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.








we’re going to have an uneven amount of people!” Reno whined.

            “Sorry,” Zack replied with a grin
while stretching out on the cool grass that was partially shaded by the Cherry
Blossom tree overhead.

            “You should play Zack,” Cloud spoke
up from beside him while plucking some strands of grass from the ground.

            “And leave you here to watch?” Zack
asked while turning his head in Cloud’s direction. “That hardly seems fair.”

            It was an excruciatingly hot day out,
and most of the town kids were down at the lake swimming in the cold water.
They now wanted to start up a game of some kind and Reno was trying to assemble his team. And
while swimming in a nice huge lake of cold water really did sound appealing to
Zack, he wasn’t about to just let his best friend sit alone by himself under
the tree while he watched all of the other kids have fun.

            “Why aren’t you playing Cloud?” Reno asked while focusing
his attention on the small blonde.

            Glancing towards the ground Cloud
continued to pluck the blades of grass. “I can’t swim,” he admitted quietly.

            Reno gave a groan before looking back to the
lake when a few of their friends called out to him to hurry it up.

            “Give me a minute!” Reno shouted back before looking back to his
friend. “Come on, just one game okay? I can’t loose to those idiots over
there,” Reno
explained while jabbing his thumb in the direction of some other boys in their

            “Go ahead Zack. Just play one game,
it’ll be fun,” Cloud began with a smile.

            Pulling himself up to a sitting
position Zack glanced over at the other kids. He did really want to play, and
he was never one to turn down a challenge. He liked a good competition just
like his red headed friend. But still…

            “Are you sure?” Zack asked Cloud
while giving him a bit of an unsure look.

            “Yeah, I’ll be okay,” Cloud replied
with a nod, all the while keeping a smile on his face.

            “Okay,” Zack finally gave in, “just
one game,” he finished while turning to Reno
who was practically dancing in delight. Before he knew it he was being dragged
down by the lake and only had time to cast one look back at Cloud. He looked so
small and lonely sitting under the tree by himself. The lake was filled with
laughter and splashing kids, and he wasn’t a part of it at all.

            Letting out a sigh Cloud dropped the
blades of grass from his hands as he watched all of his friends and the other
children in town at the lake. It looked like so much fun. He wished he knew how
to swim; it was just one more thing that made him different than the other

            Even though he was sitting under the
tree in the shade it was still really hot. He knew the lake would be really
cold, it would be nice if he could go in there. He wasn’t sure how long he sat
there under the tree watching as his friends swam throughout the water having a
good time of their own, but it felt like a while.

            Standing up he made his way closer
to the water and away from the tree. He stopped once he got right to the edge
of the lake before he took a seat on the ground. He stared down at the clear
water looking at his reflection before stretching out a small hand to touch the
water. He wondered just how cold it was, and just as he suspected it was really
cold, which was sort of strange even though the sun was blaring down on it.

            “Red team four points! And Blue team
three points!” Reno
announced to the teams, “all we need is one more and we win!”

            “That shouldn’t be too hard,” Zack
replied with a grin. He just wanted to finish the game. Partly because the boys
on the other team annoyed him and he wanted to rub it in their faces. And also
because the game was going longer than he intended and he wanted to go back
over to Cloud. He knew that the other was probably bored out of his mind.

            He looked back over towards the tree
just to see what the blond was doing and realized that Cloud had made his way
down to the lake’s edge. Zack saw him with his hand outstretched in the water,
maybe he had dropped something? Whatever it was he didn’t have long to think
about it because next thing he knew Cloud had fallen forward creating a little
splash in the water beneath him.

            “Cloud!!” Zack shouted as his eyes
widened. In a second he was swimming as fast as he possibly could back to the
shore of the lake. They had ventured out pretty far to the middle of the lake
during their game, and now the edge seemed like it was so far away.

