Note: This story has been in my head since last summer (09) while we were still getting a ton of info on KH BBS before its release. I wasn't sure if I should write and publish it, considering I'm horrible at writing, for one, and I'm horrible at updating. So far I've got 2 and a half chapters down, but the story is pretty much completed, it's just a matter of typing it and making it sound decent. Terra's hot self is in this later on (yeah, the brunets do it for me). The pace of this story is pretty quick, but it plays out kinda like a soap opera. It's mostly smut and fluff (somewhat cliche) so if you're into that awesome, if not, whatevs. I did this for the fun of it. If you're looking for something with substance and an actual plot, keep searching. Otherwise, stick around for character driven plot, yaoi, and drama! Oh... one more thing! Story starts off revolving around Squall/Cloud, but eventually Roxas and Axel, and Sora and Riku become important as well. Enjoy!


People used to live in fear of the heartless.

For years the demonic creatures would come in droves to terrorize our cities and towns. They never discriminated against age or gender.

People disappeared overnight. Entire families were wiped out. Children were becoming orphans at an unbelievable rate. Our government took action against the heartless by raising an army to fight against them. But with all the corruption going on in the world, no one was to be trusted.

Growing up, I heard stories about our government using soldiers in horrific experiments, looking to create a stronger breed of humans. I'm still not sure I believe them. I was told my father was a soldier who died fighting to protect us from the demons. I was told, he never knew he had a son. My mother died, too, but they said it was my fault. As if I asked to be born in such a miserable world.

Eventually the heartless became weaker. Their numbers were diminishing, meaning someone was doing something right. By the time I was an adolescent, all that was left were the remnants. Even so, our school system required children of a certain age to learn to defend themselves from the heartless. There was a possibility that the heartless might rise again. They wanted us to be ready if that day ever came.

I chose to train with the gunblade, only because they said it was difficult to master. I'm sixteen now and... I believe I've proved them wrong.

Part I

Poke. A sleepy eyed blonde shot up looking around the classroom to see who had been trying to get him to wake up.

"Class is over, Spiky!"

He looked up meeting the familiar face of a fair-skinned, dark-haired boy hovering over him. "Oh? Zack! Hi," the blonde said, straightening himself up.

"What's up, Cloud? Any particular reason why you're falling asleep all over the place?" Zack looked at his friend with a concerned smile. He combed his fingers through the blonde's soft spikes.

"I was up late studying for my trig exam," Cloud said, standing up to gather up his belongings.

"Oh, that's right! I totally forgot you told me about that! I was supposed to help you study, right?" Zack gave Cloud an apologetic look. "I'm so sorry!"

"Oh, no. It's okay. Really. I think I did well. I'm just glad it's over."

"If you say so. Are you still coming over to my place later?"

"Yeah, we really need to get started on that literature project. We only have three days left."

"Meh... okay. I thought we could hang out and have some fun, though."

"Sure," Cloud blushed at whatever his crush meant by having fun. He quickly tossed aside those thoughts before Zack noticed it. "But we should at least get some work done, right?"

"Yeah... I'm not looking forward to that. But I am looking forward to hanging out with you! I'll see you later then, Spiky," Zack said, patting Cloud's back.

"See you." Cloud watched as the boy he'd had a crush on for the longest time walked off. He'd been admiring him from a distance since his first year of high school, but they'd never actually crossed paths until the second year. Even then, Cloud was too shy to talk to him. Zack was the one who had initiated the conversation. He had commented on Cloud's hair. After that, Cloud felt more comfortable around him and started talking to him every day, the two becoming close friends ever since. Now they were in their third year, and this year Cloud felt he could finally muster up the courage to tell Zack how he felt about him. After all, Zack had hinted at his attraction to guys whenever they would talk about those sorts of things. So Cloud thought, maybe he had a shot at something more than a friendship with him.

Cloud smiled inwardly, thinking about the prospect.

"GAWDS! This has to be the lamest project ever. Let's pick up where we left off tomorrow, okay?" Zack said as he shut his book, hoping Cloud wouldn't want to continue working either.

"I suppose we've done enough work for today."

"Oh, yeah! It's great having you as my partner. Anyone else would have been a total dipshit about it. I mean, sure it's a big grade, but we can wing it, right Cloudy?" Cloud was about to say something when the phone rang. This was the third time it went off, but Zack continued to ignore it. "It's no big deal. Probably someone trying to sell stuff. You hungry? We can go out to eat, or order something and hang around here for a while. Maybe watch a movie? I don't really care, it's up to you."

'Up to me?' Cloud never really like being the one to make decisions for something to do, but somehow it always made him happy that Zack would rather do whatever he wanted to do. 'Well, if it were up to me... we'd be on your couch making out... er... I shouldn't even go there.' Cloud closed his eyes to clear his mind for the second time today. "Um.., " he started. "How about we order pizza?"

"Sounds good!" Zack smiled at the blonde. Gods, he loved it when Zack smiled at him. "I'm assuming it's the usual, yes?"

"Yeah," Cloud nodded. Zack stood up off the living room floor to order their dinner, leaving Cloud alone to put away their materials. Cloud's mind started to wander again. 'I could tell him... today... right now. Or not. Damn it. Why does he make me feel this way?'

Zack returned from the phone after a short while. He plopped down on the couch and invited Cloud to sit with him. Zack yawned and turned on the television. "Nothing like a little relaxation." They didn't watch anything in particular. Zack would flick from channel to channel commenting on the silly dramas and comedies that were on. One train of thought led to another, and before Cloud knew it, Zack started talking about his friend Aerith. "You know her, right?"

"Yeah, I had a class with her last year. I remember hearing rumors that she was going out with you." It was a subject Cloud had wanted to talk about forever, but had always been too afraid to ask.

"Aerith? Nah. We never dated. We're just really good friends. Tch... Some people will gossip about anything. She actually told me just the other day that she thought we'd make a really good couple."

"Hmm?" That last bit confused Cloud. "You mean, you and her?"

"No, I mean you and me. I know. She's kinda weird. She says she thinks it's cute when people are obliviously in love or something." Cloud wasn't sure what to make of what Zack was saying.

'Is he trying to tell me something?' He decided to just outwardly ask him about it. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"I dunno. Guess she thinks we have something special going on. I can't blame her. I guess... I really do care a lot about you." Cloud's heart fluttered for a moment. "You're my best friend." Right. Best friends. Best friends are supposed to care about each other. It doesn't necessarily mean love. Cloud's hands were beginning to sweat cold from anxiety. He couldn't look at Zack right now. Not after thinking he was about to make a confession. Now how was he supposed to bring it up again? The doorbell rang suddenly. "Already? That was quick." Zack went to open the door, but upon opening it he knew that the person standing there was no pizza delivery boy.

"You've been avoiding me." the man at the door had a calm, cool demeanor. From where he was sitting on the couch, Cloud could see the man was handsome, tall in stature and well built. He seemed to have a superior presence about him, but most distinguishing of all was the man's long silver hair. "You were home the whole time. Why wouldn't you answer my phone calls?"

Zack looked to be in a bit of shock because it took him a while to respond. "I um... well, right now's not a good time, Sephiroth. Sorry. You see..." he said gesturing towards Cloud, "I have a friend over."

Sephiroth's gaze turned towards the blonde. There was something eerie about the way he looked at Cloud. He wasn't sure why, but Cloud felt a chill when the man's eyes fell on him. "Well, don't be so rude, Zack," Sephiroth said. "Introduce me to your lovely friend."

"Right. Well... Sephiroth, this is my best friend, Cloud."

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Cloud."

"Cloud, this is," Zack paused briefly. "Sephiroth."

Cloud gave him a small wave and said nothing but a quick hello. There was a short silence between the three of them until Zack cleared his throat to speak up again. "So, what did you come all the way over here for?" Cloud could tell Zack was irritated by his tone of voice.

"Definitely not to stand in your doorway, uninvited."

"Jeez... fine. Come in."

"Thank you. Zack... I think you should excuse yourself from your friend for a while. We need to discuss some very pressing matters." Sephiroth had obviously been to Zack's house before. He knew his way around the living room, walking towards the hallway to the staircase. He disappeared up the stairs without saying another word to Zack or Cloud.

"What's this about?" Cloud thought this was really none of his business, but seeing as Zack was his best friend, he thought it wouldn't be too forward to ask him such a question.

"We can talk about this later... sorry Cloud, please excuse me. I'll be back in a little while. Here, take this to pay for the pizza." He handed Cloud his wallet and went up after Sephiroth.

Cloud was left very confused and at a loss for what to do. So he sat in the living room thinking while he waited for Zack to come back. 'That name...' Sephiroth seemed to ring a bell in Cloud's mind. He knew he'd heard it somewhere before. 'Did Zack ever mention it?' No, he always paid attention to what Zack said, even when he rambled. He would have remembered it if Zack had ever spoken of the silver haired man. Cloud had always thought that Zack was an honest person. He never seemed like the type to keep secrets from friends, but now Cloud wasn't so sure about that. And apparently Zack didn't want to talk to Sephiroth, or at least not in front of Cloud. It made him wonder why Zack would need to keep this a secret in the first place.

Cloud was starting to feel more uncomfortable being left alone in a house that wasn't his own. Then, a thought crossed the blonde's mind. He didn't want to think about it, but he knew there was a lot more to his friend than he let on. What if Zack was secretly in a relationship with this man? It gave Cloud an odd feeling, something like jealousy tinged with disgust... but he couldn't deny there was something attractive about the man, even if he did look like he was in his mid-to-late twenties. No. He was thinking irrationally. Zack would never be in a relationship with an older man, attractive or not. Just a few weeks ago he saw him flirting with a girl at school... which confused Cloud all the more because Zack would hint about finding guys attractive all the time. And it frustrated Cloud because he never knew whether Zack was joking or not. 'Does it even matter? If he likes me... he won't care whether I'm a guy or not. He's not that kind of person.' It may or may not have been true, but believing it made Cloud feel better.

A short while later the doorbell rang, and this time, it really was the pizza delivery. Cloud promptly opened the door and paid for the pizza, setting it aside. He decided to wait for Zack to come back down to eat. After waiting another while, he looked over at the clock. He was beginning to grow impatient. He'd been waiting for over a half an hour now.

