Disclaimer: You know, I'm getting really tired of adding these things... I do not own anything FFVII related... yadda, yadda, yadda... you people know it. You are in a fanfiction archive after all. I suspect you'd know what this is all about if you're here.

So yeah... basically, this will eventually be yaoi... so you're warned. If this is not your thing, get lost... don't wanna hear your yappin'! It will probably be long... at least, I hope so. I'll try to update as frequently, but people who've followed some of my other fiction will know that I might just not keep my word. I will try though.

This will eventually be Sephiroth/Cloud fic. Again, if this is not your thing, go away. Everyone else, love ya! This won't be a fluffy, happy story, but it will NOT be overly-angsty. Anyways, I'm pretty sure after reading this first chapter, you will have a good idea how the rest of the fic will be. Sarcastic, ironic... passionate, even, but not in a uber-romantic sort of way (ICKY)... that's how I usually write. It eventually WILL reach NC-17 (or MA... whatever... I don't know how this new rating system works...) but I will post the NC-17 parts on my website. Again, this might take some time, but I promise it will eventually come.

Now, with a little bit of history detail. If we consider what we DO know from the game, even though Sephiroth's age was never explicitly mentioned... we DO know that he is Lucrecia's son. Vincent mentioned that he has been sleeping in that coffin for 30 years (or "more than 3 decades" is what he said, if I remember correctly. I do know that he said something of the sort, so do correct me if I'm wrong) Okay... so, he put himself in that coffin because he let Lucrecia be used as a test subject for the Jenova project and couldn't protect her nor her childt. Hojo injected the cells into her while she was pregnant so that their son could inherit Jenova's cells and be the real test subject. I assume Sephiroth was born only a short time after that (since babies usually take 9 months to develop… ahem…), and Sephiroth told Zack (or Cloud) his mom died giving birth to him, during the flashback in Nibelheim (when really… who knows what exactly happened to her… we'll have to wait for Dirge of Cerberus…). Alright, so that would mean Sephiroth was born 30 years ago. Sephiroth went crazy 5 years before the game, hence was 25 when he disappeared and Cloud 16. Now, this story happened 7 years ago, when Cloud left for Midgar to become a SOLDIER. 30 - 7 makes 23, in my world... so that would make Cloud 14. All in all, Sephiroth is not an old perv (okay maybe he is a little...) and they only have 9 years of age difference... so they can shag all they want... happy?


I will first post only the first chapter, even though I have finished the second one also. I want to see how people react to the first chapter and if I judge it a good one, I will continue posting... if not... well I won't waste my time and will continue writing for my own lil pleasure... alone... hidden under a rock...-runs away crying-

Here it comes...

BUUUUUUUUURN, BABY! (Those of you who have played Tales of Symphonia, squeal away with me now)

Chapter 1


The golden haired boy sighed dejectedly as he heavily let himself fall backwards on the small mattress of his bunker bed. Arms and legs sluggishly spread around him, he stared blankly at the bed above him. He would have preferred to choose the upper mattress of the bunker when he first arrived, but his dorm mate had beaten him to it. Literally.

The room he was assigned to was somewhat small, ugly even, but with just enough space for the bunker bed and two dressers for both of the occupants' belongings. Cloud and his dorm mate also had a closet of their own on their respective side of the room, but unfortunately, had no choice but to share a bathroom. Even though the brute was extremely messy and usually left the place in a mess, Cloud endured it. It was either that or the communal showers down the corridor of their Squad's section of the building.

Cloud wasn't necessarily scared of any of them. He just knew how to stay away from trouble, because none of his superiors would ever help him or take his side if he was to be caught in a fight. He despised his pig of a dorm mate, and avoided any confrontation with the rest of his squad if he could, because those usually found their way easily towards the spiky haired blond.

He was like a freaking magnet.

Whether it was because of his height, his tendency for rebellious, even sharp attitude or the unmanageable spikes on his head, he didn't know, but one thing was certain; life at Shinra Military Academy had been everything but easy for him.

