Warnings: pre-Nibelheim, smoochies, and Reno being Reno

Disclaimer: Owning FFVII would make me a rich woman. But since my purse is quite empty at the moment, I most likely don't own it, nor do I claim to.


Mistletoe

By Aphelion Orion

       

Sephiroth watches Zack's hands with suspicion, and no small amount of dread.

It isn't really Zack's hands he is afraid of, but rather what's in them, because they are currently clutching something in a protective fist and won't let Sephiroth see what it is.

Zack's eyes sparkle with the manic gleam that they always get whenever he has come up with one harebrained scheme or another, which - Sephiroth has been unfortunate enough to find out - can involve the inappropriate use of various household appliances, one or more Turks in compromising positions, Scarlet's fishnet stockings in places they were not intended to be, ever, or automobiles inexplicably humping each other in the SOLDIER parking lot. Not necessarily in that order, of course.

These plans are usually hatched when Zack gets bored for longer than five minutes at a time, and sadly, he was bored for a total of four hours yesterday evening, because Sephiroth had to finish paperwork and - in a momentary lapse of sanity - told Zack he should go and entertain himself. In retrospect, Sephiroth realizes that it would have been a lot safer if he had simply thrown something shiny into the hall at random intervals and let Zack fetch it... or he could have just thrown the something shiny at Zack's forehead and saved himself the trouble.

Well, hindsight is always 20/20, as the saying goes.

But now, Zack can wreak havoc with something that fits into the palm of his hand. This is truly a worrisome development.

"Zack," he says, sounding absolutely calm. This would probably send up warning flags in anyone's mind, but Zack remains cheerfully oblivious. "Let me see that."

"No," Zack retorts petulantly. "'Cause you'll break it."

"That is kind of the point."

"Nyu-uh. You have to promise you won't kill, maim, step on or set it on fire. Otherwise, I won't show you."

Sephiroth has been friends with Zack long enough to know that the spiky-haired SOLDIER can drag this out indefinitely, and since Sephiroth flat-out refuses to stoop so low as to trap Zack in a headlock in public, he sighs and acquiesces.

Zack studies him for a minute to see if he's being honest, then slowly opens his hands. In them, slightly worse for wear, is a small sprig with crescent-shaped leaves and pearly white berries. Sephiroth raises an eyebrow. "Surely, you aren't planning on poisoning the drinks in the Turk staff room."

The dark-haired man smacks his forehead with his palm (not the one holding the sprig, though) and groans as he always does when he thinks Sephiroth is being particularly unimaginative. "This," he proclaims, shaking the small piece of plant in front of Sephiroth's nose, "is a mistletoe."

Sephiroth's eyebrow rises even higher. "So?"

That earns him an eye-roll. "God, Seph! Don't tell me you don't know what to do with a mistletoe."

The second eyebrow rises to join the first.

"I'm going to hang it over the door to the conference room, of course! It's a Christmas tradition! Just wait and see. Ooh, this is gonna be so much fun!"

If General Sephiroth had been a lesser man, he would have probably been in fear of his life.

       

Zack indeed makes good on his promise to hang the twig in the conference room and then settles down to watch the door with barely contained excitement. Against his will, Sephiroth finds himself watching, too, figuring he can always grab Masamune and stop whatever mayhem a dangling mistletoe may cause.

His curiosity is shockingly satisfied when Reno enters, and, pausing to glance up at the sprig, exclaims, "Ooooh, mistletoe!" before whirling around and planting a big wet smooch on his unfortunate partner.

Rude is so surprised that he inadvertently gives the redheaded Turk ample time to scramble for cover, and for Zack to get his snickering under control, so when he finally comes in, Reno is a safe distance away at the other end of the room, brandishing a fresh mug of coffee as a peace offering, and Zack has at least managed to clap a hand in front of his mouth.

Over the course of the morning, the situation gets increasingly out of hand. Reno has apparently decided the mistletoe is the perfect excuse to go around snogging as many people as possible and get away with it, lingering by the door to jump any unsuspecting ShinRa employee upon his or her entrance.

That way, he has already managed to waylay Scarlet, who did not seem to mind too much, and Rufus, who, despite his mortified blush, was quick to recover and set Dark Nation on him, which led to entertainment in the form of Reno being chased around the conference table by an angry Doberman. However, Rufus decided that Reno trying to climb the sideboard with a furiously growling Dark Nation attached to his pant leg was endangering the coffee maker, and called the dog off.

