Six Months Later…

Cloud sighed for the umpteenth time in the bathroom. He still couldn't accept that he and Sephiroth weren't together anymore. He tried calling him everyday for the first two months on his cell to try and explain things, but all he got was Genesis cussing him out then hanging up before he could even mutter one word. When Genesis threatened that he'd come over to his apartment and kill him, he finally gave up on trying to reach Sephiroth. There was no way in hell that he was going over to Genesis' house.

"How did it get this way…" Cloud quietly asked himself before he started crying again. He himself didn't know. He would have never willingly cheated on Sephiroth. Of course they fought like normal couples do, but that would have never been enough for him to do it, and he certainly wasn't tired of Sephiroth. He was all he ever needed in life… When Sephiroth told him that he was leaving him and told him of what he had done that dreaded morning, his heart had shattered.

All he could remember from the night before was that he and Sephiroth had another fight over Sephiroth being gone for so long then coming back and leaving out again for long periods of time. Granted, Sephiroth's job was what was keeping everything on in the apartment, but Cloud was seeing him less and less. Sephiroth got up and left the apartment saying that he was going over to Genesis' house for the night. A few minutes later, Zack called him to say that he and Reno were going to a local pub and that they wanted him to go. Reluctantly, he agreed and he met them at the pub. He was having fun with them for the first half hour, then the next thing he knew, he was woken up by the dresser drawer slamming shut and Sephiroth telling him that he was leaving. After Sephiroth left, Vincent had gotten up and told him not to worry about Seph anymore and he'd take care of him. Cloud had never slapped somebody so hard before in his life, and he was satisfied that Vincent left his apartment with a nice size welt on his face. After Vincent had left, he called Zack and Reno to see if they remembered anything from last night before he explained to them what had happened that morning. Unfortunately, both of them said that they couldn't remember either. What he couldn't believe was that a few weeks after Cloud had his heart broken, Vincent showed up at his door saying that Cid kicked him out and that he knew that he hated being alone and was moving in. Granted, he did hated being alone and that those weeks by himself were truly depressing, that didn't mean that he wanted the person responsible for making Sephiroth leave him being in his house. His screams for Vincent to leave were met on deaf ears as Vincent moved pass him and threw his stuff on the couch before he threw him against the door and kissed him. Cloud still didn't know how the fight they had afterward turned into them having sex in his bed. To say that Cloud felt dirty was an understatement. He still felt that way when Vincent declared to their friends that they were dating a few days after he moved in, and still felt that way up until today. When Zack asked him did he love Vincent now, he told him no, which was true. No one could replace Sephiroth, not even his cousin.

"Cloud, hurry up! We have to leave soon if we're gonna make it on time!" Vincent shouted while banging on the bathroom door.

"Wh-where are we going?" Cloud said as he wiped his eyes.

"I'm surprised that you don't remember. Today's Sephiroth's birthday! Genesis is throwing a party for him at his house."

Cloud's eyes widened. It was today already? Cloud sighed.

"But we weren't invited…I highly doubt Genesis would want us there…"

"He didn't invite us, but the birthday boy did. Now hurry up!"

Cloud gasped in shock. Why would Sephiroth invite them to his birthday party? Unless… Cloud smiled. He did need to hurry. He had to go and pick up his present.


Sephiroth happily ate his pancakes at the kitchen table with Angeal as he heard Genesis yelling at the party designer who brought in blue decorations instead of green.

"Does Genesis know who you invited?" Angeal asked him in between bites.

"I'll tell him before they arrive."

"…Why did you invite them?"

"Because I got over what happened and them dating now and I don't mind if they come. Besides, they are still friends with everyone else, except for Genesis and Cid."

"I hope you made the right decision Seph…either way it goes, Genesis won't be happy with them being here."

"Then let this be a way for mother to get over it too father."

Angeal laughed before he got up to wash his plate. Sephiroth's smile disappeared when Angeal turned his back to him. He didn't know what made him decide to call over there and tell Vincent that they were allowed to come to his birthday party, but it was too late to tell them that they couldn't come anymore. Besides, like he said, he had gotten over it and accepted it. Cloud made his choice and even though it left him broken hearted, he accepted it and moved on.

