Walking Out on Destiny

Season Three

Episode Six: Overflow


l

l

Sephiroth opened his mouth as Professor Hojo examined his tonsils with a depressor. He adjusted his glasses and scoffed. "All the miracles of science and technology and I couldn't make you immune to a simple respiratory infection?"

Sephiroth held up his middle finger not wishing to speak considering his voice sounded like a prepubescent child at the moment.

"Well, thanks to the superior immune system, you've forced the bacteria to actually evolve just so it could continue infecting you. Good job, you're a walking biochemical weapon." Hojo said sarcastically.

"His flaws never cease to amaze me," Lucrecia spat tilting Cloud's head back. "Though I guess it's a triumph that he actually managed to infect someone else with it! Say ah, sweetheart."

Cloud weakly opened his mouth though no sound came out. He too had caught the infection from Sephiroth and despite the happenings that caused it being over two months ago, the bacteria had time to grow and set up shop in his lungs and throat. Then the symptoms hit him hard all at once in less than a 48 hour period just as it had done to Sephiroth. He felt miserable and the fever had him shivering. Of course Hojo and Lucrecia had questioned how they both were capable of catching the same strain since the strain originated with Sephiroth. Sephiroth had covered claiming that they tended to drink after one another, which a sufficient explanation was considering how easily contagious this infection was though saliva. They had both relaxed and allowed themselves to be treated though Cloud felt worse and worse each passing day. Lucrecia had prescribed them medicine to handle the constantly mutating bacteria so that the symptoms would be eased until Hojo's treatment stopped the constant mutation.

"I'm afraid physical training is not an option for you, Cloud."

Cloud looked stricken. He typed on his phone and showed it to her. "Why?"

"You were barely able to stand when you came in today. You really think you can handle Commander Conte's harsh instruction right now?"

Cloud frowned and shook his head honestly. He really couldn't but this meant he'd be set back in training. He'd been doing so well, top of his theory classes save for Midgarian Politics. He hated that class not because he didn't understand it, but the political system of Midgar was so stupid. All he felt he needed to understand was that Midgar was in ShinRa's pocket and relied on them for everything. He didn't see a point of understanding the political system that was already rigged and had such senseless policies. Then there were his physical classes. After Conte would drive them into the ground early in the morning, they would get sword practice, gun range time, and, his favorite, Materia Practical. He lit Kyle's ass on fire…literally. Best day ever. Now he wouldn't be able to be a part of physical classes for a week. Lame!

"Now, now, don't fuss. You can still attend your theory classes and still receive your treatment here. It's only a weak of no physical strain. You can play catch up when you're better ok?" She ruffled his hair.

Cloud smiled weakly and nodded. Sephiroth held a ghost of a smile at Cloud's renewed positivity. Hojo turned his face back to him making him glare.

"Open your mouth."

Sephiroth obeyed a sour expression on his face. He gagged when the spray hit the back of his throat but Hojo held his gloved hand over his mouth to ensure he didn't cough the medicine out and defeat the purpose.

"Don't be so dramatic Sephiroth."

Cloud slid off the exam table once Lucrecia gave him the go ahead. Sephiroth followed and they exited the labs and headed for the elevator. Cloud took out his phone once more and tapped the keys before showing it to Sephroth.

"Should we have told them the truth?"

"No," Sephiroth said hoarsely, cringing at the pain in his throat.

Cloud tapped again. "Are you sure?"

"If we had told them we shared a kiss, they would've jumped on the chance to study us. If anything, Lucrecia wants us to show interest in each other to further her research just as she did when it was just me, Angeal, and Genesis. They'll try to force us into copulation. Though I will admit that was a pretty interesting time when Angeal came home and infected us all with that aphrodisiac."

Cloud blushed tapping. "What?"

Sephiroth chuckled and coughed to clear his throat a little. "Lucrecia gave Angeal a love bug. He came home and wrecked Genesis and me both. We ended up fucking none stop for three days. After that we didn't even wanna look at each other much less touch each other. First time I'd ever seen Genesis sexed out. Anyone even flirted at him; you'd swear he looked like he was going to vomit."

Cloud was completely shocked by this information but at the same time couldn't fight the smile on his face. The idea of the devil three completely worn out on sex and each other was hilarious. He tapped on the keys. "What was the point of it all?"

"Testing a drug that forces the need for ejaculation. She wanted to see if we'd go out and get anyone pregnant. She didn't expect us to just whole up with each other."

