Unnamed Story

BY : Roaming_Firefly
Category: Final Fantasy VII > Yaoi - Male/Male > Sephiroth/Vincent
Dragon prints: 2592
Disclaimer: see full disclaimer below

Warnings: strong language



Chapter 12 - Financial Woes



"Alright Nami, hit me." said the Archdaemon, her elbows propped on her desk and her hands pressed together and against her lips.

"Twenty-one thousand and five hundred Jin. And that's just to get the harbour to minimum working order. Not including the amount for the damaged and destroyed goods." replied the ginger-haired young woman with large, intelligent, dark-brown eyes. Sephiroth guessed that she must be some kind of finance minister.

Tah'rh remained very still for a very long time. Sephiroth glanced about in mild annoyance. Since nobody had had the time in all this commotion to see to him and Vincent, they were simply dragged along where ever the Archdaemon went. So now here they were, in the capital city of the 7th Circle, in the Archdaemon's palace and in the Archdaemon's office, standing around like idiots while the highest officials of the Circle discussed important state matters that he was pretty sure slaves weren't meant to hear. Presently nobody paid them any mind, but that doesn't mean things won't go badly when somebody finally does notice the new slaves in the Archdaemon's office. Sephiroth glanced to his side. As always, the ex-Turk seemed to be taking everything with an admirable calm acceptance. Sephiroth had to admit, he was not unhappy that Vincent was here with him.

"Fuck." the Archdaemon finally said. She took a deep breath before continuing, "Blood and fire... We've just had to dip into the Circle's reserves to repair the Central Bridge. How are we going make that kind of money to get the harbour to working condition in time for the opening of the summer vortices... But if we don't get the exports out, we'll NEVER be able to haul our asses out of the red."

"We can take out a loan from the other Circles." suggested Tseng gently.

"No..." the Archdaemon slowly rubbed her forehead, "we've already been borrowing too much from them. You said yourself that taking out loans from other Circles too often will give them an impression of weakness. Those vultures will pick on us, or worse."

"We have...never taken out a loan from the 4th Circle." suggested Nami reluctantly.

"Absolutely not." the Archdaemon glared from behind her hand, "That old man's money is waaay too dirty—even by Hell's standards. I'm not touching that stuff."

They all fell silent after that, none of them able to think of a better solution.

The Archdaemon sighed, "Well what about the other statistics? How many injured, how many killed, how are the hospitals doing, etcetera."

"Those numbers are still coming in, but the hospitals are packed. Most of the injured seem to be those gang members who were involved in the riot..."

"And they have the gall to be sitting in there, using up my resources to care for the injuries they've acquired while destroying my harbour?" the Archdaemon growled, "They should be the ones paying for the damages! In fact, Nami, write this down: as right now, anybody who gets themselves injured from destroying Circle property will be charged a Property Damage Tax of three times of whatever their hospital bills are!"

"But Tah'rh, the majority of those gang members are sailors and dock-workers, they don't have that kind of money!" argued Nami.

"Then put them on a fucking payment plan!" the Archdaemon seethed, "What were they fighting about anyways? Somebody showed up at a party in the same outfit as somebody else?"

"From what we currently understand," answered Tseng, "is that a young man from Setarip and a young woman from Sajnin took a liking to each other. They attempted to elope and failed, and the two gangs blamed each other for the affair."

"WHAT! They went into a riot for that? This is fucking 7th Circle of Hell! Not some worm-eaten Broadway musical! Can't they at least have the decency to destroy my harbour for something more...demonic? Like loosing the inter-Circle team-disket championships at the seventh game of the finals like they did fucking last worm-begotten YEAR?!" the Archdaemon practically jumped out of her chair in explosive rage.

A vase near her desk cracked before bursting into flames. Tseng calmly waved a hand over it to quell the flames, then smoothly tossed it into the trash.

The Archdaemon sighed and dropped back into her chair, rested her head on its back and stared into the ceiling.

"We'll figure something out, Archdaemon." said Tseng quietly, sounding very much like someone who didn't truly believe his own words, but was determined to make those words true.

"Call me that again and I'll bloody rip your face off." said Tah'rh in a dry monotone. One corner of Tseng's lips quirked up a little at that.

Suddenly, the Archdaemon rocked forward in her chair and shouted joyfully at the door, "Well, if you're here, why skulk around like that? Come in already!" The door to the office swung open on its own accord as if responding to its sovereign's will.

