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Title: Outage
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Disclaimer: No ownership implied, no profit gained. This is a fanwork.
Characters/Pairings: Sephiroth/Cloud
Rating: C10
Summary: Electricity, attraction, and a bit of a surprise.
Notes: August, 2003

Stir-crazy only began to describe the group of officers and employees milling about the outlying military facility. Somewhere in Midgar, one of the large power plants had failed and had taken all the others with it - eight in all, leaving the giant city and surrounding area in darkness.

As dark as it could be at four in the afternoon, that is. However, ShinRa wasn't known for putting plenty of windows in its military facilities, leaving many people scrambling to find rooms with windows, or flashlights, or the pack of birthday candles in the coffee room that were left from some secretary's birthday party the month before.

Amongst the group somewhat stranded at the facility was none other than Sephiroth himself, who should have been on his way back into town to catch an airship to the western continent. But without power, everything was closed down and it looked as though everybody already at the facility would be spending the evening and most likely the night within its walls.

At least it had happened at a facility with barracks only half full of troops, so there was ample sleeping space and plenty of canned food for a few extra personnel.

But still, as Sephiroth was handed a few half-melted birthday candles in a coffee mug, he was beginning to get frustrated. It wasn't himself he was worried about though. Instead it was the few dozen troops who were stationed at the facility. They were young and Sephiroth knew that an unstructured night in sheer darkness would cause at least one of them to panic and possibly cause mass hysteria.

He blew the candles out and handed the mug back to the woman who'd given it to him.

"Save them for later, when we need them."

Later, once it was dark, Sephiroth was walking through one of the dim hallways by himself. He'd trained at the facility and had been back so many times that even if he didn't have the Mako-given ability to see in the dark, he'd have been able to walk around perfectly well without running into too many things.

Still, he wasn't exactly the one to run into the young cadet - the cadet ran into him.

The flashlight the boy was clutching didn't put off enough light for him to see more than a foot in front of him and he seemed to be lost in thought anyway in the split second before he crashed into Sephiroth. He then fell backwards onto the hard tile floor, his flashlight flying from his grip. It shattered when it bounced off a wall and onto the floor, leaving the pair in pitch black darkness.

"Are you okay?" Sephiroth asked, offering a hand to the cadet. It took him a second to realize the cadet couldn't see him and instead bent down beside the young man and grabbed his hand to pull him upright.

"Sorry," the cadet said quickly, stepping away. "It broke, didn't it?"

"Your flashlight? Yes," Sephiroth replied as he eyed the debris on the floor. "Where were you headed? You should have been in your room."

"Well, I was with some friends, since I don't have roommates right now and stuff," the cadet explained. Sephiroth let a flicker of a smile cross his face when he realized the young man had no idea who he was talking to and probably figured it was just a civilian employee or maybe another cadet.

"How far is your room?" He wasn't about to just leave the cadet to wander in the dark. There were stairs nearby and finding even the braille room numbers was near impossible without searching an entire wall.

"Not far. Room eighteen," the cadet replied. "You have a flashlight?"


"Then how did you get here? Can you see?" The cadet's eyes were wide, trying to take in any light possible but there was none. There should have been emergency generators for the facility, but none of them had started properly. Sephiroth had made a mental note to fire whomever had written maintenance out of the ShinRa military budget.

"I can," Sephiroth said and grabbed the cadet's hand roughly. "Come with me."

Without a second though Sephiroth pulled the cadet down the hall towards where he remembered room eighteen to be.

"Hey! Not so rough. Ow!" The cadet went through a series of complaints as he stumbled after Sephiroth, barely able to keep up with the Sephiroth's stride. But instead of being annoyed, Sephiroth was amused. No one had been quite so candid towards him in years. He slowed down a bit and loosened his grip on the cadet's hand.

Surprisingly though, the cadet squeezed back.

"No losing me," he explained.

They walked a bit further in silence, until they made it to room eighteen, which was quite a bit further than the cadet most likely had thought.

"Your key?"

The cadet fumbled through his pockets and managed to drop the key on the floor the second he pulled it from his pants.

"Oops." He dropped to his knees and began feeling about for the it in the completely wrong area.

After a moment of watching the young man's awkwardness, Sephiroth bent down and picked up the key, reaching for the cadet's wrist at the same time.

"I have your key."

"Oh... so you're leaving now?"

Sephiroth paused once they were both upright. He thrust the key into the lock and turned it, pushing the door open as soon as he could.

"You're alone in here..." Sephiroth glanced at the name beside the room number - C. Strife. It was the only name listed for the four-person room. Most likely the other residents had been transferred for the summer.

