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COI - random snippet: Sephiroth to the rescue (spoilers!) - Convolutions of an Evil Mind
madamhydra
madamhydra
COI - random snippet: Sephiroth to the rescue (spoilers!)
Here a VERY ROUGH snippet of a far future part of COI. I sincerely apologize if it doesn't make much sense (chunks of it take place in Sephiroth's or Strife's mental mindscapes), but I wrote it because the damn plotbunny (probably inspired by playing too much Okami) wouldn't leave me alone! ::sob::

WARNING 1 -- this snippet contains major spoilers for future parts of COI

WARNING 2 -- adult language and themes

-------------------------

Snippet Setup: In the process of stealing control of Cloud's body, Strife has done something diabolical to Zack. Strife has even openly taunted Sephiroth about his intentions to make Zack suffer horribly. Needless to say, Sephiroth is unhappy about this. Sephiroth finally tracks Strife down, intent on rescuing Zack no matter what it takes. However, for once, Sephiroth is the underdog in this fight with Strife.... Or is he?

-------------------------

As he felt cold, razor-sharp steel sliding through his guts, Sephiroth had to admit that Zack was quite right -- getting impaled by Masamune did indeed hurt like hell. He ignored the faint disgruntled mutter in the back of his mind from the sword. It liked Zack, as evidenced by the fact that Zack's stab wound had healed without the slightest scar. However, Masamune definitely did not like Strife and was making its displeasure known to its master.

"So, how do you like being on the sharp end of things for once?" said Strife, sadistic pleasure all too evident in his voice as he clutched Masamune's hilt with both hands.

Sephiroth chose to say nothing, allowing his long hair to veil his face as he fought to override his body's instinctive reaction to such a severe assault and remain perfectly still.

His gamble had paid off. The temptation to impale Sephiroth through the guts, just as Sephiroth had impaled Cloud six years ago inside the Nibel Reactor, was simply too strong for Strife to resist.

"Got nothing to say? C'mon, don't tell me you're still trying to pull that stoic mighty warrior bullshit on me! Hasn't anyone told you that screaming is fucking therapeutic?" Strife grinned, and viciously twisted Masamune in the wound.

Sephiroth could feel his body shudder and tremble, not so much from the physical shock and pain of a razor sharp blade ripping open one's innards, as it was from the almost overwhelming urge to move, to strike back and eliminate the perceived threat. It was no easy feat to control one's natural instinct for survival, especially those magnified by Jenova cells.

But he managed it... barely.

He could now feel warm liquid welling up in his throat, tasted hot blood in his mouth, metallic, salty, with the familiar faintly acid aftertaste of mako. But at the same time, it was strangely enticing, that favor of his own blood. His face still hidden from Strife's view, he smiled to himself. The movement of his lips allowed a little blood to escape, oozing from his corners of his mouth to form clearly visible splatters on the ground.

Sephiroth knew that Strife was staring gleefully at those bright red stains, just as he was admiring the way that Sephiroth's blood was running along Masamune's silvery blade.

But Sephiroth knew that a few drops of blood wouldn't be enough for Strife. Strife wanted to see him suffer, to moan or scream or rage in pain. And so Sephiroth remained still and silent.

-------------------------

However, even as Sephiroth strained to hold on and remain physically motionless, his mind was busy tearing down the mental barriers created by Aeris to hold the madness inside him at bay. The demolition was easy, too easy, the walls unexpectedly fragile. And as the last mental barrier crumbled, he braced himself for the storm of chaos and madness....

But when the maelstrom hit, instead smothering and choking his mind, instead of threatening to drown him and drag him into darkness, it did the opposite -- it peeled away the mental and emotional fetters that bound him for so long, that had crippled both mind and abilities. Like a raptor unhooded, he now saw/sensed the world around him with an unholy clarity and finally fully recognized it for what it truly was.

....his personal hunting ground and plaything.

-------------------------

Back in the physical world, Sephiroth sensed that Strife growing impatient at his victim's lack of reaction at being skewered. And as he expected, Strife responded to that frustration with even more violence. With an angry snarl, Strife took two short swift steps into the growing pool of Sephiroth's spilt blood and shoved Masamune even further into his body, right up to its hilt.

With a gloating smirk plastered across his face, Strife grabbed a handful of Sephiroth's hair with his left hand and yanked upward so he could get a good look at his victim's surely agonized expression.

Not fighting Strife's hair-pulling, Sephiroth lifted his head... and smiled.

It was a bloody smile, one utterly devoid of the eagerly anticipated pain, anger, or even fear. It was a cold, deadly confident smile, the one Zack loved calling Sephiroth's 'gotcha' grin, or alternatively, his 'you're so fucking dead' or 'your ass is mine' grin.

He saw Strife's eyes widen, suspicion and perhaps a little fear flaring in those glowing blue eyes. Strife begin to step back, releasing his grip on Sephiroth's hair and on Masamune....

