When Trust is all you Have

Chapter 10

A/N: This is by far the longest chapter I've written, and I also think it's one of the best. Please let me know what you think. Also, let me know what secondary couples you'd like to see in this story and I'll consider them. Sorry that I kind of let the story die, and I hopw you guys really like this chapter.

Oh, and not to give anything away, but no Rufus in not in a wheelchair in this story.


Shifting from one foot to the other, Kadaj would not raise his gaze from the floor, even as he was dragged out of the cell.

"How could you do something like this?" He heard Cloud's angry voice fill the room behind him, just as the door was shut. Kadaj had to shut his eyes tightly to avoid doing anything childish and pointless, like cry. No, he had to focus all of his attention on the task at hand, for he was about to take on a lead role in the most important play of his life. He had to keep his mind clear, he had to be able to backtrack and quickly change details, even though he was tired and emotionally exhausted, he would have to be on the top of his game. If he screwed up that was it. Messing this up was simply not an option.

"I knew you would crack, people like you always do. You want them to trust you, you want to feel as though you belong, but you can't. Not ever. Look what trusting you got them," Kay-Lee scoffed. "Though in your defense, you lasted a lot longer than I thought you would. You may have saved your little friend some pain, but you've also made damn sure that he'll never trust you again. You might as well willingly help us now, because there is no going back for you this time, Kadaj." Hearing her actually use his name caused Kadaj to pay attention. He had been trying to block her out. What if she was right, what if he was doing something that Cloud could never forgive him for? No. If he did everything perfectly everyone, Cloud and the others, would be alright.

"Cut out the semantics, Kay-Lee, I'll give you all the information you want if you'd be quiet long enough to hear any of it." Kadaj had been expecting a reprimand, but as he turned to look at Kay-Lee, he saw Taya gripping her wrist.

"He is right you know, you do talk far too much. Never do more talking than you do acting." Releasing Kay-Lee's wrist, Taya waved the younger woman off.

"But…Mistress, please allow me to stay. I worked hard to get us to the point where one of them would give us the information we seek, and I would like to be there when it is divulged." Kay-Lee despised begging, but it was the only thing that worked when it came to Taya's vanity. Taya needed to feel as if you never received anything she did not allow you to have. She needed to be in control and the second she felt as if her control was slipping, she would take immediate and severe action.

"I don't care what you want, Kay-Lee, but you may stay if you keep your mouth closed unless ordered. Understood?" Some people might think Kay-Lee was in charge, at first, because she takes care of many of the aspects of running the company. But after meeting Taya, no one would doubt her power, and it was obvious that she was the one in charge.

"Understood, Mistress," Kay-Lee replied, her face darkly mocking the woman, whose back was turned to her.

"Good, come now." She waved off the guards who had stepped forward with shackles for Kadaj's hands and feet. "We won't be needing those, will we Kadaj?" She asked, turning towards the boy. "You understand that if you make any attempt to escape we will kill Cloud, don't you?"


"So then we won't need the shackles to make sure you won't try to leave us again?"


"These one word answers are fine for now, my boy, but your tongue had better be looser once we start the interrogation, or else we may have to resort to our first means of obtaining information," she warned.

"Only if you promise your tongue will be tighter," he retorted, his patience for this woman already gone.

Taya merely chuckled, "if your information is good, I'll have very little need to talk."

"Thanks for the incentive," the youth replied, his hands balling up into fists at the very though of being locked in a room with this madwomen. As stupid as it sounded, he had had nightmares of this sort of encounter. He had never wanted to be back here, and yet here he was. As he was marched into the interrogation room he tried to put on a brave face, but he wished that Cloud was there to give him strength. Lately, it seemed that all Kadaj had to do was look at the blonde man and he was reminded of why he wanted to do things differently this time around, why he wanted to be good. Cloud had come to embody all the things he had missed out on during his first life, and all of the things he didn't want to miss out on now that he'd gotten a second chance. When he'd first come back, Kadaj had thought that he'd been given a second chance to fulfill Jenova's wishes, but now he saw that he had really been given a second chance to actually live life rather than being someone's puppet. The first time around he did not know better and allowed himself to be used by Jenova and Sephiroth, this time he knew better and he would not let anyone use him, never again would that happen.