"Sephiroth, why the hell aren't you dressed yet! Guests will be here in less than an hour and you're still in your boxers!" Genesis yelled as he took away Sephiroth's half eaten pancakes and threw them away.

"You know that you just wasted food…"

"I know that if a certain silver-haired man that's turning 24 today doesn't get off of his ass and get dressed, I'll be putting my foot up his ass!"

"Alright, mother…I'll get dressed now."

"Good. And for god's sake stop calling me mother!"

Sephiroth laughed as he got up from his chair and went upstairs to put on his suit. The past six months have been better for him. He found himself to be a lot happier than he had been in a long time. He knew it was because he had stopped taking the business trips and now he was able to spend more time with his friends. He was able to see Zack and Aeris' baby boy a lot more than he had before as well and was quite happy to get to see him again today. All the while, he hadn't thought of Cloud until today and he didn't know whether or not he should be happy about that. Sephiroth shrugged it off. He didn't need to think of him any more than he needed to. It was bad enough that he was going to see him today…


To say that Cloud was nervous was an understatement when Vincent rung Genesis and Angeal's doorbell. He was scared because he knew that Genesis would be more than pissed off that they were here, and late, and he was anxious to see Sephiroth since he hadn't seen him in six months. Maybe he could finally get a chance to explain things to him…

"It's open…" he heard Angeal yell from the other side of the door.

"Could you open the door Vince? This box isn't exactly light…" Cloud asked while shuffling the box in his hands. As soon as Cloud stepped through the door he saw that there were blue decorations that led to the back of the house where he could hear laughter. Angeal came out of what Cloud assumed to be the kitchen with a smile on his face.

"Hey, it's been a awhile since I've seen y'all. What's in the box?"

"You'll see." Cloud happily replied with a smile on his face. The smile was wiped off when he heard Genesis' voice.

"Angeal, who's there? Everyone that I invited is already here."

"It's Cloud and Vincent, dear."

"…"

When Cloud heard no response, he felt fear creep up his spine. He looked up at Vincent to see that he had a smirk on his face for some reason. He already knew that Genesis hated Vincent from the get-go, but he knew that his hate for him was a lot stronger since he was the one that hurt Sephiroth the most. He gasped in shock when he saw Genesis come around the same corner that Angeal had, only he had a chef's knife in his hands. He pushed Angeal out of the way and attempted to lunge at Vincent, only to be stopped by Sephiroth. Sephiroth had one hand wrapped tightly around the hand that held the knife and his other hand around his body. He motioned for Angeal to come and get the knife and Angeal did so, only to meet resistance from Genesis, who wouldn't let it go.

"Genesis, you have to stop. Let the knife go." Sephiroth ordered.

"NO! Why should I?"

"Because someone might end up dead."

"I wasn't going to kill them; I was going to make them beg for me to do so." Genesis said as he glared at Cloud, making him flinch.

"And what good would that do?"

"It would teach them to never show up when they're not wanted."

"But they are, I invited them here."

Genesis' eyes widened before he let go of the knife and Angeal quickly went back into the kitchen to put it away. Sephiroth slowly let Genesis go and Genesis turned to face Sephiroth. He opened his mouth to sat something, but he shook his head before he walked passed Sephiroth and towards the back of the house where other voices were coming from. Cloud turned from Genesis walking away and towards Sephiroth and blushed. He looked very good in his black suit and green shirt with the first four buttons undone.

"Sorry about that…I forgot to tell him that you two were coming." Sephiroth said.

"Eh, it's fine. I'm used to him trying to kill me… You remember when he tried to take me out with that two by four because I cut off a chunk of his hair?" Vincent said with a grin that made Sephiroth chuckle.

"I remember that quite well… Come, everyone is in the dining room. We were about to cut the cake and unwrap gifts."

"Oh, um, I think you might want to go ahead and unwrap this one first. I don't think it can wait…" Cloud said with a smile on his face as Sephiroth stared at the box curiously. Cloud set it down on the floor in front of Sephiroth as Sephiroth kneeled down to open it. When he opened the lid of the box, he couldn't help but laugh, which made Genesis come back to where they were.

