Author's Note 1: Congratulations, you're the winner, your prize is 4300 words of smut, that's 10 pages in size 12 helevtica, 4300 words out of 12700- which means 1/3 of this story is smut. That is ridiculous. I hope you enjoy?

Ghosts - Part III

The morning sun was just cresting over the rooftops of Nibelheim. It cast a cool shadow over Cloud's sweat-stained back as he stepped forward into a low lunge. Inhale- First Tsurugi swung out in an arc beside him, the metal edge just tracing the dirt as the blade rolled in his grip. Exhale- Cloud sunk back onto his heel, one leg stretched out in front of him, his sword hovering over his shoulder for a moment before his inhale drew him forward into another deeper lunge.

Focused and intent, Cloud moved through his sword forms. Almost mindlessly he fell into the poses. His body had long ago committed the fluid movements to memory, allowing his thoughts to instead ease in and out of the consciousness of his mind: thoughts of the warming sun, of the cold breeze coming down off the mountains, of the tinkling sound from his wind chimes.

But mostly, thoughts of Sephiroth.

In his mind Cloud saw Sephiroth beneath him, spread out with his hair astray and cheeks lightly flushed, sweat beading across his brow and chest. That thought gave Cloud pause, his exhale just slightly ragged from something that wasn't exhaustion. These sorts of daydreams were becoming more frequent since their kiss. For days now, Cloud had been fighting back images of a disheveled sex-stained Sephiroth from taking over his mind. It was almost difficult to look at the man and not see him back on that couch, lips swollen from kissing, eyes squeezed shut in pleasure…

With an exhale Cloud brought First Tsurugi up in a high block, casting that train of thought out his mind along with his breath.

Cloud supposed he could blame his brain's illicit behavior on the fact that ever since that day of the kiss, Sephiroth had been somewhat…lethargic? Cold? Distracted? It was hard for Cloud to place exactly what was wrong with the other man Sephiroth had basically stopped living. Honestly, Cloud had thought that things would be improving between them, what with Sephiroth's reaction to Cloud's kiss and the heartfelt conversation that had ensued.

Instead, Sephiroth had become increasingly more distant with each passing day.

His silence had not been surprising, not in the least- that just seemed to be who Sephiroth was: he never wasted words. So, it wasn't the lack of conversation that bothered Cloud. It was the blank stare out the window from his seat in the armchair that had gotten to him. For Sephiroth had made it clear he was content to spend the entirety of his days sitting stoically in the big overstuffed seat, gazing out the living room window, his breathing so even and shallow that it was almost as if he wasn't even alive.

Cloud intelligently could understand the man's need to just have the time to think- but Cloud also knew how dangerous it was to over think things. And Cloud knew how much, looking back, he had wished someone had been there to snap him out of the prison of his thoughts. Eventually, Cloud's friends did just that, but not after he had managed to drive himself into the darkest recesses of his mind. Cloud knew he should do the same for Sephiroth. He knew he could. He wanted to. But he didn't know how to approach him. Sephiroth just looked so…ominous…sitting there alone. The few times Cloud had tried to bring his attention to something other than the view out the window Sephiroth had just sort of dismissed him. Not vindictively or out of spite, but he honestly just seemed so blank that Cloud wasn't even sure if half the time he was hearing the words Cloud spoke.

When Cloud had showed Sephiroth the bookcase he had seen a spark in his eyes. For a moment Cloud had thought he'd finally found something that interested the other man enough to pull him from his reverie with the window. Sephiroth had picked out one of the smaller novels from the shelf, an obscure title Cloud had never even noticed, and settled in the cushions of his chair to read. It wasn't until a few hours later that Cloud's curiosity got the better of him and he passed behind Sephiroth and saw that the man was still on the title page and had never even started reading- back once again to the silent vigil he held with the window.

Exhale, Cloud swung his sword out in front of him, his shoulders pivoting with the motion as he let the force twist his body around.

Except for last night. Except for that fleeting moment when Sephiroth had seemed just as alive as ever, when Cloud had awoken in the middle of the night and found the man watching him from the bathroom doorway, the mako glow of his eyes saying more than all of the words from the past few days combined. Without thinking Cloud had climbed out of bed to meet Sephiroth, stepping across the cold hardwood floor so that he stood right in front of the other man, not touching, just waiting and watching and giving Sephiroth the opportunity to act first.

They stood gazing at one another. Inches separated them, but the space seemed vast in comparison to their actual proximity, because all Cloud could think of was their kiss, and all Cloud wanted was that again and more… He wanted to make love to Sephiroth, he wanted to push him against the wall and take him right there, he wanted to break through the thoughts haunting the other man and give him something good to focus on, he wanted to tell him that the past was done and he had a future and if he wanted Cloud would be willing to help him find it…

Cloud was still a little bit taken aback by his own change of heart. But the clarity his emotions brought him was undeniable, the kiss and Zack's hinting having opened Cloud's mind up to what he hadn't realized he'd ever been missing. He was excited to have these feelings for Sephiroth. The fact that everything now made so much sense to him caused Sephiroth's distance to hurt more than it should.

So when Sephiroth had suddenly slipped past Cloud, he knew he shouldn't be surprised. He knew that he was in a place that was ready for this while Sephiroth was still recovering, still hurting, still figuring things out…but even so Cloud couldn't deny that it hurt

Unfortunately, last night had done nothing to satiate the desire Cloud had for the other man. The intensity in Sephiroth's eyes echoed what Cloud had felt from him during their kiss- so he knew Sephiroth was still thinking about what had passed between them. Hell, for all Cloud knew, maybe that was what Sephiroth was spending all of his time brooding over…

Beep- Beep- Beep-

The sound of a PHS brought Cloud's thoughts and body to an abrupt halt. He stared over his shoulder at Fenrir, hearing the ring but not quite wanting to answer the call. Under normal circumstances he would have been on his way back to Midgar by now- so it wasn't so abnormal to be getting a call from Tifa or Barret or someone back home, but Cloud didn't really want to have to deal with explaining this all to them. Not yet- not when he wasn't even sure what the fuck was going to happen now that Sephiroth was back.

Beep- Beep- Beep-

Cloud dug through Fenrir's bags until he found the PHS, and with a deep breath pressed his thumb into the receiver, "Cloud here."

"Cloud-" the voice coming thru the speaker was low and smooth, "it's Vincent."

Vincent? Cloud hadn't heard from Vincent in months, the last he knew him and Cid were heading off for some 'adventure'- what reason would he have to call? "Hey Vincent, is everything with you and Cid OK?"

"Yes, yes," Vincent paused, but Cloud could hear the muffled gruff voice of Cid in the background going on about something- "Cid gives his…regards."

Cloud suppressed a laugh, guessing that what Cid had actually said was probably less formal and rather more offensive, "Tell him I said hello," Cloud couldn't keep the smile out of his voice, "What's going on?"

"Tifa told us you were in Nibelheim. We will be passing by there in a few days and wondered if you would want a lift home," Vincent's voice was easy and relaxed, friendly and inviting and for a moment Cloud wanted nothing more than to accept his friend's offer and spend a few days enjoying the camaraderie. It pained Cloud to think that he could be jeopardizing his friendships for the sake of Sephiroth. But then it also pained Cloud to think of Sephiroth alone, so he was just going to have to make sure everyone got along. Just not today, or or any time soon… Cloud swallowed.

"'I think I'm actually going to spend another week or so out here- the weather has been really beautiful, and the solitude has been a nice change from Midgar," Cloud hoped that his words sounded more friendly than dismissive.

The voice on the other line was silent for just a heartbeat longer than what made Cloud comfortable, "Are you sure you do not want some company?" Vincent didn't sound suspicious, but then the man had been a Turk so Cloud very well could have spilled all his secrets just by the inflection of his voice.

"I'll be fine- are you guys going to be in Midgar for a while?" When Vincent acknowledged that yes, he and Cid were going to be staying at Seventh Heaven for a couple weeks at least while The Highwind went through some maintenance, Cloud promised he would make it back in time to catch up with the two. They bid their farewells and Cloud put the PHS away. The easy chat had lightened his mood somewhat, so when he turned back to continue practicing his forms a brisk energy sparked his steps. Then Cloud saw Sephiroth hovering on the covered porch, watching him, eyes unblinking, the porches' awning casting it's shadow across his face and shoulders. Cloud's steps snapped to an abrupt halt.