Both Sephiroth and Vincent tensed when a head of silver hair and a pair of dark blue eyes poked in from the doorway. Neither of them had sensed this person's presence...at all. That had never happened at this close a distance before, not even with the other demons.

Inside Vincent's mind, his demons gave a low, uneasy growl.

"I heard there's been some massive property damage going on...again... I thought it might be safer for me to stay out here for a while." smiled the silver-haired young man.

Tah'rh snorted as Nami snickered.

"Plus...Cissnei caught me on the way here, and asked me to help her bring this here..." the young man took a step so that his entire body was now visible from the doorway, and between his arms was a tall stack of various papers and reports.

"Oh you have got to be kidding me! There had better be some 100 Jin bills in there somewhere." groaned the Archdaemon.

The young man chuckled as he strode to the Archdaemon's desk and deposited the stack of papers. Then he and the Archdaemon clasped their hands and pulled each other into a warm hug, their tails raising in genuine pleasure.

"It's good to see you again, sis."

Sephiroth watched in curiosity. It was easy to see the family resemblance between the two. In fact, this young man could have been the Archdaemon's double, only in a different gender, different colouration, dressed in all black instead of all white, and a gentler demeanor. And like the Archdaemon, he was also bare-footed.

"Good to see you too, Fah'yn." smiled the Archdaemon, "How's work? All's going well I hope?"

"Oh you know, same old same old. I see that the same can be said for the 7th."

Tah'rh humphed good-humouredly and rolled her eyes. Fah'yn then greeted Tseng and Nami with equal warmness.

"Where's Reno?" asked Fah'yn.

"He's still at Sunless Harbour, overseeing the clean-up." answered Tseng.

"Ah...that's too bad..." Fah'yn's tail drooped a little.

Nami hid a smirk behind her hand.

"And these two quiet fellows here, are they your new slaves, sis?" Fah'yn turned to Vincent and Sephiroth.

"Yep. So, what do you think?"

"They're beautiful..." Fah'yn stared at the two men with wide eyes. He leaned closer—his blue eyes turning silver from the center—and sniffed. Sephiroth frowned in irritation, Fah'yn then blinked and drew back.

"I'm sorry, that was very rude of me. It's a bad habit from my job, you see," apologized the young man, "let me properly introduce myself. I'm Fah'yn, Warden of Hades and twin of your rather temperamental master here. May I know your names?"

Sephiroth studied the young man carefully. It seemed that his offer of goodwill was sincere enough. And as a slave, he wasn't sure if he really had a choice about whether or not to give his name.

"Sephiroth."

"Vincent. Vincent Valentine."

Fah'yn repeated their names to himself a few times as if to memorize their shaping, then smiled warmly, "It's very nice to meet you, Sephiroth and Vincent Valentine."

"Amazing, aren't they? Almost look and smell exactly like true hybrids," said the Archdaemon as she came up to them, "had I been someone else, I might not have been able to tell the difference."

Fah'yn nodded thoughtfully, "To have modified a human to be this close to a hybrid...the things they must have had to do..."

The Archdaemon snorted derisively, "Just like humans to be willing to go this far. I don't even want to know how many demons they've forced into this one here. And that one, modified since his time in the womb! And I thought the care that human mothers are reputed to give their offsprings was the one redeeming factor for the species. Not even Wasteland vultures would toss their own chicks to the hounds!"

Sephiroth's pupils constricted at that, but to his surprise, it was Vincent who growled at the Archdaemon, his red eyes practically glowing.

"Do NOT speak of things of which you know nothing, demoness! His mother was not... You have no idea of the circumstances..."

"Oh really? Did your so-called 'scientists' or 'doctors' or whatever drag his mother kicking and screaming to the examination table? Chained her down? Locked her up? For all the months this needed to be done? Risking a miscarriage from the combined stress of that plus the physical stress of introducing foreign genetic material into the womb? Were there no personal gain of any kind for her? For participating in the modification of her unborn child?" the Archdaemon sneered at the angry ex-Turk.

Vincent's eyes truly glowed now, but he clenched his jaw and didn't refute her. He looked like he wanted to say something more, but then he suddenly noticed Sephiroth's mako eyes on him and quickly darted his own crimson orbs away.

"Um, sis," Fah'yn cleared his throat, "you look like you have a whole lot of things to take care of, and these two must be tired and hungry from following you around all day. Why don't I help you take them to their quarters and get them settled in?"

