Title: Brightest Blue Eyes
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Disclaimer: No implied ownership, no financial gain, only fanwork.
Characters/Pairings: Cloud, Sephiroth, OFC, others mentioned
Rating: MA overall
Summary: Blood, fighting and other daily activities...
Notes: This was written in January 2003 and basically is one of the cornerstones of this site. It has been edited, re/coded and everything else since, but is still very... 'back then'. Before all the new canon.
And then there was a loud bell ringing from somewhere outside.
"What is that?" Tifa asked, standing up.
"I don't know," Cloud replied, getting up as well.
Footsteps pounded through the house. "Cloud? Are you in here?" Sephiroth ran into the room clutching Masamune.
"There are monsters not far from here," he explained quickly. "The guests are all accounted for, but I'm not sure where Pretty is."
Tifa and Cloud followed Sephiroth back towards town. About halfway down the road from the resort, they saw a handful of townsfolk already attempting to slaughter a gigantic pack of rather hideous beasts.
"There are so many!" Tifa exclaimed.
"It's the Mako from the lifestream," Sephiroth yelled back as they ran. "Makes them stronger, faster, and meaner."
"Angel's here!" a man yelled as soon as the three got close enough to fight. "Get clear!"
"What are they doing?" Cloud asked as the men who'd been fighting quickly fell back. "There's a dozen of those damned things!"
"They're letting us have a turn," Sephiroth said with a smirk before leaping at the closest beast. Before either Tifa or Cloud could blink, he'd slashed it into ribbons.
"Right," Cloud said, smiling. He truly had forgotten just how amazing Sephiroth was. Looking at Tifa, he could see she was just as impressed. "Our turn."
One minute and a couple of quick healing spells later, all but one of the creatures had been destroyed. The beast had been injured though, and it ran blindly in the opposite direction.
"Get it!" Tifa yelled. She hadn't had time to get any materia and had bowed out of the battle once it was clear her fists weren't going to take down more than one beast at a time.
"Damn!" Sephiroth yelled. "It's heading for the resort!"
Both he and Cloud took off running, but the beast was already too far away to catch or try to cast a spell towards.
Just as the creature was nearing the tree line, a volley of yelling rang out from the forest and a black chocobo with two riders crashed into the clearing.
Sephiroth and Cloud stopped in their tracks as both Pretty and Vincent jumped off the bird. In a moment of epic gracelessness, Pretty slipped as she landed and rolled once before regaining her footing.
One shot from Vincent only made the beast disoriented and angry, but it bought them a few seconds, at least. In it's confusion it turned around for a moment.
With a war cry that echoed around the clearing, Pretty lunged forward, grabbed her sai, and flung herself onto the creature.
"Pretty!" Cloud yelled, but the woman didn't hear it. With practiced skill, she jammed each weapon into one of the beast's eyes with as much force as her adrenaline gave her. With a sickening pop and the sound of metal on bone, she wrenched the sai upwards until they cracked the creature's skull in half. It fell forward almost instantly, and she was thrown off clumsily, landing upside down on the grass beside her kill.
"Are you alright?" Vincent asked, not even offering a hand to the woman, but instead just picking her up and setting her on her feet.
"I'm guessing you've done that before," Cloud said, panting slightly as he reached the pair. Sephiroth was on his heels.
"Good," Sephiroth said. "But sloppy."
Pretty pouted and tried to brush some of the beast gore off the shirt she was wearing.
"Sorry Vincent, I so promise I know how to get the blood off of this," she said, holding out the bottom of the black shirt for inspection.
Both Sephiroth and Cloud looked at each other then back at Pretty and Vincent. Pretty was wearing Vincent's black shirt with only a couple of strategic buttons done up.
Looking over at Vincent, his pants were undone. And, needless to mention, he was shirtless but did have his cloak over himself.
"Vincent?" Cloud managed to spit out after a moment. "Um... should I even ask?"
Vincent didn't say anything. Pretty crossed her arms.
"I was showing Vincent the back hot springs and had finally convinced him to give it a shot when we heard the bell," she explained. "His shirt was the first thing I could grab."
"Well, Sheriff Ducari saw everything, so you'll get the bounty for this one," Sephiroth said, gesturing towards the fallen beast. "But really, we should all clean up. And perhaps retrieve some clothing as well?"
Everyone turned to see Kooja racing across the clearing with Tifa on his back.
"Smart bird. Came right over and got me," she said as she dismounted. Looking at Vincent, then at Pretty, then back at Vincent, she raised an eyebrow. "Do I want to know what's going on?"