And then, when Sephiroth spoke for the first time in days Cloud nearly fell over. "Your friends are looking for you." Cloud couldn't tell if Sephiroth was asking a question or just making a statement- either way, the man hadn't hardly said a word and now Cloud was getting a full sentence out of him?

"No- I mean, they're just making sure I'm OK," if Sephiroth had overhead the entire conversation there was nothing Cloud could say to convince him that his friends weren't concerned about his whereabouts. After all, they had all forgotten about Nibelheim. He was the only one making these yearly treks out to the middle of nowhere, and Cloud could understand how his inability to move on could cause them some apprehension.

The look on Sephiroth's face was carefully composed, not an ounce of emotion showing through the calm hooded gaze- though his voice…but it was his voice that betrayed the emotions his face tried so hard to hide, "You should go with them." Sephiroth shifted back further into the shadow of the awning, towards the door and that dark old room…

Cloud jumped forward, taking the stairs by twos and grabbing Sephiroth's elbow as the other man was turning to head back into the house. "Wait-" Sephiroth was frozen by Cloud's touch, staring at the hand on his arm with a hard expression. "-Sephiroth, I'm not going anywhere, and I'm not leaving you here."

"Nibelheim is a ghost town," Sephiroth's voice was a controlled monotonous echo of a thought well brooding over, each perfectly enunciated syllable falling from his tongue with practiced ease, "I would not be discovered for some time, and already you have shown how a man could make a living here."

"No," Cloud didn't even give the statement a thought, it was out of the question, "just- no, I'm not leaving you here." He shook his head in disbelief, letting his hand squeeze Sephiroth's elbow a little more tightly, "this is not a life, this is not living." Saying those words out loud was the equivalent of a veil being lifted from Cloud's eyes- a new understanding given to the concern his friends showed over his presence in Nibelheim. Shame caused him look away, hoping that what he felt in his heart didn't make it to his eyes.

Sephiroth's silence pervaded the moment. His body utterly still within his grip. When Cloud glanced up he noticed the hard look had passed from Sephiroth's face, and instead that listless empty gaze was back, focused on something over Cloud's shoulder. Following that line of sight brought Cloud to the horizon, where in the near distance looming over the rooftops of Nibelheim was a sight that dropped Cloud's throat into his stomach. How had he missed this, how had he been so oblivious?

For days now Sephiroth had been staring at the dark steepled rise of Shinra Mansion.

Sephiroth didn't know what to do. Not the slightest idea. For the first time in his life, he was without a purpose, a mission, an order, and he had absolutely no idea what to do with himself.

So he had taken to what he did best (besides killing), and that was thinking. Sephiroth's childhood had been a long and lonely life in a hospital laboratory- he had gotten ridiculously good at escaping into his thoughts. And when he had noticed Shinra Mansion rising above the roof and treetops of Nibelheim, Sephiroth's thoughts had turned towards his last real memories- those last few days before he died in the reactor, all those books and notes and words and numbers that had melted into a collage of information- an overload of horror that was everything that made him what he was, that had turned him into something inhuman, into a monster.

The Jenova cells weren't the only unnatural bits of his genetic make-up. Even without them there were still more than enough enhancements to his DNA to set him outside the realm of the human genome.

Yet, Sephiroth couldn't put words to the relief he felt from knowing Jenova was no longer a part of him, no longer able to invade his mind, no longer able to speak her sweet poisonous promises.

But did that really mean he was no longer a danger to the planet? Sephiroth didn't know, and he didn't know if he wanted to risk finding out.

And the mansion called to him- a wicked voice in the back of his mind, not like Jenova, his own demons asking if the truth could break him again- asking if when faced with the evidence of his unnatural life without the voice of Jenova to sooth away the pain if he could even handle the knowledge on his own.

After that, convincing himself that he was better off staying as far removed from human society as possible hadn't been a difficult task. And that included Cloud- If anything, the call from his friends had solidified Sephiroth's stance that Cloud was better off without him. The kiss had been a mistake. Sephiroth gazed down at the hand gripping his elbow, the rough skin burning into him, the heat and friction a shadowy reminder of the man's lips and touch and that firey desire that had consumed everything…

A mistake.

That's what he kept telling himself.

Even if the words felt wrong.

Because being with Cloud was the first thing in a really long time that felt right.

Sephiroth pulled away from Cloud's grasp, forcing himself down the steps and away from the other man, removing himself from the physical contact because it was just too much of a temptation. It wasn't until the warm sunlight that filtered through the sparse cumulous-cover hit his face that Sephiroth realized he hadn't been outside in days. The sensation washed through him, warming his skin and filling his chest with a burst of peaceful contentment. For a moment Sephiroth forgot about all of the worries plaguing his tumultuous thoughts. The feel of it was so overwhelming. Powerful and natural. He just let himself get lost in the sensation.

The sound of Cloud calling out his name brought Sephiroth around just in time to catch something out of the air. A hurtling piece of gray against the bright blue if the sky- A sword… Sephiroth stared dumbly down at the thick blade in his hand. It measured around four feet in length, the metal serrated in a vicious looking edge. Nothing at all like masamune- but all the same… Cloud stood a few yards away, a large buster sword glinting in his hand. Something was off about it- a chunk off the side of the blade appeared to be missing. Sephiroth put the two together in his head- a memory of being surrounded by six wicked looking blades, all pointing at his chest, and Cloud- furious and vengeful and screaming at him…

"Do you remember your sword forms?" The question snapped Sephiroth out of his memory, his eyes blinking up at Cloud as the words sunk in.

"Of course I remember," his voice sounded incredulous even to his own ears. But did Cloud really trust him with a weapon? Going by the look on the other man's face he seemed entirely comfortable with the fact that he had just armed his former enemy, blue eyes smiling as he moved into the first stance. Sephiroth was almost taken aback by the trust evident in the gesture, but instead he slid up next to Cloud, easily falling into form beside him.

Everyone in Shinra learned the basic sword forms- a series of striking gestures and guard positions strung together in an almost elegant dance. Elegant, if you were a Soldier- most cadets never practiced with a blade long enough to perfect the motions, guns were a much more effective weapon in the hand of an amateur. So when Cloud matched his every move, his every step, and his every inhale and exhale, Sephiroth almost marveled over the other man. His movements were precise and determined and sure, just as good as any 1st Class Soldier Sephiroth had known, if not better- a certain mastery over the smallest of adjustments evidence enough of the experience Cloud possessed.

Sephiroth sank down deeper into the poses, loosing himself in the in between moments where his body was stretched or curled perfectly into a form, before following his breath through to the next position. Finally, Sephiroth felt his thoughts clearing from his mind. After days of worrying and loosing sleep due to the torrent of his inner turmoil, the peace felt as refreshing as the sun on his skin. Cloud's pace did not falter, even when Sephiroth felt sweat running down his back, and felt the fatigue in his thighs as he sunk down into a forward thrust- Cloud was there beside him, sweating and breathing along with him.

As the sun reached it's zenith, Sephiroth pulled out of his final form, breathing heavily as his muscles sang in sweet agony. Cloud huffed a laugh out beside him, "I was about ready to give up- I don't think I've done that many in a series- let alone my entire life." Sephiroth watched Cloud run a hand across his brow, a grimace crossing his face after seeing how much he was sweating.

Wearing Cloud out gave Sephiroth a satisfaction he didn't know he had been looking for. It felt good to know that the removal of his Jenova skills had not appeared to effect his skills- and that even though Cloud had defeated him, he had not yet out-classed him. "Obviously you have had a great amount of practice, I think you discredit yourself," Sephiroth's eyes lingered on the sweat running down the column of Cloud's neck and pooling between at his collarbone.

"You have no idea how much I wanted to practice and train under you," Cloud was smiling at him and Sephiroth was finding it hard to choose between looking into the other man's eyes or watching the sweat beads on his skin. "I joined Shinra because of you- you made me want to be a Soldier."

