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Beloved, Chapter 8

Title: Beloved

Rating: M, for violence, language, slash.

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: I possibly enjoyed writing this chapter far too much.

Thanks to Little House in the Woods for the beta!

Previous chapter


Beloved Chapter 8


Cloud pushed open the Church doors.


Steel blurred towards his face, whistling through the air. 


He dropped to the floor, drawing out his sword in one fluid motion.  His blade swept in a wide arc, driving back his attacker.  Flowers scattered, petals whirling in the air.




The SOLDIER in question angled his rapier towards him.  “You have not been upholding your end of the bargain, Cloud Strife!”  The crimson blade sliced at his throat.  Cloud twisted to the side, and it struck the door. 


“What are you talking about?”


The wood charred and hissed as Genesis yanked his rapier free, rounding on him with burning indignation in his eyes.  “You’ve been keeping secrets.  Did you think I would stand for it? After I so graciously agreed to share my knowledge with you?”  He struck like a mad serpent, weaving around his defences with deceptive speed. 


Cloud stepped back, batting aside each strike before ducking out the door.  Never mind that Genesis could fly – he didn’t want to fight inside the Church.  The fray carried into the wreckage outside, their blades flashing in the morning sunlight.  “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”


“You killed Sephiroth!”  The words were accentuated with a blast of flame.  Heat buffeted him, singeing the tips of his hair.


How did he find that out?  “What do you care?” He retorted with a Braver – Genesis expected it this time, and stepped back to bear the driving weight.


“What do I care?”  His rapier glowed red with magic, bright even under the direct sun.  Embers scattered with each wild, sweeping slash.  “All this time, and you’ve been hiding the fact that it was you who killed Sephiroth!”


Two and a half weeks their truce had held.  That was hardly a lot of time.  “It didn’t seem important.”  A quick roll to the side dodged another fireball.


Not important?” Grit scraped under their boots as their weapons locked in parry, angling for advantage.  “Don’t treat me like a fool!  I am a SOLDIER First Class!”  With a monumental effort, Genesis threw his full weight against his sword.  Cloud slipped to the side, the sharp edges of their blades singing as he scraped out of the deadlock.  “How did you defeat him when everyone else failed?!”


That was what this was about?  “I just got lucky the first time!”


Genesis made a strangled sort of sound in his throat.  “The first time?”  His rapier cleaved through a stray wooden beam like butter.  Cloud spun away as splinters showered them.


In retrospect, that argument wouldn’t help his case any – though Cloud was not yet exactly sure what his case was.  Digging in his heels, he met the next attack head on.  “This is stupid.”


“I agree.  Only a moron would hold back against a SOLDIER in battle.”  Flames began to build up in Genesis’s spare hand.  “Enough of this!  Fight me seriously, Cloud Strife!”


Genesis didn’t even wait for him to respond.  With a twist of his wrist, fire burst all around him - a halo of searing orange explosions that thundered in his ears and scalded his skin.  His opponent was fighting to kill.


Cloud’s patience finally snapped.


His thumb hit the sword release.






Genesis smiled humourlessly, hair tossed by the burning air as a maelstrom of flames burst before him.  Oh yes.  It had been far too long since he’d cut loose.


His heart sang with the thrill of battle, almost giddy with the prospect of finally proving himself, finally concluding a fight left unresolved for over a decade.


To his pleasure, Cloud burst through the blaze towards him, slightly sooty but otherwise unharmed.  Genesis raised his blade with relish, dashing forward to meet the strike-


Time seemed to slow as the sword split before his eyes.  Giddiness abruptly turned to disbelief.


He wrenched himself to the side.  Steel shivered a hair’s breadth from his stomach.  The afterimage drove for his shoulder.


Instinct – a long persevered habit of protecting a gangrenous wound – was all that let him react in time.  With a twist, he dropped to one knee, the blade passed harmlessly by with a whoosh of air – then an instant later came driving towards his leg.


It was a messy block – Genesis jerked his rapier into a guard, knocking the strike off course, using that precious second to roll away, tossing out a barrage of fireballs while he regained his feet.  How-?


As the flames dissipated, he had his answer.


It hadn’t been a trick of the eyes.  The sword had broken in two.


Cloud didn’t wait for the realisation to kick in – he was upon him in an eye blink, dual blades slashing.  Desperately, Genesis backpedalled, parrying one slash while evading the other, boots scraping across the cracked earth.  He grimaced with effort as what looked like a glancing blow turned out to have the entire sword behind it.  He’d rejoined the blades.  No sooner than he thought that, he was whirling, catching the next strike, and then overbalancing as it turned out to only be half the blade again. 


