"How have you been feeling?" Dr. Hojo asked.
"Fine," Sephiroth answered.
"You're going up North again. Do you need an immune system enhancement?"
"Fuck that. That's your code for makin' me sick on purpose with some crazy bullshit. Don't you dare..." Sephiroth said, doing his best to sound grown up and important, despite the fact that he was naked under a thin paper gown and his feet weren't touching the floor.
"I'll do whatever I dare, Sephiroth," Hojo said breezily.
"Can you just spare me this time?" he finally implored, swallowing his pride and attempting to charm the old man with a somber, innocent, large eyed gaze. Threatening Hojo never worked, so cuteness was worth a shot. "I don't have time to be sick this week. Seriously."
"I don't have any immunity tests prepared at the moment anyway..." Hojo rubbed his chin as he looked over the page on his clipboard, and lifted it to check over another. "Your levels all look stable, so that'll shorten this visit. But I'd like to get another opinion on something before I let you leave. Will you wait here for ten minutes while I collect the necessary data?"
Sephiroth leaned back on his palms impatiently. "I guess I can do ten minutes."
Hojo pushed his glasses up with a distinct air of disappointment. "I can't even stand to listen to you speak. Doctors, shall we?"
And with that, the small team shuffled out the door and pulled it shut behind them.
When he was finally alone Sephiroth sat up straight, tugging on the ill fitting gown which tore a little around his biceps. He looked all around the bland, spotless examination room for something of interest to occupy his attention... and there was one thing that had been distracting him since the moment he'd arrived.
A jug of water sat upon the counter beside a very small paper cup. It was strange and out of place, as there was no cup dispenser by the sink. It had been set there purposely by someone.
Sephiroth wasn't thirsty... but then again, he kind of was. It was suspicious, but the more he thought about the contents of the jug, the more he wanted to taste it. It looked rather inviting.
Sephiroth slid off of the table to his feet and went to the counter. He poured himself a cup of water and tossed it back, scowling at the taste. It was stale, obviously from some tap in the lab. It wasn't even cold.
... But for some reason, he felt compelled to drink another cup. He licked his lips after he was done, meaning to set it back the way it was so it wouldn't appear that he'd helped himself to somebody else's refreshment. But he didn't feel finished, yet.
He poured another cup and drank it all with another scowl; it was almost as rough to swallow as whiskey. But he forced down another cup, and then another.
Halfway through his fifth cup of water, his thirst was very suddenly quenched. He gladly emptied the remainder of the nasty, warm tap water back into the jug, set the little cup back exactly where it had been, and scooted back up onto the counter.
Moments later the doctors returned, and Sephiroth felt a thrill of victory at not being caught with his ass bare. But the inner rejoicing was short lived when Hojo sat down and began writing.
"Why did you take the water?"
Sephiroth sighed. "Sorry."
"Why did you take the water?" Hojo repeated.
"I was thirsty...?"
"I was bored," Sephiroth admitted.
"You were not thirsty, yet you took water without permission... from a lab that routinely poisons you. Even after violently objecting to an immunity test, you took the risk of taking that particular water, even when faced with the poor quality and taste." Hojo was looking out into empty air like he was a poet. "Did it occur to you that that might not be water for drinking?"
"Well, what the fuck was the little cup there for?" Sephiroth asked.
"Very good point. So you deduced that the cup was there for someone's use, and decided to be the one to use it because you were bored. Am I right?" Hojo looked up from his writing, waiting for a response.
Sephiroth had a sinking feeling. "Please tell me that was water."
"It was ordinary water," Hojo affirmed. "And you drank exactly four and a half cups. Why that amount?"
"I dunno," Sephiroth positively hated this type of interrogation. He never felt like he gave the right answers - the right answers being the ones that would get him out of there quickly.
"Perhaps you were satisfied with the amount?" Another doctor suggested.
"Don't lead him," Hojo snapped.
"... What was in the fuckin' water?" Sephiroth asked, his lids low and eyebrows high with feigned boredom.
"What happened in the middle of the fifth cup of water?" Hojo asked.
"I was done. I didn't wanna drink anymore," Sephiroth nervously rubbed the back of his neck. "I really need to go soon, I'm tired. I been trainin' new guys on fire casting all day and I have to get up at like four to catch the airship - "
"Soon," Hojo interrupted dismissively. "Sephiroth, if I were to offer you more of the water, would you accept it?"
"Because now I'm creeped out about it!" Sephiroth cried with a touch of mirth, making a couple of the more laid back doctors chuckle. At least some of the tension in the room was lifted.
Hojo brought the vibe right back down, "Have you heard any voices lately?"
"No," Sephiroth answered sharply.
"Have you felt any, what you have described before as being... 'creepy ghost hands'?" Hojo then asked, using Sephiroth's vernacular with dry disdain.
"You'd be the first to hear about it if I did."
"Have you felt any desire to merge with Jenova?"
"I've only felt the desire to merge with my boyfriend," Sephiroth smiled. This time, most of the doctors laughed.
It came as no surprise that Hojo remained unamused. "Please focus on answering the questions. The sooner you answer, the sooner you can leave, and the sooner I don't have to listen to your voice."
"I have no desire to have anything to do with Jenova," Sephiroth stated in his most clinical General voice.
Hojo did smile at that, and it was strange looking enough to cause the entire room to pause. "You say you have no desire to merge with Jenova. None at all?"
"None at all," Sephiroth agreed.
"Then please General, explain why - if you have no desire to merge with Jenova - did you gulp down lukewarm tap water until you consumed the Jenova cell I placed in there?"
Sephiroth ran that sentence over in his mind several times before answering, and each time his face fell a few more centimeters. "... Gross!"
"Gross," Hojo repeated with another odd looking smile. "You child. It was only one cell."
"Well what kind?" he asked, his face tight with disgust.
"Uterine," Hojo answered. "The mother honing cells are the most strongly concentrated there."
Sephiroth was outraged. "That is so fuckin' nasty! Don't do shit like that to me!"
This time Hojo laughed with the rest of the doctors, but it was more of an indignant scoff. "Do you know how many Jenova cells you have inside you? You're mostly her."
"So, I drank a stupid cell. That doesn't mean anything," Sephiroth said casually, despite a desire to vomit.
"Despite your stubborn personality assimilation with Vincent Valentine, it means you can still be influenced. And that means more to me than anything," Hojo said, almost to himself. "You don't even know why you do half the things that you do. You mirror human activity, emotion, and language, but you're faking it."
"... Don't you? Doesn't everybody?" Sephiroth asked. "We all learned how to be human from watching each other."
"You're better than human, though," Hojo said.
Sephiroth tilted his head, blatantly giving his doctor a scathing look he usually reserved for mouthy third class SOLDIERs. "... You said ten minutes. It's been twenty. Are we done?"
Hojo waved with his clipboard. "I'm very pleased. You may go."
Sephiroth shed the paper gown in front of the doctors and pulled on his pants. He was still shrugging into his coat as he left, trying not to show much of his anger because it would just be one more thing for them to inquire about.
It was true that he wasn't human... but he knew how to love, hate, and enjoy his life just as much as any human. It bothered him as a child, but he was too old to brood about it anymore. He couldn't change anything. It's not like there was an alternative to what he was.
Before he could think too much about any of this, he dialed up Genesis, who was contractually obligated to answer his calls. On the second ring, he picked up. "This better be urgent."
"Hey, two minutes. I just got done with a lab visit. Gimme a reality check."
Genesis heaved a very dramatic sigh. He and Angeal were probably the only people on the planet that were as enhanced as he was, and they were all aware of each other's occasional need to be verbally told how flawed they were.
"Get over yourself," Genesis told him. "You're messy, you're mean, and I've seen you eat your own boogers. You have no appreciation for fine literature, and you're constantly on your phone texting your equally obnoxious boyfriend. If you weren't so hot, I myself would have killed you by now."
Sephiroth let that sink in. "... I don't text that much."
"In meetings you do."
"In meetings yeah," Sephiroth snorted. "Alright, I'm better now. Thanks."
"So... What happened?"
"I drank a uterus cell from Jenova."
"On purpose," Sephiroth ventured to admit. "Subconsciously."
"What's the matter with you?" Genesis tsked.
"So now what? Are you pregnant?" Genesis laughed.
"I hope not. I guess that just means I can hone in on her cunt cells or something, I dunno. Just creeps me out."
"Well beautiful, go home and take a nice, hot shower. No, wait... a bubble bath. Yeah, get bubbles all over yourself. Soap everything up into a nice, thick lather - "
"I'm done with this conversation, now."
"Oh, come on! Lighten up and say something inappropriate to me! It's not cheating if you're just talking!" Genesis cried. "You owe me a favor for the reality check!"
"... I should have called Angeal."
Airship rides weren't so bad in Sephiroth's opinion, but the lack of leg room was awfully shitty. He could sit on the couch at home for a whole weekend watching movies, and be perfectly content to not move an inch. But something about the fact that he couldn't get up and walk around on an airship made his ass fall asleep, his legs ache, and his back complain. Even in first class, his knees dug into the seat in front of him, and it was almost unbearable if the person decided to lean back.
Cloud really didn't appreciate how lucky he was to have such a compact body. He could tuck himself into small places, fit into any kind of clothing, and ride around on people's backs if he didn't feel like walking. Being small had a multitude of advantages.
Sephiroth didn't dwell too much on his discomfort though. Airships were still cool because liked getting those little cups of soda and snacks from friendly flight attendants. He also liked getting a chance to watch movies he never would have thought to check out otherwise. Most of all he liked looking out the window; the Earth looked pretty from high altitudes.
But the difference in this particular airship ride was that he would be sitting next to Vincent Valentine for the duration. These days they always stopped to chit chat or greet each other in the hallways at headquarters, but they'd never actually followed through on any plans they'd made. Either Vincent was busy or Sephiroth was; it was hard trying to find free time to spend with Vincent that he wouldn't rather be spending with Cloud.
But this mission together to the Northern Crater was an excuse to finally have a decent conversation. So Sephiroth made a stop at Lazard's office to request a seat next to Vincent on the flight.
"Don't you want the seat next to you to be unoccupied? You usually prefer it so you can sit sideways," Lazard had frowned. He liked keeping SOLDIERs and Turks separate, because when the two groups got together for long periods of time they usually began comparing pay, benefits, and time off. The last thing Lazard needed was a Union up his ass, especially a Union formed by the strongest and the sneakiest people on the planet.
"Valentine and I have history. We wanted to take some time to catch up." Sephiroth reasoned that he had nothing to hide. Lazard probably knew more about their family situation than anyone else outside of the labs.
Something about Lazard seemed greasy and cheap, which was surprisingly easy to pull off when you were a billionaire. He was a bastard child, and he didn't quite know how to outwardly reflect the endless amount of money in his bank account. He had become a caricature of bad taste, and Sephiroth could only imagine how tacky his home must be. Like red carpets and gold wallpaper kind of tacky.
But despite his poor fashion sense, his drug problems, and the fact that he'd fucked his own little brother, Lazard was a fairly nice guy. "In that case, I have nothing against you and Valentine being seatmates."
"Thanks. But can you make sure we get the first row? I don't wanna knee-fuck the person in front of me."
Lazard laughed openly, another characteristic that differentiated himself from his socially reserved family. "I always try to do my best for you, Sephiroth."
Sephiroth arrived that morning in the more airship-friendly SOLDIER First Class uniform and his hair tied up in a cascading, messy bun. Anything at all to fend off the airship cramps, and he had to admit he had always felt so fucking cute in the uniform. Even more so now that Shin-Ra was accustomed to him in a more intimidating leather outfit; when people saw him wearing anything else he tended to get a lot of lingering smiles.
It was a challenge not to prance, but Sephiroth fought the urge... mostly.
He found Vincent at the airship gate, long legs stretched out and a newspaper in his hands. His suit was a little neater than usual, probably due to the early hour and the fact that he hadn't had to kill anyone yet that day.
Sephiroth went to sit beside him with no change to his gait or his posture, but suddenly felt four feet shorter. It felt especially true with a knapsack slung over his shoulder, making it oddly reminiscent of a night spent at Vincent's apartment as a child. He approached him with a sense of that child-like excitement, not the angry dread that he'd felt working in the same building with him all these years.
Vincent didn't look up from the paper when Sephiroth sat down, but elbowed him gently, "Mornin'."
"Hey," Sephiroth greeted with a sigh through his nose, and leaned back against his seat. It was a full airship that morning; contractors, investors, supervisors and crew were constantly moving to and from the Northern Crater now that it was a permanent Shin-Ra base.
"Why are we here," Vincent mumbled, but it didn't exactly come out as a question. His eyes then shot to Sephiroth, and he pointed to his paper. "Five billion gil, Seph. That's what they're sayin' this is costin' Shin-Ra, but you know it's gonna be closer to ten. If I handed you ten billion gil right now, would you spend it puttin' a high tech base right in the middle of the fuckin' North Pole?"
"What would you do with it?"
"What are my options?"
"You gotta invest back into the company. If the President handed you ten billion gil, what would you do with it?"
Sephiroth started with the issue closest to home, "Twenty million to expand the Academy, and increase the trainin' program to four years instead of three. Fifty million to test and reinforce the Junon base, especially the smaller cannons which prove to be unreliable. I could probably spend a whole billion on weapons and testin', cleaner ammunition and - "
"No Seph, you're too sensible to handle any kinda real money. You'd get way too much shit done, and that's not the point."
