Ukiyoe Painting

BY : MystIc19
Category: Final Fantasy VII > Yaoi - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 1053
Disclaimer: I do not own FF7 or any of the FF7 characters. I do not make any profit in writing these fanfictions.

Some words to know!

Hiyoko Manju- Chick Buns, cake like confection (shaped like baby chicks) with a sweet center.

Shoji Screen- Room Dividers, common in Japan and China.

Obi- Top most sash worn with various styles of Japanese clothing.




It felt like they had been standing there just staring at each other forever when in fact it had probably only been about a minute. Cloud didn’t know what to say and he knew there was no way to change the topic now. No, definitely not. Not with the look Zack was giving him, there was no avoiding the situation. Of course he could just tell the truth, but he didn’t want Zack to get angry. After all he had specifically told him to stay away from Hojo, and here he went going off with him…alone! That just wasn’t good for a few reasons.

“It’s nothing,” Cloud finally said while reaching out and taking the note away from Zack. It was the only thing he could think of to say, and in all honesty he just wanted to act like it never happened. Even though he knew that was impossible.

Nothing?” Zack echoed while narrowing his eyes a bit. His tone clearly said that he wasn’t buying it at all and he wasn’t about to let up.

“Yeah…it’s just, I mean it’s nothing serious to worry about,” Cloud further explained while turning away from Zack and crumpling up the note before tossing it on his end table carelessly.

“Cloud,” Zack began quietly while taking a step closer to the other. Turning back around the blond slowly lifted his gaze back to meet his boyfriends, but he couldn’t look for long and he quickly averted his eyes again.

“Can we just forget about it?” Cloud asked pleadingly, still not looking directly at the other.

Zack was taken aback by that. Usually it would never be this difficult to get Cloud to talk to him, and if he ever did lie it was about something minor and he would always instantly tell Zack the truth later. It had been that way since they were kids, they never kept things from each other. But now…what was this?

“Sure,” Zack started as he the felt frustration begin to rise inside of him, “it’s no big deal. I just read a note to you from someone who apparently had a nice time with you some evening while I was gone, and hope’s to see you again soon. But that’s fine, why would I want to know about that? There’s nothing strange at all about it,” he finished ranting before turning around preparing to exit out of the room.

“Zack wait!” Cloud instantly called after the Samurai while finally snapping his eyes towards the man’s retreating back. He crossed the small distance to the other before reaching out and grasping a hold of his arm tightly. “Don’t say it like that.” It was almost as if Zack thought that he was out with someone else…well yeah he had been. But not like that! And it wasn’t even as if he wanted to go! But he wasn’t sneaking around behind his back. Was that what his boyfriend was thinking? Just that thought alone tore his heart in two. He would never betray Zack that way…he knew that didn’t he?

Turning back around Zack glanced down into wide, almost sad blue eyes. And at the moment he felt a little bad for getting upset. He hated seeing that look in Cloud’s eyes. But he only bit out that remark because he just wanted to know what was going on. He didn’t like being left in the dark.

Letting out a sigh Cloud just decided to give in. At the rate this was going Zack was going to completely take it the wrong way, and he wasn’t about to have him thinking something else entirely.

“It’s…it’s from the Shogun. I got a gift from him this morning because,” pausing briefly he searched for the words he wanted to say before just saying it plainly, “I met with him for dinner…last night.”

It seemed to take Zack a minute to process the information but once it sunk in his eyes widened in surprise. “You what?”

Cloud just remained silent while looking back at the other nervously, too afraid to say anything from fear of what Zack’s reaction would be.

“Cloud I told you to stay away from him,” Zack started before Cloud quickly jumped in.

“I know!” He began, “but I had to go! It’s not that easy to just…blow off the Shogun!”

“Yeah it is!” Zack instantly shot back, “You just…stay away from him. How hard is it to just not be around him?”

“Very hard!” Cloud shot back just as quickly, “Zack you don’t understand, you say it like it’s easy but it’s not! I live here you don’t! So while you may be able to easily avoid him, I can’t! Because at the end of the day I’m still here while you get to go back home…away from this place!”

Scuffing a hand through his hair Zack mumbled something under his breath that Cloud didn’t quite catch but he knew it was something not so pleasant directed towards the Shogun.

“That may be true,” Zack started, more calmly this time, “but still it’s a huge place.”

“Well I don’t know,” Cloud replied with a shake of his head and crossing his arms over his chest, “I just happen to run into him sometimes. It’s not like I’m trying to go out of my way to see him.”

“Yeah,” Zack responded quietly with a brief nod, “but he may.”

Turning his focus back to Cloud his eyes softened before he spoke up quietly, “Did anything happen?”

