Disclaimer: Characters and places belong to Square Enix. I don't make any money.
They won't let him in. They won't even let him stay at the Infirmary so he decides to spend the night on the SOLDIERs' floor, leaning back against the door to Zack's apartment, waiting for him to come back, because the First is still on a mission, but in a cold hospital bed, fighting for his life.
It's Kunsel who notices him and invites Cloud to his apartment, makes him eat and tucks Cloud into his bed, claiming that his couch is very comfortable and he can sleep on it.
The corporal can only nod, feeling more empty than ever. He misses Zack's body next to him, their legs and fingers tangled, the First's scent...
Before morning, his pillow is so wet from tears he can't even lay on it.
They still won't let him in.
For the next few days Cloud is like a zombie. If he got a mission now he would probably get himself killed. He is aware that Zack's friends are looking after him; usually you don't see so many SOLDIERs near the cadets' barracks. He's even met Commander Hewley a few times. The man always answers his "Good morning, sir" with something so close to pity that it makes Cloud's stomach clench painfully. Also, he has a feeling that thanks, to the Commander, he isn't getting any missions now - although he doesn't have any strength to thank him for it in some subtle way.
'Zack is dying.'
This thought appears in Cloud's head when the cadet is walking out of class, and he has to stop to discretely wipe his eyes. If only he was a SOLDIER, they'd tell him something. For now he can only think and guess about –
An annoying ring interrupts the corporal's thoughts. He pulls out his PHS, suddenly feeling a huge fear. It's Kunsel. What if he's calling to tell Cloud that Zack...?
"Yes?", the teenager whispers in shaky voice.
"He's waking up, Cloud."
It's the fastest run in his life. He is bumping into people, completely not caring about it. Running past Commander Hewley he hears him telling the nurses to leave him alone. Unimportant. Where is his room?... 205.. 207... 209.. And finally...
Cloud leans against the doorframe, breathing hard through his mouth, tears gathering in his eyes. "Zack?" asks the teenager uncertainly, as if he would wake up any minute, alone. "Zack," he repeats louder, walking to the man's bed on shaky legs. He sits on its edge, slowly reaching with his hand to the bandage around the First's head. He's looking way better now than just week ago: a lifeless body with broken bones, and blood pouring from his head...
Zack's gaze softens and he takes Cloud's hand in his. "Do you know any other Zack?"
It's this moment that Cloud starts crying; tears running down his cheeks and falling then onto his knees. A storm of thousand emotions inside of him makes him unable to move. The teenager can't believe he is so happy when just minutes ago he was sure that his world was going to end.
Zack pulls him closer to himself, embracing the corporal and nuzzling his hair with his nose, murmuring sweet things. Cloud grips his hospital gown with shaking fingers, sobbing. "I-I thought I was g-going to lose you..." He's crying so hard he can barely speak.
"Babe," murmurs Zack, looking down at his precious corporal and hugging him tighter - so strong, even after a week in a coma. "You're not going to lose me, I am here, aren't I?" His voice is gentle, and so loving that Cloud only starts sobbing harder. "Well, you did lose a part of me, but the rest is here." There are dark shadows in the First's visible eye, and Strife understands now why the other is hidden under the bandage.
Cloud smiles through his tears, gently touching the plaster where his boyfriend's eye had been. "I've always liked stories about pirates, and with a black patch you're going to be the most handsome pirate ever."
Zack chuckles at him, some of the shadows disappearing, but many are left. That's okay, though. Now that are together, Cloud will take care of them and make sure they disappear, too.
My inspiration for this fic was this text:
Imagine the flood of relief person A or B would feel when their partner finally wakes up in hospital after sustaining severe injuries that nearly killed them.
(Source: imagineyourotp on tumblr)
Zack/Cloud isn't exactly my OTP, but I had to write this ^^