Without Strings

There was a small boom after the success of Sephiroth. The labs were full of the sounds of children in the few weeks after Project S was deemed a success. Even Hojo participated, if only slightly.

He was still interested in the effect of the J-cells on humans, try and attempt to perfect a way to improve Sephiroth already successful design. He wasn’t particularly interested in the child. He knew he was essentially an orphan and no one to claim him. That’s all that mattered.

He could ignore how shrill his crying was. Sephiroth was at least blessedly silent.

His blue eyes had moments when they turned green. His hair turned blonde, and then it turned unruly. His bones turned stronger, lengthened his limbs. Hojo was impressed. He was practically an equal, perhaps even a second Sephiroth.

That’s where he went wrong. The child didn’t take well to Sephiroth’s DNA. Hojo brushed off the failure. Live and Learn…and he had Sephiroth. The other boy was sent to storage, perhaps he would have a better use than the labs…other failures.


Sephiroth had wandered off. Not uncommon since he had mastered opening doors, but definitely a cause for concern.

Hojo did not expect to find him in front of the mako tanks. He was standing on this tiptoes, nose pressed against the glass…staring inside

“Sephiroth,” Hojo called. Sephiroth took a moment to turn around.

“He said he wants out,” Sephiroth said. Hojo looked up. The blonde child stared back at him, his eyes bright green and his eyes narrowed down to slits.

“I named him Cloud,” Sephiroth said, turning back around.

The tank was drained by the end of the day.


Specimen C said not a word. The mako had done well in preserving his muscles and bone structure. No signs of atrophy or weakness. It was almost as if the months in the tank had taken no toll on him.

Almost.

A good problem solver, he ran through initial test with flying colors, even beating Sephiroth’s time on two of them.

But when it came time to speak, to read…he remained silent. He’d never been given the chance to do so before.

He explored his containment pod, making his way around the perimeter and testing his bed, much like a normal child would.

Just outside the plexiglass window, Sephiroth watched him.

Hojo watched quietly as the blonde approached Sephiroth. Sephiroth raised his hand to press against the glass. The blonde mimicked him. Slowly, but undeniably, The two began to mirror each other. Specimen C no longer took Sephiroth’s lead in his actions, they did them simultaneously. Cock the head, spread their fingers, move around the pod perimeter.

Hojo made no comment. The only note he took of the phenomenon was: possible brainwave connections.


Sephiroth spent hours in front of the pod. He and Specimen C would stare at each other through the glass. They never said a word. Occasionally one would put a hand against the glass, part of some mode of communication Hojo had not yet figured out.

And yet Sephiroth could still turn around and give eerie information on Specimen C’s wants and needs. When he was hungry, when he was too hot, too cold, and that he always wanted to be let out of the pod.

Hojo made no comment when Sephiroth asked for his crayons. Sephiroth knew they were useful for repeating information. Hoo had sheets of kata, stances, and a few lab procedures drawn in Sephiroth’s scribble. All of them proof that Sephiroth understood what they wanted him to understand. He could replicate information given to him in another medium.

For the first time in a very long time, Sephiroth drew something more telling of his age. He left the black crayon be.

The first page was full of green, a few unknown shapes within. The second mere blobs of color. The last at least held two recognizable figures.

To be honest…Hojo wanted to know what Specimen C could possibly say to hold Sephiroth’s attention so. It was disappointing.

“What are these?” he asked. Sephiroth continued to color the fourth and final page.

“This is what Cloud thinks,” Sephiroth explained. Hojo waited for the picture to be finished. The blonde and grey haired stick figures from the 3rd image still held hands…but now black wings sprouted out of them.

Hojo decided to keep these too.


Sephiroth had been contained in his own rooms for the day. Partially as punishment for trying to run and escape the testing from yesterday, partially as it’s own experiment.

Specimen C showed no visible signs of distress. He had learned his pod was cold enough to let him draw on the glass when he breathed fog onto it. Hojo could recognize a few of the shapes he drew. Namely the Clouds.

No matter how many times they had tried to make Sephiroth understand the Specimen had no true name, he still referred to him as Cloud. The C stood for Cloud as far as he was concerned. Somehow, despite never hearing the name…the Specimen seemed to have adopted the name as well.

Hojo found Sephiroth had placed a blanket near his locked door. He didn’t move from his bed.

“Cloud is cold,” Sephiroth said.


Their patience wore off. Specimen C had waited since waking up, Sephiroth had waited perhaps even longer. Hojo was far too curious not too.

Cloud’s pod was opened. Sephiroth went inside. Most of the lab watched them with anticipation.

The boys regarded each other for a long moment.

Then they began to speak.

For some it was a disappointment. None of them could figure out what on Gaia the boys were saying. They had never heard a language like this. For a few it was exciting, perhaps a long lost dialect that the Cetra used to speak. Perhaps they were hearing a dead language being…reborn.

None realized the language had never been spoken on this planet before.

how to write cloud 101.

age 9: lonely. pure cinnamon roll. just wants friends.

age 14: “you wanna fuckin go?!”

age 16: “hey, it’s just losing my dream. at least it can’t get any worse, right?”

age 21: *everything is shit. reality is beyond grasp. wtf is identity? who’s he? who’s me?* “this is fine” 

age 23: “i’m tired”

age 24: “is this what contentment feels like?????”