Chapter Four – Emotively Gay
When Sephiroth was finally able to register his surroundings with some coherence, he was astounded to find that everything had changed and nothing was familiar. He was standing in some sort of forest that was underground, because above him he could see nothing but darkness, with a few streams of light coming in from… somewhere.
A low groan alerted him to the fact that he was not alone.
And he still smelled cigarette smoke, and pretty heavily, which meant that they were still somewhere around Cid. In fact, if he strained, he could hear the man’s booming, mocking laughter at some location nearby. Sephiroth vowed vengeance; it would be swift and deadly… possibly involving pickles.
“What the fuck happened?” Cloud swore, sounding two steps away from pure rage. The ground shifted beneath Sephiroth and it was only then he noticed that he was actually sitting on Cloud. Oops. Not that he felt at all repentant.
Sephiroth snorted. “Don’t ask me. It was your idea to come here.”
“Trivial detail,” he mumbled. “Now get the hell offa me.”
He lingered for all of a second, grinding his ass down on Cloud’s stomach and causing the man to grunt before deciding to rise. Sephiroth stretched, cracking bones in his back before sweeping his gaze around their surroundings.
A forest, thick and dark, seemed to have swallowed them whole. The ground beneath was springy and slightly damp. “Where are we?” Sephiroth questioned as Cloud rose to his feet, frowning as he attempted to wipe grass stains from his shirt.
“Do I look like I know?” Cloud demanded crossly before his eyes spotted a dirt path worn into the emerald grass. He pointed to it. “Let’s just follow this randomly placed path in our undetermined location and hope it leads to something that will provide some information.”
“And thus the horror movie begins,” Sephiroth muttered under his breath as they proceeded to follow the dirt road.
Cloud tilted his head to the side. “What?”
Sephiroth shrugged. “Haven’t you ever seen a single slasher film?”
“Nope.” He shook his head. “I have this thing about blood.” A full body shudder wracked Cloud as he waved a hand of dismissal.
The ground crunched beneath their Shinra-issued military boots, courtesy of the ShinRa Film Company. It was nice to be the stars of their entertainment industry as well as the largest production company, Square-Enix, that side of Gaia. Or truthfully, the entirety of Gaia if they were being immodest.
“Hey, what’s that?” Sephiroth asked after a moment of silence, spotting something in the distance. It was brightly colored, standing in a corona of light provided by a break in the thick canopy of leaves and branches overhead.
A thin stream of colored smoke trailed lazily upwards from the bright rainbow that was shaped like a mushroom and it almost appeared something was perched atop it. Something vaguely insect-shaped, like a worm almost.
“Do I look like I know?” Cloud repeated snarkily, shooting Sephiroth a look that implied what he truly thought of his rival.
Sephiroth opened his mouth to argue, prompting Cloud to have the sudden and weird thought that there was a lot better things he could stick in there, before they were interrupted by the lazy drawl of something’s voice. The two men stopped in their tracks, near to the mushroom, as they looked around, seeking the owner of such a voice. Beside them, the brightly colored mass shifted with an audible squeak and groan.
“S’been a while since I had visitors,” the voice drawled with a steady purr.
Both men whipped around to find that perched atop the mushroom was nothing other than a huge-ass caterpillar, and that was the technical term. To make matters worse, the caterpillar creature looked as if it hadn’t shaved in days, smoke puffing out from between its humanoid lips. And in its strange, clawed hands, idly being perused by blood-shot eyes, was a magazine, the name Playpillar proudly displayed on the front.
Cloud swallowed down his nausea. Caterpillar porn did not sound all that appetizing to him. Not in the slightest.
“Uhh, and you are?” Sephiroth began, ignoring Cloud when the man jabbed him in the side and asked if he had lost his damn mind.
The caterpillar shifted in his spot, idly turning a page as more smoke curled up from his body, sparkling in the bright corona of sun. “Maxamillian Cornelius Decatur Su at your service,” he drawled. “But you can call me Corny.”
Cloud blinked. “Corny, right. So, where are we?”
“The beautiful land of Oz,” he answered without missing a beat. When the two rivals shot Corny a skeptical look, he laughed. “Okay, I’m joking. You’re currently in paradise which just happens to be located under Highwind’s floor.”