"Nothing more than mildly entertaining as compared to fighting those creatures," Vincent replied, fixing his pants.
"Pretty, why don't you walk back with Vincent and Tifa while Cloud and I speak with Sheriff Ducari," Sephiroth suggested as he looked back towards the small group of people left across the field.
"Sure thing, Angel!" Pretty exclaimed, motioning to the two other dark-haired members of the group. "C'mon! Tifa, there's outside showers so you can get some of the blood off - and then back to the far springs..."
Her voice faded into the wind as Sephiroth and Cloud walked back across the field. When he felt sure they were a safe distance away, Cloud asked the obvious question.
"She's had more than two years of training, hasn't she?"
Sephiroth nodded. "I'm not exactly positive on what she knows or was trained to do, or how many years training she's had... Despite her obvious clumsiness, she has some skill. Yet she had little experience with materia. She had the concepts down, but that's all. It could just be that she studied martial arts when she was younger."
Cloud sighed. "You aren't training her to be a SOLDIER, are you? With the Mako..."
"No," Sephiroth said quickly. "I never realized then, but that was inhuman - what we did - I would never put her through that. She's... like a sister to me. I... Besides, SOLDIER was custom-tailored for men. If nothing else, we had little research on the possible reproductive effects of long term Mako exposure..."
"That's right... there were female guards, but..." Cloud started, but was cut off.
"They were never exposed to Mako," Sephiroth finished.
"Angel!" a hearty voice called. A large dark-skinned man with long dreadlocks waved from a couple meters away. "Who's your new gang? Can we keep them? And Miss Pretty, when did she come home?"
"Sheriff Ducari, Miss Pretty came home this morning. And just in time to give us a hand, right?" Sephiroth said, shaking the man's hand.
Cloud smiled but was silent. The other townsfolk who'd remained were staring at him with great interest.
"And this is one of Miss Pretty's friends from her travels," Sephiroth explained. "His name is..."
"Cloud!" a voice yelled. "What are you dong in Mideel? Where's that nice young lady? Was that her a moment ago?"
It was the nurse who's taken care of him five years ago when he'd been pulled from the lifestream. Sephiroth looked at the blushing blond questioningly.
"I'm visiting Se-Angel's hot springs," Cloud said, thankful he'd managed to correct himself. "And yes, that was Tifa. We're still good friends."
The nurse smiled at him a moment. "Well, be sure and stop by - injury free, of course. I have a couple men here to take back and patch up. Enjoy the springs!"
The last of the crowd was dispersing as the nurse left. Sephiroth quickly reached over and squeezed Cloud's hand in silent thanks for keeping his cover.
"So you want me to send the bounty money over later?" Sheriff Ducari asked, turning back to the pair of bloody fighters.
Sephiroth nodded. "Put it all together, that way I can give Pretty extra and she won't know it. I bet the tourists who saw her little stunt loved it."
The sheriff agreed. "That's one amazing girl - but then again, she's got an amazing older brother too."
Cloud smiled up at Sephiroth. It seemed his proclamation of family was a well known fact in the town. It was an odd thought, the great Sephiroth with a slightly bratty little sister. A skilled and lethal slightly bratty little sister, of course, but nothing else would truly suit him.
"We really should get back," Sephiroth was saying when Cloud snapped back to reality. "I could use a little less blood in my hair."
Ducari laughed. "Have a good day, Angel," he said, before following the stragglers back to town.
"Town Sanitation will get the beasts soon," Sephiroth explained, grabbing Cloud's hand. "So all we really need to do is get cleaned up and wait to get paid."
"Can I call you that too?" Cloud asked suddenly as they walked.
"Well, everyone calls you Angel. Even Tifa said she'll call you that. So... even when we aren't around people, can I?" Cloud was studying the ground again.
"Cloud." Sephiroth stopped and grabbed the smaller man in his arms. "I would be honored."
Cloud smiled and snuggled into the embrace. When he let go, he looked up at Sephiroth again, only to find him trying to suppress a laugh.
"What's so funny now?" Cloud demanded before stepping away irritated.
Sephiroth reached out and brushed something from the blond's spikes. "You have creature guts in your spikes. More than I can get out."
Cloud knocked the hand away and furiously dug his own through his hair, flinging small bits of tissue left and right. "Yuck. I thought I'd given this up for good."
"If you stay, you're going to have to get used to it."
Cloud let himself be pulled back to the older man. "I know."
Sephiroth ran a hand down the blond's face. "You'll get part of the reward, of course."
