A/N: Song title taken from The Maytals' song of the same name. I recommend you listen to get the full effect.
It Must Be True Love
The night they met was one of those cool autumn nights when the first shivers of winter creep into the wind.
As General of the Shinra Military, Sephiroth did not have a lot of what you might call "down time". He worked as a Public Relations officer to promote Shinra and spent more than half of his time travelling. When he wasn't doing that he was inspiring morale amongst the troops. When he wasn't inspiring morale he was formulating battle plans for every possible mission that could arise and distributing them personally amongst his officers before they could be dispatched on assignments. He'd experimented and realized that seeing him personally helped improve the performance of the SOLDIERS by nearly fifty percent.
In the few moments when those three tasks didn't consume his time, he reviewed summaries of missions that had gone wrong and informed the officers who had enacted them what they did wrong.
Oh, and sometimes he had to sit in his office for hours reviewing new recruits.
He despised that last task almost as much as he despised his mandatory twice-weekly visit to the 68th floor for his medical examinations in the none-too-gentle care of Professor Hojo.
He was trained to be efficient and effective from infancy. To slack off or take unnecessary breaks was anathema to his training, as much as an odd number to an advanced sufferer of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. And yet he sat in his office, idly tossing a ball of paper between his hands, ignoring the massive stacks of boxes full of recruitment files surrounding his desk like weeds, slacking like any common officer and utterly without remorse.
Someone knocked and he called for them to come in, hastily shoving the paper into his trash can and picking up a pen in a bid to look busy. He glanced at the file in front of him, displaying a morbidly obese young man named Jerry that wanted to join the army. He scowled and marked his name with a large red 'X'. The boy would have had a heart attack within the first week of survival training and they didn't need that kind of stress in the system.
His visitor was an aide, Bessie Broddle, from two floors down. She was painfully shy and had never once met his eyes in the three years she'd been working there.
"Yes? How can I help you?" he prodded when a minute or so had gone by without her doing anything other than stare at the floor and shuffle her feet. He knew he could be intimidating, but it was unprofessional for an aide to behave the way she did.
She mumbled something, darted forward, and left a scrap of paper on his desk. He opened his mouth to ask her to repeat herself but she was gone. The door shut with a click. He sighed and unfolded the note. Inside was a simple hand-written message. It said:
Escape now or forever hold your pen.
It was unsigned, but Lieutenant Fair never needed to sign things he wrote by hand. His letters were large and just a tad wobbly, like a child's. He crumpled the note and ate it. It wasn't that the message was secret, but rather that he knew Hojo looked through his trash every night and would read entirely too much into the casual note. He didn't want Hojo meddling in his affairs anymore than he already did.
He made a real effort to focus on the recruits, but after he'd rejected twenty without doing more than looking at their picture and deciding he didn't like the look of them, he knew it was time for him to get out of the office before he pulled his hair out.
A quick hack into the security feed revealed that there was a dead period in the halls. The traffic of the Shinra tower came and went like the tides, and sometimes there would be a chunk of two hours together when the halls were completely deserted, like a ghost town.
He slipped on his jacket, grabbed his keys, and left. He'd left his bag behind, so if anyone looked in it would seem like he would be back in a moment. He could always come back in a few hours or, failing that, work that night to avoid the inevitable tossing and turning that his insomnia subjected him to.
As he expected, Zack was swinging slowly on a barstool in his favorite haunt, a borderline sleazy bar frequented almost exclusively by SOLDIERS, with a half dozen empties around him. He was singing along to the radio under his breath, a song that Sephiroth suspiciously decided was about sex or suicide or perhaps hating society. That seemed to be all people sang about these days, not that he had ever been a fan of music.
He clapped a hand on Zack's shoulder with enough weight to knock him off the stool and onto the floor. He then helped himself to Zack's unopened latest and downed it in a few gulps. Thanks to Mako, that was merely the equivalent of a sip.
Zack scrambled to his feet and back onto the stool.
