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Title: Brightest Blue Eyes
Part: 9/9
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Disclaimer: No implied ownership, no financial gain, only fanwork.
Characters/Pairings: Cloud, Sephiroth, OFC, others mentioned
Rating: MA overall
Summary: Longing, rejoicing, and the beginning of the end.
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.

Cloud rolled over only to bump into a small shivering body. "Pretty?"

Glowing red eyes peered into his own blue. "Sorry. I was cold again."

Cloud pulled her close and made sure they were both covered.

"It's okay." He reached back to wake Sephiroth, but the rest of the bed was empty.

"Where's Angel?"

"He got up already, but he made sure we were tucked in first," Pretty explained, still shivering. "We can get up and go practice once I'm warm, okay?"

Cloud sighed. "Of course, Pretty."

It was like this almost every morning now. Pretty had recovered enough to come home two weeks ago, but after that... Despite her claims she wanted to get better, it was like she'd already given up.

It had to be one of the warmest days yet that year, but Pretty was chilled. She always was. Cloud hoped the Mako poisoning would run its course quickly.

When they did finally get up, it was mainly Cloud half-carrying Pretty to her room to find something to wear. Most of her clothes hung off her frame - she looked to literally be skin and bones.

"Ready to go practice?" Pretty asked. She'd gotten her hair pulled back and was sitting on her bed.

Cloud nodded, knowing exactly what was going to happen. They'd make it out to the yard, Pretty would announce she was tired, and sit down to watch him.

But today was different - with her beloved mini-Buster in hand, she actually managed a couple swings at Cloud before he knocked her down. Before he could offer a hand, she had gotten up on her own.

"Feeling good today?"

They both turned. Sephiroth was standing on the porch with a cup of coffee, watching them.

"Sure thing, Angel. I just had a bad night, that's all," Pretty replied, brushing herself off.

"Good, because we've got company coming today."

"Company?" Cloud asked as he walked back to the porch, Pretty trailing behind him.

" The Highwind is coming in and the crew will be staying here overnight." Sephiroth explained, sitting down on one of the porch chairs. Cloud sat on the porch decking, and Pretty took the swinging bench so she could stretch out.

"Is Vincent coming too?" Pretty asked, making a face.

"Of course."

"I don't want him or anyone to see me like this," Pretty said, poking at her chest.

"You look fine, Pretty. I'm sure everyone will understand about what happened," Sephiroth stood up to get another cup of coffee. "Need anything while I'm inside?"

"A blanket. I'm tired. And it's cold," Pretty said, pulling herself tighter together on the swing's bench.

Sephiroth sighed as he pushed the back door open and went inside.

"You're tired already? We barely got warmed up," Cloud teased, idly flattening the wrinkles in his pants.

"I think I did good today," Pretty announced softly.

"You did. But not good enough. Not if you're going to get better."

Pretty nodded before shifting her body so she was laying down on the swing. "I know."

Cloud left Pretty when he knew she was asleep. Hopefully between the thick blanket Sephiroth had brought her and the increasing heat of the day, she'd be okay for a few hours. The blonde walked back into the house and down the hallway to where he knew Sephiroth would be. Every morning after racing through the resort paperwork, Sephiroth holed himself up in the office, pouring through every medical book and document on Mako and Mako poisoning he could get his hands on. The place looked like the basement library of the ShinRa mansion in Nibelheim, and some days, it scared Cloud.

"Angel?" Cloud knocked lightly on the doorframe before pushing the already cracked door open.

Sephiroth looked up only after Cloud was in the room. "What is it?"

"Find anything?" It seemed a simple enough question.

"No. And I just can't remember..." Sephiroth set the book down and shook his head. "Why can't I remember something as simple as things to do for Mako poisoning, I had to have known!"

"Angel, it's okay. You'll find something soon." Cloud walked cautiously around a pile of books to rub Sephiroth's shoulders.

"Is she sleeping again?"

"Out cold," Cloud replied, brushing away liquid silver to lay soft kisses on Sephiroth's neck.

"Cloud." It was half moan, half plea. Cloud liked it. Ever since the accident, they'd been so busy taking care of Pretty...

