Chapter 1: Prologue or Hey, I Just Met You
The best warriors of opposing armies were soul mates. What were the odds of that?
“What do you think he’s doing to him?”
“I dunno. It sounds pretty awful. He’s been screamin’ for a long time.”
“How’d he even capture him? He fights to the death.”
“Do you think I fuckin’ know? I was on the other side of the battle field. I saw Sephiroth drag that boy into his tent same as everyone else.”
“I’d almost feel sorry for him, y’know if he wasn’t the enemy’s best fighter and totally psychotic.”
“Ten gil they say the same thing about our guy. Tonik said they’ve been callin’ him a demon, Commander Sephiroth that is.”
“Tonik’s a shitty translator and you know it. He’s been saying the guy’s been screamin’ ‘more; and ‘yes’ and listing off various gods for the past two hours.”
“He’s better ‘n’ you. I don’t want to know what’s going on in there. I just hope it does something to end this stupid stalemate.”
“I hear that.”
Sephiroth held his companion as he worked off his last tremors.
“Holy Shit,” he breathed.
“Mmm,” the blonde he knew only as the Wolf of Dachenbau hummed in agreement to the sentiment.
They’d spent the last two hours effectively ending the conflict between ShinRa and the rebelling factions, and having the best sex of their lives.
Just a few hours ago, they would have killed each other on sight. Actually, that’s what they had been trying to do. The Wolf’s party was on the retreat, which meant that he would be coming out to take back the ground they had lost. Sephiroth stood firm on the ground he had fought to take. They had to fight each other or admit defeat. All it took to change that was a touch.
The first contact hit Sephiroth like brick to the head. He stood there in shock for a few long moments watching his opponent go through the same process.
They weren’t enemies; they were made for each other. The best warriors of opposing armies were soul-mates. What were the odds of that? The planet deemed them fit for each other and there wasn’t a force to change that.
It had taken five minutes for Sephiroth to summon enough strength to let go of his blonde’s hand let alone stop looking at him. How the hell was he supposed to live without him?
“Holy fuck,” Sephiroth said, wrapping his arms around his companion. The blonde pressed kisses along his jawline, making no reply.
“People are going to be very upset when they realize what happened,” Sephiroth continued to murmur, “Not that I’d consider living without you. It sounds awful right now. But we were at war before this…and I’m pretty sure people will still want to fight when we go out. This is going to be a terrible mess and…you…you don’t understand me…do—”
“Shhh…” the blonde hushed him, pressing a gentle finger against his mouth. Oh, gods yes, Sephiroth thought as his lips were pressed in another kiss. It was just as good as all the other kisses. He’d never get tired of this. The blonde sat up, straddling Sephiroth’s waist and pulling on him to sit up. Sephiroth followed.
The blonde began a lengthy speech in a language Sephiroth knew maybe three words of. He made a lot of gestures between them, but they cleared nothing up. Sephiroth listened to it, to his lover’s wonderful voice, before making his reply.
“I didn’t understand a word you said,” Sephiroth said. Apparently, confusion translated because the blonde seemed to understand their language barrier had halted any communication that wasn’t physical.
Baby steps then. If the silver haired man couldn’t understand his talk about how he only knew him as the Demon of Wutai and he knew that couldn’t possibly be his real name, then they’d have to do this with the easy version.
The blonde put a hand over his chest.
“Kirruðr,” He said firmly. He touched Sephiroth and waited. Sephiroth shook his head.
“Kirruðr,” he said again, a little more slowly. Then held his hand out to Sephiroth. Something clicked this time.
Introductions. True they had made love twice before this moment, but better late than never. This time Sephiroth held his hand over his heart.
“Sephiroth,” he said.
“Set off?” the blonde said, “Set off?”
“No,” Sephiroth said, “Sephiroth.”
“Sef off,” the blonde said more firmly.
“No,” Sephiroth said, “Seph-er-roth.”
“Sef,” the blonde started.
“Sef,” Sephrioth repeated with a nod.
“Roth. Sephiroth,” the blonde looked up, Sephiroth nodded and got a smile in return.
“Sephiroth,” the blonde said again, liking the way it felt leaving his mouth, “Sephiroth!”
“Yes,” Sephiroth said.
“Sephiroth! Sephiroth!” the blonde cried, giving out kisses between each exclamation. Sephiroth laughed at it, liking how his name sounded in that voice. He cleared his own throat.
“Kir if,” Sephiroth tried. That earned a loud snort, but a large smile.
“Kirruðr,” he said again.
“Kir ruv,” Sephiroth attempted. The blonde shook his head. No matter how slowly Kirruðr said it, Sephiroth just couldn’t repeat it the same way.
“Kir oud,” Sephiroth said, “Cloud.” The blonde paused.
“Cloud?” he repeated, not as a joke.
“Cloud?” Sephiroth repeated. Kirruðr thought for a long time.
“Cloud,” he mused, “Cloud, Cloud, Cloud.” He picked up Sephiroth’s hand and put it on his chest.
“You Cloud,” he said. Sephiroth felt the meaning in the air. I am your Cloud.
“I’m going to say your name properly,” Sephiroth said, “One of these days. But…if you can stand Cloud—”
“Cloud,” the blonde nodded firmly.
“My Cloud,” Sephiroth purred lowly. Cloud grinned and shivered at the sound.
“My Sephiroth,” Cloud responded. He whispered phrases that Sephiroth assumed were sweet nothings in Sephiroth’s ear. He started just repeating Sephiroth’s name over and over. Sephiroth started to turn them over as Cloud’s hips began grinding against him.
“You’re going to be sore tomorrow,” Sephiroth noted.
“Sephiroth,” Cloud hissed.
“Oh Cloud,” Sephiroth replied.
Sephiroth woke up with a small start. Where was he? He was commanding a major platoon against a particularly difficult faction of anti-ShinRa militants and then…
He turned over, trying to remember further, when he saw his bedmate who still had a grip on his hair.
That’s right he fell in love. He plopped back down with a heavy sigh. Cloud grunted, but scooted closer. Sephiroth stared at the ceiling, listening to another’s breathing.
How was this possible? Sephiroth had spent his entire life knowing he was different. When he learned that the planet, supposedly, had pre-determined mates for its inhabitants, he…he thought that he might had been over-looked. He was created, not born. Surely, the planet hadn’t made plans for him.
He was wrong. He was so wonderfully wrong about that.
It had been a little over twenty-four hours and Sephiroth had never felt so strongly about anything. Cloud was made for him. He was beautiful in a way, and feisty, and more than able to keep up.
True, they hadn’t talked much yet. Cloud did know some Common, but not quite enough to hold a proper conversation. Sephiroth, it seemed, would never get the grasp of Cloud’s language. Cloud smiled at current attempts and tried to correct him, but it just wasn’t happening.
The sex, however, was fantastic. It was better than coming home. It was as if they were parts of a puzzle that just fit together. Made for each other.
He didn’t blame Cloud for sleeping in though. Not at all.
He sat up again, feeling Cloud tighten his grip on his hair, as if he knew Sephiroth was planning to get up soon. He looked around again.
