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: Sephiroth isn't worried about the Turks; Pretty meets her doctors; and Cloud admits that spending half his teenage years in a tube didn't do a thing for his math skills.
Somewhere... Sephiroth had to be somewhere...
Cloud ran through the barn, hoping that he'd see a bit of silver bobbing above one of the stall doors. But no...
There was no answer. Running through the yard, he glanced around him. Everything was quiet.
"Angel!" He burst through the back door and ran down the hallway, looking into each room and nearly skidding into the wall when he saw the object of his search seated calmly in the office, ear glued to the telephone receiver.
Sephiroth... on the telephone... Cloud winced. Sephiroth hated the telephone like the plague. And Yuki was around somewhere. He could have easily answered...
Sephiroth held a finger up to his lips as a gesture for Cloud to stay quiet.
"Yes, I believe Cloud has just returned with the same information," he said, a thin smile parking itself on his lips. "I'm sorry I can't tell you anything more, Rae, but for now, please just trust in me. And in Vincent."
Silence. Cloud leaned on the doorframe and watched, looking for any telltale sign that Sephiroth had any idea just how serious this trouble was.
"Take care as well. Bye."
The phone clicked audibly as Sephiroth set it back onto its cradle and before Sephiroth could as much as turn in Cloud's direction, Cloud had himself shoved into Sephiroth's personal space.
"They're coming here," Cloud said, eyes wide with terror anew. "Here."
"I'm not entirely sure that will be good for business," Sephiroth replied, closing his eyes in thought.
Cloud's jaw dropped.
"They'll... I don't know what they'll do..."
"I believe I'm legally dead," Sephiroth replied. "And I highly doubt two Turks could so much as bruise me. All my scars are your doing."
"Is that a compliment?" Cloud pulled himself up to sit on the desk.
"Yes. And I'll assume you expect me to hole up somewhere for the duration of their visit. But I'm not afraid of them. From talking to Vincent, who Rae assures me is actually a Turk spy, ShinRa is at only a fraction of its former power and is more interested in doing actual good instead of the fake good of old," Sephiroth said, leaning back in his chair. It tilted a bit, creaking on old springs.
A war god. Somehow Cloud had nearly forgotten that beneath the mild-mannered businessman exterior was a great war god.
"Three Turks," Cloud corrected, mind buzzing. "And Vincent is a what? I mean, I know that back thirty-odd... Yes, he works with them, but... Is Rae okay?"
"She's shaken, but fine," Sephiroth said. "She's worried about Pretty, but I have complete faith in Vincent."
"All of that aside," Cloud said, leaning forward and trying to make a point. "We still have to hide you."
"No, bring them here. Let them see..."
"No!" Cloud looked down. He felt like a child, swinging his legs over the edge of the desk. "No... We've been so happy."
There was a pause in the sunlit room. Dust particles danced in the morning sunshine, but neither looked up to notice.
"I have always meant to clean the attic," Sephiroth said finally. "Everything up there came with the place."
"Really? You would..."
"But what about Yuki and Hikari? What about Kei? What about everyone Rae and everyone in town? How are you going to explain that I'm hiding in the attic for the next however-long?"
"Not that I really think I need to. You and Pretty are the only ones in town who have any inkling that my memory stretches back beyond ten years ago. I'm sure some of them have suspicions if not full knowledge as to who I really am, but they don't care.
"Cloud, I've had guests remark on my appearance, too. But I look fifteen years too young to be a man who died more than fifteen years ago," Sephiroth said, catching Cloud's eyes with his own. "However, I will attempt to sequester myself in the attic, so long as you figure out how to run this place without me, Pretty, and Hikari."
Cloud winced. For the last six years he'd mainly done physical labor and let Sephiroth do all the actual managerial tasks. Even Pretty knew how to type better than he could ever dream of.
"Okay," he said slowly, letting himself be surprised by a kiss.
"Give them cabins #4 and #7," Sephiroth said, once he'd settled back into his chair. "And call Hikari's little sister and ask if she'd like a part-time job for a couple of weeks."
