Title: Out Of The Closet
Summary: The guys are persuaded to go to a FFVII convention, in costume…I think you can figure out from here (without any further elaboration from me) why they're hiding…now they have to find each other and get out, without killing each other (or anyone else *winks*) !
Rating: In this one? NC-17 for some language and *ahem* a…situation.
Pairing: Cloud x ? x ?…he couldn't see okay!
Characters: Sephiroth, Genesis, Zack, Cloud, Vincent; Angeal, Tseng, Rufus, Kadaj, Yazoo, Loz, Cid, Rude and Reno (appear later)
Disclaimer: I do not in any way own, or profit from, the characters – I'm just borrowing them, and forlornly wishing that I did *sigh*
Warnings: shameless bathroom humor, bj, anal, masturbation, swearing, yaoi
A/N: I put absolutely no thought into worlds, timelines, etc beyond "why are they in the closet and how the hell do I get 'em out." Is it AU? Eh, sure…kinda. So don't read this for timeline, read it for entertainment and character interaction, k? This idea walked through the revolving doors of my mind to join the cue for the coffee machine soooooo, my choices were to either write this or use the giant hamster ball, and quite frankly that damn thing is starting to freak me out a little bit and make me claustrophobic.
It was dark. It was musty. It was stuffy and hot. It was a closet. And he wasn't alone. Sephiroth fought back a growl. Placing both hands to either side of the door that separated him from a fate worse than hell, he rested his forehead against the cool wood. He was beginning to seriously re-evaluate the 'fate worse than hell' assessment. He softly banged his forehead against the door – having first made sure it was safe to do so – as his breaths came in short, shallow pants. Right now he would be willing to trade his beloved Masamune for a deep breath of fresh air. Sure, he'd been in close quarters before, he'd been hot before and he'd been sardined before. None of that really bothered him; he wasn't claustrophobic. No, what put his panties in a twist was that someone – Zack – had thought it would be cute to fart in the small closed-in space where no one could get away from it. And it jerked those panties up his ass that the exuberant First was completely unrepentant about it.
Unmindful of the potential dangers it generated, Sephiroth slammed his fist into the door with a hollow 'bang', causing everyone to jump. "That's it. I'm gonna kill him." He moved away from the door and started toward Zack who backed away nervously.
Genesis stepped in front of Sephiroth, his hands on his friend's shoulders. "Easy Seph, easy. It'll dissipate, just calm down and take deep breaths…er…count to ten."
Sephiroth raised an eyebrow at Genesis, but what he said next was directed at Zack, "I believe you owe Genesis here your life Lieutenant, but I will leave you with this warning." Silence. Zack looked doubtful and when he opened his mouth to ask what this ominous 'warning' might be, Sephiroth answered, "Payback is a bitch."
Suddenly there was a noise on the other side of the door that left everyone frozen where they stood. Instantly serious, Sephiroth held his finger up to his lips to indicate that they should all be quiet, which they really didn't need, and moved to the door. Very carefully he turned the knob and eased the door open. He almost died of ecstasy when a cool whisper of fresh air drifted past his nose, but that distraction was squashed when he saw the back of a black-haired head directly in front of him. With impressive reflexes, his arm shot out and wrapped around the man's neck and he dragged the other into the closet, slamming the door just in time. Sephiroth kept a hand over the surprised man's mouth as he kept his ear to the door and they all held their breath as a small crowd of feet came thundering by the door.
"I saw him come this way, where did he go?" A young female voice asked.
"He couldn't have gone far, maybe he's in one of these rooms?" Another answered.
Sephiroth winced and he felt the tension in the room shoot up a notch. There was a tapping on his arm and the man pulled on his hand. When he removed his hand, the man whispered in his ear, "The lock. Turn the lock."
Nodding, Sephiroth did as the man suggested, as quietly as he could, a split second before he felt the doorknob rattle. Everyone else moved away from the door and stared at the knob collectively, praying it would hold and the terror would go away.
"Well he's not in here, this one's locked and I don't see any other rooms…oh wait, what was that?" There was the sound of feet moving away.
They remained still for another several minutes before Sephiroth deemed it safe to move or speak. Releasing the pinned man, he came face to face with a set of tired-looking red eyes. "Thanks."
Sephiroth nodded in reply. "Vincent. What's going on?"
Vincent sighed and rubbed his eyes with his right hand, leaning back against the door. "Everyone has disappeared. I can only assume, having inadvertently found you four hiding in here, that they have taken to hiding as well…and what is that smell?" He looked around for his answer.
Genesis was looking decidedly sick; Cloud was squatting in a corner, the long sleeve of his costume wadded up over his nose, Zack was smirking, and Sephiroth looked…well, Sephiroth looked pissed to put it gently, but to his credit, answered Vincent's question calmly, "Yes, that would be the evidence of Zack, here, having a rather large lunch and feeling the need to share it with the rest of us."
