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Title: Revelry (1/2)
Fandom: FFVII (Upstreamverse)
Rating: M
Words: 6,439
Warnings: Yaoi, het, (no actual intercourse) alcohol
Pairings: Sephiroth/Scarlet, Sephiroth/Zack/Cloud
Summary: Mako tended to disagree with the duties of a corporate General and Scarlet knew just when to strike.
Notes: So, this has been split into two fics to spare my sanity.




The thick glass of the mako stasis chamber had been upgraded since Sephiroth was young. He’d had his own lab since before he could remember; his own room with a single purpose of containing him as he went in for mako treatments, of which injections no longer had any effect. Mako baths had become more and more necessary over time, the concentration rising to boost his J cell count. More often than not he’d spend days within the tank, rarely he’d awaken a week later and Hojo would give him a brief synopsis on what had been altered in him this time.

Maintenance on his eyes, on his muscles, on his immune system, any number of things, but more often than not, it was upgrades to his central nervous system. Since his body was constantly adapting, it had to be changed to keep up with everything else. He sometimes wondered what he looked like on the inside, if he even had red blood.

Complete immersion in the tank was like being held by a woman. Sephiroth had never known his mother, he only knew her name, but he imagined that this was what it was like. The mako was warm on his skin, in his lungs as he breathed it in, around his arms as he lifted them just to feel the thick weight of the mako around him. The heat against his eyelids was like soft kisses and the weightless sensation was like being once again within the womb.

He opened his cat-like eyes, his pupils dilated until they almost appeared human, and thought, amusedly, that mako immersion didn’t hurt anymore. Not like it used to before he’d his teenage years and could already complete complex mathematical equations and disarm a Turk in less than 5 seconds. Professor Hojo was standing nearby, visible through the window that allowed them to see each other, but protected him from any instability that the mako occasionally caused to Sephiroth’s psyche upon waking.

Slowly, coherent thought returned to Sephiroth. The process of thinking became less of an abstract idea and more of an act that was second nature.

He remembered that Hojo had called him in for testing and then treatments at the most inconvenient time possible, and that frustrated the hell out of him, but he was unable to do anything further about it. There was no way he would be able to be well enough to deal with the social niceties and perpetual brown nosing that happened at the ShinRa Ball he had been ordered by the President to attend. No amount of sharp words from Lazard on his behalf seemed to sway the man.

Being naked in the labs was something he’d never been ashamed or even conscious of. He had, after all, grown up in the labs and then gone straight into the military. Clothes would have disintegrated at the strength of this mako anyway.

So when his eyes fluttered slightly before opening just enough to make out Hojo standing within the observation room (instead of rolling back in his head every two seconds) seeming to be screaming at his assistants as they rushed about in an attempt to place him back under the warm blanket of sleep as his heart-rate rose and rose and their computers told them that something bad was coming. Something like the last time he’d been too stressed and the mako tank had gotten an upgrade into the thickness that it was now. Three inches thick and still it shuddered under the simple act of him thinking in the quick, calculating way he’d thought all his life.

The mako around him swirled, almost like it was Lifestream itself, and rushed up against the thick fortified glass. Sephiroth sighed, exhaling the thick sludge of the mako as his hair shifted and swirled about him.

A large fissure appeared before his eyes, splitting his view of the world into two halves, and all Sephiroth could think about was how much he’d love to run Hojo through with Masamune for putting him into a situation that he hadn’t been built to deal with. Shellings, nightly attacks, hellish terrane and other battle field minutiae he could handle. Corporate PR balls on guaranteed mako hangovers he could not.

He wanted to be in Wutai. The war had been raging for two months now and he was still in Midgar and spending far too much time with Heidegger and Scarlet grappling about supplies, front line placements and advances. He couldn’t do anything here. He needed to be in Wutai, with the troops, in the thick of it, where he could give orders and stamp out resistance with his own hands and his SOLDIERs and the regular infantrymen.


As long as he was here, his SOLDIERs were here too, twiddling their thumbs and getting more and more restless by the hour.

