Ukiyoe Painting

BY : MystIc19
Category: Final Fantasy VII > Yaoi - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 1072
Disclaimer: I do not own FF7 or any of the FF7 characters. I do not make any profit in writing these fanfictions.





Disclaimer: I do not own FF7 or any of the FF7 characters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stepping out of his class Cloud
looked around before spotting the man he was so accustomed to seeing now. With
a small smile he made his way over towards him as the other pushed himself from
off the wall he was leaning against.

            “How was
your lesson today?” The older man asked casually.

            “Fine,
thanks,” Cloud replied with a nod.

            This had
become so routine over the many weeks. After he would get out of class, when he
would leave his home or if he got a chance to leave the castle. Wherever he
seemed to go Angeal was not far.  At
first he was a bit shocked by it and even asked Angeal if there was a reason he
was around so often. But the man just told him that he happened to be out and
around. An obvious lie of course, but Cloud figured that Angeal had his reasons
for it. But being escorted around everywhere by a Samurai made him feel a bit
embarrassed, and not just a Samurai….Angeal Hewley.

            He was used
to it by now and didn’t question the man’s actions any further but he still
felt a little weird. It was something he wanted to ask Zack about, maybe he
knew something about it. But Zack was still gone. It was too long in Cloud’s
opinion and every day that his boyfriend wasn’t there only made Cloud’s worry
grow. And Angeal wasn’t offering to tell him anymore about Zack than he had
told him that one evening when they ran into each other. So Cloud was simply
just going through the days still feeling just as confused as ever.

            “Are you
planning on going anywhere later today?” Angeal asked while turning his gaze
down to the boy beside him.

            Cloud gave
a shake of his head, “No I don’t think so.”

            “Alright,”
Angeal replied as they continued down their path. Everyone that passed by them
quickly regarded Angeal with a curt bow, and the ladies always seemed to smile
widely as a blush stained their cheeks. Angeal seemed perfectly used to it but
even now Cloud was still somewhat in awe of the man.

 

xxx

           

            Sighing
Cloud pushed some of his food around on his plate with his chopsticks. He
wasn’t really hungry at all, and honestly he just wanted to leave. But since he
rarely went to any of the dinner functions he knew that he couldn’t complain
about attending this one, especially since his father had insisted that he come.  The evening had consisted of his father
introducing Cloud to various council members, and Cloud had to politely
acknowledge and answer any questions that they asked him. His dad seemed more
than pleased about this, but after speaking to about five different people
Cloud was tired of it already.

            “I’m so
glad you came this time Cloud,” Aerith spoke up from beside him while she
picked up her cup of tea, “it’s nice to have company. And since Zack isn’t here
I really would’ve been lonely.”

            Pausing in
his movements Cloud hesitantly nodded. True Zack usually did have to attend
these functions for at least a little while and he knew that Aerith and he
would surely be around each other. But he just hated to be reminded of it, as
childish as he probably was in that reasoning. That and just hearing Zack’s
name right now made him a little sad.

            “I really
do hope he comes back soon,” Aerith continued on softly before letting out a
sigh.

            “Me too,”
Cloud replied just as quiet before letting his eyes wander around the room. He
saw his mother and father talking and laughing with some other people, mingling
happily as they always tended to do at these events. He was such the opposite
of them in that way.

            “Aerith,”
the Magistrate began while approaching their table, “there’s someone I would
like you to meet.”

            “Oh,”
Aerith began while looking up to her father before setting down her cup.
“Okay,” she continued before getting up from her seat. “Be right back!” She
said to her friend before she was following after her dad into the crowd of
people.

            The room
seemed to be closing in on him. It was too loud for him suddenly and all of the
laughing was beginning to annoy him. Probably from him being in such a bad mood
he was sure, but still it wasn’t helping. His parent’s were so occupied that
they probably wouldn’t even realize if he just left. Then again he wasn’t sure
he should take the chance of getting in trouble from his father.

            “Here you
are,” a woman’s kind voice said before setting down a tray of dessert of green
tea ice cream and placing a small dish before him.

            “Thank
you,” Cloud replied to the waitress with a forced smile.

            She
returned the smile before taking away some empty dishes. “Let me refill your
drink,” she spoke before pouring some more hot tea into his small cup. After
clearing the table adequately she gave a small bow before scampering off to
another section.

            It didn’t
take Cloud long to polish off the dessert, after all Green Tea ice cream was
one of his favorites.  He sipped on his
drink as he continued to let his eyes wander around the room. He spotted Aerith
with her father talking to who he thought was the Magistrate’s assistant, but
he wasn’t really sure. There were too many people on the council and such that
he couldn’t keep them all in order. Something that he wouldn’t dare let his
father know. After watching his surroundings for a while more he got up from
his seat and left the dinner hall, opening a door that led out to one of the
balconies. The room was beginning to grow way too hot and stuffy for him and he
desperately needed the fresh air.