“No,” Cloud quickly answered with another shake of his head, “No. Nothing like that. I just stayed long enough for dinner and then I left. And I really wasn’t even going to go but I just…I was thinking about my dad you know? I didn’t want his position on the council to be in jeopardy because of me. And if I declined his offer…well I just wasn’t sure, I felt like I had to. Not to mention I didn’t know it was a private invitation until the last minute.”

Zack let out a sigh of relief. So that old pervert hadn’t tried anything…yet. And while Zack was glad that the man didn’t do anything previously, he still didn’t trust him at all as far as his intentions with Cloud. And he knew that if he kept trying to lure Cloud in that he would eventually try to make his move, and Zack would be damned if he would let that happen. He knew that the Shogun was relying on Cloud’s naiveté and loyalty to his father to keep stringing him along this way.

“I’m sorry,” Cloud said quietly, “I didn’t really want you to know because I didn’t want you to worry or get angry. I know you told me to avoid him…but really it’s difficult to do that.”

“Cloud,” Zack started before reaching out and pulling the smaller one into his arms. “I know. And you don’t have to apologize, it’s not your fault. But look…don’t hide things from me okay? You can tell me anything you know that.”

Nodding against Zack’s chest Cloud wrapped his arms tighter around him. He knew Zack was right, he had always been able to talk to him about anything. But he had just gotten back and Cloud really didn’t want to upset him with this but, well, he guessed it was inevitable. And call him selfish but a part of him did want Zack to know, because at least that way he knew Zack would be watching out for him. And that made him feel safe, because he had to admit he was more than a little creeped out by the Shogun now. It wasn’t flattering or endearing at all.

“I shouldn’t have gone I know,” Cloud spoke up softly, “but I just thought maybe I was being too paranoid. That maybe he wasn’t interested but…I guess I was wrong. I don’t know I just got a weird feeling being there with him.”

“It’s okay,” Zack said soothingly while gently running his fingers through golden hair. He could hear the regret and fear in Cloud’s voice and he was cursing himself for not being there. He shouldn’t have went away so soon after he had found out that the Shogun had been eyeing Cloud. “Don’t worry I’m here now. I’ll make sure he keeps his distance.”

“Okay,” Cloud replied while closing his eyes and just enjoying the feeling of being in the others arms. There really wasn’t anything else that could calm him down this way, and it worked every time.

“What was this…gift anyways?” Zack asked curiously while glancing over to the closet that Cloud had hurriedly put the package in earlier.

“Oh,” Cloud began while pulling back slightly to look up at the Samurai, “it’s a sketchbook.”

“Another?” Zack asked while raising his eyebrow questioningly.

“Well, actually, my other one got ruined,” Cloud explained while pulling away from Zack and making his way back to the closet. “That’s kind of how the whole thing got started in fact.”

“What happened?” Zack continued to question as he watched Cloud rummage through some of his belongings in the closet.

“I was in the garden with Aerith,” Cloud spoke up while pulling out a box and setting it on the ground, “and I somehow dropped it in the pond. And by the time I got it out it was already soaked through.”

“You dropped it?” Zack asked while moving over towards the box and kneeling on the ground to open the lid. And sure enough inside there was Cloud’s sketchbook, wrinkled and cracked. He pulled it out and opened it up and began to flip through the now flimsy and faded pages. “That doesn’t sound like something you would do, you’re always careful with this.”

“I know,” Cloud answered with a sigh, “but I was…a little distracted,” he finished while pulling out the package and sliding the new sketchbook out from it’s confines. “It was a little bit after I left the garden that I ran into the Shogun. And so he saw my old sketchbook when it was all wet. Anyways, that’s when he told me about the dinner. But I thought it was an all resident dinner at the time. He said he wanted me to make it. So, long story short I went and then this morning I got this.”

Setting the old sketchbook down in the box Zack carefully took the new one from out of Cloud’s hands. It was definitely nice and easily to tell that it was expensive. It made the older one look like a scrapbook really.

“Wow,” Zack said while flipping through the blank pages.

“Yeah,” Cloud replied while sitting down beside Zack, “so I was going to…I don’t know. Give it back? Just tell him thanks but I can’t accept a gift so extravagant.”

“He’d just send it back. Besides, don’t do that. It’ll just mean that you’d have to see him again,” Zack explained while putting the sketchbook back in the packaging.

“So,” Cloud began while furrowing his eyebrows, “you want me to keep it?”

“Well don’t use it,” Zack replied while giving the other a look. Once he saw the confused look on Cloud’s face he broke into a grin. “Don’t worry, trust me,” he said with a wink before standing to his feet and offering his hand to Cloud. “Didn’t you say you wanted to get out of here for a while?”

“Uh…yeah?” Cloud answered, still a bit confused about what was going through Zack’s mind.

“Let’s go then! We’ll worry about this later!”







“Hey don’t eat them all!” Zack exclaimed while batting Cloud’s hand away from the box of sweets.

“Me? You’re eating another one too,” Cloud explained while reaching back into the small box.

