This was brought to you all because I miss ASGZC so badly ;_;. Maaaany more oneshots are coming (this really fun (I think) ASGZC is gonna be next!) Hm, there's some Angeal/Cloud planned... a SephGenCloud, more Invisible Molestation... just keep your eyes on me, okay? ;) I'm kinda busy with the whole applytocollegething, but pretty soon I'll be waiting for acceptance letters and just smooth sailing~~~~~ oh yeah, was anyone at Inochicon in Philadelphia on August 28? I was there. ;)
SO. This fic. They're all so freaking creepy and awesome and idk I just wrote it. It makes me smile, and hopefully you smile too~ Angeal wins for creepiest, I think. And Cloud wins cutest (but that was a given). There may be a sequel. Probably not. But, who knows? AND THANKS TO TORNANGELWINGS FOR BETA-ING THIS I LOVE YOU SO MUCH (go read her fics go go go)
Disclaimer: I DON'T OWN FFVII D8
Fall. Cloud couldn't say it was his favorite season, but it was certainly very pretty. The sun was setting, making already-bright trees even more so. An orange leaf fluttered down almost onto his head, and Cloud smiled up at it.
He was starting to miss summer, though. During August he had complained bitterly, cursing his air conditioner and miserably telling everyone how hot he was for the whole month. He never thought he'd want to be that hot and thirsty ever again, but as a chilly wind blew, freezing Cloud's face, he almost wished he was. He adjusted his coat—it was new, thanks for noticing—and spotted AVALANCHE a few blocks away.
It was a new restaurant, built a few blocks away from Cloud's apartment. Tifa had news for him apparently, so they were making good on their promise to visit the place sometime. He was kind of excited; Tifa's "news" seemed like good news. Her happiness over the phone a few days previous had been contagious. And he hadn't seen her in quite some time, so this would be perfect.
Cloud carefully crossed the street, breathing in the scent of someone having a fire somewhere. Mmm. He had to go camping soon (and this time, not with Yuffie). The blond snickered, pushing his hands deeper into his pockets.
It seemed like a nice restaurant. Apparently it was pretty expensive, but not so much so that you had to wear a suit and make reservations weeks in advance. Across the street a woman was walking her puppy, and Cloud watched the cute thing for a few seconds before opening the front door and letting himself inside.
He walked into a large, wide, open room. A young girl smiled at him, arms full of menus. "How many?"
"Two," Cloud answered easily, looking around. Fancy. There was this small pond on the inside, with—woah, big fish. He hoped he wouldn't have to eat them. Tables were organized in rows, sort of, or at least they were on the left side of the room, where the lady was leading him. She turned and walked up a little hallway of sorts, the six or so feet between two rows of tables. She sat him down at a table directly across from a full one, and Cloud resisted the urge to grimace. It was barely busy tonight, and he had to sit next to people... but it didn't really matter, whatever.
Cloud sat and moved his arms so the girl could plop a menu down in front of him. It was thick, which was probably a good thing; he and Tifa were both really picky eaters.
"Your server will be with you shortly," the girl said with another smile, and she left.
When she did Cloud hunched over the table and gave a mighty shiver. His nose was all red and cold; he reached up and felt it. Like an ice cube. Cloud sniffed, rubbed his hands together and opened the menu.
Hmm, hmm—choices. He relaxed in his seat, stretching his long legs out and folding one on top of the other at the knee. He let the soft chatter of the other customers wash over him and flipped to the back, to where the drinks were listed.
Hurry up Tifa, he thought, scanning the menu for things she'd like.
A new lady came out a few minutes later, all smiles. Being a waiter would be annoying, Cloud thought absently as he ordered a soda. Then he was waiting again, bouncing his knees under the table.
He started when his phone started to vibrate, but quickly recovered and pulled it out. Tifa, his phone read. Cloud frowned and answered, saying quietly, "Hello?"
