Title: reverse psychology
Pairing: Zack and Cloud Strife
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Theme(s): wada calcium cd3 (28)
Disclaimer: Final Fantasy VII (c) Square Enix
Notes: rambling warning. cloud will always be a motion-sick pessimist. zack will always be an analytical hellion. some things will never change.
Spoilers: zack is a spoiler all in himself. :x besides that, none.
"The thing is, you're too pessimistic."
Zack rummaged in a supply kit, looking over various bottles and packets. Cloud watched, frowning. "Tell me something I don't know. Hurry, won't you?"
He merely chortled in reply. "Or you'll what? Barf on me?" he then reconsidered his words. "Okay, fine. This should do it."
Cloud accepted the offered pills and popped them in his mouth, swallowing the medicine dry. "Tranquillizers?"
A snort. "Something like that." the first-class shoved away the tool pack and helped himself to the seat beside his friend--all of the other SOLDIERs had moved as far away as possible from the rather green-looking grunt. Cloud scowled and Zack sighed. "Really, you're also the most moody bastard I've ever had the pleasure to meet. And that's saying something, compared to Sephiroth..."
"Please shut up," Cloud mumbled miserably.
"And you're ungrateful. Honestly, did you even think about saying thank you?"
Well. No, he didn't. But the pills did seem to help keep his nausea under control, and the relief must have shown on his face because Zack began grinning. "Thanks."
"No problem. You knew I was just joking, right?" Zack propped his chin against the heel of his hand, glancing idly out the window, where flashes of Nibelheim forest whipped by their hurtling truck. "Soo...about your friend Tifa..."
"I don't want to talk about it," Cloud grumbled. Unsurprisingly, though, Zack plowed on ahead as if the blond had never even spoken.
"Don't know where you got the idea that she's going to hate you. You two were friends, weren't you?" Zack shot the grunt a suspicious look. "Wait--don't tell me, was she your girlfriend?"
"No," Cloud denied emphatically.
Zack's mischevous smirk only widened. "Ever kissed her?"
"Go away. Now."
"Heey, can you blame me for asking?" a shrug. "Point is: Tifa's not going to suddenly hate you just because you're not a SOLDIER. A lot of people don't make it in, okay?"
Cloud tried to ignore Zack's mindless banter. He detested these little psychoanalyzation sessions--it made him feel like he was being treated by a psychiatrist, and he was not mentally unsound, thanks very much--but he could not deny the fact that Zack was more perceptive than most others to the shifting of human emotions.
Sometimes it even helped. And, besides, all of it was true. He was an eternal pessimist. He didn't know why he felt the need to hide away so from Tifa Lockhart. And he did have motion sickness, though it seemed to be subsiding somewhat, thanks to Zack's pills.
"It's not even anything special. It doesn't mean you're not strong. There's absolutely no difference between a SOLDIER and a grunt, except the Mako in our blood and our big glowy eyes." Zack tapped his cheek for emphasis. If he was aware of the fact that Cloud was barely taking in a word he said, he didn't show it, and continued to ramble. "You've got this far, you're working for ShinRa, you handle big weapons far more regularly than any other citizen in Midgar--you know, yours is still a very impressive rank. Don't think that just because--"
"Zack," Cloud finally sighed. "Just--please be quiet. I get the point."
"So, to you, the ratio between the worst-possible scenario and a more favorable one would be all to none, huh?" Zack smirked, almost enjoying the expression of exasperation on Cloud's face. "Tifa hasn't seen you in years--I think that it'll be far more likely for her to be concerned with the question of whether or not you're even alive than whether or not you're a SOLDIER."
"I'm not going to be converted to Zack-optimism, alright? Just give it up, won't you?" if it was possible for a person to be talked to death, Zack would've been locked up for mass murder on the spot. As it was, though, the man merely smiled, albeit a bit sadly.
"So the glass is going to stay half empty, is it?"
"If the water's not already poisoned," Cloud remarked wryly, and almost caught himself grinning when Zack laughed.
"Fine, then," the older SOLDIER returned, surrendering at long last. "Stay that way. See if I care. It'll make life all the more sweeter when good things come your way--reverse psychology, that's what it's called. Just keep on trying to fool yourself, Cloud."
Cloud peered out the glass, where the sky was already darkening, preparing for evening. At this rate, he'll be at the outskirts of Nibelheim in only a few hours. "Are people really that gullible?"
"Yeah. You're one of the most." Zack confided seriously. Cloud scowled.
Zack screwed his brows in mock concentration. "Well, let me see. For one thing? Those tranquillizers I gave you."
He didn't like where this was going. "And what about them?"
A triumphant smile. "They weren't. But, see, you tricked yourself into thinking that they were, and in reality it really did help, didn't it?"
Cloud felt sick. "Then...what were they?"
With a snarl, Cloud swung at his friend, but the truck nicked a rockier bump than usual and the blond was knocked to Zack's lap, where he promptly threw up on the SOLDIER's boots.