The Woes of ‘Bos.
Author: The Magic Rat
Pairings: Angeal/Genesis, Zack/Sephiroth.
Warnings: Pet food plants.
Word Count: 4451
Website – Ex Libris: www.winter-wood.net/ex-libris/…
Live Journal: delaese.livejournal.com/profil…
If you are new to the Rabid Tiger story arc, you can find the entire thing either on my website here:
Or the Rabid Tiger Gallery on Deviant Art here:
Just start at ‘Porcupine Love’ and go from there.
Disclaimer: All Final Fantasy Seven characters, places and situations are the property of Square Soft/Square Enix and are used without permission and without intent of plagiarism or profit. Metalocalypse, the members of Dethklok, and lyrics to Dethklok songs belong to Brendon Small, Cartoon Network and Turner Music. Copyright for all stories and original characters such as Badger the Roadie is with the author, and may not be published, copied, distributed or archived without the author's prior written consent.
Summary: Edgington needs a friend, and Angeal decides to play matchmaker.
Author’s notes: Don’t ask me what is up with all the chocobos lately, I have no idea.
In FFII, the black chocobos can still fly a bit. Most notably – they can still fly carrying a rider. That to me sounds like a pretty damned big bird…
Angeal sat in the large easy chair in the living room of Zack and Sephiroth’s house, and watched Edgington.
He had a great deal of respect for chocobos, especially the birds that had been trained for battle. They were smart, intuitive, and the tales of soldiers saved by their birds were numerous. Granted they were still birds and did have a tendency to behave like… well… animals, but they bonded so closely to the people around them that some even seemed to grasp concepts many people would have thought beyond a mere bird. Angeal still shook his head in amazement when he recalled the company mascot, a small white dwarf chocobo named Snowflake, thinking to grab a file folder containing vital information during a shelling. He ran like a tiny white messenger straight for the nearest tank, and popped inside just before the hatch closed, saving himself and the documents. He was later given a medal for his quick thinking, with full military honours, standing on a podium before his fellow birds and warriors. He had a silver medal about his throat, and was relentlessly beaking the general who gave it to him.
Snowflake may have been a little unclear on military decorum, but he had a very strict “paws off” policy with anyone outside of his unit. It was fortunate for the general that Snowflake was only ten feet tall on the inside – on the outside he was twenty inches.
Edgington herself had a small collection of medals, and while she may not fully grasp what they represented, she knew two things; they were hers
, and she had earned
them. Anybody who touched the gleaming medallions of gold and silver was looking for a beaking, and it never failed to make Angeal grin at the way Edgington would puff up her crest and make happy noises when someone pointed them out to her as they hung in her stall.
“Edgie! Whose medals are those?”
Her medals of course moved into the house when she did, and she was very clear on where they were to sit, which for some inexplicable reason was on the small table near the fireplace with all the baby photos. She was a brave bird, and a good, smart bird. And now she was nearly twenty; an age when she should rightfully be matriarch of her own little family. But Edgington had never been bred, so the few eggs she had lain in her life were unfertile. Angeal hadn’t really thought much about the fact that Edgington had never had a chick of her own, but as he watched the huge green bird sit on a soccer ball as she tried to keep Akira’s new puppy from straying too far, he could not help but wonder if it was affecting her mind. Finally he drew out his cell phone and called Zack.
“Hello?” said a sleepy voice.
“Zack? I’m gonna breed Edgy.”
“Okay but not in front of the kids.”
Angeal rubbed his eyes with his thumb and forefinger. “Zack I wish you would get better so I could smack you.”
“Why are you going to breed her? And to whom? She’s the only war-quality chocobo in the area, and I don’t like the idea of her hooking up with some sub-standard civilian.”
“Well I talked to a couple friends the other day. They said Gunner is still alive and well. Does your bird have your permission to go on a date with Gunner?”
“GUNNER?!” said Zack, astonishment in his voice. “Gunner is alive? Gunner the bird who had part of his face blown off by mortar - that
Angeal laughed. “The only chocobo with a glass eye and a mako-infused metal beak on the planet.”
“What’s his dick made out of – rubber tubing? Bloody hell that bird will never
die. I bet he and Edgy would make some pretty amazing babies.”
“So I have your permission to breed her so she will stop sitting on the shih-tzu?”
“Sure,” said Zack. “At least introduce them. Maybe they will like each other. Is she going a bit odd?”
