Fic: AC 4-5
For the first time in a long time, Cloud woke up warm.
Down right toasty, in fact.
It helped that he had bodies on three sides. Aeris was stretched out back to back with him, and he really couldn’t figure out just how she took up so much space, because she wasn’t really that big. Curled against his front was Zack, arms pulling him tight against the dark headed man. And draped over all of them was Sephiroth, who was currently impersonating a blanket, and had managed to lay on all three of them at once.
This was something Cloud could get used to. Would get used to, because he had them back, and nothing was going to take them away again.
The warmth, as well as the delicious ache that spread through most his body, meant it took a bit for Cloud to realize that something was off.
Not with the situation in bed. That was perfectly fine, and he was looking forward to repeating it. Something that was outside. He could hear the faintest of noises, words. It sounded like people.
Cloud did, in fact, live in the remnants of the city. Had his own house and everything, though he tended to stay in the guest rooms at Tifa’s because being alone was just too much at times. So he was used to the sound of people moving about. This was different. The people weren’t moving. He kept hearing the same voices raised up in some type of cry, though his sleepy brain wasn’t deciphering what the words were. Slowly, though, he found himself identifying that there were quite a few people outside.
Not really wanting to move, but more than a little concerned and curious as to if there really was a mob forming outside his home, Cloud got up. It took a bit of effort, worming his way from underneath and around the others, and he woke them up at least a little, but nobody else moved off the bed. They did mumble and try to drag him back in, but Cloud was good enough to escape. Padding silently towards the window, Cloud carefully looked out, making sure to stay as far out of sight as possible. Thankfully, his home was two stories, and the balcony gave him a bit of shelter.
There were people outside. But not a mob. Standing in front of the house was a crowd of people, at least thirty. They didn’t seem particularly violent, which was Cloud’s main concern, but there was a certain raptness to their expressions that worried him. Closest to his front door, three people were preaching at the crowd. This close to the window, Cloud could make out the words easily.
“He is the one who defeated the one who tried to destroy us all! He is the one who brought us healing from the Planet, and she has made it obvious that he is her Chosen one. She has even allowed him to bring back the dead!” That was the lone woman of the three, her gestures wild.
The man to her right took up the flow of words. “How many of you remember Aeris? I remember her. She was sweet and kind and a miracle to all of us who used to live under the Plate. She died helping them, and now she lives again! He has brought her back. The Planet has allowed him to do so, and we should accept that. It allowed him to bring back Sephiroth, himself, the one he had destroyed more than once. The Planet allowed him to do that!”
“I used to work for Shinra, and I know that it was evil.” That was the third one, his gestures as wild as the woman’s. “We know that he has brought back at least two from beyond death, and I will say that the third, the one with dark hair, he was also dead. I was one of those who helped kill him, and now I’ve seen what a sin that was! The Planet gave him back to our savior.”
Oh, Cloud realized he really didn’t like where this was going. He listened carefully as the former Shinra man continued.
“Our Savior, the one who saved us all from death at the hands of Sephiroth and Meteor. The one who brought us the healing waters, to purify those who were tainted. He even brings back the dead. He is obviously more than human, more than any of us. We are not worthy of him, but he graces us with his presence. We shall make ourselves worthy of him, and now we wait for his orders, so that we might become like him.”
“Oh, hells no,” Cloud muttered. This wasn’t good. Not good at all.
“What’s wrong, Spike?”
Looking at the bed, Cloud found himself the focus of three sets of eyes. “We,” he said lightly, “might have a problem.”
That was all it took for Seph and Zack to roll off the bed and look for weapons. Aeris watched him for a moment, then rose and grabbed her clothing. “What is going on?”
Glancing back at the window as he went for his own clothes, which were scattered all over the room, Cloud shook his head. “Not a mob.... Well, not like a violent mob. Almost as bad, though.”
Taking their cue from the blond, Seph and Zack also began to grab clothing. Zack paused as he looked down at the pants he had just slid on. “Spike, I think these are yours.”
Cloud looked. “Yep.” He looked at his own. “And I got yours on. They seem to fit fine.”
A sigh from Zack. “Die for a few years, and you buff out. It’s just not fair.” He grinned. “We’ll have to look at those muscles in detail later.” He and Cloud shared a rather similar smile, full of leering amusement. Aeris and Seph exchanged looks.
“There are two of them,” Aeris said, shuddering.
“We’re doomed,” Seph continued. Both ended up having pieces of their clothing thrown at them.