            He saw Cloud poke his head out of
the water once followed by a flurry of arms as he splashed about. And then he
went under the water again. Zack’s stomach dropped at that sight and he pushed
himself even harder to get to his friend quicker. The swim felt like it took an
eternity but finally Zack reached the other, going under the water momentarily
to hoist him back up. The good thing was when they came up out of the water
Cloud was sputtering and coughing…but he was still conscious. And that was the
main thing.

            “Cloud,” Zack began in a slight
panic as he placed the smaller one on the grass, “are you alright?”

            Cloud continued to cough and take in
deep breaths of air before Zack wrapped his arms around him.

            “It’s okay,” Zack started
soothingly, “you’re fine now. Everything’s okay.”

            He had barely even noticed that
through this whole ordeal Reno
was right behind him. He had also seen Cloud fall into the water and was right
on Zack’s heels as they swam towards the shore. And now he was sitting beside
his two friends, watching everything with wide green eyes.

            “Zack,” Cloud finally managed to
choke out followed by a few coughs. He had wound his arms tightly around the
older boy and had now begun to cry. “I was scared,” he continued on between
cries. It was a pretty traumatic thing for a little kid to go through after

            Reno reached out and patted Cloud’s soaked
wet spikes a few times. “I’m going to go get his mom,” he spoke up softly
before standing up and running back into town.

            “It’s okay,” Zack continued to
assure his friend as he kept a tight hold on him. He didn’t know what the other
kids were doing or if they had seen what happened but he could care less about
them. His main priority was Cloud. He felt so guilty for leaving him like that.
He never should’ve gone to play that stupid game!

            “I’ll never let anything bad happen
to you again okay? I won’t let anything hurt you,” Zack explained to Cloud. He
felt Cloud nod his head against him before replying with a soft “okay.”

            “I promise,” Zack whispered just as
he heard Cloud’s mom calling to him in a worried voice. But he still didn’t let
Cloud go even then, and Cloud only held onto him tighter.






            A soft
whimper escaped from the blond as he shifted in his sleep, unconsciously moving
closer to the warmth beside him.

            Zack smiled
down at him as he ran his fingers through the soft spiky hair. Cloud was
absolutely adorable in Zack’s opinion when he was asleep. He looked so peaceful
and he always made the cutest sounds…although Zack would never tell him that.
And he was really cuddly; however that was what Zack loved best. It was safe to
say that they both liked to cuddle.

            He didn’t
know how long he had been awake now just watching Cloud as he slept. It gave
him some sort of peace and quieted his thoughts. However he didn’t know why he
had just been thinking about that time when they were kids at the lake. Truth
was it was one memory he didn’t like to dwell on. If he had looked over a
second later and didn’t see Cloud fall in…what would’ve happened?  No, he hated to think about that. The
important thing was that he did see
him fall and he was able to get to him in time.           But still…it was
the one thing that Zack never forgave himself for.  If he had to look hard at any good that came
of that was Cloud’s persistence afterwards of learning how to swim. Zack had
wanted to teach him before but Cloud was so afraid to get in the water that
Zack didn’t push it.

            But it had
been Cloud that later asked for Zack to teach him to swim. And after many many lessons, he finally got his friend
to swim. So at least that was one thing that Zack didn’t have to worry about
the following summer.

            He had
always been protective of Cloud for as long as he could remember. But it was after
that incident that he had become deathly protective of him. Cloud was only
eight at the time. And while growing up Cloud was the smaller one, the quiet
and shy one. There were a lot of things that could’ve been a threat to him and
Zack just had to keep him safe. It was a feeling instilled in him ever since he
had met Cloud basically and that hadn’t changed. Not at all.  He couldn’t explain it but he just had to keep
him safe at all cost. He would give his life without a second thought if it
meant Cloud would be safe. It was how he felt then and it was definitely how he
felt now.

Cloud’s sleepy voice spoke up.

down to the blond pressed to his side he realized that the other’s eyes were
still closed.