“Fine just don’t take all of them,” Zack added while Cloud laughed a little before rolling his eyes slightly. He wasn’t surprised though, he and Zack both had a sweet tooth so whenever there was sweets around they would always go for it.

“There’s one more. Split?” Cloud asked while looking back to his boyfriend who was licking a bit of the crumbs off of his fingers.

“Okay,” Zack replied as Cloud picked up the last of the Hiyoko Manju and split it in half. Or well not really in half so much, but he was starting to get sort of full so he didn’t mind giving Zack the larger piece.

Zack beamed before shoving his half into his mouth while Cloud ate his a little less barbarically, instead opting to take a small bite of it. Zack may not have been very graceful when he was pigging out but Cloud still thought it was cute none the less.

They had picked up the box Of Hiyoko Manju when they left and went into town earlier. Zack wanted to go out to eat so they dropped by Yuffie’s family restaurant. It wasn’t too busy in there this time and so they were able to visit with their friend for a while. She told them that she had talked to Aerith not long ago and how she told her to tell them she said hi. Cloud remembered Aerith telling him about that but he had forgotten to tell Zack. But once Yuffie mentioned Aerith it just reminded Cloud of the whole thing about her liking Zack. At first he wasn’t going to say anything, but it was bothering him and so as soon as they left from the restaurant he decided to just tell Zack everything. After all Zack had said that he didn’t want him to hide things from him, and Cloud didn’t intend to.

Zack listened carefully to everything, at first not really sure about if it was true. But once Cloud told him about how Aerith was acting that day they were in the garden he seemed to believe it a little more. But he assured Cloud that everything was fine, that it was just some sort of puppy crush and that Aerith would get over it. And Cloud hoped Zack was right, he really did. But he wasn’t sure.

Before they had left out of town though Zack had insisted that they go into a few stores. So after going into about four places Zack found what he was looking for, and while Cloud was busy looking at other things he purchased the item. It wasn’t until they left out of the store that Zack handed the bag to Cloud with a wide grin on his face. And when Cloud opened the bag he couldn’t help but to let a smile spread across his face.

A sketchbook.

“I know it’s not as fancy as the other you got but…it’s still nice right? Can you use that one instead?” Zack asked while keeping his blue eyes fixed on the other.

Cloud thought it was too sweet. He could care less how much it cost, the fact that Zack got it for him made it priceless in his opinion. And if they hadn’t been out in public in front of so many people he would’ve thrown his arms around his neck and kissed him. But instead he just smiled and said of course and thank you. And that seemed to brighten Zack’s spirits.

They had just gotten back to the castle not too long ago and were now just lounging around in Cloud’s room, talking and depleting the box of sweets. The sun was just now starting to set, casting an orange hue across the sky and filling the room in an orange glow. A cool breeze wafted through the room from the open window, making the atmosphere all that more comfortable.

“I knew we should’ve gotten two boxes,” Zack whined while looking down to the now empty box of Hiyoko Manju.

“You can’t be serious” Cloud said while looking over to Zack. But from the look on his face he could tell that he was serious. “One box is enough for now, I’m full.”

“I guess” Zack replied with a sigh while leaning back on the bed.

“I’m surprised we didn’t run into Aerith,” Cloud commented while leaning back on the bed as well, staring up at the ceiling.

“Yeah, I usually see her when I come to the castle,” Zack answered.

“That’s because she secretly stalks you,” Cloud mumbled.

“Hey,” Zack started while turning his head to look at the other, “don’t be mean,” he finished with a laugh.

Cloud smiled, “Sorry,” he replied while turning to his head, “it’s just…weird I guess.”

Reaching out Zack let his fingers trace the side of Cloud’s face gently. “Yeah,” he began softly, “but you have nothing to worry about. So why stress over it?”

Nothing to worry about?

Cloud wanted to believe that…but more times than not he couldn’t help but find himself thinking about negative things when it came to he and Zack. When he thought about it, they seemed to have so much stacked against them and it only seemed to get more difficult as time went on. Like now, they had the added factors of the Shogun and Aerith. It just seemed like…something was pulling them apart, or trying. It wasn’t easy like when they were little, they could be together without a care in the world. Now, they had to sneak around, their time was always limited and Cloud didn’t like that, he hated it. But then he guessed he didn’t expect anything more. After all there wasn’t much that could be done to change anything.

Zack could practically see the gears turning in Cloud’s head. He knew without a doubt that Cloud was worrying about things. He tended to do that a lot. Ever since he moved into the castle he was always a bit concerned when it came to the two of them. Even though Zack always assured him that everything was fine, that there was no way that anything could cause a rift between them. But he guessed it was just something that Cloud would have to realize on his own.

Sitting up suddenly with a bit of a stretch Zack hopped up before crossing over leisurely towards the window. He leaned his elbows on the windowsill and gazed out at the surroundings below them. The different gardens and a few different corridors of the castle.

