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Little Battles

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It's not to be expected everything flows smoothly all the time. They're both passionate people, even if they don't look it to the outside world. The passion is buried beneath a façade - of stoicism on Leon's part, and of not caring on Cloud's - but it's still there below everything. Most of the time, it gets vented in what they consider acceptable methods - sparring matches, or bedroom games. But occasionally the little frictions they both experience from having to shape their lives to fit around another person's build up, and need to be vented.

"Cloud, what's with this fucking invoice?" Leon called as he entered the house the two of them shared.

"What invoice?" came the reply from upstairs.

"This one I just had dropped in by Scrooge. Says 'problem solved' on it," Leon said, mounting the stairs and heading toward the bedroom.

"Oh yeah. That." Leon rounded the corner to find Cloud leaning on the balustrade at the top of the stairs. "He had a problem, I solved it."

"Very funny," Leon snarled. "He's disputing the charges. You knew he was going to dispute the charges, he always disputes the charges. It's one of the reasons we keep asking you to leave proper, detailed fucking invoices."

Cloud looked over at his housemate and lover, and smirked. "C'mon, you know what'll happen if I do. We won't be able to sleep for three days because Tifa and Yuffie will be constantly prowling around the place trying to find out whether I've been possessed by Sephiroth. Again."

"And yet," Leon gritted out, "they didn't do it the last time you left a detailed invoice with Scrooge, because they both know it's the only way to get money out of the tight-arsed quacking bastard."

"Didn't they?" Cloud was still smirking.

Leon sighed. "No, they didn't, although I'll grant you I've no idea how you could have known about it, since you immediately picked up Fenrir and did a delivery run to the other side of Costa del fucking Sol, which oh-so-conveniently took you out of their range for about a week."

"Yup."

"So why didn't you submit a detailed invoice this time?"

"Don't have any delivery runs to the far side of Costa del fucking Sol waiting," came the reply, delivered in tones which implied this should have been obvious. "And I don't want to spend the next three days trying to dodge Yuffie and Tifa."

Leon glared at Cloud, who just stared back blandly.

"He wanted me to move a huge supply of inventory from one side of the warehouse to the other," Cloud eventually said. "I did it; it took three hours to move the whole damn lot of it even with me doing the job; and if the tight-arsed quacking bastard wants to dispute things, tell him I'm perfectly happy to move the whole damn lot of it back again and he can pay for someone else to do the damn job next time. No skin off my nose. Or sic Aerith onto him - he always rolls over for her."

"This is all just another move in your damn campaign to stop me assigning you jobs for Scrooge, isn't it?" Leon grumped, slumping against the wall of the stairwell.

"Yup," Cloud agreed.

Leon sighed again. "So who can I assign to him? He won't take Yuffie working for him, says she costs too much in inventory."

"Tifa?"

"He's terrified of her," Leon answered.

"Hardly surprising. So's anyone with a lick of sense. Cid?" Cloud suggested.

"Cid says, and I quote, he is 'too fucking busy trying to get this effing security system to only attack the godsdamn Heartless rather than every-damn-thing else known to fucking humanity'."

"And you won't let him program it to set off a mine under Scrooge when Scrooge inevitably pisses him off," Cloud added, pointing out one of the regular requests the cranky engineer made regarding the Radiant Garden security systems.

"And I won't let him program it to set off mines under Scrooge, because then I get Scrooge bitching at me for three weeks straight and threatening to withdraw funding." Leon slumped further to sit on one of the stairs.

"Aerith?"

"Aerith is entirely the wrong sort of person to be doing the kind of heavy lifting Scrooge wants done. And don't suggest Merlin, for Hyne's sake. You know what happened the last time the two of them were within range of each other. We're still cleaning it out of the sewers, not to mention the plumbing every time there's a heavy rainstorm."

A corner of Cloud's mouth quirked up in a grin. "I'm almost tempted to suggest Sephiroth, if only to see how fast the bad-tempered old bastard finds alternative labour."

It got him another glare. "You do and you clean up the mess yourself," Leon retorted. "I'm willing to admit your nemesis is an excellent battle planner, and a damn brilliant strategist. I thank Hyne fasting, however, that he looks on manual labour as Something Other People Do, because the man is frankly cack-handed when it comes to doing repairs. If it can't be repaired magically, he can't do it. Besides, he can't stand Scrooge either, and he's a lot more direct about it than you are."

"Meaning?"

Leon actually grinned. "Meaning he told me flat if I assigned him to do anything for Scrooge, duck was on the dinner menu. Probably flambéed."

"Why is Scrooge handing all this sort of work to the Restoration Committee anyway?" Cloud asked.

Leon shrugged. "To be honest? I have no idea. I've told him time and again we're not his stevedoring service."

Cloud ambled over to sit down next to Leon. "Yeah, but you always cave if he nags or threatens the funding. How much of the funding does he supply, anyway?"

Leon rolled his eyes. "All of it, or next best thing to. Which is part of why Aerith suggested charging people for services rendered. But of course, that sort of thing is made infinitely more difficult by certain blond-haired bastards not submitting detailed invoices when we ask them to." The hand with the invoice came up and smacked Cloud in the chest. "So you get to go and argue with Scrooge about paying for this one, all right?"

Cloud took the invoice, then leaned over and stole a kiss from the grumpy man next to him. "Yeah, okay," he said.