Scarlet decides the redhead isn't the only one allowed to have fun, and actually gets the ever-graceful Tseng to stumble backwards when she ambushes him with a bodily hug and a kiss, completely ignoring the furious glare the little Turk trainee at his heels is sending her way. Then, she leans past him to grab the girl and make sure to leave a copious amount of lipstick on her face. The flash of a camera interrupts her a split-second later, and poor Elena's indignant shrieks drown out the rustling sound of one Turk and one SOLDIER hiding something behind their backs.

Finally, Heidegger enters the room, causing both Reno and Scarlet to back away from the door so quickly that they almost trip over themselves, which earns them grins from everyone in the room and a particularly malicious smirk from Elena, who - to the two ambushers' horror - sweetly points out that there's "a mistletoe over the door", wink wink nudge nudge. Thankfully, the only things Heidegger finds even remotely interesting are carnage and pretzels, so he simply slams down two stacks of files in front of Tseng and Sephiroth, and bellows for the peanut gallery to shut up.

Elena has learned from the best, though, because she responds by giving Heidegger's chair a discreet shove to the right, which results in the corpulent Chief of Security landing on the floor with a loud thump and spitting curses through his thick beard. In the end, he gathers the remains of his dignity, manages to clamber to his feet and signal the beginning of the conference.

Sephiroth dreads getting up during breaks, because Zack seems to have decided that he deserves to be publicly humiliated, as well, and keeps trying to shove him underneath the mistletoe.

Once, he even succeeds. The only one brave enough to really attempt an assault is Zack himself, though; Reno backs away as soon as Sephiroth's hand twitches towards the hilt of the Masamune, preferring to keep certain parts of his anatomy intact, and everyone else is watching Zack's valiant attempts with great interest.

Eventually, Sephiroth has to resort to aiming a carefully tempered ice spell at Zack's feet, since he won't stop trying to grope him. Out of spite, he refuses to unfreeze the dark-haired SOLDIER for at least ten minutes, too. Of course, when he finally takes pity on him, he has to listen to Zack whining about cold feet and unjustified cruelty and Sephiroth being a spoilsport.

       

Sephiroth can barely suppress a sigh of relief when the meeting finally ends. He manages to beat everyone else to the door, but his attempt at a dignified escape is thwarted by the person who almost bumps into him when the sliding door swishes open.

A small, frightened recruit is staring up at him with wide blue eyes and clutching an envelope as though his life depends on it.

"Yo, Cloud!" Zack calls from somewhere behind Sephiroth. "What brings you here?"

Sephiroth glances from the tiny blond to Zack and back again. The boy is still staring at Sephiroth, a pretty flush spreading rapidly across his cheeks; his lips move, but no words come out.

Suddenly, Reno materializes next to Sephiroth and gives Cloud a long, lewd look. "My, my," he purrs and licks his lips in an exaggerated move. "Prey."

His lunge for the recruit, however, is cut short by a barrier of black leather and silver hair, because in the blink of an eye, Sephiroth has grabbed Cloud by the shoulders and crushed their mouths together.

The boy makes a sound somewhere between a terrified squeak and a blissful sigh, and goes limp in Sephiroth's arms. The envelope slowly slides from his hand and drops to the floor. Sephiroth swipes his tongue across Cloud's lips once, twice, and when he remains unresponsive, simply grabs his ass with one hand and squeezes.

The boy's shocked gasp is all the opening he needs to push his tongue into that pretty mouth, eliciting small, whimpering noises from Cloud, who is now clutching feebly at the lapels of Sephiroth's coat to keep himself upright on his buckling legs.

"Gah," Zack says weakly.

"Damn," Reno agrees.

After a small eternity, Sephiroth reluctantly lets go of Cloud, since oxygen can only be optional for so long. The small blond is on the verge of hyperventilation, taking in huge gulps of air and blinking dazedly up at his superior, who still has a good grip on his waist.

Sephiroth looks down at the flushed and gasping image of loveliness, who probably won't be able to form a coherent sentence anytime soon. He tucks a strand of mussed blond hair behind the boy's ear, leans close to him and murmurs, "Mistletoe", by way of explanation.

"Ee-eh?" Cloud manages to say, and Sephiroth decides to rectify this immediately by kissing him again.

The silence in the room is deafening.

Breaking the kiss, he turns around and announces, "You were right, Zack. This is fun."

Then, he lets go of the boy and strides out the door, a wicked smirk gracing his features -

...leaving a flabbergasted Zack to catch the fainting recruit.



~ Fin ~


A/N: C&C is, as always, highly appreciated.


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