'Something's not right here... but I can't go around intruding in my friend's private business.' Cloud had been contemplating going upstairs and eavesdropping. 'What he doesn't know... won't hurt him... but what if I find out something that ends up hurting our friendship...' Cloud convinced himself enough to stay put, and thankfully Zack finally came down. He opened the pizza box and grabbed a slice before resuming his seat next to Cloud.

"You didn't eat anything," Zack said taking a bite of the slice.

"I was waiting for you. I thought it would be rude to eat without you."

"Oh? You shouldn't have, I wouldn't have minded." Cloud kept to himself, still not making a grab for the food. "Well, I'm here now, aren't you gonna eat?"

Cloud absentmindedly grabbed a slice. "Where's Sephiroth?"

Zack swallowed before answering. "He left. He went out through the back."

"Oh... Zack? ...I know it's none of my business to ask you, and you don't have to answer me if you don't want to... but what was that all about?" It was apparent that the blonde was nervous. He kept his eyes averted from his friend's.

Zack sighed, he had a feeling this was coming. "Well... if there's any one I can trust it's you, Cloud. I guess we wouldn't be much good friends if we kept secrets from each other, right?" Zack laughed nervously. "Sephiroth is... he's a friend of my dad's." When Zack said "dad" it wasn't his real father, Cloud knew, but Zack called and respected him as if he was. Like many other children of their generation, Zack had been adopted. His adoptive father's name was Angeal, and he was still relatively young, being only about fifteen years older than Zack. "He was a soldier who fought alongside my dad in the war against the heartless."

Well, that made sense. He did look around the same age as Angeal. But that still left the question, if he was a friend of Angeal's, what did he have to do with Zack when his father wasn't around?

"You're probably wondering why he wanted to see me, right?" Cloud nodded in response. Zack ran a hand through his dark hair and inhaled getting ready to confess. "Alright, guess there's no use lying about it... don't freak out okay? I've been seeing Sephiroth... he's kind of... my boyfriend..."

Boyfriend? Cloud thought that sounded odd, seeing as how the man was old enough to be his father. It was just as Cloud had suspected, but surprisingly he wasn't as shocked as he thought he'd be. Or maybe it would take a while to sink in. "What do you mean... kind of?"

"Well... it's not official, or anything. I don't think he thinks of me that way. I mean, I don't either... Things just kind of happened. I've known him as long as I've known my dad... but it was only about a few months ago... I'd just turned sixteen, and he had promised that he'd train me when I was old enough. You know, he single-handedly won a huge battle against the heartless when they invaded our town."

So that was it. Cloud had heard about that legendary soldier who'd defeated an army of a thousand heartless. "Oh yeah... that was him. I knew the name sounded familiar."

"I was honored to be trained by him..." Zack began, visualizing what he was about to tell Cloud. "A while back, when we were just about calling it a day... he came up to me and helped me up. You have no idea how much he can wear you out until you've fought him... That day he put his arm around me to support me... and he told me he was amazed at my progress. Something about him at that moment, just made me gravitate towards him..." Zack looked over at Cloud. Cloud still wouldn't look at him. He had his eyes fixed on his half eaten slice of pizza, looking as if he'd seen a bug on it. "I'm sorry... you're probably really grossed out by me..."

"No... I'm just trying to take all of this in."

"Well, that's understandable."

"So... you kissed him?"

"Yeah," Zack said, clearing his throat. "Although... we've done more than just kiss..." Cloud finally brought his eyes up to meet Zack's. Now it was starting to sink in. He didn't need to know that part. Or better said, he didn't want to know that part.

"Does your dad know?"

"No. I don't know how he'd react... he'd probably either disown me... or beat the hell out of Sephiroth, if that's even possible... not saying Angeal's not strong or anything, but... they were rivals before they were friends. You won't tell him, right?"

"Of course not, but... what are you gonna do? You think you can keep it a secret from him forever?"

"No... I mean... I don't think what we have is anything really special... it's probably not worth sneaking around my dad's back for..." There was a silence between them for a moment. Cloud looked at Zack who was deep in thought. Zack finally met his gaze, addressing him aloud. "Cloud?"


"Be my boyfriend."


Zack surprised Cloud even more with what he did next. He got up on top of him, with his knees on either side of Cloud. One hand was by Cloud's head, the other holding his chin. He looked directly into Cloud's strikingly blue eyes. "I know it, Cloud. The way you look at me. The way you act around me. You want this as much as I do." Zack inched closer to Cloud's face.

Cloud's heart was pounding right out of his chest. His hands felt colder and sweatier than before. "I don't..." Cloud swallowed. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"You can't honestly tell me... you don't feel something whenever we're... together." On that last word Zack brushed his lips against the blonde's. How long had Cloud been waiting for this moment? Yet, it didn't seem right. Not after finding out Zack was in a casual relationship with another, olderman. No matter, Cloud would take his chance. Even if Zack was seeing someone else, this was too good an opportunity to pass up.

"It's true... I can't hide it any more. You make me feel like no else has ever made me feel." Cloud moved forward to press his lips against Zack's. This was the first time Cloud kissed anybody. He followed his instincts, even though he felt awkward and unsure of what he was doing. He didn't care. Zack was finally his, and that was all that mattered to him now.

Cloud awoke feeling warm and comfortable. He looked over at the clock passed the still sleeping form of his boyfriend. 'Ten thirty-three.' At this time of the day, the sun gave little light in the middle of Hollow Bastion's winter. Next to the clock on the wall, Cloud made out the date in the dark room. 'Saturday, January 27th. Hard to believe it's been five months since we've been together. I wonder if Zack wants to do anything special today. It's not a big deal, but it would be nice.' Cloud got out of bed deciding to make hot cocoa for the two of them that morning instead of their usual coffee. He was in the mood for sweets. Cloud looked through Zack's drawer for something to wear around the house. It had become routine for him to sleep over on weekends ever since the two became a couple. Cloud had eventually stopped taking his clothes home, as it was more convenient to leave them at Zack's house for the following weekend.

Once he was dressed, he stepped out to the bathroom to wash his face and brush his teeth. He even kept a toothbrush at Zack's. He went down into the kitchen to start making the hot cocoa, wondering what Zack might like for breakfast. Cloud turned around when he heard footsteps approaching the kitchen. "Oh, Mr. Hewley. Good morning."

"Morning. Zack still asleep?"

"Yep. You know he loves to sleep in on weekends."

"Heh... only because you two are up all night." Cloud was a little embarrassed by Angeal's comment. "Hey, I got called to come in to work today. Not sure what's going on, but they said it was urgent. Tell Zack I'll be home late today." He grabbed a cup of coffee and a slice of toast in a hurry.


"Thanks. Well, I'm off. See you later, kiddo."

"Later." Zack's father patted Cloud's back in farewell before stepping out through the back door. Cloud started on breakfast, deciding on making chocolate pancakes for the two of them. All the sweet aromas filling the house brought Zack down to the kitchen.

"Mmm-mmm. Smells so good. Ooh, my fave." Zack picked at a piece of pancake that was already done. "Mmm... There's nothing hotter than a guy who can cook!" After so many months of being together, Zack still managed to make Cloud blush. He pulled his boyfriend in for a quick kiss on the lips. "You're so talented."

Still blushing, Cloud smiled and laughed. "Thanks for the compliment, but this is really easy."

"Come on. Give yourself some credit. You're better than you think. A lot better."

"If you say so. Here's the last batch. You can start digging in if you want."

"Awesome." He grabbed a plate for each of them, first serving Cloud, then himself. "You made hot cocoa too?"


Zack tackle hugged him.

The two went into the dining room to eat their breakfast. Cloud gave Zack Angeal's message while they ate.

"Oh? So we have the whole place to ourselves today, huh?" Zack asked, sounding a bit suggestive.

"Yeah, but it's not like there's anything we haven't done while Angeal's home."

"Hehe... that's true. Oh, that reminds me. Reno's mom is out of town. He said he was gonna throw this big party at his place today. You wanna check it out?"

If there was anything Cloud hated, it was exactly these sorts of gatherings. Zack was always all for them, but Cloud never enjoyed those sorts of things. Not to mention, he wasn't exactly friends with the redhead. "Um... not really... but if you want to, I'm okay with that." Cloud was hoping Zack would say no.

"Sure I do. It'll be fun. Promise."

'Damn it. I'm not okay with that! I should've just told him no.' Cloud smiled and continued eating his breakfast, inwardly beating himself up for not being honest.

Later that day, Cloud went home to pick up some things he wanted to wear for the party. They were going to need transportation to get to Reno's, too, so after seeing that his Uncle Cid was asleep on the couch, Cloud took advantage of the fact, taking the keys to his uncle's car. His two little brothers were home playing in their room. He went to check on them before he left.

"Hey, how're you guys? Did you two eat already?"

The youngest, Roxas, spoke first. "Uh-huh, we ate Mickey-Donald's."

At six, Sora was older than Roxas by a year, but he still acted as if he was the youngest from time to time. "Yep, I ate a cheeseburger and fries, but Roxas threw my strawberry sundae out the car window!"

"No I didn't. I told you not to open the window, 'cause it's cold outside. Really, Cloud! He wouldn't listen! It was an accident."

Sora 'hmphed' at his younger brother. "It was melting. I wanted it to get cold," Sora explained.

Cloud sighed and petted his little brunet brother's head. "Don't worry about it Sora. I can get you ice cream any day."

"But, I wanted it today." Sora pouted. His adorable big blue eyes glossed over, holding back tears. Even his hair seemed to droop.

"Listen we'll get ice cream whenever you want, but not today. I'm going out for a while. You guys behave, okay? I'll be back later tonight to bring the car back. I'm just borrowing it, so don't tell your Uncle Cid I stole it or anything. And go to bed on time."

Sora sniffled. "Okay, Cloud."

"Bye, guys."

"Bye-bye," the two little boys said simultaneously. Cloud always felt a little guilty leaving his two younger brothers alone. Their uncle was supposed to be their caretaker, but he wasn't always as responsible as he should be. Other than working to provide them with food and a home, Cid wasn't much of a parental figure. It stressed Cloud out to no end that he was always forced to be the adult around the house. That's what made his weekend escapes with Zack all the more special.

Cloud went back to Zack's place to pick him up when he was ready. It was about seven in the evening when they started to head over to Reno's party. Cloud definitely wasn't looking forward to it, but at least he'd have Zack with him. He was sure he wouldn't mind leaving early if things started to get out of hand.

