Cloud gets taken by Sephiroth when he looks for him in the mountains. Leads to a relationship, but the past can never truly be forgotten. dark themes sc zc
Chapter 11 The First of Cloud's Screams
"Are you really that big of an idiot?" Seriously what the hell was he trying to do? He got his biggest chance ever to go somewhere, and he was thinking of actually blowing it?...Though now that he thought about it it was typical for Cloud. He always had to do things the hard way, but then again he supposed that was what he liked about him. After all they weren't best friends for nothing.
Cloud took a sip of the beer Reno had just fetched for him, doing his best to stare at the floor the entire time while in their shit dive of an apartment. He couldn't place his finger on it, but ever since about a week ago there had been something seriously wrong with his blond haired friend. "You don't understand Reno, when I got into the class I was really excited...but now..." He trailed off as he always did when there was something on the tip of his tongue that he wasn't quite ready to spill yet. Well it didn't really matter if he was ready or not, Reno would crack him.
"Oh, so what you're trying to tell me is that since you've came here you've done nothing but bitch about how badly you want to become a SOLDIER, but now that you're in the advanced class, taught by Sephiroth of all people, you're saying that you wanna quiet just cuz you don't feel like it?" Reno scoffed, before slamming his own drink down on their broken coffee table. "Give me a break Cloud...That's by far the stupidest thing I've ever heard."
Maybe he was scared, but that didn't give him any right to blow this chance for himself. Sephiroth only taught one advanced class a year, and that advanced class was full of the top 10 hopefuls for SOLDIER training. The kicker there was that almost every single one of the SOLDIER hopefuls that had taken the class made it in, and the little blond brat sitting in front of him somehow managed to scheme himself a spot in the class. Now he was trying to tell him that he didn't want to take it?...Like hell he was going to let him throw away his dream so easily.
"That's the exact reason!" Reno paused in his train of thoughts at Cloud's outburst. So he wasn't too proud to admit that the blond had succeeded in completely losing him there.
"Huh?" So he was a little puzzled, under the circumstanced he would take a guess that anyone would be. Because really that last statement just did not make sense.
Reno had a feeling though that that thing he was trying to get Cloud to open up to was about to come flooding out of him. His friend had grabbed the end of his shirt, twisting it up in what he recognized as one of his many nervous habits that he usually preyed upon. Not to mention the fact that he was harshly biting his lip, confirming the fact that whatever it was that Cloud was about to say was definitely important. "It's because of Sephiroth that I can't go...because he hates me."
Oh. Was that all? "Jeez Cloud, you can be so paranoid sometimes." Reno got up from his seat on their crappy chair to go join the blond on the couch. Wrapping one arm around his friend, he pulled Cloud close. "Sephiroth doesn't hate you for that Valentine's Day thing." He felt Cloud slightly stiffen, but he had anticipated such a reaction so he chose not to comment. "The truth of the matter is buddy is that the General probably had people like you throwing themselves at him everyday...you were probably just another one of those people." Reno didn't really know how badly this was affecting the person he was trying to comfort, so he dumbly went on. "In fact he's probably forgotten all about it by now...I mean it's not as if you fucked around with him or anything."
Now it had been just a joke, but at the way Cloud stiffened in his arms it really got him wondering. He couldn't be, could he? "Cloud, you weren't sleeping with him...were you?"
The blond pulled out of his arms, in fact he got up from the couch altogether. He made his way over to the corner, shakily covering his face. "I...we...No!" The hands came off of his face, and Cloud turned to him with a look of that would befit a wild animal. "It's just we were kinda together!" Reno's eyes widened. Him and Sephiroth had been in a relationship? How? When? By the insane look on Cloud's face it seemed he wasn't done ranting, so the red head decided to hear him out before he started his accusations. "After Valentine's Day I couldn't stop thinking about him...He was never far from my thoughts. Even after I got back with Zack I couldn't get Sephiroth out of my head." Cloud slumped down against the wall, burying his face in his knees as he continued his story. "Then one day I was picked as an errand boy in one of my defense classes...They told me all I had to do was deliver a message." His voice somewhat traveled inwards, obviously recalling every detail very vividly. "The entire time I was in the office I could feel his eyes on me, and yet I couldn't bring myself to look at him...The last time I was there he had said such strange things to me, things that make you doubt what you believe in, and so this time I couldn't even look at his face...but then I stumbled on my foot, and he caught me right before I hit the floor...The next thing I knew...The next thing I knew..." Cloud's blue eyes snapped up, widened and fearful. "I had pushed him down on the desk and kissed him again!"
