The Beginning of the End Chapter 1

First Day, First Impressions

By Darkstar

Sephiroth sat in the far back of the class. The white walled room, was filled with desks large enough to accommodate four people, he sat at one by himself. Only a huge black board at the front of the room, and two large bookshelves covered the white walls. Sephiroth found the room itself utterly boring, it was the children around him that held the most interest.

He carefully surveyed each of the twenty, seven year olds in the room. His sharp gaze lingered on only two of the children though. The first was a boy with dark brown, short and spiky hair with hazel eyes. The boy had quickly proceeded to make friends with a few of the other boys in the class. He was currently sitting at a desk at the front of the room, surrounded by his new friends and laughing heartily at whatever joke had been told.

Lastly, Sephiroth's gaze rested on the figure of a child in the opposite corner from him. He couldn't tell if the child was a boy or a girl, from the way it was covered. The child (having nothing else to call it) wore black from head to toe. A cloak covered most of the child's body, only slender, white hands, which were folded and resting on the desk in front of the child, protruded from the sleeves. Even the cloak's hood was pulled low over the child's head, making it impossible to see the face.

Sephiroth narrowed his eyes, trying his hardest to try and deduce the sex of the figure across the room from him. Hmm, he thought to himself, what an interesting challenge, his curiosity sparked.

Finally the teacher entered. She was a plump old woman, with grey hair, soft blue eyes over a pudgy nose and a warm smile. She wore an old grey dress that was covered in a variety of coloured flowers. Sephiroth briefly hoped she wasn't like the lab assistants.

"Good day class." The teacher's voice rang through the room as surely as a bell could. "My name is Mrs. Lockport, I'll be your English teacher. I know your all new, so when I call role call please tell us something about yourself so we can get to know you better."

Sephiroth frowned; he didn't want to say anything about himself. But... he thought, it would be interesting to hear about what the others have to say, particularly the child in black. He turned his attention back to the role call.

"Arbok, Sam." Mrs. Lockport called.

A boy with black hair and a thin face that sat beside the boy with brown, spiky hair shyly raised his hand. "Umm, here. My Grandpa is a fisherman."

"Thank you Sam." Mrs. Lockport said and then continued with the role call.

Sephiroth listened to each name, recorded it in his mind and then attached a picture to the name after a hand was raised in response to the name.

"Majere, Rydia"

"Here." A voice barely above a whisper, but was clearly heard throughout the room, emitted forth from the shadows of the hood from the child in black.

Sephiroth was amazed at the softness of the voice and the distinguishable tone of a female. Sooo... he thought to himself, a girl. Rydia, what an interesting name. It'll be fun trying to find out more.

Mrs. Lockport frowned. "Rydia, please remove your hood and tell us something about yourself."

Rydia made no move to remove her hood, but she did reply, "I'm not afraid of anything." Her whispery voice rang out again.

Hmm, cocky. Sephiroth laughed silently. This was the most fun he'd ever had.

The teacher continued on with the role call. Sephiroth had lost interest though and was still pondering about Rydia, when suddenly a name was repeated twice in a more angry tone of voice.

"Virgeo, Zack. ZACK VIRGEO." Mrs. Lockport had her hands on her hips and was looking down at the brown, spiky haired boy.

The boy quickly turned to face her. "Oopps. Sorry. Oh... um... here! I come from Gongaga!" Zack smiled hugely.

Sephiroth shook his head in disgust. He's too energetic.

Finally the teacher called out his name. "Here." He simply said.

The teacher seemed to be waiting for something. "Annnddd..."

Sephiroth made no reply, simply stared back at her as he did the lab assistants when he was tired of listening to their babble.

"Don't you wish to tell us something about yourself?" Mrs. Lockport was exasperated.

"No." Sephiroth replied in his most bored tone of voice.

The teacher didn't press on and Sephiroth smirked slightly. Then he felt as if someone was still staring at him and frowning, he turned to find Rydia watching him closely. He still couldn't see most of her face, but he could see soft brown eyes and the outline of what could only be a delicately featured face.