Vincent scowled and glared at Zack who only winked and blew him a kiss. "Nice." He turned back to Sephiroth. "Have you attempted to contact the others or thought about what you could do to get out?"
Zack piped up, "Yeah, I thought about gettin' out of here." The others looked at him with different reactions, from uncertainty to skepticism to outright disbelief, but Zack was undeterred. "We could use disguises." He offered unhelpfully.
Genesis rolled his eyes, Sephiroth arched an elegant brow and Cloud shook his head saying, "You took your stupid pill today didn't you, Zack. The one day we needed you to forget…"
Vincent's expression didn't change, but his voice held strained patience and shook with repressed laughter. "Good idea," the gunman said, "Sephiroth can be a mop, Cloud a feather duster, you a broom and we'll put Genesis in the French maid's outfit."
That prompted a variety of responses.
"A mop?" Sephiroth asked in a most un-amused way, crossing his arms over his broad chest, eyebrow still arched.
"Feather duster?" Cloud looked both insulted and confused, not getting the 'chocobo hair' reference. Vincent gave him time; Cloud never got jokes right away. His confusion was part of his charm.
Genesis didn't say anything, but his eyes glittered in excitement at the mention of playing dress-up.
"And where will you be?" Zack asked imperiously, as though he was seriously considering the designations.
Vincent was stunned to silence, his face blank with shock, he only blinked a few times. "I will be moving quickly in the opposite direction from such supreme idiocy, you cannot be seriously considering this!"
Sephiroth sighed tiredly. "Yes…he can…and he is." He began to rub his temples.
"Hey!" Cloud said loudly, standing up and putting his hands on his hips angrily. Everyone else flinched and held up their hands.
"Shhhhhh! Cloud – quiet!" Genesis hissed, "Do you want them to find us?"
But Cloud was unfazed. "My hair does not look like a chocobo!"
Genesis snorted quietly and Sephiroth fought a slowly losing battle with a smile while Zack clapped Cloud on the back. "Sorry little buddy, but it kinda does. But don't worry…" He laughed when Cloud made to punch him, "…the girls love it!"
Cloud continued to glare.
"Anyway," Vincent interrupted before violence could ensue. "That answers the 'getting out' question, now, have you attempted to contact the others?"
Genesis looked at him blankly. "And how would we accomplish this feat?" He held out his arms and turned around. "What part of this costume says 'pocket' to you?"
Sephiroth reluctantly nodded his agreement. "Genesis is right, we do not exactly have phones."
"Um," Cloud said hesitantly, "I, uh, have a phone." He held up his flip-phone with a sheepish grin.
All heads turned to face him. "When, uh, were you going share that little bit of vital intelligence with us, Cloud?" Sephiroth's voice held irritability quite intimately with a dash of I-could-kill-you-right-now.
Cloud swallowed. "It, didn't occur to me, actually, um…" He stammered.
"Didn't occur to you?" Genesis asked in disbelief. He looked as if he were considering putting his head through the wall…or Cloud's for that matter.
That got Cloud a little defensive. "Well it didn't!" He glared at Genesis and then pointed to Zack. "We could always have Zack flake us out of here."
Zack scowled. "Or we could have you angst us out of here!" He shot back, blue eyes narrowing. "You've been so emotionally constipated lately that we'd all disappear in the black cloud you got looming around you. Hell, I'm surprised you can still take a shit!"
"Children, children," Sephiroth said mildly, stepping in between the two younger men, a hand on each of their chests and pushing them apart gently, a little concerned by Cloud's hurt expression. "That's quite enough. I think that we are beyond 'time-outs', I hope."
They didn't respond, but the tension slowly bled out of them. Sephiroth relaxed and turned to Cloud. "I'm sorry, Cloud, but it has been stressful, to which you are well aware. Why don't you try the phone?"
Sticking his tongue out at Zack, Cloud flipped his phone open. "Oh damn, no bars."
"We're gonna die." Genesis groaned and Vincent blinked at him.
"Try somewhere else," Sephiroth said calmly, his heart sinking.
Cloud nodded and did a slow circuit of the small closet, holding his phone up. They all watched him expectantly, perking up when he hesitated by the tall shelving unit in the back left corner of the closet. "Wait…" He mumbled and held up the phone. "…I've got one bar, but it's faint. Keeps coming and going."
"Climb up on top of the shelving, Spike." Zack said, insults forgotten in favor of escape.
Cloud looked 'icked-out'. "Are you serious? There's like, barely two feet between the top of the shelving and the ceiling, not to mention what might be living up there."
"Afraid of bugs, Spike?" Zack teased and Cloud sighed, finished with flinging insults, he was getting tired.
Aside from not getting much sleep the night before, from nerves and too much alcohol, the day had been stressful and he really just wanted a nap. Sleeping for about twelve hours sounded like such bliss. So he heaved a sigh, "Not really," and proceeded to scale the shelving unit.
