The door slammed loudly behind the silver haired boy as he started storming down the street in a fit of rage. He could still hear faint yelling from the direction of the house he had just stormed from, that and the yelling of the words he had just yelled were ringing fresh through his mind, he was extremely glad that he had finally gotten the guts to say all that to those incredulous bastards. But the rage they had brought up in him kept him from having any other emotion and kept him moving in a blazing heat of fury through the winter air that cut into his bare arms and face, though the piercing cold went unnoticed. He just kept walking, pressing forward in his fury, wanting to put as much distance as he could between himself and the people he so reluctantly called his 'parents.'

Slowly though, the heat started to ebb away and was replaced by the biting cold that had been surrounding him, and the cold suddenly becoming almost too much to bear. He suddenly wanted to go home, and wished he hadn't said those things now, wished he had waited for at least warmer before infuriating himself and his parents to this level…he knew he wouldn't be able to go back any time soon and he didn't want to unless it was necessary, he wondered if he would be able to sneak in the window of his room in the morning to get his school stuff. He was pretty sure it was possible, unless his parents had bolted his window and burned all his stuff already. He sighed and dropped down onto the curb, his head in his hands as he thought over what he was going to do tonight. With a glance at his watch he found it was two in the morning and nothing would be open, so he was pretty sure he was stuck out here in the freezing cold in a t-shirt and jeans and a pair of sneakers.

The night air was silent, there was no one out and everything was just completely silent. He heard foot steps pass him every once and a while, but very rarely. He kept his eyes plastered to the asphalt under his feet he wished he hadn't stopped so close to the large buildings of the large down. He lived on the outskirts of this building maze and he had always lived there, just out of the reach of civil life, but it wasn't like he could leave, he had been stuck out here in the same house forever, it was cozy, it was quaint, but it was like a prison and he hated it. The only reason he didn't leave was because his parents prevented his money flow and kept him chained not far from his house. The city was always just in his reach, yet so far away, and it was something that really frustrated him.

He hadn't been expecting anyone to even notice him sitting there, he expected any suits that might be leaving later or headed for a night shift to just ignore him and walk by, so when someone said, "Riku!" he jumped slightly before whipping his head around to see who had said his name, the voice had been familiar. And he almost gaped at the person who was standing not very far behind him. His neck cracked from the sudden movement and his hair now distorted his vision, but this was someone he would be able to spot no matter where. He had known this man since he was eight years old…and even in the dim light of a flickering street lamp not far off, he could immediately tell who it was.

The man was at least half a foot taller then Riku, which would be normal because Riku was three years this man's junior. His spiky blond hair incredibly noticeable in the artificial light, his pale skin blemish-free and his blue eyes glowing as they pierced Riku like the wind that had numbed his arms. A cigarette in this mans mouth the smoke drifting upwards slightly, the man was dressed in dark clothes, from his leather gloves to leather jacket to his straight black pants and shining black boots. He was so familiar; this was the Cloud Strife he had known for years. Riku had honestly thought he would never see him again. Cloud was one of the only of his type of people that had actually graduated high school. Riku was sure that the path he chose in life did not involve what Cloud had turned his out to be, no matter how much he idolized Strife…he couldn't help but be a bit ashamed of how he had turned out.

