Story Arc:Rise in Love

Title: Send Me An Angel
AU, Drama, Romance
Summary: The FFVII crew (+kingdom hearts ppl) are going to High School and Cloud is a loner that goes against the Populars. Zack's new at the school and although he fits with the Populars, he takes interest in Cloud.

Warnings: Yaoi, fluff, violence. Cloud slightly OOC.

Disclaimer:The usual. I do not own, though I wish I did.

A/N: All I can say is I hope everyone likes it ^^'

Send Me An Angel

Cloud sighed when his alarm ring. He switched the off button and got out of his bed slowly. Truthfully, he had been sitting in his bed, awake for hours. Today was the first day of twelfth grade and Cloud was not looking forward to the dire year of torture that faced him. Not that his summer had been any better. He had spent half of it working for his father in Vancouver and the other half sitting at home. He had gone out only when he was bored or when it was necessary.

The apartment was quiet as he turned on the shower, letting the steam rise as he stared at himself in the mirror. The same blue eyes that he had always seen stared back at him and his body was still the scrawny pale it had always been. With a resigned sigh, he concluded that the year would be the same as every other year. Nothing would change. He tugged off his night shirt and boxers to step in the shower. As soon as he climbed out, his cell phone rang loudly, causing a growl to rumble from his throat. He knew that ring tone.

"Hello?" He answered smoothly.

"Are you up and getting ready for school, Cloud?" The deep voice on the other end of the line said.

"Yes, dad, don't worry about it." Cloud dried his hair, holding the phone between his shoulder and cheek.

"Good, you're monthly check should be coming today." With that, Cloud's father hung up the phone.

Cloud hit the end button on his phone, throwing it on his bed. He lived alone in a decent apartment about half an hour's drive from the school (1). It wasn't a bad neighborhood but it wasn't rich either. After his parents divorced, his father had gained custody of him. Two years later, when Cloud entered High School, he had sent him to live on his own, stating that he didn't have time to take care of him anymore. He was the owner of a multi-national architectural firm and it took up most of his time and since his mother had disappeared after the divorce, Cloud was not in the slightest bit reluctant to move out and live on his own. Besides, he received monthly checks from his father to pay for gas, electricity, food and water, plus a little extra like an allowance.

Cloud found the school uniforms at the back of his closet and hauled them out. He tugged on the black slacks, belting them around his thin waist and turned to his bathroom to brush his teeth. Pulling on the white oxford shirt, he buttoned it up and covered it with the required black and navy sweater vest. Instead of wearing the blazer directly on top, Cloud slipped into a thin white hoodie and then shrugged on the black blazer, adorned with the school crest: a simple head of a gray wolf with the embroidered name of his school underneath in white, Shinra Academy.

Cloud's life had been consistently discontented for—well, almost his whole life. There was not much more to say than that. He used to be a happy little boy. He lived a mediocre life. He had good friends and a cheery personality. Then…his parents had divorced at a young age, tearing him apart emotionally. He became quiet and isolated. His parents never did get along very well. His mother was an alcoholic and was constantly drunk at home. It didn't cope too well for him or his father. His father was never happy with the image his mother put out. Eventually, they agreed that they should get a divorce and Cloud hadn't heard from his mother since, and in some ways, he was thankful for that.

Cloud was hopeless for a long time until Tifa walked into his life. Needless to say, they became good friends and he slowly came to believe that he was in love with this girl. They remained friends all through Junior High until High school hit them. Tifa became more and more popular. She sat with the popular table at lunch that mostly consisted of good looking people, jocks, and cheerleaders. She and Cloud began to grow apart as Tifa enjoyed the popularity wave. It ate her up like a disease, and within months, Cloud couldn't recognize his once crush.

It was only a matter of time before she confronted him about it. Tifa dumped him cold. Cloud had seen it coming, but the shock of it had shaken him for days. He had tried to reason with Tifa. He asked her why she would throw it all way so suddenly 'just to be popular'. Tifa had only scoffed at him and made him the laughing stock of the entire school. By the time grade ten had hit Christmas, Cloud had gained many enemies and no friends. Soon, bigger teens, especially Tifa's new friends, the Populars as everyone called them, found it increasingly amusing to pick on Cloud.

When school finally let out, Cloud was sure he had scars on many parts of his body. He spent the summer sitting in his apartment alone, mentally and physically healing from the stress he had been put though over the year. It was over that summer that Cloud had decided that, no matter if he was punched, kicked, or beaten (It's not like he could fight three guys at once, though he was positive he could take one by himself), his heart and feelings would not be hurt. So Cloud entered grade eleven with his emotions locked in and shut down. All that was left of him was a walking corpse.

