BETA: The lovely cannot express how grateful I am to you! To you readers, I highly recommend reading her stories! They are very well written and I myself enjoy reading them more than once.
Warning: Yaoi, heartbreak and a lemon. I'm sure if you stumbled on this story that you don't mind that though XD
Disclaimer: No matter how hard I wish, I know I will never, ever own any of the Final Fantasy franchise. Doesn't mean I can't use the characters for my own amusement though! :3
Characters: Mainly Zack and Tseng but you'll see little guest appearances and mentions.
"I want you to investigate. He will go with you."
Zack saw Lazard gesture his head to the space behind him and so turned around, mildly surprised to find someone there. After all, he had not heard him arrive.
"Tseng, of the Turks." The Wutaian man said curtly, greeting both the Director of SOLDIER and Zack.
Zack looked at Tseng with barely contained excitement. He had heard all about the Turks. True, none of what he heard was good but it caught his fascination about how secretive they were. To actually meet one was the highlight of his day. Though, there was no contest due to Genesis and Angeal's disappearance. To be honest, he was already disappointed that Sephiroth hadn't taken the mission and instead, had thrust it upon him to deal the General's two friends.
"Zack Fair," He grinned widely, giving a sloppy two-fingered salute. "SOLDIER Second Class."
Tseng gave a slight nod, before turning to Lazard, discussing the mission in a curt tone, making sure he understood every minute detail. Zack listened on with only slight interest. He was already informed of everything. They go in, question Genesis' parents about his whereabouts and then search the area for anything suspicious. Quite simple and Zack highly doubted there would be conflict, despite the one that was in his heart.
"Thank you Director, I shall take my leave," He heard his smooth, precise voice say. Zack turned around just in time to see Tseng approach him silently. "We leave tomorrow and I expect you on the roof at six a.m. Understood?"
"Understood, sir." The SOLDIER replied with a wide grin and an enthusiastic nod. Tseng nodded in approval and sharply turned to leave.
Zack looked back at Lazard awkwardly, wondering if he could leave, while bouncing on the balls of his feet. He was anxious and he wanted to trail the Turk and ask him some questions. The guy was interesting and for some reason, Zack felt pulled to him.
The Director, looking up from his computer, raised an eyebrow at Zack who gave him a large grin that he used when he wanted something. "Zack, you are dismissed." Lazard said and ignored the small 'whoop!' that his subordinate let out. Though, before Zack could leave, the blond spoke once more. "Don't bother Tseng too much, Zack. He's a busy man."
The black haired man glanced over his shoulder and saw Lazard's blond head behind the computer. Shrugging, he smirked and started to jog towards the direction he saw Tseng head. There was just something about the man that was dark and mysterious. Were all Turks like that? He hadn't worked much with them in the past and only knew them from their suits.
Seeing Tseng ahead, Zack called out to the man and ran up to his side. The dark haired Turk surprisingly stopped and turned around with a solemn expression on his face.
"Hey! Just wanted to say 'hi' and all and that umm … I'm glad to work with you?" He mentally winced. Why did that sound like a question? From the raised eyebrow on Tseng's face, the Turk was most likely wondering the same thing.
"I am sure it will be a pleasure to work with you as well," Tseng replied in his clipped and precise tone.
Zack nodded happily and scratched his head awkwardly, as Tseng's piercing gaze looked as if his soul was being judged. Daringly, Zack met those gorgeous chocolate eyes with his own…wait…where were these thoughts coming from?
Where in the hell were his thoughts going? There was no way that he just had those types of thoughts. The head Turk -the head Turk—the man who was 'the' man was not someone you fantasized about. Tseng's lips twitched a little as he broke eye contact, almost as if he was aware of Zack inner conflict.
"I must bid you farewell, Zack Fair. It was … interesting to meet you." With that, he turned around and began to walk towards the elevators.
Zack could only stare at Tseng's back in puzzlement and managed to further confuse himself when his eyes strayed downward towards the Turk's ass. Shaking his head violently, he tried to exterminate any thoughts of Tseng and how wonderfully that suit fit him. Suddenly, he wasn't looking forward to the mission anymore.
Sighing in frustration, he started towards his room at a steady pace. It was starting to get late and he didn't want to be a complete mess on the morning of his mission with Tseng. That man, he knew, was a top Shinra executive and he didn't want to embarrass himself. Well, anymore than he already had.
Zack reached his room and opened the door unenthusiastically. Luckily for him, Kunsel was already asleep. He didn't feel like dealing with his friend's nosy questions quite at the moment. He felt as if he was having some sort of life crisis. The young SOLDIER quickly undressed and slipped into his bed, thoughts of Tseng still on his mind.
Why was he obsessing over this so much? He thought he was straight. These new feelings he was having, they scared him. All he could think of was Tseng, Tseng, Tseng. The man's inky black hair tied smoothly into a ponytail. Zack just wanted to snatch the holder from its place just to see the silky hair fall on to strong shoulders that led up to a pale and delicate neck.
Zack groaned, bringing his hands to his face in despair. He only met Tseng once. Once! Why was he acting like this? He turned over in the bed and buried his head within the confines of the pillow.
If Angeal were here, he would give him advice. Probably babble something about honor and tell him to do whatever he felt right. However, Angeal wasn't here. He was gone; with Genesis. He always suspected that the two were more than friends, so he could understand why he left, but disappearing without saying goodbye hurt him. The man was like a father to him, guiding him towards the right direction in a foreign city.
"Angeal," Zack whispered into the night quietly. "I think…I think I got a crush on a man?"
"Zack, shut up and go to sleep." Came a groggy voice from across the room, startling the dark haired SOLDIER.
Zack grinned a little and flushed at being caught. "Sorry, man."
"Whatever." Came the grumpy reply before all was quiet.
It was the next morning when Zack found himself shuffling along the halls of Shinra, reluctantly heading towards the roof where a certain Turk told him to meet him. He felt a bubble of anxiousness settling inside the bottom of his stomach. Zack never got nervous on a mission; he was just a wreck because of Tseng and his own new shift in thoughts on his sexual preferences.
