Title: Out Of The Closet II
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.
Rating: oh a solid PG-13, for language
Pairing: Oh nothin'…yet *evil laughter*
Characters: Sephiroth, Genesis, Zack, Cloud (have had their first adventure); Vincent, Angeal, Tseng, Kadaj, Reno; Rufus, Yazoo, Loz, Cid, and Rude (appear later)
Disclaimer: I do not in any way own, or profit from, the FFVII characters – I'm just borrowing them, and forlornly wishing that I did *sigh*
Warnings: Oh, no real warnings except for perhaps the "sequel syndrome", language (it is Reno ya know), mild yaoi and adult content.
A special thanks go out to ldyavalon and superkalifragi for helping me with character hashing, y'all got me thinking and therefore this thing got written. And a nod of thanks to my elusive beta – without'cha I would have continued to miss that 'a' XD.
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? Yeah, so you remember the giant hamster ball? Well the intimidation factor of this fic seriously made me consider reverting back to my inner rodent. I don't know the characters very well and Vincent is starting to really get annoyed with how clingy I've become!
With a heavy sigh, Angeal leaned back against the door to the closet they were uncomfortably sequestered in and slid down it to sit on the floor. He winced at the rather loud popping his knees made, and there was a twinge of pain in his hip, as he settled rather solidly. Drawing his knees up, he sighed again and rested his thick forearms on them. He watched Reno and Kadaj glare at each other for a while before rolling his head to the side to look at Tseng, who appeared to have his own comfort problems at the moment.
The poor head Turk had one eye closed and the other one was twitching in the universal sign for headache. And this looked to be a real doozy. Tseng sighed and rubbed his temples in an attempt to ease the pain, but the lines around his mouth indicated that it wasn't successful. "I wonder if it will work?" he said wearily.
"Will what work?" Angeal asked in reply.
"If we put a blanket over Kadaj's head, will he go to sleep?" Tseng said dryly.
"Huh?" Angeal was confused.
"My mother, back in Wutai, had a caged songbird that loved to sing at night and she found that if she covered the cage with a blanket, then the bird would be quiet and go to sleep. I am merely wondering if that would work in this situation." Tseng explained, gesturing to Kadaj.
"It's worth a try. I'm surprised that we haven't been found yet with the way those two have been carrying on." Angeal conceded.
"STOP IT, YOU LITTLE SHIT!" Reno screeched suddenly.
The two older men jerked their heads up and caught Kadaj smirking and Reno climbing to his feet. "All right," Tseng growled, getting up, "where's that fucking broom!"
"What? Wait, Tseng, what do you need a broom for?" Angeal asked.
"I'm going to beat Kadaj with it, or shove it up Reno's ass, whomever I can catch first."
"Oh for the love of Shiva," Angeal groaned forcing his tired bones to heave his body up. He managed to head Tseng off and barred the Turk's way, flinching at the murder he saw in those cold, black eyes. "Just take it easy and let me handle it this time, okay?"
Tseng, still glaring death at the two youngest closet cohabitants, jerked his hands up in acquiescence. Angeal gave a huff and went to separate to two. "Just be careful, Angeal, Kadaj is a…" Tseng started to warn.
"Shin-kicker." He finished with a wince of sympathy as Kadaj landed a sound punt to the older man's shins.
To his credit, Angeal only flinched and hissed in his breath, gritting his teeth. Before Kadaj knew what hit him, the SOLDIER Commander had the teen wrapped in a bear hug and hissed, "Quit that, and act your age." Upon hearing Reno snicker, he whirled around, causing Kadaj to grunt in surprise, "and you, do not start with me. Get over there and Sit. Your. Ass. Down! Tseng, put a leash on him, now."
Kadaj, his face close to Angeal's, glared. "Put me down you great lummox!"
Startled, Angeal did was he as was told. Kadaj tsk'd, straightened his leather overcoat and harness straps, leveled a lethal stare at Reno and promptly began to march himself over to finish what he had started. He squawked indignantly when Angeal's large hand grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and hauled him back against his large body. "Oh, no you don't. You leave Reno be and stay here." He said in his best 'instructor's voice' that left no room for argument.