Cloud made an "ah" face as they walked. It was strange. After that night in Sephiroth's apartment when they made out, Cloud had felt none of the awkwardness he expected with Sephiroth and his guilt toward Zack had all but disappeared. It wasn't even an issue between him and Zack now that they were on speaking terms again. Cloud had told the truth and Zack seemed almost relieved that that was all that had happened between he and Sephiroth. He had been so forgiving about it. However, he did notice how Zack would sometimes not look him in the eye so he assumed the guilt was not over from Zack. He found it odd since he'd already forgiven him for their anniversary night. Despite all that, Cloud had achieved what he'd truly wanted all along since the death of Lady ShinRa. He was Sephiroth's friend…Sephiroh trusted him. Now that they were friends it was like they couldn't go a single day without making contact with each other, whether it was something as minute as a brushing back of the hair behind his ear or something intense like being cornered and kissed against the window. While they had not been able to do the latter again, the urge was clearly there in both of them. It was strange, the intimate urges that Cloud found welling up in him around Sephiroth that were nothing like his sexual desire for Zack. Everything to do with Sephiroth created a giddy feeling of completeness and he wanted so badly to be with him all the time, his skin hungry for even the smallest touch. Even now as they walked along, comfortably pretending that nothing was there, Cloud felt the telltale tingle in his skin from Sephiroth being so close. He breathed a deep sigh when they entered the elevator and trembled at the claustrophobic feeling as the elevator began to move. He grew nauseous.

Sephiroth gently placed his hands on Cloud's shoulders, steadying him. He walked him carefully backwards until he was against his chest giving Cloud something solid to focus on and ground him. "Just breathe in and out; we don't have far down to go."

Cloud nodded leaning his head back against Sephiroth. He looked up at the man as he stared straight ahead, seeming to not see anything wrong with touching Cloud right now. And there wasn't. Cloud felt like it was only natural for Sephiroth to touch him these days, to seek him out. Cloud without thinking, reached up and touched the General's bangs, feeling a little lightheaded from the vertigo and from his own fever. Sephiroth looked down at him, his hair falling forward and encompassing Cloud's vision. All Cloud could see was Sephiroth's face. He licked his lips without thinking and Sephiroth shifted so that he leaned down closer to Cloud closing the distance. Cloud leaned his head further back to connect, not knowing what was coming over him right now.

"Cloud…" Sephiroth's voice was barely over a whisper, and Cloud was certain it didn't have much to do with the infection in his throat.

Ding! They pulled away from each other quickly as the door opened. Cloud exited first thankful for the dizziness ebbing. Sephiroth walked out brushing his hair back behind his ears. Cloud turned and looked up at him, his face slightly flushed from both the fever and the moment of weakness in the elevator. Sephiroth saw confusion in those blue eyes and he smiled.

"Come on, we should eat something."

Cloud smiled and nodded.

l

l

Aerith sighed happily as Sephiroth massaged conditioner into her scalp. It had turned into a therapeutic hobby to care for Aerith's hair alongside caring for the Monilly Bell which was coming up beautifully. Thanks to Sephiroth's careful administrations, Aerith's hair never looked healthier or shiner than now. She sat in the bath tub writing notes with her glasses on as Sephiroth worked his way from scalp to ends. It was their little secret that Aerith was blind as a bat. She wore contacts most of the time and Sephiroth was the only one who knew of her astigmatism.

"What have you been working on?" Sephiroth asked curiously.

"It's a secret," Aerith said simply. "But you can help. If you had a name other than your own, what would it be?"

Sephiroth thought about it and shrugged. "Always felt partial to Gabriel…or Uriel because then I could be called Uri."

Aerith smiled writing it down. "You'll get to see when I'm finished, I promise." She put the notepad aside and relaxed into the bubbles. "I can't help but notice Cloud's a frequent visitor lately."

Sephiroth didn't even skip a beat. "We've grown quite close very quickly."

"I'm happy to hear that…but, Seph, he's still with Zack."

"And he will be with Zack for as long as he chooses."

"Yes but," Aerith hesitated. "I just wonder is Zack still in love with Angeal?"

"He doesn't say it out loud, but I know he is," Sephiroth said, carefully running his fingers through Aerith's hair as he rinsed it. "Angeal loves him as well; they are just too stubborn to fix it."

"Cloud's going to find out soon," she said, her gaze far off. "Very soon and it will break his heart."

Sephiroth paused at the sad tone in her voice. "Does it hurt…to be psychic?"

Aerith drew her knees up. "Sometimes, I guess. It's…it's like a whisper. Someone speaking in my ear and telling me all the things that could happen and my mind envisions them. The ones that hurt are the ones about my favorite people getting hurt. It's too much sometimes, which is why I'm glad that one of my visions came true. You came into my flower shop."