“She’s trying to hatch a soccer ball while attempting to barf greens down the dog’s throat. I’d say her biological clock is going off, yes.”
“Well better call Gunner’s owner and arrange a date then. Speaking of hatching eggs – how is Genesis?”
“Triplets,” said Angeal grimly. “Three little girls.”
“I sense you are not pleased,” said Zack.
“Not displeasure so much as mixed emotion,” said Angeal. “The first time Genesis got pregnant, it was because he wanted to. This time it was because he was forced to by hormones overwhelming his body. Can you imagine if he and Sephiroth had been home alone together? Do you have any idea what sort of hell we would have come home to?”
“I try not to,” said Zack. “I mean… I remember what he was like after being exposed to a hormone-soaked truck cab. But… yeah I don’t like to think about Genesis trying to say ‘no’ and Baby not listening.”
“Hojo intended Sephiroth to father this trio of babies,” said Angeal. “That much is clear. It didn’t happen, and now I can’t help but be afraid, wondering what’s growing inside of him…”
Zack drew a steadying breath, and Angeal suddenly remembered Zack was not supposed to be getting upset. He decided to downplay his fears. “I’m over-reacting, aren’t it?”
“Angeal with three little girls on the way, I’d be tied up in knots too. But’s that’s all they are – three little girls. And apart from having to endure sleepovers, makeovers, and random haircuts while you’re sleeping, they’re just kids.”
“Yeah,” said Angeal. “You’re right. You’re pretty smart for a third class.”
“Blow me. Now I have to go – Professor Ryu is going to tie me up and molest me, possibly with random tentacles.”
“I most certainly am not!” said an indignant voice in the background.
“He says he’s saving the tentacles for a special occasion,” said Zack.
Ryu spluttered with outrage as Angeal grinned. “Talk to you later, Zack. Get better soon.”
Angeal hung up, then began making phone calls, trying to track down Gunner as Edgington dozed before the fire, the puppy beside her on the pet-bed, and a soccer ball stuffed under her breast.
“That can’t be comfortable,” muttered Angeal.
The search for Gunner went on for five days. Angeal was highly upset that this bird, who had served in two wars, seemed to have vanished as if he was nothing more than a wandering mongrel. It was not until Angeal managed to track down the master of the boarding stable, where Gunner was supposed to be living out his retirement years, and demanded in very loud four letter words to know where Gunner was
that he got an answer, and it was not one Angeal cared for.
“Well he’s gone off to the dog-meat plant.”
The man at the other end of the phone cringed. “Look he’s old, and I can’t make room in the budget for a bird…”
“Last week, but…?”
“I WILL BE COMING FOR YOU, YOU SON OF A BITCH!”
Angeal slammed down the phone and stormed out of the house, failing to notice Miki chasing after him as he went to his enormous SUV and got in. Miki clambered into the passenger seat just as he spun mud out of the driveway and tore down the hill, heading for the Huntley Farms Pet Food Plant. He had been driving for almost thirty minutes before he noticed Miki.
“How did you get there?”
She rolled her eyes. “I’m magic.”
“Why did you come? I’m not going anyplace nice.”
“You were worried about Edgington’s friend, and I wanted to meet him.” She looked through the back window at the chocobo trailer hitched to the enormous vehicle. “Is he going to come live with us?”
“I hope so, sweetie. Are you buckled up? I’m gonna take a short cut…”
Miki tightened her seat belt as Angeal suddenly went off road and began cutting across open fields. For many years after, farmers would be cursing the jerk who had driven across their crops and startled their livestock, but Angeal was on a mission.
He pulled up in front of the plant in record time, but it had still been a long drive – over two hours, short cuts included. As he set the hand brake on his large vehicle, he looked to Miki. The child was staring with enormous eyes at the huge, grim, building with the smoke stacks releasing grey vapour.
“Stay here, honey,” he said quietly as he unhooked his seatbelt.
“Uncle Angeal?” she asked in a nervous little voice. “What is this place?”
“It’s no place little girls need to see. You stay.”
Angeal got out of the truck and hurried towards the plant, seeing a man ahead of him with a clipboard in his hand emerge from a side door. The man noticed Angeal as well, and paused, waiting for him to approach.
“Can I help you?”
“No idea. I’m Angeal Hewely.”
“Robert Huntley. Let me guess, someone sold your bird.”
“Something like that. Big retired war bird, one eye, metal beak…?”
Robert rolled his eyes. “Oh yeah, him. Come on.”