"Hi Tifa," he said, smiling. He hunched in his seat a bit, trying not to be quite so obvious. "What's up? ...What's that?" In the background he could hear someone gagging...or, something like that.
"Hojo," Tifa sighed, "He's having some, uh, problems." Tifa had been nurse to a Mr. Barnaby Hojo for over a year now; he was an evil old man with a terminal illness. "I'm sorry, but I'm going to be a little late. Is that okay?"
"Sure," Cloud said, understanding. She certainly sounded bummed about it. "No problem. How much longer, do you think?"
"...Half an hour? Maybe a little bit more?"
"Okay. See you then."
Cloud hung up, and just in time—his waitress came back with his soda. Cloud declined to order his food, saying he was going to wait until his friend arrived. She nodded and went to some other table.
With a short sigh, Cloud sat with his hands folded under his chin, elbows on the table. Now he waited.
After staring at nothing in particular for a good while, Cloud finally turned his attention to his drink. He looked down at it, eyes darting to the containers of salt and whatever the hell else off to the side. Hm. He took a sip, then put his finger over the top. Quickly Cloud pulled it out, watching the fluid stay in the straw, then lifted his finger and watched it all fall out. Cloud did this a few times, dying of boredom and speculating what Tifa was going to tell him.
Maybe she was pregnant. Cloud froze in horror as soon as he thought it, then relaxed and shook his head, patting his cheek. No, no... Tifa knew she couldn't have a kid right now, she was far too busy. And did Reno even want kids? He wasn't sure. Nah. What, then?
Cloud stuck his tongue into the top of the straw a little bit, as far as he could, then pulled the straw out. He went cross-eyed, staring at the end of the straw, then moved his tongue and let the soda fall back into the cup. He did it again, glancing to the right at the full table, back to his drink, and then Cloud did a double-take, freezing with the straw in his mouth.
The four guys at the table next to him were all staring at him. Like, staring.
They weren't talking or anything—just silent, heads turned, eyes trained on him.
Cloud went bright red and smiled sheepishly, dropping his straw daintily into his cup. He sat stiffly with his arms crossed, foot tapping on the carpet, completely embarrassed.
Sigh. Hurry up Hojo.
For a minute or so Cloud waited, then shot a sneaky glance to the right.
Only one of them was watching him this time. A man with dark hair sitting next to the silver-haired guy was smiling at him. When he noticed Cloud was staring back he raised one eyebrow and smiled a bit wider.
Cloud looked away quickly. He scowled at the table, starting to feel a bit uncomfortable.
Just his luck. He was getting creeped on by men at a restaurant. Really hot men, but... still.
Cloud sprawled out over the table, head in his arms, hiding a little. He felt their eyes on the curve of his back and exposed neck; he resisted the urge to fidget.
Die, Hojo, die, he thought viciously, and only vaguely felt bad about it. He needed Tifa.
Cloud pressed a still-flushed, warm cheek to the cool tabletop and lifted his elbow up a fraction of an inch, peering underneath his arm at the guys again. This time he saw the grinning face of the redhead. He was awfully pretty, and wearing some sort of red shirt that put his little designer coat to shame. Cloud put his elbow down, blocking them from his view and turned his head the other way.
He counted the cracks on the table's surface, all the tick marks, and the grains of rice he could see through the glass in the salt shaker. He couldn't remember why people put rice in their salt; his mom never did it. Eventually, though, he ran out of things to entertain himself with and had to sit up. He did so with a wince, by now uncomfortably hot. He had splurged on his new gray coat. He liked it; it was cute, but it was warm in here and he didn't want to get sweaty. Cloud unbuttoned it, untied the cloth belt and slid it off his shoulders.
Struggling to get it off in the small space, Cloud was so determined to get the thing off he nearly missed it. Cloud froze, the coat hanging off his one arm. Was that... a whistle? It had been quiet, but he had heard it—a whistle.