“Under Cid’s floor?” Cloud repeated, staring at the dubious, overly large insect. “That’s impossible.”
Corny snorted. “So is switching bodies.” He turned another page, a low sound of pleasure escaping him which made both rivals take a step backwards. Corny was creepy and disgusting and he stank. One of his many hands reached for a stick that seemed to be providing all of the smoke and he sucked from it, cheeks hollowing.
Sephiroth grimaced. “Well, we’ll just be going now,” he began slowly, already inching towards the path in front of him. “You know, places to go and stuff.”
“Wait just a minute!” The caterpillar declared, holding up one of his many fingers. “Don’t you want to switch your bodies back?”
Skeptical, Cloud shot the creature a disbelieving stare. “You can help us?” he questioned warily, wondering what insane idea they would be forced to endure this time. He was beginning to fear that they would forever remain in each other’s bodies. Which would really suck because he doubted Sephiroth’s hair would spike like his own.
Sephiroth paused in place, equally skeptical but nearly willing to try anything as the caterpillar nodded vigorously, finally laying aside his porn magazine. “Of course I can,” he declared with great aplomb. His insect face broke out into a huge smile. “And I would do it for free, too. Well, free and an autograph.”
With evident reluctance, Cloud turned back towards the creature. “Our autographs?” he questioned.
Corny peered around. “Do you see any other semi-famous people with body problems around here?”
Sephiroth rolled his eyes, slapping Cloud across the head. “Ignore him,” he muttered. “The boy is an idiot and apparently, there’s no cure.”
Green eyes narrowed in a glare as Cloud angrily slapped his hand away. “Ignore him,” he cut in, stressing his words. “He has mommy issues.”
Corny burst out into laughter, a harsh, grating sound that made their ears hurt. “You two really are just too cute!” he exclaimed before puffing on his stick and blowing out a ring of magenta smoke. As the haze rose above him to join the multi-colored fog, he held out the pipe towards them. “Here, have some.”
Cloud eyed the object with evident reluctance, taking a step back as his stomach twisted in revulsion. “Umm, no,” he responded, shaking his head. “I… have asthma.”
“Dumbass,” Sephiroth snorted under his breath. “That’s my body.” He reached for the pipe with two fingers, sniffing the smoke rising from it cautiously. It smelled faintly of raspberries and… chicken soup? Strange. “What is it?” he asked.
“The answer to all your troubles!” Corny sang, spreading his many arms wide as he grinned. “And for the low, low price of a set of autographs, I can have you back in your bodies in a matter of seconds.” One arm groped around behind him for the earlier discarded magazine. A cry of delight escaped his lips as he produced the porn and tossed it at Cloud.
The man caught it unenthusiastically. He grimaced at the sight of the scantily dressed female insects. A flash of nausea rose up in his throat as he closed his eyes and looked away. Suddenly, a pen smacked him in the forehead. It was a cheery thing, one of those glittery numbers with feathers puffed up from one end. Scowling, Cloud plucked it off the ground from where it had fallen.
Beside him, Sephiroth still mused over the smoking pipe in his hand. “Are you certain?” he questioned warily, having never smoked anything in his life.
“Yes, yes,” Corny urged, flicking his hands at them. “So sign. I know my sweetie will really enjoy it!”
“Yes,” Cloud mimicked, turning towards Sephiroth with a smirk. “Give it a puff, Sephy. Unless you’re scared that is,” he taunted.
Sephiroth snorted. “As if.” Without another word, he wiped the sleeve of his shirt over the mouthpiece of the pipe, making sure it was clean of caterpillar saliva. With Cloud’s eyes watching, he slowly brought the tip up to his lips.
Absentmindedly scribbling his name on the porn magazine, without even bothering to look at it, Cloud avidly observed Sephiroth take his first hit of the questionable substance. Despite the fact that it was his own mouth, he found himself captivated by the scene. It was his own face and yet, every emotion displayed there, every scowl and angered expression, was so purely Sephiroth that it didn’t even look like himself any longer.
Certainly that inherently sensual look that emanated from Sephiroth didn’t usually belong on Cloud’s face. Something strange inside Cloud stirred as sudden images of Sephiroth in his own body, bending Cloud over a table in his own body, and fucking the life out of him flooded his senses. His groin tightened without his consent and huffing, he suddenly turned away. He thrust the magazine backwards towards Sephiroth blindly. He was NOT gay. He had Tifa at home after all. Wonderful, lovely, bitchy, womanly, and insane Tifa.
