Rating: PG-12 for mild yaoi
Pairing: Zack/Sephiroth
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Disclaimer: Non-profit fan-fiction. Squeenix ownz.
Notes: All in second-person, yeowch. This made me sniffle.


By Emerald Embers


You stood there, Zack, and you smiled.

It's how I first noticed you. I have seen endless rows of faces, eager to learn or not so eager, pretty or not so pretty, and at first I saw you as no different. You were just another name, just another face, to be added to memory and thrown out of it as soon as you left training. That's what you were supposed to be.

Then you smiled.

No-one smiles like that, Zack. They don't - and they shouldn't be able to. From the earliest of ages, people are aware of pain, or alternatively of their own power. They grow smug or bitter, sometimes just a little, but it's there in their smiles. The wounded smile, the difficult smile, the proud smile.

You smiled like the only time you had ever seen rain were days when you danced in it because you wanted to, or days when it was needed because the sun had started baking a little too harshly and a break was needed from its brightness.

You smiled like the only time you'd ever been shouted at was when you'd been out at play and had grown a little too rowdy for the people around you, and that smile suggested you'd ignored their voices and carried on just the same, and that they hadn't cared. Or maybe it was just you who didn't.

You smiled as though you thought everyone else could smile the same way too.


I tried to forget you. But I couldn't. The glow of your eyes before you'd been given mako, and the curve of your lips before they'd spoken a word to me, were indelibly printed on my mind. And I obsessed over you.

I felt stupid.

I felt confused.

I felt like a little teenage girl simpering over the photos of her favourite singer.

For the first time in my life, I did not know what to do, and no-one was there to tell me either.


I remember you when you walked into Hojo's laboratory for the first time, ignoring the experiments around you, ignoring the puncture holes in my arms and my neck, ignoring everything but my eyes as you passed on the orders to me that you'd been sent to deliver.

I remember when you came in again a week later, your eyes still fixed on mine even though I could barely see yours back, and your arm around my shoulder, and you helping me out of the room.

I remember the week after that, when you came in an hour earlier than usual, told Hojo I had orders, and took me out of the room before grinning conspiratorily. I had no orders, you said. I had no work, you said. Our little secret. You'd interrupted my usual routine of getting injected by Hojo and sent back to work immediately afterwards to give me an hour of 'free time'.

I didn't know what to do with free time, I said.

You said, "I do."


You took me to an ice-cream bar, after bearing a horrified expression when I told you I had no idea what ice-cream tasted like.

You made our trips for ice-cream into a new routine in place of injections or unnecessary meetings, after discovering how much I liked it.

You leant forward and brushed whipped cream off my cheek, one day, laughing.

You licked your thumb and looked back up at me.

You placed your hand back on my cheek, tilted my head up, and kissed me.


We went back to the usual building and went our separate ways, you smiling, me confused, and the day went ahead as normal.

No-one said anything. No-one knew.

Somehow, they never knew.


We met up that night, breaking with tradition, in my own room. It was sparse, nothing more there than I needed to have. Dishes for one person. Books suitable for a general and Shinra employee. Blinds, not drapes or curtains. Yellow light.

You closed the blinds, smiled at me, switched off the light.

The bed was made for one person, though an alarmingly obese or large one person, so that was alright.

You laughed gently when you looked at my eyes, whispered something about the way they glew in the dark.

We had to be quiet, had to be careful, or someone would discover us. It never occurred to me that no-one would particularly care if we were found out, but in the short term, it made things easier. And a Soldier does have to think about the short term constantly.


You laid down beside me on the bed, stroked one hand loosely through my hair, smiled at me before placing a light kiss on my lips and closing my eyes with your thumbs, whispered to me to keep them shut.

I felt you shifting against me, heard material scraping against material, low thuds on the floor, and I knew what you were doing.

I felt your hands on my shoulders, your voice reassuring me. You kept talking to me quietly and secretively about all sorts of nonsense as you worked on the fastenings for my coat, and while the air in the room was cold, you radiated warmth just as you radiated happiness and content.

I felt your lips on my skin, like a tiny, hot furnace moving down from my shoulder to my chest to one of my nipples, and I bit my lip, hissed as you teased it gently, your constant low murmur temporarily interrupted.


I loved you when we were in that room, loved what you were doing to me, loved what you had given me.

I loved you when we ate ice-cream together, though I wasn't certain of it, not at all, not before we kissed.

I loved you when you smiled at me for the first time.

I loved you, Zack.


Jenova lied to me.

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