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The Fifth Act, Chapter 30

Title: The Fifth Act

Rating:
T for violence.

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

Author's Note:  FFXIII comes out this week!  Anybody remember how I sort of vanished off the net for a while after FFXII came out?  Yeah, maybe should expect that again.  Chapters should still be coming out on Sundays, though.  I'm going to have to work out a playing schedule or something.  It's far too easy to go 'just until the next save point!' which then turns out to be an hour away. 

Previous Chapter  

  

 

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The Fifth Act
Chapter 30


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Cloud heaved in a gasping breath, struggling to stay conscious.

 

"One week and two days," Hojo observed from the safety of the observation window.  "Specimen did not reappear within the exact same coordinates as he did in the shorter jumps.  This is in keeping with the pattern developed in the previous five-day jump.  Given the logical fallacies in maintaining one's relative position in space when considering planet rotation and orbit, the mechanics of the jump must be closely related to the principles of Exit materia. Drift can be accounted for by the gradual shifts in the mako currents within the asthenosphere."

 

Jump after jump after jump. Hojo was eating away, bit by bit, the precious time he had left before Nibelheim.  And worse, he couldn't be certain how far off a Nibelheim event might be.  The timeline might have changed dramatically with Genesis's cure.

 

Cloud pushed himself to his feet once he had his breath back. Based on the activity in the next room, they’d be doing another jump almost immediately. They didn’t usually stop unless they made some discovery they needed to analyse, or something went wrong. He preferred to be standing for the jump. Just in case another opportunity presented itself. He’d appeared outside the cage twice more, both on longer jumps, and while in neither case had he been in any condition to act on it in time, he needed those openings. So far, it had been the only chance he’d seen of escape.

 

They’d enlarged the cage after the last incident, though – not by a lot, but apparently it was enough to accommodate for that margin of error. Cloud didn’t understand the details, and didn’t care. They would be careless eventually. Zack waited four years, but it had happened. He simply needed to be ready to seize the moment when it came.

 

Calibrations complete. Next test to begin in five, four, three…

 

A sharp whine – familiar now – rose in the room. Ribbon began to warm. He closed his eyes, but his vision snapped white anyway.

 

Despite his best efforts, Cloud choked and stumbled. Only this time, hands caught him before he could hit the bars. Through the ringing in his ears, he heard a shocked exclamation, but couldn’t make out the words.

 

The words weren’t important. He didn’t think – simply reacted. Cloud threw himself forward, barrelling his shoulder into the chest of the person who’d grabbed him. No co-ordination yet, get them off-balance first. They stumbled back, but held their feet. Not enough. Cloud hooked his leg around, trying to trip them up, but they jumped over it. Too slow?! Growing desperate, he threw a wild punch.

 

It was caught. And held. 

 

No trooper, no scientist. That took the strength of another SOLDIER.

 

“-Cloud?! Is that really you?”

 

At last, the world started to come into focus again. 

 

The same cage, in the same depressing room. Scientists still visible through the window, already setting up for the next jump. Everything remained the same, except that all of sudden, a SOLDIER Second Class shared his cell.

 

“Hey, you’re not looking so good,” the newcomer murmured, finally releasing his fist.

 

Cloud let it drop to his side, and felt his horror mount as he at last registered the familiar voice.

 

"Kunsel?"

 

 

…………………..

 

 

Genesis sat on the bleachers at the edge of the gym, watching Sephiroth finish running his sword katas, long bored of the study. He’d seen the General run these flashy routines many times, but saw little point to them these days – never once had they been used in actual battle. He’d long concluded that it must have been like Zack doing squats, or Angeal fawning over Buster Sword. Mindless activities they could perform while thinking of something else.

 

Genesis had no need of such physical distractions, perfectly capable of sitting still when in need of quiet contemplation.

 

Zack fiddled with his PHS nearby. The gym was empty, save them – it was the end of the week, and most SOLDIERs who lived on premises had retreated to pursue relaxation and social endeavours. Once upon a time, he, Sephiroth and Angeal – and for a brief period, Cloud too – would have met for drinks in the General’s office. Now they haunted an empty gym, where they could brainstorm without eavesdroppers or interruption.

 

Not that brainstorming appeared to be doing them any good. It annoyed him that Sephiroth had been given all the tools to find Cloud. Genesis wasn’t exactly jealous, but he didn’t think it fair. He owed such a great debt to their missing colleague, yet was once more relegated to the sidelines by ShinRa’s favourite SOLDIER. 

 

It didn’t bother him as much as it might have before Wutai, but that was a far cry from liking it.

 

Zack grumbled and slipped his PHS back into his pocket. “Must be out of range, still.”