At some point, Cloud had dragged him out of bed and out of his tent. Men were watching with open mouths as they walked out of camp and across no man’s land as if they owned it. He remembered Cloud talking to some people on his side, but had no idea what was being said. There was some angry gesturing towards Cloud, towards Sephiroth, until finally they seemed to understand something. Then Cloud towed Sephiroth to this cabin and they picked right up where they left off.
It was small. It was basically one room with a bathroom added on. The kitchen, dining area, and den were all tucked in with the bed.
It was an ideal place to bond with Cloud. The idea of leaving his lover to use the bathroom sounded physically excruciating, but then again, so was the feeling in his bladder.
He worked on Cloud’s fingers, trying to get them to let go without actually waking Cloud. He finally got them loose.
He was quick, not wanting to be far from Cloud for very long. He practically jumped into bed, not that Cloud noticed. Sephiroth pressed as much of himself against Cloud as possible, nearly feeling withdrawal from two minutes of separation.
Ahh…this was better.
Two armies met on the field, but neither made a move to fight.
Rufus ShinRa, the new president as of this week, listened to the current commanding officer’s tale with…well he didn’t know how to describe it.
“Sephiroth…what?” he said.
“Erm…he appears to have found his soul mate,” Angeal Hewley said, “from, erm…that army.” Rufus buried his face in his hands. Why did his father have to leave such a mess when he died. Couldn’t he have a stroke after he settled all his messes?
“Are you sure?” Rufus asked.
“Ahh…well…they weren’t exactly quiet about it,” Angeal said, “and Sephiroth left pretty willingly.”
“Is there any good news at all?” Rufus asked desperately.
“Well…it’s kind of good news,” Angeal said, “Apparently Sephiroth’s soul mate was…their best fighter, so we’re still pretty evenly matched.”
“Do we know where he is?” Rufus asked.
“Uhh…no,” Angeal admitted, “they left without saying anything. They took their weapons as well.” Rufus buried his face in his hands.
“They’re willing to…talk about what to do next,” Angeal said, motioning to the line of warriors sitting in the field, “They…don’t seem to want to fight much either.” Rufus sighed.
“Fine,” he said.
Cloud woke up feeling that something was missing. He looked around. His fusion swords were here. His clothes were here. What did he forget?
Then fingers were lifting up his chin and a mouth that tasted amazing was kissing him.
He found it, everything was perfect.
“Good morning,” Sephiroth said. That was one of the phrases Cloud knew.
“Morning,” he groaned. Sephiroth smiled, as if his words were a gift.
“Are you hungry?” Sephiroth asked. Cloud cocked his head. This one was lost on him.
“I’m not much of a cook, but I can heat things up well enough,” Sephiroth continued, “Shit, I forgot. Umm…food?” Cloud knew food. He nodded. Food was good.
“Do we have any?” Sephiroth asked. Cloud didn’t get the words, but understood the meaning well enough. Cloud had stocked the place up well enough before he went off to fight. Good thing too.
“Come,” Cloud said, getting up. He took Sephiroth’s hand again and guided him to the cooking area. He had some dried meats that should still be good. Sephiroth nodded Cloud passed a strip over.
“Thank you,” he said.
“Velkominn,” Cloud replied.
“Er…what?” Sephiroth asked. Cloud laughed.
“For food,” Cloud said, “welcome.”
“Oh,” Sephiroth said and smiled. Gods above this man had a cute smile.
Perhaps karma was a thing. Cloud had spent so much of his life alone. First being an outcast, then losing his mother and family. Becoming a warrior had done nothing to fix that, it just made him more of an outlier. For a long time, his only companion had been his sword. He’d fight, people would thank him and…he’d be alone again. He hoped being a part of an army would get some friends at least.
Instead he got a soul mate and that was a thousand times better because this man was perfect.
“Ég elska þig,” Cloud said offhandedly. Sephiroth stared at him, not seeming to comprehend at first.
“I love you,” Sephiroth said. Cloud was just as confused with that phrase, but somehow felt they were on the same page.
“We should probably figure out how to talk soon,” Sephiroth said, “I don’t want to force you to learn Common, but I don’t understand most of what you say.”
“Common easy,” Cloud said, “I do Common. We talk.”
“I’ll do…whatever it is you’re saying,” Sephiroth agreed with a nod.
“Good,” Cloud said.
“Good,” Sephiroth agreed. Cloud hugged Sephiroth tightly.
He couldn’t believe this man was real.
The meeting wasn’t going well. Rufus had to call the opponents bluff because he knew for a fact that their “Wolf of Dragon’s Den” or whatever his name was, had ditched them with Sephiroth.
“He’s fucking gone!” Rufus said, “What else do you have that I can prove is not here.” This was more like a squabble between parents than a meeting about terms of surrender/truce/armistice/whatever.
Then it happened.
The enemy’s translator bumped into Commander Hewley and…
“Ohh…why hello there love,” the redhead purred.
“…Hello…it’s nice to finally meet you,” Angeal said.
“You’re place or mine?” the redhead said.
“Oh…um…I’m more of a slow and steady type of person,” Angeal said.
“Are you fucking joking?” Rufus asked. They both glanced at Rufus then back at each other.
“I’m sorry sir,” Angeal said, “It’s not exactly something I have control over.”
“You’re playing hard to get,” the redhead said, “Gods above, you’reperfect.”
“Thank you,” Angeal said, “You’re not too bad yourself.”
“I’m Genesis,” the redhead said.
“How many soul mates are in these fucking armies!” Rufus yelled. The opposing side seemed to share his frustration.
“Well, Angeal—oh that such as nice name—what do you say we go bond somewhere more private?” Genesis said, disregarding everything around them.
“Oh, Ifrit’s ballsack!” Rufus swore, “just leave, Hewley. Everybody just leave.”
“They still want to talk, sir—”
“Why don’t we all just do a group hug and see who else falls in love,” Rufus snapped.
“That sounds nice Genesis,” Angeal said, deaf to anything else.
Everybody gets a soul mate...at least I hope they do.
Seph and Cloud are solid as are Gen and Angeal. You know who I can't properly place? Zack. Zack goes with everyone.
Forget all that. We're going Rufus/Tseng/Zack because I said so.
Google Translate read Cloud's name as Icelandic, so that's what I'm going for as his native tongue. I don't speak Icelandic at all, so feel free to add corrections where you see fit.
Cloud finds a fun way to learn Common.
Rufus needs to relax a little more, luckily he's getting help with that.
This was Sephiroth’s new favorite game. Anything that had to do with Cloud was awesome at this point, but Sephiroth had a soft spot for Language lessons.
They had tried starting with a more traditional route, but learning ABC’s was boring and Cloud really wanted to talk now. Now they just pointed at stuff and the other gave it a name. Cloud loved it, pointing and repeating the name of everything he learned. Sephiroth…Sephiroth still wasn’t pronouncing things correctly. Either he was a bad student, or Cloud was a bad teacher. They had gotten to the point where Cloud would accept “close enough” and move on. He seemed to understand what Sephiroth was trying to say. He didn’t giggle at his attempts anymore.
Cloud sat down on the edge of the bed with a rather knowing smile. Sephiroth returned it.