"Me?" Cloud questioned, regarding the telephone with the same disgust that Sephiroth usually reserved for it.
"I'm going to my attic," Sephiroth answered, standing and walking out of the room.
As Cloud slid off the desk, he realized that strangely enough, he had lost anyway. He had won, but he had lost anyway.
And they would need towels. Sighing, Cloud trudged back through the house and grabbed the ring of master keys from where it hung on the wall. Cottage #4 would get checked first... it was bigger, big enough for both Rude and Reno, unless... Cloud winced at the thought that either of them had managed to hook up with Elena. She was nice enough, and certainly attractive enough, but somehow an inter-organization hookup did not sound like a good idea.
Okay, Cottage #4 would be good for Rude and Reno. Two single beds... Hopefully they hadn't hooked up... Reno's sexuality always had been a bit questionable and...
Plenty of towels. Cloud closed the cottage door behind him and walked down to Cottage #7. Red towels, more than enough. He could do this. He could step out of the shadow he'd not even realized that he'd become so comfortable in.
Now he had to wait. And the shopping wasn't done, either. But that would have to be done after the Turks showed up, whenever they showed up.
Walking back into the house, Cloud decided now would be a great time to call Hikari's little sister, Matsuko, and ask her to come do some chores. Matsuko was sixteen now, shy, but Cloud knew he could keep her away from any lecherous advances.
"This is Doctor Perrin Lothaire," Reeve said as he gestured with the arm not supporting Pretty to the middle-aged doctor that met them just past the nurses' station on the floor Reeve had chosen. There was a set of sliding glass doors as well, behind him, and Pretty's gaze flicked to them for just a moment - metal ran through them and she frowned. This was obviously a place not meant to be escaped from. "He and his wife Ysole are currently amongst the most well versed doctors in the world when it comes to Mako poisoning and the after effects of any long-term Mako exposure."
Pretty tried to smile, but she couldn't exactly admit to being happy because something seemed really, really odd.
"We'll have you on your feet in no time," Dr. Lothaire said, reaching out a hand. "But I'd like to do a thorough exam first.”Ysole will be with us as soon as she's done checking in on another patient."
"Are there others here, like me?" Pretty asked, taking Dr. Lothaire's hand and giving Reeve one last glance before letting herself be led off down a brightly lit hallway.
"There are three others currently being treated for Mako poisoning, and a handful more are here being tested for ill-effects of long-term exposure," Dr. Lothaire explained. "This floor does also house some other, special patients, as you may well have guessed. You'll be completely safe in your room though, even if there's a necessary lock-down."
Pretty nodded. There was her explanation even if it wasn't the most reassuring. "That's okay, I guess. I don't really go anywhere, anyway. I get so sleepy."
"Perrin." A woman, just a bit younger than Dr. Lothaire came rushing over, clipboard in hand. "Is this the woman we've been expecting?"
"Ah, Ysole, yes, this is Pretty... no last name?"
"No last name," Pretty replied. "I've never needed one."
"This is Dr. Ysole Lothaire," Dr. Lothaire said, nodding. "But since she and I have the same name, most patients refer to her as Dr. Ysole."
"You're just a girl," Dr. Ysole said, reaching to brush wild brown hair from Pretty's face. "The paperwork we have said you were thirty, but..."
"I am," Pretty interjected. "Well, maybe. I don't remember anything beyond about eight years ago."
"Mako does have an effect on the way memories are processed and retained," Dr. Ysole said. "Likely you still have all of your original memories but they are behind a sort of wall that the Mako helped create."
"I just know I was fished out of a Lifestream rupture in Mideel, like many others," Pretty explained. "It seems to be the planet's dumping ground."
"And this was..."
"Eight years ago... maybe more closer to nine now," Pretty said, climbing up onto the metal exam table she'd been led to. "But then I sort of got in the way of another rupture..."