With a groan, Cloud swiped a hand over his forehead. Behind him, Corny chortled with glee. Sephiroth coughed. A wind stirred. More smoke rose up in the sky. Sephiroth giggled.
Raising a brow at the strange sound, Cloud turned to find an eerie smile on his rival’s face. Another giggle escaped the man as he took another puff.
“Cloooooud!” Sephiroth sang, hips swaying as he strode towards his rival. He slung an arm over the other man’s shoulder. “You should try this stuff. It’s GRREAT!”
With a scowl and an angry growl, Cloud batted the pipe from Sephiroth’s hand. “It’s obviously not working,” he snapped, watching as the smoking item fell to the ground. “You look like an idiot.”
Sephiroth giggled as he draped himself over the younger man. “You’re soooo cu~te,” he twittered, tweaking Cloud’s nose.
On the mushroom, Corny was chortling like a damn fool. “Gya ha ha!” he laughed as he rose up on his many legs, towering over them. One hand reached down and swiped the signed magazine from Sephiroth’s limp hand. “I fooled you!”
He twittered again as his body slowly began to dissipate, uncoiling as if it were nothing more than smoke to begin with. “I’d tell you to fuck and get it over with but I didn’t think you’d lissssten!” he laughed again.
Fighting off a suddenly clinging Sephiroth, Cloud darted forward. “You bastard!” he snarled, shaking his fist at the departing insect. “You owe us a cure!”
“Follow the yellow brick road, follow the yellow brick road,” Corny began to sing as he twirled and faded away. “To the left the Price is Right, to the right, Mr. Pickles. The choice is yooooooours.” His voice echoed over and over as he popped out of existence, leaving the two men alone in the forest.
Sephiroth giggled and contemplated reaching for the still smoking pipe.
Cloud’s eyebrow twitched.
“That’s it!” Cloud declared. “We aren’t sticking anything else into our mouths no matter what they claim the cure is!”
A tongue suddenly scraped up his cheek, leaving a warm, wet trail behind. “I’ll stick you into my mouth,” Sephiroth purred in Cloud’s ear, causing his rival to jump several feet in the air.
A flash of heat suffused Cloud’s cheeks as he whirled away from Sephiroth who was suddenly TOO close. “How about not?” he suggested hopefully.
A feral look appeared in the other man’s eyes as he smiled before nodding. “Later?” he questioned.
“Never,” Cloud responded with a firm swipe of his palm through the air. It was like dealing with a child. Hopefully, the effects would wear off soon. Sighing heavily, he scraped a hand over his forehead and looked at the ground.
Bright gold bricks stared back at him. He wondered how he hadn’t noticed them before. Then again, had they been there before? Cloud couldn’t recall. He reluctantly raised his gaze, following their path to see that they diverged just a few feet ahead. One to the left and one to the right, just as Corny had said. Not that he was completely willing to trust the damn caterpillar.
“Right then,” Cloud sighed, striding forward. He swung his gaze between the two. He couldn’t remember where Corny had said they went. Then again, should he trust the words of a cheating insect? He placed his hands on his hips as he contemplated, mouth pursed in a faint frown. They looked the same. And then he realized he was whining. In his mind. How pathetic.
He was still stuck in Sephiroth’s body. His stomach gurgled faintly from the Strawberry shortcake. His head was spinning from the strange smoke. Sephiroth was giggling behind him and strange thoughts about Sephiroth and sex in the same room were starting to filter through his mind. Must have been a side effect of being in Sephiroth’s body. Like the gay was creeping in through diffusion.
Yeah, that was it. He was totally having a mental meltdown.
“Hmm.” He hummed thoughtfully, certain that one of the two paths led out. Only, he wasn’t certain which one.
With a hoop and a holler, and a clatter and a bang, a whoop and a clunk, that sounded wrong coming from his body, Sephiroth suddenly barreled past Cloud, skipping merrily. With a twirl and a flip, he headed down the left path, leaving Cloud gaping at him. Seconds later, he disappeared before Cloud could utter a word.