Cloud probably hadn't intended for his words to carry a negative connotation, but all Sephiroth heard was how his influence had impacted Cloud's life. If it weren't for him Cloud never would have gotten involved in anything- in Shinra or Hojo or saving the planet- it was just one more example as to how Sephiroth brought nothing but grief to the other man's life.

One more nail in the coffin, as the expression went.

Something must have passed before Sephiroth's eyes, something that hinted at the thoughts in his mind because suddenly Cloud was there, staring at him, his gaze piercing and reading him like an open book. "Sephiroth," Cloud's voice held so much feeling, "I'm not leaving you behind-" Cloud grabbed him once again, this time his hands clutching his shoulders, "-and I won't let you try to force me to."

Sephiroth regarded Cloud with a blank expression- his focus not on those eyes or lips but rather on the daydream playing in his head, where he did go with Cloud, and things didn't fall apart around them. When Cloud pulled Sephiroth down into a hug his brain screamed at him to RESIST but Sephiroth once again was loosing himself in the physical sensation- surrendering, allowing Cloud to draw him closer and press into him, "I've hurt you enough already, Cloud- you hunted me down for a reason."

"And you were reborn for a reason, and I don't think it had anything to do with punishing you, Sephiroth," Clouds lips were pressed against the shell of his ear, his words echoing deep within Sephiroth. "Please believe me."

Sephiroth played those words over in his head, once again in that daydream of him and Cloud together, grasping at a feeling he could only call happiness- his body trembling with what he understood as desire. Maybe… A shuddering breath left Sephiroth as he dropped his head to Cloud's shoulder, not returning the other man's embrace, but just letting himself be held.

Maybe… Maybe Cloud was right. Maybe.

Cloud spent the rest of the afternoon taking advantage of Sephiroth's sudden talkative mood. The tension that had permeated the tiny house over the past few days had almost entirely dispersed. They eased into conversation slowly but steadily- a huge change compared to Sephiroth's previous heavy silence. And honestly, Cloud felt more relaxed talking with Sephiroth than he had expected. There were no awkward silences, no hesitant responses, no weird moments where neither of them knew what to say… And Sephiroth actually appeared to have a sense of humor. It was dark and dry and subtle but the more Cloud listened to the man speak the easier it was to pick up on. There were little hints of it here and there, not outright jokes, but when Zack came up in conversation Cloud could just tell there were a million stories for Sephiroth to tell- all of them ridiculous for sure, especially considering that thin press of a smile that Sephiroth was trying to hide.

There weren't words for how good it felt to have Sephiroth speaking again.

And the change in the mood gave Cloud hope that Sephiroth was recovering. Cloud wondering if the planet was watching them at this moment, maybe the beautiful weather was more than just good luck- after all, Cloud remembered the day he found Sephiroth as being gray and dreary, but every day since then had been absolutely gorgeous…

Cloud wondered about Shinra Mansion though, too.

A glance at Sephiroth told Cloud that the man wasn't staring out the window at this moment but Cloud had caught sight of him looking a number of times since they came inside. It didn't exactly bother Cloud- not as much as it probably would have had he not known about the Jenova cells; but still, Sephiroth's obsession was worrisome. But how did he bring that up in conversation? Sephiroth had to know that Cloud would have picked up on what he was looking at all this time- right? Picking at a loose thread in the couch, Cloud frowned to himself in thought. Sephiroth…

"Cloud?" Sephiroth's voice cut through his thoughts like a warm knife, low and gorgeous and so unintentionally seductive… Cloud glanced up at the man- his green eyes were glowing in the sunlight, beautiful and questioning, "What are you thinking about?"

The intimate question gave Cloud pause, "…What do you mean?" Cloud had been thinking out a few things, not just Shinra Mansion, but also Sephiroth's gorgeous eyes and that voice, he wondered which the man would rather hear about...

"You were frowning," -ah, the Mansion then. Sephiroth shifted his body to curl deeper into his chair, patiently waiting, his eyes never leaving Cloud's face.

With a sigh Cloud threw his head back, resting it against the top of the couch, lifting his shoulders so he could throw his arms over the back too. He may as well get it over with, direct and to the point- "Why have you been staring at the Shinra Mansion?" Cloud watched Sephiroth closely, peering at him from his angle on the couch.

The uncomfortable look that passed over Sephiroth's features was dark and forboding. As he spoke he turned his eyes towards the floor, his gaze burning into the carpet. "I could not decide how to broach this topic," Sephiroth's words were slow to form, the proper speech an obvious indicator of his discomfort. But it was his next words that gave Cloud pause: "It calls to me," Sephiroth's voice was just above a whisper, but sounded as loud as a gun shot in Cloud's ears.

"Like Jenova? Or something else?" Cloud slowly undraped himself from the back of the couch, moving to stare squarely at the man across from him,

Sephiroth shook his head once, silver hair making a halo of light disperse behind his head. God, he is gorgeous. Cloud swallowed and waited for Sephiroth to speak, just watching his face, holding his breath…

"It…it is not a thing," Sephiroth licked his lips, opening his mouth to silence, "-just the place. It feels the same way as it did when we came here on the reactor mission." The broken sound of Sephiroth's voice pulled at Cloud, "I don't remember much of what I did there. Those memories are more convoluted than the ones…you say are not mine. They are very hazy, except for her voice…" Sephiroth trailed off, and after a few moments of utter silence Cloud guessed he wasn't going to elaborate on that

Cloud didn't blame him.

"Well, OK, so lets go check out the Mansion," Cloud watched Sephiroth's reaction closely- seeing the man's eyes flash behind the veil of his bangs.

The words he spoke nearly tore Cloud apart, "But I may loose my sanity again…"Sephiroth's voice was a whisper now, a whisper of fear and terror, of absolute torment.

"Sephiroth…" Green eyes stared off, blank and distant, focused on some scene replaying from a horrific memory. Cloud needed Sephiroth to look at him, though, so he got up from the couch and went to instead kneel down at foot of the arm chair. "Sephiroth," Cloud ran his hand through silver bangs, pushing them away so he could see his face. "You're not going to go crazy again-" he stroked his fingers down Sephiroth's cheek, just lightly brushing by his temple and down the slope of his jaw, willing those eyes to look at him, "-I'll go with you, I won't let anything happen-" and then Sephiroth was looking at him, his expression dark with some emotion, his face turned ever so slightly into Cloud's hand, but his eyes so deep and intense and dangerous.

A shiver ran down Cloud's spine, as a sensation of getting in over his head almost overwhelmed him- but he focused on those eyes, seeing other things in them, sad things,he saw that the danger was more a reflection of how Sephiroth perceived himself than what he was.

Cloud drew in a small breath, leaning forward, letting his lips linger just a hair apart from Sephiroth's "-I promise."

And then they were kissing. Cloud didn't know if it were him or Sephiroth who had closed the distance. It didn't matter, though- as long as those lips were pressing against him, as long as Sephiroth was letting him in, letting him get close, Cloud didn't think the how mattered much at all.

The kiss was hardly more that a soft press of their lips, a mingling of breath and small tentative touches. They kept it slow- Cloud using the hand at Sephiroth's cheek to merely hold the man steady as they explored each other.

When Cloud slipped his tongue deep into Sephiroth's mouth he met no resistance, the other man's lips parting to accommodate him, his tongue moving to meet Cloud's. The sensation washed through Cloud- the heady feeling of floating- the fluttering in his stomach. He savored every little detail, the slight flavor, the warm heat…And as Cloud pressed forward, Sephiroth's dropped his head back as he arched into Cloud, giving them the angle they needed to deepen the kiss…

They moved with one another, gentle and easy, letting the kiss define itself, not rushing into it- just feeling it out. Cloud's hand the only other firm point of contact besides their mouths- his fingertips massaging circles into Sephiroth's scalp while his tongue thrusted in deep and slow. Soft touches ghosted over Cloud's sides and waist- not quite making contact as he was just barely out of Sephiroth's reach- so, Cloud stepped forward, nudging Sephiroth's knees apart so he could slip between his legs.

