A/N: Yay, update! Shortest chapter yet, unfortunately, but many goodies ahead after this. I'd say Stray is about 66% complete. :D
Thank you once again for betaing for me Tomoyo-chan!
"Tea?" Sephiroth asked airily once he'd plunked Cloud's dangling form down onto the kitchen table.
Zack wasn't quite sure what to make of the strange silver haired male currently waiting for his answer, so the dark haired male simply shrugged his shoulders. "Sure, I guess."
Unperturbed by his uncertainty, Sephiroth began setting a kettle and cups out for tea, his movements calm and natural, as if he'd done this simple act a thousand times before. The way the older male moved was like watching poetry in motion to Zack and he couldn't help but stare in fascinated rapture as the light hit Sephiroth's hair and eyes in just the right way, making him seem as radiant as a star and just as untouchable.
Cloud caught the starstruck expression that covered his escort's face and made a low sound of irritation. He sent a meaningful glance in Sephiroth's direction, but the silver haired male merely raised an eyebrow at the kitten and ignored his prince's displeased glare. He turned back to Zack, who he was well aware was staring at him like a dying man given a glimpse of paradise itself.
Amused, Sephiroth considered the Fair man, whom he knew from Angeal's stories was often very impulsive and overeager, but overall kindhearted. A small smile slipped onto his face and Zack's own tan cheeks suddenly blossomed with red as his expression became dazed and unfocused.
Cloud, who Sephiroth had placed on the table, was now actively hissing at the silver haired male, his small form aggravated as he continued to bore his bright blue eyed stare into the side of Sephiroth's head.
For a moment, Sephiroth was confused, his green eyes narrowing in curiosity at the event taking place in front of him-then the source of the problem suddenly struck him. Slightly embarrassed at his lack of foresight, the fairy restrained himself and lightly cleared his throat.
"I'm sorry, I don't always remember my own strength at times," he apologized as Zack began slowly shaking his head like a swimmer coming out of water.
For a moment, Zack sat there blinking, his cobalt blue eyes confused as he finally began to register Cloud's agitated form and Sephiroth's contrite expression. "Ah-wha?" he said unintelligibly.
Green eyes with odd cat like pupils stared at the dark haired male, but unlike a few minutes ago, they no longer seemed infinitely beautiful and deep. Now they were just...eyes.
"My glamour is very powerful," Sephiroth said calmly, as he began filling their cups with tea. "It was not my intention to ensnare you, but I forgot to check myself in your presence," he informed the other male.
A low growl caught their attention and Zack looked down to see Cloud glaring at him, his blond tail flicking in irritation.
"What?" Zack asked, immediately defensive at the pointed look. Nevermind the fact that cats didn't talk, he just knew that Cloud was implying something insulting by the magnitude of that look alone.
A sudden touch on his hand sent a shock of awareness racing through Zack's body, causing him to jerk away as the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end. One of Sephiroth's pale hands was raised in the air, a faint blue glow surrounding the fingers that had touched Zack's skin. His silver eyebrows rose nearly to his hairline, his green eyes a bit wider than before.
"What the heck was that?" Zack demanded as his body gave a shiver. Unconsciously, he rubbed his arms, which had suddenly broken out into goosebumps.
The surprised expression didn't last very long on the other male's face. A tiny smile crossed those thin lips and a brief spark of amusement crossed those slit pupiled eyes. "Well well, like calls to like, I suppose," Sephiroth said cryptically, before giving Cloud a long, thoughtful stare.
Cloud was already irritated. Not only was he being denied a proper explanation for what was going on, but he was also being toyed with by this pompous silver-haired know-it-all! The fact that he had obviously missed something that Sephiroth now knew only made it worse. He grumbled to himself, unaware of just how cute it sounded to the two males watching when it came out in his current body's voice.
After a moment, Sephiroth seemed to shake himself. The slight air of amusement and hesitance that had temporarily fallen over him immediately lifted as he regained his previously regal composure.
"Well, in any case I'm afraid I cannot turn our young prince here back until he has fully learned his lesson and understands how his behavior has become positively unacceptable as of late."
Zack widened his eyes and briefly exchanged a look with the kitten, who looked equally puzzled. "Uhh...what kind of lesson?"
"The he'll-have-to-figure-it-out-for-himself kind of lesson," Sephiroth elaborated, without really revealing anything at all. Those odd green eyes peered into Zack's own. "I would very much appreciate it if you could help our young prince discover what it is he's been doing wrong."
Zack grumbled a curse as he glanced at the oh-so angry eyes of the annoyed prince who had gotten him into this mess in the first place. "I thought as much," he said in resignation.
Judging by the hunched posture and drooping ears of the cat prince, he wasn't any happier about this than Zack was.