Hmm… let's see… I'm playing with ages a little bit… Cloud is 16, Zack 19 the others their respective ages… maybe XD I'm also playing with plots a lot… why? Cause I can ^.^ Also as must be with Cloud, he will have whoa is me moments but don't be expecting him to be the emo, leave me alone with car keys and I might cut myself, Cloud. What else am I changing you ask? You'll just have to read and find out won't you cupcake?
Disclaimers: If you haven't figured it out… I own nothing! I don't own Final Fantasy VII, VIII or any of the others that you may or may not see characters from. There are a number of FF boys that I have takes on that may or may not pop up in this story, just an FYI. Also I don't own any of the music you may see in here... no matter how much I may with I owned Lady GaGa.
Chapter 1 – In which Cloud is dubbed Chocobo!
Cloud Strife in all his 5'5", chocobo blond, skinny but toned framed (in his own mind) glory looked up at the Shin-Ra Academy building before him and sighed in an almost dream like tone. He couldn't believe he was actually there! That he'd finally made it! It had taken a lot of work, a hell of a lot of luck, and a lot of ignoring assholes on the truck ride there, for him to find himself standing there at that moment.
"You know no matter how long you stare at it, its not gonna change." A firm but lighthearted voice interrupted his building joygasm. Cloud whipped his head around a curt reply hanging on the tip of this tongue, but he'd spun so quickly his heavy bags quickly threw him off balance and he was more then certain that he was about to kiss the pavement when strong arm caught him about the shoulders and set him back up right. "Easy there Cadet." The taller man said with a laugh and it was then that Cloud finally noticed the other man's uniform.
"S-Sir!" Cloud stuttered out quickly trying to throw up a quick salute, which only earned him a quick pop in the head from his bag that was still hooked around his arm. This seemed to amuse the SOLDIER in front of him because the next thing he knew the older, teen by the looks of it, was in total stitches. Cloud finally gave up but couldn't manage to stop the pouting look that crossed his face.
"You…" the SOLDIER trailed off as a fit of giggles ran through him still. "You got a-a name cadet?" He asked doing his best to get his laughter under control, he felt bad for laughing at him but the younger teen was just two damn cute. Cloud simply nodded at the question for a moment seeming to have to think of his own name for a moment. There was a SOLDIER talking to him of all people!
"Cloud Strife, sir." He said slowly looking at the other with his wide blue eyes quickly starting to dart around. He noticed a few other SOLDIERS speaking with a number of the cadets that he'd arrived with so he slowly assumed that this was something typical, a way to help ease the cadets into things… HA! It was more like a way to give them all damn heart attacks!
"Zack Fair." The SOLDIER said holding out his hand. "Put it there Spiky." Zack said with a toothy grin. He could tell that the little blond was feeling a bit overwhelmed and Zack couldn't really say he blamed him, he'd been just as shocked by things his first day there. Cloud's eyes goggled almost comically so as he looked at Zack for a long moment before slowly reaching out and putting his hand in Zack's.
"S-Spiky?" Cloud asked raising a brow, mentally kicking himself for the stupid stutter in his voice. Zack said nothing though he simply reached out and ruffled the blond spikes that stuck out from Cloud's head finding himself surprised that like his own spiky locks, Cloud didn't seem to have a lick of product in his hair. This caused the blond to laugh a little and swat at the hand. Cloud couldn't explain why but he really felt at ease with the other man, far more then he'd felt with the teens his age on the way there. He found that he could only hope to get on as well with his actual classmates, eventually. "So what happens next exactly?" Cloud found himself asking, he was silently proud of himself for not stuttering over the question as it left his mouth.
"Well now you'll all head into the main lecture hall and there will be an orientation for all of you, in fact it's just about ready to start. Better get going or Seph will have my ass for being late to one of these again and 'Geal will let it happen." Zack said with a laugh talking to Cloud as if they were old friends. At his words Cloud's eyes widened a comically again at the mention of the nicknames. It caused Zack to eye him for a moment. "You're not one of those Silver Elite groupies are you? Those bitches are crazy!" Zack said with a barking laugh as Cloud quickly shook his head no, his brows shooting up at the mention of the group.