            Once on the
balcony he leaned against the edge while looking up at the sky. It was such a
nice night out, too nice of an evening to be kept cooped up in the crowded
dinner hall. It would be a perfect night to be out at the lake he couldn’t help
but think to himself. Yes, a perfect night that he and his boyfriend should be
able to share together.

            “Zack,” he
spoke quietly into the night. Where the hell was he? A part of him felt himself
becoming angry at the other. Why did he just leave without saying anything to
him? Surely Zack knew that he would worry if he just up and left without so
much as a goodbye. Especially if he knew he was going to be gone for so long.
But then another part of him just wanted to see him again…to know that he was
alright to be able to touch and hold him.

            Maybe he
was just being difficult. After all Zack was a Samurai, things like this
happened. But Cloud had always been this way when it came to Zack, and he
couldn’t help it.

            Letting his
gaze drop from the sky he looked downwards to the courtyard below. He began to
feel a bit dizzy from that however and pushed himself back a little from the
railing.

            “Why would
you be out here all by yourself when there is so much company inside?” A voice
asked followed by the sound of a door shutting softly.

            Cloud’s
eyes widened briefly in surprise before he turned around to see the owner of
the voice, “Your Excellency,” he began softly while letting his eyes travel
back downwards to the ground.

            “I saw your
parents but was sure you wouldn’t be around,” Hojo explained while taking a few
steps forward,

            “Well my
father insisted that I come tonight,” Cloud spoke cautiously while letting his
eyes look up slowly. He had only seen the Shogun at the very beginning of the
dinner and then he had left out with some others, so he was pretty sure that he
had dismissed himself from the dinner early. He hadn’t counted on having him
come back at all.

            “I see,”
the Shogun replied with a nod. “Well I am glad for that however. It’s been a
long time since I’ve seen you.”

            Cloud could
only nod. It had been a long time since he had seen the Shogun, or rather
spoken to him. He had seen him around but there was always something going on
that prevented them from actually speaking to one another. Either Cloud was on
his way to class with Angeal by his side and the Shogun surrounded by his
assistants and such. He may catch the boy’s eye but Cloud would quickly look
away. And he hadn’t gone back to his father’s office at all since that time
before hand so if the Shogun was ever there Cloud was unaware. All in all, he
had been doing a pretty good job at avoiding the man. And he had actually begun
to think that perhaps the man just didn’t really care to pursue him anymore.

            “How have
you been?” Hojo asked with a bit of a smile.

            “Fine,
thank you,” Cloud replied quickly before reaching back and placing his hand on
the edge of the balcony as the same dizzy sensation from earlier came over him.

            “I’m happy
to hear that,” Hojo began while walking up closer to the blond, “I’ve got to
say I was beginning to wonder if you were avoiding me.”

            Lifting his
gaze again Cloud shook his head. Of course he was avoiding him! But he couldn’t
say that to the man’s face, he would only disgrace his family if his father
ever got word of it.

            “No?” Hojo
asked with a tilt of his head.

            “I’m sorry you’re
Excellency I’ve just been busy,” he quickly replied.

            “Is that
so?” Hojo asked, “even though your friend hasn’t been around?”

            “What?”
Cloud asked while letting his eyes snap forward to look into the man’s.

            “Yes,” Hojo
began while pushing his glasses up on the bridge of his nose, “Zack right?”

            Cloud was
silent as he continued to stare at the man. Why would he mention Zack? Although
Cloud supposed it wasn’t a big deal that he knew about Zack being gone, he was
the Shogun after all. But still…something about the way he said it.

            “Yes, he’s
away on assignment,” Cloud began while pushing himself away from the balcony’s
side and putting a hand to his head. Things suddenly seemed like they were
spinning.

            “Right,”
Hojo continued while reaching out and placing a hand on Cloud’s arm, “are you
okay?”

            “Yes, I’m
fine,” Cloud quickly lied, “I think I just need to go inside and sit down for a
bit. If you’ll excuse me,” he finished before moving to walk away only to
stumble briefly before Hojo caught him.

            “I don’t
think you’ll be able to make it there,” Hojo replied while pushing away some
strands of golden hair away from the others face.

            Cloud
wanted to argue back. To say that he was fine and that he could manage to go
back into the dinner hall. But he suddenly felt really tired, and his eyes were
all out of focus making his reality spin into a hazy confusion. There wasn’t
much he could do but listen to whatever Hojo was saying to him at the moment as
he supported him against his body. And then everything just seemed to go dark.

 

xxx

 

 

            Blinking
open his eyes tiredly he lifted a weak hand to his head. His head was throbbing
and his whole body seemed to feel like it just wanted to sleep. Shifting a bit
on the soft bed his eyes trailed over the room. It was concealed in darkness
for the most part, only being illuminated by the soft moonlight that spilled
into the room through the thin curtains. But he could still tell that it was
extremely spacious, much bigger than his room at home…

            Where was
he?

