Disclaimer: I do not in any way at all claim ownership of the characters, plots, or settings of FF7. They are Square Enix's. I do own any and all creatures/people/places/etc that are here-with created by me. Meaning, in other words, MINE!

A.N: Hello every one, new and old fans alike of me. Yes, the rumors are true, I have not died and am writing once more. Which means, once more I am writing pairings that few to no one ever writes about in ratings that few to no people write about. Now then, on to the real serious business. This is rated M for a reason. Mostly for incredibly violent language and gory, vividly described scenes. Also, much much fluff and possibly a lemon here and there. Issue number two, this is a shounen ai fic between Zack and Cloud. Don't like it, then leave now. I don't want to hear one single word about how you may hate shounen ai and all that what not. I am not forcing you to read this and I even warned you.

Selena: That's a first.

Lena: Hush you! Who said you could come out. Shoves her other personality back into the recesses of her brain Anywho, for everyone else still reading this...I love you! I hope you enjoy this as much as I do writing this. This fic is dedicated to all my fans who are ever so patient with me and enjoy reading my work. I'd give you a hug in real life if I could, but for now... (((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((.))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

Opposite Souls

Chapter One

He sighed, burying his face into one, black-gloved hand. Why? Why wouldn't he just...go away? Go and play with the new recruits on his own. Why did he need him to come with, to see all the damned eager faces that would be broken and kicked out all too soon anyway. Its not like it mattered to him who the hell the greenies were or what they looked like. Besides, if he had to put up with one more freckle-faced, babbling moron who just HAD to tell him how much they adored him, he'd snap.

"So, what do you say? Come with me?"

He was smiling again, that accursed infectious grin. He knew he'd lost. Sigh. "Fine Zack, but I'm staying out of sight and I'm not speaking."

Zack's grin widened and he leapt to his feet, grabbing the other man by the wrist and hauling him out the door. "Don't worry Seph, it'll be great! I got a good feeling about this one."

A slight, almost unnoticable twisting of the General's lips as he smiled. "Looking for your love at first sight still?"

The black-haired Soldier paused, giving him a wink. "Well, since YOU don't love me, I have to find them somewhere." He started off again, once more dragging Sephiroth into a fast jog. "Besides, I feel like I'm talking to a brick wall with you. I need someone else to talk to who'll actually say more then one word back."

"I resent that."

"Okay, sorry. More then three words." Zack laughed, halting as they came up to where the new recruits were lined up against the wall of one of the larger training rooms. Many slouched or hunched over, talking amoung themselves. One group near the end was passing a bottle around, drinking quickly before the sargeant could return and confiscate it.

Sephiroth let out another heavy sigh, leaning back against the doorway and motioning Zack away. "Go play. I'll watch from you."

With a salute, Zack had bounded off, for all the world acting like a big puppy who found a new bone. A couple of the recruits looked up with interest, wondering who the hell the man with the spiky black hair was. It took several minutes to sink into the gathering just who it was. "Holy shit! You're Lieutenant Zack, aren't you!"

Zack grinned and scratched he back of his head as 238 pairs of eyes focused on him, the room falling silent. "Guess I've been found out."

A rush of frantic movement as the recruits snapped to attention as best they could, sloppily giving the Soldier salutes. Then they were swarming around him, asking for advice, stories, and tips. Sephiroth chuckled softly as his friend sent him a pleading look for help. Zack had gotten himself into this, he could get himself out of it.

"Oh my god! Its the General!" The hushed remark spread like wild fire, until everyone was staring at the silver-haired man, who straightened slowly.

"I didn't think he was real."

"Look at that sword!"

The doors on the other side slammed open, the recruiting officer barrelling his way in. "Get back in line, you worthless bastards! Who the fuck said you could move!" His eyes caught on Zack and he snapped the Soldier a smart salute, before refocusing his attentions. "You, with the red hair! No drinking is allowed in here. Blondie, get your scrawny ass into line already!"

Cloud glared, shuffling to an empty spot along the wall and as far from any other as possible. He muttered under his breath a few choice words about the officers heritage before sinking into an abstract silence. His gaze became unfocused, glazing over as he looked at a spot on the far wall. He hadn't joined in the massive rush to speak with the Soldier, instead glad for the moment to be alone and to himself.

"STRIFE!"

He jerked, blinking and looking up into the very-red, very-angry face of the recruiting officer. "Yes, sir?"

His head snapped back as he took the blow solidly dealt to his jaw, grasping at the wall to keep from falling down. "Pay attention, you scrawny little punk! You're in Squadron 157. Trellis! Squad 243!"

He stumbled away from the wall, moving his way slowly towards an official-looking Shinra officer with the number 157 on his chest. The man pointed behind himself. "Get in line recruit."

Hazel eyes watched the blonde drag his feet, staring at the floor. Zack lifted a hand, rubbing his chin slightly as he stared at the recruit, intrigued. He had seen his type before, certaintly, so what was so fascinating about this one. "Strife, huh?"