"What is the point?"
"It's not to make what we already got better, it's to take over even more. Shin-Ra's set on takin' over the whole world."
"Hasn't he already?" Sephiroth chuckled, and it was slightly smug considering that the terrifying image he'd presented during the most recent war had helped tremendously in that regard.
"Not even close. But pullin' this Northern Crater shit?... Man. Ten billion gil, Seph. He's got that to burn, buildin' the most kickass base we've ever had. You know how many men are anticipated to take residency at this base?"
Sephiroth should have known this information, but actually didn't. He confidently fudged a reasonable sounding number, "Five thousand."
"And they'll be older vets, guys on light duty, or greenies. Total waste of money." Vincent closed the paper and slapped it against Sephiroth's chest. "I'm gonna get some coffee. They said one of the flight attendants is late, we gotta wait for a replacement. You want a cup?"
"Sure," Sephiroth nodded, opening the paper without any real interest in its contents. He couldn't read it without his glasses anyways, and he didn't feel like finding them in his duffle bag.
"What kind do you drink?"
"No sweet shit, just nasty and hot."
"Good," Vincent gave him a scrutinizing, yet approving scowl. "A man's drink."
"And one of those big chocolate chip cookies," Sephiroth amended.
"Go fuck yourself."
Sephiroth gave a lukewarm smile to a few of the pencil pushers he knew from the Academy, and pretended to read Vincent's paper. He held it at arm's length and squinted a little so he could make out the pictures that had been printed of the new Northern Crater base plan. It looked impressive, but even before hearing Vincent's input he'd found the entire thing exhaustive and unnecessary.
Vincent returned with their coffee, and with one of the cookies that Sephiroth had facetiously requested. He almost turned it down, but the gesture was nice and he had never met a cookie that he didn't like. He gratefully consumed the treat and sipped at his hot coffee.
They sat beside each other for a long while, every so often pausing to throw a glance at each other. Sephiroth retied his boot laces, Vincent combed his hair with his fingers. Sephiroth exhaustively checked his phone for personal messages, and Vincent tapped his fingers against his polished loafer.
"So tell me about..." Vincent began, but ended up making a vague rolling gesture with his hand. "... All of it."
Sephiroth knew exactly what Vincent meant by 'it'. 'It' was life, the time they'd missed, the mundane in's and out's of existence. There was a lot of 'it' that Vincent had missed.
His eyes dropped over Sephiroth's form, easily seeing the child's body hidden inside the lean mass it had become. All the protein and physical training in the world couldn't change the tiny details of Sephiroth that were the same since he was a baby - the shape of his fingernails, the slope of his nose, and the unusual arrangement of his features.
"All of it," Sephiroth repeated, flashing a smile of disbelief and fatigue. "Well... the day I graduated I moved out on my own, and I'm still livin' out over near the West edge. Uhh... I was a trainin' Sergeant for half a year, then I went to Wutai to patrol and move troops for a year, and then I came back and got promoted to Lieutenant for what felt like five seconds before I was like... thrust into the runnin' for General, and was basically kissin' every single ass in Shin-Ra for another year until I got the promotion."
"I remember that," Vincent laughed. "You got pretty."
Sephiroth rolled his eyes, "Might as well have been a fuckin' beauty pageant, I had a team of people coachin' me on how to speak and how to act... I never thought in a million years the old guy would pick me, Vince. I still don't believe it sometimes... but I guess the President an' Hojo set it all up that way, huh?"
"No, Seph. The old General might have been a fuckin' corpse when he finally gave up that position, but he never once let the President push him around. He retired because he was dyin'. He'd still be a General today if he wasn't sick. Prolly one of the reasons why the Prez set you up with the glam squad, makin' sure you were the easiest choice for him to make," Vincent took a long drink of his coffee, since it had cooled off enough to enjoy. "Oldie liked you because you weren't a ladder climber like the other candidates. You have naturally heroic instincts - "
"Stop," Sephiroth groaned softly, very close to turning red.
"Seph, I know all about you. I won't embarrass you, but lemme tell you that you save lives everywhere you go. Some leaders - some leaders you work with right now - they pass those kind of life-saving opportunities up just because they can. You really care about bringin' everyone home, and not many men in your position do. You're pretty new at it, so who knows what your policy may be in a few years... but SOLDIERs feel safe with you."
"It's just a game to me," Sephiroth said dismissively. "I see the number brought, and I like to keep it close to the number retrieved. Less paperwork, less work, less mess."
Vincent allowed Sephiroth his humbleness and said nothing more.
"So what about you?" Sephiroth changed the subject. "What have you been doin'?"
"There's gotta be more than that," Sephiroth laughed.
"There's never been much more than that," Vincent said, pushing himself up out of his seat. The final flight attendant came rushing towards the gate, all apologies. The airship quickly boarded and before long they found themselves climbing altitude.
"Tell me about this boy you've got," Vincent asked after they'd settled in. They'd gotten the first row seat and they were both using every inch of space to stretch their identical, long legs out in front of themselves.
Sephiroth's nose wrinkled a little. "Why?"
"Don't act embarrassed," Vincent said dryly. He would never tell Sephiroth about catching him making out with Cloud in the slums, because there would be no comedic point. That day Vincent had been angry and disgusted at the display, but after meeting Cloud and seeing the two interact with each other, instead of just slobbering all over each other... He could accept that there was some value to it.
"You know all there is to know," Sephiroth claimed. "We're datin'..."
"Do you two..." Vincent showed the palms of his hands in an innocent display of confusion. He'd never been one to speak eloquently, and just blurted out what he was wondering : "Do you do actual gay shit? Like fuck each other and stuff?"
Sephiroth's eyes went wide, the skinny slit iris going even more narrow. "... Of course."
"Really?" Vincent asked in amazement, shaking his head a little. "Wow. Really? How?"
Sephiroth bit the inside of his cheek, "... How what?"
"Not how, but I mean... What exactly..." Vincent grasped for words. "How... How are you like that? When did you decide to be like that?"
"Like what?" Sephiroth asked with a dark curl of his features. "Just say 'gay', Vincent."
"I just don't see it, Seph," Vincent finally confessed. "I mean, I can usually see that shit a mile away. I really don't see it in you, not even after findin' out you were... like that. Gay."
Sephiroth frowned, "Just 'cause I don't act like some stereotypical faggot from a TV show doesn't mean I'm pretendin' to be somethin' I'm not."
"Oh get over yourself," Vincent reached over to push Sephiroth's shoulder. "I'm not tryin' to insult ya. But Cloud? Oh yeah, I'd definitely know he was gay. Might as well cut it off and be a chick."
"He's a man, Vincent. Trust me, he's a man," Sephiroth quickly defended, not wanting Vincent to accept his sexuality because it wasn't obvious, but look down on Cloud for being less able to hide it. It was just who Cloud was.
"Yeah, he's manly," Vincent huffed doubtfully.
"I know he's a little bit short and... kind of a queen sometimes," Sephiroth shrugged a shoulder. "But there's more to him than you think."
"Do you let him fuck you up the ass?"
Another wide eyed, cat-like expression popped onto Sephiroth face, "... That's a horrifyin' question."
Vincent gave him a petulant look, "I've changed your diapers. Just answer it or I'll die wonderin'."
"Yes!" Sephiroth admitted exhaustively, letting the cat out of the bag because he figured it would probably keep coming up over and over if he didn't. Vincent wasn't the only person who'd probed into his bedroom preferences, and he didn't know why it was so hard for people to believe. Who wouldn't want to get fucked by Cloud Strife?
"But there are so many good lookin' girls around... why would you wanna be with another guy?" Vincent asked, looking at Sephiroth like a rare spectacle. He then repeated with a whisper of incredulity, "And in your ass? Jesus Christ!"
"You ever do anal with a chick?"
On the other side of the question, Vincent found himself struggling to answer. "I fuck girls up the ass, sure."
"Why would you do that with so many good lookin' boys around?"
There was a fraction of a second that Vincent's expression slipped into a horrified balk, and Sephiroth began to bark on laughter. Vincent tore a magazine from a pocket beside Sephiroth's seat and smacked him in the face with it. Someone must have complained about the noise, because a passing flight attendant gave them a tsk until they obediently quieted down.
Sephiroth spoke on a hushed tone. "I don't know how to make you understand it, but I'm totally happy. Way happier than ever before."
"You just don't act gay," Vincent shrugged. "You never did."
"I guess parents don't usually see that kinda stuff in their kids."
Vincent let that thought sink in, before he rested his head against his seat. "... I wouldn't call me droppin' in now and then bein' any kind of parent to you."
Sephiroth laughed at that, feeling more comfortable now that the subject wasn't his ass and what occasionally went into it. "You might not have come that often, but I remember you the most. Everything else about growin' up seemed... like background noise. I always looked forward to seein' you."
Vincent didn't say anything, but stared out of the window at the ground far below.
The words felt heavy in the air, so Sephiroth quickly cleared them away with chatter, "Sorry if that was weird. I know I'm a grown man, now. I prob'ly shouldn't say shit like that."
"You look about six-years-old to me, so it doesn't really matter what you say, Seph," Vincent finally looked away from the window. "When we sat down I almost wanted to ask you if you needed help with your seat buckle."
Sephiroth smiled, excited and eager for another topic to talk to Vincent about, just to hear his answers, "So, you got a girlfriend?"
"I got some friends that are girls. Women, I guess is a better term for them..." Vincent seemed bored by the subject.
Sephiroth's eyebrows lifted a little. "How many?"
"Enough to get by," Vincent said with an edge of finality. "You ever had a girl?"
"Yeah," Sephiroth smiled shyly, unable to contain a small sigh of dread. "Well, I dated girls before Cloud. You never saw a worse ladies' man than me."
"I find that hard to believe. You're way too pretty not to have some luck, even if you didn't say a word to 'em."
Sephiroth took the compliment for what is was worth, but cheekily dug into Vincent's dirty laundry, "Maybe I shoulda gone after some older cougar like you did with my mom, I mighta done better."
Vincent tilted his head in thought. "Now that you mention it, I could never talk to chicks my own age, either. Maybe that's why your mom was into me. It is easier to talk to older women."
Sephiroth licked the side of his mouth with a sniffle of humor. "So if you're still going after older women... they in their sixties?"
"Listen, friend," Vincent said, straightening up in his seat and patting down the wrinkled front of his suit. "Time travels in a straight line, so take a good look at your future. You'll be pushin' fourty someday, too."
"You're a shithead," Vincent grumbled. "You got a taller but nothin's changed, you're still a little piece of shit."
"I have a serious question," Sephiroth said, giving himself a pause to get the words together. "... Was there ever like... a paternity test?"
"You'd know better than I would. I'm sure your mom knew, but she never told me for sure. I'm sure the lab knows. Nobody ever said nothin' to me, though..." Vincent paused to accept a soda from the flight attendant.
Sephiroth asked her for coffee, and when her attention had moved elsewhere he leaned closer. "I never asked, because it seemed like it didn't matter. I kinda don't wanna know, because if it turned out that you weren't - "
Vincent interrupted. "I'm sorry I left you."
"... It's okay."
"No. You were right. I shouldn't have even left you once."
"... It's okay now," Sephiroth amended.
"You were a funny kid," Vincent smiled, taking a long drink of his soda. "I tried to come every Saturday to see you. We'd go to the park, or the movies, or my apartment. Just to get you outta there for a couple hours. I was busy with work, so I missed a lot of Saturdays... I tried to make 'em up though. When you were about four-years-old I missed a Saturday with you, so I came on the followin' Monday. Then I was free that weekend, so I came again on Saturday like usual. When I showed up, you gave me one of those huge, shark tooth smiles and just ran to me. I picked you up, and you hugged me and said, 'I didn't think you'd wanna come here again this week.'
"I think the only time my heart ever broke harder is when your mom passed," Vincent finally stopped talking, and stared mournfully into empty space. He was seeing something behind his eyes that was private and indescribable.
"... Did you think I died? Her baby, I mean," Sephiroth asked carefully.
Vincent blinked away whatever vision had been consuming him, and nodded, "Oh yeah. The day she went into labor, she called me. She said that as soon as the baby was there and she'd rested a little, she'd call me back. I waited all that day, but I didn't wanna blow up her phone with calls... your mom was really somethin', she always complained I was too needy when I called her, but then said I was a bastard if I didn't. So I just waited... and finally her mom called and told me the bad news."
"Her mom?" Sephiroth asked. "I have a grandma?"
"Oh," Vincent stopped short. He wasn't sure if Sephiroth knew who his grandmother was, and didn't know how to tell him. "... You know Dr. Crescent? That old broad with the big glasses? She's Lucy's mom... your mom's mom."
Sephiroth's eyes went wide when he finally put it together. His face fell into a gawk for a moment, until he slowly collected himself. "... She was... She never even acted like she..."
"The women in that family are pretty damn cold," Vincent agreed.
Sephiroth still seemed disturbed by this development, but returned to the original subject. "So you just figured her kid died, too?"
Vincent nodded, "Pretty much. Her desk in the lab was already gone the next time I went down there, and you know how comforting that crew can be to a grieving man. They basically said I had no business down there anymore and to get the fuck out. I didn't go down again until after I met you."