"That's my little trooper!" Zack said.
"But if you do not shut the hell up, I will come back down and break my phone, Zack." Cloud said, realizing his leverage and using it to get some relief from the unwanted attention. "Would you guys please keep him quiet?"
Genesis slapped a hand over Zack's mouth. "Consider it done, Cloud." He said, but pulled it back and shook it when Zack started licking his hand. "Ew."
Sephiroth chuckled. "Put your gloves back on, Gen, I don't think he's had his shots." He pointed at Zack. "You. Shut up."
Zack held up his hands. "All right, all right, Sir." He ducked with a laugh when Sephiroth threatened to backhand him.
"Hey guys, I've got a steady bar!" Cloud announced.
"Call Barret, Cloud," Vincent said. "He alone got out. Have him 'borrow' a car and tell him you will meet him in the parking garage, maintenance level."
"Should I try and call the others?" Cloud called down, his voice muffled, as though he were laying his head on his arm.
"Just call Barret for starters." Sephiroth said and looked at Vincent. "How do you know where the maintenance level is?"
Vincent grinned. "I've been running all over the damned building, this floor several times in the last hour, actually. It just so happens that this closet is not to far from the maintenance stairs that leads to the parking garage."
Sephiroth raised a silver brow. "Impressive."
"Done!" Cloud called down, his voice a little slurred. "He'll meet us in thirty minutes."
"Thank the Goddess!" Genesis sighed, pulling Zack into a hug.
"Hey-hey-hey!" Zack said squirming. "Gerrof, Gen!"
Out of sight, out of mind, Cloud went unnoticed. "Have you managed to find any of the others?" Sephiroth asked Vincent, making a point to ignore Genesis giving Zack a noogie and the other squealing in protest, they'd baby-sit themselves.
"I've managed to locate them, yes." Vincent said stretching and tugging at the high collar of his mantle. "Gods I hate this damned thing, I can't fucking breathe!" He growled.
"Could you get back to them?" Sephiroth asked.
"Yes," Vincent replied, unbuckling the top buckles and opening the neck with a sigh.
"That may be a better way of coordinating an extraction. If you know the building as well as I suspect you do, then you would be able to point them in the right direction, and then just join the last group yourself." Sephiroth said, "Who is with whom, do you know?"
"Yes," Vincent affirmed again, crossing his arms over his chest and squinting as he thought a moment. "Angeal, Tseng, Reno and Kadaj are in a janitor's closet one floor down and Rufus, Rude, Yazoo, Loz and Cid are in some sort of maintenance lounge two floors up."
Sephiroth nodded. "Good, they're all together. That works in our favor, but we'll have to keep them together. Go then, contact Angeal and inform him of Barret's access to a vehicle and our extrication from this most unsatisfactory situation. We'll have Barret await further contact from each of the groups. Do you think they have phones?"
Vincent peered at Sephiroth peculiarly for a moment, then just shook his head in acceptance. "Knowing Rufus he would have a phone, and if not him, then Rude will have one and I know Reno is never without one. The idiot has an entire phone book in his favorites, he's always on it." Vincent was scowling.
Sephiroth smirked. "One would think that would be Tseng. He tends to be overly professional."
Vincent shook his head. "You would think, but he tends to forget it. He'll put it down and walk off without it. The man has quite a vocabulary in regards to cell phones."
Sephiroth "hmmm'd" in response. "Thanks for the warning."
Their conversation apparently concluded, Vincent cracked the door and cautiously stuck his head out. Finding everything to his satisfaction, he looked over his shoulder at Sephiroth, Zack and Genesis, "I'll find the others and let them know what you have planned. We'll give you time to get out and then attempt to contact Barret. If you do not hear from us in an hour…"
"We'll call you." Sephiroth finished. "Good luck, Vincent."
"And to you." Vincent grinned. "Remember to hit the maintenance stairs: take a left once you leave here and at the end of the hallway, turn right and you'll see the door marked "Staff Only" at the end. Those are the stairs."
"Good luck Vince!" Zack squeaked from his headlock and Genesis nodded.
Vincent just snorted and shut the door behind him with a soft 'click'.
Meanwhile…from atop the shelving, Cloud flipped his phone closed with a sigh. It sounded like Angeal had his hands full, and poor Tseng was about to lose his mind. Well, if anyone could handle both Kadaj and Reno, it would be those two. Sliding his phone into his pocket, Cloud maneuvered around to slide over the edge and climb down the shelving; quite sick of the dusty nook he had crammed himself into and done staring down the ginormous spider that had reluctantly shared the space. Legs over, he rested on his hips on the edge while searching for a shelf with a foot. Upon finding one, he began to climb down, and that's when everything went wrong.
