Hopefully this chapter was worth the week wait, tho' I'm sure there's OOC present here. Hopefully no one's too disappointed...
Date- Part III of III
Another week had passed, and things in the castle seemed more desolate than ever. Sephiroth was withdrawn, was hardly attentive on his 'dates', and picked at his food. He didn't seem to care anymore.
Zack had made numerous attempts to cheer him up, and even his parents had tried by hiring better musicians for dinner parties, making his favorite foods, even by spending some more time with him and trying to talk about happy things. He just answered like a robot and left it at that.
"C'mon, you can't be depressed forever!" Zack finally said. "Just find yourself another person- the Cloud we knew never really existed anyway!" Inwardly, Zack apologized a thousand times to Cloud- he had grown fond of him, regardless of what Cloud had done. Still, the fact remained that Sephiroth had to move on.
"I don't care- and I am not depressed." Sephiroth said tonelessly. He wasn't convincing anyone, not even himself. Zack sighed.
"I hate to see you do this to yourself, man."
"My behavoir hasn't changed. I am simply acting as though he never came here." Sephiroth said. No one ever needed to ask who Sephiroth referred to as 'he' when he used that tone.
"No- you're acting..." Zack trailed off, not wanting to incite the other man's anger.
"If you have something to say, say it. If you are just here to waste my time, leave." Sephiroth said. Zack stood, heading towards the door, stopping a few feet from it.
"Well, if it's any consolation, apparently Cloud's having as hard a time as you." Zack said. He had been secretly keeping tabs on his blonde friend, and had been surprised to learn that Cloud had been having trouble sleeping, eaten little, and had requested a two-week vacation because he couldn't concentrate and would be of no use as a guard when he was constantly distracted. Cloud had, of course, been given his vacation and had taken off two days ago to Costa del Sol.
Zack turned his head slightly, just in time to catch Sephiroth stiffening at Cloud's name, then relaxing suddenly and turning to Zack as the rest of his words sunk in.
"What do you mean?"
Smiling thinly, Zack turned around and walked back over by Sephiroth.
"Well, you see, I've been keeping tabs on Spikey..."
Zack told Sephiroth what he knew, and then he added in what he had assumed based off of Cloud's behavior.
"I think... well, I'm pretty sure he came here for you." Zack said. Sephiroth stared dumbly at the information he was presented with. Zack made a mental note to gloat later on how he reduced the great Sephiroth to dumb stares twice.
"Yeah. I did a bit of digging, and I think that maybe Cloud just dressed like a girl so he could get here and meet you. He seems as depressed as you are now. Are you sure... you didn't overreact and read this wrong?" Zack asked carefully.
"Who would cross-dress just to meet someone? It makes no sense... why did he not just ask Aeris to request a meeting with me, or ask to be brought along for the next royal function?"
"If I may," Zack said, hoping to heaven that he was right. "I think he did what he did because he wanted you to see him, and only him. He wanted to be able to get close to you, talk with you about nothing in particular, and that's all. To me, it sounds an awful lot like he really liked you." Zack said, He was hesitant to say 'love', but he was pretty sure that Cloud had loved Sephiroth. If looked at in that light, it all made perfect sense.
"... do you really think so?" Sephiroth seemed to hesitate with the question, and Zack knew that (had Zack been anyone else) that Sephiroth would not have asked.
"Yeah, I do." Zack replied, nodding. Seeming to come to a decision, Sephiroth stood.
"Well, then why are we still here?" Sephiroth asked. Zack blinked, confused.
"Where did Cloud go on vacation to?" Sephiroth asked, like it was the most obvious question in the world. Zack realized what Sephiroth meant, and slowly broke into a grin.
"Costa del Sol. You going after him?" he asked knowingly. Sephiroth nodded.
"I see no reason not to." Zack smiled as Sephiroth began to move past him out the door.
"I'm coming too- bodyguard duty and all that!" Zack said, cheerfully sliding into step behind Sephiroth.
"Then go get the chocobos ready." Sephiroth said. Zack nodded, realized Sephiroth couldn't see it, and darted ahead of the prince to get to the stables.
Had he looked, he would have seen a hint of a smile on the silver-haired man's face.
