|By : sephcounttheways|
Category: Final Fantasy VII > Yaoi - Male/Male
Views: 1060 -:- Recommendations : 0 -:- Currently Reading : 0
|Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy or any of the characters within. I make no money from writing this story, it's purely for entertainment value|
Sephiroth sat in the shallowest part of the Lifepool and waited, frowning slightly as he searched the horizon. The end of his hair was getting wet, and the warm water pulled on it slightly as the small waves came rolling in.
Cloud had died that morning.
After the last time Cloud killed him on Earth, Sephiroth was given an ultimatum from the Universe. He could either leave Cloud the fuck alone for the remainder of his mortal life, or go to Hell where he could reincarnate into the fragments of Jenova that Cloud carried as often as he liked. The downside to that of course, would be that their eternity as soul mates would be traded for an eternity as bitter enemies.
Fighting with Cloud was so much fun. But Sephiroth didn't really have a choice, and accepted the punishment to be locked in purgatory to wait for Cloud's arrival. It forced him to take a step back to give Cloud space to move on, heal, and live a full life.
Sephiroth had even given Cloud a new lover to worry over and take care of in Rufus. They'd been happily miserable together for years, until a careless mistake with wine and sleeping pills excused Rufus from mortal life. Cloud had only shed a few tears for his second deceased partner, and had found all the comfort he needed in his friends and adopted family.
Cloud spent the remainder of his life focusing on other peoples' happiness. He grew into a sweet old man who struggled to wrangle and teach great grandchildren and great nephews and neices and daughters and sons and whoever else he came across that he decided to add to his makeshift family. He opened a fighting studio where little kids could come hit him with plastic swords after school for free, and where he could solemnly pass his craft onto the next generation of young swordsmen.
Sephiroth never entered the place, but peeked in from a distance when the Universe wasn't looking. He recognized teaching methods that he'd shown Cloud, or techniques that had been assimilated from Zack. Sephiroth felt so proud he wanted to rip a hole in reality, walk right into Cloud's studio and make up for every kiss he'd missed out on over the years.
But then again, a martial arts and sword training studio with Cloud and his best apprentices probably wasn't the safest place for Sephiroth's re-re-re-reincarnation to drop by. He'd be dead again before he could land a single kiss.
There would come a time for them to finally be happy together, to fight to thier hearts content, to love even harder, to experience it all... it was called fucking eternity, and it was here, now. Sephiroth wanted what was his. He'd been through some shit too, after all. When was the happy ending he was promised supposed to finally begin?
Sephiroth had made good with the Universe for being a bit of a dick. After all, the Universe didn't just spit out pure evil without taking a little creative credit for it. He was the yang to Cloud's yin; it was the role he'd been created to play.
Being pure evil had a lot of drawbacks, though... such as being made into a shitty Halloween costume every year until kingdom come. And of course being trapped in purgatory kind of sucked, as well as feeling every second of mortal time until he reunited with his better half. He wasn't allowed to go very far, and was denied any sort of material or corporeal comfort until Cloud arrived. And he'd had to promise to never commandeer living flesh ever again, yadda yadda.
Sephiroth accepted the meager punishment, but being a ghost was boring. At first it was eerie and dark and mystical and he had a lot of time to brood around and think about shit. But then it slowly became a very real prison, and it was bullshit.
He wanted to do what the others could do: travel, explore the Universe, investigate every mystery until they knew all there is to know, play with pure mind and matter to create whatever they could dream of... Not to mention making the kind of love that immortals make. That kind of sex spawned entire galaxies.
It was going to be better than anything they could fathom and it was going to last forever.
As the wait drew to a close, Sephiroth was more determined than ever to be a strong, capable vision when Cloud finally arrived. He wasn't going to move from the warm little lapping of the Lifepool until Cloud was in his arms, no matter how long it took.
With that resolve, Sephiroth hunkered down. He rested his chin on one knee as minutes and hours slowly passed him by. He felt every microsecond of it.
"Cloud's probably disoriented," Aerith offered, breaking the stretch of silence.
A large crowd had gathered to greet Cloud, who was a legend in the Lifestream as well as on Earth. But as time passed, people dispersed until it was only Sephiroth, Cloud's mother, and the people she refused to allow to leave. Cloud's mortal family was still waiting, along with Zack, Aerith, Genesis, Rufus, and Angeal.
Rufus seemed somewhat uncomfortable with the entire thing. "I can catch up with him later."
"You lived with him for nineteen fucking years, you can't wait a few hours to be here when he arrives?" Sephiroth growled bitterly, not taking his eyes off the horizon.
"I was with him ten times longer than you were. I'm still sick of him," Rufus retorted.
Sephiroth didn't reply or look back at him, but his strong, broad back shrank down just a fraction.
Rufus felt a pang of regret, but wasn't about to apologize until the rest of the group were all giving him severe glares, so after a long sigh he offered, "... But to be fair... all those years he wanted you. And I never really measured up. So it's going to be a little awkward for me - "
"This is so not about you," Zack interrupted.
"Well what's it about, then?" Rufus questioned, truly confused.
As they bickered amongst themselves, Sephiroth felt something bump into his thigh beneath the shallow water's surface. He felt an anxious ache rise in his chest and push up into his throat, and with a small huff of air he realized that he was... nervous.
But ready or not, a blonde head breached the calm surface, and suddenly Cloud was face down in the warm water before him. Sephiroth lost any grace he might have had as he clamored to his knees in the shallow water to turn Cloud over and pull him up into his arms. He sat back down with a small splash, spreading his knees to cradle Cloud's body on his lap.
Cloud's face was shrouded in a curtain of soaked blonde hair, and Sephiroth reverently pushed it up off of his chin, past his eyes and over his forehead. A few strands had stubbornly remained behind, and Sephiroth swept them away one by one as he stared at the beauty in his arms.
Cloud was nude, tan and smooth. He hadn't looked this way for many decades, but it was the form the Lifestream had decided he should be. Cloud was warm and wet, and Sephiroth couldn't stop himself from running a hand over his side and up his narrow back to feel more of his solid presence.
He couldn't tell if this was a very vivid fantasy, or if this was reality. He'd waited so long it seemed impossible that Cloud was here, it was always something so far off and out of reach. It was an event that was always going to happen someday, but never today.
It happened so quickly and quietly that they were all still fighting when Zack noticed the arrival. "Hey, he's here!"
"Baby!" Cloud's mother cried, and rushed to Sephiroth's side. She didn't invade his space, despite her relief to see her son as she remembered him. She knew he really belonged to Sephiroth, but couldn't help reaching out to touch Cloud's cheek. "... He looks so little."
"Yeah..." Sephiroth agreed with a quick smile, and quickly brought his quivering lips together tight to refrain from emitting unwanted noise. It was all he could do not to break down into sobbing.
With his heart hammering in his chest, Sephiroth smoothed down Cloud's hair, which had already begun to air dry and spring up a little around his temples. He leaned down a bit to breathe in Cloud's scent, which was almost overpowering after the spark of renewal the Lifestream offered.
Cloud was really there, light but solid and warm in his arms, so beautiful and trusting as he rested against Sephiroth's chest. He watched in awe as Cloud's soft lips parted and he relearned how to breathe. Soon Cloud's eyes began to move gently behind his eyelids, and his fingers curled slightly where they rested against Sephiroth's side.
"Aww, look at him..." Aerith giggled softly, her chin resting on Sephiroth's shoulder to peek down at her friend. "He's like a doll. I almost forgot how pretty he was back in the day."
