Angeal had been the first to give Fair the nickname of ‘puppy’. It had not taken long for it to spread, and now it was uncommon for a conversation with or about Zack to take place without that little endearment slipping in somewhere. Even Sephiroth, who refused to use such things, occasionally found himself inwardly referring to the boy as such.
There was a good reason for it, at least. The boy undeniably held the traits of an over-excitable puppy. One that would grow to be a wolf, perhaps, and even he had been impressed by displays of determination and ferocity Fair was occasionally capable of, but it nonetheless remained that Zack was currently acting as though he was liable to start humping Sephiroth’s leg at a moments notice. Sephiroth really hoped he wouldn’t.
"Dude, are you serious?!" Zack was crowing.
"Yes, Fair, I am 'serious'. If Angeal insists on me babysitting you, you may as well do something useful instead of cluttering up my office."
"So... I can touch it?"
Sephiroth kept his head studiously down, completing his paperwork with the same efficiency he would even without the distraction of one Zack Fair. That made it hard to tell, but Zack was sure he saw something that was almost a hint of sardonic amusement twitching the corners of the General's mouth. "I imagine you would find it difficult to complete your task could you not."
"Well, yeah, but y'know, I'm kinda attached to my limbs. Wouldn't want to risk 'em on the off-chance I'm actually asleep on your couch an' this is all a dream."
This got him a raised eyebrow. "Do you often dream of being allowed to polish my sword for me?"
Zack paused for a moment, obviously choking back an answer. Sephiroth had become become used to the boy's mannerisms, what with the amount of time they ended up working together since Zack had been promoted to Second, and as such he had no doubt that whatever Zack had been intending to say would have been of an inappropriate nature. He had to give him credit for not just blurting it out, at least. "Doesn't everyone?" Zack shrugged eventually, grinning and obviously still biting his tongue.
Sephiroth sighed. "Everything you will require is on the shelf to your left. Try not to break anything this time."
"Sure thing, Seph! Though I've never broken anything anyway."
"Hmm. So you say. Yet my computer, which I required to use for important missions scheduling, spontaneously refused to work after you used it last week."
"That's not my fault!"
"You downloaded at least five gigabytes of pornographic material. I imagine that would have had something to do with it."
Sephiroth eyed the teen as he settled cross-legged onto the couch, depositing the leather-bound box of sword care equipment (that had been one of Genesis' better gifts) next to him. He wasn't looking remorseful in the slightest - a little sheepish, true, but obviously amused by his own antics. "That was a present!"
"...Why, Zackary, would you think that I would ever want such a thing?"
"'Cause you need to lighten up, Seph! Get out more, get laid once in a while! I thought maybe you just needed a little inspiration."
Zack flinched, half expecting to end up dead or at least maimed when Sephiroth stood and abruptly took Masamune in hand. Instead, he merely found the blade deposited unceremoniously across his knees.
"Get to work, Fair."
"And for future reference, I do not find scantily-clad females with obviously augmented assets in any way inspiring."
"Yessir," Zack grinned, before turning to the task at hand.
Sephiroth returned to his desk. If Fair had been a puppy, he thought, there was no doubt his tail would have been wagging at an almost alarming velocity right now. While he understood that Masamune was a beautiful weapon and certainly he was very fond of his signature blade, Sephiroth didn't quite comprehend Zack's level of adoration for it.
On the plus side, at least it saved him another task later. Not that he disliked caring for the blade in the slightest, but certain bureaucratic idiots ensured he was constantly pressed for time after dealing with their inane requests. And, fortunately, the boy was decidedly more careful with Masamune than the practice swords he usually used. The way he handled the blade was almost reverent, and he was silent in his concentration. How refreshingly unfamiliar.
Oddly, though, a silent Zack was almost more distracting than an annoying, talkative Zack. Maybe because Sephiroth tended to come to the (often well justified) conclusion that if Zack was not talking, he was thinking, and Zack thinking generally led to trouble. If he recalled correctly, he has seen Zack watching him in silence with a thoughtful, almost sympathetic expression for a long while when he had been in the office last week. That had been the day before the computer incident.
Sephiroth glanced up for any signs of evidence to support his misgivings. But Zack really was just polishing the blade, and had been doing so for at least fifteen minutes without uttering a word.
