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Beloved, Prologue

Title: Beloved

Rating: M, violence, language, slash etc.

Summary: FFVII, post DoC.  Genesis/Cloud, one-sided Tifa/Cloud.  It all starts when Cloud tries to leave during the middle of a Loveless performance.

Author’s Note:  So, this fic hasn’t turned out at all like what was in my head.  All of my bad writing habits came back in this fic – probably an unfortunate side effect of how it would constantly get sidelined by other projects.  Hopefully I can fix them during the editing period, if not, well… sorry?  Also, if you've read my stuff before you should know I have perennial problems of taking far too long to get to the point.

Honestly it probably needs a rewrite from the ground up, but that’s not a time and effort commitment I’m willing to make.  I struggled with characterisation a fair bit too, hopefully it came out okay.  You would think that since I've written plenty of FF7 before it would be easy by now, but it isn't.  

Heads up, there will be slash.  Consider that warning for people since I’ve been enjoying writing gen for quite a while.  As for the slash aspects, it turns up a bit later in the story, and isn't particularly graphic (as fair warning for those here only for smut, you'll probably be disappointed.)  I actually think this story suffers the opposite problem I normally have with fics – for once the pairing is the point, but all this other stuff gets in the way and distracts from it.

Um, I shouldn't really be writing post-mortems before I start, especially since there's a lot of writing and editing left to go, but I know people have their fanfic pet peeves so I thought it good manners to throw those out there.  Hopefully you can enjoy the fic regardless.

Updates will be weekly for now.  Might be able to improve that later, but am playing it safe.  Have totally bitten off more than I can chew this year.

Also, thanks to Little House in the Woods for her beta services!


____________________

Beloved

Prologue

____________________

 

As the war sends the world hurtling towards destruction
The prisoner departs with his newfound love
And embarks on a new journey.

 

Cloud shifted awkwardly in his seat as the narrator retreated into the shadows and the lights on the stage swung to focus on the hero.  He should have left during the intermission at the end of the second act.  Forget that – he shouldn’t have agreed to come in the first place. 

 

Tifa had twisted his arm, though.  She’d never seen Loveless – Nibelheim didn’t have a cinema, much less a theatre, and she never had the opportunity after joining Avalanche.  When Reeve had called with free tickets to a performance at the new theatre in Edge, there hadn’t even been a discussion.

 

The music swelled, and the hero’s lover whirled onto the stage, lacy skirts sweeping the floor.  A small gasp of breath whispered beside him as the two actors embraced.  A careful glimpse out of the corner of his eyes showed his childhood friend staring at the stage, starry-eyed and smiling.  Totally enraptured.

 

Cloud tried to see if the chair could sink any lower – all the way to the Planet’s core, preferably.  Fortunately Tifa wasn’t the sort of girl normally prone to extravagant romanticism, but once upon a time she nurtured her own fantasies of knights in shining armour sweeping her off her feet.  As much as the burning of Nibelheim dampened those dreams, he supposed her heart still harboured a fondness for those sorts of fairy tales.

 

Which made it almost certain another painfully awkward attempt at intimacy now lay in wait back home. 

 

Was it normal to dread it?

 

The hero raised his sword, and the spotlight followed.  His fake armour clanked and jingled with every movement.  Cloud sank deeper.

 

Everyone around him was too dressed up.  The only concessions he’d made had been to leave his sunglasses in his pocket and his shoulder guard at home.  Tifa wore a black evening dress, plain but for the lacy embroidery on the bodice.  Normally he’d be expected to think she looked stunning in it, but the cut was too similar to a dress he’d worn once upon a time for him to do anything but remember the alien feeling of silk brushing his ankles.

 

The narrator stepped forward as the scene changed again. 

Though no oath is shared between the lovers,
In their hearts they know they will meet again.


Gaia, it bugged him that the lead actress had green eyes.  It also didn’t help that popular culture had recently developed a habit of always giving the villain silver hair.