"How could you forget that?" Sephiroth wondered, but there was no hint of humor as he gently ran his thumb against Cloud's dark eyelashes.
At that ticklish touch, Cloud's eyes shot open. He didn't move.
"Hi Cloud!" Zack whispered, trying to peer down at an angle where he might fall into Cloud's vision.
Genesis shoved Zack aside. "Get the hell out of the way... such a divine gift from the goddess, hello - "
"He doesn't give a fuck about you!" Rufus whined, elbowing his way into the forefront. "... Hello again, my dear... your skin looks flawless!"
Cloud's eyes remained wide open, echoing the pure blue of the Lifestream. They were sightless, until his pupils began to contract and focus. Almost cautiously, Cloud's eyes rolled around to view everything in his line of sight. Eventually, Cloud lifted his chin to gaze up at who was holding him.
When those gorgeous blue eyes met his, Sephiroth was momentarily stunned into paralysis. He had lost his voice, but eventually found it to whisper, "... Hey."
Cloud's eyebrows drew together slowly. His hands began to move around underneath the water's surface, desperately groping for something and trying to establish some level of balance.
"Hey, hey... I've got you... Shh," Sephiroth told him gently, running a soothing hand down his side. "I've got you, Cloud. You wanna sit up?"
Cloud responded by grabbing Sephiroth's ankle underneath the shallow water and flipping him over onto his stomach. He scrambled up Sephiroth's back and shoved his head beneath the shallow water. With his free hand he managed two good, solid punches against the back of Sephiroth's skull before there was an intervention.
People were holding him back, talking to him, probably in a language he could understand but the ringing in his ears and extreme disorientation drowned it all out to a dull hum. He fought against these strangers to get closer to Sephiroth, and to snuff him out of existence once again.
Fingers held his face tight, and he looked into blue eyes that were so familiar. "Cloud, it's Zack! Chill out man, take a second and - "
"Zack," Cloud rasped, fighting hard to shake the hands off of him. Once free, he launched against Zack to grab him into a desperate hug.
"Hi Cloud!" Zack nearly laughed, giving a vivid shrug to everyone else. "Cloud... you're alright, we've all been waiting to see you! We missed you!"
"Where am I?" Cloud cried out.
"Heaven!" Zack answered.
"Zack! Don't tell him that," Aerith hissed. "You're home, Cloud."
"And Sephiroth's here?" He asked in utter confusion.
"Everyone's here!" Aerith chirped.
"Aerith..." Cloud swallowed deeply and approached her for a tight hug before he realized that her clothes were rubbing against his bare skin. He then quickly let go of her and covered himself. "I'm naked! Oh my God, I'm so sorry!"
"It's alright, Cloud!" She laughed, squeezing Cloud's thin waist. "We all showed up that way. But you're home, now. You're alright."
"And I can do whatever I want?" Cloud affirmed, drawing away from her as he turned his head to glance at Sephiroth.
Once eye contact was made, he began to edge closer to Cloud like a nervous feline.
"Sure!" Aerith told him, rubbing his arm and urging him closer to his soul mate. "Just... do whatever you want, Cloud. Say whatever you need to say. Sephiroth is listening."
Cloud answered with a sharp-knuckled punch to his soul mate's throat.
Sephiroth made a sound like a train whistle and fell to his knees. Cloud lost his humility about being nude and descended for another attack, but someone much larger swept him off his feet. Cloud tried to worm away, but this someone was definitely up to the challenge of physically containing the blonde whirlwind. Cloud glared over his shoulder at the behemoth of a man holding his arms, and a set of narrow, dark blue eyes regarding him with a deep ocean of patience.
"I'm honored to finally meet you," The man told him. "Do you know who I am?"
"I think so... you taught Zack."
"Yes, I'm Angeal. Don't be afraid. I know you very well, Cloud." Angeal said to him, loosening his grip to let Cloud stand on his own. He rubbed a wide, gentle palm between Cloud's shoulderblades.
Cloud then felt the more insistent touch of another person, and almost didn't want to look. He turned his head to find an almost identical female staring back at him. His mother was so young when she'd had him, and hadn't even reached the prime of her life when Nibelheim burned to the ground on top of her.
Cloud had to face terrors that he'd never imagined in his lifetime, and he constantly wished for her presence and input. To see her was overwhelming, and Cloud's mind was wiped blank of any uneasiness.
"Mom!" Cloud sobbed a little and lunged forward to hold onto her.
"Hi sweetie," She said, petting his wet hair down flat against the back of his skull.
Cloud cried, shrinking in on himself a little as if to create that comforting sense of childhood. He didn't want to have to fight to save the planet ever again, there was no way his mom would have let him. She would have told him to sit down and let the big SOLDIERs take care of it, and he would have fucking listened. He had no business saving anybody.
As if she sensed this thought, she smiled, "I'm so proud of you."
"No," Cloud's voice cracked a little, although he wasn't sure what he was protesting.
She laughed at his familiar moodiness, "Yes, I am. I'm so proud of you, little boy. Thank you so much."
Cloud's quiet sobs escalated into a brief bawl before he strangled it under control, "M- mom... don't thank me. I didn't wanna do it! I bitched the entire time!"
"But you did it, so let me thank you." She said, kissing his cheeks over and over again. "You saved me."
"I have so much to talk to you about," Cloud sniffed and hung his head against her shoulder.
April looked at Sephiroth. Sensing the immense heartbreak currently happening with her would-be son-in-law, Cloud's mother pulled away from him a bit. "Cloud... everyone is so happy you're here. We've all been waiting for you... Zack and Aerith... and Sephiroth. Don't you think you have a lot to talk to him about, too?"
"Please make him go away."
April's eyes were stunned and wide as she stared helplessly at the people who had decorated Cloud's past. They seemed just as paralyzed by this bizarre homecoming, and finally Zack stepped forward.
"Cloud..." He began, unsure how to proceed in this totally uncharted territory. "I'm... I'm sorry about everything that went on, but don't you think you owe Sephiroth a chance to - "
"No!" Cloud shouted, turning furious eyes towards him.
"Aww, why not?" Zack gave him a good natured whine. "You really should - "
"Don't tell me what I should do. You checked out early and got to be happy in the fucking Lifestream with Aerith, right?"
"Cloud!" Zack cried, unaccustomed to feeling any emotion at all besides pure bliss and contentment. But to be fair, he hadn't really been well equipped to deal with this sort of thing in mortal life, either. "What are you saying, man?"
"You left me!" Cloud accused.
"I was always there when you needed me!" Zack defended. "I - I was there all the time! I helped you - "
"You left me!" Cloud repeated, hardly able to catch a breath from the force of his sobs. "You all left me alone! I've moved on! I don't even know you fucking people anymore! And him..." Cloud finally acknowledged Sephiroth with a dark sneer as he remembered the position he'd woken up in, cradled defenseless in the monster's lap. "Mom, how could you let him touch me? How could you..."
Cloud sank down heavily, still hissing angrily as consciousness bled from him. April and Rufus caught him, but were brought to their knees by his dead weight.
Rufus groaned, "Shit! He's heavy! I need someone burly and masculine to help me! Aerith, get over here!"
She rolled her eyes and came forward to offer some more support, and helped rearrange Cloud's limbs so that he was at least comfortable in his rage-induced blackout.
She turned up her eyebrows at Cloud's mother. "I have never seen someone come home this way. I had no idea this was even possible."
April shrugged in disbelief. "Where did this shit come from?"
