Disclaimer: I do not any of the canon characters, the places, or anything to do with the FFVII universe, the only thing that is mine is the writing.
Two weeks until his entire life would come to a screeching halt. Apparently Shinra did not feel that some remote location's alert of there being monsters running about caused any great concern, even if it was near one of their reactors. But then again, said lack of hurry had Cloud back right where he started: in a state of turmoil of knowing too much of what could and would happen.
After that conversation, it had seemed that everyone had noticed that the broody teenager most certainly needed a minute and without question, they gave him the space they needed. Even Zack, even if he was the brashest and most idiotic person in his life, if one asked Cloud. Why would he think that he would enjoy going back home? Why did he have to think in his wonderful little mind that he had any need to see old, friendly faces, to feel useful and then ultimately, be defeated and almost killed. Of course, the last part Zack did not know about but all of the others… Well, he was quite sure getting his mind off of his situation was one of the goals.
It did not, however, ease Cloud in the slightest. He had two weeks to get Sephiroth to be close to him. He had two weeks to get him to trust him, to drill it into his mind that he was human. That he was capable of pain and humanity, but most importantly, that he was no god. No son of an ancient being, simply a human being underneath all the enhancements. He sure had his work cut out for him, especially now that the tall man was suspicious. It had been quite evident in the way he had looked at him when Zack had gone out of his way to protect him and his little secret.
Which brought his mind to another problem. He didn't have the slightest idea what Zack thought about his revelation. Sephiroth had burst in and that had been the end of the discussion and he had been left in the dark. For all he knew, he would end up back in Hojo's lab, getting tested for being a time-traveling freak. Or then he'd just be sent to the psych ward and locked up somewhere remote. A pained groan left him and he decided he needed some sort of an outlet.
Pushing himself off of his comfy bed and walking out of the room, he was glad to notice no one seemed to be home. Letting out a very long sigh at that, he found himself sitting in front of the TV, browsing through the channels idly only to stop at some mindless action movie. Zack and Angeal were out. Genesis was most likely teasing the rookies and Sephiroth… The thought of that manmade Cloud need to close his eyes and pinch the bridge of his nose. What was up with him wanting him to be around all of the time? Even in that very moment, the blonde wanted the tall man to be there, holding him as they watched some stupid movie together.
"What the f-" Cloud sat upright, his thoughts having caught him straight off guard, staring at the door that he knew led into Sephiroth's quarters. He wanted to be... mushy with the guy? Be like a couple?
Damn this teenaged Cloud was a tough thing to handle, tougher than he remembered it had ever been before. With a groan he let his head drop into his hands, rubbing his temples a bit harder than was probably necessary since it almost made the budding headache worse. Why couldn't things just stay simply? Why did he had to want that man to be his? Why was it that in every single life that he lived, he was always so strongly connected to him, even without the Jenova cells in his body. Of course, he had only lived one life but he was already beginning to see the trend.
A drawn out groan left his lips as he slumped back into the couch, determined to watch the movie, forget about everything and fall into a blissful sleep. And as it was, it did not take long for him to have fallen asleep, slumped somewhat uncomfortably on the large piece of furniture.
Everything was burning. Every house, every building but the most disturbing of it all were the screams. Screams of pain, of loss and of the certainty of dying. But he was running, he wasn't stopping, just stuck in a mindless pace that sent him forward and made his lungs burn, as if he couldn't breathe. Up the mountainside and into a reactor, seeing the black-haired man getting tossed out, heavily wounded and unconscious. He knows what he will find there and he still follows, still picks up the sword and stabs it into the man's lower back.
Except now as Sephiroth turns, he does not look at him with the empty, blind hatred. Instead he looks confused and in pain. "Cloud why..." Those two words leave his lips as he falls to his knees, leaving the blonde reeling, staring at him with wide eyes. For once, his retreat is not one of urgency to get out but instead, it is one of panic. Looking down his hands were covered in blood and he could see those green eyes in his mind, looking hurt and filled with a deep pain, a pain that he knew all too well from all the times Sephiroth had used him and hurt him.
What had he done?
Yet as Sephiroth stumbles out, bleeding heavily, he is just as forced to follow as he had been before. That thin catwalk that he had ended up impaled on was frightening, but he needed to help the man. But what he realised too late was that Jenova's head was in his hands. What he realised too late, was Masamune slicing through the air to impale him on it. But what he could not do, could not achieve was throwing Sephiroth off. Instead, he was tossed off of the catwalk, falling towards the pool of mako.
"Absurd. Defeating me is meaningless. You know that more than anyone, Cloud. No matter how many times I fall, your darkness keeps calling me back!" The words are haunting, heard in his head as he falls, staring into those bright eyes that are yet again filled with pain but also the insanity brought by the calamity.
He keeps falling, falling but never reaching the mako, simply falling, stuck to watching his eyes turning, changing he feels the Masamune ag-
"Wake up, Cloud," comes the commanding voice that finally drags the young man from sleep, causes Cloud to open those bright blue eyes and stare into the very green ones that haunted him that had looked at him with hurt and pain and without realising what he did, he tried to push away the General.