Sephiroth paused, unsure of what to say. Instead her smiled and wrapped his arms around the teens shoulders despite getting his clothing wet. She leaned back against him with a smile.

"Sephiroth, please….don't ever stop being who you are. No matter what happens, be yourself…Cloud needs that and I do, too."

Sephiroth rested his head on her wet hair. No matter how cheerful she was, no matter how positive she looked at things, Aerith suffered internally. He had long ago accepted that she truly was psychic and that she knew the ins and outs of his life without asking. She knew all of the horrible things that could and would happen. Sephiroth had made a personal choice to keep her happy in any way he could and Aerith did not ask for much. She only wanted a friend.

"I promise I will never change."

Aerith smiled grimly to herself. Yes…you will…

l

l

Vincent wasn't sure what he expected when he stepped into his old office. It had changed a bit he supposed. Since there were no significant changes to the décor of the house he assumed that Tseng chose to turn the second in command office into his home away from home. A beautiful array of silver, black, and gold adorned the place even though it kept a professional air around it. Vincent touched the smooth red oak desk knowing that red oak only grew in Wutai and it was hard to get to this side of the continent. It must of cost Tseng a large amount of money. He leaned against his crossing his arms looking at the wall of photos each seeming to be someone who'd been very close to Tseng after his departure. They were above an altar and Vincent realized these were all deceased Turks. Tseng had most likely honored those he cared about most. He saw his picture at the very top and sighed. Cid had been right; Tseng had never let go.

"And be sure to get the report in on time, I don't care what Heidegger has done to you."

Vincent tensed at the sound of Veld's voice. He still could not fathom how this man, his partner whom he'd trusted most intimately out in the field and in his home, had betrayed his Turks so cruelly. Tseng entered the room shutting the door behind him, his shoulders hunched. Vincent stood up straight, expecting to help Tseng but the younger man took a deep breath and straightened his back. He looked at Vincent from across the room and they simply stared at each other. The room itself seemed to fill up with all the things that they could say, all the things they wanted to say, but when it came to actually speaking they had nothing to say to each other. Tseng moved his mouth a few times before breaking eye contact and locking the door. He walked over to the portrait of Vincent and tipped it to the side to reveal a compartment. He pressed his finger against it and waited for the door to unlock before opening it and pulling out a case. He brought it to the desk and placed it in front of Vincent who gave him a confused look. Tseng unlatched it and opened it for Vincent revealing two guns. One was the Cerberus crafted by Kid before he met his untimely death; the other was much larger five barreled gun in the shape of a large cross. The white and silvery plating gave it a frightening purity that Vincent run his fingers across it.

"I spent a lot of time working on this weapon, with some help from Melitta of course. I…don't know why I made it, but I had you in mind. I never thought of using it for myself because it was far too heavy and I lacked the skill to handle its recoil," Tseng explained, watching Vincent's fascination. "The ammo is capsulated tainted mako residue from the reactor burn offs. Highly explosive plasma material. Depending on the enemy it melts or explodes on contact. I have a certain fondness for the sound it makes when fired."

Vincent stopped his inspection of the gun to look at Tseng. He carefully closed the case and went around the desk to the Turk. Tseng swiveled the chair and looked up at Vincent tiredly. Vincent touched the Wutain's face and frowned at how Tseng leaned into the touch so willingly. Tseng had always trusted him, had always looked up to him, and had always wanted to protect him. Even now, Vincent could turn out to be a horrible monster and mutilate Tseng and Tseng would let him because he trusted Vincent to simply make sure he survived it. Tseng looked into his eyes, those weary greys showing a longing that Vincent had always seen but never gave value to. Now that he understood how painful it had been and how wrong he'd been to patronize Tseng's feelings, he didn't truly know what to do.

Tseng pulled away and lowered his head. "Do not tease me, Vincent. I am far to world weary, and am suffering too much to play this game."

"I don't intend to play games with you. I'm just…I'm still trying to understand who you are, what you've become."

Tseng scoffed and stood up, brushing past Vincent. "You never understood who I was."

"Tseng-" Vincent grabbed Tseng arm but it was jerked away.

"I haven't changed, Vincent!" Tseng placed a hand on his chest. "Nothing here has changed. I am still not a child, I am still not helpless, I am still not weak, and I am still in love with you."

Vincent shook his head. "Ten years, Tseng."