Sephiroth had known Zack capable of feats surpassing his usual puppy-like behaviour (he had on more than one occasion suspected Zack's entire demeanour an elaborate ploy to lure his enemies into believing him less than the formidable opponent he was, though perhaps that was his paranoia speaking) but he hadn't thought Zack's attention span limit break was granted to anything but violence or sex. That said...
Sephiroth's eyes narrowed. Watched closely, Zack's hands weren't just polishing the blade. There were tiny, subtle indications; Zack's thumb was stroking the guard where one hand braced the hilt of the sword, the fingers guiding the cloth trailed along the blade in something that could only be described as a caress. His eyes were lowered, and he was staring at Masamune with the sort of sexy little half-smile that would no doubt have made a woman's heart skip had it been directed at her.
Was he doing that on purpose? No, if he were intentionally trying to annoy Sephiroth by molesting his prized weapon, he would have been more obvious about it.
"Zackary..." That didn't come out quite as he intended, the irritation and carefully controlled patience in his tone somewhat belied by a slight roughness in his voice. It was hardly audible though, and he doubted Zack would've picked it up.
Zack jumped minutely and looked up, blinking. "Nearly done!" he said. "Though you have a tiny bit of a nick just here..." He tilted the sword up, holding it delicately in the flat of the hand while he inspected a certain section of the blade and rubbed a finger over it. His nose was almost touching the metal edge, hovering like one might before a first kiss.
Though the thought that Fair would want to kiss a sword, of all things, was a ridiculous concept anyway. Despite the rather... thorough... way he'd gone about polishing it before. Sephiroth didn't have time to waste thinking about such stupid things.
Zack glanced over, and their eyes met. Some kind of silent communication must have taken place (though Sephiroth was not quite aware of what he had supposedly said) because Zack tilted his head almost questioningly before lowering his head closer to Masamune, eyes still locked with Sephiroth's.
His lips ghosted above the metal for a moment, then a pink tongue darted out to taste the blade.
Zack apparently took the fact he hadn't been murdered yet as a good sign, and repeated the action. He made it last longer this time, dragging his tongue dangerously closer to the sharpened edge.
Sephiroth cleared his throat. To get Zack's attention. Obviously. "There is a perfectly serviceable can of silicone oil in that box if you wish to clean her, Fair."
"But where's the fun in that?" he asked innocently, nuzzling one cheek against the sword. When this didn't get any reply (aside from a slight twitch) Zack pulled the blade up against his body, setting his fingers working along it again. There could be no doubt now that he was outright fondling Masamune.
That was definitely a twitch then, yet Sephiroth still didn't move from behind his desk. "Zackary..." he said warningly.
Zack had apparently decided that he had taken things too far already, and if he was going to be murdered for this, he may as well be murdered for a good reason. Thus, he ignored the tone that would have made lesser - or perhaps merely more sane - men run for cover.
In fact, it was probably Zack's sheer audacity that saved him. In retrospect, this wasn't the first time Zack had used the technique to get away with what would have had any other severely maimed for even trying. Perhaps they should consider it as an official tactic for future warfare.
For now, however, Sephiroth merely stared as Zack stripped himself of his shirt and pressed bare metal against equally bare skin, hissing a little as the flat of the blade caught against one of his nipples.
"This... any more inspiring for ya, Seph?" Zack asked with a lazy grin, pressing little butterfly kisses along edge of the sword.
"If you are implying I find your... performance... in any way sexually gratifying..."
Admittedly, it was rather more aesthetically pleasing than the females in that ridiculous farce of supposed pornography (he would have thought Zack, of all people, would have better taste). But then Sephiroth had been born and raised to be the commander of SOLDIER; it was a necessity for both his survival and that of his men that he be able to recognise strength and potential when choosing those to work under him. It seemed only logical, therefore, that those with such traits would meet his approval.
Zack possessed both. He still maintained some of the softness of his adolescence, but the muscle was evident beneath tan skin. His physique was lean and wiry, rather than bulky like Angeal's, but he would certainly fill out nicely with a little more training. And even Sephiroth had to admit the boy was... well-formed.
