Genres: Romance, because rain turns me into a sap. General, 'cause I don't think it turned out very much of anything else.
Disclaimers: I don't own Final Fantasy VII or the characters within it. I am gaining no profit from this work of fan-fiction.
How the Idea was Created: I was dancing out in the rain/hail/sleet/snow and... Um, yeah. That's it.
Warnings: Slamming the door in people's faces, which shouldn't be done except in Disney Channel Original Movies. Slight squint-for-it shounen-ai. You have been warned.
An April Showers Final Fantasy VII Fan-Fiction
Summary: "And the drowned kitten said unto General Sephiroth, "Please let me in"…and the Great General slammed the door in his face."
They say that a man's house is his castle, and man is king of his respective castle. In the same way, General Sephiroth considered himself God of his military assigned apartment. With all of his sacrilegious intent, it was a wonder that he wasn't struck down by lightning. As it was, an odd number of thunderstorms frequented Midgar City, and many noticed that when the General left the city on missions and the sort, the storms left with him. Coincidental? Probably not. But no one bothered to mention it. They were wet, but they were safe.
Of course, however, the frequent storms had to take their toll every time and again. The barracks for the Third through First Class SOLDIERs were well built to withstand the weather conditions-yet, unfortunately, ShinRa neglected the same privileges to their cadets. The barracks housing new talent was undoubtedly the worst part of the Cadet Program. The roofs were constantly dripping, falling to pieces, and flooding with the same stubbornness as its inhabitants. Most of the cadets suffered more harm from their housing than from the actual work involved in the program.
This was all, though, just statistics. At the moment-to be frank, not ever-it didn't matter to Sephiroth. This particular day, he had just gotten through a mission and a grueling spar with Genesis. Wutai takeout was waiting for him in the refrigerator, and maybe some time to read before turning in early. The heavens were opening up with some vicious fury outside, weeping and wailing and banging against the windows, but Sephiroth's windows were bulletproof and framed with lacy curtains, and would assuredly withstand a little pressure.
As the Silver General leaned on his counter, idly watching the microwave, the miserable cadets-and any other victim of the weather-were the very furthest thing away from his mind.
Until the timid knock on the door, of course.
At first, Sephiroth could pretend that he couldn't hear anything. The boom of thunder-almost directly overhead, if he was correct- easily masked any odd noises; surely, he heard wrong, and no one was trying to ruin his evening.
The third time, though, Sephiroth couldn't excuse it: he had impeccable hearing, and he couldn't put off that he had a visitor any longer. Grumbling and hoping it wasn't Genesis, Sephiroth strode over to his door and flung it open.
A throat was nervously cleared, and Sephiroth's eyes shot down to a pair of wide, nervous ones. Standing on his doorstep was a little, uniform clad boy, clutching a duffel bag-as if his life depended upon it-in two small hands. His hair, probably long, was flattened against his scalp with moisture, except for one stubborn clump that seemed to defy gravity. He was also looking up at the General with the most plaintive expression Sephiroth had ever seen on his face-besides maybe on a lonely, stray kitten.
The kitten continued his paralyzed, "caught-in-the-headlights" stare, finally opening his mouth as he shifted awkwardly.
"S-Sir?" he ventured timidly. "I'm…I'm C-Cloud Strife. A cadet."
Sephiroth looked the child up and down again, a frown threatening the corners of his mouth. Not a Boy Scout then, thank Gaia. But what other reason would a kid want at this hour of night? Certainly not to rob him. The mere idea was laughable. He could easily pick the waif up and toss him in the air like Angeal's pancakes.
"G-General?" The kid was talking again. "As you probably know, the cadet barracks have flooded."
Sephiroth cocked an eyebrow. So?
Strife put great effort into swallowing. "So, w-what I mean to say is…" he looked up finally, desperation clear in his eyes as water dripped from his hair, running down to his chin. "Please let me in, sir."
Sephiroth stared at him. And stared.
And then the Great General Sephiroth slammed the door shut in the boy's face.
For a moment, Sephiroth just stared at the closed door. If he squinted enough, he could just imagine that the action had made Cloud Strife, apparently brave cadet from the flooded barracks, disappear into thin air.
Until the frantic knocking started.