On the second shelf from the ground, he had a poor toehold and his feet slipped off, but he only fell so far as, somehow, his shirt had caught on something and proceeded to bunch up around his neck and face, effectively pinning his arms above his head and rendering him blind. "Shit!" Cloud muttered as he tried to reclaim a foothold on a shelf, but snarled in frustration when that dammed half-skirt bullshit of his costume got wound around his legs and he couldn't get a leg up far enough to claim a shelf.
'And to think I used to think this thing was cool!' he grumbled to himself. He wriggled around and strained, mentally cursing his painfully obvious lack of height and completely oblivious to what his half-naked body and low-riding trousers were doing to the other men in the room. Finally, he gave up and just hung there. He heaved a huge sigh, only half-heartedly twisting his arms, trying to slip out of his top, or at least rip the damn thing. Cloud made a mental note to find whomever tailored his costume and employ creative methods of dismemberment.
"Guys, a little help?" He called, listening for movement and hearing none. What were they doing? "—Guys?"
He jerked violently when he felt hands grasp him and turn him to the side, causing his arms to cross and further immobilize him. Cloud stiffened when he felt those hands then smooth over his chest, warm and slightly rough, they immediately captured his entire attention. His whole world narrowed down to the feel of those two hands skimming over his chest, brushing his nipples and stimulating them into raised, hard nubs. He gasped; feeling a heaviness in his gut and an expectant tingling begin between his legs and over his upper thighs. His heart began to pound.
"What –? " He gasped, but was silenced when his newly awakened skin was further stimulated by a moist mouth finding a nipple, flicking it with a tongue, fingernails scraping lightly down his abdomen to rest just above the waist of his pants. Instinctively, Cloud arched his body toward that teasing, kissing mouth. He shuddered when a second pair of hands grasped his waist from behind, then began to run up his back and back down his sides, making goose bumps raise up on his flesh.
When he felt those smooth, lightly calloused hands in front of him move to his pants and begin to unfasten them, Cloud groaned. "Ohhhhh, yeeesss." There was an abrupt tugging, as the waist was pulled open, and the pants were jerked down around his ankles. His cock was painfully hard and the cooler air drifting over it made his hips jerk in reaction. He had shut his eyes, they were useless anyway, and he could picture himself, essentially naked, and utterly on display. Cloud whimpered. "Touch me!" He dragged in deep lungfuls of air, parting his legs as best he could. "Please touch me!"
There was a groan from somewhere close by, but he couldn't tell who it was and a voice whispered, "Oh fuck." There was the sound of clothing being rustled and zippers being drawn down. Cloud's whole body was alive with tension, craving to be touched, needing to be touched.
He bit his lip when he felt what had to be the back of a fingernail run lightly up the underside of his cock and Cloud had to bite his lip to keep from crying out in sheer want. His breathing came in short pants only to hitch in his throat when he felt that same tongue that had been teasing his nipple flick out to lave the tip of his penis in a slow lick. He bucked his hips toward that touch, seeking more, but they were captured by the hard hands at his back that smoothed down to kneed his tight buttocks and pull them apart. He gave a soft cry when he felt a hard erection press up between the cleft of his ass and rub up and down. This time he pressed back into it. "Oh gods!" He gasped. "Inside, put it inside me!" It was so hard and yet so soft and he bit out a sob when it was pulled away, wanting, wanting…
Cloud then felt hips come up alongside him, touching his own bared skin and the hands on his hips moved to where one strong hand rested on the inside of his outside thigh, just below his straining sex and other left his body all together. He strained his senses to know what was going on. He shivered again when hair brushed the skin of his thigh and he heard…'Oh gods,' …a sucking, slurping sound as the hair came into contact with his thigh and withdrew, into contact and withdrew and Cloud knew someone was getting sucked off. He groaned again when the one getting pleasured turned his head and rested it right by Cloud's ear so that he panted into it. "Please…" Cloud moaned, low in his throat.
Then they moved again, returning to their original positions. "Oh yes," Cloud gasped. A strong leather-covered thigh came up between his legs, catching his wadded pants on them and lifting the fabric, causing Cloud's legs to bend and open wide. He felt the cool air kiss his anus as his buttocks were spread. He held his breath when he felt the broad head of a cock push at the tight ring of muscle, slowly breaching the barrier to sink into the soft heat of his body. The burning sting of that initial penetration was offset by his erection being suddenly engulfed in the sucking, wet depths of a mouth, tongue pressing and stroking his aching organ as it swallowed him completely.
Cloud was trapped between thrusting forward and pushing back, but hands on his hips and thighs held him immobile. That panting breath was back in his ear accompanying the full seat of the flesh inside his body. "Move," Cloud pleaded, turning his head as best as he could to talk to the owner of that delicious intruder into the softest tissues of his body.
He slowly became aware of a presence coming up close beside them and harsh grunting echoing the wet slide of fluid across flesh, slowly beginning to build in intensity and the distinctive sound of kissing as the panting breaths moved away from him once again. Cloud whimpered as he pictured the two men, whomever they were (any of them were hot!) kissing, tongues delving deep into the other's mouths as one slowly jacked himself off even as the other began to fuck his trapped body.
