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Seeing Dawn

Title: Seeing Dawn
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
Disclaimer: No ownership implied, no profit gained. This is a fanwork.
Characters/Pairings: Cloud/Denzel
Rating: MA
Summary: Denzel is in his late teens and going out to strange places at night. Cloud can't help but be concerned, but he isn't a very good role model either.
Notes: -

"Where are you going?" Cloud asked, glancing up from the book he had sitting on the kitchen table. He wasn't so much reading it as looking at it - the first time through the rich graphic novel, he'd read the words. This time he was merely looking at the art and the way the artist captured motion.

He'd developed some sort of thing for beauty - aesthetic pleasantness. Probably because he kept touching it and then losing it. On paper, it was safer.

"Out," Denzel replied, black sweatshirt loose over his torso. The tone in his voice was nearly polite but Cloud knew better. He knew Denzel - knew that beneath the fading innocence of youth was a street-smart fighter.

"Is that a collar you're wearing?" Cloud queried. The only response he received was the slamming of the screen door as dusk fell upon another of summerís dwindling days.

Cloud sighed, closing the book without marking his page. He hadn't been reading it anyway, just looking at the art.

He had nothing to say; he was going out as well.

"Where did you get that?"

"You ask too many questions," Denzel shot back even though he reached up to twist his fingers through the silver chain now hanging just below the black leather of the collar.

"I don't like the friends you've made." Cloud wondered when he'd stopped being Denzel's older brother and turned instead into a parent.

"So I'm going out again."

"Come back," Cloud said. "Just... come back."

"Cloud-" There was a flicker of innocence in Denzel's eyes before he turned and headed towards the door. "'Kay."


"You waited up for me?" Denzel asked, closing the door as quietly as he could before bringing himself to face Cloud. "You never wait up for me."

Cloud wasn't quite ready to admit that he normally wasn't home himself. Yet somehow... he didn't want Denzel to follow the path of mistakes he was still making.

"I want to know..." Cloud trailed off as he stood, pausing with his chair half-pushed under the table. "You smell like beer."

"I wasn't drinking it. Someone spilled it on me," Denzel replied as he pulled off his sweatshirt.

"A bar?"

"We played pool." And just the way Denzel said it, Cloud found himself fully believing that statement. Obviously there was a little something more to the story, but that had to be the root.

"For money?"

"Not me," Denzel said. "I just... help out a little."

Cloud shook his head. "If you need a job..."

"Haven't I accepted enough from you? And from Tifa?" Denzel seemed to only want to focus on the tile of the kitchen floor. "Should scrub the floor tomorrow, y'know?"

He couldn't think of anything else to do. But Tifa was busy. She had her own business, her own problems. Turning, Cloud just nodded as he headed for the hallway. He had a run to do in the morning, anyway.

"I'll scrub the floor tomorrow," Denzel repeated, his voice fading to little more than a whisper. "Cloud?"

Not even sure why he wasn't angry, Cloud didn't reply. The safer option had to win out, and that's what he had chosen.

Cloud could feel the cold metal hard in his pocket as he finished off another drink. Some time before he might have worried about insulting Tifa by not drinking at her bar, but now - there were things she knew that she'd likely always known.

"Want another?"

Not entirely sure why he was letting himself be dragged around with a very obvious and not even wholly attractive couple, Cloud nodded. The older - or maybe just larger - kept touching Cloud's shoulders and arms, perhaps to see if that muscle was real.

"Got weird eyes," the other of the pair said, letting his hands start to wander as well.

"'Nother bar," the first decided. "That place with the pool tables. I'll play a game against that brat and get us a nice hotel room."

Cloud wondered if he could keep his stomach in check. A few more drinks. The worst part was that he could quite honestly pinpoint the moment when he'd started on this descent into absolute self-loathing and decadence.

He didn't like to even think about it.

Denzel. Three years ago. Thirteen, then.

A night run had brought him in late - later than usual. And finding Denzel in his bed after some nightmare or another - that didn't surprise him. But Denzel oblivious and very obviously masturbating and softly moaning...

