Fandoms: FFVII, FFIX
Prompt: Zack and Zidane with the title "Riding out the Storm"
Word count: 1626
A/N: This is known as taking a prompt far too literally
Summary: For the brave and reckless, lightning diving can be a very lucrative career. It's also one hell of an adrenaline rush.
The storm was coming.
“You two sure you’re crazy enough to ride this one?” Cid demanded over the roar of the engine, hands rock-steady on the controls. Lightning flashed in the slate-dark sky beyond the windshield, dangerously close, but Cid didn’t flinch. “It’s gonna be one hell of a storm.”
Zack just grinned, leaning over the back of Cid’s flight chair until the pulled-back tail of his hair was dangling into Cid’s lap. “Aw, come on Cid! Since when have you ever felt the need to question my insanity?”
Cid humphed, colossally unimpressed. “I’ve always known you were a few spark plugs short of a motor engine, Fair, but sometimes your stupidity astounds even me.” He flicked a sideways glare over his shoulder. “Now get the fuck off my chair and get yourself and that partner of yours suited up before a stray lightning bolt puts the lot of us out of our misery.”
“If you insist,” Zack surrendered with a sigh, righting himself and heading for the door. “I’ll be thinking of you the whole time though.”
“Be still my beating heart,” Cid deadpanned and the sound of Zack’s chuckles echoed in the narrow corridor as he made his ambling way back to the small room Cid set aside for lightning divers. The air thrummed heavily around him as he walked, silvery-blue sparks crackling intermittently along the walls and making the hair on his arms stand on end. He could hardly hear the hum of the ship’s rotors above the rumbling of not-so-far-off thunder.
Zack couldn’t help a grin. One hell of a storm indeed.
He found his partner right where he’d left him – slumped bonelessly over two chairs in the back room with his head pillowed in his arms, breathing evened out in sleep. His blond tail whisked lazily across his legs as Zack walked in, though Zack’s partner showed no other signs of stirring.
Zack shook his head fondly. “Biggest storm we’ve ever ridden and you’re in here sleeping like a baby. And people think I’m crazy. Alright Zidane.” He crouched and took hold of one slim shoulder, shaking gently. “Wakey, wakey,” he sing-songed. “You’ve had enough beauty sleep for one day.”
One blue eye cracked lazily open. “S’it time to go?”
“Close enough,” Zack told him, ruffling his hair affectionately and chuckling at the sleepy noise of protest Zidane made in response. “Come on, Monkey,” he encouraged, levering himself to his feet and heading for the couch. “Cid just kicked me out of the cockpit so we’d better hustle.”
“Hnn.” Zidane sat up and stretched leisurely, smoothing his hair back with an absent hand. “He was probably just sick of listening to you babble.”
“Probably,” Zack agreed cheerfully. He toed off his shoes and sat down, reaching for his boots. “But the ship’s starting to spark so we can’t have more than five minutes before we hit the centre.”
Zidane hummed thoughtfully, hands shifting up to tug open the zipper of his jacket. “I’m still surprised you found a pilot willing to take us up in a storm this bad.”
“Cid’s the best of the best.” Zack skinned out of his loose cargo pants and t-shirt, bundling them to one side and reclining back in his skintight black stormsuit. He shoved his feet into his boots with a grin. “Even if he is an ornery cuss,” he amended.
Zidane rolled his eyes, jacket joining Zack’s things on the couch. “That’s why you get along with him so well, remember?” He pulled his hair back into a ponytail with a deft twist of his wrist, only a few shorter strands left hanging loose around his face. His tail swished as he turned, a flicker of bright yellow against the legs of his stormsuit. “Have you seen my goggles?”
Zack gestured vaguely. “You left them with your wings, I think.”
“You two princesses ready yet?” Cid’s voice snapped suddenly over the speaker system, crackling and broken with the interference from the storm. “We’re almost to the centre.”
“Nearly done,” Zack answered him, tugging loose a few strands of hair caught in the strap of his thick goggles.
“Well, you’d better as hell get to the jump door right now or I’m going to throw you both out myself. Without wings.”
“Okay, okay.” Zack tugged his gloves on and stood. “We’re on our way.”
Zidane returned with a pair of storm wings in the crook of each arm and Zack smiled as he reached out his hand for the taller pair. “Thanks babe,” he said fondly, pulling them on. A quick shrug settled them comfortably between his shoulder blades, and he glanced over to find Zidane clipping his lightning catcher to his belt, gloved hands quick and sure on the intricate knot.
