Okay, in celebration of finally having enough spare time to be able to do some serious reading again (and having opened another box of books and re-stocked my "farewell re-read" shelves... should get to work on those, really) I present some recommendations for fiction favourites of mine in the Final Fantasy VII fandom. These fics are ones about what I call "Sephiroth Habilitated" - the ones where Sephiroth is "fixed" so he's not completely insane, obsessive, and psychotic, much less the nihilistic demi-god-wannabe we've all come to know and love. I call them "habilitation" fics, rather than "rehabilitation", because quite frankly given the upbringing we're led to suspect for canon Sephiroth (being raised in the laboratories of the Shinra Science Department by Professor Hojo, before being thrown out into the battlefields of Wutai before his voice had finished breaking), it's very much "this is the first chance he's had for any actual normality in his life".
Some of the defining characteristics of this sub-genre, for me, are the rather calm and gentle tone of them - they're about recovery, after all; and the various defining characteristics of the "real" Sephiroth everyone picks up from underneath the role of General, and the influence of Jenova. Most of them tend to be Sephiroth/Cloud slash, so if you see either Sephiroth or Cloud with another partner, you may want to avoid them
So, without any further ado:the fight goes on
series by jukeboxhound
Sephiroth winds up floating in the pool in the church, and Cloud is, once again, the one who's called on to deal with him. If you've read jukeboxhound's stuff before, and know her tone and tendency toward mixing both light and dark material, that carries through in this story, although it's certainly a lot lighter in tone than, for example, "Eir's Tomorrow". The series itself is a work in progress, but the various parts can be read as stand-alone pieces. There are three parts so far. Some explicit content, but of the "tasteful erotica" variety rather than the "plumbing manual" variety (insert tab A into slot B),Tomowowowo & Boomchick's September 2015 30-Day-NSFW-Challenge
Now, this one is straight-up, largely plumbing-manual explicit content all the way through, complete with pictures which are explicit as well. You have been warned. It is, however, a well-crafted thirty-one piece story about the gradual building of a relationship between Cloud and Sephiroth after the discovery of Sephiroth's body floating (once again) in the pool in the church. The mighty have fallen
Surprise, surprise, Seph isn't found in a pond in the church this time around. Mostly because I suspect this one was written around the same time Advent Children
came out, with only the trailers to go on. In this case, he's been found in a forgotten/previously unknown lab of Hojo's, and again, Cloud is the one who is called on to deal with him. In this case, Sephiroth's release from an induced coma requires Cloud to take on the role of his "keeper" by means of an implanted chip in his (Cloud's) brain which can induce certain phenomena in Sephiroth. And, of course, the predictable relationship occurs, complete with explicit content. I like this one for the slightly different take on Cloud that results from the author not using Advent Children
canon to inform his personality.On Broken Wings
Another which was started back before Advent Children came out, and hence in this one, Sephiroth returns to life after the events of the original game in the Northern Crater. It's been edited since the original writing, so there's bits and pieces of Advent Children canon in there. It's still a work in progress, but I love this one because it shows us a very broken, and very damaged Sephiroth, who really does need a lot of help and a lot of support to be able to make his way back from the person Hojo made him to be. It also gives us a Cloud who isn't exactly 100% himself, and who is still affected by the events mentioned in the original game. There's also two adorable kids, a highly protective and highly personable chocobo (feathered kind, not nickname for Cloud) and of course various mentions of the weird and wonderful wildlife of Gaia in all its diversity. Infinite Possibilities
series, by Kalloway
Another which ignores Advent Children
and this time Sephiroth wakes up alone and naked on a beach in Mideel. Now, there's a lot of ways things could have gone after that line, but this fic takes a slightly different one. This is probably the most sedate of the fics I'm recommending, but it's worth it for the journey. While the author does warn for a Sephiroth/Cloud relationship, it's the least detailed of the lot - by the time the story ends, they've maybe got to the point of exchanging a single kiss - it's up the other end of the spectrum from the Boomowowowo challenge, that's for sure. No explicit content, unless you think a bloke waking up naked on a beach counts as explicit content.Under the Wing of a Nibel Dragon
series, by Gotham's_Only_Wolf
This series is very unusual when it comes to Sephiroth Habilitation stories, because it actually starts before the original game canon gets going. It starts as a spin-off of another writer's fic (there's a link to it in the first story, do have a read), and carries on from there, but basically things take an abrupt turn for the better in an eleven-year-old Sephiroth's life after he acquires in rapid succession, a younger brother (adoptive), an adoptive parent who is far better at actual parenting than Hojo, and a home which isn't in the Shinra Science Department. So far it's covering the years from when Sephiroth is eleven through about thirteen or fourteen, so there aren't any sexual relationships happening with Sephiroth involved in them (there may be some coming up later, but there isn't any explicit content in the story so far). Again, it's an ongoing series - there are actually two sub-stories currently in progress, so be warned, things may appear to drop out inconsistently, but it appears to be under active creation at present. But it's notable because the central force in Sephiroth's rehabilitation is not an overloaded, post-Jenova Cloud Strife.
So there you go - six of the best of the genre I've found so far. If you're a fan of this particular little sub-genre, and have any other fics I might have missed, leave a link in the comments.