July 2020

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Another Chance: Chapter Six

Title: Another Chance
Author: GW Katrina aka [info]icedark_elf
Beta: [info]skeren
Fandom: FFVII: Advent Children
Summary: After fighting Sephiroth yet again, Cloud is given a choice.
Pairings: Cloud/Aeris/Zack/Sephiroth
Chapter Summary: Sitting down to talk.
Chapter Characters: AVALANCHE minus Barret, Sephiroth, Zack
Word Count: 2,318
Warnings: Alternate Ending for FFVII:AC. Foursome

Previous Chapters found here

New Chapter here:



It was odd to find himself in this position.

Zack had figured it might happen, eventually, but when he thought about it then, it had been the four of them and Cloud's mom. And if she was anything like her son, that thought had been enough to make him twitch. Especially given how Elmyra felt about him and the other men in Aeris's life. Now he knew why the woman was so protective, but back then he had been mostly confused. Shin-Ra didn't have the best reputation in the world, but for that much out and out hatred to be directed at him, personally....

It had hurt, even though he wouldn't admit how much.

Then Nibelheim had happened, and he knew he would never get a chance to squirm in front of Cloud's mom like he had planned. Even thought about bringing her gifts to hopefully bribe a good reaction out of her.

She had been a nice lady, in the small amount of time he had gotten to meet her. Cloud had only dared visit the once while they were in town, and had dragged Zack with. The dark haired man had been introduced as a friend, and Mrs. Strife had seemed pretty happy about that. Zack got the feeling that Cloud had never had many friends when he lived back in Nibelheim.

Now he found himself in front of a whole set of them, several who were glaring at him, and even more glaring at Seph.

He looked them over. Tifa, Yuffie, Cid, and Vincent he now knew from first hand experience. The others, Cait and Nanaki, he had watched from the lifestream after Aeris had gotten there. They had spent a lot of time talking between Aeris doing what she had to in order to help save the world.

He was really proud of her and Cloud. He always knew Cloud would be good if he got the chance, and the fact that his green-eyed girl had helped save the world along with Cloud and these people, well, it made a guy proud. Even if it was another person he had been dating who had been trying to destroy it.

There had been a lot of long, long talks with Seph in the lifestream as well. A lot of talks, quite a few fights, and several bursts of fear when the man faded away again.

Part of the reason Sephiroth had been sent back, Zack knew, was if he was out of the lifestream, he would be less exposed to Jenova's influence.

Tearing his mind away from those thoughts, Zack focused on the people in front of him. Next to him was Cloud, Seph at the blond's other side, and Aeris on the other side of him. While the others were watching them, he watched the others.

The first place any of the people had looked at was at Cloud and Aeris. The signs of relief in Tifa's eyes had done a lot to help the knot loosen in Zack's chest. She was an important one, and he really wanted her to stay friends with Cloud and Aeris.

After looking at Cloud and Aeris, it seemed as if everyones attention seemed to focus on Sephiroth. Zack almost made a joke about being ignored, but he wanted to get a feel for how they might act, and so he sat, silent, as he watched them.

Well, almost everyone focused on Sephiroth.

He hadn't expected the cup that suddenly was flying at him.

Snagging the, thankfully empty, teacup out of the air, he blinked at Yuffie as Cid snarled something about not throwing his glasses around. The girl ignored Cid, and the fact she had managed to snag everyone else's attention, and was glaring at Zack.

"Idiot. How could you get yourself killed," she scowled at him. "You were almost as good as me, so how could you let Shin-Ra mooks kill you?"

"Hey," he said, setting the cup aside and holding his hands up to fend off the random accusation, "it's not like I -wanted- to end up dead. Besides, what's this 'almost as good as you' crap? We both know I'm ten times more awesome than you."

"Bah. I didn't die when Shin-Ra tried to kill me. That automatically makes me much better than you."

Sephiroth sighed and just shook his head. "I'm back in Wutai. Cloud, please knock me out. I don't want to listen to them do this again."

Yuffie scowled, and stole Tifa's teacup and flung it at Seph. Zack chuckled as the man caught the glass, looking downright disgruntled as tea splattered on his legs from the flight over.

"Where's Barret?" Cloud asked, interrupting what probably would have been an interesting set of questions about how Yuffie and Zack knew each other. Zack was just as happy. He didn't think that him serving in Wutai with Sephiroth would have won him any points with this group, and he wanted them to stay happy with Cloud.

