Unnamed Story

BY : Roaming_Firefly
Category: Final Fantasy VII > Yaoi - Male/Male > Sephiroth/Vincent
Dragon prints: 2604
Disclaimer: see full disclaimer below



Chapter 5 - Information



Vincent's quiet acceptance of everything was infuriating. Sephiroth didn't know why it was bothering him so. But it was. During feeding time, the ex-Turk followed his cellmates and retrieved his handful of food without a hint of protest. Even Gooey-Duck furrowed his brows at the easy grace with which the man performed his forced obeisance.

When the water tray was slid in Vincent was the last to go for it. Just as the ex-Turk was reaching for the water, Gooey-Duck slapped his bound hands away with his whip.

"On your hands and knees like the good-for-nothing slave you are!" the slave trader commanded.

The ex-Turk complied and lowered his lips to the water. Growling, the slave trader kicked the tray and splashed its contents all over Vincent. The other occupants of the cage tensed, but Vincent simply sat silently with his eyes averted. Gooey-Duck snorted down his nose and moved on to more entertaining victims. Vincent stayed where he was until Gooey-Duck began to head for the door. Sephiroth watched as the ex-Turk finally lifted his eyes to the slave trader's receding back. Those crimson orbs burned. Sephiroth found himself smirking in satisfaction at the sight.

Genesis on the other hand, was still adapting to his situation poorly. He laid on the far side of his cage and ignored everything and everyone. Gooey-Duck was not worried however, the slave trader was confident that hunger and thirst will eventually make the firedrake submit.

The children seemed to have gained some confidence since the previous night's ordeal. They were more open to converse with Fenris, and even tried communicating with N'geal via gestures.

Sephiroth studied the 'human' children, his mind still raced through question after question that the conversations from the previous night had left. Although Inuyasha and Fenris had claimed them to be human, the children did exhibit some oddities that would say otherwise. The boy, for example, had hair that was a decidedly inhuman bluish-silver. Even Sephiroth's own silver mane could be passed off as a premature white. But perhaps the boy's hair had been dyed, as odd a colour choice as that was. And the girl had heard the slave trader's footsteps even before the ex-general's enhanced hearing did. Although she could have simply imagined it in her panicked state and got lucky.

"Fenris, how are you so sure that those children are human?" Sephiroth questioned out loud.

"Of course we're human! What else can we be?" Nana huffed, offended, before Fenris could answer.

"You seem to have superior hearing abilities than what humans should possess," Sephiroth turned his cold mako eyes on the girl, "you heard the coming of the slave trader when no human should have been able."

"Well we're a little different, is all. But we're definitely human!" Nana insisted defensively, not at all fazed by Sephiroth's cold attitude.

"Nana," Husky stopped the girl before she could continue, "let him think what he likes, it's no matter."

"But..." Nana looked back at her friend. She looked like she wanted to say something, but stopped herself and conceded. Crossing her arms, she humphed at Sephiroth and pointedly turned her back on him. Partially hidden behind her long golden hair, Sephiroth noticed a tattoo resembling bat wings on the girl's shoulder-blades. The style of the tattoo matched the abstract, wave-like patterns that were drawn on Husky's neck.

Fenris cocked an eyebrow in question at Sephiroth.

"If you're wondering how they can tell who's human and who's not—it's their nose." Nero cut in nonchalantly from the other end of the cage. Sephiroth's mako eyes narrowed at the youth.

Fenris watched Sephiroth closely with a strange expression on his face. "You...don't know what Inuyasha and I are, do you?"

Noticing the attention from not only his cellmates, but also N'geal, Sephiroth carefully gave a slight shake of his head.

"You really don't..." steel-blue eyes widened, then the wolf-eared young man leaned closer, lowering his voice, "are you... you're not from this world, are you?"

"...as far as I can tell, I assume not..." Sephiroth answered warily.

Those large steel-blue eyes leaned ever closer, "Did...something happen? Did you see a flash of light? Feel like you were being sucked into something? Did you fall into the sky? Or fall from it? Did you land in a rocky desert with a yellow sky?"

Sephiroth's eyes widened. Suddenly, Fenris beamed.

"ME TOO! Oh, and also Inuyasha."

Sephiroth blinked at the excitable young man, and then looked to Inuyasha, who was watching with his ears turned to full alert towards them. A few paces away, Husky and Nana also stirred and moved closer.

"You too?" Fenris asked them. The children nodded.

"How long ago was that?"

Husky and Nana exchanged a look between them, then Husky answered, "We're not sure, we've been knocked out and captured right after we...fell... We were already here when we woke up."

