Author: Miko no da
Fandoms: Final Fantasy VII
Categories: Pre-game, action/adventure, humor, romance
Warnings: Sex between two teenage boys
Author on LJ: miko_no_da
Website: Miko no da's Anime Corner
Even the best had to start out somewhere, and everyone needs someone to watch their back on the way up.
This story was written before Square Enix provided more backstory for the game and tells the story of how Zack and Cloud meet as trainees and became friends (and later more). This story is a wonderful blend of action, friendship, love, and humor. The FFVII fandom often suffers from either an overemphasis on angst - understandable given the original source but rather heavy to read - or unadulterated fluff. Miko manages to strike a balance that makes the dramatic all the more dramatic and the humorous all the more welcome. Miko actually introduces Sephiroth by having Zack and Cloud pelt him with paintballs and makes it work!
Her characterizations are extremely endearing. Zack, a fandom favorite, is his typical gregarious and generally likeable self, but it is Cloud that really has the chance to shine here. Pre-game Cloud is difficult for many people to write given the trauma and mental issues he has in the game, and he often ends up being depicted as... wussy. Miko's Cloud is still a young man, somewhat uncertain and finding his way, but definitely strong enough that the reader can see why Zack is drawn to him and how he could become the strong protagonist he does. She even finds logical reasons for why Cloud did not make the SOLDIER program without detracting in any way from his already remarkable potential. The close relationship between the boys is extremely strong, and Miko does a great job using actions not words - I don't think the boys ever actually exchange "I love you"s and yet it is all too obvious that they do.
Highly, highly recommended.
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