Finally, Sephiroth's arms slid around Cloud, and he couldn't stop the soft moan that escaped him. Sephiroth was touching him, pulling him flush against him while rising up into the kiss, his whole body tense and trembling beneath Cloud. How many times had he fantasized about this over the past few days? How many times had he just wanted to kiss this man out of his dark brooding? Cloud had played this scene out over and over again in his head- and none of his daydreams held a candle to actually doing it.

Cloud took over the kiss, feeling the arms around his waist loosen- Sephiroth moving to grasp more at the fabric at Cloud's sides than his actual body. When Cloud swung his leg up onto the armchair to half straddle Sephiroth's thigh- the man's breath turned ragged, the kiss loosing some of it's control as Sephiroth twisted his fingers into Cloud's vest, his grip rough and desperate. When Cloud pulled his other leg up so that he was kneeling on the chair, up and over Sephiroth, hovering over his lap- he never let go of the kiss. Even as their lips slid against one another as their positions shifted, Cloud held Sephiroth steady, refusing to relinquish that mouth, pushing his tongue in deeper, twisting his fingers into silver hair…

A deep moan rumbled out of Sephiroth- full of longing, almost begging.

The tension Cloud felt building inside himself echoed in the body pressed into him. The feeling was so intense Cloud had to squeeze his eyes shut- so intense that he felt Sephiroth pull away from the kiss to rasp in quick shuddering breaths, his lips barely brushing against Cloud's…

Gods, Sephiroth.

He trailed his fingers through silver bangs, stroked flushed cheeks and brushed past temples- pressing his lips to the corner of Sephiroth's mouth and giving him moment to breath, wondering how far he could take this, wondering how much could Sephiroth take. The man was clutching his shirt like it was a lifeline, and a glance downwards showed Cloud an erection pushing at the fabric of Sephiroth's pants. Oh Gaia, yes...

Would Sephiroth let Cloud touch him? He could at least try, right?

Cloud's eyes never Sephiroth- even as he teased the man's tongue into his own mouth, sucking delicately at the tip, distracting him, drawing his attention up, Cloud watched, waiting for the moment where Sephiroth was wrapped up in the kiss…

And then he sank completely down into Sephiroth's lap- ripping a long ragged sob out of the man. That's it.

A rolling twist of his hips brought their erections together- Sephiroth was shaking against him now, his body melting into Clouds, his breath panting against Cloud's lips, his hips rocking, seeking that rough friction Cloud had given him...

Cloud obliged him, twisting his hips down, dragged their erections across one another while his fingers gripped at silver hair. "Sephiroth," Cloud whispered the words against the man's lips, grinding down into his lap, "tell me what you want, Sephiroth." He had to ask, before going any further Cloud had to make sure this was OK.

"Cloud-" Sephiroth's voice was hardly more than a frustrated sob, his hips lifting up so the hard line of his erection pressed against Cloud's own. "I want -" Sephiroth could hardly say the words, "I want..."

"Tell me," Cloud murmured, moving to press his lips to Sephiroth ear, a hand trailing down Sephiroth's neck and chest, past his waist to his lap, fingers tracing the outline of his erection- mapping it out, finding the swollen head and pressing into it through the fabric of his pants... "Do you want this?"

Sephiroth's hips snapped up into Cloud's hand, "Yesssss." Cloud's kiss was gentle, but the hand that squeezed at the bulge in Sephiroth's lap was firm and sure.

That was all the permission he needed.

Shifting away from Sephiroth, Cloud gave himself just a little bit more room to maneuver, pressing more firmly into Sephiroth's lap. The erection under his hand was straining- the fabric of Sephiroth's pants stretched tight around the swollen flesh. Beautiful. Cloud was at a loss for thought, so he let his mouth trail back to those swollen mouth instead- just barely brushing against Sephiroth, teasing his lips as his fingers teased his cock. Sephiroth's breath was shallow and ragged against his lips, almost panicked if not for the hips which were rocking up into Cloud's palm, betraying his desire. But Cloud's touch must have been too light, too careful, because suddenly Sephiroth caught him in a rough kiss- asking, begging for more. Cloud dragged his fingers over the man's erection, swallowing the sound of the wanton moan spilling into his mouth- more than happy to give the man what he wanted.

When fingers paused to swirl around the precome-soaked fabric stretched over the tip, Sephiroth ripped away from Cloud-throwing his head back in a silent sob. Cloud pressed his hand into that spot, using palm to rub small circles over the area…

And then Sephiroth broke- the action wrenching an actual sob out of his throat and stunning his body into a twisted stillness. Yes, oh gods, Sephiroth, that's it… Taking advantage of Sephiroth's loss of motor functions, Cloud immediately slipped his tongue back into that mouth, deep and forceful and promising- promising something else entirely, something different, something more…

Cloud curled his fingers behind Sephiroth's waistband- tugging back and dipping inside, reaching and searching, and then finding the heated velvety flesh of Sephiroth's cock. He squeezed, feeling the throb of it in his hand, memorizing the girth and the weight and the feel. But the sharp sound of an inhale and the almost imperceptible feel of Sephiroth drawing away stopped Cloud short- the body language was all wrong, a tremor where there should have been a shiver,and Sephiroth had stopped breathing. This wasn't the reaction he was looking for. As Cloud pulled back he thanked the planet he had caught himself before he went too far, before pushing Sephiroth too far. Immediately he drew attention back up to their kiss, abandoning the erection in favor of more familiar ground, "It's OK, we don't have to, not yet."

Sephiroth responded to Cloud by breaking their lips apart and burying his face in the crook of Cloud's neck, muffling a low drawn out moan- his hips still rocking, his arms wrapping tight around Cloud's waist. The man was obviously resisting his body's instincts, and the sight was so fucking hot that Cloud had to squeeze his eyes shut- focusing on just holding Sephiroth as the man fought for control.

And also focusing on regaining his own senses, on pushing down his own lust and desire and calming his own racing heart. The intense sensation of arousal was peaking through his nerves, tempting him with its sweet heady high... Cloud turned his face in the soft silver strands of Sephiroth's hair, inhaling in the scent, controlling his breath...

"Sephiroth..." Cloud's words were a soft murmur against Sephiroth's ear, the name falling over and over from his lips like a mantra- "Sephiroth... "

And when Sephiroth responded with his own whispered "Cloud" he couldn't fight the grin that split his face, he could only hide it in the silken fall of Sephiroth's hair.

Sephiroth liked the way Cloud said his name. Since their kiss yesterday he had started picking up on the small subtle nuances that varied with each pronunciation. How Cloud could be the way he spoke a single word Sephiroth did not understand- but he found himself savoring the moments. It made him feel more like a person- hearing his name used so easily and often, with so much feeling behind it...

And without 'General' to preface it, no 'Sir' in substitution, just his name, rolling off Cloud's tongue with a familiarity that could have made Sephiroth blush, that was, if he were capable of blushing.

Which he wasn't, he assured himself.

Something within him had changed, he couldn't say what, but just knowing was enough for Sephiroth- enough to let him fight down the dark thoughts that echoed from the deep recesses of his mind- the thoughts planted there by Hojo that told him to stay away from people... Don't let them close, Sephiroth, don't let them get near. It was enough to let Sephiroth accept that he wanted Cloud, both emotionally and completely and physically...

"Sephiroth," Cloud was standing beside him on the porch, a messenger bag slung over his shoulder and a questioning look in his blue eyes. "Are you ready? We don't have to, if you've changed your mind..."

Sephiroth met Cloud's gaze for only a moment, hoping the other man could only read the determination in his eyes and not the apprehensive fear because today...

Today they were headed to the Mansion.

Today Sephiroth was going to face down the fear that the place had driven into him. Until he could…relive…those moments before he snapped, see the same things and read the same words and come out alive and sane... Sephiroth knew he wouldn't be able to consciously accept that his sanity was not in question- not until he faced down that place.

But Cloud was with him, so Sephiroth knew that if anything did happen, he'd be there- To stop me-To kill me- whichever way it ended up.

