This is for the lovely Karyukai. Happy Birthday! We sort of both made each other like AngealZack, so... here's some Zangeal. This was new, but really fun. The last one is rather ASGZC-flavored. These vary among different degrees of cheesiness, lol. These are the prompts: Barbecue, Digital, Danger, Compulsion, Waking, and Refrigeration. Enjoy!
Zack loved summer in Midgar the most. That wasn't to say that he didn't enjoy all the other seasons in Midgar, because he did. Summer, however, was on an entire new level.
It wasn't just because the weather reminded him of Gongaga, of touch-me toads and sticky, humid jungle air. It wasn't just because he could chill at the beach and charm all the girls wearing bikinis. It wasn't even because he got more days off and could spend his time doing whatever he wanted instead of being inside doing paperwork or away on missions.
No, summer was Zack's favorite season because of one thing—the barbecue.
To be honest, Zack had never been much of a meat-eater. That usually surprised people; they seemed to think he was one of those guys who could scarf down forty wings, then find some date who seemed to like buffalo-sauce breath. Nah, it was quite the opposite. His mom was a vegetarian back at home, so he had grown up loving vegetables, fruits and the like.
But when summer rolled around, Zack was an all-out carnivore. He didn't even like scrapple or brisket or whatever the hell he was shoving into his mouth that much; he ate it, however, because all the meat and food and fun was to be had at a barbecue—a party—at someone's house. Zack may have not enjoyed ribs and burgers as much as the next guy, but he certainly did love to party.
"Hi Zack!" Cloud chirped when he passed by. This was Tseng's annual barbecue he threw for the Turks and many high-ranking SOLDIERs (and Cloud Strife, because Sephiroth refused to attend if Cloud hadn't been able to go with him). The man owned a house, not an apartment, and as such was forced to throw several parties throughout the year.
"Spike!" Zack greeted cheerfully, reaching out and ruffling the teen's hair. They were being pushed on all sides by busy, cheerful people and stepped a bit closer so they wouldn't be separated. "How you doin'?"
Cloud waited until he had swallowed his corn and sucked anything out of his teeth before responding, waving his cob around. "Great. Sephiroth and some Turk guy got into a fight a few minutes ago, though. That's why I'm in here."
Zack laughed. "Over what?"
"Not sure. I think it was about watermelon seeds or something. I should go back... you want me to grab you anything to eat?"
"Nah, I'm good." Zack lightly punched Cloud's shoulder. "See ya."
Cloud grinned and scurried off, grabbing another corn on the cob on his way out the door. Zack turned in place, scanning the house. He could see Reno, drunk already and Kunsel discreetly filming Reno be drunk already, but not who he was looking for. He stood on tiptoes and spotted the back patio, making a beeline for the door. He waved and high-fived a few of his friends on his way out.
Zack grinned widely once he walked outside. The air was hot (but still nothing compared to Gongaga), and there were a few people in bathing suits trying to fit into a blow-up pool on the grass outside, but Zack had eyes only for the tall man by the grill, studiously flipping burgers.
He held his breath and quietly inched toward him, then slipped his arms around the man's waist and pressed against his back. Zack stood on his toes again and kissed his ear, which was bent at a weird angle and sticking out like an elf's.
This was the real reason he loved summer. In summer, there were barbecues. At barbecues, there was always Angeal grilling everyone's food in a white apron and a little chef's hat that Zack thought was the most adorable thing in the whole world.
"You're here," Angeal said, sounding pleased. He turned his head and gave Zack a quick kiss, not stopping his flipping of huge links of sausage.
Zack found something about Angeal cooking meat incredibly sexy. He'd never say it. "Just got here," he responded, letting go and circling around in front of the grill. The apron was almost too small for Angeal's broad chest and looked uncomfortably tight. Angeal always said it was fine, though, and worth it because it wasn't honorable to get stuff all over the SOLDIER uniform. Yeah, whatever.
The hat on his head was a bit crooked and fell to his ears, making them stick out to the sides. His bangs were haphazardly pushed to one side underneath it, and standing over the heat of the grill for so long had made his cheeks flush a pretty shade of red. Angeal would kill him, but... "You're so cute," Zack gushed, waggling his fingers.