With the two effectively and firmly separated, Angeal sat down, dragging Kadaj with him and wedging the teen into a corner. He sighed, "What is with you? Honestly, how did you manage to land a role in a movie?" He rubbed his face tiredly.
Kadaj crossed his arms over his chest and huffed haughtily, "Because I'm good with a sword, and I'm left handed, and I have silver hair, which is not exactly a common hair color!"
Ooo-kay, Angeal smirked at the kid's tone, he was kinda cute when he got all wound up. "You know, I'm pretty good with a blade myself," he said, fighting a grin.
Kadaj sobered and turned to peer at Angeal, "Oh really?" He looked a little confused and Angeal fought he urge to actually gush at the teen, "I thought you were, like, the old guy."
Did I just think gush? Must have been mistaken, what I meant was throttle. He raised an eyebrow. "Old. Guy," he said without inflection.
Kadaj shrugged, "Yeah. But hey, it's cool that you can use a sword. Just how good are you?"
Angeal snorted and crossed his arms over his massive chest, "Good enough to give General Sephiroth a run for his gil."
"Really?" Kadaj said again, perking up and looking interested.
"Yes, really. I even managed to beat him once or twice while sparring." He winced internally and added to himself, but at least once it was an accident. And he sure as hell wasn't going to mention to the teen that it was those sparring practices that had done his knees in, not to mention one particularly hairy accident that resulted in a fractured pelvis. He had been reassuring Sephiroth for years after that, as the man had beaten himself up for hurting his friend, accident or no. They had had heal materia, but Angeal still suffered bone aches now and then. He heard a ripping noise and looked over at his companions.
Tseng was resting his head against the door and appeared to be taking great pains to not make any sudden movements, and Reno was sulking and tearing a piece of paper he had found into tiny pieces. "So you can actually beat that arrogant prick?" Kadaj pulled his attention back and the reluctant awe he heard in the teen's voice earned him a stay of strangulation.
Angeal was a sucker for hero-worship, always had been. "Yes, I can." Although, it has been expensive. "Even Genesis cannot boast that, although he will try."
"Wooooow." Kadaj had turned and was staring fixedly at him. "Can you teach me?"
"Are you sure you want an old man like me teaching you?" Angeal asked, still irked at the label. I'm only in my late thirties, you adorably irritating little shit.
Kadaj was about to open his mouth to reply, when he was interrupted by the ringing of a cell phone. They turned their heads towards the sound in time to see Reno digging into his pockets. He pulled out his cell just as it gave another shrill ring and Angeal winced in sympathy when he saw Tseng finch. Quick as a striking snake, Tseng plucked the phone out of his Turk's hand, and to the background of a startled, "Hey! That's mine, yo!" flipped it open to stop the noise.
"This is Tseng." He answered, businesslike.
"Does that red-headed boob have to keep saying that?" Kadaj spat, glaring at Reno.
"Reno's speaking skills are not why I hired him." Tseng replied automatically, as though he was used to fielding such questions. He tossed the phone to Angeal who caught it in one hand, eyebrow raised in inquiry, "It's the General."
"Hey, Seph." Angeal said into the phone, leaning his head back against the wall only to raise it and look at Tseng and Reno when he said, "No, I haven't seen him…you did?…yeah, I'll go check." Angeal grunted as he climbed to his feet and walked over to the door, motioning for Tseng and Reno to move. The two Turks climbed to their feet and watched Angeal curiously as the SOLDIER cracked open the door and carefully peeked into the hallway.
"No, he's not out there…" Angeal said, pulling his head back inside and shutting the door. "...right, we'll keep an eye out for him…oh, thank Shiva, he's just collecting favors today isn't he?…who?…oh, that was just Tseng explaining to Kadaj about-…Kadaj…he's one of the Remnants…Remnants, you know with Yazoo and Loz?…c'mon, Seph, you know Kadaj, you worked with – wait, Seph, have you been drinking?" Gradually, Angeal became aware of someone plucking nervously at his shirt. He covered the mouthpiece of the phone and asked impatiently, "What is it, Reno?"
