Zack had never seen Genesis look so determined the whole time that he had known the man. Yes, he was temperamental and could be snotty from time to time, especially when he was spouting off Loveless, but this was … childish even by Zack's standards. Normally he stayed away when fiery General was upset or started an argument, but when Genesis came looking for him and asked for his assistance in getting back at Kunsel he couldn't turn him down.
Zack grinned widely as he thought of Genesis' plan. It was a simple plan but it was foolish and immature and it would make a great video when they were done. Zack had already been the brunt of a few of Kunsel's jokes and invasive snooping, so he was all for the wild General's crazy plan. They had already set up cameras on the ground floor to catch the man unawares as he entered the building. "I will destroy that helmet of his and teach the little rat that snooping around my office is unacceptable!" Genesis had declared while outlining the plan for Zack.
Zack still didn't know what Kunsel did to piss Genesis off and send him into this childlike tantrum, but he decided to go along with the plan anyways. Genesis idea was too amusing for him to not participate.
Zack helped Genesis fill up the two large barrels of water and cast Ice on them to ensure that the frigid liquid would freeze Kunsel into a snoop-cube. They set the barrels on the roof of the entrance to the SOLDIER's quarters. "Once we catch that rat," Genesis hissed. "He'll stay well away from my desk."
Zack remembered something had happened to Genesis' desk a couple of weeks ago, but he couldn't remember what it was. Genesis looked over the edge of the building and glared down at the entrance where people innocently went in and out. Zack didn't need to ask Genesis what happened; he would ask Kunsel what he did after Genesis' prank was finished. He doubted an ice water shower would deter Kunsel from hunting down information or playing pranks, but it would be damned funny.
"I see the rat, Zack!" Genesis said. Zack looked over the edge and saw Kunsel walking towards the building wearing the tell tale helmet that he refused to take off. "Once he gets close enough we will dump both barrels on him. The cameras will catch him and then I will swoop down and take that damn helmet off his head."
Zack just nodded. The malicious smile on Genesis face was scary and amusing at the same time.
"Ready," Genesis whispered as he peeked over the ledge. "He's just about in position."
Zack hefted up a barrel, no longer able to see what was below them. He didn't really know what the big deal about the helmet was, but he would enjoy seeing his friend gasping for air as the ice water doused him.
Zack obeyed Genesis order and dumped the water over the edge of the building as Genesis did the same with his barrel. Genesis' laugh was frightening as Zack watched him jump off the ledge of the building to catch his prey.
Zack followed suit, wanting to see what else Genesis had in store for Kunsel and if his sopping wet friend would need to be rescued. He was eagerly expecting to see Kunsel looking like a 'cold drowned rat', as Genesis put it.
He was not expecting to see two very wet SOLDIERs dripping angrily as Kunsel looked on with a large smile on his face, fumbling in his pockets for a camera. With Genesis' luck it was impossible that they could have accidentally drenched some mild-mannered Second Classes, they had to have soaked two First Class SOLDIERs who didn't have working senses of humour.
Sephiroth stood with his hands at his side, slowly curling them into fists. He was out of his leathers and was wearing simple work out clothes. Sephiroth had obviously been going to the gym with Angeal, because Angeal was standing beside him with an equal amount of fury in his features.
Genesis described their predicament eloquently. "Shit."
Sephiroth caught his breath and tightened his jaw. He reached up with one hand and pushed his soaked bangs out of his face, his green eyes turning to both of the pranksters with an incalculable amount of malice.
Zack understood fear for the first time.
Sephiroth turned to Angeal and they exchanged a look full of fury as Sephiroth growled, "I will take care of Genesis. You take care of Zack."
Genesis' eyes grew wide and he quickly started to run.
Zack focused on Angeal who was looking at him angrily. Angeal's hair was plastered to his face and he blinked at him coldly. He was shivering slightly and Zack didn't know if it was because of the cold or anger.
He didn't stick around to find out.
Zack ran. He heard some laughter as he started to run and he knew it was Kunsel. The Third Class SOLDIER was getting off lucky.
Zack ran as fast as he could. He could hear Angeal following behind him and he knew that he couldn't outrun him. He tried to zig and zag as he ran; he knew that that was the best way to avoid being attacked by predators, but he doubted that the technique would work with Angeal.
"It was Genesis idea!" Zack yelled as he ran across the courtyard. He knew that passing the blame on to someone else wasn't honourable, but how else could he worm his way out of punishment for Genesis' childish prank?
It would have been hilarious if they had actually hit the man they were aiming at. It was not hilarious when it was his mentor who was struck with a barrel of ice cold water.