He had been up all night debating whether or not he should ask the older man out. Shiva, he never felt this restless since the time when he accidently spilt grape juice on Angeal's carpet. It wasn't a feeling Zack was used to and hoped that the sinking feeling in his stomach would go away.
Opening the door that was marked 'Authorized Personnel Only', Zack was greeted by a harsh blowing wind that set his spiky hair back further than before. He shielded his eyes and saw that the wind was coming from the helicopter and Tseng was beside it, not even letting the wind bother his sharp gaze or appearance.
"You're early," The Wutaian called out in a matter-of-fact tone.
Zack started to approach the helicopter with a grin on his face, trying to get rid of the giddy feeling inside of him. "Yeah, didn't want to disappoint!" He replied as he sided himself by the Turk. "Do we leave now or wait ten minutes until it's six?"
Tseng shook his head. "We are all set here and it is best to leave now." He gestured for Zack to get on the helicopter.
Leaping up, Zack climbed in and greeted their pilot with a thumbs up, only to get a raised eyebrow and an amused chuckle in response. He felt Tseng climb in beside him and hurried to take a seat on the chopper.
"Reno," Tseng's voice cut through the loud noise around them. "Prepare to take off."
"You got it, yo." And soon, Zack felt the chopper lift off the roof and propel towards the distance, away from Shinra and Midgar.
So far during the ride, it had been quiet except for the steady beat of the helicopter blades. Zack twisted anxiously in his seat and happened to be sitting right across from the Turk that had been invading his thoughts. He couldn't help but keep throwing glances at Tseng, trying to memorize every single detail he could about the man. It wasn't like he as ever going to have another chance.
From what he observed, Tseng was going through some more documents and files, intently analyzing them and probably reading between the lines. The other's eyebrows were furrowed in concentration and his lips were lightly pursed. Of course, this took Zack quite of few glances at the Wutaian man to actually come up with this and those few glances were spanned over at least a good ten to fifteen minutes.
The time after that, though, Zack found himself paying more and more attention to the little details such as the slight indent on Tseng's upper lip, the slender nose and his exotic shaped …
"Is there something wrong?" A voice interrupted Zack's line of thought. Startled, mako blue eyes unfocused from Tseng's features and regarded the man himself.
A heavy pause. "You have been looking at me for the past twenty minutes. Is there something wrong?" The Turk repeated, not bothering to look up from his files.
"Oh, nothings wrong! I was just thinking and happened to be, you know, looking in your general direction." Zack laughed feeling remarkably embarrassed.
Tseng marked something on the paper and looked up with a raised eyebrow, clearly not believing anything that Zack said. The SOLDIER could feel his smile faltering just a bit under the Turk's intense gaze. He could feel something break inside him, wanting to tell the man everything he had been thinking. Was this how others felt when they were forced under a Turk's searching look? Or was it just because he was crushing on Tseng?
"Hey, sorry if it bothered you—"
"Yo, boss! We arrived at the destination!" Came their pilot's loud drawl from the front of the copter.
Tseng withdrew his stare and turned his head towards the voice. "Then find a place to land, Reno," he replied wryly.
"No need to get all snippy, yo! I'll make sure to park this baby somewhere with little dirt so you don't get all ruffled up, kay precious?"
Zack was surprised that someone would talk to Tseng that way. Wasn't he the Director of the Turks? From what he gathered from the guy, he was an all-work-no-play type of person and his presence alone seemed to demand respect. Apparently, someone didn't get the memo. Zack raised his eyebrows in amusement at the Turk across from him who, in turn, pointedly ignored the look.
"Reno," Tseng's voice called out warningly.
"Yeah, yeah, got it, yo." And that's when Zack felt the helicopter make a sharp turn and head towards the ground, landing in Banora Village.
Zack thought when he first received the mission that it was going to be a piece of cake. It was basically a recon mission. But no, they couldn't ask Genesis' parents if they had seen him because they were dead, and that was only the beginning. Then, he had been separated from Tseng while the other went to go investigate. He really didn't feel comfortable leaving the Turk by himself with Genesis on the loose.
Zack had managed to then find someone in the village to question and met Angeal's mother. It felt … nice. He felt like crying when she had mentioned that his mentor had fondly spoken of him. But why? Why did she kill herself? Zack sighed. It didn't help that he thought Angeal had been the one to take his mother's life. He wasn't sure which one was the lesser of two evils.
And, to top it all off, Genesis showing up with his holier-than-thou-attitude blabbering about monsters, Loveless and some crap about fate. Fate, Zack decided quietly on the way back to Shinra, was most certainly cruel bitch.
He put his head in his hands, ignoring the prickling feeling of someone staring at him. Their roles were reversed with Tseng doing the staring. Zack couldn't get the images of the flames out of his head, Gillian's body and the torn, broken look in Angeal's eyes. He sighed in frustration.
"These are difficult times," Tseng's voice came through softly and carefully. Zack shot up his head to see the owner of the voice now next to him. Not trusting his voice just yet, Zack nodded in response, trying to look anywhere but at Tseng for he was feeling uncomfortable meeting the other's gaze.
It was silent for the majority of the ride except for Zack's sighs coming out now and then, wanting to know what to say to the Turk who was still sitting next to him; a silent comfort.
"Hey," He started, as Tsengs dark eyes rose to Zack's own mako blue. "Thanks," Zack finished with a small, sheepish smile. Surprisingly, it was met with Tseng's own curvature of the lips.
Why was Tseng so close? He wondered to himself, feeling drawn to the other man. The fact was that the Turk hadn't moved an inch - not at all. It was Zack who suddenly found himself moving closer to Tseng, his face inching towards the other man's.
Zack could feel his heart start racing. It was fluttering sporadically against his ribcage, making him feel like he was about to burst from within. He saw Tseng's face that showed slight confusion and wariness as he continued to lean into him.
