[identity profile] soldier-fanboy.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] shinrayear25

[Seph's room in the lab. Seph is contemplating solid food, and Cloud is moping. Others may come to visit Seph as it proves convenient.]

Seph: What's eating you, Cloud?

Cloud: ...it can wait, Seph. I don't want to bug you when you're not well.

Seph: Hime, I'm going to be not-well for weeks, most likely, and I don't want you to be upset for that long. Spill.

Cloud: *knows that stubborn tone* *sighs*

Seph: Out with it, Croudo.

Cloud: *looks down* It's about that night...

Seph: What about?

Cloud: Um...I...*doesn't really know how to put it* It's been bothering me, a lot.

Cloud: Seph...I know you didn't mean to hurt me. But...*stares at the floor* ...it really hurt. A lot.

Seph: *blinks* What did?

Cloud: ...when you asked Zak to marry you, but didn't ask me.

Seph: *sighs* I was afraid of that. *rubs his brow*

Cloud: I...sometimes, I feel like I'm on the outside looking in with you guys. It's stupid, and I know I'm just some dumb kid and you barely know me, and you've been with Zak for so long...

Cloud: *sighs*

Seph: Look, Cloud. I love you. I love you *dearly.* Never doubt that. But... you are right, to a certain point. We haven't been together very long. And - I don't doubt that there will be a day in the not terribly far future that you and I will be as connected as Zak and I are now. But - Zak and I have been friends for almost five years now, and lovers for three, and it's only now that I'm comfortable enough with *him* to take this step.

Cloud: *trying so hard not to cry* I...I'm sorry, I'm being stupid.

Seph: I never meant to hurt you. *sighs* It's why I'm no good at this relationship stuff; I didn't even think about how it would look to you if I asked him and not you. I just thought... well, we're not ready yet.

Seph: Especially with all this stuff with Vincent lately. Do you even know if you want me?

Cloud: *looks up at Seph, tears in his eyes* How can you say that? Of course I want you, all I've ever wanted was to be with you. Zak means a lot to me, and was the first friend I ever had and I love him so much...but, before I felt that way about him, I was in love with you. You were the first person I've ever felt this way about. You and Zak...that's all I want. Vincent's just a stupid crush.

Cloud: If I didn't want you, I wouldn't have had those rings made.

Seph: I'm - just a little afraid that I'm still that figure you hero-worship, General Sephiroth, and that one of these days I'm going to do something appallingly human -or inhuman, knowing me- and you'll stop loving me.

Seph: Zak never took his commanding officer particularly seriously. I was just another guy - a funny-looking guy with weirdly formal speech patterns, but I was just a guy. And he made himself my friend. My first friend. Like yours.

Cloud: *sighs* Oh, Seph. *takes his hand* You stopped being the great General Sephiroth to me a long time ago.

Cloud: You're just the man I love now, who makes me pick up my dirty socks, and makes me feel better when I'm sad, and lets me braid his hair.

Cloud: ...and goes shopping with me even if it bores him like crazy.

Seph: *chuckles* Am I that obvious?

Cloud: *nods* Yeah...but at least I don't make you hold my purse.

Seph: If I wanted that kind of indignity, I'd get a girlfriend.

Cloud: *chuckles softly* My point is, you're still my hero, but in a different way now. The way Zak's my hero. My best friend that I want to stand by, to the end.

Cloud: It's why...it's why it hurts me so bad. I don't want to be shut out of either of your lives. And, on the ship when you said I didn't want to marry you anyway, and that it was Zak's idea to bring me in...it just really hurt.

Cloud: I felt like I didn't matter, like I was just some pet or something for you guys. Even when you gave me the coin...it was beautiful, and I appreciate the thought behind it, but when I look at it...all I see is Zak, and Seph. I don't see anything of me, of where I fit in.

Seph: ...I don't know whether to laugh or cry, Cloud. *shakes his head* Do you know that Zak's been expecting me to leave him for you since we first brought you into our lives?

Cloud: *shakes his head*

Seph: Yeah, he has. And now you're sitting there parroting the exact same doubts about your relationship with me that he did. Fuck, Cloud, Zak and I had that coin made for you back in November. It was the first Solstice present we decided on. And - damn me for an idiot for thinking that you'd just *understand* how significant it was to us. We had the coin made to show you that you WERE part of us, that you DID belong.

Seph: Maybe I'm just shitty at showing how much I love you guys.

Cloud: I'm...crap, I dunno what the hell I'm doing either. This is the first relationship I've ever been in, too. I don't know what I should expect, or how to handle things...

Cloud: All I can do is try the best I can...I just don't know if it's enough. I know, in my head, it makes sense...I talked to your mom about it the other day, when I was really bawling my eyes out.

Cloud: My brain gets that you're still getting to know me in a lot of ways, and that you're trying to figure things out too...but, gods, Seph. It hurts so fucking much.