The doorbell-hidden against the doorframe, something Sephiroth forever hated until this moment-was located and pressed down upon with wild abandon quite a couple of times. It then abruptly stopped, and rapping on glass began. With a curse, Sephiroth darted forward, closing the curtains on one window. Then he had to run to the other window, slamming the blind violently down against the unhappy face with its nose scrunched up against the glass. Now that there was nothing else to do, the poor child outside went back to his frantic banging on the door.
Sephiroth scowled. He hated when people were just as stubborn as he was. He hated that the cadet wouldn't just get a frickin' clue and go bother someone else.
Somewhere, deep inside his mind, he was also scared stiff. What was he supposed to do anyway? There were many other SOLDIERs who were good with people things; Zack Fair, maybe, or that-that guy who'd saved the little girl during the recent AVALANCHE attack. Not HIM-it was hard enough to stretch a smile at his secretary in the morning.
So, as Sephiroth usually did when he was stumped about what to do with a person, he called Angeal Hewley: socialist extraordinaire. It seemed cruel, to stand there boredly with his phone against his ear while the cadet outside wailed at getting soaked. Surely, though, Angeal would put his fears to rest. Knowing Angeal, he would probably explain that it was some culture wherever the kid came from, being shut out on people's doorsteps.
"Hello?" Angeal snapped on the third ring, sounding uncharacteristically annoyed. "Genesis, get your hand out of that jar. I'm not responsible for what it could do to you."
"Angeal?" Sephiroth held the phone away from his ear as his friend went into a string of curses.
"Sephiroth?" Angeal stopped mid-curse, sounding embarrassed. "I'm sorry. I'm just getting mildly irritated with my sudden houseguests."
"You know you love it!" Genesis crooned somewhere in the background, followed by some indistinct crash.
"Genesis, get out of my kitchen!" Angeal roared.
Sephiroth listened with interest. Angeal never got "mildly irritated" with houseguests. That meant that he would probably agree with him, right?
"Angeal, I needed to ask you something," he said, cutting through Angeal's grumbles.
"Of course, Seph, sorry." The phone shifted slightly. "What do you need to ask?"
Sephiroth's fingers played with the corner of his phone, sliding it up and down nervously. "Did you know that the cadet barracks flooded?"
"The cadet…oh!" Angeal understood immediately. "There's no way to repair them at the moment, so they've been putting the kids with officers. You know…just not the perverts." He scoffed. "How did you find out about that?"
Sephiroth shifted, opening his curtain a little and staring down at an angry looking cadet. He lowered himself down to glare eye to eye. "They…gave me one."
"The office sent you a cadet?" Angeal said in wonder. "Interesting. What's the problem?"
"Well…" Sephiroth scowled as the boy sneezed violently on the other side of the window. "What am I supposed to do with him?"
Angeal was silently confused for a moment. "…Take care of him, of course. Why else would they send him to you?"
Sephiroth was quiet for a moment, standing from his position and letting the curtain fall back into place. "I mean, what am I supposed to do with him? I mean…I…" He ran a hand, agitated, through his hair. "Can you take him in for tonight?"
Angeal sighed. "I'm sorry, Sephiroth, but I have as many drowned refugees as I can handle right now. Not only a cadet, but Genesis and Zack too. I'm not sure I can take another one in tonight." From the background came Zack's distinct cry of "Angeal!" and then Genesis's snickering "Oh Angie…" The cadet was, concernedly, silent. Sephiroth could clearly hear his friend grinding his teeth. "Yes, I don't have room for one more. Maybe in the morning."
Sephiroth sagged. Angeal quickly added, "That doesn't mean that you can't take care of him, Sephiroth."
"How?" Sephiroth asked bluntly.
"W-Well," Angeal spluttered, "It's not that hard to take care of another person, Sephiroth. You just need to feed him…you do have food there, don't you?"
The takeout! Sephiroth went over to the microwave and checked it; it was still nice and hot. "Yes," he replied.
"Good," Angeal said in satisfaction. "Turn up your heat-you always have it too low, he's probably freezing…and, uh, if he doesn't have anything dry to wear, you should offer him some of your clothes. And he needs somewhere to sleep."
"I have a couch," Sephiroth offered.
"Perfect. I don't think he'll be picky." Angeal hummed absently. "I don't think there's anything else he would need…"
"Do I need to bring him inside?"
The line went completely silent. Angeal's breath no longer made heavy static on the line. Then, dangerously lowly, Angeal breathed, "What?"