Truth be told Cloud would love to be admitted into the group but not having access to much of anything was one of the draw backs of living in the middle of butt-fuck nowhere, he chose to keep that bit of information to himself though for the time being, feeling as though he'd made an ass of himself enough for one interaction. So Cloud shifted his bags and allowed Zack, who he got the feeling never ran out of energy, to lead him through the crowds of people into the lecture hall. Cloud couldn't help but notice the looks he was getting from some of his classmates as he and Zack walked in. Zack noticed the puzzled and curious stares of the other classmates as well as a few lusty stares from a few of the blonde's soon to be classmates and a few of the slightly older cadets so he flung an arm about Cloud's shoulders and ruffled the soft spikes again. Cloud laughed a little as a small pink blush spread across his cheeks.
As the two approached the front of the hall Zack plopped Cloud down in the front row before giving him a pat on the head and a big grin before he popped off back behind the curtain on stage. Cloud shifted a bit nervously as a few whispers started around him, but he did his best to ignore them. It was nice feeling like he could be easy around someone even if it had only been for those few minutes. He'd always been a bit of an oddball, even his mum had thought so on more then one occasion, though her definition of oddball was catching Cloud dancing around his room with headphones on. He didn't think it was strange though, show him one person his age that didn't do that from time to time and he'd show you a damn oddball. Everyone else thought he was strange for his looks and his mostly quiet demeanor. He'd been rather out going when he'd been younger but thanks to a few run-ins with some of the neighborhood dicks he'd learned to keep to himself. It didn't help matters any that he was built like a damn girl!
Heading behind the curtain Zack quickly found himself getting pulled into a headlock and he wiggled around trying to break the hold. Sephiroth was off to the side simply shaking his head with a roll of his eyes and Angeal was lowly chuckling near him so that left one other.
"Ah come on Gen, off!" Zack whined out. At this Angeal let out a slightly deeper laugh and looked towards the now laughing red head still holding Zack.
"Come now Genesis, leave the pup alone." He chided though the amused look on his face gave him away. Genesis slowly let go of his hold and got an elbow to the ribs for his troubles.
"Ruin all my fun, why don't you." He pouted with a gleam in his eye. Sephiroth finally let out of low laugh of his own and shook his head at the other man.
"Where were you Zack?" He asked curiously. In reply Zack headed over to the curtain and parted it so slightly too any other on looker it wasn't obvious what he was doing until he motioned towards the cadets.
"I found a chocobo." Zack said with a grin. The other three men looked at each other for a long moment, then at Zack like he'd gone mad. This caused the ebony haired man to sigh and point out toward the cadets. Finally the other three moved and peeked out each quickly catching sight of the blond spiky hair.
"Aw, how cute the puppy found a pet." Genesis cooed. At this Angeal whacked him on the back of the head and pulled Zack closer to himself. "I didn't mean it like that… bitch." Genesis hissed rubbing his head. Sephiroth simply smirked at the interaction between his friends.
Lazard watched the four of them from where he stood, laughing silently to himself and shaking his head a bit before a nearby light blinked in warning. Calmly he approached the four and looked at them for a moment before motioning toward the light. "Come children." He said simply before walking away and parting the curtains a bit to slip through and he was quickly followed by the others.
Cloud's breath caught in his throat as all his idols walked out onto the stage. General Sephiroth, the man he'd been dreaming about for the past few years was first. If he knew he wouldn't look like every other grunt around him he'd have been drooling right along with them. The silver haired god in human form was followed by an equally astounding red headed god that Cloud knew to be Commander Genesis Rhapsodos, who was followed by the slightly sterner looking but equally as tempting Commander Angeal Hewley, who Cloud noted was keeping his possible new friend Zack a bit close.
Cloud had heard rumor at one point that relationships of the "close" kind between SOLDIERS were actively encouraged by Shin-Ra, something about not wanting to deal with distraught army wives was one reason he heard and another he'd heard was that women would not be able to handle a SOLDIER after a Mako treatment. Cloud hadn't allowed himself to believe any of that information, concerned that it would turn out of be some horrible tease, but there in front of him was plain as day proof. He briefly wondered for a moment if perhaps Sephiroth and Genesis were close that way but the thought was quickly tossed aside as he noticed Genesis winking at a few of the other first classes that were near the front. *Man whore.* Cloud thought to himself in mild amusement. There was honestly so much eye candy on stage that the moment that Cloud was almost certain that he was going to pop a boner just staring at them all, but the lovely display was ruined when a short fat man waddled onto the stage and started rambling on.