Oh my god, I don't think I can do this. Zack thought to himself in a panic. He was about to pull away from the Turk when suddenly the whole helicopter jerked roughly, causing two things to happen. One, Tseng's expression as it was finally filled with full emotion. Given that emotion was probably shock and disgust. He didn't know, he wasn't really good at reading other's expression. And two, Zack's lips were now on the Turks, the cause of Tseng's emotional reaction.
Quickly, Zack moved to a more respectable distance from Tseng and immediately started to apologize. "I am sooo sorry Tseng! I didn't mean for that to happen, well maybe a little but not like that—oh what am I saying—sorry! Forget anything happened!" He started to blabber mindlessly unable to look over at the older man.
He was about to continue when a finger brushed against his lips. Eyes widening, Zack looked up to the closed eyes of Tseng. "It's fine." He said calmly. "It was a mistake."
Zack let out a sigh of relief, while trying to figure out if that was snickering he heard from the pilot.
"Reno!" Tseng's sharp voice cut through the awkward silence and made him jump. If Zack didn't know any better, he would say that the man sounded annoyed.
"What happened?" Tseng demanded and waited for a reply from the pilot,
"Turbulence, yo. Happens all the time." Came the response after a moment of silence.
Zack could hear the grin in their pilot's words.
"Be sure it doesn't happen again." Was the curt reply.
"Yeah," The redhead snickered. "I'll give Mother Nature the notice."
"Indeed, Mother Nature should know better than to interfere otherwise there will be another dock in her paycheck."
Zack was confused but decided it was safe to stay out of it. Turk business was Turk business.
"Doesn't really matter 'cause we're here," Reno grumbled as he started the descent. In matter of moments, they were back at headquarters.
Zack was the first to hop off the helicopter, wanting to hide in his room from embarrassment and to wallow in his embarrassment. As he was about to open the door, he heard a voice call out from behind him. He turned around and saw Tseng gesturing him to come near. Blue eyes warily looked around to see if Reno was anywhere near and soon relaxed when the other seemed to be on the phone.
"What's up?" Zack asked, trying to sound casual. He stood in front of Tseng, running a hand through his wild locks, unable to hide his nervousness.. Gaia, he was acting like such a fangirl. He knew if Kunsel caught wind of this, he was going to be teased for the rest of his life. He couldn't handle his friend's all-knowing texts that made him seem like a creeper.
"There is a Shinra party tomorrow; all executives will be invited, including any First Class SOLDIERs. I will look forward to seeing you there."
Zack nodded and lazily saluted the Director of the Turks. "Sure thing." With that, he turned around, red as a beat and rushed down the flights of stairs, trying to reach the SOLDIERs' floor.
Unfortunately, at the elevator,the General was inside. Sephiroth raised an eyebrow at Zack's flushed face and didn't speak until the doors closed.
"Is there something wrong?" Sephiroth asked in his low, smooth voice.
Zack fidgeted where he was standing, unable to take the pressure anymore as a few things registered in his mind.
"I'm not a First Class! Why would I be going tomorrow?" He asked frantically. "And, Dear Gaia, I can't face Tseng tomorrow! The ride back was hard enough! Ugghhh! I didn't mean to kiss him!" Zack blurted before reddening in embarrassment as he just confessed everything to Sephiroth. He immediately wished that he could crawl underneath a rock and stay there, enjoying a new life as a hermit.
Sephiroth stood silently during the tirade, seemingly ignoring Angeal's protégé for the time being. After Zack was done ranting, Sephiroth slowly started to speak.
"I was sent to greet you." Zack was forced to look up to the larger man. "I was to tell you to report with me to Lazard's as soon as you arrived." The silver haired man informed promptly. Despite his calm voice, however, his eyebrows were furrowed in concern for the young man. What was Zack doing kissing the Director of the Turks? He quickly decided that he did not want to know.
Zack was in an inner turmoil enough as it was; just the mere thought of being summoned to the Director's office caused him to shut down.
Sephiroth blinked as the man next to him went to his knees and seemed to be praying. Why was he left to deal with this mess? Angeal should have been here for his student instead of following Genesis on his crusade.
Their elevator 'binged!' as they reached the 49th Floor. Zack sighed from his spot on the floor and watched the door open. He reluctantly got up and trudged himself to Lazard's office with Sephiroth walking along side him. He opened the door and entered in with a nervous smile, which only seemed to worsen by Lazard's lack of greeting.
A couple moments passed in silence. The only thing breaking it was the sharp clicking as Lazard typed in something on one of his many computers. After what seemed like a century to Zack, the blond looked up and greeted Sephiroth and him with a small, warm smile.
"You're back," Lazard started in his all knowing tone. "You did impressively well on your first solo mission, Zack."
Zack scratched his head sheepishly but beamed. "Not to be a downer but Tseng was with me, Director."
Another smile. "Indeed he was." Lazard noted lightly. "Though, I meant your first mission without any guidance. You have improved greatly in such a short amount of time. That is why I asked Sephiroth to bring you to me right as you returned."
Zack could feel the panicked butterflies in his stomach start to flutter around in an anxious, yet hopeful, way.
Lazard had a meaningful look behind his stylish glasses that slid down just a tad. Pushing them up swiftly, he continued. "I have decided, after the performance that you deserve to be promoted to First Class SOLDIER, effective, immediately."
Zack's eyes widened drastically and he was about to shout for joy when a sudden realization hit him. He should have been sharing this moment with Angeal. If it wasn't for his mentor, he wouldn't have gotten this far and to suddenly have it handed to him … it was heart breaking.
"Since you are a First Class, it is required for you to attend the Shinra Party that is being held tomorrow. Formal wear is, of course, required. The times will be sent to you via your PHS, so be sure as to check it. Congratulations Zack." Lazard reached forward and Zack shook his hand. Lazard settled back into his chair with a smile. "You're dismissed. Both of you."
Zack started and looked over his shoulder. He had forgotten that Sephiroth was there. Surprisingly, the man looked to be in deep thought, not at all paying attention to what had just happened.
Sighing, the black haired young man turned on his heel to leave Lazard's office. However, before he could get through the door, he felt a heavy hand on his shoulder. It wasn't the same as Angeal's rough, friendly clamp but more graceful and the fingers were longer.