.... or rather, trying to release his grip on Masamune. Futilely, of course.

Sephiroth watched with amusement as Strife blinked in confusion, then stared down at his hand in dawning horror as he watched tendrils of Sephiroth's blood winding their way down Masamune's blade and around his right hand, binding it tightly to the sword's hilt.

His smile widened as he saw the fear grow in Strife's eyes, enjoying the exquisite sight of Strife realizing that he had walked right into Sephiroth's trap, one that had just slammed irrevocably shut.

Almost as if Strife's realization was a trigger, the blood tendrils went into a frenzy, twining around Strife with blinding speed, pulling and binding his arms and legs tight against his body. Strife naturally tried to free himself, but the overwhelming physical superiority he had so recently displayed over Sephiroth was useless against the tendrils of Sephiroth's blood.

With a casual thought, Sephiroth dematerialized Masamune. As his gut wound closed and vanished, he circled once around the helplessly bound Strife, surveying his captive.

"You were right when you said that you had successfully cut your old strings, little puppet. Only with Jenova's help, of course. But yes, those strings are irrevocably gone."

Sephiroth licked the blood on his lips, savoring the taste, then effortlessly pulled Strife into his arms.

"But don't worry. I will give you a present of a new set of strings. A much more complete and infinitely more permanent set, as befits the next generation of superSOLDIER." He cocked his head slightly at the mingled terror and rage distorting Strife's face.

And with Sephiroth's words, the blood tendrils binding Strife began to burrow into his flesh. Sephiroth watched as Strife spasmed in his arms, writhing frantically within the confines of the network of Sephiroth's blood that restrained him.

It certainly wasn't pain that made Strife struggle so desperately. Sephiroth idly reached out and lightly ran a finger between Strife's legs, then smiled as his puppet arched and its eyes rolled back in their sockets....

However, while this was entertaining, he had more important things to do. Sephiroth dug his fingers into Strife's blond hair, jerking his head back. He then kissed Strife, deep and hard, forcing the blood in his own mouth down Strife's throat....

-------------------------

Sephiroth surveyed his surroundings, his lips curling into a contemptuous smile. Why was he not the least bit surprised that Strife's mindscape would resemble Nibelheim in flames? However, at the moment, the only thing he was interested in was finding out where Strife had imprisoned Zack. A quick scan of the mindscape pointed him in the direction of the Nibel Reactor.

Sephiroth glanced behind him at Strife, who stood dazed, trembling, and barely coherent. It took less than a thought to manifest a leashed collar around Strife's throat. Sephiroth gave the leash a sharp tug and quickly set off toward the Reactor, Strife stumbling behind him.

This being Strife's mindscape, it only took a brief walk until they were at the Reactor. Sephiroth paused to get a more accurate fix on Zack's location, then began the descent into the bowels of the Reactor, a still incoherent Strife in tow.

They ended up in the chamber labelled 'Jenova'. But instead of the tank containing Jenova's body, there was a large ominously pulsing black orb, its surface shot through with dark red streaks. Sephiroth knew too well that the black orb represented the repository of Cloud's worst and most horrific memories. He should know. He was the one who created that orb and the one instrumental in creating many of those ugly memories contained within it.

And Strife had trapped Zack somewhere inside it.

Without hesitation, he stepped foward and reached into that pulsing black mass with both arms. Strangely, for something that represented unspeakable pain and torment, Sephiroth felt nothing from the orb. It was like dipping his hands into lukewarm water. For a moment, he had an odd sense of deja vu. Only instead of ripping the casing from the tank containing Jenova's body, he was retrieving something much more important and worthwhile.

Within the black orb, something... soft... brushed his hands. Sephiroth grabbed it firmly, and pulled. The orb resisted briefly, as if unwilling to give up its victim, then yielded.

And into Sephiroth's arms dropped the terribly emaciated, heavily bleeding body of a dark gray wolf.

What an appropriate mental representation. It was Zack, of course.

Sephiroth gently cradled the severely injured wolf-Zack as he lay shivering in his arms. His lips thinned as he examined Zack, knowing that the gaping, oozing wounds were simply the visual representation of extreme psychic trauma and torture -- trauma and torture inflicted, directly or indirectly, by Strife.

Curiously, mingled among Zack's bloody dark fur were badly tattered golden chocobo feathers. Sephiroth ran his finger along one, then tried to brush it off, only to discover that the feathers weren't merely clinging to wolf-Zack's coat -- the feathers were actually part of his coat and therefore an integral part of Zack himself. Sephiroth then realized that just as the wolf represented Zack within this mindscape, those feathers were probably the last fragile remnants of what had once been a boy called Cloud.

Wolf-Zack stirred, uttered a heartwrenching weak yelp, and started to struggle feebly in Sephiroth's grasp.