"Here we are, it's changed a bit since you left us, but it still serves its initial purposes quite well." She motioned for Kadaj to take a seat in a very abnormal looking chair. Once the teen sat down, Taya's guards began to fasten straps around his arms as well as his head.

"I thought you said no restraints!" He exclaimed, fighting off the straps.

"I did. These are not restraints. These are a way of letting us know if you are telling us the truth or not. We would just hate to spend all this time gathering information only to find out that you had lied to us. I don't like wasting my time, Kadaj, and this is a way of making sure I don't." When the boy was silent Taya walked over to him. "Would you like to know how it works?" She asked. Greeted by silence again, she grabbed a small metal box from one of the guards. "When you tell us something that is true, nothing happens to you. But if you lie to us," clicking the button she watched as Kadaj instantly stiffened, a look of pain flashing across his face, "you will receive a small bolt of electricity." She grinned before continuing. "Now I don't need to press the button for the electric current to be set off. The machine will do that automatically, every time you tell a lie, the bigger the lie, the higher the voltage."

"And how does this magic machine know if I am telling the truth or not?"

"Oh come now Kadaj, do you honestly think I will tell you that? If I told you, you would try to figure out how to outsmart it, which you can't, but that wouldn't stop you from trying." As Taya turned away from him, Kadaj let his head slump backwards against the chair, the straps wrapped around his forehead making it slightly hard to move. He was biting his bottom lip, nearly drawing blood, just to keep from crying out at how unfair this all was. This ruined his plan, not that it was even much of a plan. He had never planned to actually tell Taya anything useful, he would never betray his friends that way. Kadaj was a perfect liar, he could convince anyone he was telling the truth, but how could he convince a machine? Taya would know he was lying and that would make her very angry, which she would no doubt take out on Cloud, if only to punish Kadaj for not cooperating. Thinking on his feet, figuratively speaking, Kadaj wracked his brain to quickly formulate a new plan. The bigger the lie, the higher the voltage. The shock that Kadaj had been hit with the first time had been painful, yes, but it had not caused him to cry out. Would it be possible for him to tell lies, receive the shock, and not react? Was his pain tolerance that high? It had to be. But they would have to be small lies, of course, there was no way he could deal with the pain larger lies would bring to him. Hearing a voice caused him to snap out of his thoughts with a slight start. "Ready to begin?" Taya had asked him.

"If I said no would it matter?"

"If you said no we would gladly march you right back to your cell and continue beating Cloud until you are ready," she replied with a sickly sweet smile.

"I'm ready now, let's just get this over with!" He shouted, his voice echoing off the walls for a moment.

"All right then. What is the name you call yourself?"

"My name is Kadaj," he replied bitterly, anger flashing into his eyes at the wording of her question.

"Does Cloud have a plan on how to escape?"

"No," Kadaj knew he would receive no shock for that answer, because Cloud really didn't have a plan. Though, the truth was Kadaj did. This whole situation going on right now, this whole interrogation was all for one purpose; to give Cloud the time he needed to put one of his former plans into action. If Cloud didn't, then all of this was a waste of time.

"Do you know the current whereabouts of Barrett Wallace?"

"No." Kadaj almost laughed with his joy as he answered that question. He didn't feel any shock because he honestly had no idea where Barrett was at that moment. Barrett had gone to Cosmo Canyon on an errand a few weeks ago, and Kadaj did not know if he was back yet or not. Therefore, it was not a lie to say he did not know where he was.

Taya watched the youth closely, looking for any signs of pain. Seeing none, she glared at him and proceeded to the next question.

"Do you know the current whereabouts of Yuffie Kisaragi?"

Kadaj almost said no, for it was the truth, but he knew that if he continued to provide no useful information to Taya, she would end this and they would be back at square one. "Wutai," he said with a straight face, showing almost no sign of the small shock that jumped through his body. The shock was not very big, for in his mind Yuffie had strong connections to Wutai and she normally was there, so the lie was very believable and if Kadaj could trick himself into believing the lie, the machine would not be able to produce all that large of a shock, or so he was hoping. He hated to lead them to the little ninja's hometown, but he knew that Yuffie was not there, she was out on some campaign to score some materia since old habits really do die hard.