Cloud had arrived in Midgar just but a short month ago and he already knew coming here had been the worst mistake of his life. He had known ever since the very first day. Of course, Shinra had accepted him at the military academy; they accepted everyone, so that hadn't been a problem. But the mocking sneers he had first received from the soldiers-as-clerks when presenting his registration papers had instantly told him all he needed to know on how his presence would be deemed in the days to come. Both men at the registration office had measured at least six feet, and their bodies, large and muscled had invoked anything but the impression of gentleness.

That day, Cloud - thin, lanky form of five feet four inches - had forced down a sob of despair. Even his long, blond spikes had been of no help to him in this situation. He was almost certain that the clerks had felt the urge to laugh at him, though he hadn't been sure if it was out of pity or mockery… or both… but he was very grateful that these men had been ordered to follow strict procedures.

His fiery, stubborn nature had quickly erased any trace of self-pity or remorse in his system, replacing the feelings with violent determination. He had glared at the much taller, arrogant men, had forcefully shoved his applications and personal information sheets on the desk in front of them. He had then raised his chin defiantly. If the conceited bastards believed they could intimidate Cloud Strife, they were strongly mistaking.

Yeah, so what if he had extremely drastic mood swings!

Seeing the boy's change in attitude, the soldiers had taken the roughly offered sheets, smirking, and had instructed him to walk down the corridor behind them to join his comrades-in-arms to be.

No, the Shinra Military Department never refused anyone; they preferred to completely humiliate those foolish enough to join, knowing good and well what kind of torture they would endure if not fit for the job.

Just like Cloud.

If the stares of those two Soldiers at the register desk had been disconcerting, the looks the rest of the new candidates Cloud had soon found himself surrounded by were pure, utter agony. They might not have been all as fit and muscled as the clerks, but most of them were at least 2 years older than the short spiky haired blond – or looked it - , meaning they had already gone through major growth spurts.

Why had he decided to leave Nibelheim, again?

Right, for the exact same reason these assholes were staring at him. So they thought he wasn't good enough? That they were superior? He was going to prove everyone he was strong, that he could kick every last one of their asses. He wasn't going to be anyone's bitch.

Glaring back murderously at each and every last one of the derisive stares, he shifted his large, heavy back pack, which he'd been holding with his right hand, over his shoulder. Holding his glare, he raised his chin slightly higher and walked closer to the front of the room. For some reason, it seemed like the entire area had grown silent the moment he walked in, but people were finally beginning to resume their conversations. Cloud distinguished several scornful snorts through the gradually growing voices. He knew they were probably all directed at him, but he couldn't have been bothered.

Joining the Shinra Military had been his decision and he was determined to suffer the consequences of his idiotic choices. Why the hell was he the only shorty in this world determined to prove his worth?

Right… because this shorty was also retarded, pig headed and masochistic.

His mother had always told him his personality was the worst of combinations.

After harshly pushing his way through several larger bodies - of which several sneered degrading comments at him and were, of course, all ignored by Cloud – the spiky haired youth finally managed to find himself a dark, deserted spot, in a corner of the room. He headed towards it, let his heavy bag fall to the ground and sat down beside it; back resting against the wall, head and arms slumped against his raised knees.

Cloud and the rest of the candidates in the room waited for a few hours. All talked cheerfully, a majority boasting to each other of whatever incredible feat they had accomplished before deciding to apply at the Shinra Military.

At that moment, it had been all the more evident that his choice had not been a good one. He did not belong in this sort of environment.

He had begun to grow quite impatient when he noticed that someone was pushing their way through the crowd a few meters before him. The person was finally able to make his way through, bouncing away from the crowd. Glaring backwards and shouting a long trail of profanities he turned around towards Cloud, grinning down cheerfully at him.

The Wutainese teenager had straight, black hair that went down just below his eyes… and he was short. At that moment, Cloud had known that this guy would be the only friendly acquaintance he'd make in a long time… and up until now, one month later, Cloud had yet to be proven wrong.