But no.

His departure for Wutai was next week. After the ShinRa Ball. After he allowed himself to be fawned over and rallied all those on the upper plate into a state of confident enthusiasm that allowed them to open up their hearts to the ShinRa Corporation, and more importantly, their wallets. Marches and demonstrations he could deal with, corporate brown-nosing he could not.

Once again, he thought, he hadn’t been made for this shit.

The fissure grew, spreading outwards slowly as Sephiroth raised a hand slowly, feeling the weight of the mako caress his skin, burn down his throat as he parted his lips and breathed it in.

In the silence of the tank, he almost thought he could hear whispers.


Other Self reached towards Her with non-corporeal hands, and beyond the back of the angel-like construction of steel and wires before Her tank, She could see the male form of Other Self in a tank like Her own. His hair, floating around him, moving in the weight of mako, was like her own. Like threads of starlight interwoven with the thick, choking darkness of the oblivion of space.

Her seven chambered heart quickened, and the eerie glow of Her left eye flickered in excitement.

She rose like a great tidal wave and curled around him, inspected his body as well as She could at this distance. Other Self was weak, Other Self wasn’t full of Her like he should be. But the homo sapiens were working to rid him of what lasting humanity he had, flushing it out and mutating her cells until they became closer and closer. He was Her son, truly. Becoming more so.

But he was in pain, hating his captive humans for their work on him, confused and frustrated at why it had to be now.

She hushed Other Self, reaching out with tendrils of Her own power, calming, loving. He sighed, relaxed, and the torrent of power and anxiety around him calmed, slowed. He drifted and She cooed to him, wrapped around him and held him to Her chest like only a good mother would. She wanted him to be strong, and healthy. Wanted him to become all he could be, and then carry out Her wish, Her desire, for more. To spread. To live.

Other Self would come to Her when Other Self was strong and perfect. Until then Other Self would be calm, would endure, She urged.

But She would watch.

A faint, distracted thought of confused acknowledgement and agreement rose to meet Her, then settled as She willed him into calmness again.

Jenova’s dead lips curved into a smile and She parted Her consciousness in two, settling one in the back of him mind, dormant, to be awakened when he was ready. She retreated back to Her shell, and settled, closed her glowing eye for now. She would wait. She would conserve Her strength to aid him when it was needed.


Sephiroth hadn’t eaten anything in the two days he’d been out of the lab, had spent most of his time dry retching into the toilet while Cloud held his hair back for him. The details of what exactly happened in the labs were classified, but Cloud seemed to understand his pain well enough, and Zack, who had been through the required SOLDIER injections, remained tight-lipped through Sephiroth’s spells of delirium and sickness.

Sephiroth could guess all too well what the silent looks between his two lovers meant. They thought Hojo was putting him through too much.

What could he say?

That he’d been trained to take more than normal? That this was nothing compared to the fits he used to have as a young orphaned child who left dents in walls and broke military trained maid-nurses hands when they attempted to comfort him out of childish tantrums? It would only worry them.

He didn’t want to hear conspiratorial talk from either of them, and, thankfully, they seemed to understand that and kept their disapproval of Hojo’s methods to themselves.

“What could they do? Court martial you for taking a sick day? Seph, you must have at least a year’s worth of holidays and sick leave up your sleeve,” Zack said as he walked to the side of the bed where Sephiroth was trying to convince himself to sit upright. His muscles burned, but at least the sickness in his stomach and sinuses and every other pore in his body had gone away, and all that left now was the feeling of his whole body having been ran over by a train.

Actually, he had five years worth of sick leave, but he wasn’t about to say as such and be on the receiving end of one of those looks again.

He pulled the covers off his legs instead and shifted to slip his feet down on to the carpet, the fine flooring was almost too much for his overly sensitised skin. He sent Zack a warning glance and the other SOLDIER held his hands up quickly.

