Author's Note: This stemmed from another random conversation. Thanks, Kerttu!
Disclaimer: I don't own this, and I DO know how the actual plot goes. Don't worry :) My sanity, on the other hand...
"Mouse Trap. I wanted to play Mouse Trap. You roll your dice, you move your mice. Nobody gets hurt." ~ Bob the Tomato
Cloud groaned, pain rattling his body from being slammed into the metal. The One-Winged Angel, Sephiroth, hovered above, Masamune raised. The blond's foot throbbed from having been skewered by the cursed blade and the cut on his cheek stung. Reaching to grip Frist Tsurugi's hilt, he hauled himself to a sitting position.
With a smirk that would have made Angeal Hewley frown in disapproval, Sephiroth flew down at him. Cloud, however, weakly lifted his hands in a 'T' position. The former general promptly decelerated and landed lightly atop the metal roof aside his fallen opponent.
"Something the matter?" Sephiroth asked, making a face as he wiped some of the blood off his sword.
"That last hit really did a number on my shoulder," he said with a grimace. A dull ache spread down his right side, accompanying the shooting pains.
One silver eyebrow raised. "Would you like to call it quits for the day?"
The blond nodded. Setting Masamune aside, Sephiroth plopped down next to him. The silver-haired man began to rifle through his coat pockets.
"Is it too dark?" he asked, sparing a glance up to the sky.
"Nah," Cloud shook his head. "Tifa keeps bugging me about 'trying to find my light,' and it's annoying the crap out of me. Darkness is nice."
Sephiroth snorted, finally producing two boxes of cards. "That's why I kept my distance from the female population. Well, aside from Mother, but mothers are different. Uno or Go Fish?"
"Go Fish." As the mako in his body began to knit the skin on his foot back together, Cloud shifted to sit cross-legged. "She keeps dropping hints like I'm going to ask her to marry me or something," he fumed, running a hand through his hair. "You have no idea how frustrating it is."
Giving him a pitying look, the ex-general slid the cards out of the box. "Have you flat-out told her you have absolutely no feelings towards her whatsoever?"
"I've tried," he rolled his eyes, "but she keeps going off about how I need to get over what happened to Aeris and move on."
Sephiroth blinked. "What does Aeris have to do with anything?" he asked.
"I have no idea!" Cloud exclaimed, throwing his hands in the air. "I tell you, being the Planet's Hero is tough."
"Well, I know someone who would gladly take up the position should you ever resign." The silver-haired SOLDIER began to deal the cards.
The blond perked up. "Seriously?"
"Mm," Sephiroth nodded. "He's got a few screws loose, but I think you'd like him. What do you want to do for stakes?"
Frowning, Cloud rested his chin on his hands. "How about... if I win, you get rid of the Geostigma and if you win, I'll give you any two of my mastered materia."
"Only the Geostigma? I was fully prepared to hand over my Moogle plushies if need be."
"Eh, I figure everyone would be pretty mad if I didn't do something productive," he sighed, shrugging. "But if you're offering..."
The ex-general quickly cut in. "No, I wasn't."
"Whatever, then. Is that fair?"
"...Do you have Ultima?"
Figures he'd want that one. "Yeah."
"Then yes, it's fair."
And so the two of them commenced their game of Go Fish on top of the blood-spattered roof of the ruined ShinRa complex.
"Got any twos?"
"Go fish. Got any eights?"
"Your Ultima materia shall be mine."
Having lost sight of the two combatants long ago, the AVALANCHE crew began to wonder what had become of their spiky blond hero. They eventually happened upon them over an hour later. Sephiroth, who had been defeated in the first game, declared that they should play the best four out of five. Cloud agreed, as he had nothing better to do.
"Cloud!" Tifa cried, rushing to the scene only to stop short in confusion. "What's going on? Are you hurt?"
The blond glanced up, then at his foot. It seemed to have healed and his shoulder was feeling much better. "Nah, not really."
"Then just wha' the hell d'ya think you're doin' Spiky?" Barret roared. He waved his gun-arm around.
"Playing Go Fish," Cloud replied, oozing 'duh.'
The AVALANCHE crew stared.
Tifa was the first to regain her voice. "But what about the kids?" she demanded. "And the Geostigma? And-and me?"
Cloud shot Sephiroth a told you so look. "What do you think we're playing for?" the blond asked. "Gil?"
"They don't take gil as an acceptable form of currency in the Lifestream," the silverette mumbled.
"What are you talking about, Chocobo-brains?" Yuffie practically yelled. But she was always yelling.
Rubbing his eyes, Cloud set his cards aside. Face-down, mind you, so Sephiroth couldn't cheat. "If I win, he'll remove the Geostigma," he explained as patiently as he could. "It's so much less painful than fighting."
