• Title: The Chocobo
    Author: Ashray
    Pairing: None really, only implied
    Disclaimer: I don't own Final Fantasy 7, neither the game nor the movies, and especially not the boys themselves! I just like to use them for my own, dark purposes, no matter if they want to or not. biggrin
    Summary: Zack finds a Chocobo and really wants to keep it smile

    heart The Chocobo heart

    "Sephiroth, Sephiroth, Sephiroth!"
    a loud voice called through the thick, closed door and mercilessly shattered the previous peaceful silence in the general's office.
    The silver haired man ignored his SIC with the weak hope it would make him go away faster. It never did before, but as the saying goes:
    'The hope dies last'.
    And maybe, if he was really really quiet and didn’t make a sound, maybe the puppy would think no one is in here, and would leave to find someone else to distract and annoy with whatever has him exited now.

    'Knowing the puppy, it's probable a bone. Or a squeaking rubber chicken.'

    But failing to answer or inviting him in had never stopped Zack from entering a room anyway. On the contrary, normally it just encourages him to try even harder.
    To be true, not even trowing him through the closed door, down the whole hall and against the wall would stops an excited Zackary.
    He will whine, he will pout, but he will come back.
    And Sephiroth would know, he tried it, after all.

    "Sephy, Sephy, Sephy, Sephy! There is a little Chocobo in front of your office!" came an even louder yell through the thick door, and Sephiroth shock a quick glance to the big window that covered one of his office walls completely.
    Doesn’t glass shatter normally at such volumes?
    But the window was still whole, and Zack was still there and hollering.

    Then Sephiroth finally registered what his First had just said!

    "What? A Chocobo? If that’s another stupid prank of you and that damn red haired Turk; I’m going to skin you alive before running you through with my sword until you die!! An then I will give your remnants to Hojo to play with as he wishes!"

    The door slammed open with a loud bang, hit the wall hard, making the paint crumble down, and he stood in the door:
    Broad shoulders, violet-blue eyes, wild dark spiky hair, a cheeky grin and more energy than good for him.

    Lieutenant Zackary Fair, First Class SOLDIER, General Sephiroths right hand man, Angeals puppy, the nightmare of every superior, bounced happily in with bright eyes, not at the last bothered that his General didn’t say he could come in:

    "But Sephy, Reno isn’t even in Midgar, so he can't do anything!" he whined and pouted at the older man "And the Chocobo found its way to your door all on its own and without my help, I have nothing to do with it at all! Look, isn’t he totally adorable?"

    And Zack held a smaller boy in a standard cadet uniform proudly up under his arms for his boss to look at. (1)
    The smaller boy held a pack of papers protectively to his chest so he wouldn’t loose them, while the Lieutenant shock him around. He looked rather small and thin, and his feet dangled a few inch over the floor, as Zack was taller than his poor victim.
    In his eagerness Zack didn't notice his protests in his excitement, or he simply ignored them, in order to squeeze him some more...

    The spiky-haired blond blinked at Sephiroth with bright blue eyes from under his bangs, silently pleading with him to do something about the loud SOLDIER. A blush spread slowly over his nose, wandered over pale, unblemished cheeks and vanished under the collar of his uniform.
    The boy squeaked a quiet "General" and saluted as best as he could given his position, trapped in the muscular arms of First Class Lieutenant Fair.

    And who could blame him? Being dragged around and shook like some stuffed toy was not a way any cadet would want to show up for the first time in the great General Sephiroth's office.

    And even less so if said General was said to possess little sense of humor and had a lot of work to do. Even if Zack always did his best to distract his boss from his work as much as he could and for as long as possible: "You have to loosen up and life from time to time. Have fun, get drunk, get laid, and you wouldn’t always be such a grumpy pants!"

    Zack's understanding of fun just created general chaos and mayhem for anyone around him. And lots of paperwork. Don’t forget the paperwork his pranks always leave in their wake...
    There seems to be whole mountains of them at times...

    For a moment all Sephiroth did was blinking back. Well, the blond color, and that wild spiky hairstyle really made him think of a little Chocobo. But hair aside, it still looked rather clearly like a small cadet, and not like a big yellow chicken, and even the raven haired SOLDIER should see that...
    And normally a Chocobo wouldn’t wear a uniform, only a saddle and reins!

    "Zack? You do know that this is a cadet in your hands, and not a Chocobo?" the General asked carefully. With Zack, you can never know when he suddenly decides to bounce and hug you... and he didn't feel like dealing with a touchy First at the moment.
    And the Chocobo/cadet also didn't look like he wanted to be hugged to death by a overgrown puppy, either...

    The boy shoot him an grateful look and tried again to struggle free, but the dark-haired SOLDIER hugged him closely to his chest and simply refused to let him go.
    Instead he pouted at Sephiroth and reinforced it with the puppy dog eyes as he didn't get the reaction he was hoping for:
    "He is a Chocobo! Just take a look at him, all yellow and soft and cuddly!" and he petted the spiky hair, which didn’t look much different to his own dark hair.
    "I'm begging for some time with Angeal to allow me a pet of my own, you know!" he explained sadly "I want a puppy, only a small one, to cuddle and love and play when I get home. I could teach it some tricks, to bring me the newspaper-"

    "You don’t even read the newspaper!" Sephiroth interrupted his rant, but Zack just waved him of, much to the Cadets obvious horror.
    "But I can use it to swat flies! But fine, spoilsport, then the Buster Sword. I will teach it to bring me the Buster sword!"

