Thud…

The young man fell against the tiled wall of the locker room, holding his jaw in pain as he slid down the wall to the floor. Above the youth was another teen, a towel wrapped around his waist and tucked in at his hip, clutching his own hand.

"I…I told you to l- …leave me alone Harvey…" a shaken voice came, from the towel clad boy, pale blue eyes biting with tears, his jaw trembling, a fearful look plastered across his delicate features.

"STRIFE!"

A loud voice bellowed throughout the room, a tall, build man clad in a dark violet uniform, his heavy footsteps echoing as he advanced on the towelled boy.

"What on Gaia, Strife what did you do?"

The teen turned his head, light blonde spikes dripping with water, falling onto his lightly toned body and collecting at the waist where the towel was secured, the blue eyes meeting the darkened red face of the loud man.

"…He-…he sto-" stammered the blonde boy, his eyes immediately seeking the floor, until two large black boots appeared in his field of vision.

"You, cadet…!" bellowed the man, a gloved hand snapping out and clutching a fistful of blonde hair - drawing a yelp from the boy. "Need to change! You cannot act the way you do, or you shall be punished, perhaps removed from ShinRa!"

The words vaguely registered in the boy's mind as his hair was jerked from side to side with an obvious lack of concern for his wellbeing, suddenly it was released as he was pushed towards a locker.

"Get dressed. And report to General Hewley's office…I'm certain he shall change your ways, Strife."

The black boots turned on a heel, and strode out, slamming the door. Other half-dressed youths turned their heads on the blonde boy, who turned away, opening his locker, then turning to the floor, picking up the several discarded pieces of his uniform, and slowly pulling them over his pale skin.

He heard whispering from the other cadets, before another whisper came, directly into his ear.

"You…will pay for that…you little bastard" before he felt two hands on his back, pushing him directly, face first into the locker. He released a light yelp of pain, before closing his eyes, grabbing his belongings, and leaving the room quickly, turning left as soon as he exited the locker room, and making his way outside the training facility.

"General A. Hewley." a large wooden plaque read, attached to the wall next to one of the thousands of hydraulic operated doors within the ShinRa Headquarters of Midgar.

The young boy's sky blue eyes ran over the sign over and over again, his feet shaking in his much-too-large-for-him boots, his left arm crossed over his slim stomach, and clutching his right elbow, before raising a hand to the door, the fingers knocking softly. "…" he lowered his head to the tiled floor timidly, taking a deep breath.

"Come in." a deep voice, from the other side of the door. The blonde boy pressed the door release with a shaking finger, stepping back apprehensively as the hydraulics hissed, the door sliding to his left. He quickly stepped in, his boots rather loud on the polished wooden floor as the door whooshed closed behind him.

Quickly, he snapped into a salute, not raising his blonde head to face the much larger man sat behind the mahogany desk, a head of long, shoulder length raven black hair looked up slightly, a concentrated frown emblazoned across his face, which softened at the sight of the obviously nervous youth before him. "Strife?" glancing down, and across at a memo on the desk briefly, as if checking a name before lifting his gaze and motioning to a chair on the other side of the desk with a large hand. "Please, have a seat, cadet."

"T-…" the boy glanced at the chair nervously, stepping forward extremely slowly, his boots stepping rather loud in the quiet room, wincing slightly upon hearing each one. "T-Thank you…sir…" he whispered, keeping his head bowed, and sitting on the very edge of the seat.

The dark haired man, known as Angeal to his friends, but General Hewley to the grunt forces of ShinRa, watched the painfully self-conscious advance with guarded sympathy, dropping his shoulders and leaning back as an attempt to appear less intimidating. "I hear…" he began, glancing across the notes on his desk once more, before looking at the boy. "That you've been having a little trouble with some of the other cadets?"

The blonde didn't reply, turning his head away, and focusing on the corner of the dark wooden desk. "…I…." he began, but then grew silent, nodding his head, canary spikes drooping slightly, covering his closed eyes, unable to look at the man before him.

Leaning forward, Angeal gently rested a forearm on the desk, ducking his head a little as he gazed across at the delicate face, partially hidden, his deep voice softening. "Zack…tells me, that your heart is really in this…there is nothing more I admire than someone who takes pride in their dreams…" ducking his head a little more, unveiling more of the boy's features to him, although closed eyes met his. "Hmn..?"

