For Yaoi Challenge 2006: Advent Children AU. Pre-Nibelheim, Sephiroth discovers that there are others like him in ShinRa's labs. He does something about it.
The door opens without beeping first. That's never happened before. The way it always goes is that there's a beeping noise, and then a click as the light turns from red to green, and then the door wooshes open.
This time, though, metal creaks and hisses and the door just /gives/. A man steps into the cell, and Loz scrambles out of bed, the floor cold under his bare feet as he stands up straight and salutes. "Sir," he says.
General Sephiroth stares at him, unblinking, his eyes glowing in the darkness. Loz wonders if his own will be that bright when he's had the rest of his treatments.
"You find 'em?" somebody says from the hallway.
"The first one," the general says. There's movement in the doorway -- Loz glances over for long enough to catch a glimpse of dark hair and eyes that glow purple-blue instead of green, before he remembers to face forward like he's been taught. "At ease," General Sephiroth tells him, so he lets his shoulders relax and clasps his hands behind his back.
"Damn, Seph," the other person says, "you interrogating the poor kid?"
General Sephiroth looks annoyed for a second, almost just like Kadaj when he can't make something work. "No," he says. "He came to attention as soon as he saw me." He focuses on Loz again. "Who are you?"
"Jenova Project candidate number sixteen, sir," Loz says.
"Not like that," says the other person -- Loz can't decide whether to call him a man or a boy. He's not as young as Yazoo, but not much older, probably, but confident, too, and confusing. "What's your name?"
"Professor Hojo doesn't let --" but General Sephiroth is frowning, and Loz cuts himself off. He's thinking too much again. He's not supposed to do that. And if General Sephiroth wants to know what they call each other, that should be okay, right? He can't possibly get in trouble for not calling them by number. "Loz, sir."
General Sephiroth nods once. "How many others like you are being kept here?"
"Two, sir," Loz says. "Numbers seventeen and eighteen, sir. Yazoo and Kadaj."
"Look, you don't have to say 'sir' every time you open your mouth --"
"Zack," General Sephiroth says sharply. "Let him answer so that it's comfortable for him, not so that it's comfortable for you."
"Right," says the other person, Zack, and he looks a little like Carter did when Professor Hojo yelled at her for giving Loz candy that one time. "Sorry."
"Thank you," the general says. "Loz. You are not officially a part of ShinRa's military, are you?"
"No," Loz says, and looks from General Sephiroth to Zack and back again, "sir."
"And yet you address me as though I am your superior officer. Why is that?"
"We're supposed to join SOLDIER when we're ready, sir. Together we're supposed to," and he pauses to try to remember the word, "rep-li-cate your abilities, sir."
The general's eyes narrow a little. "And have you managed to do so?"
"No, sir," Loz says, and he can feel his throat getting tight, the corners of his eyes prickling. "But we're getting m-more treatments still, sir."
"Hey, take it easy, Loz, don't cry," Zack says, stepping closer, reaching out to put a hand on his shoulder. "It'll be okay. Come on, Seph, haven't we heard enough? These guys need out of here."
"We have heard enough," General Sephiroth confirms, nodding once more. "Would you like to leave this facility, Loz?"
Loz takes deep breaths, trying to make himself not cry. "Can Kadaj and Yazoo come too?"
"Of course," the general says.
"Then yes, please."
General Sephiroth smiles at him for just a second. "Get dressed, and we'll go free them as well."
This, he supposes, is what fury feels like -- the real thing, not the artificial fog of red that an enemy will sometimes inflict in order to sabotage his accuracy. This is different; he feels more in control, focused as though he's drilling with his sword, except for the shaking that he can't quite suppress.
A glance sideways at Zack confirms that it's an appropriate response. Zack is his barometer of normal human behavior, his guide to what is considered acceptable outside ShinRa's barracks and laboratories. Right now, Zack's mouth is set in a line so tight it leaves his lips a bloodless white, and there's no hint of laughter in his eyes. Sephiroth can't remember ever seeing him so angry.
