Before I lose my mind
Before I loose my mind
Sora paced the kitchenette, almost wearing a hole in the linoleum. He kept looking at his watch. Mickey's left hand moving slower every time. His twin watched him, his head resting on his hand, finger tapping out a rhythm on the counter top he was leaning against.
"He'll be running out that door in two minutes. Guaranteed"
"You're obsessed." The response was tired.
Roxas face wrinkled in surprise seconds later when Cloud ran full pelt towards the door, helmet in hand, opened the door like he was escaping a fire and slammed it after him.
"That's it." Sora stomped his foot
"Our cover story is that you're taking me out to celebrate passing my test"
"We did that already today" The statement was accompanied by a groan.
"You were so happy, that you're taking me out again tonight."
That statement was answered with a raised eyebrow.
Sora grabbed Roxas by the sleeve, groped in his coat pocket for the car keys, and threw them at his twin, who caught them.
"You want to stalk Cloud?"
"Yes." The word was more of a hiss. "He disappears every Thursday at 8.00 and doesn't come back till morning. Dude, I want to know what the hell he's doing."
"You know we could get jail time for this. Or even worse, Cloud could catch us."
"Where's you're sense of adventure? You coming or am I borrowing your car?"
Sora lunged to snatch the keys, but Roxas closed his hand around them and followed Sora out of the apartment, slamming the door shut behind them.
Roxas threw the keys at Sora as soon as they got to the car, who happily got into the drivers seat. They waited for Cloud to pull out of the garage on Fenir, Roxas fidgeting in the passenger seat.
"You know your cover story sucks?"
Sora pouted at Roxas who had the nerve to ridicule his plan.
"You have a better idea." He retorted sulkily.
"Actually, yes I do."
He pulled his phone out of his pocket and pressed number two on his speed dial, then the loudspeaker button.
"Hey Foxy Roxy." The voice on the other end purred "Thanks for last night. Been thinking about it all day."
Roxas went slightly pink and Sora grinned at his discomfort.
"Ax, you're on loudspeaker." The voice went silent. "I'm taking Sor out for passing his test."
"Congrats short stuff."
"I was wondering what you were doing tonight?" Roxas continued.
"Nothing, 'cept beating Riku on Smash Brothers"
A few choice words audible in the background
"I can pick you up by the shop at the end of your road."
"No, the side road by the corner shop at the bottom of Twilight." Piped up Sora.
He started to rev the engine.
"Bring Riku if you like. See ya later."
Roxas hung up, looking over at Sora who was a pinky colour that was getting deeper by the second.
"I'll drive." He shoved Sora, who clamoured through the two front seats into the back. "How do you know he goes down Twilight?" The voice was suspicious
"Zack told me" his voice was sheepish "Cloud has a delivery at 08.30"
"So this was a premeditated plan?"
"I knew where, but not when. Anyway you can't say anything, using your boyfriend as an alibi. Sometimes, I don't know you at all."
"You get to see Riku." Roxas put on the silly sing song voice that Sora used on him. Fortunately, he wasn't tone death.
A revving engine broke the silence
"Go" Sora urged.
Roxas pulled out of the driveway, following behind Cloud at a safe distance.
"You know I hate backseat drivers."
"That's because you drive like an old lady."
"Sor." Roxas's voice had a dangerous edge.
They stopped at the traffic lights. Cloud was at least three car lengths ahead. He sped off as soon as the lights changed green, finally pulling into a lay by next to a motorbike garage.
Roxas swerved into a side road next to the garage and turned off the engine.
"D'you think he saw us?"
Roxas rolled his eyes, knowing full well that they would be torn limb from limb if they were caught.
"If only you weren't so conspicuous"
"Why's that' Roxas eye's narrowed
"You are the only person around here who drives a red mini."
Roxas reached into the back ready to slap his brother.
A knock on the window made him jump. On the other side of the glass as face grinned. Red hair like a tailored lions mane, green eyes crinkling in an undefinable expression.
The passenger side door opened and Riku clambered into the back. Axel slid into the passenger seat. He leant over and kissed Roxas hello, before leaning against the window.
"Riku was so excited that he practically forced me out the door."
This illicited a slap to the back of the head by the aforementioned silver head man, who was slowly moving closer to Sora who was getting pinker and pinker.
Roxas started the engine and pulled away.
"Seat belts" said Roxas absently as he stared at the road
The car followed Fenir for a few more blocks before it turned into a side road and stopped. Cloud got off and went to a building through a side door.
Roxas followed, pulled into the shadows and killed the engine.
They sat in silence.
"This isn't a bar. Whats the deal Rox?"
"We're following Cloud" said Sora. "He disappears Thursday night and we want to know what the hell he's been up to."