Sephiroth's footsteps echoed off Nibelheim's empty homes and barren storefronts, the silence of the town making his thoughts and steps all the louder. Did the Mansion know he was coming? Did the ghosts that resided in this town see his approach? Could they hear the turmoil in his mind? Were they afraid of reliving that day where a wall of flame descended on them, killing their friends and children and neighbors...

Cloud's hand slipped into Sephiroth's, giving it a brief squeeze before retreating just as quickly- Sephiroth's fingers curling belatedly around the empty space it's absence left.


Sephiroth knew deep in his being that everything was going to be OK, he just had to do this, had to have proof...

They made their way slowly through the streets, the Mansion looming ominously above them, a dark smear across the otherwise bright blue sky. When finally they stood at it's steps, the large heavy wooden door safely locking away everything Sephiroth wanted to disturb, he felt his nerves slipping. Could he really do this? Sephiroth swallowed down the lump forming in his throat and pressed onwards, taking the steps one by one until he reached the sealed door- breaking the deadbolt and pushing-

Shinra Mansion yawned as it's door swung inwards, the old original wooden support beams creaking at the small disturbance. Dust floated out, drifting across the landing and curling around Sephiroth's boots, tendrils creeping up his calves like a monster's fingers- grasping at him, pulling him in past the doorframe and into the dark shadows of the long-abandoned Mansion.

Inside, Shinra Mansion looked just like a lot of the other variations he had visited: Heavy red velvet drapes hung over the windows, blocking out the bright mountain sunlight and helping to cast everything in an ominous deep red hue. Dark hardwood floors ran throughout every room, the persian rugs that covered them threadbare and faded. The chairs and couches spread across the front parlor were covered in dusty white sheets- someone had obviously been there since Sephiroth's last visit, shutting the place down from use, knowing that Shinra would never have another reason to send an employee out there now that the whole 'incident' had been covered up.

Sephiroth wondered if anything was even left in the basement. If Shinra had closed down their Mansion they very well could have removed all of the documents that Sephiroth had discovered before.

A squeak of the wooden floor boards brought his attention behind him where Cloud was pulling flashlights out of the bag he carried, "I don't think this place has electricity anymore." Sephiroth caught the light-weight military-issued model that Cloud tossed to him, examining the subtle little changes to the technology, so small yet so different from what he remembered.

But he didn't need a flashlight to see in the dark- he was a SOLDIER, and so was Cloud. Before Sephiroth could even say a word about it Cloud added, "For a reading light, you know."

"I believe the basement door is down this hallway," Sephiroth turned from a shrugging Cloud, walking towards a dark open doorway at the back of the parlor. The narrow dusty passage stretched on into total darkness- the once beautiful filigree wallpaper yellowed and peeling off the walls. Paintings still hung in the spaces between the doorways and Sephiroth noted how some of the frames were tilted off-kilter while others looked like their canvases had been shredded by some monster's claws. Had that been from him or some other monster who had escaped from the bowls of the Mansion? Sephiroth took a weary step into the space, edging his was past each painting and closed door, almost expecting some remaining mutation to burst from out and attack him.

Sephiroth knew he was being stupid- logically it made no sense for anyone or anything to still be alive in this place, but still his brain wondered.

When he and Cloud reached the end of the passage Sephiroth took a moment to gather himself- his breath deepening as he tried to clear his mind of the dark edges closing in on his thoughts. This was it. The basement. This was where Sephiroth finally faced down what had been eating at him for days.

The handle on the door waited for Sephiroth, cold and hard and uninviting. The last threshold that separated Sephiroth from the abyss of his past.

A sudden burst of terror bloomed deep in Sephiroth's belly, the words 'My Son, My Son' echoed in his mind, rang in his ears

"Sephiroth?" Cloud asked.

Sephiroth clung to Cloud's voice and grabbed the handle, twisting and pushing and opening the door to reveal a long staircase heading down down down.

Down into deep black nothing.

Sephiroth clicked on his flashlight.

"Are you OK?" Cloud was beside Sephiroth, his presence close but not touching, not pushing him forward or pulling him back- simply giving Sephiroth the space he needed to decide what to do for himself, all while letting him know that whatever he choose Cloud would be there.

Sephiroth didn't trust his voice, so he met Cloud's gaze and dipped his chin in a firm nod.

Together they descended the staircase.

When Sephiroth's flashlight beam bobbed down into the dark abyss of the staircase Cloud felt like less of an idiot. He was so used to traveling with people who didn't have advanced senses that he hadn't even thought twice when he'd thrown those flashlights into the bag. Although he had to admit, his low light vision only went so far- and there was no light whatsoever coming from the staircase…

Cloud remembered there being auxiliary lighting on in the basement even when it was shut down those years ago, but the ones in the staircase appeared to have burnt out. Hopefully the same didn't go for all of the lights down below- the Mansion was creepy enough already without being plunged into total darkness.

Nonetheless, when Sephiroth took the first step Cloud was following him- making his way down the creaking wooden structure- using the narrow passage as an excuse to stay close to the other man. Cloud was worried about Sephiroth, he just couldn't help it. The desire to protect him from that which had broken him those ten years ago was all Cloud could focus on. In his mind every shadow was a monster waiting, every closed door a sick laboratory, and somewhere Jenova still lurked, waiting to drag Sephiroth back into her consuming darkness…

The thoughts were ridiculous, Cloud knew better- but the Mansion really was a fucking living nightmare- who could blame anyone for being terrified of it.

After all, Sephiroth was terrified- he was just doing his best to hide it.

Cloud found the signs all too easy to read- the flashlight the most obvious indicator, followed by the thin press of his lips and that grim shadow over his eyes. And of course the way he seemed to be keeping close enough to Cloud to preserve some form of physical contact- just a touch of a shoulder or a brush of fingers against his arm as they descended deeper…

The spiraling staircase ended at another door but this time Sephiroth didn't hesitate in grabbing the handle and revealing the room beyond. A feint light struggled to flicker on- popping and humming before finally illuminating the stone walls and wooden accents in a sickly green glow- providing enough light for them to easily see by, but making everything appear all that more sinister. Papers littered the floor, just scattered through the room like some file folder had exploded- brown and old and waterlogged from sitting in a clear liquid that had been spilled and never dried.

Cloud followed Sephiroth's lead and steered clear of the unknown fluid- anything that took that long to dry couldn't be safe.

Together they moved deep into the bowels of the basement.

When Sephiroth came to an unassuming bookshelf Cloud watched as he reached and pressed a hidden clasp- the bookshelf swinging inwards to reveal a small circular room hidden behind. Cloud swallowed, fighting down his nerves. Could this place get any creepier- seriously? The room possessed only a desk as furniture but the walls were covered in shelf after shelf of books: journals and logs and notes notes notes. Notes in binders as well as notes in traditionally bound books, the words sometimes typed and other times hand-written. All of it in a mess, the shelves unorganized and the desk absolutely covered in stacks of the things.

Cloud glanced at Sephiroth- the man looked like he was going to be sick.

Sephiroth swallowed back the bile rising in his throat. This was it. This was the room. And it was just like how he left it. Suddenly the hazy memories he had trouble recalling flooded back into his mind. He saw himself sitting on the floor, the stone cold against his legs but hardly deterring him from pulling book after book from those shelves, not thinking, only absorbing every scrap of information he could find about his origins. Slowly driving himself mad until finally he had heard that voice…Jenova…

The feel of Cloud's hand on his shoulder brought Sephiroth back to the present.

This wasn't like last time, Jenova was gone.

Using Cloud's presence as an anchor Sephiroth took a single step towards that desk, then another, until finally he had closed the distance. He stood above the chaotic pile of papers, his eyes sweeping over everything, his stomach sinking.

At last, he choose a book- his breath shallow as trembling fingers picked through the pages. It detailed the process of cloning Jenova cells into a human body- the problems that arose from it (mental instability, a physical breakdown of human DNA which either resulted in death or mutation, inhuman strengths and abilities that the scientists and lab technicians had difficulty controlling), and the successes (increased sensory awareness, a naturally heightened IQ, and once again that inhuman strength that when tempered allowed extraordinary levels of Mako to be absorbed).

