Title: Out Of The Closet IV – The Morning After

Author: calvi_sama
Summary: They're out! Yay, right? Well, some interesting developments have occurred while everyone was "getting to know each other better". While this is primarily about Sephiroth getting his curiosity sated (amongst other things), he and Genesis find that the madness has carried over a bit into the morning and they suffer from a little bit of TMI.
Rating: NC-17, I return to the dirty *waggles eyebrows*
Pairing: Sephiroth x Cloud, with lots of implied others (to list them would be giving spoilers *hehe*)
Characters: The New Reunion: Sephiroth, Genesis, Zack, Cloud, Vincent Angeal, Tseng, Kadaj, Reno (briefly),Rufus (by a glimpse and a word of mouth – hey! The man's busy all right? XD), Yazoo, Loz, Cid, and Rude
Disclaimer: I do not in any way own, nor profit from, the FFVII characters or locations.
Warnings: All things Yaoi I'm afraid: innuendo, flirting, PDA, sex…blah, blah, blah (consider yourselves warned in that regard). And be prepared for some OOC'ness…it just happened, honest!

A/N (06/30/2012): And so the years have passed and the fourth and final story in this arc is completed. This poor, train wreck of the fic has been languishing on my computer for an embarrassingly long amount of time, but I've finally finished it. It is beta'd. It is done. Before you move on with actually reading it, I want to point out several things that I feel are important and should be known:

1) This fic was written somewhere around four years ago and while reading it, I noticed many things that I wanted to change, but I went against that urge and left it largely intact (even the headers) save for the sections of text that I needed to write in order to complete it. I felt that changing it would go against the style of writing that, for better or worse, made these stories unique.

2) This fic is, at its core, AU. I also realize that there are some plot gaps/detail discrepancies that would require explanation and or expounding upon to make this more cohesive, but when I wrote this there was no universe created for these characters. I only wrote it for the entertainment factor and the story is meant to be read as such: a crack fic.

3) I realize as well that there are some characters that I left out and upon reflection I regret that but, as stated in '1' I wanted to leave this piece unchanged from when I initially wrote it. That and to add them now would only add a complication that would involve massive rewrites. At the time of these stories, my knowledge of FFVII was sadly limited, so some underappreciated characters (luckily?) did not get the attention they deserved.

4) This series in no way, shape or form reflect my true OTP.

5) My beta deserves a medal for her help on this one. I know how painful it was to read, but I wouldn't trust anyone else with it.

So all that being said, and you still want to brave it, proceed dear reader and don't say that I didn't warn you.

"…of course then I tol' 'im t' get th' damned chocobo out ooooof my apartment, 'cause I mean, y'know with my fragile state IIIIIII was not in any position t'…hey, Seph, aaaaare you listenin' t'me?" Genesis slurred, peering at Sephiroth out of squinted, red-rimmed eyes.

"Uh-huh." Sephiroth answered on a sigh, swirling the last of his scotch in his glass before tossing it back and signaling the bartender for another. When the new drink was placed in front of him, he picked it up and eyed it morosely. One of the biggest drawbacks to the SOLDIER enhancement was the high metabolism. He took a drink, and then set the glass back down. It took a lot longer, and a larger quantity of alcohol, to get really good and drunk. Luckily for him, he'd perfected the art – a long time ago. Actually, he was rather surprised that his liver wasn't pickled and that he wasn't pissing scotch but there again, because of the enhancements, drinking yourself to death was not an option, 'cause the Gods only knew he'd tried. Thanks SOLDIER!

"Seph!" Genesis said, a little over-loudly, causing Sephiroth to jump, startling him out of his self-pity.

"Huh?" He blinked, a tad blearily, and gazed at his inebriated friend in mild confusion.

"Didju hear anything I've said?"

"Yep," He grunted, taking another gulp of scotch. "You were informing me of the ruination of your red leather couch." He put the staccato emphasis on the 'ch' in couch by accident, but he didn't care. It was a good thing he'd heard this story before because he wasn't paying attention. In fact, he'd just hit the fast forward button because they hadn't gotten to the saga of the couch yet. He hoped that Genesis was too far gone to notice.

He was. "Oh, okay then." Genesis grunted and shrugged. He downed the half-glass of wine as quickly as he could. Like him, Genesis had perfected the art of getting drunk, but for different reasons, at least he kept telling himself that. "Well then d'you know what that private had th' gall t'ass me?"

"Do tell," Sephiroth replied wryly, knowing where this was headed.

"Th' dub bastard had th' nerve t' ass me if I would read Loveless at his weddink!" Genesis explained, slinging his suddenly refilled wine glass and spilling almost a third of its contents. "Love-less, Seph! If IIIIII hear, read, see, smell, oooooor taste any more fucking Loveless, I will strangle someone. I will wrap my hands aaaaaaround their neck an' squeeze until their heads pop like a zit! Whoaaa…" Genesis had pantomimed his Loveless punishment so emphatically that he'd have slid off of the stool if it weren't for Sephiroth's steadying hand on his shoulder, which really wasn't anything more than Sephiroth holding his hand out and letting Genesis fall into it. He hadn't even looked at Genesis, electing instead to take another sound drink of his beverage.

"That sounds most unfortunate, Gen, I shall try to refrain from asking you to recite poetry," he said flatly.

"See that you do, Generl," Genesis said, sitting himself back upright. "See that you do."

Sephiroth sighed. The evening had started out pleasantly enough. He and Genesis had settled at the bar, ordered their drinks and idly observed their other 'Final Fantasy' comrades come straggling in through the front doors as their escapes had been completed. The first had been Angeal, who had come stalking through the lobby. Sephiroth had called out to him, but the older man had held up his hand and hadn't even looked at him, which had startled him a little. Not too far behind had skulked Kadaj, who looked as though someone had seriously pissed in his Cheerios and who in turn was followed by Reno, who wore a smirk and sauntered like he owned the damned place. Sephiroth had briefly wondered where Tseng was, but figured there was a reason the man was absent from the group.

There was the space of about a couple of hours before the last group came walking in. Rufus and Loz, interestingly enough, had appeared involved in a very deep conversation and had actually drifted into the sitting lounge together where Sephiroth could see them engrossed in yet another game of chess. He shuddered, he hated chess; his patience wouldn't allow him to play it, even though the strategy aspect of the game was appealing. Next came Rude and…Cid? Sephiroth had just shaken his head and blinked quickly as he watched those two settle in at the back of the bar where there were pool tables set up, and even now they, too, were still at it. The atmosphere of the bar was now layered lightly with cigarette smoke and the soft clicking of pool balls hitting each other.

But by far and away the most entertaining had been Tseng, Vincent and Yazoo. Sephiroth snorted as he remembered those three. It had been like watching some sort of talk show. Yazoo had been dressed in tight blue jeans, a halter-top and a padded bra, and actually had looked rather pretty, Sephiroth had to concede. Hot on the young man's heels had stormed Vincent who, for the first time in Sephiroth's memory, looked ready to rip something apart. Suddenly the gunman had stopped, causing Tseng, who had been following closely, to very nearly crash into him. Vincent, who was normally so damned levelheaded, depressingly mellow and disgustingly broody (in Sephiroth's opinion), had lashed out and shoved Tseng back about four feet, very nearly causing the head Turk to fall on his ass. The tall gunman had been on him like white on rice after that and it had taken Yazoo jumping on his back to get him to let up. The silver-haired man had then moved around to the front of Vincent, had fisted both hands in that tattered red cloak and actually jerked Vincent to within an inch of his face, his expression lethal. Vincent had just glared back, seemingly unfazed. Then Tseng must have said something, Sephiroth hadn't caught it but really wished he had, because Vincent lunged at Tseng again only to be pushed back by Yazoo once more. Yazoo then had rounded on Tseng and had landed a sound punch to the Turk's strong jaw. That had had the desired effect, causing the two men to stand still, startled, long enough for Yazoo to grab onto Tseng's tie and the front of Vincent's mantle and literally drag the two men up the stairs in the direction of their block of reserved rooms. Sephiroth had sighed; he was going to miss those three.

"When's th' las' time you got laid, Seph?" Genesis asked suddenly, not looking at him.

Sephiroth gazed askance at Genesis, brows raised. "A while. Why, are you offering, Gen?"

"Nooooo, no way, nu-uh, nope not me." Genesis said, shaking his head emphatically. "Your shit's too weird, even for me, Seph."

Sephiroth snorted. "Coward."

"Smart." Genesis countered, poking Sephiroth in the chest, "you thin' I haven' noticed yer…" Genesis waved his arm randomly, "downwerd spiral of self-destruction?"

Sephiroth rolled his eyes. Great, Genesis had sunk to waxing drunk philosophical. Since that tended to plunge Sephiroth into a foul mood when sober, he figured it was time for him to find something else to do…or someone. There had been a rather attractive waiter eyeing him for most of the evening, but Sephiroth had his mind set on a particular blond.

He'd managed to forget about Cloud when he and Genesis had sat down at the bar and begun drinking, but Sephiroth had looked up at just the right time to catch Cloud walking back through the lobby towards the stairs. The younger man had hesitated and then stopped, no doubt feeling Sephiroth's eyes on him, and looked around. Their eyes had met and held. But when Sephiroth had lifted his glass to his lips and taken a slow drink, Cloud had blushed crimson and averted his eyes, heading very quickly back up the stairs.

Sephiroth couldn't get that pretty, flushed face out of his head after that, and his mood had steadily gone downhill because of it.

Something else that irked him with increasing, and irrational, persistence was Cloud's little incident in that closet earlier in the day. Just what had Cloud dreamed about anyway? He had half a mind to get the answer out of him one way or another, and judging by Cloud's reaction to his stare…he knew just how to do it.

"Why won' you let us help you?" Genesis asked forlornly, finally turning to face him.

Ye Gods, Sephiroth thought, somehow we've gone from philosophical to weepy! It is definitely time to go.

He motioned to the bartender and pointed to Genesis's wine glass, holding up one finger and tossing gil onto the bar. He thumped Genesis on the back and said, "Have one more on me, okay? I've got something I need to take care of."

Sephiroth stood up and abruptly sat back down again, as the blood rushed to his head and his vision dimmed briefly. Carefully, he stood back up and took a step backward, tipping to the side a little. Okay, so maybe I'm a little drunker than I thought I'd be, but at least I can still string a sentence together.

With studied effort, Sephiroth walked over to where Zack sat sulking and nursing his rum and Coke. Zack usually didn't drink – his body was a temple and all that Angeal-induced bullshit – but the fact that he had tossed back eight of them now said that Zack was agitated about something. At the moment, though, Sephiroth didn't care. He slapped his hand down on Zack's shoulder and said, "Watch him will you? See that he gets back to his room okay?"

Zack nodded his head and waved absently.

Sephiroth went back over to Genesis, kissed his temple and said, "Be good and don't set anything on fire this time, all right?"

Genesis muttered something unintelligible and waved him away off-handedly. He grinned and headed for the stairs and the room of a certain young man who was about to be blindsided by sex appeal, Sephiroth-style.

Sephiroth took his time reaching Cloud's room. The stairs had been a little hairy when his vision had swum dizzily for a few seconds, but he could already feel his body burning off his lovely buzz. When he reached Cloud's room he paused a moment, resting his weight on his arms propped on either side of the door. He hung his head down between his shoulders, feeling his shoulder blades pinching together painfully under his harness straps.

Sephiroth knew he was attractive, gathering lustful and appreciative stares everywhere he went, and he had used his looks and sexuality to get what he wanted in the past on numerous occasions, but tonight would be his finest work of seduction. He vowed to have Cloud begging to tell him everything. He pulled one hand away from the doorframe, shifting his weight onto one arm, and knocked firmly on the door.

There was a tense moment of silence that dragged out almost unbearably, leaving Sephiroth uncertain if Cloud was even in his room or not. He winced when he thought of having the wrong room, or worse, having Cloud come up behind him! His thoughts were interrupted though when he heard hesitant footsteps approaching the door. He thought about what he was going to say and actually, seriously considered 'Good to see you, Cloud.' And very nearly ruined the whole seduction vibe he had going by giggling. But tipsy or not, he was still a man who ran his life on discipline, and he shut the door firmly on that stupid move.

Finally he heard the chain rattle like someone was removing it, the deadbolt 'click', and the door opened slowly to reveal a slightly startled Cloud. "General Sephiroth?"

Sephiroth looked up through his thick bangs and long eyelashes. "Hello, Cloud." He said quietly, his voice as smooth as silk with the subtle texture of velvet, guaranteed to send shivers down a spine.

He was rewarded by seeing that desired effect in Cloud as the smaller man swallowed nervously. "Is there…uh, something I can do for you?"

A grin spread Sephiroth's lips, revealing a hint of perfect white teeth. "Perhaps." He replied slowly and loved the way Cloud's fingers on the door twitched. "May I come in?"

"Well, uh…" Cloud started, but Sephiroth didn't give him a chance to answer. He used his considerable height advantage to lean forward into the blond's personal space and cause him to back up.