            He suddenly
felt really uneasy and he tried to pull himself up only to fall back against
the bed. His head was spinning and his limbs just didn’t seem to want to
cooperate with him. What was wrong with him?

            A soft
click of a door shutting caught his attention and blue eyes turned in the
general direction of the sound. After a few seconds a figure came into view,
and although his focus was a bit off it didn’t take him long to make out who it
was. His eyes widened slightly and he felt his breath catch in his throat.

            “Ah, you’re
awake,” Hojo began while making his way towards the bed and taking a seat on
the edge.

            “What,”
Cloud began while his eyes frighteningly looked around at his surroundings.

            “You passed
out at the dinner, don’t you remember?” The man asked while letting his hand
gently caress the boys face.

            “Where am
I?” Cloud asked the nervousness in his voice clearly evident.

            “My
quarters, it’s very late,” Hojo explained while letting his fingers trace the
outline of Cloud’s jaw.

            “W, why?”
Cloud quickly asked as a feeling of dread quickly over took him.

            “Shh,” Hojo
began softly while letting his hand move into soft blond hair, “don’t worry. I
told you I won’t hurt you Cloud.”

            His heart
was beating insanely fast by this point and he could literally hear it in his
ears. He wanted nothing more than to bolt upright and run out of the place and
never look back. But the most he was able to do was to lift his arms up and
weakly push against the other. It was barely even enough force to feel and he
felt tears come to his eyes at this realization.

            Hojo caught
hold of his wrist before pinning it beside them on the bed. He leaned down the
small distance between them and placed a firm kiss against the boy’s lips.
Cloud let out a whimper as the tears in his eyes began to leak out. He tried to
turn his head only to have the Shogun grasp his chin and turn his head back
forwards to meet his, this time slipping his tongue in his mouth.

            No no no!!
Those were the only words running through his head as he screwed his eyes shut
tight. This couldn’t be happening!

            Hojo didn’t
break their kiss as he repositioned himself above Cloud letting his hand trail
down his chest before coming to rest on his stomach. When his fingers slid
under his obi Cloud tried with all of his energy to push the man away, but his
arms felt like wet noodles.

            “Don’t!”
Cloud cried while blue eyes flew open in terror, “Please don’t!”

            Hojo didn’t
give a second thought to Cloud’s pleas and cries and just continued to undo the
sash. Cloud had managed to roll over onto his side and stretched his arms out,
not really knowing why but just in a panic. He grabbed onto the side of the bed
with one hand while the other blindly grabbed onto the edge of the nightstand.

            He was
holding on for all of his worth but it still didn’t seem like enough. Hojo
slipped an arm around his waist and tugged him slightly trying to get him to
release the grip on the objects.

            “Stop!”
Cloud pleaded as he felt his grip loosening on the nightstand, “Please!
Please,” Cloud continued to cry. It was the only thing he could really say;
even though he knew those words meant nothing to the man. He just continued to
struggle with what little energy he had and cry and scream, hoping that
maybe…just maybe the man would let
him go.

            “Cloud,”
Hojo spoke quietly while reaching over and finally grabbing his hand that was
clenched on the bed so that he could turn him back around. He looked down into
the fearful, tear streaked face of the boy and  allowed a small smirk to appear on his
features before leaning down and pressing his full weight on the boy so he
wouldn’t continue to keep struggling.

            “You
can’t,” Cloud started to babble while shaking his head back and forth. He felt
the others mouth on his neck and he let out another cry.

            “I can’t?”
Hojo asked quietly while nipping at the boy’s neck. “Funny, because I think I
am.”

            It couldn’t
be like this, it just couldn’t! Cloud literally thought he was going to pass
out from it all, he couldn’t breathe right and his heart was racing. He didn’t
want things to happen like this. They couldn’t! He wasn’t supposed to be scared
out of his mind and feeling sick at the thought of it. It was supposed to be
something special that he shared with the person he loved, not some creepy guy
who had some perverted fantasy of him. No, it was supposed to be different, it
was supposed to be Zack!

            That
thought alone was enough to send a whole new set of tears to his eyes as the
man above him continued to touch and kiss him. Then there was a loud pounding
knock on the door and Cloud jumped a bit, wondering just what in the hell could
happen to make this evening any worse than it was. Hojo seemed to pause
momentarily, almost as if he were debating to continue on or to see who it was
that dared come to his quarters un announced at such
an hour.

            Slowly he
pulled himself up before casting the blond a look and then he got up from the
bed.

            “Stay
quiet,” was the only thing he said before disappearing out of the room.

            Quiet?
Cloud strained to listen for any voices that he may recognize. If he made some
noise or screamed or something…would whoever it was help him? What if it was
just an assistant like Elena, she wouldn’t care or help. And if he made the
Shogun mad who was to say he wouldn’t come back into the room and do something
even more terrible to him. He didn’t want that, and he wasn’t sure if he could
chance it.

