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The Fifth Act, Chapter 15

Title: The Fifth Act

Rating:
T for violence.

Summary: FFVII Time-travel. Gen. Cloud has an accident with a Time Materia.

Author's Note: This chapter has a little bit of everything.

Previous Chapter




__________________

The Fifth Act

Chapter 15


__________________


“It’s been a week since Strife joined ShinRa Incorporated,” Tseng began. “Thank you all for making time today for this personnel review.”

A snort from Genesis’s direction informed everybody of the Commander’s opinion of that particular turn of phrase. Tseng remained professional, leafing through his binder, observing each member of the room carefully. Sephiroth tapped the side of his arm, the only sign of his impatience. Angeal folded his arms.

Lazard broke the silence. “Where should we begin?”

To the Turk’s surprise, Sephiroth was the first to speak up. “I ran into him-” Tseng knew that was a lie, he’d reviewed the Training Room security feed. “-and he didn’t try to kill me on sight.”

“Of course not,” Lazard replied. “He signed a contract to that effect.”

I’m surprised he agreed to it,” Genesis mused, as though speaking to himself.

Angeal shrugged. "Tseng was right. He must have changed his mind." The stocky First looked troubled by something, though. Tseng made a mental note to follow that up later.

As for Sephiroth, his expression indicated that he didn’t think Strife had changed his mind at all. After witnessing the footage of their encounter in the Training Room, Tseng found himself inclined to agree. He was holding himself in, a taut string ready to snap at the slightest pluck. Which made it all the more confusing that he had agreed to work for ShinRa. He had to have known that such an action would directly contravene his desires. What was he playing at?

It was Tseng’s job to find out.

“That matter aside, upon signing him up I have discovered he has an aversion to scientists and doctors,” Tseng stated. “He claims he suffered mako poisoning, and that may be true, but his reluctance suggests he may have been experimented upon in the past.” Genesis glared at the table. Understandable. The Turks had an unofficial awareness of Project G. “Unverified, but in the meantime it’s a small detail we can add to his psychological profile. Has anyone come across anything suspicious?”

Angeal shifted in his seat, looking indecisive. When everyone turned their attention to him, he sighed, and admitted, “I had a look through his PHS contact list. It was… disturbing.”

“Disturbing?” Tseng asked.

“Here, I wrote down all the names I could remember.” Angeal pushed a notebook across the table to him. The Turk picked it up and scanned it, eyebrows raised. This was interesting.

“Go on, then,” Genesis prompted, curiosity obviously piqued.

“Tifa, Barrett, Cid, Vincent, Yuffie, Shelke, Reeve…” His voice trailed off dubiously.

“Reeve? As in Tuesti? Head of Urban Development?” Sephiroth asked.

“Yuffie is of interest, as well,” Tseng murmured. “These are only first names, so it may be coincidence, but Lord Godo has a daughter named Yuffie.” A contact made in Wutai? The Princess was just a child, though. She wouldn’t be of any use in a conspiracy.

“You’re missing the most important part,” Angeal interrupted. “You’re on there, Tseng.”

“As are two other Turks,” he agreed. His own name didn’t bother him – he’d left contact information with Strife when he’d hired him - but the presence of Reno and Rude on the list could not be so easily explained away. “And also a ‘ShinRa’, but without seeing the number itself, I can’t be sure if that applies to an individual or the company. Were these all the names, Angeal?”

“Not even half,” he admitted with a grimace. “I couldn’t look too long without him getting suspicious.”

“I’m surprised you even thought to do something so underhanded,” Genesis remarked.

Angeal shrugged. “It was kind of by accident. I wasn’t familiar with the phone, and when I saw the first couple of names, well…” He gestured at the notebook. “Maybe it doesn’t mean anything. Used to run a delivery service apparently. They could just be clients.”

“A delivery service?” Lazard sounded mildly impressed, and Tseng recalled the Director’s admiration for entrepreneurs. It appeared that his reservations about Strife had been stripped away in the past week. Impressive, considering he’d originally been the strongest opponent to his recruitment.

The Turk filed the mention of a delivery service away in the back of his mind to investigate – though such one-man operations were notoriously difficult to track. “I’ll have to take a closer look at his PHS at some point.” He slipped the list of names into his pocket. “On to other matters. Angeal, you’ve been accompanying him on his missions, correct? What other impressions do you have to share?”

The bulky First folded his arms. "I say promote him to Second Class."


"So soon?"


"You already know he's on the same level as a First - you wouldn't have gone to so much effort to hire him otherwise."


"Superior fighting skills do not alone a Second make. There are a number of talented Thirds who haven't been promoted simply because they are prone to causing collateral damage, or because they lack discipline," Lazard pointed out.