Cloud: I don't know if I'm strong enough.

Zak: *groans*

Cloud: *looks down, and cries*

Seph: I love you, Cloud. And it scares the hell out of me sometimes, because we're so different from each other, and... *jerks his head toward the sound*

Seph: Zak?

Cloud: *looks up startled* Zak?!

Zak: *moans, kinda crying*

Cloud: *rushes to his side* *strokes his brow* Zak, baby, are you awake?

Seph: *struggling to get up, can't*

Zak: *flutters his eyes open* Wha...

Cloud: *tears turn into tears of joy*

Seph: Kei-kei?

Cloud: *crying on Zak* Oh thank gods...thank gods...

Zak: *really disoriented*

Zak: I'm...sorry...

Zak: I...thought you....would like it...

Zak: *head lolls to the left slightly* What ....happened?

Seph: Crappy Shinra tech.

Cloud: I had fun, silly...*kisses him lightly, not wanting to hurt him*

Cloud: There was turbulence...really bad. The ship crashed.

Zak: *groans* that....so wasn't supposed to happen...

Seph: Not so much.

Cloud: *relieved laugh* Yeah, I figured that.

Seph: You made a very impressive crater, though.

Zak: My ass hurts

Seph: Yeah, you broke it pretty good.

Zak: *groans*

Zak: I hate to ask....

Zak: But can I have something so I can go BACK to sleep?

Zak: I hurt. REALLY bad....

Cloud: Oh, Zak...I wouldn't know what to give you, and no one else is up, yet. *to Seph* Is there anything I could do, that you know of?

Seph: Hand me his chart. It's hanging off the end of the bed down there.

Cloud: Okay. *picks up the chart and takes it to Seph*

Seph: *glances at it* Know anything about IVs, Cloud?

Zak: *moans*

Cloud: *frowns* The drippy bag things, right? I've had them before.

Seph: Never mind. *sighs* *looks down at the chart again* In the main lab, third cabinet from the left, bring me the bottle of pills marked 'codine.'

Cloud: *nods* Gotcha. *goes into the main lab*

Cloud: *comes back with codine*

Seph: Let me see it.

Cloud: *hands the bottle to Seph*

Seph: *looks it over* Give him two of these and some water.

Cloud: Okay. *carefully takes out two pills, then pours a glass of water*

Cloud: *moves to Zak* Kara-kun...can you sit up a little, to take these? *shows him pills*

Zak: *shifts a little, opens his mouth*

Cloud: *very carefully feeds him the pills, and gives him some water*

Seph: *makes a note in the chart*

Zak: *sighs and lays back, is out almost immediately*

Cloud: *gently kisses Zak's forehead and tucks him in a little better*

Seph: Can you bring me the duty log? It should be out there in plain sight.

Cloud: *nods* *picks up a clipboard and brings it over to Seph*

Seph: *makes a brief log of the events*

Cloud: He'll be okay...won't he?

Seph: *nods* He'll be fine.

Seph: Waking up was the tricky part.

Cloud: *wipes his face with a sleeve* Gods, I've never been this relieved in my life.

Seph: You and me both.

Seph: I was so scared we were gonna lose him.

Cloud: Me too.

Cloud: It really makes you think about what's important in life...

Seph: *nods*

Seph: It was Jenova that made me decide to propose to Zak.

Cloud: Why?

Seph: When she was fucking with people, I realized that I would kill her if she hurt him. *shakes his head* She - I thought of her as my mother, Cloud, and I was willing to kill her for Zak. And when you feel that way about somebody, there's only one thing you can do. Buy a ring.

Cloud: *nods* I guess that makes sense.

Cloud: It's funny...Jenova sort of helped me decide, too.

Seph: Because suddenly it wasn't about a fear of commitment any more. Until you came along, Zak and I played our relationship pretty lax, you know? I dunno if I'd even told him I loved him more than a dozen times.

Seph: And suddenly you were there, and Zak and I had to kinda look at our relationship with each other, because when you bring somebody new into your life, it usually means that your old relationship is over. But... it wasn't.

Cloud: *nods*

Cloud: *chuckles softly, and fingers a jet and mother-of-pearl pendant around his neck*

Seph: We love you, Cloud. Never doubt that. *puts a hand on his head*

Seph: What's that?

Cloud: When I woke up, your mom was there. She gave it to me. *lifts the chain over his head and hands the pendant to Seph*

Seph: *looks at it*

Cloud: *one side is jet, the other side is mother-of-pearl, both stones are held together and separated by a thin gold wire*

Seph: This is beautiful.

Cloud: *nods* She said your dad gave it to her, when they were dating. I didn't want to take it, but she insisted I have it.

Seph: *gives it back*

Cloud: *takes it and puts it back around his neck* Light, dark, and the precious metal that holds them together...that's what she said.

Seph: The three of us?

Cloud: Yeah.