“Just what kind of mob is it?” Seph asked as he shrugged on his coat.
Cloud grimaced. “A, er, well, worshiping one.”
A pause and Zack looked at Cloud with incredulous eyes. “Worshiping one? I can see one trying to kill us all, but worshiping?”
Running his fingers through his hair, Cloud nodded. “They are mentioning stuff about their savior, and I really don’t want to deal with them now.” He paused, trying to think of what to do. Then he heard the sound of something tapping at the bathroom window.
Carefully, he peered into the small room, which faced the back of the house. He hoped it wasn’t some ambitious nut, who would probably only get killed by accident.
He didn’t expect the red cloak, or the long dark hair.
Hurrying over, Cloud opened the window, and Vincent slid in. “What the...? Why are you at my window, Vincent?” Cloud finally managed to stutter.
“Especially the bathroom window,” came Zack’s voice. “The second story bathroom window.”
Red eyes looked past Cloud to study the others that were crowded in the bathroom door, then moved to fix on Cloud. “We heard the rumors already this morning, and Cid kindly offered his ship as a place of shelter. As you have no phone, and we didn’t want to give your....” He paused, unsure how to describe the people gathering outside.
“Stalkers,” Aeris supplied helpfully.
Zack’s contribution was “Psycho nut jobs.”
Seph quirked a brow as Cloud just shrugged.
“Followers,” Vincent finally continued. “The chance to get into your home. So I was elected to come extend the invitation. Cid would have most likely have attempted to deal with the problem a bit more directly.” Cloud and Vincent shared a look. Directly as in broken bones directly. Cid was a good man, but more that willing to use a bit of force, especially against people who he decided were better off away from him.
A moment of silence, then Cloud sighed. “Out the window, then?”
Vincent nodded once. “They have not yet entered the back alley. This is your best chance of getting out without being noticed right away.”
“Right.” With that, Seph scooped up Aeris and nodded for Vincent to go back out. When the other man did, he helped Aeris out the window before following himself. Balancing easily on the edge, he turned to smile back at Zack and Cloud. “Will you gentlemen be joining us?” Not waiting for an answer, he turned, lifted Aeris again, and leapt to the roof of the next building, Vincent following.
The last two men looked at each other, and shrugged almost at the same time. Years of living in tubes in sight of each other, and Cloud toting around Zack’s voice in his head for a while, had given them a whole range of unspoken cues. Cloud grinned and waved Zack ahead. “Age before beauty,” he smiled.
“We’re the same age, kinda,” Zack muttered, climbing out the window, “but cause you have a nice ass….” He quickly leapt up after the others. Cloud followed, taking only a moment to close the window the best he could before jumping.
If this was how the day started, he hated to see how the rest of it was going to go.
Sephiroth had grown up used to being stared at as he had gone through his life. Of course, his life had consisted of being in the labs and having various tests of all types being run on him. Afterwards, during the war and later, he had gotten even more used to people staring at him, usually more than a little fearful. He had proven his worth and what he was capable of, and to most people, that had been enough for them to fear him, even if they did try to hide it.
Fear and respect were the two emotions he was used to having directed his way from most of the world, with very, very few exceptions.
Thus he wasn’t exactly sure what to do when they had arrived at the airship and he had been almost forcibly sat down in the galley and had a cup of tea shoved at him by a very…agitated blond man. He thought the man’s name was Highwind.
He blinked at it a moment, then took his cue from Cloud, who cheerfully muttered something about damn tea, but snagged sugar and milk anyway and started to drink it. Aeris had simply taken it and told the man good morning and exchanged the general pleasantries one associated with good manners. Zack seemed as bit lost, which made Sephiroth feel a bit better about his own lack of certainty, but the dark haired man adapted fast enough, already joking a bit with the pilot. At least Sephiroth was pretty sure it was joking.
There was a bit of wariness in the eyes that watched him, though. Between Highwind and Valentine, who had introduced himself on the way over, and the various crew who wandered by from time to time, Sephiroth was very much aware of the attitude directed at him. Not that he could really blame them, though. While he did not remember most of what had happened while he was under the influence of Jenova, he did remember some. And that little that he remembered was more than enough to explain the looks of caution that Highwind and Valentine were directing his way.
But there was no fear. Caution, yes. Wariness, of course. He could see the tension in their stances, ready to go for weapons if needed. No fear, though.