 

That did it.  He was out of there.  As the theatre darkened for the set shift, he stood up.  Tifa glanced at him.  “Bathroom,” he muttered.  Her brow tightened a moment – she probably already knew he didn’t intend to come back – but in the end, nodded her understanding.

 

A reprieve.

 

He stepped into the aisle, gaze narrowed and directed at the floor, and hurried up the steps towards the exit, hoping to make it out before the lights came back on.

 

He was almost there when a grip of steel fastened itself around his arm.

 

His free hand immediately snapped to First Tsurugi, before he remembered his sword waited with Fenrir and that he looked like an idiot grasping at air.  He tensed, ready to strike out if necessary, when the stranger spoke.

 

“The show’s not finished.”

 

The voice was cultured and sharp, with the deliberately precise pronunciation of an upper-class accent.  In the dark theatre, he couldn’t read much of the man’s features, or even his hair colour – especially not with his face still turned to the stage. 

Cloud forced down his fight-or-flight instincts – the play had made him jumpier than he thought – and replied, “I’m going to the bathroom.”

 

A scoff.  “Don’t disrespect their work with such a poor lie.  Intermission ended only fifteen minutes ago.  Watch.”  Then he shifted over to the empty space next to him, dragging him into his row.

 

The guy had a grip as strong as Barret.  Cloud could have still broken it, but the people nearby were starting to look, and the last thing he wanted was to create a disturbance.  So with a slight huff, he took the empty seat next to the stranger. 

 

The lights brightened again, revealing an old-fashioned war camp.

 

“Fine, I’ll stay.  Let go,” he hissed.

 

“Quiet,” the man hushed, eyes fixed as firmly on the stage as the gloved fingers around Cloud’s wrist.

 

The play continued, brassy music echoing through the theatre.  Cloud frowned and dragged his attention forward.  Great.  He’d annoyed Tifa, and still hadn’t managed to escape.  Did he attract meddlesome people?

 

He kept half an eye on the man still pinning his arm to the seat – as though it were no great effort for him to do so – but the stranger paid him no mind, focused wholly on the stage.  As the lights rose with the action, he caught a glimpse of short, reddish hair, the glint of a single earring, and a somewhat ragged maroon leather coat.

 

He shifted in his chair, mentally calculating the distance to the exit.  The fingers around his wrist tightened as though in admonishment.

 

After all, your glory should have been mine!”  The words rang through the theatre with energy and purpose.  From the corner of his eyes, he could see the stranger mouth along with them. 

 

His original misgivings about staying hadn’t abated – if anything, this far back in the theatre it was worse, as distance robbed the actors of their defining features and the resemblance to his memories grew even stronger.  But apparently he wasn’t getting out of the rest of the show without creating a fuss.  His gaze wandered to the back of Tifa’s head – distinguishable from the sea of brunettes only by the fact that hers was one of the few heads not adorned with expensive, glittering hairclips.

 

The lights turned crimson, and the stage exploded into a simulacrum of battle, as actors whirled their fake swords in tandem above their heads.  The heroine, dressed in a long, flowing white dress, swooned on the side of the stage, arm outstretched in a silent plea.

 

Grudgingly, Cloud had to admit that it was impressively done.  The music created false tension, and while the fighting looked ridiculous to a trained eye, it was artistic enough to forgive it.  All in all, far more interesting than his last experience at the theatre – although comparing a full scale Loveless production with a Gold Saucer matinee maybe wasn’t fair of him.

 

They didn’t have audience participation, either.  Another plus.

 

At some point near the end of the fourth act, the pressure on his wrist vanished.  A sidelong glance at the man next to him showed him fully entranced in the action – possibly not even aware he’d let go. 

 

Who was he?  What kind of theatre-lover had the strength to stop a SOLDIER First Class in his path? 

 

…Not that he was ever a SOLDIER First Class, but that was beside the point.

 

Cloud didn’t take the opportunity to escape, though.  The play was winding up to the finale, so there wasn’t much point in leaving anymore.  Maybe he could tell Tifa that rather than interrupt the show when returning, he’d taken an empty seat towards the back.  It even had the benefit of being mostly true.