Their charges follow them down the hall, quiet, unquestioning, their steps perfectly in time with his. Sephiroth wonders if it can possibly be normal to be able to feel their presences like a change in the density of the air, as if they exert some gravitational pull on him, or vice versa.
The youngest of them is twelve. The oldest is sixteen. All three of them call him "sir" and introduced themselves by number. And whatever the researchers did to him to give him a predator's eyes, Professor Hojo did it to these boys, as well. Sephiroth sees far more of himself in them than he would like to.
When they round the last corner to the elevator, the beam of a flashlight catches them. "Halt! Who goes -- ah, I, I mean, please -- state your business, s-sir."
"Stand down!" Zack barks, before Sephiroth has quite decided whether to answer or whether to just continue on, and kill the man if he tries to stop them. "What's your security clearance, soldier?"
There's a rustle of cloth as the guard comes to attention, and Sephiroth can smell the faint sour tang of his fear. "Class B, sir. Nobody with a lower clearance can be assigned to this floor."
"Tell you what," Zack says, stepping forward, out of the light. Sephiroth recognizes the tone; it's the one he uses when he's encouraging that trooper friend of his to try something one more time, or when he's convincing a skeptical duty sergeant to bend the rules for him just this once. "You just turn around and head the other way, and we'll pretend we didn't see you," pause, "Corporal Parker, and everything will be fine."
"Sir," the guard says, sounding miserable, "there's -- this is, I mean, the labs are down this way, I can't let anyone --"
"I'm trying to help you," Zack says kindly. "This whole floor was supposed to be cleared tonight before we came through. You know what happens to the poor bastard who gets himself messed up in double-A classified military secrets?"
Sephiroth's eyes are adjusting to the annoyance of the flashlight; he fixes the unfortunate corporal with a disapproving stare, in case it might help Zack's case. "No, sir," Parker admits.
"You don't want to," Zack says, shaking his head. "They don't even send in the Turks until the worst is already over. Not a pretty sight, let me tell you. So if it were me, I'd just walk away and pretend this never happened."
The flashlight shuts off.
"Good choice," Sephiroth says calmly.
"Thank you, sir," Corporal Parker manages, and doesn't quite run in the other direction.
Sephiroth and Zack herd the boys onto the elevator, and the first few floors pass in silence. "Zack," Sephiroth says, as they pass the 56th floor, "there's no such thing as double A security clearance."
Zack grins. "Bet you it'll take at least half an hour before Corporal Parker calms down enough to wonder about that. Nice touch, by the way, that 'good choice.' Poor guy probably thought you were about to gut him right there."
"Only if he persisted in trying to stop us," Sephiroth says. The grin slides off Zack's face, and for once Sephiroth can't bring himself to worry about having gone too far. These boys need his help; he doesn't even have a name for the tangle of emotions they spark in him. They stand a little straighter when he says how far he'd go, their expressions determined and loyal.
The files he discovered said things like, 17 proving more docile after ECT; may be ready for contact with outside world by the end of the year, and 18 resisting treatments; lockdown without rations recommended, and /13-15 terminated due to deterioration/. Somewhere, he knows, he must have a file of his own with notes like those, and while the conditions of the laboratory were frustrating, unpleasant to bear himself, he's finding that the same things he tolerated with gritted teeth are completely unacceptable when they happen to his -- to these boys.
"Where are we going, sir?" the youngest one -- Kadaj -- asks. He's the most daring of the three of them, easily, the only one who would question his orders.
"We're leaving the ShinRa building," Sephiroth says, watching the way Zack straightens attentively, ever the good lieutenant. "I'm taking you somewhere safe -- somewhere defensible -- while I negotiate with the department heads to have you officially transferred to my command."
"Seph, they're just kids," Zack says. "You shouldn't talk to them like --"
"We understand just fine," Kadaj interrupts. "Sir." The pause is almost certainly deliberate, rebellious. "None of the researchers were allowed to treat us like children."
