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Let's see what I have in Googledocs today... Ah yes! The appendices to The Beauty Inherent, my shitty multiverse crossover technopunk thing! I have no excuses. It was fun to write. Also I totally ship Sephiroth/Envy now and I have no idea how this happened.

WIP: The Beauty Inherent Appendices, multiverse, some Sora/Riku and Tseng/Rufus and possibly Sephiroth/Envy~ Also it could pass for an anti-drug PSA. Also you can tell I wrote it a long time ago. ಠ_ಠ LET'S SEE HOW ELSE I CAN CONVINCE PEOPLE TO NOT READ THIS

***

Appendix A: Man's Desiring

Sephiroth didn't have to sneak in, didn't even have to do this personally. He just wanted to.

Prep was simple, a change of outfit and a modulator tuned to Shinra security frequencies clipped inside his collar. He borrowed Cloud's hat right off the kid's head as they waited out back in the hissing rain for his transport - Cloud just grinned up at him, Mako-slit eyes screaming oh my gosh he's wearing my hat. Sephiroth nodded seriously to him, watching every passing transport over their heads out of the corners of his eyes. None of the kids had grasped the concept of three-dimensional space yet, of up and down being a threat as well as side to side. It was gonna get them all killed sometime soon, in a rainshower like this one, taken out by Turks aiming for Sephiroth from three stories up. He ruffled Cloud's hair as an apology for his inevitable messy death, even though the kid was only an inch or so shorter than Sephiroth. He tucked the ragged edge of his hair under the cap to hide the infamous silver sheen (he'd sworn a year ago to never cut it, to let it grow in defiance of the shaved scalp of his beginning years, when they'd kept him bald for convenience) and looked up at the underbellies of the transports, pale against the night-black sky. He forced his eyes not to flinch against the rain, almost enjoying the chemical afterburn that spread under his lids, and then he lept.

Cloud let out a whoop behind him as the transport lifted above street level, hands reaching down to haul Sephiroth inside. He managed to climb in with a minimum of slipping, the metal slick under his feet, and the unforgiving grip on his wrist helped steady him.

"It's good to meet you in person," the owner of the hands said with a small knowing smile, the kind that pissed Sephiroth off the worst. "Gast always said you were a beautiful child."

"Sydney Losstarot," Sephiroth acknowledged. The pilot was no one he recognized, and thus not trustworthy. He moved up to the copilot's seat, checking the controls without hesitation even though he'd never handled them outside a virtual interface. The transport had no virtual interface, and he gave his grudging approval of the vehicle choice. Less tracks in the system with a manual control, although docking would still be recorded.

"You never did acknowledge my terms," Losstarot said behind him, crossing his arms with a faintly metal click. Sephiroth bit his cheek automatically - he'd gotten into the habit around Vincent, reminding himself that no matter what had happened to his body, he still had it.

"I would have fulfilled them regardless of your cooperation," Sephiroth said lightly, bringing up the air control display. Arrival in ten minutes. Too long.

"I would have your agreement nevertheless," Losstarot insisted, and did the man never shut up?

Sephiroth took a moment to turn around, looking over the cargo bay at the crates of crystallized pure mako, enough to set up most of the addicts in the city for life, glanced over Losstarot with the same mild disgust. He faced front again, his point made. Fucking scientists always wanted the easy way out and never wanted to give anything for it.

"Sephiroth," Losstarot started again, "I am giving you something precious-"

"You have no idea," Sephiroth snarled, appreciating how the pilot kept his eyes fixed on the sheeting rain. See no evil. "You have no idea how precious that child is, Doctor."

Losstarot gaped for a moment, the path of their approach to the Shinra tower slicing through his reflection. "It is a machine, not a living being, it has no consciousness."

