"Where the Streets Have No Names"

A Final Fantasy VII fan fiction Written by: Sarah Digna Yudlowitz

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Disclaimer: All characters within this fan fiction are of Final Fantasy VII.

They are credited to the company of squaresoft. This work may not be used for

profit. It may not be distributed for it. Any usage of this fan fiction must

be presented and acknowledged by the author. In any case, enjoy the fic!

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Quick Summary: Midgar is a buzzing metropolis and like all-powerful cities

there are crimes. For Midgar, this is an intimacy. Crime runs strong through

its history and there has never been such a high rate of it then now. Welcome

to the alternate universe of Final Fantasy VII in which Sephiroth is a good

cop, sent to protect the city from its poisonous pleasures.

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Chapter One:

Sephiroth Valentine stood in the balcony of the dilapidated building.

This was the city of Midgar before him. Its wind tousled his silk-threaded

silver hair around him, but he could have cared less as he took in the site of

the skyline. The sun had long ago faded and the moon had cast a dark and long

shadow that spanned that side of the earth. This was an innocent coverup of

beauty for the city.

Midgar had always been a buzzing metropolis during the day. It would be

safer during the long hours of the trading day, but during the night the city

seemed to take on the characteristic of the lonely moon. This was the true

form of Midgar's heart. This was when rape, murder, anarchy, and various other

things erupted from the mouth of hell that was its people. The uninviting

beauty of solitary night was a beauty that was foreboding. This Sephiroth

knew. It was a total lie. There had always been the ringing resilience of

helplessness through these night winds, whether you heard the victim's voices

or not. Humanity was a curse.

"They must give you hell for all that wonderfully long silver hair you

have," the blonde's voice came, but his hands on the man's bangs came first.

He tugged forward, making Sephiroth's head come to his so that he could ease

the pressure on his scalp. Of course, this act forced him to bend down, for

the blonde was much shorter. Sephiroth grumbled. This was uncomfortable.

"Don't play games," Sephiroth shifted uncomfortably and found his nose

pressed to the blonde's, their mouths an inch apart. The blonde smiled

happily, obviously liking the fact that he had the beautiful man at his

"mercy."

"I like games," the blonde cocked his head and smiled almost seductively

before releasing Sephiroth's bangs.

"And they better not give me hell for keeping my hair long," said

Sephiroth as he straightened, happy to be free of the blonde's hold. "After

all," he continued. "I'm their best damned cop."

"Antennae," Cloud said simply and thoughtfully.

"Antennae?" Sephiroth asked.

"Your bangs look like antennae!" the blonde tried to grab his bangs, but

he let his hands slide and bury themselves into the silver thread that

gathered and tapered to his torso. The blonde chuckled. Sephiroth looked down

into the blue-green eyes that were like his in their mysterious beauty.

"You really are just a kid," Sephiroth smiled to himself. His smiles

were nothing of kindness and his laughter was always of mocking tone. Cloud

found the silence as he latched onto Sephiroth's hips. Sephiroth studied

Cloud's golden hair with slight amusement. It was as if his hair was the

delicate beauty of a fiery phoenix's crest. He turned Cloud away and returned

to the skyline of Midgar. Although something inside him had a hate for the boy

called Cloud Strife, Sephiroth had a soft spot for the kid. He found it ironic

that what Cloud dealt in is what he hated. He had no chance at any other work

in Midgar. His although his hate for his living was great, however, he was

quite the eager little one. His prices were high and he was only for men to

behold. The soft feminine features however did not sway his masculinity. He

was young and gorgeous and he liked the initiative.

Sephiroth considered Cloud for a moment. He looked to innocent and gentle

to have to experience all that he had, but nevertheless, he had. Like all the

citizens of Midgar, life wasn't something unless you suffered for it. Curse

humanity, Sephiroth silently thought. Humans are the only creatures that kill

themselves and often for such stupid matters as fashion.

"Sephie, darlin'," Cloud muttered, running a hand on the older man's

trench coat where his buttocks would be. Sephiroth swatted Cloud's hand away

and needed no further coaxing to be back into the thoughts of the present at

hand. No longer holding onto Sephiroth, Cloud smiled down from the balcony to

the pavement of the slum's streets. "Pretty at night, huh?" he chirped.

Sephiroth knew from then on Cloud would always be loyal to him until the end,

no matter what the consequences.

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Chapter Two:







Aerith Gainsborough had waited in the lost sector of Midgar in the rather

upscale restaurant for its area. Here she had been waiting for a couple of

minutes. Looking out the window she had noticed all that had been said about

it. Here was the center of destruction for the whole Metropolis. Crime had its

punishments, but here it was hardest for the law to deliver its punishments,

the consequences of the life the people chose to live. Although, under its

condition, Aerith found it hard not to pity the children that were caught in

their crimes. They did it -some of them- to live. Others found thrill in

puzzling the law of Midgar. She had seen how ecstatic Cloud had been when

caught. He only let them catch him, because he knew that Sephiroth would not

allow him to be punished. Not when the boy was their connection to the

streets. They had busted too many gangs, drug dealers, rapists, and other such

things and they were all due to the inside cover of Cloud Strife.

Aerith smiled at the one church that remained in the city. Worship of God

had simply been abandoned in this city. Some still believed, but whatever they

believed in, they had thought it to turn its back on them. There had been too

many deaths in vain for God, but now there had been too many deaths in vain

for living. How did one expect to "live" here? It was a surrounding death

sentence, cruel and harsh. The broken spires and stained glass windows of the

church were the last remaining reminders of a time that was better than this.

To Aerith's dismay, upon visiting the church before entering the restaurant,

small flowers had grown inside its decay. The wood was rotten and dead, but

from death came life. Perhaps there would really be a chance for Midgar to

heal itself.

As Aerith turned her head the front of the restaurant she noticed the

silver-haired man that entered gracefully and exchanged a few words with the

waiter at the head of the restaurant. Then she smiled, waving to him as he

walked toward her, his tanned trench coat lightly swishing against the

material of his dark blue suit. The collar of the suit rested half way up on

the man's neck, where the tie he wore that was a cream off white color hung to

the middle of his chest, which she imagined was built very nicely. His pale

skin and silver hair almost made him look like a porcelain statue. He always

turned many heads being such a perfectly beautiful man.

"Good morning lieutenant Gainsborough," he said as he took the seat at

the booth across from her. Aerith nodded, adjusting her hat on the tightly

woven bun that was on the top of her head like a chestnut dumpling.

"Good morning Valentine," Aerith nodded slowly, acknowledging him as he

sat and crossed his legs under the table. Gracefully, he began picking at the

fingers of his gloves and pulled them off one finger at a time. When he had

finished, he set them both next to the window of the table attached to the

wall. She had noted that this man was always on exact time. He had never been

early, nor late. It was why Aerith came only a few minutes before the time

that he agreed to meet her.

"You should be careful around these parts," Sephiroth looked at her with

his soft blue green eyes. In turn, Aerith's jade ones had smiled at him

silently. "They're no place for a defenseless woman. Especially one with such

a pretty face."

"I'm flattered, Valentine, but you know well that I can take very good

care of myself," she said putting emphasis on the words "very good". Sephiroth

nodded almost mockingly in that nature. She grumbled silently. He can be such

an old fashioned asshole, she thought, but silently wished for the old safe

times to return where men held a protective wing over women and children.

However, now it had turned into a free-for-all. It would now always be all men

for themselves. Everyone was unprotected.

"Miss," Sephiroth lightly touched the waitress who passed by him with a

pitcher of water on the arm and she turned to peer down at him. Aerith saw the

girl blush lightly. "May we order?" The girl nodded and told him they would be

next and she hurriedly returned the pitcher to its place, coming with her pad

handy. Aerith snickered to herself. What a charmer!

"What would you and your lady like to order today?" the girl asked. Her

voice was mousy, not hiding her young age. She was bent shamelessly in front

of Sephiroth, her cleavage bound together by her arms. One held the table

while the other lay poised on the pad with a green pen. Her hip was high in

the air as she leaned on the table with one leg. Sephiroth was not however,

looking at the girl's breasts. He was looking straight into her eyes.

"What is your soup special today, miss?" asked Sephiroth. The girl was

grateful to escape looking at his eyes which sent a shiver down her back as

she looked down at the pad. Sephiroth always managed to get the upper hand

with his charm, but it rather scared people. They weren't used to manners or

chivalry.

"That would be ramen, sir," she breathed. Sephiroth smiled at her, easing

her tension and she looked back up at him. Her hand still gripped the edge of

the table, but she shifted her weight to her other leg and pulled a strand of

red hair behind her ear.

"Very good. I will have that," he said and peered behind the girl at

Aerith, who was obviously amused with the way the girl threw herself at

Sephiroth --and was thwarted. "What will you have, Gainsborough?"

"A grilled cheese sandwich with tomatoes," Aerith stated, smiling to

herself. The girl stood straight again as she wrote this, giving Sephiroth a

nervous glance.

"And for drink?" she asked, the pen poised over the pad again, tapping

nervously.

"I will have a cup of tea. A coke here for the lady. She prefers a lemon

in her drink. That will be all, thank you."

"T-Thank you, sir," the girl said as she walked away, hips swinging in

the air exaggeratedly. Sephiroth smiled at Aerith. It was white toothed and

triumphant. It made her a bit uneasy.

"All you ever eat is ramen. Ramen with tea," Aerith said.

"What's your point?" Sephiroth asked, kneeding his delicate yet strong

and skillful long fingers. "You always eat a grilled cheese sandwich with

tomatoes."

"With a coke," Aerith added, giggling. "And I saw how that girl threw

herself at you, Valentine."