"Shhh, shhhh," Sephiroth murmured softly, lightly stroking wolf-Zack's between the ears. "You're safe now, Zack. I won't let anyone hurt you anymore."

Wolf-Zack twisted its head and stared at him with glazed, exhausted violet eyes. Sephiroth remained perfectly still, giving Zack as much time as he needed. Finally, after a few tentative sniffs, wolf-Zack reached out a paw and lightly patted Sephiroth's cheek.

But Zack's gaze suddenly sharpened, as if sensing something worrisome. His brow crinkling in a wolf-frown, Zack whined in profound concern.

Sephiroth smiled ruefully. He should've known that Zack would sense the change in him. Some might call it a descent into madness or insanity, but he believed the more accurate term was 'awakening'. Whatever the term, Zack had immediately recognized the difference and was clearly anxious.

"Sometimes you can be too perceptive for your own good, Zack."

While still clearly exhausted and weak, wolf-Zack managed to scowl and uttered a fretful yip.

"Stop worrying about me. You need to rest and heal."

Before Zack could wear himself out arguing, Sephiroth placed his hand on wolf-Zack's head and very gently pushed Zack into unconsciousness.

With Zack deeply asleep and secure in his arms, Sephiroth finally turned and looked at Strife again.

And he again smiled -- a cold, merciless, predator-smile.



Edit: I just added a few lines to this snippet, in response to soloyuymaxwell's question about Cloud. ^_-

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Current Mood: exhausted exhausted

44 hisses or Hiss in my ear....
Comments
chofi From: chofi Date: March 31st, 2007 05:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Bash in my brain,
And make me scream with pain,
Then kick me once again,
And say we'll never part.

I know too well,
I'm underneath your spell,
So, darling, if you smell,
Something buring, it's my heart.

Take your cigarette from its holder,
And burn your initials in my shoulder.
Fracture my spine,
And swear that you're mine,
As we dance to the Masochism Tango!


Yeah, that was pretty much going on a loop during my reading of this. Also, for some reason, ways to panel this thing for a graphic treatment. (Damn, I wish I could draw...)
madamhydra From: madamhydra Date: March 31st, 2007 01:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Was you that mentioned that song to me in an earlier comment? Seriously, FF7 contains so much delicious fodder for sado-masochistic imaginings. That's probably why I like it so much.

Also, for some reason, ways to panel this thing for a graphic treatment. (Damn, I wish I could draw...)

Same here. I refrain from attempting fanart for the sake of humanity. -_-
artimusdin From: artimusdin Date: March 31st, 2007 06:00 am (UTC) (Link)
*squeaks* Oh dear. Strife vs insane!Sephiroth. Poor Strife never stood a chance.
madamhydra From: madamhydra Date: March 31st, 2007 01:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Poor Strife, indeed. Jenova was just using him to goad Sephiroth. But really, much of his current dilemma is Strife's own fault. I don't think that if Stife had merely gone on a destructive 'blow shit up' rampage, Sephiroth wouldn't have been driven to tore down those mental barriers and let himself go. Even just outright killing Zack probably wouldn't have done it.

But slapping Sephiroth in the face with his plans to torture Zack for as long as Strife can possible manage? Bad idea.

And as of insane!Sephiroth, well, it's true that he's not exactly sane at the moment, but he's not insane in the way often seen in fanfics. Hint -- he doesn't call Jenova 'mother'. ^_-
redcrest From: redcrest Date: March 31st, 2007 06:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmmmmm, interesting, very interesting... Hydra-sama, I believe I'm getting old. The SephxZack-ness, the sexy Seph-being-predatorily-cool thing, the blood bondage, the promise of yet more tortures to (a well-deserving) Strife, the yet newer twist of Sephiroth's mentality... it's all such good material for even more adventures in COI-land, but... I dunno, somehow, at this point, after all this time, I guess what I was hoping for was some resolution?

Now, I know that considering we have JUST gotten Sephy to join our team, and Jenova has just popped her resurrected head out of the ground, and the mystery of Dr. Savois's motives and all that are only now getting started, I should consider COI *far* from over. But maybe, at least in the realm of Sephiroth's mental state, I had hoped for a bit of a calm... I mean, we *just* got introduced to Sane Sephiroth so I'd find it pretty entertaining to just try and get to know him over the next few chapters through our heroes (and Seph being Seph, aka more closed than a clamshell, I'm sure that's going to be tough-going enough). And I've got to admit that I was really looking forward to some fluffy moments of Seph being, well... "not-evil" (remember Seph brushing his teeth? Or doing something simularly trivial and everyday? Am I sick in the head for wanting to see that? ^^; ).