Nothing clicked in his mind as the two men dragged him from the bar other than that he did need another drink. Soon. Nothing else mattered.

"We're clear across town," Cloud commented, worrying a little about the bike - one of three, now - that he'd originally driven. They were wedged into an old truck, a little too drunk to care that they were a little too drunk. The younger one slipped a hand much too close to where that bit of cold silver rested.

Denzel had left too quickly and Cloud had been too scared to just get up and follow. As if a silver bracelet would bind the teen to him anyway. Denzel would be repulsed to know that....

"Here!" the older one announced, turning much too quickly into a half-empty parking lot. "Really nice boys here, though you should still come with us."

Cloud wondered if he could even catch a taxi back home anyway. Another drink.

Music was blaring and smoke hung thick in the bar, leaving Cloud to be pulled along by the younger of the two. Or smaller. He still hadn't decided.

A bottle was thrust into his hand and then before he realized what had happened, he was alone near packed pool tables.

And a black sweatshirt he would know anywhere, hanging undone and loose on a frame that had never quite filled out.

Cloud knew he hadn't been spotted yet and as best he could, he slipped to a far corner to watch just what Denzel was doing. One of his friends seemed to actually be the one playing pool while the lone girl in the group seemed to have the winner's pot stuffed down between her plump breasts.

Quite the racket, Cloud decided as he watched Denzel's friend sink shot after shot. And when he did miss, one of the gang would do something distracting but still quite within the rules.

An easy win, ending with the cleavage girl smiling and holding out gil as though she was soliciting another sucker.

The older of the men who had brought him to the bar stepped up and Cloud winced. He set down his drink and wondered if there was going to be a fight. But no, it was almost as though he started to enjoy losing, missing shots as two boys started kissing nearby, pulling at each other's clothing in an obviously scripted way.

Another miss. The leader's turn. Cloud tried to sneak closer to watch. The shot was good and Cloud could instantly see how good of a moneymaker the setup was. He almost missed another boy snaking up to Denzel and clipping a leash on that collar.


Cloud had missed an accidental sinking of the eight-ball.

"How much for him?" At first Cloud hadn't realized it was his voice or that he'd even moved, stepping up to the leader before pointing at Denzel. "A game."

"Denzel?" the leader turned, obviously as much a friend as a partner.

Denzel's expression changed to one of sheer horror before recovering. "Yeah."

"Two hundred."

"High roller?" Cloud wanted to smack that fucking bastard who'd brought him. He'd sobered up. Now - now...

Handing two hundred gil over to the walking cleavage, Cloud pulled the leash away from the boy who held it and gestured to an empty table.

"Cloud," Denzel whispered. "I...."

"Why?" Cloud asked, dropping coins into the table to get a set of pool balls. Someone had left a stick on the edge of the table and he grabbed it. Somehow, winning and losing didn't really matter.

"I'm not... selling myself or anything," Denzel replied. "I wouldn't do that."

"I know." Cloud reached to unclip the leash, letting his fingers trail along the top of the collar. Denzel's eyes fluttered shut.

But before Cloud could do anything more, one of the boys was glaring at him. "Don't touch him."

"It's okay," Denzel replied. "Let me play this game."

Another glare, but the boy went back to where the real action was.

"See?" Denzel asked. "We're friends."

"Go on," Cloud commented. "Ask me. Ask me why I'm here."

"People hook up here," Denzel said bluntly. "So I guess that's why you're here. You're no saint. You go out too."

"I'm not proud of it."

"I hope not," Denzel replied as he finally moved to rack the balls. "There'll be a fight for this table if we don't start playing."

"You any good?" Cloud asked.

"Worried about your money?"

"No." Cloud took the first shot anyway, making what had to be the worst break possible. But as he went to step back, he realized Denzel was pressed against him, breathing warm against his neck.

"Am I distracting you?"


"I don't... normally... I mean...," Denzel sought for words he couldn't find.