When they arrived, the house was already overflowing with kids from school. Some familiar to Cloud, some not. Cloud always thought it was strange to see kids he knew from school outside of the school environment, wearing what they'd normally wear instead of their uniform. Hollow Bastion only had one high school, and it had a fairly large student body. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say it was impossible to know everyone that attended the school.

Unfortunately for Cloud, after being there for only a couple of hours, Zack got swept away by Reno to another part of the house. The music was loud making it difficult to ask people where his boyfriend was. He headed towards the upstairs, but was stopped in his tracks by a small blonde girl and lanky redhead who looked an awful lot like Reno.

"Oh, man. He's short, blonde, and blue eyed, just like I like 'em! My name's Lea, got it memorized?"

The red head must have been Reno's younger brother. From what Cloud knew, Lea was also a third year, although they'd never had classes together.

"Gods Lea, keep it in your pants!" the blonde girl said pushing the red head aside. "How do you know he's not straight?"

"How do you know he's not gay?"

"Hey, honey, my name's Larxene," she said sweetly to Cloud. "You're into chicks, right?"

The redhead coughed out loud, "whore!"

"Shut the fuck up, faggot!"





Cloud cut there little curse war short. "Excuse me. I'm looking for Reno. He dragged my boyfriend away from me. Any of you guys seen him?"

"Ha! Told you!"

"Whatever." Larxene rolled her eyes at Lea.

Cloud thought the pair was odd... other than their immaturity, he wondered why they were hanging around together in the first place. "Are you guys... friends?"

"Oh... yeah... best," Larxene said sarcastically.

"Ignore her. She's premenstrual or something." That earned Lea a kick in the shin. "Ow! Anyway, you're obviously taken, so no use fighting over you now. I don't know where the hell Reno went. I think he might be out trying to get some more alcohol. Bastard. I'm not hosting this party all by myself."

Cloud hoped Reno hadn't taken Zack with him. "Um... okay. Thanks." He got away from the two as quickly as possible, making his way to the front door instead of trying upstairs. It took him a while to find his scarf and coat in the pile of outerwear the guests had accumulated at the entrance, but he was finally outside. The front porch was littered with kids as well. He stood there for a second to put on the pale green scarf.

"Damn, aren't you a pretty little thing? Never seen a guy as hot as you." Cloud looked up to see who was talking. It was boy in what he thought was an obnoxious cowboy hat. He was rather tall for a teenager, but then again, most people were taller than Cloud. "You're a walking turn on with all that tight leather your wearing, you know that?" Cloud was thankful it wasn't him being hit on this time. He looked over at the person who'd gotten the cowboy's attention. He was a brunet, leather-clad, looking as he'd only heard the wind blow. He looked about the same age as Cloud.

"Hey, Irvine! Over here!" A group of girls were calling the cowboy from the yard. Seeing as he wasn't getting the brunet's attention, he left the leather-clad boy alone and went to join the girls.

Cloud examined the brunet boy from where he stood. The cowboy was right. The boy in leather was undeniably attractive, but not just in the way he wore his clothes. Everything about him was gorgeous. He was leaning casually against the brick wall of the house, taking a long drag of his cigarette. Cloud thought every movement he made was graceful. He watched as he pursed his lips, exhaling a long cloud of smoke. He seemed oblivious to how incredibly seductive he was just standing there.

'What the hell am I doing?' Cloud caught himself getting closer to the brunet. A few steps more and he would have been right in front of him. When the cowboy had spoken to him, the brunet hadn't so much as looked up at him. But somehow, Cloud had gotten the brunet's attention. Seeing his face more clearly, Cloud noticed a long scar across the brunet's forehead, down to the bridge of his nose. However, it did nothing to diminish his good looks. In fact, Cloud thought it made him look all the more appealing.

Two metallic blue eyes were boring right into him. Cloud felt stupid for having gotten so close to the brunet without having anything to say to him.

"You smoke?" The brunet surprised Cloud by speaking up first.

"Sometimes," Cloud replied, although it wasn't entirely true. "Can I join you?"

He shrugged. "Need a light?"

"Actually, I'm out of cigarettes," he lied.

The brunet took out his pack with a lighter. "Here."

"Thanks." Cloud took a cigarette from the box and lit it. After taking a puff, something else on the brunet caught his eye. He didn't want to stare but the brunet made it difficult not to look at the silver pendant that hung from his neck. The shirt he wore was open down the middle, showing off the large roaring lion head that fell against the skin on his chest.

They stood smoking in silence for a moment before the brunet spoke up again. He didn't look like the type to want to make small talk, but he seemed interested in the blonde. "So... who dragged you to this stupid party?"

Cloud laughed a little. 'Gods, I'm pathetic. Why is he making me nervous?' "M-my boyfriend... how about you?"

The brunet looked away from him. "Ever seen a guy with a huge tattoo on his face?"

"Yeah... I think his name is Zell?"

He nodded, looking back at the blonde. "That guy... and the guys that live here," he said gesturing towards the house.

"Lea and Reno? Yeah... those two... they're something else. Are they your friends?" Cloud asked, not wanting to say something that might offend the brunet. He himself had never been fond of Reno, and now that he'd met his brother, he didn't very much like Lea either. The brunet didn't seem like one who'd hang out with such rambunctious boys as them.

"I guess you could say that."

Cloud noticed the brunet had an odd way of speaking. He spoke in a hollow, monotonous voice. He wondered if he was like this all the time. "I don't think we've ever met before. Do you go to HBH?"

"Unfortunately. It's the only public high school in town if you haven't noticed."

"No, it's just that I thought you were from out of town or something. I've never seen you in school."

"Hn... I've seen you. Your name's Cloud, right?"

"Yeah... how do you know me?"

"Everyone knows you and Zack... people are always talking about you two."

'People talk about us?' Cloud thought. "Oh..." he was waiting for the brunet to offer his name, but he didn't. "Mind if I ask you your name?"


"Squall? Interesting. It suits you." Cloud saw a small smirk form on the brunet's lips when he said this.

Squall finished off his cigarette first, throwing the butt on the wooden porch. "Well, you look like you're having fun," he said, obviously being sarcastic.

"Yeah... you must be having a blast."

Squall smirked and straightened himself up off the wall, walking towards the steps that led to the yard. "Where's your boyfriend?"

Cloud shook his head. "Don't know. I asked Lea and he said Reno might have left to get some more alcohol. I think he took Zack with him."

"Hmph... Some boyfriend. He didn't tell you he was leaving?"

"Well, we lost track of each other... it's hard to maneuver your way around in there," Cloud said in Zack's defense.

Squall gave him an 'if you say so' look.

"But," Cloud started, "I'm not sure if I'm gonna find him any time soon even if he is still here... and I really don't feel like hanging around any longer."

"Neither do I. My ride's out of the question, though. I was waiting for him to come out here to take me home but... I doubt he wants to leave yet. Said something about free food."

Cloud thought he wouldn't mind offering the brunet a ride. He was interested in talking to him and this was too good an opportunity to pass up. "Well, I'm not gonna stick around here anymore. I can take you home if you'd like."

"You really don't mind?"

"Not at all. How far do you live?"

"I live in the sixth district."

"Oh? So we're not that far away from each other. I live in the fifth." Cloud put out his cigarette, tossing it on the ground. "My car's around the corner. Come on." Cloud motioned for Squall to follow him, guiding him to where his uncle's car was parked.

On their way over there, a group of teens hanging around Reno's yard wolf-whistled at the two boys. One of them said something along the lines of "I wouldn't mind taking him home with me tonight."

Cloud and Squall ignored them, but both were slightly amused. "You must get that a lot," Cloud said to Squall.

"Actually, I don't. I think they were looking at you."

"No, I'm pretty sure they were looking at you..."

"Whatever. It's annoying. I prefer to be left alone."

"Hm... looks like we have that in common..."

At that, Squall let himself smile a bit, but the gesture went unnoticed by the blonde.

The pair reached the car, relieved at finally being away from the noise and immaturity of the other teens. Cloud put on a relaxing music station, perfectly suited for nighttime driving. In a few minutes they were out of the second district, on their way to the fourth. Squall didn't say much to Cloud for a while. He looked at the blonde's reflection on the windshield, admiring his soft features, his pretty-boy looks, and glowing blue eyes. This wasn't the first time he admired him. He'd been watching him at school, ever since he heard people talk about the cute blonde boy that stole the heart of the ever-popular Zack Fair. And he was accurately named Cloud. Squall thought he had the appearance of an angel.

Cloud's voice snapped Squall away from his thoughts. "It's starting to snow. Looks like glitter."

Squall looked back at the blonde. "You know... you have an accent in there somewhere."

The random comment took Cloud somewhat by surprise. "What do you mean?"

"A southern drawl. It's subtle, but it's definitely there. You're voice is so soft. It's actually kind of... sexy." Cloud visibly blushed. He didn't know how to respond to that. Not even his own boyfriend had ever pointed that out to him. "You're not originally from Hollow Bastion are you?"

He was pretty impressed by how easily Squall came to that conclusion. "Yeah... that's right. I used to live in a rural town, south of Hollow Bastion... that was before my parents were- passed away."

"Sorry to hear that."

"It's okay... that was more than four years ago. I've gotten over it..."

"So, you've been living here for a while?"

"About three years, or so. A little before I started high school. My Uncle Cid moved us all up here after what happened."

"He's your guardian?"

"Yeah, he takes care of me and my two younger brothers. He's not the greatest guy in the world, but, he's family. He thought it was best for us to grow up in a place that didn't constantly remind us of our parents... namely me... my brothers are too young to remember them."

"How young?"

"Well, the youngest one, Roxas, is five and Sora is one year older than him. They're great kids, but sometimes they're too much for me to handle."

"Hn... I'm not very good with kids, either."

"Speaking of which... do you mind if I stop by the marketplace in the fourth district? I need to pick up some things for them."

"No... go ahead. We're passing through there anyway."

"Thanks." Cloud kept focus on the road ahead, but from the corner of his eye he could see Squall glancing over to him from time to time. 'Wonder if he's into me... he did just completely hit on me with that accent comment.' "Squall?" Although Cloud usually wasn't one to like talking very much, he wanted to get to know Squall better.