"Uh, Kadaj is flaming, yo." Reno said in a monotone.
"That is hardly a secret, Reno." Tseng said, pushing fingers against his closed eyelids. "So are you."
"Naw man, I mean, Kadaj is flaming!" Reno reiterated, emphatically pointing over his shoulder even as he inched behind Angeal.
"Why are you hiding behind Angeal, Reno?" Tseng asked tiredly.
"B'cause SOLDIERS take damage better than Turks. No offense Tsengy, but the big guy's a better shield for when she blows." Reno said, peeking over Angeal's broad shoulder and pointing behind them.
"What are…" Tseng started, but trailed off as he followed Reno's finger.
"Shiva's tits!" Angeal blurted. Staring opened mouthed, he said into the phone, "…I have to go…I'll call you back…" and flipped it shut without waiting to hear a response.
All three of them were gaping at Kadaj, who did indeed looked about to blow. He was glaring daggers at Angeal as he growled in a slowly elevating volume and pitch, "What did you call me?"
But Kadaj's bipolar swings weren't what had everyone worried. What was cause for concern were the black flames rising up around the youth and putting off not a little amount of heat…around flammable cleaning materials. "How does he do that?" Reno breathed in awe, "'Cause that is a bitchin' party trick, yo."
"Who cares?" Angeal cried, his gaze flicking to the combustible chemicals behind Kadaj. "He's going to cause an explosion."
"Like I said!" Reno repeated, unhelpfully.
"Oh shut it, Reno, and find something to throw on him!" Tseng snapped, headache forgotten for a more pressing and immediate danger, then added "Something that's not readily flammable!"
The two Turks began looking frantically around the closet while Angeal held Kadaj's attention, trying to calm the teen down. "Now Kadaj, please try to calm down."
Kadaj pointed at Angeal, beginning to walk forward, "I don't go around calling you and an 'old, washed-up, broken-down hack of a SOLDIER' now do I, huh?" The black flames flared dangerously, "so I don't think that it is necessary to call me a Remnant, do you?"
Angeal straightened up and threw his shoulders back, beginning to get mad, which was rare for him, and glared back at Kadaj even as Tseng began to move around behind the silver-haired youth carefully, "You have no idea what you're talking about Kadaj – broken-down hack indeed! And to think I had more respect for you!" The elevated tension, the simmering anger, Angeal found himself feeling truly alive for the first time since he had first graduated from SOLDIER training. Kadaj didn't know it, but he was a heady little squirt.
"As well you should!" Kadaj screeched, causing Tseng to freeze and flinch, face going even paler. " I have mrph-" Kadaj was cut off as Reno wrapped the enraged teen in an old painter's canvas then promptly knocked the youth off of his feet to roll him up like a burrito and sit in the middle of his back, extinguishing the flames and muffling the shrill yelling.
"Oh blessed gods the silence!" Tseng moaned in bliss, "Reno, I could kiss you."
"Not necessary, boss," Reno grinned, "just gimme a raise and we'll call it even, yo."
"After the day I've just had, I might actually consider it." Tseng replied wryly.
"Sweet." Reno said, then patted Kadaj on the rear, "hear that, ya little tart? Ya just got me a raise!"
"Might consider does not in any way equal raise, Reno, just so we are clear," Tseng clarified flatly.
The 'tart's' response was to start squirming violently and begin issuing fresh curses – or recycled old ones, they couldn't tell for the tarp over the kid's face – but it earned Reno a cold glare. "And because of that: might consider just got downgraded to: not very likely." The Wutaian said, crossing his arms over his chest.
"Aww, man!" Reno replied sulking. He swatted Kadaj's rear again – causing another indignant squawk, "now look what'cha did."
"And not very likely just got re-evaluated to: forget it…want to try to see if you start owing money, Reno?" Tseng waited, staring at his Turk.
Reno's shoulders slumped and he muttered, "No sir."
