Family Ties


Sora slammed the wardrobe closed as his brother's voice sounded through the room.

"Sora! Will you hurry up? For Gaia's sake, I don't want to be late because you're preening in front of your bloody mirror in the hope that Riku will notice you!" Roxas trudged downstairs, typing on his phone to his girlfriend, Namine. Sora took a deep breath and looked in the mirror one last time, straightened his blue polo shirt over his baggy black jeans.

"Time to go, Sora!" Sora jumped and grabbed his bag, racing downstairs to where his oh-so-lovable twin waited.


Riku on a black t-shirt over his dark grey jeans as he made his way down the marble steps towards the kitchen.

"Peter? Where's my lunch?" Riku stuck his head in the fridge looking for some breakfast impatiently.

"Top-shelf of the fridge, sir. And Kairi called for you, again."

"Damn, thanks. If she calls again, tell her that I'm on my way to pick her up now." Riku glanced up at the tall blonde who stood in the doorway. The silverette grabbed his backpack and car keys. As he moved out the door, his mother walked halfway down the marble staircase.

"Riku, darling, don't forget that your father is having guests over for dinner tonight. I expect you top be there, and don't be rude to the guests like last time." Her expression was mildly disapproving, or it might have been, it was really hard to tell with the amount of botox injections the woman had had.

Riku stood there looking at the tall blonde woman to claimed to be his mother. Yeah right, she may have given birth to him, but she was no mother.

"Mother, I already told you, I didn't call that girl a slut at the last dinner party. Besides, she came on to me!" Riku glanced up at the third landing, where movement had shown that his father, Sephiroth, was standing. He nodded towards his son, and then spoke down to his wife.

"Yuki, leave him alone. He'll be late for school."

"Sephiroth, honestly. Riku needs to meet a nice girl and settle down! And what better place is there than at one of our fancy dinner parties." Yuki pouted, or tried to, as Riku and Sephiroth rolled their eyes at Yuki's desire.

"Mother, I'm seventeen. And I don't want one of those superficial bitches as a girlfriend, or wife. Now I have to go. Later." Riku stormed out of his family's mansion and got into his black porche.

Riku parked his car in the school car park and shot a pissed off glare at his passenger, Kairi. The redhead held some false hope that he would fall madly in love with her. And she acted like a possessive girlfriend every time someone showed any interest in him.

"Kia, I told you that I don't want to go out with you. And, for the record, I don't have a thing for Namine, she's like a sister to me. And isn't she going out with that Roxas kid?" Riku sighed and locked his car, moving towards the large brick building that was Aki High School.

"Come on Riku, you know your mum thinks we're great together-" Kairi started, hurrying to catch up with her friend.

"No! We are not together, we never will be. And that ice queen bitch who birthed me, has no say over who I care about!" Riku shook off the clingy girl who had latched onto his arm As he walked towards his first class, chemistry, Kairi stood and stared at the silver headed male who had just walked off on her.


Sora rushed to class as the bell went, making him late again.

"Ofh." Sora rushed around the corner and hit something hard, causing him to bounce backwards and hit the floor. He looked up at the person he had run into and felt his breath catch. Riku. The beautiful silverette was staring at the petite brunette who had collided with him.

"Eep…. Hi, Riku…. I – I'm sorry! I didn't see you there," muttered Sora who still resided on the ground.

"Um, right. I know you didn't mean to…. Roxas?" Riku looked sheepishly at the small figure on the ground. He frowned as the small figure stared gob smacked at Riku.

"What? Why are you staring at me?" Riku felt ire rise in him as the brunette's eyes welled up with moist sheen.

"My name is Sora, not Roxas. Considering we have most of the same classes, and have since kindergarten, I would think you know that!" Sora couldn't help a tear from slipping down his cheek at the fact that his crush couldn't even remember his name. Gaia, he was so bloody pathetic sometimes.

"Oh...sorry Sora, you look so much like your brother… um" Riku felt a blush creeping up on him at his blunder. Damn, since when did he blush? That was a feminine thing to do.

"Roxas is blonde. I suppose it's okay, people make that mistake a lot…I have to go, "I'll be late for class – or later than I already am." Sora scrambled up and grabbed his bag, all the while not looking at the handsome Riku in front of him. He started to walk towards his chemistry classroom when a pale hand reached out and grabbed Sora's hand. He froze at the warm touch, feeling a shiver run through his spine.

"Um…. Riku?" Sora' s face flamed as his voice cracked.

"I'm sorry Sora. I didn't mean to get your name wrong. I promise to make it up to you." Riku had no idea why he was trying to make it up to the boy in front of him. Since when did he care about anyone but himself and his father?

"Right, well you don't have to, it's an easy enough mistake to make" Sora was acutely aware that Riku was still holding his hand. A moment passed as neither Sora or Riku said or did anything.

"I want to." Riku reluctantly let go of Sora's hand, confused about why he didn't want to let the hand go.

"I have to go to class," Sora blushed deeply

"We have the same class, so I guess I do too," Riku smiled at Sora's red face, starting to walk towards class. "Coming Sora?"


Riku sighed as he plopped down in his chair in chemistry. He muttered a hello to Kairi and Axel, letting his eyes stray over to where Sora had sat next to a blonde boy who looked so much like Sora that Riku assumed it was Roxas, and a pretty blonde girl. As he watched, Sora laughed at something Roxas said, causing a strange surge of feelings to bubble in the pit of his stomach. He shook his head, turning his attention back to his friends and the teacher. Axel was talking to Kairi about his dad's latest girlfriend and how she was w gold-digging bitch, well this was something new to Axel. The silverette sighed and rested his head on his hands. He found his mind drifted towards the brunette laughing with his friends. Wondering what his favorite book was, his favorite colour. What he looked like sleeping and after he had been pissed. Riku' s eyes shot open at, as the last thought drifted into his mind. 'What the hell?!' his mind screamed at him that he wasn't gay, so why the hell would he care about how Sora looked after being snogged? Riku whimpered, causing Axel and Kairi to look at him strongly.

"Riku?" Axel shifted over towards his friend, bumping into his shoulder, causing Riku to sway violently.

"It's nothing. Hey Axel, do you know the brunette over there?" Riku gestured toward Sora's table, hoping the pyro would know something about the small boy.

"What, Sora? No I don't but I'm friends with his twin, Roxas. We go to the same karate class Sora goes to but he is in the class above us. From what Roxy says, he's a natural at fighting. Does sword fighting and jujitsu as well." Axel glanced at Riku, seeing the way the silverette's eyes flickered towards Sora at intervals. Interesting.


Sora laughed as Roxas muttered angrily about bloody annoying pyros. They made their way out of chemistry, heading towards the doors leading out to the outside lunch area.

"Axel annoyed you last night, eh? What happened?" Sora pushed open the door, leading Roxas out towards the tree where they sat to eat.

"The idiotic redhead tried to trip me up! And then he had the nerve to try and pop a pimple! Gross bastard." Roxas slumped down next to his brother, pulling out his lunch angrily.

"I take it from the fact that Axel is now sporting a black eye, you stopped him from popping your…. um…. pimple?" Sora smiled as Namine sat next to Roxas, grabbing a bite of the sandwich Roxas was holding. Namine smiled slyly at Sora, clump of sandwich in her teeth.

"So…. Sora, a good friend of mine told me you ran into, literally, Riku Yamaguchi…. True?" Roxas choked at his girlfriends words, she ignored the sound.

"What? You ran into the richest kid in school? The same guy who can't remember your name? The guy you've had a crush on for two years?" Roxas smirked as Sora turned a shade of scarlet. Not appealing with his blue eyes and brown hair.