Taya could have sworn that she'd seen him twitch ever so slightly as he answered. "I'll ask you once again, d you know the current whereabouts of Yuffie Kisaragi?"

"And I'll tell you once again, Wutai." He said firmly, not moving at all as the small charge ran through his body again.

And so it continued for countless hours, Taya ran down the list of everyone even mildly important, grilling Kadaj to produce more exact details. She would cross check his answers, often asking the same question a variety of different ways. Even though Kadaj was physically and mentally exhausted, he had to keep on his toes, quickly making up small lies to answer her every question with. Occasionally he would mess up severely and receive a large shock that he could not silently sit through. When these happened Taya would ask the question again and Kadaj would have to change his answer. To be sure he was telling the truth the second time around, Taya would ask him the same question at least five times more, carefully watching his reaction each time. Just as it was getting to the point when the silver haired teen thought he would not be able to take any more of the silent torture, Taya turned away from him.

"That will be all for now. You can go back to your cell, if we need any more information we will not hesitate to bring you back here. I am surprised and highly skeptical at how smoothly that went. In the entire course of the interrogation you only told me six lies. I am impressed Kadaj. You're dismissed." She left the room, trusting the guards to take him back to his cell.

Kadaj had not replied to Taya, for he was far too tired to even begin to formulate a reply. As the guards unstrapped his arms and head, he winced. His entire body ached from the long hours it had just spent enduring silent agony. As the men hauled him roughly to his feet, he nearly collapsed. He lurched forward and would have ended up on his knees if one of the men hadn't jerked his arm to keep him standing. No one found his condition surprising, and they all passed it off by saying that it was a result of sitting in the same position for too long. Biting his lip again and willing himself to put one foot in front of the other, Kadaj began to make his way back towards his cell, a guard on either side of him. The walk back had to be one of the longest walks Kadaj had ever made, or at least it felt like it, it was pure hell. Every step sent a shockwave of pain straight through his lithe body, and it took all of his will power not to cry out.

/Cloud, if you messed this up and missed your opportunity I swear I will never forgive you!/ Kadaj thought to himself as the cell door came into sight and the guard slid the key into the lock.


How could Kadaj do this to his friends, how could Kadaj do this to /him/? Cloud was pacing back and forth, his hands balled up into fists and his face twisted in anger and, though he would never admit it, pain. Cloud was a solitary person by nature, it took him a long time to accept the friendship of Tifa and the others, and even then he had avoided them at times by disappearing and never answering his phone. When Kadaj had first shown up again, Cloud had no intentions of even getting close to the person that had been his enemy. But somehow the curious teenager had managed to find a place in Cloud's heart in record time. For how skilled Kadaj was at fighting, and for all the evil he had caused before, he was still a child in so many ways. Cloud remembered a conversation he had had with Tifa awhile back. Tifa had told Cloud had she'd spent part of an afternoon explaining to Kadaj what love was, because the teen had not known. One minute Kadaj could seem so mature and all-knowing, but the next minute he could seem so innocent, almost naïve. It was hard to believe that this was the same person that had very nearly succeeded in brining Sephiroth back. But perhaps Kadaj had not changed as much as Cloud had thought he did. Perhaps Kadaj had just become one of the world's best actors. Someone who really cared about people would not be able to betray them so easily. He was still pacing and twitching, his anger was about to boil over.

In his anger Cloud almost completely forgot about the wounds he had been given, thanks to Kay-Lee, though he winced every now and then as one bothered him.

"How could I ever think that I loved someone like him?!" Cloud yelled out to the empty room. Right now Kadaj was giving away the locations of everyone near and dear to them. Their deaths would be on his hands! There was no way they would stand a chance, for they would be split up and caught off guard. If they were all together they stood a really good chance. Together they had brought down Sephiroth, together they had fought off weapon, and together they could take on Taya and the rest of them. But alone…alone they did not seem to stand much of a chance.