"What's going on in here?" Genesis asked with narrowed eyes.

"Nothing, I was laughing at the present I received." Sephiroth said as he turned to face Genesis with his gift in his hands. Genesis' eyes widened in horror as he stared at the white and black spotted Great Dane puppy with a large red bow tied around its neck. The puppy happily wagged its tail when Sephiroth rubbed its ear.

"She's exactly like the one you saw before and wanted. I figured since you're living here now, maybe they'll allow you to have a pet since we couldn't in the apartment…" Cloud said happily as he watched the puppy lick Sephiroth's cheek with her tail still wagging.

"Well you assumed wrong. She's not staying here. Send it back." Genesis said as he folded his arms.

"Why not? Just look at her face! Do you really want to give her back? She is my birthday present." Sephiroth said with a smirk, knowing that Genesis loved dogs just as much as he did.

"I wouldn't have said it if I didn't mean it. Do you know how big she's gonna get!"

"About three feet tops…don't worry. When she gets that big, you can ride on her back if you'd like…"

Cloud couldn't stifle the giggle in his throat, not even when Genesis glared at him.

"Here, hold her."

"No, dammit! Don't you try to make like –"

Sephiroth placed the puppy in his folded arms.

"Her…"

Genesis couldn't finish his sentence because of the puppy's big eyes and her lightly licking his chin. Genesis sighed in defeat.

"Fine, but the only way she stays is if she's named Minerva, got it?" Genesis said as he glared at Sephiroth. Sephiroth nodded and watched Genesis walk back down the hall with Minerva still in his hands.

"I think that she just became Genesis' puppy instead of yours." Vincent said with a laugh as he heard the people in the back of the house let out awes, obviously at seeing the puppy.

"I think so too. Well come on, they're waiting for us."

"Alright, Happy Birthday, Seph." Cloud said as he tried to kiss Sephiroth on his cheek, only to have Sephiroth bend down to pick up the box and mutter a thank you for the present before walking down the hallway. Cloud closed his eyes. He promised himself that he wouldn't cry…


Sitting at the dining room table was tense for Cloud, especially since he had to sit directly in front of Cid. All Cid would do was glare back and forth between him and Vincent before chugging down his fifth beer. He didn't blame Cid for how he was feeling, not one bit, especially when Vincent was acting like he did nothing wrong and that he didn't betray two of the people that were in the room. On the other hand, he was having fun watching Zack and Aeris' 9 month old baby boy, Sora, happily giggle as he tried to grab Minerva's wagging tail, who was still in Genesis' arms, much to everyone's amusement.

"You know, Gen, I coulda sworn that Cloud bought that puppy for Sephiroth instead of you." Vincent said, which made everyone lightly giggle.

"Oh really? Well, I coulda sworn that if you'd hurt Sephiroth again that I'd snap your neck." Genesis said with a fake smile. The giggling stopped and the air in the room became even tenser as an awkward silence came over the table.

"Uhh…how about those gifts?" Zack said nervously as he passed his and Aeris' present to Sephiroth, trying to break the silence. Sephiroth nodded in thanks before he opened the package. He smiled and showed us the picture frame that had Aeris, Zack and Sora in it, with Sora pulling a fistful of Zack's hair with a big grin on his face. The next one came from Reno, which was a very expensive bottle of scotch, Cid gave him a box of cigars, and Tifa gave him a pair of new leather gloves.

"And last but not least is our gift." Genesis happily announced as he stood up and motioned for Angeal to bring it out while rubbing Minerva's head. Angeal came out carrying a skinny but tall box, making everyone whisper in wonder of what it is. Sephiroth got up from his chair and walked over to inspect it.

"I believe this is taller than me…" he said with a grin, making everyone laugh.

"Trust, it is. I think Gen may have a tad bit over-done it when he showed his to me and said that this was going to be our gift to you, but hey, Genesis spoils you enough as is…" Angeal smiled.

Sephiroth laughed as he heard Genesis snort and began to open the box.

"Angeal, I believe you're right…"

"What is it?" Reno asked.