"I don't know what you bitches are complaining about!" Rufus fondly patted the top of Cloud's damp head before wiping it off on his pants. "This was the most entertaining homecoming I've ever bothered to attend!"
Aerith assessed her bewildered group of friends with pursed lips before letting an uncontrollable laugh ring out. "I guess it is a little funny!"
"No it isn't," Angeal corrected them gently, reaching out to touch a comforting hand against Sephiroth's arm.
Sephiroth turned and began to quickly walk away.
"Where are you going?" April called out.
"Back to purgatory," Sephiroth answered, not looking back.
"Do something, Zack!" Aerith hissed to him.
"What am I supposed to do?" He asked incredulously.
Genesis figured he'd have to be the one to reel the touchy ex-General back from the bleak land of self pity, as purgatory certainly had that annoying effect on people. Genesis gave a weary sigh before shifting to his feet and jogging to catch up with his old friend.
"Seph," He called, reaching out to grab onto the back of his wet shirt, catching some hair in his grip. "Stop, or I'm pulling it out!"
Sephiroth reluctantly came to a halt and turned to give Genesis a soulful look of pure mourning.
"Oh, come on. You're fine," Genesis said with a patronizing coo, and perched a hand on Sephiroth's hip to turn him around and walk him back to the shore.
After a moment of resistance, Sephiroth asked, "What are we supposed to do with him?"
"We?" Genesis chuckled. "He's your problem."
"... He doesn't want me," Sephiroth said, speaking his worst fear out loud. With that pain came a sense of purpose... if he needed to disappear to make Cloud happy, he was going to do just that. Cloud would wake up to a paradise that didn't have Sephiroth polluting it. He was going to have the kind of happiness he deserved... and it had been selfish of him to assume that he would be a part of that equation.
"Sephiroth," April called to him as he woefully reapproached his unconscious soul mate. "Come take him. He's so heavy."
"Why don't you take him to your place, Seph?" Zack suggested. "Let him sleep it off."
"For better or worse, he's yours," Angeal repeated Genesis' words, clapping a hand on Sephiroth's back to urge him closer. "He just needs some time. It'll be fine."
"... I don't want to touch him."
"I can make you," Aerith threatened.
Sephiroth reluctantly leaned down to collect Cloud, knowing Aerith could very literally enforce her will upon him. He hesitated, almost expecting something toxic in his touch to awaken Cloud and infuriate him again. Very gently he worked with Aerith and April to move Cloud's slender, but muscle-heavy form and scoop him out of her arms.
"It's for the best, Seph," Aerith tried to offer in comfort. "After a little time, he's going to realize what you mean to each other."
Sephiroth couldn't help but hug onto the rock-solid little body, and hated that it wasn't hugging him back. After so much waiting, Cloud was finally all his, but Sephiroth felt no joy in it.
He hesitated for several moments, and Angeal finally offered, "Do you want me to carry him?"
"... I'll carry him," Sephiroth answered, and then eyed his ex wearily. "He uh... he won't wake up on the way there, will he?"
Angeal succumbed to a facial tic before he could help himself. If unchecked, Cloud could definitely do some damage to Sephiroth if he did actually awaken. "Maybe we should all walk you there."
"We can do that," April nodded.
"Of course," Aerith agreed.
"We won't let him kick your ass again, Seph," Zack reassured.
"I'll dress him," Genesis offered, prompting a few uncomfortable glances.
They began moving towards the prison realm that Sephiroth inhabited, but Rufus hung back until they were a decent distance away. He peeked down into the water, dipping one foot in to feel around. Sometimes objects or clothing came through with the recently deceased - sometimes even prescriptions, which were difficult to come by in the Lifestream. Rufus didn't find anything, so he gave up and trudged along after the group.
He hoped Cloud would wake up and beat in Sephiroth's smug, pretty face some more. If nothing else, being around Cloud was never boring.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-Consciousness struck Cloud like an arrow.
He burst awake violently, his eyes bouncing all over an unfamiliar room. There wasn't much to see - no color, nothing on the walls. The place didn't feel like a home, it was a cell.
There was no sound, except for the fumbled, botched plinking of a guitar.
With every defense on red alert, Cloud sprang up to his hands and knees and carefully peered over the edge of the bed. He nearly screamed as he made eye contact with Sephiroth himself.
Sephiroth looked like a deer in headlights, but then his expression melted into something warm and sincere. "Hey."
"Mother fucker!" Cloud spat.
"... Morning," Sephiroth greeted, staring up at him from the floor. There was a pillow stuffed under his head and an unplugged electric guitar was lying on his chest, and his fingers nervously plinked at the tight strings.
Cloud was confused. "What the fuck do you think you're doing?"
"Figuring out 'Sweet Jane'," Sephiroth answered, and his voice had the husky tint of sleep, as though it might have been the first thing he'd said that morning. "I tried to be quiet. Did I wake you up?"
Out of all the things Cloud had to say to Sephiroth in that moment, he stammered until he managed to accuse, "You don't play guitar!"
"Not very well," Sephiroth admitted, replinking the meandering tune. "I think I may sound a little better if I plugged in."
"... Am I in hell?"
"Close. My apartment."
Cloud lost his vocabulary. Looking down at Sephiroth, a million tiny, detailed memories came rushing forward from a forbidden spot in Cloud's mind. His sharpest memories of Sephiroth had been during fierce battle, but seeing him relaxed, heavy lidded and with his pretty silver hair spread out around him like a snow angel... Cloud wasn't sure who this person was.
Sephiroth put the guitar aside and sat up, bringing himself closer to Cloud. "You wanna hit me again?"
Cloud moved backwards on the bed to put distance between them, and self-consciously pulled up the sleeve of his shirt to cover his exposed shoulder. "You redressed me?"
"I dressed you," Sephiroth revised. "You were naked."
"Oh God," Cloud felt his saliva begin to produce rapidly, sickness rising in his throat. He doubled over to put his head in his lap. He then pulled a blanket over his head.
"I slept down here. And I didn't do anything out of line. Genesis tried to, though..." Sephiroth offered a joke. He wanted to reach out to touch the lumped form under the blanket, but decided that the best comfort would be to remain still. "You don't have to wear my clothes. I'll get you something that fits you better... I didn't want to leave you alone, though."
"I don't want to be here," Cloud moaned from beneath the blanket.
"Where do you want to go?" Sephiroth asked.
"Where's Zack and Aerith? Or my mom? I want to go with them! Why'd they leave me with you?" Cloud came up from the blanket red-faced and on the brink of tears. It was a familiar feeling, but not one he'd felt in decades, and time had given him a command of his emotions. But now he felt like a hysterical, emotional teenager again... Cloud then looked down at himself, and found none of the loose skin or spots on his arms or legs. He felt his face and was shocked when tight, smooth skin greeted his touch. "Where's the bathroom?"
"I don't have one."
"Do we... do people here... do they not use the bathroom?" Cloud asked carefully.
"... Define 'really'."
"Well, I never asked anyone else if they shit," Sephiroth made a breathy noise of humor. "... I never have since I've been here."
"You don't eat?"
"Not personally... I've seen others eat, though."
"Aren't you hungry?"
"I'm starving," Sephiroth answered, folding his arms on the bed and looking up at him.
Cloud was displeased. Sephiroth was being cryptic and annoying as usual, and there was no bathroom to give him a chance to look at himself... and to put a wall between himself and Sephiroth.
He glared down, increasingly irritated by how handsome and innocent Sephiroth appeared down on the floor with his arms crossed, looking up at him like a child. "What time is it? What day is it? How long have I been here?"