“Hey. Don’t shoot me that look. It’s just...I know you, you’re going to push yourself and pretend there’s absolutely nothing wrong.” Zack’s tone was pleading, and his eyes looked like the watery pits of some sort of cute animal hell. Angeal called them ‘puppy eyes’ but Sephiroth had never been close enough to a dog that didn’t bolt at the first sight of him to understand the comparison. Too much mako.

He shrugged his shoulders, testing his muscles. “Would you feel better if you cast a Cure?” he asked, raising one eyebrow at him.

“Yeah,” Zack said, and then disappeared into the medicine cabinet Sephiroth had in the bathroom. He returned a moment later with a mastered material, equipped it, and then cast Cure3.

The relief was immediate and Sephiroth couldn’t help but let his eyes fall closed and let out a breath he hadn’t realised he’d been keeping purposefully deep and even to control his pain levels. He still felt like he had the worst hangover of his life, but at least it wasn’t a whole-body experience anymore.

When he opened his eyes he caught the tail-end of Zack’s accomplished grin as he turned to return the material he wasn’t technically permitted to use.

Sephiroth stood slowly, careful to check each of his muscles in mode of use as he stood. The sensitivity was bearable now. He noticed his limbs moved more in accordance with his brain’s impulses, and the urge to take Masamune and see just how fast he was now rose. He held back a sigh as he looked at the chair on the opposite side of the bedroom where his dress uniform lay on a high-backed chair.

He turned and looked down at the bed, at the bump beneath the covers and the tiny hand that peaked out of the mass of sheets and blankets and the unruly blond hair that scattered about the white pillow. Somewhere under there was Cloud, who was just coming out of his own bout of sickness. Sephiroth hadn’t had the flu before, and he was somewhat glad he hadn’t, his lover didn’t seem to be enjoying himself.

He looked at the clock on his bed-side stand. 1800. He was due at the banquet hall at 2000, so he had at least an hour to get ready, if not more. He and Lazard were sharing a limo as per PR’s demands. He wasn’t inclined to argue with them. Those women could be certainly more unnerving than any monster he’d ever faced off against.

Then again, he found women in general unnerving.

Take Scarlet, for example, with her propositions and groping him in meeting rooms and even his own office, declaring him as her next prey.

Conniving bitch, he thought.

And yet, he admired the trait. Zack and Cloud had used much the same tactics with him, at first, before he came to understand that they weren’t hero-worshipping him (well, Cloud did, a little) but they genuinely wanted to be friends with him. The lovers thing had only happened after a year or so of friendship. It had become an extension of what they shared and Sephiroth’s eyes had been opened to the world of sex, in which he’d previously had no biological interest in. He wouldn’t have been able to procreate anyway, the mako had turned him sterile long before he’d been able to get erections in the first place.

Procreation through the act of fucking just didn’t seem right, seem natural.

Thinking of a shower, he made his way into the bathroom, where Zack had lingered longer than Sephiroth thought was strictly necessary. He moved without sound, stopping just shy of the bathroom door and cocking his head to listen intently.

He could hear Zack’s heart beating, faintly, the shift of the material of his uniform, the creak of his leather gloves as he placed one of the various bottles of tranquillisers back on the shelf bellow his mirror. Sleeping pills had no effect, never had, the bottle Zack had been looking at was used in zoos, tranquillisers strong enough to knock out the biggest of monsters.

Sephiroth came up behind Zack and placed his hands on his hips, tipped his head forward and pressed his lips to Zack’s neck. His hair fell over one shoulder and Zack played with it idly as he roller his head forward and out obligingly, made a small, happy sound. Sephiroth wanted him to make more happy sounds, the ones that were long and hoarse and loud enough to go right to his cock.

He opened his eyes a sliver, and could see the green glow of his eyes in his peripheral vision, along with Zack's much dimmer violet kind. He parted his lips and let his tongue slide along hot skin, the wet heat marking a path over Zack's shoulder and up to Zack's ear, which he nipped at, flicked his tongue along the hollow just behind his jaw, sucked.