"Thank you." He purred and slid into the dimmed room.

Cloud shut the door behind him and leaned back against it, flustered. "General Sephiroth-" He began.

"You're wondering why I'm here," Sephiroth looked back over his shoulder. "Yes?"

Cloud nodded, his throat unable to form any words.

Sephiroth grinned and turned back around to step in close to Cloud, leaning down to murmur into the other's ear. "You have some information that I require."

"What?" Cloud uttered stupidly, confusion written all over his face.

Sephiroth loved that look on Cloud; the wide blue eyes, the flushed cheeks and lips slightly parted as Cloud searched for words. Before he knew what he was doing, Sephiroth had bent his head and pressed his own lips to Cloud's, only a little disappointed that the lips under his remained firm and unyielding. He was granted a soft gasp however and he couldn't stop the little thrill that shivered through him when he felt Cloud's body begin to tremble ever so slightly.

"It's quite simple, Cloud," Sephiroth said, looming over the smaller figure he had pinned to the door. "I merely require you tell me your dream and nothing more," he lied easily.

"My… dream?" Cloud said, blinking dazedly. "What? No!" he exclaimed, cheeks even redder now as he pushed back on Sephiroth's chest with surprising force.

Momentarily startled, Sephiroth took a step back and looked at Cloud with new appreciation. Perhaps this might be more fun than he first anticipated. "Oh come now, Cloud," he continued softly, "do you think I'm going to just give up? I'm not leaving until you tell me what I want to know."

"Then you'll be here a while," Cloud said defiantly, glaring up into Sephiroth's acid-green eyes. "Because I'm not talking." He set his jaw stubbornly and crossed his arms over his chest. "And why do you still have those creepy contacts in anyway?"

"Because I like them," Sephiroth said immediately. "You'd be surprised how quickly you get what you want when you unnerve people." He slammed his hand against the door just above Cloud's shoulder, making the smaller man jump. "Now stop changing the subject."

"No." Cloud's resolve remained firm, but his voice shook.

Sephiroth's eyes narrowed and he grinned ferally as Cloud's trembling increased. "No?" he growled softly. He reached out and took Cloud's chin in his thumb and forefinger, forcing the blond to look up at him. "I would urge you to re-think that, Cloud."

"You're not going to hurt me," Cloud said, trying to sound defiant.

"Oh? And why is that?" Sephiroth asked, amused.

"Well, it- it would be kind of hard to hide that, I mean, people would be… upset." Cloud averted his gaze, finding Sephiroth's stare too intense.

"I have other ways of extracting information, Cloud," Sephiroth replied easily, shrugging one of his broad shoulders noncommittally.

"You do?" Cloud squeaked, his brain short-circuiting. He knew that Sephiroth was skilled, deadly, dangerous, provocative, persuasive, erotic, beautiful, sexual… Was the general getting closer again?

This time, when Sephiroth kissed Cloud, he was rewarded with Cloud's lips yielding to his own. He felt Cloud's smaller hands come up and fist in his long coat, and with a low moan of his own, he opened his mouth to tease the seam of Cloud's lips with his tongue. He placed the hand not on the door against Cloud's cheek and in so doing he used his thumb at the back of Cloud's jaw to force the smaller man's mouth open just enough to grant him entry. Slowly, Sephiroth felt Cloud begin to respond until Cloud's arms had moved from fists in the front of his coat to his arms wrapped around his broader chest.

"Well, Cloud?" Sephiroth said, his voice husky and low. "Are you going to tell me? Or am I going to have to forcibly retrieve the information?"

Cloud's senses swam, but he remained firm. "No."

Sephiroth grinned. Good, he thought and pressed forward. He was surprised when Cloud met him halfway in a tangle of groping hands and sloppy kisses, so much so that Sephiroth began to wonder just how important it was to learn about Cloud's dream. He pressed Cloud back forcefully, thrusting with his tongue and beginning to work at the zipper of the Cloud's sleeveless sweater when he suddenly heard voices coming up the hallway. Sephiroth gasped sharply when Cloud grabbed the straps of his harness and flipped him back and around the corner of the room and away from the door. They both froze and listened to what sounded like Rude, Reno and Cid pass their room and remained absolutely still, hardly daring to even breathe until quite a bit of time had passed where all they heard was silence.

Finally the spell broke and once again Sephiroth and Cloud became a flurry of movement as they struggled with each others' costumes while trying to taste as much of the flesh of the other as they could reach. When Sephiroth got to Cloud's sword harness he quickly went from frustrated to downright pissed off and he pulled back with a growl. Cloud blinked blurry, unfocused blue eyes in puzzlement.

"What is it?" he gasped, trying to press forward into Sephiroth and making small sounds of disappointment when Sephiroth held him at arm's length as he continued to tug at Cloud's harness.

"What the hell is this thing?" Sephiroth snapped, holding up a random strap.

"It's- a- sword harness?" Cloud said slowly, not sure where the silver general was going with it.

"It's no sword harness, it's a Hades-cursed booty trap," Sephiroth snarled and attacked the straps again but stopped when Cloud burst out laughing. Cloud continued to laugh even when Sephiroth wrapped long fingers around Cloud's throat and squeezed, the sound emerging more as a rhythmic squeaking sound than an actual laugh. "What are you laughing at?" he snapped again.

"You," Cloud wheezed. "Don't you mean booby trap?" He snickered some more.

It was Sephiroth's turn to be confused, which only served to irritate him even more. "That's what I said, Cloud, a booby trap. Now how in the hell do you get this damned thing off?" He was about to begin snapping straps when Cloud laid a restraining hand on his wrist.

"Let me," Cloud said, struggling to catch his breath. With a deft flick of his hand to three buckles, the harness slid to the floor. Cloud immediately started to giggle again when he saw the dark look on Sephiroth's face.

"Shut up," Sephiroth grumbled moodily, not used to being laughed at.

"I'm sorry, sir," Cloud said, managing to get himself back under control. "But your face was priceless." Sensing the break in Sephiroth's omnipotent aura and giving him an upper hand, Cloud jumped on it. In one quick motion he had Sephiroth spun around and pressed up against the wall. He got up on the edge of the bed in order to give himself a height advantage and loomed over the infamous silver general. Blue eyes stared down into unnatural green and Cloud grinned slowly. "Your resolve is faltering, sir," Cloud purred, placing both hands on either side of Sephiroth's head and slowly dropping his own down towards Sephiroth's. "I have an idea."

"Oh?" Sephiroth asked, caught between amusement and strong arousal. "And what might that be, Cloud?"

Cloud dropped his lips down beside Sephiroth's ear and whispered, "I'm going to fuck you… sir."

That declaration did an incredible thing to Sephiroth. It made him hesitate, and in that moment's hesitation he actually considered it before his personality caught back up to the conversation and reasserted itself. "The hell you are," he growled and caught Cloud around the waist and literally threw him down onto the bed. He made quick work of the remainder of Cloud's costume now that the offending harness had been dealt with and his own costume followed suit to land in a rumpled heap against the far wall.

Sitting back on his heels, Sephiroth was pleased to see that Cloud was just as aroused as he, and that the little blond had a perfectly proportioned, hard little body. He then wasted to time in positioning himself over Cloud and fusing their lips together until Cloud was squirming for air underneath him. "How's my resolve now, Cloud?" he rumbled before parting Cloud's legs with his own and settling his body down in between them and returning his lips to Cloud's before the smaller man had a chance to reply.

He ground his hips down into Cloud's, the friction on their erections both delicious and excruciating. He thrust mindlessly into the pressure created by their bodies, shivering as his cock rubbed and slid against Cloud's. "I want to be inside you…" Sephiroth growled and Cloud's immediate "Yes!" made him groan against the blond's neck. "Lube?" He could barely manage to keep his voice from cracking.

He felt Cloud shake his head. "Don't…want…." He gasped.

Sephiroth jerked his head up to crush his lips down onto Cloud's, silencing the blond, his tongue pushing deep into the wet mouth eagerly inviting the invasion. He pulled back far enough to ask again, firmly, his voice rough with lust. "Lube."

This time when he pulled back Cloud managed a breathless, "My case… dresser…"

With supreme effort Sephiroth lifted off of Cloud and walked stiltedly over to where Cloud's case sat open on the dresser. He didn't have to search long before he found the small white tube. He turned back to the bed and nearly dropped his prize. Cloud's eyes were heavy lidded, face flushed and lips swollen from Sephiroth's kisses. Cloud had grasped his erect penis, slowly pumping up and down, while his hips curled up into the contact with each downward movement of his hand.

Sephiroth could only stare. There was something innocent, yet supremely sensual about what Cloud was doing. He was entranced, and so fucking hard he didn't think he'd be able to take the couple of steps back to the bed. He didn't know how he managed it, but he did. Standing at the foot of the bed, he never took his eyes off of Cloud as he squeezed a generous amount of lubricant into his hand. He discarded the bottle and slowly, deliberately began to stroke the clear gel onto his straining cock.

Cloud's eyes had refocused when Sephiroth returned to the foot of the bed and began applying the lubricant. His response was to raise his knees and part his legs wide, completely stopping all attention to his body as he watched, licking his lips in anticipation.

Unable to wait any longer, Sephiroth crawled on his hands and knees up the bed, in between Cloud's legs. He paused to kiss the inside of a knee, then swirl his tongue in slow, sensuous circles up the inside of the quivering thigh. He couldn't resist the temptation of that soft flesh and his tongue came out to flick the blonde's scrotum, traveling up the shaft of Clouds engorged sex in a firm lick, to come to a swirling rest at the weeping head. Then, without any warning, he sank his head down to completely swallow that throbbing cock, drawing on it in a humming suction that caused Cloud to moan and arch his back, hands fisting to white knuckles in the bedspread. Sephiroth began to raise his head, slowly, loving the feel of the rigid organ encased in such soft, tender skin as it slowly left his mouth. He hummed again in appreciation before repeating the motion one last time, dragging a writhing whimper from his lover.

But pleasuring Cloud in this way was not his original goal and if he didn't do something about his own pulsing agony, he thought he would explode or go numb permanently. He made quick work of preparing Cloud's body to receive him as the threat to give in to a man's baser need to simply fuck and be done with it loomed ever closer to breaking his iron control. As he pushed into Cloud's tight body, relishing in the clenching of strong, yet tender, muscles and the gasp and groan of his new lover, deeper than he thought Cloud's voice could ever drop, he felt the months of self-induced celibacy far more keenly than ever before.

The rhythm he set was steady and hard. Sephiroth's eyes drifted shut as he tilted his head back and allowed himself to feel for the first time in years. The pressure around his cock, hot and sweet and the resistance from Cloud's thighs and hips dragged a groan from his own throat. Pulling out of Cloud abruptly, he was rewarded with a sound of startled disappointment. Cloud's blue eyes were as round as saucers, innocent and questioning and it gave Sephiroth a sense of supreme power to have Cloud beneath him and so vulnerable.

It made him even harder.

Without warning he gripped Cloud's hips and flipped the smaller man over, grinning when he heard Cloud issue a small squeak of surprise. Roughly, he pushed back inside Cloud when the blond was settled on his hands and knees, with a sense of ownership when distantly, in the back of his mind, he was desperately afraid that the opposite might be true. He would deal with those traitorous thoughts later; right now the most important thing was to relieve the pressure that was threatening to rip him apart. His lover, it would seem, had a similar thought.

"Harder!" Cloud gritted out between clenched teeth, having lowered his head to hang down between his shoulders, his breaths coming his harsh pants.

Sephiroth obliged him by increasing the force with which his body drove into Cloud's, digging his fingers painfully into Cloud's hips. Cloud grunted and tightened his body around Sephiroth's cock, causing the larger man to clench his teeth against the pull toward orgasm. Nearly a full minute passed before Cloud punched his fist into the pillow just above and in front of him and let out a frustrated sob.

Sephiroth winced. He knew that sound and where it came from, having made it himself more times than he cared to admit. Unfortunately, it also meant that he knew what he had to do about it. Swallowing, he reached around under Cloud and, without breaking his steady, pounding rhythm he wrapped his long fingers around Cloud's testicles and squeezed, twisting hard. Cloud gave a rasping, startled scream as he bowed reflexively away from the sudden pain, even as his body orgasmed violently.

As soon as Sephiroth felt Cloud's body stiffen in release, he immediately relinquished his hold on the blond's testicles in favor of the pulsing erection and began pumping it with firm strokes, milking it and drawing out Cloud's ejaculation. His own peak came in engulfing waves, suddenly rolling over him, turning his knees to jelly, and leaving him momentarily dizzy and lightheaded. Sephiroth fell forward unsteadily; catching himself on his arms to either side of Cloud's shaking body. They stayed that way for a moment, their bodies covered with a light, slick sheen of sweat, their breathing ragged, before Sephiroth carefully withdrew from Cloud and rolled onto his back to stare at the ceiling, slightly sick to his stomach for what he had done to the younger man.