Blue mako eyes met cat green ones in an emotional clash. "He would have been proud, Zack. Despite his choices, he always had you in mind. Never forget that." Sephiroth's eyes were full of sympathy that disappeared when the hand left his shoulder. He left Zack in a silent silver flourish, hair swaying hypnotically back and forth until it vanished around a corner.
Despite feeling a little down, Zack had felt better knowing that Sephiroth cared enough to comfort him in his own way. At least there was still someone he could talk to.
Zack looked in dismay at the mirror at how he looked in the suit. Kunsel was snickering behind him.
"You look so handsome, Zack!" One of his other roommates gushed in a joking tone. Kunsel and his three other roommates burst into a fit of giggles while their friend turned red and tried, but failed, to glare at them.
"We'll see who's laughing when I come home with a smoking hot date!" More laughter.
"Who you going to put the moves on? Scarlet?" Asked Ramza, one of his roommates, with raised eyebrows. Everyone made sick faces before rupturing into fits of laughter.
Still laughing, Zack shook his head and waved as he started to head out. "See ya guys! I'll be sure to tell Scarlet how much you love her." He laughed and shut the doors to the protesting SOLDIERs on the other side.
As Zack made his way upstairs to the President's floor, where the party was being held, he ran into the one Turk that was the pilot for his mission. Zack had hoped he could sneak past the red head without being seen but cunning blue eyes caught him and sparkled with acknowledgment.
"Hey, Rude! It's that kid I was telling you about; the one that was making the moves on Tseng yesterday." Reno proclaimed happily whilst Zack noticeably flinched. The bald man standing next to the loudmouth was silent but his face did turn towards the SOLDIER.
"Um, hey?" Zack tried to greet just as enthusiastically but was met with a raised eyebrow.
"Yo, is that a question or a greeting? Come on man! Shouldn't ya being headin' towards the party?" Reno drawled as both he and Rude approached.
Zack nodded. "I was heading there but someone decided to stop me." He commented with a smirk.
The red head matched the smirk with one of his own and looked around the floor, searching for something. "I don't see anybody here to stop ya. Name's Reno by the way. Might know that already since Tseng was practically screaming it yesterday."
"Zack Fair, SOLDIER Second—oh wait, First Class!" The spiky haired young man quickly corrected. Though, he couldn't help but twitch at Reno's last sentence. Tseng wasn't screaming, but the thought of the Director doing that under different circumstances was oddly appealing.
"Well, we'll see you there, mister First Class. Tseng should be there too, all dolled up and everything, yo!" The red head waved a hand and continued to where he and Rude were previously heading, Reno snickering at the flustered look on his face.
Zack blinked at the two but shook his head and went through the large double doors that lead to the company's famous circular ballroom. Blue eyes widened at how expensive everything looked. There was a mako crystal chandelier above him, Zack whistled approvingly. There were waiters all around, serving different types of drinks and little appetizers for those that were starting to feel the pains of hunger. Zack recognized a lot of the people that were here, including the President himself who was accompanied by the Vice President.
'But, whom should he mingle with?' Zack thought as he shifted uncomfortably from where he was standing and desperately looked around to find someone that he could hang out with. Bright blue eyes searched the room. There was no one here he could talk with, and it looked like Sephiroth was somehow exempt from the party because the man was nowhere to be seen. He could feel a part of his soul withering away into the fancy wine glasses the executives were holding.
"You look restless," Came a calm voice from behind him.
Zack jumped but immediately relaxed when he saw Tseng's dark chocolate colored eyes.
"Man, you don't even know. All this fancy stuff is constricting. Once I get home, I'm taking this suit off! I don't know how all of you Turks where these things all the time. And you fight in them." He shook his head. "That's some talent there."
Tseng chuckled. "Well, if I must say so for myself, the suit compliments you greatly."
"Aww, don't embarrass me!" Zack blushed sheepishly. "You always look good in your suit."
They stood in a comfortable silence for the rest of the night; Zack occasionally starting up conversations as he began to feel more relaxed around the Director. Tseng would smile and laugh at the right moments and even say his input on some matters the SOLDIER brought up. Before they knew it, the party was over and everyone was trickling out, most of them drunk.
"Guess we should be heading out, huh?" Zack said as he looked at everyone leaving. Tseng followed his companion's gaze and nodded.
"Indeed, it would seem the perfect time too." Tseng paused and had a thoughtful look on his face. Zack looked at him in confusion.
"Hey, you alright?" He asked worriedly.
Tseng shifted his gaze to meet Zack's and nodded. "Yes, I am. It would be wise to head back."
Zack felt himself flush as the Turk's gaze stayed on him. Why was he staring at him? Zack panicked. Did he know? Did Tseng know that he was crushing on him? Oh Gaia, he hoped not. "Want me to walk you to your room?" Zack wished had a better control over the words that came out of his mouth at moments like these.
Tseng raised an eyebrow while Zack mentally groaned. If he didn't know before, he certainly did now.
"Of course." Zack froze. He said yes? And were those dark chocolate eyes darkening or was it just him?
"Umm, let's go then!" Tseng started to walk in front of Zack after the younger man's proclamation.
They both reached the elevator and Tseng hit a button. Zack didn't notice which floor they were going to, as he was too nervous to pay attention to anything except the warmth coming from the Turk's close presence. The elevator bell rang, signaling that they reached their designated floor. They both walked out, Tseng still half a step ahead and abruptly stopped before a door.
Expertly, Tseng took out a card and swiped it through the electronic keypad and opened the door with a flourish. "Would you like to come in?" Dark eyes seemed to sear straight through Zack's soul, causing him to scratch the back of his head in anxiousness.
Should he say yes? He was crushing on the guy and Zack felt he made a nice connection with Tseng earlier at the party. It was nice to finally get to talk with someone about what he was thinking, almost as if Angeal was back.
"Sure, why not." Zack smiled and hoped he wasn't showing how nervous he was. Tseng returned it with a small one of his own and gestured for him to enter first.