Now that was a lot to take in, especially if you were Reno. It's not bad enough that he had to watch him fuck around with Zack in every available space, but now he had to endure seeing him with Sephiroth too. The red head's fist tightened in jealousy, and to try to get control over his emotions he simply took another drink of his beer. He met Cloud's gaze again, trying his hardest to sound at least a little sincere and interested. "So whatever happened?" He had a feeling he had miserably failed on both accounts.
Not that his friend would notice of course, he seemed too far into his own little world to notice anything at the moment. It seemed whatever had happened was seriously eating away at his insides. "He told me that he wanted to be with me...He told me that he cared."
Reno pushed himself off of the couch, going to the fridge for another beer. He had a feeling that tonight was going to require a lot of alcohol on his part. "Then why exactly do you sound so miserable Strife?...You got what you wanted, right?"
"What I wanted?" Cloud's head slumped into his knees again. "If only it were that easy." Cloud's fists twisted into the material of his pants, and his body began to shake all over. In other words...he was finally breaking down into tears.
Making his way over to the other side of the room where the blond was seating, Reno sunk to his knees, laying a hand on each of his friend's shoulder in support. "Why isn't it Cloud? Why can't you have what you want?"
As he looked up a stream of tears fell from both of his eyes. "Because I want them both."
Reno was jerked out of his dream by a huge bump they seemed to hit in the road. He turned to glare at the driver, who happened to be Zack at the time, but truthfully he was rather grateful. Zack's poor driving ability had saved him the hardship of telling Cloud to go after whatever made him happy...He had saved him the hardship of having to hear himself telling Cloud to go to Sephiroth.
"Don't look at me like that Turk...I can't help it if I hit a few potholes." Zack gave that annoyingly large grin that he normally did. "I did have a bullet put in my foot if you remember." Oh he remembered. That had been probably the only decent thing Rufus had done that entire night.
"Yeah well I still fail to see why we're driving on such shitty roads to some hick town anyways. What the hell is in Gongaga?" What he really wanted to ask was why he had been dragged along on such a ridiculous trip, and why they hadn't gone with everyone else. They had a fucking airship for god's sake, and yet they were driving around in some old heap of a truck.
"I told you that I had an informant there that said that some strange people were squatting in an old abandoned house out in the country."
He rubbed at his temples, seriously wanting to grab a gun and shoot the bastard in the foot again. He hadn't really done anything to him, but it was kind of just the principle of the matter. Zack just needed to be shot sometimes. "Yeah, and you know no other strangers could have moved into some shitty house except for Cloud and Sephiroth...You know I'm really starting to see your logic here."
"Reno don't be a dumbass!" He was about to say that he was in fact not a dumbass, but the little SOLDIER bastard just had to keep talking. "My informant said that one of the men had long silver hair." Well at least that explained the reason, but that still didn't explain why he was the only one privileged enough to be brought on this quest.
"But do tell me SOLDIER boy why is it that no one else was invited?" He did a quick flip. "I mean I know I'm good eye candy and all, but won't we need all of our little band of misfits if he really is there?"
Zack's hand tightened on the steering wheel, and his face turned completely serious. "I only brought you because last time Sephiroth chose to spare your life...I don't think Cloud could take it if he lost any more of his friends." Oh...
A thought suddenly occurred to him. "Yeah, well what if this time he doesn't choose to show such mercy?"
The soldier looked kind of sheepish for a moment, but then he simply shrugged, smile firmly placed back on his face. "Then I guess you'll die." Yeah, this was just great. Reno crossed his arms over his chest and glared...really hard.
Cloud quickly scooted as far away from his angered lover as possible, this was definitely not turning out the way he had hoped. In fact this was probably as far from what he could ever hope Sephiroth's response would be.
He couldn't really even see a trace of his lover in the man's face, no he was more like he was at Nibelheim...or hell even after he came back with the cuts all over himself. Something had taken hold of the Sephiroth he knew, and in his place was this furious monster. His normally semi glowing green eyes were now a bright neon color that almost hurt to look at, and his features seemed twisted almost, as if in his anger he had become possessed. The sad thing is is that he hadn't even began to tell him just how he knew the name Zack, and at the time he was really not wanting to.
"I repeat Strife, where did you hear that name?" His voice held that high tone it had before when Sephiroth freaked out on him, but he was sure that his lover wasn't completely gone yet.
Still, even though he knew he had to calm Sephiroth down somehow, his voice box seemed to be broken. His mouth opened and closed a few times, too concentrated on the look Sephiroth was giving him to speak. At this point in time he really didn't see the point in lying about anymore. What good would it do anyways? It's not as if the man was going to get any more sane if he made up some excuse about, and he was curious about the whole thing himself. So in a weakly mumbled voice he finally got out. "I...I dreamt about him." Sephiroth seemed to snarl, and Cloud's eyes shut, not being able to bare that gaze any longer. He even felt a few stray tears fall down his cheek as he shook his head back and forth, willing his mouth to keep going. "I've been dreaming about him for a long time...Ever since you first captured me."
