A/N: Thanks for sticking with me guys :) This chapter was so hard for me to write and I hope it's all good. I DO NOT condone binge drinking okay? It's just funny to watch others wreck themselves when you're the "sober one". Enjoy and review
It Only Takes One
Cloud winced as he staggered to his feet, his legs protesting all the while+. A squeak of a grimace fell from his dry lips and he shakily pulled himself from the bathroom floor. It hurt to open his eyes. Even just moving made his stomach lurch and twist. For a second he thought he was back with Hojo. The fact he was only in underwear almost clarified it. His pulse echoed through his head.
Shakily, grabbing the sink for support, he found his feet. The whole room went sideways and he found himself on the floor again.
The light stabbed his protesting eyes as he fell. His head smacked the tiles. What the hell happened last night?
Resigning himself to dragging his unresponsive body out of the bathroom, he crawled out into the hallway.
He recognised it as Reno's quarters and he could hear snoring from the other room.
The snoring continued. He tried again; louder.
"Aww hell. Is it morning?"
"Rrreno!" Tweeted the reply.
"Yes, well done sweetheart." Reno groaned and rolled haphazardly out of the bed, landing on his feet only by luck and not by skill. He scratched himself and yawned.
"Mmm, you know you've had fun when the drink punishes you the next day yo, and by Gaia, I am suffering for my sins."
He found Cloud on the floor in the hall and grinned.
"Did we get wasted or what?"
Cloud couldn't believe Reno was standing, but the proof was in the fact that the red head was looming over him with his trademark grin. He was helped to his feet and found himself clinging to the older man for support. Now he knew why Reno was never entirely vertical.
"You got wasted dude." Reno chuckled heartily. His bloodshot eyes the only evidence of his self punishment. A hand leant against the wall, steadying himself. He had almost perfected the act of pretending to be sober and ran a shaky hand through his bed hair. "Man, I don't even remember what happened at all. Must've been a good night."
Cloud turned and hugged the wall. If this was a good night, he'd hate to see the bad ones.
"C-Can I go-?" His next words were cut short and his eyes bugged. The taller of the two recognised the symptoms immediately and grabbing the blond, almost threw him into the bathroom.
Gonna puke. Gonna puke. Gonna puke!
The sickening sound of his stomach contents – mostly water – flooding into the toilet bowl caught his ears. He whimpered, water collecting in his throat.
"Careful dude, no second hand drink on the carpet. They don't pay me enough to replace it...well, heh, they do yo, but not enough for me to WANT to replace it." Reno sniggered and held Cloud over the rim. He wouldn't have made it otherwise.
Round two was just as violent, raising goose-flesh on Cloud's bare arms. Small strings of congealing saliva dripped from his mouth. He wiped it with two sheets of toilet paper but the choking feeling lingered.
"Alcohol...did...this?" Cloud gasped, his ribcage fluttering up and down like a starlings.
"Yup, ain't it awful." Reno replied cheerfully. Cloud couldn't believe he was enjoying this. "That's why you shouldn't drink kiddo, it'll kill ya."
Cloud blinked. It was him who had suggested it in the first place. Where was the logic in that?
"Then...why do you-?"
"Because I am Reno and I do what I like yo, come on then, let's see what Tseng wants us to do today." He yawned and stretched again, before leaving Cloud with his face half in the toilet.
"Reno, I- clothes."
"Yeah yeah," the redhead muttered. He'd forgotten about them. Where did he put them? He returned to his bedroom, wondering if he'd left the boy's suitcase of clothing in there. He didn't like the sobering sight that he found.
"I knew you'd kidnap one sooner or later."
Indeed the silver haired man sat in his room, stroking Candy's ears. She was almost smiling, but her eyes were darting back and forth, she clearly did not like being in Sephiroth's presence.
"How did you get in here?"
"Tseng left a set of floor keys lying around in his pocket."
"But...you are supposed to be in Wut-"
"It would be correct to presume you didn't get the message this morning? Wutai is now under ShinRa occupation...which means, my job there is done. You should have been there with clean up. Understandably, I assumed that, with you babysitting, you're presence would have been excused. Now..." he held up Reno's phone, his thumb stroking across the keypad, "imagine my surprise to have found this and what do I see? Four missed calls, all from Tseng. Explain."