It was obvious that no one had any idea what they were dealing with. What warning signs were given to them were completely ignored- or misconstrued as scientific breakthroughs. Sephiroth's results alone should have been enough to halt the Jenova program in it's tracks. All the details did was foreshadow his eventual breakdown. Sephiroth placed the book back onto the desk- his eyes sweeping over the stacks, searching for something else…

The familiar scribbled handwriting on the label of a manila folder caught his attention. Sephiroth reached for it, the pages inside crinkling as he lifted the yellowed folder into better lighting, his eyes scanning the words and remembering. Hojo. The log documented the planned progression of his enhancements after Professor Gast had abandoned Shinra and Sephiroth was placed fully under Hojo's authority.

March 23rd - 1985 06:34 am

The specimen has fallen behind in his treatments- no doubt due to Gast's concern over it's mental well-being after the sensitive reaction displayed to our mako injections. What Gast saw as a reason to tread carefully I see as a medical breakthrough. If our only issue is the mental stability of Specimen S then I consider this treatment a total success. We can deal with psychological repercussions much more effectively than a negative physical reaction to Mako- and the specimen reacts so perfectly to the injections- his body and cells absorb the Mako with ease. It would be a shame to waste any more time waiting for it to recover from it's mental trauma.

The treatment schedule I have planned is outline below:

Starting today - 03/23/85 - Specimen S will receive x4 0.3 mil Mako Substance B injections-

Sephiroth's hands were shaking as he placed the log back down onto the desk- his eyes unable to read further. Mental instability- they never did get around to fixing that part of him. Instead they bombarded him with treatment after treatment- drugging him rather than trying any sort of therapy to help him deal with the pain, the nightmares, the visions of watching his own body be broken and rebuilt and broken over and over and over again until he was there perfect obedient weapon.

All of it ordered by his own father- betrayed by his own flesh and blood- betrayed by the person who should have protected him. The one person he should have been able to trust turned out to be the person he should have feared the most-

A rustle caught Sephiroth's attention. Cloud had dropped the messenger bag on the floor next to the desk and was leaning towards him, peering around at the abandoned log, pressing ever so slightly into Sephiroth- a solid warmth where he felt so cold. Blue eyes scan the page, reading the same words, seeing the treatment schedule, and Sephiroth watched as Cloud's expression turn dark, turned angry.

"What a fucking asshole," the venom in Cloud's voice was almost palpable.

Hearing the vengeful power behind Cloud's voice sent a shiver through Sephiroth- he floated in it- let it surround him. Distantly Sephiroth felt himself leaning into Cloud's warmth, and even more distantly he remembered a similar feeling- the feeling of Jenova's own sweet voice, her vindictive anger and commiseration and comforting and that dark profession of motherly love-

A cold fear washed over and through him, forcing him to withdraw into himself, to remove himself from the comfort trying to surround him, not trusting it, knowing what it meant, refusing to succumb-

I won't surrender, Jenova, "-I won't," Sephiroth's rasped out load.


No, not Jenova.


Hands were on him, gripping his shoulders, firm and strong and turning him around, facing Sephiroth away from the logs and notes and words… Facing him towards Cloud- Cloud who was bright and warm and golden even in the sickly green light. Cloud, who's eyes bore into him, filled with concern and something else, something Sephiroth couldn't name.


Sephiroth hung his head as Cloud's hands slipped over his shoulders and pulled him close. The physical presence of Cloud was a beacon to him. This was not Jenova, this wasn't anything like Jenova- this was real and tangible and warm and good and right. This was Cloud. He leaned into the embrace- letting his forehead drop to rest against Cloud's, feeling the other man shifting him backwards until his thighs bumped against the edge of the desk.

There they stood, still and silent and listening to each other breath- each just focused on the presence of the other.

Thoughts passed through Sephiroth's mind- his memories from the past week replaying in his head: Cloud finding him in the reactor, and then panicking and stabbing him. Cloud's gentle hands as they bandaged his wrist and soothed away his pain. Cloud's kiss on the couch, and the even more passionate moment in the chair, where he almost- where they almost- Sephiroth shuddered at the thought, his body latching onto that memory and holding, "Cloud…" he knew his voice betrayed his thoughts.

Cloud's body froze at the sound of his name, reading into the word, "Are you sure?"

When Cloud's lips finally brushed his the world fell away from Sephiroth. He was falling and sinking, without fear or worry, simply surrendering- and this time it was OK-

Because this time it was Cloud.

Cloud felt the moment Sephiroth gave over control, felt it in the very marrow of his soul, felt it in the way the other man sighed against his lips when Cloud's fingers brushed down his jaw, felt it as he turned his face towards that touch but never strayed from the gentle press of their kiss. He felt it in the air of the room, the way it lightened, the way the fear and tension dissipated into an old stale loneliness- the power the Mansion nothing in comparison to Cloud's feelings for Sephiroth.

"You OK?" Cloud whispered against Sephiroth's mouth, not even needing words to understand what the man wanted- already he could feel the press of an erection against his hip.

The only answer he got was Sephiroth's tongue running along his lower lip, asking, questioning, tentatively torturous and sweet. Cloud opened his mouth and let the other man in. The feel of Sephiroth's tongue slipping over his teeth, seeking him out- it was almost too much for Cloud. It was everything he wanted, everything he had been thinking about. Cloud let his hands wander to Sephiroth's chest, twisting into the fabric while he pulled the man's torso towards him. Then he was pushing his hips between Sephiroth's knees- nudging Sephiroth into a sitting position on the edge of the desk.

When Cloud swept his tongue along Sephiroth's, finally giving the man the contact he sought, a moan spilled from him. When Cloud took control of the kiss, biting and sucking Sephiroth further into his mouth, using his hands to hold Sephiroth to him, showing him everything he wanted to do to him with his tongue alone...

Sephiroth was melting.

Yes, Sephiroth, that's it…

Cloud went slow. Not because he was afraid of doing something wrong, but because there was no rush, no desperation, he wanted Sephiroth to feel everything. Not just his physical touches, but his emotions and feelings, he wanted Sephiroth to understand that he would never hurt him. That giving himself over to Cloud was not a surrender, it was not giving up control- it was something natural and beautiful and OK, and he would never use it against him.

He let his hands fall from Sephiroth's chest, brushing down the man's sides, past his waist until they reach his hips where they squeezed. Another moan spilled into his mouth. Sephiroth's body was shuddering in his hands, his mouth pressing desperately against Cloud's. The man's desire was addictive. Cloud dipped his thumbs into the hollow where Sephiroth's pelvis curved in, splaying his fingers back, holding the man steady as he pressed into him- pressed their erections together, rolling, grinding.

Sephiroth hands suddenly reached up and gripped his hips and pulled him closer, mirroring Cloud, his pelvis lifting up off the edge of the desk with tiny little movements as he sought even more friction, even more contact.

"Shhhh," Cloud pulled out of the kiss, pressing his lips instead to Sephiroth's brow, determined to not rush through this, no matter how desperate Sephiroth became. So easily the other man was giving himself up, Cloud distantly wondered if on some level this was how he had responded to Jenova's intervention- had Sephiroth really been so desperate for a gentle word, for someone to love him?

Cloud would love him, better than Jenova or anyone else ever could. Even if the rest of the world was at Sephiroth's throat, vengeful and angry, demanding retribution, Cloud would be there- loving him, protecting him.

The grip Cloud had on Sephiroth's hips slipped back to instead cup the swell of Sephiroth's butt as he hoisted them together. Momentarily forgetting about his resolve to take things slow and just giving Sephiroth that contact he sought. They moaned together- pulling out of the kiss as the new sensations overwhelmed them. The hard lines of their erections slid together together. Cloud could feel the heat rolling off Sephiroth in waves- his whole body temperature rising and bringing a flush across his pale cheeks.

Gorgeous. Cloud stared at the man before him, caught up watching those hooded green eyes as they stared down at where their bodies met, swollen lips parted and panting. Unable to resist- Cloud reached a hand up to that mouth. He ran his thumb over the delicate flesh, letting his fingers grip Sephiroth's chin as Sephiroth's teeth and tongue danced along the tip, pulling Cloud's thumb into his mouth as he nibbled and sucked, all while grinding his hips hard into Cloud.

