A/N: Been awhile, no? Forgive me. Have this peace offering. Just wanted to wish you guys happy holidays and let you know I'm not dead yet, lol.
"Order up, Golden Boy!"
The boisterous call was nothing unusual to him. Still, Cloud Strife found himself straightening from his reclined position over the counter to glance over his shoulder and scowl at the offender.
"Reno," he said, clearly annoyed as he grabbed the plate of food off the counter, "how many times have I told you not to call me that?"
A redheaded male with sly green eyes leaned out the chef's window and grinned cheekily. "Probably about as many times as I've told you to make me," he replied honestly.
"Asshole," the blond muttered.
"Love you too! Now stop stalling and move that cute little ass of yours to go serve our customers!"
The blond winced, his hands clenching over the plate as he brought one hand down to self-consciously fix his attire. The things he did for money, he thought bitterly.
Zack had better appreciate this.
Poise and grace, Strife, he thought firmly. Poise and grace.
As if a transformation had occurred Cloud straightened from his slouch, head up and eyes facing forward with a confident smile on his face as he strode forward, the clack clack of his shoes echoing in the cafe.
Men and women alike stopped what they were doing to look in his direction and he could feel the heat of a blush trying to force its way onto his face as low murmurs and catcalls met his approaching figure but he firmly tamped down on the urge.
Poise and grace, Strife, he reminded himself fiercely as he made his way to the table to deliver the order.
The dark haired male at the table currently grinning at him was a familiar face. Still, he managed to plant a pleasant if slightly stiff smile on his face as he distributed the man his food from the platter quickly and efficiently.
He had no intention of enduring any more teasing than was necessary.
"There you are, sir," he said pretending to ignore the appreciative looks the other man was sending him, "Enjoy your meal!" he said, making as if to scurry away to his next table.
A warm hand latched onto his wrist startling him into a small squeak. Cloud looked back at the table only to see laughing blue eyes and a friendly grin.
The low burn that had crept into his cheeks instantly began to mercilessly spread to his pale ears and neck. Cloud wanted to groan but forced himself to return the blatant stare on the dark haired male's face. He cleared his throat. "How can I help you, sir?" he said with stiff courtesy.
Cobalt blue eyes lit with amusement gave him a very thorough inspection. The grin on his 'customer's' face made his eye twitch in wariness, as he knew this man outside of the cafe and could imagine all the things the other male wanted, or rather would be saying to him about this.
"You can relax, for starters," the other male's deep voice singsonged. "And what's with the sir stuff? You know it's Zack."
"Sir, I'm not supposed to-"
"Zack. Za-ck. Say it with me now. Za-ck."
Blond brows furrowed in irritation. The previously shy stance Cloud had adopted was long forgotten as he glared at the male before him. "I'm not supposed to-"
"Be so darn cute?"
"No," the blond growled, gritting his teeth in annoyance. "I'm not supposed to-"
"Act like a stranger around your friends?"
That was it. Cloud puffed out his reddened cheeks in annoyance, his nose wrinkled as he slapped Zack's hand away from his wrist. "Zaaaack," he groaned as he began to restlessly shift his feet.
"There we go! Now was that so hard?" Zack Fair gave his blond friend a distinctly triumphant grin, his dark blue eyes dancing with mirth.
Cloud pouted as he crossed his arms. "You promised me that you wouldn't do this! And yet here you are," he hissed. He had the strangest urge to stamp his foot like a child but he refrained and settled on glaring at his friend, who didn't look the slightest bit repentant for his actions.
"But, Cloud," Zack whined, his eyes widening with innocence as he rose from his seat and abruptly latched onto the shorter male. "I missed you," he mumbled into soft blond spikes.
The sudden hug made Cloud's flush even more noticeable and the already warm air in the cafe seemed to become almost uncomfortable. The blond grunted and grudgingly accepted the hug but after a moment he sighed in contentment and a small smile broke out over his face as he nuzzled into the broad chest he was curled against.
Unnoticed to them, several of the customers were awwing and cheering the two of them on.
Out of their view however, Zack's hands that had settled on Cloud's waist had migrated. A light chuckle vibrated the chest against his face and Cloud gasped as a very rough hand smoothed over his backside.
"Are those tights and girl panties?" came Zack's amused voice, and Cloud groaned in embarrassment.
"Stockings," the blond corrected as he shivered under the light touch. "And Reno made me," he groused. The curious fingers brushing over the patch of skin exposed between the line of the stockings and underwear paused for a moment.
"Remind me to thank him," Zack said with a grin as he began to resume his strokes.
"You can thank me by taking your boyfriend home and not molesting him in front of my paying customers," Reno's slick voice came sounding far too amused for Cloud's comfort. "But then again," the redhead mused aloud as both men turned their heads to see his green eyes giving them a look of blatant approval. "Some of them liked the show a lot. Most of the regular waitresses don't even get us as much business."
Cloud sputtered even as Zack gave a loud laugh, his face leaning down to give Cloud a quick kiss.
"Best cafe maid ever," Zack said smugly as he began leading his boyfriend away.
"Zaaack," Cloud whined again, giving Reno a helpless look.
"Don't worry, blondie," the redhead called out, "you did more than good so I'll keep my end of the deal," he said with a wink and a wave as he turned to walk away.
"Deal?" Zack asked, sounding only half interested as he steered Cloud out of the warm atmosphere of the maid cafe Cloud had found temporary employment at.
"It's none of your business," Cloud said sulkily. The coolness of the night air in his short black maid dress complete with black fishnet and red heels didn't do much in the way of protection either.
Zack, catching the reaction gave his blond boyfriend an open leer. "How about we go home and see about warming you up little lady?" he asked with a crooked grin.
Only Zack, Cloud thought and felt himself smile bashfully in return.
"No way! Bu-wha-how did you-?"
"Merry Christmas, Zack."
"Is..is that why you were…?"
"But Reno's a cheapskate! He could never pay you enough to get this!"
"Zack. Did you honestly think I was dressed like that for my own enjoyment?"