One minute he was there. The next he was gone.
Mouth agape like a fish out of water, it took Cloud several seconds to realize that Sephiroth was gone. With his body. A cry of rage escaped his lips as he frantically tore at his hair before taking off at a dead sprint down the same path Sephiroth had taken in such a nerdy fashion. Curses were muttered under his breath as he pounded down the yellow brick road…
… only to suddenly collide with Sephiroth’s back, sending the two of them careening to the sidewalk. The sounds of cars flying by in the street near to them filtered through to Cloud’s brain as he slammed into the pavement, scraping the heel of one of his hands. He completely crushed Sephiroth beneath him.
Sephiroth immediately cursed and bucked his hips, trying to remove Cloud from his back. “Get off of me you idiot!” he snarled, heaving with his body and flipping Cloud off of him.
“Whaaa?” Cloud mumbled as he tumbled to the cement, instantly feeling as if he had somehow stepped into the twilight zone or something. No longer surrounded by forest, Sephiroth was not giggling… what had happened?
“Don’t ‘wha’ me!” Sephiroth snapped, nudging at Cloud’s ribs with his boot as he crossed his arms over his chest and glared. “I’m still stuck in your crappy body.”
Cloud immediately bristled as he shot to his feet. “I haven’t heard you come up with any brilliant ideas, bastard,” he shot back, poking at Sephiroth’s shoulder with a finger. An idea suddenly occurred to him as he peered around. “And where the hell is Cid?” He owed the man a sound beating.
Sephiroth waved him off dismissively, turning up his nose. “Your friends are idiots,” he sniffed airily. “I’m so suing you when this is all over.”
“Oh, yeah?” Cloud repeated, getting nose to nose with his rival. “Well, you certainly were singing a different tune in the forest.” He bumped chests with Sephiroth, setting the man off-balance. “You said, ‘I want to suck you, Cloud’,” he mimicked, in a voice that sounded nothing like the actor.
“I was under the influence. You can’t take anything I say seriously.”
His rival snorted. “Whatever, flyboy.”
The two men glared before huffing and turning their backs on each other in a very childish fashion. Cars honked as they passed. Someone was playing music that thumped the road. The smell of burning tar wafted to their noses. Yet, neither man was willing to break the annoyed silence first.
Cloud’s phone rang. He ignored it. The sound continued, shrill and piercing. Sephiroth twitched. Cloud pretended that his pocket wasn’t vibrating with the force of a freight train on steroids. The song ended and Sephiroth breathed a sigh of relief… until it started up again several seconds later.
“Oh, for Shiva’s sake!” he declared, whirling around and rudely digging his hands into Cloud’s pockets with little ceremony. He rooted around for the ringing phone.
“H-hey!” Cloud protested as groping fingers edged close to his groin. “You can’t just–”
Sephiroth ignored him as he flipped open the PHS and pressed it to his ear.
“Hello?” (pause) “No, Zack. He’s busy right now.” (pause) “I’m sure you look downright luscious right now.” (pause) “Handcuffs? Really?” (pause) “And chocolate syrup, too?”
Sephiroth groaned, swallowing down a lump in his throat as his boyfriend’s voice poured through the receiver. His cock throbbed in his pants and he unobtrusively reached down a hand and pressed the heel of his palm to it. Zack continued, detailing his current situation as he hoped that his boyfriend would come home and take care of him.
“I’ll be sure to relay the message,” Sephiroth promised as Zack finished, his mind filled with erotic images. With a click, the phone went silent. Cloud stared.
Sephiroth’s hand snaked out, fast as a viper and wrapped around Cloud’s ear before the other man could even mutter a word. He began to drag Cloud down the street, ignoring Cloud’s protests and cries of pain. “You are fixing this now,” he declared, eyebrow twitching and cock throbbing. “Zack is naked, my dear boy, naked and tied up and I am not there.”
“Not my problem,” Cloud huffed, struggling to keep up with Sephiroth’s quick pace. “Where are we going?”
“To the only one of our shared acquaintances who I believe has any intelligence,” Sephiroth answered stiffly, his walk a little bit stilted from the raging erection in his pants.