"If you don't mind me asking... how did you get that scar on your forehead?"

Squall traced a finger along the scar, recalling the incident. He was a little embarrassed to talk about it, although he thought it wouldn't hurt to tell Cloud. "It was my first year of high school, training with the gunblade. The guy I was training with had the same weapon. He was older than me so he had a about a year's advantage wielding it. He caught me off guard and knocked mine out of my hand. That's when he slashed my face."

"Sounds like it was painful."

"Not immediately... but after he slashed me, I did the same to him."

"Hn... he got what he deserved then."

Squall was glad to hear that. "It looked a lot worse than it really was. The blade didn't cut much more than a few millimeters deep."

"Well, I think it healed up nicely. Makes you more distinguished."

"Thanks, I suppose... what weapon do you use?"

"I have a long sword... well not really a sword, it's actually six swords tied up into one. I called it the First Tsurugi. During battle... if it becomes necessary, I can unlock them and use them individually."

"It must be heavy for such a small guy like you." Squall noticed a slight frown form on the blonde's face.

'As if he's that much bigger than me.' "It's not a problem for me. It's really not all that heavy once you get used to it."

"I didn't mean to offend you. Calling you small, I mean. I think you're," Squall paused for a second searching for a word, "cute." He wasn't sure why he was being so open with the blonde. 'What's the matter with me? I need to get myself under control. He has a boyfriend...'

'He thinks I'm cute?' Cloud took his eyes off the road for a moment to look at Squall, but Squall was looking away. "I wasn't offended... Okay maybe a little. It's just... I used to get teased about my size a lot, growing up. It was annoying." Squall still wouldn't look back at Cloud. He was watching the snow fall. Cloud focused back on the road and decided to change the subject. "Hollow Bastion gets so cold during the winter. I've been through three, and I still can't get used to it."

"It's not so bad. I prefer the cold weather."

"Have you lived here long?"

"Yeah. I grew up here... for most of life. I actually moved around a lot, but I was always nearby."

"You've lived in other towns then?"

"Yeah, with foster parents. I was never in one place for too long. I kept getting placed with new people when the others got sick of me."

"Don't say that... it's not like it's your fault. I'm sure it wasn't because of you. It's just sad... so many kids had to go through that." Cloud figured that must have been the detachment he had felt in Squall's voice. He was completely different from Zack, he thought. Zack had been in the same situation as a child, yet it didn't seem to have affected him as much, or at least not in the same manner. "What's... your situation like now? I mean, is someone taking care of you?" Cloud was more curious now.

"Yeah. I was fortunate enough be put a stable home for the past couple of years. No doubt about it, the couple that's taking care of me are the most kindhearted, open-minded people I've ever met, if they could put up with me."

"Come on, you don't seem that bad." 'So... he has some things in common with Zack...' Thinking about him brought his boyfriend back to the front of Cloud's mind. 'Zack... you're gonna be so mad at me tomorrow. I can't believe I ditched you and drove off with this... insanely gorgeous guy.' An awful thought occurred to Cloud at that moment. What if someone saw him leave the party with Squall and told Zack? Cloud didn't want him to hear it from anyone else before he heard it from his own mouth. It would certainly be warped into a completely different story. After all, Squall had said people talked about them.

"What's up? You look worried." Squall must have been good at interpreting facial expressions. This was the second time he saw right through Cloud.

"Do I? It's nothing important. I just... remembered something." Cloud glanced over at the brunet, who was giving him a curious look. He thought he might as well tell him. "You said... people talk about us. Me and Zack, I mean."

"Yeah... they only say good things about you though. Like how great you guys are together."

"Oh... I was worried someone would give Zack the wrong idea."

"About what?"

"I went to the party with him and left with you."

"Hn... I doubt it. It's not like your cheating on him or anything."

"I know..."

Cloud fell silent for a long while after that.

They had entered the fourth district when Cloud blurted out, "I'm not the only one he's seeing..." Squall was confused by his little outburst. "Zack... He's seeing someone else. An older man... I knew it even before we got together... "

"What's that go to do with me?" Squall's tone wasn't angry or annoyed. It remained the same note as before. "That's really none of my business."

"Sorry... I just felt like I needed to get that off my chest. I know we've only just met, but I thought I could trust you."

"You can... but that's not the point. I'm not the person you should be talking to about it."


"Don't apologize. Since you put out there... I suppose I understand. You need someone to talk to. So tell me... if you knew, why did you agree to get together?"

"Because I... I shouldn't be telling you this. Never mind. Forget I brought it up."

"Should have thought of that before you said anything."

Cloud took a good look at the brunet. He wasn't facing him, but Cloud could tell that he was genuinely interested in listening to him. "I thought... if I started a relationship with Zack... he'd stop seeing that man. I wanted to protect him... I wasn't sure how that would work out. But... I fell in love with Zack, since the first time I met him. But recently, I've felt like he's been using me as a sort of cover up. The man he's been seeing is his father's friend. He's been sleeping with Zack behind his back. They're not in a relationship. At least, that's what Zack tells me... He says it's purely physical. I just don't understand why he still wants to see him when he has me."

Squall wasn't sure how to react to finding out one of the school's most popular couples wasn't at all as perfect as everyone believed it was. "Well... do you think he loves you?"

"Of course he does."

"Do you honestly think that's what someone does when they love you?"

'Of course not.' Cloud knew the answer but he couldn't admit it to himself. This wasn't what he wanted to hear. "I know... I've known it since the beginning. But every time I want to bring it up... my feelings get in the way. I refuse to believe he would use me like that."

"He would, if he doesn't care for you. I would've never guessed Zack of all people would be so... two-faced."

"No. He's not a bad person. I know that he has real feelings for me... I can't say for sure it's love, but what we have is special."

"Hn. You wouldn't be having these doubts about him if you really thought so. It doesn't really matter, though. Whether he loves you or not. It all depends on what kind of relationship you want with him. Some people would rather be in a physical relationship, to avoid any sort of emotional attachment." Cloud didn't say anything more about the matter after that. He felt a little better having told someone about it, and knowing that Squall agreed with what he'd felt the whole time, but kept denying.

At the moment they were entering the parking lot of a convenience shop at the marketplace. Cloud stationed the car near the storefront and asked Squall if he would like to come in with him.

"I can wait here."

"Okay, I'll leave the car on for you. Do you want anything?"

Squall shook his head in response.

"Alright then. I'll be quick."

"Cloud," Squall called before the blonde opened the door.


"You deserve better."

Cloud was face to face with the brunet now. He looked into those beautiful smoky blue eyes. Squall's gaze was truly hypnotic. He wanted to say something to the gorgeous brunet, for listening to him, for understanding, but what he really felt at the moment couldn't be put into words. Cloud cautiously moved towards the brunet's inviting lips, hesitating for a second, barely an inch away from claiming the brunet's mouth. Squall moistened his lips with his tongue in anticipation.

"Thank you, Squall..."

Squall watched the blonde's lips intently as they moved, longing for them to descend upon his own. He shut his eyes as Cloud's mouth closed the distance between them. Squall was immediately engulfed in a wave of new sensations. There were no thoughts going through either of their heads, other than how wonderful it felt to be in this moment. Cloud reluctantly pulled away to allow Squall some room to breathe. He would have kissed him forever if it was possible.

"Beautiful..." Squall uttered in a breath. It was all he could say right now. He smiled sincerely at the blonde.

"I can say the same about you." Cloud brought one hand up to Squall's face to caress his cheek. Squall brushed his lips against Cloud's once again, but for a shorter, sweeter kiss. After he pulled back, he looked away from the blonde shyly. "Something wrong?"

"No, I just... I've never been kissed before."

Cloud tilted his head to the side. "I would've never guessed. Someone as gorgeous as you. Hard to believe anyone could resist." Squall kept his face away from Cloud's. He was blushing. "How was it?"

"Wonderful... like nothing I've ever felt before. I'm glad... it was with you Cloud. I couldn't have imagined a more perfect kiss."

"You're sweet." Cloud wondered if Squall was going through the same emotions he'd gone through when Zack had kissed him for the first time. "I'm gonna go get what I need. I'll be right back." Squall finally looked back at the blonde, giving him a nod and a little wave. 'He's so cute,' Cloud thought as he left for the store.

Squall was left in sort of a daze. His lips curled up involuntarily, in a small smile he couldn't help. He covered his face with his cold hands, hoping it would help bring down the heat in his cheeks. He couldn't believe what had just happened. 'What am I thinking? This doesn't change the fact that... he's still with someone else. Whatever. It was worth it.'

Cloud strode over to the freezer to grab a pint of ice cream for his younger brothers. He walked around the store collecting a few other things he could use to make Sora and Roxas ice cream sundaes. It was the least he could do for them for not being around on the weekends.

Walking by a small shelf labeled 'family planning', he remembered he and Zack had used up the last of their protection the night before. 'Maybe... I'll need it tonight.' Cloud couldn't believe himself. He was seriously contemplating cheating on Zack. 'Only if... Squall's willing.' He discreetly grabbed a box and put it underneath the rest of his things before walking over to the register.

"Will that be all?" The store clerk gave Cloud an odd look while he rung up his items.

"Yes, sir." Cloud couldn't even make eye contact from the embarrassment. He hadn't thought of what a funny mix of items he was buying. 'Ice cream, strawberry syrup, chocolate, strawberries... and condoms. Gods... I must look like some sort of kinky freak right now.' He paid, thanked the clerk and left in a flash, thinking that he wasn't coming back to this shop in a while.

Back in the car Cloud took out a bar of chocolate and put the grocery bag in the back seat. "It's bittersweet. You wanna share it?"

Squall nodded in reply. Cloud gave the bar to Squall to open while he pulled the car out of the parking lot. "What did you buy? It looks like you went grocery shopping," he asked, eying the brown bag while he broke off a piece of chocolate to eat.

Cloud laughed softly. "Oh just some things to make strawberry sundaes for Sora. He told me he accidentally dropped his sundae today out of the car window. I can't imagine how it happened, but I bet it looked pretty silly. He said he was fighting with Roxas. If you'd seen his face when he told me, you'd probably run to the store to get him some ice cream too. He's such a sweet little kid. I promised I'd buy him ice cream, but I thought it would be better to make strawberry sundaes at home. More fun for the two of them."