Angeal, meanwhile, had watched the whole interaction with amusement (and admittedly he was enjoying the silence as well), but enough was enough. Poor Kadaj could hardly breathe. He walked over and nudged Reno off the now quiet lump, making the redhead grunt, and began unrolling the kid. Tseng eyes flew open, "Angeal, what in Leviathan's name are you doing?"
"What does it look like I am doing? He can't breathe rolled up like this, and that's unless the old paint fumes haven't knocked him out already!" He said, his mood surly. In fact, Kadaj had grown eerily quiet.
"And that is a bad thing…how?" Tseng said in exasperation.
Angeal just shook his head and continued to unroll. Eventually he got to the 'meat' of the burrito, exposing a slightly glaze-eyed Kadaj, who blinked rapidly when finally exposed to the dim light. He sat up and swiveled to glare at Reno, taking a deep breath as he did so. The other three braced for an impact that didn't have the chance to hit when they heard the not-so-quiet 'snick' of a doorknob turning. All four leapt to their feet as one and backed up against the far wall of the closet, freezing when the door slowly cracked open. They stared intently at what certain doom might come striding through the portal, their collective breaths held. The relief was palpable when they saw a gloved hand grasp the door, followed closely by a red cape and mantle.
Angeal sighed as he relaxed, "Vincent."
No one saw Tseng lift his lip in distaste.
"Angeal," Vincent nodded as he slipped into the sizable closet and closed the door securely behind him, "Reno," he nodded, but only stared at Tseng, not saying a word before turning to Kadaj, "Kadaj, you'll be pleased to know that I have found the other Remnants—"
The reaction was instantaneous and different degrees of unpleasant. Angeal cursed and grabbed something cylindrical and red from a dusty, dark corner; Reno yelled, "I got it!" and dove for a slightly charred tarp on the ground; Kadaj's eyes bugged out as he burst into flame and Tseng tackled Vincent while the gunman stood gaping at Kadaj, slapping a hand over the other's mouth while sitting on Vincent's chest. Tseng watched Reno move to wrap Kadaj in the tarp to put him out just as Angeal hit them both with a blast from a fire extinguisher. It took a moment for the CO2 to settle, but when it did, it revealed a very grubby, very pissed off Reno St. Clair who shouted, "I said I had it, yo!" as he glared at Angeal while, by contrast Kadaj seemed to wilt as he muttered morosely, "Not again!"
When Tseng's hand had clapped over his mouth (the second time in one day, and one time too many), Vincent's eyes widened then narrowed dangerously. With the Turk captivated by the fiasco generated by the ill-timed heroic efforts of the other two, he chose that moment to escape the hand covering his mouth by doing the only thing readily available to him.
"Ow!" Tseng exclaimed, jerking his hand back, shaking it. He looked back down at Vincent, his own eyes narrowing, before pointing his finger directly in the gunslingers face, "No bite!" he scolded.
Vincent fisted his hands in Tseng's suit jacket and dragged the Wutaian down until their noses were nearly touching, "Do I look like a fucking dog to you…Tseng?" He spat.
Tseng's face was an expressionless, stony mask save for a slender eyebrow raised, "No, Vincent, but…" He leaned to the side and lowered his face a fraction towards Vincent's neck, and sniffed disdainfully, "You do smell like one."
Angeal could identify an impending brawl when he saw one, and quickly pulled Tseng off Vincent when he saw the gunman's lip lift in a sneer, "OH-kay, that's enough, you two." He shoved Tseng back, and turned to offer a hand to Vincent, who took it but never removed his glare from the head Turk. "Vincent, I understand that you helped Seph, Gen, Zack and Cloud get out?"
Vincent's attention finally shifted to Angeal and he nodded, straightening his mantle, "That is correct, Commander." He said stiffly, "and I was going to help you out as well, but I believe I may have changed my mind."
That kick-started the other two into motion and they approached him, both speaking at once:
"What? You cannot just leave us here…!" From Kadaj, and a
"Look, just because that walking sphincter I call a boss owes you money, doesn't mean we have to pay for it, yo!" from Reno.
"ENOUGH!" bellowed Angeal. He turned back to Vincent, "I'm sorry that there are issues between you and Tseng, but I think you both, " he paused to level an angry glare at the black-eyed man, "can be mature enough to save resolving it for a more suitable place and time. Or do I need to re-consider my opinion of the both of you?"