"Yes," Tseng hissed mockingly. "Ten years. Ten years of being raised by people who eventually would sell me out back to my slavers. Ten years surviving in this company as best I can! Ten years of living in your house and having it ransacked by enemies I didn't even realized I had! Ten years, Vincent. Ten years of loving you and finally being given a chance to be with you again. To-to make up for not saving you when I should have! For not following my instincts instead of yours."

"And yet you stand before me no longer the boy I saved. You've changed Tseng."

"I haven't changed, Vincent. Your eyes are just open now. You see from different heights now and you understand what I feel. Are you going to tell me that you will still turn a blind eye to it? I won't accept it. You know of my love and I am not afraid to confess it but you…you're too scared to give me an answer."

Vincent closed his eyes and composed himself and then looked at Tseng. "I wanted you to be happy. I put you where I thought you'd be safe; I left everything for you to find your own happiness even if you still had to be a murderer to survive. You did everything that I didn't want, Tseng. You stayed in that house and tortured yourself for me! You spent all your time doing things that you thought I would want and I don't even know how to respond to you now! I wanted you to become everything you could but this," Vincent gestured to the office and to the collar around his neck. "and that….none of it is what I wanted for you."

Tseng shook his head. "I am where I am because I chose to be. Do not mock the choices I have made with my whole heart! Do not mock how I feel for you and the things I have done because of how I feel for you! Everything I have done, yes I've done for you! But everything I've done was because I wanted it. Every step I've taken in this life you left me with was in hopes of bringing me closer to you in some way. Now you stand here before me and you try claim disappointment. No."

"Tseng this-"

Tseng held up his hand, his back straight and his eyes dangerously narrowed. "I took your place when you'd gone. Sephiroth had no one else to protect him from Lucrecia, so I did my best. Sephiroth had no one to turn to when the bloody battles and blatant disregard for human life began to overtake his very being, but I was still there. I had to be you for him. I took your place in the Turks. I had to be the wisest, the most strategic. I had to be the one the others turned to and put their faith and loyalty in. I had to be the one to take all of the falls in order to protect Melitta and the newer Turks who did not understand exactly what was going to happen to them. This," He pointed at the collar. "This is the mark of how the life you left me has betrayed me and yet I still tried. I filled the space that you left behind and I did what I could for everyone to survive. But you're disappointed? I should kill you all over again!"

"Why didn't you just leave, Tseng! You didn't need to stay here and be tortured by all this! Why didn't you just leave?!"

"Because I love my family!" Tseng snapped. "The same reason you never left! I love Sephiroth, I love Melitta! I love all my friends; all of them are my family. I fell prey to the same weakness you did! I found people to love. When you have someone to come home to Vincent….you find purpose. Don't you remember what that was like? Or were there too many in your bed to recall that feeling?"

Vincent's fist hit Tseng's desk splintering the wood. "I HAD YOU! I had you to come home to even when my friends, my family began to fall apart. I had Sephiroth and you. And the most painful thing is realizing that coming home I still have you. I shouldn't have you Tseng. After all the sins I have committed, I don't deserve you! You should have your own happiness without me. You should've moved on!"

"How can you say that?" Tseng whispered. "How can you stand there and say I should've left you behind when you're the only one I could ever live for? Was my selling my soul to Chaos not enough to prove that I am nothing without you?"

"It was the final nail in my sanity to know that you did such a thing for me. It was stupid! It was irresponsible! It could've killed you!"

"I'm not your child!" Tseng growled in frustration and grabbed the front of Vincent's shirt forcefully. "I never was your child and you were never my father! How do I make you understand that! How do I make you understand that I love you! How many times must I tell you I love you? How many more times do I need to say it? How many more things do I need to do before it has value to you, Vincent! Before it means something to you?"

Tseng glared up at Vincent, his moonlight orbs glowing with the cold burning anger Vincent thought he'd never see again. Once again, as in the warehouse, something primal bubbled past his parental instincts with Tseng and he leaned forward kissing his former ward hard. Tseng flinched at first but soon responded aggressively his teeth digging into Vincent's lip. His hand moved up to entangle itself in Vincent's hair, breaking the band that held it in a neat ponytail. Vincent did the same except he gripped the hair at Tseng's nape and tugged brutally at it. Tseng pulled away to cry out in pain-laced pleasure and Vincent pushed Tseng down on top of his desk. His body pressed down against Tseng's trapping him beneath him with his legs spread over the desk. Tseng wrapped his arms around the man drawing him closer as Vincent's untested canines found his neck and bit down hard enough to draw blood. Tseng's open mouth moans made him thrust his hips against the younger man in reaction and pull more sounds for him.