"Lt. Zack!"

He started slightly, looking over to where a new Shinra personal had entered, the recruitment officer taking his leave. The dark-haired man covered a grimace of distaste as the drill sargeant snapped him a salute before turning to face the recruits. Oh yes, the Soldier remembered well his time with this particular man. Or, more importantly, all the punishments for his insubordinations the man had given him. He felt a momentary pang of sympathy for these poor kids who would have to deal with the man every day of their lives for the next year. "Hey Sarge!"

"This here is what a real Soldier is, recruits! Likely, none of you will ever be good enough to reach such a title! You're all weak, pathetic excuses of soldiers! Live with it! Your mothers aren't here anymore! So you can damn well cry to yourselves from now on! Your squad leaders will show you to the bunkers! I will see you here at 500 in the morning, SHARP! Anyone late, will be privelaged enough to demonstrate to me how many push-ups they can perform in one day. Dismissed!" Another general confusion of bodies stirred up as the squad leaders snapped to attention and began leading the new charges out of the room. "Lt. Zack, still causing trouble. I hope you're not planning on influencing these greenhorns to follow in your steps."

Zack barked out a laugh. "Ah, you found me out I see."

The sargeant sighed, running a hand over his face. He well remembered when the Soldier had been lower then the lowest Private. "Shouldn't you be off chasing girls, sneaking in liquor, irritating the hell out of Shinra's highest-ranking general, or some other disrespectful action. Or did you learn respect and protocol when I wasn't looking."

"Ah, Sarge, I thought you knew me better then that." He continued to grin, but his face became more serious. He watched the last recruits trailing out the door, eyes locking onto the blonde immediately, noting he was the last. "Interesting new group you have there."

The man grunted, obviously not agreeing. "Hardly. I've got a bunch of punks they picked up off the street, a group sent here from the Juvenile Jail because they're over-packed, not to mention that anti-social little bastard there." He motioned to the blonde. "They've warned me he's lazy and unattentive. And that one there, with the dark blue hair. He's mentally screwed-up."

"Oh good, he'll fit in just fine then." Zack muttered.

The Shinra officer never heard it, consulting his notes. "Orange-haired guy in here with one hell of a temper, some guy with light blue who's got a pyro tendency. What the hell! There's a girl in here! Hmmm...she's a mess too."

Zack smacked the larger man on the shoulder. "Well, have fun! I'll be in and out to check on them. I get the feeling this group is going to surprise us all."

The officer gave him a skeptical look, before giving his former student a salute and leaving. Zack whistled a tuneless rhythm, linking his hands behind his head and strolling back over to Sephiroth. The General was waiting out of sight, giving him an inquiring look. "Enjoy yourself?"

He nodded. "Immensly. Nice to see some cute recruits for once." He cut a side-long look at the silver-haired man. "There was even one I think you'd like."

"I don't like guys."

Zack snorted. "Suuuuure you don't. I know you better then that. No matter, I never said it was a guy, now did I?" He stopped suddenly, taking a longer look at his friend, even as the General was turning his face away. "Are you...blushing!"

"No!"

Hazel eyes filled with delighted humor. "Was it the comment that you like guys! I knew it! I mean, I can't blame you. I am pretty hot, wait what am I saying. I'm extremely hot. Its only natural you'd want to check me out." He dodged the fist that came flying at him, giggling. "Come on Sephy, tell me how long you've liked me. Oof!"

Zack looked at Sephiroth groggily from where he was slumped against the far wall. "Don't ever call me Sephy." He watched his friend storm away, wondering how he had managed to touch such a sensitive nerve in the other man. He hadn't meant to.

"Ow..." He moaned as he stood up, a moment of vertigo taking hold before his Soldier abilities kicked in to heal the minor damage. "Now what do I do?" He looked around himself, feeling the beginning edges of boredom taking over. A sudden thought struck him, giving him a reason to grin again at the though of doing something interesting. With a nonchalant attitude, Zack strolled toward the recruit's bunkers.

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You have got to be kidding me! Cloud looked around with a horrified look in his eyes. Fifty bunks, twenty-five lined up on each side of the room. Just one large room for all of them to share. He moved to the farthest bed on the left side, dropping the small bag he carried with him on top of it. The springs creaked and he padded over to where a set of doors were set into the wall by him. The blonde looked into the bathroom, an even more horrified look passing over his features. There were about seven stalls, and ten showers. Ten open showers. I'm going to die.

He backed away, going to sit on the edge of his bed. The chatter of the other recruits filled his ears and the blonde surpressed a groan of annoyance. His personal space was seriously being violated, the next recruit's bed less then two feet from his. A loud shout of laughter caught his attention, and he turned to see what the sudden commotion following it was all about. He scowled darkly upon seeing who and what was happening. The large red-head, what was his name? Wasn't it Hirro? Yeah, that was it. The larger boy held a smaller one pinned against the far wall, the smaller boy's feet dangling in the air.