There was a deadly silence that seemed to feel the air, and even though he wanted to, Cloud couldn't bring himself to open his eyes and see what his lover's reaction to the news was. His eyes were forced open though when their silent reprieve was destroyed as Sephiroth lunged at him, hands going to encircle his windpipe.
Cloud gasped as his air pipe closed up, and he tried to push the maniacal man off of him. "You were going to go back to him, weren't you?" Sephiroth squeezed harder. "You were just toying with me again, making me believe that you loved me." He tried to shake his head no, but his lover didn't even seem to be focused on his face anymore. The rage seemed to have consumed his soul. "But you can't go back to him, because he's dead!" His vision was starting to get spotty, and he clawed at Sephiroth's chest, trying to get him to let up. "Those Shinra pigs killed him, I made sure of it!" His thumb pressed into his Adams apple, and Cloud could feel his throat start to crack. "I'll kill you before I ever let you leave me again!"
A gurgling nose escaped his throat as he felt his consciousness start to fade. Is this what death feels like? He'd been at death's door before, and yet this seemed so much more real. Like this was he final passing. He was going to die, and it would be at the hands of the one he loved more than anything. He would wait for him though. He would wait for Sephiroth in hell, because he had no doubts that that was where they were both headed.
It was in that moment that he had resigned himself to his evident death that something strange happened. His air passage cleared up, and he felt his face start to get soaked with some strange wetness.
The weight that had been settled on his stomach was lifted, and Cloud sprang up from the ground, gasping in the sweet air that is life. He clawed at his throat and chest, willing his breathing to turn back to normal. But that didn't stop the pain that was in his crushed throat, or the pain in his heart. Sephiroth had tried to kill him, and had nearly succeeded. What had stopped him though?
Looking over he saw that nothing had stopped Sephiroth. The man had stopped himself. Cloud's eyes immediately softened when he saw his lover's arms over his face, trying to stop the tears that were gushing from his eyes. Sephiroth was...crying?
His breathing was ragged and forced as he tried to crawl over to where Sephiroth was crouched. It burned his lungs and throat every he drew in a shaky breath, but he continued to push his body to breathe. As he reached out to grab Sephiroth's arm he noticed that his skin was all red and blotchy from the blood being stopped for a short period of time, and when he connected with his leather coat his fingertips almost felt numb.
Sephiroth looked up at the touch, and his eyes were thankfully back to normal. "I'm sorry Cloud...I'm so sorry baby." He was pulled into Sephiroth's embrace, and he let himself be held like that as his lover sobbed on his shoulder. "Please say you forgive me...I can't live without you."
Cloud wanted to tell Sephiroth what he had asked to hear, he really did, but when he opened his mouth to speak it hurt too bad to even form one syllable. He pulled away from the comforting embrace, and quickly pointed to his throat. Trying to tell his lover without words that he couldn't speak.
This seemed to only further Sephiroth's remorse, for upon seeing it he pulled away again. He couldn't let this happen, he couldn't let Sephiroth revert back to what he was. During their time together he had grown so different, gentle almost. If Sephiroth could ever be described as gentle that is.
He reached out, pretty much forcing his way inbetween his lover's knees, and laid a hand on each one of his shoulders. Sephiroth looked into his eyes, and as he did Cloud leaned forward and connected their mouths, trying to express everything in that kiss that he couldn't put into words at that moment.
It seemed to work, because soon Sephiroth was kissing him more passionately than he had since he had gotten back. That passionate kissing soon turned into some heavy petting, and in no time he was forced onto his back with his lover sprawled on top of him.
That unfortunately was as far as it got, because as soon as the blond's back hit, Sephiroth pulled away. "What am I doing?" He was obviously talking to himself, but still Cloud felt compelled to listen. "I just tried to kill you, and now I want to fuck you again?" Sephiroth's eyes rolled up into his head. "Why do I feel this way?...This insanity that keeps creeping into my brain seems to hold no end." His eyes snapped down to meet Cloud's "Am I crazy to think that you could ever want me again?"
Cloud hastily shook his head no, trying to stress with his eyes what his broken throat wouldn't let him put into words. Then he figured to hell with it, and tried to ignore the pain that came with his next statement. Reaching out, he lightly placed one of his palms onto Sephiroth's cheek. "...I..." He tried to wheeze out. In truth it took a tremendous amount of work and pain just to be able to say that. "...I...I...Lo...I...Love you..." The statement was drawn out, and rather quiet do to his injured vocal cords, but Sephiroth definitely seemed to hear it.
