Title: Love is a Virtue; Jealousy, a Vice.
Pairings: Squall/Cloud unrequited Zax/Cloud and Reno/Cloud
Summary: Cloud has always had an antisocial streak, preferring to stick to groups of people he knows he can trust. However, when he goes away to an elite prep school for the summer he finds it difficult to maintain that streak, especially when he finds himself in the company of his rival school.
Warnings: Pg-13, Slight cursing and naughty thoughts about an oblivious blond. This is shonen-ai, but may be bumped up in later chapters.
Side note: This is my first fan fiction and I tend to write in conversations, so I'm apologizing beforehand about the slight point of view. My friend thinks I'm nuts because when I write I talk to myself…I know silly, isn't it? Another warning, this is un-beta'd and I'm a comma and semicolon whore, so if anyone wants to read over the future chapters to fix my mistakes, just leave me a message or something. I have four other chapters, not including this one, already written so don't worry about updates.
Disclaimer: I wish I owned all the final fantasies but I don't. I'm not making any profit, and am purely letting out my inner joy at exams being over with by writing a Squall/Cloud fan fiction because it seems like there isn't enough here…either that, or I'm completely missing them.
Chapter one: Patience is a Virtue
"Oh, Cloudy!" the voice sing-songedat the end of the hallway.
Oh no, not Yuffie! "Here I am, Lovely. It's so nice that you responded back to my call so I knew where you were." The last part had been sarcastic, and when Cloudy looked into his friend's large, hazel eyes, he felt slightly bad about not responding. "So, whatcha doing?" But then, all sympathy he felt towards her disappeared when she opened her mouth…
"What does it look like, Yuffie?" Cloud Strife retorted. His classes were finished for the year, and the blond couldn't wait for summer to officially begin. He had been shoving his school books from his locker into a green duffle bag, but abandoned the task when Yuffie showed up, opting for sorting out the trash from his books.
"Oh, I'm so happy that school's over with. But, just think! Next year, were going to be," Yuffie gave out a short, excited squeal, bouncing on the balls of her feet, designer boots making an annoying clacking sound, "seniors! I'm so excited! Aren't you, Lovely?"
Cloud winced at the nickname. Of course, he'd rather her call him that then Cloudy any day. He never understood why his mother had such a fascination for unique names, but he could come up with some theories:His grandfather's was Stratus,while his father's had been Arashi. It seemed to run in the family.
"Lovely?" Yuffie poked him when she didn't see him responding to her. Normally she would at least get a sarcastic remark or something…
"Hey, Yuffie," Cloud turned to his friend, "How did I get that ridiculous nickname again?"(1)
Hazel eyes matched Cloud's own light blue ones in a staring contest. Yuffie could vaguely hear footsteps echoing from the other hallways. Soon, this hallway would be flooded with students getting out of last period classes. Cloud and she were lucky; they each had individual study halls last period. As she listened to Cloud's softly spoken question, she wondered herself where she had gotten that nickname for him. She knew that it was associated with something, but what was it?
"Well, you see, Cloudy," She began, leaning up against the locker next to his, "I think I started calling you that when we were freshmen. You just, well I don't really know…" She paused, tucking a piece of her short black hair behind her ear again. Really, she didn't know how to say the reason for why she used the nickname without offending the blond next to her, nor could she remember how he had gotten the nickname exactly.
"That's alright, Yuf'. I was just curious, that's all." Cloud huffed out. His duffle bag was becoming quite full, and his locker still had more books in it.
Yuffie grabbed the last of the books as Cloud wondered how he was going to fit them into his bag, "Patience is a virtue, Cloud." She wiggled her finger at him, her way of reprimanding him for worrying over miniscule details. "I'll carry these, okay?"
"Thanks, Yuffie." He gave her a small smile. She gave him her own, too, and as she did so, the last minute bell rang signaling the last day of the year, and the beginning of the new summer.
"Oh, wow. Look at those!" Why did I agree to this again? Cloud wondered. As soon as Yuffie and he had reached their neighborhood and thrown their school supplies into their respective houses, Yuffie had cajoled him into going shopping with her. He didn't mind really, going shopping that is. His family was rich enough; his father left enough money for him and his mother to live comfortably. He wasn't spoiled; he just liked knowing that he had the freedom of purchasing whatever he liked.
"Oh, Cloud. Look! That new fashion designer came out with the Materia jewelry fashion line. Can we go into this shop, please?" Yuffie begged. Cloud nodded reluctantly; he knew he'd regret saying no, because Yuffie was know for her infamous temper tantrums.
The bell clanged as both walked into the store, which smelled of incense, and the shopkeeper lifted her head suspiciously at the two. "Can I help you," She asked. Cloud huffed a bit, noticing the look she gave him and Yuffie. The expensive suit she wore, and the way the woman held herself told Cloud what she thought of him and his female friend, urchins.