Sephiroth shifted uncomfortably. "Do I need to bring him inside the house?"
Angeal smacked his lips. "You mean…this entire time you've been talking to me, and maybe before, the cadet has been standing outside? In the hallway?"
"Actually, not in the hallway," Sephiroth corrected. "Outside. On the balcony entrance."
"Outside?" Angeal's voice was almost a shriek. "In that weather? It's pouring out there, and, and lightning-Seph, how could you?"
Sephiroth held the phone away in confusion. "What? What did I do?"
"Bring him inside!" Angeal roared. "Immediately! I won't talk to you until you bring him inside right this instant!"
The phone clicked down.
Sephiroth stared at the phone in his hand in confusion and more than some awe. Angeal never screamed at him, not in all his time of knowing him. Not at him, nor usually anyone else; except for maybe Genesis, but they'd grown up together. That either meant that Sephiroth had finally crossed the bridge from long-time friend to dear brother who could be squabbled at…or that Angeal was really, really pissed.
As amazing as it was, it was probably the second option. And Great, Brave General Sephiroth went very cold at the thought of Angeal being mad at him.
So to the door he went, and stood in front of it blankly for a moment before grasping the knob and pulling it inwards.
The door slammed into the wall with the force of the belligerent wind that now entered the apartment, bringing a spray of rain. With a curse, Sephiroth made sure he wasn't locking himself out before stepping outside.
The way the boy had looked before, Sephiroth was surprised he hadn't surged right into the house. It was cold out there, and despite himself, Sephiroth began to feel sorry for leaving the boy out there. His goals to bring the kid inside became less of making Angeal less angry at him, and more along the lines of sheltering him.
Sephiroth cursed as he turned and got a faceful of rain. Where was the kid? "Strife?" Sephiroth barked. "Cadet Strife? Cloud?"
A small sound came from below him, and Sephiroth's eyes shot down. Huddled miserably against the wall, duffel clutched against his chest with his knees and arms, Cloud stared up at him. Any anger that he had had before was faded and inconsequential, and all that the cadet could really pull off anymore was pure, unadulterated misery. Dulled blue eyes stared at him, waiting for Sephiroth to say something.
The General didn't think he really could say anything. All of a sudden, he felt very, very guilty.
But of course, he had to keep up appearances.
Crouching, Sephiroth tugged the soaking duffel bag out of Cloud's protective embrace, prepared for it to be heavy and surprised when it weighed barely anything. He offered his hand. Cloud stared at it.
"We can either dance, or go inside the house," Sephiroth said impatiently. His leather was getting wet. "Take your pick."
Cloud's eyes flicked nervously between Sephiroth's face and the proffered hand before tentatively taking it, peeling himself off of the ground. With an unsteady stumble, he allowed Sephiroth to shepherd him into the house and lock the door.
Cloud stood, uncomfortably shivering, in front of the door as Sephiroth dropped the duffel by the couch and stared at him. What had Angeal said to do first? Sephiroth frowned. It wouldn't be very proper to give the kid something to eat while still standing, would it?
Ah. The heat.
"Stay right there," Sephiroth barked, moving off into the other room. With a widening of blue eyes and a hasty salute, Cloud accommodated.
Sephiroth complied with a generous amount of heat-he wouldn't know how much the boy liked-and stalked back to the living room to find Strife still stiffly standing there, awkwardly rubbing at his soaking sleeves.
"At ease," Sephiroth said, dropping into a crouch and unzipping Cloud's duffel. Cloud's eyes pretty much bugged out, as he gasped out, "S-Sir, I can go through my-"
Sephiroth shot him a look that beckoned no question, and then wrinkled his nose in distaste, placing aside a number of wet, crumpled shirts, and then pulling out a few jeans. Somewhere near the bottom, paper crinkled, and curiously, Sephiroth pulled out a rolled up poster, unrolling it and nearly guffawing. It was one of those posed photographs of him, in sparkly, glittery glory that made him look like some sort of girl.
Cloud gave a howl that sounded somewhat like a wounded animal, snatching the poster from Sephiroth, who blinked at the loss.
"Noooooo…" Cloud squealed unhappily, examining the horrific poster. "It got weeeet…" With a start, he remembered who was sitting right next to him, and whipped his head around, meeting the General's amused gaze with a horrified one before he turned very red and attempted stuttered conversation with his wet sneakers, hugging the poster to his chest.