Cloud sighed, fixing his black sunglasses with one hand. It was a beautiful day out- few clouds, bright sun, low humidity and very warm with just a light breeze. Many would say that it was a perfect day for the beach, intent on getting a nice tan. Cloud was even wearing a nice new pair of swim trunks- black with white stripes on the sides- and had been getting some appreciative looks from the other beach-goers.
Cloud couldn't bring himself to care.
He had nothing else to do that day, and had planned on just relaxing in the sand. Of course, he hadn't expected what seemed to be the entire tourist population and quite a few natives to end up on the beach. He had just enough room to sit on the lawn chair he had brought.
He had tried to relax in his hotel room, but it just hadn't worked. He had to be out in the fresh air- and maybe he could find someone to take his mind off of Sephiroth. So far, it hadn't worked.
Half the reason he had requested a vacation was because he wanted to find someone to fill the ache in his heart. He still loved Sephiroth, but being rejected when the truth had been found out had hurt. Costa del Sol was a very active tourist area, and was the most densely populated area good for a vacation. Cloud had hoped to have his heart stolen by someone he met here, but no matter how pretty or intelligent the people he met here were, he couldn't feel any attraction to any of them.
'Screw it- I can't forget about him. Maybe in a few years I'll try again.' Cloud packed up, slipping on some sandals and sliding on a thin, white, button-up shirt. He left it unbuttoned, not really wanting to put the extra effort into doing it up.
He heard a few disappointed groans when he left, but ignored it. It didn't matter much to him. As soon as he got to his hotel, he went right to his room and collapsed onto the bed, deciding to take a quick nap.
Sephiroth and Zack arrived in Costa del Sol less than a day after they left, driving their chocobos hard to get to their destination quickly. On the way, Zack managed to fill Sephiroth in on where Cloud would be. Silently, the dark-haired man thanked God that he had filed away all information regarding Cloud- including the hotel name and room.
"Here?" Sephiroth asked, stopping in front of a nice-looking hotel. Zack checked the sign.
'Inn of Costa del Sol.'
"Yup- this is the place. Shall I leave you two alone?" Zack asked teasingly. Sephiroth didn't respond to the humour and dismounted, indicating for Zack to take his chocobo to the stables as well as Zack's own bird. Zack just nodded and grabbed the reins, taking the noisey birds away as Sephiroth entered the hotel.
Sephiroth glanced around. It was a nice place- clean and air-condiotioned. Nice place to relax in.
The rather chubby clerk behind the counter noticed him, immediately stepping up to greet him.
"Prince Sephiroth! To what do I owe this honor?" Sephiroth almost winced at the man's nasaly voice. He was easily recognized- it came from having silver hair, glowing eyes, and being easily the most photographed man in the kingdom- but still wished that his presence wasn't announced so loudly.
"I'm looking for... someone I know, by the name of Cloud Strife." he said. "Is he in?" The chubby clerk didn't question how the prince knew Cloud, or knew what hotel he was in, just nodded.
"Room 113. Please don't hesitate to ask me for anything!" Sephiroth nodded, not bothering to tell the man that he wouldn't need help with anything. He quickly made his way up the stairs and to room 13. He knocked lightly, listening for a response.
"Just a minute!" he heard from within. He breathed a sigh of relief- it was unmistakeably Cloud's voice. Seconds later, the door was opened by the blonde himself. Cloud stopped dead with the realization of who was at his door.
"Sephiroth?" he said, so shocked he backed away enough to allow Sephiroth to slip inside the room. "Wha-"
"I came to see you." Sephiroth said without preamble, cutting Cloud off in the middle of his question. He met Cloud's confused stare with calm eyes.
"Why?" Cloud asked, quickly dropping his gaze. "I thought... well, I thought that you didn't want to see me again."
"I didn't." Cloud jerked his head back up, hurt evident in his eyes as he opened his mouth to speak, but Sephiroth continued. "At least, not at first. I was just as hurt as you were when I told you to leave. I was sure that it had all been a joke, and that you would have a good laugh when you got back. But..." Sephiroth said slowly, making sure to catch Cloud's eyes. "...that's not what happened, is it? Zack told me that he had been keeping tabs on you, and that you had been acting like your heart had been broken. Care to tell me about that?" Cloud swallowed, but somehow couldn't force his eyes away from the glowing green orbs in front of him.