"And that, Sydney, is why I would take him from you regardless of your cooperation." Sephiroth forced his fingers to resume motion, flicking the switches necessary to engage the automated guidance. Losstarot remained gratifyingly silent. Sephiroth stood, brushed beads of rainwater off his pale blue uniform, and went back into the cargo bay. Losstarot stepped out of his way after a single glance at his face, so he carefully schooled his expression and eased the tension in his shoulders. He couldn't get caught because of a fight with an idiot.

"You will remain here. The transport will follow standard procedure for unloading. I will return shortly. You will not be here when I return, Sydney Losstarot. You will not lay hands on him again, you will not lay eyes on him again, so help me god."

"What an interesting turn of phrase," Losstarot murmured, and that was it. Sephiroth had him against the side of the transport with a dull clang before his next breath was drawn, before he could do more than flare his pupils in fright.

"The only reason I am not going to kill you," Sephiroth hissed against Losstarot's jaw, cursing his own slim frame and wishing hard for another growth spurt, "is because he will need a father to curse, a name to spit out with poison dripping from his tongue. One day he will tear your limbs from your body, Sydney Losstarot, father of none, and you will thank him for the mercy."

He left the man gasping, mastering his own body enough to act out the part he had come to play. Act confident enough and no one will question you; it's even easier if you have something they don't want to see. He strode purposefully through the building, not needing any map to find the science department, all bright white lights and pastel walls.

Finding Losstarot's lab in particular took hardly more than a moment, counting doors off - Shinra assigned labs in alphabetical order, blank doors unmarked by names, but he had the staff list memorized. Picking the lock took hardly more than a jolt of the bioreader - those things were terrible for security anyhow.

He closed the door most of the way, grabbing a folder off the nearest table and using it to keep the latch from clicking. It was entirely possible the thing was rigged with a less flexible lock, and he had no intention of finding out. He wandered the edges of the room while his eyes finished adjusting, widening his eyes to urge his retinas to switch vision types. There was technically enough of the visual light spectrum to see by, but he enjoyed the faint sheen of thermal as insurance.

A black tube in the corner caught his attention, and a quick tour through the light spectrum showed it was only cold - mako-cooled, no doubt, as his own chamber had been. He circled it carefully, checking each step for traps or complications, but it looked standard. It was only after he stood close enough to touch it that he actually looked inside it at the pristine body suspended in false sleep. Perfectly androgynous, a blank slate. Fucking scientists.

He hit the release harder than he meant to, the metal lever screeching protest, and pried the front panel open before it had finished draining. The liquid staining the hems of his pants would be obnoxious but an acceptable risk. It was more important to - yes, there, ease the limp body out and peel the oxygen tubes off his face.

Cat-slit eyes blinked up at Sephiroth delicately, and he smoothed a hand over the bare scalp. It changed between strokes, a mimicry of Cloud's hat melting into existence. Sephiroth smiled down into the blank copy of his own face.

"As much as I'm flattered," he said gently, "you can do better, beautiful child. You can wear any face you wish, any in nature or of your own making. You can take any shape, not limit yourself to the awkward beasts of mankind. You can choose it for yourself."

The eyes flickered, darting about the dark lab, perfectly aware and confused. Good.

"Come," Sephiroth whispered, cradling the brittle limbs and gently brushing a kiss against the pale brow. "I will teach you how to use their games against them, how everything works so you can make it better. I will teach you what faces frighten and which will lull into false security. I will teach you everything I know, and everything I will learn. Beautiful child, you are infinite, and they would make you nothing more than a duplicate of what already is. I will show you what you can be."

"Beautiful?" came the answering whisper, jumping octaves with each syllable.

"The most lovely being I have ever seen," Sephiroth answered truthfully, and the child looked up at him in wonder.

They knew not what they lost this day.

***

Appendix B: Parallelogram

Edward could hear them in the hall, muttering as if they'd be muffled by the faint beep of Alphonse's false heartbeat. He scowled and hunched closer to his tablet, fingers darting across its surface desperately. Copying pathways, saving impulses and the too-complicated binary charges of the brain. He didn't let himself look up at what he'd made his brother, a dead thing still and cold underneath the hospital sheets, wires sprouting from his head like hair.