The cock buried in his ass began to move forward, angling expertly to hit his prostate, causing Cloud to arch his back and buck his hips into the mouth of the man kneeling between his legs, working his own engorged sex. "Harder!" Cloud cried out, gasping for breath even as he did so. The mouth around his organ created a delicious pressure that drug him closer to orgasm even as the pounding behind him pushed him, but it was the man just to his side, groaning and shooting hot liquid onto his belly and side that threatened to shatter him, "I-I'm gonna…"
Cloud had jerked awake, pushing himself up on his elbows only to slam his head into the ceiling hard enough to turn his vision into blobs of white a second before he fell unconscious…again.
Sephiroth winced when he heard the impact of skull into building. "Cloud?" He called quietly. Nothing. "He must have knocked himself out." He said, turning to the others. "He hit his head hard enough."
"At least it stopped," Genesis gasped from where he stood curled over at the waist, the heel of his hand pressed firmly to his groin. "I swear, Seph, I was about to pull him down and fuck him senseless. What in the name of Ifrit was Cloud doing up there?"
"I think he fell asleep and was dreaming," Sephiroth replied, leaning over and resting his hands on his knees as he attempted to get his own libido wrestled back under control. "And that makes two of us, Gen."
"Make that three," Zack said wearily from where he sat slumped against the wall. "I'd give just about anything to know what it was he was dreaming about. I didn't know Spike could make those noises!"
"I think there's a lot about Cloud that we don't know, Zack." Sephiroth acknowledged.
"I'm ready to get the hell out of here, Seph. If we're going to make rendezvous with Barret, we're gonna have to get mobile. Do you want to see if you can get Cloud conscious, or would you like me to do it?" Genesis said, slowly straightening back up, but still standing rather hunched over.
"No, I think it will be safer if I did it." Sephiroth carefully climbed the shelves to where he could just peek over the top of the unit. "Cloud?" He called, squinting into the shadows to see Cloud peering back at him, his eyes glazed and unfocused. He called again, more forcefully, "Cloud!"
Cloud jerked, and for one terrifying moment, Sephiroth feared the blonde was going to crack his head again. "Uggnnhhhhh."
"Well, at least you're alive." Sephiroth muttered. "Cloud, I realize your head feels rather like a cracked melon right now, but we need to leave."
Cloud shook his head furiously then groaned as his brain threatened to come lose and slosh around in his skull. "Nope, gonna stay here and die, thank you." His face was lobster red.
Sephiroth hid a grin, and said as soothingly as he could, "Cloud, you were sleeping, you had no control of what happened in your dreams. There was just a moment of…" He paused to think of a diplomatic word to describe what happened to the rest of them, "…discomfort for us, that is all."
"You heard that!" Cloud squeaked, looking horrified.
"Hell yeah we did!" Zack said even as Genesis snorted, "Discomfort?"
Sephiroth glared over his shoulder. "You two are not helping things." He turned back to Cloud. "So what if we did? We realize you didn't do it on purpose, Cloud."
Cloud sighed, burrowing his head in his arms and Sephiroth felt a moment of sympathy for the smaller man. He cocked his head, put as gentle a smile on his face as he could, and held out his hand. "C'mon Cloud, let's get out of here. When we get back to the hotel, you can put some ice on your head and shut yourself in your hotel room."
Cloud hesitated for a moment longer before he looked back into Sephiroth's eyes and reached out, taking the silver general's proffered hand. Sephiroth battled with a fleeting moment of protectiveness as he helped the younger man ease over the edge of the shelving. He was mildly concerned when he felt the slighter body begin trembling and Cloud take rather obsessive care in climbing down.
As soon as Cloud's feet hit the floor, he shot to the other side of the closet and steadfastly refused to meet anyone's eyes, face a rather fetching shade of crimson.
"Right," Sephiroth said clapping and rubbing his hands together, very effectively dragging two pairs of curious eyes, one aquamarine and the other deep blue, away from their embarrassed closet-mate. "Let us find those stairs, shall we?"
Genesis nodded, being mature enough to let sleeping dogs lie, but Zack had sidled up to Cloud and asked slyly, "So Cloud, uh…what was your dream about?"
Cloud's face turned so red, it looked as though you could fry an egg on it. "Even if I wanted to share that information, I sure as hell wouldn't share it with a nosy old maid like you, Zack." He said firmly.
Genesis whistled under his breath and looked at Sephiroth with raised eyebrows, mouthing the word "Whoa". Sephiroth nodded and looked at Cloud with new respect. He bounced back quicker that he would have thought.
"Enough you two." Sephiroth said, moving to the door and cracking it open. Genesis firmly motioned for the two younger men to be quiet, then looked back at Sephiroth, awaiting the verdict. "Looks clear. Stay behind me, and for the love of Odin, keep quiet!"