Sephiroth turned around and held out his present making everyone duck when he swung it out over their heads as he made it touch the back door that led to the backyard.

"It's called masamune, the largest sword made standing at seven feet in height." Sephiroth said with a smirk on his face.

"And you just swing that thing around like that at everyone? You could've taken out your godchild!" Zack yelled as his baby tried to reach for the sword now.

"Zack, the sheath is still on…"

"So! That's not the point!"

"I know. I would never want to harm anyone with this, especially my godchild. It's going on my wall for display." Sephiroth said as he moved the sword out of the baby's reach and stood it up against the wall.

"What the heck made you get something like that for him?" Cid asked Genesis.

"Because it fits his personality. He's tall, lean, and can slice someone's head off if he needed to." Genesis smiled. Vincent grinned before standing up.

"Since it's such a happy mood, I'll go ahead and give my present now."

Genesis narrowed his eyes, making Minerva start to growl as everyone became silent in anticipation.

"Cloud, if you could…" Vincent said as he motioned for Cloud to stand as well. Hesitantly, Cloud did so. He too, had no idea what Vincent was about to say.

"Cloud and I…have decided to get married!"

Reno spit out the wine he had been drinking and everyone gaped in shock. Cloud stared at Vincent as if he had 50 heads. He couldn't breathe…

"And our present to Sephiroth is that we want him to be the best man!"

Cloud turned his head at Sephiroth and let a tear slip out of his eye before everything went black.


"Cloud!"

Sephiroth watched as Cloud hit the floor and Zack yelled for him as he got up from his chair to check on him. He turned to stare at Vincent, who stared back at him before he mouthed a word to him that he knew too well.

Keeps.

That was all Sephiroth needed to see. It was just as he feared, Vincent was still playing the game…

"Well, that was certainly…unexpected. Congratulations and thank you for thinking of me to be your best man. As for everyone else, I thank you for celebrating my birthday with me and bringing gifts. I'll be out back if anyone needs me." Sephiroth said emotionlessly as he went over to the table and grabbed a cigar out of his box and poured himself a glass of the scotch before opening up the back door and walking through it. Sephiroth decided to sit on the edge of the deck that was away from the glass doors. He placed his glass on the wood and put his cigar in his mouth before reaching into his pocket and pulling out his lighter and lighting the cigar. He took a long drag of it before he blew the smoke out. He knew that Vincent would pull a stunt like that…he could feel it as soon as he saw him in the doorway. He just didn't think it was marriage. Obviously no one knew about the engagement. Hell, Cloud didn't know either by how fast he fainted. When he heard the door slide open and shut, he knew who was behind him.

"Don't beat yourself up about it, Seph. I know you're thinking that you should've said 'Keeps' a lot sooner…"

"Actually, I wasn't thinking that at all… I was thinking about why would you let a damn game go this far! This isn't sandwiches, salads, toys, or whatever other bullshit we would say 'Keeps' to Vincent! This is Cloud's life and future that you're playing over!"

"Don't you mean 'we're'?"

"No, I don't! I told you three years ago that I was done playing when you almost got us both arrested for stealing that damn platinum watch!"

"Which you let me get arrested for!"

"You're damn right I did! I had nothing to do with it!"

"Yeah you did! You and I both liked that fucking watch and I said 'Keeps!' and got it before you could."

"Just because I said I liked it didn't mean that I had to have it then! For god's sake Vincent I was just saying that it looked nice! A lot of things look nice to me, but that doesn't mean that I have to have it as soon as I see it!"

"Well you didn't say that when you started dating Cloud! You took him away from me without saying 'Keeps' and you're just pissed off that I got him back and said 'Keeps' and now you can't have him!"

"Oh, so you slept with him because you were jealous that I asked Cloud out before you had he balls to do it? Is that why you went out with Cid instead?"

"I went out with Cid because I needed someone to keep me busy and I slept with Cloud because as far as the game went, he was still up for keeps."

"THIS ISN'T ABOUT THE FUCKING GAME! THIS GOES WAY BEYOND IT!"

"How so!"

