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Fic: The Mission (18): Infiltration
Sephiroth
ardwynna_m
Title: The Mission (18): Infiltration
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core
Characters: Angeal/Zack, Genesis/Sephiroth/Cloud
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 2724
The Mission: Prequel | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24



“No! No! No!” Genesis shouted into the phone. “You sent me the caramel when I very clearly ordered sapodilla! No, it’s not the same!”

“Um…” Zack froze in the doorway, brand new keycard still in hand.

“Hi, Zack,” Cloud called from the pile of pillows and blankets that was serving as temporary seating. “I got cupcakes. You want?”

“Hell, yeah!” Zack sidestepped past Genesis, nerves forgotten, and bellyflopped into place. “Chocolate?”

“Red velvet,” Cloud said, passing the tray. “Gen’s way of saying sorry for the couch being wrecked.”

“But that was Angeal’s fault.”

“Shh!” Cloud elbowed him. “You want cupcakes or not?”

“Oh.” Zack grinned and licked the creamy frosting off his cupcake with relish. “Whatcha watching?”

“Nothing, really,” Cloud said, and Zack did not miss the pointed look up at Genesis. He smirked and took the remote from Cloud, flipping channels with one eye on the pacing General.

“I have it here in black and white, one pair of mahogany end-tables, dark finish with sapodilla trim!”

Zack ducked his head low. “He’s arguing about the trim?”

“Shh.” Cloud sucked the raspberry gummi candy off the top of another cupcake. “Don’t break his stride.”

Genesis whirled around. “Do you want me to fax you my copy of the invoice? I can do that! No, don’t tell me you’re out of the sapodilla now, I custom-ordered it and paid extra for the rush delivery!”

“What color is sapodilla?” Zack whispered.

“Kind of a light golden-brown, I think.”

“Oh.” Zack frowned. “How’s that’s different from caramel?”

Cloud shrugged. “Beats me, but it’s Gen’s place and Gen’s money.”

“Guess so,” Zack muttered, reaching for another cupcake “But it seems like a lot of trouble for a pair of end-tables if you ask me.”

“That’s Gen for you.” Cloud noticed Genesis frowning down at them while he listened to the poor sod on the other end of the line. “Shoot, find something to watch!”

“Foo’ball okay?” Zack asked.

“Sure,” Cloud mumbled. “Don’t talk with your mou’ full.”

“Hey!” Zack swallowed. “What were you just doing, oh, Mother dear?”

“I’m younger than you. I can get away with it.” Cloud stuck his cupcake-coated tongue out for emphasis.

“EWW!” Zack recoiled and buried his head under a pillow in self-defence. “That is disgusting! What are you, twelve?”

“If I was, I’d still be more mature than you.” Cloud took another cupcake and nibbled at it daintily.

“No fair,” Zack whined, wriggling around as he crumpled his cupcake paper. “You can’t have it both ways!”

Cloud hit Zack with the heavy-lidded look that still took the young SOLDIER by surprise. “I can have it any way I want.” Cloud curled his tongue around the raspberry candy topping, sucking it slowly into his mouth. He parted his lips to reveal it, red and glistening between his teeth, before slithering down under the covers. Zack stared after him, mouth suddenly dry.

Genesis sighed contentedly from across the room. “Almost makes up for being put on hold.” Zack blushed hard. The smirk that prompted from Genesis only made Zack turn redder. “Better go down there after him, Zack,” Genesis encouraged, waggling his eyebrows. “There’s no telling what kind of trouble he’ll get into in that mood.”

Zack looked askance at Genesis. “I think you know exactly what kind of trouble he’ll get into,” he said, but he lifted the comforter and dove down after Cloud anyway. Genesis leaned back against the wall, smiling to himself.

There was a sudden knock at the door. “It’s me,” Angeal said, nudging the door open with one foot. He walked in laden with grocery bags and took a look at the giggling down-filled pile on the floor. “Uh, do I want to know?”

“Half-time entertainment,” Genesis replied, frowning the instant he realized his voice was warmer than he wanted it to be. Luckily the terrifyingly cute on-hold music stopped, rescuing him from actually having to talk to Angeal.

Angeal sighed. “Puppy,” he called. “You in there?”