"Leave me be! Just let go please! I can't... d-don't kill me again," he cried out in a state of panic, beating at the strong man in front of him but Sephiroth was stronger. Instead of letting himself be pushed away, he drew the smaller man into his arms, holding him tightly, ignoring the tears, ignoring the pleas until the blonde finally gave up, bursting into uncontrollable sobs. An all of that time, the General held him, rocked the nightmare-ridden boy in his arms, and soothed him. Something unlike anything Cloud could have ever thought him capable of.
Cloud was in a state of distress. Waking up to those eyes had sent his mind reeling but now, held against that strong figure, feeling the warmth of him, smelling the subtle scent that was him was soothing him. Also, Sephiroth's voice was in his ears, soothing and calming him, trying to get him out of the nightmare. Of course it was also at that point that Cloud wondered whether the man had always been capable of this emotion, of sympathy, but he brushed it away as he started to pull himself back together. Soon enough, he was simply leaning onto the man, drawing in the comfort, hardly noticing the fact that he was now cradled in the General's arms, being held almost like a lover.
"You have bad dreams often, Strife."
It wasn't a topic Cloud wanted to broach but of course Sephiroth would bring it up. He should have moved away but instead, the young man stayed where he was, listening to the man's steady heartbeat, even if the leather was getting to be a bit uncomfortable against his cheek. Apparently, the man had just come back from some form of work.
"I… yeah…" There was nothing more he could truly say, not able to come up with anything else as he stayed there, curled up against the one who he had always thought of as an enemy.
"And I seem to bring them out."
This made Cloud start and he pulled back to look at the man, his eyes somewhat wide, trying to see in those eyes whether or not he had guessed something was wrong. His jaw was working, trying to get some form of response out but he couldn't and his distress started mounting. In a previous life, he would have dismissed it, ignored it and moved on, but now his mind did not let him. He was left to face the agony and turmoil of trying to tell this seemingly kind man that he was the cause of his lack of sleep.
"I… I can't explain it's… difficult," he finally managed to say softly and was somewhat surprised to see that the man did not push him, instead a gentle hand found its way to Cloud's chin, tilting it to watch him quite closely.
"You will explain to me, but later. I wish to point out, Cloud, that I also seem to be capable of soothing you." That voice was soft, trying to get the blonde to understand that this could be solved. It also showed that Sephiroth possibly wanted to have some kind of a relationship and that made Cloud stare at him and this time it was in awe. Giving into an urge he never thought he would have had, he hugged the man tight, pressing his face against his neck, the amused chuckle leaving the General making him smile.
"I won't forget, how-"
If Sephiroth could shut him up with kisses, then didn't it work the other way around as well? There was a certainty to him like there hadn't been before, the fact that the silver-haired man was going to give him a chance to figure things out before he confronted him about his nightmares made him realise he was so human it hurt. How could madness turn such a wonderful person into a murdering psychopath? But all those thoughts were shoved from his mind as a very devilish tongue brushed against his lower lip, demanding full attention. Did he had to be this good at everything?
A soft groan left Cloud as he let himself go into the kiss, hands finding those long strands of silver, fingers entangling in the strands as he pressed his own lean figure against the undeniably powerful one of the General's. It was absolutely heavenly to be kissed by him, something he could have never thought he could have enjoyed, but here he was, almost mewling into his mouth because of a thing he did with his tongue. The arousal coursing through him was making it difficult for him to keep a clear mind, especially when one of those strong hands found its way down to his rump, pulling him closer and pressing their hips together, showing that they were both just as affected by the transaction they were engaged in.
Cloud was quite certain his hormones would have been more than slightly glad to let go, to let that man do whatever it was that he wanted to do to his teenaged body but it was also in that moment that a clearing of a throat could be heard and they broke their kiss, panting. Turning his head, Cloud saw Genesis and the look he saw on his face was one that wasn't exactly a friendly one. As if he had taken something of his. Cloud's eyes widened in shock, but it was nothing compared to the sharp sting of pain as Sephiroth lifted him off of his lap just to get up.
"Genesis, we need to talk."
From the look on Genesis' face, he was quite certain the redhead agreed but it was also in that moment that his mind connected the dots. There were only three bedrooms in the apartment which ultimately meant, Genesis and Sephiroth shared one. They were an item. And Cloud's mind had been slow to connect and now he was left with the truth glaring at him. The two were talking but he couldn't hear a thing. Instead he felt numb, getting to his feet to fetch his sneakers. He needed to run and he needed to run far and fast.
Cloud missed those green eyes watching his retreat even if the redhead was ranting at him. Missed the way it seemed the older man wanted to call him back, wanted to tell the Commander to go away, to leave him be and simply go after the blonde. But he didn't, opting to face the wrath of Genesis.
Author's Note: You guys have absolutely no idea how glad I am to realise that I have not lost you! As in the readers. It's a lovely thing watching the graph and seeing that my story is actually getting read and I simply have to thank all of you for that.