“Unless someone ran him over with a tank.”
Angeal breathed a sigh of relief, and followed Robert to an outdoor holding pen.
Miki stepped out of the enormous vehicle as thirty minutes later she saw Angeal and another man leading five chocobos, one of who just had to be Gunner. He was without a doubt the biggest chocobo Miki had ever seen; a veritable giant. Centuries ago, he would have carried armoured knights across the battlefield. In the modern army, his enormous size, strength, and speed would have been used to help set large artillery in a combat zone, hence his name, and he would be prized for his obedience and steady nerves. He stood twelve feet at the top of his crest; a colossus capable of enormous damage if he felt so compelled, and his staring fake eye and half-steel beak did nothing to make him look like anything other than what he was – a warrior.
Three of the other four chocobos were fairly average looking; dusty yellow females with a few scars each. The fifth bird was a small albino male, who lurked well behind Gunner, not wishing to top off the worst week of his life with a fight with the alpha male. Angeal began checking beaks as Miki watched what he was doing.
“Are you looking for boogers?” she asked.
He glanced at her. “You’re a weird little kid.”
“Mommy says that’s Daddy’s fault. What are you doing?”
“Well, each bird has its name, rank, assigned usage, and any medals it may have won engraved in very small letters onto the beak, because it’s not nice to rip out the butt feathers and brand them. Let’s see who we have here…” he said quietly as he closely examined the birds. “Okay. We have Gunner… obviously, Striker, Flack, Sniper, and… Poof? What kind of a name for a war bird is Poof? Explain yourself, soldier!”
The female gave herself a shake, and managed to turn herself into a dusty yellow cotton ball with two feet at the bottom and a head perched on top.
“Well that answers that,” said Angeal, as Poof did something to make her own head disappear into her feathers. He then looked at the little albino male. “Sniper. That’s an odd name for a white bird anyone with half a brain could spot from miles away.”
“These birds are not going to all fit in the trailer,” said Miki. “Especially not with Gunner in there. We only came to get one chocobo.”
“Do you want me to hold a couple and you can come back?” offered Robert.
“Not really,” said Angeal. “It was a two hour drive, and that’s busting my butt to get here. No offence but there are only so many times I would like to come here.”
“Well you ride the big guy and the little girl can drive the truck,” said Robert.
“YEAH!” said Miki.
“No,” said Angeal. “Okay, first things first – let’s see who fits.”
Gunner went in first, having to settle on his belly to have enough room to fit. Poof went in next of her own accord, indicating she knew Gunner and had likely gone on missions with him in the past. Next Flack slipped in, and finally in scooted Striker. The only way the four birds could have been packed any tighter was if… well Angeal didn’t like to think about that.
“Come on,” said Angeal, “it was a two hour drive here, and with a full load of birds it’s going to be double that. We have no choice. Someone will have to wait behind and we’ll pick you up tomorrow. You can’t possibly stay like that for four solid hours.”
The overwhelming attitude of the four birds seemed to be “Oh yes we can.”
“Three birds, maybe,” said Angeal. “Not four. Striker, deploy!”
“I gave you an order.”
Striker extended her head to grab the door of the trailer and pulled it shut. Angeal sighed.
“Great. I can’t wait to get stopped by a cop and explain why I have…. OH COME ON, NO! NOT ON THE LEATHER!”
Sniper had discovered the opened SUV door and, determined not to be left behind, wiggled inside. Somehow, the seven foot tall and four hundred pound bird managed to squirm his way over the seat and into the cargo area, and there he sat, looking around contentedly. Angeal sighed, resigned, and locked the trailer door before addressing Robert.
“Who sold you these birds? They’re war birds. Veterans. They should be at a military stable for the rest of their lives. I’m assuming you know that or else these would have been in with the rest of the birds to be... well…”
“I do know that,” said Robert. “No one sold them to me. I woke up one morning and they were in one of the paddocks, and not even the right one. There are laws about what birds can be butchered for pet food and what ones can’t, and the industry is tightly regulated. I can only butcher old, sick, crippled birds. Animals that would have to be put down anyway. But people drop off healthy animals and beat it out of here like I’m too stupid to notice. Those go into the western paddock.”
“What for?” asked Miki.
“Chocobo eggs. Crazy city people like to eat them.”
“Uh huh,” said Robert. “But it’s okay to eat chicken eggs?”
Miki furrowed her brow and looked thoughtful, as if she hadn’t considered that before.
“Just let me know if anymore military birds turn up accidentally in your yard,” said Angeal.
“Will do,” said Robert.
“Did they arrive with any medals? Uniforms?”
“No,” said Robert. “They were just shoved into the paddock with the old birds and left, so someone still has their medals.”
Angeal nodded. “Okay. Thanks. Come on, Miki, time to go home.”
Angeal drove up Zack’s Hill to park his enormous vehicle before the house, and climbed out of the SUV to walk around to the trailer, opening the door. Striker hopped out first, stretching and shaking, glad to be out of the cramped transport. Flack and Poof came out next, and finally Gunner emerged like a feathered tank. Poof blew herself up into a gigantic feathered ball and turned her backside to catch the icy October breeze, putting her head between her feet.
“Right,” said Angeal, “Let me guess - there’s one in every crowd, and apparently you’re the one.”
Miki pulled open the back door to the vehicle, and watched Sniper squeeze himself out of the cargo space, his feathers at all angles. The five birds settled themselves on the lawn for a group preen. Except for Poof, that is. She seemed to prefer letting the wind whistle through her feathers and nethers, and possibly her ears as well. Then Edgington appeared on the porch, looking thoroughly affronted, her crest vertical, the expression on her face reading “WHAT’S ALL THIS, THEN?!”
Gunner forgot about preening his black plumes and began approaching Edgington, dipping his head in a ‘come hither’ manner. Then as he came to stand before her, he began bobbing up and down, fluttering his wings, doing his best to entice her with his charms.
Edgington stared at him as if he was a bloody idiot, head screwed to the side and moving up and down in time with his bobs. Eventually she stepped off the porch, checking out the newcomers. Angeal gently moved Miki aside, watching the chocobos get themselves sorted. Poof chose not to participate in the sorting of the rank and file; she already knew her own place in the pack and it was generally at the bottom. No point putting on airs for that. Strike, Flack and Edgington squared off, but Flack quickly backed down due to Edgington’s sheer size. Strike lunged once, but one good hit from Edgington convinced the younger female she didn’t want to take it any further. Right. So they all knew who the alpha female was. Now to sort the alpha male…
Edgington looked at the one-eyed dork with the metal beak dancing up and down. A person didn’t have to be a chocobo expert to tell she wasn’t impressed. Then she noticed Sniper, who, upon noticing he was being scrutinized, pulled his neck in as far as he could in submission, looking like an enormous ball of while fluff with a beak and two pink eyes. Edgington checked him over carefully, and after a few minutes, Sniper straightened up, reasonably certain he wasn’t going to be beaked. Then, in a ‘what-the-hell, what have I got to lose?’ sort of way, he began cautiously bobbing. Edgington began bobbing in return, and the only bird more surprised by Sniper’s success than Sniper was Gunner, who was positively thunderstruck. Gunner watched, eyes enormous, as Edgington ran off with Sniper in pursuit. The birds could be heard warking and wooking all the way down the hill. Angeal patted the gigantic bird.
“Don’t worry Gunner. Any way you cut it, this is better than being dog food.”
Poof reached out to grab one of Gunner’s tail feather and yanked it. Gunner looked utterly crestfallen, no longer even having status enough to be above the herd oddball.
“I still say this is better than being dog food,” said Angeal.
Gunner gave him a sidelong look that read “Really?”
Angeal led the huge bird to a shelter where Edgington had been kept before her stable was built, stacking up hay to form walls while Miki settled Flack, Poof and Striker in Edgington’s current stable. By the time is was getting dark, all of the birds were bedded down, and Edgington and Sniper were returning home, both looking very pleased with themselves. Edgington strolled into the house, and after a moment’s hesitation, Sniper followed. Angeal just shook his head.
“I hope Sephiroth doesn’t come home tonight. That’s all he needs is to see five extra birds and one of them in his living room.” He gave Gunner some feed and water, then patted him, knowing he now had a new problem – mainly what to do with Gunner if Edgington decided she didn’t need a spare male hanging around.
“Just think,” said Angeal. “I rescued you from an entire pasture full of female chocobos who wanted to make eggs with you for crazy city people to eat in fancy restaurants.”
“Sorry, big fellah. Next time I rescue you, I’ll make sure you’re in trouble first.”
“Oh WOW! He’s so COOL!”
Angeal glanced over his shoulder, seeing Loz standing behind him. “How did you get there?”
Loz rolled his eyes. “I’m magic.”
