Disclaimer: All characters in this fiction are from Final Fantasy 7, an epic RPG by Square Soft. I did not create them and therefore make no claims of ownership. This fiction is simply written for my own and other's entertainment.
A New Beginning
By Wingless Demon
The jog home through the quiet countryside was becoming long and tiresome for Cloud. He was still in good physical condition, however the burden of the unconscious, full-grown man in his arms was taking its toll on him.
The young warrior could feel his strong legs beginning to cramp up from the tedious exercise, and it was becoming more and more difficult to maintain his course and speed.
Exhausted and weary, Cloud finally stopped to catch his breath.
"Alright," he managed to croak tiredly, "I have taken you far enough."
He discarded Sephiroth's motionless form onto the ground with little pause, eager to ease the soreness nagging at his arms and shoulders.
The body of the former SOLDIER commander hit the ground with a soft "thud" before rolling onto its back. Now unburdened, Cloud dropped onto the soft, green grass near the side of the path to take a much-needed break.
"If I had been thinking straight," he wheezed, "I would have finished you off in that street and left."
"IF you had been thinking straight…" another voice repeated to him.
"Yes," Cloud confirmed, "that's rig-WH…WHAT?!"
Standing upright and apparently uninjured, Sephiroth could not help but allow a small grin to form on his lips when he saw the flustered expression on Cloud's face. He offered his hand generously to the younger man, but only received an angry glare in return.
"I hate you!" Cloud bit out angrily, stumbling to his feet. "I HATE YOU!"
Sephiroth remained still, unaffected by the little tantrum. "So why DIDN'T you finish me?" he asked, his grin growing wider, "I left you plenty of opportunities."
Cloud clenched his fists together tightly; it was becoming difficult for him to contain his rage. He would not give into silver haired warrior, nor be fooled so easily again. "No," he thought,"I will ignore him, and force him to expose his vile intentions."
Convinced his idea would work, Cloud stormed off towards his home, doing his best to tune out the presence of Sephiroth, whom was following close behind him.
But the persistent ex-SOLDIER was intent on harassing Cloud until he had proved his point. "Why did you carry me out of the city?" he continued when his first question was left unanswered, "Were you afraid that I was hurt?"
"No!" Cloud lashed out darkly feeling that he needed to discredit Sephiroth's last observation, "I was going to throw your body into the river and watch it sink. It would have made my day."
The grin that stretched Sephiroth's lips suddenly vanished; perhaps this was not going to be as easy as he had thought. "Alright," he conceded, "lets talk about something else."
Cloud grunted softly in frustration, he was growing more and more annoyed with his unwelcome company. Why won't he just leave me alone?
Still unaffected by younger warrior's refusal to talk, Sephiroth tried altering his strategy; "Do you remember when you gave me the black materia?" he asked.
Cloud slowed his walking for a moment, a little perplexed by the unexpected question. "I was not in control of myself," he answered curiously, "but I do remember. What is your point?"
"When you handed the black materia to me," the SOLDIER legend continued, "I awoke. And then, for the briefest of moments, our minds touched. I knew every last one of your buried thoughts, and you learned every untold detail of my secluded life."
Cloud rolled his eyes, losing interest in the matter, "Whatever. I don't remember that part at all."
Sephiroth seized Cloud by the shoulders, and forced the younger man to turn around and face him. "But I remember." he said wistfully, "I know I was your teenage idol. In fact, I think there was something more to your adoration of me than mere hero worship…"
The former SOLDIER officer paused, and stepped closer to Cloud.
"Something… deeper." he finished in a slightly lower voice.
A light shade of red shaded Cloud's face when Sephiroth's words reached his ears. "I… I think you are just as delusional as before!" he retorted weakly before shoving the other man away, "And once I confirm that, you are finished!"
Not wanting to dwell on the matter, Cloud resumed his walk, and felt a great wave relief pass over him when his house came into view just beyond the next hill. He did not know how he was going to deal with Sephiroth once he got there, but he really did not care at the moment. All he wanted was to dive into his bed and sleep away what little was left of the night.
Sephiroth smiled slightly in triumph as Cloud walked off. He had made progress with the stubborn man, but now he found himself a bit unsure of what he himself really wanted.
"How ironic," he whispered, "he chased me everywhere I went and now I am doing the same thing to him."
Cloud tossed about endlessly in his blankets, still unable to fall asleep. Sephiroth, thankfully, had not followed him all the way to his house, but still the blond warrior could not help but dwell on the conversations they had had that night.
"Just what is it that he is up to?" he mumbled, "I don't understand."
Several more hours passed by before Cloud felt his eyelids grow heavy and his muscles relax, but finally the welcome blanket of blackness swept over him and he drifted into a deep sleep.
Sephiroth stalked into his former enemy's room undetected. The silver haired swordsman was a master of stealth in his SOLDIER days, and he still performed the silent art with the same skill and practice as he did then.
"You sleep so peacefully now," he said softly over Cloud's resting form, "but it has not always been this way has it?"
Somewhat hesitantly, he leaned down over the youthful looking warrior's neck, but took great care not to stir his slumber. "And for that," he whispered into Cloud's ear, "I am sorry."
Cloud's face winced slightly, as if he could detect Sephiroth's closeness even in his sleep. His blond eyebrows tensed together briefly as a small smile formed on his closed lips.
Sephiroth stood still and marveled at the sight before him. Indeed the blond boy that he vaguely remembered from the Nibelheim incident had grown, but he still managed to retain his more endearing qualities.
With curiousity, the silver haired warrior watched Cloud's exposed chest rise and fall with the oblivious young man's every heavy breath. His emerald eyes slowly followed along every visible plane and crevice of Cloud's athletic frame, not missing a single detail on the visible skin. "So much untapped power." he whispered, "perhaps even more now than before."
And finally, while admiring the sleeping body in front of him, Sephiroth realized what it was that he wanted.
End of Part III
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