With a shaky moan, Cloud eased onto his side and pulled his knees up to lie in the fetal position with his back to Sephiroth. Sephiroth meanwhile had turned his head to look at Cloud and was about to apologize for what he had done, when Cloud spoke up in a muffled, flat voice, "How did you know?"

Sephiroth opened his mouth and took a breath to answer, but hesitated, glancing back up to stare once again at the ceiling. He released his breath in a sad sigh. "We're not so different, Cloud, you and I." He admitted this quietly and without judgment, resting a hand on his abdomen and rolling his head over again to carefully watch Cloud's reaction.

Without moving his body from its protective curl around itself, Cloud turned his head to glance at Sephiroth out of the corner of his eye. "You mean you…?"

"Yes," his voice was a near-whisper, shame inadvertently coloring his voice. "That, and worse."


Sephiroth sighed again and told the blond something he had never told anyone else, even Genesis, who was his closest friend. "Obviously, I cannot answer for you, Cloud, but for me I think it may be to remind myself that I still know how to feel…anything, anymore."

At that, Cloud uncurled himself and rolled over to face Sephiroth, a slight frown on his face. "I don't understand."

"You wouldn't," Sephiroth agreed gently, daring to run a finger lightly over Cloud's cheek and quirking a corner of his mouth up in a sad smile. "But in what I do for a living, Cloud, if you could even call it 'living', feeling can be more debilitating than an actual physical injury. You have to learn to look at something as precious as a human life objectively, and be prepared to put that life in a position where it could be taken away." Sephiroth fought the old, familiar tightening in his chest that threatened to choke him into silence as he dredged up nearly forgotten memories and emotional echoes. He hadn't spoken of this to anyone, instead electing to suffer through it in silence and enforced discipline. "I trained myself not to feel anything, and as a result I have not been able have any kind of…fulfilling…relationships, needing physical pain to bring any kind of sexual release to my body. In point of fact," Sephiroth paused, looking mildly startled, "this is the first time I achieved ejaculation without pain."

Throughout his whole confession Cloud watched him, his face unreadable and for a moment Sephiroth thought the younger man would pull away, but he was surprised yet again when instead, Cloud wriggled over to rest his head on Sephiroth's shoulder and wrap an around his chest. Sephiroth closed his eyes in silent thanks, as he rested his chin on the crown of Cloud's head and placing his hand on Cloud's arm.

"You're right," Cloud conceded. "I don't know what you've had to deal with, but I do know that you're one of strongest men I've ever known, and I admire that strength."

"But I'm not strong, Cloud, I'm breaking apart," He whispered. "It's slowly destroying me, and I'm afraid I don't know who I am anymore."

"Then we'll have to find you again," Cloud said matter-of-factly, as though it was the easiest thing in the world to do.

"Are you saying that you're a glutton for punishment?" Sephiroth said wryly.

"Maybe." Cloud purred, sliding his leg over Sephiroth's. "Are you saying that you want to punish me?"

Sephiroth felt his body begin to stir to life once again when he felt Cloud's semi-hard cock press against his thigh. "I have a much better idea," he said thickly, pushing Cloud onto his back again and rolling to half-cover him with his own, larger frame. He nipped and suckled on Cloud's earlobe, causing the blond to gasp and arch his back, pressing his chest against Sephiroth's. "I want you to do what you said you'd do." He breathed raggedly into Cloud's ear. "I want you to fuck me, Cloud."

Cloud jumped, startled, pushing up on Sephiroth's chest until the silver general was looking down at him. "Sephiroth, you don't bottom for anyone, everybody knows that, I-I was kidding before…" Cloud's blue eyes were wide with surprise, a little, nervous smile tugging at his lips.

"Everyone, huh?" Sephiroth grunted and rolled off to lay once again on his back, this time brining his hands up behind his head. He smirked. "Guess I missed that memo."

It was Cloud's turn to roll onto Sephiroth. He sat up, straddling Sephiroth's lean hips, looking down at that perfect face and into green eyes that burned with the deep understanding of a pain shared. Cloud absently ran his hands over the silky flesh of Sephiroth's chest, unconsciously teasing the man's nipples into hard nubs and unsure of what to think, hoping that Sephiroth wasn't playing with him. He didn't think so…

Sephiroth reached up and ran his thumb over Cloud's lower lip and his breath hitched when Cloud opened his mouth to suck on the explorative digit. "I can make an exception…for you, Cloud." He said roughly. "But…" he interjected quickly when he Cloud's face turned seductively predatory. "If I'm going to allow the utter submission of my body, I want something in return."

Now Cloud's face turned wary. "And this something would be…what, exactly."

Sephiroth smirked again. "Lose the angst – gone – you've been laying it on so damn thick that it's been giving me hairballs." He couldn't resist teasing the blond a little. "I mean, you've been angsting me straight, Cloud." He fought the urge to break out into a grin, just managing to keep his voice sounding airy and non-committal. "I've been thinking about asking Yuffie out, she's cute and spunky…"

The mixture of embarrassment, indignation and confusion on Cloud's face made Sephiroth burst into laughter that didn't stop until Cloud silenced him with a fevered and hungry kiss.

Hours later found them collapsing together, panting and sweaty, onto the mattress. Cloud didn't move from where he lay on Sephiroth's back, and Sephiroth didn't prompt him to. Gently, Cloud pulled the long silver strands off and away from the slender neck, blowing gently on the heated flesh. Sephiroth found Cloud's hand and intertwined their fingers before he pulled their joined hands under his chest after first kissing the back of it.

"So what now?" Cloud asked quietly, resting his lips on Sephiroth's shoulder.

"Mmm," Sephiroth murmured, body tired and satiated for the first time in a long time, without needing pain. He sighed and stretched under Cloud's body, snuggling down into the bed. "What would you like to happen, Cloud?"

"I would hate for this to end when you walk out the door in the morning," Cloud whispered, laying his head back down on Sephiroth's back.

"Mmm," was all Sephiroth said. He felt Cloud give a small sigh and tighten his arm around his chest, the other hand winding fingers into his hair. Sephiroth smiled as he felt Cloud's sad acceptance to this being a one-night stand, only that was in the opposite direction to where his own thoughts were wanting to head. "You do realize that we would be giving them exactly what they want, don't you?"

Cloud lifted his head a fraction. "Huh?"

"The fangirls…"

Cloud's arm tightened even more around him and he laughed breathily, as though he couldn't quite believe what he was hearing. "Well, they are more perceptive than we give them credit for, aren't they? I mean they knew we should be together, its just classic that we're the last ones to figure it out."

"So it would seem," he replied, squeezing Cloud's hand. "Go to sleep, Cloud." He yawned, allowing his own eyes to drift shut and the heaviness in his limbs to crawl up and claim the rest of him.

Before he gave in to sleep, he felt Cloud smile.

Sephiroth awoke with a jerk, quickly blinking his eyes to clear his vision and muttering out a curse when he felt how dried out the damned contacts, which gave him the characteristic "slit-pupil" look, were. When he got some vision back he squinted at the bedside clock— 5:00 am, like clockwork. He sighed and wondered briefly if he could go back to sleep; he was so delightfully warm and relaxed. Sephiroth smiled as he located the warm, immobile lump that was Cloud, who had slid from his perch on his back down to the lie snuggled up against his side. Even as he made this observation, said lump burrowed closer, making Sephiroth laugh involuntarily as the sleeping blond hit a particularly ticklish spot on his side. Carefully moving away from the smaller body, Sephiroth made a mental note to keep that bit of information a well-guarded secret.

No, it was wishful thinking, sleeping in. He had been trained to wake up at 0500 hours and now it was ingrained. Sephiroth knew better than to fight it, so he slowly extricated himself from the tangled blankets and body next to him, and slid from the bed. Only to have his progress stopped with a sudden jerk when he discovered with a wince that his hair was…detained. Turning back to the bed, he noticed that Cloud still had his fist wrapped around a hunk of his silver mane. He knelt down and murmured into Cloud's ear, softly stroking the smaller man's back. "Cloud, I need my hair back."

"Murmph," Cloud pulled the hair closer into his body and Sephiroth rolled his eyes, a little annoyed.

"Cloud, I have to shower." Sephiroth said reaching for Cloud's hand, fully intending to pry those fingers lose to retrieve his hair.

"Don't leave me…" Cloud whimpered sleepily, and barely coherently at that.

Sephiroth froze and, feeling rather like a heel, smiled and called quietly, "Cloud!" He gently shook the blond's shoulder.

Cloud jumped a little and squinted up at Sephiroth in confusion. "Wha…?"

Sephiroth stroked the backs of fingers over a sleep-flushed cheek and said, "Shower." He tugged at the hair in Cloud's hand, lifting it up in illustration. "I'll just be in the bathroom."

"Oh, sorry…" Cloud yawned and rooted around in the pillow after releasing his captive, getting more comfortable.

Sephiroth smiled and stood up; wincing a little as his attention was drawn to unfamiliar muscle aches. Shaking his head, he wandered toward the bathroom but froze when he saw his costume kicked into a corner in a rumpled heap. He had no desire to put that monstrosity back on. Instead, grabbing the coat portion of the costume and slipping it on, he snatched a sock from the ground. He opened the door and stepped out of the room, stuffing the sock between the door and the jamb so that he could get back in, and stealthily made his way back to his own room. He punched in the code to the door and quickly retrieved a change of clothes, shampoo, conditioner and the towels from his own room – it would be rude after all to use Cloud's towels and leave him with nothing for himself – before sticking his head out the door and sneaking back to Cloud's room.

If he had been so inclined to watch, he would have seen quite a bit of sneaking and room hopping from the others as well.

Reentering the dusky room and closing the door, he leaned back against it and shut his eyes. The smell of his and Cloud's lovemaking still hung faintly in the air and he smiled when he heard a light snoring coming from deeper within the room. A smile still on his lips, Sephiroth slipped out of his coat and tossed it back into the corner with the rest of his costume and walked into the bathroom. He waited until the door clicked shut before turning on the light and setting his things on the counter. Rubbing his face with both hands, he straightened his back in a stretch before regarding his reflection in the mirror in front of him. He grinned and arched a brow as he noticed the beginning of bruising on his hips and inner thighs and a scrape higher up on his right side.

Who knew the small blond would be so feisty. His grin widened as he thought of just what Cloud had done to him…and where. His eyelids grew heavy as his mind took him back to being laid out flat on his back, his knees up by his ears, then it had been on his side, which had led to some wrestling and they had ended up on the floor. Then he'd been pushed up against the wall, then bent over the desk followed by the chair and Sephiroth groaned outright when he remembered the ferocity of their coupling when he had been slammed up against the wall...again. And finally, running out steam, when Cloud had him on his hands and knees where they had finally collapsed when their bodies had conceded defeat and forced them to sleep.

Oh yes, Sephiroth thought, that information was not leaving this room. He didn't want anyone having any idea of the sexual adventurousness of his small lover; Cloud was his little secret. But he needed a shower, so he forced those addictive thoughts out of his head, albeit reluctantly. Sephiroth's eyes were attracted to the hairdryer that came complementary with the hotel rooms and he lifted his lip in distaste. He hated washing his hair when he was away from home because he was always forced to blow-dry it. And that always made his hair…fluffy.

He sighed; it couldn't be helped though, as it was necessary. He picked up the mass of silver silk distastefully as he looked at the hunks of matted hair; nope, he needed to wash it. Sephiroth turned on the water, getting it hot near to the point of being uncomfortable, and stepped beneath the pressured spray. He made quick work of washing, but allowed himself the luxury of remaining under the hot water as it slowly eased muscle aches away. Finishing before his whole body could prune up, he stepped out of the shower, dried off and set about the task of blow-drying his trademark silver hair.

While he dried it, he briefly contemplated cutting it short, as was appropriate for the military, but then he remembered why he had allowed it to grow long in the first place. He was the only one in the military who had long hair and it was frowned upon…greatly. But he had been removed from field command and chained behind a desk, away from the front lines, away from battle and growing his hair out had been his own stab back at his "superiors". As it was, he was insanely jealous of Genesis, Zack and Angeal as they were still granted the front lines.

Finally, a good while later, Sephiroth deemed his hair dry and he exited the bathroom, not even bothering with a towel to cover himself. He gave himself a moment to let his eyes adjust to the darkness of the room again before he walked over to the large bed. Sephiroth shook his head, grinning, as he looked down at the sleeping form of Cloud who now lay sprawled at an angle and clearly taking up more than his fair share of the bed's surface. He sat down next to the smaller man and traced long, elegant fingers over the angelic face.

Almost as though Cloud could sense Sephiroth was beside him, his slender hand crept out, making its unerring way toward the, apparently coveted, hair. Sephiroth sucked in his breath. "Whoop, nononono-no," he said, laughing quietly as he swept the long tresses away from the seeking hand, "maybe I shouldcut my hair."

"Noh, don' cud it…" Cloud mumbled, pouting sleepily.

"And why's that Cloud?" Sephiroth murmured, petting Cloud's back, just enjoying being.

