Living Without Worry
Title: Living Without Worry (Brightest Blue Eyes Arc 3)
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Disclaimer: No implied ownership, no financial gain, only fanwork.
Characters/Pairings: Sephiroth/Cloud, multiple OCs, Full Cast
Rating: MA overall
Summary: Cloud gets through on the phone. Sephiroth debates internally. Pretty doesn't get dinner. It's almost time for a breakout.
A nurse, one whose name Pretty didn't know, knocked almost-cautiously at Pretty's door before entering.
"Mmm?" Pretty looked up from the pile of personnel files she had scattered on her bed.
"You have a phone call at the nurse's station," she said with a strange waver in her voice that made Pretty frown.
"I do?" Pretty questioned, fairly sure it had to be a mistake. But... She pushed the files aside, hopeful. "Oh, excellent."
She got to her feet and followed the nurse - a new one, Pretty thought. Maybe from another floor? Maybe one who didn't know that phones were off limits. She didn't even think the nurse's station phone could call out. Maybe just in from the hospital switchboard?
"Be quick," the nurse said once Pretty had followed her down the hall and across. She handed Pretty the receiver and then turned to go back clearing off a bulletin board that Pretty didn't think ever had anything useful on it.
"Hello?" Pretty asked almost too softly.
"Cloud?" Pretty was so shocked that she didn't know where to begin. "Is it really you?"
"Yeah... What's going on there? I've gotten a bunch of different stories from everyone," Cloud replied. Pretty could hear the worry in his voice.
"I don't really know what I can say," Pretty admitted. If the phone was tapped... It didn't matter. She'd have said what she needed to. And the nurse wouldn't be fast enough to stop her, if she was even in earshot, which was debatable. Pretty was trying to be quiet. "Oh, screw it. Get me out of here. I'm better and they're not going to let me go. But not just me, Cloud... There's..."
"Yeah, we know," Cloud interrupted. "How many?"
"Nine," Pretty replied. "How?"
"Long story," Cloud replied. "You're really okay?"
"Mostly," Pretty said. "The last little bit I can do there, I promise."
"We'll be there soon, Pretty," Cloud said. "Hang in there and---"
The phone cut out, and Pretty cursed. The nurse was still over humming softly and putting up new notices for art classes and things Pretty had asked about but not been allowed to do. But it could have cut for any number of reasons... She wasn't going to worry too much.
Softly, she hung up the receiver. "Thank you," she called to the nurse. "That was my brother, checking in."
"That's nice," the nurse replied with a smile.
"Yeah," Pretty said. "It was good to hear from him."
She turned and walked back to her room in silence. Cloud was coming for her. No... he'd said 'we'. Angel was coming too.
Pretty swallowed hard. She really needed to talk to Sixteen but it was far too daytime for him to be conscious and besides, she wasn't really supposed to be visiting. She'd see Twenty sooner, likely, if he came around to work out after lunch. But that was still hours away.
Cloud was still holding the phone, listening to the dial tone, when Sephiroth took it from him and carefully hung it up.
"I wish I knew who to be angry at," he said, punctuating his statement with a sigh. "Probably myself."
"No one's fault," Cloud replied. "No one. I think... I think it just... happened."
"But he's probably..."
"I don't entirely trust him, no, but I think he'll listen to reason," Sephiroth told Cloud. "Vincent, however..."
"Yeah..." Cloud sighed and shook his head. He had no idea what Vincent was trying to do, but it was hurting everyone. "What are you going to do?"
"Make sure everything is in place here," Sephiroth said. "And then pack. I don't want to waste a second. Not with that many voices screaming."
"I told them they can come here," Sephiroth interjected. "I told them that they'll be safe here, and can live good lives. I told them... to come to me, but only if they wanted to."
"I didn't hear." Cloud got to his feet and looked long and hard at Sephiroth before dropping his gaze. "I don't know what that means."
"I'm glad," Sephiroth replied, reaching to pull Cloud to him. "I don't ever want to do that to you again..."
