He just keeps making things worse for himself.
The Pursuit of Pleasure
Stage Two: Arousal
"Don't take all night, pretty boy," Ethel looked him straight in the eye. "Flash the stash and I'll give you the cash."
Sephiroth frowned. "Listen, lady, there is no way in all of HELL that I'm going to drop my pants for twelve gil!"
"How about fifty?"
The swordsman nearly exploded. "No, you old bat! Get this through your thick, grey head! There's only one woman I'm getting naked for tonight and since she's not here right now, my pants are staying on!"
"Hmph!" Ethel grumbled. "Suit yourself."
Sephiroth grinned smugly but was interrupted from his superiority trip by a hand that made itself busy caressing his bicep. He looked down to see that said hand was attached to the pink-sweatered menace that was Irene. She noticed his look and gave him a disturbingly sweet smile.
"You know, dear," she began, "I think it's absolutely adorable that you're so dedicated to your girl."
Sephiroth scowled and yanked his arm away. "Dedicated, my ass! I just want to ride her like she's an S-Class chocobo all night long."
"Good luck with that, then," Ethel grunted. "From the looks of things, she's not letting you ride bareback and you can't afford a saddle."
It was at that precise moment that Sephiroth's last frayed nerve decided to snap. The swordsman's chest heaved as he gathered his breath. His fist tightened around his sword and his mind caught fire. So what if he did not have his wallet? Perhaps the same thing that had gotten him into this pants-dropping pickle could get him out of it. He grinned and his eyes took on an Evil Glow.
Without warning, he swung the Masamune up to Henry's throat. "Get a big bag," he said slowly, "and give me all the condoms you have."
The old man squeaked with fear. "Whatever you say, young man. Just don't hurt me."
Sephiroth smirked with satisfaction. Then he felt another brush against his arm. He looked out of the corner of his eyes to see Irene tapping his bicep again. She looked up at him questioningly. "Honey, are you really robbing this place?"
He looked the little woman straight in the face with an expression of classic exasperation. "What does it look like I'm doing, woman? Of course I'm robbing the place! Now would you mind stepping back while I conclude my business?" He turned back to Henry and tapped the shaking man's chin with the sword. "The goods, if you please."
As Henry quakingly reached for a bag, the little old lady stepped back, shaking her head. "Oh dear, oh dear. Honey, consider what you're doing. Robbery is a serious crime!"
Sephiroth rolled his eyes. "So are arson and murder and I've already done those."
"It's a shame." Ethel shook her head at him. "You're cute but you're just another doped up, store-robbing street punk after all."
Sephiroth's eyes narrowed and he whirled Masamune to her neck. "I am NOT a street punk!" Ethel did not move. In fact, her only response was the strange glint of fluorescent light off her glasses. Sephiroth could have cried from frustration. "How the hell can you possibly not flinch at this?" he screamed and waggled the blade at her neck.
"I am flinching," she said. "My neck bones are just slow from arthritis."
Sephiroth groaned again and looked skyward, silently asking for help from the Great and Merciful Fat Chocobo above. Irene tapped him on the arm again. "I was just wondering, dear, since you're not particularly attached to this girl you keep talking about, you wouldn't by chance happen to be interested in becoming a raping store-robbing street punk, would you?" She looked up hopefully.
Sephiroth backed away. He felt his back hit the counter and spun around. "Are you done yet, Henry?" The old man shook his head. "Well, hurry it up then! And throw in something for an upset stomach too."
The mention of an upset stomach set off every one of Mama Irene's squishy-soft maternal instincts. "Aw, what's the matter, honey? Your tum tum hurting you?"
Sephiroth's faced crumpled with a pain that was not in his stomach.
Irene grabbed his arm again. "Do you have diarrhea?"
Sephiroth let the Masamune fall and banged his head straight down on the counter.
"Oh my," Irene said. "It's gas, isn't it, honey? I'm always irritable when I've got gas."
Sephiroth straightened, bleary eyed and pushed beyond the point of anger. "I've had it with you two," he gritted out quietly and stormed off down one of the aisles.
The women stared at Sephiroth as he went. Henry let out the second greatest sigh of relief in the recorded history of the Planet (the first being that released by one Vernon Wilkes, a Rocket Town native who perpetually suffered from a condition commonly known as 'The Shits', upon finally reaching the porcelain pitstop after a run). Henry's sigh was premature, however. Sephiroth returned with his arms full of pantyhose.
"What, you're a cross-dresser too?" Ethel asked. Sephiroth gave her a deranged grin and stretched a pair of sand beige stockings in his hands like gangling wire.
"Oh my," said Irene. "Are you going to do what I think you're going to do with that, honey?"
It turned out that was exactly what Sephiroth had in mind. In less than two minutes he had both sweater-clad tyrants securely tied up on the floor. They were quite cooperative during the entire process.
Ethel nodded grudgingly as he finished the last knot. "I'll say this for you, boy. You know how to handle your hose."
