[FF7] Body Switch 03

Chapter Three – I Think It’s Expired

Yuffie lived in a nice, high-rise apartment on the high-end of town. Her quarters were, predictably, the penthouse and as ordered, Sephiroth pressed the button (since he was in Cloud’s body, after all) and announced their presence. She squealed in excitement. Immediately, Yuffie buzzed them in and the two amen entered the complex, taking the elevator to the thirtieth floor.

Amusingly, Sephiroth didn’t seem to appreciate the close confines of the elevator. Enough so, that by the time they arrived at the very top, he was clinging to the sides and sweating profusely. He was too anxious to even spare the energy to screech at Cloud for making fun of him.

They tumbled out into the hall with much relief, pleased that there was only one door on its full length. Gaping at the opulence surrounding them, which seemed far too much for one annoying brat, they proceeded down the hallway until they found themselves at Yuffie’s door.

Exchanging glances of apprehension, they raised their fists and knocked.

Silence fell.

The two men shifted as they waited.

And then they heard it, quietly at first but gaining in volume. The sound of a girl singing – or more appropriately, shrieking – at the top of her lungs a tune that had gone out of style years ago.

“Dashing and daring, courageous and caring. Faithful and friendly, with stories to shaaaaaare!” The words grew louder as they heard several thumps before the door in front of them rattled. “All through the forest, they sing out in chorus. Marching along as their song fills the aiiiiiir!”

The door swung open and the two men blinked in the blinding light that spilled out of the room beyond, nearly causing them to lose their sight. A strange odor accompanied the light, vaguely resembling a mix of melting plastic, jasmine, and Febreze air freshener, citrus-scented.

“Gummi bears!” Yuffie sang, clearly not about to finish as she grinned at them. They were frantically trying to rub their eyes. “Bouncing here and there and everywhere! High adventure that’s beyond compare. They are the Gummi Bears!”

As the last notes of the chorus echoed along the hall, there was a sudden rumble that nearly shook the men from their feet. Their gazes darted frantically around as the bright light from Yuffie’s room gradually faded, only to be replaced by a rainbow sparkle that appeared out of nowhere. Feeling incredibly nervous and frightened, without knowing why, the two men grasped onto each other. For the moment, it seemed their rivalry as forgotten.

Yuffie grinned.

They were scared.

And then, chaos erupted around them.

Bounce! Bounce! Boi~ng!

Tiny, rotund creatures attacked them from a pocket of space, latching onto their bodies and trying to pull them to the ground. Shrill screams of terror erupted from their lips as they frantically tried to look for help. Sephiroth gazed up, past a squishy orange body, to see Yuffie gazing down at them. There was a strange gleam in her eye as she opened her mouth to keep singing.

“Magic and mystery are part of their history, along with the secret of gummiberry juiiiiiiiiice.”

“We need your help to reverse a spell!” Cloud cried, desperately trying to surface from beneath the bodies of brightly colored gummi creatures. His stomach grumbled hungrily.

“Their legend is growing, they take pride in knowing, they’ll fight for what’s right in whatever they doooooo.” She giggled as she flounced out into the hallway, skipping around their bodies. The gummi bears didn’t seem to care about attacking her, their eyes only on the two men.

Her hands unceremoniously dove into their pockets, probing around. “Gummi bears,” she continued. “Bouncing here and there and everywhere. High adventure that’s beyond compare. They are the Gummi Bears!” She smirked as she emerged with Sephiroth’s wallet, but not before getting a good grope of his ass. He squeaked in shock before blushing furiously.

“Gummi bears! When a friend’s in danger they’ll be there,” she sang even louder, prancing over to Cloud and dipping her hands into his pockets as well. The other man tried to fight her off, but it was to no avail as the gummi candies refused to cease their assault. They held down his arms and his legs, ignoring his cries for mercy.

“Lives and legends that we all can share, they are the gummi bears! They are the gummi bears!” She practically shouted the last as her fingers finally wrapped around Cloud’s wallet, removing it with much glee. She did a little bounce and a dance, a hippity jig before skipping back into her room.

