Final Fantasy - All Series Fan Fiction ❯ Trapped in Paradise(With Someone You Hate) ❯ Part I: Stranded ( Chapter 1 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]

Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me, they belong to Square/Enix and were created by Nomura.
“Trapped in Paradise (With Someone You Hate)”

Part One: Stranded

The transport ship from Costa del Sol to Junon was late, very, very late. This wasn't an unusual occurrence. Since it was a service run by Shinra it wasn't uncommon for company business to come before human relations. Big as Rufus talked these days, he was still in it for himself above all.

Cloud Strife stood on the dock, and squinted out into the distance. He saw nothing but water and the sunset over the horizon. Honestly it wasn't a big deal aside from the fact that Tifa would start worrying if it got too much later. He'd have to call her in a couple hours if the transport never showed.

This was certainly a hell of a time for Shera to be having engine problems.

When his cell phone rang from deep within one of his pants pockets, Cloud sighed heavily. He was surprised when he heard Tifa's voice on the other line. Surely she wasn't getting nervous already?

“Rufus called,” she announced in lieu of a greeting.

Cloud was so surprised that he didn't have time to be suspicious. Usually when Shinra wanted to make nice with him, he got a call from one of The Turks. Almost always it was Reno, but he'd been contacted by Rude or Elena as well. It must have been important…Cloud felt his stomach churn with anxiety. “What's wrong? Are you okay? Are the kids okay?”

“Cloud, relax. It's not that bad; it's about the transport between Costa del Sol and Junon. You are still stranded at Costa del Sol, right?”

“Well…yeah. So what's wrong? How long is the ship delayed?”

“That's the problem,” Tifa replied, “Rufus isn't sure. It got side tracked running supplies to Mideel and there was some kind of accident. He wasn't specific, though he seemed to imply that The Turks were investigating.”

“Great, any news from Cid about Shera?” Cloud rubbed at his temple, not sure that he really wanted the answer.

“From the way he was ranting, nothing good. All I managed to glean from the conversation was that some part needed to be manufactured and it's going to take some time.”

Cloud sighed heavily, “Wonderful, so now what?”

“Well, you're in luck, I guess. Reno's stranded in Costa del Sol as well. Rufus will be in contact with him when something opens up, be it another transport ship or use of the company's helicopter,” Tifa explained.

“Lucky, huh?” Cloud muttered.

Tifa made an annoyed sound, “Don't be like that, Cloud. He was a big help during that mess with Kadaj and his brothers. The least you can do is be civil.”

“Yeah well, I still don't like the guy,” Cloud groused. Not to mention he's always leering at me like he's trying to figure out what flavour I come in, Cloud added to himself.

Tifa chuckled, actually chuckled, “get used to it. Rufus also hinted that he wanted you to keep an eye on Reno, says he's not so good at waiting around for orders sometimes.”

“So what? He wants me to baby-sit Reno and make sure he doesn't do anything stupid?”

“Pretty much.”

Could this situation get any worse? Cloud thought.

“If I run into him, I'll see how things work out, and that's all I can promise.”

“Of course,” Tifa replied, though they both knew, despite Cloud's generally anti-social habits, that he was too much of a nice guy for his own damned good. Without a doubt, Cloud would end up looking after the red-head for gods only knew how long.

“Is that all?” Cloud snapped, knowing he was being a bit brusque but unable to mask his increasingly bad mood.

“Just…be careful, okay?” Tifa lingered on the line, her voice always so full of unspoken meaning, “and keep in touch.”

They said their good-byes and Cloud closed his cell phone with a weary sigh. He headed to the local bar because, much as he disliked Reno, Cloud knew him well enough.


Blissfully drunk, Reno had all but forgotten that he was stranded in Costa del Sol for an indeterminate amount of time and the local inn was booked solid for the next couple weeks. It didn't matter; Reno had a plan.

His eyes scanned the crowded bar, looking for just the right person to pick up. At the very least he was determined to go home with someone tonight; he'd worry about tomorrow and the days after that later. Maybe he'd just coast between one-night stands. There were worse ways to spend his impromptu vacation, after all.

It was then that Cloud fucking Strife stepped through the door, bought a pint, and bee-lined straight for Reno's table. Uptight, irritating, complicated, drop-dead gorgeous Cloud Strife….Reno wondered what the hell he was doing in Costa del Sol and why he seemed so intent to talk to him.

The blonde glanced down at the half a dozen frosted beer mugs, multiple shot glasses that were scattered across the table, and bottle of rum that Reno was clutching between his thighs. “I take it Rufus contacted you.”

“Yep,” Reno replied, “and how the hell would you know about that?

“Never mind,” Cloud shook his head, “Did he say anything else?”

Reno narrowed his eyes, “you tryin' to milk me for information, Strife?”

Cloud just rolled his eyes and had the fucking gall to look put out. “C'mon Reno, just tell me. We don't have time for games.”