Zack moaned and Sephiroth coiled his arms around him, slipped his hands under the thick material of Zack’s vest and caressed along his stomach and chest, his fingers lying over his nipples when he reached them.

“Why are you still dressed?” he asked, voice husky, lips brushing along Zack’s ear as he spoke.

The boy shivered in his arms, grinned at him through the mirror. He blinked rapidly, and the flickering of violet in the corner of his vision made Sephiroth turn his head to look at the both of them in the mirror.

“If I didn’t know any better I’d say that mako treatments make you horny,” Zack said, tilting his head, his hand coming to rest over Sephiroth’s on his chest.

A silver eyebrow rose. “Speaking from experience, Zack?”

“Eugh, no. Nothing about Hojo is sexy.”

A mildly disturbed expression passed over Sephiroth’s face and Zack couldn’t help but laugh.

They fell silent for a moment, and Sephiroth pulled back when Zack began to squirm in his arms. The younger SOLDIER turned to face him and reached up, carded his fingers through Sephiroth’s hair and massaged his scalp in a lovely way that eased the incoming headache Sephiroth could feel creeping up on him.

He leaned forward, down just that slightest bit, and pressed his lips against Zack’s in a thankful kiss.

The hands in his hair tightened, drifted down to his neck so blunt-nailed fingers could claw at his nape, scoring the skin lightly. A hot tongue swept across his upper lip and Sephiroth smiled a little before parting his lips and meeting Zack’s eager tongue with his own, loosing himself in the game of kissing and closeness.

When his hands slid down from Zack’s middle back to grip at his ass, the younger man made the most wonderful little mewling sound, and Sephiroth wanted to smile again, but settled with kissing him a little harder instead. Cloud sneezed in the other room, and they broke apart, breathing heavily and licking their lips.

Zack was flushed and smelt like male musk and arousal. Sephiroth wanted to pin him to the wall and fuck him into next week, no matter if his muscles were barely moving when he demanded them to.

“As much as I’d like to fuck like bunnies with you,” Zack began, regret and a little annoyance in his tone as his large violet eyes stared up at his, mischief and lust flickering in them, “I think Lazard would have my ass if you were late because of a little nookie.”

A small chuckle escaped him. “Surely you didn’t just be responsible.”

Zack snorted, though he was still grinning widely. “When you get home, I’m making good on that fucking like bunnies thing.”

Sephiroth barely kept himself from releasing a feline purr.


The ‘ShinRa Executive Ball’ was really just a corporate dinner full of hopefuls and the accomplished. All male, needless to say.

Scarlet would rather have used one of her newest ammunition rounds to test the strength of her skull before standing with one of the circles full of overweight investors or any of the other heads of departments. There were of course, some exceptions. Some of the budding scientists here were quite admirable in the looks department, and she could have even found herself a nice little deal for her current project’s advancement there too.

ShinRa was reaching for global domination in both land and corporate aspects, of course. There was no young thing that would come and take their turn in her casting couch while they tried to get their way into the Planet’s greatest company and gain much needed recognition.

She placed her empty glass of wine on the silver tray a waiter held out for her and took another full glass of red wine. It was her third, and she didn’t feel like milling about playing nice with the natives, though she had sent a wink in Rufus’ direction when he’d first entered, at his father’s side and surrounded by ever watchful Turks.

She snatched something that looked vaguely edible off the next silver plate that whizzed by and sniffed at it before biting into it carefully. She’d have to check her lipstick soon, the rim of her glass was a bright cherry-red from her lips. Whatever she was eating tasted quite nice, and, like the wine, was calibrated to impress, no doubt. She was tipsy and more than a little hungry by now.

Biting the bullet, she weaved between the powerful men of the world, all too aware that she was a minority. Before she’d left tonight she’d changed her shoes twice to make sure she had as much height as the best of the men and double checked that her breasts were obvious enough to gain attention.

The men clearly wouldn’t think of her as smart, and she’d rather be noticed for her femininity than ignored completely. It was a dirty trick, but it worked.

Besides, she rather liked playing dirty.