Stepping across the threshold, Zack walked in awe. It was so typical of the man. There were no colors, everything being white, black or shades of grey. Steel and monochrome accents complimented the living room.
"Nice place you got here, Tseng." Zack admired with wide eyes. Everything just looked so organized and clean.
"Thank you. Please, have a seat on the couch. I will fix us some tea." The Turk walked into the kitchen, Zack could hear the clinking noises of cups shifting.
Turning to the couch, he sat himself down and messed with his tie. It was suffocating him; had been all night. Zack fumbled with the knot and loosened it and, unbuttoning the top few buttons of his shirt to get some air. Sighing in relief at finally being able to breath, Tseng came into the living room with two cups of steaming hot tea.
Taking the offered cup, Zack took an experimental sip and immediately stuck out his tongue distastefully, dramatically wiping his tongue. "Ah! I don't mean to be rude but that stuff is just so bitter."
"Perhaps you would enjoy the tea with some sugar and honey?" Tseng offered as he indicated towards the tray where he had carried the tea. Blue eyes glanced down and finally noticed that there was a cup of sugar and a jar filled with honey.
"Having plain tea is a bit of an acquired taste." He added.
"That's something I don't have." Zack joked as he poured three spoonfuls of sugar but left the honey alone. Taking another sip, the black spiky headed SOLDIER sighed in relief.
The two now sat in companionable silence, often meeting each other's eyes. Whilst Tseng never broke the look, Zack always had to look away due to the intensity in the other's eyes.
"How does it feel to finally be a First Class SOLDIER, Zack?" Tseng's calm voice cut through his thoughts.
Zack looked up excitedly and nodded. "I'm so pumped! I mean, it's always been a dream to be a hero and now that I am First Class, I'm closer to being one, right?"
Tseng hummed in response. "A hero?" He asked as he took a sip of tea.
"Yeah! Nothing could be better than knowing you made a bunch of people's lives better. Even if it were only one person it would be worth it! Though," Zack frowned, "Lazard told me that it was an unattainable dream."
Tseng let out a low chuckle. "Yes, that sounds exactly like something Director Lazard would say," he said with amusement twinkling in his eyes.
"He's a good man but sometimes he's a little blunt, when he said that he caught me off guard." Zack laughed but that quickly died on his lips at the thought of his missing mentor. "But, you know, I kinda wished Angeal was here. To congratulate me and … just be there, I guess." He waved his one arm around flippantly. "Sharing the moment, you know?"
"I'm afraid I do not." Was Tseng's somber reply. "Though, I do understand that you miss him."
Zack was quiet before a small smile appeared on his lips. "I do." He sighed and ran a hand through his spiked hair. "I miss him, I really do …"
"But?" The Turk prompted.
"But I'm pissed that he left. I mean, come on! You can't just leave everything behind and for … for Genesis. Just because Genesis left doesn't mean he has the right to leave me and Sephiroth behind!" Zack exclaimed in frustration.
Tseng was silent but his eyes widened just a bit as he realized that the young man in front of him seemed to have been holding his feelings in for quite a while. It was best to keep silent and hope Zack got everything out.
"And…and then Sephiroth. Dear Gaia, do not get me started on him. He chickened out on that mission to Banora and gave it to me. It's not like I could've handled it any better than him!"
Tseng refrained from adding that it was that mission that helped him become promoted to First Class.
"And then I embarrass the hell out of myself by kissing you! Don't get me wrong, I liked it— but it was so unplanned and—"
"You enjoyed that accidental kiss?" Tseng interrupted, sitting a little straighter.
Zack froze and stared at the man in front of him. His mind reeling from thinking about what he had just said. 'Oh shit, did he say that part out loud? What should he do now? Deny it?' his thoughts raced. The spiky haired man felt uncomfortable and avoided Tseng's gaze. After a moment, though it felt like eternity to him, Zack nodded albeit hesitantly.
"Yeah, I guess. I mean I did but—please don't get offended!" He cried out while bright blue eyes looked at Tseng anxiously.
Said man stared back calmly. Zack couldn't read his expression and could feel himself becoming more nervous as the silence trudged on. What was the other thinking? He hoped he hadn't royally screwed up.
Zack watched as Tseng, silent as ever, hold out a hand that seemed to be reaching towards him. He furrowed his eyes in confusion, and followed the hand and wondering what its purpose was. Finally, a soft pressure was applied to his cheek and Zack's eyes were rapidly switching from Tseng's hand, to the man the hand belonged to.
He had seen that expression before. That gentle look. It was the same look he remembered seeing his father give to his mother when they thought they were alone. Suddenly, Zack was aware of how close he and Tseng were to each other, their faces mere inches apart.
Feeling lips brush against his ear, he tried to hold in a gasp that threatened to part from his lips. Zack had girlfriends in the past but none were so … so sensual.
"Then would you mind if I kissed you now, Zack?" He shivered at how his name came from Tseng, falling from the other's tongue like liquid gold.
Zack nodded his consent, not trusting himself to communicate properly without making a further fool out of himself. As soon as he gave his short nod, he felt a gentle force on his lips that moved like molten lava. Zack closed his eyes, tilting his head to gain more access to Tseng's lips and to deepen the kiss.
The kiss became more heated and soon a tongue was roughly swiping against Zack's bruised yet willing lips. There was a brief battle for dominance but since Tseng was sneakily pushing the younger man down on the couch, he was quickly gaining the upper hand, causing Zack to submit.
Zack felt Tseng explore his mouth and let out a little moan when a tongue flickered against the top of his mouth. When he felt a hand slide up his previously tucked in shirt, Zack pulled away, gasping for breath as Tseng looked down at him questionably.
"You're good," Zack muttered dazedly. The Wutaian smiled down at him and slowly rose off him.
"You are not so bad yourself," Tseng replied as he tried to fix his hair.
"I wouldn't mind doing that again, perhaps on a regular basis." Dark eyes searched blue ones as they looked for an answer.
Zack bit his lips and nodded shyly. "Yeah, sure. Why not?" He grinned back.
Though the idea of dating another man was entirely new to him and made him nervous, there was something appealing about Tseng's flushed face, after their passionate kiss, that made Zack's heart sing a happy tune, making him forget all the worries he had in the world.