Neither man answered him, but the tension in the room began to ease. Vincent turned away from Tseng and sighed, "You are right, Commander Hewley. Has Barret contacted you?"
"No," Angeal replied crossing his arms over his chest, "we didn't know what was going on until Seph called Reno's phone."
Vincent nodded, "Right. Barret is currently waiting outside by a delivery door on the North end of building. Do you know your way around at all?"
Angeal shook his head, "We've only been to the main convention hall and here."
"All right, I'll take you there," Vincent sighed, rubbing his face. "Lets go, just please be quiet!" He made a point to glare at Reno.
Reno opened his mouth to respond, but shut it when he saw Tseng give an almost imperceptible shake of his head. So with Vincent in the lead, the quintet slowly crept out of their closet in the order of Angeal, Kadaj, and Reno with Tseng bringing up the rear. They made quick progress, filing down a side stair but had to call a halt when it became apparent that the rest of the stairs were heavily blocked with construction equipment. Vincent swore and Tseng snickered from his position in the back, "Apparently you didn't know where you were going either, Vincent."
The gunman froze, spine going rigid with aggression and Angeal lay at steady hand on the man's shoulder, "Ignore him, Vincent. He's just baiting you."
Vincent nodded, "Unfortunately, he enjoys doing that to people."
"I've noticed, my friend." Angeal said wryly. "Let's just get out of here, huh?"
Taking a deep breath, Vincent led them out onto the floor they were on and down the hallway in the direction of a new set of stairs. They only made it so far before they ran smack-dab into the whole reason they had hidden in the first place. It was a fairly large group of them, huddled around the elevators, talking excitedly on cells phones, and both Angeal and Vincent's sharp hearing picked up snippets of conversation: "Are you serious? Sephiroth? " Another giggled, "Zack and Cloud!" and yet another "Ohmygod you are soooooo lucky! Genesis!". With arms outstretched and red eyes never wavering, Vincent began to slowly back away from the pack, the others a tense huddle behind him and peeking around the wall of his cape. They had almost made it to a corner when there was a shriek, "Vincent Valentine!" followed by high-pitched screams.
Angeal felt Vincent flinch and mutter, "Fuck."
"Someone's behind him, who's behind him?" Said another excited voice, and the group spread out while the men continued to warily back up.
"I see Angeal back there!" Four girls giggled and clapped their hands.
"Ohmygosh! Reno…I see Reno, yo!" Seven more girls giggled and Reno muttered, "That is so corny, yo."
"So I've been trying to tell you, you skinny boob!" Kadaj snipped blue-green eyes locked on the pack in front of them.
"Shut it, ya tart!" Reno replied and pushed Kadaj, sending him stumbling out to the side and into plain sight.
"Kadaj! Ohmygod we've found a Remnant!" There were a mixture of screams and 'awwww's' and easily half of the pack jumped up and down and there were sighs of, "He is sooooo adorable!"
Kadaj had gone wooden, a mechanical smile forced upon lips. Reno snapped his fingers, "That's it, yo!" and he darted out from behind Vincent to stand behind Kadaj. He wrapped his hand around the teen's wrist and lifted his arm to point at the pack, "Remnant! Remnant!"
Kadaj looked highly un-amused, Angeal, Vincent and Tseng gaped in disbelief and the pack froze in confusion, "What are you doing, Reno?" hissed Tseng.
"I'm trying to get the little flamer lit! I mean all creatures are afraid of fire right?"
The three older men groaned and Angeal rested his forehead against Vincent's back, "You have got to be joking," he muttered, bumping his head against the gunman's back. "This is a dream. I'm going to wake up in a cold sweat and it'll be all over."
Kadaj hissed over his shoulder, "Would you stop it, you boob? You are embarrassing me! I am not a gun!"
Before Reno could respond, Tseng stepped up behind the redheaded Turk and grabbed the young man's ear, "What is your pro-"
"Tseng! Look you guys it's the Tseng!" more screaming and Tseng froze, black eyes swiveling towards the pack of females.
