The Zoo Complex
Chapter III: The zoo complex
How the hell did they end up here?
That was the question that kept popping now and then in Sephiroth's mind, nagging him non-stop like some stubborn kind of haunting bogie. Well, as if his current surrounding wasn't already enough. An unhappy scowl had found its way onto his pretty face and plastered there like a constant tattoo with Hojo's Flashy Amazing Glue, FAG for short, added. Speak of which…
The silver haired ex-general involuntarily shuddered at the fateful memory of a certain clumsy, horny-as-hell, dark haired porcupine head 1st class SOLDIER sticking to his valued backside for one whole painful and absolutely embarrassing week. Don't ask why. Just. Don't. Ask.
No doubt that accurse purple-colored glue with uber-pink sparkle was called 'FAG'.
Unbeknownst to himself, Sephiroth shuddered again.
"Are you cold, Seph?" asked a male voice.
"No." An abrupt reply.
"Are you sure? You were shuddering." The voice asked again.
"No. Zack, I'm fine. And in case you're about to fire that next question in your horny little porcupine head; no, I do not want and am in no need of you to keep me warm."
Big green eyes blinked a few times at his oh-so-cold response, obviously confused. "But my head is no porcupine."
The ex-general's eyes widened slightly as he realized what he had just said. Zack's name rolled off his tongue quite easily as if it was natural when said in such sentence, such situation. His response, as if required no thinking at all, was also automatic. Maybe it was because no one but Zack had ever dared to speak to him like that or maybe it was because just because it was Zack…whatever it was that cheerful and cheeky porcupine head was, all in all, the first and only friend he had ever had. A trustworthy companion—both in and out of battle.
A trustworthy friend whose very own trust he had selfishly betrayed.
The glow in the mako-green eyes became dim suddenly and before the memories of him and his best friend in those earlier days—together at war, watching each other's back, (not that way, you perv!) working on never-ending shitloads of paper files (which Zack always messed up) or (with Sephiroth protesting at first) even slacking off of duty together—could invade his thinking—or in this case, brooding—space even further, the ex-general quickly shut down that part and put it aside.
Instead his attention went to what his 'little brother' had called him earlier. "What did you call me?"
"And what did you call me?" Kadaj asked back. A sharp glare from Sephiroth was all what he earned. The teenager then shrugged. "I figure it would be kinda confusing if I keep calling you 'nii-san' since we still have a fat chance of meeting the other nii-san, I mean Cloud, while we are roaming the Planet here." He pointed out.
"He's got a point." Yazoo quickly backed his little brother up, for he was fully aware of the consequence of their eldest brother's wrath. They had been together for just a day or two but Yazoo was always one to be observant and usually covering his brothers up. He was, after all, during their wondrous journey here, which Sephiroth still couldn't figure how, the one who had killed most of the monsters—always firing them with his new guns even though those poor creatures decided to retreat and had scurried yards and yards away from them.
Sadly enough, none of them escaped Yazoo's gunshot.
On mentioning of Cloud's name, Sephiroth was reminded of their real destination and the still-unanswered question resurfaced again in his mind. Just…why the hell did they end up here, in Gold Saucer instead of Chocobo Farm while this ever-so cheery place, when not necessary, was the last place on his brilliant mind? What was so alike between Gold Saucer and Chocobo Farm anyway?
…Actually, there was one.
Both places had Chocobos.
The eldest silver haired-man sighed. Maybe his plan wasn't completely ruined. Now all he had to do was to find a way to get the chocobo head here. Having decided that, Sephiroth then strutted his way toward the Ghost Square's imposing inn that stood looming not far away from them, for again it was night already.
"So that means we can call him 'Seph'?" Kadaj then turned to ask Yazoo.
"Your head is no porcupine." was all Yazoo's said before they followed Sephiroth's example.
"Are you alright, Zack?" Aeris asked, blinking as she didn't expect one would get a cold after being dead. And man, that was one of the loudest and powerful sneezes she had ever heard.
Zack wiped his nose with the back of his hand. "Nah, someone must have missed me."