Cloud only nodded. Denzel's hands were on his, pulling the stick from him.

"I'm not so good at this."

The double-meaning wasn't quite lost on Cloud and suddenly three years of self-loathing and emotional detachment seemed all for naught.

"And you want me to..."


His erection had to be obvious as he pressed up against Denzel, wrapping his body around the teen's and guiding his hands. His lips lingered on Denzel's neck, just below the collar and just above where the hood of that black sweatshirt dipped downward.

"Cloud, I-" his shot wasn't much better, but the fourteen ball shakily did drop into a middle pocket. No one was watching them, though. The real game was at the next table.

A moment later Denzel had his sweatshirt off, revealing pale skin barely covered by a threadbare dark top dotted with holes. Cloud swallowed hard. He knew it - it had been his.

The rest of the game was played with their bodies, hands taunting and teasing, touching themselves and one another. Denzel kept toying with the silver chain around his neck and Cloud couldn't manage to stop staring.

One of them was winning - he just wasn't sure who. He sunk another ball, a little in awe that he'd done so with Denzel's fingers creeping along his leg.

That silver bracelet.

"Call me crazy," Cloud muttered, mostly to himself as he grabbed Denzel's hand and guided it to where those curious fingers would find hard metal.

"Cloud," Denzel gasped, grabbing and pulling the chain into the light. "You...."

"Put it on," Cloud said. "And we can leave."

"But the game isn't over," Denzel replied as he unclasped the bracelet and wrapped it around his wrist. Before Cloud could reach to help, Denzel had it hooked and was holding it up. "We're tied."

"You're mine." Cloud pointed at the bracelet. "I'm guessing your bike is here."


Two hundred gil wasn't much of anything compared to the feel of Denzel's mouth against his, completely unprepared for a series of kisses the second they were out in the night air.

"I've never..." Denzel managed before Cloud had kissed him again, thrusting his tongue into Denzel's mouth and shocked at the inexperienced lust that he found. Denzel tried to be good, enthusiasm winning out as the rest of his body melted against Cloud's. His sweatshirt was tied at his waist, the knot hard against Cloud's stomach. It distracted him, though, from the urge to reach down and see if Denzel was as aroused as he was.

"Why didn't you ever...?"

"Why didn't you...?"

Cloud could see Denzel's motorcycle at the far edge of the lot beneath a buzzing light.

"Hotel?" Denzel asked. "That's... what we should do, right?"

"We should go home," Cloud replied. "And sleep."

"But..." Denzel grabbed at Cloud's arm, digging his heels into the pavement as though he could actually stop Cloud from moving.

"I care about you."

"Then why won't you take me to a hotel?" Denzel asked. "That's... what we should do."

"I'll drive." Cloud knew the look on Denzel's face. If even a single tear escaped to trickle down one of Denzel's cheeks, he knew he'd cave in. "Get on behind me."

"Cloud!" Denzel grabbed his hand and pushed it between his legs to feel the obvious product of every touch and kiss that had passed between them. Yes, Denzel quite obviously felt like he did.

He wondered if he had enough space for just a little bit more decadence and self-loathing.

Pushing Denzel to half-lean on his own bike, Cloud dropped down onto his knees and grabbed at the zipper of Denzel's pants. He didn't care if they were seen and certainly no one was going to complain.


Pretending that it wasn't Denzel in his mouth proved to be difficult as Denzel couldn't manage to keep his voice in check, crying out into the stillness of the parking lot. At least it was quick. Before he'd even managed to take more than a few inches of Denzel's erection into his mouth and offer more than a few almost-cursory licks with his tongue along the underside, Denzel grabbed at his shoulders as though the world was ending.

But if Cloud could do anything, he could swallow. And he wanted to swallow.

"There," he said as he rocked back onto his heels and stood. "Get on behind me. And hold on."


"Yeah." Cloud licked his lips as he slung himself onto the bike. The key had been easy to snatch from Denzel and as he turned the engine over, Denzel finally slid on behind him.