"The Tseng, boss?" Reno snickered, "As opposed to what, man?"
Again, there was an interruption, as the distance wouldn't be tolerated any more. "Get them!" they screamed, and as one, all five men turned and bolted, hanging a sharp right and sprinting down the hall for all they were worth. When they came to a T-intersection, Kadaj, Reno, and Angeal swung left in their panic and Tseng and Vincent turned right. The pack, quickly closing the gap, split up and the chase was on.
Panting with exertion, Tseng skidded around a corner and, with arms pinwheeling, slid into the wall as the bottoms of his dress shoes had no tread and the floors were slick. Vincent was no better off as his sabatons were ungainly at best and made running damned difficult. He kept catching his toes on random objects such as…cracks in the floor. He cursed when he very nearly did a faceplant when his right toe got hung up, again. They jumped and flattened themselves in a doorway as their half of the pack thundered by, squealing.
"We'd make better time if you didn't have those ridiculous clown shoes on." Tseng gasped, sneering at Vincent's feet, "Then again, ridiculous and pathetic go hand in hand with you, don't they?"
And that was all it took. With a snarl, Vincent whirled around and wrapped his gauntleted hand around Tseng's neck. The thing wasn't very sharp so the lethality of the claws was negligible, but it still pinched, and coupled with his above-average strength, the grip was damned uncomfortable. "I was doing just fine until I had to haul you around."
"What do you think you are doing, Vincent?" Tseng said haughtily, "we don't have time for your childish temper tantrums. We need to find the others and get out of here."
"Wrong," Vincent growled in Wutainese, eyes glaring red as lava, "we don't have to do anything. I will find the others. You can stay here and rot." With that, the raven-haired gunman shoved Tseng backwards into a tiny broom closet and shut the door in the Turk's face. He shoved a claw into the lock and wrenched the digit, grinning as he heard the locking mechanism click and bend, jamming it shut.
Vincent spat at the base of the door before turning his back and slowly retracing his steps to where they had been separated. He had a SOLDIER, a Turk and a … headcase to find.
The three of them squealed to a stop just outside a large, and thankfully deserted, banquet hall. Angeal quickly steered the other two into the room then, as quietly as he could, closed the double doors. "There's no way we're going to outrun them," he said, barely winded. "Our best bet is to hide."
"Where?" Reno gasped. "There's hardly any cover, yo."
"The yo-boob is right, old man." Kadaj wheezed.
Angeal glared at Kadaj, but didn't waste time arguing a lost cause, "we'll just have to get creative then," he said, but couldn't resist a, "and if I'm the 'old guy', then why am I the only one not out of breath, eh?"
He had already turned away before Kadaj could respond, but he did hear Reno's "'Cause you're friggin' enhanced, that's why." Angeal smiled. They wasted no more time and began to search, but they were halted suddenly when the doorknobs to the banquet hall began to rattle. A muffled voice could be heard, "I'll bet they're in here, c'mon girls, let's get this door open and find them!"
They looked at each other for a second before it was a mad scramble for whatever they could find, anything, so long as it would hide them from view! Angeal bee-lined it for the heavy, floor-length drapes and wrapped his big body up in them. Through a small gap in the fabric, he saw Kadaj crawl under a table that was covered by a tablecloth and Reno leapt up to slide on his side across a bare table to land behind an imposing wall of moving boxes. It was just in the nick of time because as soon as Reno's shock of bright red hair disappeared, the double doors burst open and the pack spilled in.
They fanned out and began to search. Amazingly, no one thought to check the drapes, a fact to which Angeal was grateful. "Hey! I think I saw movement! Over here, under the table!" Those words struck fear in him, and that fear grew as he saw them move in on the Kadaj's hiding spot. He gritted his teeth and prepared to reveal himself when,
"Well hello ladies," came a slightly raspy, but extremely seductive voice. Reno had slid out from behind his hiding place and had moved around behind the pack, to stand between them and the open door. He stood with his head tilted back and to the side, a cocky angle to his hip and with his teal-colored bedroom eyes, the young Turk oozed sex. "I'll tell ya now, that you're getting colder."
