This starts one year after Legends: Dark Beginnings. Enjoy, and review please! Oh, and I own nothing, I just do this for my own enjoyment.
Cloud looked down at the map, his eyes unfocused and not seeing it. His brain was fuzzy, his body hurt, and he just could not focus on the present. He was so tired, his blue eyes were glazed over as he leaned on his hands. Things had changed so much in a year. They had tried to go through with their plan, but only two days after the first attack, they had been separated.
That night, while he had still been fighting, trying and failing to reestablish the connection with Seph and Zach, he had heard the first gunshots. Both he and Lupus, his wolf, had stopped for only a second before having to fight again, the both of them trying to figure out why there were so many guns going off. Vincent and Yazoo were the only ones with guns, there should not have been over ten firing. Their questions were answered swiftly though. Reno and Rude had pushed through the blood-covered brush, and they and the soldiers had cleared a circle around the exhausted pair.
"Looks like we got here just in time," Reno said, before stopping and staring. Cloud frowned at him, his eyes narrowing as he sheathed his sword, both he and the wolf taking the burning energy back into their bodies. They couldn't completely contain it though, since the other two men and animals were still burning, still fighting, and Cloud was loath to shut the doors completely, in case one of them needed his help. So both pairs of ice blue eyes still had flickering flames in the iris. Cloud knew his eyes were still burning, but didn't care. If they were truly going to help them fight the war, it would be something they would be seeing quite a lot of.
"Why are you here?" Cloud asked, his voice soft and dangerous. Reno just stood there, his mouth gaping in shock as he tried to process what he had just seen, and what he was still seeing. Rude was the one who spoke.
"Zach called us," the man said quietly, easily hiding his shock behind the emotionless mask. "He said you had been separated, and needed help. Boss told us to help you any way we could, until the rest of the army gets here." Cloud just stared at him. He knew that there were too many creatures for even the warriors they all were to fight, but he had not wanted so many innocent people dragged into this mess. He had been the one who failed to kill Hojo the first time, and it was his mistake to correct. Kadaj came stumbling out of the darkness, and Cloud caught him as he collapsed. He took the boy over to a soldier, who gave Kadaj bread and water, which he downed gratefully.
The army had gotten the last of the monsters while Rude spoke, leaving them in a large circle of peace, while they continued to spread out, killing any creature they came against. He ignored Reno as the man continued trying to talk to him, because he only had eyes for the silver hair and black spikes that were weaving their way around the dead bodies, their two animals flying wearily above them. Cloud narrowed his eyes even more, because Zach had something in his arms, and it looked like a human body. He recognized the body a moment before Kadaj did, who was standing a couple feet away, conversing with the soldier.
"No!" he screamed, launching himself towards Zach. Cloud had to move very quickly to intercept the boy, and they both fell to their knees as Kadaj continued to scream, one hand reaching out towards the prone figure in Zach's arms. His screams lowered to whispers, and his body had turned to jelly by the time the dead body of Loz was placed next to them. Kadaj became quiet, his green eyes distant as he placed his hand on his brothers' chest. Cloud let him go, and when he stood, Kadaj moved so he was kneeling by his brothers' side, both hands now on the body, his eyes closed and head bowed. The only other time he looked up that night, was when Yazoo had come and kneeled on the other side. They had looked at each other for but a moment, and then they both laid their hands over Loz's heart, kneeling there for the remainder of the night.
The next day, Cloud, Sephiroth, and Zach were sitting in a large tent, with the rest of their group, and Rude and Reno. Cloud had a death grip on the arm of the chair, and it was taking everything he had not to jump up and strangle the two Turks. Specifically Reno. The red head was assuming that the three men would follow their orders. They were very wrong.
"You three are in command here," Reno said, pointing to a map of the northern continent, specifically Icicle Village. "Vincent and Marlene will be in Bone Village, and they will be the ones to make sure this war doesn't spill across the waters. You two-" he began, looking at the two brothers, who were paler then usual. Kadaj had Loz's axe across his knees, still stained with blood. Cloud slammed his hand down on the table, letting his eyes burn slightly, just enough to make Rude and Reno scoot their chairs a little farther away from him.