"I'm glad you decided to join me, boss," he sounded chipper for a man who'd just met the floor, but Fair was notorious for his long temper fuse and positivity. "A little birdie told me it was a recruit sorting day, and I knew it was time for me to come and save the day."
Sephiroth gave him the barest hint of a smirk. The bartender, a retired SOLDIER in his 50s, appeared and asked Sephiroth would he would be having. Sephiroth ordered a cheese sandwich with extra pickles and nothing to drink. He wasn't in the mood to get drunk. A snack would suffice to restore his spirits. He lingered over his sandwich, listening to Zack tell stupid stories about things that had happened with the cadets that day. It was early evening by the time Zack asked,
"So, is there anything you wanted to do before you get back to the office?"
He grunted. Despite his general distaste for most people, Fair was the exception to the rule. There was something about the Lieutenant's natural charisma that set him at ease and soothed his frequently-strained nerves. However, he did have one recurring complaint. Fair was dead-set on getting him 'out' more. This seemed to mean that Fair wanted him to go to malls and supermarkets and nightclubs and restaurants and even arcades. Sephiroth didn't see the point, and the crowds inevitably present in all of the above made him uncomfortable. Even with his identity disguised he drew stares for his height and unusual features.
Normally his answer to the accustomed question would be an empathic no, but there were so many reports waiting for him up there; reports and reports and reports; hours of grueling menial work that could've been performed by a robot for fun. He didn't want to go back there, and he knew that in another hour the bar would be crowded with his men. He was very fond of his men, but they could get annoying when they swamped him like excited dogs, filled with admiration and questions.
"I don't have any ideas. Do you have a suggestion?"
Zack's smile could've powered a small city.
"Well, it just so happens that a new club opened today. It's below the Plate, but in the nicest area in town so it'll be classy, I swear."
Against his better judgment, Sephiroth asked if what he was wearing would be appropriate.
A quick train ride later and they were strolling through the packed streets of the Lower Plate, headed for a building with a large flashing sign proclaiming it as the CLUB METANOIA. Sephiroth frowned, finding the name to be a tad pretentiously intellectual for the Lower Plate. Whose idea was it to name a club 'rebirth of the spirit'? What relevance could that possibly have to getting drunk and gyrating with sweaty strangers to the pulse of too-loud music?
Zack waved at the bouncer, bypassed the line completely, and dragged Sephiroth into the club with him. Sephiroth noted that neither of them had been charged entry.
As he had expected, the club was indeed filled to bursting with mindless repetitious music. There was a fair crowd present, but it wasn't full just yet because of the relatively early hour. He thanked the planet for small mercies and headed to the bar.
He was definitely in the mood for a real drink now. If it weren't for the reports, he would never have subjected himself to this.
Fair was chattering about something beside him as he began to drink the dozen shots he'd ordered, but he wasn't listening anymore. He smiled at Fair in between swallows, which seemed to satisfy him, and concentrated on getting drunk. It was a long and expensive process. By the time he was good and ready, Fair had already come and gone a few times, dancing with women that came on to him.
Now that everything was softer and more enjoyable, Sephiroth began to consider doing some dancing of his own. He rejected the idea and went back to drinking. About halfway through his fifth martini a woman approached him and told him that he was the best General Sephiroth lookalike she'd ever seen. She said this while standing so close to him that he could feel every seam of the complicated weight-controlling underwear she wore beneath her tight dress. He made a vague noise that could be construed as just about anything and took a large gulp of his martini. He nearly choked on it when her hand suddenly gripped his crotch. It was borderline painful.
Her lips were at his ear as she purred an invitation to a private tour of her bedroom, and she kneaded his crotch. He set down his drink and removed her neatly but forcibly from his person.
"No thank you, ma'am."
She huffed and stalked off into the crowd of thrusting dancers.
He returned to his drink. He was bothered a few more times over the course of the evening but no one else dared to do more than touch his forearm in flirtation, for which he was grateful. His groin still crawled from the memory of her too-rough touch. He knew it was irrational, but people grabbing at him like that took him straight back to his childhood in the labs.