    All he got from his boss was a smug smirk: "And what if your dog brings it to Angeal instead of you? Or worse, what if it brings Angeal's Buster sword to you? You know he would gut you, along with your pet, should anything happen to his sword."

    Sephiroth smirked at the mental image of a little black puppy with big eyes running through the hallway with a big Buster Sword between its teeth, yipping and barking and happily wagging a bushy tail as it hides in a corner, away from a screaming Zack, to gnaw at the handle, a red-faced, angry Angeal right behind them screaming bloody murder, cursing both puppies to the deepest hell and planning the best way to maim them!

    For once it was really hard for the normally stone-faced and cold-blooded general not to laugh at that thought, but somehow he managed to keep his thoughts from his face.

    "Why the hell are you even asking me for permission to keep a pet, let alone a cadet?"
    Zack stroked sadly over the blonds smooth cheek:
    "Well, you know how I was pestering Angeal lately?"
    "I may have heard about it..."
    "Good, you see, you, my friend, are the general." he pointed at Sephiroth to emphasize his point.
    No great surprise, he already knew that, and he informed Zack of the fact:
    "Yes, well potted, I am the General. And you are my Lieutenant."

    "And as the great General, you can order Angeal to let me keep a pet." he nodded, happy with his conclusion.
    "All Angeal said to me is that I’m not allowed to get a puppy because he doesn’t need two of us! How can he be so mean to his favorite student!!!..."

    He ignored Sephiroths "Zack, you are his only student!" expertly to pout some more about his mean mentor.

    But suddenly his mood changed again, and he smiled over his whole face:
    "But now I have my little Coco here, and that’s way better than a dog."
    He held the boy tightly and spun him wildly around in a circle, causing his victim to give a startled squeak, and Zack to laugh in delight:
    "Did you hear that, did you?! He even sounds like a little baby Chocobo! If it looks like a Chocobo, and sounds like a Chocobo then it is a Chocobo!"

    'Or Reno in a Chocobo-Costume, but they don’t need to know that. Not now, at last...' the SOLDIER First thought with a snicker.

    A silver eyebrow rose elegantly as Sephiroth just looked at his Lieutenant warily. He didn’t really believe his 'logic', and by the looks of it, neither did the pale boy...

    "I'm not a Chocobo. My name is Cloud." but his small, breathless murmur was ignored, while he slowly grew more and more dizzy in the arms of his captor.
    How did he get into this trouble in the first place? All he had to do is deliver a stack of reports from his teacher to General Sephiroths office, and then scramble of without humiliating himself or getting underfoot and disrupting everyone in their work.
    But before he had a change to knock on the door, a dark shadow loomed suddenly over him. The shadow tackled him to the ground, and before he could even cry out in protest he was lifted from the ground and unceremoniously dragged into the office like some toy by none other than Zackary Fair, First Class SOLDIER and Lieutenant, were he was now hanging like a rag-doll.
    And as if that wasn't humiliating enough, the raven-haird man called him Chocobo and declared him a pet!

    Just like that!

    'Is that even allowed? Maybe someone should call a doctor, to get him help... Or at last some colorful pills.
    Should superiors be insane? There must be rules against that sort of thing!' because at the moment, it not only seems like Lieutenant Fair has some screws loose, but like the whole threat was broken...

    "My very own, just for me Chocobo! Don’t worry, I will take you with me everywhere I go, and take care of you and love you, and I will feed you so you can grow big and strong like me, and..."

    "My name is Cloud, I’m not a pet, and could you let me down, please? Sir." he added at the last moment, because, no matter how he acted at the moment, Zack was still a superior officer.
    Somehow. Theoretically.

    "You heard the boy, Zack, let him down, you can't keep him anyway." Sephiroth uttered worried, not really sure what do do. This was not a scenario he studied in his training for General.
    Can you declare a cadet as pet just like that? They are not supposed to be used as such, and this one clearly doesn’t want to be anyone's pet, if his struggling and silent protests are anything to go by...

    Zack just hugged Cloud even more to his chest and even made a few steps back from the silver-haired man's desk, just to make sure he wouldn’t just reach over the desk and take his little Chocobo from him.
    "No, he's mine!" he pouted and cuddled Cloud, and stroked the blond spikes soothingly.