"Strife's not that reckless. You've spoken to him, Lazard. I've only tagged along on half of his missions, but he completes them in record time with zero fuss. He cleared out over three dozen Death Gazes from a bunker in a matter of minutes, and he looked bored by it. Stop wasting his time on grunt work."


Lazard spent a moment considering that, then relented. "A compromise. I move him on to Second-Class missions, and if he's still keeping up after a week of those, I'll promote him."

Tseng nodded his agreement. Strife’s position in the company meant little to the Turks - they were only interested in keeping him on the payroll and solving his mysteries. The President only cared that he was loyal and wouldn’t harm ShinRa. So far, Strife had been a model SOLDIER. The matter of the contacts in his phone alarmed him, but he’d learnt that conspiracy did not necessarily lurk in every corner of the company. Sometimes, there really were ordinary explanations.

“Unless anyone else has something to add, we’ll keep this short and adjourn here. I know you all have busy schedules. If anything else of concern comes up, please contact me immediately.”

Lazard left first – no doubt anxious to tackle his not-inconsiderable pile of paperwork before the board meeting that afternoon. Angeal and Genesis headed out into the brightly lit hallway, a heavy silence between them.

“And General Sephiroth,” Tseng’s voice echoed through the meeting room, just before the silver-haired man reached the doorway. “In the future, the company would prefer it if you were not to provoke Strife. He’s doing his best to hold up his end of the contract, but we’d like to avoid testing him on it.”

Sephiroth paused, and the Turk braced himself for a retort, but the SOLDIER just inclined his head slightly in acknowledgement, and disappeared from the room in a swish of black leather.

Tseng let out a breath, and hoped the General would take his warning to heart. Strife presented a mystery that you naturally wanted to pick at, but he wished he would leave it to the Turks. Investigations like these had to be done with finesse - otherwise they had a tendency to explode in your face. And in the case of someone like Strife, possibly take out half the company in the process.

He didn’t get paid nearly enough for this.


………………………..


Cloud grew suspicious at the lack of fallout from his altercation with Sephiroth, but as the days passed and nothing happened, slowly began to relax. As much as he could relax when surrounded by the ghosts of the past, anyway.

“See? I told you it wouldn’t be a problem. Neither Zack or I reported it, and why would the General?” Kunsel assured him, tossing him a drink from the vending machine. Cloud caught it and cracked it open, sipping the fizzy soda slowly.

Kunsel seemed to have adopted him as a mentor of sorts, which made for an interesting experience. Cloud hadn’t really trained anybody before, and he didn’t think he was very good at it, but the Second kept turning up and cajoling him into practice sessions - first materia, and after witnessing his brief skirmish with Sephiroth, swords as well.

Seeking a change in subject, Cloud noted, “You never seem to go on any missions.” He wrapped his hands around the chilled can, frowning at the condensation soaking into his fingertips. Maybe he ought to swap out the uniform gloves for his usual black ones.

“Only about every third day,” Kunsel agreed. “And I usually get local ones, too. The Director put me onto organising exams and supervising cadet classes.” He shrugged.

That explained why the Second always seemed to be around in the afternoons. “You don’t mind?” The work would be easy, but it also meant his chances of becoming a First Class were distant at best.

As if reading his mind, he replied, “Not everyone can become a First Class, you know. It’s only for the best of the best.”

Cloud didn’t really agree with that. He spent a moment gathering his thoughts, then murmured, “I think you have what it takes. You’re good with materia.” And he fought intelligently, which set him apart from the majority of the Second and Third Class SOLDIERs.

Kunsel grinned. “Hearing you say that gets my hopes up. I’m going to keep working at it. Think you’ll still be willing to help me out when you’re in Second Class?”

“You say it like it’s a given.”

The Second chugged the last of his drink, and pegged it towards the bin across the way. It crumpled on impact and rattled into the trash along with a collection of similarly crushed cans. “Zack and I have a bet running. He says you’ll be promoted by the end of the week – I gave you two.”

“Isn’t that a little soon to get promoted to Second Class?” Cloud wondered. He’d only been a Third for a little less than two weeks.

"Normally, I’d say yes. But no one will resent you for it," Kunsel assured him. "Word's gotten around that you're good. Everyone knows you're doing missions off the Second Class roster already."

Cloud frowned. "Everyone?"

Kunsel jerked his head in Zack's direction. The bouncy black-haired SOLDIER was waving his arms in the air enthusiastically as he talked to a fellow Second - Luxiere, probably, but the helmet made it hard to tell for sure. Cloud didn’t have a very good memory for names and faces. “Oh. Right.”

