Holding Hands We'll Fall
By: Phoenix Dayze

Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy or its characters. This is from my own imaginaton.

Sephiroth lost count of how many days passed. He refused to leave his rooms, and wouldn't open the door for anyone. Even Zack had finally given up and left Sephiroth to his solitude. Zack's fading footsteps hurt. He knew his friend was only concerned for him, but it was better this way. He couldn't afford to be out there, not right now. He was far too weak. All he had to do was keep out of sight until Cloud moved on to someone else, someone better.

A sharp pain clenched at his heart. He didn't want Cloud to move on, he wanted Cloud, always and forever, just him, but life wasn't fair, and fate had wronged them both. Sighing, he tilted his head back against the wall, tightening his grip around his knees. This silence, this darkness, it wasn't so bad. He had his memories to keep him company after all.

Cloud's face, lined with aching desperation. Cloud's face, alive with questions and unspoken need. Cloud's face, soft and young in slumber, but still alluring. Cloud's face, burning with lust and love, and kissing him freely…hungrily…

Sephiroth swallowed and swiped the damning tears from his face. He couldn't do this! He loved Cloud! He loved him! But how could he bring such a beautiful, innocent man into his twisted, tainted existence? He was nothing but a tool, a manipulated puppet to deal out death and destruction whenever and wherever his masters called for it. They didn't allow for kindness or sympathy, wanting or needing, hope, love, or trust. They wanted him hard, empty, and dependent on them. That was his life, and it was a destiny that he would never be able to break. But…he loved Cloud Strife!

But that didn't matter. He didn't matter. Not in a human sense. No allowances or exceptions would be made simply because he'd gone and let sentiment creep in as though he were any other damn fool man. The fact that he'd surrendered to weakness and petty human needs and fallen in love meant nothing more than if he'd fallen and scraped his elbow. That's just the way it was.

And Cloud deserved better.

Digging his fingernails into his biceps, Sephiroth reveled in the easy, distracting pain as the tears continued to fall. His breathing was harsh and ragged, and he felt as though he were being pulled apart. It hurt. Shiva, it hurt. He couldn't give Cloud up! He couldn't! Only…Cloud wasn't his! "I can't!" He choked out. "I can't! I love him!" His head banged back against the wall with an ardent thump. "My soul be damned, but I love him!"

"I love you too."

Sephiroth's eyes snapped open, scanning wildly in the darkness of his room. It didn't take long to recognize the shadowy silhouette of Cloud's body. "What…" He swallowed hard. "How did you get in here?"

Cloud shrugged. "It doesn't matter." He crawled closer, and Sephiroth could feel the roiling tension on Cloud's muscles, the tight, aching question along his skin. Cloud's eyes became visible in the darkness, and Sephiroth instinctually searched them for some clue on how to proceed, a small shred of hope to give him courage. But the expression they usually held was gone now. They were closed to him, blank and guarded.

The pain in Sephiroth's chest pulsed in time with his heart. He had done this. He had stolen the life from Cloud's eyes, just like he had been afraid of. This wasn't how it was supposed to be. Slowly, he reached out, seized Cloud's chin in his hand. He could feel the minute quivering in the man's jaw, hear the nerve-rattling conflict as Cloud decided whether or not to pull away. He stared, deep, digging, searching, desperately trying to pry open the walls that Cloud had build to protect himself, looking for anything that spoke of the youth, beauty, and innocence he knew Cloud to be.

Nothing. And for a brief, heart-sickening moment, Sephiroth was terrified that Cloud might be dead inside. That he might have been hurt too deeply, and closed himself off forever. But then, a tiny flicker of uncertainty, of sadness as Cloud pulled away from him.

"Don't." Cloud's voice was low, rough and almost unfeeling. "Please don't touch me anymore."

That hurt too. In all the time they'd known each other, that was the first time Cloud had ever asked him not to touch him. And for some reason, it made Sephiroth want to all the more. He reached out again, wanting to comfort him, wanting Cloud to somehow understand, needing to feel that incredible life beneath his fingers…

"NO!" Cloud clambered backwards, away from the stretching fingers. "Please! You can't do that anymore!" The emotionless calm that Cloud's voice held just moments ago was gone now, broken through with heady, anxious pain. "I can't go on like this…" his voice ended in a sob. "Please, Sephiroth… Always taking, always taking, and never getting to feel…" He heaved in a deep breath. "I can't do it!" His small hands twisted in his hair, covered his eyes. "I just wanted to be with you." His voice barely a whisper now. "I love you."