Angeal have him an unamused look and thrust a plate with a cheeseburger on it at him. "Go eat. Scram."
Zack laughed and ventured around the grill again, stopping for one last kiss before walking off to make sure Genesis hadn't killed anybody. Someone walked by him, praising Angeal and his grilling to the lifestream and back. Zack took a bite of his food, considered, and thought it tasted good. He'd probably only have one, though. Angeal really had turned him into a meat-eater. In more ways than one.
Sephiroth's hair was streaked red with watermelon outside, and a Turk was frantically being Cured by his friends. Genesis was spraying everyone with Tseng's hose, and Tseng was bustling around, looking frazzled.
Yup. He definitely loved summer.
Angeal was a very 'hip and happening' man, so to speak. He was 'cool.' He may have been wiser than his years but he was still very young. Twenty-five wasn't so old, not at all. He was still keeping up with popular music... sort of, and he knew all the recent dance crazes... sort of. Everything he owned was state of the art and up to date. Sort of.
For his long, unwavering and faithful employment in the company, Lazard upgraded his PHS one day, in honor of his anniversary of service to the Shin-Ra. Angeal had thanked him and confidently looked down at the device on his way back home, only to stop cold in the hallway.
This thing had a touch screen. Numerous buttons. Jacks and ports for things he had no idea whatsoever. Bright, neon colored buttons.
Technology these days.
Panicking, Angeal went to the most technologically-advanced guy he knew. Zack was always texting Cloud and going on about websites and social networking and who knew what else. Angeal knew about military technology and what was necessary to complete his job, and that was about it. It was a good thing Zack was always willing to help.
"It can take pictures?" Angeal marveled.
Zack gave him a flat look, seated next to him on their couch. "Your last one could too."
Zack pointed to all the little ports and told them what they were for. He taught him how to text, how to access the Shin-Ra database from anywhere, and how to program a nifty—kids said that nowadays, didn't they? "nifty?"—ringtone for all his close friends.
When Zack finished, Angeal felt very accomplished. He kissed the Second's forehead and held the PHS out, turning it around. They smiled, he pressed the button Zack had told him to press, and it flashed. The picture became his 'wallpaper.' He liked to look down at it when he was working, at he and Zack, happy like that.
Although Angeal was a very snazzy, trendy, swell young man, he quickly lost interest in things. After that first exploration of his new PHS with Zack, he didn't use any of its new features again. He used it like he had his last—he occasionally called his friends and received calls from Lazard. One time he sent a text to Zack, but it had taken him at least ten minutes because his fingers were too big for the tiny buttons and he kept messing up. He wasn't too thrilled at the idea of doing that again.
In fact, Angeal didn't pay much attention to his PHS at all. He preferred to talk to people in person and communicated to his mother through written letters. Somehow, his PHS went missing for about a week; he obviously didn't pay enough attention to it. He found it eventually though under his pillow at home; he could have sworn he had checked there, but whatever.
Genesis had been lounging in his office one day, hiding from his own office and the paperwork that waited for him there. He had swiped Angeal's PHS and was fiddling with it—he wasn't due for an upgrade for another month.
"Woah," Genesis gasped quietly, and Angeal didn't pay much attention to it. He squinted, typing with the tips of two of his fingers. He had just never gotten the hang of typing. There weren't computers in Banora, so he had an excuse. Right? He was still very much a groovy guy though, honestly!
Genesis' loud laughter made him look away from his desktop. The redhead was clutching his stomach, doubled over the edge of the chair, looking like he was dying. "The...Puppy," Genesis wheezed.
Alarmed, Angeal snatched the PHS away. He frowned at the screen, then flipped it over, because he had accidentally looked at it upside-down. On the screen was a picture of him... sleeping. Zack had probably taken it at some point.
"What's so funny?"
"There's more," Genesis sniffed, trying to calm down.
Angeal tried to remember how to scroll through pictures. He cautiously put his thumb on the touch screen's surface and flicked it to the left. He moved to another picture... another one of him sleeping.
Then another. Then another. Then there was a picture of him eating dinner. Drinking out of a water bottle. Watering his plants. Brushing his teeth. In...the shower? Angeal gaped at his naked, unaware self. There was another of him in the shower, and—
Angeal recoiled from the device, blushing horribly. He kicked Genesis in the shin, who was laughing again. There was one of him clearly giving Zack a blowjob—how? How?