"You really care about them."

"I do. They're so young... I want them to have as happy a childhood as I had when my mom and dad were still around."

"That's... so sweet of you. I've never seen an older brother as concerned as you. Here." Squall popped a piece of chocolate in Cloud's mouth, not really minding when Cloud closed his mouth around his fingers, giving them a little taste. They continued on their way to the sixth district, sharing the chocolate while Cloud told Squall more about his family and his hometown.

"...those apples don't grow anywhere else. So now, whenever I have a chance to, I take a train back there and hike up to those woods to pick some. I think... going back there helped me cope with the loss of my parents."

"It was like, reliving those memories you have of your parents helped you accept the reality that... even though everything still felt the same, nothing would ever be exactly as it was. Even if they're not here physically, you'll treasure those memories forever, so it's like they're always with you." Cloud looked over at Squall. It gave him an indescribable feeling of happiness to know how attentive Squall had been to his story.

"That's exactly right. I've always wanted to share this with my brothers, but they're still too young to understand." They were passing through a small road that cut through a park when Cloud suddenly stopped the car and parked out of the way. "It's strange. I've never opened up this much to someone before... not even Zack... he always tries to poke and prod things out of me. But it's different... with you. I feel so comfortable talking to you. I almost wish I didn't have to... leave you."

"You're just taking me home. You make it sound as if we'll never see each other again. We'll see each other at school, or whenever you want to get together. We're... friends now, aren't we?"

"Yeah, but... that's not what I mean. It's not the same. I wish... we could be together. I wish I could kiss you again... all the time."

"If it makes you feel any better... I- I feel the same way, too, but... none of it matters. You already have someone. Someone who, if I'm not mistaken, you feel strongly about. Nothing can happen between us."

"That's not true," Cloud said in a whisper. He moved forward, claiming the brunet's lips once again.

Squall was finding it difficult to resist, but he managed to turn away from Cloud's lip lock. "Cloud... I like you, more than you might think, but... you can't do this. I can't do this. Not while you're with someone else."

Cloud took a moment to sigh. "You're right... I'm sorry... " He looked down at his lap feeling stupid for thinking Squall would go along with him.

"Don't apologize to me, apologize to your boyfriend. If things were different, I wouldn't give it a second thought-" At that instant Cloud cut Squall's speech short, sealing his mouth with his own. At the same time he climbed on top of Squall, pushing the seat flat. The brunet struggled against Cloud for a little while before he started to give in to his own desire. In between kisses he asked Cloud what exactly he thought he was doing.

"As of- this moment- I'm no longer- with Zack."

"But- you barely- know me." Squall protested, but even he thought it was useless, the way Cloud was sliding his hands up his shirt, exploring everything inside.

Cloud stopped kissing Squall for a moment to look at him. "So, let's get to know each other better." He barely gave Squall a second to respond before he began to tug off his leather jacket, kissing him all the while. Squall allowed him to remove it, and even helped the blonde pull off his white shirt. He was beginning to feel more and more aroused with every one of Cloud's touches. He thought he wouldn't allow Cloud to go too far, but it felt too good to stop now. Cloud slowly made his way down Squall's neck, right down to a sensitive spot just below his pierced ear. He took the brunet's small moans as a sign that he was doing things right. Cloud eventually moved down to Squall's chest, sucking so roughly it felt as if he'd leave a mark. He was too overwhelmed by pleasure to notice Cloud had removed his own coat and top. He felt the blonde's soft skin on his bare torso, and then he felt his belts being unbuckled, his pants unzipped, warm hands feeling around for a way to his prize...

"Wait- stop!"

"What?" Cloud asked, annoyed at being pushed away so suddenly. He was panting heavily from being without air for so long.

"What're you doing?"

"What do you mean what am I doing? You know what I'm doing."

"Ugh..." Squall felt almost disgusted with himself for letting this happen. "Sorry, I think I gave you the wrong idea," he said grabbing his leather jacket. "I didn't mean for it to go this far. Where's my shirt?"

"I don't know," Cloud said, looking around and spotting the fur-trimmed cape that hung around Squall's hips. "Come on... I know you're new at this, but you have nothing to be afraid of. I'm not going to hurt you. Just relax and let me take care of this." Squall felt the lust seeping from Cloud's voice. Even his eyes looked different, as if they could glow brighter in the dim light. Cloud resumed his position on Squall, grabbing his arousal through the fabric of his underwear. Squall quickly came to his senses doing the only thing he could. He flung open the car door, dashing out with only his jacket in hand. "Squall!" He moved far enough away from the car to give him time to straighten up his clothes before Cloud came after him. Cloud quickly fumbled around for his coat throwing it on before climbing out of the car. "What's the matter? I'm sorry I scared you, but... come back inside, it's cold out here."

"Give me my clothes." Squall put on his jacket for the meanwhile, zipping it up to protect his self from the cold, although the jacket was too short to help much.

"It's in the car," Cloud said flatly. Squall turned on his heel and started walking at a brisk pace. "Don't be so stubborn, you can't walk home like that!"

"Whatever." He didn't think the blonde would catch up to him so quickly, but in a instant he had two warm arms coming from behind being wrapped firmly around his bare waist.

"I'm not letting you go that easily." Cloud's voice was low and tempting, making Squall shiver a little.

"What is it that you want from me? A kiss is one thing... but... we can't fool around like this..." Squall trailed off. There were so many things he wanted to say, so many things he found wrong with this. Even if Cloud didn't want to have a relationship with his so-called boyfriend anymore, was it really healthy for him to want to move on so quickly? He hadn't so much as waited to talk to Zack about it. As far as he knew, they were still together. Things were happening too quickly for Squall's liking. He wanted a relationship with Cloud, but not one like this. Not until he knew for sure Cloud's feelings for him were real. He liked Cloud too much to throw away on a one-night fling. Not only that, but this was Squall's first time being intimate with anyone, he didn't want to start off doing things so casually.

"Who's fooling around? I want us to be together. I want you... to be my boyfriend. Isn't that what you want too?"

"Without a doubt, but not like this. You can say whatever you want right now, but how do I know for sure that you won't regret this and go back to Zack when it's all over?"

"Regret?" Cloud whispered softly into his ear, "What will I have to regret?" He placed a gentle kiss at the side of Squall's neck, his hands warming up the bare skin on his waist. "Don't you see? You helped me realize, that Zack isn't the person I made him out to be. He has his own issues he has to deal with... I'm not helping him any by staying with him. I won't lie and say that I don't feel anything for him anymore. But what I feel for you is so much more powerful than anything I've ever felt before. I don't know how to explain it, or how I can make my feelings for you any clearer."

Squall was at a loss for what do right now, taking in everything the blonde had to say. He held his hand to his forehead as he thought. 'This is so confusing. I don't want to get involved with someone who's going to end up hurting me... Maybe I should just give him what he wants and be done with him... A relationship devoid of any emotional attachment doesn't sound so bad. No. I can't throw myself away for something so meaningless. What if everything he's saying is genuine? I want him to be a part of my life, as a friend, or, perhaps something more... What if he's the one I've been waiting for? Can I take the heartache... if it doesn't work out between us? Is he worth the risk of getting hurt?' Squall slowly turned around to face the blonde, returning from his internal battle. Cloud kept his hands firmly around Squall's body. "Tell me what you were trying to do in there."

"I was... I wanted to... please you." Cloud's face warmed up with embarrassment. Doing it was one thing, but talking about it felt awkward.


"I wanted to physically show you what I feel for you... I think I've fallen in love with you, Squall."

"Love?" It was a strange concept to Squall. He understood what it meant and how it was supposed to work... but had anyone ever been in love with him?

"Yeah, love." Cloud was just as surprised at himself as Squall was of hearing him say this. "Listen... I know it sounds unbelievable, and I'm not trying to convince you to do anything you don't want to, but... I wouldn't have tried anything if I didn't feel such deep affection towards you. Call me old fashioned, but I'm not the kind of guy who goes around sleeping with random people he just met. I'll only be intimate with someone I love. I just thought the feeling was mutual. I guess... I was wrong." Cloud felt as if he'd ruined all his chances at having any kind of relationship with the brunet.

But for Squall, it was enough that he finally reached a decision. "No... you weren't wrong. I like you... a lot. And I believe you, Cloud. I guess when something's there, you know it's there, right?"

Hearing this, Cloud's heart skipped a beat from excitement. "Yeah..." Cloud moved inched forward to capture Squall's lips for a kiss. "I see where I gave you the wrong impression. I'm sorry I tried to move things forward so quickly. We can wait... until you're ready."

"Don't be sorry." He pressed his forehead against Cloud's, looking straight into his vibrant eyes, and wrapping his arms around him. "It's not about waiting for the right time or being ready, as long as we both know we're doing it for the right reasons. If it's okay with you I... I'd like to continue where we left off..."

Cloud smiled, almost too innocently, and nodded. The couple strolled back to the parked car, Cloud keeping an arm around Squall's waist, partly to protect him from the cold, and partly because he wanted to hold him close. He opened the passenger's door for Squall, waited for him to get in. The seat was still at a level position. He wasn't sure if Squall was honestly comfortable with it, but the brunet got in anyway and Cloud followed suit. Cloud was on top of Squall once again, straddling his legs. Admiring him and all of his handsome features, he started to unzip Squall's jacket, revealing his flawless muscular chest.

"So sexy..." He ghosted his fingers over Squall's bare skin. It almost felt strange after having talked about it. 'Does he really want to go any further?' Cloud wondered. He noticed Squall seemed somewhat stiff and he hadn't made any moves that suggested he was really getting into it. He sensed that detachment again, which made him wonder... "Squall... this is your first time... right?"

"Yes..." Squall's voice was quiet and somewhat shy.

"You've never been abused have you?"

Squall let out an uncomfortable chuckle, "No. What kind of a question is that?"

"It's... nothing. That's good. I just thought... well I know you're nervous, I was too, with... my first." He didn't want to mention Zack anymore.

"Sounds like you're more nervous than I am."

Cloud was even more embarrassed now. "I just want to make sure you're okay with this. I don't want you leaping out of the car again."