Fair returned to his side at eleven with a girl wrapped around his body like a vine. Flushed and smiling, he communicated in SOLDIER gestures that he was going home with her and asked if Sephiroth would be alright on his own. Sephiroth nodded, by now genuinely drunk instead of buzzed, and waved him away. With one more beaming smile Fair disappeared.
He was bored of standing by the crowded bar so he bought a bottle of bourbon, the least-offensive strong liquor, and made his way to one of the little booths lining the dance floor. Most were taken by amorous couples and groups of men admiring women dancing nearby. He found an empty booth between representatives of both groups and slouched down in his seat to drink until he was asked to leave. He closed his eyes and began to enjoy the music.
Those reports were not getting done tonight. No way.
Some time later he felt more than saw someone join him in his booth. He cracked an eye, expecting it to be another would-be paramour. He found a veritable angel instead. The angel smiled at him and leaned close to be heard over the music.
"Would you like to dance or are you waiting for someone?"
Sephiroth had never danced before, nor had he felt any serious inclination to do so. He found himself agreeing anyway. The angel grabbed his hand and pulled him out of the booth. He left his expensive half-full bottle behind without a second thought. Despite the alcohol buzzing through his ears he was relatively steady on his feet. Now that he was standing he became a little more aware of what he was doing.
He had no idea how to dance. He looked around at the other couples and raised his eyebrows. They seemed to be simulating sexual intercourse with limited variation. It looked easy and pointless.
He looked back at his angel. Some of what was going through his mind must have shown on his face because he was smiled at. His hands were taken and placed on the angel's hips. Once they were settled there, his partner's arms came up around his neck. He led them in simple swaying movements to the tempo of the music.
It vaguely became clear to him that he was dancing with a man. He had a nagging thought that this was unusual for him, but paid it no heed. His partner was just tell enough to reach his collarbone, on the slim side, and had the brightest, greenest unenhanced eyes he'd ever seen.
He was not known to smile often. He found it impossible to stop just then. Maybe it was the alcohol, maybe it was the company. Maybe he'd lost his mind.
The crowd began to thin, slowly at first and then more dramatically as time ticked by. The music gradually became slower and slower until it was little more than a slow smooth beat with some unintelligible lyrics sung by a soothing female voice mixed in.
They were the last people on the floor. The music stopped, the lights came on, and they were politely asked to leave. It was three in the morning. They left without argument, leaning on each other for support and breathless with exertion they hadn't felt until then.
Standing outside hand in hand with his dance partner, Sephiroth realized that he didn't even know his name. He turned to him. In the glow of the streetlights, alone except for a snoozing hobo across the road, it was peaceful. He felt warm and content. He was a tad tired, but otherwise fantastic.
He squeezed his partner's hand to get his attention. "What's your name?"
His angel turned his remarkable eyes from the hobo and smiled at him, "I'm Harry. What's yours?"
"Hi Sephiroth. Do you…do you want to go somewhere? With me?"
There was something about the shy way he asked it that won Sephiroth over. Even drunk he would never consider going home with a semi-stranger he'd met in a nightclub (when he sought company of that sort he hired a professional on contract to keep their mouth shut). But those eyes…that well-shaped mouth he hadn't noticed in the dim light of the club…and the gentle grip of his hand in Sephiroth's: it all made his head spin with desire.
He bent and laid his lips against Harry's.
After some time they pulled apart and he whispered, "I would love to go anywhere you want to go."
Harry flushed and laughed a little, "Okay; I like the enthusiasm. How does a quick something to eat first sound?"
He shrugged, "Great."
"Cool. Come on, I know a place."
They walked hand-in-hand through the empty streets until Harry led them into a hole-in-the-wall diner that served the best coffee he'd ever tasted. Sitting across from each other, there was an awkward beat of silence when neither of them knew what to say to the other. It was clear that they were mutually attracted to each other, but neither of them wanted to cross a line and get too close, too personal.
Things have a tendency to look different in the light of morning.
"So…what do you do?"
Ah. It was the old fall-back question about Work. He smiled and took a gulp of ice water.