A smile actually came onto his lover's face, and Cloud was once more pulled in for a kiss. When Sephiroth pulled away all of the previous angst and uncertainty was gone from his face, and he looked generally happy. "Oh puppy...Don't you know I love you too?" Cloud smiled into Sephiroth's mouth as their lips once again connected. It really felt good to be loved, even under these circumstances.
This...this was sickening. That was really the only way to describe what he was seeing now. How could this be happening? How could the one person he loved more than anything else in the world be doing this to him, and with that bastard of all people? It was inconceivable. It just couldn't be real. Cloud couldn't really be sleeping with Sephiroth, could he?
As he watched the love of his life gasp in pleasure as Sephiroth's sweat slick body slowly moved in and out of him, Zack felt his heart shatter into a million pieces. He would have thought it was rape, if it weren't for those little mewls of pleasure coming from the blond every time his current lover did something that was in his favor. He would have thought it was rape, if it weren't for Cloud's voice screaming at him to harder. You really can't have delusions after that.
His sword suddenly felt to heavy in his hand, and he had to make a quick grab just to keep it from clamoring to the ground. How?... "How can this be real?" Zack turned towards Reno who had just echoed his exact thoughts. How could Cloud do this with him after what he had done to everyone, after all the people he had murdered?
In disgust Zack watched all the muscles in Sephiroth's back tighten as he no doubt came inside the petite blond, filling him with his revolting seed. He was staring down at Cloud with a loving smile, and really the whole thing just made him sick. He wished he had never had the opportunity to sneak up here and watch. Truthfully he didn't know how he had gained such an opportunity, but he figured Sephiroth couldn't be too en guard when he was this busy.
Of course this left him with ample time to sneak up on the bastard and kill him when he had the chance. Sephiroth wouldn't sense him, because the bastard was apparently too caught up in Cloud's eyes to even be able to look away. He would do it now, he would kill him!
Picking up the once heavy sword, Zack charged as quietly as a cat, determined to kill his prey. His sword rose above his head, and as he was bringing it down for the strike Cloud caught sight of him and screamed. It didn't matter though, there was no way Sephiroth could avoid the hit now, regardless if he had been warned.
His previous theory was flawed in several ways he found out all too soon. For one, even though Sephiroth couldn't avoid it, that didn't mean that Cloud couldn't avoid it enough for the both of them. The blond grabbed onto his lover's shoulders, rolling both of them out of the way of the stab, but not before the tip of Zack's buster sword sliced down the back of Cloud's shoulder.
Cloud let out a blood curdling scream as blood sprayed across Zack's face. He hadn't wanted to hurt the blond. That had been the thought furthest from his mind. Now though he didn't need to think about that, because now he had to deal with the fact that he had missed Sephiroth, and the man was now itching to grab for his sword, obviously very pissed.
Itching was thankfully the key word in that statement, for as much as Sephiroth may have like to filet him right then and there, he now had the injured blond in his arms to deal with before he could slice and dice. Though it was evident from the look in his eyes that he was aching for some practice. He couldn't be concerned with that now though, now he had to do what he came here for.
"Let him go Sephiroth." The statement seemed to confuse the two naked men lying on the ground, but then the older of the two apparently figured out what he was talking about.
"Let him go?" His grip tightened on Cloud. "You were the one that almost just killed him Zack!"
Cloud, obviously more than a little freaked out, started squirming in Sephiroth's arms. The man in question looked down at him worriedly, but then he seemed to realize what he was upset about and reached out, handing him a black cotton robe. The blond shrugged it on with little care, eyes very much wide and focused on Zack. Though he wished he could say that was a good thing. A finger pointed up at him, and those gorgeous blue eyes he loved so much were wide and fearful. "You...You're not real." His head was frantically shaking back and forth, and he even went so far as to grab it. "This isn't real...This is impossible!"
Even after the travesties he had just seen Zack still felt the need to comfort the one he loved more than anything. "No, listen Cloud this is real. I'm not dead." He went to take a step forward, but from the glint in Sephiroth's eyes he knew better. If he had taken that much desired step he would probably be in two pieces right about now.
"No you listen you little bastard." That was what he had always admired about Sephiroth, just his steely voice could make you tremble with fear if you wanted you to. "He's confused enough as it is, and I won't have you feeling his head with you lies."
He heard a scoff from his side, and was surprisingly delighted to see that Reno had joined him. Though really he didn't know why he was so happy, in all actuality he should be pissed, it was just like that brat to always have to make an entrance. This time was no different. "Us lie to him?" His head tilted to the side, making his red spikes fall in front of his face. "Aw shame shame Sephy." His finger swung from side to side. "You shouldn't be so hypocritical, after all I highly doubt you've informed our little amnesiatic prone friend what really went on back then." He paused for dramatic affect. "Between the three of you I mean."