“Again eh?” Sephiroth said, “I can oblige.” He knew, deep in the back of his mind, that their overactive sex drive was due more to their bonding than anything else. Some mates never left their beds when they bonded, others could barely stand more than holding hands. It was different for every bond. Theirs had started fast and loud, slowly fading down to something a lot more comfortable and intimate.
What Sephiroth didn’t know was that he and Cloud would always have a healthy sex life.
Cloud took his hand and pulled it up to his lips.
“This?” he asked.
“Hand,” Sephiroth said.
“Hand,” Cloud repeated. He pressed his lips to the tips of Sephiroth’s fingers and looked up.
“Fingers,” Sephiroth said, catching on to the game. Cloud pulled on Sephiroth’s hand to make his stoop lower. Cloud’s hand wrapped around his neck and directed his mouth to his. Cloud arched an eyebrow in question. Sephiroth paused to think.
“That could be two things,” he said, holding up two fingers. Cloud nodded in understanding.
“One?” Cloud asked. Sephiroth cupped his chin and traced his bottom lip with his thumb.
“Lips,” Sephiroth said. Cloud touched Sephiroth’s mouth gently.
“Lips,” he said. Sephiroth waited for Cloud to lower his hand. Then he took a firmer hold of Cloud’s head and moved in to kiss him good and deep. Cloud responded automatically, kissing him right back. Sephiroth pulled back, leaving Cloud panting.
“Kiss,” Sephiroth said.
“Kiss,” Cloud breathed. Cloud liked kisses. He liked them very much. He reached for Sephiroth to get another one, but the man resisted, instead moving lower.
“Neck,” he said and placed a firm kiss on Cloud’s throat. Cloud smiled as he tipped his head back. Sephiroth wanted to continue the lesson.
“Shoulders,” Sephiroth said, smattering kisses across Cloud’s. Cloud let his eyes slide shut.
“Chest,” Sephiroth said, moving steadily down Cloud’s sternum. He paused and flicked his tongue at Cloud’s navel, earning a squirm and swat to the head.
“Hips,” he murmured as he slid down the cotton shorts Cloud had put on while they were briefly outside this morning. Cloud lifted his hips to help Sephiroth out.
Sephiroth gave little warning for his next move. He had to choke back a laugh when Cloud’s eyes flicked open and the blonde arched up.
“Sephiroth!” he called out in shock.
Rufus was glaring at everything in general. Why did this thing have to be so difficult. Why did Sephiroth have to find his soul mate now? Why did he have to be anti-ShinRa?
Why did true love have to be so godsdammned difficult?
“Sir, we’ve finished preparing your quarters,” a SOLDIER said behind him.
“Thank you,” Rufus sighed.
“I was also to tell you that you have a visitor,” he continued.
“Who?” Rufus asked, not really caring.
“He said you would know,” the SOLDIER said. Rufus stared at him, then felt that anger returning. He whipped around and stormed towards his tent. He pushed his way inside, ignoring everything around him, to see his blue-suited visitor.
“I’ve always found it funny that you insist upon luxury even when camping,” Tseng said, already pulling out liquor bottles from Rufus’s cooler, “The point is to not live in luxury, you know.”
“What are you doing here?” Rufus asked.
“My job,” Tseng said, “the full time one, not the part time.”
“What is that exactly?” Rufus asked.
“To keep you happy, qin'ai de,” Tseng said. Rufus stared at him, his eye twitching a little. Finally, he sighed and relaxed fully. Tseng patted the spot beside him on the air mattress and held out a bottle. Rufus accepted and took a long swig.
“It’s kind of dangerous for you to be here,” Rufus said, “warzone and all that.”
“Same for you,” Tseng said, “Elena said you were acting bitchy. I said I’d come down and fix it.” Rufus snorted.
“It’s such a mess,” Rufus said, “It’s even worse than keeping us a secret from…”
“From your father,” Tseng finished, “I realize that. He never understood soul mates. Had he been alive he probably would have made this whole situation even worse.”
“I don’t see how it can get worse,” Rufus said, “the whole damn operation is falling apart.”
“Try killing off Sephiroth’s soul mate and see how it can get worse,” Tseng said. Rufus blinked and looked over at his own soul mate in shock.
“That’s what your father would have tried,” Tseng said, “You wouldn’t even dream of doing that. True love is a dangerous thing. At the very least, Sephiroth would kill everyone here and skin you alive. That’s what I would do if anyone even thought about harming you.”
“Oh gods what do I even do?” Rufus groaned.
“Don’t worry about it,” Tseng said. Rufus snorted. He let Tseng take the empty bottle from his hand and set it aside. Lips pressed against his forehead as if not a day had passed from the moment they first touched. Almost six years had passed since that day.
“You are going to go to sleep,” Tseng said, “I’m your security detail for the night. I’ll tuck you in, and in the morning you can start worrying again.” Rufus sighed, but it sounded like a great plan in all honesty.
“Will you lay with me?” Rufus asked, almost childishly. Tseng kissed his head again.
“Of course qin'ai de,” he said.
There was nothing romantic about walking through a battlefield. Unless, that is, you were with your soul mate.
Genesis had so many plans for this day. Fantasies honestly. Taking them through the orchard back home. A lot of love poems. Perhaps some fine dining.
Instead he got a battlefield, but it was a battlefield with the most perfect man in the universe and that wasn’t half bad. Angeal was tall, dark, handsome, strong, courteous, courageous, kind, a little shy, and all Genesis’s. The perfect man.
“So…how did you get here?” Angeal asked.
“Third generation of hating ShinRa,” Genesis said, “and a couple years of language and martial arts study. You?”
“Joined the military to support myself,” Angeal admitted, “My other option was farming. I like gardening, but acres of fields, no thank you.”
“Don’t blame you,” Genesis said, “My family owned an orchard. Trees were bad enough. I could handle a garden…y’know, given you do all the work.”
“I like doing the work,” Angeal said with a smile, “it’s even better when someone enjoys it.”
“Be still my racing heart,” Genesis gasped. Angeal blushed a little. He was so…cute.
“Where are you from?” Angeal asked, “You accent isn’t like everyone else’s around here.”
“I’m a small town boy, luckily a Common-based one,” Genesis said, “ Banora, if you’ve ever heard of it.” Angeal stopped walking.
“That’s not possible,” Angeal said.
“Well, actually it is, since I kind of remember growing up in Banora,” Genesis said.
“I’m from Banora,” Angeal said. Genesis stared openly at his perfect man.
“What is the nickname for Banora White Apples?” Genesis asked.
“Dumbapples,” Angeal said, “What did you call the crazy guy who lived on the main road?”
“Apple Dumb Joel,” Genesis said. They stared at each other in a completely new light.
“All this time,” Genesis said.
“And we never met,” Angeal continued.
“How did we?”
“And always miss each other,” Angeal finished. They slowly smiled at each other again.
“I guess the gods decided we had to meet here,” Genesis said, “and no where else.”
“I’m glad they did,” Angeal said. Genesis never thought his first kiss would take his breath away like that.
Rufus felt invigorated when he woke up the next morning. Tseng had laid behind him until he fell asleep, yet was wide away as he stretched and yawned. Tseng had coffee ready.