"I... I did. Have my heart broken, I mean." Cloud said, finally managing to look somewhere other than Sephiroth's face. "I was fine with just looking at pictures of you, but then Princess Aeris heard about the 'date' program... she convinced me to go for it, even if it was only for a day. One day was enough for me, but then you asked me to stay. It was..." Cloud seemed at a loss for words. Sephiroth waited, allowing Cloud to say what he needed to.
"...it was like a dream." Cloud finally said, smiling a little. "It was a great dream, to be able to spend time with you and you to actually see me as someone you might be able to care for. Not like a comrade, or like a servant, but... maybe like a lover. I knew it wasn't possible, but I wanted... I just wanted a day in paradise. I got seven days before being dropped into hell." Cloud laughed a little, sadly. "I'm sorry for lying, but it was the only way to be able to meet you like that, for you to maybe... but it was just a dream, and this is the reality."
"Who says that the dream has to be over?" Sephiroth said softly, walking closer to Cloud. Cloud looked at him in shock.
"But... but I'm a guy. I'm a man." Sephiroth nodded, enjoying the look of confusion on Cloud's face.
"You're the prince- I can't give you an heir."
"Why?" Cloud seemed to choke on the word, hope and fear laced thickly in his voice. Cloud held his breath, not daring to believe...
"Because I realized that- man or woman- I care about you more than anyone else I have met. I would rather spend my time with you than with anyone else." Sephiroth said, allowing his emotions to show in his voice. Cloud was entranced by the obvious desire and love, and couldn't have moved even if he had wanted to as Sephiroth gently wrapped an arm around Cloud and tilted his chin up to carefully place his lips against the blonde's.
Cloud was still stunned, but his body knew what to do. Almost instantly, he was wrapping his arms around the silver-haired man and parting his lips, letting Sephiroth deepen the kiss. The prince took the opportunity and eagerly plunged his tongue into Cloud's mouth, letting it roam and engage Cloud's tongue in battle until someone clearing their throat at the door alerted them to the presence of another person.
They broke apart- Cloud blushing heavily but not moving away from Sephiroth's embrace- to see Zack standing at the door, smiling sheepishly.
"well, I, uh... your chocobo's in the stables, and the clerk sent me up here when he figured out who I was. You should really close the door next time." Zack said. The two in the room started, realizing that they never had closed the door.
"We'll take that into consideration." Sephiroth said with a smirk. Cloud blushed deeper, causing Zack to laugh.
"I think you've traumatized him, Seph." he commented, mock-seriously. This got Cloud laughing, snuggling slightly closer to Sephiroth.
"Anyway, I just came looking for you to see if you wanted to get something to eat- we were riding all day." Zack said, laughter dying. Sephiroth thought for a second, realizing that he actually was hungry.
"I guess we should. Cloud?" he asked, making the blonde snuggled into his side look up. "Do you know any good places?"
Cloud just smiled.
"Does this mean I'm invited?" Cloud asked, teasingly. Sephiroth smirked.
"Of course. I didn't come all this way for the food." he said. Cloud smiled and moved slightly away from Sephiroth, letting his hand trail down the silver-haired man's arm to Sephiroth's hand.
With that, the three men left the room, locking it up behind them and grabbing dinner at a small restaurant close by. Over dinner, they discussed plans for the future.
"Queen Yuffie isn't going to like that fact that there won't be kids..." Zack said, sitting across from Cloud and Sephiroth. The silver-haired man nodded.
"I've made my choice. We can adopt." he said simply. Cloud looked slightly worried.
"Are you sure? I don't want anything bad to happen to you because of me-"
"It'll be fine." Sephiroth said, smiling slightly as he pressed a soft kiss to Cloud's temple. "Ask Zack. I'm stubborn- my mind is made up and I will not change it." Cloud smiled.