Oh… oh, fuck.

Sephiroth was the mortal representation of desire. At that moment, for all Cloud knew, he could have been built for sex rather than war. The man's natural instincts were the perfect combination of power and wanton desperation. It was more than Cloud had dreamed, more than he ever thought this could be. Sephiroth was a drug.

And then Cloud's hand was dipping into Sephiroth's pants and gripping him, firm and hard and steady.

Sephiroth bit down hard into Cloud's thumb, a strangled groan spilling from him. Pale hands quickly moved to grip the edge of the desk as hips snapped forward- his cock sliding over Cloud's fingers, precum slicking the way.

Cloud sort of lost it then. His hand went from Sephiroth's mouth to instead grip the hair at the nape of his neck, pulling Sephiroth down so his lips pressed into the shell of his ear, giving his cock another twist, "Does it feel good?" Cloud let his tongue run along the edge of Sephiroth's ear, his words a ghosting whisper across the wet flesh. Sephiroth's response was a silent thrust of his hips into Cloud's grip, begging for more- but Cloud wanted to hear that voice, he wanted to feel the low rumble of it wash through him, "Tell me what you want, Sephiroth."

The tone of his voice was soft and warm and soothing, but the question was the same from yesterday, the question Sephiroth couldn't answer, but had tried so hard to.

"You," Sephiroth's voice was hardly above a whisper, "I need you, Cloud."

Need. Cloud thought, Not want, but need. Cloud could not have asked for anything more.

With a single motion Cloud was pulling Sephiroth's shirt up over his head- leaving silver hair to fall down over bare shoulders- revealing the pale expanse of Sephiroth's chest, those gorgeous arms tangled with long lean muscles, twitching with pent up energy- reaching for him. Cloud drew in a breath as Sephiroth pulled him in for another kiss, slow and steady he reminded himself even as Sephiroth thrust up into Cloud's hand- don't rush. It was really difficult to follow his own advice.

When Cloud's free hand gripped the waistband of Sephiroth's pants the man was already lifting his hips- giving Cloud the room he needed to slide them down and finally set his erection free. Sephiroth panted into Cloud's mouth, his breath speeding up as the palm of Cloud's hand slipped over the tip of his erection, gathering the precum so that with the next twist down Cloud had Sephiroth sobbing.

Cloud let the sound fill his mouth, giving up a moan of his own before pulling away and searching for those green eyes- the intensity of his gaze finally capturing Sephiroth in a deep meaningful exchange. This was the point where Sephiroth could stop this- after this point Cloud knew there wasn't any stopping. As much as his desire screamed at him to just get on with it, Cloud had made a promise not to hurt this man- if he had to he could stop this now.

"You're sure this is OK?" Cloud trailed his fingers down Sephiroth's cheek, the tenderness in stark juxtaposition to the rough grip he had on the man's cock.

There was no need for Cloud to worry, though. The expression on Sephiroth's face said it all, the look in his eyes telling Cloud everything he couldn't admit, saying all the words his tongue could never form- at least not yet-

But then Sephiroth actually whispered "Please" and Cloud knew he would never have to ask permission ever again.

"Please," Sephiroth felt the word fall off his tongue, light and easy and right. Totally unlike what he thought it would feel like. He had instead expected a drop in his stomach, terror to crawl through his veins, a vice to close around his mind. Instead, his heart lifted and his nerves sang as Cloud's expression turned glorious- surprise, desire, lust, and…something else, something Sephiroth still couldn't name, all mixed together with intense blue eyes.

But then he was gone- dropping to his knees before Sephiroth could think and pressing his lips to the tip of Sephiroth's cock.


Sephiroth drew in a sharp gasp- his hips lifting off the desk once more in a shallow thrust as his head dropped back and his hands gripped at the edges of the desk. Cloud's tongue just barely danced over the little slit where Sephiroth was leaking precum, his mouth a tease against the sensitive flesh.

Oh Goddess-

Sephiroth was loosing his mind to the pleasure, loosing his mind in a way he had never felt before- so unlike Jenova. Yet, still his control was gone, his body submitting to Cloud's every beck and call… He hardly noticed his boots being removed and his pants following them to the floor- all he could focus on was that mouth which was now dropping down his shaft- tongue and teeth swirling and scraping, lips pulling in a hard pressure all around him.

Sephiroth felt rather than heard his voice crying out.

Touches of warm fingers trailed down the inside of his thighs, pushing them apart, sending shivers up Sephiroth's spine as they brushed over his perineum and further still. Unconsciously Sephiroth shifted forward, sliding his hips just off the edge of the desk, leaning more of his weight back onto his arms- watching as Cloud dug into his bag on the floor and pulled out a small tube of something-

Something slick and wet, something that was being smoothed over him, over the tight ring of muscle that was his anus. Lubricant. Sephiroth whimpered. His mouth fell open as he watched Cloud's mouth slide down over his cock, unable to see the hand working but feeling the finger pushing into him. The sensation was so bizarre. Not unpleasant or uncomfortable- just something Sephiroth had never experienced before. And Cloud was being so careful- careful not to hurt him, careful to make sure he was ready when the second finger slipped in and really started to stretch him.

Sephiroth's legs were shaking by the time Cloud added a third finger. When Cloud's fingers brushed something deep inside him, Sephiroth shuddered, almost falling off the desk- a long drawn out moan crawling out of his throat.

"Cloud-" he panted, eyes squeezed shut, his body now half hanging off the desk and his hips twisting, searching, reaching for whatever had caused that. But he felt Cloud moving away, felt the absence of his mouth and fingers- leaving him empty and cold, "-Cloud?" All he heard was the rustle of clothing.

"I'm right here," Cloud's was grabbing him around his waist, lifting his body in one arm while using the other to push all the books and logs and notes to the floor, pressing Sephiroth back into the space they left. "Are you ready?" Cloud's whispered against his lips.

Sephiroth's only answer was to press a trembling kiss against Cloud's mouth, trying to convey with his lips the words he couldn't find. Please, oh Goddess, please. And then he felt a pressure against him, a hand grabbing his hip to steady him- and finally the sensation of a pop and a sharp bursting pain blossoming into a tight overwhelming pressure- "Ah-ahhh!" Sephiroth's hands shot out to grab the sides of the desk- failing to steady himself as he arched up into Cloud, arms wrapping around him, holding him there.

"Shhhhh-" Cloud dropped his head, pressing kisses to his temple and biting down on the shell of his ear- giving Sephiroth a moment to adjust before sliding in deeper. Going slow, so slow, so fucking slow- Sephiroth twisted in the man's arms."Shhh, Sephiroth," Cloud whispering the words into his mouth as he caught him in a kiss, "-you'll appreciate this later, trust me." Maybe Cloud was right, because the pain that Sephiroth had felt was slowly being taken over by the sensation of being split open- a feeling he could not have ever imagined, so strong and intense and hot, the pain replaced by a new agonizing fire.

And when Cloud's cock pushed into the spot deep inside him, Sephiroth screamed- "Ahhhh-"

Cloud held him as his arms slipped from their grip on the desk, moving to clutch desperately at Cloud's shoulders, his back arching and his hips rolling against the sensation. "Oh, Gaia, Sephiroth," Cloud was kissing him again, his lips silencing the noises falling from Sephiroth's mouth as he pulled his hips back and then snapped them forward, right into that spot. Sephiroth sobbed into the kiss as Cloud moved against him.

Oh Goddess, yes.

Sephiroth's body was singing, clutching at Cloud, finally getting the release it had been begging for. Sephiroth let himself fall into the sensation and drown in it- unable to think, just feeling.

When Sephiroth felt himself being pulled forward, his hips sliding off the edge of the desk as Cloud leaned up with him, his eyes flew open. Cloud's arms were moving from his waist to instead hook behind his knees, and instinctively Sephiroth reached back to brace his hands against the desk- holding his upper body up as Cloud pulled his hips towards him. Sephiroth felt himself slide down even further onto Cloud, the new angle providing a deeper penetration and Sephiroth shuddered with the feel of it.