Sephiroth stared down at the blue carpet under his feet, seeing little imperfections where it frayed near the metal wall of the airship. "... And you met me when I was two?"
"You weren't even two, yet. You were toddlin' around headquarters, causin' trouble as usual. I just happened to come across you... it was unmistakable, no question. You have your mom's... everything."
"... You think I look like her?" Sephiroth asked, his throat constricting hard for reasons that were unclear to him. His mother was an awful woman, that much was true. But he respected Vincent's opinion far more than Professor Hojo's, and he'd much rather resemble Vincent's cruel former lover than a monstrous extraterrestrial mess of misshapen body parts and tentacles.
"You do look like her," Vincent said, his eyes moving over the lines of Sephiroth's face. "There's one difference, though..."
After a pause, Sephiroth finally asked, "... What?"
"You're much prettier than she was."
Vincent was only kidding, but watching that familiar, sharp-toothed smile develop on Sephiroth's features, he had to admit that it was kind of true. Lucrecia had been pretty, but their son was beautiful.
Cloud had never really had friends before in his entire life, so nobody thought to mention to him that he didn't have to go along with every single thing they wanted to do. His drive to please everyone around him, plus his cute looks had catapulted him into something resembling popularity at the Shin-Ra Military Academy. Or as popular as a boy who was 5'4", openly gay, and wore skinny jeans could become, but at least he didn't take teasing personally anymore.
It's not as though he had fallen in with a bad crowd; if anything his group of friends were extremely driven in their goals to reach the SOLDIER exam. Simply keeping up with them in the hallway was a challenge for Cloud's shorter legs, and constantly cramming for tests and pumping iron left Cloud feeling a little lost in his own life.
He needed a break. He got them often enough with Sephiroth, especially now that he was stationed in the city for the time being. Love made them equals at home, but there was no denying that Sephiroth had every ounce of power in their professional relationship with rank, size, intellect and experience. Even on weekends, Cloud found himself trailing after Sephiroth through Midgar Park on one of the General's grueling runs. It was good for both of them, plus he liked to watch Sephiroth's ass in sweatpants.
Cloud found the perfect sanctuary from the Shin-Ra life as a cashier at Dirty Rubbers. He was working his very first Wednesday evening shift, and had already fallen in love with it. Here, he wasn't short, or too loud, or just another skinny Cadet trying to weasel into SOLDIER.
In the civilian world, with his cute face, unusual hair and his emerging rack of abdominal muscles, Cloud might as well have been a teenage Adonis. It was wonderful.
It was quite an easy job, as the customers were relaxed, the merchandise was fun to look at, and he had the opportunity to play his own music at obnoxious volumes. The rest of the staff was right down the street at the local quiz bar, where they were enjoying a night out of the store. He could see how it would became dull as an everyday job, but for a Cadet in the Shin-Ra army getting paid to fold clothes was paradise.
Gus also made it clear that a part of his job was to wear and sell the merchandise. Before he'd left, he'd made sure that Cloud changed into a tiny jockstrap, thigh highs and some cleats.
At the Academy he was considered scrawny, but here Cloud was getting the most raunchy sexual attention he'd ever gotten in his life. Three teenage girls had giggled and asked him to pose for a cell phone picture with them, in which he received three lip gloss-sticky kisses on his cheeks. The same high brow businessman had walked past the store at least fifty times, staring a hole into Cloud's underwear. And actual good looking gay men were paying attention to him... not the noisy Academy sort of gay, but the well-dressed, educated and hunky sort. The kind who had tiny dogs and were bartenders and could actually grow facial hair.
But it got a little weird when a woman his mother's age had hung around for nearly twenty minutes, grilling him about the strength of his sexual orientation. And a few of the customers though that it would be acceptable to grab onto whatever part of his body was available for grabbing. It was funny that most of the handsy people were straight guys with their girlfriends.
Being an irresistible hunk was quite a hassle!
Ego inflated, Cloud got back to work cleaning the store. He thoroughly swept beneath the thick shelves on the back wall, finding a decade's worth of crap lingering there. It seemed the other workers at Dirty Rubbers decided to use that area as the perfect place to hide debris, dust, and garbage instead of sweeping it into a dustpan.
As Cloud was bent over and moodily sweeping out the mess, he was tempted to ignore a slow whistle coming from the end of the aisle - he was sure that his butthole was probably on display. He quickly sat up on his knees and glanced over his shoulder, "Do you need help finding anyth - "
Aerith stood there in a pink track suit, looking perfectly innocent with a demure smile on her doll-like face. "... Hey Cloud, have you ever had that dream where you go to work but forget to put on your clothes?"
Cloud spun around to face her, and tried to hide behind the broom he was holding. Twenty pounds ago, that might have actually been effective. As it was, it was like trying to censor a statue with a fig leaf; it only accentuated the fact that he was practically stark naked in front of a loathed enemy.
But even if he was without clothing, he was still furious. "If I had a gun, I would blow your head off."
"... Excuse me?" She blinked, her friendly expression going blank with shock.
"I gave you the benefit of the doubt, but Sephiroth was right all along. You're a fucking cunt, and if you ever bother Zack again, I'm going to..." Cloud trailed off as Zack appeared in the aisle, carrying some sort of lacy garment.
"Hey Aer, check out this..." His eyes went wide when he saw Cloud, and barking laughter escaped. "Cloud, who took your clothes? Did you get mugged or something?"
"No! I work here now! This is my uniform!" Cloud spat out, wilting a little bit. "What the fuck are you doing here with her?"
Zack seemed at a loss for what to say. "Well... just hanging out."
"Does Sephiroth know about this?" Cloud cried.
"Zack doesn't need Sephiroth's permission to see me," Aerith stated. "We're working things out, and it's our business and nobody else's."
"Yeah? Well dream on period face, because everyone knows what you did and everyone hates you for it!" Cloud sneered petulantly.
"I'm sure I have some friends who hate Zack as much as you seem to hate me, now. I thought you might be on my side, but I guess not!"
"Why would I be on your side?" Cloud didn't mean to, but his hands moved the broom to hold it at the angle of a weapon. He was almost fully trained, and could have killed her instantly with the blunt wooden instrument.
Zack came forward and put his hand over the end of what could potentially become a dangerous weapon. "Cloud, you need to chill."
"You need to wise up!" Cloud snarled, letting go of the broom. He crossed his arms a little uncertainly with nothing to hide behind, but was still venomously angry. "There is nothing you can do to take back what you've done! Zack belongs to us now, and I'll kill you if I have to! I don't care if I have to go to jail! Sephiroth can clear the rap sheet and Zack will eventually forgive me!"
Despite the horrified look on his face, Zack began to laugh. "Cloud, what has Sephiroth done to you? You're like a cute little naked baby version of - "
"I'm not in the mood, Zack!" Cloud roared, and tried to snatch the broom back.
"Cloud, calm down!" Zack was quickly dissolving into hysterical laughter as Cloud began to strike out at him.
"Call me cute again! I dare you!"
Zack held onto the broom and turned a little, letting Cloud's fists sock into his arm, "I didn't mean it! You're not cute, you're hideous! Hit me all you want, but you can't hit a lady. Especially a... pregnant lady."
Cloud's face cleared of the angry red, went nearly white, but then immediately turned pink with embarrassment. "... You lied about the... ?"
Aerith just gave him an empty shrug.
Cloud had too many emotions and no place in his mind to put them all. It was such a bittersweet wave of excitement and relief, but it was inked with another swell of anger. "Why the fuck would you lie about that?"
Zack reached out to pull Cloud's into a hug, which was kind of awkward considering he was a jock cup away from being stark naked. "Sis, just drop it alright? Couples do weird shit to each other... I'm sure you and Seph have some disagreements."
"I wouldn't ever tell him that his child was dead!" Cloud cried.
"A congratulations might be nice," Aerith piped up.
"Oh yeah? Well congratu-fucking-lations! Get out of my store!" Cloud snatched his broom back from Zack and angrily began attacking the dust pile on the floor. He quickly stopped to give Zack a murderous glare. "And as for you... don't bother coming around me and Seph and laying out your stupid girl problems! You never listen to us, anyways! You knocked up this useless broad and now you're stuck with her for life! Congratu-fucking-lations to you, too!"
"Why are you so mad?" Zack asked with a deep frown.
"Because... because..." Cloud slowed down a bit. He was angry because Aerith was so wrong for Zack, so scheming and conniving and bitchy and horrible. He was angry for how much energy Sephiroth put into making Zack feel better on Halloween - on their anniversary, a night that should have been all about them. And he also felt betrayed that his good advice to Zack wasn't being put to use, he'd gone crawling right back into her poisonous talons.
All pretty selfish reasons, really. Cloud slumped a bit, "... I'm angry because she hurt you. She's hurt you more than once."
"Thank you," Zack told him warmly. "But this... total fucking bitch... is having my kid. And... I kind of lied to you and Seph about the finer details of the abortion thing. I mean - she did tell me she got one. But um... well, we'd kind of fought the day before and I may have suggested it. So I might have deserved it - "
"You deserved it," Aerith said firmly. "We were arguing about the baby's sex, Cloud. He told me if I wasn't going to give him a boy, I might as well sit on a rusty coat hanger."
"Zack!" Cloud gasped. "You said that?"
Zack nodded guiltily. "It's our thing. We fight a lot. It gets us going... it's something I love about her. You know me... I'm a pretty happy guy, I can't ever really get mad at headquarters without getting knocked back down by one of the Firsts. She's kind of like my punching bag."
"He's a moron," Aerith agreed. "But a sexy moron. And very easy to lie to."
"But you said you saw her going into an abortion clinic with your psychic powers!" Cloud reminded him.
Aerith laughed, "I never went into an abortion clinic, I went to my new obstetrician. Zack's just too stupid to realize what he's looking at."
Zack rolled his eyes a little bit. "We should clean up our act before my son is born."
"If it actually turns out to be a boy, I'm cutting it off. We're having a girl one way or another."
"I'll cut the girl's hair short and give her testosterone until she grows a dick - "
Cloud groaned loudly, "So you're actually telling me that you guys get off on being assholes to each other?"
Aerith reached out and took Zack's hand, swinging it slightly. "Yeah..."
Zack was beaming. "Hey Cloud... I'm gonna be a daddy."
Cloud couldn't resist a squeal. "A baby!... It's disgusting that you two had sex, but that's so exciting!"
"So you're happy for us?" Aerith asked, her usual reserved, icy expression melting into something softer.
"I have mixed feelings about you because you're the devil, but I'm really excited for another baby to play with. But most of all I'm looking forward to Sephiroth's reaction to all this."
Zack gave his baby mama a fearful, withered look, "... Maybe it's a good idea that you get the abortion, after all."
She rolled her eyes and gave him an affectionate shove. "Sephiroth will react to this like he reacts to everything - loud sounds, no tact, and crushing stupidity."
"He's a tactical genius," Cloud muttered with narrowed eyes, both hands pulling tight on the broom handle.
"He's a monster," Aerith declared with certainty. "He's also a stark raving lunatic, and has had a man-crush on Zack since before he even knew he was gay. He's just jealous of me!"
Zack shook his head rapidly, "Sephiroth does not have a crush on me!"
"... Oh my God," Cloud snorted behind both of his hands, his eyes bright and wild. "I bet he does!"
"Cloud, shut up!" Zack cried, his ears going bright with embarrassment. "Nobody has a crush on me!"
"Everyone who meets you has a crush on you!" Aerith laughed.
"I have a little crush on you," Cloud admitted.
"See? You're irresistible," Aerith cooed, tucking herself under his arm. "Sephiroth will be fine. We'll still fight and break up all the time, and he'll still get to fix your problems."
"Are you getting married?" Cloud sighed, leaning his head against his broom dreamily.
Zack grimaced, but was thankful for the subject change. "I really hate weddings. And it's not like we can afford anything right now - "
Cloud completely forgot his wrath, and reached out with wiggling fingers to grab Aerith's hand. "Seph and I could help! He has remarkable taste and all these really weird hookups in the fashion industry - I bet he could even score you a Vera Wang for free! And I can cook! I'll make some finger food! And we even have like, four tiers of this huge wedding cake in Seph's freezer leftover from our anniversary - "
"Why do you have a wedding cake in Seph's freezer?" Zack wondered aloud.
Aerith's eyes softened, and she tightened her fingers around Cloud's. "Thanks, but really... Zack's right. Marriage isn't a big priority... and I'm not sure if I really want to spend my life with this idiot."
Cloud's excitement didn't dim. "You should at least throw a baby shower to get some gifts!"
"But why do you have a wedding cake in Seph's freezer?" Zack repeated.
"There will definitely be a shower," Aerith nodded. "You'll get an invitation through Sephiroth. And make that cheapskate get us something good."
"He will! I bet he'd like to decorate a baby room, too!"
"You think he would? Isn't he like all pretentious about decorating, though?"
"Sephiroth is not pretentious," Cloud insisted. "He will love doing this for you guys."
"Maybe it'd be nice to have a mural," Aerith thought aloud. "What do you think, Zack?"
"... Why do you have a wedding cake in Seph's freezer?"
"Who cares?" Aerith cried.
"We're in a spiritual union," Cloud answered flippantly, then turned back to Aerith. "What kind of mural would you want?"
"I guess it would depend on the baby's sex," She put a finger to her chin in thought. "I wish I could will it to be a girl."