"Lots of practice," he said and stuffed a rolled-up stocking in her mouth to gag her. Then he went back to forcing Henry to fill up the bag.
It was while the swordsman had his back turned that Reno returned to pay his bill. The first thing the redhead saw was a pair of helpless old ladies sitting on the floor, bound and gagged, with nylons, no less. He knew immediately that something was up. He whipped out his cell phone and started texting.
'Sweetheart,' he typed. 'Something's going on here. I think someone's holding up the place.' He ducked down behind the mops and waited for a minute. 'No, it's ok. Probably some street punk. I'll handle it.' He waited some more. 'Hey, baby, don't worry,' he reassured his boyfriend. 'I might not have my nightstick but there's brooms here.' A string of punctuation came over the phone. 'Relax,' Reno replied. 'I know how to handle a rod.'
With that, he shut the phone off and took a big, black broom from the rack. He edged up to the very end of the aisle, adjusted his grip and with a feral yell, leapt into battle. He swung out before he looked and the end of the broom connected neatly with Sephiroth's head. Henry shrieked and fell to the floor. Sephiroth looked at the space where the old man had been, confused. He turned around, looking dazed.
"Seph, what are you doing?" Reno was incredulous. "Are you the one robbing this place?"
"Mmhmm," Sephiroth nodded. "I'm taking the condoms. And some antacid." He looked at the pair of very calm bound captives on the floor. They seemed quite comfortably restrained. It gave him ideas. "And pantyhose."
"What the hell are you doing this for? Don't tell me you forgot your wallet." Sephiroth gave Reno an odd look. "Okay, you forgot your wallet." He walked over to the counter where his own bag lay and rustled through it. He pulled out a box and offered it to Sephiroth. "Here you go. All legal and paid for, on me."
Sephiroth stared at the proffered box for a while, then reached out and took it. "Thanks," he said simply.
"No problem," Reno replied and busied himself untying the elderly women on the floor. He pulled the gags out first before he went to work on the bindings.
"Thank you, young man," Irene began. "I'm glad you talked some sense into your friend."
"He said he was going to have his way with us," Ethel grumbled, disappointed at the turn of events.
Reno stepped back and stared at Sephiroth in disgust. "You sick bastard."
Sephiroth held his hands up in defense. "I said no such thing!" Reno kept staring at him. "I didn't! And besides, what's with you giving me these condoms anyway?"
"Take what you get, Seph. Beggars can't be choosers." The Turk went back to untying the women.
"I won't feel anything with these on," Sephiroth complained. "I'm not planning to spend all night banging on the back door, freak!"
Reno whirled on him. "You're calling me a freak? You're the one who was planning to steal sugar from a woman old enough to be your grandma!"
"I was not, you fudge-packing twit!"
"Hmph!" Reno snorted. "All this blatant homophobia. Sounds like someone has repressed tendencies to me." He turned his back on the silver-haired man. Sephiroth turned a fine tomato color with rage. Before the day Nibelheim was razed to the ground, it had been well-known throughout SOLDIER that turning your back on an angry Sephiroth was a very big mistake. Reno was a Turk though, so he didn't really know that.
Sephiroth leapt and tackled the redhead to the ground. Fists flew, clothing ripped, teeth were bared and before the Turk realized what had happened, he had lost his jacket and Sephiroth was strangling him with his own shirt. Reno, unlike Sephiroth, actually had been a street punk at one point and knew very well how to fight dirty. Despite his hazardous state of oxygen deprivation, he managed to reach down and gently slip a hand into Sephiroth's pants.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Sephiroth shrieked and scrambled backwards.
Reno grinned. "Come on, Sephy-baby! Things are pretty good on the dark side of the Schwarz." He pounced. Sephiroth yowled and they both went rolling across the floor in a wild tangle.
"You know," Ethel mused as she watched the fight, "this is one of the best wrestling matches I've seen in a while."
"Forget that!" Henry bounced up from behind the counter. "We have to do something to stop them!"
"We could throw jello on them," Irene suggested.
The bare-chested wrestlers rolled by again and Sephiroth managed to get the upper hand. He smashed Reno's face into the floor and kept the Turk pinned down. "I've got you now," he said with the trademark Evil Grin on his face.
"OW!" Reno turned his face sideways. "Enough is enough, okay! You win! Get off me! Hey, what are doing with that?" Sephiroth had busied himself yanking the belt from Reno's waist since the pantyhose pile was not in reach. The swordsman grinned as he pulled the Turk's hands up to tie them. "OW!" Reno yelled again. "Stop it! That hurts!"
As luck would have it, just at that particular moment, Reno's worried boyfriend was sneaking up the aisle and the sight of his slender lover half-dressed, face-down on the floor and crying out in pain set every last one of his protective instincts in gear. He charged and slammed his fist into the culprit's face.
Sephiroth rolled backwards three times before he came to a stop. He caught his breath and sized up the new opponent. "Rude?"