The short teen moved towards him quickly and squatted down to his level, reaching out a hand. "Mura Hiroki!" he said cheerfully, dark, almond shaped eyes sparkling amiably as he presented himself.

Cloud stared down at the extended hand. Had they now created the "shorty club" amongst all the jocks? He was aware - had always been - that he was doomed to remain short for the rest of his life, but somehow, to have no choice but linger with "his kind", was somewhat unnerving.

Why were people so shallow?

Sighing exasperatedly, Cloud reached out for the boy's hand, shaking it half-heartedly. "Cloud Strife."

The young man straightened up, beaming down at his newly found friend.

"I'm not sure how Wutainese people function with names…" Cloud trailed quietly, attempting to start conversation.

"Oh!" the boy exclaimed. "We say our last names before the first… so you can just call me Hiroki."

Cloud nodded. Silence grew between them, but Hiroki didn't seem to feel uncomfortable with it, so the spiky haired blond decided he wouldn't need to rack his brain to find subjects he most definitely did not feel like conversing about at that moment.

Apparently, fate was upon him after all, that day, for several of the people around them grew silent, only to turn around and stare curiously at the front of the room, where a stage could be found.

Several people - five in total (2 female, 3 male) and each wearing dark blue suits, white dress shirts underneath their jackets and shades over their eyes - slowly walked on stage from a hidden door to the left. They stopped, arms folded behind their backs and extremely solemn looks tracing their faces, each located at equal distances, strategically guarding the entire back area of the stage. As soon as they had taken their position, several other men followed, all forming a perfectly straight line at the center of the stage. They were tall and muscled. Each of them wore similar baggy uniforms of different shades, but all wore a small emblem on their belts; a drawing which looked like a head on top of a human torso.

Cloud had stared dreamily at it for hours in his childhood enough times to know exactly what it represented.


Even though some of the men in the crowd had mocked Cloud earlier that day, each of them now shared his emotion as they stared at those men. All eyes were fixed upon the badges on their belts, openly ogling them in admiration.

A hatch suddenly slid open, situated in the middle of the back wall of the stage and revealed a door. The SOLDIERs and people-in-suits instantly repositioned to form a path perpendicular to the door, just in time for it to open. A slightly porky man, wearing expensive looking, burgundy suit slowly walked out of the door and made his way towards the front of the stage, walking in the path the other men and women had formed for him. His blond, whitening hair was slicked back on his head.

Cloud instantly noticed the threatening aura which practically glowed around the man. If he hadn't seen him in the news papers before, he still would have recognized him as no other than President ShinRa. But even if a man of such importance had suddenly graced the room with his presence, Cloud could pay no attention to him as he noticed the much taller form which closely followed him.

He could only distinguish the top of the other person's silky, silver haired head, but that simple detail was enough to render Cloud's senses numb. Quickly, the spiky blond haired youth jumped off the ground, standing up as tall as he could.

It was him.

The spiky haired youth could nearly feel the people around him bubbling with restrained excitement and awe. He knew his eyes had already begun to widen, that he was holding his breath. He had prepared himself for this moment a thousand times before, but somehow, he still could not stop his entire body from freezing.

President ShinRa finally stopped at the front of the stage. Transfixed, Cloud's blue gazed followed closely as, slowly, the tall, intimidating man whom had been following him, walked to his sides in long, prowling strides. His pale face wore no expression as he stopped beside his President, staring down coldly at the crowd below him. His large, powerful body was completely clothed in black. His long, leather trench coat, which he wore tightly on his chest, and lose below the waist, freely fell around his legs. Underneath his coat, a large belt with the SOLDIER symbol was clasped around his midsection, the single clasp of his coat right below it causing the upper portion to open even wider against his sculpted, bare chest, shadowed by two crossed leather bands. He wore black, baggy leather pants and long military boots. On his shoulders, over his coat, metal, shoulder plates were clasped, making his already broad shoulders seem ever larger. Cloud could distinguish an extremely long, thin sword attached across the man's back, resting in its sheath.

