Chapter 14 – Fever
Back in Twilight Town, Larxene was enjoying her vacation, lying spread-eagled on the enormous couch that dominated the Strife living room and ordering high quality sushi every night. Cloud had made a mistake telling her all expenses would be covered. At the moment she was on the phone, and in one of her shockingly bad moods.
"I'm living in the fucking Sandlot dad! That is not the nicer part of Twilight Town for your information. Rooming with a drug addict! Yes, she just lies in her room, constantly high on pot or crack or god knows what, only going out to forage for food occasionally. At first she actually expected me to do groceries for the both of us! Of course she can forget about that… But I'm getting off-topic. Is this how you want your daughter to live? All I'm asking you for is 15000 gil!"
"Larxene, please do not talk to me like that… If you would have just listened to me and your mother and gone to College in Radiant Garden you could have gotten yourself a real job… I never imagined my daughters living like this: one working in a clothes store and the other as a servant! A servant!"
"I am not working as a servant! I am a housekeeper, in one of the wealthiest homes in Twilight Town thank you very much!"
"Oh how ambitious you are. The very elite of the housekeeper class. What does your employer do again? A… model? How prestigious."
"As I have already told you numerous times, he is world struggle champion, one of the greatest sportsmen of our time. But there is really no need for you to criticize my career choices. Arlene and I both know what disappointments we are to you."
"No need to go down this road again. Why not stop this complaining and begging and go to college? Then you can have a real career. We would be happy to pay for it, you know we would. What do you need 15.000 gil for anyway? If you insist on only contacting your parents to ask for money then there is really nothing more to talk about."
"Daddy, look I don't want to fight. It's only 15.000 gil and it would mean the world to me. Daddy..? ARE YOU THERE?"
"Larxene, if this is the way you want it, then –"
Rage took over: she brought the horn to her mouth and screamed:
She hung up and threw the phone in the general direction of the trashcan.
"Did you call my name?" The strapping high school boy she had met at the 7th Heaven last night walked into the room, scratching at his crotch with a sleepy expression on his face.
"No, I said fucking troll."
"Oh, I thought you said Seifer."
They shared awkward eye contact. Larxene was unable to remember much of the previous night, only that she had slapped the boy after he had come up to her and said something like "I totally go for older chicks". The next thing she remembered was the same exact boy hammering her into Cloud Strife's bed with an almost frighteningly aggressive energy. She must have been more drunk that she thought.
Although, now that she had a good look at the boy, she could see his appeal. He looked gorgeous in his boxers. He couldn't be that much younger than she was: he was quite tall and his muscles were well-developed.
"So…" Seifer said, looking around him, clearly looking for a topic for conversation, "nice place you've got here. You err… Are you rich or something?"
How very eloquent. She was about to tell him to dream on, but then she thought better of it. Why should she tell this gorgeous dimwit the truth? Why not have him believe that he had landed himself some wealthy cougar. Kind of ironic really, because the whole reason she had been at that bar was that she was looking for a wealthy potential husband herself.
"You could say that."
"Okay, this is really embarrassing…" He looked almost cute searching for words, although what she could remember about last night definitely did not involve him showing any cuteness,
"Would you mind if I stayed here for a while? Like a week? I had a fight with my dad and… He sort of threw me out…"
"First of all: ew. We were together for one drunk night and now you are asking to move in with me?"
His jaw tightened and his eyes flashed dangerously. He truly was a handsome boy…
"I could make it worth your while… You did tell me I was the best you ever had, after all. I thought you might be up for… more."
He said it with convincing self-confidence, and Larxene found herself feeling slightly aroused.
"One week. And you better make it good."
Cloud always found it ridiculous that some people seemed to associate having cold showers with a boring, sexless and generally cold lifestyle. He was sure those who held such opinions led that kind of their life themselves and were just trying to feel better about themselves. In fact, it made way more sense to take cold showers for people who needed to be cooled down from time to time because their lives were that hot and exciting. Personally, he enjoyed cold showers. He especially enjoyed them after sex, but waterskiing with Leon had been almost as exciting as sex.
Mister don't-call-me-Squall-my-name-is-Leon was doing an increasingly poor job at pretending to have a bad time. He was clearly a sports lover, and Cloud had never known of a sports lover being able to look his kind of grim while water skiing. He had known it was a sure way to break the icy wall that existed between the two of them…
As the water hit his skin he revelled in the sensation of his breathing quickening and his muscles clenching. The sense of losing control always managed to lift his spirits, and sometimes it even helped to calm his manly urges for just a little while.