Namine looked away, the incident was now out in the open. She had played her part.


Cloud Strife sighed as he watched his lover dress. Gaia, why did this part always hurt? The blonde sat up on the bed and played with the black sheet that pooled around his waist.

"Do you really have to go? You promised that we could do something together. Other than having sex, I mean." The tall man dressing glanced at the blonde in his bed. He sighed and turned back around, pulling on his shirt.

"Cloud, I have to go. Riku will be home soon and I have to talk to my wife about the upcoming dinner party. I'll take you out to dinner another night." Sephiroth Yamaguchi buttoned up his silk shirt, avoiding his young lover's eyes so as to not see the hurt and despair.

"You said that last time. And the time before that. Both times you cancelled because of your wife," Cloud spat the last word as tears pooled in his beautiful blue orbs, "wished to do something." He sighed and stood up out of the bed, walking over to where his pants had been thrown not two hours earlier. Sephiroth sighed as he saw the liquid sheen to Cloud's eyes.

"Two weeks from today, I promise to take you to that new Italian restaurant you've been talking about."

"Promise?" Cloud buttoned up his black shirt and strapped on his black leather bracelet. He leaned back as his lover wrapped his arms around Cloud's waist. Cloud shivered as the silver headed man's breathe played across his neck.

"Promise."


Riku sighed as he slammed the door closed.

"Mum? Dad? Anyone home, or is it just me?" Riku called out as he made his way towards his room, hoping his Ice Queen mother wasn't home. When no one answered, he shrugged and chucked his bag onto his bed. Walking over to his desk, Riku powered up his computer before going back to his bag to grab his now ringing mobile phone. A picture of Axel popped up on the screen,

"Axel, what's up?" Riku walked back over to his computer, clicking on to his email sign in. He punched in the password and sat down.

"I was on my way to karate class when I saw your boy getting into a porche with another blonde man. I talked to Roxy, and the guy was their half-brother Cloud Strife…"

"Axel?" Riku interrupted, "Does this have a point."

"Yep. The twins and Strife have the same father, different mother. Guess who Strife's mother is?"Riku rolled his eyes and clicked into an email from his brother, Kadaj. The email popped up and Riku scrolled down as he half listened to Axel.

"…. And Strife's mother is Raine. As in Raine D'Arquet, one of the most powerful women in the world AND your dad's number one business rival. Cool, huh?"Riku felt his insides freeze as Axel's words sank into his mind.

"Are you telling me Sora is related to the heir to the D'Arquet Empire? How come I didn't know about this?" Riku glared at his brother's email before deciding to read it later.

"Well, Strife took his dad's name in school, so nobody thought to ask if Mrs Strife was his mother."

"And nobody thought it odd that Cloud Strife was born before Mrs Strife became Mrs Strife? Or the age gap between him and the twins?"

"People thought that Cloud was illegitimate. Nobody knew about Strife's connection to D'Arquet."Axel's voice told Riku that the pyro thought everybody was really stupid to have not questioned Cloud Strife's parentage.

"And where has he been these past years?"

"With his mum in France and Europe, learning the family business."

"I'm shocked my wonderful mother and dad haven't told me about Strife," Riku scowled at the monitor in front of him.

"Whatever. Just ask your dad, if you're curious."

"I think I will. I have to go Axel, I'll talk to you tomorrow." Riku hung up the phone and stood up, making his way over to his door. He would ask his dad why he didn't think to tell him that the brothers of Raine D'Arquet's kid went to his school.


Cloud silently slipped into the house, sighing inaudibly as his mind drifted back to his conversation with Sephiroth. When Cloud had met the older man a little over a year before, he'd been taken with his charm and wit. When they'd started to sleep together, and Cloud had admitted that he felt love to the silver haired man, Sephiroth had promised him that, when the time was right, he would leave Yuki so that their relationship could be more public.

That had been eight months ago.

Cloud was snapped back into reality as he heard his stepmother's voice coming from the kitchen. He slowly made his way towards the room, dumping his car and house keys on the bench as he went.

Mariko was chopping vegetables at the island counter, muttering to herself. As he walked into the kitchen she looked up and smiled when she saw who it was that was home.

"Cloud, thank Gaia. Could you help me with dinner? There are people coming over tonight for dinner, and I can't seem to get this soup to taste right." Mariko held out a sharp knife to Cloud, smiling as he took it and moved to chop the food.

"So who is coming to dinner? Anyone I know?" Cloud grabbed a couple of tomatoes and started to dice them.

"You should know them. Sephiroth, Yuki and Riku Yamaguchi?" Mariko screamed as Cloud's knife slipped, slicing open the palm of his hand. Cloud stood there, the names echoing in his head, warm blood trickling down his wrist.


Sora chucked his bag onto the couch as he wondered through the house, looking for people.

"Hello? I'm home, is anybody else?" Sora sighed then jumped as his mother's voice sounded.

"Sora, I'm in the kitchen! Can you come here, I need you to do something for me." Sora made his way into the kitchen, freezing as he caught sight of a knife dripping blood onto the island counter. Sora's eyes flew towards his mother's form. He saw his mother holding a blood soaked towel against Cloud's hand, noticing absently that Cloud's face was white as a sheet and his eyes were red.

"Cloud!" Sora rushed towards his half brother and mother, concern filling his heart.

"I'm fine, Sora. It's a small cut. Mariko is just over-reacting." Cloud winced as Mariko pressed the towel harder into his hand, increasing pressure.

"Don't even, Cloud. You can see bone! We need to go to the hospital to get your hand sewn up. Sora can you finish cooking dinner? We have guests coming over." As she spoke, Mariko pulled her stepson up and started to lead him to the door. She grabbed Cloud's keys as she went past them. Sora ran after them.

"Who's coming?" Sora's eyes flicked to Cloud as a whimper escaped his white lips.

"The Yamaguchi's." Cloud's voice was soft and filled with pain. Sora frowned and wondered why Cloud would sound so odd as he whispered the name.

"Cloud, do you know them?" Sora opened the black Porsche's door so his mother could settle Cloud in.

"You could say that." The car door slammed shut, and was gone.


Riku slammed the door shut as he walked over to his computer. The conversation with his father hadn't gone as planned. Before he had even spoken two words, Sephiroth had informed Riku that the three of them were going to dinner at a friend's house. A Mariko someone's place. He sighed and flopped down at his computer, swiveling the mouse to bring the screen back up. Kadaj email faded in on his screen. Riku scrolled down, scanning the email. He froze as a sentence of his brothers caught his attention.

and dad was introduced to a blonde friend,

he was kinda cute, Cloud D'Arquet. Dad looked

quite taken by him, followed him around all the

time, asking questions and stuff. Oh, but

guess what? Dad…

Riku's jaw dropped as the words of the email clicked in his head. His dad had met Cloud, but didn't know that he was a Strife. Riku knew his parent's marriage wasn't a happy one, but he never thought much of it. But from Kadaj's email, it seemed like his dad was interested in the D'Arquet heir, Sora's brother, who was almost 10 years younger than Sephiroth. Shit, Cloud was almost as old as Kadaj, who was Yuki's from a teenage affair with a married man. Of course, Riku reasoned, Sephiroth had married the older women when he was 17 so it was obvious there was no real emotion between them. Riku sighed and went to dress for dinner. Tonight would be fun. As if.


Cloud and Sora were setting the table, Cloud wincing as he knocked his sore hand.