It was a desperate last-ditch effort. He had to do it.

He was almost done with the undamaged sections, after a terrifying moment when he had to debate if he had room for facial recognition. He'd decided to do away with visual interpertation, relying on his future self to find a way for Alphonse to see despite that. Most of the damage had been to the brainstem, thank goodness-

Shit, fuck, no, never ever be grateful for any part of this, never act like there was any good luck involved, if there had been good luck Alphonse wouldn't be dead. And he was dead, even Edward had to admit it as he spent the last of their inheritance on life support and hard drives. This was desperate. He had to do it, had to do something, had to save his brother now since he hadn't when the accident-

Work, fuck, keep working. He tugged a wire, light as a breath, hating that he had to copy each path manually, there was so much fucking room for error. This was impossible even with the best of modern technology, he knew that, but he had to try, had to do something. It would have to be good enough. It would have to work. He didn't have that much left, he'd gotten long-term memory right off, he just had to get emotive responses, had to be able to see Alphonse's bright smile again, had to have something other than the horrible blankness when he had managed to crawl over and Alphonse was-

Edward was desperate.

***

Appendix C: Metronome

Rufus watched the clock, sitting with his back straight in the most uncomfortable chair made by mankind. He cursed every second that ticked by in slow-motion, cursed how long it took to fucking die. He didn't even know why he was here - he'd made sure the old man (not so old, really, hardly time for a mid-life crisis) wouldn't get up from this one, not this one, no.

"Mister Shinra." One of his father's bodyguards stood to the side, hands folded politely over the butt of one of his guns. "Word has arrived from the company. Irregardless of your father's condition, you are invited to take the presidency. Your response would be appreciated as soon as possible."

"What's your name?" Rufus asked instead, looking away from the clock. The old man was dead by now, formalities of resuscitation aside.

"Tseng, sir." The sunglasses were annoying, but he could see the use. Not for himself, no, too restricting - but for someone with filtered mako treatments, it could be nothing but an asset.

"Tseng. Please give my thanks for the consideration. I will, of course, be glad to do my best to fill my father's shoes." Rufus finally gave in and leaned back, letting his head fall against the stiff plastic chair. It had been a very long night. Lots of women screaming in fake shock, sirens and rushing, rushing, rushing to the old man's doom. "Tseng, a question. How long have you been in my father's service?"

"Thirteen years, sir. I was hired shortly after his second marriage." Tseng's voice carried not the slightest hint of reproach, but the very fact that he had mentioned the event... Rufus let himself smile a little.

"I can only imagine the things you've seen." Tseng made a small noise, one Rufus was too tired to identify, and he rolled his head to blink lazily at the dark man. "Oh, please. He's dead. He's not paying your bills any longer."

"It is not a matter of money, sir," Tseng said sharply, and yes, there was the reproach. Soft spot.

"Honor, then. Good." Rufus let his eyes slide shut again, not thinking about the next morning or the last twenty four years or anything but sleep. "I think I'll like you very much, Tseng, and I would appreciate your advice at any time you wish to give it. I've found that I may require some guidance in matters of conscience."

The long pause let Rufus know exactly what Tseng thought of all of that, even the half-assed confession of his father's murder that he really hadn't meant to let slip. Then Tseng murmured, "It is wise to encourage honesty."

Rufus slitted his eyes open, and yes, Tseng was watching his mouth and the curve of his throat. He licked his lips and swallowed, and yeah, that was good too. He'd like Tseng a lot.

"It's been a long night," he said, stretching with a jaw-cracking yawn. The seams of his suit creaked slightly. "I think I should check with the doctors and go home and sleep."

"I would be honored to accompany you for your tasks, sir," Tseng answered with complete decorum, and Rufus rewarded him with a bright smile that wasn't completely fake.