Aeris stared at him, folding her delicate arms across her chest. "Who? Samantha, Lily, Nadia, Mary, Jane, Catherine, Olive, Elle, Melissa, Judy, June, Alisia, Eliza, Tiffany, Betty, Patricia, Nicole, Beth, Ching Ching, Yumi, Candy or Wilma? Wait. There're still…Julia and Lila and Nania and Tina and Annie and Rena and…"
The list went on and on.
…Back to Gaia…
"What do you mean there's only one room left?" Sephiroth demanded, raising one elegant silver brow. Apparently, he wasn't satisfied with what he had just heard.
The bloody ragged doll on the string cocked its severely gnawed head to look at his tall form with its hollow eyes. "It means what it means, sir. It's very crowded here this weekend, so…unless you three decide to share a room, there'll be no room for you at all, sir." The doll then cackled evilly. Its evil voice echoed through the spooky-decorated place as it waited on its sling for the sweet money.
"What? You've no problem sharing the room last night, Seph."
"Are you angry with me?"
"You want my head to be porcupine?"
Whether all hell could break loose or dreadful dead silence could graze the room, Yazoo smoothly cut in. "We will take the room."
"200 gil per night, sir."
Yazoo paid it without a second thought.
"Here's the key, sir. Second room on the left, second floor. Enjoy your stay while it lasts!" With one last evil cackle, the ragged doll soared away from their sight.
Luckily enough, despite its being fashioned after some infamous haunted house, the room was quite big and comfortable. There were three beds that looked pretty comfy, soft and…strong enough for one overly-jumpy happy (okay, that was an over-statement but oh well…) teenager to throw all his weight in in one dive. The said teenager was now lying on his stomach—black cap resting aside as he munched on his second dose of caffeine bar he had bought from the previous town and had become one of his favorite snacks while their eldest brother was on the rightmost bed, just next to the window where the red silk curtain hung grandly from above, with his back turned on them, looking as if he was already asleep.
Yazoo sat down on his bed, the leftmost one and was about to bring out his precious to polish and caress when he spotted—finally spotted—something missing. Something…or rather…someone.
More accurately, someone that was their brother.
Kadaj looked up with a chunk of bitten chocolate still between his teeth and lips as he too finally realized that Loz was missing. Big green eyes carefully scanned the room for the big cry baby but no, Loz was nowhere in sight. Kadaj blink once, shrugged and then took the captured chunk of chocolate into his mouth, chewing and savoring the sweet taste. "That baby is lost again." He said eventually, almost in a bored tone.
Yazoo tilted his head, lowering his long dark eyelashes as he voiced in the same tone. "Guess so."
Silence befell the room for a while before…
Yazoo cocked his head and stood up. "I'll go look for him."
Kadaj took another bite from his delicious chocolate. "Tell him I'll tell Mother he was a bad boy getting lost when we get to meet her."
Yazoo smirked. "In that case, you'll need to write it down in some big black book, little brother." With that, he closed the door as quietly as possible as not to awaken the supposedly sleeping ex-general.
As the door closed and his older brother was out of sight, Kadaj finished his addicting caffeine bar and went to retrieve another from his shopping bag—actually it should be called 'snack bag'. His green eyes then traveled toward the still form of his companion. "…" He unwrapped his new caffeine bar and spoke up: "I know you're still awake, Seph."
When there was no response from the other, Kadaj then quietly sneaked closer to the unmoving man. "Seph." He called softly despite the sweet thing in his mouth giving a loud crunch.
Still no response.
Kadaj was now standing just next to the man's bed with the snack still in one of his hands. "Seph." He called again.
Still no response.
"…" His eyebrows creased a little and when he was about to return to his bed, his eyes then caught the flashing light of vivacious firework in the night sky outside peeking through the red curtain's slit. The luminous light reflected on Sephiroth's lengthy liquid-silver hair in striking different shades.
Out of the blue, a light bulb appeared above Kadaj's head. The teenager's lips then cracked into a devious smile.
Yazoo wandered aimlessly from square to square as his search for his older brother hadn't seemed to yet prove successful. The feminine gunman sighed and ran his hand over his mid-back long hair, smoothening it as he had to play slider over and over again that it gave him a throbbing headache in his vain search for Loz. He ran his fingers through his silvery hair again just to make sure it kept tangle-free. Damn Loz and his tendency to get lost. He should have let Kadaj go search for him instead. That boy must have enjoyed the winding slider much more than him.