Riku had known Cloud since Riku was eight and in grade three, and Cloud was eleven and in grade six. Cloud was the person that Riku always hung out with, Cloud was his next door neighbor for three years, but Cloud moved around the time for a bigger house in the city and Riku had been sure the he would never see him again. Cloud had been the person Riku turned to for everything, he was smart and had the answers to all Riku's question, and taught Riku everything his parents and the schools didn't. He thought he was the coolest kid ever because Cloud had taught him to swear and about sex, drugs and violence. He was even sure that getting detentions and having his parents yell at him for the things he said during class and at home were pretty cool because that stuff didn't even happen to Cloud, which meant Riku must've known more then Cloud. Now that he thought back, though, he realized how stupid he had been. Sure he had known a lot about bad things, and this even gave him a social status in his later grades, and even on the verge of popularity. Though the things he said and did were all influenced by Cloud, Riku never once blamed the blond for how his parents treated him… The day he beat up a couple kids for calling this so called Cloud 'fake and stupid' was probably he day his parents really started to hate him, but the kids had it coming. The two kids moved away within the week. Riku was sure that Cloud would only ever come up in stories from then on, he was sure Cloud was out of his life for good. Then as a freshman he got to see Cloud again. Cloud was a senior at the same school and he hadn't been happier in his life, and the immediate recognition among the seniors gave him a very high status within the school, if people picked on him if Riku didn't beat him out, Cloud and his gang would beat on them. Cloud's gang had been tough, Riku remembered a lot of them, and some of them hadn't been all that bright and still went to the school. The group consisted of: Squall (Riku wasn't sure if it was a nickname or his actual name, but he was a cold person), Zack (he wasn't that bad of a person, but he still had honor and wouldn't let anyone take that from him), Reks (He had always seemed shy and quiet but he was tough), Tifa (She…was just kickass, and not someone anyone wanted to get pissed off), Edge (He was some sort of ninja kid and was let into the group even though he was in grade 11), Kain (He was a tough one to read…), Nero and Weiss (It's hard to count them as two separate people because they would never leave the other's side, ever). These were the people no one wanted to piss off and Riku was one of the lucky few to be let into the group so young, but with Cloud being their leader it wasn't that hard of a feat. The next year with Cloud gone, Squall was the new leader, since he had failed a couple classes he couldn't graduated, so he was staying another year, and that was pretty much it… After Cloud graduated, he was sure he would never see the blond again, yet here he was, standing a few feet away from him, and it really was something of a miracle, maybe Cloud could give him a place to stay for the night.

The blond sat down beside Riku. "It's been a while," he said after a drag, holding his cigarette the embers glowing orange at the end. The blond looked at Riku then the lit roll in between his fingers as he flicked the burnt end and the ashes fell to the ground, making a tiny crater in the snow. "How's the group…? Squall still goes to school right?" the nineteen year old said to the sophomore, looking down at him with a questioning look.

Riku shrugged, leave it to Cloud to not even bring up the fact that Riku is sitting out in the cold in a t-shirt, freezing his ass off. "Well…it's all right, there aren't many member's anymore… There's Squall, Edge, and I, and we recruited a few more people…Reks' little brother Vaan… He's a bit weak and a bit of a pussy, but we'll break him. There's Fran. She's new in grade eleven…she's a real cold person, she's VERY intense, she's already beat Edge and Vaan twice. There's Tidus, he seems too…nice though…but we figured having a popular jock like him that looked up to us would be an all right addition. We finally let Seifer in…I don't know why Squall finally broke, but he let us add him to the group…maybe it's because having two people in a victory lap would make as even more intimidating," Riku explained with a sigh. "So next year I get to be in charge of the group." Riku said with a sigh of relief, it was great to hear himself say that. Edge would be graduating and Squall would be gone to. It would leave Riku being the veteran member and make him the most qualified. It really was a great thought.

Cloud nodded and smiled, "I'm proud of you, kid…" he said.

Riku couldn't help but swell with pride at the compliment. Suddenly something was draped over his shoulder and he looked at Cloud in shock and saw the man in a black sweater and noted that Cloud's leather jacket was over his shoulder and Riku quickly shoved his arms into it. "You looked a little cold," Cloud stated. "Anyway, what are you doing out here in the freezing cold?" the blond asked.

"I could ask you the same thing." Riku retorted.

Cloud smirked. "Business," was his short reply, and it really meant so much and made Riku shudder, even though he was suddenly warm as he inhaled the smoke off Cloud's jacket subconsciously. "Now how about you? Something wrong at home?"

Riku snorted.

"You finally snapped at your parents, didn't you?" Cloud asked, shaking his head and letting out a sigh as he threw his cigarette on the ground, rubbing it into the concrete with the toe of his boot.

Riku nodded. "I just couldn't stand it anymore."

Cloud stood up and held out a gloved hand to help Riku up, "You can stay at my place, I don't mind. I was about to head home anyway." Riku didn't want to think about why Cloud would be way out here, so far from his apartment at this time at night. It was as Cloud had said before; business.