Cloud leaned into Sephiroth, relaxing. He wasn't sure how to feel. Not when he knew at some point he'd have to figure out who he was all over again. Being... free was more than he'd ever expected. Somehow, he thought some part of him would never be fully unentwined. But perhaps it didn't have to be anywhere but...
He didn't pull away from Sephiroth's kiss. Certainly, Sephiroth would always hold sway over him. But only like this. Only what they'd built and kept building.
"She said there are nine of them," Cloud commented once Sephiroth release him.
"I think we can make room," Sephiroth replied with a chuckle.
"I'll call Cid. And Tifa. She was willing to go if I couldn't get through."
"I'll call everyone else."
Cloud was fairly sure that meant that Sephiroth would be gone for most of the day. But that was okay. There was a lot to be done and they had a bad habit of distracting one another.
"What did you do?" Twenty asked, watching as Twentyfive stalked into his room and settled on his bed across from where he sat. He'd been reading an old book on military strategy. Outdated, but something about it felt familiar and good.
"I don't know what you mean," Twentyfive replied, pulling her legs up and under her body.
"Yes, you do," Twenty said. He narrowed his eyes, watching her. Twentyfive was not the type to come visiting. Not him, at least. Twentyfive usually roamed around with Thirty, and Thirty... did not often roam.
"Fine. I'm here to see if you know the answer to a very important question," Twentyfive said softly. "Do you?"
"Yes," Twenty told her. He closed the book and set it aside. "Which only raises an entirely new set of questions, doesn't it?"
Twentyfive sighed. "No. I don't think it does. I think now we just wait, don't we?"
"That's a question."
"I don't want to wait."
Twenty snorted. "As if another few days or weeks or months will kill us."
"But her?" Twentyfive questioned before pausing. "Maybe you're right... questions."
"Pretty? I don't know. I heard she'll be here for awhile longer, which I know she doesn't want." Twenty got to his feet. "If you're here to find out if I'm in, I am in. But you probably shouldn't be found here."
"None of us should have been found anywhere," Twentyfive said softly as she stood. Without another word, she slipped out of the room, leaving Twenty staring after her.
They ran back into each other after dinner. Cloud had finished the nightly chocobo chores, and Sephiroth had assisted Yuki with cleaning up after a festive barbeque. There was nothing terribly authentic about Yuki's idea of a native party, but the guests didn't care and the events were always popular.
"Did you get anything to eat?" Sephiroth asked, tucking the last bits of leftovers into the fridge for the staff to eat the next day.
"You missed me sneak through between phone calls and chores," Cloud replied. "You were pretty busy."
Sephiroth chuckled as he closed the fridge. "Both of us. But I think the place will survive us taking a few days off."
Cloud nodded as he leaned back against one of the few bare spots of wall that hadn't been decorated with knickknacks of some sort. "Everything is set. I didn't tell Cid too much, but he's a smart guy. I think he knows. And Tifa is on standby."
"Two days," Cloud replied. "Part of me wants to ask if we're doing the right thing, but I know we are."
Sephiroth crossed the room and reached for Cloud's hand. Cloud echoed the gesture, and Sephiroth quickly squeezed Cloud's hand in his. "We are. Now, everyone else needs to, too."
There was a bit of a sad look in Cloud's eyes when Sephiroth reached to run his free hand through Cloud's hair. He knew... Well, they both knew far too many things - feared too many things.
Cloud wasn't a thinker. And he was easy to distract.
He didn't pull away from a soft kiss, or a following kiss that wasn't soft at all.
Pretty sighed as she packed up all of the file boxes. No point in looking any longer, not that she'd really been looking for any reason other than something to do. She knew who she was - she was Pretty, from Mideel, who had been pulled into a patchwork family and was happy.
Twenty hadn't bounded in, Twentyfour hadn't wandered by, Seventeen hadn't slipped in to quiz her on the television news, which she didn't tend to watch anyway.
