Title: Dead Languages

Fandom: Final Fantasy VII

Author: Nietzsche's Itch

Characters: Sephiroth, Barret

Genre: Friendship

Rating: T

Status: Oneshot, Complete

Disclaimer: I do not own FFVII

Summary: Barret shares a drink with Sephiroth on New Years Eve. Slight Reeve/Sephiroth, Genesis/Aeris, Angeal/Cissnei, Cloud/Tifa and Vincent/Elena

Sephiroth smiled slightly as he watched the festivities from a quiet corner of Seventh Heaven. Cloud was whirling Tifa around the floor, Elena was hounding Vincent to do the same and Yuffie was pointing and giggling at Cid as he grew redder with every drink he downed. Shera was shaking her head despairingly at both of them.

Reno and Rude had been coaxed or coerced into playing musical chairs with the children, Tseng had engaged Shalua in conversation to avoid the same fate and Shelke was sitting by the fire with Nanaki at her feet. Genesis was whispering something to Aeris that was making her giggle and Zack was sneaking up on Rufus and Lazard with a grin that bode ill for the pair. He decided then and there that he did not want to know.

"Sephiroth, we're going to dance," Angeal said apologetically beside him, already being pulled up by Cissnei. He chuckled and waved them off, and he was left alone to watch everyone else have fun. But although he might have looked lonely sitting by himself nursing his drink, the reverse could not have been truer. He had been surrounded by people in the military, and had never really felt a part of them.

Now, he felt welcomed, and that made all the difference.

"This seat taken?" a gruff voice asked, and he looked up to see Barret standing there holding two drinks. Slightly surprised, Sephiroth shook his head and Barret chuckled and sat down, passing one of the glasses to him. He thanked him automatically and discreetly sniffed the beverage. Whiskey, the good stuff.

"Needed to take a rest, ain't as young as I used to be," Barret laughed, taking a long swig of his drink. Sephiroth knew what he meant, even if he did not exactly look his age, he was older than many of them and he felt every one of the years that Jenova had stolen from him.

He took a sip of his own drink before replying. "Sometimes its nice to just watch, that way you see everything," he commented. Barret snorted.

"Guess so. Can't spend your life watching other people live theirs though," he rebuked him. Sephiroth smirked, as if anybody would allow him to do that anymore, he never seemed to get time to himself now.

"I'll remember that," he said politely.

"See that you do!" he said harshly. Or it would have sounded harsh, had Sephiroth not known that Barret sometimes used bad-temper the way he used indifference, as a mask.

They had gotten off to a rocky start, with the gunman being one of the last to accept him. He had thought it was in part due to a fear of Jenova returning, and partially because he had been the poster boy of Shinra, the organization Barret hated. But he could not really hate anyone for long, and soon he could at least tolerate Sephiroth's presence, even if he was reserved about actually striking up a conversation with him.

It had taken a moment of terror when a truck ran off the street and careened straight towards Marlene, and he had had pushed her out of the way, gaining a glancing blow himself in the process, to change that. His attitude toward Sephiroth did a one eighty, and he said himself that anybody who would do that for his little girl was good in his book. His ribs might have smarted, but Sephiroth found himself trying not to smile too obviously when Barret invited him to drink with him the next night.

And when sweet Marlene had made him a thank you and get well card combined, even though the minor injury was healed within a week.

The two men had miraculously found common ground in the WRO, where Sephiroth worked with Reeve and Barret headed his own division. They did cross paths occasionally, and found themselves having good-natured debates about security and the training of the troops.

The door to the bar swung open then, and a flurry of snow came in with their last guest. Reeve beamed as he made his way over to them, cheeks flushed pink from the cold and snow speckled in his hair.

"Good evening," he greeted pleasantly, leaning in to kiss Sephiroth on the cheek. Barret looked away with a grimace as Sephiroth gave him a slightly more enthusiastic welcome and turned back when they were merely holding hands. For a man who had seen all that he had, romantic displays of any kind made him uncomfortable, and made him think of his deceased wife.

"The roads are terrible," Reeve said conversationally, unwinding his scarf and dropping it beside him "I passed two crash sites on the way here."

Sephiroth frowned. "And you drove here in that?" he asked, concerned. Barret smirked, as they all did when the mother hen aspect of Sephiroth's personality came out, it was too amusing not to be entertained by.

Reeve squeezed his hand. "Carefully," he said reassuringly. He sighed unhappily and promised himself he would see Reeve home after this. If any of them were able to make it to their respective homes, they might end up on coaches in the living room if this turned into a full blizzard. Sephiroth pulled Reeve closer and pressed a kiss to the top of his head. He should not worry so much. All the people that mattered to him were in this room, where he could protect them.

Marlene darted up and jumped into her fathers lap, startling a laugh from Barret. She waved gaily to Reeve and Sephiroth and then settled down for a nap, apparently tired out from all the excitement. She did not awaken even when Tifa clapped her hands together for attention.

"Everybody, we're going to start the countdown in a minute," she told them. Most of them cheered, and settled down with their other halves and loved ones to await the new year. As they began to count down, Barret glanced over at Sephiroth, who looked as content as he had ever seen him, a far cry from the madman he had been.

"Another year down huh? What do ya' want to achieve next year?" he asked curiously. Sephiroth smiled peacefully, an astonishing sight still.

"I have everything I want," he murmured, smiling at Reeve and his friends dotted throughout the room, both old and new.

Barret glanced at Marlene, who after being adamant about staying up to see in the new year, was sound asleep. "Yeah, so do I."

Language and understanding were not all about words.