Zack asked quietly. He wasn’t sure if Cloud was really awake or if he was just
talking in his sleep.

cold,” Cloud replied while scrunching his nose a bit and moving even closer to

            It did seem
like the room had grown pretty cold actually but Zack had had too much on his
mind to really pay it much thought at all. His eyes landed on the window across
the room and he saw that it was still open. So sliding out of the bed which
caused Cloud to make a noise of protest, he walked across the room and closed
it. It was early morning now and so there was that crisp chill in the air. The
birds had already begun to start chirping away as well.

            The night
seemed to have flown by rather quickly, and now that Zack thought about it he
had barely gotten any sleep at all. He had too much on his mind. But the
important thing was that Cloud had slept, he knew he needed it after the day he
had before.

back into the bed he pulled the covers up higher over Cloud as he pulled him
closer towards him.

Zack asked softly.

Cloud replied with a yawn before letting his eyes finally flutter open. He
noticed the early light shining into the room and he let out a groan. He didn’t
want to get up at all today. He just wanted to stay in bed like this with Zack,
where he didn’t have any concerns or worries. Where he could just feel safe and

            The sound
of a door sliding closed caught his attention along with Tama’s high pitched
meow. It meant that his mom was now up preparing to start breakfast.

            Turning in
the bed once more he looked up into Zack’s face. He seemed wide awake and was
currently looking up at the ceiling. What was on his mind Cloud wasn’t sure,
although he had a few ideas.

Cloud began while poking him in the arm to gain his attention. In a second blue
eyes were staring back into his own waiting for him to continue. “You look like
you’re spacing out.”

            Smiling a
bit Zack let out a small laugh, “well I’m bound to start doing that eventually
I guess. It’s what I get for hanging around an artist; I’m picking up on your
odd habits.”

            A sharp jab
in his side was his response and he couldn’t help but to laugh as he looked at
the pouting blond. This was what he wanted, for them to be able to go back to
their silly playfulness. He didn’t want to tell Cloud what was going on in his
head, he didn’t want to worry or stress him out further than he already was. He
needed to take his mind off of things, even if it just for a bit.

            “Shut up,”
Cloud continued while turning on his side fully, “that’s a stereotype, artist
aren’t all weird or have weird habits. The only weird thing about me is that
I’m going out with you.”

            Letting out
a mock shocked gasp Zack sat up while looking down at Cloud who had a smirk on
his face.

            “That one
hurt,” Zack began while tapping his chest, “right here. Really.”

started it,” Cloud replied with a laugh. And this only concluded in Zack giving
Cloud his best sad look. Complete with puppy eyes and the whole nine.

            “Don’t give
me that look!” Cloud began with a laugh while pulling the blanket over his

look?” Zack asked while pulling the covers off from over Cloud’s head.

            “That one,”
Cloud grumbled while looking into Zack’s sad face.

            “Well you
hurt my feelings,” Zack began while leaning down and nuzzling his face in
Cloud’s neck.

            Letting out
a sigh Cloud wrapped his arms around Zack as he rolled his eyes slightly,
however the smile on his face remained in tact. “I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to
hurt your feelings.”

            A quick
kiss was placed against his neck before Zack pulled back grinning down at the
blond beneath him. “Apology accepted!”

            Cloud ran a
hand down over his face. It was too early in the morning for Zack’s energy…but
then again, he wouldn’t have it any other way. Removing his hand away from his
face he looked up into Zack’s eyes. True he had seemed wide awake since Cloud
had awoken. But even so, he still looked tired. His eyes were bright as ever
but there seemed to be something else there that also made them look tired.

            Reaching up
he let his hand rest against the side of the Samurai’s face as he studied him a
bit more carefully.

            “Did you
sleep at all last night?” He asked with concern. The light mood seeming to come
crashing down as he let his worry get to him.

