PROMPT: Write five unconnected scenes (300 words maximum each) involving only two characters. After reading all five, the reader should have a firm understanding of the two characters and their relationship.
Not in chronological order!
Scene 1: Lazard’s POV [211 words]
Heiddeger gave me a headache on the best days, but with casualty reports constantly coming in sleep was coming less and less, and I think I was about ready to just haul off and hit him to see if he was really that dense. The way he talked, like the men were just… expendable…. He didn’t even have the excuse that there was an overwhelming number of them - SOLDIER was a small, elite force. Not that anyone was expendable, but gods damn the man, sometimes he made me so angry.
Sitting at my side with quiet dignity, Sephiroth had just touched my wrist. Just a touch, but I was wound so tightly that I snapped my gaze to him.
A tiny smile danced on the edges of the general’s lips, understanding in his eyes. His voice was so soft, barely a breath, that it was almost more a matter of reading lips to be sure what he’d said.
It was just a moment, unnoticed by the others in those few seconds, but… slowly, I felt myself relax. There was no real point in fighting with Heiddeger - experience had proven that time and again. SOLDIER knew how I felt about them, and that was really what mattered.
Scene 2: Sephiroth’s POV [241 words]
Lazard was going to be the death of himself. It wouldn’t be an executive order, it wouldn’t be an assassination, it wouldn’t be from an ill-advised training exercise with the men - he was going to work himself to death.
It was easy to tell when he was exhausted, particularly once the glasses came off. His eyes were too bright, mako eating through increasingly lower reserves, and there was a dark bruising beneath them that spoke of many sleepless nights. He had trouble sleeping to begin with, but he’d get stuck in his own head and run himself in circles - more than once I’d returned from a mission in the dead of night and found him awake, sometimes not even fully changed as he plowed through paperwork.
It didn’t help that he’d gone and caught something - I couldn’t tell what, he was doing a good job hiding it, but there was a husky note to his voice that would normally have been quite enticing if I didn’t know it was from pain. The usual handkerchief was conspicuously absent halfway through the day, an occasional breathless sneeze escaping despite his efforts as his body rebelled.
The look on his face when I came in and took his coffee, replacing it with honeyed tea, was priceless. Somewhere between offended, embarrassed, and touched, but really, if the man wouldn’t take care of himself, then I suppose I had to do it myself.
Scene 3: Lazard’s POV [296 words]
I saw genuine pain in Veld’s eyes when he came to tell me - personally came instead of sending someone, though I doubted he was supposed to be out of the infirmary; I suppose I should have felt something for that - but it meant nothing.
My hand moved to my throat, uncovered this late at night, thumb brushing the scar still easily felt if not so easily seen, and my eyes lingered over the bandaged shoulder that was all that remained of a once strong arm.
A bitter smile twisted my lips as I met his eyes. Sorry was not enough. My mother… Veld, how could you? Mother… and your wife. Your daughter. I could tell they hadn’t survived it either, from the strain in his voice, and spared a brief moment to hope the three innocent women had died quickly and without suffering.
“How much does he get to take, Veld? Do you even have a line you won’t cross anymore?” Vicious words, despite the quiet delivery. But I meant them. Let him think on it. Let it haunt him. I didn’t care about his answer, however. “Go back to your Turks, Director.”
You have no place here, Veld. Not with me, not now.
I closed the door on him, swallowing thickly and leaning against it. I was barely aware of my surroundings until I was pulled against a broad, warm chest, heartbeat strong and alive beneath my ear. Young as my lover was, as awkward as he could be in his words, we never lacked for understanding in the silent reality of touch.
I needed that, then, turning to press my face to his shoulder, silver bangs tickling my cheek as he bowed his head and held me while I silently fell apart.
Scene 4: Sephiroth’s POV [194 words]
Do you trust me?
How can you ask me that, Lazard? How can you melt all this down, strip away all the confusion and conflict and pain and make this about trust? Genesis is gone. He left, and we both know he has no plans to come back. Not with what we know now.
What we know now… I can’t even… it’s too much. Too much. I focus on the now, on one of my best friends’ pain and suffering, and the question you’ve asked. Do I trust you? I barely recognize my voice, strained and harsh. “Yes.”
There’s a calm certainty in your gaze, the fierce determination that I love in you - love, are you really making it about that? Love and trust… that’s what it always comes down to with you. Trust, more than anything.
My hand grips yours as tight as I dare, mindful that you’re nowhere near my strength - unnatural, inhuman power - and I stare into your eyes as you promise me that if it is at all possible, this will be made right. That you will do everything you can for us.
And I trust you.
Scene 5: Third person [236 words]
It had been inevitable that eventually, with Genesis being taken care of and no immediate struggle he could take action on, Sephiroth would have to confront the very personal ramifications of the whole situation.
A massive black wing, two white wings, anger and pain and betrayal on the most fundamental of levels. Genesis was torn between seething rage and despair when his mind was clear, and when his mind began to slip… it was horrifying to watch, even more than the hint of white in his hair and the pallor of his skin.
Lazard was doing what he could, but it was hard. This wasn’t all right, and there was no guarantee it would ever be again. No guarantee that if - IF - they saved Genesis’ body there would be anything left of his mind. No guarantee Angeal wouldn’t go the same way, not now.
It was no comfort that it did seem much more certain that Sephiroth would survive, though not unscathed after witnessing this most personal of losses.
No guarantees, save one whispered with complete sincerity. Words backed by deed with unfailing consistency. Words whispered against the general’s lips, within a tight embrace.
“You are who you have always been, Sephiroth. Knowing what they did to you well before you were born doesn’t change who you have become unless you let it. It makes no difference to me.”