"Cloud," the cadet volunteered as he stepped slowly inside. "Wow, it's really dark in here."

Sephiroth found himself watching Cloud navigate the room with near-ease once he was within his own space. A thought struck Sephiroth as he looked into the side room that contained three empty beds and one with a striped comforter on it. He did need to stay somewhere for the night, and there was plenty of room here. Besides, not being treated like a high-ranking officer was more fun than he'd ever thought.

"I do need somewhere to stay for the remainder of the night," Sephiroth said as he stepped through the doorway and shut the door behind him, sure to set the key on the bookcase beside the door.

"Well, it's dark, but... You can see, so you'll be fine, huh?"

Sephiroth nodded before realizing that action wasn't visible. "Yes."

"I wish this hadn't happened today. I really wanted to listen to my new radio," Cloud said as he felt around for a chair before sitting.

"Radio?" Sephiroth felt a bit like the roles had been reversed. He was now asking the silly-sounding questions. He'd never had the same teenage years that his buddies had and he hadn't had a normal conversation with anyone in ages.

"Yeah, that's what I was doing down the hall. See, tomorrow's my birthday and my friends gave me a radio," Cloud explained. "I left it in their room though since I was afraid I'd drop it or fall down the stairs with it or something."

Sephiroth actually smiled. After watching Cloud in action, he understood why. But he'd seen others go through similar awkward phases and they all ended up being excellent soldiers.

"Happy birthday," Sephiroth said as he walked across the room to sit in the only other vacant chair.

"Thanks. You know, I heard that the General was supposed to be here today for something, but I never got to see him at all," Cloud said before letting a stray yawn escape from his mouth.

"You wanted to see him?" Sephiroth asked, playing along to see just what Cloud thought of him. He definitely felt a bit silly, but he still had the human curiosity about how others saw him.

"Yeah, he's kinda like... my idol. But you won't tell the other cadets, will you? Um..." Cloud paused. "I don't know your name."

"William," Sephiroth replied. It was the name that had been on the coffee mug of candles he'd been handed some hours earlier and he'd idly spent the evening trying to figure out who and where the real William was. Not even during the original panic had anyone in the offices been introduced as being William.

"You new then? A SOLDIER? That'd be why you can see..." Cloud surmised as another yawn slipped from his mouth at the end of the sentence.

"Correct," Sephiroth replied, echoing the yawn and glancing towards the inviting beds. "Do you have a blanket I can borrow?"

"Sure! My mother sent me a bunch last winter. They're in the closet," Cloud said, pointing in a direction that wasn't quite towards the closet.

"Thank you."

Cloud was already pulling his clothes off when Sephiroth entered the bedroom with a couple blankets tucked under his arm.

"I bet you aren't scared at all, huh?" Cloud asked. "Even at home I don't remember it ever being this dark. Or quiet."

"I'm a bit discontent at the situation," Sephiroth said as he set the blankets on an empty bed and started undoing his jacket.

"Will you talk to me until I fall asleep? I'd be going crazy if I was alone. I've been alone in this room all summer but the noises and lights made it okay before," Cloud explained as he pulled off his pants and felt around for the edge of the bed.

"What do you want to talk about?" Sephiroth asked as he pulled his own pants from his body, draping them over the end of the bed.

"Anything. Did you see Sephiroth today? You never answered."

"Yes, he's here," Sephiroth said, fighting back a bit of laughter. He was telling the truth though.

"Still? You think I'll be able to see him tomorrow? Just a glance, of course." Cloud was laying on top of his blankets, his hands behind his head as he looked up towards the ceiling.

"How about I guarantee it?" Sephiroth asked with a smirk. After all, the first rays of daylight or the power coming back on suddenly would give him away.

"You'd do that for me?"

Sephiroth spread one of the blankets out on the bed and set the other down to be used as a pillow. Then he walked over and flicked on the room's light switch, so he'd know when the power was back on.

"First thing in the morning."

There was a minute of silence as Sephiroth settled onto his bed. He'd forgotten just how miserable the mattresses were in the barracks and he made a quick mental note to push for a full modernizing of the facility.

"Still awake?"

"Yes," Sephiroth answered. If Cloud wasn't so cute as he lay clutching his pillow to his chest, Sephiroth would have been annoyed. But he was playing the role of an older soldier, not the great general. And cute? It was a bit of a sudden thought, but Sephiroth didn't push it away. He hadn't looked for a lover in years, mainly because no one really treated him as another human.

Maybe he was confusing his little game with something greater.