Tah'rh eyed the large stack of reports on her desk, "Ah, yes, that's a good idea. You know more about keeping humans alive than I do anyways. I've prepared some rooms for them at the west end. It's the one with the red door."

Fah'yn nodded and ushered the two men into the palace's maze-like hallways.

"Sorry about that," said Fah'yn gently once they were alone in the winding hallways of the Archdaemon's palace, "Tah'rh sometimes say things without thinking. She wasn't purposely trying to insult your loved ones."

Vincent tried to look anywhere but into Sephiroth's intense mako gaze, and tried to change the subject, "Why do you feel the need to apologize? She is the Archdaemon, and we are only her slaves."

"But you're not my slaves. There's nothing wrong with me apologizing to you, is there?"

"..."

Fah'yn chucked lightly, "And you don't need to worry so much about your status. Tah'rh really doesn't care what anyone does as long as they don't break something expensive. If anyone here tries to bully you, just fight them back as much as you need. You don't need to hold anything back. That's what demons do really, challenge each other, test each other for weaknesses. If you show them that you are strong and stand your ground, then they'll back off. Oh, and if anyone tries to make any sexual advances, you can just accept if you want to, or refuse if you like. Contrary to human lore, demons actually prefer their partners to be willing..."

See? What have we been trying to tell you? Scoffed Chaos.

"...Although...some of them have rather vague definitions of 'willing'... And some of them have the power to force you to become willing..."

Vincent gave his demons a pointed mental glare.

"...But I'm sure you'll be fine. I trust that my sister had made a careful choice despite all her belly-aching."

"Ah, I think this is it." Fah'yn stopped in front of a red door. All three pairs of eyes widened as they entered. The room was choked full with a wild assortment of various objects: there was a pile of pillows, a big round rock, a giant lamp, a large tank of water, a pile of gravel, a tub of sand, a few bales of hay, a bowl of bones, a scratching-post, and what looked like a giant hamster wheel, among other, smaller objects. And from where Vincent was standing, it looked like the adjacent room was filled with tires, logs and nets and resembled the enclosures of gorillas and monkeys he'd seen in zoos.

Fah'yn rubbed his forehead. "That sister of mine... Hold on a second..." His blue eyes went distant and unfocused for a few moments.

"There are some more rooms close by that are more suitable. Please come with me."

The young man led them down some more hallways before stopping at a white door, "See if this one is more to your liking."

Vincent and Sephiroth slowly entered what looked like a modest, cozy one-bedroom suite, complete with living-room, kitchen, toilet, and bath and shower. Large glass doors let in the sunlight from one side of the living-room, and opens to a comfortable-looking porch, which then leads to a small garden, then an impressive, dense forest.

"Is this...usual for slaves?" asked Vincent, showing an expression of surprise that Sephiroth rarely got to see on the stoic gunman.

"No, not really." answered Fah'yn, "The previous Archdaemons of the 7th had a building that was specifically built for housing slaves, but since sis had banned slaves from the Circle, and didn't see herself ever getting any, she converted it into something more...err...'economically viable'. A casino I think it was. Even with you here, she didn't think it was worth the investment to build another slave house, and the Archdaemon's palace has plenty of unused guest rooms anyways, so she figured she'll just give you one of those. So, do you like it?"

"It's...very nice..." said Vincent carefully, unsure of what else he should say. This Archdaemon might be a little...eccentric...but he still wasn't sure if he could really refuse anything she or her brother chose for him. And besides, this was already far beyond his expectations. Sephiroth simply nodded curtly as he continued to study the rooms around him.

"Hmm...it's a little sparsely furnished though... This one hasn't been used in a very long time. We'll probably have to bring in a few more chairs and tables...maybe some rocking chairs for the porch... The kitchen needs some more work too... We'll probably be needing some extra bedding and pillows for the bedroom... And you'll probably need some more toiletries..." Fah'yn mumbled to himself as he walked around the rooms, his tail tapping thoughtfully behind him.

Vincent turned to the silver-haired young man from his own inspections and found a pile of pillows—the same pile that had been in the first room—mysteriously lying in one corner of the sparsely-furnished bedroom. The ex-Turk narrowed his eyes at them. His memory had always been exceptional, and he was certain that those pillows had not been there just a moment ago.

"...But that can come a bit later. The essentials are all here. I'll go and see if I can find you two something to eat. Why don't you look around in the meantime and tell me if there are any specific furnishings or other things you'll need."