“Hmm…way I see it we have lots of spare time on our hands. So why doncha sit down, make yourself comfortable, and let an old pro show ya how it's done.”

Much to his surprise, Cloud sat down. He looked sullen, though, as if he could think of about a hundred things he'd rather be doing.

“Don't look so depressed, babe,” Reno drawled as he fingered the grip of his EMR, which was leaned up against the leg of his chair, “I've been told I'm a real charming guy.”

Cloud snorted, “I'm sure.”

“Play nice, Strife or you ain't gettin' anything from me.”

They held each other's gaze for a long time, taking one another's measure. Reno's long fingers tightened around his EMR's rubber grip. Drunk as he was, he knew that he could take on Cloud in a fight if need be. He'd fought under much worse conditions, after all.

After a time, Cloud relaxed somewhat even though he growled out a rather pissy, “fine.”

“Smart move,” Reno was feeling pretty good considering the situation. He'd always liked the tension between them, how it stretched tight and was damned near erotic in nature. “Now…buy me a drink.”

Cloud made a face and shoved his beer across the table, “Take it. I only bought it for show anyway.”

“Much obliged,” Reno grinned rakishly, “So how ya been, Strife? Ya know we ain't talked much since that incident with old Sephiroth and those revenants….”

Suddenly Cloud looked more confused and uncomfortable than irritable. “Okay…I guess. Listen, can we just cut to the chase? All I know is that there was an accident with the transport ship and that Shinra's taking care of it. Surely you know more than me. I just want to know how long I'm stuck here.”

“Well ain't that just a bitch?” Reno couldn't suppress a small chuckle even though there was nothing to laugh about. “Hate to break it to ya but I don't know much more than you do.”

“How is that possible?” Cloud eyed him skeptically.

Reno rolled his eyes, “since I'm feeling kinda generous and you're so fucking sexy, I'll let you in on a little secret: Sometimes we Turks are only told what we need to know. It's only practical, a security measure in case we end up in enemy hands.”

Cloud snorted, “I think it's to keep you naïve and loyal.”

“Naïve?” Reno laughed harshly, “not hardly. We all knew what Shinra was about.”

Cloud's brow furrowed, “If that's true, how could you stand it? Shinra was destroying the planet, destroying lives. How could you knowingly be a part of that?”

Reno had a lot of ways to answer that, most of them too personal to share with Cloud. He had no desire to explain himself to someone who would probably never understand. Instead he decided to turn the tables on the blonde. “Don't be a hypocrite, Strife. You were all too happy to join up way back when. Fuck, you were trying to get into SOLDIER. Talk about dogs….”

Cloud bristled, “I didn't know any better. I was young and stupid and I wanted to be—“

“Like Sephiroth, right?” Reno sighed, rubbing at his temple wearily. He fished out a crumpled pack of cigarettes, lit one, and inhaled slowly. Maybe he was drunker that he thought because he couldn't help but feel sorry for the poor bastard. “Can't blame you, I s'pose. Sephiroth was pretty fucking impressive, wasn't he? Saw a lotta kids like you wanting to join up because of his reputation. Cryin' shame really, considering most of them didn't even come close to the base specifications. Although…” Reno's eyes roved over Cloud, taking in nicely muscled arms as well as the rest of his very fit body, “I don't know why you never made it.” He licked his lips and leered, couldn't really help himself.

Looking deeply uncomfortable, Cloud lowered his gaze to the worn tabletop. Reno thought he could detect the faint stain of a blush along the blonde's cheeks and felt inexplicable satisfaction. “Um…thanks, I guess, but back then…I was skinnier, weaker. Honestly, I didn't start bulking up until after I failed to make it into SOLDIER and was transferred to Shinra's basic military.” When he met Reno's gaze, his lips parted as though he wanted to say something else, closed again, and then he was shaking his head, “but that's not important anymore. I was young and clueless and look where it got me?”

Reno arched an eyebrow as he righted one of the used shot glasses and poured Cloud a shot of rum. It seemed like he seriously needed a stiff drink. He didn't get how Cloud could still have such shitty self-esteem after saving the world twice. “So ya never got into SOLDIER. It wasn't such a great thing, if ya want my honest opinion.”

Cloud knocked back the rum without wincing or seeming to really be fully aware of what he was doing. His silence was as heavy as any words that he could have spoken. Reno chewed his lower lip and resumed his own drinking binge. This was probably no time to mention just how much he knew about Cloud or that he'd been there when Cloud and Zack had been handed over to Hojo. Truth be told, Reno had never felt right about how the Nibelheim incident had been handled.

“Reno?” Cloud's voice was soft yet husky and Reno just barely heard him over the din of music and conversation.

“Yeah, babe?” Reno leaned forward, closer to Cloud. He was oddly pleased when he did not move or shy away.

“Can I get some more of that rum?”

To be continued….