Zack squinted his eyes to see Sephiroth's fingers itching towards the inside of Cloud's robe, but when he realized just what they were doing it was already too late to react. He was pretty sure he got out a quick yell of "No!" before the small throwing knife the ex-general had hidden in the blond's clothing was launched towards the cheeky red head. A startled yelp could be heard as the knife sliced a good chunk out of Reno's face as it embedded itself in a nearby tree.
Reno seemed to be bleeding, but other than that it only looked to be a scratch. The thing he couldn't get is that Sephiroth could have easily killed the red head there if he wanted to, and yet he held back. He thought back to his earlier conversation with the Turk, and his conclusions shocked him. Was that cold hearted bastard really just keeping them alive for Cloud's sake?
"I suggest that you watch what you say from now on." Zack's eyes snapped back to Sephiroth. He was feeling rather stupid for spacing off and leaving his enemy wide open for an attack. "One more slip up like that around Strife and I promise you I won't miss again."
Cloud turned confused eyes up towards his current lover, and really Zack didn't blame him. Who wouldn't be confused if he were in that position. What things had to be running through the boy's mind at that moment he'd never know. "Sephiroth what's going on? Please I don't understand." Blue eyes snapped up to him, and their eyes met for the first time in almost a year. But even though he was looking at him that didn't mean he was talking to him when he spoke. "You said he was dead."
He tried not to let himself be too awful hurt by how uncaring Cloud sounded while saying it. So in truth he had obviously moved on due to some major memory problems, but it was obvious he could still at least partially remember him. He would have hoped that partially would give him at least a little enthusiasm when he saw that Zack wasn't rotting in the ground somewhere.
"You know what puppy, I'm just as stumped as you are. I had also thought that this little nuisance was taken care of, but then after you started having those dreams of yours I really shouldn't be all that surprised." His aqua eyes narrowed. "It's obvious what's at work here."
Oh it was that obvious was it? Well he for one had no idea what was so obvious about it. Zack still had no idea why he was brought back, or why Cloud was slowly getting his memory back for that matter. "Is that right Seph? Well I don't suppose you want to enlighten us on what's so obvious about it?" Now he knew that Sephiroth always acted like he knew everything, and in all reality normally did know everything, but it could still piss you off. So could that fact that your lover was sitting in the bastards lap, hiding his naked body from view.
Sephiroth scoffed in answer to his question. He gave him a look that said 'are you kidding me? That is the most easy answer in the world.' And apparently to him it was, because he told his answer to him very matter of factly. "Don't be an idiot Zackary, it's obvious that the Ancients are at work here." A hand gripped at the man's side. "They always didn't know not to stick their noses where they don't belong."
Well that certainly did open up quite a few possibilities. Now granted he had no idea if Sephiroth's theory was correct, but he had to hand it to him, it was the most logical thing so far. He had to hide a laugh. That was kind of funny after all, the most logical explanation was that some long extinct species used their beyond the grave powers to for some reason resurrect him, and to give Cloud back his memories. Who was he joking, there had to be some other kind of explanation.
Cloud turned his head to look up into Sephiroth's face, and it was at that moment that he saw something quite disturbing on his previous boyfriend's neck. What appeared to be five black and blue ligatures were etched into his skin on each side, ligatures that looked remarkably like fingers, long slender fingers. Had Sephiroth tried to choke him? Is that where he had gotten the marks? Zack felt a tap on his shoulder, and glanced over to see Reno pointing towards the blond's neck...apparently he had noticed it too. He nodded to tell the Turk that he understood, and once again gripped his sword as he tried to read an attack.
The two lovers seemed to be whispering quietly to each other, of what Zack had no idea, but it sort of seemed like Sephiroth was trying to calm a hysterical Cloud down. When did that little bastard get such compassion? No, Sephiroth didn't have compassion. If he was being comforting to Cloud it was only because Zack held some sort of a threat. He was only worried that the pale blond might once again slip through his fingers.
"So tell me Seph have you killed anyone of interest lately? Or do you just prefer wiping whole towns entirely?" Cloud visibly flinched at that, but it only made the man in question smirk.
"Oh don't worry Zackary, I haven't killed your little flower girl yet." He paused, and during that pause he had the audacity to start petting that spiky blond hair that Zack loved so much. Him and Cloud seemed to be sharing a moment, but when he looked back Sephiroth's eyes were as cold and uncaring as ever. "But somehow I think you already knew that." His hand slid nearer to his sword, and Zack raised his own weapon in defense. If Sephiroth was going to try something he damn sure wasn't going to let the bastard get the drop on him. "Now I've been sitting idly by because Cloud seems to want to preserve my dignity, but I'm sure he won't get all that upset if I threw modesty to the window." The asshole smirked. "You did catch us at a rather awkward moment."