Shifting in bed Cloud turned so that he was now completely facing in Zack’s direction. A small smile crept onto his face as he watched Zack gaze out the window in content. It wasn’t unusual for Zack to get a bit restless, but Cloud knew that he was enjoying just looking out at the view and enjoying the fresh air.

The blond really didn’t need to do much, he was happy just being there with Zack nearby. That’s all he ever really needed. Just the small simple things were what made him happy. And moment’s like this were what he longed for, what he held closest to his heart. As small and as trivial as they may be to others, it was everything to him.

“Did I tell you about Kyoto?” Zack asked, still keeping his gaze on the outside.

“No not really,” Cloud replied while pushing himself up to a sitting position. He leaned over to the side of his bed and picked up the bag with his new sketchbook, the one that Zack had gotten for him earlier in the day. He listened to Zack as he started to talk about how Kyoto was while flipping open to a blank page in the book. Reaching over he grabbed a pencil that was on his end table beside the bed. He didn’t even really think about what he was doing, he just sort of went with it. His eyes flicking back up to Zack every so often to take in his posture and the angle of his body before dropping them back to the paper.

Zack had pretty much come to the end of his story about Kyoto and he realized that Cloud had remained silent throughout most of it. Turning his head he was half expecting to see that the blond had fallen asleep. But instead he saw him sketching in his book, his eyes trailing over the paper as he made small adjustments here and there.

“Were you even listening to me?” Zack asked with a smirk.

“Every word,” Cloud replied, still keeping his focus on the page.

Zack nodded. He knew that Cloud was telling him the truth. He had this way of tuning things out around him when he started to draw, but if it was something he really wanted to hear he would still pay attention. However he just didn’t really talk back.

Glancing up Cloud blinked. “Hey don’t move.”

“Hmm?” Zack asked a bit perplexed.

“Don’t move, go back to how you were,” Cloud explained.

“Oh,” Zack began while turning back around and looking down into the garden where a few kids were playing. “You’re drawing me?”

“So it seems,” Cloud replied softly while going back to his work.

The kids in the garden were playing hide n seek and Zack couldn’t help but to smile as he watched them play. Had it really been that long ago when he and his friends used to play that? He could still remember it all even if at times it really did seem like a distant memory, if not a different life altogether. How long they had been playing he wasn’t sure, but after some time he heard a woman’s voice calling for them to come inside, and the kids reluctantly went inside with a few whines of their own. Glancing up he did realize that the sky had darkened more and the moon was starting to make its appearance.

“Ok, you can move now,” Cloud’s voice filtered through the air.

“Done?” Zack asked while turning around to now see that Cloud was on the opposite side of the room lighting one of the oil lamps.

“Yeah, sorry about that,” Cloud replied with a sheepish smile. His face becoming illuminated by the faint glow of the lamp light.

“I didn’t mind,” Zack spoke while making his way towards the sketchbook that was set on the bed. Picking it up his eyes scanned the page in awe. It really hadn’t been that long that he was looking out the window. But in that amount of time Cloud had been able to capture a lot in great detail. Not just Zack himself, but the window and also the Shoji Screen in the background.

“Wow,” Zack began at a loss for words.

“What do you think?” Cloud asked while nearing the other as he lit the lamp closest to his bed.

“Cloud it’s…really good,” Zack finally said as a smile spread across his face.

“Really?” Cloud asked a bit shyly.

“Are you kidding?” Zack began while turning his gaze towards the other, “It‘s amazing.”

Letting a sheepish smile appear on his face Cloud shrugged, “I just drew what was in front of me,” he explained while glancing down to the picture in Zack’s hands, “but I think the model is much better.”

Looking beside him to the blond who still had his gaze on the sketchbook momentarily, he let his smile morph into a sly grin.

“Oh?” Zack asked while closing the book and placing it on the end table.

Looking up into equally blue eyes Cloud nodded, a slight blush on his cheeks that didn’t go unnoticed by the other.

“Well,” Zack began while sliding his arms around Cloud’s waist, “the model has still got nothing on the artist,” he purred before leaning forward and capturing the blonde’s lips in a tantalizing kiss.

Running his hands up muscled arms Cloud wound his arms around the others neck, standing on tip toes to pull himself closer. Zack’s hold around his waist tightened and Cloud let out a pleased moan at the feel of their bodies pushed closely against each other.

Their tongues twined and got caught in an intimate caress as they continued their passionate kiss. There wasn’t a battle for dominance in this, it was just a shared kiss, not to be rushed or messy. It was an extension to words that could never exist. Feelings that they couldn’t describe even if they tried. And with this, they didn’t have to. This spoke way more volumes and told each of them what that they needed without uttering so much as a single word.

Cloud was starting to swoon as the minutes passed by and he found himself clutching onto Zack tighter.