"I'm the General of Shinra Military."
Harry looked impressed, "Wow. That's…wow. How many other Generals are there?"
"Just one, but he is more of a consultant. He wants to retire."
"That's unusual. Isn't that a lot of pressure for you?"
Sephiroth shrugged, enjoying himself against all odds. He was talking about work, for fuck's sake. He had a suspicion that he would have enjoyed talking about anything at all with Harry.
"All jobs come with different kinds of pressure. There used to be about six Generals though. They all had different ways of managing their stress. I served under two Generals in Wutai who drank a quart of vodka every day, but it was hard to detect. They always looked so serious and dignified."
"Oh my," Harry chuckled, "I hope that isn't how you handle it."
He shrugged, "No, I don't…I usually just get away for a few hours if I can. Or I go for a run. If I can't get away I imagine all the ways I could assassinate the President without getting caught. So far I have sixty-four different ways."
Harry laughed again. They chatted about less serious topics after that, such as a recent political foible and the people that walked past their window. Halfway through their meal Harry's socked foot settled on his under the table. Harry smiled coyly and didn't do anything more than stroke his ankle when he said something flirtatious amidst their casual banter.
As they were finishing up an old reggae song came on over the radio. Sephiroth half-listened to the lyrics as he batted Harry away from the check; it was something about true love and being in the mood for loving. Overall he thought it was very appropriate, especially because Harry had coolly mentioned that a nearby hotel was very reasonably priced for the level of cleanliness they preserved.
A short walk later they stood in front of the receptionist's desk negotiating for a room. Because of the hour all they had left were two rooms. One had two queen-sized beds and was extremely expensive. The other had only a twin but was so cheap it was practically a crime. Harry had only to smirk at Sephiroth to communicate his preference.
Heat began to pool through his veins, building slowly to a feverish daze of lust intense enough that the solitary elevator ride nearly undid him. He managed to unfasten Harry's belt in the hall outside their room while Harry fiddled with their tricky electronic keys. Harry moaned something about waiting just a few seconds longer while his body contradicted his statement in a smooth grind of his hips against Sephiroth's fully-recovered groin.
By the time the door closed behind them he'd left a love bite on Harry's neck and wormed his hand down the front of his pants.
He normally slept with female prostitutes because they were, strangely, more professional than male prostitutes. But he had experimented with men a few times, first in Wutai and then twice since he'd been back in Midgar. He'd found that he preferred men, but the hassle of managing their behavior sometimes out-weighed the benefits of scratching his itch.
The sober part of him hoped that he would be satisfying for Harry.
Harry made him sit on the bed and then stepped back. He toed off his shoes, peeled away his socks, and then slowly began to lift up the edge of his shirt. His eyes sparkled at Sephiroth with lust and humor at his ostentatious attempt at seduction.
Sephiroth watched in fascination, his senses clogged by the deafening desire pulsing in his veins, making his head thump. Harry discarded his short-sleeved shirt and smiled at him with a tad more shyness as he pushed down his trousers past his hips, down his thighs, and finally stepped out of them when they pooled around his ankles. Clad in only the simplest pair of black briefs, he paused in his strip to kneel on the carpet and unbuckle Sephiroth's boots.
He reached down to help him with the complex fastenings that had befuddled all of his previous partners only to find that Harry's clever fingers had undone the clasps without his assistance already.
Harry slipped his hands into Sephiroth's hair and used it to gently tug him down so that he could kiss him. He kissed him until every part of him ached with need to do something, anything that would bring him into contact with Harry. He let his hands smooth and stroke his flesh like a man possessed. He particularly enjoyed the subtle indentations of his back muscles and the hard stripes of his ribs where they poked out in his torso. Harry moaned and shifted his hands so that he could knead muscles in Sephiroth's neck that he hadn't known were tense until the pressure was released.
He whispered something along the lines that he was going to die if they didn't get on with it and Harry laughed low and dark against his ear. He swiftly undid Sephiroth's trousers and let him wriggles out of them while he tugged at his shirt.