On any other man, the cascade of silky, silver hair falling down his back and before his eyes might have looked feminine, but on this daunting person, it could only emphasize his unique, petrifying, mesmerizing demeanor.

The menacing SOLDIER was the perfect image of calm and control but… at the same time, emanated a feel of powerful and cool violence. His glowing, icy, aqua gaze invoked a chilling, paralyzing fear within Cloud, like daggers slicing through his soul, reading his very mind, breaking through his mental barriers… and yet, he could only admire it.

The man's presence seemed to have completely numbed the crowd, causing all eyes to stare with intense fascination.

He was the true reason Cloud had decided to join. He was the one Cloud had always dreamed of becoming.

His hero… his goal… his idol…

General Sephiroth.

The Great Sephiroth.

After but a few seconds, President Shinra began a speech, congratulating all whom had come and explaining what joining the organization meant with great pride and honor… but Cloud could hear no words as his eyes remained fixed upon the SOLDIER General, admiring the person he had idolized for the most part of his life. Somehow, finally seeing the real man and not only the dream image he had so many times summoned in his mind only brought his goals closer to fulfillment. At that moment, he had felt determination swell up and engulf him completely. He would become like this man, he would make everyone proud.

Just as his lips spread into a dazed grin, his body completely froze seeing those intense, glowing aqua orbs slowly fall upon him, staring, observing him. He could feel the sharp gaze cut through his very soul, reading him like an open book.

Sephiroth was looking at him.

He felt dizzy, like the oxygen in the air had suddenly completely vanished. His eyes widened impossibly. He felt his body begin to tremble.

Why was he acting this way? This was his chance to make himself be noticed by his idol! Why wouldn't he move? Why was he gaping like a frightened child?

He couldn't breath.

He jumped, startled when he felt a hand close around his forearm. His head shot to the side, only to find Hiroki staring at him worriedly.

He took a deep calming breath and hesitatingly, he glanced back at Sephiroth. From far away, the aqua orbs were still upon him. Cloud noticed a thin quirk at the corner of the emotionless man's lips before his cold gaze swept away from him, to stare back and forth at the rest of the crowd, smirk disappeared.

The spiky haired young man could almost hear the silent words spoken the mysterious, brief gesture. Their echoes whispered inside his mind accusingly, trying to slowly crush him.



Yes, even Sephiroth, having glanced upon him but a brief moment from afar, had known how thoughtless a boy Cloud had been to join the Military forces.

Cloud felt humiliation burning through his heart, spreading like wildfire through his veins. How could he have been so weak? How could he have allowed himself to act so foolishly? Sephiroth had gazed at him and he had instantly been paralyzed. He was a disgrace!

Glaring at the side of the General's face, he promised to both himself and his hero that he would never again allow himself to show such shameful behavior; one day he would become a powerful fighter.

A month had now passed since Cloud's faithful meeting with the General - if one could even call it that; the man had been several meters away, after all – he still had yet to find an opportunity to prove his worth. He had never once broken the promise he had made to himself on his first day at the academy, but circumstances had made it very hard for him not to lose the energy, or the will to follow his dreams.

There were many classes to be attended every day (M.U.P: Mako uses and properties; physical training, hand-to-hand combat, weapon training, tactical training…) of which he believed he did not have much difficulty following. The problems he encountered were mostly with the other cadets who, so far, had made it their personal duty to make his and Hiroki's life a living hell. The instructors were of no better support either and he'd be damned if he ever went to ask for their help; he would endure everything the rest of them sent his way and he would prove them all that he was better a SOLDIER than they could ever be.

Sighing, the blond cadet shifted on his bunker bed. This was usually how he spent the end of his afternoons; thinking how badly his life sucked. He'd then begin wondering how his mother was faring back home, only to abruptly remind himself that he wasn't some stupid sissy and instead resumed his brooding instead.

Exciting, wasn't it?

Like that was his fault!

Before Cloud could ever let another sigh of despair escape him, a soft swishing noise came from behind him, making him instead groan miserably.

Bill was back.

