Acquiring a pet had not been at the top of Sephiroth's list of priorities. It hadn't been around the middle or even at the end. In fact, Sephiroth had never once thought having a pet in his life. Not until Angeal got his puppy.
"Having a pet is like having family, Sephiroth." Angeal had explained to him one day. "Someone to greet you when you return home after a tour of duty. Someone who will love you unconditionally and who doesn't have expectations that extend beyond affection, attention and the occasional treat."
"They're also messy, disruptive and annoying."
Unfazed by Sephiroth's argument, Angeal pressed on.
"Perhaps you're not really a dog person. What about a bird?"
Sephiroth fixed Angeal with a look that said, 'I would roll my eyes at you, but that sort of thing is beneath me, therefore I shall convey my disdain for your suggestion with an icy glare and trust that you get the message'. What Sephiroth hadn't accounted for was Angeal's obstinacy in the matter. The more Sephiroth resisted, the more Angeal pushed – a dynamic which had been a major feature of their friendship for as long as the two had known each other. Angeal fancied himself as the caretaker of Sephiroth's humanity, nurturing the feared general's softer side whenever he could which was never an easy task, but each time he managed to remove another piece of his wall was a personal victory. There was still a long way to go though before that wall would crumble entirely and fall.
"I have it!"
"No pets, Angeal."
"I've been looking at this the wrong way round. Instead of finding a pet that suits you, we need a pet that you suit."
"The military chocobos belong in the stable. If I find one in my apartment…"
The silent threat didn't deter Angeal one bit.
"I promise; no chocobos. No, your pet should be equally as stand-offish, slightly highly-strung and almost completely independent. Your pet should be like you."
Unsure of whether to be offended or not, Sephiroth opted to ignored the implied insult, preferring to concentrate on the paperwork currently cluttering up his desk. He tuned out Angeal's ramblings, occupying his mind with running through various military formations instead. The tactic seemed to work as, moments after slapping his hands together, Angeal bid Sephiroth farewell and took his leave. Sephiroth gave a sigh of relief; although he had a sneaking feeling the topic wasn't closed.
After a week, during which the subject of his potential ownership of a pet hadn't been raised, Sephiroth began to believe Angeal might had actually have forgotten about it. He prepared for their usual Thursday night date, believing that it would be a perfectly ordinary evening; a light dinner, followed by some lively discussion about ShinRa's latest military pursuits, culminating in a round of some hot and heavy sex before Angeal returned to his own quarters and Sephiroth retired to bed. He was thoroughly unprepared then, when Angeal arrived – as punctual as ever – with a companion in tow.
Sephiroth peered down at the thing in Angeal's arms, frowning and dangerously close to pouting.
"This is Cloud," Angeal replied, smiling affectionately at the bundle in his arms. "He's a kitten."
"I can see that. Why have you brought a kitten? I have already cooked fish."
At the mention of fish, Cloud's nose twitched. At the inference that Cloud was dinner, Angeal bristled.
"After careful deliberation, I've come to the conclusion that this is the perfect pet for you."
Stepping forward, Angeal pressed the kitten against Sephiroth's chest, giving the man no option but to take him.
"Well," Angeal said, stepping backwards once he was certain that Cloud was safely in Sephiroth's arms. "I can't stay I'm afraid. Zack's at that difficult stage where he's hell-bent on receiving attention and threatening to chew up the furniture if I don't give him it. Have fun you two!"
Reaching out to give Cloud's ear a fond scratch one last time, Angeal turned on his heel and walked out of Sephiroth's apartment, leaving the man alone with his new pet. As soon as he was alone, Sephiroth let go of Cloud who, much to Sephiroth's surprise, landed gracefully and correctly on the floor. Refusing to be impressed, Sephiroth merely turned away and walked through to the kitchen, reciting a list of instructions as he went.
"Stay off the furniture, stay out of my bedroom, do not bother me while I'm working, do not bother me while I'm relaxing. You are housetrained, I presume?" Sephiroth glanced behind him to see if Cloud was paying attention, but the kitten was nowhere to be seen.
"Needs more seasoning."