"Those two will be with us in Icicle," he said quietly, and the two men by his side nodded their heads in agreement. "They will take charge whenever we have to leave, do you understand? If the fucking President is going to make us fight with the Army, then this war is going to be fought our way, or you will not have Generals. Is that clear?" The tone of his voice booked no argument, and the two Turks had a hard time keeping themselves from saluting, even as they agreed.
Sephiroth and Zach are coming in, Lupus told him. Cloud shook himself out from his daze, looking over at the huge wolf. His mind wandered again as he took in the size of the animal. They hadn't been kidding when they had said they were going to grow with them. Cloud's head only came to the animals shoulder, and Lupus even had a mane of golden fur around his head, almost the same color as Cloud's hair. His paws were easily the size of dinner trays, but he had retractable claws, very much like a cat.
Cloud, snap out of it, Lupus said again, getting irritated. Cloud nodded, yawning, and walking over to his wolf, he slipped his foot into the stirrup, and hoisted himself into the light saddle they had agreed on. Lupus walked out of the reformed barn, and Cloud blinked into the bright daylight. The cold wind biting at his exposed face didn't even have the force to wake him up, and as Lupus walked through the town, Cloud began to think back to the last time he slept. He raised his hand in an automatic greeting as someone said his name, but his mind was far from here. He couldn't remember. He knew it hadn't been last week, because last week they had lost some of Zach's mounted division in a surprise attack from Hojo. He didn't think it had been the week before either, since that was when Sephiroth and Zach had left, attempting to retake the pass not 30 miles from where Icicle stood. He shook his head, trying to clear it, as they neared the gate, and Lupus stopped, sitting down so Cloud could climb off. He did, just as the large wooden doors that barred the town from the outside swung open.
Cloud's first instinct was to rush to the two men who were coming through the gate, their animals walking slowly behind them. As Sephiroth and Zach neared him, an ear splitting scream came from somewhere to his right. Cloud had time to look over, grinning as a black blur attached itself to Zach. Tifa was grinning widely, and Zach was the same as they kissed with a passion only separation can inspire. Sephiroth looked at Cloud, and raised an eyebrow, his lips twitching. Cloud grinned in response, knowing what he fellow General was asking, even without the connection they shared. Instead of acting like the General he was, Cloud said screw it, and walking over to Sephiroth, he grabbed the man, bending him over backwards like in a cheesy romance flick, and gave him a kiss that made the Silver General go limp in his strong arms. They let the fear and stress melt away with that kiss, their lips moving slowly and teasingly over each other's. Sephiroth's arms wrapped around Cloud's neck, and the kiss deepened as their bodies grew hard, both remembering the last time they had been alone together.
Sephiroth awoke to the sound of someone crying softly, and since the only person who was with him was Cloud, he was instantly on the alert. He opened his eyes, and feeling the emptiness in the bed next to him, he propped himself up on one elbow, looking around the small tent they shared. Cloud was standing at the entrance, looking off into the distance as his shoulders silently shook, the tears glistening in the light from the campfires outside. Sephiroth stood, not noticing the cold even in his undressed state, and walked over to the other man, wrapping his arms around Cloud's bare shoulders, pulling the smaller man to rest against his chest. Sephiroth laid a gentle kiss on his shoulder, and he felt Cloud relax against him, even though the tears still came.
"What is wrong my love?" Sephiroth asked quietly, and he was completely unprepared as Cloud turned, and with an anguished cry, buried his face against Sephiroth's chest, his quiet tears becoming more forceful, and the sounds of utter heartbreak made Sephiroth close his own eyes, fighting his own tears. He held Cloud tighter, knowing the reason for the tears.