    Not that it is very soothingly that some stranger just grabs you and declares you his pet! At that thought Cloud began to kick around.
    "Ouch!" the small Blonde hissed as it felt like he kicked a wall instead of Lieutenant Fair's thigh.
    Damn enhancements!
    Damn Mako!
    So he had to quit kicking, as he would end up with broken bones before the raven-haired teen even noticed anything, and tried again to struggle out of his arms.
    Sadly it was useless, as Zack ignored his escape attempts, the same way he ignored his kicks, in favor of begging Sephiroth:
    "But why not? Just look at him, isn’t he cute?" again Cloud was held up under his arms like a (hissing) little kitten. (1)

    "Yes, really cute." murmured the General without even looking at him. "But you still can't keep him." By now Sephiroth stood up from his chair to better glare down at the shorter Zack.
    But sadly, Zack was not every one, he was his friend, and as such, he wasn’t easily intimidated by a glare, and just continued to plead with him as if he wasn’t able to simply run him through with his huge sword if he so wished, without anyone protesting.

    Well, Angeal would maybe protest if he killed his student, after all the work and time he invested into training the pest, it would all be wasted if he finished him off now...

    "But why not?! I promise I will take really, really good care of him, I promise! Look, he is so small, a tiny little Chickabo, and he needs someone who takes care of him and keeps all the evil peoples way!"

    "Not true! I’m 16! I can take care of myself!" Cloud wailed with a quick glance to the General and tried again to kick at the First. He would never make it into SOLDIER if the General also thinks that he need someone to keep him safe because he couldn’t look after himself!
    He doesn’t need weaklings under his men, and Cloud really didn’t want to be seen as one, last of all by the General.
    Its bad enough that anyone already either ignores him, picks on him or underestimate him because of his height!
    But this is too much!

    Damn, but sometimes he hates his life and his bad luck.....

    'Please let me down, please let me down, please let me down, just let me down!' he prayed in his head, this couldn’t get anymore humiliating...
    'I wish I didn’t get up in the morning. If I stayed in bed, the General wouldn’t remember me in the future as 'Zack's little pet-Chocobo'...'

    For a moment Cloud felt like crying...

    "And what do you plan to do with him when you are on a mission, for weeks away from home, and you have to leave him here?" Sephiroth tried it with rationality.
    Sadly, Zack and rationality are at war with each other most of the time, with rationality loosing spectacularly.

    "I’m sure Angeal can look after him for a few days, no problem. You see, I thought about it! I know what I do!" Zack said triumphantly with a friendly smirk.
    If he could just clear out all of Sephy's doubts, maybe he would let him keep the cute boy.
    On their own his fingers wandered back into the soft blond hair.
    The beautiful bright color was the first thing he noticed in the dim hall, together with big bright blue eyes which widened startled, before he tackled the smaller boy with a loud battle-cry to the ground and dragged him away.
    "Hi, Chocobo, my name is Zack!" he explained exited as he kneed over him and grinned right in his face. Then he ruffled through the soft hair before he lift him up to show him to Sephy. Surely he would want to see the adorable Chocobo who found his way on their floor...

    "Nice to meet you, Chocobo, is it okay if I call you Chocobo?" he didn’t even wait for an answer that the surprised, shocked boy wouldn’t give him anyway.
    "Sir, I’m..."
    "I will show you Sephy! don’t worry, he's not as bad as everyone says. At last not always. He just acts mean because he has to as the big bad General, but in reality he just has to learn how to relax and have fun!

    "You mean Angeal, who partnered with you for most of the missions?" Sephiroth smooth voice cut into his thoughts, but the black-haired SOLDIER was ready for that objection:

    "Okay, then I ask Genesis."
    "You mean the Genesis who likes to hurl fireballs around and cases cadets just for the heck of it, every time he is bored, or angry, or frustrated, or just because he want to see something burn, and likes the pretty colors? That Genesis?" Zack's eyes widen at that, and he whimpered quietly as he hid his face in blond spikes.
    "But he would never burn my Chocobo! He can't do that! That would be heartless!"
    Cloud, too, was more than a little nervous at the prospect of being burnt to a crisp by some materia-crazy commander!
    Life isn’t so bad that he wanted to end it already!
    He really wished Lieutenant Fair would just let him go, that would be best for everyone.
    But as he tried to say so, the raven-haired SOLDIER just shook his head.
    "Don’t worry, I keep you save and make sure that no one hurts you!"
    He stroked over the pale cheek soothingly before he turned back to his General:

    "He looks so cute and cuddly. And he doesn’t need much room, look Sephy, how easy I can lift and carry him around with me!"

    And he hopped with Cloud under his arm around the room, just to prove how 'portable' and 'handy' the smaller boy really was, before he hugged him to his chest and nearly suffocated him in the process, again.
    "You see? He really doesn’t trouble me and doesn’t get in the way! I think I could easily fight with him under the arm! No problem! And if not I will just train until I can! Its a good weight training, even if he doesn’t weight much!"

    With a sigh Sephiroth sat back down in his chair and hid his face in his hands with a frustrated grimace. Why oh why couldn’t Angeal just put his puppy on a leash and put a muzzle on him. Everything would be so much easier without the puppy going around to claim random cadets as pet and keep him from his work in the process, just because the puppy wanted to show off his new pet!

    "- and I can throw him in the air and catch him-" Cloud gave a startled shirk and clung hard to Zack's shoulders as the other caught him with a happy laugh, just to make sure he couldn’t do it again...
    "- and he is portable, I can take him with me everywhere I go, and do you see how he clings to me? He doesn’t want to get away from me, so it would be mean to force him!" the boy had one small hand firmly around the taller teens neck and also hid his pale face there, shivering slightly.