            He didn’t
seem to have much time to think on it however seeing as how the door opened
again and in walked the Shogun. Cloud froze completely as he looked at the man
and then the other was pulling him up. Cloud cringed and shut his eyes, not
knowing what exactly he was preparing to do. But then he felt him readjusting
his obi that had partly come undone before wrapping his arms around his waist
and hoisting him up.

            Cloud
immediately placed his hands on the mans shoulders for balance, still unsure as
to what in the world was going on. Then he was set down on his feet, with very
wobbly legs but Hojo kept a secure hold on him.

            “You need
to go,” Hojo began in a voice that didn’t seem at all happy.

            Cloud was
beyond confused but he wasn’t about to question it and he simply just gave a
nod as Hojo led him towards the bedroom door. He paused briefly before they
stepped out to wipe the tears away from Cloud’s face, although it was pretty
pointless because his face was still red and his eyes were swollen.

            He was
ushered outside the room into the main setting where his eyes fell onto the
back of someone familiar. The man turned around once he heard the door open and
his eyes narrowed a bit at the sight of the blond.

            “He’s much
better now. I think all he needed was a little rest, right Cloud?” Hojo asked
while looking down beside him.

            Cloud only
nodded before trying to step away only to stumble slightly.

            The Samurai
was at his side in an instant curling an arm around him to help steady him. “Be
careful,” Angeal said softly before looking up to the Shogun. “I’ll see to it
that he gets home okay.”

            “Please
do,” Hojo replied as he watched them exit out of his quarters. Once they had
stepped out and the door was shut behind them Angeal looked at the two guards
who were standing at the entrance with a look of disgust. Surely when the
Shogun brought Cloud back here they knew what was going to happen, and Angeal
was sure they did nothing at all about it but simply turn their heads.

            “I told
you,” Angeal began once they had gotten further from the Shoguns quarters,
“even in the castle you aren’t safe. Why are you just going off alone?”

            “I wasn’t,”
Cloud started quietly, “I was at the dinner but I just stepped out for a-“

            “Exactly,”
Angeal cut in quickly. “You stepped out, by yourself. And at a dinner function
no less. A place where the Shogun is bound to be.”

            Wait. So
Angeal knew after all? Is that why he had been constantly around him all this
time?

            “Angeal
you…” Cloud began while stopping briefly to look at the other.

            “I came as
soon as I realized you weren’t there anymore and the Shogun wasn’t around,”
Angeal explained while looking down to the other. “Nothing too bad happened
right?”

            Enough had
happened! But Cloud was thankful that Angeal had come when he did. If it had
been any later…

            Nodding
Cloud rubbed at his eyes as he felt the tears begin to come back. Angeal let
out a sigh before glancing around the empty hallways. He pulled the boy into a
comforting embrace before telling him it was alright. Cloud was just a kid
after all and Angeal had to remind himself of that. This was all too much for him
to be going through.

            “Come on,”
Angeal began while pulling the blond away and glancing down into his weary
face. “It’s late. I can’t take you home now in this condition. The drug is
still in your system and you don’t look too good. I’ll bring you home in the morning;
you’ll stay at my place tonight.”

            Drug? Cloud didn’t really wrap his head
around that at the moment, perhaps because there was just too much going on in
his head. He instead just nodded and let Angeal help guide him to wherever they
were going.

 

xxx

 

 

 

            “First
thing on the list, food!!” Kunsel exclaimed as the continued to make their way
through town. “How about we hit the Kisaragi tea house?”

            “That does
sound good,” Zack replied while patting his stomach in thought, “maybe later?”

            “What!? Later? I’m hungry now!”
Kunsel whined.

            Zack gave a
brief laugh while looking down to the paper he was holding in his hands. “Well
then go for it. But I need to do something first.”

            “Hmm?” Kunsel asked while glancing over at his friend,
“what? Is that a love letter from your girlfriend!?” He asked while reaching
over and snatching the paper out of Zack’s grasp.

            “Hey!” Zack
shouted while reaching back for it, “don’t rip it!”

            “It’s just
a picture,” Kunsel replied in a confused tone.

            “I know but
it’s important,” Zack said with a sigh while glancing back down to the paper…

 

xxx

 

 

           

           

            “For the whole summer?” The little blond asked while looking up at
his friend with wide eyes.

            “Yeah, the whole summer,” Zack
replied with a bit of a sad smile.

            “Oh,” Cloud replied quietly while
dropping his gaze to the ground, “that’s a really long time.”

            It was a strange thing for both of
them; they had always spent every summer together outdoors playing with their
friends, spending the night at each others houses and being nearly inseparably.
But this summer was going to be different since Zack and his family would be
going to Osaka
to visit his grandparents.

            “But it’ll go by fast!” Zack chimed
in, trying to lift his friend’s spirits. “Besides, you have all of our friends
here! I’m going to be the one by myself!”