He’d become faster.  A lot faster.  Enough so that Genesis – one of the quickest SOLDIERs, bar Sephiroth – struggled to keep up, his muscles protesting the strain and his breathing growing laboured.


It was art.  There was no other word for it.  Poetry in motion.


A thin gash cut through the thigh of his pants.  Another scored along his cheek, seeping crimson.  He spun away, half a step behind, throwing out fire and fashioning molten magic swords to waylay his opponent for even a moment.


Cloud swept them all aside as though they were nothing more than a troublesome breeze. Steam hissed from his blade, and the air warped with heat waves.




For the first time in his presence, Genesis began to feel a shred of self-doubt.  A tendril of fear took hold, an almost forgotten sensation not quite smothered by the defensive anger and indignation awakening deep in his gut.


He couldn’t win.


His thoughts turned to automatic response.  His wing spread forth, and he scrambled into the sky, a messy flutter of whirling black feathers.


Cloud simply jumped to meet him, twin swords brandished.


It wasn’t supposed to go like this.


Snarling, Genesis lashed out with all of his strength – strength that could shatter concrete and slice steel.  Airborne, though, it did little good.  The force of their meeting sent him careening through the air, wind whistling past his ears and wing trailing uselessly.


He crashed into the side of a concrete wall with a sickening thud.  It collapsed under him, crumbling in a series of deafening cracks and thumps.  One jagged slab struck his sword arm, pain lancing up to his shoulder before a curious numbness set in.  His rapier clattered from his fingers, and he scrabbled to pick it up with his other hand.


Heavy boots thudded to the ground by his knees, their step steadfast and sure on the loose rubble.  Silver steel pointed at his heart. 


“Are you happy now?” Cloud asked.


His entire stance was calm.  Confident.  As though taking out a SOLDIER First Class was no more strenuous than slaying an uppity dragon.


Cloud Strife was the real deal.


For a moment, jealous rage flared in his breast.  His fingers itched to pull out his Fire materia again, to unleash hell on this no-name upstart who had stolen his rival and glory from under his feet, who had survived when Zack Fair and his dear friend Angeal had fallen, who he once held helpless and at his mercy.


Let it not be said, however, that he was without honour.  The strength was real.  Genesis could respect it.


“I’ve become rusty,” he muttered.  “Far too long underground, without a worthy opponent.”


It was, apparently, concession enough.  Cloud withdrew. 


Grimacing, Genesis pulled himself up, feeling the ache in his back muscles from the impact, relieved he’d at least managed to turn enough to avoid landing on his wing.  If not for mako enhancements, he would have been a red smear on the wall.  As it was, he’d be feeling tender for a few hours.


With a small amount of effort, he heaved the slab of concrete off his pinned arm, inspecting it as best he could.  Not broken as far as he could tell, but he didn’t want to imagine what the skin looked like underneath the leather sleeve.


The warm tingle of cure magic washed over him, chasing away the worst of his aches.  He glanced up as Cloud tucked a Restore back into his pocket.  He hadn’t been aware the man carried any materia.


“You really did it,” he murmured in wonder.  “You killed Sephiroth.”  Despite Vincent’s words, a part of him hadn’t truly believed it.  Not until then.


Cloud just looked uncomfortable.  “I had a lot of help.”  He stood back, giving him room to stand and brush himself off.  Genesis’s nose wrinkled as he took in the state of his coat.  Already it had been growing tattered, and the new rents in the leather would not be easy to mend.


“Hmph.”  Genesis cast a casual eye over his rapier next, checking for damage, but it looked like the magic had done its work in protecting the blade.  “You insult me by selling yourself short, Cloud Strife.”


He turned to take stock of their surroundings.  The fight had carried them some distance from the church, though the spire remained visible in the distance.  Little in the way of recognisable architecture remained in the area – mostly the odd valiant wall, holding up against the elements, the rest crumbling into a monotonous mess of rubble and wreckage.


The reverent stillness of their surrounds shattered under a high-pitched buzz.  Cloud pulled out his phone, frowned, and gestured at Genesis to keep quiet as he answered. 


The blond listened for a long moment, then said, “Don’t worry about it.  That was me.” 


He paused. 


“Yeah, I stopped by the Church.” 


Another pause. 


“Testing materia.” 


A longer pause. 