The tall Turk picked Reno up off the floor and turned around. One eyebrow rose above the rim of the sunglasses the man wore, despite the hour. He turned back to Reno with a questioning look.
"Yeah, it's really Sephiroth," Reno explained. "The rumors were true. He really did become an asshole during the Nibelheim mission." Rude filed the information away in his head, then stroked Reno's cheek. Reno nuzzled up against his boyfriend. "I'm okay, sweetheart. Really, I am."
"Awww! How sweet!" said Irene.
"Mmhmm! Give me a tall mocha frappuccino any day!" said Ethel.
"Oy," said Henry, and he went into the back room to lie down.
Rude gave his boyfriend a tight hug and then turned his questioning look on Sephiroth.
"He stuck his hands down my pants!" the swordsman fumed.
Rude took off his sunglasses and looked at Reno with 'Kicked Puppy' written all over his face. "I only did it because he was strangling me," Reno explained.
"He accused me of having latent tendencies!" Sephiroth yelled.
"He's a goddamned homophobe!" shrieked the redhead and Rude turned a dark look Sephiroth's way.
"I am not!" Sephiroth exclaimed in his defense. "I just don't want to have to take crap from anyone," and at this point he looked around for the suspiciously absent Irene and Ethel, "when all I want to do is get a helmet to equip my private so he can storm the trenches tonight!"
Rude looked at Reno, who shrugged. Sephiroth lunged over the counter for the bag Henry had dropped. He grabbed it, swung his way back up and turned triumphantly just in time to be hit in the chest with the contents of a jello cup.
"You're right, Ethel, lime really is his color!"
Sephiroth looked down at his gelatin-covered skin, aghast. "What the hell is this?"
"You don't like lime?" Ethel asked. "Pop the cherry, Irene."
"Dammit, NO!" Sephiroth yelled, waving his arms frantically. "Look at me! I can't go out covered in goo!"
"Well, we can get it off you," Irene offered. "It's a shame to let good food go to waste!"
"Mmhmm," said Ethel. "Especially since jello's one of the few things I can eat without worrying about my dentures coming loose." Two pairs of glasses glinted under the fluorescent lights as the old women approached.
Sephiroth kicked his sword off the ground and into his hand. "Back off, you two! If anyone's licking jello off me tonight, it's Aeris!"
"Aeris?" Surprised, everyone turned to look at Rude. "Hey, now if you're getting to clean her pipes, I can understand why you're anxious to get to work!"
"Rude!" Reno was wide-eyed. "You talked!"
Rude, being Rude, paid no attention to the stares he was getting. "Aeris...man, that babe is HOT!"
"Rude!" Reno whined.
"I'm serious!" Rude said. "That honey's packing back, especially for a white girl!"
"How come you never say anything nice about my butt?" Reno pouted.
"Dude, go for it!" Rude pumped his fists in the air. "Do that lewd infusion! A chance to grease a girl like that doesn't come along everyday." He and Sephiroth high-fived each other.
"I heard she's a real psycho when her Aunt Flo's in town," Reno said sulkily.
"Nah," Rude countered. "Tseng just started that rumor because he wanted to beef her taco and she laughed at his enchilada."
"Well," the redhead allowed, "he is hung like a light switch."
"As nice as it would be to continue poking fun at certain executive staff members," Sephiroth cut in, "I really do have to get back to my Act of Darkness." He secured his sack and his sword and made for the door. He was halfway across the parking lot when he was stopped by the arrival of flashing lights and glaring sirens. "Oh, what now?"
"Damn," Rude shook his head when he heard the sound. "I forgot. I called the cops before I came in."
"Oh, dear," Irene said as she moved over to the window. "I think our boy's in trouble." Ethel, Reno and Rude all lined up beside her just in time to see Sephiroth, who had been caught off guard and pepper-sprayed within an inch of his life, getting a pair shiny new bracelets and being shoved into the back seat of a jailhouse limo.
"You know," Reno mused, "I really didn't think he'd go down that easily."
Ethel snorted. "He probably wouldn't have if he'd been thinking with something other than his divining rod."
"Oh," Irene groaned in disappointment. "We never did get to see how divine his rod was." Both women sighed.
"You know," Ethel said, "we can't really leave him alone now. They're going to put him away and you know what can happen in the lockup to a boy that pretty."
Irene nodded. "You're absolutely right. He needs our help more than ever now." She turned away from the window. "How much bail are we willing to stand now?"
Ethel concentrated for a moment. "If rubbers are a peep show...I'd say this is at least worth a conjugal visit or two." The old women exchanged knowing smiles and hurried out of the pharmacy.
Reno winced as he watched the two women leave. "I'm beginning to think Sephiroth had the right idea gagging those two."
Rude put his sunglasses back on and did not say a word.
A/N: For anyone who didn't quite get the warning up top, DO NOT tie people up with pantyhose in real life. It cuts off circulation.