 

Before he knew it, the theatre was exploding in applause as the actors took their bows.

 

“Don’t be rude.  Show your appreciation,” a voice hissed from his left.

 

With a silent sigh, Cloud started clapping too.  Just in case the meddler decided to do it for him.

 

The lights rose, and while some hopefuls continued applauding for an extra curtain call, the rest of the audience began shifting in their seats, filling the auditorium with a rumbling murmur as the women reached for their handbags and the men switched their phones back on.

 

The stranger let out a contented sigh, and finally turned to him.

 

It was safe to say neither of them had expected to be greeted with mako eyes.

 

The stranger recovered first.  “That’s odd.  I didn’t think any SOLDIERs were left,” he drawled.

 

Cloud bit down the usual retort about not being in SOLDIER.  Somewhere in his shock he’d been struck with a horrible sensation of familiarity – the same sickening nostalgia that made him anxious throughout the show.  “I’ve seen you before.”

 

It was, apparently, the wrong thing to say.  The stranger’s eyes narrowed, and then in one swift move – with enough grace to make even Vincent jealous – he leapt into the next row and slipped up the aisle to the exit, weaving through the crowd of departing patrons like a cat between ankles.  In a whirl of red leather, he disappeared through the doors, leaving a thoroughly confused Cloud half-standing, arm reaching in an empty grasp.

 

“Cloud?” a familiar voice called.  He turned – Tifa was approaching on the stairs, the black silk of her dress brushing the red carpet.  “You stayed?”  When he didn’t respond, her brow furrowed in concern.  “Is something wrong?”

 

He glanced back towards the door. 

 

He hadn’t thought there were any SOLDIERs left either.

 

“…It’s nothing.  Let’s go.”



 Next chapter

Comments

( 37 comments — Leave a comment )
mauralucky7
Jun. 2nd, 2012 03:06 pm (UTC)
Oh my god! That was beautiful. I am so happy that you started writing FFVII fics again! Tha characterisation was perfect despite what you stated above.
I wonder if Gen remember the unconcious blond with mako poisoning who was traveling with Zack. Regardless, he would definitely flee if someone recognized him, it's not like he really kept a low profile back in his ShinRa days.
sinnatious
Jun. 3rd, 2012 06:29 am (UTC)
Heh, did I really stop? I guess considering there is FFVII in Dissidia it didn't feel like it. Happy you like the opening so far~
shi_koi
Jun. 2nd, 2012 04:26 pm (UTC)
Yay! New FFVII fic! Woohoo!! --does happy dance--

Ooooh, it's going to be Genesis/Cloud? Really? That's brilliant! --happy sigh--

I love your mysterious beginning.
sinnatious
Jun. 3rd, 2012 06:30 am (UTC)
Yup, Genesis/Cloud. There simply isn't enough of it. It's a matter of duty. :) Glad there's an audience for it.

Thanks!
darkbombayangel
Jun. 3rd, 2012 01:32 am (UTC)
Yay! A new FFVII fic! I love the the prologue. I'm glad that its Genesis/Cloud. Can't wait for the next chpater. ^-^
sinnatious
Jun. 3rd, 2012 06:31 am (UTC)
Thank you~
firedraygon97
Jun. 3rd, 2012 05:07 am (UTC)
Haha, I love Cloud's characterization, how he's not too serious and angstful with regards to his relationship with Tifa. I'm definitely looking forward to where you'll be taking this! All your 'warnings' make me happy, because I love a good build-up to a pairing. :D

Genesis acting like a reverse-bouncer and keeping people in is hilarious, too. I bet he does that at every show he goes to.
sinnatious
Jun. 3rd, 2012 06:27 am (UTC)
Thanks. One fan's trash is another fan's treasure? :)

It is in fact, canon that he did this exact thing to Cid in Crisis Core.
firedraygon97
Jun. 3rd, 2012 06:31 am (UTC)
What, when?? I don't remember this in CC. :O Not that I don't believe you, and in fact, replaying something from canon makes this scene even more awesome, haha.
sinnatious
Jun. 3rd, 2012 06:37 am (UTC)
Yup! You can talk to a younger Cid hanging out on the Exhibition floor at one point, and he complains about some rabid Loveless fan (obviously Genesis) who kept waking him up when he fell asleep in the performance.
firedraygon97
Jun. 3rd, 2012 06:42 am (UTC)
Oh that's just precious. XDD I'm sad I missed that convo!