"Yes, I'm used to it," he smiled back a bit arrogantly, but she knew that

it was in a strictly sarcastic manner. However, it was indeed true. They

always backed off, though, knowing he was a gentlemen. That seemed to scare

them. She supposed that was why such a handsome man was still not taken. That

and he simply didn't care for relationships. He was entirely devoted to his

work, which reminded Aerith of the boy, Cloud Strife as she nibbled on the

grilled cheese sandwich.

"What will become of the boy?" Aerith asked, placing the sandwich down as

she squeezed the lemon's juice into the glass of soda with her own delicate

fingers. Unlike Sephiroth, she had a short thin frame that looked perhaps a

bit waiffish. Although, appearances were deceiving, for the girl was an

experienced fighter. Instead of wielding the gun that was required of the

police force, she carried a metal rod which she had with her since her early

childhood to protect herself. Her pale beauty had often won her fights with

stunned opponents. It worked the opposite for the lean handsome man across

from her. Because he was not only beautiful but menacing looking and soft at

the same time, he often scared off opponent before fighting. He was also a

skilled orator.

"The boy?" asked Sephiroth as he used the chop sticks with his long

fingers to gracefully eat. "Oh. You mean Cloud. What about him?"

"What will become of him?" Aerith repeated the question, knowing

Sephiroth was probably avoiding the question.

"He's not stupid. He knows I'm using him."

"Oh, really?" Aerith's eyes lit up. "That's interesting. And he still

hangs onto you like you're God or something?"

"He is our bridge to the life down here as it is," Sephiroth tilted his

head as he took another mouthful of ramen, chewing slowly before advancing

with the conversation. "He only trusts me because I let his crimes slip. I

could have cracked down on him for selling his body at such a young age long

ago, but I didn't."

"So you're protecting him like that im return for his services?" Aerith

finished a side of her sandwich. Sephiroth nodded and took more ramen into his

mouth. He sipped at his tea leisurely.

"I can't help but wonder. Are you sleeping with him, Valentine?"

"No. Why do you think this?" Sephiroth said, hiding all of the surprised

emotion from his face and words, but he had clearly tensed as he sipped his

tea a bit more hurriedly.

"Well, it's the way he speaks of you. He really likes you in that way,"

Aerith said.

"Yes. I know. I am aware of this."

"And what do you do about it?"

"Nothing," Sephiroth said simply. He had many partners and men were

included, but that was long ago and now he had no interest in meaningless sex,

because that was what it would be to Cloud, wouldn't it? Sephiroth tensed

more. Aerith giggled. Sephiroth hid his tension very shabbily. Now he was the

one defeated in an argument.

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Chapter Three:







The night was something Sephiroth had always savored about his humanity.

It brought him closer to understanding himself. His shift had ended at exactly

2:30 in the morning and now he stared at a clock that read 4:50 A.M. In his

head the day had replayed neatly now many times over. He had lunch with

lieutenant Gainsborough, who had managed to beat out of Sephiroth the truth of

why Cloud had been protecting Cloud. But she had known that Cloud was silently

working for Sephiroth. She had only wanted confirmation. This Aerith didn't

seem to mind. Why had she been so intent on Cloud's welfare?

Sephiroth shifted in his bed, a loose strand of hair falling over his

eyes. He sighed, not caring for the stray hair as he slowly made the image of

Cloud in his mind. The boy was at least fourteen by his looks and probably

about five feet and four inches in height. He was handsome in his boyish

manner, Sephiroth concluded. He thought over what Aerith had said to him. He

liked Sephiroth. He knew what that meant because he had felt the boy's arousal

against him more than once and pushed him away. He would simply not conceive

of Cloud's lust for him. He was strictly professional, and if Cloud wanted to

fuck him, then he would just have to get his frustrations out in another way.

Sephiroth fell asleep feeling a hollow feeling in his heart, as if he

regretted having to seem cold hearted all of the time, but that was what was

in his nature and it was all he knew how to feel.

***

"Do you really just hate me like that?" came the blonde's voice echoing

inside his head. Sephiroth saw darkness all around him. Slowly, Cloud's face

came into view above him. His hair was dripping wet and the impossibly spiked

hair was now long blonde hair that traveled down to the end of his neck.

Sephiroth had never realized how long Cloud's hair was until now. "Do you

really despise me so?"

"What are you asking of me?" Sephiroth's voice came dry and bitter,

emotionless. He now noticed his wrists were held tightly down by Cloud's small

arms. There was an unbelievable strength in those arms that Sephiroth hadn't

noticed either. Cloud's features were set in a kind of sadness, but then his

lips twisted into a smile that only Sephiroth had shone him. His rare smiles

were never of kindness or acceptance of his humanity, they were threats of his

ebbing patience. If it was one thing Sephiroth never had, it was patience. His

temper was a short fuse which lashed out their consequences through his work.

Now Cloud displayed this grin, which looked almost feral; animal like in its

presence and gave Cloud a deathly glint in his eyes. Could the boy really do

him that much

harm.

"I know you don't hate me," Cloud dropped the menacing grin, turning

it into something sweeter, more of his innocence. He had noticed

Sephiroth was not frightened by Cloud. Sephiroth had never been

frightened of anything, including death. Only Sephiroth knew that his

only fear was himself. Not being able to understand himself. "You hate

yourself, don't you, Sephiroth?"

"What are you talking about?" Sephiroth asked stubbornly. Only then

did he notice Cloud's nakedness, his wet body lithe against his. He

disregarded this and twisted Cloud's fingers from his wrists, but it

didn't seem to work as Cloud giggled at the helpless older man.

"I think you've met your match, old man," Cloud giggled some more.

"Old man?" Sephiroth sneered underneath Cloud. He struggled against

Cloud even more, but invisible restraints made his body still and he

kept himself from crying out at the sharp pain that clung to his skin

intimately. He ended his struggling and looked into Cloud's eyes, which

burned into his with intensity. The restraints glinted silver. His flesh

was naked and they pulsed, sending harsh strokes down his body. Although

he kept the emotion from his face as hard as he could, Cloud could

somehow sense the increased breathing of the man as the stroke grew

harder and faster, relentless. He cried out as Cloud's mouth flashed

before him, enveloping his mouth in his before he came violently.

Waking up, Sephiroth felt the sheets clinging to his sweaty body. He

grimaced as he looked over to the clock. It was only 5:30 and lack of

sleep had made him dizzy and angry. The dream had left him with an

aching feeling in his body, but his head throbbed as he again rested

upon the cushions of the bed. At this rate he would lose his sanity

before his work day started.

***

"Hey! You -promised- yesterday that you would go into the slums with

me!" Cloud shouted at the silver-haired man as he brushed his teeth

hurriedly. The froth of the toothpaste trickled down the boy's chin, but he

didn't seem to mind it at all. Sephiroth sat on the couch of the living room

that probably at one time must have looked beautiful, but age and abuse had

given it an unwelcome and ghostly image. Sephiroth revered it as he slid his

half opened eyes to Cloud, who now wiped his face and mouth with a towel and

stomped clumsily over to the man. Unreadable text adorned his faded tank top.

The lighting in the room gave Cloud a ghostly image too, or was it the lack of

sleep making Cloud look fuzzy and angelic?

"I'm sorry, Cloud," Sephiroth said, lacking emotion. He would simply not

admit that he had gotten close to no sleep last night. There had only been the

dream that occupied the night during a short time period. What was more, the

dream had made him uneasy around the child.

"You look very tired," Cloud said, making no attempt to soften the look of

hurt on his face. What a possessive bastard, Sephiroth thought. A possessive

childish bastard. "What were you doing up all night?"

"And what do you imply with that question?" Sephiroth asked, knowing the

answer, but trying to draw it out of Cloud, who now stood so close he could

hear his strangled breathing. It made him think that he knew about the dream,

but of course, he didn't. Was this paranoia hanging on the edge of his mind?

This he had never felt. He felt Cloud on top of him now. He was hugging him

tightly, his hands grabbing handfuls of his silver hair and he nearly sobbed

into his chest.

"I'm sorry, Sephie...you were probably working too hard. How selfish I

am," Cloud muttered into his neck. Sephiroth nearly shuddered at the hot

breath against his flesh. Sephiroth sighed, prying Cloud's fingers from his

hair and setting him on the couch, standing and dusting off his coat.

"You win, kid. Now hurry up before I change my mind," was all that

Sephiroth said. Cloud laughed gleefully from the couch, hugging his arms to

his chest and swinging his legs which were crossed rather effeminately.

"You really do care about me, Sephiroth!" was all that Cloud said. This

left Sephiroth more uneasy as he turned, careful not to meet with the boy's

eyes, and disappeared into the hall with a meager gesture for the boy to

follow him.

***

Out on the streets, Cloud had walked briskly, keeping up with the tall

beautiful man as he walked, eyes straining to keep focus. Cloud was grateful

that he had decided to go into the slums with him. This would be something

aside from the man's work and Cloud would not have to pester him with the

criminal happenings that plagued the streets. It was the morning and at this

time, the crime would not be so visibly apparent. The blonde haired boy

slightly skipped ahead of Sephiroth, his brown sandals, whose laces hugged his

legs to the calf upon the ground firmly as he walked backwards, cocking his

head and studying Sephiroth. He noticed he quickly averted eye contact.

"Are you ashamed to be seen with me, hon?" was all Cloud had to say to

make the man harden visibly. He stared right back into Cloud's mirrored blue

green eyes that could have penetrated darkness. Cloud was a lanky boy, despite

his height. His long legs showed that he would grow, possibly almost to

Sephiroth's height. Sephiroth silently studied the gauntlet looking bracelet

that was upon Cloud's right arm that was adorned with an ankh, a rose with

it's stem coiled around the ankh. Cloud noticed this study and cleared his

throat. "It was something Yuffie gave me," he said sadly. Sephiroth looked at

him, slightly aware that he had noticed him studying the boy.