Closing his eyes in an attempt to feign sleep, Cloud sensed the older man pass the bunker bed and move towards the bath room.

"Yo! Short-ass!" the young man's hoarse voice suddenly yelled from inside the restroom.

The spiky haired blond felt his well restrained hatred ignite. Sitting up on his mattress, he turned towards the man, glaring.

"What do you want?" he sneered rudely.

He heard Bill stomp his way back towards the bunk bed and soon found himself in the large shadow of his room mate.

"Don't you play smart ass with me, Choco-head," the older youth spat.

Cloud felt his entire body tense with reserved fury. Someday… someday… he swore to himself furiously.

"Just tell me what the hell you want then!" Cloud shouted back and soon found his hair caught in the much stronger man's death grip, as he pulled his body into a standing position and tugged his head closer to his.

The blond haired youth glared up at the taller young man defiantly.

"Did you steal my gym key-card?" Bill inquired threateningly. Cloud felt the urge to laugh. He might not have been able to defend himself, but the bastard was fooling himself if he thought he could scare him.

"What if I did?" Cloud smirked, staring mockingly into the older youth's eyes.

Cloud gasped in pain as Bill pulled sharply at his blond spikes, bringing a stinging burn to his scalp.

"If I find out you really have it…" the following violent tug at Cloud's hair made it clear what he planned to do to him. Without another word, Bill released his room mate, pushing him back on his bunker bed forcefully and left the room stomping, metal door swishing closed behind him.

"ASSHOLE!" Cloud screamed the second he heard the door close, punching the mattress beneath him angrily.

"Oy, who you callin' an asshole, huh?" suddenly exclaimed a voice much different from Bill's. Startled, Cloud's head shot up, only to find a dark haired, Wutainese boy standing in the door frame, back laid against it and arms crossed over his lithe chest.

The spiky haired cadet smiled softly at the sight of Hiroki. He'd grown to like the guy even though they had only met a short while ago. He was extremely optimistic and cheerful; both of which were attitudes Cloud often found himself unable to be. Hiroki was of great help to him, albeit he felt like strangling him half of the time. When Cloud was pissed, you just didn't bother him… but somehow, the Wutainese had yet to understand this fact and for that, the spiky haired blond was grateful. Not many would have endured his mood swings - hell he had trouble enduring his own mind – but Hiroki never seemed bothered.

All in all, Cloud didn't particularly mind being one of the founders of the 'Shorty Club' anymore… besides, he needed all the allies he could get to back him up in dire situations.

"So, what'd the oaf lose this time?" Hiroki asked cheerfully.

Yawning, Cloud stretched and by doing so, in mock discretion, reached inside the secret pocket of his blue, cadet uniform. He flipped the metal card between his index and middle finger and proudly showed it to his friend, grinning mischievously.

Hiroki's eyes widened as he bounced closer to Cloud's extended arm, grabbing his wrists and pulling it to him to carefully inspect the thin object.

"Eh?! No way! I can't believe you actually stole it from him!" Hiroki exclaimed, straightening up as he scowled down reproachfully, albeit uncertainly, at the blond.

Oh yeah, had he mentioned that Hiroki was also a coward - or, what he liked to call himself, mentally sane -? In other words, Cloud actually didn't have any allies to back him up if dire situations were to present themselves. But at least the wimp would be there to drag his bloodied ass out of trouble once everything would be finished.

Thank the Planet he'd never gone up to that point yet, because he wasn't so sure he completely trusted Hiroki, yet.

Cloud supposed his spineless attitude could be forgiven though, because Hiroki had not joined the Shinra Army by choice; he had been forced by his family. Being a child from the slums, the only other options set by his loving parents had been either, illegal activities or living in the streets.

Cloud safely hid the gym keycard back inside the hidden pocket of his uniform shirt, grinning confidently.

"Growing men need their exercise! Besides, I would have been able to get one of my own long before that gorilla, if it weren't for the incompetent instructors we have. I'm tired of trying to prove myself when no one will ever acknowledge what I'm capable of because of my looks; I simply took matters into my own hands," Cloud explained arrogantly, straightening up on his bed as he glared at his friend.

