Sometimes things aren't what they appear to be. Other times, they are. SephxCloud plus an over-excitable Zack, shonen ai

A/N: If anyone's seen the movie Obsessed, the one with Beyonce in it, there's this one line where she says, "She was naked in your bed?" And it cracks me up so hard. I was thinking about it the other day while I was reading some fanfiction, and BAM, plot bunny. This is actually the first thing I've written in quite a while. I've been going through some's good to be able to write again, though. So...a quick little fic that has no bearing on anything whatsoever and just as little meaning. Enjoy.

“He was naked. In your bed.”

“It's not what it looked like,” protested Sephiroth quietly, hastening his steps to keep up with his Lieutenant, who was currently storming down the empty hallway. “Zackary, stop.”

The raven-haired 1st halted immediately in his tracks, years of military training taking over at the commanding tone. Sephiroth matched the brunet's stance, his arms crossed over his chest. “I told you, it is not what it looked like,” he repeated, frustration lacing his voice. When the door to his apartment had opened unexpectedly only minutes earlier, Sephiroth hadn't expected the growing headache he was facing.

Zack refused to turn around. “Yeah?” he said sarcastically, snorting slightly.

Sephiroth's hands balled into fists as he restrained himself from decking Zack in the back of the head. “Yes,” he said tersely. “Stop jumping to conclusions.”

At this, Zack spun to the side. “Conclusions? Conclusions? Seph, the kid was naked. In your bed,” he said pointedly, turning to face Sephiroth fully. He took a step forward, glancing around quickly to make sure no one was watching before shoving both hands into Sephiroth's chest. The silver-haired general stumbled backwards a step, more out of shock than from any force behind the push.

“What sort of 'conclusion' am I supposed to come to, huh? I can't believe this,” Zack hissed, his eyes narrowed and lips slightly pouted.

“Zackary, if you imply one more time—”

“I thought you guys were my friends! I thought being friends meant I was allowed to know this kind of thing! I just feel—I feel so neglected, left out of the loop!” Zack threw his hands up in anger and disappointment, letting them fall to settle on his hips as he glared at a bewildered Sephiroth. “Is that what I am to you now? A third wheel? Well, fine. I have other friends. Other friends who aren't too busy making out with each other to—”

“Zackary.” Sephiroth reached out, grabbing onto Zack's wrist as he attempted to make an impressive and dramatic exit. “Is that was this is about? You think that Cloud Strife and I have been conducting a romantic affair behind your back?” he asked, the hints of a smirk beginning to play on his lips.

Zack stared hard at Sephiroth for a moment before resolutely turning his eyes towards the ceiling. He blew an angry breath from his lips, ruffling his hair a bit.

Sephiroth let out a low chuckle, releasing Zack's wrist. “I can assure you that I did not lay a single sexual finger on him, Zack. Cloud and I did not have sex last night,” Sephiroth said with amusement, “or any other night.” His sea-green eyes sparkled with mirth as Zack's eyes snapped back to his face, searching for any sign that he was lying.

When he found none, Zackary huffed, his eyes flashing with anger once more. The grin fell from Sephiroth's lips as he noticed his 1st wasn't at all satisfied by his answer. “Wha—”

“You asshole,” Zack growled, punching Sephiroth in the arm.

Sephiroth held his arm, growing more annoyed with Zack's abuse by the moment. “What now?” he questioned.

“What the hell's wrong with Spiky that you don't want to do him? He's a great kid—he's cute, he's friendly, he's so devoted to being in SOLDIER, he's the perfect mix of shyness and bravery—what gives, Seph?” Zack made to deliver another punch to Sephiroth's chest, but the general quickly trapped Zack's fist within his own.

“I'm finished with you,” he stated, trying hard not to break into laughter. While his Lieutenant often played with his last nerve, Sephiroth could sense he was sincere in his friendship with the petite blonde. He didn't want to disrespect him.

Turning on his heel, Sephiroth began walking back towards his apartment, well aware that Zack was following behind. “Hey! I'm not finished with you,” called Zack from a few paces behind. Sephiroth ignored him, swiping into his apartment but not quickly enough to stop the raven-haired man from sneaking as well.

“You're a whole new breed of bastard, playing with Spike's feelings like this. He adores you, Seph,” continued Zack, trailing Sephiroth into his kitchen. “I don't know how I can forgive you for something like this. I swear, if that kid comes crying to me about you even one time, infinite in mystery are the ways that I will torture your sorry ass.”