As quietly as they could, they crept out of the closet, staying single-file and sneaking along the wall. Following Vincent's directions they arrived at the "Staff Only" door, pushed it open and began to descend the stairs. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, as soon as the heavy door snicked shut, Zack began pestering Cloud again for the juicier details of his dream.
Genesis looked back at them in exasperation. "Babysitting, Seph. We're babysitting. This whole day has been crappy: my eggs were burned at breakfast, my costume got misplaced, I nearly get mobbed…twice…I get shut into a closet, gassed, aroused to the point of pain and now this…babysitting!"
"I know, Gen, but just think. It's almost over." Sephiroth said soothingly, placing a hand on his friend's shoulder. "C'mon, lets keep going."
The two generals turned and continued down the stairs with Cloud, studiously ignoring a begging Zack, following close behind. In short order, they reached the bottom of the stairwell and came to the door that would lead them out into the garage. Sephiroth held up a hand, indicating they should wait back where they were and he approached the door with caution, as though he expected it to come alive and attack him.
He slowly and carefully cracked the heavy door of the maintenance stair's lower level parking garage access and stuck his head out, breath held. Straining both eyes and ears; he could make out no other living creature. Letting out his breath, he opened the door all the way and turned back to the others. "It's all clear."
Genesis sighed, relaxing, his shoulders slumping slightly. "By the Goddess, some luck!"
Sephiroth raised an eyebrow when Zack and Cloud didn't respond, still embroiled in the tell-me-tell-me argument. His sigh nearly matched Genesis', the only difference being his was one of frustration versus Gen's one of relief. "Gentlemen, we're leaving." When that didn't provoke a response, he took a deep breath and stated firmly, "Zack. Cloud. We ar—"
Zack broke off his pleading to hold up his hand, cutting Sephiroth off. "Shush!" Zack said, not even looking at him.
Sephiroth's eyes widened in shock. "Did you just…" he turned to Genesis who looked just as stunned as he felt and was muttering 'Oh no he didn't!', "Did Zack just 'shush' me?"
Genesis nodded, locking wide aquamarine eyes with green. "I believe he just did, Seph."
"That's what I thought." Sephiroth frowned darkly, not used to be said 'no' to – he was a highly decorated general after all, and quite used to being obeyed in all things, without question – and he knew with certainty that it was something he did not like. So, using his best I-am-the-general-so-do-not-fuck-with-me voice he said, "Genesis and I are going. If you two ladies don't knock it off…right...now…then you will be left."
This got Cloud at least trying to join the two of them, saying in an exasperated voice, "Zack, how many themes and variations of no do I have to come up with before you understand I'm not telling you anything!"
"Oh, c'mon Cloud," Zack wheedled plaintively. "I thought we were buddies…" Zack kept going as Cloud shot Sephiroth a desperate, pleading look for help.
Sephiroth, at a complete loss, just shrugged his broad shoulders helplessly – another state he detested being in. The two generals stood side-by-side, arms crossed over chests, with mixed expressions of shock and horror on their faces at the rather infantile whining of their fellow SOLDIER First. At any other time, it would have been funny.
Finally, Genesis leaned over and muttered to Sephiroth, not taking his eyes off of the scene in front of them, "How did he get into SOLDIER?" Genesis tore his eyes away from Zack, who was on his knees now in front of Cloud, grasping the blonde's waist. Poor Cloud looked torn between humor and heart attack. "And how, in Gods' name, did he make Lieutenant?"
Sephiroth slowly shook his head, opening and closing his mouth a couple of times before answering incredulously, "I…have no idea. But I think we're looking at it."
Genesis gasped. "Seph! What a horrible thing to say!"
Sephiroth turned to his old friend and said in an exasperated voice, much like the one Cloud had used just a moment before. "I know Gen, but look at the man!" Sephiroth gestured with his arm at Zack, who was hugging Cloud around the waist now. Cloud, looking horrified and ready to bolt as soon as he was free, was holding his arms up as though deliberately avoiding touching Zack, which perhaps he was. "Unless he annoyed someone into giving him the rank, I'm at a loss! I mean, that" Sephiroth gestured again to Zack, "doesn't exactly scream tactical brilliance and leadership ability to me, does it you?"
Genesis hung his head and sighed, "Not particularly no, but Seph I can't believe the other option either." The redhead shook his head. "Maybe he's just having an off day."
It was Sephiroth's turn to sigh. "Zack is an off day," He muttered, then shook himself. "It doesn't matter. We'll have to get drinks in the bar back at the hotel and have a proper discussion about what makes Zack tick. I have a feeling we'll need the alcohol if we're to understand anything."
Genesis nodded. "I agree, Gods, what I wouldn't give for a glass of wine right now!" Genesis said longingly.
"I could use a scotch myself." Sephiroth agreed rubbing his temples as though he had a headache. "I can't believe we agreed to do this."
