Look My Way
By S.J. Kohl
Summary: Clouds tries to tempt Sephiroth and gets somewhat tangled up in his own inexperience.
Disclaimer: Cloud belongs to Sephiroth, not to me.
Cloud hunched his shoulders and slunk down the hall, trying to look as harmless as possible. He was usually left alone that way. The other SOLDIER trainees weren't cruel, for the most part, but they were invasive. Argumentative. They were all young, after all, most of them no older than his own fifteen years, and they were all fighting for a place here. He was small for his age, slender and frail-looking, and his clear, beautiful features acted as an open invitation for trouble. Over the past several months of training, Cloud had devised a means of staying beneath the scope of the other trainees' attention, and, except on the practice field, they almost seemed to have forgotten he existed at all.
It was a lonely sort of life, but Cloud was no stranger to solitude. He'd been alone all his life, after all. But there was something different about this place; he didn't really feel alone anymore. He had a purpose now, a goal to work toward. One he was determined to achieve. And…he had someone who cared whether or not he reached that goal. Cloud flushed slightly as he stepped quickly down the hall, hands shoved in his pockets, fluorescent lights beaming down on him in utter indifference. He had Zack. And Zack was…
He didn't know exactly what Zack was. A…friend, he guessed. Cloud didn't know. He'd never really had a friend before. Zack certainly seemed interested him, that was for sure. He'd been following Cloud around ever since he'd first arrived, making sure his quarters were satisfactory, that no one was trying to bully him, that his training sessions were going all right. He'd even had himself assigned as Cloud's personal mentor, taking him out for extra training because, he said, Cloud had potential beyond that of an average cadet. Cloud wasn't really sure how much stock he put in that pronouncement; he thought it more likely that Zack felt sorry for him, but still… The officer seemed harmless.
Well, harmless wasn't any sort of an appropriate descriptor for Zack. He was First Class, after all. A demon on the battlefield and in the salle, and, to top it all off, he was the General's second-in-command. But he didn't seem like the men back in Nibelheim who had liked to spend time with young boys—not that he was really much older than Cloud was…
But Zack seemed to genuinely want to be Cloud's friend, for whatever reason. Cloud still wasn't sure of his motives, but, by this point, he was pretty certain of the man's intentions.
Cloud's footsteps slowed and faltered slightly as two low voices curled around the upcoming corner in easy conversation. One voice was definitely Zack's, and the other… It was smooth and deep, unconsciously seductive, and Cloud felt his pulse begin to throb in his veins as the low, melodic sound brushed across his mind. The other voice could belong to no one but the General. Cloud gulped. General Sephiroth and Zack were talking and laughing softly around a corner not more than twenty feet away from him.
One hand braced against the cinderblock wall for support, Cloud looked around him. There were no other hallways branching off of this one; the only other way for him to go was back, but that just wasn't possible. Cloud had to get back to his bunk in the cadets' barracks to change before afternoon session, and the only way to get to the barracks was around the corner. But…the General was around the corner. Cloud couldn't face Sephiroth. He was just a scrawny little trainee; how could he possibly be so rude as the get in the way of the great General Sephiroth?
Taking a deep breath and straightening his shoulders, Cloud took a step forward, and then another. Slowly, inexorably, he made his way down the hall, trepidation marking his every move. Zack's easy grin came into view as Cloud finally rounded the corner, but Cloud was too enthralled by the sight of the General to pay him much attention. Sephiroth…the great General Sephiroth was standing right in front of him, and he was more amazing than Cloud could ever have imagined. He was tall, more than six feet, and he towered over Cloud's tiny form, his shimmering silver hair falling to brush the backs of his leather-clad knees. Cloud gulped again and tried to pull himself into a respectful salute.
But with an easy laugh, Zack grabbed his arm and pulled it away from his face, jerking Cloud over to his side and sliding a comfortable arm across Cloud's slim shoulders. With a broad wink of one too bright blue eye, Zack grinned down at "his" cadet and then looked up at Sephiroth. "Seph, this is the trainee I told you about. Cloud Strife."
Sephiroth nodded in acknowledgment, his catlike green eyes glittering as he stared down at Cloud, a feral smile tugging at the corners of his sensual lips. "Cadet Strife. Zackary speaks very highly of you. So, how do you like it here at the compound?"
Cloud's mouth opened, but no words would come out. The General was speaking to him. The General was speaking to him. "I—ah," he stuttered, licking his lips. "I t-think I l-l-like it all right, General sir."
Sephiroth chuckled and quirked one elegant silver eyebrow. "I'm glad to hear it. We wouldn't want to let you out of our grasp, after all."
Cloud glanced up at Zack uncertainly, but he was no help at all. He just kept grinning, his expression almost smug. "Y-you wouldn't, sir?"
"Of course not, cadet." Sephiroth's tongue flicked out to lick across his full, wickedly enticing lips, and Cloud's breath caught in his throat, his eyes wide and staring, unable to break away from the slick gleam of the General's tongue. He swallowed, feeling a red flush creep across his cheeks as his body came alive as it had never done before. He barely stopped a low, needy whimper from slipping past his parted lips. "We don't let cadets as…valuable…as you get away very easily. Now, if you will excuse us," he nodded once, sharply. "Zackary and I have some business we must take care of."
"See ya, Strife," Zack called, ruffling Cloud's blond, spiky hair as he turned the corner, taking Sephiroth with him.
Cloud stood blinking stupidly after them, his body hot and flushed, his mind reeling. What in Holy's name had just happened? Shaking his head, his breathing fast and shallow, Cloud stumbled off down the hall toward the barracks. Perhaps he should take a shower before practice.
A cold one.