Rating: PG Category: game-verse. (VERY! AU) Pairing(s): Zack/Sephiroth Warnings: Fluff. Summary: How do porcupines make love? Carefully! Notes: Prequel to 'Rabid Tiger'.
It was dawn, and it was a crystal clear day, alive with beauty and promise. The birds sang, the flowers bloomed, and the sky spilled forth with gold and pink and blue, as if a great celebration were occurring in the heavens, and all mortal eyes turned upwards to watch the fireworks of the gods. Zack breathed deep of the clean air, and felt his heart leap with the sheer joy of being alive. He filled his lungs and began to sing.
"The hills are alive, with the sound of muuuuusic…"
He cast a sidelong glance at his companion, sitting cross-legged on the ground not far away, clad in black and silver, a great katana across his knees. Zack waited for some reaction to his morning antics, and received none. He hopped off the small outcrop of rock and walked over to him.
"It's a beautiful sunrise and our first day off in months. Can't you at least pretend to enjoy it?"
Nothing. Nada. Not a flicker. Undaunted, Zack went to make breakfast.
He didn't know why he liked Sephiroth, but dammit, he did. He liked his silence, his noble demeanour, (some would say cold and arrogant demeanour, but what did they know) his grace, his power… and somehow, he sensed that this man liked him, too. He didn't know how he knew, but… it was there. A silent acceptance, even enjoyment, reflected in the tolerance Sephiroth showed him. He amused Sephiroth, and Sephiroth was not an easy man to amuse.
Besides, Zack found it very interesting that they both had R&R at the same time, and that with all the places Sephiroth could have gone to relax, he chose this hill, where Zack had planned to spend his few days of leave camping and rabbit hunting. It was not he who had encroached into Sephiroth's peace; it was Sephiroth who had chosen to be near Zack.
A most interesting development.
Zack left Sephiroth to meditate, and made breakfast. The sun rose higher, and the world warmed, releasing the scent of chamomile and other herbs. A soft wind began to blow, and white blossoms drifted down from the cherry trees, falling like a fragrant snow. They fell to the ground with noiseless grace, and caught in Sephiroth's hair. Zack dumped the herb and mushroom omelettes he had made onto plates, then set them aside, and returned to his silent companion.
"Breakfast is ready."
"It's your favourite. Puppy brains on toast."
"Well, it's getting cold."
Zack turned to head back to where the omelettes were waiting, and jumped as he was suddenly smacked on the backside with the flat of a blade. He spun around, and stared, jaw hanging. Sephiroth did not seem to have moved so much as a hair; not even the blossoms on his coat appeared to have been disturbed. Zack grinned.
"So. The great Sephiroth does play."
No reaction. Zack's grin broadened.
"What if I tickled you?"
The sword point came up and very lightly met with the end of his nose.
"Right. No tickling. Fine. You sit there and impress the universe with your beauty. I'm going to eat."
Zack went up the small knoll to where breakfast awaited, and sat down to eat. After a few minutes, he saw a tall figure walking towards him. Sephiroth came to the fire and seated himself on the ground, picking up his plate. He ate slowly, with meticulous manners, and Zack watched.
"Any plans for the day? I have plans. Want to know what I am going to do with my day off?"
Sephiroth ate. To anyone observing the pair, it seemed that Zack was being completely and utterly ignored, but Zack knew that was not the case. He could read Sephiroth in a way others could not. He knew and understood his moods, his ways, and while it was true he was very much an enigma, to Zack he was less complicated than he seemed. Perhaps that was why Sephiroth, in his strange, silent way, responded to him.
"I'm going to kiss you. That's what I'm going to do."
Zack was delighted to notice Sephiroth paused, ever so briefly. He smiled.
"I'm going to stand on a rock so I can look you in the eye, take you into my arms, and I am going to kiss you."
Sephiroth finished eating, and set aside his plate. "And why would you want to do that?"
"Why would I not?"
Sephiroth raised an eyebrow, which meant he didn't have an answer. Sephiroth did not seem offended by the idea; merely puzzled by it. Zack reached out to brush a few blossoms from the black coat, but lowered his hand when he sensed a near-imperceptible stiffening. Sephiroth permitted him to get away with much, but Zack knew when he was pushing his luck. And, so far, touching was definitely not permitted.