Cloud was five foot eight, a good few inches shorter than a lot of the guys at his school. He had unruly blond hair that stuck up at odd angles no matter what he did and fair skin. He was rather skinny also, which was another cause of the beatings he received from the Populars biggest guys and then some. He attended a private school named Shinra Academy because his father had insisted he get the best education possible. Cloud didn't think his father had meant for him to have the best training in running away…or taking hits.

He stepped out into the hall and to his kitchen. His kitchen was attached to his living room where a large couch and a medium sized TV sat with a coffee table. Cloud never watched TV, but it sat there anyway. This room was directly connected to the front door and the small hall leading to his bedroom and the bathroom. His apartment was slightly cramped but he managed to make it work. After all, there was only one of him and he never had visitors. Pulling out the bread from the fridge, he popped it into his toaster. It was quiet in the house as Cloud watched the toaster, waiting for his probably burnt-by-now bread to fly out at him. He caught the toast as it hopped out and slathered some margarine on it before grabbing his nearly empty Shinra-required messenger bag and walking out the door, locking it shut behind him.

Cloud ate as he walked and made his way a few blocks down his street to the bus stop. His apartment was just a little too far to walk to the subway. He ate his toast in silence, watching the sky and checking his watch every so often. When the bus rounded the corner, he inhaled the rest of his toast, as it was against the rules to eat on buses, and walked on, showing the director his year-round transit pass (2). Cloud sat in silence again, surrounded by people of all ages, mostly school kids, but read the advertisements around him dully instead of paying any attention to them. He got off at his stop and made his way into the subway station with the crowd that moved like a river…you had to go along with it or you'd be trampled.

When he got into the station, he pulled out his pass again, ready to slide it through the gates, when someone bumped into his shoulder roughly. He dropped the pass and turned around to look for it when he saw a familiar face smirking at him. Leon was laughing at him and walking away on the other side of the gates, a familiar pass waving above his head, and Cloud's picture was on the right of the card. The blond closed his eyes and let himself be jostled by the crowd for a moment before digging out change from his pocket and heading to buy a ticket. Once he got onto the subway, he was surrounded by uniforms and business suits. There were a few uniforms from the Turk Academy, the evident red decals on their clothes giving them away. Turk was close to Shinra Academy resulting in school rivalry. It was the only one that Cloud knew how to identify, it's not like he went to watch school sports anymore, and he had learnt that the hard way.

Cloud stood amongst the crowd and listened to the overly loud music blaring in the earphones of the girl beside him. She was texting on her phone and Cloud diverted his attention to the commotion at the back of the car. There were two vibrant heads of red, a bald teen, and Cloud's worst nightmares. Leon, Cid, and Barret were having an argument with some Turk Academy student. They were probably on the basketball team or something. (3) Cloud chose to ignore them and while he turned his head, he caught a pair of violet eyes staring at him intently. He doubled back and the man's gaze was turned away. He was broad and tanned, with wild black hair and he was wearing the Shinra uniform. He sat next to Leon and Cloud recognized Aerith beside him, another girl that hung out with the Populars…though she was always friendly. Cloud couldn't identify the other man, so he dismissed him.

The train stopped at the Shinra Academy station and all the students got off, including the Turk students. The current stop was closer to their school than the next one. Cloud followed the crowd and ignored the taunts directed at him as they passed the gates of Shinra Academy. There were bike racks all along the walls and concrete paths were divided by lush green grass, preened to perfection. Cloud hated the word perfection. It irked him to no end. He made his way across the lawn and into the shiny halls of Shinra Academy. Hell with florescent lighting. Cloud walked through the halls and to his assigned locker. Just as he was entering the last number, the combo written on his arm, a hand smashed into his locker, beside his face, and Cloud became aware of the presence of most of the basketball team. He followed the arm with his eyes and found Leon glaring at him.

"What's up, dip-shit?" He said.

Cloud remained impassive, "Dip-shit…I thought you could be more creative than that, Squall." He turned back to his locker as in a way of dismissing them.

A growl was all the warning Cloud got before being spun around and pinned against the locker with a forearm in his throat. "You better not call me that again, or I will fucking castrate you." Leon sneered.

"Before you could even get laid," Cid laughed. Cloud almost let himself roll his eyes at Cid's crudeness.

Cloud raised his hands, "What do you want?" He said dully.

Leon smirked, "Now that's more like it." He backed off the shorter male and turned to Barret, still speaking to Cloud, "Just stay away from Tifa this year, she's tired of you running around after her for the past two years." Cloud mentally scoffed, he hadn't even talked to Tifa since the beginning of grade eleven. It was probably Tifa's delusions of insane popularity that lead her to believe that Cloud was still interested in her…and setting her equally delusional boyfriend on him.