They settled into comfortable silence while Cloud lingered over his drink. He didn’t have any missions for the rest of the day, and Hojo hadn’t set up shop in the Training Room when he checked earlier, so there wasn’t any rush to go anywhere. Hanging out with Kunsel passed the time easily. Aside from a couple of hazy recollections in Zack’s memories, Cloud never knew him before, so their interactions were blissfully free of emotional baggage.

Zack eventually noticed them and bounded over. “Cloud! Kunsel! What are you guys doing here?”

“Just finished another materia session. Check it out.” Kunsel held aloft his Ice materia, now mastered. Cloud made a mental note to find him a new one to start on – a natural one, this time. He could remember a place in the slums that sold them, though it did poor business because most people didn’t know the difference between manufactured and naturally formed materia.

“What? You guys were training without me?” Zack affected a look of mock hurt.

“Zack!” A familiar voice echoed down the hall. Angeal. “If you’ve got time for chit-chat, you’ve got time for training!”

Zack winced as his mentor joined them. “I was going to go training! We were just going to have a spar, right guys?” His expression seemed a little desperate.

“Hey, you’ve already got a mentor Zack, quit hogging mine,” Kunsel jibed.

“Strife, are you stealing my student?” Angeal asked in good humour.

“No sir,” he replied quickly. “You should go to your training, Zack.”

“But Clooooooud!” Zack whined, drawing the word out. “You have no idea! Angeal’s evil!”

“Wait – you’re Cloud?” Angeal interrupted.

Taken aback, Cloud just nodded.

“It’s his first name,” Kunsel offered.

Angeal shook his head in wonder. “He’s been nattering on about some guy called Cloud for weeks. I didn’t realise it was you.”

Rightly so – he’d been avoiding using his full name, on the very slim chance somebody stumbled across his ‘nephew’ in Nibelheim and thought something odd. The story he’d used on Bradley wouldn’t hold up under inspection. No helping it, though, not when he’d given Zack his first name without thought.

“That reminds me, we’ve got a long distance mission tomorrow – helicopter’s leaving at 0800 hours. Check your mail for the details.” Angeal informed him. Cloud nodded to show he understood, and Angeal cuffed Zack lightly across the back of his head as he tried to sneak away. “Come on, idiot, you’re not getting off that easy.”

Cloud watched them go, a little confused. “Did Zack do something wrong?” He thought Zack liked training. He certainly bugged the two of them enough about it.

Kunsel chuckled. “Nah. He always tries to wriggle out of practice. If it weren’t for Angeal, his training would be nothing but squats.”


……………….


Genesis, Angeal and Sephiroth had a long-standing tradition that at the end of the week, providing nobody was away on a mission, they would gather in Sephiroth’s office as twilight fell, and indulge in some social drinks. The alcohol did very little, of course – mako burned it away with the same efficiency it reserved for most poisons – but it served as a chance to catch up. Lately, its purpose had shifted mostly to discussing the unusual new SOLDIER in their midst.

“I found out something interesting today,” Angeal began. It must have been good, as he took his time pouring a drink, drawing out the suspense.

It worked. Sephiroth found himself leaning forward in his seat, and Genesis went to no effort to disguise his interest. “Oh?”

“His full name. Cloud Strife.”

There was a pause as the words sunk in, then Genesis snorted. "Cloud? His name is Cloud?"


"Cloud Strife," Sephiroth mused, testing the words on his tongue. "I wonder why he went to such effort to hide his first name."


“I already checked the personnel databases – there’s no match for ‘Cloud’ either, so it’s not that.” Angeal shrugged. “I passed it along to Tseng, but he probably already knows, since apparently almost everyone else in SOLDIER calls him Cloud thanks to Zack.”

Infinite in mystery is the gift of the goddess.

“Yeah, well, I don’t enjoy mysteries like you two seem to.”

Sephiroth didn’t enjoy mysteries at all, actually – which was why he was so determined to unravel Cloud’s. Yes, the name suited him, he decided. Cloud Strife. Like an uncontrollable tempest, a force of destruction which you couldn’t predict and if you tried to grab it, would just slip through your fingers.

“I’m surprised you still feel that way. You’ve been shadowing him for two weeks now,” the General commented, and found himself annoyed. He hadn’t seen that spiky blond head of hair since the aborted skirmish in the training room. After waiting so long for his rival’s arrival, only to be told that they couldn’t fight – a great disappointment.

"Maybe I’ve been working with him for the past two weeks, but it hardly makes a difference. He's just as bad at expressing himself as you are," Angeal dismissed. "Doesn't talk unless prompted, and smiles even less."


"He seems to get along fine with your student," Sephiroth observed, ignoring the slight. "The Second Class - Zack Fair."


