Title: Small Favours
Fandom: Kingdom Hearts 2
Disclaimer: No ownership implied, no profit gained. This is a fanwork.
Characters/Pairings: Sephiroth/Li Shang
Summary: Sometimes it takes a general to make a man out of you.
Notes: For Schala-Kitty
Sephiroth stared down at the water, watching the moon reflect in the dark ripples that formed under the slightest of breezes. It wasn't a bad world, after all. But if it needed to fall, it would fall.
He'd been in to swim, a rare carefree moment after finishing the small favour asked of him by Maleficent. And such a small, trivial favour that he would have refused had she not described the beauty of the Land of Dragons. She knew he had a keen eye for aesthetics, after all.
His pants had been pulled back on, slung down under his lower plumage so that he could comfortably spread those wings across the large, cool stone he sat on. He'd left his boots and jacket off.
Cloud wasn't even calling him back yet. For the first time in quite some time, Sephiroth found himself enjoying the strange semblance of life that he was being granted. The wind picked up a bit, ruffling his feathers ever so slightly. His hair was puddled behind him, soaking the stone where it formed a coil. That could be brushed out later.
At least the breeze was warm as it settled back to just making ripples on the water, distorting the white moon ever so slightly. Reaching down, he pulled a few broken feathers from his left side. He winced a bit as they came loose, but by the time he had five lost feathers in the pile, the pain had dulled.
Crickets chirped noisily, already used to Sephiroth's presence as he moved just enough to listen to the faintest rustling in the grasses beyond the trees that grew along the edge of the water.
A moment later, the crickets agreed with his appraisal - someone was coming. Silent, Sephiroth knew he had the advantage even without his clothing and weapon. In a land of dragons, he at least had his appearance even when stripped of everything else.
Ah, but as the lone man approached the water, Sephiroth couldn't help a slight smile. He'd already decided that if he was noticed by any of the land's human inhabitants, this man would be at the top of his list.
He was the commander of the young army that trained nearby and quite interesting to watch. Other than raw power and sheer skill, the man had the perfect sort of charisma that made him into the sort of leader that people wanted to follow.
Seemingly unconcerned with even checking to see if he was alone, the man began pulling off his clothing and neatly folding it into a pile.
The breeze picked up one more time, sending broken black feathers into the air to dance for a moment before they fell, on some sort of cosmic cue, perfectly down to rest on the man's clothing.
He grabbed one, scanning the sky for a moment before his gaze picked out Sephiroth still resting on the rock.
A frown. Sephiroth smiled.
"What manner of spirit are you?" the man asked as he walked over to the base of the rock. "Who sent you?"
"Merely an observer," Sephiroth replied as he slid down from his perch, using those low wings to land softly on the ground. His wet hair smacked against the leather barely covering his ass. "But when I was a man, I was a General."
"General..." There was something about a naked man dropping to his knees and bowing that amused Sephiroth. "Are you here to watch over our training? There are so many angry spirits."
Sephiroth nodded. "There are things you must learn on your own."
"But aren't you a Guardian, now?" the man asked as he looked up at Sephiroth and at black wings. "Did you not come with a message?"
"Not one for you, Commander," Sephiroth said bluntly. "My message was delivered."
"Li Shang, Spirit. My name is Li Shang." The man stood, regarding Sephiroth's green eyes with obvious curiousity.
"Sephiroth," Sephiroth replied. He could, he decided, at least temporarily do something about Shang's heartless problem. It was sort of nice to be treated like the godlike being he was, instead of dealing with Cloud's passive-aggressive fuck-you/kill-you mood swings. "Put on your pants. Come with me."
Shang was but steps behind him by the time he found a suitable place in the field. Weapons - two poles - were an easy creation. Shang stood stunned for a second when Sephiroth tossed him one.
And then Sephiroth swung, amused that he was blocked easily and that Shang fought back without any further instruction.
For a friendly battle, Sephiroth admired Shang's intensity. He was a leader - too strong to be converted into a beautiful, heartless playtoy. Both men had a sheen of sweat on them by the time the moon had shifted in the sky towards the far horizon.
"You did not come for me?" Shang asked again, pausing to lean on his pole for support.
Sephiroth smiled. The battle was over.
He decided he rather liked the double entendre of Shang's question.
"What tactics could I give you in an hour?" Sephiroth asked in response as he gestured back towards the water. "What advice to a capable man barely older than the boys he commands?"
He did not comment when Shang walked close enough for his feathers to brush against Shang's leg. Truly, he did have to be fascinating in a land where his coloring belonged solely to spirits.
There was silence.
And finally a soft request that threatened to pull a chuckle from deep within Sephiroth's being.
"Then tell me, in an hour, what the soldiers do at night in their tents without women."
That assumption had been correct about the ways Shang watched both one of his soldiers and the young keyblade bearer.
"Back to the water," Sephiroth instructed. He was tempted to echo Shang's usual proclamation to his troops but restrained himself.
For a few more footsteps.
"Hands-on training," he said quickly. He'd come to the land of the dragons in the name of small favours, after all. "Make a man out of you."
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