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A Den of Nibel Wolves

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Cloud, as a partner in Cid's ridiculous fucking airship empire, knew how to be classy. He knew how to dress, how to stand, how to talk about absolutely nothing for hours at events that called for it.

What he was not up for, however, were the covetous glances at his left hand. The ring that kept his Geostigma at bay on that finger in particular. The fact that he'd tailored most of his outfits to cover his bandages until Barret had expressed that he loved Cloud's shoulders, bandages and all.

The one he was wearing right now he'd cooked up with Aerith, both of them arguing the logistics behind the sleeves that could be buttoned if he got uncomfortable but showed off his shoulders and draped like a cape off of the Sword Throne series.

He'd gotten 'Stigma on both sides, the result of stress and a few other things that meant he had bandages up to his shoulders and just brushing his hands. Pristine white against the prismed black he'd picked out made for quite the look.

"Strife, even more delectable than before," ShinRa, go figure, dressed in that shade of white that set Cloud on edge. It didn't help that he instinctively wanted to punch the man or that he looked like the villain of the week in Fantasy Seven.

"They say a man can be dressed to kill," Cloud countered smoothly, pushing his sleeve aside briefly to reveal a sliver of his sidewinders, "but I might mean that literally, ShinRa."

"Cloud! About damned time you made it!" Cid's enthusiasm had him laughing as the man wrapped an arm around his shoulders carefully. "What are you wearin'?"

"Aerith made it. Said it was about time one of her designs got to see the light of the night." He teased.

"Now this Ah gotta see. Gimme a spin."

Cloud spun out, his sidewinders shining in the overhead lights of the ballroom before he mock-bowed to Cid. "You like it?"

"Ya look like one of those TV characters but damn if Aerith wasn't right. C'mon, Ah wanna introduce ya to Solari's CEO." Cid supplied wryly as Cloud followed his friend.

"-and as I was stuck in the cardboard I hear-" It was one thing to see it in photos but Barret's purple suit in person was something else entirely.

"Wallace, you got a minute?"

"Highwind, just the man I wanted to... see." Barret locked eyes with Cloud. He remembered at the last second that they were in a roomful of people that didn't know they were in a relationship. "I didn't know you knew my fiancé."

"Fiancé huh? Cloud, you've been holding out on me." Cid grumbled even as Barret lifted Cloud's left hand and kissed his bandages.

"Sorry Cid. I never thought we'd run into one another at the function." Barret laced thier fingers so Cloud continued, "Does that mean that thing you wanted to propose is off the table then?"

"Fuck no, it's definitely on. Mah engines with your turbines, Wallace, and it'll crush ShinRa as a happy side-effect. Whatcha think?" Cid grinned even as Vincent parted the crowd, just by being himself.

"... We'll talk more about it later. If you'll excuse Cloud and I?" Barret agreed even as he towed Cloud through the room and out the magnificent set of double doors. He walked for a good minute, tugged Cloud into a storage closet full of boxes and broken chairs and then kissed him until he was breathless. "Are you trying to put me into an early grave, Spikey?"

"No, but I wanted to show you this. Wanted to see your face but Cid ruined it." He panted back even as he pulled Barret down for another kiss.

"Damn near," kiss, "gave me," kiss, "a heart attack." Barret left his lips and kissed his way down Cloud's neck, murmuring in the dim light. "You know I love your shoulders and this fabric makes you look like a damn dragon in a roomful of Mandragoras."

"Aerith made it," he managed as Barret nipped at his collar. "said you needed to relax at this party."

"I'll relax alright..."

"Barret!" He chided, though he didn't really mean it.


He adjusted his clothes in the closet, careful to straighten Barret's lovely suit back into something approximating normal as they snuck out of the space.

Cloud re-entered the party with a smirk playing about his lips and a very self-satisfied fiancé by his side.

ShinRa opened his mouth and then noticed the way Barret and Cloud were holding hands. The welcoming veneer slid just enough for the rival CEO to quip, "I see you've settled, Strife."

"Oh thank you for noticing." Cloud purred, deliberately reaching up to fix his spikes with his left hand. ShinRa choked on the drink he had in hand. "I thought it was about time to settle down." ShinRa garbled angrily around the liquid but swallowed roughly. "A wolf with no den is hardly a wolf at all, you know, President ShinRa."

He guided Barret away from ShinRa, pressing his giggles into his love's shoulder the second they were out of sight. "Ahahaha, for Fenrir's sake, he almost ate it! On a shitty drink, of all things!"

"I see you've had to dissuade him as well." Vincent snorted as he peeled himself away from the wall.

"Mm, that I did. Where's Cid?"

"Entertaining the crowd, that way." Vincent confirmed the boisterous crowd was Cid pulling everyone into his orbit. "Did I mention I used to work for his Father? ShinRa, that is."

"Really?" Color Cloud interested; Vincent rarely spoke about his past.

"It was back when ShinRa was barely a teenager. He wouldn't take no for an answer, thought that money could buy him whatever he wanted."

"... Including people. He tried that on me all of once." Barret snorted as he tucked Cloud under his arm.

"Indeed. I met Cid at a party similar to this one, crowing about his airships and drawing a good portion of the people he'd need to fund them. He actually defended me from ShinRa's advances, though I didn't need his help, and he insisted on buying me dinner after I quit." Vincent chuckled wryly. "I don't suppose you could help me extricate my husband from that mess? He hasn't eaten yet and I worry."

"Sure, I need him for that proposal he mentioned." Barret agreed genially as he pressed a kiss to Cloud's hair.

"I need him because the triplets have been begging me for months to have a Fantasy Seven themed-birthday party and I need everyone I know basically to be the AVALANCHE team." He offered even as the crowd roared with laughter. "I wonder what story he's telling."

"Most likely, the one where we met. It was quite the adventure after all." Vincent murmured as he looked on fondly at his husband.

Cloud wanted to do that fifteen years down the road and look half as good as Vincent while doing it.