            “I guess,” Cloud replied with a nod,
“but…still, it won’t be the same without you here.”

            “Well…I’m here now!” Zack exclaimed
while bumping into Cloud’s side playfully. Although it didn’t seem to change
Cloud’s mood at all and he just continued to sit there staring out ahead at the
lake.

            “Come on,” Zack continued softly,
“don’t look so sad.”

            “Sorry,” Cloud replied while
glancing over at the other. Zack just gave him a smile before laying back on
the grass and looking up into the night sky at the stars. A moment later there
was a soft rustle of clothing as Cloud laid down beside him looking up at the
sky also.

            “If we’re lucky maybe we can see a
shooting star so we can make a wish,” Zack explained while letting his eyes scan
the sky.

            Cloud instantly did the same, hoping
that he would see one so that he could wish for the summer to go by as fast as
possible.

            Unfortunately they didn’t see any
shooting stars that night, but it still didn’t keep them from making their
wishes anyways. They stayed out together that evening for as long as possible
before reluctantly heading back towards their homes.

            The next day when Zack and his
family were getting ready to leave he kept looking next door to see if Cloud
was going to come out and say goodbye to him. But then he started to think that
maybe his friend was mad that he was leaving and just couldn’t bring himself to
see him again. After all they had kind of said their goodbyes the night before,
but still Zack was sort of just hoping.

            “Zack, do you have everything?” His
mother asked while placing some items in her small bag.

            “Yeah…I’m ready,” he replied with a
weak smile while walking over towards the rest of his family.

            “Zack!!
Wait!”

            The sound of a door sliding open
harshly followed by Natsumi’s voice yelling after Cloud to not slam doors
caught the other’s attention. He turned around to see his smaller friend
running down the steps of his front porch before he was practically flying
towards Zack.

            “I had to…finish
it,” Cloud panted out once he was in front of the other.

            “What?” Zack asked with a laugh
while placing a hand on the blonds shoulder.

            Seeming to get his breathing under
control Cloud looked up into Zack’s eyes. “I was up all last night working on
it,” he explained before pulling out a piece of paper and holding it out
towards Zack somewhat shyly. “I drew it for you.”

            Taking the picture from the others
hands Zack looked down at it. It showed a dark blue shimmering lake cascaded by
trees and a bright starlit sky. It looked just like…

            “Is this…” Zack started while
looking up at his friend.

            Cloud nodded, “Yeah. I thought…it’s
just last night you said I would be here with all of our friends, and you would
be alone. So I thought maybe if you had this and looked at it whenever you felt
lonely…that it would remind you of me, since it’s our place.”

            Looking back down to the picture
Zack couldn’t help the huge smile that spread across his face. And he also
didn’t let the shooting star in the picture go unnoticed either.

            When he looked back at his friend he
saw the tears in his eyes before Cloud instantly latched onto him, squeezing
him with all of his might.

            “I’m going to miss you,” Cloud spoke
with a sniffle.

            Zack returned the hug with just as
much emotion, “I’m going to miss you too. Thank you.”

            “Zack,” his mothers
voice called softly in a tone that was very understanding but also silently
letting him know that they needed to leave.

            Pulling away from his friend Zack
wiped the tears away from those bright blue eyes. “Hey, don’t cry,” he began
while keeping a smile on his face, “this summer is going to go by so fast, I’ll
be back before you know it! Okay?”

            Cloud gave a nod before returning
the smile, “okay.”

            The hardest thing for Zack was having to walk away from Cloud at that moment as he and
his family departed from their home. He cast a look back to Cloud and waved to
him and Cloud returned it enthusiastically. And even when they had gotten
pretty far away from their home Zack couldn’t help but to look back one last time,
and he couldn’t be sure, but he was certain he 
saw a spiky little blond head there still watching him.

 

 

xxx

           

 

            Folding up
the small picture Zack tucked it away in a pocket. Cloud was ten years old when
he had given him that picture the summer before he went away. And still Zack
had it and kept it with him whenever he went away somewhere. On every
assignment that required him to be gone for a while he always had it with him.
And that hadn’t changed this last time around either. He had practically looked
at the picture every night since he had been away. Every time he looked at it
he wondered how Cloud was, if he was alright, if he was safe.

            It had been
too long since he had left Edo, weeks, longer?
He honestly had lost track of time but the whole time he was away he thought
about Cloud. He just hoped that Angeal had been keeping a close eye on him like
he told Zack that he would. He trusted Angeal more than anyone else so he was
sure that he would honor his word, but still he couldn’t help but to worry.

            “So if you
don’t want to grab something to eat mind if I bail?” Kunsel asked while
pointing off in the direction of the restaurant.

            “No go
ahead!” Zack replied with a grin. He understood his friend’s hunger, hell he
was starving too but he just had to see Cloud. There was no way he was going to
be able to do anything else without knowing that he was okay.