    'More like he is afraid that you throw him against the ceiling or drop him or something...' the General through, but didn’t say it out loud. It wouldn’t change anything, it would just make Zack pout and sulk all over again, complete with whining and puppy dog eyes and all. Even if the General is immune against them.

    Suddenly Sephiroth's head shoot up again from his hiding position: That’s it! He is Angeal's puppy, so he should be the one dealing with his insanity and get a headache from it!
    Quickly he searched for and found his PHS under the folders- which he should look through, and the reports,- which he should sign off, and pushed the speed dial for Angeal.

    Without taking his green gaze from Zack and his whimpering pray he waited impatiently for his friend to finally pick up. If he hadn’t so much control over himself, he would most likely tap with his foot on the floor or play with his pen, or run up and down in his office. But as it was, he just watched Zack still ranting about all the things he would do with his Chocobo.

    The poor boy still tried to tell him that his name was Cloud, not Chocobo, and Zack still blissfully ignored all protests.

    "Hi, Angeal, Sephiroth here." was all he said when he finally heard him on the other end of the line. How the other man could deal with Zack's foolery without murdering him in cold blood was beyond him...
    "Your puppy is holding a cadet hostage, and he refuse to let him go." Weird, Angeal somehow doesn’t sounds surprised that his puppy would do that...

    Is he moving and resisting?

    "Well, he is struggling, and he doesn’t seems to like it when he ruffles or pets his hair. Zack declared him his 'very own Chocobo' and doesn’t want to give him up."

    "No, I wanna keep him! He's mine now!" Zack yelled loudly to make sure his mentor could hear him. "Come on, I was good lately, don’t I get a reward for that?"

    Angeal still didn’t seems to be worried or surprised that his student wants to keep a cadet as pet.
    But you shouldn’t keep cadets as your pet, right?
    This one at last didn’t look happy about it...
    Rather, he looked down at Zack's arm like he was considering whether to bite into it or not. But all the Mako in Zack's system made sure that such weak teeth can't do enough damage to make Zackary drop his target.
    Other people, or rather monsters, then this tinny cadet already bite their teeth out on Zack's stubbornness.

    "Okay, I understand." the General answered, while Zack cuddled his pet, äh, cadet, and murmured what a nice little Chocobo he is, and that they are best friends now, and that he would always and always take care of him.
    Cloud protested that he is no Chocobo, that he doesn’t need a caretaker, and that they could be friends if Zack lets go of him now and stops squeezing him so hard...

    Zack shrieked in excitement "Did you hear that, Sephy? He says he wants to be my friend, I get to keep him after all!" it seems that Zack suffers from a hard case of selective hearing, because he ignored the part with 'letting him down' and 'stop squeezing him' and spun him quickly around, while Cloud slowly lost his breath. And if the other keeps up with this speed, his breakfast too...

    Then the General remembered something else that he should ask his friend:
    "And Angeal, before I forget: Are cadets supposed to change color? Because Chocobo's can't do that."
    Just another sure evidence against Zack's claim that he found a Chocobo!

    'I don’t think that humans normally chance colors, but you could never know. Maybe this is some new experiment from Hojo, he likes that. And some animals are able to chance colors, to hide better from their enemies.'

    And the poor boy really looked like he wants nothing more then to hide from Zack...

    "Well, at first he was white, then he turned red, he was green for a while, and now he turns from blue to purple. Is that normal?" asked a little worried for the petite cadet.

    People are already thinking he would eat everyone who annoys him, or skewer them with Masamune if he was bored, or in a bad mood, or just felt like it.
    'I’m not Genesis, I have more control over my temper than that!'
    He really doesn’t need to encourage such rumors by letting some helpless boy die by the hands of his crazy Lieutenant, while he just stood there and let Zackary hug him to death, if that was the reason for the changing colors.
    And the raven would also be really sad and down if he accidentally crushed his 'Cloudy'.
    SOLDIERs are a lot stronger then normal humans, even if Zack seems to forget that little detail at times...

    "What? Zack has to let him go, now! He can't squeeze him too much, he can't threat him like he does you and me! Cadets are a lot more fragile then we are. Tell him that, now!! One of those days he will kill someone with his constant affections and hugs!" Now Angeal sounded worried. Sephiroth blinked at his PHS as all he heard was the dial tone. Normally the other man wouldn’t cut of a call like that...

    And Sephiroth still didn’t know if Angeal comes over to solve his problem, or if he has to find a new Lieutenant, because the old one had an unfortunate run-in with Masamune

    "Zack, Angeal says you should put that cadet down. And you better do it now."
    "No! Never! I found him, so I’m going to keep him. Go and find your own Chocobo, if you want one!" Zack bellowed and for a moment he sounded like a dog defending his favorite toy. With a bit imagination he could nearly the dark ears moving around in every direction, and a fluffy tail wagging behind him...
    The General blinked quickly to get rid of that image, especially as Zack tilt his head to the side, and calmly pointed at the pretty cadet, who looked rather sick after being moved around at SOLDIER speed.
    "I thought you wanted to take care of him, and not kill him before you even got him home. At last, that’s what you are telling me the whole time..."