Zack gives him the look that means he should have gleaned something meaningful from what he's just heard. "This isn't going to be easy," he says.
Sephiroth smiles wryly. "When it comes to ShinRa, nothing is."
The safe house is dark, and weirdly quiet. There were always things humming in the cell, electricity running somewhere even when it was mostly dark. Here -- "under the Plate," Zack called it, but Loz doesn't really know what that means -- nothing is bright and clean like in the lab. There's a light outside their window, but it flickers out more than half of the time.
Loz can't sleep. Yazoo and Kadaj are both asleep already, curled up together on the other side of the bed, their breathing slow and even. But Loz is still wide awake, still nervous. He's never done anything that might make the doctors this angry, and even with General Sephiroth there to say it's all right, he can't help being a little afraid.
He slides out of bed and pads out of the room, down the hall. There's a low murmur of voices from the room at the far end, Zack and General Sephiroth still awake, talking to each other. Probably about the three of them. Zack is worried about what they've done, Loz can tell. Only the general seems really sure they'll be okay.
At the door, Loz stops. There's something about the quiet, serious tones of their voices that makes him think he shouldn't interrupt, something about the way they're standing, so close together, that makes him afraid to go in there.
They're facing each other, and Zack has his hands on General Sephiroth's waist, looking up at him. The general's hair falls in his face, so Loz can't see his eyes, but he's sort of smiling as Zack leans in even closer -- and then General Sephiroth bends down just a little bit, and Zack tilts his head up, and their mouths touch.
One of them makes a noise, a low growling sound that somehow doesn't sound angry at all, and then the general wraps his arms around Zack, holding onto him. Zack moves like he's still trying to press closer, pushing with his hips, and Loz thinks he's the one who makes the noise the second time.
Watching them makes Loz feel strange, sort of uncomfortable in ways he wouldn't know how to talk about -- he's always supposed to report things that trouble him or hurt or feel wrong, but he doesn't know how he would explain this. Especially once Zack slides his hand down in between them and General Sephiroth shudders, starting to move the same way Zack did. Their mouths are still pressed together, and Loz thinks he can hear metal jingling, like a belt being unbuckled.
Then Zack steps back a little, smiling at the general. He says something -- Loz thinks it's, "You want to?" but it's hard to really hear him -- and the general nods, touching Zack's face gently.
Zack gets down on his knees in front of the general, leaning in close to him again, and the general makes a low, satisfied hissing noise. Loz can't quite see what Zack is doing, but his head moves in this slow rhythm and there are soft wet noises like he's doing something with his mouth. General Sephiroth leans his head back against the wall, his eyes closed, his mouth half-open and his breathing just barely loud enough for Loz to hear.
This is definitely something Loz shouldn't be watching, something too important and too secret, but he can't make himself move -- the look on General Sephiroth's face as Zack...does things to him...holds him still, keeps him there watching. He'll be in so much trouble if they see him, but he can't help it. General Sephiroth reaches down and works his fingers into Zack's hair, like he's going to make Zack stop, but he doesn't, just holds on like that -- and then he shudders all over, making this soft moaning noise, and relaxes back against the wall.
Zack sits back on his heels and looks up at the general. Loz thinks he's smiling. "Feel better?" he asks softly.
General Sephiroth laughs, and Loz feels a little shiver run down his spine. "Much better," the general agrees, reaching down to offer Zack a hand getting up. "You, also?"
"In a minute," Zack says. He nods toward the door. "I want to go check on the kids first. Make sure they're okay."
"They've been through much worse," the general says, and his tone is almost...sad? Loz wonders if he could possibly be hearing that right. "I'm sure they're all right."
"Still," Zack says, and Loz doesn't catch the rest, because he's busy retreating, finding his way back down the hall as quietly as he can.
He slides back into bed and tries to relax, closing his eyes and trying to make it seem like he's been here all along, slowing down his breathing. A minute later the door creaks, and Loz opens his eyes just enough to look out under his lashes. There's a long moment where Zack is looking in at them, his eyes glowing in the darkness, and then he pulls back at last, his steps fading down the hall.