 

“Sergeant Kunsel?” Genesis guessed.

 

“Yeah. He hasn’t come back from the West Continent yet. Service is kind of spotty over there.”

 

Genesis frowned, but didn’t comment further. Unless the oh-so-mighty Sephiroth started living up to his genius reputation, Kunsel’s investigation stood as their last lead of any real substance. They could only hope he was taking so long because he’d found something to follow up, and not because he’d found nothing, but kept looking out of stubbornness.

 

Sephiroth continued whirling and slashing at air, brow furrowed in a near ever-present frown. The Training Room would have been more satisfying for him, no doubt, but the Training Room had a security feed the Turks could access. The Turks were being particularly neutral regarding their efforts, but that could change at any moment. Better they not reveal any progress.

 

Especially since General had gone curiously silent on the matter of his connection with the blond after their last discussion - a response that made the Commander more than a little suspicious.

 

It didn’t look as though Sephiroth was going to finish anytime soon, so Genesis took a page from Zack’s book and removed a shiny black PHS from his pocket, flipped it open, and began thumbing through the contents for what must have been the fifteenth time now.

 

“Hey, isn’t that Cloud’s PHS?” Zack asked, craning his neck to see.

 

“I have it for safe-keeping. And thought it might provide some clues.” It hadn’t, aside from the fact that Cloud had a very unusual contact list far more unsettling than Angeal’s initial reports on it so many months ago had led them to believe. Most of the numbers returned a disconnected message. If Kunsel’s efforts failed, Genesis’s next plan was to trek out to Corel to meet Barrett Wallace, and then to Rocket Town to talk to Cid Highwind. Both claimed to never have heard of Cloud Strife, but he wondered if they would change their minds with a rapier at their throats.

 

“Clues?”

 

“The names inside. Not to mention the phone itself.”

 

“What’s weird about the phone?”

 

“I haven’t found a store in Midgar that carries this model yet.” Which had been problematic when it came to recharging it after the battery died, soon after they’d reclaimed it in Banora. It had taken him literally weeks to visit every store in the city, even the ones in the slums, searching for a compatible charger. None of them had recognised the model – couldn’t even tell him the brand – and eventually, he’d resorted to coercing a lackey in engineering to jury-rig him something with the right voltage and connection.

 

“Weird. In all of Midgar? It must be a custom job or a designer model or something.” At those words, Zack’s eyes lit up in realisation. “Then-”

 

Genesis nodded. “Precisely. If I can find out where it came from, it might give us a new lead.” How embarrassed Sephiroth would be then, if even with his mysterious connection, his old rival made the most progress.

 

At that moment, the PHS trilled.

 

Zack started, and Genesis nearly dropped it in his surprise, then stared at the ringing device as though it were some kind of new, mysterious species of razor weed. Cloud never got calls - and the only mail he received was spam from some company called 'Treasure Princess', which had become ever more urgent in its frequency of late.

 

“Aren’t you going to answer?” Zack prodded after the third ring.

 

Genesis glanced at the number. It wasn’t one of those in Cloud’s contact list. 

 

He picked up.  Silence.


Bad connection?  "Hello?"


More silence.  Then... "Is this Cloud Strife's number?" The voice was smooth and deep, possessing the same sort of timbre he associated with Sephiroth.


"It is," he confirmed.  "I’m minding his PHS for him. You are…?"

 

For a moment, he didn’t expect a response. Then, “…Vincent.” No last name? The pause before answering made him think it had been omitted on purpose. But then, thinking on it, he could recall seeing the name on the contact list, just not attached to this number. “I’m an acquaintance of Cloud’s.” 

 

“Genesis Rhapsodos,” Genesis introduced himself in turn, mostly to see what the reaction would be. His name had become instantly recognisable, thanks to the press on the Wutai War.

 

He was not disappointed. "Commander Rhapsodos. You are close to General Sephiroth.  Then Cloud has infiltrated your inner circle."  He sounded thoughtful.  "You should warn Sephiroth he's in danger - Cloud intends to kill him."

"Oh, we already know about that," Genesis declared breezily.  "He's tried it a few times already."


Another pause, then… "I shouldn't be surprised.  I take it he was unsuccessful."


"Sephiroth's just fine, if that's what you're asking."  This conversation became more interesting by the sentence.


"Where is Cloud?  May I speak to him?"

“Unfortunately, he’s not here right now,” Genesis drawled. Idly, he noted that Sephiroth had stopped his katas to come listen in. Zack also made absolutely no secret of the fact he was eavesdropping.

 

Will he be back soon? I have important information on… some progress in an important matter. For something he wanted done as soon as possible.

 

Genesis paused. Could it possibly be-? “Do you have the cure?” he snapped.