"You and Seph got gay married and I wasn't even invited?" Zack asked, his handsome face twisted into a mess of confusion.
"No, we're not married!" Cloud made a face as he suddenly felt naked again, and stood behind his broom. "We just kind of... wanted to shit on the institution of heterosexual unions by having a wedding cake on our first anniversary. Actually that's bullshit, I think Seph just wanted some cake."
"You could have invited me over for some..." Zack crossed his arms in annoyance. "What flavor was it? I want a piece!"
"Zack! It's not your flipping cake!" Aerith suddenly roared. "This is why I can't marry you, you are a toddler in a man's body!"
Zack pursed his lips for a moment, then whispered, "Can we get some cake after we leave here?"
"... Fine. That sounds good," she agreed, her mood instantly lifting. She glanced back at Cloud. "We're leaving."
"Good, your business is no longer welcome here," Cloud took the broom and shooed them out of the store. "Come back for crotchless panties or whatever you were going to buy some other day when I don't have to deal with you."
With the promise of cake, Zack allowed himself to be brushed out onto the sidewalk. "Alright, see you later. Tell Seph I said 'hey' when you talk to him!"
"Don't tell him you saw me, I want to break the news to him personally," Aerith smiled, following Zack's arm down the sidewalk.
Cloud thought for a moment that they looked cute together, a nice little family. He then got a strong craving for some of that cake in the freezer. Mostly it was covered in streaks of Sephiroth's semen from their food fight, but it was still good eating. He liked a little hint of saltiness in his dessert, anyways.
"Attention...uh... you hags over there," Cloud shouted, turning off the music. "Dirty Rubbers is closed. Decide what you want, come pay for it, then please get out."
Dirty Rubbers closed at midnight, and that sounded much earlier than it felt. Cloud was utterly exhausted, and the later it became, the busier the store got with people rushing for last minute props and accessories to complete their night. It was fun and interesting to see what people were buying, and it really gave him insight into people's freaky sex lives.
After seeing some of the things people bought, he figured that he probably had the most mundane sex life in Midgar.
But with a boyfriend like Sephiroth... who really needed blowup dolls and fleshlights and nipple clamps? Maybe one day it'd be fun to try different things, but for the time being he was having a good time with Sephiroth's... body. Just being close to that man's body was enough.
Cloud's voyeuristic retail fascination wore off around ten o'clock, by eleven he was so sleepy that he was nodding off behind the register, and by closing time he had no patience left at all. Cloud leaned on the counter and glared as a bachelorette party made their final nasty purchases.
"Why do you girls need fifteen dildos? There are only ten of you," Cloud muttered as he bagged up their merchandise.
The bachelorette posse simply giggled at him.
Cloud balanced the register and put the money in the store's safe, turned off the lights and locked up, and then slipped the spare key back in through the mail slot. He'd be lucky to be in bed before three that morning by the time he walked to the train station, rode it up to the upper plate, then walked to the Academy. It wasn't a bad little gig, but Cloud wondered how he would keep it up... Thursday mornings would be rough from now on.
Shin-Ra was a lifestyle. Maybe it was wishful thinking that he might have a little retail getaway. He frowned, lamenting his body's need for sleep as he zipped up his jacket and began to trot down the sidewalk.
A black vehicle slowed down beside him and honked, and it being late night in the downtown slums, Cloud decided to keep his eyes on the sidewalk and ignore it. He didn't want any drugs and he wasn't selling his ass, so he had no business talking to anybody down here.
"Hey!" came a voice. And then, "Cloud!"
He looked up at that, and saw two very unlikely people. It was Sephiroth's lesbian Turk friend Elena, and Marty, the young Turk trainee that was emotionally invested in Sephiroth and Vincent's family drama.
"Hi," Cloud answered in surprise, wondering if his sleepiness had graduated to the hallucinogenic stage.
"We'll give you a lift," Elena said.
"... Are you sure?" Cloud asked uncertainly.
She rolled her eyes. "Just get in already."
Cloud opened the door and dropped down onto the warm leather backseat with a gush of happiness. "Thank you! Wow, this is a really nice car!"
"It's not my car," Elena said, stepping on the gas. "Buckle your seatbelt."
Cloud quickly did, and held onto it with both hands as the petite Turk began to veer her way around slower traffic. "Jesus, did Sephiroth teach you how to drive?"
"Yes," she answered curtly, switching lanes and taking off with a velocity that pressed Cloud back into his seat.
He was used to giving control to skilled but insane drivers, so instead he tried to initiate conversation with Marty. "Hey, I haven't seen you since the party at Rhonda's. How are you?"
"I do nothing but train with... her," Marty answered distantly, throwing a look at Elena. "I haven't slept in four days."
"Why?" Cloud balked.
"Turks should be able to stay awake for a week," Elena answered for him. "I haven't slept in four days either, and I'm fine."
"That's inhumane!" Cloud laughed, looking between the two of them for a hint of humor, or some sign they were pulling his leg. They were both serious. "... Jesus, I'm glad I'm not gonna be a Turk."
Elena chuckled sarcastically at that. "The Turks wouldn't take you."
"Why not?" Cloud asked, mildly offended.
"You are what we call..." Elena searched for the right term.
"A jock?" Marty guessed.
"Oh! A jock?" Cloud cried in ecstasy. "You actually think I'm a jock?"
Elena was silent as she maneuvered around a particularly difficult traffic spot, and for a few moments they were totally driving on the sidewalk. She nearly floored it as clear road opened up ahead. "... Maybe, but what do they call a jock who... is too small and weak to actually play the game?"
"I don't think there's a word for that," Marty said with a small shrug.
"No there is. It was an Adam Sandler movie."
"Yes!" Elena nodded, tapping her hand on the wheel as she chuckled. "Cloud is a SOLDIER waterboy."
"That's so cold!" Marty shouted, finding some vein of humor in the cruel observation.
Marty's laughter made tears spring to his eyes, because even though they didn't know one another well, Cloud thought they were friends. It was okay to laugh at a friend's expense, but not like... that. Cloud viciously bit his lip to stop it from trembling, and decided to ignore the last word in Elena's sentence and focus on the first four - Cloud is a SOLDIER.
The Turks kept chuckling at him, so with the threat of crying past, he declared, "Thank you Miss Elena, for that veiled and very backhanded compliment."
"Waterboys grow up to be watermen," Elena said. "And water is the strongest of all the elements."
Marty looked at her, "What are you talking about?"
"I dunno, I'm just trying to make him feel better. I think I actually hurt his feelings."
"You didn't hurt my feelings," Cloud drawled brattily as he glared out of his window, keeping his eyes wide to allow air to dry them out. Men could take jokes, SOLDIERs could take jokes, so he could take a joke.
Elena glanced at him in the rearview mirror. "If it's any consolation, Sephiroth cares for his waterboy very much. We're here to give you a ride home, after all."
Cloud gave a tired, lopsided smile. "I kind of figured. You don't like me enough to just offer me a ride for no reason."
"You're right," Elena agreed. "But Sephiroth rarely asks for favors, so it's no trouble to me. Some other people disrespect us enough to have us pick up their children from school and give them snacks."
"And do their homework," Marty grumbled.
"So we'll give you a ride home every week from this meaningless job of yours," Elena then told him. "Until you get yourself fired or something."
Cloud shrugged. "I was just thinking I might quit. I'll let you know how I feel getting up at five tomorrow."
"Why sleep at all?" Marty asked. "Just stay up."
Cloud frowned, "I like to sleep."
"Lazy," Elena observed.
"Sleeping is a normal human function!" Cloud bellowed.
"Loud, too," Elena shook her head with a smile, clearly baiting Cloud into anger. "Not to mention a crybaby."
With a million catty retorts itching on his tongue, Cloud decided to remain silent.
Elena had Cloud at the Academy gates in twenty minutes. He was a bit dazed from her driving, and a little disillusioned by the Turks' low opinion of him, but gratefully thanked them for the ride just the same. "I appreciate it, Elena."
"I'm doing it for Sephiroth," she answered, looking at her phone instead of at Cloud.
"See ya," Marty waved, then whispered, "She's a bitch when she's sleepy."
They shared a smile before Elena rolled up Marty's window for him, and the sleek black vehicle rolled away. Cloud stood alone on the sidewalk in front of the Academy gates. It was quiet, and he looked up at the smoggy sky, faded from the city's light.
The novelty of being a Cadet still hadn't worn thin yet, but he was used to it. The Academy finally felt like home to him, the people and campus were familiar, and the schedule was his life.
As tiring as it was, he enjoyed getting up every day and learning new things. He enjoyed using his body and mind, and felt a thrill every time a punch connected just right, or when he transcended mere choreography during sword classes and actually fought from the inside. There wasn't any feeling better than getting an approving wink from an instructor who underestimated him, or getting called second or third for teams instead of dead last.
Even if it didn't end with him becoming a SOLDIER... Cloud decided that he wouldn't mind being just a waterboy. But maybe that was just his peace with defeat setting in early.
Cloud swiped his badge to open the gate, and pulled it closed behind him. It was a long walk across the campus to his room, so he pulled out his phone and dialed Sephiroth for some company.
He was mildly surprised when Sephiroth answered. "Hey kid, how was your night?"
Cloud made a noise that almost resembled speaking, but it faded off into a tiny sigh. He had a hundred things to tell Sephiroth about, but his mouth was just too tired to form words. In a mere shade of his usual self, he gave a simple answer, "Really fun."
"You sound tired," Sephiroth observed. "Must have a long ride on the train back to school, huh?"
Cloud smirked. Usually he would have played along, but he didn't have the energy, "I already got my ride from Elena. Thank you, lover."
"You're welcome," Sephiroth responded, and the smile was clear in his voice.
"Why is she so mean to me, though?"
"Mean?" Sephiroth asked in disbelief. "She's not mean."
"She's really mean," Cloud insisted.
"What are you talkin' about? She's so cute."
"Cute? She's horrible! She makes me cry every time she talks to me!" Cloud complained. "She locked me onto a toilet that one time, and then tonight she told me that I'm a wannabe SOLDIER and... other mean stuff."
"She's like two feet tall, she wears a tiny suit and tries to be a badass. Did you notice how close she has to sit to the wheel when she drives? You're gonna let yourself get pushed around by someone like that?" Sephiroth laughed.
"Never mind," Cloud grumbled, the jealous side of him not wanting to hear Sephiroth fawn over anyone else. Perhaps Elena's dry cruelty might seem harmless if he was substantially taller than her, but he could probably fit into her "tiny" suit - a fact that made him angry all over again. "I'm not going to try and be friends with your friends, so keep your fucking hags. They all hate me."
"They do not. They like you a lot, I promise."
Cloud changed the subject, "So how's your trip going? Is the new base pretty?"
"It is kind of pretty. But today was long. Just walkin' around the construction, actin' like I give a shit. Right now I'm just hidin' in my room."
"Hiding from what?"
"Pants. I don't feel like wearin' any."
Cloud chuckled, suddenly feeling a lot better. "So you're pantless? What are you doing pantless?"
"Watchin' a marathon of Junon Shore," Sephiroth admitted.
"Is that all?" Cloud flirted.
"Did you forget where I am? Right now my dick is the size of a baby carrot."
Cloud laughed, clearly remembering the cruel Northern Crater's effect on his own genitals. He'd been doomed to a mere tent, but he supposed that sort of freezing cold permeated even the most solid of structures, "Poor dear! Get under some covers!"
"I'm under all of them," Sephiroth drawled glumly. "If I ever get stationed here, I'm gonna have to hire you as my personal lap warmer."
"That's my dream job!" Cloud agreed, and loudly kissed his phone several times in an attempt to warm his lover from afar. Then he turned to happier matters. "Are you still going to be back home on Sunday morning?"
Sephiroth grunted a little bit, "Yeah, really early. If you're not doin' anything Saturday night, you should go sleep at my place. I'll be there way before you even wake up."
Cloud gave a little groan of longing as he entered the Rufus Building, and quickly lowered his voice not to disturb anyone, "... So on Sunday morning I get to wake up to you in bed with me?"
Sephiroth gave an audible shiver, "Christ that sounds so good right now."
"Now I won't be able to sleep at all on Saturday! I'll be excited and waiting for you!" Cloud squealed tinnily as used the last of his energy to gallop up the staircase.
"Lube up a little bit before you go to bed."
Cloud swallowed a little sputter, opening the door to his room and entering quietly. He patted Psycho on the head as he lifted it to regard Cloud sleepily. "... You're so dirty, Seph."
"I'm dirty? You're the one who started it, ya fuckin' tease."
"No!" Cloud giggled breathily, quickly kicking off his shoes and shedding his clothes. Cameron was sound asleep in his bed, so he felt safe continuing the conversation with his beloved. "All I said was that I'll be too excited to sleep..."
"Excited," Sephiroth repeatedly.
"I meant happy!"
"Happy to warm up my cock with your ass," Sephiroth corrected.
It was difficult loving someone who was always right. Cloud continued to giggle as he pulled on some flannel pants, biting his lip as he ran a hand over the outline of his own cock, which always loved to pop up and listen in on conversations with Sephiroth. "Well... I am a little anxious. I've been sexually harassed all evening at my new job."
Sephiroth hummed curiously. He liked the idea of Cloud finally comfortable in his body. He was gorgeous, streamlined, and gaining mass in all the right places, and he deserved to feel sexy. But Sephiroth didn't like the idea of random, gross people drooling all over him, objectifying him, or greedily rubbing their dirty hands all over Cloud's assets.