Yuffie left them alone with the gummi bears, throwing a smirk over her shoulder as she did. Still singing, she blew them an opened mouth kiss. “They are the gummi bears!” she sang.

Sephiroth started screaming like a bitch, thrashing wildly beneath the creatures as he thrust himself to his feet. Running in circles, as if that would actually help anything, he pleaded with the damn things to stop tugging on his spikes. On the ground, Cloud had resorted to desperate measures. Teeth were frantically gnawing on the bright green, and slightly limey arm that was clamped over his face.

“They are the gummi bears!”
Slam! The door shut behind her.

Whoosh! The candy treats, overgrown and overdone, promptly disappeared in a twinkle of gay sparkles, leaving two men panting behind them.

“That. Did. NOT. Just. Happen,” Cloud panted from where lay on the floor, sprawled like a rag doll. His entire body felt sticky, as if he had bathed in candy juice. His mouth tasted like a damn fruit punch since his gnawing had done nothing to dissuade the determined things.

Sephiroth, who had finally stopped running around in circles, was propped up on the wall, clutching himself as his body shook. “This is why Hojo never allowed me candy,” he affirmed in a small voice. “I never believed him when he said it would give me nightmares.”

Cloud rolled his eyes, usually blue, now Sephiroth’s jade green. It was annoying. “Your father is a fucking lunatic.”

The other man shot him a glare as he snorted, trying to gain a hold of himself. “And your brother is a little emo freak.”

“Leave Roxas out of this!” Cloud argued, instantly shooting into a sitting position. He cursed when that caused all of the blood to rush into his head, and a groan of pain slipped his lips.

Sephiroth smirked, which was slightly disconcerting since the smirk was coming from Cloud’s own face. “Make me,” he insinuated smugly, crossing his arms over his chest. Though it was rather hard to look intimidating when he had smears of melted gummi all over his body from the attacking candy.

Cloud merely humphed. “I don’t have time to waste on idiots like you. Unfortunately, I have a meeting with Square later today.”

That certainly got a reaction.

Sephiroth snarled as he darted forward and grabbed Cloud’s shirt. “What did they say to you? What’s coming out next?”

The other man coolly batted his hand away, though the taunting tone of his voice did little to calm the situation. “Doesn’t matter. They don’t want you.” He laughed at his own jeer.

A growl echoed through the hall as Spehiroth’s fingers clenched tighter in Cloud’s shirt. Murder seemed eminent.

Until a familiar voice filtered through the door. “You two should just fuck and get it over with,” Yuffie sang, her chuckles echoing all around them like a demented cat.

It was a sound that struck fear into the heartiest of men.

A moment of silence fell. The two men exchanged glances before suddenly leaping to their feet and sprinting towards the elevator, which had remained remarkably open and ready for them the entire time. They skidded to a stop inside the small compartment, Cloud frantically pressing the button numerous times as if to force it to hurry, hurry, hurry.

Yet, the lift took its leisurely time in closing. With a quiet dong, it shuddered and ever so slowly began to descend. Breathing a sigh of relief, Cloud slumped against the side of the elevator, not even having the gumption to tease Sephiroth about clinging to the rail. Blue eyes remained locked on the slowly descending numbers.

Silence fell, only broken by the sound of their harsh breathing. Until Sephiroth snorted. “Anymore bright ideas, genius?” he asked sarcastically.

Cloud shot him a dry look, resisting the urge to strangle him. “Vincent?” he ventured. “He lives pretty close to here. And I’m certain that he doesn’t have a fetish for gummi bears.”

The other man snorted. “At least he seems mildly more intelligent. We’ll try him next.” He paused as he extracted a string of greenish goo from blond spikes. “And maybe I won’t kill you later for getting me into this mess.”

– – – – – –

Unlike the former heir of Wutai, Vincent lived in less… ostentatious surroundings. Despite the money earned from both video games, the movie and countless guest appearances in other games and media, he lived a simple life with his lover of whom no one had ever met. It was presumed that this person existed, whether or man or woman no one could really be sure, but since it was Vincent they were discussing, they thought it was better not to ask. To say that Vincent was eccentric was putting it lightly.