"I...come on yo, I was just...y'know, I slept in." Reno attempted to explain. His face almost as pale as Cloud's had been a few minutes ago.
"Through the standard issue ringtone?"
"...Sure, why not right?"
"Late night last night?"
"Not that late yo, just a little later..."
Sephiroth's hand tightened around Candy's right ear. She whimpered and pawed at him and he stood up, also pulling her to her feet. Reno frowned and protested.
"Could this have been the reason?"
"Hey hey, c'mon Seph!" Reno started, braver than he actually felt. "Come on, she did nothing, leave her out of this."
Sephiroth yanked at the large floppy ear roughly, the girl's head followed. Tears sparkled in the corners of her eyes.
"This," he yanked again. "THIS, is going back to Hojo, if you have hurt, damaged or by any means lowered the quality of the boy." He threw the bunny girl to the floor.
As Reno attempted to run to her aid, Sephiroth grabbed his shoulders and kneed him in the stomach.
Winded, Reno fell to his knees, a painful expression of his face.
The General kneeled, grabbing his face with a cruel smile.
"Now. Is there anything I should know before I go to collect the child?"
Reno shook his head. He couldn't have spoken if he'd tried, bent double, trying to catch his breath. As Sephiroth left the room, he crawled off to Candy who half dove at him, whimpering into his shoulder. He held her lightly, his free hand curling around to stroke the back of her neck comfortingly. Her soft pink nose twitched as she leant, terrified, into his shoulder.
"It's okay." Reno wheezed, "he's...just worried about Cloud."
He hoped he was right and grimaced. His lungs were tight. He had the proper training to defend such blows but when your attention was elsewhere...
Even as Sephiroth scoured the house, he never expected Cloud to instantaneously dive into his arms and when he did, he was ecstatic. Until he realised why.
"Master!" Cloud gasped, "Help..."
Sephiroth stared in annoyed consternation as the boy attempted to walk over to him. It was a fool's errand. The boy tipped over after a few shaky steps. Sephiroth was beside him in seconds, lifting him into his arms like a bundle of washing.
"What did he do to you?"
"I...feel...sick." The blond gasped before vomiting down Sephiroth's jacket.
Sephiroth closed his eyes and thought of his happy place. He sighed. Then he caught a whiff of something. No? He sniffed the boy.
Alcohol. He was drunk. That thick-headed clown had given the boy alcohol.
"RENO!" Sephiroth roared.
"Sephiroth, I can understand how distraught you were with his actions, but, there are worse things than alcohol, seriously, I -"
"He can fetch another one, Hojo has made many." Sephiroth said, aloof.
"THAT'S NOT THE POINT."
"Reno," Tseng suggested calmly eyeing up the General's reaction. "Shouting won't help."
It would probably make it worse given the silver haired man's current state. If he was angry enough before, he wouldn't have the patience to deal with shouting.
"No, it fucking won't yo, but you ain't seriously going to let him away with this?"
"There are others, it would serve you right for giving the boy alcohol." Sephiroth growled. He was the only one sitting. The other two paced Tseng's office furiously.
"IT DIDN'T WARRANT THE FUCKING- YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO- Tseng, please! Will you fuck do something!"
"Reno, calm down."
"I will not calm down yo! This is- just because- he shouldn't get special treatment because-"
"You know how it works here,"
"That bastard had no right-"
Tseng had now seen enough by this point. He stood up, walked to the door of his office and held it open.
"Reno, leave, I will discuss this with you later."
"Tseng!" He couldn't believe his ears. "You're not serious?
"Oh I'm serious. Get out."
With a glare aimed directly at Sephiroth's throat, the still partially hungover Turk stormed out of the room, knocking over his chair as he did, and slamming the door. The clock ticked ominously through the newly formed silence.
"You shouldn't have killed her, experiment or not," Tseng said stiffly peering at Reno through the blinds. "Reno might be a pain in the neck but he didn't kill the child." He turned to Sephiroth.
"No. He knows better."
"Sephiroth, you have to control your temper."
The reply was a half hearted shrug.