"So soooooooft," Cloud sighed through a yawn, he cracked his eyes open briefly then closed them again, smiling gently. "Beautiful…an' world needs beautiful things." Cloud reached out and caressed Sephiroth's thigh. "…you…"

"Very well then, Cloud, I won't cut my hair." Sephiroth said softly, a queer clenching in his chest. Gods, what he would give for that to be true.

"Good." And then he flopped over, onto his stomach with his arms pinned beneath his body, having narrowly missed whacking Sephiroth in the chin with his flailing arm.

"Oi, Cloud," Sephiroth shook his head, "no dull moments with you are there?" He took a chance and leaned down to place a kiss to Cloud's bare shoulder before reaching for the pad of paper and pen on the bedside table and scrawled a quick note:


I apologize for not being beside you when you wake, but I have gone downstairs for some breakfast. At your leisure, I would love to have your company.

He started to sign "General Sephiroth", but at the last minute caught himself and after a moment's hesitation signed it simply, "Seph". It was a shortened version of his name, one that he hated in particular, but for some reason it seemed appropriate here.

Then he was hit with where to put the note. The pillow was out, after Sephiroth had seen how…active, Cloud was in sleep, which likewise nixed the bedside table. The bathroom as well was out of the question as Cloud would be half awake when he went in there and the moisture would do bad things to both ink and paper – he did want Cloud to read it – so he settled upon nestling it securely on top of Cloud's suitcase. That done he pulled on the light-weight, black, V-neck long sleeved T-shit, pulling the sleeves midway up his forearms and pulling his hair out of the neck to fall down his back once again. Following that came an old pair of faded black jeans and a pair of soft leather boots.

Turning, Sephiroth walked to the door, but he hesitated with his hand on the lever, looking back over his shoulder when he heard Cloud sigh his name. Sephiroth grinned again and shook his head before opening the door and exiting Cloud's room.

Only to run face to face into the last person he expected to run into, leaving Zack's room.

"Genesis?" He said in surprise at the exact same moment the other exclaimed,

"Sephiroth?" The disbelief sounded more than mutual.

The two looked over each other's shoulders at the doors behind them and said simultaneously, "Cloud?" and "Zack?"

There was a moment of stunned silence while the red and silver generals observed each other. Sephiroth noticed that Genesis was a little pale and wore dark glasses, no surprise there as Genesis had drunk enough the night before to be one drink shy of a stomach pump. But that little fact didn't dull the other's observational skills one bit for Genesis said wryly, eyeing his hair with a raised eyebrow. "You washed your hair, makes me wonder what you and the blond were up too."

"Shut up," Sephiroth growled good-naturedly then gave as good as he got – if not with a touch more bite. "It appears to me that we finally know whom the Lieutenant had to get on his knees for."

Genesis's mouth fell open in shock. "I can't believe you just said that!" Then, unmindful of what the consequences of his actions would be due to his hangover, grabbed Sephiroth in a headlock reminiscent of the one he had given Zack just the other day. "I was drunk, and for your information this was the only time!"

Sephiroth let out a surprised "irk" and pushed ineffectually at Genesis's arms, "C'mon, Gen, let go!"

"Nu-uh, Seph, that was mean and uncalled for and I think I need an apology!" Genesis said, not relaxing his hold despite the white-hot railroad spike of pain lancing through his temples, making his too-sensitive eyes water.

Sephiroth grunted, still squirming in the hold. "Gods you're strong when you're irritated," then gritted out belligerently, "and you have more of a chance of getting me to tattoo that little toad Hojo's face on my ass than you are of getting an apology out of me!"

Suddenly Genesis released his hold on Sephiroth's neck, causing the silver-haired man to fall to his knees and glare up at his friend through long lashes and even longer bangs. Genesis gave a short bark of laughter before helping the other to his feet again. "C'mon General Fluffy, let's go and get something to drink. Unless I miss my guess you're craving some orange juice, and I could really use a coffee…and aspirin!"

Sephiroth laughed outright and slung an arm across Genesis' shoulders just as Genesis wrapped his around Sephiroth's waist. "You know me too well, Genesis." And the two generals made their way downstairs and back to the bar where the night's activities had all begun.

'Full circle', Sephiroth thought then froze, just as Genesis did, as the two men eyed the backless bar stools with unease. They looked at each other, startled, realization slowly dawning on them.

They blinked at each other a moment before Genesis said, dumbfounded, "Seph, did you bottom?" He put his hands on his slender waist. "I thought more of you, my dear General."

Sephiroth arched an elegant brow. "You're one to talk, Genesis "no-man-owns-me" Rhapsodos!"

Genesis had the sense to blush, looking chastised, "yes…well…" He looked away.

Sephiroth snorted, and as one the two men eased down with a wince onto their stools, slowly settling their weight as they adjusted to the slight discomfort left over from…heavy use. The bartender came over, and Sephiroth ordered his orange juice, Genesis' coffee –black, and as luck would have it the bartender also had aspirin. He returned shortly and handed the two generals their drinks and left again, leaving the men to their own company. Genesis popped the aspirin into his mouth and swallowed them dry - how he did that escaped Sephiroth, and took a drink of coffee, wincing at the temperature.

An uncomfortable silence ensued, each man looking down into his drinks and fiddling with their cups, before Genesis said quietly, "You liked it, didn't you?"


"Me too."

More silence as the two men studiously avoided looking at each other. Then Sephiroth said, "No need to mention it beyond here…"


"Reputations 'n all…"


"Glad we're in agreement." Sephiroth's gaze wandered to the stairs where movement had caught his attention. A slow smile spread across his lips as he watched Cloud, dressed in a black turtleneck, low-riding jeans and sneakers, take his time descending the stairs, his head tilted toward Zack who was saying something that apparently needed wild gesticulations to illustrate. When he saw Cloud throw back his head and laugh, pushing Zack to the side to make the other man teeter on a step, Sephiroth felt a tightening low in his gut and a strange flutter in his chest. He swung his head around when he heard Genesis snort, eyeing him over the rim of his coffee cup. "What."

"I've seen starving dogs look at a hunk meat with less hunger than you're ogling Cloud with."

"I've had a taste, and I want more." Sephiroth replied with a non-committal shrug. "You know how I am." He wasn't going to apologize, why should he?

Genesis raised his eyebrows and tilted his head. "Yes, unfortunately I do; tenacious doesn't quite cover it. Aren't you going to call him over?"

Sephiroth shook his head. "I want to watch him." What went unsaid was how he wanted to see how long it took Cloud to find him.

Genesis shrugged and leaned back on his elbows against the bar, waiting. "You and your games, Seph."

Sephiroth was immensely pleased to see; about three stairs from the bottom, Cloud appear to tune Zack out and begin to scan the faces around him. Almost immediately, Cloud's gaze locked with his, and Sephiroth felt a little shiver work its way up his spine when he saw Cloud's eyes grow heavy-lidded and his smile become hungry.

Genesis noticed and snickered. "You really are taken with him, aren't you?"

"Don't see how it's your damn business," Sephiroth said darkly.

Genesis whistled. "Yep, you're gone old friend. I hope Cloud has some sort of idea of just what he's getting himself into."

Without taking his eyes from Cloud's progress toward them, Sephiroth murmured. "I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about."

Genesis laughed."Only that from this point on, Cloud will never have male friends again, you jealous ass!" He took another sip of his coffee.

Sephiroth tore his eyes away from his advancing lover to stare are Genesis. "Did you just call me an ass?"

"Yep," Genesis said with a smirk, "I'd call you a deaf ass, but I happen to be quite fond of my testicles." He knew one could only tease Sephiroth so far before one started losing body parts, starting with the most important.

Sephiroth opened his mouth to say something snarky in response but Cloud's arrival more than captured, and held, his attention. He jumped a little as Cloud walked right up to and stood between his spread knees and placed both hands to either side of Sephiroth's neck, just below his ears. Without missing a beat, Cloud crushed their mouths together in a dominant kiss that forced Sephiroth to open his mouth and admit Cloud's questing tongue. He moaned into the assault, feeling his spine slowly melt, and his hands sought Cloud's hips to help keep him from sliding off of the barstool. Their mouths kept opening; tongues thrusting against each others' repeatedly, giving no doubt about just what their relationship was.

Finally, the need for air called an end to the most intense kiss Sephiroth had probably ever had. "Well, good morning to you too, Cloud." He said hoarsely, panting. He cupped the blond's cheek. "I could get used to greetings like that."

Cloud opened his mouth to reply, then he noticed Genesis sitting next to them, dark glasses pulled down on his nose, openly gawking at them, and blushed furiously. Looking at the ground, Cloud said shyly. "U-uh, g-good morning General Rhapsodos."

It was at this moment that Zack arrived at the bar, ruffled Cloud's hair – earning him a scowl – and said, "We're all friends here Spike, first names only, yeah?" Then he turned to Genesis and kissed him on the temple asking softly into his hair. "How do you feel, fire-hair?"

This time it was Sephiroth and Cloud's turn to gape. "Pet names now, Gen?" Sephiroth asked, tucking Cloud's shoulder under his chin as he waggled his eyebrows at his blushing comrade.

Genesis shot Zack a dark look. "Not in public anyway." But his tone was almost affectionate.

Zack grinned, "It's better than what he calls me."

Sephiroth and Cloud waited patiently.

"Umm," Zack fidgeted when he realized that they were waiting for him to share. He looked to Genesis for help, who only quirked up one side of his mouth.

"Darling, you can't expect that to go unquestioned," Genesis, chastised gently, "you don't say something like that without planning to follow through with it."

Zack sighed in defeat. "Toto," he mumbled and Genesis sat back with a smug, triumphant look.

Sephiroth laughed outright and Cloud hid his smile behind his hand. "That seems rather appropriate, Zack." Sephiroth said.

"Hey!" Zack said loudly, causing Genesis to wince, shutting one eye. "Oops, sorry Gen." Zack actually looked apologetic before he was off on his original tangent. "I'm starved, you wanna get some breakfast Cloud?"

Cloud pushed himself away from Sephiroth. "Gods yes, I could eat an entire chocobo –don't say it, Zack." He turned to Sephiroth. "Do you want me to get you anything?"

Sephiroth shook his head. "I'm not very hungry."

Cloud frowned at him for a moment in thought, while Zack turned back to Genesis. "How 'bout you, you want, like, some waffles or something? A big, greasy sausage…"

Genesis, looking green, mock-scowled at Zack. "I think I've had enough sausage to last me, thank you very much, now get outta here!" He swatted Zack's ass as he and Cloud retreated, laughing.

Genesis sighed, grinning and shaking his head. "Babysitting."

"I have to admit, I'm surprised that you put with him, Genesis." Sephiroth admitted, frowning as he tried to puzzle out Cloud's pensive expression.

"There's something delightfully energetic and random about him, I just had to get drunk to see it, I think." Genesis said thoughtfully. "But I can see why Angeal was so eager to get rid of him. He's very…doting."

"And you eat it up." Sephiroth laughed, clinking his glass with Genesis'.

"Oh, yeah." Genesis said watching the two younger men until the other clientele swallowed them in their midst. "Poor old independent Angeal, the kid drove him nuts!"

"So, Cloud," Zack said nudging his friend playfully. "You and Seph…didn't see that one coming, man."

Blushing, Cloud said, "I could say the same thing about you and General Rhapsodos."

"Tch, first names Cloud!" Zack shook his head, grinning. "You're part of the 'in-crowd' now." He laughed, holding his arms out. "Welcome to our little dysfunctional family, Spike!"

Cloud snorted, but said nothing, only rolled his eyes. They joined the cue for the brunch table, a companionable silence between them before Zack noticed something when Cloud, who was already fidgeting with the collar of his turtleneck, pulled it down a little too far. He grabbed his smaller friend. "Whoa, Spike, hold up!"

"Yikes!" Cloud exclaimed as he was jerked into Zack's bigger body with an "oof." "What're you doing, Zack?"

But Zack wasn't listening, instead becoming absorbed with pulling Cloud's neckline down, having seen something that roused his insatiable curiosity. "Oh, for the love of Gaia, Cloud, HOLD STILL!" He gave the squirming blond a little shake.

Sulking, Cloud reluctantly held still. "Jeez, Cloud, you're covered with bruises, man!" Zack said peering at Cloud's neck and shoulders as best he could, considering he was all but crawling down Cloud's shirt.

With an impatient "humph", Cloud managed to wrench himself out of Zack's grasp and glared at him. "It's nothing, okay?"

"Nothing? Cloud, I've seen ears of corn with less mangling than your neck." Zack gave him a look that roughly translated into 'don't-lie-to-me-and-insult-us both-okay?'

Cloud shrugged a shoulder and blushed. "Seph's a biter, all right? Don't worry about it."

Zack whistled, rocking back on his heels. "Wow, Cloud, if he keeps that up, we'll have to buy him a muzzle."

"I can handle it," Cloud muttered, not looking at his friend.

Zack held up his hands. "Okay-okay, easy, Spike."