 

“…I’m not sure what you’re talking about.

 

“The cure! For degradation! Are you the person Cloud was waiting on?” Genesis demanded.

 

…You must have the wrong person. I’m calling about something that had been… misplaced.

 

Genesis’s shoulders sagged, before he remembered his audience and straightened once more. It would have been too good to be true, if Angeal’s cure had fallen into their laps like that. But it didn’t make the disappointment sting any less.

 

Regardless, they had a new contact to interrogate about Cloud. Given the scarcity of information on the blond, they couldn’t let him get away so quickly. “I see. My apologies for the misunderstanding. We’ve been waiting for word on it for so long – I thought perhaps…” Genesis stalled.

 

Zack tilted his head at him in question and made random gestures that might as well have been a chocobo’s mating dance for all the meaning they held.  Sephiroth fared slightly better, using a quick series of field hand signals, which normally meant to draw enemy fire, locate the wounded, and report ally positions, but in this context he figured ordered him to break cover and ask Vincent if he knew anything outright.

 

“I understand,” Vincent was saying. “When would be a good time to call back?” A rather casual way to avoid offering his own number to return the call.

 

Genesis considered for a moment, and decided they didn't have anything to lose.  "Actually, I should confess that I haven't been entirely forthcoming with you.  Cloud is currently missing.  We've been trying to find him for some time now, but we're not altogether sure he even wants to be found."

 

Silence. 

 

He could certainly imagine Vincent being a friend of Cloud's.  They were both excellent at avoiding giving more information than absolutely necessary and maintaining awkward silences long past the point where most people would assume the connection broken. 

 

Then, abruptly, "It isn't safe to have this conversation on the phone.  I'll look into it, and be in contact in person soon."  The line went dead.

 

Genesis closed the PHS.  "Delightful fellow."

 

"He thinks Cloud's PHS is tapped?" Sephiroth asked with a frown.

 

"More likely he was calling from a public phone. ShinRa does monitor those from time to time. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Turks had put out a notice to trace anything that called Cloud’s PHS." It made Vincent a paranoid bastard, but if he were friends with Cloud, he almost expected it.

 

Speaking of paranoid bastards. “Do you think he could be a threat?” Sephiroth mused.

 

Genesis flashed the General a mocking smile. “Hardly. His very first thought was to warn me that you were in danger from Cloud. Rather late, but it’s the thought that counts, surely?”

 

Sephiroth didn’t look particularly amused, and Zack was trying – and failing – to stifle laughter.

 

It troubled him, however. What news could Cloud have been waiting on other than the cure for Angeal?

 

 

……………………

 

 

“Where did you come from? I’m not just imagining this, am I?” Kunsel asked.

 

Cloud didn’t get the chance to answer before Hojo gave the order to start the next jump.

 

Begin recording. Initial test for the transportation of multiple subjects within the same materia field. Power levels rising. Seventy percent… eighty percent…

 

He slammed into the ground again, but forced the fog from his brain and peered through bleary eyes, seeking the other occupant to the cage, still not convinced he hadn’t imagined it.

 

Ten minutes and three seconds. Error level, less than one percent.”  The speakers crackled, as impersonal and uncaring as always. “The gauges recorded an unusual energy spike moments prior to the jump, and the second specimen’s biometrics have left the safe zone.

 

The purple jumpsuit and standard-issue helmet were still there. He reached out, and tentatively poked the prone form. The fabric gave way under his prodding. Not a hallucination. 

 

Cloud sat up and pushed his fellow SOLDIER over. It had only been a short jump, but Kunsel was in a bad way – the visible portion of his face had turned paper-white, he could hear his heart racing, and his hands were badly shaking.

 

He thumped him once on the chest. “Breathe,” he urged.

 

With a jerk, Kunsel choked, then rolled onto his side, coughing and wheezing. His face flushed with colour. 

 

Distantly, Cloud could hear Hojo’s murmuring, picked up in the background by the microphone. "Interesting. The disparity in the results could only be explained that way. Mako levels appear to be a primary factor in both inducing and surviving a successful jump.” A pause, then, “No. I’ll need to revise the equation with the new data first. Lock it down for now.

"What is this?  What just happened?" Kunsel croaked.

"Hojo's using Time materia to jump things into the future," Cloud explained in a whisper. “Just focus on breathing. You’ll feel better soon.”

 

Kunsel did just that. Cloud sat quietly, watching the scientists scurry about through the observation window like needlebirds building a nest. At least the glass wasn’t mirrored, so he wasn’t surprised when the lights flickered out, plunging the room into absolute darkness.

 

"What's going on?" He felt Kunsel start next to him, struggling to rise into a sitting position. Cloud grasped him by the arm and hauled him up.