"Too late now."
"He's not happy. You do realise he's going to do something stupid now..."
"He's welcome to try it."
Tseng tried another route.
"How is the boy?"
"Working off a hangover... I specifically told him not to corrupt the boy, and what does he do?" Sephiroth sighed. "I have no idea how this will effect the mako production."
Tseng glanced around at him.
"I don't think it has anything to do with your experiment Sephiroth, Dare I say, I think perhaps you have feelings for the boy."
Heh," Sephiroth chuckled, trust Tseng to get it right with the first guess. "How droll of you Tseng, as if I would deign to like such a pitiful creature. You have seen him right?"
"Hilarious. Absolutely hilarious. Now, I'm going to leave, because I actually have things to do since someone decided to fob off his paperwork onto me instead of helping out while I was away furthering the progress of Shinra's pathetic reign."
"Be my guest," Tseng said opening the door again and glancing along the corridor. "Oh, and a warning, Reno is hiding behind the corner, might want to keep that in mind. He's going to do something reckless."
Indeed as he walked along the corridor, Reno had the audacity to place his hands on his jacket and attempt to assault him.
"Get your filthy paws off me, you drawling idiot or-"
"Or what." Reno dared. "You'll slice half in half too?"
"I'll consider it. Remove your hands from my person. You have three seconds. One..." His lips slowly and carefully whispered the words into his ear. "...Two."
Reno swung back, attempting to punch him but Sephiroth caught him. He was still intoxicated and it wasn't very hard. He grabbed his wrist, tight, and twisted it around. With a swift kick to the back, aimed perfectly between the kidneys, Reno fell, landing on his stomach with a harsh grunt. Sephiroth was still holding his wrist.
"You only get to try that once." Sephiroth said coolly, his boot pressing against the back of Reno's thigh. It wasn't met with resistance. There was a soft scrunch of the leather against the fabric. He hadn't even pulled out his weapon.
"Are you going to try that again?"
"I'm sorry, I didn't hear that. Speak up."
"Good boy." Sephiroth grinned and kicked the fallen Turk before turning his back to him. Reno knew better than to attempt a back attack.
The silver haired man smiled and walked the other way. There were two lifts on the floor and the other one was just as far as the one in the direction the pissed off redhead was now blocking. He wondered if his boy had awoken yet.
He remembered how alcohol had always spiked his libido and, as it was very much a proven case in Reno, he wondered if the same could be said for Cloud. His mind wandered back to that day when he lay so helpless on that bed, mewling beneath him and he smiled. Before he became of anything more than a passing interest.
He wondered if it were possible to make him moan for him even more when he was as vulnerable as he was in his hungover state.
With a smirk across his face and an almost spring to his step, he sped up.
Across the hallway, Reno resisted breaking down into tears. He found his feet again, unaware of the bruising that would soon appear on his arm, and slumping into a crouch against the wall. Sure the rabbit girl was a no consequence fuck, a quickie on the side but...Gaia, he'd never meant for the girl to-. He bit his lip as he remembered the way the blood splattered up the wall when the cold blade, as cold as that asshole's heart, slid through her soft, fur lined flesh. That scream! It was his fault. He could have stopped him, if he'd only been a man and got up.
Though Sephiroth had winded him, he could have made time to get up, to brush himself off. He could've stopped him. He tried not to picture it. The flesh, raw and gaping, her shrill voice, choking in her throat. The pain she must have been in. But still the girl's voice.
"Rreno Rre-no!" Those last croaking words. She was happy just to have him there.
It was his fault she was there. It should have been him he took his anger out on.
"Oh shit." His head rolled back against the wall. Was this why he was needed in Wutai? Was this the extent to which Sephiroth was capable of? Harsh, bloody, murder. Callous, uncaring, cruel carnage? Unsympathetic butchery of innocent people. He was losing his bottle.
It was the exact thing he did. But...he'd never been on the receiving side. It had been easy for him to believe it was the right thing. Just do it. Don't think.
He was thinking now and it wasn't going away.
He knew how he was going to make Sephiroth hurt.
"Hold on Cloud. I'm going to get you out of here."
Suddenly the job didn't seem so important anymore.