Cloud turned big blue eyes on the annoying table of men to his right, and sure enough they were all watching him again. Cloud stiffened and shot them all his scariest glare, one by one. When his eyes met the silver-haired man's, though, he was forced to look away. That guy's eyes were an incredibly bright, piercing, unnatural green; he just couldn't compete. Cloud's mouth twisted and he angrily took his coat the rest of the way off, shoving the soft pile against the wall on the seat next to him.
Now he was wearing a black t-shirt but felt very...exposed. Cloud sighed irritably, almost feeling the amusement coming off these guys.
For a time Cloud amused himself with the lame games on his cell phone, but soon the free trials ran out and he had to stop, as he didn't feel like blowing money on something so dumb. Then Cloud sighed, resting the back of his head against the top of the booth seat. He stared at the ceiling through his bangs. This... was really, really boring. Wherever Tifa was, even if she was getting yelled at by Barnaby Hojo, he was sure she was having more fun than he was.
The creepy men's conversation finally came to his attention—he had been blocking it out thus far. Cloud gave a mental shrug and decided to eavesdrop; it wasn't like they would know. He picked up some names... Zack, Genesis... they were complaining about coworkers or something.
"I like Tseng, actually," said a deep voice.
"You kidding? When he talks to me I get the feeling he thinks I'm an ant."
Boooring. Cloud listened some more, opening his eyes and staring at the ceiling. It was an interesting pattern up there. Whoever had designed this place really did well. The chandeliers and soft lighting were making him sleepy.
Cloud plucked at the v-neck of his shirt, fanning himself. He reached up tall and stretched, yawning into his bicep, then shook his head a little and tugged down his shirt, covering back up an inch or so of now-exposed skin. His shoulders were tense—someone was watching him again—and, fed up, Cloud rose from his seat without looking at any of them and wandered off to find a bathroom.
To be perfectly honest, Cloud was pretty used to getting attention. He wasn't a bad-looking guy, he knew, so stares and admiring glances he was no stranger to.
These guys, though, were really creeping him out. They were just so intense.
Maybe it was because they were all incredibly—and Cloud did mean that—good-looking that Cloud was all flustered. Maybe it was because he was lonely and alone, waiting for Tifa and starving for company or something crazy.
Cloud pondered, as he finally located the bathroom and side-stepped a mother and her toddler with a smile, what they were up to. Were they checking him out? None really screamed 'gay' to him but whatever.
Or maybe... were they dangerous? Picking out a new victim? Rapists!
Cloud took a deep breath as he pulled up his zipper. No, he wasn't really getting that feeling. Intense, yes. In cahoots with each other, yes. Up to something, yes. Rapists and bad guys, no.
The door opened when Cloud was in the middle of washing his hands. He glanced up, then jolted and froze as the spiky-haired man entered the bathroom. The door shut behind him. The bathroom was immediately far, far far too small.
"Hey," he said calmly, raising a hand. His t-shirt was pretty tight, or at least it was in the sleeves, and just that small movement made his muscles shift appealingly; but no, no, Cloud wasn't looking.
"H-Hi," Cloud stuttered, violently increasing his handwashing speed. He turned off the water and stumbled to the hand dryer, nearly bumping into the man. The smell of—smell of—well, something just good and masculine and smooth reached his nose. Eep. Cloud took a step to the side, mumbling, "Sorry."
"No prob." His hand came down on Cloud's shoulder for a brief moment, squeezed, and was gone. He was probably around his age or a bit older—they all were—and taller than him by quite a few inches. Incredibly sexy. He smirked down at him and made his way to the urinal Cloud had used; Cloud bolted out of the bathroom, forgetting to dry his hands. After he had slammed the door shut he took a moment to collect himself, drying his hands on the legs of his jeans. Cloud speed-walked back to his table, once again not looking at them, knowing his face was on fire.
He wouldn't let them get to him.