Simply put, he was not that far off from his usual role in the Final Fantasy VII epic.

The quaint little cottage squashed on a small plot between two skyscrapers was distinctly out of place in the busy, bustling city. Not that Vincent ever really cared what anyone else thought. He was quite satisfied with his two-floor home, complete with wide deck and patio and little garden gnomes decorating the meticulously groomed front lawn. There was even a flamingo or two.

“I take it back,” Sephiroth muttered, staring at the brand new paint job on the family home. “He may be even crazier.”

Cloud promptly punched him. “Just ‘cause you don’t want to live in it doesn’t mean he’s crazy,” he pointed out realistically.

Blue eyes were disbelieving as they swept over the quaint, white picket fence that surrounded the home. They stood just on the other side of it, waiting for one or the other to open the small gate that couldn’t possibly have been meant as any form of security. It swung easily with just a touch, or so Cloud found out as he tentatively pushed it.

The gate didn’t even squeak.

“Hmm.” Cloud stared for a minute before suddenly shoving both of his palms into Sephiroth’s back. “You first.”

The other man stumbled forward, tripped over the gate and tumbled headfirst onto the lawn on the other side, leaving the gate swinging back and forth in his wake. Giggling, Cloud followed after him, making sure to step on Sephiroth on his way as he moved to the stone path and headed towards the front door. He heard cursing behind him, but ignored it steadfastly, reaching up with one hand to knock on the door.

Before he could even press knuckle to wood, the door swung open, revealing the strange and overbearing presence of one Vincent Valentine, wearing a pale blue kimono no less, overlaid with a pink, frilly apron. Apparently, he had been in the middle of baking.

“No need to knock,” he muttered, letting the door slide all the way open as he stepped back. “I heard your nonsense from the street.” Without another word, he turned on his heels and disappeared into the dim of the house, leaving them to invite themselves inside.

Sighing, well used to friend’s surly ways, Cloud stepped into the house, Sephiroth on his heels. The other man was muttering beneath his breath, trying to brush the grass stains off of his clothes. It was hopeless, but he kept attempting to nonetheless.

Inside, Vincent preferred to conserve electricity. All the blinds and curtains were thrust open, letting in the natural light. But where the suns rays did not reach, it was dim and shadowed, giving the whole home a haunted house aura despite the Martha Stewart outer decor. Having visited Vincent before, Cloud knew his way around the house.

As he passed through the living room, instinctually heading for the kitchen, Sephiroth harshly nudged him in the side with his elbow. “You sure he’s all there, up there?” he questioned, gesturing towards his head.

Cloud glared. “Be careful. He can hear you, ya know.”

“That’s impossible,” Sephiroth argued, but he looked around suspiciously anyways, as if Vincent were suddenly going to pop out of the wall or ceiling and attack him. He believed it was possible. Valentine had always given him the creeps. Especially during filming.

“I can.” The voice floated out of one of the open doorways ahead of them, containing a hidden bit of amusement.

Sephiroth jumped in shock, before flushing with embarrassment for being startled. Cloud shot him a bemused look before directing Sephiroth into the kitchen where a rather enticing smell was quickly brewing. Both men’s stomach’s gurgled hungrily. Roast chicken… scalloped potatoes… cheese-covered broccoli, all lay upon a table, set for a romantic evening. Yet, Vincent still stood at the counter, fixing one more item.

“They’re his favorite,” the actor intoned, hearing their footsteps as they entered his kitchen. “So I make them all the time.” He rolled a bit more of the dough into round balls, deposited them on the cookie sheet and then slid them into the oven. Dusting off his hands on his robe, he finally turned to face them.

“Well,” he prompted, not at all bothered by the gaping look. “What did you come to see me for?”

“You make cookies?” Sephiroth questioned incredulously, his nose flaring at the delicious aroma that wafted his way. He had an unnatural… addiction to cookies that was secret to everyone but Zack. At just the sight of them, the urge to consume overwhelmed him.

Crimson eyes flickered his direction with such intensity that Sephiroth gulped. He had forgotten that those blood-red eyes were natural and not special effects or contacts. Perhaps that was why Vincent had always unnerved him…

“Ignore him,” Cloud interjected, waving a hand of dismissal. “He’s an idiot. Are you busy?”