"What do you mean you aren't going to move? I said this is my spot. Boys, help the bitch find his correct spot." He looked around, smirking. "Look, we can move him in right next to the other little pretty boy there."

Cloud winced, looking away and scowling to himself, even as a thread of fear flitted through his head. Fingers flew to caress the dagger hidden along his thigh, a slit in the side of his pants giving him easy access to the blade. The squeal of springs as the other boy was tossed onto his bed by the larger bully, followed closely by his possessions. The blonde looked at the scene from the corner of his eye, noting the two goons following their leader, who was currently looking...at...him...

"Well well, we have a really pretty one here, don't we boys?" The pinprick of fear quickly expanded. "Hey! Look at me when I'm talking to you!"

He slowly turned to meet the larger boy's eyes, scowling. "Fuck off."

His head snapped to the side with the force of the backhand, lip splitting and blood trailing down a corner of his mouth. "Feisty one, aren't you. I like that." A discreet nod had the other two boys moving to grab the blonde by the arms. "Perhaps we'll teach you some respect."

The two dragged him to his feet, keeping a steady hold on the struggling blonde as their leader cracked his knuckles. The breath flew out of him as Hirro slugged him twice in quick succession to his unprotected stomach. A fist to the face had his lip splitting again, this time from his teeth biting into it. The older boy lashed out a high kick, catching him in the chest and staggering all three of them back. Still, Cloud made no noise, just continued to glare up at the bully until the boy got irritated enough to blacken his eyes.

"Let him go."

He dimly heard the order, felt the air rush past his ears, before he landed face-first on the concrete. The steel-tipped boot of the red-head crashed into his side. He yelped softly, unable to stop the noise, and curled up waiting for the next blow. He cracked open an eye when it didn't, slowly uncurling when the reason why the bully had stopped became apparent. He was too busy trying to breath around the hand clamped around his throat, eyes bulging and fingers scrabbling at the arm holding him effortlessly in the air.

"Explain to me recruit, why you deemed it necessary for three of you to take on one boy amoung yourselves. Are you all so pathetic that you can not fight fairly, or is it that you're jealous he's stronger then you are?" Zack shook the kid in his grip once, before dropping him. "I could have you thrown out of here for this. Hell, I could throw you out of here for blinking at me."

"Forget it, sir. It was nothing." Cloud mumbled, staggering to his feet and pulling himself upright with the aid of the wall. He winced, right leg buckling slightly when he put too much weight on it. "I'm fine."

He stared at the kid, secretly marveling at the way he was able to conceal what must have been a terrible pain. "Like hell you are. Come on, let's get you patched-up. You recruit! Push-ups, now! You better still be doing them when I return." He reached out a hand, intending to grab Cloud by the shoulder and lead him out.

He inhaled swiftly, jerking back out of reach and whimpering softly. He retreated another step when Zack reached for him again, blinking when a hurt look came to the older man. "Alright, I won't touch you. Just...just follow me then, okay kid."

"I'm not a kid." The blonde growled. He lashed out at his tormentor as the passed, quicksilver fast he landed a solid kick to the other's stomach.

The Soldier opened the door, holding it open for him. "Whatever you say, kid."

"Don't call me that! I'm not a kid."

"Pshaw. How old are you? 14? 15?"

Cloud winced, painfully aware how young he looked. "I'm 17."

Zack blinked, staring at him. He was only two years younger then him! "Holy shit. Well, we need to get you a new nickname then! How about Shorty?"

The blonde growled, giving him his best you're-a-complete-moron look.

"Would you prefer Spike then?"

"Fuck off."

He watched the youth from the corner of one eye, his smile dissappearing completely as the younger boy stumbled into a wall as his right leg gave out again. He reached a hand out to help him up and steady him, only to meet terrified blue eyes and a small yelp as the blonde jerked back. Dear god! He's terrified, terrified of me! What the hell has happened to him? He's so scared of anyone getting to close. At least, when it isn't for a fight or punishment. "Its fine, Spike. I just wanted to help is all."

Cloud glared at him, discreetly running a hand up and down one arm to dispell the shivers of fear still lancing through him. "I don't need your help, I'm fine. Stop calling me Spike."

Zack laughed, moving on down the hallway. Still, he watched the blonde carefully as they went, both intrigued by him and saddened by the hurt and fear that was so carefully concealed within those blue eyes. I'll find out what happened, no matter what.

--------------------------------------------------------TBC-----------------------------------------------------------

A.N- Well, that was my rather corny and poorly-written first chapter. I had a difficult time thinking how to start it, so I went cliche' Zack/Cloud style. The Soldier who helps the recruit. Fortunately, it should be taking a rather original twist after this. I just have difficulties with opening chapters. Anywho, seeing as how this is my story, I should warn you I will be straying from the game significantly. I love Zack and thusly he will not be dying. Its just too...terrible a thing to kill someone like him. XD

But yes, the ensuring chapters will get better I hope, so stay with this. Also, check out my other fics if you care to and please leave me a review if you have time.

hugs to all

Lena