Hiroki raised an eyebrow doubtfully. "Is that why you always get your ass bashed to the ground whenever you have hand-to-hand combat practice?"

Cloud bounced to his feet furiously. "I don't!"

Hiroki's dark brows rose further. "You and I both know what you need to do to receive gym privileges; we all receive a key card after 10 successful battles."

Cloud crossed his arms, raising his chin stubbornly. "Tch… who are you to talk? You aren't in my classes, or else you'd have seen that the instructors judge me unfairly just 'cause they don't like me."

Cloud had never once taken hand-to-hand combat practice lightly; he'd fought all his adversaries forcefully, body burning with determination… but somehow, he'd always managed to lose. Every time, before he made the first move, he would allow the fire, blazing in his heart and rushing down his veins to take over… but whenever a fight began, something always crushed his resolve. Whether it was because of memories of his childhood, his brain malfunctioned or he was just plain weak, the strength he believed he had felt inside him somehow always vanished and he was left looking like that pathetic skinny cadet the majority of people here thought him to be.

But like hell he was ever going to go back to Nibelheim baring that kind of poor excuse. He would become a SOLDIER.

Cloud suddenly felt like punching the soft, bitter smile off Hiroki's face.

"Come on, we better go or else we'll be eatin' the left-overs," the Wutainese complained, pushing Cloud out of the room.

"T.G.I.F. huh?" the dark haired youth yawned, stretching as they hurriedly made their way towards the cafeteria, passing several men in lab-coats and higher ranked troopers as they walked down the wide, ugly metal hallways. Everything was made out of metal, here. Computers and advanced technology surrounded them everywhere. Cloud supposed it was inevitable, as they were in the Headquarters of the world's most powerful army… and they were in Midgar after all.

The spiky haired blond reminded himself to nod in acknowledgement. Hiroki hated being too obviously ignored. They stopped in front of the elevator at the end of the corridor as Hiroki swiped his I.D. card through the scanner slot.

All personnel and cadet needed key cards to move through out the Shinra buildings at all times. The military HQ itself consisted of two buildings which were attached by a bridge-like corridor that connected between them. The Academy, smaller building of the two, had only 15 floors, 10 of which served as living quarters for each of the different Cadet Squads. The remaining floors served as training, research and recreational facilities. The second building, where all the fully trained troopers, SOLDIER members and officers resided, was the more intimidating building of the two, composed of 50 floors. The building's arrangements were mostly similar to the Academy's, except that it held more Squads. Cadets were not allowed inside, unless under special order or authorization. The Main Shinra Structure, the executive facility which controlled and directed everything that was the Shinra Company was in between these two Military towers. The Main Building was also off limits to all cadets and only troopers or SOLDIERs were allowed inside, but only on certain levels of the edifice.

The elevator doors finally swished open. Two officers passed the two teenagers, ignoring them completely. Cloud felt one of his frequently recurring urges to flip both of them off, but restrained himself as he simply followed his friend inside his elevator, watching him punch the basement level button.

"Man, I can't believe I survived last week. Cafeteria duties was pure torture, I swear!" the Wutainese suddenly complained. The spiky haired boy beside him suddenly felt his stomach give a nauseating back flip as he remembered that his Squad would be attending those duties in three days, when the new week began.

Cafeteria duties switched from one Squad to another every week, following numerical order. Basically, the Army Council had deemed it essential for cadets to also learn the basics of cooking during their training. While gone on missions, teams frequently needed to tend for themselves and death from malnutrition was apparently not an option. Hence, every week, except on week-ends, a different Cadet Squad was in charge of making the food for the rest of the Military Department… because the cafeteria was the only facility the ENTIRE department attended and shared, since both buildings only sported a single cafeteria, linked between both building at the basement level. To be given the chance of familiarizing with their superiors supposedly aided trainees in their development and inspired them. Another bright idea of the Military Department's Council.