    Startled Zack looked at the blond bundle in his arms. He raised him up to get a better look in his face, frowning at what he saw. Now that Sephy said it, he really had a weird color...
    "But Sephy, I didn’t mean to..."

    Again the office door slammed open, before the General could say anything or Zack could protest any whine some more.
    And again the door hit the wall, hard.

    And that hole behind the door grows in size and depth, with every time one of his 'friends' comes in unannounced and has to tell him something, or show him something, or just wanted to bother him, right here, right now, no matter what...

    'Just great. And I can listen to the Director whining and bitching about the repair costs and maintenance costs and why I should control my tempter and shouldn’t go around and randomly make holes in my walls...' At days like this he really wished that his office were not only fire- and bullet-proof, but also SOLDIER- proof.
    Or that he could just push all his paperwork in here and brick up the door...

    "Angeal, do something." he simply ordered as a welcome, as Genesis, followed by the calmer Angeal, strolled in without knocking first.
    Zack didn’t even notice them coming, as he was busy shacking Cloud and begging him not to die on him, much to the irritation of his mentor.

    Who stepped right behind the preoccupied SOLDIER, his arms crossed over his broad chest, and waited that the other noticed that someone with a big sword was right behind his unguarded back.
    No reaction, just more shacking for his poor victim: "Come on, Choco, I didn’t mean to kill you, you are not mad at me, right? Please say something! We are friends, I would never crush you, you know that, you believe me, right? Chocobo?"

    In his distress he didn’t even notice that all that shaking only made it worse for the boy and his motion sickness, as he held him high up in the air.

    Behind him, Angeal tapped impatiently with his foot before he took a deep breath, frowning disapprovingly at the puppy:
    "Lieutenant Zackary Fair!" he bellowed loudly. A few pens rolled from the desk, it felt like the floor was shaking, and Zack spun swiftly around and saluted before he could even think about it.
    And maybe Angeal would have been satisfied with the instinctual reaction, if there hadn’t been a cadet hanging under his arm like a plushy, his arms and legs dangling motionless, his breath coming in short gasps. He couldn’t really see his face, but even his hair looked limp.
    'Poor boy, to meet Zack like that...'

    But as soon as the raven-haired teen noticed who he was saluting, he let his hand fall back to his side and grinned over his whole face instead:

    "Look, my new Chocobo!" he proudly held Cloud up until he was nearly nose to nose with his mentor to show off his treasure so he could properly admire and praise him for finding the blond.
    For a moment, Angeals dark eyes crossed before he took a step back so he could see Zack's poor victim better, now that his face was no longer hidden by him hanging face down at the puppy's side.
    He didn’t even notice that he walked right into Genesis, who curiously looked over his broad shoulder.
    Because all he could see for the moment was blue.

    Even without Mako the eyes of the cadet seem to glow like gems in his pale face, surrounded and emphasized by the bright, spiky hair.
    He seems to be a bit small, but then again, he was still growing. His height could change very quickly.
    'But he should eat more, he looks thin.'

    The temptation to just reach out and run his hand through that bright mob to find out if it was as soft as it looked was very strong, but Angeal could stop himself before his fingers could do anything more than twitch.
    Now was really not the right place or time to wonder if a cadet used hair products to turn his head into a weapon.

    "I just found him, but Seph says that I can't keep him!" He didn’t notice the others hesitation, and leand over to his mentor, until Cloud was trapped between their muscular bodies "But just between me and you, I think he just wants to keep him all to himself. He needs something cute and cuddly to snuggle with, he just refuses to admit it!" he whispered conspiratorially with a cheeky wink and a leer from Cloud to Sephy.

    "Not true!" came the prompt, offended protest from behind them, and Zack's grin only widened as he got more distance between himself and the older male.
    Because he noticed the way Angeal looked down when he felt Cloud's warm breath hit his neck. And Zack didn’t want to loose his Chocobo, even if Angeal was the one to take him away.

    "No, Zack, I think General Sephiroth forbids it because cadets are no Chocobos, and don’t make good pets, no matter how much you want it. You can't keep him, so let him down, Zack." Zack tried to counter Angeals stern gaze with sad, dejected puppy dog eyes, but the other man was good at resisting most of the time.


    "Look, he already has a family." Angeal tried talking some sense into him. "And they would be really sad if you just take him away from them, and they don’t get him back. I think he would miss his family, and you want him to be happy, right? You should do the right thing and set him free, Zackary."

    Cloud turned a brilliant shade of red at the words. His mother had said something similar to him as he asked her if he can have one of the Nibelwolf pups running around with a pack up in the mountains. He had been 5 years old at the time...

    Zack nodded slowly with a pout: "But I can make him happy..." he held the smaller boy up to his eyes again to see if there are tears in those blue eyes. "I don’t make you cry, do I?"
    Cloud didn't know what to say as he saw Zack's sad face.
    "And what if I ask his family, and promise that I will take really good care of him? They would know where he is, and not worry about him..."