            Once he and
his friend parted their separate ways Zack continued on to the castle. He was
tired and hungry, but that hardly mattered to him at the moment. Once he had
stepped into the castle he quickly made his way through the place, trying to
avoid small talk with people who were happy to see him back. He was in such a
rush that he barely realized that he almost walked right past Angeal who
reached out and grabbed hold of his arm.

            Turning to
look at who had grabbed hold of him Zack’s eyes widened in surprise.

            “You seem
to be in a rush,” Angeal half joked while giving his pupil a smile.

            “Angeal!” Zack beamed while embracing his mentor. It seemed
like it had been forever since he had seen the man.

            Patting
Zack on the back a few times Angeal let out a sigh. Zack was the only one who
he would allow to do such a thing, but he had come to expect it whenever they
were apart for periods of time.

            “You don’t
look too banged up,” Angeal commented while pulling away and looking over the
other.

            “Of course
not!” Zack exclaimed.

            “Come on, I
have something you need to see,” Angeal began while turning to walk off in a
different direction from where Zack was headed.

            “Um,” Zack
began while looking forward once more in the direction of Cloud’s home.
“Actually I was…”

            “Come on,”
Angeal simply said again. Zack let out a sigh. Whatever it was shouldn’t take
long at all and then he would be on his way back to Cloud’s. He caught up with
Angeal and followed him throughout the castle before they came to the man’s
quarters. Angeal opened the door and allowed Zack to step inside before he
followed after him.

            “So what is
it?” Zack asked while walking further into his mentor’s home. It wasn’t the
first time he had been there however, in fact he knew the place really well and
made himself feel at home whenever he came by. He had just stepped inside the
common area before stopping altogether as his gaze landed on the blond before him.

            There
sitting on the ground was Cloud with his sketchbook in hand. He glanced up at
the sound of the voices, letting blue eyes fall onto the Samurai before him. He
blinked a few times, almost as if he were trying to make sure he was seeing
correctly. Then he gently closed his sketchbook and set it on the ground beside
him.

            “Zack,” he
said in just a whisper.

            “I have
some things I need to take care of,” Angeal broke in before patting Zack on the
shoulder and then exiting his home.

            “Cloud,”
Zack began while walking towards his boyfriend. Cloud got up to his feet and
just before Zack went to pull him into an embrace the blond took a step back.

            Zack’s face
held complete confusion as he stared back into blue eyes that seemed to be full
of anger and sadness. He wasn’t sure why but a look like that had never been
directed at him before and he felt his stomach drop from the sight of it.

            Turning
away Cloud crossed his arms over his chest while walking towards the window and
peering outside. His mind was so conflicted at the moment. He was happy as
could be to see Zack was alright, that he was there with him again. But he just
couldn’t help the anger that he felt also. Was he being unfair? He didn’t know
really, but it was how he felt.

            “Cloud?”
Zack questioned hesitantly while taking a few steps closer so that he was
standing right behind the other. He wanted to reach out and touch him, to pull
him into his arms and kiss and let him know how much he missed him. But seeing
as how his boyfriend didn’t seem very thrilled with him at the time he decided
to refrain.

            “When did
you get back?” Cloud asked softly while keeping his gaze on the scenery outside
the window.

            “Now,” Zack
answered quickly, “I just got back into Edo…I
haven’t even been home yet. I just came straight here to see you.”

            Closing his
eyes at those words Cloud let out a sigh. It definitely sounded like something
Zack would do. Putting aside everything just to come and see him. But Cloud was
still angry, and he wasn’t about to just cave in like that.

            “Do you
know how long it’s been?” Cloud asked while opening his eyes slightly. “You’ve
never been gone so long. Especially without me knowing anything.”

            How long had it been? Zack really didn’t know the
answer, although he knew it was definitely a lot longer than he usually would
be away, so Cloud was right about that. But he didn’t plan on it, it wasn’t as if he wanted to be gone for so long. Cloud
understood that didn’t he? If it was up to Zack he
would’ve remained right here by his side.

            “I’m sorry,”
Zack began with a shake of his head, “everything happened so suddenly that I
didn’t get a chance to tell you. I told Angeal to let you know.”

            “Of
course,” Cloud replied, not seeming to be at all pleased with that response.

            Zack didn’t
like the way this conversation was going. He didn’t blame Cloud for being angry
with him he supposed. After all he had left him in Edo
while things were pretty sticky to go off on an assignment of his own. Cloud
probably felt abandoned somehow at Zack’s departure. He understood that, really
he did. But he wanted to make up for all of that now. He was there now…with
him.

            Wrapping
his arms around the smaller one Zack held onto him tightly while resting his
chin on his shoulder. He felt Cloud let out a shaky breath, and although he
didn’t exactly do much to reciprocate it, he didn’t pull away…and Zack was
thankful for that.

            “Why did
you just leave like that?” Cloud asked, the tone in his voice sounding a bit
betrayed. “You’ve never just left me…ever.”