"Where are we going?" Denzel asked as they headed out of the parking lot. His voice was quickly becoming lost in the wind and Cloud just reached for a split second to squeeze where Denzel's hands twined against his stomach.

They were going home, of course.

"You smell like beer," Cloud muttered as he held open the screen door.

"That's because you do," Denzel replied, pressing up against Cloud and trying to kiss him. "And I was close to you."

"Upstairs." Cloud wondered why that had escaped as quite-nearly an order. This from the petulant youth who he'd been arguing with all week. But the kitchen floor was clean.

Cloud knew that he should have seen that little gesture as a sign.

"Yes," Denzel replied, scooting through the kitchen almost a little too enthusiastically.

"But..." Cloud continued, "this doesn't mean that I approve of what you've been doing."

"And how am I supposed to feel about you..." Denzel's voice became suddenly serious before sneaking back to the playful tone it had before. "What are you going to do, anyway? Spank me?"

Cloud paused halfway through the kitchen. He'd already figured out during the drive home that Denzel had just been crying out for attention and aching with the same jealousy that had been affecting him.

"Yeah," Cloud said. "Sure."

"What?" Denzel stopped on the stairs. At the rate they were going, Cloud was fairly sure that they'd still be hashing out details in the hallway come dawn.

With two fingers hooked through that bracelet, Cloud led Denzel silently up the stairs and into his room. One task out of the way.

"Pants down and on the bed," Cloud instructed. "You're the one who suggested it."

"I was just... okay." Denzel hesitated for a second before realizing that Cloud was pulling off his own clothing. "You're..."

"That's kinda how this works," Cloud replied. "And to think that you wanted to go to a hotel."

"That was then."

"If you're scared, we can sleep." Cloud certainly was no stranger to going to bed still aroused and more than a little frustrated. He could hold his alcohol but some of the men he went home with really couldn't.

"No, I- Well-" Denzel shook his head. "I don't know."

"Bed," Cloud suggested as Denzel finally slid his pants down. "If you tell me to stop, I'll stop."

"I won't want you to stop," Denzel replied with such conviction that Cloud almost believed him.

Denzel felt good beside him - hot as they burrowed beneath covers that would somehow hide what they were doing. They kept kissing, not speaking as Denzel nervously reached to feel the length of Cloud's erection.

"Just like you'd touch yourself," Cloud whispered as he rocked against Denzel and pulled their bodies closer together before quickly landing a quick slap on Denzel's bottom.

He hadn't been expecting the gasp that followed as hands paused mid-stroke.

"Again," Denzel whispered. "Please."

Knowing full well that he wasn't even close to inflicting any pain, Cloud let his palm meet the soft flesh of Denzel's bottom for the second time, pausing after to caress where his hand had hit.

"No more punishment," Cloud said. "Just pleasure."

He didn't have to hate himself for this. No more self-loathing. No more going out to drown himself in misery.

Denzel had been in his bed that night. They could have... He would have waited anyway. But knowing...

His own hand, the one he could really move instead of the one that was under Denzel's head serving as a pillow, moved to find the arousal that Denzel had been pressing against his thigh, wondering if Denzel would come as quickly as before or if this time would take awhile. He didn't care.

They could see dawn. Maybe they needed to see dawn.

Mouths together, they fell into a rhythm that felt right - that meant something. Cloud moaned at the feel of Denzel's seed hot on his erection, luring him towards an orgasm as overwhelming as any he could remember in the farthest reaches of his mind. The intensity that grabbed him - he felt as though he was a teenager again.

Sticky and sweaty, he held Denzel against him, kissing Denzel's hair and stroking Denzel's back until he was sure Denzel had finally fallen asleep.

And when dawn came, Cloud wasn't surprised to find that he was still awake. His mind hadn't stopped racing and when the rays of sunlight trickled through the window to illuminate the gorgeous teen curled against him, he vowed to try to finally hang on to the beauty bestowed upon him. No matter the consequences. No matter the challenges.


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