It wasn’t much longer after that that Zack gently lowered them down to the bed, placing Cloud beneath him as he hovered above him all the while still keeping the kiss in tact.

Trailing his hands down the others back he shifted a bit causing them to break their kiss. Cloud was breathing heavily now and he let his eyes flutter open as he brought his hands around to now rest against Zack’s chest.

Glancing towards the end table that was by the bed Zack leaned over and blew out the light from the small lantern. It darkened the room considerably, and the only light that was left was the faint glow of the small oil lantern on the other side of the room. That and the soft moonlight that was spilling in through the window, and Zack thought the moonlight only enhanced Cloud’s beauty.

Blue eyes looked back into his, almost seeming to sparkle as they caught the light. And though it was darker now Zack could still clearly see the pink blush that had stained Cloud’s face and he couldn’t help but to smile before leaning down and pressing another kiss to his lips. He kept it short before making his way downwards, pressing kisses to his neck with an occasional nip here and there.

A soft sigh escaped from Cloud as he let his eyes fall shut again, his hands roaming across Zack’s chest of their own accord before snaking their way into raven hair. Every kiss that Zack placed on him ignited him and made his heart race. Every touch and every caress. It was almost too much and yet not enough.

“Zack,” Cloud breathed softly when he felt a hand ghost across his abdomen. Moving back up Zack kissed his cheek and then his forehead before making his way to his other cheek. It was then that he noticed Cloud blindly seeking his lips for another kiss and he quickly obliged, meeting Cloud halfway and pressing his lips back to his. He was rewarded with another one of those soft moans that always made his heart beat increase. Just that sound alone threw him through a loop, but that combined with the sensation of Cloud’s lips against his only drove him further. But now Cloud was pulling him closer, his arms winding around him tightly as he arched his body up into the one above him.

Zack gasped into the kiss, breaking the contact only briefly before crushing his lips back against the blonde’s. He felt slender fingers moving across his back, caressing and clutching at him as they continued their heated kiss and Cloud arched up into him again.

That was something new, sure Cloud squirmed around when they would fool around, but not anything like this. Not that Zack disliked it at all, but it made keeping control of himself a lot more difficult.

He reached down placing his hand on Cloud’s slightly bent leg. Running his hand down going over the curve of his knee and trailing down the rest of it before stopping just above his ankle. Then he reversed his motion, going up this time and sliding his hand under the Yukata and feeling each and every inch of warm, smooth skin. He had just passed over the other’s knee, pushing the garment up further before resting his hand on the outside of his thigh. He was just about to move his hand to the inside of his thigh before he stopped himself.

What was he doing? This was definitely crossing some line wasn’t it? No, he was sure that it was. After all they had never really even gone…well this far. And the fact that Cloud had allowed him to touch him like that…

Zack didn’t know. But he figured that maybe Cloud was just getting caught in the moment. And the one thing he didn’t want was for that to happen when Cloud wasn’t really ready for it. That was the last thing he wanted.

Pausing briefly he untangled himself from their kiss before placing his face in the crook of the others neck and placing a soft kiss there.

He could still hear Cloud’s heavy breathing and he could feel the fast race of his heart beneath him.

“Zack?” Cloud asked once he realized that Zack was just pretty much resting against him. “What’s wrong?”

Pulling himself up slightly Zack looked down into questioning blue eyes that seemed to be somewhat glossed over. A look that Zack had never seen in Cloud’s eyes before. He moved his hand away that was resting on the blonde’s thigh and scuffed it through his hair.

“Nothing nothing,” Zack replied with a smile, “I just thought…well, I think we needed a break.”

Cloud was silent for a moment as he kept his eyes fixed on the one above him and then he was looking off to the side at nothing in particular.

Zack’s smile fell as he studied the blond. Usually Cloud would be the one to stop them when things got to heated, so really, it wasn’t anything unusual. But they would just kind of stop, they wouldn’t really say it so much. But Zack wasn’t sure what was running through Cloud’s mind now, it seemed like it was something though. Did he say something wrong?

“Hey,” Zack started while leaning down a bit so that he was just inches away from the other’s face.

Cloud instantly turned his head looking back up into Zack’s questioning face. He gently placed his hands on his shoulders, not once breaking their eye contact.

“You didn’t have to stop,” he finally admitted quietly.

“What?” Zack asked, seeming a bit confused.

“You didn’t have to stop,” Cloud repeated, his blush starting to come back in full force. “I mean…I didn’t mind.”

Looking back down at the other Zack was silent for a moment. He didn’t want to misinterpret the other’s words, but…it seemed like he was saying what he thought he was saying. But still. “Oh,” he finally spoke up, “I just…I didn’t want to make you uncomfortable.”

“No, it’s okay,” Cloud replied while sliding his hands back into the silky strands of dark hair.