"No thanks, just going to look for a bit," waved Yuffie. The woman gave her a glare, and kept her eyes on the two as Yuffie dragged Cloud over to the Materia line.
"Look at this, Cloud. They have all these gorgeous armlets!" Cloud looked as his best friend stared at the jewelry behind the glass counter. "How do you think the green choker would look on me, Lovely?" She asked, pointing to an expensive green collar with the Materia designer's logo on it. "It's absolutely lovely, Yuf'" he replied.
Yuffie, as well, came from money. Rumor had it that her ancestors were ninja thieves, and during each of their lifetimes, had stolen enough to keep the family quite happy for several generations. Yuffie never claimed whether the rumors were true or not, but it never did stop her from admitting to Cloud, that the money she did have in her family, had not come about by any legal means.(2)
"Oh, and look at those rings!" She pouted, though, when she seemed to remember something. "Hey, Lovely? Can I borrow some munnie? Please, I'll pay you back, promise."
Cloud shook his head at this. Yuffie was always forgetful when it came to money. Her father had given her a credit card for moments like this, but Yuffie hated to use it; something about paper trails, she would say.
Cloud noticed when the shopkeeper kept glancing at them as Yuffie pressed her hands to the glass as he took out his wallet. It was a simple design, Yuffie had bought it for him as a birthday gift, and Cloud's nimble fingers opened the cash flaps to pull out a few crisp fifties. He pointed to the green collar. "She'd like to try that on," His voice came out sharp; he had no use for people that thought only of money. Yuffie noticed the change in attitude as well, and watched, fascinated, as the shopkeeper eyed the munnie bills and immediately became attentive.
"This collar would look absolutely breathtaking on you," she began, in a much nicer tone of voice, taking out the collar and placing it on the glass case with care. "We also have this in a glittery blue color."
They left the shop soon after, Yuffie's hands full, and Cloud's wallet lighter, to go to an ice cream parlor.
"Did you see that woman's face? I thought she was about to have a heart attack, or something when you pulled out your wallet and paid for everything…in bills! She even held the munnie up to the light to make sure it wasn't counterfeit!" Cloud smiled as Yuffie began rambling. "But, thanks, Cloud. I don't know what came over me in forgetting my munnie like that."
"No prob', Yuffie. You're just going to pay for the ice cream."
"Cloud Strife, I can't believe you!"
"Thank you for eating at the Strawberry Café. Here you are." Cloud watched, amused, as Yuffie began to pay the once smiling waiter with change, glaring at him as she did so.
"I hope you're happy," She pouted, digging into her strawberry sundae. "I'm now officially broke, and I don't think we should order anything to go. That waiter was not happy that I paid for our ice cream in change. He'll probably spit in anything that we do order later just to spite us."
"I think you mean he'll spite you. You're the one that paid."
"Oh, you're horrible!"
"If you're so worried about cash, wait 'till you get home, your daddy will refill that purse of yours in an instant." Yuffie laughed at that. She was going to miss getting together with Cloud during the summer. "Man, this sucks. I can't believe you and I are going away this summer. Where's your mom sending you again? Wasn't it that boot camp for snobs?"
Cloud put a little of the whipped cream from the sundae into his mouth, he really didn't want to think about where he was spending his summer, but Yuffie obviously wanted to talk to him about it; if he tried to ignore her, she'd be more prone on dragging it up. Better to get it over with. "Yes, I'm going to that Shinra Prep Fighting School over the summer. My mom thought it would be fun." Cloud honestly did not want to go, but his mother had seemed so happy when she introduced the idea to him. Getting the recommendation forms filled out had been an excruciatingly painful process.
It might be interesting to learn how to use a sword, but Cloud had never been a sociable person; Yuffie had been his only friend since middle school. He did once have one other, Vincent Valentine was his name, but he had moved the year before they had started at the Hollow Bastion Public School.
"Aw, well, I'll write you lots! Don't you worry about it!" She gave him a reassuring grin before snatching the strawberry away from the top of his sundae and eating it.
"Thanks, Yuf'" Cloud said as he glared sourly at his missing strawberry.
"No problem, Lovely."
"Hey, you're going to be away as well, right?" He asked, digging into the ice cream part of the sundae. He really like this café, they had the best strawberry ice cream around.
"Oh, Daddy's taking me to the east so I can learn…what was that expression he used? Oh, he wants me to become immersed in my culture. (3) Frankly, I don't see the point. How can looking at a bunch of old mumbo jumbo statues and pots and things possibly be a good summer vacation?" She sighed unhappily, like Cloud she did not want to go.