 

"It looks like they've gone for now.  They've got some new results to go over."  He’d figured out something of the logic behind the experiments. Hojo appeared to be fine-tuning the amount of energy he needed to pump into the materia to make a stable jump, but apparently any number of variables, from the length of the jump, and now probably the number of people involved, could influence it, so occasionally he’d get a break whenever the scientist found anything unexpected he wanted to analyse. Normally when the lights went out, he could be guaranteed at least a few hours respite.

 

"Is it safe to talk?"

 

"Yeah.  I tested it out. There aren't any microphones on this side, just cameras.  Hojo doesn't care what his specimens have to say."  He couldn't keep the bitterness out of his words.

 

"Infrared?"

 

Cloud paused, and Kunsel added, "The cameras."

 

"Oh.  Yeah."  He didn't know for sure if these ones were, but based on experience, Hojo wouldn't turn off the lights otherwise.

 

"So much for that plan of escape," he muttered.  His voice sounded steadier now, but hadn't quite lost its breathiness yet.  The jump had really knocked him around. “And I guess there’s no chance of rescue from within ShinRa, if the head of the Science Department is running things. They always get the lion’s share of the budget, you know. Always wondered what they spent it on.”

 

Cloud made a small sound of agreement.

 

“Do you think the President knows that we’re here?”

 

“Probably. He gives Hojo whatever he wants.”

 

“Yeah, that’s what I heard, too.” Kunsel cleared his throat, and asked, "Anything to eat?  I must have been in here for about two days before you suddenly turned up."

 

"No."  Cloud's stomach grumbled at the reminder.  He'd woken up to find ration bars next to the water two or three times, but had no way of measuring how long ago that was.  In his perspective, it might have only been a couple of days, but due the jumps it had to be longer.  With trepidation, he murmured, "...How long have I been gone?"

 

"You don’t know?”

 

How could he? He’d tried to keep track, but spending so much time sedated, and then the jumps on top of that…

 

“Cloud, you've been missing for nearly five months."

 

He froze. 

 

Five months?  Already?

 

Cloud knew that with the experiments Hojo had been eating away far more time than what he could keep track of, but he'd been guessing something in the realm of a month, two on the outside. It felt like forever, but he’d been sure…

 

Five months.

 

His head spun, and he squeezed his eyes shut.  Gaia, it was happening again

 

"Four years?  Don't mess with me!"

 

"Cloud?  Hey, you with me, man?" Kunsel's voice took on a worried note.

 

He shook his head, chasing out a memory he knew to be one of Zack's.  “Sorry. It’s just-” The words caught in his throat. How much longer did he have? “Just… give me a minute.”

 

“Sure.” After an awkward pause, Kunsel ventured, “Are you sure you’re okay? You weren’t looking so great when you appeared out of nowhere.” He sounded as though he’d finally returned to normal strength, but it still alarmed him that the Second Class had handled a comparatively short and stable jump so poorly. 

 

“It was just the jump. I’m used to it. Takes a minute or so to shake it off,” he muttered. Too much to take in. Things were moving too fast, and the situation now… "How did you wind up in here?"  Kunsel wasn't supposed to be here.  Out of everybody he'd dealt with, he had the least to do with the horrors of his original timeline.

 

"It’s kind of a long story.”

 

Cloud shrugged a shoulder. Kunsel laughed. The walls seemed to absorb the sound, muting it, as though it were unwelcome. “You’re right. I guess we’re not exactly going anywhere.” He shifted, trying to get into a more comfortable position. “Zack and I have been looking for you ever since you disappeared.  The Commander and General, too. It's been tricky, trying to make progress between missions without upsetting anyone.  And we hardly knew where to begin.  All Zack could remember was that you said you originally came from Nibelheim.” He heard the Second scratch the back of his neck – as he always did when embarrassed. A bad habit he’d picked up from Zack, probably - or maybe vice versa. “Would have been here sooner, but it's hard to get missions over to the West Continent - they normally give them to SOLDIERs stationed at Junon.  But eventually I got lucky.  The Science Department wanted a SOLDIER escort for some highly classified research they were transporting to the Nibelheim reactor.”

 

In the darkness, he could barely see Kunsel’s silhouette slouch in place. “I’d planned on completing the mission then looking around the area. But as soon as I’d finished the escort to the Reactor… Guess I’m still a long way from First Class, if a Turk can take me out.”

 

The Turks. Seemed like they hadn’t changed much in this timeline. “Which one?”