In a matter of minutes Cloud found himself bored to tears and turned his attention back to the delicious men sitting on stage. He couldn't help but study Sephiroth the most out of all of them and found himself wondering just what it was that he and Genesis were whispering to each other. Slowly his eyes moved down the line and rested on Zack, the dark haired teen cracked a faint smirk before crossing his eyes at Cloud. The blond let out a small snort of laughter low enough to not be heard by everyone but still loud enough to be heard by the people directly around him. He then let out a small sigh at the looks he got but simply rolled his eyes and gave a small shake of his head when Zack shot him an apologetic look.
At least it was apologetic until Zack was whacked on the back of the head so fast by a smirking Genesis that Cloud and the others weren't really sure what had just happened or why Zack was now rubbing his head and frowning slightly. Cloud's thoughts changed course once more as the hair on the back of his neck stood up alerting him that he was being stared at. He looked slowly down the line and found his eyes locking with a pair of jade colored cat like eyes that he had become so fond of in photos. He felt frozen for a long moment before he finally gave a quick swallow and attempted a weak and shaky little smile. He was sure he'd end up getting a sneer or frown from the man for the attempt but Sephiroth simply inclined his head back towards the speaker who was obviously finishing up, as though he was telling Cloud that he should be paying attention.
Cloud gave a minuet nod to this and shifted his gaze quickly feeling as though he wanted to pass out for a moment, not realizing how shallow his breathing had become until he finally looked away. Cloud listened carefully as Lazard finally took center stage and began talking about the SOLDIER program. It wasn't until he was coming to the end that he informed the cadets that they would be able to come up and greet the men on stage, a sort of meet and greet. Cloud's eyes went impossibly wide at the news but glancing around at all his classmates… his much larger classmates he knew there was no way in hell that his little ass was getting up there anytime soon.
As the speeches finally wound down there was, as expected, a mad rush to the stage which Cloud sighed upon seeing. Resigning himself to not being able to get an up close look at the men he'd been dying to meet he stood slowly and started to gather up his bags. He'd just turned to leave when an arm was thrown around his shoulders sending him off balance for the second time that day.
"Where ya off to Spiky?" Zack asked with a big grin as he once again kept Cloud from falling on his face. What was it with this guy? Cloud couldn't help but wonder. The blond held no delusions that he was anything special so he couldn't help but be curious about the other teen.
"Well… I was just about to go and find out my room." He mumbled out while glancing towards the stage again, a small frown gracing his delicate features.
"Come on I'll walk with ya." Zack said with a toothy grin, while an evil plan formed in his head. Cloud nodded slowly and followed Zack out of the large room. This was all watched by the three men on stage surrounded by new cadets.
"Oi! Where's the puppy going with the chocobo?" Genesis asked sounding a bit grumpy. Angeal shook his head slightly and shrugged while Sephiroth merely raised a brow while shaking hands with yet another babbling cadet. He honestly wasn't sure if Genesis was grumpy about the fact that Zack had managed to get away or the fact that Zack had run off with the adorable little blond from the front row, it was always hard to tell with him.
Once outside the lecture hall Zack led Cloud down a series of halls until the reached a door simply labeled "Housing Office". Zack guided Cloud into the office pushing him playfully along until they reached the main desk and Zack leaned in smiling at the young woman behind the computer screen. "Hey Robbie." He said with as charming a grin as he could muster. The woman eyed him for a long moment but seemed unmoved by the look.
"What do you want Zack?" She mumbled out before sighing slightly. At this Zack reached behind himself and grabbed hold of Cloud causing the young teen to let out a surprised squeak and jump about ten feet in the air. This caused Zack to laugh a little as he pulled Cloud around the front of himself and pushed him into Robbie's direct line of sight.