"Yuffie," Sephiroth repeated, not particularly in a question. His white

glove clad left hand slipped into the coat's pocket, which continued swishing

against his dark blue suit. Cloud nodded almost nonexistantly, and then fell

back in step with Sephiroth. Both were now at a slower pace. Cloud's features

twisted into a silent sadness. Sephiroth looked at Cloud.

"She was my sister. The only bit of home and closeness that I had in the

world," Cloud muttered. Cloud was then aware of Sephiroth's hand resting upon

his shoulder. He had done something he was said to rarely have done. He showed

compassion.

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Chapter Four:







Sephiroth stayed behind Cloud with a considerable distance. The boy had

been leading him to "somewhere where the two could talk". Sephiroth hated the

boy's vagueness and he grew impatient, but he was rather used to Cloud

Strife's secrecy. The boy used it every time he led him to the crimes he had

busted.

"Sephie, darlin'!" Cloud shouted from ahead. Sephiroth slid his eyes from

a shabby little hut to the boy in front of him. He was standing at least

thirty feet in front of him with his solitary gloved hand on his hip and was

smirking happily in front of a bar. The steps that led up to an old door

looked unstable and a rusted sign that read "Seventh Heaven Bar" was on the

brink of falling into dust.

"Why here, boy?" Sephiroth asked bitterly as he walked up to the boy who

had latched his arms around his back to hug his shoulders with his delicate

hands as he came. Pushing Cloud off him, Sephiroth caught the glimpse of a

tower to the far right which sank half way into the ground. Sephiroth

grimaced. ShinRa.

"Dadda! Dadda Dadda!" came a little girl's voice. The tugging at the

bottom of his trench coat caught his attention. Cloud's laughter followed.

Sephiroth was looking down at a little girl who was screeching for her father.

She had chestnut colored hair that reminded him of Aerith. Her eyes were huge

and green as well--and they were full of tears. She continued to savagely tug

at his coat, but he said nor did nothing. He just stared at the child. Her

pink dress was held closed at the neck with a green ribbon and was soiled with

mud. Her face, arms, and legs were too.

"Marlene! Dammit!" Heavy steps clammered atop the shabby looking steps to

the bar. Sephiroth turned to see a mammoth of a man. His huge frame had hardly

fit through the door as he wobbled toward the girl and scooped her up into a

huge well muscled arm. Sephiroth stepped aside. He really didn't want to pick

a fight with a man who might have a sharp tongue and a bulk that was

unquestionable. He even had a good three inches on him. And he noticed

something else that made him uneasy. Where the man's right hand should have

been, a gun barrel went straight to the middle of his arm.

"Barret!" Cloud shouted gleefully and looked up at the man with half

circled blue green eyes. Sephiroth stayed his distance. He'd rather be

cautious, even if Cloud seemed to know the huge man. There was another thing.

The man was black and that was a rare thing in Midgar. The people were

extremely racist.

"Dammit Cloud, waltzing in on time never occurs to you," the man named

Barret boomed. He seemed irritable, but neither Cloud or the girl

who had perched herself on his massive shoulder seemed to mind. The man's eyes

nervously wandered to Sephiroth's. Recognition hid behind the brown orbs when

Sephiroth caught him, and the man turned away.

"I'm sorry Barret. I had to persuade Sephie darlin' here to come with

me," Cloud stated, hugging the massive man. Sephiroth scrunched his small nose

at the mention of the name Cloud had given him. The blank man's eyes came upon

his again and he abruptly bolted up the stairs, gesturing for Cloud to follow.

Sephiroth wasn't quite sure that he was welcome, but Cloud turned around and

went to him, tugging on his coat. "Come on!"

"That man recognized me," Sephiroth said dully, staring after the man who

had disappeared behind the door of the bar.

"Don't sweat it, hon. Barret's cool," Cloud said as he disappeared behind

the door after the large man. Sephiroth sighed as he carefully ascended the

steps. They creaked under his weight. He was surprised they didn't break under

the black man's heavy clammering.

Once inside of the bar, Sephiroth studied his surroundings. The bar

smelled of alcohol, of course. However, there was a strong scent of cologne

that made his nose twitch. There was a woman behind the bar table serving

Cloud liquor. Sephiroth stepped close to Cloud and leaned over him to snatch

the drink and sniff it. He looked down at Cloud, who protested by grabbing at

Sephiroth's hair, but the silver haired man merely grabbed one of Cloud's

wrists in his own and placed his thumb over Cloud's visible veins and pressed

into them mercilessly. The boy squirmed.

"You're under age kid. And this is vodka. You'd be out and drunk and I

won't carry you back," Sephiroth said simply. Cloud gave him a nasty look as

he tore his arm from the man's grip. So, the insolent Cloud really -could-

have hate in his eyes for his beloved Sephiroth. The man smirked and poured

the vodka harmlessly into a waste basket. The girl behind the bar cried out as

he did and glared at him.

"You're not my fucking father!" Cloud growled at Sephiroth. "If I wanted

a fucking father, I'd leave this shit hole and get adopted!"

"Calm down, boy," Sephiroth said taking a seat beside Cloud. The girl

behind the bar grabbed one of Sephiroth's wrists.

"You wasted perfectly good alcohol. We're one of the last bars in this

city! Do you know how hard it is to import this stuff?"

"Perhaps being sober will make the city actually think for

once,"Sephiroth said looking up at the girl. He smiled sarcastically. She

looked at the silver haired man with rage. "Kindly remove your fingers my

lady, or I will remove them myself."

"Stop it!" Cloud shouted, clutching onto Sephiroth's arm and nearly

sobbing. He could hardly believe that this was the same man who had shown him

a bit of compassion for his dead sister, Yuffie. Why was Sephiroth so

unpredictable and unstable? "Let him go, Tifa!"

"Cloud," Tifa said as she let Sephiroth's wrist go. She was about to say

more when the man named Barret rose from a platform. Sephiroth's eyes wandered

the bar once more. They caught upon a quiet red haired man who sat at a table

in the back of the bar drinking from a wine glass. His eyes were latched upon

Sephiroth's. They were an ice crystal blue that made the contrast look like

fire and cold. His shirt was also opened by three top buttons. He wore a blue

suit and Sephiroth was pretty sure that the nauseatingly strong cologne that

wafted around the room was his. He was someone Sephiroth knew. A man of ShinRa

incorporated. It was the company that had turned the peaceful Midgar into a

city of crime and punishment. The people were afraid of ShinRa, as they should

be.

Barret's booming voice asked what was going on of the two: Cloud and

Tifa. Sephiroth was pretty sure he had seen the girl before, too. She was a

kind child, but rather snobby and sluttish when it came down to it in her

intentions. Tifa eyed Sephiroth quietly, yet the silver haired man payed her

no attention. He was staring into the eyes of the man at the corner of the

bar. The man was staring back into his.

"Shit. What the hell is going on here?!" Barret asked with new conviction

as he glared at Sephiroth. The silver haired man looked back at Barret,

smiling. He found it amusing how everywhere he went he caused a bit of mayhem.

Barret grumbled. "Well, I wouldn't expect much else from you."

"I'm offended. I keep this city from tearing itself up," said Sephiroth

shrugging. Barret didn't seem to buy that and gave Cloud a menacing look. The

boy shrank back. The girl Tifa had her arms around him as if she didn't know

he was gay.

"If I may intrude," said the man from behind, who sported the fiery red

hair that had caught Sephiroth's attention. His hair --like Cloud's-- was

spiked as if he was a punk, although Sephiroth knew that what the man was

dealing with was not something that would be interpreted as some game. The

man's eyes wandered to Sephiroth's again. "I would like to speak to this

silver haired man."

"Who is he, Sephiroth?" Cloud asked as he tugged on the bottom of the

man's trench coat, eyes wide with fear.

"Reno of ShinRa," Sephiroth replied dully.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter Five:







"You and the boy will meet me outside. Agreed?" Reno asked, directing the

question at Sephiroth.

"Why do you have to drag the boy into this?" Sephiroth asked. Cloud still

clutched to Sephiroth's trench coat, looking terrified of Reno. He must have

sensed that the man was from ShinRa. Reno said nothing as he passed by

Sephiroth and went out of the door, being as careful in descending the steps

as Sephiroth had been when he climbed them. Sephiroth looked down at Cloud and

then after Reno.

"Is he going to take me away from you?" Cloud asked, looking up from

Sephiroth's trench coat. Sephiroth furrowed his brows in confusion. He

couldn't think of a motive Reno could possibly have for the reason Cloud was

worried so he shook his head.

"It's not likely," Sephiroth answered and ushered Cloud to follow him as

he disappeared from the bar. Cloud looked back at his friends. They nodded him

forward. Tifa even hugged Cloud before he left the bar to join Sephiroth and

Reno outside.

"What do you suppose he wants them for?" Tifa asked as she looked up at

Barret. Barret shook his head and hugged Marlene, who still sat on his

shoulder. She was twirling a small flower in her hand.

"Where did you get that flower from?" Barret asked, ignoring Tifa's

question. The flower was a yellow dandelion. It was a rare thing to have a

flower in Midgar.

"Mister Sephiroth gave it to me," Marlene said, still twirling the flower

in her mud dried hands. Sephiroth had been given the flower by Aerith

Gainsborough, who had told him that she found various wild flowers growing in

the last church of Midgar.

Reno smiled as he took Cloud's chin into his hand exposing his tender

thin neck. The tank top he wore revealed his midriff and the cutoffs began

below his hip. Reno looked over Cloud's body and laughed.