"Sure-could you give me back my transit pass? I'm tired of having to fill out the forms to request for a new one." Cloud asked.

Barret laughed, "Nah, I think we'll keep it for now." Cloud mentally growled, those papers were a complete waste of time, and it took them at least two weeks to send a new one.

"Well then, I'm going to go to homeroom." Cloud said, stepping away from them. Cid shoved him into the wall of lockers, his back digging into one of the locks, and this continued as they all walked by him, teases and taunts followed by more shoving into lockers. People around them spared only a glance before turning away. Cloud sighed. This year was going to be exactly like last year.

He pushed himself off the lockers and wandered to his homeroom. It was half full already with familiar faces that Cloud had never put names on. He found the desk marked with his name on a little slip of paper and sat, crumpling the paper in his hand. He looked around. Not bad at all, he thought. It was the second seat from the back and farthest row from the door. He was sitting right beside a window and he almost let himself smiled as he felt the breeze hit his face. They were clean, large windows that were permitted to open during the summer. They opened wide and Cloud had always admired the fresh air.

Ten minutes later, the late bell had rung and the class was full with chatting students. They were in groups, talking about summer and whatever they talked about before school. Cloud never really knew…he was never part of those groups. He glared at a few guys that were roughing it up in the class and had bumped his desk slightly. Cloud looked up when he heard welcomes to someone he certainly did not want in his homeroom. Leon stood at the door, hugging and greeting his friends, which was basically the whole class, omit the nerds and Cloud. Behind him, the same teen with the violet eyes he had seen on the subway lingered with a wide grin on his face.

Just then, their teacher walked in, forcing everyone to their seats and cutting off their socializing. He introduced himself as Mr. Kakish. (A/N: The names of any OC are completely irrelevant) He went over the basic school rules and handed out timetables as well as their transcripts. Cloud stared down at his paper. Chem.30, LA 30-1IB, Math 31P/Calc, and Spare stared back at him. He had LA in this very classroom. He tucked the paper away and as soon as the teacher was done giving his speech about dress code, and various other school rules, Cloud left to his Chemistry class.

The school was a maze if you didn't know it well. He saw many freshmen's seeking help from the Rowdies, who stood around the school specifically for their help. Cloud made his way to the other side of the main floor and headed up the staircase to the science wing. He took his time and among the rustling crowd, Cloud was shoved a few times. Notably from people he knew disliked him. He stepped past the threshold and was faced with the last person he ever wanted to see. Big brown eyes were directed at him and a sneer passed the overly done face. Cloud watched as Tifa sauntered away back to her seat near the back of the class where most of her gang was hanging out. She sat in Leon's lap and the brunet's gaze looked up at Cloud. Cid's head turned and caught sight of the blond also and he snickered. Cloud saw him say something and they all laughed. The blond just diverted his attention and made his way to the farthest corner from them and collapsed in a seat. There was no seating plan in this class and he appreciated it.

"Cloud," A deep voice from above him said.

Cloud looked up and was met by the sight of two red eyes. "Vincent," He greeted back. The dark haired teen sat in the seat behind Cloud. Vincent wasn't Cloud's friend. He had made that point clear sometime last year when they had first met. He had said that they shared the mutual hate for the popular crowd and those who had common hate for a particularly powerful group should look out for each other…kind of like ganging up but not really because they were still the minority. Not many people decided they didn't like the Populars and made it public. Cloud took Vincent's words and minded his own business. In class they backed each other up but if the other wasn't around, they didn't expect that the other would care if they were pummeled or not. On the other hand, Vincent was one of those that Tifa's crew avoided because of his reputation. Cloud wished he had thought of making himself a good reputation before entering high school. Instead, he had spent all his time being shy and running around after Tifa.

He sat back in his seat and waited for the class to begin. Their teacher eventually came around and the usual handing out of syllabuses was gone through, followed by the assignment of text books and chemistry booklets. By the time this was all done, the class was almost over and Cloud took his time packing things away in his bag before getting up to leave, secretly waiting for the Populars to leave. He silently left the class, nodding at the teacher as he passed and walked back down to the main floor for his ELA class. This class was relatively the same. He received a novel and spent most of his time staring out the window into the courtyard as the Mr. Kakish spoke about what they were going to be doing during the semester and how the International Baccalaureate English program worked. Cloud was at least grateful for the fact that none of the Populars, except Aerith, were smart enough to be in language arts IB…and Aerith was nice enough, she didn't bother Cloud, so he didn't mind her.