"All of your clothes are wet," Sephiroth stated, getting to his feet. If he doesn't have anything dry to wear, you should offer him some of your clothes. "I'll see if I have anything your…" Sephiroth trailed off, looking him up and down. "Size."
"Uh, um…" Cloud gulped. "Thank you, sir."
Sephiroth allowed himself a half-smile and a nod back, practically running for his room as soon as he was out of the boy's sight. Something his size? Everything that the General had was built for a man over six feet-himself-not a pipsqueak kid. Sephiroth cursed the leather when it creaked in protest and refused to bend, peeling it off and throwing out t-shirts and sweatpants for the both of them. The boy could roll up pantslegs, where necessary.
Changed, Sephiroth pulled out his phone and made a quick phone call.
"Please, Genesis, I know you're calling from the bathroom, I don't need to know what you're doing," Angeal said in exasperation.
"He's in," Sephiroth said, and quickly hung up-both because he had nothing else to say, and it seemed that Angeal was way over his head right now. Just as quickly, he received a text: Keep up the good work.
Wandering into the sitting room, Sephiroth found small shirts and jeans scattered around the room to dry, boxers hiding beneath them. He scoffed at the sight of the Sephiroth poster, upside down, reverently spread a distance from a heater. He was half-tempted to push it a little closer and let the threat to his masculinity burn, but apparently it meant a great deal to the cadet, so he let it lie.
After peeking into the other rooms, and hesitantly knocking on the bathroom door, Sephiroth found Cloud in the kitchen, searching through the cabinets. The food was already on the table on a pretty serving plate that Sephiroth couldn't remember owning-and two plates were already laid out, with mismatched forks, small for Cloud, bigger for Sephiroth. Cloud emerged from the cabinet, jumping hard and nearly dropping the glasses he held.
"Oh!" Cloud squeaked. "Um, you don't mind, right? I'm sorry, I thought-"
Sephiroth held up a hand and Cloud immediately bowed his head. "Its fine, I was going to do it myself," he clarified. "Um…sit down."
Cloud nodded, filling up the cups from the tap and placing one next to Sephiroth's place reverently.
The silence wasn't very uncomfortable, Sephiroth thought. Cloud piped up every now and then, attempting conversation-just little snippets of cadet life, how advanced classes would be next year, and more along that vein. Everything was normal, apart from the various odd glances the boy kept shooting at him-hero worship, no doubt-which was making him guilty. The kid should have been upset, shouldn't he? Sephiroth had closed the door in his face. Yet he had just forgiven him just like that.
Eventually, Wutai takeout was gone, and it was steadily growing later. Sephiroth leaned back in his chair and wondered if it would seem imposing or parental to suggest that Cloud turn in when it was obviously the weekend. Cloud's head was nodding, though, even as his hands continued to move animatedly in some story that Sephiroth had lost the point to as he examined the boy. It was…endearing.
"Come," Sephiroth said, standing. When the kid stumbled to the side, he stood and gently bumped him with his shoulder, taking his hand and gently leading him to the couch and making him sit.
Coming back with an armful of comforter and a few pillows, Sephiroth sniffed in amusement as he found Cloud curled up in oversized clothes, toes and hands and face peeking out of a mess of t-shirt and pant material. Tutting, Sephiroth scooped Cloud over one arm, laying the comforter out and placing the limp cadet out with a few pillows. After a few minutes consideration, he put some pillows on the floor, too. The kid looked like a roller.
He had turned to go when a small voice called out, and he faced Cloud Strife, sleepy eyes half-opened and smiling gratefully.
"Thank you," he repeated reverently.
Sephiroth smiled widely before he could school his expression, and reached over to ruffle now dry spikes before turning and leaving. It took a while to make the grin go away, even once all the lights were out and it was just him lying in bed.
A few hours later, Sephiroth woke up restless, not quite pinning what was disturbing him so much… besides an odd feeling of guilt that he pinned as remembering Angeal say that the cadets didn't have very nice places to sleep.
Wandering into the living room and hovering uncertainly over the little boy murmuring in his sleep, Sephiroth convinced himself that what he was doing was not at all creeperish, and leaned down softly, sliding his hands under the warm bundle. Cloud shifted and arched with an uneasy murmur, grasping the front of Sephiroth's t-shirt and snuggling his face into it.
