General Dedication

Chapter Three

Voice of the General

"I'm so nervous! Fuck! Someone fetch a flask, I'm drinking my own sweat here!"

To say Cloud was slightly anxious about his interview would be the understatement of the century. He couldn't remember ever feeling this wound up about anything, ever. It wasn't as if this was something he had dreamed of becoming all of his life either, it was just somewhere to stay and earn some money!

After all, there was no longer a second and better reason for joining the Shinra Army…

-Forget it.-

"Cloud Strife, is it?" a woman called over to him. "You're turn now; take a seat in Interview Room 2."

Zack nudged him playfully. "You'll be brilliant, buddy."

"This is where me and you differ. I am realistic and reasonable; you however are an optimistic little cunt."

Cloud couldn't help but laugh at himself, maybe nervously, maybe in genuine hysterics. Whatever the reason, it set him off in a song of laughter, clutching his stomach till tears rolled down his cheeks.

Those tears soon turned into genuine sobs of self pity.


"I'll be waiting here," Zack told him reassuringly. "If you don't get through, I'll offer to buy the instrument."

"An instrument, for what?"

Zack smirked at him. "All of the homeless play instruments, Cloud. Really are a town boy, aren't you?"

"… Shut the hell up."

The dark voices in his head began to titter, threatening to resurface and ruin his entire plan of becoming successful. Cloud didn't want to be that guy, he didn't want to turn into the younger version of himself, but at this rate, he wouldn't have any choice.

Welcome back, Nostalgia.

"Cloud Strife, is that correct?"

He shuffled nervously in the interrogation seat, finding answering a question simply about his NAME an impossible task. The sentence he had planned quickly turned into a silent nod. Followed by more fidgeting, twitching and of course, sweating.

Cloud wouldn't have an interview to worry about soon enough.

At this rate, he'd end up flooding the place, and the three of them would have to make a desperate bid to escape. The battle would be difficult and challenging, but as a team, they'd override the tsunami that is Cloud Strife's bodily fluid. After the fight against death, the two of them would congratulate him on his bravery, handing him an instant pass into the company.

They'd probably just suggest showering.

"You're from… Nibelheim?" they asked, voice rising as they read out the town name.

Cloud nodded again.

The two of them exchanged glances. "It's been a while since any of your folk came here to try out."


"No, you must be mistaken," Cloud finally managed to string together. "Loads of boys from my town come here to join."

Frowns were thrown his way. "True as that is, unfortunately… none have ever actually gotten in."


Cloud felt the panic return to him, cursing his home roots, cursing his mother for getting knocked up in such a place. No one? Not even ONE person from Nibelheim had managed to get through?

"But they all left for here," Cloud told them. "None ever returned, so I just assumed they were dead or missing in action."

"Sometimes kid, pride is worth more than the truth."

He didn't understand it, asking them politely to explain what the fuck they were getting at.

"Basically, we're saying that most boys come here thinking it's a piece of cake. They arrive here, take all the tests, and get rejected, fearful to return to a disappointed family."

Cloud shook his head. "No… I don't think it's that at all."

"People from Nibelheim dream of escaping somewhere, anywhere, as long as it's not home. I think they all just want a reason to leave. Living in that town is like being a bird without wings, without the ability to fly. If you wish to escape, you have to find the harder route, but in the end, it's worth it. Changing and adapting to a new lifestyle is just the test you have to take in order to succeed."

… Oh god.

Cloud threw his head into his hands. Had he REALLY just rambled away like that? In his INTERVIEW?

He watched nervously as they jotted something down together. His eyes glared rudely at the paper, desperate to see what they'd written, desperate to know whether it was good or bad news. He expected something along the lines of TWAT would be scribbled on the notepad. The handwriting was difficult to read, but he could just about make out his name written down and the word… deep.

They thought Cloud was DEEP?

He snorted.

"Why do you want to join?" they asked him, a question he had already been expecting.

He had been planning an answer all night long with Zack, thinking of ways to make his story sound more exciting and dramatic. Pull at their heart strings, make them feel bad, make him appear a tough kid with a rocky background. Have them whip out the Kleenex, sobbing hysterically as they congratulated his bravery.

Realistically, he was just a scrawny, cute-looking, rambunctious homosexual.