Cloud looked up expectantly, eyes meeting Mako green before they flickered shut.
If their last kiss had been hot, this once was liquid fire. Cloud thought Sephiroth was going to take the very breath from his body. He moaned against Sephiroth's mouth as hands smeared blood down his back and over his behind.
Sephiroth finally broke the kiss but kept a tight grip on Cloud. "Cloud?"
Cloud managed a grin. "Is this going to be a daily thing?"
"Wearing monster insides or grabbing your ass?"
"Oh come on Tifa, I think they're so adorable! Besides, he's like my brother - I want to see him happy," Pretty explained, leading Kooja back to the fenced chocobo yard.
"It's still weird," Tifa said slowly. "So where's the outside shower at?"
"Around the other side of that shed." Pretty pointed. "I'll go with you."
"Wark!" Kooja chirped.
"We'll be right back, Vincent," Tifa said, getting pulled across the yard by Pretty.
Vincent just offered an acknowledging wave.
"Where did you learn to do all of that, anyway?" Tifa asked, following Pretty around the shed.
"Some of it Angel taught me. And some of it I must have known from before I came here. Some things I kept... and some things I didn't." Pretty explained, turning on the water behind a wooden partition. "Careful, some days it's cold!"
Tifa laughed. "I just want to be clean. Sometimes when we were after Seph- the bad Sephiroth, we'd get stuck without being able to bathe for days! It was horrible."
She stepped under the water fully clothed, furiously scrubbing at her arms and legs. "I still don't think I'll ever get used to it. I mean, I knew Cloud didn't feel that way about me..."
Pretty shrugged. "I still think they're cute. And after ten years to still be in love... It's so romantic!"
Tifa stepped out from under the water, letting Pretty run under and try to clean Vincent's shirt. "Cloud's my best friend. I just don't want him getting hurt again."
"And I don't want Angel getting hurt either," Pretty said, shaking her hair under the spray. "He's the only family I have."
"Well, if they can work through every thing that's happened over the last decade and still want to be with each other, all I can do is wish them happiness, I guess," Tifa said, watching the other woman rinse her sai.
"One more thing," Pretty said. "Cloud's going to have to live through the wrath of every single woman in town."
Tifa laughed as Pretty turned off the water. "Maybe I never noticed because we were trying to kill each other, but Angel is easy on the eyes. Don't you think?"
Pretty stuck her tongue out as they walked back to where Vincent was waiting. "Yuck. He's my brother!"
"Shall we get you back in your proper clothing?" Vincent asked when the giggling women came near.
"Onward!" Pretty exclaimed, pointing down the path.
"Bossman! You got 'em again?" Yuki asked from where he was pulling weeds from the flowerbed in front of the house.
"We took care of the beasts, yes," Sephiroth replied. "Have you seen Miss Pretty and her companions?"
"I didn't see them, but I heard crashing and a chocobo behind the house," Yuki replied. "If they look as bad as you do, they're probably cleaning up."
"Thank you, Yuki," Sephiroth replied. "Do you know how the guests are doing?"
"Hikari was taking seven of 'em to town. And the last two were still in their pajamas when I gave 'em breakfast at eleven. Newlyweds - probably won't leave the cabin for another few days." Yuki winked as he spoke. "I'm leavin' when this is done - nothing else to do."
"That's fine," Sephiroth said before nodding. "Have a good evening."
"See you tomorrow, Angel." The black-haired man gave a quick wave at the pair as they walked towards the back of the house.
"Just leave what you can outside," Sephiroth said when they reached the back porch. "It can be cleaned later."
Cloud shrugged. "There's nowhere out here to clean up?"
"I thought you'd like a hot shower." Sephiroth kicked off his boots with ease. Even Masamune was quickly discarded into the growing pile of gore-soaked apparel. "Cloud?"
Cloud looked extremely apprehensive as Sephiroth discarded his dark shirt and began unbuttoning his formerly beige pants.
"I wasn't suggesting anything. Really," Sephiroth said, stopping what he was doing and pulling Cloud to him. "Just take off what you will, I won't look. And the shower is upstairs to the left. I'll set some clothes just inside the door for you."
Cloud nodded against the silver-haired man's warm chest. His mind was going crazy at the moment. There was nothing he wanted more than running his hands over Sephiroth's wet, hot, naked flesh. But he just couldn't yet. This was, and wasn't, the Sephiroth he had loved a decade ago. He had been sixteen. Ten years had passed - did they even still know each other? He wondered if there were scars anywhere he hadn't noticed before. Scars he'd left on that perfect body.
