If at First You Don't Succeed – Sephiroth's Special Diet.

Author: Illusor Meaneld

Rated T: for Descriptive violence and injuries, Possible mild Adult situations, No Cussing.

Disclaimer: I did not create, and do not own the characters from Final Fantasy 7, They are owned by Square-Enix, and I am simply borrowing them for my own (and hopefully your) enjoyment.

Despite the efforts of the many heroes who fought against her, JENOVA eventually succeeded in destroying the world. So Gaia, with the council of the Cetra, decided to send back their ultimate hero, to try and prevent the world from dying.

Unfortunately… the hero failed.

So Gaia sent him back again… and again… and again… After losing track of how many times he had been sent back to different points in time. Our Hero began to take his quest less seriously than was desirable.

This is but one of his many failures.

One would think it would be difficult to sneak up on a Mako enhanced, supernaturally strong, half-alien. Of course, it actually WAS difficult, but as the saying goes, practice makes perfect.

Cloud shrugged, as he padded absolutely silently up the mountain path. You really could only transverse the same path, at the same time of day so many times before it was just… easy. Nonchalantly he shrugged his massive pack over his shoulders and fought off the temptation to whistle, or skip, or something equally inane.

In no time at all he'd reached his destination, the huge rusting, convoluted reactor, that really had nothing interesting left in it at all. And predictably smelt like rust, mako, and cobwebs… Strange that cobwebs had a scent, he mused. Chuckling under his breath, he walked up to the poor unfortunate little cadet that stood outside.

Oh wait… that was ME! … the poor unfortunate, … and devastatingly HANDSOME cadet, that was proudly shaking in his boots… er… no um guarding his post. Yeah… guarding his…

With an absent flat-palmed hand jabbed firmly to against back of the youth's head, helmet or no, he collapsed like a sack of boney potatoes.

Did that count as sleeping on the job? Cloud really couldn't remember.

Shrugging, he shouldered his burden more firmly and half-pranced through the entrance, a few timely jumps, and a silent 'no-hands' pose later and Cloud stepped into the fragrantly acrid, and boringly familiar reactor center, he probably could have done life-drawing sketches of all the pitiful uglies in the tanks by NOW, but .. well… he'd tried that one before,

Aeris needs a better sense of humor…

He flicked his gaze to the young, black-haired SOLDIER that turned and gawked at him, he flashed a quick grin and a thumbs-up, before the youth could do more than stutter. He then smacked Zack across the back of his head before he'd really thought about it.

Dang… habitual incapacitation…

Why didn't that ever work on Sephiroth?

Oh yeah… half-alien, super-natural, demi-god. … stupid over-hyphenated, over-powered little …

Speaking of the devil…

Cloud felt his face split into an immediate maniacal grin. The Silver-haired General turned slowly from his position at the top of the stairs, his face illuminated by the eerie light from the nearby pods. Swinging his burden free from his shoulder, Cloud dropped the heavy piece of machinery on the ground with a loud metallic clang, his hands hastily gripped the handles, and one finger pulled the trigger with the ease of long-practice.

"Eat Lead Sephiroth!" He barked as the fully-automatic Minigun roared to life, spitting bullets so fast the barrels began to heat a dull, angry red.

In a flash of movement that really shouldn't have been so surprising, the Infamous SOLDIER 1st spun and dodged, his body moving around the streams of projectiles like water, despite Cloud's best efforts at redirecting the missiles they never seemed to hit even the long black coat.

A flash of silver and the ring of metal, followed by the loud thud of the gun parts separating.

Followed by a familiar bite of pain in Cloud's mid-torso, the blonde looked down with a rather gurgling sigh.

"Dang…" Cloud mumbled in disappointment. "I was really hoping that would work."

His blue eyes flicked up to find wide green ones. Sephiroth had frozen, and now stared at the man impaled on his sword in morbidly fascinated horror.

The general cleared his throat deliberately, "Um… usually people scream and… die…when I do that."

Cloud shrugged, running a finger along the side of the Masamune, "Meh, … you get used to it really."

"Used to it?" Sephiroth's voice was oddly strangled,

"Oh yeah!" The blonde returned, his blood-flecked lips curling in a slight smile, "You'd be amazed at how long it takes to die like this, … and well… I've felt worse."

"Worse?" the response was barely a breath.

"Mmm-hmm… there was one time I was hangin' on for over 5 hours… slowly bleeding out …'cause … I…."

Dang, … Cloud thought as his body seized and finally dropped limply into unconsciousness. He NEVER got to finish telling that story!

When his eyes opened again, he found himself once again in the life-stream, surrounded by flowers, with Aeris staring at him in exasperation, and Zack somewhere off to the side dying… again… of laughter.

"Eat Lead?" She repeated, shaking her head slowly.

"Would you have preferred 'Hasta La Vista, Baby'?" Cloud grinned,

Aeris sighed, "Why do I even bother…" She gazed into his eyes beseechingly, "Couldn't you take this more seriously?"

"Hey! I lugged that Minigun all the way up the mountain! That was a seriously difficult effort! That was a heavy piece of equipment, plus the ammo pack, PLUS the battery! That was supposed to be a vehicle-mounted weapon, not an infantry carried one!"

Aeris just shook her head again and smiled wryly, "Sure Cloud, Whatever you say. … Just try harder next time."

Cloud nodded casually, before breaking into another grin, "Maybe I should try a Tank next time!"

"Cloud!" Aeris scolded in exasperation.