Dr. Lothaire nodded. "We're going to do blood tests and check everything we can, but I'm fairly sure you just need proper rest and a virtual stew of carefully balanced vitamins, electrolytes, and minerals."
"Hourly monitoring and adjustments... the sort of thing Mideel just isn't equipped for," Dr. Ysole finished. "And complete bed rest."
Pretty winced. "I'll get out of practice. I'm a fighter!"
"You sound like a former SOLDIER we had a few months back," Dr. Lothaire said, adjusting his stethoscope and pressing against Pretty's chest. "Now breathe deep."
Breathing as deep as she could, Pretty tried not to start coughing, or talking. She really wanted to explain that she was going home to a former SOLDIER who would throw her across the yard if she wasn't back to tip-top well-practiced shape.
"There is a gym on the lowest level," Dr. Ysole said, attempting a smile. "I believe there might be someone here willing to spot you."
"Oh!" Pretty started coughing, beginning a fit that left her out of breath and flopped back on the table.
"I believe we can start with some basics," Dr. Lothaire said, nodding at his wife. "Take her to a room and get her changed while I prepare an IV. Tomorrow we should be able to get the amount of blood we need to properly check everything."
Once he left the room, Dr. Ysole smiled again. "You're going to be just fine."
"I hear that alot," Pretty replied, looking up at the ceiling tile. No one in Mideel really had ceiling tile, but she'd seen it before when she'd traveled to the Western Continent, somewhere she couldn't really remember. But they'd also been mad that she didn't want to wear shoes in the building. Some people... She was wearing shoes now anyway, black with white laces, but not because she wanted to, because she was cold. Everything seemed so cold.
"But you will," she held a hand out to help Pretty to her feet. "And to bring you here, someone must really care about you."
"This must be really expensive." Pretty hadn't even thought of that. Angel certainly couldn't be paying for this even though he did have money tucked away. And Vincent... Pretty realized that she didn't know much of anything about what he did when not in Mideel with her.
That was a dark feeling, the sort of thing she wasn't used to. Outside of Mideel, she tended to think of the world as being rather vague, not even really happening since she wasn't watching it.
"Normally, yes, but there has already been an order sent through that ShinRa will handle your recovery," Dr. Ysole explained. "Perhaps you're going to be recruited for something."
"I don't think so..." Pretty began, wondering. Vincent had rushed off so quickly and Reeve hadn't stayed with her, either.
"A single room," Dr. Ysole announced, opening the door to a small private room. "I didn't see any suitcases..."
"They're being sent by courier."
"Make yourself at home then. There's a gown on the bed and sometimes the television works."
"Television?" Pretty asked, trying to remember why the word was familiar.
Two days later, Cloud found himself ready to scream. Along with never learning to type, he was absolutely terrible at math, something he'd come to think of as not really being his problem. Instead of higher education, he'd lived in a tank for some five years. So anything beyond basic addition just happened to escape him.
Putting down his pencil and noticing that he'd used most of the eraser in a little under an hour, Cloud listened to what seemed to be the new white noise of the house.
Clatter. Clatter. Ching. Whoosh. Clatter...
It was becoming too much. Stalking up the stairs, Cloud pulled down the trapdoor that released the ladder to the attic and scrambled upward.
"Would. You. Stop. That?!"
Sephiroth turned from where he had a battered pachinko machine propped against the wall, hand on the lever, waiting to send another tiny steel ball through the maze of pins to hopefully land in a flower or fish-mouth.
"If you expect me to sit up here..."
"Can't you, y'know, clean?" Cloud asked, pointing at the mountains of boxes that towered to the peak of the roof.
"I have been," Sephiroth answered. "And besides, I found this up here so it's only fair that I can... properly study it."
Sighing, Cloud watched as Sephiroth released the lever and attempted to will the ball into a waiting flower. It missed though, and Sephiroth got to his feet, walking over to where Cloud stood.
"That can't be the only reason you're up here," he said, pulling Cloud into a loose embrace.
"I can't do math," Cloud admitted. "I'll have to bring that up to you too."