"Then that would make it only about a week before Inuyasha..." Fenris's brows furrowed. He turned to Sephiroth, "What about you Seph, were you and Valentine taken by slavers shortly after you came to this world too?" Sephiroth nodded, and Fenris's brows knit tighter together.

"That's strange... these thing's shouldn't be happening this often...or this close together..."

N'geal made a derisive sound, "This has to be the crime-rings' doing."

Fenris nodded solemnly in agreement, then turned back to the patiently waiting Sephiroth.

"Erm... I guess I should start from the beginning," Fenris scratched his head sheepishly. "How did he explain it again..." he muttered to himself and paused to gather his thoughts, "well, as you might have already known or guessed, there are more worlds out there than the ones we lived in—entire universes, as numerous as the stars. Think of these worlds as stars, and think of them as all swirling around each other, looking like a whirlpool. Well, actually what's really swirling around is this... flow of energy... that flows through all the worlds and connects them all... like a... like a..."

"Like a Lifestream?" Sephiroth suggested.

"Yes! Man! that's a good name for it! And I was going to call it something lame like, 'The Force' or something! 'Lifestream', that's a perfect name for it! I think I'm going to use it from now on," declared Fenris,

"It does have a name pup," said N'geal, "it's called the Aether Currents, or 'The Currents' for short."

Fenris cleared his throat in an attempt to cover his embarrassment, then continued, "So this...Current flows around the multiverse and gathers around the Inner Axis, that is, Heaven and Hell. But before reaching there, they pass through the Outer Axis, which is the Dream Realm and the Spirit Realm. And after that, they pass through the Wastelands before they enter Hell Proper." Fenris began to indicate the different places with pieces of leftover food pellets.

"The Dream Realm is exactly what it says it is. It is a realm of thoughts and feelings, nothing physical or material exists there. The Spirit Realm is home to a whole lot of different creatures, and to the Watchers. You might have heard of them, they're usually referred to as Gods of Death, or Soul Reapers, or the like. They are the guardians of the...Currents, they travel all across the different worlds and watch for anything that should not be there, or should be there but is not. Heaven and Hell are the native lands of angels and demons, respectively, but other beings live there too."

"So since everything is connected by the Currents, sometimes major catastrophes happen in some worlds that disturbs its flow, and sometimes vortices form and suck things from one world to another. Most of the time they don't go into the Axis. Even when they do they usually land in the Spirit Realm. Only in rare occasions do they land as far in as the Wastelands."

"So you think that someone's been tampering with this 'Current' to make these vortices happen more often than they should?" asked Sephiroth, "as a way to acquire slaves?"

Fenris nodded, "demon lords like to show off to each other, and one way to do so is to own rare slaves, and they are willing to pay a LOT for those. Rare slaves are usually either creatures who live in the Wastelands that are very hard to catch—like that firedrake or those plants, or unlucky ones, like us, who got caught in one of those vortices and end up landing in the Wastelands."

"The Wastelands is neutral territory between Heaven, Hell and the Spirit Realm." explained N'geal, "the Trinity watch each other like hawks. They forbid each other from directly interfering with the mortal worlds for fear that the other will gain too much power from gathering too many powerful beings. But anything that arrives by "accident" in the Wastelands is fair game. Although on the surface they all agree that manipulating the Aether Currents for selfish gain is wrong and illegal, only the Watchers truly care. Heaven and Hell really only care about gaining an edge over each other. The Watchers alone can't keep an eye on everything in the multiverse, and the rare-slave trade is extremely lucrative."

"There are two crime organizations in the Axis that are powerful enough to try something like this: The Loveless and The Nobodies," Fenris continued, "I'd not be surprised that such a successful slave trader as Gooey-Duck has at least some connection to them."

Sephiroth silently contemplated and digested all this information. He noticed that Vincent too, was listening intently in his quiet corner. The man seemed to gather shadows and silence about himself simply by being there. Not even Fenris had been immune to this peculiar aura the ex-Turk exuded.

"You two seem to have been well-informed regarding this matter." the quiet gunman suddenly spoke, the first time he did since the night he woke.

N'geal grinned humourlessly, "Being former commander of the 1st division of a Circle army gives you some access to information in the shadier sides of Axis politics. And the wolf-pup was once in the middle of it."

Sephiroth's eyes turned to Fenris. The spiky-haired young man's clear eyes had darkened as one of his hands reached to touch a greenish tattoo on his shoulder.

"Before...being sold to Gooey-Duck, I was once sold to a mage from the 4th Circle." Fenris explained, not looking at anyone. He darted a look at the others, then shrugged, "It wasn't so bad, he treated me well enough since he used me as his bodyguard, taught me quite a lot about this place too." Neither the former general nor the ex-Turk was fooled: there was a lot that Fenris wasn't telling about his experiences as a slave.