Sephiroth rolled his eyes and turned around, ready to rail at Zack not only for his ridiculous accusations, but also for his use of the biggest literary piece of shit he'd ever had the misfortune to hear of. He was interrupted by a dull thump sounding from the direction of his bedroom. Both SOLDIERs glanced in the direction, standing perfectly still as the bedroom door opened, and a sleep-rumpled figure walked out.

“Seph? Are you still here? I woke up and you weren't there, and I don't smell any food, so I—” The tousle-haired blonde's voice came to an abrupt stop as he sighted both the general and his lieutenant in the kitchen. Seconds later, his mouth was still alternating between open and closed as he tried to think of something appropriate thing to say. The only thing that escaped his lips was a feeble, “Sir.”

Zack took in the sight of Cloud standing with the brightest flush on his cheeks, his shining blue eyes riveted on Sephiroth's impassive face, shirtless and wearing what could only be a pair of the General's sleep pants, from the way they dripped precariously from his slender hips, with what could only be described as bruises—no doubt from hands gripping too tightly in the throes of passion—decorating the sharp curve of his waist. Zack looked at Cloud Strife in his confused state of disarray, and promptly lost it.

“You lying,” he seethed through gritted teeth, his Mako-tinged eyes glowing brightly, “son of a bitch.

Both of the pale-haired men in the room called out Zack's name, for all the good it did. Zack lunged towards Sephiroth, who was too preoccupied with gazing at Cloud to react in time and subsequently took a hard punch to the jaw. He stumbled into the countertop, clutching at his face and glaring at Zack, while Cloud gasped in horror in the background.

“Zackary Fair, stand down immediately,” commanded Sephiroth icily, pulling himself upright. “Your behavior is unacceptable, and you will suffer consequences for it.”

“I don't care,” retorted Zack, shaking his head. “I don't care who you are, no one hurts my friends. Especially another SOLDIER. I expected better of you, sir.”

Sephiroth bit back the urge to roll his eyes at Zack's dramatics, choosing instead to maintain his practiced calm demeanor. “I would expect better of you, Lieutenant,” he began sternly, before he was interrupted by a muted clanging noise. Zack's eyes widened in momentary surprise, before they slid shut, and he crumpled to the ground. Cloud stood behind him, looking just as shocked as Sephiroth felt. The blond glanced from the frying pan in his hand, to Zack's inert body sprawled on the kitchen floor, back up to Sephiroth's face.

“Oh, fuck,” he said, letting the pan fall from his fingers with a clatter, his face completely devoid of any color. The boy was even paler than he usually was, giving him the appearance of a rather horrified ghost.

Sephiroth hid his face behind a hand as laughter bubbled behind his lips. Cloud frantically searched for a proper explanation. “I—he was going for you again, and I—it just—I mean, you're the General, he can't just do that—but I'm sorry! He's your Lieutenant, and I can't—oh, shit, I just assaulted my commanding officer—I swear to Gaia, I didn't mean—”

Sephiroth raised a hand, stopping the young man in his rambling. “Cloud,” he said, and then stopped. “Just help me get him to the couch,” he stated, his lips twisted in a smile. He stepped just past Zack's body to hold Cloud's face in his hand and press a chaste kiss to his cheek. He noted how Cloud's breath smelled minty fresh, a far cry from the alcoholic stench he had been giving off the night prior.

Cloud nodded in agreement, a bit of color rushing back into his face at the gesture. The two of them scooped Zack into their arms and hoisting him over to the couch, where they dropped him rather unceremoniously onto his back. The job completed, Cloud looked to Sephiroth, a note of worry still in his eyes.

“Am I going to get in trouble for this, Sir?” he asked.

“It's Seph,” replied the older man, “and no. He was starting to get on my last nerve anyway.” A chuckle fell from his mouth as he contemplated what he had been about to do to the man himself. Loss of consciousness by frying pan wasn't too far down his list.

Cloud glanced down at Zack. “What was he so mad about anyway? Why was he saying that you hurt me?”

Sephiroth raised an eyebrow. “He was under the impression that we had slept together,” he replied tactfully.

“Slept together...oh,” said Cloud, realization dawning on him and bringing with it a full flush. “But—we haven't. I mean, not—”

“I know,” answered Sephiroth simply. “Still, look at yourself. What kind of image do you think he saw?” He tossed his head towards the unconscious SOLDIER on the couch, who remained blissfully unaware of their current conversation.