Angeal chuckled. "That's different. Zack could talk the scales off a dragon."


Genesis sniggered. "Is the great General Sephiroth feeling jealous?”

Sephiroth frowned, and refused to answer. Sometimes Genesis hit a little too close to the mark, and he’d do anything to avoid letting his old friend know that.

Was it so wrong, though? The three were friends, but sometimes Sephiroth felt as though he had nothing else. Angeal had that Second he’d adopted, and Genesis had Loveless. What did Sephiroth have?

He thought he’d finally found it in the enigmatic blond. No – he knew he found it. Something about Cloud called to him, awakened some instinct. He wanted to fight him, wanted to tug at his strings – he wanted a rival.

Only apparently his rival didn’t want to play ball.

In a rare moment of empathy, Sephiroth realised this must be what Genesis felt like all the time.

“What did you think about Tseng’s theories?” Angeal asked. His tone was conversational, but forced. Something must have bothered him about it.

“The experiment one?” Sephiroth asked. “…It’s plausible. We considered it from the beginning. There are people out there desperate to discover the secret of SOLDIER. Desperate enough to experiment on humans.”

“Does it change anything?” Genesis asked.

“I guess it doesn’t matter,” Angeal admitted. “If the experience put him off doctors altogether, he’s not likely to be holding onto any dangerous loyalties.”

“Then you’re not curious?” Genesis probed, kicking his heels back and lounging in his chair, edge of his maroon coat brushing the ground.

“Of course I’m curious, but if it’s not relevant and he doesn’t want to talk about it, I’m not going to press it.” Angeal poured himself another drink. “No matter how interesting it is.”

“So boring,” Genesis scoffed, rolling the stem of a wine glass between his fingers. “And yet you’ve got the best mission at the moment.”

“It’s not all that exciting. I haven’t had to lift a finger. And I still haven’t seen what’s so remarkable about his sword.”

“He must not have had a reason to use it yet,” Sephiroth mused. Come to think of it, the dual swords only came into play later in the fight. He took another sip of wine and relished the warm burn in the back of his throat

“Challenge him to a duel, Angeal,” Genesis suggested. “Then you’ll see.”

He shook his head with a wry smile. “I think you two have that covered well enough already, thanks.”

Sephiroth allowed himself a brief chuckle, and poured himself another drink. Pleasant though the taste might be, sometimes he wished the alcohol would have more of an effect.

“Are you alright, Sephiroth?” Genesis asked suddenly. “You look tired.”

The question caught Sephiroth off guard – not because it wasn’t true, but because such concern and observation from Genesis was something he still wasn’t used to. He’d been worrying over Angeal like a mother chocobo for the past few weeks. A very cranky mother chocobo that would peck your eyes out if you didn't adhere to its unpredictable self-care regime. The General hoped this wasn’t a sign of the habit being extended to him, too. “I haven’t been sleeping well. It’s nothing to worry about.”

“Insomnia?” Angeal asked.

“Just dreams,” he replied curtly, not wanting to discuss it further. If he were being entirely honest, he would have called them nightmares.

Ripples form on the water's surface
The wandering soul knows no rest.

Loveless, Act I. Thank you for trying to put me to sleep anyway.”

The usual lecture on literary appreciation did not come. Instead, Genesis merely waved a lazy hand. “I wouldn’t like tiredness to be your excuse when you lose, next time we spar.”

“Your concern is overwhelming.”

It made him think, though. Perhaps he’d been approaching things from the wrong angle. His rivalry with Genesis – or rather, Genesis’s rivalry with him – had been born out of their longstanding friendship. Perhaps he needed to befriend Cloud before he could be a rival. At the very least, he wasn’t willing to just stay away as Tseng had suggested.

How to befriend a man who clearly hated him, however, remained a mystery. Such issues had not been covered anywhere in Hojo’s training.

Sephiroth grimaced, swishing the wine in his glass to cover the expression.

The first step, he supposed, would be getting through a conversation without Cloud trying to kill him.


…………………………


Zack loved his life. He was dating the girl of his dreams, had great friends, and was going to be promoted to First Class any day now. How could he not be, when he was receiving personal instruction from two of the most badass SOLDIERs in the program?

“You’re an idiot,” Kunsel told him. “And stop trying to steal other people’s mentors.”

“I saw him first,” Zack declared.

“How’s that? I met him at his exam.”

Zack grinned, enjoying having the upper hand on his buddy for once. “Promise you won’t tell?”

“Stop being so dramatic and just spill already.”

“I met him in the slums, when he first came to Midgar.”

“When you were visiting your girlfriend?”

“Yeah!”

“So?” Kunsel retorted. “He hadn’t even joined SOLDIER yet.”