In other words; SOLDIER members and ranking officers attended it every day along side the cadets and troopers during breakfast, lunch and dining hours.

And Cloud couldn't cook for the life of him.

With his luck, even though the man had never been seen in the Cafeteria ever since Cloud had arrived, General Sephiroth himself would come down to eat the very first day of his duties.

He was so dead.

Inside the elevator, the two teens descended to the cafeteria in silence. When the doors finally swished open before them, the elevator compartment was abruptly engulfed with loud noises of clattering and talking as cadets, SOLDIERS and officers alike ate, their vigorous voices booming through out the extremely wide room.

Cloud's sapphire eyes gazed slowly through out the room, narrowing in disgust as they fell on several of the men present.

The army needed women. Desperately.

Army men were pigs.

Scratch that… men were pigs.

The two short teens made for the line at the food counter quietly, each picking up a plastic plate and praying that the food would be better than the day before. Squads were usually smart enough to assign their best men to the kitchens, but sometimes it couldn't be helped; all of them were incompetent at the task. So far that week, the Squad allocated to Cafeteria duties could have been considered as much.

Cloud's eyes widened gratefully, almost glowing with happiness as they fell on today's menu.

Hot Dogs.

So there was a God, after all. His stomach would today be spared of any indigestion.

As he quickly grabbed for five of them, he furiously wondered why the hell those retards had taken so long to understand that they didn't actually need to cook complex meals as long as they delivered edible substances.

And people wondered why he was so thin.

He glared defiantly at the food clerk, daring the bastard to even say anything about the number of hotdogs he had taken. He had lost all the food reserves in his system and there was no way he was going to let himself starve any longer.

After taking something to drink, he followed his friend to one of the few remaining unoccupied tables. He nearly ravished his plate, eating each of the hotdogs in one bite and swallow.

Soldiers were pigs… when had he ever said he wasn't one of them too?

He paid no attention to Hiroki's disgusted objections as he finished his meal and downed his beverage in a very similar way than his food. Sighing contentedly as he rubbed his flat belly, he grinned at his friend when the Wutainese pushed away his plate, grimacing.

"Thanks for ruining my meal, man," he grumbled, glaring viciously at him.

"Stop whining like a freaking girl, you damn poof!" Cloud countered teasingly. He burst into loud chuckles as the older boy's face flushed deeply with anger. He could almost see the smoke rushing out of his ears. Resting his elbow against the table, he laid his chin against his palm, staring off in the distance as he tuned off Hiroki's tantrum. He was always quite touchy with the 'homosexual' subject.

He had almost completely blocked the rest of the world out, escaping far in the dark depths of his mind when something suddenly pulled him out of his reveries.

His azure eyes widened in awe as they fell to the large sword strapped onto a man's back, just as he passed their table.

The weapon was huge. The black, spiky haired trooper was of slightly more than average height and built, and even then, the blade was at least as wide as half of the man's torso and its length reached down to the back of his knees. It must have weighted at least 200 pounds! Cloud never would have thought it possible for someone to handle such a weapon.

"Hiro, shut up…" Cloud snapped, still staring at the man as he stopped at a table of other troopers– a rank higher than cadet but lower than that of SOLDIER and was considered enough to be part of Shinra's military force – several tables ahead of them, grinning goofily. The man began talking loudly, hands gesturing wildly as he surely boasted about one of his incredible exploits to the others. The other men burst out in loud laughter and then erupted in cheers at the black, wild, spiky haired man threw his arms in the air and finally sat down to begin his meal.

Cloud narrowed his eyes disdainfully at him and then eyed the large sword still strapped behind the man's back.

Hiroki was staring at him impatiently as he finally glanced back towards him.

"Who's that guy?" the spiky haired blond asked, nodding towards the black haired man several feet away.

Hiroki frowned in confusion, turning around once more. He glanced back and forth through the crowd then sharply turned back to face his friend. "Unless you haven't noticed, Strife, there are a lot of guys around here,"

Cloud rolled his eyes impatiently. "That guy, with the huge sword and spiky black hair…" he pointed discretely towards the man in question.