Sephiroth shrugged a shoulder, "Time doesn't really exist for most people here. I know it doesn't exist for you."
"Make a guess, then. How long has it felt like?"
"It's been three days in Earth time."
"... And you've stayed here?"
"You've been sitting there for three whole days? Don't you have anything better to do than creep around?"
"No," Sephiroth's chin dropped back down to his forearm, and a smile formed on his mouth. "But I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."
Cloud felt his cheeks sting with a blush, and touched his face again to rub the sensation away. He hadn't blushed in years, and became incredibly uncomfortable by the fact that he had no idea what he looked like anymore. And for the love of God, his hair... Even though he didn't care what Sephiroth thought, he still felt an intense urgency to be pretty in front of this angelic, ideal vision of his ex-boyfriend.
Cloud combed down his hair blindly, attempting to flatten it. "So you don't eat... you don't use a bathroom... what do you do?"
"Stop giving such short, stupid, bullshit answers!" Cloud complained.
"You're asking me what I do? As in, everyday?"
Cloud made a vivid shrugging motion. "Yeah, sure!"
"This is purgatory. I don't do anything, Cloud. I just wait."
"Why?" Cloud's eyes widened. "What do I have to do?"
"Nothing. You're free to go," Sephiroth assured him calmly. "I only brought you here so we could talk, and because this is where I can have you to myself for a while. A lot of other people who love you are waiting to see you."
"... Other people who love me?" Cloud repeated incredulously.
"Everyone loves you, Cloud... I love you - "
"Whoa!" Cloud's nerves were thrown onto red alert, and he tugged the blanket up to cover himself up to his chin. Since he was already totally vulnerable, he decided to just throw everything out on the table and speak his mind. "Let's get something straight - I do not love you. I don't even like you. I could never be with you after everything that happened. I mean, I know it was Jenova. It wasn't really you - "
"It was me," Sephiroth snorted.
Cloud looked off to the side for a moment, and then back at his ex. "It... it wasn't actually you, though. Not you, you. Jenova was controlling - "
"No. It was totally me."
"Wh-... Even the time you came back in Edge?"
"... But why did you... why didn't you... kiss me or something?"
Sephiroth redirected the question back at him. "Why didn't you kiss me?"
Cloud ignored it. "Weren't you happy to see me?"
"Were you happy to see me?"
"Stop doing that!" Cloud roared. "And it's so not the same thing! I was right and you were wrong!"
"See why I didn't kiss you? I could tell you weren't on my side. You're still not on my side, and that battle's long over. I lost, you won. You can't even be happy with that."
"How am I supposed to be happy with it?" Cloud grabbed his nose and looked away, building a wall of stone in his mind against crying. It was such a difficult thing to do at this physical age, but he forced himself to calm down internally before continuing at a more sober level. "... Why did we ever have to be on opposite sides? Why couldn't you just end it?"
"I didn't want to. I wanted to fight."
"Didn't I mean anything to you? Wasn't I enough for you?"
"You were everything to me. I would have given you anything you wanted... anything at all. And I did - anything you asked for was yours. But it just really pissed me off that you wouldn't give me your support in the one thing I wanted. So wasn't I enough for you?"
Cloud's mouth fell wide open. "Sephiroth! You burned down Nibelheim! You killed my mom! You wanted to kill everyone on the planet! If I had done the same thing, you're saying you would have supported me?"
"Without a doubt," he affirmed. "If you burned down Midgar, killed Vincent and began a crusade to end human life... and extended your hand and asked me if I wanted to rule the planet with you while you steered it into the Sun and ended it all? Fuck yeah, I wouldn't have hesitated. It still sounds like a blast."
Cloud let out a wild noise. "I actually believe you!"
"Without a doubt," Sephiroth repeated.
"You really are just a crazy mother fucker!" Cloud cried, his anger dissolving into laughter.
Sephiroth joined in, glad for the steam to be let off of the topic. "I can't help it."
"I don't know what to think about you anymore." Cloud sighed and brushed some of the hair out of his eyes. "I've spent the last several decades trying not to think about you at all."
"Well, I've had a lot of time to think about you," Sephiroth ventured a little closer, propped his elbows onto the bed. "And here's what I have to say to you, Cloud. I love you more now than when we were together on Earth. I love you more, right now at this moment, than before you killed me."
"What?" Cloud warbled, eyes wide in horror and humor.
"So much has happened between us, and it's all served to make me understand why I need you. I wouldn't have changed anything about it... I never belonged on Earth, and someone needed to get rid of me. You were born to hunt me down and kill me, but in the process I guess your wires got a little fucked up and you fell in love with me instead. I'd never loved anything before, but you taught me how. And then it all happened, and suddenly you're this sleek little killing machine hunting me down. When we fight... it's better than sex. After the third time you killed me, I tried to come back again because I wanted more... I missed you so bad. So the Universe gave me an option: let you go for a while and wait here like a good boy, or go to hell where I could be as bad as I wanted and keep coming back to fight you on Earth... but never see you in the afterlife. It was a tough decision."
Cloud was in disbelief. "You are so... crazy!"
"You make me this way. I've been replaying every fight with you in my mind ever since Edge. I know your every weakness, but even if we were to go at it right now, I know you'd beat me again. You woke up a couple days ago in fucking paradise and started to beat my teeth in right away, no questions asked... I love you for that. It disappointed me at the time, but that's what you do. I love you."
Cloud's eyes had gradually lowered, as he too had picked and obsessed over the tiny details of that last fight with Sephiroth. To hear his counterpart's point of view was intoxicating, but something in his desire to hear more from those plump, poisonous lips made him guilty, fearful, uneasy.
Almost to remind himself, Cloud said, "You hurt me."
Sephiroth's wistful smile dwindled down into a pensive frown. "I wasn't the most important thing to you. Being a good, decent person is more important to you than making me happy and meeting my fucked up ideals. I love that about you, too."
"... I don't know how to process that."
Sephiroth leaned closer, his elbows creating deep indents in the mattress as his weight shifted forward eagerly. "Do you understand that things are different, now? We're not in that place anymore. We can just be together now... we can fight to the death, regenerate and make love in the same breath, and we can do it all freely. What happened back on Earth doesn't matter anymore."
"Of course it matters!" Cloud cried. "How can I ever trust you? I know now that I can't ever say 'no' to you without you going completely mental and trying to kill me!"
"It's fun, though," Sephiroth shrugged. "Plus you know you'll always beat me."
"Get the fuck out of here!" Cloud moaned, combing his hair into his eyes and sinking lower on the bed. "I can't deal with you right now. I'm tired."
"This is my place," Sephiroth pointed out. "Plus you slept for three days. How can you be tired?"
"I'm tired of you," Cloud clarified.
"Alright, I'm going," Sephiroth said, pressing his palms onto the bed to lift himself from the floor. But instead of moving farther, he leaned in closer. "Kiss me goodbye."
"Don't you dare!" Cloud bellowed, pulling the sheets up past his nose.
Sephiroth didn't move, but instead paused with that smug, insufferably handsome smile.
Cloud kicked the blanket off his feet and pressed them against Sephiroth's firm stomach in warning. "Don't touch me!"
"You're the one touching me," Sephiroth pointed out as he ran a warm hand over Cloud's foot.
Cloud quickly pulled his feet away and kicked the blanket down to cover himself. "Alright, you've had your fun. Now leave me alone! I need to think..."
"What about?" Sephiroth asked, sliding down to sit beside him.