Terrific. He could see this was going to be a running gag. “I didn’t know you liked chocobos.”
“Aw normally I don’t, but he’s great! Look at him! I mean… he’s big and he’s all scarred and… well he’s cool! What’s his name?”
Loz approached Gunner, having to look up at something for one of the few times in his life. “Wow Gunner, you’re huge! What are you gonna do with him?”
“I don’t know. Depends on if the other chocobos will let him stay.”
“Can I have him?”
Angeal glanced at the very large remnant. “Loz, do you know anything about chocobos?”
“No,” he admitted, pouting.
Angeal considered the situation. Well there was certainly nothing wrong with teaching Loz a little responsibility. Wasn’t it a better idea to encourage the boy than forever push him away for being too big? And Gunner wasn’t exactly fragile. The two could possibly become good friends.
“Tell you what, Loz, if you can learn to care for him properly, and build him a proper shed, and are willing to give him all the care he needs, then you can have him.”
“Really. But first….”
“We have to see if you can ride him.”
“Aw I can’t ride him, I’m too big.”
Angeal smiled. “Well you might be able to ride this one, but why would you want a chocobo you couldn’t ride?”
“I dunno. I just thought he was cool. Do you think he could carry me?”
“Well we can find out in the morning. He’s had a long day and he’s tired. We’ll see if he can carry your weight comfortably, then teach you to ride, how to feed him, clean him, and look after him. You learn to do all that, and you can have him. Think you can handle all that?”
Loz was patting the gigantic black bird. “Yeah! I mean… do you think I can? Nobody ever asked me to do anything but blow stuff up before.”
“Sure you can,” said Angeal. “You can fight, can’t you?”
“I’m not gonna hit my birdie!”
“No of course you are not gonna hit the birdie,” said Angeal. “But learning to fight well takes lots of training and discipline. And you do fight well. If you can learn to fight that well then you can learn to look after a chocobo.”
“I wanna do what the guys at that fair did!”
Angeal had to think for a long moment to remember what Loz was talking about. In the summer he and Zack had taken the kids, remnants included, to a renaissance fair. And of course they had jousting. Angeal’s eyebrow went up as a mental image came to him. Loz and Gunner would be a pretty bloody formidable pair to meet on the battle field.
“Okay, well, first things first, Loz. Let’s see if he can carry you.”
They led Gunner over to a stack of hay bales, then gave him some greens to keep him occupied as Loz carefully tried his hand at getting on a chocobo. Gunner had done everything from drag artillery onto the field to run messages; big awkward things on his back were nothing new. Slowly, carefully, Loz got onto the big bird, Angeal watching Gunner for signs of distress. Remnants were not light, as he knew all too well. But Gunner was picking at his greens calmly, clearly undisturbed by Loz’s weight. Then, when the greens were done and he was looking for more, Angeal walked to the far end of the yard and shook a handful of long leafy vegetables.
“Come on Gunner.”
Gunner trotted over to Angeal, head up, looking perfectly fine with Loz’s nearly six hundred pounds bouncing on his back. Angeal grinned, patting the bird as it ate from his hand.
“Well he can carry you. Next step – teaching you to ride.”
“Now?” asked Loz brightly.
“No it’s too late and it’s getting dark. We’ll start in the morning by taking some leather and fastenings and teaching you how to make and repair a bridle.”
“Sure! Can I sleep in the shelter with him?”
“If you really want to, but…”
“I’m gonna run home and get some blankets!”
Loz hopped off Gunner’s back and ran down the path to his own small house at the foot of the hill. Angeal led Gunner back to the shelter and settled him to his makeshift stall of hay. If Loz didn’t mind risking getting shat on in a catastrophic manner in the middle of the night by a twelve foot bird, then Angeal didn’t either. He gave the big bird a pat, rubbing the beak fondly.
Gunner made a sleepy noise, and Angeal left the shelter just in time to see something that looked like a tremendous dandelion in the yard, feathers fluffed up, and head between her feet. Angeal just stared at the bird.
“There is something very not right with you, isn’t there?”
Angeal looked over to Gunner once more, picturing in his mind Loz in field-plate astride an immense bird in full barding. It was a pretty bloody daunting image. Too bad Loz currently had neither riding skills nor armour. But Angeal did, and tomorrow he and Gunner were going to go down to the boarding stable and find out what happened to Gunner’s medals, as well as the medals belonging to the other birds.
“I wonder if Cid will lend me his glaive?” mused Angeal softly.