As Zack rounded a corner he felt a hand on his neck and suddenly he was pushed to the ground, the force of the shove sending him head over heels as he tangled with Angeal. His face was pushed into the grass as they skidded to a halt. He felt a heavy weight on his back and a hard hand on his neck.
"What the hell was that all about?" Angeal growled and pulled him to his feet. Zack was held so that he couldn't see Angeal and it was a little disturbing that he couldn't see his mentor's face as he pleaded for safety of life and limb.
"It was Genesis' idea! Honest! He was trying to get Kunsel back for something," Zack squeaked out desperately. Angeal's grip was firm and strong and Zack could feel battle-hardened calluses squeezing the back of his neck as he was pushed forward.
"Genesis is beyond doing something as childish as this," Angeal said firmly. "This sounds like something you would think up."
"It was Genesis! Honest!" Zack pleaded as he felt himself being pushed forward. "I was just helping him!" Zack was aware of the other SOLDIER's and cadets eyes on him and Angeal. This was going to be the talk of the building and once the camera was found –- he was certain that Kunsel would easily find it –- the video would be posted and circulated quickly.
"I don't believe you," Angeal growled angrily, his hand ice cold on Zack's neck. "Genesis can't use ice magic like this. You must have used it."
Magic was the reason that Zack had been recruited for Genesis' evil prank. Genesis wanted to make sure that the water was cold, but he was better with fire than ice.
"Angeal," He whined and his puppy eyes were wasted because they weren't turned towards his mentor as he was pushed into the gym. "It was supposed to be Kunsel."
Zack noticed that he was being pushed to the gym. The First Class Gym.
"It doesn't make things any better when you stoop to doing something so childish," Angeal snapped. Zack wilted a bit. He had never had Angeal so angry at him before. He had done silly things in the past, but he had never really gotten Angeal mad at him before.
Zack stumbled through the doors, the large hand on the back of his neck still guiding him into the gym.
Zack cringed as Angeal gave him a push towards the padded sparing arena. He frowned heavily as he looked around. There was no on else in the gym. Most of the First's elected to use the virtual rooms rather than the gym, so it was usually empty and it was painfully so today.
He finally looked back at Angeal who was standing with his legs spread apart, his arms crossed and a very stern look on his face.
"Why was it supposed to be Kunsel?" Angeal demanded.
"I don't know. I guess he did something to Genesis desk?" Zack made the explanation come out as a question.
Angeal seemed to know just what the something was and he pinched the bridge of his nose. Zack could hear him whisper angrily, "So this is what he was up to."
Zack stood nervously. "So…am I still in trouble?" He tried to give Angeal his best, 'pity me' look.
"Yes! Yes, you are!" Angeal said as he returned to his stern stance. "That behaviour was not becoming of a SOLDIER."
Angeal raised a hand. "I don't care if it's Genesis fault. He will be dealt with for his behaviour. I am going to deal with you."
Zack chewed his lip. Usually when he screwed up, Angeal would make him work out until he dropped. He looked around the gym, expecting that to start happening soon. He was not looking forward to the next couple of hours.
Angeal saw his eyes roam the gym. "You're not going to get off easy," Angeal said and walked forward. "You seem to have a lot of pent up energy so you are going to do exactly what I say until you drop."
Zack frowned but quickly smiled even though he hated the look he got from Angeal. That look told him that he was not going to be able to walk after he was done.
"Start off with your favourite squats," Angeal said.
"Until I say stop."
Zack knew he was in for a long day and it was all Genesis' fault.
The routine was brutal. Zack did squats until his thighs burned. He pumped weights until he couldn't lift the bar above his shoulders. He ran until he thought his lungs were going to collapse. Angeal made him do push ups until he couldn't feel his upper arms and then Angeal made him do curls until his stomach burned.
Zack lay gasping on the mat as Angeal ordered him to stand. "I don't think I can." He moaned. It hurt just to sit up. He had been doing this for three hours and only rarely had been able to stop to get a drink and only when Angeal had let him. He wasn't allowed to stop moving for more than ten seconds at a time.
"Get up!" Angeal ordered.
Zack slowly got to his feet and stood as straight as he could even though every muscle in his body was screaming for him to collapse back to the floor.
"Now, what did we learn today?" Angeal asked.
"Don't listen to Genesis," Zack gasped.
Angeal laughed. "Well, that is one thing to learn out of this. What else did you learn?" Angeal was at least smiling now and that made Zack feel better.
"Don't play pranks?" Zack made it a question.
Zack could only blink up at Angeal. He was too physically and mentally exhausted to think of anything else.
Angeal reached forward and patted his shoulder. Zack nearly collapsed under the soft touch. "Make sure that you hit the right target."
Zack nodded and swayed on his feet. "Are you done torturing me?" He wanted nothing more than to take a shower and then collapse into his bed, but he doubted that he could make it back to his place.