That tension was slowly melting away as well. Little by little, their eyes flickering to Cloud, who seemed to be ignoring the undercurrents of feelings all around. Sephiroth knew the man was well aware of what was going on around him, even while seemed absorbed in kicking Zack’s leg every time the man targeted him for teasing. Every time that their hosts looked at Cloud, watched him for a moment, they would relax a tiny bit more.
Not that the wariness would ever go away, which was just fine in Sephiroth’s opinion. A certain amount of caution was needed to keep people alive, but it was good to not be the target of fear and paranoia. And he could admire how Cloud handled people. Showing them through actions, if not words, that everything was all right.
He had always known Cloud would be amazing one day. It was good to see that he was right in that, if he had been wrong in so many other things in the time before.
“Mind if I sit here?” a soft voice asked him just before Aeris settled herself into his lap while Zack finally playfully lunged for Cloud, drawing a grumble from Highwind about them not breaking his ship or he’d break them. Curling his arm around her, Sephiroth felt the slight curl of a smile on his lips as she snagged a bit of his hair and started braiding it.
“Not at all,” he did reply after a moment, draping an arm around her waist. “Might I know what gains me this honor?”
She smiled at him and brushed the end of his hair over his nose. “Cloud’s not the only one I’ve missed, and you’re being all introspective and pouty.”
“I am not pouty. I am, was, the General of Shinra’s military. I do not pout.”
“Yes you do, especially when Zack steals the last bit of pie, though I’m pretty sure that’s just to get me to bake you another one. Anyway, you have a perfectly nice and comfortable lap, and what better way to make you not pouty than to make myself comfortable on it?”
“I’m sure that Zack or Cloud would have been just as comfortable, and it would have prevented them from currently trying to break all nearby furniture.”
“I,” Aeris said calmly, finishing that braid and starting on another, “am sure you three will be breaking a lot more furniture once you figure out that Cloud is as sturdy as you guys. Mmm, more Cloud on top….” She turned at smiled sweetly at Highwind’s strangled choking sound as the man turned an alarming shade of violet. “Cid, are you all right?”
“Aeris, I didn’t need that image in my head,” he muttered, tone foul as he continued to cough on the tea he had just inhaled the wrong way.
“Why not? It’s a rather pretty one.” She hummed and wiggled around on Sephiroth’s lap until she was leaning back against him, never escaping the circle of the man’s arms. Once she settled, Sephiroth rested his chin on the top of her head. “Can’t you imagine Cloud, all sweaty and shiny, over one of the other two here, making them….”
Her words were cut off by a hand over her mouth. Smiling slightly, Sephiroth watched Cloud from the corner of his eye as the man leaned over his shoulder. “Aeris, over sharing again,” the man said lightly. “I’m sure Cid and Vincent don’t want to know.”
When he dropped his hand, Aeris sighed. “But how am I supposed to brag about you if nobody ever wants to hear?” she said mournfully. That lasted around a second before Zack scooped her out of Sephiroth’s lap and settled into another chair, gnawing on her throat. His lap now cold, Sephiroth simply curled an arm around Cloud’s waist and pulled him to rest on him.
Valentine and Highwind both tensed again, and he felt the urge to do something to rile them up more. He immediately placed the blame for this urge on Zack and rested his forehead against the back of Cloud’s shoulder. There was more muscle there than the last time he had done this. Just another of the many changes he hadn’t been around to see, or had been the cause of.
He knew he would never be able to apologize enough, even if the other three did place the blame on Hojo and Jenova. Sephiroth had been the one weak enough to break, and that was all that really mattered. He knew he had to make it up to the others in some way, but he wasn’t sure how.
Eventually, though, he would, and maybe then he’d feel like the wary looks and the fear weren’t something that he had to notice anymore.
Listening quietly to Cloud and the two men catching up in quiet words, or to Aeris’s soft giggles as Zack continued to chew upon her neck, Sephiroth let it soothe him. These people cared about him, and that simple fact meant more to Sephiroth than he would ever be able to admit. And the others cared about Cloud, which was also good.
So he was silent, arms wrapped around the smaller man, listening to the conversation meander around. This right here was more than he had ever expected. Even when Zack had first managed to push Sephiroth off his carefully balanced apathy, Sephiroth had never known a feeling like this had existed, let alone that he would be in the middle of it.
Surrounded by those who he called lovers, and people who care for them, even if they didn’t feel anything for Sephiroth himself besides dislike, was a good feeling. So he quietly sat there and soaked it up, enjoying it as best he could. Life was simply too chaotic to do so otherwise.
