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Xmas Giftfics 2013 Part 4

One last round of gift-fics! Two short-ish ones and one long-ish one.


For swifty_chan

A. Animal Crossing: New Leaf
B. Sterling, Knox (other optional, free reign for mayor)
C. How will a town survive without Isabelle for a day?

AN: An actually short one. Also probably the first (and maybe only time) I’ve written second person view. No other POV really worked.




Tortimer’s boat drifts back towards the jetty. The town grows closer, what started as a troubling haze of red on the horizon gaining definition before your eyes.

Flames and embers rising from the village, and a sky filling with smoke.

In a daze, you stumble from the jetty onto the damp sand of the beach. Gulliver is lying unconscious on the sand, unattended. For once, you don’t have time to check if he’s alright.

The first thing you notice is the trash littering the cliffs. The camping ground sits abandoned, tent collapsed.

As you walk deeper into town, smoke growing thicker, the picture only gets worse. There seems to be a fight breaking out over the in the rose gardens, petals of all colours flying to the clashing metal of shovels. Half the trees in the orchard have been cut down, and haphazard structures erected in their place, from stop signs to an unstable caricature of a windmill to a weird shack with the scrawled words ‘POLISE STASHUN’ on the front.

What’s happened to the paths? To the projects? The flowers? Fights are raging out of control.

You’ve left them alone before to go to the island. What’s so different about today?

Knox is roaming nearby, wielding a chair as a shield. He stops when he sees you.

“Mayor, you’re back! What’s happening, clucking?”

You stare at the mayhem in a daze, unsure what to ask first.

In the end, though, only one question makes any sense. Only one question can organise this into a problem with a solution. You have no idea what to do, but you know one villager who will. “Where is Isabella?”

“Didn’t you know? She took the day off, clucking. Today is Isabelle’s birthday!”



For teekoness

A. FFVII - Beloved
B. Cloud, Genesis, Tifa
C. It was frustrating enough when Genesis and Tifa didn't get along, but them actually agreeing on things is so much worse.



Cloud had been happy when he first saw Genesis and Tifa talking. Had deliberately avoided interrupting them, in fact, choosing the long way around so they wouldn’t notice his arrival. Most of their meetings were filled with strained civility, or when the topic started getting controversial, underhanded potshots. To see them actually smiling at each other… that more than Cloud had ever hoped for.

He was pleased enough about it that when they both suddenly appeared before him and declared they were all going out, Cloud didn’t even think to ask where.

Until they arrived at Edge’s newest department store.

Cloud pulled to a stop outside the entrance, an uncomfortable sense of foreboding settling over him. “What-”

Tifa didn’t even give him the chance to get the full question out. “We’re going clothes shopping, what does it look like?”

Obviously. “Why do you need me for that?”

That earned him a withering stare from his childhood friend. “Why do you think?” She grabbed him by one arm, Genesis grabbed him by the other, and they all but dragged him into the store.

He thought that the last time anyone else had taken him clothes shopping, he’d wound up in a dress and half-molested by Don Corneo. “I don’t need any new clothes. These ones are fine.”

“Nonsense. You need a new wardrobe. It’s criminal that a man as good looking as you continues walking around in a civilian version of a SOLDIER uniform,” Genesis loftily declared, even as he sorted through the nearest rack of shirts, nose wrinkling at the selection on offer.

“So Genesis and I agreed that we’d take care of it ourselves,” Tifa said. “Since we obviously can’t trust your taste in fashion.”

“My taste in fashion is fine!” Cloud defended.

“You have a wolf motif, Cloud, and wearing paraphernalia related to your bike is not fashion,” Tifa countered. “The fact that it even works as well as it does is just downright unfair.”

Genesis held up black jacket with a white collar and edging to Tifa. “What do you think of this one?”

She nodded thoughtfully. “We’ll need a cart, start a pile.”

Cloud had changed his mind. He much preferred it when they didn’t get along.




For tsuanyue

A: FFVII - I'd prefer Fifth Act or Beloved but whatever muse hits you is fine with me. It's all awesome.
C. Cloud gets stuck in a time loop with ___. It wouldn't be so bad if ___ didn't have so much fun with it.

AN: I went with setting it in Fifth Act universe because that’s apparently the headspace I’m in at the moment thanks to the last trio of giftfics. Try not to think too hard about it. This is also way too long and probably needed to be longer.





The most embarrassing thing was, neither of them realised anything was wrong for the first three days.

“What do you have today?” Cloud asked as he entered Lazard’s office.

“Ah, Strife.” Lazard greeted him with a short nod. “This one just came in. Ahrimans nesting on the walls of the Reactor in Sector 8.”

Cloud paused. The silence stretched unnaturally.

“Strife?” Lazard prompted.

“Send it through,” he eventually replied. His PHS beeped. He glanced at it, brow furrowing, and left without another word.

…………

Cloud stared long and hard at the ahrimans nesting on the walls of Sector 8’s reactor.

The second time he’d received this mission, he hadn’t thought anything of it – he’d obviously missed some, perhaps part of the flock had been away and had returned after he’d killed their brethren. It happened occasionally that missions would require follow up. The third time, though, he’d been annoyed. And he’d been thorough.