"No," Angeal walked forward so he was standing right in front of him. Zack looked up at the man and saw strange smirk on his face. He hadn't seen that look before and it was a little disconcerting. "There are a few things that I would like to do."
"I can hardly move, Angeal. I can't run any more laps," Zack protested.
Angeal laughed again and this time when he reached forward, his hands grabbed Zack's shoulders and pulled him close. Zack whimpered as he was pulled into a tight hug. His body screamed with protest but at the same time he enjoyed the gentle hug. "Well, I have a couple of potions that I can massage into your sore muscles."
Zack grinned and pressed himself closer to Angeal. "Oh, I'm going to need more than one?"
Angeal's chuckle rumbled in his chest and Zack realized then that was the best sound in the world. "I'm still a little cold and I could always use a puppy to warm my feet."
Zack wished he could have moved to see the look on Angeal's face, but between his muscles not cooperating, his face being pressed against Angeal's chest, and the warm hands rubbing down his back, he was feeling too comfortable to move at the moment.
"I'll warm up any part that you want," Zack mumbled. He was no longer regretting helping Genesis with his ill-conceived childish prank. If he got a massage and got to warm Angeal's bed he was all for it … as long as Angeal wasn't serious about him being a foot warmer.
Angeal smiled as he walked down the hall. It had been three weeks since the stupid prank that Genesis had recruited Zack to help with. It had been a very good three weeks as Zack had been more than receptive to moving forward with their relationship.
He was quite content despite the fact that there was still a lot of chaos from that incident; all the chaos coming from the fact that Sephiroth was still holding a grudge.
Genesis had been gone on a requested mission so he had not been around for two of the weeks after the day. Sephiroth had almost continuously grumbled something about not being able to catch the Red General. Genesis had been back for a week and Sephiroth was being as childish as Genesis had been when he wanted to get back at Kunsel.
Angeal was thinking of his last night of escapades with his new boyfriend. The word boyfriend was still new to him and made him smile even brighter.
He stopped in the hall and noticed that a door was open. He could see a flash of black and silver moving inside and he frowned. Angeal walked out the door to see Sephiroth peering over the side of the building with a far too familiar looking barrel at his side.
"What are you doing?"
Sephiroth actually jumped and turned to him. He brought one of his gloved fingers to his lips in a shushing motion. "I am going to get Gen back, once and for all," Sephiroth said in a hushed voice. "We'll see how he likes being doused with ice water." Sephiroth turned back to the edge of the building.
Angeal sighed and was about to launch into a speech about how dishonourable his actions were when Sephiroth turned. "He's coming!" It was humorous seeing the Silver General this way. It was very seldom that Sephiroth showed emotions of any sort and it was funny seeing him look like a vengeful child; scary, but funny.
"You aren't seriously going to dump cold water on Genesis are you?" Angeal asked and covered his mouth with his hand to hide his smile.
"Of course I am." Sephiroth snorted. He watched as Sephiroth cast another ice spell onto the water of the barrel. "He did it to me! Didn't you punish Zack for his actions? Genesis still has not learned that it was not appropriate behaviour."
Sephiroth lifted the barrel of ice cold water effortlessly. "And when I catch him I can punish him accordingly."
Angeal shook his head but did nothing to stop Sephiroth's actions. Genesis had been much too smug in how he had 'avoided the wrath of Sephiroth' or the other way he worded it, 'got one up on the General'. He should've known that Sephiroth did not like being the brunt of jokes or having anyone best him.
Angeal looked over the side of the building and saw Genesis approaching. He was talking with someone that Angeal did not recognize. The poor guy was going to get caught in the crossfire, but Angeal wasn't going to do anything to stop it.
He looked back over at Sephiroth and saw the smile of anticipation on his lips. "Looked like a drowned rat, did I?" Angeal had to cover his mouth to stop his chuckle.
"He said that?"
"He most certainly did!" Sephiroth growled, looking quite offended at the thought. "Is he just about there?"
Angeal looked. "Yes, he is."
Sephiroth gave a quick confirming look and his smile became terrifyingly large. Angeal looked over the edge of the building and was horrified to see that Genesis had been stopped by some fans and was signing autographs. He turned to Sephiroth who was getting ready to dump it but his words were lost as the barrel tipped and the ice cold water sloshed down onto an unsuspecting person below.
Sephiroth barked a laugh and looked over the edge. The laugh quickly became a appalled look and Angeal had to take a look and see what Sephiroth was horrified about.
It was not Genesis who had been soaked. He jumped off the edge of the building before Sephiroth did. Sephiroth seemed stunned by the fact that he had actually miscalculated something.