Sephiroth could feel himself shattering, and he wondered why it was that he wasn't dead yet. Or maybe he was and this was his hell. Damned to watch Cloud breaking for all eternity. He licked his lips, swallowed, tried to find words that wouldn't sound meaningless. "Cloud…"


"Cloud, please…"

"No." Cloud looked up then, and had Cloud been a SOLDIER, the gleam of pain in his eyes would have far outstripped the Mako. "This was your choice, Sephiroth." He slowly rose to his feet. "And I'm gonna hold you to it."

Panic raced through Sephiroth's blood. The moment of truth had finally come. Cloud was leaving! No, not just leaving, Cloud was leaving him! Moving on to better things, just like Sephiroth had been pushing him towards. No more sweat-slicked skin. No more shuddering orgasms. No more aching kisses to follow that one that had meant so much. No more eyes full of hope, love, desire, need. No more Cloud…

"Wait!" The word was out in a breathless rush before Sephiroth had realized he had spoken, and his hand was clamped tightly around Cloud's wrist.

Cloud turned back, turmoil on his face, and tried to pull away. "Let go." He whispered. "Please. It's over now. We had our fun, and now it's time for me to grow up."

Sephiroth shook his head. "No…" He peered up at Cloud pleadingly. "I… No…"

Cloud sighed, and tried to work his wrist free, prying at Sephiroth's fingers. "Sephiroth…"

"No, Cloud!" Sephiroth's voice was rent with desperate despair. "Please! I don't want it to be over! I…I need you!"

"Seph…" Cloud exhaled a shaky sob. "Please let go! I can't do this anymore! Please!"

It was now or never, Sephiroth knew. It was down to taking a chance, being willing to risk everything, to face his fears, or lose Cloud forever. Opening his mouth, he pushed his brain aside and let his heart take control. "I'm not heartless, Cloud. I do care! You're the only good thing I've ever known. And I want you to touch me. But…I don't know how to let you. Please, Cloud! Don't leave me! Help me!"

Cloud stared down at him for long moments, and very slowly, he stopped trying to free himself from Sephiroth's grip, and just stood there. Then, swallowing hard, and with tears streaming down his cheeks, Cloud lowered himself back to his knees. Reaching out with his free hand, he shakily drew Sephiroth forward.

Sephiroth released his grip on Cloud's wrist almost instantly. His breath came in short gasps as he stared up at Cloud's face. "Cloud…"

Cloud gave him a small smile. "Shh…" He put a gentle finger against Sephiroth's lips. "Don't speak." He whispered. "Don't think. Just feel."

Cloud hesitated briefly, fingers flexing, then sank his fingers into Sephiroth's hair, the silver strands slipping soft and silky through his hands. The fervent relief sensation was so strong that Cloud had to choke back a fresh wave of aching, unashamed tears. "Sweet Shiva…" He tightened his hands around the mane of silver, possessive, and reluctant to let go when he'd waited so long to do this. But he did. And taking Sephiroth's hands that seemed so empty and unsure, he guided them around his shoulders. "Hold me."

Sephiroth's heart raced as his arms finally slid around Cloud's body, his mind in overdrive as he worked to instantly memorize these sensations as his fingers grazed over curve and muscle and rough fabric and slick skin, and locked behind Cloud's back. It was slim and strong and real, and with a shuddering cry, Sephiroth yanked Cloud forward against his chest, cradling him, holding him so close that he feared he'd never be able to let go. "Cloud. Cloud. Cloud." He chanted, over and over again, because he didn't know if, past this moment, he'd be able to say it again

Not breaking their close contact, Cloud maneuvered himself until he was straddling Sephiroth's thighs, and hugged the other man back, tight and needing so much and endless devotion. He tilted his head down against Sephiroth's shoulder, reveling in the man's breath against his skin. "Sephiroth…" he whispered. "I love you." He tightened his hold, digging his fingers into Sephiroth's back. "I love you." His voice was rough and desperate, and full of longing finally realized. "Fuck, I love you!"

And that was all that Sephiroth needed to let all his insecurities be stripped away. He stopped holding back, stopped thinking about everything that wasn't Cloud and love and please… Running his hands up Cloud's back, Sephiroth wrapped his long fingers around Cloud's neck, and pulled him up from where he was buried in his shoulder, until he could look in his eyes. Eyes that were no longer masked, and certainly not dead, as they churned with lust and fire and Cloud.

Sephiroth took a moment just to stare, then, "Cloud, may I kiss you?"

A beautiful smile crept like morning sunlight across Cloud's face, along with a few shining tears. "I thought you'd never ask."

The End.