***

Appendix D: Predetermination

"Sora, at least go for the interview - shit, why the fuck do you leave these goddamn things lying around?" Riku kicked the syringe into a corner, lips curling back in disgust. "You asshole. Do you know how much I had to go through to get you even this much? I can't afford a drug habit for myself, let alone for you - you're not even fucking listening, you shit." Riku jerked the blankets off the bed, heartlessly shoving Sora out onto the floor, naked ass be damned. "Get up and put on clean clothes. I'll be damned if I let you waste away in a corner of my own fucking bedroom."

Sora blinked slowly, staring at his own hand like he had no idea what it was. "You swear so much, Riku," he drawled, flexing his fingertips in tiny increments. "And yet you're so beautiful."

"You are so shit-faced," Riku growled, grabbing Sora under the arms and hauling him towards the shower. "You're gonna have to go through detox just to talk to the doorman, nevermind get hired - maybe I can give you to them as an experiment or something. At least sit on the edge of the tub, or is your balance shot today? Fine, whatever, just get in there. What are you on right now? Do you even know?"

"Candy, candy, candy," Sora sing-songed, curling up in the bottom of the tub. Riku remembered to lift Sora's head up before turning the water on this time.

"Of course, candy, it's cheap and dirty and most likely to get you killed," he grumbled as he manhandled Sora into something like a crouch. "Come on, bend this leg. Now the other. Good. Just rest your head there. Who'd you get the candy from, Sora? Was it Axel again?"

"Axel keeps the good stuff," Sora mumbled, pouting. He turned his face to watch Riku move around the bathroom. "But he's nice."

"Yes, he is, he always sends you home before you shoot up." Riku finally found the soap behind the waste disposal, which was just ew. He let the outer layer of it sluice off under the shower. "Keep your head like that unless you want soap in your eyes. I'll bring you in for detox, that doctor with the cyborg arms mentioned it the other day, okay? I'll figure something out. Stay awake here, Sora, I need you to stay awake. Don't you dare fall asleep on candy. If you seize I'm not holding you down, you can crack your skull open for all I care. Come on, Sora, stay with me. Shit."

Riku did hold him down through the seizure, shoving the water controls with his foot so he at least didn't have to worry about drowning. He tucked his hands behind Sora's head and tried to make himself as heavy as possible, riding out the storm with more than one wince.

"Fuck, you fucker, you better not have OD'd, I'll fucking kill you," Riku muttered half-heartedly, hissing as Sora's head slammed against his fingers. "Come on, come out of it, you can do this. This is nothing, just wait until I get you in rehab, you'll hate me forever. Come on, Sora, you bitch. Easy does it. There, shh. Just breathe."

"Riku?" Sora said, voice wavering with fear and uncertainty and the last shudders, and Riku dropped his head against Sora's collarbone in relief.

"Yeah," he said softly, tasting wet skin without meaning to. "Yeah, I'm here, it's me. You're okay. You'll be okay."

Riku kept mumbling nonsense until Sora lifted a trembling-weak hand and rested it against the back of his head, and for some reason that made him fall silent. The quiet was loud, the shower dripping against his heels, the waste disposal hissing with broken vacuum. He could hear Sora's heart beating loud and off-tempo.

"Kiss me," Sora breathed, so softly Riku wasn't sure he'd heard it. He took a deep breath, feeling his own hands start to shake.

"I'll kiss you when you're sober," he said sharply, and he pushed himself off the bottom of the tub.

***

Appendix E: Dichotomy

"Do you feel pain?" Sephiroth asked, staring at the grungy ceiling because he didn't have the strength to turn his head. The ceiling was not very interesting, although it had ninety-seven distinct cracks and twelve flakes of paint averaging two square centimeters had fallen since he first lay down in this bed.

"I feel an approximation," Vincent replied, flat and mechanical. Sephiroth could hear the beginnings of irritation under that. "My body notifies me of inconsistencies which could be construed as injuries."

"That's all pain is," Sephiroth said, letting his eyes droop shut. Too much effort with nothing to look at. "How are you feeling now?"