"Cloud, why not just take the painkillers the doctors gave you? I mean you did just get 7 stitches in your palm." Sora placed the last plate onto the formal dinner table. He shot his half-brother a worried look as he winced again.

"The drugs make you drowsy, and I want to be alert tonight."

"Why? Is it because you know them?" Cloud and Sora moved over and grabbed cutlery to place down.

"I know Sephiroth. I've never met Yuki and Riku. I want to have a clear head when I meet them." Cloud brushed his hands off on his nice black dress pants then sighed and sat down at one of the eight place settings.

"How do you know Sephiroth?" Sora observed how pain flittered across his features, followed by despair and disappointment. Curious, Sora didn't remember anything affecting his brother so much.

"Can this wait Sora? I don't really want to talk about it at the moment. Besides, the Yamaguchi's should be arriving at any moment." Cloud stood up and jumped when the doorbell rang. He drew a deep breath in and moved to open the door.


Sephiroth and Riku made their way up the pathway, ignoring Yuki's bitching. She was moaning about the fact that the neighborhood wasn't nearly rich enough for her standards. Yuki followed the two silver headed males slowly, muttering snide things about the Strife family under her breath.

Sephiroth made his way to the grand double doors and pressed the doorbell. He turned to Riku and shot his son a glare.

"Please behave tonight Riku. Mariko is a fabulous chef who always helps with those silly dinner parties your mother plans. I don't want you to insult her." Sephiroth turned as he heard the door open. His world shifted dangerously as he saw his blonde lover answer the door to the Strife household. Sephiroth took in the small blonde's pale features, shadowed eyes and pain lines fanning from his eyes and mouth. He looked fragile and vulnerable to Sephiroth. Cloud stared into his eyes for what seemed like an eternity before he smiled at Riku and stood back to let him in.

"Hello, please enter," said Cloud as he turned. Sephiroth caught sight of the white bandages around Cloud's hand. His breath caught and before he could stop himself, reached out and captured Cloud's small hand in his.

"Gaia, what happened to your hand, Cloud?" Concern coloured the older man's voice, causing Riku's eyebrows to shoot up dangerously. Riku's eyes flickered between the two, taking in the way his father held the small blonde's hand tenderly, the way he stared, concerned, at Cloud and the way Cloud looked at him. Interesting, thought Riku.

"Well, shall we move? I'm cold and hungry Sephiroth!" Yuki's voice snapped Sephiroth out of his world containing Cloud. Yuki glared at the blonde that dared to take her husband's attention away from her. Her look betrayed the fact that she thought he was a pretentious brat.

"Of course, sorry." Cloud flushed in embarrassment and pulled his hand carefully from Sephiroth's. Said man shot his wife a nasty look before gesturing his wife and son to move through the door. They walked through the doors towards the dining room, leaving the secret lovers alone together on the steps. Sephiroth moved towards Cloud, pressing himself into the warmth of Cloud's body. Cloud was glad that no one witnessed this.

"Cloud, what happed to your hand? And why are you even here? Sephiroth breathed softly onto Cloud's ear. Cloud whimpered and moved away, guiltily.

"Don't, Sephy. Your family is in the other room. As for my hand, it was just a small kitchen accident. Mariko took me to the hospital and I'm fine." Cloud went to walk off but Sephiroth moved up behind him and wrapped his arms around Cloud's shoulders to keep him from leaving.

"And why are you here Cloud? Why is the heir to the D'Arquet Empire in the Strife household? he demanded.

"Hikari Strife is my father. Now let me go, before your wife comes looking for you" Cloud ducked out of his lovers hold, fighting back a flood of tears. Before Sephiroth could question Cloud, he walked inside the magnificent house.

"We have to go well before people get suspicious and start looking for us."


Riku left his father and Cloud talking in the foyer, dragging his rude mother with him. He pulled her into the lounge room where a tray of drinks stood. Riku grabbed a glass of Baileys and ice for himself and a red wine for his mother, moving towards her as the door opened and Sora walked in. He smiled at the small brunette, sipping his drink, recognition written across his features.

"Hello, Sora. How have you been?" Riku smiled warmly at Sora in a feeling of happiness. The boy flushed prettily, wary of the attention Riku was giving him.

"Hey Riku, you remembered my name! Um….. do you want to go up to my room until dinner? The adults can talk in the living room." Sora blushed again as Yuki turned her cold eyes towards him, giving him a look that would freeze a waterfall.

"Sure," Riku smiled at Sora comfortingly then turned to his mother, "Mother why don't you go and talk with Mr and Mrs Strife? Dad will probably be there." said Riku pointedly as he moved over to Sora, waiting for him to lead the way.

"Right then, come with me," Sora moved towards the door, waiting for Riku to follow. Yuki huffed and walked off, muttering rude things about male teenagers. Riku sighed and looked apologetically at the boy next to him.

"Sorry about her. She's the ice queen bitch. She hates it when people… encroach on her 'territory'. She hates when I get new friends, and when dad goes to dinners with her and people talk to him. She thinks that because she married him when he was a teen, and she's my mother she can control who and what is in our lives." Riku followed Sora as he made his way up the central staircase and towards the door on the left. Sora glanced behind to make sure Yuki hadn't followed. The door was red, in contrast to the pale blue of the hallway and the cream carpet. In black letters across the door was 'Sora'. Opposite Sora's room was a leafy green door with powder blue writing spelling out Roxas name. Sora opened his door and let Riku walk in first, gazing at his muscled back.

"Nice room. I love the colours." Sora blushed at Riku's compliment. The room was a soft pale green with a red carpet. On one was a painting of a beach, the pyramids of Giza and the Eiffel Tower. A queen sized bed was near the doors to the balcony. Riku moved over and sat down on the bed, eyes moving over to the computer at the opposite wall. Sora hovered at the door.

"Come and sit with me, 'Sora," Riku pleaded as he shifted back on the bed, leaving room for the brunette to sit down beside him. Sora sat down gingerly, flinching as his hand brushed Riku's upper thigh. Riku reached out and grabbed Sora's hand.

"Sora will you tell me about yourself?" Riku smiled at Sora softly, running his thumb over Sora's soft hand. Sora looked about him, panicked. His eyes rested for a moment on the jasmine twining around the iron balustrade.

"Um… well, what do you want to know?" Sora mentally winced as heard his voice rise. Great, now Riku would think him a total wuss. Riku, however, merely more becomingly and continued to caress Sora's hand.

"Whatever you're comfortable telling me. I don't want you to feel uncomfortable with me," Riku grinned as Sora flushed red again. So adorable! Riku warmed as Sora left his hand in Riku's larger one . He wasn't even sure why he wanted to touch Sora, he was straight, after all. Right?


Sephiroth and Cloud moved into the sitting room simultaneously, Cloud taking the time to compose himself. The sight that greeted the lovers was not comforting. Mariko and Hikari were sitting on one of the red leather couches while Yuki narrowed her eyes at them from her perch on the straight-backed chair by the snapping flames of the fire. Cloud didn't think the tension could get any tenser.

"Should we adjourn to the dining room for dinner?" Mariko smiled at Cloud and beckoned him over to her side. "Cloud, do you mind getting the boys? Roxas is in the garden reading, and Riku and Sora are upstairs in Sora's room." Cloud nodded and moved off, starting up the stairs.

"Well, shall we?" Hikari broke the silence, stood up and gestured towards the door leading to the spacious dining room. Sephiroth pulled Yuki up then released her hand quickly. Tonight would be hard enough for Cloud without having to see Sephiroth pander to Yuki's every whim.