"Fuck!" Tseng spat as their clothed erections rubbed against each other. Vincent growled into his ear as he sucked on his neck possessively. His usually reserved persona had been thrown out the window the minute Vincent had touched him. "Oh god, Vincent!"

Vincent pulled away from Tseng's neck and took possession of his mouth again. Tseng moaned when Vincent's tongue invaded his mouth and his hands began to pull apart Tseng's uniform. His hand slipped inside the Wutain's pants and that was the end of his control. Tseng broke the kiss and cried out hoarsely as Vincent worked him over. Tseng's mind left him and he forgot for a moment that he was at work, in his office. He thanked Leviathan that he'd locked the door. Vincent pulled back for a moment unbuttoning his pants and freeing his erection from them. He pressed himself against Tseng, skin to skin and wrapped his fingers around both of them. He covered Tseng's mouth with his own when the Wutain's voice reached too high a volume. Tseng's body bowed beneath Vincent's and felt like dark tendrils of power were reaching out to every nerve ending. Where Vincent bruised and bit, Tseng clawed and tugged until it looked almost like a bar fight than a sexual encounter. Tseng came first, his spine arching high off the table and his teeth digging into the fabric of Vincent's shirt. Vincent followed closely before Tseng had even spilled completely. Vincent's head dropped into the crook of Tseng's neck, not even bothered by the collar at the moment. Tseng nuzzled Vincent's hair with his face, placing breathless kisses against the older man's ears and head.

"This was very stupid," Vincent whispered, never moving his head.

"We're very stupid people, Vincent."

Reno's hand was poised outside the door to knock. He'd been that way for almost fifteen minutes having heard the yelling. He took a deep breath, his chartreuse eyes closing in order to find his composure before turning away from the door and walking away.

"Goddammit Tseng…" he grumbled hopelessly

l

l

"-then I'll be married tomorrow, Kanaye."

Hojo squinted slightly, his poor eyesight making out the glorious shape of Elloria in the moonlight. Her creamy skin glowed with a pale tincture that made Hojo mentally list the chemical compounds and physics that allowed that glow to be so beautiful. Her lovely pale blue eyes were aglow with contentment as she smiled beautifully at him. But behind them he saw the hopelessness, the cry for help within them. He knew why that was but he also knew that there was nothing he could do to stop it.

"You're doing all that nerdy thinking again," she whispered leaning forward to kiss him.

"I have no idea why you chose me of all people, Elloria," Hojo said touching her face. "Especially with how clumsy I was with your body."

"It was our first time," Elloria giggled. "We're supposed to be bad at it."

"But there won't be another," Hojo said woefully. "You will be married to that rich fool who wil not know how to treat you."

"Don't say that, Kanaye. I love Reginald, you know I do."

"But he does not love you. You know this; he only marries you because he wants a pretty bride."

Elloria laid her head on his chest, pressing her breasts against him. "Well, well, won't he be surprised. I'm not going to be just some trophy wife, Kanaye. I'm going to be a real part of this board, this company. I will make ShinRa everything it needs to be. Yes, it will be Reginald whom they see, but he will simply be the mask that I wear. I'm going to change this world and bring everyone I love to a place of power with me….including you. You will get all the wonderful things you deserve Kanaye."

Hojo pulled Elloria up so that she was on top of him and looked up at her. "And if I said all I wanted was you?"

She smiled warmly. "In another life Kanaye, you would have me…"

A careful hand roused Hojo from sleep and he lifted his head tiredly. Melitta stood there with a melancholy expression. He sat up and straightened his glasses. Melitta smiled and held out her hand.

"Come on, Doc. Take a girl out for a drink?"

Hojo shook his head and rose. "Why not."

They went to a little known haunt that was not under the watchful eyes of ShinRa. Hojo was surprised at how fine their sherry was and indulged heavily as Melitta did the same with her rum. They sat in comfortable silence as they watched the people come and go in the bar. Melitta, whose cheeks were already rosy from the alcohol, rested her head on Hojo's shoulder. Hojo tensed and looked at her.

"I'm not that drunk yet," Hojo said blandly.

"Neither am I," Melitta said just as emotionlessly. "But…let me just have this for a bit. Not like I wanna sleep with you."

"Well, I'm glad that boundary was established," Hojo muttered, but still wrapped his arm around the woman and held her close to his chest. "You're losing this battle."

"Yeah, I am. No matter what transfer I take, no matter how much I separate myself from Veld and his stupid power trip, I can't get away from it. I ain't as strong as you guys. I can only take so much. My brother first, then Kid, then Vincent, then the Lady herself. What the fuck am I supposed to do with all that?"