"Cadet Strife's housing arrangements." He said with another grin creeping onto his face as he noted the look that clearly screamed "aww" on Robbie's face. The woman was a bit of a hard ass most of the time, as Cloud later learned from Zack, but she was an all right person. Robbie finally gave a slight nod of her head and set about typing away on the computer. As she turned her attention away from the two Zack leaned in and told Cloud that Robbie was the wife of one of the SOLDIERs in his class. Robbie paused in her typing for a moment and glanced up at the two of them. "I heard that Zackary." Zack and Cloud both went wide eyed for a moment and Zack about jumped out of his skin. Cloud giggled lightly at him for a moment before Robbie when back to typing and then slowly looked up again.
"Cadet Strife is slated to be in the East Wing of Building 2, room 214, roommate Marcus Leften." As the words were spoken Zack couldn't help but notice how Cloud paled even more then he already was and even his spikes drooped a bit at the information. Zack clasped a hand on the blond's shoulder and Cloud looked up obviously doing his best to steel his gaze.
"You all right Spiky?" Zack asked turning Cloud a bit so that he could look at him more carefully. It wasn't hard to do with Cloud's small frame. The blond nodded his head at first but a raised eyebrow from Zack had him shaking his head as a small sigh escaped from him.
"That asshole tried to hit on me already." He hissed out despite how shaken he looked. Zack was a little surprised by the bite that the little blond held he could only imagine what Cloud would be like when given the chance to fight, the blond would be a little spitfire. He quickly nodded his head for the blond to continue.
Cloud had already been on the truck for a long number of hours when it finally pulled into the far outskirts of Midgar. They were of course still under the plate as the truck slowed to a stop once again. Cloud had been busy bouncing about in his own mind about finally being closer to Sephiroth and the few others that invaded his dreams on a nightly basis… such a dirty mind for a virgin. His thoughts were interrupted though as another small batch of new cadets climbed up into the truck. Cloud looked at them for a moment and his eyes bugged, there was no way in hell these guys were 16! Especially the last guy that climbed in, his left arm had to have more muscle then Cloud's whole skinny ass body!
As the guy, Marcus (Cloud had heard him give his name to the driver), caught sight of Cloud the blond sunk even lower into his seat, feeling smaller then he already had moments before surrounded by the others. Marcus sat down across from Cloud with a smirk but Cloud couldn't say it was the first look he'd gotten like that since the long ride had begun, but so far it had been the only one that had bothered him, and caused him to curse his thin form and narrow hips.
"Well aren't you a pretty thing." Marcus said with a chuckle and a wink. Before he could stop himself Cloud bristled at the words and fixed the larger teen with a narrow gaze. "Aww don't be like that cutie, I'll take good care of ya." He added before reaching over and brushing a hand over Cloud's knee.
"Touch me again and you'll lose your fingers." Cloud hissed out at he swatted at the hand before he kicked Marcus in the shin, then went about gathering his things and moving closer to the back of the truck. He'd felt a little dejected though when he heard the others merely laugh at his little outburst.
Zack had a frown firmly on his face by the time Cloud was done talking and it saddened the blond a little bit though he couldn't exactly say why. He just knew he liked seeing Zack with a smile far more. The dark haired SOLDIER said nothing though for a long moment before leaning over the desk and whispering something to Robbie. The brunette woman simply nodded before pushing her glasses up a little before she started to type away again. Cloud merely titled his head a bit as the exchange looking very much like a puzzled chocobo. Robbie finally stopped typing and looked back up at Cloud with a bright smile on her face.
"Oh my, seems there was a bit of a mistake. Cadet Strife you're actually assigned one of the single rooms. The West Wing of Building 2, room 114." Cloud brightened back up almost immediately. He couldn't believe they were doing this for him! He hadn't had many people help him out before so it was honestly something quite new for him and a rather big shock.
"Thanks so much!" He exclaimed happily, looking very much like a small child at Christmas when they realize that yes they just got the doll they wanted and surprise, surprise, their parents got them the dream car to go with it! That had been a rather interesting Christmas in the Strife Household indeed.
"Come on Spiky, let's go and get you settled in." Zack said with a grin while grabbing the key to the room. Cloud simply nodded, flashed another smile at Robbie and quickly scurried after Zack, spikes bouncing away as he did so.