Cloud slumped against the wall, sliding down it to end up in a sitting position, his knees pulled against his body, his head resting on them. He tried to think about anything but the silver haired liar that had been dragged out of the room hours again, but his thoughts kept drifting back to the teen. Reliving some of the times they had spent together, a puzzled look came across Cloud's face. Kadaj had really seemed to care, and not just about him, but about everyone. Either he was, without a doubt, the world's best actor, or he had not been faking his emotions. And if he had not been faking his emotions, then it would be nearly impossible for Kadaj to betray his friends that way, no matter what the circumstances. Jumping to his feet, Cloud tried to figure out what he was missing, what was the point of what Kadaj was doing. He had started pacing again, but then stopped dead in his tracks, suddenly feeling very stupid for not realizing this sooner. Taya thought she had what she wanted, and with Cloud trapped alone in a cell, no one would be watching him or checking up on him as long as Kadaj was gone. So, if he decided to make a little phone call, no one would ever know about it…

Reaching into his pocket, Cloud quickly took out the PHS. He had given up on the plan before, figuring that anything he said would be overheard by either Taya or Kay-Lee, but now….He was pretty sure no one was watching as his hands flew over the keys.


Feeling extremely disheartened and worried, Tifa had forced herself to put on a brave face for the kids, who kept asking where Cloud and Kadaj were and when they were coming home. To try and distract the kids, and truthfully to distract herself as well, Tifa had closed the bar and taken Marlene and Denzel out to a nearby park. They'd spent the better part of the day outside, as if getting away from home would make Cloud and Kadaj's absences less painful. It worked slightly with the kids, who did have some fun, but it had even less effect on Tifa. On the way back, Tifa had stopped so Marlene and Denzel could buy an ice cream from the store around the corner. Unlocking the door and pulling it open, she and the kids walked inside.

"Okay, you two can go play upstairs for awhile, just make sure you don't make a mess with those ice creams, alright?" Instead of a reply from the two, she received something that made her jump slightly.


Not knowing who it was, but knowing who she hoped it was, Tifa steered Marlene and Denzel up the stairs.


Turning quickly she took off towards the phone, grabbing it just as it was about to ring a third time. "Hello?" She asked breathlessly, and smiled faintly when she heard the reply.


Over the next hour Tifa and Cloud tried to formulate a plan. Cloud was able to tell her exactly where he and Kadaj were being kept, and she wrote it down. They figured that the best idea would be to get everyone together and try to infiltrate the building. It would be dangerous, and Cloud hated the fact that he needed to put his friends in that kind of danger again, but he knew it was the only way he and Kadaj would be getting out of there alive. After discussing everything they could think of, the two of them reluctantly hung up, unsure of the next time they would be talking and under what conditions those would be.

Setting the phone down, Tifa frowned. Right now the odds were not in their favor. Even if every member of the old team came to help out, which she was sure they would, they would still be out numbered. Everyone was exceptionally good at fighting, which helped to even the odds, but she still wished they had more assurance that they would win this. Tapping the counter nervously, she was staring at the phone. And then an idea struck her. Picking up the phone, she hesitantly dialed a number that she was not even sure still worked. When the phone began to ring she breathed a small sigh of relief and she actually smiled slightly when the familiar voice answered the phone.

"Hello?" He had said, sounding more than a little annoyed to be receiving a phone.

"Reno!" Tifa exclaimed, surprised that the number was still correct and that she had been able to contact the turk.

"Hey, who is this? C'mon, I don't have all day, I'm at work ya'know." He sounded impatient, but that did not deter Tifa.

"And when is the last time you actually did work while at work, huh Reno?" She asked, shaking her head as if he could see her.

"Huh, wha- Tifa!" Realization hit him as to who was calling him. "Not ta sound rude or any of that, but why're you calling me? It's not everyday that one of you guys give me a ring."

"Reno, I have a favor to ask you. And not just you, but if you could get the rest of the turks to help out it would be appreciated. I know we don't normally work together, but we have helped each other out a lot in the past and everything…" She was desperate.