Yazoo rolls over, reaching out to Loz and resting a hand on his arm. "What was that about?" he whispers.
Loz slides closer, letting his eyes adjust to the dark for a minute, and then leans in and presses his mouth to Yazoo's the way Zack did to the general. It feels good, Yazoo's lips soft and warm. "Do you know what that's called?" he asks afterward, quietly so they don't wake Kadaj.
"No," Yazoo says. "Where did you learn it?"
"General Sephiroth and Zack were doing it before." Loz smiles, a little awkward. "It looked nice."
Yazoo nods. "They can probably tell you what it is, then," he suggests. "Tomorrow."
"Right," Loz says. He puts an arm over Yazoo's waist, and that feels good, too. Tomorrow Zack can tell him what that was called, and what it's for.
The question is so blunt, so unexpected, that Zack doesn't quite know what to make of it at first. He just sits there for a minute, staring and trying not to blush, and Loz ducks his head.
"I mean, I -- I shouldn't have looked, should I?" He hunches his shoulders, and he looks much younger than Zack, younger than Cloud, for all that the lab records say they're the same age. "I'm sorry."
"No, it's, ah." Zack shifts awkwardly. He folds his arms, decides that's too aggressive, and stuffs his hands in his pockets instead. "It's just, you know. That kind of thing is usually private. We, um, wouldn't have done something like that if we'd known you were watching." Loz takes a nervous, shaky breath, and Zack reaches out for him instinctively. "Hey, look, don't cry. It's okay. I'm not mad, right? You're fine."
Loz nods, and Zack comes over to put an arm around him for comfort's sake. None of these kids have been held enough -- he thought Seph was bad, but Seph was at least already grown up, already used to taking care of himself, when they met. Loz and Yazoo and Kadaj all seem so fragile, so uncertain.
"It just feels kind of weird to try and explain, is all," Zack says. Loz leans into him, warm and solid, so Zack runs a hand down his back comfortingly. The soft rise and fall of Cloud's voice carries from the other room, and then the static noise of a television tuned to a dead channel. With any luck, the TV will keep Cloud and the younger ones busy for a little while, so they don't come in on the middle of this conversation. "I mean -- how much did you, um, how much did you stay for?"
Loz hesitates, but only for a second, and his voice is quiet and steady when he answers: "I got there right before you started...touching each other, and I left right before you came to check on us." It's the same flat tone Seph uses when he has to give status reports to the brass or the labs, weirdly submissive in its evenness.
He's probably focusing on that so he can avoid thinking about the fact that Loz watched him give a blowjob last night.
"Okay." Zack takes a deep breath. This isn't going to be easy. "So, um, did anybody teach you guys anything about sex in the lab?"
"No," Loz says, "sir." Zack almost corrects him, because it just feels so wrong -- okay, Cloud calls him "sir" when they're on duty, but Cloud is in much better shape than these kids, and that's saying something -- but he lets it go, because it seems like having his patterns disrupted is more likely to make Loz confused and emotional. "We were only taught the things we were supposed to need to be SOLDIERs."
"Sick bastards," Zack mutters. "Not you," he says hastily, when Loz tenses. "I mean, it's not right for them to treat you guys like that's all you were going to be, that's all. You're people first, and SOLDIERs after that. If you even want to be." He's getting himself worked up, though, getting angry, and that's not what Loz needs right now.
"I'm sorry," Zack says, giving Loz a quick little one-armed hug. "I'm not mad at you." Right. They were talking sex, not politics. "So. Last night. What Seph and I were doing is called having sex. It's -- it's something you do with someone you really care about, to make each other feel good, and, ah, if a man and a woman do it together, sometimes it's so they can have a child -- do you know anything about that at all?"
Loz nods slowly. "A little. I -- sometimes I remember things from before the lab. But I was really little then."