"I've dreamed of things like this happening. I must say, my dreams really don't do this justice. It's just so much more.. amazing, I guess, though 'amazing' isn't really the right word..." Cloud whispered softly, just loud enough for Sephiroth to hear. He leaned against Sephiroth, lightly resting his weight against his love. He loved being able to get this close to the other, when before he would just have his dreams.
'I never want this to end.'
When Cloud's vacation was finally up, the three men went back to the castle. Sephiroth was going to stay with Cloud, no matter what, and had said as much. Zack was a bit nervous for him, but happy.
Cloud was on the verge of freaking out. He knew that Sephiroth loved him, but he didn't want Sephiroth to give up what he had for Cloud. The blonde didn't think that he was worth it, couldn't imagine how much Seph must love him if he was willing to stay with him.
It made him love the silver-haired man all the more.
By the time they got to the palace, Cloud had calmed down and was more than willing to face the King and Queen by Sephiroth's side.
Sephiroth had requested an audience with his parents, and they were now meeting with them. Cloud would be meeting the King and Queen as himself for the first time.
"Mother, Father, I have come to a decision. The 'dates' that Mother had been setting up for me have finally worked- I've chosen a spouse." Cloud smiled.
'At least he didn't call me his wife. I'm not going to be the girl in this relationship all the time.' Cloud thought, watching from a pace or two behind and to the side of Sephiroth
"That's great! Who?" Queen Yuffie asked, practically jumping to Sephiroth and hugging him. "Congratulations! When do I get to meet her?"
"Now." Sephiroth turned slightly, indicating for Cloud to move forward. Shyly, Cloud stepped so that the Queen could see him. She blinked, curious, then stepped forward to him.
"You're his wife?" she asked, giving him a once-over. "Or should I say husband?" Cloud shrugged.
"'Husband', I guess." he said softly. He was shocked, but pleased, when Yuffie threw her arms around him.
"Well, welcome to the family! We'll have to plan the wedding, then, and the reception-"
"I can't give him an heir." Cloud reminded her, wondering if the Queen had somehow forgotten that men couldn't bear children- she was taking this quite calmly for having worked so hard to have grandchildren, after all. She waved his concern off.
"As it turns out..." she said, smiling proudly. "We may not need Sephiroth to father an heir." She rubbed her stomach proudly as Vincent came over and possessively wrapped his arms around his wife, placing his hands over hers.
Cloud, Sephiroth, and Zack looked on, dumbstruck, though Sephiroth would never admit it.
"Marry who you want- your little brother or sister will take care of the heir business." Yuffie said. "And the grandchildren..." She smiled mischeviously, obviously planning something for her next child.
"My blessings to you both." Vincent added. Zack couldn't help it- he started to laugh.
"And we were all freaking out because we thought you guys would kick Seph out!" Silently, Sephiroth slid his hand into Cloud's, squeezing lightly. Cloud just smiled.
"I just have one condition." Yuffie said, suddenly serious. Zack, Sephiroth, and Cloud froze, but then Yuffie grinned.
"I get to plan the wedding."
"As you wish, mother." Sephiroth said. "Just no dresses." Yuffie pouted.
"C'mon! I'm sure Cloud would look wonderful in a wedding gown!"
"I've had enough of dresses to last me a lifetime." Cloud muttered, causing Sephiroth to chuckle.
"You're much more beautiful in normal clothes, anyway." Cloud blushed as Sephiroth turned and placed a light kiss on his cheek.
"Cute!" Yuffie squealed, then began going on and on about how she was going to have this or that in the wedding, how perfect this would be, how wonderful that would look, and generally promising to make it memorable.
Cloud and Sephiroth just nodded, Cloud leaning against his lover.
It didn't matter what Yuffie planned- they could all be dressed in potato sacks in a pigsty and it would still be wonderful. The only thing they needed there was the other- what could be more perfect than that?
A/N: Sucky ending, but I couldn't just leave them apart, now could I? I dunno how I am with characterization, but I tried! Sorry if Yuffie's reaction seemed a bit off, and sorry if Cloud and Sephiroth's 'get-back-together' conversation seemed OOC, but I had a taste for waff when I wrote this... eh heh hee... Was it good? We need more SephCloSeph fluffy goodness anyways!
Feel free to check out my other SephCloud fics! Listed on my author page, in case you're looking.