There was a moment of tense silence with Zack slowly becoming more fidgety before he finally broke the silence. "Look, I'm sorry, Cloud."

Cloud turned to peer at his exuberant friend who was standing awkwardly, just to his left, one hand absently rubbing the back of his spiky head. For a minute he was confused. "For what, Zack?"

"For behaving like I did yesterday…y'know for pestering you about your dream. It's none of my business, I was a jerk," Zack muttered, looking down at the ground.

Cloud laughed. "Yeah, you were, but it's okay, Zack." He knew how hard it was for Zack to admit that, let alone apologize and how he was still dying to know the details, but was willing to let it go. "You're forgiven." He clapped his friend good-naturedly on the back.

The reaction Cloud received was not the one that he expected.

"Ayi-ayi-ayi, nooooot there, Spike!" Zack squealed and shrank away from the contact.

Now it was Cloud's turn to jump on his friend, and before Zack knew what had hit him, Cloud had Zack's t-shirt pulled up, and was peering with wide eyes at the mass of red welts running up and down his friend's back. "What in the name of Holy happened to you, Zack?"

Zack began rubbing the back of head again, hesitating before he sighed and mumbled, "Genesis is a scratcher."

Cloud carefully lowered the shirt and gently smoothed it over Zack's back, beginning to chuckle. When Zack looked at him with his eyebrows raised in inquiry, Cloud merely shook his head and said, "If Genesis keeps that up, we'll have to get him de-clawed! I mean look as us, we've become a chew-toy and a scratching post!"

Zack gazed at him for a second, as though he didn't think Cloud knew how to joke sexually, before he burst out laughing and companionably laid his arm across his friend's shoulders. "The things we do huh, Spike?"

When Cloud looked at him with a lopsided grin on his face, he stunned Zack again when he conceded, "And the things that we may yet do. But I'd like to think that we made some things kinda uncomfortable for them, say maybe…sitting down?"

And that sent them into new peals of laughter that only got worse when comments sounding suspiciously like "horn-dog" and "cat in heat", managed to slip out. They were still giggling when it finally became their turn to go through the brunch line.

"Hello boys." Angeal said coming up to them and slapping Genesis on the back, eyes twinkling merrily.

Genesis, having been in the middle of taking a drink of coffee, narrowly missed slopping the contents of his cup all over his sweater and leather pants. He scowled at his friend. "You delight in making my life miserable, don't you?" Leaning over the floor between his legs, he transferred the cup to one hand and flicked the spilled beverage off of the other.

Sephiroth laughed, motioning to the bartender who brought him a towel, which he promptly tossed to Genesis. "What has you so chipper this morning?"

Angeal turned to Sephiroth and jumped. "Odin's balls, Seph! You left those things in? It's bad enough your eyes are that creepy green color naturally, but those slit-pupil contacts really freak me out!"

Sephiroth smirked and shrugged a shoulder, taking a drink of orange juice. "I forgot they were in, and when I finally did remember, I wasn't exactly in a place where I could take them out, so naturally," he pointed to an eye, "I left them in. I apologize if it inconveniences you, Commander."

Angeal snorted and rolled his eyes as he leaned over the bar and ordered a hot tea from the bartender. "You are a cheeky bastard, Seph." Then he hesitated and grinned. "And I must say that you're looking particularly fluffy today, did you by chance wash your hair?"

Without interrupting his long drink of orange juice, Sephiroth reached out and landed a solid punch to Angeal's shoulder making the older man stagger back and wince, before lifting the middle finger of the same hand in a silent expression of just what he thought of Angeal's observation. Then he lowered his cup and said easily, licking his lips, "I try, but you have neglected to answer my question, Angeal."

Rubbing his shoulder, Angeal grinned slowly as he looked from Genesis to Sephiroth then opened his arms wide. "The fountain of youth, my friends."

As if that were his cue, said 'fountain' leapt onto Angeal's back, placing a noisy kiss on his cheek. "G'morning, Angeal!"

Angeal laughed, swinging the silver-haired teen around in front of him and placing a quick peck to Kadaj's lips. "And good morning to you, Kadaj."

"I had the coolest dream last night, wanna hear it?" Kadaj began, his blue-green eyes huge as he rubbed noses with Angeal and laughed. Then without waiting for Angeal's answer, launched into the narrative, with very few pauses for breath.

Sephiroth and Genesis sat frozen, blinking slowly, as they watched their friend, cups halfway to their mouths. "Why do I get the feeling I'm looking at the male version of Yuffie?" Sephiroth asked absently.

By way of reply, Genesis shook his head and said. "That's not the fountain of youth, that's an early grave!" He looked at Sephiroth. "You see that one coming?" He jerked his thumb at Angeal.

Sephiroth shook his head and took another sip of juice. "Nope."

When Kadaj finally finished, Angeal said, laughing, "That is most interesting." Then more seriously, "Kadaj, you fascinate me." Angeal brushed fingers over the youth's cheek.

Kadaj blushed shyly, peeking at Angeal through his long bangs, then squirmed to get let down. "I'm gonna go and get something to eat, want anything?" But he was gone before Angeal could answer, not that he would have anyway.

Angeal watched until Kadaj disappeared before turning back to his friends. "Eh?" He asked in lieu of 'well, what do you think?'

Sephiroth slowly shook his head. "Angeal, you traded in a puppy for a spastic ferret. Not exactly a step up in my opinion."

"I'm afraid I have to agree with Sephiroth, Angeal." Genesis said, looking wan. "I haven't been around him ten minutes and already I'm exhausted! Not too mention," he leveled a stern glare at his friend. "Don't you think you're picking them rather young?"

Angeal opened his mouth to reply, but was interrupted before he could get anything out. "Um, you guys? What's got Kadaj so wound up? Hey, Angeal." Zack said, coming up to stand by Genesis and handing him a piece of toast. "Eat it, put something in your stomach, babe." He leaned in and gave Genesis a slow, open-mouthed kiss while Cloud moved to lean against Sephiroth's shoulder, Styrofoam plate in hand.

Angeal's jaw dropped. "Genesis!"

Genesis reluctantly pulled away from the kiss and looked innocently at his older friend, while Zack muttered with a grimace, "Needs sugar," "What? So I'm a dog lover." He smiled coyly and returned to his interrupted kiss.

Angeal shook his head and turned to Sephiroth and Cloud to ask if they could believe what they were seeing, but just ended up throwing up his hands in exasperation. "Oh for the love of Shiva, not you too!"

Sephiroth grinned. "I prefer something a little more even-tempered."

Angeal didn't know what to think, let alone say when he saw Cloud scowl and forcefully turn Sephiroth's face toward him with a thumb and forefinger to the chin.

To Sephiroth, Angeal became the furthest thing from his mind as he focused first on Cloud's face, then, with more difficulty onto the heaping plate of fruits and cheeses. He raised a brow. "You are hungry."

"It's not all for me," Cloud responded determinedly as he picked up a hunk of ripe sweet-melon and held it to Sephiroth's lips.

Sephiroth sighed patiently, grasping Cloud's wrist and gently pushing the offered bit away. "I told you, Cloud, I'm not hungry," then to soften it a little, "I don't usually eat breakfast."

Cloud 'tsked' him and said, "You should. It's the most important meal of the day."

Sephiroth gave him a mild glare, which was usually enough to get his point across, and said firmly, "I said no."

Cloud looked un-amused. "Oh just shut up and eat it, you big baby. Gods forbid, you might actually like it."

When Sephiroth's jaw fell open in shock at the smaller man's audacity, Cloud took advantage of the fact and shoved the melon in, closing Sephiroth's mouth with a couple of fingers under his chin and pushing up. "You need to chew now, Seph."

Sephiroth mechanically did as he was told and was surprised when the juicy sweet-melon all but melted in his mouth. "Mmm, that is good," He grudgingly admitted, peering curiously at the plate. "Is there another one of those?"

Cloud grinned and picked up another, slightly larger piece of melon and held it up to Sephiroth's lips. Without breaking eye contact, Sephiroth opened his mouth and Cloud placed the fruit over his teeth. "Bite." Cloud breathed, entranced.

Sephiroth again did as he was told, and the melon 'popped' a little and oozed a small amount of juice down his chin. He raised his hand to wipe it away, but Cloud grabbed his wrist and purred, "Allow me."

He shivered and a tiny moan escaped when Cloud leaned forward and slowly licked the trail of juice up his chin to his mouth where Cloud locked them together, the blond's tongue once again pushing its way into his mouth. Their kiss became more devouring just before Cloud pulled back, chewing thoughtfully. "You're right, that is good melon."

Sephiroth was so aroused at that moment; he seriously thought that he would rip his pants. He leaned closer to Cloud so that his mouth was right by the other's ear. "Do you have any idea what you do to me?" He breathed.

Cloud shuddered and, fingers still around Sephiroth's wrist, guided the silver general's hand to between his legs. "If it's anything like what you're doing to me, General, then I have a pretty fucking good idea!" Cloud rasped back into Sephiroth's neck.

Unable to control it, Sephiroth groaned, low in his throat and removed his hand from Cloud's obviously straining and imprisoned erection. He spread his knees further apart, gripped Cloud's firm buttocks and pulled the blonde up against him so that their bodies pressed flush together from chest to groin. "I need to feel you Cloud," Sephiroth grated out. "I need to feel you from the inside." He dragged his tongue along Cloud's jaw, until he rested his lips at the corner of Cloud's mouth. "I'm burning, Cloud." Gods, he could barely talk!

Cloud shuddered again, his hands coming up to bury themselves deeply in Sephiroth's incredible hair as his hips began a slow, mindless thrusting. He bit his lip as he fought to hold back a moan.

"Awww, look who fucked and made up," sneered a slightly raspy voice immediately to their left. "Too fuckin' precious."

Cloud jumped and pushed back away from Sephiroth, face nearly beyond red with embarrassment, looking like he wanted nothing more than to slit his wrists with a broken beer bottle. Upon seeing his new lover's face, Sephiroth's protective mode got 'switched on'. Unfortunately for the population at large, that mode hit the violence button on its way by. Sephiroth slowly turned his head to pin the surly redheaded Turk with an icy stare that did nothing, if not guarantee a very painful death, which would be anything but quick.

"Do you know how many ways I've been trained to kill a man, Reno?" Sephiroth asked calmly, lacing fingers with Cloud's as Genesis, Angeal and Zack became instantly alert. "Though I don't suspect you can count that high, so let me make this simpler for you." When Reno's head whipped around at the insult, Sephiroth leaned in closer and said in a low, dead voice to match his glacial eyes, "One of the reasons they took me off the front line was because I was getting 'creative', and they were finding it harder to justify the violence, and no one was believing the excuses anymore."

To anyone watching it would have looked like two friends sharing a quiet word until the silver general's free hand shot out and wrapped around the Turk's throat causing Angeal and Genesis to leap up, ready to restrain their friend with expletives of "Shit!" from Zack and Genesis and a more demure, but no less alarmed, "Gods!" from Angeal.

Reno swallowed, his teal-colored eyes growing wide with fear. Sephiroth smiled cruelly, hissing, "Since we're all friends here, I'll give you a warning: If you cannot play nice, then go have Tseng change your diaper and refresh your lesson on not commenting on matters that are none of your concern, are we clear? Nod your head." Reno nodded and Sephiroth released his throat with a "good boy."

Suddenly, a silver-haired head popped up right under his nose, rather reminiscent of one of those gophers in the game Whack-A-Mole and Sephiroth very nearly brought his fist down onto that head out of sheer reflex. He jumped back, startled when a pale finger was thrust into his face and Kadaj hissed, "Shut up! If anyone is going to harass the boob, it is me you big jerk."

The teen would have said more except Angeal had wisely decided that now was best the time to cover Kadaj's mouth, murmuring into the youth's ear. "Not a good idea, Kadaj." Then more loudly he said, "Ease off, Seph, Reno's a good kid." Then the big SOLIDER turned to the Turk and said, "It's all right, Reno, but I'd suggest leaving, just to be safe."

Reno sat there, blinking dazedly before he got up and slunk off, Kadaj scurrying off after him. Sephiroth watched him leave, his face expressionless before locking eyes with Angeal, his eyebrows raised. "Mutiny now, Angeal?"

Genesis released the breath that he had been holding in a rush, his voice coming out a little shaky. "He's a right cranky bitch in the morning, isn't he?"

"I wonder what crawled up his ass and died." Zack said, bouncing up on his toes as he tried to see Reno through the people.

"Tonberry," Angeal muttered.

Then they all fell silent as Cloud, still standing in front of Sephiroth, asked the General, "Is it true?"

Sephiroth sighed, suddenly and inexplicably tired. He looked up into Cloud's blue, blue eyes. "I may have embellished it a bit, but yes, it is true." He confessed, "I am a violent man, Cloud, with a temper and possessive tendencies. Do you think you can live with that?" He wasn't going to apologize. It was who he was. He was disciplined, yes, but those tendencies were there, under all the training, and they could be pushed into breaking free of their carefully constructed cage.