"Keep running that mouth Sephiroth! Soon your entire pretty head will be dislodged from that man made body of yours!" Aqua eyes narrowed, and his blond counterpart turned quite a few shades whiter at the very notion.
It was in then that Sephiroth decided to get up, doing well in pulling Cloud right up with him. He was either using the blond to shield himself from view, or as some kind of leverage. Zack wasn't sure which, but neither would really surprise him. He had already used Cloud as a tool with which to stab Yuffie through, what the hell was next. The pale haired warrior grabbed at his pants, shucking them on while still using Cloud to cover himself. The boy in question seemed to be shaking quite badly now that he was on his feet. It could have been from fear, but Zack didn't think so. No, he thought it had more to do with the gaping wound down his back that was currently dripping crimson on the ground.
The blond's breathing was haggard, but from the injury he had just received or his mangles neck Zack didn't know. In truth it could be from both. "So Zackary it really was nice to see you once more before the end..." He glanced over to the oddly quiet red head. "and Reno, always a pleasure."
The Turk sneered in response. "Well jackass I wish I could say the same, but you were right about one thing." He whipped out his two nightsticks from his sides, turning them on and letting them cackle out in the peaceful air. "This is the end."
Slender fingers wrapped around the blade of the masumune, and Zack's eyes widened in surprise as Cloud withdrew Sephiroth's weapon from the ground, handing it over to its rightful owner. The blond's other hand was at his side, trying to slow down the bleeding, but he still looked completely serious. "It's two against two Zack, and our side has Sephiroth. It's obvious who has the advantage in a fight such as this."
"Our side?" He spit out like it was a dirty word. Truthfully just hearing such a statement made him sick. But he would soon find out that that wasn't nearly the pinnacle of his stomach problems.
After the statement left Cloud's lips Sephiroth pulled him in for a kiss. Just seeing their mouths moving together so symmetrically left him with a hollow feeling in his chest. He was pretty sure what it was was his heart breaking right then. When the ex-general pulled away he was legitimately smiling at him. The cocky bastard had probably just heard everything that he wanted to. "What boys, you didn't really think that Strife here would fight on your side, did you?" The fact that he seemed absolutely ecstatic by those words was enough to make him want to skewer him right then and there. That is until he said his next words. "The truth is he won't be fighting at all." Cloud opened his mouth to object, but a hand laid on his shoulder temporarily silenced any protests that were going through his mind. "You see he's received too many injuries lately to really be participating in this level of a fight. So, if it's okay with the Turk, he'll just hang out with his friend for a moment."
He should have been relieved by those words, he should have been excited at the prospect of finally getting the chance to lay Sephiroth to rest, he should have been, but he wasn't. One statement from Sephiroth's speech kept running over and over in his mind, and taking a look at Cloud's bruised and bloody form once again he just couldn't bring himself to keep it in any longer.
"Injuries? Would those injuries you're referring to be the part where you stabbed him, or where you choked him?" He bit the words out with such venom that he was positive if they touched anyone they could melt bone.
Sephiroth's eyes turned to slits, and his face morphed into that of demon. Pushing Cloud completely out of the way, he moved forward with the masumune in its hilt at his side. "Technicalities of war I'm afraid. It was not my wish to harm him." His eyes started to glow with a bright green haze. "Though I can't say the same about you." A hand was set on the sword handle as he was preparing to make a quick draw from his sheath. A move that was nearly impossible to counter, and even more impossible to defeat. "Are you ready to die Zack?"
Was he ready to die? The truth was he hadn't been really living, not since he had been brought back to this chaotic world. He had been so caught up in the past, that the present didn't even seem all that real. It was like he was living in a permanent dream. A dream he could never wake up from, no matter how he tried. But he did know what was happening now, and he knew that he would gladly give his life if it meant that he could bring down the bastard in front of him while he was at it. That would enough for him to say his life was complete. He would finish what he had failed at back at Nibelheim. He would kill Sephiroth, and Cloud would finally know some peace...Even if it wasn't with him.
Raising his buster sword in the air, Zack couldn't help but let a smirk fall onto his face. He always did get like this before a battle. "Those should be my words Seph." This was it. The entire battle would be decided with this one move, as all of Sephiroth's battles were. He could kill lighting fast, and his opponents would never even feel it...unless he wanted them to.