I realize this snippet is probably from somewhere far in the future of the story, but I think you have so much going on plot-wise that you don't need Seph going out of his head again (no, scratch that-- I know he's actually becoming *more* aware of himself and his thoughts with this mental transformation, but I sense more Sephiroth-rampage brewing on the horizon and after all his rampaging throughout FF7, it feels like we've already been there, done that). Of course, Sephiroth's character needs to develop, but I would really enjoy seeing the tiny bits of good (or at least, not-supervillainously-evil) in him come out for us and our more susceptible heroes to marvel at. ^^ I know he's got his pride and isn't going to be all sappy-happy with Avalanche (cuz I'm sure they wouldn't allow it either), but maybe... at least with some of the less embittered ones, a bit of begrudging respect bordering on like might build up?

^^;;; Am I being too fluffy with that? Maybe I *am* getting old... Because, even though no story is good when it's nothing but sunshine and sap, I really am just hoping to see my beloved Zack and Seph find a little bit of happiness... dame ka na, watashi? ^^;

LoL, well anyway, those are my random and incoherent thoughts. The piece was still extremely fun to read, don't get me wrong! In fact, I'm going to go through and read a few more of the many lovely presents you've given us this past month (sorry I've been so flaky and MIA lately~~ started a new job @___@;; ). Whether it's angst or gore or sap or bondage, if it's COI, I'm always happy to read it! ^^ <3
madamhydra From: madamhydra Date: March 31st, 2007 02:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
it's all such good material for even more adventures in COI-land, but... I dunno, somehow, at this point, after all this time, I guess what I was hoping for was some resolution?

Actually, although the precise form is still somewhat nebulous (especially with the replotting I've been doing), but I fully intend there to be an at least happy ending to COI. So ultimately, there should be a good resolution to the current morass. ::crossing heads::

Now, I know that considering we have JUST gotten Sephy to join our team, and Jenova has just popped her resurrected head out of the ground, and the mystery of Dr. Savois's motives and all that are only now getting started, I should consider COI *far* from over. But maybe, at least in the realm of Sephiroth's mental state, I had hoped for a bit of a calm... I mean, we *just* got introduced to Sane Sephiroth so I'd find it pretty entertaining to just try and get to know him over the next few chapters through our heroes (and Seph being Seph, aka more closed than a clamshell, I'm sure that's going to be tough-going enough). And I've got to admit that I was really looking forward to some fluffy moments of Seph being, well... "not-evil" (remember Seph brushing his teeth? Or doing something simularly trivial and everyday? Am I sick in the head for wanting to see that? ^^; ).

::patpat:: Not at all! There IS going to be a good chunk of intermediate chapters dedicated to allowing the others to become acquainted with sane!Sephiroth as a (relatively) normal person who, yes, brushes his teeth, puts his pants on one leg at a time, etc. Now that the stress of having to be Shinra's perfect warrior is off, Sephiroth can relax a bit and seem just a little more like a normal human. This will be unconsciously aided and abetted by Zack!Cloud, who will do all that he can to get the others to see Sephiroth as being a real human being, including changing Seph's wardrobe, etc.

Especially with Cloud's increasing tendency to slip into Zack-mode in Sephiroth's presence, you'll probably get to see nice mundane details as breakfast rituals -- Sephiroth likes berry muffins but not poppyseed muffins, thank you, and likes just a touch of sugar in his coffee, although he refuses to admit it, etc. Picture Cloud absently picking through a basket of hot muffins, pulling out a berry one, and tossing it over his shoulder at Sephiroth, who just as absently catches it and begins to eat it, all without taking his eyes off a report. ^_-

Much of this intermediate section will also be involved with the whole Rufus situation, in which we will get to see Sephiroth, zack!Cloud, working with other First Class SOLDIERs. Picture all of them on souped up motorcycles tearing out of Midgar at insane speeds on their way to get to Rufus before Hojo does. ::evil grin::

(continued below)
forgottenlover From: forgottenlover Date: March 31st, 2007 07:11 am (UTC) (Link)
::goes back and reads the part before:: You know, I'm suddenly wondering if the tag of Strife for a character just comes with levels of ingrained bitterness or something.

::coughs:: Anyway, that Strifey there is completely batshit. It's lovely!
madamhydra From: madamhydra Date: March 31st, 2007 12:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, Cloud's curious last name was one of the main inspirations for COI. At least for me, the word 'strife' implies so much negativity (more than other less loaded words like 'fight' or 'battle' or 'war') which I really didn't see in game-Cloud's character. Then a diabolical plotbunny whacked me over the head with the idea of an alter-ego deserving of the name 'strife', and the rest is history. O_o

And as for bitterness, a common definition of 'strife' is: vigorous or bitter conflict, discord, or antagonism. ^_-

soloyuymaxwell From: soloyuymaxwell Date: March 31st, 2007 02:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

First a girl, then a wolf. What will Zack turn into next? Could it be a black and purple spotted hippopotamus? Wait... They're a herbivorous mammal... Right, wolf it is, then. XD

Even when he's insane, he's just so good to our Zackie-poo... Can't say the same for Strife, though. Question - What about Cloud? *Pokes around the mental space* Where'd Strife put him...?