"Yeah, we worked pretty well together when Kadaj and his gang were tryin' to bring back Sephiroth." He replied after a pause.

"Well, this time we need help with Kadaj again, but not in the same way as last time. Cloud needs help too. Do you think you're up to it, Reno?"

"Him again? Tifa, I ain't agreeing to anything until I get some more details than this. And I can't vouch for the rest of the gang either, I'd have to ask them first, but to do that I need some damn details." He wasn't being rude, Tifa knew this, this behavior was typical of Reno, especially when he had just woken up, which Tifa assumed was the case.

"Well, I don't want to discuss this over the phone, but it is very important and it has to be done quickly. I'll even pay you if that's what you're worried about. Reno, can you stop by the bar in an hour and talk with me? You can bring Tseng, Elena, and Rude if you want, or you can just give them the story once I tell it to you, I don't really care. But please Reno, be on time, be sober, and try to remember everything helpful Cloud has done in the past."

Not really knowing what else to say, Reno replied with a somewhat dazed, "yes," and as the phone clicked and he heard a dial tone, the red-headed turk was left wondering about what the hell he had just gotten himself into.


Sliding the phone carefully back into his pocket, Cloud sat back down, feeling more relieved than he had been an hour ago. If everything went according to plan, Tifa and the others would be here in one week to, hopefully, get Kadaj and himself out of there. Cloud had come to the conclusion that this is what Kadaj had wanted to happen all along, or at least he prayed it was. He prayed that Kadaj put this whole act up so that he could call in back-up. If he hadn't, if it was just a coincidence….Cloud couldn't even think of what he would do it that was the case. Now that his anger towards Kadaj had died down in light of the new theories, Cloud was becoming increasingly worried about the teen. What were they doing to Kadaj that would take this long?

Cloud scrambled to his feet as he heard the clinking of the lock in the keyhole. He was at the door before it even opened, trying to see who was there and longing for it to be Kadaj. He breathed a slight sigh of relief as he watched two guards escort Kadaj back into the room and then left. Neither person spoke to the other, they just stared at each other for a moment, trying to figure out just what had happened while they were separated. Kadaj was trying to figure out if Cloud had taken the hint and phoned for help, and at the same time Cloud was trying to gauge if Kadaj had really given Taya and her lackeys anything to go off of. They both longed to ask the questions that were most pressing on their minds, but they both knew that they were probably being watched now, and neither wanted to risk everything falling through because of curiosity. Cloud thought back to when he had asked Kadaj if he trusted him, and he had said yes. That is all they had right now; trust. They had to trust the other to have done what they needed to do, but Cloud only feared what would happen if that trust was not strong enough. He stood there awkwardly for a little while longer, but was spurred into action as he saw Kadaj sway. He arrived just in time to catch the teen as he tumbled forward. Looking down, Cloud looked at the exhausted person cradled in his arms and he saw trusting eyes looking back at him. It was almost as if nothing had changed between them, and most of their doubts fled during that one trusting look. Cloud gently led Kadaj to the corner of the room, where he sat down and pulled the younger man into his lap. Cloud had no idea what they had done to Kadaj, and he couldn't ask him for fear that he would ruin some secret Kadaj had built up, so instead he just sat there holding him in silence. Not knowing how to comfort Kadaj, Cloud just decided to continue to hold him until he feel asleep, he was idly pulled his fingers through the silver hair, combing out the tangles that had worked their way into it. It was about the only physical comfort he could provide. Once the teen was safely asleep, or so Cloud thought, he cautiously and very self-consciously leaned down to press a kiss to his pale cheek, and he jumped as Kadaj turned his head, resulting in their first real kiss. Needless to say Cloud, the reserved person he is, was utterly speechless, and though it was now dark in the cell, he could almost hear the smile in Kadaj's voice as he called out, "sweet dreams, Cloud!"


"So what is this about exactly and why are you dragging us along? We are not responsible for your messes, you know that, right?" Tseng asked as he stared at the man in front of him.

"I already told ya, I don't really know what it's about, and it's not a mess of mine!"

"If you don't know what it's about, Reno, how do you know for sure it isn't one of your messes?"