Blinking briefly Zack continued to press on. “So do you…you mean…” he trailed off while Cloud pulled him down further so that his forehead was resting against his own.

“Yes,” Cloud answered softly.

“Oh,” Zack said again as it finally all clicked for him. “Are you sure?”

Cloud didn’t answer. Instead he just leaned up the short distance to place his lips over his boyfriends. He figured that actions spoke way louder than words, and at the moment he wanted nothing else then to feel Zack kissing him again, to feel his touch again. Only this time without interruption.

A part of Zack was wondering how long Cloud had been thinking about this. Because he knew it wasn’t something that he just decided right here and then. Definitely not. But he wasn’t about to ask now and further kill the mood. He was just glad that he finally would be able to share this experience with the blond, because he couldn’t deny that he had thought about it a lot.

It didn’t take them long before they had lost themselves in the kiss as their hands began to roam again. Reaching down Zack slid his fingers under the obi that was secured around the blond’s waist. He had just begun to undo the sash when he suddenly stopped at the same time that Cloud froze.

“Did you…hear something?” Zack asked while pulling back briefly.

“Was that the door?” Cloud asked while trying to regain his breathing.

Zack was just about to reply before the sound of a woman’s voice broke through the air. He could faintly make out what she was saying and it sounded as if she was calling for Tama.

Groaning Cloud placed his hands over his eyes. His mom was back. Now. He couldn’t help but to curse his luck. Usually she would be out at some event during the evening if his father was out late at work. But tonight of all nights, she had to come back early.




Walking through the halls Cloud made his way down towards his father’s office. His mom had sent him out to take his father something to eat since he had left out in a rush and had missed breakfast. She wasn’t too happy about him working so much lately. Cloud had noticed it too but he guessed that there wasn’t much that his dad could do about it. And as of recently he had been working all through the day and coming home late in the evening. And even then he was sometimes bringing work back with him. At times Cloud wondered why his dad would even want to be Chamberlain, even if it was an honor he had to wonder if it was worth it. But he guessed that’s where he and his father differed.

Although he was thinking about far more things than that. As he continued to make his way into the castle he couldn’t help but to find his thoughts drifting back to the night before. He and Zack…everything was going so perfect until they were interrupted. Once his mom had got back they really had no choice but to stop. And that was what he meant, that was what he hated. Even when he and Zack were alone…they really weren’t. There was always someone around somewhere, somehow. And as time went on that grated on him. The only place that he could think of where they wouldn’t be interrupted was the lake. For the most part none of their friends went there anymore, and throughout all the chaos over the years that spot had remained exclusively there’s. But still.

Letting out a sigh he cursed his luck. Having to stop so abruptly the night before was killing him. And he knew it annoyed Zack too. However he just tried to comfort the other, letting him know it was okay, there was no rush. That there would be another time. And even if that was true, it was still frustrating as hell. But Cloud knew Zack was right, there was always next time.

“Cloud,” a voice spoke up snapping the other out of his thoughts quickly.

Looking up the blond saw Zack approaching, a smile on his face once he locked his eyes with his.

“Hey,” Cloud replied while smiling a bit shyly. He felt a bit weird because of the thoughts that were just running through his head.

“Where are you off to?” Zack asked once he had stopped in front of the other.

“”My dad’s office. My mom wanted me to bring him something to eat,” Cloud explained while gesturing to the small bag he was holding, “what are you doing here now?”

“Angeal wanted to see me, he said it was important,” Zack answered.

“Oh,” Cloud began with a nod, “well, I don’t want to keep you then.”

“I don’t mind sparing a minute for you,” Zack said before grinning at the other.

Smiling even wider Cloud shook his head as he felt his face heat up.

“What are you doing later?” Zack continued with a tilt of his head.

“Nothing,” Cloud answered with a shake of his head, “I still have time off from lessons.”

“Good,” Zack started. He was just about to say more before the sound of footsteps echoing in the hallway caught the two’s attention accompanied by a woman’s voice.

“Ah Zack there you are,” Elena began while approaching the two.

“You needed me?” Zack asked a bit confused.

“No, Angeal was looking for you and Kunsel I believe,” Elena explained.

“Oh right, I got the message. I was heading there now,” Zack replied with a nod.

“Alright,” she responded before turning his gaze towards the blond, “Cloud how are you?”

“I’m fine thanks,” Cloud answered with a brief bow.

“You received the gift alright I hope. I dropped it off to your mother,” Elena explained while narrowing her eyes slightly.

“Oh, yes I got it…thank you,” Cloud added a bit uneasily.

“Good. I’m sure the Shogun will be glad to hear that,” Elena began with a smile, “I’ll make sure to tell him. I’m actually meeting him now in the Chamberlains office.”

“What?” Both Cloud and Zack asked in unison. Cloud shifted his gaze to look at Zack who still had his gaze focused on Elena.