            “Off and
on,” Zack replied with a shrug, “I’m good though.”

couldn’t help but to think that Zack was just brushing it off as so not to
worry him. But Cloud knew that Zack was upset about what he had found out the
night before…he had every right to be. Hell, Cloud was upset too. But now that
Zack knew he just couldn’t stop himself from worrying, and he hated that Zack
was stressed over everything too. The last thing he wanted to do was to put
more burdens on him.

            “Are you
sure?” Cloud asked while searching the eyes above him.

            Zack gave
him a reassuring smile before nodding briefly. “Yeah,” he spoke softly while
removing Cloud’s hand away from his face before taking it into his own. He
leaned down and placed a soft kiss against his boyfriend’s lips before pinning
his hand down against the bed.

worrying,” Zack continued quietly after they broke their kiss, “it’s written
all over your face.”

didn’t doubt that it was. He wasn’t good at masking his feelings and emotions,
not from Zack anyways. He could read him like an open book.

            “I can’t
help it,” Cloud replied just as quietly as he lowered his gaze away from Zack’s
eyes. He felt lips back over his own after that and his eyes instantly fell
shut. No matter what worries or concerns were going through his head they
always quickly faded away when Zack would kiss him. Even if it was momentarily
only it still was nice to put his mind at ease for even just a short amount of

            He opened
his mouth as soon as he felt Zack’s tongue against his lips, eager to deepen
the kiss. Zack let go of his hand that he had pinned against the bed allowing
Cloud to slide his fingers into silky raven hair.

            A soft
knock came at the door causing the two of them to pull away quickly. Cloud was
waiting for his mom to walk in but instead she spoke through the door.

            “Are you two
awake?” Natsumi asked.

            “Yes mom,”
Cloud replied while pulling himself up to a sitting position.

            “Okay well
come get some breakfast. And Cloud don’t forget your lessons resume again today
so you need to get ready,” his mom explained.

            “Oh that’s
right,” Cloud mumbled to himself while scuffing a hand through his hair.

            “Cloud? Did
you hear me?” Natsumi asked through the door again.

            “Yes mom,”
Cloud answered before Natsumi told him to hurry up.

            They didn’t
have much time after that to lounge around any longer. Cloud had to hurry and
get ready, if he was late today after being out from lessons for so long his
dad would not be happy. So while he got ready Zack had already left the room to
go and have breakfast. Once he finished he joined the rest of them at the
table, his dad already giving him a look.

            “You going
to be late again today?” Saito asked while setting down his cup of tea.

            “No,” Cloud
replied while his mom set down his plate before him.

Saito began before returning back to his meal. “You take to long to get ready
in the morning. You’re always the last one at the table.”

Natsumi began while shooting her husband a look, “he’s fine. He has more than
enough time.”

            “Sorry dad
I’ll get up earlier tomorrow,” Cloud replied while taking a bite of food.

            Zack was
sitting beside him eating as well as he kept his eyes going back and forth
between the two. He honestly didn’t understand why Saito criticized every
little thing Cloud did sometimes. He knew he was strict; the man always was for
as long as he could remember. But still.

            “What was
wrong with you last night?” Saito continued on.

            “What do
you mean?” Cloud asked while looking towards his father.

mother told me you were ill,” Saito replied.

            “Oh,” Cloud
started with a shake of his head, “yeah I just…had a bad headache.”

            “I think he
just needed rest,” Natsumi broke in, “you are constantly doing something Cloud.
A little down time can be good too huh? Or else you’ll wear yourself down.”

            “Yes mom,”
Cloud replied while looking towards his mom who gave him a sweet smile.

time?” Saito asked with a scoff, “Nonsense. Look at Zack, a Samurai. I’m sure
he get’s tired too but he doesn’t let it get to him. Nor would he complain
about it. Isn’t that right Zack?”

            This wasn’t
an uncommon thing. For whatever reason Saito always would compare Zack and
Cloud. Try to place Zack on this pedestal of some sort. Zack didn’t really
understand it and could only connect the reasoning to Saito wanting to show
Cloud how he should’ve become a Samurai. It was like…something that he would
never let go. But Zack hated when he did that, and more times than not he
wanted to say something to Saito about it. But Cloud never wanted him to say
anything to his dad for fear of him thinking of it as disrespectful. And he
didn’t want to chance his dad becoming angry at Zack.