“Still no sign of Sephiroth and his companion,” Tseng said, “though I believe that is for the best. There are rumors that the Wolf has a home somewhere nearby, but they aren’t causing any havoc so we should let them be.” Rufus nodded.
“It sounds like they were fairly handy at keeping themselves busy,” he noted.
“Commander Hewley is attempting to take the proper protocol for the bonding period,” Tseng continued.
“Just…let him go,” Rufus said, “he’s long gone by now.” Tseng smirked, but said nothing else on the matter.
“The leaders for the opposition are ready to attempt more negotiation,” Tseng said, “They have another translator and are ready when you are.” Rufus stared at his coffee before downing it.
“Right,” Rufus said, “Back to business.”
“Aaauuugh!” Cloud yelled as he came. Sephiroth gasped at the feeling of Cloud clenching down on his already spent cock and held on to Cloud as they rode through the final waves.
Still fucking amazing sex.
Cloud parted slowly, limbs shaking and hair even more disheveled.
“Kiss,” he said and Sephiroth obliged.
“We’ll have to do laundry soon,” Sephiroth noted, “and bathe at some point.”
“Mmm,” Cloud grunted.
“I love you,” Sephiroth said. Cloud opened his eyes.
“What love?” he asked quietly. It was their first abstract question. Everything else had been physical.
“Right here is love,” Sephiroth said. Cloud nodded.
“Oh,” he said, “love you also.”
“I know,” Sephiroth said, “sleep now?”
“Sleep now bed,” Cloud said, “love Sephiroth.”
The second round was going a bit more smoothly than the first. Both sides had accepted that they had no bargaining chip at all. This was true love they were dealing with. You didn’t fuck with that sort of planetary planning.
At the same time, neither wanted to yield to the other.
“Yeah…they’re pretty much saying you can have control over this land when they’re all dead,” the new translator said.
“I figured,” Rufus said, rubbing his face. He needed Tseng by him again.
“I’m willing to make a compromise at this point,” Rufus said, “It’s obvious that love is in the air around here. We can call a temporary truce until we figure out an option that all of us agree upon.” The raven haired translator spent a few moments talking to his people before turning back.
“They were just about to suggest that,” he said, “and uh…apparently I’m supposed to shake your hand to seal that deal. They uh…don’t want to touch…ShinRa hands.” Rufus rolled his eyes and took the offered hand.
He felt like he was struck by lightning.
“Oh my god,” the black-haired man gasped.
“No,” Rufus said, “No, no, this is impossible.”
“Really,” the man said, “because I’m falling in love with you and I don’t know how to stop that.”
“Let me go,” Rufus said, ignoring the fact that it was his fingers he was prying open, “this isn’t possible. I have a soul mate already. Tseng!” The words had barely escaped from his mouth when Tseng appeared. The former translator was gasping, wavering between his group and Rufus, and near tears at this point.
Tseng figured out what was going on nonetheless.
“It’s not possible,” Rufus said, “I belong with you and…I’m so confused.”
“Rufus,” Tseng said, “Rufus!”
Rufus snapped out of it and saw Tseng touching the translator’s shoulder. The young man was staring at Tseng in awe.
“He’s my soul mate too,” Tseng said.
You're all soulmates Rufus, all three of you
Far from the chaos of the former battle ground were two pairs of soulmates. The first was still holed up in a cabin somewhere in the mountains. The second was making their way towards the sea.
“Where are we even going?” Angeal asked.
“I don’t care,” Genesis said, “so long as you’re here I can be anywhere.”
“What about…it’s so typical…Costa Del Sol?” Angeal said.
“Sure,” Genesis said, “I like the ocean.”
“I’ve never been,” Angeal admitted, “too pricey for me.”
“Mmm…I’ll have to show you around,” Genesis said, “I might be able to con my way into my parents old beach house.”
“…You weren’t kidding about being wealthy,” Angeal said.
“It doesn’t matter now,” Genesis said, “Money can’t buy me you and you make me…I can’t describe it.”
“You don’t have to,” Angeal reminded him.
“That’s right, I almost forgot,” Genesis said. Gods above his hands were warm and rough and Genesis didn’t think he’d ever be able to let it go.
The best part was that Angeal was feeling the same thing.
“I have to warn you that I’m a cuddler,” Genesis said, “I’m going to be all over you awake and asleep.”
“Doesn’t bother me,” Angeal said, “I haven’t washed in a few days. I feel like I should add a disclaimer.”
“I like the way you smell now,” Genesis said.
“You smell like home,” Angeal countered. They had stopped walking.
“Kiss me again,” Genesis demanded.
“Heh, and I thought you’d be the one with the silver tongue,” Angeal said.
“Pfft, please,” Genesis said, “You just have to stand there to make me want to kiss you. And smile too.” Angeal did smile at that.
“Not even twenty-four hours and I’m in love with you,” Genesis murmured.
“Good,” Angeal said, “I thought I was going crazy.”
Approximately six hours after Angeal and Genesis proclaimed their inevitable love, Sephiroth and Cloud were stirring after their second or third sex marathon (they were starting to lose count).
Sephiroth was learning that Cloud was not much of a morning person. He liked to sleep in those extra few minutes.
That was fine by Sephiroth. Cloud looked radiant waking up.
He couldn’t resist touching, however. He never could, and Cloud never complained. He actually seemed to like it.
Cloud wouldn’t say that he liked it; he fucking loved it. Sephiroth had magic fingers. They massaged and tickled in all the right places and there was no better way to wake up than that.
Then they were both awake. The sun was at the perfect angle on the bed and they both thought the other looked disheveled, exhausted, and stunning.
“Love Sephiroth,” Cloud said.
“Love you too,” Sephiroth said, his head resting on his hand as he observed his lover.
He wondered how long they had here. When would they have to go back down and separate, if only briefly.
Never sounded ideal, but unrealistic. They had lives to lead, now they had an addition to them.
The shortest bonding period Sephiroth had ever heard off had been one month. Even the mates who seemed the most distant required at least that month to get their emotions and urges under control. Anything less was torture. They didn’t necessarily have to be alone for all that time, but they needed their partner.
Sephiroth was praying for the full month.
Cloud snapped him from his daydreaming by stretching.
“We should probably wash up soon,” Sephiroth said.
“Veit ekki,” Cloud said. Sephiroth knew that phrase meant “don’t know,” or something like that. He looked around.
Their last set of bed sheets had earned the stains of the previous two sets. Their clothes had seen better days. Cloud in particular had something hard and crusty around his abdomen.
“We’re messy,” Sephiroth said, “Room, messy.” Cloud followed his gaze and started to nod.
“Við þurfum að þrífa,” he said.
“I hope that means we’re getting a bath,” Sephiroth said.
“Come,” Cloud said, “leave bed. Going to…wash?”
“Wash in Kirr-uv toon-guh?” Sephiroth asked, wanting to know how to say it in Cloud’s language.
“þvottur,” Cloud replied, “Off bed.” Cloud pulled out a large wicker basket and started tossing in their dirtied clothing. Sephiroth dug through Cloud’s spare clothes (repeating “fmoff tuh” over and over, but still never saying it quite correctly) until he found pants that were a rather nice fit, if a little tight.