"You become dead figuratively, or dead literally. That is your only hope to survive ShinRa, Mellita."

"I can't do it anymore, Hojo," Melitta shook her head and looked up at him. "I'm going to run."

Hojo froze. "What stupidity has possessed you?"

"It's not stupidity, it's me being fucking tired. I'm old, Hojo. I never thought I'd live this long in the Turks but I'm almost fifty. I should be retired; I should be living out my life away from all this like Lady ShinRa promised. I should have….I should have children. Stupid brats running off to join the Turks or SOLDIER! I should be on my grandkid by now, watching them while their parents try to be heroes or play gangster! This isn't how I wanted it ya know!" Melitta quickly wiped the tears, fighting not to break down. "But she kept me goin'. Lady kept me goin'! Raisin' Tseng kept me going. Raisin' Rufus kept me goin. But now…I don't even want to see the man Rufus's gonna be. I don't wanna stand there and watch Tseng suffer! Call me coward, but I just…I don't…I don't know what to do, Doc!"

Hojo lifted her chin and stared at her. "You run…you die," was all he said.

"And how is that a worst option? How are you surviving?"

Hojo smirked and sipped from his glass. "Easy, I became a monster."

Melitta laughed hopeless. "Sorry, doc. Ya know I was always the fucked up one in our group. I just…I just wish Valentine were still around. He always knew how to handle me, what to say. I wanna run, doc. I wanna run…tell me how I can?"

Hojo closed his eyes, seeing Elloria's face from that night smiling down at him. "Lock it all away," he said. "Take all those foolish emotions you have and like a light, switch them off. Once you do that, you'll be surprised how much you can live through."

"How much have you lived through, doc?"

"Heh…more than you could ever fathom."

l

l

"We've gotta stop, Angeal," Zack said as he lay with his back turned to the man. "I love you, but we have to stop. I love Cloud more, I know I do."

"I know," Angeal said staring at the ceiling. "I can't really tell you why I keep forcing this on you."

"No, no Angeal, you're not forcing anything on me. You just…proved I wasn't so over you as I thought I was. You're right; I should've never got with Cloud when I still had all this junk in me."

Angeal chuckled. "You're feelings for me are junk?"

"Yeah," Zack said turning to look at him so that he would know he was serious. "Yeah it is. Angeal I can't be with you when I know that you don't wanna keep me. I'm starting to get to a point where I don't like this sort of thing. I see what it's doing to people, what it's doing to Cloud. If I told someone who was as loyal and devoted as him about this, do you know what it would do to him?"

"He's a kid, Zack," Angeal argued.

"Yeah, he's a kid. I'm his first real relationship. I'm the first person in this whole world to show a genuine interest in him. If you spent more time talking to him rather than keeping me away from him, you'd realize how fragile he actually is. No father to look up to, no real friends in his home town. But he came all the way here alone with no guarantee of success because he wanted to fight back. He wanted to meet new people, new kind people and I was the first to…" Zack ran a hand through his hair. "Angeal, I'm not going to do this to him. He's sick right now and I need to be there." Zack moved to get up but Angeal grabbed his arm in an almost bruising grip.

"You can go home to him, but can you promise you won't end up back here again? Can you promise on your honor and faithfulness to him that you won't be back here in my bed? Can you promise that you can squash those feelings?"

Zack stared at him before he relaxed and stared at the bed. Angeal nodded and sat up.

"I thought so. Zack, I know what a complete asshole I've been. It was stupid of me to have even started any of this much less let you go when I cared so much about you. But I stayed away because what we were doing…I thought it was disgusting and I felt like I had taken advantage of you, of your trust in me. But seeing how you feel and now how much I love you, I can't just let you go. I can't let you go when I know you care too. If you loved Cloud more than you loved me, you would not be here."

Zack drew his knees up and buried his head in his arms. "What do you expect me to do?"

"Break up with him, Zack. Break up with him before you truly hurt him. You don't have to come to me afterwards, you can simple go back to the way things were, but just take him out of this, Zack. I can't care about his feelings as much as you do because I don't know him as intimately as you. All I can see is you Zack."

"And if I asked you to give up Genesis!" Zack snapped.

"It would certainly be easier than what you're doing with Cloud. Genesis knows what we're doing and how I feel about both of you. Cloud is the only one in the dark."

Zack let his head drop back down on his arms. "Breaking up is not as easy as you make it sound! Especially when nothing's wrong."

"But there is something wrong…you love him, but it's not like how you feel for me."