            “Uh well…I
wouldn’t say that,” Zack started with a shrug, “I’m sure I complain a lot.”

            “Even so,
you have more than a creditable reason to,” Saito continued before turning his
gaze back to Cloud, “you missed an opportunity last night because of that.”

            A silence
fell over the table after that. Zack seeming to tense up at the mention of it
and he glanced at Cloud from the corner of his eye to catch his reaction. But
his hair was covering his face so he couldn’t exactly see. However he was
pretty sure he knew what was running through his mind.

            “How so?”
Cloud finally asked.

            “After you
left my office yesterday the Shogun mentioned more about those…drawings, of
yours. He expressed an interest to see more. I told him if he wished to do so
that something could be arranged,” Saito explained while taking another bite of
food. “He came up with an idea for you to join him last night for some type of
art exhibit. I thought it would be a good idea, so that you can meet more of
the residents and the council.”

Natsumi began while looking back to Cloud, “that would’ve been nice. You’ve
wanted to go to an art exhibit for a while now, that would’ve been your

            “Its fine I
don’t mind,” Cloud simply replied.

            “You sound
awfully casual about it,” Saito began while giving his son a disapproving look,
“don’t you realize what an honor it is for the Shogun to extend a personal
invitation to you like that?  Especially
when you take into account that you rarely come to any functions in the castle.
People don’t even realize that I have a son.”

Natsumi snapped while narrowing her eyes at the man.

Saito began while taking a drink of tea, “it’s the truth.”

dad,” Cloud started, “I didn’t realize.”

            With a wave
of his hand Saito arose from the table, “Well what’s done is done. Go on,
you’ll be late for lessons.”

            With a nod
Cloud quickly stuffed a few more bites into his mouth before washing it down
with some tea. His mom scolded Saito for making Cloud scarf down food as she
began to clear the table.

            “I hope you
enjoyed your breakfast Zack,” Natsumi said with a smile.

            “Yes, it
was great! Thank you auntie!” Zack beamed causing Natsumi’s face to light up.
She lived off of the compliments that Zack gave.

Saito called from the living room just as he and Zack were at the door.

            “Yes dad?”
Cloud asked while stopping just as he slid open the door.

            “Come back
straight after lessons, no going out and staying out all night,” Saito explained.

Cloud replied before Natsumi gave both he and Zack both cheerful goodbyes. As
soon as they stepped out of the house and closed the door behind them Zack
frowned. Cloud seemed to just be going through the morning routine in a robot
like matter. He wondered if he seriously got angry with his father sometimes.
The way Saito spoke to him…he didn’t like it.

            “I can tell
this is going to be a long day,” Cloud spoke up with a sigh as they began to
make their way out of the corridor.

            “Cloud,” Zack
started hesitantly, “I know it’s been a little while since I’ve been around you
and your dad but…”

don’t,” Cloud began with a sigh, “you know how my dad is. You say something
about it every time.”

            “I know

            “And he was
probably a little more harsh today because he was mad about last night,” Cloud
continued to explain while giving Zack a look, “I mean if I had met with the
Shogun it’s like…points for my dad ya know? He’s just upset that I didn’t meet
with him. He thinks I’m too anti social with the people here in the castle and
that reflects bad on his image I guess.”

            When it was
put that way Zack guessed it made sense. But still it made him a bit upset to
know that Saito just wanted Cloud to meet with Hojo because he would somehow
look better in the Shogun’s eyes. On the council status meant everything and he
understood that…really he did. But at the same time he thought that some line
had to be drawn. True Saito didn’t know that Hojo was interested in Cloud in a
completely different way other than “artistic abilities” so he supposed he
couldn’t hold that against him. But…how could he not? A lot of people knew
about Hojo’s reputation, it wasn’t exactly a secret. So how did Saito not
know?  Zack hadn’t really thought about
that too much, but now that the idea passed through his mind…he couldn’t help
but be a little curious.

with Saito being on the council surely he heard some rumors or something. But
maybe he just dismissed them as gossip.