There just aren't words for what a mess this is. "Okay. We'll...I guess we'll have to explain the babies thing later. All three of you are probably going to need to have that talk, huh?" Zack pictures himself trying to pull that off with a straight face, trying to explain to three earnest little teenage Sephiroths /where babies come from/. Aeris would laugh herself sick, if she could see him now. "For right now, just...it's something that you would do with someone important to you, and usually people don't talk about the fact that they're doing it, especially if they're in the military. It's supposed to be bad for morale, having people get too close to each other."
"But...." Loz frowns thoughtfully. "They wanted us to be close, when we were training. We were supposed to work together as closely as possible."
Zack shrugs. "I'm...well, if I really believed it was an issue, I wouldn't have started things with Seph in the first place, right? I mean, it can be a problem, but it doesn't have to be. But we still don't talk about it with just anyone. So keep it a secret, okay?"
Loz nods. "Like our names," he says, and when Zack raises an eyebrow he goes on, "We were supposed to just have numbers. But Kadaj said that was no good, and we should have names. It was a secret for just us, until you came."
Zack feels like he's been hit in the gut. "I'm -- I promise, you don't ever have to go back there," he says. "No matter what. We'll keep you safe."
"Thank you," Loz says soberly. He wraps his arms around Zack and just holds on, and they sit there like that for a minute until there's a soft cough from behind them.
"I should probably get going," Cloud says, smiling shyly. "I need to be back at the base pretty soon." The others hover in the doorway behind him like shy ghosts, their eyes luminous and green.
Zack lets go of Loz, stepping back to a comfortable distance. "Right. Thanks for bringing us the TV -- you want me to walk you to the door?"
"Sure," Cloud says. He turns back to smile at Yazoo and Kadaj. "See you guys soon, okay?" Yazoo hangs back, but Kadaj steps forward -- fast, like he's trying to sneak something in before it gets taken away from him -- and hugs Cloud, arms tight around his waist. Cloud lets out his breath in a sharp little surprised huff, and then hugs back, more carefully.
"Soon," Kadaj insists, before he lets go. Then he brightens, looking at Loz. "Come on, you should see this. It's like the monitors in the lab, except you can make it show you all kinds of things."
Cloud flinches at the description as Loz follows the others back into their room; Zack gives him a weak smile. "You see what I mean about them being an emergency?"
"Yeah." Cloud nods, walking with Zack down the hall toward the far door. "You guys are -- it sounds dumb to have to ask, but -- you're going to be okay doing this, right?"
"Seph was pretty sure it would work out," Zack says, shrugging, trying to make it sound like a done deal. He's still not at all sure that it'll work, that the ShinRa execs will be willing to listen to Sephiroth's demands, but he's not about to let the morale of the troops down. "I'm sure he knows how to handle the goons in suits, right?"
Cloud laughs a little. "Yeah, if anybody can, it's Sephiroth."
"See?" Zack grins. "It'll be fine." He backs Cloud up against the door and leans in for a kiss, and Cloud still gets that little surprised look in his eyes just for a second before he tilts his head back to meet Zack's mouth with his own.
It's always so sweet, the way Cloud surrenders to him, so unlike the force of Sephiroth's kisses -- and he hasn't had nearly enough time with Cloud lately, since the discovery of the continuing Jenova Project consumed all of his and Sephiroth's free time. But since it turns out he put on a show last night, and he's not entirely sure how long the TV will keep the boys occupied, he figures he better keep it to this.
Cloud smiles when Zack pulls back, his cheeks just slightly flushed. "I'll, ah, come see you again soon, right?"
"Yeah." Zack unlocks the door, then leans in for one more quick kiss. "I'd like that."
They'll get this straightened out eventually; one solid day of campaigning has left Sephiroth certain of that. But it's his least favorite kind of battle, the drawn-out bureaucratic struggle where the most important tactic is the ability to make an argument that will both flatter and unnerve his opponents. It's exhausting, and without the clean ache of exertion that comes from honest swordplay.