"I ran away from home."


Cloud clasped his palms around his mouth, silencing himself, preventing himself from blurting anything further. What had he just done! He'd just told them the truth! What had happened to the lie and make 'em cry plan? He was done for; he was going to be kicked out faster than he could say, well… anything.

"If you make sure I nail the interview, maybe I could, make sure you nail something in return, Colonel?"

... Than plan would have been so much simpler.

"Why did you run away from home?" they asked him. "That seems a reckless thing to do, especially for someone who wants to become a warrior."

Cloud swallowed loudly. "I needed to escape the horror of my hometown. Nobody understood me, and I similarly didn't understand or feel the need to connect with any of them. I needed something to run to, somewhere that I could prove myself and my worth."

They furrowed their brows simultaneously. "You don't think you have any worth, Strife?"

Murdering this interview, you are.

"I've been brought up to believe that fact. That's why I'm here, to become something. If I thought I had worth and everything I needed already in the bag, what would be the point in coming here?"

They nodded in agreement.

Listen to you, smart ass.

"What's the most important thing to you?" they asked him. "Out of anything and everything, THE most important thing to you."

Cloud was really put on the spot now.


He couldn't really think of anything THAT important to him, when right now, he had nothing.


That's when it returned to him.

"The most important thing to me," he said, peeking out at Zack in the window. "…Is feeling wanted."

Zack squealed at him like a fat kid squeals at anorexia.

"YOU GOT THROUGH!" he bellowed, wrapping his arms round the blonde. "I KNEW YOU COULD DO IT, YOU SLY BASTARD, YOU!"

Cloud pulled away at the point of not breathing.

"What did you tell them?" Zack asked. "Did you do what we practised? What we did last night?"

Cloud shook his head. "No, I had no tactic, really."

"Then what did you do then? How did you manage to get through? We all have a certain trick that we pull, come on, spill it."

The answer was simple. "I was just… honest," Cloud smiled, feeling good about that fact.

"I've got to say I'm impressed," Zack scoffed, slapping him on the back. "There must be something special about you then, kiddo."

"Like my ability to supply endless amounts of water to third world countries, you mean?"

Zack stared him up and down. "Yeah," he snorted. "Perhaps you should take a shower."


They both jumped at the sound of Nickelback, screaming through the hall.

… Was that a ringtone?

Zack threw his phone out his pocket, ripping the lid open and smashing it against his ear. He mumbled a few times into the speaker, clearly the listener and not the speaker in the conversation. After about two minutes of muttering and head nodding, he put the phone down.

"This is where we depart champ," he sighed loudly.

Cloud pouted up at him. "I don't know anyone here, though! What am I going to do?"


Zack threw him the keys to his apartment, something that made Cloud feel better than he had felt in a long time. This was a big thing to do, something that he hadn't NEEDED to do.

"Are you sure?"

Zack nodded. "Of course I'm sure. Now hurry off home, before Sephiroth bites my head off."


Cloud felt himself tense up again. "W-What did he want?"

"To remind me of the meeting," Zack said uncaringly. "We're all discussing the new plans for the Materia Room. Clearly, this news makes you jealous, as it will no doubt be an exciting and unforgettable experience."

The blonde was too busy thinking hard to himself to reply or notice the strong sarcasm.


Zack was going to be in a meeting, merely meters away from SEPHIROTH, talking to him, sharing breathing space with him.

Cloud wanted to go with him, just to INHALE the very air that the General had exhaled out into.

He could even rummage through the bins later and cradled one of his used snotty tissues?

"Where's it at?" he asked shakily.

Zack didn't recognise his state. "On the 69th Floor, the meeting room, gotta be there in ten minutes."

"Well… have fun," Cloud said erratically.

"Hey, are you alright? You're going very wheezy all of a sudden, is something the matter?"

Cloud shook his head a little more violently than needed.

"Is it the after effect?" Zack asked him. "I mean, of the nerves you experienced in the interview?"

"Oh, yeah, yeah!" Cloud exclaimed, relieved of the excuse being handed to him. "Just a big shaky still."

"Well you can back to mine and rest, yeah?"

"…Yeah, sure."