"Doesn't really leave much to the imagination, Cloud-boy," Reno said

running a ringed finger over the line of Cloud's flat tummy. He smothered one

of Cloud's arms behind his back and brushed his lips against Cloud's neck. His

lips parted slowly...

"Leave him alone," Sephiroth said from behind Reno. The red haired man

could feel the bite of the cold gun's barrel against his neck. It sent shivers

down his back. Cloud's body trembled underneath Reno at the near thought of

being raped by a man from ShinRa incorporated.

"Mmm. Are you jealous, Sephiroth? At the thought of me fucking him before

you? I bet I just got farther with him than you have," Reno stroked the boy's

blonde strip of loose un-spiked hair that was on the side of his face. Reno

could feel the gun dig farther into the skin of his neck. In Reno's other

hand, he gripped his electro mag rod which he used in his job as a weapon and

a piece of jewelry. Its golden head and diamond studded body was gaudy and

expensive. "Are you going to shoot me, Valentine?" Reno laughed as he nipped

at the flesh of Cloud's neck and rested the electro mag rod before Cloud's

face, which glowed with electricity. Cloud trembled even more.

"Sephiroth," Cloud said helplessly. Sephiroth growled and kicked theman's

feet out from under him, knocking the gun over his head with the blunt side.

Reno fell to the hard pavement, he electro mag rod rolling from his fingers.

He clutched a bleeding forehead.

"You're pathetic, Reno," Sephiroth placed his foot on the man's neck, not

allowing him to breathe. "Now. Don't tell me you just brought us out here to

waste my time," Sephiroth said and lifted his foot for Reno to answer. The man

took in a choking breath and grimaced up at Sephiroth.

"The company is searching for the both of you," Reno said, spitting blood

at the ground. Sephiroth placed his foot back down and held out a hand for

Reno. The red haired man took it and stood. He wasn't about to thank Sephiroth

for the help.

"W-why?" Cloud stuttered. He had wrapped his arms around himself and

shrank back into the wall.

"You were the first injected with the Jenova project's cells," Reno

grumbled groggily, holding his bloody head. "They...they want to complete the

job."

"Jenova?" Sephiroth's eyes narrowed.

"Jenova was a project ended with the birth of Cloud Strife. You are the

only ones," Reno said, picking up his electro mag rod, his many silver and

gold gaudy rings shining under the light of the sun.

"What is he talking about, Sephiroth?" Cloud asked. He ran to the silver

haired man and collapsed in his arms. Sephiroth grimaced at the red haired man

named Reno.

"Jenova are the cells of poison on mankind..."

"Poison?" Cloud's eyes widened.

"It makes you and I different from everyone else. You and I are not

human in that sense."

***

"I can't go home alone! Not now! Not after what you told me,

Sephiroth! I've lost so much! And..and..I don't even have my humanity!"

Sephiroth sighed and looked at the boy Cloud beside him. He was

silent now and hugging his knees to his chest. His eyes were filled with

confusion and hate. He looked up at Sephiroth, softening his expression

only slightly.

"What's going to happen to us now, Sephiroth?" Cloud asked quietly.

"I planned on leaving this city anyway," Sephiroth said to Cloud. It

was a joke, but it made Cloud even grimmer.

"ShinRa's always been on my shit list," Cloud growled.

"I don't know who -hasn't- said that, kid," Sephiroth laughed

bitterly. Cloud looked at him sideways and hugged his knees under his

chin.

"Do you think we can really leave this city?" Cloud whispered.

Sephiroth stood from off his couch and untied the sash on his trench

coat.

"I don't know, kid. No one's ever tried it." He hung the coat on the

rack by his door. Turning his back on Cloud and walking towards his

bedroom, he looked back at the blonde. "I'll be right back. I'm going to

change." He disappeared into the bedroom and Cloud nodded to himself

more than to Sephiroth and hugged his legs even tighter.

"There's always a first time for everything," Cloud whispered and

cursed his beautiful eyes, the result of testing.

***

Sephiroth lay in the sheets from his bed on the floor for a few

hours, unable to sleep. He stared up at the ceiling. He wanted to sleep

more than anything to get a few hours of torment muffled by the state

akin to rigor mortis. Sleep was so tempting now that he felt regret for

letting Cloud get so close to him. When he came back from changing he

discovered the boy sleeping on his couch, curled up like a coiled rope.

Hanging his holsters under the coat, he had avoided looking at the boy

and turned to go to his bedroom, but Cloud was a light sleeper. His eyes

opened and he caught glimpse of Sephiroth.

"Sephiroth," Cloud had muttered groggily. He pleaded for the man not

to leave him alone and soon fell asleep as Sephiroth sat and told him of

a time when flowers bloomed in Midgar. Cloud fell asleep clutching onto the

silver haired man's arm and Sephiroth gently lifted Cloud, who protectively

snuggled into Sephiroth's chest as the man carried him to his bedroom and

tucked him into his bed. Taking the top sheets of the bed, Sephiroth had

wrapped himself in the sheets he had collected.

Now he drifted into sleep entangled in the mess of sheets, his long

silver threaded hair further working to immobilize his body. He took one last

look at the sleeping boy and fell into a deep sleep with a smile.

***

"You hate me!" Cloud's voice echoed in Sephiroth's mind. Blackness

cloaked half of Cloud's features but he was there, his eyes convicting

Sephiroth. "When you kill me, you will hate me."

"What do you mean?" Sephiroth asked. Now he was alone and the echo

of his voice rang in his ears a thousand fold.

"You hate me," Cloud's voice was in his mind again, solid. No echoes. "You

hate me," it came now in a silent whisper that was almost ghostly. Invisible

arms wrapped themselves all around Sephiroth. "You hate me!" It was almost an

orgasmic cry this time. The hands restrained Sephiroth. His eyes widened and

he could feel his pupils dilalating as the image of Cloud formed in his mind.

He saw himself, an arm wrapped around the boy, pressing his body to Cloud's.

Sephiroth saw his gun pressed against the blonde's neck and traveling down his

body. His own expression was heartless, liking it as the boy trembled in fear.

He could almost taste the insanity. He heard the pleas and he lifted the boy's

chin with the barrel of the gun as he stood above the boy...and pulled the

trigger. All he could see was red. Crimson red filling his eyes, his mind. A

beautiful insanity filling his heart. He drank heavily upon it...and screamed

his pain.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter Six:







"Sephiroth! Sephiroth! Wake up! Please wake up!" Cloud shouted

frantically above the man who was trembling under Cloud's touch. He was

shaking Sephiroth back and forth. The man was still screaming as if he endured

the greatest pain the world had to offer.

"W-what do you want, boy?" Sephiroth opened an eye groggily after his

screaming ended and he slumped in Cloud's hold. Cloud however was shaking as

he stared wide eyed at Sephiroth, who had abruptly ended screaming and asked

him what he wanted waking the man up! Cloud's eyes welled with tears and he

curled into Sephiroth's arms as he sat up.

"You gave me your bed to sleep in for the night," Cloud said as if he

were questioning why the man had done it. "Did you have a nightmare, Sephie

darlin'? You were screaming bloody murder," Cloud frowned. Sephiroth sighed

and moved Cloud from his chest by his shoulders, looking at him with sleepy

eyes.

"What time is it, Cloud?" Sephiroth asked, shaking his head.

"2:30," Cloud said looking at the clock by Sephiroth's bedside. The man

raised his hands to rub his temples tiredly. He had such a headache and

inside, his heart screamed. Dreams of Cloud are going to haunt me, Sephiroth

thought as if in a silent way accusing himself. What was the purpose of these

dreams? Maybe somewhere inside him he had feelings for Cloud. Sephiroth

frowned remembering the dream. He had killed Cloud in cold blooded murder. The

phone rang.

"Dammit," Sephiroth grumbled, taking a hand away from massaging his

temples to grab up the phone.

"Valentine," came the voice from the other end.

"Who is this?" he asked, his voice coming out scratchy and irritable.

Cloud's hips were hugging his. It made him uncomfortable, but seeing as how

the boy had latched onto him in a hug that was like a death grip, Sephiroth

had no choice but to let him. Although he would now accept Cloud's affection

without punishing the boy for doing so, he would not return it. Affection was

something that he had never learned.

"Lieutenant Gainsborough, silly," came the woman from the other line.

Aerith. His head's throbbing pain was only a dull one now. He had blocked it

from his mind. He found his attention drawn to Cloud, who nestled his head

into Sephiroth's shoulder, his breath hot against Sephiroth's fully exposed

neck...now that he was in one of his tank tops he wore to sleep in.

"It's 2:30 in the morning," came Sephiroth's groggy voice. Aerith however

always seemed awake when she called Sephiroth at such an ungodly hour. He

could picture her smug face, perfectly oval, her eyes large and sparkling and

her lips in a set smile. "Some people like sleeping," he said as he felt Cloud

loosen his grip. He had fallen asleep again and had become something of dead

weight upon Sephiroth.

"I have something you might be interested in, Valentine," Aerith chirped.

If Sephiroth saw her before him, she would have had a big white toothed grin

on her face. It was rare she had information that the silver haired man had

not received yet.

"Oh? And what would that be?" Sephiroth asked, only a spark of interest

showing in his voice. Slowly, he cradled Cloud in his arms and set him aside.

Cloud's head rested upon Sephiroth's thigh and he mumbled something in his

sleep.

"I'm sure Reno has spoken to you already. I just received word of it,"

Aerith said. Sephiroth smiled. Aerith was good at finding out about things,

especially when it came to Sephiroth Valentine. However, his past was shrouded

in darkness. It was something Aerith still could not find out about.

Sephiroth's smile grew further. He had some satisfaction that he was a puzzle

to Aerith. Even with his current actions uncovered he was a puzzling man.