And it didn’t take long for that fact to be proven when the sound of a PHS cut through the sounds of their breakfast, causing most of the conversation to stop as Highwind cursed and patted his pockets until he found the device. He looked at it for a moment, brow furrowing, then glanced around the room at the others. Watching him from over Cloud’s shoulder, even Sephiroth could see the man’s discomfort, especially when their eyes locked for a long moment. The device rang again, and this time, almost grimacing, the pilot answered it.
The morning was calm, and Tifa sat at the table, quietly sipping on the mug of tea she had fixed herself. She blamed Cid for getting them hooked on the stuff while traveling together, but she would admit it was soothing. Which was something she needed.
Her mind wasn’t wanting to process the events of the night before. Not really. She was very confused by it all, and Cloud vanishing right after had not helped things.
The church had been in a bit of chaos, and she had been forced to set aside her own thoughts on the matter and help get things calmed down before anything bad had happened. There had been some panic as people realized that Sephiroth was back, and the man was out loose. Thankfully, more than a few had already known Aeris, and that had helped things calm down a lot. Besides, they trusted Tifa and the others, and calmed when they had been told that Cloud wouldn’t do anything to put the world in danger again.
Tifa just hoped that that trust was in the right place. Cloud had been manipulated by Sephiroth before, and while she thought that was over, she just couldn’t figure out why the man was back.
Well, given the kiss, maybe she could.
Still, it was confusing. Why had Cloud done it? Aeris and Zack, she could understand. He had enough guilt over both of them to flood the world. Nothing she or the others had ever done had ever made him feel less guilty. It was simply part of who he was. Everyone had pretty much accepted it, even if she wanted to kick his ass over it when he upset the kids.
And, it fit, really. Cloud had lost them both so early. Zack and Aeris had been young, and they had both died protecting what they had cared for. If anyone deserved a second chance at life, it was them.
She still remembered the oddest of details. The way the sparks flew up over the fires, moving to set the trees up in flames. Or the way the cries faded, just a few at a time, as the town got quieter and quieter, with only the crackle of the flames. The heat of the fires fading as she ran, no long scorching her lungs as cool mountain air finally pushed back the heat as she had gone for the reactor.
Sipping the tea, she sighed. She didn’t remember much of what had happened after the fire. Until Mideel, she hadn’t even remembered Cloud having been there at all. Everything blurred together into a mess of anger, pain, and loss.
It had been the same for Cloud. His mom had died, and he had ended up in Hojo’s labs. Which is why she just couldn’t understand why he had been willing to help bring the man back.
True, they had a history of manipulation and control, but she was sure Cloud was past that now, had been past that for years. So if that wasn’t the cause, what was?
Those were all things that had run through her mind last night. Even as they had calmed others, she had only gotten more confused herself.
Denzel had stuck close to her, while Marlene had stayed with her dad. Cid and Barrett’s yells for people to shut up had finally gotten the crowd to quiet down enough for Tifa and the others to do some good at settling people who were frightened. Helping them had helped her calm down as well, and Tifa knew that Cloud had to have some type of explanation.
Still, it didn’t seem like she was getting it then, and she heard a few new rumors spreading even as people stopped worrying of another Meteor coming down on them. Those rumors were of a whole different flavor, and she decided to leave before things got even more bizarre. Collecting Denzel, she found herself joined by Yuffie, Barrett and Marlene, Cait, and Nanaki. It was a good thing she had room for people to crash. Cid and Vincent went their own way.
The trip back to the place where they lived was quiet, and Tifa wasn’t surprised when Barrett and the others had decided to go walk around Edge. They had said they wanted to see how much it had grown, though she knew better. She hadn’t wanted to talk about what had just happened, and there had been too much agitation for any of them to go to sleep early. At least the adults. Denzel and Marlene both looked exhausted.
It was Denzel’s quiet question that had made Tifa realize what had been agitating her so much.
“Tifa,” he had said, looking out the window after the others had gone for their walk. “Is Cloud coming home?”
She had opened her mouth to assure him that Cloud was, but found she couldn’t say anything.
She didn’t know.
That was what was bothering her so much. Well, outside the entire Sephiroth issue. She simply didn’t know what this meant for the future. It was disconcerting, and she found herself not sure on how to deal with it.
Marlene had helped. She had just looked at them after Denzel’s question and smiled. “Oneesan is back,” she said cheerfully. “Oneesan won’t let anything bad happen to them.”