The youth blushed slightly, before shaking it away, his eyes opening, but still refusing to meet Angeal's. "T…they say…th-" he swallowed, trying to collect his nerves "that I'm…weak…t-…" pausing again, trying to hold back any tears "two…of the others st-…stole my uniform while…I was showering….and…" he closed his eyes slowly, a tear tracking his cheek which was quickly wiped away with a gloved hand "I…lashed out…"

The large man frowned once more, his fingers automatically clenching into a fist as the boy relayed the events to him. "Tch!" He shook his head, pushing up out of his seat at the mere thought of such childish and cruel behaviour. "I'm afraid I was not privy to the details, but I…" trailing off at the sight of the tear, coming around the desk slowly, his furrowed brow adopting an expression of concern. "…But I suppose I should have listened more closely to Zack when he mentioned you had been having a rough time…" sighing, and crouching down next to the boy slowly, an arm draped over one of his knees, his dark hair falling forwards a little as he ducks his head again to look up and under a few of the wayward spikes "…Cloud…?"

About to avert his gaze once again, Cloud made the mistake of looking into the dark blue eyes of Angeal before him, anchoring him firmly from looking away, concern resonating from the dark hues, assuring him there was nothing to be fearful of. He slowly looked towards his arm, removing his right glove with his left hand, and then his left with his right, now un-gloved hand, placing them both neatly on the desk before him. "They…" he whispered, his left hand taking the right sleeve of his uniform gently, pulling it up a few inches at a time, stopping just after unveiling his elbow, which bore numerous bruises, and a few strange circular lesions, red in colour. "Cigarette…" he whispered, lowering his gaze away from the dark eyes, whimpering softly.

"Gaia!" the dark eyes widened, in outrage, Angeal's hands automatically reaching to grasp the slender arm lightly, forgetting to ask permission, his face a picture of fury, that soon crumpled into a miserable understanding. "Cloud…" grasping the teen's elbow in one hand, his other lightly cradling the wrist as he turns the forearm gently to inspect the damage, a dark line stamped between his brows "…Gaia…why didn't you report this?" His eyes lifting from the arm at the sound of Cloud's whimper, his heart throbbing at the base of his throat. "Hmm?" unthinkingly releasing Cloud's wrist, and reaching out to lay a broad hand on a slim shoulder, ducking his head further to try and draw Cloud's eye. "This kind of…abuse, is not something to be suffered in silence…let alone at all…Cloud?"

Keeping his head turned away, taking his arm and cradling it in his own lap, Cloud whispered "Because…they would know…and do worse…next time…sir…" the last words under his breath, tears flowing freely from his eyes, his left hand rising and pushing the blonde spikes from the front of his head to the side, before turning to face the opposite way, his shoulders trembling slightly, sitting crying silently whilst faced away from Angeal.

Angeal shook his head, setting a knee down so he can lean forward, his grip tightening a little on the now trembling shoulder. "They would not be here long enough for a next time to ever present itself. I would not allow that to happen." Raising his other hand to Cloud's opposite shoulder, his thumb brushing against the youth's collar bone through his uniform. "No one will touch you again…" squeezing the shoulders meaningfully, his dark eyes earnest and strong "If they so much as try…" a low growl from his throat, shaking his head at the fierce protectiveness and desire to maim, before softening his voice. "Look at me, Cloud?"

Feeling his body still, but his insides still shaking, Cloud felt impossibly weak, vulnerable…pathetic…especially to be crying before somebody he, along with many other cadets, looked up to. "…G…G-General…" lifting his gaze slightly, his pale blue eyes scanning the older man's face, his hand reaching out subconsciously, lightly gripping the large hand on his shoulder "…Hewley…?" recoiling a little at the sound of the man's growl, blinking, a few more tears falling from his eyes, as his hand travelled along the large muscle-bound arm.

Angeal raised his brow gently, hoping to offer and encouraging and open expression. "No-one will touch you again" reassuring, nodding slowly. His normally stern face openly concerned "I regret this was even allowed to happen…" barely registering Cloud's wandering hand as he shifted the grip of his own, raising his touch to the boy's neck. His hand slightly splayed, almost cradling the slender jaw. "Hmmmn? You have my word."

Blinking away the tears, his hand wiping them away once more. A small, almost, unnoticeable smile curving at his small pouty lips. "Mm…thank you…sir…" sitting a little straighter in the chair, feeling Angeal's warm breath on his neck, his hand still moving along, causing him to lean forward as it finds it's way onto Angeal's cheek, slightly tickled by the stubble on the strong jaw, his small hand looking tiny next to the larger man's figure.