Aerith liked the challenge, but the truth was, how was she ever going to see

through Sephiroth to understand him? He didn't even really understand himself.

He looked up through his window which he had drawn open. The moon smiled down

upon him and the stars

twinkled like the sparkles that would be in Aerith's large jade eyes.

"Very good," Sephiroth laughed. "How did you manage to find that out?"

"You know my methods, Valentine. I tapped into his telephone

conversations. They were direct with the president of ShinRa," Gainsborough's

voice was filled with pride as she spoke those words.

"The president of ShinRa," he said, hiding his surprise. Sephiroth's odd

eyes lit up. They were eyes that glowed like the yellow of a cat's eyes in the

dark. "That would require Reno to be a sloppy bastard and somehow that suits

the accursed man."

"Yes. I couldn't believe that he had been so careless in his phone calls.

This was the president for God's sake!"

"Would you know about God's sake?" Sephiroth asked sarcastically. "He

must have done it for a reason. Even that ignorant dishonorable pig isn't that

stupid. If it was confidential--"

"That was just the thing, Valentine. He lay out a lot of information and

it was probably for your benefit. Perhaps a way to make up for frightening the

boy."

"You know this too," Sephiroth said dully, subconsciously looking down at

the boy who continued to say incoherent things in his deep slumber. The smile

still was on Cloud's face. Sephiroth was glad the boy had insisted he stay

with him. With what Aerith told him confirmed his slight worry. Lieutenant

Gainsborough never failed to back up what he thought. In the small way that he

had, Reno had helped Sephiroth and Cloud, but Sephiroth was smarter than to

just accept what was given him. Perhaps Reno had only wanted to lead the two

into a trap of words and lies. Words. Sephiroth smiled. Words were his

speciality. Something that he was the most proud of in his abilities. But,

dwelling on this dilemma at the moment would be draining and he needed his

rest.

"So what do you propose?" Lieutenant Gainsborough asked as if she had

heard the man's thoughts.

"I need to sleep. We will discuss these matters tomorrow morning,

Lieutenant."

"In the forgotten sector?" asked the woman from the other line.

"Yes," Sephiroth said, "And by the way, I gave your flower to a little

girl I met today."

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter Seven:







"The infamous Cloud!" Aerith Gainsborough chirped happily. It was the

first time she had actually spoken to the boy without having him in custody

for Sephiroth to have to pick up and release him from the facility. Cloud

smiled nervously at her and hid behind Sephiroth's trench coat. The man

glanced at Cloud for doing so, but made no sudden attempts to try to break him

from the material of his coat.

"It seems different this morning, don't you think, lieutenant?" Sephiroth

asked, looking around at the nearly deserted streets. This would be usual

during the night, but during the day it was unheard of. However, the forgotten

sector was just that: forgotten. The streets seemed barren an lifeless even

when the civilian population was about on its streets.

"Mmm," Aerith nodded. "Seems peaceful, doesn't it, Valentine?"

"You know well not to trust instincts of 'peaceful' in this city,

lieutenant," Sephiroth laughed. Aerith smiled and looked towards the sky. The

tall buildings of the sector were hidden partially by a thin fog. This was the

sector closest to the water. It was near the town of Kalm. As the fog parted

in front of them the restraint seemed more close than ever. Walking here

sometimes took forever if you dwelled upon it, but the time passed quickly now

because there were many things on Sephiroth's mind. However, he imagined that

Cloud had the most on his mind. He was abruptly thrown into something he had

no clue about and Sephiroth knew he was scared for his life.

"Your situation is very serious," Aerith said. Those were the most

obvious words Sephiroth had ever heard. "And it is a suggestion that you leave

the city before--"

"Avoid talking of this until we sit down at the restraint," Sephiroth

said, wrapping an arm around Cloud. The boy now felt hollow. There was

something of a gnawing pain in his stomach since the day before when Reno had

appeared. Silently he had known it wasn't the last time that he would meet the

man from ShinRa. Cloud held back tears and promised to himself that he would

be strong. He would be as strong as the silver haired man who held him in a

warm embrace with his arm. It seemed to send the message that no matter what

would happen, Cloud had to have courage from this point on. Sephiroth

couldn't protect the boy forever.

***

"We are leaving the city," Sephiroth said as he took a seat in his and

lieutenant Gainsborough's usual booth. Cloud was sitting upright beside

Sephiroth and was trying at all costs not to breakdown into sobs. This was

home. This was Midgar. This was where the streets had no names...

"And you know Reno will know about this plan sooner or later. He'll go

after you, or worse, he'll have some of the other of the president's henchmen

after you," Aerith said. Her face was grim as she looked over at Cloud. His

hands were clasped on the table and his eyes were on the table. He was clearly

in deep thought. Pieces of his hair covered his eyes, but Aerith knew that he

was probably concentrating on not to cry. He was trying his hardest to try to

seem brave to prove himself to the man beside him.

"I will risk that chance," Sephiroth said, his expression grim. Leaving

Midgar would be a task that was hard to achieve. Yes. Hard to achieve, but not

impossible, he thought.

"And the boy?" Aerith asked, eyeing the moping boy.

"He won't be caught. I'm protecting him," Sephiroth said dully and gave

Cloud a glance. The boy looked up at Sephiroth and frowned sadly.

" You don't have to protect me. I'm not a kid like you seem to think I

am," Cloud said.

"Really?" Sephiroth laughed. "I'm old enough to be your father, Cloud."

"I didn't mean it like that." He returned to hanging his head in a mope.

Sephiroth looked down at him, a sad look creeping over his face. "There's been

so much that I've gone through in this city and I want to stay here. I...I'm

going to return to my job on the streets."

"Cloud," Aerith leaned over the table to take his un-gloved hand in hers.

Her touch was warm and made him feel a bit better in some sense. With that

touch she had tried to transmit to him all of the warm friendliness and hope

she could offer. Cloud needed someone to love him and whether he realized it

or not, Sephiroth had those feelings for him, even if he wouldn't even admit

it to himself. The man was kneeding his delicate fingers as always, craning

his long neck to peer beyond the forgotten sector, but all there was before

him was a fog that settled over his unreachable prize and she imagined there

was a fog clouding his heart. His heart was where he denied Cloud of the

feelings that he had always needed as well.

"I will protect you to the best of my ability," Sephiroth said. He turned

to tilt Cloud's head towards his face and smiled. This time there was no

sarcasm behind his smile. There was no other motive behind his smile. Perhaps

he had learned more than he ever could about himself from the boy named Cloud

Strife, who had a passion for life, even though he had grown up in such a

place as Midgar. It was the same city that Sephiroth had grown up in and

perhaps he understood how Cloud felt. He had belonged to an orphanage and was

made to work from an early age. He had been a cop for many years now. many

lonely years.

***

His laden arched back had been fractured in the spine's discs. It was now

that his body was too rigid and stiff. Blood was everywhere. His chest was

exploded open, his rib cage crushed. The soft click of the gun came, breaking

the silence after the man's screams ended, his lab coat soaked with crimson

blood.

His assailant and brutal murderer smiled a harsh grin and cocked the gun,

firing one last silent bullet into the man's face, right into his left eye.

Blood splashed the ShinRa uniform that the attacker had stolen.

"I never did like your stupid stare and your bad posture. Consider this a

lesson in manners and chiropractic needs," the ambivalent voice came. The

ShinRa clad person cocked the gun again, opening the shaft where the bullets

hid. The empty shells of the bullets fell like rain to the ground. Replacing

the gun into a pocket of the ShinRa uniform, the attacker was careful not to

go anywhere near the body and picked up the phone from his office.

Dialing the number, the person couldn't help but smile. It was all so

perfect. Even if the person was caught, they thought of fleeing the city of

Midgar and they would never disturb her once she crossed lands from Junon

Harbor to the Costa Del Sol. This attacker would not rest until what had been

wanted for years was satisfied.

"Cloud," came the ambivalent voice after the ringing stopped and someone

came to the phone, the breathing heard before anything else.

"Who is this?" came the voice of Cloud. The attacker smiled.

"This call is coming from the Head Quarters of ShinRa, the sixty seventh

floor. You will come here alone or you will suffer the consequences. And," the

attacker said taking a pause to breathe heavily "bring your gauntlet."

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter Eight:







Sephiroth had fallen asleep quickly and at an early time this night. It

was unlike the two other nights where he had gotten almost no sleep. For this,

Cloud was grateful. He frowned sadly remembering the phone call. The voice at

the other end sounded indifferent. Cloud could not tell whether it was male or

female. He was not sure if should go. The person had threatened death. Whether

on him or someone else he did not know. How had this person done this? How

could they know so damned much? Then Cloud hung his head in shame.

It's my...profession, Cloud thought bitterly. The person had probably

seen him on the streets with Sephiroth..or worse, followed them. That's

probably how they got Seph's phone number, Cloud thought even more bitterly.

They knew Sephiroth was here. If he noticed Cloud was missing, would he

dismiss it? Or does his phone have a tracer? Would he know where Cloud would

be? Would he follow him?

Cloud stared hard at the man and then even harder at his gauntlet. The

voice had told him to wear his gauntlet. The idea that one of his family

members had survived ShinRa briefly crossed his mind when he had hung up, but

no. He was almost certain he had seen them get slaughtered...one by one. His

mother was tortured. She was threatened with death unless she revealed his

hiding place. Sure enough, Cloud was hiding under the floor boards. He was too

stiff with fear to move. Too shocked to cry. Too young to know why they were

doing this. And he had watched still as a statue as his mother was beaten and

raped by a ShinRa officer with a blue suit. His father, the bastard, had left

his mother long before that. Cloud couldn't even remember him. The only thing

he knew was that whenever anyone would bring up the man, his mother broke out

into sobs.