"Is it silly that I'm scared? I mean, Sephiroth wouldn't be scared in a situation like this."

Sephiroth bit back another laugh. He wasn't scared. He was just a little annoyed and a little amused, all at the same time. The darkness and the inability to look for little comforts was the worst of it, but he knew it would pass. He didn't need an alarm clock to wake up at the correct time and he didn't need light to see, so he had no real problems. But to a young cadet, he understood the situation could be terrifying. For an instant, he wondered if this teen would be the hysterical one.

"It's a human reaction," Sephiroth said after a pause.

"I feel better with someone here though."

"Would you feel better with Sephiroth here?"

Cloud threw the pillow beside him and propped himself up on an elbow. "I didn't think you'd tease me about that."

"I just asked a question." Sephiroth rolled over to put his feet on the floor. It was just a couple steps to Cloud's bed and he smiled in the darkness before cupping Cloud's chin with one hand. "I already told you I'd get you Sephiroth in the morning. I just wanted to know what for."

"Nothing." Cloud didn't pull away. Instead he was shaking slightly as though... Sephiroth drew his hand back quickly, as he realized he'd probably scared the cadet half to death.

"I didn't mean to frighten you, I..."

"No, you seem too nice to do anything like that, William. You just startled me," Cloud said quickly. Sephiroth assumed Cloud was trying to keep the fictional soldier a friend at least until he'd achieved his goals.

Sephiroth sat on the edge of the bed without thinking as he reached over Cloud to push the teen's pillow back to the hand searching for it.

"You should get some sleep. It's later than you think," Sephiroth said after a moment.

"You said you'd talk to me," Cloud replied.

"That I did."

However, Cloud was fighting off another yawn as Sephiroth readjusted himself to move further onto the bed. He knew the teen would be asleep soon and asked idle questions about his training until Cloud stopped replying.

Once he was sure Cloud was asleep, Sephiroth slipped off the bed and headed for his own. When he looked back at Cloud, he started running through some of the more amusing possibilities for the morning, when Cloud realized his idol had been in his room all night.

With a chuckle, Sephiroth stepped back to Cloud's bed and gently brushed some of Cloud's unruly blond hair back from his face. It fell right back into its original position with no hesitation.

And then, on impulse, he trailed his fingers down Cloud's face, tracing the shape and pulling away only when Cloud stirred.


"Shhh..." Sephiroth brought a finger to Cloud's lips to hush him.

"Don't run off in the morning, okay?" Cloud sleepily mumbled. "I want Sephiroth so bad."

Sephiroth brought a hand to his own mouth to keep from laughing. He'd had a roommate once who was painfully honest when mostly asleep and it seemed Cloud was no different.

Another set of responses to the morning flashed through his mind as he stroked Cloud's hair again and smiled.

"I'll make sure your morning is perfect."

He didn't get a response and took that as a sign that he needed to get some rest as well.

It was still dark when he awoke, yet he knew it was the proper time. Without lights though, it was still dark and a peek out the window didn't even reveal the sun on the horizon. Obviously the day was already lost to productivity, but it didn't really matter in the long run. Sephiroth, at least, was enjoying himself more than he had in ages.

"Wake up, it's morning," he announced to the sleeping cadet in the next bed.

"Don't wanna," Cloud replied as he pulled his pillow over his head.

"I have a birthday gift for you."

"Huh? Oh, William... It's still dark."

"No power yet," Sephiroth replied.

"Then go back to bed," Cloud mumbled, pointing to the floor before rolling over.

The most amusing scenario he'd managed to concoct involved being in a rather intimate position with Cloud when the lights came back on.

Without a moment's hesitation, he promptly climbed onto the bed beside Cloud and threw an arm over the cadet.

That woke Cloud up. Almost instantly he turned back over so he was face to face with Sephiroth, but didn't know it.

"What are you doing?"

Sephiroth kissed him gently and quickly, waiting for a protest that didn't come. He took that as a sign he could keep going, kissing longer and deeper until Cloud finally started to respond.

"I've never..." Cloud muttered, pulling away slightly.

"That's okay," Sephiroth said as he let that sink in. So much for the intimate position he'd had in mind. Still, he had nothing against actual relationships. And if Cloud would still treat him as human once his identity was revealed, he didn't mind risking a little bit for such pleasant company in return.

"I..." Cloud looked down at the space between them.

Not saying anything, Sephiroth reached for Cloud, pulling him closer before kissing him again.

"You really like me?" Cloud asked once their lips parted.

"Yes," Sephiroth replied, realizing a slight blush had spread over Cloud's cheeks.

Before either could move again, the lights came back on.


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