"So does that make us a couple now?" Tseng looked at Zack with an amused look.
"If that is what you so wish it to be, then I do not mind." He replied with ease.
Zack felt his lips curve into a grin that he just knew looked silly. He couldn't help it though! Having a boyfriend was the perfect distraction from the whole mess with Angeal and he deserved a break. He kissed Tseng enthusiastically before hopping up and bouncing towards the door.
"I gotta go," Zack explained in a bright tone, still high from the kiss. "My roommates are probably wondering about me right now. Call me!" And then he bounded out the door with an extra bounce in his step, missing the low chuckle that came from Tseng's living room.
As he returned to his room, Zack was met with the loud snores coming from Ramza's bed and grinned to himself. He just had one of the best nights ever and he was just itching to wake his friends up and tell them of his escapades, but he knew if he did that, Kunsel would absolutely kill him; he liked his sleep.
Waking up the next morning, Zack found himself staring into the curious hazel gaze of Ramza. He groaned whilst the other grinned.
"Wake up sleeping beauty!" Ramza sang into Zack's ear. "You have a story to tell! Why did you come in so late last night? Scarlet sink her claws into you?"
Zack rolled his eyes but his grin gave him away. Ramza suddenly looked horrified.
"Please tell me you're lying. You're joking!" The other cried out in alarm. His own grin only grew wider at his roommate's distress. Kunsel and his other roommate, Xande, woke up from the commotion Ramza was making.
"What the hell is your problem," Xande hissed in irritation at being woken up. He was quite burly for a Second Class and easily intimidating. He, like Kunsel, hated being woken up but while Kunsel got over it and was cheerful for the rest of the day, Xande acted as if he had a personal vendetta against the sun for the rest of the week.
Ramza put up his hand in defensively. "Hey, I was just asking who Zack was with last night."
"Are you his mother?"
"Then go back to fucking sleep." Xande turned over in his bed and dramatically threw the pillow over his head. Kunsel, whose bed was right above Zack's, moaned in agreement.
Ramza rolled his eyes at their antics. "You guys have to get up anyways! We have training in an hour—"
"Just shut up, Ramza." Kunsel grumbled but he got up nevertheless.
"But Zack said he was with Scarlet last night!"
"What!" Kunsel shouted this time and even Xande turned over to give Zack a weird look. The spiky, black haired man shook his head.
"I didn't say that," he protested.
"But you implied it," Ramza insisted. "I asked if Scarlet got to you and you grinned!"
Zack saw Kunsel pop his dirty blond head over his top bunk to give Zack a disapproving stare.
"I hope you used protection. She had to have slept with at least the top management, Zack."
"Eww! I didn't sleep with her. I didn't even meet her last night! I was with someone else." Zack protested as he got out of bed.
"Who?" Kunsel immediately asked with a gleam in his eye. His friend was always one for gossip. Zack always wondered why he didn't switch over to the Turks.
"None of your business, Kunny-boy." Zack stuck out his tongue and went over to his dresser to get dressed, hearing Ramza doing the same while trying to get Xande out of bed. Blue eyes turned when he heard of soft thump and saw Kunsel approaching him with his arms crossed.
"Come on, you can tell me. We're friends right?"
Zack chuckled and patted Kunsel on his shoulder. "'Course we are, Kunsel! But what happened last night was for me only." Brown eyes rolled but twinkled in amusement.
"Sure, sure. I'll find out someday, you know." Kunsel warned jokingly. Zack hoped he wouldn't. He didn't want anyone to know that he was with Tseng last night or that they were going out. It was his little secret.
But Zack just laughed it off as he went to head out but was stopped by Kunsel once more.
"Hey, where you going?"
"I don't have training with you guys anymore, remember?" Zack replied as he scratched his head nervously.
Kunsel raised an eyebrow. "That's why I was asking, man. Usually you'd kill to sleep in."
"I got some matters to deal with. Gotta sign papers and stuff for Lazard." A lie. Zack held his breath as he hoped Kunsel would believe him. His friend was usually good to sniff out a lie a mile away. Another reason he didn't understand why he wasn't a Turk.
After a moment, Kunsel nodded and waved his hand flippantly in the air. "Yeah, yeah. See you later. Don't get writer's cramp!"
Zack grinned and walked out, closing the door behind him with a sigh of relief. He had planned on going to the Turks' floor but knew that if he mentioned it to his friends, there would have been more questions and Kunsel was cunning enough to put two and two together.
Taking the elevator, Zack pressed the button to go up to Level 51. It was the level for the Investigation Sector of the General Affairs Department -. In other words; the Turks. When the elevator announced it arrival, he nervously stepped off and looked around. He knew he wasn't supposed to be here, hell, SOLDIERs and Turks had a little rivalry going on. Suddenly hearing quick footsteps coming his way, he panicked. He dove behind one of the fake plants and waited, hearing a familiar voice.
"So, word on the block says you're banging the new First Class," Reno started casually as he caught up to said SOLDIER's crush. Zack tensed, as he hadn't realized Tseng had been walking as well. The footsteps he had heard happened to be Reno following the other and he hoped the Wutaian hadn't seen him.
Zack saw Tseng raise an eyebrow at the redhead but otherwise made no more show that the comment affected him. "I bang enemies, Reno. Not comrades." Was the wry reply from the head Turk.
Zack tried to hold in a chuckle at the Second Commander's reply. He knew he shouldn't be eavesdropping, especially on the Turks floor on the Turks, but he had a sudden urge to see Tseng.
"Zack, what are you doing?" Came a voice from behind him. Zack froze and looked over his shoulder. Tseng stood there with a raised eyebrow. Damn him and his quiet footsteps. How come he never noticed the other coming his way?
Zack's train of thought was lost when he heard a snicker coming from Reno. Blue eyes snapped to the redhead in irritation but Reno just smirked in reply. A polite cough redirected the mako eyes back to his boyfriend who continued to stare down at him in both amusement and in question.