And you know, I was just up in rural Alberta for a bit, and to pass some of the time I listened to the podfic version of TFA. Makes me want to replay CC.
kotoshin
Jun. 22nd, 2012 12:37 pm (UTC)
... what chapter of CC is this?!

*has recently acquired CC and is massively overleveling Zax in missions*
Also, CC makes me want to write Sephiroth/Wutai fic. As a result, I'm researching the available Compilation data (mostly CC + OGC) on Shinra army ranks/structure and running SOLDIER comparisons.

(and General Sephiroth is OMG fanon. But it makes sense, really. He probably does have an /acting/ General rank to command Shinra regular Army as well as SOLDIER, but his actual command is probably SOLDIER as a Division rather than Shinra field Army.)
sinnatious
Jun. 22nd, 2012 12:53 pm (UTC)
Haha, awesome! Makes me want to replay CC again too. I'm afraid I am not walkthrough-worthy however, I cannot remember which chapter specifically. I do remember he didn't look very much like Cid since he was dressed nicely? (Presumably back when he was a clean-cut astronaut instead of a washed up pilot). I didn't suspect it was him until he mentioned the space program. Basically, talk to ALL the NPCs!

Yeah, Sephiroth is General of SOLDIER, not everyone, though fanon-wise it makes sense that he's effectively General as he takes command in every situation and regular troopers follow SOLDIER orders on missions. There's heaps of inconsistencies between OGC and CC, some you can explain away by time difference but others are just confusing and best left ignored. Yay fanon! \o/
kotoshin
Jun. 23rd, 2012 12:32 am (UTC)
I just fell into the church, so it has to be post Genesis' copies' attack on Shinra HQ. XDDD

And I KNOW about talking to all the NPCs - it's like necessary requirement to unlock certain missions.

XD No, no, I mean that there is no MENTION of him as a General in rank whatsover in canon source material. I never realized that because English isn't my 1st language, and I kept mentally subbing 大將 (Taisho, roughly the equiv of General) or 元帥 (gensui, roughly equivalent of Marshal) in my mind whenever I read General Sephiroth as mentioned in fic.

If Seph's rank is ever mentioned at all in conjunction to his war exploits, it's always been Hero of Wutai or SOLDIER 1st Class, nothing else.

I also ran around Japanese wikis/walkthrough/FAQs comparing kanji/names of depts - Security Dept (CC) = Public Safety Maintenance Dept (OGC), for example. Although based on game models, there seems to be no difference between Shinra Army Regulars/Civil Police Force. orz

I may have to end up treating the Civil Police Force as a /branch/ of Shinra Army at this rate. I'm doing way too much thinking about rationalizing stuff for fic. XDDD

Like that if Seph /does/ have an acting General rank (大將 Taisho), it's probably so that Shinra doesn't lose 'face' vs. Wutai, since Godo I've always seen as at least a Shogun equivalent. And given Heidigger's ego and penchant for sucking up, he's probably got a ceremonial Gensui 元帥 (Marshal) rank himself and tacked a Dai Gensui 大元帥 (Grand Marshal) on to President Shinra.