“A bit,” Vincent answered dryly, gesturing towards the dinner and the cookies. He folded his arms over his chest as he leaned on the counter. “It’s our anniversary you know.” He dipped one hand into his pocket, pulling out a pair of metal cuffs and twirling one off the rings on his finger he continued. “We had plans.”

Instantly, a red flush took over Cloud’s face as Sephiroth smirked at his embarrassment. Really, Cloud was sooo gay. He just needed to figure it out sooner or later.

Cloud coughed. “Umm, I see. We’ll make this quick then.”

“You’ve exchanged bodies,” Vincent inserted before he could even begin to explain.

Sephiroth’s mouth dropped. “You knew?”

Crimson eyes rolled as the man turned to check on his cookies, noting that they were gradually beginning to flatten and turn a delicious golden-brown. Sephiroth couldn’t help but stare; he was a man after all. And Valentine, while creepy, did have a rather lovely ass.

“Well, when Sephiroth’s body started to speak to me in familiar tones while Cloud’s body acts like he doesn’t know anything, it’s pretty damn obvious, don’t you think?”

“Point,” Cloud conceded, finally able to get a hold of himself. “Very well, do you know how to fix it?”

“Hmm.” Vincent hummed thoughtfully as he turned back around. He tapped one finger on his chin before noticing that a bit of dough still clung to the digit. Sticking it in his mouth to lick away the sweet substance, he pondered carefully before nodding. “I think I might have something. Wait here. And watch my cookies, I know you know how, Cloud.”

As Cloud sputtered behind him, Vincent headed to the other door in the kitchen, the one that led to the pantry and disappeared inside. Clanks and clunks could be heard as he rustled within. Sephiroth shot his rival a bemused expression as he crossed his arms over his chest. He arched one brow.

“Cookies, Cloud?”

“Oh, shut up,” the other man snapped, stalking towards the oven and leaning over to check the cookies just as Vincent had done.

Like he had claimed before, Sephiroth was a man. So of course, he looked. Then he realized that he was staring at his own ass, which was kind of freaky. But then again, he really did have a nice ass. It would kind of be like really complex masturbation. Sort of.

“Got it!” Vincent announced, sweeping back into the kitchen. A few pots and pans and cans rolled out of the pantry in his wake. With some irritation, he kicked the offensive items back into the small closet and slammed the door on the mess.

Cloud turned away from the cookies, which could use a few more minutes and raised a brow. “Got what?” he asked warily.

A slight smirk tugged at the corner of Vincent’s mouth as his hand dipped into one of the lacy pockets of the front of his apron. He produced a small vial, filled with a strange icy blue liquid and held it between his two fingers. “This.”

The two rivals immediately headed his way, crowding around the older man and looking intently at the bottle. “What is it?” Sephiroth asked, not sure if he liked the strangely cold aura that seemed to radiate from the glass.

Vincent shrugged as he deposited the bottle into Cloud’s hands with a quiet plop. “It’s a potion,” he explained succinctly, already heading back to the oven and his dinner preparations. “I bought it from Xemnas who had received it from Zaraki who had gotten it as a gift from Yorihisa who had found it in the cellar of his Uncle Elric’s house. Of course, Uncle Elric said he had gotten it as a gift from Raito who had bought it at this quaint little shop in Westminster, you know, the one run by Ishida?”

Cloud blinked, nodding dumbly at the really long explanation.

Vincent nodded and continued, moving to pull his finished cookies out of the oven. They were just the perfect color, wafting a delightful aroma. “Anyways, Ishida had received it as a gift from his lover, Saix, who had stolen it from his brother Fei’s room. Fei, predictably and like his usual dumb self, had bought it off a street vendor who claimed that it was an ancient relic from the Renji Dynasty. I suppose it would work for your condition. Everyone knows that Renji’s are notorious for their magical workings.”

Sephiroth blinked, wondering when in all that, Vincent had taken a breath. He looked skeptically to the ancient and many times passed on vial of a questionable substance and gulped. It didn’t exactly seem safe.