Rydia's eyes narrowed when he turned to her and he thought he caught a flash of red in them as she turned her head away.

"All right class." Mrs. Lockport had resumed speaking. "Because you are all unfamiliar with the Academy, I've been asked to give you a short tour. If you would all follow me."

Mrs. Lockport walked to the door and then patiently waited for her students to gather around her before opening the door. Slowly, the group of children filed out behind her.

Sephiroth stood farthest away from the group as he could possibly get without being told to come closer. He found himself walking next to Rydia as he followed the rest of the class. She was only slightly shorter than him, and walked with her head high, the hood making it seem though as if she still had it bent. The cloak she wore, went down nearly to her feet and made it seem as if she were gliding over the tiled hallway rather than walking.

Suddenly the teacher stopped. She pointed to a door next to her, the first door from their classroom. "This is where your next class will be. It's the science lab."

She continued on down the hallway pointing out more rooms as they went, including the mess hall, which was empty now save for rows and rows of tables. Coming to the library, Sephiroth stood amazed at the rows and rows of bookshelves crammed full with books. Looking over at his companion, he found her completely unimpressed.

When she noticed him watching her, she shrugged and replied, "My father has a larger collection at home."

The class moved on, this time Mrs. Lockport leading them too the gym's observation room.

"This is the observation room." Mrs. Lockport explained. "Below us is the gym."

Sephiroth and most of the class pressed up against the glass so that they could look at the gym below. The gym was huge, bigger than anything Sephiroth had ever seen before. The floor was covered in blue mats, punching bags and weights stood off to one side of the gym, leaving the center free of all clutter. Currently two of the older students were practicing their martial arts below.

"The main functions for this room is to allow younger students or teachers to watch as older students or even soldiers, practice without being in the way. The gym below was made to even allow soldiers to try out their skills against one another. " Mrs. Lockport continued to explain.

"Cool" the students murmured as a whole.

"When will we get to do things like that?" Zack questioned, not taking his face from the window.

Mrs. Lockport chuckled, "Not for some time. But come now there is still other places to see."

Sephiroth reluctantly removed his face from the glass and followed the rest of the students.

The last place Mrs. Lockport took them was the most fantastic for Sephiroth.

"And this is the garden." Mrs. Lockport spread her arms to encompass the mass of trees, flowers and plants of all sorts.

Sephiroth's eyes grew wide as he observed all the different colors around him. The sun above shone bright and warm. Rydia too seemed impressed with her surroundings.

"Herbs of all sorts are grown here for the use of making potions and poisons of all kinds." Mrs. Lockport explained. "It also seems to be a favorite spot for students too study and..."

Coming around a corner Mrs. Lockport stopped. Ahead of them and under a tree stood an older boy and girl. Sephiroth was disgusted and confused with the way that the boy was holding the girl, their mouths touching.

Mrs. Lockport cleared her throat and the students around him adding a few “Eww's” to it.

The boy jumped, obviously startled, "Ahh... Hi... Umm... Mrs. Lockport, we were... ah... just leaving." The girl's cheeks flushed a bright red, and for a minute Sephiroth wondered if she were sick.

"Don't you have something better to do Jeremy? Emily?" Mrs. Lockport placed her hands on her hips, and the children around her snickered.

"Ah... yeah... Now that you mention it." Jeremy quickly grabbed Emily's arm and they almost ran past the group of students.

"As I was saying..." Mrs. Lockport continued to talk.

Sephiroth's attention though turned to Rydia, who was delicately caressing the petals of a black flower. "What is it?" He asked, coming to stand beside her.

"Its a black rose. Very rare." she answered in a very soft voice. Gingerly, she plucked the flower from the plant. Only when her hand withdrew did Sephiroth notice the long thorns on the plant.

Rydia placed the flower in Sephiroth's hand and then turned back to the plant. "My father told me that roses especially are very protective of themselves. Even though the flower is very beautiful it is hard to take. If you aren’t careful or if the plant simply doesn't want you too, it can cut and seriously hurt you. The three colors of roses - white, red and black, stand for different things as well." Rydia spread her arms to encompass the other roses.