Cloud asked while peering over at the other.

beside him Zack saw Cloud giving him a questioning look. He quickly shook his
head, clearing his mind of their current thoughts. There was a lot more
important things that he needed to be worrying about now rather than Cloud’s
strict father. And more importantly he needed to give Cloud his full attention,
he needed him right now.

            “Sorry. I
guess I am a little spacey today,” Zack replied with a laugh.

smiled back after a moment, although it was a bit of a mask. He really wished he
could just read Zack’s mind because he knew there was tons of things running
through it. And he couldn’t help but to be a bit nosy about it.

            “I’ll walk
you to your class first before I go,” Zack continued while bumping into Cloud

            “Okay,” Cloud
replied. He wanted to ask Zack a billion questions at that moment but thought
better of it. He had told him so many times already not to worry so…he guessed
he at least had to try.







            “Ah I can’t
write anymore,” Aerith whined while massaging her wrist, “tell me we’re almost

almost,” Cloud replied while letting out a sigh and leaning back in his chair.
He could definitely understand where his friend was coming from. They had been
here in the library for hours working on this assignment for their next lesson.
It was way too much in Cloud’s opinion. He really hated being privately

            “I haven’t
even seen sunlight in days since I’ve been working on this thing,” Aerith
explained while stretching a bit in her seat.

either,” Cloud answered while flipping through his notebook. Although his
reason for not going out was completely different, for the most part his dad
wanted him at home. He never really did like him going out of the castle much,
especially when he “stayed out all night” but as of recently it seemed like he
didn’t want him going out much at all. He didn’t know if he was being punished
for some reason or if it was simply his dad being…well his dad.

            But on the
other hand he guessed he didn’t really mind. A part of him wanted to have a
reason to be locked inside the house. At least that way he didn’t have to worry
about any chance encounters with the Shogun. He supposed he wasn’t exactly safe
at home either, after all someone could just come for him there. But he thought
he had a better chance there indoors. Maybe if Hojo didn’t actually see him he
wouldn’t be so enticed to actually get him.

            All he knew
was that things seemed to be going okay now and that’s the way he wanted it to
remain. Zack came by often seeing as how he knew that Cloud wasn’t allowed to
go out lately. Cloud had asked him if he had said something to Hojo, or done
something in any way to keep him away and Zack didn’t really answer. Not
straight forward anyways. And in all honesty it annoyed the hell out of Cloud.
He didn’t understand why Zack wouldn’t just tell him. But when talking about
the Shogun now Zack seemed to be very short in his responses, and his voice
seemed to take on a whole other tone.

            Maybe Zack
was trying to forget about it. Act as if everything was alright and that Hojo
had never tried to make a move on Cloud. Maybe the thought of it all just made
him angry…it made sense. But still Cloud didn’t like the way he was blocking it
out. However he guessed it made him feel good in a way that when Zack came by
he tried to avoid the subject. It was nice to be able to just be together
without having to talk about the Shogun at all…like how things were before he
came into the picture.

            “I think I
messed up,” Aerith spoke up while reading over the paper.

across the table at her Cloud let out a sigh. He knew she was getting tired of
this assignment. Hell he was too, but at least he was a little more focused
than she was. They really didn’t have much more to do though.

            “Aerith I
can finish this it’s almost done anyways. Why don’t you head back, I know you
need a break,” Cloud explained.

Aerith asked with a bit of a confused expression, “Cloud I’m not going to just
dump the rest of this on you.”

            “No really
it’s fine,” Cloud continued, “the last part of this I was supposed to do
anyways. And really it won’t take me long at all.”

