|icedark_elf (icedark_elf) wrote in mercverse,|
@ 2009-11-09 03:47:00
|Entry tags:||chaos, cloud, fanfic, vincent, zack|
Next part of Getting Together Arc. Time for the twins to show up. Whee! Next up is Seph, and I have plans for him already.
He courted us for months.
The first place we ever saw Cloud Strife was when one of the lesser nobles had hired us for her visit to the palace. Vincent said it was because she wanted a pretty set of people to guard her body, in anyway she could get us to, and given the fact that she tried to stick her hand down my pants the first night, he was more than right. And, truth be told, it’s hard to find people who are better looking that us, especially ones who are actually good at their jobs. People seem to have a thing for twins.
That’s what we thought he wanted at first.
He was sitting there, talking to the red-headed Turk, one of the Prince’s personal bodyguards, and he looked at us, all court-fine and fitting in far too well. He even resembled the current Prince, Rufus Shinra. Had his own body guard as well, a dark haired man whose hair was almost as pointy as his and who move in a way that nothing fully human could.
It wasn’t hard to realize that Cloud was watching us the entire dinner. Of course, we were trying to attract attention. Nothing like a bit or royal patronage to keep the money flowing into the bank. Or even another noble. Hopefully one who wasn’t going to try to push their way into our beds, either.
So thus we were decked out, wings and horns in full view, me with the claws and Vincent lacking them only because it’s hard to fire a gun with claws. The dinner had gone smoothly, no incidents other than a rather too persistent suitor, who was easily dealt with. Didn’t have to save anything, simply step between him and her when he drew too close and smile. Seeing fangs as long as mine tends to make people back away.
Still, it was nice to put her in her car to send her back to wherever the hell it was she had come from. Shinra equaled money, but it almost always seemed to equal spoiled brat as well. Having to spend a week dodging her determined attempts at getting one or both of us into bed had been both entertaining and a little frustrating towards the end. Then we had turned to leave, and he had been standing there.
“You two are patient. Last bunch she had all but threw her into her car and danced happily as she drove away.”
He was smiling easily, leaning against the wall nearby. Still nearby was his dark-haired guard, who was also grinning in that cheerful “Hey, we can damage each other badly, how about we play nice” way that only the really dangerous can use and not look stupid.
He didn’t look stupid, either.
“Excuse us, Shinra,” Vincent had said politely, “but we need to return to our office. We have an appointment.”
“Strife,” he said almost absently. “Related to them, but I am no Shinra. Be careful calling me that, it tends to make the real ones rather…touchy.”
No need to say that a touchy Shinra is very, very liable to have the cause dealt with in a permanent matter. Vincent and I hadn’t even looked at each other, but I knew that he was just as curious as I was. If this Strife was close enough to the Shinras to be part of the head table, then why the hell wasn’t he named Shinra? Every member of the family that could claim the name did, and only the closest relatives were allowed to sit at the table.
“Anyway, I had a business proposition for you. I’m restarting an old business, and I’m looking for good, competent people to help me at it. I have Zack here, but I was interested in seeing if you might be willing to listen?”
“Maybe another time,” I said quietly. I was tired, ready to eat and rest someplace I didn’t have to worry about someone besides Vincent crawling into the bed with me, and not have to deal with court manners for a while. “And we aren’t interested in becoming escorts if that is the old business you were interested in restarting.”
A few people, back when we had first started, had offered almost the same thing. And all they had offered was to let us be well-trained whores for whoever could buy our services. Our looks had not been a good thing at the beginning. Too many clients had expected the same thing the original business offers had expected, and it had not been pretty.
A simple nod and he turned and moved away. “I’ll call later in the week to possibly set up a time to talk, if you would like. I can understand the desire to be away from anyone connected to Shinra now.”
And with that he had walked away.
Kept his word, though. A week later, he called up and politely asked for an appointment. Paid well for the time, too. Expected from one of royal blood. And we knew who he was now. Currently a black sheep among the Shinra family, but one can’t be immortal and not have a lot written up on you over the years. Not that much was known. Apparently Strife had been very low profile for the last few years, and people thought he was overseas somewhere.