“Are you sure it’s safe?” Cloud questioned, voicing Sephiroth’s very thoughts.

A crimson eye shot him an annoyed glare. “I wouldn’t give you poison,” he replied with a sniff. “There are far better ways to kill someone.” He paused, reconsidering. An impish smile took over his face. “Or you could just fuck and get it over with. Everything can be solved with a little bump and grind.”

The bitter rivals exchanged glances. “It’s worth a shot,” Cloud suggested weakly, pulling off the cork and giving the liquid a tentative sniff because there was no way in hell he was going to have sex with another man, much less Sephiroth Hojo.

The smell of blueberries and cream wafted to his nose. “At least, it smells good…”

Sephiroth watched the gurgling, icy liquid with concern. “You first then.”

After a moment, Cloud shrugged and brought the lip of the glass to his mouth. Muttering a small prayer, he chugged down half of the vial before quickly handing it over to Sephiroth. “Hurry,” he gurgled, trying not to swallow. “We probably have to drink it at the same time.”

The other man nodded, made a disgusted face and promptly tipped the rest of the contents into his mouth. He kept it in his cheek however, waiting for Cloud’s signal to swallow. Fingers were raised into the air, a silent countdown.

Three… two… one… with a loud set of twin gulps, the strange liquid was swallowed, slithering strangely as it went down. An icy feeling settled in their bodies, not unpleasant, just slightly chilling. Cloud shivered and Sephiroth got goosebumps. Vincent wasn’t paying either of them any attention, too busy packing some cookies into plastic baggies.

Their stomachs gurgled in tandem, a strange bubbling noise like that of a fish tank or water rising from the deep. Cloud winced, Sephiroth looked perturbed, both men shifted strangely where they stood.

Still, nothing seemed to be working.

Then they heard it. Quietly at first but gaining in volume… and smell. A tandem conflagration of rumbled noise that brought with it an odor that quickly flooded to every corner of the room. Vincent didn’t even seem to notice. Which was probably because rather than smelling of something nasty, the odor was pleasant… and vaguely floral.

Cloud frowned, rubbing his stomach slightly worriedly. “Umm,” he ventured, his face slightly pink from embarrassment. “I don’t think it worked.”

“I know,” Vincent nodded as he turned around, holding out two baggies of cookies. He handed them out. “I just remembered… I think it’s expired.”

Sephiroth’s mouth dropped open as Cloud sweat-dropped. “W–what?” stuttered the spiky-headed blond, barely cognizant of the fact that he know held the coveted cookies.

Vincent started ushering them towards the door with none too subtle movements. “I can’t help you. Get the hell out. Try Cid next,” he said with hurried tones, shoving them out the door and slamming it in their face.

The two men were left staring at the door, a bag of cookies in their hands and stomachs that were still faintly gurgling. A small whine of gas escaped Sephiroth, bringing with it a scent that was vaguely jasmine in nature. He turned to glare at Cloud.

“Well, that was successful,” he commented smartly.

Cloud sighed. “Cid lives in South Hampton,” he suggested meekly. “We’ll need to catch the train.

Resisting the urge to throttle his own body, Sephiroth reluctantly began to trudge after Cloud as they stepped off the porch. He absentmindedly opened the baggie, pulling out a cookie and popping into his mouth. He chewed thoughtfully for a moment, surprised to find that it was actually quite delicious. He didn’t even want to think about the handcuffs….

Inside the house, Vincent turned away from the closed door, letting out a sigh of relief. He closed his eyes for a moment, relaxing before he sensed the strange surge of power that caused every light in his house to flicker. That always happened every time his lover came home through the portal. A smile flitted across his lips.

“You’re home,” he commented unnecessarily.

“So I am,” his lover responded before a warm body pressed itself to Vincent’s front. Hands immediately tangled in his front as lips descended on his, a tongue pushing determinedly into Vincent’s mouth. He accepted the hungry affection wordlessly, a moan of pleasure reverberating in his throat.

The kiss ended all too quickly and Vincent opened his eyes, staring into brightly gleaming emerald eyes with a hint of mischief. A noise of discontent escaped his throat. “Dinner’s on the table, Axel,” he offered.