Cloud blinked in momentary confusion. “Who?” Did he actually have any friends with any intelligence? The suggestion was baffling, but when Sephiroth tugged on his ear a bit harder, bringing back unwanted childhood memories, he promptly clamped his mouth shut. His body or not, if they didn’t change back, Cloud didn’t want to be stuck with one ear. Plus, it was downright painful.
– – – – –
Nanaki lived out in the country, a pretty fair distance from the main hubbub of city life. It cost both Sephiroth and Cloud a good portion of what remained in their wallets for the cab to get there, until they were finally deposited on the front porch of a ranch-style house. Luckily, Sephiroth had managed to get his raging hormones under control. Cloud, on the other hand, was sulking.
Despite the fact that he was a very wealthy talking lion, Nanaki lived modestly. His farm was widespread and leaning towards botanical. His front porch sagged in the front, causing both rivals to somewhat and purely accidentally lean towards one another as they stood on it. The heat of the day caused trickles of sweat to pour over their bodies, leaving them dampened in their mismatched clothing and strongly wishing that they hadn’t decided to come to the middle of bumfuck Egypt.
Cloud crossed his arms over his chest and tried to pretend that he wasn’t pouting. His ear hurt, dammit, and Sephiroth was being a jackass. He watched as the other man strode forward to knock on the door, wondering why his eyes were inexplicably drawn to the bead of sweat on the back of Sephiroth’s neck. It rolled lazily downwards, over a patch of golden skin that if he squinted, didn’t look like his own at all.
His wrong, wrong, WRONG thoughts were interrupted when the door swung open, a good three feet below Sephiroth’s line of sight. Nanaki stared up at them, feline head tilted to the side in a bit of confusion.
“Cloud? Sephiroth?” he questioned in his usual cultured tone. “What are you doing here? Not that I mind the visit, of course,” he amended hastily.
Casting a sour look back at Cloud, who was STILL staring at the back of his neck and sulking both, Sephiroth scowled. “I hope you don’t mind, but we need your help.”
Nanaki narrowed his eyes before sniffing surreptitiously. Suddenly, his golden eyes widened as his jaw gaped, displaying rather wicked fangs. “My,” he remarked with some amusement. “Now how did this happen?”
“It’s his fault!” Both men claimed at the same time, pointing to each other in a very puerile fashion.
Blinking, Nanaki chuckled, his tail swishing beside him. “I should have known,” he said with a shake of his head. “Something like this was bound to happen sooner or later.” He rose to his limbs and turned around, gesturing that they follow. “Come along. I’m sure I have a book on such situations around here somewhere or then…” he trailed off, degenerating into an academic mumble that neither rival understood.
With a shrug, Sephiroth stepped forward and pushed open the top part of the door, reserved for Nanaki’s taller guests. It swung with nary a creak before he reached back, intending to grab Cloud by the ear again. Cloud, however, was not having this. He slapped Sephiroth’s hand in a very prissy fashion before sticking his nose up in the air and striding past him. He tripped over the doorjamb on his entrance, thereby throwing off the whole effect.
Sephiroth laughed, watched him stumble, and thought about pointing as well. Yet, he was not given the chance when Nanaki drifted back into their line of sight, still mumbling to himself. He looked up at their approach.
“Shut the door behind you, if you would please,” he suggested. “And then you can join me in the den.” He padded away, making nary a sound on the floor. Not even his claws clicked on the tile.
Cloud snorted, still throwing a hissy fit, and stomped along after him, generally making a nuisance of himself. Sephiroth scowled, rolled his eyes and wondered if it was possible for a man to be that immature. He had priorities, and getting his way back to Zack, in his own body, happened to be one of those.
After passing through a certifiable labyrinth of rooms and hallways, the two rivals found themselves in the den where Nanaki was waiting patiently. He already had his nose in a book and was diligently scanning the pages as he lay curled up in front of burgeoning fireplace. He didn’t seem to mind that it was already nearly 100 plus degrees outside.
They scuffled briefly over the two chairs before Cloud emerged victorious, utilizing the ever effective nipple twist. Sephiroth whined in both pain and loss as he dropped down into the uncomfortable wooden chair while Cloud lavished in the plush Lazy Man. After a minute of angered glaring, Nanaki cleared his throat… which actually came out more of a hungry growl that made both men jump in their seats.
