By Lena ban Obsidian
It wasn't like it was something he did often. Not something he did in public. It wasn't something his commanding officers even guessed after; Zack only knew because they lived in the same barracks, and Zack ranked him. He kept the truth close, kept it secret.
It wasn't the sort of thing you shared.
Only late at night, when there was quiet and calm, when there was no one to see him; only then. His hair didn't have to stand on end, to spike, and when he washed it, it didn't, glistening wet and gold, soft to the touch, damp as the moist promise of his lips. His waist, girlishly curved, fit well into lace, into lingerie, and he applied makeup with the feverish intensity of obsession, made himself pretty.
Then he looked like her, like Zack's girl, or as much as he could, anyway, and he could imagine what it was like to be with Zack and pretend, pretend, pretend.
Sing-songing was what roused him; he'd been comfortably asleep, splayed possessively over Zack's bed, Zack's covers, and Zack himself, pleasantly warm, dreaming of nothing and drowning in weariness. They'd been busy lately, fighting little battles in Midgar, crushing opposition to ShinRa, fetching monsters for research. Zack had been too busy training his recruits to realize that Sephiroth was feeling neglected for some weeks, and this was the answer.
As he woke, he wrinkled his nose in distaste. He really could have picked a better place to swoop down on the other man. More spacious, maybe, or at least with soundproofed walls.
He fleetingly wondered if they'd made too much noise together, considering the nature of his waking, then dismissed the possibility. They rarely made more than the wet noises of flesh moving together; Zack gasped things in the throes of sex, whispering, a strange change from the loud, friendly man that was Sephiroth's best friend and close compatriot, during the day.
What had awakened him?
There was again, coming and going in little swells of sound, the faint sound of a light tenor voice, almost contralto, rocking back and forth almost tunelessly. The sound was not reassuring; it made the hair at the back of his neck stand on end.
Disentangling himself from Zack's heavy, still-sleeping body, he allowed himself short moments to dress in the bare minimum, the leather of his pants clinging to skin that was still sticky with sweat from their earlier activities. He'd have to make sure to shower when he returned to his quarters.
That sound, though. Where was it coming from?
Nearby. The next room over? His eyes swept around the room, deciding the wall that Zack's bed was pushed up next to, that was where the sound grew loudest (and even there, a lilting, broken whisper of tunelessness). Repressing the urge to shudder in distaste for the humming-- he was almost certain it was humming-- he grabbed Masamune from where he'd lay her on Zack's desk, a few of the younger man's stray papers flying at the motion. Idly, he made a note to clean that up when he returned later.
He'd nearly gone to the door when he realized what it might look like to any idle viewer if he were to walk, shirtless, from Zack's rooms at this hour. Zack desired nothing so much as privacy in this affair. A glance at the clock told him he should be able to go to the next room over without undue difficulty; cautious, he opened the door and peered out into the darkened hallway of the barracks.
This late, no one stirred; the humming carried more easily out here, bouncing off of the high arches of the hall's architecture. Inexplicably disturbed by the broken melody, he edged out of Zack's room, closing the door as quietly as he could, and eyed the one to his left. He had the codes to override the lock in this door, but the fact that he'd had to force entry would show in a database somewhere. That irked him. It probably wouldn't look well on this trainee's record. Especialy if he was only humming in his sleep. If Zack could order martinis in his sleep, it was entirely possible.
But it was shrieking through his mind like nails on glass, and he'd be damned if he just ignored it. It didn't sound healthy. It sounded mad.
He didn't bother knocking, not wanting to wake anyone else in the barracks up to witness their General half nude in their midst. Entering his own access codes, he tried to restrain a smug sort of satisfaction at the soft sound of the lock coming undone, pushing the door open and stepping inside the room before he had time to look at what was inside of it, shutting the door behind himself for both their sakes.
It was like any other room in the barracks; steel-gray walls, a single, uncomfortable military bed, a bedside table. A desk on the opposite wall, with a chair that looked like it would cause spinal fracture given the chance, and a chest of clothing next to the desk. Most of the recruits into ShinRa's army added a little something to their rooms; a poster on the wall, or a bookshelf to keep schoolbooks separate from those read for pleasure. Little details to ease the emptiness of the rooms.