"About how to tighten the security around here!" Cloud screamed, pushing against Sephiroth with one hand. The heat and firm presence of his ex-lover's body was torture against Cloud's will... but this man was dangerous, and Cloud was afraid. Not for the safety of his body, but of his delicate and wounded psyche. "... Get out of here!"
Sephiroth bristled at the touch of Cloud's hand, which wasn't even pushing. Cloud was grabbing onto him and copping a feel of his chest. "Stop flirting with me."
Cloud was bright red as he jerked his hand away. "Get out!"
"If you really want me to leave, gimme a kiss first."
"No!" Cloud wailed.
"Just one, then I'll go," Sephiroth insisted, reached out to touch Cloud's chin and point his delicate, soft face in his direction.
"This is rape!" Cloud groaned, unable to help from smiling as Sephiroth turned his head. He was left staring at him up close, appreciating every detail and reveling in a rush of vivid memories.
"Please kiss me?" Sephiroth asked, leaving every weak spot on his body exposed to ensure that if it was truly unwanted, Cloud could have him on the ground in moments.
"Can I punch you in the throat again afterwards?" Cloud bargained.
"... Okay," Cloud said, his eyes narrowing in anticipation.
Sephiroth angled his body towards Cloud, leaning in until he was at a kissable distance, and paused to run his thumb along Cloud's finely pointed chin and jaw line. "You're gorgeous."
Cloud's eyebrows lifted a bit. "How old do I look?"
"I can't tell. Twenty-ish?" Sephiroth guessed, brushing his thumb under his eye and along his cheekbone.
Cloud felt chills run down his neck as he broke out in goosebumps at Sephiroth's light touch. He swallowed and defused the moment with a grin. "How's my hair?"
"A mess," Sephiroth smiled.
"... I feel better," Cloud told him. "I feel like me, again. I didn't like being old."
"I thought you were cute as an old guy," Sephiroth leaned down a fraction and touched his nose to Cloud's. "Grandpa Cloud could still kick my ass, I'm sure."
Cloud prepared a catty remark, but was stifled by the press of Sephiroth's lips against his. Cloud immediately opened his mouth and pushed his tongue against those soft lips, and moaned as he was met with sharp teeth.
It felt so good that it unleashed an avalanche of anger. Cloud felt stinging tears in his eyes at how long he'd been forced to go without this kiss, and at how it had to be connected to such an unstable fuck up of a guy.
"It hurts," Cloud whimpered against the edge of Sephiroth's mouth, knowing he could feel hot tears against his face. He felt weak and vulnerable, and wasn't sure if he could trust this person in this fragile state.
"I'll make it better," Sephiroth said against his ear.
"You can't," Cloud sobbed.
"Let me try," Sephiroth replied breathlessly, rubbing his face along Cloud's cheek in a purely feline motion.
Cloud buried his hands in long silver hair and jerked Sephiroth's head to the side to push his tongue in deep. He felt Sephiroth's hands burrow underneath him, and his considerable weight push him down into the mattress.
Time became a liquid, indiscernible thing, and Cloud couldn't have guessed how long he spent kissing Sephiroth. It was enough that his tears dried, and his sobs were replaced with tiny sounds of longing. He knew Sephiroth would be able to feel an erection against his stomach, but kept his hips elevated at a respectable distance. Sephiroth's only desire was to play against Cloud's lips and tongue, but eventually he eased down to rest against his body.
One gentle thrusting motion was enough to drag a moan out of Cloud that was humiliatingly loud. Sephiroth answered with a long, deep rumble, and it had Cloud kicking underneath him.
"Okay!" Cloud ripped his mouth away and turned his head to the side. "That was way more than one kiss!"
"One more?" Sephiroth begged with a boyish smile, immediately moving his mouth along the curve of Cloud's neck. He couldn't stop; he just wanted to kiss whatever was in front of him, Cloud's neck, shoulder, his ear, his temple, his hair. Eventually he worked his way back to his sweet, hot mouth.
"Hang on..." Cloud wriggled, trying to move from the soft, searing hot press of those addictive lips. He was confused, angry, and just wanted to hurt Sephiroth in any way he could. He wanted to deprive Sephiroth of any satisfaction, not consent to a goddamn dry hump.
Cloud heard himself shout, "I don't love you anymore!"
"Okay," Sephiroth shrugged, and pushed several more wet kisses against Cloud's lips.
Cloud turned away from them, "I don't love you! Don't you care?"
"No!" Sephiroth smiled, and sucked his mouth into another kiss.
"No?... you... don't..." Cloud spoke between the sweet presses of Sephiroth's mouth. "Seph... you wan... wanna... we sho... stop!... talk... to me!"
Sephiroth gave him a patient smile. "Why don't you just shut the fuck up and let me kiss you?"
"What's happening here?" Cloud whimpered. "What are we going to be? Where is this heading?"
"It's heading wherever you want it to go." Sephiroth raised his voice slightly, utterly fixated on Cloud's lips and working not to continue devouring them. "You know how you feel better now, nothing hurts? Having you here means nothing hurts for me anymore, either. Just having you here, nothing can ever hurt again."
Cloud made a sound of confusion. "What are you talking about?"
"I love you!" Sephiroth laughed, and it was the first joyous sound that had ever hit the walls of his empty cell. "I've been waiting for you in purgatory, Cloud. Do you think I'm hung up on the minute detail of whether or not you love me back? I know you hate me, but I'm just fucking thrilled to be near you! Someday you'll probably love me again, but in the meantime, who cares? Let's just do what feels good!"
"That's your big plan to win me back!?" Cloud cried.
"I'm sorry it's not better than that, but after waiting for you for seventy years, it's all I've got."
"... You really love me?" Cloud asked. "You're not just saying that to... leave here?"
Sephiroth found that notion funny. "And do what? I don't wanna do anything important. I don't wanna be anybody, or lead anybody. I just wanna be yours."
"You're my soul mate," Sephiroth finally said aloud.
"Oh, please! You broke my heart! You left me alone!" Cloud swallowed, unable to stop fresh, hot tears from rolling down his cheeks. He brought the blanket to his eye and dabbed it, knowing how ugly he was when he cried. He tried to get it under control, and managed a stable voice to ask, "How can I ever trust you, Sephiroth?"
"Set up some terms. I'll agree to anything you want."
"Terms!" Sephiroth let out another happy noise and pushed himself off of Cloud. "You don't know about that, yet!"
The loss of pressure and heat made Cloud desperate for physical contact, and he quickly sat up to collect the blanket and hide himself in. "Where are you going?"
"We need paper!" Sephiroth cried, digging through drawers until he retrieved a pad and pen. He returned to the bed and sat across from Cloud, and began to write. "We make this testimony in the presence of the Almighty Universe. I, Sephiroth, earthly son of Vincent Valentine and Lucrecia Crescent and Jenova, promise to adhere to the following terms set up by Cloud Strife, earthly son of April Strife and Aiden Donahue..."
Sephiroth then presented Cloud with the paper.
Cloud slowly took it. "What am I supposed to do?"
"Write down anything you need to feel good about this."
"About this?" Cloud slapped the pad against the bed in absolute frustration. "What is this, exactly? Tell me what you want from me!"
"Give me another chance."
Cloud threw his head back and gasped at the ceiling. "You want a relationship with me? An actual relationship? Are you fucking kidding?"
"I've spent seventy years drowning. Gimme some air, already."
Cloud narrowed his eyes into a glare. "Who says you deserve to breathe?"