"But... ain't that what yer s'posed ta do?" Cid asked, scratching the side of his head. "I mean... don't y' two hate each other?"
The two mortal enemies burst out laughing. Sephiroth wiped away a tear of mirth.
"Y-You really are inferior dullards," the ex-general chuckled. "Why would you think that?"
"Yeah, I mean, this is how we solved things last time."
Yuffie's jaw dropped. "You mean you two sat around in the Planet's Core playing cards the whole time?"
"Pretty much," Cloud nodded. "I mean, Seph is fun to spar with and all, but... he sucks at card games."
The World's Enemy stuck out his tongue. "I was out of practice, okay?" he snapped. "You would be too if the only person around to play with was Zack Fair."
"Ay!" Barret shouted. "And what about that, huh? What about all the stuff Sephiroth did?"
"Sephiroth didn't kill Zack," the blond pointed out.
"But he hurt him," Tifa said, "and me."
"And he went crazy!"
"And burned down your home!"
"And killed your mother!"
Disbelief washed over the group as Cloud shrugged. "So? Mistakes happen," he said.
"Mistakes?" Tifa shrieked. "You call ruining your life a mistake?"
"I did nothing of the sort," Sephiroth sniffed. "And if you're referring to Cloud's handing over of the Black Materia, he lost that in a game of Checkers."
"What about Aeris?" the dark-haired barmaid hissed. "Didn't she mean something to you?"
"For the last time, NO! She was Zack's girlfriend, for Gaia's sake!"
"But that bastard killed her! Don't you hate him for that? Even a little bit?"
Cloud and Sephiroth exchanged a glance. "Why?" he asked. "He sent her back to the Lifestream to be with Zack."
Tifa's mouth opened and shut a few times. "Wh-what about Meteor?" she stammered. "He was going to destroy the Planet!"
Raising his arms, the blond motioned to the ruins around them. "He was going to destroy Midgar," he corrected. "As in the evil organization threatening this Planet's existence? Holy was only cast so it wouldn't smash a huge hole in the ground."
"Kind of like... a pillow for Meteor to land on," Sephiroth supplied thoughtfully.
"Yeah," Cloud agreed. "It would have worked too, if the Planet hadn't freaked the heck out."
"So what's all this Geostigma crap, then?" Barret boomed.
Sephiroth glared at AVALANCHE. "Do you know what it's like having a mother who's missing half her body because some deranged man claiming to be a scientist injected her cells into every Tom, Dick and Harry on the Planet? I was only trying to retrieve of Mother's cells so we can stick her arm back on!"
"Ewww!" Yuffie squealed. "I did not need to know that!"
"Can you guys just leave already?" Cloud whined. "I really want to finish this game. My Ultima materia is on the line, here."
"Fine!" Tifa screamed, throwing her hands up. "Considering me out of your life, forever!"
"I never wanted to be in your life in the first place!"
Wheeling around, the brunette pushed her way past the others and ran off somewhere, presumably back to the bar.
"Well aren't you a sorry-looking crowd."
Cloud glanced up just in time for a black feather to flutter into his face. An auburn-haired man gracefully alighted a few meters away, large black wing giving a final flap before resting casually at his side.
"Genesis," Sephiroth grinned. "I was just mentioning you earlier."
The redhead put his hands on his hips and arched an eyebrow. "Oh?"
"Hey!" Cid exclaimed, pointing a finger. "Ain't you s'posed to be dead?"
"Even if the morrow is barren of promises, nothing shall forestall my return," Genesis drawled, turning his interest to the warrior's game. "What are you playing? Poker? Bridge?"
"Go Fish," Yuffie muttered.
A malicious smirk lit up the redhead's face. "Deal me in," he barked as he moved to sit down. "I'll make you both sorry you got out of bed this morning."
"Speaking of which, where have you been the past year?" Sephiroth asked.
The former rogue SOLDIER shrugged. "Sleeping. Underneath Midgar. But I heard some noise outside, so I thought I'd come see what the fuss was all about."
"You've got to bet something," Cloud interjected.
The silverette answered before Genesis could. "He bets half his stash of can openers."
"You drive a hard bargain," the redhead grumbled, picking up his cards.
"I'm playing for a mastered Ultima, so it's only fair."
The rest of AVALANCHE shifted awkwardly, each wondering how what had seemed like an epic struggle for the Planet's survival could have boiled down to...this. It eventually appeared to be the general unspoken consensus that they would go home and forget any of this had happened, when Cloud turned glanced over his shoulder once again.
"Hey Vincent, wanna join us?"
The ex-Turk gunman, sole host of Chaos, who had been silent up until that point, shrugged and strode over.
"Got any sevens?"
A/N: A few sentences into this, I realized it would be my first humor fic without Genesis. As you can see, I fixed that.
Leave a review!