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- Final Fantasy VII - Against Regulations by ChibiRisu-chan - [ part 01 - part 02 ] - I keep wanting to ramble on for a few sentences about OTPs and shipping pairings that go against them and how this fic isn't my OTP, but it's an almost-OTP, but I'm not really sure what I want to say, where I'm going with that thought. This is one of those fics where I want to have deep and insightful things to say because it struck a certain resonance with me so strongly that I didn't want the fic to end, I wanted to keep reading and reading and see where Sephiroth and Zack's relationship would go, the complicated and yet surprisingly simple friendship-romance-love-whatever they have here. For all that I OTP other pairings, it's stories like this, portraying the relationship in such a brilliant, fully-fledged way that I don't feel there's anything missing. It's about Sephiroth and Zack and there aren't any missing people hovering just out of their reach or just out of my mind's eye, it's them and it's enough. More than enough. It's what I craved from a Sephiroth/Zack fic, because there are enough complications and layers to their relationship to deserve something like this.

And what I say about the author's fics over and over again still holds true here, too. I sat still for 70k worth of fic, always reading the next scene and the next after that because the author's writing is so clean and smooth that I just sink right into it. I could read novels of writing like this and probably not come up for air for hours. Not to mention that her characterization is beautiful here, it aches in all the right places, it makes me smile in all the right places, reminds me that the FFVII world is a dark place, but not one without hope, light, and caring. The author never has to say this with words, it's simply present in the way Sephiroth tries not to break apart sometimes and the violent anger simmering underneath the surface because of ShinRa and what he's forced to do, Zack trying to redirect that anger, trying to save the person in there that he cares so much about, the dynamic between the two of them something powerful and wild and intense and I can believe it.

And even beyond that, one thing really impressed me, which was that the author didn't pull her punches with Sephiroth's anger and the destruction he's capable of and I could absolutely believe this story was in a universe where things could go so horribly wrong, where Sephiroth would lose his grip on the rage and sanity and Zack wouldn't be able to stop him and things would go to hell. Watching Sephiroth viciously destroying a monster, so much power in one person, so much weight placed on his shoulders, so much constricting what humanity he had... yes, I can put this together with the Sephiroth I saw quite easily. Add in the violent, angry sex and the wibble-inducing conversation at the end? Yes, this is why Sephiroth/Zack is a ship I love. (Sephiroth/Zack, hovering around a light-ish R rating.)

- Final Fantasy VII - Starting Here by gelfling8604 - Given the events of Last Order and how I sometimes poke at them and try to fit them together with my notions of the SOLDIER-era days, this was a really, really intriguing piece on Sephiroth's mindset during the time. It's not quite so much insanity as anger here, the way his relationship/friendship with Zack is seen through his eyes is intense, powerful, and so very, very... intriguing. It adds a new facet to the scene where Zack confronts him and Sephiroth is cold in his reaction and I know I'll be thinking about this the next time I watch LO and how it's such an interesting fit with the OAV and how I really, really like this take. And, god, the ending is beautiful here, the build-up in Sephiroth's thoughts about Zack, the intensity of what few words (word?) there is, and the final two paragraphs are fantastic. (Could be taken as Sephiroth/Zack, but it's more gen than anything, I'd say?)

- Final Fantasy VII - One Man Army by Tenshi no Korin - I always get a special thrill out of reading stories about Sephiroth and Zack, in whatever sort of relationship, I just like them. This is an interesting story about their first meeting, Zack being sent out during the Wutai war and I love the way it was balanced between Zack being such a new, young recruit, still being a little more in awe of General Sephiroth than he would have imagined and the way that's not the focus of the scene, the way Zack is still strong and able. The dirty, ugly, messy war is all around them, but even that isn't the main focus of the scene. It's... it's hard to describe. It's a meeting between them. A beginning. It's dirty and messy like everything in FFVII is. And the ending line packs a nice little punch. (This is gen, but it may be of interest to Sephiroth/Zack fans.)