    Helplessly Zack turned around to Genesis. He didn’t want to give up the cute boy without a fight, why couldn’t they understand that?!
    'He's still so small...' with a sad frown he stroked the blond spikes. 'and who knows who will find him and maybe even tries to takes advance of my little spiky...'

    "Oh, he's cute, I’m for keeping him, too! I wanna hold him!" Genesis demanded after a short glance over Angeals shoulder at the cadet, never mind the dark glares he got for it from Sephiroth and Angeal.
    And just when it looked like Zack would finally see reason.

    But now the black-haired teen was distracted by Genesis, and promptly forgot all about Angeal's words.

    Zack quickly turned around to keep his blond prize away from his fellow First as he made a move to touch him and look if the hair feels as soft and fluffy as it looked, or if the boy used something to make it stick up like that.
    "No, he's mine!" he stuck his tongue childishly out at the redhead, ignoring Cloud's protest that he doesn’t belong to anyone.
    "But I wanna pet him, too!" he tried to reach around Zack, who just turned around again. But after a few tries Genesis finally managed to grab an arm of the blond boy, and he tried to tug him out of Zack's firm hold.
    "Come on, Zacky, I wanna hold and pet him for a bit!"
    "No, I saw him first! He's mine." Zack held firmly onto Cloud's waist so the other couldn’t take him.
    "But you had him the whole time!" with a pout Genesis turned around to Angeal: "Tell him, 'Geal!" he pointed accusingly at Zack: "Tell him that he had him long enough, and it is my turn now!"

    "No!!!" protested Zack in the same whiny voice as Genesis, but he also used the Puppy dog eyes. They may not have worked before, but maybe they will at last once, if he just tried often enough. "That’s not fair, I saw him first, and was the one who brought him here, or you would have never ever seen him!"

    Angeal rubbed his head, feeling a headache coming. That’s what you get for leaving your phone on at work. If he had it turned off or left it at home, he wouldn’t have to deal with them now.
    But then, that poor cadet would be alone with an hyper Zack (did he get his hands on the coffee again?), and a bored Genesis...

    "Come on, puppy, did your mother never teach you to share?"
    "Back off, you don’t even like Chocobos! Sephy says you just want to burn him!"
    "Sephy! How can you say that, That’s mean! And unfair! And not even true! I should burn all your leather for that!"
    "See, see, That’s what we mean, you will just break him!"

    As they were busy bickering with each other and fighting over the helpless boy, tugging him back and forth between their larger forms, they never noticed Angeal walking up behind them with a dark glare, raising his fist and hitting them both hard over the head.
    "Och, what was that for?" Zack and Genesis said at the same time, but none of them let go of the Cadet.
    But at last they stopped pulling him around, and he was thankful for even that. Because he started to feel sick again...

    "You dare to ask me? Where is your honor as SOLDIER? Or at last some good manners? Or even your damn common sense?
    You two are First Classes, and you should start to finally bloody act like it!
    You are supposed to be a good example for the lower classes and a role model the cadets to look up to! And here you are fighting over that poor child like he's a toy!

    And wipe that dirty grin from your faces, both of you!

    Did one of you even bother to ask him if he wants that, before you fight here about who gets to hold him and pet him? I’m surprised none of you tried to dress him up so far!
    Humans are no pets, no matter how much they look like a Chocobo!

    If you want to act like five year old's, I can sign you up for day care! Then you can fight over all the toys all day if you want to, and we don’t have to put up with your childish behavior and your stupid ideas!
    I bet the cadets and the troopers would be thankful as well, with The Distraction and The Pyromaniac out of their hair they will be able to do their work without fear that one of you would sneak up and attack them randomly with hugs and fire!!

    And with you two out of the way, maybe we can find decent replacements for you, someone who will finally get all the paperwork done without one of us having to watch you the whole time, just to make sure you don’t run off or burn something down!!"

    Angeal bellowed so loud, it was a small miracle that the window didn’t shatter and the floor shuddered under the force of his anger.
    But now Genesis and Zack had this strange ringing in their ears, while Cloud wondered if he will ever be able to hear again.

    Sephiroth didn't even bat an eye, but let Angeal handle them like he wanted. On the inside he smirked at their misfortune, but on the outside his face didn't change.
    Angeal may be a patient man, but his rant lectures can take some time if you let him.
    And you better let him, because interrupting him would just make him start over again.

    "But Angeal!" Both SOLDIER cried at the same time, and Cloud shot the older man a thankful glance as he shut them up with one look. At last someone was on his side in this whole mess...
    'But That’s not entirety true. The General also tried to talk him out of it.' Cloud thought, 'The Lieutenant just ignored him!'
    This was something that totally stunned him: How could anyone just ignore the great General, just like this. And call him nicknames and interrupt him in his work.
    And he got away with it, seeing as he was still alive and kicking.

    "Don’t 'But Angeal' me." while Zack and Genesis tried to discuss with him, he just took Cloud out of Zack's arm without much resistance from the puppy.
    With a slight pat to the soft hair he sat the boy back down.