N'geal humphed, his tail flicked angrily behind him, "His former master was a power-hungry fool. Eventually got himself and all those around him killed. When the slavers brought the pup in, he was in bad shape. They only kept him because they were aware of his former master's habit of-" The centaur stopped himself and darted a look at Fenris, then said no more but contented himself with a stomp of his hoofs and a harsh sigh.

Sephiroth's eyes went over Fenris's bare torso. The young man's bronze skin was marred by many scars. Though quite a few of those were strange to Sephiroth's experience, at least some of those looked suspiciously like the ones that he and Valentine bore from their times in the labs. So...not even this version of Zack had been able to escape this particular fate.

Sephiroth watched as Vincent's eyes scanned Fenris in similar fashion, obviously also recognizing the similarities between the wolf-eared young man's and his own collection of scars. Fenris regarded the ex-Turk back, and met his gaze with a look of understanding.

"I...apologize." said Vincent as he lowered his crimson eyes, "I didn't mean to..."

"It's alright," Fenris smiled kindly at the ex-Turk, "you were right to be cautious. Around here, you have to be careful of who you trust. One thing I've learned while in the service of my former master is that in this world, just about nobody is what they first appear to be."

Nobody said anything for quite some time after that, then suddenly, Fenris straightened and his eyes went wide.

"What is it?" asked Sephiroth.

Fenris slowly turned to him with a sheepish look on his slightly reddish face, "Umm...I haven't actually answered your question, haven't I?"

...

"Me and Inuyasha are both youkai...well, Inuyasha is a hanyou...that is...he's only half youkai, one of his parents was human...but his nose is still pretty good...that's from his youkai parent... ...I'm not making any sense, am I?"

Sephiroth shook his head.

"Well..." Fenris scratched his head and tried again, "are there any dog-youkai or wolf-youkai in your world?"

"I have seen quite a few dogs and wolves, but I have never heard of...'youkai'." answered Sephiroth, trying his best to make sense of the spiky-haired young man's babbling.

"Oh... Well do the dogs and wolves in your world have a good sense of smell?"

Sephiroth nodded, "Some of the most superior amongst all living beings."

"Then think of them in human form...with magic abilities, that's what Inuyasha and I are. I'm a wolf, by the way. And Inuyasha's a dog."

Sephiroth eyed Fenris's and Inuyasha's animal ears and nodded slowly, passing that information to the back of his mind to be processed. Part of said mind caught the word 'magic' and mused at the memories of Hojo's vehement rejection of the word.

"So you are able to identify the nature of other creatures by smell?"

Fenris nodded, "We can also identify them by other things, like their auras and the feel of their energies."

"...And you're confident in your accuracy...?"

"Oh they're very accurate," said N'geal, "canid youkai are much favoured among demon lords for that very talent. There are many creatures in Hell that have the ability to disguise their true natures."

"But...you and Inuyasha were of differing opinions...last night..."

Fenris shrugged, "As sharp as our senses are, we still can't tell things we've never seen before. I trust the puppy. He's got a good nose, even though he is a mangy mutt!"

"Shut up, idiot wolf." retorted a certain 'mangy mutt' most eloquently.

Off in the other end of the cage, Nero didn't even try to hide his smirk—especially not after an annoyed glare from Inuyasha.

Sephiroth nodded in acknowledgement. Underneath his calm exterior however, he was battling the myriad of emotions and thoughts that were threatening to break his careful control. What does this all mean for him? Does this mean he really was human, as Inuyasha and Fenris believed? Yet he looked (and smelled) enough like a 'hybrid'—a half-demon, that even demon lords may not be able to tell the difference. What of Jenova then, was she really a demon of some sort? Had he been combined with her much like Vincent had been with his demons? The former general looked towards the pale gunman. No...it's different...in some ways. Vincent had said that he was born human. He had always known what he is. Even now, sharing the same body, he and his demons were still separate, distinct entities. Not like Sephiroth when Jenova had full control of him, he could barely tell where he began and where Jenova ended. Mako eyes then darted to Inuyasha. Silver hair, pale skin, youkai ears and claws...cat-like eyes...half-youkai. And Nero... Silver hair...pale skin, demonic appendage...half-demon. Sephiroth's own black wing shifted uneasily under his skin. Was there at least some truth to Jenova's claim to be his mother after all? Had he, after numerous deaths and resurrections, and after unwittingly traveling who knows how far across a multitude of universes, finally found a clue to his origins, or had he only found more false information. The former general closed his eyes against the unrest in his core.



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