Zack tilted his head archly. “Ready to go?” he asked.
Zidane’s grin was immediate. “Hells yes.”
“Good.” Zack matched Zidane’s grin with one of his own and turned towards the door. “Let’s get this party started.”
They hastened towards the jump door as quickly as they dared, being careful not to catch their wings on anything in the confined spaces. The heavy, rubberized soles of their boots clumped solidly on the floor, resistant to the crackles of electricity threading erratically between the metal plates.
“One minute left,” Cid’s voice told them, just as they reached the door, and they halted with practiced ease, shoulder to shoulder on the slender catwalk as the sounds of the storm rose to a fever pitch.
The dull metal of the jump door shuddered beneath the pounding swirls of the wind outside and Zack had to grin when he realized he was rocking impatiently on the balls of his feet, eager to be gone. A flicker of yellow in the corner of his eye made it clear that Zidane was just as keyed up as he was, the steady thump of Zidane’s tail against his leg restless and twitchy.
Zack grinned and shifted even closer.
Zidane glanced over at him with a raised brow. “What are you grinning about?”
“A kiss for luck?” Zack offered innocently.
Zidane’s expression went amused. “We need luck?” he asked, and that was all the warning Zack got before he found his hands full of enthusiastic monkey, Zidane’s mouth slanting warm and wet across his own while deceptively slim arms wound insistently round his neck, tugging him close. The thunder tang of lightning on the air mixed with the purr of Zidane’s tongue rasping over his own and Zack groaned, mindful of Zidane’s wings as he wrapped his arms tight around Zidane’s waist, grinning into the kiss.
“Have you two got no fucking shame at all?” Cid’s voice snapped suddenly. He sounded colossally put out. “Fuck, even Reno isn’t this bad.”
“Sorry, sorry,” Zack managed as they detangled themselves, sharing a mischievous, flush-cheeked grin with Zidane. “We’ll behave.”
A snort over the speakers. “Now that I doubt.” Hydraulics hissed below them, the slow grate of metal on metal shuddering through the air. “I’ll send someone by to pick you idiots up in the morning,” Cid told them. “Provided you’re not dead, of course.”
“Thanks Cid,” Zack grinned, and then there was no more time for talk as the jump door yawned open, leaving nothing between them and the ground far, far below but air and blackness and the wild, howling storm.
“Last one in’s a chocobo chick!” Zidane hollered and they jumped together, wind whipping at their hair and clothes as Cid’s ship vanished abruptly into the clouds above them. Rain skittered through the air, pelting and cold even through their stormsuits, and Zack tossed his head sharply to keep the heavy weight of his wet bangs from plastering itself across his goggles.
“Now!” he shouted, and his whole body jerked as his wings unfurled, freefall tumble shifting into a smooth, breakneck glide between one heartbeat and the next. “Oh, yeah!” he cheered, laughing with sheer delight as he swerved through the tumultuous chaos of the storm, feeling the tingle of lightning crackling all around him.
Zidane had veered off to his left and was wheeling gracefully through a series of complicated loops and swirls, tail and hair streaming out behind him. Zack could hear him whooping joyfully, the sound drifting in and out of the crash of the thunder in perfect compliment to the rippling hiss of the raindrops.
It was only a matter of time before they had to get to work, Zack knew. No other divers had dared to come up tonight – not in a storm this wild – so they’d have plenty of people eager to buy the lightning bolts they collected. The more they came back with, the better.
The air buzzed ominously and Zack wheeled away as lightning forked through the air where he’d just been, sizzling bright and deadly. Water sheeted off his wings in wide rivulets as he spun, falling to the earth like cascading tears.
“You could’ve caught that!” Zidane taunted from several feet away, completely fearless amid crashing lightning and swirling winds. “Pick it up a little, Zack!”
So Zack smirked and altered his course, streaking across the sky towards his partner and feeling the rain dance across his outstretched arms. Zidane laughed and dove at the last second, tail flicking teasingly across Zack’s arm as he turned. Their wings sliced through the clouds as they wove in and out of the lightning bolts, laughing and shouting like a pair of children without the slightest regard for life or limb.
There’d be time for lightning gathering later, Zack thought to himself, as he seized a grinning Zidane by the wrist and reeled him in for another kiss. Right now, he wouldn’t give up this part of the job for anything in the world.