Cloud peered down at himself and noticed for the first time exactly whose pants he was wearing—sans boxers—how low they were hanging, and how they revealed the fingerprint-shaped bruises on his hips. Cloud, for the life of him, could not remember any reason why he should have fingerprint-shaped bruises period, nevermind on his hips. The last he remembered was going to a party in the cadets' barracks with a bunch of other guys, and a lot of alcohol. “Um, Sir—Seph,” Cloud said guardedly, “I may be getting the same image that Zack did. What exactly happened last night?”

Sephiroth smirked knowingly. “Suffice it to say, you are very...clingy when intoxicated,” he said.

Cloud's eyes widened. “Clingy?”

“Very,” said Sephiroth with a nod. He slightly pushed back on the collar of his coat to reveal a decent sized hickey that was fading to a pinkish color, but still noticeable.

Cloud covered his face with a groan. “I'm such an idiot,” he moaned.

Sephiroth slung an arm around Cloud's shoulders and kissed the top of his head. “But a very adorable one,” he consoled.

Cloud pulled away to aim a glare at his more-than-a-friend-but-not-quite-a-lover. “I am not adorable,” he stated crossly.

Sephiroth only raised an eyebrow and tilted his head.

The blond crossed his arms. “You're incorrigible,” he said.

“And you're capricious,” replied Sephiroth, grinning as Cloud's scowl grew deeper. He snuck his arms around Cloud's waist, pulling them closer together so he could steal Cloud's lips in a kiss. He could taste the teen's sigh as he acquiesced and unfolded his arms, winding them around Sephiroth's waist. Sephiroth nibbled at Cloud's bottom lip, silently asking for entrance and sweeping his tongue inside as it was granted. Cloud's tongue timidly dueled with his more insistent one, sliding across it with unhurried leisure that both irritated and aroused Sephiroth.

“Ugh...ow, what the fuck hit me? Cloud, are you—” Zack painfully regained consciousness, only to be treated to the sight of Cloud and Sephiroth wholly enjoying each others' lips. “You have got to be shitting me,” he said, his face falling.

The pair pulled apart guiltily, peeking at each other before looking to Zack. “Zackary,” started Sephiroth with a sigh.

“No need to explain,” said the brunet, standing with his hands raised. “I just hope you two have fun together. Nevermind how hurt and left out and alone I feel, go ahead and live your lives without me. After all, I'm just the third wheel! I don't deserve to be in the know, of course not, especially when my two best friends are HOOKING UP!” By the end of his tirade, Zack had made his way over to the door and was all but shouting at the top of his lungs.

Sephiroth held a hand to his forehead. “Zackary,” he tried again.

“Oh, no, please, sir, don't let me stop you,” he said. “I'll just go hang out with my other friends. My real friends.” With that, he stomped out of the door, leaving behind stark silence.

Sephiroth sighed. For all of his prowess and focus in the field, the man was so damned dramatic off it. He made note to never allow Zack within 100 feet of Genesis; even imagining the results left him aching for Masamune through his heart.

“Seph,” said Cloud lowly from beside him. Sephiroth glanced down to see the teen nearly in tears. “I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make him mad at you, too. I—” He broke off as a sob racked his body.

“Cloud,” said Sephiroth sharply, turning to face him. He knelt on the ground so Cloud had no choice but to look him in the eye. “Listen to me. Don't ever take Zackary seriously when he behaves like this. The more flamboyant he appears to be, the more likely he is over-exaggerating or flat out lying about his feelings. Understand?”

Cloud nodded, but Sephiroth could still see the doubt in his face, in the tears that threatened to spill from his eyes. “Are you sure, sir?” asked Cloud.

Sephiroth let the formality slide. “Absolutely positive,” he reassured Cloud, pressing a soft kiss to his lips.

Cloud smiled and nodded, and then they both looked over as the door opened once again.

“And don't you dare even think about texting, calling, e-mailing, and or writing me a greatly detailed letter about how you met, how you got together, who else is in on this, what your pet names are, and all of your sexual exploits and escapades, including how many times a day you do it and in what position, because I sure as hell don't want to hear any of it,” shouted Zack from the door, before disappearing again.

With another long-suffering sigh, Sephiroth stood up, tangling a hand in his hair. A strangled gasp from Cloud beside him drew him out of his contemplation of the punishment he would receive for murdering his own Lieutenant. He glanced at the blond, who stood with his mouth hanging open.

“He...he wasn't serious, was he? I mean, he was serious, right? Sir? Seph?

Sephiroth chuckled, ruffling the blond's spikes as he wondered if Genesis would do him a favor. No one knew shitty, over-the-top literature as well as the Red General, after all.