And, thank the Gods, just a few minutes later he saw a familiar face walk in the door.
"Tifa!" Cloud called, perhaps a bit too loudly. He caught her eye and waved her over.
As always, his best friend looked gorgeous. She must've changed somewhere, because she wasn't in her scrubs anymore. He liked hers though; she always had cute, colorful, patterned ones.
Tifa smiled at him, making all Cloud's sort-of-fright and nervousness melt away. She sat, and Cloud determinedly looked at only her.
"Sorry I kept you waiting," she apologized, and Cloud waved it away.
"Doing okay," Tifa sighed after a moment's deliberation. She smiled tiredly at the waitress, whose name Cloud had forgotten as soon as she said it when he had first entered. Tifa ordered a drink, Cloud got a refill, and Cloud immediately got down to business as soon she left.
"So?" Cloud questioned, bouncing in his seat a little, full of energy after sitting in awkwardness for so long. "News? News?"
Tifa put it off until the waitress came back and they ordered their food, then she laughed and leant forward a little. Cloud did too. Tifa leaned in closer again, and they met in the center of the table.
"Reno asked me to marry him," she whispered into his ear.
Cloud let out a loud, surprised wail, then clapped a hand over his mouth and continued to gush muffeldly. Tifa did too, and they flailed at each other. Tifa lifted her previously-hidden hand up; Cloud seized it and examined the new, shiny ring on her finger.
"Yesterday!" Tifa thrust her hand right in his face. "It was so hard not telling you—"
Cloud cut her off with a passionate, "It's so pretty, Tifa—"
They both sat there, squiggly and happy. Then they both had a moment where they blinked and sniffed at each other, but pushed the happy tears back—then the moment passed and they were okay again.
They both looked to the table next to them, remembering they were in public. Those guys were smiling at them; this time Cloud wasn't feeling all... prey-ish. The redhead grinned at Tifa and said, "Congratulations!"
"Thank you!" Tifa said, beaming. Cloud smiled too, and when he was sure Tifa wasn't paying attention to him shot them a sour look, lips twisting.
Cloud made his look fiercer for a split second, then looked away and tapped Tifa on the elbow, getting her attention. He scooted a bit to the left in his seat, trying to put more distance between them and him, and asked, "So when's the wedding?"
Tifa hummed. "We're thinking in July."
They happily chatted about the perfect wedding and Tifa's plans and when she was going to tell everyone else for a long while, faces in danger of splitting from so much smiling. When Cloud asked Tifa if they were thinking about kids Tifa choked most unattractively; Cloud laughed so hard at that he sprayed spaghetti sauce all over the table.
"Um, we're going to wait before we think about that," she said dantily, dabbing her mouth with a napkin and then reaching across the table and wiping Cloud's. The blond grabbed it from her and snickered.
"Well, what about you?" Tifa questioned, grinning. "Getting married, I mean." Cloud gave her a flat look.
Tifa waved him away. "You never know, Cloud. Even if you don't get married, when are you going to meet-" she nudged him, "-that special person?"
"Tifaaaa," Cloud whined, embarrassed.
She giggled, pushing a lock of brown hair behind her ear. "How is it you don't have a boyfriend?"
"Tifa!" Cloud frantically shushed her. Those creeps were still listening, he knew, and... well. He just didn't want them knowing anything about him at all, really.
Throughout their whole meal (after they had congratulated Tifa, anyway), he hadn't heard from them. Occasionally Cloud would glance over, once catching the spiky-haired man's eye, but other than that, he'd been ignoring them. It was working out well, he thought.
Cloud found out that Aerith had been making a king's ransom with her new flower business. He had been worried at first that she wouldn't be able to support herself with it, but there you go. He told Tifa how Yuffie had been arrested for trespassing on some rich guy's property a few weeks back, and she didn't seem surprised.
"I bet she'll be out in two weeks," she said between mouthfuls of salmon.
"One and a half."