Vague memories came back to him from the night before. Getting stoned with some female Yevon models, gorgeous girls with empty heads who always seemed to have drugs with them. It hadn't been a nice kind of stoned, and he had just sent them away in the end, feeling the familiar urge but not feeling like doing it with a girl who had 10.000 copies walking around the world who were the exact same kind of pretty… And then…
He remembered going into Sora's room, trying to see Leon in the twitching little mess that was his brother's best friend… Failing to do so, getting angry… Wanting to hit him but settling for messing him up some more… Doing so by… by… giving him a hand job? Yes, he was sure that was all that he had done. He had removed his shirt and jerked the kid of, nothing more. Cloud clearly remembered the widening of Sora's eyes as the kid ogled every inch of his body. The combination of pure disbelief and guilty innocence was very appetizing, and Cloud swiftly got two work, watching the boy the entire time.
The squirt was protesting for about 3 seconds and was then just squealing, gasping and moaning in a way that felt weirdly satisfying to Cloud. He came far too quickly with a nice "Urrrrrr… Oh no…. " and Cloud had just gone on until he came again, this time throwing his head back and producing a very unique sound that reminded Cloud of some small animal he had trouble naming. He himself had just been enjoying how completely subordinate this boy was to him. How he could be sucking on the boy's damn toes and still make him reach his climax within a minute or two. Then, after the little guy was finished, he tried to cuddle up to Cloud…
And asked him about the reason he and Zack had broken up. Which had soured Cloud's mood even further. He had actually told Sora about it, starting to feel aggressive even at the mere memory of it.
They had been fooling around in the middle of the party, removing each other's shirts in Cloud's bedroom… And then Zack had moaned, evidently not thinking very clearly, "Aww Cloud… You're just so damn easy."
That, combined with his feelings for Sora's older brother and the fact that Zack had dared pinch his behind in the middle of the party had been enough for Cloud to practically kick Zack out of his house. He remembered feeling sorry the day afterwards, thinking about how he would miss Zack's almost bestial enthusiasm in the bedroom.
But Zack was in the past now. The present was Leon, and more specifically, how to charm his way into the sullen security guard's heart. He thought about it as he dressed. All four of them were having diner soon, and after that they were all going out to Oblivion, the number one club in Costa del Sol. It was as exclusive as it was expensive, and he would never have taken Roxas and Sora along to it if his little brother hadn't insistent on it, with that ever-annoying stubbornness of his.
Once there, it was only a matter of getting Leon a little drunk and making him realize how wanted Cloud was by turning down absolutely everyone who came up to him to ask him to dance. He could already see it in his head: some pathetic small-time actress coming up to him, looking at Leon as if embarrassed and asking the girl whether she could not see that he was with someone. Yes, that would do it. He could flirt with some of the more desirable floozies so he could see whether Leon was getting jealous: a sure sign of a winning strategy.
Before putting on his shirt he checked himself out in the huge mirror that hung in the bathroom. Yup, still got it, he thought. He was in great shape, not in struggle shape but modelling shape, which was much easier to maintain since it was only about looking good and not about being as strong and fast he could be. Thinking of modelling reminded him of the Yevon photo shoot he had to do tomorrow. Well, at least Baralai had invited him to diner and drinks afterwards… An invitation that had sounded vaguely sexual, so he might actually go for it. That is, if he wasn't having diner with Leon instead. Which he would be, if tonight went well.
Even Roxas felt impressed as the four of them entered Oblivion. It had a weird, slightly dark class to it, like an expensive club in a crime movie. One of the main aspects that impressed Roxas was the sheer size of the club.
It was a huge, rectangular space. A set of winding stairs let to a second floor, where tall girls and taller men looked down upon the partying crowd from a massive balcony. From the roof of the club hung black chandeliers and cages, in which bone thin, scarcely dressed female dancers moved as if possessed by the music. The cages were suspended above the throng of dancers at different heights, and some seemed to almost touch the heads of the people dancing under them.
In the left wall two big fountains were built, and from them streamed deep blue water that seemed to strangely glow in the dark. On a stage at the right side of the club stood a single songstress, adding haunting vocals to the loud, trance inducing music. The overall effect was rather dramatic and almost frightening.