Tifa was the one who answered him. "He's with Marlene and Denzel, who wanted to come see you. He didn't want Marlene near...." she shifted, obviously not wanting to be too insulting until things had been talked about.

"A madman who attempted to destroy the world," Sephiroth finished for her, voice blank of emotion. He looked down, hair shifting and catching the light as he did, and Zack felt the urge to ruffle Seph's hair and help him feel as normal as the man could feel.

It wasn't until Cid snorted in barely suppressed laughter before Zack realized that the braids and ribbons Aeris had left in Seph's hair were showing again, though the man had done his best to hide it under the rest of that mass of silver hair.

"I went with green," Aeris said calmly, a gleam of amusement in her eye as she looked at the others proudly.

The others looked back, most of them with expressions full of dumbfounded shock.

That worked for Zack. Seph would hate being embarrassed, but it was helping them see the man as more human. That had always been a major issue.

Now for things to get fun.

///


Nanaki felt the urge to laugh. He didn't feel that way often, but seeing the braids in Sephiroth's hair made him want to laugh hard enough to roll on the ground. From the look on Aeris's face, she had something to do with the new hairstyle the man was sporting. Sephiroth himself simply looked as if he was torn between ignoring the looks he was getting or hiding.

The man was amazing easy to read, Nanaki realized. Of course, Vincent had been a steady visitor to Cosmo Canyon over the last few years, and he was always hard to read. Nanaki had gotten better at it, and the skill had transferred over to Sephiroth. Nanaki suddenly had the mental image of Sephiroth and Vincent being silent at each other and understanding just what the other meant.

Another reason he wanted to laugh.

But, sadly, he had his dignity to consider, and he doubted it would survive him giggling like Yuffie and acting as young as he was. Still, he wouldn't forget the image. Perhaps later, if things went well, he'd be able to share it.

"Why are you here?" he asked, breaking through the building tension with a simple question. Simple, but important. Cloud had been under the man's thrall once before, and while Nanaki trusted the blond, he wanted to make sure that things were not that bad again. Though Aeris's presence helped him with that. She would not be so easy to trick.

The dark haired man he didn't know, other than what Tifa had said, and he hoped for an introduction soon. The man was the most relaxed of the four, but he was keeping an eye on Nanaki and the others, and that made Nanaki wonder who the man really was. The Planet had given him back, so he must have been important.

"We're here because of the Planet," Aeris said promptly, curling her fingers around a bit of Sephiroth's hair. "It needed us here, and Cloud is the best at hearing us anymore, so...." She shrugged.

Sephiroth shifted his hand, ignoring the sudden tension of those who watched him, and curled his own fingers lightly around Aeris's wrist, relaxing some at the contact. Nanaki pondered this, trying to figure out how a man who had murdered the girl in cold blood could be so soothed. Had the Planet manipulated him in some way?

"I am here due to the fact that it is for the best," the man said, green eyes lifting to look at the others. "Jenova is not able to manipulate things in the world as well as she can in the lifestream. Zack came with Aeris and myself to help keep what had happened before from happening again."

It was the first time the man had spoke more than a sentence, and Nanaki was surprised at how smooth his voice was. Shin-Ra had really made the man as perfect as they could, hadn't they? He was as attractive a human as any Nanaki had seen, and he must have been a genius to do the things he had been capable of doing before Jenova had contacted him.

He wondered how the man felt about his own abilities.

"Besides," this was from the man lounging next to Cloud, "Spike needs us. Someone needs to tease him about his chocobo hair." Zack grunted when Cloud elbowed him hard in the stomach.

"What happens now?" Tifa asked suddenly, her eyes dark as she looked at the four people sitting together. "Are we supposed to forgive and forget? Forget that you destroyed Nibelheim, murdered all those people, tried to destroy the world more than once? Why should we do that? Why didn't they just destroy you instead of sending you back here?"

Cold words, but true ones.

"Because we need him," Cloud said, voice soft, but firm. "Even though he did so many evil things before...we -need- him. And, no, I'm not under some type of control or anything. But...." he paused, obviously struggling for words. "You know how I woke up in the water instead of staying dead? Apparently there is a reason, one I don't know yet."

"The Planet isn't sharing," Aeris added quietly.

"But whatever the reason is, it gave me them back." Cloud finished. "Before Nibelheim and everything that came afterwards...we were together. And I missed them."

Something in his eyes, an almost broken look, made Nanaki wonder just how much his friend had missed them, and how they could have all missed it.