"Angel, Pretty's fine at the moment and will be fine for a little while. Why don't we go upstairs and..." Cloud began, hoping this would do the trick.

" I really want to, but all these books..." Sephiroth started, only to be silenced as Cloud forced his way onto Sephiroths lap and into a deep kiss.

"All these books can wait a few minutes," Cloud said, taking the one Sephiroth had been reading and threw it across the room. Cloud watched as green eyes went from anger to understanding to lust. He'd learned to read those cat's eyes so well over the last six years and was feeling himself get aroused just by the look Sephiroth was giving him.

"You have a good point." Hands pulled at Cloud's shirt, working it upwards as Sephiroth kissed him quickly before pulling it off altogether.

"You. Me. Floor?"

Sephiroth nodded, easing them both down onto the carpet.

"Do you have...?" Cloud was silenced by Sephiroth's tongue in his mouth, teasing his own and threatening to steal his breath away. The body over his was moving to perfectly torment him, spreading his legs and rubbing against his arousal.

Sephiroth nodded as he broke the kiss, letting his hair trail over Cloud before kissing Cloud's neck. The last mark he'd left had already faded away, which was rare. Then again, it had been uncommonly long since they'd last...

"Angel!" Cloud was writhing as Sephiroth moved lower, taking one nipple in his mouth and the other between skilled fingers, still careful to keep pressure between Cloud's legs.

Cloud leaned his head back as Sephiroth gently removed all of their combined clothing in a few graceful movements. He arched on the floor as Sephiroth licked teasingly along his erection, moaning and spreading his legs until he knocked into a pile of books.

Sephiroth saw that happen and quickly knocked the pile away before returning to the task at hand. He took one last lick over the head of Cloud's erection before taking as much as he could into his mouth. Cloud moaned softly, thrusting lightly up into his lover's mouth, only to be held down by strong hands.

Before Cloud could explode into Sephiroth's mouth though, Sephiroth drew back and reached for a desk drawer. After a moment of crazed digging, he procured a container of lubricant.

"You've stocked the entire house?" Cloud couldn't help but laugh. "I know we've..."

Sephiroth smiled and nudged Cloud's legs apart.

"Saves on buying cooking oil." He winked before sliding his body down to lick between Cloud's legs, tracing Cloud's opening with a warm tongue.

"Angel! Please..." Cloud was sure there was nothing he needed more in the world than to share his body with Sephiroth.

"I know," Sephiroth whispered, crawling over Cloud's body to kiss him as his fingers teased and stretched Cloud. "I know."

Moments later, Cloud was grabbing at the books and carpet around him, lost in pleasure as every movement Sephiroth's fingers made seemed to touch him just right. His vocabulary was reduced to moans, broken cusses, and muttered expressions of devotion the instant those fingers were removed to guide Sephiroth's erection to where they'd been.

More books went flying as Sephiroth thrust repeatedly into Cloud. They were moving together in pure desire, exploring each other's bodies with hands and lips even as they were joined.

Cloud cried out as he came, not even entirely sure whose hand had brought him to orgasm, spilling himself between their bodies. Sephiroth moaned when he felt Cloud's body shudder, urging him closer to the edge.

That was all the invitation he needed. Keeping his body as close to Cloud's as he could, he thrust deep, hard and fast, making them both moan, sometimes into each other's mouths as they kissed. Not long after, Sephiroth grabbed Cloud as tightly as he could, keeping them together as he shook in delicious orgasm.

They lay there, after, for a few minutes, silently kissing and occasionally throwing a stray book that threatened their interlude. Sephiroth had just thrown a small blue volume only to have it come flying back at him from the other side of the room.

"This would explain the unusually small welcoming committee today," a voice said, after the book had landed.


"And thankfully alone. Not that I can see anything."

"What time is it?" Sephiroth slowly moved to grab his clothing, cleaning himself with his shirt before handing it to Cloud so he could do the same. He noticed Vincent was standing in the doorway, eyes averted as he pulled on his pants. "Is it that late?"

"We're a bit early. Where's Pretty?" The question was a bit sharp, even for Vincent.

