I wish I could tell you that I am back and strong and that I will be posting updates every week and I will have this story done in just a month or two. Unfortunately, my imagination does not like to follow schedules and directly opposes rules. I'm just a handful of chapters from the end of this story, so I'm hoping it won't take me another year to get the next chapter out... (It has been about 10 months since my last update, and I'm incredibly sorry about that!)

I do not own Kingdom Hearts :'(

Chapter 15: Confrontation

Placing his knuckles at the small of his back, Sora pushed them hard into his spine as he arched his back, trying to stretch the sleep, as well as the weariness from the previous night's activities, out of it. His silver-haired lover had been quite passionate, which while enjoyable at the time normally left his entire body sore and heavy the next morning. He really needed a bath.

As he unlocked the door, something at the corner of his vision caught his eye. The calendar hanging by his door was still turned to the previous month, even though they were already two days into this one. Flipping the page up and hooking it on the nail since it would only take a second to do so, Sora's bright blue eyes noticed something a little over halfway down the page; a hand-drawn, black ink cake with four stick candles, the words "Riku's Birthday" scribbled beneath it. It was only two weeks away! Glancing at the sleeping silverette as he slipped out the door and across the hall, the young brunette couldn't believe he had almost forgotten. He had to do something special for his boyfriend—something extra special for almost forgetting—but he wasn't entirely sure what. Testing the water temperature with one hand before he stepped into the tub and pushed down the plug, his mind raced at just what type of present he should get the vampire. Sinking down into the very comfortable water, he just couldn't seem to come up with something he could consider good enough.

Walkers really were quite useless. Twice they had seen their target, and both times they had lost him almost instantly. The only thing his mindless servants had accomplished was confirming the man was in the city. He couldn't even be sure that man—he wasn't worthy of a name—came by there regularly. After four days of surveillance he hadn't seen even a glimpse of his target. It was more likely the Walker that had seen him here had simply gotten lucky and he had just happened to be in the same area for some other reason. The other location seemed even less likely to be part of the hunter's normal route, but after sitting on that shadowed ledge for four days Sephiroth wanted to do something other than just sitting on that shadowed ledge. He would give it a few more minutes and if something didn't happened he's go find someone to blow some steam off of on.

He was grateful for his patience a few moments later when from the far end of the alley a particularly familiar human come into view. He had grown from the last time Sephiroth had seen him, but that had been years ago when he and his mother had gone to collect his brother. Of course, Leon hadn't seen him at that time, but the distress and sense of absolute dread that had rolled off the teen at that time was pure ecstasy. He seemed distracted now, though, completely unaware of the threat just fifty meters south of his position. Slipping from shadow to shadow until he was perched just a few meters above his helpless victim's head, Sephiroth had to use all of his self control to not swoop down that instant and tear the arrogant head off of that pathetic inferior being. Killing him now wouldn't serve his plan's full potential; Cloud had to be present.

A dreadful chill jolted down his spine, causing the hunter to stop and nervously check every corner and crevice within sight. Even that didn't seem to dissuade the horrible feeling permeating his mind. Consciously holding down shivers, Leon kept his gaze directed straight ahead and hurried down the bustling street. He could feel whatever was watching him following him, but subsequent glances at his surrounding didn't reveal his pursuer. Normally if he felt such a malevolent presence he would go look for the vampire and dispose of it, but something in the back of his mind was telling him this was no ordinary vampire and he shouldn't go searching for it. Moving quickly through the crowd, he took the most indirect path back to Sora's house.

The farther he got from the place he first felt the presence the farther away it seemed to be, until it finally disappeared completely from his perception. Figuring it was safe enough to return, he headed straight for his host's place.

It had taken him several minutes to realize Leon was taking him in circles, and several more to realize why. After all, it was inconceivable that someone so inferior could actually sense his presence. Once he lowered his spirit pressure his target seemed to relax and head on a more defined course, finally disappearing into one of the houses in the slightly more rural areas. A toothy grin spread across the vampire's angular face, his body vanishing into the shadows of a nearby alley as he waited patiently for the hunter to go on his normal rounds. Not even the noxious homeless man that ambled down the slim passageway right by him couldn't distract him from his mission. Finally, he was waiting for a reason.

Leon had warned Axel and the new friends he was living with, then quickly rushed to tell his lover. Cloud just brushed it off, but the inner turmoil showed on his face enough to let Leon know something was most definitely wrong. The instant he opened his mouth to ask, though, it was filled with Cloud's tongue and his question was lost to the back of his mind as his body was quickly led to the bedroom.