    He ignored Zack's triumphant "Ha! So you can't resist either!" just like he ignored Genesis knowing grin.

    For a moment the boy staggered a bit, after being thrown around the whole time, but he found his footing quickly and gave Angeal a shy, thankful smile.

    "Awww..." but before Genesis was able to grab the petite teen, Angeal intercepted him and held his wrist.

    Angeal ignored Genesis loud protest just like Zack's sad whimpering, since he was used to it just as much as Sephiroth.
    You can't just let the tow of them get away with anything they want, that would be no good.

    As Zack tried another tactic, when he noticed that Angeal didn't even look his way!
    How were the Puppy dog eyes supposed to work when to other didn't even see them!? That totally ruins the effect, at last half the times, if not more often!

    With a pout the raven-haired SOLDIER let himself fall on his a**, of course making sure to make as much noise as possible, to make certain that everyone was looking at poor little misunderstood Zack, and looked from Angeal to Cloud.
    With wide eyes he shoot a begging glance from under his bangs to the blond cadet and reached out to him: "Chocobo..." 'Come to me and let me squeeze you!' he seems to beg without words.

    Even if he didn’t said it loud, they could all understand it clearly...

    Immediately Cloud made an quick step back, just to be sure to stay out of his reach, so he wouldn’t be tackled and grabbed again, and the whole throwing in the air and spinning around until he felt like vomiting would start all over again.
    His stomach just settled down, he really would prefer to stay away from the hyper Lieutenant.
    Accidentally he walked into Angeal, who still towered behind him, and with a startled squeak the blond cadet turned around and apologized.
    "Its alright, boy, no harm done." he said with a kind smile. "But what where you doing, before the puppy kidnapped you?"
    "Hey! That's Chocobo-napping, not Kidnapping! He's my cute little Chocobo, after all, can't you see that?! And I didn’t do anything! I already told you, I found him, fair and square! So I can keep him, he said so himself! And I’m not a puppy, don’t call me that!" he whined the last part, but Angeal just ignored his tantrum and patted his hair.

    "Sure you're not."
    For a moment the violet eyes closed, and the pout turned into a content expression, and since no one said anything, they could hear the happy hum.
    But then suddenly his eyes snapped open again, and he pushed the big hand away and tried to fix his mussed up hair.
    " 'Geal~" he whined again, and for a moment Cloud was unsure if he should smile or not. The SOLDIER really looked like a kicked puppy who didn’t get his way...

    "I’m also for keeping him!" Genesis repeated his support for the puppy, earning a dark glare from Angeal and the General. Not that it stopped him from grabbing Clouds arm to drag him against his chest before Angeal could hold him back again.
    With a grin the red-head ruffled Cloud's hair until it looked even more messed up than it already had, causing both of them to squeak.
    Cloud in startled embarrassment, and Genesis in happy excitement:
    "Its soft! Like a Chocobo-chick!"

    But since he kept his feet on the ground this time, it was possible for Cloud to struggle somehow out of his hold and slip under his arm away.
    At last one time when his small size worked in his favor!
    But by now Zack was up from his seat an the floor again and he tried to sneak up at the boy from his other side, a wide grin again on his face, while blue eyes watched Genesis warily.

    "Come on, GenGen, together we will catch Choco."
    "Don’t worry, little one, we are not going to hurt you."
    "Yeah, we are really nice, promise!"

    That didn’t really sounds as calming as the two of them probably intended it.
    But that was maybe because both of them are taller then Cloud, stronger, SOLDIERs, and also his superiors. Even if their sanity seems to be questionable at best, if you look at their smiles...
    And Genesis' fingers twitched again towards the blond spikes...

    And those are the feared Top-SOLDIERs of Shin Ra? Do you have to be insane to rise to such a high rank in the military? A glance in Lieutenant Fair and Commander Rhapsodos' bright glittering eyes and twitching fingers told him 'Yes, you have to be insane to work here'
    But then there are Commander Hewley and General Sephiroth, who both tried to help him, and who acted normal, sane.

    And so Cloud did what every Chocobo would do in his place, when faced with two predators: He hid behind Angeals broad back, leaning lightly against it without noticing it, and holding onto the dark uniform, before finally answering his question.
    "I was just supposed to deliver those reports from my instructor to the General and then go back to my class."
    'But there was never any talk about an attack on me!' went unsaid.
    But the suspicious look toward Zack said more then enough.

    He risked a quick glance to Zack and Genesis, just to make sure that Angeal was still safely between himself and the clingy SOLDIERs, before the short cadet turned around to the desk behind him to finally hand over the papers.
    Its really a small wonder he didn’t loose at last some of them, that they didn't get messed up, or simply ripped apart by the puppy.
    With a salute he held them out to the General still standing behind his desk.

    Sephiroth nodded at him as he took the reports, and also noticed the relief on the young face at finally completing his task as he watched him out of the corner of his eyes.
    A task that turned out to be more difficult then at appeared at first.
    More difficult then it should be.

    Now all he had to do was finding a safe way out of the office...
    But sadly, there is only one door in this room, and to get there he has to pass a certain red-head, and the living bouncy ball.