Heidegger’s laugh somewhere in the vicinity of directly ahead made her scowl and spin on her heel with the intention of walking in the direction she’d just come from but as soon as she did. The sea of men parted as she walked, skittering out of her way like lambs in the presence of a lion. She’d shot a lieutenant between the legs once, for being far too distasteful and she more than a little drunk. No one seemed to have forgotten it—

She froze, her glass forgotten in her hand and her hair was tickling at her neck in the most irritating way, and that was why she never wore the damn thing down. But truly, that was the last thing on her mind...

Oh, Sephiroth looked positively delicious tonight.

Standing beside his biological counterpart, Genesis, he was dressed in pristine black and silver full dress. There wasn’t a single wrinkle to be seen in the material of his jackets or his neatly pressed pants, other than the intended crease that ran down the front of his legs. His boots shone with the immaculate polish and Masamune was strapped to his waist, a sleeping panther of steal and silken black skin. The mass of ribbons on his left breast and shinning medals on his right were a stark contrast to the colourless outfit.

She felt herself flush as her eyes dropped to his gloved hands. White gloves. Hm.

Beside him, Genesis stood, hand in a pocket, sipping at a scotch glass (she wondered why; SOLDIERs were renowned for getting drunk ridiculously easy, but then, Sephiroth was holding a glass and starring at it dispassionately too) looking like something from a movie with his good looks and bright crimson hair. Genesis’ full dress always made him seem less of an impact than as he did in his battle fatigues. Black didn’t suit the fire in him, his red leathers were far more appealing.

She belatedly wondered why the hell they weren’t in Wutai yet.

Not that she minded the chance to admire them. Masculine beauties, the both of them. And how wonderful the both of them had been inside her, pressed against her. Hard walls of muscle and...


Genesis was the first to look up as she advanced, a little shaky on her feet.

“Director Scarlet,” he greeted. Sephiroth looked up then, his eyes flashing bright green. He nodded, looked at Genesis warily, then returned his eyes to Scarlet.

“Generals,” she greeted, trying not to sound too drunk. “Tell me, why the fuck are you not in Wutai? From the sounds of the reports and demands for more supplies I’ve been getting; you’re needed more than ever.”

Well, there went her eloquence. But then, she was angry. They needed to stop wasting her money on production and just send in the big boys already. The two men before her were the best weapons the company had ever created. She didn’t care about the rise in enlistments, fuck Hojo’s need for specimens, she had weapons that needed to be battle tested on the Wutai warriors. And her best weapons were, ultimately, the two men standing before her. A joint project with Hojo, perhaps, and given over to Lazard to care for, but they were hers. Her brainchildren, Hojo and Hollander’s projects.

Genesis seemed amused by her outburst, while Sephiroth seemed surprised, though she could only assume since all he gave for her to gauge was the slight widening of his eyes. It could have been rage or an urge to sneeze, after all.

She noticed his eyes were shadowed more than usual, and Genesis demonstrated the same symptoms. Her eyes darted down and, yes, his hand was gripping the glass tightly, as if he couldn’t control his movements all that well. They smelt like chemicals more than whatever cologne they were wearing to attempt to cover it up, no matter if they despised strong smells themselves.


She wondered where Angeal was.

“I’ve asked myself the same thing, perhaps you would be able to enlighten us?” Genesis purred, and Sephiroth shot him a heated look but retained his silence.

“You should have left the week before last, I put the request in myself.” She scowled at them, though she was scowling at the President inside her head. He was the only one who had the power to overturn general consensus in this matter.

Sephiroth’s eyebrows rose. “Is that so? We hadn’t heard anything of it.”

“Well I wouldn’t be surprised. If I see Hojo tonight, I might just shoot him. Wutai is looting our troops corpses and taking good Shinra weapons. I can’t think of anything that annoys me more than Shinra troops dying from my own guns.” It was the truth. She raised her glass and took a long draw from it, keeping her eyes on the men before her.

Sephiroth’s eyebrows climbed further.