That was Sephiroth's job. "Nobody touched you, did they?"
"Eh, I got pinched a little by some straight boys wanting to make their girlfriends wet. Nothing major."
"... Whadja wear? Undies and angel wings again?"
"No. This time it was a black jockstrap, white cleats... and socks."
Sephiroth made a small, throaty noise, "What color socks?"
"Black, but not the ones you like," Cloud lowered his voice a bit as he crawled into bed. "These went up to my thighs."
"Okay... Didja take a picture for me?"
"Bullshit. You did."
"I don't want to come off like a tease or anything," Cloud grinned.
"Please?" Sephiroth literally arched his back off the bed in order to raise his voice and inject a playful, kittenish squeak into it.
"What was that little noise?" Cloud asked on a sharp fit of muffled giggling, "Do that again!"
If anyone else but Cloud had heard that, it would have meant complete humiliation and he probably would have had to kill the eavesdropping party. Sephiroth tried to recreate the sound he'd made, but couldn't quite manage it.
Instead it came out as an awkward, pubescent squawk and he coughed it away, "Ugh, that actually hurt my throat. Now cut the bullshit and send me the fuckin' picture."
"Okay, okay..." Cloud was silent for a moment while Sephiroth received a photograph taken in the cracked mirror of the Dirty Rubbers dressing room. Cloud was turned around, showing off how perfectly the jock strap framed his tan, round little ass. He was only slightly bent over, but just enough that his hole was visible. The socks themselves were actually a black woman's thigh high, but the way they accentuated the lines of Cloud's slim, toned thighs made them appear like athletic wear.
Sephiroth's eyes moved across the picture, savoring the small details. "Your legs... make me crazy."
"Why?" Cloud asked, running a hand over his thighs. "They're just legs. Skinny legs, at that."
"I dunno. When I see 'em, I just want 'em around me."
Cloud closed his eyes, easily picturing Sephiroth situated between his thighs and that soft mouth within a kissable distance. He pressed a palm against the ache in his pajama bottoms; no matter how tired he might be, Sephiroth's voice always woke up key parts of his anatomy. There was a level of bass to it that Cloud could feel vibrating against him, even over the phone. "... So you like those socks?"
"Gus gave them to me, since he had to open up the package they came in. I'll put them on for you on Sunday."
"Can I ruin 'em?" Sephiroth rumbled into the phone. "I wanna shred 'em apart."
Cloud spoke as softly as he could, glancing over his shoulder to ensure Cameron was still asleep. "Seph, stop it..."
"I don't wanna."
Cloud sighed. Even though his hand was grasped around his cock, fatigue still weighed heavily on him. "... Seph?"
"I wanna play with you... But even if you were with me right now, I think I'd probably just fall asleep on you."
"Truthfully, I'm way too cold to even think about gettin' it up. If you were here I'd just... ya know, do romantic shit to you."
"Romantic shit? Like what?" Cloud smiled, wiggling on his bed eagerly.
"Romantic shit," Sephiroth insisted. "Kiss you... hold you... listen to your heartbeat... fall asleep with my cock wedged between your ass cheeks. Romantic shit."
Cloud pushed his face into his pillow to contain the noise of his giggling. When he was safe from waking Cameron, he grinned into the phone, "I love you so much!"
"Go to sleep now, baby."
"Nooo, don't hang up on me!" Cloud whined.
"Say more sweet things to me."
"Whaddaya want me to say?"
"Anything," Cloud grinned, trying to sound more alert than he felt.
"I need to get up and get dressed."
"I'm hungry. The cafeteria's open for dinner now, I think."
"What are you going to have?"
"Fuck if I know," Sephiroth laughed helplessly at Cloud's clumsy tactics to keep him on the line. "I gotta go eat, and you need to sleep."
"No, not yet!" Cloud pouted. "Talk to me while you're getting ready, so I can fall asleep listening to you."
"What a spoiled brat," Sephiroth remarked.
"Pretty please?" Cloud asked again, his voice quiet but sugar sweet.
This was something they'd done many times before, and was probably the most indulgent thing he could do for Cloud being thousands of miles away. He didn't have any real objection to doing it, but some part of him felt like he should feel inconvenienced... or at least act like he did. "... I gotta put some clothes on. I'll talk 'til I'm done, then I'm hangin' up."
"'Kay," Cloud sighed sleepily. He put his phone on his pillow beside his ear, and shifted to get even more comfortable.
Sephiroth waited a moment for Cloud to comply, and then he began to tell Cloud in more detail about the flight, about his time with Vincent, and about the new base. Cloud responded at first, but then began to doze, allowing Sephiroth's even, monotonous voice to draw his consciousness towards pleasant visions. Through closed eyes, Cloud could picture him moving around the room and getting ready; he was lying on the bed and just watching. It was his domestic privilege as Sephiroth's lover to watch him lift his shirt to put on deodorant and loop a belt through his pants. Those tiny parts of him were the most fun, and Cloud was able to fall asleep with a smile.
When Sephiroth finished pulling on his combat boots, he listened carefully to the barely audible sound of his lover's soft breathing. He quietly asked, "Asleep?"
There was no reply, which answered the question. Right now Cloud was in Midgar, curled up in his squeaky little bed with his mouth slightly parted, begging to be kissed. If Sephiroth had been there he would have been happy to do it.
The thought made his heart beat just a little faster, just enough to tease his rational brain with physical proof of how badly he had it for Cloud Strife. It wasn't just "romantic shit," it was a physical involuntary bodily reaction, and even after more than a year it still snuck up and surprised him. For a person like Sephiroth, surprises were especially exciting, and he enjoyed the ache in his chest for several long moments.
Then it transferred to his stomach, which growled impatiently.
"Alright, I'm gonna hang up now. Night..." Sephiroth hesitated, hating being the one to hang up. Although it fell upon deaf ears, he said it again, "Night, Cloud. I love you."
He waited a beat in case there was a reply before closing his phone.
Cloud's eyes fluttered a bit, realizing the loss. He curled up a little tighter, and found deeper sleep until his alarm went off three hours later.
Saturday found Sephiroth dying a slow, dull death in the new Northern Crater Base's cafeteria.
The mission was done; forms were scribbled upon, the place had been inspected, and he'd staked a claim for the SOLDIERs in one of the wings... in the unlikely event that anyone actually was stationed here. Maybe it would be a fun place to stick people that pissed him off. Or a handy place to hide if he needed to chill out.
Other than that, he'd do his best to never return to this part of the planet. Ever.
There were still several hours to kill before their airship arrived. Like any extended construction project, the cafeteria was finished first; it set the tone for the rest of the base, and gave everyone there a place to relax without being surrounded by scaffolding and exposed wire.
Vincent and Sephiroth had stayed in this room for most of the afternoon, because it was the only place they didn't get in the way of the workers. And it'd been made clear to Sephiroth after several suggestions he'd made to revise the layout of some of the unfinished rooms, that his input as a General was valuable... but his input as an amateur interior designer was not.
They'd played cards with the construction workers while they breaked for lunch, they'd talked, they'd eaten, and now they were sick of each other. Vincent was leaning back in his chair and playing some sort of farming game on his phone, and Sephiroth was left staring at his laptop. He eventually gave up on that and looked out the large windows to the Crater itself.
"Let's go hike down into the Crater," he drawled with no real passion, popping his gum a few times.
"I would rather die..." Vincent replied slowly, most of his attention upon harvesting his Farmville crops. "... than go down into that fuckin' pit."
Sephiroth crossed his arms on the table. There was still enough daylight to dick around down there without getting too cold or lost. "C'mon, let's go. Supposed to be pretty down there."
"The walls could be lined with tits - I'll never know 'cause I'm not goin'."
"... I'm gonna do it. Better than sittin' here."
"Button your coat up all the way..." Vincent muttered distractedly, still tapping repeatedly at his screen while playing his game. His bright red eyes blinked repeatedly when he realized what he'd just said to the grown man across the table, and sneered in an attempt to cover it up, "... If you're not back in time for the airship, I will not hesitate to leave without you."
"Cute," Sephiroth said with a roll of his eyes. Secretly though, there was a nostalgic rush from his childhood, leaving him both bashful and slightly annoyed. "If I'm not back in two hours, I've frozen to death."
"I'll be more surprised if you don't freeze to death."
Sephiroth bought a few energy bars from the vending machine, and then went to his room to change into a slightly more substantial version of his usual uniform. It wasn't a good look to have a reddened triangle of frost bite on his chest. He took Vincent's advice to button up tight, and decided to tie his hair up underneath a cap instead of dealing with it flying into his face. He looped a scarf around his neck and was good to go.
The Northern Crater was a place people talked about visiting in their lifetimes, but never really did. Only a few airlines even had the correct flying equipment to make it there, resulting in a very long, very expensive flight for civilians. Not to mention that there was exactly one place to lodge this far up North, and it was nowhere near the Crater itself. And as any SOLDIER or infantryman who'd been trapped there for months would attest to, camping outside in a frozen tundra was not awesome.
As Sephiroth exited the building, the initial blast of cold was almost enough to have him turn around and go right back inside. But there was a patrolling infantryman watching him, and it'd be bad form as a General to hiss and run back indoors. So with barely a wince, he marched through the clearing and to the edge of the Crater.
Pictures of it were gorgeous, especially with the Northern lights twinkling and reflecting upon the icy surface. But in person, the famous Northern Crater really was just a huge, snow covered hole in the ground. Sephiroth peered down inside curiously.
There was a very crude little rope ladder system connecting places where it was safe to walk, intended for brave tour guides and their shivering tour groups. With the new base, they would soon have a more sophisticated lift system in place, but Sephiroth found it easier just to jump between the ice shelves. It was actually pretty fun.
The caves were as pretty as he'd hoped they'd be, with glowing mako veins lining the walls. When he heard a low grumbling, he slowly slid Masamune out of its sheath and followed the sound out of certainty that it was a female protecting her young. Males were lazy and usually slow, while females were the ones who attacked, especially if babies were around.
To Sephiroth's delight, it was a mother polar bear with two awkward little fuzzy cubs. He put a Sleep on her just long enough to creep in close and take some pictures, which he then sent to Cloud. The cubs were utterly confused by his presence, but didn't seem afraid.
Once the thrill of the bear family wore off, the cold began to sink in. He began to retrace his steps, wanting to hop back up out of the place now that his goals were achieved. He'd had more than enough of the Northern Crater experience.
But as he got back out onto the main opening, he looked down farther into the pit curiously. It seemed almost as though there was a warmth radiating from there. Even though he knew very little about the nature of huge ass craters, it seemed a little odd to him that it should be warm near the bottom.
He worked his gum through his teeth until it was a small, hard ball and spat it down into the depths of the Crater. He waited, listening for the sound of impact.
To his disappointment, there wasn't one. With his sharp SOLDIER sense of hearing, he should have heard some sort of splash, or tiny tap of that gum wad hitting something. The only explanation was that it was so deep he couldn't hear it... or that there was no bottom.
That was a stupid thing to think. But the idea of the edge of a giant, gaping, bottomless hole was pretty terrifying, and the illusion was impossible to shake off once it set in. Sephiroth felt almost like he was leaning forward, vertigo urging him to lean right into the hole and freefall to wherever it led.
It was almost like the water jug in the lab. It was almost exactly like that.
Sephiroth slowly pushed himself back up onto his feet, not taking his eyes off the dark depths. He didn't want to go any further down, but he also didn't want to turn around to make his way back up... it would mean turning his back on that strangely alluring darkness.
It was a childlike feeling but a very real one, and something he hadn't felt since his last brush with Jenova. It crawled along his back, a fear far worse than any make believe monster could make him feel.
"Echo," Sephiroth called out, purposely making some noise to shake out his nerves. In his mind he sounded brave in a very Bruce Campbell way, but his voice came bouncing back sounding nervous to his own ears.
He decided to sit back on his haunches and eat a cereal bar, flippantly ignoring the heavy silence that followed. He rubbed the back of his neck in an effort to ease his apprehension, and stuffed the rest of the bar in his mouth nearly whole.
He was suddenly wondering about tranquilizers and getting back to the base in time before the attack. But what attack? He didn't hear anything, and there was no reason that Jenova should effect him now. He'd been on top of his mako dilation, he'd been taking his meds and doing exactly as the doctors told him. Levels were good, whatever that meant.
With a dreadful sense of apprehension, as though the Crater would spit knives at his back once he turned it, Sephiroth used every bit of spring in his heels to propel himself up the icy shelves of the Crater's walls. It felt almost like he was a toddler using his hands and feet to shamble up a flight of stairs out of a basement, terror licked at his heels and adrenaline pumped his nerves into a frenzy.
The same infantry trooper was standing guard at the mouth of the Crater. Even under the anonymity of his helmet, he appeared a little surprised when Sephiroth emerged like a blast out of a cannon, with a neat, albeit hard landing in the snow. He crouched for impact, but it still left him wincing and off balance, until he straightened up to salvage his dignity.
"General Sephiroth!" the trooper greeted, nearly clicking his heels in an attempt to snap to a perfect salute.
Sephiroth nodded to him. "At ease. I didn't mean to startle you."
"Sir, no, sir!" he shouted with another perfect salute.
"... The Crater goes down quite a ways," Sephiroth observed, groping for conversation after the harrowing experience.