Sephiroth's foot moved, and that was when he striked. Golden eyes widened a fraction as he saw the warrior come at him, but he was pretty sure that if he didn't have his SOLDIER reflexes that he would never have seen him at all. He moved much too fast for a normal human eye to catch. He really was some kind of a demon.
Zack swung his sword, just barely being able to block the attack. The pale demon was still pressing the attack down, and it wouldn't be long before the buster sword shattered from the sheer power of it. By this rate he would be dead in seconds. Really the only thing he could do now was try to parry, and then go on the offensive. It was a long shot, but if he didn't try then he was dead for sure. He could already feel his blade start to crack.
Knowing it was now or never, Zack pushed up as hard as he could. Trying with all of his might to parry the attack, and for a second there it seemed to have worked. Sephiroth was caught off guard with his switch from defense to offense, and was pushed back for mere seconds before he regained his footing.
Well this was it. He had failed. He had failed the one person he had sworn he'd always protect, and for what? Some meaningless battle? His pride? In his head he could hear the Cloud he used to know scoff at that. The blond never was much for carnage, and yet he was always trying to prove himself...What did it matter now though? The masumune slide along the ground for his attack, and he knew was dead.
"NO!" Zack blinked. What had just happened? Why wasn't he dead? Golden eyes glanced upwards and saw...blood? His eyes widened to saucers when he saw the reality of what had stopped his demise....It was Cloud. Cloud had saved him.
The blond was standing behind Sephiroth, with one hand holding onto his waist, and the other his sword. Cloud had grabbed the sword to protect him, but why? It seemed by the disbelieving look on Sephiroth's face that he was just as taken aback by recent events as himself.
He glanced back to the now sobbing blond, staring at him with a mixture of furry and malcontent. But Cloud wasn't looking at him. No, he was too busy staring at the ground. "Please don't kill him...If you ever truly loved me than don't take his life." He sounded so dejected. Blood still dripped from both the wound on his back and hand, but he didn't seem to even notice. Blue eyes snapped up to aqua. "I need him Sephiroth!"
Sephiroth withdrew his blade, taking great care in slicing up Cloud's already hurt hand as he pulled it through. The cut went really deep, but even as Sephiroth was slicing the blond had never cried out. Zack supposed that when you went through as much as Cloud had you sort of got used to all the pain. The man sheathed his sword, and Zack placed his own weapon in the holster on his back. The fighting had stopped for now, Cloud had made sure of that.
"You need him?" A scoff could be heard from Sephiroth. "Of this I have no doubt." Apparently not letting him kill him had just gone and popped Sephiroth's little happy bubble. Well at least something good had came of it.
Cloud hastily shook his head back and forth. "Sephiroth come on, you know it's not like that." He walked forward, placing a hand on the man's well defined collarbone. "I need to know who I am Seph, who I really am." He laid his head on that before mentioned chest, snuggling as close as he could. Zack was distinctly reminded of a little boy trying to cuddle with a teddy bear with fangs. It just didn't look right. "If you kill him than I'll never have any of those answers...I'll never know the truth."
Well damn, and here he was thinking that reason that Cloud had saved him was that he still cared...He really had been dead too long. Sephiroth's hand reached out to stroke blond spikes, and, to Zack's disgust, pulled Cloud in for an embrace, lying his face on his soft hair. "Is this what you really want puppy? Because after you do this there's no turning back."
Those beautiful blue eyes of his dream met Sephiroth's. "I'm sure...I need to know." Zack couldn't help but be a little baffled. He never thought that he would tell Cloud anything about his past, especially so willingly.
"Very well." Sephiroth pulled Cloud in for the harshest kiss he had ever witnessed in his life. Really, it just looked like it hurt. When he pulled away the blond looked completely dazed, dazed enough not to protest when Sephiroth flung him away from him. Zack barely had enough time to catch the startled blond as he came crashing into his arms. If he wasn't so shocked by recent events he might have been whooping for joy at the prospect of having Cloud in his arms again after so long, but he was much too confused for any sort of whoops.
Apparently Cloud was too, because after struggling very viciously out of his grasp, he turned irate eyes towards his lover. "What are you doing?"
For the most part Sephiroth seemed to be ignoring Cloud's very existence. "He's yours now." He was pretty sure that all three of their chins hit the floor at those words. Was he serious? Could he possibly be serious?
"Sephiroth what are you talking about?" Cloud was slightly crying. "How can you say such things?" Again he didn't even seem to acknowledge his existence.
"He's yours for a week...and only a week." Was this really happening? No, it couldn't be...this had to just be another dream. "After that it's his choice whether or not to return."