His PHS had been missing for that week... he had thought he had simply misplaced it, but perhaps not. Angeal cycled through all the pictures—all one hundred and nineteen of them—and realized something.
He may not have been a very up to date, hunky-dory, swag-filled fellow. He was awful with technology, and he knew it. But, that didn't really matter, not when he had Zack Fair, the coolest SOLDIER around—even if he was kind of a creep.
He both hated and loved when Angeal got like this.
Hated, because it was scary. Hated, because it took an awful lot to get this far.
Loved, because it was exhilarating. Loved, because it was so worth it.
He had woken up in a particularly naughty mood. All day he had been doing little things to annoy Angeal, but not in a pissed-off sort of way, because that was just bad. He had refused to let Angeal go to work that morning, wrapping all four limbs around Angeal's body and dragging him back to bed with wet, half-asleep kisses. Zack pestered him with texts all day. He visited while Angeal was out and messed up his office, hiding all his pens and switching the completed paperwork with the still unfinished stack.
He even sent Cloud in there at one point with a long, rambling note from Zack, saying there were things they had to talk about, and how Zack just wasn't sure how he was going to say it, but... Angeal had to stop leaving his toothbrush on the side of the sink. Among other things.
All day he had been evilly gleeful, imagining Angeal's face as he discovered the various moldy things he had put in his lunchbox instead of his usual lunch. He had Genesis rave about a supposed huge, ugly scratch on the Buster Sword, which ended up being "just his imagination."
It had all been in good fun, but... now he was regretting it. A lot.
Zack was frozen in the door to the apartment. The door was still open, and he considered inching back out. It probably wouldn't work. The whole place reeked of danger. Angeal was here, somewhere. Waiting for him. And he probably wasn't happy.
Zack's nostrils flared with excitement and he closed the door, looking left and right. With luck, he could make it to the kitchen...
He went for it. Zack darted through the apartment as fast as he could, but he never made it. Halfway there something slammed into his back and he tumbled to the floor. He hit it hard, all his breath leaving his body.
"Agh-!" Zack grunted, hissing when his arm was jerked behind his back.
"You," came Angeal's voice, deep and right into his ear, "Are a brat."
Zack laughed at that and bucked his whole body; Angeal was thrown off, but he suspected it was on purpose. He ran for a room, any room, but in the doorway of their bedroom he was tripped and skidded a few feet on the carpet by his face, then somersaulted over himself and landed with his feet on their bed, peering at Angeal upside-down.
Angeal was terrifying when he got like this. The man was always so careful and tender with him and worried so much; he had a huge heart. He enjoyed this Angeal though, who was playful and predatory and who, on the surface, didn't give two shits about what Zack wanted or not. Of course, Angeal was always that cuddly, warm softy that Zack loved so much, but this was...different. Exciting.
His boyfriend's face appeared over his, smirking. Zack whole body trembled, both with fear and anticipation. He both loved and hated this rare, scary-Angeal... but he had a feeling he'd love it this time. Definitely.
Zack wasn't known for his patience. He did everything when it felt right. He did what he had to.
Sometimes that got him in trouble (quite often, actually), but most of the time it was a good thing. He didn't beat about the bush. He just did it, whatever it was.
Angeal made him act unlike himself. Usually Zack wasted no time when he liked someone. He'd tell them, or they'd tell him, and that was that. This time, though, things were different. Angeal wasn't some random person—he was Angeal, his mentor, and his friend. Something kept him back.
For a long while Zack tried to move on. It was pointless having the hots for your teacher, even if he did have a great body, a fantastic personality and a little beard at the end of his chin that looked like it would be super fun to play with. It just wouldn't work, so he dated some other people. It didn't work.
Zack tried to keep hush about it. He trained with the man nearly every day, still went on missions with him, still hung out and did all sorts of things. Zack never (he hoped) dropped any hints about his desperate crush. Zack Fair was quiet, for once in his life.
But, it was hard. Very hard. It just wasn't in his personality to be this way—it physically hurt seeing Angeal every day with this huge secret inside him. He almost wanted to just scream it out; even if Angeal said no, he surely couldn't feel any worse than he did now? He knew Sephiroth had been keeping quiet about his feelings for Genesis for years. Years! He couldn't do that, no way.