Genesis snorted and gestured towards the gaggle of men circling the President. “The top brass prefers us to be on base until next week, it appears. Mainly for this party.”

She made an annoyed sound. “I don’t approve of it.”

“Heidegger did.” Sephiroth seemed to dislike saying his name as much as she did.

“He’s a fat imbecile. He knows nothing. I’m certain he had the maps upside down when he ordered one of the regiments to attack South instead of North. What a clusterfuck that was.” She felt a little better getting that out. The more time she spent with him, the more she hated him. And she spent a lot of time with him.

“Precisely why I would prefer to be on the front line myself to handle such things; maps tell us only half of the story. Additionally, with the SOLDIERs in Wutai, all operations would be handed over to me,” Sephiroth said, voice level, yet his eyes felt as if they were burning into her with their intensity and the caged anger behind them.

Genesis chuckled. “Sephiroth is eager to go before us, he deports the day after tomorrow.”

“Is that so?” she asked.

“I dislike sitting on my hands,” he said, kindly.

She’d read that adrenalin also helped the absorption of mako. While Genesis may have felt better tomorrow, she wagered that Sephiroth wouldn’t feel himself until next week. Lazard was probably having a fit over it but able to say anything on it to Sephiroth without divulging too much and feeding the man’s curiosity about his true origins.

Tricky, tricky.

She tapped her fingers on the glass, the condensation sticking to her fingers. She looked up at them, at Genesis, then at Sephiroth, whom her eyes lingered on.

They stared at each other, and she remembered how firm his hand had been on her hips, his fingers pressing into the flesh of her abdomen as he filled her. He was thick, heavy, powerful. The memory made her shiver.

“It is unfortunate,” she said, blinking slowly and raising her glass to her lips, keeping her eyes on him. “Perhaps next time, gentlemen, you should come to me. Cut out Heidegger and solve us all a lot of pain.”

Sephiroth didn’t look as if he were inclined to disagree.


Cloud sneezed again. “Zack,” he said, sounding awful, though better than he had this morning. “Explain to me why I am here again?”

“We’re spying.” The very tip of Zack’s hair could be seen from the decorative shrubbery outside of the Shinra Convention building. Through floor to ceiling windows, they could see the men and few women within the ballroom, dressed in suits and full regalia, the women in gowns that most likely cost all of Cloud’s annual pay and then some.

Cloud sighed and rubbed at his eyes. “No, you’re spying. I’m sitting here freezing my ass off.”

The shrub shook a little and a pair of non-reflective binoculars appeared beside Cloud. “Well,” the shrub began, sounding amused. “Sephiroth isn’t in the best of sorts tonight, so we need to be here for when he comes out in a rage. And if that doesn’t happen, and he’s in some sort of trouble, then we’re here to save him.”

“Isn’t that what Angeal asked Genesis to do?”

“Pfft. If Angeal is bed ridden then Genesis can’t be too far off. I don’t think any of them are in tip-top condition right now.”

“Right.” Cloud sneezed once more and rubbed his nose. “I wish he wouldn’t push himself so hard.”

The shrub was silent for a while.

Then, eventually, “Yeah me too, Spiky, me too.”


“What is he doing?” Cloud asked, squinting at the glass wall he could kind of-almost-nearly see.

“Uh, drinking with Scarlet, apparently. And she looks pissed. I mean, not angry, like, pissed.” Zack sounded rather dumbfounded.

Cloud frowned. “I thought he didn’t like her.”

“I thought he didn’t like women.”

Cloud’s wide blue eyes shot to the shrub. “Huh?”

The shrub shifted, rustled, and then Zack appeared from underneath, crawling out from the soil and dusting himself off. He sat beside cloud and placed the binoculars between them carefully. “A while back, Scarlet kind of forced Genesis and Seph into some kind of kinky threesome thing.”

Cloud stared, his jaw working uselessly for a while. “But-but that’s got to be illegal!”