 

“Tseng. At least I got taken out by the leader.” He chuckled mirthlessly. “Weirdest thing, though. Right after he got me, he said something strange. ‘We’re lucky it was you.’ But then, I guess he’s friends with Zack, and wouldn’t want to fight him. The whole mission must have been bait.” He grumbled something uncomplimentary about ShinRa personnel policies under his breath.

 

Bait? It would be just like Hojo to order a mission for the sole purpose of getting another SOLDIER to run his experiments on. But somehow, something bothered him about the timing. If he guessed right, Kunsel’s mission would have come up only a week or so after he’d given Hojo his scare.

 

Escorting highly classified research? To the Nibelheim reactor?


"Jenova," he breathed.


He finally knew where she was.





Next chapter 


 


Comments

( 42 comments — Leave a comment )
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(Anonymous)
Mar. 7th, 2010 06:36 am (UTC)
Wait what I don't even
Ahh, have been about a day or two without sleep, so fic is not making much sense in my head. I guess I'll just read it again a little later on. Ixtey here, waiting for lj to email me since I forgot my password. >___>
lunarfirefox
Mar. 7th, 2010 06:57 am (UTC)
VINCENT -totally called it-

lunarfirefox
Mar. 7th, 2010 07:01 am (UTC)
Also, JENOVAAAAAA -flails-
I bet Cloud will be even more desperate to escape now. And Kunsel could probably help. But they probably stripped him of his materia and weapon. Still, at least Cloud isn't alone now.
(no subject) - teekoness - Mar. 7th, 2010 07:09 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lunarfirefox - Mar. 7th, 2010 07:22 am (UTC) - Expand
teekoness
Mar. 7th, 2010 07:07 am (UTC)
You know sometimes I wish I could make myself NOT for updates on fic I like so I'd be able to read more chapters at once.

The reality is I have no self-discipline.

So current events... Ouch. Poor Kunsel. I suppose the time-travel experiments are preferable to becoming a Jenova slave (though knowing Hojo, I wouldn't round that out) and at least he has company.

I want to smack Tseng over the head multiple times. Still it is possible that he's got something going on in the background. Maybe he's aware that the others know Kunsel is looking for Cloud, and that if he goes missing they'll investigate? This allows him to follow orders while knowing Sephiroth and co. will ride to the rescue.

On the other hand, he is a Turk and it's to forget that however cool they are, they are more than capable of doing monstrous things without blinking. I've seen a lot of writers ignore that about them.

One way or another or a completely different way, I'm sure the result will be fabulous.

Franky Sinnatious, you're writing one of the best fics I've come across.
sinnatious
Mar. 7th, 2010 07:39 am (UTC)
Ha ha, I like to hoard chapters too, but the self-discipline part is indeed difficult. ^_^;

Yes, I do fear we all want the Turks to be good guys - it's pretty common! Although in fairness, it's a more recent phenomenon in fanfic brought on by their roles in Crisis Core and Advent Children.

You are much too generous with your words, thank you. Hopefully the remaining chapters will not disappoint.
(no subject) - teekoness - Mar. 7th, 2010 07:49 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - teekoness - Mar. 7th, 2010 07:51 am (UTC) - Expand
kaorismash
Mar. 7th, 2010 08:00 am (UTC)
jklkajlkkl;asjgkljag idk what to saaaaaaaaay

Or or, i do, but there is too muuuuch.

I like that this chapter is, not exactly tying up all the loose ends, but THINGS ARE COMING TOGETHER. Connections are being made, and you are still torturing us with Hojo but lines are converging! *_*

I am unsurprised with Kunsel, though I was with Vincent, or rather, the way you chose to reintroduce him into the story. :D BUT AW MAN VINCENT. I :(( at his lack of trust for Cloud, but then I *__* at his concern over Sephiroth. THEY WILL HAVE A WONDERFUL RELATIONSHIP PLEASE? :3

Andand EVERYTHING. The cure and Jenova and holy shit if Jenova is there--! I do hope Hojo does not do ridiculous things concerning Jenova cells and remains focused on the timejumping thing. Because five months of that is more than enough without Jenova in the picture.

:(( Cloud spending that much time under Hojo. ;____;

VINCENT TO THE RESCUUUUUUUUUE. And Zack. Man I love all the Zack bits. HOW YOU KEEP BRINGING UP OLDZACK MAN MAKES ME ;_; ALL THE TIME. AND AND SQUAT!ZACK. AND HOW HE IS JUST LAUGHING AT SEPHIROTH AJKHG ♥♥♥ *__;

Tseng. :| Turks. Cannot ever seem to figure out whose side they're on. :| :| :|
sinnatious
Mar. 7th, 2010 08:09 am (UTC)
Things are coming together! A little more slowly than normal, but yay, this is my favourite part of writing longfic. :3

Ha ha, you totally did see the Kunsel thing coming, I am not surprised, you know how I think. ♥ THIS IS WHY I CANNOT EVEN GIVE YOU HINTS WHEN YOU ASK.