            “I’m
sorry,” Zack spoke again, feeling the guilt really begin to sink in.

            “I worried
about you,” Cloud began while leaning on the windowsill and Zack just held him
all the more tighter so Cloud didn’t move further away from him. “Everyday,” he
added.

            “I’ll never
do something like that again, I promise,” Zack spoke quietly before placing a
soft kiss on his boyfriend’s cheek. He slowly felt the tension within Cloud
begin to dissipate and after a few moments he turned in his arms to face him.
Zack looked into those blue eyes, seeming to search desperately for forgiveness
that he hoped Cloud would grant him.

            “I’m glad
you made it back safely,” Cloud said while sliding his hands up the Samurai’s
arms before hooking his arms around his neck and holding onto him tightly. Zack
returned the embrace, seeming to melt into it as he let out a sigh of relief.
Cloud was angry yeah, but he was happier to be back with Zack and that
outweighed his anger.

            “I missed
you so much,” Zack breathed before leaning in to capture Cloud’s lips in a much
awaited kiss. It started out as a soft touch initially before they pulled apart
only to place more small kisses against each others lips. Then Zack caught the
other’s bottom lip between his causing Cloud to let
out a small moan as he twined his fingers into silky raven hair. The kiss only
grew more passionate after that and Cloud moved his hands down Zack’s chest
before moving to encircle his waist. It was this small movement that caused
Zack to flinch and Cloud immediately pulled away from him.

            “What’s wrong?”
Cloud asked with concern.

            “Ah it’s
nothing,” Zack replied with a smile before placing his hand on his side
briefly, “just a little bruise.”

            “You’re
hurt?” Cloud asked while dropping his gaze to Zack’s torso before lightly
running his hand over the material of clothing.

            “No no,
it’s nothing really,” Zack continued while catching his boyfriends hand in his.

            Cloud shot
Zack a look that clearly said he wasn’t buying it before pulling away his hand
from the others. He gently ran his hand over Zack’s side once more before
applying a bit of pressure. This time Zack let out a slight hiss and Cloud
looked back into his eyes before quickly apologizing.

            “What
happened?” Cloud asked while automatically working the front of Zack’s kimono
open partially. He pulled the right side down a bit, letting it slip a little
off the other’s shoulder so that he could better see his side. He noticed
definite bruising on the man’s side, but also what appeared to be a cut. How
deep it went he wasn’t sure but he still didn’t like the look of it.

            “Zack!”
Cloud began while letting his eyes fly back up to look into the others face,
“you need to fix this, it could get infected!”

            Glancing
down to his side Zack gave a bit of a frown. “I cleaned it up a bit. It’s just
a graze anyways, it’ll heal.”

            Letting out
a frustrated sigh Cloud pulled his boyfriend over to a seat before making him
sit down. And then without another word he had disappeared down a hall in
Angeal’s home. Zack lifted an eyebrow as he heard the sound of what sounded like
cabinets opening and closing. He wondered what Cloud was doing and if he even
knew where anything was. But it seemed like he did from the way he went
straight down the hall. Just how long had the blond been at Angeal’s anyways?
In fact, why was he here to being with? Zack hadn’t really given it much
thought upon his arrival back since he had been so glad to see Cloud again, but
now he was wondering. Maybe Angeal just thought it was easier this way to keep
an eye on him.

            A second
later Cloud had reemerged with a small rag tossed over his shoulder and a basin
of water. He seemed to have something secured under his arm as well but Zack
couldn’t exactly make it out. Without a word Cloud sat beside him while placing
the items on the floor and then he was dipping the rag in the water and ringing
it out a bit before tentatively placing it on Zack’s wound.

            “Does that
hurt?” Cloud asked softly while keeping his eyes focused on the task at hand.

            “No,” Zack
replied while watching Cloud closely. He noticed the way his golden eyebrows
furrowed slightly and he bit his lip. It was something that Zack realized Cloud
did when he was angry, or frustrated about something. He was about to ask what
was wrong before Cloud spoke up again.

            “If you’re
going to go away on dangerous assignments you need to make sure to take care of
yourself,” Cloud somewhat scolded before dipping the rag back into the basin.
“I don’t,” he continued while gently applying the rag back to the wound, “like
to see you hurt.”

            A warm
smile touched Zack’s lips and he leaned down to press a kiss on top of blonde
spikes. He would let Cloud scold him, he knew it was out of love, and it was
that caring that made Zack’s heart swell with love. Just as he was protective
of Cloud, in his own way Cloud was protective of Zack too.

            Dropping
the rag in the basin after he had finished cleaning the area Cloud let his eyes
travel back to the injury.

            “You should
probably put something else on it. To make sure it doesn’t get infected,” he
explained while letting his fingers lightly run over the darkened bruise. He
let his fingers idle momentarily before running his hand up a bit higher to
trail across Zack’s chest and rest on his shoulder briefly. He let his fingers
run across the smooth skin before tearing his gaze away quickly as he felt his
face heat up. “But I don’t know where Angeal keeps anything like that so, I’ll
just have to bandage it for now,” he finished quickly before picking up the
cloth bandages.