"Can't do math?" Sephiroth repeated, chuckling a bit.
"Hey, not all of ShinRa's bio-genetic test-subjects had the benefit of algebra," Cloud shot back, trying to pull away.
"Why don't you bring the paperwork up here and I can show you," Sephiroth said, dropping his arms and waiting to see what Cloud would do.
In an instant, Cloud was back down the ladder, thankfully not letting the trapdoor spring upward. It wasn't as though Sephiroth couldn't easily push it down and leave whenever he desired, but Cloud leaving it down meant that Cloud was going to come back.
Cloud rushed down to the office, grabbing paperwork and pencils and a calculator into his arms before bounding back towards the attic. If nothing else, Sephiroth would know where the numbers for column two should be coming from and that might really be half the problem. Especially since that would eliminate the need for X. Whatever X was.
Cloud paused in the upstairs hallway, shaking his head. A quick thought about accidentally breaking that damned pachinko machine flashed through his head, as did the obvious follow-thru at the wrong end of the Masamune.
At least with some proper math at hand, perhaps Sephiroth would leave the darned thing alone.
"Okay," Cloud said one he was back at the top of the ladder. "I think all I really need to know is where the numbers for this second column come from. Because I have all sorts of numbers, but..."
"Bring it here," Sephiroth interjected from beside the pachinko machine. All the flowers sat open, providing what Cloud knew to be nearly unavoidable temptation.
Cloud walked over and sat down, cross-legged before spreading the papers out on the floor.
"This column," he said, pointing. "Where do these numbers come from?"
With a sigh, Sephiroth reached over and flipped through a few of the other pages before grabbing one.
"Here," he said. "From here and nearly in order. You just have to pull them over and either add or subtract to get the variances."
"That's it?" Cloud asked, feeling a little dumber than usual. Actually knowing what the sheets of figures were made them a little easier to understand. But he'd missed what had to be quite obvious.
"I can do this fairly quickly," Sephiroth said, grabbing all of the papers and the pencil tucked behind Cloud's ear.
"But the deal was..."
Those green eyes narrowed in a warning gaze before diving down to the pages now neatly organized on the floor. And true to his word, Sephiroth did seem to be flying through things. Cloud couldn't even fathom that sort of math without writing in the margins, something Sephiroth had probably never done, ever.
His eyes darted over to those beautiful wooden flowers, beckoning to be filled. Taking one last glance at Sephiroth, Cloud reached a hand out to the lever...
Clatter. A miss? Clatter. Ching. Whoosh!
Steel balls filled the reward trough and Cloud smiled. Right before he was knocked onto the floor.
"You can't complain about me playing with it now," Sephiroth said before kissing Cloud. The uneven boards of the attic floor were far from comfortable against Cloud's back, but with Sephiroth's mouth over his, tongue licking at his lips, comfort was entirely relative anyway.
"Just one... two balls. I had to try," Cloud replied once he could. He couldn't ignore the hands creeping down his chest, pulling his shirt upward at the same time.
"I've always made things too easy for you." Sephiroth paused, looking behind him before standing up and heading off behind one of the stacks of boxes.
Cloud managed to at least be sitting up by the time Sephiroth reappeared holding a rapidly unfolding off-white quilt.
"You've been up here too long," Cloud said, not moving as he watched Sephiroth spread it over those roughly hewn boards. "But... that's my fault, isn't it?"
"I don't see you running away," Sephiroth replied, undoing the buttons to his own shirt and letting it fall to the floor.
"Mmm," Cloud replied, pretending to be deep in thought. "Listening to the noise from that toy or listening to you moan..."
Not entirely surprisingly, within about ten seconds Cloud found himself quite naked and half-sprawled out on that quilt, noticing that yes, it was quite comfortable but really more concerned with watching Sephiroth slide out of the rest of his clothing.
"Angel..." Cloud reached to pull Sephiroth down to his knees, reaching to take Sephiroth's arousal in his hands before bringing it to his mouth. As he licked the tip, he had the briefest of thoughts about following this through and then claiming Sephiroth's body with his own. But this was certainly not the time nor the place. Not on Sephiroth's temporary turf, no...