Oh? How were you thinking Vincent would return? I had another idea originally, so I'm curious as to your speculation.

Zack is so fun to write, seriously, all of his scenes are lightning-quick compared to everyone else. Zack writes himself. *___* (Also his character is so bittersweet tragic, lasdfjlasj, I have a weak spot for the happy tragic cases).

That's the Turks for you, forever inhabiting the grey zone. :| Sometimes even after it's over you're not sure whose side they were on.
(no subject) - kaorismash - Mar. 7th, 2010 08:27 am (UTC) - Expand
Random Lurker: - skedaddle_san - Mar. 7th, 2010 08:46 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sinnatious - Mar. 7th, 2010 11:25 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaorismash - Mar. 7th, 2010 11:49 am (UTC) - Expand
basilton
Mar. 7th, 2010 11:32 am (UTC)
I have worked out Hojo's evil plan! Using the materia to jump forward in time so he doesn't have to wait while fics update! Devious! XD
sinnatious
Mar. 7th, 2010 11:37 am (UTC)
XD Never has Trowa twirling a moustache icon been so incredibly appropriate.
(Anonymous)
Mar. 7th, 2010 01:35 pm (UTC)
Because lj is being a bitch, hi, it's daemoninwhite here
As per usual, I love this chapter. Has anyone ever told you how amazing you are? Seriously, if it was legal, I'd propose to you just for this fic. But it's not. So I won't.

Now that I've creeped you out enough…

This is amazing. Like someone above said, can't remember their username, sorry, you get a real sense of threads/plotlines converging in this chapter. Everything is coming to ahead. Everything is coming together. The dominoes have all been lined up, you've flicked them while casually passing by on your way to your solid gold yacht somewhere on the southern seas (this is where I like to think that all excellent fic writers live), and now we're watching them fall. We know what the dominoes are, but we're still not sure what pattern they make up – and do you know how rare that is? 99.9999999993478% of all fanfic is absolute crap, most of my stuff included, but you … your's is different. I actually do not know if you will allow Seph to become a mummy's boy and do the same thing that he does every night, try to take over the world! :is shot: Or if you will have Cloud rescued (I've got this really cracky, rock-fall-everyone-dies idea that Cloud just suddenly appears in front of Seph, or something.) or if Cloud will die, which is actually looking like a possibility.

I also would like to applaud your lack of a specific pairing. Now, I have my slash goggles welded to my face, and I see hints of gay in every single goddamed scene that two characters are in together (such is my curse in this life…) but even that doesn’t help me – and that is very rare in FFVII fic, at least, the stuff that I've read. Most of them are quite obviously Cloud with either one of the girls or one of the guys, it's hard to find well-written gen fic. Once again, you've hit the ball out of the park. Seriously. You need to write a book on how to write short stories that are more addictive then heroine. Not that I've ever been addicted to heroine, but I'm addicted to this. I even know that you generally update around 5-6ish, and you have no idea how spastic I was going when we were still in the car coming home from a beach and it hit 5 o'clock. I was like "GO FASTER NOA PLZ." Only louder and with random arm flailings as I attempted to express my need to get to the computer through interpretative dance.

As usual, your fic reward, even though I think I may have lost Zack a little in it. Oh, and remember when it was short and crackish? Yeah, so do I.
(Anonymous)
Mar. 7th, 2010 01:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Because lj is being a bitch, hi, it's daemoninwhite here
It's The Drabbled Drinking Game! Take a sip every time I randomly (accidentally) change tenses!

Despite his earlier words, Zack slows almost immediately, allowing Cloud to fall in step. He wants to protect Cloud – though he knows that the blond can take care of himself in most situations, and some inside force insists that Cloud is more than strong enough to take care of himself, and any others that happen to be nearby. But Cloud is still so very fragile. Zack could easily hurt him without even thinking about it; he has to be so very careful when he touches the other, even if it's just a casual, glancing touch. And Zack only has the enhancements of a Second Class, he can imagine what Sephiroth could do if he simply stopped caring.

And Zack is very, very worried that his friend has stopped caring.

And if he has…

Zack will be unable to stop him. The SOLIDER process is good, but Sephiroth is very, very good. He will not stand a chance – all he will be able to do is slow him down.

He hopes that it will be for long enough to get Cloud out of the way.