And I tend to see Angeal + Genesis as Lieutenant-Generals/Vice-Generals (中將/副將 Chusho/Fukusho) respectively, and thanks to Zax helping out that unconfident 3rd Class SOLDIER, I've started assuming 3rd Class SOLDIERS to have 9 levels of paygrades, at about equivalent enlisted/non-commissioned officer military ranks from Private to Chief Warrant Officer. 2nd Class'd be the equiv of the Officer ranks from Officer Cadets upwards.
sinnatious
Jun. 23rd, 2012 02:21 am (UTC)
Ah I see, that is probably true actually. He's listed in the game manual as the 'top-ranking SOLDIER' though so it makes sense fandom just assigned him the 'General' rank.

Yeah, that's not a bad breakdown. You could probably make a decent argument for a variety of methods of ranking organisation (the more corporate angle is an interesting one that doesn't get picked up as much). And I'm pretty sure ShinRa's security department is effectively the Civil Police Force - just privatised. When you think about it, FFVII was actually a pretty interesting commentary on capitalism taken to its ultimate destination, where the office of Mayor didn't really have any power because absolutely everything has been privatised to ShinRa.
kotoshin
Sep. 30th, 2012 04:18 pm (UTC)
Not privatized, even - they're MPs. You get to fight them both CC & OGC - effectively, a separate branch of dept of security/public safety that can arrest and judge army members as well as civilian.

The corporate structure's interesting as an idea, I'll need to look into that if it's not going to mess up my set up more. XD;;;
madisuzy
Jun. 3rd, 2012 01:30 pm (UTC)
Nothing but love for this fic. Your Cloud is exceptional, as is your Genesis. I am in awe of your characterizations. I'm so happy to have this to look forward to every week now.
sinnatious
Jun. 3rd, 2012 02:33 pm (UTC)
It's a little early to be declaring love for it, but thank you~ Hope it does not disappoint.
qem_chibati
Jun. 3rd, 2012 10:17 pm (UTC)
Hee! I'm really looking forward to seeing how this plays out - the warnings are just making me more eager. Genesis/Cloud, as long fic sounds exactly like something I've been craving. XD
sinnatious
Jun. 4th, 2012 10:29 am (UTC)
LOL, see if I ever try to talk down your expectations ever again. It only seems to backfire. But hey, that's the beauty of rare!pairings right? People forgive everything. :)
eatsyourface
Jun. 6th, 2012 01:47 pm (UTC)
!!!! I am so happy, right now! Thank you for posting this! I love your characterization of Cloud.
sinnatious
Jun. 6th, 2012 01:59 pm (UTC)
Heh, you're welcome! Hope you stick around.
swyrel
Jun. 16th, 2012 03:55 pm (UTC)
OMG I can't believe I just found this (apparently that's what happens when you don't have time to check your f-list anymore).

You don't know how I happy I am to see a Genesis/Cloud fic from you! <3 ...or maybe you do considering that's usually what I request from you at Christmas lol

A wonderful beginning! I'm loving it so far and am so happy that I'm actually a few chapters behind so I have more to read now~ <3
sinnatious
Jun. 17th, 2012 05:41 am (UTC)
Haha, surprise! Heh, I do admit thinking briefly 'I wonder if this will satisfy poor swyrel'. XD Hope it does!
swyrel
Jun. 17th, 2012 03:56 pm (UTC)
Well, it is def satisfying me so far! I'm pretty sure anything you write w/ Genesis/Cloud in it will keep me satisfied lol <3
sinnatious
Jun. 18th, 2012 12:31 pm (UTC)
Heh, it's comforting to know the standards are low. :) <3
swyrel
Jun. 19th, 2012 04:08 am (UTC)
Hmm...don't sell yourself short. It's not a low standard if it's written by you. :P <3
azardarkstar
Jul. 14th, 2012 12:45 pm (UTC)
So I'm a notoriously bad reviewer, but I felt it only fair to comment here since I've enjoyed all your works so far.

Anyway, I'm very excited about a post-DoC story. There don't seem to be too many of those, which is a shame since there's so much to explore. The fact that Genesis is here is even better. He's such a neglected character, and when he is written, he's typically so one-dimensional. Already, I can tell that he won't be here. He's both the rabid thespian and somewhat overly dramatic, but there are hints of more.