Cloud liked the view.
They ventured outside again. Cloud knew the area very well and was leading them a little further up the mountain. Sephiroth noted they were following and old animal trail.
It was very peaceful up here. Whoever this cabin belonged to had chosen a good spot to build, in summer weather at least. Birds chirped happily as they trudged upwards, completely undisturbed by their presence.
Sephiroth heard the water before they reached it.
A stream started somewhere near the summit of and grew to a decent size at the point Cloud led them to.
Cloud set down the basket and started pulling out clothes.
“Wash here,” Cloud said, “wash us after.”
Sephiroth liked the sound of the second part.
Rufus, Tseng, and their third soul-mate, as he appeared to be, were all sitting in Rufus’s tent and not talking.
The third man was pacing nervously. Rufus was watching him, twitching weakly and trying to come to terms with the idea that he had three soul mates. Tseng was watching them both with amusement.
“Aren’t you going to ask for his name qin'ai de?” Tseng asked, “it’s rather rude of you.”
“Shut up Tseng,” Rufus said weakly. Tseng smirked.
“I…uh…that is…” the new man seemed at a loss. Tseng took pity on him. He’d had a rough day.
“What is your name?” Tseng asked.
“Oh…uh…most people call just me Zack,” he said.
“Zack,” Tseng said, “It’s nice to meet you.”
“Is…is he alright?” Zack stammered. He looked awful.
“Rufus, you’re torturing Zack,” Tseng said, “talk to him.”
“He isn’t supposed to exist!” Rufus said, “no offense…Zack.” Zack smiled, but it looked forced.
“He exists whether you want him to or not,” Tseng said, “The planet deemed that all three of us are to be together. If you want to resist and kill yourself doing it, be my guest. In the meantime, I plan to bond with my new soulmate.” Rufus sighed.
“I’ve only ever heard of a pair,” Rufus said, “Why do I get two?”
“Even the planet spoils you,” Tseng teased, “little baobei.” Rufus took a deep breath and actually looked at Zack.
He was attractive for sure, but not in the cool, dark way that Tseng was. He was wild, full of energy. It might have been annoying if Zack hadn’t been…cute. He couldn’t sit still.
“Have you ever heard of a three way soul mate?” Rufus asked.
“As a joke,” Zack admitted, “a really dirty one.”
“I know of a four member soulmate party,” Tseng said, “so technically no, but yes to the polyamory.”
“You never told me that,” Rufus said.
“It wasn’t my story to tell,” Tseng said, “and you’re still torturing Zack, let him come closer.” Rufus nodded to that. Zack plopped on the floor near the bed where Tseng and Rufus were sitting. He seemed a bit more relieved in this position…except now he was picking at his finger nails.
“How is this going to work?” Rufus asked no one in particular.
“I’d imagine much like our relationship before,” Tseng said, “but with one more person.”
“How does even the one work?” Zack asked. In reflection, Tseng decided that going through this process once before took a bit of the edge off. He still had the nearly uncontrollable urge to pull on Zack’s hair. He’d had the same urge with Rufus, except he had given in then.
Zack was probably going crazy. He was touchy-feely to begin with, how he was holding back was a miracle.
“Rufus,” Tseng said, “what are you holding back for?”
“I don’t know,” Rufus said, “I’m waiting for this to blow up in my face, for it all to be a joke on me.”
“It’s not,” Tseng said, “I feel it too. All of us, we feel the same urge. The planet wants us to bond.”
“I know,” Rufus said, “but what if one of us is a mistake?”
“Then they will be a great one,” Tseng said, “best mistake ever.” Rufus snorted. He didn’t look at Zack, but his grip on the corner of the bed was a little too white-knuckled to be calm.
“Qin'ai de,” Tseng purred, “let him up here. He loves you too.” Rufus shoved Tseng away. Tseng followed the push to make a space space. Rufus didn’t move. Tseng knew Zack had about five seconds before Rufus changed his mind and went on being bitchy.
“Get up here Zack,” Tseng said, “before our princess changes her mind.”
“Hey!” Rufus said, but further protest was stopped by the warm body that plopped on the bed between them.
Oohh…why did Zack have to be cute? Why did have to have those big blue eyes that ripped his heart apart? Why did he have to be the new interpreter?
“Thank Leviathan,” Tseng said, “I was about to join him on the floor.”
“This is okay…right?” Zack said.
“This is fantastic,” Tseng said, transforming into the bubbly creature that appeared when he was first assigned to watch Rufus and…had problems not touching his hair.
Already Tseng was running his fingers through the black stuff on Zack’s head. Zack, to his credit, only thought it was weird for about three seconds. Then he started leaning into the touch like a puppy getting his ears scratched.
“You’re manipulative, you know,” Rufus scoffed.
“Of course I am,” Tseng said, “I have to be in order to be with you.”
“Touché,” Rufus replied.
“Come here qin'ai de,” Tseng said, “meet Zack. We’re going to be here for a while.” Rufus debated internally for half a second before he broke down. He needed to touch Zack again.
“Hello Zack,” Rufus said, dragging his arm around Zack’s shoulder.
“Mmm?” Zack hummed, “oh…hi…you’re warm.”
Now Rufus thought he might have an answer to his why questions: why not?
Sephiroth pushed himself up from underwater with a loud relieved sigh. Cloud laughed at him from his perch nearby.
There was a spring in a small cave not far from the stream. Cloud had brought up some twine and clothespins and their clothes and bed sheets were drying in the breeze near the entrance.
The pool was about seven feet deep at its deepest point, but less than four feet by the cave entrance. Its best feature was the heat. Sephiroth guessed there was a trickle of mako into the pool. Not enough to really matter much, but big enough to make an effect on temperature. It didn’t take much mako to cause that reaction. Cloud seemed undisturbed by the water and Sephiroth didn’t feel anything.
Maybe they had been exposed to enough of the stuff that this amount didn’t hurt? Sephiroth brushed it away. This pool wasn’t glowing so the mako amount was pretty small.
Sephiroth smiled at Cloud. He crooked a playful finger.
“Come here,” he said. Cloud shook his head. Sephiroth insisted.
“No,” Cloud said stretching out on the rock, “you here.” Sephiroth cocked his head. Cloud was always coming to him. Was he getting tired of it? Was Sephiroth being selfish assuming Cloud would do everything he wanted?
“Okay,” Sephiroth said, “sorry.”
“No sorry,” Cloud said, “no synda.”
“Sin Ta?” Sephiroth said, “Can’t swim?”
“Can’t swim,” Cloud agreed.
“I’ll teach you,” Sephiroth said, “come on.”
“Ég get ekki synt,” Cloud said.
“I can show you,” Sephiroth said, “Sephiroth ken-na Cloud sin-ta.” Cloud smiled at Sephiroth’s sloppy attempt at speaking. He seemed to be considering.
“Sephiroth teach Cloud swim,” Cloud agreed. Sephiroth held out his hand and Cloud took it and let himself be dragged a little deeper. Sephiroth stopped at the point where Cloud was almost to the point of not touching.