“Ah, ha!” he declared with a firm nod of his feline head. “I do believe I have the knowledge now!” One claw quickly flipped a page in his book.
Cloud, smug in his kingly seat, sat forward. “Really?” he asked, with much excitement. “What is it?”
“A cookie,” Nanaki stated.
Sephiroth blinked, still rubbing a soothing hand over his sore nipple. “A cookie?” he repeated with some disbelief.
Cloud groaned. “Great. More edible cures. I don’t think I can handle any more side effects.”
Nanaki seemed to perk up at this, his ears straightening on his head and his tail sweeping an excited swath on the floor. “Side effects? Do tell.”
“I don’t think so,” Cloud interrupted, swiping a hand over his forehead. He could feel a headache beginning to form. “We’re really just interested in the cure. I don’t want to spend another minute as this guy.” He jerked a thumb towards Sephiroth.
The other man harrumphed and crossed his arms over his chest. “As if I want to be you either,” he retorted with a haughty sniff. “You’re shorter than my mother… and she was just a head.”
Just when Cloud thought of beginning yet another argument, Nanaki quietly interrupted. “Do you know the Muffin Man?” he asked.
Both men turned towards him and blinked in tandem. “The… Muffin man?” Sephiroth asked, an uncharacteristic giggle escaping his lips. It seemed terribly random.
Nanaki nodded, sounding very grave. “The Muffin Man.”
Cloud tilted his head to the side as he put one hand on his chin, thumbing it thoughtfully. “Who lives on Drury Lane?”
“Yes.” Nanaki rose to his feet with a lazy stretch of his feline body. “Well, she’s married to the Muffin Man.”
“The Muffin Man?” Sephiroth repeated with another giggle.
Nanaki grinned, his tail flicking. “The Muffin Man.”
Cloud sat back in his chair, his forehead pinched in thought. “She’s married to the Muffin Man. Who is this she? Does she have the cure?”
“I do believe so, yes.” Nanaki padded over to the bookcase in the room before sitting on his haunches and regarding a shining clock with intent. “If it was a cookie that caused it, then the best place to go is to see Rukia, his wife.”
Sephiroth hummed thoughtfully. “Yes, your logic does appear to be sound.” He rose to his feet, Cloud doing the same. “We should probably head over there right away. I don’t want to be in this body any longer.”
Nanaki jerked his head towards a door, partially hidden by a stack of books. “That leads to the garage. Would you like to borrow my truck?” he asked.
Cloud’s brow furrowed in befuddlement as he eyed Nanaki’s paws and short stature. “You drive?” he asked skeptically.
There was a strange gleam in golden eyes as Nanaki tossed his head proudly, crimson fur shining. “There are a lot of things I can do,” he replied teasingly.
Sephiroth’s eyebrows nearly mated with his hairline as he took an unconscious and quick step to the door. “Okay…” he muttered, gesturing subtly for Cloud to get the fuck up and get the fuck out as he edged towards the door even faster. “Well, thanks for the help Nanaki. We appreciate it.”
The lion-wolf creature smiled, displaying his fanged grin. “You’re welcome. Though in my opinion, the two of you should just fuck and get it over with. It would save you a lot of trouble.” He watched as Cloud pushed the books out of the way of the door as he shrugged. “But hey, that’s your loss.”
“Right,” Cloud huffed as Sephiroth slipped out into the garage with a salute goodbye. “Fucking. We’ll get right on it. Bye, Nanaki.” And he made his escape. The door swung shut behind him.
Within the den, Nanaki chuckled and shook his head. “Humans,” he commented in an amused tone as he headed back to the fireplace and curled up in front of him. “It never gets old.” With a contented purr, he closed his eyes and ventured into world of sleep, warmed by his fake fireplace.
In the garage, the truck started up with a dull purr. The two men had scuffled over who would get to drive it. Sephiroth had lost because lo and behold, Cloud’s body was too short to reach the pedals and the seat refused to move. Smirking with victory, Cloud had slid into the driver’s seat and was now pulling the hunk-of-junk contraption out of the garage and onto the open road. Sephiroth pouted on the side, arms crossed over his chest.
Silence reigned in the truck. It would be a short ride, nevertheless, the tensions made it feel as if it would be ten times longer.
“You know,” Cloud ventured.