The hunter left at three times, and took a different route each time. He started with a long, winding circuit in the morning, passing through most of the alleyways in the populated districts and along the main roads of the city. His second trip was much shorter, just a short lap around the neighborhood right after one to make sure no one was out for a midday kill. For his purposes, Sephiroth would use Leon's afternoon rounds. After over a week of discreet tailing (after that first encounter when he realized Leon could sense him) the master vampire was confident he could get his brother to the precise spot he needed to be at the exact time Leon would show up. He had to give the human some credit, he was punctual.

The front door creaked open more eerily than usual, stopping Leon in his tracks for a moment. If he was a superstitious person he might have considered it a bad omen. Instead he just leaned back inside and yelled, "Sora, you might want to think about oiling the door hinges! They are getting more obnoxious than normal!" A shouted 'okay' could be heard a few feet out into the street, then a gusty breeze slammed the door. Just shaking it off as the weather, Leon started down the street, started his rounds… and the start to his demise, Sephiroth thought, taking flight.

The bustling city stretch out below him as the vampire made the short flight to his brother's residence. Landing in the back yard, he walked around it casually twice before stopping by the living room window. A small grin on his face, wind gently tousling his long, silver hair, he extended one hand to its length and closed his fist. The loud crashing of glass breaking echoed through the room as all the windows in the house shattered, a couple beams trying to buckle under the force of Sephiroth's power.

If Cloud had any doubts about who had entered town he didn't anymore. Pushing back with his own strength, the two compromised beams started mending their broken fibers and the dangerous shards of glass melted back together and into place. An angry aura sifted out through whatever cracks it could find, reaching out with clawed fingers towards the offending vampire. It dissipated whenever it got too close to him, though, since such a simple manifestation did not possess the power to break through his innate defenses. He wasn't fooled, though; this was no where near the power his brother possessed. This was simple his anger taking control of the minimal power his body radiated naturally.

Having fixed his house-mending, Cloud's anger threw the door open. Stepping out of the darkened interior, eyes glowing a menacing blue, he spat, "I see you finally caught up to me."

"That's because you were stupid enough to stop moving," Sephiroth taunted, leaning back against the fence and crossing his arms.

"I see you don't have your over-compensating-ly long sword with you," the blonde shot back, not letting a single nerve in his body relax an inch.

Showing his fangs in an evil grin, he stated, "Because I don't need it for this mission," then took off without warning. A wave of dread suddenly washing over him, Cloud's mind quickly put the pieces together. He was off in pursuit not a fraction of a second later, half of his attention bent on berating him for not figuring it out sooner. From the presence he had felt weeks ago to Leon coming to him just a week ago and telling him of a suspicious maliciousness that had seemed to follow him, the clues were laid out in a nice, neat line for any idiot to see; he was not his brother's target. And he had to get there first.

The older male glanced over his shoulder at regular intervals, making sure his quarry was still right on his tail. Luckily for him Cloud had never beaten him at a race, otherwise this chase would be a little more difficult. They were making good time, though, and in just a few more seconds… Exerting a burst of magic the silver-haired master vampire shot into an alleyway and out of sight. Cloud slammed into the neglected concrete just in time to see his brother, at the far end, wrap an arm around his lover's torso and hold the five long, menacing claws on that hand to his throat.

"Good of you to join us, brother," he teased, stroking Leon's hair with his free hand. At the brunette's twitch of revulsion his neck came in slight contact with the sharp points of his captor's nails, although not quite enough to break the skin.

"Let him go, Sephiroth," Cloud growled, fangs fully bared. He debated charging, but there was still too much ground between them. By the time he got to his lover his neck would be shredded beyond normal repair, and he knew Leon was not ready to become a vampire.

"Uh-uh-uh, no no," Sephiroth scolded mockingly as his brother tried to inch closer. "Come up even with that dumpster and I will tear out his throat," he added with more finality, pointing absently at the dumpster just half a meter from the blonde. "There is no need for us to fight, anyway, for I have come to you with a deal."

Scoffing at the ridiculous notion, Cloud took a step back as a precaution (he wouldn't want to accidentally come past the dumpster when Sephiroth no doubt pisses him off). "And just what is your offer?" he asked evenly, not anywhere near as calm as he sounded.

"Mom wants you to come back, brother. Aerith is waiting for you, and you can't be keeping your bride waiting," he started, acting like a priest giving a rehearsed speech to his congregation. "I am authorized to offer you something you can't refuse. Come back home, and I will spare this pathetic mortal's life."

"Do you honestly think I'll believe that?" Cloud asked, folding his arms defiantly over his chest. "The instant I am out of earshot your cronies would be all over him. There is no way Mom would allow such an obvious obstacle to her plan survive," he stated, spitting that woman's title in disgust.