But eventually the two friends talked themselves into full, sleepy stupors and they sat there staring at their empty plates and making contented noises at each other. Finally Cloud's head hit the top of the table with a thud, and he heard the waitress walk over.
After a brief spat over the check Cloud handed the lady his debit card, and Tifa stood to use the ladies' room. Cloud put his head back on the table and had it there for only a few seconds when he heard: "...Cloud."
He stiffened, raised his head and gazed sleepily at the four men who were still there. They had been there when Cloud arrived, been present through his whole waiting-for-Tifa period, and...
They've been waiting for us to finish, Cloud thought, stomach clenching.
And they knew his name now!
"...Yeah?" Cloud said, trying to clear his head and be more alert. Tifa would be at least a few minutes more, and—
"C'mere," the redhead said kindly, gesturing to their table.
Cloud frowned and said flatly, "I'm good, thanks."
The spiky-headed one leaned forward and gave him these huge puppy eyes, complete with a protruding lower lip. "Pleeease?" he implored.
Suddenly Cloud was standing and reluctantly taking the few steps over to their table, despite really not wanting to. He didn't even remember standing.
A small space was made beside the man who had frightened Cloud earlier, and he was tugged down next to him. The silver-haired man's arm draped around his shoulder, and although it was comfy, Cloud realized he probably wouldn't be getting back to his table until they said he could go.
"Sephiroth," the man said, playing with the spikes next to his ears with his fingertips, making Cloud squirm a little ticklishly. Cloud blinked at him, then realized it was a name when the redhead held out his hand from across the table and introduced himself. "I'm Genesis."
"I'm Zack," said the guy who had followed him into the bathroom earlier. "Nice to meet you, Spike."
The man next to Sephiroth said warmly, "I'm Angeal Hewley." His words were accompanied with an equally warm, brief squeeze to his knee under the table.
"Uh, I'm Cloud," Cloud said, forgetting to be rude. "Wh—wha—" he had to stop and yawned, turning his head so he did it into his shoulder (and Sephiroth's forearm). He gave a sleepy shiver, then turned back to them. They were all smiling at him, and this time the smiles were scaring him a little. What the hell was so funny about him that made them smile like that? Cloud had to look at the tabletop.
"Er, what do you...?" he trailed off.
"We just wanted to say hello," murmured Sephiroth almost into his hair.
"You seem like a nice guy," Zack quipped, propping his chin up on his fist and looking awfully amused.
"Thank you," Cloud said uncomfortably, realizing he had relaxed into Sephiroth's side and trying to sit a little straighter. "You too."
He noticed belatedly that Genesis had his phone; he had swiped it from next to the salt shaker over at the other table. He was pressing buttons quickly, face all business.
These guys were really, really attractive, and Cloud didn't stand a chance anymore.
Realizing this, Cloud tried to edge away. "Um, my friend's going to be back in a minute," he said feebly, reddening. "Nice to meet y-"
"Okay, so," Zack interrupted quickly, looking over his shoulder towards the bathrooms, checking for Tifa. "Real reason we've been bugging you all night. You," he looked back at him, bright blue eyes narrowed slightly, "are really fucking cute."
"The most gorgeous thing we've seen in a long while," Genesis added almost immediately after Zack finished.
"We like you," Angeal murmured, squeezing Cloud's knee under the table again, but maybe a bit higher. "A lot."
Cloud stared at them, scrunching in on himself a little and trapping his hands between his clenched thighs, bright red and really, really...
...shocked because Sephiroth got some sort of signal from Zack and tilted his face up, hand near his ear tangling into the spikes on the back of his head. Cloud's eyes snapped away from Angeal's in time to see Sephiroth's handsome face get closer, then go out of focus. He saw nothing but that bright, bright green for a second, and then he felt Sephiroth's lips press against his and his eyes slid closed.