He fully expected Cloud to back away and show some emotion; fear, disgust, revulsion, he didn't care; they all amounted to the same thing in the end, which was the main reason he had never taken a regular lover. But what he got instead both surprised him and gave him a fragile hope. Cloud cocked his head to the side and just stood there, regarding Sephiroth calmly, thoughtfully, a little smile playing at his lips.

He was about to ask what Cloud was thinking when the hairs on the back of his neck stood up and the feeling of being watched shivered through his body. He looked up, past Cloud and into the people walking by the bar. Finding nothing, his eyes were drawn to the stairs and he saw, standing on the landing between levels and resting a narrow hip against the banister with hands buried deep in the pockets of a studded leather coat, the owner of a pair of red eyes that stared unblinkingly back at him from out from under an unruly mass of shiny, black hair. Valentine. The ex-Turk stood as though waiting for someone, but his stare was steady and unrelenting, making Sephiroth fight the urge to squirm – something he never did. And there was something frighteningly unnatural about that gaze (aside from the red irises), and he couldn't bring himself to look away.

Angeal, Zack and Genesis became focused on Sephiroth's uncharacteristically unnerved face, so they didn't notice Cloud turning to follow Sephiroth's gaze up to where Vincent stood staring at them. Cloud stared back and Vincent noticed, shifting his ruby stare to Cloud's cerulean one. Cloud frowned and imperceptibly shook his head. Vincent drew his brows together almost in what could be construed as a warning, before ducking his head in a nod of acknowledgment.

When Valentine had broken eye contact, Sephiroth blinked rapidly and shook his head, trying to clear away the fog that had suddenly taken up residence in the optic and memory centers of his brain. When he looked back, mere seconds later, the dark-haired man was gone, making Sephiroth wonder if he had even been there at all in the first place. "Seph? You okay? You're looking a little…well, pale." Zack said, peering at Sephiroth like the General had suddenly grown a third eye. Cloud, too, was looking a little concerned.

He waved them off. "I'm fine. I just thought I saw…something." What was it again?

It was at that moment that they were joined by Cid Highwind and the ShinRa Turk, Rude. The big blonde was dressed in a slightly stained pair of baggy cargo pants and equally frayed t-shirt with a well-worn flannel over-shirt tied around his waist, while the dark-skinned Turk sported a tasteful, athletic jogging suit and obviously expensive sunglasses. With a contented grunt Cid plopped himself down on the barstool that had been vacated by Reno only moments before, and sitting with his back to the bar, propped up on elbows, lit himself a cigarette. Rude remained standing, eyeing the offensive blue-gray smoke as it curled up from Cid's mouth, with barely contained distaste.

Rude's attention turned to Sephiroth. "I just saw my partner."

Sephiroth raised a brow. "And that information is important to me, how?" He replied.

"He was very upset, mumbling something about 'the man's insane' and I believe the other phrase of concern was 'fucking menace to society'."

"Ah," Sephiroth nodded thoughtfully, "Yes, that. Well the man's half right anyway, but I feel I should explain myself. Your partner was in a most foul mood and was…rather insulting to Cloud and myself. I simply pointed that out to him and suggested that perhaps he think before he opens his mouth when in the company of others."

Genesis snorted into his nearly empty coffee up, causing Sephiroth to grind his teeth and hope to whichever god was listening that the redhead would keep his mouth shut.

His expression unchanging, Rude simply nodded his head. "That's understandable. Reno is…grouchy when he doesn't partake of fleshly pleasure."

"That was Reno without sex?" Cloud asked, and then said sympathetically, "Do I feel sorry for you."

Rude shifted his weight as though suddenly uncomfortable, rolled his head on his thick neck and cleared his throat before saying, "Yes, well, one learns patience when around Reno."

"I can imagine he would be a good teacher," Sephiroth replied, automatically leaning forward when Cloud climbed up to sit on the bar behind him, feet propped on the rungs of the barstool to either side of him and elbows propped on his broad shoulders. He picked up the plate of food from where Cloud had set it on the bar, leaned back into the warm body behind him and began absently picking out bits of fruit, occasionally holding a piece of cheese up over his shoulder for Cloud, who was only too willing to allow Sephiroth to feed him.

"I take it your self-appointed quest of making the 'damned mute' speak was a success, Mr. Highwind." Came a deep, cultured voice from a table by the door. Necks craned as everyone either turned around, hopped on toes or peeked around human obstacles to identify the newest addition to their party. Loz was sitting at a table for two, calmly sipping coffee and reading a newspaper. He looked quite dashing in a pinstriped suit and delicate wire-rimmed glasses.

Cid laughed. "Yer damned right it was a success! I didn' jus' make the fucker speak, I made 'im scream!"

Rude snorted…well, rudely and refused to look at Cid while Loz managed an elegant snicker. "You are the picture of tact, Mr. Highwind. It is a small wonder Mr. Rude here didn't break you in half."

"He tried all right, but 'e couldn' break 'ol Cid Highwind." Cid puffed out his chest and winked teasingly at the quiet Turk, "didn't'cha baby?"

"What goes on behind closed doors…" Rude started but Cid waved him silent.

"Aw shuddup baldy and gimme a kiss."


"Well al'right, but'cha know yer gonna more'n make it up t'me later, right?" Cid waggled his eyebrows and Rude refused to dignify it with an answer.

Clearing his throat, Loz fluttered the newspaper before carefully folding it closed and laying it on the table. He picked up his coffee cup and crossed his legs. "I myself had a rather enjoyable encounter with your boss, Mr. Rude." Loz took a drink and said meditatively, "He makes the most delightful sounds when given a proper spanking."

At that Angeal, Genesis and Zack quickly learned what it felt like to force a liquid out through their noses, which was particularly painful for Genesis, while Cloud started coughing on the piece of cheese he had been trying to swallow. Sephiroth thought for sure that he had found the lowest ring of Hell when a piece of sweet melon flew from his nose. Holding a hand up to his insulted appendage, he glared at Loz, who had lost the battle with holding back a grin but was successfully choking back laughter. "I beg your pardon, but was it really necessary to share that?"

Genesis, eyes watering, agreed. "Really, Loz, the mental image is most… unappealing!"

Cid, who had been in the 'closet' with them and therefore kind of knew what to expect, smirked and toasted Loz with the glass of ice water that the bartender had set down in front of Rude before downing half of the contents. Rude scowled as he picked the glass up after Cid relinquished it back to the bar and eyed the half empty contents. He finally sighed and took a careful sip as though expecting to contract something unpleasant from Cid. He eyed Loz humorlessly, "Well, he's your problem now."

That caused a spike of unexpected fear to shoot up Loz's spine. He turned to more fully face the Turk. "And what exactly do you mean by that, if you would be so kind?"

Rude shrugged a shoulder, still eyeballing the water uncertainly. "Mr. Shinra tends to be rather…clingy." He snorted a chuckle. "Indeed, it made working with Reno in the field most inefficient as Rufus was calling all the time and requesting…certain things." Rude winced.

That got Genesis and Zack's attention, but try as they might to get a word out Rude, the Turk only replied that that was between Reno and "Mr. Shinra". Loz just looked thoughtful.

"And will Mr. Shinra be joining us this morning?" Sephiroth asked, eyeing his plate of fruit like it would leap up and gnaw his face off, really wanting another piece of melon, but not sure if he wanted to risk a repeat of what just happened.

Loz took a deep breath before replying, "No, Rufus said he had to get back and I believe I saw him exit with Reno in tow." He frowned.

Rude walked over and patted Loz reassuringly on the shoulder. "Don't worry, Rufus is a one-man's man. I can assure you that it is quite over between him and Reno." That managed to placate Loz, somewhat.

"Well, I'll b'damned, would'ja lookit that?" Cid said jerking his chin towards the stairs.

En masse, the party's heads turned to watch the figures slowly walking down from the landing. Dressed in a dark gray silk button down and tasteful khaki slacks, Yazoo was leaning back towards Vincent who, by contrast, was dressed head to foot in black leather, from his black studded biker boots, up long, well-muscled legs snugly encased in black leather pants to the black t-shirt under the studded and chained black leather jacket, as they had a quiet exchange of words. To Yazoo's other side and slightly behind but clearly with them, walked Tseng, hair slicked back and dressed in an impeccable black suit, he fiddled with a cufflink as his black hawk-like eyes took in everything. Yazoo nodded his head and straightened up, and as the trio neared the bottom of the stairs they made a rather breathtaking, if formidable picture.

"Looks like they made up." Sephiroth muttered.

"What?" Genesis asked, puzzled.

"They were going at it when they came back from the con, I was afraid that I would have to wade into the middle of it."

"Where was I during all of this?" Genesis asked skeptically.

"Drunk and waxing eloquent about how much you don't love Loveless." Sephiroth replied.

"Aaaaaand you didn't interrupt me? I live for that kind of drama, Seph!"

Sephiroth snorted. "Interrupt you? Drunk and when you're on Loveless? I'd rather piss broken glass." He shook his shining silver head. "I know you, Gen. I only need to make that mistake once."

Genesis pouted. "I didn't mean to set your hair on fire, Seph, honest."

"We don't mean to do a lot of things, Gen, and yet we still do them." Sephiroth said wryly.

"Well, you always were too vain about that silver mop." Genesis sniffed defensively.

Sephiroth's eyes widened in incredulity. "Vain? Nice to meet you pot, my name is kettle, you red-headed hypocrite! You're positively feminine in your morning rituals and when we were together, the only reason I ever had hot water to shower with was because you loved to sleep in. 'Preserving your smooth complexion'." Sephiroth 'air-quoted' that last. He was getting wound up and behaving childishly now, he knew that, but vain? "You turned me into a human-fucking-torch, Genesis!"

"Why are you picking on me all of a sudden?" Genesis shot back.

Sephiroth was stunned. "You started it!"

"I most certainly did not!" Genesis declared.

"You most certainly did too!" Sephiroth countered, eyes blazing.

They fell silent, glaring at each other.

Cloud peeked over Sephiroth's shoulder at Zack. "Do they… do this a lot?"

Zack shrugged. "Not really. They used to be a lot worse though, or so I've been told. It was before I was accepted into the SOLDIER program. Back when they were, you know…" he clicked his tongue a couple of times, "…together."

"They were terrible," Angeal confirmed, "they fought like an old married couple."

When the two generals opened their mouths to continue, the younger men sprang into action. Zack flat-out kissed Genesis, silencing the red general, and Cloud wrapped his arms around Sephiroth's head and mouth, whispering in his ear, "Shhh, Seph. Let it go. You're my torch now." And just like that, Sephiroth was defused.

Sephiroth pulled Cloud's arms away from his head gently and angled his body so he could look into Cloud's eyes. "I'd really rather not be a torch at all, Cloud," he said, smiling. Cloud laughed and sat back as Sephiroth turned back around to face his friend, who was looking dazedly content. "I'm sorry, Genesis."'

"Huh?" Genesis shook his head to clear it then, "Yea, me too, Seph I- AH-HAH!" He blurted, pointing suddenly at Sephiroth.

Startled, Sephiroth jumped back on his barstool, knocking his head into an equally surprised Cloud's nose. "Ow." Cloud muttered, rubbing his nose.

"What?" Sephiroth asked, confused. Damn, but he never had gotten used to Genesis's spontaneity.

"I got an apology out of you!" Genesis declared triumphantly.

Sephiroth blinked a few times before his brain caught up with the conversation. He chuckled, "Imagine that."

The hushed murmurings of hotel patrons drew their attention back towards the stairs and the trio that was making its way through the traffic that had increased as the morning had drawn later. The people quickly parted for Yazoo upon seeing his dark-clad, dangerous-looking escorts. The three of them approached the bar where Yazoo nodded a good morning to Loz and actually smiled at Kadaj, who had mysteriously just "appeared" next to Angeal. Tseng walked up to Sephiroth and offered his hand. "I believe I owe you my thanks, General Sephiroth."

Confused and frowning slightly, Sephiroth shook Tseng's hand as he redirected his thoughts away from Genesis. "And what is it that I have done to warrant this unexpected gratitude, Tseng?"

"You have put the fear of the gods in Reno, a task that I have, sadly, been unable to achieve." Tseng said with a sigh, but there was a sparkle to his depthless eyes. "I believe that Reno may be a bit more…amiable to his superiors after this."

Sephiroth chuckled and inclined his head. "Then I am glad that I could be of assistance to you."

As Sephiroth continued to converse with Tseng, Cid sat up and whistled quietly between his teeth as Vincent walked up to him. "Day-am, but yer still th' hottest thing I've ever seen, Vince!" He leaned forward and captured the taller man's hips in his large, rough hands and pulled him up against his groin. "Ya make a man hurt, 'cha know that?"

Blushing faintly, Vincent put his hands on Cid's shoulders and pushed his upper body away from the pilot. "No, Highwind."

"Aw y'break m'heart, Valentine." Cid said morosely, as his hands crept around to cup Vincent's sculpted, firm buttocks.