What Cloud had thought of as a simply nice gesture from the two taking pity on a poor small cadet was actually a bit more then that as he found out as Zack opened the door to his new room. He'd been expecting a small room with a bed and such and maybe a bathroom, though what he saw was actually more like a mini apartment! It was nothing like the photo he'd seen of cadet's quarters which consisted of two beds, closets, dressers and a bathroom. This room had a small kitchen off to one side a small living area; a half wall divided the two and then two doors. He found one led to the bed room and the other the bathroom. He looked at Zack for a moment and then surprising the both of them he grabbed Zack's arm.
"I think we're in the wrong room!" He squeaked out quickly while turning tail and heading back towards the door. Zack simply laughed a bit at this and shook his head.
"Nope, I just gave you my room." He said with a dopey grin on his face. Cloud's eyes went wide, as Zack noticed that had a habit of doing when the blond was experiencing any sort of major emotion, and it caused Zack to giggle again. "Relax Spiky; I haven't needed it since I moved in with Angeal." He explained, speaking as if the two of them were old friends. Zack had realized because of Cloud's amazement with the building that the blond was probably from a town as small, if not smaller, then his own hometown.
"B-but this is a SOLDIER's room I can't stay here!" Cloud squeaked out, hitting a note that Zack was sure only dogs could hear. The moment the thought crossed his mind though he could hear a voice in his head that sounded oddly like Genesis laughing. Zack pushed the thought away and locked the voice in a dark corner of his mind before turning his attention back to the squeaky cadet.
"Sure ya can! If the reasons are right and as long as you have clearance from a SOLDIER and from the Housing Department." He said with a quick wink. At this Cloud sighed in obvious defeat and finally sat his stuff down by the door. He looked at Zack curiously from across the room and crossed his arms in front of himself.
"I just don't get it though. We just met and yet you're being so nice to me." Cloud muttered out, the confused chocobo look coming back ten fold. Zack laughed softly to himself and moved over to where Cloud stood before ruffling his spikes again.
"You ever meet someone and ya felt like ya knew 'em your whole life?" At the question Cloud thought for a moment before nodding his head slowly and pointing at Zack with a grin. Zack just laughed again and patted Cloud's shoulder before the light moment was interrupted by faint ringing coming from his pocket. He took a step back and motioned for Cloud to get started unpacking his stuff as he drug around his pocket and pulled out his PHS. "Yo!" He said brightly into the phone. Not wanting to seem like he was listening in Cloud went over to his bags and started to dig things out getting lost in his own thoughts and missing most of the conversation.
"Yeah, yeah, tell him to suck it up… damn queen." He heard Zack say loudly with a laugh. The little blond could only imagine who his new found friend was talking to. "Oh, at my old room in Building 2 helping Spiky get settled." There was another long pause from Zack after this and then the ebony haired SOLDIER closed his PHS for a moment before opening it back up and typing a few things before he closed it again and slipped it back into his pocket.
With that being done the two set about rearranging things to Cloud's liking, Zack of course doing all the heavy lifting, while they exchanged stories about their hometowns. The stories about the towns themselves were oddly similar leading to a lot of shared laughs between the two. Cloud had a small radio packed in one of his bags and Zack set it up and the two bopped along to the music as they continued to move things here and there when a loud knock at the door was suddenly heard over the music. Cloud glanced towards Zack with a raised brow but the older teen simply nodded towards the door with his head as his arms were currently full moving the couch back. Cloud raised his brow again but quickly pushed himself up off the floor to answer it. He opened the door quickly and came face to chest with none other then Sephiroth himself. Cloud looked up slowly and could already feel his knees shake a bit.
"Oh… Uh…" He said oh so intelligently finally meeting the eyes of the man that he'd come so far to meet. He nearly jumped out of his skin when another head appeared over his shoulder belonging to none other then Genesis.
"Oh it's the chocobo!" Genesis purred out. "You didn't say anything about him being here Angeal, naughty!" And that was the last thing that the blond heard.
The three grown men watched as Cloud's eyes rolled up into his head and he promptly passed out, Sephiroth catching the small blond before he hit the floor. Of course Zack erupted into a fit of uncontrolled laughter at this as Sephiroth and Angeal both looked at Genesis. The red head merely shrugged his shoulders before looking down at the small blond and bringing a hand up to scratch his chin in thought.
"Was it something I said?" The only answer he got was another bout of laughter from Zack.
TADA! So that was Chapter 1.