The giant bouncers guarding the entrance added to this impression, looming over everyone who entered the club. He did not want to know how much Cloud paid for the four of them to get in, and when the ticket manager pointed at Sora and himself, probably asking for identification, he whispered something in his ear and handed over some more gil. Once inside, Cloud bought a bag of gems you could buy drinks with, handed some over to him and Sora and swiftly dragged Leon off into the crowd of people dancing, leaving him and Sora to take it all in.
"Let's have ourselves some drinks!" he said, secretly glad to be finally left alone with his cheerful friend.
"Sure!" Sora said, clearly just as impressed as Roxas was.
They went to the bar which was at the back of the enormous club, raised on a platform which made it seem almost like an island in the sea of partygoers. A full dozen of bartenders worked there, mixing cocktails, opening bottles of wine and champagne and tapping beer. All of them were dressed in black. After a short wait one of them came to them, a man with icy blue eyes and black curls. "What would you like?" He made no mention of their obvious youth, but Roxas saw the slight curiosity in his eyes.
"A Rum Royale for me please. What do you want, Sora?"
"Uhm, an… Atlantican? Maybe?"
"An Atlantican for my friend."
The drinks arrived swiftly, and after handing over the two deep blue gems to the bartender Roxas and Sora looked over the dancing mass together.
"How do you like it here?" Roxas asked Sora.
"It's very… cool. And impressive. Kind of overwhelming, really, but very cool! And the music is… really something. Otherworldly, that's kind of how this place seems to me."
"I get what you mean. Hey Sora, I meant to ask… When you came back from your surfing, you seemed a little out of it. Did something happen during your lesson?"
Nothing happened, and that's just it. That's what Sora thought, but he said, "Uhm… Well you see, it was sort of awkward because… Riku was my surfing instructor."
Roxas clenched his fists at the mention of Riku's name. Ever since Sora had told him what had happened between the two of them he had wanted to punch the silver-haired jock in the face.
"Did you guys… have a fight?"
"No, we sort of acted as if we hardly knew each other, which is sort of true nowadays I guess… He only talked about surfing and he seemed so… closed. I really enjoyed surfing so that sort of got rid of the awkwardness, but it still felt really strange. I just don't know how the rest of the week is going to work out. "
"You know Sora…. You should really tell him how you feel tomorrow. Just get it out of your system: ask him why he did what he did. Or else he's just going to be a coward about it and continue to ignore the issue."
"Yeah, I guess you're right…" A silence ensued, but it was a good silence, with Roxas' thoughts drifting off as he ogled the stylish venue, looking at the caged dancers who seemed to be experiencing seizures but somehow made it look good, and the sight of the couples passionately making out on the edge of the fountains reminded him of his own intentions for the night.
"Sora," he said confidently, "let's dance."
And dance they did. They joined the crowd and all they could really think about was how good the music sounded and how good all the people around them looked as they danced, seeming almost hypnotized. They went back to the bar from time to time, spending Roxas' remaining gems, challenging each other to finish their cocktails faster.
The further the night processed, the less daunting the prospect of opening up to Sora seemed to Roxas. They danced closer to each other, Sora blushing at the intense look in his friend's eyes. At some point they were grinding, moving almost as if they were one. Then they turned to each other, and Roxas was about to speak up when Sora leaned close to him and almost shouted in his ear:
"I'm really happy we are friends."
Roxas felt a warmth spreading inside him, knowing that the words were completely honest and not just the result of a drunk stupor.
"You know Roxas… The day you came to Twilight Town was one of the best days of my life. I mean that, really. Before you came, I really did not have many friends. Or any, actually. I guess what I am trying to say is –"
He did not finish his sentence because suddenly Roxas was there, pressing his lips against him. The kiss was short but sweet.
"There's no need to say it," Roxas said. "I feel the same way."
All four of them experienced oblivion that night, and the next day memories of the previous night were fragmented and vague. Where am I? Leon thought as he woke up, immediately becoming aware of his massive headache. What happened…. Last night…?
He was in a bed, in a hotel room. Various realizations hit him all at once.
Costa del Sol… Expensive Hotel… Cloud Strife… O-oblivion?
He slowly turned his head to the person lying next to him. He hadn't spent the night alone.