“Follow me,” Sephiroth said. He took both of Cloud’s hands and started guiding them, making the motions of treading water.
“Like this,” Sephiroth said, “your hands will hold you up, not your legs.”
“Legs?” Cloud asked, picking up one of the words he knew.
“Kick soft,” Sephiroth explained, “Use hands.” Cloud’s eyes widened in understanding. Sephiroth had him practice for a few minutes more before dragging him just a little deeper. Not deep enough to be dangerous yet.
Cloud was held up by Sephiroth for just a moment before he was let go. He started to sink, until he restarted his treading motions.
He was swimming.
“I swim,” he said with a grin.
“You swim,” Sephiroth agreed, “a little.”
“Need…prac-ice? Pattice? Practice?” Cloud struggled to remember this word.
“Practice,” Sephiroth agreed, “later.”
“Later,” Cloud said, “Kiss now?”
“Here?” Sephiroth asked.
“Mmmhmm,” Cloud said, stopping his treading and wrapped his legs around Sephiroth’s waist. Sephiroth responded by cupping the back of Cloud’s head and kissing him. He started moving them to shallower water. He sat down and let Cloud straddle him, keeping his hands near the blonde’s hips.
“Like this,” Sephiroth said.
“Like this,” Cloud repeated, “kiss now. Love now.”
“Love always,” Sephiroth corrected. Cloud smiled before they reconnected.
Rufus’s bed was not quite made for three, but he didn’t particularly mind being crowded on it. Zack was shifting, not tired yet, but wanting to please. Rufus imagined he wanted to talk, but pretended to be asleep for the time being.
Tseng was a lot better at this stuff. He certainly had no trouble romancing Rufus most of the time.
“Relax Zack,” Tseng said, “He’s not mad at you, just at the universe in general.”
“I don’t want to wake him up,” Zack whispered, “He looked so tired before.”
“He’s faking it,” Tseng said, “Aren’t you baobei?” Rufus didn’t deem the remark with a response.
“He won’t mind,” Tseng said, “he wants to talk to you, but thinks he’ll do it wrong. He’ll just listen for now.”
“What does…what do you call him?” Zack asked.
“Baobei?” Tseng said, “It means baby, because he acts like one.” Rufus snorted, giving himself away, but didn’t say anything.
“Caught you,” Tseng said, “It's a little childish I’ll admit, but Rufus knows he likes it. Qin'ai de means 'my darling' essentially.”
“You two have been together a long time,” Zack said.
“Six years,” Tseng said, “we spent a lot of it sneaking around. Rufus’s father would never have approved it.”
“It still must feel nice,” Zack said, “having someone love you no matter what anyone else wants.”
“You tell me,” Tseng said.
“Why do you keep touching my hair?” Zack asked, “not that I don’t like it.”
“He’s got a hair fetish,” Rufus said.
“Welcome to the conversation,” Tseng said, “It feels nice, that’s all.”
“And for the record,” Rufus said, “those six years were the hardest of my life.”
“Indeed,” Tseng said, “I plan for this time around to be a lot easier.”
“What do you mean?” Zack asked.
“No sneaking into rooms in the dead of night,” Tseng said, “no hacking the guard detail listing so we could be close together, no bribing other people to keep our secret, just being soulmates.”
“Oh,” Zack said.
“I would like that,” Rufus said, “Zack, I really would.”
“Oh…well thank you,” Zack said.
“Hmm…I’ll have to come up with a nickname for you so qin'ai de will get jealous,” Tseng murmured.
“Asshole,” Rufus said.
“Brat,” Tseng shot back.
“You two aren’t really all that serious,” Zack said.
“Oh this is serious,” Tseng said, “this is love.”
On what was quickly becoming a former battlefield, a threesome was just stirring from a very restful night.
Rufus felt hot puffs of air against the back of his neck. He shifted a little into the body behind him, thinking it was Tseng letting him sleep in. Then he realized that the arm around his waist was a little thicker and harder than Tseng’s and had a dusting of dark hair.
Zack, Rufus thought to himself, His name is Zack.
“The young one is a bit of a cuddler it seems,” Tseng’s voice drifted over the tent. Rufus leaned his head up and saw the third member of their little triangle sitting at the table with his feet propped on the table, watching them.
“Where’d you go?” Rufus demanded.
“Not far, just gathering intel,” Tseng said, “It’s time for us to move qin’ai de. Things are getting a little more...dangerous.”
“What?” Rufus said.
“Turk operatives are being sent out,” Tseng said, “which means stealth operatives from the other side are being prepared. We’re leaving.”
“I’m abandoning this...mess?” Rufus asked.
“You’re moving to a more secure location until tensions cool down and they’re ready to talk like civilized people,” Tseng corrected, “And so we can get to know Zack a little better. I have some intel on him as well...but you should ask him first.”
“Not playing fair again I see,” Rufus said.
“Zack isn’t worried about me liking him,” Tseng pointed out, “You two should talk.”
“I don’t need coaching on how to treat a soulmate,” Rufus pouted.
“According to your first attempt with me, yeah you do,” Tseng said. Rufus huffed, getting ready for a comeback, when he heard the unmistakable noise of Zack beginning to stir.
Rufus froze a little when he felt Zack’s body stiffen.
“Merda, I’m so sorry,” Zack said bolting upright. He let out a string of gibberish that made Tseng grin a little from his perch nearby. Rufus gathered Zack had a colorful vocabulary in his native tongue.
Rufus let it go though and took a gentle, yet firm hold of Zack’s wrist and dragged it back over his waist.
“It’s fine,” Rufus said, “I liked it.” Zack fell silent and laid back down, his head moved so his breath only ruffled the top of Rufus’s hair.
“That’s a start baobei,” Tseng said, “But Zack I’m afraid I have either some very bad news or some very good news.”
Night had fallen on the second day of Genesis and Angeal’s bonding when they finally reached Costa Del Sol. Genesis lied his way into a two story beach house with almost frightening ease.
“We have at least a week before anyone notices...or cares,” Genesis said, “I sent the staff to go enjoy themselves.”
“Staff?” Angeal questioned.
“Maids and the like,” Genesis said, “They won’t be bothering us while they’re on paid vacation.” Angeal’s eyes roved around the surroundings when they weren’t glued on Genesis. He wasn’t used to such affluence.
“Did you want to see the ocean?” Genesis asked.
“Kind of,” Angeal admitted. Genesis was happy to oblige. The beaches were cooler at night, and much less populated. There was also something romantic about walking along the sand at dusk.
Angeal walked just along where the surf broke over the beach. When Genesis removed his shoes, Angeal followed his lead, allowing the water to wash over his feet, smiling at the new sensation.
“You can see more during the day,” Genesis said, “and I am most certainly purchasing some swimming gear for you.”
“You don’t have to,” Angeal said.
“I want to,” Genesis said, “whatever I have I want to share with you.” Angeal smiled.
“I wouldn’t know what to do with all of it,” Angeal said.
“Then what about just me then?” Genesis asked. Angeal stopped walking to look at him.
“I think I have a good idea of what I want now,” he said.
“I’ll take that to mean you want to go back to the house then,” Genesis said. Angeal nodded, his eyes surprisingly bright.