"…I…Well…Shut up Elena!" The frustrated red-head made several obscene gestures to the annoying group of people gathered around him, which only resulted in several laughs and one or two scowls. After relaying Tifa's message, this small group had decided to head over to the bar to see what was going on. And so here they were; Reno, Rude, Tseng, Elena, and surprisingly enough, Rufus. The president had been curious and more than slightly annoyed at the fact that someone was trying to use his most important team, the turks, without consulting him, even if it was Tifa who was asking. Some could argue that Shin-Ra still did owe Cloud and the others, because they had gotten rid of Kadaj and his group the first time around, not to mention the whole thing with Sephiroth, but Shin-Ra had helped and Rufus personally just wished that they could call it even. "Come on Rude, let's leave them behind," Reno announced, grabbing his partners arm and pulling him forward, away from the slower moving group.

"Reno, get back here," the president ordered and for a moment Reno had been about to disobey the order, but looking back at the blonde-haired man and the stern look on his face, Reno sighed and slowed his pace. He looked to Rude who simply shrugged and for some reason Reno got the feeling that he had rolled his eyes behind his sunglasses.

"You said it buddy," Reno said to Rude, and the rest of the group looked at him strangely for a second, though Reno was used to such looks and barely noticed. Some twenty minutes later and the turks, plus Rufus, had arrived at their destination. Reno stepped forward and knocked on the door, and was surprised when it was opened immediately after his first knock. "Oh, I get it. You're that eager to see me, huh?" He said, seeing Tifa.

"Give me a break, Reno. I asked you guys here for your help, not for some friendly get together." She opened the door wide so they could all walk through it. She did a double take when she saw Rufus. Seeing her slight shock, Rufus addressed her.

"Of course I'm going to come along when you try to take my best men away from me without even speaking with me about it first."

"And woman," Reno said and Rufus just looked at him. "What? You said best men and Lenny' here is a woman. At least I think she is…"

"Reno, you know I hate it when you call me that!" Clearing her throat, Elena nodded to Rufus. "Sorry for interrupting, Sir." Looking back to Tifa, Rufus raised an eyebrow.

"Care to tell me what's going on?" He asked when she did not start speaking.

"Oh, yes, well…We need your help. And by we I mean the whole group. Cloud and Kadaj are in trouble and we need all the manpower we can get to save them-" Tifa was interrupted by Rufus.

"Kadaj? I thought we had taken care of him before, first of all, second, why would we want to help him after what he did in the past?"

"Well, President ShinRa, if anyone knows about trying to make-up for the past, it should be you. Your past isn't spotless, not with all the trouble your company caused. Rufus, you've no room to judge and you know it." Tifa folded her arms as she nodded. Reno took this opportunity to snicker at the fact that his boss had just been told off by a woman, and also to enjoy seeing Rufus speechless for one of the first times in his life. "So, if no one else has anything else to say, I can explain the whole story to you and then you can decide if you want to help us or not. But just keep in mind, if Cloud dies there will be no one around to clean up the next mess you make, and trust me with Shin-Ra there is always another mess." When no one voiced an opinion, Tifa motioned for them to follow her as she walked into another room and sat down.

Once everyone was up to speed on what was happening, Tifa looked around the room, trying to read people's faces. "There you go, now it's time to make your choices, is Shin-Ra going to help us this time or not? We're going to follow through with this plan regardless of if you help us or not, but we do need the extra people and we know that you guys can fight. So what is it going to be?"

"It's a risky plan at best, there are so many holes in it and even with the extra manpower it is going to be a miracle to get everyone out alive, however… it could be said that Shin-Ra owes Cloud a thing or two and I hate being indebted to anyone, so you will have the support of Shin-Ra behind you. This means that I will temporarily loan the turks to you, and perhaps a few others. I expect you to not put my men in any unnecessary danger and if any of them die it will be on your head." Rufus looked around the room and shook his head, hating the fact that he could possibly lose some of his employees to this stupid plan. More so because he had actually grown somewhat close to the four people sitting in this room and he would rather not see them die. "Okay then, are we done here?"