“Mmm-hmm,” he purred, hand trailing down lower. “But you know how much I love that damn apron on you. Dinner can wait.”

Vincent moaned when a palm roamed over his steadily building arousal. “And handcuffs? I’ve got those, too,” he inserted hopefully.

Axel laughed. “My kinky little Vince… whatever you want, babe.”

– – – – –

Cid had not been surprised to see them.

A billow of smoke greeted them in the face when he opened the door and ushered them in with a boisterous gesture. They stepped into the smoky interior with much reluctance, their disinclination to remain in each other’s bodies the only thing that drove them forward.

Behind them, Cid slammed the door shut before turning around and draping his arms over their shoulders. “So,” he drawled, cigarette popping up and down between his lips. “Finally decided to come see me, eh?”

“Cid, at least let them into the house before you start badgering them.” The female voice filtered in from the kitchen, soft and gentle, which was a complete opposite to the persona that Cid greeted with them.

“Shut the hell up, Shera!” Cid bellowed in return. “Now go make some goddamned tea.” He turned towards the two men, grinning broadly as he led them into the living room. “Want some tea?”

Sephiroth blinked. “Umm… no thanks, I don’t really–”

“Nonsense!” The man barked, interrupting them before he could finish. “Everyone likes tea. Shera! Hurry the fuck up, woman!”

Cloud winced, sticking a finger in his ear to clear the ringing. He began to wonder if it was such a good idea to visit Cid after all. “Nice to see you’re doing well for yourself,” he commented, coughing lightly as a puff of smoke was sent in his direction.

“Ya think?” Cid responded, directing them to sit on the couch as he flopped down into one of the large lazy boy’s and propped his feet up on the coffee table. “Every man’s dream house, hmm?”

Sephiroth snorted into his hand. “Not exactly,” he muttered under his breath, cutting his eyes at the strange decor that seemed to have invaded Cid’s house. It definitely wasn’t his style, what with the mismatched drapes and lovely yellow-taint of years of cigarette to everything. Cid really should have been able to afford more.

Unless the rumors of him losing his entire paycheck on a bet were true after all.

“Yeah, something like that,” Cloud responded dryly. He coughed again, feeling the sudden urge to sneeze rise up and figured they had to make it quick before he lost all ability to breathe. “We came cause we needed your help.”

“Oh?” Cid raised a brow, intrigued by this. He sat back in his chair, dropping his feet to the ground. “My help?”

Sephiroth nodded. “Vincent sent us.”

“Yeah, he called me. Said you had a little switcheroo problem.”

“He called yo–” Cloud began but was quickly interrupted.

“Shera! Damn woman, are you deliberately tryin’ to piss me off today? Tea, now!” Cid bellowed, causing both rivals to wince and cover their ears. The paintings rattled on the walls and a vase fell over with a crash, shattering into pieces. Not that Cid seemed to mind.

“Hai, hai,” came the same gentle voice, accompanied by the sound of rattling dishes. “Coming, honey.”

A woman appeared in the doorway, carrying a tray with teacups and a fancy teapot, all prepared for them with condiments like milk and sugar on the side. There was even strawberry shortcake, freshly baked and bringing with it the pleasant scent of strawberries.

Sephiroth’s eyes widened as a pleased expression took over his face. He did so love sweets and the cookies Vincent had made were long eaten. He couldn’t wait to start in on the shortcake. If Cid were so inclined to offer.

Shera clucked her tongue as she set the tray on the table, her eyes flickering to the vase. “You broke another one, dear. Pretty soon I won’t have anywhere to put my flowers,” she chastised as she began to serve the refreshments.

Cid snorted. “You don’t use that garden no more no ways.”

Sighing, Cloud flickered his gaze between the perpetually bickering couple. “Cid,” he prompted. “You said Vincent talked to you?”

“Ah, yeah! That’s right.” Cid paused and took a big gulp of his tea, smacking his lips in satisfaction when it tasted just right. He blew his wife a kiss as she snuck out of the room before continuing. “He called me bout twenty minutes ago. Sounded busy, too. I didn’t ask since I knew it was their anniversary today.”

