Ch 2

Cloud shook himself from his dazed state. "Who are you?" he demanded, pleased that his voice was calm and angry.

"Who-?" the stranger seemed taken aback, then chuckled. "Cloud, I'm injured. How could you forget me? After all, you wouldn't be alive if it weren't for me."

Cloud scowled and clenched his fists. "What are you talking about?"

The man came forward and caught Cloud's chin between his forefinger and thumb. "I should never have given you to Ansem, he let you go to waste."

A conversation rang in Cloud's ears.

"Yes, he is quite delicious."

"Can you think of nothing else?"

"I must have him."

"Is that a hint?"

"Why not? You have no further need of him, your curiosity has been satisfied."

"...You're right, he is of no more importance to me, do with him what you like."

Cloud jerked out of the man's- no, fey's- grasp. "Sephiroth!"

Sephiroth smiled, his eyes narrowing in pleasure. "Ah good, you do remember. Now, it's time to go."

Cloud shook his head, backing away from him towards Leon's office. "No. Get out of here."

Sephiroth's smile disappeared as if it had never been. "You will come with me."

"I'm not going anywhere with you," Cloud hissed, reaching for one of the practice swords on the rack behind him. It would do absolutely no good against the powerful being, but at least it was more than his bare hands.

"You don't have a choice in the matter. I don't know why you'd want to stay in a pointless little place like this," Sephiroth snarled, somehow the expression only enhancing his beauty. He started forward, but halted when Leon came out of the office. The scarred man took in the scene immediately and adopted a protective stance in front of his lover.

"Can I help you?" Though polite and mild, there was a frostiness in his voice that would have scared any normal person witless. Unfortunately, Sephiroth was not a normal person. His lips curved back into an unpleasant smile.

"You already have. Until next time, Cloud." Sephiroth bowed his head mockingly before leaving, his coat and hair fanning out as he turned about sharply. Leon stayed where he was until Sephiroth was gone.

"You okay?" Leon asked, not looking at Cloud, but glaring at the door.

"Yeah," Cloud answered, resting his forehead in the shallow between Leon's shoulder blades.

"Who was that guy?"

Cloud was tempted to lie, to tell Leon that it was nothing, to not worry about it. "... Sephiroth. He was an... acquaintance of Ansem."

Leon stiffened, but as far as he knew, Ansem was just some distant crime lord, not an ancient and powerful fey. Cloud hadn't told him of that part of his life, afraid that the brunette would think him crazy.

"What's he want with you?"

"Don't," Cloud ordered sternly, backing away from him. "Let me handle this."

Leon looked back at him, eyes flinty. He didn't want to let him handle it, Cloud could tell just by the crossed arms. Cloud crossed his own arms and glared back. They stayed that way for a moment before Leon snorted and looked to the side. "All right, I'll leave it to you, but I'm going to keep an eye on things."

Cloud relaxed. "Thank you."

Leon dropped his arms and plucked his leather jacket from its hook on the wall. "Hnh. Let's go home."

The evening was quiet and the two went to bed, Cloud lying in Leon's loose embrace. They weren't big into cuddling as Riku and Sora were, but relaxed holds and hugs were frequent when lying in bed or watching TV.

Leon had already fallen asleep, his soft, light snoring more like a cat's purr than anything else. It was a soothing sound that usually sent Cloud right to sleep. However, the incident of the afternoon kept running through his head, preventing slumber from claiming him. Sephiroth knew. He knew that Leon was Cloud's lover, and that put the brunette into a very precarious situation. It wouldn't bother Sephiroth to just eliminate Leon from the equation completely, if it meant achieving his goal.

Cloud...

The blonde sat straight up, searching the darkness for his foe. Leon woke from the sudden action and sat up blearily.

"Cloud, what is it?"

The blonde didn't answer, he seemed frozen. Leon frowned and turned him to face him. Cloud's face was twisted in concentration, his eyes fully closed. "No," he mumbled. "Get out-"

"Cloud!" Leon said harshly, gripping him tightly, tempted to shake him. Cloud's skin seemed to grow cold under his fingers and his features relaxed. His eyes opened and Leon's gut twisted. They were no longer the intelligent blue gaze of his lover, but a fogged cobalt, the irises nowhere to be seen.

"Let go," Cloud ordered, his voice strange and husky.

"Dammit Cloud, what's wrong!?" Leon demanded, gripping even tighter, the cold seeping into him as if he held a statue rather than a living being.

"Let go," Cloud repeated, beginning to struggle. Leon grunted as Cloud expertly brought his hands up and down sharply on Leon's elbows, breaking free. His fingers stung from the friction and he leaped for the blonde as he stood up and headed towards mirrored door of the closet. Cloud evaded his grasp and touched the mirror, which rippled like water and began to glow a dark, blood red.

To Leon's shock, Cloud's hand began to pass through the mirror. Leon didn't know what was going on, but he knew that he wasn't going to let Cloud go anywhere without him. He grabbed onto Cloud's sleeve just as the blonde passed completely through, dragging Leon with him.

It was like slamming into icy water, the cold was so intense that it burned, and the impact stung his entire body so badly that he lost his grip on Cloud. The next thing he knew, everything went black.

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