Also, poor Cloud. :)

sinnatious
Jul. 14th, 2012 01:48 pm (UTC)
Heh, thank you, but by no means feel obligated to comment (appreciated though comments are). I can be bad with lurking myself so understand perfectly. :)

And thank you! I hope it won't disappoint, I know what you mean about the general lack of post DoC stories (and Genesis ones even more so.)
sunnepho
Aug. 10th, 2012 04:16 am (UTC)
So late to the show
But oh em gee! I've finally stumbled my way back onto LJ, and I find this waiting for me? I'm stoked! Beyond stoked!

I absolutely love your Cloud, the way he's just this henpecked normal dude who doesn't want to sit through romantic plays with ridiculously stylized fighting, and for all the awkwardness he puts up with, he still can't get his way.

The pairing of Genesis and Cloud isn't really my cup of tea, but I love your writing enough that I just know it's going to be awesome. Please forgive the comment spam that's sure to follow in the next few hours.
love_michiyuki
Aug. 19th, 2012 12:35 am (UTC)
OMG YES YES YES YES YES!
Genesis/Cloud!
You couldn't have made me more happy with any other pairing :D

I just can't get enough of these two together! *skips off to the next chapter*
(Anonymous)
Dec. 28th, 2012 11:06 pm (UTC)
I only knew your fics at fanfiction.net; what a pleasant surprise it is to find even more! :D

I have to be honest: I had no idea I had a thing for Genesis/Cloud until I re-read The Fifth Act recently (btw, it is a much better story than I initially gave it credit for when I first read it; it holds up even better on re-reads), and I was very sad to find a pretty lackluster small selection of them in fanfiction.net. But no more settling for whatever I can find that sounds halfway legible: no, now I have more fics from you! :O :D :D : D

It tickles me so well to find this story, but to be honest, you write friendship so well that a simply gen fic with Cloud and Genesis bonding over and becoming friends would have been more than enough. (But I'm not complaining that this is a romance!)
sinnatious
Dec. 29th, 2012 02:47 am (UTC)
Heh, welcome! How on earth did you find your way here?

I must be honest, there's a part of me that in retrospect wishes I'd just written this as a friendship fic instead, but I guess I felt like fandom could use a little more Genesis/Cloud. Thanks for commenting, and I hope you like it!
(Anonymous)
Jan. 1st, 2013 01:13 am (UTC)
I re-read The Fifth Act on a whim, and then some of your one-shots on your fanfiction.net account, and then mentioned it on the Fandom Secrets community on Dreamwidth. Someone there commented with a link to your LiveJournal.

Here is the thread, if you are curious:

http://fandomsecrets.dreamwidth.org/730534.html?thread=614007718#cmt614007718

sinnatious
Jan. 1st, 2013 01:43 am (UTC)
Ah, thank you. This explains the sudden flurry of activity on some of those older fic. :)
teekoness
Dec. 4th, 2013 07:42 pm (UTC)
I'm guilty of saying my reviews for Beloved are long overdue. So sorry, Sin.

Okay, Genesis/Cloud fills me with glee as I tend to want to read the less popular ships as I've been oversaturated with Seph/Cloud, Yuffie/Vincent and other similar fics. (Because that I even avoid ships that I like because of it.) I give you props for not doing any corny love- or lust-at-first-sight nonsense.

Also props for your handling of the Tifa/Cloud relationship. It's obvious that do love each other but it may not be romantic love on one/both side(s). Seriously those do need to learn how to TALK to each other.
sinnatious
Dec. 5th, 2013 01:18 pm (UTC)
Don't apologise! I am 100% understanding of lurking. But I'm happy to see you reading it~

I have a massive bugbear about love-or-lust at first sight stories (unless it's for comedic effect) so no danger of that here!

And thanks, I agonised over trying to do proper justice to Tifa and Cloud without just brushing that relationship aside as is usual in alt pairing fics. So it's a relief to hear it worked for you. :)

( 37 comments — Leave a comment )

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