The older vampire flinches in mock hurt, and probably would have grabbed at his unbeating heart had Leon not been in the way. "That hurts," he whined, adding emphasis to his act. "You're underestimating our mother's kindness."

"Leon isn't the only one who still remembers Jenova's kindness," Cloud growled, taking a step forward again. The images of his lover's slaughtered family clouded his mind, muting his ears as he took another two steps towards his brother. Sephiroth was saying something, then shouting, probably telling him to stop but Cloud was deaf to it.

Then his nails pierced the pliable skin on Leon's neck, and all hell broke lose. Faster than Sephiroth thought possibly, Cloud covered the distance between them and grabbed his wrists hard enough to bruise. Leon was trapped between them now, and neither vampire could beat the other in brute strength. Finding breath coming harder and harder to his lungs, Leon could only hope that something happened soon to break their stalemate before he suffocated.

The hunter's gasping breaths bring Cloud back to his senses. This wasn't how he had planned on telling the other male, but he didn't really have much choice. "You can't touch him, Sephiroth," he said calmly, trying to keep his wits with the smell of his lover's blood in the air.

"And why might that be?" was the reply.

"Because he is my mate," Cloud stated, watching the arrogance and sense of superiority in his brother's eyes slowly be replaced by horror and dread. "Don't believe me? Check for yourself."

Leon felt the other vampire probing him, as if trying to peel back his skin like an onion and peer into his soul. It was a very unnerving feeling, and had he been able to move he would have squirmed under that gaze. A second later he was released to the man he was in love with, and a glance back over his shoulder to his former captors showed his smug expression had morphed into incredulation.

"What have you done?" he asked, voice shaking, although whether in fear or rage Leon didn't know.

The only thing Cloud said was, "What you were too afraid to." And then Sephiroth turned and fled, leaving the two lovers alone in a deserted alley. "You're hurt," the vampire cooed, bending down to the hunter's neck and running his tongue over the wounds.

He couldn't help but shiver as the cold tongue slid over his punctured skin, holding onto Cloud's shirt as his knees try to decide if they want to hold him up or collapse. Questions flitter through his head, but he is unable to give voice to them and can do nothing but put them off until Cloud gives him his strength back.

"There, all healed," he says, turning the hunter's head from side to side just to make sure.

With his legs now willing to support him, Leon pushes back from his weakened position and stands a foot away from his lover. Watching the vampires eyes fade from shining blue to crystalline sapphire, he blurts out, "What could have made that arrogant bastard so fearful?"

Sighing, and surprisingly not returning Leon's stare, Cloud replied, "This is not how I wanted you to learn this."

"Learn what?" the brunette asked, taking a single step back.

"You're my mate, Leon," he answered. To the puzzled look on the younger man's face, he continued, "Leon, a vampire will only ever have one mate."

"And what, I'm that destined someone?" Leon quipped, letting out a small chuckle.

"Yep, that's exactly it," Cloud jested back, giving a single laugh. "Seriously, though, that's not how it works. That mate can be anyone, it all depends on who you love. If that feeling is mutual and your bodies merge then your energies merge as well. Part of my aura has fused with your body, just as part of yours is now a part of me." He could see Leon tense up at this point, and the reason was no secret. "I promise, Leon, this in no way means you are even partially a vampire. Let me put it this way, there would have been no way you could have sensed Sephiroth if you didn't have my energy fused in you."

Nodding stiffly at that knowledge, and unconsciously running his tongue along the back of his teeth just to confirm he hadn't suddenly grown fangs, he slowly found his voice again. "And what did you mean by he can't touch me? And what he was afraid to do?"

"Let's answer those one at a time," he started. "I said that vampires will only ever have one mate. Once that mate dies the vampire all but loses the will to live. Very few survive a year after their mate. When family members didn't care for their choice of mate they would sometimes kill the mate, since they would rather lose their family member than have them with someone they didn't like. To protect that person and their mate a law was put in place; no one can harm or hire to harm a mate of a member of their family or a family member of a friend. To many families' dismay, that also protects human mates. As for your second question, let's just say that I'm not the only one Mother has tried to tear away from their mate. Only difference between me and Sephiroth, though, is that he allowed her to, while I have fought her the entire way."

Leon simply nodded and started heading towards Castle Oblivion for a nice, long, strong drink. Understanding that he had just swamped his mate with some heavy information, Cloud fell into step behind him and stayed quiet for the rest of the evening, and didn't complain once when the brunette decided to head back towards Sora's place instead of following him back to Riku's.

Just 7 more chapters to go!