"Nobody," Sephiroth's lips thinned together, and he took the pad back from Cloud. He stared down at it, folding and unfolding a tiny corner of the page. "I mean it when I say that you don't ever have to love me back. You can put me on a leash and drag me through shit, beat me senseless, humiliate me in front of the entire Universe. I'll be the happiest dog you ever saw, because I'll be your dog."
A furious hunger raged inside Cloud, a self-destructive and instantly-reincarnating storm of lust and hate and the best, most potent parts of love. All the anger of an old man was meeting all the senseless hormones of a teenager, while a rational adult somewhere in the middle was flying too high on emotion to mediate.
He wanted Sephiroth terribly, so terribly his body was rigid, his skin was tingling, his lips were thirsty for more of those hot, desperate kisses. Red faced and barely able to stay in place, Cloud sighed a whisper, "I didn't think death was going to be like this."
Cloud rubbed his eyes wearily. "I thought I'd be like... running through a field of flowers with Aerith or something."
"She's waiting to run through a field with you. You gotta deal with me first, though," Sephiroth held out the paper to Cloud. "You're the boss. Just... write down what you want."
Cloud took the paper and began drumming with the pen to distract himself from the surging fire destroying whatever was left of his sanity. He was obviously going as crazy as Sephiroth was, to even consider dating him again. "What's up with this stupid contract thing? Can I sue you in Lifestream Court if you try to kill me again?"
"Sort of," Sephiroth nodded. "Only you don't sue me; the Universe will enforce whatever terms we have. Anything you want. You can... you can write that you don't want me to exist anymore, and I'll fucking disappear forever."
"Sounds like a good idea!" Cloud threatened.
"If you're not even gonna give me another chance, go ahead!"
Cloud was unable to keep a grin off his face despite his best efforts. "I'm... I'm not saying that I'm agreeing to a relationship. But I like the idea of having some Universe-enforced power over you... scumbag."
"That's more like it!" Sephiroth made a small bounce in place on the mattress and eagerly scooted closer.
"Shut up and let me think!" Cloud brought the pen to his mouth and thought for a moment, angrily glancing between the paper, Sephiroth, and the ceiling. Finally he brought the pen to the paper and wrote for several minutes.
When he was finished, he handed the pad to Sephiroth. "This is what I want."
Sephiroth read it aloud. "If ever I, Cloud Strife, feel that Sephiroth is putting innocent people, myself, or himself in danger, he will... transform into a harmless kitten for 24 earthly hours... Whereby I can contain him safely and he will have time to contemplate the ramifications of his actions... Are you fucking kidding me?"
"You said you're my pet," Cloud reminded him.
"This is some emasculating bullshit." Sephiroth let out a gust of air. "Why don't you just cut my balls off?"
"Because I like those where they are," Cloud blurted. His redness returned, and he grabbed the paper back and continued writing.
"What else?" Sephiroth crossed his arms and leaned forward, pleased that at least Cloud could admit to liking his balls, if not the rest of him.
"Shut up," Cloud muttered, focused on his task. After a few moments, he handed the paper back.
With a soft groan, Sephiroth read it aloud again. "If after his kitten time he decides that he still wants to pursue the danger, I will consider giving him my support...? If I don't support it, he can do as he pleases and I will not stop him."
Sephiroth looked up from the paper with a gaze that smoldered so amorously, Cloud felt a fresh tear run down his cheek. "Seph... Sephiroth. I-I'm not saying I'm going to destroy planets with you. I'm saying that if you really, rationally want to do something that I don't agree with... I'll at least listen to you. I'll try to understand."
Sephiroth whispered so softly that it almost had to be read on his lips to hear, "Thank you."
Cloud reached out for the paper, and wrote a few more lines before handing it back. "I want this, too."
Sephiroth brushed his fingers against Cloud's as he took the paper back, scooting even closer to him on the mattress. "If I'm to spend any length of eternity with Sephiroth, I require... matching tattoos on our flesh. I, Cloud Strife, want a black feather on my shoulder blade to remind Sephiroth that he should always have my back, as I'm smarter than he is and better at rational decision making. Sephiroth must get a white feather on his chest, over his heart... which will serve as a reminder that his actions have the power to break my heart …
Oh, God. You are such a dramatic asshole," Sephiroth declared. "But fine. I agree. Can I make a term of my own?"
"No!" Cloud raised his chin defiantly. "You don't get any. If you want to be with me, you agree to this and feel lucky about it."
"I feel more than lucky... I feel like..."
"Like you're getting away with murder?" Cloud asked darkly.
Sephiroth rolled his eyes slightly. "I did them all a favor. They were living in Nibelheim."
Cloud snorted on laughter and immediately covered his mouth. "That's not funny."
Sephiroth read everything on the pad to himself again. He tapped his thumbs in contemplation, and finally nodded. "I agree to the terms. Happily."
"Out of curiosity, what would your terms be...? If you had my permission to make any?"
"I would just change the wording right here," Sephiroth answered, pointing to the final term that Cloud had written. "It shouldn't be 'any length of eternity'... it should be all of eternity."
"... Really?" Cloud asked, clicking the pen several times.
"Yeah, really," Sephiroth gave him back the paper. "But I can work with this. It's just a chance, right? You're not agreeing to a relationship, just a chance."
"Don't make me regret this, Sephiroth."
"I swear I won't."
"Should we sign it?" Cloud asked, waiting for the piece of paper to burst into unholy flames or something.
"I don't think so. It should already be set... I've had to make them with a lot of people since I died the last time," He took the paper from Cloud, touching it with gentle fingertips as though it was a precious thing.
Cloud watched his cat slit eyes flick back and forth as he reread what was written, and became curious of what else they might have seen during their time apart. "I want to know what happened to you when you died. Every time you died."
Sephiroth gave him a warm smirk. "I'll fill you in some other time. We have plenty of it."
"... I kind of feel like we just got married," Cloud's eyes raised to Sephiroth's, and he held that stare for the first time since he'd arrived in the Lifestream. There was no lustful Jenova green there, but rather a cool metallic gray that Cloud felt comfortable becoming a little lost in. "Think we should kiss, again?"
"Thought you'd never ask," Sephiroth smiled, letting the paper float to the floor by the bed and craning his face towards Cloud's.
Cloud took Sephiroth's face in both hands and stopped short of his lips, still glaring into his eyes. "If you hurt me, I will leave you forever. I will, Sephiroth. I'm not afraid to live without you."
"You can put the fear into me, Cloud, but you don't have to..." Sephiroth's lids lowered. "I've done enough living without you. It sucks."
"Stop calling me Cloud."
"Wh - "
"Baby. You used to call me baby," Cloud reminded him.
"I didn't think you were ready for pet names," Sephiroth replied, then swallowed. "I'm still waiting for my punch in the throat for kissing you."
"Say my name... or I will punch you in the throat."
"Baby," Sephiroth smiled.
"I missed that," Cloud said on a quick gust of breath.
"I missed you," Sephiroth replied, slowly drawing the words out. "I've been in pain without you. I wasn't burning in hell like you wanted me to be... but living alone in this room has been worse."
Cloud didn't respond with words, but the smile he generated spoke volumes.
"Yeah, I've been miserable," Sephiroth grinned. "I thought you might like that."
Cloud touched his lips to Sephiroth's, and felt his counterpart's mouth open like a starving black hole. He fed his tongue into that void once, making his long, large body tremble with the ache for more before he pulled away.
Sephiroth's lips were still parted, and he didn't lean back. He waited there, hanging in mid air for another taste. Instead of giving it, Cloud eased onto his back, gently tugging Sephiroth's shirt to follow him.