Somehow, Cloud managed to forget that he was in the middle of one of the most awkward moments of his life, in plain sight in a restaurant and surrounded by slightly intimidating, slightly scary, totally sexy men. Well, he didn't forget about them entirely. But when Sephiroth's expert tongue gently drove his lips part, and when he felt Angeal's big hand creep up his thigh a little more, and when he felt Zack and Genesis play footsy with him under the table, every coherent thought jumped out of AVALANCHE's new, expensive windows.
Talk about sensory overload.
Sephiroth's one hand slid around his front to his lower back and pressed; Cloud easily went with him, melting into his arms and dazedly returning the kisses. He felt long—really long, longer than he had thought—hair tickle his cheeks, and heard Zack chuckle and felt the other two's touches and let out a quiet, breathless moan.
His own voice brought him back to reality, back to being squeezed in on the end of a booth seat, surrounded by strangers and even being kissed by one. He pulled back and gasped in air, nose-to-nose with an incredibly smug looking Sephiroth. Zack and Genesis high-fived.
Genesis grinned and flipped his phone around; Cloud was distracted momentarily by his long, elegant fingers but then managed to focus. "Our phone numbers," the redhead told him, scrolling through the four new names. There was a smiley face after his name. "Call one of us tomorrow, won't you? We'll all answer."
"Ye—eaaah," Cloud said, not still all together. They all laughed, and finally, in the low lighting and comfortable atmosphere Cloud saw how close they all were and realized they were together. Like that.
He was tugged across Sephiroth's body and swept up in a (considerably shorter) kiss from Angeal, and then hauled almost across the table to be chastely kissed by Genesis, and then brought into an extremely difficult hug by Zack, who was the farthest away from him. Then Sephiroth gently pushed him off the seat, but not before pressing three kisses—a quick onetwothree along his jawline. Then Cloud was stumbling back to his table, feeling Genesis slide his phone into the back pocket of his jeans, then departing with a squeeze that made Cloud jump.
Tifa was sitting in her seat calmly, waiting for him. She had his coat unrolled from its smooshed ball and helped him into it, handing him his debit card back and steering him out of the restaurant, calling, "Bye!" over her shoulder. The other people at the restaurant were staring but Cloud hardly noticed.
They got outside, the door shut, and Cloud latched onto Tifa like he was about to fall over.
"Tifa," he croaked. "Tell me they're not joking."
"They're not joking," Tifa said, laughing. She pulled him towards her car. "They got really excited when I said you were single."
Cloud climbed in and rested his flushed face against the glass, thanking the gods he didn't have to walk home like this. Then, he stared at Tifa. "You knew they were...?"
Tifa gave him the same flat look he had given her earlier. "That they were hanging off your every word and eating you with their eyes all night? Yes. I noticed like five minutes after arriving, Cloud."
Cloud, after a long silence, laughed hard, and Tifa joined him.
"I thought they were really scary and annoying the whole time," he confessed. "I was hoping you wouldn't notice—and ohmigod, Tifa, they want-" he stopped, unable to phrase it. To go out with me was...stupid and not right. There were four guys who were all interested in him and he had their numbers and they weren't rapists or anything and, well. Well.
"I'll have Reno run a background check on them," Tifa said firmly, and Cloud rolled his eyes good-naturedly.
He smiled as she pulled out of the parking lot, gently grabbing her shoulder and squeezing. "Sorry you had to see that."
"No problem," she answered easily. "I thought I had waited in the bathroom long enough, though, but when I came out you and that one guy were still totally-"
"Tifa!" Cloud yelled with a shocked laugh, covering his hot cheeks with his palms. You think you know your friends, and then they're totally in on getting you hooked up with someone. Wow.
Tifa's engagement ring glittered in the light coming from the streetlamps through the windows, and the little smiley next to Genesis's name made Cloud smile too. They glanced at each other for a moment, both incredibly happy, and Cloud voiced what they were both thinking.
"Life is good."