This train of thought was interrupted when he noticed what exactly that well-formed body was doing. Zack had shifted to sit at the edge of the couch, legs apart and Masamune between them, every possible inch of himself pressed up to and moving against the unyielding metal. Every possible inch, including a rather noticeable bulge at the crotch of his pants.
The pen Sephiroth had been holding snapped in half.
Zackary was rutting himself against Sephiroth's Masamune, and he wasn't even looking the slightest bit embarrassed about it. No, he was enjoying himself, judging by the way his eyes had drifted to a lazy half-mast, soft, infuriating little 'ahh's escaping from a mouth that seemed to trying to devour the edge of the blade. And he was staring straight at Sephiroth the whole time he was doing it, teasingly, hopefully, yet somehow incredibly vulnerable at the same time.
Something about the sight made Sephiroth's chest tighten. (As well as other areas, but he was not going to acknowledge the possibility that he may actually be getting off on watching his subordinate perform sexual acts on his beloved Masamune.) That was entirely unacceptable.
At least Zack had the decency to look slightly panicked as Sephiroth stood abruptly and stalked towards him, eyes narrowed.
Zack tried to stand up, Masamune still in hand - perhaps it was a sense of self-preservation finally kicking in and telling him to make a run for it - but Sephiroth caught him easily and slammed him up against the wall, hard enough to completely knock the wind out of him.
Sephiroth kept Zack pressed there with his own body, Masamune trapped flat between them, and the metal was cold enough to almost burn in contrast with the warmth of Zack's heaving chest. Somehow, one of his hands had found its way the tangled mess of Zack's hair and fisted into the strands, yanking Zack's head back. Their faces were close enough that Sephiroth could feel Zack's quick, shallow gasps against his lips as he tried to get his breath back.
"You..." Sephiroth growled, pausing to find the best description for Zack's behaviour. Insolent, insubordinate, deserved to be court-martialed-- no, deserved to be forcibly removed from Sephiroth's office via the significantly high-up window...
Somehow, though, the idea seemed to lack its usual appeal.
It was a stalemate. Zack's shaky grin slowly regained its confidence as Sephiroth found himself unable to do anything but stare at the object of his infuriation, the cat-eye pupils dilated almost enough to appear entirely round as he tried and failed to regain some measure of control.
Zack was the first one to move, of course, unable to take being so goddamned close yet not doing anything. He rolled his hips against Sephiroth's, grinding his erection into the blade that was simultaneously in the best and worst position between them.
Sephiroth made a low noise that was almost a groan as the action pressed Masamune against his own arousal. "Zack..."
He pushed back against him, harder than strictly necessary, and that time they both groaned, although Zack's was accompanied by a little hiss. Sephiroth didn't realise why, until he felt a thin trickle of warmth along Masamune's sharpened edge. They were so close together now that the blade was biting harshly into flesh, enough so to have created a shallow gash along Zack's chest.
Sephiroth started a little at that. The boy was distracting and infuriating and downright insubordinate, but he hadn't meant to actually harm him. Despite everything.
Zack grabbed Sephiroth's hip, holding them together fiercely as Sephiroth made a move to back away. Under Sephiroth's watchful eyes he slid his other hand between their chests, running a finger along the blade and the wound it had created to collect the blood pooling there.
Sephiroth found himself rooted to spot once again, staring as Zack licked his own blood off, leaving a deep red stain on smirking lips in a manner that could only have been purposeful. And then Sephiroth was suffering an overwhelming urge to remove that stain, preferably with his own mouth. Thank you, Zackary.
Their lips met before Sephiroth even realised, harshly for what he supposed would have been their first kiss. Zack didn't seem to mind though, tilting his head up and humming something far too pleased sounding as Sephiroth's tongue violated his mouth. They were both slightly breathless by the time they broke apart.
"So..." Zack purred, grinning innocently despite the hitch in his breath. The hand that had taken hold of Sephiroth's hip before now slid round to the front of his body, thumb massaging dangerously close to the top of his thigh. "Did you want me to polish your sword? I'm pretty good at it."
Judging from what he had seen of Zack's actions with Masamune, Sephiroth had no doubt of that. Nonetheless... He swallowed, finding his voice. "I should hope so, since your performance will decide which sword I impale you with once you're done."
Zack sniggered, fingertips ghosting across to the clasp on Sephiroth's pants. "I can work with that."