"Sir, yes, sir! Sir!" ... Infantry were like that.
Sephiroth let the trooper keep his formality and headed back inside, making a beeline for the cafeteria and straight to Vincent's table. He took his former seat immediately, and stared at Vincent expectantly.
"That was fast," the Turk remarked. "I wasn't really gonna leave without ya."
Sephiroth just folded his arms on the table, and rested his head. He'd clearly left the monsters behind in the Crater, and the entire event seemed silly to him... but he peeked over his arm and towards the giant hole in the ground.
"See anything interesting?" Vincent asked.
"No," Sephiroth answered, baby polar bears completely forgotten.
"Nothin'?" Vincent looked up from his phone. "... Not even - "
"No," was all Sephiroth would say about it. "Nothing."
Down in the darkness, even further than Sephiroth dared to imagine the Crater's depths to be, that wad of gum he'd spat out was slowly separating from the clear liquid of his saliva.
On the cellular level, it began to multiply.
Cloud was sound asleep when Sephiroth crept into the bedroom. He had a feeling Cloud might be, considering that the apartment was silent when he entered, and if Cloud had been conscious there would have been at least a mild commotion.
The light was still on in his room, and there were abandoned music magazines on the bed and floor. Only Cloud's hair was visible, although several small pieces blew away from his face with every deep, slow breath. Sephiroth reached out and moved the blonde spikes out of Cloud's eyes, smiling down at the peaceful, vacant expression he found there. The hair sprung back into place, and Sephiroth straightened up to unfasten his coat and pull off his clothes.
Even though Midgar's late fall weather was nothing compared the harsh North, it was still uncomfortably chilly in his bedroom. Sephiroth rubbed his arms a little bit as he went to the thermostat control panel in the hallway, and made a face of annoyance at the fact that the heat hadn't even been turned on.
April Strife had physically reprimanded Cloud when he was a child if he tried to adjust the thermostat. Gas heating was a luxury they couldn't often afford on a single parent's income, and was used only when the temperature dropped to unbearable levels, and never when they were sleeping at night.
Sephiroth had spent most of his life cold and uncomfortable, so he made a decision as an adult to never suffer for a single moment in his own home. He liked wasting money on the gas bill. He wanted Cloud to feel free to turn it on all night long if it was cold outside. Cloud could turn the loft into a sauna and sleep naked and sweating for all Sephiroth cared.
With warmer temperatures on the way, Sephiroth reentered the bedroom to quietly shed the remainder of his clothes. He set Cloud's magazines on the floor, then lifted the blanket and slid into his bed, intent on getting to the body beneath his covers.
The warmth radiating from Cloud's back felt so good against Sephiroth's chest and stomach. It was like a heating pad covered in smooth silk, and he greedily curled his arms underneath Cloud to draw him closer.
"... Seph!" Cloud squirmed upon being handled and turned his head, lips kissing wherever they landed. After placing kisses against his shoulder, throat, and chin, Cloud finally found Sephiroth's mouth.
He meant to only give Cloud a chaste greeting kiss before allowing him to go back to sleep, but Cloud held his face close and opened his mouth, and the invitation was too sweet to resist. Cloud's tongue and lips were soft and yielding, putting Sephiroth in a trance while his legs and arms snaked around him like vines.
Sephiroth helped out, crawling up over Cloud's body and between his legs, which is right where they both wanted him to be. Cloud smiled up at him, "... Hi."
"Hi," Sephiroth answered, already working on kissing the rest of Cloud's face.
Cloud closed his eyes and tilted into the kisses, petting down the length of Sephiroth's glossy silver hair. He laughed a little, "Your hair's cold."
"S'cold outside. And someone didn't turn on the heat before he went to bed," Sephiroth pressed his cold nose against Cloud's and puckered out his lips to kiss him chastely.
"I got under the covers and forgot," Cloud explained, rubbing his nose against Sephiroth's in an effort to warm it up. "... I tried to wait up for you, but I guess I fell asleep."
"So sleep," Sephiroth encouraged, burying his nose into the top of Cloud's hair and breathing in the clean scent of his scalp.
"I'm awake now," Cloud's hand lifted lazily to comb his fingers through the hair framing Sephiroth's face, tucking the longer pieces behind his ears. Cloud's fingers traveled down the back of Sephiroth's neck and tightened their hold to pull him closer.
Sephiroth dipped his tongue into Cloud's mouth, and came back up to lick his lips with a smile. "You taste kinda nice. What'd you eat?"
"Bonbons before bed, like you told me to. I still do it most nights."
"Makes you taste good..." Sephiroth told him.
"Do you feel that?" Cloud asked, pulling Sephiroth close against his body with both legs.
"Uh huh," Sephiroth nodded, pulling his hips back a bit to gently ghost the underside of his cock against Cloud's. He then pushed down to press his balls against Cloud's, and let out a deep breath. "You feel so fuckin' hot."
"No, not that. I mean uh... I did something weird," Cloud winced a little.
"What?" Sephiroth asked, evaluating what he was feeling pressed up against his body. Everything seemed to be in the right place...
"Here," Cloud murmured, taking one of Sephiroth's hands and guiding it near his cock. He instinctively tried to curl his fist around it, but Cloud pulled his fingers away and instead placed them on the area of his lower stomach.
It took Sephiroth a moment to realize that instead of wiry, blonde hair on Cloud's stomach and groin, it was all pearly soft skin. "You shaved?"
Cloud shrugged a shoulder against the mattress. "I was in the bath last night trimming up, and I decided to try getting rid of all of it. I just wanted to see how it would look... I'm starting to get this little fuzzy trail thing on my tummy - "
"I love that fuzzy trail thing," Sephiroth blurted before he could stop himself.
Cloud's clear blue eyes went wide in horror. Up until that point, Sephiroth had never had any complaint about anything he'd done to his body or put on it, and he wasn't sure how to process it. It wasn't as though Sephiroth was rejecting him or being unkind, but he felt an uneasy mixture of embarrassment and guilt for possibly making himself unattractive in Sephiroth's eyes. "Seph... I'm sorry - "
"No," Sephiroth quickly took Cloud's face and kissed his mouth and cheeks repeatedly. "Don't be sorry. I just kinda liked your stuff that way it was... it was sexy."
"I didn't know..." Cloud lamented miserably.
"It's alright," Sephiroth chuckled, easing away any more doubt by drowning it in kisses. He could easily deal with the loss, but he didn't realize how attracted he was to Cloud's small amount of body hair until it was gone.
Cloud's shoulders and hips were masculine and narrow, but the way his waist bowed in slightly beneath his rib cage was extremely feminine... that fuzzy trail of honey blonde hair was a contradiction to that, and one that Sephiroth greatly enjoyed seeing splattered with semen, or poking up from the tight, low slung jeans Cloud wore. It also felt good against his nose when he was sucking Cloud off, or just something fuzzy for his fingers to comb through while spooning him.
"It'll grow back in like a week. Probably thicker than before," Cloud offered with a chuckle, arching his back a little as Sephiroth's hand continued to pet thoughtfully over his artificially smooth groin. "... Now that I know you like it, I won't shave it again. Promise."
"I've gotta check this shit out." Sephiroth licked his lips and shifted over Cloud's body, sliding back between his legs. He was curious about how it felt under his tongue, and if it would still smell the same without the hair.
Sephiroth brushed his nose down the center of Cloud's chest, and stopped to briefly greet both pale, pink nipples. He appreciatively lapped his tongue over the tiny, tight hills of Cloud's stomach muscles, and on down to his small outie belly button where a tiny trail of hair no longer began. It was slick and soft under his tongue, all the way down to Cloud's cock.
Upon sight, Cloud's groin didn't really look much different from a lack of hair, but it was a little odd seeing the exact point where his cock jutted from his body. In fact, it was so terribly juvenile-looking that he found himself laughing, "Awww. You're all smooth like a G.I. Joe."
Cloud watched with a dry expression, as laughter wasn't the reaction he liked getting with Sephiroth's face near his groin. "... I'll just turn over so you don't have to see it."
"It's not such a big deal," Sephiroth continued to laugh against Cloud's skin, running his tongue between Cloud's thighs and discreetly inhaling against the area.
He wasn't sure if the spontaneous shaving spree had effected the scent, all he knew was that it smelled delicious. He pressed his nose against him in a much less discreet manner, breathing deeply against Cloud's skin. He pushed Cloud's hips up a little bit and let his tongue run down over Cloud's balls and between his cheeks.
Cloud gave a little moan that sounded more like a question, and spread wider for Sephiroth's tongue. His hands snaked their way down from underneath his body, and his long fingers gripped to hold his cheeks open.
"You like that, don't you?" Sephiroth asked, staring up Cloud's body to watch his face.
"Yeah," Cloud breathed, adjusting his fingers to pull tighter, making it wider to accept Sephiroth's tongue. He was tense though, and the pink little hole puckered tight.
"Relax... let it gape a little bit," Sephiroth instructed, kissing Cloud's inner thighs to ease any embarrassment his words might have caused. Cloud was blushed bright red all the way down to his chest, but he obeyed. Even his toes went slack from their curled, tense position. With another calming breath he continued to let his body relax as much as possible, and yet his hole was still tiny from a week of disuse.
Sephiroth flicked his tongue against it once, smiling as it quickly tightened up like a flower blooming in reverse. "... Quit that. I want in."
Cloud gave a shuddering laugh, "Your tongue is really warm. It feels - "
"What?" Sephiroth asked curiously. "It's good when I eat your ass?"
Cloud's gaze shifted to some non descript point on the ceiling. "... I guess."
"You're allowed to say you like it," Sephiroth encouraged, flicking his tongue back out to touch the pink indent again, and slowly traced the perimeter.
"... I think I like that you like it," Cloud defended, but then decided to strive for honesty. "... At first, anyways. I've learned to, um... appreciate it for myself."
"I hope so," Sephiroth licked his lips to say, then reached back out to move his tongue over the uneven, ridged pucker of his ass. He still couldn't pinpoint exactly what he liked best about doing this, but just the taste and feel of Cloud's tiny, pulsing little hole on his tongue made him feel carnivorous.
Cloud giggled, and it became an elongated sound as Sephiroth tensed the muscles in his tongue and used the appendage to dig in. He closed his eyes and licked Cloud from the inside out, not letting the little opening push him back out.
Cloud began to moan softly, and his body fought against the intrusion involuntarily. Sephiroth pushed his long tongue in deeper, drooling as the tasty hole hugged it tight. Sephiroth moved Cloud's fingers out of the way, and replaced them with his own to push his cheeks open even wider, making the opening a little easier to lap his tongue into.
"Feels so good," Cloud muttered on a little gasping breath, his eyes dropping closed as his head fell back against the pillow. Sephiroth slapped the curve of Cloud's ass, growling slightly as it clenched tight onto his tongue in surprise.
He stretched out his tongue until the muscles in his jaw hurt, and rubbed it into the tight bump of Cloud's prostate. With a sharp cry, Cloud reached down to dig his fingers into Sephiroth's hair. Sephiroth took a breath against Cloud's skin, and his sharp teeth inadvertently pressed against the sensitive expanse of Cloud's perineum.
It was a dangerous dance of sensation that bordered right on pain, each of Sephiroth's white, ridiculously sharp teeth were pressing into the most secretive and sensitive area of his body. In contrast, the hot, wet, wriggling softness of Sephiroth's tongue was deep inside him, licking against a spot that made his cock weep.
"... Seph!" Cloud gasped, biting hard onto his lips as he crossed his ankles behind Sephiroth's head to keep him close. Sephiroth opened his eyes and looked up, not taking his tongue off Cloud's prostate. Cloud's mouth fell open as his eyelids drooped low, and that sultry expression on his pretty doll face was all the encouragement Sephiroth needed to keep moving his tongue exactly like that.
Without really thinking about it, Sephiroth dragged his cock across the sheets while he had his face buried between Cloud's cheeks. He wanted inside his tight hole, but it tasted too good to back away from. And the way Cloud's hands and thighs were holding him close, it seemed Cloud didn't want him to stop, either.
"Seph..." Cloud moaned again, both pushing and pulling on his hair and not hesitating to yank when his teeth sank in too deep. When Sephiroth's hand came up to wrap around his cock, he sucked in a deep breath only to let it go in a shout. "Seph!"
With one hand jerking Cloud's cock and the other gripping his thigh to hold him open wide, Sephiroth continued to steadily wriggle his tongue inside Cloud. He pushed through the tightness of Cloud's inner muscles, and also though the cramping discomfort in his jaw. Anything to keep that look on Cloud's face was worth it... the need to make him climax was more important than a small matter of pain.
In his determination to make Cloud climax, Sephiroth became far too excited to maintain control of his own body. He rocked his hips against the sheets, unconsciously experiencing pleasure through his tongue, and through a lover's keen sexual empathy. He snarled against Cloud's ass, utterly lost and shameless in his need to feel that it clench on his tongue... like it had clenched on his cock so many times before.
Cloud gave a groan of sheer disbelief, realizing what Sephiroth wanted without having to be verbally told. Not being able to hear Sephiroth speak dirty words to him somewhat dampened the experience, until Cloud thought that perhaps he could supply them himself.
"... Fuck me..." Cloud whispered, shivering as sharp, glowing cat eyes opened and peered up at him with a predatory light. He rubbed his feet against the tight line running down the center of Sephiroth's back, watching him move on the sheets beneath him. "... I do like it, Seph. I really like it..."