Cloud took a deep breath and knocked on Sora's door. He waited a moment then opened the red door. The sight that he saw caused his eyebrows to rise and mouth to drop open. Riku and Sora were lying on the bed with their hands twined.

"Boys? Dinner is about to be served." Cloud smiled as Sora jumped, blushed bright red and scrambled up off the bed. Riku slowly sat up and flashed a grin at Cloud before rising to stand.

"Thanks, we'll go now."Sora jumped as a soft tune filled the air. He glanced at his brother as Cloud pulled his phone from his pocked. Glancing at the caller ID, Cloud frowned and looked between Sora and the twinkling phone.

"Sora, I have to take this call. Can you grab Roxas from the garden and tell the others to start eating without me? This may take a while." Cloud waited for Sora's nod of acceptance then moved off towards his room at the end of the hallway, putting the phone to his ear.


Sora, Riku and Roxas walked into the dining room. They fell silent as they beheld the scene before them. The dining room was almost bereft of conversation. Mariko looked up, relief on her face. Riku noticed concern flashing in his father's eyes before he could mask it.

"Where's Cloud? I thought he was meant to fetch you?" Sephiroth stared at Riku rather accusingly, as if he had disposed of Cloud. His father must really care for the blonde, Riku realized.

"He said to start without him. He got a phone call he had to take." Sora smiled at everyone before moving over to sit down. Riku followed and sat down on one side of Sora while Roxas sat on the other. Mariko smiled and stood up, moving towards the kitchen.

"I'll just tell the waiter to bring in the food except for Cloud's." Mariko disappeared into the kitchen. Hikari smiled and glanced at his sons.

"So Riku, Roxas tells me you're friends with Axel?"


Cloud took a deep breath before pressing the answer button and then shut the door to his room and began to speak. "Mum, why are you calling? Just what time is it in France?"

"I know, sorry love. Some things have happened. But first thing first. Why did I get a call from Hikari informing me that you had been taken to hospital for a cut on your hand?" Cloud winced at the pissed tone his mother had taken. Cloud wrote himself a mental note to confront his father later.

"It was an accident! My hand slipped. I'm fine now, anyway."

"Cloud when you cook you never 'just slip'. Did something happen? You know you can tell me anything, honey."

"I know," he paused. "We're having a dinner party tonight. I was helping and I asked who was coming to dinner. The name shocked me, that's all."

"Who? I know you, Cloud and there isn't much that can shock you enough to slip." Cloud sighed. He should have known his mother would want to know everything.

"The Yamaguchi's." Cloud heard his mother's breath catch as the name registered in her mind.

"Just Sephiroth, or all of them?" The blonde was starting to regret that, in a drunken moment of weakness after a fight with the silver headed man, he had confided his affair with his mother.

"All of them," Cloud cringed inwardly.

"Oh baby, that's terrible! It's bad enough the man won't leave his tight-arse bitch of a wife, but to force you to be polite to her? That's cruel, honey. Do you want me to ring him up and yell at him?" Cloud rolled his eyes at Raine's protectiveness, though he loved her.

"No! He didn't know I'd be here. He doesn't know that Hikari is my dad," said Cloud hurriedly. He was afraid his mother would do something drastic.

"Well, I think you could do better, honey. But I won't lecture you," she promised. "Now I am in a bit of a predicament. My person over there has fallen ill, and I was wondering if you could possibly go to that auction house and bid on those beautiful key blades and throwing knives? You can buy whatever you want, as well honey. The presents are for Sora and Roxas."

"Sure mum when is it?" Cloud wrote down the details then settled back on his bed to talk to his mother.


Sora looked at Riku from under his long eyelashes. Dinner had started twenty minutes ago and conversation was scarce. Riku kept brushing his hand against Sora's, smiling as the brunette blushed and bit his lip every time.

"Sora, you compete professionally with sword fighting and jujitsu?" Sephiroth wasn't blind, he had seen what his son and Cloud's brother were doing. He wanted to distract them so that Yuki wouldn't cotton on to what was happening across the table from her.

"Um, yeah I practice almost every day. Two hours of sword work and two hours of jujitsu. And every five weeks we're tested for the competitions, which occur every two months." Sora jumped and flushed as he felt a hand brush his knee. He looked at Riku and shot him a panicked look. Sephiroth's voice broke into the little world Sora and Riku inhabited.

"Who do you practice with?" he enquired, drawing Sora's mind away from his knee.

"Cloud. He has a masters in sword fighting and he has done jujitsu since he was six. Roxas practices with me sometimes as well." Sora didn't notice how Sephiroth's eyes widened at the information about Cloud that he didn't know. Riku, however did notice.

"Cloud can fight? He never mentioned it when we met." Sephiroth inwardly cursed at his slip up. But he felt hurt at the fact that Cloud had left him in the shadows. His wife didn't know he had met Cloud.

"You know the blonde, why didn't you tell me? When did you meet him?" Yuki glared at Hikari and Mariko as if it was their fault her husband knew Cloud. They glanced back, insulted.

"Cloud is Raine D'Arquet's son. Dad met him when he spent those four months in France. Don't you remember his telling us? It was just after he returned." Riku smiled innocently at his mother. His hand still rested on Sora's defined leg, it comforted him that Sora liked him so. Of course, Riku had only figured out recently that he liked Sora as more than what a friend would. But Sora just made him feel…… alive, complete and happy.

"I don't remember that. But I was distracted by the new garden" she retorted. Riku snorted at his mother's words. More like she was busy screwing the new gardener, and the pool boy, and the waiter at her favorite restaurant. The only reason she had realized Sephiroth was even back was because she wanted more money.

So' how was this mornings practice with Cloud?" Mariko looked beseechingly at Sora to break the icy tension in the room. She only managed to fracture it.

"Good. Cloud taught me a new move with the keyblades. And Raine is buying Oblivion from the auction house. It's for my birthday next week! She's buying something for Roxas as well. Cool, huh?" Sora grinned at his twin as Roxas laughed at Sora's words.

"Oblivion is for me. You get Oath-Keeper, remember?" Roxas picked up his glass of coke and took a sip. Sora nodded at Roxas before turning sharply as the door opened and Cloud walked in. He was chatting away in French, the phone held to his ear. He pulled the phone away from his mouth and hung up.

"Sorry everyone. Mum needed to talk to me. She needs me to pick up the twins presents. Oh Dad? I have to go to France in two months. Mums getting married! The wedding is in two and half months and the engagement party is in two weeks" Cloud smiled happily and sat down at the table next to Sephiroth. He glanced at his lover beneath his pale lashes.

"Raine D'Arquet is getting married! To whom?" Yuki snapped her eyes to the blonde who dared to sit beside her husband.

"Um, her long time friend, Andre Demare. Though mum is going to keep her maiden name" Cloud winced when he realized he was babbling . He had never liked Yuki, for obvious reasons, but to actually see her and sit near her was nerve wracking. Sephiroth's eyes darted between the two of them, sensing the tension. He truly wanted to protect Cloud from Yuki's wrath, but he was not sure of how to save him. He felt a sudden desire to announce to his wife that he was leaving her for the stunning blonde by his side. He took a deep breath and pushed the desire down, it wouldn't do to hurt Riku. Despite his feelings for Yuki he truly loved Riku and he cared for Yuki's illegitimate son Kadaj.

"That's wonderful Cloud. Did Raine say anything else?" Hikari smiled at his son, content that his ex-wife had found happiness. While their divorce was amicable and they had parted friends, they didn't talk much, especially not since Hikari had remarried. They hadn't wanted to cause Mariko any stress when she was pregnant with the twins.