"The white ones are untouched. Meaning their thrones are smaller and softer, only scratching the skin but not breaking it. The red ones stand for blood. Their thorns are large and sharp. Our blood is what gives the flowers their deep red." Rydia softly touched a red rose as she spoke.

"The black ones though..." She indicated the blossom in Sephiroth's hand. "Stand for death. Their thorns are poisoned. Even a scratch can kill." She finished quietly.

Sephiroth gingerly touched the velvety petals of the flower in his hand, realizing the significance of what she had done and having a greater respect for both the plant and the girl.

Mrs. Lockport and the other children began moving away. Keeping his hand gently around the flower, Sephiroth quickly moved to catch up with them. Rydia keeping stride for stride with him.

When Mrs. Lockport finished giving the tour of the Academy and Sephiroth had a clear idea of where everything was, he found himself back at the first room Mrs. Lockport had showed them.

A bell rang and Mrs. Lockport explained to them that that meant the first class was over and they were to begin heading to their next class. She had then told them to wait for the next bell before going into their next class.


So it was that they were all standing in the hallway waiting for the bell to ring, when Zack finally decided to approach the two students that stood most apart from the rest. He had always enjoyed making friends especially with those that didn't want to make friends. He found it challenging, and these two were definitely going to be a challenge.

"Sephiroth and Rydia, right?" Zack asked. Looking from the tall, silver haired boy to the black clothed girl.

Both gave him the most venomous glares he had ever seen. Normal kids might have been frightened off and in fact the kids standing nearest them backed up a few steps. But he wasn't deterred.

"My name's Zack!" He pronounced happily and stuck out his hand.

"So I heard." Sephiroth stated sarcastically, the glare in his glowing emerald eyes increasing ten fold, if such a thing were possible.

When it looked like neither were going to shake his hand, Zack withdrew it. "So, um, where are you guys from?"

Neither answered only continuing to glare. Zack started to sweat a bit, man; these two are going to be harder than I thought.

The second bell rang and all the students filed into the classroom. Zack brought up the very rear; still pondering on how he might gain Sephiroth and Rydia's friendship.

Upon entering Zack found the small room packed full with chemicals, pictures and various instruments. The desks were even smaller than in the last room and the only seat left was directly in between Rydia and Sephiroth.

Without hesitation he took the seat and pointedly ignored the glares coming from each of his sides.

"Good morning class." A tall, thin man with glasses turned toward them after writing his name on the chalkboard. "My name is Mr. Heibert and I'll be your science teacher. I know you've all been through introductions so I will waste no further time." With that Mr. Heibert began to pass out textbooks and then the class started.

Zack was only thankful that the glares were diverted from him.

For the remainder of the school day, Zack stuck close to his prey in hopes that they might yet relent. The day passed quickly and soon Mrs. Lockport returned to show them to their bunkhouse. Beds were assigned to each child. Boys on the left side of the large, long room and girls on the right. Beside each bed there was a trunk and small nightstand with a lamp.

Zack got his, three-quarter the way down the room. Opening the trunk, he found all of his possessions that had been taken from him earlier in the day. Looking around, he found Rydia opposite of him and Sephiroth beside him.

"What do you know..." Zack said, smiling at the silver haired boy next to him.

Sephiroth looked up from the trunk that he had been looking into and glared back at him.

Sighing, Zack and got ready for bed.

"Lights out is in fifteen minutes." Mrs. Lockport's voice echoed through the room. "Wake up call is at o’ five hundred hours. You will all be expected to be in uniform and ready for your first classes. These will be your quarters for the next four years, so get used to them. For two months in the summer though you will be allowed to go home. Good night." The teacher then took her leave and the children got ready to sleep.

Author’s Notes: I know I should have really used another name, but I just love the name Rydia so much. Sorry. Anyway, this Rydia is in no way related or connected to the Rydia from FF4. And for those Dragonlance readers, you may have noticed the name Majere pop up. Once again, another really cool name. And no, this is not some crossover. Really sorry about any confusion, but this Rydia is an original character. Hope you liked it thus far.

Chapter 2

Darkstar's Fanfiction