At hearing those words Cloud had collapsed to his knees. "How can you just do this?" Zack turned towards the Turk. He had been so quiet up till now that he had almost forgot he was still there. "How can you just pass him off like he's some sort of possession? Do you really care nothing for him?" Now it was at that time that he really wanting to punch Reno in the face. What the fuck was he trying to convince Sephiroth to not do this for?
"You idiot." Sephiroth's voice did its job in effectively breaking him out of his Reno hating trance. "It's because I care for him so much that I am doing this." Well that was unexpected. Sephiroth really had changed. Could he really care for Cloud as much as he claimed? Could he actually be in love with him?
"Liar." The voice was quiet, so quiet in fact that he wasn't even sure Sephiroth had heard it. Because he had barely heard it, and the blond was practically lying at his feet. Though he didn't need to worry about that though, because the voice steadily grew louder. "Liar! Liar! Liar! Liar! Liar!" Cloud had gotten to his feet, and was now glaring full heartily at Sephiroth. "How can you say you give a damn about me? How can you say you care?" His voice was steadily rising the closer and closer he moved to his pale haired lover. "What makes you think I would ever want to go with him?" He was really close now, so close that they were practically nose to nose. "What makes you think that I would ever want to leave you again?" Cloud's fist swung through the air, connected with Sephiroth's muscles chest, and spraying blood across that smooth milky surface as it did so...Cloud's hand was still bleeding rather profusely after all.
The pounding didn't stop at one hit however, no it went on until the already exhausted blond had worn himself down and simply collapsed onto the chest he was just beating. Those angry rants soon turned into tears as he made a grab at whatever he could to try to get a grip on the situation. "Don't make me go Seph...I don't want to leave you again." He sobbed into his chest. "Please don't make me go."
Zack could do nothing, but watch in stunned silence as Sephiroth slowly lifted the sobbing boy's chin up to look at him. "How could you ever love me if I didn't?" He gave a sad smile. "If I didn't let you find out for yourself who you truly wanted, than how could I ever really call you mine?"
"But I love you!" Sephiroth's hand reached out to wipe away the tears that were streaming down the blond's face.
"And I love you, but we can never truly be together unless you find out for yourself which one of us you want." He placed a kiss on his forehead. "You have to decide Cloud...You're the only one that can."
Cloud for the most part was still furiously shaking his head no, but you could tell that he had pretty much given up hope that his request was going to be granted. Sephiroth gave him one last smile, and then without even the slightest trace of regret he punched upwards, connected firmly with the blond's ribs. Sapphire blue eyes rolled up into the back of his head as the boy slipped into unconsciousness, and his body fell limp into Sephiroth's awaiting arms.
Hoisting the blond into his arms, Sephiroth carried him over to where Zack and Reno were still staring slack jawed at the events that had just transpired. The weird part was though when he reached them he handed Cloud's limp body to Reno instead of Zack himself. The red head took the body of his friend, staring down at his peaceful face with wide eyes. He was probably wondering how this could possibly be real. Zack knew that that exact question was what was weighing on his mind as well.
After handing him off, Sephiroth turned to face Zack, face as cold as steely as usually. Apparently he saved all the moments he showed emotion for when he was around Cloud, and with the blond passed out he could turn back to his bastardly self. "You know most of the arrangement Zack, but I want to add one last thing to this deal."
"Yeah, and what's that?" He really didn't want to push Sephiroth, but he just had to be a little bratty about it. True he was getting off with everything he wanted, but he still couldn't let Sephiroth think he was just going to roll over and take it.
"If in one week you can't convince Cloud that you're the one he loves then your life is forfeit." Zack's eyes widened. So if the blond chose Sephiroth over himself than he was dead. This was a pretty harsh bet that he was thinking of undertaking here. But gambling's only fun when the stakes are high, and what higher stakes could there possibly be than your life?
Was the vague chance that he could have Cloud back really worth dying for? Psshh...Zack quickly grabbed the hand that was outstretched. Hell yeah he was worth dying for. He was worth dying for, worth killing for, worth selling his soul for. "Good doing business with you Seph." He walked past the pale haired demon, following Reno on the path to their truck. He paused in his tracks though, glancing over his shoulder. "Oh and Seph?" Sephiroth boredly glanced his way. "The next time we meet I'll kill ya." Without even waiting for a response Zack walked over to Reno, taking Cloud from his arms. This really had turned out to be one hell of a strange day, and he had a feeling that from here on out it was only going to get stranger.
A.N. Damn that chapter was long, and depressing, and sad, and really really hard to write. Oh and sorry for the uber long update time, but classes just started up again and I've been really busy. It's weird but this story just reached the point it practically at when I started to redo...so I guess I'm gonna have to put my mind to work for the plot line huh? Well anyways please please please review. Tell me what you think. Any comments or suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading.