Title: Gateway Sin
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Disclaimer: No ownership implied, no profit gained. This is a fanwork.
Characters/Pairings: Sephiroth/Cloud, Zack, Vincent
Summary: A more realistic take on the rockband AU.
Notes: inspired by someone referring to yaoi as a 'gateway sin'... There may or may not ever be any more of this.
"Whatever gave you that idea?" Zack asked as he stretched out as best he could on one of the apartment's leaking beanbag chairs.
"Everything!" Cloud exclaimed before setting down the little acoustic guitar he'd been holding. He flipped the pick over his fingers a few times before walking into his bedroom and slamming the door.
A minute later, as Cloud was lying on the bed in the dark and staring at the ceiling, Zack knocked on the door.
"I need to sleep. I have to work again in a few hours," Cloud mumbled back, hoping Zack could understand him well enough go away. He must have, Cloud surmised, as the apartment became strangely silent a moment later. Still, Zack couldn't have left. He would have heard the door. And Zack wouldn't be in his room while the sun was out. Surely he wasn't over in Vincent's room. No...
Cloud pulled a pillow over his head and hoped Zack wasn't doing something stupid. The last thing Cloud wanted to do was upset Sephiroth, but...
The last few weeks had been rough. They hadn't even tried to schedule a band practice between each of them starting into some new project. The thought of live shows was ridiculous. And now, more than ever, it seemed like Sephiroth was ready to walk out on the entire thing.
Cloud wondered where Sephiroth was. It was Tuesday, but that didn't mean much. He hadn't managed to memorize Sephiroth's schedule yet. But of course, Sephiroth knew his the second Cloud had pinned it to the refrigerator.
A tiny bit of light snuck in past the black fabric covering the bedroom windows, threatening to not allow the blond any rest. He hadn't been able to afford to return to school that semester, so he'd taken a job stocking shelves at the local supermarket. The only thing reasonable about the job was the employee discount that guaranteed the four apartment residents would continue to eat. Besides that, he was now working upwards of seventy hours per week during the only hours he possibly could have been spending with Sephiroth.
They'd all said they'd make little sacrifices now, so they wouldn't have to make large ones later.
Zack had a second shift factory job, but he wasn't attached to anyone, which made it much easier. He was only taking two classes currently, but the entire thing was taxing him more than he'd ever let on.
Sephiroth had it easy, in Cloud's opinion. Sephiroth was older and his military background provided the funds for his education and now the silver-haired man had a position as a graduate assistant, both working and learning at the same time. It was perfect. Everything about Sephiroth was perfect, and some days Cloud really had no clue how he and Zack had ended up auditioning the man for the band.
"I'm sick of uniforms and orders," Sephiroth had said to them. And despite being almost a decade older, at first he'd fit right in with the band. And he'd fit right into Cloud's bed, too. They still shared it, really, except for the fact that the two of them were never in it at the same time anymore.
Cloud sighed. If Zack was even considering asking Vincent to take over Sephiroth's spot in the band, there was going to be hell to pay. Still, he thought, even if Zack asked, chances were that Vincent would refuse.
He was an odd one, Vincent. Zack had found an ad looking for two or three apartment-mates not long after the band had started practicing. The three of them thought it was the perfect opportunity. After all, Vincent had seemed to be quiet man who kept to himself and honestly just wanted someone to fill the void of the mostly-empty apartment.
Cloud still hadn't figured out how old Vincent was. The man seemed to be a professional student who lived from some sort of trust fund. Every month he calmly walked to the mailbox and retrieved a check that no one else was ever allowed to see.
Still, the four of them got along wonderfully and Vincent was more than amused that his apartment-mates were musicians. He'd said he'd once been interested in music, years ago.
Cloud was still very suspicious of Vincent. The apartment was thankfully subject to some form of rent control that made their living space nearly free. But the only way Cloud could make sense of that would be if Vincent had been living there for at least forty years.
Was it really all over? Cloud's mind wasn't going to let his body sleep until he knew. And he was more than exhausted. He felt like a walking zombie as he staggered out of bed and into the main room of the apartment. Zack looked up from the textbook that had snagged his attention but kept quiet.
"Where's the phone?" Cloud demanded before grabbing onto the sofa to stay upright.
"I think Vincent has it," Zack replied, curiously watching the blond walk defiantly down the hallway towards Vincent's room.
Cloud knocked on Vincent's door and waited. A moment later the dark-haired occupant answered, wearing only a dark silk robe that was quite open in the front. Cloud blinked a moment, trying not to look but almost spellbound by Vincent's perfectly pale skin and...
"Have you seen the phone?" Cloud squeaked out as he managed to look away finally.
"I don't have it," Vincent replied, apparently oblivious to the free show he was providing.
"Then where is it?" Cloud asked, his exhaustion and frustration apparent.
"I don't know."
Before Cloud could say another word, a shrill ringing echoed through the apartment. The phone. All three men ran in the direction of the ringing, Vincent finally closing his robe before digging under a pile of old newspapers in hopes of finding the missing cordless phone.
It was Cloud who eventually found the phone and answered it on the fifth ring, right before the answering machine might have picked up, if it had so desired.
"Hello," Cloud said into the receiver after clicking the 'Talk' button. In the split second between talking and hearing the caller respond his eyes caught on the gig poster on the far wall of the kitchen. It was from their first live show and though they had been allotted less than an inch on the flier, they'd all been proud.
Really, Cloud didn't see anything besides the two words that at one time had meant the world to him.
"Cloud," the voice on the other end of the line said. "I'm glad you answered."
"Sephiroth," Cloud said slowly, turning to look at Zack and Vincent who were both pretending not to be eavesdropping. "I'm glad you called."
Drink Lemonade! Tip Your Waitress!