In response to an earlier review, I'm pretty good at drawing... Well, good enough to go to school, or so my family pesters me about it... Perhaps I could sketch a bit on this... *Shrugs*

Ugh speaking of pester, my sister is doing so right now... Can she not understand that I'm not in a Balthier mood...? T~T *Pets her all-time favorite FF authoress and offers her Wolf-Zack cookies* FF12 is waaaay on the back burner...
madamhydra From: madamhydra Date: March 31st, 2007 02:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
First a girl, then a wolf. What will Zack turn into next? Could it be a black and purple spotted hippopotamus? Wait... They're a herbivorous mammal... Right, wolf it is, then. XD

Sorry, I just can't picture Zack as any sort of herbivore. At least in my mental image, he's a predator through and through, even if he's an occasionally ditzy and cuddly one.

Even when he's insane, he's just so good to our Zackie-poo... Can't say the same for Strife, though. Question - What about Cloud? *Pokes around the mental space* Where'd Strife put him...?

Cloud? Now that you mention it, I suspect that if Sephiroth goes rumaging around in that black icky orb, he might pull out a very small, near skeletal chocobo chick. Or who knows, all that may be left of the original Cloud might be a few stray chocobo feathers merged into wolf-Zack's coat.

Oooo... ::scurries off to make a minor edit to snippet::

In response to an earlier review, I'm pretty good at drawing... Well, good enough to go to school, or so my family pesters me about it... Perhaps I could sketch a bit on this... *Shrugs*

Whee! ::offers bribe-fic::

Ugh speaking of pester, my sister is doing so right now... Can she not understand that I'm not in a Balthier mood...? T~T *Pets her all-time favorite FF authoress and offers her Wolf-Zack cookies* FF12 is waaaay on the back burner...

The COI-plotbunnies have eaten my brain. -_- ::nibbles tiredly on cookies::
ffmasamune77 From: ffmasamune77 Date: March 31st, 2007 02:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh yes Strife can be such a bastard cant he? Locking away Zack in the confines of his mind...but its Zack, of course he'll get out some way or another. ( stares at Sephiroths grins )...oh yeah Strife is perfectly dead.
Loved Zacks Grin names by the way haha.

I always knew Seph would get stabbed by his own sword somehow, but Im not surprised it did much haha. Its his sword afterall, not Strifes. No touchie! Now the image of Sephiroths blood curling around Strife like a bloody snake was just so freakin awesome, I curse the obsession of bondage.

Now for the pics for this story...>_>...<_<. I could try the pic with Seph holding wolf-Zack but it might take a while haha. Im not that great of a drawer but I have this little ability to mimic drawing styles. ( goes off to get her drawing stuff )
madamhydra From: madamhydra Date: March 31st, 2007 04:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh yes Strife can be such a bastard cant he? Locking away Zack in the confines of his mind...but its Zack, of course he'll get out some way or another. ( stares at Sephiroths grins )...oh yeah Strife is perfectly dead.

Dead? No, something infinitely worse, if Sephiroth has anything to say about it. Seph has Plans(tm) for Strife.

Loved Zacks Grin names by the way haha.

And you know that Sephiroth would so glare at him for coming up with such ridiculous nicknames. ^_^

I always knew Seph would get stabbed by his own sword somehow, but Im not surprised it did much haha. Its his sword afterall, not Strifes. No touchie! Now the image of Sephiroths blood curling around Strife like a bloody snake was just so freakin awesome, I curse the obsession of bondage.

There's a NC-17 bondage sidestory lurking in that scene. ::grabs black leather-clad plotbunny and throws it into a closet::

Now for the pics for this story...>_>...
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<i>Oh yes Strife can be such a bastard cant he? Locking away Zack in the confines of his mind...but its Zack, of course he'll get out some way or another. ( stares at Sephiroths grins )...oh yeah Strife is perfectly dead. </i>

Dead? No, something infinitely worse, if Sephiroth has anything to say about it. Seph has Plans(tm) for Strife.