And hey, worse comes to worse, he always had this funky spectre thingy, didn't he? Made a pretty good bludgeoning tool in a pinch, what with the Buster being an absolute bitch to draw, but still to bulky to run around with in his hand. He'd just whack Seph on his shiny sliver head, haul him back to Nibleheim and force-feed him potions and esunas until he started making sense. Of course, he muses, twirling the stick absently (as most people insisted he did most things), the crescent moon shape the adorned the thing might make it a bit dangerous to hit people with, the corners did look – ow, yup, they are sharp. He sucks on the offended finger, ignoring the tingly (like having a mouthful of metallic tasting sherbet) feeling of liquid mako.

"Uh, Zack? Would you be too offended if I followed two metres behind you?"

Cloud is, as always, soft, but Zack still hears the faint note of teasing in his tone, a note that Zack is proud to say that he has put there through countless demonstrations of the practical application of such friendly teasing between friends who were friendly towards each other.



Odin take it all, he really needed to stop watching badly dubbed Wutai kid shows when he's trying to get to sleep.

"I would be very offended Corporal Strife!" He teases back, turning around in an artful swirl that shows off his skirt to the fullest (hey, he had sisters, he knows how important it is to show off your clothes, even if they were granted by some strange, blackey-outey staff thingy). He plants his hands on his hips, and tries his best to look down his nose at Cloud without bursting into laughing and completely falling out of character. "After all, when ground troops are deployed with a SOLIDER, they are supposed to provide ample support, are they not?"

Cloud pauses. It appears that he's finally managed to stump the kid. Either that or he's trying to work through frustrated rage and bemusement to find a decent come back. "Zack I … I'm not even going to dignify that with a response." Yup, the second option.

Despite his words (and really, how dignified can Cloud look when he's wearing a skirt short enough to prove Cloud's stance on the timeless, endless boxers vs. briefs debate) Cloud lengthens his stride until they are walking side to side, though he stays half a step behind. Zack is about to reply when a faint thump noise echoes from somewhere to the right.

"Did you hear that, Cloud?"

If Cloud had been asked, he would have said that yes, Zack did look adorable when he tilted his head to the side to try and hear a noise again, and yes, he was tempted to throw a ball to see if he would chase it. But Cloud was not asked for there was no one to ask him, as Zack was certainly not about to ask him and the General was currently MIA.

Poor Cloud. This was only the beginning of his indignity.
Re: Because lj is being a bitch, hi, it's daemoninwhite here - (Anonymous) - Mar. 7th, 2010 01:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
mickeytheblue
Mar. 7th, 2010 01:49 pm (UTC)
Everything is falling into place!!! Vincent and Jenova finally reappeared! I can feel the climax coming in!!!

I'm both excited and devastated: Excited for the next part of the story, but devastated that it's all gonna end in a few chapters TT___TT

I feel sooooo bad for Kunsel. Enough with the torture already! >___<

This chapter is still awesome tho, just like every chapter in this fic XD 'nuff said

sinnatious
Mar. 8th, 2010 01:46 pm (UTC)
I'll be sad to leave the fic behind when it's done too I think. Always get like this with longfic. You get comfy, even though the climax is kind of the point.

Oh my. But Kunsel only just got there! So very low is your tolerance. XD Thanks~
ashoakandthorn
Mar. 7th, 2010 05:34 pm (UTC)
Ack! That's pretty much my reaction to this. That, and a lot of flailing around.

Like how everything's starting to click into place.
kiriana
Mar. 7th, 2010 07:13 pm (UTC)
Sweeeeeet~~~!

I'm so glad Vincent has reappeared. XD And he's going to come meet everyone in person! Can't wait.
aori_tsuki
Mar. 7th, 2010 11:42 pm (UTC)
Oooh, you're still alive and the story is getting more interesting. Will post a better review next chapter, promise!
sinnatious
Mar. 8th, 2010 01:46 pm (UTC)
XD Still alive? Who on earth spread the rumour that I wasn't? And to think I made so many LJ posts this week...
swyrel
Mar. 8th, 2010 12:38 am (UTC)
Hmm..I'm guessing since a lot of my questions were answered in this chapter, is why I didn't get a reply to my comment last chapter. =P

First, where to start. The whole jumping thing is still going straight over my head. At first, I was like 'Holy Hell, Kunsel is in the cage and no one but Cloud knows it. Now how did that happen?'. Took me a while to figure out that he was a prisoner too. lol

I'm glad Vincent is moving in. Maybe he can talk to the Turks and get them on Sephiroth's side. I mean, nothing like telling the Turks that Hojo shot and experimented on one of their own to get them all pissed and ready to kill.

