“Yeah if you could drop me off at the next exit, that’d be great.”
“Sir, you’re in an ambulance.”
Zack blinked up at the person and tilted his head like he didn’t understand what that had to do with his statement. Craning his neck to look down, he saw the bloody spot on the stomach part of his suit jacket and huffed. That didn’t make him feel better but he already felt the wound closing. Damn rail had gotten him good but he’d already pulled it out before the paramedics had arrived.
“I know but I really, really need to get off there.” He gave the woman over him his most charming grin in the hopes of swaying her. “It’s important.”
“Sir.” The thin line her lips were making told him he probably wouldn’t get out of this by smiling. “What could be more important than a hole through your stomach?”
Zack’s grin turned into a pout and let his head fall back onto the stretcher. “My wedding. Which is going to start in,” he glanced around and saw the time in one of the screens monitoring his vitals, “about 30 minutes now and I don’t want to be the guy who stood up his fiancé. He doesn’t deserve that!”
He’d thought maybe he could garner some sympathy there but all he got was a loud sigh and watched her rub her temples. No doubt a headache was coming on fast. “I really can’t let you do that, sir.”
“I’m a SOLDIER."
“I’m sure you are. Just like I’m Ifrit.” She made a face at him. “I haven’t heard that excuse in awhile. You don’t look old enough to know much about SOLDIER.”
That only made Zack sulk harder and he wanted to fold his arms across his chest to show his displeasure but thought better of it. Wasn’t old enough? He was almost 28! Even if SOLDIER didn’t exist anymore, he could hardly forget it. No, he was sure he’d never forget it.
“Listen, I know you’re just trying to do your job. I get it. We’ve all got a job to do.” He took a breath and looked at her, hoping to convey that he wasn’t playing around now. It was serious time. “I’m fine. Really, you can check my stomach now. But I’ve got to get going.”
Unfortunately, this particular paramedic seemed to be the strictest of them all and didn’t even deign to answer him this time. She’d heard all the arguments and pleas before and that wasn’t going to stop her from doing her job.
Zack sighed heavily and looked up at the ceiling for a few more seconds. He didn’t want to have to do this next part because he knew it would hurt. It wasn’t as though he couldn’t deal with pain but splattering more blood on his suit was not ideal for today.
With his mind made up, he sat upright and was swift as he tore the IV out of his arm his hand coming down to clamp on the wound even as his vein protested. Crap! “Oooh, bad idea,” he groaned even as he rolled out of the stretcher and to his feet.
“What the hell are you doing?” He looked around to see her also getting to her feet, her face paling from shock. “Get back down before you bleed to death, you dumbass!”
He made a face. “I guess I deserve that,” he said and kicked the door open. “Thanks for taking care of me but you should really go respond to somebody else in trouble.”
With one last cheerful grin and a wave from his bleeding arm, Zack hopped out of the ambulance and started to sprint off after an easy landing. He hoped Angeal hadn’t been kidding when he said he’d bring a spare suit incase Zack was found rolling around in the mud somewhere.
_ _ _
“And that’s how I almost missed your dad’s and my wedding!” Zack finished and grinned at the twins, rubbing his cheek from where Cloud had pinched him for swearing in front of them.
Roxas’s look of disbelief was coupled with Sora’s look of awe as they both started to say, “That is so…”
“Roxas, no it’s not!” Sora huffed at his brother and poked him. “Papa did it for love. Didn’t you?”
Zack had mocked a look of hurt at Roxas’s assessment before he nodded firmly at Sora and put his hand over his heart. “I couldn’t just leave your dad there. I would have been the one feeling awful at doing that to him! I think you would have been pretty angry, right, Cloudy?”
Cloud’s face was caught in-between amusement and exasperation so he could only rest his cheek on Zack’s shoulder in hopes of getting out of the spotlight. “I would have been worried, not angry.”
“Which is even worse.” Zack smiled as Cloud pressed closer and took his hand, pressing a kiss to his fingers but paying gentle attention to the one that had a silver band around it. “My vows were all about making you feel happier every day that we’re together.”
He wasn’t sure what was better; how cute it was that Cloud still blushed at his praise after all these years or the twin groans at how mushy they were being from the child peanut gallery. Maybe both. After all he had made a promise and the smile he drew from Cloud proved that he was still fulfilling it every day.
Zack wouldn't have it any other way.