All of her exercises had been done in solitude. It wasn't the first time she'd had a lonely day, though as the lights dimmed for the evening, Pretty really did hope that Sixteen would visit.
He didn't come.
"What the fucking... What?" Cid stared at Cloud and Sephiroth as they attempted to explain what was going on, at least as well as they understood it. "I'm going to have to have a few words with that damned old man..."
Cid frowned, turned, and gestured that they'd better follow him onto the Highwind.
All of their fears that Cid had known what was going on the whole time were thankfully unfounded, at least as far as Sephiroth could tell. Cid's reactions seemed wholly genuine.
Neither of them had chosen to take a weapon. Instead, Sephiroth had packed clothing for Pretty, and Cloud had a bag of clothing and necessities for themselves.
"That one's going to be useless," Cid noted with a little gesture to Cloud as they crossed onto the Highwind's bridge. "But you're welcome to help out."
He gave Sephiroth a strange little smile, and Sephiroth nodded in agreement. It would be something relatively new and interesting, at least. Sephiroth glanced around at Cid's crew, all of who seemed momentarily transfixed before offering little salutes. Cid chuckled. Sephiroth finally managed to smile.
"I'm going to go try to sleep through the entire trip," Cloud noted softly. And then he was gone, leaving Sephiroth to help Cid with pre-flight checklists. Nothing about the Highwind was complicated, Sephiroth was pleased to note, and he and Cid quickly fell into conversations about other things.
He was a little surprised when, after the sun set and he was told to go take a turn sleeping, Cloud wasn't in the room they'd been assigned. Though by the time Sephiroth had peeled off his shirt and started washing up, Cloud popped back into the room, a strange little smile on his face.
"Sunset," he said guiltily. "Always looks different from up here."
Sephiroth chuckled. "Well, I think Cid's keeping me on the crew. He's given me a schedule for the rest of the trip, even."
Cloud blinked and then laughed. And then the ship lurched a bit and Cloud suddenly looked very unsure of himself.
"Go lay down?" Sephiroth suggested.
"That's most of what I've been doing," Cloud replied. "Laying down and then going out to get a bit of air. It's keeping me from completely being miserable, but..."
"I've got a ten hour off-shift," Sephiroth interjected. "I believe I was told to sleep, but I can think of other things..."
"Here?" Cloud questioned. Yet he did settle on the bed. "Angel..."
Sephiroth finished washing, and then slid onto the bed as well. "I think I need to. Otherwise, I'm going to keep thinking about what we're doing."
He wasn't going to admit that deep in the back of his mind, he was actually a tiny bit afraid. It wasn't a feeling he was used to. Normally, there wasn't anything that he couldn't handle. But marching, unarmed, into the heart of Midgar to take his family back...
His family. All of them.
Cloud seemed to understand, reaching to pull Sephiroth to him, kissing him cautiously at first. Sephiroth didn't dream of resisting, pleased that Cloud was at least surviving the trip. He'd heard plenty of stories about trips to the Gold Saucer that hadn't been smooth at all.
The Highwind lurched again, though, and Sephiroth pulled Cloud close before Cloud could do anything other than wince.
"It's okay," Sephiroth said. He ran a hand down the warm skin of Cloud's back. "Just a little turbulence."
He didn't want to think. Cloud pulled closer, kissing him again and then it didn't matter where they were, just that they were together.
Cloud's clothing was easily removed, and his own remaining garments were quickly discarded as well.
"We're doing the right thing." He knew every inch of Cloud's body, but Sephiroth didn't let that stop him. He let his hands wander low, over muscle and then down between their bodies, grasping Cloud's growing erection and giving it a few firm strokes.
Cloud moaned against his shoulder and pressed closer.
"Someone's going to hear us," Cloud mumbled.
"From what I gathered while on the bridge, this sort of thing isn't confined to our room," Sephiroth noted. A few of Cid's crew had definitely paired off, and Cid either was wholly ignoring it or offering his silent consent.