            Zack
noticed the blush that had graced his boyfriends cheeks
and he wanted nothing more than to take him into his arms at that moment. He
had missed him so much, and from just that small touch of Cloud’s small hand
against his skin, it practically sent his mind into overdrive.

            Cloud had
already begin to apply the bandage, making sure to
secure it as he wrapped it around the Samurai’s torso a few times. “I think
that should be good,” Cloud spoke quietly. “It doesn’t hurt right?” He asked
again while looking back into Zack’s eyes.

            “No,” Zack
replied while holding the blonds’ gaze. 
Their eyes seemed to lock, neither of them seeming to even blink as they
held their intense gaze. But Cloud was the one to finally look away as he slid
the material back over Zack’s exposed shoulder.

            “Good,” he
said softly before collecting the items on the floor and heading back down the
hall to put them away.

            Zack let
out a sigh as he readjusted his kimono. It was probably a good thing that Cloud
walked away when he did, after all they were at Angeal’s so they couldn’t get
too carried away with anything.

            Stepping
back into the room Cloud took up his place beside Zack once more and was given
that wide grin that Zack always saved for him.

            “You seem
to be pretty comfortable here,” Zack began while leaning back on his hands.

            “Well, I’ve
been coming here for a bit,” Cloud explained while averting his gaze briefly.
“It was you right? That made Angeal stick by me while you were gone?”

            Zack simply
nodded in response. “I told him I couldn’t take the assignment without making
sure you were looked after. And since he wasn’t going he didn’t have a problem
with keeping an eye on you.”

            Cloud
nodded. He had figured as much, although it was hard to get Angeal to tell him
much of anything he came to his own conclusions.

            “So then
did you tell him…everything?” Cloud asked while peering back over at his
boyfriend.

            Pausing
briefly Zack tilted his head. “I told him that the Shogun had been trying to
get close to you. But Angeal already had suspected the same so he wasn’t really
surprised.”

            “Does he
know…about us?” Cloud continued to ask. So far as he knew nobody knew that he
and Zack were together. But at the same time Cloud knew just how much Zack
admired and respected Angeal. So he wouldn’t be really surprised if Zack had
told his mentor about them. He didn’t know Angeal well enough to know what the
man would think, but he knew Zack would only tell him if he knew he could
absolutely trust him.

            “I don’t
know,” Zack replied while leaning forward, “maybe. I mean I didn’t tell him,
but he may have some idea considering everything. Or, just like everyone else
thinks he may just think we’re best friends. But…Angeal’s always sort of been
able to read me.”

            Cloud
didn’t reply as he soaked in that information and Zack continued on.

            “Would it bother
you if he did know?”

            Not
hesitating for a second Cloud shook his head, “I trust Angeal…because you trust
him. And I know you have good judgment. Besides, he’s been really good to me
while you were away.”

            “So
everything has been okay?” Zack asked with a hint of worry.

            Aside from
the night of the dinner everything was fine. Even though that evening was a
nightmare that he was trying desperately to forget. But it was in the past, and
Cloud didn’t see a reason to let Zack know about it.

            “Yeah,
everything’s been fine,” Cloud replied with a small smile.

            Zack
returned the smile as relief washed through him, he
was waiting for that response ever since he had gotten back. To make sure that
Cloud was indeed safe while he was away. He had been so worried while he was
away, thinking of all the things that the Shogun may try to do to the younger
one. But now that it was officially confirmed that things were fine Zack let
himself relax completely.

            “You don’t
know how glad I am to hear that,” Zack began while pulling the smaller one into
his arms. Cloud folded himself into the Samurai’s arms closing his eyes and
reveling in his warmth. Zack was back now and that was all that mattered, he
didn’t want to ruin their reunion about telling him about what had
transpired…or what had almost
happened. Truthfully, he didn’t think he could even if he wanted.

 

 

 

            Authors
Note:
*Crawls out of the dark abyss and looks around* Ah! Please forgive me
for the late update of this chapter! I had some serious computer issues and I
had to get my tower fixed, not to mention that I've been having health issues
as of lately, so I really do have reasons! But I apologize none the less! I
know there was a lot going on in this chapter, but that will stat to be sorted
out in the next chapter and so on. As for Cloud's state when he woke up in the
Shogun's quarters...think back to the dinner. Hmm. And
why did Hojo know about Zack's absence? And is it really a good idea for Cloud
to be so secretive from Zack? The story is going to get more in depth from this
point on, many twists and turns. And like I said...hope you guys dont squirm to easy! I will post the next chapter much more
sooner than I did this one, lol I promise. Thanks so much guys for your patience! Until next chapter! Ja ne!

 

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

 

           

           

           

             

           

           

           

           

           

           






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