"Not much. Just that if I wanted, and you agreed, the twins could come to the wedding and spend the holidays in her mansion in France while she's on her honeymoon." Cloud picked up his fork and started to pick at his plate. He couldn't hold both of the pieces of cutlery with his injured hand.

"Honestly, Strife or D'Arquet or whatever your name is, if you can't abide by proper table manners by holding your knife and fork properly then eat soup or something." Yuki sneered, exasperated by the blonde, leaned over and brushed her hand against Sephiroth's leg, causing him to stiffen in annoyance. Sephiroth glared at Cloud and saw pain flash in his eyes. He felt cold fury fill him, no one should put that expression in Cloud's eyes least of all his tight-arse bitch of a wife.

"Yuki, enough! Cloud injured himself after dinner was prepared. If you cannot be courteous to our hosts, you will have to go home. Now apologize to Cloud." A silence filled the room after Sephiroth's explosion of temper. Riku was glaring at his mother, along with everybody but Cloud and Sephiroth. Cloud was looking at his plate with tears gathering in his eyes. Sephiroth was gazing worriedly at the blonde. As Cloud fumbled with both knife and fork, he hissed and dropped the silver fork as it pressed to hard against the cut in his hand. The fork clattered down under the table, Cloud closed his eyes and took a deep breath, this day wasn't his best.

"I'll get it Cloud. I don't want you to hurt your hand anymore." Sephiroth placed his hand on Cloud's knee as he leaned down to reach the piece of cutlery his hand slipped up further on Cloud's thigh. Cloud's face froze and a strange whimper made it past his closed lips. Riku glanced at Cloud, realizing what his father was doing. Cloud's elbow came down on Sephiroth's exploring hand stopping it from reaching his groin. It would hard enough to hide his problem without Sephiroth adding to it, the bastard. Sephiroth smiled under the table, grabbed the fork and surfaced.

"Here you are Cloud," Sephiroth smirked at the blonde, taking in his flushed cheeks and glazing eyes. Cloud drew in a deep breath and grabbed the implement from his lover's hand. He glanced nervously around the table, relieved when no one seemed to have noticed what happened with Sephiroth and him.

"Thank you Sephiroth, but if I may be excused? I don't feel that hungry anymore. Father, Mariko I'll see you in the morning. Goodnight everyone," said Cloud as he stood up and quickly walked out of the room. His father and stepmother nodded looking at him with concern in their eyes.


Cloud lay back in his bed stiffly, hearing faint chatter coming from downstairs. The blonde took a shuddering breath and slowly forced his body to relax. He heard Sephiroth's baritone as he apologized for Yuki's earlier behavior. Cloud laughed openly as he finally let himself acknowledge the fact that his lover would never leave his wife, not for Cloud at least. As laughter echoed up the staircase tears slipped down his pale cheeks.


Riku smiled at Sora and touched his cheek.

"I had fun with you tonight Sora, would you like to have lunch with me tomorrow sometime?" Riku stood in the foyer waiting for Sora's reply when Roxas strolled in.

"Of course he will! He's had a crush on you for years now. He always stared at you during gym, and I had to notice, didn't I?" Roxas smiled sweetly through his sarcasm at his blushing twin and waved at Riku mockingly.

"Bye Riku. I guess we'll see you tomorrow." He grabbed Sora and pulled him out of the room, towards the staircase. Riku blinked at the twins retreating back and slowly a smile grew on his face. A crush, huh. So little Sora had liked him for a while now, Riku mused to himself as he left the Strife household to wait in the car for his parents.


Sora stood in front of the mirror in his bedroom, trying get his spiky hair to tame. He sighed quietly and gave up. Grabbing his bag he started to walk downstairs. He moved into the kitchen to a peculiar sight. Cloud was sitting on the island, chatting into his phone in French while writing notes into a book. Mariko was flipping through books on food and telling Cloud what looked good for weddings. Hikari was sitting amongst a pile of address and phone books, taking down names and talking to Roxas. Roxas was eating a bowl of cereal while leaning against the counter. He saw his twin and he moved over to him, eyeing his hair.

"Nice look, Sora. You do know that Riku has seen your hair before, right? It looked awful then, and it looks awful now. He's not going to car, really!" Roxas smiled benevolently at his love-struck brother. It was so much fun to tease him so.

"Shut up," he growled "What's going on?" Sora moved to the fridge and pulled out the milk. He grabbed a bowl and some cereal, making himself breakfast. Then he moved back to his and leaned against the wall, mimicking his twin unconsciously.

"Cloud is helping Raine organize the wedding! I think he's on the phone to the caterers. Either that or it's about the portable toilets, I tend not to know. I failed French, so I really couldn't tell you. Dad," he waved a hand in his direction," is making a list of all of dad and Raine's friends and relatives. Cloud can ring them once the list is done." As Roxas spoke Cloud hung up the phone and pressed his face into his hands, sighing from exhaustion. Sora frowned as he saw the tired look in his brother's face and the concerned looks that Mariko was sending him.

"Cloud, do you want something?" Mariko rubbed Cloud's shoulder gently, worried about the boy's health.

"Un thé, s'il vous plait." Everyone looked at Cloud as he spoke in fluent French, worry flitting across the family's faces. Cloud only slipped into French around them accidentally when he was either extremely angry or completely exhausted. The last time Cloud had been so tired was three years prior and he had collapsed at one of Sora's sword competitions. He had been forced to go to hospital. They had prescribed many medications to ensure he had a normal sleeping pattern.

"Cloud, sweetie? I don't speak French remember." Cloud's eyes moved to Mariko's as her words entered his mind.

"French? I'm sorry; I just haven't been sleeping to well recently." Sora and Roxas glanced at each other then left the kitchen quietly, leaving Mariko to console Cloud.

"Rox, I'm worried about Cloud. He hasn't been the same since he got back from that tournament in England. I don't think he's been sleeping properly since then." Sora opened his bag, checked that everything was in it. Sighing, he closed it and swung it onto his back.

"Sora, that was three weeks ago! Relax, he'll be fine after Raine's engagement party and wedding," said Roxas. He moved towards the double doors and opened one for his brother.

"Yeah, but the engagement isn't for two weeks and he's already talking in French!" Sora moved outside and waited for Roxas to follow.

"I don't know, Sora. Guess we'll just have to wait and see." The door snapped shut behind them.


Sephiroth exhaled loudly and buttoned up his shirt, his mind on his lover. Cloud had seemed ill the night before. At first he had just assumed that it was because of his hand but once he got home he realized that Cloud had sick for a few weeks. Ever since that time three weeks ago when Sephiroth had cancelled a dinner date with Cloud to go home earlier. All because Yuki wished to attend a ball that required both of them to attend.

Sephiroth sighed again and snatched up his leather gloves. His eyes flickered towards the closed doors of his dark room as someone knocked softly. Tugging on his gloves, he made his way over to open the door, praying it wasn't his wife.

The doors opened to reveal his son, already dressed for school and tapping his foot impatiently, his eyes glaring at the ceiling.

"Finally! We need to talk, dad, and I don't want mother around. So, I figured that we could talk in your room. The bitch isn't allowed in here, right?" Sephiroth stared at his son, who had jumped straight to the point, in shock. Since when did Riku ramble?

"Riku, shut up." Sephiroth snapped, "What did you come here to talk to me about?" Sephiroth arched a silver brow as his son flushed. Well, that was interesting. Riku never blushed. Riku moved inside the room, shut the door and took a deep breath. He refused to look his father in the eye.