"Not exactly, Rufus, we still need to contact the other members of the group and wait for them to get here so we could go over the plan together, but that will take at least two days, so we are done for today. I'll let you know when we need to meet again. Thank you."

"So, since we're here and all…How about a few beers on the house?"

"Reno!" He jumped when he heard the whole room, minus Rude, shout his name.

"What, since we were already here and everything, I just figured we could have a drink or two…"

"You're still on duty," Rufus reminded him.

"Oh, yeah…" Reno's face fell as he glared at his boss, looking very annoyed.

"It's not good to suggest getting drunk on the job in front of your boss," Elena pointed out with a smirk.

"Okay, then I'll wait till he leaves and then I'll ask behind his back. Either way works for me."

"Reno, you are not staying, you will accompany the rest of us back and you will work on whatever work you have to do, and knowing you I'm willing to bet that you have a lot of work to do." Pausing, Rufus shook his head and sighed. "Button up you shirt, Reno, and where is your jacket? Or your tie for that matter?"

"Well, you see…I was running late for work this morning,"

"You never start telling your boss a story that starts off, 'I was running late for work this morning,'" Elena said, frowning but also trying not to laugh.

"What, he'd probably be more shocked if I started off the story with, 'I was on time to work this morning…'"

"Indeed I would be. At any rate, forget I said anything, I'll simply dock it from your pay. Now let's go." Rufus stood to leave.

"What? You can't do that!" Turning to Rude he asked, "He can't do that, right?"

"He is your boss. He can dock your pay whenever he wants to, and he can even fire you as well, and personally I don't know why he doesn't sometimes, really Reno." Tseng said, looking at Reno.

"He has fired me before. Don't you remember there was that one time when I got drunk and almost shot him when he came into my office because I though he was a spy? Or that one time when I left a secret love note on his desk and signed it from Elena. When he found out what I did he was really not happy. Or, there was also that time when I was waiting for Elena to come outside, because I'd called her and told her I needed her help. But Rufus walked out first and I figured it would be Elena and they're both blonde, so I started throwing the water balloons at him instead of her. Or…"

"Come on!" Tseng cut him off by grabbing his arm and dragging him from the room. Watching the scene in front of her, Tifa couldn't help but laugh despite all the worried thoughts running through her head. For supposedly being Shin-Ra's tops guys, the turks did seem pretty laid back at times. She could tell that experiences like this were commonplace with them, and she honestly wondered how someone who came across as cold as Rufus ShinRa could possibly put up with them.

Hearing the door close behind them, she walked over to the phone and picked it up, ready to spend an hour or so trying to get in contact with everyone from the old group, though she had seen quite a few of them recently and was hoping that it would be easy to contact them all and get them here quickly. She hoped she could have them all here by the approximant deadline of two days that she had told Rufus and the others.

"Hey, Vincent, it's me Tifa. We need your help…"

And so began a long night of explaining the same story countless times and answering countless questions.


"Stop Moving…" A groggy Kadaj complained as his pillow began to move. "I'm trying to sleep!" He complained again, not opening his eyes.

"My legs are falling asleep," Cloud said as he tried to push the half asleep teen out of his lap. They had fallen asleep in the position, Cloud sitting cross-legged with his back against the wall, and Kadaj lying down on the ground with his upper body lying across Cloud's legs. "For being so small, you can be pretty heavy."

"Cloud!" Kadaj whined as the blonde pushed him out of his lap. Sitting up, Kadaj looked at Cloud. Seeing the youth sitting there, blurry eyed with his silver hair a mess, Cloud couldn't help but laugh. He shifted slightly, still sore from the pain inflicted upon him yesterday, and he rolled his shoulders, which were stiff from being pressed against the wall all night.

"I'm sorry Kadaj, I didn't want to wake you up, but I did want the feeling to return to my legs. Forgive me?" He said with another chuckle.

"No!" Kadaj retorted, stretching. He was still sore from yesterday himself, but not unbearably so. He pulled his legs against his body and sat there in front of Cloud, arms crossed across his chest, a pout on his lips.