Sephiroth was eager to pin Cloud down, even if it was token dominance. Sephiroth gave him a series of warm, ravishing kisses that pushed him down into the mattress. This time Cloud spread his legs, cautiously curling them around Sephiroth's slim hips and pulling him close. Sephiroth didn't dare move against him, though; Cloud was giving him gift after unexpected gift, and he didn't want greed to scare his precious lover away.
Besides, purgatory had given him a new appreciation for patience. Sephiroth liked the idea of taking his time with Cloud, of getting to know him and his body again slowly. He was only tasting Cloud's lips, a relatively small area of his body... he had time stretched out forever to taste every inch of the rest.
"You're different," Cloud mused, turning his head to let Sephiroth kiss his jaw.
"Yeah. But how?" Sephiroth asked, content to kiss and lick the length of his smooth, tan neck.
"Gentle," Cloud said, shuddering a little as ticklish kisses popped against his neck and shoulder. "I like it."
"You want more?" Sephiroth ventured, making his lower body a little heavier between Cloud's legs.
"I... just want this," Cloud fibbed, as his body was begging for much more. Kisses were manageable for the moment; he wasn't sure how he might react to anything else. "Just keep kissing me."
"Where can I kiss?" Sephiroth purred.
Cloud answered with a sharp punch to the side of Sephiroth's head. "Don't push it!"
"Okay!" Sephiroth defended, wincing a little as he raised a hand to rub yet another sore spot Cloud had given him.
Cloud took Sephiroth's head and turned it gently, kissing against that spot. He felt sharp teeth sink into his shoulder, and moaned deeply against Sephiroth's hair. Cloud curled his arms around his neck in a quick embrace before he inched his hands down until they curiously crawled up into Sephiroth's shirt.
Cloud pulled up, peeling it off of Sephiroth's back and then over his head. Sephiroth seemed quite surprised by this, but obediently moved his arms and assisted in ridding himself of the shirt.
Cloud was stricken by the sight of Sephiroth’s smooth, pale skin and tight flesh, and couldn't resist running his hand over him appreciatively. He was thinner than he'd been in life, and it looked good on his long, lanky frame. He looked natural and relaxed, and more comfortable in his skin than he'd been in the heavier, muscle-loaded General's body.
Still, Cloud clucked, "Too skinny."
It was then that Cloud noticed the small tattoo. It was the perfect outline of a soft feather, and seemed to be innocently blowing across his pale skin and just paused over his heart. Cloud put his hand over it, and felt a steady, quick beat through the wall of Sephiroth’s chest.
Sephiroth stared down at where Cloud was actually choosing to touch his bare skin. Their eyes met, and Cloud self-consciously pulled his hand back.
"Did you really stop loving me?" Sephiroth asked.
"I dunno," Cloud avoided the real answer, a shard of truth dawning over the lies he'd been telling himself for decades. "I'm just... mad at you."
Cloud leveled him a dubious glare.
Sephiroth narrowed one eye in doubt. "Still? For that?"
"For burning down my hometown and killing everybody, murdering my best hag and then trying to kill me?"
"C'mon, you've gotten over that. What are you really so mad about?"
"You... you never..." Cloud had trouble continuing, and his lips pressed together in an effort to hold back a rising sound in his throat.
"What?" Sephiroth encouraged, moving a piece of blonde hair out of his eyes.
"... I haven't felt you..." Cloud said, his voice cracking as tears streaked down his cheeks. It was humiliating, and he swallowed down a sudden terrible ache in his throat as he wiped his face dry. "In so long. Not at all. I never... felt you at all."
"I've been busy being dead," Sephiroth offered in gentle jest.
"No. When you died the first couple times, I still felt you all the time," Cloud remembered, helpless against a sob as more tears cascaded down his face. "It was like you were still right next to me. I dreamt about you every night... I felt like if I focused my eyes enough I could see you, or if I could just make the world shut up for a moment I might hear you. And then after Edge... you were a million miles away. Not even any distance I could understand... you just didn't exist anymore. Gone. I guess you were here, but... it hurt."
Sephiroth tried to choose his words carefully, because he knew exactly what Cloud was referring to. "... I thought it'd be better if I left you alone."
"So you did it on purpose?"
"You got together with Rufus, you were perfect together. I stepped back - "
"Perfect? Rufus is an asshole!" Cloud bellowed. "You're telling me Rufus was my consolation prize? Are you fucking joking?"
"He is an asshole," Sephiroth admitted. "But he gave you some good years, right? It was better than being haunted by me."
"No, it wasn't!" Cloud's arms wound around Sephiroth's neck and yanked him into another deep kiss. It felt so good to be kissed on purpose that Sephiroth sighed into it and allowed Cloud to ease him onto his back. He straddled Sephiroth's lap, and appeared happy for the first time since he'd woken up in the Lifestream. "... So you didn't actually go anywhere?"
"Where was I supposed to go?" Sephiroth rubbed his hands up Cloud's sides and finally worked up the nerve to push his fingers up into Cloud's undershirt to tickle against warm, soft skin.
Cloud arched a little at the touch. "... You really waited for me all this time? You loved me the whole time?"
"All day, every day." Sephiroth laced his hands at the small of Cloud's back, as close to his perfect little ass as he dared to touch. "You thought that I abandoned you and went off somewhere without you?"
"I guess. I just wanted to feel something of you... to dream about you. Or smell you...or fight you..." Cloud suddenly pushed his face against Sephiroth's neck and inhaled. He stayed there, breathing for a few moments before he spoke against Sephiroth’s skin. "... I missed you."
Sephiroth made no reply, only laid there with Cloud resting on top of him and his face full of blonde spikes. They were tickling his face and partially shoved up his nose, and he didn't want it any other way. It'd been too long since he was irritated by Cloud's hair, and he relished the opportunity.
"Hm?" He invited, too content to speak.
"... Do people have sex, here? In the Lifestream?"
Sephiroth smiled into his hair. "People like us?"
Cloud huffed. "You know what I mean."
"What do you think?" Sephiroth asked in a hushed tone.
"I think... people might," Cloud answered, if the hardness in his pants and the burning desire he was resisting was any indication, he had the capability. But the idea seemed funny, considering he was dead and all.
"I know what you're thinking. We should wait a little bit."
"I wasn't thinking that!" Cloud lifted himself up onto his elbows and have Sephiroth a piercing glare. "I was thinking ... dead people don't really have a reason to do it."
"Do you feel dead, Cloud?"
"Oh... well... good." Cloud found himself smiling at this tiny revelation. "What about you, though?"
"I'm not dead anymore."
"We're gonna have to break you out of this habit. This talking in riddles thing."
"Want me to be blunt?"
"There's a disconnection of the body when you stay in purgatory. No food, no drink, no body function. Your mouth is the first thing I've tasted in seventy years, and I'm satisfied with whatever you want to give me."
"Th... Then... why do you think we should wait?" Cloud stumbled over his words a bit, trying not to make direct eye contact. "I mean, I agree that we should... but I just wanna know why you think we should. If that makes sense…?"
"I think we should wait because you punched me in the throat."
Cloud snorted at that, and indulged in a long chuckle that grew into tinkling laughter.
Sephiroth was still sore all over from the attack, but the lovely sound of his lover's laugh definitely had a healing element. "Punch me all day if it makes you so happy."
"I'm sorry! Did you even see it coming, though?"
"Hell no, I didn't see that coming!" Sephiroth admitted. "I thought you were gonna wake up and... well, it doesn't matter."