He unbuckles his coat and shrugs out of it, hanging it by the door of his little temporary room. Zack has gone back to base so he can report for regular duty at 0600 tomorrow, so Sephiroth is staying with the boys alone; soon enough it'll be safe to bring them back to an official ShinRa facility, but for now he wants them out of the company's hands.
He's just finished braiding his hair so it won't tangle in his sleep, when he hears the floorboards creak in the hall. It's Loz, the oldest of the boys, the only one who looks like he's mostly grown -- technically, Loz is the same age as most of the candidates who'll be taking the SOLDIER exam this year, the same age that Zack was when Sephiroth met him.
"Is something the matter?" Sephiroth asks.
"Not...exactly, sir," Loz says. Sephiroth is fairly certain the boy could take down a platoon of regular troopers unarmed, but he's more timid than that poor cadet Zack drags around. "I mean. I wanted to -- to ask you -- to --"
"It's all right," Sephiroth says. This is another thing he's learned from interacting with Zack and his cadet: how to reassure someone who seems unnerved by him. He doubts he'll ever be as good at it as Zack, but he's getting better. "Tell me what's wrong, and we'll take care of it."
"It's...nothing's wrong/, sir. Not really." Loz takes a deep breath, stepping closer, and Sephiroth is struck by how odd it is to be looking into another...person's eyes and finding that they mirror his own. "I'm not good at explaining," Loz says, and he leans forward slowly, deliberately, the way most people wouldn't dare, the way /nobody dared before Zack, and the surprise that someone else would try such a thing keeps Sephiroth from moving as Loz kisses him clumsily.
He finds himself taking note of all the differences between kissing Zack and kissing Loz: not only the physical details -- the fact that Loz is almost his height, and broader-shouldered than Zack, or the strange familiarity in the taste of Loz's mouth, that's almost like the first glow of materia about to be cast -- but the.../nuances/, the way Zack is always confident and almost aggressive, where Loz kisses like he's not entirely sure how.
"You don't have experience with this," Sephiroth says, pulling back slightly.
Has he ever looked as uncertain as Loz does now? "No, sir," Loz admits. "But Zack explained it to me. He said it's something you do with people who are important to you, and you're very important to us, sir, and...." He falters, looking worried. "But we're not that important to you, maybe."
Sephiroth hesitates; all the men under his command are important to him, but not, he suspects, in the way that Zack meant. But these boys are also special cases, his comrades in a way that even the other First Class SOLDIERs aren't -- their eyes and hair are proof enough of that, and the odd sense of pressure that comes from having them nearby. "You are important. And I will take care of you."
Loz smiles, and Sephiroth reaches up to cradle the nape of his neck in one hand, holding him still for another kiss. He opens his mouth this time, and Loz makes a little surprised noise when Sephiroth's tongue slides past his lips, but he doesn't resist, holding on with cautious hands at Sephiroth's waist. It still doesn't feel like kissing Zack -- Loz is too timid, too cautious at first -- but it's good despite that; Loz pays attention and learns to respond quickly, and he presses closer as the kiss deepens.
"What is it that you want?" Sephiroth asks, pulling back. Loz's eyes glow very faintly, the pupils dilated almost round, and Sephiroth recognizes the look in them, the hunger.
For a second it looks like the question confuses Loz, like he wasn't expecting it. "I want to do what you do with Zack," he says, his voice hoarse.
"Come here, then," Sephiroth says, pulling Loz with him toward the bed. The buckles and zippers on Loz's clothes are similar enough to his own that it's simple to strip him, to strip them both, and if Loz's eyes are bewildered and nervous, his body is still needy and responsive. It's even less like being with Zack now; Loz hesitates, awkward, clearly unsure what to do.
Sephiroth presses him down into the mattress, settling over him and kissing him again. Loz moans into the kiss, and when Sephiroth rocks his hips so they slide against each other, he moans louder.
Zack brought a bottle of lube along when he stayed last night, in one of his fits of optimism about the amount of privacy or energy or both that they would have after rescuing the boys from the laboratory. Sephiroth reaches for it now, nudging Loz's thighs apart with one knee.