Vincent jumped and grabbed Cid's hands before they got much further. "I said no, Chief." He shook his obsidian mane and sighed, "And before you try that sad-eyed routine with me, I feel that I need to remind you, that it was you who said that it wouldn't work between us." He finally managed to pry Cid's hands away from his ass and stepped back.

Cid looked both startled and confused. "I did?"

A wry grin turned up the corner of Vincent's lips. "Yes, my absentminded Captain, you did."

"Well damn. Is it too late t'take it back?" Cid asked hopefully.

Vincent rolled his eyes, but the smile remained. "Yes, Cid, it is." He grasped the blonde's chin in a gentle but firm grasp and said, "I've moved on." And angled the blonde's head toward where Yazoo was standing, watching them with his slender arms crossed over his chest and an eyebrow raised. Though outwardly expressionless, the sliver-haired man oozed 'disapproval', and just to his right, in his peripheral vision, Cid could see Tseng staring at him, having paused in his conversation with Sephiroth, who was also watching interestedly.

"Heh, yeah." Cid laughed nervously.

"Don't worry about them, Cid," Vincent murmured with a hint of fondness in his voice, "but it looks as though you too, have moved on, yes?" He looked over at Rude who, though he worked hard not to show it, was clearly displeased with the proximity that Cid held to Vincent's groin.

Cid blushed, glancing at Rude. "Heh, I guess I did." And of course the impossible-to-deter pilot wrapped his arms around Vincent's waist and pulled the gunman into him again, nuzzling his face into Vincent's neck. "Gimme a kiss, Vince, fer old time's sake?"

It was probably a good thing that Cid's head was buried and he couldn't see, because the sight of Yazoo beginning to twitch and Loz readying himself to tackle Yazoo would have unnerved him. But on top of that, Tseng had frozen in place and his eyes had darkened, as his whole bearing turned dangerously stormy so that even the great General Sephiroth sat back in surprised respect.

Vincent noticed though, and with a sigh he eased back out of Cid's embrace, framed the thicker man's face in his gloved hands and looked him in eye. "No, Cid, I'm sorry." He smiled. "We just came over to say that we're taking off, Tseng has to get back to work and Yazoo and I are leaving on my bike." Then he looked up, an appreciative gleam in his scarlet eyes. "And admittedly, I wanted to get a look at who managed to capture your…amorous, attention. So you're the new 'mute', huh?"

At Rude's startled expression, Vincent laughed in that deep, rough voice of his and pulled completely away from Cid – causing a noticeable drop in tension from the expressionlessly combustible and slightly psychotic Yazoo – and walked up to Rude. He didn't make any effort to hide his scrutiny as he eyed the dark-skinned Turk. Finally Vincent smiled and put his hand on the other's shoulder. "I was the last 'mute' he took an interest in. You see Cid is inherently gregarious and I'm afraid highly social." He explained, "He has an affinity for quiet, broody, withdrawn individuals, making it his personal goal in life to 'bring them out of their shell'. Personally, I think he's a hopeless flirt but," Vincent shrugged, "each unto their own I suppose." Then he grew serious and said quietly so that only Rude could hear, "Be patient with him, he's a good man with a huge heart. If you let him, he'll spoil you, and I want to assure you that nothing remains between us."

Rude relaxed and nodded. Then when Vincent returned the nod and went back to stand by Yazoo, leaning down to whisper something into the silver-haired man's ear causing the other to give an eerie giggle, Rude moved to stand next to Cid and put a hand on the blond's shoulder. He didn't even protest when Cid reached around his waist and patted his ass. However when the two moved off into main portion of the hotel lobby, Rude backed up and swatted Cid on the head, hard.

"Ow-ie! Damn baldy, what th'hell was that for?" Cid exclaimed, rubbing his head and glaring at Rude.

"For letting that get away in the first place." Rude said sternly, motioning at Vincent's lean, retreating form.

"I know, I know, but y' live an' y' learn right?" Cid said grinning. "Maybe I kin hang onta you, eh?"

"Huh, we'll see," Rude said, giving the barest of smiles.

"Now I suppose I should give my thanks to you as well then, Mr. Highwind." Tseng said coming up to them, then turned to Rude without giving Cid a chance to respond. "We need to get back, I'll drop you at your apartment on my way to the ShinRa building."

Rude nodded and pulled away from Cid, but not before leaning down to brush a kiss to the corner of Cid's mouth and whispering, "I'll call you."

"Heh." Cid grinned.

As Rude made his way to the front door of the hotel, his bags having been sent back with Reno and Rufus, Tseng leant a moment against the bar where Rude had just vacated. "Yes, Mr. Highwind, thank you indeed. Vincent is a most alluring man," he gestured to where Yazoo and Vincent were standing. "But the most magnificent sight I've seen…" Tseng drained Rude's water then patted Cid's shoulder companionably. "Are those long legs peeled out of those leather pants and wrapped around a sweaty body. Yes, it can bring a man to his knees. In fact it has…several times." With that Tseng went to join his lovers and left Cid feeling very glad he was wearing baggy pants.

"So Tseng, Vincent and Yazoo, huh?" Genesis said appreciatively, pursing his lips. He rolled his head over to look up and back at Sephiroth. "I give them a month."

"Care to wager on that, Gen?" Sephiroth grinned slyly.

Genesis slid his dark glasses down his nose again and peered at his friend. "No way Seph. I've learned not wager with you, you know too much!"

"Being who I am has its benefits." Sephiroth shrugged, "if anyone can handle Tseng and Vincent in the same room, it would be Yazoo."

Genesis cocked his head. "What do you mean 'in the same room'? Do they not get along?"

"They have a history. Vincent was a Turk but…" Sephiroth trailed off and could do nothing to stop his jaw from falling open at what he was seeing.

Genesis furrowed his brows and followed Sephiroth's gaze. "Oh, my." He breathed.

With a captivated audience, Tseng walked right up to Vincent and Yazoo, placed a hand on Vincent's shoulder and whirled him around to face him. Without breaking momentum, Tseng grabbed a fistful of that soft black hair and devoured Vincent's lips with his own. The gunman groaned and leaned into the kiss, battling Tseng's tongue even as one of his gloved hands slid down to aggressively cup and massage the Turk's groin, while the other hand held onto the other man's hip. Tseng's answering moan could be heard clear over at where they were sitting, gaping, and more than a couple of pairs of pants became too tight as they watched Tseng spread his legs to facilitate Vincent's torturous fondle.

Then Yazoo threw gasoline on the fire by coming up behind Vincent and pushing the hair away from the gunman's neck, he began licking and sucking on the revealed flesh. A collective groan went up from them all as Yazoo's slender arms went around Vincent's waist and began unbuttoning the other man's leather pants. Then without a care as to where they were, or who saw them – which were many – Yazoo reached into Vincent's pants, grasped his cock and began stroking it. Vincent broke the kiss with Tseng to let his head fall back onto Yazoo's shoulder, his eyes squeezed shut and his face flushed. His abdominal muscles contracted and he began to push his groin slowly into the hand working his erection. Vincent bit his lower lip as the hand gripping Tseng's hip came up and over his shoulder to fist in Yazoo's smoky-silver hair. Tseng stepped forward, pressing his body against Vincent's, and began to kiss the man's exposed throat, swirling his tongue in lazy circles, nibbling and then sucking. The Turk's arms went around Vincent to cup Yazoo's buttocks, and pull him firmly into an embrace, with Vincent the man in the middle. They were marking Vincent, and making no attempt whatsoever to hide it, so that the message would be absolutely clear. Vincent belonged to them.

Unable to take it any more, Cid and Zack began to wolf-whistle and catcall. "Hey c'mon! Get a room will ya? There are people trying to eat here!" Zack yelled, making Genesis cover his ears and pray for a sudden, swift death.

"Heh, fergit gettin' a room, go back ta th' one ya came from!" Cid contributed. Then when he saw two girls faint and another three run from the area with nosebleeds, he hollered, "Yer traumatizin' th' patrons now! What'cha want em ta go blind?"

That seemed to snap Vincent out of his erotic stupor as they saw him straighten up abruptly, snatch his hand away from Tseng's crotch and bat Yazoo's hands away from his own, before doing up his leathers. He gently pushed Tseng back, and they could easily see the sly grin on the Turk's face, as well as the matching one on Yazoo's, as Vincent stepped out from between them. Then Tseng straightened up, adjusted his tie, said something that they couldn't catch and bowed slightly at the waist before taking a single step back and walking around the two. Vincent nodded, placing a hand, casually, yet possessively, at the base of Yazoo's back while the silver-haired man cocked his head, wearing a serene expression.

"Well, I'm not going to deny that they certainly have chemistry." Genesis said wryly, tugging at his leather pants in order to find a more comfortable position in them, one more conducive to perching on a barstool.

"Mmmm," Sephiroth murmured absently, tilting his head to allow Cloud greater access to his own neck, as the small blond had taken to nuzzling behind his ear.

Suddenly, Genesis' attention was attracted to the wiry, shrewish-looking man wearing a truly tasteless suit and an expression to match, who was wading through people towards them. He shoved right past Vincent and Yazoo, missing them in the ever-increasing press of people and therefore missing Vincent's ugly sneer.

Genesis whapped Sephiroth in the gut, making the silver General give a surprised
"oof", and glare at his friend. "What are you carrying on abo…?" Sephiroth began, rubbing his stomach, but his gaze soon caught up with Genesis'.

"Isn't that the guy…that agent who persuaded us to do this con thing?" The redhead asked acidly.

"Yes," Sephiroth growled, "I'm glad he could make it, I've been wanting to have a word with him."

Slightly breathless, the skinny, frail-looking man halted in front of Sephiroth. His mouth came open to say something when suddenly a hand appeared on his bony shoulder, and Vincent's head came down by the man's ear. "Nighty-night, princess." He hissed and squeezed his fingers over the pressure point in the man's neck. Slowly, the man's beady, watery eyes rolled up and back into his head and he slumped, boneless, into Vincent's arms.

"Oof! This fellow's heavier than he looks!" Vincent said, startled at the man's dead weight. Carefully he dragged his load over to a vacant table and gently settled him in it, and rested his head on the surface.

Sephiroth sighed. "Vincent, I wanted to actually speak with the man." He glowered at the dark-haired gunman.

Vincent returned an identical look. "I suspect we'll be hearing from him soon enough, General. Besides, I think if I had heard his voice right now, I would most decidedly hurt someone." Vincent said mildly, but his eyes blazed with the fires of hell. "He has put me through quite enough." He straightened and wiped his hands on his shirt. "I for one am going to forever block his calls. As it is, he'll be out for at least an hour; I would suggest that we all leave. Unless you like dealing with this kind of thing?"

Sephiroth opened his mouth to reply, but didn't get a chance as Yazoo had come up behind Vincent and wrapped his arms around the other man from behind, purring into the gunman's ear, "Mmmm, you make me hard, Vincent. Take me somewhere and ravish me in public."

Vincent whirled around and shoved Yazoo up against the wall. He growled into the silver-haired man's neck, "How about I dominate you in private?" He smothered Yazoo's hissed "Yes!" with a punishing kiss.

Genesis snorted. "Those two could peel paint off of a wall." And got an answering noise of agreement from Angeal.

Shortly thereafter, Vincent collected and disentangled himself from Yazoo long enough to say his goodbyes and after a meaningful look to Cloud, left the hotel with Yazoo striding purposefully at his side. "Well," Loz grunted, getting to his feet and neatly tucking his folded newspaper under his arm. "I am thoroughly pleased with those two."

"And why would that be?" Sephiroth asked rubbing his suddenly aching eyes, not really caring about the answer, to be truthful.

"I am thankful to be handing over the task of watching Yazoo to someone else, and Vincent can handle him." Loz said softly.

"I can't imagine anyone bein' able t'handle that fruitcake." Cid snorted, shaking his head.

Loz sighed. "While it is true that my cousin is one letter shy of postal, he is a good man. He has just had a rough time growing up, as one can imagine by simply looking at him."

"Cousin?" Angeal asked interestedly. "Then what does that make Kadaj?" He draped a thick arm around the youth tucked up under his shoulder.

Loz nodded. "Yes, on our mother's side – and I do see the irony in that, thank you. Kadaj however is merely a fortunate coincidence."

Angeal nodded and squeezed Kadaj into him as the young man wrapped his lean arms around the older man's waist. The SOLDIER turned to Sephiroth; "I'll have them send a car for you General if you like, as I believe I'll be accompanying Kadaj home for the time being. I will see you at the first of the week?"

Smirking, Sephiroth tilted his head in acknowledgement. "Thank you Angeal, I appreciate that and I will see you bright and early. Perhaps now that you have found your 'fountain of youth', you may be more cheerful in the morning? Or is that too much to hope for?" Sephiroth said, fighting the urge to chuckle.

Angeal made a sour face then grinned. "Yes, well, some things do not change, regardless of age, my dear General." And with a last nod to his friends, departed for his room to pack and arrange for cars to pick them up, joined by Kadaj and followed by Loz and Cid.