Sephiroth decided to be helpful and jerked Harry's briefs down and off when Harry was distracted by his shirt. Harry yelped and then laughed that same low laugh.
Naked, they settled on the small bed together, Harry on his chest mouthing kisses on every spare bit of flesh he could get at. Sephiroth lay back and enjoyed the attention for a few minutes before he got impatient and boldly grabbed Harry's ass, flipping them over. Harry gave him a happy, slightly-drunk smile and told him that he had a condom and lube in the pocket of his trousers.
Sephiroth reached over the side with one long arm, retrieved the trousers, and dug out the supplies.
"You only have one condom?"
"There should be more in the other pocket," Harry tickled the hair on his forceps with his fingertips, a cheeky look flitting across his face, "Why? Do you have big plans for me?"
Sephiroth gave him another of his unaccustomed big smiles and squeezed his backside with the hand he still had planted there.
"Were you expecting a quickie?"
Harry shook his head, sultry again.
"Not from you, no. I want this to take a long time."
He raised his knee as he said this, rubbing his sleek thigh against Sephiroth's erection. He let out his breath in a rush. They'd been teasing each other since the restaurant, but this was the first real and deliberate skin on skin contact. Harry bit his lip and continued to do amazing things to his groin with only his thigh. He dipped his head and kissed him. He felt Harry's long clever fingers creep down between them and begin to pull at him in earnest.
This was a good time for him to open the condom foil and hand it to Harry. Harry stopped stroking him long enough to roll it on him. He made as though to continue his earlier ministrations but Sephiroth stopped him. He didn't want to get too excited just yet.
The small plastic tube of lubricant reminded him of travel-size toothpaste. He didn't know they sold lubricant in convenient little bottles like this. It was clever.
He squeezed out some of the substance, sniffed it suspiciously much to Harry's amusement, and then rubbed it between his palms to evenly distribute it and warm it. There was nothing like cold lube to ruin a good mood.
Harry was unbearably tight. He almost sobbed when he realized that this meant more time he had to spend stretching him. The soft murmurs and surprised moans more than compensated for the extra wait, though. Not to mention the tantalizing way his hips would squirm when he pressed his prostate; it was very hard for him to not think too much about how good those squirmings would feel when he was inside of him.
For a gay man in what looked like his late twenties, Harry was surprisingly responsive and excitable.
Finally he felt he had sufficiently stretched him. They had a brief debate about the best position before deciding that Sephiroth should sit against the quilted headboard with Harry straddling him, his back pressed to Sephiroth's chest.
Sephiroth was initially skeptical, as Harry's gorgeous face was not something he wanted to miss while having sex, but he realized once Harry had settled them that they were now facing the mirror atop the bureau at the foot of the bed. His enhanced eyesight enabled him to catch every reflected nuance of Harry's expressions as he braced his hands on Sephiroth's raised knees and began to sink down onto him.
He let out a guttural moan when Harry's body swallowed him into what could only be an earthly glimpse of paradise. He huffed out a breath and buried his face in Harry's neck, kissing his cheek, his shoulder, his ear, and his hair in an endless cycle. He pulled Harry's by his hips up and down his length, eyes helplessly glued to the sight in the mirror.
Harry was even more vocal now and his hips did things that Sephiroth would never forget.
Even with his overload of stimulation, it was almost two hours before Harry shrieked and clamped down on him as he stiffened with release. Sephiroth followed shortly afterwards, lost in the undulations of Harry's internal muscles as he tried to recover from his orgasm.
When they'd recovered Sephiroth had his way and made sure that he faced Harry during the next four times they had sex.
Just before he dropped into the hazy, satisfied sleep of a man who has had an extremely satisfying evening, he cupped Harry's too-lovely angelic face and kissed him as tenderly as he knew how. He had never felt compelled to be affectionate with any of his previous sexual partners. Had he been less drunk he would have wondered what had changed.
Outside people busily went about their day. It was approaching noon.
When he woke up he was alone. The clock showed that it was almost ten o'clock at night. He sat up straight and, out of habit, checked that his wallet and its contents were still intact. They were.