Sephiroth continue to stare up at him, his jaw moving slightly as his tongue worked, hidden deep inside him. He tilted his head a little, letting it jab into and massage against Cloud's sensitive prostate in a different angle.
Cloud grunted, going up onto his elbows to see everything clearly. Sephiroth's long body stretched out behind him on the bed, wriggling rhythmically against the sheets was utterly sexy, but the look of his nose resting against his balls, and his catslit eyes peering up at him was almost frightening... but hypnotically erotic.
Cloud didn't want to fix his eyes up at the ceiling and hide from his lover, not when Sephiroth was so very willing to become up close and personal with him. He wanted to experience it with Sephiroth, and to give him what he wanted right back.
Cloud wrapped his fingers around Sephiroth's wrist, urging his hand to move a little more quickly on his cock, "Don't stop..."
Cloud bit down onto his lips, experiencing the wrenching, emotional teeter-totter in the moments before climax. Sephiroth worked him right, but it was a drawn out thing in the face of something so new, so sensual and yet utterly humiliating. It should have been something nasty, and it was... but in the best way. Sephiroth's tongue was inside him, savoring him. Tongue, teeth, lips...
Sephiroth's eyes blinked up at Cloud once. Then his fine, silver eyebrows slowly turned up... asking without words...
"Seph!" Cloud growled, yanking his hands out of Sephiroth's hair and off of his hands, and instead using them to grip the sheets hard. His hips were very suddenly mobile, and he rubbed and bumped back against Sephiroth's mouth, crying out every moment of it and sparring Sephiroth no detail of how fucking good it was. His cock spit heavy streams of semen against his chest, then rolled over Sephiroth's fist to pool on his groin. Cloud rode it out slowly, feeling the shocks run through his body and for the moment, utterly free.
The tight clenching on his tongue, the surging pulse of Cloud's balls against his nose as he climaxed, and the desperate wriggling of Cloud's hips were more than Sephiroth could have dreamt for. He pressed his erection against the mattress and trembled in surprise as it shot off against the sheets; Cloud's surrender to climax had pulled him along with it. It was a shock, but a pleasant one... he slid his cock through the sticky mess he'd created in his bed, letting Cloud sail back down from the vulnerable, post-climax state.
With a deep gasp of air, Sephiroth pulled his tongue from Cloud. He quickly dropped his mouth down onto his cock, nearly causing Cloud to scream from sensory overload. Sephiroth gently sucked once before letting it slip from his lips, then ran his tongue through the messy load on Cloud's stomach. The taste of semen mixed with the coppery aftertaste of his ass nicely.
Cloud's legs fell down onto the bed, and he braced himself for the lustful attack that was sure to follow... but it never came. Cloud opened one eye and looked down to fine Sephiroth lying against his stomach with his eyes closed.
Cloud frowned, "... Did I do something wrong?"
"Mm-mm..." It took Sephiroth a moment to speak; his tongue and jaw were both tired and sore. He knew where Cloud's confusion was stemming from, but was kind of hoping he wouldn't have to admit it out loud, "... I couldn't hold it."
"What?" Cloud laughed, inadvertently causing Sephiroth's head to bounce slightly on top of his stomach.
"You know what. I busted it already."
"Really?" Cloud dug fingers into Sephiroth's scalp and scratched playfully. "Why?"
"Why," Sephiroth repeated with clear agitation, although his embarrassment was fading fast. "It was fuckin' hot, and I blew my load. You wanna pick on me about it? Go ahead."
"I'm not gonna pick on you!" Cloud giggled, continued to comb his fingers through the long silver hair. "I just feel a little guilty that you did so much work for me. And I didn't have to do anything at all for you..."
"Not keeping score. But if I was, I still win," Sephiroth mumbled peacefully.
"... You stillwant me though, right?" Cloud bit his lip, hoping that his lover wasn't about to fall asleep.
"It's cute how you phrase it so it sounds like I'm the one with the monster sex drive."
"Oh dear, what an inconvenience for you!" Cloud roared. "You're still naked and pressed up against me, you expect me to be done just like that? I have unfinished business!"
"You need an off switch."
"I have one!" Cloud laughed, pressing a kiss onto the top of Sephiroth's head. "You just have to... get up in there and push it."
Sephiroth smiled up at him. "Gimme a minute or two first."
"Ready whenever you are," Cloud said sweetly, but his body was not as patient. His hips were rocking just slightly on the bed, gently grinding against Sephiroth's stomach while his toes wriggled with each upwards push.
The insistent little nuzzle of Cloud's cock definitely helped to replenish Sephiroth's desire. He ran a hand over Cloud's thigh, letting his fingers glide against the grain of tiny blonde hairs found there. Cloud was relaxed enough to allow it without too much giggling, and tensed only when Sephiroth reached between them and gripped his cock again. He slid his palm over it and watched as it gained mass, becoming heavy and solid again in moments. He then traced a finger from the tiny, salty slit at the tip, down to Cloud's balls, and underneath to his opening. It was already slick from his saliva, and he didn't hesitate to push a couple fingers in.
He lifted his head off Cloud's shoulder to gaze up at him. "... Not sore?"
"Not yet, but I wanna be," Cloud told him lustfully, his lips bitten red and his cheeks flushed to match. "Let me help you get ready."
"How're you gonna do that?" Sephiroth asked, moving his fingertips in a slow, teasing echo of what his tongue had been doing minutes prior.
"I wanna..." Cloud stopped himself. Instead of finishing the sentence, he flashed a bright smile that usually had no place on his shy, sex-tinted features. "I don't wanna fucking talk about it. I just wanna do it."
"C'mon," Sephiroth invited, shifting off of Cloud and rolling up onto his elbow.
Cloud followed, rolling over into him and bumping their chests together. He cupped the back of Sephiroth's head and kissed him, although it was more of a taste test than a real kiss. He was probing and careful, almost ready to recoil at the flavor of his own body that was spread across Sephiroth's mouth.
Once he'd experience the taste, he give Sephiroth a firm lick from chin to nose. "... That's not so bad, I guess."
"What? Your ass?" Sephiroth purred, flicking his tongue out to touch Cloud's. "... It tastes so good."
"You liar," Cloud laughed helplessly, bumping his forehead against Sephiroth's. "How can you like that taste so much?"
"In love with the owner, I guess."
That answer wasn't what Cloud expected in a conversation about the taste of his butthole, and he was caught a bit off guard. Romantic love had every right to be present however, because Cloud knew for damn sure he enjoyed every taste Sephiroth's body produced... not for the taste itself, but for the person who it came from. Sweat, semen, tears... even Sephiroth's blood was licked up without a second thought.
Cloud folded both arms around Sephiroth's neck and fell over on top of him, thinking of all the ways he'd like to coax some of those fluids out of his lover. He could already taste sweat on his lips, and licked at him greedily.
Sephiroth was springing up again, and while it wasn't all the way there, it was enough to use. He reached behind Cloud to take himself in hand, and pressed the tip against Cloud to ease inside. Cloud's body jerked, and he arched his back higher to deny Sephiroth entry.
"Not yet," Cloud said with a little growl and scooted back to sit on his calves. He ignored the rest of Sephiroth's body and instead went straight for his groin, parting his lips to give the head a wet, tongue-filled kiss. Cloud then bobbed down, tightening his lips before sucking upwards, dragging the stud in the center of his tongue all along the thick vein beneath the thin, soft skin of Sephiroth's cock.
It was still a bit flaccid, and bent and stretched with the suction of Cloud's lips. He played with that little bit of leeway, using it so his advantage and taking the entire thing down his throat with relative ease. As it filled out and grew, there was a bump against his throat and Cloud gagged slightly, but eased his discomfort by tilting his head and relaxing a bit.
Sephiroth watched in a trance as every lick and suck made his cock tighten more, teasing until he was firm in Cloud's mouth. Sephiroth loved watching him work like this; the shapes his pinkish lips made against his cock were beautiful, and even when Cloud was taking a breath or simply giving his jaw a moment's break, he maintained contact with Sephiroth's cock through his tongue, his hands, or even his cheek like a kitten. Although he'd never received head from anyone else, Sephiroth knew that his boyfriend had to be world fucking class.
"You like doin' that to me?" Sephiroth mumbled, lifting a hand off the bed to bury it in gently swaying, spiky blonde hair.
"Yeah..." Cloud agreed breathlessly, his voice husky and thick as he brushed his wet, warm tongue against the underside. "Hey Seph?... Have you ever wanted to fuck my face?"
Sephiroth blinked rapidly a few times before lifting his eyebrows in disbelief, "Fuck your face?"
Cloud gave an embarrassed laugh, "Well! ... Have you?"
Under different circumstances Sephiroth might have asked if Cloud was serious, or even refused to do such a thing. But Cloud looked gorgeous on his cock, and he was once again thrumming along on a very high note of sexual arousal. He reached down to hold Cloud by the hair, offering plenty of room for Sephiroth to lift his hips off the bed and shove his cock up between his lips.
Cloud seemed shocked that Sephiroth actually did it, and quickly braced both hands outside of Sephiroth's hips on the bed. He worked to open his mouth wide, and breathe evenly through the hard bumping against the back of his throat. Sephiroth made a fist in his hair and jerked Cloud around slightly, forcing his spikes to wave in the air.
Cloud's hands shot up to Sephiroth's forearms, where he hung on for dear life. Sephiroth tore his eyes away from the sight of his cock disappearing into Cloud's mouth, and down the curved line of his delicate spine. He was far too preoccupied in dealing with the barrage of his throat to put any effort into looking sexy while he did it, but his body naturally fell into a seductive arch that Sephiroth adored. Cloud's knees were spread wide behind him, leaving his ass tilted upwards and totally vulnerable.
Cloud looked up at him and began to whine softly, his blunt fingernails digging into Sephiroth's arms. Surprisingly enough his eyes weren't tearing up, but his cheeks and mouth were stained red while a line of sweat fell forward from the back of his neck. Sephiroth jabbed upwards while pushing down on Cloud's head, biting his lip at the sensation of rubbing against the ridges of the roof of Cloud's mouth, and the curve of his throat from the inside.
And then came a sound that wasn't simply a squeal of complaint, but a wail of protest. Sephiroth quickly took his hand off Cloud's head and winced a little as he practically spat out his cock with a flurry of coughing.
He wiped his face with a harsh gasp of air, his voice raw and outraged, "You tried to kill me!"
"Sorry. I thought you said you wanted me to fuck your face," Sephiroth replied innocently.
"... You're getting it!" Cloud declared, crawling forward over him with a dark, determined glare in his eyes.
Sephiroth sat up, reaching forward to grab him by the ass and drag him into his lap. "What am I gonna get?"
Cloud hissed through his teeth, savagely biting kisses onto Sephiroth's lips. He sat up tall on his knees, pushing against Sephiroth's chest and shoulders as he mounted up.
The abuse was slightly feeble, but far more substantial than any force Sephiroth had ever felt from Cloud before. He liked the show of rowdy lust, and allowed him every pinch and pull, and enjoyed the tight heat sinking down onto him. Sephiroth held his ass in both hands, but allowed Cloud to drop down at his own pace, which was slow considering all the roughness from his hands and mouth.
"Ugh," Cloud whined, pulling him into a hug instead of trying to push him down. His eyes shut tight and his face pressed against Sephiroth's neck.
In an effort to not lose his rough sex mojo, Cloud gripped Sephiroth's glossy silver hair, and made a fist at the base of his skull. "Yeah... It just feels so damn big right now."
"You got this baby... that cock's all yours. Just take what you want, leave the rest..." Sephiroth encouraged, rubbing both hands down his spine and thighs, and back up again. Even just the head being kissed and consumed by Cloud's tight body was enough, there was no need to show off if he was having a tight day.
"Uh huh," Cloud nodded, squeezing his neck into a rough hug. It softened as he let himself slip down lower, and finally to the point where the curve of his ass sat on Sephiroth's thighs. He breathed heavily, and finally lifted his head to look up at Sephiroth. "... Fuck... fuck..."
Sephiroth kissed the words off of Cloud's lips, and loosened his arms to let him begin to move on top of him. He eventually found his rhythm, letting Sephiroth's cock hit him at a shallow, but damn good angle. Sephiroth had limited movement available to him, but bounced just slightly underneath Cloud, adding enough extra friction to stimulate his arousal pressed between their damp torsos.
With all the humidity they were creating between them, Sephiroth almost regretting turning the heater on so high. Cloud's tan skin was dewy under his palms, and every so often a salty trail of sweat would roll out from under his damp yellow hair. The extra bit of slickness was helping Cloud's situation however, and soon he had his knees digging into the mattress and was plunging all the way down Sephiroth's cock easily.
"Fuck me… hard," Cloud whispered, leaning back and tugging Sephiroth down with him, giving up all pretenses of control and lifting his legs.
Sephiroth followed along gladly, throwing Cloud's legs over his shoulders and taking up control over his sweat slick ass. Cloud looked so delicate underneath him, he almost felt guilty for wanting to see him in any kind of pain at all... but after mentioning that he wanted to be sore, Sephiroth wanted to make sure that he would be. He searched for a fast beat to fuck him, and knew he'd found the right one when Cloud began to shout his name.