After that, Tifa had gotten them to bed, and sat down to have a long, hard think.
In the end, there was only one real decision to pick.
She would have to talk to Cloud and try to listen with as open a mind as she could.
Which was why, when morning came, she looked at her house guests, who were sleeping all over the place, and decided to call Cid and Vincent. Might as well make Cloud talk to all of them at once, rather than have to make him go through the reasons over and over again.
When Cid picked up, she sighed. “Hey, Cid. I was wondering if....” A pause, as she listened carefully to the background noise. “Cid...is Aeris there?” She swore she heard Aeris giggling in the background.
Cid coughed a bit. “Yeah, she’s here. Others are, too. They had gotten some type of mob outside of Cloud’s place.”
Grimacing into the phone, Tifa sighed. “Good mob or bad, and why are they over there? Decided to steal them for yourselves?” A bit of teasing in her tone.
“Nah, Vincent just decided he wanted to feed them breakfast and...hey, stop that! Drink your tea the right damn way. And stop that! God damn it, there are other people here. Shit, Vincent, get me a squirt bottle or somethin’, need to spritz them or something.”
There was some type of protest in the background, and she thought she heard Vincent telling Aeris that, really, she did not need to share.
What on earth...?
“Cid,” she said after a minute, trying to not laugh at some of the sounds she heard coming over the phone, though she did smile when she heard Cloud laughing. Hadn’t heard him laughing in a while. “We’ll be over in a bit.”
“Better not mess up my plane.”
“We’ll be there in a little bit, Cid,” she said, shutting the phone on his continued protests that they had better not break his plane, and stood.
This is how it was. Now, to see where it was going to go.
Nodding to herself, Tifa went to wake up the others.
Muttering as he hung up the phone, Cid eyed the four who were still goofing off in front of him.
While Sephiroth might not have been as open about it as Aeris and the Zack guy, or even smiling or laughing as much as Cloud, he was still smiling slightly, something in his eyes reminding Cid of himself. It was just a little, and it was from the first time Cid had looked in the mirror after going to outer space, but it was there. That quiet contentment of finally getting what he had always wanted.
Wasn’t something a person could hide, no matter how much they had wanted to. He hadn’t been able to, and Sephiroth couldn’t either. It was the look in his eyes as he watched the other three, and the small smile on his lips. Even his body language said it. He was relaxed. Not totally, but Cid couldn’t blame him. Not like they hadn’t hunted him down for the sheer purpose of killing him. Even if it had been Blondie every time.
Speaking of Cloud, Cid was a bit surprised to realize how nice it was to hear the kid laugh. While he wasn’t one for playing around, it had worried him some when Tifa had talked about how remote Cloud had been getting over the last two years. The only person that Cid knew saw the blond on a regular basis besides Tifa and the kids was Elmyra and Vincent. And the only reason he knew about Elmyra was because Cloud had asked him to stop by her new home and look at a few things. For all his gifts and the fact he could do the repairs on his own bike, Cloud knew he was worthless with most household machinery. So he had asked Cid to fix the things making odd noises.
Cid hadn’t gotten nearly as much a chance to get to know Aeris as the rest had, but her death had still shocked him more than he expected. There had been guilt there as well. She had been so young, far too young to die when people like Cid were still running around driving people nuts. Since he couldn’t help her when she was alive, Cid did what he could for the people she had cared about, and he did it for Cloud. Whatever guilt he had felt, it was nothing compared to what Cloud had developed after the entire saving the world thing had gotten done and stopped distracting him.
For Cloud, she had just been the latest in the lines of losses.
Right now, Sephiroth was watching the other three, smiling and relaxed in a way that reminded Cid of Vincent, that wary, never fully relaxed way. The only times he actually lost it was when Zack leaned in and murmured into his ear, usually getting a swat from Aeris, who had stolen Sephiroth’s lap again. Cloud simply smiled and would lean in and echo the whisper into Aeris’s ear. Earning himself a swat as well, most of the time.
By now, about half of Sephiroth’s hair was done up into tiny braids, which he eyed, but left alone, giving her a long-suffering look. Still, that look of contentment never left.
“Cid, do you think red or green would be better?” Aeris asked suddenly, looking at the pilot. Confused, he blinked at her, unsure what she was asking about. She waved the end of one of the braids around. “For his hair, should I use red ribbons or green? I always wanted to do this before, but we never had the time, given he always had to be a fuddy-duddy and head back early the few times he got to visit us. So now that I can play with his hair, I will, and I need to figure out what color ribbons to use.”