"Not sure if that makes me feel better..."
Sephiroth distracted Cloud with a series of kisses, not slowing with his other attentions, either. It didn't take long for Cloud to start meeting his movements with almost surprising enthusiasm. For a moment, Sephiroth wondered if Cloud was having the same thoughts that he was. They'd talk later, though.
There was no difficulty in hooking the strap of his bag and tugging it over so that he could get the bit of lube that he'd packed. Sephiroth wasn't expecting the trip home to lend itself much to anything aside from Pretty and potential new family, so he hadn't gotten too enthusiastic. But enough... He pushed Cloud's legs apart and reached down between.
Pretty managed to catch Seventeen at dinner.
"It's been days. Why is everyone avoiding me?" she questioned, getting firmly between him and the door he was heading towards.
"We're not," Seventeen said. "It's not you. There's just..."
Pretty tried to stare him down from below.
He sighed. "Come with me."
Hoping that she'd get a chance to nibble off his tray, Pretty followed.
Seventeen didn't say anything as he guided her through a series of back hallways to a conference room of some sort. Twentyfour was guarding the door and eyed Pretty when he saw her.
But Seventeen nodded at him and he stepped aside.
"We don't have this room for long," Seventeen explained as Pretty followed him in.
She sucked in her breath at the sight of them all.
Sixteen offered her a feeble, tired wave, and Twenty gave her a little smile.
"All of you," she said half to herself.
"Is Sephiroth really coming here?" one of the strangers questioned.
"Yes," Pretty said. She wasn't sure if she should sit or not. There was a tenth seat, but she hesitated until Sixteen gestured. She was so busy debating the seat that she didn't immediately realize that the husky voice belonged to a woman. But then, Pretty stared.
"Twentyfive," Twenty offered, before gesturing to the other strangers. "Twentyseven, Thirty, Twentytwo..."
Both Twentyseven and Twentytwo raised their hands in cautious greeting. Thirty simple kept watching her.
"He and Cloud are on their way, I'm sure," Pretty said. "And I know you'll all be..."
"We know," Thirty interrupted, his tone flat. "We've talked about nothing else."
"Oh..." Pretty wasn't really sure what to say. Was she supposed to say something?
"We're going to accept his offer," Sixteen said, giving a little smile. "I don't really know how it'll work, but... It would be better than this."
Pretty nodded. "I think we were calling the one with the dramatic rescue Plan J."
Twenty opened his mouth and Pretty was waiting for a correction. But none came.
Instead, he just smiled.
"So here's what we're going to do," Thirty said, instantly drawing everyone's attention. "First..."
There was a strange desperation in their motions, Sephiroth realized as he thrust his erection deep into Cloud's body. Things would never be the same. Everything was going to change. This was it...
No, there'd just be more coffee mugs on the porch railing. There'd be... Cloud cried out and as much as Sephiroth wanted to think about nothing, he couldn't help but focus on how good Cloud's body felt against his and how hard Cloud's cock was between their bodies. He got a hand back around it, stroking it hard.
This wasn't going to last long, even thought it probably needed to. They'd have to talk, they'd have to... Sephiroth thrust deeper, harder, pressing Cloud's legs up a bit higher and making Cloud moan. He kissed Cloud, hard, silencing him for a moment before pulling back just a bit to suck in a bit of air before resuming.
It wasn't an end, he told himself. Not an end - a beginning.
They'd be okay.
Sephiroth met Cloud's gaze for a quick second, seeing the same worry and need in those bright blue eyes. He sped his motions, kissing Cloud again, and working at Cloud's erection until he felt Cloud's body tense under his. He thrust fast, hard, managing to come just seconds after Cloud and almost as a surprise. Focusing so strongly on Cloud, Sephiroth had nearly missed the build in his own body. It left him feeling boneless for a moment, clinging to Cloud, who was murmuring something that Sephiroth didn't think he really needed to fully understand. He knew.
"I'll let them know we're here."
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