General Dedication


Chapter One


Escape To Midgar


The streets of Midgar were overflowing with people, all rushing around, their bodies forming a single wave of colour. It had a coldness than even winter could not match; the plates blocking the sunlight and creating a never ending darkness. The only sources of light were the flashing headlights and the giant billboards looming up ahead. Nobody could escape this nightmare once they arrived… no one.

Cloud trudged through the narrow streets, ignoring the strangers shoving past him, allowing himself to be pushed and pulled willingly.

What on earth had he done?

Nibelheim seemed so far away now, a distant memory in the back of his head, the biggest regret he'd ever have to face. The blonde had left his mother, left the townspeople, left Tifa. He had abandoned all of that, leaving only a single note to defend his decision. It had seemed such a brilliant idea at the time to escape that reality and form a new one. He hadn't even considered what he'd do once he arrived.

What COULD he do in Midgar? What DID Cloud have to offer?

The reason he had left his hometown was because he felt he didn't belong there. He didn't want to grow up and work in the Inn, he didn't want to listen to the tales of his father again and again. Cloud certainly didn't want to be a part of the shitty group he had joined to impress Tifa, either.

"Fuck them all," he declared, shouting it out into the entire street. "FUCK EVERYONE ONE OF THEM!"

Cloud knew that he had something special that the others didn't.

Now he just had to work out what

The street split into eight different sections, all overcrowded and stuffy. It was like being back at home again, surrounded by people, feeling insignificant and worthless. With all that these strangers had to offer, how could Cloud find a job here, let alone a new start?

"Shut the hell up."

This wasn't who he was anymore. He wouldn't be that wimp from Nibelheim, letting people push him around and use him. Not today, not ever again.

What would his mother say if she could see him now?

She had raised this sweet child, nursed him, brought him up all by herself and spoilt him. Cloud had been the only kid in town whose parent seemed to give a fuck. He had stuck by all the rules and done everything to impress his dear mom. Now he was strolling through Midgar, covered in mud and bruises, this innocent kid from Nibelheim, out in the big world.

Innocent… he laughed at the word.

The street finally widened into a bigger, less populated area. It was still drowned out by the never ending smog and polluted air that gave Midgar its reputation, but now, it was bigger, longer, never ending. It practically screamed opportunity. The city for dreams.

And that's when he saw it.


There had been a thousand billboards scattered in Midgar, so many of them, all fighting each other for domination, all lacking importance. They were there to look at but not there to FEEL for.

But this… this was different. This had stopped Cloud dead in his tracks.

He froze suddenly in the rush of people, stopping in the middle of the crowd, feet glued to the ground. The people around him screamed and shouted, asking him to move the fuck on, but he couldn't and wouldn't listen. There was only one thing Cloud had eyes for now, and it stood above him, looming over his tiny figure.

The man before him was… beautiful.

Insanely beautiful to the point where Cloud wanted to fly up and dry hump the sign. His face had been plastered across the biggest billboard in the entire city, blocking out all of the other attempts at advertisement. Nobody could stop themselves from staring. Cloud couldn't stop himself from staring.

The words sat beneath his angelic, hard hitting face, but held no significance to him. How could he read anything positioned under a man like that? Cloud wanted to know so much. Who are you? What are you trying to tell me? Are you SINGLE?

Silver hair draped across his shielded body, long and silky, framing the face that had been crafted to perfection. Two fierce and empty eyes stared back at you, holding an unnatural glint of colour that should have glowed with character, but screamed instead with darkness. The lips were frowning, pierced across the face, with a mouth that would struggle to smile, even if happiness itself attempted it. Skin so pallid that even the white background itself struggle to compete; porcelain and smooth, perfect to touch.

Who was he? What was he promoting? How on earth could he find him?

The words below read, "Shinra Reserve Military – Join and become a hero – become the next Sephiroth."

Sephiroth…

He had heard that name before, spoken in Nibelheim, when the reactor had first been put in action. Many of the boys in the town had left to join and become heroic sons and daughters of the Shinra Army… but many hadn't returned. Death had greeted them by the dozen.

Where could he find the Shinra building? He walked forward, out of the mass of people, and balanced himself against the brick wall, sliding down to the floor. His eyes never once left the banner, gazing back into those villainous eyes. This man wasn't an illusion, he was real, and Cloud had never wanted to feel a presence as much as his.

He didn't even want to move away from that face…

"Hey, are you alright?"

Cloud's heart hammered in his chest, a glimpse of hope, a gift from Gaia! He hoped to see that gorgeous face staring back at him, offering his hand, hauling him up and into that muscular chest.

But it wasn't him.

"What are you doing here out alone?" the stranger asked. "Midgar isn't a place for cute young guys."