"I won't. I wouldn't have come back in if I wasn't." He finally put his arms around Cloud, pulling him down closer to him. They started to kiss and caress, Cloud daring to touch Squall where he hadn't before. Squall was a little more reserved and only touched Cloud above the waist. He was starting to feel aroused again, his hips rose involuntarily, seeking friction with Cloud's body.

"Nn... Squall... let me undo your pants." As with the first time, it was an ordeal getting through so many belts, but Squall had been too distracted then to notice. Even so, Cloud's hands moved quickly. After a moment he was able to tug Squall's pants down to his knees, taking in the sight of the nearly bare-skinned boy before him. Squall tried to look seductive while sliding off his jacket, but he honestly felt awkward while doing it. Cloud didn't seem to notice, but the brunet really didn't even have to try for him. All Squall was left wearing was his underwear and the silver pendant around his neck. "Gods... you're beautiful." Cloud sealed Squall's mouth with his own. He took his time going down Squall's body, stopping for a moment to lick around his naval. Squall's hands were in the blonde's hair. He could feel himself getting more aroused by the second and started breathing a little heavily. Cloud felt the brunet shivering and looked up to see his face. 'I'm horrible... I can't do this to him. This isn't what he wants.' Cloud was in somewhat of an uncomfortable position being at the edge of the passenger seat, almost being up against the dashboard. "Tch... this isn't right."

'Oh no... has he changed his mind about me already? Am I not what he expected?'

"This is your first time. I'm your first," and Cloud thought 'hopefully your only' before continuing, "and I want this to be special. I want it to be memorable."

The brunet was slightly relieved at Cloud's words. "What are you... saying?" He was trying very hard to steady his breathing.

"That we go somewhere nicer. Somewhere less... trashy. You'd like that wouldn't you?"

"Well... I never thought I'd be with anyone... much less in a car... but I guess... I would like to go somewhere more comfortable. Was there somewhere in particular you had in mind?"

"Yea... my place? We're close by and... my bedroom is in the attic... unless you'd like to go someplace else."

"No... that sounds fine."

Cloud was mostly clothed and only had to put on a few things before he got back in the driver's seat. Squall threw on his shirt and jacket. As he pulled his pants up he noticed they felt tighter than before.

Cloud drove them a short distance before they stopped in front of a small two bedroom house. Coming out of the car they were silent, all you could hear was the sound of the brunet's belts hanging from his hand.

"I'm pretty sure no one's awake right now," Cloud said turning the key to open the front door. "My uncle's a pretty heavy sleeper, so don't worry about making noise up the stairs." They stepped into the dark house, Cloud made sure to leave his uncle's car keys back where they were before walking over to the hidden staircase up to his room. He switched on the light mostly for Squall to see, as he already knew his way up by memory. "Go ahead." Squall didn't hesitate anymore and went up. Cloud followed brightening up the room with dim lights. The room wasn't what Squall expected. It was a lot nicer than what the word 'attic' normally brought to mind.

"So this is all yours? It's so... cozy."

"You think so?"

"Yeah... you decorated it yourself?" Squall asked, noticing the rich indigo and violet theme.

"Yea... hey... I'm gonna go put the groceries in the fridge... if you don't mind."

"Of course not."

"Make yourself at home. I'll be right back." Cloud was off in an instant.

'Hurry back,' Squall thought. He hung his jacket, fur-trimmed leather cape, and belts on a chair and sat on Cloud's made bed. He looked around the room, noticing how everything was neatly in place. 'Looks like he hasn't been here all day. Or, perhaps he's just that organized.' Squall decided he liked that about the blonde. He took off his shoes, deciding it was better to save Cloud the trouble of taking off his clothes again, and started stripping it off himself. He climbed into the small bed, under the covers, hoping Cloud wouldn't be much longer.

Shortly after, Cloud came back up with the same brown bag from before. Squall sat up when he heard him come in.

Cloud took a mental photograph of the unclothed brunet in his bed, never wanting to forget the image. "Sorry to keep you waiting. Would you mind closing your eyes for me?"

"O...kay." Squall did as Cloud asked and closed his eyes, although he wasn't sure what the blonde was up to. He heard a little fumbling around, the sound of a match being lit, and then after several minutes, he felt the blonde, bare-skinned, getting into the covers next to him.

"Okay... open your eyes," the blonde whispered into his ear. A romantic sight appeared before Squall, with a few dozen votive candles flickering and bright white flower petals on the bed, setting the atmosphere even further. "I didn't have roses, but these gardenias smell really sweet."

The brunet smiled at him. "Yeah I don't know if it's you or the flowers, but it definitely smells really good in here. It's perfect... Thank you, Cloud."

They pulled each other closer, each wrapping his arm around the other. Squall took Cloud's neck, Cloud took Squall's waist, closing in for a kiss simultaneously. Cloud got in between the brunet's legs, beginning to rub against his arousal, at the same time feeling himself get harder. They still had the thin fabric of their underwear creating a barrier, but Cloud decided it was time to take care of that. He slowly lowered his hands further down Squall's hot body, feeling around for the waistband of the last piece of clothing on him. Squall felt the blonde pulling his underwear off and helped by raising his hips up a little. Cloud tugged off his own, and Squall watched him revealing his lengthy manhood, feeling more attracted to the blonde than he had before. He wanted this now more than ever. Cloud didn't waste any more time, deciding to continue what he had begun in the car, and lowered his lips onto Squall's erection.

Squall thought, Cloud had obviously had practice doing this, because whatever he was doing with his tongue gave him an insane amount of pleasure. In a matter of seconds, he was on his elbows, gripping the bed sheet, raising his knees and curling his toes, as he threw his head back trying to push himself further into Cloud's mouth. His moans came out softly every time he felt Cloud taking him in deeper. Cloud's hands played around at the base, squeezing and feeling around him.

"C-Cloud..." Squall's voice was softer than a whisper. "I'm gonna... Nn..." He let go of the bed sheet, tangling his fingers in blonde spikes.

Cloud lifted his head up for air. In between pants he said, "It's alright... I want you... all of you..." He went back down to suck until the brunet finally ejaculated into his mouth, and to Squall's amazement, Cloud swallowed everything. He lapped at whatever was left on Squall, licking his lips, and then wiping his mouth off. Cloud lifted himself up and crawled up the brunet's body, looking directly into his eyes. Squall was looking right back into his glowing ones.

"You... didn't have to..."

"Mm-mm... I wanted to. I've never done that before... I've never even... given. I guess... I've always been on the receiving end. I just wanted to make you feel good."

Squall was pleasantly surprised to hear this. "That was amazing." Squall wanted to kiss him, but he didn't like the idea of kissing Cloud right after he'd been sucking him off.

"Yeah? Tell me... how this feels." Cloud took out a small bottle from under the pillow on his bed, pouring a bit of the slippery liquid on both hands. One hand disappeared underneath Squall's body, finding its way to his entrance.

When Squall felt the warm touch of Cloud's hand, his heart rate went up a notch. He wasn't sure whether he really wanted to do this, but he didn't want to disappoint Cloud, either. After all, it could end up being really good.

"Just relax," Cloud said in a silky voice Squall hadn't heard before. He didn't give him much more warning after that, and slipped a finger inside him, making the brunet let out a small whimper. Squall did everything he could to open himself up more, lifting his legs up and around Cloud. "That's good." Squall felt another digit slip inside him, making him tense up a little. "Relax. Just one more." Cloud watched his face closely, to make sure Squall wasn't in pain, and slipped a third finger inside. He moved around, lubricating and stretching him out at the same time. "Squall, I need to know... something very important." With his free hand, Cloud reached under his pillow and produced a small packet, placing it one of Squall's hands. "I don't know... if you think it's necessary... to use this."

Squall looked at the packet once and put it down beside him. Right now he was more preoccupied with the sensations from having Cloud's fingers inside him, but he was still able to come to a decision. "No... I trust you." Cloud gave him a sweet smile, and proceeded to lubricate himself. Squall stayed still, not moving from his position, anticipating what was about to happen. Never in his wildest imagination did he think he'd ever be here underneath this beautiful angel about to share the most intimate moment of his life.

"Squall... are you ready?"

The brunet closed his eyes and breathed deeply. He opened his eyes and answered. "I'm ready."

From that point on, they had both lost their minds. Squall was in a different state, engulfed in a new wave of pleasure and ecstasy with each thrust of Cloud's hips. Each time, Cloud went in further, hitting a spot inside him he didn't know existed to make him feel this way. He started shoving himself onto Cloud in time with his movements, as if he couldn't get enough of it. Cloud was lost inside the brunet's beautiful body, his cries of pleasure filling his ears, making him want to do it faster, harder, rougher.

How long had it been? Forever. It had felt like a long dream, one that neither boy wanted to wake up from. In reality it had been only been a few satisfying minutes before Squall climaxed again, and Cloud finally released himself inside of his boyfriend. He had gotten better at his timing from the time he'd been with Zack, but Cloud didn't think it was important to mention this fact to Squall.

The two stayed together, enjoying the comfort of being against each others' hot skin. They were slowly trying to recover from their activities, steadying their breathing so that they could speak normally again.

"S-Squall. You were great..." Cloud pressed his lips on the brunet's neck.

"Mmm... I didn't know it was possible... oh gods... that was so..." Squall was so overcome by his newfound pleasure, he couldn't finish his sentence. He shifted a little underneath Cloud's body.

Cloud sensed a little discomfort coming from the brunet. He himself didn't like the feeling of being dirty, and he was sure Squall didn't either. He got up on his knees, reaching over to grab a box of tissues from the nightstand next to his bed. "Here. Let's get ourselves cleaned up." When they were finished they tossed everything aside, both feeling a deep exhaustion. Cloud laid on his side, facing the brunet. He had one arm slung around him. "You're staying here tonight, right?"

"I... would like to."

"I know it's late notice, but... do you need to call home?"

"No. They don't worry about me. I've stayed out all night before..."

"Oh. By yourself?"

"Most of the time... But, I always take my gunblade with me."

Cloud tucked the chocolate strands that fell on Squall's eyes behind his ear. He loved the softness of his hair in his fingers. "Where do you go at night?"

"There's this place on the outskirts of town, nearer to where I live. It would be a very tranquil place, save for the occasional monster that shows up there. I go there to train. It doesn't have an official name but people call it the Crystal Fissure... and believe me... it's the most radiant place in this entire town."

"Sounds beautiful. You have to take me there some time."