Sephiroth tried to keep his pace as steady as possible, reaching his bed and carefully arranging the child on it before pulling the ball of fluff as close to him as he dared. With a happy gurgle, Cloud threw his arms around Sephiroth's arm, and though he stiffened at first, Sephiroth decided that he liked the warmth that Cloud provided. Gingerly easing an arm over Cloud, he closed his eyes.
Sephiroth growled and swatted at the light, which was becoming steadily more annoying in the fact that it had coupled with an annoying whirring somewhere nearby his head. Cloud had somehow ended up sprawled on his chest and had t-shirt wrapped around both his fists, his face furrowed in concentration as he popped his lips with an uneasy "num num num". Sephiroth stared at the soft, unguarded face for several moments as he finally caught up the phone.
"Sephiroth," he said gruffly, rubbing his hand over his face.
"Hey Seph." Angeal sounded terrible. "I'm really sorry about last night. But, hey! The cadet's finally asleep, and he apparently trusts us enough to know that we're not really going to kill him in his sleep." He sighed. "I was calling, though, about your cadet."
Sephiroth stiffened, stretching out his legs and adjusting Cloud. "What about him?"
"I have enough room for him, now," Angeal clarified. "And we're all going to be sleeping over here, anyway, so you could walk him over now if you want."
Sephiroth ran a finger across a fluffy blond scalp thoughtfully. "No."
"We're fine," Sephiroth said louder and more decisively, gently running all his fingers through Cloud's hair now. He smiled as he drew out a sleepy mewl. "I can handle him."
"Well…great!" Angeal sounded confused, but he seemed too tired to argue. "Just take care of him, Seph."
"Mmmm," Sephiroth said back, flicking the off switch and tossing the phone somewhere off to the side.
Now there was just Sephiroth, lying awake in bed and hugging Cloud like a teddy bear against his chest, running his fingers through his hair and making him look like a ruffled chocobo.
A slender finger glided over a flushed curved cheek, and, impulsively, Sephiroth leaned in to kiss it, and then darted back, flushing as if he'd committed a crime. All Cloud did was give a contented hum and squash his cheek higher on Sephiroth's collarbone like a kitten.
It felt more natural than he would've liked. The maybe scary part was that he liked that.
Well, that was the scariest part of all.
Sephiroth, despite himself, grinned widely. He'd kissed the kitten, and gotten away with it, and felt completely bad. Though not in a bad way, itself. Just for the heck of it, he kissed the forehead, a freckled nose, and both cheeks, before, reverently, brushing his lips against Cloud's parted ones. With a quiet squeak, Cloud pressed his lips against Sephiroth's right back before turning his face away with another "num num num".
Making people connections couldn't be all that hard if they were anything like little Cloud Strife; especially if they made his heart flutter quite like those tiny kisses did. Something told him that no one else would, though. Not like that.
He loved that.
Sephiroth lay there, feeling very much like a creeper, and grinned so hard his face hurt. That was exactly what Cloud Strife opened his dazed blue eyes to about five minutes later.
When Cloud woke up to find himself sprawled out across the Great Silver General's chest, there would be embarrassment on both ends. Cloud would squeak and turn pink, while Sephiroth would sort of look off to the side with two red spots high up on his cheeks. They would giggle nervously, and somewhat awkwardly, Cloud would wander off to the kitchen while Sephiroth went in the bathroom and practiced smiling in the mirror.
But through all of the embarrassment, though they both avoided each other's eyes and blushed like crazy, they both felt the difference. And it felt so natural it was almost scary to both of them.
But both of them liked that, and it wasn't quite so scary at all.
Review if you read this right through to the end! :)
A/N: This story is like…ugh…XD I felt in the mood for Sephiroth/Cloud fluff, but couldn't find any. So I shoddily pieced together my own. Yeah…sorry for the severe lack of dialogue. I guess I felt descriptive when I was writing this…
I'm still QUITE immature in the sense that the mere idea of Sephiroth throwing Cloud in the air like a pancake made me fall off my chair laughing. XD Who else is a roller off horizontal sleeping areas? *raises hand*
Pray for Japan! They're seeing more water than they should. :(
Thanks for reading, if you did, and I hope you enjoyed it! :) I know I enjoyed writing it! XD Have a nice day, and ENJOY THE RAIN! I LOVE SPRING RAIN, EEE HAPPY SPRING~