Angeal took the opportunity to gaze into the impossibly sky-blue eyes, his throat tight at the still-present sheen of tears in the boy's eyes. "I…am truly sorry and ashamed that such a thing has been allowed to…" trailing off as he felt the boy's hand on his cheek, his lips parting as if to issue a surprised sound, but nothing coming out. He found his eyes tracing the exquisitely fine features, his hand reaching out of it's own accord to brush back a few of the longer spikes falling by Cloud's cheek.

Edging ever so slightly closer to the General, Cloud balanced skilfully on the edge of the chair, his hand grazing the strong jaw of Angeal, before sliding it's way upwards and combing softly through the silky raven locks. "It…is not your doing…sir…" offering a meek smile, a blush crossing his face as his other hand took it upon itself to rest on Angeal's strong shoulder.

"No…but Gaia help me…this is…" Angeal brushed the backs of his fingers along the blushing cheek, setting his grip lightly on the boy's head, pulling him forward very gently, meaning to tuck the spiky head under his chin, only to find himself lifting his head, his broad shoulders dropping as he touches his mouth to Cloud's.

His pale blue eyes opening wide, hardly registering the lips of Angeal against his, slipping from the seat and kneeling on the floor next to Angeal, one of his hands tangling in the deceptively soft hair, the other's palm flattening on the back of Angeal's neck, a soft muffled sound emerged from Cloud's lips "Mmph…?"

Closing his eyes, allowing himself this one moment of weakness, Angeal softly pressed his mouth against the almost petal-soft lips, his large hand cupping Cloud's face in a tender gesture, unable to understand how anyone could want to harm him "Mmn…" feeling his frown return, as he pulls back slightly, touching his lips to the boy's forehead, releasing a soft sigh through his nose into the blonde strands. "I…will not let harm come to you again."

Trembling, Cloud pulled back his head after the soft breeze to his hair, gazing up, wide eyed at the 1st class SOLDIER "Angea-…General…I…uh…um…" shaking his head, throwing his arms around the other's large neck, latching his lips against Angeal's once again, his wet, warm tongue darting out, and lapping at the lips softly, tracing through the slight gap between them.

Angeal blinked at the abrupt kiss, leaning back a little to support the momentum of Cloud's sudden movement, his broad hand splaying at Cloud's back, cradling the youth against him as he tilts his head, responding to the kiss with a quiet hum, his lips closing over Cloud's gently, parting them with a skilled tongue.

Whimpering softly, Cloud slowly allowed his lips to part, almost melting at the intense heat from the man's mouth, followed by the tongue, releasing a soft hum of his own. His slim arms wrapped securely around Angeal's shoulders and neck, his legs growing unstable beneath him, putting all his strength into holding himself against the large 1st class.

Angeal curled his arm around the small waist, pulling the youth securely against him as his tongue glides out, slowly, undemanding, yet sure and steady as it dips into the moist cavern, his lips gently pressing forward, a soft sound, almost an apology drifting up in a moan.

Pausing, and pulling back slowly, transferring his lips once more to Cloud's forehead, then grazing them over the closed lashes, his hand cupping the pale cheek, his thumb sweeping over one of those beautiful eyes that had…cried…"Never again…" he vowed, frowning sadly, his lips ghosting over the path his thumb traces as he repeated the words.

"T…thank you…s-sir…" whimpered Cloud, smiling softly, a faint flush creeping back over his cheeks, opening his eyes to gaze into the darker eyes of Angeal, before closing his eyes, his hand resting on the man's jaw as he released his other arm from around the neck, and resting it on the broad, heaving chest.

Angeal pulled back, just enough to gaze at Cloud, looking a little apologetic and conflicted, but more concerned still. "Cloud…" stroking his fingers through the shorter hairs at the back of the boy's head. "I will need you to give me the names of these cadets…" touching a finger against the soft mouth to forestall a protest "They will be removed…immediately…and I will find a way to do it as not to compromise you…They will not touch you again…" growling softly, eyes darkening at the thought. "…Alright?" offering a small smile, concern stealing over the anger that had briefly clouded his eyes.

Cloud lowered his head once more, about to speak up before the finger, the soft finger, touched his lips, lifting his head once more at the gentle contact. Tears biting at his vision, but which are soon blinked back, answering the elder's command with a note. "I…will bring a note…with them later…".

"Good…" Angeal answered with a smile, trying not to focus on the unusual knot in his throat at the sight of tears in those eyes. "It will be sorted immediately" brushing his thumb across a cheekbone "Please, stop by the medical unit…and get these…" taking Cloud's arm lightly by the elbow, glancing down at the bruises and marks with a crumpled expression "Seen to…" glancing back up. "That's an order…" nodding gently.