"There's something I need to tell you," Sephiroth said, quickly kissing Cloud before walking over to Vincent. "I didn't want to worry anyone, but Pretty had a bit of an accident a few weeks ago."

"An accident?" Vincent asked as he was led down the hallway.

"I'll let her explain. She's probably still on the back porch, asleep," Sephiroth replied as they stepped into the kitchen. "Go ahead."

Pushing the back door open, Vincent walked over to what looked like a human cocoon on the porch swing. "Pretty?"

Vincent stepped back as eyes more red than his own stared back at him. "Vincent? Go away. I don't feel good."

"You said you were feeling better today," Sephiroth had come out onto the porch, another cup of coffee in hand.

"I tried to," Pretty said, pulling the blanket over her head.

"Don't you think you should at least tell Vincent what happened?"

"No," It was muffled under the thick fabric.

"Then I'll tell him." Sephiroth sat down on the nearest chair. Vincent stayed standing, leaning against the porch railing.

"A few weeks ago, Pretty was out at the back pool, relaxing. She may have even fallen asleep, only to wake up realizing she was covered in Mako. The lifestream had come up into the pool when she wasn't paying any attention and was surrounding her," Sephiroth explained before taking another sip of coffee.

"She tried to get out, but slipped and went under. Once she was under, she couldn't figure out which way was up to get out and ended up in an odd type of stasis for almost 24 hours until we found her."

"Mako poisoning?"

"She was in a coma for a couple weeks, and has been home for a couple. We're hoping the symptoms won't last much longer, right Pretty?"

The mass under the blanket moved and Pretty stuck her head back out.

"The lifestream wants me back," she said quietly. "It came to get me. Maybe I shouldn't try and get better, maybe I should just..."

Vincent shook his head and knelt down next to her. "You told me the lifestream has been coming up in that pool for hundreds of years. It's not after you."

"Don't look at me, I look horrible," Pretty ducked back under the blanket.

Red eyes caught green ones with a look of pure bewilderment.

Still, with a little more prodding and a whole lot of carrying, Vincent and Sephiroth managed to get Pretty upstairs and changed into something she could wear into town.

"You need a different anklet," Vincent said, looking her over. A sleeveless white top and tropical wrap skirt did little to hide her drastic weight loss, but did manage to stay on.

Pretty managed to laugh, pointing to a box on her dresser. "In there. I have a bunch. Angel buys them for me all the time."

Sephiroth was grumbling as he tried to brush out Pretty's hair. Hers was wild and tangly and it was totally different from his, which made it quite the task.

"You two are insisting I go out. I'd rather go back to sleep on the porch. I'm so tired," Pretty said softly, trying to hide the spark of enjoyment at seeing Vincent trying to pick a color appropriate anklet from the box.

"Will black work?" he asked, after a moment, holding up a black beaded one.

Pretty nodded, letting him take the other band off her left ankle. The skin underneath was pale and had been hiding a nasty yet somewhat symmetrical scar. It was something Vincent recognized almost instantly. He touched it before looking up at Pretty. Her eyes were closed as Sephiroth tried to brush her bangs into order.

Sephiroth realized what Vincent had stumbled upon and quickly shook his head. Vincent nodded and, after a couple false starts with how to hold it, managed to coordinate his claw fingers to do up the clasp without catching on the beads or metal.

Any woman involved with ShinRa's military was marked with a barcode on their left ankle, which was seen as a less intrusive spot. And there were only a few ways to remove those barcodes. All were painful, and all caused that horrible scarring.

Vincent silently wondered how much else Sephiroth knew about Pretty's background as he helped her onto a chocobo to ride into town. If he knew anything at all.

A month later Pretty still hadn't improved. She hadn't gotten worse, which still sparked hope, but a couple times Cloud or Sephiroth had found her sitting a few yards away from the back pool, vacantly staring into it's now Mako-free depths.

Cloud yawned and rolled over, only to come face to face with glowing eyes and a tray of food. "I made you breakfast."

"Pretty?" Cloud blinked, wondering how he'd woken up in an alternate universe.

"We need to get going early," Pretty replied. "Today we're supposed to be fixing the rope on the far bell, remember?"