It had been six months of constant fighting, constant death. Cloud got to see the worst of it, because he was always on the front line of battle, knowing that sometimes only his superior skills were all that kept his troops from being destroyed utterly. Each death had torn something inside of him, and he had let no one know that he was dying inside, not even Sephiroth or Zach. It wasn't until this last battle, where Cloud's second in command, a woman by the name of Alia, had called Sephiroth, letting him know that something was very wrong with his lover. Cloud had come back from the battle, and she had said he was hollow eyed, and there was no one inside of those eyes. He had gone back out immediately, after seeing that all those injured under his command were taken care of, to try to destroy the creatures that had them penned in. She had called Sephiroth, and even though he had been at Icicle, and with Draco flying them, it had only taken an hour to get to Cloud's position, by the time he had gotten there Cloud and Lupus were in the middle of a blood bath. Nether Draco or Sephiroth had been able to connect to them via mind, and all they could sense was anger, and a numbing darkness. Draco and Sephiroth had joined the fray, and soon Hojo's creatures had been called back, leaving the four of them covered in blood, dead bodies strewn everywhere, some of them still twitching. Cloud had looked up, and meeting his dead eyes had been the hardest thing Sephiroth had ever done.
"I couldn't let them risk their lives again," Cloud had said, and Sephiroth blinked, slowly walking over to the smaller man, resting a large hand on his shoulder.
"They are soldiers, it is why they joined the Army, to fight with us," Sephiroth said quietly, not liking the way Cloud just nodded, sheathing his sword. Then they had gone back to camp, to let the troops know that valley was theirs again.
Sephiroth took a deep breath, divorcing himself from his emotions, which was harder then usual, considering his emotions had to do with the man in his arms. He was finally calm, and he opened his eyes, grasping Cloud's shoulders, and pushing him away slightly so he could look down into those haunted blue eyes.
"Are you ready to talk about it?" Sephiroth asked quietly, grateful when Cloud nodded, wiping his tears away with the back of his hand. Sephiroth followed him as he walked back over to the bed, sitting on the edge and wrapping a blanket around him. Sephiroth sat next to him, and laying his hand on the bare knee next to him, he waited.
"I watch them die because of me," Cloud began, his voice barely above a whisper. "I was the one who let Hojo live, even if I didn't mean to. I am the one who brought all of this down on everyone. Most of the people in my division are just children, hardly any of them over 20. They are innocent. None of them deserve this, fighting in a war not of their making. They don't deserve to die." The last sentence was breathed, not even loud enough to be called a whisper. Sephiroth blinked, realizing something. Cloud, for all of his maturity and everything he had been through, was naïve with this. He had never been in command of troops, never had to make a life or death situation that revolved around his men. Sephiroth had, and to a lesser extent, so had Zach. Sephiroth tried thinking of how to explain this, and sighing, he settled for the absolute truth.
"No, they don't deserve it, but they have earned it," he began, and his words earned him a startled, and slightly angry look from the blond. He smiled slightly, and held up his hand, making Cloud shut his mouth before any words came out. "Let me explain. I have talked to these men, and each one knows that they have the possibility of dying. They also know you are the one who failed to kill Hojo, and they do not blame you for it. Each person I have talked to, has told me that they would rather die in battle, making sure their loved ones are safe, then to cower in their homes, not knowing if their presence would be the one that turned the battle." Sephiroth stopped, but when Cloud continued to be silent, he kept going.
"You have never been in a war, so this is your first time holding lives in your hands. Sometimes you can save them, sometimes you cannot. Sometimes you have to make the decision where you know some of them will not come back alive. That is the strength, and weakness of being a General. Strength, because knowing that those people put their lives in your hands, makes you the best leader you can be. Weakness, because to be a good leader, you give your loyalty back. That loyalty comes with a price. You will feel each death as though someone has taken a piece of your heart, and carved it out. You must be a leader to those you have left, and that means pushing through the pain, and not giving into it. When you do, you make rash decisions, like the one you did earlier."Sephiroth closed his mouth, watching the reactions from Cloud. At first, he was angry, but as Sephiroth continued talking, his face had become thoughtful, then settled on a resigned acceptance.