Sephiroth remembered the handcuffs, and apparently Cloud did, too, because he immediately blushed, his face turning redder than a killer tomato. Cloud coughed, which might have been due to the smoke, he wasn’t quite sure and took a huge sip of his tea to wash down the strange tickle in his throat.

“Right,” he muttered. “So… can you help us?”

Cid nodded, beaming brighter than the sun. “Yep! I had Shera whip that cake up just for you. Found the recipe in my great uncle so on and so forth’s cookbook. He was a mage, you know.”

Cloud’s eyes turned skeptically to the shortcake, over which Sephiroth was drooling. “No, I didn’t.”

The older man waved him off. “Well, now you do. So go on. Eat up!” He paused, placing a hand on his chin. “Oh yeah! And don’t forget… you have to feed each other. It’s part of the male bonding ritual, or summin’ like that.”

Sephiroth sweat-dropped. “We have to feed each other?” he questioned, tone incredulous.

Cid nodded. “Come on. It’ll be fun,” he goaded.

“Fun, right.” Cloud snorted as he accepted his half of the cake from the plate. He glared at the strawberry confection as if the power of his eyes would be enough to erase its existence from the planet. Of course, such a thing did not happen.

Meanwhile, Sephiroth was gingerly cutting into his cake with his fork, wishing he could just eat it himself. It smelled like it tasted good. He eyed the portion as he hefted it into the air, looking over his fork to see Cloud with a skeptical look on his face. Almost as if he were pained.

“Do we have to?” Cloud whined, attempting a pout as he cast a desperate look at Cid.

The man broke out into barking laughter, slapping one of his knees in the process. “If ya don’t mind being Sephiroth the rest of your life then I suppose not,” he pointed out with a chuckle.

“As if,” Sephiroth muttered, shoving his fork in Cloud’s face. “Eat! I’m not going to be stuck with chocobo hair forever.”

Cloud scowled but opened his mouth anyways, letting Sephiroth feed him the strawberry shortcake. The flavor burst over his tongue, sweet and succulent, and he couldn’t help it when a low moan of pleasure escaped his mouth. Sephiroth’s eyes widened in surprise at the sound as he slowly withdrew the utensil.

“That good?” he questioned, his tone coming out slightly husky.

Cid’s eyes began to pinball between the two, sensing that something was occurring that was a little different than bitter rivalry.

Cloud nodded vigorously. “You have to try this.” He quickly scooped up some of the cake on his plate and thrust it in Sephiroth’s direction, missing the man’s mouth by a few inches and streaking pink frosting across his face. “Oops,” he muttered sheepishly before re-aiming.
Sephiroth glared but opened his mouth anyways, letting his tongue accept the sweet cake. He, too, was surprised by the flavor. “Superb!” he exclaimed, cutting his eyes towards Shera who had returned to the doorway.

She beamed. “Thank you. It is my specialty.”

“I agree. It is equisi—mmpf!” Cloud’s words cut off as Sephiroth promptly shoved another large forkful into his mouth, some of it crumbling out and dribbling down Cloud’s chin. Pink frosting dropped onto the man’s shirt, forever staining it a wonderful bubblegum color.

Green eyes narrowed. Cloud chewed the bite but quickly scooped up another third of his own piece.

And so it began. Cloud shoved an even bigger piece at Sephiroth. “Eat it,” he taunted as Sephiroth looked at it skeptically. “You oughta be good at swallowing big bites.”

Annoyance flared in the man’s eyes as he pushed a forkful towards Cloud, deliberately smearing the cake on Cloud’s other, once-clean cheek. “You’ll get your chance to test it soon enough,” he replied smugly.

Cloud’s mouth opened to scream his outrage, but suddenly, a strange tingling began spreading throughout his entire body. “Is it working?” he questioned excitedly, beginning to grow energized. “Are we changing back?”

The other man thought to respond, but suddenly, everything started looking a little hazy. “I really… don’t… know,” Sephiroth responded, tilting his head to the side and wincing when the world started spinning dangerously.

The world dimmed.

And in the background, Cid was laughing like a maniac… the bastard.

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