Zack yipped from under the covers and wriggled around until his head stuck out. Cloud appeared next to him, bundled up with only his wide eyes showing. They were an interesting shade of blue.

“Angeal? Zack called. “You wanted something?”

Angeal shook himself back to alertness. “I’m going to make dinner.”

“Uh…” Zack scratched the back of his head. “I’m not really hungry.”

Angeal nearly dropped the groceries. “Are you sick?”

“No.” Zack tried to smile broadly and brightly and keep the hysteria out of his voice. “I kinda already ate.” Cloud sank back down into the blankets, completely out of sight.

“What did you eat?” Angeal knew he wasn’t going to like the answer.

“Um, cupcakes,” Zack said.

“Cupcakes,” Angeal repeated.

“Red velvet cupcakes,” Cloud piped up from under the covers.

Angeal held back a sigh. “How many?”

“Um,” Zack scratched his head again. He inched closer to the Cloud-lump in the blanket, seeking support in touch.

“A dozen,” Genesis said, snapping the phone shut.

Angeal’s knees gave out and he fell sideways into the wall. “Each?”

“No, not each.” Genesis sneered. “Cloud probably had most of them.”

Angeal knew better than to lecture Genesis at the moment so he turned his attentions to the boys on the floor. “You know the rules, Zack. Pigging out on junk food does not get you out of eating a proper meal. I’m making stew and you’re eating it.” He picked up his groceries and made for the kitchen, adding as an afterthought over his shoulder, “That goes for you too, Cloud.”

“Yes, Sir,” said the lump on the floor. Angeal nodded, satisfied. No sense letting the other two wreck the boy’s health with their odd eating habits.

Zack watched Angeal go and ducked back under the covers to curl up with Cloud. “You got room for stew?”

Cloud’s mouth puckered. “I don’t know. Maybe if it’s really good stew.”

Zack grinned. “We’re in luck. Angeal’s stew is awesome!”

Cloud looked uncertain. “What kind of stew?”

“Lamb and veggies, usually.” Zack noted Cloud’s downcast expression and the slight greenish tint to his face. Well, it looked like Angeal was right about this kind of thing after all. “Hey, don’t worry about it.” He reached out to rub Cloud’s arm. “Angeal can chop fast but he likes to really slow-cook his stew. It’ll take at least two hours. You’ll be ready to eat a little by dinner time, right?”

Cloud smiled slightly. “Yeah, I can do that. Snack time just makes up for lunchtime in the cafeteria. I’ll be okay.” He rolled over, looking a little uncomfortable. “I might just have to lie here a while though.”

Zack bent down and kissed Cloud’s forehead. “I’m right here.” Cloud smiled.

-.-.-

Angeal was dicing carrots when Genesis went in to not check on him. Genesis had never even come close to mastering the art of nonchalantly ignoring Angeal, could never not be aware of his childhood friend. There was a stiffness in Genesis’s limbs and little more flourish than normal to his movements. Angeal took note and waited.

Genesis said nothing, of course, pretending that he was outrageously thirsty as an excuse to linger in the kitchen with a tall drink of water. Angeal cleared the cutting board into a waiting bowl and started on another carrot. If he wanted to talk he knew he would have to make the first move.

“Looks like you got the walls repaired quickly,” he said, slicing gently so the knife would make only the slightest click against the cutting board.

“I talked to Chevy in maintenance,” Genesis said half into his glass. “They handle all the SOLDIER collateral damage in the building anyway.”

“They did a great job.”

“I did the painting,” Genesis put in, eyes on Angeal for the reaction.

Angeal looked up with a small smile. “Looks neat,” he said and kept on dicing. Genesis frowned and hid behind the fridge door, pretending to search it. Angeal figured that Genesis had probably wanted a little more shock and awe. Too bad. Angeal knew better than to break out the full-scale grovelling right away. Genesis would get a swelled head and be utterly insufferable if given his way in everything.

Genesis straightened suddenly, as if sensing thoughts about him in the ether. Some distant, almost haunted expression flickered across his face. He shut the fridge door and grabbed a knife. Angeal looked up. “Gen?”