This room was as empty now as it probably had when its occupant had entered it. Said occupant had finally ceased his distressing humming and looked up, but his wide blue eyes held no recognition of the man who'd entered his quarters.
Sephiroth felt, suddenly and completely, as though he'd made some kind of mistake coming here, and he was going to regret it.
"...am I good enough?" the boy-- only a boy, maybe fourteen, maybe younger-- asked, his voice a shaky thing that bode of breaking apart at the seams. His lips were painted round red, his face so effeminate with his hair framing it that Sephiroth could not imagine why he'd never noticed this boy for how different he looked from the others.
He didn't have an answer, and feared to give the wrong one to someone clearly mentally unstable. He stared instead at the pale, lithe little body barely hidden beneath the gauze of a slip, a soft wink of white beneath hinting at matching undergarments. Realizing of a sudden that he was simultaneously unnerved and aroused, and that the boy was waiting, and he didn't have a damned clue what to do about this situation, he swallowed and answered with a question, his expression, his voice never faltering.
"Good enough for what?"
Those wide blue eyes were startlingly innocent, somehow, and vaguely familiar. It occurred to him belatedly that the boy didn't look like this ordinarily because he was more often than not, if all was as it should be, in his uniform with the helmet on and the visor down. But those eyes were familiar. Someone Zack had mentioned. He'd forgotten, or ignored the description because he was hungry and tired and wanted Zack's attention on himself, at the time, but he wished he'd listened now. Knowing the boy's name might have helped immensely.
For a moment, he feared that he hadn't been heard, judging from the blankness in those eyes, the way the boy seemed to be holding perfectly still. Then, "...for him. Am I...? Am I pretty?"
He wondered if his interest was showing in more than his eyes, trying, even as he did, to stomp out the thought and any like it, trying to keep his attention on the obvious frailty in that face, those eyes, the soft, childish voice. This boy was not sane. Not right now.
So he stepped forward, leaning masamune in the corner of the room and proceeding with his hands out to show that he was weaponless. To keep the boy from doing anything drastic, he answered carefully, "...you're very pretty."
There seemed to be some measure of happiness in the boy's expression at that; he relaxed, breathing again-- Sephiroth hadn't realized the boy was holding his breath-- reaching up and stroking at a lock of his own hair feverishly, as if trying to get it in place. He found he had to forcibly restrain himself from moving forward and grabbing the boy's hand to make him stop. "Aeris is pretty. Zack says...Zack says..." His face fell, and the lips, painted perfect, as full as any woman's, trembled, thining into a worried line. "...he won't want me. Nobody wants me. I'm not pretty enough. Have to...have to be..." he turned, seeming to forget Sephiroth's presence, fumbling for something on his bedside table, knocking over his lamp in his clumsiness, hands shaking as badly as his voice did. The lamp, the only source of light, toppled over without breaking-- ShinRa provided the world with any number of things that were hard to break, animate and inanimate alike-- and the light slanted cruelly through the room as its angle changed, illuminating the boy's body, harsh and bright, seeming to emphasize his frailty, his smallness.
Sephiroth tried not to wince. Aeris? Zack's girlfriend; the one he was afraid to make the next move with. Zack talked about her almost incessantly. That was another reason he'd been seeing less of the man.
Obviously, this was one of Zack's recruits; but there was still that nagging sensation that he should know which one, that Zack had mentioned him more than passingly. Zack had noticed this behavior? No, certainly not...
But what did he say? What was the boy's name? This...this wasn't healthy...
He finally decided to say nothing, moving to the boy's bedside and grabbing his shoulders, pulling him away from the table, trying to catch those blue, blue eyes with his own, grim-faced. He didn't exactly have any experience to tell him what to do in this situation, and that frustrated him; he was helpless to stop this little episode of madness, short of slapping the boy across the face. Worse, he was finding himself increasingly interested in the body before him, and he didn't dare explore to see what results that interest might yield.
The boy responded to his grip with a little moan that didn't sound like pain at all, and looked up at him as if in a daze, his lips parted, just enough to look inviting. "...do you want me?"
A terrible trembling took hold of the boy in the silence that followed, his glassy eyes misting with tears, his breath coming shakily. He dropped his head in some kind of shame, body convulsing with soft little sobs that he covered well. Through the hiccupping sounds of tears, he mumbled apologies, self-loathing, violently upset with himself. "Useless, s-sorry, sorry sorry, n-not good enough, s-sorry...I'm sorry...!"