Zack paused in picking leaves out of his hair, and looked down at the trooper. “It’s Shinra, Spiky, and well, Scarlet’s done it before. Sephiroth didn’t think it was all that bad, really. Least I don’t think he did, from what I can tell now. Unless he’s becoming fond of self destructive behaviour.”

Clouds picked up the binoculars and adjusted the settings until he could see clearly, then searched for a glimpse of silver hair.

He found him, sitting at a mostly empty table with a woman, his chin resting on the back of his hand. His eyebrows rose as he poured more wine for the both of them, and she seemed to be going on some sort of tirade. It took him a moment to realise that the woman was Scarlet, only wearing black and with her hair down.

“Huh,” he said, coughing softly when his chest rattled. “He looks...”

“He looks,” Zack repeated with finality. “He actually has some sort of expression on his face. Hell if I know what it is though. But he’s...”

“Interested? Amused? I don’t know, but it doesn’t look like he’s about to start bashing his head against the table.”

Zack laughed, and Cloud took his eyes off the pair in the conference room. His eyes clamped shut as an arm extended toward him and he rubbed at his wild blond hair.

“Yeah, Spiky... Yeah.”

“So what do we do?” he asked, placing the binoculars in his lap.

Zack sat still for a moment, his lips pursed in thought. “It’s too cold out for you tonight. Let’s go back to my room and you can use my shower and then we can watch some bad movies or something.”

Cloud’s eyes lit up. Firsts had unlimited hot water. He looked over in the direction of Sephiroth, briefly, then back to Zack. “But what about...?”

Zack looked uncertain, but then he smiled. “He’s the General, Cloud. I have faith in him. No matter what the challenge is, or what he’s faced with, he comes out of it victorious. It’s no place for us to provide backup for at the moment.”

Cloud smiled. “Yeah.”


Sephiroth watched Genesis walk away, suspicious.

In the time Scarlet had been with them, talking, she’d drank two more glasses of wine while they themselves had nursed their glasses carefully. Mako did not allow alcohol to break down all that well, and with the amount they had in their systems at the moment, it wasn’t quite safe for them to be drinking at all, but it eased the various aches and pains.

Scarlet had taken a seat first, arranging her dress about her as she did (some strapless black thing that shimmered in the more intimate lighting within the dining hall) and Genesis and Sephiroth had taken either side of her. It brought back memories, the same ones Sephiroth had run over and over in his mind a thousand times and, shamefully, once fantasised about the way things could have gone.

And now, all he wanted to do, despite the fact that he’d never actually been with a woman (least not alone and of his own choice), was pull down her dress and kiss her all over, learn her body, learn the pleasure she could give him, properly.

And Genesis seemed to know that.

It disturbed him. Was he so out of sorts today that he was that readable? That Genesis, his rival, could read him?

He shook his head a little and picked up his recently re-filled glass of dark red wine, tried not to smell the thick aroma as he sipped at it. He could taste the wood of the casks and the glass it had been contained in, the pesticides that had gone in the grapes before they had been crushed and leeched of their juices.

Scarlet was leaning against the table, one leg crossed over another, the swell of her breasts resting against her forearm. She was softly backlit with the dim lights around the room, and the candle on the table that had been lit by a passing waiter cast interesting shadows on her bare skin. And there was a lot of bare skin to illuminate, he noticed more and more.

“So when are we going to talk about it?” Scarlet said, catching his attention.

He blinked and then silently raised an eyebrow, shifting in his chair a little.

She waved a hand. “You, Genesis and I.” She watched him over the rim on her glass as she sipped at her wine. He noted her voice had become considerably slurred and her movements a little off balance.

He’d been dreading her brining that up. “I wasn’t aware there was anything to be discussed.”

“Oh, come now. You know I’m after you. You know I want more.” Her eyes narrowed a little, their ice blue depths cutting right through him. “Maybe you want more too, SOLDIER.”

He frowned at her. “If you’re offering me a bribe, you can rot,” he said, then tacked on, “Ma’am.”