But as Zack walked away, waking goodbye to him, Cloud already knew that going home was out of the question.

Cloud COULD NOT believe what he was doing. He was disgraced at himself, cursing at himself, wishing he'd listened to his mother's advice all those years ago.

"Never listen to a conversation that you haven't been invited into."

What was he, some sort of deprived pervert, waiting hungrily for his pray to appear before him?

Cloud was squatting, SQUATTING, outside the meeting room on the 39th Floor, where Zack had said the meeting was taking place. The Soldier had been truthful, confirming that thought as a large group of people strolled into the room and firmly shut the door. Shut it closed. Damnit.

He couldn't see anything, which was a bummer now, but Cloud could still hear.

"Everyone stand before the president."

Seats could be heard shuffling around, frantic movements of colleagues desperate to impress their boss. Cloud imagined he would be an idiot around the President too. Well, that is, if he would be able to keep his eyes off his bill-board crush.

Stop it.

"What are these plans you're putting into action?" he heard Zack say.

Cloud looked nervously around him, checking for any on goers that would happen to pass his cowering figure, lurking to the side of wall. It wasn't exactly a position he could exactly turn into a believable story. He couldn't be looking for something he dropped, nor could he be taking a quick break… on the door.

The sight of Cloud Strife squatting down onto the carpet looked nothing more than an attempt to release an enormous load of turd.

I shouldn't even be doing this!

The president was the next to pipe up. "We plan to extend it, into something that only the high ranked Soldier's can use."

"What about the lower classes?" Zack asked with concern.

"Fuck them."

Cloud spat at the comment. Well, he was glad his type were viewed so damn highly, how-kind-of-you-to-say-love.

"What do you suggest we use the additional room for then, captain?"


That voice.


It hit him straight where it mattered most.


Cloud went to peer into the gap in the door, but couldn't muster the strength. He decided to listen harder, try work out who the voices matched to, despite the fact he only knew one of them.

Two of them, practically.

Shut up. You don't even know the General in person.

"What do you suggest we do," the President asked smarmily. "Oh mighty, Sephiroth?"


Cloud's eyes flew open.

It's him.

The voice that had made him shudder.

It's him.

The man that had captured his interest.

It's him.

The man that was only METRES away.

"I do assume my ideas are worthless to you," Sephiroth pointed out. "I recall you dismissing my last suggestion… President."

Cloud whimpered painfully. The deep growl escaping those perfect lips rolled off his tongue and flew straight towards his aching groin. Sephiroth's lowering in tone as he spat out the final word made his entire stomach tingle and squeeze tightly. The image of his striking face, splattered across that billboard, returned to him vengeance. The memory alone drove him crazy. He rammed his ear further against the door, more daring, more reckless, ANYTHING to hear that voice again.

"No snide comment back, President? I am generally astounded."

It hit him.

It sliced him.

It plummeted towards his crotch and gripped tightly at every nerve and sensitive spot. He felt his length twitching nervously as the sound of that husky tone travelled across the room. Cloud bit his lips to prevent the moan threatening to pour out. How could someone be this attracted to a VOICE?

"You didn't give me enough time, General Sephiroth."

Cloud stifled a groan as he heard the General release a sigh of exasperation. The innocent sound of a man exhaling sounded more to him like the not-so-innocent sound of a man spent.

This was ridiculous.

He could actually feel himself getting hard now! The pure sound of Sephiroth's voice alone had caused him to get the biggest erection possible. What would he do if he were to meet him in person? Would he be able to control his actions, but not his thoughts? Or would the poor guy end up splattering his emissions at the word 'hello.'

He was truly pathetic.

"… Nevertheless, I do believe that if we work together, we can create something wonderful. "

Cloud leaned further against the door, scrunching his face up in pure concentration.


He tried to push further against the door, ignoring the pain in his bending knees, desperate to hear that voice again. The voices slowly disappeared, and he tried to listen harder. But the people weren't talking anymore. The voice had stopped. The conversation wasn't made louder by him pressing his head against the door.

There was no longer a serious meeting taking place.

... Because Cloud was falling.

It all happened too fast.

One minute, he was leaning on the door.

It all happened too fast.

