unloading"
"Thank you." Elena said nodding, slipping back into the carriage. Not having to be in the woman's presence again sounded like a good idea.
"So what's the damage?" Cloud walked over to asked Genesis as the last box was unloaded.
"A few cracked power crystals, and a few items that will need realigned and recharged, but the damage could have been a lot worse considering who pack the objects." Genesis breathe a sigh of relief.
"We all done here?" Reno asked as he walked up to the couple.
"I believe we are." Cloud said looking to his wife who nodded.
"Alright, pleasure doing business with ya, Lord and Lady Strife." Reno said with a bit of a bow, then hoped up to the front of the carriage, as the rest of his men loaded themselves back up.
They watched the caravan go, as Cloud turned back to his wife."Shall we?" he held out his arm to her.
Genesis slipped her arm around her husband's still holding her book close to her chest and they headed back into their home.
Well that's it for the first chapter :)
A quick rundown for those who might be confused.
Angeal is head of SOLDIER, and Cloud is his assistant. Genesis and Sephiroth both work for the guild. SOLDIER has jurisdiction over anything monster/non-human related that's a threat to the kingdom.
Zack is head of the regular army which also serves as a kind of police force and has jurisdiction over humans.
Tseng is head of the Royal Guard, (Formally the Turks) and all Former Turk members will likely find their place here.
Hojo is still a crazy Scientist and doesn't have much faith in magic.
If anything else is confusing just ask, and I'll try to make sure I clear it up! Anyway thanks for reading and please leave a review. This story is far outside what I'm use to writing so please bare with me.