Lunch rolled around and Cloud regretted not making himself a lunch. He wandered to the cafeteria and stood in line with all the others. He heard the Populars enter the cafeteria by their shouts and whoops. Cloud didn't bother turning around and he looked at the ceiling when a hand shoved him out of the line. Cloud mutely turned around, knowing it was Leon who had taken his place, and headed back to the end of the line where he waited once more. Last time he had argued there had been a scene in the lunchroom and Cloud had received a week of detention, Leon getting off easy because he was one of the school's star basketball players.

Once Cloud had gotten hold of his lunch, he wordlessly ate it and headed to the library where he knew he would be safe. He greeted the librarian who he knew from being in the area so much and weaved through the bookcases to the fiction section where he pulled out a book. He dropped his bag near his chair and sat at one of the smaller, hidden tables with a view of the courtyard and read his book in silence, lounging in the sunlight that entered through the window. When the bell rung again twenty minutes later, Cloud replaced the book, grabbed his bag, and walked out the double doors. As soon as he stepped out of the confines of the library, an apple hit his side. Cloud growled, oh what he would do if it was only one guy picking on him. Instead he said to them as he picked the apple up, "It's not nice to litter, you know." This time, it was Cid with two others from the basketball team named Robbie and Elliot.

"Then why don't you throw it away, fuck-face?" Cid said crudely.

Cloud didn't say anything and walked away to toss the apple in the closest garbage. A hand grabbed his arm and spun him around, and a push knocked him against the wall. Cloud's blue eyes stared at Cid, waiting for an explanation.

"Don't walk away from me like that ever again." And then they left. Cloud watched and straightened his uniform before turning away and tossing the apple into the metal bin, a dull clunk signaling the end of its fall.

The rest of his afternoon was the same. He went to his calculus class and received a text book. The teacher didn't waste any time and went straight into the lesson, causing some stirring within the classroom. When his spare rolled around, Cloud made his way to his locker and tucked away all the un-needed books before heading for the front doors; he had the option of leaving early. He went through his homework and sighed as he thought about the page of calculus that awaited him as well as a whole thirty page chapter of a book that was rumored to have two sex scenes and a gay rape scene. It just wasn't a very nice first day to be back. His head jerked down, snapping him out of his thinking as his cellphone rung, causing him to miss the last step of the stairs and stumble. A pair of hands caught him and Cloud's head snapped up and he was met by those violet eyes again.

They were silent and the sound of his phone ringing was made distinct. "Aren't you gonna answer that?" The taller male asked him with a velvet deep voice, a hint of amusement in it.

Cloud jerked and searched his pockets for his phone before pulling it up and staring at the caller ID. He frowned, not recognizing the number but answered it anyway, "Hello?"

"Hey fuck-face," Cloud glanced back at the male who stood in front of him, a grin on his face. Cloud shifted awkwardly at the staring and turned slightly to his left. Leon was on the phone. He distantly wondered how the hell Leon had gotten a hold of his cellphone number. He made a mental not to never answer calls from the number again. "It's only the start of school but if you bug any more of my crew you'll get your monthly beating before the week is over."

"Right," Cloud answered and snapped the phone shut and tucked it into his hoodie pocket. He was used to the threats; it didn't bother him as much anymore.

"Someone you don't like?" The teen said.

Cloud looked up at him and vaguely noticed the height difference. He was easily six foot two or so. Cloud let his head nod and he turned away again. He didn't need anyone else to beat up on him. The male continued, "Someone I know?"

"Possibly," Cloud answered. He began walking towards his apartment, intending on leaving the teen behind.

"So, you have a spare?" Cloud looked over to see the other male walking right next to him. He thought he had made his dismissal clear when he had walked away. Who was this guy? "Wow, me too!" He said without missing a beat when Cloud didn't respond. He sighed once and stepped in front of the blond, forcing him to stop. "I'm Zackary Fair by the way; call me Zack, nice to meet you!" He stuck out a hand and Cloud stared at it before he sighed.

"Look, if you know what's good for you, you won't want to be seen talking to me…at all." He said lowly. He stared up at Zack and almost frowned when the man laughed.

Zack smiled, "Then I guess I don't know what's best for me. Besides, I've got cover." Cloud frowned when he said so, the question obvious in his eye, but Zack ignored it and continued. "Anyway, you're name is…?"

The blond stared at him strangely, "Cloud," He said simply and a large grin broke out on Zack's face as he took the man's hand.

(1) The setting is LIKE New York, with more space I guess…but the schools are more Japanese style…

(2) I don't think there's such thing…

(3) Where I come from, basketball is the sport to play, so in this story, it is too.