And when Cloud rested one of his legs on his shoulder so he could reach for Sephiroth's erection. There was nothing Sephiroth could do but rock down onto that cock and snap his hips up into that hand. Somehow he managed to do both at the same time- "Ah- Cloud!" Sephiroth threw his head back, his hips twisting- but in the end it didn't matter because when Cloud started driving into him Sephiroth could do nothing but take it. He was frozen in pleasure, his mouth hanging open in a silent scream as his body arched further and further- Yes, yes, yes- Sephiroth felt himself slowly beginning to unravel…

But before Sephiroth could peak Cloud was letting his legs down and pulling him forward, sliding them off the desk and onto the floor, rocking up into Sephiroth, his hand still moving on his erection the angle shifting just a little bit deeper…

Sephiroth let out a breathless sob

They were close together again, close enough for Cloud to reach forward and pull Sephiroth in for a kiss- their mouths latching together. Cloud's tongue teased him, just darting out to brush against Sephiroth's- his mouth gasping and groaning against hisSephiroth responded with small sounds of his own, unable to restrain his voice any longer. Cloud, Cloud, Cloud… Sephiroth sank down onto Cloud's cock, taking advantage of his new leverage to drop himself down harder onto each of Cloud's thrusts, aiming right for that spot. "That's it, Sephiroth," Cloud held Sephiroth's against his mouth, twisted his hand down his erection, "That's it- so close-" Cloud's words were driving him over the edge- twisting at something deep in Sephiroth- pulling him up- he was spiraling higher, falling closer-

"Cloud, I am going- I'm- ah-"

"Come with me, Sephiroth, come now-"

And then Cloud's hips snapped forward right into him- grinding and spreading him wide, little thrusts rubbing that place inside him while something hot and wet filled him- Sephiroth was coming. Lightening tore through his body, spreading from his belly and tearing through every limb- He screamed as his orgasm erupted from him, Cloud's hand pumping thick white release out from his cock, squeezing and twisting out every last drop.


They collapsed on the floor together, Cloud draped over Sephiroth- both panting and shaking and clutching at one another. Sephiroth floated in the feeling of satiation- of total bliss and euphoria, his eyes drifting shut as he curled around the warmth that was Cloud. Cloud. God, he was obsessed.

"Fuck," Cloud murmured into Sephiroth's chest, after a few minutes. His blond spikes were brushing against Sephiroth's chin- providing enough of a distraction to keep Sephiroth from just passing out on the basement floor. But not enough to have kept him completely coherent.

Basement. Shinra Mansion's basement.

Sephiroth had forgot.

"Fuck, indeed," Sephiroth buried his face in Cloud's hair, breathing in his scent, squeezing the man more tightly to him.

"We're covered in come, you know," Cloud's voice was distant- almost like he meant it to be a complaint but the words came off more as a simple statement of fact. Sephiroth hummed his agreement into the blond spikes, but refused to let go of the man in his arms. So, they laid like that, Cloud resting on Sephiroth, his fingers trailing over the man's hips, his breath even and relaxed- lulling Sephiroth into a lazy hazy dream…

Eventually the stone floor became cold and uncomfortable, and Cloud was determined to clean him up so Sephiroth let himself be repositioned to sit against the back of the desk.

Not surprisingly, Cloud had brought tissues with him- Sephiroth was beginning to wonder about that bag of his. It was almost as if the man had been planning this-

Before Sephiroth could continue his train of thought he noticed something on the ground by his hand. It was a small black journal, and it was wedged under one of the desk's heavy wooden legs. Sephiroth grabbed the book and twisted it free- notes and reports falling from the sides as the desk bounced down onto the stone floor, now wobbly without the book balancing it's support.

The journal in his hand was unassuming- the black leather cover worn and scratched. The golden filigree letters that were printed along the front faded and almost unreadable. Sephiroth turned the cover, his eyes scanning the page. The swirling scrawl of a woman's handwriting stretched across the paper, the words reading 'This journal belongs to Lucrecia Crescent - please return if found.'

"What's that?" Cloud was trying to read the script from upside down- an impossible feat with how fancy this woman's handwriting was.

"It is a journal," Even Sephiroth found it bizarre that there would be such a personal item in a room full of experiment documents. "It belong's to a woman names 'Lucrecia Crescent'."

The look that passed over Cloud's face was indescribable.

"Is something wrong?" Sephiroth frowned, turning the page and scanning the first entry:

July 7th, 1976

Today my doctor informed me that I am pregnant. I should have been able to figure this out on my own- after all, now that I reflect I have been experiencing many of the signs over the past month, but for some reason the possibility never dawned on me. I am starting this journal to document my pregnancy. Not for the sake of science, but because I want to remember every growing pain, every morning of sickness, every weird food craving, every-

Sephiroth skipped ahead to the middle of the journal- the scrawling handwriting was a little more haphazard in this section- almost as if it were being written in haste:

December 15th, 1976

It's a boy- no, he's a boy. I'm having a boy.

Hojo has already found out. Now that he knows the child in male he wants him for the JENOVA Project. I can't say no to him. I committed to this project and now they want my baby. My treatments start next week and I am really, truly terrified.

I am naming him Sephiroth.

It is a strong name, like something from the stars- it will be a big name to live up to so he will have to be a strong man to fill it's shoes. Strong enough to survive whatever horror Hojo will put him through. Strong enough to survive when i can't protect him any longer-

Sephiroth slowly, carefully, closed the book.

And then he began to cry.

Cloud sat on the couch sipping a hot mug of tea, caffeine free, because he planned on going to bed early (any minute) and sleeping in late (maybe like 8). He was so exhausted. Although, probably not as exhausted as Sephiroth. After finding that journal…

He took another sip from his mug, hiding his smile behind the rim- not that anyone was watching. Sephiroth was still in the bathroom. Cloud didn't really blame him- he had looked like a mess.

A gorgeous beautiful broken mess, but Cloud loved it.

When Cloud heard the bathroom door opening he gulped downed the remnants of his tea and headed into the bedroom, throwing his arms over his head in a stretch as he walked, rolling his stiff neck muscles, remembering how he got them.

Sephiroth was waiting for him- hovering in the bathroom doorway as he looked between the bed and the couch out in the living room.

Cloud pressed into Sephiroth, "Don't even think about it," he guessed before pulling Sephiroth in for a gentle kiss.

"That bed is not very large," a logical and obvious observation... Cloud hadn't even thought about that.

"What, you want to sleep alone?" the words were more of a statement than a question. He cupped Sephiroth's face in as he said them, brushing his thumbs along those delicate cheekbones, watching as the man's eyes became hooded from his touch.

The other man was silent for a moment, watching Cloud.

And then finally, "No." Sephiroth's eyes never left his.

"Then come on."

They climbed into bed together, sitting up against the backboard rather than curling up under the blankets. It wasn't that late yet, but they were both exhausted- so bed seemed like the logical solution (Sephiroth's idea). Cloud wondered if the man was just trying to hide how tired he actually was. Whatever the reason, Sephiroth was out like a light after 5 minutes and Cloud sat in peace watching him sleep- just thinking.

Earlier they had decided that they were getting up the next day and leaving. They had no idea where they were going (maybe Midgar- Cloud had promised)- they were just going to get on Fenrir and go. Nibelheim held nothing else for them, no more secrets, no more demons. Cloud wouldn't be coming back next year, or probably ever again, and he knew that once he and Sephiroth were gone it truly would be a ghost town.

But that didn't bother Cloud so much- after all, he had other things to live for.

Author's Note 2: Thank you to everyone who has read/reviewed/favorited this story- it means a lot to me. Even beyond the wall of smut that is this chapter, I tried to write something that stayed true to the characters I thought Cloud and Sephiroth would be in this situation. I know Cloud/Sephiroth fics don't float everyone's boats, but hopefully this is a worthy contribution to the ship.

There was an epilogue planned, but I've decided to make it a short stand-alone, so if you're interested change your story alert to an author alert and you'll see it when it goes up!

Otherwise, this fic is now COMPLETE!