Yet there the ahrimans were. No signs of the carbon scoring from the battle yesterday, or the damage he’d left on the side of the Reactor’s smoke stack with his sword. No way had maintenance been up there in weeks, either.

He glanced at his PHS again. Scrolled up.

The previous mission mails weren’t there.

His gut began to churn.

………….

Later, after Cloud had cleared the Reactor of ahrimans for the fourth time and reported in, he asked Kunsel, “Have you noticed anything strange lately?”

The Second Class tilted his head thoughtfully, helmet glinting under the fluorescent lights. “Luxiere’s stopped stalking Zack recently. Does that count?”

“You told me about that yesterday.”

Kunsel hummed under his breath as he scrolled through his PHS messages. “Did I? Guess I forgot, sorry. Do you want me to look into something for you?”

“…Not just yet. Maybe later.”

……………….

The thing was, Cloud was the first to admit he had a bit of a complex about being called crazy. He’d fought hard for his sanity, and doubted it often enough that he didn’t need others doubting it for him.

So he wasn’t going to just walk up to anyone and say that he thought he might be stuck in a time loop. Even with his history of time travelling, it was just far too easy to dismiss it as his imagination. Cloud didn’t make outlandish claims like that without being certain he could back them up first.

But he couldn’t rely on a simple script to prove his hypothesis. He hadn’t had that discussion with Kunsel all three previous days, presumably because some response Cloud made steered the topic elsewhere. His timing was off by just enough that he didn’t always meet the same people in the halls or elevators, and his routine varied enough that he never picked up on any particular patterns outside of those repeating missions.

Maybe he could find the daily newspaper and memorise the headlines? Or maybe Kunsel would let him borrow his PHS for the day’s fanclub updates and what time they would be sent out. But even those could be explained away as insider knowledge. What he really needed was an event outside of his possible influence where the timing and nature of it wouldn’t change – but what, he didn’t know. Nothing remarkable had occurred in any of those days.

Luckily, that particular dilemma was soon solved for him.

Sephiroth entered the Equipment Room, making a direct line for him. “Cloud.”

“Sephiroth,” he replied, wary. Some habits never quite went away. “What do you want?”

“Lazard said you refused a monster clearing mission this morning.”

“So?” Lazard had certainly been surprised – Cloud never turned down monster hunts, after all – but he didn’t see the point in completing the same mission over and over again, not when it was within the reach of any halfway competent SOLDIER who hadn’t already completed the mission four times.

“So it’s something that changed,” Sephiroth said. “And I couldn’t have done a single thing to influence it.”

Cloud stared. Processed that.

It was even worse than he thought. He was stuck in a time loop, with Sephiroth.

He was pretty sure he’d had nightmares about this once.

……………..

“Why just us?” Cloud asked later, once they had compared what they knew and established that no one else appeared to be aware of the anomaly.

“We are ShinRa’s two strongest SOLDIERs. Perhaps it’s an attempt by ShinRa’s enemies to remove us from the equation?”

“But they left Genesis and Angeal and Zack out of it too?” He and Sephiroth were stronger, certainly, but to nearly anyone else on the planet? The distinction between the top SOLDIERs mattered only to the top SOLDIERs.

“Then, we’re left with only one other factor. S-cells. It could even be that only one of us was targeted and the other dragged along because of them.”

Of course. It had to be that. S-cells hadn’t screwed with his life enough already.

The ‘how’ was an even bigger mystery. There was only one question he really cared enough to answer, though.

“How do we stop it?”

……………….

On the fifth day, Cloud suggested they stay awake for the switch over, in hopes of at least getting some clues. It was no particular trial, except for the fact that Sephiroth decided they should wait it out together.

Until Cloud found himself in his quarters at 6am on the sixth day, his last memory being sitting in the SOLDIER lounge at 4am in a tense silence with his once-rival.

He didn’t waste any time. He got up, and with half a thought, tracked Sephiroth down.

They met at the door of the General’s apartment.

Sephiroth suggested, “Maybe we can try to get beyond the range of it.”

Two First Class SOLDIERs with access to ShinRa’s vehicle fleet could get an impressive distance from Midgar in twenty-two hours, it turned out.

Cloud blinked in Rocket Town, and woke up in his quarters at ShinRa.

Of course it wouldn’t be that easy.

……………..

By the eighteenth day, Cloud was running out of ideas.

They’d turned to materia initially, since all of Cloud’s time travel woes in the past had come from materia. Esuna was first, naturally. Then Exit, just in case they’d been trapped in cave filled with hallucinogens.

That gave Sephiroth the bright idea that it might have been a simulation, the next step up from the Training Room. They talked with Reeve about the possibility, and how one might break out of such a thing. They went down to ShinRa’s basement and with a pair of Bolt materia unleashed a lightning storm that blew out half the light fittings in ShinRa Headquarters.

They’d even attempted to involve the new Head of the Science Department, and Cloud had spent a very uncomfortable day sitting in the labs submitting to tests while gripping his sword and staring down every lab tech that wandered near. It had been pointless, of course – fascinated as she might have been, and willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, the new Head simply couldn’t get anywhere fast enough to do them any good.

Sephiroth suggested that it was time they had a break. They spent the nineteenth day at the Gold Saucer. It took half the day to get there, but they didn’t need to worry about getting back.

…………………

By the thirty-eighth day, their efforts to escape the time loop started growing a little outlandish.

“You resigned from ShinRa? Really?” Cloud asked the next day.

“It was a good opportunity to see what would happen.”

Pure chaos was what had happened. Lazard and the rest of ShinRa had a collective heart-attack. People had spent the entire day alternating between bothering him to get Sephiroth to change his mind – as though he had that capability – and blaming him for it in the first place. Genesis had been unable to decide if he were furious or devastated or elated. And Kunsel hadn’t had so much fun trading rumours and gossip in months.

“At least warn me next time.”

Sephiroth shrugged a shoulder, letting the criticism roll off without effort. “You did suggest that we could try altering our routines to find ‘a perfect play-through’ of the day.”

“Are you even serious about stopping this?” He could swear Sephiroth was enjoying himself.

Infuriatingly, Sephiroth didn’t deny it. “In my position, one doesn’t often have the luxury of declining responsibilities to this degree. Do you know that I attended the same board meeting three times in the beginning before I started to notice that the topics were repeating?”

Cloud understood that. Sephiroth had been flexing his independence of ShinRa more and more lately, in a much healthier manner than he had in a previous timeline, but it was obvious that old habits died hard. Obvious in Lazard’s lost expression after Sephiroth had not only started sending Genesis to the board meeting in his stead, but then proceeded to turn down every mission he was offered that afternoon.

At least, on the days when they bothered dealing with ShinRa at all.

“Perhaps disrupting the cycle enough will break it,” Sephiroth mused. “Maybe we should burn down ShinRa HQ next?”

It was far too tempting. But no matter how hard they tried to evacuate, there would almost certainly be collateral damage. “We’re not that desperate yet.”

He filed away the idea for later, though. Just in case.

……………..

Cloud handled the repeating days fairly easily in the beginning, in all truth. But it didn’t take long to realise how it robbed all the satisfaction from the rest of life.

There was no point to working on his new bike when the work would vanish every day. There was no point to tending the cutting of a flower Aeris had given him when it would never have the chance to grow. There was no point in clearing away monsters when those same monsters reappeared like clockwork. No point shining his sword when the same buffs and scratches would return the next morning. No point breeding chocobos when their eggs would never hatch.

They’d been brainstorming recently, as idea after idea failed to work. And it occurred to Cloud that one of the few forces that might be capable of such of a phenomenon was the Planet itself. But if that were the case, what did the Planet want?

Aeris hadn’t been able to tell him. He couldn’t talk to the Planet himself.

But there had to be a reason it was just him and Sephiroth stuck in this, right?

On the fifty-third day, Cloud sat in his room for twenty-two hours, held his sword in his lap, and contemplated killing Sephiroth.

……………..

On the fifty-fourth day, Sephiroth said, “You didn’t leave your quarters yesterday. Were you taking a day off?”

“Yeah,” said Cloud. “I was.”

Sephiroth must have heard something off in his voice, because he said, “I was thinking of taking the next few cycles off myself. You’re welcome to do what you like.” He paused, then added, “But make sure you include me if you do decide to burn down Headquarters.”

Was pyromania catching? Genesis had become a bad influence.

……………..

On the fifty-seventh day, Cloud asked Kunsel, “What would you do, if you had one day which you could reset once it was over, and act completely consequence-free?”

“I would put every single secret and rumour I know about ShinRa on the Worldwide Network and send it to every PHS on the communications grid,” was the immediate response.

Cloud stared. “You’ve thought about this.”

Kunsel shrugged. “Well, yeah, who hasn’t?”

“Come on then,” he said, grasping the SOLDIER by the arm and pulling him to his feet. “Today is your day.”

……………..

No one was exactly sure when Genesis wound up in the loop – their best guess was somewhere between the seventy-fourth and eighty-sixth day.

“Of course I didn’t realise,” he snapped. “You two have been gallivanting off doing something different every day, it changes everything. Even my PHS messages are different. It wasn’t until I realised that Angeal didn’t remember any of your previous tomfoolery that I started getting suspicious.”

“At least now we know that it’s the rest of the world stuck in a loop, rather than us being stuck in a loop,” Sephiroth pointed out. There had been a brief period of concern that weeks were passing outside.

Cloud didn’t do well with losing time. He’d lost far too much of it already. He just hoped this wasn’t the universe’s way of giving it back.

He was somewhat reassured by the addition of another SOLDIER to the loop, though. It meant he’d been right not to kill Sephiroth.

Genesis huffed. “Don’t you have a plan to get out of it yet?”

“We haven’t found anything that works yet,” Cloud admitted.

“Our latest theory was that the Planet became aware of Cloud’s interference with the timeline and was itself interfering until we completed some undetermined task,” Sephiroth explained. “So several cycles ago we tried shutting down all of the mako reactors.”

“Most of them, anyway,” Cloud said. “We couldn’t get to the Underwater Reactor or Nibelheim Reactor in time.” Gongaga and Corel had already been decommissioned, luckily, but Midgar’s nine reactors alone had taken had taken most of the day.

“Now that we have Genesis, we may be able to split up and get them all at once.”

Cloud nodded thoughtfully. “It’s worth a shot.”

Genesis stared at them in disbelief. “You really have been doing this for months.”

“Should we tell him about the time we burned down Headquarters?” Sephiroth asked.

Cloud scowled. “Don’t listen to him. He’s enjoying this.”

Sephiroth diplomatically made no comment.

……………..

Occasionally they tried telling others about the time loop – Genesis in particular was insistent that they inform Angeal, and kept this up for a solid eight days before he too gave it up as a bad job. They tried the Turks a number of times with more success – they were among the few in the company aware of Hojo’s experiments with time travel, after all. In the end though they never learned anything new, and the cycle continued uninterrupted.

Cloud even went below-Plate to visit Aeris several times, just to double-check that the Planet really didn’t have anything to do with it. The Ancient was as unaware as everyone else.

That was possibly one of the most unsettling things of all.

At least Genesis’s addition to the timeloop added some fresh variation and new ideas. Once the other First Class realised that there was no way to include Angeal in the loop, he tired of the repetition quickly. It was his notion to commandeer a helicopter to the Northern Crater to see if that had anything to do with it. Cloud agreed, given so many of his troubles started and ended in the Northern Crater.

They blinked, and went from fighting giant tonberries in freezing cold caverns to ShinRa headquarters once again.

“I bet it’s the puppy’s fault,” Genesis huffed later.

“You can’t blame Zack for everything that goes wrong,” Sephiroth countered.

“He’s on a mission in Wutai, anyway,” Cloud said. “He can’t exactly interfere from there.”

Genesis sighed. The room filled with desolate silence.

Then, “Perhaps we could try burning Headquarters down again?” Sephiroth suggested.

Genesis threw his PHS at him. “Cloud’s right. You are enjoying this.”

……………..

On the hundred and fifteenth day, Cloud went and killed all the ahrimans again, just in case doing a normal run of the day might give him a new clue.

It didn’t.

…………….

Kunsel, unlike the rest of them, realised he was in a time loop by his second day.

“Fanclub updates in the morning were all the same,” he explained. “Plus my PHS lost messages overnight.”

“Curious how the effect seems to be spreading,” Sephiroth commented. “It destroys our original theory that it was caused by S-cells.”

“Maybe just those with Jenova cells,” Cloud offered. “Or mako.”

“Given the selection of people here, it’s probably Zack’s fault somehow,” Kunsel said.

“Ha!” Genesis declared in vindication.

“Or,” Sephiroth theorised, “it could be an issue of immunity. It would be just as easily explained as exposure to Time materia.”

“Go on,” Genesis prompted.

“Given this progression, it makes the most sense if this were caused by a sort of Time materia, and rather than suffering from its effects, we are actually not suffering from its effects, hence why Esuna or any of our other counters failed to work.” He crossed his arms, deep in thought. “Cloud has his Ribbon and is experienced in time travelling. I myself have a similar artefact-” He gestured to the silver buckle on his belt. “-and the S-cell connection with Cloud, which itself may have worked as a sort of amulet. After that, Genesis is the obvious next candidate in term of materia usage – he possesses a mastered Time materia and a high natural resistance from his training, which has likely further built up with each cycle everyone goes through. And Kunsel…”

Kunsel gave them a tight smile. “Yeah. I’ve had my fair share of involuntary time travelling before this too.”

It made a certain kind of sense, even if it assumed an awful lot.

“So if we left it running, eventually others will join the loop as well?” Genesis mused.

“Most likely the other SOLDIERs at least, starting with the ones in possession of a Time materia or who have unusually high materia resistance. Civilians, I can’t be sure.” Sephiroth shrugged slightly. “It is only a theory. We would have to wait for someone else to join the cycle to be sure.”

Which could be weeks, maybe even months at the current rate. It was the most plausible thing they’d brainstormed in a while, and worth treating as the truth until proven otherwise.

“It still doesn’t explain how this is happening or how we can stop it, though,” Genesis complained.

“It can’t be anything originating in ShinRa. We’ve tried too many things here,” Cloud said. “Or anything on the East Continent, either. Some of those changes went far.”

“Um, do you guys even know what Zack’s mission in Wutai is?” Kunsel asked.

…………………

“They sent Zack Fair to investigate a mysterious materia discovered in Wutai’s jungle?” Genesis was aghast.

“What is so terrible about that?” Sephiroth asked.

“Zack once tried to cast my mastered Comet in one of the Training Rooms inside ShinRa, without even knowing what it was first,” explained Cloud.

“He has one of the worst records of materia safety in all of ShinRa,” Genesis huffed. “Made all the more dangerous by his natural aptitude for it.”

“It’s why the Materia Department like him so much, though,” Kunsel said. “He’s the go-to SOLDIER for all of their missions. This one, too.”

“We have a problem, then,” Sephiroth commented.

Genesis glared at him. “Oh, really? You finally noticed that did you?”

“No, I meant that Zack’s mission is in Wutai,” Sephiroth corrected. “And we have only twenty-two hours to make it there in time to stop him.”

There was a silence as they processed that.

“Why not simply send him a PHS message?” Genesis asked eventually.

“He’s in the wilderness,” Kunsel said. “No reception to speak of. I’ve been trying to message him all day and they just keep bouncing.” Cloud nodded his agreement. He’d tried to message Zack plenty of times in the past cycles himself.

“That is the only thing that makes sense. Only by being so far out of contact could he have remained unaffected by some of our previous cycles,” Sephiroth mused.

“I do know where the site he was supposed to investigate is,” Kunsel volunteered. “It’s near the tip of the northern peninsula, close to where ShinRa was originally planning on building the Reactor.”

Cloud thought it over. He’d explored Wutai fairly thoroughly at one point, thanks to Yuffie. Highly mountainous, sheer cliffs edging all but the southernmost part of the island. Their only access had been on foot.

SOLDIERs, on the other hand, could jump from planes.

“We made it to Rocket Town once in twenty-one hours, didn’t we?” Cloud said. “How many hours do you think we can take off of that?”

…………………

They made it to Wutai with two hours to spare. It was the middle of the night back in Midgar, but in Wutai the sun shone high in the sky.

It took a precious hour and fifty-five minutes more than that to find Zack trekking through the thick forest, towards a small ruin nearly overgrown with foliage.

Four SOLDIERs crashed through the treeline, out of breath and covered with scratches, and came to an abrupt stop in front of one very surprised Zack Fair.

“Cloud?” Zack asked. “Wait… Genesis? Kunsel? Sephiroth?” He peered around them. “Where’s Angeal?”

“You were apparently kind enough to spare your mentor this fate. Don’t worry, I’ll be assigning the punishment in his place,” Genesis hissed.

“Huh?” Zack just blinked at them. “What are you guys doing here?”

Nobody answered. Their attention was caught by the ruin Zack had just been arriving at.

It was definitely Cetran – Cloud would recognise that architecture anywhere. It was the first time in either timeline that he’d stumbled across this ruin, though – and small wonder, it was probably only thanks to ShinRa’s advanced scanning technology that anyone had picked up on it at all. Given the lack of pathways in the jungle around them, even the Wutai probably didn’t know about it.

There wasn’t much to it. It was small, only a little taller than him and about half as wide as that. A simple pedestal in a sheltered enclave, covered in vines. And sitting on the pedestal, the largest Green materia he’d ever seen.

A dull watery glow wavered hypnotically in its depths. Where the smooth, crystalline surface should have caught the light, it seemed to absorb it, creating eerie patches of darkness.

“It certainly doesn’t look like it contains that much power,” Genesis remarked. “Are we certain this is it?”

“It has to be. It’s the only thing that makes sense at this point,” Cloud said.

“What’s going on?” Zack asked. “And why is everyone horning in on my mission?”

“This damn materia has stuck the entire world, bar us few unfortunate souls, in a time loop of the same twenty-two hours for the past two and a half-” Genesis cut himself off with a look at Cloud and Sephiroth and amended, “the past five months. At least.”

“Okay, we found it. So now how do we turn this materia off?” asked Kunsel, ever practical.

“Perhaps we could smash it,” Genesis suggested with a glint in his eyes.

Cloud killed that suggestion fast. “Not a great idea. That’s how I wound up in a new timeline in the first place.”

“This thing is causing a time loop?” Zack asked. “How does it-” He reached towards it.

Cloud blinked, and found himself back at ShinRa.

…………………

“That idiot!” Genesis seethed.

“We know, Genesis,” Sephiroth said with an air of suffering patience. “I’ve begun to see your point.”

Cloud just concentrated on getting as much speed out of the prop plane as possible.

They’d broken the world record for getting to Wutai last time, in large part because they’d been able to convince Cid to take time away from the Space Program to fly them partway in the Tiny Bronco. They didn’t manage to repeat that miracle, but made up for it in already knowing exactly where they needed to go.

They arrived once more with minutes to spare. This time when they entered the clearing, Cloud and Kunsel tackled Zack to the ground.

“Ooof! What the hell, Cloud? Kunsel? Wait, Genesis and Sephiroth too?”

“Don’t let go of him,” Genesis snapped, pacing a wide circle around the materia with suspicious eyes.

“What the heck is going on?” Zack groaned from where Kunsel had him in a loose stranglehold. “What’s the big idea guys?”

“The big idea is that you keep walking up to this materia and sending everyone back in time by a day!”

Zack just blinked at them. “Huh?”

“Consider it a new type of Time materia. Let’s call it Rewind,” Sephiroth said.

“I find it horrendous that this kind of materia was always just laying around, unprotected.” Genesis shuddered. “Why by the Goddess would the Ancients have created such a thing? Hojo’s research I could understand, but what point to time travel if no one can remember it occurring?”

“As a security measure, perhaps,” Sephiroth suggested. “One that could not be overcome without recognising that it was being triggered. How devious. The loop would continue until someone developed enough resistance that they became aware of it – and this would almost certainly be the Cetra who created it first, and would allow them to mount a secondary defence at their leisure.”

“Yeah, fascinating,” Cloud deadpanned. Seeing as Kunsel seemed to have Zack under a close watch, he let the other SOLDIER go to inspect the materia with them. “So long as nobody triggers it, the loop should stop then?”

Sephiroth tapped his PHS. “We’re already past the time where we would normally turn back.”

For thirty long seconds, nobody moved, not even Zack. The clearing remained still and silent, but for the shuffle of wind through the leaves and the distant twitter of exotic birds.

“That’s it, then?” Genesis asked. “My Soul corrupted by vengeance,
Hath endures torment,
To find the end of the journey in my own salvation.
And Your eternal slumber.


“We have to destroy it,” Cloud said. “Can you imagine if ShinRa got their hands on something like this?”

“And how do you propose we do that?” Sephiroth asked. “Considering you’ve ruled out just smashing it.”

That was a good point. Cloud’s thoughts skipped to a certain Black materia he’d been nervous about for a while, and a Time room in the Temple. “I think I know a way. I’ll take care of it.”

“What am I supposed to do about my mission?” Zack complained from the ground.

Genesis kicked him in the side as he passed. “Nobody cares what you think about this, Puppy. Just lie and tell them the materia was defunct.”

“What a shame. Now that we can end it any time, the temptation to use it is high.” Sephiroth actually sighed then, and Cloud still couldn’t process that.

“How do you think I feel? I never even got a chance to try this time loop thing out. I wanted to put every single secret and rumour I know about ShinRa on the Worldwide Network and send it to every PHS on the communications grid,” Kunsel groused.

“You’ve already done that in a previous loop,” Cloud informed him.

“What? No fair, it doesn’t count if I can’t remember it!”

“Ah, that was your doing was it? That was a particularly entertaining cycle,” Sephiroth commented.

“No more time loops for anyone. Especially not Sephiroth,” Genesis declared. “Cloud’s right. We can barely be trusted with this, much less ShinRa.”

“Well, I guess it doesn’t really work when most of your superior offices can remember the loop anyway,” Kunsel consoled himself. “How the hell did you convince me to do that? Please tell me I didn’t put everything up there.”

Cloud stared. It had been an impressively scandalous post, even by Kunsel’s usual standards. “How would I know?”

“Oh, good. You would know if I had.”

“The Turks tried to kill you.”

“Now I want to know,” Genesis complained. “I wasn’t there for that cycle.”

“Did everyone get hit by a Confuse materia back at Headquarters?” Zack asked. “I have no idea what’s going on.”







………………………………………………….

THAT’S IT FOR THIS TIME GUYS, thanks for reading, sorry to all those awesome prompts I didn't get to. I’m seriously spending like half of my fic-writing year on these things recently, I need to work out a better solution or stricter cutoffs or something.

Comments

( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
swifty_chan
May. 11th, 2014 11:05 am (UTC)
Oh wow, I feel both elated and guilty. Elated because my prompt was fulfilled, but guilty because my prompts seems, uhh, odd? xDD By the way, there's a typo on Isabelle's name, but other than that, ACNL world would indeed end without that cute little secretary doggie. Thank you very much for writing! I really appreciate the effort you placed on all Christmas prompts, and while I didn't comment on the last one I gave (the Seiken Densetsu 3 one with Duran), I just wanna let you know I've read it and it's beautiful. TwT

The second one is just cute!

The third one really deserves a fanfic itself. It's rare to find time loop/Groundhog Day-esque fanfics, let alone a well-written one. It's amusing that it takes both Sephiroth and Cloud days to realize they're in a time loop, though it's a pity that Angeal is unaffected... It would be really amusing that Angeal is actually indeed affected, but trying to pretend nothing happened (or didn't even realize it himself due to the differences that Cloud and Sephiroth made). xD
sinnatious
May. 11th, 2014 11:55 am (UTC)
LOL don't be guilty, yours was a tough prompt but an interesting one! I like to step out of the FF fandom every now and again too, even if it's to write terribly weird crack.

Although ouch, that wasn't a typo, just a plain old mistake! The correct spelling was right there in the prompt, too... how embarrassing! XD I've fixed it now. I haven't played Animal Crossing since Christmas, some of the details are slipping from my brain already.

Time loop fics ARE super rare, aren't they? This one isn't a great example of the sub-genre, but it was still super fun to write!
ashoakandthorn
May. 11th, 2014 02:33 pm (UTC)
Fire seems to be a theme with this set!

Pretty sure I ended up the first ficlet with an expression close to 0.0 on my face. No time away from office for the mayor and Isabella at the same time. Ever.

Do the clothes they get have functional pockets?

Also, groundhog day AUs give me all sorts of joy.
sinnatious
May. 12th, 2014 02:41 am (UTC)
ahsoakhandthorn - asking all the most important questions about clothes. XD

I'm surprised there aren't more groundhog day AUs, really. It's a tried and true trope.
ashoakandthorn
May. 12th, 2014 03:06 pm (UTC)
Trope mileage in fandom may vary. Though materia gives such a reasonable explanation for anything that goes wonky. :)

As for fashion:

X X X

At least it's not formal wear~
killiara
May. 11th, 2014 07:26 pm (UTC)
You have no idea how much I cheered at seeing a groundhog day fic for Final Fantasy VII written by one of my all time favorite writers. THANK YOU. Commenter above was right, this deserves it's own full length fic, but it's also great as is. Poor Zack.
sinnatious
May. 12th, 2014 02:43 am (UTC)
Thank tsanyue for that one! Yeah it definitely needed to be longer, but there's a limit to what I'm willing to tackle for giftfics.
marici
May. 11th, 2014 07:46 pm (UTC)
The time-loop story was adorable. I like that Cloud wasn't stuck alone -- frankly, he has too much of that problem in general -- and that Sephiroth got a chance to see exactly what would happen if he shrugged and walked away. Zack's reaction to their incoherence and lack of explanation was good too. Thanks for this!
sinnatious
May. 12th, 2014 02:44 am (UTC)
Time loops stories are totally more fun with more characters. You're welcome, glad you enjoyed it!
ratzels
May. 12th, 2014 12:01 am (UTC)
I love Cloud's fear of clothes shopping (because the last time had such terrible results), and the Groundhog Day loop was hilarious. I wish I could see some of the more outlandish bits of Sephiroth cutting loose. Given that he'd be alive again the next day, I could see him doing things like groping Cloud in public, setting fire to Genesis' favorite copy of Loveless, and pantsing Shinra Sr. The fact that is really is all Zack's fault is just the icing on the cake.
sinnatious
May. 12th, 2014 02:46 am (UTC)
Ahaha oh man opportunity lost! I should have written a longer version with all of those things in it.
ratzels
May. 12th, 2014 02:47 am (UTC)
I doubt anybody would be mad if you wanted to rework it into a longer piece. XD
caterfree10
May. 12th, 2014 04:21 am (UTC)
THAT LAST ONE I AM DYING. *WHEEZE* I am way too amused by the idea of a time loop caused by Zack rn. The fact that Sephiroth actually says "why not burn down Shinra, the timeline will reset anyway" just makes my life every damn time. XD ngl tho, I am very curious as to what secrets Kunsel has on Cloud that he would know that Kunsel's really spilled everything, hehe. x3c

I don't have any particular comments on the others sadly. Ah well. :B
qem_chibati
May. 12th, 2014 11:15 am (UTC)
I'm pretty sure everyone understands that the prompts were just as you had time/inspiration and that it would be impossible for you to action them all.

Ahahaha, the 2nd is delightful, yes Cloud perhaps it was better for you when they didn't get along. XD

I love the last as well with the time travel. I bet Genesis feels pretty vindicated knowing that it was Zac's fault after all. XD
sinnatious
May. 13th, 2014 03:30 pm (UTC)
Totally, everyone is definitely very awesome about it, but I feel bad that I can't fill all of them all the same. ^_^;

Time travel is guaranteed hit around here. XD
lenine2
May. 12th, 2014 04:57 pm (UTC)
As always, I was delighted to read these. The third one was so funny and well-written.

“This thing is causing a time loop?” Zack asked. “How does it-” He reached towards it.

Cloud blinked, and found himself back at ShinRa.
ynyuki
May. 12th, 2014 07:56 pm (UTC)
xD It was all Zack's fault! Poor Zack <3

I love your FF7 fics, and I think everyone agrees that we just can't let go of TFA yet :')
sinnatious
May. 13th, 2014 03:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks~ (sobs into arms, I'm never moving on!)
firedraygon97
May. 12th, 2014 08:34 pm (UTC)
Heeeee. :D

Tifa and Genesis bonding! How fun. Poor Cloud though.

The time loop one is awesome. Zack's reflex to go 'ooooh, shiny' and touch things can cause a lot of trouble, haha. I absolutely adore this 'verse and I always look forward to new stories from it!!
sinnatious
May. 13th, 2014 03:27 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure where that headcanon about Zack came from - maybe those crazy missions in Crisis Core where Zack would poke something and then wind up fighting some insane summon. But glad you like it! :D
aelathehuntress
May. 13th, 2014 11:49 am (UTC)
I remembered my Livejournal password! Yay!

I love what you did with the prompts, specially the time loop one.
sinnatious
May. 13th, 2014 03:25 pm (UTC)
Heh, welcome back to LJ!

Thanks, glad you liked the end result. :)
peangallery
May. 19th, 2014 02:10 am (UTC)
Hahaha!
After reading past the first couple paragraphs of the time-loop one, my thought was: Wow Cloud, you obviously don't use a calendar, do you?

EDIT: Also! Cloud having nightmares about being stuck in a loop WITH Sephiroth! Golden! He probably have nightmares about EVERYTHING that can possibly involve Sephiroth.

Edited at 2014-05-19 02:12 am (UTC)
sinnatious
May. 19th, 2014 02:41 am (UTC)
Re: Hahaha!
Heh, I thought about the calendar thing, but I seriously don't know what the date is half the time myself beyond a general ballpark.

XD List of Cloud's nightmare scenarios involving Sephiroth: trapped in a time loop with Sephiroth. Trapped in an elevator with Sephiroth. Forced to go shopping with Sephiroth. Lost in the wilderness with Sephiroth. Trapped in an avalanche with Sephiroth...oh god they all sound like rom com scenarios. XD
cp_sama
May. 21st, 2014 04:07 am (UTC)
first comment on lj ever!
I just want to say your fics is awesome ok!?

i thought genesis and tifa wouldn't get along due to their mutual crush on cloud, but you had other ideas and it's perfect!

as for the time loop thing, i kinda wanna see kunsel's world wide web cycle...zack is the cutest puppy ever~

sephiroth enjoy every bits of it is hilarious and cloud being cloud, try to solve everything by killing sephiroth...

btw, are you gonna continue anything with the triplets? i mean, Kadaj and Genesis bitching is gonna be a sight to behold isn't it? XDDDD
sinnatious
May. 21st, 2014 07:50 am (UTC)
Re: first comment on lj ever!
Hey, welcome to LJ!