    Sephiroth noticed the boy's problem and decided to give him a hand. It was not his fault, after all, that some (unnamed) First's are not all there in head at times.

    Suddenly he looked at them and yelled "Full cover!!!"
    Out of reflex and without asking any questions both Genesis and Zack dropped down to the ground, their bodies flat, their faces on the floor, and their hands covering their heads.

    Endless hours of training and many missions together taught them to not ask questions and just obey if the General uses this tone of voice.
    Angeal just stood there with his arms crossed over his chest and shook his head. With a dark eyebrow raised at them he looked down at his friend and his student lying motionless and obediently at his his feet.

    Sephiroth nodded at Cloud to go, the path is clear, and the boy saluted sharply at him and Commander Hewley, before turning around and running to the door as quickly as he could. The path may be clear now, but who knows how long his luck would hold?

    As they heard the quick steps passing them, Zack and Genesis finally noticed that they were tricked, that there was no sudden attack from Ninjas or angry Bahamuts, neither did the ceiling fall down on their heads, The ground didn't fall away from under then, and they jumped up from the floor with a angry shout.
    But even their quick reflexes couldn’t stop Cloud's escape, as the door closed with a soft sound behind his departing back.

    "Chocobo..." murmured Genesis disappointed, while Zack beside him just whimpered a sad "Spiky..."

    The duo shared a short look, and Zack gave a fake cough, making his mentor look at him again with a raised eyebrow: "Äh, yes, well, I think I should go. I have to.. yes... äh... and than..." without coming up with a good excuse go after Cloudy.
    "Yes, right!" Genesis nodded eagerly, "Now that you remind me, I have to be there, too!"

    Sephiroth grabbed Genesis by the back of his collar, and Angeal did the same with his puppy before they could do more than one step to the door.
    "Hey, what are you doing!? I was just about to leave you to your precious paperwork."
    "Yeah, and this time you don’t even have to throw us our yourself!"
    "Yes, we are leaving on our own!"
    Angeal just shock his head at the two idiots he called his friends:
    "You better calm down, because you two will go no where for the moment."
    "Its for your own good, believe me. We just want to make sure you don’t go and ambush that poor cadet in the shower or something."

    Genesis froze in Sephiroth's grip and starred at Angeal with a weird glint in his eyes.
    "You know," he said slowly as everyone starred at him as if watching a ticking time bomb. "I would have tried the Training ground or his class first, since his instructor sent him, but I like your idea a lot better!"
    Quickly he turned around and used Sephiroth's surprise to press a light kiss on his cheek.
    As he passed Zack, he stroked quickly through the dark hair: "Down, puppy."

    And with that Genesis run laughing out of the door before anyone could grab him...

    "Great, now he's going to steal my friend! I saw him first!" Zack complained with a pout.
    "Are you sure he didn’t just say that he wants to be your friend just to get away from your insane a**?" Sephiroth said absentmindedly, while his eyes wandered already over the reports he was just given. His smirk never showed on his face, or in his voice as he teased his Lieutenant.

    A loud wail of despair followed that statement, and Zack looked close to tears and hugged Angeals arm: "That’s not true, Angeal, right? He is my friend, don’t wants to hide from me, right?" he tugged desperately at the taller man. "Spiky likes me, right? I can see him again?" more tugging, even as Angeal tried to shake the teen off. "I can play with my Chocobo later, right?"

    Angeal didn’t say anything and just shook his head, wondering if he could hit his head against the wall and knock himself out this way. It would be easier than to argue with Zack.
    But than again, a wall is not hard enough to knock a SOLDIER of their caliber out, and he would only make holes into the walls, which would make Sephiroth angry...

    So he just forgot about it and took a bar of dark chocolate out of his pocket and handed it over to Zack, who gave a happy squeal and finally let go of his mentor to take of with his prize.

    He hugged Angeal around the neck as thanks and took off through the door, nearly forgetting to open it before passing through, before Sephiroth could confiscate the sweet treat. "I’m going to find Genesis, I will be back later!"

    The General shoot his friend a dark look: "Do you have to give him sugar? Isn’t he bad enough as it is?"
    'Well, at last I’m not the one who has to deal with the brat.' the thought to comfort himself a bit.
    Angeal just shrugged his shoulders: "I had to get rid of him. I have a mission in 20 minutes, and I have to get ready for it."
    "What? Angeal!"
    His friend just turned around with a smirk. "Well, have fun with the puppy, General. And please a an eye on him, I don’t want him to get stuck again in the ventilation system just because he wants to play ninja!"
    But the door already closed on Sephiroth's panicked yell. Just before it shut behind his friends form, he heard a certain Lieutenant happily shout "Chocobo!!!" followed by a startled shriek that sounded suspiciously like their little cadet...

    The End heart

    1. Just think of Rafiki presenting Simba after he was born ;D
    2. My parents told me something similar when I was little, and we visited the Zoo (I was always a Fan of the big cats biggrin )

    The whole thing started with a single picture I had in my head: Zack is holding Cloud up under his arms, nose to nose with Sephiroth, who just wonders: "Are cadets supposed to change color?"
    And then I wrote around that...