"How long have you been sleeping with Cloud D'Arquet?" The silence in the room was absolute, magnified by the darkness. Riku couldn't even hear his father breathing.

"What do you mean? I'm not sleeping with Cloud," denied Sephiroth, fidgeting with his gloved hands.

"Fine then. How long have you been having sex with Cloud?" Riku smirked as his father drew in a deep breath and turned back to his son.

"What do you know?" Sephiroth glared at his only son, feeling as if the carpet had been wrenched out from under his feet. He didn't enjoy the sensation.

"I know you hate mother, I know you love Cloud-Strife-D'Arquet whichever name it is," Riku scowled at his father. "I know that you've been having an affair with him! What I want to know is how long has it been going on? Are you going to leave mother for him, or is he just a toy to you?" Riku was inwardly satisfied that his father flinched at the truthful words issuing from his lips. He wanted to shock his father into answering him.

"Almost 10 months." Sephiroth informed the ceiling light. "I've been sleeping with Cloud for almost ten months, and I love him, so don't you dareimply that I'm using him." Sephiroth spat the last words, moving to glare at his son.

"Are you leaving mother?" repeated Riku, his eyes now fixed on the light.

"Yes, eventually. I want the time to be right."

"'The time to be right'? You mean, you've not worked up the courage to actually file for divorce? For someone who supposedly loves his little catamite you seem to want to stay with mother." Riku taunted his father, watching as Sephiroth turned red, followed by white, with anger. Sephiroth's leather-encased hands clenched and unclenched in an effort to control his building anger at Riku.

"Don't dare call Cloud that! He is a beautiful, kind and loving person. He is worth so much more that that pathetic excuse of a woman that you call mother. He's pure and innocent, and I love him more than anything! I love him!" Sephiroth's voice faded to a whisper as he reached the last part of his declaration. Riku's eyes widened as a single tear slid down his father's pale cheek.

"I love him, and I think I'm losing him because I can't grasp the courage to divorce Yuki." Sephiroth slid down onto the bed, his expression broken. Riku silently went over and hugged his father, feeling angry at his father's lack of actions in divorcing his mother. Riku knew Cloud must be hurt by this, anyone would have been.


Sora walked into school and his eyes instantly sought out his beautiful silverette. Riku was standing in his large group of friends, chatting solely to Alex. Sora froze and looked at Roxas, his eyes wide and pleading.

"Roxas, I can't go over there. Those people hate me, they're the popular crowd and I'm the happy sword fighting freak who constantly takes days off to wield metal." Roxas rolled his blue eyes and grabbed his brother's arm, pulling him towards the group.

"Come on Romeo, Riku likes you; he wouldn't let anyone hurt you." As he spoke, Roxas pulled Sora up with him to the group, aware that the group had gone virtually silent at the twins approach.

"Morning pyro, morning Riku," said Roxas loudly as he nodded at Axel. He tugged his brother's arm sharply.

"Er, hi Riku," Sora winced at his lame greeting, feeling his face heat in embarrassment as the girls surrounded Riku giggling and whispering between themselves. Riku frowned at the immature girls and turned to smile at the boy.

"Good morning, Sora. Did you have a good night once we left?" Riku noticed that Roxas had pulled his phone out appeared to be reading a message. The blonde twin frowned and touched his brother's arm, handing him the phone. Sora's eyes flickered to the screen, a frown marring his beautiful face. His amazing blue eyes shadowed.

"Sora, is something wrong? Is it Cloud? I noticed that his hand was really troubling him as dinner progressed." Riku mentally catalogued the looks of fear, concern and anger that crossed Sora's face at the mention of Cloud.

"No, it's not about Cloud, just something to do with the wedding that we're going to." Sora smiled, handing the phone back to his brother.

"Do you want to go to class now? The bell is about to go." Sora looked at Riku with his startlingly blue eyes, unknowingly wrapping Riku around his little finger.

"Why would he want to go with a scrawny kid like you? Does he even know you?"

One of the laughing girls from before sneered at the small male in front of her. She inwardly cheered as Sora's face fell and his blue eyes began to drown in a liquid sheen.

"Tiffany, leave him alone! Sora can ask me anything and for your information, Sora is more than my friend. He's my boyfriend." The whole group went silent at Riku's declaration. Sora's eyes flung up to Riku's face. He felt tension drain out of him as Riku smiled and winked at him, his warm hand reaching for Sora's.

"Come on, lets get to class," Riku started to pull Sora towards the school building before looking back at the group. "Do any of you have a problem with that?" The group was silent, unwilling to fight with Riku about his personal life.

"What do you mean boyfriend? We're meant to be together, your mother promised me! Argh." Kairi screeched, causing several of the group to cringe and step away from her.

"If you like Riku's mum so much why not hook up with her? Gaia knows that woman needs to get laid and Sephiroth's not going to touch her." Everyone froze and looked at the source of the voice, coming face to face with Cloud Strife. His eyes flashed in fury at Kairi for a moment before looking at his brothers. He looked very intimidating, dressed in black leather pants and a black woolen zip-up vest. His hands were incased in black leather gloves. He moved toward the twins, purposely excluding Kairi.

"Sora, Roxas I need you to come with me to the auction. Dad wants to buy something for mum and I can't bid for two separate people." Cloud's eyes hadn't left Sora and Riku's joined hands, causing Sora to shift uncomfortably. Sora reluctantly let go of his boyfriend's grasp. As he started to walk towards Cloud, Riku leaned over and seized Sora's arm, turned around and in front of the whole school, pressed his lips to Sora's. The kiss seemed to last forever, Sora melted into Riku's arms, warmed by the tight hold on his body. Riku slowly let Sora go, his lips slightly parted from their intimate contact. "I'll call you after school, alright?" Sora nodded and smiled at Riku before he was dragged off towards Cloud's car by Roxas.


Silence stretched in the car as Cloud drove the twins to the auction house. Sora was smiling goofily and sighing softly at random intervals, Roxas was texting Namine again and Cloud was agonizing over the fact that Sora could kiss his boyfriend in public and he, Cloud, couldn't. He wasn't even sure he had a boyfriend anymore. Cloud's head drooped and he mentally slapped himself for being jealous of his brother. Besides, Cloud had decided that before he left for France he was going to make a decision on whether or not he was staying with Sephiroth. If his lover hadn't filed for in divorce in two weeks, he was moving permanently to France. To hell with his promises, it was time for Sephiroth to take action if he wanted to keep Cloud. To decide between love and obligation.


"Dad I'm home!" Riku knocked on his father's study door before pushing it open. His father was seated at his desk with his face in his hands. His mother was sitting opposite Sephiroth, smirking openly. Leaning over she pulled a pen from the mahogany desk and wrote a number on a piece of paper in front of her. Her smirk widening to a nasty grin, she handed Sephiroth the paper.

"Pleasure doing business, husband of mine. Don't forget to lose your little whore," Yuki sneered and stood up. She swept out of the room, ignoring her son completely. Riku moved over and sank into the chair his tight arse mother had just vacated.

"What's going on?" Riku waited patiently as his father gathered his thoughts.

"Your mother knows about Cloud. If I leave her for him she has threatened to wreck Cloud's reputation, "Sephiroth sighed at his son's questioning look. "She claims to have information about a past relationship of Cloud's, one that has some sort of hushed-up scandal attached to it. I will not hurt Cloud by staying with him if this will damage him." Sephiroth moaned and leaned back in his leather chair.