"When I started dating Cloud at the orphanage, you acted like you didn't want anything to do with him and now all of a sudden you want him! If you wanted him before I got to him then you should've taken him then and saved Cid and I from all of this bullshit! I probably would've been with someone else by now and being happy for the two of you, but no! You only thought of yourself and that fucking game! This isn't a game anymore Vincent, this is fucking reality now! You need to let it go and tell Cloud the truth of why you're doing this!"

"Oh and let him run back to you? Fuck that! Cloud's mine now and you can't have him back!"

"WHO SAID THAT I WANTED HIM BACK!"

"You, wait…what? You don't want him back? I…I thought that he –"

"He was the love of my life…even if you did tell him or he finds out the truth on his own and does run back to me, I wouldn't let him back in… What good would letting him back in do if I knew that no matter how many times I say that I forgave him that I would still hold some resentment against him? There's no point in it, and all I would be doing is preventing ourselves from moving on and finding someone else that could make us happier. I meant it when I told Angeal that I got over the fact that you both betrayed me and started dating each other. I…I forgave you both… If Cloud is happier with you, then so be it. Relationships fail all of the time, and…ours was one of them, point blank."

Vincent was silent as Sephiroth drank his glass of scotch before he put out his cigar and got up to walk back in the house.

"I'll still be your best man if you need me to be." Sephiroth said as he slid the door open and walked back in the house. Vincent still didn't say anything. He didn't expect for Sephiroth to say that he wasn't going to fight him for Cloud…the thought of Sephiroth not fighting him for Cloud never crossed his mind. Vincent sighed. When it came down to the game of 'Keeps', Vincent may have won some major battles, but by Sephiroth throwing in the towel and calling it quits, Vincent just lost the war and the game was over. Only thing left to do now was move forward…

End.


A/N: Hopefully this cleared up some of the confusion. If not, then I'll give you the rough summary:

When Vincent and Sephiroth were younger, Vincent came up with a game and called it 'Keeps'. How the way the game worked was if Sephiroth and Vincent saw something that they both liked or was interested in, one would have to shout "Keeps!" in order to get it. Whoever said it first, the other could no longer have it. Few years go by and Sephiroth meets Cloud and starts to date him, much to Vincent's annoyance since he saw Cloud first and didn't have the strength to make a move on him before Sephiroth did. Because he couldn't have Cloud, Vincent decides to date Cid. As more years pass, Vincent is quietly watching the relationship between Sephiroth and Cloud and remembers that Sephiroth never said "Keeps!", thus making Cloud still up for grabs, but he could never make his move on Cloud because he was always with Sephiroth. Vincent makes a move on Cloud years later when he heard that Sephiroth and Cloud had another fight and Sephiroth was spending the night over at Angeal and Genesis' house and that Cloud was going out with Zack and Reno for drinks, making it the perfect scene for him to make it look like Cloud cheated on Sephiroth with him, when nothing actually happened. (That fact will come out in the sequel!) Vincent overhears the breakup scene and tries to cheer Cloud up by saying that he'll take care of him instead, only to end up getting slapped in the face by the distraught Cloud. Vincent goes home and breaks off his relationship with Cid and decides to move in with Cloud when he heard that he finally gave up on trying to contact Sephiroth to explain things. When he arrives at Cloud's apartment, they fight and have sex for real that time, much to Cloud's shame sine he's still in love with Sephiroth. Vincent decides to tell all of their friends that Cloud and he are dating because he knew that they would tell Sephiroth. Months roll by and it's now Sephiroth's birthday and Vincent decides to claim Cloud for himself by telling everyone at Sephiroth's birthday dinner that Cloud and he are engaged and want Sephiroth to be his best man. Cloud faints and Sephiroth goes outside to clear his head. Vincent follows Sephiroth and they fight. The fighting ends when Sephiroth re-declares to Vincent that he's done playing the game and that he doesn't want Cloud back and he forgives them both. Vincent remains silent, realizing that Sephiroth wasn't playing the game when he started dating Cloud in the orphanage and just wants the whole situation to be over and done with…

If that still doesn't clear everything up (lol!), then feel free to contact me! There will be a sequel… if you, the readers, would like one…

R&R

-KTK