"We? Pretty, you're not strong enough." He sat up and took the tray from her. "Where's Angel?"

"He's doing a bunch of inventory things I kinda didn't do last week." Pretty sat down on the end of the bed. She was dressed and her hair was still damp from being washed. Cloud still wasn't sure he was actually awake. "And I know I can't do much to help, but I can at least go, right?"

Cloud nodded, mouthful of bacon. He wasn't even going to remind her that the Highwind was coming in that morning as well.

Sephiroth smiled when he saw the two pass him in town, oblivious that he had even left the resort. He had his arms piled with new linens and only caught a glimpse of them over the top.

He kept thinking about the argument he'd gotten into with Vincent after he'd seen her scar. Yes, he knew it was a ShinRa mark, but no, he knew nothing else. And he never intended to pursue the issue unless Pretty had seemed interested in finding out who she was.

Vincent had argued back that perhaps ShinRa still held her records and those could explain why she wasn't recovering properly.

"I will if she gets any worse," Sephiroth had said. "Next time you visit, take a look at her, and you tell me."

Vincent had just nodded, before walking away for the evening.

After taking the linens back to the chocobo cart, Sephiroth realized that perhaps he should be looking for the Highwind's arrival.

"Remind me again why I'm the only person who can do this," Cloud mumbled, thick heavy rope over one arm as he scaled the rickety bell tower. It was a dilapidated wooden frame holding up one of the loud metal warning bells that signaled Mako beasts, and the rope on it had broken a few days before during a storm.

Cloud looked over his shoulder, somewhat uneasy with the expanse behind him. The giant hole that had opened up when the lifestream had broken through during Meteor was slowly healing itself, but this tower still sat right on it's shore.

In a last minute bit of panic, Pretty had resigned herself to the other side of the fence that ran around the hole. She didn't want to be any closer to the glowing green than she had to.

Cloud climbed higher, shifting the rope slightly. He was the only one small enough and strong enough to work their way through the odd bracing and still carry the rope upwards.

Pretty watched him out of the corner of her eye as she idly twirled her mini-Buster. She hadn't even tried to carry it until the week before, but today... She felt alive today. She ran a hand over the two slotted materia, her mastered Lightning and a mid-level Cure.

The loud crack brought her out of her reverie.

One of the middle braces for the tower had snapped, hitting a couple others. Those broke seconds later, leaving Cloud hanging on to the top of the tower which was slowly tilting over the hole.

"Cloud!" Pretty climbed half up on the fence, still holding her sword.

Cloud shot her a helpless look, trying to keep his legs wrapped where they were. That piece broke a moment later, leaving Cloud dangling thirty feet over the lifestream.

"Hang on!" someone else yelled. "We'll get you down."

It seemed like the whole town was gathering as second ticked away, the entire structure tilting but no one knowing what to do.

"Cloud!" Pretty yelled again, balancing on top of the fence. "I have an idea! But you have to promise me something."

"What?!" Cloud yelled back, trying to swing his legs back up and onto the structure with no success.

"Tell Angel and everyone how amazing they are and how much I love them. I'm gonna hit you with everything I have," Pretty yelled, waving her sword. "Let go when I cast. It should knock you to the far shore. It'll hurt though."

"Pretty, no!"

"Let. Go. When. I. Cast!" She hopped off the fence and ran back a few paces. "This is everything I can give you!"

Across town, Sephiroth had just heard about what was going on. He broke into a run through the streets.

It was almost like slow motion... Pretty sprinted to the fence, leapt up to the top rail effortlessly, and launched herself over the pit.

Cloud did as he was told, letting go the second the lightening spell was cast. It hit him squarely in the chest and everything was black for a second. When he opened his eyes, he was against a tree, watching as Pretty's momentum stopped, the look on her face being one of pure bliss.

"Be happy for me," she whispered, knowing no one would hear it.

She let go of her sword and forced herself to relax as she fell, not bothering to brace herself for impact.


The whole rescue/etc. was terribly graphic and painful, and I didn't much care for it.
Six years later - Cloud's about 32 and Sephiroth would be 42! Can you imagine? And still looking, of course, 22. Vincent would be about 38/65, I believe.


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