Thanks, glad you liked them~

Not likely to continue anything with the triplets, that was just a throwaway AU of an AU (well, all of these giftfics are), unless of course someone prompts it again in the next round.
cp_sama
May. 22nd, 2014 11:59 am (UTC)
Re: first comment on lj ever!
aaawwww~ plz send me and alert or sth when you plan to write promts okay?
aramisa
May. 24th, 2014 08:23 pm (UTC)
I never thought time loop fics could be so full of possibilities! All characters could do everything they want without caring of the consequences. FFVII needs more of them.

Times are certainly dark when Cloud gladly accepts the possibility of burning something along WITH Sephiroth (OMG). Also, what the heck did they do at the Gold Saucer? I hope it involves chocobo racing and gondola rides XD

sinnatious
May. 25th, 2014 08:00 am (UTC)
Time loop stories are awesome and every fandom needs like, at least half a dozen.

It's all up to your imagination at this point! :D

I can just picture that gondola ride. Cloud would be sitting there hating his life while Sephiroth tried to make small talk. XD
(Anonymous)
Aug. 11th, 2014 08:17 am (UTC)
Dying of Laughter
This was...there were no words. My cheeks hurt from grinning like a loon.
gelfling8604
Aug. 28th, 2014 04:54 pm (UTC)
I love the time loop one so much, I must've read it a couple dozen times by now. There's so many good moments in here, from Cloud plotting murder to Sephiroth actually having fun, but the winner really is "Of course Zack screwed up everything without realizing it. If it's broken, it's Zack."

Just like a cat.
sinnatious
Aug. 29th, 2014 04:45 am (UTC)
In retrospect I don't even actually know where that headcanon about Zack even came from - he's actually pretty competent, really. Maybe from some of the Crisis Core hijinks. <3 Glad you liked it!
pt_tucker
Oct. 3rd, 2016 10:38 pm (UTC)
Ok, so I said I should come comment on the actual spin-offs themselves, so here I am! I hope that one day, if you have the time & inclination, you might upload these to AO3. I'm certain all of the people who read your fics on there would love these little ficlets too. :)

Anyway, for the Time Loop fic: OMG I *adore* this one. I love how Genesis is like "maybe it's Zack's fault" and they're both "nah" and it IS Zack's fault. And then right when it's about to be over he DOES IT AGAIN. Oh man, I adore your Zack. XD

Of course, I adore the others as well. Genesis is perfect, as usual, and I love how he tries so hard to get Angeal in on it too and it takes him 8 days before he decides he's ready to give up trying to explain. It's oddly sweet of him.

I love how Cloud very seriously considered killing Sephiroth again while Sephiroth is doing everything in his power to fight against Shinra while there's no consequences. It really makes the ficlet feel much more like a spin-off than a oneshot since it goes so well with The Fifth Act, especially how you pointed out in there that Sephiroth has never really experienced *freedom*. Not to mention, knowledge of how their actions would affect the company & the company's response is actually pretty good to know for the future. And of course Genesis complaining that he couldn't have POSSIBLY known he was in a time loop when they did such ridiculous things was perfection. XD

And I loved how you included Kunsel. He gets forgotten so often in fics, so I love that your fics have him play such a central role.

Lastly, I really love how well you use the show vs tell in this fic. It's honestly more funny to hear AFTER the fact that "The Turks tried to kill you" or Sephiroth finally got his wish to burn down Shinra Headquarters than to actually see it. I think this fic proves that you don't ALWAYS have to show rather than tell - it's a delicate balance, instead.

...Now I feel a little bad because this review is basically as big as the one I left for the entirety of The Fifth Act. OTL Sorry. :( It seems like whenever I get the big fics, there's SO MUCH good stuff that it's hard to place it all in a single review.
sinnatious
Oct. 14th, 2016 01:57 pm (UTC)
Oh hey! You wrote a lot of comments, thank you for that. I can't think of much to say in response to your thoughts that the fic doesn't say already but I do appreciate it! Really made my day when I went to catch up on notifs and there were all these lovely words here.

Haha I really fixate on Kunsel for no good reason to be honest, luckily it seems there are enough readers out there willing to indulge in my pet character projects.

I probably won't ever upload the giftfics to Ao3 honestly, there's so many actual fics that should have their formatting sorted for it and put there first, though if any of them ever make it there it will probably be this one. Perhaps if I acquire a sudden surfeit of spare time I'll get back to updating Ao3 ;__; I do really miss fanfiction community, I keep writing but I haven't uploaded anything in so long...

Anyhow thank you again for all of the comments! Seems like you had a cool fic bender and I know I enjoy those as a reader so makes me happy when I pass that favor along for others. <3
awsom3
Dec. 4th, 2016 04:01 pm (UTC)
Cool fic I have to save it somewhere. :D

But what if Cloud did kill Sephiroth, would Sephiroth come back the next day?
( 35 comments — Leave a comment )

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