- Final Fantasy VII - Call of Duty by Tenshi no Korin - Another short piece with Sephiroth and Zack during the Wutai war and it's another one of those little scenes that isn't very long but manages to capture a pivotal moment in time so well. Sephiroth wounded and Zack trying to bandage him up and keep them moving while they can and you can see the beginnings of their friendship/whatever forming, the way Zack's personality is slowlying shining through, the way Sephiroth's is slowly being uncovered, too. I know that sounds vague (not to mention a hell of a run-on sentence), but it's difficult to pin anything specific down with this fic. It's a moment, one with another solid ending that just makes the fic, something I'm really glad to have read. Especially seeing as there aren't enough fics for these two, like, ever. (This is gen, but it may be of interest to Sephiroth/Zack fans.)

- Final Fantasy VII - Not Animal Tested by fairady - This was a fun little fic that you could tell was built around the beginning and the final punchline, that was happily based in fanon!Zack, but... it was light-hearted, I thought it was amusing, it was well-written, and it put a smile on my face by the time I was done. That's what fic is for, you know? Plus, it was Sephiroth and Zack in the early days and it was Zack being... well, special. And Sephiroth trying to keep his patience. All the things I have so much fun with. XD And that ending is good. (This is entirely gen, but it may be of interest to Sephiroth/Zack fans.)

- Final Fantasy VII - Unleash, Routine, Corolla, and Afterwards by thorne_scratch - I'm counting these together since none of them are quite long enough to rec by themselves and they read quite well together, I think. I don't know if I could pick a favorite of these (though, Corolla and Afterwards probably vie for top spot, though), they're all these great little moments, whether humorous or something a little more serious. The author does a brilliant job with her cracked out Zack and Reno antics (I have such great fondness for the idea when it's in this author's hands, a full-on fic would be, like, the best thing ever) and she did something I wouldn't have thought possible--a FFVII and Shoujo Kakumei Utena crossover that was breathtakingly gorgeous and haunting and brilliant. My favorite probably still has to be Sephiroth and Zack, though. That's just. Yeah. That's what they needed more of, moments like that. ♥ (No real warnings/pairings, maybe a little Sephiroth/Cloud or Sephiroth/Zack or Sephiroth/Zack/Cloud implied, but you'd have to squint.)

- Final Fantasy VII - Ikeniť by ChibiRisu-chan - Clearly, I'm catching up on the author's FFVII fic and I love her take on Sephiroth/Zack and I've been in the mood since the new CC trailer came out and so I zipped over to read this one and having sat and stared at the screen for a few minutes after having finished it... I just. Everything I always say about-- About how the author captures these characters so well, how she writes the bonds of their relationship before the game, how brilliant she is at it-- I keep saying it over and over because it hits like a train every time, I think it can't really be as devestating when you're expecting it, but then her Sephiroth is brilliant and powerful and not okay and her Zack loves him and sees the humanity still in him and is devestated all over again at how much was denied to him and I ache all over for them both. This is a brilliant twist of just what that whole "Hero of the Wutai War" might have been, a really creepy way that I could see it happening when the wrong thing goes bad at the wrong time and Sephiroth comes a little more unhinged every day. I love this fic because it rips my fangirl heart out and creeps me out a little at the same time, the author is fabulous at using these little things, these little ordinary things and slamming them home for a powerful impact that you don't see coming. Brilliant for fitting together with what we know eventually happens. Brilliant for showing the human side and yet how Sephiroth came to be the villain we know. And. God. Zack. I'm gonna go crawl into a corner, curl up in a ball, and die now. (Sephiroth/Zack.)

- Final Fantasy VII - Companionship by snarky_kat - This is a short piece on the early days of Sephiroth and Zack's friendship and I love how... vibrant Zack is, I guess, even to someone like Sephiroth, how this is a happier fic, even knowing what we know of how things will turn out for them. Yet it's not really fluffy, either, I love that they're still very clearly SOLDIERs. It was just nice to read. <3 (No warnings/pairings, this is gen, but you may enjoy it if you like Sephiroth/Zack, too.)

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