“But get this! I was trying to get him to sign up, you know, since he was sleeping on the streets and stuff and didn’t have a job, so I got him to come along with me on that monster cleanup mission, right? He did great, it was just like fighting alongside you or any of the other SOLDIERs. But then a grand horn turned up.”

If Kunsel were surprised, his helmet prevented anyone from knowing it. “Wow.”

“Yeah. Caught me completely off-balance. If Cloud wasn’t there, I would have been gored.”

“So he saved your ass, huh?”

“You bet! You should have seen it. He stopped a grand horn, with just the flat of his blade!”

“That’s not really surprising,” Kunsel remarked.

“You’re kidding! That would be tough even for a First Class!”

“But isn’t Cloud the guy who fought Sephiroth to a draw in Wutai?”

Zack’s eyes bugged out comically. “What?”

Kunsel shook his head fondly. “How can you not know about it? It’s been all the gossip in SOLDIER for months. You were there when Sephiroth came looking for him last week.”

“But that could have been anything!” Thinking about it, though, it suddenly made a lot of sense. Far out. Maybe his assumption about Cloud being some unlucky country bumpkin hadn’t been so accurate after all. Although he’d implied he’d lost all of his friends, hadn’t he? Maybe ShinRa stuffed up somewhere, on some mission Sephiroth had been on. Hard to imagine the General stuffing up a mission, but then, the ShinRa public relations machine could cover up anything. Poor guy. He’d have to try and drag the story out of him later.

“Whatever, man. Have you finished your training with Angeal for the day?”

“Yeah.” His arms throbbed at the reminder, apparently excited by the attention. Stupid arms.

“You want to go hit the Goblin Bar? They’ve got cheap drinks tonight.”

“Hey, I’m spoken for now. I can’t go cruising for pretty girls with you anymore,” Zack reminded him, then felt bad at rubbing his good fortune in Kunsel’s face, so amended, “I’ll come for the drinks, though. Hey, let’s invite Cloud!”

“Weren’t you listening before? He’s got a mission tomorrow morning.”

Zack paused, scratching his head. “Oh, right. Guess we’d better let him rest then. He always looks so tired, you know?”

“Probably because of your endless nagging.”

“Hey! You’re the one who keeps hitting him up for training!”

“Which you tag along on, even though you complain about Angeal’s training.”

“You’ve never been through one of Angeal’s sessions, okay? It’s fine when it’s just sims, but once we start the drills…” Zack groaned.

Kunsel grinned and punched him in the shoulder. “I’ve heard it all before. Admit it, you’re a training maniac.”

“Gotta be, if I’m going to make First.” He pointed an accusing finger at his fellow SOLDIER. “Don’t roll your eyes! I’m serious.”

“I’m wearing a helmet, Zack.”

“I can tell.”

Kunsel seemed amused. “Sure you can. Come on, let’s get going.”

“Sure, sure, I’m coming.” His thoughts strayed back to the mysterious blond, however. He knew straight away that Cloud was something else, but… “Did he really fight the General to a draw?”

“You saw them in the Training Room, didn’t you?”

“Yeah, but that was pretty short.” It looked like it was getting serious before they stepped in, though. Cloud had a sort of wild look to his eyes. And he’d cast that Wall on them too. Like he was afraid they’d get hurt.

“Who knows how it would have gone if they kept going,” Kunsel said with a shrug. “If it bugs you so much, ask him yourself.” Kunsel, at least, appeared to believe the rumour. Which meant it probably was true.

Too many mysteries. Aeris’s ‘Mr Nobody’ just kept turning up more surprises. “Man, what kind of guy is Cloud, anyway? Too unreal.”
 



Next chapter




 

Comments

( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
aori_tsuki
Dec. 16th, 2009 11:10 am (UTC)
Pffff, oh Sephiroth, your social skills are much desired. Also Tseng! Kunsel! And Zack! Haha, this fic always makes my week interesting. Plus Angeal you crazy, devious person you. Wasn't even suspecting that! :D

Also, fic links to the Gabranth/Vaan I mentioned last week (?):

These Unending Alchemies of Honour
tentatus est

sinnatious
Dec. 16th, 2009 01:22 pm (UTC)
Okay yes, I think I am SOLD on Gabranth/Vaan now, especially if we get to read some angry, vengeful Vaan! Angry vengeful Vaan kicking ass. I really like Vaan, but the game made him so utterly irrelevant. :( Thanks for the links!

searisme
Dec. 16th, 2009 11:39 am (UTC)
Whey! Aside from that, this chapter was just too awesome for words. Sneaky!Angeal, who'd have guessed? And Tseng being Tseng. And Seph being socially retarded... and murderous-mother-hen!Genesis (there should be more Genesis). I worry about Angeal, too.

