Life in the apartment had been tense lately. Angeal wasn't quite sure if whose fault it was. Genesis seemed cattier than usual, snapping at every little thing with more bite than usual (and poor Cloud had looked close to tears on a few occasions). Zack was much too Zack which meant Genesis was set off even more. Sephiroth, bless his bunny soul (not that Angeal would ever say that out loud), was so buried in work he only came home to collapse every now and then. Their little blond was getting more skittish, what with Genesis' temper flaring, Zack's endless Zackness and Sephiroth's absence.

It didn't quite matter who was causing it, he supposed, as long as it got fixed. Angeal didn't know how much longer he could put up with everything being so out of whack. He figured that he was being driven more than a little nuts as he ducked under yet another tossed dish and listened to Genesis yelling at Zack for something.

Angeal stood, sighed wearily and brushed pieces of the plate (mug? He hoped that wasn't Sephiroth's gingerbread man coffee cup) off his shoulders. Giving another cursory glance at the complete chaos that was his home recently, he shook his head. Angeal grabbed his sword and quickly exited the apartment. He really needed a break.


Silence reigned, three sets of eyes glued to the door. One auburn colored ear swivled from its place nestled amongst fine strands of hair, listening closely. The tail that had been wagging non-stop slowed slightly as the owner also listened, ears perked slightly. The last member of the trio walked over to the door and cracked it open enough to peer out.

"Is he gone?" The wagging picked up again, tail nothing but a blur. The blond nodded in confirmation, shutting the door quietly.

"Where's the phone?" Genesis turned to the other two, his grin nothing short of malicious to most. Zack held up the item in question, only to have it snatched away by Cloud. The blond had a look of disgust on his face, which was rather adorable actually and not at all scary.

"You said I get to call this time!" The blond flipped open the cellphone and quickly located the number in question. The red head already had a bunch of papers spread out across the table and all three settled themselves around it. The number was called and the phone was promptly set to the side, on speaker.

"It's not like it matters," Zack grumbled, nearly getting his tail taken off (again) by Genesis because it'd been beating out a rhythm against the couch. A click signified the call had been answered, though the rustling of papers would have also indicated such as well. Cloud huffed and plucked out one of the scattered sheets, taking note of the sloppy handwriting that meant Zack had been responsible for it.

"Stop complaining." The voice was stern and a little exasperated. The comment immediately drew complaint from Zack (who was positive they hadn't answered the phone until after) and snickering from Genesis. Cloud quickly hushed the group, ears perked up as he listened to someone walk by the room.

They had plotting to do.


Angeal was paranoid when he stepped up to the door and realized it was completely silent. Glancing down, he noticed that at least the living room light was off. The door opened easily and darkness greeted him. He'd seen this set-up many times before (having plotted some himself a few times) and sighed heavily.

Those four never knew how to do anything in halves, did they? Now that he was paying attention, he could feel quite a few people lurking in the living room and kitchen, waiting. He couldn't really leave them hanging.

When he took a step forward, the lights flickered on with shouts of 'surprise!'

"Well, my comrade, are you surprised?" Genesis sidled up to him, his grin morphing into a frown as he batted Zack's hands away from Angeal. Cloud laughed as he walked over, managing to get his own proverbial paws on Angeal and stuck his tongue out at the pouting Zack. The next to wander over wasn't part of their little group, but Angeal accepted the pat on the back and present from Kunsel all the same.

Soon all the gifts were passed over and opened (Angeal would not ask why Sephiroth had gotten him a collar that would most definitely not fit him), along with well wishes. Angeal watched people come and go, stealing cake as they went. It didn't take too terribly long for the apartment to clear out, leaving the five to look around and the mess caused by presents being ripped open when Zack thought Angeal was taking too long.

There was a sense of peace though, that had been absent for the better half of the month. Zack was cuddled up to his side, tail slapping lazily against the cushion. Genesis was leaning against Sephiroth, legs thrown over Angeal's lap, with Cloud nestled against him. The General had one arm wrapped around the two since the other was occupied with a book.

"I hate you guys sometimes," Angeal mumbled, leaning back tiredly. His puppy laughed heartily and tugged lightly at the older man's ear. Genesis' leg snapped up, smacking Zack in the arm earning a snicker from Cloud. Zack whined about the treatment, getting a whap on the head from Angeal and a half-joking 'behave.'

Yes, everything certainly was back to normal. He didn't want to know how his new collar had found its way onto Genesis though.

"Happy birthday, 'Geal."

Oh my Goddess, it's been forever hasn't it? You can thank Tobi-Uchiha for checking it over and picking out some of the nastier mistakes. I have never seen so many misplaced apostrophes! Hehe, ah well. I don't have an excuse for not updating. Accept my laziness and lack of inspiration please!