Genesis pulled out a chair and set himself down. “Pass me a potato.” Angeal did, but not without an appraising look. Genesis knew how to peel potatoes well enough – they had all been rookies once – but household duties were low on his list of priorities. Genesis got right down to business without a word. Angeal had to appreciate the skill.

“I think you’ve gotten better at this,” Angeal said.

“Practice,” Genesis said, for once not preening under praise.

Angeal’s knife thunked on the cutting board and two carrot cubes tumbled off onto his lap. “You mean it’s not just pancakes you make?”

Genesis shrugged and nibbled at a dry spot on his lower lip. “Cloud needs to eat. He doesn’t like the places I order from.”

Angeal smirked. “That’s sensible. Eating food like that all the time will kill you.”

“I burn it off,” Genesis said, brushing hair out his eyes with the back of one hand. “Besides, fatty sauces make me feel good.”

Angeal had to give him that. Everyone had a different taste of home. “You do cook balanced meals for him, right?”

“Yes, Angeal, we make sure he eats his vegetables.” Genesis rolled his eyes. “We serve a salad with every meal and make sure he gets a glass of milk in the morning.”

“Hmm,” was all Angeal could say. He… had not expected that, to be honest. Neither Sephiroth nor Genesis had ever seemed inclined to take proper care of a goldfish. Maybe having their self-appointed mother-hen leave them be for a stretch was just what they needed to start picking up after themselves properly. Angeal chuckled.

“What’s so funny?” Genesis wanted to know.

“I’m wondering where cupcakes fit into your food pyramid.”

Genesis snorted. “The whole bottom row, obviously. The next tier up is chicken wings with blue cheese dressing.” Angeal made to say something but Genesis cut him off. “I don’t let him eat like that every day. It was special circumstances.”

“Oh?” Angeal started on the peas, sampling a few fresh from the pod. “What would those circumstances be?”

“Our fucking couch is wrecked,” Genesis said, “so we had no couch to fuck on.” Angeal choked. Genesis smirked.

Angeal refused to pound his chest, shaking his head vigorously till the sensation passed. He took a few deep breaths and began slicing studiously. “I suppose you got your money’s worth out of that couch after all.”

“Don’t be jealous just because you’re too big for it.”

“I’m not jealous.”

“No,” Genesis said, sounding tired, “I don’t suppose you ever are.” There was more there and Angeal wanted to know it, but he knew when a topic was done with Genesis too. At least they had talked about something.

Angeal rose, ready to start on the meat. It had been sitting in a bowl, drenched in a homemade spice marinade, his mother’s recipe. Time for braising. “Is the furniture shopping going well?”

Genesis groaned and stared at the ceiling. “Well enough.”

“Costing you an arm and a leg, is it?”

“Something should.” Genesis tapped one foot. “We’re never home long enough to really spend anything.” He brought the vegetables over to the giant stew pot and stared hard at what Angeal was doing. That was new. Angeal angled away to give Genesis a better view.

“Doesn’t mean you have to blow it all in one place, Gen.” Angeal knew in his head that money wasn’t a problem at their rank, and had never been a problem for Genesis at all, but a man’s upbringing had a way of sticking to him. “Does it really make sense to spend that much on things SOLDIERs might just break anyway?”

“The idea was that if we have nice things we might take better care of them, Angeal,” Genesis said. “It was working just fine until recently.” Angeal cringed inside before registering the surprising lack of fire. Maybe Genesis was cooling. He could always steam back up again before the end, but once he actually got there all was usually well.

“It’s sensible,” Angeal allowed. He could not let the silence stretch out too long. “You be kind to your things, they’ll be kind to you, or so my mother says.”

“How is Gillian?” Genesis asked.

“Same as ever, thanks.” Angeal knew better than to bother asking about Genesis’s parents. “Gen?”

“Yes?”

“Things… are being kind to you, right?” Angeal held his breath waiting for the answer.

“I don’t have things anymore, Angeal,” Genesis replied in a rare fit of the obtuse. “You cut them all up, remember?”

“Not all of them,” Angeal tried again but then light flooded the hallway and someone entered the apartment.

“Sephiroth!” Cloud’s voice carried into the kitchen. “You’re home!”

“Yes, Cloud,” they heard Sephiroth say, and both headed out to greet him, Angeal with spoon in hand.