"I'll write to you, too." Cloud broke the unhappy silence that surrounded the circular table.
"Really, I love when you write to me! It'd be like your actually there, 'cause you know, most of the time I feel like I'm talking to a closed book!"
"Hey! Just because I don't like talking about my feelings, doesn't make it right for you to tease me about it!"
Yuffie burst out laughing at her ingenuity, "Now, I want you to behave and play nice with the other kiddies? Okay, Lovely?" Yuffie stared into her friend's bright blue eyes. He never really got along well with others, and she felt badly for her friend's antisocial skills. She had a feeling though, that this summer, Cloud was going to do okay with out her watching out for him. "Oh, I nearly forgot something," Yuffie pulled out a small bag from the cluster of her other bags and began to rummage around for something. "Here it is," She held out a small box to her friend. "I bought this for you when you were to busy trying to glare the lady to death." She handed him the box.
Cloud grasped the box gently, "You do realize that I technically bought this since it was my munnie?"
"Oh, it's always details with you, isn't it?" Huffed out Yuffie, "But, I also got one for myself, that way, we'll realize that we'll always have each other, no matter what difficult situation we're in."
Cloud studied the box before opening it. It had the Materia designer's logo on it, the word Ancient in the shape of a C, and a bright pink ribbon wrapped around the outside of the box. Opening it, Cloud looked at the object inside resting on puffy black cloth.
"See, isn't it pretty? It's a friendship bangle! Yours is a blue stone and mine has a pretty green stone." She raised her wrist to his face a shook it so her own bangle jingled along with the others on her arm.
"Thanks, Yuf'. I love it." He gave her a smile, that rare one reserved just for her and it made her realize exactly why she had given him that nickname Lovely, because when Cloud smiled, it was the loveliest sight she'd ever seen. She followed silently as Cloud stood to leave, afraid that if she made the slightest bit of noise, that smile would disappear forever.
"Lovely, I'll write to you every week! I'll call you whenever I can! Bring your cell phone; don't you dare forget it!" Yuffie cried on the phone. Cloud was on the other end, lounging on his bed; he'd be leaving in half an hour to go to the well-known Shinra Prep.
He gave a small smile as he listened to his friend babble on about his social habits. "Make sure you at least try to be friendly! And if someone hits you, you hit 'em back!"
Cloud raised his eyebrow at this, "I thought you wanted me to play nice,"
"Just because I want you to play nice, doesn't mean I want you to become someone's bitch. You hear me? If you're harassed at all, give 'em hell, oh, and don't forget to call me, too!"
Cloud shook his head in wonderment. This was the reason why he loved having Yuffie as a friend. She was like the big sister he'd always wanted; only she lived two houses down and was a few months younger than him, not to mention a few inches shorter, too. But, even if Cloud wasn't proud of his five foot six inches height, he was certainly proud of Yuffie.
"So, you have my address, right, and my cell phone number, right?"
"Yes, Yuffie, I have them."
"I'll send you care packages everyday, and porn magazines, too!"
"Hehehe, well, I was kidding about the everyday part, more like every week. But, come on, Cloudy! You're going to be at a camp full of hot men! You won't have eye candy, like me, to stare at!"
"I cannot believe I'm talking to you about this," Silence came from Yuffie's end of the phone.
"Cloud Strife," She growled, "If you dare say that I don't have enough to stare at…well you better ask your mother if you can extend your camp time for more then two months, 'cause I will need more then that amount of time to cool off."
"No, that's not what I'm saying, Yuf"" Cloud hadn't even left yet and he could feel the headache coming on.
"Oh, I knew it! You're in the closet! That's why you don't want me to send you femme porn! You're afraid all the boys won't want to play with you if they-"
"What makes you think that?" Cloud began to choke.
"Aw, I know my Cloudy too well. Talk to you soon, Lovely!" With that, an audible click was heard as Yuffie hung up on him.
"Why that little flat-chested witch, I can't believe she said that!" Cloud rolled off his bed, peeved that Yuffie had even suggested that he batted for the same team! He threw the phone back down on the hook, grabbed his favorite green duffle, and headed down the stairs where his mom waited with the car keys.
(1): This is an inside joke between a friend and myself about a guy at our table. He's always frowning and we swear, one day he's going to smile willingly and his face is going to crack. (We call him lovely all the time behind his back.)
(2) and (3): Yuffie has her own side story, which is partially typed up. I love the girl, and this is a bit of foreshadowing as to what her summer vacation is.
Munnie explanation: The characters use munnie, not gil, because I have a role for Sora, and some other Kingdom Hearts characters, but I don't know if I should put them in it or not.
By the way, I hope everyone understands the title of the story, whether by the summary or in the next chapter (for those that still don't get it).