The pack had turned as one and their eyes were fixed upon Reno. Angeal shivered from where he stood hidden, and truly admired the kid's nerve because the redhead didn't even flinch. They were inching towards the Turk, and still the kid held his ground. He raised a skinny hand and the pack stopped, waiting. "I'll make ya a deal. You catch me…I kiss ya, eh?" He waggled he eyebrows and there were several sighs, a few squeals and at least one nosebleed. "Ready?" Breaths were held and a slow, mischievous grin spread over the Turk's lips. "Go!" and then Reno was off like a bullet fired from a gun, the pack a heartbeat behind him.
Angeal waited several minutes and, when no one showed up, eased out from his hiding place and jogged over to Kadaj's table. He knelt down and raised a corner of the tablecloth to see the poor kid curled into a tiny ball with his hands over his ears and eyes squeezed tightly shut. His heart going out to him, Angeal leaned under the table and gently squeezed and shook Kadaj's foot. Without removing his hands from his ears, the teen cracked his eyes open. When he saw that it was only Angeal, he breathed a huge sigh and brought his hands down asking, "Where are they? Did they leave?"
The big SOLDIER nodded, "You had a guardian Turk looking out for you. Reno lured them off. Now c'mon out from there and let's try and find a way to get to Barret."
Kadaj nodded and crawled out from under the table. He had just gotten to his feet and the two started for the exit when they saw a red blur go skidding past the door, followed by a horrendous crash that probably caught the attention of the entire building. They looked at each other then started sprinting for the door when they saw a black-haired head poke around the frame, "Are you two all right?"
They pulled up short as Vincent, bedecked by what looked like pastel paper streamers, scooted into the banquet room. With irritation, he began picking the decorations out of his hair. "We're fine, Vincent, but how are you?" Angel asked, mildly concerned, because that crash had sounded like anything but all right.
Vincent snorted and shook the rest of the confetti out of his mane before answering, "I am fine, now where is Reno?"
"Right here, yo." The redhead came jogging up to them, sweating profusely and severely out of breath. "Vince, man, that was one wicked wipeout! Nicely done!"
The gunman glared at Reno then pointed at his sabatons, "You try running in these."
"But you were so graceful in the movie and Dirge, man," Reno said scratching his head, then bending over to rest his hands on his knees as he tried to catch his breath.
"One, I never ran in the movie and Two, when I ran in Dirge, did you ever see my feet clearly?" Vincent replied wryly, and then added quickly, "In the actual movie scenes, not the obviously fake game scenes." Vincent was eying Reno as the young man gasped for breath. He turned to Angeal, "what happened here?"
Angeal sighed and rubbed his face before he said, "We ducked in here to hide, but they had found us anyway, and they had almost discovered Kadaj when Reno here sacrificed himself to draw them off. The man has my respect."
Reno just shrugged, "Nah, I'd'a done it for any of ya. I mean, he's an irritating little flamer, but he's still one of us, yo." He ruffled Kadaj's hair which earned him a punch in the shoulder and a glare, before turning back to Vincent, "We don't abandon one of our own. 'Sides, the squirt owes me now."
"I do not!" Kadaj spluttered.
Reno laughed in his whiskey voice, "Yeah, ya tart, ya do. Hey Vince, where's my boss? Didn't you two head off together?"
Vincent, who had gone very still, wearing a chagrined expression said, "We got…separated. I will first get you three out, and then return for Tseng." He looked first at Angeal, who had a knowing eyebrow raised, and then back to Reno, "You have my word."
Reno made a 'pffft' sound and waved his hand in the air, "Ah leave him lost for a while, maybe it'll loosen him up a little."
"Or piss him off a lot." Angeal said, and Reno paled.
"On second thought, Vince, you might wanna put a rush on the finding thing. I have to work with the man and he's worse than a PMS'ing chick when he's pissed, yo."
A corner of Vincent's lips twitched and he replied, "I believe it, so I shall try to be quick, Reno."
"I have to ask though, before we get out of here but, how did you get away so quickly without being followed?" Angeal asked curiously.