"Bullshit! If you really love him, you'll stay with him, not bow at mother's selfish whims. God, he really loves you, I saw how he looked at you that night at dinner. And I saw how you looked at him, father. You're ready to throw all that away?" Riku looked carefully at his father, taking in his red rimmed eyes and sunken face. He felt a pang hit his heart; his dad was really agonizing over the situation.

"Apparently, Cloud was involved with the son of some prominent Minister a year and a half ago. The man was set to marry some foreign diplomat. The fiancé walked in on them a week before the wedding. Raine hushed up the incident and bought off the women. If it gets out that Cloud was involved in their split, it would cause many problems. No, it would be better if I leave Cloud, before Yuki comes true on her threat."


Two Weeks Later

Cloud exhaled loudly before he snapped his laptop shut. He glanced at his watch before standing up, grabbing some nice clothes and headed to the shower. He turned on the hot water, letting steam obscure the room. Cloud slipped out of his clothes and slid into the steaming shower. Water pounded down on his shoulders, washing away the tension of the day. He was meant to do to dinner with Sephiroth at his favorite Italian restaurant. The plans had been made two weeks ago. Cloud was going to make Sephiroth decide to either stay with him or stay married to Yuki. The blonde sighed and rested his head on the cool tiles, fighting back a dizzy spell. His health hadn't been fantastic in the last 6 weeks; he'd been plagued with dizzy spells, nausea, exhaustion and random moments when he accidently slipped into French. He knew everyone was worried about him, especially his mother and Sora. And to make matters worse, Sephiroth had been ignoring him, never returning his phone calls or emails. Cloud sighed and turned off the taps, grabbing a towel to wrap around his waist. He stood in front of the mirror and wiped the steam off it with his hand. He stared at his reflection; the tired eyes, hollow cheeks and limp hair. He stared at himself, pain filling his heart as he wondered if Sephiroth was really worth all this pain. Especially if Sephiroth was never going to leave Yuki. Cloud dressed absently, his mind far away. He strapped his watch onto his wrist, taking in the time and hurrying up so as not to be late. This was one dinner he wouldn't be late for.


Sephiroth dressed for dinner with a heavy heart. What he was about to do tonight would shatter his lover's heart. He looked up as someone knocked on his door, opening to reveal Riku, dressed in a elegant navy suit.

"Are you sure about doing this?" Riku looked at his father, eyes searching for a hint in Sephiroth's eyes.

"Positive, Riku. Let's go down to your mother's dinner party." Father and son left the room and moved down to the dining room where the crème of society was gathered. As they moved over to the group, Sephiroth's thoughts turned to his lover, most likely already at the restaurant, waiting for him to arrive. Sephiroth closed his eyes briefly and prayed that Cloud would forgive him.


Sora smiled as Cloud raced towards the door. Cloud had been so down and depressed lately so it was nice to see Cloud moving with positive energy.

"Sora, you thinking about your little lover boy?" Roxas plopped down onto the couch opposite his twin, taking in his flushed face.

"Shut up! I really do like Riku, but I'm not sleeping with him, so stop calling him my lover boy."

"Sorry, but seriously you guys are happy and always snogging at school. You really are happy with him, yeah?" Roxas looked at Sora. He may tease Sora but he truly wanted him to be happy, and if Riku made Sora happy then Roxas was all for their relationship.

"Rox, I think I might love him." Sora lowered his eyes, a goofy smile on his face.


Cloud sat at his private table in the restaurant, fingers playing with the napkin on his leg. Sephiroth was only 30 minutes late, he might still arrive. Time passed as Cloud sipped his wine, as every minute passed his heart sank lower. He glanced at his watch, finally realizing Sephiroth was almost an hour late. He wasn't coming. Cloud raised his hand reluctantly as a waiter approached.

"Mr D'Arquet? A message has arrived for you." The black-clad waiter handed Cloud a slip of paper and silently slipped away. Cloud drew a deep breath and, with shaking fingers, opened the message. His eyes scanned the words as they blurred before his eyes. Cloud slowly raised a hand and touched his cheek, his fingers coming away wet with tears. The words of the message burned into his mind.

Cloud, I will be unable to appear as

Yuki wishes to have me attend tonight's

dinner party. Apologies, but my wife comes first.

S. Yamaguchi.

Cloud raised his hand for the check, wishing to flee home and curl up and cry. He would go home to France, stay as far away from the Yamaguchi's as possible and try to forget the pain his now former lover had put him through.


Sora knocked on Clouds door as ten o'clock came and went with no sign of the only Strife who liked mornings.

"Cloud? Are you awake?" Sora paused to listen before resting his forehead on the door before him, "you missed breakfast and your mum is on the phone." Sora slowly opened the door, letting light into the dark room. A curled up bundle in the middle of the bed, situated near the window, told Sora where Cloud was. A muffled sob came from the bed before it was stifled.

"Go away, Sora. I'm not in the mood to deal with anything, please." Clouds voice was scratchy and weak. Sora walked over and sat quietly on the edge of the bed. He leaned over and hugged his brother.

"Cloud? What happened last night? When you left to see Sephiroth last night, you were so happy." Sora felt Cloud stiffen as he realized that Sora knew about his affair.

"You knew." Simple words, but the emotion in Cloud's voice broke Sora's heart. He hated to see his brother in pain.

"Riku mentioned it to me last week, but I've suspected something for a few months now. I have never seen you so happy before, so what's changed?" Cloud shifted and looked at his ceiling sadly.

"I went to dinner and I was meant to meet him there, but he never turned up. I received a message from him an hour after he was meant to arrive, saying that Yuki was having a dinner party that was more important than our dinner." Cloud's voice broke and a tear made its way down his pale and sickly cheek, "he said that his wife came first." Sora drew a breath and wrapped his arms around his brother, who had tears falling swiftly. Sora felt the rage rise in him at the tall man that had broken Cloud's heart and crushed the pieces into dust.

"What are you going to do?"

"I-" Cloud took a shuddering breath and sat up properly, "My doctor says I need a holiday away from any stress and… I can't stay where he is…So I'm going to France early. I booked my ticket last night. I leave tonight." Cloud smiled without emotion at Sora before standing shakily and moving towards his bathroom. Sora sat on the bed, his mind spinning. Cloud was leaving?


Riku sat at the dining table, absently playing with his lunch. Peter walked in quietly, moving to the table. Yuki and Sephiroth looked up as Peter cleared his throat to get their attention.

"There is a Mister Sora Strife at the door. He wishes to see Mister Riku and Master Sephiroth." Riku glanced up at his father before standing up.

"Peter, show Sora to the lounge room, please. We'll be there in a minute." said Sephiroth as he glanced at his son as he spoke. He looked away at his son's glare. Riku was still furious at him for his treatment of Cloud. Yuki glared at her husband, but knew better than to press him. Sephiroth, unknown to Yuki, was already having talks with his lawyers about silencing Yuki on the subject of Cloud's former lover. He would ensure that his Cloud was safe from his heifer-bitch wife. Father and son walked towards the room Sora had been escorted to, neither one talking. The door to the room opened to reveal a frantically pacing figure. Sora's head snapped up as he heard them enter, his eyes narrowing as he looked at the elder Yamaguchi.

"You! This is your entire fault, you bastard!" Sora launched himself at Sephiroth, managing to get in two good punches before Riku pulled him away. Sephiroth held a hand to his smarting cheek, shocked.

"Sora! Calm down, calm down," Riku held Sora tightly, rocking him gently as he spoke in his ear. Sora struggled for a moment before slumping into Riku's arms. A dead silence filled the room before Riku pulled him over to a couch and sat down, Sora still wrapped in his arms.

"What's wrong Sora?" Riku soothingly rubbed Sora's back.