<i>Loved Zacks Grin names by the way haha.</i>

And you know that Sephiroth would so glare at him for coming up with such ridiculous nicknames. ^_^

<i>I always knew Seph would get stabbed by his own sword somehow, but Im not surprised it did much haha. Its his sword afterall, not Strifes. No touchie! Now the image of Sephiroths blood curling around Strife like a bloody snake was just so freakin awesome, I curse the obsession of bondage. </i>

There's a NC-17 bondage sidestory lurking in that scene. ::grabs black leather-clad plotbunny and throws it into a closet::

<i>Now for the pics for this story...>_>...<_<. I could try the pic with Seph holding wolf-Zack but it might take a while haha. Im not that great of a drawer but I have this little ability to mimic drawing styles. ( goes off to get her drawing stuff ) </i>

::tackle-constrict....errr, glomp::
__perplexity__ From: __perplexity__ Date: March 31st, 2007 03:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm sorry, is it time for a Perplexity-style long comment? I don't know yet, let's see ^-^

I was all up for quite simply and fangirlishly commenting with "YUM" or something of its ilk, but I think I had just as much interest reading your comments to darkcyradis up above. I DID kinda agree with the initial issues of "so we have a kinda less sane Sephiroth on scene again?" deal, but yet when I read it, knowing it's in the future, it was just satisfying. Kind of like something he's been saving, almost like "Oh I've been waiting to do this for a long time".

I LOVE Strife in this, full-stop, but I think he comes to his TRUE character-potential when he's with Seph. The semi-face-off between them at the start of this snippet was awesome, just because even in writing you could feel such stubborness from him, and a DIFFERENT kind - perhaps determination instead - from Sephiroth. And then the snap ^-^

The moment he looked up and grinned (and i love Zack XD), the 'blood-bondage' and the Masamune dematerialising, I couldn' help but think to myself, "comeuppance, bitch".

The way Sephy obviously didn't deny anything to Zack, ""Sometimes you can be too perceptive for your own good, Zack."", was fantastic. And even though that wolf-Zack is kinda ... well yes, a wolf, it was a snippet of that kind of relationship I tried to explain before *gestures idly*. *VERY content fangirl*

And now I'm in despair. I was idly sat with Final Mix having one of the worst end-of-weeks ever, but now I'm all COI'd up! Thank you so~~~ much *offers bribe of ... something inventive*
madamhydra From: madamhydra Date: March 31st, 2007 05:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was all up for quite simply and fangirlishly commenting with "YUM" or something of its ilk, but I think I had just as much interest reading your comments to darkcyradis up above. I DID kinda agree with the initial issues of "so we have a kinda less sane Sephiroth on scene again?" deal, but yet when I read it, knowing it's in the future, it was just satisfying.

Well, I can understand your issues about "gee, yet another insane!Sephiroth AGAIN!?". Yes, it's a classic FF7 fanfic cliche, just as reviving Sephiroth is. -_- I hope that the COI implementation will be sufficiently different. Part of the problem is that there's so much of the COI plot floating around in my head (as seen in my comments to darkcyradis above) that you guys don't know about.

At its core, COI deals with the relationship between Sephiroth and Zack, and the things they're willing to do for the sake of that relationship. I think that COI FINALLY really clicked for me (only after all these years! ::eyeroll::) when I figured out a plausible alternative explanation for Sephiroth's actions against Zack at Nibelheim. So at least in COI, Sephiroth's feelings never turned to hatred, scorn, or contempt -- they merely got twisted to insane possessiveness. That brutal fight in the Nibel Reactor was more on the lines of "I'm really doing this for your own good, you stubborn idiot". However distorted, Sephiroth's feelings for Zack never really changed.

Zack!Cloud hunted down and killed insane!Sephiroth during the Meteor incident because that's what Sephiroth asked Zack to do, years ago. In COI, when Strife appears, it's time for Sephiroth to return the favor -- to save Zack or failing that, to kill him. However, luckily (or is that unluckily?) for Sephiroth, he has more options for dealing with Strife.

But now they have a problem. Sephiroth's 'awakening' isn't something you can simply turn off with a switch or lock away behind a convenient door. Before he did it, Sephiroth accepted the great likelihood that there no turning back once he embraced this enlightened insanity, and he's fully prepared for the consequences.

I LOVE Strife in this, full-stop, but I think he comes to his TRUE character-potential when he's with Seph. The semi-face-off between them at the start of this snippet was awesome, just because even in writing you could feel such stubborness from him, and a DIFFERENT kind - perhaps determination instead - from Sephiroth. And then the snap ^-^

Strife is such an asshole, but yes, you can see glimmers of the person that young-COI-Cloud could have been, had things gone differently. And in that scene, as probably on so many other occassions, Sephiroth's biggest fight isn't so much with Strife, but with himself and the Jenova-enhanced instincts that he's constantly trying to keep in check.

The moment he looked up and grinned (and i love Zack XD), the 'blood-bondage' and the Masamune dematerialising, I couldn' help but think to myself, "comeuppance, bitch".

::evil cackle::

The way Sephy obviously didn't deny anything to Zack, ""Sometimes you can be too perceptive for your own good, Zack."", was fantastic. And even though that wolf-Zack is kinda ... well yes, a wolf, it was a snippet of that kind of relationship I tried to explain before *gestures idly*. *VERY content fangirl*

It's only natural for outsiders (e.g., like the AVALANCHE guys) to assume that Sephiroth was the one in charge with Zack merely being the follower. However, as they soon find out, their relationship is much more equal, with more give-and-take than anyone imagined. And perhaps Sephiroth finds it acceptable to give in (however ungracefully) to Zack because he trusts Zack's judgment, especially in the important issues. He knows that Zack understands him and his dark corners, and accepts them, just as he can see and accept Zack's dark corners (i.e., COI-Zack is a bit of a sociopath -- he's dedicated to a few specific people, not to commonly held morals).