Riku took Cloud's hand and pulled himself to his feet with a sigh. "Thanks, I can't go home yet. They're probably still up and pissed off," Riku said, rolling his eyes as the two men set off down the street towards Cloud's apartment building.

Cloud nodded in understanding, and for the rest of the walk the two were relatively silent. Riku was, in all honesty, far too cold to even bother to try and strike up a conversation, and it didn't matter because soon the two walked into the very open lobby of Cloud's apartment building. Riku looked around and saw a man at a counter not far away who shook his head and sighed, "Cloud, Cloud, Cloud… You should really get better sleep then you do." The man, who Riku identified as the night manager, said to the blond.

"Shut up. No one asked you," Cloud retorted, not even looking at the man as he walked towards the elevator. Cloud pushed the button to call the elevator down and the man continued to talk to him.

"That another one of your 'boys', Strife? He's a bit young, don't you think…you really are a filthy, truly disgusting person," he said.

Riku had never EVER heard anyone talk to Cloud like that in his life, and his eyes opened wide in pure shock.

"I told you to shut the fuck up and keep out of it. This is an old friend, so don't you DARE put him into the same category as ANY others you see me with," Cloud exclaimed, his blue eyes daggers as the elevator doors opened and he walked in. Riku followed the blond quickly and noticed the blond impatiently pushing the button to close the doors as the night manager started to cackle.

Finally, the doors closed and Cloud hit the number fifteen, the button started to glow, and Riku decided to keep his gaze pinned onto that button instead of looking at Cloud, who he could tell was furious.

"Don't mind him. He's just got something against me…" Riku chanced a glance over at the blond as Cloud spoke and, the blond forced a smile onto his face. "Probably because I'm so beautiful." Riku cracked a smile too, though he could tell it looked forced and fake. He wiped it off and stared at the glowing button again and listening to the ping as they passed each floor. It had grown suddenly awkward and he couldn't wait to curl up on Cloud's couch or even the floor and go to bed, because he suddenly realized just how tired the night's events had really made him and as the elevator doors opened on the fifteenth floor he could barely suppress a yawn as he followed Cloud down the hall and started pulling off the smoke laced leather jacket. He could barely drag his feet as Cloud unlocked the door and opened it with a sharp smack with his shoulder.

It was at that moment though that Riku realized this was his first time in Cloud's apartment, he had heard from Squall that Cloud's parents had kicked him out late last year because they found out how Cloud had been getting money. The apartment wasn't small, but it wasn't huge. Riku thought it was perfect for a person's first house and it was very awesome that Cloud was the exact same as he had been when the two were children; secretive and neat. There was nothing anywhere that Riku could use against him and everything had a spot where it belonged, though there wasn't much anyway. In the living room they had just walked into there was a couch and a coffee table in front of the TV Cloud had had since he was eleven, on the other side of the room there was a desk with a computer on it and beyond that, a window that stretched across the entire wall, to the door that led to the balcony. To the left there was a door way that led to the kitchen, though Riku couldn't see it in the darkness of the room, the only light coming from the moon outside the window. To the right was a hallway with another three doors, obviously one was the bathroom and one the bedroom, but Riku wasn't quite sure what the other door was.

Cloud pointed at the couch, catching Riku's attention back from scanning the room. "It's a pull-out. You can sleep there," the blond said. Riku looked down and saw Cloud hadn't taken off his boots and put them by the door, Riku did the same with his ratty sneakers.

"Thanks, Cloud," Riku said, scratching the back of his head. Cloud walked off down the hall and Riku went to the trouble of moving the coffee table to the side and pulling out the couch into an uncomfortable looking bed as Cloud came back with a bunch of sheets that he chucked onto the bed. Riku smiled and crawled onto the bed.

"Well, I'm going to bed. I'll talk to you in the morning, all right?" Riku said pulling a blanket up to his chin.

"All right. 'Night, Riku." Cloud said before walking off down the hall, but Riku was asleep right as the older man said his name. It was a very nice sleep, surrounded by a smell he had been familiar with since he was little.


*sigh* i've been working on this story for the past week and its coming along great...I just thought I'd put up the first chapter...also...i dont know when i will be putting up stuff for my other stories...ive been lacking creativity.
-Fire