The ShinRa officer that dispatched a group of less experienced soldiers

into the house was engraved into his mind. He was a delicate looking man. He

almost looked frail. His long black hair was silken and it went behind his

small elv'in looking ears. His hazel eyes screamed with a feral contempt as he

advanced on Cloud's mother. A defenseless woman. This is what ShinRa prayed

on. Women and children. They were merciless and for what happened to him,

Cloud could never forgive the company.

There was painful recognition when Sephiroth had told him all he knew

about Jenova. Jenova was most likely a disease that ShinRa had termed

harmless. They thought it would benefit their company. The first two to be

injected with the disease were Sephiroth Valentine and himself. Sephiroth had

told him he had been injected at least twenty years ago, where as Cloud was

injected at birth. One of the obvious pluses to Jenova was that once injected,

seeing in the dark could be executed perfectly--that is if you knew how to.

His mother had kept him completely ignorant of what he was capable of. Cloud

sighed.

Cloud's mind wandered back to the man who had ravaged his home and

murdered his mother and sister. He had heard on of the soldiers scream a name.

Tseng. The man was a complete perversity of humanity. He was disgusting in a

beautiful way. It reminded Cloud of a spider. The eight legged things always

scared him, yet fascinated him. He found them evil, disgusting, perverse, and

beautiful all at the same time. The sharp lines of the man Tseng's face and

thin limbs had been the same thing in his mind. Fire's shadow licked upon his

face. He had noticed another man. One in a ShinRa uniform. As he kept silent

and unmoving, feeling a horrible sickness in him, he saw the man come towards

the floor boards above him. He stopped above his head and kicked at the

boards. Cloud abhorred him for this action. Emotion flooded into his limbs.

Adrenaline. He climbed into a shaft that led to the attack and watched as the

floor collapsed. Cloud struggled to remember what the man looked like as he

imagined him climbing down into the secret passage. Somehow he had known that

this man wasn't a ShinRa soldier. Cloud couldn't remember...there was nothing

in his mind but the realization of the burning building and then man taking

him outside.

Cloud could remember Reno. He had assaulted him before. There were times

before the incident where he was grateful Sephiroth had saved him. Cloud

grimaced. Child pornographer. Pimp. Asshole. Faggot. They were all things that

Cloud could use to describe Reno. The man had given him plenty of scars. He

saw the children he had abducted out on the streets. Reno was no exception to

the corruption of Midgar and neither were the children. Neither was Cloud. He

looked at Sephiroth , grateful he had come to his aid. He watched the man. His

body was sprawled on the floor, entangled in sheets with his long white hair

that had silver highlights like the silk of a spider web around his head.

Cloud gulped. The sheets hugged his hips intimately and his tank top curled up

over his lean stomach. His eyes were covered by his hair so Cloud couldn't

quite know if he was really sleeping or not. His mouth was parted and he

groaned as he turned over onto his side.

"Sephiroth," Cloud whispered as he went to his side and knelt. His mouth

closed and he turned over again, hugging his sheets. Cloud brushed his hair

out of the man's eyes. Sephiroth was indeed sleeping. Cloud could see that his

brow was furrowed, his mouth hooked in sarcastic pain, or was it pain that he

had hidden from everyone else? He leaned over and kissed Sephiroth's lips, but

after Cloud had done it he sighed. He knew the man would most likely never

return it and he walked to Sephiroth's drawer, pulling out a long sleeved

shirt and jeans that belonged to the man who now tilted his head backwards

into the floor and exposing his neck. Cloud turned back to the drawer, closing

it and hugging the clothes.

He changed quickly, trying not to think of being placed in danger when he

would creep outside alone and unprotected. He thought about what Sephiroth had

said earlier in the restaurant and he looked back at him. Maybe he would

protect the man more than he thought. He dressed quickly and frantically,

almost falling and causing a clatter of noise that would have surely awoken

the men if he hadn't have caught his balance. He sighed. His heart was racing

as he pulled on the brown boots he brought over to the man's house just in

case. They were sitting in Sephiroth's closet. He moved to the door and held

his breath. Perhaps this was the stupidest thing in the world to do. He didn't

care if it was surely suicide. He didn't care. And if he died, who was he?

Nobody. He would just a stupid boy who died just to save a guy he had a silent

crush on. Silent, he thought to himself. It was hardly silent. Sephiroth

probably knew well just how much Cloud loved him. Cloud hadn't felt a love

that was so aching since his sister died. Since the passion of rage clutched

his heart as his mother was raped and beaten to death.

Cloud glanced at Sephiroth's coat. He had seen him hide his holsters

underneath it when the man had woken him up. He hesitated as he looked at the

coat and silently slipped a gun from its holster and hit it in his pocket. He

ran from the building after he had done so, dressed in Sephiroth's drab dark

clothing. He was running from his heart, yet running to it all at the same

time. Cloud ran as hard on the pavement as he could. He had good reason to run

until his legs ached and until it was almost a pain equivalent to the

bittersweet throb in his chest. He ran simply because he didn't know what else

to do.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter Nine:







A hand assaulted Cloud as he managed to enter the floor of the Head

Quarters that he was told to come to. The hand gave form to strong arms

gripping Cloud and pulling him into a corner.

"With the amount of noise you're making I'm surprised they didn't ravage

you," came the voice he recognized from the phone call. On instinct Cloud

struggled, flailing his arms as he was dragged. The hand covering his mouth

did not allow the screams that were in his throat, but if the hand was not

there his voice would not produce the chocked sound within his throat he

simply obeyed the gruff command.

His abrupt assault still left Cloud speechless as he was dragged and made

to follow the ShinRa clad person that trudged ahead of him. Blood covered the

uniform, which made Cloud whimper as he followed, reduced to shambling at his

shock. The person snapped around.

"Do I have to gag you?" the person said in a hiss. Cloud shook his head

and continued to follow, lack of being about to express his fright made his

whole body quake in fear as he picked up his pace to follow the person

closely. Suddenly the halls lit up with bright red lights.

"Attention ShinRa personnel: an intruder has entered the building.

Attention..."

"Shit!" The person cursed and glared at Cloud. "You're armed , aren't

you?!"

"Y-yes ma'am," Cloud winced and shrank back. The shirt flopped over his

fingers, too large for his thin frame. The ShinRa clad person shoved Cloud

against the wall and immediately began searching him and pulled out the gun he

had hidden in his front pocket.

"A makou gun? Where did you get this?" the person slammed Cloud against

the wall, almost cracking his skull against a rigid metal part. A makou gun?

Sephiroth had a makou gun? Cloud remembered his dark blue suit and he froze.

"Dammit! You stupid -idiot-!" the person growled. Cloud slowly began to notice

that the voice was female. She was leaning over him and cleavage was prominent

in her oversized ShinRa uniform. The ShinRa clad woman realized this and

clutched the shirt, pulling it up to cover herself. Cloud ducked from her.

"We...we should crawl up the vent and...crawl up into the top floor,"

Cloud said looking at the rusted caging of the narrow tunnel. The woman--or

rather the girl-- glared at Cloud, but did not disregard the suggestion, she

grabbed Cloud by the hand and went to throw him aside to rip off the cage of

the vent.

"Where did you get the makou gun, Cloud?" she asked as she pushed him

into the tunnel.

"I found it," Cloud said as he pushed forward into the tunnel and began

to crawl at a steady pace.

"I don't believe that. You lie shabbily," the girl said. She was trying

to keep her voice indifferent still, but of what use would that be? Cloud had

already heard her voice and saw her breasts to confirm it. A little -girl- was

holding him hostage and he was actually afraid. Cloud frowned. Why shouldn't

he be? There was no telling what could happen, especially now that it was a

possibility that ShinRa would catch him. The image of Tseng in his mind made

the pain in his stomach worsen. There was a sharp stab that made him stiffen

and gasp. The sheet of metal underneath them began to break and both fell with

shocked surprise into a large hallway. The girl fell with a soft groan onto

Cloud. Her hands were both in immobilizing positions upon him. One rested

heavily on his crotch and the other one on one of his wrists. Her ShinRa

masked face was uncovered. The hat had slipped to reveal two shocked brown

eyes.

"I-I,"Cloud stuttered. His eyes mirrored her shock, but he was nearly

mortified with fright. The person staring back at him turned her head and hid

tears and picked herself up off of the boy. He didn't know whether to rejoice

or feel frightened for this occurrence. He covered his face in a wash of

emotion and screamed. The girl snapped to cover Cloud's mouth with her hands

and cursed at him with her raging eyes.

"Cloud," the girl whispered, a hint of fear in her eyes and voice.

"We're...we're fucked." As if a confirmation to her fear the bite of a gun's

bitter coldness pressed against her neck. It screamed and surged through her

body, whispers of death melting into the warmth of her skin. Cloud looked

horrified beyond her.

"Sephiroth!" Cloud cried as the girl swirled around. Sephiroth quickly

holstered the gun to grab the girl's wrists. The girl screeched as he twisted

her arm behind her back. She cursed profusely.

"I know you can't stand not touching such a cute girl like me, but-- GET

YOUR HANDS OFF OF ME YOU CREEP!" She screeched and swung her legs backwards,

kicking Sephiroth in the crotch. Sephiroth stumbled backwards, shocked enough

to make the girl escape to screech and squawk at him.

"Stop it," Cloud said looking down at his shoes. Sephiroth glared at him

and glared at the boy with a silent rage. The girl growled and slipped a ninja

star from her wrists and slashed Sephiroth's chest with it as he scolded Cloud

with hard eyes. The girl screamed and began running, grabbing at Cloud, which

made her stumble and begin to cry, her gun dropping out of her pocket.