"How you doing Tseng?" Zack asked with a sheepish grin. Reno snorted and elbowed his boss. "I'll be leaving, yo. Gotta meet Rude downstairs." A hand lazily waved towards the couple. "Have fun!" The redhead drawled with a sly smile as he walked on the elevator.
Once the elevator closed, chocolate eyes immediately found Zack's blue ones. "Now, what are you doing?"
"Well, I wanted to see you. Other than that, I have no idea." Zack grinned.
Tseng's own lips twitched into, what he hoped, was a smile. "Just like a puppy waiting for their new owner to come home." The Turk mused lightly while shaking his head.
Zack felt his chest tighten at being called, 'puppy' but pushed it aside and kept a smile on his face. "Do you want to do something later? Maybe go out to grab something to eat, see a movie or—"
"Are you asking me out on a date?"
Zack flushed. With girls, it was easier since they seemed to just giggle and nod to whatever he said. This was an entirely different case. Tseng was a man, a sharp one at that, and there was no way for him to just charm his way with words or a grin. If he wanted something, he was going to have to work for it. That was something Angeal had taught him from the beginning.
"Yeah, I guess I am. What do you say?" Zack countered confidently and rose up from the ground. Tseng blinked and his pink lips curved into a knowing smile.
"I say that you should meet me in the front at eighteen hours sharp and that I do not tolerate tardiness. Good day, Zack." With a bow of his head, Tseng left the wide-eyed SOLDIER, his shoes clicking silently down the hall.
"I'll be there!" Zack called down the hallway. "And I won't be late!"
"Shit! I'm gonna be late!" Zack exclaimed in despair as he quickly ran through the floors, desperately trying to get to the front as fast as possible. He had a mission earlier while visiting the slums and had only gotten back a couple minutes ago, time was not on his side.
He didn't even have time to change out of his sweaty SOLDIER uniform. The black haired man knew that he looked like a hot mess and that the slimy feeling down his back was probably some ooze from the monster he had killed. Things just weren't going his way.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Zack reached the front, heaving and with his hands on his knees. Blue eyes searched but couldn't find Tseng anywhere. After glancing at a clock, he noted anxiously that he was eight minutes late. Maybe Tseng just left and figured that he wasn't worth the time?
"Quite interesting to see you from this perspective, Zack."
Zack straightened up his back and whipped his head around to see Tseng, still in his suit, staring at him in typical polite fashion. Though certainly, the words he just spoke were anything but.
"Looking at my ass already? Not that I can blame you. I hear it's just as fascinating as my eyes." Zack teased as he fully turned to face his date.
"On the contrary, I would say that you are purposely displaying yourself for all to see and on the other note, it would be wise not to take, what your drill sergeants have told you in the past, to heart."
Zack snorted and shook his head.
"Yeah, whatever. Do you have any idea where you want to go?"
Tseng raised an eyebrow. "Theoretically," The Wutaian man started in a dry tone. "The person who asks another on a date has some idea on where to take the person they invited."
Zack blinked and shuffled nervously. He didn't have anywhere planned and didn't make any reservations to a restaurant. To be truthful, he was kind of poor and could only rarely go out to eat what with his salary was. Angeal surely would have shaken his head in shame.
"As it is, I expected this sort of situation to happen, so I took it upon myself to reserve a spot for us at the Petite Ciel Café." Tseng mused as he headed towards the exit.
Zack watched the Turk in amazement. The man was truly prepared for anything and everything. Grinning, the spiky haired man followed Tseng and headed to what he hoped was going to be an amazing night.
Hands frantically groped at one another, desperately reaching for more. Always more. Zack heard Tseng let out a small gasp as he nipped at the other's collarbone. They did not dare go back to Shinra like this. Instead, they were in the deep parts of an alleyway on Loveless Avenue with the Turk pressed tightly between a dark bricked wall and Zack's muscled body.
"Are you sure?" Tseng asked between gasps, as Zack seemed to be everywhere; ever eager to consume.
"Yeah," Was the breathless reply. However, Zack was a bit uncertain. He had never been with another man before. Sure, he knew how things worked and where everything was supposed to go but to actually experience it was completely different.
If he was with a girl, it would have been simple just simply because it was. Now, the SOLDIER was nervous about making this man before him, this beautiful man, feel good. Suddenly, while he was kissing and unzipping Tseng, a haunting thought crossed his mind. What if the reason he was nervous was because he wasn't ready for this? Not ready to commit to this relationship and—what if, just what if, he was experimenting? Was he merely confused?
No, Zack thought determinedly. I could never do something so horrible like that! To distract himself, he deepened the kiss causing Tseng to let out a muffled moan and press back wantonly.
"Zack," Tseng's hiss seemed to echo through his entire being and Zack groaned in response, doubts lost in the sounds of the eager man's groans.
"Up," Zack demanded. Tseng seemed to have understood his one word command and lifted his hips into the air so that his lover could pull them down just enough. "Wrap your legs around me, it'll make it easier." The Turk didn't need to be told twice.
Zack reached down in between them and unzipped his pants so that his aching flesh was released and rubbed against Tseng's entrance teasingly. Remembering last minute, the dark haired SOLDIER pressed his fingers against the other's lips. "Sorry, I don't carry lube on me …" He murmured against the Turk's neck.
Tseng chuckled breathlessly and stuck out his tongue to slowly caress the three fingers. His wet muscle twirled and circled around the appendages before clearly indicating that it was enough. Which was good for Zack since he was heavily panting by the display, ready to just slam into the other.
He took his fingers and quickly began to prep the Turk. At first, he worried that he was going too fast for his boyfriend, but judging by the encouraging moans, Tseng was thoroughly enjoying the treatment and was pressing his hips down impatiently.
"Zack, if you don't hurry-"He was interrupted by a gasp that quickly turned into a moan that fully stopped the Turk's train of thought when he felt himself penetrated. "Oh, Gaia!" The black haired man groaned in pleasure.
Zack echoed Tseng and grunted as he the other's tight walls around his shaft. He waited for a few moments so that both he and Tseng could adjust to the feeling before he started to slowly thrust shallowly into the other.