“None of your business.” 


Then Cloud hung up, and fixed Genesis with a look that said ‘this is all your fault’.


It was a look Genesis was very familiar with thanks to Angeal, and it didn’t work any better on him now than it did back then.  “You truly have conversation down to a fine art, don’t you?”


“The less you say to the Turks, the less chance of getting caught lying,” was the simple reply.


True enough.  Not everyone could be as gifted as himself with words and fiction.


“So,” Genesis said, “Where will we be searching today?”


Cloud stared at him.  Genesis indulged him by staring back, smirk playing on his lips.


“…That’s it?”


“I’m willing to let the matter of your misinformation slide for now.”  Genesis could be gracious, no matter the blow to his pride.  “On one condition.”


Mako blue eyes regarded him, wary now.


“We,” Genesis stated, “are going to spar again.”


The reply this time came swiftly. “Not interested.”  Cloud turned and headed over to his motorcycle.


Genesis flexed his wing, testing for damage from his rather ungainly crash.  “You don’t have a choice, Cloud Strife!”


In response, the motorcycle’s engine gunned to life, roar cutting across the ruinous landscape.  With a scrape of tyres and a spray of sand, Cloud took off.  Deeper into Midgar, at least – the search was on as normal.


Genesis watched for a moment.  He would let the matter drop… for now.  His opponent would come around – he would get his way in this, at the very least.


He leapt into the air before Cloud could speed out of sight.  His back still ached faintly, but it wouldn’t hinder his flight.  It scarcely mattered – his thoughts were far too active to pay any attention to such physical distractions.


No longer could he view Cloud Strife as nothing more than a source of information; a curiosity; a tenuous link to fond memories of the past.  That had been swept away in the wake of twin blades.  It cast his new comrade in an entirely new light – filled him with a feverish heat, a kind of electricity that charged him, made him feel alive, as though the past ten years had been shrouded in a grey fog.


Genesis threw back his head, and laughed at the sky.


So he’d lost Sephiroth as a rival?  It hardly mattered, now.  He’d found someone even better.

Next chapter


( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jul. 28th, 2012 03:19 am (UTC)
I always enjoy your fics far too much xD
This chapter was awesome,I love how you portrayed Genesis's feelings and the last line just made my day :DDDDD
Jul. 28th, 2012 11:09 am (UTC)
Thank you kindly anon. :)
Jul. 28th, 2012 03:22 am (UTC)
... oh dear.

I'm laughing at how with these two it's slashclangFIGHT before they'll admit the possibility of slash.

Icon because I can almost hear Sephiroth's indignant reply at the thought that anyone could be better than HIM.
Jul. 28th, 2012 11:11 am (UTC)
I never get tired of that icon. EVER.

It has only become more appropriate with the brony phenomenon.
Jul. 28th, 2012 04:14 am (UTC)
I sincerely hope you enjoyed writing that as much as I enjoyed reading it.

...I love your Genesis. He hurts my brain.
Jul. 28th, 2012 11:12 am (UTC)
<3 Almost certainly.

The best kind of brain hurt.
Jul. 28th, 2012 04:25 am (UTC)
I am happy that Genesis found a new rival. I love the fight. ^-^
Jul. 28th, 2012 11:12 am (UTC)
Thanks! It was a fun chapter to write.
Jul. 28th, 2012 04:38 am (UTC)
Oh, Genesis. He now has a new obsession, yes? And we all know how he deals with those.
Jul. 28th, 2012 11:18 am (UTC)
In a healthy and totally reasonable manner, right? ;)
Jul. 28th, 2012 05:16 am (UTC)
Yes, Genesis, you have someone even better. My goggles are on.
Jul. 28th, 2012 10:24 am (UTC)
Ahahaha, I'm pretty sure Cloud would find a happy Genesis the scariest thing of all, in this situation. XD
Jul. 28th, 2012 11:19 am (UTC)
I think a happy Genesis is pretty scary in all situations. XD
Jul. 28th, 2012 01:08 pm (UTC)
Ok i tried leaving a comment before but i think it got eaten by the awesomeness that is your fic so i will just have to fangirl it out a little more.