Sephiroth’s expression was almost hangdog, and that almost broke Cid’s brain more than the contentment had. Sephiroth, general and madman, almost pouting.
Cid wanted a camera. Nobody would believe him. If he ever told anyone he had seen Sephiroth with that expression, he’d end up locked away somewhere for his own safety.
Though his thoughts had given him a question.
“When are you telling Elmyra?”
A general pause, and he found himself the focus of four sets of eyes, three with a bit of dawning “oops”, the last one clueless.
“Elmyra?” Sephiroth asked, finally.
“My mom,” Aeris answered him. “We’ll have to go as soon as we get done talking to the others. I don’t want her to hear rumors and get upset, and it’s not something I should drop on her on the phone....”
Zack shifted, and then leaned against Sephiroth some. “Maybe Spike should take you out there on his bike, Aeris. Once we get done here. It’ll be good for you guys to see each other, and you’ll get to ride Spike’s kickass bike.”
There were currents there that Cid wasn’t getting, though he did see the tension that sprung up in Zack once Elmyra was mentioned. He wasn’t the only one to see it. A moment after Zack had tensed, Cloud had as well, watching the dark haired man.
Another person Cid wasn’t really sure how to react around. He wasn’t sure what real role Zack had played in all their lives, other than lover, and the fact he had known the man in a vague way as General Sephiroth’s SiC and in nearly as many photos as Sephiroth had been in. Outside those facts, he didn’t really know anything about Zack.
“Zack, you know Mom didn’t really mean anything she said the last time you two...talked.” Aeris looked unhappy, and reached up to tug Zack down for a hug. “She felt guilty after she heard what happened.”
Watching this, feeling more than a little intrusive, but not willing to stand up and leave and make even more of a scene, Cid held still, feeling Vincent do the same next to him. Cloud and Sephiroth were looking at the other two with the same curiosity that Cid felt, and he had a feeling that they were just as clueless as him.
“I know she didn’t really mean it, Aeris,” Zack mumbled, letting his forehead rest against hers as he leaned down. “Still, was a bit of a shock to hear those words from her. And given what happened next....” He trailed off, looking a bit strained around the eyes.
Aeris scowled a bit, hugging him tighter. “You know she didn’t mean it. She never would have said it if she through you really weren’t going to come back from the mission.”
“She was doing what she thought best to protect you. I know that. Still, being told that she hoped I never came back from Nibelheim was a hell of a shock, babe.”
There was a little surprised grunt-gasp from Aeris as she let go of Zack and swatted Sephiroth’s hands. “Sephiroth, air,” she gasped, and Cid realized that the man’s arms had gotten very tight around her as he looked at Zack, eyes slightly angry. Feeling the urge to grab a weapon at the look on Sephiroth’s face, Cid managed to beat the urge down as Cloud and Zack both snagged one of Sephiroth’s arms and tugged, hard.
Letting out a harsh rasp of air, Sephiroth closed his eyes and took a slow, deep breath, letting it out slowly, relaxing his arms at the same time. “Sorry,” he said, after a moment. “I.... That is not the most pleasing thing to hear.” He glanced at Zack, looking oddly confused. “I know your mother feared for your safety from Shinra, but why would she want anyone to hurt Zack? That,” a pause. “That makes little sense to me.”
Cid continued to watch, exchanging glances with Vincent, and then eyeing the door. If only he could get out before this got even more uncomfortable.
“Guys,” Cloud said softly. “Not now. We can talk about it later. Right now, Tifa and the others are on their way, and I want us to be ready for them, okay?”
The soft plea in his voice was enough to make the others drop it for the moment, and Cid could only sigh slightly in relief. “That’s right,” he agreed. “And don’t any of you even think about anything that might lead to my ship ending up damaged, or I’ll take the worth of it out of your hides myself, got it? That includes all of you.”
He gave them all a look, not glaring any more at Sephiroth and Zack than he did at Aeris or Cloud. Aeris was included as she would not stop trying to break their brains with small comments about positions or this or that. She had Cid on the edge of retreating to the cockpit. Who know such sneakiness laid behind such an innocent face.
“Cloud and Cid are right, you two.” She looked at Sephiroth and Zack as if Cid wasn’t including her in his glare. “Now, Cid, before we get distracted again.” She held up a mass of Sephiroth’s hair as Zack and Cloud let go of the man’s arms.
“Tell me, red or green?”
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