Tifa just shook her head. "I don't know if I can ever look at him and -not- see the man who killed my father, Cloud. The man who left me almost dead. It's not like the Turks, or even Rufus. That's -Sephiroth-, the man who called Meteor and nearly killed us all."

"I don't expect acceptance," Sephiroth said, looking calmly at Tifa. "The most I can hope for is to be watched with suspicion. I just want my freedom to be with them. It's...." He shifted, looking noticeably uncomfortable. "I care for them, and it's been many, many years since we've been able to be together. If you will not let this be for me, which I understand, I ask that you do for them."

The man was good. Nanaki had to agree with that. If anything would work, appealing to Tifa for her friends happiness was the way to do it. The woman cared a lot for her friends, and Nanaki had seen what she would do to keep them happy.

The hard look didn't leave Tifa's eyes, but she sighed, almost too faint for Nanaki to hear it. Everyone seemed to be waiting on what Tifa did, he realized. Even Yuffie was silent, eyes watching the older woman.

"Cloud, stop by the bar later. Denzel and Marlene are worried about you. Aeris, Marlene wants to see you as well. Zack, it's good to see you. I know how much you mean to Cloud." She looked at Sephiroth, silent for a long moment. "If they want you, fine. I don't have to like you, and I will never forgive you for what you did. Keep away from me and the kids, and I'll just have to accept Cloud's an idiot at times." The last few words were said with a fondness that not even Tifa's hatred for Sephiroth could hide, and Tifa stood.

"I don't know about the rest of you," she said, looking at the wall, "but I'm going to go back and let Barret know we haven't all be eaten by Sephiroth."

"Tifa," Cloud's voice stopped the woman as she was heading for the door. She paused, and looked at him, and Nanaki watched as something wordless pass between them. "Thanks," the man said finally, giving her a small smile.

"Idiot," she said, giving Cloud a smile of her own. "I'll see you later."

She left, and Nanaki felt muscles he hadn't even notice tense suddenly relaxing. That had gone better than he had expected.

Yuffie suddenly stood. "Now," she said, heading for Zack, "we get to see which of us is better."

The sudden amusement in Zack's eyes as he watched Yuffie made Nanaki sigh. There were two of them.

Well, he decided, hearing Cid yelling at them to not even try something that would damage his ship, at least Sephiroth shouldn't be an issue in the future.

Though now he worried about what could be so important that the Planet was giving the dead back life and even returning Sephiroth himself to life.

Nanaki felt the fur on his spine stand on end as he realized he really didn't want to know.

Comments

*squeals* Another chapter!!! *pounces* Thank you!!!!!!

*snickers* and I wanna know the story behind Zack and Yuffie's friendship. That's gotta be interesting!

Glad to see Tifa's growing up and isn't a shrew because Cloud's looking at someone other than her for a relationship. I've read too many stories where she turns into a shrew because of that.

*snikcers* "I went with green." SO like Aeris.....
*grins* I get them out. Slowly but surely. One, maybe two chapters left.

And maybe I'll cover that. Eventually. *grins*

I try hard to not make Tifa like that. I have many people who are supposed to bop me upside the head if I do.

Aeris is amused.
if there's only one or two chapters left, does that mean that there's a sequel to this story in the works? I mean, Rufus will probably have some questions to ask via Tseng and the Turks and there's the whole Cult to Cloud thing plus we haven't really had any steamy foursome scenes since they keep getting interrupted by problems...

0:D

*smirks* yeah that would definately be a story to see, since it's also apparent that Seph was there the first time around....
*amused* You know, this originally started out as a one chapter one shot. Now you guys are asking for sequels.
.... you can't tell me you weren't expecting that, right? O=D
Yaaaay! Another chapter! wooot! ^____^
*laughs* I got that reaction a lot.
*grins and pets Nanaki* Dignity above all, dear. And I bet Cid would really appreciate that mental image of Vincent and Seph speaking through "...".
He does so try. And Cid would probably hurt himself laughing at the image.
*squeals* Yay! More of this! *pounces all over you*I love this series, and now things are starting to get interesting. *glees all over the place*
*amused* Lots of squees over this. Glad you like it.
Just to show you how much I love it when you update AC, I have just been forbidden to read/do anything that will make me squeal like that when my mom's doing the ironing ever again.

Nanaki's got a point, those two could probably 'be silent at each other' and have an entire conversation at the same time.

Only a couple more chapters left? Do I smell sequel arc?
*grins* Go me.

Nanaki so has a point. As as soon as he shares it with the others, the point will make more people laugh.