It seemed, at first, that he'd at least try. Zack acted like the man's friend and student, nothing more. Years? He totally could do it.
Angeal smiled at him, eyes glinting in the pinkish light from the setting sun. Zack smiled sheepishly and looked out over the ocean as Angeal repeated himself. "I said, would you rather take out the resistance forces with B Unit, or would you rather we went ahead by ourselves? We'll have to scout out the..."
Zack wasn't paying any attention. The Mideel weather was fantastic at this time of year. The sun was just right and he and Angeal were away from everyone else, feet dangling off a rock into the sea. He had been exceptionally quiet about this entire thing—but something about the moment was too much. His stomach felt tight and he felt hot, like he was going to burst out of his skin.
He had to act—he was going to go crazy if he didn't.
Zack cut off Angeal mid-sentence. He slowly leaned in and kissed him, just like that. Not for long, of course; he scooted back to his previous seat and watched Angeal with wary eyes.
Angeal stared at him with his lips parted, completely still. He shook his head a little and finished his sentence, "... then we'll need the assistance of B Unit regardless. You just kissed me."
Angeal looked confused and still disbelieving, so Zack drew his feet out of the water and sat cross-legged, facing his mentor. "I like you," he said simply. "I thought it felt right."
The older man looked at him for a long moment, then slowly exhaled. He reached out, and Zack grinned and went to him, accepted.
If there was one thing Zack Fair was good at, it was following his instincts. He should have listened to himself a long time ago! If he had, he would have been able to distract Angeal to the point where he could push him into the ocean and dive in after him, laughing, a whooole lot sooner.
Waking up was always interesting. Angeal was, thankfully, not a very exciting sleeper. He laid down and could fall asleep (when he wasn't being haunted by the images of battle) in a matter of minutes. He didn't thrash in his sleep or wake up to use the bathroom or anything like that. He woke up easily; he was a morning person and never had any trouble getting up. He had tame dreams, for the most part. He had considered himself lucky.
Then Zack had come along.
The teen seemed to alternate between the two extremes of I never want to sleep again and Fuck you—I'm going to sleep and there is nothing you can do about it.
Angeal was both amused and horrified by Zack's nighttime behavior.
Sometimes he would stay up until the early hours of the morning watching television, talking to friends and eating all his food. Sometimes he would go to sleep before Angeal did. Zack would mumble in his sleep. He'd wake up at the smallest noises and somehow manage to sleep through an explosion (which had actually happened once, when Genesis was in the kitchen). He'd hog blankets, kick Angeal in the back and force him off the bed and onto the floor, and he would violently roll over in bed and elbow Angeal in the jaw.
In the morning, Angeal would wake and survey that night's damage. He'd see a foot or two sticking out the top while his head was down at the foot of the bed. He might wake up with no blankets on him at all, and find them all on the floor by Zack's side of the bed. Once he had woken up to find Zack asleep underneath the bed. Neither of them knew how that had happened.
It was, quite honestly, a hassle and a lot of stress. But, there were times when Zack would curl into his chest like he belonged there and fall asleep with Angeal's name on his lips—times like those made Angeal realize that despite Zack's bedtime eccentricities he wouldn't want any other person in his bed at all.
Plus, some of these pictures made some really good blackmail.
"I'm going to die!" Zack wailed. He summoned up the last of his strength and kicked at the wall with all his might for the umpteenth time. For the umpteenth time, nothing happened.
Zack had killed monsters. He had gone on super top-secret, dangerous missions. He had fought to the death. He had broken bones and been shot and cut up by random monsters all over the world. He was SOLDIER.
What a place to die, though—one of the Shin-Ra cafeteria freezers!
It was kind of his fault. He had been up late in his office doing paperwork (yes, for once he seriously had. ...Actually, he had been playing games on his computer, and had lost track of time). Anyway, he had suddenly been craving ice cream. Everything out in sector 8 would be closed, and he had none at home. So, feeling slightly naughty, he had decided to sneak into the kitchens. Genesis did it all the time. Nothing to worry about.
He had entered the freezer, immediately going to the back and looking for the tubs of ice cream that he knew were around somewhere.