Axel seemed satisfied with that argument which surprised Roxas. The guy was completely unpredictable.
Cloud came back out, but didn't get on his bike. He started walking, Roxas started the engine.
"Kill it" Riku snapped "He'll hear. We'll have to follow on foot."
They got out the car and locked it. They jogged, careful to keep out of sight by ducking behind bins and trees.
"You're good at this" said Sora.
He and Riku were ahead, Roxas and Axel ambling behind.
"Addicted to P.I. movies." he said
Sora smiled, his teeth lighting up under the street lights.
"Stop." Riku pulled him down behind a recycling bin. Roxas and Axel followed suit.
Cloud had stopped outside a house, he put his hand in his pocket, pulling out an object and unlocking the door. He went inside and closed the door.
It was at that moment that Axel realised he'd seen the elder Strife before, delivering to the garage. Not that they had ever met, the blonde preferring to deal with the owner.
"You know whose house this is don't you?" whispered Axel, loud enough for them all to hear. "Good job you brought me"
"Fine, I'll bite" Roxas finally uttered "Who's house is it?"
"It's my boss Leon's" he said the words like he was announcing a miracle. "But, what's more interesting is why he has a key."
Interlude - Zack
Zack was sitting on the front steps of the rental house, rolling his first cigarette of the day. A thick jacket, stripy scarf, jeans and biker boots keeping most of the wind-chill out, but the tips of his fingers that were uncovered by woollen gloves were feeling numb.
He sipped black coffee from his favourite mug that sat beside him on the damp wood. It was one of those brightly coloured ones that had the world's best brother emblazoned across it in cartoony letters. It didn't matter that it wasn't strictly his; it just made him feel like he had a family that wasn't thousands of miles away on another continent.
He finished rolling the cigarette, fished in his jacket pocket for a lighter and smiled to himself. The birds were singing, the sun was out and it was shaping up to be a pleasant day.
He found the lighter in his inside pocket, tilted his head to light the paper and found that the sunlight was blocked by a figure looming over him
The figure looked slightly spiky.
"You know that's gonna kill you" It said.
"Good morning Cloud."
His voice was croaky like he had swallowed a cheese grater.
"Why aren't you at work?"
"Why aren't you?"
Reno had left for work early that morning, leaving dirty dishes in the sink and the radio blaring out some sort of rock music that he didn't know. The bonus of pulling two straight 8 hour shifts at the delivery depot was that he got an extra day off and he was planning to use it wisely.
Namely, sleeping and eating the cold pizza that was in the fridge from the night before. It was something he wanted to do alone and didn't feel much like company.
Zack shuffled over on the steps and let Cloud sit next to him.
"Garage has finished with Reno's car."
"What's that got to do with me?"
"Whatever, he shouldn't be driving that piece of shit"
Zack took a drag from his finally lit cigarette and blew the smoke out in the blondes' direction.
"Do I look like his mother?"
The conversation faded with them both looking at their shoes. With any of the normal person Zack usually conversed with, they would have said their goodbye's by now and walked away. But with Cloud, long lapses in conversation were a regular and predictable occurrence.
Zack furrowed his forehead then grinned.
"What's up? You didn't walk 16 blocks to talk to me about my housemate."
Cloud rolled his eyes.
"I had to get out the apartment."
From anyone else this would be a statement, but anyone who knew the blonde for as long as he had, knew that this was as close as Cloud got to a whine.
"Roxas and Sora are having a two day Resident Evil marathon."
"My brain would liquefy"
Cloud proceeded to do a perfect impression of Sora's nasal whine about how to kill a zombie. Zack had to bite his lip to stop himself from laughing, before nodding his head in sympathy once he spotted the scowl.
He dropped the dead cigarette in his coffee cup.
"Go stay with your friend from the garage"
"Who? Leon?. Already asked. He's got paperwork to do and says I snore."
"I know" Zack waited a beat for his friend to look interested. "Come stay with me. Reno's out for his bi-monthly bitch with Axel and he's staying over there tonight."
"Oh good. Once less evening corrupting my little brother."
"What's your problem? He's a nice kid"
"They got to you too."
"There's no conspiracy." Zack sighed. "You don't like Riku either."
"He's related to Sephiroth and he's been sniffing around Sora"
"You can't hate people because of who they're related to, or if they're into your brothers"
Zack rolled his eyes
"Lucky for you I'm not related to anyone around here and I have no interest in either of your brothers, so you can't hate me."
"No, you manage that all by yourself" Cloud muttered as he got up.
That was another thing about Cloud, he left when he wanted to.
"What was that?" Zack called, but his question missed the intended target.
"6.30. My place" The yell was acknowledged by a raised hand.