MadamHydra (madamhydra) wrote,
MadamHydra
madamhydra

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COI - my "wonderful, awful idea" snippet (aka Seph-angst)

I've been struggling for a while to figure out exactly what happened between Sephiroth and Zack back in Nibelheim, especially with the strong bond between them in COI. Then this "wonderful, awful idea" hit me....

I hope this snippet is understandable -- it's riddled with flashbacks, so I've included time cues to keep things relatively straight. ^_^;;

Ummm... enjoy? Comment? Throw stale pocky at me? ::runs for cover::

EDIT: Eep! I just realized that ciceqi used a somewhat similar setup with respect to Sephiroth in her excellent Doomverse stories. O_o Hopefully my COI-version will turn out to be sufficiently different. ::grovel::

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

[ present ]

Compared to the others, Sephiroth reached the safety of the canyon rim with ridiculous ease as a particularly large wave/slosh deposited him almost gently on the rocky shore of the newly created lake.

The first thing he did on dry land was plant Masamune in the ground, lean over, and vomit. However, ingested water had nothing to do with the retching, although it would make a convenient excuse if anyone should find him in such a ignominious position. If only it was that simple to rid himself of the source of his nausea and disgust.

"It just gets worse and worse, doesn't it?" he murmured, his lips curling into a bitter smile. He couldn't help wondering if Aerith's restoration of his sanity had been partially motivated by revenge because if she wanted to watch him suffer, it was definitely working.

His memories were far from complete, but they -were- slowly coming back. And now he remembered the details of the Nibelheim slaughter... remembered them too perfectly.

Because even though hundreds of innocent people had died that night, the pointless waste of life had merely been the backdrop for the true atrocity amid the blood and flames.

>----->----->----->

[ Nibelheim, six years ago ]

As charred fragments of wood crunched beneath his booted feet, he admired the growing inferno surrounding him. There was a mesmerizing beauty in the play of firelight off bloody steel... the hiss of razor-edged metal slicing effortlessly through flesh and bone.... But all that paled in comparison to the pleasure of a born predator gracefully and efficiently bringing down its hapless prey.

And that's why he remained where he was, an amused and appreciative observer, as his loyal second-in-command systematically decimated Nibelheim with both materia and sword, all at his General's bidding.

Man, woman, or child -- it made no difference. Zack had his orders and was carrying them out with his particular combination of enthusiasm and precision. After all, wasn't Zack wearing that same fierce, yet cheerful grin that he so often wore in combat?

When the two halves of the last body hit the ground with a sodden thud, Zack flicked the blood off his sword and sheathed his blade with his characteristic flourish.

Only then did he move forward to examine Zack's handiwork.

"Well done, as always."

Zack did not reply, but continued methodically scanning the area, searching for any remaining survivors to eliminate.

He had ordered Zack to destroy Nibelheim. And when he set his mind to it, Zack was very good at following orders. Not that the task presented any sort of a challenge to someone of Zack's ability. He wasn't even breathing hard, and the only trace of Zack's recent activities was a single tiny splatter of blood along one cheekbone.

He raised his hand to Zack's face and carefully wiped that smear of blood away with a gloved finger. Following the slight pressure of his hand, Zack turned to look at his General, still smiling.

<-----<-----<-----<

[ present ]

Sephiroth shuddered and clenched his teeth to stop himself from another futile round of retching.

Nibelheim had died, but not by Sephiroth's own hand.

And yes, standing in the burning ruins of Nibelheim, Zack had worn his usual carelessly cheerful grin. But it was the eyes that revealed the horrible truth. Zack's eyes, usually so bright and alert, so full of vibrant life, had been nothing more than chips of glowing blue-violet glass.

Blank. Empty. The eyes of a soulless, mindless puppet.

Zack was a SOLDIER. A SOLDIER's body contained Jenova cells.
That which contained Jenova cells was Sephiroth's to command.

He had commanded and Zack had obeyed.