“Yes, it’s been a very busy morning,” Elena began with a sigh, “anyways, I need to go. And Zack you’d better go and see Angeal, it sounded important.” And with that spoken she continued down the hall.

“Zack,” Cloud began a bit unsure.

“It’s fine, your dad will be there,” Zack assured the blond while turning his gaze back towards him. “Just get in and get out okay? Don’t linger.”

“Okay,” Cloud replied with a nod, still a bit nervous.

“Alright. It’ll be fine,” Zack continued while glancing down both ways of the hall and noticing it was empty. He quickly leaned in a pressed a kiss to the others lips before pulling back and looking into his eyes. “I need to go, but I’ll see you tonight okay?”

“Yeah,” Cloud answered with a small smile. They said quick goodbye’s before they parted and Cloud was wishing that Zack could’ve went along with him. But he was right, his dad was going to be there along with Elena. And even the Shogun wouldn’t be so bold as to attempt something with others present.

Finally stopping in front of the office door he knocked softly before the door was quickly pulled open.

“You again,” Elena stated with a blink.

“Yeah,” Cloud began while narrowing his eyes a bit, “I won’t be long I’m just dropping something off for my dad.”

“Oh,” Elena replied while stepping aside to let him enter.

“Cloud?” Saito asked from the desk he was sitting at across the room.

Looking up he saw the back of the Shogun sitting on the opposite side of the desk. However he turned around when he heard the blonde’s name spoken.

Walking over towards the desk he paused briefly before bowing and saying a greeting to the man. Then he set the bag down on the desk in front of his father.

“Mom wanted me to bring this for you. She doesn’t think you’ve been eating right,” Cloud explained.

His father gave a bit of a chuckle before nodding, “I see. Thank you.”

He was just about to excuse himself before the Shogun spoke to him.

“It’s nice to see you again Cloud,” Hojo began while adjusting his glasses. All the while keeping a smile on his face.

“As well as you your Excellency,” Cloud replied, keeping his gaze averted from the man.

“I know it’s rare to see my son,” Saito began, “you’ll have to excuse him, he doesn’t really like to attend the social events.”

“Well that’s quite alright,” Hojo said with a laugh, “those kinds of things aren’t for everyone.”

“I suppose not,” Saito replied while shifting his gaze to his son, “I don’t really mind so long as he’s staying focused on his priorities. Right Cloud?”

“Yes,” Cloud instantly replied. He hated that the topic of conversation was about him and he wanted nothing more than to switch it to something else.

“Priorities?” the Shogun asked while leaning forward a bit in his chair, “and by that I assume you mean his art.”

“Hmm?” Saito began while turning his focus back to the man, “his art?”

“Don’t be modest Saito, your son is a great artist. That’s where his priorities should lay,” Hojo explained calmly.

“Oh,” Saito began while giving his son a questioning look, “I wasn’t aware that you knew of his…hobby.”

“Yes, I had the pleasure of looking at some of his work. He’s very talented,” Hojo continued while shifting his gaze back to the blond who was now looking at the ground.

Saito seemed a bit surprised from the comment of the Shogun if not anything else. Turning his head he looked back to Cloud before clearing his throat. “Cloud?” He spoke up catching the boys attention. Once he looked in his direction his father nodded his head towards the Shogun and it was then that the blond understood what he was saying.

“Oh, thank you for the compliment your Excellency. It’s an honor,” Cloud said while his father smiled.

“You’re quite welcome Cloud,” was Hojo’s smooth response.

“Excuse me,” Elena spoke up from the corner of the room where she was standing with a clipboard in hand, “Chamberlain Saito I’m missing some things here. Did you get a chance to talk to the Magistrate yesterday? I should have a signed document from him here.”

“That’s right, he was busy all day yesterday with cases. I never got around to it. I’ll go see him now,” Saito explained while rising from his chair.

“I’ll go with you. I need to make sure this is done right,” Elena explained.

“I guess I’ll be going now, I’ll let you get back to work,” Cloud said to his dad.

“Cloud, please stay while they are away. I could use some company,” the Shogun explained while gesturing to the seat beside him.

“Ah yes Cloud stay here. You don’t have lessons today so you have time,” Saito added while patting his son on the shoulder and crossing the room.

“Um dad I-”

“It won’t take me long your Excellency,” Saito said to the Shogun before giving Cloud a look that seemed to say drop it.

“Oh no please take your time, I’m in no rush,” Hojo responded right before Saito and Elena exited the room.

Cloud remained unmoving and quiet after the door had closed. He still kept his gaze downwards but he could practically feel the Shogun’s eyes burning into him.

“Have a seat Cloud,” Hojo finally spoke up while shifting a bit in his chair.

Looking up Cloud glanced at the seat beside the other. It took him a minute before he finally walked over and took a seat next to the man. There was at least enough distance between them, but still he wished it was more.