*offers bribe of ... something inventive*

::grabs... something inventive, and nibbles experimentally on it::
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
__perplexity__ From: __perplexity__ Date: March 31st, 2007 07:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
And god damn, you've ALWAYS gotta love an author that can reply with so much more in-depth stuff ^-^ Someone with time for her readers, fantastico~

As much as reviving Sephiroth is so much of a FF7 cliche I think it's done fantastically in COI, the fact that it was so detailed, that in a sense we saw it happen right from scratch to now rather than just "Oh no I sense badness, oh look, sephiroth just walked in and killed a bajillion people, le gasp". I like the way you can keep him human (despite what certain other characters may think), making him have to worry about Jenovaisms and the like.

And about what you said in that last paragraph, I was going to half-quote something to you before I realised that it was actually FROM COI! Although I can't remember it word-for-word I think it was Reeve who mentioned/found out that is wasn't mere hero-worship, that it was a two-way friendship ...? I've always loved being able to see that in our lovely SOLDIERs.

*raises hands in a panic* and about the inventiveness I wouldn't ... *slump* oh nevermind ...
madamhydra From: madamhydra Date: March 31st, 2007 09:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
And god damn, you've ALWAYS gotta love an author that can reply with so much more in-depth stuff ^-^ Someone with time for her readers, fantastico~

Sadly, I must confess that I'm trying to avoid working. Bleah!

I like the way you can keep him human (despite what certain other characters may think), making him have to worry about Jenovaisms and the like.

I think he's really quite human, or at least wants to be. He hungers for human contact, but due to his upbringing, he's nearly incapable of recognizing the need. Similiarly, when people are afraid of him and/or treat him badly, it hurts but he doesn't really know why.

That's why in Enrichment, there are pretty obvious hints that all this repression is starting to cause Sephiroth severe stress and potentially making him unstable. A stressed out, hair-triggered Sephiroth is NOT a good thing. How bad, you might ask? Well, when Sephiroth found out that Zack was assigned to be his aide, just about the first real thing he said to Zack was, "I don't need a baby-sitter." Pretty much the second thing he did was to nail Zack's shoulder to a tree with Masamune because Zack told him the real reason for his assignment. Did I happen to mention that at this point, Sephiroth was dangerously stressed out?

But despite being stuck to a tree trunk like a butterfly impaled on a pin, Zack still manages to talk Sephiroth into working with him and basically saves Sephiroth's sanity (and keeps him out of Hojo's clutches). So believe me, President Shinra is willing to cut Zack considerable slack if it keeps Sephiroth productive and manageable. Who do you think is paying for fem!Zack's fancy evening outfit, hm? ^_-

Here's a tiny scene fragment from that confrontation:
------------------------------
"Why are you doing this? Why go through all this effort to supposedly help me?" Sephiroth demanded, glaring at Zack.

"Because I like you."

"That's impossible! You don't even know me!" Sephiroth hissed furiously, his hand tightening on Masamune's hilt. The blade quivered slightly, making more blood ooze from Zack's wounded shoulder.

But despite having one shoulder pinned to the tree, Zack still somehow managed a surprisingly eloquent shrug with his free shoulder.

"Yeah, well I guess I'm just stupid that way."
------------------------------

And about what you said in that last paragraph, I was going to half-quote something to you before I realised that it was actually FROM COI! Although I can't remember it word-for-word I think it was Reeve who mentioned/found out that is wasn't mere hero-worship, that it was a two-way friendship ...? I've always loved being able to see that in our lovely SOLDIERs.

It sounds vaguely familiar. ::scratching head.::

Here's one of my favorite songs. I orginally thought about it with respect to Heero and Duo (Gundam Wing), but I think it also applies beautifully to Zack and Sephiroth as well. (I'll see if I can upload a copy later).

------------------------------
I'll Stand By You - The Pretenders

Oh, why you look so sad?
Tears are in your eyes
Come on and come to me now
Don't be ashamed to cry
Let me see you through
'Cause I've seen the dark side too
When the night falls on you
and you don't know what to do
Nothing you confess could make me love you less.

I'll stand by you
I'll stand by you
Won't let nobody hurt you
I'll stand by you

So, if you're mad, get mad
Don't hold it all inside
Come on and talk to me now
Hey, what you got to hide?
I get angry too
Well, I'm a lot like you
When you're standing at the crossroads
and don't know which path to choose
Let me come along
'Cause even if you're wrong...