"Is that...really alright?" asked Vincent uncertainly.

"Of course!" Fah'yn gave the ex-Turk a wide, disarming smile, "My sister might be a bit of a miser, but she'll spend the money if you can give her good reasons to do so. If you need anything, just tell me, and I'll talk to her for you." With that, he left the room in search of some food for his sister's new slaves.

Now alone in the room with Sephiroth, Vincent pretended the best he could that he did not feel the heat of the former general's mako gaze descending upon his back like the rays of a desert sun, even though he knew very well the futility.

"Vincent, just then, what you said...you knew my mother? You saw what they did..."

"No...I..." the ex-Turk refused to meet the former general's gaze and instinctively began to draw away.

"VALENTINE!" bellowed Sephiroth as he reached forward to stop the ex-Turk, desperate and near bursting from hope and frustration. Sixty. The pale gunman had said he was sixty. That meant he had already been a grown man at the time of Sephiroth's birth. Twenty-seven. He'd have been twenty-seven then. Age enough, experienced enough, to perhaps have been in the first division of the Turks, maybe even 1st or 2nd in command. He knew things. He had to know things. He had pretty much admitted it in his outburst to the Archdaemon.

Vincent caught Sephiroth's hand shooting towards him from the corner of his eye, and his body instantly moved in reflex. He slapped away the reaching hand and swung his elbow right into the ex-general's face.

Sephiroth staggered back a few steps and eyed the ex-Turk's fully battle-ready defensive stance. The stinging from his jaw and cheek not nearly as bad as the strange constricting sensations in his chest at the ex-Turk's defensiveness. Roaring in frustration and other, unknown emotions, he charged into Vincent, knocking them both hard against the wall.

Vincent immediately retaliated, bringing all his Turk ruthlessness and his savage demon claws into play. Sephiroth reacted in kind with his own warrior's ferocity, and the two of them tumbled across the room, crashing into what few furnitures there were in the area, before Sephiroth finally succeeded in pinning the ex-Turk to the ground, his arms wrapped tightly around Vincent's head and left shoulder. The former general pressed his own left shoulder downwards to squeeze the arm with the dangerous demonic claw against the ex-Turk's neck and away from the former general's body, and also to try to weaken the struggling ex-Turk by constricting his air supply. Vincent continued to struggle violently, but with his legs and claw angled uselessly away from his opponent's body and his human hand ineffective against the battle-hardened warrior, he could not throw off Sephiroth's greater weight no matter how hard he tried. The gunman's eyes began to flicker gold.

Smarting from more than a few claw marks and bruises, and guessing himself to look no better than a beggar with what was left of his make-shift clothing, Sephiroth took a deep breath as he prepared to yell his frustration out at the impossible man under him, beyond caring that it would be a most unusual display from his usually cold and stoic self. He stopped short however, when he caught the scent of...something... It was coming from Vincent, and it smelled...good. Sephiroth turned his nose a little closer to the pale ex-Turk, silver brows furrowed as he tried to investigate this strange, faint smell.

"BLOOD AND FIRE! What the FUCK did I JUST say about property damage!" the door smacked against the wall as the Archdaemon came charging in.

Still tangled on the floor, the two men turned to her in surprise, and she suddenly stopped in her tracks.

Fah'yn came running in right then, juggling what looked and smelled like a pot of tea in his left hand and some kind of squealing boar under his right arm, and he also stopped dead in his tracks...when he came upon the frozen frame of his twin and a certain...glint in her eyes.

"Um... Sis...?"

"Say, Fah'yn, you've been out and about before you got here. Tell me, how are people reacting to the news of me purchasing slaves?" asked Tah'rh, her eyes unmoving from said slaves.

The silver-haired young man's brows furrowed, "They're quite surprised and gossiping about it quite vigorously. ...As we all already knew they would."

"But how fast and widely has the news travelled?"

"As fast as always. Even the Spirit Realm's now talking about it. ...Why?"

"I just had a GREAT idea to make us some good, fast cash." Tah'rh said as a wide, ominous grin began to spread across her face, her dark eyes never leaving the tangled forms of her new slaves.

Fah'yn looked worriedly between his sister and the two unfortunate souls on the floor. That grin had never meant well for the subjects of her money-making schemes.



Disclaimer: Nami of the manga and anime series "One Piece" belongs to Eiichiro Oda. I'm only borrowing her and make no profit from her. The only characters in this chapter that are my own creations are Tah'rh and Fah'yn.



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