Genesis, if you thought Vincent had the cure, then why can't you figure out that it's actually Aeris who is making it, especially when she sent Zack a message. T_T

All the more reason for Cloud to escape now, since he knows where Jenova is again.
sinnatious
Mar. 8th, 2010 01:50 pm (UTC)
Ahaha, indeed, you have a very good habit of asking questions which I have answered in the next chapter, leaves me a bit confused as to how I should reply to your comments! Clearly I am one chapter behind your natural thought pace. XD

Oh, the jumping is still not very clear? I will have to look into that. Given the pov, it's meant to be a little disorienting, but if you're having trouble figuring things out perhaps I took it too far.

Nothing like having a goal! :D
(no subject) - swyrel - Mar. 9th, 2010 01:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Anonymous)
Mar. 8th, 2010 01:05 am (UTC)
I so called it too.
Vincent. ;) I mean, yeah. Vincent is more of a lead then they realize. He'll know where Hojo is and enough about Cloud and the circumstances to put two and two together.

Man, I can see Cloud totally freaking now when Sephiroth comes. I mean utterly. "You shouldn't be here!" Yeah...

You know...when they find out where the "cure" was the whole time, Genesis is probably going to try and kill Zack...

Also, I really can't see any of the Generals sticking around and working for Shinra after this. I mean, if they're just going to experiment on all of them and only have them around to do so, they'd either have to be masochists or stupid to stick around. They're not stupid.... Can we say "hostel takeover?" That would be fun. *evil grin here*
(Anonymous)
Mar. 8th, 2010 01:08 am (UTC)
Re: I so called it too.
Oh, by the way this is Obi-quiet again. You have "Lizeth" to thank for the recommendation for me. lizeth.deviantart.com
Re: I so called it too. - sinnatious - Mar. 8th, 2010 01:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
laleira_granite
Mar. 8th, 2010 08:24 am (UTC)
Haha I'm totally too stoked by this chapter to even begin to care about proper punctuation isn't it scary?

My english teachers would be scared.

ANYWAY. The Vincent bit actually did catch me by surprise. I had forgotten that he was running around. Ehehe... So it was very fun. And Kunsel! Noooo~! The words are echoing in my head... a mere second-class can't hope for protection from Hojo. Never. Waaaah.

So I'm looking forward to the next installment. It makes the weeks seem to pass so quickly!
sinnatious
Mar. 8th, 2010 01:55 pm (UTC)
XD You'd be the only one! Seemed like everybody and their chocobo was asking about Vincent the last couple of chapters... what, are you all psychic or something? :P

Thanks! Certainly making my weeks pass by too quickly! (furiously writes/edits)

Edited at 2010-03-08 01:56 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - laleira_granite - Mar. 9th, 2010 03:21 am (UTC) - Expand
demon_vampirate
Mar. 8th, 2010 06:22 pm (UTC)
I feel so very... late.
Vincent! Yay! (Unsurprised, somehow.)
Yay info! Why, Cloud, why are/were you so cryptic?!

Kunsel! Not yay! Poor thiiiiiiing... I want to huggle him now. If original-timeline!Cloud couldn't handle Hojo, I'm not so sure Kunsel can... ;_;

Uhm... 'kay, loved the entire scene in the gym... it made me miss my dojo, to which I hope to be able to go back sooooon... [/rant]
However, it also kinda made me cock my head a little. You can't really do katas and think about other stuff easily if you intend to do them well... [/is a form Nazi]
Maybe that's why a couple of my students-turned-classmates ended up starting to call me Sephiroth...

Also OH-HOHH-HOHHH ZAAACK-SLASH-ZACK'S-MEMORIIIES ;___;
I almost forgot about that entirely... [/snifflecry]

Sooooo yeah. This is no longer terrifying, but scary in a horror-flick kind of way.

And I can't wait till next week.
sinnatious
Mar. 9th, 2010 10:51 am (UTC)
Re: I feel so very... late.
XD You are unusually tardy! Normally you're so quick off the mark. <3

Oh, can't go to the dojo for some reason? :( Granted, none of us mere humans could reduce katas to a task you can do well without thinking about it, but we're talking about Sephiroth. ^_^ Kind of like how people point out that nobody could use Masamune, but guys, that's what makes Sephiroth so awesome. XD

Phew, scariness downgraded. Also, I'm so amused by the immediate sympathy for Kunsel. <3
Re: I feel so very... late. - demon_vampirate - Mar. 9th, 2010 11:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
caterfree10
Jan. 10th, 2012 04:40 pm (UTC)
Kunseeeeeel, I don't like that he's trapped, but we need plot and aslkfjhdfkajsf ;; Still, at least Cloud isn't stuck alone with Hojo and his crones. *nod nod*

SO MUCH LOVE FOR VINCENT. <3 Never expected him to pop back in as he did, but it worked well, imho. I also like how Zack and Seph have their physical activities to do while thinking, it suits them both well.
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