Title: "The Day Everything Owned Cloud, Part II: This Time It's Personal"
Pairing: Cloud/Reno/Rufus/Shinra security personnel/Cid/waitress/KadajYazooLoz
Summary: The stunning conclusion to "The Day Everything Owned Cloud"
. The later half of one inconvenient and humiliating 24-hour interval in the life of Cloud Strife, Delivery Boy.*******************************************************************
The Day Everything Owned Cloud, Part II:
This Time It's Personal
*******************************************************************A note on timeline: this takes place in that nebulous pre-AC era before Rufus's geostigma makes him gimpy and the triplets get convinced that Cloud's got kaasan stashed in his colon. It's also entirely possible that he's imagining the entirety of #9, what with the booze and being flat on his back in a puddle of possibly psychoactive effluent. And nuts. Don't forget he's nuts.
1. Reno Continues to Own Cloud
After they’re finished, Reno tells him he actually does have something he wants Cloud to deliver. Cloud nearly hits him.
“President’s office,” Reno says. “Just a few floors up.”
“I don’t have time,” Cloud says. He’s lying. He knows Reno can tell.
“Here.” Reno scribbles something on official stationery, stuffs it into an envelope, and holds it out until Cloud takes it. “You know where the elevator is.”
2. Bureaucracy Owns Cloud, Again
There’s the usual security procedure before he’s allowed into Rufus Shinra’s office; concealed weapons check, identity documents, inspection of delivered goods. Cloud knows the drill.
The concealed weapons check becomes uncomfortably personal at a few points, and the guard smiles the entire time.
His papers are in order. The secretary puts Reno’s note back in the envelope, hands it to him, and waves him through the door. “Have fun,” she says. She’s smiling too.
3. Rufus Shinra Owns Cloud
“Thoughtful, but it isn’t my birthday,” says Rufus, reading the message. “Or any other holiday, for that matter.”
Cloud stands in front of the desk, waiting. This isn’t going to go well. It’s all his fault, he knows that, but somehow he can’t remember why.
Rufus looks contemplative. He collects folders of documents from his desk, settles them into a drawer, and adjusts the positions of a few paperweights.
“If you would bend over this side, please,” he says, and pats the glossy teak surface.
4. Rufus Shinra So Owns Cloud
Rufus later reflects, as the door closes behind Cloud, that he hadn’t actually expected him to do it. Interesting.
5. Cid Refrains From Owning Cloud
Cid says ‘hey, kid’ and smacks him hard on the back and tells him to sit the hell down when Cloud walks back into the Seventh Heaven. That’s all he does. Cloud fights the urge to kiss him out of pure gratitude.
“Came in town for a supply run,” Cid explains. “Shit, look at you. You look like you need a drink.”
Cloud agrees that yes, he needs a drink.
“Not here, though,” Cid says. “Nothing wrong with here, of course, but there’s this place on the edge of town. Good strong drinks.”
Tifa comes out of the stockroom in back. “You’ve never complained before,” she says, but she’s smiling. “What do they have that I don’t?”
“Bar girls in pasties with tassels on ‘em,” Cid says.
Cloud goes with Cid; Cid hasn’t tried to do anything to him, and he wants to savor the experience while it lasts.
6. Cid Owns Cloud
It doesn’t take long for Cid to start in on the co-pilot routine with one of the girls, and before long he’s surrounded by a whole knot of them and they’re laughing and smiling and he’s promised them all flying lessons and when one of them winks and asks Cloud if he’s a pilot too, all he can do is shake his head and move to another table.
7. A Tasty Junon Lager Owns Cloud
He’s tired and drunk and he knows she’s just a bar girl, but when she leans over to dangle her tassels in his face and the soft rope of light brown hair slips over one shoulder, he can’t help it.
“I’m sorry,” he says.
“Nothing to be sorry for, sweetie,” she says, and flashes him a smile before setting his drink down.
“No,” he insists. “I’m really sorry. About the thing. Death.”
“Ah,” she says. “Okay. Yeah.”
“I didn’t mean to,” he tells her, reaching out a clumsy hand to touch.
Carefully, she picks his drink back up and empties it over his head. As she turns on her heel to go fetch a bouncer, Cloud can feel the beer fizz gently in his ears.
8. Industrial Runoff Owns Cloud
It’s late. It’s dark. It’s cold. The puddle flooding most of the sidewalk is soaking through the back of his shirt and he simply doesn’t care. There’s been no rain for days. It’s probably not even water.
9. Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo Own Cloud, Except Not
Motorcycles are coming. Big ones, like Fenrir. He’s too drunk to move or give a damn.
“Tch,” someone says. The bike engines stop. “Look.”
Cloud clears his throat. “I don’t care who you are,” he says, enunciating with particularly special care. He wants people to understand this. “I don’t care if I owe you or if you want me to deliver something or if you have a note or it’s your birthday or ANYTHING. I don’t care about that.”
Three pairs of luminous blue-green eyes swing into view above him. He thinks there are three. Might be more. It doesn’t matter.
“What I’m saying is,” he says, and pauses a second to remember, “what I’m SAYING. Is.”
All of the eyes blink in unison.
“Fuck me. Get it over with. Come on. Right now. I’m here.”
“Well, there’s no point now...”
The eyes disappear, and he hears the bikes start up again and leave him there.
10. Public Transit Owns Cloud
In the morning, he has to ride the goddamn bus home.