Sephiroth's head slowly turned towards the source of the criticism and his eyes settled upon Cloud, sitting on the counter eating the tuna Sephiroth had prepared for dinner. Ruffled by the affront to his cooking and his new pet's impertinence, Sephiroth found himself lost for words.
"It's a little dry – perhaps reduce the cooking time? Otherwise, it'll do."
Watching Cloud devour what remained of the tuna, Angeal's words came back to haunt him. Highly-strung and independent, that was how he had described Sephiroth's perfect pet. This creature in front of him, licking his lips and yawning now that he had polished off the general's dinner, appeared to fit that description very well. It wouldn't do. It just wouldn't do at all, Sephiroth decided. Determined to instil a little discipline into the kitten's world, he stepped forward threateningly only to be caught off guard when his pet looked up at him, smiled and let out a very soft, but wholly satisfied belch.
Having filled his stomach with the salad which he intended to be the accompaniment to the tuna, Sephiroth sat down on the sofa to relax and unwind. He had seen neither hide nor hair of Cloud since the kitten had been chased out of the kitchen under the threat of strangulation and he told himself he couldn't care less. He didn't need a companion, much less one who stole his food and made himself comfortable on the sofa beside him. Sephiroth jumped, then tried to convince himself that he hadn't because a general that could be snuck up on had no business being a general.
"What are you doing?" He demanded of Cloud.
"I do not snuggle."
Cloud inched closer and nudged Sephiroth's arm with his head, working his way under it until he was curled against Sephiroth's chest. Unsure of what to do in his current situation, Sephiroth could only watch as Cloud's eyes slid shut and he fell asleep. Deciding that it was easier to just accept Cloud's presence and ignore it as best he could, Sephiroth picked up his book from the end table and started to read.
A strange noise emanated from the being on his lap, causing Sephiroth to look down at the kitten in alarm. It was then that he noticed his free hand, the one not holding the book he wasn't actually reading, was resting on Cloud's head, absently scratching the area just below his left ear. He stopped immediately and so did the noise. Suspecting a correlation between the two, he started scratching once more. The noise started up again. He stopped; the noise stopped. He started; the noise started. Since Cloud didn't appear to be in any distress, Sephiroth concluded that the noise was one of pleasure and comfort and that, in turn, comforted Sephiroth. Kittens, Sephiroth mused, were strange little creatures.
The purring ceased and, quite suddenly, Cloud wriggled out from under Sephiroth's arm and announced, "I have to go."
Cloud looked at Sephiroth and blinked.
"I have to go."
"Oh. Through that door, there."
As soon as Sephiroth indicated where Cloud should go, the kitten slid from his lap and made his way across the room. Sephiroth's eyes followed the sway of his tail, a back and forth swish that was almost hypnotic. As soon as the kitten disappeared into the bathroom, Sephiroth shook himself back to reality. Sighing, Sephiroth looked at the time; it was late. While Cloud was occupied, Sephiroth went to his bedroom to ready himself for bed. He stripped off his clothes and, thinking nothing of his nakedness, padded back through to the main room. The bathroom door stood open but once again, Cloud was nowhere to be seen. Reasoning that the kitten was independent enough to find his own spot to sleep, Sephiroth walked into the bathroom to complete his bedtime routine.
Over the noise of running water, Sephiroth's sensitive ears picked up an acute yowling. Cloud. Alarmed, Sephiroth shut off the water, grabbed a towel and exited the bathroom, reasoning that if anything happened to the creature, Angeal would never forgive him. His eyes darted around the living room, but he couldn't see Cloud anywhere. He heard the yowl again; it seemed to be coming from his bedroom. With the speed for which he was legendary, he dashed across the living room and threw open the bedroom door and saw Cloud sitting on his bed, ears flat against his head and tail flicking back and forth.
"Is something wrong?" He asked, running his gaze over Cloud and searching for injury.
"I was lonely. You've been gone too long. Come to bed."
Having said his piece, Cloud crawled up the bed and nestled under the covers, leaving Sephiroth dumbfounded. He contemplated leaving the room to switch off the bathroom and living room lights, but thought better of it when he saw Cloud staring at him through narrowed eyes. General Sephiroth, he thought wryly, cowed by a cat.