I'll stand by you
I'll stand by you
Won't let nobody hurt you
I'll stand by you
Take me in, into your darkest hour
and I'll never desert you
I'll stand by you

And when...
When the night falls on you, baby
You're feeling all alone
You won't be on your own

I'll stand by you...
------------------------------

kittychan1986 From: kittychan1986 Date: March 31st, 2007 11:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, wow.....*Stares at Sephiroth* this was just amazing, Madam. Poor Zack...And, is it terrible that the fact that all reamins of that poor boy are a few lingering memeories, that CLoud doesn't exist by himself anymore? I pity the kid. And in a way I pitty Strife, though he deserves every bit of toruture he's going to get. He Deserves it. Oo, is insane Seph going to kill Tifa? He seems to be on a more personal mission this time, rather than a bandwagon one! Can't wait to see more!
madamhydra From: madamhydra Date: April 1st, 2007 01:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Poor Zack...

Yes, but Sephy will take care of his Zack. ::coo::

And, is it terrible that the fact that all reamins of that poor boy are a few lingering memeories, that CLoud doesn't exist by himself anymore? I pity the kid.

Unfortunately, Cloud lost much of himself during his horrific 4+ years at the Nibelheim labs. And when Cloud/Strife murdered Zack outside of Midgar, the guilt-ridden Cloud basically destroyed what was left of his own mind in a desperate effort to eradicate Strife. He wasn't successful, but he came very close. That, perhaps, is one of the saddest things of all.

And in a way I pitty Strife, though he deserves every bit of toruture he's going to get. He Deserves it.

In some ways, Strife is pitiful because he never had a chance to be remotely normal. All he ever experienced was the ugliest, cruelest, most painful parts of Cloud's life. That being said, there's no question that he was asking for trouble when he went after Zack.

Oo, is insane Seph going to kill Tifa?

::blink:: Why would he? She's not worth his time.

He seems to be on a more personal mission this time, rather than a bandwagon one! Can't wait to see more!

Yes, it's all personal this time around. Which can be good for the world in general, but very bad for Sephiroth's targets.
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 1st, 2007 11:13 pm (UTC) (Link)

From:WolfishSerenity

So then, am I to understand that Zack and Cloud are basically a fused being/conciousness, since Zack had the chocobo feathers as apart of his symbolic-body? @_@ Or is it like...that since Zack spent so long trying to keep Cloud safe, that when Strife finally took over, Zack did something similar to "mercy killing" and merged Cloud and himself together, so Cloud would never have to suffer alone?

=O Or did Strife do it, out of hatred for both Cloud and Zack, and their...likeness of each other?

>.< Too many questions, I know. But I think I remember in the story that Cloud (as in Cloud, the second conciousness) was created from a part of Zack, so like.. maybe it's that Zack took that part of himself back.

I should probably stop myself before I start going off on some tangent.
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 1st, 2007 11:17 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: From:WolfishSerenity

Also, I loved this part!

At first I was like:
"Dude. He won't actually do it. No one would willingly make themselves go Nutter-butters again."
...
"O_o Holy crap, he did it. -blink- AH! METEOR'S A-COMIN' BACK!"

What I don't understand is, that if he killed Zack the first time in Nibleheim when he went batty, why didn't he kill Zack this time?

...-smacks herself for asking another question-
askaram27 From: askaram27 Date: April 2nd, 2007 01:19 am (UTC) (Link)
I can't tell you how happy I am that COI is alive and kicking. I distinctly remember it as the first FFVII fic I ever read, the only one I've ever adored, and the standard by which I measure everything I write by. Your characterizations are masterful, your storyline blows my mind, and the sheer amount of love you show for the fandom just makes me die with envy.

Lots of hugs for you.
madamhydra From: madamhydra Date: April 2nd, 2007 09:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! The COI-plotbunnies are making up for lost time and are harassing me unmercifully. ::sniffle::
keji_eternal From: keji_eternal Date: April 4th, 2007 05:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
teehee... You SO definitely need another sequel to this! I want to know if Rufus gets to know what's going on!!!!

The Tango scene was just beautiful... *sighs* I really wish I could hug them both... or much better... see them together doing not so goody things... ahem... anyway, this was fabulous!
keji_eternal From: keji_eternal Date: April 4th, 2007 05:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh geez!! MY EYES, MY EYES!! NOOOOO....

I should have listened to the warning of spoiler... but I couldn't help but click it! I mean... the worst thing to tell someone is click at your own risk... cause they still gonna click!!!!

But... phew... it wasn't that big... i think...

Hey, that blood trapping Strife was so cool. And I'm glad Seph gets to find Zack and all... Ai, you do need to post chapter 8 ASAP!! I mean... its just really important now...er... yeah.

*pets a wolf-Zack*

Till next time!
44 hisses or Hiss in my ear....