His eyes widened a little, the candle turning the green of his eyes into a sickly kind of orange, along with his hair and the white lining on his dress jacket. Perhaps he was just a little more drunk than he had previously suspected. He’d never been so insubordinate in his life.

At least his headache had eased, and the aches in his bones, that he felt down to his very cells, had become duller, further away.

She smiled, toying with the napkin that had lain on her pristine plate, and didn’t seem to mind that he’d essentially told her to fuck off. “You’re offended by my offering you recompense for an evening?”

“I’m offended by the suggestion that I whore myself out,” he said, his tone curt but bland. He stared at her, his eyebrows pulling down just the slightest bit.

“You whore yourself to ShinRa already, Sephiroth, don’t kid yourself.” She gave him a dry, unimpressed look, then went back to her glass.

They stared at each other for a long moment, and then, almost simultaneously, they looked out at the crowd filling floor around them, slowly shifting to their seats at the tables before the podium. Sephiroth had to work to not crush the glass in his hand. “That’s different,” he reasoned.

“Is it? I’m not so sure. You’re just using your body and skills for a different kind of lust, aren’t you?” She chuckled quietly, and he didn’t find it as annoying as her cackle. It was a deep, throaty chuckle, unlike her banshees shriek that could be called ‘laughter’.

Not for the first time he wondered why the hell he was attracted to her.

“To be blunt,” she began, and he didn’t take his eyes off the few people dancing, “I won’t hide the fact that I want to fuck you again. Haven’t, at all. I want more, Sephiroth, one night, three, whatever it takes to get rid of the curiosity.”

Sephiroth failed to see what was so interesting in him. He was a weapon, nothing more. Pretty to look at, but empty inside. He barely understood social protocol even without all that Zack and Cloud had taught him. He had no hobbies besides training; he found most movies irritatingly incorrect and he was too particular too cook or garden, had no particular interest for using his tacticians mind to paint or pot.

He was a genius.

He read, he trained, he fucked his lovers, he slept, he went to work, and began again.

He looked over at her, tilting his head downwards a little to look at her through his long eyelashes. It was a disbelieving look, and she only hardened her gaze and tightened her jaw. She was determined, drunk as she was, to get into his pants.

“All I need to know is if there’s something on your side, so I can save myself the trouble of forcing you into it again.”

He should hate her for that, he knew. one would have dared say such a thing to him. Not unless their name was Zack Fair. Not even Cloud said such things, wasn’t afraid of him, actually seemed to care about him, wanted him enough to pursue him again and again and spend time with him, talking, laughing, drinking, after. It might have been unhealthy somehow, perhaps amoral, but he...liked it.

It was a different kind of attention to the blatant hero-worship and fear, the kind of gushing letters and emails he got from his fan club and stalkers.

He lifted a hand and pressed his fingertips to his temple, closed his eyes in thought..

He was drunk and he didn’t need her hanging around; with her snake-like ways she could have just been using him, or even manipulating him, but, at the moment, he ached and was a little too unfocused to think through it properly. He dropped his hand to the table and picked up his scotch glass full of wine and took a long draw.

Bright, mako green eyes turned on her.

Scarlet thought that, maybe it wasn’t just the shadows the candle threw that gave the illusion of that slight smirk. “I must be suicidal, to be interested in you.” He thought of the lieutenant she'd shot in the balls.

She snorted. “Join the club.”

He sighed almost too quietly for her to catch it.

“I don’t know about you,” she began, “but I’m bored out of my skull, and I know a nice little oriental place we can get take out from. The President can wax lyrical to the investors, we don't have to be here for this.”

Zack and Cloud would be at his quarters, Sephiroth thought. They would be waiting for him. But he wanted Scarlet, and he didn't want to stay here, amongst these people, where he could deal a strong blow to his reputation for being too drunk and strained far too tight by the mako cocktail hangover he was experiencing.

He drank the rest of his wine and placed the glass on the table lightly, looked over to Scarlet and tilted his head a little. “That would be acceptable,” he said, lightly.

Scarlet smiled.

To Be Continued

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