"Uh," Reno said, blushing and rubbing the back of his neck, "it's uh, not really important. Let's just say that there's this chick that ain't real happy with the ensuing dog pile after the collision."
Angeal held up his hands and said, "That's…enough, Reno."
Reno gave Angeal a relieved look and with Vincent in the lead, they made their way to the delivery entrance/exit. Angeal looked around for a limo, but saw only a…beaten up pizza delivery truck? Vincent pulled up sharply, cocking his head and raising an eyebrow as Barret wriggled out of the cramped cab. "Not what I was expecting, B." He said eyeing his friend.
"Hey, you take what you can steal. They were usin' the limo. Well? We leavin' or stayin'?" Barret asked gruffly.
"Leaving," Angeal said firmly and ushered to two young men into the tiny truck cab before squeezing in next to Kadaj. Things were so close that the teen was practically sitting on Angeal's lap – not that he minded.
Barret looked at Vincent, "You not comin' Vincent?"
"In there?" Vincent chuckled, "no thanks, B, but I'll wait for the next bus. Just be sure to swipe the limo next time because I've got a bunch coming out this last round."
Barret gave a rumbling chuckle, "Good plan. I'll see what I can do. Hey, you be careful, buddy."
Vincent nodded and watched, amused, as Barret – with much cursing – wedged himself into the truck cab and started the engine, pushing Reno over against Kadaj. He chuckled as he saw the redhead glare and rub his shoulder from where the big man had pushed him. As soon as the sad little truck limped away from the curb, Vincent turned around and grabbed the doorknob to re-enter the building only to find that he was locked out. He groaned and rested his head against the metal door. This was already shaping up to be his worst job yet.
The ride back to the hotel was a whole new nightmare for Angeal. Not only were they all four crammed into the small truck cab (with broken air conditioner) – Barret was a big man, and Angeal was no lightweight himself – which made for extremely close quarters, they had to smell old pizza too. Add to that one redheaded Turk and one silver-haired swordsman and you had the recipe for hell.
As soon as they had pulled away from the curb, Reno had begun plotting ways that Kadaj could 'pay him back' for saving him from the fangirls, and Kadaj immediately had gone on the defensive and adamantly denied he owed Reno anything. What ensued was a ten-minute ride of: "Yes, you do." "No, I don't." "Yes, you do." "No, I don't" "Yes, you do, you little tart!" "No, I don't, you boob!" "YES, YOU DO, YOU LITTLE SHIT!" "NO, I DON'T, YO-YO BITCH!"Until finally Barret had cuffed Reno on the back of the head, very nearly knocking the young Turk out with his metal prosthesis, and Angeal had clapped a hand over Kadaj's mouth with the uttered statement, "Yes, Kadaj, you do. Now shut up."
That had worked for about two minutes before they started back up again, this time with "Told you so." "No, you didn't" "Told you so." "No, you didn't", which continued until they reached the hotel. When the delivery truck finally rolled to a stop and they all had gotten out, Barret had bent the steering wheel into an amoeboid shape and Angeal had summoned Tseng's headache. The big SOLDIER went striding into the hotel, determined to shut himself into his hotel room and enjoy peace and quiet. When Sephiroth, firmly ensconced at the bar with Genesis and the Puppy, had called out to him, he just held up his hand and kept walking. Next came Kadaj, thoroughly pissed that he was indebted to a Turk, and Reno no less, he followed Angeal closely as he had bone to pick with the old man. Lastly came Reno, striding as though he had won the lottery, and in a way he had. Life for the young Turk (at this moment) was great.
NOTE: Out of the Closet III is in the process of being written (IV is done). I am nothing if not a sucker for getting sidetracked, and I got a huge one when I found my fabulous writing partner and good friend, and have since been writing some serious Valenwind, which includes the fic Midgar Burning. So if you like what I have here, you'll probably like MB and its companions sitting over on PfenixB's site or on the LiveJournal comm cerberusgospel (links to both in my profile). Thanks for reading guys, and keeping the creative monster in my head fed and encouraged, I need the help! 3