"Me either. C'mon, lets get out of here and go get schnockered. After today, I need to see double and not walk straight."
Sephiroth nodded absently, watching Cloud who was now pushing at Zack's arms trying to extricate himself from Zack's clutches. "Seph?" Genesis asked again and Sephiroth shook his head muttering, "Not walk straight." Then more loudly. "Right. Gentlemen…goodbye."
With Genesis a shadow to his right, Sephiroth walked out into the dark garage. They'd made it about thirty feet from the door when –
"Oh. My. God. It's Sephiroth!" There were some squealing screams.
"Oh…shit." Sephiroth growled, before leaping behind Genesis, who was muttering, 'attention whore'. "You can have them…take them, please, take them!" Sephiroth, for the first time in his life, pleaded.
"Double the pleasure!" More screaming, accompanied by camera flashes. "You guys look! It's Genesis!" There was mass, audible sighing.
Genesis's spine jerked ramrod straight as he stared doom in the face. "I was kidding…I was kidding!" He squealed and made to bolt, but Sephiroth grabbed his arms from where he was hiding – very un-general-like – behind Genesis.
"Don't!…run." He hissed. "They're attracted to sudden movement. You run and they'll stampede…we'll never survive."
Genesis swallowed and nodded, his body alert and humming like a live wire, ready to run for his life.
"Okay, final offer Cloud. I'll give you my sword, two month's pay, a pair of Seph's boxers – don't ask where I got 'em – and my chocobo racer cards that I've had since they started making them. They're collector's pieces!" Zack was bargaining as he easily kept up with Cloud's quick, short strides as they left the relative safety of the stairwell for the increasingly unsafe atmosphere of the garage.
Both Sephiroth and Genesis groaned in unison, gesticulating as frantically as they could – without being too obvious – for the two younger men to stop.
"No…Zack…dammit…you're not gonna…" Cloud was snarling, but was interrupted by:
"Zack and Cloud! Together!" The screaming rose octaves, making the two generals cover their ears and causing Zack and Cloud to freeze, mid-stride, Zack with his hand in the air and Cloud with his mouth open, like a pair of chocobos caught in a truck's headlights.
Slowly, their heads swiveled from where they could see Sephiroth and Genesis shaking their heads and making gestures to stop, around to the Hoard of screaming and camera flashes. They held still for maybe ten seconds before their panic caused them to bolt towards the two older men. Genesis and Sephiroth stood rooted to the spot as they watched Zack and Cloud running toward them at breakneck speed, and then, run by them. The two generals spared a second to glance at each other before they were hot on the heels of the other two.
Screams of: "C'mon, don't let 'em get away!" and "We finally found 'em, now we're not gonna let 'em leave that easily!" signaled the beginning of the stampede that Sephiroth had predicted would happen.
The generals easily caught the two younger men, and as a group they ran ever deeper into the echoing parking garage, managing to keep ahead of the Hoard. But only just.
"Where are we going?" Cloud panted, flicking some silver strands of hair out of his face with an irritated wave of his hand. While supremely fit certainly, he still was not SOLDIER, and Cloud knew he wouldn't be able to maintain this grueling pace for very much longer.
"I have no idea, Cloud," Sephiroth said easily, then under his breath, "I'm a fucking general in the fucking military, I should not be running from a bunch of over-hormonal teenagers!"
Zack chuckled, "It's called self-preservation, my dear general. The fact that you're running indicates that you want to survive today, but we're gonna need to go up soon or they're gonna out-flank us." Zack peeked over his shoulder at the slowly gaining mob. "Damn, they've split up and the far side is faster, they're gonna head us off."
"On any normal occasion, you're a certified idiot, Zack, but in a sticky situation, you never cease to surprise me," Sephiroth grudgingly admitted and Zack glowed at the praise.
Genesis growled, "Shit, too late. They've gotten in front of us. We need to slow them down, somehow, get more of a lead on them."
Cloud, who was still a little bit more than pissed off than was probably healthy, from Zack's badgering, suggested, winded, "We could trip Zack, make him fall, that should keep 'em busy long enough for us to get some distance between us."
Zack gripped his heart as though devastated, his eyes sparkling. "Oh the hurt Spike!"
Sephiroth huffed, shaking his head. "Out of the question, Cloud. Zack may be an ass, but we don't leave comrades behind, especially not herrrrrrreeee…crap!" Sephiroth and company skidded to a halt when they saw the second half of he small mob round the corner ahead of them.
"This way!" Genesis shouted to get their attention and en masse, they pivoted and began running down the ramp to go deeper into the labyrinth of parking spaces.
"Could be me, but I think this way is taking us away from the exit!" Cloud heaved, quickly losing his breath. "Damn, what are these fangirls made of? They're keeping up and they're not even out of breath that I can see!"