Angeal landed beside a young cadet with bright yellow hair that had landed on his bottom and was soaked. Big blue eyes looked up to him with chattering teeth as the boy looked pathetically cold. The papers that he had been carrying were strewn everywhere.
Sephiroth landed on the other side of the boy. The poor lad just about jumped out of his skin and gave a soft yelp as Sephiroth landed beside him. "You were supposed to be Genesis!" Sephiroth said loudly.
Angeal could see Genesis trying not to laugh from far away as he watched the scene.
"Sorry," came a small weak voice. The boy was apologizing for not being Genesis and as he struggled to his feet Angeal rushed to his aid. He pulled the cold boy to his feet, sighing softly. The boy's skin was like ice and his teeth were chattering louder with every passing second. "I was su-supposed to deliver th-these papers t-to Laz-Lazard." His eyes were large and his bright yellow hair was limp around his face.
Sephiroth was suddenly beside him. "You aren't Genesis!"
The boy jumped and turned to look up at the General. "Sorry, s-sir," he managed again. He was quite blue and pale and as Sephiroth reached out to touch his blue skin, Angeal pulled the boy into him. The boy was going to have hypothermia if he didn't get warmed up and Sephiroth's cold hands wouldn't help.
"It's alright," Angeal said as he found his hands running through the cool soft hair of the boy. "I will take care of him. You take care of Genesis. He's laughing over there."
That got Sephiroth's attention. His green eyes darted toward where Genesis was still holding a pen, but no longer laughing. He looked like a deer caught in headlights. "Genesis," Sephiroth spoke through clenched teeth.
Genesis dropped the picture he was signing and the pen and started to run with Sephiroth on his heels. Angeal laughed as he looked down at the cold boy who was shivering in his arms. "Let's go get you taken care of before you die of cold."
The boy was going to open his mouth to talk with Zack burst out the door. "Cloud!" He yelled and came rushing forward, looking at the pile of papers on the ground. "Are you alright? What happened? Are those my reports?"
Angeal sighed and the boy tried to respond through his chattering teeth. Angeal knew the name Cloud. Zack had talked about his friend from time to time. "Zack?" Angeal said and Zack raised his violet blue eyes up to his. He kept his hands on the shivering boy. "You were having this boy here help you with your reports?"
"I finished them all! I really did!" Zack looked around at his feet at the damp and frozen papers. Sephiroth had really chilled the water.
Angeal grinned. "Well, then. It looks like you have to do them again. We will have to take your friend here upstairs and warm him up."
Zack groaned. "But it took me hours to do them!"
Cloud made a small protesting sound but his chattering teeth prevented him from talking. Angeal rubbed the young man's shoulder. "We shall get you in some dry clothes, feed you some chocobo soup, and make sure you are all better. Sephiroth used a very powerful ice spell on that water. I wouldn't want you to get ill."
Zack grinned widely and moved closer, running his hands through Cloud's hair. Cloud seemed annoyed at the attention. "Angeal makes the best soup!"
They started to walk into the building when they heard a scream that sounded a lot like Genesis and a laugh that sounded like Sephiroth's.
Cloud's eyes grew wide at the sound and Zack laughed. "I guess Genesis is finally getting his punishment."
Angeal nodded. "It will be amazing if he can walk in the morning."
Zack smiled and tugged Cloud from Angeal's arms, pulling him to his chest. "I know I couldn't."
Angeal chuckled and opened the door despite the protests of the young blond who insisted that he was fine and could just grab a warm shower in the barracks. Angeal waved away the suggestion. "Nonsense! You can use my shower to warm up and then have some soup. You can wear some of Zack's clothes afterward and we can both watch as he completes his reports."
"I won't have to deliver them this time, though will I?" Cloud said through chattering teeth.
"No, we'll make sure that Zack does his own work this time," Angeal received a frown from Zack and smiled at him warmly in return.
"I thought I was done with the punishments from that silly prank!" Zack protested.
"Then you didn't learn enough. There is always another lesson to be learned," Angeal said and lifted the poor boy from Zack's hug and placed him in his arms. The boy made a rather cute startled sound but didn't protest as they started to walk to the elevator. The cold hands of the boy pressed against Angeal's chest and he could feel how cold he was. Even his legs were shaking underneath his arm.
"Thank you, sir," Cloud chattered.
"Hey! Don't leave me behind!" Zack protested as he picked up the damp pieces of paper.
"We'll m-meet you upstairs, Zack." Cloud said as they turned in the elevator. Zack looked shocked as the elevator door closed.
Angeal smiled and hugged the cold cadet in his arms. He knew Zack's fondness for the boy, he talked nearly non stop about him. He knew that Zack would get his work done quickly if he knew that there was some warming that needed to be done.