"Sephiroth," Cloud whispered and he placed a palm on the silver haired man's

face, tracing his features. The girl continued to cry. Hate rang through her

sobs as he heard her whispering "Hojo's son" over and over as she stared back

at Sephiroth. He was doubled over Cloud clutching his wound in more shock than

pain.

"I'm bleeding," Sephiroth whispered with quiet hate. "She made me bleed."

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter Ten:





Aerith Gainsborough ran with all her strength, hitting the pavement with

the slap of her heels as she picked up her pace. Her large jade green eyes

narrowed in a few different emotions as she reached the end of the wall

market. Within the wall market trade was most prominent, and so was

prostitution--among other things. She now regretted leaving her apartment in

her formal work attire: a red skirt suit and a pair of shoes that made her

poor feet feel like trapped sausages. Struggling to catch her breath, Aerith

kicked off her shoes. After doing so, she felt relieved and looked up at the

wire that led to ShinRa's headquarters from this alley way. She could see the

tall building beyond all the rubble.

"Attention! All ShinRa personnel! An intruder has entered the building!

Attention! All ShinRa personnel!"

"An intruder. This is what they tell me to investigate?" Aerith glanced

at the wire again. She grabbed hold of it and shimmied half way up. She was

trying to forget her fear of heights when a section of the building blew up.

The aftermath made the wire reel and Aerith squawked, holding onto the wire as

if it were a lover to hold; something she knew would not last forever. As she

crawled onto a side of the wall and jumped to another wire, Sephiroth came

into her mind. She thought that if the man was messing around in the building,

she would kill him.

***

"Sephiroth," Cloud whispered. Sephiroth had long pried Cloud's hands from

him. He had ordered them on. Now the wandered a long corridor of the building.

"Keep quiet, Cloud. They already destroyed a section of the building

looking for us. Damn assholes."

"Are you sure you're all right? You're bleeding a whole lot," Cloud said.

Sephiroth, as usual, hid all of the pain and anger he had at the moment, He

had ripped a section of his own shirt to wrap tightly around his waist. The

remainder of his shirt was used to wrap around his wound from when he entered

the building, which he did a good job of hiding until the girl slashed another

wound onto his chest. The shirt was slung from his waist to his chest and the

remainder of the scraps were around his upper arm.

"I'm fine," Sephiroth mumbled, hiding raspy breath.

"You know, I doubt he's okay. I got him pretty good. Any deeper and you

know...he wouldn't even be here acting all tough," the girl chirped. It seemed

that she was proud of the wound that she had inflicted upon the man.

"I'm fine," Sephiroth repeated. This time he said it more dully and Cloud

could see his distinct limp. He was growing weaker, but even when threatened

with such a thing as death. Sephiroth had always hid emotions from anyone and

everyone.

"I'm sorry," Cloud sighed. He fumbled desperately to avoid Sephiroth's

harsh stare. His eyes, so green and deep; Cloud was sure he would be entranced

with the anger and pain that Sephiroth struggled to hide. It would make him

even more dejected from the man. He felt guilt beyond the mixed feelings of

the girl ahead of him. She turned around a smiled, her white toothed gesture

to Cloud broad and almost menacing, if not all together frightening. She was

sick with glee.

"Clooooooooouuud!" the girl said. "Aren't you happy I'm back now?"

"Can't we save the reunion until we get out of here?" Cloud asked coldly,

but more fearfully as he wrapped his arms around himself and hugged the warm

long sleeved shirt. He brought the sleeves to his face and smiled. It smelled

of Sephiroth's sweet cologne and musk.

"I agree. Down at the end of this corridor is a ventilation duct. We'll

take that to hide from the ShinRa personnel and to escape fairly quick. We'll

take that path down to the fifty ninth floor and take the stairs down. They

never guard the staircases, but they guard the elevators," Sephiroth said to

ease Cloud's worry of getting caught before anything else. Sephiroth could

feel blood soak his own hand as he clutched the bandages to his wound. Cloud

noticed as Sephiroth cut ahead, his eyes trained on the turn of the corridor.

There's too much blood, the silver haired man thought to himself and he

frowned.

"How did you get wounded before you came here?" Cloud asked, almost as if

he heard the man's thoughts.

"What does it matter?" Sephiroth asked, staring at the blood soaked hand.

His voice dripped with mortality. He suddenly stopped in the corridor and

inclined his head as if to hear something and stared hard at Cloud. "Shh. Do

you hear that?" He whispered.

"It sounds like...the flutter of wings?" Cloud whispered after a long

period of thinking of the noise. It was in the form of a question, as if he

doubted himself. A clustered sound of coos sounding proved him wrong and

pigeons flew at the three of them, feathers everywhere. The fine long quills

of the feathers and the fluff of its coating was covered in blood. The

feathers of the pigeons and the pigeons themselves blocked each of the party's

vision. When the pigeons fell away, Sephiroth staggered, his pale flesh marred

with the flock's scratches. Cloud and the ShinRa clad girl did not escape

unscathed either. Cloud's arm was dripping with blood and his heart was racing

about a mile a minute.

"Something must have spooked them. The window was probably left open,"

Sephiroth said. "They were covered with blood before they attacked us," he

said in a raspy voice as he opened the door and went to open it gradually. The

girl grabbed Sephiroth back.

"N-n-n-n-no," she stammered.

"Is there something in there that you don't want me to find out about?

This is the floor you agreed to meet Cloud on."

"I'm a ninja! I rely on stealth! This is not wise!"

"There's -no one- in there. They would have done something about by now

with all the noise you and Cloud make," Sephiroth said. "If anyone is in

there, there's not way in hell they're still breathing."

"N-n-n-n-no," the girl stammered again and felt her heart clammering in

her chest. With the first clap of her thundering heart Sephiroth turned the

knob. The second clap signaled the man opening the door a creak, surveying the

inside. The third clap signaled him to see the blood. The fourth and he opened

the door. Pigeons flew past him. Some of their bodies were caught in his

silver threaded hair, serving as an obstacle. They struggled and freed

themselves, yet Sephiroth payed no attention to them. Other birds flew onto

his shoulders and head, settling there as if her were a perch. He stood there

in the doorway saying nothing and doing nothing. Finally, he dropped to his

knees into the pile of blood, splashing the crimson richness onto his trench

coat, his hair falling into the pools of its wealth of red.

There was one thing he yelled before ravaging the body with his hands,

crushing the collapsed chest, hammering the sunken skill, ripping into the

flesh of the dead skin, as pale as the under belly of a gutted fish. That

thing was "Hojo".

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter Eleven:







The alarm sounded constantly. Aerith Gainsborough could see soldiers

marching alongside the building. She hid behind a sheet of metal and slinked

along the walls. Her hosery ripped and the walls had scraped the pale skin of

her leg. Her feet had avoided glass and sharp earth fairly well, she had

thought. But her poor hands were red from slipping on the wire.

Here the alarm almost bleated the smell of mildew, decay, death. The

streets were black with ash. The building stuck out like a sore thumb. It was

the only thing that looked new amongst old and dead things. But this was a new

thing that thrived off the old. Midgar. She slinked silently along the

familiar feeling old. As she looked up at the never ending staircase she felt

the world was smaller than it really seemed. She thought of the life the last

church in Midgar had bore. If it was an omen, of either good or bad, Aerith

had no answer. No one would, she supposed. There were fifty nine staircases,

each considered with a silent grudge. She thought of bitter things as she

began to climb them. Taking two stair edges at a time, she thought of the

bitterness of the world. Perhaps she was over reacting about the whole measure

of her life style, but something did not fit.

Thirst accompanied a dry throat. It failed to ebb from her mind. It

failed to ebb as the dark images of the days of old did. Aerith remembered the

sunshine and the warmth of it. She remembered how good it felt to frolic in

the fields of garden. She memorized all the kinds of flowers that were planted

along the orphanage. She remembered Sephiroth Valentine. A quiet boy sitting

under the conifer tree, always with a retort to her words. She remembered how

solemn he was. How out of place against the blossoming life. She remembered

most of all how he said he felt after the conifer tree withered and the garden

withered and his spirit withered. Aerith had laughed, telling him he had never

been full of spirit, but he had simply said he had been for the kind of person

he was. He told her a part of it was missing. Aerith had nodded. The next day

the orphanage had been torn down by the company of ShinRa and they took

Sephiroth with them. It took Aerith a while, but she had found him again. She

figured he was the reason she had become what she is now.

She could hear distinct shouting from the young soldiers who circled the

ShinRa building. All young. All full of dreams that would probably be crushed

by the corporation. A dream of peace in Aerith's heart had never died, but she

knew it had in Sephiroth's. That was assuming he ever thought the world could

be in peace. She remembered his retort. Humanity was a curse, he would say.

Then he would grew silent. It was like he was smiling. Smiling at the cold

world for smiling at him. Smiling at the pain everything had brought. The

soldiers would abandon themselves and become greedy and hungry for power. That

was assuming that they hadn't already.

She was skeptical that they thought of the danger the company brought

them. She wondered if any of them did. They probably were looking forward to a

glory that only war and hate and crime could bring. They would look forward to

it with shining eyes. Her heart felt jumbled and empty now. Finally she had

placed herself into the silver haired man's shoes. Now she knew why he felt

that man could not achieve things beyond their realm of just that--man.

The only creature that kills of their own. The only creature that enjoys

death for glory. The only creature that will sail over the bodies of the dead,

climb over their fellow man, rip a hole in time with their feeble opinions,

and just for a name sake. They wanted GLORY. Glory, really? A sense of power?