Cloud could barely comprehend what was happening, before a gloved hand reached out and hauled him up off the ground. He wasn't exactly a light guy, but the stranger had no trouble lifting him up. Before he knew it he was stumbling forward, into the arms of a stranger, uttering apologies.

"You're covered in bruises, are you alright?"

The streetlight rested on the strangers face, bringing him into view for the confused blonde.

"What's your name?"

Cloud's breath hitched in his lungs, gazing up at the handsome stranger. If he hadn't have already seen that billboard, got lost in that man's eyes, he would have probably melted into a puddle of patheticness.

This guy, no, man, this really masculine figure, was grinning down at him, with the most energetic smile Cloud had ever seen. His eyes glowed, two inhuman blue orbs gazing down at him, the most mind blowing eyes he had ever laid eyes on.

His hair made even his blonde locks look flat, one big spiky black mess, defying gravity to the point of being impossible. There was a scar on his face, placed on his left cheek, deep and meaningful. Skinned so tanned that the sun would get envious. The total opposite to the stranger on the billboard in which he'd become infatuated with. But still so. Damn. gorgeous.

"C-Cloud Strife sir," he stuttered, his earlier rudeness quickly turning into courtesy.

The stranger smirked at him. "And where are you from, Cloud?"

"Nibelheim."

There was a look of confusion in the man's face, trying to piece the puzzle together. Why would someone from that far out be in Midgar?

"I could tell you had an accent," he chuckled, a strong hint of playfulness in his voice. "What are you doing here, kid?"

"I ran away from home."

It was said easier than he had imagined, slipped from his mouth before he could consider it. He watched as the strangers eyes flashed in concern, winced as the gloved hand gripped his shoulder tighter.

"Why did you run away from home?" they asked.

Cloud saw no reason to lie. "I didn't belong there; I wanted a fresh start… here."

The stranger laughed at him, patting him on the back, amused by the tale. It was a friendly movement though, one which Cloud hadn't felt in a long time. This man already seemed like an important piece in his puzzle.

"What's your name?" he asked nervously, cursing himself for being so shy.

"Zack Fair!" he declared, placing his hands proudly on his hip. "Soldier 1st Class at your service!"

Soldier…?

"Who do you work for?" Cloud asked him.

Zack patted the logo on his chest proudly. "Shinra, SOLDIER Division. Been there nearly four years."

Shinra?

"You work for Shinra Corporation?" Cloud gasped, staring back again at the sign.

Had this man met the tall, handsome stranger on that billboard?

"Yes I do," Zack replied, following the blonde's line of vision. "Are you a fan of Sephiroth?"

Cloud wasn't about to explain. "Not really, but I've heard of him, and the army."

The gloved hands reached into the Shinra Uniform, pulling out a packet of cigarettes. He couldn't help but look as Zack drew out a smoke and placed it between those roughened lips. Cloud didn't even notice the packet be held out to him as an invitation.

"Do you want one?" he had to be asked.

Cloud shook his head. "No, I don't…" Before silencing himself.

Why shouldn't he accept the invitation? After all, he had only not tried it before because he didn't want to upset his mother. That was the old him, this was the new him, how hard could it be?

"Thanks," he said politely.

Zack lit his own cigarette skilfully, before handing the lighter to the blonde. "So you're here without a plan?" he asked, chuckling. "And you need something to build a life again?"

Cloud nodded.

"Then join the army? You look built to fight, kiddo."

The blonde looked surprised. "But I don't have any money, any experience, any skills."

"You don't need any! They'll pay you, they'll teach you, they'll craft you."

Cloud hadn't expected the invitation, and slowly began digesting everything the man was saying to him. Join the army? He hadn't even considered that. It wasn't something he could see himself doing. But what else was there? It seemed the easiest and most sensible path to follow.

"I might…" he said simply.

Zack didn't look satisfied. "You'll meet some great people there!"

His attention drew back to the billboard, gazing longingly at the silver haired man. He would meet people? It seemed that this whole military thing would land him more opportunities than just one. Cloud didn't want to sound childish or pathetic, but maybe, just maybe, he could meet that man there?

It was hilarious! Cloud had a handsome Soldier here, calling him cute, offering him places to be and places to stay, but all he could think of was a stupid little fantasy!

"I've made my decision," he declared, drawing the cigarette to his inexperienced mouth.

Zack smirked as the blonde choked. "What's that then, kiddo? Don't rush into things."

This was the perfect was to rebuild his life. Cloud didn't even have to consider anymore.

"I'm joining the Shinra Army."


Alas, the first chapter is done, let the circle of luuuurve begin! Tell me what you thought PLZ, godamnit, don't make me beg :3