"Cloud." Sora shuddered and glared at Sephiroth. Sora paused to watch Sephiroth's reaction. Riku held him tighter, expecting him to start fighting again. "He's been so stressed lately about the wedding and Sephiroth, and after last night, he's decided to move back to France. Permanently. He's leaving tonight. "

Sephiroth sat down heavily and stared at Sora. He knew Cloud would be angry at him, but to move to France?

"He's leaving?" Riku looked at his boyfriend in sympathy. He knew how close Sora was to Cloud, "I thought he was only going for the wedding?"

"Originally, but now he's moving back there permanently. He's already packed most of his stuff." Sora sniffed as tears threatened to spill.

"But…But he can't leave" Sephiroth's mind didn't seem to want to work properly. Cloud couldn't leave then Sephiroth wouldn't even be able to see him, hear him, touch him…

"You should have thought of the consequences before you broke my brother's heart." Sora's eyes filled with cold fury again, "Why did you? Even if you didn't want to be with Cloud anymore, did you really have to be so, so cruel?" He shifted against his boyfriend, trying to get comfortable. Sephiroth's eyes were wide and his skin paled.

"I didn't have a choice! Yuki threatened to leak information about Cloud's ex-boyfriend."

"You mean the thing with Thomas Evira?" Sora snarled in disbelief of Sephiroth's stupidity. When Sephiroth nodded Sora burst into laughter, albeit slightly hysterically, before pulling out a mobile phone from his pocket. He flipped it open and dialed a number, ignoring the Yamaguchi's curious gazes. Sora smiled as Raine D'Arquet answered.

"Raine, its Sora." The brunette felt satisfied as father and son flinched at the name of Cloud's mother.

"Sora, what can I do for you?"

"Sephiroth dumped Cloud because Yuki Yamaguchi threatened to go public with the whole Thomas Evira affair. Can you fix it?"

"Sure honey I'll organize a press release for tomorrow. And tell Sephiroth that the next time I see him, I'm breaking his nose. See you at the wedding"

"Thanks. See you then." Sora closed the phone and looked at Sephiroth while shifting in Riku's arms.

"Listen up, because you clearly don't have all the facts. Yes, Cloud was having an affair with Thomas, but the wedding wasn't called off because of that. The fiancé knew about them and didn't care. Theirs was a marriage of convenience." Sora smiled in glee at Sephiroth's shocked face.

"What ended it?" Sephiroth got a bad feeling that he should have talked to his lover before acting rashly.

"The women fell for the head chef at the Evira Estate. She fell pregnant and wanted to call off the fake wedding. Raine hushed it up because she knew Cloud was involved with Thomas."

"Why did Cloud and Thomas break up then?" Riku tightened his arms around Sora and pressed a kiss to his exposed neck, causing the petite boy to shiver.

"Cloud caught the bastard in bed with some random guy." Sora melted against his boyfriend and sighed happily. Sephiroth stood up and yelled for Yuki, causing both boys to stiffen. The door opened and the bitch walked into the room, frowning when she saw the position Sora and Riku were in.

"What do you want, I have things to do." Yuki sniffed and smoothed out her silk dress.

"Pack your bags and leave; I want you out of my house tonight! And you can expect divorce papers to arrive soon," Sephiroth ignored his son's shocked expression, his mind already working to win Cloud back.

"Don't be stupid, Sephiroth. If you leave me I'll destroy your little whore's life." Yuki smiled coldly only to falter when her husband smiled knowingly back.

"Raine is taking care of the problem and I want you out. Now if you'll excuse me, I have Cloud to grovel to." Sephiroth stalked out the door, pausing only to issue Peter with instructions to ensure Yuki left without damaging or stealing anything.

Silence filled the room. Yuki stormed after Sephiroth. Sora looked at Riku and smiled becomingly at him.

"Want to do up to my room? I want to show you something." Riku suggested while running his hand along Sora's thigh. The petite boy blushed and nodded.


Cloud sighed as he waited in the international area. He couldn't board the plane for another hour, and the inactivity was causing his mind to dwell on painful things. He stared glumly at the airport windows. 'Get over it, Cloud! Sephiroth isn't worth it'. Cloud was aware that people in the airport were giving him a wide berth because he looked ghastly, with white skin, shadowed eyes and sunken cheeks. He sighed and stood up, walking over to the bathrooms. The shining white tiles and new silver fixtures hurt his sensitive eyes. After finishing his business, Cloud filled the sink with cool water and bent over to splash his face. As he rose he caught sight of silver hair and green eyes. Cloud gasped loudly in shock, his face dripping.

"Seph…what?" Cloud didn't turn around, afraid that the silver-haired angel would vanish, which would confirm his insanity over the man.

"Hello, Cloud." Sephiroth's voice was smooth and familiar, snapping Cloud out of his stupor. He turned around and looked over the face of his ex-lover. Under Sephiroth's right eye a bruise was purpling spectacularly.

"What are you doing here, Sephiroth? You made your choice perfectly clear to me. Your wife comes first!" Cloud felt a mixture of agony and love well up inside him as he fought to keep the flood of tears inside.

"Gaia, Cloud," Sephiroth winced and raised his hands, as if in surrender to Cloud's words, before changing his mind and dropping them, " I'm sorry. Will you let me explain my actions before you leave for France?"

"Talk fast! But don't think I'll forgive you, or go back to being your convenient secret, hidden away in the bedroom."

"Yuki threatened me. She claimed that if I left her and continued my affair with you, she would inform the media about a scandal you were involved in with Thomas Evira. I didn't want your reputation to be destroyed because of me." Sephiroth's voice was quiet, but filled with devotion. Cloud felt tears welling before he took a deep breath and got his emotions under control again.

"What tipped you off that the bitch was lying? Why the hell didn't you just ask me, talk to me?" Cloud's voice was full of scorn but he didn't flinch away when Sephiroth took his soft, small hands in his larger ones.

"Your younger brother. He stormed over, demanded to see me then proceeded to force me to understand. And let me just say, your brother has a mean fist."

Sephiroth drew closer and then pulled Cloud flush against his body.

"Sora hit you?" Cloud snorted, "Can't say you didn't deserve it." Cloud sighed softly and unconsciously relaxed against his lover, Sephiroth was nice and warm.

"True, though your mother has promised to take care of everything." Silence followed as the two embraced closer.

"I left Yuki. I told her to pack her bags and be gone by the time I got home. My lawyers are drafting divorce papers as we speak." Sephiroth frowned as he felt Cloud stiffen, "does this make you happy? I know I should have done it many months ago, but I was afraid your feelings would change if I asked you to live with me." Cloud blinked up at his lover in shock, slowly excepting his words.

"You want me to live with you? As in permanently? What about Riku?"

"I always have, Cloud. I know I didn't tell you enough times but I truly love you with all my heart. I want to live with you, and take you as my own. I want to take you to public places as my partner, Cloud. I love you. And Riku already knows about us and accepts it."

"I love you too Seph," Tears filled Cloud's sapphire blue eyes as euphoria filled him, vanishing all his fears and pain. Sephiroth loved him! "Seph, lets go home, I'm tired." Cloud let himself be led off by his love, reveling in the comfort he provided.

"Does this mean I'm forgiven?" Sephiroth leaned down and snagged Cloud's bag before leading him out of the airport and to the waiting black car.

"Nope. I expect back rubs, dinner at all my favorite places, and lots of attention before I'll forgive you." Cloud smirked cheekily.

"It will be my pleasure. Let's get home before Sora and Riku decide to loose their virginity."

Finis