            “Are you
sure?” Aerith asked, still a bit hesitant to let him finish on his own.

            “Yeah it’s
no big deal,” Cloud replied with a small smile, “go ahead. I’ll see you

Cloud,” Aerith started with a sigh. She really was tired and she was probably
doing more harm then well with trying to work on this thing. Grabbing her items
from off the table she patted Cloud on the shoulder before wishing him a good
night and then she had exited the library.

silently rejoiced to himself. It wasn’t that he hated working with her but he
honestly really did work better by himself. He hated having to compare notes
and split up work, he preferred to do it his way at his own pace. That and he
still felt a bit weird being around Aerith. Though he was sure that wasn’t
going to disappear anytime soon, after all it was strange to hang around the
person that you knew was crushing on your boyfriend. And that hadn’t changed at
all; she still talked about Zack all the time. However she seemed to be
becoming a bit irritated at the fact that he was always so busy and she barely
got to spend time with him.

couldn’t help but to smile at that. Because when Zack was “so busy” he usually
was with Cloud. Any free time his boyfriend had he spent with him, no matter
how tired he may be he always made time for him. It was one of the things Cloud
loved so much about Zack.

            It wasn’t
much longer until Cloud finished he and Aerith’s assignment and he quickly
began to organize his belongings. He wanted nothing more than to go home and
have dinner and then relax in his room. And maybe if he felt up to it later he
could continue working on the last sketch he had started, and if he was lucky
maybe Zack would drop by if he was free.

up his things he made his way towards the library entrance, pulling open one of
the heavy doors. It creaked loudly and seemed to practically echo in the now
empty hallways. He tried to close it a bit more quietly but no such luck. At
least there were no sleeping quarters in this corridor so it wasn’t likely to
disturb anyone.

down the halls he let out a yawn while glancing out a window on the side. He
wondered just how late it really was, hopefully his mom wasn’t worried. Even
though he did tell her he would be in the library studying.

awfully late for you to be roaming about,” a voice spoke into the quiet

wasn’t sure how he didn’t notice the sound of footsteps behind him beforehand.
Perhaps he was too caught up in his thoughts or something. He stopped in mid
step before turning to cast a look over his shoulder.

evening,” Cloud said with a bow once he had turned around to face the other

            “Where were
you at just now?” The man asked while giving the blond a pointed look.

            “Um, the
library,” Cloud explained a bit nervously. He didn’t know why he was nervous
though. Maybe because there was just something about the man that intimidated
him a little, and well, he had every right to feel that way. After all this was
Angeal Hewley, the head of the Samurai in Edo.
Who wouldn’t be a bit intimidated?

            “And you’re
heading?” Angeal asked with a bit of a raised brow.

Cloud added, “I was just finishing up an assignment…but I’m done.”

            “I see,”
Angeal replied with a brief nod. “Well let’s go,” he finished before walking
ahead of Cloud.

            What? Cloud
stared at the man completely confused and not moving at all as he watched the
other walk away.

me?” Cloud finally asked, catching Angeal’s attention.

            He stopped
walking and turned around to look at Cloud.

            “I assume
your quarters are this way?” Angeal asked while pointing off in a direction of
the hall.

            “Well yes,”
Cloud replied while taking a few steps over to the other.

Angeal began, “you can lead the way then.”

Cloud spoke up a bit unsure. He didn’t know why Angeal was taking him home.
Maybe he needed to speak with his father or something, but he didn’t question
him about it.

            “You shouldn’t
walk alone here Cloud. Especially at night,” Angeal began, “Even if you are in
the castle it doesn’t mean that you’re safe.”

            Looking at
Angeal Cloud opened his mouth if as if to speak but nothing came out. What did
the man mean by that exactly? That was what he really wanted to ask anyways,
but he couldn’t bring himself to say the words.

Cloud began hesitantly while looking at the man out of the corner of his eye,
“did Zack tell you…something?”