Genesis let them back, disregarding any sand they tracked in. Angeal was warm and strong, Genesis quick and soft. They fit so nicely together.
It was worth the wait.
Deep in the shadows a cloaked figure waited. Vincent Valentine had special knowledge on how ShinRa operated on the inside. He knew the President would be moved along with a bodyguard and his soulmate. He wasn’t particularly worried about them.
Sephiroth and Cloud were still AWOL. He had Cloud faintly on his mind. The blonde had been a sort of friend, more willing to talk to him than most and quick to pick up English with good instruction. Vincent wasn’t worried about them either. In fact, he wished the pair well. Cloud was a good kid.
He had a specific target tonight, however. A man who was gathering as much information about their forces as he could and that was dangerous. Vincent’s job was to put a stop to it.
It was turning out to be easier said than done. The man, Tuesti, had proven hard to find at a distance and impossible to get a clear shot of. The captain who had hired Vincent didn’t care about that, but Vincent did. He never killed unless it was absolutely necessary and he could get to Tuesti on foot if he was quick.
He checked Cerebus before he started darting his way towards the camp.
Cloud and Sephiroth were talking again and they had been for hours. Sephiroth still wasn’t sure that both of them were getting every minute detail of the conversation, but the general gist was understood.
Scars. They both had them and it was impossible not to notice them at this point. Cloud had been tracing over each pale mark with the gentlest of fingers, as if they still hurt.
“That was from my first campaign,” Sephiroth said, “There were a lot of swords and...I missed a parry.” Cloud pet the smooth skin before pressing a soft kiss against it, like an overdue apology.
Sephiroth touched a line that crisscrossed over Cloud’s forearm.
“Wolf,” Cloud said. Sephiroth nodded. He knew there was a story, probably the one that had led to Cloud’s nickname, but was satisfied with that answer. He pressed his own kiss against the old wound. He moved to a scar on Cloud’s chest, a clean line. Cloud shook his head and made no sound.
Sephiroth felt his breath cut short when he realized that there was a matching mark on Cloud’s back. Something had gone through him. Apparently the wound had left scars that were more than skin deep. Sephiroth let it be, but still pressed a soft kiss to the warm flesh there.
They poked and petted each other, learning a little of their histories one by one, until Cloud found a raw nerve on Sephiroth.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Sephiroth said, far too quickly and tersely. Cloud nodded and just kept stroking the mark, as if he could rub it away with enough work. Sephiroth tried to apologize for his little snap, but Cloud wasn’t listening. He didn’t want Cloud to know just how...unnatural he might be. Not yet. Not while this was still new.
Finally, Cloud decided their talk was over and pressed a kiss to Sephiroth’s forehead.
“Good night,” he said. And with that, he rolled to his side and began to drift off. Sephiroth responded by embracing Cloud, feeling a bit lighter than he had in years.
It was the mark of the first 24 hours the pair would have without making love to one another.
Vincent managed to remain inconspicuous for a long while, waiting for the man to come out. He would make sure this was quick, painless even, before disappearing into the night again.
After two hours after taking up his position, it paid off. The target left his tent, alone. Finally.
Vincent descended. He trailed him for a while, making sure he really as alone before moving up.
A deep sense of dread hit him about three feet from his intended victim. His gut told him he needed to stop, something was going horribly wrong. Vincent didn’t see any danger, couldn’t hear it, but...
The target turned as Vincent was debating on whether to trust his gut or not. His eyes widened as he took in the cloaked man with the brass claw within touching distance. His mouth opened.
Vincent acted fast, reaching out to halt the cry before it rang out. He half failed. Tuesti made a strange sound as they made contact and Vincent realized the source of his discomfort and was never more relieved that his gut had been right.
Unfortunately, someone had heard Tuesti’s cry.
“Sir, Sir!” People were starting to come towards them. Vincent was going to get caught. Years of training and instinct demanded he turn and run...but he couldn’t make himself obey.
“Everything is fine, Collins,” Tuesti said.
“This is...a colleague of mine,” Tuesti said, “Go about your business, we have things to discuss in private.” There was a moment of hesitation. Tuesti held his ground until soldiers began to drift away, a few stealing looks behind them. Vincent was more than impressed at how well this man kept his cool.
As soon as they were alone again, Tuesti lost that demeanor.
“What the hell took you so long!” He hissed.
“I gave up on you,” Vincent said. He’d given up on a lot of things, not just his soulmate.
“Well...I guess I can forgive you for that,” Tuesti continued. Vincent stared at this man he had been moments away from murdering. Neither seemed really sure how to continue. It hadn’t been part of the plan. Not that that was a bad thing.
“Reeve Tuesti,” he said, extending a hand.
“I know,” Vincent said, taking it, “Vincent Valentine.”
“I know,” Reeve said, “An assassin and a tactician. This could be disastrous.” Making no move to take his hand back.
“Most likely,” Vincent agreed, giving no inclination that he could give the hand back. Just how many soulmates were fighting each other in this war? He wasn’t complaining about it. In fact, this conflict had given him a sort of new lease on life, albeit in a very morbid way.
“I don’t know about you, but I’m not sticking around here,” Reeve said.
“No,” Vincent said. It seemed a lot safer to move before one of them became a liability for their army.
“Let me get a bag and we’re gone.” Vincent followed behind Reeve wondering where exactly they could go.
It looks like the soulmate fever is spreading off the battlefield.
Genesis shifted a bit in bed, staring at the man he was sharing it with.
He had always imagined mornings when he’d wake up completely ensconced in another’s arms, legs tangled together, maybe even holding hands. This was not the case.
Angeal had his arms around the pillow beneath his head. His legs were sprawled across his side of the bed, but politely remaining on his side of the bed. He was also snoring a bit, not too loud though.
Genesis propped himself on his hand and chuckled at the hopeless romantic in his soul. There were things it wanted and things it needed. It might have wanted to remain in Angeal’s warm embrace all evening, but it needed to see how completely adorable Angeal was in the mornings after sex, and this wouldn’t be the only morning after.
The planet hadn’t sent Genesis Prince Charming. Angeal had more flaws, wasn’t as pristine. Then again, Prince Charming had always looked like a skinny, snooty fuck to Genesis whereas Angeal was a bashful, hunk of muscle, and sweeter than dumbapple pie to boot.
As Genesis thought about it more, he nodded to himself. If anyone was playing the role of Prince Charming in this fairy tale, it was going to be him. With that thought, Genesis rolled over and took the covers with him.
He smiled as Angeal jerked back his own fair share.
As the Sun rose over the nearest mountain, Vincent and Reeve paused. They would be missed by both of their armies, but neither really had the will to care anymore. They weren’t nearly as disposable as Sephiroth and Cloud had been. Losing the two warriors had been a surprise, losing the best assassin and best spy would be devastating.
They could live with it.
“Are you sure they will be up here?” Reeve asked.
“Cloud said his cabin was on the other side of this mountain,” Vincent said. He remembered the conversation quite vividly. Cloud had been quite animated as he tried to explain how he built a home for himself by himself. He was rightfully proud of his achievement. At least, that had been what Vincent understood of their conversation.