Tseng had a firm grip on Zack's shoulders and was writhing in ecstasy, as the SOLDIER's thrusts were growing deeper and more frantic, each one climbing closer to their climax. Their grunts, mewls and throaty moans were echoing in the alley until a final breathy scream escaped from Tseng's lips.
Zack felt the walls around him tighten and begin to shudder relentlessly. He gasped and soon felt himself following Tseng as he released deep inside of the man beneath him.
They were both left gasping against each other, their breaths intermingling.
However, they soon quickly remembered that they were in a public place and fixed their clothes as best as possible. Not surprisingly, Tseng looked as perfect as ever while Zack's hair looked crazier than usual. They exited the alley nonchalantly, or as nonchalantly as Zack could, since he was grinning, and made their way back to Shinra.
After a lengthy kiss goodbye, Zack now laid in his bed while his roommates snored the night away. Tonight had been great and everything certainly felt wonderful but he felt an unexplainable guilt. He closed his eyes and tried, with all his might, to squash the feeling.
The next few weeks, going into months, had been eventful. Zack rarely had time to hang out with Tseng like he did on their first date but they both tried to make the best of it. They would send each other texts and talk on the phone in the privacy of their rooms in order to keep their relationship secret. Every now and then, Zack would happen to pass by Reno, the red headed Turk and receive sly and surprisingly envious looks that made him shiver.
Whatever the other's problem was, he wanted nothing to do with it.
As it was, the SOLDIER had more important matters to deal with such as Lazard's disappearance, Genesis' copies and Angeal. Especially Angeal. The man that had been his mentor, his fatherly figure during his time at Shinra, was dead and it was his hand that had killed him.
The only comfort Zack could get was from Aerith.
His eyes lit up as he fondly thought of the sweet flower girl in the slums. She had been nothing but supportive and a shoulder to cry on. Gradually, he had begun to notice himself spending most of his free time in the abandoned church she ever so lovingly took care of.
In fact, after everything that had happened to him, the church was where Zack found himself now. He often would be repairing one of Aerith's flower wagons so that she could sell her flowers.
"It looks wonderful!" Aerith's sweet voice interrupted his thoughts. Zack looked up and grinned at her charmingly.
"Of course it does. You had me doing all the work," He teased as he stood from the floor and ran a hand through his hair sheepishly.
His blue eyes silently studied Aerith as the young flower girl examined the wagon. She was very cute and sweet, his type of girl. He adored how she was always nice, always cheerful and full of advice. Aerith was the perfect girlfriend—
Zack mentally paused. What the hell was he thinking? He had Tseng for crying out loud! Would he really stoop so low as to …?
He wouldn't and was sure of that. Though, despite that, he couldn't help but to start falling in love with Aerith.
"Tseng, we need to talk," Zack said firmly though his body language clearly spoke that he was uncomfortable.
It was the first moment in a while that the two could meet each other alone, if even for a couple of minutes and in a public park. The SOLDIER immediately noticed, though however slight, how tense his lover got when he spoke those words that no one wanted to hear in a relationship.
Dark chocolate eyes gazed deep within Zack's soul. Even after being with Tseng for a few months, those eyes always got to him, spoke to him as if they were hiding a dark secret. Right now, those eyes seemed to say, 'go on, say what you need to'.
"I—I've been thinking and I find you attractive and all but I'm still attractive to women.." Zack couldn't stare at Tseng in the eye. "I love you like a friend and I don't want to hurt you but—shit, I probably am already." He ended in a whisper.
Silence. He didn't know if it was good or not but he needed to say what he needed to.
"I just—I think it's best if we were friends. I mean we hardly see each other anyway and," Zack let out a shaky sigh and ran a hand through his spiky locks. "I'm sorry."
Blue eyes finally dared to glance up to find the same dark eyes staring back.
"I understand," Was the soft, aloof reply of Zack's now ex.
Zack wanted to sigh in relief but felt the incredible guilt eating at him slowly. He shouldn't have ever put Tseng through this, stringing him along as if he were a toy. Aerith had made him realize that during his grief for losing Angeal, he became confused and wanted affection, attention from the nearest thing to him at the time. No, Aerith hadn't told him all this but over the few weeks he had spent with her, Zack had done a lot of thinking, a lot. He couldn't continue to pull on Tseng's strings anymore. It wasn't right, wasn't honorable.
"Yeah, well, you can hate me you know. What I did was just shitty of me and I wanted to say this before I left for Nibelheim, you know? I really am so ..." Zack stopped when Tseng held up a hand, a sign for the other to wait.
"There is no need to apologize. You did what was best for the both of us and I am glad you carried yourself so caringly. Thank you."
Zack felt his heart sink. Tseng shouldn't have been thanking him for the break up. Hell, he was all prepared for an attack or some weird Turk shit but there was nothing. Nothing.
"You can have this flower for free," Aerith's voice broke through the silence while she handed a little boy a flower with a gentle smile.
Zack found himself smiling fondly at the scene, silently welcoming the interruption. Aerith knew he was back here but not why. She didn't know about Tseng, yet.
"Do not worry about her," The voice next to him interjected calmly, causing bright blue eyes to look back at the source.
"It is our duty to protect and watch over her in case she gets into any danger."
Zack crossed his arms and sighed worriedly. How anyone could harm a person as sweet as Aerith was mind-boggling. They had to be some sort of monster to even consider the idea.
"You're the only person I can depend on," he admitted as he found his eyes straying back to the beautiful green-eyed girl. However after hearing a familiar chuckle, Zack turned back to Tseng to find the other staring at him with keen eyes.
"Hey! Why are you laughing?" He asked in bewilderment before they both grew silent. He knew that the Turk wasn't going to answer. He looked down dejectedly and curved back to head towards the helicopter.
"I'm counting on you, Tseng," Zack said as he pointed to the dark haired man and ran towards Aerith and the helicopter. Leaving behind Tseng, who stared at the ground and let a lone teardrop fall to the sand.
Author's Note: Please, tell me what you think and review! I love to hear from you guys :D