Just a little bit of how it felt to be God? Man is not divine, even when they

are shaped in the embodiment of God. Even if they are a gift from God. Man is

NOT God. God sees this as he rains down on our merciless hearts. ShinRa. FUCK

ShinRa.

As she neared the tenth staircase, Aerith let out choked cry and so forth

every tenth case. The misery of man had started with Adam and Eve and went so

forth with their sons and daughters. Two twins, Abel and Cain. One good, one

bad. Aerith cried. Her thoughts became fragmented. Her choking cry became a

trend every tenth stair. Worry and heartache wormed into her bosom to feast

upon humanity's curse. This pain that Sephiroth had always known and always

have seen...ate her heart. Slowly, she forgot why she was climbing stair after

stair. For glory? No. Glory is death. Heaven and hell be thy glory. Hallowed!

Oh, hallowed be they name, God! Why was it religion had been tossed aside in

the turning sails of time? Religion was a thing that brought unity. But even

such a thing being there to aid mankind in its darkest hour, the Crusades, the

Holy wars of olden time had been there to laugh at brotherhood and unity. The

Holy wars, the crusades, had been fought in the name of GOD. What a disaster.

Holy land. Hah. It was God's punishment for men to think of God being in

PLACE. God is EVERYWHERE.

She stared skyward at the impressive spirals. She thought of Midgar. She

thought of its crimes. She thought of humanity. She thought of its crimes.

This was Midgar. This was earth. This was where the streets have no names.

This is where the people have no faces. This where innocence is an impossible

task. She contradicted her views. She had thought of Cloud Strife as innocent.

No, she thought. No one is innocent now.

She climbed and she pushed herself onward, faster. She looked onward with

scorn. Pain burned her calves. She wanted to return to the restaurant with

Sephiroth without Cloud and have their fairly normal -- to them-- life back.

She climbed. Onward, ascending the stairwell to hell, with heaven in its

right. Looking skyward again, a warmth that was wet and glistening fell onto

her face. She wiped at her forehead and cheeks and discovered the warmth was

blood. Still warm. She stepped away from her current spot for a glimpse of

where it had come from. On a jagged end of the staircase, a piece of cloth,

dripping with blood hung. She climbed the necessary amount of steps. She

climbed. Pushed herself onward faster. She examined the cloth. There was a

considerably large amount of blood that dripped down and some more which

covered the jagged edge. Aerith recognized the material of the cloth and

pushed herself onward yet again. Aerith smiled now. Had Sephiroth left a trail

for her? She laughed inside. A trail of blood. So crimson, so deep red. He's

such insane show off BASTARD, she thought.

From that point on she couldn't recall the number of staircases she had

climbed. She lost count at maybe thirty of them that had been eaten up bu her

legs, so to speak. Her smile stayed upon her face, a silent prayer on her

curling lips. What Sephiroth would give to be at harmony with the planet. What

he would give to see it crumble to dust. But she smiled. It had already

crumbled. It had already seeped its evils into the mainstream of the universe.

The planet would have a silent scream on its lips if it had lips. The ever

spinning staircase came to an end like everything else in the universe. Time

traveled through the past in the universe. The stars are but scars of the

past. The earth is but a giver of pain. A receiver of death. Mortality is

forever. A line of faith is nothing. Her thoughts were fragmented now. So she

stared as she climbed at the heaven above all hell and ignored the pain

ripping into her calves.

***

Cloud huddled in the corner of the corridor and refused to think of what

had happened. His eyes were shut tightly. He could almost see the stars in his

eyes. The imprint of time on the night's velvet sky. The pigeons cooed, calmed

from the last screams Sephiroth throat had to offer. The horrible scream

reverberated in Cloud's head. His ears rang. His blood chilled. The pigeons

cooed. The night, nor the child of song gave Sephiroth's scream solace. Cloud

had run. Blood engraved in his mind, on his hands, in his sleep forever. It

would be. It would be. He tried no to picture the sight of Sephiroth ripping

at the already ravaged body of ShinRa's scientist. Sephiroth's father.

Sephiroth's hate. The man who abandoned him.

"Oh God," Cloud muttered and leaned over, the sharp stab he had all along

in his stomach traveling up his esophagus and chilling his spine. He arched

violently as he grew rigid on the floor and vomited just as violently. There

was the image of Sephiroth, his face and body marred with blood, the pigeons

making him their master.

"Cloud," the girl said, standing above the boy who trembled. The stabbing

pain traveled down his back and to the pit of his stomach again before coming

up into his throat again. Cloud threw up again, bile sizzling in his mouth.

He cried and choked on the vile gastric juice.

"Leave me alone," he cried.

"S-Sephiroth's okay now, Cloud. I...I-I...I think. H-he...He's

calm...now. I think he's...calm."

"You knew about this," Cloud said. A pigeon waddled past Cloud, cocking

its head and with its crimson eyes it blinked at him and fluttered its bloody

wings. "You knew about this, Yuffie," he said in a low whisper.

***

"Sephiroth?" It was so unnatural for Sephiroth to snap like this that

Cloud was frightened. He sat on the window's pane, pigeons flying about him,

more settling on his stiff limbs. The light flooded upon him and he appeared

to be like a vision that many people claimed to see of Jesus, or someone holy.

The blood --most of which-- was not his own. The stench of death almost made

Cloud vomit again.

"Cloud, leave," Sephiroth rasped and collapsed against the pane, the

birds fluttering away violently.

"Why Sephiroth? We have to get out of here," he said. And then... "I'm

sorry I came here! I'm sorry I put you in danger!" Cloud pulled on his hair

until his scalp ached and he bit into his lip to numb it out, long overdue

tears beginning to roll down his cheeks.

"It's over now, Cloud. I suppose your sister can go with you. They'll

have more evidence against me, you know... him being my father and all,"

Sephiroth lifted his chin and pointed his face in the direction of the body.

The stench was almost overwhelming Cloud's nose. It almost felt as if the

cartilage was bubbling, trying to burn the stench away in his nose.

"We can still--"

"Go, Cloud," Sephiroth cut him off.

"But..." Cloud's face scrunched up with sadness. He frowned at Sephiroth.

Before he knew what was happening, strong arms circled around him and feathery

light hair brushed against his skin. Cloud at first felt shock, but he quickly

melted into the strong hold of the silver haired man. He was still strong even

if he was weak. All thoughts would then cease as the strong arms fell away

and the man's delicate fingers skillfully picked up the boy's chin, planting a

long sultry kiss on Cloud's lips. Cloud savored the feeling of Sephiroth's

lips and touched their glistening wetness, glancing up at Sephiroth with more

sadness.

"You're dying, aren't you?" Cloud whispered. Sephiroth felt no need to

cover up the fact that the amount of blood that left his body would never be

given back to him in time. The wounds were too deep. They were not in a

convenient situation either. He nodded slowly and looked at Cloud

determinately.

"Death does not cease one's being, Cloud. Just remember that. When I die

and when you die...when anyone dies...we will return to the planet. It will be

our ultimate peace.

"This was Yuffie's fault, wasn't it?" Cloud asked, sniffling.

"It was no one's fault," he said, his voice hardening as he looked at the

window.

"You're a ShinRa special defense man, aren't you, Sephiroth? Like Reno?"

"Yes, Cloud."

"I have...your makou gun," Cloud said, showing the shining gun to

Sephiroth. The man just smiled and patted the boy on the shoulder.

"Just like a kid," Sephiroth mused with his former tone, so obviously a

parody of himself that Cloud had the smile. He sank into Sephiroth's arms and

hugged him. fearing and knowing it was a last embrace.

"Sephiroth?" Cloud said, looking up into the man's beautiful mirrored

eyes. Sephiroth nodded slowly to Cloud and the boy touched Sephiroth's chest,

right before the wound. His heart. "I love you, Sephiroth," he whispered.

Sephiroth looked down and slumped into Cloud's arms. The boy held him tightly.

"I know," Sephiroth said in a hardly heard whisper as he loosened in

Cloud's grip significantly and his labored breath ended.

"Sephiroth?" Cloud searched for life in a whisper, but he knew that

Sephiroth had already left his body. He had already returned to the planet.

Cloud lay Sephiroth's body down lightly, hurt lingering in his eyes as he

stared at Sephiroth's closed eyes and parted lips. Cloud touched those lips

that touched his own. He would have never imagined him kissing him back. He

cradled his body once more before breaking away and he kneeled, unwrapping the

bandages and stuffing them into Sephiroth's jeans pocket.

Cloud stepped outside of the door, the makou gun in his hand. He had

gotten it back from Yuffie after they had met Sephiroth. Cloud looked at the

girl who was huddled in the corner. He felt the gun in his hands, tracing its

lines and symmetry. When he reached her she looked up and gave him a

questioning look. Cloud's expression was so hard and cold, lacking emotion. He

raised the gun to Yuffie's head and pulled the trigger before she could react

or struggle.

Watching her as she slumped , blood leaking from her head, Cloud

frowned. As he walked away, he realized what he had always known. When he was

a child in the burning building...Sephiroth had been there to save him. Cloud

looked at the door and then at Yuffie. He sighed, feeling alone in the world.

"Cloud! Sephiroth!" he heard Aerith Gainsborough call. It was from the

other side of the corridor. Cloud figured ShinRa was no longer protecting

their elevators and he ran to the end of the corridor, fearing that Aerith

would see what had happened.

"Aerith! I'm coming!" Cloud yelled and he disappeared into the elevator

with her. Sephiroth's essence seemed to stay with Cloud as he rode the

elevator down. Outside of the elevator, the drab world was crying for his

death in the form of rain. Sephiroth would be blamed for Yuffie and Hojo's

death. Cloud sighed, preparing to tell Aerith about his death.

Back to Midgar's grounds they would go. Back to home. Back to where the

streets had no names.

The End