Next he looked for a note or some sign that Harry would be back. There was none. He could see that the shower had been used and that Harry must have straightened up a little before he left because the condoms were in the trash and the desk they'd enjoyed during round three had been wiped down. An overturned chair had been righted.
All that was left was the faint lingering scent of his cologne.
Inexplicably depressed, he took a quick, efficient shower and dressed. He stood for some time by the door, looking over the room. He was reluctant to leave this small sanctuary where he had had easily the best sex of his life. He was reluctant to acknowledge that he would probably never see Harry again, much less that his lack of a note indicated that Harry had no desire to see him again.
The reports were where he had left them with the added bonus of a nasty note from his secretary demanding to know where he'd been the past two days and asking for a raise to compensate for how many ruffled feathers she had soothed for him.
He ate her note and sat down to work.
He lasted an hour before thoughts of Harry came creeping in. with a groan he tried to push them away, but they returned relentlessly. He gave up on the reports for a little while and turned in his chair to look out his window.
The green tinge to the city's pollution made him think of those beautiful unenhanced eyes. It was so rare that you found eyes like that these days. It seemed like everyone had the unnatural edge of Mako in their gaze these days.
After ten minutes of happy daydreaming, something he had never engaged in before unless it involved ways to kill off superiors or irritants, he went back to work strangely refreshed.
His thoughts continued to return to Harry again and again throughout the day. He dreamed about him and awoke to sticky sheets. This lasted for weeks. His productivity remained the same, but his mind was somewhere else.
He knew it was stupid to get this hung up over a veritable stranger, and that he technically wasn't supposed to know how to be infatuated (according to Hojo, anyway), but here he was. Fair noticed that something was different but didn't pry.
And then one day Fair talked him into coming with him to oversee the cadets receive their first Mako tests. He didn't put up too much of a fight even though they were visiting the labs, eager to get out of his claustrophobic office.
On the way they stopped in the cafeteria to grab something to eat. That was when he saw him. Wearing a visitor's badge and glasses, Harry stood in line at the coffee machine with a look of bored nonchalance. He was even more striking in daylight than in the glow of the hotel lamp that Sephiroth remembered.
Fair said something in his slightly-loud voice and a few eyes flicked their way and back away again. One of them was Harry. He caught sight of Sephiroth and turned scarlet. Sephiroth maintained enough functioning brain cells to murmur to Fair that he was getting some coffee before he strode towards the line. He stood behind Harry and noted in the reflection of the chrome machine in front of them that Harry was still blushing and had captured his lower lip between his teeth.
When it was Harry's turn he reached around him and paid for his coffee. Harry accepted it and turned to him with a shy look in his eyes.
A million things were welling up inside of him, the utmost being why Harry hadn't left him a note or waited when he was obviously still attracted to him.
Harry answered his question without him having to ask.
"Um, sorry I had to leave early, but I had work and…well, you were pretty drunk the night before and I thought that…I thought that you wouldn't want to see me when we sobered up."
Sephiroth was bewildered and somewhat angry, though he didn't know what to direct his anger at.
What came out was, "Why would you think that?"
"Because you're…you. You're famous and successful. I'm a consultant in the Department of Urban Development. It would have been stupid for me to think that something would work out between us."
Sephiroth's feral instincts had a habit of overriding his rational mind in times that they perceived to be crises. This normally happened during combat and had won him many battles and saved many lives, including his own. Those instincts chose to kick in now.
He swooped down and kissed Harry hard enough to make him squeak and grabbed his backside in a way that could not possibly be misinterpreted by any of the twenty-plus people eating in the cafeteria at that time, all of which were watching them out of the corner of their eyes.
There was a distant roar of clicking and flashes as cell phones were taken out and people snapped pictures and recorded videos.
Sephiroth ignored them all. His chief concern was that Harry was kissing him back with equal ferociousness.
Unnoticed by all, the radio began to play an old reggae song about true love.
End It Must Be True Love
This is not how I usually write Sephiroth, but reggae does funny things to me.