And he would have had his time for his precious right now.
Sighing and tossing his now-tangle-free hair one last time, the gun-obsessed man jumped into the nearest hole of wondrous doom, namely…
Kadaj raked his fingers through Sephiroth's lengthy tresses. Once. Twice. The older man didn't even stir. He did it again. When the older man didn't move, his grin grew even wider and he left his position to go rummage for something in one of Yazoo's little shopping bags, knowing for certain that that something he needed was…must be in there.
The sound of the teenager digging through things made Sephiroth twitch. Slightly. But he kept his eyes shut and tried to pretend to be asleep despite the younger one knowing he actually wasn't. He twitched again—slightly—as he sensed the younger one approached from behind. Hell, why couldn't someone leave him alone when he was in crucial need of silence and privacy?
Somehow, the boy reminded him of his old friend, Zack even if they bore nothing but playfulness in similar. Yes, playfulness. That was it, for if it were other aspects, Cloud, the chocobo head, who had taken after Zack, adopting his personality and parts of his memories was much more alike to Zack, the porcupine head. Yet the chocobo and the porcupine still differed since their primary personalities were completely different. Besides, Cloud had this more 'submissive and silent' trait in him, thus made him easier to pick on. A whole lot easier.
Maybe he loved bugging Cloud because his sub-consciousness had taken it like some kind of revenge on Zack.
And because Kadaj's playfulness reminded him of Zack, it wasn't that easy to get rid of him by the 'wrath of the god' tactic. And that even made it worse, for it brought back the memories of that one and only friend he had betrayed.
Kadaj's smile didn't leave his lips but grew even wider as he finally got what he wanted. With the caffeine bar stuck between his teeth and the things he had got from Yazoo's stuff in his hands, the silver haired-teenager then made his way toward his lying brother whose minor twitch went un-amiss. As he stood by the bedside, he brought the golden comb up and started combing his brother's hair.
Sephiroth cracked one jade orb open but kept still. What's he up to?
As if sensing his curiosity, Kadaj leaned closer, grabbing a lock of long silvery tresses and whispered into his ear in a sing-song voice: "Sleepy Sephy, go on sleeping, for I am gonna be braiding your pretty, pretty hair."
Abruptly, blazing green orbs snapped open and the 'Sleepy Sephy' turned suddenly, catching the teenager's slim wrist in a bone-crushing grip—neon pink ribbon fell from Kadaj's possession onto the carpeted floor while Masamune materialized in his other hand out of thin air. "Touch my hair and die."
"But I was...touching your hair."
The Masamune drew closer to his poor neck.
"C…come on, Seph. You know if you kill me, the Planet will just spit me out again." Actually, Kadaj wasn't sure if the Planet would and he might have to wait a century in the waiting room alone without anything better to do but for his safely at the moment, the statement seemed to be just the right thing coming out of his mouth as Sephiroth's piercing gaze bore hole into his skull.
Sephiroth gave him a look then closed his eyes, sighing and Kadaj let out the breath he didn't notice he was holding as the legendary sword disappeared to…who-knows-where.
"You, little monkey, couldn't leave me alone, could you?" The ex-general said, rather to himself, sitting up and rubbing his temples.
"…Porcupine, Chocobo and now you call me a monkey?" Kadaj raised a brow, taking a bite from his chocolate as he sat before his brother on the floor. "Then Loz could be a gorilla, I think."
The look Sephiroth gave him next definitely said 'how did you know?' and he chuckled. "I use to be inside you, remember?" A dark look this time and he quickly added. "I mean inside here." He pointed a finger at his temple, smiling knowingly.
"You know too much." Sephiroth muttered and reached out to break a chunk of the caffeine bar sticking out of the younger one's grinning lips from the other end and popped it into his mouth.
"And I know why you said we were heading to Chocobo Farm."
Sephiroth reached for another chunk but Kadaj slapped his hand away. He frowned and was about to open his mouth to say something when the younger one instead handed him a new bar of chocolate.
"This thing is good." said the ex-general as he unwrapped it and took a bite.
The younger one grinned. "Told you."