"I believe the saying is 'like shit.'" He heard Vincent shift slightly, the hiss of hydraulics almost masking the hiss of pain. Better than Sephiroth, if he could actually move.

"We're getting better." It was hard to believe, that they'd ridden that out, that Shinra hadn't traced them by now and taken them while defenseless. Half of Sephiroth's boys were gone, killed as containment of the outbreak. He allowed himself a moment to miss Cloud, because that kind of loyalty couldn't be bought. "Outside must be pretty bad."

"The outbreak started in Gongaga," Vincent murmured, a quiet recitation of everything they knew starting over again. "Spread quickly through the outlying systems, infecting only those plugged in at the time it moved through their system; damage minimal. Outbreak slowed in Midgar, likely due to density, causing greater infections. Symptoms begin at the cellular level, primarily mutation of cells immediately around mechanical implantations; cellular death results in the surrounding area."

"My back hurts," Sephiroth murmured, trying not to doze off. "The last we were aware, it had not yet reached the Shinra building, and containment was in effect - removal of implants once they understood it, death before they did. This prevents future contagion from the infected, and is not a cure. Infection is one hundred percent fatal due to braindeath."

"In those not treated with Mako," Vincent said, his pet theory. Sephiroth managed a sideways smile.

"In those not previously infected with the virus," he murmured, and that made Vincent quiet for a minute. "It's only a theory. I'd need our folders to be sure. But the virus acts as though it's trying to mutate the cells, not kill them..."

"It makes sense," Vincent allowed grudingly. "And it would serve as limited immunity against the current mutation of the virus."

Sephiroth drew breath to answer and then held it, listening carefully. Steps outside the door, quick and light - one of the kids in a hurry.

The kid burst in without deactivating the lock, wincing against the shower of sparks. "They're combing this block," he said quickly, rushing to the bathroom and clattering around the medicine cabinet. "How much adrenaline do you need, Sephiroth?"

"As much as you've got, if I'm going to be lifting Vincent." He apologized to his heart, told it the strain was necessary and perfectly within its capabilities, and managed not to flinch away from the needle. He gave it five seconds before trying to sit up, feeling just as horrible but way more wired.

"I am afraid I will be dead weight," Vincent murmured, and Sephiroth grabbed a metal arm and hauled him up, staggering back against the bed. Vincent managed to get an arm around his neck, and the other around the kid's, and they started to hobble out like drunkards. Sephiroth's back screamed agony, and he wasn't even sure he still had any muscles along his spine, black hollows carving out a series of twelve plugs. Shit, that was the wrong thing to think about.

"You're always dead weight, darling," Sephiroth drawled, and the virus was definitely messing with his head if he was reverting to mannerisms of people he'd killed years ago. Vincent flashed him a dirty look, the kind that only Sephiroth could ever read because no one ever thought a full-cyborg would have emotions, and Sephiroth grinned back. Yeah, that was definitely Scarlet talking, the tramp. He briefly wished he'd never thought to memorize her, never realized he'd probably have to play the whore at some point, and he thought very carefully about how she'd died and screamed and bled, and how the color of aortic blood was the same as Vincent's eyes.

He walked into a wall, bringing the other two with him, but it was totally worth it.

***

Appendix F: Gangrene

They come to him at the grave, and it isn't a coincidence. Edward waits patiently for the suit to weave through the headstones, leaning back against the cool granite. It's hard to find an actual graveyard nowadays, harder still to get a space in one. This isn't his brother's grave. His brother's grave is the growing mass of machinery in Edward's apartment.

"Mister Elric," the suit says, and Edward thinks it should be raining. Scenes like this should be at dusk, in the rain. It's noon. Edward is getting sunburned.

"What do you want?" Edward asks, even though it comes out quieter and more resigned than a question should be. Of course they come to him now, when he's reached the limits of combining memory with artificial intelligence. When he's desperate. When he wants to give up, bone-weary and barely holding himself together, barely holding Alphonse together.