All sound in the room stopped when he shook the boy by his shoulders, once, hard enough to snap his head back and forth.
"...I do want you," he murmured softly, accusation in his own eyes, lifting the boy's face with one hand to his chin. Shock and confusion lay in the child's expression, streaks through his make-up marking where the tears had fallen. Realizing that he had the boy's attention, he continued as gently and quietly-- and honestly-- as he could. "You're very pretty, but that's not why I want you."
Rapt, his blue eyes wide and filled with wonder, the boy leaned closer, trembling again. "...w-why...why do you...? Why want...I'm not....nobody..." He faltered, eyes flickering down in remembered distress and shame. Hastily, Sephiroth tried to draw his attention back.
"Because you are yourself, and not Aeris," he said firmly, thumb stroking the boy's cheek gently, brushing the remnants of tears away. "Because you are training to be a SOLDIER. Because you care about Zack." The boy's expression was completely unguarded, his emotions playing plain as day across his face; he looked about to burst into tears again. These were not the reasons that the child wanted; Sephiroth was beginning to understand that.
He sat down carefully on the edge of the bed, shifting that pale, thin body into his lap with exaggerated care, looping his arms about the boy's shoulders and hugging him into his chest. "And you are beautiful, I promise you that...you are. I do want you. I want you as you are."
Was it such a bad thing that he wasn't entirely saying these things to get the boy to ease away from the madness? Was it wrong of him to mean them?
Gently stroking some of that soft blonde hair out of the boy's face, he asked as quietly as he could, "...what is your name?", fearing the reaction and hoping to the Ancients that he hadn't just undone what little good he'd managed to work since he'd entered the room.
The body pressed up against his own slowly eased from its trembling into a semblance of relaxation, and the boy's answer was faintly puzzled, his voice simultaneously hopeful and fearful. "C-cloud...Cloud Strife..."
"Do you know who I am?"
With a hesitance that he couldn't determine the source of, Cloud turned his eyes up to his General, the dazedness still lurking in his expression, warning that madness lay near, no matter his reactions. "...n-no," he finally answered softly. "No...you have silver hair," he noted, and seemed to want to reach out to touch it, but withdrew his hands as if burned, and fell still, lying against the older man, looking uncertain. Resigned, perhaps. "I like it," he continued after a moment's thought, stammering a little as he looked back up the expanse of Sephiroth's chest and throat and jawline, flush rising to his face. "It's pretty."
They sat in silence for long moments, Sephiroth unsure what to do, holding the boy's body against himself and trying to think of a resolution that didn't result in ravishing a very much underage Cloud. Cloud seemed content, on the other hand, to remain where he was, and after severl minutes of long silence had passed, he began to croon softly, distractedly, nestling closer to Sephiroth and humming his pleasure as he discovered how warm the older man's skin was against his own.
He tipped his head down to look at the creature on his lap, wishing desperately that he'd had the presence of mind to bring Zack with him. This certainly wouldn't be happening if Zack was here. Then again, he shuddered to think what Zack's reaction to his student's affections might have been.
"...Cloud...should you be asleep?" He asked awkwardly, not wanting to leave the boy to his devices, not wanting to stay and cause Zack (and quite possibly Cloud, when he woke up) alarm.
The thinly veiled intent to leave did not escape Cloud's notice, and the boy was suddenly clinging to him and whimpering instead of humming, shuddering softly.
"What's the matter?"
He didn't understand this child, this reaction. Nor the fear of being unwanted, but he'd never lacked confidence in himself, so perhaps he couldn't understand? He wasn't sure.
"What's the matter, Cloud?"
The light was behind Cloud, his face simultaneously cast in full light and shadowed by Sephiroth's. He looked younger now than he had before, and it twisted uneasily in Sephiroth's stomach that he was aroused still.
Cloud's voice was hurt; accusing. "...y-you...you don't want...you're lying," he whimpered, struggling in Sephiroth's grip, reaching up and tugging at his hair. "N-nobody wants me...y-you don't want me...you don't....you...n-not good enough..."