"You know, for a man who preaches honor and dreams, you'd think he'd be a little more dedicated…" Genesis mused.

Sephiroth shook his head sadly. "It's getting harder for him, Gen. There have been too many injuries, several of them being my fault." He looked down into his empty juice cup before handing it to Cloud to place back on the bar. "There's an instructor's position in weaponry, opening up at the academy; I'm going to submit his name and my recommendation. I believe he'll do a marvelous job."

Genesis put his hand on his old friend's shoulder. "He's perfect for the position, and they'd be idiots not to offer it to him. But Seph, don't beat yourself up over what happened, they were accidents and accidents happen. We've both told you that."

Sephiroth dipped his head and said, "Yes, you have. But you, Angeal, Zack and now Cloud here, are all that I have in this bitch of a world, Gen. It would utterly destroy me if something happened to any of you."

Genesis reached up and removed his dark glasses to study Sephiroth's face with sad, aquamarine eyes. "I know, and I'm sorry, Seph." He squeezed his friend's shoulder. "I've never been close to my own family, you know that. Hells, they hated the fact that I volunteered for the SOLDIER project, practically disowning me for it. You, Angeal and Zack are my real family, and I would lay down my life for you…and, now it would seem that I must grow accustomed to including your feisty blond friend in that group as well." He grinned and waggled his eyebrows suggestively at Cloud, who blushed, but didn't look away. Genesis nodded in approval.

Zack leaned forward, offering his hand, which Sephiroth clasped. "That goes for me too, Seph." The cheerful Lieutenant said soberly, then a sparkle appeared in his blue eyes. "But I wish you would accept my invitation to join my family for holidays. Mom cooks a mean meal…" He winked.

Sephiroth snorted and shook his head. "Perhaps one day, Zack. But if any of your family is like you, which I have a sinking feeling that they are, then I do not know how long I could stand be in your home."

Zack threw his head back and laughed. "I love you too, General Fluffy, and yes. They are all like me, especially my dad…taught me everything I know."

Sephiroth scowled. "Perish that thought…tell me, Zack, do you have any siblings?"

Zack's laugher trailed off and he looked puzzled. "Yeah, a brother and two sisters, why?"

Without warning, Sephiroth leapt off of his barstool and clamped Zack into a headlock, delivering a sound nuggie. "They shouldn't miss you then."

"Oi!" Zack yelped, trying to squirm out of the silver general's iron grip. "What is with you guys and the head rubbing?"

Genesis's delighted laughter rang throughout the bar, making a few heads turns to stare inquisitively. "Oh, darling, I'm afraid we can't help it. You just make it too easy! Something about that hair, those eyes and that confoundedly persistent cheerful attitude."

"So, you're saying that if I get all broody like Cloud, then you'll leave me alone?" Zack croaked hopefully.

"Hey!" Cloud said sitting up and putting his hands on his narrow hips, glaring at Zack, "I said that I'd do better."

"You did, Cloud." Sephiroth acknowledged, then leaned down to purr into Zack's ear, "and no, Zack, that would just make us worse."

"Awww, man, I don't get it!" Zack whined, and then tried something new. He went limp in Sephiroth's arms. Sure, he choked himself in the process, but he got the desired effect. Better even, when with a surprised exclamation, Sephiroth went down too, sprawling on the ground next to Zack. "Ah-hah! Gotcha!" he shouted delightedly and proceeded to sit on Sephiroth's chest. "Beat that one, General!"

Genesis groaned, covering his face with a hand. "Oh, Zack…"

"Huh? Ack!" Zack asked, but was startled when, with a surprising show of flexibility, Sephiroth had curled his spine up to wrap his long legs around Zack's neck to pull the younger man back, and with a twist of hips, onto his stomach. With a smirk, Sephiroth came to rest, in one fluid move, in the middle of Zack's back, having captured an arm and twisted it up behind the younger man's back.

"And that is why I am the General and you are the Lieutenant, Mr. Fair." Sephiroth said smugly.

Zack let loose his breath in an abrupt puff of air and futilely bucked his hips up, trying to dislodge Sephiroth. "Okay, okay, you great lout, you've made your point! Now get…off!"

With a chuckle, Sephiroth rose gracefully to his feet and offered Zack his hand to help the younger man up. Zack eyed the offered hand as though to accept would be to subject himself to further humiliation. Sephiroth rolled his eyes. "Oh take it, you dunce."

Zack scowled and took the proffered hand, but his expression changed into one of touched surprised when Sephiroth pulled him right up off of the ground and into a strong embrace. On reflex, Zack wrapped his arms around Sephiroth's waist and leaned into the older man when Sephiroth whispered, "I need you, Zack, just as much as the others." Sephiroth paused, and then murmured more teasingly, his lips resting against Zack's temple, "If we didn't have you, any chance of a sense of humor would have died a long, long time ago. Do you understand?"

Zack shut his eyes and nodded. "Yeah, Seph, I do." He squeezed mightily once, and then released the silver general, backing up to stand beside Genesis, his great blue eyes shining suspiciously.

Sephiroth raised an eyebrow and Zack grinned lopsidedly and shrugged. "So will you two be riding back with me?" He asked.

Genesis shook his head. "No. I've already spoken with Angeal and let him know that Zack drove separately and that I'm riding back with him…eventually." He jerked his eyebrows up a couple of times and snuck his arm around Zack's waist.

Sephiroth snorted. "Understood. Take your time. I'll see you the first of the week."

The odd couple nodded, then turned and slowly made their way back to their rooms to pack their things. The sight of Zack leaning in to whisper something in Genesis's ear and the redhead throwing his head back to send out his ringing, merry laughter again, made Sephiroth's heart clench briefly in his chest.

"You look so sad. Why?" Cloud asked coming over to stand close by Sephiroth's side.

"I'm sad because I love them so much, Cloud." He said absently, then looked down at the blond and smiled wistfully, touching Cloud's cheek. "And despite this atrocious experience, I have spent some good time with those whom I care for the most in this world. And even as I reaffirm my affections, I have to say goodbye again, for Genesis is scheduled to leave for the front at the beginning of the week."

"Oh Seph, I'm sorry," Cloud said wrapping his arms around Sephiroth's waist. "Who gave him the orders?"

"I did."

"What?" Cloud pulled back, startled.

Sephiroth pinched Cloud's chin between thumb and forefinger. "I'm a General first, Cloud, and I rank higher than Genesis. It's my duty to place troops, and Genesis is a powerful icon and warrior. He's vital to morale and he gets things done." Sephiroth sighed and looked back at the stairs where his friends had disappeared. "As a field General, he's my eyes and ears on the front. I need him."

Cloud could feel the tension in Sephiroth's body and knew what was left unsaid. Every time he had to deploy Genesis, Sephiroth had to deal with the fact that the dramatic redhead might not come back… "…and it eats away at you." Cloud whispered the end of his thoughts.

Sephiroth nodded. "It would appear that you do understand after all."

"He'll come back."

"Of course, Cloud. He will..." Sephiroth replied distantly, but his voice held none of the conviction that Cloud's did. Then he looked down at the young man by his side. He ran his fingers through the persistent, soft and wildly erratic spikes and smiled. "Will you come back with me, Cloud?"

The blond swung his gaze back to Sephiroth's and he chewed on his lower lip. "I dunno, General, my bike is here…"

"I'll have someone retrieve it for you."

"I…" Cloud was dubious, but when he really looked at Sephiroth's expression, he saw the subtle pleading there. "…yes. Yes, I'll come back with you." And, truthfully, he wanted to.

Sephiroth's body suddenly relaxed, and he was surprised at how tight his muscles had been. "Good. Then, if you would, go and retrieve your things and meet me back down here in the lobby. I'll begin making arrangements for your bike."

Cloud nodded, and retreated up the stairs while Sephiroth went in search of management to inform them that someone other than Cloud would be retrieving Fenrir from the parking area. It took a little bit of time to run someone down that Sephiroth deemed competent enough to leave instructions with, and by the time he made it back out into the lobby, Cloud was already waiting for him with his suitcase at his feet. "We're the last ones to leave, Seph. Genesis and Zack left not five minutes ago and Angeal and Kadaj were coming down the stairs as I was going up."

Sephiroth nodded and opened his mouth to speak but was interrupted before he could say anything. "Are you ready, General, sir?" He turned his head and saw an MP dressed in plain clothes by means of a suit and tie. The man came up to Sephiroth and saluted smartly.

Sephiroth half-heartedly returned the salute and said, "At ease, soldier. This man here is returning with me. Please see that his bag is stowed."

"Sir!" Without another glance, the MP grabbed Cloud's large duffel and carried it swiftly to the car, packing it away in the trunk of the dark sedan that was parked in front of the doors.

Cloud watched the proceedings with raised eyebrows. "Nice." He said, turning back to look at the silver general, impressed.

Sephiroth snorted. "I expect efficiency without questions." Was all he said by way of reply. Then he sighed and said, "I'll be a moment collecting my things. Would you be so kind as to wait for me out by the vehicle?"

Cloud laughed, a quiet but infectious sound that inadvertently had Sephiroth smiling. "So serious. Sephiroth, the great and fearless General, we have got to get you to loosen up." And without waiting for Sephiroth's reply, went to await the return of his new lover.

Sephiroth made quick work of stuffing his belongings into his duffel, unusual for him as he was particularly picky about neatness, but he wanted to get back to Cloud. That and he could care less about the cursed leather monstrosity that had passed as his 'costume'. With a sigh, he shut the door to his room, slung his duffel over his shoulder, and returned back down to the lobby. He paused at the front doors to turn around and look back, a small smile persisting at his lips as he thought of how his life had begun a new, and hopefully better, chapter in this very place. He shook his head and headed out into the bright sun, squinting as his sensitive eyes took a moment to adjust. His small smile turned into a wide grin as he saw Cloud, leaning against the sedan, arms and ankles crossed, eyes heavy lidded and a suggestive smile curving his lips invitingly. Oh, yes, a much better chapter, he thought as he felt his body begin to harden in anticipation.

"Take your bag, sir?" The MP had come up beside him and without waiting for Sephiroth to hand it to him, took it and walked it to the back of the running vehicle, and carefully packed it away before shutting the trunk and walking to driver's door and climbing in.

Sephiroth strode up to Cloud and pulled the slight blond to him with his hands on Cloud's hips. He gave in to temptation and soundly kissed the smaller man before pulling away to open the door for Cloud.

"What, your driver wont open the door for you?" he asked teasingly.

Sephiroth snorted. "Please, Cloud. I'm a General, not an incompetent."

"Not Rufus Shinra, you mean," Cloud poked back.

Sephiroth laughed outright. "Or Rufus Shinra," he agreed, playfully shoving the blond into the car and climbing in after him.

After the two were settled comfortably, the car slowly pulled away from the hotel of mixed fortunes. They had been driving for about five minutes, with Sephiroth thoroughly lost to thoughts of just what he wanted to do to Cloud when he got him home, when his cell phone rang. What? He frowned. He wasn't expecting any calls, and he had been firm in his instructions to his secretary to hold all non-essential military business until he got back to his office.

He pulled out his phone and without checking the number, flipped it open. "Sephiroth," he answered brusquely.

He froze, back going straight and stiff when he heard the voice on the other end of the line. "How did you get this number?" Sephiroth asked sternly.

Cloud peered at him curiously, eyebrows going up when Sephiroth groaned and began rubbing his forehead with his fingers – a habit he had picked up when he became agitated – "Oh he did, did he?" A pause then, "Look, I don't think…"

Sephiroth closed his eyes, feeling despair tug at his soul. "Yes, but…" He couldn't keep the disbelief out of his voice. "He's calling in his favor? No…no, I…of course I'll honor it…it's just that the timing…yes, I know where that is…" He let his head fall back against the seat and he stared at the roof of the car, "…look, would you just please calm…yes-no! No-no-no! Alone, please…okay…all right…yes, I can do that…goodbye."

Sephiroth groaned and moodily tossed the phone into the front passenger seat of the car. He placed both hands over his face and scrubbed roughly, growling as he glared out the window.

It looked as though things weren't over yet.


End Note: Holy hoppin' hell I'm done! *sits in front of computer, stunned*. What a ride: a human Sephiroth, seme Cloud, sexually aggressive Vincent…a drunk and hung over Genesis. I almost hate to say goodbye! Maybe I won't…the future ain't set in stone after all *contented sigh*. Oh, and uh…did you catch the Goonies nod? *waggles eyebrows* So, at the end of all the mayhem, I humbly thank you for joining me on this rather … odd … journey, and I sincerely hope your vision returns quickly XD.

(06/30/2012) – I would like to take a moment here to extend deep, heartfelt thank you's to all those who have read and enjoyed these stories. Your comments were greatly appreciated and provided much-needed encouragement to finish this fourth story. Remember, it's not the writers that make the fandom, it's the readers. Without you guys we'd just be blowing a bunch of hot air. So never, ever doubt your importance to the writers out there like myself, and so many others, that strive to add another layer of depth to what we love most. 3