Hiroki looked where his friend was pointing. His eyes widened in recognition.

"Oh! That's C. Squad Nine's leader, Sgt Charon," he exclaimed, matter of factly. "Don't tell me you've never heard of Zack Charon?"

Cloud glowered. "Unlike a certain girly someone, I don't waste my time listening to gossip."

Hiroki stood up quickly enough to punch him behind the head and sit back down. "I may not be a fighter, but at least I'm good at gathering info," he argued viciously. "That guy has been here for only 7 months and has already become a fully trained trooper and Squad Leader. I heard he's one of the most promising recruits Shinra Military Department ever had to train. His sword might be huge, but he's known to be extremely quick and skilled at any kind of combat. Rumors say that he rarely resorts to violence, though; he doesn't like it."

Cloud frowned in confusion. One of the most promising recruits, and yet the guy didn't even enjoy fighting? What, did he expect to win wars by hugging everyone to death?

His eyes again slipped back to the man, now known as Zack Charon. He observed him closely.

Zack's almost childish blue gaze sparkled animatedly as he continued to talk with his co-workers. His raven spikes fell in his back, down just below his shoulder blades. The goofy grin seemed to never leave his face. Blinking, the man slowly averted his eyes away from his companions, searching around him until they finally fell on Cloud, grin now gone to be replaced by an expression of curious confusion.

The spiky haired blond flinched as their gazes met.

The Sergeant's grin instantly re-appeared.

And the idiot actually waved at Cloud. The young cadet abruptly averted his gaze away from him.

"Some even compare him to a teddy bear. He doesn't act it; but he's very dangerous on the battle field."

Cloud's attention was abruptly pulled back to his friend as he heard Hiroki's words.

"I doubt someone with that kind of dumb expression could ever be dangerous," the doubtful teen sniggered.

"And I suppose people invented all this about him from scratch? Even though he's only in charge of a Cadet Squad, an 18 year old guy wouldn't rise up to the position of Sergeant in 5 months if he hadn't done lots of ass-kicking."

Glaring, Cloud's gaze again fell on the black haired man, several meters away, just as he stood up from his seat. He turned around, about to leave. Cloud's eyes were instantly fixed upon the remarkable weapon in the sheath attached to the man's back. His eyes softened longingly as he stared at it.

"Did you choose which weapon you wanted to train with?" Cloud asked his friend dreamily, unable to remove his gaze from the weapon, even as the Sergeant walked towards the exit of the room.

"We don't start specializing in any weapons before our 3rd month in the academy…" the Wutainese reminded him.

"Yeah…" Cloud whispered. He suddenly felt a new wave of determination hitting him full force. He wanted to use a sword just as powerful as this one. He was going to wield one. He would need to gain an incredible strength just to be able to hold it, but he didn't care.

"I want to specialize in swords," Cloud said firmly, staring back at his friend. The almond shaped boy snorted.

"Freakin' Sephiroth wanna-bes…" he shook his head in despair, standing up from his seat.

Cloud flipped him off, forcing down the heat from spreading across his cheeks.




Author's note : Ooookay... so how'd y'all like it? (saying y'all is fun... and no I don't come from Texas) I hope you enjoyed, because I sure as hell love this baby. Pleeeeeeeeease review? I really don't want to have to stash this away... –sobs-

I got the inspiration to write this after seeing all the trailers from FFVII: Advent Children. MY GAWD! Aren't you people so EAGER to see that movie? IT'S GONNA FUCKIN' ROOOOOOCK! Oh yeah!

Anyways... please tell me what you think of my story... I'm waiting for your comments!

By the way, Zack's last name is property of Empress Konitsu! She let me borrow the name she found. Where it comes from, is kinda ironic really… I don't exactly remember from which mythology it is, but Charon was the guy who brought the souls of the dead in the river Styx… and Zack's dead… so yeah… anyways, thank you lots Empress Konitsu.

Love ya!