"You're right," Cloud said quietly, and Sephiroth smiled slightly. "I have been so concerned with avenging the dead, and letting the fact that I let my men get killed, I lost sight of the bigger picture. I let myself be torn to pieces with the guilt of those who had died, instead of accepting those deaths. I realize I can feel remorse and guilt for those deaths, but I cannot let it consume me. I still have troops that are alive, and those that are dead I cannot help. I must be here for the living, because I can't do anything for the dead." Sephiroth truly smiled, and leaned over, giving Cloud a gentle kiss on the lips. He had meant it to only be reassuring, but Cloud suddenly turned his entire body, pressing their nakedness together as he deepened the kiss. Sephiroth was surprised, but not shocked. He could remember how it had been, in the middle of a war. The need to be held, pressed against something warm. The need to be reminded that you're still alive.
Cloud pressed him back down onto the bed, their lips never parting. He let out a soft sigh as Sephiroth reached up, running his slender fingers through Cloud's hair, then trailing his fingertips down the scarred skin of his back. Cloud smiled, opening his eyes as he pulled back from the kiss, and just looked at the man underneath him. He was so strong, his Silver General. Strong in ways Cloud could never be.
Cloud lowered his lips to Sephiroth's neck, his biting and licking eliciting small noises from those lush lips. Cloud felt himself grow even harder at the abandon that Sephiroth showed, his fingers grasping and kneading the muscles of Cloud's shoulders, his body twitching as he gave himself over to the passion. Cloud finally kissed his way down the hard stomach, pausing for a moment to run the tip of his tongue in the grooves made by the perfectly toned abs. He let the tip of his finger run up Sephiroth's hard length, where it lay long and thick against the mans smooth hip. He felt Sephiroth shudder underneath him, and looked up through half closed eyes, glazed with desire.
"I want this," he said, giving it emphasis by squeezing the base, making Sephiroth arch his back and cry out, looking down at Cloud with glazed, wild jade eyes. "Inside me." He ran the tip of his tongue from base to tip, making Sephiroth's eyes roll back into his head. He slipped the head between his lips, and a soft groan was ripped from Sephiroth as Cloud began moving his mouth up and down slowly, using his tongue to apply pressure.
"Stop, stop," Sephiroth gasped out, and Cloud did immediately, raising his head, and giving the man underneath him a lazy smile. Sephiroth returned it, and moving quickly, he switched their positions, except Cloud was on his stomach, Sephiroth kneeling between his legs, his breath warm on the back of the blonds' neck. Cloud shivered as Sephiroth's lips ghosted over his shoulders, back and forth, until all Cloud could do was squirm, making small noises, wanting Sephiroth to finish it, to do something other then that feather light touch of his lips.
Sephiroth grinned, and firmly set his teeth in Cloud's shoulder, making the man underneath him cry out, but not with pain. Sephiroth reached over, swiftly extracting some oil from the small travel desk that was sitting next to the bed. He rested back into his knees so both hands were free, which allowed Cloud to raise himself up on his hands and knees. Sephiroth coated the fingers of his left hand with the oil, and then had to close his eyes as Cloud pressed himself backwards, rubbing his hips in a circular motion on Sephiroth's erection. He let it go on for a moment more, before dropping the bottle on the bed, and grabbing Cloud's hip, effectively stopping the motion. Cloud laughed softly, which turned into a breathy moan as Sephiroth slid one finger into him.
Cloud held himself still, or tried to, but as Sephiroth began to move his finger inside, flicking over that special spot inside of him, he couldn't. The first flick ripped a loud gasp from his lips, and the second had him moving his hips shamelessly, even more when Sephiroth slid a second finger in. Cloud clenched the sheets of the bed in his fists, biting his bottom lip to keep from screaming, as Sephiroth kept playing with that spot. Finally, Sephiroth removed his fingers, and Cloud took the moment to fall limp onto the bed, his muscles trembling even though he hadn't had an orgasm yet. Sephiroth laughed softly, which made Cloud grin, before the man placed his hands on Cloud's hips, moving him back to his knees. Cloud happily obliged, and held himself still as Sephiroth aligned his erection with the entrance, and began to slide his way in.