They found Sephiroth standing in the entrance with a blond boy hanging around his neck. “Let me get my boots off first, Cloud,” Sephiroth was saying.

Cloud dropped to the floor. “Sorry. I’m just glad you’re back.” Sephiroth smiled with his eyes through silver bangs, though he was clearly tired.

“How’d it go?” Genesis asked, leaning in the kitchen doorway, completely blocking Angeal’s exit.

“The sea serpent was no trouble,” Sephiroth said, staring off at some indeterminable point in the distance. “But there was PR afterwards.”

Everyone grimaced and Cloud reached out to give Sephiroth a small backrub. “Threw you to the wolves, did they?” Genesis said, shaking his head. “They really should just let me do it. The camera loves me.”

“Not half as much as you love it,” Angeal muttered. Genesis pretended not to hear. Angeal took it as a good sign.

Genesis watched Cloud practically climb his way up into Sephiroth’s arms. “Let’s go finish dinner, Angeal,” he said, turning away. “These two could do with some alone time and you’ve got a pot on the stove.”

Angeal was a little more reluctant to let the couple get out of sight. He stood in the doorway, watching as Sephiroth walked into the livingroom with Cloud wrapped around him like a hungry squid. Sephiroth was clearly tired, it was written all over his face, but he spared a kind word for the puppy shyly burrowing under the pillows before slumping into his chair. The blond boy settled into Sephiroth’s lap with no trouble, bouncing a little, probably from all the sugar.

“Sir?” Zack asked, emerging from the pillows. “Would you like the remote?”

“No,” Sephiroth said. Angeal nearly dropped his spoon. He watched as Cloud snuggled in against Sephiroth, eyes even brighter than before. Sephiroth’s soft gaze would stay with Angeal a long time.

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That was so sweet! I love Genesis arguing about the colour of the trim.

Thanks! Gen wishes he could make the other two see what a difference those little details make.

I love the little domestic bits you've thrown into this story. It's all so adorable and gives a chance to indulge in their personalities, how they interact with each other. I like how they're getting closer together after the big disruption...possibly with a chance of the three generals sorting out how they drifted apart to begin with.

Loved this. <3

Off-duty interaction is some of my favorite material to write. They needed more moments like this. ;D

Awww, this whole chapter was so domestic. Everyone acted like they were a big family: there's Daddy!Seph, Mommy!Gen, Mommy!Angeal, kid!Zack and baby!Cloud. XDDD

I always thought Gen was like the pervy older cousin who taught you dirty things your parents didn't want you knowing yet. ;p

Your Genesis is simply incredible – arguing about the shades of the furniture colors important thing to anybody having thing to decorate) and learning to cook to supply his young lover with healthy food.
And cute Cloud – clinging to Seph and trying to soothe him.

Tell me about it, took me a year and half to get the right shade of paint for my bedroom.

Seph and Gen have both been watching a lot of the Cooking channel since the steak incident. ;)

YAAAAAY - update! Fantastic start of another week ;o)

Your stories are made of awesome! I love the domestic atmosphere to the last bit. I was also pleasantly surprised that Genesis would actally pay attention to healthy food and take interest in cooking. And Sephy apparently too. It´s so cute how Cloud climbs all over him, how he wants to offer comfort to his lover.

Genesis is fantastic, the furniture ordering part was fun to watch. I wouldn´t want to be the poor sod on the other end of line to argue with Gengen about what was it... sapodilla colour XD
I hope he and Angeal will settle things in the end. I can feel both of them want that, badly ;o)

And Zack is the cutest little pup under all that pile of pillows ::hugs::

Thank you for this lovely chapter!!

Thanks! Seph and Gen have been trying to improve their cooking for a while. They've finally got the knack of not leaving things on the stove to singe. Most of the time. It's okay because Cloud will cuddle them anyway.

Angeal hurt Gen more than he realizes so they need a serious talk, but Genesis can't stay mad at his first love forever. They'll figure it out eventually.

The puppy has a lot more mischief to get into. ;D

Awwww, how cute! I loved the description of Cloud wrapped around Sephiroth like a hungry squid. XD

One day Seph will sit Cloud down and take a count of how many arms and legs there are, because it's hard to tell when he's all over like that. ;D

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