"Of course... angel..." Squall was looking at his boyfriend through half lidded eyes. Feeling his warmth and soft touches on his hair, he began to drift off to sleep.

Cloud smiled at him and pulled him closer. "Sweet dreams, Squall."

Cloud's eyes were focused on the sleeping figure of his boyfriend. Through his peripheral vision he saw the small candles flicker off one by one, until finally his own eyes became too heavy and they began to close of their own accord.

Cloud's small stirrings awoke Squall the next morning. It was earlier than the time he would normally wake up, but as the events that occurred the previous night came back to him, he couldn't go back to sleep. He turned over on his side to face Cloud, being careful not to disturb him in his sleep. Looking at him, taking him in with all of his senses made everything so real. Everything had felt like a dream... a long, wonderful dream. But it hadn't been his imagination. 'It was real. Cloud is mine, and I'm his, for as long as our love exists.' Squall's mind was overwhelmed by the reality of the situation. This was so unlike him. To put down his guard and fall in love so easily. He felt as if he'd been seduced by way of magical enchantment, a love spell, if such a thing existed. Or perhaps this was the way things were meant to be. Everything seemed to be going against his favor last night, until he noticed Cloud eying him on the porch. He'd gone to the party only because his friends had said they wouldn't stop bothering him about it until he agreed to go. They were determined to see him put away his stoic mask and let loose for a change. But being there, when Lea, Reno, and Zell gave up on trying to get him to have fun, or their idea of it, everyone went off with other friends, leaving him alone. 'Some friends,' he had thought. Now, he was almost grateful to them for having been so insistent on having him be there. He remembered Lea's promising words, "You never know who you'll bump into. Hell, you may even get lucky tonight." Perhaps he would never have had the chance to get to know Cloud the way he did last night. Had they met in school, Zack was never far behind the blonde and it may have been impossible for Cloud to admit how he'd felt about his now ex-boyfriend. Thinking on it, Squall hoped Cloud didn't have any difficulty getting rid of the baggage. As far as he knew, Zack was Cloud's first boyfriend. This would be the first time he would be breaking up with anyone.

Squall noticed Cloud pout and furrow his eyebrows from feeling the soft sunlight filtering in through his window directly on his face. He looked as cute as sleeping puppy and as beautiful as a glowing angel. How it was possible, Squall wasn't sure, but that was the best way he could describe the sleeping beauty that was his boyfriend. He placed the smallest kiss on the blonde's lightly freckled nose, but it was enough to wake him up.

Cloud blinked for a moment, getting used to the light as he focused on the handsome boy in front of him. "Squall..." His soft pink lips curled up as memories of the night flitted through his mind. Waking up skin-to-skin with the gorgeous brunet was proof enough that it had indeed been real. That, and the satisfied feeling he had within him. "Hey... how are you feeling this morning?" There wasn't a thought of regret going through his mind.

Squall smiled back at him and tried to form an answer to his question. "I feel good... a little... sore," he was embarrassed to admit, "but good, nonetheless. How are you?"

"Wonderful... Thank you, Squall, for giving me a chance to show you... how much I love you..."

"I'm the one who should be thanking you." Squall pulled Cloud closer into a gentle embrace. Their closeness made them both feel each others' hardening groin.

"Squall... not that I wouldn't love to stay in bed with you all day... but I think we should head to the bathroom before anyone else wakes up."


The steamy water of the shower felt soothing on tense muscles. Cloud lathered up the two of them in his favorite cucumber scented soap.

"Smells delicious," Squall said in purr.

He was irresistible wet and slippery. Cloud's mouth ascended upon Squall's, their kiss now tasting icy and minty sweet. "No, you're delicious," Cloud corrected in a throaty whisper, before continuing the kiss. Cloud began to massage Squall, going where he knew his boyfriend wanted to be touched again.

The brunet gasped, feeling Cloud take him in his hand. Remembering the intense pleasure of last night, Squall wrapped one leg around Cloud. The blonde knowingly positioned himself, pinning Squall against the tile wall of the shower...

That day, Squall spent the entire morning and afternoon with Cloud's family. He met Cloud's guardian, whom he was surprised to learn shared a name with his own guardian. Squall's guardian's name was Cid Kramer, while Cloud's uncle's name was Cid Highwind. He was a mechanical engineer and former pilot. The man was scruffy, looking to be in his late thirties. He seemed to be an overall good guy, despite the fact that he was a foul-mouthed chain smoker. He was surprised to see his nephew home on a Sunday for a change. Once they had finished introductions, he had pulled Cloud aside to talk to him privately.

"So yer tellin' me you dumped Zack and got together with this sunavabitch all in one night?"

"Can you not call him that?" Cloud asked, although he knew it was useless.

Cid just gave him a look.

When his uncle failed to respond, Cloud continued to answer his previous question. "Yeah... Zack had it coming, alright? I never said anything about it before... because I didn't think you'd care to listen... but me and Zack haven't been faring well lately."

"Sure... and that's why yer always at his place fuckin' the daylights outta him. Jeez, you teenagers and your raging hormones. Well... ain't none of my business anyway kid. You do what you want."

"Thanks for the support," Cloud said sarcastically.

"I will tell you this," the older blonde took a moment to remove the cigarette hanging from his mouth. "That is one good lookin' sunavabitch you picked up there... looks like... the kid's got a good head on his shoulders, too. Yeah, kid's gon' be a keeper, I can tell ya that much." With a firm pat on Cloud's back, the engineer left it at that. Cloud was as satisfied as one could be with such a nonchalant approval. This was the closest thing to a parental talk Cloud would ever hope of having with his uncle.

Cid didn't stick around long, saying he had some things to work on in his garage. Squall later met the younger Strifes, whom he never imagined would be so adorable. The boys had immediately taken a liking to the brunet, noticing he was a lot like their big brother. After breakfast, they made those strawberry sundaes that Cloud had promised Sora, and shared one himself with Squall.

Sora and Roxas were excited that the snow had fallen heavily throughout the night, and now the day was bright with the reflection of the foot deep snow. Cloud and Squall couldn't refuse the two little boys playtime in the snow. The four of them went out to the park for an afternoon of snowball fights and hide and seek. Squall had been reluctant to play with them at first, preferring to keep out of the way of their fun and lean on a tree for the most part, until he was bombarded by snowballs, most coming from his boyfriend.

Squall twitched an eyebrow, melted snow dripping from his nose. "You asked for it!" The brunet balled up a big pile of snow and went off after Cloud, a feeling foreign to him beginning to build up inside. Their chase ended in a laughing heap, Squall on top of Cloud, and the two little ones burying them in snow while they stole warmth and kisses from each other.

All the while the Strifes' phone rang incessantly, each call ending with a new message.

"Go put on some dry clothes guys," Cloud said to his brothers when they arrived back home. The two boys nodded and went to their room. Cloud led his boyfriend back to his room to warm up. "Here," Cloud handed Squall a towel to dry up. Squall sat on Cloud's bed while he took off his leather jacket. The fur collar had gotten soaked and so had his shirt. He removed it as well, wrapping himself in the towel. Squall's eyes traveled up and down the blonde's body as he stripped off his wet clothes. "What?"

"You know what."

Cloud gave him a playful smile, moving towards the bed, not bothering to put on his dry clothes. "You know... you have my only clean towel on right now... guess we'll just have to share."

Squall welcomed the blonde on his lap, wrapping the towel around him so that they were both covered. Cloud pressed his lips to Squall's cheek, still slightly rosy from the cold. 'I love him... I really do...' Squall raised a hand to comb his fingers through blonde spikes. "I had fun today... more fun than... I've had in long time. I don't think I've laughed like that in ages."

Cloud didn't say anything but kissed him again, moving to nibble on the brunet's pierced ear. Squall let himself be laid back on the bed by Cloud, already starting to feel the heat rising between them.


"Sora! You know you're not supposed to bug Cloud when he's in his room. Come on!"

"But he said he'd make some hot chocolate for us when we got home." The tiny brunet boy climbed up the stairs to the attic, ignoring his younger brother's protests.

"If he gets mad, don't say I didn't warn you!"

"Cloud?" Sora knocked on his older brother's door. Roxas waited at the foot of the stairs, looking up questioningly at Sora. "He's not answering." Sora turned back to the door. "Cloud?" He turned the knob only to find that the door was locked.

"Maybe he's asleep," Roxas said in loud whisper.

Sora put an ear to the door listening to the odd noises inside the room. "I don't think so," Sora said to Roxas.

"Come on before he catches you leaves-dropping."

Sora sighed, giving up and going back down the stairs. "You mean eavesdropping?"

"That's what I said." The two boys bickered all the way to the kitchen.

"Stay for dinner?"

"I'd... love to... but I should go home," Squall said honestly.

Cloud knew it was inevitable Squall would have to go home sometime soon, but he just didn't want to let him go. "Call your guardians, let them know where you're at so you can stay a while longer."

"I suppose. I should've done that earlier... I've never been out this long before. I hope it's no big deal. To be honest... I've sort of been worried about what Edea and Cid's reaction might be."

"You don't have to give them all the details. Tell them you were over at a friend's house."

"Even that'll be strange coming from me. Whatever. I may as well get it over with."

After finishing getting dressed, Cloud and Squall finally went downstairs. They found Sora and Roxas in the kitchen. "Hey, sorry we took so long. I know I said I'd make hot cocoa for you guys. I'm just gonna get the phone for Squall." He went into the small living area, digging out their only phone from under a sofa cushion. Picking it up, he looked at the small screen alerting him to five new messages. 'The hell?' He dialed the voicemail right away.

First new voice message, "Cloud. Come on, I know you're home. Pick up the phone will ya? I'm really sorry about the party last night! I hope you're not mad at me, or anything. Call me back. Please? I really want to talk to you! It was crazy!" Hearing Zack's voice on the phone didn't stir any emotions in Cloud. What he felt right now towards him was just numbness. He wasn't sure if he wanted to talk to him or not. Delete.

Next new voice message, "Okay, you're starting to scare me now. Really, if I hurt you in any way, just tell me, okay? I'll make it up to you. I promise." Hurt? No, Cloud wasn't hurt. He knew it was a feeling beyond hurt... but nothing he could, or rather, wanted to feel at the moment. Delete.