Also, Zack, you dork! Didn't he know?

As for lines...

In a rare moment of empathy, Sephiroth realised this must be what Genesis felt like all the time.

and

“Loveless, Act I. Thank you for trying to put me to sleep anyway.”

Well, there´'s more, but... bother..
sinnatious
Dec. 16th, 2009 01:26 pm (UTC)
Well, Angeal being sneaky by accident, but then, he does have friends to look out for. ^_^

When writing that scene, all I could remember was all those moments in Crisis Core where Kunsel would impart info and then despair at Zack not being aware of any of it. XD Second Class Zack really was a bit of a dork. <3
searisme
Dec. 16th, 2009 04:07 pm (UTC)
By accident. Well, then everything's ok.

Meh. Never played CC, so I'll have to take your word for it. Or is that the ultimate no-no to admit to in this august company?
sinnatious
Dec. 17th, 2009 09:38 am (UTC)
Not to worry. Quite a few of the people reading haven't played CC, apparently. ^_^ So I'll just take credit for all those fun parts lifted from it, yes? :D
(Anonymous)
Dec. 17th, 2009 12:11 pm (UTC)
Searisme on a trip i China
So modest. (Well, spread the CC goodness, I guess...)
ixtey
Dec. 16th, 2009 01:45 pm (UTC)
Like an uncontrollable tempest, a force of destruction which you couldn’t predict and if you tried to grab it, would just slip through your fingers.
> this was... wow. A very different interpretation of Cloud's name by Sephiroth when compared to other fics. And loads better than Seph going on and on into soliloquy about how the name "Cloud" perfectly matches his pretty blue eyes, etc. not that it's completely false, though~ 8D

He thought he’d finally found it in the enigmatic blond. No – he knew he found it. Something about Cloud called to him, awakened some instinct.
> for one second I thought the fic suddenly morphed into sappy, smutty fluff, lol.

Yay, Seph decides to be friends with Cloud! Looking forward to the awkward conversations full of "I-want-to-be-friends-with-you-even-though-I-know-you-hate-my-guts" talk :DD

Angeal, you sneaky little sneak! Although I had an inkling that he would do that when he looked at Cloud's PHS. And ashdaslkd how could you, Zack, of all people, not know that about Cloud before? tsk, tsk. :PP
sinnatious
Dec. 16th, 2009 02:15 pm (UTC)
Some credit to Zack! If he'd known before, he might have put together the pieces about the mysterious mercenary in Wutai and that guy in the slums who can kick ass. That he didn't know... well, it means he's not very well informed, but also not stupid. :P

Well, it's a rivalry, not a romance. XD Sorry if I disappointed you with the following sentence. :D As for the name thing, they gave him Strife and Zack Fair for a reason.

I do like those talks! Let's look forward to them together. ^_^
swyrel
Dec. 16th, 2009 06:20 pm (UTC)
OMG I love Kunsel and Zack's interaction with each other. If I didn't love Zack/Aeris so much, I would be hitting you up for some Kunsel/Zack...

'Sometimes, there really were ordinary explanations.'

Yeah, right, Tseng. Only if ordinary involves time travel...

I can't wait to see Sephiroth trying to befriend Cloud. Yeah, I can see that going over very well with him...

Genesis~ *hugs* I want to see this mother Chocobo side who pecks everyone's eyes out! lol
sinnatious
Dec. 17th, 2009 09:45 am (UTC)
They are so fun to write together, seriously. *_*

I feel a bit sorry for Tseng, really, trying to unravel a mystery he has absolutely no hope of solving. :D

firedraygon97
Dec. 17th, 2009 01:33 am (UTC)
It's weird, but when you divide the chapter up into different POVs, it seems so much longer. :O I like it.

*flails* Angeal, you sly dog! My Spidey-senses did not go off at ALL during that PHS scene. *is a little ashamed* But I do love it when I'm blindsided by these new developments. :3 I wonder how Tseng's going to get ahold of Cloud's PHS (will Rude and Reno be involved? XD) and whether or not Cloud realizes that his snazzy phone is going to bring trouble. Delete your contact list!!

Angeal had that Second he’d adopted, and Genesis had Loveless. What did Sephiroth have?

Hahahaha, Loveless is now equivalent to a puppy. XP At first I read it like Sephiroth was being snarky when mentioning Genesis, but now it just makes me feel sorry for him, that he doesn't have a passion for something yet. Hopefully this thing with Cloud will work out!

Genesis as a crazy mother hen is hilarious. XD Great image. It's surprisingly in-character for him.

Sephiroth trying to befriend Cloud is going to be AWESOME. We almost never see this, it's usually the other way around!