“Shut up,” Sephiroth responded crossly.
The driver immediately bristled. “Don’t get snappy with me.”
“I’m stuck in your body. That doesn’t mean we have to conversate.”
“There’s no reason to be damn rude. Don’t make me pull this car over.”
Cloud sighed crossly, rolling his eyes. “Whatever. Truck then. I don’t care what the fuck I’m driving.” He shot a glare towards the other man. “You are such an ass. I hate you.”
“I hate you more.”
“Humph.” He huffed and turned towards the door before his mind turned to his original line of thought. What Nanaki had suggested… and every person they had gone to visit before him. He didn’t even want to think about doing that sort of thing with Sephiroth but if it would get them away from each other… he considered testing his sensibilities.
Besides wasn’t there some movie made a long time ago about some similar occurrence to the one he was currently suffering? And surely their current predicament was some sort of punishment for a foul misdeed that they had done. Yes, there were times that Cloud Strife was capable of thinking logically. It took a while and the gears in his head needed to be loosened up and stretched before they got running, but they did turn, ever so slowly and with an audible creak.
The scenery flew by at a colored blur. Silence descended in the cab. There was not another car on the empty road as they headed back towards the main city. Sephiroth stared petulantly out the window and Cloud’s eyebrow twitched. The man was so uncute.
“You know,” he ventured again, once his brain had enough time to grind a few gears and get back started on the thinking process. “Perhaps we should just take their advice.”
“You would like that wouldn’t you?” Sephiroth sneered, kicking at the floorboard ineffectually.
The city drew nearer, much to Cloud’s relief.
“You are such a child,” Cloud muttered under his breath, hating that he sounded like some sort of nagging mother or worse… a wife. “I hate you.”
“I hate you more.”
And so it went for the rest of the twenty-minute trip. Nothing important was said since they simply kept sniping at each other. By the end of it, when Cloud pulled into the parking lot for the Muffin Man Bakery, both were at the ends of their ropes. It was quite clear that if this madness continued any longer, they were going to end up killing each other.
Yet, the delicious smells pouring out of the Bakery and floating to their noses as they stepped out of the truck was enough to make tensions dissolve for a short while. Thoughts of cakes and cookies and brownies was enough to make their mouths water in anticipation.
Cloud was the first to enter, pushing open the door and hearing the pleasant jingle of a bell as he did so. The warm smell of freshly baked bread smacked him in the face and he inhaled pleasantly.
“Good mooooooorning, customers!” A man declared behind the counter, throwing his arms out open wide as he grinned jauntily. A hat sat cockeyed on his head and his bearded face was dotted with flour. “Welcome to my daughter’s shop!”
Sephiroth blinked at the exuberant greeting and strode up to the counter. Behind him, Cloud drooled at the cinnamon rolls, his eyes glazing over with the urge to consume. “We’re looking for the muffin man,” Sephiroth said in as much of a serious voice he could muster.
The man behind the counter blinked in confusion before a grin split his face in two. “Oh!” he declared broadly. “But he’s not here! He had to make a delivery.”
“Okay then,” Cloud said, after wiping up his drool and joining Sephiroth at the counter. “What about his wife… since she’s married to the muffin man?”
“My dear sweet daughter,” the dark-haired stranger crowed loudly, clasping his hands together as he wiggled around in a disturbing fashion. “Yes, my daughter has become a baker’s wife.” One hand went to his forehead as he pretended to swoon. “Such a tragedy, that she should trade in her sword for a rolling pin.”
At that moment, said rolling pin came flying across the room, smacking the man upside the head. His eyes rolled up in a comical fashion as he promptly crumpled to the floor. Blinking in shock, the two rivals turned and followed the rolling pin’s trajectory to find the owner of such a good throw.
Cloud oohed in wonderment. “Hey,” he declared, pointing a big finger at the woman who stood in a doorway, her eyebrow twitching. “You remind me of the babe.”
Dark blue eyes… darkened further with irritation.
Sephiroth turned to his rival. “What babe?”
“The babe with the power!” Cloud looked very self-satisfied.
“What power?” Sephiroth asked, folding his arms over his chest.
“The power of Voodoo.”
Sephiroth was no more understanding than he was before, his eyes darting between Cloud and the woman whose face was turning thunderous. “Who do?”