"What'd you think I'd do? Kiss you?"
Sephiroth's shoulder hitched a bit, and his head bobbed in slightly embarrassed agreement. "I hoped."
Cloud's eyes fell shut as he leaned down to cover Sephiroth's mouth in another lingering kiss. He burrowed both arms underneath his lover’s head to envelop him in a full body hug, taking the time to slide his tongue as far into Sephiroth's mouth as it would go.
He felt Sephiroth's lower body begin to grind up against him, a very hard, familiar shape in his pants bump up and nuzzle between his thighs. Cloud was out of practice at this, and the volcanic rush of desire was both brand new and nostalgic.
He wasn't prepared to deal with the kind of emotions sex was going to drag out of him. But then again... there was a hard, hot body underneath him, writhing up against him and kissing him back like it was necessary for survival. Sephiroth's fingers and hands raked up and down his back, every so often pausing to cup his ass and push it down against that pulsing hardness.
Sephiroth then lifted up on the hem of Cloud's shirt. Their lips pulled apart, and Cloud opened his eyes to look down into pure lust burning in Sephiroth's fierce catslit eyes.
"Turn around," Sephiroth told him, his voice a dark tint of desire. "Show me your back."
Cloud straightened up and pulled up on the shirt, exposing himself as he tossed it over the side of the bed. He carefully shifted off of Sephiroth's lap and turned, looking over his shoulder. "Is it there?"
Sephiroth ran his hand over honey tan skin, seeing a familiar, dark feather gracing his sharp shoulderblade. "Yeah, it's there."
"Does it look good?" Cloud asked, trying to peer down.
"It's sexy..." Sephiroth told him, running his hand over the new tattoo and around to Cloud's front. "I'll get a bathroom. You can check out a mirror, take a bath."
"How long will it take to get it?" Cloud wondered, imagining contractors, plumbing, planning and time.
"It's probably already there."
"Oh, that's another thing I'm supposed to tell you. If you want something, you can just will it to exist."
"So you can have anything you want? And your place looks like... this?" Cloud's eyes judgmentally moved about the small, totally empty room.
"This was a prison. But... you're here. So it's not anymore."
Cloud pointed at the random little electric guitar with no amp, "Where'd you get that?"
"Zack gave it to me," Sephiroth answered, brushing the topic away. "Go check out the bathroom."
Cloud looked doubtful. "You're messing with me."
"Go look. It's next to the closet."
Cloud didn't remember seeing any closet... but when he turned his head to look, there were two doors where last time he looked stood a blank wall. Curiously, he shifted away from Sephiroth and climbed off the bed to approach the two doors.
He opened one, and found the bathroom that had been in Sephiroth's loft a lifetime ago.
Cloud gasped aloud and stepped inside in utter disbelief, and paused to look out of the small window behind the toilet to see a street view of Midgar's upper plate as it'd been when he was a teenager. There were no cars or people, but every detail was perfect, even the pollution. The season seemed to be Autumn.
"How did you make this?" Cloud wondered.
"I just did. You can change it," Sephiroth said from the bed. "That's the only bathroom I remember well enough to make."
"No, I like it. It's perfect," Cloud smiled as he touched a half-used bottle of shower gel sitting in the shower.
He then quickly went to the mirror, fully expecting to find an old man staring back at him. Instead he was a picture of health and youth, if extremely tousled from rolling around in bed with Sephiroth. His lips were slightly swollen and kissed red, and he couldn't help smiling back at himself.
This was the person who loved Sephiroth. He was the person who idolized SOLDIERs, who shrank his jeans down to second-skin tightness, who had nothing but the most picturesque, non-alien possessed boyfriend, and who had great expectations for the future.
Cloud bit his lip and smiled wider as a brand new list of expectations were now possible. Sephiroth was undoubtedly pure evil. Cloud knew that, now... and he liked it.
He turned to see the result of his little contract with Sephiroth, and the smile broke into a grin. One of Sephiroth's black feathers was made permanent on his skin, the perfect size and done in loving detail. It was definitely the easiest tattoo he'd ever gotten in his life.
He rubbed his hands over his naked arms and torso. He'd have time to fill everything in again. And change them if he ever wanted more, or got tired of them! And maybe in the Lifestream tattoos would always be spelled correctly...
Cloud poked his head back into the small room to find Sephiroth lounging where he'd left him, hands laced behind his head and seemingly at peace with the world.
He leaned against the door, his hip cocked and feeling better by the second. "Wake up!"
Sephiroth's eyes split open, and his neon gaze was fixed on him as a smile put a playful crack in the porcelain of his face.
An awful thought occurred to Cloud... what if he was sleeping? What if this all was a wistful old man's fever dream? It was too good and sweet to be true... surely he'd wake up back in his bed in the martial arts studio and have to force his aching, used and abused body up to face another long day. His days seemed longer and longer the older he became, and he knew he was confused about certain things.
He had watched himself slide into dementia for years. This realistic dream was a symptom of that... it had to be.
Cloud wanted this to be his reality... if it wasn't... what would he have wished to do differently? If this was just the sweetest, most vivid dream of his long life... he wanted it to be a lucid one with no hesitation.
Sephiroth grunted as a small, compact body landed on his from a running start across the room. He braced himself, expecting another angry attack from his recently deceased lover.
Instead, Cloud was kissing him and wriggling out of his pants. "Make love to me!"
"Hey, I though we agreed - !" Sephiroth stopped speaking with a gasp as Cloud reached down into his pants, seizing a part of his anatomy that hadn't been touched by himself or any other since he died. He shook off the temporary spell of shock and grabbed Cloud's wrist. "Stop."
"There's no time! I know I'm dreaming! I could wake up any second!"
"You're already awake," Sephiroth told him, taking Cloud's hands and forcing them still.
"I don't know that for sure!" Cloud cried. "If we're really here, what's there to regret about it? And if we're not, I want to pretend while I have the chance!"
"Cloud... baby," Sephiroth soothed him, pushing the hair off his forehead and trying to still his frantic hands. "Don't do this to yourself. Believe what you're seeing, what you're feeling."
Cloud began to calm down, and exhaled slowly. "I just want this to be real. I wanna feel you."
Sephiroth pushed his tongue passed Cloud's lips, overtaking him in a sudden kiss. "If you really want me to make love to you... I'll do it. But not to prove to you that I'm real. That even sounds stupid to say."
"Is there any way to prove it? That this is real? That I'm not just dreaming?" Cloud asked.
"There might be."
"How?" Cloud asked.
"Come on," Sephiroth invited, pulling Cloud up by the hand and leading him to the closet. Clothes they used to wear in life were hanging there, and Sephiroth began to sift through the garments.
"Where are we going?" Cloud asked.
"To see Aerith. You're a little mental right now, and she can help you. She's helped me before... I'm still crazy of course, but I feel better after she - "
"Sephiroth," Cloud murmured, closing his hands over those of his lover. "I don't want to go anywhere, or see anyone else right now."
"Are you sure?"
"I wanna stay here, just for a little while longer. I know seeing people will help, but... I feel too raw to be around other people."
"Okay, I get it. You want me to leave you alone for a while?"
"No," Cloud said quickly. "Stay here with me."
"I have nowhere else to be."-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.
1 - Sometimes I just feel sappy and want to write this kind of shit. It doesn't have anything to do with Blonde Ambition, I SWEAR.
2 - I'm probably going to write some more afterlife stuff in the future, but I don't really know when. Kind of like this one, I'll squeeze it out randomly.
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