Tetsuya Nomura glared at the stubborn figure.
"Do it, now."
Zidane obliviously smiled.
Cloud stood still.
"This chaos, and I don't meanChaos, has to end: We've had this crisis for two weeks, and we're having a population drop for Dissidia because of this."
Again, Zidane grinned.
Cloud stood still.
The annoyed game producer fought to keep his dying composure as he cursed himself for creating such an obstinate character, who had no sense of obedience or diligence he had given to the other warriors: Hell, even Squall was easier to work with, back in the good old days, and that included the seventy-million other arguments they had had when it came to adding extra fur to his butt. "Seriously, I grow tired of this: Either you do it, or you know what's coming."
"I don't know what you're implying," he coolly stated, crossing his arms against his chest as he turned his head to the side.
At that, more steam poured out of the creator's ears. "You know exactly what I'm implying, Strife: I could delete the project with just a tiny click of a mouse."
Cloud suddenly glared. "You wouldn't."
"Oh? I wouldn't?" He felt a brief surge of victory at the minute loss of poise from his adversary, tapping his chin mockingly before he continued. "Well, you're right: I guess the new blueray edition of Advent Children was expected by everyone, and I certainly wouldn't want to disappoint Mr. Uematsu with the loss. But still … "
And then scampered away in haste—no way in Cosmos' name was he going against that malevolent leer.
"You'd lose fans," the immediately wary contender continued on, a bit of gruffness in his mundanely flat voice. "And the media has already been alerted."
"Excuses, excuses … don't you find it funny that I can take it all away?" Sighing condescendingly, the brunet flashed a bit of teeth as a bridge for his next statement. "Oh, I guess Zack would be so disappointed … "
Electric blue fizzed in slanted orbs. "You promised we'd get the promotion: We've been waiting for more than four years."
"Har, har, har, not listening, unless you do as I say."
" … you bastard."
"Think Squall hasn't already told me that?"
" … I'm not—"
It was with a clear-cut voice that Tetsuya used to interrupt the dogged defendant. "Drive it any further, and consider me giving more emo-ness to your character, bub; your little fangirls are leaving you behind for someone who doesn't try to bite off their heads with everything he does." A pause, a thought, a smirk. "Yeah, that's what I thought: And your hair … hm, maybe it'll look better if I shaved off some of those spikes for a pixie—"
"That's enough; I'll do it."
If it wasn't for his soaring ego, the other male would've back up against the wall at the amount of malice that coursed through mako eyes. "As always, I win: Now get over there and finish this nonsense; I need to get back to FFXIV."
Room number 329, 343, 243.
He was here.
Cloud dully looked at the bland door and sighed: It had taken him an hour to find the Chamber of Serenity, a large systematic chain of rooms created for the injured, and another three to actually spot the damn location—passing over a crying Biggs, a grumbling freak named Adel, some weirdo named Xu, and a looming giant who was called Guy. Irritated, tired, sullen, and moody, he clenched his fists and attempted to ignore a blond maniac who kept trying to harass someone nicknamed "Chickie". He needed to get this cursed ordeal over with before any other predicaments came to snag him, and it was humiliating enough as it was that he was trying to grapple onto anything proper to say to the patient he was to speak to.
But one look at Aerith's flowers softened his eyes, yet steeled his resolve.
Time to get this over with.
So he opened the door—
and went down under an avalanche.
Gritting his teeth as he literally fought his way to the top, Cloud held the precious azaleas to his chest as he summoned an angry firaga to blast his way to freedom; whatever the attack consisted of, it was all angles and whips, violence that would've made Warrior of Light's Ex-Burst bow down in submission. Luckily, the surefire spell worked, much to his satisfaction that bordered on simple insanity, and soon, he emerged from the deadly onslaught with a treacherous gleam in his eyes—
"You better have a good reason to burn all of my get-well presents, pawn—Oh … it's you."
Before he knew it, a giant ring of dangerous crystals materialized around the exasperated fighter, creating a loop about him that glowed an eerie purple; it took all he had to dodge it, which he did while he tripped over twenty boxes of Godiva chocolates, and with that done, he shot a furious glower at the haughty fellow as old rage flickered to life.
For Aerith … For Aerith … Just for Aerith …
The name tasted like ashes on his tongue, perhaps a bit stranger, since the mighty ex-general was disdainfully looking at him in a Hello Kitty hospital gown whilst chowing on what seemed to be five boxes of Chocobo Puffs; his own stomach roared impatiently, but he ignored it for the sake of maintaining whatever streak of nonchalance he had. After all, post-surveying the room and seeing a mountain of gifts and balloons, he had his own business to settle with Sir God, and the fact that Squall was here made him want to dash to the ends of whatever the hell was left of the earth—the other man would never let him live this down, and who else would spread around the gossip more earnestly than Bartz?
Damn the friendship theme in Dissidia.
"Well, look who's here," the lion started wryly, lifting an aristocratic brow as he and his worst enemy continued to play Hungry Hippo. "Nomura made you?"
Damn his inner psychology.