Oh, but he could still tease, tracing curves he knew by heart as his tongue slowly trailed farther, finally pulling what he could into his mouth and asking with his hands for shallow thrusts.
Not even wanting to fathom just how or why Sephiroth decided that keeping lube in the attic would be a proper thing, Cloud found himself very quickly on his back, lips still parted as he looked up into piercing green.
"Not this time," Sephiroth interrupted, pushing Cloud's legs apart. Cloud closed his eyes, paying little attention to the flicker of movement to his right. Fingers pressed into his body, spreading pleasure as they stretched him. Grabbing at the thick quilt, Cloud moaned, wondering if he should grab his own erection or if his hands would just get knocked away.
He gasped as those fingers were pulled away, a little surprised that Sephiroth was suddenly pulling him up, placing him on his hands and knees.
"Trust me," Sephiroth replied to the unasked question, and Cloud knew he should. Dropping to support his weight on his forearms, Cloud couldn't help the near-howl that escaped his mouth as Sephiroth very quickly thrust into him, leaving no time for adjustment before beginning a series of deep, hard thrusts. But it felt good - it felt very good, actually, and was probably what they both needed.
Pushed forward, sliding a bit on the quilt from Sephiroth's thrusts, Cloud opened his eyes and was more than a little surprised to find himself staring at his reflection. His gasp was muffled, mixed in with too many other pleasure noises, as he stared, realizing that when he'd been standing, the old half-covered mirror hadn't been visible at all. But now... Now it was showing everything.
Sephiroth seemed oblivious, eyes either closed or so far downcast that Cloud couldn't tell the difference. So the mirror belonged solely to Cloud who was trying to keep his eyes open as he matched sight to sensation. He didn't even feel like he was in his own body, instead just a strange voyeur to two beautiful people sharing a very special moment. But as Sephiroth's hand wrapped around his arousal, Cloud couldn't help being reminded that he was very much involved.
Somehow, for all the times they'd done this, even with mirrors around, something was completely different. Whether it was spider-lines in the aged mirror or just the absolute strangeness of the situation, Cloud didn't care. It was hot to the point of being too hot and he closed his eyes, unable to watch for a few seconds as he tried not to come.
Too late though, his body told him, rocking against Sephiroth's now, forcing pressure inside his body to match that outside. And looking down past his own glowing blue eyes, he managed to see just a second of his orgasm before he dug at the quilt and squeezed his eyes shut, nearly overwhelmed with bliss. Crying out, he was happy to at least be able to feel the change in Sephiroth's motions, even if he couldn't bring himself to look over to that delicious mirror again.
Yes, Sephiroth's noises of pleasure were so much better than the noises of that clattering toy, Cloud noted as he braced himself against the floor, pushed downward as Sephiroth came. But his arms gave anyway, sending them both crashing to the floor.
When Cloud opened his eyes, he was looking into his own again, reaching to brush silver aside to see better before realizing what he was doing. And then another pair of eyes met his in the mirror.
"Is this what you were looking at?" Sephiroth asked before softly kissing the back of Cloud's neck. "You were watching us."
"Would you like it in the bedroom?"
Cloud wondered if indeed he was blushing. "Maybe, just, um..."
"Think about it," Sephiroth said as he pulled back, sitting up and pushing his hair back. "Think about it while you run downstairs and get me a cup of coffee. I promise I'll do all of the math."
Still not knowing just how Sephiroth was able to move so damned easily after something like that, Cloud shakily tried to stand and only found himself sprawled on the quilt again, looking up at dust particles dancing in the sun.
"Wasn't making that up about the coffee..." Cloud could hear the sound of pencil scratching on paper.
"In a minute," Cloud replied, not wanting to move at all. But he knew he had things to do, a resort to run, and three nosy Turks to keep occupied.
Drink Lemonade! Tip Your Waitress!