"I happen to like you a great deal. And I'm willing to bet that you like me, too."
"I like you."
Zack shook his head, uncertain he had heard the three words. "What?" He broke into a huge grin. "Really? That's so cool! What do you like about me? My looks? My charm? My lively personality?"
"You wanna know what I like about you?"
"I think you are beautiful, noble, graceful, and really a very gentle person at heart. And you like the way I cook. Let's get married. We'll have to hire a maid, of course, because I don't clean, and no one who looks like you should have to. We'll have kids too. I bet you'd be pretty pregnant."
Long. Cold. Silence. If Sephiroth were a horse, his ears would be flat against his skull.
"Shall we have a boy first or a girl? Supposedly girls are easier to raise. We'll have a daughter, then once we get the hang of raising her, we can have a son."
Zack grinned. A lesser man would have cut his losses and run, but Zack recognized that faint, underlying hint of amusement. He edged closer, wanting to touch the white hair, but resisting. If there was going to be any touching, it would have to on Sephiroth's terms
"I just think it's a crime that someone like you doesn't have a lover to appreciate, worship and adore you, to hold you, to tell you how wonderful you are, and how the gods created sunsets just to have something of their own almost as lovely as you."
Sephiroth laughed. It wasn't a merry laugh, either. There was always something sarcastic and nasty about his laugh. He shook his head, and Zack felt his hackles go up.
"It's true. I love you and I'll take very strong issue with anyone who says you are not beautiful."
Sephiroth looked at him, surprise in his unnatural, luminous eyes. Zack suddenly felt flustered and foolish.
"It… wasn't supposed to come out that way. I wanted to tell you, only… not quite like that. I just got angry at the idea that anyone can't see how beautiful you are, even if it is you."
Zack chanced a glance up, and saw that Sephiroth was smiling at him. It was faint, but it was there. Zack blushed harder as Sephiroth laughed quietly, but this time, the edge was gone from the sound.
"So I have a knight, do I?"
"And what is so wrong about that?"
"I do not think many people feel I need protecting."
Zack looked at Sephiroth, searching the weird green eyes. "I think you do. I think… I think that for all your power and strength and… sheer beauty… I think there is something very fragile about you." Zack's face was flaming red; he felt like a four year old vowing to look after a grown veteran. "And it's my duty as… someone who cares about you… to protect you."
"How utterly charming."
For once in his life, Zack was completely off-balance, and he was not pleased that he had done it to himself.
"Yeah, well, I really wanted to tell you but… not quite like that. It was supposed to be you and me by the campfire with a bottle of sake, sharing a platter of sushi, the moonlight turning your hair to mercury. Not me blurting it out at breakfast and embarrassing myself." He sighed, then added; "Making a fool of myself."
He glanced at Sephiroth. The warrior was not looking at him, but Zack sensed he was not upset or offended. If anything he was bemused by the idea. Cautiously, Zack raised a hand, and reached for one fine cheekbone. Sephiroth stiffened slightly, but Zack did not sense the usual wall that normally came up when he tried to touch him. He lightly trailed his fingers over the white flesh, wondering if anyone else had ever had the privilege of touching him. Zack kept the caress brief, not wishing to push his luck, but as he began to withdraw the hand, he noticed Sephiroth followed, not wanting to break contact quite yet. Zack felt several emotions churn within him; joy, that the touch was accepted, fear that he would go too far, and a burning desire to try to get a little bit closer.
"I'm going to put my arm around you. Don't hurt me."
Sephiroth watched him as he moved closer. There was still that sense of defensiveness, a feeling of a barrier not quite lowered. But he let Zack put his arm around him, though he did not seem to understand the point of the whole thing. Zack reached up with his free hand to trace his fingers along the line of Sephiroth's jaw.
"So has anyone ever kissed you?" asked Zack.
"Do you have any idea how filthy the human mouth is?"
Zack grinned. "And people say romance is dead," he teased, and was delighted when he caught a glimpse of a smile, a real smile, not that cold little evil smirk Sephiroth had when a battle was going well. He was breath-taking.