I somehow got this image of a dog with it's ears pricked up when Genesis realized he'd have a better rival in Cloud than he had in Sephiroth, and so a new character inherits the title 'puppy' for me XD only this puppy is a fully grown puppy! XP

Cloud's 'Not interested' while expected at some point in this chapter still made me laugh loud enough that it caused someone to scream at me to shut up from three rooms away (my room is at the back of the house)

If i ever needed a reminder of why i check your LJ page so often (not that i need the reminder) this chapter gave me it to me! XD such brilliant characterization is what keeps me coming back for more! Keep up the good work i love you to bits!
Jul. 28th, 2012 02:35 pm (UTC)
Re: lolness
Aha, sorry, your previous comment was anon and LJ auto-screens those until I get to them and unscreen them. I'll delete it now so you're not guilty of double-posting.

And thank you! <3
Jul. 28th, 2012 06:36 pm (UTC)
Sin, I want to leave you a proper review for this amazing chapter, but I'm currently waiting for my flight and am so tired I'm about to drop. But, I can never read something by you and not provide the praise you so deserve.

The fight scene completely took my breath away! I love how the surprise aspect of the sword splitting was still there, but there was no further resemblence to Fifth Act. How awesome it was for you to right the same characters battling in two different fics, but yet all elements of them are different. You just continue to completely blow me away with your writing, and I absolutely adore you for that.

The countdown to next Sat is on! <3
Jul. 29th, 2012 12:51 pm (UTC)
Have a good trip!

And thank you. <3 I have to be a little bit conscious of not retreading Fifth Act ground too much, and I'm glad to have succeeded in this case!
Jul. 28th, 2012 11:05 pm (UTC)
asjkfhdskj I always love your fight scenes, amg. *A*<3 Not surprised in the least that Gen's made Cloud his substitute rival since Seph clearly can't fill that role anymore and it is partly Cloud's fault. Now I'm kind of hoping Cloud finds out how Genesis discovered who exactly beat Sephiroth for that lovely possible confrontation between Cloud and Vincent. :>

Anyway, needs to be Saturday again. *flails*
Jul. 29th, 2012 12:53 pm (UTC)
Heh, thanks, they are always challenging but also so much fun. :) And you should hopefully be soon satisfied on the latter part of your comment!
Jul. 29th, 2012 09:01 pm (UTC)
Man, if Gen is that impressed about two blades...

Loved the phone call with the Turks. Testing materia indeed. I hope the flowers are okay! XP

And like swyrel said, I really like how the fight scenes are unique to each fic. I'm thoroughly enjoying them!

And ha, Cloud doesn't realize that the surest way to get Gen even more persistent with him is to ignore/deny the guy. It's a match made. :D
Jul. 30th, 2012 10:53 am (UTC)
Flowers are fine. It's why Cloud took the fight outside, after all. :)

And thanks! I try to keep the fight scenes original, though admittedly it gets tricky when involving the same characters all the time.

LOL, it's already too late.
Jul. 30th, 2012 12:19 am (UTC)
Yay! New chapter! ^^

Sigh... I love your Genesis, you got the entire dramatic, passionate, pushin-your-buttons-until-they-fall-off personality down perfectly <3

And the Tseng-Cloud conversation just made me rofl. XD Curt and to the point. No more than necessary.

Is it normal that I squeak at the "Not interested" line? ~~~
Jul. 30th, 2012 11:33 am (UTC)
Thanks! I <3 Genesis too.

LOL, it almost feels cheap using that line these days. Square's established it as a regular part of his vernacular though (Advent Children and Dissidia both) so I can't not use it whenever the opportunity presents itself!
Jul. 30th, 2012 07:16 pm (UTC)
Oh boys. They need to just have sex really spar like they mean it already. *flaps a hand at them*
Jul. 31st, 2012 09:45 am (UTC)
LOL, Genesis forgot to put the air quotes around "sparring".
Aug. 10th, 2012 06:27 am (UTC)
I should hope you enjoyed writing this chapter! I adored it!

Your action scenes are always so fluid, seamless, and fresh every time. I really don't think you have to worry about TFA shadowing this fic so much. You've already very much established this a different relationship, with different backgrounds generating different dynamics.

The slash goggles haven't found a home with me just yet, but if anyone can sell me on this pairing, it's probably you.
Aug. 10th, 2012 02:10 pm (UTC)
<3 Thank you! It is probably my favourite chapter of the lot.

LOL, well, I actually honestly have had trouble with the slash aspect of this, I've become so used to writing genfic, it's been a little awkward! So we'll see if I can sell you on it.
Aug. 19th, 2012 02:07 am (UTC)
Ooh~ I like your Genesis far too much *grins*

And pssht! He still thinks it's only two blades xD
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( 30 comments — Leave a comment )

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