Zack jerked away and got out of bed. "I have to go."

"Zack…hurt him now when you can control it or you will hurt him later when he finds out what we've done."

l

l

Cloud coughed and curled tightly in his bunk as Rosso placed a cooling towel on his head. Dom and Kyle watched unsure of what to do with themselves as their female companion cared for Cloud. Kyle scratched his head uncomfortably.

"He's really sick, huh?" he said.

"Yes, it's a simple respiratory infection," Rosso said tucking Cloud in. "Dom, do you mind he borrow your blankets? He won't be going to traning today."

"There's no need, cadets."

"Commander Conte!" they said going immediately to attention.

Conte walked in with a friendly smile. "At ease, cadets. Strife here is going to be picked up by General Sephiroth pretty soon."

"What? Are you serious?" Kyle exclaimed.

"What for, we got him!" Dom said protectively.

"Hey come on now, I don't make the rules or anything. The lab feels that since Strife and the general are on the same measures of treatment, he'll be able to handle the cadet here better."

"And the general agreed to take care of a lowly cadet?" Rosso asked suspicion in her voice. "Not that I have anything against the general. This is just very strange."

"Heh, you're tellin' me. I'm kinda protective of Strife myself. But orders are orders. Don't worry, I'll see if you guys can visit Cloud until he's better."

"Thanks, sir," Dom said.

"No problem."

Cloud didn't know which way was up or down, all he knew was that the heat had died down and he felt warmer than he'd been all week. He felt very light, the weight of blankets were no longer there. However, there was a gentle presence pressed against his side and over his waist and back. He managed to pry his eyes open to find himself staring at Sephiroth's relaxed face. He blinked a few times, blushingly heavily. It grew darker when he found that he was in the general's bed and the man in questions was stripped down to a pair of regular boxers. The heat being generated from the man's body alone pulled all the tension out of his muscles and he felt so relaxed. Sephiroth's hand stroked his spin beneath his shirt in soothing motions that almost made him forget the shock of being wrapped so intimately in Sephiroth's arms. He was reminded however when the other hand, wrapped gingerly around his waist, gripped his ass firmly and pressed him close to the general's body. He was a bit horrified to find his leg draped over Sephiroth's hip but he didn't dare try to move away. Breathing in the very scent of the man gave him a heady, euphoric feeling and his eyes drooped. It reminded him of how it felt when Zack used to hold him like this in sleep…whenever the SOLDIER was actually home that is. His eyes fell to the soft chasm of Sephiroth's peach tinted lips and he bit his own in temptation. The man was sleeping so…he could be a little brave right?

Cloud shifted only a tiny a bit so that his face was closer to Sephiroth's. He leaned forward and brushed his lips against Sephiroth's cheek, then his jaw, then his chin, before pressing his lips to the mouth he'd found himself missing in the past few months. Sephiroth released a soft sigh into his mouth and Cloud almost pulled away when the general responded drowsily. Cloud, feeling braver, kissed the man more fully, his tongue running along the parting of Sephiroth's mouth. He felt the man's hold tighten on him and sweetly crushed him against him. Sephiroth responded in earnest to the kiss, his tongue meeting Cloud's in a slow dance. Cloud whimpered into the kiss, having lost control of it, but he dared to bring his hand up to Sephiroth's hair and entangle his fingers in its silken strands. Sephiroth hands gripped his ass more firmly, squeezing hard and drawing a gasp from Cloud's mouth. He took advantage of Cloud's widened mouth and doves his tongue inside tracing gums and teeth and savoring the taste that was the blonde.

Cloud would never be able to tell why he initiated this, why he felt compelled to do any of this or let it happen when he knew he had a boyfriend. But the thought was so small and was so far away with the generals warm hands on him. Sephiroth drew slowly out of the kiss, placing smaller less intimate ones against his lips. They looked at each other and Cloud smiled a bit at the fever blush that was on Sephiroth's face.

"You're still sick," Cloud whispered hoarsely.

Sephiroth gave a half smile and moved in to kiss him again and Cloud let him. Cloud reasoned that they were both feverish and therefore not thinking clearly. So, that made it ok to indulge a little, right? He didn't think about it for too long as Sephiroth place chaste kisses along his cheek and jaw and down to his neck. Cloud tipped his head back to allow for better access.

"Turn around?" Sephiroth whispered.