Sephiroth had to still himself as he slid home, the tight muscle clenching around him almost enough to make him come. The soft noises Cloud was making weren't helping either. After a moment, the feeling of impending orgasm lessened, and he began to move, slowly sliding himself in and out of Cloud, watching the man underneath him writhe with the effort it was taking him not to scream. Cloud was not a quiet one in bed, and as Sephiroth made his thrusts deeper, hitting that spot with each thrust, he finally got to see evidence of that. With the first touch, Cloud threw his head back, moaning loudly. With only a couple more hard thrusts, Cloud had his face buried into the pillow, screaming into the feathers. Sephiroth could feel the sweat building on his face, and licked his lips, closing his eyes as he concentrated on hitting that spot every time.
"Sephiroth!" Cloud screamed out, his voice muffled by the pillow, but Sephiroth heard perfectly. Hearing his screamed name, the orgasm that he had been fighting roared back to life, and he began pushing into Cloud as hard and fast as he could. With a final scream, Cloud's body convulsed around his, his face rising from the pillow, and giving a long, pleasure filled scream. Sephiroth followed, growling deeply as his own orgasm rushed through him, and into Cloud. They both stayed like that for a moment, before they collapsed to the bed, breathing heavily. They both raised their eyes at the same moment, hearing footsteps approaching their tent swiftly. They stopped by the entrance, and both men waited for the person to say something.
"You both alive?" Alia asked, and Cloud raised an eyebrow, a wide grin splitting Sephiroth's face.
"Yes, we are," Cloud responded.
"Ok then. Next time, don't scream so loud," she retorted, before walking swiftly away. Cloud looked over at Sephiroth, who was trying hard and not being able to keep the grin from his face. Sephiroth had a hand covering his mouth, but his eyes were sparkling with the suppressed laugh.
"Go ahead, I know I'm a screamer," he said with resigned amusement, and pulled the blanket over them as Sephiroth finally began to laugh.
They parted from the kiss to whistles and cheers from the men, and Cloud brought Sephiroth to his feet, but the silver haired man didn't let him go when he tried to pull away. So they stayed there, their bodies pressed tightly to each other's, eyes closed and arms holding the other body tightly. Cloud finally opened his eyes, and didn't like how the world was a little fuzzy. He turned his head so he could ask Zach something, and a wide grin split his face as he took in the man and Tifa.
She had him bent backwards, just as Sephiroth had been, but she wasn't letting the man up, and it didn't look like Zach wanted her to. They were still locked in their kiss, Zach's hands wandering over her body, while Tifa continued to hold him up effortlessly. Sephiroth shook his head, and Cloud did too, before Draco interrupted them all, which make Tifa let out a small scream, and drop Zach to the muddy ground.
Not that this isn't interesting,the dragon said, giving them all a serious look out of those jade eyes, even as Sephiroth, Cloud, and the troops laughed hysterically as Zach tried to extract himself from the mud, and Tifa was trying to help him, she ended up right next to him. But we need to report what we found, and get in touch with Denzel and Genesis. Cloud nodded to the dragon, trying to control his laughter. It had been awhile since he had this good of a laugh. Finally, when Zach and Tifa just began wrestling around in the mud, the three animals shook their head in disgust, and walked back through town, towards the barn.
Cloud and Sephiroth clung to each other, both out of breath with laughter. Finally, Zach and Tifa broke apart, and Zach got up first, helping Tifa to her feet. Then they both turned, and Sephiroth and Cloud, knowing the evil gleam in both pairs of eyes, started backing away from the pair, their hands held out in front of them.
"Oh no," Cloud said, watching Tifa carefully, because he knew what she was going to do. Mud was dripping off her, and he knew the two of them were planning on jumping, covering Cloud and Sephiroth in mud too. "You touch me with that mud covered body, and I'll make you clean the chocobo stables." Tifa just grinned bigger, and Cloud took off running, Sephiroth at his side, as the couple launched their bodies at the retreating pair. Unfortunately, the entire dirt road was slippery with mud from melting snow, and the men and animals that went down this way every day. So, Cloud ended up face first with Tifa on his back, and Sephiroth was on his back, with Zach sitting on his stomach. Needless to say, it didn't take long for the four of them to get into a wrestling match in the middle of town, and their laughter drew fellow soldiers to them. Soon, it became a wrestling match that included over fifty people. The laughter rang over the Village, lifting spirits, and making them believe that maybe, just maybe, it would be ok.