Cloud nodded softly, frowning slightly at the order, before smiling once again, resting his ear against Angeal's chest, gasping a little too loud at the firmness of the muscle, his arm draped over Angeal's shoulder sliding down, his hand splayed across the firm expanse. "Yes…sir…"

Angeal, holding the boy lightly against him, as if afraid he'll break, his broad chest rising and falling with a sigh "It sickens and saddens me to think you have been suffering through this…"

Settling against the firm chest, Cloud's fingers tracing small circles against it "…Months…" he whispered, trembling a little "I…h-have been afraid to sleep…" closing his eyes, tracing the chest through the turtleneck of Angeal's uniform still "Nightmares…".

"Shhh…." tucking the spiky head beneath his chin, Angeal's large hand stroking gently down the back of Cloud's neck, soothing, steady. "Let them be unpleasant memories, that will fade now…like these…" touching his other hand gently to Cloud's forearm, his thumb sliding down the wrist and along the skin. "It is alright…now…" breathing in slowly, his heartbeat steady against Cloud's ear.

Cloud pulled back slightly, gazing up at Angeal. His hand reaching for the man's chin, but stopping just shy, hesitantly as if to ask permission "…Yes…".

Taking Cloud's hand in his larger one, Angeal turned the boy's wrist and lifted it up to place his lips to the marks along the forearm, his eyes kind. "You do not need to feel obliged to me, Cloud…" offering a smile as he lightly supported the arm, close to his face.

Blushing furiously, Cloud pouted his lips slightly, releasing a soft giggle. "Ok…" as the lips touched to his arm. "P…p-permission to k-kiss you again…sir?" his voice shaking, stammering slightly.

A soft laugh filled the quiet room, coming from Angeal. "This…is the kind of confidence I expect you to have should you ever need to report something like this again…" touches his lips to the forearm, lowering it before leaning forward a little, his eyes sparking. "As for that request…granted."

Cloud blushed furiously, his lips curling into a smile, wide, pale blue eyes shining faintly. He leaned forward, pressing his fingertips to the jaw of Angeal, edging slightly closer just before their lips touch. Hesitating slightly "I…uhm…haven't kissed anybody before…today…" lowering his head to the broad chest, his eyes still open, scanning the firm expanse.

Angeal's eyes widened, a disbelieving laugh catching in his throat before his expression sobered at the genuine look on Cloud's face. "Gaia…" raises Cloud's chin with a hooked finger, settling his soft gaze on the boy "That…was your first kiss?"

Cloud nodded, biting his lip nervously "Y…yes…" looking up, meeting the man's dark eyes. His flush painfully obvious.

Blinking, Angeal's face broke into a smile that flashed teeth. "I'm honoured…" sweeping his finger across the flushed skin, his smile softening. "Although…" frowns slightly. "I apologise for the circumstances…"

Cloud trembled a little, returning a soft smile to Angeal. "You…need not…sir…" takes Angeal's jaw in his hand, pulling himself closer to meet the larger man's lips once more, forcing a moan from him at the heat resonating from Angeal.

Chuckling at the confidence, Angeal felt a soft growl reverberating up his chest as he dipped his head, taking control of the kiss. His tongue thrusting past those willing lips into territory untouched by anybody else.

Cloud's world stood still, the tongue of Angeal snaking it's way past his lips, lifting his own legs from the ground, wrapping them around the large waist of Angeal, struggling to keep them there as he hesitantly touches his own tongue against Angeal's, groaning softly at the sensation sent through him like a bolt of lightning.

Groaning, Angeal broke the kiss reluctantly, his hands settling on the slim waist, his thumbs rubbing circles along the hips. "Cloud…" tilts his head back, gazing down at the boy uncertainly as he holds him in his lap. A protective glint darkening his eyes as he searches for traces of fear. "…I hope you do not feel you 'need' to do this…?"

Cloud whimpered as the lips parted, raising his blue hues to meet Angeal's darker ones, before shaking his head. "Need…no….Want…yes…".

"Well, I'm glad to hear it…" Angeal smiled, pressing his lips to Cloud's forehead, his hands rubbing soothing circles around the slender back. "I would never want you to feel obliged…I am a little surprised myself…" he laughed, shaking his head. "Zack would always speak of you with extra emphasis around me…" Angeal pressed his lips against Cloud's jaw softly. "I…am beginning to understand why…now."