"To give you an opportunity." The suit doesn't shift, just stands there like a black-clad grave marker. Edward barks out a laugh.

"No, no, skip the offer. Tell me what I'm going to give you for it. I want to know what I'll be missing." He tilts his head back, staring up at the clouds. He already knows what his answer is, and it throws the suit a little. He can tell by the pause.

"A permanent contract." Work for life, then, every thought owned by the company. He can deal with that, as long as they don't try to reign him in.

"Fine. Are they going to point me at insignificant things, or do I get to do what I want?" That doesn't matter so much, either, because he'll keep working on Alphonse no matter what.

"There is strong interest in your current project. It is stipulated in your contract that your primary work will be to finish this project to your satisfaction." The suit folds his hands behind his back. Edward doesn't make any sudden moves. It's a good deal.

"Give me a paper and I'll sign it," he says, and the suit raises an eyebrow. Edward laughs, brittle and dark, and he nearly chokes on the unshed tears as he says, "What, you didn't know? I'm desperate."

***

Appendix G: Synaesthesia

Envy woke him with a liquid slide over his skin, seeping over his pores so gradually it took whole minutes before he triggered any reflex, and even then Sephiroth opened his eyes slowly, still half-dreaming, suspended in Envy's skin.

"Good morning," Envy murmured, because Sephiroth liked to hear his voice to determine what the day's mood will be.

"You haven't shown me this before," Sephiroth said just as softly, and there was no reproach in it, only wonder as he lifted a hand, sliding it through the saline of Envy's flesh. Envy shivered at the shift of mass, hurriedly spreading hair-thin nerves to brush against Sephiroth's fingers and oh, yes, that. "Beautiful. Look, Envy - it's perfect in the light."

It was, the pale grey morning refracting through his body, rainbows caught in the delicate spiderwebbing connected to his brain. The nerves waved like anemones inside him, shivering with each wave of motion, a tiny ocean contained inside him. He experimented with semi-liquids, rippling transluscence dragging against Sephiroth's skin.

"Oh," Sephiroth breathed, startled into breathlessness, and that was rare enough to make Envy shudder with pleasure, caressing from collar to heels in one exquisite motion. Sephiroth tilted his head to the side, baring his pulse, and it was all Envy could do to restrain himself from brushing lips against that. This was about touch, not trust.

***

Appendix H: Schadenfreude

"Well?" Riku demanded the moment the door hissed shut, bounding into the main room with his hair still dripping, throwing a towel around his waist at the last moment. "How did it go? Shit, Sora, sit down, you're gonna pass out."

"No, no, I'm fine," Sora breathed, but he sat down anyway, staring at his neatly-trimmed fingernails. He looked like he was in shock, pale and shaky. Riku swore under his breath and knelt in front of the chair, grabbing Sora's hands.

"Hey, stay with me. Deep slow breaths, okay? Good, like that. It's gonna be okay." Riku'a hands itched with the need to pat down Sora, habit ingrained now - he was too used to Sora stumbling home with injectors in his pockets. Sora started to laugh, belly-laughs that shook both of them, and for an instant Riku thought he'd taken a hit on the way home.

"You have no idea, Riku - I did it, they hired me, it's next to nothing but it's something, my god they hired me." Sora looked up, wonder overcoming his shock, and he looked exactly like the kid Riku grew up next door to. He took a deep breath of relief, about to settle back on his heels, and Sora grabbed his face and kissed him.

"Mm," Riku said, too startled to pull back, and then in a rush he realized that Sora was clean and had a job and was completely, utterly sober and sane, and he started kissing back, parting his lips just enough to encourage Sora to do the same, gentling the touches until they were just brushing, soft and warm. His eyes were still open, staring at Sora's lashes, and then Sora blinked twice and pulled back just enough to put space between their faces.

"Hi," Sora said shyly, a blush starting to pinken his cheeks, and Riku touched the edge of his jaw just to make sure he was real.
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