As soon as he had began to recall fragments of the events from the last six years, Sephiroth had asked himself the same question over and over again -- what had caused him to turn against Zack all those years ago in Nibelheim? Now, standing alone on this ravaged, desolate landscape of rock and water, Sephiroth now knew the truth and it sickened him to his core.

The answer was simple. Nothing had caused him to turn against Zack. He hadn't viewed Zack as his enemy at all. Far from it. In fact, he'd had every intention of taking Zack with him when he left Nibelheim.

And Jenova had not objected.

No, his crime was infinitely worse than simply attacking or trying to kill his best friend. He had betrayed Zack in the most fundamental way possible. Sephiroth never expected, never imagined, that he could have done something so vile and horrific. And to Zack of all people, the one person in this world that he would have given anything or done anything to protect....

>----->----->----->

[ Nibelheim, six years ago ]

With his thumb still absently stroking Zack's cheekbone, he murmured, "True, I called you an ignorant traitor. Forgive me. I got somewhat carried away by righteous anger when I discovered what humanity did to Mother.

"But Mother reminded me that ignorance can be remedied. And even traitors can be... rehabilitated." He smiled slowly. "Don't worry, Zack. I don't hate you for not understanding. It's not your fault. I won't cast you aside because of few minor issues that are so easily... fixed."

Zack said nothing, but simply gazed unblinkingly at him.

"Trust me. You won't feel a thing. And when it's done, you'll be all mine. Forever by my side as a loyal shadow should be."

He frowned, then cocked his head slightly. Mother was calling him.

<-----<-----<-----<

[ present ]

Zack 'fixed', by god.

To any sane mind, the idea of tampering with a person's mind, of turning one's best friend into little more than a blindly obedient puppet-slave could only be utterly revolting.

The massacre of the townsfolk had been nothing more than a test to see if he could manipulate Zack's mind without causing undue distress or damage. As it turned out, the very strength of the connection between Zack and himself enabled Sephiroth to slip into Zack's mind undetected and circumvent its formidable natural defenses. Between the subversion of that mental bond and the influence of the Jenova cells in his body, Zack never stood a chance of resisting Sephiroth's control.

And yet in his obsessive rush to free 'Mother', Sephiroth had carelessly allowed his control over Zack to slip, just as he had carelessly allowed a few remaining survivors to see him.

But had it been mere carelessness on his part? Or had it been the act of the few remaining flickers of sanity in his mind, a last desperate attempt to spare Zack from his madness?

Whatever the reason, Zack had regained control of himself. Faced with a bloody massacre, completely unaware of his own involvement, and with Sephiroth identified as the only culprit by the last surviving witnesses, Zack had naturally pursued him to the Nibel Reactor, grimly determined to stop him from carrying out his crazed scheme, and if necessary, carry out his promise to Sephiroth.

>----->----->----->

[ Nibel Reactor, six years ago ]

Zack could turn stubborn at the most inconvenient times.

This was one of those times. Just as he was about to free Mother from her prison, Zack had appeared clearly upset about... something trivial.

He had tried patiently explaining his actions, but Zack was apparently in no mood to listen to reason. So in the end, he had resorted to forcibly incapacitating Zack, simply to keep him out of trouble.

"It's all right now, Mother."

.... suddenly a searing pain tore through his stomach....

<-----<-----<-----<

[ present ]

If things had gone as planned back at the Nibel Reactor, Sephiroth would have retrieved both Jenova and Zack, and then with both at his side, proceeded with his plan to rid the Planet of the pathetic human race.

But Cloud -- Cloud, the incompetent bungling troublemaker -- had managed to interfere with that plan. And because of that interference, he had been forced to leave Zack behind....

Six years ago in Nibelheim, Sephiroth had convinced himself that he was acting to protect Zack from Hojo and his ilk. But the plain, brutal truth was that HE was the one Zack really needed protection from.

But even as another harsh bitter laugh bubbled up in his throat, somewhere in the depths of Sephiroth's mind came a dark whisper....

A dark -hungry- -possessive- whisper that said three simple words.

{ Zack is MINE. }

---------
Tags: coi, coi-fic, conflicts of interest, fanfic, ff7
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