"Why won't you forgive me?" Cloud asked, deciding to entertain the boy's antics for awhile.

"Because you woke me up and I was tired."

"So go back to sleep."

"I can't now…"

"Why not?"

"Because you already woke me up and now I am fully awake and I'll never be able to fall back asleep and-" Kadaj was cut off in the middle of his rant.

"And what can I do to make it up to you then?"

Thinking about the night before, Kadaj grinned. "Kiss me again."

"Again? I never kissed you in the first place. You sabotaged me, you kissed me."

Frowning, Kadaj leaned forward slightly. "So you didn't like it?"

Temporarily unable to meet Kadaj's gaze, Cloud looked at the floor. "Well, I didn't say that….I…"

"So then you did like it?" Kadaj prodded him.

"I…." Sighing, Cloud looked to Kadaj. "If I kiss you will you shut the hell up and stop bothering me?" He asked, though his voice was not cold as he said it.


Feeling just as self-conscious as the night before, Cloud looked into the waiting eyes in front of him and sighed. He took a moment and pushed back the persistent lock of hair that always seemed to hang in front of Kadaj's eyes. Looking over the person in front of him, he couldn't deny that he loved him, it was just so hard to admit it. It seemed that every time he loved someone, something happened to them. He got lost in thought for a moment, but was quickly pulled back into reality.

"Cloud, I'm waiting." Looking once more at the figure in front of him, he noticed that Kadaj was pouting again. Rolling his eyes he slowly raised his hand. He placed his hand on the back of Kadaj's head and leaned forward to capture his lips in a kiss. This kiss was longer than the accidental one they had shared last night, Cloud's hand pressed against the back of Kadaj's head, keeping them together for a few long moments. At some point during the kiss, one of Kadaj's arms had snaked around Cloud's waist, pulling him even closer, his other hand had found its way up to Cloud's hair, where it ran through his soft spikes. These actions left Cloud thinking that for someone who had never been in love before, and who hadn't even really known what love was for the longest time, Kadaj really seemed to know what he was doing. Cloud's free hand had become pressed to Kadaj's back, and they remained like that for awhile, engaged in their second kiss, and neither one could argue that it was not much more passionate than their first.

Cloud pulled away first, removing his lips from Kadaj's, but only by an inch or so. He was panting slightly, they both were, it was caused by a mixture consisting of a lack of oxygen and an overflow of emotions. As he looked at Kadaj, Cloud felt different now, not as self conscious. He even smiled at the look that was plastered on Kadaj's face. Nodding slightly to himself, Cloud came to the realization that not only did he love Kadaj, but he did want a relationship with him. "Happy now?" Cloud asked at last.

"Very much so," Kadaj replied with a smile.

"Will you leave me alone now?" Cloud questioned, though he was not being serious.

"Not a chance." Crawling forward, Kadaj made room for himself in Cloud's lap and sat there, looking up at the blonde. They sat there like that for awhile, silence falling over them. "I liked that," Kadaj said at length. "I'd never kissed anyone like that before," he added sheepishly.

"Don't worry, I haven't kissed anyone like that for a long time. And…." He paused, but seeing the look on Kadaj's face, he went on. "I liked it to."

"People who are in love do that kind of thing all the time, right Cloud?" Shaking his head Cloud remembered, and not for the first time, just how inexperienced Kadaj was at all of this. Sometimes Cloud wondered if he was inappropriately taking advantage of both Kadaj's young age and emotional innocence.

"Yes Kadaj, they do."

"And are we in love?"

"Yes Kadaj, we are."

"Good, because I think I like being in love with you," and with that he laid his head against Cloud's shoulder. "I'm going back to sleep, don't wake me up again."

"I thought you couldn't go back to sleep?" Cloud asked with an amused look on his face.

"I couldn't before, but now I can."

"Oh really, and what changed?"


That simple answer left Cloud speechless and doing quite a bit of thinking. Perhaps Kadaj wasn't as naïve as he thought.



And there you have it. I really hope you liked it.

Oh, and yes I know that the formatting of some of the other chapters is now messed up for some reason. I'll fix it when I'm not feeling lazy. Night loves.