Cloud felt the beating throughout his entire body, from the soles of his feet to the nerves on top of his head. He raised his arms above his head and took it, barely able to crack open his eyes enough to watch the angular lines of Sephiroth's hips beating into his own. Part of him wanted to beg for something more gentle, but mostly he just wanted to see Sephiroth like this... the General was hungry for him. Cloud imagined he was feeding some secret part of him, and in return having his body's own needs well nourished.
Cloud almost didn't want to, but it was too much not to grab his own cock and begin to stroke himself off to match Sephiroth's thrusting. Sephiroth's eyes were drawn down to the sight of Cloud working himself, trying to elevate himself to completion. He put his weight on one hand, and used the other to wrap his fingers around Cloud's fisted cock, and slowed him down considerably.
"Seph! It's driving me crazy!" Cloud growled through his teeth.
"Me too," he agreed, licking his mouth as he continued to sink in at exactly the same speed.
"God," Cloud hissed in frustration. This was the sort of thing he'd do in his bed alone as a kid, new to the workings of his body and torturing himself for fun until he lost patience and eagerly squirted his load in moments. But with another person keeping him at an agonizingly hard, deep, but slow pace... he could spend eternity like this, loving and hating every second of it.
His cock was bucking in his hands, weeping all over his and Sephiroth's fingers. His body shook with the desire to just tug it all out, splashing it all onto Sephiroth's chest. He bit his lip, deciding on whether it would be worth it or not, and was desperate enough to try. But then again, appealing to Sephiroth's desires might sooner lead to his own.
"... Come inside," Cloud begged, biting his lip as he used his free hand to rub against the damp skin of Sephiroth's hard stomach and chest, and then over the tattoo on his lean ribcage. "Please..."
"I will," Sephiroth insisted. He was enjoying the sight of Cloud desperately edging himself underneath him, and could go all fucking day if Cloud would let him. It was a beautiful way to spend a Sunday; balls deeps and pounding inside a twitching, sweating, panting Cadet.
Cloud didn't seem to be in control of anything his body was doing; all acts and bravado were gone and Cloud was just Cloud, a young man in love with desperation to feel connected. One white knuckled hand was ever so slowly stroking his rock hard arousal, and the other was tugging uncertainly at his own spikes. His mouth was parted, his tongue was running over his bottom lip repeatedly.
Just when Sephiroth thought he couldn't look more lovely, Cloud loosened the grip on his cock and reluctantly let it go, leaving it rock hard and brightly blushed against his stomach. "Seph... I won't come until you do... I need you to... I can't until you do..."
Sephiroth took pity on that. He hunkered down just a bit, and let his eyes drink in all the details of Cloud's face, eyelashes, his blush, his sweat. He kissed him with his eyes open, looking at his lashes and all the intricacies of his blue irises up close... all the while with his cock pushing into his ass, feeling the hot, tight core of his body squeeze around him and pull him in deeper, swallowing him down.
All it took was a few strokes at a slightly more frantic pace to make Sephiroth spill it inside of Cloud. It was a biologically unnecessary orgasm that was long and drawn out, and he felt every second pass by like a minute as his cock was drained by the tight, slick heat.
Cloud reached for himself and immediately shot it out, sent into his own climax from simply watching Sephiroth experience his. The look on his face was enough, but the smell of his sweat and the feel of his body pulsing inside him was something Cloud craved, and relished when he finally got it.
Sephiroth's stomach and hips were streaked with Cloud's semen by the time they were done, and he gratefully fell on top of him in a heap. They laid panting together, cooling off and catching their breath.
"... Do you ever think back to shit you said during sex and get embarrassed?" Cloud asked suddenly.
"No. And neither should you."
Cloud hummed, and it was edged with self doubt.
"Cloud... I'll be thinkin' back and jerkin' off about that one for weeks to come," Sephiroth confided, giving his shoulder a kiss.
"You just get off on my embarrassment!" Cloud giggled, brushing his messy, half dry fringe off of his forehead with a sigh. "Awkward sex on the weekends is all I'm good for."
"No, baby..." Sephiroth's forehead wrinkled just slightly, "... I missed you this week."
"You were cold up there at the Crater?" Cloud guessed with a smile.
"I just needed you," Sephiroth explained with a small shrug, running his palm up and down Cloud's bicep. He couldn't help but think back to Vincent's anecdote about his childhood self waiting all week just to see Vincent on Saturday. He'd been able to block out and suppress a lot of things, but not the feeling of Sunday morning, knowing he had a full week until he could see Vincent again... if he saw him at all.
History did tend to repeat itself, but he refused to be trapped in a cycle of monotony and self medication punctuated only by intense, but brief bursts of happiness.
"What's wrong?" Cloud asked, watching his lover's expression slowly set into serious lines.
"Just thinkin'," Sephiroth said distantly. "... I don't wanna give you back to school, tonight. Hurry up and get into SOLDIER so you can move in here with me."
"Oh, okay," Cloud rolled his eyes. "Then in a month you'll be kicking me out."
"Why do you always say shit like that?"
"... Seph, you only see me a few hours each week... sometimes not even that. What if you..." Cloud stopped, closing his eyes and squeezing Sephiroth's neck into a sudden hug. "If I actually come to live here, please promise you won't get sick of me."
"You don't get it. I wish I could be sick of you," Sephiroth said against Cloud's shoulder. "I can't ever seem to get enough of you. I look forward to bein'... normal. Just finally bein' able to relax and live our lives knowin' we're both right here, and we're not goin' anywhere."
Cloud had spent the better part of the year trying to be cavalier about his feelings, about his desire to be with Sephiroth every waking minute just so he wouldn't sound like a complete fucking lovesick idiot. And now Sephiroth echoed that feeling and really meant it... but he certainly didn't sound like an idiot, he sounded like a grown man with a desire to stabilize his life.
That made Cloud feel elated, important, and also nearly sick with fright. Was he enough for Sephiroth? Would he someday wake up and decide that he didn't want Sephiroth? Was there some sort of horrible glitch in their relationship waiting to be uncovered, some deal breaker from the past or future that was currently unforeseeable?
It was the risk everyone took when loving somebody. Nothing was safe, or a guarantee when deciding to become someone's family. Cloud knew that was what Sephiroth needed most, and he had to be strong enough to be that for him. Otherwise, what was Cloud wasting Sephiroth's time for?
His eyes were wet and his heart was thumping hard, but he did his best to sound calm and smooth and mature. "... I don't' live here yet, but I'm already here. I'm not going anywhere, I'm going to make it into SOLDIER and be with you for good. I'm happy here. I love you."
"Love you, too." Sephiroth moved Cloud's hair off of his face and kissed him, wanting to swallow him and be a permanent part of him. It was an odd thought, but it was one that Sephiroth hoped Cloud felt too, even if it wasn't something that could ever be spoken aloud, in any language.
"... Seph?" Cloud finally asked, his eyebrows turning up.
"... Could you please get off of me, dear?"
With a burst of laughter, Sephiroth realized that poor Cloud's ankles were still on his shoulders. He quickly put his weight on his hands and lifted his hips up off of Cloud's thighs. He moved his mouth across Cloud's jaw, kissing him apologetically as they shifted out of each other's way.
Cloud's legs trembled as he lowered them, and rolled over with a withering sigh. "God... Sometimes you hit it just right that I get absolutely knifed by those fucking bony hips of yours."
"I'm doin' the best I can with your fuckin' bony ass," Sephiroth retorted, scooping a dirty towel off of the floor and cleaning the mess on his stomach, and then in between Cloud's thighs.
"Yeah, whatever. Shut up and hold me!" Cloud demanded, pulling and pushing on Sephiroth's limbs until they cradled him just right.
"You're such a brat right now. That wasn't awkward sex, it was bratty sex," Sephiroth laughed, but seemed very content to grant Cloud's wishes and curl against the curve of his back.
"Well, I got woken up out of a dead sleep and then jabbed with heavy bones for an hour!" Cloud trailed off before he shot a brilliant smile over his shoulder.
Sephiroth smiled back at him, "Could you live with that?"
"Most definitely," Cloud sighed, eyes turning to the windows, where the morning sky was becoming a crisp, wintery shade of blue. The warmth of Sephiroth's embrace under the covers was nice, but the cold outside world seemed even more inviting. "... Seph, let's not sleep the day away. Can we go get breakfast?"
"... Okay," He said, although he didn't sound entirely enthused about the idea of getting up.
"Then after we eat, could we... maybe get some retail therapy?" Cloud ventured.
"You want somethin'?" Sephiroth mumbled.
Cloud fiddled with a loose string in the blanket. "I thought maybe... if you want... we could get some fun stuff to play with tonight."
Sephiroth's ears perked at that, "What kind of stuff?"
"Have you ever baked bread?"
"I really like to; my mom and I would mix up recipes all the time and it turns out really good. Bread ovens aren't very expensive, they take up practically no space, and the bread takes all day to bake but you come home to it and the smell is just heavenly... I think you'd like it. Or at least I think you'd like eating it." Cloud looked over his shoulder to try to gauge Sephiroth's expression, but found it somewhat blank. "... And if we're somewhere to buy a bread oven, you think we could get a tea kettle? I don't like coffee that much - I mean I drink it, but tea is a lot nicer. And maybe we could get some cups that are a bit smaller. All of your cups are like bowls with handles on them - "
"You're tellin' me you wanna go shop for kitchen shit?" Sephiroth asked in disbelief.
"... Does that sound fun?" Cloud asked, suddenly feeling stupid.
"Gadgets, dishes, decorating, and you making me food?" Sephiroth pushed his hand into Cloud's hair and rustled it affectionately. "That sounds like a fuckin' blast. Let's take a shower and go."
"Where to?" Cloud laughed, indignantly trying to fix his hair once Sephiroth released it, although he was sporting bed head compounded by sex muss and the effort was lost.
"You've never been to Ikea," Sephiroth presumed.
"The car dealership?"
It was not a car dealership. It was Sephiroth's version of Disneyland, and Cloud was just as enchanted by it. The appliances, unusual furniture, interior decoration studio and fried food cafe were all great, but the best part about it was that they were purchasing things for their home.
As they strolled through the aisles of the warehouse, they passed other couples of all genders, types and ages, and it made Cloud nearly delirious to know that he was there with Sephiroth... who loved him... and who was willing to forfeit his credit card to prove it. Cloud was blissed out on the domestic partnership of it all, and couldn't keep his hands off of Sephiroth. He held Sephiroth's hand, hung onto his back pockets, hugged him from behind as he pushed the cart, and snuggled up against his side while considering merchandise. He knew he was probably making a big PDA spectacle of himself, but couldn't bring himself to care.
By the time they returned home, it was too late to try out the bread machine. But they were able to test out their new cake-pop maker, pizza rack, and Cloud's new electric tea kettle.
They even got things for a huge empty room across the loft that would serve as Cloud's personal nook; a place for him to decorate and keep his things the way he liked them. Of course, his movies would be integrated into Sephiroth's collection, pictures would be on the walls and tabletops all over the apartment, and he was welcome to purchase things to bring home and establish his identity in Sephiroth's loft.
It was gracious of Sephiroth to offer him his own space where he could close a door if he needed to. He agreed with Sephiroth that their bedroom was to be kept Zen, though - no clutter or pictures, only the bed, the television that was mostly hidden away and rarely used, and the big, gorgeous windowscape. Some of the best sleep Cloud had ever gotten in his life was in that bed, and he wouldn't change a thing about it - he'd keep his junky clutter in his own room.
Cloud didn't like the term "nook" though, because it implied he was an old lady who would be sewing in it. Cloud preferred to call it a man cave.
After visiting Ikea, Cloud's "man cave" now consisted of a circular yellow shag carpet, and a big box that contained pieces to a shelf that Cloud might eventually construct. If he ever got around to it, it would be perfect to house his record player and collection.
It wasn't much, but it was the first step to Cloud building a nest in Sephiroth's sprawling tree of an apartment.
Sephiroth liked the rug. He liked the shelf. He liked all the new shit in his kitchen. And while he really didn't care for tea... Sephiroth especially liked the sight of Cloud's kettle taking up a little bit of space on the counter underneath his coffee brewer.
It would serve as an everyday reminder that this wasn't just a weekend kind of love.
Babyroth - owmyhearteries dot deviantart dot com / # / d4rfsp3
Shopping for kitchen shit - owmyhearteries dot deviantart dot com / # / d4rfskl
1 - Hey guys! What's going on with you?
2 - I'm a full time digital art student now, so I'm busy like, coding web pages and doing shit I don't really want to do. I'm sure most of us are going to school, and it's not so much a time constraint, but a fucking brain cell constraint. I only have so much juice, then I'm done and left in a mindless trance, drooling and watching Terminator and Road Warrior and 300. Plus there's work, but there's always been work so that's no excuse. I find time for my small creative outlets, just not much, which makes for slow updates. I'm sorry about that, but I try to make it worth the wait.
3 - Thanks a lot for all the encouraging reviews left during the little hiatus between this chapter and the last one. It really helps to see, and makes me remember how magically delicious story writing is for myself, and for readers who enjoy this brand of idiocy. It's something I enjoy doing, and I'm glad it's something you enjoy reading. Thanks for your patience and your fun vibes.
4 - DO I WIN ANYTHING FOR WRITING A 1500 WORD RIMMING SCENE? Or is that the sort of thing people will only love me for after I'm dead?