Sephiroth didn't look up from his intense battle, cramming a handful of the banana-flavored goodness into his mouth when he scored a few more balls, but it didn't take Quistis to know that a simmering wrath was hidden behind his cool composure. "Get out, puppet—I have no patience for your foolhardy ways."
Hell, he wanted to: He wanted to jam the flowers into that regal face and send the ex-mercenary flying back to Garden, or whatever his old home was called, and make his way out of here—anything but to spout a forced apology and lower his pride (like he had any left after all the characteristics torture he had suffered over ten years). He didn't understand why Zack didn't have to do it, or why Vincent weaseled out—for Bahamut's sake, he was obscurely Sephiroth's own father, or why Hojo was dismissed for vacation, albeit he could comprehend the latter not being able to get within a 42, 353, 343 radius of the former soldier.
But why couldn't—
"Hm, it's a tie, again."
"Do you want a rematch?"
Squall shook his head as he eyed the silent man. "No, I'm leaving; I have Tidus daycare duty: I'll visit you later."
"It would be much appreciated if you would bring me some more Galbadian takeout."
He made his way over to the open entrance, not before quirking his lip up a millimeter, fueling cerulean to be as challenging as mercury, and left with a basic wave. "You're better off talking to a wall."
He was definitely going to meet a wall.
—with a sword up his ass.
And then, silence stretched.
Sephiroth stared harder.
Cloud stared harder.
Sephiroth stared his hardest.
Cloud stared his hardest.
The void was broken.
"You think I don't want to?" Walking over when he made sure the silver-haired lunatic wasn't going to pull anything funny, he nabbed a water jug from the coffee table, gingerly placed the floral article into the pottery, and turned a blind eye to the source of outrage. "Aerith sent these: She hopes you get well."
"What? So I can go back to stabbing her?"
"You insolent fool—"
And then some.
"This is ridiculous," he bit, annoyed at his stagnant progress. "Just that, and you're screwing people over?"
"Maybe I should just cut off that mouth of yours, Strife: We already had a 2.5% downturn this year because people were put off by your angst—I would be doing those worthless heathens a favor."
"I've defeated you more than sixty times, not counting the time I ran you over while you were going crazy, hugging your stupid mother's head. What makes you think I'm not up for it?"
"Because Advent Children would never come out on HD."
—that was cleared.
"It's just hair, Sephiroth! Hair! Go get extensions, or something. How the hell does that prohibit you from going back onto the battlefield?"
"You indignant wretch!"
And gone was rationality.
There was no calm before the storm.
"Hair! Hair? Just look at the damage, Cloud! You think I'll continue to be IGN's worst villain with this sort of rat's nest? Well?"
Cloud's eyes widened.
"It was perfect! My hair! Not a single knot, tangle, split end, unnecessary curl, or filth! For more than ten years, I was introduced with this godly feature! Ten years of perfectly healthy tresses! And you," he menacingly growled, all recollections of his stellar indifference and self-possession lost to his ardent rant, "destroyed all semblances of it!"
"Um … "
"How dare you 'um' me! How dare you raise your blade and hack off my signature trait! How dare you BEEP cut off my BEEP BEEP? What in Chaos' name were you thinking?"
" … er … "
"Up to my shoulder, Strife! It only goes up to my shoulder! What the BEEP BEEP? And you BEEP ask me to return to BEEP fighting? No wonder it took you four game discs to even catch a glimpse of my shadow!"
"We are not going to talk about that—"
" … "
" … wow."
And then, a confused frown.
"Did you just say 'shut up'?"
" … so? Can't I say it?"
" … " Puzzlement. "I thought you were … I don't know, too godly to say 'shut up'."
" I can say whatever I please."
"Yeah, well, you were just censored by the 'Rated T for Teens' filter."
"In my mind, the things that happen to you are not rated T."
"Sorry, but I don't like you that way."
A sigh, a pull of hair, resignation. "Look, I'm sorry, all right? I didn't mean to do it."
"Really? Like the time you ate my black chocobo and blamed Chaos' sneezing as a cover-up for major gas problems?"
"I did not have constipation."
"Who said you did?"
"Anway, fine—you win; I apologize for cutting off your hair."
"I do not accept."
Darkness in his brow, before a twist of lips. "You're considered the epitome of villainy, and yet you're hospitalized just because of a hair cut? I can't believe this. I just wasted my entire existence, battling your sorry BEEP."
"Who the hell got owned by a drug problem? At least, when I got mako injections, I never looked like a drunk-BEEP hippie."
The last three words, and he's done. "Oh, it's on."
And Sephiroth rips the Bob the Builder Mega Band-Aid from his hair. "So I see you wish to meet your end."
The next following days, the poor cast of Dissidia found themselves all crammed inside the Chamber of Serenity, bearing gifts, curses, jeers, and copious amounts of booz—
But, in retrospect, painfully ignoring his shiny, hairless head as he drank a dumbapple-flavored potion, Cloud found that he had succeeded in his mission, considering the great success of Advent Children in blue-ray and high definition.
But later on, as he glared at an angry Sephiroth with a broken nose, he found that having a spinal fracture wasn't worth it at all.
Not even an equally bald Sephiroth.