"Cloud?" A gentle kiss on his forehead. "I'll just check on the chocobos."
Sephiroth let Cloud go and walked away without looking back.
He walked clear to the other side of the barn.
"What horrors did I put him through?"
"Wark!" Answered Kooja, walking over to Sephiroth to get his head scratched.
"Was it selfish of me to even let him know?"
"How far back are we going?" Tifa asked. She was sure they were going in circles.
"We're almost there. I told you it was the back hot springs. They're the best ones," Pretty said. She'd finally stopped fussing about Vincent's shirt.
"You said we were almost there five minutes ago!"
"Look!" Pretty yelled, pointing to where steam rose from the woods about a hundred yards ahead. "We're almost there." She held her head high. She'd purposely took the longest path to get them to the pool, just to build anticipation.
"About time. How did you and Vincent get out of the woods so quickly?"
"We took the short path," Vincent replied.
Pretty shrugged. "You'll appreciate it more this way."
Pretty's shirt hung on a metal bar near the pool. "Go ahead," Pretty said, unbuttoning the black shirt.
Neither made a move for a couple seconds as they both watch Pretty shed her clothing. What must have been a deep wound was slowly scarring on her left thigh.
"Got caught alone with some sort of mutated dragon," she explained, noticing their gaze. "Right before I left - I didn't have anything to heal it with and by the time I killed the thing and dragged myself to the doctor, it was too late to treat it with magic."
She paused. "Don't tell Angel, he doesn't know."
Tifa smiled and took off her shirt as Pretty waded into the steaming pool. The entire thing was lined with stone and looked quite inviting. Before long both Tifa and Vincent had followed into the hot depths.
"Stay to the edges - the bottom drops out in the very center," Pretty said, edging her way to the far side. "This pool is the oldest, I think. I asked some of the people in town and they said these pools were holy places back hundreds of years ago."
"I can understand why - you could lose yourself in this," Vincent said, settling on a submerged ledge.
Tifa ducked under the water for a moment and surfaced beside where Pretty was sitting.
"I am never leaving this spot," she announced.
Pretty laughed. "Worth the walk?"
"And the monster guts. And finding out about Cloud and Angel," Tifa said, sliding down a little on the ledge.
"Angel?" Vincent asked.
"I'm going to call him Angel - I can't quite put him together with that thing we fought," Tifa explained.
"Then I will call him Angel as well. In honor of his second change at life."
Sephiroth kept his word, only heading for the house when he was sure Cloud was inside safely and most likely in the shower. Sure enough, he heard the water running as soon as he was in the door.
He'd left his pants outside, but he didn't really have any qualms about meandering through the house naked. After all, most everyone ended up naked at the resort anyway. It was just something the hot springs inspired.
After a quick check in the spare bedrooms, Sephiroth figured that either Cloud's belongings had been hidden or they'd never made it off the airship. He sighed and wandered into his own bedroom. He was larger than Cloud, but after some deliberation Sephrioth figured that a t-shirt and sweatpants would be sufficient.
Carefully arranging everything over one arm, Sephiroth stepped out of his room and across to the bathroom. He knocked twice before closing his eyes and opening the door.
"Cloud, it's just me. I'm just going to hang some clothing on the back of the door for you," he said loudly, trying to keep his eyes shut.
Cloud winced. Sephiroth sounded hurt. He hadn't meant to upset him. Actually, he wanted to do everything besides that.
Swallowing as he heard the other man tapping his way into the room, Cloud wasn't sure what to do. The shower had a near transparent door and a quick glance confirmed the other's nudity. For a second Cloud was angry - after everything, Sephiroth was still going to push... Then he realized that Sephiroth had been filthy as well and had probably put Cloud's needs before his own.
Before that thought could actually leave his head, he realized he was staring at the Sephiroth's nude form. A very desirable nude form that was struggling to find the hook on the back of the door. Cloud couldn't believe that Sephiroth really had his eyes shut.
He felt horrible. Sephiroth was doing his best to do the right thing and respect Cloud's wishes and still Cloud was having negative thoughts. And rather naughty thoughts, too, he realized a second later as he caught sight of Sephiroth's front. It was now or...
"Seph- Angel?" Cloud said, opening the shower door a couple inches.
"Yes, Cloud?" Sephiroth didn't turn. He managed to get everything hung as best he could and had his hand on the door knob.
"You can open your eyes," Cloud said slowly. "And... you can join me if you want."
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