Then the door shut.
He was locked in.
"Heeeeelp!" Zack cried. His breath was puffing out in front of his face, and he was beginning to shiver. SOLDIERs could withstand a hell of a lot, but what if he was trapped in here for days? He'd die. He'd be dead.
He had tried beating on the door. It wouldn't give. If he had materia on him he'd blast his way out, but he didn't. If worst came to worst, he could eat frozen, pre-packaged lasagna and rock-hard broccoli, but that wouldn't keep him alive forever.
The worst part was, there wasn't even any ice cream in this freezer.
Zack paced around for a while, occasionally managing a weak holler for help. Then he sat down against the far wall, feeling the chill through the back of his uniform top. "Bye Angeal," he whispered into his knees. "Bye Cloud. Bye Aerith. Don't miss me too much."
He, of course, had no intention of dying right now, but it felt appropriate.
Zack miserably sat for a while, growing colder and colder. That frozen broccoli was starting to sound appealing; when Zack found himself staring hungrily at its box he knew he was starting to lose his mind.
Zack fell over with a dull thud. Everything was cold. His toes hurt, he couldn't move his fingers, and his thigh hurt especially bad. Ow. ...What was that?
He sat up and let out a happy sound when he realized it was his PHS digging into his leg. Duh! He dialed Angeal's number with unresponsive fingers; it took a few tries but then he heard the dial tone.
"...He'o?" Angeal murmured, sounding very much asleep.
"Angeal!" Zack burst, feeling himself filled with energy at the sound of his mentor's voice. "I'm stuck in the freezer!"
Angeal didn't say anything for a moment. Zack heard shuffling, and then a sigh. "What?"
"I'm stuck in one of the freezers," Zack repeated, sheepishly rubbing the back of his head. "I need you to come get me out."
He heard a series of sighs. Angeal was getting out of bed. "Which one?" He didn't sound very happy.
"The one by the long row of sinks. Thanks 'Geal, I really appreci—"
Well then. Zack slipped his PHS back into his pocket and stood. He spread his legs and began doing squats in the middle of the freezer in an effort to stay warm. He had certainly learned his lesson. Always go out for ice cream.
The First's footsteps echoed in the silent kitchen. Zack screamed, "Angeal! In here!"
"Shut up." The door opened, and with it, a stream of warm air. Angeal walked in in his sleepwear—a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt.
Zack opened his arms, and even though Angeal was annoyed he walked into them, squeezing the younger SOLDIER. Angeal was fantastically warm, and Zack buried his chilly face into the man's shoulder.
"Are you okay?" Angeal softly asked, running his hands over Zack's body to check for injuries or frostbite.
"Fine. It's really not so..." He trailed off, and they both jumped at the sound of the freezer door closing with a loud, finite bang.
"Shit," Zack cursed. Angeal said nothing, keeping his face hidden in Zack's hair.
"Don't tell me that door just shut."
"...It did, Angeal."
"Shit," Angeal agreed. He sighed, cracked an eye open to glance at the door and then held out his hand. "Give me your PHS. We'll have to call Genesis."
Zack handed it over and listened to Angeal's one-sided conversation, keeping his arms firmly locked around the man's waist. "Hey, Gen," he said, sounding tired. "I need to you do me a favor. No, not that kind of favor. Zack and I are locked in one of the freezers... uh, long story. Can you come get us out? ...Fine. Whatever you want. Thanks. Bye."
The older man sighed, handing back the PHS, and Zack pocketed it with a laugh.
"You know," he whispered, hooking his arms around Angeal's neck. "We could totally die in here if we get too cold." He placed a few kisses to Angeal's neck and jaw, whatever he could reach. "We should warm each other up while we wait for Genesis to get here."
Angeal, though, was clearly not in the mood, and he tugged on Zack's hair. Zack pouted but followed when Angeal sat against the very wall he had before. Zack sat beside him and they curled up together.
It was much nicer having someone trapped inside with you, Zack decided as Angeal's warm hand repeatedly ran up and down his chilly arm. He rested his head against the man's shoulder and sighed.
"How'd you get stuck in here in the first place?" Angeal asked. He brushed some of the spikes away from Zack's forehead.