“It seems as if your father doesn’t realize how important your art is,” Hojo began while looking up in thought.

“Oh well…he just doesn’t want it to dominate over my studies,” Cloud explained while staring ahead at the desk.

“Hmm,” Hojo mused while turning his focus onto the blond, “well in any case I hope you don’t let that deter you. And if there’s anything else that you need just let me know.”

What? There was no way he was serious. Turning his gaze towards the other and noticing the look in his eyes Cloud could tell he wasn’t joking.

“Oh well that’s really nice of you but…it’s fine. I mean you’ve already done enough,” Cloud started quietly.

“Ah you mean the gift. I hope it’s of use to you.” Hojo said with a smile.

“It’s really nice your Excellency, but it’s too much. You didn’t have to do that,” Cloud explained with a shake of his head.

“Of course I didn’t have to,” Hojo replied with a chuckle. “But I wanted to. You deserve it.”

Hesitating briefly the blond glanced away before speaking softly. “You’re too kind your Excellency.”

“I suppose with you I am,” the man replied with a smirk while edging closer to the other.

Noticing the subtle movement Cloud quickly rose from his seat. “Forgive me, but I think I really should be going.”

“Why the rush? Your father said you weren’t bound to a schedule today,” the Shogun began while rising from his seat as well and stepping in front of the other.

“Well yes but my mom was expecting me back by now. I was helping her with some things today,” Cloud explained, conjuring up a lie as fast as he could.

“What a good kid you are,” Hojo replied while reaching out and brushing a few of the blonde’s spikes away from his face, “however I think she would understand given the circumstances.”

Taking a step back Cloud bowed, “Even so, I really shouldn’t be here bothering my dad at work. And you all seemed to be in some sort of meeting. So if you’ll excuse me.”

“Cloud,” Hojo continued while taking another step forward to close the gap that Cloud had just created between them. Finally Cloud looked back up seeing the Shogun looking down at him. He seemed to have a bit of an amused look on his face and that didn’t help calm the blond at all. He was looking for an opportunity here to make his quick exit, but every attempt he made the man seemed to not be accepting it this time. Not like he did when they had met for dinner the night before. “I don’t want you to leave quite yet.”

Cloud seemed to be taking a step back without even thinking but he stopped when he hit the corner of the desk. He looked back for just a moment before he was turning his focus back onto the other. What could he say? What could he do? The Shogun had made it very clear that he didn’t want him to go, and if he were to walk out now the man definitely wouldn’t be happy.

“I…ok I…” Cloud was at a loss for words but it didn’t seem to phase Hojo at all. He had already stepped up closer to the smaller one and was now peering down at him as Cloud kept his gaze on him carefully.

“Perhaps I should just be forward,” Hojo began before placing his finger under the blonde’s chin and tilting his head up slightly, “You should know that I’ve taken an interest in you. In more ways than one.”

“What?” Cloud couldn’t help but to ask as his eyes widened. Even though it had been brought to his attention earlier on that the Shogun was probably interested in him, he didn’t think that he would flat out say it to him, if at all. And definitely not so soon! He didn’t know how to react to that.

“Yes,” the man replied as a small smile spread across his features, “I would have to be a fool not to have.” He brought his other hand up and gently stroked the side of the blonde’s face with his fingers.

He quickly turned his head, keeping his gaze downward as he felt the others hand continue to caress. “Your Excellency I-”

“What?” Hojo asked while turning his face back towards him and leaning in a bit.

Cloud tried to pull away but the man caught his wrist in a tight grasp and pulled him closer to him.

“Don’t be scared, I won’t hurt you,” the Shogun explained quietly before leaning in again once more. All Cloud could do was close his eyes tightly and hope and pray that this was some sort of a dream…or nightmare. His heart felt like it was going to burst out of his chest and a cold chill went down his spine. He felt so utterly and completely helpless. And as much as he wanted to fight back more, he knew that wasn’t an option.

“What’s wrong? You won’t accept this?” Hojo asked while stopping just inches away from the younger one’s lips.

Shaking his head violently Cloud refused to open his eyes. He could the man’s breath against his face so he knew he was right in front of him. “I can’t,” he spoke up quietly with a bit of a waver in his voice.

“Is that so?” Hojo asked with a smug look on his face, “well don’t worry…you will,” he finished softly right before closing the distance between the two.





A/N: And there is chapter 4! I wanted to make it a well rounded chapter without cramming too much stuff in at once. So some things that I was going to put in this one I'm going to hold off until the next just works better for me that way! Anyways, so it was a lot of Zack and Cloud stuff at the begining but of course Hojo is going to pop back up! It's never that easy, haha. There's still a few more characters that will be in here that haven't been introduced yet, but they will be soon! Well I hope to have the next chapter up soon! Thanks for the reviews and feedback so far everyone, I enjoy hearing you guys take on this. Until next time!



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