By lunch break, Sephiroth had nearly passed his limit. The stress of having to complete a large amount of work in a short amount of time had nothing to do with it. No, he could handle that without breaking. What he couldn't handle was staying still behind a desk for so long when he was trained to constantly be on the move, dodge any hits coming towards him, attack first if possible – anything but stay perfectly still to do nothing but sign a paper over and over and over and over and over and over...

...and over and over and over and over again. He'd had enough of it.

Letting his pen drop to the desk, Sephiroth slid out of his chair and rode the elevator down to Floor 49, deciding to skip lunch today. Entering the training room and selecting one of the standard training swords, Sephiroth activated the virtual simulator and calmly stepped into his battle stance, changing it slightly due to not using Masamune or a katana in general.

A digital First Class SOLDIER formed in front of him, pulling out his sword and preparing to begin the fight. Quickly, the imitation was slain and the electronic body fell to the ground.

Without fanfare, Sephiroth programmed five more First Classes to take the 'dead' one's place. Despite how anticlimactic they were, Sephiroth could feel the battles lifting some of his stress away.


"...and then the crazy woman asked to have twelve of his children! It was the fifth one, but seriously, that one's so weird it gets me every time."

Cloud listened to Priscilla's tales of the big, bad Silver Elite and their outrageous requests and nutty sayings as he ate his spaghetti, shaking his head at how far obsessive women could and would go.

"Don't they have anything better to do?"

Priscilla shrugged. "Well, if they had as much enthusiasm doing something other than try to harass Mr. Sephiroth, I'm pretty sure we'd have a higher percentage of things like... I don't know, but you know what I mean, right?"

Cloud nodded, even though he didn't entirely understand what she meant. He rotated his fork, making some noodles coil over the utensil, and brought it to his mouth.

Just then, Zack popped in, eager as ever.

"What are you doing here?" He stopped in his tracks, aiming his question at Cloud.

Cloud swallowed. "Sephiroth sent me here," he said nonchalantly.

"Why?" Zack tilted his head.

"I don't know," Cloud said, choosing not to say that the reason was because Sephiroth was simply doing his best to subtly antagonize Cloud.

"Hm," Zack said. Cloud could practically hear the gears turning in Zack's head before his friend brightened up, seemingly coming to a conclusion. "Hey, Pris."

"Yes, Mister Zack?" Priscilla stood at attention with a no-nonsense look on her face. Cloud almost rolled his eyes. Professionalism reserved only for when a higher-up arrived. Pfft.

"Zack's just fine, you know. I came to tell you that Prez isn't going to change the number."

Priscilla only sighed in defeat.

"How bad is it?"

"Twenty in less than three hours."

Zack winced. "Ouch." He then looked at Cloud. "Sorry, but can I take Cloud for a bit? Not sure if he'll come back, though."

Priscilla nodded.

Zack grabbed Cloud by the arm and pulled him out of the room, heading straight for the elevator.

"Couldn't you have waited until I put my stuff away at least?" Cloud said with mock exasperation. He closed the lid on his Tupperware and shoved it into his back, grateful that he hadn't spilled any of his food.

Zack pressed a button and they were moving. "I wonder if he's broken it yet."

Cloud didn't have to guess who Zack was talking about. "Broken what?"

"The virtual reality training room. Sephiroth goes there when he needs to vent." Zack stepped out once the elevator doors parted. Cloud followed suit. "If he says anything to you or sends you away, don't take it too seriously. He's just going a little nuts from all those papers."

"You're saying that as if it's not a big deal." Cloud peered through the glass, watching Sephiroth in action.

Envy filled Cloud. If only he could parry the blows from three SOLDIERs with only one hand while knocking one enemy down and turning around to permanently stop it from attacking him again. Sephiroth cut down another SOLDIER before facing three that were left, one on his right and the other two in front of him. Cloud couldn't even see what had happened when all three suddenly fell to the ground.

Sephiroth exited the enclosed space and passed by Cloud and Zack without a word, placing his sword onto a rack. Slightly confused, Cloud wondered what happened to Masamune. From what he had seen of Sephiroth before, the man had never gone anywhere without it.

"Feeling better?" Zack asked sincerely.

"I'm fine," Sephiroth said without looking at either of them. He passed by them, saying nothing when Cloud and Zack stepped into the elevator with him.

"Are you sure?" Cloud asked warily. "Do you need me to bring you anything?" He stared Sephiroth down as the man looked at him incredulously.

"That will not be necessary."

"Aw, come on, Seph—" Zack shut his mouth and quickly corrected himself, "Sephiroth. Cloud's been doing a good job helping with the phones. He can get you anything you need in no time."

"I do not need anything," Sephiroth said with a clipped tone.

Cloud trailed further behind the two to give them space, especially Sephiroth. He could still feel the tense vibes emanating from him, though they were not as strong as before.

Without needing to be told, Cloud delivered the papers on Sephiroth's desk, returning to find Zack helping his boss with the paperwork. Cloud stood there, wondering whether he should go back to helping Priscilla or not.

With a resigned look, Sephiroth said, "You may stay, Strife."

Relieved, Cloud continued to do as he normally did, occasionally being sent out to fetch something for Sephiroth after Zack had to leave. He couldn't help but feel glad that he was on good terms with his boss again, even though it was Sephiroth who had started it in the first place.

Once his shift was over, Cloud exited the elevators for the last time that day, crossing the lobby to get to the front doors before running into Zack again.

"Heya," the black-haired man said, putting a friendly hand on Cloud's shoulder.

"Hey," Cloud returned.

In a low voice, Zack said, "Saturday night, I'm going out for dinner. Wanna come?"

Cloud shook his head. He didn't have enough money for that. However, instead of informing Zack, he simply said, "I can't go."

"Oh, come on! It's on me," Zack insisted.

"I really shouldn't." Cloud didn't want to feel like a freeloader.

"You really deserve it. Sephiroth isn't easy to work with, and you've been doing a great job. Just this once? Please?"

"...Fine," Cloud gave in, honored that Zack thought so highly of him.

"How does six sound?"


Notes:

Started: 2013年9月14日(土)

Finished: 2013年9月15日(日)

Figured I should bust out another chapter to let everyone reading this know that this story will be on hiatus since not many people check profile pages. It won't be discontinued, but I just don't really feel like working on it much because of the lack of plot. And I'm still scratching my head over how this story has more follows than my other one which has three times the amount of chapters up at the moment. It's kind of frustrating, you know.

Priscilla isn't an OC. She just magically traveled from Junon to Midgar. And she just magically grew from a little girl to an adult woman. Oh, fine, she's an OC. Anybody who's played FF7 has probably forgotten about her, anyways. But she won't be around much.

Next chapter: Dinner time.