It was a very hesitant request, no force or demand was laced with the words. Cloud could've chosen to stop this, could've chosen to remember Zack and how he was in a committed relationship. However, none of it filtered through and Cloud turned in Sephiroth lax hold. Sephiroth's mouth was at his neck in gentle sucks and nips careful not to leave marks on delicate skin. Cloud arched against him, shuddering at the intensity of the sensations. Sephiroth's hands went underneath Cloud's shirt, rubbing his chest and passing over his nipples sending small shocks of pleasure up his spine. His toes curled in the blankets as an open mouth moan escaped him when Sephiroth pulled his ear between his teeth. Sephiroth chuckled as his hand went lower to caress Cloud's budding erection through his shorts.

"God," Cloud breathed. "Seph…please…"

Sephiroth slipped his hand under the waist band providing skin on skin contact to the boy, bringing him to full arousal in slow deliberate strokes. Cloud squirmed and gripped the pillow so hard that his knuckles whitened.

"Shh," Sephiroth whispered, his other hand intertwining with Cloud's fingers to loosen his grip. "It's alright. Go slow."

"Ah," Cloud rocked his hips into Sephiroth's hand trembling at each motion. In turn he felt the general's erection against his backside and he purposefully rubbed against it as he thrust his hips. It caused the Sephiroth to rock into him as well in a mock motion of what could happen if Cloud allowed it. Sephiroth kept his steady pace no matter how Cloud tried to speed up. The pressure was building in the pit of his stomach and the base of his spine and he felt Sephiroth's thrusts against his ass become a bit more deliberate and forceful. Sephiroth nuzzled his cheek and Cloud turned his head to kiss the general. Cloud's legs felt almost electrically charged as his toes gripped the sheets without his consent. He arched high feeling himself so very close yet Sephiroth would not take him over. He simply continued to go as slow as he could and it was torturously frustrating.

"Not yet," Sephiroth's voice was breathless as he sped up his pace behind Cloud yet still somehow manage to keep the even pace on Cloud's member. Cloud bit his lip and whimpered pleadingly.

"Please, Seph, I'm almost there. Almost…"

Sephiroth groaned into his ear and stroked him a little harder now, satisfying the blonde's pleas. Cloud's sounds of pleasure began to grow louder but he was silenced by Sephiroth's hand over his mouth. He remembered suddenly that Aerith lived here as well and did nothing to move away from Sephiroth's hand. Instead he continued to enjoy the different feelings; the pressure of the hand squeezing him, the hardness sliding against the cleft of his ass, and the feel of Sephiroth's mouth sucking the skin of his shoulder. It may have been the fever at work, or something but he knew that he'd never felt such concentrated sensations when being intimate with Zack. It was a high inspired only by Sephiroth's touch and he knew that if Zack did this, he would not have felt all of this so intensely. It was as if his mind was being caressed and brought to such heights alongside his body. Sephiroth was all over him, inside him and he hadn't even been penetrated. Whispers of other times, other nights and days of this without ever a word being spoken filtered into his mind leaving images of him at world's end being brought to mind shattering releases and intimacy like no other could like the rapture that came before the addiction.

"Cloud," Sephiroth's voice, panting and passionate, brushed over his ears. "Let me keep you. Please let me."

"Mm!" Cloud was brought screaming behind Sephiroth's hand, the sound muffled but no less appreciated. He spilled over Sephiroth's fingers as the man milked him for every drop. He shuddered when he felt Sephiroth tense against his back, a sharp groan escaping his lips and teeth digging into his ear lobe. They lay in that position, panting and shivering. Sephiroth uncovered Cloud's mouth and touched his forehead. A soft chuckled in Clouds pleasure hazed mind.

"You're fever broke."

"…whatever," Cloud panted.

Sephiroth smile and cuddled him close. "I can't keep you can I?"

Cloud closed his eyes, sobering thoughts coming to him. "No…no you can't." And he meant it.

l

l

A/N: I've never been really good at writing feels, which is why this chapter took so long. I had to get the emotions right and I'm still not sure if I did. I also wanted to demonstrate the growing link between Sephiroth and Cloud which will kinda be the main feature of next episode so keep looking out. I'm working on the next episode right now. Wanted to get at least half the way through it while I had some down town. So many essays to do. English and Lit Classes man! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed and next episode we'll have more actions and less achey breaky heart. But yeah this is going to be awesome, any questions just ask and as always fuel me with reviews. They are literally the life support of this fic! :3 As always I enjoy hearing from the fans and glad you guys have stuck with this for so long despite the slow build up.

Also, I'm glad some of you are enjoying Tempest Corps. The turn out and response was better than I thought it would be for a story like that. For those of you who haven't delved in yet, have a go at it and see if it's your thing! I'm always open to feed back. I hope you enjoy and see you next time!