Sighing a little, he turned a grim frown on the boy, grabbing his shoulders again and squeezing until Cloud looked up, still sobbing, the makeup a mess on his face. "I want you, Cloud. Do you not believe me?" Cloud shook his head, no, no he didn't believe because nobody wanted him-- "I want you," Sephiroth growled, grabbing one of the boy's hands and guiding it down, between his legs where the heat of his arousal was gathering, to feel the evidence of his want, strong through the leather, straining against it.
The boy's expression returned to confusion, a more familiar, more simple emotion than the twisted grief that had been painted over his face before. Eyes wide in curiosity, he carefully felt the obvious hard heat of Sephiroth's desire, running his fingers over the length of his General in awe. He understood, Sephiroth realized, but only in a vague sense; in this state of mind, Cloud was too fragile to piece together sexual as well as emotional desires.
"...now?" Cloud asked, his voice betraying fear of the unknown; and damnably, it endeared him to the man he was touching, made it that much more difficult for Sephiroth to think.
He at the very least wanted to try to clean the boy up. Give himself a chance to breathe, to think of another solution, even if he was beginning to fear that there were none. "Let's wash away that makeup, first," he murmured, voice low, coaxing the boy to his feet, leading him to the tiny washroom that was standard issue for recruits. Cloud followed, devotion and trust in his eyes, and silently allowed Sephiroth to use the cold cream that Cloud had left on the sink, let all of the lipstick, the rouge, the eyeliner, all the mask he'd painted for himself wash away.
It was something of a relief to see that Cloud did not look quite as young, quite as feminine when the makeup was gone; there were still traces of eyeliner that he couldn't get rid of, but there was a real face that he'd found beneath the madness that was more appealing to him.
From the expectant look in Cloud's eyes, he'd be damned the instant he tried to deny that they should do what he was afraid they were about to do; still balanced on a knife's edge, the boy was barely coherent enough to seem as if he possessed anything like sanity. They returned to Cloud's bed and here Sephiroth faltered. He was not, as a matter of course, interested in performing statutory rape. But he'd bought himself the necessary time, and there was no other end to this night that he could see. And what unnerved him was that deep down in the core of his belly, he was pleased.
Cloud looked to him with mingled emotions blaring in his eyes. Adoration, fear, uncertainty. Trust, hope. Lust.
There was an unbridled lust that waited for him in those eyes that almost, almost made Cloud look sane. If the boy was ever sane.
"Do you want me?" He asked, voice a purr that he wished he'd had the good grace to cover. He shouldn't be encouraging this madness. But the question seemed fair, and Cloud did look inviting, even standing at the side of his bed, hair mussed, as though he'd just awakened.
Cloud's face went red.
Rather than taunt the boy by insisting on a verbal answer, he abandoned words there, lifting Cloud and laying him out on his bed, lips hungrily finding lips and kissing, raping, his tongue furiously violating the wet welcome of Cloud's mouth with more abandon than the rest of him could afford to show. His hands, nimble-fingered and quick, danced over Cloud's body in careful calculation, finding which areas of skin were most sensitive, touching them, lavishing them with attention.
Cloud was not like Zack; he was loud and unused to sex, and moaned like a girl, very young and very willing, as Sephiroth touched him every way that he knew how. He'd not have dared penetrate the boy-- it would have damaged him, he was almost sure, and he'd nothing for lubrication regardless, and he was going to regret already what he was doing when morning came-- but he let Cloud taste the heat of his arousal, his hands firm and gentle around the boy's erection, reveling in the wet heat of Cloud's lips.
They both came messily, and Cloud slipped into sleep soon after Sephiroth had finally managed to coax his body into orgasm, the stain of semen over his pale belly and the gauze and lace he still wore; Sephiroth's seed trailed from the boy's lips, down his chin like drool. He looked, even still, completely innocent in sleep.
Sephiroth didn't try to sleep with his guilty conscience. He cleaned the boy, cleaned the room, and sat down on the bed, watching Cloud sleep, wrestling with the consequences of what he'd done. Zack would, in all probability, be horrified-- as much as he himself was, and it'd be difficult to keep the liasion a secret.
Would Cloud be upset to know he was the object of General Sephiroth's desire?
Somehow he doubted it. As he doubted that he wouldn't return; and that Zack would stop them. He railed at what he'd done, what he was dreaming of doing to this boy; this child. Strife was...Cloud was...
He was just too young. And so small. And soft. He didn't want to lose that innocence, to take it away from the boy.
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