"What -- what are you," Loz starts, the words trailing off as Sephiroth reaches down between his legs.
"You said Zack had explained this to you," Sephiroth points out, but he stops moving. The odd extra sense that he has with the three of them isn't giving him any real warnings; he doesn't sense distress from Loz, just confusion.
"Not...not everything, sir," Loz admits shakily. "Will you show me?"
Sephiroth nods. "This part," he says, "seems to be helped if you relax."
Loz seems to take the suggestion as an order, going sleek and boneless under Sephiroth, all the tension dropping out of his limbs. When Sephiroth penetrates him, he offers almost no resistance, yielding to Sephiroth's fingers with a soft moan of surprise. "Oh," he says, and curls one hand cautiously around Sephiroth's arm. "It's -- you're...."
Sephiroth hums softly, licking at Loz's collarbone to get the taste of his sweat. Zack always seems to like attention to his throat -- Sephiroth tries that now, as an experiment, and Loz moans at the touch of his mouth, shivering under him.
"Like this," Sephiroth says, withdrawing his fingers, pressing Loz's thighs up and spread. Comprehension flickers across Loz's face, his lips parting on a soundless exhale, as Sephiroth slides into position above him, rocks forward --
And Loz is tight, sleek and hot and trembling, as Sephiroth presses in, and for one brief moment Sephiroth thinks he feels Loz panic. He tries to project something back through the strange bond between them, a sense of calm, a certainty that things are fine, that they're safe -- and Loz relaxes, lets him in with a slow shudder and a moan.
Finding a rhythm is easy, once Sephiroth is certain that he can trust the impressions he gets from their bond -- the pleasure strangely amplified, as he thrusts and Loz's hips rock to meet him. The sounds he drives from Loz's throat are soft and low, needy, and there's an ache of frustration thrumming between them that Sephiroth realizes after a moment isn't his own. He reaches down to ease it, and the wash of Loz's relief and pleasure at his touch almost undoes him, so he lets that feed back into the vortex of sensation as well, feeling the way it makes Loz shiver and tighten around him -- and Loz is struggling for words, panting, please, please as they move -- so Sephiroth tells him, "Yes," and drives in deep, and that's all Loz needs -- and his climax sparks along Sephiroth's nerves, impossible to deny, to resist, and Sephiroth finishes almost as soon as it hits him.
Afterward, it takes a few long moments before Sephiroth can regain his composure enough to withdraw gracefully. Loz looks awestruck, almost frightened -- it's an expression that Sephiroth is used to seeing on the battlefield, but not in bed. He wonders if there's something he could say to reassure Loz, but he's not certain where to begin. The connection between them is ebbing in the aftermath, fading to the faint pressure he noticed from the first moments in the lab.
Loz saves him from having to find words, wrapping his arms around himself protectively and looking up to meet Sephiroth's eyes. "Is Zack not going to be here tonight?"
"No," Sephiroth says. "He has to report for duty in the morning."
"Should I stay here instead, sir?" Loz asks. Something about the hopeful look on his face reminds Sephiroth of Zack's smile, makes him feel almost the same way. "I mean -- Yazoo and Kadaj have each other, but you don't have anyone else here, and -- and it was nicer to sleep with someone, sir -- I mean." He stops, ducking his head. "I'm sorry, sir. I'm thinking too much again."
Sephiroth snorts. "I have yet to meet a competent commander who complained about his men taking too much initiative."
"You're not thinking too much," Sephiroth translates. "And I appreciate the offer. Yes, I would like it if you stayed."
Loz smiles, and curls up warm and solid against his side. Sephiroth pets his hair experimentally, and Loz makes a soft, contented humming sound. The sense of his presence is still there, quiet but distinct -- and if Sephiroth concentrates hard, he thinks he can make out the others, too, the pressure of their minds faint but still unmistakable.
They're like him, in ways that he'd begun to believe nobody ever would be. He closes his eyes, wrapping an arm carefully around Loz. He won't let anyone at ShinRa take them away.