"I can't believe you have never been kissed. I can't believe you don't have a lover every bit as beautiful as you, who tends to your every whim." Zack edged closer, and whispered into his ear; "I can't believe no one is ravishing you thoroughly and repeatedly every night."
"So I can lie in a puddle of biological material all night?" Sephiroth asked dryly.
"Wet spots are a draw-back," agreed Zack. "But sheets can be changed, flesh can be washed, and most people think making love is worth the bother."
"How did we manage to get from you begging for a kiss to speaking of love-making?"
"Well that's how I reached the rank I did, by testing my limits."
Zack's chest felt tight. He was nervous, and though he could usually read Sephiroth well, he knew he was treading very dangerous ground. Sephiroth was not certain how he felt about all of this, and that made him unpredictable. Being a virgin hardly changed Sephiroth's basic nature; he was a cold and dangerous individual. He was not about to start blushing coyly and fluttering his eyelashes just because his only friend was making advances. He would do what he always did; weigh the situation and make a choice as to how to react. There was a very real chance this could all go sideways dreadfully quickly, and if it did then Zack would have to find a new career, and possibly hands as well.
"I would really like to kiss you," he said quietly. "Please."
Sephiroth watched Zack, studying him, making up his mind. Then, to Zack's complete surprise, he felt the barrier lower a little more. He thought about that old joke about how porcupines made love. Except making love to Sephiroth would be more like making love to a dragon, and there was no real way of telling if he would relax and enjoy it, or suddenly spew napalm. Still, unless he tried, he had no way of knowing.
Zack edged closer, sensing that Sephiroth was willing to let him take the upper hand, at least for now. He stroked his hand over his face, then leaned forward. He was almost surprised when their lips met. His breath caught, and he slid his arms around him, holding him closely as they kissed. Sephiroth was not certain what to do, but did not fight the situation; he relaxed, and let Zack kiss him. Until, that is, Zack tried to put his tongue in his mouth. Sephiroth jerked his head back, his expression wary. Zack laughed.
"It's called French kissing. I happen to think it's quite nice. And it's my tongue; it has been in my mouth my whole life. It's not some random tongue I found on the sidewalk. It won't hurt you."
Sephiroth did not look as though he especially believed his friend. Zack meanwhile was rather surprised to find out just how much of a virgin Sephiroth was. Had no one ever tried to make love with him before? Zack's adult years were a blur of nights spent with pretty girls and pretty boys, and the occasional night with one of each. He couldn't believe anyone who looked like Sephiroth had gone unkissed his whole life. But, then again, there was that whole silent-ice-cold-freaky-green-death-eyes thing to get past. Still, that was hardly a reason for someone this pretty to go without a kiss.
Zack edged close once more, and he was rewarded when Sephiroth, after a moment's pause, turned his head slightly towards him. Their lips met, and this time he did not pull away when Zack deepened the kiss. He relaxed into it, and once more let Zack have his way. Zack trailed his hand over Sephiroth's throat as their tongues met and explored one another, fingers creeping towards the exposed bit of inviting flesh on his chest. He sensed Sephiroth's hackles were rising, however, and he instead let the hand come to rest on Sephiroth's arm, and smiled when he felt the beautiful man in his arms relax. The kiss finally ended, and Zack sighed with contentment, eyes closed, and almost cried out with joy when he felt Sephiroth lower his head to his shoulder.
He had won his kiss, and the right to hold him. They had five more days of leave left to breach the remaining barriers. For now, they could just sit together, alone and at peace on the hill.
Due to popular request - here it is. The first of many, many, MANY chapters in the massive epic that is the Rabid Tiger story arc. All stories in the Rabid Tiger Series will be labelled as such and presented in their proper order, including the little side-tales. I will attempt to post a chapter a day.
these are simply my
opinions and are not
meant to imply that
you should agree or
disagree nor should
these prove to be
offensive in any
way; if I do come
then you have my
Sorry, I can't
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before anyone asks,
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FIRSTLY: thank you
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`anmari has been spreading her infectious positivity throughout our community for over 6 years. Throughout this time Ana has been at the core of all things devious, passionately developing an eclectic gallery, helping organise devmeets, participating in chat events and also recently completed dedicating her time as a Community Volunteer. We are absolutely delighted to bestow the Deviousness Award for May 2013 to `anmari, congratulations! Read More