Angeal asked while giving Cloud a questioning look. “What does Zack have to do
with anything?”

his eyes forward Cloud cleared his throat. It looked like Zack hadn’t told
Angeal anything. He needed to correct this; he didn’t need anyone else knowing
about the Shogun.

nothing…sorry,” he quickly explained. He decided not to say anything more than
that for fear it would come out wrong.

Angeal continued, “speaking of Zack, he’s not going to be here for a while. I
know you two are good friends so you probably would like to know.”

Looking back to Angeal Cloud’s eyes widened slightly.

            “What do
you mean?” Cloud asked, not being able to hide the concern in his voice.

            “This is
you?” Angeal asked while coming to a stop.

ahead Cloud noticed that they were right in front of his quarters. He hadn’t
even realized that they were nearby.

            “Oh. Yes,”
Cloud replied quietly, “thank you.”

simply gave him a nod before turning around preparing to head back. “Have a
nice evening.”

Angeal?” Cloud blurted out without taking a moment to think about it. The other
stopped and turned to look back at him, waiting patiently for him to continue.

            “You said
Zack wouldn’t be here for a while. Why? Where did he go?” He couldn’t help but
to let his curiosity get the best of him. He probably shouldn’t be so forward
as to ask Angeal a question like that. After all he was just a kid and sticking
his nose into the business of a Samurai was probably a stupid thing to do. But
he didn’t care about that at the moment, he was just wondering where his
boyfriend was.

            “It’s no
concern of yours,” Angeal replied while narrowing his eyes slightly.

            For some
reason that felt like a slap to Cloud’s face. No concern of his? Of course it
was! But there was no way he could say that to Angeal, it was all a part of the
façade that he had been so good at keeping up. He couldn’t let that all crumble

what I told you,” Angeal continued before turning around and heading back down
the hall. Cloud simply stood in his spot and watched as the man walked away. He
stayed there until he couldn’t see him anymore and then reluctantly he stepped
inside his house, closing the door quietly behind him.

back sweetie!” Natsumi chimed from the kitchen, “dinner is ready.”

            “I’ll eat a
little later,” Cloud replied while removing his shoes at the door before
heading back to his room.

Natsumi asked while ducking her head out from the kitchen, “it’s already late
enough. Come on.”

into his room Cloud slid his door closed before dropping his class work on his
bed. He didn’t mean to be rude to his mom but he just stepped in the door! And
now he was feeling rather uneasy with what just occurred on the way back home.
He felt like he was being kept in the dark about something. And what was Angeal
going on about? The castle wasn’t safe? Did he know about Hojo? Or was he
talking about something all together?

            Letting out
a sigh he fell onto his bed while staring up at the ceiling. He felt a headache
coming on. He didn’t know what was going on, and the only thing that would
probably settle him right now was to talk to Zack. But…Zack was gone somewhere
apparently. And that in itself was weird. If ever Zack was going away somewhere
he always told Cloud beforehand. He never just disappeared. And why couldn’t
Angeal tell him? Why did it have to be so secretive?

Natsumi asked while knocking on his door lightly, “sweetie are you alright?”

            No! That
was the first thing that screamed out in Cloud’s mind. He wasn’t alright. So
much was wrong, and more than ever he felt completely confused. Why was
everything so complicated lately? He was trying his hardest not to worry…but
really, that seemed impossible.










A/N: And here is chapter 6! Sorry for the delay but I had
massive amounts of homework and projects that seemed to come at me all at one
time! Grr! But anyways! I know the chapter maybe
started off a bit slow, but I wanted to emphasize on Zack's feelings right now
and his protectiveness of Cloud, as it's pretty important for future chaps! For
people that have read any of my other fics, you know
I love foreshadowing! Hmm, I wonder if you guys picked up on any of it this
chapter! I put a few different things in this chapter that'll start to clear up
later! Thanks for reading and reviewing people! I've already begun the next
chap so it shouldn't take as long as this one to post now that I got a bit more
free time! So until next time!













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