He smiled briefly as he wondered how Sephiroth was faring in understanding Cloud.
“And Cloud knows the area,” Reeve reiterated.
“He lives here, so I would deem it safe to assume so,” Vincent stated.
“How could he live so close, but never be found out?” Reeve asked looking back at the battlefield just beginning to be lit by sunlight.
“I’ll have to ask him,” Vincent said.
“Ugh, I should have warned you that I’m not really...good at this hiking thing,” Reeve said.
“I’ve noticed,” Vincent said.
“Don’t you start getting sarcastic on me,” Reeve said, “We just met.”
Cloud burrowed through his kitchen before scratching his head.
They were running short on supplies. He had stocked it for two weeks before he went off to fight, but he hadn’t anticipated another person. They were going to run out of food soon.
He didn’t really feel like he was ready to leave though. He and Sephiroth had only been here for five days. That was hardly enough cuddle time.
Sephiroth surveyed what Cloud had scrounged up for breakfast and came to the same conclusion. Food was becoming scarce.
“Well what do you usually do?” Sephiroth asked.
“I go veiði,” Cloud said, “You stay?” Sephiroth shook his head the minute he realized Cloud was talking about splitting up.
“No,” he said, “together.”
“I not have...things,” Cloud said after thinking about what word to use, “Danger. One go.” Sephiroth was a little freaked out that he was able to figure out these broken sentences so easily now.
“I can help,” Sephiroth said.
“Danger,” Cloud said, “way is danger.” Sephiroth paused. Cloud knew the terrain, what predators were around. Sephiroth didn’t.
But the idea of separating...
“Please?” Sephiroth said, “I’m a warrior like you. I will follow you. Do what Cloud says.” Cloud was smiling now.
“Don’t know,” he said, not understanding the sentences.
“I Va Vior,” Sephiroth said, “I lie ra from Cloud. I go with Cloud.”
“No,” Cloud said. But Sephiroth knew by the way Cloud bit his lip he was winning this battle.
“So where are we going?” Zack asked.
“To an undisclosed location,” Tseng replied curtly.
“And you can’t tell me where it is because...”
“It’s against protocol,” Tseng said with a shrug.
“Yes because you’re all about protocol,” Rufus said from the back. He’d given Zack the honor of shotgun.
“I bend many rules for you quin’ai de,” Tseng said, “but I’m yet to break one.”
“What exactly is the point of not saying where we are going?” Zack said, “aren’t we going for our safety?”
“He’s got a point,” Rufus said.
“I didn’t memorize the rulebook,” Tseng said, “Although I’m sure there’s a reason.”
“That means he doesn’t know,” Rufus informed Zack. Tseng just rolled his eyes.
“I can tell you it has a lovely view,” Tseng said, “A more ideal place to bond than a military camp.”
“I can live with that,” Zack said and sat back.
“You gave up quickly,” Rufus noted.
“I figure if you two wanted to get rid of me, you would have done it last night,” Zack said, “I trust you.” Rufus felt oddly touched by the statement.
“Quin’ai de has a terrible sense of humor,” Tseng said, “I’m not sure if trust is the word you want to use.”
“I pick on you because you make yourself a victim,” Rufus said.
“You just like my idea of revenge,” Tseng shot back. Zack watched their little spat with a bit of envy. This was an old bond, one that had two familiar partners. He was the outsider. The new one.
Tseng noticed Zack’s mood shift first. He turned to give a look to Rufus. Rufus rolled his eyes, but sat up and leaned forward.
“I am a terrible conversationalist so just bear with me,” Rufus said, “tell me something about yourself.” Zack had a confused cock to his head, then shrugged it off. Rufus stifled a smile at the way his hair bobbed with the motion.
“Well...small town kid,” Zack said, “oh...before I forget. I know it’s inconvenient, but at some point we all have to go to Gongaga to see my Mom. She’d hunt me down otherwise when she finds out I have a...two soulmates.”
“If she finds out,” Rufus corrected.
“No it’s when,” Zack said, “you’ll know as soon as you meet her.”
By noon Cloud had broken down. The weather was still holding out nicely. Cloud decided to risk carrying lightweight camping materials. They’d be gone three days maximum with the food and fresh water they had, maybe longer if they caught anything good.
Sephiroth was under strict orders to do exactly has Cloud told him to. It felt a little strange, not being in control. Cloud was the expert out here. Sephiroth had lived in Midgar for most of his life.
They left soon after, Cloud taking his two lightest swords and making Sephiroth leave his Masamune behind. After an hour, Sephiroth could no longer find any familiar landmarks. He was at the mercy of Cloud’s knowledge.
He felt fine with that.
He reached forward and caught a hold of Cloud’s fingers. Cloud readjusted to clasp Sephiroth’s hand in turn. They smiled at each other for a moment, before turning back to the overgrown trail.
Everything would be fine.
Miles and miles away, in a city almost a world away from the battlefield a man and a woman watched a news story break about how the latest war was faring.
His eyes narrowed as he realized ShinRa had been momentarily halted, but was far from neutralized. She covered her mouth at the absurd title. Love in the Battlefield. Were the ratings that low?
They moved forward through the crowd to see the story a little better.
He felt at where his flesh met metal, wondering how these people could just tear away from their causes like that. Did they have so little to fight for over there?
She wondered if the pictures they were showing were even real. She knew Sephiroth, but the boy he had apparently bonded with was just as remarkable in her opinion.
He huffed and turned to leave. He almost knocked her down. His anger dissipated to be replaced with soft regret.
“Sorry,” he mumbled, then felt something shoot down his spine.
“Oh,” she grunted as he ran into her, then she gasped.
They looked at each other, forgetting the screen.
“Oh it’s you,” she sighed.
“Yeah,” he said rubbing the back of his neck.
Both tried to figure out how to tell their soulmate they had fallen and lost a love once already.
Vincent spotted the cabin first. Reeve heaved a relieved grunt. The trek had been uneventful, but rather long.
They hesitated outside for a moment. Reeve knocked first. Sephiroth would recognize him and hopefully not skewer him.
No response. He knocked again.
After the third attempt, Vincent tried the door. It swung open.
“They’re gone,” Vincent said.
“Damn,” Reeve said, “moved on?” Vincent stepped inside.
“No, their weapons are still here,” he said.
“Is it rude to wait inside for them?” Reeve asked, “or do we not care.”
“I don’t care,” Vincent said shutting the door behind them, “I have...many things I have to discuss with you anyway.”
“Good,” Reeve said, “I’m glad we’re on the same page.” Vincent smiled again. Even as soulmate partners went, he had gotten a strange one. He liked it.
“I’m...my name is Elmyra,” she said, “Elmyra Gainsborough.”
“Barret Wallace,” he said.
“This is...unexpected,” she said with a laugh.
“Yeah,” he said.
“I hope you don’t find it rude,” Elmyra said, “but I had kind of figured we’d never meet and got married.”
“That’s not too rude,” Barret said, “considerin’ I did the same.”
“Well then...” she said, “I think we need to talk about this.”
“Do you mind if we pick up my daughter first?” Barret asked, “I think she should be here.”
“No,” Elmyra replied, “I think I should meet her too.”