Title: Reason

Author: Sorceress Fantasia

Pairings: Zack/Cloud

Warnings: Fluff, sap

Word count: 1010

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: As much as I would love to lay claim to Cloud, I'm kinda scared of Zack's Buster Sword. So well, I don't own the various incarnations of Final Fantasy VII and its compilation titles or any of their characters.

Summary: Zack loved mornings, but more importantly, he loved waking up to his lover.


Zack loved mornings.

It was one of those things most people couldn't tell simply by looking at Zack, just like how most people would laugh and pat him on his back when he told them of his status as a SOLDIER first class, especially when he wasn't wearing his uniform. Where other members of SOLDIER inspired respect and radiated dignity, Zack resembled, on his better days, a boy-next-door, and on his worse days, a puppy, as his mentor dubbed him. And on the days when Zack had missions first thing in the morning, everyone would talk about the infamous puppy yawn and puppy whine Zack couldn't stop doing. Somehow, they all thought puppy-Zack looked too cute and young to strike fear into his enemies' hearts.

So when Zack strode into mass hall one morning looking haughtily smug and declared that he loved mornings, nobody believed him. The brunet was famous for his inability to open his eyes during morning checks even if the general himself was standing beside his bed as he was famous for his puppy antics. Those who had been unfortunate enough to be his bunkmates back in their cadet days still grumbled about how they had to take turns in dragging Zack into the showers and shaking him about a few times in the mornings to save their entire platoon from punishment. Those who used to sleep in the room across the hall still shook their heads when they thought about the mornings when they'd hear their neighbours punished to do endless pushups and pull-ups by an irate sergeant who always flared up when he realized Zack was still curled up under his blanket during morning checks.

The reveille was Zack's personal lullaby, they all said.

But those days were long over, and now, Zack loved mornings. He loved how the light would slowly creep though the curtains, into his room –his own bedroom in his own apartment, one of the perks of being a first class - and how it would light up, leisurely, at its own pace. He loved the contrast between his cool room and the warmth under his covers. He also loved how entirely refreshed and sated his naked body felt, sandwiched between his cotton sheets and thick silk blanket, and how he could feel the warmth radiating from the body lying so close to his own.

But most of all, he loved how he could open his eyes and see his young lover's unguarded, sleeping face, watch those long lashes brush against his alabaster cheeks, and hear the soft breathing escape those pink lips. Some days, when Zack was sure neither of them was busy that day, he'd simply lie there and watch. He'd spend hours watching, his eyes tracing every curve and every inch of the body his hands had memorized the night before. Sometimes, his lover would sulk and mumble to Zack to leave him alone, and it was only then that Zack'd realized his fingers had betrayed him and reached out to caress a love bite he'd left on that pale body.

Cloud was an angel when he was asleep.

When he was awake, Cloud was still an angel, albeit a nosier one who'd protest vehemently at a love bite left too deeply, too high on his neck and wouldn't be covered by his cadet uniform.

Zack used to tell him it was his name tag, like one of those 'if lost, please return to' types, until Cloud threatened to move back to the cadet barracks. Now the love bites were left just as deeply, but lower. Just below the collarbone, or on the chest.

There was one right now, on Cloud's right chest. It was a light purple one, fairly small. Cloud had warned him against leaving any marks on him last night, since he was due for a medical check-up in a few days. Zack chuckled softly, already imagining the fuss Cloud would kick up when he woke up. Though he didn't like Cloud getting upset, he made such an adorable angry face that sometimes Zack couldn't help but want to see. And he knew Cloud secretly enjoyed the kisses he dropped on his pouting lips, so he always made sure that he kissed Cloud enough when the teen was unhappy.

Zack wet his lips. Just thinking about it was stirring up his desire, and with Cloud lying asleep and defenseless a short distance away on their bed, it seemed so easy to just wriggle across and plant his lips on his lover's. Vaguely, Zack was reminded of the bedtime stories his mother used to read to him, the ones where the prince would awaken his destined princess with a kiss and happiness would follow.

He had to bite his tongue to prevent himself from laughing aloud at the thought of Princess Cloud.

Carefully, he made nothing of the distance between them and he paused for a moment, taking the time to appreciate his lover's full lips. Then he moved in, feeling more and more of Cloud's warmth as he did. And without warning, their lips were touching, lightly whispering over each other's. When Zack was sure Cloud wasn't waking up, he pressed a little closer, but just a little closer. He didn't want to wake Cloud.

But his efforts were for naught when Cloud's golden lashes trembled and his eyes fluttered open, revealing baby blues that were still drowsy with sleep.

"…Zack?"

His voice was breathy and soft, and the first thing Zack heard every morning.

"Morning, love," Zack replied just as softly, as though anything louder would cause the morning to disappear. Running his fingers through Cloud's sleep-mussed hair, something only he was entitled to see and touch, he coaxed, "Go back to sleep. It's still early."

Cloud mumbled something incoherent, and within minutes, his breathing evened again. It did not hitch even when Zack pulled Cloud closer into his arms, gingerly tucking his head under his neck and dropping a kiss on that mob of messy hair.

"Sleep well, princess."

Yes, Zack loved mornings.

-owari-

A/N: Sorry it's taken me so long to post a new fic, but I've been terribly busy with a lot of things over the last few months. I'm trying to pick up my writing again, but it's probably going to take me a while to get used to writing fanfics again. Erm, hope you guys will continue supporting my writing! XD