"Can I at least dry myself first?" He asked, voice dripping with pseudo-subservience. Cloud nodded once and Sephiroth set to work. When he was finished, he flicked off the light and crossed over to the bed.
"Usually I prefer to sleep on this side. It is closer to the door, allowing a more expedient route of egress should I be summoned to duty during the night."
"My side now."
Reminding himself that Angeal would be unbearable should anything unpleasant happen to Cloud, Sephiroth grit his teeth and moved around to the other side. He slid under the covers, closed his eyes and attempted to ignore the invitingly warm body on the opposite side – his preferred side – of the bed. The body, however, did not wish to be ignored and moved closer. Cloud's tail curled around Sephiroth's leg, the tip flicking against his upper thigh. It was entirely unexpected but in no way unpleasant. When a soft, wet tongue flicked over one of his nipples, Sephiroth's eyes shot open.
"What are you doing?"
"Angeal told me that since I'm your pet, it is my duty to make you happy."
"Did he, indeed?"
"Oh yes," Cloud purred and moved to clamber atop Sephiroth's lap. "He made it very clear what was expected of me."
"Is that so?" Warming to this new development, Sephiroth opted to wait and find out exactly what Cloud was willing to do.
"Uh-huh, so while you were showering," Cloud said, flattening himself against Sephiroth's chest. "I took the liberty of preparing myself."
At first, Sephiroth didn't fully understand the meaning behind Cloud's words, but when his pet wriggled in his lap, adjusting and manoeuvring his backside into position directly above Sephiroth's penis, it became apparent.
Cloud lifted his hips, reached down between his legs and took hold of Sephiroth's cock. At that point, Sephiroth's body took over the thinking, leaving his brain to wonder if this was why Angeal was so fond of his own pet. His brain finally caught up with the rest of him when Cloud sat up, then sat down, impaling himself on Sephiroth's erection. Suddenly not caring about Angeal or his puppy, the general turned his attention to his pet.
Sephiroth could forgive Cloud for eating – and insulting – his dinner. He could forgive Cloud for interrupting his reading time. He could even forgive Cloud for ordering him around in his own home, as long as this was the reward. This utterly delightful creature, writhing and purring in his lap as he rode Sephiroth with an enthusiasm that transmitted from pet to owner. Reaching out to dispense pleasure to Cloud, Sephiroth grasped his pet's erection and stroked it from root to tip. The subsequent yowl startled and enchanted him and so, he repeated the motion. It was a far cry from the kitten who had curled up to nap beside him, content to have his ears tickled as Sephiroth read. This creature was a wildcat, scratching at Sephiroth's chest as he demanded more.
Cloud hollered and screeched like a common ally cat when his orgasm hit, coating Sephiroth's hand as his muscles clenched around his owner's cock. Thrusting upwards and pushing against constricting muscles, Sephiroth reached his own, silent, peak. While Cloud collapsed and panted against his neck, Sephiroth's cock twitched and emptied itself into his new pet.
"Now I can see," Sephiroth said quietly, stroking his clean hand down Cloud's back. "Exactly why Angeal was so keen for me to have a pet of my own. I think owning a kitten will have many advantages."
Cloud mewled his agreement and cuddled against Sephiroth.
"I would like nothing more than to go to sleep, kitten, but unfortunately we're both in rather a mess." He turned his head to the side and kissed Cloud's cheek with an affection he didn't know he possessed. "You can stay here while I run us a bath."
He had said the wrong thing; Sephiroth knew it instantaneously. Cloud's entire body stiffened against him and he could see the kitten's ears flatten against his head. Before Sephiroth could react, Cloud was away, jumping off the bed and diving straight under it. The man rolled over onto his stomach and peered under the bed.
The kitten said nothing. Instead, he looked back at Sephiroth in sheer terror, his eyes wide and his ears flat.
"Come out of there, Cloud."
The kitten didn't budge.
"Don't make me come under there and get you."
When Sephiroth stretched out his arm, attempting to grab his pet, Cloud hissed and swiped at him.
"Bad kitten! If you're going to behave like that, you can stay under there."
Sephiroth withdrew his hand and rolled onto his back with a sigh. It seemed that owning a pet wouldn't be quite so straight forward after all.