Seph: *joins the Gold Chocobo Elite or whatever Cloud's fanclub is called* Now I'll figure out what conversation topics I can bring up...

So looking forward to Sunday's update~!!

Also, Kunsel is lovely~ I'm glad he clung on to Cloud, it makes the atmosphere so different compared to other time-travel fics, where Cloud is a loner until Zack has to drag him around everywhere. :D
sinnatious
Dec. 17th, 2009 10:06 am (UTC)
Lucky for you then that most chapters have at least one change of POV. :D

Gold Chocobo Elite! XD That's brilliant! This needs fic, seriously. Stop making me want to write side stories!

It's a relief to hear that in some small ways this is at least managing not to be exactly like all the other time travel stories. Probably helps that not too many of them have CC characters in them yet. :D
firedraygon97
Dec. 18th, 2009 12:25 am (UTC)
Stop making me want to write side stories!

DOOO IIIIIT!! ♥ And Cloud can learn about it from Kunsel. :D I wonder who the founder would be? Haha.
yukitsukihana
Dec. 20th, 2009 01:36 am (UTC)
this fic is wonderful~ I'm in love~

aww, Seph <3 he just wants a friend (and probably a hug) I think that's going to make Cloud very nervous and confused when he realizes that.

I can't wait for the next chapter! X3
fateofshadow
Dec. 20th, 2009 01:42 am (UTC)
Oh wow, I just discovered this story via Lizeth on DA- I absolutely love the time travel sub genre of FFVII and I'm so glad to see another writer doing such a good job!

FFVII has always been open to interpertation and I've seen many people go completely different routes in characterisation while still keeping everyone IC. The most important thing is backing up everything you do with what's come previously and you do that wonderfully.

What I would love to see in later chapters: More Mini!Cloud and information on Cloud's father, Vincent's reappearence, a solution to Angeal's degradation and Cloud admitting to himself that Sephiroth's not the bad guy so long as he kills Hojo and Jenova. ;_;

I'm not expecting anything nor am I making demands, you've already managed to shatter a couple of expectations I had for previous chapters with pleasantly surprising results. So by all means, rise to the challenge, at this point in time I doubt you could do anything to disappoint me. >:)

On another note, could I add you to my friend list to keep a track of this story? I always feel a little creepy doing it out of the blue. U___U
sinnatious
Dec. 20th, 2009 11:18 am (UTC)
Another time-travel lover! Welcome!

*Takes notes* Got it. ^_^ But seriously, most everything is already plotted out. Should be able to take care of most of those points though. ;)

By all means, go right ahead. It's only really creepy when you get those journals that friend you despite having completely unrelated interests. ^_^
fateofshadow
Dec. 20th, 2009 03:42 pm (UTC)
*Rubs hands together gleefully* I can hardly wait *adds you to friend list like a slightly less creepy stalking stalker who stalks* >_>

Merry giftmas! ^_^
mickeytheblue
Dec. 20th, 2009 02:03 am (UTC)
I made myself a live journal account just for the sake of commenting and following your work. XD

This Story is AWESOME.

I found this fic from Deviant Art (Thanks to Lizeth)

I don't read much fan fics myself but yours is just... WOW.
(I stayed up til 4 am in the morning reading the whole thing XD)

I'm also glad that you regularly update, unlike the other authors I've followed before.

Keep up the good work! Can't wait for the next chapter!

(As a side note: OMG that was so sneaky of Angeal! Never expected THAT! and Zack and Kunsel are so cute :D Lol at Sephiroth's analogy of Angeal is to Zack while Genesis is to Loveless XD)

sinnatious
Dec. 20th, 2009 11:23 am (UTC)
Wow, thanks! That's incredibly humbling. Welcome to LJ!

You shouldn't need to worry about regular updates - a couple of years ago I used to be quite terrible, but regular readers will attest that I keep to a schedule these days, and if there are going to be delays I'll do my best to let everyone know. ^_^ I know your pain regarding irregular updating.

Genesis treasures Loveless just that much. :P
tomoehikage
Dec. 20th, 2009 09:51 pm (UTC)
Um… I read a few of the comments and I’m also one of those that came upon your fic by Lizeth’s recommendation and stayed up until 4:00AM just to read it all.

And I must say this is one of the few time-travel-fic I’ve enjoyed so much; the characters feel in character and their interaction are very amusing and at times blood pumping. One of my favorite chapters is the one where Cloud fights Sephiroth ( I believe it was chapter 4 or 5 ), it put me on suspense I was cheering on Cloud but I found it curious about it. Sephiroth was going to get beaten so early in the story?

I was surprised and happy to see the fight didn’t end there and how you accomplished to stop it.