Cloud: *tilts his head in thought* You know...that night you killed Jenova...that's when I decided.

Seph: To propose?

Cloud: *nods softly* When I heard the commotion in the lab, and I saw you two there, struggling...I knew what I had to do. I knew I could never leave your side, that I had to be with you guys till the end, no matter what it meant.

Cloud: *picks a third, identical ring out of his pocket and holds it up* I'd had the rings made before then, because they were meant to be a Solstice present for the three of us.

Seph: *nods*

Cloud: But that night...everything changed. I wasn't afraid, it didn't matter what happened, I had to be there by your side, fighting with you.

Cloud: I had to be there for you guys. A team. Like, in every sense of the word. *puts the ring back in his pocket*

Cloud: Being the glue that holds you together is nice, and all...but I don't just wanna be glue, you know?

Seph: You're not just the glue.

Cloud: *sighs*

Cloud: I guess it's my own fault, for falling so hard so quickly.

Seph: *reaches out to him* Come here.

Cloud: *sits on Seph's bed, next to him*

Seph: *pets him*

Seph: It scares me how much I love you.

Cloud: *lets himself be petted* Why?

Seph: Because it's never been like this. Zak - we were friends first, for a good long time, before he got me into bed. And there was sex for awhile before it even started approaching love.

Seph: I shouldn't - I would walk through hell for you, Cloud Strife. I would kill or die for you, I would throw myself headlong at the ground to save you. And I thought I could never love anyone but Zak that way.

Seph: And that scares me. But I need it.

Seph: I need you.

Cloud: *is silent a long moment, choked up and not knowing what to say*

Cloud: *finally gazes at Seph* Is that the reason you didn't ask?

Cloud: You don't know how to handle these feelings for me?

Seph: Yeah.

Seph: I don't want to rush into this any more than I already have.

Seph: Hell, you're fifteen years old. You're gonna change a lot in the next few years. Who knows how you'll feel about me when you're twenty?

Cloud: ...you're afraid of losing me. That I'll outgrow you.

Seph: Yeah.

Cloud: *leans down and lightly rests his head on Seph's chest* I understand, now.

Cloud: ...but you don't have to be afraid.

Seph: *holds him carefully*

Cloud: *softly* Sephiroth, you don't have to be afraid.

Cloud: I'm a mess in a lot of ways, and trying to find my place in the world...trying to figure out who I am...so unsure of myself in a lot of ways.

Cloud: But this feeling...this is the one thing I'm sure of. This is the one thing that, when everything else is falling apart, I can depend on.

Cloud: I love you, Seph. I trust in that, and I believe in it.

Cloud: *closes his eyes and smiles* I believe in it more than anything. So, you can believe in it, too.

Seph: *kisses the top of his head*

Seph: I love you, Croudo.

Cloud: And I love you, Tenshi-sama. *giggles a little* How many times do I have to tell you? You're just not gonna get rid of me that easily. I'm like that lint that gets stuck in the dryer.

Seph: *laughs* *hisses*

Seph: Gods-damned drugs are wearing out.

Cloud: *raises up* I'm sorry...

Seph: Get me some water? *reaches for his own pills*

Cloud: Sure. *gets up and pours a glass of water* *brings it back to Seph*

Seph: *shakes pills out, takes them*

Cloud: I'm gonna have to nurse you two back to health.

Seph: *sighs* *smiles* Anything else you want to talk about before I'm stoned?

Cloud: *smiles* Nope, have fun in la-la land...when Zak's feeling better, we can have a long talk...ok?

Seph: *nods* I think... I'm just gonna try and get some sleep. The fewer stupidly embarrassing things I say, the better.

Seph: You can come curl up with me, if you like.

Cloud: *giggles* Okay. *takes his boots off and crawls into bed with Seph* *snuggles close*

Cloud: Oh, there is one last thing...I'm a hero of sorts.

Seph: *settles Cloud so he isn't on any hurty places* *strokes his hair* Of course you are.

Cloud: *blushes* No, I mean it...I made a new friend. This little girl vampire, only she's not really a little girl...the creep who turned her was harassing my Dad, and I killed him. She was really grateful.

Cloud: ...and get this, her name's Claudia, she's from Nibelheim, and she's descended from a princess.

Seph: Good job, Lieutenant.

Seph: ...A princess?

Cloud: Yeah, isn't that crazy?

Seph: Princess Claudia from Nibelheim. Who would've thought?

Cloud: Yeah, it's funny how things work out...

Seph: You'd think that there was some greater power directing us all. *sleepy*

Seph: *kisses the top of Cloud's head again*

Cloud: Yeah...he wears a cool hat. *yawns a little himself* *hasn't really slept well since he woke up*

Seph: *blinks* I'm sure that would make sense without the narcotics in my system.

Seph: *lets himself drift off*

Cloud: *quiet chuckle* *falls asleep*
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Shinra Year Twenty-Five

July 2006

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