“You do!” An excited tone took over Cloud’s voice as he did a little jiggle.
“Remind me of the babe!” Out of nowhere, music started playing, jaunty and energetic. Both men started dancing around the room, much to the woman baker’s annoyance.
Until a set of rolling pins smacked them both upside the head, sending stars striking out in all directions. Slightly woozy, the two men crumpled against each other and slid to the floor, staring up blearily at the twitching woman above them.
“Now,” she stated imperiously, brandishing her rolling pin in one hand. “You will tell me why you came and you will tell me why you are idiots.”
Cloud giggled. “I’m not sure there’s an answer to your last question –ow!” He was struck across the side of the head.
Sephiroth gulped nervously. “We need your help!” he cried desperately, holding up a hand to protect himself. “We need a cookie.”
The woman blinked. “A cookie?” she repeated disbelievingly.
Cloud nodded rapidly. “Yes. A cookie. See there was this restaurant, and this waitress—“
“—Trixie!!” Sephiroth chimed in.
“—right, Trixie. And we were arguing, there was this cookie and then we woke up and…” he trailed off as he began to sniffle. “I want my body back!!!” Cloud ended on a whine, looking dangerously close to tears.
The woman stared at them for a moment, watching as Cloud’s eyes glistened with unshed tears and Sephiroth pouted. Still, she felt no sympathy. None in the slightest. Especially since it was plainly obvious how to cure their affliction but they were studiously ignoring that option.
“You can’t have any of my cookies,” she stated firmly. When their eyes turned towards her with evident sadness, she shook her head. “I, Kuchiki Rukia, refuse to allow you to have any of my special cookies… especially when the fault is your own.”
“Eh?” Both men grunted at the same time. “Our fault?” they repeated, again in unison.
She didn’t respond, instead grabbing them both by the ears tightly and dragging them towards the door. They fought and tried to cling to the floor but alas, her strength was much greater. So they resorted to begging and pleading. Yet, she seemed deaf as she hauled and shoved them towards the door.
Bearded man from behind the counter had miraculously awoken and he opened the sliding glass with a flourish, giving Rukia enough time to toss them on their asses and onto the sidewalk. She dusted off her hands as she grinned down maliciously on them.
“The cookie you ingested was baked to end your rivalry,” she informed them sweetly. “Make up and you’ll change back.” She paused, placing her hand on her chin. “Or… you could go the easy way and fuck and get it over with. Just be sure to take pictures, ne?” She tilted her head to the side and practically glimmered before slamming the door in their faces.
Ears aching and feeling at the edge of his rope, Cloud abruptly burst into tears. Beside him, Sephiroth groaned and flopped down onto the sidewalk, at a loss for what to do next.
Cloud sniffled. “We… could always… try–”
“Shut up,” Sephiroth growled. “Just shut up. I’m not taking any more of your suggestions.” He scraped a hand through his blond spikes, frowning at the gunk that was beginning to collect in his hair and his clothing. He was still wearing his mismatched outfit and visions of a bound Zack danced in his head.
Silence reigned for a moment as Sephiroth looked at Cloud out of the corner of his eye. Tear-stained and petulant, he didn’t look like the silver-haired god despite the fact he was in Sephiroth’s body. He looked like an entirely different person. A cuter person. Especially with that lower lip stuck out in a pout, all pink and kissable.
Sephiroth licked his lips. He had missed his morning quickie and horny thoughts were currently raging. Entirely without his permission and before he could stop himself, he leaned forward and pressed his lips to Cloud’s. He managed to get in all of a few seconds kiss, remarking that his lips were too soft to truly belong on Sephiroth’s body, before a violent fist pushed him ten feet away.
“You bastard,” Cloud hissed. “Taking advantage of me in my moment of weakness.” He sniffled and scraped at his eyes with the back of his hand before he rose to his feet. “I’m going to see Reeve. He was dating Tseng at one time. Maybe he’ll know what to do.” He glared at Sephiroth. “You stay here if you want.” He shoved his hands in his pockets and started back towards Nanaki’s truck.
Sephiroth rubbed the sore spot on his chin before rising to his feet. He would go with Cloud for now. Besides, Tseng was hot. Maybe he could convince the man to join him and Zack for a threesome.