"Maybe we should enlist them into the military." Zack grumbled. "With that kind of stamina, we'd overtake anything the enemy could throw at us. And as far as an escape route, this is the only option Cloud, but you're more than welcome to go back the way we came."
Cloud was about to respond when they heard squealing tires and they were momentarily blinded by an oncoming pair of headlights, cutting off their forward escape. "Oh for the love of Shiva, how can this get any worse?" Genesis moaned dramatically.
As the four men stood panting, the headlights drew closer, then finally passed them as a long hummer-limo shot past them and hit the brakes, swinging around in an impressive fishtail to point in the opposite direction. The driver's window rolled down to reveal a grinning Barret. "You ladies want a ride?"
"Oh, thank the Gods!" Cloud said and wrenched the passenger-side door open, scrambling in, followed closely by Zack, Genesis and Sephiroth bringing up the rear who slammed and locked the door behind them. Zack melodramatically flopped across Cloud's lap, the back of his hand to his forehead and Cloud raised his hands with an exasperated "eh" then pushed at his irritating friend. "Get off, Zack! That's not funny!"
"Barret, I could kiss you," Genesis sighed, letting his head fall back against the seat he was on next to Sephiroth and getting his breathing back under control.
Barret rumbled a chuckle. "Sorry Red, I don't swing that way. What's say we get outta here. You all that made it?"
Sephiroth closed his eyes, but jumped when the Hoard arrived at the limo, pushing and rocking the vehicle, only to open them again as he peered uneasily at the bodies pressed up against the windows. "Yes. Vincent went to locate the others and make arrangements for extraction. I suspect you may receive more phone calls, so I would advise you keep your phone handy."
"Yessir Gen'ral," Barret laughed when he saw Sephiroth glower in the rearview mirror.
No other words were spoken as Barret slowly eased his way through the Hoard and out onto the street that would take them back to their hotel. On the way, Sephiroth was watching Zack, a hand propping up his chin and hiding the lower portion of his face, a devilish glint to his eyes. Genesis, knowing his friend only too well, leaned over and whispered into the silver general's ear, "What are you up to, Seph?"
"I have an idea, Gen, and I require your assistance." Sephiroth whispered back, "It involves our young Lieutenant Fair."
A slow smile crept over Genesis's lips. "I'm all yours. What are you thinking, old friend?"
Sephiroth only smiled evilly and replied, "Just be sure to exit the vehicle before Zack and make sure he…remains behind. I feel that he and I need to…have a little talk."
Genesis nodded and leaned back against the seat once more and silence reigned supreme until they pulled up to the front door of the hotel. As soon as the limo rolled to a stop, Genesis gestured for Cloud to go ahead of him, then carefully placed himself in front of Zack and exited the vehicle. Before Zack could get his feet out of the limo, Genesis placed a hand on his chest and purred, "Ah-ah Lieutenant, the general wishes to have a word with you." And pushed Zack back onto the seat he had just vacated, slamming the door in the startled young man's face. Zack's heart began to pound when he heard the ominous 'click' of the automatic locks sliding into place...and lock.
Zack swallowed nervously when he noticed the unblinking stare of the imposing man across from him. "So-ah, Seph, what didja wanna talk to me about?"
Nothing. There was only that unnerving stare, and a slight lift to an elegant eyebrow. Zack began to fidget. "Um, Genesis said you wanted to…to…" Zack hesitated, frowning. Something wasn't quite right. He tried again. "I mean, what's so important that you have to lock th—AW MAN SEPH!" Zack's hand flew to his nose even as his other hand pulled in vain on the door handle. "MAN WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU! C'MON SEPH OPEN THE DAMN DOOR!" Zack began to cough.
"Did I not warn you, Zack, that payback is a bitch?" Sephiroth said, smirking.
Zack moaned and curled up on the seat and Sephiroth stretched, put his hands behind his head and kicked his feet out in front of him, taking care to rock his hips to the side to facilitate air flow. Zack noticed this and moaned again. After about five minutes of suffering, Sephiroth sat up and said, "Well, I believe that I have made my point. Join us, if you will, at the bar, when you have regained consciousness." Sephiroth leaned forward and unlocked the car door, hesitating. "Oh, and Zack?" Zack looked up at him, eyes watering. "Stay out of my laundry." And with a regal air, the great general Sephiroth opened the door and slid out of the now-vacant limo.
Genesis was waiting for him just inside the entrance to the hotel lobby, leaning against the wall with his arms crossed over his chest. "Well?" He raised an eyebrow.
Sephiroth grinned. "I would say that it was a success."
Genesis wore an answering smile when he said. "Then shall we set a new destination? Say, perhaps, the bar?"
"We shall." And chuckling, the two men made their way towards the bar and a much-needed drink.
End Note: Took some liberty with character interpretation there *winks*. This is the first in the 'Closet' arc of four stories, and was my 'second' attempt at fanfic so any fail, I will grudgingly take responsiblity for. At least you laughed though, right? ...*crickets*... right? 3