The messages went on. Cloud deleted every one of them. Zack said he was glad Cloud hadn't stayed, otherwise he would've been caught along with everyone else. Reno's mother had been alerted by a neighbor about what was going on in her home and she'd gone back, busting everyone at the party. In another message, Zack said he was lucky his father had been easy on him because he hadn't done anything wrong other than going to the party without permission. Cloud decided if he talked to Zack, it would have to be in person.

Cloud went back to the kitchen where Squall was making the hot cocoa for the boys. "Thought I'd save you the trouble," he said smiling at his boyfriend.

"Thanks. Here's the phone. I'll get started on dinner then."

"You're a good cook," Squall said when he'd finished eating. "Where did you learn to cook like that?"

"It's nothing special... I just follow recipes really. My uncle never cooks. I missed having good home-cooked meals, so I did whatever I could to mimic my mom's cooking. I'll never be as good as her. But, I'm glad you liked it."

"Thank you big brother!" Sora said, as soon as he finished his plate.

"You're welcome."

"Is he always this enthusiastic?" Squall asked patting the little brunet's head.

"Only when he wants attention. Roxas are you finished?"


"Listen, you two, can you stay in your room for a while? I'm gonna walk Squall home. I'll be back in a little while okay? Don't get into any mischief please?"

"Okay," Roxas responded.



Cloud cleared the table, and Squall offered to help wash dishes. When they finished they went up to get ready to go outside again.

"Your shirt's still not dry. You can keep mine. I'll give this one back to you tomorrow. I'll see you at school right?"

"Yeah. You pass by my locker after fifth period."

"Oh? So you've been stalking me all this time?" Cloud asked jokingly.

"No. I never followed you around. It just became sort of routine for me to stop and... check you out."

"Well, you can check me out anytime you want."

The boys continued their conversation out the door, making plans about when they would see each other and where they'd meet before and after school.

On their way, Squall took out a cigarette, finding it a little difficult to light it with all the wind blowing. Cloud gave him a look and decided he should be honest about his lie last night.

"How long have you been smoking, Squall?"

"Maybe... two years. I started smoking to relieve some stress... now I do it out of habit."

"To be honest... yesterday, when you asked me if I smoked... I lied. Truth is, I only tried it once. You saw my uncle... he smokes like there's no tomorrow. I've come to hate it, I guess."

"Does it bother you that I do?"

"A little. I have to admit... it felt pretty good yesterday. After being in that teenage jungle... it was nice to be able to blow off some steam. I only lied because... I didn't know what else to say. I needed a reason to talk to you, and well, you gave me one."

On one side Squall was glad that he and Cloud were off to a good start, being completely honest with each other. On another, he felt bad that Cloud had a problem with his habit. "I'll stop if it bothers you."

"No, don't do it for me. Do it for yourself, okay?" Cloud said with a small smile. They both knew this was easier said than done.

Their trek through the snow to Squall's home felt almost short, although it had taken a half an hour in the blustery cold. They kept close to keep warm until finally they reached Squall's house, which looked about the same size as Cloud's.

Squall led Cloud through the front gate of his home stopping at the front door. "You can come in to meet Edea and Cid if you're up for it."

Cloud thought about it for a moment. "Maybe... some other day. This is kind of a big deal for you isn't it?"


"I'm sure they're good people, and I think we should tell them... we're more than friends. I'm not really up for it yet."

"Same here... thanks for walking me home. You really didn't have to. It's getting colder by the minute."

"It's no big deal. I'll be fine. Thank you, for everything, Squall." They leaned in simultaneously for a goodbye kiss, lasting until the need for air was too much. When they parted Cloud gently touched Squall's cheek, brushing their lips together for one last kiss. "See you tomorrow." Cloud found it difficult to let go, taking slow steps backwards towards the gate.

"See you." They waved each other goodbye, and Squall finally headed inside his house.

Instead of going home, Cloud took a detour to Zack's house. This was going to be the end of it, he thought to himself. He was nervous, but now he knew exactly what he wanted to say the raven-haired boy.

Zack had shown Cloud a way for him to sneak into his room, in case they ever needed to get in or out without his father knowing. Cloud climbed up the tree next to the house, carefully sliding himself from a branch onto the small ledge of Zack's window. He peeked in, making sure Zack was in there by himself. He knocked on the window softly to catch his attention.

Zack noticed Cloud on his window and immediately lit up, getting up from his desk to open it.

"Cloud!" Zack helped the blonde in, pulling him into a hug. He realized something was wrong when Cloud pushed him away. "You're not happy to see me..."

"Why should I be?" he spat the words out bitterly.

"What's the matter with you? I don't know if you got my messages but I told you, I'm sorry! I don't know what I did wrong other than ditch you for a little while, but then you just up and left without even telling me."

"That's not what this is about."

"Then what is it? Come on, talk to me, I'm listening... I promise you, whatever it is, we can work it out." Zack sat on his bed, trying to pull Cloud down to sit next to him, but the blonde didn't budge from where he stood.

"No... honestly, I don't think so..."

"What're you... what're you getting at?" Zack said in a quiet voice, sounding fearful of what Cloud might be saying.

Cloud sighed, pulling the desk chair out so that he could sit eye to eye with Zack. "Zack... do you love me?"

"What? Are you kidding me? We're sixteen! We just got together last summer, we're not ready to talk about love."

"Tch... I knew it... you're shallow, immature, and-"

"Where is all this coming from?"

"Last night... I met someone. Someone who helped me realize what a bastard you are."

Zack for once in his life was speechless. This couldn't be the same Cloud he'd just seen yesterday, cheerful after spending the night at his house.

"I was in denial about it, at first," Cloud continued. "I was blinded by what I believed was love that I felt towards you. But now understand... you used me... you... selfish bastard."

"Cloud, I care about you... so much, I've never used-"

"Shut up! I thought that when we got together you'd stop seeing that- that old pervert! But you didn't... you would still sneak around with him. You just wanted me to make it look like you had a legitimate boyfriend you could screw around with, when in reality you were getting fucked by a pedophile and loving every second of it!"

"You know that's not the case... I told you before... he won't take no for an answer. Please stop shouting, my father's is here."

"No! If you're so afraid of Sephiroth why haven't you told Angeal about him then? Huh? Why did you want me to keep it a secret?"

"I- I don't know. I know what the consequences of this stupid relationship might be and... I'm scared. Please, Cloud... believe me, I know what this stupid, stupid, stupid affair has cost you... and I'm sorry I made you feel that way because I couldn't end it. I'm so sorry... I do... love you... Cloud."

"Hmph... whatever. After what you just said, you expect me to believe you? If your 'relationship' with Sephiroth was purely physical, what did you have with me then?"

Zack's eyes were beginning to gloss, but he wasn't going to cry. Not in front of Cloud.

"That's what I thought... nothing but a cover up. I'm done with this. I'm done with you." Cloud got up, going over to the drawer where he kept his things for when he was over on the weekends. He opened it to gather up his belongings. Cloud was startled when he heard a loud crash behind him. Looking at the place the noise had come from, he saw that Zack had taken out his frustration on a floor lamp with his sword.

"So... did you sleep with him?" Now the bitterness was coming from Zack.

Cloud glared at his now ex-boyfriend. "What the hell do you think you're talking about?"

"Stoneface? Someone told me they saw you leaving the party with 'Squall' yesterday, or as he's better known, Stoneface. I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt, but now that you come in here throwing this thing with Sephiroth in my face, I know something happened. You can't admit to yourself that you cheated on me with the most emotionless freak on the planet, so now you want to break up with me."

Oh, no. He crossed the line several times over with those words. Cloud was furious. "Excuse me? You're going to accuse me of cheating? Cheating? You hypocritical bastard!" He dropped his belongings heading towards the bedroom door.

"Cloud!" Zack caught Cloud, struggling to keep him in the room.

"Angeal! Angeal! Mmmf-" Zack covered Cloud's mouth before he could yell again, hoping his father hadn't heard his name being yelled.

"You're gonna fuck up my whole life you fucking traitor!"

"ZACK! What the hell are you doing?" Angeal came into the room just as Zack shoved Cloud into his mirror, shattering it into pieces.

"Don't believe any of the lies he tells you!" Zack shouted on the verge of tears.

"Cloud, are you alright?" Angeal went over to check on the blonde boy to see if he'd been injured.

"I'm fine... fine..." Cloud was alright, other than being shaken up. He never expected Zack to react so violently towards him. Luckily, none of the shards of mirror had cut him.

"What is wrong with you Zack?"

"Cloud... I'm sorry... I didn't mean to... I didn't know how else to stop you.. but you know you can't say that!"

"Shut up Zack, your father needs to know. You need help!"

"What do I need to know?"

The two boys started talking simultaneously so it was hard to make out what each was saying.

"Wait, both of you slow down. Zack... there's something you need to tell me, tell me now. If it's really so serious you'd hurt your own boyfriend, I'd rather hear it from you. I didn't raise you to keep secrets from me. You know I'm always the first person you should talk to when you have a problem."

"Fine... but Cloud has to leave."

"I'm not leaving, how do I know you'll tell him the truth?"

"My life is none of your business as you've so clearly shown me you don't want anything to do with me anymore!"

"Enough!" Angeal effectively silenced Zack. Turning back to look at the blonde boy, he spoke cautiously. "Cloud... are you... breaking up with my son?"

Cloud couldn't make eye contact with the older man. He felt something in his voice that made him almost feel guilty for leaving Zack. "I already have."

Angeal turned back to his adopted son with a look of disappointment. "Cloud was everything to you... he was so good for you. What did you do?"

Zack lowered head. His voice came out shaky when he spoke. "I..."

Cloud looked at Zack wondering if he was actually going to come clean.

"I.. slept with... Se... someone else."

Cloud scoffed at his pitiful attempt at a confession. "I knew you weren't going to admit it. You wanna know the truth, Mr. Hewley? Your son has been having sex with your dear old friend. Sephiroth. And you know what else? He's been using me to cover for him! I'm sick of it! I'm utterly sick of it! You know, he actually had the nerve to accuse me of cheating. Me! Now, I'm gonna get my things and see myself out. You won't be seeing me around here anymore."

Angeal was floored. His expression was unreadable. Whether it was horror, anger, disappointment, or sadness, no one could tell, but Zack swore he would never forgive Cloud.

Question: Please let me know if the rating should be higher.