Given he was on our office couch, people were obviously mistaken.
“I don’t often attend the parties like that,” he said lightly. “Current king insisted, they like it when I pop up occasionally. Makes them feel less likely like I’m plotting a takeover, I suppose. Boring as hell, but it gave me the chance to see who and what were on the market anymore for bodyguards.” A sharp smile. “You two are the best of the lot. I had been doing a bit of research since seeing which ones were at the party. You two have a decent reputation.”
“What are you looking for, Strife,” I ask, just as nastily sweet as I can. Vincent’s the good guy, I’m the bad. Works out well that way.
“I’m looking at restarting an old business, as I said. Have you ever heard of the Sunraiders?”
That was a stupid question. Any mercenary worth anything would have heard of the Sunraiders. They had put Shinra into full power over the other noble houses and kept them there for over a century before the band was disbanded. Nobody knew why they lasted so long, or why they had disbanded. There was also a bit of mystery in that the queen at the time had vanished around the same time. The Regent at the time….
“You were the Regent, weren’t you?” Vincent asked softly. “What happened?”
A tight, but approving smile. “My darling grand niece several times down decided that she didn’t want such a ‘dangerous’ merc band so well established near the throne city. Especially one lead by another family member. I would have disbanded it, but she didn’t ask. My men were and still are important to me. I dealt with her, and taught a very, very important lesson to my family. Fucking with my people ends up in messy ways.”
Oh, that was a feral smile that would have done me proud.
“After that, as I was the only one with no interest in the throne, I was stuck playing Regent until they selected a new ruler. Took them long enough, too. Five years I was stuck in that mind numbing job. After that, well, it still seemed a bit too soon to start another company, and so it rested.
Now I want to restart the old business. And I want the best of the best. And that would be you two. Myself, of course, and Zack here has had the best training I could get him.” A tilt of his head at the brunet. “Had my eye on one or two mages as well.”
“We’re doing well enough on our own,” Vincent said lightly, arm draped over the back of the couch. “Why should we give up our own business to become your employees?”
“One, I’m not looking for employees, I’m looking for partners. And I can offer much more exciting jobs than playing bodyguard. I’ve already negotiated a contract to be the first one called on anything that’s more than human. And we would be the first ones the royals would contact when they needed something dealt with. Was why I was talking to the dear prince at the party.”
He rose and grinned down at us. “I’ll leave and let you talk it over. Feel free to call me,” he laid a card on the table, “if you have any questions. No pressure on this, either. If you want to join, that would be excellent, if not, fine, and I’ll still recommend you to the family for bodyguard duties. They are always looking for attractive people who are competent as well. Good day to you both.”
And like that, he was out of there.
A few moments of silence, and then I went to see if he actually left the building. Once I was sure he had, I returned and just watched my brother. He was the eldest of the two of us, the more stable one. I knew I had picked up more of our mother’s nature than he had, so I let him decide, and would take my cues off him. Honestly, I myself was leaning in favor of it. A chance to kill things as opposed to a lot of bodyguard work.
Over the course of the next few months, we were busy. Strife kept his word. We were hired by a large number of nobles, a few times by the royals themselves, and, surprisingly, by a few mages, who rarely needed guards. Once a month, Strife would call and ask if we had come to a decision. We always requested more time. He called other times and asked us to join him and Zack at various things. Dinners, movies, hell, a picnic once. Just random, everyday things. Turned out they were fun to hang out with, and it was well worth the effort it took to get Cloud drunk.
Then the call had come with not a question on the decision or an invite, but with a job offer. A rather interesting and immediate one. Zack was working on bleeding to death and they were pinned down. I was rather touched that the first person Cloud had called was us. And a bit angry. Those were our friends who were being hurt, and neither Vincent nor I took it well.
We didn’t realize what our reactions meant till we had time to think about it later. But at the moment, we were too busy hunting and killing and collecting them. Cloud was dead when we got there, Zack trying to not follow. They had been hit by something that flew, something that neither had known about.
When Cloud woke up, we said yes. And then the three of us waited for Zack to be healed. Together.