Oh, gods, I hope not. This was just supposed to be a single chapter one shot. Now look at it.
Whee! More "Another Chance" ficcie! Of course, every tidbit merely whets my appetite for more! ^_-

Zack and Yuffie together -- a scary but entertaining thought. ::also ruffles Nanaki's head::

And hints of dire things to come! ::slavering in anticipation::
*grins* They are fun together. I have a story in the works that has them as cousins. It's been great fun. *nods*
It's been so long since I commented to something of yours. I'm glad I checked IJ and caught this. I love this chapter!!! And yes, we readers ask for sequels because you are awesome.
*snorts at the awesome comment* I doubt that. And any fic that isn't for a specific prompt community on LJ is going to be posted only on IJ.

Glad you liked the chapter. It was fun, though I had a bit of difficulty with the people at times.
YAY! Love Nanaki's POV, and Vincent and Seph being silent at each other and understanding anyway, and Yuffie and Zack being...Yuffie and Zack at each other, and, yes, like LadyNero said, Tifa being Tifa and not an insane raving bitch like in so many fics.

Wow, run-on much? ;P
Nanaki needs more love. And you so know that Vincent and Sephiroth would be able to communicate amazing amounts of information with just a few looks. Zack and Yuffie is just a fun combo, and Tifa needs more in character characterization.

Run-on's can be fun.
YUSSSSS! And speaking of Nanaki, did you see this yet? Am guilty of mostly ignoring Nanaki myself, but between the charm of his POV here and the angst there, I...am really starting to like the red cat-dog-thing.
I hadn't seen that. Barret is always the one I have issues with. I try to write him, but I really suck at it.
Yay! \o/ Like [info]shini_tenshi, I'm glad I checked my IJ flist.

A random thought that came to mind, what would Seph do now he's alive again? I mean as employment? Would someone like Rufus or Reeve organise a position for him? (One that would make it easier for them to keep an eye on him methinks!) Or would he avoid something like that (more-so methinks if it's Rufus offering than Reeve) in favour of something in the way of self-employment? He'd probably slip into mercenary work easily - not much would be able to stand up to him (read that as "nothing but Cloud").

Anyway, there's a few random thoughts you just got spammed with. XD
Cloud suddenly has more runners for his business. *grins* Zack wants a bike like that, and Sephiroth is making interested sounds at it as well.

Whee, random thoughts. Though those seem to be the things that end up causing the most bunnies.
Yeah, that's pretty-much what I thought - the big thing about Cloud's courier business is that he's tough enough to get through monsters that might take down other couriers, so a couple of people work with him who are just as tough would help him expand a bit. :)
*is a bit late commenting, whoops* I need to check IJ more often. But yay, more AC! *bounces*

When I read the bit with Seph's ribbons I went "Aww, no Christmas tree?" *snerk* Oh man... and Nanaki was so cute, wanting to fall over laughing when he saw the braids in Seph's hair. I wanna hug him now, so cute! And Zack and Yuffie being Zack and Yuffie, and Tifa accepting Seph, if only for Cloud and Aeris... whee! Wonderful! ^^ Though I'm with Nanaki, wondering *why* Gaia sent them all back... erk. This thing isn't gonna grow a plot on ya, is it?
Oh, gods, no more plot. *hides from it*

We already know why the Planet gave Cloud back the other three.

No, no Christmas tree. Nanaki is fun. Tifa is very much Not Happy, but mostly with the idea of Sephiroth running around again. And there are no other words for Zack and Yuffie besides, well, Zack and Yuffie. *grins*
...I never thought of the whole 'they know Yuffie' thing.

Logically, I knew both had been in Wutai but I just never made the connection. *is totally blind sided*

BTW, when are we gonna hear more about that gang? You know, the one who named Cloud, Bluebird.

I can so picture Zack and Aeris getting along with that leader. Though we've only heard a little bit I kinda got the image of a punk Sioux in my head when I think of her. *snort*
I've had the images of Zack and Yuffie knowing each other for a while, and apparently Crisis Core is just going to confirm that. *grins* Fun times.

*snickers* I'm not sure. I'm probably going to write more over them, but I'm not sure when.
SOmehow, i pictured Seph and Vinny being silent to each other and knew exactly waht Nanaki was talking about. I lov...*Is shot and stabbed*

S/V: We told you to stop using the nicknames.

*gasp* Love it!

Sephiroth: How the hell does she survive?!?!?!
Yeah, I can see it as well. You know they'd be able to have hold conversations with each other like that.