I hope you don’t mind me adding you as a friend to continue follow up with your work and that you don’t lose interest in this fic. It’s really good. ^^
sinnatious
Dec. 21st, 2009 11:16 am (UTC)
Hello! I don't mind at all. ^_^ And no worries about me losing interest. I've not left a posted fic unfinished yet, and have no desire to blemish that record.

To be honest, I kind of really wanted to kill Sephiroth off then! It would have been really fun to examine the ramifications of that. Maybe I'll do an alternate version as a side story one day. ^_^
(Anonymous)
Jan. 6th, 2013 12:57 am (UTC)
I'm intrigued by this what-if. Do you still have any desire to write it? (If you haven't already and I just haven't found it!)

Like, I can't imagine that ending well! Genesis would be devastated at both losing the rival and friend he was starting to grow closer to, and he would have to make an enemy of his savior.

Angeal likely would never get the cure.

Zack's illusions of ShinRa might be shattered that much sooner.

No one would help Cloud if he were captured by Hojo or possibly Hollander.

Vincent would never come out of his coffin. :(

The War in Wutai... well, with Sephiroth dead and Genesis otherwise occupied or at least not focusing properly on it, it would be prolonged!

Young Cloud might or might not be inspired to join SOLDIER. He might be found when future Cloud's identity is investigated, since Genesis did know future Cloud's last name by this point. He might be captured for ransom, or if it's discovered that they're the same person, Hojo might find a way to experiment on him. :(

Angeal would be degenerating and might go on a suicide mission to kill Cloud to avenge Sephiroth.

If Angeal dies, Genesis might very well just snap, having lost both of his friends (and likely have some form of survivor's guilt, what with him surviving the degeneration).

But it might not come to that, now that I think about it.

Genesis would likely be so upset at seeing Sephiroth die that he would challenge Cloud there and there. Cloud might be able to just knock him unconscious (hesitating to kill the man he just saved), but then there was the rest of SOLDIER and troopers not far behind in the Wutai forest...

Really, it all depends on how Cloud manages to get away, and/or if he just decides to kill everyone.

It would likely go the way of For Fallen Comrades, but possibly more slowly. And with an extra spoonful of betrayal and torment.
sinnatious
Jan. 6th, 2013 12:30 pm (UTC)
You last sentence more or less summed up how I would have written that - Fallen Comrades, much more slowly. I don't really want to write it anymore mostly because Fallen Comrades scratched that itch for me. :)
(Anonymous)
Jan. 7th, 2013 01:29 am (UTC)
same anon
I think it scratched that itch for all of us! My angst quota for the next few months was instantly filled with it. D:

(This is a good thing.)
caterfree10
Jan. 4th, 2012 12:23 am (UTC)
amg, I love Sephiroth's analysis of how Cloud's name suits him. It's so bloody accurate both with what he knows of Cloud and what we as the readers know. <3

The whole scene between the SOLDIER trio is wonderful as well. I love the idea of them getting together weekly for drinks because it just fits with them (fairly sure it's part of my headcanon now, ngl).
sinnatious
Jan. 4th, 2012 12:23 pm (UTC)
You like the weekly drinks thing? Awesome. I just chose that because I figure they can't trash the Training Room THAT often, and it seemed like the most normal sort of routine friends whoa re also co-workers engage in (beer-o'-clock, ShinRa style?)

...I like to imagine that the whole trashing of the Training Room came about because they all got drunk, actually, but that's a ridiculous bit of head canon that doesn't exactly mesh... XD

You are making some great time on this re-read! Are you on holidays or something?
caterfree10
Jan. 5th, 2012 04:34 pm (UTC)
Indeed! I just, they're grown men, it just seems like it'd fit - even if it takes damn strong drinks to actually get any of them tipsy and/or drunk as an AU-ish oneshots related to this fic is any indication, hee. And with all the crap I imagine they have to do in SOLDIER and Shinra, I'd imagine they need to blow off steam in more ways than just sparring, especially if training rooms end up trashed in the process. x3

And yeah I am! Only got until Sunday though, and I'm behind on commenting again (meaning, I end up reading more instead of waiting until I comment, whoops). ^^; Didn't help that I went out with friends yesterday but I enjoyed getting out, so. x3
(Anonymous)
Jan. 6th, 2013 01:00 am (UTC)
...I like to imagine that the whole trashing of the Training Room came about because they all got drunk, actually, but that's a ridiculous bit of head canon that doesn't exactly mesh... XD

The next morning, Angeal remembers he was blasted in the face and is angry with Genesis for the rest of the day, Genesis sees his shoulder and thinks "damn, never again", and Sephiroth is all "...will they dock my our pay for trashing the training room?"
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