The next minute, Cloud found himself topping over, flying head-over-tit into the silent meeting room. His hands flew out as a form of support, but failed him as he slipped and face planted the carpet. It smelt off cinnamon and mud. It FELT like a punch to the face.

Cloud blinked twice, telling himself it HAD to be a illusion.

… But he wasn't snapping out of it.

… And the faces didn't disappear.

Cloud looked up from his lying position, SPRAWLED, across the red carpet. His cheeks matched the colour of the floor as he tried to muster the strength to talk, scream, do ANYTHING.

"Kid, what the HELL are you doing?"

He glanced over to Zack from his planking position, who threw him only a looking of pure astonishment. Those blue orbs flickered in disbelief, staring down at him with the look of a shameful parent.

Cloud felt like he'd been caught having sex.

He felt like he'd been walked in on masturbating.

No no, this was WORSE.

The ground could have swallowed him hole, sucked him into a black pit, fucking hell it might as well have killed him, for that would be MUCH less humiliating than this.

"Did someone invite him in here?"

Zack finally piped up. "Cloud, what the HELL are you doing?"

The President was next. "Good question, what ARE you doing, intruding on a meeting, kid?"

Cloud quickly clambered himself up, brushing himself down, readjusting his flattened spikes. All he needed to do was smile casually, and walk out, nothing more to see here.

What the hell.

The feel of something sliding down his face ruined that plan for him, as he brought his fingers up to his nose and whimpered.

… He was having a NOSEBLEED.

"I-I was just waiting for my friend Zack," he muttered quietly. "I needed a word with him about... swords."

He could feel their eyes on him.

He could feel HIS eyes on him.

But he daren't look, his eyes resting on every member in the room BUT him. Well done Cloud, excellent first impression, the man now thinks you're a maniac.

He yearned to look at him.

"Did you not feel the need to knock?" one of the men asked him angrily.

Cloud scratched the back of his head. "S-sorry sir, I'll consider that next time, please do forgive me!"

The blood was now gushing from his nose, drowning his mouth in metal tasting crap. It slurred his speech, the leakage so high that it spilled from his bottom lip. He sounded more like he was saying something amongst the line of, "dgg frgr etfeg egeg wwrw."

Zack was still gawping at him, eyes fixated on his nose, travelling down his body, resting on something, concentrating on something, orbs widening as he caught onto SOMETHING.

Cloud looked down to where his attention lied.


His eyes grew as wide as his friends, no, WIDER, as he realised what exactly he was looking at. The table might as well be insignificant, for where Cloud was concerned, the only wood in the room was HIS.

Sephiroth's voice.

The sound of that moaning.

Cloud now had a mother-effing erection right before the man at hand himself!

"I'll be going then!" he cried, quickly turning away from the crowd. There was no need to look where he was going, for a big signal sticking from his pants acted like a flashlight for him.

Cloud remembered the look on Zack's face.

Zack remembered the look on Cloud's face.

"Isn't that the kid you found on the streets?" one of the meeting members asked him. "The one you were telling us about?"

"Yeah, that's him."

They tutted loudly at him. "Should know better than to bring psychotic strangers into the company."

Cloud heard them all titter,

TITTER at him, laughing amongst themselves, taking the absolute piss.

He wanted to die.

Cloud went to turn away from the room, get the next elevator down, escape this madness, find a wall and furiously head bang it. Cry into a pillow. Pop a few time-of-the-month pills to calm his scarily feminine hormones.

But a comment stopped him dead.


Sephiroth had stood up in his seat, the chair scraping loudly against the carpet. "I thought you were pickier with your friendship choices, Zachary."

Cloud felt blood rush to his ears, the tears threatening to spill down, the old weakness returning to him.

"Stupid kid."

… Stupid kid?

Stupid kid. Stupid kid. Stupid kid.

It was unavoidable. For the first time in an entire year, after making himself stronger, after pushing away the old him…

… Cloud Strife began to cry.

Oh Cloud, you silly man you, I'm making you out to be a total twat. Perhaps I'm basing you off myself too much?

I LOVE Nibelheim in the game, excuse me for concentrating on it so much.

Sephiroth, you ass!

Please reviews, for I am a whore, and I need the reviews to keep my slutiness alive. I love feedback, otherwise, how do I know whether I'm doing well?