The answer was hesitant, because he'd probably get an "honor" speech. "Uh. I wanted some ice cream."
"I was gonna pay for it!" Zack lied, "leave some Gil on the counter..."
"Sure you were."
"I totally was," Zack grumbled. Angeal's hand found his.
Eventually they heard more footsteps echo in the big kitchen. "Genesis!" Zack hollered. "Angeal and I are in here!"
The door swung open after a minute and Genesis strode inside, looking furious. The two on the floor shrank down as Genesis towered over them in a bathrobe and slippers. He pointed at his face. "I need beauty sleep," he growled. "You wake me up because you're stuck in a freezer? How did you even—"
"No!" Angeal shouted, springing to his feet.
It was too late; the freezer door shut for the third time. Zack and Angeal stared, dumbfounded at it. Genesis' whole body went rigid and he wailed, "I hate the cold!"
Angeal just sighed. "PHS, Zack."
Genesis took to kicking the door with his slippered feet while Angeal called Sephiroth, sinking back down to his previous place against the wall.
"Sorry to bother you, Seph," Angeal said, sounding exasperated, "But Genesis, Zack and I are trapped in a freezer in the kitchens. Could you come get us out?" Something Sephiroth said made Angeal laugh, and he hung up.
"Give it up," Zack said tiredly at Genesis, who was trying to cast fireballs despite the lack of a fire materia. He held out his arms. "Come sit with us."
The three men huddled together on the ground, trying to keep warm while they waited for Sephiroth. They kept up a running commentary about Costa Del Sol, hot coffee and warm blankets. It was working, a little bit.
Sephiroth opened the heavy door in nothing but black sleep pants. He looked amused. "Whose fault is this?"
"Zack's," Angeal and Genesis both said immediately.
"Hey! I wasn't the one who was all, 'I need sleep' and let the door shut!"
"Shush your puppy, Angeal."
"I'll shush both of you in a minute," Angeal grunted, climbing to his feet. He smiled at Sephiroth.
Zack whined, still sitting, "I can't get up. I'm frozen."
Sephiroth strode forward to help pull Zack to his feet, and Angeal and Genesis both let out a yell. The door shut behind the General. They were locked in, for the fourth time.
"Fuck it," Zack growled. "Anyone want broccoli?"
~:D :D :D :D :D~
Cloud's original plan was to get up about an hour earlier than normal, so he could go for a jog before breakfast. Everything was quiet at four in the morning, and Cloud crept out of his dorm, fishing his PHS out of his pocket. He checked for any messages on his way down to the track—and he stopped short before he had even gotten to the end of his hallway. Thirty seven missed calls from Zack?
He dialed the number, worry making his stomach flip. It took a few rings, but he heard an answer.
"It's Cloud!" Zack cried into the PHS. He sounded drunk. He heard a bunch of excited yelling. Was Zack at some sort of party...?
"Zack? Are you okay? What's up?"
"I'm trapped in the freezer! Have been allllll night. And now I'm sick from the lasagna, dude."
Cloud frowned. "Uh, what?"
He heard a bunch of loud shuffling sounds, and then Commander Hewley's voice came through. "We're locked in a freezer on the third floor kitchens. Would you come get us out? Please?" he sounded desperate.
Cloud jumped. "Yessir! Right away, Sir! I'm on my way right now!"
More delirious cheering, and then the call ended. Cloud darted back to his room, dropped off his running stuff because it would just be a hindrance, then bolted for the stairs. He worried the entire way there, hoping no one was hurt. How long had they been in there?
He reached the kitchen and was guided by Zack's voice to the right freezer. He gripped the handle and leaned back, grunting as it took nearly all his effort to open the door.
"DON'T MOVE!" came a chorus of voices, and Cloud froze, not moving an inch, keeping the door open with his arm. He gaped as Zack, Angeal, Commander Rhapsodos and General Sephiroth trooped out, all out of uniform and dressed in nightclothes.
Cloud squawked as Genesis picked him up and spun him around in circles, saying, "Thank the Goddess!" The man gave him a big kiss right there in front of everyone, then dropped him. Cloud got a grateful smooch either on the lips or the cheek from all three, then watched, dazed, as everyone almost literally ran out of the kitchen.
...Well then. Cloud should wake up earlier more often.